Chapter 11

Better Late Than Never

The tension was palpable as the launch crossed Port Charles Harbor toward Spoon Island, but neither Robert nor Anna said a word, each trying to get a grip on the myriad of emotions swirling in their heads. The hope of finding their daughter, the memories of the man who had repeatedly torn their lives apart, the anticipation of what might be the final battle.

They paused only a moment on the dock to gather their bearings before heading toward the house. Anna was in the lead the entire way, which worried her. She couldn't help noticing that Robert struggled on the sloped ground, his breathing bit ragged.

Having picked the lock on the French doors that led to the parlor, Anna readied her gun. She took one more look at Robert. "Are you sure you're ready for this?"

"I'm ready if you are."

"You know what I mean, Robert."

He shrugged it off. "Anna, Stop worrying, all right? Nothing is gonna keep me from finding Robin. Besides, there's no way in hell I'm sending you in there alone."

Anna nodded. "Cover me?"

"Let's do this," Robert whispered from behind her.

Her own heart pounding in her chest, she reached for the doorknob.

They moved stealthily through the downstairs, finding nothing. In the foyer they paused, listening for signs of life, but heard nothing.

"Do you think they're gone?" Anna asked.

"If they are, they haven't been gone long. The lights are on and there was a half smoked clove cigarette on the side table."

"I wasn't just imagining the smell, then," Anna said with a shudder.

"I'm afraid not, my dear. He's gotta be around here somewhere."

She sighed. "Let's go," she said, gesturing toward the stairs.

"After you," he said.

Robert did a thorough sweep of the bedrooms in one wing and again found nothing of any use. Though, the toothpaste spots on the mirrors that at least one of them had recently been in use. He caught up with Anna at the other end of the hall.

"Anything?" he asked.

She was rooting through items in the bedside table drawer. "No. You?"

"Nothing."

"I don't understand it, Robert. The beds are all made. There are no clothes in the closets. They couldn't have known we were coming, could they? How could they have just vanished?"

"I don't know," Robert said, taking a seat on the edge of the bed. He ran a hand through his hair and took an exasperated breath. There's only one more thing I can think of."

"Which is?"

The words were still hanging in the air when they heard it—the sound of glass breaking. It was distant, but immediately recognizable. Both Robert's and Anna's eyes instantly shot upward.

"Bloody hell!" Robert said.

"The tower!" Anna said.

"Let's go," Robert shouted, getting to his feet.

Anna reached the door that lead to the turret in a dead run, but found it locked. "Damn it!" she said.

"Stand back!" Robert shouted.

Anna stepped aside just in time for Robert to fire two shots, blowing a small hole in the door. A swift jab with his elbow made the hole large enough to reach his hand through. He unlocked the door from the inside and flung it wide open. He didn't dare admit it to Anna, but standing at the bottom of the double flight of stairs, for a moment he doubted if he could make it. Then, there it was. Her faint cry for help. "Robin!" he called. With a burst of adrenaline, he took off. The higher he went, the louder the cries became.

"Dad!"

"Robin!"

"Daddy! Is that you?"

"I'm coming sweetheart!"

The second locked door stood no better chance than the first. From half a flight down, Anna heard the crack of the splintering wood as Robert kicked it in.

"Daddy! I knew you'd come!" Robin cried, throwing her arms wide.

"Robin, baby!" Robert said as he scooped her into his arms.

Anna stopped in the doorway, tears pouring over her cheeks at the sight of her beautiful daughter in her father's arms, and she choked on a sob.

Robert and Robin both turned at the sound and Robin locked eyes with her mother.

Robin was a woman now. It had been years since she and Robert had rescued her in the Asian Quarter, but for Anna, it might as well have been 1985. As Robin crossed the room toward her, all Anna could see was her little girl running into her arms. The joy and relief she felt as they connected nearly brought her to her knees.

"Oh, Robin," Anna sobbed. "My baby!"

"It's okay, Mom. I'm okay."

"Thank God, Robin. I missed you so much. I love you so much."

"I love you too, Mom," Robin whispered through her own tears. "I knew you and Dad would find me. I knew somehow…if I could just hold on long enough."

The left over desperation in Robin's voice made Anna's heart ache. She stepped back and took Robin's face in her hands. "I'm so sorry, darling. I should have trusted my instincts. I should never have given up on finding you. Thank God your father recognized the clue."

"You got my message?"

"We did," Robert said. "Your mum showed it to me as soon as I woke up and we…"

"Oh my God, Dad, have you been…" She frowned. "You were in a coma all this time?"

Robert nodded. "Yeah. But, hey, look at me. I'm fine now."

"Dad…"

"I'm fine, baby," Robert said, joining them. He put his arms around both of them and kissed Robin on the head. "I'm just sorry you had to wait so long for us to figure this out."

"You're here now. That's all that matters," Robin said, hugging them both tightly.

Anna put her forehead to Robert's and she began to relax as the feelings of emptiness and grief she lived with for the past year slowly melted away.

Robert would have liked to hold the two of them forever, but Robin abruptly ended the moment. She pulled out of the group hug and asked, "Wait. Mom, What about Duke?"

"What about him?" Anna said.

"Did you find him?"

"I haven't tried yet. I'll talk to him once we get you out of here." Anna said.

"He was here, Mom."

"Duke?" Anna said.

"Yes," Robin said.

"Where?" Robert asked.

"Here. On Spoon Island. In the house. He came looking for Mom. He said he followed her, but it wasn't her at all. It was Liesl Obrecht."

Robert and Anna exchanged glances. "Quite the clever disguise," Robert said.

Anna nodded. "Where exactly did you last see Duke?" she asked.

"Downstairs," Robin said. Before they locked me up here."

"Did he leave the Island?"

Robin shook her head. "They wouldn't let anyone leave. They knew someone would call the police."

"But the house was empty." Anna said.

"Only one place we didn't look," Robert said, meeting Anna's concerned gaze.

"You don't think?" she said.

Robert nodded. "The catacombs."