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Thread: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

  1. #17

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 16 - "The Bandage"

    The morning light softly found its way into the deep pit. Sheridan awakened and went to check on her injured brother. Julian started to stir and tried to sit up. "Do you think you're ready to do that?" she asked, gently grabbing hold of his arm.

    "More than ready," he said. "I think I'm feeling quite a bit better this morning." He slowly sat up with Sheridan's help.

    "Is your back all right?" she asked, concern in her voice.

    "I don't think it's broken, if that's what you mean," he said. "But I'm not going to pretend it doesn't hurt. I think I'll have a nasty bruise on it."

    "You're lucky," his sister said. "I was so afraid. At first, I thought you were dead. And then I was afraid you may have broken your back - that you wouldn't be able to walk."

    "Fortunately, I'm still here," he said. "And all in one piece, although," he stopped, wincing in pain as he tried to sit up straighter.

    "Although what, Julian? What's wrong?"

    He placed his hand gingerly on his right side. "I think I may have broken some ribs. That beastly clown with the bat must have done it when she struck me."

    Sheridan's eyes revealed how worried she was. "I don't know what we can do for broken ribs," she said.

    "Nothing," her brother said sadly. "If we had some tape, I guess we could bandage them - so I could move around."

    "Maybe we could make a bandage, Julian," Sheridan said suddenly. "Your t- shirt - if we get it off you, maybe we can rip it to make a bandage."

    "I guess it's worth a try," he said. Sheridan carefully helped him slip out of his jacket, going even slower when she could tell by his face that he was in pain. She then unbuttoned his shirt. She was able to get it off of him as well, as he carefully lifted his arms to help.

    "Now the t-shirt's going to be the hardest part, Julian," she said. You're going to have to raise your arms as high as you can. I'll go slowly."

    He smiled as Sheridan started taking off his shirt. "You know, usually when a woman's taking off my clothes, it's under slightly different circumstances."

    Sheridan laughed. "We're almost there," she said as she finally pulled the t-shirt over his head.

    "Now that you've succeeded in getting that t-shirt off of me, what are you going to do with it?" he asked, grinning as much as his injuries would allow.

    Sheridan said, "I'm going to rip it, of course!"

    "Oh, you're going to rip it, are you?" he joked. "I have to see this!"

    "Well, you will!" she declared, as she struggled to no avail in her attempts at ripping the shirt. "I'm glad to see you're feeling so much better that you can make light of what I'm trying to do!"

    "Here, let me help you," Julian said kindly. "Let's put one end under your foot - like that. Now you and I are going to pull up at the same time - in different directions...on the count of three."

    "Are you sure you can do this? I mean, you're hurt." Sheridan said worriedly.

    "That's all right, dear. It's my good side that will be doing most of the pulling. Besides, it will only hurt for a second. Are you ready? One, two, three..."

    Sheridan and Julian pulled hard on the shirt at the same time. It ripped slightly. "See there? You've got it started," Julian said.

    "I think I can handle it from here," Sheridan said confidently. She finished ripping the shirt apart.

    "There, now I just have to wrap this around you..." She carefully put the makeshift bandage around her brother's midsection, tying it in back. "Is that too tight?" she asked. "I know it has to be pretty tight, but..."

    "It's fine - perfect," Julian said, sighing. "What did I ever do to deserve a kind nurse like you?"

    "I'm flattered, patient," she joked. "But since I am the nurse, and you are my patient, I get to order you around, right? So, that's what I'm going to do. It's time for you to get some rest."

    "Rest? I just got up!" he argued playfully.

    "Now, Julian, you know that if we weren't in this pit, you would be in a hospital. You really do need to lie down and get some rest. Why don't you let me help you over to the cushion?"

    "No," Julian said, "that cushion's for you, Sheridan. You're pregnant. I'm perfectly fine here on this blanket."

    "All right," she sighed, realizing he wouldn't give in. "Just as long as you lie down. I think those ribs of yours have had enough movement for one day."

    "Fine, fine. I'm not one to argue with my nurse," Julian said, lying down on the blanket.

    "Oh, Julian, I'm so glad you're going to be OK," Sheridan admitted. "I was really worried about you. You know, what could have been an awful day has turned into a kind of happy time, hasn't it? I mean, as happy of a time as two people being held captive might have."

    Her brother nodded. "You're right about that." Silently, he knew how true her words were. He knew that what lay ahead for both of them would be anything but happy. He closed his eyes and thought of how sweet Sheridan had been to him - how much she reminded him of his mother. He thought of Eve next. Would he ever have the chance to see his beautiful love again? He drifted off to sleep with Eve's face in his mind...

  2. #18

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 17 - "The Bombshell"

    Charlie bounded into the Wallace kitchen, whistling a happy tune. Mrs. Wallace turned around from the sink. "What in Heaven's name has you in such a good mood this morning?" she asked.

    "Oh, I don't know - just maybe how our little plan is working out so well. Beth, me, and the baby will all be one big happy family real soon."

    "I wouldn't hold your breath," said Mrs. Wallace. "Luis will find Sheridan. He'll put you and Bethie in prison for this."

    "If we go to prison, you will too, old woman!" Charlie yelled. "And prison would be worse for you than any of those nursing homes Beth's been talking about...much worse. You know, some of my best friends are locked up, and they'd take one look at that those pretty green eyes of yours - woo!"

    Mrs. Wallace's eyes widened in fear.

    "Oh, and how they would love to chase you around with that little walker," Charlie continued.

    "All right, all right, I won't say anything more about Luis," Mrs. Wallace grumbled. "I just hope your and Bethie's little plan doesn't end up putting all three of us in the big house."

    "It won't," Charlie declared. "I just took a big step to keep that from happening last night."

    "How? What did you do?" Mrs. Wallace inquired.

    "Well, Dame Edna, let's just say I put the cops off of Julian Crane's trail. They won't be tearing the town up searching for him."

    "Why not?" Mrs. Wallace asked in surprise. "I mean, he's a Crane, isn't he? He owns this town. I'm sure Luis is out there right now searching for him. He's Sheridan's brother!"

    "Doesn't matter, see," Charlie explained, "because nobody's going to think Julian Crane was kidnapped - not after last night."

    "What happened last night?" Mrs. Wallace asked, half afraid to hear the answer.

