The Path to Power

Chapter Fifty Eight





Bad Man



Faith and Bruno are back in the car driving toward town. Faith gathers the jewels together and dumps them into her bag, giving it a good shake so they settle to the bottom.

"I don't know about leaving him like that, Faith." Bruno worries as he looks over at his boss. He shudders. Faith had set up a little game of Lady or the Tiger for the wounded manservant. Faith had paced off what she figured was a good head start for them and put down the cordless phone then directly across from the phone against the other wall she'd put the gun with silencer. Faith had figured the servant would have time to get to one or the other but not both. She explained it to the manservant-- if he went for the phone he better be praying that Helena didn't get home before the ambulance arrived. But if he went for the gun first then he'd be able to either protect himself or kill himself if he wanted it to be quick.

"Helena will kill him before he ever gets a chance to talk to the police." Faith shrugs. She runs the colored gems over her hand. "Pretty, pretty."

"What are you going to do with them?"

"I think we should keep them." Faith grins but then sighs. "I suppose I could put them in some safe deposit box for Kristina. A little going away present from step-grandmama Cassadine." She snaps her purse closed after stuffing the gloves in there and grabbing her cell phone. "You know what I want?"

Bruno looks over at her and grins. "Ice Cream?"

"Lets go to Baskin and Robbins. That way we can get a variety for the guys."

"I'll buy." Bruno offers.

Faith nods but holds up a single finger to get Bruno to hush while she's on the phone. "Manny, it's Faith. The Bitch wasn't there. I don't think she'll like the message I left her so make sure you've got your eyes and ears open. Right. We'll be back in about half an hour." After hanging up, she dials another number. "Anything for me?"

"No, but I suspect since you are calling-- you have something for me." Stefan says wryly.

Faith calls off an address. "She was sleeping there as of last night but I don't think she'll be sleeping there tonight."

There is a long pause on the other end of the line as Stefan recognizes the address of the Cassadine summerhouse. He curses he hasn't checked it before now but Penny had just left there it seemed like just a couple of weeks ago. "She couldn't have been there for longer than a couple of weeks."

"You're familiar with the house." Faith says in a low hiss.

"It's our summer house." Stefan admits reluctantly.

"Well the bitch isn't there now. Maybe you should be looking around at all your other houses." Faith slams the phone shut. "Those people piss me off. Kristina is definitely keeping the Cassadine Family Jewels. I'll buy her a nice strong box to put them in myself."

Bruno looks over at Faith and doesn't say anything. He really doesn't think she's talking about what is in her purse.





Stefan looks at the phone and then picking it up again dials an inside line. "Mrs. Lansbury? Where is Tasha? Yes, thank you." Stefan hangs up the phone and calls down to the stables. "Yes, will you send Tasha back up to the house please... what do you mean she isn't there?! Where is my sister?!"

Nik and Penny are laughing as they enter but Stefan's tone has that falling away in an instant. "Uncle?"

"Your grandmother was... located at the Summer house. At least that is where she was last night although my source indicates that she won't be there tonight."

"The Summer house?" Penny swallows hard and pales. "The Summer house."

Nik tucks her in close. "Have you alerted security?"

Stefan hangs up on the stable hand and dials that number next. "I don't know where Tasha is." He says while the phone is ringing. "She isn't upstairs or at the stables."

"The swing." Penny suggests.

"We'll go check the swing." Nik tells his uncle.

"Nikolas--" Stefan calls Nikolas so that he turns around to look at his uncle. "Do not become separated. Penny has no immunity where your grandmother is concerned and her only use is against you."

"I understand, Stefan." Nodding, Penny is the one that answers. "I can keep up. But just to be on the safe side. When you call security could you have them check the tunnel between the hunter cabin and here. If Tasha isn't at the swing she might be there, hopefully not burning down my kitchen. But I'm suspecting wherever she is... she is so grounded."

"Yes, I do believe that is an appropriate measure." But the worry is clear in his voice. The other end of the phone picks up. "There needs to be a perimeter search of the island-- there has been a possible breech."

Nik and Penny move quickly to the hill where Tasha's swing is located. The first thing they see is her on it and both breath a little easier until they realize she is not alone. "Tasha!" Nik calls out.

Tasha waves from the swing and then showing off leaps from it while still high in the air and runs toward Penny and Nik. "You're back! Did you have fun at the carnival? Did you bring me anything?"

Penny takes Tasha's hand in a firm grip. "The bad lady is close; we have to go back to the house."

"But Lorenzo is here." Tasha protests. "He'll protect us from the bad lady."

"He's a stranger, Tasha. We need to leave now."

"But Lorenzo said...."

"He lied. We need to leave now. Come on, Tasha." Penny tugs Tasha toward the house.

Frowning and betrayed, Tasha looks over her shoulder. "I'm telling Mr. Marcus on you!" With that the two women run back toward the house.

