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~!**!~SECRETS and LIES~!**!~

Chapter 1
"Flight 227 from London to New York City is now boarding at Gate 11."

This is it, she thought. A small tear fell from her eye. Stop it, she scolded herself, you have to stay strong. Wiping her cheek, Anjelica picked up her bags and headed for the plane.
************
"Cook!! You know I don't like the raspberry turnovers! I like cherry!" Edward bellowed.

"Oh put a sock in it Edward!" Monica called back.

AJ nodded. "Yeah, give Cook a break!"

Lila put her hand on Edward's arm and said gently, "The raspberry turnovers are delightful, darling, you really should try them-"

Edward groaned. "Well you may like them, my dear, but I think they're terrible. All I ask for is a cherry turnover once in a while, but noooo....Cook always insists on giving me the damn raspberry ones-"

Just then an angry Cook ran in the living room.
"I'll give you the raspberry!"

Monica and AJ snickered. Lila covered her mouth with her hands so as not to upset Edward with her giggling.

"Ohhhhh that's it! You are fired missy! You will never prepare meals in my house again-"

"Excuse me? It's MY house!" Monica yelped.

As if right on cue, Alan entered the room and put in, "But I gave it to you!"
Emily came in behind Alan, and looked at AJ with eyes that said, this argument again?? AJ rolled his eyes and nodded.

"I've really had enough of this mutinous behaviour by our so called hired help! These people are insane!"

"Did you ever stop and think that maybe you are the crazy one?"

Everyone looked up.

"When the hell did you get here, Ned?" Edward demanded.

"I was hungry, so I came over here to see if Cook made any of her delicious raspberry turnovers this morning." he replied.

"Don't even get him started." Emily said.

"You know, young lady, that deviant really has been having a very negative influence on you. All you do is sass your elders when you should be respecting them!" Edward yelled.

"Father, can't you leave Zander out of a conversation for five minutes?" Alan said, looking tired.

"Ohhh, you better not be on that hoodlum's side-"

"Edward, dear, don't upset Emily, now that she's back home and finally feeling better," Lila said.

"She wouldn't have been in that horrible predicament if it wasn't for that blasted-"

"Enough Edward! Just stop it now!" Monica hollered.

"Don't you talk to me that way, I don't care if it is your house-"

"Finally, someone remembered!"

"But I gave it to you!"

AJ shook his head. "You people belong in an asylum."

"And you don't, Junior?" Ned snarked.

"Shut up Ned."

Emily let out a frustrated groan, and grabbed a muffin. "I'm going to see Zander. BUH-BYE!!" With that she hurried out the door, as her family continued their loud argument. On the way out, she ran into Skye, who was just coming down for breakfast.

"What's going on in there, Em?" she asked.

"Oh the usual...I don't even know how it started this time. But just a little tip, I wouldn't go in there just now if you plan on having a pleasant breakfast."

Skye peeked in the living room. "I think you're right. Thanks for the warning. I think I'll go to the PC Grill. Are you going to see Zander?"

Emily nodded.

"Have a good time."

"Thanks Skye." There was an awkward silence. Skye still felt guilty about the accident that had had Emily badly injured a month ago. The doctors had thought she might never walk again, but miraculously she had recovered. Skye still felt horrible about it.

As if reading her thoughts, Emily smiled at her sister. "Good luck with the family. I'll see you later," she said, as she left.

That smile made Skye feel a little better, but she still needed to get out of this zany house. Grabbing her purse, she left the mansion for the PC Grill.
************
~You call me strong you call me weak
But still your secrets I will keep
You took for granted all the times I never let you down
You stumbled in and bumped your head
If not for me then you'd be dead
I picked you up and put you back on solid ground
If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman
If I'm alive and well will you be there holding my hand~

Ugh, thought Anjelica, I've heard this song enough. She clicked the skip button on her Discman to proceed to the next song on her Napster-mix CD.

~I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
Get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand behind the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when the choice comes to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance~

That song gave Anjelica an awful twinge of guilt. She remembered how she and her mother had sang that song together at the local talent show- and won. Her mom had always been so good to her, and now she was deceiving her....
But it's what I have to do, she told herself, Now that I know what I know, I couldn't just do nothing. I can't just let that woman off the hook.
Anjelica's mom thought she was visiting her pen pal in New York. Anjelica cringed as she remembered her mom and dad giving her all that spending money, and kissed her goodbye at the airport. They had no idea what Anjelica was really going to be doing in New York.

"We should be landing in approximately 3 minutes at New York's La Guardia Airport. We hope you had a pleasant trip and we thank you for choosing EnglandAir."

Anjelica put her things back in her carry-on, then fished around in her purse to make sure she had her bus ticket. She found it, and took it out. New York City, NY to Port Charles, NY, 9:00 am. Anjelica checked her watch. Good. She would make it on time. Pretty soon she'd be in PC, and she would find what-who she was looking for.
************
"Table for one, ma'am?" the maitre'd asked.

"Yes, please." Skye replied.
As she sat down at her table, Skye noticed her cousin Chloe get up from a nearby table, where a man Skye had never seen before sat. Skye was bored so she decided to eavesdrop. She knew it was rude but Chloe had never been nice to her, so what the heck?

"Will you just leave me alone! I thought we agreed to be friends, but you keep following me, sending me gifts, I can't take it anymore Stefan!"

"Chloe, wait-"

"No, Stefan. Just leave me alone. For good." With that, Chloe left in a huff. Stefan got up from the table to follow her, but then thought better of it and turned away. Heading back to his table, he saw Skye staring at him.

"Something I can help you with?"

"Oh, uh...sorry. It's just...I uh, couldn't help but notice..." Skye felt her cheeks getting red, embarrassed that the attractive man had caught her listening in on their conversation.

"Ah, never mind. I'm sure everyone in the whole establishment couldn't help but notice either."

Skye felt a little better and laughed politely.

"I'm sorry, I don't believe we've met," he said, extending his hand. "I'm Stefan...Cassadine..." he said, almost embarrassedly. He prepared for her to make a scared or bewildered face and make a quick excuse to leave, like most people did when they found out who his family was. But she didn't.

"Skye Ch- Skye Quartermaine." she said, shaking his hand.

Stefan raised his eyebrows.

"I know what you're probably thinking," Skye said, laughing. "Oooh, she belongs to that weird family, better run. Right?"

Stefan smiled. That was exactly what he had been afraid she'd do to him. "Not at all. I was just surprised...I didn't know there was another Quartermaine relative out there."

"I didn't know myself until recently-" Skye stopped herself. She had just met this man, why was she telling him all this? But she felt strangely comfortable around him.

"Hmm...so I take it you're new in town?"

"As a matter of fact, I am."

"So, where's the family?"

"Oh...they were having about their 11 billionth argument, and I was in the mood for a peaceful breakfast, so I made a quick getaway."
Stefan chuckled.

"Sometimes family really makes you crazy," Skye said.

"I know exactly what you mean." Stefan replied.

"Well, since we're both alone, would you like to join me?"

Stefan smiled. "Sure."
************
Anjelica began to put her things away in her room at the Port Charles Hotel. She was glad that the lady at the desk had been old, and apparently didn't have the best vision- most people would have been suspicious of a 15 year old checking into a hotel all by herself. As she finished taking her clothes out of her suitcase, Anjelica's stomach grumbled. She realized she hadn't eaten any breakfast yet. Slipping into her Nike flip-flops, she headed to the elevator to go down to the Grill on the first floor.
************
"Thank you for a great breakfast, Stefan," Skye said.

"I'm glad we had the pleasure of meeting," Stefan replied. "Might I see you later?"

Skye smiled, flirtingly. "Oh, maybe...if I'm lucky."

As Stefan left, Skye moved toward the fancy mirror that was on the wall next to the elevator, to make sure that she hadn't totally embarrassed herself by talking to the charming, attractive Stefan Cassadine with eggs Benedict stuck in her teeth.
Just then the elevator door opened. Out stepped Anjelica. And she could not believe what she saw.


Chapter 2
Skye looked up from the mirror only to find a girl staring at her, with a frozen expression on her face.
"Can I help you? Is something wrong?" she asked.
Startled, Anjelica began to back up. "Um, no...I was just...I was just waiting for the elevator." she mumbled. She quickly punched the up button, and when the door opened she hurried inside.
Strange, Skye thought. Shaking her head, she left the PC Hotel.

Oh my God, Anjelica thought, leaning against the wall of the elevator. I don't believe it! Then, as the door opened and she headed back to her room, she slapped her forehead. There goes a perfect chance! I can't believe I froze up like that. But....no, now wasn't the right time. There are things I have to find out first. Flopping on her bed, she pulled her long auburn hair behind her ears into a ponytail, then reached for a phone. "Hello, room service? I'd like an order of French toast sent up to room B 170, please."
While she was waiting, she picked up her bag, and pulled out a large book. St. Gabriel High School, 1986. She flipped a few pages, until she found the page she had marked. She looked at the pictures with wide eyes. Cameron Caille. She smiled. With his dark hair and brooding eyes, her father looked like a typical movie star. Jessica Casey. Her mom had been so pretty in high school, with long blond hair, and bright blue eyes. Antoinette Chandler. Feeling her eyes tear up, but also feeling the anger bubble in her stomach, Anjelica quickly slammed the yearbook shut.
************
Back at the Quartermaine mansion, Skye entered only to be surprised by the silence. Such a difference from the warzone she had left behind that morning! Monica and Alan must be at work, Ned's probably at L&B, and who knows where Edward is. Who cares?

Skye went up to her room and picked up Cosmopolitan magazine. After flipping through a few pages, she threw it back on the bed. She was bored. She glanced around the room, looking for something to do, and her glance arrived at her calendar. What day was it anyway? July 15th. Then it struck Skye, hitting her like a ton of bricks. The next day was the anniversary of....oh, she couldn't even think about it. It was far too painful. But each year, when she tried to keep from thinking about it, the memory flooded her mind, threatening to drown her. She thought of Jessica and Cameron, but mostly she couldn't take her mind off of....
Skye stood up and shook her head, as if trying to knock the awful recollection out of her mind. She knew it was so long ago, and she should be over it by now. But it was still like a little pinprick in her heart, causing her great pain.
Skye decided to go out for a jog. If I don't, I'll go crazy. And a basketcase definitely could not survive in this godforsaken family.
************
An hour later, Anjelica was out taking a walk when she noticed a sign that said, "L&B Records Talent Search Tonight! Sign up today!" Anjelica had always loved singing. She was in the festival choir at school, but most of all, she loved singing with her mom. She sighed. She still felt really guilty about tricking her mom. She had just called her mom on her cell phone, telling her about the great time she was having in New York with her friend Rachel. When her mom had asked to speak to Rachel's mom, Anjelica had to think quickly, and made some lame excuse about how she was working all day and wouldn't be home until late. Anjelica hated lying to her mom, but this "mission" was so important to her.
Interested in the L&B talent search, she took down the address and called a cab.
************
"What are you doing here Skye?" Ned asked. "I'm busy."

"Oh yes, I can see how busy you are. It takes a lot of skill to sit on a couch and do nothing. But don't let me stop you." Skye retorted.

"Such wit. But really, why are you here?"

"I was just out for a jog, thought I'd stop in. I see you're having a talent search tonight?"

"Yeah. Winner gets a chance at a contract with L&B. Since Juan left town we haven't really found any fresh new talent."

"I used to be a singer you know. Back in Pine Valley."

"Are you saying you want to enter the contest?" Ned said incredulously.

"Hell no. That was a looong time ago. You wouldn't get me up on stage again. Just making conversation."

"I see."

"Grandfather really hates you working at L&B eh?"

"He doesn't exactly come to my concerts with pom poms, no. But since you're always kissing his ass, you probably don't approve either."

Skye raised an eyebrow. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"I see how you always cozy up to him, and how you two are always whispering. I know you're just trying to get in his good graces so you can bilk this family for every cent we've got!"

"Damn it Ned how many times do I have to say it? I am NOT after your family's money. I've got plenty enough of my own."

"Then why did you have to come into our lives and mess everything up, huh? What possible reason could you have?"

Just then, Anjelica's cab arrived outside, and she was just entering the building when she again was startled by who she saw inside.
Leaving the door open a crack, she stood and listened curiously.

"Okay, buddy, I've had it with you. I stop in here, and try to be friendly, but no, all you can do is bitch and moan, and put me down. Well fine. I guess it was wrong of me to try and get along with my own cousin."

Cousin? Anjelica's ears perked up. Then she saw Skye heading toward the door. She quickly hid behind a nearby evergreen.
After she saw that it was safe to come out, she headed back into L&B. Now that she knew the owner of L&B was Skye's cousin, she just had to win the contest! If she could get close to him, then she could find out everything she needed to know.

"Hi," she said. "I'd like to sign up for the talent search tonight?"

Ned got up, and held out a clipboard. "You're a singer?"

"Yes. I'm Anjelica Caille." she replied, while she filled in the sign up sheet.

"Well, nice to meet you, Ms. Caille. Be at Luke's Club at 8 pm tonight, okay? Thanks for signing up."

"Okay. See you." Anjelica headed out the door. She knew she was going to win the contest tonight. She had to. It was the perfect way for her to find out more about that b- about Skye.

Chapter 3
Later that evening, at Luke's Club....

''Welcome to the L&B Talent Search 2001! I'm Ned Ashton, and tonight you will be treated by several fresh, new talents!''
The audience applauded.
Ned continued, ''After the first round, the top three singers will be chosen. Each will sing one more song, and then the we'll choose the winner. The winner gets a practice recording session at L&B Records, and if all goes well, a contract with the company! All right, let's get started! Our first act is Teresa Bussey and Melissa Mayne, singing ''Volcano Girls''...

Everyone applauded as the two twenty somethings took the stage and began to belt out a Veruca Salt song. Skye looked around her table. Emily and Zander were listening intently, off to the side, Monica and Alan looked bored, AJ was making some crack about Ned, and Edward had his usual scowl on his face. What a bunch of party animals she thought sarcastically. It should be an interesting evening....
************
Backstage, Anjelica was pacing back and forth. She had never been nervous to sing in front of people before, but that had been when she was with the choir, or her mom. Again, stabs of guilt plagued her. Trying to make herself feel better, she thought Well, mom, if I win this, it will be for you! But she still didn't feel that great.

She peeked out through the curtains and watched a five guy boy band singing some O Town song. Blech. Scanning the crowd, Anjelica saw lots of people. Great, nothing like a full house when you're so nervous you could puke. Then her eyes stopped at one particular large table. Skye was there!! Anjelica was surprised. Okay, now I'm definitely singing Vow. Maybe she'll get my message.

Anjelica heard the band winding down and knew she was next, and then suddenly had a realization. She couldn't have Ned announce her real name! Not with her here! She quickly ran out around the stage and found Ned.

''Mr. Ashton! I want to change my name!''

''Well you might want to go to City Hall with that request'' Ned said jokingly.

''No, no I mean like a stage name. I want you to announce my stage name!''

''Oh....Ok. Sure. What's this 'stage name'?'' asked Ned, smiling.

Anjelica turned red. She hadn't exactly had one planned. ''Umm....Roxie Thunder.'' That was the first name that came into her head, for some reason.

''Okay, Roxie Thunder it is.'' Ned said. ''Well you're next, so get backstage!''

Anjelica nodded. Then she laughed. Roxie Thunder? What the heck was I thinking?

''All right, thank you Intense,'' Ned called. ''Our next act is Anj...I mean, Roxie Thunder, with Vow. Give it up for Roxie Thunder!''
The audience clapped. Skye snickered at the tacky name. Then her eyes narrowed when the young teen with the long, curly auburn hair came out on the stage. For some reason she seemed familiar...had she seen her somewhere before?

The music started, and Anjelica began to sing, with her sultry, powerful voice. She sang with all her heart, because she really meant the lyrics, especially since Skye was sitting just a few feet away.

~I can't use what I can't abuse
And I can't stop when it comes to you
You burn me out but I'm back at your door
Like Joan of Arc coming back for more
I nearly died
I nearly died
I nearly died
I came to cut you up
I came to knock you down
I came around to tear your little world apart
I came to shut you up
I came to drag you down
I came around to tear your little world apart
And break your soul apart
You burn and burn to get into my skin
I've gone to far, now I won't give in
You crucified me but I'm back in your head
Like Jesus Christ coming back from the dead
I nearly died
I nearly died
I nearly died
I came to cut you up
I came to knock you down
I came around to tear your little world apart
I came to rip you up
I came to shut you down
I came around to tear your little world apart
And break your soul apart~

Geez, Skye thought,That girl has issues. But she had to admit, she was an excellent singer, despite her strange choice of songs.

The audience cheered, and as Ned introduced the next act, the trouble began.

At the bar, Roy said to the new waitress, ''Take this to the Quartermaine table.''

''Which one is that?''

''That huge one right by the stage.''
Anjelica, who was coming down to get a drink of water, realized they were talking about Skye's table. And she got an idea. When Roy went out back, she said to the new waitress,

''Hey, I'll take that. They need you at table 3.''

''What?'' said Tara, the new waitress. ''Do you even work here? I just saw you up on stage.''

''Oh yeah, of course I do!! I was, uh, I'm just not in my uniform today because I had to perform. But I'm on duty now. I'll take this to the Quartermaine table, and you better hurry to table 3. I think one lady is having a total cow because she's thirsty. Hurry!''

Tara's eyes got wide. ''Okay! Thanks for telling me.'' She ran off. Anjelica giggled. That was almost too easy.
Looking behind the bar, she found a bottle of tabasco sauce. Heheheh, perfect.
She took it out, then wondered which one was Skye's. She saw four Cokes, two glasses of red wine and a martini. Hmmmm, she thought, she seems like the martini type. And if not, oh well, it'll be funny anyways. She poured some of the spicy sauce into the drink, then quickly stirred it. She grabbed the tray and carefully tried to balance it, then carried it to the Q's table. She set it down then hurried off before they could notice her. Then she hid behind a table to watch. This was going to be great!
Monica, Alan, Zander, Emily, AJ and Skye took their drinks.

''Alan,'' Edward said, ''could you pass me my martini please?''
Anjelica covered her mouth. Whoops! She couldn't watch as
Edward took his first sip...

''SWEET JESUS! What the hell is this?''

Anjelica snorted.

''What is it, Edward?'' Monica asked.

''Taste this!''

Monica smelled it. ''No thanks.''

''Ooooh that Luke!! We pay big bucks for this and he tries to poison us!''

''Grandfather, shut up. It was just a mistake.'' AJ had a big grin on his face. So did Skye. And Emily and Zander for that matter.

