The Path to Power

Chapter Seven




Alice pushes the baby carriage while Faith walks alongside thru the park. Faith is dressed in her normal little black day dress and black coat with it's lush mink collar. Since the weather is decent she'd gone with the plain black sheers rather than the heavier lace stockings that she'd been wearing all winter. The baby is bundled up in the carriage where any fresh air she might get will be filtered thru a couple of baby blankets and a cute little afghan that had showed up from outta nowhere.

When they get to a sunny spot in the park, Alice takes up a place on a wood bench and checks on her charge while Faith paces along the back of the bench keeping her eyes open. As AJ walks up to the bench, Faith snarls. "You're late."

"It's a big park." AJ shrugs. "Did you get it?"

"Oh yeah. It's right here." Faith reaches into her purse and pulls out an envelope snatching it back before AJ can grab it. "Where are you on Phase II?"

"Working on it as we speak."

"Good. Because that's when you start getting what you want." Faith walks over to AJ and with a single finger brushes aside his coat jacket and puts the envelope in the interior pocket. Then she pats the wool covered envelope. "Fuck this up, Junior, and there is nothing leading back to me. Nothing leading back to Ned-- well except for his signature on that and he can spin that as giving you oh just one more chance."

"I got it under control." AJ says stiffly.

"Oh I know you do." Faith gives him a little sharp pat on the cheek. "And I've done the eggs in one basket thing before, didn't work for me any more than it's worked for you. Our goals may not be the same but they'll mesh nicely. I get what I want and you'll get what you want."

"Why do you want him dead so badly?" AJ says under his breath watching every emotion across Faith's face before she can bury them.

"Who says I need a reason?" Faith shrugs. "You've got the ball, AJ. Question is now... are you going to run with it... or fumble?"

"You'll read about it in the papers." AJ says tersely and walks away.

As soon as he moves off one of Faith's guys comes forward and hands her a cell phone. He'd been keeping an eye on the situation from a distance but not too far and knew that Faith had been expecting the call. But she didn't want the phone to wake the brat when it finally came thru. "Yes? Fowler! How are things in the City?" Faith smiles at the answer. "Atlantic City? Really. Trying your hand at Black Jack or the Black Jack dealers?" Faith nods at the answer and then cuts to the chase. "Did you mail it off?" Faith's eyes narrow at the reply. Fowler had been showing initiative again. What he did could work but it wasn't what she ordered.

"Yeah, I sent it to the Mrs. instead. Figure that will stir things up proper. I know you said to send it to Corinthos, Faith. But this is better. Drive wedges going a couple of different ways." Fowler waits kinda holding his breath. Some days Faith didn't mind a little creative thinking. Other days she took it as a challenge to her authority.

Faith sighs but then shrugs. "I like it. And the stupid bitch will probably think it's coming from the lawyer rather than us. He was right there to take advantage before wasn't he? Working his own angle."

"Yeah" Fowler agrees. "He was working that white knight angle real hard that night. Had to be up to something."

"Find out. No wait. Hire someone to find out. I have something special in mind for you. Vacation is getting cut short, Fowler, but that's okay cause I know how much you love your work." Faith steps away from the park bench even though she never turns away from watching Alice and the baby to give Fowler his new orders. Once off the phone she walks over and hands it to her goon, who tucks it in his pocket and then steps back into the shadows. Faith leans over the baby carriage and pulls the blankets back with a single finger. "We're going to have to time these little visits to the park differently. Not doing the baby any good if she's sleeping thru them."

"Oh the fresh air can't hurt whether she's sleeping or not, Mrs. A." Alice makes a cute face in the baby's direction even though Kristina is asleep and misses it.





Skye strolls into Club 101 and looks around. She pulls out her notebook and makes a quick scribble. The choices really were the grille or here for the number of people that were going to be invited. She winces. Not that she wanted to be putting money in either of the owners coffers. Not the Quartermaines and not her ex's that is for damn sure. But this so called Phase II that AJ had filled her in on. Well it could work and if she had to make a deal with a few devils.

"Mrs. Jacks... um..." The day manager flushes as he realizes that he'd stepped in it big time.

"Let's just keep it to Skye." Skye instructs the day manager wryly. "Wasn't even Mrs. Jacks long enough to get the monogrammed towels unpacked let alone dirty. Is Jax around?"

"No, ma'am."

Skye winces at the ma'am but keeps going. "Good. Here is what I'm going to need. Private party. Banquet for... two hundred. Menus, availability dates. I want to get this nailed down today so that I can get to the printers."

