Sheridan looked up and smiled at her friend. "It is
beautiful Marianna. I havenít seen a sunset this magnificent since the last time I was here. I donít know what
it is, but this place has such a calming effect on me. Thatís why I asked if I could come for a few days."
"señorita Sheridan, you are most welcome to
come here anytime. Our home is always open to you, I hope you know that" Marianna said with a kind smile.
"Thank you Marianna. That means a great deal to me."
"So what were you just thinking about? I am pleased
to see a smile on your face donít get me wrong, yet I am curious what brings such joy to those blue eyes that have
been so sad?" Marianna hoped she hadnít misread Sheridanís expression. She saw signs of life and happiness
for the first time since sheíd been there.
Sheridan blushed. She never dreamed imagined her thoughts
were actually showing on her face. "Itís nothing, really" Sheridan tied to evade the question.
"señorita Sheridan, there is no need to be
embarrassed with me" Marianna assured her.
Sheridan sighed and stared out at the ocean for a moment
as she gathered the courage to tell her friend. Sheíd not told anyone thus far of her new friend. Godis and BabyShuis
were the only ones who even knew he existed and she hadnít told them anything... yet.
Sheridan remembered the first email sheís received from
Pezz when he told her how much he enjoyed her post on Spain. There was just something about him and she had no
idea who he was. "I was just thinking about a guy I met on the internet."
"Ah, a señor?" Marianna exclaimed. She
met Sheridanís gaze with interest.
"Marianna you misunderstand me. I donít even know
this man. Weíve exchanged a few emails and chatted in a chat room once briefly" Sheridan said trying to brush
it off as nothing.
"If you are thinking of this man during what should
be the worst time of your life, there must be something special about him" Marianna said. "If it is nothing,
why did you even mention him?"
"It was the sunset that made me think of him"
Sheridan admitted honestly. "He emailed me after he read one of my travel posts on Spain. Heís always wanted
to come to Spain and loved my description of the life here."
You and this man have talked of Spain often?" she
"Quite a bit actually, among other things. Heís from
a small town in New England and I mentioned I loved small town life so heís been sharing his experiences with me
as well. We also have a friendly little game going on where I have to guess what town heís from. Heís been giving
me clues and so far Iíve only gotten it narrowed down to New England, but Iíll figure it out. Weíre both having
a lot of fun with that!" Without even realizing it, Sheridan began spewing out all the things she and Pezz
emailed each other about and how much they seemed to enjoy each othersí letters. Marianna watched Sheridan in awe
as she seemed to light up while talking about this internet "friend." "You know, heís probably worried
sick about me. We used to email back and forth a half dozen times each day and now he hasnít heard from me in almost
a week. The last thing I sent him was a quick note telling him about Jean Luc."
Marianna stared at Sheridan with disbelief. She shook her
head as she digested the story sheíd just heard. "So this is why you chose to come to Spain, Sheridan"
she smiled after completing her thoughts.
"Marianna, what are you talking about?" Sheridan
asked in confusion.
Marianna knew Sheridan wasnít quite ready to face the truth,
so she decided to take another approach. "Donít you think you should let this young man know you are ok? We
do have a computer here if you would like to email him?"
A sparkle shone in Sheridanís eyes that Marianna had never
seen at the mere mention of Sheridanís internet "friend." "Could I ?" Sheridan asked excitedly.
"But of course" she smiled. "Come, it is
getting dark and we still must eat. Then you may email your friend." Marianna extended her hand to Sheridan
who graciously accepted it. As the two women walked the beach back to the hacienda, Marianna thought about Sheridan.
She decided right there, that the next time Sheridan came to visit her in Spain, she would finally see it the way
her country was made to be seen. On the arm of her true love.
"Luis buddy, can I talk to you?" Sam asked, stopping
Luis in the parking lot as he tossed his coat in his jeep.
"Sure thing Sam, whatís up?" Luis asked.
