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Chapter X



Jason sighs when he hears Carly bellow. "Jason, is everything okay?" Bobbie worries.

"I guess I'm gonna find out." Jason pushes back from the table.

Bobbie follows him with her eyes biting her lip. Jason was her real chance of pulling Carly out of here... peacefully. No matter what he said. Were things really that bad back in Port Charles? Then she thinks about that question and considers the hits Carly has taken lately... Deception, Sonny and she hadn't even been in town for the latest. AJ getting visitation if Carly ever showed back up in PC. For some reason Alexis hadn't even showed up for that one. And Carly's divorce attorney Asher Wilde hadn't been there either. Of course AJ would win... he didn't have any competition that time around. Okay so it wasn't a good idea for Carly to just pop back into town. But it had to be better than her staying here. Here is just a big ole mess ready to happen.

"Bobbie..." Nikolas tries to get her attention.

Bobbie looks over at him and smiles absently. "Sorry I was a thousand miles away. What were you saying?"

"That I was just kind of surprised you being here with Stefan."

"Well when you took off he tracked you down thru the photos at my place." Bobbie gives him a censorious look but it is barely anything. She isn't really angry. Luke had done much worse to her in the past. "Stefan told me that Carly was with Stavros."

"And did you tell your brother?" Stavros asks standing over all of them. He blocks the sun to Bobbie and his face is in shadow. "Not that Caroline believes your brother would ever rescue her. He would however jump at the opportunity to have another shot at me... whatever the excuse."

Bobbie opens her mouth to protest but then shuts it. Once again Stavros is telling the truth. That is what Carly would believe. And what Luke would do. She thinks about what she is going to say carefully. She points to a chair. "You're blocking my sun." Stavros quirks a grin but takes a seat. "I know you've been... outta it for quite some time. And heard stories about you not being a family team player even before that so let me just clue you in on normal family dynamics. Yes, Luke and Carly don't get along. Yes, they rub each other the wrong way. They fight whenever they are together. But he's the only one allowed to rip on her. It's a family priviledge. And one he won't give up and one he won't share with others. That's the way family works. We can fight like cats and dogs 24/7 but we are united against anyone coming at one of us."


Gia answers with the definition. "Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.... always."

"Ah." Stavros nods.

"Before you can say the Spencer's aren't normal..." Gia interjects. "Because I would agree with you... they aren't. What Bobbie is talking about is normal. That's the way my family works. My brother and mother get in my business all the time figuring it is their right. But if I were ever in a jam... they would have my back and I know it. And they would never give me grief in front of an outsider even if they agreed. They'd tell them to MYOB and then take me aside later."


"Mind your own business." Nikolas answers and winces. "Something I haven't been saying often enough. Gia... I'm sorry."

Gia holds out her hand, the left one with the ring on it that Nikolas gave her. "This is a promise, Nik. A promise I took for us to be family. When you gave me this ring it meant that my family stopped letting anyone give you grief within their hearing. Even if they still give you a ration. Can you say the same? Does it mean the same to you? Cause if it doesn't..." Gia starts reaching for her ring and starts to pull it off of her finger.

Nik grabs her hand stopping her but he glances over toward Bobbie. Bobbie nods and leans over to Michael. "I don't see any sandcastles. I was promised sandcastles on this trip." Michael pops up out of his chair and grabs his grandmother's hand. "Stavros..."

Stavros looks from Gia to Nikolas and then back again. He rises to his feet but can't leave without putting his two cents in. "If you allow her to get away... you are a fool. Loyalty in a woman is a rare and precious quality. One that Gia has proven over and over. I know. I attempted to use it for my own ends... without success." He makes a brief nod with his head and then takes Michael's hand. Together they walk with Bobbie to the prime sandcastle building real estate. Nikolas and Gia look at each other. Gia takes a deep breath letting out the air she'd been holding.


"You know who was on the phone?" Carly demands. She is stalking away from the others so she can't be overheard. She holds up the phone for emphasis.

"No, but I think you're going to tell me." Jason says wryly. He kinda follows after her and just gets a grin. Things are definitely back to normal.

"That was my bank. What the hell you think you are doing messing with my account?"

"I put money in. I didn't take any out." Jason shrugs.

"Jason, you can't do that! You know how hard I was freaking? I thought sure that..."

"That whatever scam you're working hit a road block. Carly, what is the big deal? I've been giving you cab fare for as long as I've known you."

"It wasn't exactly cab fare, Jase!"

"Well it would take more than twenty bucks to get you out of here wouldn't it?" Jason points out reasonably.

"I'm fine!" Carly protests. "You know I'm fine."

"Didn't know that when I put the money in." Jason points out.

