All too soon the music ended. The audience broke into thunderous applause, prompting Lucy Coe to push Faith Ward and her surprise guest to take another bow.

Hand in hand Faith and the popular cinema heartthrob graciously accepted the accolades of the Nurses' Ball audience. Enthusiastic applause soon became raucous catcalls as the wildly handsome actor-slash-singer pulled Faith to him and bent her backward in a traditional Hollywood lovers' kiss.


With each flash of movement in the room, Stefan took the opportunity to surreptitiously survey the crowd. The annual Nurses' Ball had been underway for nearly an hour and he had seen no sign of her thus far.

"Ladies and gentlemen!" Lucy Coe's excited voice rang throughout the auditorium. "We have an amazing surprise for you tonight!"

Like all the others assembled, Stefan's attention was drawn to the heavy velvet curtain which Lucy so dramatically indicated. An audible gasp of wonder sounded when Faith Ward strolled onto the stage on the arm of Hollywood's hottest bad boy actor.

The handsome charmer proceeded to serenade an appreciative Faith. The crowd of onlookers seemed forgotten as the star crooned soulfully to the beauty in his arms. As they watched, he punctuated his words with tender gestures that hinted at a familiarity long established between them.

~end flashback~

Stefan Cassadine watched the scene unfold. Though his face was impassive, anger roiled deep within him.

It was nearly a month to the day that he had issued his unwise ultimatum to his then lover Faith Ward. And rather than concede to his demands, the maddeningly independent beauty had chosen to walk away.

The resulting chasm between them was frustrating. But Stefan was determined to exercise patience. In time Faith's anger would subside and they could then attempt once more a rational discussion of their relative positions.

Nowhere in all his calculations had Stefan accounted for the situation before him.