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epilogue

 

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Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About
by SheridanLF74

Luis sat on the couch at the Book Café, his free hand holding a cup of coffee. Beth had fussed over him the second he came into the place. She wanted to know what happened to his arm and when he admitted to being shot, Beth nearly fainted. To think about it now, he found it funny.

Looking at the stack of newspapers and magazines, he found one with Sheridan on it. The newspaper mentioned that the Crane princess was still under twenty-four hour guard by a local cop. He sighed. Sheridan was national news. She would always be national news; after all, she was their heiress to one of the largest fortunes in the world.

"So, happy birthday," Beth brought over a doughnut with a candle stuck into the center.

"Thanks, Beth," he laughed.

"Hey, I’m just happy you turned thirty first," she teased.

He laughed harder. "So is Sheridan."

"Yea, but she’s just a baby," Beth sat beside Luis.

He chuckled. She sure didn’t act like a baby. "Yea. She didn’t happen to give you any hints about our plans for tonight, did she?"

Beth shook her head no. Of course, Sheridan had called and invited her to a party at the cottage, but there was no way she could possibly tell Luis that. It was supposed to be a surprise. "Nothing. She called a little while ago to make sure you made it here all right, but that’s it."

"Oh," he sighed. "I hope she isn’t going overboard."

"Knowing Sheridan, she is," Beth smiled. "But you love her for it."

"Of course," he smiled.

"Hey, Beth," Hank came over. "I was looking for you. Chad said you had a message for me."

"Hey Hank," Beth became excited. "I don’t have a message for you, Chad must have been mistaken."

"Oh," Hank sighed.

"Hey, Hank," Luis tried.

"Oh, hi Luis. Happy Birthday."

"Look…Hank…"

"I gotta run. I’m meeting someone in Boston tonight," he walked away.

"Someone?" Luis asked.

"Hank’s been going to Boston to see some of his old buddies up there."

"You mean some of the chicks he used to write me about while I was busy at the police academy?"

"Yea," Beth sighed.

"Look, Beth, don’t hold out on Hank either. You’ve been turning up some dates from what I hear."

Beth laughed. "Two, but who’s counting?"

"Hank’s got a lot of growing up to do, Beth, don’t wait around for that."

"Like I did waiting around for you?" she snapped.

"Hey! No one asked you to. I never said that I was going to make you my bride, Beth. You kind of assumed that yourself."

She sighed. "I know."

"Look, just don’t let Hank hurt you. I know he isn’t into settling down right now…"

"Unless it means getting something he wants out of it. I’m sure if Sheridan was available…"

"Well, she isn’t," Luis replied.

"If she was, I’m sure he wouldn’t think twice about proposing to her."

"Yea," Luis finished off his coffee. "Thanks for the doughnut, but I’m not really hungry."

"Something wrong? Besides the bullet hole in your arm of course."

"I had a fight with Sheridan."

"Again? Geeze Luis, you really are determined to ruin the one good thing in your life, aren’t you?"

"Ethan took me to the damn country club and those people there don’t care about anyone that doesn’t have money or dress like them," Luis sighed. "Then Sheridan came after me to cheer me up and I reminded her that life isn’t going to be a piece of cake with a cop for a husband. She’s going to have to be one of us, not one of them. Of course getting shot just brought home exactly what I was talking about. I mean, what if Sheridan had gotten that call as my wife? How could she handle wondering if the next call meant I was dead?"

"So you asked Sheridan to think about what it would mean to be a cop’s wife?"

"Yea. I’m supposed to go back there tonight for some birthday thing and she’s going to let me know what she wants from me."

"And if it’s marriage?"

"Then at least I know she’s thought over what it would mean to be my wife."

"And if she isn’t sure?"

"Then we’re back where we started…"

"And if she says she wants to break it off?"

"Then I don’t know how I will ever wake up another day knowing I lost the one woman I could spend the rest of my life with."



"Julian!" Alistair’s voice boomed over the speakerphone.

"Hello, Father," Julian sighed. "To what do I owe this pleasure?" he poured himself a drink.

"You are the biggest screw up on the face of the planet, Julian! What part of the plan did you not understand? Killing Luis or making it look like Sheridan was supposed to get shot!?"

Julian sighed. "I did that, Father."

"Oh, did you? Really? Well would you like to tell me why Luis was shot in the ARM while your sister was at her COTTAGE?"

"I thought they were together!" Julian defended.

"Try thinking harder next time!" Alistair screamed.

"Why can’t we just find another way around this? Don’t you think the Crane’s will be the first inspected if Luis is killed? Honestly, Father, the man is a cop!"

"One that has to be dealt with, Julian, and soon!"

"Yes, Father," Julian sighed.