"So you'll take it back."

"Nope. If you don't spend it... you don't spend it. If you need it, it's there. That's what that account is for. You never told Sonny about that account. I probably wouldn't have told Stavros either." Jason does make that suggestion. "That was probably a mistake. You should change the account number."

"Jase..." Carly rolls her eyes.

"It's get the hell out of Dodge Money, Carly. Sure, you and Cassadine are getting on now. How much of you getting along is 'cause you know you could get out of dodge if you wanted? Weren't you the one that told me that things all started going to hell with Sonny when he started bossing you around? Well you walked. And what happened? Sonny didn't file the papers."

Carly pulls up a nearby rock. "I still don't get that. He's the one that wanted the divorce."

Jason sits down next to her. "What are you going to do? I know you're taking a break now... getting your plan together. But it's a plan that will bring you back to Port Charles eventually." Jason tilts his head in Stavros direction. "He's wanted for crimes against humanity or something. Not like they are going to roll out the welcome mat for him. Sonny didn't sign the divorce papers. So you have a husband when you hit town again. OH and the one that we haven't talked about... the Quartermaines got a court order to have access to Michael."

"You're just mentioning this to me now?" Carly bites her lip. "Well of course the little weasel would wait until my back is turned. That is just so AJ. I was already planning for the Quartermaines though. I knew they would try to mess things up."

"What about Sonny?"

"Gawd. Jase, what do you think I should do?"

"Oh no. I already did that one... that's how we ended up here." Jason points down to the beach. "You decide. You want to be Mrs Sonny Corinthos. I'll make sure that it's safe for you to come back. You want to be the ex-Mrs Sonny Corinthos... I'll make sure it's safe for you to come back."

"It sounds like you are going to be in PC for awhile." There is a question in the comment.

"Things are a mess." Jason says flatly. "Every freaking time I come back to PC-- things are a mess."

"Hey it's not all my fault." Carly protests.

"I didn't say it was." Jason sighs and gets a little pensive. "Carly, when I go back... people are going to want me to take over."

Carly looks at him with some shock on her face. "Take over... from Sonny." Jason nods. "It's been mentioned before on one of my visits. One of Sonny's guys came to me and told me he was messing up and things were a lot... more predictable when I was running things. I squashed the idea back then... or thought I had. Sonny's head is not in the game; hasn't been since way before you left. He's going to get people killed. Johnny said something this last time."

"It was Benny before, wasn't it?" Jason doesn't answer. "It was. Benny has a thing about things being easy... safe. It's how he's gotten to be as old as he is in the business." Carly shudders. If it had been anybody but Jason, Sonny would be so dead by now. If Sonny's moneyman and his primary bodyguard were looking for a change in leadership.... Jason was a known quanity to them-- a trusted quanity. And he'd always been willing to take advice. Sonny wasn't. "What are you going to do?"

Jason shakes his head. "I don't know. If it were Sorel... or Moreno it would be so clear. But it's Sonny. What I should do is take out Johnny and Benny for even mentioning it... for even thinking it."

"But you're thinking it too." Carly says softly. "I know I screwed up by going to the Feds... but it made one thing perfectly clear. Sonny won't retire. He's addicted to the power."

"Yeah, but the power comes with responsibility. You got to be able to take care of your people and your turf." Jason finally asks. "You got any bright ideas?"

Carly hugs her knees and stares sadly out to the water. "If you don't do anything... the way things are... Sonny's dead anyway. It's just a matter of time. If Johnny and Benny are shopping..."

"They wouldn't be shopping if they didn't know I was in the background." Jason counters.

"Yes, they would. At least Benny would. And Benny's been in the business long enough to find someone... someone he could work with. He likes working with you. You were perfect for him. Yeah, he had a few qualms until he got to see you in a suit. Finally got you to see how to delegate. But he figures you're... coachable. Once upon a time it would have worked. You and Sonny together."

Jason shakes his head. "Not now."

"And that is all my fault." Carly says glumly.

"No." Jason says flatly. "That's Sonny's. He's the one that put me in charge before and split. He knew then it was a long shot that I'd be able to pull the territory together. I could have walked then but didn't. I worked hard to be taken seriously. This has been a long time coming. I tried to be his second again when he came back. That's what I was doing when I took that meeting with Moreno. And while I was taking a bullet meant for him; he was screwing you. It was sorta working as long as I was running things down in Puerto Rico, and we had the distance. He trusted me to run that territory and to not reach further... But when I was in Port Charles..."

"You're a threat."

