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Chapter III

Grabbing a quick coffee and what passed for a local version of a doughnut, Jason has his breakfast on the go waiting outside the bank for it to open. There is a ritual to all this. The Swiss take such pride in their punctuality as well as their history as the world's money men. When the door is unlocked Jason is the first one thru. The Bank manager immediately greets him and takes him to an office to conduct his transactions.
From memory Jason indicates Carly's account and requests a balance and list of recent activity. Jason frowns. There wasn't as much as he expected but there was only one major transaction. Half of Carly's money is gone as of business today. Accessing one of his own accounts he replenishes her savings and thanks the bank manager for his time. "Give me directions to..." Jason gives the name of the firm of attorneys that is his next stop.

"Sir, if you would like I'll draw you a map." The manager offers helpfully.

"That won't be necessary. Just directions thanks." Jason quickly memorizes the directions and is walking toward the door when he asks his final question. "That last transaction... the wire transfer. Where was the money wired to?"

"Our branch in Istanbul, it cleared this morning."

Jason nods. "Thanks." He walks out onto the street and carefully following the directions of the bank manager heads for the lawyer's office.



Gia whistles as she takes in the foyer of the Cassadine compound on the greek island. "Wow."

"Yeah, overwhelm from the first step onto the island." Nik quips. He is greeted warmly by a family retainer. "I want to see my father."

"I'm so sorry, Master Nikolas; Did Prince Stavros know you were coming? He left no direction, but I do expect him back within the next few days."

"How long has he been gone?"

"Just a few days. Business off of the island." The retainer says openly. But not as open as he could be... but it was really not Master Nikolas' business if the master had gone traveling with his companion.

"Prepare a suite of rooms for me and my guest." Nikolas orders. The man bows and then leaves.

"Got the Princeling thing going on." Gia compliments.

"It's expected. Come on. Lets go in the study. There might be some clues there."

Gia follows Nik into the study. It is striking in it's similiarity to Stefan's on Wyndemere. It's like they are all on the exact same plan. But this one is bigger and along with the portraits of the unlamented dead are photographs. Gia gravitates toward them. "Nik, check this out."

Nik stands behind her and checks out the collection of photographs that are framed and displayed on the walls and bookcases. There is a picture of Nik as a baby with Stavros... recent pictures of Nik and Nik with Gia... but what draws their interest are all the pictures of Stavros with Carly, or Michael. "I think this confirms it."

The retainer comes into the study and blanches when he sees where the young prince is looking. "Your rooms are ready, Master Nikolas." He attempts to usher them out of the study.

"I wish to speak with Carly."

"You know Ms Benson?"

"We're very old friends." Gia strings her arm thru Nik's. There is an almost imperceptible nod as the retainer adds two and two and gets five. The Cassadine Men had always gravitated toward colorful, available women... or rather women available for the right price.

"Of Course." The retainer mutters. "I'm sorry; Ms Benson is off the island as well. I expect her back in a few days."

"She's with my father?"

"Your luggage has been put away in your suite. What time did you wish dinner, Master Nikolas."

"The normal time, thank you." Nik sighs there is going to be no more information there. Placing his hand at the base of Gia's spine he accompanies her upstairs to his old rooms.

"Not a real talkative sort was he?" Gia mutters.

"Talkative servants in the Cassadine household end up with their tongues removed."

Gia stops in her tracks. "You're kidding right?"

"Only have to do it once.... I think it was Helena back when she was a new bride. The servants have been remarkably restrained ever since."

"That's gross."


Carly kicks at the back of the boat. She tilts her head back to enjoy the breeze off the water. Michael is in his lifejacket and sunblock. He has his hands on the wheel. Stavros sits behind him with his hands on the wheel as well. "Once you become proficient with the sailboats back on the island I won't have to be here with you."

"But I like it like this." Michael replies. "This is the way me and Uncle Sonny drove the boat down in Martinique. His boat goes really fast."

Carly comes up and resting a hand on Stavros leans over to give a smooch to Michael. "But then how would you get to see all of this?" Carly refers to the shore and boats. "You had lots of time in Martinique. We'll only be here for..."

"The afternoon." Stavros completes the thought. "I will arrange a flight back for this evening."

"I'm goin to be awake right?" Michael protests. "I dinna get to see us arrive!"

"If you wish." Stavros agrees. "But as this is our last afternoon here there are somethings we should do."

"Istanbul is fun." Michael looks up over his shoulder to Stavros. Carly snaps a picture of the two of them together.