"I'll get the book." The day manager nods.

Skye shrugs out of her coat and throws it over the back of a chair and then sits down at one of the nearby tables setting down her own book with the check list next to it. She'd been in this town long enough to know who the movers and shakers were for a fundraiser. And that was what this was going to be. One hell of a fundraiser with tons of press there. And it was going to have AJ's name all over it. Not the Quartermaines but AJ. This isn't to pump up the Quartermaine name but to redeem AJ's reputation and pass the mantel to the next generation. Her generation... the first step in Phase II.
Pulling out her cell phone she calls Dara Jenson and leaves a message. "Yes, this is Skye Chandler-Quartermaine. I just wanted to thank you for your help with that matter. I haven't seen DA Baldwin since you filed those papers. I did have something else I needed to run by you so please do give me a call back."

The day manager returns with the reservation book. It is almost as big as the two top table and leather bound. He flips it open to the ribbon marked current day. "How soon did you need the rooms?"

"I want it soon but I want it to be the biggest thing going. No other do on the same weekend. In the same week!" Skye opens her book. As a Quartermaine she had all the charity doings listed in her appointment book even if with the current state of her reputation she wouldn't be welcome at most of them. She starts flipping thru her book until she finds the date she'd checked. "How about three weeks. That would be plenty of time to RSVP."

"Not too much time for the printers." The manager fills in the silence as he flips pages with the quick quip.

"Amazing what roadblocks money will smooth." Skye says wryly. "Is it available?"

"We are."

"Put me down then. I'll need menus, band tapes because there should be dancing..." Skye thanks to running 101 for even a brief period of time starts rattling off the linens, dish and flatware she wants along with the price range of the meals. She pulls out a card. "Have the chef fax the menus to me. I'll have a decision by the end of the day he gets them too me so that he can start moving on the purchase." Then Sky pulls out a checkbook and writes out the deposit. "Pleasure doing business with you."

"No, it's been my pleasure." The Manager says honestly. It's good to have someone that actually knows their own mind.

"Get the chef going." Skye stands up and gathers her belongings, shrugs back into her coat and starts up the stairs passing Jax without comment as she does.

Jax had started to say something but closes his mouth as his ex leaves without so much as a word or look in his direction. He frowns but continues down the stairs rather than following her. "What was Skye doing here?"

"Booking the club for a banquet." The manager looks down at the check. "A fundraiser, I guess." The manager hands the check over to Jax.

Eyeing the purpose part of the check, Jax makes a quick decision. "Club 101 will provide the food and beverage. It's for a worthy cause. So the Quartermaines are sponsoring Ward House again? I wonder why Ned didn't let me know." He frowns again. "Skye knows I would support this. Why didn't she contact me?"

"Couldn't tell you that, Mr. Jacks. The books are behind the bar. I have to get the chef going on the menus to fax over to Ms. Chandler-Quartermaine." The manager leaves Jax to his own devices.





His informants had let him know that Kristina was here with her nanny and Ashton's new wife. It was time he saw her for himself. Of course Alexis' extreme reaction, losing her mind, and then Nikolas' grim countenance as he retold the story have warned, or prejudiced him depending on perspective. Faith Flynn Roscoe Ashton. The report wasn't back yet and though he loathed going in without all the facts... this is an emergency situation. Kristina's wellbeing was involved. Stefan pauses using the cover of the trees along the path to watch unobserved. The nanny looks like a bodyguard and yet it is the blonde who stands vigilant her eyes constantly moving but never falling on the baby. He is about to approach when another does. Zander Smith. Time to observe.

Stefan's brows go up as he sees Smith first intercepted by another body guard. Someone that he hadn't seen that was on the far side. Only once the blonde gives permission is Smith allowed to approach and even then the blonde stands between Smith and the baby. He is too far away to hear the conversation and moves closer, now aware of the other bodyguard and taking precautions accordingly.

"How is Kristina?" Zander asks taking a sidestep that Faith matches.

"The kid is fine. What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be at ELQ shredding documents or something?"

"I'm going in this afternoon. Ned says he's going to promote me to VP in charge of paperclips whatever that means." Zander answers reluctantly making eye contact with Faith. He couldn't believe how stupid he was. He had to have been drunk to ever make the moves on this woman. Probably a good thing that the zoo had been locked that night or maybe he would have tried going swimming with the polar bears too.