    "It seems Julian Crane had a bad accident. His car went over a cliff and wound up in the ocean!" Charlie laughed.

    Mrs. Wallace's eyes were as wide as saucers. "You...you didn't put Julian in the car and send it over the cliff, did you?"

    "I wish," Charlie said. "Nah, Bethie thought that would be too risky. She thinks it's best to take care of the two of them at the same time, you know. I suppose she wants me to shoot 'em and fill in the pit. Me? I'd like to see them slowly starve to death, especially Blondie."

    "Neither of those ideas sound too good," Mrs. Wallace said, making a sick face. "Hey, wait a minute! If Julian Crane wasn't in the car, how are they going to think he's dead? I mean, won't they still be looking for him?"

    "See, that's the really good part of Beth's plan. They'll be looking for him all right - in the ocean! I rolled down the car window. They'll just think his body washed out to sea. As far as they're concerned, Julian Crane is dead! HA HA HA HA!"



    Eve sat down at the kitchen table with her cup of coffee. "It's finally nice to have a day off," she thought. She grabbed an orange from the bowl of fruit on the table and began to peel it. As she did this, her thoughts turned to Julian. Rebecca had said he didn't come home the night before last. Eve had tried to call him on his cell phone several times since then, but did not get an answer. She wondered if he had come home yet.

    "I hope he's OK," she said to herself. Eve was pretty sure he was. She always knew Julian as a man who could take care of himself. Still, it was kind of strange for him to run off like that, without telling anyone. Luis had tried to dismiss the whole thing, assuming Julian was off having a fling somewhere. Eve didn't believe that - not the new Julian, the changed Julian.

    Of course, if he were having a fling, how could she really blame him? After all, she had told him in no uncertain terms that there was no chance for a future with her - that her place was with her husband, and her heart belonged to him.

    She reflected on the conversation she had had with him that night on the wharf, several nights after they had kissed. The look of pain in his eyes when she had spoken those words to him was embedded in her head. How much she had wanted to hug him right then, to kiss him once more - but she knew she couldn't. She was married, and her place was with TC.

    Eve fingered the pieces of orange peel on the table. "Maybe he did run off somewhere, because of what I said that night," she thought. It had been over two weeks, but maybe he just couldn't stand it anymore and had to leave town for awhile. Eve knew him so well, as much as he knew her, as much as he knew what was in her heart. She shuddered. Julian knew that what she had told him about TC owning her heart was not exactly true. She could tell by his reaction. That was what had stung him the most - that she was living a lie.

    Eve quickly wiped those thoughts out of her head. "I can't go there," she told herself. She knew if she searched her heart, she couldn't face what she would find.

    Instead, Eve concentrated on figuring out what had happened to Julian. Maybe he had gotten a lead on their son. Julian had hired a private investigator to search for the child that she had given birth to - their child, the child they believed had been stolen from the hospital so long ago.

    "If he got a lead, wouldn't he call me?" she wondered. He had promised to let her know the minute he found out anything. Still, maybe he didn't want to, after what she had said to him. No, she thought, Julian wouldn't have let that bother him. He would have respected her wishes and kept her informed.

    She started to feel more concerned than ever about his whereabouts. "I should call the police and ask what's going on with the case," she said aloud. But what reason would she give them? What reason could she come up with that would explain why she wanted to know what they had found out? She knew she couldn't tell them the truth - that inside her heart was suddenly sick with fear...

    Eve realized that she didn't care what the police thought. She just had to find out something. "I'll call Luis," she decided. After all, she was there the day Rebecca had reported to Luis that Julian was missing. "Luis will fill me in," she told herself, "especially since I helped him with Sheridan's case."

    Eve walked over to pick up the telephone. As she did, TC entered the kitchen, a big smile on his face. Eve put the phone down and walked over to greet her husband. "Good morning. You sure look bright and chipper today."

    "I think it's going to be a good day," he said, "a good day for all of Harmony, but especially for my family."

    "Why? What's up, TC?" she asked, smiling slightly at her husband's words. Had something finally good happened after all the tragedies lately?

    "Oh, I just heard something on the radio that kind of made my day," he answered. "Now, you know I'm not one to relish in other people's misfortunes, but in this case, I feel justified."

    "TC, just tell me, what is it about?" Eve asked. She felt a sudden unexpected chill come over her.

    "Julian Crane," he said simply.

    Eve's heart sank in her chest. She momentarily forgot to breathe. Her palms were suddenly drenched with sweat. Finally, after taking a deep breath and swallowing hard, she asked, "What did you hear? Is he still missing?"

    "Better than that," TC said smugly. "They announced on the radio that our favorite Harmony resident is more than likely dead."


  3. #19

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 18 - "Nightmare"

    Eve stood frozen in her tracks. For a moment she could not breathe, see, or hear. She could only feel. A terrible sense of dread came over her as her stomach churned, and a wave of terror shot through her whole being.

    Finally she was able to speak, "Ju-Julian, dead?"

    "Well, the police think that he's probably dead," TC admitted.

    "How...how did it happen?" Eve asked, her voice shaking.

    "It was a car accident. Apparently last night, Julian drove his car over the edge of a cliff just outside of town. They've recovered the car, but they haven't found a body yet."

    "So he might be alive?" she asked, grasping at the tiniest sliver of hope in what TC had just said.

    "I doubt it, honey. I don't think anyone could have survived that kind of crash. And if he had lived through it, they would have found him by now..."

    "Maybe it wasn't Julian in the car," Eve said hopefully. "Maybe it was someone else...I don't know, someone who borrowed his car? That's probably what happened." She smiled to herself. "He's OK then," she thought.

    "I guess that's possible, but not likely," TC said. "I mean, can you see Julian Crane letting anyone drive his sports car? I don't even think he'd let Rebecca drive it. Anyway, I don't wish anything bad on anyone else - you know I never wish harm on anyone, honey. But if there's one person in this town I would like to see get his just due, it's Julian Crane."

    Eve drew in a deep breath as a wave of fear again came over her. Her stomach was so upset, she knew she was going to get sick.

    She ran to the bathroom, with TC close at her heels. Slamming the door shut behind her, she lifted the toilet lid and dropped to her knees before it just in time...

    "Honey, are you OK in there?" TC called, worry very much apparent in his voice.

    Eve sank down beside the toilet, sobbing. She pulled her legs up to her chest and collapsed her head on her knees. She totally forgot where she was for the moment as she gave in to her emotions.

