Carly eases out of Michael's room after making sure the night light is on. "Okay Mama. Your turn."
Carly turns around to where Bobbie is already waiting sitting by the balcony. "What do you think you're doing? Damn it, Carly! This is the craziest thing yet."
Carly winces. "Lets go easy on the crazy comments okay?" Carly tries to set the ground rules.
Bobbie starts lifting one finger after another. "He kidnapped Laura. He married her. He raped her. He tried to rape her again. He tried to kill Luke I don't know how many times." Bobbie brings up another hand. "He has tried to take over the world a couple of different times. He tried to kill I don't know how many people down in that lab. He lied to you and everyone else about who he was. He killed Chloe Morgan." Bobbie raises her voice and all ten digits for emphasis. "and did I forget-- he was DEAD!"
Carly winces but quickly hushes Bobbie and points to Michael's door reminding her of the sleeping boy right next door. She starts ticking off Bobbie's complaints. "Helena kidnapped Laura ages ago. And he didn't kidnap me. I came with him on my own. Laura took Stavros' offer of marriage to stop being Helena's prisoner and then reneged on the deal. I slept with AJ when I was married to him. Got out of it whenever I could-- but I did sleep with him. It wasn't particularily fun but it wasn't rape. I've frequently had the urge to kill Uncle Luke, and it's not like Uncle Luke wasn't trying to kill him at the time." Carly takes a deep breath. "Taking over the world is a Cassadine thing. Mikkos tried it; Helena tried it. Hell even Stefan tried it. I'm working on the problem. I've already told Stavros I think taking over the world is more hassle than it's worth, and it's never brought the Cassadines anything but grief. Helena was the one that was trying to kill everyone down in that lab. She had it set up long before she revived Stavros. I lied to everyone about who I was when I hit town too. Helena is the one that killed Chloe and set up Stefan to take the fall." Carly gets right in Bobbie's face. "And if case you didn't notice-- He isn't dead now!"
Carly takes a seat across from Bobbie. She leans toward her mother to give her words emphasis. "Mama, he's lonely. He lost everything-- first because of Luke and then because of... time. It was worse than being locked up in Ferncliffe or even in Pentonville. He lost everything. There are whole countries on the map he has no idea about. Computers, DVD players. Hell MTV! Okay there are certain blessings-- he missed the Reagan years and Milli Vanilli. But he missed the downfall of the Soviet Union and East Germany. Can you imagine how important that would have been to a guy like him? Raised to be a prince in exile? He would have been right there going here I am to save the day and missed the chance. And that's just the world stuff. When the world ended for him he had a wife and a son. When it started spinning again-- poof that's all gone. His baby is a grown man who hates his guts."
"Who would have hated his guts anyway."
"Maybe. But, Mama, I remember what it was like in ferncliffe. When I went in I was still pushing Michael in his stroller... when I came out he RAN to me when I got home and that was just six months. I missed his first step. His first tooth. And Michael may hate my guts when he is Nikolas' age. I pray he doesn't, but he might. But it'll be because of stuff I've done. That we've done. And I'll know there will be nobody to blame but myself. And I'll hopefully also know that it's a phase. That my baby and me have enough history together that we'll work things out."
"Unlike you and me." Bobbie tosses in bitterly.
"Unlike Stavros and Nikolas." Carly says each word separate and clearly, trying to not make this about them again.
Bobbie tries a different tack. "Honey, he's not Jason. Okay so he's lost time but he hasn't changed his spots. He's still the same guy who was raised by Helena and Mikkos to rule the world and think everything is his for the taking. Jason was in an accident and lost who he was."
"I know that." Carly nods. "I know that Stavros isn't Jason. Yeah, they have a lot of the same problems. I remember when I actually asked Jason if he had been dropped on his head because he was so rock stupid about some things. At least this time I know why Stavros is the way he is. I'm not stepping wrong because I'm going in blind."
"Not going in blind?! You are totally going in blind! You've been lucky so far. You need to get the hell out of here before it all blows up in your face."
