It felt like home.  That should have disturbed her, but strangely enough it didn’t.  Faith Ward dipped her spoon into the creamy ice cream and licked it off with relish.

“So…it would seem that some things do not change.”

Faith did not turn around.  She did not need to.  The cool, precise voice behind her was one she knew in the very recesses of her soul.  “Oh,” she retorted mischievously, “but they do.”

Stefan Cassadine stepped around his former lover and froze.  Faith’s sleeping two-year-old daughter lay cradled in her left arm.  “I would introduce you,” Faith teased Stefan, “but as you can see, she’s had a hard day.”  The mocha beauty took immense pleasure in upsetting Stefan’s equilibrium.  It was a feat she achieved quite often back when they were involved.

Faith, Stefan

“The photographs Sabrina possesses do your little one no justice,” Stefan offered.  He took in every detail of the little girl’s appearance – from her unruly sandy-hued locks down to each wildly painted little toenail.

Faith gave a very unladylike snort.  “Yeah, well, that’s because she was too busy trying to sneak around and snap pictures of my daughter after I expressly told her not to.”  She leveled Stefan a look filled with meaning.  “I won’t even get into a discussion about the lock of Kaela’s hair that she took.”

To his credit, Stefan did not deny his sister’s actions.  He had not enlisted Sabrina to uncover the truth of the little girl’s paternity, but neither had he made any attempt to stop her.  “I did not believe that you would deny me a child of our making.”

“But it didn’t hurt to be sure, though.  Right?”  Faith shook her head.  She closed her eyes and took a deep, calming breath.   “I don’t want to have that conversation with you tonight.  Tomorrow is a big day.  Are you ready for it?”

Stefan raised a trademark brow.  “There is nothing for me to be ready for, as you say.”

“Don’t insult my intelligence, Stefan.  You have worked your entire life for tomorrow, the day when Nikolas begins his life as the head of the Cassadine family.”  Faith lifted her sleeping daughter onto her shoulder.  “I know what tomorrow means to you.  Heaven knows we disagreed about it often enough.”

“Yes, your position was clear.  You felt that I had geared my entire existence to seeing Nikolas fulfill his destiny as the rightful head of our family.”

“Was I wrong?  Tell me, dear heart; what will be there for you when tomorrow is through?  Do you begin again with Andresj?”

“We may not be lovers anymore, Stefan, but I would like to think that we might manage to remain friends.”  Faith expertly shifted her young daughter into a more comfortable position and then crossed the room to place the half-eaten bowl of ice cream into the stainless steel sink.  “Tomorrow offers you a chance to live for yourself for the first time in your life.  I hope you take it.” 

With those words, Faith departed for her suite.  Stefan wondered how she would feel if she knew that he seriously considered her advice with their future in mind.

~ The Same Time, Across Town ~