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View Full Version : A Collection of UA One Shots (mostly Sheridan/Luis)



UAgirl
1.19.08, 11:35 PM
Completely blocked on my other fics right now so I thought I'd try my hand at some one shots to get myself back on track.

Short, (not so) sweet, and to the point. :)

Not really any spoilers that I can think of (since I don't watch the show and only skim the boards, I can't be 100% positive), unless you count Marty's return as one at this point.

From the depths of UA's (apparently angst-loving and deluded, lol) mind, I now present the story.

Enjoy. And if you don't, that's okay too since I wrote this baby in fifteen minutes, and it's more of an attempt to overcome my writer's block than anything.









All at Once








In the end, it hits her, all at once.

He’s gone—never coming back.

Their daughter will never know her father, and Marty’s memories will fade until they are whispers of sensation—a trace of his cologne in the air, the weight of a proud hand on his shoulder, the faint recollection of his father’s smile as he studies himself in the bathroom mirror.

He’s gone—never coming back, his life’s blood spilled senselessly upon a highway she will never travel again, and it all seems so pointless now.

At the front of the church, Fancy holds court, weeping and wringing her hands and welcoming the well-wishers as they file in to pay their respects. Luis’s ring gleams on her finger, and her blond hair rests prettily on her shoulders. Her reddened eyes flit back and forth across the crowd, but they refuse to fall upon the lonely figure at the back of the church.

He’s gone—never coming back, and the pity filled whispers only serve to strengthen Sheridan’s shrewd convictions.

Harmony holds nothing for her now, the only tie that bound her here severed by the careless hands of a drunk driver. It’s not her home. It’s Luis’s home. Luis was her home. Her son, the daughter she guards as a secret in her womb, will not grow up here. In the morning, Harmony will be well on her way to being a distant, bittersweet memory.

He’s gone—never coming back, and behind the blank, tearless mask she presents to the ones she used to call friends and family, the heart they claim she no longer has is breaking—into millions of tiny little pieces.

In the end, it hits her all at once. This isn’t just Luis’s goodbye.

He’s gone—never coming back; tomorrow, neither is she.
















Thoughts? Comments? Want to read more?

Feedback is loved!

Thanks for reading!!!

UAgirl
1.20.08, 4:06 AM
Boston





It’s late—the rink closes in an hour—and still, there’s no sign of her.

Luis’s hands are cold. Rubbing them together briskly, he lifts them, and his breath forms a white, hovering cloud in front of him as he scans his surroundings again for a familiar head of gold.

The aching melody of children’s laughter has faded with the advancing hour, even the scraping of more skillful blades across the ice has lessened. The crowds have come and gone, returning to the warmth of their homes and leaving only a few to enjoy the beauty of the crisp night.

He’s staring at the stars from a bench, wondering if this is finally it, wondering if the strain of her guilt has finally proven too much for her, when he feels the touch of soft leather upon his face and two small hands cover his eyes.

“Guess who,” she breathes, and her arms slip around his neck, her perfume sweet and lingering in the scant space between them. She’s light when he pulls her into his lap, and her blue eyes are suspiciously shiny when they travel over his face, but she offers him her best smile, the one she knows renders him powerless to deny her any wish.

He smiles back at her and holds up a pair of skates.


~*~


They make slow laps around the rink, holding hands like lovesick teenagers. When the lights are shut off for the night, only they remain.


~*~


She hands him the keys to her rented car without meeting his eyes.

Luis’s hands are cold again, and now, it seems, a little clumsy. He fumbles with the lock a couple of times before he gets it right, and the door opens.

She’s quiet in the passenger seat, and they don’t talk in the miles that lead them away from the rink. She only speaks when he turns down an unfamiliar road, and his name escapes her lips a whispered question. “Luis?”

Luis parks the car before answering her, turning to her and clearing his throat uncomfortably, saying, “Home, sweet home.” The smile he gives her this time is more like a grimace, like he’s waiting for the jury to hand down their decision, and he holds his breath as she opens her door and climbs out. He does the same and watches as she swallows hard before meeting his eyes again, her own eyes glittering in the starlight.

“Well,” she finally finds her voice and huffs. “What are you waiting for?” She stomps her boots against the pavement and wraps her arms about her middle. “It’s cold out here, Buster.”


~*~


She’s holding the frame in both hands, wearing a sad smile, when he enters the living room, hot chocolate in hand.

A fire crackles in the fireplace, the orange glow of the flames illuminating the tracks of tears he knows she won’t admit to. He pulls the folded blanket from the back of his sofa when she settles down across from him and tucks the chenille carefully around her knees and shoulders. Across the room, her boots sit next to his, and the keys to her car rest upon the coffee table.

They limit the conversation to mundane topics like the weather and the movies they’ve seen recently, and the whispered words have a lulling quality.

When she falls asleep, he gently removes the mug from her lax fingers and pads into the kitchen on bare feet to place it in the sink. Then he returns to living room and takes up watch in the armchair across from her, his eyelids drooping heavily.


~*~


She’s kneeling between his knees when he wakes up, and one smooth cheek rests upon his thigh.

Luis’s hand is hesitant at first, but soon it strokes through her short blond curls more confidently, and his breath becomes shallow with the intense look in her blue eyes.

Her fingers make a slow, deliberate slide across denim, and she breaches the distance between them.


~*~


The first kiss is tentative, innocent almost.


~*~


She sighs when his lips leave hers, brushing across her cheek, and shivers when he nuzzles her neck, sweeping his big hands beneath the hemline of her shirt.

Luis can’t hold in the words, knows they will hurt her, but he tells her anyway, murmuring them against her brow before he grasps the soft red material in his hands and pulls it over her head. “I miss you.”

Her fingers pause in their restless movements, gripping his shoulders tight, and her blue eyes are tortured as she leans in to press a firm kiss to lips. When he lifts his hands to her arms then drops them to the small of her back, gently propelling her closer, she sobs into his mouth and burrows her fingers into his thick black hair.

He holds her, kissing the sad line of her mouth.


~*~


She helps him undress her in front of the firelight.


~*~


Her body, in the months since they’ve allowed themselves this intimacy, is both the same and different. Pregnancy had made her existing curves even richer; childbirth had brought about natural, inevitable changes that are still in evidence four years later.

Still, she feels thinner beneath Luis’s touch, the fine bones in her hands even more delicate as they acquaint themselves with his body all over again. But the hollow of her throat tastes just as sweet, and muscles of her stomach still flutter the same way when his tongue dips teasingly into her navel. She's warm and real beneath him and above him and her heart beat just as strong.

She moves with a grace that can't be learned; without words, she loves him.


~*~


Before the flickering flames, they sleep, curled into one another.


~*~


She makes love to him again as morning dawns pink through the frosted windows and the fire burns low.

One of Luis’s hands rests on the smooth skin of her thigh, the other hooks in the thin gold chain dangling from her neck.

She grasps his hand, threading their fingers together and removing his hand from the ring he gave her so long ago, and places their clasped hands over his heart.

His heart pounds harder in his chest when his thumb brushes the band encircling her finger, and he knows he’s failed to hide his feelings when pain flashes in her blue eyes. The hand on her thigh sweeps upward, cupping her shoulder then her neck, and he pulls her down to him, crushing her soft breasts against his chest and taking her mouth with his own. He tastes the salt of her tears, but he won’t let her apologize, not again, not anymore. He kisses her until she is breathless and boneless against him.

For too short a time, she forgets.


~*~


She cooks him breakfast, one slender shoulder peaking out from beneath his sweater, her long legs bare.

He pushes the scrambled eggs around on his plate but can’t manage to swallow more than a few bites down because it’s almost that time, and his stomach is a ball of nerves.

“Chicken,” she teases and crosses the room to hand him a fresh, steaming cup of coffee. “Mmm,” she hums, leans into the kiss he initiates, and if she notices the desperation in the touch, she doesn’t let it show, curling her fingers around his shoulders before gently pushing him away. “I need a shower,” she sighs, straightening after letting him kiss her again. She pauses in the kitchen doorway, and asks, “Join me?”

But there are shadows in her eyes, and Luis knows already it has started. Already she has started pulling away from him. A chasm is forming and widening as the minutes tick away on the wall clock, and Luis declines her offer with a shake of his head. “You first. Gotta make some phone calls.” He forces a grin, knowing she sees right through his made-up excuse and chooses to believe it anyway. “Don’t use up all the hot water.”

She rolls her eyes at him and turns to go, her bare feet soft and almost noiseless against the hardwood.

Love you, he thinks as she disappears down the hall and he hears the shower turn on. “I mean it,” he shouts instead.


~*~

He takes his time in the shower when it is his turn, reluctant to wash her scent from his body, reluctant to watch as she dresses and prepares to leave him.


~*~


She doesn’t say goodbye.

Her keys are gone from the coffee table when he emerges from his bedroom, snow-white towel slung low across his waist, another in his hand as he dries his hair. Where they once lay is a pale blue envelope with his name in her handwriting on the front. He pulls out a sheet of paper and reads it in disbelief.