"And go where? Back to Port Charles? Back to the Quartermaines? Back to my husband? I think I'm doing a hell of a lot better now than I was three months ago! You may not like Stavros but he respects me. ME! He believes in me. He trusts me. And I'm safe here. Nobody is trying to take Michael away from me."
"You're just a substitute for Laura and Nikolas. He's using you." Bobbie continues in a rush knowing that Carly is going to explode off of that one. "I know what that one is like, okay? That's why Stefan married me. Some kinda sick twisted thing he had about Laura."
"Stavros is not Stefan."
"Oh believe me-- I know that one too."
"And I am no Laura. I don't have guys writing love songs about me."
Bobbie just looks at her and raises a brow. "Okay. One song by Tony but he was nuts at the time. You know what I mean. I'm nobody's fair haired princess. And Michael is just a little boy to Stavros. He isn't the heir; he isn't the future. He's just a little boy. Yes, Stavros enjoys doing with Michael the things he didn't get to do with Nikolas but he isn't trying to mold him in anybody's image."
"Don't BS me, Caroline. Stavros is using Michael to get to Nikolas. I saw it at dinner and after."
"Mama, Stavros wasn't doing anything differently from when Nikolas isn't here. He doesn't have to. Stavros always treats Michael that way. But yeah, if Nikolas catches a clue that he's been fed a line of bull all his life that's fine with me. All Nik knows is what Laura, Stefan and Helena have told him. And they all had agendas. They all had axes to grind. Laura shit all over Nikolas. And you know it. I saw it when I was at Deception and working to pick The Face. You were more of a mother to him than Laura ever was. You still are. And Stefan is no prize in this. He was boinking his brother's wife and hijacked his kid."
"And Helena.. is she all misunderstood too?" Bobbie says sarcastically.
"Oh no. She's the wicked witch she's always been. So her saying all kinds of sweet things about Stavros was just damning him considering the source. But Stavros paid her back. She threatened Nikolas with all kinds of things. Brainwashing him like Lucky, leaving him down there in the lab. Stavros was having none of it. He adores Nikolas. He wants for his son to have the world just like any parent does."
"Yeah, but most parents don't try for the whole world." Bobbie reminds wryly.
"I'm working on it."
Bobbie sighs. "Carly. Cassadine men... they aren't like men in the US. They... have mistresses. It's accepted. Stavros feels like he's still married to Laura. Now I think that's delusional. If there is one thing I believe in... it's divorce. I have plenty of experience with that one. It's one of the problems I had with Stefan. He thought he could have me, his agenda and Katherine Bell. It was the way they were raised. Mikkos had Helena but he also had I don't know how many others... and Kristin Bergman." Bobbie refers to Alexis' mother.
Carly quirks a brow and grins. "You think Laura is going to slit my throat?" They both get a chuckle out of that one. "Mama, Stavros and I... we're right now. We're friends. If we're more that's nobody's business but ours. He is giving me breathing room. So I can figure out my life. And I'm doing the same for him. Nobody is going to get hurt."
"No." Carly remembers what Stavros needs... a couple days. "Look nothing I say is going to convince you. Nothing you say is going to convince me. So why don't you just relax... take a couple of days and see for yourself. It's cold and nasty at home. It's beautiful here. Stavros already said you can stay as long as you like. Just relax. Let the servants pamper you. Spend some time with Michael... scope it out for yourself. If you still feel the same way in a few days... I promise I'll listen. But while you're making up your own mind... remember what kinda life I was living in Port Charles. Because you are going to have to convince me that this is worse." Carly rises to her feet and goes into her dressing room. She comes out with a nightgown with the tags still on, along with a change of clothes for her mother. "They probably won't fit too well but they'll be cooler than anything you have with you. If you decide to take me up on staying... I'll have Stavros have some things sent over from Milan."
"Tomorrow, Mama. I'm tired. You're had a long trip. Tomorrow. Do you want me to walk you back to your room?"
'I can find it." Bobbie sighs reluctant to let it go. "This isn't finished."