"I didn't think I was. Evidently he did." Jason throws a piece of driftwood out into the cove in a quick, sharp, angry underhand motion. "At first I was too hurt to be angry... to think it thru. He didn't love you... he didn't trust you. But he..." Jason takes a deep breath. "And then by the time I did think it thru... it seemed like you did love him and he you. There was a baby on the way. So yeah, you two getting married seemed like the best idea."

"We kinda deserved each other." Carly says softly. "Is that what you think now, Jase? Is Sonny what I deserve?"


"What kind of sandcastle today, Stavros?" Michael asks. "Our last one was byzantium like the Haga Sophia in Istanbul, Grandma."

"Ambitious." Bobbie looks properly impressed. "And it was beautiful. Your mama sent me pictures of it." Bobbie looks around and starts seeing the details of the cove that had led first Nikolas and then Stefan here just from looking at the pictures Carly had sent.

"Hmm, I think something more traditional today." Stavros suggests. Using a stick like a pencil he quickly traces out a picture of a storybook castle... square with rounded turrets even a little flag flying from one.

Michael nods as he looks at it. He takes in the geography of the beach and then walks over to a good spot. He carefully traces out the square base of the design putting a little heel print at each corner. Bobbie comes over already ready to be impressed by Michael's grasp of spacial relations. He's already gone from the flat picture that Stavros had traced in the sand to picturing the three dimensional result. Getting down on her hands and knees she starts scooping out in a circle around Michael's outline. "Watcha doing, Grandma?"

"Moat. It's not a castle without a moat."

"Stavros, why?"

"Moats were the first line of defense. Actually the second. You have taken care of the first."


Stavros steps within the outline. "From here you can see all angles around the castle. You can see anyone coming toward your castle before they get too close. And your grandmother's suggestion of a moat... most people back when the castles were being built didn't know how to swim. So if they fell in they would drown."

"And if they did know how to swim they were wearing heavy armor that would sink them like a stone anyway." Bobbie says wryly. "Not to mention that they didn't have nice things like indoor plumbing or garbage disposals... so all the disgusting stuff ended up in the moat too. I bet if the wind was blowing wrong it smelled really rank."

Michael takes the sand that Bobbie is scooping out and packs it carefully into his pail. His months of sandcastle building had taught him to pack it tight otherwise it would fall apart when he tipped it over. When he is finally satisfied it's packed tight he brings it over to one of the corners and quickly tips it over and carefully lifts off the pail. Instant turret. He does that with all four corners of his castle. Once that is completed, Stavros takes the pail down to the cove and collects water to make sure that the sand keeps the proper consistency for construction. "But if there is a moat how do you get in the castle and out?"

"Drawbridge." Bobbie answers.

"Secret tunnels." Stavros answers at the same time.

"That is such a Cassadine answer." Bobbie shakes her head. She goes off in search of a piece of driftwood to be used for a drawbridge. It also gives her the opportunity to check out what the others are doing. Nik and Gia are still in a serious conversation. But they are holding hands. That's a good sign. Carly and Jason are talking over on the farside of the cove sitting up on huge boulder. Bobbie crosses her fingers. Please let this all work out. She finds a suitable piece of driftwood and heads back to the project. Michael passes her at a run... heading back to the table for more tools. Bobbie moves the driftwood into place.

"So unable to reason with Caroline you believe that Morgan will be able to talk sense to her." Stavros suggests even as he is filling in between Michael's turrets... building the walls of the castle.

Bobbie looks up from the opposite side of the castle. "He always has been able to before."

"Never mind that my brother sent Morgan here to kill me. And now that that plan has been quashed that he will find another way." Stavros rocks back on his heels and considers the problem. "Knowing little Stefan the way I do. He will now attempt to use either Michael or Caroline. Drip poison in her ear that I am a threat to her or her son. Play on Caroline's reputation for violent impulse.
Perhaps he will tell her that I intend to remove Morgan as an obsticle to my control of her. I'm sure you've told him how close Caroline and Jason are. He will attempt to tell one or the other that I am a threat to their relationship. Perhaps both. Set them both up to try to... remove me. He had no intention of coming here until after he realized that Nikolas was coming here and might be in the line of fire."

"You don't know what the hell you are talking about!" Bobbie protests. Stefan would never...." She cuts off her own answer. The problem with defending Stefan, he would do just that. He'd always done just that. Moved people around like pawns on a chess board to get his own ends. Whether it was taking over GH, or her and Carly to get the marriage in the first place.

Stavros grins. "I underestimated you, little sister. You do know your husband well. How long did it take you to pierce his veil of civility?"

"After the divorce." Bobbie puts the emphasis on the last. "Isn't it time for you and Stefan to just... get over it? Okay. I get it. You had a childhood from hell; your mother is nutjob of the first order. That's a great excuse for the first eighteen years. You're both adults now. You both love Nikolas. Can't you build on that?" Bobbie questions. "Can't you just let it go?"

