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View Full Version : The Truth Shall Set Us Free --- (E/T, et al)



iLoveET
7.13.07, 9:33 PM
So this will be my first fanfic. From my name, you can tell who I root for day in, day out.

I started writing this yesterday (7/12) on paper, and when I was watching today's show (7/13) I noticed Ethan said a line very similar to what I wrote!!

Comments and suggestions are appreciated.
Thanks everyone -- here goes!! :blush2ey:

iLoveET
7.13.07, 9:52 PM
Ch. 1

Gwen and Rebecca had finally found JT's memory stick. They had full knowledge about everyone in Harmonys secrets, including their own.

"Mother I can't believe this. This is just what we need to destroy Theresa," exclaimed Gwen. "After all these years how could Theresa hide something like this from him."

"Especially when we all know how he felt about Ivy hiding his own parentage," squealed Rebecca, tapping her fingernails together as if plotting their next evil move. "So, what else is on there what did my sweet JT say about moi?"

"Mother please, you can read that by yourself, there are some things I just don't want to know!"

***

"Theresa, I am tired of asking you what your secret is," bemoaned Ethan. "I just don't know what you think could be so horrible that could tear us apart. Don't you know that by now? No matter what gets in our way, we find our way back to each other. You are the big believer in Fate, right? What does your Fate tell you to do?" He turned around, leaning up against the pillars along the pier.

The fading sunset reflecting off the water and onto Ethan made him look younger again, back when there were no secrets, nothing but joy and anticipation in his life. Anticipation for a wedding that never happened.

Theresa walked behind Ethan and looped her arms through his and rested them on the post. "Fate tells me that one day we will all be a family; you, me, Little Ethan, and our daughter Jane."

Your Fate should have us being a family already, thought Ethan. "Why do you think I would leave you and our daughter? Legally or not we are a family Theresa. I love you. I love Jane. And you know how much I love Little Ethan." He sighed, shoulders sagging, and whispered, "I love my entire family."

***

Gwen turned the key, letting herself back into her hotel room. She noticed a manila envelope was slid under the door. Hammerstein & Mill, read the return address. So this was it, she thought. I am a free woman. I am free to give myself to another, with no more reservation.

She opened the envelope. “Decree of Divorce: Petition Granted on this 12th day of July, in the year 2007.” It was signed by Judge Reilly.

“Gwen Winthrop is no more,” she said as she walked to the balcony and slid the door open. “Be prepared for the return of Gwen Hotchkiss. Oh yes, I may not have anything more to do with Ethan or Harmony, but I will let Ethan know Theresa’s secret before I leave. She has taken him away from me how many times, now she finally gets to see how I feel. Only this time, they will both be miserable and alone.”

iLoveET
7.13.07, 11:11 PM
Ethan left the wharf and headed back to the B&B. When would Theresa be able to put complete faith and trust into our love, he wondered. He thought about the past few years of their lives. The only time they had a real life “together” was during their first engagement. All their hopes and dreams were coming true, until his mother crashed into the church, and he learned he wasn’t Julian Crane’s son, but the son of Chief of Police, Sam Bennett.

Thinking back on it now even though the day had a terrible ending, he was partly glad he finally learned the truth even though it was harsh and cruel at first. Even if Theresa had been the one with his paternity letter, he had forgiven her a long time ago for it. Because of his mother’s secret he was raised with a life of privilege, but never knew his real father.

At least I spend as much time with Little Ethan and Jane as possible each day, he thought to himself. Once this blackmailer was out of their lives, he could finally marry Theresa and move her and the kids into a home of their own, out of the Crane Mansion and out of it’s ominous influence.

***

She had to come up with a plan to keep the blackmailer off her case, and convince him to let Luis go from jail. After all the blackmailer had confessed to Ethan that he was behind all of the horrid crimes but no one had any evidence to end his terror. His latest demand would bring her brother one step closer to being free. He wanted her to get pregnant with Jared’s baby. Immediately.

“I can’t have Jared’s baby. Ethan is the only man I’ve ever loved. How could I do that to him? It’s bad enough he thinks Little Ethan is Julian’s, but I can’t have another man’s child,” she said, pacing around her office. Being at her office at Crane Industries helped her think, no matter what time of day it was.

She sat behind her desk, trying to come up with someway to get around the blackmailers threats, to outsmart him. Something wasn’t right in her office though. She looked around at the top of her desk then at the computer screen. There was a file open. “Harmony Secrets – JTC.” She could see several Word docs in the open folder. Rebecca. Gwen. Theresa. Ivy. The list went on. She tried double-clicking to open the Gwen file.

“Access denied. No connection? What does that mean?” She tried clicking on other files, but got the same message. “How could this be!” she cried. All of Harmony’s secrets were right in front of her, yet they weren’t.

“JTC….JT Cornell! This has to be his memory stick!” Some had it and had used it on her computer. “The USB has to be around here somewhere, and once I have it I can prove to Ethan I didn’t do any of those nasty things Gwen says I did.” She thrashed through the papers on her desk looked on the bookshelves, rifled through the drawers and file cabinets. It was no use. It wasn’t anywhere.

“Someone in Harmony has that memory stick. Someone knows everyone’s secrets. But what are they going to do with them?” That was the only thing on Theresa’s mind for the rest of the night.

***

“It appears almost everything on here is true, Mother. At least Ivy doesn’t have any more major secrets out there,” Gwen grinned sheepishly.

“And he was completely right about Chad and his delicious hunk of a lover,” giggled Rebecca.

“Should I be worried about what kind of secrets you have Mother?” questioned Gwen. She knew what her mother was capable of, but would she ever keep a secret that involved her and Father?

“Oh heavens, no. Our love life was no secret. The only thing on there that was a secret was about how you and I sent Ethan’s paternity to JT from Terrocita’s computer.”

“So what do we do with this information then? I think someone should do the honorable thing and tell Ethan about his son, don’t you agree, Mother?” she asked, laughing to herself as she hit Print on the keyboard. This morning was the fresh start that she needed. Only one last thing before she left Harmony behind her, for good.

iLoveET
4.16.08, 2:33 PM
Pacing back and forth throughout the pharmacy aisles, Theresa was trying to think of a way to trick the blackmailer.

"How can he possibly know my every move? What, does he have cameras everywhere?", she wondered, desperate to be rid of the monkey on her shoulders. Tapping her fingers against her temples, Think, she tells herself, Think. "There is camera access to almost every place in the mansion....except Alistair's office, and I hope not in the bathrooms!"

She picked up some items off the shelves and tossed them in her basket. The blackmailer can't possibly see what I'm buying, can he? she wondered, tossing in some feminine items. "He can't possibly know my cycle!"

---------

"Tess, is that you?" Rolling down the covers to the bed, Jared carefully fluffed the luxurious feather pillows, Tess's favorite. Tonight, he wanted to show his wife exactly how much he loved her. Tonight, he wanted to make a baby with his wife, to solidify their relationship, to create a tie between them that would never be broken.

"Jared? I'm coming darling, give me a few moments," she called from the adjoining bathroom suite. Theresa dug out her earlier purchases from her bag, and peeled the label off of the bottle of spermicide. Balling it up, she tossed it back into her purse. No need for anyone to find that label, especially the blackmailer!

Stepping out into the bedroom, she watched as Jared's eyes popped out of his head, and his jaw dropped to the floor. Standing there in her black satin and lace negligee and her burgundy silk robe, she knew she looked like a goddess. Now she only wished that it was Ethan in the room, not Jared.

"Tess, I can hardly put words into my mouth. You are truly breathtaking tonight." He beckoned her to him, pulling her into his arms. "What's this, what's this bottle you've got?"

"It's only the newest concoction from KY, a warming, tingling body rub that will make you hotter than ever. I can't wait for you to rub some all over me, Jared." She took the bottle, poured some in her hand, and showed him exactly where she wanted it.

"Tess, I didn't know this wild side of you existed, but I really, really like it. In fact, I love it, just like I love you," he took the bottle and followed her lead, softly pushing her back onto the bed.

I think this plan will work out just fine, Theresa thought, the blackmailer can see and hear what Jared and I are doing, he will think we are creating a baby tonight. But what he doesn't know is that this isn't KY!

"Oh Jared, you don't know how much I love you!" she moaned, pulling him up closer to her face. She wanted to make sure he heard this, and that the blackmailer heard this, too. "Jared, I, well, I want...."

"What is it Tess? Go on, you can tell me."

"Jared, I want to have your baby. Right away."

"You're serious?" he asked.

"Yes, does that make you happy? Or don't you want a baby with me?" She had to make him believe her, she had to get this night over with.

