Chapter 18


Luke's.

"See? I knew this place would be slammin' tonight." Sonny remarks smugly. "Just what the doctor ordered for a gal with too many worries." With his hand placed on the small of her back, Sonny guides Emily through the crowd to a nice corner table. He can sense all the men in the room silently studying her, and trying to assess their relationship, and what chance they might have with Emily. She is dressed in a red silk blouse that clings devoutly to every curve of her body, and a short, yet full black skirt.

"Hey Em, Sonny! I heard you were both back in town." Approaching the table with a couple menus in one hand and an order pad in the other, Lucky Spencer gives them a careless grin. "Glad you two aren't being strangers. What's up?"

"Nice turnout." Emily remarks. "What's the occasion?"

"I managed to book THE hottest Latino band in the country. . .these guys are great. So what can I get ya?"

"You're waiting tables?" Sonny shakes his head. "Man, I heard you were managing."

"I am. Two of our waiters called in sick, and one of the bartenders got arrested." Flashing another grin, Lucky flips open his order pad. "Besides, I'm making killer tips... Gus is mixing margaritas. . . ." He offers enticingly.

"Ohh, a strawberry margarita." Emily's face breaks into a smile. "That sounds great."

"Make mine a regular margarita, and unlike your dad, use the GOOD tequila." Sonny's dimples show themselves. After Lucky leaves the table Sonny stands up and offers Emily his hand as the band begins a hot salsa beat. "Wanna dance?"

"I don't know how to salsa." Emily bites her lip indecisively, but already her foot is tapping.

Grabbing her hand, Sonny tugs her out onto the middle of the dance floor. "It's easy. All you have to do is listen to the beat, and follow my lead."

The two begin slowly, with Emily watching more of Sonny's feet than his face. After a while she begins to pick up her own tempo and mimic his movements back and forth. Looking up, she grins triumphantly, her worries momentarily forgotten with her mastery of some of the basic moves. "No problem." As soon as the words leave her mouth, she makes a misstep and lands heavily on Sonny's foot. "I'm sorry."

"Nah, it's okay Emily. I never use the tops of my feet for anything much." Sonny grins. The band segues into another song, this one faster, and more demanding. "Try and keep up." Sonny chuckles spinning Emily out away from his body, and twirling her in close.

*~*~*~*
Mi cuerpo pide oye (My body wants you)
Oye mi cuerpo pide salsa (Hey, my body wants salsa)
Y con este ritmo (And with this rhythm)
Vamos a bailar (Let's dance)
Oye mi cuerpo pide salsa (Hey, my body wants salsa)
Y con este ritmo (And with this rhythm)
No quiero parar (I don't want to stop)

*~*~*~*~*

The two begin to separate the dance floor, as Sonny puts Emily's new found skills to the test. Allowing herself to be caught up in the contagious music, and the dizzying feel of being whirled around the floor, Emily can feel herself start to relax and enjoy herself.

*~*~*~*

Hey boy, I see you lookin'
I know you're watchin'
But you won't make that move
Oye, I know you want me
I'm trying to show you
There's no way you can lose, oh baby
C'mon over here and give me what I want
If you don't know how, I'll teach you fast
We don't have to worry 'bout tomorrow now
I know that I want you
And I want this night to last

*~*~*~*

Entering the smoke filled bar, Nikolas immediately begins to feel the heat of the room. The music is blaring, yet somehow not offensive. He surveys the crowd, looking for his brother, wanting to arrange a visit with their sister while he waits for Liz to join him. Seeing Lucky behind the bar, Nikolas presses his way through the crowd, but stops to look out on the dance floor and is surprised to see Emily in Sonny's arms moving gracefully and happily to the rhythm of the music.

*~*~*~*

Oye mi cuerpo pide salsa
Y con este ritmo
Vamos a bailar
Oye mi cuerpo pide salsa
Y con este ritmo
No quiero parar

*~*~*~*

Seeing the younger man enter the bar, Sonny pulls Emily a little closer, and lifts her hand to rest over his heart, resting it there for a moment before sliding her other hand over his shoulder.

Watching as Sonny almost misses a step Emily grins mischievously. "Now who's having a hard time keeping up?" She teases.

"Oh? You wanna press your luck, Girlie?" Sonny takes Em's hand and with a deft flick of his wrists dips her so far back her hair brushes the floor, then pulls her back up to dip her on the other side.

