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A Love from the Past
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A Love from the Past
by hot4luis

Chapter Eleven

"What kind of a name is Sheridan?" he had asked her months ago.

"The kind youíll never forget." she had replied icily, her Crane pride shining through. Little did he know then, that she was right. Luis grunted as he entered Harmony Park in the middle of the night. Man! Why was it so hard to forget about her?! ĎBecause you donít want to.í A voice inside him replied. He wasnít shocked to know that the voice sounded a lot like Jordanís. He walked to the childrenís playground and noticed a figure sitting on the swings. Immediately, he recognized it to be the woman who never ceased to invade his thoughts. He approached her tentatively but she still seemed to be lost in her thoughts.

"Is this swing taken?" he said softly. She looked up startled, and then smiled, gestured him to sit down and he did. "Itís late."

"Gee, you think?" she asked sarcastically. He was amazed she could think of a curt remark to throw at him that late at night. "I was thinking."

"I see youíve been talking to Jordan." Luis said dryly and when she gave him a how-do-you-know look he said, "Only Jordan can get someone thinking at this ungodly hour."

"That ex-fiancée of yours is quite a character." she mused.

"You gotta love her." he replied quietly. He wondered what Sheridan was thinking about and asked her just that.

"Actually I was contemplating whether or not to come and talk to you."

"And what did you decide?" he asked surprised.

"I didnít have to. You came to me." she said with a small smile. "Whatís your excuse for wandering in the park at midnight?"

"Jordan. Things she said." he answered looking her in the eyes for the first time that evening. Her icy blue eyes that usually betrayed all emotion were now filled with something he categorized as vulnerability.

"Luis, we need to talk." she said seriously.

"I thought thatís what we were doing."

"I want to tell you why I slapped you." she blurted and got off the swing and started to pace in front of him. "This time with no interruptions."

"Well itís about time." Luis said and waited for her to explain. She stopped in front of him clasping her hands together until they were white. He noticed she usually did that when she was nervous. "You gotta let your blood circulate."

"Luis, Iím trying to be serious here."

"So am I." he replied. She sighed and continued, "Remember that night when I came to talk to you on the wharf while you were on duty?" she asked. When he nodded, she resumed to pacing, her expression tense as if trying to calm herself down. "I went home after we talked and Julian stopped by to warn me about getting involved with you. He said you would only use me like all the other men in my life." Luis stood up, knowing that anger blazed in his eyes.

"Go on." he said tersely, his fingers clenched at his side. She stood in front of him looking down at his clenched fingers and then into his eyes. The vulnerability was now replaced with determination, fear, regret and another emotion he couldnít quite figure out.

"I came back to find you and prove him wrong, when I heard you on the phone talking to someone." she said trying to sound angry but he knew she was hurt by whatever she had heard him say. Honestly, he didnít remember calling anyone that night Ė he was too busy thinking about her. "You were telling that person that you planned on using me and that the Cranes had used and abused your family for so long that you were finally going to get them back."

"What?!" he asked astounded. His mind was racing as he let everything sink in. He was positive that he didnít have that conversation with anyone, that night. He never had that conversation, period. "You think I was using you?" he asked dumbfound. He didnít know what else to say.

"I donít think you were using me. I know you were." she hissed, her eyes narrowing into angry slits. "You cannot stand there and deny it Luis! I saw you and I heard you! You turned out to be everything I thought you werenít. When you kissed me that night I was so sure you were the one I had waited for my entire life. And everything you said and did to me contradicted what I heard that night. All I had ever wished for you to be, was shattered. Poof! In an instant you were somebody I wished you never would be." While Sheridan carried on her angry tirade, Luis was thinking of a plausible explanation for who or what Sheridan had heard that night. He was thinking of how he was going to get her to understand it wasnít him. He was so immersed in his thoughts he didnít realize Sheridan was sitting on the swing again, looking at him, tears pouring down her cheeks.

