The Path to Power
Chapter Seventy Two
Itís business as usual the day after the holiday. Never mind that nobody had gotten any sleep the night before with the bootleg firework going off at all hours. "I donít know if I should be buying a lottery ticket or ticking things off my wish list of things to do before I die." Gia looks at the packages on her desk like they are a bomb. "Is this our lucky day or a sign of the apocalypse? Faith Roscoe- Ashton, Stefan Cassadine and Lydia Karenin-Quartermaine. Who do these people have in common-- Dara Jensen."
"And Helena Cassadine." Dara agrees with a shake of her head. "Never thought Iíd be in the same grouping as Helena Cassadine. I am definitely living wrong. Go ahead and have those lists messengered over to Stefan and out to Faith. After that-- weíre staying out of it."
"Ha! Famous last words. I think I said something like that right before I was trapped down in an underground lab with Stavros Cassadine while his mother was trying to blow it up. Give me a nice land battle for the new StadiumĖ an overeager rook causing trouble for the coach. After dealing with them, Iím ready for it."
"That Rookie needs a nanny. I canít open the Sports Section of the Herald without reading about something... stupid heís done lately." Dara sighs. "First the contract and now he seems to be doing everything he can to make the coach have a heart attack. What was the latest?"
"Speed racing on the runway of the Port Charles Airport with the overpowered toy he bought with his bonus. Not only tickets from the PCPD but also arrested and the FAA is going to have a bit to say as well."
"I thought he was going to get a house for his mother."
"So did she." Giaís voice is dry.
"And heís in custody?"
"You think you can call your brother and have his release delayed until we can go down there?"
"Sure." Gia shrugs and picks up the phone. With one phone call the future Stallions superstar to be is left cooling his heels in the detectives interrogation area. Mary Bishop is left in charge of the office while Gia and Dara head to the PCPD.
Over on Spoon Island, the household had a later start than normal thanks to the late night before. Stefan had authorized a switch in the normal schedule. Tasha could have her activities in the morning rather than her studies. Which meant she could sleep a little later and in fact had a sleep over down at Pennyís cabin. Nikolas and Penny had arrived back to the island in time for the fireworks.
Zander had arrived earlier. Heíd only stayed long enough at the carnival to win Tasha a prize and then had come over to spend the day with her since she couldnít go to the park. Theyíd watched t he fireworks over the island and reflected off the water. Tasha had decided then and thereĖ there should be fireworks every night. Everyone had laughed but there had been a stubborn look on her face that Zander is familiar with. Somehow Tasha is going to be arranging fireworks for more than just the 4th of July. Maybe he should be warning Stefan not to get her any chemistry kits.
Taggart takes one look at Dara and Gia when they stalk into the PCPD and shakes his head. He should feel sorry for the Rook he really should. That Big Bonus Baby had just ticked off a strong black woman, and if his right ear is any judge there is another strong woman on the way. It was just going to take the Big Babyís mama a little longer to get there. But if things went right then the Rook would not be back in the PCPD unless it was for some charity gig. These guys went from broke to millionaires overnight and very few of them took any kind of college course in how to be a millionaire. More dollars than sense. All you had to do was open up the pages of Sports Illustrated or click on ESPN and there is a story about some guy who is making more records on the police blotter than on the sports field. "You arenít allowed to touch him."
"Oh I wonít have to." Daraís voice is grim. "I wonít even have to raise my voice." Dara walks over to the interrogation room she knows so well. Gia follows along trailing in her wake. This is a watch and learn exercise but Gia already knows this is Daraís version of in loco parentis. The Rookís mother couldnít be here to chew him a new one, so Dara was going to take it on. Dara nods to Gia. This is actually better going in one on one. Gia would take care of the paperwork while Dara is in there. The Rook would be getting out today. But Dara could make it really easy, or really hard depending on the Rookís attitude.
As soon as the door opens on the room the Rook looks up hopefully but then seeing the look in Daraís eye buts his head back down on his arms hiding his face. "Are you going to get me out of here?" He mumbles into the desk.
"You look at me when youíre talking to me." Dara demands. Then the door slams and the rest of the conversation is cut off from the bull pen.
Gia grins cheerfully at Marcus. "You remember the time you put your baseball thru the neighborís window and then went for the Some Other Dude Did It defense and Mama just wasnít buying?"