Miraculously free of any signs of the disease that had struck him comatose for the last several years, Antonio had awakened only yesterday.

Pilar’s prayers, she wrote, had done the trick.

He reads further, feeling his throat tighten at the thought of his ever-faithful mother and the joy she must have felt.

He asked about you, Luis, and I swear…he doesn’t remember. Not all of it, anyway. He doesn’t know. About us. He thinks…

Luis closes his eyes, remembering all too vividly the look on his brother’s face, the love shining in his eyes whenever he looked at Sheridan. He knows because it’s the same way he looks at her.

You know what he thinks, Luis. And you know why I have to do this, why I have to say goodbye.

No, Luis thinks, though, deep in his heart, he understands. He understands all too well.

I love you too much for there to be any other way.

He wishes he didn’t, but he does.


~*~

His son smiles up at him with her blue eyes, and a tear falls from Luis’s cheek.

UAgirl
1.20.08, 12:15 PM
Omg, what is wrong with me?


LOL!


I might not be able to write a chapter of any of my other fics, but these one shots are getting kind of addictive.


Don't mind me; just another attempt at working through my writer's block on the stories I've already started.


Hope you enjoy.








Happy Ending


The full white skirt of her dress is dirty, and the flowers woven into her hair droop, but Fancy can’t find it in herself to care.

“Never would have pegged you for the runaway bride type.” Noah nudges her over on the park bench—he never did have any concept of personal space—and grins at her.

The grin is full of perfect teeth, and his thigh is solid warmth pressed against hers, and Fancy won’t look into his eyes, because she doesn’t want to see the concern he can’t hide lurking in their blue depths. “Shut up,” she mutters, pouts really, and she knows she’s being childish, but she can’t fight the urge to cross her arms across her chest and stick out her tongue at him. “If you say I told you so,” she warns.

“Me? Not me,” Noah defends with a slight smirk, bumping shoulders with her. “Give me that,” he says, grabbing the almost bare-stemmed bouquet from her lap and eyeballing it with a twinkling eye.

Only a few velvety petals remain, the rest lay at her feet, and Fancy feels her cheeks burn with embarrassment as he raises an eyebrow and twirls it between his fingers.

“What did it ever do to you?” he teases, plucking a petal between his own fingers and holding it in the palm of his hand. His full mouth puckers, and the petal takes flight, floating in the breeze.

Fancy watches its progress, watches Noah out of the corner of her eye, and slowly turns and leans her back against Noah’s side. One of his arms casually loops around her naked shoulders, and she captures it between her own with a shy hand, pressing her cheek against his warm skin. His breath gently stirs her hair, and his nearness comforts her. Together they watch the young families stroll the grassy knolls and go about their day, occasionally casting intrigued glances their way. Her lips brush against his skin as she murmurs a plea. “Tell me I did the right thing.” His answer, when it comes, is both the answer she wants and the answer she dreads, and she hopes that, somewhere out there, the man she loves won’t waste this chance at a happy ending.

“You did the right thing.”







Only my second or third attempt at writing Fancy. Hope I didn't do too bad with her.

Thanks for reading!!!

UAgirl
2.11.08, 11:38 PM
This one's pretty Theresa-centric, with mentions of Sheridan/Luis and another ship. :D

Also, it contains character-death, so if that offends or upsets you, turn back now.








Pretty Things







Mama’s high heels

Cherry lipstick

And a goodwill dress

Play pretending

Dance for the mirror

A fairytale princess


~*~


The memory is fuzzy around the edges, soft like an interrupted dream.

She’s six, seven, no more than eight, Theresa figures, and the red of the lipstick somehow makes her brown eyes stand out huge in her small face. The much too big heels clomp against the floor as she twirls her way toward the tall mirror, far from the satisfying click they make for Mama, but she isn’t fazed in the least, her young mind and heart swept away to far-off lands.

She’s a princess, just like Cinderella, and her prince awaits her.

Over her shoulder, Whitney’s small face is pinched with worry, and her voice is a hushed whisper as she wrings her hands. “You’re not supposed to…”

“Lady Whitney,” Theresa cuts her off, tugging her forward with a giggle, the pair standing side by side. “Is my horse ready?”

Whitney frowns and corkscrew curls go flying as she shakes her head at Theresa, a protest on her lips that soon becomes trapped in her throat at the sight that greets them in the reflection of the mirror.

Simone’s smile is wide, Kay’s toothless smirk even bigger.

Only Miguel doesn’t smile, his frown bordering on a pout. On his hands and knees, his eyebrows somehow manage to scowl at them beneath the fringe of his mama’s new mop-head. Hanging loosely around his neck are pink ribbon reins. What looks to be a bath towel covers his back as a saddle. The biggest indignity though, is the feather duster tail pinned to the seat of his jeans.

Little hand to her mouth, Jessica giggles at them from the open doorway as Theresa greets her royal steed.

“Take me to my prince,” Theresa commands, approaching her kid brother with her head held high.

“Aw, Theresa, do I have to?” Miguel whines, but nevertheless complies. A promise is a promise, just like Kay said, and anyway, he’s sorely outnumbered, the only guy in the house with Luis not home. He grunts under Theresa’s weight and nearly crumples to the floor weakly with embarrassment when even Whitney can’t hide her smile, but he dutifully plays along, even mustering up a pitiful whinny, as he travels the endless hallway to Theresa’s imaginary prince.

Unnoticed in the shadows, Mama watches them, fondness lighting her eyes and a smile threatening to break free.

The memory is fuzzy around the edges, and while she remembers Mama’s arrival dispelling the enchanting spell of their play, she doesn’t remember that and decides it must have been a dream.

The dress’s green fabric is faded but it flutters and seems to float in the triangle of afternoon sunlight spilling in from the window.

Carefully folding it and holding it close, Theresa breathes in the faint scent of her mother’s perfume. “Oh, Mama,” she cries, while nearby, her prince waits patiently.


~*~


It’s only natural

Tables turning

And gracefully I’ll learn

How to cradle

The one who raised me

Who’ll be too fragile for this world


~*~


Sheridan’s voice is soft with a strangely musical lilt as she reads letters filled with childish scrawl. Full of tears also, for she stumbles over simple words and straightforward sentences, struggling not to show her grief.

Luis has already said his goodbyes, leading Marty out by the shoulder.

The sullen teenager act had only cracked when five year-old Sophie had climbed into Marty’s lap, new shadows darkening her lively eyes, and sought out his much larger hand. Now he cries, in the company of his father, his sister, his cousins, and his friends, and struggles to find comfort where only sadness lurks.

The floorboards groan slightly beneath Theresa’s heavy steps, and the rocking chair creaks as Sheridan rises. She can visualize the vivid splashes of color the bouquets paint the room with behind her closed eyelids as she accepts her sister-in-law’s hug. She feels her heart twist as Sheridan bends to kiss the paper-thin cheek and leaves.

A feeble hand twitches, and the gasping breaths become uneven. Glittering dark eyes open and travel across the room.

Theresa recognizes the moment her mother sees her, witnesses the deep, steadying breath she takes before she lifts a hand to her face and pulls the bothersome tubing from her nose. Without thought, Theresa falls into the role of parent and gently scolds as she approaches the bed, “Mama, the oxygen’s only there to make you more comfortable, help you breathe better.” The graying hair is still thick beneath her soothing hands, but the voice that escapes the chapped lips is a pale imitation of the one Theresa remembers from her childhood. Still, an undercurrent of steel shines through, and she leans closer to listen.

“Mi hija.” The whispered endearment scratches its way past a parched throat, and the hand that curves around Theresa’s cheek is weak. “My Theresita.”

The trembling smile claws at Theresa’s defenses, and the first tears she has let her mother see since the terminal diagnosis mere months ago, spring forth, slipping down her cheeks. “Shh, Mama.” Her mother’s breath bathes the fingers Theresa places against her mouth. “Don’t talk. Save your strength.”

A harsh cough wracks the frail body then, and there is no protest when the tubing returns where it belongs. Thin shoulders curl into themselves, and the cough fades into a moan. Pained eyes find her daughter’s face again and send out a wordless plea.

Theresa lets down the side rails with little difficulty and crawls into the bed, wrapping her arms tightly about her mother and cradling her close. “It’s okay, Mama,” she croons, lips brushing the damp forehead, her tone tight with tears. “I’m right here. I’m right here,” she says, tucking the blanket around them both. “Did I tell you Jane gets her braces off next week?” She intersperses her words with kisses. “She can’t wait to show off her new smile.” She keeps talking, twin tracks of moisture traveling her cheeks. “You’re the first person she wants to see it.”

The shadows grow long, the breaths slow to fade into slumber, then rest, and there is peace.