Sheridan had called the Book Café only five minutes ago and was told by Beth that Luis was ready to head home and she had offered him a ride with her. She had begged Beth to hold off for twenty minutes while she made sure everything was ready. Looking around at everyone there, she was sure everything was fine. All of Luis’ friends were around, all except Hank. Sheridan hadn’t been able to find him. However, the Bennetts, Russells, Lopez-Fitzgeralds and some of his friends from work were all crowded in the cottage. Sheridan had paid some men to move the furniture out of the living room so that they could have some room to dance and have fun. She even had some metal chairs brought in for people to sit on.

"Sheridan, stop worrying, Luis is going to love this," Miguel smiled. He had Charity at his side.

She smiled. "I hope so, Miguel. I want him to enjoy his birthday."

"He will," Charity smiled.

Sheridan nodded. Outside were her two gifts for Luis and inside a table of presents awaited his arrival. Finally, the cottage phone rang. When Sheridan answered it, Mickey, the night guard at the gate, told Sheridan that Luis and Beth were on their way up.

"All right everyone," Sheridan hit the lights. "They’re almost here." She watched through the window as the car came into view. Once she saw it park, she made sure everyone was hidden.

"Thanks for the ride, Beth, you really didn’t need to do this."

"Hey, who said I drove you home because I wanted to? I wanted to talk to Sheridan, it just made sense to give you a lift."

"Thanks," he grumbled. "She must be up at the main house."

"Well, then I’ll wait for her."

"Fine," he pushed opened the front door. As soon as he did, Sheridan hit the lights and everyone jumped out yelling, "Surprise."
Luis looked shocked. A huge banner in Sheridan’s handwriting read "Happy Birthday Darling." Presents were stacked neatly on a table near the fireplace and all of his friends and family were scattered around wearing silly looking party hats. He laughed.

"Happy birthday, sweetheart," Sheridan threw her arms around his neck.

"Sheridan, you shouldn’t have," he laughed, letting her know he really did appreciate it.

"Well I did," she replied matter-of-factly.

"Thank you," he whispered and kissed her.

"Aww, look, LoFitz is kissing his princess," David Martinez teased.

"Yea, ain’t that just a Kodak moment," Brian Sullivan replied.

Sheridan pulled away and laughed. "All right, let’s get this party kicking," she called to Ethan who hit the radio. In no time, people were mingling and having a good time. Sheridan and Luis started dancing by the radio.

"How’s the arm?" she asked.

"Much better now that I’m with you," he smiled.

"Good," she leaned against him. "I want to give you one present now and the other two after you open your others."

"I’m all for presents," he laughed.

"Good," she went to the radio and put on the song she had decided summed up what she wanted. Once it started, she returned to his arms.


Used to be that I believed in something

Used to be that I believe in love

It's been a long time since I've had that feeling

I could love someone

I could trust someone

I said I'd never let nobody near my heart again, darlin'

I said I'd never let nobody in


"Listen carefully, Luis, and I think you know what I am trying to give you," she whispered, leaning against him as they swayed carefully to the music.

He held her close, his arm no longer in the sling so he could hold her closer.

But if you asked me to
I just might change my mind
And let you in my life, forever
If you asked me to
I just might give my heart
And stay here in your arms forever
If you asked me to
If you asked me to

"Sheridan, are you saying…"

"Just listen," she kissed his neck.

Somehow ever since I've been around you
Can't go back to being on my own
Can't help feeling, darlin', since I've found you
That I've found my home
That I'm finally home
I said I'd never let nobody get too close to me, darlin'
I said I needed, needed to be free

But if you asked me to
I just might change my mind
And let you in my life, forever
If you asked me to
I just might give my heart
And stay here in your arms forever
If you asked me to
If you

"Sheridan, I need to know…"

"Marry me, Luis," Sheridan whispered. "Marry me please."

Ask me to, I will give my world to you baby
I need you now
Ask me to, I'll do anything for you baby
For you baby

If you asked me to
I'd let you in my life forever
If you asked me to . . .
All you gotta do is ask me to
All you gotta do
All you gotta do is ask me to…

~*~Celine Dion "If You Asked Me To"~*~

"Come with me," Luis pulled her into the bedroom.

"Luis," she giggled. "We have company."

"We’re not going to do that," he closed the door and laughed. "Did that song mean what I think it did?"

Sheridan nodded and decided to go for the gold. She brought him to the bed and made him sit. Taking a deep breath, she got down on one knee and looked into his eyes. "Be my husband, Luis…"

Luis blushed. "Sheridan, I’m supposed to be doing the proposing."

"You said when I was ready I had to let you know…this is how I want to let you know. Luis, I want to marry you."

"I want to marry you too…but are you sure?"

"Yes. I want to be your wife."

