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Risk

Three months later

 

 

 

The oversized umbrella shades the blonde on the phone from the intense sun of the Greek isle. Her sun lightened hair is tied back in a long scarf and her eyes are shaded by designer sunglasses. She is dressed in a vivid two piece bathing suit covered by a matching pareau. She has a laptop open on the table and pressing the phone to her ear she starts entering information into the laptop. The laptop itself has a satellite hookup and an experimental battery that was suppose to last for years without a recharge. "I'll have to get back to you. He's working on a construction project right now and can't be disturbed. Yes, yes. By end of business today." The blonde hangs up the phone and looking out to the water's edge. She waves.

"Mama! Did you see? Did you see?" The small boy comes racing to the table set back from the water.

"It's beautiful, Mr Man." Carly leans over and gives him a kiss. "And I brought the camera this time so we'll be able to keep the sand castle forever." She presses a thumb down on Michael's skin to check for redness and decides to grease him up again with sunblock SPF nothing is getting thru.

"Who was on the phone?" Stavros pours himself a glass of the chilled lemonade sitting on the table and then takes the seat next to Carly. Michael reaches for a treat ignoring his mother's application of another coat of sunblock.

"The Estate Lawyers." Carly grimaces. "They always manage to track you down. I told them you were busy on a construction project."

Stavros laughs.

Michael digs thru his mother's tote until he finds the camera. "Pictures, Mama!" He reminds her and starts tugging at her arm. "Before the waves come."

Carly allows herself to be brought to her feet. Michael had lost more than one sand castle to the tides and wasn't going to let this one go. She looks over her shoulder at Stavros. "I put all the notes on the laptop and told them you'd get back to them when you got round to it."

Stavros follows them with his eyes until they are down by the castle. Then he glances down at the laptop and accesses Carly's notes. He lifts a toast to the air. The last of Helena's funds are back under his control. Next up Stefan and Nikolas. He'd argued with Carly about that. Not about Stefan but about Nikolas. But finally allowed himself to be convinced. His son had made a large production of not wanting the money or the title. It was his duty as the boy's father to give him exactly what he said he wanted. Stavros, give him what he says he wants and see how much he likes it. When he actually has to worry about paying the bills and being ordinary... he'll find out then it's not so great. Patience. You can both learn it at the same time.

Michael's voice breaks into his thoughts. "Stavros, come on! You need to be in a picture too!"

"I'll be right there." Stavros finishes the glass of lemonade and with long strides covers the distance in the sand to where Michael is kneeling by their creation. Carly is off at the perfect distance to get the picture.

"Mama, it's byzan..." Michael looks up at Stavros who kneels down beside him.

"Byzantine." Stavros helps Michael with the unfamiliar word.

"And he says we can see a real one!"

Carly brings the camera down from her face. "Oh?" First she'd heard of it.

"I have to make a business trip to Constantinople. I was hoping you and Michael could accompany me."

"That's in..." Carly shakes her head in feigned bewilderment.

"TURKEY, MAMA!" Michael hollars out the answer.

"His geography skills are much advanced for a child his age according to the tutor." Stavros praises as he rises to his feet and takes the camera from Carly and shoos her over toward her son so he can take pictures of them together. "Michael, what is the other name for Constantinople?"

"ISTANBUL!" Michael shouts.

Carly leans over and gives him a smooch. "That's it, Mr Man. I'm keeping you with me always so Mama will never get lost. As long as I have you-- I'll never be lost."

Stavros snaps a picture in that instant. The two of them nose to nose, the love and affection clear for all with eyes to see. He puts the camera back in its case. He'd have his assistant back at the house get them developed at the island lab. "It's time for us to go back to the house for lunch and your lessons."

"Awwww Stavros!" Michael complains.

"The tutor has a list of things you have to know before you go to Istanbul. If you haven't learned them..."

"Come on, Mama! I'll race you." Michael darts up the trail to the house.

"It would have been nice if you'd mentioned it to me first." Carly shakes her head and sighs. "Stavros..."