"It's as finished as it's going to be tonight." Carly says flatly.
Stefan eases into the suite that is being shared by Nikolas and Gia. Gia sighs when she sees him. "I'll let you two talk." She retreats to her bedroom.
Stefan paces. "You shouldn't be here."
"I had to come. I have the best shot of finding out what is going on. The best shot of getting my father to back off of destroying the rest of the family." The family Nikolas is referring to is his uncle, Alexis and Kristina. "You know you are next in his sights. You are the one that shouldn't have come. It's dangerous for you."
"It's dangerous for you!" Stefan protests. "I've given my life to protect you from this. To build a different legacy for the Cassadines. My brother..."
"My father..." Nik interrupts Stefan. "...already knows that I will be returning to Port Charles with Gia. I've told him that my home is there. He is said he is just taking back what is rightfully his, what Alexis agreed is his. And that I don't have to do a thing about it. He'll run the estate. I won't have the headache when I turn twenty six. I'm off the hook."
"Nikolas. He is telling you what you want to hear. You can't believe he actually means it! Having Stavros running the estate is just like giving it over to Helena! Everything we've done to bring the Cassadines into this century... to modernize the family and repair the family name will be for naught if Stavros is allowed to run wild."
"He is offering to let me be Prince Charles rather than Elizabeth." Nikolas refers to the royal family in England. "Elizabeth took the throne too young and didn't have a chance to have a life outside of ruling. Charles may never get a chance on the throne. And you know-- that's fine with me."
"So instead he will kidnap your first male child and groom them to take over." Stefan offers a worst case scenario. "Stavros will not allow the end of the line."
"Something you have in common." Nik sighs.
Stefan realizes that the conversation is spiraling out of his control. "Jason Morgan. He's on his way here to pull Caroline and Michael from your father's grasp."
Nik winces. "I wouldn't be so sure of that one. Morgan doesn't like me and he sure as hell doesn't like you. If Carly gets a chance to talk to him before he can act against my father..."
"You think he will side with your father?"
"He has no loyalty to us. Alexis maybe and he didn't seem too happy with her."
"You guys brought Jason into this?!" Gia says from the door where she'd had her ear pressed moments ago.
"You think it was a mistake?" Nikolas asks her.
"I don't know. It's a hell of a wild card. It would be easier to just deal with Carly's schemes."
"How so?" Stefan asks getting over his annoyance that Gia had been listening at the door.
"Jason is very... linear and about as subtle as a nuclear bomb with people he cares about. I got on the wrong end of it because I'm not and Lizzie is. I thought I was going to end up with a pair of cement shoes because I rubbed both Emily and Liz the wrong way."
"Sparky, you did.."
"Give it a rest." Gia snarls. "I'm sick of hearing it. Yeah, I screwed up with Emily but you know what?! She's the one who started dating the guy who drugged her, left her in bed with a dead body and then kidnapped her. I don't get a second chance cause I don't have a dick?!"
Stefan clears his throat. "We were speaking about Mr Morgan. What is his relationship with Mrs Corinthos... exactly."
Gia shakes her head. "I don't know. Jason had already stepped back from Carly to make room for Sonny when I hit town. She was married to his best friend. I know they are friends but he was more protective of Lizzie around me. At least until she didn't believe Jason. Lucky attacked Jason a couple of different times... I think it was a programming thing. But Elizabeth wouldn't believe that Lucky would do anything like that. I've always heard that Jason won't lie. So it kinda ticked him off that she thought he would. Carly pretty much backs Jason no matter what. She'd go to the wall for him no questions asked. I don't know if she'd take a bullet for him-- but she'd definitely put a bullet in anyone threatening him. They're tight. They have history."
"Carly came between Jason and Robin Scorpio." Nik recalls. "Emily totally believes in Jason. If Jason had been in town when everything went down with Gia and with Ted... she would have gone to Jason rather than coming to me. I don't know, Uncle. I've had few dealings with Carly. Alexis probably knows better. She lives across the hall from Sonny and Carly."
