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Letís Give Them Something To Talk About
by SheridanLF74

Chapter Six: At Christmastime

The alarm clock beside him woke Luis on Christmas morning. He stretched, feeling his sore muscles scream at the movement. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he sat up slowly and looked around. He was in the living room. The memories of the night before rushed back as he glanced at the tall green Christmas tree in the corner, its lights still twinkling after being forgotten. Sheridan had denied him the one thing he wanted for Christmas: her hand in marriage.

The melody on the radio was that of
Jingle Bells. The stations were playing Christmas tunes for the day and he was not looking forward to facing everyone again. He slammed the off button on the radio and walked to the window. On the ground was a thick blanket of white snow that had yet to be touched by mankind. It was so pure, so perfect. "Like our loveÖor so I thought," he sighed and leaned his head against the cold glass.

When they had gotten home the night before, Sheridan had tried desperately to get him to join her in her bedroom. She begged and pleaded with him to come to their bed and not sleep on the couch.



"But Luis, I donít see why you canít sleep in my room. People live together without being engaged." She was clinging to his hand, trying desperately to get him to look at her.

"I said we should slow down, Sheridan, and I donít think sleeping in your room will do either of us any good." He moved away from her, his body stiff with anger.

"I thought it was *our* room," her tone lowered and she dropped her head.

He shook his head. "Just go get some sleep, Sheridan, Iíll see you in the morning."

"Can I at least have a kiss goodnight?" She looked up at him, her eyes begging. Perhaps if he kissed her, really kissed her, he would come to bed.

He paused, glancing at her and leaned in to kiss her. Instead of landing the kiss on her lips, he kissed her cheek. She looked shocked for a moment as his lingering lips slowly pulled away in a kiss reminiscent of their first real date. When he said slow down, she hadnít expected to go back to the beginning.

"Luis?" she looked wounded. She reached out to him but he stepped away.

"Goodnight, Sheridan," he turned his back to look out the window. This was for the best.

"Goodnight, Luis," she sniffled and ran back into her bedroom. Her door slammed shut and the only sound she left him with was her sobs from the other room. Every tear cut into his heart like a thousand tiny knives.



Luis was surprised to hear music playing again and realized it was his little alarm clock. "Guess I only hit the snooze button," he groaned. He didnít shut it off though, his feet refused to move. The notes of a piano solo sadly filled the air around him.

The fire is burning
The roomís all aglow
Outside the December wind blows
Away in the distance the carolers sing in the snow
Everybody's laughing
The world is celebrating
And everyone's so happy
Except for me tonight

Luis didnít hear Sheridan exit her bedroom and stop in the hallway to watch him at the window. She could see the sadness in his stance and knew he was still in pain over the previous night. The walls were back up around his heart and it was killing her inside to know that this was driving them apart again. She wanted to marry him; she honestly did. Now she was completely sorry that she turned him down.

The tune on the radio caught her attention when she entered the room and the first verse alone caused the tears to begin to fall. Sure, he was still here with her, but he couldnít have been further away if he were on another planet. She looked at the fire dancing in the fireplace and could hear the wind blow. Fighting a sigh and wrapping her arms around herself, she looked back over at Luis. He was crying. Between his tears and the tender song playing, she felt her own tears start to swell in her eyes and began a silent decent down her cheeks.

Because I miss you
Most at Christmas time
And I can't get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And I'm all right
But then I miss you most at Christmas time

Luis didnít bother to wipe the tears from his cheeks, instead letting them continue to fall onto his flannel nightshirt. She had said no and it was killing him inside. He missed her already and they were still living in the same house. The night on the couch was filled with tossing and turning and reaching out for someone that wasnít there. Sheridan wasnít there. She was in her warm, soft, queen-sized bed sleeping peacefully. Twice he had gotten up and checked on her, watching her sleep away the hours while he paced and thought. He had spent an hour just staring at the diamond ring and wishing it was on her finger. Shaking his head, he continued to stare at the snow until it blurred again.