''This is unacceptable. And we wouldn't be in this dump if it weren't for that fool Ned, playing musician when he should be worried about ELQ...''

''Leave Ned alone, Father.'' Alan said.

''No, no, please go on,'' AJ said, laughing.

''AJ...'' Emily said warningly. ''Don't start another fight.

''Why not?'' he replied. ''It's what we do best.''

Monica rolled her eyes. ''Here we go again.''

Pretty soon, the Q's were engaged in yet another big blow up. Skye really couldn't take much more of this. She tapped Alan on the shoulder.

''Dad? I'm not really feeling well, I think I'm going to head home to rest.''

''Are you okay?'' Alan looked worried.

''Yeah, I just have a headache. I should probably just lay down, relax. I'll be fine, don't worry.''

''Well, okay.''
************
Half an hour later, Skye was at home in the mansion, watching TV when the doorbell rang. Reginald had the night off and was on a date with Leticia, so Skye went to get it. She opened the door.

''Mother? To what do I owe this pleasure?''

''Can I come in, Skye?'' asked Rae.

''Yeah, I guess. No one's here. What are you doing here?''
They sat down on the couch.

''Well, the stress from the trial is really getting to me, so I needed to get out of town for a while. I decided to come and see how you are doing. How are you? Are you fitting into the family okay?''

Skye smirked. ''Well, if being a participant in the Quartermaine family wars is fitting in okay, then I guess I'm doing fine.''

Rae laughed. ''Sounds like you have your hands full.''
Skye nodded. Rae began talking, but Skye could only half hear her. Her thoughts had began to drift back to Jessica and Cameron, and....the anniversary of that awful day so many years ago. Tears began to well up in Skye's eyes.

''Skye, what is it? Are you crying?''

Skye looked away. ''No.''

''Skye what's wrong?''

''Nothing.''

''You can tell me.'' Rae really hoped that she could get Skye to open up to her. She looked so upset.

''Just leave me alone! You wouldn't understand, okay? No one understands! No one knows! And I certainly can't talk about it with you!''

Rae put her hand on Skye's shoulder. ''Skye, I think I know why you can't- won't open up to me. You still think I abandoned you before, right? But Skye, really...when they told me you were dead, when they said that my daughter had died, I was inconsolable. Really.''

Skye burst into tears. ''Rae please! Just stop!''

Rae went on, ''I think I know what your problem is, and if we can just talk, I think-''

''No! You don't know anything about me! You don't know what I think, or what I feel! No one does! I can't talk about it, okay! It just...'' Skye's voice trailed off, and the tears really started to flow now. ''It just hurts too much.'' She wanted to talk to someone, desperately, to ease the pain, but she just couldn't talk to Rae. The whole mother-daughter thing...it just brought so much pain. There had been times in the past when she wanted to talk to Rae, but it brought things up that hurt her so much, she just couldn't. She felt awful, but she couldn't help it.

''Skye, I- I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you. I just-''

Skye wiped her eyes. ''I'm sorry too...but I just can't talk to you right now, Rae. It's too hard.'' For every tear she wiped away, a new one fell.

Rae's heart broke to see her daughter this way. She was usually so strong, so tough...but when her vulnerable side shone through, it was just heartbreaking. She wanted so much to help her, but she knew Skye really couldn't, or didn't want to talk to her right now.

''Can you please leave, Rae? Please?'' It wasn't an angry demand, sort of a desperate plea.

''Are you sure you'll be okay?''

''Yeah. I will.''

''Well, okay. But call me if you need me, if you're ready to talk.''

''Okay.''
With that, Rae left, and Skye flopped down on the couch, and a whole new set of tears came streaming down her face.
************

''I think I'm going to go home and check on Skye. No one answered the phone.''

Monica sighed. ''Alan, she's probably just sleeping. Stay here.''

''But she didn't answer her cell phone either, and there's no way she could miss that loud ring. I'll see you later, Monica.'' He kissed her forehead and left.

Just then Ned came out to announce the three finalists. ''They are---Teresa Bussey and Melissa Mayne....Frank Zucco...and Roxie Thunder!''
************
Alan silently came in the living room, where he saw Skye laying on the couch, crying.

''Skye?'' he said softly.

Skye looked up. ''Oh, hi Dad.'' she still had trouble getting used to calling him that.

''What's the matter, sweetheart?''

''It's, it's nothing. I'm fine.''

''Oh, honey. You don't look fine. Please. You can talk to me, you can tell me anything. I want to help in any way I can. I love you, Skye.''

Skye felt a wave emotion for him. She could tell he really meant it, and she appreciated that so much. She knew Rae meant it too, but the whole mother-daughter thing brought up too many painful things. But Alan didn't do that, and she really needed to talk to someone about this before she cracked.

''Well...tomorrow is the anniversary of...oh, I better start from the beginning I suppose.''

''Okay. You can tell me anything. I'm listening.''

''Well, remember when you asked me what I was doing the night of my high school graduation?''
Alan nodded.

''Well, it was June 15th, 1986...''
************
Anjelica had just finished singing ''Can't Fight the Moonlight'' and was on stage with the others, waiting for the winner's name to be announced.

''Okay, it's time to find out which one of you will be a possible new L&B Rising Star!'' Ned said. ''Who gets a test recording session? The winner is.....Frank Zucco!''

Anjelica's heart sank. After shaking hands with Frank, she sullenly climbed off the stage. There goes my chance.
************

''Skye, I'm so glad you told me all this. It means a lot that you would trust me.''

''Thank you for listening. I really needed to talk to someone about this.'' Skye wiped her eyes.

Alan hugged her. ''And don't worry. I'll make sure the family is on their best behaviour tomorrow. I don't want the day to be any harder on you than it has to. And if you want to talk any more, I'll always be here.''

Skye returned his hug. ''Thank you,'' she whispered.
************
Anjelica was still sitting at the table, head in her hands, when Ned spotted her and went over to her.

''I'm sorry you didn't win. It was really close between you and Frank.''

''That's okay.'' she said softly.
Ned felt bad for the young girl. She had been so excited, so eager.

''You know,'' he said thoughtfully, ''We have room for a couple internships at L&B this summer. You know, listening to demo tapes, organizing mail, working in the stock room, watching a few recording sessions...would you be interested?''

Anjelica's face lit up. ''Really?''

''Sure.''

''Thanks Mr. Ashton! I'd love to!''

''Okay, then it's a deal. Be at L&B tomorrow morning and we'll get started.''
Anjelica couldn't believe her luck. Sure, she wouldn't be off on a world tour, or number one on the charts any time soon, but she got to work at L&B, and had the chance to really find out some stuff about Skye. My plan couldn't be going better! she thought.


Chapter 4
A week later

"Wyndermere is really beautiful, Stefan." Skye said, admiring all the ancient artwork and furniture.

"I'm glad you like it. I've always been interested in ancient Greek and Russian culture. They have a lot of beautiful things. But do you know what else is beautiful?"

"What?" Skye asked, smiling.

"You." He leaned in for a kiss, and Skye happily accepted. This was the third time they had got together since the night of the L&B concert. Skye was really starting to like him a lot. And the feeling was mutual.

"Stefan, can I ask you something?"

"Sure, anything."

"Well, would you want to...oh, no, never mind. You wouldn't want to."

"Just ask. I may surprise you," he said slyly.

"Well...today's my birthday, and..."

"You didn't mention that! I wish I would have known."

"Well, birthdays haven't always been that pleasant...but anyways, the Quartermaines are having a party for me--Alan's idea, I'm sure--and, well, I really can't stand any of the rest of them, except for Lila...do you think you could come? So I'm not a complete loner? You don't have to if you don't want to..I know the Q's aren't the easiest people to get along with. I mean, if you don'T want to I'll completely underst-"

"Skye, Skye!" Stefan said, laughing, holding his hands up. "I'll go."

"You will?"

"For you, anything. I can't leave you alone to fend for yourself with those crazy people. And if Edward starts to get on my nerves, I'll just casually remind him that I'm richer than he is," he replied, laughing.

Skye began to laugh too. She felt so happy when she was around him. You wouldn't suspect it, but he really had a charming, dry sense of humour. She kissed his cheek. "Thank you."

"If it makes you happy, then I'll be there. What time is the party?"
Skye gave him all the details, then kissed him goodbye before she headed to the launch. She had some things to do before the party, and she wanted to go shopping for the perfect outfit. She wanted to look good for Stefan.
************
At L&B, Anjelica sorted through the mail, and saw Ned come in. He didn't appear to be doing anything, so she decided that this was as good a time as any.

"Mr. Ashton- sorry...Ned?"

"Yeah, Anjelica?"

"Umm...do you know an Antoinette or Skye Chandler?" she said innocently.

"I know a Skye Chandler, why...." Ned asked, puzzledly.

"Well, um...I'm an old friend of hers...I haven't seen her in many many years. And I just got in town a couple weeks ago, and I want to see her. But I don't know where she lives. Do you know where I could find her?"

"Actually, I live right next to her. She lives in the Quartermaine mansion. Is she expecting you?" he asked.

"Um....well, not really, but...I know she'd want to see me, and...it's just...we haven't seen each other in a long time, and...I need to find her..and..."

Ned looked at her with skepticism. "Well, Anjelica, why don't you tell me the truth. Why don't you tell me what you really want with that gold-di---with Skye."

Anjelica took a breath, and stopped to think. She had been working with Ned for a week, and he seemed really nice, like someone she could trust. Also, she knew he wasn't fond of Skye, especially after his last remark. He would probably want to help, and I really do need to talk to someone....

"Okay, I'll tell you...I'm not really Skye's friend. But I do know her from long ago. And she's...she's a really bad person. I..I hate her."

"Why don't you start from the beginning," asked Ned, intrigued.
************
"Dear, the decorations look beautiful. It's going to be a lovely party, I'm sure." Lila said.

"Thank you Grandmother. But you can thank Alan for the decorations. He worked very hard." Skye replied, smiling at her father.

"I only want what's best for you." he said.

"Thanks, Dad."

"Okay, here's the guest list...of course Edward and Lila, Monica and myself, AJ, Ned, Emily and Zander, and Chloe..."

Joy, thought Skye.

"Is there anyone else I should invite?"

"Well, I, uh...I invited a date, if that's okay."

"Sure, sweetheart. Um..who is it?" he asked, glad that Skye was making friends in PC.

"Stefan Cassadine?"

Joy, thought Alan. "That's fine honey," he said, smiling at his daughter. She returned his smile. Well, if he makes her happy....

"Is there anyone else we should ask to come?"
Skye thought for a moment, then remembered what had happened that night of the concert. She still felt kind of bad about being so mean....

"Well, there is one person." Skye picked up the phone, and typed in Rae's cell phone number.
************

"That is an interesting story. But an awful one. Are you okay?" Ned said, putting a hand on her shoulder, as she wiped her eyes.

"Yeah. I'm just...I'm just mad, that's all."

"So I guess that explains your choice of songs at the concert last week. What do you want to do to her? You sounded like you wanted to kill someone."

"No...I don't know what got into me that night. Just seeing her there, and her not recognizing me...I mean how could you forget your....No I don't want to kill her, don't worry. I'm no psycho. I just want to embarrass her, I want everyone to know what a bad person she is. But mostly I just want to ask her straight out, no lies, no bull, why she left me."

Ned got an idea. "I think I know how you can do that."

"Really?"

"Yeah, tonight is Skye's birthday....so there will be a lot of the people there. Our whole family. Maybe a few friends, if she has any..."

"You mean, I should come?"

"Sure. I'll give you the address."

"Thanks so much Ned!! I appreciate this a lot!"

"Well, I wouldn't mind seeing that gold-digger get what's coming to her either. Especially now after I know what she did to you."
He wrote down the address of the Quartermaine mansion for Anjelica, and then they went back to their work, each very pleased with themselves.
************
Three hours later
Skye's party had just started. All the Q's were there, whether they liked it or not. Zander and Emily were talking closely in one corner of the room, Edward was pouring himself a drink, Monica was talking to Lila and Chloe, and AJ was fiddling with the stereo. Skye looked at Ned. I wonder why he's got that big, cocky grin on his face?? She shrugged it off.
Suddenly the doorbell rang.

"I'll get it!" called Skye. She couldn't wait to see Stefan, she was going to go out of her mind if she had to be with the Q's alone for one more dreadful minute.
Before Reginald could get to the door, Skye burst past him and quickly opened the door. It wasn't Stefan.

"Rae."

"Hi Skye," Rae said warmly. "Happy birthday. It- it means so much to me that you invited me tonight." She stepped in, and handed Skye a brightly coloured package.

"Oh Rae, you didn't have to do this-"

"I wanted to. Really."

"Well, thank you." she smiled at Rae. That smile made Rae's heart soar with hope.

"You know Rae," Skye began, biting her lip, "I'm...I'm sorry I was so mean to you last week."

"Oh, don't give it a second thought. I know you were upset. And you don't have to tell me about it if you don't want to, or if it's too hard."

Skye felt a little relief, but she was also surprised to realize that she was starting to feel something for Rae other than anger...Rae tried so hard to reach out to her, and she tried so hard to be kind and understanding...if she only knew why it was so hard for Skye to be in a mother-daughter relationship, when she couldn't have....but she decided to maybe make a little effort.

"Maybe, um...maybe we could talk about it sometime. If, if you still want to. If I feel like I can."

Rae smiled. This was the first time Skye had made a real attempt to be truly nice. "Sure! Whenver you feel you're ready."

There was an awkward silence. "Um....well let's go into the party, shall we?" Skye said at last.

"Sure."
Ten minutes later, just as Skye was opening her presents, the doorbell rang again.

"Stefan Cassadine here to see you, Ms. Quartermaine," Reginald announced.

"Thank you Reginald." Skye said. Stefan walked in. He didn't even notice Chloe standing there, looking surprised.
He gave Skye a quick kiss on the cheek. Now Chloe looked even more surprised. But she didn't say a word.

"This is for you," he said, holding out a small package.

"Oh, Stefan, you really didn't have to,"

"No, but I wanted to. Open it."
Skye carefully unwrapped the beautiful shiny paper, and saw a small box. She opened it, and let out a gasp.
It was a necklace, with delicate, dark rubies and diamonds. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.

"Oh Stefan, you really shouldn't have...."

"Oh yes, I should."

"It looks like something a princess would wear."

"Exactly. That's why I picked it out for you." She tried to put it on, but had trouble with the clasp. Stefan helped her get it on, and the rest of the Q's just tried to look away, feeling uncomfortable. Except for Emily, who let out a little "awwww". Skye giggled.

"Thank you so much, Stefan. I love it."

"I'm glad."
She gave him a little kiss, and he returned it, for once not caring one ounce about Chloe Morgan.
A few minutes later, Skye thought she heard a faint knock on the door, but no one mentioned it, so she just figured it was her imagination.

"I'm going to ask Cook to bring out the cake," Ned said suddenly. He left the room. A few minutes later, he returned, but not with a cake. Seconds later, a girl entered the room. Boy, Ned thought, They're more alike then either of them know. Didn't a scene similar to this just happen a few months ago? He snickered quietly.

"Happy birthday." she said bitterly. "Why wasn't I invited?"

Skye looked puzzled. "I'm sorry...Do I know you?"

Anjelica made a face. "You should."

"I'm sorry, I don't think I do..."
Anjelica felt an angry tear start to fall. She really doesn't recognize me....how could she not?

"Have we met?"

"Uh, yeah! I don't think it's a meeting you could forget."
Skye was baffled. She thought for a moment.... "Oh, you were in Ned's concert last week!"

"Mmm hmm..."

"Hey, and didn't I see you outside the elevator by the Grill."

"Wow, you're quick. But you really don't know who I am, do you? Well thanks a lot, that makes me feel great." The tears began to fall now. Anjelica continued. "Thank you so much for making me feel so special by forgetting me completely! It's bad enough you had to leave--you had to forget I existed too?"
Now all the Q's and Stefan looked just as confused as Skye.

"I..I don't know what you want me to say...I honestly don't know who you are."

Anjelica took a deep breath.

"Who are you?" Skye said.

"I'M YOUR DAUGHTER DAMN IT!"

Skye's eyes got wide, and her chest got all tight. "No..."

"Yes. Nice little family reunion, eh? Do you rememeber me NOW?"

Skye's eyes started to tear up. "No, you can't be my daughter. You can't be. My daughter is dead."


Chapter 5

"She's dead," Skye repeated, almost in a whisper.

"Uh, hello?" said Anjelica. "I'm standing right here. You can't avoid me this time."

"No...you can't be...Anjelica died."

"Sorry to disappoint you," Anjelica said bitingly, "But I'm Anjelica Caille, and I AM your daughter, whether you want to admit it or not."

"Dear Lord what has this living room become? A three ring circus?" Edward bellowed.

"Didn't this same scene just take place a few months ago, Skye?" AJ said rudely.

"Okay, that is enough!! Alan shouted. "Everyone get out of here, let them have their privacy!"

"Yeah, um...Zander and I were gonna go catch a movie...or something..." she and Zander quickly left.

"I, uh, have to check in at the hospital," Monica said, leaving.

"Gotta go to L&B," Ned added quickly. He didn't want to be around if Anjelica revealed his hand in all this.

"Edward, dear, let's go to bed. I'm so very tired," Lila said.

"Well..." Edward stood there for a moment.

"Now Edward!" Lila commanded. Edward didn't have to think twice.

"Skye, you can call me any time. Or, come to Windermere if you'd like. Any time." Stefan kissed her cheek and left.

"I have to meet Alexis," Chloe said, and slipped out of the room.

AJ still sat on the couch, looking amused.

"AJ, now! Alan yelled.

"Okay okay," he said, rising from the couch and heading for the door. "It was nice to meet you. I guess what they say is true, like mother like daughter..."

"Skye," Alan said, looking at his daughter with concern, "I'll be right upstairs if you need me, okay?"
Skye nodded.
Now only Rae was left in the room with Skye and Anjelica.
"Well, I'll, uh, I guess I should go back to the hotel," she mumbled, heading for the door.

"Rae," Skye said softly. "Wait."
Rae turned around quickly.
"Will you stay?"
Rae nodded. "Sure." She walked over to Skye and put her hand on her daughter's arm.
Skye figured she needed Rae right now. She could use some support, she was so confused and in shock, and she knew Rae would be willing to help her in any way that she could. Plus, she was a psychologist and had much more experience with children and teens than Skye did. She really knew nothing about this person claiming to be Anjelica-maybe she was crazy! She definitely needed Rae on her side.
"Thanks," she whispered.
"Skye, maybe you should sit down," suggested Rae.
"No, I'm okay." Skye turned her focus back to the red-haired young teen. She did look like she could be her daughter, but....it wasn't possible! Was it?
"How can you be my daughter? She's...she's dead," Skye said, the tears beginning to stream down.