    "Eve, do you think you have the flu? Was it something you ate?" TC continued to inquire through the closed door.

    Lost in her pain, Eve could not hear him. Her mind was someplace else - somewhere far away in time and space...

    After a few more minutes, TC rapped on the door. "Eve, honey, do you want me to come in? I'm worried about you."

    Eve snapped back to the present. "Wha-What?" she called out. Looking at the door, she realized who had spoken. "No, TC, I'm OK," she said, her voice shaky. "It was probably just something I ate."

    "Oh," he said through the door. "I thought for a minute there it was more than that."

    "What do you mean, TC?" she asked, trying to make her voice sound natural, but really not even caring to cover up her feelings.

    "Well, for a moment it flashed through my head that you might be pregnant, that you might be having morning sickness."

    "No, TC, it's not morning sickness," she said. "Would you give me a few minutes? I just think I need time to recover."

    "Sure," he said, sounding confused. TC walked back to the kitchen.

    Eve's head fell back once more on her knees. Tears flowed freely from her eyes. "Julian, you can't be dead," she said. "You can't be gone."

    Her body began shaking uncontrollably as her weeping continued. "I need you," she pleaded to him, hoping that somewhere, somehow he could hear her. "I need you in my life. You can't be gone; I love you."



    Julian snapped awake from his nap in the bottom of the pit. "Eve," he said to himself. "Something's wrong..."

    Sheridan walked over to where Julian was lying on the blanket. She knelt down beside him. "Are you all right?" she asked worriedly. "I thought I heard you say that something was wrong."

    "Oh, I am fine," her brother replied, trying to shake off what he was feeling. "It must have been a bad dream," he thought to himself. "I'm sure Eve's all right..."

    "Good," Sheridan said. "I didn't want my favorite patient having any more problems."

    "I'm your only patient," Julian said with a smile. "But you know, you do make a fine nurse. I'm sure the hospital could use your services. Since I am on the board, maybe I could put in a good word for you."

    "Well, maybe I'll have to check into that someday," she joked. Then turning serious, she said, "Julian, you don't know how glad I am you're going to be OK."

    He smiled. "I have to be. I have to make sure you're all right, until Luis comes."

    Sheridan nodded. "And he will come; I know that. I just hope it's before..."

    "Before the baby comes?" he asked, reading her mind.

    "Oh, God, Julian," Sheridan said, rubbing her hand over her stomach. "What am I going to do if this baby arrives before Luis finds us? How am I going to have my baby here in this pit?" A sense of dread overtook her, and she shivered at the horrible thought of giving birth to her beautiful baby in this hellish prison.

    "That's not going to happen," Julian insisted. "Luis is going to find us soon; you'll see. And anyway, I would never let anything happen to you or your baby. You can believe that."

    "I know, Julian," Sheridan said, giving him a slight grin. "As I told you before, if you weren't here, I don't know what I'd do."

    "AWWWWWWW, such touching words!" Charlie yelled from above.

    The two prisoners looked up once again to see the dreaded woman in the clown mask peering at them over the edge of the pit.

    "Good day to you too," Julian returned.

    "It is a good day!" countered Charlie. "And I'm glad to see you're doing better. Of course, that's not what the town of Harmony believes..."

    "What do you mean?" Julian asked, taking her bait.

    "Oh, let's just say the great, powerful Julian Crane had an accident last night. It seems his car plunged over a cliff. Of course, they haven't found a body yet...but then the ocean current can be tricky!" She laughed evilly.

    "You crashed Julian's car?" Sheridan cried. "You made everyone think he was dead? How could you?"

    "Oh, it was easy," Charlie answered. "And it will help keep everyone off his trail, and yours."

    "I can't believe she did that," Sheridan said, turning to Julian. "Luis will know something's not right; you have to believe that."

    Julian nodded hopefully. He thought of his earlier dream about Eve. Was it really a dream, or was it Eve crying out to him? "Is that what was wrong?" he thought apprehensively. "Does Eve think I'm dead?"


  4. #20

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 19 - "Mourning Julian"

    Eve slowly opened the bathroom door. She knew she would have to face TC eventually. She had been in the bathroom for what seemed like hours, but on checking her watch discovered it had only been thirty minutes.

    Eve had calmed down enough after the initial shock to compose herself. She had stopped crying; she had no more tears left to cry. She had made an attempt to wash her face and straighten her clothes, but she really did not care what she looked like.

    Taking a deep breath, she walked back to the kitchen. TC was still there, reading the morning newspaper. He looked up when he heard her coming. "Hi, honey, how are you feeling?" he asked, concerned.

    "I've felt better," she replied. "I'll be OK. I...I think I just need to rest."

    "All right, honey. You don't look so good. Why don't you go upstairs and lie down?"

    "I think I will," Eve said. Her eyes roamed to the newspaper TC was reading. "Is there anything in there about...?"

    "About Julian Crane's accident?" he finished for her. "No, I guess they didn't have any information when they printed this. All I know is what I heard on the radio - that his car was seen going over a cliff last night. They got the car out, but didn't find a body. The reporter said things didn't look good for Crane. Let's hope he was right."

    "TC, that's a terrible thing to say," Eve scolded, fresh tears forming in her eyes.

    "Baby, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you. Look at you. You are the most perfect wife a man could ever want - the most perfect person. You even worry about people you don't like."

    "I...I know Julian from the hospital, and we've seen him around town a lot these last few years. He saved Whitney's life in the elevator accident, don't you remember? We wouldn't have our girl if it weren't for him."

    "Yeah, I remember," TC said. "I always wondered why he did that - saved Whitney. Julian Crane never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him."

    "I think he's changed," Eve said. "He's become a better person since everyone thought he was dead."

    "Well, I certainly didn't see any difference," her husband countered. "But I hope for his sake it's true, because where he's going..."

    Eve shuddered at the thought of what TC was trying to say. It brought back the reality of Julian's likely death. She let out a little wail, and then put her hand over her mouth.

    TC looked at her with concern in his eyes. "You are really not feeling well, are you?" he said. "You just go lie down. I'll check on you later."

