Chapter Eleven:
Never Trust a Cassadine

Luke's Club, exterior.

Hannah exits the club very late. She's finished her set, and is feeling more than a little emotional still, about her conversation with Nikolas. Besides that, she can't help but feel nervous now that she's had more time to reflect on the implications of Lucky being related to the Cassadines. She wishes she knew what that meant. She starts to walk across the parking lot, heading home. She hears the gravel crunch behind her and spins to see, once again, Nikolas Cassadine.

Hannah: You're about this far from being a stalker.

Nik: Technically this is the first time I've come looking for you intentionally.

Hannah: And you would be doing this why?

Nik: You may have suspected that I can't just walk into Luke's. I mean, Lucky's about the warmest reception I'll get.

Hannah: Uh huh.

Nik: Do you know what happened with Emily?

Hannah: (frowning) Emily.

Nik: Lucky's girlfriend.

Hannah: Right. Lucky wasn't around much tonight. He came down for the end of the last set, but I didn't get to talk to him.

Nik: In other words...

Hannah: I don't know anything.

Nik: How did he seem?

Hannah: Your brother?

Nik: Lucky.

Hannah: Quiet. (Nikolas nods.) I'm sorry, I don't know more. I haven't even met the girl.

Nik: Well... she's been through worse than this. I'm sure she'll be fine.

Hannah: And that would be why you're here in the middle of the night?

Nik: Not entirely. (He looks over at her) You know, I really hate being told what to do.

Hannah: (leaning against a telephone pole) Don't we all?

Nik: I've been trying to figure out all night why I'm listening to what you told me. I mean, by all rights, I should be really annoyed at you.

Hannah: (wryly) Why do I have a feeling I don't ever want to annoy you?

Nik: That's just it. You don't annoy me. My... my uncle's wife -- she used to tell me what to do all the time. She was a wellspring of unrequested advice. Which I often took, but never without glaring at her first. I'd like to think that I'm maturing, but somehow I doubt it.

Hannah: Well... if opening my big mouth helped you at all... I'm glad. (Nikolas looks over at her. Her posture is very relaxed, but he noticed that every muscle in her body is tense, like she's ready to run at any moment.)

Nik: Do you... (he stops. He can't figure out what he's doing here. This woman holds herself so tightly, that it seems impossible to just open up to her. And somehow, while keeping herself completely closed off from him, he's still managed to see part of her heart. The problem is, the more questions that are answered, the more he has. He looks up at the sky, and steels himself to continue). Remember what you said about personal attachments?

Hannah: (covering her nervousness) Yes.

Nik: I thought I was just playing a game here. This town... it can be stifling. You looked like as good a distraction as any. Until today.

Hannah: Nikolas....

Nik: I want to know you, Hannah.

Hannah: (forcing a laugh) No one knows me.

Nik: Yet. (Hannah begins to feel somewhat lightheaded. She's been so stupid! She should have known, from the first time she saw him, that he was going to be trouble.)

Hannah: I have to get home.

Nik: I had a feeling you'd say that. You're... good at looking detached. Almost as good as I am. (He leans closer to her) I don't do things like this. Ever. (Hannah feels the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. She has to get out of here now)

Hannah: Look, I appreciate the gesture, but really. I'm happy with my life the way it is. You can find another distraction. (She turns and walks away. Nikolas watches her leave, feeling confident that this is not the end for them).

* * * *

The streets of Port Charles

Hannah walks along the streets at an impressive clip, trying to shake off the startling effect Nikolas's words had on her. She can't do this! The only thing she really knows about the guy is that he's a Cassadine. And everything starts and stops for them with that fact. If she could be honest, then it would be so easy to get him to leave her alone. But what is she supposed to say?

* * * *

A patio of a grand house in Greece, six weeks previous.

Hannah stands in front of the visitor to the house, who is holding court under the shade of a tree at the edge of the patio. She stands a few feet back, squinting against the brightness of the sun. She holds her hands behind her back, like she's facing a firing squad. She raises her head, and speaks in the formal manner of this household.