~*~

Selfless and faithful

As good as you should be

Open and fearless

Oh what a gift you gave me


~*~


The green grass is damp with morning dew, and the birds twitter with song, their melodies sweet and reminding Theresa of the approaching spring. It’s peaceful, blue skies and fluffy cotton clouds. Sophie’s teddy bear smiles at her with button eyes from his guarding perch against the polished stone, and a bouquet of wildflowers seem to wave cheerfully as she kneels. The corners of Theresa eyes crinkle with fondness as she fingers the yellow rain slicker the bear wears, and she’s laughing when she finally speaks. “Guess Sheridan and Sophie visited again. She’s really growing up, isn’t she, Mama?”

A gentle breeze strikes up, and the sun peeks out from behind a cloud.

The breeze feels like Mama’s fingers lifting the hair from Theresa’s neck, the sun like her smile. Settling back on her heels, Theresa returns the imagined smile. “She’s got nothing on Jane though, Mama. And Little Ethan…isn’t so little anymore. He’s so tall. Taller than me. But Ethan likes to tease that everyone’s taller than me.”

“Who says I’m kidding?” Ethan emerges from the shielding shade of a nearby tree, a grin on his handsome face.

Jane shadows her father, all gangly arms and legs, dark blond ponytail bouncing with each step she takes closer to the familiar stone. Tucking her knees beneath her, she rests under her mother’s sheltering arm and smiles brightly as she greets, “Hi, Grandma. Did Mom tell you it’s Little Ethan’s birthday?”

Theresa props her chin on the bony shoulder and looks into her daughter’s sparkling eyes. “I haven’t mentioned it yet.”

“It’s Little Ethan’s birthday,” Jane chatters on, oblivious to her parents’ smiles. “And he got his learner’s permit. Can you believe someone was crazy enough to do that?”

Theresa laughs softly at her mother’s imagined response, and her teenaged son’s real response, a mock outraged swipe of Jane’s ponytail and a playful shove with just enough power behind it to send Jane toppling forward on her palms.

Giggling, Jane wipes her hands on her jeans legs, ignoring the very real glare sent her way via her brother. “He thinks just because he’s legal now he’s a good driver. Dad says he’s worse than Aunt Sheridan, and Uncle Luis says she’s plenty bad.”

At Theresa’s look, Ethan holds up a defensive hand. “Your brother said it not me.” Crouching next to his wife and daughter, he picks a tiny bloom from the bouquet of wildflowers and twirls it between his fingers. “Don’t worry, Pilar,” he finally smiles. “It’ll be a while yet before you see Luis in Heaven.”

Theresa giggles beside him and Jane and, more covertly, Little Ethan soon join in.

The sun shines brighter, and the birds continue to sing as a contemplative silence falls upon the small family.

Little Ethan is the first to dare break it, a plea in his eyes as he meets his father’s gaze. A grin transforms his boyish features as Ethan drops the car keys into the palm of his hand.

“Dad,” Jane groans, standing up and brushing at her clothes. “Mom, maybe we should walk to the Youth Center. I know. I’ll call Uncle Miguel to give me a ride on his motorcycle and you and Dad can risk life and limb.”

Taking the hand Ethan offers her, Theresa stands, wearing a wry smile as she addresses her young daughter, “Do you know how many times Miguel has wrecked that motorcycle?”

“Didn’t you wreck it too?” Little Ethan questions, dodging the playful punch aimed at him by his sister.

Theresa falters, but it’s Ethan that poses the next inquiry, his grip on his son’s shoulder solid.

“Who told you that?”

“Grandma,” Little Ethan admits.

“What else did Grandma tell you?” Theresa wonders, casting one last look at her mama’s stone before following behind them.

“Only that you used to pretend you were a fairytale princess in front of the mirror,” Jane pipes up with a teasing grin.

“Uncle Miguel was your horse,” Little Ethan smirks.

Ethan laces their hands together when she catches up to them, giving her a soft smile. He kisses the back of her hand, as the children hurry ahead of them to claim dibs on the radio station, his admission quiet and dear and voiced almost like an afterthought.

She kisses him before the words are completely out of his mouth, just to hear him repeat them, and repeat them he does.

“And I was always your prince.”




***Lyrics are borrowed from a LeAnn Rimes song, Pretty Things. No infringement intended to her, her co-writers, or anyone else who has rights to the song. I’m not making any profit from this story nor do I intend to (ha). Just wanted to share the source of my inspiration for this story. And, it goes without saying, that I don’t own Passions or any characters recognized therein.***

UAgirl
1.3.09, 1:43 AM
Hi guys!

It's me. ;)

Since I'm suffering from extreme writer's block with Believe and Anna Begins, I decided to try my hand at something shorter (hopefully easier...yeah, right). Although I think 2000+ words is not too shabby, hehe.

This story is what I come up with.

The storyline in this fic ties in with another short story of mine, Pretty Things, which actually only had a minor mention of Luis and Sheridan, but my mind (as it usually tends to do) spun off a whole backstory for them and this is the result.

Sorry if it's overly angsty and completely cheesy.

I hope you enjoy it anyway. =)

You can find Pretty Things below this post if you're inclined to read it, but I think you should do fine if you decide to skip it.

Here's the story.



White Horse



I’m not a princess, this ain’t a fairytale



~*~


It doesn’t occur to her at first: that she could be pregnant, that one night of weakness, a night leading to a morning in which Luis broke her heart all over again, might have resulted in a baby.

It isn’t until the fourth morning that she wakes up praying to the porcelain god that she even starts to suspect.

She waits until Marty is at school before she gives into her burning curiosity, driving the extra miles to Castleton to wander through the aisles of a generic drug store aimlessly, only to end up in front of shelf upon shelf of pregnancy tests. Her hand shakes as she tosses several of the small, rectangular boxes into the basket she carries in the crook of her arm, and it shakes still when she hands over the wad of cash to the middle-aged store clerk to pay for her purchases. Gripping the steering wheel hard between her hands in the safety of her own car seems to be her only respite, but it is merely temporary. A long while later, after the miles have passed without her remembering leaving that parking lot, when she lets herself into the cottage, only to come face to face with Pilar, her hands begin to shake again. They shake so violently, she drops the bag in her hands, and she drops to her knees, tears burning at the back of her eyes as she scrambles to recover them, those damned boxes, scattered all over the floor.

“Mi hija,” Pilar joins her on the floor, muttering her apologies in soft Spanish under her breath, her hands working diligently to help Sheridan while her eyes search her pale face. “You were not answering your phone. Marty forgot his permission slip for the museum, and today was the last day…” she trails off when she realizes Sheridan is not listening to her, that her attention is focused elsewhere. Only then does she shift her own eyes to the small box she is holding in her hands. She can’t contain the gasp that escapes her mouth, and her questions lodge like accusations in her throat, slowly cutting off her supply of oxygen until she feels faint.

The tears that have been pooling in Sheridan’s eyes finally breach their dam with Pilar’s reaction, and the sob that has been rising in the back of her own throat since that very morning when the impossible turned into a dreaded suspicion is let loose.

Taking Sheridan’s trembling hands between her own, Pilar is surprised to find her own face wet with tears. “Oh, mi hija,” she murmurs into soft golden hair when her arms wind their way around Sheridan in a mother’s embrace. “Oh, mi hija,” she cries, Marty and the museum forgotten as the minutes meander and the world seems to slow down to that one moment.



~*~



I’m not the one you’ll sweep off her feet

Lead her up the stairwell

This ain’t Hollywood, this is a small town



~*~




For weeks no one knows her secret except Pilar.

But Harmony is a small town, and much as she’d like to hide herself away from its prying eyes, the simple distinction of being Marty’s mother (and a Crane, at that) guarantees she won’t succeed with that pipe dream. Drawn helplessly into the fold by the responsibilities and relationships attached to that role, she soon realizes the futility of running away from the truth. In fact, it’s almost a relief when someone else stumbles across it.

If only that someone else weren’t Fancy.

The fragile skin beneath Fancy’s blue eyes looks bruised, and her slender frame is almost painfully thin, but it is the pale finger that still wears Luis’s ring that captures Sheridan’s attention. “Sorry, I wasn’t looking where I was…Aunt Sheridan,” Fancy finally looks up.

Sheridan closes her eyes. Months Fancy hasn’t called her that, long months where she lived Sheridan’s dream with the man that had always dominated in the starring role. “Fancy,” she acknowledges, inwardly wincing at the grief she sees lurking in the younger woman’s pale irises. “How are you…Marty says…”

“I’m fine,” Fancy interrupts her with a lie, her fingers clenching white around the edges of her purse. “My doctor says I’m fine,” she bites out, when Sheridan fails to hide her disbelief. She sets her purse on the edge of the sink and opens it to withdraw her compact as Sheridan watches, and the bathroom door opens and closes, leaving them alone in the crowded space, a muffled female voice outside paging a physician.

Physically, Sheridan mentally adds, watching Fancy apply makeup to her pretty face in an attempt to hide her dark circles. She swallows down the nausea that led her to duck in here in the first place and wonders should she attribute it to morning sickness or guilt as she regards her own naked hands. Her head jerks up when she realizes Fancy is speaking again, and the bile bubbling at the back of her throat has her reaching for the saltines stashed inside her own purse before she remembers where she’s at and who she’s standing next to. “I’m sorry?” is all she manages with Fancy looking at her askance.

