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Thread: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

  1. #41

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 40 - "New Father"

    Eve leaned over to check on Sheridan, the flashlight firmly in her hand. "Good, she's still out," she said to herself. Sheridan appeared to be sleeping peacefully, but Eve knew that that was simply the work of the medication she had given her. The nightmare she had just lived through would be waiting for her to deal with when she woke up.

    "I hope we can get your baby back for you, Sheridan," she said, getting down on her knees to check her patient's pulse.

    Eve gently laid Sheridan's arm back down on the cushion. "This is the last thing I would want you to have to go through," she said, remembering her own pain when she suffered the loss of her first child.

    Standing up, Eve shined the light back over at Julian, who was still lying on his side in the middle of the pit. She had covered him with a blanket and had put another blanket under his head. He was getting some of his color back, which she knew was a good sign. She noticed that he was starting to stir.

    Eve rushed over to his side and got down on the floor beside him, laying the flashlight down on the ground. The beam made an eerie glow on Julian's face. She reached out and touched his cheek with her hand. "Julian, how are you feeling?" she asked, the love she felt for him abundantly clear in her voice.

    "Cold..." he said softly, opening his eyes. He tried to focus them in the dark pit. Everything looked blurry to him at first. His eyes came to rest on the familiar face that he saw in all of his dreams... "Eve..." he said.

    "I'm right here, Julian," she answered, rubbing his arm through the blanket to try to warm him up. "I'm going to go get you another blanket. I'll be right back."

    Eve retrieved the only other blanket in the pit and spread it out over Julian. She knew the coldness he was feeling came from the blood he had lost earlier. The chills from the fever that had set in shortly after he was shot didn't help either. Eve wasn't sure if Julian was still delirious from the fever or not.

    "Julian, can you tell me where you are?" she asked, reaching under the blanket and pulling out his arm so that she could check his pulse.

    He squinted his eyes and blinked them several times, trying to focus on Eve's face. "Heaven..." he whispered. "It...has to be...Heaven."

    Eve wasn't sure if Julian was hallucinating at this point or simply being Julian. She tried again. "Julian, what's the last thing you remember?" she asked.

    "They were shoot you..." he said softly. "Couldn't...let them..."

    Eve let out a deep breath. Julian remembered some of what had just happened! That was a good sign. His pulse was also stronger now than it had been just a little bit ago. That, together with the color returning to his face, all pointed to the fact that he was starting to recover.

    "Julian, honey, everything's going to be OK," she said, smoothing his hair with her hand. "I would never let anything happen to you. I love you so much." She bent down and kissed his cheek.

    Julian reached his hand slowly up to his cheek. "I will get...shot more often...if I get...this kind...of treatment," he said, smiling weakly.

    Eve laughed and wrapped her arms around Julian's neck, running her fingers through his hair. She knew then that the man she loved would be all right. She just hoped that he, like the rest of them, would be able to deal with the loss of Sheridan's baby.

    The next morning, Beth sat on the couch, holding Sheridan's baby on her lap. She was trying to give the infant a bottle, but the child would not take it. Nothing Beth did could make the baby stop crying.

    Exacerbated, Beth threw the bottle down on the couch and sighed. "What am I going to do, Mother? Why isn't she eating?"

    "Because she misses her mommy," Mrs. Wallace said, heading closer to the couch with her walker. "I told you this wouldn't work, Bethie! Didn't I? I knew God wouldn't allow this to happen! He is not making this easy for you, and I for one am glad!"

    "Oh shut up, Mother," Beth fired back. "She's just getting used to me and the bottle, that's all. I knew I never should have let Sheridan nurse her. Oh well, she'll be all right. I'm just glad I decided to bring her up here so she could get used to me before I called Luis."

    "Luis is going to know in an instant that that baby doesn't belong to you! Look at the way you are handling her. You don't know anything about babies."

    "I do too," Beth retorted. "And anyway, a lot of first-time mothers have problems getting started with their newborns. That's why they have the baby's grandmother help out. Of course, that's probably too much to ask from you..."

    "I'm not that baby's grandmother!" Mrs. Wallace exclaimed. "I'd pity the kid if I were, because that would mean you really would be her mother, which is pretty scary. Who knows what kind of spawn you would give birth to?"

    Beth shot her mother an angry look and stood up, trying to hold the wailing baby comfortably in her arms. "Maybe if I just walk with her, things will be better," she said. She began pacing back and forth across the floor.

    "Oh great, now you have the baby going with you on your little neurotic trips across the carpet," Mrs. Wallace blared.

    Beth rolled her eyes and was preparing to retaliate verbally when the door suddenly opened and Charlie entered.

    "Charlie, I'm so glad you're here!" Beth cried. "Do you know anything about babies?"

    "Oh, I had a lot of experience with all my little cousins when I was growing up, and of course you see a lot of babies when you're in the medical profession. Why, what's wrong?" she asked, looking from Beth to Mrs. Wallace.

    "What's wrong is the baby won't eat. She only took a little bit from the bottle last night. She's hardly slept. I was up half the night! I am at my wit's end here, Charlie. If I can't get this baby settled down, then the whole plan's going to fall through."

    "OK, OK, let me have her," Charlie said, taking the baby from Beth. She held her in the crook of her arm and smiled at her, talking baby talk. Beth and Mrs. Wallace looked at each other in surprise. They were amazed at Charlie's maternal instincts.

    Immediately, the infant calmed down in Charlie's arms. "Now, where's the bottle?" she asked. "I bet you anything she'll eat."

    Beth retrieved the bottle and gave it to Charlie. Sure enough, the tiny girl began to take the formula.

    Relieved, Beth smiled. Although she was somewhat jealous of Charlie's rapport with the infant, she was so grateful that Charlie was able to calm her down and feed her. "Can you show me how to do that?" Beth asked. "For when Luis comes?"

    Charlie nodded and carefully returned the baby to Beth's arms. "Here, you have to hold her like this... That's right. And it's good if you can talk to her while you feed her."

    Beth began talking to the baby. "Mommy's here," she said in the sweetest voice she could manage. "You will love your new mommy. And Daddy's coming soon. Yes, he is. I can't wait until he sees you!"

    Mrs. Wallace rolled her eyes. "It's just going to be one big happy family!" she shouted, throwing her hands into the air.

    "Temporary family," Charlie corrected. "Right, Bethie? You and I are really going to raise this little baby. I think we're doing a great job already." She patted the baby's head while Beth fed her.

    "That picture's enough to have made Norman Rockwell give up painting," Mrs. Wallace muttered under her breath, looking at the two psychopaths cozying up to the infant. "Lord, what is this world coming to?"

    Luis picked up Sheridan's missing person file on his desk. Opening it up, he stared at the picture of Sheridan that was paper-clipped to the top of the stack of papers. "She is so beautiful," he thought, running his finger along the lovely face in the picture.

    Luis's mind flashed back to when he had asked Sheridan to marry him in the gazebo. He had never seen her looking more beautiful than at that moment. It was such a magical time in their lives - the calm before the storm, you might say. And she had said yes! She had made him the happiest man in the world that day...

    His mind then turned to their botched wedding. How beautiful Sheridan had looked walking down the aisle... Too bad Ivy had to go and mess everything up! But they had taken their honeymoon anyway. He remembered the last day he and Sheridan had truly been free to be together...such a wonderful time...and then the horrible boat explosion.

    Shaking his head, Luis sighed. It had been two years since he and Sheridan had been together as a couple, other then some precious stolen moments; it seemed like a lifetime. Now, they were free to be together again, with Antonio out of the picture - but Sheridan was gone.

    He thought of the baby they had created together - had it really been born, as he sensed? What was it - a boy or a girl? His mind drifted to a time in the future, where he was teaching a little boy to play baseball...and then onto another fantasy, where he was teaching a little girl how to dance, as she was standing on his feet. Luis laid his head in his hands. He couldn't help but get teary-eyed when he thought of his child...

    "Luis, are you all right?" Sam asked, coming up behind him and placing his hand on his friend's shoulder.

    "I'm OK, Sam," he replied, turning to look up at the police chief. "It's just hard, not knowing about the baby...and Sheridan... I want to find them so bad. My body aches just thinking about them."

    "We'll find them, Luis," Sam said, trying to comfort the younger man. "We'll bring your family back to you."

    Luis smiled. "You don't know how glad I am that you're on the case," he said.

    Just then, another officer shouted from across the room, "Luis, you have a call on line two!"

    Luis picked up the phone. "This is Officer Lopez-Fitzgerald," he said. "Beth? What's up?... What? You're kidding, right? ... You're serious?... When did it happen?... Is everything OK?... It's a girl? Really?... Beth, where are you now?... How far away?... You think you'll be there by seven?... OK, I'll see you then! Beth, I'm glad everything is OK with you...and the baby." Luis hung up the phone. He rubbed his hair, stunned.

    "Luis, what was that about? Was it Beth? Did she have the baby?" Sam asked.

    "Yes, she had a little girl," Luis replied, smiling in surprise. "It still doesn't seem real."

    "Come on, I'll drive you over to the hospital," Sam offered.

    "No, she's not there," Luis said. "She was spending a couple of days with her aunt in New Hampshire when it happened. She said she couldn't get through to me until now. I guess someone's driving her back right now, a friend of her aunt's. She should be in by seven this evening."

    "Luis, when did all of this happen?" Sam asked.

    "She said she had the baby two days ago," Luis replied. "That's odd...that she and Sheridan would both have their babies at the same time, especially when neither of them was due for another four weeks."

    "That does seem strange," Sam admitted. "I guess it's just one of those things. So it's a girl, huh? That's great, Luis."

    "Yeah," Luis said, smiling, "a little girl. I have a daughter."

    "Congratulations!" Sam said. "This calls for a celebration. Come on over to my office; maybe I can find a cigar for the new dad in there."

    Luis followed Sam. He felt numb all over. He couldn't believe that he was now likely the father of two babies, neither of whom he had yet seen. What he would have given for that to have been Sheridan on the phone, telling him about their baby. He shook his head sadly. "You may not be with me now, Sheridan, but you soon will be," he promised. "I'll have you and the baby here with me where you belong. I won't stop until I do."

  2. #42

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 41 - "Mending Hearts"

    "And just how are you feeling now?" Eve asked, checking on Julian. He was sitting up, leaning against the wall of the pit. A blanket still covered him. He looked tired and weak, but he was definitely on the mend.

    "I think I will make it," he joked. "I guess I dodged another one. This time it was thanks to my beautiful physician."

    "I don't think beauty had anything to do with it," Eve quipped. "It was skill that saved your life, Mr. Crane."

    "Oh yeah?" he said, grabbing onto her arms and pulling her closer. "Maybe so, but it's your face I was fighting to stay here for."

