What is Mine
~ch. 1~


"Once begun, there can be no turning back," Stefan Cassadine warned his wife.

Ariana Slovic Cassadine looked up from the little boy sleeping in her arms.  "I already love Nikolai as though he were my own.  Telling the truth will only make our little family a happier one."

Stefan dimmed the lights and swiftly crossed the room.  He lowered himself onto the oversized bed, careful not to disturb the sleeping child.  "Ariana, do not deceive yourself.  This will not be a popular thing I do.  Nor will it be a very prudent one."

"But it is the right thing to do.  For you.  For us."  Ariana's dark eyes glittered with emotion.  "Nikolas deserves to grow up with you as his father."  

Her voice softened as she looked down at the sleeping child she cradled.  "I could not look into this innocent little face every day knowing that I helped cheat your son out of the greatest inheritance he could receive - your love."

Stefan was filled with gratitude and love for the amazing woman he had married.  He leaned in for a kiss, but stopped abruptly when Ariana shook her head at him.

"My consent is conditional," she informed her husband quietly.  

"What is it that you wish?"

"A single weekend in New York as a family.  You, me," Ariana looked down at the little boy, "and him."

"You wish to travel to the United States for a two-day trip?" Stefan asked slowly.

"Yes."  Ariana met Stefan's gaze evenly.  "For once begun," she quoted her husband's words back to him, "there can be no turning back."

Despite all the difficulties that immediately sprang to mind, Stefan realized that what Ariana asked was truly not very much.  Especially not when placed against the magnitude of what he asked of her.

"The condition is met," Stefan replied gravely.  He reached out an unsteady hand to cup his wife's cheek.  "In three days, we travel to America."

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