Stefan finally lifted his head and gazed into Alexis's eyes. "Natasha…" he
whispered. She looked dazed. "Stefan…I…" She paused, and realized that
there was dead silence. She looked around, and saw that everyone in the
club was staring at her. At them. At what they had just done. Shock and
horror were reflected on most faces. It sunk in to her the awful things
everyone must be thinking. Unable to bear it, she pulled away from Stefan
and made a beeline for the door. "Natasha!" She ignored him. She was
almost to the door, when she spotted Sonny. For some reason she stopped in
her tracks. He looked at her, his expression unreadable. Then he lifted
one eyebrow, smiled and shook his head. Alexis started to move towards the
door again, but she was prevented from doing so by a hand on her shoulder.
Stefan spoke harshly into her ear. "Natasha, you may have succeeded in
running away from Ned. But you won't run away from me." Then he steered
her around and marched her over to the stage. As he went, he nodded to
Kristina, and then Nikolas, that they should join him and Alexis. He
tapped the microphone, to make sure it was on, then spoke. "Ladies and
gentleman. I was planning to issue a press release next week concerning
some important developments in the Cassadine family. However, in light of
what has happened tonight…" he glanced over at Alexis, whose face was now
brick red, "And since there are members of the press here tonight, I think
it is probably best that I issue my statement now."
Kristina sat at the counter, drinking coffee, trying to keep a low profile.
She knew she had failed to remain inconspicious, when she heard a throat
clearing behind her. She looked over her shoulder, and saw Carly standing
there. "Do you mind if I join you?" Kristina sighed. "Not at all."
Carly sat down and ordered some coffee. Then she glanced over at Kristina.
"You did a wonderful job last night. I am so thankful that you agreed to
sing. Everyone loved you. I know you're going to be a smash hit."
Kristina smiled. "Thank you. Hey, you did fabulous too. Your club will
also be a smash hit." Carly beamed. "I am so happy! Everything went off
without a hitch. Sort of." She looked at Kristina meaningfully. She
decided to ignore Carly's attempt to open The Subject. "You know, Carly, I
couldn't help but notice last night, that Sonny didn't take his eyes off
you the whole night. He had such love and respect in his eyes." Kristina
was the one to look meaningful at Carly this time. "And longing." Carly
laughed ackwardly. "Oh come on, Kristina. He's probably just glad that
I'm moving on with my life so that I won't bug him anymore." Kristina
shook her head. "You don't really believe that, Carly. He does still love
you, its so obvious." Carly tapped her nail against her coffee cup. "So
why was it, when I invited him over to say Happy New Year to Michael, he
turned me down? He said that Michael would be in bed and he didn't want to
wake him up. Didn't he know that what I really wanted was for him to come
see me? Or maybe he did, and so he was rejecting me." Kristina smiled
sadly. "Carly, see what happens when you're not up front with someone?
You end up hyper-analyzing their responses. I'm sure Sonny wasn't
rejecting you. He was taking your invitation at face value, and giving a
perfectly legitimate response. He's not a mind reader. No one is." Carly
narrowed her eyes. "Except you, maybe. But you're right. I know I can't
read minds. If I could, I would have known that my assumption about Alexis
going after Sonny was way off base."
Carly looked at Kristina, daring her to change The Subject this time.
Kristina laughed. She was defeated. "I take it you want to know just what
the heck is going on with Alexis and Stefan." Carly flipped her hair over
her shoulder. "Well the kiss DID happen in my club. I think I should get
first scoop." Kristina shook her head. "I'm not going to gossip about my
family. And even if I would, there would be nothing to tell. The whole
thing is just as much a surprise to me as anyone else. I don't mean the
part about Stefan not being a Cassadine. I found out about that the same
time they did. But their feelings for each other…" Kristina shrugged.