    "Only my face?" she said. "Wow...and to think I never believed that Helen of Troy stuff in the history books."

    "Oh, the right face can change the course of history - completely alter the future," Julian declared. "Yours has certainly put me on a different path."

    Eve smiled. "I can tell you are getting better. You are starting to turn up the charm. Remember, I am your doctor here..."

    Julian laughed. "It's going to be awhile before this patient is ready for anything more than pretty faces unfortunately...but I'll let you know." He winked and released her arms.

    Turning serious, Eve brought up the subject that neither had wanted to face - Sheridan and the baby. She felt he was strong enough for it now.

    Sheridan was still sleeping on the cushion. Eve had spent the night and biggest part of the morning going back and forth between her and Julian - making sure they were both OK. She was thrilled that Julian had made a turn for the better, but knew Sheridan was not out of the woods yet emotionally.

    "I failed her..." Julian said soberly, looking over at his sister. "I couldn't protect her child when she needed me to. I had hoped that I could do for her what I hadn't done for you, but I failed... I guess God is not through with my punishment."

    "Julian, God didn't take the baby to punish you," Eve said, kneeling down beside of him. "And he didn't do it to hurt Sheridan. We don't know why some things happen - they just do. We have to make it through these situations the best we can."

    "But I could have prevented it, if I had tried harder," Julian insisted. "Then Sheridan wouldn't have had to go through any of this." He hung his head in shame.

    "Julian, listen to me," Eve said, placing her hand under his chin to lift his face up level with hers. "You tried your best. You took a bullet trying to prevent that kidnapping. You did everything you could to protect Sheridan's baby. She knows that. She won't blame you."

    "I blame myself," he said, choking back tears. "I should have been there for you, Eve, when Father had our son kidnapped. You know I could have somehow kept that from happening. I am as guilty as he is in that whole sad affair..."

    "Julian, Alistair was, and still is, so powerful. If you had been with me, he may have taken even more drastic steps to keep our family apart."

    "I have thought of that," Julian said slowly. "I don't put murder past that evil bastard. I believe if anyone could kill an innocent baby, he could."

    "Then let it go," Eve said. "Let the guilt go, Julian. If you don't, it will eat you up inside."

    "I just should have been there for you, Eve," he continued, "to help you through the pain. You were all alone. I was off married to Ivy, jet setting around the globe, and you were going through the most horrible thing a woman can go through. How you can still look at me...much less love me, is beyond what I can comprehend."

    "It's because you do feel this way that has allowed me to realize I still love you, Julian. I was able to release my love for you from that place deep inside me where it was locked up. The key to that place in my heart was learning how much you really loved me and our baby. Bit by bit, that key began slowly turning the lock, and there was nothing I could do to stop it."

    Julian put his hand on Eve's shoulder. "I love you, but I don't deserve you."

    "It's not about deserving," she said. "If only perfect people found love, our world would be a very sad and empty place. We have something great here..." She paused, suddenly realizing the effects that her rekindled relationship with Julian would have on her life.

    "I've made you sad, brought you more trouble than good," Julian said. "Even now, look at how I have interfered in your life."

    "Julian, you haven't interfered. I was, and am, a willing participant in this," she said, trying to think of the right words. "I don't regret our time together in the past or present. It has brought me some of the greatest joy in my life."

    "And the greatest sadness..."

    "Yes, I'm not denying that. But great sadness can only come as a result of great love. I love you, Julian...right or wrong, I do... It's something I can't change, and it's not something I want to hide anymore."

    He reached out and grasped her hand. "I love you too, Eve. You make me I'm worth something. Nobody has ever made me feel that way."

    "Oh, honey, you are worth so much to me - and to Sheridan. Don't think you're not worthy of our love. You wouldn't be capable of giving the kind of love you give to me and to your sister, if you were unworthy of love."

    "I do love you so much it aches, Eve," Julian admitted. "And Sheridan, I just got her back in my life. We had come so far; then, this happened."

    "She won't blame you, Julian. She'll know that you did all you could to prevent this from happening," Eve said, placing her other hand on top of his so that she sandwiched his hand between her two.

    "I just feel like I let her down," he said. "To put her through what you went through - oh, God! I don't want to think of that."

    "I don't either," Eve said. "It will be a nightmare for her. But Sheridan's strong, and she has us. She's going to need you, Julian, so much during this time. You have to be strong for her, OK?"

    Julian nodded. "I know," he said. "I'll help her every way I can...until we get her baby back for her. And we will get her back."

    "Now you're talking like the Julian I know and love," Eve said, letting go of his hands so she could balance herself as she leaned in to kiss him on the cheek.

    Julian smiled. "I don't know what I did to deserve your love, but now that I have it, I'm going to cherish it."

    Eve looked into his eyes and matched his smile. "Sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve a man like you, who could love me as I really am."

    "Exquisite is what you are," he said. Then he sighed. "We are quite a pair, aren't we? Neither one of us thinking we deserve to be loved. I know this, Eve, I will love you until the day I die."

    "It's the same with me," she said, caressing his hand with her fingers. "You're my man, Julian, and you always will knight, my rock, whatever you want to call it. You're mine, and I couldn't be happier." She leaned in and gave him another kiss, this time on the lips. "Now get some rest, Mr. Crane, or I will have to report you to the hospital administration."

    "Yes, doctor," he said, smiling. Before he closed his eyes, he murmured, "I could also report you, good doctor, for harassing your patient."

    She smiled good-naturedly and got up, leaving him to rest. It was time to check on her other patient...

    Several hours later, Sheridan opened her eyes. She lifted her head and looked around the pit for a moment, dazed. She reached over where the clothes basket had been and discovered that it had been moved. Sitting up, it suddenly hit her that her baby had been kidnapped. "Nooooo!" she screamed. "No, no, no!"

    Eve ran to the cushion and sat down beside her. She put her arms around Sheridan and held her tight to make her feel safe. "My baby!" she cried. "They took her! They took my baby!"

    "I know, sweetie," Eve said softly. "It's going to be all right. We'll get her back. You'll see."

    "She's gone," Sheridan sobbed. "My little girl is gone..."

    "Sheridan, look at me," Eve said, pulling away slightly so she could see Sheridan's face. "They're not going to hurt your baby, sweetie. I think they just wanted a baby of their own. Maybe it's someone who couldn't have a baby. I'm sure she's safe for now."

    "They won't hurt her?" Sheridan asked. "What if they don't mean to, but they don't know anything about babies? What if she won't stop crying and they get angry? Eve, she's my baby girl... What if something happens to her?" She collapsed into Eve's arms, sobbing.

    "There, there, it's going to be all right," Eve said soothingly. "We're going to get your baby back, dear. You won't have to go through..." She stopped, feeling her own pain return.

    "I won't have to go through what you did?" Sheridan asked, lifting her head off of Eve's shoulder and wiping the tears from her eyes.

    "I wasn't sure you knew about that," Eve said quietly. "I knew you were aware of some things..."

    "I kind of put two and two together, here in the pit," Sheridan revealed, choking back her tears. "Julian told me some things about a woman from his past that he was still in love with. When you came, it was so obvious that that person was you."

    "So you know about our baby," Eve said softly.

    "Yes, Eve, that's such a tragic story. I'm so sorry you had to go through that."

    "It was the worst time in my life," Eve admitted. "It's almost too painful to think about. But Julian has people looking for our son, and with any luck, we'll find him soon."

    "That's wonderful," Sheridan said. "I hope you do." She hung her head down and began to sob. "I just can't go through that, Eve. I can't. I'm not strong like you." She started crying loudly.

    Eve gently put her hands on Sheridan's shoulders and looked into her eyes. "Sheridan, listen, you are very strong. Look at all you have been through these past few years. You have persevered through things that most people never have to deal with. I don't know how you managed, but you did. You were completely alone in this pit for two weeks before Julian got here. Most people would have given up long before that, but not you."

    Sheridan nodded. "I just had faith," she whispered.

    "And faith is all that is necessary to get you through this too, Sheridan. Your faith in God is strong. I know that. He got you through your labor safely and allowed you to have a healthy baby. I don't think He would do that just to take her from you. You'll get her back - you'll see."

    "," Sheridan sobbed, wiping her eyes once more.

    "And there's Luis," Eve said. "You know how much he loves you, right? And he is such a fighter. He never gives up. Sheridan, he won't give up here until he finds you and your baby. You know that, don't you?"

    "Luis is terrific," Sheridan said, smiling. "He sure doesn't give up. You're right about that. I don't know how many times I told him he should just walk away from me in the last year, but he never did."

    "He loves you too much to give up on you, love and in this."

    "He is tenacious," Sheridan said fondly. "He's so persistent. That's what attracted me to him in the first place - his stubbornness. It got to me, you could say." She smiled, remembering the tense early days of their relationship.

    "You see there? Luis is stubborn," Eve said. "He'll never give up until he finds us."

    "I think you're right," Sheridan said. "He'll find our baby and protect her. He would never let anything happen to her."

    "Not in a million years," Eve said. She and Sheridan hugged.

    Sheridan pulled back finally and asked, "Where's Julian?"

    "He's sleeping over there," Eve motioned. "Sheridan, do you remember what happened with Julian?"

    "I just remember him trying to shield us, to keep us safe," she said.

    "He did," Eve said. "At one point he tried to step in front of me. The gun went off. We hit the ground. Neither one of us was hurt, but Julian whispered for me not to move. I think he wanted it to look like we were dead. It worked, because one of the kidnappers came down here to get the baby. That's when Julian tried to fight her off, and the other one shot him."

    "Shot him!! Julian was shot?!" Sheridan cried. "Is he going to be OK?"

    "He's going to be just fine," Eve said, reassuring her. "He was hit in the arm and lost some blood, but I got it stopped in time. He's kind of weak, but he'll be all right."

    "Did you get the bullet out?" Sheridan asked.

    "No, I don't think it's a major concern right now. When we get him to the hospital, the bullet can be dealt with. It can wait."

    "I can't believe my own brother was shot, and I didn't know anything about it..." Sheridan said.

    "Sweetie, there is only so much a mind can take. I think yours tried to block out what it could last night, to help you cope with what had happened." Eve grasped Sheridan's hand in hers. "Julian's going to be all right, and we're going to get your little girl back."

    Sheridan smiled. "I can't lose faith when I'm around you, Eve. You've been through so much yourself, and if you can keep your faith, so can I." The two women hugged once more, and then Sheridan got up to check on her brother.

    "He's been such a hero to me down here," Sheridan said, leaning over Julian and fingering his hair.

    "To me too," Eve said, coming up behind her. "I'll never forget how Julian saved your life and mine."

    "It's unbelievable how he has changed," Sheridan remarked, sitting down beside her sleeping brother. "Or maybe it's just that I didn't really know the good side of Julian."