He takes her hand and assists her to her feet and then gathers the lap top from the table. Carly grabs her tote with Michael's beach necessities. "Ah but you see, my dove, there are a couple of reasons to go. Not just Michael's education but also a company there that manufactures a necessary essence for a certain perfume..."

Carly stops in her tracks. "Deception."

Stavros grins showing all his teeth. "And I have business there as well. I need to clean out the safe deposit boxes there and transfer them to a more secure location."

"Since Luke has already compromised those." Carly nods. "So when do we leave?"

"Tonight after Michael is asleep. When he wakes in the morning he'll be overlooking..." Stavros points to the sandcastle.

"And what was all that about if he didn't learn all his lessons..."

Stavros shrugs. "So we'll take the tutor with us. He can act as your guide."

Carly shakes her head. "What happen to patience... deferred gratification?"

Stavros laughs. "How, my dear, do you expect to teach what you yourself do not know?"

"Do as I say not as I do alright?" Carly pouts just a little then strings her arm thru Stavros'. "So tell me... what's the shopping like there?"

"Wonderful. We'll have to charter another jet on the way back."

 



Stefan looks up from his laptop and frowns. He strokes his beard consideringly... deep in thought. Only Nikolas' interruption brings him from his mental calculations.

"Have you heard anything?"

"About Stavros and it's been both too long and too quiet?" Stefan shakes his head but then corrects himself. "Maybe. I just accessed Helena's accounts."

"And?"

"They are gone." Stefan waves a hand like a magician performing a slight of hand. "All of them. Even the ones Helena didn't think I knew about."

"She's moved them."

"No. I decided to check after getting a call from her. She thinks that I've taken her money and is making noises again." Stefan thinks aloud. "It's curious and unlike your father."

"In what way?"

"Going after Helena? Going after her money? They were always allies. Stavros is the light of her life. And they disappeared the same time. I assumed together." Stefan admits. "I am quite at a loss. Your father's... plan was obvious while he was in Port Charles... as direct as a sledge hammer. He wanted you and he wanted your mother back."

"And you dead or in prison forever." Nikolas adds. "I haven't heard from him." Nikolas answers before the next question can be asked.

"Perhaps he is setting it up so Helena will come after me, never believing her darling boy would do this to her. Not just her money, Nikolas, but all of her holdings have been liquidated. She was calling me collect."

Nikolas sits down. "I didn't think she knew how."

"Nor did I." The phone rings. Stefan picks it up. "Stefan Cassadine. I see. Please fax me the pertinent documents."

"Who was that?" Nikolas asks as Stefan hangs up.

"That was the estate lawyers in Switzerland. They want a full accounting of the estate since the true heir has returned and is taking back the estate."

"What are you going to do?"

"I can't let him have it." Stefan says grimly. "Who knows what your father could do with that much money and power." He picks up the phone to call Alexis.




Jason pauses outside of the doorway to PH #4 of the Harborview Towers. "Is he in?"

Johnny grimaces. "Yeah."

"How is he?"

Johnny shakes his head. "Don't ask. I really wish Carly was around. She's about the only one who can pull him out of ..."

"But this time..." it's cause of Carly

"Yeah." Johnny opens the door and stands out of the way so Jason can enter.

"Carly?" Sonny calls as he comes down the stairs. "Oh. Jason."

"No word?"

"It's like she disappeared off the face of the earth and took Michael with her." Sonny looks around for something to break but there is nothing left. The breakables are long gone. Graciella had kept up on the sweeping up of the glass but not bothered to replace any knowing they'd meet the same fate. "It's been months!"

"I came as soon as they tracked me down in Kenya. But I didn't stick around for details. What happened?"

"I went to her hotel room in Martinique-- gonna get things back on track. Only she wasn't there, Michael wasn't there. Leticia said that Carly had left. Left with this guy named Lucien Caine. He'd been sniffing around Carly for awhile. Working some kind of business scam on her. I found this in her room." Sonny goes over to his desk and pulls out the note he'd found on her pillow.