"Why do you keep saying that? Is that what you want? Not only do you not want me, you want me dead too?" Anjelica said, the most heartbreaking look on her face.

"What? I don't understand..." Skye said, so many emotions running through her head. Confusion, sadness, surprise, fear, shock...

"Um, maybe you should let Anjelica tell her side of the story," said Rae.
Skye just shrugged, unsure of what to say anymore.

"Why do you think you're Skye's daughter, sweetie?" Rae asked gently.

Anjelica took a deep breath, trying to compose herself. But it was no use. A new set of tears just fell again.

"I..I always suspected, you know...that my parents weren't my real parents...I mean we looked nothing alike...so I was suspicious. I could never ask them about it though...mom seemed so sad sometimes, I didn't want to upset her...

Then one day a couple months ago I left to walk to school, but I realized I had forgotten my lunch money on the kitchen table. So I went in the backdoor that leads to the kitchen. I guess mom and dad didn't hear me....

Anyways, I heard them talking in the next room. I don't know why I stopped to listen, but I guess it's a good thing I did...

'Did you hear about Skye Chandler?' said my dad. 'Turns out she's not a Chandler after all, she's a Quartermaine. I saw it in a tabloid.'

'I don't care about that witch,' said my mom. 'Don't you ever mention that name in this house again!' I had never heard my mom sound so angry before.

'But Jessica,' my dad went on, 'I just thought you might want to know where she is. In case...well God forbid an accident ever happen...but if Anjelica needed her, for blood or something, we should know where she is. She's in New York.'

'Shut up! I said never mention her again! I don't care about her. I don't care if she gave birth to Anjelica. She's not her mother. I am.' mom said.

They argued some more, but I wasn't listening. I was so upset, so shocked...I just ran out of there. I had to get away."

"You poor thing," Rae said.
Skye just sat there with a confused, sad look on her face. She couldn't even speak.

"When I got home from school that day," Anjelica continued, "I couldn't just pretend like I hadn't heard them. I went straight to my mom and dad and asked them. 'Is Skye Chandler my mother?' I asked. I told them what I heard them say. I even repeated it word for word so they couldn't deny it. Finally my mother told me the truth.

She told me that you were my biological mother, but that was it. After you had me, you gave me to them. You didn't want to have a daughter. You didn't want me. You hated me, she said. And I want to know why! I just want to know why you hate me, and why you just left me!" Anjelica collapsed in a storm of tears.

Finally Skye seemed to get her voice back.
"No! That's not what happened!" she hurried to Anjelica, and helped her up. She put her hands on Anjelica's shoulders. "That's not what happened. You have to believe me. I don't hate you! How dare Jessica say that. I loved you!"

Rae just watched as if she were watching a movie. Her heart broke for Skye and Anjelica both. She wanted to help them, but she didn't know quite what to say, quite what to make of it all.

"Then how did it go, huh? Why don't you give me your side of the story?" Anjelica yelled.

"Sit down, okay?" Skye said. Anjelica didn't protest, and they all sat down.

"During my senior year of high school, I found out I was pregnant with you. I was surprised, but I was happy. My boyfriend was away on vacation when I found out. When he came back, I told him I was pregnant. But...well I don't know if I should tell you this part."

"Just tell me. I can handle it." Anjelica said, wiping her eyes.

"Well...he- he wanted me to get an abortion. He wasn't ready to be a dad, I guess."

Skye cringed as she watched Anjelica's face fall.

"I'm so sorry, I didn't want you to hear that..."

"No it's okay. Just go on."

"Okay...well I said no of course. There's no way I would do that to my baby. When I refused, he got mad, and he broke up with me. He wouldn't even speak to me.

Then, on my graduation night, June 15, 1986...well let's just say I wasn't out partying. I didn't even make it to the ceremony. I was giving birth to you."

"I'm sorry I was so much trouble."

"No! Don't ever think that! I loved you!"

"Then why did you get rid of me?"

Skye sighed, then continued. "Well, a few days after I had you, I realized I couldn't take care of you, not just yet. I was a mess...my boyfriend left me, my father was on the other side of the world...my mother...well I don't even want to go there. But Jessica was engaged to Cameron, they had just moved in together. They had a home, a fair income...I asked Jessica if they could take care of you, just for a little while, while I got my head together. Just for a little while!

Then about a month later, I was feeling a lot better, and I had decided to move to Pine Valley, where my father was, and start a new life. Only one person knew my plans, my friend Suzie. The day before I was planning on coming to get you, Jessica called me.

She was in hysterics. I asked her what was wrong, she sounded awful. She was crying uncontrollably. She said that there had been an awful accident. An awful accident. I feared the worst. And she confirmed my fears. She said that you had suddenly gone into convulsions, and you hit your head really hard. You were dead. She said you were dead. She said there couldn't be a funeral because she was so completely upset. She told me you were dead!" Skye was sobbing really hard now, and Anjelica was too.

Suddenly everything was clear to Rae. She finally realized why Skye always pushed her away, why she wouldn't allow herself to talk to Rae, why she wouldn't allow herself to get close to her. Whenever Rae brought up their past, about how the doctors had told her that baby Skye was dead, it brought up all these painful memories for Skye. She couldn't deal with the pain, so she couldn't talk to Rae. And she couldn't allow herself to have a close mother-daughter relationship with Rae, because it wouldn't seem fair to do that since she couldn't have a relationship with her own daughter. Rae felt like running up to Skye, giving her a big hug, telling her everything would be okay, but she knew now wasn't the time. She just sat silently, and wiped away a tear.

Skye continued. "I was completely devastated. I couldn't even bring myself to go visit Jessica and Cameron, I was too upset. I mourned, all alone, for a week. Then I knew I couldn't just sit and cry for my whole life. I went to Pine Valley like I planned, but I was still a total wreck inside. I put on a brave, strong front for everyone, so they wouldn't see how I was crying inside. They probably all hated me, but I needed to at least appear strong, in order to keep from totally falling apart. I...I had no idea you were still alive! If I knew, I never would have left you! I'm so sorry...I'm so sorry!"

Anjelica just looked stunned. "No...why would my mom lie like that? To you? To me?"

Skye just shook her head. "I don't know. I don't know," she repeated. "Just please don't hate me. I'm so sorry."
Anjelica didn't know what to think or who to believe anymore.

Suddenly Reginald popped his head in. "Sorry to interrupt, but there's someone out there looking for an Anjelica Caille?"

"Not now Reginald, please," Skye said. Reginald left, but suddenly the doors burst open.

When Skye saw who it was, she felt such anger, sadness, betrayal, and hate. She got up from the couch and faced her.

"Jessica! How could you?!


Chapter 6
"Mom?" asked Anjelica.

"You get the hell away from my daughter!!" Jessica yelled, slamming the doors shut. "You made her cry, you witch!" she shrieked, noticing Anjelica's tear-stained, trembling face.

Rae got up from her chair. "Skye did nothing of the sort! Now what do you think you're do-"

"Who the hell are you?" Jessica interrupted.

"She's my mother," Skye said.

"You aren't Althea!" Jessica shouted.

"No, I'm Rae Cummings, and I want to know what you were thinking-"

"Oh yeah...I heard about you guys in the Enquirer...way to go, Skye, ruining your family and this new family too...selfish as always I see!"

"How could you? How could you?" Skye demanded again.

"I don't know what you're talking about. Now, Anjelica," she said, heading to the scared girl and taking her arm, "Come with me right now. We're getting out of this ridiculous town."

"How..how did you find me?" Anjelica asked sheepishly.

"A letter arrived for you this morning from your pen pal Rachel. I put two and two together and figured you weren't visiting her."

"Oh."

"And I knew you must be here, after you asked all those ridiculous questions about that- that woman!"

"I'm sorry, mom," Anjelica said, sniffling.

"Well that's besides the point for now. We just have to get away from here, from that crazy woman. I don't know what she's told you, but it's all lies! All lies!"

Jessica tried to pull Anjelica towards the door, but Skye grabbed Jessica's arm.
"Now you hold it right there! You have to explain something to me. Explain to me how a baby that died 15 years ago can be standing right here with us! Explain to me why you said my baby was dead when she's really alive, and healthy, and beautiful..." Skye's voice trailed off as she started to cry. Then she regained her composure. "How could you do that to me, Jessica? You were supposed to be my friend! And you stole my baby!"

Anjelica looked at her mom with wide eyes. "So it's true? You lied to her, and you lied to me too?"

Jessica looked stunned. "How dare you accuse me of such a thing! I am your mother. That woman abandoned you. She doesn't love you. I do. Now come with me."

Anjelica pulled her hand away from Jessica's. "Why should I believe you?"

"Why should you believe that tramp either?" Jessica shot back. "She wasn't there when you had your first birthday, or when you had your first day of school, or when you became a teenager. I was. That was me. I am your mother. She is not!! Not in any way that counts! She left you, and not once did she visit, or call, or write!"

"Because you told me she was dead!" Skye exclaimed.

"I did nothing of the sort. You're delusional! You're crazy! You're telling lies, Skye, and it has to stop! It has to stop now, do you hear me?!" Jessica shrieked loudly.

Anjelica was frightened. She had never seen her mother behave this way. Sure, she had seen her upset, and she occasionally seemed sad, but never angry and mean like this. She backed away from Jessica, towards Skye and Rae.

"Come with me, Anjie! Now!!"

Taking a deep breath, Anjelica shook her head. "No. I'm sorry."

"She's not going anywhere with you! Not until you admit what you did! You lied to me, you broke my heart, shattered my dreams..." Skye said, her eyes welling up once again.

"You are not going to get away with this!" Rae added.

"Oh yeah? Well we'll just see about that, won't we?" she said, reaching for her purse...

Suddenly the doors burst open again.

"Cameron!" Skye exclaimed.

"Daddy?!" Anjelica squeaked. He rushed to her side, and gave her a hug.

"Get out of here, Cameron, you'll ruin everything!" Jessica bellowed.

"Jessica, please, let me talk to you for awhile before you do anything cr-"

"I'm not crazy!" she yelled back, infuriated.

"No, no of course not. But, honey...did you take your medication this morning?"

"Medication?" Skye whispered to herself.

"I'm NOT crazy!!! I'M NOT CRAZY!!" Jessica insisted angrily.

"What the hell is going on Cameron? Can you explain it to us? Or were you in on this the whole time too?" Skye said.

Cameron left Anjelica's side and went to Skye. "Skye, I'm so sorry for all of this...I didn't want any of it to happen, believe me...but I had to do it, for Jessica...."

Now, Jessica was just pacing back and forth, talking to herself quietly as if she no one else was in the room.

"Skye, what you didn't know was that, even in high school, Jessica had some...some mental problems. Depression, anxiety, slight paranoia, I don't really know what else..." he looked wistfully at his wife, who was still pacing back and forth, chanting "not crazy...gonna get her...not crazy...gonna get her..."

Sighing sadly, Cameron continued. "She was fine most of time, but sometimes, the slightest thing would send her into a rage. Her family was never there for her, they were always off on cruises or business trips...I was the only one who was there for her. She had a few friends, you, Suzie, but she didn't want anyone to know about her...her condition.

When you gave us Anjelica to take care of for awhile, it made her so happy. I had never seen her smile or laugh more than when she was with your daughter. But then...then she started referring to Anjelica as "her baby", and I started to get worried. Then Suzie Lawson told us that you were planning on taking Anjelica to Pine Valley on the 17th."

"Loose Lips Lawson," Skye murmured, recalling her high school nickname.

Cameron continued. "Jessica was furious. She said there was no way you would take her baby. Then she told me her plan. To call you, all upset, and tell you that Anjelica had died suddenly. So you couldn't take her from us. At first I said no, I couldn't do that to you. But then I thought of what would happen if you took Anjelica back. It would destroy her. If getting a 70% on a test would set her off, what would getting Anjelica taken away do to her? She was still so young, she had her whole life ahead of her...I just couldn't bear to see her life ruined or see her go crazy and get locked up-"

"Not crazy!" Jessica yelled shrilly.

"Skye, I'm so sorry. I really am. You have to believe me, I never wanted this. But I was so scared for Jess...Please, please forgive me. She needs help, she really does. But..."

Skye didn't know what to think. She wiped her eyes. "I...well, I don't think apologies are really what we need right now. Look at her."

Jessica was still pacing, chanting..."So many secrets...so many lies...so many secrets...so many lies..."

Cameron sighed. "I know. It's awful. When I got home from work, she wasn't at home. I found a note saying she was "going to get what was ours back". I figured it out right away. But...Oh God..."

"What?" Skye asked, starting to get fearful.

"I was afraid that...I..I checked my safe, and, it was gone...Oh God...I think she has it..."

"She has what?" Skye and Rae asked at the same time, both fearing the answer.

"You mean THIS?" Jessica said, finally snapping back into the conversation. She reached in her purse and pulled out a silver gun.

Anjelica screamed. "Mom, what are you doing?" She was really crying hard now.

Cameron closed his eyes for a minute. "Now, Jessica, why don't you give that to me-"

"No! She-" she motioned to Skye with the gun, "always had everything! She had the best grades, she had the attention of all the guys, you even had a crush on her!"

"That was only for a few weeks in ninth grade," Cameron said.

"She had everything! She's not going to have Anjelica too!"

"Mom, calm down. Please!" Anjelica begged.

Rae got into "therapist mode." "Jessica, honey, you should give Cameron the gun, okay? Everything will be okay. We...we just need to talk, all right?" she said, trying to stay strong.

"No! No talking! Anjelica is mine! Mine, you hear me! Mine!"
Cameron crept up behind his wife, and attempted to reach for the gun. Unfortunately, she turned around and saw him.

"You're against me too!"

"No, honey, no I'm on your side. I promise. I just want to help. Now, give me the gun. And I'll help you."

Jessica's eyes shifted back and forth between Skye and Rae, and Anjelica, and Cameron. "No. You're on their side! You've been working with those witches the whole time! You want to steal Anjelica from me too!"

"No, honey, I-"

"Too bad." Jessica said. With that, she hit Cameron with the handle of the gun. He slumped to the floor.

"Daddy!!!" Anjelica shrieked, and hurried over to her unconscious father.

Rae hurried to the phone. "I'm calling 911!"

"No you're not!" Jessica yelled, pointing the gun at Rae. "Put that phone down!"

Rae did as she was told, but continued, "You can't let your husband die! You love Cameron, don't you Jessica?"

"He betrayed me. There's no use!"

Rae motioned to Skye, who had joined Anjelica at Cameron's side. Go get Alan, she mouthed. Skye nodded and headed for the door.

"Not so fast!" Jessica said, turning and pointing the gun at Skye. "No one goes anywhere! Not until we settle this once and for all!"

Anjelica was still bent down beside her father. "Daddy...Daddy...wake up..please!" She stood up and faced her mother. "How could you do that to Daddy?"

"Never mind him Anjie. You don't need him! You only need me! Now let's go!"

"No! I'm not going anywhere with you!" she yelled back.

"Oh yes you are!" she grabbed for Anjelica. She put her arm around her shoulder, her hand holding the gun just dangling beside Anjelica's neck. Anjelica gasped, and couldn't say a word.

"Get away from her!" Skye yelled. She lunged for Jessica. Anjelica tried to pull away, and the three of them began to get all tangled up.

Rae watched in horror. There was silence as the three of them pulled at each other. Silence, as they began to fall to the ground. Silence as Rae stood frozen, unable to move. Silence as they hit the floor.

But this quiet moment was suddenly startled by two simultaneous, horrifying, bone-chilling noises.

One was the sound of Rae's blood-curdling scream.

The other was the sound of a gun shot.



Chapter 7
Rae's terrifying scream echoed throughout the quiet house as she ran to the spot where Skye, Anjelica and Jessica were lying, motionless.

"Skye!" she screamed. Please let her be all right. She has to be. she thought.

She had never felt as much fear in her whole life as she did that moment; looking down she saw a horrifying, sickening pool of red....

"No!!!!" she screamed. "Skye!!"

Just then, Skye started to open her eyes. Struggling, she stood up, and to Rae's horror she saw that Skye had blood on her.
"Rae--" Skye began, then started to fall. Quickly, Rae caught her.

"Skye, are you all right? Oh my God, please, be all right!!"

Rae helped Skye onto the couch.

"I'm--I'm okay, Rae...but Anj-"

"Have you been shot?" Rae asked fearfully, eyeing all that blood.

"N-no. I'm okay. This isn't my blood. I think I just hit my head when I fell."

Rae looked at her skeptically.
"Really, Rae, I'm fine, just a little woozy...but what about Anjelica! Oh my God..." they hurried over to the other two.

Skye knelt down beside her daughter, not wanting to hurt her by moving her.
"Anjelica," she whispered, pleadingly, "you have to be okay, all right....you'll be fine...you have to...just open your eyes sweetheart..." Please, God...please, let her be okay! she prayed silently.
She didn't know what to do, then her mind seemed to snap back into place.

"Rae, go get Alan! He's upstairs! I'll call the ambulance."

Before either of them could do that Alan burst in.

"Is everybody okay?!" He saw Jessica and Anjelica laying on the floor amidst a pool of blood, and the blood on Skye's shirt.

"Oh my God...Skye are you okay?" he said rushing up to her.

"Yes, I'm fine. I wasn't shot. But Anjie....God, somebody call the ambulance!" she yelled.

"I already did. I heard a gunshot. I called the police. The cops and the ambulance are on their way. Then I rushed down here as soon as I could. Is anybody hurt?" Alan asked.

"I'm okay, I just bumped my head. But I don't know about Jessica or Anjelica..." Skye's voice trailed off as she started to sob. Rae put her hand on Skye's shoulder. Skye didn't object, she just kept on weeping.

Alan hurried to them. "Who is this woman?"

"It's kind of a long story Alan," Rae said. Then she remembered Cameron. She hurried to where he was lying. She checked for a pulse. He had one. The blow from the gun handle must have just knocked him unconscious.


Meanwhile Skye knelt down beside Alan, crying, as he checked Anjelica.

"Is she...is she..." Skye sputtered in between tears.

"She's alive."

Skye let out a shaky sigh of relief. "Thank God," she murmured.

"I don't see any gunshot wounds...the blood on her is probably this woman's..."

Just then, Anjelica slowly opened her eyes and tried to sit up.

"Anjelica!" Skye said happily. Thank you Lord! she thought.

"Don't try to sit up, okay sweetie?" Alan said. "The paramedics will be here in a minute, okay? I think you got a nasty bump on the head, so you'll probably feel shaky, so just stay how you're comfortable. But try to keep your eyes open."