"Tess, I never thought you'd feel the same way I do. I couldn't be more happier. Let's make a baby, tonight, Tess. I'm up for it if you are," he smiled, knowing he had her right where he wanted her. No more thoughts of Ethan when she would be carrying his child at the end of the night.

-------------

Gwen folded and unfolded the piece of paper several times, trying to figure out a way to let it slip to Ethan that Little Ethan was really Ethan, Jr. There was a lot more stuff on that was on JT's memory stick, but she didn't want Ethan to see any of it. She didn't want anyone to see it.

Sure, she'd done a lot of things in the past 8 years, battling with Theresa for Ethan's love. But she wasn't proud of any of them. Oh, she thought it was great that Theresa was to blame for sending Ethan's paternity to the tabloids, but deep down, it hurt her to know how bad Ethan was hurting at that time.

"Well, what he'll never know will never hurt him. However, he does need to know this," she said as she walked into the study, looking around for Ethan.
He wasn't at his desk, but it was obvious that he had been working in there that morning, and would be returning sometime today.

She walked over to the computer and sat down in his chair.
It even smelled like him. Warm, rich cedar, but sweet, too, like brown sugar and butter blended together. He had changed his cologne preference since they'd been together, she should know. Since the day she bought him Hugo in their boarding school days for Christmas, that was all he had worn. A cool, refreshing smell. But now, this smell was all Theresa. But God help her, it was Ethan's smell.

"Get it together girl. We are here for a reason!" she chided herself. Scooting in to the desk, she looked to see what he had been working on. She scanned the screen. It was a letter. It looked like a proposal, or maybe vows?

"My dearest Theresa, I don't care that we haven't been able to be together very long during the last 8 years, but I do care for the deepest amount of love and affection we share. It is not all too often that two people can overcome such obstacles and still be as much in love as they were on Day 1. Ever since our first engagement, I have had this feeling in my heart that I wanted to share with you. And you may think I am crazy, but deep down, I think that Little Ethan may be my son. Now, I know everyone says he is like my son, but Theresa, I think he is my flesh and blood. Don't you remember that night on the beach, the night before our wedding? I wish that wedding would have happened after all. I regret that I didn't forgive you right away about my paternity outing, but I think that we would still have Little Ethan if we were married right then. What I am saying, is that I don't think he is Julian's son. I think he is mine."

"How would he know that!?! How would he even be capable of thinking that? Even Theresa thought that Little Ethan was Julian's son." Now she was really confused. Theresa was supposedly a virgin on her wedding day, wasn't she? This just might ruin her plan. She continued reading his letter.

"And I won't blame you if you didn't know he was my son, just as I wouldn't blame you if you did know he was my son. If you did know, I am sure there was a good reason. I have always been there for you, and for him, as if I was his biological father. And no matter how difficult or confusing things have been, we have always been a family, the four of us. And I want to expand our family with you, as soon as possible. My divorce came through today, my marriage to Gwen is over," she read, her chin quivering at the thought of his pleasure that their life together was over. "We are now able to finally begin our lives together -- no, we are able to continue our lives together, the way it was meant to be. My dearest Theresa, please meet me tonight at -- "

And that's where his letter ended.

iLoveET
4.18.08, 11:41 AM
Padding down the plush staircase of the mansion, Theresa looked around to find Ethan. She had to find him, to make plans that no one else would know about, to make a baby with him. It was the middle of the afternoon, and she thought she might find him in the study. Instead, she found Gwen.

"What are you doing here Gwen?" she asked softly. She could tell the other woman looked upset, like someone had struck her. "Is everything alright?"

"Oh cut out the sincere caring act Theresa. We both know that neither one of us can stand the other. I'm fine, okay?"

"I'm sorry Gwen, it's just that you look upset. I didn't mean to intrude, I was just looking for Ethan."

"Yeah, well so was I. You see, I have something very important to tell him. But since he's not here, I guess I'll be leaving then." And she rose from his chair, taking purposeful strides on her way past Theresa.

"I wonder what that was all about..." She heard the door creak, and turning around expecting to see Gwen again, she saw Ethan. "Hey, I was looking all over to find you."

"I was actually coming back to finish something for you. Now, I know you've been under a lot of stress lately, with this whole fake marriage to Jared. But I want to give you something, and you can read it later, in private. And I think everything will make sense to you, just hold on and let me finish it." He sat down in his chair, typed a few more lines, and hit print, then deleted the file.

"Gwen was actually just in here looking for you, too. She said she had something important to tell you?"

"I wonder what that could be? I signed the papers Theresa, I signed them." He handed her the sheet of paper, kissed her cheek, and left the room.

----

"Mother, I don't know what to do. He knows Little Ethan is his son, he says he can feel it," she said, pacing back and forth in her mother's suite.

"I'm sure he would feel that way, men always think with their loins, Gwennie. Here," handing her a scotch glass, and topping it off with brandy. "This will help us clear our minds."

"My mind doesn't need clearing," she mumbled as she took a swig. "I can't believe it. The one time that I have the upper hand and have evidence to back it up, he ruins it! I just wish I knew where he wanted to meet her. Maybe I should go back to the study and see if he finished it."

"Maybe you should go delete it."

Gwen and Rebecca spun around, suprised to see Jared.

"Delete what, Jared? We didn't hear you come in," Gwen tensed.

"I have a way with that, don't I?" He walked over, took the still full glass from Gwen's hand and took a drink.

"Gwen, I don't know about you, but I think Jared's a hunk. Maybe you should let Theresa be with Ethan and take him instead!" Rebecca squealed into Gwen's ears.

"Quit your silly antics, woman. Ethan and Tess will never be together. She's my wife. She's going to have my baby!"

"What? Theresa's pregnant? How can you be so sure?" The words barely made it out of Gwen's mouth without sounding all twisted up. This was going to be interesting!

"You see, last night, she told me she wanted to have my baby right away, and that's precisely what we spent all evening working on." A smug grin spread over his face.

"Yeah, I really didn't need the visual. Thanks," she turned to sit on the bed.

"I don't know about Gwen, but I'd like to go all night with a young, virile stallion such as yourself Jared," she cooed, twirling a fat chunk of her strawberry hair around her fingers.

"Thanks for the compliments, Mrs. Hotchkiss, I think. But I just came here to tell you there is nothing that will seperate Tess from me. You have nothing to worry about."

"You don't understand Jared. Ethan and I, we're divorced. It's official. So unless you are prepared for her to run off into his arms, you'd better keep on eye on her at all times."

What they don't know is that he was keeping tabs on Tess, and everything else that went on in this mansion. Alistair may be dead and gone, but that didn't mean he didn't have access to the security footage. Not to mention the audio bugs that Alistair had planted all over the place.

----

"Jared, I'm taking the kids out for dinner and a movie, are you sure you can't come?" she baited, knowing he had a very important teleconfernce with the head of Crane Tokyo tonight.

He nodded his apologies to her, still working on getting the meeting set up. "It's alright Tess, have fun with the kids. I'll make it next time. I expect this one to last for hours, there are a lot of kinks to work out."

She leaned in to give him a goodbye kiss, and bustled the children out the door and into the car. "See you later tonight then!"

Buckling Jane into her carseat, and making sure Little Ethan had buckled himself, she smiled at her beautiful children.
"Now remember, this is our little secret. I'm going to drop you off at Grandma's, and then I'm going to a very secret meeting with Uncle Ethan, alright?"

"I won't say a word, Mom. I know you still love Uncle Ethan. I love him, too. I wish he was my father," he said, his chin dropped to his chest.

"Don't you worry about a thing, Ethan loves you just like you were his real son," she choked out. "And after tonight, we'll be one step closer to being a real family, okay?"

"Okay, I believe you Mom. But aren't you still married to Jared?"

"Well, technically, yes. There's a lot of complicated stuff going on right now. Things that you wouldn't understand, things that I don't even understand. But what's important is that soon things will be perfect, and that I love you and Jane and Ethan so very, very much."

She closed the door, and then got into the driver's seat. During the drive to Mama's, she thought about her plan, knowing that she had to get pregnant tonight. Now she just had to convince Ethan that it was the right thing to do. She had to trust him, to tell him about the blackmailer, and about his threats. At least she thought it was a he.

iLoveET
5.31.08, 12:52 PM
"Theresa, the special showing of the Lion King is an extended 20 minutes, so just remember you have to be back here at 9 to pick us all up. I'll take care of feeding them during the movie. I hope things go as you have planned, mija," she sighed, her shoulders relaxing as she settled Jane into her booster seat.

"Oh Mama, thank you so much for being so understanding and helping me out, helping Ethan and I and the kids out," and she threw her arms around her mothers neck. "I just can't believe that Ethan already knows, Mama. And that he's not upset, and, oh! I have to get going!"