I gaze out the window
This cold winter's night
At all of the twinkling lights
Alone in the darkness
Remembering when you were mine
Everybody's smiling
The whole world is rejoicing
And everyone's embracing
Except for you and I

Baby I miss you
Most at Christmas time
And I canít get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And Iím all right
But then I miss you most at Christmas time

Luis thought about Sheridan asleep in her bed and turned to go in there. Surprisingly, she was standing there watching every move he made. Their eyes met and they both read the same things: love and pain. Where had it gone wrong? How did they end up back where they started?

Not a word was exchanged as the two just stared into each otherís eyes from across the room. Their breathing was quick and shallow, anticipation of what would happen causing this erratic pattern. The tension was so thick it could have been cut with a knife. Yet neither chose to speak.

In the springtime those memories start to face
With the April rain
Through the summer days
Ďtil Autumn's leaves are gone
I get by without you
Ďtil the snow begins to fall

And then I miss you
Most at Christmas time
And I canít get you
Get you off my mind
Every other season comes along
And Iím all right
But then I miss you most at Christmas time

~*~Mariah Carey "Miss You most (At Christmastime)~*~

The music began to fade and then the alarm clock shut itself off as if telling the pair that they should take this time to talk. Sheridan swallowed hard and decided she might as well say something. Quickly, she wiped at the tear tracks on her face.

"Sad song," she motioned to the alarm clock.

"Yea," he nodded, wiping his cheeks to make sure that the tears were gone. "Theresa has that CD and Mama plays it all the time. Thatís her song for Papa and Antonio," he cleared his throat. "Would you like something to eat?"

"No, thank you."

He nodded.

"You were crying," she stated the obvious.

"So were you."

"I always cry," she attempted to joke. "Tell me."

"You know I think Iím gonna go make some breakfastÖ" he started to walk towards the kitchen but she grabbed his arm.

"You said we were going to remain a couple, Luis. Why are you pushing me away?"

He looked deep into her blue eyes and sighed. "I didnít want to, Sheridan. I just canít help it. IÖIím going to go make breakfast," he went into the kitchen.

She just stood there, watching the doorway he had walked into as if he would turn around. He was closing up on her. After all they had been through he was closing up on her again. "Iím not letting him do that," she stamped off after him. "Luis, I think we need toÖ" she faded off as she spotted him at the table. His head was in his arms and he was crying again.

Placing a tentative hand on his back, Sheridan decided that she needed to get this to stop and quickly. When he didnít push her hand off, she began to rub small soothing circles on his back. "Please, donít cry, Luis."

He didnít look up, just continued to let his feelings out.

"I do love you, Luis," she tried again.

Still nothing.

"Damn it, Luis, youíre not making this easy on either of us!"

"It isnít supposed to be easy!" he yelled, finally shoving her hand off of his back. "It isnít supposed to suit you either! Iíve got to get out of hereÖCrane security will watch you so you can go up to the mansion and be with them. Iíll be back at four to bring you over to MamaísÖif you still want to go."

"Of course I still want to go."

"Then Iíll be back at four," he went into the living room to change and after a few minutes she heard the front door close and she was alone.

"Itís amazing how quiet this place is without Luis," she sniffled and went into her room to change. Within a half hour, she had four gifts in her arms and was heading for the mansion.



Luis didnít know where he was going, but he knew it was going to be as far away from the cottage as he could be without ignoring his job. He was surprised to find the car stopped at the Book Café, which was closed for the holiday. Climbing out of the car, he was about to head to the Youth Center and shoot some hoops when he saw Beth inside checking on her shop, wearing a fluffy white cotton robe. Knocking on the glass, he waved and motioned that he would like to come in.