    "There is so much good in him," Eve said lovingly. "He just doesn't let a whole lot of people in to see it."

    "I, for one, am glad he let me in," Sheridan said. "He's one incredible guy."

    "That he is," Eve agreed. "One incredible guy..."

  3. #43

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 42 - "Luis Arrives"

    Julian opened his eyes and saw Eve standing in front of him. He smiled. Then, feeling someone beside him, he turned and saw Sheridan sitting with her back against the wall of the pit. Julian leaned toward his sister and greeted her. "Sheridan, how is it going?" he asked gently, the concern evident in his voice.

    "I'm OK," she said, reaching out to grasp his hand. "I'm just trying to make it through this."

    "If you need anything, Sheridan, don't hesitate to ask," he said softly.

    "The main thing I need from you is for you to get better," she said. "I love you, Julian. I don't want you putting yourself in danger again, OK?"

    "Ah, it's just a little bullet wound," he said, brushing off the seriousness of his injury. "The good doctor here patched me up quite nicely."

    "Yes, and I want you to stay that way," Eve laughed. "Sheridan is right. Your heroics are done for this adventure, I think."

    "Not on your life," Julian countered. "There is still fight left in this old dog."

    "Yeah, well right now, 'this old dog' needs to rest so that his arm can heal," Eve said, stepping in closer. "Julian, you're slowly falling apart - first your ribs, now your arm..."

    "As long as my heart is still intact, I'll be fine," Julian said, smiling at Eve.

    She returned his smile. "I guess I can't argue with you. You always have the perfect comeback."

    "There, you see?" he said, turning to Sheridan. "It has taken Eve what - twenty years or so? - to learn that you can't win an argument with Julian Crane. You should remember that too, dear."

    "Oh, maybe one of us is no match for the great Julian Crane, but together, I think Eve and I will win every time," Sheridan laughed. "Eve's right, you know. You do need your rest."

    "All right, all right, I know when to give up," Julian said, feigning defeat. "Just remember, Sheridan, if you need anything, even if it's just to talk, I'm right here."

    "Thanks, Julian," Sheridan said warmly. "Both you and Eve have been so wonderful to me. I'll never forget your kindness." She squeezed his hand and then let it go as she stood up. Sheridan walked over to the other side of the pit to get a drink.

    Eve walked over to Julian and knelt down in front of him. "You were so good with her," she whispered, placing her hand on his arm. "She's lucky to have a big brother like you."

    Julian took Eve's hand in his. "How is she really doing?" he asked softly.

    "I think as well as can be expected," Eve admitted. "She has a tough road ahead of her, but with a lot of love and support, she'll make it through."

    "I've just got to get that baby back for her," Julian said in a hushed voice. "If it's the last thing I do..."

    "Sheridan will get her baby back," Eve said. "I have faith. But I don't want to hear you talk that way, Julian. I've almost lost you twice already. I can't take a third time." Tears welled up in her eyes.

    "I'm sorry, darling," he said, reaching up to touch her cheek. "I never meant to hurt you. I just want to protect my make sure she doesn't have to go through what you went through."

    "She won't," Eve declared softly. "I just know everything's going to be OK. But right now, I need you to rest. That's how you can help us out - by getting stronger. All right?"

    "Yes, doctor," Julian said, grinning, "I suppose I am outnumbered here."

    "That's exactly right," she said, letting go of his hand as she stood back up. She ran her fingers through his hair. "Looks like someone could use a nice shampoo about now," she joked. "I think we all could use a hot bath."

    "What I wouldn't give to be taking a hot bath with you right now," Julian revealed.

    Eve sighed and playfully tapped him on the head. "You're supposed to be thinking about getting better, not that..."

    "But what other reason is there to get better?" he quipped. Then he nodded his head. "All right, good doctor, I'll sit here and rest if you look out for my little sister over there."

    "It's a deal," Eve said, starting to turn. She stopped and looked back at Julian. "Sheridan's strong like her brother," she told him.

    Beth paced back and forth across the floor. "It's six-thirty. Luis should be coming soon." She smiled nervously.

    "Oh, Bethie, I wouldn't be getting my hopes up too high," Mrs. Wallace cautioned. "I think that's when all hell's going to break loose."

    "Oh, Mother, you're just jealous," Beth retorted.

    "Jealous? What is there for me to be jealous of?" she asked, letting go of her walker and putting her hands up in the air.

    "You're just jealous that I have a guy like Luis and you have no one," Beth replied smugly.

    "Yeah, you really have Luis," Mrs. Wallace said, shaking her head. "He's only coming here to see the baby - which is really his and Sheridan's baby."

    "Not anymore," Beth said. "She's my baby now. I'm her mommy."

    "Oh, and that's why Charlie's over there taking care of her right now?" Mrs. Wallace asked, pointing to the couch, where Charlie was feeding the newborn and cooing at her.

    "Well, Charlie's just better with her right now," Beth said. "But I'm learning. Charlie, maybe you should give the baby to me...I need to practice a bit more before Luis gets here."

    "OK," Charlie said. She stood up and brought the infant over to Beth. "Here you go, Bethie. I had better be getting down to the basement anyway so I can keep an eye on our friends down there. We wouldn't want them to scream out while Luis is up here."

    "Good idea," Beth said. "Then when he leaves, we can take care of the three of them...after I have my final revenge against Sheridan."

    Mrs. Wallace shuddered and put her hands together as if she were praying.

    "You're still going to rub it in that you and Luis will be raising her baby together?" Charlie asked, grinning.

    "Oh yeah," Beth said. "I'm so looking forward to seeing her face when I tell her that." She looked down and smiled at the baby. "That will be the icing on the cake."

    "You go, girl," Charlie said, winking at Beth. "It's a great story, even if it is a lie." She headed for the basement stairs.

    When she was out of sight, Mrs. Wallace turned to Beth. "There's one little thing you forgot, Bethie. What about your dear friend Charlie? What is going to happen when she finds out you want more from Luis than a few weeks of revenge?"

    "Well, see, I've been thinking about that," Beth said, pausing to bite her lip. "I think I'll send Charlie out of town - way far away - to start looking for a house for we can get started on a new life together. While she's gone, I should be able to talk Luis into moving away somewhere with me and the baby. We'll be gone before Charlie gets back." She smiled at her plan.

    "You're delusional, Bethie, if you think that Luis is going to just pick up and leave town with you, especially when Sheridan is missing."

    "But see, that's why he should go - to get away from all the stress of Sheridan's disappearance. It's just not good for the baby." She bent down and kissed the infant in her arms. "Mommy's here now, sweetie. You like your new mommy, don't you?"

    Beth smiled. "Look, Mother! She fell asleep in my arms." She walked over and put the baby down in the bassinet that was sitting by the couch. "There you go, baby, you take a nap. Daddy will be here soon."

    Mrs. Wallace rolled her eyes at the scene. "Of all the daughters in the world," she mumbled, "why did I have to get stuck with a lunatic?"

    Luis stepped up to the Wallace front door and took a deep breath. He looked at his watch. It was a few minutes past seven. He couldn't believe that he really was a father now to a baby other than Sheridan's - or that he would soon see the child he created with Beth on the night he couldn't remember anything about...

    He nervously knocked on the door. Beth flung it open and hugged him. "Oh, Luis!" she cried excitedly. "You're here!" She pulled him into the house. Her eyes scanned the man of her obsession. "I love the uniform!" she exclaimed. "That will look perfect in your first pictures with our daughter!"

    Luis smiled nervously. "Hello, Mrs. Wallace," he said, nodding to Beth's mother. Then he turned to Beth and asked, "So where is this little Rugrat?"

    "Oh, Luis, I have the perfect name for her," Beth said, grabbing hold of his arm and pulling him toward the bassinet. She stopped for a second and took hold of his other arm as well. "What do you think about...Wallace Louise Lopez-Fitzgerald?"

    Mrs. Wallace let out a chuckle. "Sorry, don't mind me!" she called, covering her mouth with her hand. She could barely contain her laughter.

    "Wallace...Louise...?" Luis asked. "I guess that would be...interesting."

    "Well, see, Wallace is for me, of course. But if you remember, Wallis Simpson was the lady the King of England gave up his throne for a long time ago. Wouldn't that be a great name for our baby? She could grow up to be just like her someday, someone who is loved so much...and Louise, well that's after you. And of course, our baby will have your last name. So what do you think?"

    "I think we should talk about it after I see the baby," Luis said, pushing past Beth. He headed straight for the bassinet. Bending down, he took a good look at his precious child...

    Charlie had the rifle pointed at the captives in the pit. As always, she was wearing her clown mask. "So, have you enjoyed your little stay in our comfortable pit?" she bellowed. "I hope so, because your visit will soon come to an end here." She laughed wickedly, remembering a line from the Eagles' hit "Hotel California." "You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave! HA HA HA HA!"

    Chills ran down Eve's spine as she heard those words. She backed up closer to Sheridan, who was standing in the center of the pit, staring at Charlie. "My baby!" the younger woman suddenly cried. "You give me back my baby, you witch!"

    Charlie snickered as Eve reached for Sheridan's arm to try to comfort her. "It's OK, Sheridan," she whispered. "Come on over here." She led her over to where Julian was sitting.

    He was eyeing Charlie and appeared to be lost in thought. Eve noticed the strange look on his face as she sat down on one side of him, while Sheridan sat down on the other. "What's wrong, Julian?" she asked softly.

    "Nothing," he whispered. "I was just thinking about the drug you gave Sheridan."

    "The sedative?" she asked. "Why?"

    "Maybe there's a way we could get that big oaf down here again, and you could stick a needle in her, along with some of that medicine. It would knock her out."

    "I like your idea," Eve said. "It could work. I think I'll go get a syringe ready...but Julian, how are you going to get her down here?"

    "I'm still trying to figure that one out," he said quietly.

    "What's going on down there?" Charlie roared. "What's with all the whispering?"

    "Nothing," Eve said. "His arm is hurting from where you shot him. Do you mind if I go get some medicine for him?"

    Charlie lowered her rifle. "Go ahead. I just wish my friend had been a little more accurate in her aim. Then I would only have to waste two bullets tonight."

    Eve headed over to where her medical bag was lying near Sheridan's cushion, trying to focus on the task at hand rather than what her kidnapper had just said. It wasn't easy. She knew she had to be strong for the others, who were counting on her.

    Sheridan shuddered at Charlie's words and huddled closer to Julian. He reached up and caressed her soft hair. "It's OK, Sheridan, just ignore her," he whispered. "We're going to take care of her soon, and get you out to see your baby."

    "I hope you're right," Sheridan sighed. "I want that more than anything." She laid her head down on Julian's shoulder.