"I have some good news for you!" Sam said with
"Great, Iím always up for good news Sam" Luis
smiled, waiting for Sam to tell him what was going on.
"Kennyís coming back to work a day early so you donít
need to come back to work tonight!" Sam announced.
Luisís mouth involuntarily fell open. "What?"
He asked incredulously.
"Nope, you can stay home, catch up on some sleep,
spend time with your family or do whatever it is thatís your heartís desire" Sam announced happily. He was
sure Luis would be ecstatic at the news.
"Are you sure Sam?" Luis asked with an almost
desperate quality to his voice. All he could think of was he wouldnít be able to check to see if KC had emailed
him yet. "I mean I donít mind working really. Kenny should take this extra day, I mean when will he get this
Sam laughed. "Kenny says if he doesnít come back to
work tonight, he thinks heíll find himself in here but it wonít be as a cop. Seriously Luis, he and his mother
in law are not getting along. He really needs to come back to work if heís going to survive until she leaves."
"Sure Sam" Luis answered. "I understand."
Luis understood, but it didnít mean he liked it. In fact, he was nearly heartbroken. He managed a small smile,
but Sam could sense something was wrong.
"Luis, is everything ok? I thought youíd be happy
about this and instead you look like you lost your best friend."
"What? No, of course Iím happy about this" Luis
lied, his eyes avoiding Samís gaze. "I guess Iím just tired."
"Right" Sam said, still not sure what to make
of Luisí reaction. "Look, maybe you should take tomorrow off too. You really have put in a very long week
"No!" Luis yelled before he had a chance to get
his emotions under control. "I mean Iíll be fine in the morning. Thereís no reason for me to take a day off
and leave you short."
"Think about it Luis. Call me later if you want tomorrow
off. Iím sure I can find someone to cover for you."
"Thanks Sam, I will" Luis said with relief. Before
Sam could change his mind again, Luis jumped in his jeep and took off.
Luis opened the door to the kitchen of his home, only to
be greeted by his mother in a very excited state. He knew by her look that he wasnít going to be able to do what
he wanted, which was go to bed and forget about everything.
"Hi Mama" Luis said to his mother as he closed
the door behind him.
"Luis! Iím so glad youíre home" Pilar said happily
as she gave her son a hug.
"Youíre certainly in a good mood" Luis remarked
as he kissed her cheek. "Whatís going on?"
"I have a surprise for you hijo!" Pilar told
him with a gleam ion her eye.
Luisí heart sank. He knew his mother loved Beth and was
heartbroken when he and Beth split up. Heíd never told her heíd wanted out of the relationship before Beth decided
to move to New York. He hoped she wasnít going to tell him Beth had returned.
"A surprise?" Luis asked anxiously.
"Hijo, whatís wrong, you donít look happy?" Pilar
"Nothingís wrong Mama" Luis said defensively.
"I was just thinking about work, thatís all. Kennyís coming back early so I donít have to go into work tonight."
"Luis, you should be happy about that?" Pilar
said. "Youíve been working so much lately I havenít had time to tell you the good news. I left the Cranes
early today to make sure I caught you."
"Itís just that I was looking forward to the overtime
Mama" Luis said, not wanting to tell his mother the real reason he wanted to work tonight."
"Well, the surprise I have for you will probably keep
you occupied and youíll never miss work."
Now Luis was sure Beth was going to show up at any minute.
"Whatís the surprise Mama?" Luis asked, putting on his biggest smile.
"Close your eyes Luis" Pilar instructed.
"OK, Mama" Luis agreed. He sighed as he waited
to hear Bethís voice. Pilar took Luisí hand and led him into the other room. Luis kept his disappointment in check
as he waited for his surprise to be sprung on him. To his genuine surprise, Pilar continued through the living
room and walked Luis up the stairs to the second floor. "My surprise is upstairs?" He asked.
"Yes Luis" Pilar said. "Now keep your eyes
closed. Weíre almost there."
