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Thread: Whisper (Sheridan/Luis, Sam/Ivy/Grace, Theresa/Ethan/?, Charity/Miguel/Kay/?, more)

  1. #9
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    Re: Whisper (Sheridan/Luis, Sam/Ivy/Grace, Theresa/Ethan/?, Charity/Miguel/Kay/?, mor

    Chapter 8









    "Aunt Paloma? Can I.may I watch cartoons?"

    Paloma ruffled Matthew's dark hair affectionately. "Yes. You may," she smiled. "But don't forget.dinner's soon."

    Matthew grinned back at her.

    Theresa was right. He did have his father's smile.

    The little boy scrambled down from his barstool and disappeared into the living room. "Thank you!"

    "You're welcome," she responded. She tapped her fingers against the kitchen counter. Dinner. That' right, Paloma. Healthy dinner. Matthew's a growing boy. She opened the fridge and peered inside. It was Whitney's turn to pick up the groceries. Speaking of Whitney.Paloma winced at the sound of the front door slamming.

    Whitney's keys clattered to the bar. "Paloma.will you hand me an aspirin?"

    Paloma retrieved the small bottle and handed it to her roommate. "Bad day?"

    The redness of Whitney's eyes, the lines around them said it all. Whitney's life was in a state of crisis. But she refused to talk to anyone about it. Not even Theresa. Especially not Theresa.

    The sounds of Simba and Pumba and Timon filtered through the small apartment.

    "Cartoons? Who's.Matthew."

    Paloma held out a chilled bottle of water. "Theresa needed someone to watch him while she was at work. Mama's at Sheridan and Luis's."

    Whitney took a gulp of the icy liquid and swallowed the two aspirin in her palm.

    "I can.we can go somewhere else if you want. Give you some quiet time. You look like you need it."

    Whitney's lips twisted into a sardonic smile. "Is that a polite way of saying I look like hell?"

    Paloma's brown eyes sparkled. "You said it. Not me," she said. Hugging Whitney's shoulders as she passed. "Rest. Take care of yourself."

    Whitney felt tears stinging at the corners of her eyes when she heard Matthew's excited little voice. "Aunt Whitney's here? I want to go say hi."

    Paloma's melodic voice was muffled as she answered him.

    But Whitney had an idea of the direction the conversation was going without hearing it.

    "Bye, Aunt Whitney! Hope you feel better."

    And the knife in her heart twisted a little harder.





    @@@@@






    "Mr. Winthrop," Amy knocked politely. "Mr. Winthrop.I know you said no calls. But it's your wife, Sir. She says it's very important. She insists she talks to you."

    Ethan buried his head in his hands with a groan. How did he keep the guilt out of his voice?

    The button on the phone flashed red.

    "Mr. Winthrop."

    "Thank you, Amy," he said impatiently. "I'll take the phone call." He punched the button and spoke into the receiver. "Theresa.is there something wrong with Matthew?"

    There was a moment's silence on the line before her voice filled his senses.

    "Ethan.Ethan.I want you to meet me tonight. At the Seascape, The Lobster Shack, you name it. We need to talk. Ethan, I don't want to let our marriage die without a fight."

    "Theresa.I can't."

    "If our marriage is important to you, if our son is important to you, you will do this for me."

    He closed his eyes and imagined the determined look on her lovely face. In those eyes he had fallen in love with long ago. And sighed. It was no use. He had to face his problems some time. "The Seascape. I'll have Amy make the reservations and call you."

    "Thank you."

    He could hear the smile in her voice as she said it. He hated to think that after tonight that smile.it would be gone.

    "I love you."

    The line went dead, and he hesitated before putting it back on the hook. "Me, too."





    @@@@@






    Adam Crane stared out the floor-length windows of his office. Down at the little ants milling about. Ah. Harmony. Home, sweet home.

    "Mr. Crane," Blair said disinterestedly. "When can we get together again?"

    Adam's brown eyes swept her figure admiringly. Beautiful. With brains. Too much brains, in fact. And a conscience. He wasn't about morals here. His grandfather had taught him well.

    Blair gasped when he pulled her down on his lap with a growl and teasingly ran his hands up her thigh.

    "What about now?" he suggested. Whispering in her ear. Toying with the pearls at her neck. He loosened the pins from her honey hair, and it fell to her shoulders once more.

    "Mr. Crane," Blair protested. Pushing ineffectively against his chest. "Mr. Crane.I have a meeting."

    "You work for me," he said dully.

    She whimpered when he crushed his lips to hers.

    "The meeting can wait."

    "No, it can't."

    Adam snarled in disgust as he shoved her from his hold. "Amanda.didn't Father ever teach you how to knock?"

    "Here. You might need this," Amanda said icily. Tossing her caramel silk blouse at her.

    Adam waited until the door shut behind her before addressing his sister. "What is so important it couldn't wait until I had a little fun?"

    "Not what. Who. Father. He's coming home in two days. We have to be prepared."

    "Prepared," Adam scoffed. Straightening his tie. "Prepared for what?"

    Amanda didn't answer. "Family meeting. Tonight at the Mansion. I've already told Lauren. It's your job to call Aunt Sheridan. I have to go now. Convince Chad to come."

    Adam rolled his eyes as soon as her back was turned. Chad? And Aunt Sheridan? And Lauren, even. Grandfather wouldn't be pleased. But he couldn't go against Amanda's request without looking suspicious. He punched in a few hastily looked up numbers and spoke in his best loving nephew voice.

    "Aunt Sheridan.this is Adam."






    @@@@@






    "Mija.who was that on the phone?"

    Danielle's feet dangled from the stool she was perched on. "Yeah, Mom. Who was it?"

    Sheridan twisted the gold band on her finger. "Your cousin Adam. There's a family meeting at the Mansion tonight. He wants me to come."

    Pilar's brow knit in consternation. Adam.Adam was the son of Alistair's heart.

    "Can I come, Mom?" Danielle asked quizzically.

    "Mija.maybe I should come, too," Pilar offered.

    Sheridan smiled at her two worried loved ones. "I'm a big girl, you know."

    "We'll all go."

    "Dad! You're home early!"

    Luis lifted Danielle off her feet easily and twirled her around and around until she giggled helplessly.

    Sheridan pursed her lips and shook her head.

