Unexpected Encounter



Isabelle Ward met her daughter’s gaze evenly.  “No.  I told you what my position on this situation was.  That has not changed.”

Faith unconsciously tightened her hold on Stefan’s arm.  “Then why are you here?”

“Michael’s been in a car accident,” her mother replied without preamble.  “His injuries are not serious, but he has been asking for you since they brought him to the hospital.  When none of his people could contact your cell phone, they finally called me and asked me to track you down.”  Isabelle cast a quick glance Stefan’s way.  “I did not think it would be too difficult.”

Faith’s expression hardened as she read the unspoken reproach in her mother’s eyes.  “I will not apologize,” the young woman said through tightly clenched teeth.

“I did not ask you to.”  Isabelle rose from the bench.  “Although it seems obvious to me that deep within you know yourself that you should apologize – to Michael.”

Isabelle cast a scathing glance at Stefan before turning on her heel and striding briskly down the hall.  For several minutes the gentle rhythmic swish of her beaded evening gown was the only sound heard there in the hallway.

“My love…”

Faith vehemently shook her head, forestalling Stefan’s concerned query.  She breathed deeply in an effort to rein in the anger and resentment her mother’s disapproval had stirred up.  Only after she had gained control of her temper did Faith attempt to speak.

“I have to go.”

“To him?”


Faith hoped desperately that Stefan would not challenge her going.  The previously perfect evening was already ruined and an argument with him would be a most unpleasant topping to the cake.

“Your mother said that it was not serious.”

“But he called for me.”

The simple statement aborted any protest that Stefan might have uttered.  He knew from the unyielding tone of her voice that she had made up her mind to go.  “Then far be it for me to cause you delay.”  Stefan gently disengaged his arm from hers, then gave Faith a cold nod and walked away.