"Ah yes, the gun toting Mr. Marcus." Lorenzo takes a seat on the swing. "Nikolas Cassadine?"

"Lorenzo Alcazar." Nik replies coldly. "And Mr. Marcus as Tasha calls him is actually Police Lt. Marcus Taggart. I believe my Uncle already talked to you about Tasha down in Caracas."

"Some things you have to see for yourself." Lorenzo shrugs. "So Tasha is concerned about the Bad Lady... who might that be?"

Stefan had followed Nik and Penny after notifying security and had passed Penny and Tasha as they went back to the house. "Mr. Alcazar."

"You're right. She walked up to me like a puppy. I could have done anything I wanted to her. You're slipping, Cassadine. You said she was never alone. For her own protection-- evidently not from me."

"It won't happen again. Shall I escort you to your transportation, Mr. Alcazar?"

"I can find my way." Lorenzo shrugs. "I'm sure you have to be telling Tasha there is a new boogie man in town."





"Baby, stop crying and tell Mr. Marcus what happened. Was Nikolas mean to you again?" I'm going to kill that kid. Marcus had received the call just as he was climbing into his car. Things are winding down at the Memorial Park at least as far as the DARE booth is concerned.

"No." Tasha hiccups. "I thought he worked for Stefan. And he pushed me on the swing and Penny says he lied and that he's a bad man and because of him I'm g-g-grounded. I didn't mean to be bad. I'm sorry, Mr. Marcus."

"Tasha, is Penny still there?" Marcus hears the phone being dropped and Tasha running somewhere then hollering for Penny to pick up the phone because Mr. Marcus wants to talk to her.

"Lt. Taggart?" Penny's worried voice is the next thing Marcus hears. "Tasha, hang up the phone I have it now." Penny doesn't talk until she hears the click.

"Am I coming over there because Tasha got put on punishment for a good reason and I need to reinforce it but it's not an emergency?"

"Tasha was out alone on the island while we were at the carnival. Right when we got home we found out that Helena Cassadine has been staying at the Cassadine Summer House here in town. Then when we found Tasha at her swing there was a strange man pushing her. Lorenzo Alcazar. The only way he could have gotten to the island is his own boat but there wasn't one at the dock."

"What's the address of the Summer house?" Taggart makes a note of it. "I'm on my way."

"Thanks Lieutenant." Penny says gratefully. She hangs up the phone.

Taggart activates his lights and carefully but quickly pulls away from the curb. He is already on the phone to dispatch-- cars to be sent to the Summer House, Harbor Patrol to be looking for a boat and him to the Harrison Pier.





"Javier, it would be best to not be on the lake side of the river. I suspect that Stefan Cassadine is going to react to my visit by... overreacting."

"We're almost there." Javier pulls into the shelter of some trees and then picking up a pair of binoculars verifies that the target is there. "Here. Right thru the trees." He hands his employer the binoculars and then waits.

Finally, Lorenzo sets the glasses on the railing of the boat. "So you've become a voyeur now."

"The hot tub is a recent addition. The deck is a recent addition. The deck was installed last weekend, the hot tub on Monday."

"You've been keeping a close eye on Skye Chandler-Quartermaine. What about the rest of the people on my list?"

"Sonny Corinthos and Jasper Jacks were both at the opening of the Chloe Morgan Memorial Park. Corinthos with his family. And Jasper Jacks was keeping a close eye on Skye Chandler... but from a distance because she has filed a restraining order against him."

Remembering what the childlike version of Alexis Davis had told him. "Carnival?"

"There were games and booths." Javier shrugs. "You could call it that I guess."

Alcazar picks back up the binoculars and looks off into the distance to the same spot as before. "And Ric Lansing?"

"He was there as well. Made a scene confronting his girlfriend. When he left, he ran some errands and then went to his new house."

"New house?" Lorenzo inquires absently not looking away from the scene unfolding in the distance.

"Someone else is trying to ruin Mr. Lansing's life-- the power and water were turned off to his apartment, there was sugar put in his gas tank. Annoyances really but persistent ones."





"Are you sure that Kyle isn't going to come out here?" Skye straddles Cole in the hot tub. It is a question she'd asked every night. The first night the tub had been warm enough to go in she'd worn her swimsuit into the hot tub-- that had lasted about 5 minutes and she still hasn't found both pieces of the suit. Every night since she'd just made sure that her robe stayed dry on the bench a couple of feet away from the tub. Her hands grip the sides of the tub on either side of him for balance.

"Skye, I didn't exactly get explicit with him... but he is a guy. He's got a pretty good idea what we're doing and that I'll kill him if he messes this up for me."

"Does that mean that Kyle's life is in my hands? That if I don't let you have your way with me he's a dead man?"