"I know how much in love you and Ethan are, but don't let emotion run on, if you know what I mean. You have to be back here!" She chuckled, oh yes, she knew how much they loved each other. Little Ethan and Jane were proof enough of their love, and now Ethan wanted to add to their family as much as Theresita. It was going to be alright after all.


------------------------------

Jared looked over at the monitor while he was listening to the translator. Theresa and the kids entered the food court in the mall, and saw her order some food before entering the movie theater. Good. He had nothing to worry about. He knew exactly where she and the kids would be for the next couple of hours. Now, if he could only understand Japanese!

-------------------------------

Gwen looked around to make sure no one was in Ethan's office, and then quietly opened and closed the door behind her. Taking a seat in his heavy chair, she inhaled his scent again. Oh, Ethan. Closing her eyes, she had to remind herself, this is not about Ethan. This is about Theresa.

And now somehow Jared, she realized. He was so certain that Theresa was pregnant with his baby. She had to find that letter on Ethan's computer, find out where they were meeting, so she could tell Ethan that Theresa was pregnant with another man's child, her husband's child.

She looked all over the desktop, but there was nothing that looked like the letter he had open in his documents earlier.
Clicking on the start bar, she scrolled up and over to the Recent Documents.

"Winthrop Envelopes, Cubs Stats - Cub stats? Ethan, you traitor, everyone in Harmony is a Red Sox fan!" She chuckled. Maybe there were a few things she didn't know about him afterall. "Luis LF Case, Instructions, Pictures"....she trailed off....

"Instructions? What could that be?" She clicked open the file. And there it was.

"We are now able to finally begin our lives together -- no, we are able to continue our lives together, the way it was meant to be. My dearest Theresa, please meet me tonight at The Castleton Holiday Inn at 7:00."

That was the missing piece of the puzzle. She looked at her watch. It was already 7:45. She had to get going.

---------------------------------------------------

There was a knock on the door, and Ethan got up only to see room service on the other side.

"Excuse me, but I didn't order anything. I'm wasn't planning on eating," he said.

"I'm sorry for the confusion sir, but a young lady told us to please bring this cart up." With that, the man turned around and left.

That's odd, he thought. He rolled the cart into the room, and turned and locked the door. The minute he heard the lock click into place, the cart linen was swept aside and Theresa climbed out from the lower rack. She threw her arms around his neck, and began kissing him all over his face.

"I should have known it was you!"

"It was the only way to make sure no one saw me come into your room. But now that I'm here, we have so much to talk about, so much to do," and taking his hand and leading him to the bed, she unfastened her jacket.

"Well, I guess you took my letter to heart. Before we make love Theresa, we need to talk," he licked his lips at the sight of her, "breifly. Talk breifly."

"Ethan, I'm going to spit it all out. Right now. So please, don't interrupt, because we don't have much time." She sat down on the bed, and he sat down, facing her.

"JT revealed to me while we were in Rome that Little Ethan is not Julian's son. I'm sorry I couldn't tell you. The blackmailer wouldn't let me. He said he would take away my son if I told you -- Shh, let me continue" she said as he started in interrupt her.

"So I've only known for a short time, please don't be mad. I was only protecting our son. Even if you didn't know he was ours, which you have always suspected, which is amazing, even before I thought - Wait! Stay on track! Okay, so then the blackmailer made me marry Jared, who I care for, but nothing like the way you and I love each other.

And now, the blackmailer wants me to get pregnant with Jared's baby immediatly, so I came up with this plan. And please Ethan, I need your help. I read your letter. You want another baby, I know you do."

"Wait a minute Theresa, I do want to expand our family, but you need to give this some thought. The blackmailer is going to be watching you with Jared then, isn't he? How are you going to suddenly become pregnant if you aren't sleeping with your own husband?"

"Oh Ethan, please don't hate me or think me deceitful any more than you already might, but last night I did something I didn't want to. I tricked Jared, he thought he was using some massage oil, but it really was, I'm embarrased to say this, spermicide" she squeaked out. "So, while we were making love, all I was thinking about was you. And the baby you and I are going to create. Tonight. Right now," and she leaned across the bed and lightly pushed him down.

"Theresa, wait. What if this plan works, and we get pregnant tonight. How long until the blackmailer gets caught? I don't want Jared to think this baby is his. I couldn't stand it. I will not have him rub this baby in my face, when in fact it is mine and not his."

"The blackmailer will be caught Ethan. We just have to believe Fate is working on our side. I promise everything will work out. Besides, the blackmailer doesn't know that you know Little Ethan is your son."

Apparently buying her logic, Ethan conceded. "How much time do we have?"

"I have to pick up the kids from Mama at the movies at 9."

"Well, we only have so much time then," he growled, and started stripping off his clothes, then Theresa's, sending them flying across the room.

iLoveET
5.31.08, 1:12 PM
Thumping the bell at the front desk, Gwen impatiently looked around for one of the hotel's staff.

From around the corner, she heard, "Just one moment please."

"I don't have a moment to spare! Please could you just hurry up!"

"Yes madame, how may I be of your assistance?" The boy behind the counter couldn't be any more than 19, 20 tops.

"I am meeting some friends in their hotel room before we go to dinner, and I forgot the note with their room number on it. Can you help me?"

"Sure thing. Can you tell me their names please?" He started tapping away at the computer keyboard.

"Yes, Ethan Winthrop and Theresa Casey."

He typed their names into the system. Gwen frowned. "What's wrong?" she demanded.

"I'm sorry, but there is no record of a Mr. Winthrop or a Ms. Casey staying in the hotel."

"What?!? I know they are here. He told her 7pm! I know I am a little late, but they wouldn't leave without me!" She started over to the elevator.

"I'm sorry m'am, but there are to be no interruptions to Mr. Winthrop's room!"

"Aha! So he is here!" She could bully this kid after all. "Do you know who I am? I am Gwen Hotchkiss. As in, Jonathan Hotchkiss's daughter. Of Harmony?" she watched him pale. "That's right. So you'd better tell me what his room number is, right now."

"I can't tell you the room number, I'd get fired," he said, trembling. "But I can lead you to the floor he's on, and you'd be on your own."

"Fine, let's get going. We can't waste any time!" She punched the up button as the elevator doors started to close behind her. "What floor?"

"Six," he said, as she shoved him back out the doors. No need to involve some tween in the mess that was about to hit the fan.

The elevator "ding"ed at each floor going up. "Finally!" and she huffed out the door into the hallway. She looked up and down the floor, trying to get an idea of how to find them.

Something caught her eye. She looked down one side of the hallway and back up the other, and she immediately knew which room they were in. She stalked over to the door, ripped the "Do Not Disturb" sign from the door, and thought about the disturbance that was about to happen.

------------------------

"Ethan, do you think we did it? You think we made a baby?"

"Well Theresa, the only other times you have seduced me with the same intent, you ended up pregnant immediatly," he chuckled, and she smacked his arm.

"I didn't seduce you the night Little Ethan was made. If I recall correctly, that was a mutual thing," she winked at him. "I am going to go into the room nextdoor and freshen up, and then I have to get going and pick up the kids."

"Our kids, right? God I love saying that. I can't wait until we can tell Little Ethan." He pulled her into a big hug, then went over to the adjoining room's doorway, opened it, and patted her on the butt as she went through.

"I'll call up to room service to have them retreive the tray in a few minutes. Can you be that quick?"

"I'll have to be. So why did you get two rooms anyway?" she asked.

"Actually, I am renting these two adjoining rooms until we can get out of the Crane Mansion and buy our own house. Our own home. I figure, when the blackmailer gets caught, we can camp here with the kids for a while until we find the perfect home for us. Now get going. I'll bring the cart over."

He heard her start the shower, wheeled the cart through, and slid the door shut between the two rooms. He laid back against the headboard and turned the TV on to the news.

There was a pounding on the main door. It wouldn't be room service, he hadn't called them yet. And it wouldn't be Theresa, she would use the adjoining door. Who could it be?

-----------------------------

She hopped out of the shower and saw the cart on her side of the door, just like Ethan had promised. She heard a pounding on the door in the other room, and she rolled the cart to the door and hopped in. Ethan would let room service in to come and get her. From the other side of the door she heard:

"Where is she? Where is that little tramp!? I know you were meeting her here tonight!"

"Gwen, what are you talking about? Calm down. What are you even doing here?" he tried to calm her down, tried to restrain her flapping arms.

"I saw your letter to her Ethan. I know you know the truth about your son."

"My son? Gwen, how long have you known?" His eyes widened, his face started to turn shades of red. "How long have you known and not told me?"

"That's not important Ethan! Did you know she is pregnant? It's his. Jared told Mother and me that she's pregnant. How can you be with her? How can you be with that little whore? She's pregnant with another man's baby! I can't believe how ignorant you are! Where is she?!"