"I have." Stavros shrugs. "Caroline has convinced me that nobody could make Stefan as miserable as he makes himself. I have no interest in anything that belongs to Stefan. Only what belongs to me."

"How do I know you're telling the truth?" Bobbie asks suspiciously. There is also the question of what Stavros would claim as his. Sounds to her like a renewal of the Cassadine Spencer war. Laura again.

"You don't." Stavros looks up to the returning Michael. "What are you going to do with those?"

Michael holds up a tumbler. "Make smaller turrets next to where the front door is." And then he holds up a stir stick. "And this can go across the front door. So we can hook the draw bridge to it."

"Excellent." Stavros agrees.

"You aren't making the base too skinny, are you?" Michael checks Stavros' work. "The walls will fall over if you make it too skinny." Michael adds more sand to the base to be on the safe side. He'd lost a few castles to too high walls on too narrow of a foundation. "Where did all the people live?" He asks Stavros curiously.

"Well their turrets were hollow, rather than solid as we are creating. And the walls would have been wider than you are tall. Wide enough to walk on and set men to watch for any... visitors. And inside the castle walls there would have been other buildings-- a main house, a stable, an armory, a storage facility of some kind. Those buildings would have been made of wood or whatever material was handy because they relied on the walls of the castle to protect them. When there was no danger most people would live outside the castle only coming inside in times of danger."

"Like the hospital." Michael nods. "Whenever something bad happens back home everyone goes to the hospital. It's a safe place where you can get help."

"Is that what General Hospital is?" Stavros questions Michael quietly. Carly had been adament about not closing the hospital.

"Yeah. Nobody messes with the hospital. 'Cause everybody needs it."

Stavros nods thoughtfully. "Thank you, Michael. I didn't realize that."

"You were going to shut it down!" Bobbie realizes. She takes care to not be more specific within Michael's hearing.

"It's funding comes from the Cassadine Estate. I am the Cassadine Estate."


Stefan walks down to the cove. He takes in at a glance the dynamics of the various groups. Caroline and Morgan, Gia and Nikolas. His eyes narrow as he considers the last... Barbara with her grandson and his brother. Building a sandcastle of all things. He covers the sand in quick strides to join Bobbie. "Barbara. I need to speak with you... privately."

Bobbie does a discreet eye roll and rises to her feet. "I'll be back before you finish the sandcastle, Mr Man."

"Okay." Michael is frowning as he considers his most recent masterpiece.

Bobbie brushes the sand from her clothes as she walks along side Stefan. "So you all done searching the house? That is what took you so long to get down here right?"

"I told you to stay away from him." Stefan doesn't answer Bobbie's question. Yes, he'd managed to search the study, Stavros' rooms and Ms Benson's as well but hadn't found anything more than what Nikolas had indicated. The laptop had an inventory of the Cassadine Estate but no evidence of a plan or strategy.

"And I told you I'm a big girl. I've got my own reasons for being here and it doesn't include your little sibling rivalry."

Stefan stops in his tracks on the way up the path. little sibling rivalry?! "Barbara, I don't think you perceive the gravity of the..."

Bobbie interrupts. "I don't think you get how sick I am of it. Sick of it up to here!" Bobbie hits the space right between her eyes with the edge of her hand. "I am so sick of you and yes my brother too...using everyone around you in a vendetta that should have have been buried two decades ago. Well now Luke is out of it... I'm not signing up for round six thousand, two hundred thirty eight between you and your brother." Bobbie stomps back toward the compound. "And you are not going to use my daughter, my son, my grandson, Nikolas or Jason for that matter."

"I would never use Nikolas."

"HA!" Bobbie turns around and points a finger. "But you would use everyone else, wouldn't you?! I'm out of here. I have things to do back in Port Charles."

"And what about Caroline?"

"I'll warn her that you will try to use either her relationship with Stavros or her relationship with Jason to make a messy diversion here, while you go about your business. And then you can deal with her. Now that I would almost be willing to stick around for." Bobbie opens her mouth to continue with her rant about to list all the things that Carly would probably do to Stefan. Stefan grabs her by the elbow and pulls her to him and covers her mouth with his own. Bobbie reaches up to pull his hair, pull his face away from her. But damn him. Her fingers twine in his hair.

Stefan reaches around one hand at the base of her waist and the other in the middle of her back. He half steps back reaching with one hand to feel a trunk of a tree. He backs Bobbie up against the tree. Tearing away from her mouth he starts to ravish her throat and shoulders. "Barbara."

"Mistake. Big mistake." Bobbie mutters.

"Do you want me to stop?"

"Shut up."

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