    Eve walked slowly toward the stairs. Her hand had never left her mouth in order to prevent another sob from escaping. On the way upstairs, she wondered why TC never caught onto how she was feeling - that she was in tremendous grief. Eve was glad that her secret past with Julian didn't come out, however...not on this day of all days. She couldn't have handled it. Still, she couldn't believe TC didn't pick up on any of the clues. "Doesn't he know me at all?" she wondered.

    Reaching the bedroom, Eve closed and locked the door. She collapsed on the bed and gave into her emotions once more. She was safe here - safe to be herself, safe to feel what only she could feel...

    She fell asleep after she had once more rid herself of all her tears.



    Luis rummaged through Julian Crane's accident report. He had been in his car when a witness called to report the incident. Luis was one of the first officers to respond to the accident. He remembered feeling surprised when he later found out the car belonged to Julian Crane.

    Something about the whole case bothered Luis. First, Julian had recently been reported missing by Rebecca - but he had been missing since a day and a half before the accident. Also, Julian's car was apparently headed out of town when he went over the cliff, but nobody in town had seen or spoken to him since his disappearance. Rebecca maintained she had not seen or heard from Julian in the last two days.

    Luis had been sure that Julian was merely off having a fling with some girl, so he hadn't even bothered to check out any leads on his disappearance - until the accident. Now, he was not so sure. Something smelled pretty fishy about the whole thing.

    While Luis did not personally care at all for Julian, he was a police officer, and as such would do his best to solve the case. What really started to get to him was the fact that two Cranes were currently missing - Sheridan and Julian, and one was likely dead. He suddenly wondered if there was something more behind Julian's accident: Had he been targeted by the same people who took Sheridan?

    His suspicions were further aroused when he had looked through the preliminary accident report. No body was found. The driver's side window had been left open, which could explain that. The car was empty, except for a piece of driftwood. That could have floated in through the window, of course...

    Luis shook his head. Something did not seem right about the whole thing. Taken separately, each piece of evidence seemed all right - it was explainable. But when it was all put together, there were a lot of empty holes.

    "Hey, Sam," he called, "anything else come in on the Crane accident?"

    "Nothing new," Sam replied. "No body found yet, if that's what you mean."

    "That's strange too," Luis said. "The accident occurred near shore. The tide was coming in. Surely a body would have washed up to shore by now."

    "It is a little puzzling," Sam admitted. "What do you make of everything you've seen so far on the case?"

    "Something's off," Luis said. "I don't know what yet, but something is not right here."

    "I think I'm inclined to agree," Sam revealed. "If we just took the accident itself, I would think it's a little odd, but throw in the fact that Julian had already been reported missing - I don't know. Something doesn't fit."

    "Two Cranes - two strange disappearances," Luis said. "You don't think Alistair...?"

    "I wouldn't put anything past Alistair," Sam said. "Didn't he hire the guy that impersonated you that time?"

    "He and Julian," Luis replied. "And that's just it. I can see Alistair doing something to Sheridan, but not to his prized son. I can't see him wanting to hurt Julian. He's his mouthpiece."

    "I don't know, Luis," said Sam. "What is your gut feeling about all this?"

    "My gut tells me there's something fishy about this accident, and it has nothing to do with the fish that were swimming around Julian's car."

    "Was Crane really in it?" Sam asked. "Or is this some big smokescreen?"

    "I don't know," Luis said. "If it is, then who's behind it? Either Julian wants to make it look like he's dead for whatever reason or..."

    "Or someone else has gone to a lot of trouble to make it look that way," Sam deduced. "And if that's the case, we need to find out why."

    "The press has practically declared him dead," Luis said.

    "I know," said Sam. "And he may be dead. But I don't think it's cut and dried."

    "Far from it," agreed Luis. He picked up the accident report once more. "The key's here; I just know it."

    "I'm going to have to talk to the press," Sam said. "You take your time. I want a thorough investigation here. Don't leave any stone unturned."

    "What are you going to tell the press in the meantime?" Luis asked.

    "I'm going to tell them the truth - that this is an ongoing investigation, and that any reports of Julian Crane's death were premature."

    "As would be appropriate in any investigation where there's no body," Luis said. "That's good."

    "If Alistair or someone else is behind this," Sam said, "they won't know we're onto them, just that we haven't closed the investigation yet, and won't - not until a body's found."

    "I think that's the right path to take," Luis admitted. "It's the middle ground for this case. We're not saying he's dead, but we're not revealing our true suspicions either."

    "I thought you'd agree with that approach," Sam said, turning to go back to his desk.

    "And anyway, it's not like anyone really cares a whole lot about Julian Crane, one way or the other," Luis declared. "I bet there's no one out there grieving over the reports of his presumed death, not even Rebecca."

    "No, Rebecca will be grieving," Sam said, "for the loss of all that Crane money. They weren't married, remember?"

    "Well, then there's one person in town who's sorry he's dead," Luis said. "But I bet she's the only one."

  5. #21

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 20 - "Julian Opens Up"

    Sheridan awoke and sat up on the cushion she had been sleeping on. She turned around to look at her brother. Julian was already awake, sitting against the wall of the pit. He smiled at her.

    "So, you sure look better," Sheridan said.

    "I feel a lot better," Julian agreed. "Your nursing did the trick, sister dear."

    She smiled. "I did the best I could. I'm just glad you're OK."

    "Well, I've seen better days," he admitted, "but I am definitely on the mend."

    "How long have we been here now?" she asked.

    "Together? Three days," Julian said. "But you were here two weeks before I arrived. I don't know how you stood it for that long."

    "I almost didn't," Sheridan revealed. "Now you know why I've lost all track of time."

    "That's certainly understandable," said Julian. "One can forget about a lot of things down here."

    "Being trapped down here does make you focus on what's important in your life," Sheridan said. "I never stop thinking about Luis. He's always on my mind - he and our baby." She smiled, patting her stomach. She was now eight months pregnant.

    "You never think of Antonio then?" Julian inquired. "I mean, I understand your undying love for Luis, but don't you think about Antonio as well?"

    Sheridan shook her head sadly, feeling somewhat guilty. "That's just it. I don't think about him," she said. "It's all about Luis. I guess that's one good thing about being down here. It certainly cleared my head of what was not important."

    Julian raised his eyebrows in surprise. "I know you cared for Antonio or you wouldn't have married him."