"Oh yeah," Marcus winces. He shouldnít feel sympathy for the guy but he does.
"Dara doesnít have to be nice. Sheís not his lawyer; sheís AJís, the teamís." Gia reviews the paperwork at Marcus hands it to her and puts little paperclips where the Rook is going to have to sign to get released. "And you know she isnít going to be doing this again."
"Sure, right." Marcus shakes his head. "Lets just say this is the only time sheíll be doing this without having a nice retainer on file."
"Rookís mom has already called. Sheís on the first plane she can get. But she isnít going to be able to get here until tomorrow."
"Good to know. If this doesnít sink in properly then she can pick up the next round. I have been taking this guy all over town since he finally signed his contract so that he could get settled in and I still canít pronounce his last name." Gia mutters.
"Why do you think everyone is still calling him Rook?" Marcus laughs. Probably the only person in Port Charles that could pronounce the guyís last name without sounding like an idiot is Penny. She grew up in Hawaii."
"How do you know that?"
"Tasha told me. Penny gives her swimming lessons. Evidently also giving her cooking lessons too. All kinds of stuff Penny picks up down in Chinatown that she used to eat when she was a kid."
Gia realizes sheís been coming at this all wrong. Sure, sheíd given the big Samoan a tour of Port Charles. And Jesse is a nice guy, a great guy. The holding out thing had been the advice of his agent. But this acting out thing had really surprised her. Maybe the big lug was homesick?
Just then the door to the interrogation room opens and Dara comes out of the room with Jesse following behind her. Jesse dwarfs Dara but by body language alone you knew who had won the battle. "Marcus, are the papers ready?"
"Right here." Marcus hands over the papers that Gia had paper clipped. "Gia has all the information about future court dates."
"If they are needed. Isnít that right, Jesse?" Dara glares at the big footballer.
"Right, Miz Dara." Jesse signs his name quickly to all the places that are paper clipped.
"And after you are done here then Gia is going to take you to get your car out of impound and she is going to drive you both back to the dealership and you are going to get a car that is actually big enough to fit you rather than an overpriced tin can that they could bury you in."
"Yes, Miz Dara."
"Am I going to have to come back down here again?"
"No, Miz Dara."
"Fine." Dara knows a good exit point and gathering her things leaves the police station.
Marcus just shakes his head. That woman really needs to have kids. She already has it down. He reviews the paperwork and gives Jesse his copies. "Youíll need these to get the car out. Iíll let you tell him the good news, Little Sis." Marcus finds something else to do.
"Marcus, do you have Pennyís number over on the island?"
Marcus digs thru his jacket for his cell phone and goes back thru the memory. He gives the number to Gia who quickly scribbles it down. For some reason he feels like he has to explain. "Sometimes Tasha spends the night over there."
"What good news?" Jesse trails after Gia.
"I want to be outside so that if you scream nobody will think the police are beating you."
"So itís really not good news."
"Oh it is. Really. Sorta." Now that they are outside, Gia turns to Jesse and lets him in on the latest. "Your mom is on her way here. Connecting flights and everything she should be here tomorrow morning."
"Iím dead. Take me back to jail; sheís going to kill me." Jesse sits down on the bench right at the base of the stone stairs that go up to the PCPD.
Bobbie had sent Lucky and Elizabeth home with most of the leftovers from the picnic. Lucky is a bottomless pit where food is concerned and Elizabeth is eating for two. So itís leftovers that Elizabeth brings down to Lucky who is hard at work, bent over the computer of the Scorpio Detective Agency. He rubs his eyes at the interruption and decides this would be a good time to take a break before he ends up needing glasses. "Hey."
"Any word from Jason, did he find anything last night?"
"Nope, donít expect any either. But isnít it interesting that the power went out in that part of town last night?"
"I didnít hear that it had." Elizabeth pulls up a chair. "There was nothing on the Herald Online."
"Strangely enough it only effected one end of one street."
"The street Ric lives on?"
There is a bit of a fuss when Jesse turns the hundred thousand dollar sport car that heís had for only a couple of weeks back into the dealership. With some quick smoozing by Gia and some picture taking and promises of promotional appearances the sports car is traded back in to the dealership. Gia strongly suspects that the car is going to end up on the show room along with autographed pictures of Jesse up on the wall. But that is just fine as long as the trade gets made. Sports Car inĖ Cadillac Escalade and Toyota Tundra out. Both of those vehicles are more his size. Hell from the way he described his mother, theyíd fit her better too. Jesse might have his mother outweighed by over a hundred pounds but only beat her in height by about 4 inches. The Tundra is going to have to have
modifications made so theyíd be driving the Escalade.