“Marty left his soccer jersey at the house,” Fancy informs her, snapping her compact shut and placing it back in her purse. “You still seeing that guy, the one that helps coach that Marty likes so much, John?”

“Josh,” Sheridan automatically corrects, her voice heavy with regret as she remembers their last encounter and the dimming of the bright smile he’d always worn in his attempts to sweep her off her feet until he’d realized nothing more than a white horse would do. She shakes her head and wonders aloud. “Why?”

“Marty hasn’t mentioned him in a while,” Fancy answers. “And I haven’t been out much, not since…you know what,” she cuts herself off. “It isn’t any of my business.”

“No,” Sheridan swallows, wills the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach to go away, as the thought runs, unabated, through her mind. It isn’t, only it is. Luis made Josh your business. Just like he made him his. “Things just didn’t work out.”

“Too bad,” Fancy responds, and she actually sounds sorry.

“Yeah,” Sheridan agrees in a tight whisper. “Too bad.” Tucking her purse beneath her arm, she finds she can’t meet Fancy’s eyes any longer (if she had, she’d notice her niece was suffering from the same difficulty), and really, there’s not much time before she has to be at the school to pick Marty up and take him on their own adventure to the museum. “Listen, Fancy…I have to…”

“Go,” Fancy says softly.

“I’m glad you’re doing okay,” Sheridan tells her, sincerely thankful. Whatever else Fancy is to her, she’ll always be family. She thinks she hears Fancy murmur thank you, but she can’t be sure as she hurries away.

It isn’t until later, when she’s standing in front of a bronzed plaque extolling Harmony’s place in the history books beside her eager young son, that she remembers the forgotten prenatal vitamins and her stomach knots with worry.

They leave the museum early.

Marty’s small hand holds hers the entire trip home.




~*~



I was a dreamer before you went and let me down



~*~



He doesn’t come to her right away.

Not that she expects him to. Expectations like that would be unrealistic.

He isn’t the same man she fell in love with, and she knows she’s changed too. He loves Fancy now, and she knows he won’t walk away from her. That morning proved that. But he’s in her blood, and she’s in his. Marty ties them together forever, and she knows this baby will too.

If she lets it.

It’s late, a few days later, when she finds him on her doorstep. Marty is with Pilar, no doubt stirring up mischief with his cousins, and she’s thankful her son isn’t around to witness how broken his parents’ relationship has really become.

They’re great pretenders, but there’s no one there to see them.

And Sheridan’s weary of false niceties. When Luis thrusts the small bottle at her by way of greeting and shoulders his way inside, she doesn’t resist him; she closes the door quietly and takes a deep, settling breath. “I thought Fancy would be the one to bring them,” she tells him. “Or Pilar.”

"It’s true,” Luis breathes out, though he doesn’t turn to face her. “They’re yours? You’re…” his words trail off as his brown eyes seek her out, and unconsciously, his hand reaches for her.

Closing her eyes to the emotion swimming in those dark eyes that still haunt her every thought, Sheridan confirms his unspoken question with a whisper. “I’m pregnant.”

“Sheridan.”

Her name rasps past Luis’s throat, and it sounds like hope and love, always and forever, but it’s a lie of the most painful sort, one well-intentioned, one believed. She feels her heart throbbing in her chest in misery at what she must do, at what’s most clear to her now, when he’s looking at her like he looked at her that night, before guilt and memory whispered Fancy and Josh seemed nothing more than a name she’d seen in a book once. She opens her mouth and tries to sell him her truth, “It’s Josh’s.”

“No,” Luis shakes his head, brown eyes bright and jaw like granite.

“It was one time,” she continues. “Before we broke up, before you and I…”

“You didn’t sleep with him.”

Luis is directly in front of her now. She can feel the heat from his body, imagine the pounding of his heart. He looks at her with tragic eyes, and she feels anger blossom in her veins even while her heart threatens to split wide because he’s the one that broke her heart, he’s the one that ruined any chance of happiness she might have with another man, a decent and caring man, the night he took her back to bed. Her blue eyes glitter with tears and deception when she speaks. “I lied.”

“You didn’t sleep with him,” Luis insists, wrapping his hands around her upper arms without thought. “You told me, you promised, you didn’t.”

Sheridan remembers that promise. Her skin was painted with his scent, and sweat beaded Luis’s brow as he moved within her, her hands clasped tightly in his against the softness of her pillow. He’d wanted promises; she’d only wanted love. In the end, it’d been too much to hope for both. Freeing one of her arms, she lifts a hand to his jaw, and cupping it, says, “I told you what you wanted to hear.” Rubbing her thumb across his lower lip, she murmurs, “You were hurt and angry. The baby was gone, and you thought Josh was going to somehow take Marty away from you. I knew what you were thinking, Luis. I knew. You thought you could take me to bed, and there wouldn’t be anymore Josh, he wouldn’t take your son away from you. I’d still be there, and in the morning, you could go back home to Fancy.”

Stilling her hand before she can remove it, Luis presses her palm to his mouth and shakes his head. When he speaks, his voice is hoarse, but he doesn’t try to deny her. “She needed me. Our baby…”

Pulling away from him, Sheridan bites her lip and swallows her own selfish feelings. What about your living, breathing son? What about me? But her words are cruel and slicing, however necessary. “He died, Luis, and I know how much you’d like a second chance. But this baby isn’t your second chance. It’s another man’s, if he wants it. And Marty and I…we’ll be just fine,” she tells him, because somehow they will. “But Fancy, your wife, she still needs you,” she says as her hand twists the doorknob and opens the door. “She’s waiting for you, right now.”

“Sheridan,” Luis resists, lingering in the doorway. “I wish…I wish things were different.”

“Go home, Luis,” Sheridan pleads, fingertips rising to massage her aching temples. “It’s been a long day,” she sighs, tears threatening to clog her throat, “and I just want to curl up and take a nap before Marty gets home.”

“I’ll call Mama,” Luis’s eyes are suspiciously red, “make sure she gives you a little extra time.”

“Luis,” she calls, when he is on the last step and he holds his keys in his palm. Me too, she wants to say, but all that escapes is a soft, “Thank you.”

“Take care of yourself.”

Then he is gone, and Sheridan wears a brittle smile as a tear slips down her cheek. By the time Marty bursts through the door, hours later, her tears have all run out. She takes his hand, takes a deep breath, and takes their lives in a whole new direction with only a few words.

Damn the white horse.



~*~




Now it’s too late for you and your white horse to come around





***Lyrics are borrowed from a Taylor Swift song, White Horse (yes, I admit it…I like a few of her songs). No infringement intended to her, her co-writers, or anyone else who has rights to the song. I’m not making any profit from this story nor do I intend to (ha). Just wanted to share the source of my inspiration for this story. And, it goes without saying, that I don’t own Passions or any characters recognized therein.***




Mistakes are all mine.

Feedback is loved and lapped up. ;) Seems to be the only inspiration I get these days.

UAgirl
1.31.10, 10:13 PM
Just a little something I wrote a while ago and saved under Passions Alphabet Ficlets (which OKDeanna already did much, much better than me).

Since I'm still not where I want to be with the latest chapter of Believe, I thought I'd post this short little ficlet.

It's a stand alone (for now). Future alphabet ficlets might pick up the storyline and further it, but as of yet, there's no strict outline I'm following, no particular pairing I'm planning to devote these ficlets to.

Expect any and everybody. ;)

I'm open to title suggestions/prompts so post away.

More to come later.



Title: Afraid
Rating: I'm thinking G
Warnings: None
Characters/Pairings: Sheridan/Ethan friendship
Word Count: 1,102 (including title)
Summary: Harmony hardly felt like home to her, but Ethan was there





Afraid















She’d phoned Ethan from the Charles de Gaulle.

“Ethan. Ethan, if you’re there, please pick up.”

The connection, continents apart, wasn’t the best, and her time was limited, so she settled for speaking to a machine. “Ethan,” she sighed, and the weight of her troubles seemed to hit her all at once. “I’m coming home.”

Details were given, the number of her flight, her arrival at Logan International, and when she pressed the disconnect button on her cell phone, she could only pray her message reached Ethan.

She was in desperate need of a friendly face.

Less than an hour later, thousands of feet in the air, she stared out the small window, her mind whirling over the past few days’ events.

Jean-Luc, it seemed, like the men before him, was only using her for his own means; the discovery of his infidelity had been the last straw.

Sheridan Crane had had enough.

She’d found herself packing, tossing the entire contents of her closets into her suitcases and making arrangements to have what didn’t fit into her luggage shipped to her later in Harmony.

Harmony.

Home.

Truthfully, Harmony hardly felt like home to her, but Ethan was there.

And that was close enough to home for her.




~*~*~*~*~*~*~





The flight had been agonizingly long.