Skye stroked her daughter's hair, so incredibly glad that she was going to be okay. Thank you God, she thought again. I'll never skip church again, I promise.

Just then, her joy was interrupted by a low moan. Jessica was starting to get up!

She screamed and grabbed her shoulder, which was still oozing out blood.

"What happened?" asked Anjelica, tears in her eyes.

Squinting her eyes, Jessica looked right at Skye. "That witch shot me! In cold blood! Get her!"

Standing up from next to Cameron, Rae called, "That's not true! Skye tried to protect Anjelica from you and you pulled the trigger! In the jumble you shot yourself!"

Jessica let out a scream, almost animal-like, and again clutched her shoulder. Then she eyed the floor. When they fell, they had knocked over the table, and the crystal wine holder had shattered. She picked up a huge, pointy shard.

"Put it down!" Rae yelled.

"You're getting on my nerves lady!" Jessica yelled, heading towards Rae.
Just then, Skye spotted the gun. Jessica had fell on top of it. Loathing the site of it, she reluctantly picked it up.

"Time to make ya stop yelling!" Jessica said, holding the pointy spike near Rae's neck.

"Put that down now!" Skye yelled, pointing the gun at Jessica.

"Why should I?" she shrieked, turning around to face Skye.

Unable to watch this horrendous scene any longer, Anjelica dove behind Alan and closed her eyes. "Just stop..." she said softly. She could not believe what was happening.

"Rae never did a thing to you, Jessica." Skye said. "You drop that and let her go. Now. Or else!"

"Or else what?" Jessica said, as if taunting her.

"Or else you'll have more than a throbbing shoulder," Skye shot back. "I mean it! Let Rae go!" She wrapped her hands tighter around the object she hated so much, and pointed it again at Jessica. Finally, Jessica started to back up. Rae ran to Skye's side.

Then Jessica began to run for the backdoor. But as she opened the door, she was caught by surprise when someone grabbed her arms.

"Stop! Police!"

Chapter 8

An hour later, at the hospital

Skye sat in a very uncomfortable chair, her eyes closed. Partially because of the exhaustion of finding out your daughter is alive, being confronted by her psycho mother, almost being shot, nearly seeing your mother get her throat slit, having the cops and paramedics burst in, being examined even though you were pretty much fine, and having to tell the whole story again to Lieutenant Taggert; and partially from the sheer disbelief of what had just happened over the past few hours and wanting to get away from it all for just moment.

Beside her, Rae sat quietly, not wanting to wake her up if she was sleeping. But she did hope that Skye would open her eyes soon. With all the chaos, she had not gotten the chance to thank her for saving her life, and she really wanted to do that. Skye had no idea how much that meant to her. Rae looked at her daughter, for a second thinking of tapping her on the shoulder and whispering her name, but she looked peaceful, finally, so Rae thought better of it. Sighing, she looked around the room. Monica and AJ were standing nearby, talking quietly. Alexis, whom Alan had called in case Skye needed her, had been sitting on the other side of Skye but was with Anjelica right now. Alan and Emily had gone to get coffee for them all. Ned and Edward had stayed home with Lila. Down the hall, she saw Jessica's room, which was being guarded by several big, tough-looking cops. And in another room lay Cameron while Dr. Tony Jones talked to him.

Just then, Skye opened her eyes. "Rae?" she said quietly.

Rae turned her attention back to her daughter. "Hi. Did you get some sleep?"

Skye sighed. "No...just resting I guess. Trying to calm down after all this uproar."

"I see. So..you're sure you're okay? I mean, does your head still hurt? Are you still feeling dizzy?"

"I'm fine. Really. I think I just bumped my head a little when I fell, but I wasn't hurt, I was mostly in shock. But I'm fine. So you don't have to worry about me." That last remark came out more sharply than Skye had intended. She thought of apologizing, but felt right now she didn't have the strength.

"Okay," Rae said, not wanting to push her. Well I guess now is as a good a time as any Rae thought. "Skye, I want to-"

Just then they were interrupted by Alexis, Taggert and Anjelica.

"I'm all done with Ms. Caille, er..Quartermaine...uh, I'm done questioning Anjelica," Taggert said, still kind of bewildered with the whole situation.

"Don't you think you could have waited a little longer to do the interrogation, Lieutenant Taggert?" Skye said angrily. "She has been through so much tonight, and she hurt her head, and-"

"It's just a little goose egg. It hardly even hurts." Anjelica said.

"But still-"

"Just following orders, Miss Chan..Quartermaine...whatever..I've gotta talk to the Caille guy now." Taggert said. He turned to Anjelica, "Thanks for being so cooperative, Anjelica. You're very brave." Anjelica gave him a half-hearted smile, and with that he left for Cameron's room.

"So you're sure you're all right?" Skye asked, worriedly.

Anjelica nodded. "Yup. I'm fine...well, I mean, I'm not in pain or anything. But I just....." her voice trailed off.

"What is it, honey? You can tell me," Skye said softly.
Alan and Emily arrived with the coffee. Rae went up to them so she could give Skye and Anjelica some privacy. Alexis followed.

Anjelica wiped her eyes. "I'm just so confused, you know? With everything that happened. I guess I'm just shocked...angry...sad...Kinda scared." she added quietly.

Skye put her hand on Anjelica's. "You don't have to be scared anymore, okay? I promise. I won't let anything happen to you. I swear."

Anjelica burst into tears. "I'm so sorry!" she cried, in between sobs. "I'm so sorry that I did this to you. You must- you must hate me now."

"Oh honey! No!" Skye gave her daughter a hug. "Not at all! This was not your fault, okay?" she said, pulling out of the hug and looking Anjelica straight in the eyes. "You have to understand, this was not your fault, not at all. You were lied to, I was lied to, it was just a misunderstanding, okay? You cannot blame yourself for what Jess- for what happened. And I do not hate you. I could never hate you. Anjelica....I love you."

Anjelica didn't quite know what to say. Instead, she just hugged Skye and cried.

A few moments later, Taggert came out of Cameron's room and headed towards Skye and Anjelica, and Rae and Alexis, who had rejoined them.

"Well, Caille confessed to everything."

Anjelica looked at Skye. "Um...would you mind if I went to go talk to him for a minute?"

"Sure, honey. Go ahead." she replied.

She watched Anjelica enter Cameron's room, and saw her kiss his cheek.
Turning to Taggert, she said, "So...what's going to happen now?"

"Well, they could get sent away for kidnapping, fraud, and the Mrs, assault with a deadly weapon. But she's completely off her rocker, so she'd probably just get locked in a nut house for a good long time. As for Cameron, he'd be going to jail for quite a while."

"Oh." she said quietly.

"Of course, that is, after you press charges."
Skye didn't respond.

"You are going to press charges, aren't you?" Taggert asked.

Skye looked through the window of Cameron's room, and saw them talking. Anjelica was smiling. That was the first time she had seen Anjelica smile, really smile, since this whole ordeal began.

"Skye," Alexs said, "These wackos kidnapped your daughter. You're not going to let them get away with it. You're going to press charges, right?"

Glancing at her daughter again, Skye shook her head. "No, I'm not."

"What?" Rae, Alexis and Taggert all said, increduously.

"I want Jessica to get help. She needs it. She's insane. But I don't want Cameron to go to jail. Anjelica loves him."

"Well, okay...if that's how you want it." Taggert said.

"But you want custody, right?" Alexis said. "They never legally adopted Anjelica, so you still are legally entitled to custody of Anjelica."

"Yes, of course!" Skye said quickly. "I love my daughter, I want her to be with me. She belongs with me. But I just don't want the only father she's ever known to go to jail."

Taggert went to go tell Cameron the news, and Alexis went to talk to Alan.

"You don't think I'm crazy, do you?" Skye asked Rae.

"No, I know you did it for Anjelica. I understand."

"Yes. I mean, of course I want Anjie with me, but if she ever wanted to visit Cam, I didn't want it to be in a jail cell. No one should have to go through that, especially not a child."

Rae was silent for a moment, and looked at Skye thoughtfully.
"You know Skye," she said, "when a lot of people look at you, they see a manipulative, uncaring, cold-hearted-"

Skye cut her off. "Stop with the compliments, mother. I might get a swelled head."

"Skye, Skye, you didn't let me finish!" Rae said. "What I was saying is, that while some people may think that, when I look at you, I see a truly good person, a person who cares, who loves. I see a really beautiful person, both inside and out."

Skye was shocked. No one had ever said a thing like that to her before.
"R-really?"

Rae nodded. "Yes, I really do."

"Well...thank you. You.....you're not so bad either," Skye joked. Rae laughed. Then what happened next stunned Rae, truly left her at a loss of words.

Skye hugged her. And Rae didn't know what else to do other than just hug her back.

Rae decided to thank Skye for saving her life now, but they were interrupted yet again. Taggert was leaving, and he called to them, "Skye, Cameron wants to see you."


Chapter 9

Skye shared a glance with Rae. "Uh...okay. Thanks." she called to Taggert as he got in the elevator.

"Do you want me to come with you?" Rae asked.

"No, it's all right. I won't be long," she said, getting up from her chair and heading to Cameron's room. When she got there, she saw Cameron sitting up in bed, looking kind of pale, and Anjelica sitting in the chair next to his bed, her head in her hands, her eyes struggling to stay open.

"Hello Cameron." Skye said shortly.

"Hi," he said weakly. He glanced at his daughter, who now had her eyes wide open and was watching the two of them, obviously expecting an argument.

"Honey, are you hungry?" Cameron asked. "Maybe, uh, you should go get something to eat."
Anjelica understood. They wanted privacy.
"Yeah, I'll go get something from the vending machine." she said quickly. Skye took a dollar bill out of her purse and handed it to Anjelica as she was leaving.
"Thanks."

"Sure."

After the door closed, Cameron shifted his gaze to Skye.
"The lieutenant told me what you did. And I just wanted to thank you. Really." He attempted a smile.

"Don't thank me, Cameron. I didn't do it for you. I did it for Anjelica."

Cameron's smile disappeared and he got a serious look on his face. "Yeah...."

"What you and Jessica did was....I don't even know what word could possibly describe how awful it was. It was cruel, evil, despicable..." she spat each word out as if she was trying to get a bad taste out of her mouth.

Cameron sighed. "I know, and I'm so sorry Skye-"

"Don't apologize to me now Cameron. I don't think I could accept your apology. You really should be asking for Anjelica's forgiveness. You hurt us all, Cameron...." She paused and looked out the window. Anjelica was sitting in a chair a couple over from Rae, silently eating a Mr. Big bar.
She continued, "But I know Anjelica loves you. I didn't want to be responsible for putting the only father she's ever known behind bars. And if she wanted to visit you one day, I didn't want her to have to ever step foot in a jail. No child should have to do that, ever."

"I understand," Cameron said quietly.

"You know that I have custody, don't you?" Skye asked.

"Yeah, I know. And you want Anjelica to live with you, right?"

"Of course I do. I'm her mother and I want her to be with me. I love that girl, Cameron. I may have missed her childhood, but I'm not about to miss anything else."

Cameron wiped his eye and said, "And you shouldn't. I'll miss her so much...." his voice broke up, and although he tried valiantly to stop his tears, he failed. He turned his head away. He didn't want Skye to see him cry.

"Cameron, if Anjelica wants to visit you, I'm not going to stop her. But I will go with her. Under no circumstances will I let her be alone with you. Understand?"
Cameron nodded.
"But if she wants to see you, I'll let her. I know what it's like to grow up without seeing your father, and it's hell, Cameron. I won't let her be put through that. But until Jessica gets the help she needs, I do not want her around Anjie. And I do not want her to try to make contact with Anjie until she is better. She hurt that girl so much, Cameron. She scared her so badly. She probably traumatized her for life tonight. I have never seen a child so scared. And I don't want her to ever be hurt by Jessica again. Okay?"

"Yes, Skye. I understand. I know Jessica needs help, a lot of help. And I'll see to it that she gets it. I want her to get healthy again, and I don't want Anjelica to have to be exposed to her when she's at her worst, either."

"Good. Well, I think this conversation is over, now." She headed for the door.

"Wait a second, Skye, please."
Skye turned around.
"I'm staying the night here, I just have a concussion, but they want me to stay. But in the morning, they're escorting Jess and I back home. They'll take her to a facility where they can help her. But....we'll be so far away from Anjie....Skye, do you think you could bring Anjelica here, so I can say goodbye? Please?"

"If that's what she wants. Goodnight, Cameron," Skye said, and left the room.

She sat down beside Anjelica, who was crumpling the chocolate bar wrapper in her hand.
"Hi."

"Hi. Is my d- is he okay?"

"Yeah, he'll be fine. Anjelica, I need to talk to you about something, okay, if you feel up to talking right now. I know it's late."

"Okay," said Anjie, getting nervous.

"Anjie, I want you to stay with me...if that's okay with you."

Anjelica let out a sigh of relief. She had been expecting something much worse. After all that had happened that day, she didn't have much optimism left.

She nodded. "Yeah, I don't really feel like staying in the hotel alone tonight."

Skye looked at her incredulously. "You're staying in a hotel, all by yourself?"

"Yeah. The lady at the front desk was either really blind, or really dumb. Or both. I told her I was in town to check out the university. And she believed me. She didn't ask for ID or anything! It was almost too easy." She smiled mischievously.

Skye tried to keep from giggling. She knew she shouldn't reward Anjelica's manipulations and lies with her laughter. But she couldn't help but think that the stunt was something she might have done when she was Anjelica's age. But her laughter quickly subsided and she looked at her daughter with a more serious look on her face.

"Anjie, I mean I want you to stay with me, permanently."

"Oh." she didn't know what else to say.

"See, I have custody of you. Jessica and Cameron, when they, um...kept you, they never actually got legal custody. Do you understand?"

Anjie nodded.

Skye put her hand on her daughter's shoulder. "But it's way more than just legal documents or anything like that. Anjelica, I really want you to live with me. I want to try to be a good mother to you. I know I missed seeing you grow up, but I don't want to miss anything else. I...I want to be there when you go to your prom, and graduate from high school...I want to be there for you to come to for advice, about school, boys...well, I'm not really the best expert there...." she giggled, hoping to get a smile out of Anjelica. She was satisfied with the half-hearted attempt on Anjelica's part. She continued, "And we can do lots of stuff together, to make up for the time we lost. We can go to the movies, I mean, if it's not to uncool to be seen with your mother...we can go shopping! Now that is something I am definitely an expert at."
Her heart leapt when she saw that that last comment did get a real smile out of Anjie.
"I just really want to try to build a relationship with you. If you want to. And...and I won't keep you from seeing Cameron. If you want to visit him, we can go. And if you want to call him," she said, getting a sly smile on her face, "you can do that, the longer the call the better. See how big of a phone bill you can ring up for Edward to pay."
Anjelica laughed.
"So what do you say? Would you like to live with me? Do you want to try to get some sort of mother-daughter thing going? We can live in the mansion with the rest of the Quartermaines. It gets crazy sometimes, but it's never boring, that's for sure. Or if you'd like, we could get our own place sometime down the line. It's up to you, whatever you want." Skye realized she was rambling, and took a breath to slow down. "It's your decision, honey." she said softly.
Anjelica was silent for a moment. Skye feared her answer. She didn't want to lose her again, but she wasn't going to force her.
Finally, Anjelica spoke. "I think it could be cool if I live with you for a while. Um...see how I like it and stuff...I think I would like that."

Skye smiled. "I think I would like that too. Oh Anjelica, you've made me so happy!"

Anjelica smiled, but before she could say anything, she was interrupted by a huge yawn.

Skye looked at her watch. "Wow, it's later than I thought. Tell you what, we'll go to the hotel and get all your stuff, and then we can go to the mansion and get some well-deserved sleep. What do you say?"

Anjie nodded. "Sounds good," she said, yawning again.

"I'm sure there's a room for you right near mine; that place must have at least 30 bedrooms! And I can either introduce you to the family now, or wait till the morning. I might suggest waiting till tomorrow; they can be quite a handful, especially when you're tired."
She looked at Anjie. She had fallen asleep in the chair!
"Morning it is," she said quietly. Rae walked over.

"Hi. How's it going?" she said softly, looking at a dozing Anjelica.

"Better than I thought," Skye replied. "She's going to be living with me. For good."

"Oh, Skye, that's wonderful. I'm so happy for you."

"Thanks."

"Skye, there's something I need to say to you. About what you did tonight. I...you..."

"Rae," said Skye gently, "You don't have to okay? You don't need to thank me. Just...just forget about it."

"But Skye, you saved my life. I can't forget that! I owe you so much..."

"No, you don't. What was I supposed to do, watch that loon slice and dice you?" Rae winced at her, uh, colourful way of putting it.
Skye was quiet a long time before continuing. "You know Rae....it may not seem like it most of the time, but I...I think if you weren't in my life anymore, I would be a little bit lost."

Rae smiled at her. "I feel the same way about you. Skye, you don't know how happy it makes me that we're getting along better. Really."

"Well, I know things aren't perfect, but if I'm going to be a better person, be happier with my life, I have to make an effort, you know? So I'm going to try. Don't expect a Brady Bunch happy ending though. We...I still have issues. But I will try."

"I know. I know."

"But I'm kind of scared. Scared that I won't be a good mother to Anjelica. I don't know the first thing about raising a kid. What if...."

"Skye, I think you're going to be a wonderful mother. I really do. I know you have a good, loving heart. I'm sure Anjelica won't be able to help but love you. I know I do."

Skye gave her a quick smile. "I don't really know what to say, um....thank you for being there for me."
That was good enough for now for Rae.
"Now, let's see about getting her home, okay?" Skye said. "The poor thing is wiped out."

"Sure."

"It's going to be one hell of a....an interesting day tomorrow shall we say, introducing Anjie to the family." Skye said.

"I'll be there if you need me."

"I know. Thanks."

"You're welcome."

The two women helped Anjelica up, and told the rest of the Q's about what was going on. None of them objected, not even Monica, whom Skye had been most worried about. And as they headed out the hospital doors, they felt optimistic about the future, for the first time in a long time. Maybe things wouldn't be so bad after all.


