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You've Got Mail Passions Style - Part One
by JSP

     

Chapter 13

"Pilar, I never would have believed it if I hadnít seen it with my own eyes" Sheridan said, her eyes sparkling.

"What wouldnít you have believed?" Pilar questioned as she sipped her glass of iced tea while sitting at one of the Book Cafeís small outside tables.

"I got a flat tire on my way over here" she told Pilar and a local policeman actually stopped to change it for me."

"That surprises you?" Pilar asked curiously.

"Why yes" Sheridan said looking at Pilar innocently. "In Paris if you get a flat most of the time the other drivers are cursing you for slowing down their commute. If the gendarmes help at all itís to call a tow truck for you to get the car out of the way."

Pilar laughed. "Sheridan you will find things are quite different in Harmony. Small town people tend to help each other out rather than cause them more problems."

"I guess Pezz was right" Sheridan said with a quiet wistful smile.

Pilar stared at Sheridan strangely. "What was that you just said?" She asked.

Sheridan blushed slightly. "Oh, nothing really" Sheridan remarked. "Just this man I talked to on the computer while I was in Paris told me how different small town life was. He said Iíd love it. If what happened to me this afternoon is any indication I think he was right."

Pilar couldnít get over how familiar the name sounded Sheridan had just mentioned, but she shrugged it off. She didnít know anyone in Paris other than Sheridan. She smiled at her computer reference though. "Are you another one of those internet junkies Sheridan?" Pilar asked in amusement. "My son recently got a computer and I canít seem to tear him away from it. Honestly I think heís spent the entire last week on the computer for the entire evening, chatting or whatever they call it."

Sheridan grinned. "I canít fault him. Iíve been known to do the same thing myself."

Pilar laughed out loud. "Young people today, honestly! So Sheridan, just out of curiosity, which member of Harmonyís finest came to your rescue this afternoon?"

A huge grin spread across her face. "Probably the most handsome man on the force" she remarked without thinking. "He had the most incredible brown eyes Iíve ever seen. I know this will sound crazy, but I couldnít help thinking I knew him, that Iíd seen those eyes somewhere before."

"Did this officer have a name?" Pilar asked nonchalantly.

Sheridan frowned slightly. "Yes, but Iím afraid I didnít get his last name. His first name was Luis..."


Luis walked into the station when he was summoned by Cal and Marty. "Come on Luis, spill it, who was she?" Cal asked. Cal was another one of the few members of the Harmony PD that was unattached and always looking.

"Yes Luis, please tell Cal. Heís talked about nothing but this for the last half hour" Marty Quinlan encouraged. Marty too was unattached, but not nearly as eager to meet every available woman in Harmony as Cal was.

Luis grinned as he walked over towards his friends on his way to his locker. "I can only tell you sheís new in town, very beautiful and her first name is Sheridan."

"Thatís it"? Cal asked in surprise. "You didnít get her last name?"

"No I didnít Cal" Luis said, silently chastising himself for not.

"You know Luis, you could have run her tag and gotten the full scoop" Cal suggested.

"Come on Cal" Marty protested. "You know Luis would never do something like that."

"Martyís right Cal" Luis frowned.

"Oops, sorry Luis. I almost forgot who I was talking to" Cal grinned.

Luis gave Cal the evil eye. "Iíd love to discuss this some more, but I have to meet my mother at the book cafe. Sheís found someone who she thinks will be able to help us out at the Youth Center."

"Thatís great Luis!" Marty said enthusiastically. "IĎm sure thatĎll be a big help with the end of summer bash coming up soon."

"Yeah, no kidding. Iíll probably be spending most of my spare time working on it" Luis admitted. "So, if you donít mind, I need to clean up so I can go meet my new volunteer. I donít want to scare off my motherís friend by looking like this" he remarked holding up his hands that were still black from changing Sheridanís tire earlier.

Luis bid his friends good bye, cleaned up and headed for the book cafe.


Luis walked down the block towards the Book Cafe wondering who it was his mother had talked into helping out at the Youth Center. He knew all of her friends and knew they were all too busy with their own lives to donate that much time. As he came closer he spotted his mother laughing. He smiled when he caught her gaze. He saw a woman sitting with her, but his view was obstructed by customers sitting at the table next to them. He quickened his stride, curiosity getting the better of him. When he was only a few feet from the table he finally saw who it was. Luis froze in place, feeling as if time was standing still. Sitting there laughing with his mother was the most beautiful golden haired woman heíd ever seen. Her head turned slowly when she heard Pilar announce the director was here only to find herself gazing into those eyes that had haunted her since earlier that afternoon. Those incredibly gorgeous brown eyes that seemed to penetrate to the depths of her soul.