Luis knew by the number of steps they took that they were
about to enter his room. He couldnít imagine Beth would be waiting in his room for him, but if it wasnít Beth,
then what would have his mother so excited? Sheíd never leave work early unless it was something really big.
Pilar opened the door to Luisí room and brought him inside.
She then led him to a chair and helped him sit down. She positioned the chair just so. "Ok Luis, you may open
Luis opened his eyes and they nearly popped out of his
head. Sitting on his old desk was a brand new computer system, all set up with a red ribbon wrapped around the
monitor. "Surprise!" Pilar said with enthusiasm.
Luis was totally speechless for a few minutes. He was sure
heíd been so tired heíd fallen asleep at the wheel on his way home. There was no way he was looking at his own
computer. Things like this just didnít happen to him. He rubbed his eyes and then refocused on the magnificent
sight in front of him. "Mama? What in the world...."
"Itís yours Luis."
"But how? You know we donít have this kind of money..."
"Luis, you donít understand. I didnít buy it..."
"Then where did it come from?" Luis asked, the
cop in him coming through. "You know how I feel about..."
Before Luis could finish Pilar explained everything. "Luis,
do you remember the church raffle I was selling tickets for a few weeks ago?"
"Yeah, I remember" Luis said, still not sure
where this was going.
"You bought two books of tickets from me, do you remember
"Did you even bother to look at what they were raffling
off?" Pilar asked with an amused look on her face.
Suddenly, Luis was embarrassed. The truth was, he never
looked. "Actually Mama, no, I never looked."
"Well hijo, had you bothered to look, you would have
seen that the grand prize was a complete computer system with free internet access for a year."
Suddenly, it was sinking in that this was real, the computer
was real and was already internet ready. This was too good to be true. A huge smile crept across Luisí face. "Mama,
this is wonderful! I canít believe it! Iíve never won anything like this in my life!" Luis picked his mother
up and gave her a huge hug. Pilar laughed at her sonís excitement.
"But Mama, why did you have it set up in my room?
You should have put it in the living room so we can all enjoy it." Luis said.
"Hijo, I knew thatís what you would have done"
Pilar smiled. "If any of us need to use it, weíll ask and Iím sure youíll let us use it, but this is YOUR
computer and I wanted YOU to have it in your room. You deserve it. Youíve done nothing your whole life but make
sacrifices for this family. You deserve to enjoy this yourself."
"Thank you Mama!" Luisa grinned. He couldnít
remember the last time heíd been this happy. Right now all he wanted to do was get online and try it out. "Itís
already hooked up to the internet?" Luis asked nonchalantly. He didnít want his mother to know how excited
he really was about having internet access.
"I have no idea" Pilar admitted. "There
were two men here all afternoon. I didnít ask what they were doing. I donít know anything about computers."
"Did they leave any paperwork?" Luis asked hopefully.
"Yes, of course hijo" Pilar said. She left the
room for a moment and came back with a huge packet of papers and instruction manuals.
"Whoa!" Luis said whistling softly. "Thatís
a lot of paperwork." Luis looked quickly for an invoice and found it near the top of the pile. A smile crept
across his face as he read it."
"I assume by your smile that the computer is already
connected?" Pilar asked curiously.
"Not only is it connected Mama, but there is a DSL
line with it."
"DSL?" Pilar questioned. "What is that?"
"That means the computer will stay hooked up to the
internet and we can have the phone as well. We donít need to get a second line."
"Iím going to fix dinner now hijo" Pilar smiled.
"Iíll leave you to your new computer and call you when dinner is ready."
"Thank you Mama!" Luis said again giving his
mother a huge hug.
Pilar sighed happily as she left to prepare dinner. She
was pleased her son was so happy. She couldnít remember the last time sheíd seen that sparkle in his handsome eyes.
As soon as his mother left, Luis pulled his chair in closer
to his desk and found the internet. In a matter of seconds he was into his mailbox. Luis was impressed that his
computer would stay logged on all the time to the internet and was grateful he could access his mail from any computer.