"Oh so dead. Babe, what you're doing right now is the only thing keeping him alive." Cole groans. He runs his hands up Skye's bare back, pressing her closer to him the water lapping between them. Skye had pulled her hair up and out of the way so that it wouldn't get soaked, leaving that long beautiful neck exposed except for a few tresses that had escaped.

"The things I do for that guy." Skye teases and then gets serious as she whispers. "The things I do for you."

"Come here. Show me the things you do for me." Cole's hands sink below the water again, his hands cupping her rear and pulling her closer to him and half out of the tub exposing the fullness of her breasts to the nippy dusk air.





Stefan isn't happy Penny spoke with Lt. Taggart. Even if Tasha had initiated the call and his is a silent menacing presence at the back of the room. Penny and Nik are closer to Tasha but it's Taggart who asks all of the questions. "And then what did you say?"

"I said we could take turns on the swing and that I was really good at pushing. And Lorenzo said he'd heard that about me." Tasha looks over at Stefan who is standing next to the wall. She can almost see the steam coming out of his ears. "I didn't mean to be bad. He said your name and that you had told him about the bad lady. He knew your name."

"Tasha." Taggart brings her focus back to him. "Lots of people know your brother's name. And not all of them are good people. This isn't the first time you've done this. You let Zander Smith in your window."

"Zander isn't bad!"

Nikolas snorts at that.

"But you didn't know that and that is why you got grounded then too." Taggart continues after giving Nikolas a dirty look. "Unless somebody is introduced to you by Stefan, Nikolas or Penny here-- they are strangers. And you do not talk to them. You get one of them or you call me before you say a word to them. Do you understand me?!"

"Yes. But you can find me because I'm wearing this!" Tasha holds out her ankle with it's police monitored anklet.

Knowing what a little ghoul Tasha is, Taggart gets graphic. "All that anklet means is that I'll be able to find your dead body once the bad lady or the bad man gets done with you."

"I'm sorry!" Tasha breaks into sobs. "I won't do it again, I swear!" She throws her arms round Taggart's neck and cries into his chest.

"Mrs. Lansbury." Stefan orders with a tilt of his head.

"You come with me right now, Missy." Mrs. Lansbury unwinds Tasha's hands and keeping a firm grip on her charge's arm starts marching her up the stairs outlining the punishment as she goes. "You're straight to your room where you can think about what you've done. And there'll be no stories or treats from the carnival either. You scared your brother and me both! If you can't be trusted to let us know where you'll be then you won't be going anywhere!" Mrs. Lansbury's voice fades as she and Tasha move away from the front room.

Taggart's cell phone rings. "Taggart. What do you have?" Taggart closes his eyes as he just listens to the voice on the other end of the line. "Right. Check the place for prints/trace. I'll check with the ME in a little while after contacting the owners to have them do an inventory." He hangs up the phone and looks at Stefan. "Who called you about the Summer house?"

Stefan lies smoothly. "It was anonymous. Why?"

"Someone called dispatch before I did-- to report a home invasion. When the cars arrived the door was wide open. They followed the blood to the body of a Mediterranean looking male late twenties."

"My mother always was hard on her staff." Stefan says softly.

"I think I'm going to be sick."

"Uncle, I'm going to take Penny back to the cabin."

"Security has already checked your cabin and the tunnel, Penny." Stefan says reassuringly. They wait until Nik and Penny are gone. "I can't go with you to the Summer house. Not after what happened with Tasha."

Taggart nods. "Nik, Penny even Tasha have alibis, Cassadine. You don't. I'll be back when I have more information." He pauses before he leaves. "He told her that he'd heard she was good at pushing. Alcazar isn't going to let this go."

"I concur." Stefan says grimly.





"I'll send Alice down to the bunkhouse to get hers." Faith tells Bruno as she climbs out of the car. She has the a single dip of mocha chip that is about to drip and she takes a quick lick to get it back under control. She grabs the bag with Ned's pint of ice cream and juggles it with her clutch.

"You want me to go with you?"

"What? To explain to my husband I decided to go get ice cream?!"

"Well doesn't he have to know that The Bitch is back and she's probably ticked?"

Faith shrugs. "Let Cassadine tell him. That would be interesting. See how long it takes our ally in protecting Kristina to update us on how things shook down. Considering that Helena was staying in one of his safe houses. Make sure Dillon quit that job at the florist shop. If he really wants to keep working line him up with the video store."

"Yeah. I'll talk to him." Bruno takes the two bags of variety of ice cream down to the bunkhouse. It's a good thing that they have a big freezer because Faith always got carried away at Baskin and Robbins. But it's a good alibi. The gals behind the counter would remember someone who ordered twenty different pints of ice cream and took their time doing it, sampling as they went. "Hey! Someone want to give me a hand with this?" Bruno kicks at the door to the bunkhouse. Luckily Manny had called ahead and let them know that he was on his way and all hands are on deck grabbing the bags and dumping out on the big conference table. "Someone is going to have to take Manny his ice cream up at the gate." Bruno picks out a pint of peppermint and one of those weenie pink spoons that always break when the ice cream is too hard. He tosses them in the direction of one of the guys who has already picked out his pint. "I'm going to start while you're gone so don't take long. Where's Dillon? He's not up at the house is he?"