" Be careful what you wish for?" Jason looks up from reading the note. "And who the hell is S.C?"

Sonny runs both hands thru his hair. "Carly and I weren't doing so good. We went down to Martinique to get a divorce; she was gaming. I know she was-- there was no way she was going to give up on the marriage. But she signed the papers all of a sudden. Just stopped all the pretense and signed them and then left. I started thinking and went to find her but..."

"When did things get so... nevermind-- who is S.C?"

"Stavros Cassadine. It all came out once I got back to Port Charles. The Guy, Lucien Caine, is actually Stavros Cassadine. Alexis' half brother and all around bad news."

"What does Alexis say?"

"She doesn't talk about him. And she doesn't know Carly is with him. Only that Carly isn't with me."

"Bobbie?"

"I'm on her shit list. I don't know if Carly has contacted her. Last time we talked... when I got back from Martinique... the first place I went after Carly's house was the brownstone..."

"Carly has a house? Nevermind. I'm going to go talk to Alexis. Find out what she knows."

"Jason?"

"Yeah?"

"I didn't sign the papers. I didn't go thru with the divorce. I love her... I didn't tell her. I love her. I can't lose her." Sonny collapses on the ottoman. It's not the same one as Carly had picked out. That one had been destroyed with the penthouse but one that exactly matched.

Jason silently walks out of the penthouse. He pauses by Johnny. "Is Alexis in?"

"She got a call over to Wyndemere. Took Max with her. Is he..."

"Don't disturb him." Jason says grimly. "If it's business call Benny. If it's Benny call me."



Alexis takes off her glasses and set them on the couch next to her along with the faxed papers. "Screwed."

Stefan winces at Alexis' vulgarity from his spot staring out the window of the study. Really the association with that thug Corinthos was having an ill effect on his sister. "Alexis, could you perhaps be more specific?"

Nikolas leans in from the chair across from his aunt to hear her response. "He's the one that is screwed right?"

Alexis shakes her head. "Nope." Alexis sighs. "Nikolas, you know this one better than anyone. Everything goes to The Prince; the whole estate and the family serves at his pleasure. Mikkos' will was just like his father's before him and his father before that-- all the way back to the first Cassadine. Stavros' will left everything to you.. only Stavros isn't dead. The estate is his to do with what he likes in his lifetime."

"But what about the fact he was dead! Or what he did to Chloe?!" Nikolas protests.

"There is an arrest warrant out for him for Chloe's murder. But they have to find him before they can serve it.... and you can bet he isn't in the states... so it's not only find him, serve it but also extradite him. And there are countries in this world that won't extradite no matter what pressure the US puts on them. And then if by some miracle he is caught, extradited, tried and convicted... he still has total control of the estate until they stick the needle in his arm and he is declared dead... again."

"But he was dead!" Nikolas protests again. "He's a cyrogenic freak."

"The story he gave the estate managers was that he was in a coma. That Helena let everyone believe he was dead because he wasn't expected to pull out of it." Stefan answers still staring out the window. "He has already proven to their satisfaction via DNA to be Stavros Cassadine. I expected a direct assault." Stefan mentally kicks himself.

"We have to figure out what to do now." Alexis reminds him. "Everything that is in held by the estate goes to him. The next fax you get will probably either shut down General Hospital or order you out of Wyndemere. You bought the island with estate funds. And this demanding an accounting thing." Alexis shakes her head. "He's coming after you again, Stefan. Any expenditures that didn't come out of your own fortune... Nikolas will be okay. He has that five million still set aside. The cottage is in his name. And Stavros would never hurt Nikolas."

"Don't be so sure, Aunt. He knows my loyalty is to my mother and to Stefan."

Stefan turns around so that he is facing Alexis and Nikolas. "So I have to find him. Find him and stop him. But something is still off. I know my brother. He would have blown up Wyndmere with me in it. Not gone after Helena or taken all this time.... something has to be distracting him, slowing him down."