    "Oh, I do care about him," she said. "I even loved him at one time, but it was nothing like what I feel for Luis. I can see things so much better now. How I wish that we had just told Antonio the truth months ago! Then Luis and I could have been together all this time. Now all those months seem like they were wasted. I realize now how precious that time really was."

    Julian nodded sadly. "I know what you mean about wasted time. I feel that way myself sometimes...like I've wasted a lot of years."

    "You mean with Ivy?" Sheridan asked. "I know the two of you didn't really have a conventional marriage. At least that's over with now, Julian. You've moved on with Rebecca."

    "Yes, Rebecca," he said. "More wasted time..."

    "Julian, I thought you and Rebecca were close," Sheridan said.

    "Appearances aren't always what they seem, my dear," he replied. "Rebecca and I have had some fun times together, but really it meant nothing compared to..."

    "Compared to what, Julian?" she asked. "Who were you closer to than Rebecca and Ivy?"

    Julian hesitated about saying anymore to Sheridan. He had never told anyone of his feelings for Eve. No one knew how he truly felt except Eve and his father, of course. But Alistair was incapable of understanding love.

    "I...I did have a relationship once," he began, looking not at Sheridan, but instead at a spot on the wall of the pit opposite him. "It was a wonderful relationship. We loved each other completely." He smiled sadly and then continued. "She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. We had something so special together, a once in a lifetime kind of love. It reminds me of what you have with Luis."

    Sheridan's eyes widened at the realization that her brother was capable of such a deep love. She had never thought of Julian as someone who could harbor such strong emotions for someone. "Julian," she asked, "what happened to her? Where is she? Why aren't the two of you together?"

    "It's a long story," Julian said, finally looking at his sister. "You see, Father didn't want me with this woman. He had made a deal with the former governor that I marry his daughter."

    "I had no idea that you were in love with someone else when you married Ivy!" Sheridan exclaimed. "Julian, how could you go through with it?"

    "I was weak," Julian said, hanging his head. "Father threatened to disown me if I went against his wishes and married the woman I loved."

    "So it was the Crane fortune or the love of your life, and you chose the fortune," Sheridan said.

    "I'd give anything to have that choice back again," Julian declared. "I wouldn't make the same mistake again. I've regretted my actions everyday since."

    "But how could you do it, Julian? How could you just give up the woman that you loved?"

    "You're disappointed in me, aren't you? Well, I am in myself as well. Actually, I had planned to keep her in my life - as a ..."

    "A mistress? Julian! That's not how you treat the woman that you love."

    "I know, I know," he said. "Anyway, it never got to that point. When I saw her shortly before the wedding, I found out she was pregnant."

    "Julian!" Sheridan exclaimed. "You abandoned this poor woman and her baby? How could you?!"

    "We, it's a long story," he said. "I had to marry Ivy. At the time, that's what I believed. Now I know I could have chosen a far different path, and should have." He paused for a moment and took a deep breath. "Later, I heard that the baby died shortly after he was born."

    "Oh, Julian!" Sheridan cried. "How awful for both of you. That poor woman - what she had to go through, all alone. It must have been a nightmare for her."

    "It was," he said sadly. "I will never forgive myself for letting her go through that by herself."

    "It's such a heartbreaking story," Sheridan said. "So tragic. I feel for you, Julian, I do. But I especially feel for that poor woman and what she had to go through."

    "You and me both," Julian said, tears forming in his eyes. "That's not the end of the story, either. Recently, we - this woman and I - have come to believe that our child may not have died after all."

    "What do you mean?" Sheridan asked incredulously.

    "We think that maybe Father had him kidnapped from the hospital, and the doctors lied about his death."

    "My God! I know our father can be cruel, but even he wouldn't stoop to that level, would he? To kidnap an infant, and make the mother think he was dead..."

    "I believe Father could do even worse," Julian revealed. "I think he would have killed my son if he had to."

    Sheridan's eyes opened wide in total shock. "My God, Julian, why would he want to kill an innocent baby?" She placed her hands protectively on her stomach as she talked.

    "The child was an embarrassment to him, a thorn in his side," Julian offered. "When our father wants someone out of the way, it usually happens."

    Sheridan got up and walked over to comfort Julian. "I'm so sorry," she said, putting her hands on his shoulders. "I don't know what else to say. I've never heard such a tragic story."

    "There's more," Julian said, wiping a tear that had fallen from his eye. "But if it's all right with you, I think I'll wait until another time to talk about it."

    Sheridan hugged her brother. "Of course it can wait. I'm here for you, Julian, no matter what."

  6. #22

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 21 - "A Connection?"

    Eve sat on the living room couch, lost in thought. She had called in sick that day at work - the day after she had learned about Julian's accident. She just didn't know how she could function at her job. TC was at the school, helping with a summer tennis camp. He was worried about her, she could tell. He just assumed Eve had the flu, however. He could not recognize the signs that said she was undergoing tremendous inner pain.

    There was nowhere she could look that didn't remind her of what had happened to Julian. It was all over the newspapers, the radio, the TV and even the Internet. Julian Crane was a rich and powerful businessman. Even the national cable news stations were reporting on his accident.

    Eve had heard Sam's press conference live on TV the day before. He had not really revealed any facts about the accident, just told them that any reports that Julian Crane was presumed dead were premature. For all intensive purposes, he had stressed, it was an ongoing investigation. There was no evidence that anyone had died in the crash.

    Sam's statement had made Eve feel somewhat better. She was now clinging to the sliver of hope that Julian was really alive. Perhaps there was a chance.

    She could not believe how Julian's accident was affecting her. Yes, they had shared a great love once, and had a child together, but their romance was over long ago. For years she had hated him. In recent months they had become friends, even kissed once, but she still could not fathom why his possible demise was making her feel so empty inside, like her heart had been wrenched from her.

    Eve had barely been able to eat or sleep. When she closed her eyes, she only saw Julian. When she opened them after a brief nap, at first things were fine, until reality hit her again and the wave of loss crept over her once more.

    She spent hours thinking about their past together, about their child that may still be alive - the child Julian would likely never get to meet. She also thought about Julian in recent times - how he had been her close friend and confidante, always there to lend a hand. She thought also about the kiss they had shared, how passionate it had been, and how she had wanted more. Now she may never get a chance.

    Eve remembered how she had told Julian there could be no more kisses - that she loved her husband and belonged with him. She could still see the look of pain in his eyes. She had hurt him deeply, and now there was no going back.