"Gwen, calm down. She's not here. She wasn't here at all. She never showed." Try to play it cool, he thought. He knew Theresa was still in the next room. "I'm just here to get away from the Crane Mansion, trying to get some work done on Luis's case. It's more peaceful here. I've been working on my laptop all night." He pointed to the Sony sitting on the nightstand.

The room's phone rang. "Yes...yes. Thank you.......No, the other one. Thanks." Gwen had one eyebrow lifted, wondering what he was talking about. "Room service called and asked if I was ready for dinner, and what my options were."

"Whatever. That's besides the point. Where's Theresa?"

"She's at a movie with the kids. I told you Gwen, she's not here. And you have no reason to be here either. Now please leave." Sauntering to the door, he opened it, and made a sweeping arm gesture, letting her know she was not wanted here.

Gwen stalked out the door, nearly colliding with room service as he was picking up the empty cart from the room next door. "Get out of my way!"

iLoveET
6.12.08, 10:50 PM
"Do you know where your wife was tonight, Jared?" she asked coyly.

"As a matter of fact, I do. She ought to be home anytime now. She took Jane and Little Ethan to the Lion King. Something about an enhanced edition? Anyway, I watched her go in."

"You watched her go in? You dropped her off then?"

"No, I watched her, on the cameras."

"Cameras?" This piqued her curiosity.

"Oh.....well, I suppose, you might as well know now. Since I've been working at Crane Industries, I have been made aware of the extensive surveillance network that Old Man Crane had around this town. That's what I meant when I saw her going into the theater with the kids."

"Are you stalking your own wife, Jared?" Lord knows he ought to be, with Theresa and Ethan acting like dogs in heat. "I guess that's one way to keep an eye on her."

"No Gwen, of course not, it's nothing like that. I was just bored with the meeting with Crane Tokyo, and thought I'd take a look around the town. I wish Tokyo would call me at a decent hour here in Harmony, instead of me being on the phone all night."

"Oh, sorry to interrupt then. I'll see you later on then." There was definitely something strange about this man. Besides the fact that he was in love with Theresa and oblivious to the mutual love of Ethan and Theresa.

-------------------------

Tucking her daughter into her crib, she brushed the blond strands of hair off of Jane's forehead. She was out like a light.

"She loved the movie Mom. I've never seen her squeal like that, it was so funny. You should have seen her," Little Ethan laughed, pulling up his covers.

Theresa walked over to his bed, sinking down on the quilt next to him. "I can't believe she wasn't afraid. She's the little adventurer, isn't she?"

"She gets that from Uncle Ethan doesn't she? She's so lucky to have him for a dad."

"Oh sweetheart. I think that one day, one day soon, you'll see things a little differently. Things will start looking up."

"What do you mean Mom?" He laid down, pulling the covers up to his chin.

"Don't worry about it sweety. Now, let's get you all tucked in. Snug as a bug in a rug," she singsonged, tucking the covers under his body like a mummy. "My little burrito baby!"

"Mom!" he giggled. "I love you Mom."

Tears misted in her eyes. "I love you, too. Now go to sleep. We'll talk more in the morning, okay? Sleep well."

-------------------------

She pulled their door closed quietly behind her, and sagged against it. It had been a long day. She was getting tired of being at the blackmailer's beck and call. How could she help get him caught? Heck, she didn't even know who he was!

At the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs, she turned and began to head towards her bedroom, wanting to be alone and rest. She needed all the rest she could get, wanting the pregnancy to take.

"Where the hell were you tonight?"

Theresa whirled around. Of course, it was the last person she wanted to see. As always.

"Hello Gwen."

"Don't play cute with me Theresa. Where were you tonight? You were supposed to meet Ethan, weren't you? He said you never showed. How is it that, after my divorce from my never-faithful husband is final, you finally stand him up and be loyal to your creepy stalker husband?"

It was obvious Gwen was on one of her ego-trips, so Theresa decided it wasn't worth the effort to argue with her. "Gwen, if you don't mind, I'd like to be alone and rest. I'm very tired. I get tired after sitting in a dark theater, and Jane was so excited that it wore me out putting her down."

"You? Tired? Theresa, don't think you can fool me. Jared told me you are pregnant." Hands perched on her hips, legs planted, Gwen looked like she should be on the runway, not in the hallway of the Crane Mansion.

"Oh, I didn't know he was sharing our personal information with the likes of you. For the record, I haven't even taken a test yet, but I am very hopeful." She had to be. She needed to get the blackmailer off her ass.

"I can't believe this! You're truly going to try to be happy with Jared? Have you told Ethan about this baby Theresa? Because I read his letter to you. I know he was planning on meeting you tonight.

“You were snooping through Ethan’s things? I knew you were low Gwen, but I didn’t think you’d stoop so low as to go through private conversations. And for the record, I was with my children tonight. And right now, I don’t need to deal with this kind of stress from you. After all, I could be in a delicate position.”

“Delicate my ass, Theresa. Everything about you is harsh, and will always be. I’ll let you go off to bed with your creepy stalker husband.”
And off she went, down the hallway, and turned the corner to her own room.

“That’s the second time she called Jared a creepy stalker. What is she talking about?”

--- --- --- --- --- ---
“Ethan? Did you find something? Is there a break in the case?” Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald had one hand on the glass, the other holding on to the phone, as he talked to his lawyer.

“I think you’ll be able to get out of here by the end of the day, man. There’s no real evidence against you right now. Now, I didn’t tell you this earlier, but the blackmailer confessed that he’s behind a lot of the mayhem in Harmony right now. But so far there’s been no way to identify him or her, and even if we knew, how do you catch them, and have enough evidence to lock them away forever?”

“Don’t worry. So the blackmailer is behind Fancy’s rape? What a sick bastard. I have to get out of here, I’ve got to put him behind bars. If I don’t kill him first,” railed Luis, pounding his fist on the table, with conviction in his eyes.

“Calm down now, buddy. I’ll go get those release papers started. But I want to run something by you.”


“Shoot, what is it?”

“We have got to trick this blackmailer, have to find a way to trap him. I want to keep you in disguise, starting now, before your release.”

“You want me to not be myself? How am I ever supposed to help you catch him?”


“You will be disguised to look like Chavez over there. And he will be Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald, at least until we nab this creep.”

“I like your way of thinking, Ethan.”

“I’m not only doing this for you, you know.”

“Yeah, I know. And believe me, we’re all grateful for this. And we’ll be even more grateful when we catch this nut-job.”

iLoveET
6.24.08, 9:39 PM
Gwen looked around to make sure no one followed her into the library. She shut the grand double doors, and sat down on the settee with her laptop. Plugging in the power cord, she booted on the pearl Sony.

“Something just isn’t right about that guy,” she thought, as she waited for the computer to finish loading. “If there really are cameras all over this place, there’s got to be a way to hack into them.” She only wished she were on better terms with Little Ethan, he’d know how to do it right away. Kids these days, what didn’t they know how to do.

“Okay. There’s got to be a way to get into the surveillance mainframe…. Of course, why didn’t I think of this earlier! I bet JT’s memory stick has got some sort of code on it to get in.” She pulled the stick out of her brazier, and plugged it in to the side of the laptop. The folders started popping open.

Gwen. Rebecca. Ivy. She knew what was in her own file. She knew what was in Ivy’s file. Dare she open up her mother’s file?
She double clicked on her mother’s name.

“Oh God!” She quickly clicked the folder shut. “Mother, I know you led a sordid sexual life, but I didn’t want to see all the costume pictures!”

She quickly scanned the other names. Alistair. Julian. Chad. Vincent. Jared. TC. Eve.
Wait – Jared? Theresa’s creepy husband? She double clicked on his name.

“Oh. My. God.”

She spun around as she heard a loud crash.

--- --- --- --- --- ---

Jinxy the cat bounded out of the room as Rebecca opened the library door.
“Gwennie, what was that awful sound? I heard you scream and thought you’d been shot or something,” she cried.

“I about had a heart attack mother! I thought you got rid of that cat!” she signed, catching her breath.

“Oh heavens no, I have a fond attachment to that cat. He’s a lifesaver. He must have knocked over the vase of Alistair’s ashes. What are they doing in the library anyway?”

“What are they even doing in this house, is what I want to know. Regardless, I thought it was someone about to kill me. Does anyone know that we found JT’s memory stick?” she whispered.

“I never told a soul, Gwennie. I promise,” as she spun around and shut the library doors. “What were you doing in here anyway, all secluded like?”


“I had it out. The memory stick. I was going to use it to find out what the surveillance system codes were, so I could look to see where Theresa was last night. I know she wasn’t at the movies, and I know Ethan wasn’t alone either. But then, have a look at this Mother,” and she handed her mother her laptop.