    "Mijo.any clues yet?"

    Luis set Danielle down. Smirking when she stumbled on her feet. "It's still all a mystery, Mama. But I'm working on it."

    "Working on what, Dad?" Danielle asked curiously.

    Sheridan made a zipping motion across her lips. "Top secret police business," she teased.

    "Yeah," he laughed. Leaning down to bestow a sweet kiss on his wife's lips. "What's this about a meeting?"

    Sheridan bowed her blond head.

    "Adam wants the whole family to meet at the Mansion, Mijo," Pilar answered.

    "It's about Julian's release in a couple days," Sheridan admitted quietly.

    "Uncle Julian's coming home?" Danielle's blue eyes darted around the room. To each adult.

    Luis sighed and slipped his arm around Sheridan's waist. "It's true."

    Danielle watched her abuela make the sign of the cross. What would this mean?

    Luis kissed the crown of Sheridan's head. "We should get going."

    The screen door banged against its frame. And the house by the sea stood empty after Luis's jeep sped down the worn pathway.

    A child's cries filled the air.

  2. #10
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    Re: Whisper (Sheridan/Luis, Sam/Ivy/Grace, Theresa/Ethan/?, Charity/Miguel/Kay/?, mor

    Chapter 9







    "I want you to get her settled in while I talk to Ivy. Do you think you can handle that, Jess?" Sam asked.

    "Oh, I'm sure we'll do just fine," Jessica smiled. Glancing over at her mother.

    Kay stood a short distance from her father and sister. Her arms crossed around her chest. Smirking triumphantly at Ivy.

    Ivy took a shaky breath and turned away. There was so much.hatred.in those dark eyes. She stuffed her soiled lace handkerchief into her purse and zipped it slowly. This was not happening. Grace Bennett was not smiling in the company of her son and brother-in-law. Grace Bennett was dead.

    "Ivy? Are you okay?"

    Ivy met Gwen's blue eyes. Smiling slightly at the concern she saw in them. "I'll be.no. No, I'm not okay. My fiance's 'dead' wife reappeared in Harmony more than a day ago, and I'm just now finding out," she said shortly.

    "I'm sure Sam was going to tell you," Gwen placated.

    "Gwen's right," Sam interrupted.

    Ivy's blue green eyes searched out Grace's slight figure. Watching it as it got smaller and smaller. "Really, Sam?"

    Sam looked at Gwen out of the corner of his eye.

    "I.I have to go now. If you need anything, Ivy.just call."

    "Thank you," she cried. "Sam," she said icily. "Were you ever really going to tell me? Or were you secretly hoping someone else could do it? Take the pressure off of you?"

    "Ivy," Sam said in an exasperated voice. "It wasn't like that. Not at all. True.I didn't know HOW to tell you. But I never wanted you to find out this way."

    "I can't deal with this right now."

    "Ivy! Wait! Where are you going?" Sam asked. Grabbing her by the arm.

    Ivy yanked her arm from Sam's grasp. Honestly.she didn't know yet. "Anywhere but here," she growled.

    Sam clenched his fists and swore under his breath as he watched her hurry away blindly. Was she so desperate to get away from him? What now?

    "Dad.Dad everything's going to be fine now."

    He pulled his eldest daughter close and clung to her for strength. Somehow he didn't quite think so.






    @@@@@








    "Aunt Paloma? Is Aunt Whitney sick?"

    Paloma glanced at her little nephew through the rear-view mirror. "She just had a bad day," she said softly.

    Matthew pondered her words. His tiny finger posed on his chin thoughtfully. "Those are the worst," he finally said. "Aunt Paloma? Where are we going?"

    Paloma bit her lip to keep from laughing. "To Uncle Miguel's house."

    "Uncle Miguel!" Matthew said excitedly. "Yay!"

    This time Paloma did giggle. Miguel and Matthew.well, they shared a special bond it seemed. "Yes," she smiled. "Aunt Charity invited us over for dinner."

    "Aunt Paloma?"

    "Yes," Paloma answered. Turning on her left blinker and making the turn at the road that would lead them to Miguel and Charity's house.

    "Is Tessa going to be there?"

    "Of course, silly. Why?" she asked with a laugh. "Don't you like your cousin? You do like Tessa, don't you? Matthew?"

    Matthew bowed his dark head and twiddled with his teddy bear's button eyes nervously. "I guess. But Aunt Paloma.Tessa.she's weird, Aunt Paloma."

    Paloma choked on her own tongue. "Matthew.that isn't very nice," she chided. She waved distractedly at her brother as the car rolled to a stop. She released her seat belt and turned around in her seat to look at her nephew. "Matthew.you don't mean that."

    "I'm sorry, Aunt Paloma," he apologized without meeting her eyes.

    "It's okay, kiddo," she smiled. "What are you waiting for? We're here." She opened her door and climbed out of the car.

    Matthew uncrossed his fingers and whispered to his teddy bear. "I didn't really lie, Teddy. Honest." He unbuckled himself and slid out the open door.






    @@@@@








    "Wow! Sugar Bear! You look.amazing! When did you go and grow up on me, Sweetheart?"

    Simone smiled at her father in the mirror's reflection as she fastened the gold hoops in her ears.

    "Daddy.you have to say that."

    T.C. grinned. "It's a totally unbiased opinion. I swear. So.where are you off to tonight?"

    Simone slipped her purse on her arm and adjusted the skirt of her boldly colored dress. "Hmm. Nosy, aren't we?"

    T.C.'s eyebrows shot up, and he laughed. "Busted. Really. Hold that thought. Someone's at the door."

    The door swung open slowly to reveal a rather nice-looking young gentleman that looked oddly familiar.

    "You don't recognize me, do you Coach Russell?"

    T.C. rubbed his chin. It was right there. On the tip of his tongue. Why couldn't he.

    "It's me, Coach Russell. Reese. Reese Durkee."

    Simone burst into laughter at the look of complete disbelief on her father's face. "I can't believe you, Daddy. You don't see it?"

    T.C. chuckled in embarrassment. Now that he thought about it."Reese. Come in. It's time for the mandatory talk about the rules."

    "Daddy," Simone rolled her eyes. "Daddy, I'm not a teenager anymore. I'm in my twenties." How embarrassing is this? She could die from the mortification right here and now.