"It means AJ isn't going to be working at ELQ anymore just taking a seat on the board and you're going to have to pick up the slack." Faith slides in closer to Zander smiling as he takes a half step back. Faith reaches up and cups the side of his face angling his head to make eye contact with her, forcing the issue. "Why are you so interested in the brat?" She feels Zander's recoil before he can cover and sees the way his eyes go narrow. "Oh I hit a nerve."

"Alexis was really good to me."

"Ned has been too."

Zander snorts. "Right. Big talk about me going legit and the first things he has me do are felonies to take down Corinthos."

"Well, well, well. Has Zander Smith found his backbone?" Faith says mockingly. She looks over her shoulder at the carriage and then back at Zander with her eyes narrowing. She steps even closer to Zander rubbing up against him. This time he is better prepared and forces himself to stand his ground. "Alexis is never coming back. Ned is all you've got. Look at that baby the wrong way and you'll be back to peddling shit at raves."

"I would never do anything to hurt Kristina!" Zander protests between gritted teeth.

Faith runs both hands up Zander's chest over his t-shirt but underneath the flannel shirt that he is wearing unbuttoned over it. She practically purrs as she kneads her fingers over the young man's pecs. "No, I don't think you would after all she's all you have left of that nutcase. I can be... accommodating, Zander. You give me what I want... and I'll give you what you want."

"What do you want?" Zander says reluctantly.

"I'll let you know." Faith smiles triumphantly. She steps back. She doesn't even look back as she says. "Alice?"

"Yeah, Mrs. A?"

"Zander is allowed to see Kristina. Supervised at all times and just Zander."

"You got it, Mrs. A." Alice nods and then looking over at the young man who hasn't been able to take his eyes off the carriage since hearing Faith's directions, she pats the spot next to her on the bench. "Little Miss is catching a quick snooze but you're welcome to take a peek."

Zander starts moving past Faith but she reaches out and grabs a fist of his t-shirt. "What I want. When I want it. No questions. Otherwise walk away now."

"I told you. I won't do anything that will hurt Kristina."

Faith slowly nods and then releases her hold on Zander's shirt. "I'll keep it in mind." The hair goes up on the back of her neck and she starts surveying the park to find the eyes that she feels on her. About ten feet away... too close. How did he get so close? "Zander."

Zander looks up from looking at the sleeping baby and sees who Faith has spotted. "Alexis' brother, Stefan Cassadine."





"How did you hear about me?" Dara escorts a new client into her office. All of sudden there had been an increase in calls and drop ins and she'd love to know what the hell is going on.

"Alexis Davis' associate... Gia Campbell?" The potential client looks at Dara. "I received a letter from Miss Campbell indicating that Ms. Davis is having some health problems and is shutting down her legal practice."

"Shutting it down?"

"Well I called Ms. Davis office cause I have this contract I need to take care of... wanting to know when Ms. Davis was going to be available again... and she couldn't give me a firm idea when. Referred me to you. Said that Ms. Davis uses you when she needs outside counsel."

"Ah." Dara nods and doesn't say anything more. If it was just a client stopping by... but Gia must have sent out letters to everyone on Alexis caseload. Course it would have been nice if she'd sent a letter to her too-- to prepare for the onslaught. "Did you bring the contract with you or did you want me to write you up one?"





It's actually a familiar feeling. It didn't happen often but often enough. Stefan realizes he is holding his breath and that could be the reason why his chest feels so tight. He hadn't actually had the wind knocked out of him. The woman meets his gaze easily. Her face expresses boredom but her frame tells another story.

"Back off." Faith's bodyguard snarls at Stefan.

Stefan eyes him with disdain. A thug and irrelevant. He looks back toward Faith. "We have matters to discuss."

Faith's brows go up at that one. "Oh really?" She waves off the bodyguard.

"You want me to break his knees, Faith?" The bodyguard growls puffing up his chest to look even bigger if that were possible.

"No. Because if he had been a threat he would have already killed all of us including the baby." Faith says coldly to the bodyguard not looking away from Stefan.

The bodyguard blinks at that and flushes. He is in so much trouble. "I'll get the car."

"You do that." Faith suggests softly. Alice gets up from the bench and starts pushing the carriage back toward the car.

Zander stands up too. "Faith?"

"I got it." Faith says flatly. Zander shrugs and goes with Alice. "I don't believe we've been properly introduced." Faith extends a red tipped hand. "Faith... Ashton."

Stefan takes her hand and checks out the antique ring that Faith is wearing. He looks at her knowingly. Evidently striking looks aren't the only similarities with his mother. They seemed to have the same taste in jewelry. "Stefan Cassadine."

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