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Chapter 25





Kate kissed Tony on the cheek and said goodbye, but before she had even taken three steps away Tony was already locked into Anna’s gaze.

“So why did you come back to Salem, Anna?” Tony asked.

“Well, I’m actually going to be going into business with Kate’s daughter, Billie, if you must know, over at Countess Wilhemina,” she said matter of factly.

“But why would you decide to do that? To come back here to work there when you had her your own company back in England?” Tony asked. “I thought you always said Salem wasn’t good enough for you, wasn’t big enough for you --- that to feel alive you needed the rush and the ritz and the… the… the romance that you could only get across the pond.”

“Maybe as you get older and closer to death you get tired of all that, the trappings of being among the young and fabulous,” Anna said turning away from him with a sigh. “Lord knows I stopped feeling young and fabulous long ago."

Anna paused for a moment then turned back to face him.

"But Tony, I just want you to know, that even after all that’s happened and well, what hasn’t happened, I think it is nice to see you, too.”

Tony smiled appreciatively.

“Now I really need to be going,” Anna said, her eyes soft and lips pursed as she waited for Tony to say something, anything back. He didn’t.

Tony wanted to kiss her just then but he didn’t. He didn’t hug her either. He thought it might hurt too much to hold something he could never have so he just let her walk out of the restaurant and watched her go.

Tony then sat back down at the table having forgotten the martini mess he had made earlier until the spilt vodka had already soaked right through the jacket sleeve of his fancy Italian suit.

It reminded him of the bigger mess at Maison Blanche he would have to clean up before Roman and the others got there.


Lexie hovered around Stefano's bed as she checked over his chart.

There had been no change in her father's condition for several days, which was a good thing but also a bad thing.

Stefano's body had accepted John's kidney and his vital signs were stable, but since the surgery he couldn't get out of the bed on his own and spent much of the day asleep.

Lexie looked down on her father, the great and powerful Stefano Dimera suddenly helpless and weak, and marveled at how even he was succeptible to life's own fragility.

Caring for him day after day and seeing him in this weakened state made him seem human to her for the first time, so different from the larger than life monster she had tried to shut out of her life so many times before.

As much as she hated the way her brother had threatened her to get her to come to Maison Blanche and take care of Stefano, her opinion of E.J. had also changed in the weeks since she had been in Salem.

She missed Theo, Abe and her mother terribly but she was amazed that despite how cold EJ had been to her and his enemies, how kind he was to their father as he sat with him, fed him ice chips, talked with him. While Stefano was still not able to respond, his eyes lit up at the sight of EJ just the same. Though EJ's devotion to their father had kept her away from her family, for reasons she didn't understand their bond impressed her. Perhaps because she knew she would never have the same relationship to Stefano she was jealous of it.

Lexie was just about to whisper goodbye for the night to Stefano when a rustling of the curtain behind her startled her so much she nearly fell onto the hospital bed.

"E.J. You nearly scared me half to death!" Lexie told him catching her breath.

"I'm sorry, Lexie," E.J. said. "Is there any change in Father's condition?"

"No. I'm afraid not. He needs that umbilical cord blood or he's not going to make it," Lexie said.

"Well how long does he have to wait?" E.J. asked concerned.

"Well *I* think he should make it five months," Lexie said. "Rolf, on the other hand..."

"What about Rolf?" E.J. asked.

"Well Rolf is pressuring me to induce labor in Sami," Lexie said. "He is getting impatient."

"But it's too early, isn't it?" E.J. worried. "Samantha's child would die, wouldn't it? That wasn't part of Father's deal, was it?"

Lexie frowned hearing E.J. speak of the pregnancy as if it was a bargain, a business transaction. But she knew she would lose everything if she crossed Tony and revealed the truth to E.J. that he was the father of the child.

"No, E.J., as far as I know that wasn't part of the deal," Lexie said. "But when Tony gets back he might try to renegotiate..."

"Well you can't do it," E.J. said. "Samantha has been through enough with her troubles whatever they are. We can't take away her child as well."

Lexie eyed his concern for Sami with surprise.

"Did Sami tell you something about the baby?" Lexie asked.

"No... I mean she tried to tell me something earlier but she got upset and I had to calm her down but she said nothing once she was all right," E.J. said. "Is there something else I should know?"

Lexie looked at him with pity. But not so much pity that she was willing to put her neck on the line to help him. And especially not to help that witch, Sami Brady.

"No. Nothing," Lexie said before changing the subject and pushing him out the curtain of their father's room. "Really we should both go now. Father needs his rest. And so do you. Good night, E.J."

E.J. sighed. Lexie watched as her brother left the makeshift medical station and started walking toward his room and out of sight then quickly turned back past the doorway again walking toward the secret passage to the living quarters of Maison Blanche.



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