    "It's okay, Simone. Coach Russell, I promise I will take the utmost care of your daughter and treat her like the lady she is."

    Someone wipe that idiotic grin off my dad's face, Simone thought to herself. She pretended to look at the time. "Oh my goodness! Reese! We're going to be late. Bye, Daddy," she said. Kissing his cheek in her haste.

    "Bye, Coach Russell."

    T.C. laughed to himself when the door shut behind the pair. Late? "Sugar Bear.you weren't even wearing a watch."

  3. #11
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    Post Re: Whisper (Sheridan/Luis, Sam/Ivy/Grace, Theresa/Ethan/?, Charity/Miguel/Kay/?, mor

    Chapter 10









    "I know you want no part of…I know you don't feel comfortable around any of us but Aunt Sheridan. But Chad...you ARE a member of the family. You're MY brother. My father's son. You need to be there."


    Chad laid his headphones down and tapped on the window to get Mitch's attention. "Could you get someone to cover for me, Mitch?" He smiled when Mitch gave him a thumbs up sign. Then turned back to Amanda.


    "Me? I may be a member of the family. But I have no part in it. And frankly.I don't want a part. Family don't treat their own the way that bastard did."


    Amanda's jaw clenched. "You can't blame ALL of us for Grandfather's sins forever. We didn't take you away from your mother. We didn't keep your true identity from you all those years."


    "Yeah," Chad sighed. "I know.but.he cost me so much. Do you have any idea how many lives he screwed up? I grew up not knowing who my parents were. Not knowing I had a brother. Sisters. Can you imagine not knowing who you are?"


    Amanda's clear blue eyes clouded with sympathy, and she wanted so much to reach out. But she didn't.


    Chad's eyes caught the motion. And he sighed. "You can't do it, can you? Your words say one thing, but your actions.I guess the saying is true. They speak louder than words." He watched her regal form as she walked to the door slowly.


    She paused with her hand on the doorknob.


    Chad waited.


    "You can't get those years back, Chad. You can't undo the damage. But the future.it's yours for the taking. Just remember that."


    Chad groaned when she disappeared from sight. She was right. Dammit.she was right. He scribbled a hasty note to Mitch. And took off after her.



    @@@@@



    She studied her reflection in the mirror.


    The diamond studs sparkled in her ears.


    The pale peachy tones of her dress shimmered under the lights.


    Her olive complexion was flawless.


    Perfect. She had to look perfect. She WAS going to win her husband's heart back tonight. And they'd make a fresh start. One without lies.


    She slipped her lipstick back in her handbag and snapped it shut.


    Wolf nuzzled her hand with his cold, wet nose.


    Her laughter was lighthearted as she locked the door behind her. Things would work out. The way they were supposed to be. Fate or not.



    @@@@@



    "Danielle.sweetie. Are you cold?" Sheridan asked. Coming up behind her daughter and rubbing her arms briskly with her own.


    Danielle tipped her dark head back and smiled at her mother. "Just a little."


    "This house always was cold," Pilar said softly.


    In more ways than one, Luis thought as he fell into step behind the maid.


    Danielle felt her mother stiffen as they passed the library. That was his place.


    "They're outside, Mrs. Lopez-Fitzgerald. The gazebo."


    "Thank you," Sheridan said sincerely.


    Danielle closed her eyes when she felt the warmth of the dying sun on her face.


    Luis tried to ignore his misgivings when Adam Crane spoke.


    "Aunt Sheridan.so happy you could make it."


    The man was a fake if he ever saw one.


    "And this must be Danielle. My dear.you're every bit as beautiful as your own mother."


    Danielle smiled uneasily at the compliment. Why did she get the feeling her cousin Adam meant not a word he said?


    "No, she isn't."


    Danielle studied the young blond curiously.


    Lauren's hazel eyes twinkled, and she winked at Sheridan. "She's even more beautiful."


    "Lauren! You're home!"


    Lauren squeezed her aunt tightly.


    "Just in time it seems," she said soberly. "Hey you!" she smiled at Danielle. "I wasn't kidding. You're gorgeous, Kid. Think you can give me a few pointers?"


    Danielle giggled and took her cousin's outreached arm. "It's all in the genes."


    "Mijo," Pilar uttered softly. A gentle hand on her son's arm. "Watch over her. And protect her. I.don't trust him blindly," she said. Glancing at Adam. Luis smiled reassuringly at his mother before she tried to catch up to her former charge and her granddaughter.


    Sheridan felt a chill go up her spine when her nephew smiled at her.


    Luis hugged her closer, and she was grateful for the contact.


    Adam stood up. To attention.


    That could only mean one of two things. And Sheridan hoped beyond hope her father was far, far away from Harmony.


    Amanda looked tired. Worried as she spoke.


    But the weariness fell away. Forgotten as Chad took his place by her side.


    The meeting was in session.

  4. #12
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    Post Re: Whisper (Sheridan/Luis, Sam/Ivy/Grace, Theresa/Ethan/?, Charity/Miguel/Kay/?, mor

    Chapter 11







    "How come you're not at the meeting?"


    Lauren quirked her brows at her cousin. "I'm the baby of the family. They never listen to what I have to say."


    "Mom would listen. Wouldn't she, Grandma?"


    Pilar smiled at the adoration for Sheridan shining clearly in her granddaughter's crystal blue eyes. "Yes. She most certainly would."


    "Where are you taking us?"


    "My goodness! You do ask a lot of questions, don't you?" Lauren teased. "I bet you get that from your father."


    Danielle grinned. "How did you know?"


    "Just a hunch," Lauren shrugged.


    The smile on Danielle's face grew even wider as she recognized the sound of crashing waves.


    Lauren's pace slowed. And she covered Danielle's eyes with her hands. "No peeking," she warned.


    Pilar's hair whipped in the air around her wildly. "Miss Lauren.not so close to the."


    "Pilar! Don't you trust me?" Lauren laughed lightly. "Okay.on the count of three.open your eyes."


    Danielle opened her blue eyes to one of the most spectacular sights she had ever seen. "Wow! I didn't know."


    "It's beautiful, isn't it?" Lauren sighed. Stepping closer to the edge.


    Pilar panicked at the sound of loose rocks falling. "Mija! Not so close to the edge."