    "I've got to snap out of this," Eve told herself. "For my family's sake, I've got to get over this." She knew she wouldn't be able to, not until some closure was brought to the case. "It's the not knowing that's the worst," she said. "I have to know. I have to find out what happened to Julian; I've got to know if he's OK."

    She stood up from the couch, grabbed her purse and keys, and headed to the door.



    "Is there still a mob of reporters outside?" Sam asked Luis, who had just entered the station.

    "Just as many as yesterday, if not more," Luis answered. "I tell you, this accident has got the whole world tuned into our little town."

    "Julian Crane is a wealthy, powerful man," Sam said. "Their family is almost as famous as the Kennedys. I guess we should have expected this."

    Luis nodded. "I didn't see all these reporters when it was announced that Sheridan was missing, or either of the times she was declared dead."

    "You're right, Luis, the Cranes have never been one to push their women to the forefront, especially in business."

    "I don't want Sheridan in the family business," Luis said, "but it would be nice if her family would show some sign that they cared about her. That bastard of a father of hers didn't even come to her own funeral."

    "I remember that," Sam said. "Luckily, Sheridan wasn't really dead. Do you think Alistair knew that?"

    "I wouldn't put it past him," Luis declared. "I think he tried to have Sheridan killed in Bermuda."

    "I can't believe a man would want to kill his own daughter," Sam said. "And for what reason?"

    Luis shook his head. "I don't know, Sam. And Julian's just as bad. I know he was into the mess in Bermuda up to his eyeballs. He'd do anything Alistair ordered him to do - even if it meant killing his own sister."

    Luis sat down at the chair behind his desk and fingered a pen lying on it. "Alistair and Julian never wanted Sheridan and me to be together. I don't know why. I thought it was the class thing before - me being a cop and the son of the Crane housekeeper. Or even that my last name contained the name "Lopez." But now, I'm not so sure. I mean, Alistair didn't object to Antonio marrying Sheridan. He even..."

    "What, Luis? He even what?" Sam asked, curious about what his friend had to say.

    Luis hesitated but decided to just come out and say it. "Alistair even blackmailed Antonio to keep Sheridan and me apart."

    "What?!" Sam cried in disbelief. "Antonio knew about you and Sheridan?"

    "The whole time he was here," Luis said, sighing. "I just found out yesterday. I finally had decided to tell Antonio the truth. What a joke that was! He admitted everything."

    "Was it all a big lie? Even Antonio's illness?" Sam asked.

    "No, Antonio was really ill, but I'm sure some of his little episodes were faked. I mean, how convenient that something always seemed to happen to him just when we were about to tell him the truth."

    "I would have beaten him to a pulp, brother or not," Sam said.

    "I almost did," Luis admitted, smiling at the thought of smashing Antonio's face in. "I did get in one good punch, but in the end, I thought it wasn't worth it. I needed to get back to Sheridan's case."

    "Where is Antonio now? Is he still at the cottage?" Sam inquired.

    "He's left Harmony," Luis replied. "I talked to Mama this morning. He said his goodbyes and left for parts unknown. Good riddance."

    "Did Antonio ever say what Alistair had on him?" Sam asked.

    "Nope, he just said it had something to do with the night our father disappeared. He wouldn't go into any details. I should have beaten it out of him, but right then, all I could think about was Sheridan."

    "This is good news for the two of you, Luis," Sam said, smiling.

    "It's the best news," Luis agreed, grinning broadly. "There's more too, but I want to tell Sheridan the rest first."

    Sam nodded. "We're going to find her, Luis."

    Luis put the pen down on his desk and met Sam's steady gaze with his own eyes, a look of determination in them. "I know we will, Sam. There's no doubt in my mind that Sheridan's alive, but I do believe she's in trouble. I'm going to do everything I can to find her - follow every lead."

    Picking up Julian's accident report, Luis added, "If that means finding out what really happened to Julian Crane, then I'll work on it night and day. There just may be a connection between their disappearances, and if there is, I'll find it."

  7. #23

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 22 - "Need for Atonement"

    Julian ate the last of his tuna sandwich and then made a face. "This stuff they're feeding us isn't exactly Harmony's best cuisine."

    "Good ole Psycho Clown probably didn't attend one of the world's leading culinary schools, did she?" Sheridan joked, grateful at being able to laugh for the first time in weeks.

    "Good Lord, I don't even think the lady has been to a McDonald's," Julian quipped, picking up a bottle of water to sip.

    "I didn't think you had ever been to a McDonald's either, Julian," Sheridan laughed.

    "I haven't, but I've heard stories," her brother answered, "probably from the help."

    Sheridan slowly drank her milk. She was grateful the kidnappers provided it for her. They did seem to look out for her baby, with the kinds of food they provided, and the fact that they got her some prenatal vitamins. "Julian, what do you think these people want with us?" she asked.

    "I don't know, but you can bet they don't have our best interests at heart."

    "Most kidnappings have to do with money, right?" Sheridan inquired, setting down her empty carton of milk.

    Julian nodded, "That or sex crimes, where they kill the victim immediately. And in this case, I don't think either one of those is the motive. I'm stumped. All I know is, it is you they were after. I'm not important to them."

    "I'm sorry I got you into this mess," Sheridan said. "If you hadn't come looking for me, you wouldn't be trapped here with me now."

    "Don't even think that, Sheridan," Julian said warmly. "There's no place I would rather be, with you being held down here in this hellhole. The last thing you would need is to be here alone."

    "What did I do to deserve a brother like you?" she asked, smiling at Julian's selflessness.

    "Oh, Sheridan, I've probably been the world's worst brother up until this point," Julian admitted sadly. "Before I came into this pit, we hadn't spoken in months. I guess I was trying to avoid you, which for all intensive purposes probably wasn't a bad thing."

    "What are you talking about, Julian? How could us not speaking to each other, not spending time together, be a good thing?" she asked, startled at his confession.

    "I haven't always had your best interests at heart, Sheridan," Julian revealed. "You know about some of the terrible things I have done - like hiring the imposter to keep you and Luis apart."

    "That was on Father's orders," Sheridan said quietly. "I have forgiven you for that."

    "It was all on Father's orders," Julian said, "but that's beside the point. The man is evil incarnate. I never should have listened to him. Because I did, I'm no better than one of Satan's hounds. And what was it all about? Money? Protecting the Crane name? You're my sister, for God's sake! You are more important than any piece of paper or world standing."