Chapter 10

The next morning

Stopped at the light, Skye nervously tapped her fingernails on the steering wheel. She and Anjelica were on their way back home from the hospital. Cameron and Jessica were going to be going back to London that day, and as promised, Skye had taken Anjie to say goodbye to Cameron. It had been emotional, but not too bad. There were a few tears, from everyone in the room, but they had all stayed in control. Anjelica hadn't felt up to seeing Jessica, which was fine with Skye, so Anjie had made her father promise to tell her she said goodbye. Cameron told her he would, and with one last bittersweet hug and kiss on the cheek, Anjie and Cam said their final goodbye, and Skye and Anjelica had left.
Now they were sitting in a traffic jam on their way back to the Quartermaine mansion. Usually, Skye would have been annoyed by the delay, but today she felt herself feeling kind of relieved. Today was the day she had to introduce Anjelica to the family. They had all been together at the hospital, but Anjie had mostly stuck to Skye, and except for Alan and Emily, the Qs were really just there because Alan had asked them to. None of them had really said more than five words to each other.
When they had gotten back to the mansion after picking up Anjelica's things and helping her get settled in her room, Skye and Alan had had a long conversation, and Skye explained everything that had happened. She knew she should probably give an explanation to the rest of the family as well, but at that point, she was simply too exhausted. Alan had told her that he would explain the whole situation to the rest of the Quartermaines in the morning, and promised that he would make sure that they would be on their best behaviour when they got home. Skye appreciated the promise, but it didn't seem like on that Alan could likely keep. She knew Emily would be fine with it; Emily was a very sweet girl, and she was only a few years older than Anjelica, and Skye had hopes that they would get along very well. And she knew Lila, dear sweet Lila, would happily and lovingly embrace Anjelica into the family, just as she had with Skye herself. But she was not so sure about the others. Edward was a snake, he would probably suck up to Anjelica the way he tried to sweet-talk Skye in the beginning, but would she be anything more than another vote his way at a future ELQ meeting, or one more person in his favour in an argument? Probably not. Then there was AJ. Skye wasn't sure how she felt about her brother yet. She had begun to realize that they had a lot in common, and she was starting to warm up to him more. But he hadn't really started to show her in any way that he felt the same. Skye knew better than to trust people until they gave her a reason to; so far AJ hadn't. She wanted them to get to know each other better, though, and she hoped that maybe he would be a good uncle to Anjie, and they could get closer in the process. But it was Ned and Monica who worried Skye the most. Ned had made it perfectly clear that he did not like her, or anything associated with her. The feeling was mutual. But surely he wouldn't be mean and plot against a young teenager? Well, if he pulls anything, Skye thought, he better be ready for one hell of a war. And Monica....Monica was even worse than Ned, if that was even possible. Skye knew Monica hated her. She could sort of understand Monica's reasoning, but under no circumstances did that mean she appreciated being either berated or ignored. Plus, it was Monica's house---she was reminded of that nearly every day, to her annoyance---and she could kick Skye and Anjelica out any time she felt like it. Alan would surely try to help her, but-

''Do you mind if I change the radio station?'' Anjelica said. This snapped Skye out of her thoughts and worries.

''Oh, uh yeah...'' Skye said. She had been so caught up in her concerns that she hadn't even noticed what was on.

Mmmmmmmbop
Bop bop doo wop
Doodly wop wop do wop
Bop bop doo wop
Yeah yeah
Mmmmmmmmmbop

''Ugh, please do,'' Skye said. She had always hated that song.

Anjelica pressed one of the buttons. A country song came on. ''Yuck,'' they both said at the same time, then laughed. She pressed another one. News...Fuzz and static...Some big band instrumental...Britney Spears; more groans. She tried another.

''You're listening to 103.4, Port Charles' coolest flashback hits.'' said the DJ. ''And now to slow things down a bit, here's 'Don't Worry Baby' by the Beach Boys.....''

''I love this song!'' Anjelica said.

''Really?'' asked Skye. She didn't know too many teenagers who liked oldies. But then again she didn't know that many teenagers. ''I like them too.''

She turned up the volume, and that great song filled the car.

Well it's been building up inside of me
For oh, I don't know how long
I don't know why but I keep thinking
Something's bound to go wrong
But she looks in my eyes
And makes me realize
And she said
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby
Everything will turn out all right
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby
Don't worry baby

How perfect, Skye thought. Just when I'm completely freaking out, Brian Wilson tells me not to worry. She laughed at the perfect timing of it all. She began to quietly sing the lyrics. Then Anjelica joined in. Pretty soon they were both singing out loud. An old lady in the car next to them started at them.
Let her stare, Skye thought. She sighed. This was just what she needed to put her in a good mood. Light-hearted fun. Something she unfortunately had not experienced in God-knows how long.
************************************
Meanwhile, in Pine Valley

''Man, there's nothing good on TV. Only stupid game shows,'' JR Chandler said, clicking the television off in disgust. ''Wanna go on ICQ?''

''Can't, man,'' said his friend Brad. ''Jerry's on there. If I tried to take the computer from me, he'd seriously kick my ass.'' JR dropped the subject. He knew that Jerry Malandruccolo was the captain of the wrestling team.

JR had spent the night at Brad's house the night before. A week ago, after seeing one of his older friends get rushed to the hospital after overdosing on drugs, JR had given up taking Ecstasy for good. His family was thrilled, especially his mom Dixie. But she had been too thrilled, he thought. Asking me if I'm okay every five seconds, if I need anything, blah blah blah....He knew she was just worried about him, and he loved her for that, but sometimes it felt like she was smothering him. When Brad had asked him to sleep over, he had jumped at the chance. He and Brad had been good friends before the whole Ecstasy thing started, but had drifted apart when JR had started hanging with older, tougher kids. But slowly, they had started making their way back to each other, and JR happily saw the opportunity to stay at Brad's as both a way to take a break from his overprotective mother, and make up for the time he and Brad had missed.

''Hey, you got any good magazines?'' JR asked.

''Yeah, by the bed,'' Brad called, while fishing something out of his closet. JR found the pile and sifted through the magazines. Sports Illustrated- already read it. Playstation Tips and Tricks- he preferred DreamCast. Computer World- booooo-rinnnnggg. Enquirer. Now that was something that interested him! His mom never let him buy those at the grocery store, she said it would fill his mind with rubbish. But sometimes reading rubbish was the most fun!

''Those are pretty old ones, though,'' Brad said, appearing from the closet, holding a pack of cards. ''Like from April or something. Jerry stole all my newer ones.'' he added crossly.

''S'okay.'' JR said, flipping through it while his friend shuffled the deck of cards. He skimmed through some articles. Robert Downey Jr. was in trouble again. Some politician he didn't know was having an affair. Some people in the Jerry Springer audience were suing the show, Jerry, and the network. So far, nothing too overly interesting. He turned the page and began to read, hoping for something really juicy.

''DAUGHTER OF BUSINESS MOGUL TURNS OUT TO BE LONG-LOST OFFSPRING OF QUARTERMAINE MILLIONAIRE''
It was one ridiculously rich family traded in for another when it was revealed that Skye Chandler, supposed daughter of top business exec Adam Chandler of Chandler Inc. in Pine Valley, was in fact the biological daughter of Alan Quartermaine, son of Edward Quartermaine, the head of multi-million dollar company ELQ in New York.
The Enquirer has the full story on this filthy-rich baby switch! Read on for more juicy details!''

''I don't believe this!'' JR said.

''What?'' Brad asked.

''Just a minute....'' JR continued reading.

''Our savvy staff at Enquirer have learned that when Alan Quartermaine, who is now the chief of staff of top-quality Port Charles General Hospital, was in med school, he had a steamy affair with Rae Cummings, who now of course is a highly successful psychologist and therapy radio show host. Not wanting a baby to jeopardize son Alan's burgeoning medical career, ELQ head Edward Quartermaine convinced him to give Ms. Cummings the heave-ho. Alan complied but the sometimes ruthless, yet always successful Quartermaine Sr.'s dirty tricks didn't stop there! He arranged for Ms. Cummings' daughter to be stolen right after birth. Cummings was told that her daughter died, and was devastated.
The baby girl, who is now known as Skye Chandler, journalist, PR worker, and current ELQ board member, was illegally bought by Althea Chandler, the alcoholic and mentally unstable wife of the powerful tycoon Adam Chandler. After believing Skye to be his for many years, Chandler finally learned the truth but kept silent.
The cat was finally let out of the bag on Valentine's Day of this year, when maniacal newspaper owner and once-convicted rapist Todd Manning went on a secret-spilling-spree at his catastrophical wedding to Blair Cramer (more about this wedding fiasco on page 16). Ms. Chandler was disbelieving of this stunning revelation until Cummings offered proof. Cummings had known since earlier that year but had opted not to tell her daughter the truth due to bad blood between the two women. Chandler was heartbroken, but demanded to know who her father was. After being turned down, the determined Ms. Chandler did some detective work and finally found the truth that Dr. Alan Quartermaine is indeed her biological father. In a strange but intriguing turn of events, Chandler interrupted the wedding vow renewal ceremony of Alan and Dr. Monica Quartermaine and dropped the bomb on the rest of the family, surely to have many machinations on the sparring, wacky Quartermaine family for many years to come. No members of the Chandler or Quartermaine family were available for comment, but our eyes and ears are always peeled! We never let a juicy scoop pass us by, so keep reading the Enquirer for further developments in this deliciously intriguing stolen-baby saga.''

''I don't friggin believe this!'' JR said angrily. ''No one ever told me!''

''Told you what?'' Brad asked, really confused.

''I don't believe this....Oh, man, poor Skye!''

''That's one of your sisters, right?'' Brad said, trying to follow but not having much luck.

''Yeah. Listen Brad, thanks for having me over but I gotta go, okay?''

''O-okay. Cool. Call me later man,''

''Sure. See ya Brad.''

Clutching the magazine, JR grabbed his pillow and backpack and hurried out of the house. He hopped on his bike and headed for the Chandler mansion. Adam had some explaining to do.
***************************
Back in Port Charles, at the Quartermaine mansion

In better spirits, Skye and Anjelica headed for the living room. Skye knew that the family was most likely waiting for her in there. She took a deep breath and entered the room. She was right; all the Q's were there. Anjelica stood nervously beside her.

''Welcome back,'' Alan said, breaking the ice. ''Did everything go okay?''

''Yeah, everything was fine,'' Skye said. She looked around the room. ''Well, I guess now is as good a time as any. Um...everyone, this is Anjelica. She's my daughter.''

''Hi,'' Anjelica said shyly.
At first everyone was silent. Skye felt so bad for Anjie. She must have felt so uncomfortable.

''Reginald, dear,'' Lila said, and motioned toward Anjelica. He helped push her to where Skye and Anjelica were standing. Lila took Anjelica's hand. ''Welcome, my dear. I'm so very pleased to meet you. I do hope you will be happy in this family.''

Anjelica smiled. ''Thank you, um....''

''This is Lila,'' Skye explained. ''She's my grandmother, which would make her your great-grandmother.''

''But you can just call me grandmother, dear. Great-grandmother makes me sound too old,'' Lila said with a giggle.

''Okay, Grandmother,'' Anjie said, returning the giggle. Just then Emily stepped forward.

''Hey, I'm Emily. I'm Skye's sister. Which I guess makes me your aunt, or whatever,'' she said with a giggle. ''Hey, I really like those jeans. Those are great!''

Anjie looked down at her dark denim hip-huggers. They had always been her favourite pair too. ''Thanks. I like your top,'' she said, noticing Emily's funky tank top with swirly blue patterns.

''This is my brother AJ,'' Skye said, moving towards him.

''Hi, Anjelica. Get out while you can!!'' he said, smiling. Skye noticed the horrified look on her daughter's face.

''He was just kidding, Anjie,'' she said. ''Weren't you, AJ?'' she said, shoving his shoulder hard.

''Oh yeah. Of course,'' he smiled. ''Sorry, just trying to keep it light. Anyways, welcome. It'll be cool to have you as my niece.''

''Thanks. It'll be cool to have you as my uncle. You're funny,'' she said, smiling.

Edward stepped forward. ''I'm Edward, the patriarch of this family, your great-grandfather. But I'm with Lila, there's no need to add ''great''. Grandfather is fine.''

''Okay, Grandfather,'' Anjelica said quickly. Something about this guy sent her bad vibes.

''I think you will fit in very well with this family, my dear. Judging by what I saw last night, you're strong and sassy enough to fit in our sparring matches quite well-''

''Oh Edward, stuff it!'' Lila said.

''It's okay,'' Anjelica said quietly, trying not to giggle. Then Monica introduced herself. Skye was pleased with her civility. She was much nicer to Anjie than she had been to Skye when she had introduced herself months earlier, that's for sure. But she could tell that deep down, Monica wasn't all that thrilled to have another stranger living in her house.

Last was Ned. They were all aware that Anjelica was working as an intern at L&B, but no one knew that it was he who had led her to Skye. And Ned preferred that it stayed that way.

''Hey, Anjelica, this is so cool that we're related,'' he said smiling. ''Junior is right, this family is a lot to take on, but we're not all that bad.'' He glanced at Edward. ''Well, some of us, anyway,'' he added jokingly.

Anjelica laughed. She didn't want anyone to know their little secret either. She felt really bad about that. ''Yeah, well I guess we'll see a lot of each other, at work and at home. That's so weird how it worked out. But it's definitely really cool,'' she said.

A few minutes later they were all talking and enjoying a nice brunch. Skye was pretty happy with how things had turned out. Anjelica seemed to be handling the whole situation pretty well, she didn't look too overwhelmed. As she got up to pour herself another glass of juice, she was joined by AJ.

''Skye, I want to apologize for how I behaved last night, when Anjelica showed up. I was rude, and I'm sorry.''

Skye was surprised. No one in the Quartermaines ever seemed to apologize for anything. ''Well, apology accepted. I know it was a pretty big shock.''

''She seems like a great kid. It'll be fun to have her around.''

''Yeah, she sure is wonderful. I think she's adjusting pretty well. And she has a great older sister in Emily.''

''Yeah. And....I think she has a pretty good mom too.''

Skye looked at him skeptically. ''Do you really mean that?''

''Yeah, I do. Skye, I know I've been kind of a pain in the ass, but...I think we have more in common than any of us realized. You're smart, savvy, you can stand up to Edward and Ned with the best of them...I'm starting to think the two of us can really get along.''

''Well, thank you AJ. You know you're not so bad yourself.'' she said smiling. ''So is this the start of a beautiful friendship?'' she continued with a joking, phony sentimental tone.

''More like....a powerful alliance, maybe? I think if we put our heads together, we could be a pretty powerful force in ELQ, and in the family.''

Skye nodded. ''I'm up for the challenge....thanks, AJ. I- I really needed a friend in this family. I have Dad, but, you know.....''

''I know exactly how you feel....Well, let's get back to the table, shall we, before Edward starts getting too nervous.'' Skye laughed, and the two went back to where the rest of the Quartermaines were eating.

A little while later, Skye, Anjelica, AJ and Emily were out on the terrace, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful sunshine, when their peaceful moment was interrupted by the sound of a cell phone. AJ, Emily and Skye all reached for their cells.

''It's mine,'' Skye said. She got up and walked over to the garden so she wouldn't disturb the others, and quickly answered the insistent ring. ''Hello?''

''Skye. It's Stefan.''

''Oh! Stefan.....I- I'm sorry I didn't call you, but-''

''That's all right. From what I saw last night, I understand how you could be preoccupied.''

''Yeah, last night was.....well, it was a surprise, that's for sure. Oh Stefan, I have so much to tell you, so much happened last night.''

''Why don't you come over to Wyndermere tonight? I'll have Mrs. Lansbury cook something extra-special, and we can have a long talk.''

''That sounds wonderful....but, do you think I could bring Anjelica? After just finding her again, I'd hate to leave her again, even for just an evening. If that's all right with you....''

''Is Anjelica the young lady who interrupted your party last night? She claimed....to be your daughter?''

''Yes....I'd really rather not explain over the phone, but Anjelica is my daughter, it's true. I- I'd love for her to meet you. If it's okay that I bring her over.''

''Sure. If it would make you happy, then of course she can come along. I'll see you at six, then?''

''Sure. Thank you so much, Stefan.''

''Good bye, Skye.''

''Bye, Stefan.''


Chapter 11

Pine Valley

"So, Mr. Briggs, what I think we should do is-"

"Dad, I need to talk to you," JR interrupted, pushing open the doors to Adam Chandler's home office.

"JR! This is a surprise...but, uh, I'm kind of busy right now with a meeting, son, if you want to wait-"

"No, actually, I don't."

"JR!"

"This is really important, dad!"

"Well, I...."

"That's quite all right, Mr. Chandler. I'll just go out and fix myself a drink, if that's all right. Go ahead and speak to your son. It will give me some time to think over our deal," said Mr. Briggs.

"No need to hurry back," JR said dryly.

"JR," Adam said as his business associate left the room, "That was incredibly rude. I hope your callousness doesn't cost me that deal I'm counting on." Then, looking at his son, his demeanor softened. He sighed. "But you said it was important, and my kids are my first priority. So what is it, JR? Are you doing okay?"

"This isn't about me. It's about you. And Skye. And your crazy old wife."

"I don't quite understand-"

"Buy any babies lately?"

Adam put his hand to his forehead. "So you know...."

"Yeah, no thanks to you!"

"JR," he said raising his voice, then thinking better of it. "How...how did you find out? Did you speak to Skye?"

"No, I didn't. I didn't even know where she is until today. But now I know everything."

"But how-"

"I read about it in a damn Enquirer, dad!"

Adam winced. "Those blasted tabloids...drivel, that's what it is....well, I'm sorry you had to hear about it that way."

"Yeah, well, it would have been a little easier to take if someone in my own family had the courtesy to tell me. So who knows? Liza? Uncle Stuart? Hayley? My mom and dad? The whole friggin country?"

"Oh JR....only your Uncle Stuart, Liza and I know. And Skye and her....her family, too. We just...we didn't want to make a big deal about it, you know? Didn't want to cause Skye any more grief than necessary."

"More like you didn't want to cause any more grief for yourself. Right dad?" JR spat.

"Okay, JR, that's just about enough. I'm sorry I didn't tell you but I just didn't think it would do any good and that's no excuse for you to speak to me this way."

"You know what, I don't care! This isn't even about me! How could you do this to Skye? Keep this from her? Let some psycho tell her? Were you even there for her at all when she found out? I remember you said you were going to see her a few months ago, but you were gone for what, like half a day?"

"She didn't want to see me."

"I don't blame her."

"I guess I deserve that....I love Skye. You know that. But what could I have done? I didn't expect any of this to happen."

"You could have started by telling her the truth when you first found out, not lie to her every day of her life!"

Adam sighed. "I know. I was foolish. But I didn't want to see her needlessly get hurt."

"Well it happened anyway, didn't it?" Adam didn't answer. He just looked away. He didn't know quite what to say to his son.

"And now she's in...what's it called...Port Charles, with people she barely knows, all upset. And no one to be there for her. That just...that makes me sick."

"Me too, son."

"Doesn't seem like it. You haven't gone to visit her, have you? Had long phone conversations?"