Feeling carefree for the first time in a long long time, Emily laughs merrily. "Not bad. but you might want to take it easy. . .a man your age can't be too careful!"

*~*~*~*

There now, a little closer
Just hold me tighter and you'll be doing fine
Rico, that's what you feel like
You warm my body
Just like the bright sunshine
Everytime I touch you I feel no worries
I discover things I never knew
Feeling this desire coming over me
Can no longer fight it
I just want to be with you

*~*~*~*


Watching the two of them cavort on the dance floor, Nikolas fists clench at his sides. Telling himself it's just his natural reaction to Sonny Corinthos, not the fact that he's seeing Emily in someone else's arms , Nik forces himself to take a seat at the bar.

"Hey Nikolas!" Lucky pours his brother a glass of his favorite merlot. "Decided to take in a little night life while you're in Port Charles? You picked the perfect night."

"What's that?" Nikolas waves an imperious hand in the direction of Emily and Sonny and the staring people crowded around them.

Scratching his face Lucky cocks his head to the side. "Welllll... I don't know what you fancy folk call it... but us commoners refer to it as dancing."

"Why does an Organized Crime Lord have Emily draped over him like a blanket?" Nikolas persists, ignoring his brother's jibes and frowning.

"Cause the Lord of the Flies, and the Lord of the Rings weren't available?" Lucky smirks.

"Doesn't she realize how dangerous he is?" Nikolas scowls fiercely as Sonny's leg brushes against Emily's thigh. The two appear to be oblivious everything except one another, moving back and forth around, into, and by each other. Nikolas feels almost like a voyeur simply for watching them dance.

Peering over the bar, Lucky considers it seriously. "Doesn't look like she minds so much, Nikky. What's it to you who she dances with?"

*~*~*~*

Oye mi cuerpo pide salsa
Y con este ritmo
Vamos a bailar
Oye mi cuerpo pide salsa
Y con este ritmo
No quiero parar

*~*~*~*

Nikolas' stomach twists into a tight knot, seeing the woman who he almost made love to just a few days ago, dance in such a seductive manner, obviously flirting with Sonny. It takes all his self control to keep himself from hauling her off the dance floor. The same thought reverberates over and over again in his brain: It's happening again.

As the song ends, the dancers come to an abrupt halt. Emily can feel the world still spinning around her. The audience breaks into loud applause, not only for the band, but for the two skilled dancers. Sonny leans over her as she is draped over his strong arm and grins boyishly. "Not bad, Princess!"

Righting herself, Emily brushes her lips across Sonny's. "Thank you."

Seeing the display of affection from across the room Nikolas clenches
his fists again and rises to his feet.

"Hold up Nik." Lucky reaches out a hand lightning fast and catches his brother's arm. "No harm, no foul. It was just a kiss. Besides, I think Sonny is even more stunned than you."

Shaking off Lucky's hand, Nikolas makes his way swiftly through the crowd to where Sonny has led Emily off the floor. "Nikolas?" Emily smiles radiantly at him, her face glowing and her pulse beating rapidly at the base of her throat. "What are you doing here?"

"I came for dinner." Nikolas responds with great restraint. "But I stayed for the floor show." His face is taut with fury, a muscle twitching in his jaw.

"Why, thank you." Emily responds jovially. She makes a quick curtsy and snaps back. "We have another set at 11:00. After that, we hit Vegas!" Even though she is smiling, Emily's tone is sharp. Who does he think he is anyway? Glowering like an overprotective father on prom night. "Sonny's been giving me salsa lessons."

Sonny slips quietly towards the bar, remembering some good advice from a song. "Ya' got to know when to walk away, know when to run." No doubt he could handle the Cassadine kid if things escalated, but right now it was Emily's scathing tone that sent him racing for a safe seat to watch the fireworks from a distance.

"What's going on over there, Man?" Lucky peers around Sonny at the bar. "Nik looks about ready to chop off some heads."

"And Em is spitting mad." Sonny muses motioning to Rinaldo. "What's the deal with Cassadine?"

Rinaldo's face is set in stone, and he makes no remark except to raise one eyebrow.

"Oh lord. . .I forget. You don't work for me anymore." Sonny rolls his eyes. "Ask a friendly question and this is what you get."

"So you are in the mood for dance lessons, Emily?" Nikolas' tone is silky and quiet. "Then by all means allow me." Cupping her elbow in his strong hand, Nikolas guides Emily out onto the floor, then leaves her side to make a request to the band. The band leader nods enthusiastically and Nikolas returns to Emily. Trying to ignore the fury buzzing in his head, he begins lecturing in a stern tone. "I cannot believe that you would allow Corinthos to make a spectacle of you. Really Emily, what were you thinking?"