    Eve walked back over and knelt down beside Julian. She lifted up his arm and put an antiseptic on it while Charlie watched from above. Then she pretended to give Julian an injection. He feigned a grimace, and she slipped the syringe into her pocket. "There, that wasn't so bad, was it?" she asked loudly.

    Charlie laughed evilly. "If you're scared to get a little shot, wait till you see what I have in store for ya!"

    Julian nodded to Eve, letting her know he was going to try something. He called up to Charlie. "Uh, miss, I just wanted to have a little business chat with you. You do know who I am, right? Julian Crane, one of the wealthiest men in the world? Maybe you could come down and talk business with me for a see how I could make your life better." He pulled his wallet out of his back pocket.

    Charlie looked at him, confused. "I can't be bought," she said. "You tried that before, remember?"

    "Yes, I do," he said. "But that was when your boss was here with you. I thought maybe since you are here alone, you could use that smart head on your shoulders and think for yourself. What she doesn't know won't hurt her."

    He opened up his wallet and removed a card. "I have here a number for a Swiss bank account. It is totally untraceable. It has millions in it."

    Charlie took a deep breath. Julian could tell she was considering his offer. "Why don't you just come down and see what's written on this card?" he asked enticingly.

    Looking around slowly, Charlie said, "I bet it's a trick. I'm staying right here."

    "Bring your rifle with you if it makes you feel safe," Julian said. "Just put that rope ladder over the side and come on down."

    "Nah, you're too eager," she said. "I bet something's up." She looked like she was deep in thought for a moment. "What were you planning - to jump me once I got down there? I can see it in your eyes...this was all a trick to escape." She aimed her rifle at Julian and cocked it back. "I'll show you what I think of your plan, Mr. Rich!"

    "Noooooo!" Sheridan and Eve chorused.

    "Hee hee hee...I had you going there for a second, didn't I?" Charlie cackled. "Well, you'll feel the effects of this rifle again soon enough. For now though, I'm just going to check on things upstairs." Charlie released the trigger of the rifle and laid it down at the edge of the pit and walked away.

    Eve turned toward Julian. "You tried, honey," she said, reaching up to touch his face. "I thought she almost bought your story."

    "We would have had a hell of a fight down here, but I think we could have taken her with the help of that little syringe," he said sadly.

    Sheridan got up and walked over to the center of the pit. She knelt down and began to pray.

    Eve grasped Julian's hand. "I want you to know that I'm proud of you and that I love you," she said softly. Tears began to form in her eyes. "I don't know what would have happened if we would have made it outside tonight, but I do know that I would have wanted to be with you."

    "And I with you," he said, bringing her hand up to his lips for a kiss. "I love you, Eve."

    "I love you, Julian," she said, burying her head in his chest.

    Julian put his arms around her and rubbed his fingers through her silky hair. "What I wouldn't give for another chance with you," he stated. "I would make it right this time."

    "I know you would," Eve said, lifting her head from his chest and looking into his eyes.

    In the middle of the pit, Sheridan finished saying her prayer. She kept her head bowed and began sobbing. She didn't hear the footsteps walking across the basement floor.

    Julian and Eve did. Eve gasped when she looked up at the opening of the pit. Julian stared, dumbfounded.

    Slowly, Sheridan lifted her head up and focused her eyes on the face staring at her from above. She couldn't believe her eyes. "Luis!!!!" she cried, a look of shock appearing on her face, replaced almost immediately by a huge smile.

    "Sheridan...sweetheart," he gushed, leaning over the pit. "I'm so glad I found you!" He fell to his knees and gave thanks.

  4. #44

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 43 - "The Rescue"

    "Luis!!!!" Sheridan cried out from the floor of the pit. "Is that really you?" She could not believe her eyes - that after she had nearly given up hope, here he was - the love of her life had found her!

    "Yes," Luis said, returning to his feet and looking down at her. "It's me, Sheridan. I can't believe I have found you...and you're OK!" Tears of joy formed in his eyes. He smiled as he wiped them away so that he could see the woman he loved more clearly.

    "How did you find us?" Sheridan asked, everything still not sinking in. It seemed too good to be true to the woman who had been through so much.

    "I'll explain all of that real soon. First, I have to find a way to get you guys out of there..." He began scanning the basement with his eyes.

    "There's a rope ladder up there somewhere!" Julian called, finally getting his voice back after the shock of seeing Luis. He and Eve looked at each other. She smiled broadly and hugged him, careful not to hurt his injured arm.

    "I can't believe it's really Luis. We're safe!" Eve exclaimed.

    Julian pulled back and looked into her eyes. "Thank God you are going to get out of here..."

    "We are going to get out, Julian," she corrected him. "You aren't staying down here, you know." She smiled.

    "A part of me wishes I could stay," he revealed, "with you."

    "Oh, Julian," she cried, realizing what made him say that. "It's going to be a rough road ahead...but remember one thing: I love you." She hugged him again.

    "I love you too, Eve," he said softly, running his hands along her back.

    "I found it!" Luis called from above. He quickly attached the rope ladder to a pole and flung it over the side of the pit. In two seconds flat, he had shimmied down the ladder and run into the waiting arms of the woman he loved.

    "Oh, Sheridan," he sobbed, lifting her off the ground and spinning her around. "I thought I would never see you again." Luis let her down and looked into her eyes. Then he slowly leaned in and kissed her. Her lips eagerly welcomed his. She soon parted them and their tongues met in the most passionate kiss the two had shared since they were in Bermuda.

    After the kiss, the young couple embraced warmly. Sheridan slowly lifted her head from his shoulder and stepped back a bit so she could see him. "You look so wonderful," she said, fighting back her tears.

    "So do you, sweetheart," he said, putting his hand under her chin. "You don't know how I've missed you."

    "Oh, I think I do." She smiled. "And if it's half as much as I've missed you, then it's enough to last a lifetime. Never again am I letting you out of my sight..." She stopped, remembering then what else she had to tell him. "Luis, the baby..."

    "Yes, I know," he said softly. "She's upstairs, and she's just fine."

    Sheridan let out a squeal of joy. "Oh my goodness! She's fine?! You've seen her?!"

    "Yes, sweetheart, and she's wonderful. She's sleeping upstairs as we speak."

    "I...I want to go see her - now!" Sheridan cried.

    "I know you do, Sheridan, and you will," Luis said gently. "There are just some things I think I need to tell you first." He looked around at the others.

    Eve stood up and helped Julian get up off the floor. The two walked over to where Sheridan and Luis were standing.

    "Luis, thank God you found us," Eve cried happily. She reached up and touched his arm.

    "Yes...we're very grateful," Julian said, hesitating a bit because he knew how Luis felt about him.

    "I'm so glad you're safe too, Dr. Russell," Luis said, hardly giving Julian a glance. He looked once more at Sheridan, gave her a big smile and hug, and then stepped back, keeping one of her hands in his.

    "I guess I should explain where we are first, so it's not a shock to all of you when we go upstairs."

    "You mean I know this place?" Sheridan asked, wide-eyed. "Where are we, Luis?"

    Luis took a deep breath. "Beth's," he said simply.

    "Beth's! But how..." Sheridan looked puzzled. "Why would we be at Beth's?"

    "You mean Beth Wallace was behind this whole thing?" Eve asked in surprise.

    "Beth Wallace? The Book Café owner? Luis's ex?" Julian asked. "I wondered about her in the beginning...the whole 'woman scorned' thing."

    "Well, it seems Beth isn't playing with a full deck," Luis admitted. "I never caught on. She had me fooled."

    "I can't believe Beth..." Sheridan said, shaking her head. "I thought she was my friend."

    "She obviously only pretended to be your friend, Sheridan," Luis said. "This whole time she was after me."

    "And I thought I was the only one with crazy women from the past coming back to haunt me," Julian said, rubbing his neck.

    "What crazy women?" Eve asked, giving him a funny look.

    "Not you, dear," Julian whispered. "I was speaking of others from my past."

    "Oh," Eve said, still wondering who Julian was talking about.

    Luis looked from Julian to Eve with a puzzled look on his face. He shook his head, realizing he didn't even want to ask, and turned his attention back to Sheridan.

    "Sheridan, honey, Beth is sick," Luis revealed. "Maybe she always has been, or maybe something just made her snap; I don't know. But what I found out tonight leads me to believe she is not in her right mind."

    "Because she kidnapped us and held us in this pit?" Sheridan asked.

    "Yes, and because she took our baby," Luis answered. "Beth wasn't really pregnant, Sheridan. It was all an act to try to hold onto me, I guess. She wanted to pass our baby off as hers."

    "How horrible!" Sheridan exclaimed. "And she was going to kill us! That's what the other one - the big one - said."

    "I can't believe it," Luis said, shaking his head. "Beth was such a sweet girl."

    "I always said, 'Be careful with whom you sleep. It may come back to haunt you,' " Julian admitted.

    "Yeah, you would know, Crane," Luis said, scowling. "I'm still wondering how you got mixed up in all this - especially since it was Beth who was behind it. What on earth did she want with you?"

    "Julian came here to rescue me," Sheridan revealed.

    Luis looked at her incredulously.

    "It's true. He got hit over the head and knocked into the pit by that brute friend of Beth's. If it weren't for him, Luis, I wouldn't even be here." She went on to tell him how Julian had been hurt trying to escape, how he had worked to save her and the baby, and how he had been shot trying to protect their child.

    Luis's mouth was wide open in surprise. "I never would have believed it..." he said, stunned.

    "It's true," Eve said. "If Julian hadn't talked the kidnappers into getting me, both Sheridan and the baby would have died."

    "I guess I owe you an apology and my sincere thanks," Luis said, offering his hand to Julian.

    Julian firmly shook hands with Luis and smiled. "I would do anything for Sheridan," he confessed.

    Luis frowned, remembering all the bad things he knew Julian had taken part in that had affected their lives.

    Seeing Luis's look, Sheridan patted him gently on the back. "Julian and I have mended fences," she revealed. "There are no more secrets between us. Let's just say I know Julian's heart now, and find it very similar to my own."

    Luis took a deep breath and shook his head slowly, considering what Sheridan had just said. "I guess you went through a lot down here - all of you. Sometimes these kinds of crises bring people closer - even enemies," he said, looking at Julian and Eve. Something seemed up with those two. He thought they couldn't stand each other, but now there seemed to be some sort of intimacy between the two of them. Nah, maybe he was just imagining things, he thought.

    "Luis, can I go see my little girl now?" Sheridan asked excitedly.

    "Sure, darling," he said. "I just wanted you to be prepared first with who else you're going to see upstairs."

    "Is Beth still up there?" Sheridan asked fearfully.

    "Yes, but don't worry," he said. "I have her handcuffed to the table. She's not going anywhere."

    "And the big one with the rifle?" Sheridan asked. "Luis, she's dangerous."