"No, but JR, I've been so busy lately, I just didn't have the time...I-"

"Well it's time someone had some time for Skye. I may not know her that well, but she was always nice to me. She's really cool. And I don't care if we're not really brother and sister, I still care about her. And I want her to know that." JR turned around and headed for the door.

"JR! JR, where are you going?"

"To do something you should have done a long time ago."

"JR! JR!" But he was gone.
*************************
Back in Port Charles, a little later that evening

"Are you ready to go?" Skye asked Anjelica, poking her head in Anjie's room.

"Yeah, just one second," she said, quickly putting on some eyeshadow. "Okay, all set." She joined Skye, and they headed downstairs.

"So..." Anjelica began, smiling slyly, "This Stefan Cassadine is your boyfriend?"

Skye returned the smile. "I suppose you could say that....okay, yes, I'm crazy about him." They giggled.

"Was he at your party?"

"Yeah, he was the one with the dark hair, and those smoldering dark eyes..."
"Oooh, smoldering eh? Sounds pretty good," Anjie replied with a smile. "Yeah, I think I saw him."

"He's the one who gave me this gorgeous necklace."

Anjelica peered at it, smiling approvingly. "He certainly has great taste! And he must be rich! That thing musta cost more than every item of clothes in my closet!"

"That's one of his finest points," Skye joked. "Wait till you see Wyndermere. It's gorgeous. All antique furniture, beautiful, beautiful things. And he has his own stables with some pretty horses."

"Really? That's awesome. I love horses."

"I'm sure he'd let you see them."

"Great."
Ten minutes later
"Miss Chandler Quartermaine?" asked the young man sitting in the boat by the dock.

"Yes?"

"Mr. Cassadine sent me to retreive you and Miss Anjelica and bring you to Spoon Island."

"Ah, thank you."

As they got in the small, sleek speedboat, Anjelica whispered, "You didn't tell me the place was on an island!"

The driver heard and let out a quiet laugh. "Yes, Spoon Island. The Cassadines have owned it for years. It's nothing overly extravagant. Just approximately fifty five acres."

Anjelica's eyes widened. "Wow."

They made their way across the water and the driver helped them out. Mrs. Lansbury answered the door.

"Oh, hello Ms. Chandler Quartermaine. And who is this?"

"Hello, Mrs. Lansbury. This is Anjelica, my daughter."

"Well, hello, Miss Anjelica. Mr. Cassadine is waiting for you inside. Do come in." She led them to where Stefan was sitting. He rose from the fancy couch to greet Skye and Anjie.

"Hello Skye," he said, giving her a kiss on the cheek. "And you must be Anjelica," he said, smiling at her.

"Pleased to meet you Mr. Cassadine."

"Call me Stefan, please. You know, when your mother told me about you, she didn't mention that you were as breathtaking as she is."

Anjelica blushed. "Thank you, Mr. C- Stefan." They smiled. "Your house is absolutely gorgeous," she added.

"Well, thank you for saying so! I like it. Would you like a tour?" Anjelica nodded.

They spent a while looking through all the extravagant rooms in the huge mansion, and the exquisite grounds outside.

"Anjelica loves horses," Skye said, "I think she would love to see the stables, if that's okay."

"Certainly. Patrick! Patrick, would you show Miss Anjelica the stables? Anjelica, Patrick is in charge of the horses. I'm sure he'd be glad to show you them. There's several beauties. Would you be interested?"

Anjelica understood. They wanted Patrick to show her around so they could have some privacy. "Sure. Let's go, Patrick." They went off to the stables as Skye and Stefan returned to the house to talk.
****************
Pine Valley

JR entered his house, only to find that it was empty. He remembered that Jamie was spending the day at Opal's house, and that his mom and Tad were at one of their friend's place for a party. They shouldn't be back until late, which was fine with JR.

He grabbed the pen and notepad from by the phone and began to scribble a quick note.

Dear Mom and Tad,

Please don't be mad. But I have to go see Skye. Tonight. It's really really important. I'm gonna take a cab to the airport and catch a flight tonight to New York. That's where she is. Don't worry, I've got plenty of money. I really really need to see her. Hope you understand. I'll call you tomorrow, I know you'll be out late. Hope you're not upset, but this is something I really gotta do. I swear I'll stay outta trouble. I just have to see her right away. If you want, ask my dad, he'll explain. Don't have time now to tell everything, gotta try to catch a flight pretty soon. I'll be in touch, I promise. Please don't be mad, okay!
--JR

He ran up to his room and threw some clothes and stuff in his backpack, and stuffed his wallet in his jeans pocket. Checking his watch, he hurried back downstairs and dialed the number for the cab company.
********************
Anjelica had a great time looking at the pretty horses, especially Sheba, who was Nikolas's horse, as Patrick explained. But she checked her watch and it had been twenty minutes. She hoped Skye and Stefan were done talking. She was pretty hungry, and also getting kind of bored. You can only look at and brush horses for so long! She headed back to Wyndermere.

Inside, Stefan and Skye sat on the couch.

"I'm so glad you told me all this. I'm sorry you had to go through such a horrible ordeal."

"Well, it was well worth it, to get to know my daughter. My daughter. Wow, I can still hardly believe it. But it's so wonderful."

"I'm glad she makes you so happy."

"So do you." Skye added, smiling.

"The feeling is completely mutual." He put his hand on her cheek, and then kissed her passionately.

Just then, Anjelica came in. She put her hand over her mouth. Geez, I have the worst timing.... She tried to sneak back out quietly to avoid them all getting embarrassed. But then Stefan and Skye parted, and Skye saw her.

"Oh, Anjie," she said. "Sorry. Come back in. It's okay."

"I'm so sorry..."

"No it's quite all right." Stefan said. "Mrs. Lansbury should be bringing out dinner any second now."

"Indeed!" Mrs. Lansbury said, entering the room. "Dinner is served, if you'll make your way to the dining room!"

A moment later, they were seated at the large table. Mrs. Lansbury poured them all a terrific smelling raspberry lemonade. Stefan held up his glass.

"To the two loveliest ladies in Port Charles."

"Ooh, I'll drink to that," Skye said smiling. They clinked glasses.

"And to the cutest couple I've ever seen," Anjelica added.
"I won't argue with you there," Stefan replied, leaning over to give Skye a peck on the cheek. "Now, let's eat. Mrs. Lansbury has surely outdone herself tonight!"


Chapter 12

the next day
''Wow, this is so warm!'' Anjie exclaimed, dipping her toes into the pool. She pushed off with her arms and lowered herself into the water. ''At home, my pool was always freezing! Never got warmer than 78 degrees.''

Emily giggled. ''Well, Grandfather always makes sure the pool guy keeps it at least 85. One of the very few positive things he actually does.'' She splashed down the pool steps, and Skye was right behind her.

''Yeah, it does feel really nice,'' Skye added. ''But I feel bad for the guy who has to vacuum this! The pool is huge.''

''Well, if he does a good job, I reward him by letting him rub suntan lotion on my back,'' Emily joked. ''Carlo's sooo hot.''

''And what does Zander think about this?'' Skye asked slyly. ''Isn't he jealous?''

''Oh yeah,'' Emily laughed. ''He is sooo jealous of me. He is dying for Carlo to rub his back too.'' The three of them laughed. ''But no, seriously...Zander is the one and only guy for me. Now that me and Zander are together, I'll have to give Carlo to one of you as a gift. He may be hot, but he is no Zander.''

''You guys are really sweet together,'' Skye said. ''But I'm afraid I'll have to pass on Carlo, as generous as an offer that is.''

''Ohhhh....so that must mean things are going good with Stefan! So how was you guys' dinner last night?''

''Great,'' Skye replied, then sighed. ''Ohhhh, girls, I am so crazy about him. Did you like him, Anjie?''

''Yeah, he's really nice, and very charming.And he sure has an awesome place! I think you guys make a really good couple.''

''Well, thanks. I think so too,'' Skye said happily.

Emily climbed on a floating lounger and pushed two others in Skye and Anjelica's direction. ''Guys, this is great...I haven't had any real girl talk in a long time....Liz, my best friend, has been really really busy with Lucky, and most of my other friends from school are on vacation, or out checking out colleges. It's great to dish about guys with you. I'm so glad you're part of the family now.''

''Oh, thanks Em. That means a lot,'' Skye said, truly touched. ''I'm glad I got the chance to be your sister, whether or not it was 18 years late.''

''Yeah, and I'm glad I met you too Emily. Until now, I was an only child, and I didn't have anyone to talk to about....well, you know. Just stuff,'' Anjelica said. ''Well, there was my m-....umm, so Emily,'' she said uncomfortably, trying to change the subject, ''Have you been going out with Zander for long?''

''Well...we had our first kiss on November 17...but we weren't really ''a couple'' per se until December 6...so that would make it a little over eight months.'' She sighed.

''You remember the exact dates and everything? Wow.'' Anjie replied.

''You remember everything when you're in love...speaking of him, he's supposed to call any minute,'' Emily murmured. Then as if snapping back into reality, she looked at Skye and asked, ''So when did you and Stefan meet?''

''I met him at the PC Grill in July, that day when the family was having a huge fight over pastries or something, remember?'' Emily laughed and nodded.
''I had gone there to get away and have a peaceful breakfast. He...he caught me staring at him,'' she said, giggling.

''Oh...that's embarrassing,'' Emily said.

''Yeah...well at least it got his attention! We introduced each other, he joined me for breakfast....and it's just gone on from there. And things are going great.'' She looked at her daughter. ''What about you, Anjelica? Do you have anyone special in your life?''

Anjelica blushed. ''No....I've- I've only gone out with one guy in my whole life.''

''Oh, well you're still young, don't worry,'' Emily said. ''So...what happened with this guy?''

''Ugh...don't even get me started. Well, it was this past year at school. I had this big crush on this guy named Andrew McCallum. He was a year older than me, really hot, athletic, popular, you know the deal...Well one day, out of the blue, he asked me out! I couldn't believe it. And let me just clear it up, in high school, when someone 'asks you out', that means 'will you be their girlfriend'....anyways, I was like totally shocked, but I said yes, of course. So we went to the movies the next night, and he asked me to....well, you know. And I was like whoa....we just started going out yesterday. I told him I didn't want to. He got pissed and wouldn't talk to me. I left to go to the washroom, and when I came back, he was talking to this trampy ho, getting her number! Then he said we should just be friends. UGGGHHHH I hate that jackass.''

''What a loser! Well, Anjie, you are waaaaay too good for him. The scumbag. No way did he ever deserve you!'' Emily exclaimed.

''That little....oooh, if I had been there, I would have taught that damn player a lesson,'' Skye said, shaking her head.

Anjelica giggled. ''Well, I'm way over him. I was ever since I punched him square in the nose.'' They all laughed. ''Way to go!'' Em and Skye exclaimed.

''So...'' Emily continued, ''there has to be at least a few guys out there better than that ass....anyone you have your eye on? I could help!''

''Thanks, but...I haven't really found any guy who's cute and cool and actually nice at the same time. Most guys my age are total losers.''

''Oh....well, maybe when school starts, you'll find someone. There's always cuties at PC High.''

''I hope so. But ugh..don't mention school yet!! I still have a few weeks of peace.''

''Oh, sorry! I know how you feel...''

''I used to hate when summer ended,'' Skye said. ''Then it was back to homework and high expectations....'' she sighed.

''Hey, Anjie, I hope you get Mrs. Lofaso for English. She's the best! But watch out for Mr. St. Pierre, the art teacher. He's a major stickler.''

''Thanks. I just registered at PCH this morning, and the said I can get my schedule next week. I'll pray every night until then that I don't get him.''

''For me, the worst teacher I ever had was a geography teacher named Mr. Cassels.'' Skye said. ''I went to a school where we had to wear uniforms, and he would always measure the space between the kilt and the knee! He said it was to make sure no one was breaking the two inches rule--two inches!!--but I think he just liked trying to look up girls' kilts, the perv.'' They all laughed.

''Well, at PCH, we didn't have to wear uniforms, thankfully. Unless you count the non-required uniform of lots and lots of jeans, which everyone wears like every day.'' Emily said.

''Well, I should fit in, then,'' Anjie said, ''I love jeans.''

''Maybe we could go back-to-school shopping together,'' Emily offered.

''Sounds great. Cool. But for the time being, I don't want to hear about school for the next few weeks,'' Anjie said.

''Agreed,'' replied Emily.

After that, the conversation began to drift off as the three ladies closed their eyes and soaked up the warm summer sun.

A few moments later, Skye broke the silence. ''Is anybody thirsty?''

''Yeah, kinda,'' Anjelica said. Emily nodded.

''Me too, so tell ya what, I'll go see what I can get from the kitchen. Let's just hope Cook isn't having one of her tantrums. Be right back.'' She took the steps up out of the pool, grabbed her towel and slid into some flip flops and headed for the mansion.

''So, Anjelica...How are you liking living in Port Charles so far?'' Emily said casually.

''It's...it's nice,'' she began. ''The family is great...well, most of the time,'' she said, and Emily laughed knowingly. ''But seriously, hanging with you has been great. AJ's really cool. Ned's great, he gave me a job! Grandmother is so sweet. Alan's a really nice guy. And Skye....well she turned out be everything I never even dreamed she would be. So yeah, I like living with you guys. It's just that....'' her voice trailed off.

''You want to be with kids your own age sometimes too, right?'' Emily put in.

Anjie nodded. ''Yeah. I mean, don't get me wrong, you and the others are awesome, but....I miss my friends. And I haven't really met anyone my age yet. I wish I could meet someone before school starts, so I'm no so totally freaked on my first day.''

''Well...maybe when we go shopping, we'll see Maxie Jones. She's your age, and she seems pretty nice. I'm sure she'd introduce you to her friends. And....maybe some guys,'' she added jokingly.

''That would be great...especially the guy part,'' Anjelica replied slyly. ''Decent guys these days are so hard to find....I wish...I wish I could find a guy who respects me, you know? Who likes me for who I am. Who will listen to me, and have an intelligent conversation with me. And just have fun...Not put on any pressure, or anything, just accept me for who I am...Someone who would watch soap operas with me.'' They laughed.

''Well, there has to be someone out there for you, Anjie,'' Emily said. ''They can't be all bad..just look at Zander! He's the closest thing to perfect I've ever seen. In fact---'' Just then they were interrupted by a loud insistent ring.
''Oh, that's my cell. It must be Zander! I'll be right back okay!'' Emily quickly hurried out of the pool, grabbed a towel and her cell, and flopped down on a lounge chair. ''Hello? Heyyy...I was just talking about you...uh huh...''

Anjelica sighed. Emily was so lucky....After getting lost in some thoughts, she looked at her hands. They were getting all pruny, so she decided to get out of the pool. Smoothing her hair back, she climbed up the pool steps. And was stunned by what she saw--make that who she saw. Standing by the gate to the poolyard was the cutest guy she had ever seen.
Startled, she grabbed a towel and wrapped it around her waist. ''Who are you?''

The guy blinked. He had been just as surprised. Wow, she's so beautiful.....he thought. ''Um...sorry...I'm JR. I'm looking for Skye. Wh-what's your name?''

''I'm Anjelica,'' she said, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. ''So, uh...why do you want to see Skye?''

''She's my sister,'' JR said. Anjelica's face fell. Just my luck...the kid is related to me. Eww!

''Oh.''

''Who are you? Are you one of the Quartermaines?''

''Well, kinda...Skye's my mother.'' she replied. This time it was JR's face that fell. Then his eyes sort of lit up.

''Well, actually she's not really my sister.'' JR said quickly. ''We're not really related. She, uh...she lived with our family, but then we found out she's a Quartermaine...''

''Oh.'' This time Anjie's words sounded a little more hopeful. ''I see. So, um...how did you get back here?''

''Uh, some guy told me you were guys were back here, and he let me in the back gate. Richard, or Ronald, or something...''

''Reginald.'' Anjelica giggled. ''Does Skye know you're here? She's in the house, did you see her?''

''No, I must have missed her. But, this is sort of a surprise visit. I hope she's not mad. I really want to see her, and-''

Just then, the gate swung open. ''JR?!'' Skye said in surprise. ''What are you doing here?''


Chapter 13

"Skye!" JR said cautiously. "How- how are ya?"

Skye made her way to where JR and Anjelica were standing. "I'm fine," she began slowly, "Um, it's great to see you, JR, but....what are you doing here? You didn't...."

"No, no, it's nothing like that," JR said. "About the...the drugs, if that's what you mean. I'm through with all that garbage."

Skye smiled. "Good. That's great. I, uh...I was talking to Hayley a couple months ago, and she mentioned that you were...having trouble. But that's great that you're back on track."

JR, sort of embarrassed, looked down at the ground. Anjie probably thinks I'm a big loser now, he thought. "Uh..well, thanks...."

Skye noticed that JR seemed uncomfortable, so she opted to change the subject. As the three of them sat down on lawn chairs, she began, "So...Are you in town for a soccer game, or something? How't that going?"

JR looked at Anjelica. She caught his glance, and embarrassed, JR turned back to Skye. "It's going great! I got three goals in my last game," he said proudly. "But, I'm not here for soccer. I...I wanted to talk to you. I found out about what happened with my Dad, and....everything else."

A knot formed in Skye's stomach. She had accepted what had happened, but it still hurt to talk about it. "I see."

"I just found out," JR went on. "I wanted to make sure you're okay."

A tear welled up in Skye's eye. "Well, I'm doing the best I can, I guess....thanks for your concern, JR. It means a lot that you would come all the way down here to check up on me." She put her hand on his shoulder and smiled.

Anjelica quickly stood up. "Um...why don't I just leave you to talk...it's not really any of my business..."

"Oh, Anjie, it's okay," Skye said. "Really."

Just then, Emily came up to the group. She had overheard their conversation as she was getting off the phone from Zander, and she could sense that Anjelica felt a little uncomfortable. "Hey, Anjie," she said. "Me and Zander are going out later today. Do you think you could help me pick out an outfit?"

"Uh, sure," Anjelica said, and so the two girls left for the house. JR turned to get one last look at Anjelica before he turned his attention back to Skye.

"I can't believe they did that to you...I can't believe you're not my sister." he said, shaking his head in disgust.

Wiping an eye, Skye forced a smile. "JR," she began, "We may not be brother and sister biologically, but that doesn't mean I don't care a great deal about you, okay?"

JR nodded. "I know we never got to spend a lot of time together, but...I always thought you were cool, you know? When we did get to see each other, I had a lot of fun."

"Me too. I wish we could have gotten to know each other better."

"Yeah. But Skye...are you sure you're okay? What Dad and that...that lady did was so awful...."