    "Grandma," Danielle chided. "Don't worry so much. Lauren won't let anything happen to me. Will you?"


    "Sure won't. But she's right. You have to be careful out here. It's an awful long way down. I wouldn't want to make the mistake of getting too close. Maybe we should go back now."


    "Aww," Danielle whined. "Do we have to?"


    "We have to," Lauren said with a frown. "Come on," she said. Tugging on Danielle's hand.


    "Wait," Danielle said. Stopping in her tracks a few minutes later. "My bracelet's gone. I have to go back to get it. Please."


    Lauren looked to Pilar. And relented when she nodded her head in approval. "Hurry back."


    "I will," Danielle called.


    "Did anybody ever tell you that your face would stick that way if you didn't smile once in a while?" Lauren teased. "Pilar? What's wrong? Pilar?"


    Pilar clutched the necklace at her neck. "I don't know. I can't shake this feeling. Something terrible is going to happen. Dios Mio! Danielle! We have to stop her!"


    Lauren didn't ask any questions.


    The rocks crunched under their feet as they ran.


    The sound of Danielle's screams made them both sick with fear.




    @@@@@



    Sheridan's glass crashed to the ground.


    Adam winced as it shattered. The stupid woman.


    "Sheridan? What is it? Are you alright?" Luis questioned.


    Chad knelt and began picking up the slivers with his hands.


    "No. No, I'm not alright. Luis.I feel so cold. So cold. Why? What's happening?"


    "NNNNNNOOOOOOO!!!!"


    "That sounds like."


    "Danielle! Luis! It's our daughter."


    Amanda looked stricken at the words. No. Not again. "Adam.call 9-1-1."


    Tears escaped Sheridan's pretty blue eyes as her heart filled with fear.


    Luis couldn't let his own fright show. He held her hand tightly. Everything had to be alright.



    @@@@@





    Matthew bounced the ball off the tree again and again. Boredly. He wanted to go home.


    Tessa knelt in the grass. Staining her pristine white dress. And stared ahead.


    She doesn't scare me. She doesn't scare me, Matthew repeated. Brown eyes screwed shut. She doesn't scare me. "Ow!" he cried when the ball bounced back. Hard. And thudded against his skull. Tears welled up in his eyes, but he wiped them away. He couldn't let Uncle Miguel think he was a baby.


    Tessa stood up slowly. And held her head in her hands. A look of pain on her face.


    "Tessa? Tessa? Are you okay?"


    Images of blood and surf assaulted Tessa's senses. And a golden chain glinted in the sunshine.


    "Tessa! Aunt Paloma! Uncle Miguel! Help! Something's wrong with Tessa!"


    "NO! NO! DON'T!"


    "Tessa! Oh my god! Tessa! Talk to me."


    Charity cried helplessly as Miguel shook their daughter by the shoulders. Trying to get her to come out of the trance she was in.


    Matthew whimpered. Burying his face in his aunt Paloma's neck. His hot tears soaking through her shirt.


    "NO!"


    Tessa fell limp in her father's arms.

  5. #13
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    Post Re: Whisper (Sheridan/Luis, Sam/Ivy/Grace, Theresa/Ethan/?, Charity/Miguel/Kay/?, mor

    Chapter 12






    "Anything else, Mrs. Winthrop?"

    Theresa clasped her hands in her lap and sighed. "No thank you." Where was he?

    "Sorry to keep you waiting."

    Theresa's lips curved upward. "I knew you'd come."

    Ethan fussed with his napkin, and his blue eyes searched for the waiter. "Have you ordered yet?"

    "I waited for you," Theresa said softly. "Ethan.I'm so happy you came."

    "Well.I keep my promises." Most of them anyway, he thought to himself.

    "I know," Theresa murmured.

    "Good evening, Mr. Winthrop. May I take your order?"

    Theresa studied her husband's profile as he ordered for them both. He was still as handsome as the day she married him. There were more lines around his eyes, of course. And if she looked closely, she could see just a hint of gray. She fought the insane urge to giggle. She thought it made him look very distinguished.

    "What?" Ethan asked.

    Theresa's laughter spilled forth. "Nothing," she said. Sobering immediately when she realized Ethan didn't think anything was funny at all. Things were not getting off on the right track here. "Ethan.we need to."

    "Talk," he finished for her. Setting his glass of wine down carefully.

    The band starting playing. And she recognized the words. The voice. It was their song. All at once she felt terrible. Hopeless. She had lied for so long. So many times she could have told him the truth. But she hadn't. "Ethan," she choked. "I'm so sorry. I know this is all my fault. I don't blame you. Trust is everything in a marriage, and I've broken yours by lying to you since the day I met you. I'm not the person you thought I was."

    Ethan reached across the table to grasp her hand. Maybe she wasn't the person he thought she was. But he loved her anyway. "Theresa.Theresa, look at me."

    Brown eyes filled with tears could barely meet his gaze.

    He brushed the tears that spilled down her silky cheeks away with the pads of his thumbs. "Shh," he soothed. "I'm not saying everything is okay. It isn't. But I believe.I believe that we love each other enough to work through anything. Don't you?"

    Hope filled her heart, and she smiled at him. "Yes. Yes, I do. Our love can survive anything," she said confidently.

    Can it survive this, Ethan thought as he took a breath. Would she still look at him the same? Still love him? "I hope so," he whispered.

    "Ethan? Ethan.you can tell me anything. We can tell each other anything. From now on we'll be nothing but honest with each other. I know it won't be easy. But I'm willing if you are."

    His blue eyes lingered on the small golden band she wore, and he took a deep breath. "Theresa.this isn't easy. I guess the best thing is just to say it. Theresa.I broke our marriage vows."



    @@@@@






    He could hear the soft sounds of a woman weeping.

    Why? Why now? When I finally have all my dreams within my reach? This can't be happening to me.

    "This isn't happening." She gasped at his touch. "Father Lonagin! You frightened me."

    "I apologize for the intrusion. I couldn't help but overhear."

    "How much did you hear?" Ivy asked with downcast eyes. She raised her gaze. What a foolish thing to do? The man cannot see you.

    "Only enough to know you are in pain. Ivy? Is it? Tell me.what is it that."