"So neither of you have any idea how Mr Morgan will react if Caroline puts on a similar performance as dinner?"
Gia shrugs at Stefan's question. "If he thinks Carly is here against her will... he'll get her out of here. If he thinks she's fine with being here..." Gia shrugs again. "It's why he put up with Zander. 'Cause it was Emily's choice. Good or bad... her choice."
"I will contact Alexis." Stefan goes over to the door and lets himself out shutting the door behind him. A change in plan. Something Ms Campbell said had struck a chord. Stavros is greedy. He wants it all with no interference or distractions. Right now that is Caroline. If he could be made to perceive Morgan as a threat.... Then Stavros would kill Morgan or try... and Caroline would kill him. But for that to work he had to have more information about both Morgan and Caroline and their relationship.
Carly come back from sneaking down to the kitchen. She'd grabbed all the leftovers she could. There wasn't any beer though and Jase is just not the wine type. It would have to do. Carly sets up the repast in her seating area figuring by now Jason would be sick of the view from the cave. And he'd get to check on Michael. Carly goes to the paneling and slides it open. The laptop is gone. "Oh hell. Please let Jason have it." She races down the stairs probably too fast considering their steepness. "Jase!"
"You've been a bad, bad girl." Jason looks up from the laptop grinning.
"I told you Stavros was going to take back his territory." Carly says defensively.
"You said Cassadine. This has got Jax all over it."
"So Jax has some goodies that don't belong to him." Carly says slyly. "It couldn't happen to a nicer guy."
"Agreed. Carly, you know he plays dirty. He just looks prettier while he does it." Jason warns.
"It's Stavros' deal. I'm just not gonna shed any tears if Jax loses."
"Come on up. I got rid of Mama. I think that's all the unexpected company I'll get tonight. Michael is asleep but you can check on him. And I brought you dinner."
"I could eat." Jason rises from the couch and closing up the laptop hands it to Carly. "Wait a sec... Bobbie is here?"
"She showed up with Stefan right at dinner time."
Jason groans and frowns. "I bet she had a few choice things to say."
"Oh you betcha. And that she is here with Stefan? That means he was doing his best to scare the hell out of her. Probably told her Stavros was going to rape me, kill me and then drink my blood. Or it it drink my blood and then kill me? Whatever. I told her the same thing I told you. To check the situation out for yourself." Carly starts up the stairs. "Come on. It's cold but it's still better than what you could get at Jakes."
Jason follows her up to the bedroom above. Carly holds a finger to her lips and eases open Michael's door. Jason slips in and looks at the sleeping boy. He brushes Michael's hair back and leans over and gives him a kiss. Then retreats back before Michael wakes. He softly shuts the door. "He's gotten so big."
"Michael is the best." Carly smiles proudly. "He gets a lot of one on one attention here. His tutor works on all kinds of things with him and because it's so intensive he only has to be in class for half a day. Not like at home where he'd be at it all day long and not be challenged. In the mornings we go swimming or sailing or take hikes around the island."
"The morning?" Jason looks at Carly disbelieving.
"Okay so Stavros and Michael normally have a couple hours head start on me. But I meet up with them. We have fun, have lunch. My time with Michael is more after dinner." Carly finds the book that Stavros had made for Michael and hands it to Jason. "We just got back from Istanbul. It was a quick trip-- just a few days. Stavros had this made for Michael before we went."
Jason takes the book and ignores the pictures just taking in the simple but factual text. "He had fun?"
"Michael had a blast." Carly grins. "Somebody put a serious wanderlust in my son always reading to him about faraway places. He can't wait to go back. Stavros has a thing for architecture. Which makes the sandcastles they build together quite the projects. I have no doubt one of these days I'll come down to the cove and see a model of the pyramids and the next thing you know we'll be flying off to Giza. So Michael can see the real thing."
"The pyramids are pretty great." Jason takes a seat by all the food Carly brought up.
Carly curls up in a chair across from Jason content to just keep him company and reminesce. "That's right. You slipped by the guards and climbed one, and rode a camel."
