"Lucky!" a voice yelled. Lucky turned around to see Emily running towards him.
"Hey Emily-" Lucky's words were cut short by a slap across his face. "What the hell was that for?"
"For leaving Elizabeth to fend for herself for weeks and for being such an idiot."
"Liz told me, Lucky."
"How much?" Lucky asked, growing pale.
"Everything." Lucky's eyes closed momentarily.
"And you're still wondering why I've been gone? Trying to find a place to stay without tipping off your father is quite a feat, especially in this town!"
"What are you talking about?" Lucky looked up and saw real confusion in Emily's eyes. He realized Elizabeth hadn't told her everything.
Lucky looked around him.
"Uh, Emily, can we go somewhere where I won't be overheard?"
"Sure. Oh! Ned's out of town! We can go to the gatehouse."
"Great." Lucky sighed, hating to have to burden another person with the story of his life.
"Mr. Jacks, I would like for you to meet my baby sister, Ria Dubois. Ria, this is Mr. Jacks."
"Please, just call me Jax." Jax smiled at Ria. His brow furrowed in confusion. "Have we met before? You look very familiar." Ria smiled.
"I do not think so. I mean, it is not like I have a, uh, a twin running around Port Charles." Jax smiled back, finding her accent charming.
"Now, Mr. Jacks, would it be OK if I let Ria tag along on my Cassadine meeting? There won't be anything major going on, I hear that Nikolas will be tagging after Stefan today."
"That'll be fine, V. Oh, and tell Brender that I'll see her at five when she calls." Jax smiled and left.
"Brender? Who is Brender?" Ria asked in her normal voice as soon as Jax was out of earshot.
"It's Brenda. You've heard Anda talk about her!"
"Oh! It is that Brenda!" Ria took a shaky breath. "So, when is this meeting?"
"In ten minutes." Ria's eyes widened.
"Do I look all right?" Her eyes travelled self-consciously down herself, nervous about meeting her brother and uncle for the first time.
"Ria, you look fine. Now this will be business, so try not to fall asleep!"
"Funny, V, very funny."
"Miss Ardanowski." Stefan acknowledged her. Nikolas barely looked up from his papers.
"Mr. Cassadine, I hope you don't mind, but my sister was interested in learning the business, so since your nephew is tagging along on this meeting..." V trailed off.
"That is perfectly fine."
"Great." V stuck her head out he door. "Ria! It's fine, come on in."
Stefan gasped inwardly. He could have sworn that it was Lasha coming in that door. She had the same face except for the black hair and dark eyes. As she neared him, he noticed that the two were not as identical as he thought, but just similar. This Ria was taller and thinner, with a smaller nose and a mischievous glint in her eye. Stefan figured she must be a niece or cousin of Laura's.
"Stefan Cassadine, allow me to introduce my sister, Ria Dubois. Ria, Stefan Cassadine."
Nikolas' head shot up at the sound of her name. He nearly fell over from her shocking resemblance to Laura. Ria glanced sharply over at him before turning towards Stefan.
"Mr. Cassadine. It is a, uh, how you say, a pleasure." Ria smiled, shaking his hand.
"What part of France are you from, Miss Dubois?"
"Near Nice, actually."
"Ah, Nikolas! I see you've returned to us! Miss Dubois, may I introduce you to my nephew, Nikolas Cassadine. Nikolas, Ria Dubois."
Nikolas' eyes searched hers.
"A pleasure, Miss Dubois."
"Thank you, Mr. Cassadine." He knows, she thought. He's my brother and he knows it.
"Please, call me Nikolas." She knows I know, he thought, watching her reaction carefully.
"Then you must call me Ria." They smiled at one another and sat down.
"Nikolas, Mr. Cassadine, I call your attention to page twenty-seven," V began, as each one took his seat.
"N, it's L. Opposite answers. Are you alone?"
"Yes, that's right."
"Crap. Can we meet alone on the docks in five minutes."
"No! That's all wrong!"
"Fine! I will see to this!" Nikolas slammed down the phone. Stefan and V looked at him questioningly. Ria studied him.
"There is a problem I have to clear up at school."
"I told you not to go to public schools, Nikolas," Stefan sighed, glancing at his watch. Ria looked at Nikolas, and spoke without knowing why.
"Actually, this is perfect. I have been thinking about moving in with my sister. This would be a divine opportunity to see the schools here." V stared at her.
"Yeah. Ria, are you sure you want to leave with Nikolas, I mean, if that's fine with you, Nikolas."
"It's fine." Nikolas smiled charmingly.
"Oh, thank you!" Ria leaned down and hugged her sister. "I think he knows" Ria whispered in V's ear. "Well, I guess we will be, uh, off? Is that correct?"
"Yes, Ria. Be careful!" V called as Ria and Nikolas left.
"At least we can get down to business now, Miss Ardanowski."
"Correct, Mr. Cassadine." V replied, pulling Jax's checkbook out of her wallet.
"Where is this school?" Ria asked, as his pace quickened, taking them towards the waterfront.
"No school We're visiting a friend of mine," Nikolas replied, checking his watch. "You know you look exactly like her."