"What was I thinking?!" Bristling in his arms, Emily is surprised to hear the strains of a slow, dreamy song. "I was thinking I was out for a night of fun with a friend. Then I find myself accosted by another so-called friend who talks to me like I'm a child!"

"Fun? Is that what seduction on the dance floor is called now?" Nikolas' barely contained temper snaps. " I walk in to find you draped all over Sonny. How am I supposed to react? Am I supposed to be happy about that? I'm sorry I can't accommodate you."

"I don't expect you to accommodate me, Nikolas," Emily retorts hotly, putting a complete halt to their dancing and pulling away. "Not at all. What I want to know is why *I* am supposed to accommodate you when you storm over to me and begin acting like a jerk!"

Nikolas looks at the ceiling and shakes his head. "Great. Just great. I am the "jerk", as you call it. What does that make you? Everyone was watching you with Sonny and thinking the same thing I was. Do you take pleasure in notoriety?"

"Nikolas, I'm a Quartermaine, do you really think public opinion matters to me? If it did, I would have curled up into a ball and died a long time ago." Emily is so infuriated, she hardly stops to take a breath. "I don't know who you think you are, Nikolas, scolding me on what's right or wrong. I already have a father and a mother! I don't need anyone to criticize live my life! Least of all a spoiled little prince who ran away from home because things didn't go the way he planned!"

Nikolas rolls back on his heels as if he's been slapped. Taking a moment to regroup, he shakes his head again. "If that is the way you want it, it is your prerogative to ignore my warning. But you might want to think about how it looks to the public to see you out with that thug Corinthos pawing you. I would think you'd want better for Michael than people whispering about you behind his back."

Incensed by Nikolas' unfair and idiotic accusations, Emily can feel her face flush. Frustrated beyond words she pulls her foot up and ruthlessly brings the heel of her pump down on Nikolas' toe. "You are an obnoxious, arrogant, sleazy minded JERK!" Gasping, Emily can hardly believe she'd done it! But he deserved no mercy, so she showed him none. "Keep your disgusting innuendoes to yourself! I can't believe your gall! You're the one who can't keep his hands to himself! Get your hands off me and get the hell out of my way!""

Without another word, Emily storms out of the bar leaving Nikolas hobbling in her wake. The club is silent for moment before the men at the bar break out in raucous laughter.

Sonny attempts to follow Nikolas out, but Rinaldo puts a firm hand on his chest. "I wouldn't if I were you. Emily can take care of herself."

Nikolas catches up with Emily in the middle of the club parking lot. "Emily.. Emily! Wait... Stop, Will you please?"

Stopping on a dime, Em whirls around. "Which part of JERK didn't you understand?" She snaps rudely. "You know, Nikolas, I thought we could be friends. I thought we were. But I don't NEED friends that humiliate me. Or treat me like trash. I put up with a lot of abuse, even some from my family. But this takes the cake."

Nikolas reaches out to touch Emily's arm, but she wrenches away from him. Seeing the unabashed fury in her eyes, he realizes the huge mistake he just made. What had gotten into him? He looks at her beseechingly. "What can I say? Tell me and I'll say it."

"Nikolas, if you don't know what you did wrong and how to fix it, I can't help you." Emily folds her arms across her chest. "'I'm Sorry' would be a good start."

After a lengthy silence, Nikolas says finally, "Years ago, I made a promise to myself never to say those words... ever. " He looks up at her, his eyes boring into her intensely. "I guess the American cliche, 'promises are made to be broken', holds true. I'm sorry."

Emily shrugs her shoulders. She'd had about enough of Nikolas Cassadine for one night, for a whole life time for that matter. He couldn't even apologize properly. "Fine, whatever. I'll see you around."

Emily tries to walk past Nikolas, but as just as she does, he reaches out a hand to stop her. "Emily..."

Emily attempts to evade his hand, but instead finds herself pinned between Nikolas and a large sedan. Before she has a chance to react, his hands grab hers, threading her fingers between his. His mouth covers hers in a soft sensual kiss full of reverence. "I'm so sorry, Emily. " His lips brush over hers again and again between sentences and he envelopes her an embrace. Each touch and kiss a caress emphasizing his regret. "Please forgive me, I had absolutely no cause to say those awful things to you."