Rebecca sat down on the settee next to Gwen, and took the computer. Scanning the page, she gasped. “NO! It can’t be!”

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

She was pacing. Tess only paced when she was nervous. At the rate she was going, she must be extremely nervous.
“Tess, you’re wearing holes in the carpet. Why don’t you just sit down. Read a magazine. Watch the news. Anything to take your mind off of it.”

“It’s not that easy for me Jared. You just keep on working, I’ll go sit in the bathroom while I wait,” and she sped into the spacious master bathroom, and sat down on the edge of the whirlpool tub. “There’s just so much depending on this silly little stick. One line or two, one line or two….Please let there be two,” she cried.

She reached over and grabbed the stick off the sink. Shaking it once, her eyes scrunched shut, she sent a quick prayer up to God.
She opened her eyes and looked. One line…..one line. Wait, there it was, the second line! “Yes! Yes!” She jumped off the tub and started bouncing up and down. “I can’t wait to tell him!”

“Tess, you don’t have to wait, I can hear you!”

“Oh. Oh, yeah.” She cleared her throat. “Jared, I’m pregnant. It worked,” in more ways than you will ever know, she added to herself.

“Really? This is amazing!” in more ways than you will ever know Tess, he thought to himself.

--- --- --- --- --- --- ---

“You’re free to go, Chavez,” said the warden. “I never thought you had anything to do with this mess in Harmony, Chief,” he whispered. “No one but you, me, and your lawyer will ever know what’s going on. The real Chavez is being sent to solitary, rather, you are,” he chuckled.

“Thanks Ricky. As soon as I help get this town freak-show locked up, make sure to do something nice for the real Chavez, would’ya?”

“Not a problem, Chief. Now, let’s get you out of here.”

Ethan walked up with the paperwork. “You’re all set, Chavez. Let me escort you to your new residence. It’s the least I can do for being your crummy lawyer,” he joked.

“Great,” as he opened the passenger door of Ethan’s new C300 Mercedes. “Thanks for doing this for me, Ethan. I only wish I could tell Fancy.”

“Yeah, well, this will all be over soon. I think we have a lead on the blackmailer.”

“What! What have you got? How can I help?” Luis was suddenly giddy, as he should be. He’d been sitting in that cell for almost two weeks. Thank God Ethan had come up with this plan and had cleared his name in the process.

“Well, it’s a long twisted story. I don’t know if I should get into it.”

“We’ve got nothing but time. It’s over an hour to the Crane Cabin. I know that’s where you’re taking me.”

Ethan sighed. “You always knew what I had on my mind,” and he chuckled. “Ever since the day I met your sister.”

Luis laughed, too. “I didn’t say that I always liked what you were thinking, especially when it comes to Theresa!”

“You’re right, I suppose. Well, since we have time…. I always had this feeling deep inside of me that Little Ethan was my son,” he started.

“How could that be? She married Julian that drunken night in Bermuda, or so we thought. He’s Julian’s son, isn’t he?”

“Now, what I’m about to tell you is only known to Theresa and myself. Gwen too, I suppose,” he began again.

“Gwen?”

“Okay, just listen. The night before Theresa and I were supposed to get married with you and Aunt Sheridan, I came to your house and stood outside her window, throwing pebbles. She snuck out, and we went down to the beach. We always loved walking on the beach. We were so excited for our wedding the next day, and for the wedding night, actually…” He raised his right arm to block off Luis’s jab. “Alright, alright! So, as I was saying, we were excited to be man and wife, and one thing led to another, and we celebrated our wedding night early.”

“Oh Ethan, Mama would have killed you! You know how she is about her faith and beliefs,” sighed Luis.

“Yes, I do. So when the wedding never happened, I guess we got lost in the utter chaos and confusion that when Theresa’s marriage to Julian happened, and then she got pregnant, it never occurred to either of us that Little Ethan could be mine.”

“So how did you even begin to think that he could be your son?”

“Well, we always had a close connection. But I always felt like it was something more than that, and so last week I wrote Theresa a letter, telling her how I felt, and that no matter what, he is my son.” He took a deep breath, and when he looked over at Luis, he was smiling.
“It turns out, that sleaze tabloid reported knew this to be the truth, and then the blackmailer found out. And he threatened Theresa and the kids if she told me.”

Luis was clearly fuming in his seat. Ethan could almost see the steam rolling out of his ears. “He threatened my niece and nephew? When we find this guy, we are going to string him up Ethan, string.him.up.”

“Yeah, I know. You’ll have to get in line. But getting back to the story. I already told you the blackmailer confessed to me that he was behind the murders and Fancy’s attacks. Well, he told Theresa that she had to get pregnant with Jared’s baby in order to let you out of prison.”

“Oh no, Ethan. She isn’t, is she? Is that how you got me out of jail? No, man, no.”

“No, the blackmailer doesn’t know you are out of jail. And no, Theresa is not pregnant with Jared’s baby. She’s pregnant with my baby,” he grinned.
“Well, we are hoping she is pregnant. I haven’t heard from her yet. But she definitely pulled a number on Jared, he thinks they are trying for a baby, but I guess she had this feminine product or something, and there’s no chance of Jared getting her pregnant.”

“And she’s not using this product with you. I get it now. Congratulations man. I am going to get to be an uncle again. Three of your kids! Ha-ha! That’s terrific, man!”

“Whoa there, Luis. We can’t tell anyone. Especially Jared. Even Gwen thinks that Theresa is pregnant with Jared’s kid. I just hope we catch this guy soon, because I don’t want to live this lie out any longer than we have to. I don’t want him bragging about this baby when it’s mine.”

“I understand man. Let’s get started then,” and he opened the car door, grabbed his bag out of the trunk, and headed up the steps to the cabin.
“So what’s the lead, and how does Gwen tie in to it?”

“She claims she somehow stumbled on to Alistair’s surveillance system that he used to keep track of everyone in town.”

“And she gave you the access codes?” That was a surprise to Luis. “Why would she want to help you?”

“That’s what I have yet to figure out.” He unlocked the cabin, strode in, and settled down for a long day’s work.

iLoveET
8.12.08, 9:29 PM
Jared was already driving her nuts. He wanted to wait on her hand and foot, and she was trying her best to stay at work as late as she could each evening. All she wanted to do at night was fall into bed and sleep, and as long as Jared thought this was his baby she was carrying, he was fine with that.

She knew that Ethan had snuck Luis out of jail and that they were up at the Crane cabin. She only wished he were here with her. Hopefully they were making headway on the blackmailer. He contacted her earlier today. The latest "request" was that she take her husband to each of her doctor appointments, and that she show Ethan any ultrasounds with Jared present. Well, it wasn't exactly how she wanted to show Ethan their baby, but it was better than not showing him at all.

There was a knocking at her door. She went over and opened it; it was Fancy.

"Good evening Fancy. What are you still doing here at this hour?"

"Well, I was going to ask you the same thing, boss," she giggled. Theresa and Fancy were about the same age, and Pilar had always been like a second mother to the Crane children. It was only natural that they would be friends when they were "all-grown-up."

"I've been trying to keep myself busy until Luis is set free. It's just not the same going home without him there at night."

"Yeah, I know the feeling," Theresa mumbled.

"What do you mean, you know the feeling? You have Jared at home every night, I'm suprised you aren't home already."

"Well, you see...." she started.

"I think I already know, you're thinking about my brother."

"Am I that transparent?"

"Theresa, you can't fool me. I've known for a fact since the day you met my brother, you were head over heels for life. It's in your eyes. You can fool your husband, but you can't fool me."

"I just hope Ethan and Luis can catch this blackmailer soon so Ethan and I can be together again."

"Luis? How is he able to help Ethan from inside jail?" Fancy's eyebrow raised at an angle, and she was pursing her lips, thinking hard on the question.

"Ooops....I mean....hmm...."

"Spit it out Theresa!"

So she did. "This information has to stay in this room. No one can know. Not even Mama knows. And as long as they are safe up in the cabin, they can be working on finding out who the blackmailer is."

"So let me get this straight, the blackmailer forced you to marry Jared and have his baby, otherwise he would have taken Little Ethan and Jane away from you? This is one sick person. I mean, Jane is my neice, I can't believe anyone would want to take a child from their mother. How can I help?"

Fancy's pacing was in tune with the soft thump, thump, thump of Theresa's pacing. When Fancy stopped, Theresa bumped into the back of her. Fancy turned around.

"Theresa, are you in contact with the guys? Maybe I can run some info through the police database for them, I don't know, anything to try and help."

"Well, the only place that we know is safe is up at the Crane Cabin, and Ethan has a room in the Castleton Inn that he has been staying at. But it isn't safe to contact them by phone or email. We still don't know how the blackmailer is finding out what everyone is doing and talking about."