    "I took care of her too," he said. "I had to use my club on her though, right at the top of the stairs. She's out cold, but I put my other set of handcuffs on her, just in case. Back-up should be here anytime." He looked at the trio of captives. "Anyone for getting out of here?" he asked, smiling.

    Luis watched as first Sheridan and then Eve safely made their way up the ladder. Eve turned and called down, "Julian's going to need help!"

    Luis nodded and said to Julian, "I'll follow you up. Take it slow."

    Using his good arm, Julian slowly eased his way up the ladder. His ribs were killing him, but he was able to grin and bear it. He simply thought of all the good things awaiting him above - mainly Eve.

    Eve reached down and helped Julian up over the edge. The two hugged on the basement floor after he had made it safely up.

    Luis pulled himself up next and eyed the intimate embrace. He looked at Sheridan questioningly.

    She smiled and shook her head as if to say, "Not now." Sheridan ran over to hug Luis again. "I hated leaving you out of my sight...even just for a moment!" she said.

    He laughed. "It is I who is never going to leave your side again."

    "Let's go get the baby!" Sheridan said, pulling Luis up the stairs after her.

    Julian and Eve scrambled to their feet and headed after them. "Are you OK?" Eve asked, noticing he was in pain.

    "I'm fine," he said, squeezing her hand as they headed upstairs.

    The main floor of the house was now swarming with police officers. Sheridan looked all over the living room, desperation on her face. "Is this what you're looking for?" Hank asked, lifting the baby up out of the bassinet.

    "Oh, Hank," Sheridan cried, running to her infant. She took the baby from him and held her tightly in her arms. "My little angel," she said. "Mommy's here for you." She lowered her head and kissed her daughter.

    Luis came up behind Sheridan and put his arm around her. "She's beautiful, isn't she?" he said, the love he felt for his daughter so evident in his voice.

    "She's the most beautiful baby in the world," Sheridan declared. "And the most loved."

    "She's ours," Luis said, rubbing his hand along Sheridan's back.

    "I know, I have just felt that she is ours," Sheridan said, smiling at the baby.

    "No, I mean she really is ours. I know for sure," Luis said.

    Sheridan turned and looked at him in surprise. "How do you...?"

    Luis explained the whole Antonio situation to Sheridan. She was shocked, then saddened at her husband's cruelty, and finally relieved. Most of all, she was thrilled. "I knew it, Luis! I knew she was ours!" She kissed the baby again and said, "Now we are totally free to be together!"

    Luis reached down and touched his daughter's face with his hand. "Our baby..." he said softly.

    Julian and Eve smiled at the touching scene across the room. "Looks like everything has worked out for the two of them," he whispered.

    "Yes," she agreed. "You can't keep true love down." She turned to look at Julian, grasping both of his hands in hers.

    He smiled at her, knowing the unspoken words she was communicating. Looking around at the officers, Julian reluctantly dropped her hands, knowing that all too soon someone else who knew them may come through that door.

    Eve realized that they were back in the real world now, and she would have some big decisions to make. She knew soon she would have to tell TC the truth. She wanted no more part of the lies she was living. Life was too short to pretend to be someone you're not. Eve wanted to be true to herself the rest of her life. She would need to gather all of her strength to do what was necessary to make that happen. She smiled again at Julian. Somehow, someway, she would see that he was part of her life. She wasn't about to lose him again...

  5. #45

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 44 - "Busted"

    Luis leaned over and gave his baby daughter a kiss. She was safe in Sheridan's arms, where she belonged. He couldn't believe he had his beloved Sheridan back, along with their child. That night, he knew, was the beginning of the rest of their lives.

    They were still at Beth's house, where the touching reunion between mother and baby had taken place.

    Julian and Eve headed over to where the new family had gathered. "I am so thrilled you have your baby back, Sheridan," Eve said, smiling.

    "Yes, it's wonderful," Julian agreed, looking down at the infant. "You can tell she's happy to see you too." He reached in and tickled her chin.

    Sheridan smiled. "I know. I love her so much. This is like a dream come true. Thank you guys, both of you, for making this happen."

    "And Luis, my goodness, we would still be in that pit if it weren't for you," Eve said warmly. "You saved all of our lives tonight."

    "That he did," Julian said. He looked at Luis intently. "Just how did you figure out we were down there?"

    "Yes, how?" Sheridan asked, looking over her shoulder at Luis.

    "We can thank this sweet little baby for that," Luis answered, a big smile on his face.

    "I don't understand..." Sheridan began, looking from Luis to Julian and Eve.

    "Well, let's just say her face gave it away," he said, reaching in to caress the baby's cheek.

    "You mean you recognized her? You knew she was ours?" Sheridan asked, shocked.

    Luis nodded. "Beth called me earlier in the day and told me she had had the baby." He went on to tell them about the details of the phone call. "So she told me to come over here at seven to see her."

    "And that's when you just knew she was Sheridan's?" Eve asked.

    "Oh, yes," Luis said. "I just knew - she looked so much like Sheridan when I saw her. They have the same shape face, nose, and mouth. Sheridan's face is so etched in my brain - and when I leaned over that bassinet, that's what I saw - Sheridan! At first I thought my mind was playing tricks on me, but the more I thought about it, the more it all seemed to fit - Beth being due at the same time as Sheridan, not wanting to see a doctor, having the baby out of town...and on the same day I knew that Sheridan's and my baby was born."

    "How did you know that I had had our baby?" Sheridan asked incredulously.

    Luis explained the dream he had had three nights before.

    "That's when she was born!" Sheridan exclaimed. "Oh my goodness!"

    Eve smiled. "What a connection the two of you have!" she said.

    "The three of us now," Luis corrected.

    "But what happened after you realized she was Sheridan's baby?" Julian asked. "Did you get Beth to talk?"

    "Oh, she tried to deny it, to worm her way out of everything, but I saw through her lies for the first time," he answered. "It was actually Mrs. Wallace who cracked first, when I started turning up the heat."

    "Mrs. Wallace knew?" Sheridan cried. "That sweet old lady?"

    "Yeah, she knew," Luis said. "She said Beth had been threatening to send her to some rat-infested nursing home if she talked. I get the picture she wanted to turn her daughter in all along, but she was just too scared."

    "That poor old woman," Sheridan said.

    "What kind of daughter could do that to her mother?" Eve asked.

    "The loony kind, I guess," Julian offered.

    Just then, the kitchen door opened and two officers stepped through. One was leading Beth, in handcuffs, while the second was following Mrs. Wallace as she slowly moved across the floor with her walker.

    Sheridan placed the baby in Eve's arms. She marched across the room to where the officer was escorting Beth. He stopped. Beth looked down at the floor to avoid Sheridan's eyes.

    "You bitch!!!" Sheridan cried, slapping Beth across the face with all her might. Beth flinched and put her hand on her cheek, rubbing the spot Sheridan had hit.

    Luis ran over to pull Sheridan back. "It's OK, Tom," he said to the officer. The policeman nodded at Luis.

    "You're going to let her get away with that?" Beth asked angrily. "What a jerk you really are!" She spat at Luis.

    "Get her out of here, Tom!" Luis ordered. To Beth, he said, "I don't know what I ever saw in you."

    "Oh, Bethie, I told you that you would pay!" Mrs. Wallace cried. "God won out in the end, didn't he? He always does!"

    "Shut up, Mother!" Beth yelled.

    At that very moment, a third officer entered the living room through the hallway, helping a dazed, handcuffed Charlie make her way toward the door.

    "That must be the one who was tormenting us all that time!" Sheridan cried. "Hey, I've seen her before! She's the woman who attacked me a long time ago on the wharf! Who is she? How does Beth know her?"

    "Oh, she and Bethie are goooood friends," explained Mrs. Wallace, winking. She turned to Charlie. "You know Beth just used you all this time, don't you?"

    Charlie scowled. "I always hated blondes and everything they stood for. Now I hate brunettes too." She glared at Beth. "I hear you tried to sell me up the river; you blamed this all on me, huh, Beth? You just wait until I see you in prison!" She roared with laughter.

    Beth shivered and looked away.

    "Come on," Tom said, leading her toward the door. Beth glanced over her shoulder one last time at Luis, and then headed on out.

    As Charlie was about to be escorted out, Eve quickly but carefully handed the baby to Julian and approached the brutal kidnapper. "I should slap you too for what you did to them in that pit. You shot Julian and took poor Sheridan's baby. I hope they throw the book at you!"

    Charlie grinned. "Trying to protect that boyfriend of yours? Well, he looks no worse for wear than he did before. Of course, that's not saying much." She cackled loudly.

    "You're disgusting!" Eve shouted. She backed off when she felt Julian's hand on her shoulder.

    Charlie was led out the doorway, and Mrs. Wallace soon followed. She paused before she went all the way out. "I want you to know I'm glad you're all OK," she said. "My Bethie is one sick girl. I'm glad none of you were hurt too badly." She lowered her head.

    "Thanks, Mrs. Wallace," Eve said.

    As the elderly woman was helped through the door, Sheridan turned to Luis. "What's going to happen to her?" she asked.

    "They'll question her, but I doubt if charges will be brought against her," Luis replied. "She'll probably end up being placed in a nursing home, hopefully a better one than Beth threatened her with."

    Sheridan nodded. "I do feel sorry for her." She walked over to where Julian was holding the baby. "You are great with her," she said, smiling. "But Julian, you're going to hurt that arm of yours holding her like that. Here, let me take her."

    "It's OK, really," Julian said, handing the infant to Sheridan. "I'll be fine."

    "I had them call an ambulance for you," Luis told him.

    "I don't need an ambulance!" Julian protested.

    "It's best," Eve said. "It's procedure for gunshot wounds."

    "I will be driving you and this little one to the hospital in my cruiser," Luis said, speaking to Sheridan. "They're supposed to be bringing me a car seat."

    The group headed out the door to wait on the ambulance and infant seat.

    Eve pulled Julian aside on the sidewalk. "I just wanted to tell you one more time that I love you. Remember that," she said, squeezing his hand in hers.

    Julian smiled. "That is something I will never forget," he said, his eyes shining.
    "So are you ready for what's in store for us?" he asked.

    "Ready as I'll ever be," she replied, pulling him in for a hug.

    At that moment, an ambulance pulled up to the curb. Eve walked Julian over to it. The emergency personnel got out and began preparing him for transport.

    Just then, a car came screeching up and parked near Beth's house. Sam jumped out of the driver's side; and from the passenger's side - TC! He ran over to where Eve was standing near the ambulance. "Eve, baby!" he cried, scooping her up in his arms. "I'm so glad you're safe!"

    She smiled uneasily, knowing that Julian was watching the scene. "TC, it's good to see you," she said.

    "Is that all the greeting I get after you've been away from me for three days?" he asked, pulling her in for another hug. He finally released her.