Emily finds her protests dissolving with each bone-meltlingly sweet kiss. "Nikolas...don't think I've forgiven you just like that...." Her words are cut off when he moves from her face back to her mouth, claiming possession of it.

Pressing her body more completely against his, he trails kisses down her neck. "I wouldn't dream of presuming it..." He smiles into her neck when he hears her groan.

Their lovemaking is interrupted by a loud cough. "Excuse me."

Nikolas and Emily freeze. Nikolas looks up to find Liz standing in front of them with her arms crossed in front of her chest. "Elizabeth!"

The effect of Liz's frown is ruined by the slightly upturned corners of her mouth. "Do you always begin dates by kissing other women?"


 

Chapter 19


"Do you always begin dates by kissing other women?"

Liz's words hang in the air for several seconds before anyone reacts. When Liz realizes her attempt at humor has both Emily and Nikolas stricken, she rushes forward to back pedal. "Guys, I was just jo--"

Emily recovers quickly. "No, don't apologize. My mistake, I was just leaving," she says in a hard brittle voice as she swiftly disentangles herself from Nikolas' arms. Making a point not to look at him she adds, "My 'date' is waiting anyway."

Just as Emily is about to take off, a hair clip falls from her hair and drops to the ground. Before she can reach for it, Nikolas stoops to pick it up and hands it to her. When their hands touch, Nikolas leans in and whispers, "Our conversation isn't over."

Ignoring him, Emily backs away as she addresses Liz. "Liz, it's great to see you."

Liz smiles reassuringly. "Yeah it is, we should get together some time, catch up on old times."

"Yeah, sure. That'd be great."

As Emily disappears into the club again, Liz turns to Nikolas and punches him playfully in the arm. "Smooth, Nikolas, real smooth!"

Nikolas closes his eyes in mortification. "You're right. I'm sorry." He shakes his head. "I seem to be doing a lot of apologizing."

Liz chuckles. "Well if you don't like to apologize, then stop doing stupid things!" She links arms with him as they walk toward the club. "And while I'm at it, let me apologize too. I didn't think my joke would upset you two. I gather she didn't know you were meeting me for dinner?"

Nikolas shakes his head. "No. In fact, we were arguing until a few minutes before you interrupted us. Your timing couldn't have been worse."

"Hey!" Liz protests goodnaturedly. "I'm not the one who made dinner plans with one woman while having a "thing" for another. The least you should have done was have the decency to let us know the score!"

"You're right," Nikolas admits. "The thing is, I didn't plan on running into Emily, much less kissing her. It just happened...."

Liz chuckles again. "Oh boy, you sound like you have it BAD. I can't wait to hear all about it at dinner."

"Glad one of us finds this is amusing," Nikolas grumbles, but already her humor is making him smile.

Meanwhile inside the club, Sonny and Emily are talking at their table. "C'mon Honey, don't let Cassadine ruin your night. You deserve to have fun. If you take off now, he's gonna know he's got you where he wants you."

Lucky places a large order of cheese fries on their table. "On the house. Consider it compensation for having to put up with my overbearing obnoxious brother."

Emily flashes him a weak smile and pushes the cheese fries away. "Thanks, but I still think we should just take off. I'm not having fun anymore."

Lucky glances up at the door when it opens to find a laughing Nikolas and Liz entering the club. His cocky smile stiffens slightly. "You didn't tell me he was with Elizabeth."

"Didn't I?" Her eyes narrowing at the jovial couple, Emily takes a cheese fry and bites into it defiantly. "Come to think of it, I've changed my mind. I think you two are right. I'm not about to let that arrogant jerk stop me from having fun! Lucky, bring us a pitcher of beer."

Meanwhile, Nikolas and Liz settle themselves into a table on the other side of the room. Liz catches sight of Emily in close conversation with Sonny. "Oh, I see your problem. Emily and Sonny Corinthos. Are those two friends?"

"Apparently," Nikolas mutters. "How Emily can endanger herself by associating with that two-bit thug, is beyond my comprehension."

"Ohhhh, the green-eyed monster strikes," Liz replies. When Nikolas gives her an odd look, she explains. "I forget. You haven't been in the states. Green-eyed monster means you're jealous."

"I am NOT jealous," Nikolas denies. "Let's not talk about Sonny Corinthos. Let's talk about you. How did your meeting go?"

Liz practically bounces up an down with excitement. "I'm so glad you asked. They loved my work. You're looking at the next artist to have her exhibition at the Harbor Gallery!"