"How long have you known?" Ria replied, her accent gone.
"A week. You?"
"Three days. Does anyone else know?"
"Who?" Ria asked, her eyes full of panic.
"The friend and a family member."
"Not Helena." Ria replied.
"I see you're familiar with our colorful family history. No, not Helena."
"No, not Stefan." Nikolas replied, his eyes blazing.
"What did he do to you?"
"He lied and got caught, but he doesn't know he's caught yet." Ria looked up to see a boy, about a year younger than her, looking at his watch, leaning against a wall.
"You're late, Cassadine. Did Daddy dearest detain you? What's your- Oh my God." Lucky looked up in the middle of his remark. He walked slowly towards Nikolas and Ria.
"Frightening, isn't it?" Nikolas said as Lucky walked around Ria, scrutinizing her.
"What Xerox machine did ya pull her out of? Is this part of some new plan to mess with Steffin's head?"
"Excuse me? I-I don't understand." Ria replied, her accent back in place.
"Oh, cut the act, Ria. Il sait tout." Nikolas spoke in French to mess with Lucky's head a bit. >Il sait tout means He knows all.<
"Ria? Nikky-boy, I told ya to come alone! What's with the skirt? Ya kidnap her or somethin'?"
Nikolas tried not to smile. He waited for Ria's reaction.
"Aw, 'kidnap' is such an ugly word! I prefer 'persuaded relocation'." Ria replied suddenly without her accent. Lucky looked at her as though she had an eye in the middle of her forehead. Nikolas stared at her in admiration.
"P-persuaded relocation?" Lucky stammered in disbelief, the first Spencer to ever be at a loss for words.
"Well, the persuasion is usually after the relocation, but who really plays by the rules these days anyway?"
Ria caught Nikolas' eye and began to feel very mischievous. She sat down and fanned herself, pretending to think.
"Hmm. It's pretty hot in this part of the world. Maybe I should, I don't know, invent some sort of weather machine to cool things off a bit."
Nikolas was almost dying inside with laughter. Lucky was staring at her in horror, wondering if Helena had found the fountain of youth somehow. Ria jumped to her feet.
"Oh well. I might as well forget that. I'd either fall into it or get knocked upside the head with a bedpost." Lucky's mouth fell open, and he stood gaping at this strange girl. Nikolas lost it. He was laughing so hard, tears were streaming down his face. Lucky looked from Nikolas to Ria, wondering what the hell was going on. Ria just smiled and leaned against a wall.
Nikolas wiped the tears away from his eyes. He cleared his throat.
"Ria, this is Lucky Spencer-" Ria's smile vanished.
"I'm so sorry! Oh God, that was really rude! I- I had no idea that-"
"Ria, chill out a second!" Nikolas interrupted her. "Let him figure out who you are before you scare the boy half to death!"
"Sor-ry." Ria sat down where she was.
"Anyway, like I was saying! Ria, this is Lucky Spencer. Lucky, now brace yourself, little bro, this is Valéria 'Ria' Dubois."
"Not Mom and Stefan's Valéria!"
"The one and only!"
"Hold it!" Ria cried, jumping up from her sitting position to stand in between the two.
"What?" Nikolas looked at her in surprise.
"I thought I was Stavros' daughter. How did Stefan get thrown into the mix?"
"Great, the question of the year, back again to haunt us." Lucky muttered.
"We don't know and we don't particularly want to know. He just is. Apparently Stefan is our father."
"So Stavros was just basically an abusing, raping, kidnapping asshole who didn't even get his precious heir?"
"Bingo!" Lucky replied.
"Well, I hope he's having fun in hell with the rest of his forever damned family!"
"Is this what Mom meant about her forever altering the Cassadine line?" Lucky asked.
"I hope not!" Nikolas replied. "Anyway, this speeds up our plan dramatically. We only have two people to find before phase three of part one."
"What?" Ria asked.
"Our plan to make Stefan pay for lying to me for all of these years."
"But Nikolas, if Helena knew, you'd be dead by now."
"I gave him a chance three weeks ago to tell me. He didn't take it."
"What an idiot!"
"Yeah, well that's Vlad for you," Lucky muttered.
"You're welcome Steffin."
"Is this the Anti-Paternity Group or something?"
"You really don't want to know, Ria." Nikolas sighed.
"Nikolas, I just had a brainstorm!"
"God help us all." Lucky glared at him. "Sorry, knee-jerk reaction, Spencer."
"I got a knee-jerk reaction for both of you! Lord! Do you ever stop fighting?" Ria exclaimed.
"No," Lucky and Nikolas replied in unison.
"What's the brainstorm?" Ria sighed.
"That we let you in on the entire plan."
"Ria! Where are you!" V practically yelled into the phone.
"Where's your accent? And what did you mean he knows?"
"Hey, guys! A little privacy!" V could hear male laughter in the background.
"Ria, what have you done? Who is that?"
"My brothers. Li'l bro did some detective work while I was in France. They already knew and were going to contact me in some plan to mess with Steffin's head."
"WHAT?! How did they find out? Do they know about me or Anda?"