    Ivy clutched her purse in her hand and prepared to leave.

    "He listens to all things. All people. Maybe you should try talking to Him sometime," Father Lonagin said solemnly.

    Ivy's mouth hung open. She couldn't think of a suitable response. She couldn't exactly tell the old priest what was running through her mind at this moment. God didn't listen to her. Her prayers often went unanswered. "I'm sorry, Father Lonagin. I must be leaving now."

    Father Lonagin smiled sadly after her and raised his eyes to the heavens. Unanswered prayers or not.He listened.




    @@@@@






    "And this is your room," Jessica smiled.

    Grace ran a gentle hand over the comforting quilt thrown over the bed. Studied the pictures that adorned the walls. Smiling, happy faces. Faces of her family. "It's beautiful," she whispered.

    Kay's smile lit up the room. Yes.it was. All traces of Ivy wiped clean. Wouldn't she be surprised by the bags waiting for her at the front door when she deigned to return? It was like Mom never left.

    Grace eased herself down onto the mattress with a sigh. "Home. I'm home."

    Jessica picked up the quilt from the foot of the bed and tucked it around her mother's shoulders lovingly. "You should rest now."

    Grace stopped her with a hand on hers. "Thank you. For everything."

    Kay laughed softly. "What are good daughters for?"

    "You ARE good daughters. Both of you."

    Jessica kissed her mother's cool cheek and moved to the door. Reluctantly. "If you need anything."

    "I know who to ask," Grace smiled.

    "Come on, Jess," Kay said. Taking her sister's arm. Her hand on the light switch. "We'll be downstairs if you need us."

    The door latched shut. The glow from the hallway seeping under and painting the floor with a strange yellow glow.

    Her blue eyes scanned the room. Landing on the jade satin robe forgotten in their haste. Home, she thought with a laugh. She was home at last.



    @@@@@






    Her mind was a whirl of questions as she paid Beth for her purchase at the Book Café. How was Grace? First and foremost. What happened now with Sam and Ivy? Would Ivy back down gracefully? Or would it start all over again?

    "Hey! Watch where you're going!"

    "I'm.I'm sorry. I just have a lot.T.C.!"

    T.C.'s dark eyes narrowed imperceptably.

    Eve felt herself growing smaller and smaller. "You're back."

    "Yeah," he said. "Great to see you."

    The nervous smile on Eve's face faltered as she realized he was just being polite. And why should he be anything else? The last time he laid eyes on her...finding your wife in the arms of your worst enemy would make ANY man lose it. "I saw Simone. Our little girl's so beautiful."

    "Like she always was," he said gruffly. "Look.I don't mean to run out on you. But I really have to be going. I have a meeting with the big guns at Harmony High."

    "A meeting? Are you moving back permanently?" she asked hopefully.

    He looked at her strangely. All pretenses were gone. "For Simone. For Whitney. For our daughters, Eve. I do it all for them."

    The bells chimed his departure. And she felt like the tiniest being on the planet.



    @@@@@





    "Oh, Man. Did you see that?" Noah whistled under his breath. "Russell was colder than cold."

    Beth put the money in her hand in the register. "Well," she muttered. "I think he had a right. I mean.finding out your wife had a child with the man you hate most in the world. And that that child is involved with your daughter. Talk about screwed up. Whitney has been a mess ever since."

    "The good doctor didn't help herself any by admitting she loved the creep. I'm telling you, Beth. Those Cranes.they've really done a number on this town and all its people. Harmony'd be much better off without them. Blood or no."

    Beth perched herself on the stool beside him and swatted him with the rag in her hands. "Come on, Noah. Don't you think you're being a little harsh? Sheridan's a Crane by blood. I didn't like her much in the beginning, but I was bitten by the green-eyed monster," she laughed in embarrassment.

    "Sheridan's okay," Noah admitted grudgingly. "A little unstable. But okay, I guess. I wouldn't have a problem, though, if the rest of her family disappeared off the face of the earth." One spitfire in particular, he thought to himself.

    "Yeah," Beth smirked. "I bet you wouldn't miss any of them. Not even the little blond that's got you smiling to yourself right now. You are so transparent, Noah. Don't even try to deny it," she laughed.

    Noah's jaw clenched, and his coffee mug clattered against the bar. "Like hell," he spat. What was Beth smoking?



    @@@@@





    "Mija!" Pilar cried. Clutching Danielle to her bosom desperately.

    "I thought I warned you not to get too close," Lauren gasped. Stroking Danielle's dark hair back from her forehead. "What happened?"

    "Danielle! Oh my god! Are you alright?"

    Danielle swallowed the lump of fear in her throat and blinked back her own tears. "I'm okay, Mommy. I promise."

    Pilar leaned back on her heels and released her granddaughter.

    Luis pulled Danielle and Sheridan close to his heart. "What were you thinking? You scared us all to death."

    Danielle's blue eyes softened when she saw the frantic look on her cousins' faces.

    "Yeah, Kid," Chad laughed nervously. Veering away from the cliff's edge.

    Amanda pulled her cell phone from her pocket and dialed a number. Her voice much calmer than her shaking hands. "Adam.everything's fine. They're here. Tell them she's fine and apologize. No.I'm not sorry I told you to call 9-1- 1. What if something had happened?" she snapped.

    Danielle's eyes widened. "9-1-1?"

    "You're hurt," Sheridan whispered. Touching the angry gashes on her daughter's forehead gingerly.

    "Stings a little. That's all. Won't the 9-1-1 people be disappointed?" she joked half-heartedly. She hated seeing her mom so worried.

    Luis grasped her shoulders firmly. "What happened? Why weren't you more careful?"

    "I'm sorry, Dad," she said guiltily. "I lost my bracelet, and when I came back to get it.I tripped and fell. But I'm okay. Really. See?"

    "A few nasty scrapes you got there," Chad whistled. "Where's the bracelet?"

    Danielle's forehead wrinkled in thought, and she winced in pain. "I thought I saw it near the edge. But it's not there now."

    "Is this it?" Lauren queried. Holding the tiny gold charm bracelet out to her cousin.

    "Yes! Thank you so much!" Danielle smiled. "I couldn't lose my bracelet."

    The sun's rays bounced off the jewelry.