Nikolas starts searching the compound room by room. The servants are torn not knowing if they would get in more trouble for not trying to stop him or for telling him to stop. Nik makes use of their indecision. Gia stays close watching his back and the watching eyes of the servants.

"This is it." Nik goes into a room and pulls Gia in and shuts it after her.

"What?" Gia looks around. "Carly's got her own room. That's a good sign right?"

"Separate bedrooms aren't uncommon. Especially with as many secret passages as there are here." Nik starts opening doors to the adjoining rooms-- a bath, a dressing room, and a room that is customized for a small child.

"Why in the hell would Carly go with Stavros? It isn't like she really liked him. She warned me off of him!"

"That is the question." Nik turns to Gia. "You say you know Carly better than I. Why would she go off with my father?"

Gia bites her lip and impatiently ties her hair back in a knot to get it out of her face. She shakes her head. "Deception, I guess." Gia goes into Carly's closet. It is loaded with designer originals and vacation wear. Gia whistles. She keeps up on the fashions it is part of her job. "There is a fortune in clothes in here."

Nik looks over but without any real surprise. "That's just a phone call. It doesn't mean anything. Cassadines would do that for any guest who was here for an extended stay. Stefan bought Bobbie a wardrobe when they got engaged. It's a convenience."

"Cool. Guess that means I'm getting some new duds out of this deal."

"If we get out alive that will be something. If we get out with Carly and Michael..."

Gia shudders. "Right. Why don't you take me down to the famous cove."



Jason has been staking out the attorney's office for the rest of the morning. He'd been able to discover who the lead attorney handling the Cassadine Estate was and followed him to his girlfriend's house where the guy was having lunch. Jason breaks into the guy's car and hides in the backseat. They were going to have a little chat... it could go a couple of different ways but he is going to know where Carly is before the end of business today. And then the lawyer wouldn't be able to warn Cassadine that he was on his way.



Carly practically crawls under Michael's bed to make sure there is nothing left behind. Snagging a sneaker and a stuffed toy she grabs then both and puts them into Michael's spare duffle. They were leaving with twice as much luggage as when the came. And that didn't count most of the stuff Stavros had bought at the various shops and stalls that was being flown back to the island on a separate plane due to weight considerations.

"Caroline..." Stavros ducks his head in. "Whatever is missed will be forwarded with the shipment.

"Michael still likes to sleep with this giraffe and he'd throw a fit if he has to wait for it." Carly explains. She takes a last look around the room. "Michael is right; Istanbul was fun."

"We can come back." Stavros tempts. "He didn't work his way thru half of his book."

"You bought enough stuff to furnish another house! Well a house for a normal person. We are definitely bad influences for each other." Carly hands the bags over to Stavros. "Who were you calling?"

"On that holding appropriated by Jax."

"I hope you used a shell corporation for that one. Do you really want to be battling both Stefan and Jax at the same time?"

"Stefan is no threat. He will consult his attorneys and find it a loosing cause. He'll try to play some little game to cheat me but he's never been able to beat me." cept once. "While Jax was a majority stockholder in the asset, he wasn't the only one. There were others... I now hold their proxies until the actual transactions take place."

Carly whistles "That was fast."

"We should take Michael to the next stockholders meeting so he can see the results of his suggestion. Italy in the summer."

"Michael won't even remember he made the suggestion. To him it was all a game and tomorrow, hell tonight, we'll be playing another game a different game."

"You don't want him to know."

"If he realizes fine, if he remembers fine. But it's an awful lot to put on a little guy. Especially if it gets ugly."

"And you think it will."

"Jax likes to play like he's better than anyone else. He's real comfortable on that moral high ground. It doesn't mean he doesn't do extortion or blackmail or blow shit up. Hell he was behind an attempted sniper going after Jason at the big dock opening back in Port Charles. And then earlier... funding Jason's enemies when Jason was taking control of the territory. Letting them do his dirty work. And when Jason and Sonny's enemies come at you... Jason got lucky that night no thanks to Jax."

"For someone who says that she was never allowed around business you seem to know quite a bit about business." Stavros counters.

"I've got ears. Jason knows me. He'd give me enough info so I wouldn't get in his way. Sonny..." Carly sighs. "Sonny wanted me to go knit or something. So not me."

"What a waste. He had a mind like yours at his disposal and he'd rather have a sweater?"

"It was just an example. I don't actually knit."

"I didn't think you did."


Jason wipes his hands on the shirt of the lawyer. The guy had held up pretty well... for a lawyer. He takes the guy's cell phone and hits a preset number.

Stavros Cassadine's line. Hello?