    Eve patted her husband's arm. "I am just...tired," she said. "It's been a long three days. A lot has happened, TC."

    "I know, but we'll have plenty of time to catch up," he said, wrapping his arms around her once more. "And when I get my hands on that scum Julian Crane... I heard he was the reason you were kidnapped. Where is that bastard?!" TC let go of Eve and began scanning the crowd that had gathered outside the house.

    "TC, Julian didn't do anything wrong," Eve said, trying to calm her enraged husband. "I was glad to be there to save Sheridan and the baby. If I hadn't been, they would have died."

    "Yeah, well, I still don't like the way he thinks he can play God with my family," TC blared. "He thinks he can put his needs and his family's needs above everyone else's. You could have been killed!"

    "I don't think Julian has put his needs over the needs of others for a long time," Eve said slowly. "A very long time..." She turned and looked at Julian. The paramedics had strapped him onto the stretcher.

    TC followed Eve's glance. "There you are, Crane!" he roared, moving toward the stretcher.

    "TC, no, he's hurt," Eve said, trying to pull her husband back.

    "He will be hurting even more when I get through with him," the angry man vowed.

    "TC, you may not know this, but Julian saved my life in the pit. He stepped in front of me when one of them fired a gun at us. Julian is a hero."

    "Yeah, some hero," he spat. "Crane, if I ever catch you having anything even remotely to do with my wife again, you'll be a dead man. Understand?"

    Julian looked at Eve. He saw the worry in her eyes. "I understand, TC," he said. "I'll have no more to do with Eve than I did in the pit."

    She smiled at him, understanding the underlying message. "My, he has a way with words," she thought. Julian returned her smile.

    TC wondered why Julian was smiling. "Strange fool," he murmured to himself.

    The paramedics began loading the stretcher onto the ambulance. Eve turned to TC. "I really should ride with Julian to the hospital - he's been shot."

    "Are you crazy?" he asked, looking at his wife like he didn't recognize her. "I'll take you to the hospital. You need to be checked out too, but you're not riding with that pig. He has plenty of help anyway." He pointed to the paramedics that were climbing into the ambulance. "Now let's go."

    Eve reluctantly began following TC to Sam's car. She turned for one last look at Julian in the ambulance. He lifted his head up and waved at her. She raised her own hand slightly in a wave, careful that TC didn't see. Eve then turned and headed toward the car. She opened the passenger side door and paused before getting in, taking a deep breath. "Lord, please help us through the tough times ahead," she prayed.

  6. #46

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 45 - "A Special Name"

    Eve entered the cubicle where Julian was being examined by Dr. Simmons. "How is he doing, Craig?" she asked the emergency room physician.

    "I think he's going to be just fine, thanks to you," he said, smiling. "Mr. Crane here told me all about how you saved his life down in that pit. Nice going, Eve."

    "Thanks, Craig," she said. Eve looked at Julian and smiled. "Mr. Crane here saved my life as well in that pit."

    "It sounds like there were a lot of heroics going on down there," the doctor said.

    "There definitely were," Eve stated. "Craig, does he have to have surgery?"

    "I think I can do what needs to be done right here, with a local," he replied. "I don't think we'll have to put him under."

    "Good," Julian said. "Then that means I can get out of this place tonight."

    "Not so fast," Dr. Simmons said. "I think you're going to need to stay a little while for observation - maybe a day or two."

    "Oh, come on," Julian complained. Turning to Eve, he asked, "Can't you pull any strings for me, doctor?"

    "Actually, I'm in complete agreement with Dr. Simmons," she said. "I think you should stay for observation."

    "Oh, thanks," Julian said disappointedly.

    "It's not all bad," Dr. Simmons said. "With qualified people like Dr. Russell taking care of you, I'm sure you'll enjoy your stay."

    Julian's face lit up. "Well, in that case, I think I will stay as long as you need me to."

    Dr. Simmons laughed. "I am going to leave you here for a little bit so I can get things ready for the procedure." He left the room.

    "We're finally alone, doctor," Julian said, his eyes twinkling.

    "Yes, I can see that," she grinned, inching closer to her favorite patient.

    "You know I am in such pain I think I need a kiss to make it better," Julian said enticingly.

    "A kiss, really? On your arm?" Eve asked, smiling.

    "Well, actually, it's my mouth that's hurting at the moment," Julian flirted, "from missing yours."

    Eve laughed and couldn't resist Julian's advances any longer. She leaned in and kissed him on the lips. With his tongue, he urged her to deepen the kiss. She obliged, and the two were swept away in an incredibly passionate kiss.

    Pulling back finally, Eve smiled and tried to catch her breath. "You certainly...don't seem sick," she said, laughing.

    "Not anymore," he joked, reaching out with his good arm to take her hand in his. "Eve, how did your exam go?" he asked.

    "Quick and easy - I'm fine," she said. "Sheridan is in another cubicle right now with the baby. They are going to admit them too - just for observation, like with you."

    "Good," Julian said. His demeanor became more sober. "Is TC still here?" he asked.

    Eve nodded. "He's in the waiting room. He didn't want to let me out of his sight."

    Julian took a deep breath. "It's going to be difficult..."

    "Very," Eve said. "But I have to tell him the truth about my past. All that I've been through recently has made me realize life is too short to spend all of your time worrying."

    "I'm glad you finally see that," Julian said. He looked at her intently. "It's going to be hard for him to take."

    "I know," Eve agreed. "But what I'm worried about most is what he might do to you."

    "Don't worry about me. I have money to hire all the bodyguards I need," Julian said. "It's you I'm worried about."

    "TC won't hurt me, not physically," Eve said. "He will be angry, and upset. But can we blame him?"

    "No, I will totally understand his feelings," Julian said. He hedged a minute, unsure of whether to say what else was on his mind.

    Eve could tell something was bothering him. "What's wrong, honey?" she asked, rubbing his good arm.

    "I just don't know what your plans are...for the future," he said slowly.

    Eve took a deep breath. She didn't know exactly what the future would hold for her either. "Julian, there are a lot of things I'm unsure about," she began. "But one thing I know for certain is I want you in my life - somehow. I couldn't stand being separated from you for another twenty years."

    Julian smiled, relieved that at least Eve was counting on some sort of future with him.

    At that moment, Dr. Simmons returned to the cubicle. "Things are all ready for the procedure, Mr. Crane. The nurse will be here any minute to assist. Are you staying, Dr. Russell?"

    "No, I had best be going. I have some other patients to look in on," she said. She smiled at Julian and then turned and headed out of the cubicle.

    Luis entered Sheridan's cubicle. "There's a swarm of reporters out there now," he said, coming over to greet her. "I guess everyone wants to find out the story of how Sheridan Crane was rescued from the pit." He leaned in for a kiss. Ah, the taste of her sweet lips! How he had missed that most of all.

    Sheridan smiled and held onto Luis's hand. "The only thing I care about is seeing you. I have missed you so much, Luis. And not just for the three weeks I was in the pit. I have missed you since I returned to Harmony and got my memory back. It's been such a long time for us."

    "It has been a terrible time," Luis agreed. "And we can thank my brother for most of it."

    "I still can't believe Antonio knew the truth about us for nearly a year...and that he allowed my father to blackmail him to keep us apart. What on earth could he have done that was so bad that Father could blackmail him like that?" she asked.

    "All I know is it's the same thing that allowed your father to drive him out of town," Luis said. "He wouldn't go into it much. And you know what? I didn't really care...just as long as he left town. I told him as much too."

    "Do you know where he went?" Sheridan asked, suddenly concerned about something.

    "No, but I figured it was somewhere in the islands," Luis replied. "Why?"

    "Well, I just thought of something. We need to know where Antonio is so that we can get the annulment filed."

    "Oh, don't worry about that," Luis smiled. "I have that all taken care of."

    Sheridan looked at him in surprise. "What do you mean?"

    "Before my brother left, I told him to pick up some annulment papers and sign them. I called Mama to make sure he did. It was all taken care of, Sheridan. The papers are at the cottage."

    "That's wonderful!" Sheridan cried, pulling him in for a hug. "Now there is absolutely nothing standing in our way!"

    "Except your father...and maybe Julian," Luis said.

    "Not Julian, Luis," Sheridan declared. "He and I have made peace. I trust him completely."

    "I can't believe how close you two have become in such a short time," Luis admitted.

    "It was one thing I was glad to see happen in that awful pit," she revealed. "Julian opened up his heart to me - he let me in, so to speak."

    "I wouldn't have imagined he had a heart," Luis said. "He never seemed like it before."

    "Oh, he does, Luis! A wonderful heart... In fact, he reminds me somewhat of you."

    "OK, OK, I think you're going too far with this," Luis laughed. "But I am grateful that he saved you life, and the life of our sweet baby." He looked around suddenly. "Where is our little angel anyway?"

    "Here she is!" a nurse called, entering the cubicle just then with the baby in her arms. She handed the precious bundle to Sheridan. "She checked out fine," she said. "The two of you will be staying a day or two for observation, I'm sure you've heard."

    "Yes," Sheridan said, making a face. "I've already been told that. I just wish we could all go home now."

    "It's really for the best," the nurse explained. "But I promise you two will get good care." She smiled and left the cubicle.

    Luis grinned. "You still don't like hospitals, I see," he said.

    "I hate them!" she insisted. "But at least our baby will be with me." She smiled at her daughter.

    "There's something I wanted to talk to you about," Luis said. "We can't keep calling her 'our baby.' We need a name for her." He reached in and rubbed the baby's cheek. It was so soft!

    "I was thinking about that," Sheridan revealed. "I have come up with the perfect name for her."

    "Let me guess - Katherine Pilar?" Luis suggested.

    "Well, early on that was the name I wanted for a little girl," Sheridan admitted. "But now I have another name in mind."

    Two hours later, family and friends gathered in the waiting area of the hospital to welcome back everyone and to greet the newest little Crane- Lopez-Fitzgerald baby. The police had given a news conference, at which both Sam and Luis had spoken. Luis even gave a Polaroid photo of the baby to the press. That seemed to have satisfied them, because they had all finally left.

    Pilar, Miguel, and Charity were there, as were TC and Simone. Grace had come to join Sam, even though things were not smooth between the two of them. Hank was there as well.

    Eve walked out and hugged her daughter. Simone was thrilled to see her. "Oh, Mom, I'm so glad you are safe!" she cried.

    "Me too, baby. It's good to be back," she said, finally pulling back to take a long look at her little girl, who was now quite grown up.

    "I even phoned LA," Simone said. "I found her number, and I called."

    "I'm so proud of you, Simone," Eve said, squeezing her daughter tightly. "That took a lot of guts. You've become so mature."

    "Thinking someone you love might be dead can really make you see what's important," Simone said.