It’d given her too much time to think.

About Jean-Luc.

And Mimi.

Julian and Ivy.

Loveless marriages.

Ethan, and the comfort she knew just seeing him would bring.

And how she really, really hated the taste of ginger-ale.

Clutching the small carry-on bag she’d departed the plane with, Sheridan searched the crowded airport for the one face that would convince her that maybe she hadn’t been too hasty, that she’d done the right thing leaving Jean-Luc in the dust, that she’d finally screwed her head on straight and gotten some sense about her. Tired and uncertain and feeling just a little bit dizzy what with all the hubbub and activity whirling around her, she lifted a shaky hand to her mouth and by sheer force of will alone kept the tears that sprung unbidden to her blue eyes at bay as she sought Ethan’s welcome figure. She was rethinking the rashness of her actions for the millionth time when a familiar voice put to rest her doubts, at least for the time being.

“Aunt Sheridan? I’m sorry I’m late. I didn’t get your message until…”

Ethan’s gentle, tentative grip on her elbow and the apologetic note in his voice had her collapsing into his arms in relief, and the tears spilled free of their own accord.

Bewildered, Ethan just wrapped his arms more tightly around her and motioned over her shoulder for the chauffeur to retrieve her bags.





~*~*~*~*~*~




Exhaustion won out, and she slept for much of the remainder of the trip home. When she awakened again, the Mansion loomed imposingly before her, and she sucked in a startled breath at the bits and pieces of memories that came flooding back with that first sighting, most of them decidedly not warm and fuzzy.


“Impressive, isn’t it?” Ethan looked at her with a smile in his eyes. Fishing her compact out of her purse for her, he offered it to her with a cheeky grin. “Here. You might need this.”

Scowling at him, she snatched the compact from his hand and opened it, giving her disheveled blond hair a few half-hearted pats before deciding it was more trouble than it was worth and tossing the compact back into the bottom of her purse. “Not a word,” she said warningly when Ethan continued to grin at her. “Not one word.”

Ethan held up his hands protectively.

“Let’s get this over with.”



~*~*~*~*~*~*~






Following Sheridan’s escape from her father’s hurtful words, his father’s cool indifference, and his mother’s distant compassion, Ethan let himself into the cottage, a forced smile on his face. “That went well.”

One look from Sheridan had him changing his tune.

“It could have been worse.” He came up behind her, settling his hands upon her shoulders and giving them a comforting squeeze. “I’m glad you’re home.”

“You’re the only one,” Sheridan sighed, accepting his kiss to her cheek and allowing him to lead her to the sofa. Lowering herself to its cushions, she kicked off her heels and tucked her aching feet beneath her, curling into Ethan’s side and resting her weary blond head upon his shoulder. “Maybe I was wrong to come back,” she murmured. “Ethan, I don’t know what I’m doing here.” Her fingers opened and closed over the small, rectangular box she hadn’t had the courage to open yet, and when Ethan held his hand out, she deposited it into his waiting palm.

Turning the box over in his hand, Ethan read the instructions, a furrow of concentration forming between his brows. “It sounds simple enough.”

“Almost too simple,” she agreed softly. Somehow, she thought such life-changing news should be more complicated to discover, not this simple, and yet, it was the hardest thing she’d been faced with so far. Leaving Paris and Jean-Luc had been easy. Facing up to her future was proving to be more intimidating than she’d counted on. It didn’t make a difference that she already suspected the truth; she didn’t feel ready to know it as irrefutable fact. “What am I going to do, Ethan? I’m not equipped for this. It’s hardly fair…” she trailed off, quieting when his hand slid into her own. With a self-depreciating laugh, she folded her fingers over the box he offered back to her and whispered, “My life’s a mess right now.”

Ethan quirked an eyebrow at her, coaxing a hard-fought smile from her lips with his rebuttal. “Why not make it a complete mess?”

Standing on shaky legs, Sheridan looked down at him with tears in her eyes. “Ethan, I’m…”

Like he had so many times over the years of their shared childhood, Ethan read her unspoken thought, and he was on his feet, his arms wrapped around her before the first tears could fall, his mouth brushing against her forehead as he said, “I know.” Pulling back to smile at her, he teased, “You think you’re scared. Think about me, the rest of us. I don’t think the world is prepared for a mini-Sheridan. You are not teaching her to drive.”

Laughing through her tears, Sheridan conceded his point, “I suppose I’ll leave that to her uncle Ethan.”

“Uncle Ethan,” Ethan repeated, watching her disappear, knowing that once she returned to him, her life, one way or the other, would be irrevocably changed. “I like the sound of that.”







Thanks for reading!!!
Looking foward to reading your suggestions/prompts for the letter B!

iLoveET
7.18.10, 8:00 PM
Pretty Things is such a good short story. *Sigh*
I was just rereading things, and wanted to tell you I love it.

Have a good one!

UAgirl
8.9.10, 1:17 AM
Title: Then the Morning Comes (prequel to White Horse)
Rating: somewhere between PG and PG-13
Warnings: some swearing, angst, sexual situations
Characters/Pairings: Sheridan/Other, Luis/Fancy, Sheridan/Luis
Word Count: 3,070
Summary: She makes the decision to move on with her life, to carefully put the pieces back together.










Then The Morning Comes




A door slams, and Sheridan knows it is them before Marty has time to burst through the door.

Only Marty doesn’t burst through the door in excitement this time. His footsteps are heavy, reluctant. His blue eyes don’t lift to Sheridan’s face as he passes her en route to his bedroom, and another door slams, this one with enough force to make the cottage’s aged walls groan in protest.

“Marty, what…” She gasps when she feels a firm hand wrap around her upper arm, stopping her from following her son. “Luis, I didn’t hear you come in.”

“I’m not surprised,” Luis answers, releasing her arm and raking his hand roughly across his face.

Tilting her head in consideration, Sheridan narrows her eyes as she takes in the edgy look of guilt that flits across his handsome features as he looks down and away from her. “Luis,” she turns more fully to face him, wrapping her arms across her middle as her blue eyes zero in on a profile she’d recognize anywhere. “Care to explain? Because I’m assuming you know a little bit about what’s going on judging from the way you can’t look me in the eyes.” Stepping closer to him, she feels her anger grow along with the dawning truth of the realization. “Look at me, Luis,” she demands, her voice now flinty with fury. “Tell me why our seven-year-old son is so upset that…”

Luis cuts her off. “Fancy’s pregnant.”

Sheridan swallows hard over the sudden, painful lump lodged in her throat and blinks away the unwelcome sting of tears long thought gone. She turns from Luis and wishes she could follow their son’s example, slamming her door on the outside world and the mocking love she still feels for the man witnessing her misery. But she knows she can’t do that. For Marty’s sake, she has to put on a brave face. But nobody said the brave face had to include a smile. “Congratulations.” The platitude cuts at her throat like broken glass and a tear slips down her cheek when she feels Luis’s hand on her shoulder.

“Sheridan.”

“Don’t you dare say you’re sorry,” she warns, bowing her head and shrinking away from his touch. “Fancy’s your wife. It’s hardly a surprise.” Except that it is, her heart cries.

“Maybe it wasn’t the best way to tell him. I told Fancy it should have come from me. I told her…”

“Wait a minute,” Sheridan whirls to face him, positively seething. “She told him?”

“She was excited,” Luis defends with a wince. “She thought Marty would be excited too, getting a new baby brother or sister.”

“It wasn’t her decision to make,” Sheridan shakes her head, blue eyes flashing angrily. The answering antagonism in Luis’s reply only makes her see red.

“Telling him or starting a family of her own? Because that is not your decision.”

“Haven’t we sunk low?” She hisses the accusation, wondering at the rapid deterioration of civility between them. “She may not see Marty as a part of her family, but he is, Luis, because he’s a part of you.”

“Come on, Sheridan,” Luis holds his hands up in supplication. “That wasn’t what I meant and you know it.”

Sheridan ignores him and continues. “And, like it or not, he’s a part of me. She stepped over the line, Luis. She had no business telling him something that should have come from his parents. You should have told me. We could have sat him down and explained the situation to him.”

“The situation?” Luis scoffs. “Are you listening to yourself? The situation? My wife and I decided we wanted to add to our family. A family that includes Marty. A family that does not include you. And let’s be honest here, because that’s what is really bothering you. I think you need to take a good, hard look at who’s more upset here. You or Marty?”

Sheridan is unable to hide her flinch when the bullet ably sinks into its target, and she feels its rough edges splintering on their way to her heart. She bites down hard on her lower lip and wills her voice to return to her, clear and strong. “Get out,” she manages to order, and she doesn’t wait for him to act. She’s already on the way to her son.

“Sheridan,” Luis sighs. “Look…I’m sorry. That was uncalled for.”

She stops in her tracks but doesn’t turn around, and her voice is steely though she has doubts about her own backbone, because she can feel the fine tremors traveling all over her body. “Damn right it was uncalled for,” she acknowledges without absolving him of any of his audible guilt. “Now get out of my house.”