Jason hangs up the phone. Carly's answering the phone? Leaning over the lawyer he takes the man's hand and grinds together the broken bones. There is nobody else there to hear his screams. "Where are they?"

"I don't know. I don't know." The man starts crying when Jason reaches for his hand again. "I don't know. The Prince travels on business. I don't know where he is! Don't hurt me!" Jason can tell he's telling the truth.

"If you don't have anything to tell me then there is no reason for you to be sticking around now is there..." Jason threatens. "One of the great things about Switzerland. Plenty of lakes."

"He never leaves the island for long. Short trips only. He doesn't like to leave his family." The man says in a rush.

"Tell me where the island is." Jason makes a note of the gasping directions. Keeping the cell phone and the guy's keys he starts walking toward the car.

"You're not just going to leave me out here are you?"

"Why not? Your legs aren't broken. If you don't get lost you'll reach the next town... eventually." Jason starts the car with a smooth motion and pulls out onto the road.


"Prince Stavros..."

"What is it?" Stavros answers inpatiently weary of traveling and wanting to put Michael down for the night. Michael managed to stay awake for their departure but then had fallen asleep on the plane. Michael is draped over him with his head resting on Stavros shoulder.

"Master Nikolas is here. He and his companion arrived this afternoon. He is in the dining room."

Stavros takes a step toward the dining room. This is a moment he'd been waiting for, for months. Carly grabs him by the back of his jacket. "Whoa slow down."

"My son..."

"I know. And you're carrying mine." The retainer takes the bags from the tutor and Carly transfers Michael from Stavros to the tutor. "Nobody comes near Michael but me." Carly orders. "If Nik is here then.... That phone call. It was too freaky. A hang up call when all of a sudden this is going on."

"Yes." Stavros sighs. "You should stay with Michael. Just in case there are other intruders on the island. Go with them."

"Un uh." Carly shakes her head. "They are in the dining room?" She looks over at the retainer who nods. "Good I'm hungry. Lets eat."

"Carly, what are you thinking?" Stavros asks.

"Nothin'. Well nothing other than I'm hungry. I hate airplane food-- even your airplane food. Describe the companion." Carly orders the retainer. His short description has both Carly and Stavros nodding.

"Gia." Stavros mutters.

"Good." Carly says flatly. "He wouldn't have brought her if he brought the big guns. They are probably alone. It's a fishing trip."

"There is no reason for you to be there, Caroline. And every reason for you to not. If they don't know you are here..." Stavros stops talking when he sees that his servant is rocking from one foot to the other nervously. "They know Caroline is here."

"Yes, my Prince, they saw the photographs in the study."

Carly quirks a brow in Stavros direction. With a sigh he holds out his hand, the back up. Carly rests her hand on top of his. "Show time."

Stavros and Carly walk into the dining room like they had been expecting company. Stavros seats her at the other end of the table next to him. At the other end of the table suitable to seat 12, Nik sits at the head of the table with Gia at his right. "I apologize for my tardiness, my son. If I had known you were waiting we would have cut our business short." Stavros can feel the energy leaping off of Carly and her eyes sparkle ready for a fight. He gives her hand a warning squeeze. "I'm glad you didn't wait."

The servants rush to put out the place settings. Carly leans over to give a direction to the maid in a quiet voice. Gia looks at Stavros warily. Nik stiffens in his seat. "Father." And then angles his head to make eye contact with Carly. "Carly. Your mother would send her regards-- if she knew where you were."

"I'll have to give her a call." Carly drawls. The maid comes back with a pot of herbal tea and pours Carly a cup. "You're both looking good. Kinda a long way to come though to just drop by." Carly picks up the bone china cup and takes a small sip.

"Caroline, my son is welcome any time in his home."

Carly nods in agreement. "As it should be. Shame the reverse isn't true. Or maybe this is a new leaf. Honey, I guess this means you can drop by Nik's place when the spirit moves ya."

"Carly, what the hell are you doing here... with him." Gia blurts out. Nik takes her hand hand warningly under the table.

Carly looks from Stavros to the duo at the other end of the table. "Having dessert." Carly turns back to Stavros. "Y'all going to do the whole manly thing with cigars and brandys in the study after dinner?" She fakes a yawn. "'Cause I'm wiped. You wore me out."

Stavros shakes his head. Carly is putting on an oscar worthy performance. "Nikolas?"

Nik nods. He would find out what the hell is going on.



"There is the island." The pilot points it out with a nod of his head both of his hands occupied. "No way of landing without announcing your presence."

"Get me to the next island over. I'll take a boat in."

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