    "Thank you, Julian," she said, brushing a tear from her face. "I never thought I would hear you say those words."

    "There is so much more I want to say to you, but realize I can't, not in your condition. I just want you to know that in the past I haven't stood up for you, my sister, where our father was concerned. I've taken part in every sadistic scheme he has come up with - beginning when you were a little girl, and he sent you away to that sanitarium in France. I should have fought to protect you then, but I didn't. That's going to change."

    "Why did our father put me in that awful place, Julian? What was behind it all? Were my nightmares really true? Did I kill someone?" Sheridan inquired, becoming more alarmed with each question she asked.

    "No, you did nothing wrong," Julian said, trying to soothe her. "Alistair's motivations behind what he did aren't important. You just understand that it was nothing you did. You were the innocent victim in all of this."

    Sheridan nodded, feeling better about those terrible childhood events. "I've always been afraid that I did something horrible, something that made me unworthy of love. That's why I always thought fate seemed against me and Luis. I guess I felt I didn't deserve his love."

    "Don't think that," Julian said. "If there's anyone who doesn't deserve love, it's me. I've made a mess of my life."

    "You're talking about the woman you loved, the one you had a child with? I still can't believe that tragic story. You and I are a lot alike, Julian."

    "How so?" he asked, looking deep into her beautiful, emotional blue eyes.

    "We both are capable of incredible love," she answered simply. "And if we are unable to be with the person we love, it tears us up inside."

    "I've felt like that for years," Julian said, shifting his eyes to the wall of the pit, "until recently."

    "What happened recently?" Sheridan asked.

    "She and I have become closer," he replied, smiling a bit. "I love that too. I told you we are searching for our son. We have bonded over that search, and I have helped her through some tough times lately."

    "You mean she still lives in Harmony?" Sheridan asked, surprised. "Julian, you've lived in the same town as this woman, all your life? That must have been hard for you."

    "Very hard," he said. "But for years, our paths didn't cross. She led her life - a happy one with a husband and children and a successful career, while I led my sorry existence of a life."

    "So she married then and had a family?" Sheridan asked. "I think that's wonderful for her, after what she went through."

    "I am glad she was able to have more children," Julian admitted. "She loves children so much."

    "You said you have helped her through some tough times - is it family trouble?" Sheridan asked, careful not to pry too much.

    "It all has to do with our past together," Julian said, shifting uncomfortably. "There are so many things that could come out - more than the situation with the baby. Any one of these things could destroy her, the life she's built."

    "And you are trying to be noble and protect her from the secrets coming out?" Sheridan said.

    "I owe her that and so much more," he said, getting a far-away look in his eyes.

    "You really love her, don't you?" she asked, surprised at her own boldness.

    "With all my heart," he admitted. "She's all I ever seem to think about, night and day. She's always there, in the back of my mind. Sometimes I don't know how I'll make it through the day without hearing her voice. That's why I play her tapes; she was a singer, and I have copies of her music. I play her tapes, and I'll be lost in her voice for hours."

    "Forgive me if this is too forward of me," Sheridan said, "but I was wondering if she still feels the same way about you?"

    Julian smiled sadly. "You're not being forward. It's good to talk about it, really. And to answer your question - yes, I believe she does - though she hasn't admitted it."

    "You said she was married - happily I'm guessing?" Sheridan asked.

    "As happy as she can be with all the secrets," he answered. "I don't want to do anything to take that away from her - her family. It means so much to her."

    "You really do love her!"

    "More than life. That's not saying much considering the pathetic life I've lived."

    "I hope things can work out for the two of you somehow," Sheridan said, feeling her brother's pain.

    "I almost thought recently we had a chance," Julian said, relaying to her the story of their kiss. "I guess I couldn't be so fortunate. I still have a lot of atonement to do as far as she is concerned, just as I do with you."

    "Julian, if this woman feels the same way about you that you do about her, then she's going to be devastated when she finds out that your car went over that cliff."

    "I know," he said. "It's not something I want to see happen. I know some people might in my situation. They might be glad that their former lover is feeling pain because it shows that they still love them. I wouldn't wish pain on her, ever."

    Sheridan nodded, realizing at that moment that Julian's love for the woman from his past was greater than she had ever imagined.

  8. #24

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 23 - "Real Hope"

    Eve Russell walked into the police station and headed toward Luis's desk. She did not really know why she was there. It seemed her body had simply taken over and had led her to the station. Her mind and heart were still in turmoil. She took a deep breath as she approached Luis.

    "Dr. Russell! I'm surprised to see you here," Luis said, getting up from his chair. "It's crazy in here with all the stuff going on with Julian Crane's accident - a regular circus. Can I help you with anything? Everything's all right at home, isn't it?"

    "Yes, Luis, ev - everything is fine," Eve stammered. "I...I just wanted to know what you have found out about, about Julian Crane's accident."

    Luis got a confused look on his face. "Julian's accident? Why would you care about that? I mean, don't get me wrong - I know you're a very caring person, Dr. Russell, but I didn't think anyone in this town really gave a damn about Julian Crane."

    "I...I don't," Eve lied. "I am really here to represent the hospital. Julian is on the board. I was off duty today, so they called me to see if I could come over and check on things. The hospital has become quite a circus as well."

    "I think the whole town of Harmony has," Luis admitted. "You should see outside of the estate - there are TV trucks and vans lined up for miles. It's not much better at Crane Industries, either. Every place with a Crane connection in this town is completely overrun with reporters."

    Eve nodded. "So I've heard. Listen, Luis, is there anything at all you can tell me?" Her eyes pleaded with him for information.

    Luis noticed the concern in her eyes and voice. There was something in her eyes at that moment that reminded him of Sheridan. He thought for a moment about what she had requested and against his better judgment, decided to reveal a little of what he and Sam had discussed. "This is between you and me, Eve. It doesn't go back to the hospital - not yet, OK?"

    Eve's eyes widened in both fear and relief as she answered him, "Nothing you tell me will get out; I promise." She took a deep breath and clenched her hands, wet with perspiration, into fists at her sides. She tried to be ready for whatever Luis would tell her...

    "You know we don't have a body, right?" Luis began.

    Eve exhaled. She was so relieved that was still the case. "Thank God," she said under her breath.