"Motorcycles are better and they don't spit." Jason says wryly.
Carly laughs. "Damn, I've missed you."
"Don't think you're going to get away with it."
Stavros looks up from his desk in the study. "Excuse me, Sister dear?"
"The name is Barbara Jean Spencer. And I am so over this Cassadine/Spencer war. I will not be a pawn to it. My daughter will not be a pawn to it, and I will kill you before I let you harm a hair on my grandson's head."
Stavros leans back in his chair and grins. "I think I've been put on notice. Not the first time today. You and Caroline are both so delightfully... protective. Why do you think I would hurt her or your grandson? I admire them."
"You covet them. Big difference. Carly and Michael aren't things. They aren't for sale or barter. Don't make the mistake of thinking I'm kidding."
"Then don't mistake me either. I tell you nothing less than the truth. I admire your daughter and one of the things I admire most about her is the way she cares for your grandson. She is a window to a world I've never seen before. Her love and loyality are unconditional. It is a rare and endearing trait."
Bobbie shakes her head. "You don't get her at all. I love my daughter but..."
Stavros interrupts all humor having fled from his face. "See and that is the difference between you and your daughter. With her there is no but. I was in Port Charles long before I revealed myself to those who might recognize me. I saw how your daughter was treated by those to whom she gave her loyalty and was spurned: Her husband, her company, her family. Loyalty returned by betrayal is always a bitter pill. One your daughter has too often had to swallow.
I expected better of you. Caroline never speaks ill of you and yet you would of her to someone you suspect is an enemy." Stavros verbally slaps Bobbie down hard leaving her speechless and then continues. "Do you think I didn't know that you moved your son out of harm's way? That Laura moved her youngest as well? Even her lapdog childhood love moved his daughter from Port Charles when it became apparent that the evil Cassadines were afoot." Stavros rises to his feet and flutters his fingers making boogeyman motions. "Did you once consider Caroline or Michael? Did they ever enter your thoughts?"
"That was totally different. Carly had Sonny and his men to protect her and Michael." Bobbie says lamely.
Stavros laughs uproariously. "Right." He brushes by Bobbie. "Caroline tells me that you have always been there for Nikolas for that I'm grateful and in your debt. But your opinion of my relationship with Caroline or her son means nothing to me until you can say you love your daughter without adding qualifiers."
Stefan waits impatiently for Alexis to pick up the phone.
"Alexis. Tell me everything you know about Carly Corinthos and Jason Morgan."
"Because it appears that Caroline has joined forces with Stavros willingly and is blissfully unaware of the danger she has placed herself and her child in. How will Morgan react?"
Stefan can almost sense his sister's wince. Damn. Jax was afraid that is what might have happened. As he took great pains to remind me... Carly doesn't think like other people.
"What about Morgan? He is on his way to here to dispose of Stavros but what happens if Carly speaks to him first?"
She didn't have a mark on her? Stavros hasn't gotten drunk and gone all evil on her? She hasn't ticked him off? Made him drop the facade?
"No." Stefan says shortly. "She has in fact managed to make me appear the villain in the short time I've been here."
Damn, she's good. Alexis mutters. If you can convince Jason that she's still in danger... that she needs to be protected... no that won't work. That's Sonny's thing. Jason always believes Carly can take care of herself right up until it blows up in her face and then he'll clean up the mess she made after. It's kind of a tradition with them.
"What will Morgan do, Alexis?"
Stefan, I don't know. If Carly tells him she's fine, he might just walk away. He'll keep an eye on things to make sure she's okay. Maybe try to convince her to come back to Sonny. But if Carly is settled there then he might just walk. Jason is, I can't say angry, I guess disappointed in Sonny and me right now. He thinks we didn't treat Carly right and that is why she is in the situation she's in. He trusted Sonny to protect her and Michael. The last thing Jason convinced Carly to do was marry Sonny and that really didn't turn out well. It all depends...
"Alexis, you are being no help whatsoever."
Well then ask me a legal question! You know I suck at relationships.