Hannah: You wanted to see me, Mrs. Cassadine?

Helena: Yes. You've been in our service for a year now, haven't you? (Hannah is confused by the term 'our'. She's only met this woman twice before. She knows not to bother with the details, however)

Hannah: Yes. At the beginning of the year.

Helena: Are you happy here? (Hannah lets a frown appear momentarily on her face, but quickly banishes it)

Hannah: Yes. It's very challenging work.

Helena: The children seem quite fond of you. We've tremendous luck with American nannies. It helps the children assimilate into other cultures in later life. (Hannah continues to stare at a spot over the woman's shoulder, unblinkingly).

Hannah: I'm glad.

Helena: You are American, are you not?

Hannah: (tightly) Yes. I haven't been there for a long time, though.

Helena: Do you ever consider going back? (Hannah can't cover her surprise at the question.)

Hannah: I -- I ... No. I have no plans to go back.

Helena: Would you ever consider it? If, for instance, you were offered a job?

Hannah: A job?

Helena: Yes. A position which you can... exercise new talents. A position that pays well, and would bring you back to your country of origin. (Hannah has no idea what to say. She looks back out at the sea, her mouth dry) You sing, do you not?

Hannah: I do --

Helena: I've heard you, with the children, and in the music room during their naps. You have a nice voice. Do you enjoy it?

Hannah: I... yes. I love it, but it's just something I do for fun. I've never planned to do anything with it --

Helena: Well, plans change. Tell me, have you ever heard of a city by the name of Port Charles. (Hannah stares at her uncomprehendingly) It's an inconspicuous little place in New York State. For some reason, members of my family have decided to settle there. And I like to know just what happens there while I'm occupied here.

Hannah: I see.

Helena: You'd have to change your name, of course. But (knowingly) That shouldn't be a problem for you. (Hannah can feel herself begin to shake. How much does this woman know about her?). There is a club, (amused) A blues club owned by a man named Luke Spencer. I hear he's looking for a singer. You'd have to leave immediately, and ensure yourself a place at his establishment.

Hannah: How do I do that?

Helena: That's really not my concern. Once you've been hired -- and if you know what's good for you, you'll be hired -- just relax and enjoy yourself. Keeps your ears open and your mouth shut. Understand?

Hannah: (Beyond terrified) Yes. What -- (Helena raised her eye brows questioningly)

Helena: Oh, feel free to ask any questions.

Hannah: What about your family.

Helena: I would have to insist that you have minimal contact with them. None, if at all possible. Really, all I'm asking you to do is what you do already. Keep to yourself, and, when requested, give me any information I might find to be of value. Do we have a deal?

Hannah: I couldn't leave Mrs. Mediros in the lurch like this.

Helena: My dear, it's already been taken care of. Mrs. Mediros was a Cassadine before her marriage. And once a Cassadine... you get the picture.

Hannah: Yes, I think I do.

Helena: Good. I've kept a close eye on you during your time here. Were you aware of that?

Hannah: No. I wasn't.

Helena: You're very solitary. Very private. Those are qualities I like.

Hannah: Thank-you.

Helena: So. What do you think?

Hannah: What are my options?

Helena: Oh, you have none.

Hannah: All right then. I'll go pack.

* * * *

Hannah reaches the apartment Helena installed her in, shaken to the core. She had no idea what she was getting herself into. She never would have come back to the states, for all the money in the world, if she'd felt like she had a choice. During her time with the Mediros family, she'd figured out that Mrs. Cassadine was not a woman to be trifled with. No matter what Hannah feels about Nikolas, she can't have anything to do with him. The only things she knows for sure is that The Cassadines get what they want, and if she doesn't do what she's told, she'll be history. She takes a deep breath, and lifts her head, forcing down all her feelings of terror. She's going to get through this.