Beth knew this could be trouble and reminded herself that Luis was only a friend now. Beth acknowledged the love he held for Sheridan, even if he was going to refuse it. Not that it mattered, she thought dreamily; she was falling for Hank. How ironic that the one person she had overlooked for the last ten years was the man she was destined to be with. Walking to the door, she unlocked it and allowed Luis to come inside from the cold.

"What are you doing in town, Luis, especially at this hour?"

"Avoiding the situation at the cottage," he admitted, slinking down into a nearby chair.

"Come on upstairs, I have a fresh pot of coffee and I can make you something to eat."

"Thanks, Beth, but what I really need is someone to talk to."

"Hey, I can cook and talk at the same time, Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald," Beth winked. "If you remember right, there is very little I canít do while talking."

He laughed nervously. "Very true."

"Now come on, Iíll put some real clothes on and then cook something for Harmonyís own super hero. Then you can help me fill in the gaps from last night and we can get you out of this mood."

"What mood?" he asked seriously.

"That Ďoh help me I am a heartbroken foolí mood," she teased him again and headed upstairs. Luis followed, though not closely, and went straight into the living room so Beth could have time to change. He went to the window and looked out at the snow-covered ground. Had it really been just over a week since he brought Sheridan here for the tree lighting? Had they been standing at this window when Luis realized proposing might be futile? Sighing, he decided that living in the memory would continue to depress him. He walked over to the flowered couch and sank down into it, waiting for Beth.


Sheridan entered the main house reluctantly. Julian was bound to know that she and Luis were a couple; were a couple? Past tense? She wasnít sure where they stood at the moment. Sighing, she pushed the door open wider and noticed that there was bantering going on in the parlor. "Ivy and Julian," she shook her head.

"Aunt Sheridan! Merry Christmas." Ethan swept down the stairs with Theresa at his heels. "I expected you to be sharing breakfast with LuisÖ"

"Merry Christmas to you too," the smile she tried to force faded. "He left early this morning."
"Left?" Ethan was getting angry. "Heís the bodyguard."

"He left me with Crane security while he ran home for some clothing, Ethan, let it go," she was lying. She had no idea where Luis was.

"Fine, fine," he waved his hands in defeat. "If you insist."

"I do."

"Did you work it out?" Theresa asked Sheridan.

"Well, we worked out our disagreement over you and Ethan, but this morning he was back to pushing me away when it came to our feelings for each other, if thatís what you mean."

"Sheridan, my brother is a fool, but he will come to his senses. Luis loves you with all his heart."

"And I love him with all of mine, but it wonít solve our problem if he wonít talk to me," Sheridan sighed. "Anyway, I brought over the gifts I had an elf buy for Christmas," she winked at Theresa. "Theresa, yours is still at the cottage, Iíll bring it buy tonight."

"Sister, dear, I didnít expect to see you so earlyÖor soÖalone," Julianís voice droned into the conversation.

Sheridan spun slowly. "Good morning and Merry Christmas to you too, Julian."

"No need to be such a grump, dear sister. Where is yourÖbodyguard?" He said the final word with a very understood subtext. Everyone knew he meant it as her lover.

"He had to run home for some more clothing, Julian. He should be back soon. I figure Iím safe here at the main house."

Julian smirked. "Have a loverís spat?"

"Not that itís any of your concern, Julian," she threw his gift at him. "Catch."

"Sheridan!" he screamed as a sip of his brandy spilled from the snifter. "That wasnít funny."

She laughed. "Was to me," she headed to the door of the parlor. Ivy met her there and hugged her.

"Merry Christmas, Sheridan."

"Merry Christmas, Ivy," Sheridan handed her a gift as well. She then handed the last two to Ethan. "Iím going to go get something to eat from the kitchen," she stated as she headed for the back rooms.

"Sheridan, may I join you?" Theresa asked.

"Oh yes, sister dear, do ask have your future niece help you win over you Latin lover."

"Shut up, Julian," Sheridan growled. "Come on, Theresa, letís see what they have to eat in the place." She continued walking in direction of the kitchen, refusing to let Julian see her pain.

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