Faith went still. “What did you say?”

From the corner of her eye, Ellen observed Amy Vining craning her neck around the corner in an attempt to see what was going on between the two women. The doctor knew that their body language alone would have been enough to alert any interested party that the situation was a tense one. “Can we continue this discussion inside your office?” Ellen asked quietly. She nodded discreetly toward the far end of the hall where Amy’s nose could just be seen.

Faith’s eyes followed the direction of her friend’s gesture. She nodded curtly and opened the door, allowing Ellen to follow within.

“How long has Alan known about me being followed?”

“From the beginning,” Ellen replied. “He says that he counseled his father against doing such a thing but Edward wouldn’t listen.”

Faith’s voice dripped with sarcasm. “And I suppose it never occurred to my dear uncle to simply pick up the phone and tell me what that old bastard had planned.” She gave Ellen a hard look. “Did you know as well?”

Though she knew that Faith was rightfully angry at the members of her Quartermaine family, Ellen still felt a twinge of hurt that the young woman she loved like a sister would ever believe her capable of such deception.

Something must have shown in Ellen’s face. “I am sorry,” Faith immediately apologized. “I know that you weren’t aware of Edward’s underhanded dealings. I’m just…” Her voice trailed off. “Edward took one of the most painful things in my life and tried to use it to blackmail me into loving him.”

Faith rose and went to stand beside a lush green hanging ivy that had begun to take over one corner of her office. Its beauty was a daily reminder to the young woman that there were more things to life than the cold, inhuman computers she worked with daily. “Justus warned me, you know, that Edward would do whatever he thought he needed to in order to get what he wanted. So in the end I wasn’t really surprised at what he did.” She turned back toward Ellen. “He just caught me so off-guard. And so vulnerable.”

In the short time she had known Faith Ward, Ellen had learned some truths about the beautiful woman. If there was one thing that Faith fought against with a passion, it was being vulnerable to anyone outside her small, intimate circle of family and friends. Being caught so by Edward must have been like Faith’s worst dream come true. “And Alan could have prevented that,” Ellen declared. Her voice was devoid of emotion.

“Yes. But he didn’t, so…” Faith gave Ellen a weak smile. “Alan did not owe it to me to warn me about Edward. We are just two strangers who share the same blood.”


Faith reached out her hands and breathed a sigh of relief when Ellen, without hesitation, did the same. “No. Don’t let my struggle with the Quartermaines affect your relationship with Alan. I have enough to be sorry about where you and I are concerned.”

“No, you don’t.” Ellen squeezed Faith’s hands lightly before pulling her into a warm embrace.

After a few teary minutes, Faith pulled back slightly. “Alan doesn’t deserve you, you know.”

“I know,” Ellen agreed, wiping away a tear from Faith’s face. “That’s why I broke it off.” She forestalled the other woman’s shocked protestation. “You my gurl,” the doctor adopted a sassy street tone. “And I’ll always have ya back. Even if it costs me a man.”