"Well," Skye said, not quite sure of what to say. "The thing is....It was an awful thing to find out. When they told me, I was mad. Really, really mad. I hated everyone, my old family, my new family, myself. But...but you have to learn to sort of live with what life brings you, you know, go with the flow, I guess. As much as I hated the idea, I had to learn to accept that I'm not really a Chandler, I'm a Quartermaine. It was a very hard thing to take...but then....then things started to get a little better. Alan, my real father...he's great. My brother AJ is really cool. Not as cool as you, though," she said, smiling.

"Well, what can I say," JR joked. They laughed.

"And Emily is great. She was the one on the phone, with the big date tonight. And then Anjelica...oh my God....she's so amazing, you know. And if I had never found out about the Quartermaines being my family, I might have never found Anjelica. So it really worked out in the long run, in a strange way, but right now I feel better off than I did several months ago."

"Whoa, whoa....back up a bit," JR said. "About Anjelica....she told me she was your daughter before. It didn't even sink in when she said it, but....how can that be? Why didn't I ever know about her? Did my dad get rid of her too?"

"No, Adam didn't know about her. No one did, except me. See....back when I was in high school, I...I made some mistakes. Got involved with some of the wrong people. I ended up getting pregnant. And, well....it's a really really long, complicated story, and I just.....well, I was tricked by a friend, I thought she was dead, so I just tried to move on with my life. That's when I moved to Pine Valley. But just recently, Anjelica showed up here! She had just learned the truth, and she was angry at first too. But we got things all cleared up, and so, here we are!"

"Wow." JR didn't quite know what to make of all that he had learned. "Well...that's great that things are working out for you, Skye."

"Thank you, JR. But...how are you? Learning about what Adam and Althea did must have been a big shock for you. Are you okay?"

"Well...you know...I just can't believe Dad would lie to you for so long. I know he's done some bad things, but....what he did to you makes me sick. I can't stand to be with the bastard."

"Well, JR, if it's any consolation, I know that Adam loves you very much."

"Maybe, but at this point I could care less."
"JR, does Adam know you're here? And what about your mom?"

JR looked at the ground. He had hoped that Skye wouldn't ask him questions about how he got there; he didn't want her to make him go back, not just yet anyway.

"I'm sure my dad knows. And I left my mom and Tad a note."

"JR! You came here all by yourself, and you didn't get permission first?"

"Oh boy, here comes another lecture, right?" JR sighed.

"No, I'm not going to lecture you. I'm sure I've done the same sort of thing hundreds of times, so what right do I have to yell at you?"

"Thanks."

"But I do want you to call them as soon as possible, okay? They're probably real worried." JR nodded, then decided there was no better time than now. He got out his cell phone and dialed his mom's number.

"It's busy," he reported.

"Okay, but try again soon, all right? So....other than finding out what you just found out....are things in Pine Valley going good for you?"

"Yeah, pretty good. I started hanging out with my real friends again. I'm never gonna get mixed up with those druggie jerks ever again, I promise. And me and Mom are getting closer, although she's kinda...smothering me, if you know what I mean."

Skye snickered. "Yeah, I definitely know what you mean. So, how are Tad and Dixie doing? I haven't seen them since Uncle Stuart's service...."

"They're good. They're good. I think they're going to stay together for a long time, this time. And Mom's been substitute teaching...last year I even had her for a couple classes, which was really weird."

"I can imagine."

"But she's looking around for a full-time job. Hopefully we won't have to move."

"And how are things on the romantic front? I'm sure a handsome boy like you has all the girls in a tizzy."

JR rolled his eyes. "I wish..."

"Oh come on. I'm sure there's at least one special girl out there!"

JR got a far-off look in his eyes. "Maybe...." he murmured.

"Oooh....so who's the lucky lady?"

"No one!"

"Sure...." Skye laughed, but seeing JR turn a bright shade of red, she decided to drop it. They talked for a few minutes, but JR grew quiet. After a moment, he broke the silence.

"So, uh....not like it matters or anything...just wondering...um...you know Anjelica? Uh, does she...have a boyfriend, or anything?"

Skye caught on. "No, actually we were just talking about that. She's single, just like you. But...not like it matters, right?" She smiled.

"Right," he quickly replied.
********************************************************************************
"Well, I gotta go meet Zander at Silver City," Emily said. "Thanks for the help with picking out this outfit!"

"Sure," Anjelica said. "No problem. I'm sure his eyes will pop out, you look great."

"Thanks! But you know....I saw a certain someone's eyes latching onto you earlier."

"What?" Anjie said quickly.

"Uh huh...that little cutie...what was his name..."

"JR!"

"Yeah!" Emily said with a giggle. "JR was checking you out big time!"

Anjelica blushed. "No, he wasn't...."

"Yes, he most definitely was!"

"Really?"

"Aww, you like him too, don't you?"

"Oh....well....no, not really...."

"Anjie?"
"Okay, okay, well...maybe, a little....sorta...." she giggled. "Okay, yes!"

"Ha! I knew it! Well, that's great. Why don't you go out and talk to him, I'm sure he and Skye are done sorting out what they have to sort out. Get to know him!"

"You think I should?" Emily nodded. "Well...okay. Thanks Emily!"

Emily left to get her car, and Anjelica made her way outside, feeling nervous and excited and happy and shy all at the same time. Maybe her guy situation...or lack thereof...could improve!


Chapter 14
Wow, just look at him.... Anjelica thought dreamily to herself. Watching JR talk to Skye through the sliding glass door, Anjie could feel herself blush. I wonder if he's single...no, probably not, he probably has all the girls...but Emily said he likes me...could it be? But...no, he just looked at me, that doesn't mean he likes me...maybe he looks at everyone.....

''Can I help you with anything, Anjelica?''

''Hmmm?'' Anjie was suddenly snapped out of her thoughts and back into reality. She turned and saw Reginald looking at her, curiosity dancing across his face.

''You were, uh, staring at the door. I was just wondering if you needed something?''

''Oh, uh, no...thanks, Reginald. I'm just...going outside.'' She gave him a big smile, hoping he would go away.

''Going in the pool? The water's really nice, especially on a day like today.''

Anjie looked down at herself, and realized she still had her bathing suit on, and her hair was still wet and messy. I can't let JR see me looking like this!

''Uh sorry Reginald gotta go!'' With that she ran past the confused butler and up the stairs to her room, leaving him baffled but amused.

A few minutes later, Anjelica reappeared downstairs, her hair combed neatly and put up in a big butterfly clip, wearing jeans and a white tank top as well as some nice but understated makeup. She nervously tossed the two pop cans she had taken from the kitchen from hand to hand. Checking herself in the mirror, she put her hand on the doorknob and laughed to herself when she realized her hand was shaking.

''Knock him dead! You look great!''

Anjelica spun around. She hadn't been aware that Reginald was still in the room. He smiled at her; she saw that he understood.

She returned the smile. ''Thanks, Reginald. I'll try my best.''

Butterflies in her stomach, Anjelica made her way back to the pool deck. She saw JR's gaze instantly shift to her; that was a good thing, she decided.

''So,'' she said with her best attempt at a confident smile, ''what's going on, guys?''

JR's cheeks turned slightly rosy, and he tried to look away. ''Well, we were just, uh..you know...talking. It's cool.''

''I didn't interrupt, did I?''

''No, no,'' Skye said, getting up. ''Actually, I was just on my way back to the house. Stefan is taking me to the opera and dinner tonight, and I have to go get ready.''

''Sounds like fun!'' Anjie replied.

''I'm definitely looking forward to it! Now...I know! Why don't you two just hang out for a while, you know, get to know each other? It'll be fun, I'm sure you guys will get along great.'' She winked at JR and turned to leave for the house.

''So...'' Anjelica began.

''So...'' JR echoed. Then Anjelica remembered the pops.

''You, uh...want a Pepsi?'' she asked.

''Oh, yeah, sure,'' JR said. ''Thanks.'' She handed him the can, and felt her pulse speed up a bit when his fingers brushed over hers.

JR opened the pop tab....and Pepsi sprayed all over him! Anjelica was horrified!

''Ohhh my God, I am so sorry! Oh!'' Anjie rushed to get him a towel, and handed it to him. She wasn't quite sure what to make of it when she saw his hand over his mouth, a funny look on his face.

''Oh, you're not mad are you?''

JR took his hand away. She saw a smile, and that made her feel a little better. Then the smile turned into a chuckle.

''No, I'm not mad...Actually, that's the first thing that's really made me laugh in a while.''

''Really?''

''Yeah.''

''Oh...well, good. I'm glad! But still...now you have pop all over you, and-''

''Hey, hey, it's okay,'' JR cut in. He could tell she was mortified and he hoped he could get her to relax. ''It doesn't smell any worse than the cologne I'm wearing anyway, and it tastes a hell of a lot better!'' This time it was Anjelica's turn to laugh.

''Well I guess that's what they call an ice breaker,'' Anjelica said. ''So, um...you play soccer?''

''Yeah, I love it,'' JR replied. ''You like sports?''

''Love them! Especially volleyball. I played in at school for a few years.''

''Cool! I like volleyball too, but not as much as soccer. Soccer's the sweetest sport.''

''Oh really?''

''Really.''

Wyndermere
Straightening his tie, Stefan glanced at his clock. He still had plenty of time before he had to pick up Skye for the opera. His eyes felt heavy; he had hardly slept the past few days because he had been working overtime on a plan to gain total control of the Cassadine estate for himself, Nikolas and Alexis so that Helena could never touch it. Phone calls, calculations and plenty of coffee had kept him up for all of the day and most of the night. Since he had some time to spare and most definitely did not feel like working at that moment, Stefan decided to just take some very well-deserved rest. He took the phone off the hook so he wouldn't be disturbed, and taking a seat on the couch, he closed his eyes.......

''Stefan? Are you here?'' Skye said, poking her head into the room.

Stefan stood up, a smile forming on his lips. ''Hello, Skye. Ready for a wonderful night on the town?''

Skye strode in the room confidently, no smile present on her face. ''Well, that sounds somewhat appealing but to tell you the truth Stefan, I thought the night may be lacking so I invited my new friend to come with us.''

''Oh?!'' Stefan was kind of confused.

''That's okay, isn't it?''

''Well, I suppose...who is it that's going to be joining us tonight? Do I know her?''

''Well you most certainly do, my darling wayward son!'' Helena Cassadine appeared in the room.

''What are you doing here, Mother?''

''Why, my delightful new friend Skye asked me to join your trip to the opera. When she told me you were accompanying us, I was less than thrilled, but then, how can I resist an opportunity to see you make a fool of yourself trying to impress a lady, Stefan?''

''I'm so glad I could provide you with a little amusement, Mother, but if you don't mind, this was supposed to be a private evening with Skye and I-''

''Stefan! I'm the one who invited Helena, remember? I say she stays, and frankly I think you're being rather rude. And to your own mother! Helena has been nothing but kind to me, and she has certainly opened my eyes to things I may never have known about you.''

''Skye, you can't be serious-''

''Oh, no, Stefan, I am very serious. Your mother was gracious enough to fill me in on everything I need to know when it comes to having a relationship with a devastating failure like you.''

''Oooh, I couldn't have said it better myself,'' Helena said.

''Get out of here Mother!'' Stefan yelled. ''Skye-''

''Now, now, Stefan, your constant bellowing is becoming more than tiresome. Now then...I'll just sit here on this hideous piece of furniture, and Skye, you can say to Stefan everything that you told me you would say. Just pretend I'm not here. Now you listen to her, you vexing misuse of DNA.''

''Thank you Helena, I can take it from here. And nice one, by the way.''

''Skye, what has she done to you? Are you alright?'' Stefan said, taking her hands.

Skye quickly slipped her hands out of his. ''She has done absolutely nothing to me, except take off the wool that was over my eyes.''

''I don't understand-''

''We were foolish to think this could ever work! I now know every detail of your past romances....pitiful, that's the only way to describe them.''

''I can assure you that everything that wretched monster has told you were lies.''

''You broke their spirits, Stefan. You ruined them. Let's faced it. YOU MESSED UP!''

''Skye, I..you..''

''Let's start with Laura, shall we? You stole her from your brother. Hardly good manners, Mr. Cassadine.''

''I was protecting her! Stavros was an even bigger monster than my mother-''

''Did I ask you to add your own insipid commentary? I don't think so. But okay, if messing with Laura Spencer wasn't enough, how about Katherine Bell? You shot the woman for God's sakes!''

''It was an accident!''

''You paralyzed her, put her in a wheelchair!''

''I helped her recuperate!''

''That may be but as soon as she was on her feet, you just kept on going. Destroying her ability to walk wasn't enough, so you had to destroy her life, correct? You told her you loved her, and that you had a future...and then she finds out that you don't love her at all! You love Laura! And she went tumbling to her death...wait, actually, that happened twice, didn't it! You got the woman killed twice! An amazing feat, if I do say so myself.''

''I had nothing to do with her falling off the parapet. That was all her doing!'' Stefan shouted, pointing at his mother, who was just sitting back watching all this with an amused look on her face.

''So you say, but if you had never gotten involved with her, none of this would have happened, now would it? Oh, and don't even get me started on my cousin, Chloe Morgan!''

''Please, leave Chloe out of this. It-''

''You kidnapped the poor woman, withheld her medication, lied to her more times than Bill Clinton lied to the American people-''

''Again, I was trying to protect her from Helena!''

''Sometimes I think you give me too much credit,'' Helena said with a smirk.

''Just shut up, Mother! Skye, please...you've got to listen to me! She's filled your head with lies...you have to believe me, you shouldn't be her friend, you should stay as far away from her as possible!''

Skye's demeanor softened for the first time since she walked in. A glimmer of hope formed in Stefan's mind. Maybe she was finally snapping out of whatever Helena did to her. She put her hand on his shoulder.

''Stefan,'' she began. ''I'm very afraid.''

''Skye, I understand, but if we stay together, we can overcome her evil ways.''

''Oh Stefan...so misguided...it's not Helena I'm afraid of. It's you!''

Q Mansion

Skye checked the clock. Stefan was supposed to be at the mansion to pick her up over 10 minutes ago. Grabbing her cell phone, she dialed his number. It was busy, meaning he was still at home. Maybe I got it wrong, she thought. Maybe I was supposed to meet him at Wyndermere.

She hurried to her car and headed to Spoon Island.


''I'm afraid you'll break my spirit like you did to Katherine, and to Chloe.''

''That will never happen,'' Stefan said. ''You're such a strong woman. You're brave, and determined, and confident.''

''But I may not be after you're finished with me. You wouldn't want that, would you?''

''No, of course not, but-''

''I want to stay strong. Let me stay that way, please.''

''But Skye, I...I...''

''Just think what could happen to me.''

''I don't want anything to happen to you Skye. I care for you so much.'' He took her hand and kissed it. A tear began to well up in his eye.

''Let go, or I'll be ruined, just like the rest.''

''I can't! I can't lose you too!''

''You have to let go.''

''I can't!'' He took her in his arms...and slowly...she began to fade away.

''No!!!!'' he yelled, and began to sob.

''Are you happy now, Stefan? You've conquered and destroyed a woman yet again.'' Waiting for an answer, Helena was surprised when he did not respond. Instead, he just clutched a pillow and wept.

''Stefan! Stefan!''....

''Stefan! Stefan!'' Wake up!'' she leaned over Stefan, who was laying on the couch, stirring, obviously in great distress due to a dream. ''Stefan!''

Sweating yet all the while feeling chills, he opened his eyes. ''Oh God....''

''Stefan? What is it?''

He leaned towards her and took her in his arms, trying not to cry. ''Oh Skye,'' he said, ''Please...please, just stay with me.''

Confused, Skye just returned his embrace. ''Ssshhh, it's okay. I'm not going anywhere.''

Chapter 15 FINALE!!!

December 31, 2001
Wyndermere

''Uncle,'' said Nikolas, I am so thrilled for you.''

''Thank you Nikolas,'' Stefan said, a smile on his face.

''I've never seen you so happy,'' Nikolas continued, ''and you really deserve it.'' He gave his uncle a hug.

''Mr. Cassadine, the island looks gorgeous tonight!'' Gia raved. ''I can only hope that the decor for my and Nikolas's wedding is half as exquisite as what you have here.''

''I'm glad you like it,'' Stefan said. ''I just wanted things to be perfect for Skye.''

''I'm sure she loves it,'' Gia said, smiling.

''Well, those were my intentions. I'm marrying the woman I love, and nothing but the best would have been acceptable!''

As Nikolas and Gia headed over to get something to drink, Stefan remembered a time when he never would have imagined that this day could have taken place....

August

Stefan had been awakened from his horrible nightmare, only to be staring in the face of the ''star'' of his dream. It was Skye.

He had been so frightened by his dream, frightened that if he stayed with Skye, he would destroy her, but that if he could not be with her, he would be destroyed as well. But like an angel, like a miracle, she had refused to leave.

''It's okay. I'm not going anywhere.'' she had said. She had not minded when he embraced her, almost as if holding on for dear life. She had not minded when he broke down and actually shed a few tears. She had not minded when he told her all the sordid details of his dream; in fact, she had wanted to know, so she could help!

He told her everything about his dream, and everything about his fears.

''Stefan,'' she had said, ''you don't have to worry about anything. I know what I am getting myself into...and I like it.'' She gave him a smile to calm him, but still he seemed hesitant.

''It's just that....every woman I let into my life ends up leaving it much worse off.''

''Stefan, don't worry! I am a strong woman, and pretty brave, or at least I like to think so! I can handle a lot. And I'm willing to handle a lot to be with you.''

''But it's just that! I see your strength, your bravery, your liveliness! And I am in awe of you. Skye,'' he said, voice lowering, ''I would be loathe to be the cause of those qualities slipping away from you.''

''Listen to me,'' Skye said, putting her hands to his cheeks. ''That would not happen! I know you, and I know you wouldn't hurt me. And I also know the feeling when a guy is weighing me down. Stefan...I have never, ever felt that feeling with you. Ever.''

''Your faith in me is....astounding,'' Stefan said. ''I've never had someone trust in me the way you do.''

''And that's a horrible shame, but I'm here, trying to change that. I want to be with you, Stefan. And nothing you can say, nothing a woman from your past can say, and especially nothing your awful mother can say will ever change that. I am here to stay whether you like it or not!''
Stefan was silent for a moment but when he saw her twinkling eyes and pretend-smug smile, he couldn't hold himself back anymore.

''I don't know what I did to deserve you,'' he began, stroking her hair, ''But whatever it is, I'm going to keep doing it for a very long time, because I want to be with you too.'' With that he kissed her passionately and for once felt a renewed sense of hope. She was his hope, and he would not let anything in the world squander it.