Luis leaves, but not without a parting promise. “Marty will come around.”

Later, holding her son as he cries himself to sleep in her arms, Sheridan prays he is right.


~*~



Things are awkward, understandably so, over the next several months.

Marty still isn’t completely sold on the idea of a little brother or sister sharing the father he still sees far too little of for his liking, but the thought has gradually ceased to cause him heartbroken tears. Now, he utters endless, curious questions.

Sheridan’s personal favorite sounds something like this:

“Mom, how can the baby be my brother or sister and my cousin?”

She gives up trying to explain the logistics of that one when he ends up shooting an arrow straight through her heart with an innocently spoken query.

“Were you not a good aunt, Mom? Is that why Fancy married Daddy when we loved him first?”

How can she explain something she still doesn’t understand herself? She directs him to Luis for the tough questions; she figures it’s the least he can do, explaining the tangled roots of their family tree.

Luis doesn’t pick Marty up himself anymore. Instead he sends Pilar.

While the very fact that it has come down to this hurts, Sheridan finds herself thankful for the chance to re-connect with a woman she will always count as the mother denied her in her youth.

It takes time, but each woman eventually finds her footing.

It is Pilar that gently breaks the news to her that the baby Fancy is carrying is another boy, and it is Pilar that reassures her that the hurt she feels at the news isn’t selfish but is all-too normal. “Shh, mi hija,” she soothes while Marty stands still and quiet in the kitchen corner. “Shh.”

Sheridan feels tears choke her when her son’s little arms wind around her waist, and for the longest time, there is no talking. She’s thankful when Pilar leaves them both with kisses to the tops of their heads and promises to talk with Luis about rescheduling the week’s time.

They watch movies and play video games that entire weekend, eating pizza and treating themselves to ice cream whenever they feel like it.

Later, whenever she thinks back on it, Sheridan can’t help but smile as she wonders just who was cheering up whom.

~*~



She makes the decision to move on with her life, to carefully put the pieces back together.

It isn’t the hardest thing she has ever done—she has, after all, survived growing up a Crane—but it isn’t the easiest either, and when Josh asks her out the first time she doesn’t say yes.

As it turns out, her mouth plainly refuses to say the word no, and it seems, that is all the encouragement that Josh needs, and Josh, as she soon comes to discover, is a very persistent, utterly charming man.

His courtship of her is insistent but chivalrous.

He brightens her days with flowers, makes her son laugh, and there’s a certain comfort in the knowledge that he knows her first and foremost as Marty’s mother, not one half of two star-crossed lovers that were never really meant to be.

The history between them consists only of hyper, sweaty little boys exhausting their boundless energy on miles of unending green, band-aids and scuffed knees, lime Gatorade and pizza celebrations. There is no elusive drug cartel, no bodyguards, no undercover operations or Christmas miracles that maybe weren’t so miraculous after all.

If being with Luis had been like rushing over a cliff-side waterfall, full of adrenaline and without a life jacket, being with Josh, she soon discovers, is more like drifting down a warm, lazy river, her toes dipping into the water from the safety of an inner tube.

It’s a welcome change, or so Sheridan tells herself.

She lies.

Josh’s eyes are blue and his smile is easy, not hard fought. His kisses (always polite, never stolen in the unbearable heat of the moment) don’t make her heart race. His hand, when it coolly slides into her own, doesn’t burn her with its touch. And when they dance, he’s always a step behind.

But he loves Marty, and she’s pretty sure her son loves him back.

Luis is busy with work and Fancy and planning for the baby. Sure, he steals whatever moments he can to spend with their impressionable young son, but too often, the reality of his new life, his new family, intrudes.

Josh, on the other hand, devotes every moment not spent wooing her not on winning her son’s affections exactly, because he already has them, but on making sure Marty knows his importance in Josh’s life, knows he cares, maybe more than he really should, and for that, Sheridan wants to love him, maybe just a little.

It’s enough, she thinks, for her simply to be content and Marty to have the acceptance of that kind of love.

It’s enough to make a life, enough to allow her to let Luis go, for once and for always.

It’s enough, she wills herself to believe. It’s enough, it’s enough, it’s enough.

But really…it isn’t.



~*~



Fancy loses the baby.

Luis clings fiercely to the son he has left, asking for more time with Marty, and Sheridan doesn’t bother with trivial things like who has what day and this weekend is really mine. She doesn’t have the heart to deny him the comfort of their son’s closeness. Still, there’s a part of her, a very tiny, secret part of her that feels the bitter sting (now you want him…now Marty has your full and undivided attention). For her son’s sake, she buries it, and sends him off with Pilar, his backpack full of lists and reminders, paltry written words of condolences she can’t bring herself to deliver in person. She sends him away and hides behind her own guilt.

Always there, Marty’s love for his father reawakens and strengthens, but he never lets go of the wariness in his heart (neither of them will, Sheridan knows), and his hero worship of Josh doesn’t fade. If anything, it grows, because Josh is pats on the back and fun times, and Luis is desperate hugs and sad brown eyes that never let Marty stray far from his sight. Torn between the two, Marty makes a choice.

It’s a choice Luis refuses to accept.

It’s the choice Sheridan knows she should make for herself but somehow cannot, at least until Josh makes the decision easier (harder) for her and proposes. She asks for time.

Josh gives it to her.

Sheridan doesn’t know how Luis finds out (maybe Marty? Perhaps Pilar?), but she isn’t surprised to find him on her doorstep two days later. Marty is gone, staying overnight with Jane and Little Ethan, and it’s just her, alone in the cottage with nothing but her thoughts to keep her company. She stands back to let him inside, and Luis edges past her, pushing the door shut with a forceful hand. His name is a protest on her lips. “Luis.” Shaking her head at him, she tiredly asks, “What are you doing here?”

"I’m his father,” Luis growls by answer. “Nobody can change that.”

Sheridan runs a tired hand through her hair, and she finds she can’t meet his tortured eyes. “Josh doesn’t want to take your place,” she defends. “He just wants a chance to be there. He loves Marty, Luis. Marty loves him,” she says softly, gently, aware that this is a hurtful truth Luis doesn’t particularly want to hear, but he must. Quite by accident, she’s found a good man, another one anyway, and he wants nothing more than to make them happy. She wants to be happy. She craves it. Still, she craves Luis more. “You’ve given all your chances away, Luis.”

Something within Luis’s dark eyes shifts, and he closes in on Sheridan, trapping her against the door. He touches her face and he demands to know, “What about you? My own son loves this man more than he loves me. What about you?”

Sheridan can feel herself trembling within from his nearness, and she fights him as he turns her face toward him, seeking out her eyes.

“Do you love him? More than you love me?”

She can lie about a lot things but she can’t lie about loving him. “No,” she whispers.

“No, you don’t love him, or no, you don’t love him more than me?"

There’s an edge of desperation to Luis’s voice that draws Sheridan’s eyes helplessly to his own. What she sees there has her drawing in a sharp breath and finding his face with her own hand. She blinks back the sting of tears as she seals her own fate with a single tortured word. “Both.”

Luis’s handsome face crumples briefly in relief and he reaches up to capture her tears with the pads of his thumbs. “Sheridan,” he groans, softly dropping his head against the door and sliding one hand down to rest at the nape of her neck.

Sheridan grips his shoulder like a lifeline as he draws back, his eyes glittering darkly, his beautiful mouth parted as he stares into her eyes. Her other hand is shaking as it combs through his black hair, and she finally speaks the truth they both know. “Only you, Luis. Only you.”

~*~


"Tell me you didn’t sleep with him,” Luis pleads with her, his palms pressed flat against the door, his forehead nestled against hers. “Tell me,” he husks out, his mouth brushing against hers as he speaks.

Sheridan moves her hands restlessly across the expanse of Luis’s broad shoulders, the hard planes of his chest and abdomen, the dips and valleys of his spine through the soft cotton of his black tee-shirt. “I didn’t sleep with him,” she promises. “I didn’t,” she murmurs into his mouth. She cries out when the gentle sweetness of the kiss morphs into something harder, more dark, more brutal, and her nails clench in the supple flesh of Luis’s shoulders as he lifts her in his arms, pressing her body firmly against the door.

Luis breaks the kiss, his hands finding their way underneath her shirt and to her sides. “Promise me,” he grits out, his hot breath against her ear making her shiver.

Sheridan wraps her arms around his neck, presses her lips to the juncture of his neck and shoulder, and repeats the oath. “I promise.” She repeats the pledge over and over again as she kisses him, his neck, his shoulder, his face. She repeats it until Luis’s mouth finds her own, and there is no more talking.

In the darkness of her bedroom, Luis takes his time undressing her. No patch of skin goes untouched, un-kissed as he rediscovers the wonders of her body. He holds her close when she is weak with passion, soothes her as more promises spill from her lips.

Luis makes love to her without saying the words, filling her body but denying her soul, and realization dawns long before the new day breaks over the horizon for Sheridan.