"SheridanÖ" he said softly, kneeling down in front of her.

"Donít say anything. You have the satisfaction of knowing you hurt me. Isnít that enough for you? Or do you get some type of twisted pleasure in watching me cry? Just leave Luis, leave me to wallow in my sorrow."

"No I will not leave!" he replied angrily. He didnít know who or what he was angry at, but he was. "Youíve had your chance to speak and now I will."

"Thereís nothing left to say." she said in a small voice looking down at the ground. He thrust his hand under her chin and compelled her to look at him. Instead of slapping him, as he surely expected she would do to this kind of rough treatment, she met his angry gaze with one of anticipation.

"I would never use you." he declared with an edge in his voice "I donít know who you heard on the wharf but it wasnít me. I have always been honest and straightforward with you."

"Then how do you explain what I heard Luis? Am I hearing and seeing things that arenít there?" she asked her anger returning. "What about what I saw?"

"Iím telling you it wasnít me." he answered taking his hand from under her chin. "Think about it Sheridan. What would I want to use you for? Your money?"

"For revenge." she replied testily. "For getting back at my family because you think they had something to do with your fatherís disappearance."

"Oh, like sleeping with Alistair Craneís daughter is going to make them pay for what they did. Taint the oh- so- perfect Crane name." he said sarcastically. "I made it clear from the very beginning that when I found out that they were involved with Papaís disappearance then they would have hell to pay. My involvement with you would be the least of their problems."

"How dare you!" she said ferociously.

"How dare I what, Sheridan? Defend myself?" Luis asked vehemently "Stop being so stubborn and think. Even if I was using you, why didnít I accept that bribe Julian set up on our first date? Why would I fly to Paris to save you? And then again at the cabin? And why in the hell would I try my damndest to convince you that you needed protection when you told me to butt out of your life?"

"Why did you, Luis? Why the hell did you?" she inquired exasperated. She caught him off guard for a second and he didnít know what to say. ĎWhy did I do all those things?í he asked himself. Then everything became crystal clear and he wished she hadnít asked him that question. He closed his eyes. Damn.

Sheridan looked at Luis hopefully, wishing he wouldnít give her the same answer he always did. Maybe she was asking for too much but she prayed for him to say what she wanted to hear. She held her breath.

"Because I care." he replied softly and then opened his eyes looking at her. "Because I have always cared. Ever since you came crashing into my life I have cared and try as I may I canít get you off my mind. And I hate you for it. I hate you for making me feel this way, for getting to me like this." He was kneeling in front of her again. She let out a sigh, joy surging through her body. She was shocked, but euphoric.

"Luis, I want so much to believe you." she said taking his face in her hands. "My heart has always told me that you would never ever use me. I care so much about you too. Thatís why it hurts so much. But Iíve been hurt so many times in the past I canít just ignore what or who I heard. I donít know what to believe anymore."

"Believe this." he said, his voice exceedingly husky. Seconds later, she felt his lips on hers and immediately she melted. She opened her mouth for his tongue and for the most incredible, mind-numbing kiss ever. At that moment, she knew that he hadnít said those horrible things on the wharf. And at that moment she knew she had fallen, completely and utterly in love with him. She had known it all along but for the first time she admitted it to herself. Slowly he pulled away and she kept her eyes closed and her lips slightly parted. When she opened her eyes, he was looking at her with his crooked smile. That sexy, crooked smile.

"Luis, IÖ" she started to say but the English language seemed to have abandoned her. God, she couldnít even think straight.

"Shhh, donít say anything. Itís late and you need to be in bed." he said getting up and giving her a hand. "Címon Iíll take you home."

"Luis, the hit men are caught you donít have to protect me anymore." she said accepting his hand. It was becoming a habit for her to doubt him. "Iím safe now."

"I donít have to but I want to." he said in a voice that cleared all doubt from her mind, and without another word they walked to her cottage in a comfortable silence. Sheridan was floating.

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