Chapter Seven

~ The Beginning ~

Tommy spent the rest of the night walking. He didn't know where he was going, but he knew he had to get out of that house. The house with all the memories which now seemed like dreams. Was it all a dream? Had he really been happy there? Did they really love him once upon a time? Now, everything seemed like a lie. He felt so comfortable in that houseÖwith her, his grandmother, but he could trust those feelings?

And the voicesÖ He couldn't get the sounds out of his head. The screams, the cries, the pain and the frustration. They were counting on him to save them, but could he do it?

Tommy prayed to a god who he wasnít really sure existed that he would find the answers. He had to find the answers. Everything depended on him. Everything.

*~*~*
"Hi. Um, Dara, it's me. Dawn. Are you there? If you're there, could you pick up? I'm in Port Charles. Dara? I guess you're not there."

Click.

Dara listened to the message for the umpteenth time that morning. She was determined to find something that would help Alex find her sister. But, no matter how many times she listened to the tape, the only thing she heard was the sound of Dawn's fear coming through. Where was she and why did she run away, Dara asked herself as she rewound the message tape.

The intercom buzzed before she could play the tape again.

"Hi, honey. It's me. Your father and I are here," came the voice through the speaker.

"Okay, Mom. I'll buzz you in"

*~*~*
Alex sat at his desk, going over his notes from his discussion with Dara and her mother. The hubbub of the precinct was a distant rumble as he thought about the Jensen family. Quite a number of things didn't add up and he hoped to find answers after he talked with them later today. Dara said that her parents were expected to arrive this morning. He wanted to question them as soon as possible. The sooner he had answers, the sooner they could get a lead on Dawn, he hoped.

"Det. Garcia, I was instructed to give these to you," said the young rookie as he attempted to hand the papers to Alex.

"Well, well. What do we have here?"

"Taggert, hand them to me," Alex said, slightly annoyed.

"No, wait a second. This says Jensen. This girl kinda looks like Dara," said Taggert, taking a closer look at the missing person flyers. The girl in the picture was beautiful. She had big, brown eyes, full lips, and her hair was styled in mini-braids which framed her face. The description read that she was approximately 5'7 and weighed 130 pounds. According to the flyer, she became 17-years-old on her last birthday five months ago.

"She's her sister," Alex replied as he took the flyers from Marcus. "She ran away from her home in New York City three days ago. She hasnít been seen since, but she did call Dara last night."

"How do you know so much about this?"

"Dara called me late last night and filed a report."

"She called you late last night?" Taggert asked. "Hmm. Well, do you have any leads? Do you know where the call came from?"

"The call was placed from a public phone in the park last night at 10:30. Other than that, there are no leads."

"From the park last night at 10:30Ö Tell me, Garcia, have you had the park searched? She could be lying... A young girl was brutally raped there not too long ago in case you've forgotten." Marcus said, raising his voice.

"Of course, I had it searched. There was no evidence of anything like that occurring there last night. And no, I haven't forgotten about that rape. I'm doing everything I can to see if we can catch that bastard which is a lot more than what you can say. Tell me, how many times have you harassed Dr. Quartermaine this morning? Or have you lost count?"

The precinct grew silent at Garcia's words. The tension between the two men was thick and the other officers didnít want to miss a thing.

"What the hell is going on out here?" yelled their boss, Commissioner Mac Scorpio as he slammed out of his office. "Taggert. Garcia. In my office. Now!"

~*~*~
Dawn looked around the massive bedroom. She wanted to make sure that everything was in the exact same place as when she arrived. She sensed that Mr. Cassadine would have the room inspected after she left, and she didnít want to give him the satisfaction of there even being a pillow out of place. She appreciated everything Nickie had done for her in the short time they knew each other, but she didn't want intrude on him any longer. Besides, his uncle was an odd one. Not to mention the way he just popped up last night. Talk about perfect timing.

The knock at the door startled her. The jumpiness was a new side of her that she wasnít familiar with. Her two nights on the street had been an eye opener. She had seen a few things that still made her skin crawl to think of them.

She hoped that 'The Dark One' wasn't on the other side of the door as she opened it.

"Good morning. I see that you survived the night here."

"Good morning to you, too, Nickie," Dawn said with a smile. "Yeah, I survived, but no thanks to you."

"What do you mean no thanks to me?" he asked. "I told you I was two doors down."

"Yeah. But you didnít tell me which way," she laughed. "With my luck, I would have knocked on the wrong door last night and met up with your uncle."

"Well, allow me to correct my mistake."

"Excuse me?" she asked.

"I intend to show you which room is mine in case you should need anything," Nikolas said.

"That won't be necessary," she replied, lifting her backpack from the floor.

"Why not?" he asked with concern. "Have you contacted your sister? Will you be staying with her?"

"Why not? Because I'm leaving, and the answers to your other questions are no. And no," she said, heading for the door.

"Dawn, wait," he said as he moved to stand between her and the door, closing the door behind him.

"Nickie, what are you doing?"

"I can't just let you leave like this," he answered.

"Why not? You've been more than kind to me. It's time that I moved on."

"But, you have nowhere else to go," he replied.

"But that's not your problem. Listen, Nickie, I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself. Honest. I know that last night I seemedÖ I donít know what I seemed, but donít worry about me. I'll be okay."

She placed her hand on the doorknob. Covering her hand with his own, he removed it from the doorknob, but didn't release it. Nikolas looked down at the small hand that he held. Her hand felt so soft that he subconsciously began to caress it. Slowly, he lifted his eyes to hers. He saw that she was staring at him. With his other hand, he removed the backpack from her shoulder, lowering it the floor without losing a moment of eye contact. With the same hand, he reached to cup her face. His fingertips discovered the softness of her cheek. The last thing he saw before he closed his eyes was her tongue as she moistened her lips again. Then with parted lips, he kissed her.

Chapter Eight

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