Carly could tell that Kristina could not or would not say anymore, so she
did change the subject this time. "Well, before I noticed that they were
kissing, I did happen to catch a glimpse of you in a lip lock with your
very attractive Doctor Jake." Kristina laughed. "Oh you saw that, did
you? Yes, it was…very nice." Kristina smiled dreamily as she remembered
the night before. After the press had finished with their questions, she
had looked for Alexis and Stefan. She spotted them, but they seemed to be
having an intense conversation, and she didn't want to interrupt. She went
to the powder room to freshen up, and when she came back, she couldn't see
them. Carly took the stage and started the countdown to midnight. She
felt a hand on her shoulder, and turned around to see Jake. "Kristina, you
were…breathtaking." She smiled shyly. "Thank you, Jake. That means a lot
to me." He stared at her intensely. The guests were all counting the
seconds, laughing and cheering. It slowly turned into a low buzzing noise
as everything else in the world except the two of them fell into almost
nonexistence. Jake leaned over, and whispered in her ear, "The sprite is
now a siren." Then he cupped her face in his hands and kissed her. It was
slow, gentle, and achingly long. She hadn't known what he meant by his
comment, but she hadn't really cared. She was clinging to the lapels of
his tuxedo, crushing the fabric with her clenched hands. Jake transferred
his hands to her back, holding her up in his arms, so she was free to twine
her own arms around the back of his neck. The kiss had just started to
become deeper and more intense, when Jake abruptly pulled away.
"Kristina, I'm sorry. I got carried away." She shook her head to clear
her brain. "Its okay, we both got carried away." She smiled hesitantly up
at him. Jake put his hands on her shoulders. "Kristina, you are a very
special woman. I'm afraid I…I just don't want to…" His voice trailed off
as he looked over her shoulder, and stared in shocked confusion at
something behind her. She turned around and her own eyes widened as she
saw that her sister and Stefan were in a similar embrace to the one she had
been in just a few moments before.
Kristina broke out of her reverie, realizing that she had been silent for a
few minutes. She looked over at Carly, who was smirking. "That good,
huh?" Kristina smiled sheepishly. "Yes. But I'm wondering if he is
regretting it." She told Carly about Jake pulling away, and his
ackwardness afterwards. Carly shrugged. "If he wimps out on you, forget
about him. Just remember that you shared a great kiss, and move on."
Kristina smiled wryly. "It seems like I have to do a lot of that, when it
comes to guys."
The guard handed Helena the morning newspaper. She unfolded it, and looked
at the headline and accompanying picture. She was frozen in shock for a
moment, then threw it down. "Once again my capricious son and his
erstwhile sister have made a laughingstock of the Cassadine family. They
just can't keep from making fools of themselves. I should have predicted
this would happen. They were always much too close to each other." Helena
laughed as she thought of how it must have frustrated them a great deal
when they thought they were brother and sister. Horrifying enough to be
attracted to your cousin, but to find out that your cousin is actually your
sibling. They would had to have buried their feelings deep down for a long
time. It was an unfortunate side effect of Helena's revelation that they
would now be able to resume those feelings. Or would they? She picked up
the newspaper again. The little mouse was humiliated once before when her
love life was splashed all over the papers. Perhaps she would be too
mortified to let it happen again. Helena sat on her cot and mused how she
might stoke the fires of discontent.
Kristina walked in the front door and saw Alexis sitting on the couch,
staring into space. She was surprised to see her sister there, she somehow
expected her to lose herself in work. Kristina sat down beside her, and
gently nudged her shoulder. "How are you doing?" Alexis shrugged.
"Considering I haven't dared look at the morning papers, I'm doing just
fine." Kristina put her arm around Alexis. "Oh, they aren't that bad.
Really. Very tasteful." Alexis narrowed her eyes. "You are a bad liar.
Don't worry about my feelings. I've been in this situation before."
Kristina lifted an eyebrow. "You mean there was another time you kissed
Stefan passionately in front of the general public." Alexis rolled her
eyes. "Not the exact situation, but similarly embarrassing." Alexis
pulled out a photo album and opened it to a press clipping of her in her
teddy in Ned's hotel room, the headline screaming "Eddie's Angel." "I
don't know why I kept this. Chalk it up to Cassadine morbidity." Kristina
gaped. "Oh my, I remember this. Its all coming back to me. Alexis, when
you embarrass yourself, you do a fantastic job. I'm impressed." Alexis
yanked the album out of Kristina's hands. "Shut up. My point is, you
don't have to sugarcoat the press accounts to me. I've been there, done
Kristina cleared her throat. "Have you talked to Stefan since last night?"