"Sheridan Crane, I’d be honored to marry you."

"You said yes?"

"I said yes."

She laughed and tackled him. "You said yes!"

He laughed as well. "But I’m going to propose back to you, Miss Crane."

"I’ll be waiting," she giggled. "Does this mean…"

"We’re unofficially engaged."

She was actually glowing. "Oh Luis, I’m so happy…"

"Me too," he smiled. They shared a passionate kiss, enjoying their secret. Slowly, he pulled away and sighed. "Let’s get back to the party."

"All right," she smiled. "Besides, you have other gifts to get."



After eating all of Luis’ favorite Mexican dishes, Sheridan recommended they let him open his gifts. Luis agreed, wondering what Sheridan’s other two could be. He opened the usual shirt from his mother, a law book from his sister who knew he loved reading them and a chain for his pocket watch from his brother and Charity. His Aunt Maria and Paloma had sent him a gift certificate to get himself some new CDs. Sam and the guys at the station had chipped in to get him a new leather gun holster, seeing how his old one had been lost in Paris. The Russells and the rest of the Bennett crew had gotten him season tickets to the Red Sox. Beth had purchased a Red Sox jersey and cap to go with the tickets.

"Thanks guys," he smiled.

"Sheridan, give him yours now," Theresa’s eyes glittered. She was the only person that knew what his gift was.

Sheridan swallowed hard, nervous about the two gifts waiting for him. "I asked your mother what I should get you; what you needed most. She gave me a few ideas and then I realized one thing I could get both of us for our future together. So I called around and found the perfect gift," she handed him a small square box.

He opened it. "Keys?"

She nodded. "Your present is outside," she led him out, the rest of the group following them. The cold night air chilled them slightly as they walked to the side of the cottage. There sat a silver and black SUV. Luis didn’t need to look inside to know Sheridan had ordered it fully loaded or that it was brand new.

He looked at her. "For me?"

"For us," she amended. "And I swear I didn’t use a cent of the Crane money. This gift comes from a trust fund my maternal Grandfather left me. The interest built up enough so that I could pay cash for this."

Luis didn’t know what to say. "Sheridan, this is too much…"

"Please, Luis. We need a car, right? I mean you can’t keep taking the cruiser from the station and the one you drive is slowly dying. I gave your mother money to fix it up for herself…but we’ll need a car."

Luis knew she was right and looked the SUV over. "Thank you, angel."

She smiled. "Your other gift is in the glove compartment."

He glanced at her and shrugged. Opening the passenger door, he popped the glove compartment open and grabbed a white box. "This?"

She nodded.

He lifted the lid and pulled out a baseball. After inspecting it, he noticed the signatures of certain Red Sox players. Upon closer inspection, he noticed the entire team had signed. "Sheridan!" his eyes popped open wide. "This is autographed by the entire team!"

She nodded. "I happen to know the coaches."

"Damn, LoFitz, that’s one fine woman you got there," Martinez gasped.

"No kidding, Marty," he winked. "And she’s all mine."

Sheridan snuggled up into Luis’ arms. "Now let’s go back inside and finish this party."

"Your wish is my command," Luis allowed himself to be pulled inside as the other partygoers followed them to finish off the party.


Hours later, the crowd started to leave, wishing Luis a happy birthday and taking some leftover cake with them. Luis and Sheridan hadn’t let anyone know that they were engaged; Luis wanted to wait until he officially reproposed. After they had seen everyone out, Sheridan and Luis decided it was time for bed. Sheridan watched Luis as he changed the bandage and cleaned the wound left by the bullet.

"So, was your birthday everything you wanted it to be?" Sheridan asked, pulling her nightgown over her head.

"Everything and then some. Sheridan, the car was a little extravagant."

"I know, but like I said, I didn’t use Crane money and we will need a car for after the wedding."

He sighed. "Promise you won’t go running around buying things like that all the time?"

"I promise," she laid down in bed. "But the baseball is a keeper too, right?"

"Heck yea," he laughed. "The entire team! I can’t believe you pulled that off."

"I have my ways," she snuggled up to him as he joined her in bed. Placing her head on his chest, she sighed happily. He rubbed her back gently.

"I love you, Sheridan."

"I love you too, birthday boy," she teased.

He chuckled. "Night love," he whispered, shutting off the light.

"Happy birthday," she replied, falling asleep in his arms.

Luis watched her sleep for at least an hour as he mentally planned how he would propose tomorrow. After all, Valentine’s Day was the day for lovers and he was more than ready to give her the best Valentine’s present ever. As Sheridan slept, Luis thought about how she proposed to him. He was amazed at her guts and incredibly pleased that she let him know she was ready.
‘Tomorrow,’ he told himself, ‘Tomorrow I’ll make her mine forever.’

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