The large sideboard slides open revealing a listener from the other side. "I know the answer to that one."

Nikolas and Alexis come to their feet to look at the newcomer. Alexis is the first to say anything. "Jason? What are you doing here? I thought you were in Africa?"

"Looking for you and answers." Jason says tersely. "I want a list of all the Cassadine holdings and I want them now."

"Excuse me?" Stefan asserts. "I think not."

"You want Stavros Cassadine found. I'll find him. I'll even take him out."

Alexis winces; the lawyer in her cringing at the premediation of murder. But can't resist asking anyway. "Why?"

"Cause he has Carly and Michael."




Istanbul, Turkey.

Carly steps out onto the balcony of the small hotel on the fringes of the old city. She can see the lights of the city and from the boats on the river that is the lifeblood of the ancient city. She takes a deep breath and closes her eyes making a memory of this first. She hears the footsteps behind her. "Is he still asleep?"

"Never woke up." Stavros nods. "Not on the plane or the limo here." He stands next to Carly leaning on the railing. He smiles. There were lots of good memories here. Trips he'd made with his father when he'd been Michael's age. "It's an amazing city. For centuries whoever controlled this city controlled the civilized world-- the greeks, the romans, the ottomans. I love it here."

"Plotting to take over the world?" Carly teases.

Stavros looks over at her and grins. "Maybe. Want to help me? We could rule together."

Carly rolls her eyes and sighs. "You all say that. I bet that's what Prince Charming said to Cinderella when he handed her the keys to his castle. Then she got stuck with sweeping a bigger hearth and getting sent to her room when things started getting interesting. They always leave that part out of the fairy tale. The only world I'm interested in controlling is mine-- my life, my son, my company. The rest is just a... headache."
Stavros looks like he is about to protest. Probably about being compared to Sonny. Carly holds up a hand. "My dreams are the right size for me. And I know you dream bigger, expect bigger. You were told coming up that you could rule the world. I get that. But what the hell has that gotten you Cassadines but a world of grief? Kicked out of Russia. Everyone gunning for you including your own family. None of you dying of old age after a happy life. Is that what you want for Nikolas?
Okay so it would be fun to rule the world... but then what would you be doing but looking over you shoulder and looking for the next guy who wants to be king of the world. And gees can you imagine the paperwork? Where is the fun in that? The fun is in the getting not in the having." Carly sighs. "Took me long enough to figure that out. The only exception is asleep in there." She indicates inside the suite with her thumb.

"Then why do you want Deception so badly?" Stavros counters.

"Because it's mine and I was screwed out of it. By my ex-husband and your wife. It's my ticket to being able to control my own destiny and making sure Michael is okay."

"And the Cassadine Estate is mine. And I was screwed out of it by your uncle and my wife. It's my ticket to being able to control my own destiny and making sure Nikolas is okay." Stavros counters.

"Wanna play a game of Risk?" Carly suggests. Carly refers to the board game that involves taking over the world.

"Lets." They walk back into the suite and pull out the laptop that went everywhere with them. Stavros calls up the game. A map of the world delineated by country comes up on the screen. There are little stars all over the world. Each star indicating a different Cassadine holding. The stars are three different colors-- Helena, Stefan, and Stavros. Stavros pushes the enter key to update the game and all of Helena's stars disappear to be replaced with Stavros'.

"What did the lawyers want?" Carly asks as she studies the map and the realignment of power.

"To tell me that they've fired the first volley at Stefan. I've demanded the return of The Estate. Now it's his turn."

Carly traces the outline of New York the center of Stefan's power is seated in Port Charles. Stavros' is Switzerland. "Unless you can draw him out... you're going to have to take it to him." The veteran of the wars with Moreno and Sorel muses. "And you need allies. More than what he's got. The lawyers are a start but they'll work for whoever pays them. You need real allies."

"And how do you suggest I get them?" Stavros says wryly. "It's Cassadine v. Cassadine. As you pointed out earlier neither of us is widely admired."

