Chapter 20
The Boxcar


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    Nikolas quickly headed downstairs to grab the relaxation CD because I was having nightmares again. He also grabbed his Walkman and quickly got back to my room. He started the CD playing right away and held me close to him hoping that it would work. I heard gentle, relaxing music start to play and slowly my breathing slowed and became rhythmic and deep. I was asleep, but my dream was anything but pleasant. At first I couldn't tell what I was hearing but it became clear pretty quickly.
      Three infants from three families Quartermaine, Spencer, and Cassadine are born,
      one must not survive.
      The Prince will come into his own at the age of 25 or when an heir is born to him.
      The child of The Prince must not be allowed to live, you must prevent it from being born.
      To do this you must leave as soon as you are able and never look back, control of the
      Cassadines must revert back to the one who deserves to be in power, the widow of 
      Mikkos, the last true Prince.
      If you do not leave your last great secret will be told and you will be pushed away
      anyway, it is your choice but I know you will make the right one.
      Remember the little Prince or Princess if born will never be allowed to live and the   
      other children will be in danger as well.
     The CD repeated through the entire night filling my head with threats. I woke up in a cold sweat several times and Nikolas held me as I cried, but each time I felt as if I was lying to myself and to him. I knew that I couldn't do it anymore, and that once I was recovered I would have to leave the first safe place I had found.
About A Month Later
    I had stopped using the relaxation tape because the messages were so frightening to me that I would have more nightmares, I told Gail what had happened when I had used it finally and she gave me a new CD. It had the sounds of waves crashing into the shore, no haunting words or flute music. I had started sleeping better and getting stronger. I was finally out of the wheelchair and could walk with just Nikolas's arm for support. Gail had talked me out of leaving town, telling me that I needed to stay somewhere that was familiar while I was dealing with all my problems and that it wasn't fair to Nikolas,when I had just  finally admitted to having feelings for him, if I just left again.
    The weather had warmed up nicely even for early April and we had decided to go for a picnic on Spoon Island, a little ways down the beach from Wyndemere. Stefan was out of town so Nikolas didn't have to deal with him. Later that night Luke had invited everyone to the club for cheese fries and a very special concert. Luke normally fired Claude for booking boy bands but he had agreed to let NSYNC come and play, mostly because he had found out that Lucky and Elizabeth's song was God Must Have Spent, and he wanted to do something special for them.
    That night I realized that I wanted to be past the rape and that I wanted to love Nikolas. I realized this while we were dancing to This I Promise You. The song talked about everything in your life being secrets and lies and how the special person in your life would give you hope and love and would be there for you and never let you get hurt or be alone again. This song was exactly what Nikolas had been doing for me all along. "Nikolas, I have something to say to you, please just listen." I said after the song had played. "What is it Autumn, are you okay?" he said worried about my legs. "I'm fine, I've just realized something, I know that you have loved me for awhile now, but I wasn't able to say it back, but now I am." I said, stepping closer to him. "You don't need to rush into anything, I know the pressure that you are under to feel "normal" but I will still love you that won't change, I will wait for you," Nikolas said.
    "That's the thing though, I was talking to Gail today and I realized that it is different for me than it was for Elizabeth," I said. "What does Elizabeth have to do with this?" he asked. "She was a first time victim, it destroyed her completely and she lost part of herself, I, on the other hand have been victimized before, this attack didn't destroy me, it just traumatized me. I have been here before and I have recovered. This time is even faster because now I have the one thing I was missing back then, love. I love you Nikolas," I said, the tears starting to stream down my face. " I don't know what to say Autumn, I mean, I love you, but..." he said, starting to cry himself. Lucky and Elizabeth looked on watching what was damaged slowly start to become whole again. "You saved me Nikolas, you might not have been able to stop them that night, but you saved me from being lonely all the same and that is the most important thing, thank you." I said leaning in and kissing him, truly thankful for him being there for me. "Hold on, I need to go request a song," he said.
    A few minutes later a spotlight illuminated the dance floor and the other couples cleared away. Then Luke's voice broke the stillness in the club, " I know they already played this song tonight, but it was a special request that NSYNC couldn't ignore," Luke said turning the microphone over to Justin from NSYNC. "Here's a touching request from Nikolas to his girl Autumn, he said this song is for you Autumn for letting me keep you safe and love you forever, love Nikolas." They finished up the dedication, and Nikolas pulled me out to the middle of the floor just as This I Promise You started playing again.

Chapter 21