    Luis noticed the extent of her reaction and was puzzled at it as he continued. "Sam and I think maybe the no body thing is a little too convenient."

    "What do you mean?" Eve asked, her heart racing.

    "We think, again, this is strictly confidential," he said, meeting her eyes with his. "Sam and I believe that this whole thing might have been staged, by Julian or someone else, to make it appear like he is dead."

    A wave of relief and joy swept through Eve's body at Luis's revelation. She smiled broadly at the unexpected news. "So you really think this was all faked; Julian is alive?"

    "Don't get ahead of me now," Luis cautioned. "He may be alive. I don't really know. Someone went to a whole lot of trouble to try to make us think otherwise, if my theory is correct. If it was Julian, then that bastard is going down for wasting the time and energy of this police department, when we all could have been looking for Sheridan."

    "Julian would never have done this," Eve said. "He wouldn't want...his family to think he was dead."

    "Julian's never given a damn about his family," Luis said. "Remember, he let everyone think he was dead before."

    "That was when he feared for his life," Eve explained. "I think just about everyone in town was gunning for him then." She looked down at the floor in order to hide her own guilt.

    Luis nodded in agreement. "I second you there. It wasn't too long ago that everyone in this town wanted Julian dead, and I mean everyone."

    "If it isn't Julian who is behind this, and I know it couldn't be, then who is it?" Eve asked, a worried look returning to her face.

    "I wish I could share the same faith in Julian that you have," Luis said, "but I don't. Still, if it wasn't him, then it has to be someone who was after him - someone who may have him - dead or alive. That's what really worries me, because if someone was after Julian..."

    "What, Luis?"

    "Then it might mean there's a vendetta against the Cranes. Maybe the same person has Sheridan. One of Julian's enemies could have both of them. Who knows what they would do to Sheridan? If they have Julian now, maybe she's expendable to them." His voice choked up as he said the last part of his sentence.

    Eve reached out and put her hand on Luis's arm. "It's going to be OK, Luis. They're going to be all right; you'll see. If someone does have both Julian and Sheridan, you know that Julian won't let anything happen to her."

    "Yeah, that'll be the day," Luis said dryly, wondering who Eve was talking about. Was it the same Julian Crane that he knew?

    Just then Rebecca Hotchkiss rushed into the police station. "Luis! Oh, Luis, there you are!" she cried, hurrying over to his desk. She gave Eve a look that seemed to say, "Why are you always hanging around Luis? Don't you have anything better to do?"

    "Rebecca, I suppose you want to speak about Julian's case," Luis said.

    "Well, of course I do!" she exclaimed. "He is my fiancÚ after all!"

    At that moment, Beth entered the station, wearing her sugar-filled pregnancy device. She had a big smile on her face. "Luis, can I talk to you? It's important."

    Luis nodded. "Rebecca, if you could wait just a minute, I need to speak to Beth." He ushered her over near the water cooler, where they were out of earshot of the two women.

    "What's up, Beth?" he asked.

    "I've missed you, Luis," she said. "It's been a long time since I've seen you."

    "I know," he agreed, "but you know I've been very busy working on Sheridan's case and now Julian's."

    "I heard about that," she said. "So Sheridan's brother is dead, it looks like."

    "Well, that may not be the case," Luis stated. "There still isn't a body yet."

    "But I thought it washed out to sea," Beth said. "That's what they hinted at on the news."

    Luis shrugged, "We just don't know, Beth. Is that all you wanted to speak to me about?"

    "Well, no, I wanted to talk about our baby. I thought maybe we could discuss names. If it's a boy, what do you think about ..."

    "I don't think this is the right time or place to discuss baby names," Luis said, cutting her off.

    Beth pouted. "Luis, what's wrong? I mean, I know you're worried about Sheridan, but something's different. What else has got you in such a foul mood?"

    "Antonio," Luis replied, looking at the floor. "My idiot of a brother - he had us all fooled."

    "What do you mean?"

    "He knew all along about me and Sheridan. It was all a big put-on by the stupid fool. He was working for Alistair the whole time."

    "I don't believe it," Beth said. "Why would he do something like that to you?"

    "He says it's because Alistair was blackmailing him. Who knows? That may all be a lie too."

    "So this means there's probably no hope for Sheridan and Antonio, huh?" Beth said, trying to hide her disappointment.

    Luis was shocked that she could even ask such a question. "Hell no. He's out of town already, and all I can say about that is good riddance."



    Rebecca looked at Eve and shook her head. "You sure like them young. Not that I blame you really. I mean, Luis is certainly a knock-out, especially when he's in uniform."

    "What are you talking about, Rebecca?" Eve asked, disgust creeping into her voice.

    "Well, it's just that every time I've seen you lately, it's been with Luis. If you're not after him, then why are you always hanging around him? I mean, I know that look."

    "What look?" Eve asked, raising her hands to emphasize that she had no clue what the other woman was talking about.

    "Oh, that look that says a woman is thinking of a man other than her husband. I've seen you have that look before. In fact, I see it right now. And if it's not Luis, then who?" Rebecca inquired, narrowing her eyes.

    "I don't know what you are talking about!" Eve said, turning to leave.

    "Oh, you can bet I'll find out!" Rebecca called after her. "I always do!"

    As Eve walked away, Rebecca added, "Of course, why you would want another man when you have TC is beyond me. He just has to be so virile!" She said this last statement with a yearning look in her eyes and a sappy grin on her face.

    Eve ignored Rebecca's racist remark. She walked past Luis and Beth on her way toward the door. She stopped and gave Luis a smile. "Thanks for all your help, Luis. I'll keep what you told me under wraps, until you say it's OK to let the hospital know."

    "Sure, Dr. Russell," Luis said, turning back to Beth. "I've really got to go now, Beth."

    "Luis, why don't you go out to lunch with me? We can go have a hamburger, anything!" Beth said, grabbing onto his arm.

    "Oh, Luis, Luis! Please come and tell me about my Pookey!" Rebecca called out, waving him over with her hand.

    Eve shook her head, smiling at Luis's predicament. She didn't envy him having to spend time with either of these two women. She exited the police station, feeling a burden lifted from her for the first time in two days. There was hope now, real hope. Luis believed Julian was alive - she could tell. And if he had that kind of faith, she could too. She would get to see her Julian again; she just knew it!

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