"Hi, Thanks for coming." Gia greets Penny. She winces when she sees Penny brought Nikolas.
"No car sorry." Penny shrugs.
"Weíll youíre in the right place and Jesse already has them in the mood to deal." Giaís tone is wry.
The sales manager escorts Jesse out from the back still trying to get more pictures and promotion time from the big Rookie. Jesse is rolling his eyes but keeping it polite.
"Excuse me." Gia interrupts. "Youíll have to excuse us. Jesse looks like heís about to fade away and if we donít get some food in him heíll be featured on anorexic weekly." The salesman laughs as Gia intended but then he starts trying to sell her a car. Gia holds out her hand. "Give me a card. Iíll come back after I pass the bar but until then youíre barking up the wrong tree."
Finally they are able to break away and meet up at the front of the dealership. Gia gives Nik the address of Jesseís place at the Harborview Tower and they take off in a high powered caravan with the Escalade leading the way and the Jag following. "How come he gets a Jag and you think I should get a big truck?"
"Nik drives like an old lady. The cops know it and donít ticket him. You on the other hand...."
Jesse laughs. "How you know these guys?"
"I donít know Penny that well. Nik is my ex fiancť." Gia looks over at him and declares. "Donít ask."
"Just thinking maybe he's not too bright."
"Youíre sweet." Gia laughs. "I contacted Penny cause I figured if there was anything you thought your mom might need to feel at home while sheís visitingĖ Penny probably knows how and where to find it." Gia winces when Jesse pulls in the Harborview Towers. Sure it is the nicest place in Port Charles if you werenít planning on buying a house but that doesnít mean that itís not Mob Central. Jesse really needed to get his own place. Hopefully when his mother arrives, she can take care of that. Nik pulls into the parking space next to them. Gia climbs out of the car and suggests to Penny. "Why donít you take shotgun since you know where weíre going?" Nik and Gia climb into the back seat of the Escalade and Penny takes shotgun. Penny soon has Jesse at ease and the conversation between the two of them has Nik and Gia shaking their head. They understand maybe one word in five... some of them are even English but it doesnít sound like English.
Stefan glances over at the clock on the mantel, what was supposed to be a quick errand on the mainland had turned into something more. There is no reason to wait any longer. "Tasha, please tell me about Odysseus and the Cyclops."
"I thought Penny was going to have lessons too?"
"They must be running late on the mainland."
"Then they should call right? Itís not fair. I donít want to talk about stupid Odysseus. He was mean to the Cyclops. Comes onto the Cyclopsí island and steals his stuff and then pokes his eye out."
"If they hadnít then they wouldnít have been able to escape. It was only by disabling the giant were they able to sneak out with the sheep."
"So if someone comes onto our island and starts stealing our stuff then they can poke our eyes out to get away? Itís not right. And itís gross. If they tried to poke my eyes out Iíd be really scared. Iíd call Mr. Marcus and then he could shoot them and put them in jail."
Stefan sighs. Trust his sister to be defending the villain of the piece and actually make sense. "Get your math book."
"Thank goodness the super had this." Gia pushes over a large flat cart like youíd use for shopping at the big warehouse store. Jesse had gone a little crazy at the oriental market and Penny if anything had been egging him on. "Because I would have deserted you and made you haul all this stuff up to your apartment on your own."
Jesse grins and shrugs as he drops the fifty pound bag of rice on the cart. All the odds and ends are piled on top of the rice including the rice cooker. He is starting to look forward to his mother arriving tomorrow. As soon as heíd been walking the aisles with Penny it had come back to him doing the same thing for his mother and he could pick out which of the things his mother would like. Thanks to the cart they are going to be able to take everything up in one trip.
Nik is ready to leave and has been for quite some time only biting his tongue because Penny seemed to be having a good time with the big Samoan. Even if he hadnít been able to understand a word she said.
"We should call Eliís for ribs." Penny suggests as she loads the last of the stuff on the cart. "Itís not real díkine BBQ but itís okay."
"Mainland style." Jesse sniffs dismissively then admits with a wink. "I got the number on my fridge." He is the only one that could push the cart after itís totally filled and he starts toward the elevator.