    Amanda's throat grew tight at the sight of one of the charms. She recognized it. She was there when she got it for her birthday.

    "Women and their jewelry," Chad kidded. Holding out a hand to help Sheridan to her feet.

    Danielle giggled and buried her face in her mother's warmth. "Stop teasing."

    Luis slipped an arm around his mother's waist and led the way. "I think it's time we left this place. Just a little too much excitement for one day."



    @@@@@






    "Charity? Will she be okay?" Paloma asked worriedly.

    Charity took the cool cloth from her sister-in-law's outstretched hand and dabbed Tessa's sweaty brow without an answer.

    "Does she do this often?"

    Matthew held his uncle Miguel's hand tightly. And stared at a picture on the wall. Of him, his mommy, daddy, all his aunts and uncles. Their happy smiles made him feel better.

    Tessa moaned and thrashed around on the sofa. Her yellow hair damp. Flattened to her skull. "No! No! Don't!"

    Charity tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "She'll be okay," she finally answered. "She won't remember anything after it's over. And I don't want you to say anything to her either."

    Paloma bit her lip and nodded her head. No problem, she thought.

    Tessa's blue eyes shot open.

    Everything in the cozy living room jumped in surprise.

    Charity grew cold as she held her daughter's hand, and a tear fell from her cornflower blue eyes.

    The golden chain glittered against the weathered rocks, and the waves pounded furiously.

    They had to strain their ears to hear Tessa's pained whisper.

    ”Martin.”

  6. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
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    489

    Post Re: Whisper (Sheridan/Luis, Sam/Ivy/Grace, Theresa/Ethan/?, Charity/Miguel/Kay/?, mor

    Chapter 13



    "Time for your medication, Mrs. Crane."

    Rebecca clenched her jaw. At midnight?

    "Alright. If you must," Nurse Lilly sighed. Producing a syringe.

    Rebecca's blue eyes widened in horror. "No," she shook her head. "No."

    Nurse Lilly's blue eyes were cold as ice. Years of working for Mr. Crane had hardened her heart. It didn't pay to feel things. To have a heart. Not here. "Really," she chided. "You should know better by now," she smiled as she plunged the needle in the first vein she could find.

    Rebecca's jaw relaxed, and her shoulders slumped within seconds.

    Nurse Lilly kept a close eye on her until her eyelids drooped sleepily. "Just what do you know?"

    The door creaked on its hinges as it swung shut behind her.

    "Everything," Rebecca mumbled.


    @@@@@






    "Do you ever take a hint?" Gwen huffed in irritation.

    "Hint? You've been giving me hints?" Hank smirked.

    "Ugh! You're impossible!"

    Hank grinned. She was so easy to rile up. "Thanks."

    Gwen groaned in frustration. None of the damn keys fit.

    "Let me," Hank insisted. Taking the keys from her hand and choosing the correct one immediately. "There you go."

    She snatched the key from him and inserted it in the lock.

    "Hey! I thought you were going to invite me in!" Hank yelled. "Be Mr. Nice Guy to her, and how does she repay me? Slams the door in my face. That's a definite hint, Buddy," he muttered to himself as he walked down the hall to the elevator.

    The elderly woman from Apartment 221 smiled at him benignly. "Don't worry about it, Dearie. Me and my husband had more than our share of lovers' spats when we were young. Flowers are the perfect way to say you're sorry. Charlie always gave me the most beautiful roses. Only the best."

    Hank bit back the retort on his lips. "Thanks for the advice, Mrs. Rosenberg." Maybe he should just take the stairs.


    @@@@@





    "Theresa? Theresa? Are you here?" Paloma called.

    The house was eerily silent. And the darkness made her reach for Matthew's little hand.

    "Aunt Paloma.where's my mommy?" Matthew's bottom lip quivered, and tears threatened at the corners of his big brown eyes.

    Paloma lifted him into her arms and hugged him tightly. "I don't know. But we'll find her." She jumped at the feeling of Wolf's cold, wet nose nudging her hand. "Wolf! You scared me."

    Wolf whimpered and trotted down the hall. He was halfway to Theresa and Ethan's bedroom when he turned around. As if waiting for them.

    Paloma crept carefully down the carpeted hall. Straining her ears for any unusual noises.

    "Somebody's crying," Matthew whispered.

    "Theresa? Theresa, is that you?"

    "Mommy? Mommy, are you okay?"

    The sobbing grew quieter, and Paloma heard the soft thud of footsteps. She grabbed her chest in fright when Theresa's bedroom door opened suddenly.

    "Matthew!" Theresa said brightly. Holding her arms open to her son.

    Matthew wrapped his little arms around her neck and kissed her soundly on the cheek. "No tears, Mommy," he whispered. Tracing the tear tracks down her cheeks.

    "No tears," she smiled. "No more tears."

    Paloma followed them both to Matthew's room. Brow knit with worry. Something had happened. Something bad.

    "Paloma? Will you get Matthew's blue pj's out of his dresser for me?"

    Matthew raised his arms for her to take his shirt off, and she slipped the soft cotton pj's over his head with a kiss to his forehead. "Mommy," he mumbled. "Stay with me. Please."

    "Okay," she said into his dark hair. Pulling the covers up over them both and snuggling closer to him.

    She curled up in the armchair by the window. The stars' light painting her face. And drifted to sleep to the sound of her sister's melodic voice. Her mind churning with unanswered questions. Would she ever get all the answers?



    @@@@@






    Luis rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he padded into the kitchen. Too much had happened today. He just could not sleep.

    "Mijo."

    His mother's whispered word of endearment startled him. And he almost dropped the pitcher of milk in his hands. "Mama.I didn't know you were awake." He could see the smile on his mother's face even in the darkness.

    "I'm sorry," she apologized. "I didn't mean to frighten you."

    Luis chuckled. "Frightened, Mama? You didn't frighten me. Well.maybe just a little. Nothing is as scary as the thought of losing a child. Especially your child," he said quietly.

    Pilar lowered her head into her hands with a sigh. "Sheridan, Mijo? How is she? Does she sleep?"

    Luis ran a tired hand through his thick black hair. "She won't let Danielle out of her sight. That bed is not made for three."

    Her brown eyes shone in the darkness. "Three is better than seven," she smiled.