He was disappointed that there was no mail from KC, but
not surprised. He did find a response from Jay and decided heíd better read it.
Boy am I glad to finally hear from you! You had about another 24 hours before I started using old fashioned technology.
Yeah, thatís right, you were a day away from me phoning the Harmony PD or Pilar. Neither one would have been pretty.
LOL. Oh and donít try to pull that "I didnít write because Iíd seem to be in a bad mood" crap with me!
It doesnít fly and you know it.
Sorry to hear about KC. The fiancé is already married?
And the wife is pregnant? Ouch. That has got to hurt, big time. No, I havenít seen KC in the travel chat room or
posting on the board there since the chat about a week ago. Poor thing, she must be feeling so embarrassed and
humiliated, among other things. I bet her confidence is shaken and she doesnít feel like she can face anyone right
now. Times like this I hate men!
Just a suggestion, but maybe you should write to KC and tell
her about your break up with Beth. Sheís probably feeling very alone, like no one can understand what she is feeling.
Your situation is different, but a lot of the emotions and feelings must be similar Ė ending a relationship with
someone you thought you might build a future with. It would probably be cathartic for you too. I bet you could
tell KC things that youíd never tell me or Sam or anyone who really knows you and Beth.
But enough about KC. Letís talk about me. You better sit down.
And hold onto something too. Iím coming to Harmony!!!! SURPRISE!!! I donít exactly when yet. I just heard from
mom. Seems Grandma needs a hip replacement and mom needs me to come help take care of Grandma. Sheíll be in the
hospital for a week afterwards and then Iíll be there when she comes home. So, when they set the date for the surgery,
Iíll let you know. Iím taking a leave of absence, so Iíll be in Harmony for a while. Play your cards right and
Iíll do my happy dance just for you, live and in person.
"Jayís coming to Harmony?" Luis said in surprise.
"This will be fun." The part at the end had caught him off guard, so Luis went back and reread the suggestion
about KC. Anytime he saw her name lately he seemed drawn to it. Heíd found himself going back reading her old emails
over and over again. He didnít stop to think about why he did what he did, he wasnít ready to deal with it at this
point. Now he decided to follow Jayís advice. Maybe she was right, she usually was he thought, but there was no
way heíd ever tell her that. He would try to reach out to KC by telling her of his recent break up with Beth.
Sheridan spent a wonderful dinner with Marianna and her
family. It was evident to everyone that Sheridan was feeling better tonight than she had been since she arrived.
Mariannaís husband Tomas kept eyeing his wife wondering what had happened to bring about the change in their guest,
but was silenced each time by her stern looks. He knew sheíd tell him later, but couldnít resist the urge to find
After dinner, Marianna took Sheridan into her private sitting
room. It was a room Sheridan didnít know existed, never mind seen before. Marianna led Sheridan past the rows and
rows of books as well as an area with several unfinished oil paintings still on easels to a huge desk at the far
end of the room. Sure enough, sitting on the desk was a computer. Marianna sat down and within a few minutes had
accessed cyberspace. "You are able to retrieve your email, no?" She asked Sheridan.
"Yes, I think so" Sheridan answered hesitantly.
Marianna offered her seat to Sheridan and watched long enough to make sure sheís accomplished her task. A few minutes
later, Sheridan had successfully logged onto her email account and Marianna chuckled when she saw all the mail
that came up.
"Would PezzMan be your señor, by any chance?"
Marianna asked with a sly grin.
"Why yes, but how did you know?" Sheridan asked
Marianna shook her head slightly. She could see that Sheridan
had no idea what even going on between her and this young man. "Just a guess" she replied. "I will
leave you to read your mail. Take all the time you need. I will not be needing the computer tonight."
Thanks Marianna" Sheridan beamed happily. Without
another word, she began opening each and every email from Pezz.
By the time she got to the last email, Sheridan felt terrible.
She hadnít meant for him to worry so about her. She knew she was in for a lengthy apology letter to him as soon
as she finished his last message.