Nik hesitates before getting on the elevator. What is the weight limit for these things? "Penny, we should probably call my Uncle."
Penny looks at her watch. "Oh darn. I was supposed to meet with him an hour ago for lessons."
"Lessons. What kine lessons?"
"Nikolasí uncle is teaching me how to manage money. Until a few months ago I wouldnít have needed the lessons. The only thing I was managing was my tips. Now I have to think about investments, charitable donations, real estate dat kine ting. I give Nikís Auntie swimming and cooking lessons in exchange." Penny looks at Nikolas. "You know Tasha is going to be trying to get me in trouble to get out of her lessons."
Gia shakes her head. "Sheís really that bad? Marcus and Zander donít talk about their visits too much. I havenít gotten to see Alexis at all since..."
Nikís grin falls away. "Tasha is fine. We should be going, Penny."
Penny nods and they donít even get off the elevator. They just hold the door for Jesse and Gia, then go straight back to the parking structure.
Gia looks at Jesse. "Sorry. My fault."
"Whatís da problem with Nikís Auntie?"
"Alexis used to be my boss before I went to work with Dara Jensen. She was the best lawyer in Port Charles."
"Better than Miz Dara?"
"Dara never beat Alexis. Anyway, Alexis went kinda crazy after her daughter was born prematurely. She killed a guyĖ heíd threatened her and the baby, killed her sister. That was bad enough but it was piling more and more stuff on her, and she lost what was left of her mind. Marcus says sheís like an eight year old now. Smart and precocious for eight. Everything else is gone. Including remembering she has a daughter."
"Rough." Jesse shakes his head. He unlocks his door and wheels in the cart. Gia catches the door after them.
"Penny, according to Marcus, seems to have the best handle on how to deal with the situation. She knew Alexis before, of course, but sheís taking it like an opportunity. Alexis used to burn water. Penny is teaching her how to cook. Because she lives on Spoon Island, Penny is teaching her how to swim. She must be really wonderful with Alexis because Nikís uncle is a cold SOB. If the Cassadines arenít getting the best of the deal then they donít deal."
Dara glances at her watch. Sheís done with court and the courthouse complex for the day and starved. If she didnít get something to eat then sheíd probably end up doing something stupid. Not a good thing for an attorney to admit. She had at least another five hours of office appointments and work time in front of her. Itís time to refuel.
Two birds with one stone and a billable hour, she heads down under Kellyís to the recently reopened Flynnís. Hopefully they serve food. If not maybe Kellyís could send a sandwich down. She doesnít have long after putting in her order and taking a seat when Faith and Bruno arrive at the pub. They must have been out and about in the area when the bartender had called. Faith slides into the seat across from Dara and nods in Brunoís direction. Bruno leaves Faithís briefcase and heads over to the bar to put in Faithís order and his own. "Counselor."
"Mrs. Ashton." Daraís tone is wry. "Did you have a Happy 4th?"
"It didnít suck." Faith shrugs. "I was going to call and make an appointment with you anyway. Find out how itís going with the Charity. Also have this." Faith reaches into the briefcase and pulls out some standard real estate offer sheets. "You can follow up with these from here."
Dara looks at the addresses on the sheets. "Are you trying to create a conflict between you and one of my other clients? Because your grandmotherís will may have ticked me off because it was so sloppily written but Iím still not comfortable having you as a client."
Faith shrugs. "If you mean the football team? No conflict there. Just figured with all the work Nedís grandmother is doing down in that area that I should do my part."
"Right." Dara believes that one like she believes one of these offer sheets is for a nice bridge. She shrugs. What Lila did with the Chloe Morgan Memorial Park did increase the property value down on Courtland St.
"Unless you represent Jasper Jacks. Now he might have a problem with what Iím doing. Since Iím getting there first."
"Jax has his own team of lawyers." Dara shrugs.
Faith studies Dara consideringly. "You seem to have ended up being the Quartermaine Family Counsel: Me, AJ, Skye and Lydia too."
"Only until Justus gets back in town Iím sure. And Lydia, like Jax, has her own team of lawyers."
Faith sniffs and gives her opinion of Lydiaís situation. "Bloodsuckers working for the trustees. They need to be taken out. I received the packet you messengered over. Already got one of my guys working on it."