"A simple question then. Will Morgan side with Stavros against me and Nikolas if Caroline requests it?"
There is a long pause on the other end of the line. Yes.
"I was afraid of that." Stefan hangs up the phone. He turns sharply expecting an attack when he hears the sound of the door opening. "Barbara. Where have you been?"
Bobbie just looks at him for a long minute before answering him. "Despite what your brother says, I'm not your wife and I really don't have to put up with your bull anymore."
"Did you speak to Caroline?"
"And nothing. I also spoke with Stavros. And that was just a barrel of laughs. All on me. I really don't care to be taken to task on my parenting by an undead guy." Even if he did have too much of a point. Bobbie goes into the bedroom she'd taken in the suite of rooms assigned to her and Stefan. A little close for comfort to her ex but it wasn't sharing a room or a bed just a suite.
"I told you not to be alone with him."
"And I told you I don't have to put up with your bull. Guess we're both not getting what we want."
"What did he say?"
"He defended Carly to me. He defended my daughter to me. Called me on the carpet for the way I treat Carly-- nevermind all the things she's done. Oh no. I'm the bad mother and Carly is a paragon. He is so in for a rude awakening. If it weren't for Michael I'd say those two deserve each other." Bobbie is so ticked at herself and the situation that she starts stripping out of her shirt not even caring that Stefan is still there. Stefan clears his throat. "Get out. I'm going to bed." Bobbie grabs the nightgown Carly had given her and goes into the dressing room slamming the door behind her.
Stavros can hear the soft laughter within. He knocks on the door and then waits for Carly to open it. "Good! it's you. I thought Mama was back. Jase, coast is clear." Carly calls over her shoulder. She takes hold of Stavros' arm and pulls him in.
Jason come in from the balcony. "Now that Bobbie and Stefan are here; I really don't have to hide. Stefan knew I was on my way here."
"Really?" Carly curls up on one of the chairs around the table. She has changed into her night gear-- a skimpy top and shorts. Carly pulls her knees up to her chest. "Why would Stefan know? I thought you talked to Alexis."
"She happened to be talking to Stefan at the time." Jason deadpans.
Carly groans. "Jason, you know Stefan gives you a headache."
"Like someone else I know." Jason rubs the back of his head.
"You weren't listening to me!"
"Next time just tell me that. Don't bash me."
"Yes, please don't-- especially with a Ming vase." Stavros interjects. He pours everyone a glass of wine from the bottle he brought.
Carly takes the glass of wine automatically. "What in the hell were you thinking having a Ming vase in here anyway? Michael is right next door. It could have broken a million different times."
"Ah yes, but it wasn't Michael, now was it?" Stavros lifts his glass in a semi toast.
"I'll find you another vase and this one won't be ugly."
"Deal." Stavros agrees. He sees the open laptop on the table and looks questioningly at Carly.
"I wasn't quick enough with a book for Jason. He knows what we're doing." Carly adds in a rush. "And he's okay with it. Even the part about Jax."
"Caroline tells me you've had dealings with Jax before." Stavros decides to pump Jason for information since he's there and in the know.
"Oh Jason, remember the time at the dock groundbreaking..." Carly urges Jason wanting the two of them to be talking.
"Yeah." Jason shakes his head. "I remember where you convinced the dock workers to go out on strike."
"You told me you wanted them to strike."
"That was before Jax's sniper took a shot at me. It wasn't suppose to look like I was actually pulling the union strings." Jason dips his shrimp into the cocktail sauce and then makes a face and swallows hard. "Too spicy-- needs more lemon or something."
Stavros chuckles looking over at Carly and shakes his head. "I'll let Cook know."
"Anyway. Jax ended up doublecrossing this city council guy who was behind the shooting with him. Took all of the action that the guy was getting in the docks and got Mac Scorpio back his job. Came out smelling like a rose. That's what he does."
"Robert's brother. Former badboy who does a really crappy job of running the PCPD. He's always harassing Sonny and Jason but can never catch them doing anything-- not even jaywalking." Carly explains automatically as she steals one of Jason's shrimp.