"Well now" Luis said, his smile more brilliant than usual. "We meet again." He raised a brow suggestively which sent Sheridanís heart into flutters.

"Yes, I see that" she grinned back, her blue eyes dancing.

"You too have already met?" Pilar asked in wonderment as she watched the intense interaction between them.

"Yes Pilar" Sheridan smiled. "Luis is the man I was telling you about. The very friendly Officer who changed my tire for me."

"That was very kind of you to do hijo" Pilar remarked, still watching the pair closely. Theyíd hardly taken their eyes off one another. Pilar was pleasantly surprised that Luis and Sheridan had hit it off so well. She knew what a wonderful person Sheridan was, but didnít think her son would be this taken with a Crane without at least a little reassurance that she was nothing like her father or brother.

"It was nothing Mama" Luis said. "Just rescuing a damsel in distress."

"Pilar, heís your son?" Sheridan asked in shock. She looked at Pilar, then Luis again and then back to Pilar. "I should have known."

"Dios Mio" Pilar thought. "He doesn't know she's a Crane yet." She tried to keep her face from giving away the sinking feeling that had developed.

"Well Sheridan" Luis said as he pulled a chair up to join them. "Mama here tells me youíd like to help out at the Youth Center?" As thrilled as he was at the prospect of having a full time volunteer, the idea that this gorgeous woman would be it excited him even more.

Luis and Sheridan chatted endlessly about ideas for the kids. The more they talked, the more excited Sheridan got about the prospect of working at the Youth Center. They discussed the big party that the Center would be throwing for the end of the summer and Sheridan thought it would be nice to have a Spanish theme. As attracted as she was to Luis, she still couldnít get thoughts of Pezz out of her head and the wonderful talks theyíd had about Spain. She was thrilled when both Pilar and Luis agreed to the Spanish theme.

"So when can you start Sheridan?" Luis asked with a Cheshire cat grin.

"You mean youíd like me to work there?" Sheridan asked eagerly.

"You bet" Luis answered.

"How about I start first thing in the morning?" Sheridan asked hopefully.

"First thing in the morning it is then" Luis smiled.


Pilar accompanied Luis and Sheridan to the Youth Center for a tour. Sheridan wanted to see everything and her mind was a whirlwind of possibilities as she watched the kids partaking in the different activities. Luis spotted his sister Theresa talking with her best friend Whitney from across the gym and waved. Theresa suddenly became very animated, tugging on her friendís shirt, begging her to follow. Whitney had no choice but to go with Theresa lest she lose her favorite blouse.

"Hi Luis, Hi Mama!" Theresa said practically bouncing with excitement.

"Hi Theresa, Whitney" Luis greeted.

"Luis, arenít you going to introduce us to your friend?" Theresa asked, still unable to keep the excitement out of her voice.

"Sure thing sis" Luis grinned. "Sheridan, this is my sister Theresa. Theresa, this is Sheridan."

"Iím very pleased to meet you Theresa" Sheridan smiled.

"Oh my God! I knew it! Youíre Sheridan Crane! Youíre Ethan Craneís Aunt!"


Luis felt like heíd been kicked in the stomach. Hard. His mouth fell to the floor and he just stared at the woman only seconds ago he thought he could be falling for.

"Yes, thatís right" Sheridan answered, completely oblivious to the change in Luisí face.

"Tell me I didnít hear what I thought I just heard?" Luis asked, anger creeping into his voice. Sheridan turned towards him in confusion.

"Is something wrong?" Sheridan asked innocently. Theresa saw the look in Luisí eyes and grabbed Whitneyís arm and the two girls backed away.

"I donít believe this! Youíre a damned Crane! What is this, some kind of sick joke? Did Julian send you here to see if you could make a fool out of me?" Luis was angry, very angry. He was angry at himself for allowing himself to be sucked in like this. He always knew the Cranes were evil, but with the exception of his fatherís disappearing all those years ago, they'd so far stayed out of his life. Heíd always expected someday theyíd try something. This must be it.