Carly chews on her lip and her eyes narrow. "Helena cook up anything interesting in that lab... besides you I mean? Anything that maybe the government might be interested in?"

"And if she did?"

"Then you've got an angle. Hand them the cure for cancer or AIDS and you could write your own ticket." Carly yawns. "Sorry. I've got to crash. Michael will probably be up with the birds."

"I'll see you in the morning." Stavros agrees. He considers the screen and Carly's comments after she goes into the room she'll be sharing with Michael. He contemplates his next move and then shuts down the laptop after making a few phone calls. He checks on Michael. Carly is cuddled up next to the boy, not wanting him to wake alone in a strange place. And not wanting him to wake without waking her to make sure he stayed away from the balcony and any possible dangers. Stavros continues down the hall to his own room and prepares himself for sleep.



Nikolas walks into his cottage taking off his coat and hanging it over the stair bannister. "Gia?"

Gia comes down the stairs holding a magazine, her finger marking her place. "Hey." She reaches up on her tippy toes to give him a welcome home kiss. "You were a long time over at wyndeweird, psycho granny at it again?"

"You might say that." Nik walks over to the fire and holds his hands out to warm them. "My father is on the move."

"Uh Oh." Gia takes a spot on the couch nearest to the fire and her lover. Her feet are curled under her and her body angled toward him. "Did he try to kill Stefan again?"

"No. He took all of Helena's money and property. The first Uncle heard of it was a collect call from Helena."

A giggle breaks thru. "Collect?! I love it."

Even Nikolas can't resist a little grin at that one but then he gets serious again. "Have you heard from Carly?"

"Carly? No, not in months. Not since before your dad and grandmother skipped town." There is a dawning realization as she puts the two together. "Oh no, don't tell me."

"Jason Morgan believes Carly and her son are with my father. I find that impossible to believe."

Gia twists a lock of her hair. "Nikolas... Carly introduced me to Lucien. So they do know each other. It was at the 4th of July picnic. I was doing the mistress of ceremonies thing. Carly had just had a run in with Quartermaines. Then had a run in with Lucien when he did a mash on her."

"Mash?"

"You know-- an uninvited pass. They made up sorta later. He was going to help her get Deception back-- as Lucien Caine, investment banker."

"He was using her to get to my mother." Nikolas nods realizing the tactic.

"Just like he was using me to get to you." Gia agrees. Then she frowns. "You know that last day... when I was trying to bring you and Stavros together..." Gia frowns. "Damn it's been so long ago. What did he say? Something about spending time with a child recently and realizing everything he missed about your growing up. That he only remembered you as a baby... and now you were a grown man. And that he'd missed all of it. That he didn't have a past with you but he wanted a future. Are you sure that Carly is with him? Marcus thinks that Sonny killed her and buried her body somewhere. I just thought she wanted to be as far away from AJ as possible. Sonny has been acting crazy since he got back from whereever they went without Carly."

"Your brother..." Nik shakes his head. "That theory doesn't hold water." He says impatiently. "It doesn't explain where Michael is."

Gia hugs herself feeling a sudden chill. "Oh this is too creepy. I get it I really do. Stavros wanted his wife and son back. That was everything to him. What if..." Gia is familiar now with the Cassadine family history warts and all. "... what if when that didn't happen, he got himself another wife and child?"

"Kidnapping?"

"It wouldn't be the first time." Gia points out.

"I don't want my mother to know about this." Nik says grimly.



"We're here! We're here!" Michael bounces on Stavros' bed waking him from a sound sleep.

Stavros wakes laughing and sits up in the bed the sheet and comforter falling to his waist. He adjusts his pillow behind him so the headboard doesn't dig into his back. "Where are we, I forget?"

"ISTANBUL!"

"How do you know that? When you went to sleep we were in Greece. Now we're in Istanbul?"

"But I saw it." Michael frowns. "I saw it. That Sophia building like we built in the sand. It's right out that window. And the big river, it's not like the ocean. You can see that from Mama's window. You're trying to trick me."