    "I know exactly what you mean, sweetie," Eve said, looking over Simone's shoulder at Julian as he was being wheeled into the waiting area.

    Pilar and Grace went over to give him their thanks. Julian smiled at them, a bit uncomfortable being surrounded by so many residents of Harmony who had previously despised him.

    Just then, Luis entered the room with Sheridan and the baby. Everyone gathered around to see the newest Lopez-Fitzgerald. Pilar got the first look. She kissed her grandchild. "She is just gorgeous, mijo," she said. "It's a miracle you two are safe."

    "It certainly is," Sheridan said, smiling. Her eyes met Julian's. He shyly returned her smile.

    "Theresa sends her love from LA," Pilar went on. "She is out there visiting Whitney. Ethan has taken Gwen to see a specialist, or I know they would be here too."

    Sheridan nodded. "It's just so great that all of you could make it. I've missed you all so much."

    "We're so happy you are safe," Grace said. "All three of you... Four," she said, looking at Julian. She went over and hugged Eve.

    "We're thrilled to be back," Eve said, smiling at her friend.

    TC came up on the other side of Eve and placed his hand on her shoulder. "I'm never letting her out of my sight again," he said.

    Eve and Julian exchanged looks. "This is going to be hard," she thought.

    Luis cleared his throat and smiled at the group. "Well, we wanted all of you to gather out here so that you could officially meet our little girl. We have finally come up with a name that suits her. I think some of you may be a little surprised, but when you think about it, I think you'll see why we both agree it's the best name for this little gal." He looked at Sheridan, who was beaming at him.

    "Well, without further ado," she said, "Luis and I would like all of you to meet our daughter, Julia Eve Lopez-Fitzgerald."

    A hush fell over the group. Then, slowly, "oohs and ahs" could be heard.

    Eve's eyes met Julian's. His mouth was open in shock. He couldn't believe it. "I...I don't know what to say," he said, his eyes beginning to tear up.

    "Without you, Julian, and you too, Eve, our baby and I wouldn't be here," Sheridan said. "This was the least we could do."

    "I think it's a wonderful name!" Pilar exclaimed, taking the baby from Sheridan. "Little Julia Eva," she said in her Spanish accent.

    "I am so very honored," Eve beamed. "That is such a surprise." She turned to look at Julian again. He was thrilled, she could tell. His eyes met hers. They were both thinking the same thing: Here was a child who bore both of their names, in a way - a child who tied them together with yet another bond.

    " so much," Julian said, looking at Sheridan and Luis. They grinned.
    Even Luis was ready to forgive, he thought. He could not believe the love that had come out of their horrible stay in the pit.

    "You're welcome," Sheridan said, coming over to hug her brother. "You know I love you, Julian, and I'll never forget what you did for us in that pit."

    Everyone gathered around Pilar to greet the baby. Even TC went in for a better look. Eve held back and joined Julian and Sheridan. She gave each of them a quick hug.

    Sheridan smiled. "It's good to be out, isn't it?" she asked.

    "Yes, it certainly is," Julian said. "I can't wait to see the next thing life has in store for all of us."

    Eve looked at him and smiled. Neither could she, she realized. It was going to be a tough road ahead, but it would be worth it.

  7. #47

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 46 - "Cutting Ties"

    "Oh, Pookey, there you are!" Rebecca cried, entering Julian's hospital room early the next morning. He smiled rather nervously as she threw herself on him, showering him with kisses.

    "Be careful, Becks...arggggh!" Julian cried out in pain.

    "Oh, Pookey, I'm sorry!" Rebecca said. "I didn't know you were hurt."

    "Well, I am in the hospital, you know," Julian said.

    "Oh, Julian, what's wrong?" she asked. "I just heard on the news this morning that you were found. I guess I was sleeping too soundly when the police called last night."

    "I was shot," he revealed.

    "Shot! Oh, Pookey, where were you hit?" she inquired. Her face suddenly paled. "Not...little Julian?" she asked anxiously.

    "No, not little Julian," he replied, rolling his eyes. "I was shot in the arm, Becky."

    "Oh, Julian, how terrible!" Rebecca cried. "When I see those horrible men who did this to you..."

    "Well, actually, they were women, Rebecca."

    "Women! Some women got the best of my Pookey?" Rebecca couldn't believe her ears.

    "Well, they had weapons," he said. "I even broke my ribs again."

    "Oh no, Pookey! Last time you broke your ribs, we weren't allowed to have any fun for a very long time!" she cried, disappointment showing on her face.

    "Yes, well..." Julian stammered, remembering the fun he had had in the pit. "I'm sure the doctors were just being cautious."

    "It's just the worst news a girl could hear!" Rebecca whined.

    "Well, Becks, hopefully you could think of worse things - like me being dead, for instance," Julian said, frowning.

    "Well, I guess that would be worse because it would be permanent," she agreed.

    Julian shook his head in disbelief. At least she was honest, he thought. "Rebecca, there is something serious I want to talk to you about," he said.

    "Serious? My Pookey? This doesn't sound too good," she said.

    "Well, it could be," Julian declared. "Just let me finish, OK?"

    "Sure, go ahead," Rebecca motioned.

    "Becks, we have had some good times - really, really fun times," Julian began. "I have enjoyed your company. It's just...I don't really love you, Rebecca...and I don't think you love me."

    "What does love have to do with anything, Pookey? You said yourself: we have fun together."

    "I know, Becky, it's just that I want more out of life... I want love," Julian admitted.

    "I can't believe my Pookey is talking about love! Who is she, Julian? What woman has turned your head?"

    "It doesn't matter, Rebecca. The point is - I am not in love with you."

    "Oh, yes, it does matter," Rebecca said. She thought for a moment. "You were in the pit for over a week! How could you...? Oh my gosh, I knew it! Dr. Russell!" she exclaimed.

    "Dr. Russell what?" Julian asked, surprised that Rebecca had figured it out.

    "I knew that hack of a doctor was looking elsewhere from that strong, virile husband of hers. A woman just knows these things. If only I had realized that she would make a move on my Pookey."

    "Rebecca, she didn't make a move on me," Julian insisted. "She and I...we were in love years ago, and we've since found our way back to each other."

    "I had no idea..." Rebecca revealed sadly.

    "I can't continue with you, Becky, when I am in love with somebody else."

    Rebecca started to cry. Then her emotions changed from sadness to anger. "You can't just dump me, Julian," she said. "Remember, I will use the information I have on you to send you away to prison."

    "Go ahead," Julian said quietly.

    "What? You can't mean that?!" she cried. "Prison?"

    "You could tell the police, and I'm sure they would bring up charges, but I really doubt if they would stick," Julian revealed.

    "Well, why not, if I am the star witness?" Rebecca asked in disbelief.

    "Because they will look on you as a woman scorned," Julian said. "And not only that, but it is your word against mine. You don't have any proof."

    "Well, don't they listen to people anymore?" Rebecca asked.

    "The courts listen to people like my father," Julian said. "Do you really want Alistair to get involved in this? You know what would happen, don't you?"

    "I have the goods on Alistair too," Rebecca declared. "I can send him up the river right along with my Pookey."

    "Becks, Alistair owns just about every judge in this state. Not only that, but you'll be lucky to remain alive if you turn on him like that. Use your head, dear."

    "Well..." Rebecca started to cry again.

    "Becky, listen, I don't want you to have to go away empty-handed. I am planning to give you a sizeable going away gift...for what we had together."

    "You're serious?" she asked, brightening a little. "How much are we talking about, Julian?"

    "Oh, quite a few zeroes," he explained. "I don't think you'll be disappointed."

    "Oh, Pookey!" she cried. "That is wonderful!" She leaned in and gave him a big kiss on the lips.

    Julian wiped his mouth and gave her a fake smile. "Yes, well, you deserve it, Becky. We have some great memories that will last a lifetime."

    "We do, don't we?" Rebecca agreed, thinking of their time together. She smiled. "I can't wait to get my hands on that check!" she said. "I will shop till I drop! Thanks, Pookey!" She leaned in for one more kiss and then floated out the door.

    Julian shook his head and then grinned in satisfaction. One obstacle down, two to go.

    Eve walked into Sheridan's room. She was alone and had just finished feeding the baby. "How is little Julia Eve doing?" she asked, a big smile on her face.

    "Your namesake is doing just fine," Sheridan replied, smiling. "She ate like a little pig, same as always."

    Eve laughed. "I want to thank you again, Sheridan, for naming this little gal after Julian and me," she said.

    "That's the least I could have done," she responded. "Even Luis was more open to the idea than I had expected. He's just truly grateful to have us back. You and Julian had a big part in that happening."

    Eve smiled. "I know it was all worth it when I look at this beautiful child."

    "I know," said Sheridan, patting her baby's dark hair. "To me she looks so much like Luis...but to him she's the picture of me."

    "That's love talking there," Eve said. "You both see the person you love in your child."

    Just then a nurse entered the room. "It's time to take the baby back to the nursery," she said, smiling.

    She carefully took Julia Eve from Sheridan and grinned at her. "She's just so adorable," she said.

    "Your accent is adorable too," Sheridan told the burgundy-haired nurse. "Where are you from? Germany?"

    "Kathy is from Canada," Eve replied. "She just moved here and joined the staff a few weeks ago."

    "The accent is actually Austrian though," Kathy explained, "with a little Canadian thrown in for good measure."

    "Well, it's lovely," Sheridan said. "What brings you to Harmony?"

    "Oh, I got a calling to go into nursing, you might say," she explained. "So I left the family farm and went to school. This is my first nursing job."

    "Well, we're glad to have you here," Eve said. "You get along so well with the staff."

    "I try," Kathy remarked, heading for the door with the infant. She turned around slowly. "Sometimes it's the patients who I enjoy the most, however. Like that brother of yours, Miss Crane. What a handsome guy!"

    Eve and Sheridan laughed.

    "It's too bad he's taken, or I would ask him out in a heartbeat."

    "How do you know he's taken?" Sheridan asked.

    "Oh, I heard he had a fiancée. I think she's in there right now," the nurse revealed. "But I didn't need to know those details. You just have to look into his eyes to know he's deeply in love. Oh, what I wouldn't give to be the object of his affections," she swooned.

    "Kathy, I think it's probably time to get the baby back to the nursery, don't you think?" Eve suggested.

    "You're right, Dr. Russell," she said, blushing. "I guess I just got carried away. Perfection in a man does that to a woman..." She headed out the door, her face one big smile.

    Sheridan and Eve looked at each other and giggled. "I think you may have some competition for your man there, Eve," Sheridan said.

    Eve smiled. "Kathy or Rebecca?"

    "Both," Sheridan laughed. "I'm only joking of course, Eve. My brother loves you with all of his heart. I can't see him looking at another woman ever again."