Sheridan couldnít believe what she was hearing nor could she believe the transformation that she saw take place right before her eyes. She wanted to say something, but for the moment the words escaped her. His words stung, his anger hurt her to the core.

"Hijo, please" Pilar said, embarrassed that her son would treat a woman like this.

"Mama, how could you?" Luis asked. He too was hurt. Hurt that his mother would suggest a Crane work at the Youth Center. "How could you ask a Crane to work here? You know better than anyone else what theyíre like. Sheís probably here as Julianís spy. Itís one of the few pieces of property in Harmony the Cranes donít own. Julian probably wants it so he can close the only place in Harmony that tries to help the kids of low income families. What does a Crane care if one of these kids has to stay home alone every afternoon while their mother works her second job just to put food on the table?"

Sheridan stood there still in shock at this mans outrageous behavior. She was still hurt, but she herself was becoming angry. Angry that he was bashing her family, angry that she was being accused of conspiracy, but most of all, she was angry that he was judging her based on some past deeds he held her family responsible for. After all, she had nothing to do with Crane Industries, nor did she have much to do with the family for most of her life. Until yesterday sheíd only been back to Harmony once since she was a small child.

Luis was on a roll and had no intention of stopping. "Look Miss High and Mighty Crane" Luis seethed, "We donít need your help around here. The Youth Center is a place for people to bring their kids, go to work and know they donít have to worry about their children being influenced by the wrong sort of people. Itís a place where the youth of Harmony can get together and have a good time as well as hopefully learn something about themselves and how they can one day become self confident, self sufficient, productive members of society and I will NOT allow YOU or any other member of your family to take that away from them, do you hear me? Whatís the matter, isnít it enough that you people already own 90% of Harmony?" Luis stared at Sheridan with utter contempt. "No, I guess not. Well Miss Sheridan Crane, you can tell your brother for me that heís not getting his hands on the Youth Center. so why donít you go back to that hole you crawled out of."

"Luis!" Pilar yelled, totally humiliated and shocked her son would act in this manner. She knew he wouldnít like the idea Sheridan was a Crane, but she thought since he seemed to like her so much he might have some tolerance.

Sheridan held her hand up signaling Pilar to stop. She then held Luisí stare, her eyes flashing anger. She hoped the anger was hiding the hurt, because right now she was more hurt than sheíd been in a very long time. "Just who do you think you are?" Sheridan asked Luis in a low voice. "Who died and gave you the right to judge every person you come into contact with?" Sheridanís voice was becoming louder by the second. "You donít know me, you know nothing about me and I resent the fact that youíre accusing me of trying to sabotage this Center for the Cranes. Look, not that itís any of your business, but all I wanted to do was spend some time with the kids. I wanted to help make a difference in some childís life. I donít know what beef you have with my brother Julian, but donít you dare ever take it out on me again. Do I make myself clear?"

"Oh, donít you worry sister" Luis said in a calm condescending voice. "All you have to do is stay on your side of the tracks and Iíll never accuse you of anything again, because Iíll never have to lay eyes on you again." Luis smiled evilly, "Just donít get caught doing anything illegal, because if you do, Iím gonna catch ya. And donít forget to tell your brother that for me too. Hell, you can tell your whole family that."

"Go to hell" Sheridan yelled, unable at the moment to say anything else. Fearing tears would be coming soon she turned on her heel and began walking out of the Youth Center, her head held high in the air.

Sheridan walked almost out of the Youth Center when she felt the first tear fall down her face. Try as she might, she couldnít stop them from coming. In all her 26 years, no one had ever spoken like that to her. Usually people were in awe of the Crane name. Most resented their money and power but no one ever showed it in this manner. All she wanted to do at this moment was pack her things and head right back to Paris. Once outside, Sheridan stopped on the steps and inhaled a welcomed breath of fresh air. "Oh Pezz, you were wrong, so wrong. Why couldnít I have lived in the same town as you? Why couldnít it have been you who changed my tire today?" She said wistfully.

Sheridan was so caught up in her own sorrow, she almost didnít see the little girl standing at the corner of the building crying softly. Her heart going out to the child, she decided to see if she could help.