"I knew I couldn't fool you." Stavros says proudly as he ruffles Michael's sleep mussed hair. "We flew in last night. You slept thru the whole flight. Where is your mother?"

"Mama's still asleep."

"Well then how about you and me have breakfast while we wait for her to wake." Stavros climbs from the bed and pulls on his robe over the silk pajama bottoms. He belts it firmly. "I'll call down and tell them we are ready for breakfast now. And I have a present for you."

"What kind of present?" Michael takes Stavros hand as they walk down the hallway.

"You are definitely your mother's son." Stavros shakes his head. Reaching into his briefcase, after seating Michael at the intimate table on the balcony he grabs a wrapped package and hands it to Michael. "I had this made especially for you."

Michael tears into the paper ripping it open to find a handbound book. The book is the dimensions of an oversized post card but much thicker. The front is made of heavy fabric designed to hold up to wear and tear and each page is of heavy bond. On one side of the page is a picture and on the other is a description of the picture in simplified large text. The very first picture is of the Hagia Sophia. The book is titled Michael's Travels in Istanbul. Michael finds his name automatically and sounds out the rest slowly. "This is my book! My book about me in Istanbul."

"Yes," Stavros looks out over the city. He points out the Hagia Sophia and then to the picture. "I told you about the Hagia Sophia when we were building your sandcastle." Picking up the phone he calls down for breakfast to be brought up. "Read me what it says about the Sophia." Stavros orders after he hangs up.

Michael frowns as he concentrates. He traces his fingers over each word as he sounds them out. As he figures out one word he repeats it and goes on to the next. Stavros allows him to stumble over the words only helping when Michael looks up at him. "We're going to see the Sophia today right?"

"You and your mother. And your tutor if you should have any questions your mother can't answer because this is her first trip to Istanbul too. I have to go to the bank." Stavros makes a face. "I would much rather go with you two but I'll be able to join you in the afternoon."

Michael flips thru the pages and holds one up for Stavros to see. "Mama will want to go here."

Stavros looks at the text and laughs. "The Grand Bazaar. Yes. She will." There is a knock on the door. "That will be our breakfast. Stavros walks over to the door and lets the white clad waiter in. The waiter sets up the breakfast dishes on the balcony. He pours Michael a glass of juice and Stavros a small coffee and then excuses himself.

"Why is your coffee so small?" Michael questions. "Isn't coffee suppose to be this big? Uncle Sonny always drank a big coffee." Michael holds his hands apart about the same size of an oversized mug of coffee.

Stavros pushes the coffee cup toward Michael. "It's hot." He warns.

Michael reaches for the small cup and takes a small sip and then screws up his face and sticks out his tongue. "Yuck!"

Stavros laughs. "Now you know why you only drink a little bit."

"I wouldn't drink any; it's gross! Mama drinks tea. I like tea better. It smells like flowers... not dirt."

"Michael?! Michael, where are you?!" Carly's frightened voice reaches the two of them.

"Go." Stavros orders. "Tell your mother that breakfast is ready." Michael hops up from his chair and races to the room he shares with his mother. Stavros reaches for the pot of tea and pours Carly a cup. Michael had barely allowed Carly time to pull on a robe before dragging her out toward the balcony. Stavros hands her a cup of tea. "I'm sorry we worried you."

Carly takes a seat across from the two of them. "I thought I'd wake up if..."

"Mama, you never wake up in the morning." Then afraid he might have hurt her feelings he adds. "But you're always there at night when I get scared."


 

Alexis stares at Jason as they enter the launch together from Wyndemere. "Do you really think..." Jason stares at her. "Of course you do; you wouldn't have said anything if you didn't. How?!!" Alexis blurts. "How did Stavros get Carly? How do you know?"

"You want proof, counselor?"

"Yes.... Please."