"Nah. He's hanging in his room. That Georgie girl called. Faith isn't going to like that one chasing Dillon. Not with her being the Police Commissioner's kid." Mouse has a pint of chocolate chip in one hand and a pint of jamoca almond fudge in the other. "Did you pick up any bananas?"

"And when were we supposed to do that? While the ice cream was melting in the car? Gees. Everyone's a critic." Bruno complains. He walks back to Dillon's room and raps on the door before opening it. Dillon is on the phone still.

Dillon covers the mouthpiece. "Is everything okay?"

Bruno makes a shaking motion with one hand. "The bitch wasn't there so Faith left a message. We're going to have to up security. Meeting is starting in about two seconds. Can you call her back?"

"Georgie, Let me call you back in about... fifteen minutes. It'll give you time to find out if Maxie has come out of her skin yet. Yeah. I will." Dillon hangs up the phone. "What kind of message?"

"We picked up ice cream on the way back. You want some?" Bruno walks out of the room. "Last one there gets stuck with the pint of bubblegum."





Mac comes up behind Taggart and looks at the scene. It was real obvious to the first guy on the scene that the victim was dead and he'd tiptoed around the foyer to get to the rest of the house to see if anyone else was there. Once he verified that there was no one in need of medical assistance he'd secured the scene and waited for the ME and the crime scene guys to arrive.

Taggart feels the presence behind him and looks back over at his shoulder to Mac. "You don't have to be here. That's the thing about being Police Commissioner it's supposed to be a political appointment."

"I suck at sitting behind a desk." Mac says grimly. "What do we have?"

Taggart rises from a squat where he'd been resting his elbows on his knees. "It was originally called in as a home invasion. I think the vic made the call but I'd have to listen to the tapes. Cassadine received an anonymous call that Helena was crashing here. I dispatched cars."

"You didn't come out yourself?" Mac is wondering what the hell.

"Lets talk outside."

Once they are outside-- "What the hell could have been more important than a Helena Cassadine sighting inside the Port Charles City Limits?!"

"Lorenzo Alcazar on Spoon Island pushing Tasha on her swing." Marcus declares flatly.

Mac starts swearing and doesn't stop until he gets a worried look from the uniform who is standing guard at the door. Mac runs both hands thru his hair and then takes a deep breath. "Any other good news? First Ric Lansing, then Helena Cassadine and now Lorenzo Alcazar. Really what would top this day?"

"Howzit going, Bubba?" Luke Spencer moves out of the woods and into view. "All this commotion and Helena's never going to come back. Don't either of you flatfoots know anything about setting a trap?" Luke lights up a cigar.

"I had to ask." Mac mutters.

"Helena's been and gone, Spencer." Taggart sighs. "No need for you to hang around. Wait-- What are you doing here?"

Luke pulls out a copy of a police sketch. "Just got back into town. I remembered about this place from when Vlad was helping himself to a side of the Commissioner here's dish. Figured Helena would love to get in Stefan's face. This guy was seen around a lab down in Pennsylvania. Since the lab blew sky high with everyone inside it and they were working on some super spidees on steroids... took one look at the sketch and knew he is just the kind of boytoy that would get Helena's panties sopping."

Mac and Marcus both grimace. It's an image they could have done without. Helena Cassadine might be an evil, lethal bitch escaped from hell but she was also someone's grandmother.

"Hey Luke, congratulations by the way. Lucky shared the happy news today at the ribbon cutting." Mac decides to get a little payback for the dig about Katherine Bell. "How does it feel to be a grandfather?"

"Excuse me?!" Luke chokes on inhaled cigar smoke.





Ric Lansing comes up to the house with his arms full of bottled water. He'd been running errands all day since leaving the Memorial Park. There was so much to get ready for the new baby. Ric slows when he realizes that the door is ajar just barely as if not properly latched. He's sure that he shut the door. After everything that had been happening lately, he knows that he shut it. Nothing connected him to this house, well other than the real estate agent. Trevor Lansing's holding company had purchased the house. He was using a credit card from the same company. All of his personal bank and brokerage accounts had been tampered with and then frozen by the IRS. Ric puts the water down on the landing and then stepping to the side eases the door open.

Lorenzo Alcazar doesn't look up from the book he is reading but instead reaches for a cup of coffee. "Come in, Mr. Lansing. I hope you don't mind that I've made myself at home."

The knife at his back prompts Ric into the house. Javier shuts the door.

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