Pilar stared at her son in complete disbelief. The kids had scattered long ago leaving Pilar and Luis alone in the gym. There was one person who was brave enough to approach Luis at this point, yet so far sheíd gone unnoticed. as she stood in the doorway listening.

"Luis Lopez Fitzgerald! No te puedo creer! Yo nunca críe a mi hijo comportarse de mañera tan atroz. Tu comportamiento no tiene escusa!" Pilar only reverted to her native tongue when she was extremely upset. Somehow though, this time it didnít phase Luis in the least.

"Sheís a damned Crane Mama" Luis spat bitterly. "Thatís all the excuse I need."

"Luis!" Pilar shouted again. "Donít you dare speak about Sheridan like that! You donít know her any more than you know Ethan."

"Yes, but I know Julian and Alistair. I know what those two bastards are capable of and you do too. Mama, I hate it that you work for those bastards."

"Luis, I grant you that Julian and Alistair are very secretive men, but Ethan and Sheridan are nothing like them, I assure you. I practically raised both of them as small children."

"Their last name is Crane isnít it?" Luis asked sarcastically.

"Luis, Sheridan has even less in common with her family than I do. Sheís spent almost her entire life in Europe at boarding schools away from the influence of her family. She takes after her mother, God rest her soul who had one of the kindest hearts Iíve ever known."

"Her mother is dead?" Luis asked.

"Yes Luis" Pilar answered. "Thatís one of the reasons Sheridan was sent off to school. She never got over her mothers death. They were too close, too much alike. After her mother died hijo, I treated Sheridan as one of my own. She is a very special young woman."

"Thatís just my point Mama" Luis remarked, a little less venom in his voice. "Her mother married into the Crane family and look where it got her, dead. Letís not forget she was Julianís mother too."

The young woman had moved from the doorway and quietly walked up behind Luis. "Luis, if youíd quit yelling long enough to listen to your mother, youíd see that all she is saying is that you should cut her some slack" she said with an amused grin on her face.

Luis turned his body towards the voice and a slight grin appeared on his face. His tense body seemed to relax. "Jay!" He exclaimed pulling his friend into a huge bear hug. Itís great to see you."

Jay told him when she finally pulled back from their embrace, "I have to tell you Luis, I agree with Pilar on this one."

"Oh hell, not you too!" Luis groaned. Why did he have the feeling he was being ganged up on?

"Yeah, me too" Jay replied dryly. "What did that poor woman ever do to you? Iíve seen you treat criminals, the scum of the earth, better than you just treated Sheridan Crane."

"Thank you Jay" Pilar said, pleased she had some help. "Iíve been trying to tell Luis what a wonderful person Sheridan is. He knows it in his heart as well. He and Sheridan were getting along very well until he heard her last name was Crane."

"Youíre welcome Pilar" Jay smiled. "Now, back to you Luis, What did she ever do to you?"

"Sheís a Crane" Luis repeated again. "Thatís all I needed to hear."

"Havenít you been listening to anything your mother has been saying? According to Pilar she is nothing like Alistair or Julian Crane."

"Thatís not the point" Luis said, but he knew he was about to lose this argument and it was killing him.

"Thatís exactly the point hijo" Pilar pointed out. "Sheridan is one of the most kind and considerate women I know. She has a good heart Luis."

"Luis, I know why you hate the Cranes. I know all the reasons. And they are good reasons, but what is it about Sheridan Crane that makes you hate her like you hate the rest of them?"

"Luis laughed. "Jay, how long are you going to be here? It might take me awhile to compile the list."

Jay stared at her friend. She wasnít letting him out of this one, no way. "Get off it pal" Jay scolded. You are making a snap judgment about a woman you know nothing about, based solely on who her family is instead of judging her as her own person."

"Damn it Jay!" Luis shouted. "You know as well as I do that the damned Cranes had something to do with my fatherĎs disappearance!"

"Ahh, the truth comes out. Luis calm down. Stop shouting and use that fabulous brain of yours for a minute. Do you honestly believe that Sheridan Crane had anything to do with your fatherís disappearance? She was what, ten or twelve when your father disappeared? We wonít even mention the fact that sheís been out of the country for at least that many years. What is it you think she did..."

"Enough already, I get the point" Luis said in defeat.

"Do you Luis?" Pilar questioned.

"Yes Mama" Luis answered. "Sheís nothing like Julian and Alistair and had nothing to do with Papaís disappearance."