Present
Skye looked in the mirror, still hardly believing her own reflection. There she stood, in her wedding dress. Her wedding dress! Oh how she had thought this day would never come, but it had! She was marrying Stefan Cassadine, the man of her dreams, and she had never been happier in her whole life.

''Oh Mom you look beautiful,'' Anjelica said, staring in awe at the gorgeous silvery white strapless gown that her mother was wearing. There were delicate crystals along the top of the bodice and throughout the long flowing skirt. She also wore a small diamond-encrusted tiara-like hair band carefully placed in her elegant upswept hairdo, and fancy but understated silver and diamond earrings necklace.

''My granddaughter is right...you are a vision, Skye,'' Rae said, smiling proudly at her daughter.

''Thank you both. Oh and you both look wonderful too!'' Anjelica wore a cranberry iridescent gown, she was a bridesmaid; Rae wore a similar cranberry gown but with a small, crocheted cranberry jacket over it, she was the maid of honour.

''And Anjie,'' Skye continued, ''JR is certainly going to be impressed!''

Anjie blushed. ''I hope so.'' JR was on her mind constantly, especially ever since that one day in particular....

September 1st
Anjie and JR had been spending more and more time together, and found themselves liking each other more and more as well. But both of them were too shy to really do anything about it, especially since the next day, JR would be returning to Pine Valley because school was starting up again soon.

Anjie kept sneaking glances at him as he talked to his mom on phone. He was so cute, just looking at her made her cheeks get hot. But, she didn't want to eavesdrop, so she tried to turn her attention to the Rubix Cube they had been trying all day to solve. Despite her concentration, and mostly, frustrations, she couldn't help but notice his voice raising in excitement. She peeked over at him again.

''Really?! Oh my gosh Mom that's great! I don't believe it!.....Well, yeah, of course I will, but there's things here that.....Yeah, it's going to be great!...No, really, I don't mind. I bet it's really cool, probably even cooler than Pine Valley High....Okay Mom, I'll see you soon then! Bye.''

He rushed back to Anjie, a huge grin on his face. She could no longer handle the suspense.

''What is it?'' she cried.

''Okay, you know how this is my last night in Port Charles?''

''Yeah,'' Anjie said, looking away so as to hide the small tear forming.

''Okay and you know how my mom's a teacher?''

''Yeah...'' Anjie was not quite sure what he was trying to get at.

''And that she was looking for a new full time job as a high school teacher, not just a substitute?''

''Um, okay...''

''Well...oh man, you're never gonna believe it.''

''For God's sakes JR just tell me!'' Anjelica shouted. Then JR began to laugh.

''What is so funny?!'' Anjie demanded, half serious and half giggling.

''You....But okay, here it is. The big news. The exciting news. The once in a life time cover of the newspaper blow your mind-''

''Don't make me use this!'' Anjie exclaimed, holding an open Coke can. ''Remember that time when-''

''Okay okay!'' JR said, holding his hands up. ''My mom got a full time teaching job- in Port Charles! She's moving here!''

''And you-''

''I get to move here too! I get to stay!''

''Oh!'' Anjie was so happy, she felt like running around and dancing. But she didn't want JR to think she was an idiot so she tried to contain herself.

''That's so great,'' she continued calmly.

''I know. Now...'' JR's voice trailed off. He looked at Anjie, and seeing her smile, he felt a wave of courage.
''Now I can be here with you for always,'' he said, taking her hand.

Surprised, but pleasantly surprised, Anjie put her other hand on his, and then before she knew what was happening, he had leaned over and was kissing her.

Present

Anjie sighed, just at the memory of it. Her first kiss. And just as special as she had ever imagined it. She and JR had been an ''item'' ever since, and still were today. Not long ago they had gone to the high school's Semi Formal together, and had a total blast. Both being new at the school, they were so glad to have each other, but also made some great new friends too. She sighed again. First love was such a wonderful thing.

''What's all this sighing about Anjie? Today's a happy day!'' Rae said.

''Hmmm?''

''I know,'' said Skye, winking, ''She's thinking about JR.''

Anjie nodded and blushed.

''Speaking of romance,'' Skye continued, ''Are things with Mike going well?''

~Back a month or so ago, Rae had told Skye of how John had been transferred out of Llanview for police business, and they had decided to just be friends, for long distance relationships never seemed to work. Realizing Rae now had no one in Llanview except for a few nutty patients, Skye had asked Rae to move to PC. They were finally just getting along, and Skye had wanted to build on that. Rae was thrilled at the idea to be closer to her daughter, and equally amazed that Skye felt the same. So Skye had helped Rae move into her new house in Port Charles in November, just after Thanksgiving. But she had sensed that Rae was still a little lonely- being single again at the holidays was hard.

Then one day she and Rae had been at the diner getting something quick for lunch when they ran into Sonny Corinthos and his father Mike Corbin. Skye and Sonny hated each other and had traded verbal insults but Skye had noticed Mike ''giving Rae the eye''. At first she had hated the idea of her mother having anything to do with a relative of Sonny's. But then a few days later Skye had run into Mike alone at the docks, and ended up having a conversation. She found that he was not so bad- not at all! In fact he was a very sweet man. Deciding to take a chance she had set up Mike and Rae on a date, and things had gone on from there! The two were enjoying their budding relationship and for once Rae was glad Skye had interfered!~

''He's a very wonderful man,'' Rae said happily. ''Skye I have to thank you again for introducing us.''

''Any time Mother,'' Skye said. This time it was she who sighed. Then Rae sighed, and finally Anjie followed suit. They all laughed.

''My God we're getting so sappy!'' Skye exclaimed.

''And isn't it great?!'' Rae added.

''I really want both of you to know that...that I love you, very much. And I am so glad that you are both here with me today, especially.'' She gave them both a hug, one arm around each. She sniffled.

''Mom!'' Anjelica exclaimed. ''You're going to get mascara all over yourself!''

''Oh, you're right,'' Skye said laughing. Rae got her a handkerchief and she cleaned herself up.

''There. Well, girls...it's almost time!''

''Are you excited?'' Anjie asked.

''Oh my gosh YES!'' Skye cried.

''Me too!'' replied Anjie.

''Me three!'' said Rae. They joined in another round of laughter, and Skye couldn't believe how truly perfect her life had become in only a matter of months.

Back Downstairs

''There he is, the glowing groom,'' Alexis said, giving her brother a big hug. ''I am so proud of you,'' she whispered in his ear.

''I'm so glad you could make it,'' Stefan said.

''Well, I just told Sonny that this was where I needed to be, I couldn't miss this for the world!''

''You're sure you're not missing anything important?''

''No, I got my friend Nora Buchanan from Llanview to cover for me at the meeting in Puerto Rico this time. She's a great lawyer and can definitely handle it. And besides, nothing is more important than seeing my brother get married.''

''Thank you Alexis,'' Stefan said. He was not a man of many words but he was incredibly grateful and Alexis understood. She knew she had made the right decision in putting Sonny second this one time.

''Stefan!'' Kristina called, approaching the group. ''You look great! I'm so happy for you!''

''Thank you Kristina, you look beautiful tonight as well.''

''Oh, why thank you,'' Kristina said, doing a playful curtsy.

''I'm so glad you are here with us tonight,'' Stefan said.

''Me too.''

The Cassadine siblings talked for awhile and then Stefan watched as the rest of the guests arrived. In came the Quartermaines, Mike Corbin, Anjelica's ''friend'' JR and his family, Dixie, Tad and his brother, Kevin Buchanan- Skye's friend from Llanview, Laura, Lucky and...Luke. Well Stefan decided that today he would not let his sometime-rival/sometime-ally get to him today. Then in walked....hmmm. Stefan had not been sure if Skye had invited them or not. Well apparently, she had. He just hoped everything would go smoothly with them there.

Upstairs

Emily rushed in the room, holding up the ends of her cranberry bridesmaid gown as she attempted running in her heels.

''They say everything will be set in 5 minutes!''

Everyone scrambled to their feet, for last minute hair, makeup and gown checks. Skye's heart was pounding a mile a minute but she was excited, not nervous- she had never been more sure of anything in her life. She had had this sense of certainty ever since the night Stefan had proposed...

November
The two were sharing a delicious dinner at the PC Grill, at a romantically secluded table out on the terrace. They were celebrating, not a birthday, holiday or anniversary...they were celebrating their love. The night before they had said ''I love you'' for the first time and for both of them, that was a big step. Love had not come easy for either of them during the course of their life time, but now, they were certain. They were truly in love with each other and nothing could stop them now.

''Stefan, this night is perfect,'' Skye had said as they were finishing up their dessert.

''Not quite yet,'' Stefan said. ''Something's missing.''

''What? I can't think of a thing.''

''Skye,'' Stefan began. ''You and I....'' he paused. How could he word this? He was terrible at putting his thoughts into words. But then he decided to just wing it. It was things from the heart that seemed to matter most anyhow.

''Skye ever since you came into my life...I have been a different person, a happier, stronger person. A person who finally knows what it is like to love with everything he has.''

''Oh Stefan. I love you too!''

''But I want you to know just how much-''

''Oh, I do-''

''No, no, just let me finish,'' Stefan said, taking her hand.

''Skye,'' he continued, reaching into his pocket with his other hand, and taking out a small box. He opened it, and took out its contents. ''I would be truly honoured if you would be my wife.''

Skye was so taken aback, so amazed, so shocked!- that she hardly knew what to say and so was silent for a moment. Stefan feared that he had said the wrong thing and that she was going to turn him down. As she opened her mouth to speak, he braced himself for the worst.

''Oh Stefan of course I will!'' she exclaimed, tears starting to stream down her cheeks. Stefan felt the hugest sense of relief, and he placed the beautiful ring carefully on her finger. They embraced and both felt happier than they had ever been.

Present

Emily opened the door a crack and began to hear the first notes of the wedding music.

''It's time!'' she exclaimed. Rae squeezed Skye's hand. ''Ready?'' she whispered.

Skye nodded. ''Definitely.''

''Then let's go!'' Emily and Anjelica said in unison.

''Wait where's Alan?!'' Skye shrieked. He was supposed to give her away.

''Right here!'' he said, popping his head in the room. He quickly came in and gave her a little hug.
''I love you so much, and am so proud of you,'' he said.

''I love you too, Dad,'' she replied.

''Shall we?'' he said, holding out his arm.

''Of course.''

First to come down the stairs was Anjelica. JR blushed as his mom playfully pinched his cheek. He gave Anjie a wink, and as she turned to go to the makeshift altar, she gave him one back.

Next came Emily. She smiled at Zander who was sitting near the front with Mike. He grinned back but then it was Mike's turn to smile when Rae came down next.

Emily, Anjelica and Rae now stood at the front with a beaming Stefan and his best man, Nikolas of course. Now it was time for the bride....

Everyone stood up as the music changed and Skye began to step down the stairs, Alan at her side. They slowly made their way to the altar, and as she walked toward her love, in the corner of her eye she saw Adam Chandler sitting at the back of the room, a misty look in his eyes and sad expression on his face. So he had come. After much inner debate she had decided to call him but got the answering machine. Rather than attempting to muster enough courage to call him a second time, she just decided to leave him a message and hope he got it. And now, seeing him there, she was glad that he had. They had hardly spoken ever since the big blowup in her hotel room in Llanview last February, and despite her intense anger, she truly longed to make things right again with him. After all he was the man she had called father all these years, imperfect as he may be. She sent a big smile in his direction, hoping he would catch it. He did, and he smiled back. Skye's heart soared, she knew her silent attempt to reach him had succeeded. Now everything was truly perfect for her wedding, and as her other beloved father, Alan, took his position, Skye turned to face Stefan. Their eyes locked in a look of pure love.

''I love you'' she mouthed. ''I love you too,'' mouthed Stefan.

The priest began the ceremony which went beautifully. Then it was time for the vows.

Skye went first.

''Stefan, just like the traditional saying goes, I vow to love you, honour you and cherish you for all my life. But it goes so much beyond that. For most of my life, there was always something missing. But when I met you, and got the chance to love you, the emptiness was gone, and I was filled with good, for the first time in my life. I am so grateful to have you by my side, and I promise to try to show you the incredibly amazing love and care that you have shown me. I will love you forever Stefan, there is no question about that. You make me whole and I thank God above for you every day. I hope I can make the rest of your life as happy as you have made mine.''

Stefan's eyes began to tear up, but then it was his turn to speak.
''My beautiful, beloved Skye. I do not even know where to begin, for I do not think I can really break down what I feel for you into words. When I am with you, any imperfections that I have experienced fade away. I feel safe, I feel happy, I feel at peace. You have made such a difference. I have been a lost soul for so long now, but now, I am home. You are my home, you are my peace, and you are my heart. You are my everything, Skye, and you will be for the rest of our lives.''

This time it was Skye's turn to tear up, and she couldn't help it as a few fell down her cheek.

Father Snyder smiled at them. ''The rings, please.'' Nikolas handed them the rings.

''Repeat after me,'' Father Snyder said. ''With this ring, I thee wed.''

Stefan placed the ring on Skye's finger. ''With this ring, I thee wed.''

Then Skye took Stefan's hand and slid the wedding band on his finger. Smile wide and eyes teary, she repeated, ''With this ring, I thee wed.''

''With the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife! You may kiss the bride.''

Stefan and Skye looked at each other, both so overwhelmed by the feeling of sheer bliss, and then came together for their first kiss as a married couple.

''I now present to you Mr and Mrs Stefan Cassadine!''

The music started up again and all their loved ones clapped happily, for no one deserved true happiness more than this pair, they knew.

Later at the Reception

After moving speeches by Nikolas, Rae, and AJ, it was time for the couple's first dance. Everyone watched joyously as Skye and Stefan took the floor and, gazing in each other's eyes, began to dance.

Here we are
On earth together
It's You and I
God has made us fall in love, it's true
I've really found someone like you
Will it say, the love you feel for me, will it say
That you will be by my side
To see me through
Until my life is through

Well in my mind
We can conquer the world
In love you and I, you and I, you and I

I am glad at least in my life I've found someone
That may be here forever to see me through
I found strength in you
I only pray that I have shown you a brighter day
Because that's all that I am living for you see
Don't worry what happens to me

Cause in my mind you will stay here always
In love you and I, you and I, you and I, you and I
In my mind we can conquer the world
In love you and I, you and I
You and I

''I love you Mrs. Cassadine,'' Stefan whispered.

''I love you Mr. Cassadine,'' Skye replied. Then the song changed to another great romantic hit, and other couples began to dance. Anjie and JR took each other's hands and headed onto the dance floor. Zander began to twirl Emily around, making her giggle. Skye saw Mike approach Rae, and then smile as she got up and walked to the floor with him. Alan and Monica, Luke and Laura, Nikolas and Gia and Lucky and Elizabeth also headed for the dance floor. AJ remained at his table, feeling kind of lonely.

''Hey, um, do you want to dance?'' Hearing the voice, AJ looked up in surprise. It was Kristina. She had seen him all alone and felt bad, and also, she wanted to leave Alexis and Ned alone, hoping maybe something would happen.

''It's a really great song and I would hate to sit it out,'' she added with a smile.

''Sure,'' AJ said, nodding. Why not? He held out his arm and she took it and the two made their way to the other dancing couples. Seeing this, Skye smiled. She loved her brother AJ and was happy to see him with a woman, even if it was Kristina, who had never really liked her. She knew AJ was lonely and it made her glad to see him smile. Just then her glee was interrupted.

''May I cut in, or is this bride taken for all the dances as well as all the years?'' said a familiar voice slyly. Skye turned, it was Kevin Buchanan! Stefan knew they were good friends, so he stepped aside. ''By all means. But don't keep her too long,'' he added with a grin.

''Kevin I'm so glad you could make it!'' Skye said giving him a small kiss on the cheek.

''Well I couldn't miss my best friend's wedding, now could I?'' he said, then laughed, realizing what he had just said.

''So would that make you Julia Roberts?'' Skye joked. They both laughed.

''I've missed you, you know. I moved back to Llanview with Duke, and you weren't there!''

''I'm glad we got back in touch, Kevin. You are truly a great friend, and I know I wouldn't be even close to where I am now had it not been for you.''

''I think I can say the same about you.''

Meanwhile Alexis sat, looking out with happiness at Stefan, Kristina, and Nikolas. She was so happy that her family was at peace, for a change! Then she felt a tap on the shoulder.

''Hi,'' said Ned.

''Hi,'' she said. Even though she was attracted to Sonny, she still could not shake the feelings of longing she got whenever Ned entered the room. He was her true love, and she knew it.

''Are you okay?''

''Yeah, I'm fine. Really. I'm really happy for Stefan.''

''Yeah. Umm...''

''Uh-''

''Alexis, would you like to dance with me?''

She smiled. She most definitely would. ''Su-sure.'' When he took her hand tingles went up her spine. He still had it. They walked out to where everyone was dancing.

Stefan had been talking with Lila Quartermaine when he looked out at the room and saw all the joyful expressions. And for once, he was taking part in the happiness as well. He looked over at his wife. His wife! He still could barely believe it. She smiled and gave him a little wave. He smiled and nodded back. From now on, he knew, everything was going to be absolutely wonderful. Joy and peace and love filled every inch of the room as the couples danced to the fabulous music. There truly could be perfection in Port Charles.

Faith, trust, love
Love
Love can move mountains

There ain't no dream that don't have the chance to come true now
It just takes a little faith
Anything that we want to do we can do now
There ain't nothing in our way baby

Nothing our love couldn't rise above
We can get through the night, we can get through the light
As long as we've got our love to light the way

With just a little faith just a little trust
Do you believe in love
Love can move mountains
Believe it in your heart and feel it in your soul
Love
Love can move mountains

Oceans deep and mountains high they can't stop us
Because love is on our side
We can reach the Heavens and touch the sky
Just believe it
Believe in you and I

If we've got love that is strong in enough
We can do anything
We'll get through anything
Cause through it all love will always find a way

With just a little faith just a little trust
Do you believe in love
Love can move mountains
Believe it in your heart and feel it in your soul
Love
Love can move mountains

You've got to feel it baby

You believe in me
I believe in you
If we believe in each other
Nothing we can't do

If we've got love that is strong in enough
We will find a way

With just a little faith just a little trust
Do you believe in love
Love can move mountains
Believe it in your heart and feel it in your soul
Love
Love can move mountains

Love will find a way
Love will find a way
Believe in each other
Oh baby
Believe in love
Love can move mountains believe
Believe in your feelings
Love
You've got to feel it baby
You gotta you gotta you gotta you gotta you gotta
Feel it baby

THE END