By Michele Dargan

I have been riveted – JUST RIVETED – the past few days on General Hospital.

And NOT because of the (yawwwwn) – Liz/Nik/Lucky who’s-the-daddy storyline.

I have been fast forwarding through those scenes.

The polar opposite to that is the teen dating abuse storyline.

Back in July, Soapbox1 reported the teen dating abuse storyline was coming up. But, I must admit, I had no idea how loooooong it would take to play out.

Be that as it may, the payout, so far, has been worth the wait.

The performances have been extraordinary on all fronts.

First of all, HUGE KUDOS to Lexi Ainsworth as Kristina. She’s been so good all around since she was brought on after SORASing the character.

But this storyline has really showcased her acting talent.

Btw, whoever did the makeup after Kristina’s brutal beating… realistic that it was really hard to look at.

Lexi Ainsworth as Kristina and Nancy Lee Grahn as Alexis Photo: Adam Larkey/ABC

Christian Alexander as Kiefer has been soooo good in making us hate the character… least I do. I cannot STAND Kiefer and what he represents.

And, of course, really strong performances (as always) from Nancy Lee Grahn as Kristina’s mother, Alexis Davis. I so empathized with her every moment.

Then there was Maurice Benard, who makes me, alternately, love Sonny one moment and hate him the next. In this case, I hated him when he pointed the gun at Ethan, threatening to kill him in his very Sonny way.

Dominic Zamprogna (Dante), Jane Elliot (Tracy), Jonathan Jackson (Lucky), Maurice Benard (Sonny) and Nathan Parsons (Ethan). Photo: ABC/Adam Larkey

But, the next minute, I sympathized with Sonny when he was in Kristina’s hospital room, talking about watching his mother getting beaten back when he was a boy…..which, we know, helped propel the whole mob thing.

I also loved the tender moments between Kristina and her newly-discovered brother Detective Dante Falconeri (Domenic Zamprogna). Zamprogna is so earnest and so caring as Dante…..Ya gotta love him!

And it was quite interesting watching Dante eavesdrop on Sonny’s above-mentioned soliloquy to Kristina.

Is Dante softening toward Sonny? It seems so.

I also like the close sisterly relationship developing between Kristina and Sam (Kelly Monaco). Sam, who had been abused, had a heart-to-heart with Kristina in the hospital and put on a brave front for her. Sam broke down in tears afterward with Jason.

For me, it’s really hard to watch everyone believing that Ethan did this to Kristina when we all know that he didn’t.

Nathan Parsons as Ethan Lovett. Photo: Rick Rowell/ABC

I guess, from what I’m gathering, the abused person protects her attacker.

But, in this case, it could mean that an innocent person could die. And that’s the part of the storyline that I don’t like

Kristina told Kiefer that she didn’t want him to die and that she knew if she named him that Sonny would kill him.

But what about Ethan? She doesn’t care that Sonny would kill him?

That part, I don’t get. And that part makes me want to scream at the TV that Ethan didn’t do this!

I’m interested to see what happens between good friends Luke (Tony Geary) and Sonny when Luke gets back into town.

I know the truth will come out. It always does.

I had a feeling today, when Kristina started to tell Alexis that she lied, it wouldn’t lead to her telling the truth about who really attacked her.

It was too early for that.

I just hope it doesn’t take too long for the truth to come out.

I want to see Kiefer get his due – and his smug, pompous parents too!

Do you remember that obnoxious kid, Kiefer, who punched out and knocked out Michael Corinthos at Jake’s a couple of weeks ago?
Well, he’s back.
Kiefer (Christian Alexander) and Kristina (Lexi Ainsworth) will be involved in a storyline highlighting the problem of teen dating abuse on General Hospital.

Lexi Ainsworth (Kristina) and Christian Alexander (Kiefer) in a scene that airs the week of July 20.
“General Hospital” airs Monday-Friday (3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Photo credit: Ron Tom/ABC

Austin-based Loveisrespect, National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline (NTDAH) is acting as an expert advisor on the GH storyline.
Kristina, the 16 year old daughter of mob leader Sonny Corinthos (Emmy-winner Maurice Benard) and District Attorney Alexis Davis (Emmy-winner Nancy Lee Grahn) will experience what teens are experiencing in real life and be confused by the roller coaster relationship.
Loveisrespect, NTDAH is a safe, anonymous resource for teens who seek information about healthy dating relationships. Teens may connect via phone or chat with peer advocates who are trained to respond to their concerns.
The Helpline is a place for teens to go to check out their feelings and to learn the red flags of an unhealthy relationship. Available 24/7, the Helpline also provides resources to parents, teachers and friends of teens.
Click here to find out more about teen dating abuse and get the answers to questions like what constitutes an abusive relationship.
The storyline is geared to the teen audience portion of GH viewers, but it can also help parents to be aware of warning signs in their teen’s relationships.
As far as Kristina getting involved in an unhealthy relationship….
All I can say is like mother, like daughter.
Can you say Jerry Jax?
He brings the words “unhealthy relationship” to a whole new level.