Alexis shook her head. "No, we agreed to think things over first. I…"
At that moment, the door burst open, and Carly stormed. "Kristina, you've
got to prevent me from going off the deep end." She stopped when she saw
Alexis. She looked dazed. "I'm sorry for interrupting. I…I just needed
to talk to somebody." Kristina stood up and walked over to Carly. "I'm
glad you thought of me, Carly. Come over and sit on the couch. You were
over at Sonny's, I take it?" Carly nodded as she sat down. "I decided to
take your advice, and quit playing games. I went over to the penthouse so
I could talk honestly with Sonny. But he wasn't there." Carly's voice
broke, and she took a deep breath, fighting for control. Kristina glanced
at Alexis, who was frowning in concern. "Then wht happened?" Carly took
another deep breath. "I asked Johnny if I could leave a note, and he let
me in. As I was writing the note, a girl came down the stairs, wearing a
robe. She was young and beautiful. I was…I was speechless. I ran out
before she could say anything. I was standing at the elevator, the rage
just building up in me. I saw the light under your door and realized that
I should talk to you before I did anything rash." Tears started to well up
in her eyes. "Oh, Kristina, I understand now why he didn't want to come to
my place last night. He already had other plans. With another woman."
Kristina hugged Carly, as Alexis looked thoughtful.
Carly looked over at Alexis for the first time, tears flowing from her
eyes. "Alexis, I am so sorry for all the nasty things I said to you. I
mean, I knew that there was an attraction between you and Sonny, but I also
knew, deep down, that neither of you would act on it." Alexis nodded her
acceptance. Carly went on, sobbing, "I feel so stupid. We're divorced
now. I signed the papers. Sonny can sleep with whoever he wants."
Kristina shook her head. "But that doesn't make it any easier for you,
especially running into her the way you did." Carly moaned, "He's really
moved on. Part of me was still holding out hope that he would come back to
me. That he would see me making it on my own, and respect me enough to
give it another try. Not that I opened Impulse for that reason, but I was
hoping it would be a nice bonus." She shook her head, wiping the tears
from her face.
Alexis was silent, debating what to say to Carly. On the one hand, Carly
would be very relieved if she knew that the woman she had seen was not
Sonny's lover, but in fact his sister. On the other hand, he had not told
Carly about his sister yet. If she knew that he was keeping things from
her, she would be even more deeply hurt. She sighed. "Carly, I know that
the situation seems obvious, but maybe it isn't. You know that Sonny is
capable of befriending women without it being sexual. His friendship with
me for instance. Then there's Elizabeth and Emily." Carly considered
this. "Well, she did seem very young. And…wholesome. Not really his
type. But I can't go and ask him who she is. I've played the jealous
harpy one too many times." Alexis smiled. "I agree, that would be a bad
idea. Play it cool. I'm willing to bet that Sonny will hear from Johnny
and…the girl…that you were at his place today, and met her. He'll realize
that you didn't come running to him demanding answers, and he'll admire you
for that. Therefore, he will be much more likely to volunteer the
information himself." Carly nodded and gave a shaky laugh. "You are so
right, Alexis. Maybe instead of attacking you all this time, I should have
been coming to you for advice. Maybe then we wouldn't be divorced."
Alexis laughed too. "No, you'd still be divorced, but it'd be because
Sonny was so bored with your logical behavior."
There was a knock on the door, and Alexis went to open it. Stefan was
standing there. "I believe it is now time to talk." He glanced into the
room, and saw Kristina and Carly sitting there. Kristina cleared her
throat. "You know, Carly, I am famished. Would you like to have lunch
with me at the Grille?" Carly smiled widely. "That sounds like a fabulous
idea. Let's go." They gathered their coats and purses, and swept out the
door past Stefan.