This is goodbye.

She clasps her sheet to her chest as she watches him dress. She curses the tears in her eyes and calls out his name. She swears Luis has tears in his own eyes when he turns to face her, but a blink of her own to clear her cloudy vision, and they disappear.

“Sheridan,” Luis breathes.

I’m sorry is poised on his lips, but she doesn’t let him say it. She doesn’t think she could bear it.

“She needs me.”

“I know,” Sheridan nods tearfully. “You need to be needed.”

Luis frowns, grows defensive, lashes out. His anger deflates quickly in the face of her sad acceptance.

“She just lost a baby. She can’t lose you too.” Sheridan covers her face with her hands. “Go, Luis. Just go,” she sobs out when she feels his hand slide across her back, his arms draw her close. She clutches fistfuls of cotton in her hands as she cries, his steady heartbeat beneath her ear mocking her own breaking heart.

“It’s not the right time,” Luis tells her, regret in his voice. “Maybe it’s come and already passed. I don’t know. All I do know is right now Fancy needs me, more than you need me, more than I need you.” Dropping a kiss to the top of her head, he appeals to her. “Don’t make me choose.”

Finally gathering the strength to push him away, Sheridan knuckles away her tears, unable to look up at him. Shakily, she says, “Marty will be here soon. He can’t find you here, not like this.”

Luis agrees. Gruffly, he announces, “I’ll see myself out. Tell Marty I love him?”

“I will,” Sheridan vows. She watches him move toward the door out of the corner of her eyes. Before he steps over the threshold, she stops him with her words. “I’m sorry. About the baby,” she elaborates. “I never wanted…” she trails off.

“I know,” Luis needs no further words. “I’ll have Mama pick up Marty. From now on.”

Sheridan nods. “I think that’s for the best.”

Still, Luis lingers. “We’ll work out a schedule.”

“Go,” Sheridan softly implores him. “Don’t keep Fancy waiting.”

“I don’t…” Luis hedges.

“Luis,” Sheridan cuts him off wearily. “It’ll be okay.”

Neither of them believes the lie, but they’re nothing if not great pretenders.

Sheridan listens until his heavy footsteps fade away into nothingness, and then she fumbles for her discarded phone, her fingers punching out the number by heart.

Josh answers, with a smile in his voice.













Thanks so much for reading!!!

Mistakes are mine.

Hope you enjoyed. ;)

Feedback, as always, would be much adored. Not necessary. But adored, lol.

Kenwood
8.22.10, 4:59 AM
:wow:Great story! I really enjoy your writing. Have you considered doing a sequel to White Horse? I would love to see this story play out some more (other than in my imagination :winkq: - lol).
Thank you for all of your stories. I am reading and enjoying them all!

UAgirl
8.31.10, 12:43 PM
Well, wow right back at ya, Kenwood. :D

Thank you so much for your kind words, and to answer your question (re: sequel to White Horse), yes!

I've definitely considered a sequel to that story, lol. My overactive imagination is to blame for its very existence. I mean, seriously, I was writing a Theresa(Ethan)-centered short story, and my crazy brain spun off a whole back-story for Sheridan and Luis, who each only had very brief cameos in that story (Pretty Things).

There will definitely be more to come in that saga. I have to explain how they ended up together, don't I? It seems pretty impossible in these last two stories, but it happens. :) Sophie proves that.

Thanks so much for your feedback. You can't see me, but I'm wearing this huge grin. You and Lynne and Bree, Pam, the others have basically made my day. I'm so glad you're enjoying my stories.

Keep checking my updates thread. I try to post there whenever I add new stories/chapters.

Hopefully I'll have something new for you soon.

Shae

UAgirl
9.19.10, 10:57 PM
Title: And So It Goes (sequel to White Horse)
Rating: PG, but only because there are allusions to a previous relationship between two people not married to each other (could that be worded any more awkwardly, lol)
Warnings: angst; otherwise, see above
Characters/Pairings: Sheridan/Luis, Sheridan/other friendship, Luis/Fancy, background Theresa/Ethan, Pilar, mentions of Fox and Julian, Little Ethan, and Jane
Word Count: 2,779
Summary: For a brief time, they leave Harmony, she and Marty.





And So It Goes




For a brief time, they leave Harmony, she and Marty.

They visit some of her favorite old European haunts.

Marty loves the Parisian markets, the museums filled with culture and beauty, the churches that are older than anything he has ever imagined before. He always grips the edges of the gondolas in anticipation of a new adventure each time they float through the city of Venice, and he frequently wears the melted evidence of her weakness as a disciplinarian (although the gelato is as much a treat for her as it is for him) as they tour the Italian countryside. He reads to the baby just starting to thicken her middle beneath the glorious Costa Marbella sunsets, his strong, clear voice at once childish and mature beyond its years, impish as it teases and filled with the weight of responsibility (he’s the man of the house, after all), the arrow through her heart that reminds her everyday of one thing: their star might have burnt out all-too-quickly, but the beauty, the brilliance of hers and Luis’s coming together will live on, in their son, in both of their children.

Sheridan holds that knowledge close to her heart, seeks comfort in its truth, but the dawning of each morning is painful in its unforgiving lack of sentiment, and her pillow is dampened with tears.



~*~



Eventually, the novelty of a new adventure each day starts to wear off, and Sheridan can no longer deny what has been staring her in the face for the last several weeks: despite the postcards to and from his cousins, the frequent phone calls from his father, the late-night bedtime stories traveling across an ocean via the magic of internet and the web-cam equipped laptop Sheridan had gifted Pilar with before their departure, Marty misses Harmony (she does too).

It doesn’t take long to pack up their things, leave behind the nomadic lifestyle they’d adopted when Sheridan had retreated to the other side of the world to lick her wounds and set her head on straight.

In fact, it takes longer going through customs in Boston, but it’s a welcome delay.

Her head may be on straight and her backbone unbending under her convictions, but her heart has betrayed her before, and Sheridan can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief when she sees Ethan’s dark blond head bobbing along the sea of weary travelers, can’t help but sag into his hug when he coasts to their sides (Marty tucked sleepily beneath her arm) and takes her carry-on from her shoulder.

“Aunt Sheridan,” he breathes into her temple, before holding her at arms’ length and taking her in, from the blonde hair that has grown to curl around her jaw to the unmistakable swell of her belly. He briefly meets her eyes with his own, then pulls her back into a soul-crushing hug, a hug she hadn’t realized she’d needed until she finds her nose buried into the collar of his soft shirt. They both pretend she isn’t crying when he squeezes her tight and reaches down to ruffle Marty’s hair, and she loves him all the more for it. “Hey buddy,” he greets his quasi-cousin with a fond smile. “Good to see you.”

At her (stubborn) insistence, Sheridan tiredly pulls the smallest of their bags behind her while Ethan walks ahead of her, Marty’s arms loosely draped across his shoulders (he’s too big to be carried really, but, after hours upon hours of traveling, he’s dead on his feet, much like she is, and she doesn’t have the heart to reprimand him for taking advantage of Ethan’s natural generosity). It feels good to have someone fuss over them, and she allows Ethan to settle them inside his car before he goes back to retrieve the rest of their luggage without much complaint, a fact she knows Ethan wants to tease her about because that’s not her, but he doesn’t because his concern far outweighs any amusement he might feel, and she feels her eyelids start to drift well before he has even disappeared from her view.

They cross the state line into Maine before Sheridan stirs again, barely surfaces enough to hear Ethan exchanging soft love words and whispered worry to Theresa through the cell phone tucked between his ear and his shoulder. Feeling his eyes on her, she doesn’t have to feign sleep long before it drags her back under again, into its comforting cocoon.

She dreams Luis is there, at the cottage, when their journey home finally ends, and he carries her inside in his strong arms and tucks her into the warmth of the bed where they forged a bond unbreaking, but it is only that, only a dream, a very powerful dream.

She wakes the next morning to find herself alone, Marty tucked and snuggled into his own bed, and she worries if she has made the right decision—coming home—if mere dreams have such lasting, devastating effects.

His scent haunts her senses as she pulls the sash of her robe tight around her, and confronts her new life.



~*~




Time continues to pass, the seasons change in a cascade of falling burnt orange, red, and earthy brown leaves. Wickedly winking jack-o-lanterns disappear from family porches to be replaced with more civilized pumpkins and Thanksgiving decorations, and Marty’s Zorro costume is tucked away somewhere with the costumes that preceded it (the ones Sheridan outfitted him with, not Beth) in favor of the soft suede material draped over Marty’s skinny shoulders and brightly colored feather that proudly juts from the woven headband he keeps admiring in the mirror.

“Marty,” Sheridan admonishes as her son twists and squirms, generally refusing to stay still. His moccasin-clad feet dangle in front of him from his sink-side perch, and her rounded belly is pressed between them. “Be still,” she raises an eyebrow at him as she carefully paints his face (he’d wanted war paint; in the end, they’d compromised).