    Luis laughed aloud at the memory. "Me and Antonio were making sure you and Papa weren't scared. Paloma begged me to stay."

    "Is that right, Mijo?" she laughed softly. "I think you have your stories mixed up."

    "Mama? Are you calling me a liar?" Luis ribbed.



    @@@@@






    She watched the gentle rise and fall of Danielle's chest. And stroked her dark hair back from her forehead. Her fingers lingering on the bandages there. So close. Today was too close. "Thank you," she whispered. "Thank you for keeping her safe for me."

    "Mmm. What did you say, Mommy?" Danielle mumbled in her sleep.

    "Nothing. Go back to sleep."

    Danielle smiled in her sleep and murmured, "I love you, Mommy."

    "I love you, too."

    The curtains ruffled in the breeze, and she sighed as she felt its coolness on her face. She picked up the clock on the night stand beside her. It was after midnight. Where was Luis?

    Danielle clutched her mother's pillow. Breathing in the comforting scent of her perfume as she eased herself from her hold.

    She smiled tenderly at her daughter and slipped her arms into the pale pink satin robe resting at the foot of the bed.

    Pilar's and Luis's muffled voices floated upstairs from the kitchen.

    She trailed her fingertips along the smooth banister. She froze mid-step at what she heard next.

    "Hush little baby. Don't say a word."

    The sound of a child's giggle. Light and joyous. It made her heart hammer in her chest.

    "Mama's going to buy you a mocking bird."

    She closed her blue eyes tight. Held her hands over her ears.

    "A mocking bird? What's a mocking bird?"

    Tears streamed down her face unchecked.

    "A mocking bird's a bird, silly."

    "Oh. More."

    "And if that."

    "No! Over! Over!"

    "Over?"

    More giggles.

    She shivered. And raised a hand to her cheek. The whisper of a kiss making it tingle.

    "Hush little baby. Don't say a word. Hush little baby. Don't say a word. Hush little baby. Don't say a word."

    "NO! NO! STOP IT! PLEASE STOP IT!" she screamed. Falling to her knees.

  7. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
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    Post Re: Whisper (Sheridan/Luis, Sam/Ivy/Grace, Theresa/Ethan/?, Charity/Miguel/Kay/?, mor

    Chapter 14






    Matthew slurped his cereal happily. His brown eyes darted to the kitchen door. Good. No one was there. "Woof," he whispered in a childish voice.

    Wolf took the piece of bacon between his teeth gingerly and plopped down on his belly contentedly.

    Matthew's laughter made Theresa smile. But it was a sad smile.

    Paloma poured herself a tall glass of orange juice and slumped in the seat beside her nephew.

    "Aunt Paloma," he grinned. "Your hair looks funny."

    "Oh you," she grumbled. Ruffling his hair affectionately. "And what about yours, Mr. Matthew? Looks like Mickey Mouse slept in it."

    "Mickey Mouse!"

    The doorbell chimed, and three sets of brown eyes looked at each other.

    Matthew scooted out of his seat. "I'll get it!"

    "Are you going to tell me what happened last night? Or am I going to have to drag it out of you?"

    "Paloma.don't."

    "Don't what? Don't worry about you? Well.I can't help it. You're my sister. And you cried yourself to sleep last night. Don't even try to deny it. I want to know why. Tell me, Theresa."

    "Tell her what, Theresa?"

    Theresa's lips stretched into a tight smile. "Good morning, Ivy."

    "You didn't answer my question. Where's Ethan?"

    No one could miss Matthew's crestfallen expression. "Daddy didn't come home last night."

    "He didn't? Theresa.I thought.things.he was here," Ivy stumbled. Choosing her words very carefully.

    "He isn't," Theresa ground out.

    Matthew tugged on his grandmother's shirttails. "Daddy works ALL the time. At The Office."

    "Paloma.will you?" Theresa nodded her head at her son.

    Ivy smiled fondly at Matthew as Paloma led him out of the kitchen to his room to get dressed for the day. "Are you going to answer my questions now?"

    Theresa combed her fingers through her wild dark hair roughly. "I wouldn't know. Ethan doesn't exactly tell me everything."

    Ivy's blue-green eyes flashed at her. "And? The whole reason for the problems in your marriage.you know what? Forget it. If you hear from him, tell him I dropped by."

    She grabbed Paloma's forgotten glass of juice off the kitchen table and raised it above her head.

    "THERESA! What are you doing?"

    The concern in her sister's eyes was her undoing.

    Paloma watched. Horrified. As Theresa crumpled before her.

    "He betrayed me, Paloma. Ethan slept with another woman."



    @@@@@






    Tessa hummed quietly to herself in the corner. Her tiny fingers wrapped around the cross at her neck.

    Her family milled about the small kitchen. Today was her aunt Grace's first day home. And everyone was determined to make sure it went off without a hitch.

    Kay's hips moved to the upbeat sounds of Harmony's ONLY music station.

    Jessica giggled when her father grabbed her from behind. "How's my two beautiful girls this morning?"

    "Hey!"

    Sam laughed outright at Noah's attempt to look hurt. "And my handsome son," he added.

    Noah batted his eyelashes.

    Miguel rolled his eyes.

    "Where is Aunt Grace anyway?" Charity inquired.

    "She said she'd be right down," Jessica answered. Glancing at her watch. "That was.that was over ten minutes ago. Maybe I should go check on her."

    "Jess," Kay chided. "You're smothering her."

    "Am not," Jessica retorted.

    "Yes. You are," Noah smirked. "Why don't you wait on me hand and foot like that?"

    "Aww. I didn't know you felt so left out," Jessica teased. Kissing her brother's cheek. "May I get you anything? Prince Noah?"

    "Prince Noah? What the hell did I miss?"

    "Uncle Hank!"

    Hank wiped the pancake batter from his face. "Kay! You're cooking?"

    "Oh! Shut up!"

    "Tessa? Tessa.will you go upstairs and tell Aunt Grace breakfast is almost ready?"

    Tessa's blue eyes turned dark with fear.

    "It's okay, Tessa. I'll go do it," Jessica offered.

    "No, Jess," Kay whined. "I need you here. Help me. Please!"

    "Admit it," Hank grinned. Squeezing his niece's shoulders.

    "Okay," Kay grumbled. "I can't cook to save my life. Jess.will you help me?"

