What is Mine
~ Twenty ~


The bits and pieces of conversation that drifted to his ears all faded into a dull background hum when the pair arrived. He knew from the pictures Adrian Sword had provided that the young woman was indeed Cassie Whelan. But looking at her in person, Stefan was thrown. She was barely out of her teens, it seemed.

“-lide, Mama!”

Stefan caught his breath at the wave of pain that battered him as the little boy called the young woman ‘mama'. A kaleidoscope of dancing images of his murdered wife Ariana flashed before his eyes. The title that should have been hers alone to bear now applied to some other woman.

The scene before him represented all that he had lost in the ‘accident'. Sadly Stefan watched Cassie Whelan frolic about the playground with a child who obviously adored her.

He was a happy little boy. His excited cries joined the cacophony of joyful sounds created by a playground of little ones. For Stefan, though, none of the other children existed. His reality was narrowed down to a single thing – the son he thought he had lost forever.

Stefan was not a heartless man. He felt a sense of gratitude to the young woman who, by all accounts, had taken his son as her own and loved him accordingly.


Instinctively Stefan's attention was drawn by the toddler's ecstatic cry. If he thought he had been affected by hearing the little boy call Cassie Whelan ‘mama', there were no words to adequately describe Stefan's feelings at seeing his son run into the arms of a man he believed to be his father.


The sound cut through Stefan with the ease of a surgeon's scalpel. It was an ironic choice of images, he mused bitterly, reflecting on the dark-haired stranger's profession.

Any qualms or doubts he might have had about the choice he was about to make disappeared instantly. Stefan removed a cellular phone from his pocket and dialed a series of numbers. “Set things into motion,” he tersely commanded Adrian Sword. “I intend to reclaim my son. Now .”