"I really donít want to know." Dara winces. She leans back from the table to make room for both of their lunches to be delivered. She gives the offer sheets more consideration to kill time and hopefully any personal conversation. She recognizes some of the addresses from her time in the DAís office. Thatís not saying much however since just about any address on Courtland had a connection to the DAís office whether it was as the home of a victim or a perp. "I hope youíre serious about cleaning this up." Dara looks at Faith. She has no illusions about her client, none at all. "I donít see what youíre getting out of it."
Faith shrugs. "What did Sonny get out of adding a wing to GH in his dead wifeís name? Sitting on the board of ELQ? Opening up Corinthos Morgan Coffee? My husband thinks I need a little positive PR. And Lila wants me to keep the Old Man out of everyone elseís hair. Speaking of that. You want to cause a little trouble? Strictly legit- I swear." Faith crosses the spot where her heart should be and tries to look innocent.
"Cause a little trouble." Dara repeats suspiciously.
"Yeah, Lila told me yesterday that the country club doesnít let women on the golf course. Club house sure, tennis courts oh you betcha but the golf course is evidently reserved for the guys."
Daraís jaw drops. "Youíre kidding right? Itís 2003; youíve got to be kidding?!"
"Iím thinking a nice foursome: me, the owner of the Herald, a litigious attorney and someone who just inherited more money than God. If they donít let us on the course then they would absolutely deserve what they get."
Dara absolutely hates the idea of having anything social to do with Faith but like Faithís grandmotherís will this is just too egregious to be passed over. "Make it for the weekend and Iím in. I might even have some clubs somewhere. I havenít played since college."
"Iíll have Ned make the reservation for us." Faith says eagerly. Kicking ass in any shape or form is her idea of a good time. She reaches for half of her sandwich with the relish of a healthy appetite.
Penny practically races into the study with her notebook in hand. "I am so sorry. I lost track of the time."
"It worked out for the best." Stefan dismisses the concern. "Tasha and I were able to review not only her myths..." That took about two minutes. "...and finish her maths. We are about to start with geography." Stefan spins the standing globe that is by the table that Tasha and Penny use for their studies. "Tasha, select your study."
Penny watches; itís kind of like pin the tail on the donkey as the globe spins and Tasha randomly puts her finger on the globe. Tasha gets her face right down on the globe to see what her finger is on and announces happily. "Nothing. There is nothing there. Iím all done."
Stefan comes over and examines the area where Tasha had put her finger. "Not quite. The South PacificĖ includes the islands of New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti."
"And technically where Iím from too." Penny adds to tempt Tasha. "The people of the South Pacific were explorers; they would go where the sea and wind would take them. The Hawaiians are South Pacific islanders too. The reason why Iím late. One of the new football players for Port Charles is from Hawaii too." Penny comes over to the globe. She puts her finger on Hawaii. "His mother lives here. But his people are from here." She trails her index finger over to Samoa.
"To understand the South Pacific islands youíd have to understand weather, ocean currents..." Stefan suggests.
"Volcanoes. Ship building, plants and animals that are only found in the islands." Penny shrugs. "There is really an awful lot there: food, culture and they didnít start writing things down until about 200 years ago."
Tasha perks up at that. "No books?"
Stefan squashes that hopeful thought. "Because they memorized everything and passed it down, Tasha."
"Through songs and dances." Penny answers. "Songs that were sung while rowing the outriggers across the water. Dances at family parties called luaus. And your brother probably empathizes a lot with the early people of Hawaii. Because they were the only place in the United States that started with their very own Queen. But the president and his cronies decided that there couldnít be any place in the United States with their own queen so they locked her in her room until she agreed to quit being Queen." Penny looks over at Stefan. "1895. There are folks in the islands who are still ticked over that one."
Stefan breaks out into a very rare grin. But then puts on his serious scholarly face. "I will order the materials today. Youíll start on your study of the South Pacific tomorrow."
Penny crooks her finger at Tasha and leans in as if telling a big secret. "You know what the first thing the Hawaiians made money from?"
"What?" Tasha whispers back; her eyes are wide.
"Sugar. In fact I think I have some 100% pure Hawaiian cane sugar at my place. I think making cookies for your brother would be good homework for today."
Stefan knows that nothing more will be accomplished today, and he does have to get the books to do the study of the South Pacific. "You are both excused."
Nik comes in as Penny and Tasha are leaving. He shakes his head. "You never let me off that easy."
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