    Sam's blue eyes twinkled. Kay and Jessica had never gotten along better.

    "Tessa." Charity pleaded.

    Tessa slid from the tall stool.

    Her new tiny white sandals squeaked as she ascended the stairs.

    She could hear the shower running as she neared the bedroom.

    Steam fogged up the room.

    Tessa's yellow hair curled in tendrils around her face.

    The sound ceased.

    Something thudded against the tile floor. The soap probably. But Tessa couldn't stop herself.

    She raised a hand to the doorknob and twisted it slowly. Silently. She could barely make out the lithe figure in the murky bathroom.

    A hand wiped the mirror over the sink clear.

    Tessa froze in place. Her feet unable to move.

    The most hideous visage imaginable reflected in the mirror. Scarred, reddened flesh. Cold blue eyes.

    Grace turned at Tessa's gasp.

    And it WAS Grace. It really was. It HAD to be.

    Tessa shook her head. Blinked her eyes.

    The monster in the mirror was gone.


    @@@@@






    Eve sighed heavily as she climbed to her feet.

    "Eve? Eve? How is she?" Luis asked. His brown eyes riddled with worry.

    "I'm not going to lie to you, Luis. She isn't good. I had thought.the episodes would decrease.as time passed. But it seems they're getting worse. I don't know what else to do for her, Luis. Maybe you should take her to see someone better equipped to handle these types of cases."

    Luis laughed mirthlessly. "Better equipped to handle these cases? It'd kill her to hear you say that, Eve. She doesn't need a shrink. Just support. Family. Friends. You're one of her friends, Eve. We'll help her through this."

    "Luis? Do you hear yourself? It's been almost three years. Three years since.She needs professional help, Luis. I've done all I can do."

    "Don't say that. Don't say that," Luis ground out. "I'm not losing her. I can't lose her, too. I need her too much. Danielle needs her too much."

    Eve leaned her chin on Luis's strong shoulder. "You won't lose her. She loves you two entirely too much. She's a fighter, Luis. One day.you'll have your Sheridan back. I'm sure of it," she finished. Meeting Pilar at the door.

    "Do you really believe that?" Pilar asked gently. Her eyes misting over as she watched her son cradle his sleeping wife in his arms.

    "Pilar," Eve scolded. A slight smile on her lips. "This is Sheridan and Luis we're talking about here. Where's your faith?"

    My faith is still intact, Pilar thought silently.

    Sheridan wasn't so lucky.

  8. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Posts
    489

    Post Re: Whisper (Sheridan/Luis, Sam/Ivy/Grace, Theresa/Ethan/?, Charity/Miguel/Kay/?, mor

    Chapter 15






    "You know what to do?"

    He looked down his nose at the man in the standard FBI suit in annoyance. "Of course I know what to do," he blustered.

    "Listen, Crane," Hal grit out. "You agreed to this deal. An early release. All you have to do is give us the goods."

    Suddenly this didn't seem like such a good idea. "I told you I'd do it," he snapped.

    Hal studied the man before him. Fear was evident in his eyes. But the need for revenge far outweighed any misgivings he might have. "Good. And stay away from your sister. You hear me? People are outraged enough already. Any man who tries to murder his own sister surely does not deserve an early release. Good behavior or not."

    Wave after wave of guilt made Julian weak. If he'd been stronger.not so spineless. Still.he could say."I'm not the monster my father is, Agent Freeman. Know that."

    His offering was met with silence.

    The prison guard handed him a plastic bag. Inside were all his worldly possessions. Damn Father!

    "This is it, Crane. He has to believe you. Believe you enough to welcome you back in the fold."

    "I think I can manage that," Julian answered. Blinking against the sudden brightness of the sun.

    A man wearing dark shades stepped out of a black car. And held the back door open for him.

    Julian took one last look behind him. Father was going to pay. Dearly.



    @@@@@







    Tabitha raised her binoculars to her faded blue eyes.

    "Tabby! Timmy's ashamed of you."

    "Hush up, Lad. I'm telling you. Something strange is going on over at the Bennett house. Mark my words."

    "AH!" Timmy jumped at Grace's sudden appearance.

    "Tabitha," Grace laughed nervously. "Did I frighten you?"

    "No, no, dear," Tabitha said with false cheer. "How are you doing, Dear? I trust everything is going well."

    The smile on Grace's lips turned into a frown at Tabitha's touch.

    Tabitha's eyes narrowed in suspicion.

    "Uh oh," Timmy muttered to himself.

    "Oh dear.you're so cold."

    Grace hugged her arms around her waist and smiled. "Cold by nature, I'm afraid."

    "Hmm."

    "Well.I thought I'd drop by and say hello before we head out. Sam's taking me and the children out to lunch."

    "Goodbye, Dearie!"

    "Timmy's afraid of her."

    Tabitha shuddered. "Me too, Lad. Me too."



    @@@@@





    Danielle cast sad blue eyes out to the sea. Drawing her knees up under her chin. And trailing a hand down the cool pane of glass that separated her from the outside world.

    The sea was so calm today.

    So different from everything inside this house.

    Fine lines were etched around her daddy's face from the constant worry.

    Was her mommy going crazy?

    Was it because of her?

    Or.

    "Mija! I have to run to the market. Will you be alright?"

    What she really meant was 'can you take care of your mother?'

    "I'll be okay, Grandma," she called.

    "Okay. I won't be long."

    Danielle watched her grandmother's old car crawl down the worn road.

    The sky was so blue. So cheerful.

    She padded down the hallway to check on her mother. Finding her fast asleep. No dreams that could turn into nightmares. Her beautiful face unlined and peaceful. "Rest, Mommy. And when you wake up.everything will be better. I promise."

    The pictures on the yellow walls called to her.

    She raised a hand and traced her finger over her parents' smiling faces. They looked so young. So in love.

    A little girl.no more than six years old.ice cream dribbling down her chin. Her brown face stretched wide with a toothless grin.

    She remembered that day. Like it was yesterday.

    A flash of red caught her attention.

    And her eyes traveled to the corner of the picture. An image almost hidden in the shadows. A blur of brown and gold.

    Tears blurred her vision as she turned her gaze back to her mother's still form. "I'm so sorry, Mommy. It's all my fault."

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