"Lucien Caine followed Carly and Sonny down to Martinique. Carly signed off on the divorce much to Sonny's surprise. Caine flew Carly and Michael out of there. Sonny thought better of going thru with the divorce and tried to find Carly and all he found was a note that said. Corinthos, Be careful what you wish for. S.C. " Jason's tones are terse... sharp.

Alexis winces. "This is all my fault."

"Yes, it is." Jason agrees.

"Jason, she betrayed him. She went to the FBI. Sonny could have gone to jail for twenty years!"

"Why?"

"Why what?"

"Carly doesn't betray, Alexis, so why don't you tell me why Carly went to the FBI."

Alexis is slow to answer. "You were there. You know why. Sorel sent Sonny a bomb on his birthday. A present Michael almost opened. She was afraid."

"I know exactly what Carly is like when she's afraid. Sonny knows what Carly is like when she's afraid. YOU know."

"Roy...."

"I'll be talking to him later." Jason cuts Alexis off.

"Jason, how is Sonny?" Alexis asks softly barely loud enough to be heard. "I saw him a couple of weeks after he got back from Martinique but since then Johnny hasn't let me in."

"You never saw Sonny after Lily died, did you? Carly gets stupid when she gets scared. Sonny... redecorates. Carly can normally pull Sonny out of it, but she's not around is she?!"

"Jason, I gave my best professional counsel. If they'd stayed together eventually Sonny would have ended up in jail!"

"Instead you bought his freedom with Carly's life-- with Michael's. That is the score, right Counselor? Stavros is a murderer and a rapist, isn't he? And not wound too tight, right Counselor? I'm sure you have a better idea than I do, Counselor, what will happen when Carly gets scared and does something to protect herself or Michael? What will he do, Alexis?!"

"The lawyers in Switzerland." Alexis answers flatly. "There are 100's of properties maybe 1000's but he has to be in touch with the lawyers and they have to be able to get in touch with him. If they don't know where he is, they'll have a number." Alexis gives the name of the firm but doesn't ask what Jason is going to do because she really doesn't want to know. Alexis debarks from the launch and starts walking toward her car.

"Alexis--" Jason calls out.

"Yes?" Alexis doesn't turn around.

"Make your peace with Sonny."

Alexis turns around. "You wouldn't!"

"If I don't find Carly and Michael, I won't have to. Sonny loses another woman he vowed to protect... he'll take himself out."



Carly keeps a firm grip on Michael's hand. Stavros and the tutor walk with them thru the Grand Bazaar. It is difficult to decide whose eyes are bigger hers-- or Michael's. The narrow stalls extend in all directions in a maze of shops. There is everything: animals, food, spices, leather, jewelry, clothing, noise and activity everywhere. "Wow!" Michael exclaims.

"Yeah, Wow!" Carly agrees. "I don't know where to start."

"Anywhere you'd like." Stavros says from behind her. "Here is good." He steers her into a stall showing leather goods.

Carly had always believed herself to be an impulsive, compulsive shopper but Stavros has her beat. Purses, wallets, a briefcase, a leather jacket for Michael... "Look at this one." Stavros holds up a full leather coat in Carly's size.

"Stop!" Carly protests. "How are we going to get all this back to the hotel. And this is just the first store!"

"They deliver." Stavros grins. And so it goes from shop to shop. Stavros spending money like water while he bargains for the fun of it until Carly is protesting and Michael worn out.

"Stop. I give." Carly leans against one of the stalls. "I have to sit down."

"Just a little bit farther." Stavros urges her. He picks up Michael and carries him on his back. Michael wraps his arms around Stavros' neck and leaves him very little breathing room. "It should be up here on the left."

"How long has it been since you were here?" Carly protests.

"I was here with my father when I was a boy."

"Stavros, that was more than forty years ago!"

Stavros stops in his tracks. Michael pats him on the shoulder. "You okay, Stavros?" Michael asks.

"Yes, yes I'm fine." Stavros looks around. It isn't the stall he was looking for but it will do. "Your mother just reminded me again why I need the both of you with me. Come. There is a place where we can all sit down and have a little tea and a break."


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