Nikolas gives her an enthusiastic hug. "That's terrific news, Elizabeth! I'm so happy for you."

They hear a fake cough nearby, and turn to find Lucky watching them with a bored expression on his face. "You're sure getting around tonight, Nikky. Hey Elizabeth."

"Lucky." Liz's smile dims slightly.

Nikolas gives Lucky a withering look. "Elizabeth was just telling me she is having an exhibition at the Harbor Gallery. I think a celebration is in order. Will you bring us a bottle of your best champagne to celebrate?"

"Coming right up. Congratulations, Elizabeth," Lucky's voice warming as he flashes her a genuine smile. "You deserve the break. I'd offer the champagne on the house, but I can't pass up the opportunity of taking my brother's money."

"Thanks, Lucky." As Liz watches him leave, her gaze falls to the dance floor where Emily and Sonny are dancing to a steamy face-paced Latin piece. Sonny and Emily are dancing cheek to cheek, their bodies melded to one another as they move to the beat. One glance at Nikolas tells her he sees the same thing. She places a gentle hand over Nikolas'. "I'm sure it's perfectly innocent, Nikolas."

Nikolas forces himself to look away and back at Liz. "There is nothing innocent about the way they are dancing. One look at Sonny and you know he wants her, and she's not doing anything to discourage him."

"Seems to me it was you not Sonny she was kissing earlier tonight," Liz points out. "And if you ask me, she was giving as good as she got."


..........................

Venice, early evening.

Rina stands on the veranda of their townhouse in Venice, lifting her face upwards and admiring the blue sky. Small puffy clouds roll by playfully as a breeze ruffles her hair. Rina lets out a deep sigh. A moment later, Stefan wraps his arms around her shoulders from behind and buries his face in her neck. "Sorry to be returning home?" He asks into her hair.

Sighing again, Rina shakes her head. "Not home, as much as I'm going to miss spending all this uninterrupted time with you. I feel spoiled, having you all to myself."

Stefan's hands run down the sides of her arms to her waist. "I plan to spoil you mercilessly when we are home. With Nikolas back in Port Charles, I can hand the running of the hospital over to him, so that my only business responsibility will be to run my company. Which will give me all the more time to spend with you."

..........................

Hours later in Port Charles,

Emily and Sonny stumble into Emily's darkened penthouse in obvious good spirits. Emily is chuckling while a snockered Sonny gallantly attempts to keep her from falling. Finally, after both of them trip and almost land face down on the carpet, they collapse onto the sofa in giggles. "Note to self," Emily says, taking a break from her fit of laughter. "Have the oriental 'attack' rug in living room removed."

Sonny snorts. "Aw, Honey. It's not the rug's fault you're drunk on your butt. Have a little mercy."

Emily feigns belligerence, pointing an accusing finger at the rug. "Hey I take offense to that characterization. I am NOT drunk. That rug tried to kill me!"

They share another chortle and Sonny leans back and closes his eyes. "You must have a low tolerance, Baby. Because I swear I drank most if not all of of the beer."

"Exhaustion combined with nothing to eat. All I had since breakfast was a few cheese fries." Emily tips her head to the side so it's resting against Sonny's temple. Closing her eyes, she sighs deeply. "My legs are going to ache tomorrow. I haven't danced this much, ever!"

"Then you haven't had much fun in your short life," Sonny announces. "And what's this about you not eating? Are you trying to make yourself sick?" Turning his head to kiss her forehead, he starts to rise. "If you won't take care of yourself, than I have no choice but to fix you some pasta."

"You? Sonny, you can't even stand up straight!"

"Nonsense," Sonny protests. "I walk just fine. I just didn't want to make you self conscious." Almost immediately, He loses his equilibrium when he gets up too fast, and teeters momentarily in the air before toppling over. He catches himself by grabbing the back of the couch on either side of Emily's head so he doesn't crush her.

Emily opens her eyes to find Sonny's face mere inches from hers. "You walk fine, huh?" She teases in a soft whisper. "Klutz!"

Sonny studies her face for a long moment, the dark brown eyes he could lose himself in, the sleepy smile upon her slightly parted lips. "Beautiful," He murmurs thickly. "Irresistible." On impulse, he lowers his lips to softly brush them against hers. Feeling her respond, he groans as he deepens the kiss, letting his tongue taste her sweetness and drown. All hesitation evaporates as he allows his body to settle completely against Emily.