"Wait a second....I remember, when I was little, Grampy always said that I would one day run Crane Industries, and he always let me come sit on his lap on Sunday afternoons, and we would work together. I was supposed to be off at Equestrian lessons, and I think Mother would have been upset if she knew I was skipping out, but Grampy always said it was important for me to learn what was going on here."

"Wow, you must have spent a lot of summers in here. You probably know this place better than I do Fancy. Which is something I wanted to talk to you about as well."

"You do?"

"Yeah, but go on, finish your thoughts. It sounds like you might be on to something."

"Right, right...Well, I was trying to remember, we used to watch what was going on around the grounds. I was always so jealous to see you and your brothers outside playing, when I was always supposed to be at one kind of lesson or another."

"You watched us on cameras? Do you think these cameras are still hooked up and active? This might be the break we need Fancy!"

"I'll head up to the cabin and let them know about the camera system. You'd better not keep your husband waiting any longer. He's going to wonder what's keeping you away from him, and you don't want him getting upset."

"Thanks Fancy, before long we'll both be able to spend the rest of our lives with the men of our dreams! And don't forget, I want to talk to you about the famly business soon!"

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Jared was waiting up for Tess to get home. He knew she was putting in late nights at the office, but he supposed it was so that she could take time off when the baby got here. Everything was going according to plan. No one knew how perfectly he orchestrated his plan, and it was a shame, he thought. He should win an award for all of his scheming.

He logged into the Crane security system. He pulled up the hallway camera outside of Theresa's office. Knowing that old man Crane never had a reason to put cameras in his own office, he started thinking about calling Crane Security in the morning to add one in there. He turned the hallway camera and saw Fancy come out of Tess's office, followed by Tess. She turned and locked the door, and headed toward the elevators. Well, at least she was on her way home.

He switched to the south wing of the mansion and saw Gwen and Rebecca sitting in the library. I wonder what they're up to now, he thought. Knowing Rebecca, she was trying to drag Gwen into some sort of sexual escapade. That woman would never cease to amaze him. If only she hadn't been around the block so many times, or with so many different species.

-- -- -- -- -- -- --

iLoveET
8.12.08, 11:15 PM
Fancy pulled up the long, windy drive to the family's cabin. She didn't see Ethan's Benz, but she did see tire tracks in the snow. He must have pulled it around back to the parking garage. Well, if she believed everything Theresa told her, she wouldn't blame them for hiding.

--- ----

Lights pulled up the lane, sending reflections throughout the hearth room of the cabin.

"Are you expecting anyone?" Luis asked Ethan.

He looked just as confused as Luis. "No, man. I haven't talked to Theresa today. We'd better put the lights down and lay low until we know who it is."

"Well, maybe it's someone who's lost. But you're right, let's not take any chances." He crept over near the door, and reached up and flicked the lightswitch off.

"Drop your side of the blinds," whispered Luis. He let down the ties on his side, and the drapes swept close in release.

They heard a car door shut, and footsteps coming up the cobblestone walk. Luis's cop sense took over, and he slipped next to the front door, making a motion for Ethan's silence and stillness. Ethan stepped behind the front door, ready to help Luis immobilize the intruder.

They heard a key slide into the lock, and saw the doorknob start to turn. Luis was tense, waiting for the door to open. And the moment it did -

"Hel-ahgh!!!!"

"You have three seconds to identify yourself and why you are here before I snap your neck," Luis growled.

Ethan stepped around Luis and the mass of squirming body. He flipped on the light switch.

"Fancy?!?! What are you doing here?"

"You scared the life out of me Luis!"

"Well you didn't exactly put any years back on ours, sis."

"How did you even know we were here Fance?"

"Theresa," Ethan and Fancy said at the same time.

"I guess you both know my sister pretty well then," Luis chuckled. "But what are you doing here?"

"I ran into Theresa and we were talking in Grampy's office, I mean, her office, about there being a video surveillance system that Grampy showed me one time when I was little. And I was thinking that there might be a way for you to hack into it, and find out who the blackmailer is."

"We're a step ahead of you Fancy," Ethan said. "Gwen claimed she stumbled across the surveillance system somehow, and she gave me some access codes. I don't know where she found any of this information, or if any of it is even true, but we're about to find out."

"That's good, but when did Gwen get all technical and stuff?"

"We're wondering the same thing Fance," and he smiled at her, and pulled her into a big, warm embrace. "Boy am I sure glad to see you. Two weeks felt like two lifetimes without you."

"I felt the same way Luis. Now, let's find a way to get you off the hook Mister, because the sooner we do that, the sooner we can be married." She pulled him down into a kiss.

"All right love birds. Let's type in the remote address and see what we see."

"What's it doing Ethan?"

"I don't know. It keeps asking for a password, but Gwen never gave me a password."

"It's my name."

"Huh? Let's give it a try." Ethan typed in F-A-N-C-Y. "You always were his favorite, and now it's finally paid off. We're in."

"What are we looking for?" she asked.

"Look for some kind of login history." Luis was busy looking around the screen at all the tab buttons available.

"Bingo. There are two IP addresses in the recent history, one is only here once, the other...." he counted, "seventeen times today."

"Where is the IP coming from Ethan? Can we tell who it's registered to?" Fancy questioned.

"Hey man, we used to use this program down at the station that let us trace IP addresses."

"You're right Luis, we used that in the fraudulent bank wire transfers." She took the laptop from Ethan and went online to download the program.

"Alright Ethan, type in that address." She slid the laptop back across the table.

"It pulls back to the Crane mansion....what the??"

Luis shot out of his chair. "The mansion? What does that mean?"

"Hold on now, Luis. Ethan, click on the Gateway link. It will tell us which router in the mansion the IP is coming from. We should be able to tell which wing this particular IP has been logging into the system with."

He clicked on the button like she asked.

"The router name is North Wing?" he scratched his head. "Theresa's suite is in the North Wing!"

"So that means...."

"Jared!" they all said in unison.

"Fancy, you stay here with Luis, and go through the footage with Luis. Download whatever you find that links Jared to the blackmailer. I have to go warn Theresa."

iLoveET
11.10.08, 5:17 PM
"Honey, I'm home!" Theresa cried out as she opened the doorway to the master bedroom ensuite. "Jared?" She took off her jacket, laid it on the back of her vanity chair, and sat down to unbutton her boots. Yes, unbutton. Why she ever thought that these boots were going to be a piece of cake to get on and off, she didn't know. But, they did make her legs look longer, and short as she was, she could use all the help she could get!

"Tess? Hey, I thought I heard you. Why don't you let me help you out with those boots, afterall, no need to strain yourself with our little fellow growing inside you!"

Ugh, gag me, Theresa thought. But really, Jared wasn't a bad guy. She felt bad that she had to let him go on thinking this was his baby. He deserved to be happy with a woman who truly loved him, and not one who was blackmailed into marrying him.

"Thanks Jared. Anything going on around here that I should know about?"

"How's Fancy?" he asked.

"She's fine. What makes you ask?"

"Oh, nothing. I just saw she was in your office earlier tonight. She's a lovely girl. I have high hopes that she will do a good job running Crane Industries while you are out on maternity leave in a few months."

"Oh," she thought. How would he have known Fancy was in her office tonight? Jared always left work at 3 p.m. sharp to pick up the kids from daycare so she could close down the office. Nevermind, she thought. She should probably go check in on the kids for the night, make sure they were all tucked in.

"Jared, thanks for helping me with these darn boots. I'm going to go make sure Little Ethan and Jane are all set for the night, and then I'll be back, alright?"

"Not a problem - and next time you go shopping, don't buy any more boots that take so long to put on and off! It can't be very comfortable for you, or the baby."

"You're right, I don't know what I was thinking," and she turned to go down the hallway to the childrens' wing.

---

Ethan sped down the winding, snow covered roads from the Crane cabin, hoping that he could get to Theresa in time. No one but him, Luis, and Fancy knew that Jared was the blackmailer. It suddenly all made sense to him now. Of course Jared would want Theresa pregnant right away. Of course he could blackmail her into marrying him because she wouldn't let anyone touch a hair on her children, our children!

---

"Mother, do you suppose we should tell anyone that we know Jared is the blackmailer, and that we have proof?"

"Oh Gwennie, I can't see how that would possibly do any good to us. I mean, if he knew that we knew, he might do something to harm us. Tie us up even... handcuff us... "

"Mother!"

"Oh Gwennie, you know what I mean, right? It might do us more harm than good if we tell anyone. Afterall, people would want to know how we know, and then we'd have to tell everyone about how we found JT's USB stick."