    "He definitely has changed," Eve admitted.

    "So what do you think is going on in there with Rebecca?" Sheridan asked curiously. "I say he's dumping her as we speak."

    "You think so?" Eve asked, her hopes rising.

    "Oh, yes, that was only a matter of time," Sheridan said. She thought for a moment. "So, Eve, have you given any thought as to what you're going to tell TC?"

    "Not really," Eve said. "I guess I have been staying busy here to try to avoid thinking about that. But it's something I can't put off forever."

    "Are you going to tell him everything? Or just about the past?" Sheridan inquired.

    "I will definitely tell him about the past," Eve said. "I'm not pretending to be anyone I'm not, ever again."

    "And if he accepts your past...what then?" Sheridan asked carefully, watching for Eve's reaction.

    "I don't know, Sheridan," Eve admitted. "TC and I have been married a long time - more than twenty years. We have a family together. It's hard to just give that up." She looked off into space, a sad expression on her face.

    "And it's hard to give up love too, isn't it?" Sheridan asked. "I know. I tried to give up Luis when I married Antonio. It was just too difficult."

    "I can't see myself giving up Julian either," Eve revealed. "Not with what we have together. I guess I am in quite a spot."

    "Even worse than where I was at," Sheridan said. "Your marriage to TC lasted so much longer than mine to Antonio...and there were children."

    "Exactly," Eve said. "But I do have a child with Julian too - if we can just find him." She shook her head. "Either way I am going to hurt someone I love."

    Sheridan nodded. "I loved Antonio too," she said, "just not the same as I love Luis. He and I are soul mates. I see that same kind of love with you and Julian."

    Eve smiled sadly. "So do I, Sheridan. I just wish so many people didn't have to get hurt because of it..."

    She started heading for the door. "I'm going to let you get some rest now. Thanks for listening."

    Sheridan nodded, watching as Eve closed the door behind her. "Oh, Julian, I hope things work out for the two of you," she declared. "I want you to find the happiness that I have found."

  8. #48

    Re: Pit of Redemption (Evian, Shuis)

    Chapter 47 - "The Dance"

    Later that afternoon, Eve ventured into Julian's hospital room. His face lit up upon seeing her. "What did I do to deserve the honor of a visit from the wonderful Dr. Russell?" he asked.

    "Oh, just maybe being the greatest friend a woman could ask for," she said, coming over to his bedside.

    "Only a friend?" he asked, pretending to be disappointed. "I was hoping to be a little more than that to you."

    "Well, maybe you are...just a little more," Eve said, smiling. She leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. "So how is my favorite patient doing today?" she asked.

    "Well, until just a minute ago, he was missing his favorite doctor."

    "Oh, I thought you had loads of company today," Eve said. "I even heard Rebecca was here for quite a while this morning."

    "Jealous, are we?" he asked, reaching up to caress her arm with his good one.

    "No, I'm not jealous," she laughed. "Why would I be jealous just because you were entertaining your fiancée in your hospital room? And why would I be envious of the fact that you have half the nurses in this hospital fawning all over you? There's one, I swear, who wants to marry you." She chuckled, remembering her earlier conversation with Kathy, the newest RN at the hospital.

    "Well, first of all, I am just a lovable guy, which is why all the nurses can't keep their eyes off of me," he joked. "And second, I wasn't entertaining Rebecca today...actually, I was breaking her heart."

    "What?!" Eve asked in surprise. Could Sheridan have been right?

    "You knew it was only a matter of time, Eve," Julian said. "I am in love with you, not Rebecca. My time with her is over and done."

    "Did she take it all right?" Eve asked curiously.

    "Oh, as well as could be expected," he replied. "She never loved me, of course. Oh, we had our moments, but there was no genuine love there...nothing like what I have with you." He took her hand in his and smiled. "My heart belongs to you, Eve."

    "And mine belongs to you," she declared. "Now, I want to know how you convinced her to go. I always thought Miss Rebecca would put up one hell of a fight."

    Julian laughed. "She tried to. I just had to convince her that walking away was in her best interests."

    "You gave her money?!" Eve asked incredulously.

    "Well, don't be so shocked, dear," Julian said. "I would have given her every dime I had if it meant I could be with you."

    Eve smiled. "What can I say to that? I am flattered. My, how you've changed, Julian."

    "That's what love does to a man," he said. "It makes him all mushy inside."

    "You're not mushy," she said.

    "No?" he asked, his eyes twinkling.

    "No, you're just...incredibly romantic." She leaned down to give him another kiss on the cheek, but Julian turned his head and pressed his lips to hers. He encouraged her to deepen the kiss, and she obliged, opening her mouth to give his tongue access.

    Julian ran his fingers through her gorgeously silky black hair, while she placed her own hands around his neck and head.

    Eve ran her tongue along his, which gave her a tremendous amount of pleasure, and then drove her tongue into the recesses of his mouth, arousing even more desire in both of them.

    Julian pulled Eve onto the hospital bed with him as the kiss turned even more passionate. He lay on his side, facing her as their hands moved up and down each other's backs, their mouths still joined as one. Julian moved his hand along Eve's arm, and then slowly maneuvered it to her chest.

    Suddenly, Eve pulled back, breathless. "Julian...we need to stop...if we go any further, I could lose my job." She got up from the bed and smoothed her rumpled clothing.

    He sat up in the bed and laughed. "I am on the hospital board, darling. I wouldn't let them fire you over a little tryst in this hospital bed."

    "I'm not about to have a 'little tryst' anywhere, Julian, in this hospital bed or anywhere else. I think you know I'm not that kind of a person."

    Julian turned serious. "I know that, Eve. That's one reason I am incredibly attracted to you. You want to give all of yourself to a relationship. I wouldn't want anything less."

    "I'm sorry, it's just been so hard lately," she revealed. "There is so much pressure." Her eyes suddenly filled with tears.

    Julian reached out and brought her in for a hug. "I'm sorry that this has to be so hard for you," he said.

    Eve ran her hands along Julian's back and let the tears flow. "It's just good to be in your arms again. I feel safe here," she said.

    "I want you to always feel safe, Eve dear," Julian revealed, concerned for the woman he loved. "What is it I can do to help?"

    "Nothing," she replied, pulling back to look at him. "It's up to me now, Julian. I have to tell TC the truth, and I'm going to do it tonight."

    "Do you want to wait until tomorrow, when I'm out of I can go with you?" he asked.

    "No, this is something I need to do on my own," Eve declared. "It's going to be the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but I must do it...for everyone's sake." She moved forward and embraced him again.

    Julian placed his hand in her hair and closed his eyes. "My sweet Eve," he said softly. "If only there was a way that we could be together without hurting you..."

    She pulled back and caressed his face. "I love you, much that it hurts. But soon, I hope everything will be all right."

    "It will be," he said. "I just know it's all going to work out for us." They hugged yet again, and although he was happy to be close to Eve, Julian's mind started to have doubts. What if she feels sorry for TC and decides to stay with him? What if he forgives her? What if she just can't give him up? He pushed the thoughts out of his mind as he held her even tighter. They were just too painful to consider...

    "There she is!" Luis exclaimed upon entering Sheridan's hospital room. "I just went down to the nursery to see little Julia Eve, but she wasn't there."

    "She missed her mommy, so I asked if I could have a visit," Sheridan said. The baby was lying calmly in her arms. She had just been fed.

    "Well, I can see it right now. Daddy's going to get slighted because Mommy's going to hog all the time with you, isn't she?" Luis asked, reaching down and rubbing his daughter's tummy.

    Sheridan laughed. "Well, at first, it is kind of hard for daddies to feed their babies, but of course changing diapers is another story."

    Luis made a face, feigning a dislike for that less than ideal duty. "Maybe this daddy isn't suited for changing diapers," he said. Then he smiled. "You know I'm just kidding, don't you? I want to be involved in anything and everything in our daughter's life."

    "Even changing diapers?" Sheridan asked, her eyes twinkling merrily.

    "Especially changing diapers," Luis remarked.

    "Good," Sheridan laughed. "I think she needs a diaper change right now. Here's your chance."

    "Wh-what?" Luis asked, becoming nervous. "I thought the nurses change the nursery."

    "Well, they do," Sheridan said, "if the babies are in there. But since they're allowing babies to stay in the rooms more and more, who do you think has to change them?"

    "The daddies?" Luis asked, his face becoming pale. "Of course I would like to do all I can to help. It's just...she's so tiny. I'm afraid I'd break her."

    Sheridan laughed. "I'm just joking about the diaper change right now. Don't look so scared there. You'll get the hang of it soon enough." She grinned.
    "You do need to get used to holding her, Luis. She won't break." She leaned toward him with the baby.

    Luis held out his arms, and Sheridan carefully laid Julia Eve in them. "There you go, Luis. See? She's so comfortable with you already."

    Luis smiled at his daughter. "Julia...Julia Eve... You are the most beautiful baby in the world," he said. "You are the picture of your mother."

    "And your father!" Sheridan called out. "I love her dark hair, Luis. And it looks like her eyes will be brown like yours. They're so dark already."

    Luis smiled. "You can definitely see the Lopez side of the family in her," he agreed. "But it's your face that makes her beautiful, Sheridan. She looks like a little angel."

    Sheridan smiled and leaned over to kiss her baby. "Julia Eve, we are so glad you are finally with us. We are your parents, sweetie. We love you so much."

    "You are our firstborn," Luis added. "We get to try everything out on you first." He laughed. "Hopefully, we won't make too many mistakes, but bear with us. We're new at this."

    "I think she'll understand," said Sheridan. "Do you see the way she's looking at you? She loves you already."

    Luis smiled. "I can't wait to teach her how to dance someday," he said.

    "Why wait?" asked Sheridan. "Why don't you ask her for this dance?" She reached over and turned on the radio on the nightstand next to her bed. She adjusted the dial quickly, finally settling on a slow love song. "Here you go," she said. "Perfect!"

    "Well, you'll be my littlest dance partner ever," Luis said. "But if you're willing, Julia Eve, I would like to have this dance."

    Sheridan smiled as Luis began slowly moving to the music with the baby in his arms. He kept his eyes on Julia's face the whole time. He was totally engrossed in his new daughter.

    "I wish I had my camera," Sheridan said, tears of joy in her eyes.

    Luis smiled. "I think Julia Eve is really enjoying her first dance. She may never let Mommy cut in."

    "Maybe Mommy can join the two of you," Sheridan suggested. She got up out of the bed and made her way over to Luis. She put her arms around him and looked down at her daughter who was snuggled tight in her daddy's arms.

    The small family began slowly and carefully moving to the music. The love that they shared filled the room. Julia Eve let out a sweet cry. Sheridan and Luis looked at her and smiled. "This is heaven," they both thought.


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