I took a chance hoping it was just me you didnít want to talk to and I emailed Godis and BabyShuis, hoping theyíd
heard from you. Iíd much rather think itís just me than think there is something wrong and was disappointed to
hear youíd not contacted them either. I really hope and pray you are alive and well. I donít want to even think
that harm has come to you in some way, but the thought has crossed my mind. Iím trying not to think about it though.
Iím telling myself that you are just feeling terribly about the situation with your ex-fiancé and need some
time alone to think. As terrible as it must be for you, I do hope that is the reason I have not heard from you.
I donít know if this will make you feel any better or not and
I am not telling you this to try and make light of what youíve gone through or lessen itís devastating effect on
you, but I just wanted to share with you an experience Iíve recently gone through. You are probably the only person
I know that can fully appreciate my situation.
Like you, I have recently had a break up, not with my fiancée,
but rather girlfriend. She and I had been going out for ten years when it occurred. The reason we split wasnít
due to one of us cheating, but rather wanting different things out of life. Iíve told you that I am a small town
boy and though I want to travel, living in my small town, the one you donít know the name of yet ;) is my life.
My girlfriend had other ideas. She decided she wanted more excitement in her life, so about a week ago, she surprised
me at work by announcing sheíd taken a job in a big city and was leaving. In one flash, the woman Iíd stayed faithful
to for the past ten years had walked out of my life for good.
I canít lie to you and tell you I was completely crushed, the
truth is, Iíd decided that weíd grown too far apart in the last few years, which is probably the reason we never
married. In a way I was relieved she left me, but itís still a tough thing to go through.
Even though the break up with my girlfriend was under very different
circumstances than yours with JL, I canít help but wonder if maybe some of the things we are feeling are similar.
I keep asking myself what did I do to cause this to happen? Maybe if Iíd done something differently she wouldnít
have left. There is a sense of guilt I canít begin to describe, guilt over it being my fault that the relationship
didnít work. Guilt that I let my mother down, since she was one of our biggest fans.
In my head, I know it wasnít my fault. But my heart, thatís
an entirely different story. I keep wondering what I did to drive her away. Not only that, but now I have no clue
whatís going to happen next. And now Iím just supposed to start the singles thing all over again? I suppose some
men might find it preferable, but I was hoping to settle down and have a family, not start all over again. I donít
know if any of this makes sense to you, but these are some of the things that have been going through my head.
I canít believe I told you what I just did, Iíve never told
anyone that before. For some reason I feel as though I can trust you. Sounds silly I bet! LOL.
Itís a funny thing, we almost got married shortly after I got
out of high school. I donít even want to think what that would have meant had we split now. I am a believer in
marriage for life, which doesnít seem to be a popular notion these days, but itís who I am. I guess Iíve probably
known all along that she wasnít the right woman for me and just didnít want to admit it. Everyone kept telling
us we were perfect for each other, you know?
I donít know what I can say to you to make you feel any better
about what that snake did to you, the only thing I can do is be there for you if you need someone to lean on, someone
to listen to you. Also, I hope you realize that not all men are like that. No matter how bad things were between
my ex-girlfriend and me, I never would have considered hurting her in any way, never mind something as deplorable
as what your JL did. There are good guys in the world KC. Remember that.
I really hope I hear from you soon. I miss our little contest.
I have loads of new clues Iím dying to try out on you. Trust me, they wonít be as easy as "sleepy"!
Take care of yourself KC. I mean that.
BTW, guess what? I have a computer at home now. I won it in
a church raffle, can you believe that?
Sheridan sighed happily when she finished reading Pezzís
letter. "How thoughtful can one man be?" She said to herself. She clicked on the reply button and sent
him a quick note letting him know she was alive and well. At that moment, KC decided it was time to return to Paris.
Once back there she could decide what she now wanted to do with her life. She printed out Pezzís email so she could
re read it before going to bed. Somehow reading his words had a calming effect on her no other person could ever