"We can't let anyone know we have the stick. I can't risk everyone knowing what I did to Theresa all these years."

"Well then, it's settled."

"At least it explains why Jared always felt so damn creepy to me. For chrissakes, he's stalking his own wife, and with very good cause, mind you."

"Do you think we are safe in the house, even if he doesn't know we know his secret?"

"Well, Mother, I don't know."

"Know what, Gwen?"

"What are you talking about Jared?" Gwen's hand flew to her chest. This man had a way of frightening a person to death. And now, she had a reason to fear for her very life, knowing what she knew.

"Who would have a secret that you would feel unsafe knowing about?" He walked further into the library, and went over the the brandy snifter. "Ah, Rebecca, somehow you always end up in a room that has liquor in it, don't you?"

"Well so what if I do," she said indignantly.

"Would either of you care to explain how you found JT Cornell's USB stick?"

"Aah!" Rebecca gasped in surprise.

"What are you talking about Jared? Did someone find JT's memory stick? Who has it?" Gwen tried to play the innocent, and she hoped to hell it was working.

"So it wasn't you ladies then?" He pursed his lips as in deep thought.

"No, but do you mean to say someone has found it?" Rebecca asked coyly. "If someone found it, why wouldn't they have come out with it already?"

"I don't know. Maybe it hasn't been found yet." He gave Gwen a threatening look, poured another glassful of brandy for Rebecca, and stormed off with the decanter.

---

Ethan had to keep reminding himself to slow down, that he was coming up on Deadman's Curve, and that it wasn't named that for no reason. He looked down at the spedometer, and slowed his speed to 35 for the curve. He knew he should be more cautious, but he had to get to Theresa in time. Once he got past the curve, it was smooth sailing into Harmony. He was almost to the curve, when he felt the car start to slide.

"No, no!" he screamed. "Don't turn that way! Come on Ethan, pull it together!" He furiously turned the wheel straight left, then all the way back to straight right. He was trying with all his might to keep the car on the road, and not to let this stretch in the road claim another life.

---

"Do you think Ethan made it back to Harmony yet, Luis?" Fancy was pacing behind the sofa, back and forth between the fireplace and the front window.

"I don't know Fance, but I hope so. The sooner we get something solid to take to Sam, the sooner we can get this creep behind bars, and out of my sister's life!"

"Any luck? I wish we didn't have to sit and watch everything in fast forward. I wish the proof was just there already!"

"Fancy, I think I got something! Come take a look at this, tell me what you see," Luis cried out as he scooched down on the sofa to make room for her.

"Luis, slow it down once. I think... yes, that's definitly Jared. Oh my God Luis, it's the man who raped me! He's in my bedroom! Look!"

They could clearly see Luis on the tape, asleep on the sofa in Fancy's princess room, where he was guarding her for the night. Only, they saw Jared was now entering the room. Luis didn't wake up when he walked up next to him asleep on the sofa, and put a cloth in his hand over Luis's mouth. Jared pulled the blanketing off of Luis, and began to strip him down. Luis couldn't believe his eyes.

"What the?!" he sat intently, trying to piece things together in his head, as he watched Jared on tape, not wanting to understand what he was seeing with what happened next.

What they watched next was something all too familiar to Fancy. Not once, but two different times. She closed her eyes, and cupped her head with the palms of her hands. How could she have been so naive to blame Luis so readily?

iLoveET
11.23.08, 10:45 PM
Ch. 12


Ethan finally made it into Harmony, but barely. He'd spun out twice after the tires broke loose on Deadman's. He roared up the long drive of the Crane Mansion, and left the car running as he rushed in the front door.

"Theresa! Theresa, where are you?" he shouted. Gwen and Rebecca popped their heads out of the library doors. "I've got to find her!" he said as he took off up the stairs.

"Mother, do you think he knows? How can he still be chasing after her when she's married to a killer?"

"Oh Gwennie, he's probably going to go up their right now and tell her off once and for good! What more would he want to do with a woman married to a rapist?"

"I think we're looking at this the wrong way. Ethan's a stand-up kind of guy. He's probably here to whisk Theresa away from Jared."

"In that case, I think we need to get out of sight before the fight breaks out between them. Then again, it would be one hot sight... "

"Mother! Let's grab the USB stick and get out of here!"

"Just where do you think you're going ladies?" Jared sneered.

One of these days, I'm going to get myself a handgun, and the next time he scares the crap out of me, he's going to get it, thought Gwen. "Jared, would you stop creeping up on us! For heaven's sake, you're bound to get yourself shot or something the way you sneak up on everyone."

"We were just going to go out for an after-dinner drink," Rebecca said. "Care to join us?" she asked coyly.

"What, did you drink all the liqour in the mansion?"

"No, but we thought it would be something nice for us to do, you know, mother-daughter kind of thing."

"I don't know if you looked outside lately, but it's freezing rain and windy as hell. I don't see you going out in this Rebecca. What's really going on?"

"Jared, please. My mother and I just wanted to get out of the mansion for awhile. Get a drink, meet some friends, you know, normal things for two divorced women."

"I don't like your attitude tonight Gwen. You seem like you're up to something. I think I'm going to let you two sit in here for awhile," and he closed the library doors behind him, and Gwen and Rebecca heard a lock.

"Isn't the lock supposed to be on the inside?" Rebecca cried.

"Jared, you let us out of here!" Gwen yanked on the door handles. "Why do you care about what we're doing? Why don't you go see what your cheating wife is up to Jared! Let us out!" she shouted.

"Cheating wife?" He'd never seen any reason on the surveillance to believe Theresa was cheating on him. He started to run up the stairs to find her...

---

"Theresa, are you in here?" He peered around the door to the master suite. Nothing. He heard singing. Of course! She was in with the children.

"Theresa, we need to get you and the kids out of here right now," he said as he rushed down the hallway.

"Ethan! What are you talking about? What's going on? We don't need to upset Jane, I just got her down. I was about to go over and check on our son."

He took a deep breath and calmed himself. "We need to get the kids out of here now. My car is in the drive and still running. We know who the blackmailer is."

"So you think you know who the blackmailer is, do you Ethan?" Jared said, as he walked into the room. "Let me guess. You and your little detective friends think you discovered who the blackmailer is, and now you're here to do what? Steal Tess away from me?" he growled.

"That's exactly what's going on here Jared. It's you, and it's been you the whole time you sick freak!"

"Ethan, what are you talking about?" cried Theresa.

"Your dear husband is Harmony's blackmailer. It all makes sense now doesn't it."

"No! Oh my god! I can't... how could you!?!" she went up to strike him, but Ethan pulled her back. He didn't want her to get within an arm's reach of that monster.

They were at a standstill. Jared had them cornered.

"Let us out of here Jared. We're leaving, and we're taking the children with us. You are going to go to jail for a very, very long time," Ethan said.

"Oh really? And how do you think you're going to get past me? Remember, as the blackmailer of Harmony, I can be a pretty vicious guy. So what I think is going to happen is this. You are going to lie face down on the floor, and I'm going to handcuff you to the bedpost. Tess and the children are going to be coming with me."

"Jared don't do this!" Theresa whimpered. "Please!"

---

Little Ethan could hear his mom and dad arguing with Jared over the baby monitor. He knew they were in trouble. He had to get out of his room and get some help, but the only way out of his room was through Jane's nursery where they were all fighting.

He looked around the room for some ideas. They were on the third story, so going out the window wasn't an option. There was something his mom had told him once, about the mansion, but he always thought she was making it up.

He walked over to his closet, and opened up the set of double doors. He lightly knocked on the inside walls. Thud. Thud. Thud. Nothing. Thud.

"Could this be what Mom's story was about?" He felt up and down the wall where the wall didn't make a noise when he knocked. At the very bottom, there was a round button, no bigger than a penny. He pressed it.

"Creee aaa k" the door opened up slowly, and dust settled as it swung open. "Sweet!" he said. He walked through the doorway, and noticed there were a narrow set of stairs that wound down. Where did they lead?

"Where ever these steps take me, I need to get help for mom and dad." He grabbed the baby monitor off of his nightstand, closed the closet doors behind him, and started down the staircase.

iLoveET
12.20.09, 8:40 PM
Ch. 13

"I can't believe we're locked in!" Rebecca frantically paced around the room. "There's not even a window big enough to get out of!"

"Oh, for heaven's sake, Mother. We can just pick up the phone and call for help. I'm sure Sam can be here in a jiffy," Gwen said, reaching for the phone. She held the handset up to her ear as she dialed 9-1-1. Cradling the phone with her shoulder, she waited. And waited. "No dial tone?" She hung up and tried again. Nothing.

"Mother, I think he cut the phone lines!" Now they were both pacing.

"Oh Gwennie, I'm so scared! What if Jared decides to come in here and punish us?!"

