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Chapter 22





Lucas paused for a moment before walking over to the Titan receptionist to ask for his sister.

Sure, the pitch to the shareholders had gone well and he would get to keep his job at Mythic Communications, but that didn't assuage the shame he felt returning to Titan for the first time since Victor Kirakis fired him.

He only realized then how much he missed his old job at Titan. He missed not feeling like a lapdog for his mother or E.J. Wells or Tony Dimera, even if he had to admit at Titan he did hold a similar role there for Victor. The difference is that Victor never made him feel like a flunkie or a loser... at least until he refused to help him in his quest to get Claire back for Phillip.

"Dammit," he muttered under his breath.

Even if it would have meant helping Victor and his brother take Sami's sister's baby away from her, if he could have done things over again he would have done as Victor ordered, he thought.

He sighed as he stepped up to the counter.

"Uh, hi, I'm here to see Billie Reed," Lucas said.

"And you are?" the receptionist asked with an incredulous glance that surprised Lucas.

"Her brother."

The receptionist laughed.

"You're definitely not Phillip Kiriakis," she said eyeing his J.C. Penney suit with skepticism. "Definitely not in that getup."

"I'm aware that I'm not Phillip Kiriakis," Lucas said fidgeting with his shirt collar defensively. "Just tell her her other brother is here."

"Oh, are you Austin Reed?" the receptionist asked with excitement. "I thought you lived in Europe? Oh, she's told me so much about you... but you look kinda different than the pictures in her office."

"No, dammit, I'm not Austin," Lucas said slamming his fist on the counter. "I'm LUCAS ROBERTS! I used to WORK here!"

"Oh, I see," she said with pity. "It's too bad you don't still work here. I'll call for Ms. Reed, right now."

But just as the receptionist put the phone to her ear Billie came out to the lobby to greet him.

"Lucas!" Billie said excitedly. "So nice to see you! I just have to show you my new office!"


Roman paused at the door of John's hospital room trying to think just how he should break the news to Marlena that once again just when their family seemed to have a tiny sliver of happiness -- Sami finally getting the wedding she always wanted -- the Dimeras swept in to turn their lives upside down.

He decided he would try to be as direct about things as possible since blunt is the only way he knew how to be and knocked on the door.

"Come in," Marlena said sniffling.

"Marlena, you're crying," Roman said walking toward Marlena with concern as she sat next to John's bed holding his cold, limp hand and dropping it to wipe away her tears. "Is John... dead?"

Marlena gasped.

"Oh no, Roman. He's alive. He's just not able to show me he is," she said getting up from the chair because she couldn't handle looking at her husband any longer. "It's just how I get sometimes sitting here alone. When I start to wonder if he'll ever come out of this. If I should put him in that nursing home and stop waiting for him to come back to me."

"Listen, Doc," Roman said putting his hands on her shoulders. "You should do what your heart tells you to do about John. There's no wrong answer here. Your heart knows what's best."

"But I don't know what my heart wants," Marlena said sobbing, then self-consciously turned away from Roman realizing how strange that sounded being said in his arms.

"Well I don't know what to tell you about that, Doc," Roman sighed. "But I do have something else to tell you. Something you're not going to like."

"What do you have to tell me?" Marlena said as her tears stopped and fear gripped her face.


Sami looked around the attic room trying to find something to do. She picked up a few of the boxes and coughed from the dust their moving had stirred. She set them back down and then walked back toward the bed sending the globe into a rapid spin on her way there.

But instead of sitting down on the bed as she originally intended, she chose to kneel at the foot of the Jacobean four-poster bed. Something was calling her to open the rich brown trunk that matched it.

To her surprise, the trunk wasn't even locked. She slowly lifted the lid to find a collection of books, papers and faded pictures.

Even though she knew none of the people whose photographs and personal messages she handled, she couldn't resist poring over them.

Once she had finished reading the handful of letters that weren't in Italian and had stared at all the pictures so intenty they were burned in her mind, she turned to the small leather bound books.

Sami wondered what sort of book would be kept that had no title and no author noted on the outside. Then she began leafing through the pages and got her answer. She leafed through the pages of the book without much care until she stopped on a page about a quarter through the book and made sure to read every last word on the page.

"Stefano, how could you?" she said slamming the book back shut.



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