"So tell me, what started this whole thing anyway?" Jay asked.

Luis jammed his hands in his pockets and rolled his eyes as his mother explained to Jay the fact that Sheridan wanted to volunteer at the Center.

"Thatís it? This is all because she wanted to volunteer her time and help YOU out with the kids here? Smart Luis, very smart."

"Look, how was I supposed to know she wasnít a spy for her brother" Luis asked defensively. "I put nothing past those lowlifes."

"Tell me Luis, how many people do you have banging down your door wanting to help you out here, for free? Huh? How many volunteers do you have here with unlimited time to put in here, huh?"

Luis just stared at Jay, not knowing what to say. "Thatís what I figured" Jay remarked. "Now since I love you so much and since Iím already looking for a good excuse to get out of the house, Iíll tell you what Iím going to do, just for you, querido" Jay said with a slight twinkle in her eye, "Iíll help out here in the mornings and keep an eye on Ms. Crane for you. That way you can give that suspicious little brain of yours a rest while youíre at the station. Besides, if sheís here during the day and you come after work, you wonít have to spend much time together."

"That sounds like a wonderful offer Jay" Pilar smiled. "Hijo?"

The look on Luisí face right now was anything but happy. He knew they were right which made him feel almost as bad as the thought of a Crane working at the Youth Center. "Well, I suppose if Jayís willing to watch her..."

"Good choice buddy" Jay said as she grabbed Luis by the arm and started walking him to the door.

"Where are we going?" He asked.

"We are going to find Ms. Crane so YOU my friend can apologize and offer her a job."


Luis, Jay and Pilar opened the door to the Youth Center, hoping to still see Sheridanís car. What they saw instead almost caused Luis to blow a gasket, but Pilar and Jay restrained him. Sheridan was sitting Indian style on the ground with Tammy, a six year old girl who hadnít spoken to anyone in a year. He mother had died at that time and Tammy hadnít uttered a word since.

Sheridan was playing jacks with her and though Tammy wasnít talking with her, she was smiling and interacting with Sheridan more than she had anyone in a long time. Sheridan saw the group watching her and decided it was time to finish her game with Tammy.

"Now Tammy, do you remember what I showed you?" Sheridan asked in a sweet voice.

Tammy smiled and nodded.

"Good. Now, I want you to go back to those other girls and show them what you learned, ok?"

Tammy nodded as she gathered up her toys. She turned to walk away, but changed her mind and threw her arms around Sheridan giving her a great big hug. Sheridan felt a huge tug at her heart as she watched the little girl run off to find her friends.

"Sheridan, that was truly amazing" Pilar said completely stunned. "Tammy has shut out nearly everyone since her mother died a year ago."

"Is that why she wonít speak?" Sheridan asked sadly. "No wonder I felt so drawn to her."

Jay walked up to Sheridan and introduced herself. "Iím Jay, Sheridan" she said smiling" and Luis here has something heíd like to say to you."

"Iím pleased to meet you Jay" Sheridan said courteously, "but I am afraid Iíve heard as much from Officer Lopez Fitzgerald as I care to hear, thank you."

"Sheridan" Pilar said "Luis wants to apologize for his behavior inside earlier."

"Oh?" Sheridan asked suspiciously.

"Go ahead Luis" Jay said, the look in her eyes told him she wasnĎt backing down, not for an instant. Luis shot her an angry stare.

"Look Sheridan" Luis said fighting with himself to get every word out. "Iím sorry for attacking you earlier. Youíre right, I donít know you. If youíd still like to work here the job is yours and if you donít I completely understand."

"It sounds to me like you want me to turn it down" Sheridan challenged. Luis was about to say something, but he could feel the ice cold stares he was receiving from both his mother and Jay and decided it was in the best interest of his health not to.

"Itís up to you Sheridan" Luis said in defeat.

"If youíd come out here before I met Tammy, I would have told you to stick a sock in it, but Iíd really like to see if I can get through to her."

"Best of luck to you" Luis said. "I gotta go. Iím meeting someone tonight. Jay, Iíll talk to you later. Mama? Are you coming?"

"Iíll show Sheridan the ropes Luis" Jay called after him. "No trouble really!" Luis waved his hand, not even looking at Sheridan or Jay. He and his mother left the Youth Center parking lot while Sheridan and Jay looked on.

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