Part Fifty

The room was dark and still. There was no moon and very few stars in the sky. Faith Ward shifted in her lover's embrace. “I don't know whether to be grateful for or curse these stone walls of Wyndemere.” She rested her chin lightly on Stefan's muscled chest. “Do you think that she is alright?”

Stefan took his time replying. “The answer to such a query would rely on knowledge of my brother's mood at the moment. Stavros is quite…unpredictable in his reactions.” The couple lay in silence. “To Alexandra's benefit,” Stefan added, “I have seen an attraction from Stavros that I have not witnessed since…”

“-Laura?” Faith had not missed the way her lover's voice tailed off. “If that is what you were going to say, then maybe your brother's attention is not to Alexandra's benefit after all.”

“Alexandra is not Laura.”

Faith smothered the sarcastic response that automatically sprang to her lips. Stefan had a blind spot where Laura Spencer was concerned. He steadfastly maintained that it was because of Nikolas. Faith had no such delusions.

“Do not censor your response,” Stefan insisted quietly. The subject of Nikolas' mother was one of the very few topics that Faith would not readily engage in with him. Early on in their relationship they'd had several animated discussions about Laura's place in Stefan's life. No resolution was achieved. Since then the subject of Laura Spencer was met with pointed, icy silence on Faith's part.

“You're right. Laura and Alexandra are nothing alike.” Faith sat up in the darkness. The light sheet that covered her slithered down her naked body to pool about her waist.

“It's obvious that Alexandra is enduring this marriage out of fear of what your mother and Stavros might do to the people she loves.” Faith stared out into the inky blackness of the room. “If she somehow ends up pregnant, we both know that Alexandra will never walk away from her child. Or Stavros.”

“Selfishly,” Stefan replied into the darkness, “I would desire that a woman such as Alexandra might be a permanent part of my brother's life. If Stavros is ever to change…” Stefan sat up. “But Alexandra did not choose this life. She must be given the opportunity to walk away from it.”

Faith shook her head. “The question is, just how in the world is anyone going to persuade Stavros to let Alexandra go?”