Reluctantly, Marty complies, but his chatter doesn’t cease. His eyes are bright with happiness as he raves over the play that will take place in just a few short hours, and he presses his palms to the baby within her womb that seems to share her brother’s enthusiasm (in this, she is every bit Luis’s daughter, just as Marty is undeniably his son, and the thought brings a bittersweet smile to Sheridan’s lips). “I’m so glad I’m an Indian this year instead of a boring Pilgrim.”

“Marty,” Sheridan scolds through her laughter. Her son simply shrugs, his grin open and infectious, and she is forced to concede the Indian costume is much cooler. That isn’t to say she doesn’t think Jane looks darling in her skirts and petticoat and big (Theresa) smile when Pilar arrives to pick up Marty less than an hour later, Little Ethan waiting patiently in the car.

The children tease each other with affectionate familiarity while Pilar mothers Sheridan and pleads with her to come with them, making promises she cannot possibly keep. Finally, she presses a kiss to Sheridan’s forehead, passes her fingertips briefly over her distended abdomen, and says her goodbyes.

Marty has just made his grand entrance on stage when Sheridan quietly slips into a seat in the back row.

She leaves before the harsh lights and Luis’s searching dark eyes have time to find her.



~*~



Marty spends Thanksgiving with Fancy and Luis, his cousins, and his grandmother while Sheridan whiles away the day in the Mansion with Julian and Fox.

It’s a pitiful little affair, each of them bearing their own heartbreaks, but it’s a trade-off she’ll gladly make to have her son with her for Christmas. Still, she can’t help but feel relieved when one of them (she’s not sure which) makes a flimsy excuse about some unexpected, important business with Crane Industries. With a piece of pumpkin pie cradled protectively in her hands, she tucks her chin to her chest and walks herself home.

The air is cold and crisp, Winter lying in wait just around the winding corner. Just a few leaves cling stubbornly to the near-naked trees, and the cottage light beckons with its warm glow.

It isn’t until Sheridan draws closer that she notices the car parked in the driveway, and she feels her heart do a disbelieving somersault within her chest.

Josh wipes his hands roughly on the legs of his jeans and stands up. He offers her a tentative smile as he takes the plate from her hands so that she can rescue her keys from her purse, “Hi.”

Sheridan hasn’t seen him in months, not since she told him the truth, simple and unvarnished, and broke his heart in her efforts to let him down gently, and she can’t hide her own surprise when she answers him, in a voice equally as soft as his, “Hi.” She sees nothing but gentle kindness in his blue eyes, no ghosts of pain or anger, no righteous indignation, and she shakes her head slightly at him as she wonders what has brought him here, back to her doorstep. Her mouth opens on a question that’s left unspoken, because she realizes he’s speaking, and the least she owes him is her undivided attention.

“I’ve missed you and Marty, and I know, maybe it’s not meant for me to be a father to that little boy when he already has one or a husband to you when your heart belongs to someone else, but I could be your friend,” Josh pauses to rub his hand over his face. “We could be friends.”

He’s looking at her expectantly, and Sheridan feels like she’s been given a gift, her heart warm with affection for this man, this good man, and she can’t help but wonder what if, what if I’d let myself love him, not Luis? Her throat feels tight, Josh’s dear face swims before her teary blue eyes, and her daughter starts up an impassioned tap dance on her bladder, but she smiles and he smiles back at her. “I think I’d like that.”

Josh follows her inside the cottage.

They share the pie and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown until Sheridan falls asleep.

Josh covers her with a blanket, kisses her forehead with regret, and lets himself out.



~*~



Marty goes caroling with Theresa, Ethan, and the kids on Christmas Eve, and Sheridan uses the opportunity she’s given to put the finishing touches on the rest of his presents.

She’s sitting in front of the Christmas tree, under the glow of rainbow twinkle lights, surrounded by mountains of cheerful holiday-themed wrapping paper and too-many presents when there’s a knock at the door. Thinking it’s Josh (he and his friendship have been heaven-sent this last month), she calls, “Come on in. It’s open.” She returns to the task at hand, placing one protective hand on her abdomen and stretching the other one out toward the Clue board game. She groans at the difficulties her little one has presented her with more and more in the last few weeks and pants softly in her struggle until a hand reaches out in assistance, and she mutters her thanks before it occurs to her: the fingers are too long, the skin too dark, the touch electric instead of comforting. She blinks in the face of Luis’s unrelenting stare, finally finds her voice when the silence stretches past the point of comfort, “Luis, I thought…what are you doing here?”

Luis drags his dark eyes away from her swollen belly, meets her questioning blue eyes, and glances away, apologies on his lips.

Sheridan draws in a sharp breath at the stark pain she sees in his dark eyes (blink and it’s gone), and the gray that peppers his temples, and looks for the man she loved(loves) inside the shell of the man standing before her. She looks but can’t find him. If he’s there at all, he’s well-hidden, behind fortress and key, and she’s too tired lately, of the struggle of ordinary days, to look any further. She drops her gaze, and for the first time, notices the shiny red bicycle he’s propped just inside the door. “Luis,” she breathes out. “It’s beautiful.”

His eyes are deep and dark and they reflect the pink and blue and green of the twinkle lights back at her. “Do you think Marty will like it?”

There he is, Sheridan thinks, with a lump forming in her throat and her heart beginning to thrum erratically beneath her ribcage. She soothes the baby kicking restlessly against her taut belly with gentle hands, and manages, “I think he’ll love it.”

“You don’t think it’s too girly?” Luis asks, unsure.

The lump in her throat dissolves with her laugh, and Sheridan shakes her head at him as he eases himself to the floor across from her. “Pink would be girly. There’s nothing wrong with red. Marty likes red.”

Luis chuckles at himself, at her, and raises an eyebrow at the board game now just beyond his reach. “Clue?”

As if letting him in on a safeguarded secret, Sheridan simply says by way of explanation, “I think we got ourselves a future detective on our hands.” His soft, proud smile clenches at her heart, and she’s at a loss, words temporarily leaving her as she looks down at her hands resting on her belly, their daughter. She looks up again when he speaks.

“So. A girl, huh?” Luis’s dark eyes peruse the presents scattered around the room, and he turns back to face her, makes an offhand comment that inexplicably steals her breath. “Hardly seems fair for big brother to get all the presents, no pink anywhere.”

She doesn’t tell him the truth, doesn’t admit the fears that wake her up in the night, the fears that keep her from filling the nursery with pink and making it a little girl’s dream. Josh thinks she’s silly, but Sheridan can’t help but fear Fancy’s reality will somehow bridge her guilty nightmares and steal this baby she wants so badly from her womb. She doesn’t tell him that haunting truth, but she does tell him another one. “Her big debut’s still a couple of months away. Somehow, I think she’ll be okay. I think she’d appreciate it more next Christmas anyway.”

“Still,” Luis pushes himself up, drifts over the bicycle where he reaches inside the small basket on its front. “It technically is her first Christmas.” He crosses back to Sheridan, crouches down in front of her. “And I think,” he stretches out an unsteady arm to her, “she should have a present. Her first Christmas present.”

Tears fill Sheridan’s eyes as she takes the gift from him, a tiny, impossibly soft stuffed lamb wearing a pink ribbon around its neck. On impulse, she grabs his hand, clasps it tightly within her own when he moves to pull it away, and places it low on her belly. “Hear that, Sweetheart? You’ve got a present, a present from your…” she falters, the word daddy lodging cruelly in her throat, and her daughter chooses that moment to kick against their hands, and her wet eyes fly up to look into Luis’s much-loved face. Her tears spring free when he carefully pulls his hand from hers, moves it from her abdomen, and sinks back on his heels.

“Uncle Luis,” he rasps, the pain in his eyes naked and there for her and the entire world to see. “Sheridan, I…” he trails off when another voice interrupts, Josh’s voice.

“Sheridan, I’m sorry I’m so late. Oh. I’m sorry,” Josh apologizes, his feet stalling in their descent of the steps as soon as he spots Luis. He catches of a glimpse of the tears slipping down Sheridan’s face in the reflection of the Christmas lights and takes a few cautious, worried steps forward. “Sheridan? Is everything okay?”

No, Sheridan wants to cry, but the word swells inside her tight throat and will not escape.

Luis doesn’t give her any further opportunity to reply, straightening and answering Josh himself. Without taking his eyes off of Sheridan, he murmurs, “It will be. Take care of yourself, okay?”

Sheridan nods wordlessly.

Luis pauses in front of Josh on his way out, and sizes him up with one hand on the bicycle’s handle bar. “She’s terrible at wrapping presents, always has been.” He gives Sheridan one last tender smile then considers Josh again.

Josh, for his part, doesn’t even flinch.

Luis nods his approval and lingers at the door only briefly before taking his leave and going home to his wife, home to Fancy. “I think you better give her a hand.”





Feedback is much loved and appreciated!

A special thanks to Kenwood for inspiring me to kick my butt into gear and get this story written.

I hope you enjoyed it. :D

Thanks for reading!!!