"I don't think so. By the way, you told me wrong. Stavros isn't my father. Stefan is."
"**WHAT?!?!?!**" V practically screamed.
"Shut up, V! They could hear you and now I'm a little bit deaf! Yeah, I'll tell you about it later."
"Don't tell them ANYTHING about Janna or Sonja or Anda or me, you hear me, kiddo? N-O-T-H-I-N-G."
"I won't tell them anything they don't already know, OK?"
"OK. Love ya, li'l sis. Be Careful!"
"Love ya too, big sis."
V sighed and picked up the phone.
"Anda, it's V."
"Oh, come off it, V. Something's wrong." V sighed into the phone.
"Well, to start off I took Ria to a meeting with Nikolas and Stefan."
"Oh, nothing much. Stefan stared at her as though he had seen a ghost, Nikolas' head jerked up when he heard her name, and Nikolas and Ria left together halfway through the meeting."
"Oh, Nikolas got some call about school and Ria made something up about wanting to check out the schools in Port Charles. Then I called her and it turns out Lucky Spencer did some research and found her and, what else?, oh yeah. STEFAN is her father!"
"That's what I said!"
"Uncle, may I have a word?"
"I was wondering if you would mind having a guest over for dinner?"
"You should probably warn Mrs. Lansbury, but other than that I have no objection. Who shall be joining us this evening? Miss Webber?"
"No. Ria Dubois, actually."
"Venus Ardanowski's sister?"
"The very same. That does not create a problem, does it?"
"No. Not at all."
"Dinner will be served at seven, I assume?"
"Good. I have to run by the hospital. Until then, Uncle."
Stefan watched Nikolas walk up the stairs, suddenly feeling a wave of guilt and fear.
"Lucky!" Elizabeth sank down onto her bed. "Where have you been?"
"I'm sorry, Elizabeth, but I had some things to work out."
"It's OK." Elizabeth smiled through the tears that had started falling without warning. Someone knocked at her door. "Can you hold on a second, Lucky? There's someone at my door."
"Sure." Elizabeth crossed over to her door, wiping away the tears with the hand that wasn't holding the phone. She flung open her bedroom door.
"Surprise." Lucky grinned. Elizabeth's mouth hung open, a million emotions going through her a second. She hadn't realized how much she'd missed him until this very second. Elizabeth just stared at him.
Elizabeth threw her arms around him, never wanting to let go.
Lucky almost fell over. Elizabeth had knocked him off balance, but he managed to catch himself before he put his arms around her waist. God, he had missed her. Lucky wondered why he was always such an idiot. He held her gently, not wanting to overwhelm her, until she started to move back slightly. Then he released her. Lucky looked at her, wanting to hold her again, but knowing better. He noticed the tears in her eyes and realized what horrible timing his vanishing act had been. Barely a month after her rape, leaving her without a friend.
"Oh God. Elizabeth, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have taken off like that." Elizabeth bit her lip and turned away slightly.
"I - I told you. I warned you. I knew if you left I'd fall apart."
"I was wrong. I let you down."
"Lucky, you helped me up! If you hadn't been there to begin with, I couldn't have gone further down."
"Don't do that."
"What?" Elizabeth turned to look at him.
"Don't you ever make excuses for me. I am responsible for my own actions. I was wrong. Don't twist it around and make me the hero."
"Lucky, I am not your mother and you are not your father!" Elizabeth cried.
"How can you be so sure? Ever since I was born, I have tried to be a duplicate copy of him! How the hell do you know I'm not?" Lucky yelled. Then it hit him. "I don't even know if I am," he whispered softly.
"Nikolas!" Nikolas sighed and turned around slowly.
"When did you get back? I mean, you said you'd call, did you just get back, or what?" Nikolas tried to keep his patience. This letting Sarah down slowly was really grating on his last nerve.
"I'm sorry, Sarah. I meant to call."
"Oh, that's all right, Nikolas." Nikolas tried not to sigh audibly. Sarah had that adoring puppy dog look in her eyes again.
"So what are you doing for dinner tonight?" Sarah asked.
As if on cue, a loud French voice called down the hall.
"Nikolas!" Nikolas looked up and tried not to smile. Ria came racing down the hall.
"Hello, Ria." They exchanged the customary French fake kiss-on-each-cheek.
"Is it not almost seven? I - I thought we would be gone by now." Ria pretended to suddenly notice Sarah. "Oh, I am sorry. I am Ria Dubois. And you are?"
"Je m'appelle Sarah Webber." Sarah smiled at her own wittiness. Ria smiled back and began to speak quickly in a long stream of French.
"Uh, pardon?" Sarah gasped. Ria laughed.
"I see you are not fluent like Nikolas here."
"No, I could never be as good as Nikolas." Ria looked at Sarah's obvious adoration and managed to stifle her laughter.
"Talking of Nikolas, we must be going. Your Uncle will be expecting us. It was a pleasure meeting you, Miss Webber."
"You too, Miss Dubois." Sarah replied uncertainly as Ria took Nikolas' arm and stepped into the elevator.
Chapters 6-10 | Return to Lifelike Main Page | Chapters 16-20