"Oh Mother!" Gwen paused. "Did you hear that?" There was a distinctive creaking sound, like decades old floorboards being stepped on for the first time in ages.

"Do you think it's a ghost Gwennie? I always thought this place felt haunted!"

And then, they heard the crack of a seal being broken, and saw the bookcase start to swing open.

There was a rush of confusion, as Little Ethan stepped out into the study.

"What's going on? How did you get in here? Where did you come from? We're locked in! Let's go Mother!" Gwen's mouth was running a mile a minute.

"No Gwen. You can't go up there! Jared is up there fighting with my Mom and Uncle Ethan. Listen!" He held up the baby monitor for her to hear.

"Down. On the floor now Ethan." Gwen could hear shuffling on the floor, and then a "thud" as she guessed what could only be Ethan forced to his knees and what sounded like clicks of handcuffs. "Now Tess, you and I have some talking to do. Why don't you go kiss the children goodbye, and you, me and our baby are going to say goodbye to Harmony forever."

"NO! I will not leave my children!" Theresa sobbed. Somehow she had to get out of this mess. CLICK.

Gwen knew that sound all too well. Jared had a gun.

---
"Alright Luis. Get that copied to disc, and we're heading back to Harmony. I don't know how long we have, but I already called ahead to Sam. He's sending backup to the mansion."

"This is all about to be over with Fance. Finally. As soon as we get that whackjob behind bars, we can all move on with our lives. Together." Luis gave her a quick kiss on the nose. "All set. Let's go."

---
"Those steps go up to my bedroom. Mom told me a story when I was little, but I thought it was just a story. She thinks I'm still in there I bet. Jane is in there!" Little Ethan cried. "We have to go get her!"

"Wait! You can't go back up there, Little Ethan. It's too dangerous. As long as Jane is still sleeping, we have to let her stay up there. Your mother is up there, she'll protect Jane. She would do anything to protect you kids," Gwen hated to admit that outloud, but Theresa was a wonderful mother.

Just then, Rebecca pointed up at the small dormer window. "Look! Flashing lights!"

"That's pretty smart of them not to have the sirens on," Little Ethan said. He already took after his Grandpa Sam and didn't even know it yet.

On the monitor, they could hear Jared demanding Theresa go say goodbye to the kids again.

"Okay, okay Jared. Please, let me do this in private. I don't want them getting scared. I'll just kiss them goodnight again, and then we can leave."

"Good, I'm glad you finally see my reasoning. I've just got a few things to take care of here with Ethan, and then our new lives can begin."

On the babymonitor, Gwen could hear footsteps fading away from the monitor in Jane's room, which would be Jared, and footsteps approaching the monitor, which would be Theresa. For once in her life, Gwen was rooting for Theresa. She could hear the ruffling of bedding, and she prayed Theresa would find the hidden staircase that Little Ethan came down through.

---
"Little Ethan?" Theresa whispered. She carried Jane, cradled up against her shoulder and neck, and searched around his room. "Don't be afraid, baby. Mommy's here, and I'm going to get us out of this-" she trailed off. The closet door was open. "Oh my goodness, I completely forgot about this! But if I go down, how will I know if Ethan is safe? I've got to get Jane out of here, and then I'll come back for Ethan!"

She stepped into the closet, shifted Jane to her other arm, and closed the door behind her. At least if Jared came in to find her, he wouldn't know where she went. She needed all the headstart she could get. At the top of the steps, she bent down, and pressed the button to close the trapdoor, and slowly, quietly started down the stairs.

---
Rebecca and Gwen were pounding on the door, hoping that the police would hear them and open the door from the outside.

Little Ethan was sitting on the settee with Gwen's laptop, trying to see what was going on outside in the rest of the house, trying to see where the police were, and if anyone else was around. He could see that Uncle Ethan was handcuffed to the footboard on the floor of his mom's room, and Jared was sitting on his back, waving a gun in the air.
But where was his mom? He didn't see her in his or Jane's room. But wait! His closet door was shut!

"Mom!" he shouted, as Theresa came out from behind the bookcase, Jane in her arms.

"Theresa! I've never been so glad to see you!" Gwen sighed in relief, and she knew she wasn't lying when she said that. She rushed over and gave Theresa a big hug, and Rebecca nearly fainted.

"Gwen! Oh my goodness! We have to get out of here and get help! Jared is the blackmailer! Ethan's in trouble!"

Rebecca straighted herself up, and went back to pounding on the door.

"What's wrong? Why can't we get out of here?" asked Theresa.

"Jared locked the door from the outside, and we've been stuck in here for a couple of hours. We found JT's memory stick Theresa. We've known he's been the blackmailer for only a few hours, and then he walked in behind us, and told us we weren't going anywhere, and locked us in!"

"Wait, you knew he was the blackmailer? Why didn't you call anyone for help?" Theresa wailed.

"Because Jared cut the phones, you ninny! You didn't think we would call for help? Gwennie tried, twice!" Rebecca shrieked.

"Okay, okay, Mom, Gwen, Rebecca - calm down! Help is just outside the mansion! Look Mom, I got into Grandpa Alistar's camera system. Keep pounding on the door!"

All three of them started pounding on the door, while Little Ethan took Jane on the settee next to him, keeping an eye on the cameras. "Uncle Luis is here! And Fancy!"

"Luis! Fancy!" Theresa cried out. Please, please let them hear us, she prayed. Damn Alistair for soundproofing this room!

"What's going on in the hallway, Little Ethan? Can you see them? Is Luis coming our way? Can anyone hear us?" Gwen asked.

"Back up!!" he cried.

iLoveET
12.20.09, 9:10 PM
Ch. 14

"Fance? You hear that?" Luis thought he heard a faint thud, thud, thud coming from the hallway to the study.

"Yeah, I think so. Sam, we'll check out behind these doors, you should probably head upstairs to the North wing. And be careful! We are pretty sure we saw Jared with a gun on the camera system!"

Sam reached over and gave Luis his ankle piece. "You might be needing this, buddy. Be careful, you don't know who's behind that door. The boys and I will head upstairs and bag this creep once and for all." Sam took off up the stairs with backup.

---
"So Ethan, once and for all you are going to be out of Tess's life. It's too bad though, that you will never live to see our baby, Tess's and mine. That's right buddy, someone other than you got Tess knocked up."

"Liar!" Ethan shouted.

"I got Tess pregnant, Ethan. That's right, me!"

"No! She tricked you! She's not pregnant with your baby at all!" Ethan knew he had to buy himself some time. If only he didn't get his brains blown out in the process.

"Of course she's pregnant, you idiot. I was right there when she got the results of the pregnancy test. She's pregnant alright. And there's nothing you can do about it." Jared sneered. He was rather enjoying this. Might as well inflict some more pain on Ethan, physically as well as emotionally. He started bouncing around on Ethan's back.

"You're crazy man! Theresa would have told me!"

"She's not your wife Ethan. Tess is my wife. Of course she wouldn't have told you, idiot."

"It all makes perfect sense now Jared. You blackmailed Theresa into marrying you. Do you even love her? Do you even know what love is?" Ethan struggled to take a deep breath, trying to calm himself down.

"Of course I love her!"

"Then why did you have to blackmail her?"

"Because she was in love with you! It didn't matter that you were still married to Gwen! She was still in love with you. It was the only thing I could do to steal her away from you. And now she's fallen in love with me, and we're going to leave Harmony and start our lives together with our child."

My child, Ethan thought. Lord, please let me get out of this alive. My family needs me.

---

"It's no use Fance. This is some sort of special lock. Stand back, and keep that gun steady. I'll kick the door open on 3. One, two-"

Crash! Luis smash-kicked through the door.

"FREEZE!" Fancy shouted, waving the gun back and forth.

"Aunt Fancy, don't shoot!" Little Ethan shouted.

Luis got to his feet and ran over to grab his sister up in a bearhug. "I'm so glad you're safe. And the kids are here, too. That's good news. Come on, let's get you out of here. Rebecca, grab onto my arm, I'll help you out."

"Why, Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald, it would be an honor if you would escort me out!" She gushed.

"Luis! Ethan is still upstairs! And Jared has a gun!" Theresa cried.

"How'd you get down here?"

"There's a hidden staircase. Jared doesn't know about it yet," Little Ethan informed him.

Fancy swept Jane up into her arms, and handed the gun to Luis. "Come on ladies, time to get out of here. Luis, be careful up there. You can corner him, remember, Sam is on the other end of the room."

"But, I thought you were going to help me, Luis" Rebecca pouted.

"Come on Mother, I'll help you out," and maybe help you into Rehab, Gwen thought.

The ladies and Little Ethan piled out of the study as Luis started up the hidden staircase.