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Falling For You
chapters

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epilogue

Rating: R

The sequel to Falling For You is A Hero For Hire currently being posted on CR FanFic Board
     

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Falling For You
by Deanna Lynn

Chapter Twelve

Sheridan walked into her cottage, feeling as if a lifetime had passed since she'd last seen it. She shook her head to block out the painful memories of seeing Luis tied to that chair, his lip bloody from where Antoine must have hit him. It was all because of her. He'd almost died, all because of her.

She closed her eyes in silent prayer that Luis hadn't been seriously hurt. She never would have forgiven herself if he had. She wasn't entirely sure she could forgive herself anyway. She really had no idea what he had to endure while being held prisoner by Antoine. She felt him walk up behind her and wasn't at all surprised when he placed a hand on her shoulder. She turned and gave him a forced smile. "It feels different."

Luis nodded and gave her a rueful smile. "Yeah, everything feels different once you've looked death in the eye."

She swallowed hard realizing just how much she owed Luis. Over the past few months, she had lied to herself repeatedly about the fact that she was in danger. Luis had told her she was in danger and she refused to believe him. She'd fought with him constantly and she had given him more grief than anyone should have had to endure. He had always been there to save her even when she swore she didn't need saving and she had never once thanked him. In fact, she had yelled at him and had him arrested for kidnapping not to mention every petty argument she had ever started with him. God, she thought turning around and throwing her purse on the couch, she owed him more than she could ever repay. She turned back to face him and felt tears sting her eyes. "Luis, I -"

"Shh," he said walking toward her and placing his fingers over her lips. "We don't need to get into everything tonight. I know you must be exhausted, physically and emotionally. Why don't we talk about all this tomorrow? It's late and we're both too tired to deal with this tonight."

She looked at him and her heart constricted with emotion. He had been put through hell tonight and how he could even stand to look at her was totally beyond her. Didn't he blame her? If she had just listened when he said she was in danger instead of trying to pick a fight with him, tonight would have never happened.

She looked into Luis' deep brown gaze and knew she didn't deserve him. She knew she would never deserve him, but she needed him. Tonight she needed him more than she had ever needed anyone before. "Will you stay with me?"

Luis raised a brow at her and she wondered if he was going to turn her down. "Where else would I go? I'm not about to leave you alone tonight. Not after everything, you've gone through. Those drug dealers are still out there and I'm not going to let you out of my sight until I know you're safe."

She searched his eyes trying to tell if he was staying because he loved her or because it was his job. What had happened in that alcove had been intense and they were both more than a little caught up in the moment. Had he really meant it when he said he loved her? She knew she had, but she couldn't really be certain of his feelings. She wasn't sure she could be certain of anything anymore.

Antoine, her Paris bodyguard, had really been trying to kill her. She hadn't believed Luis about him, but it turned out that once again, Luis had been right all along. How could she ever trust her own judgement after finding that out? The answer was simple she couldn't. But she did know one thing for certain, she could trust Luis with her life. But could she really trust him with her heart? Not that she had a choice in the matter, anymore. He already had her heart and there was no way to take it back now.

She turned away before Luis could see the tears start to roll down her cheeks. She had heard him say he was using her, yet in that alcove he had said he loved her. Which was the truth? She needed to know before things went any further than they already had.

"Luis," she said turning to face him. "I need to -"

The raw depth of emotion she saw in Luis eyes stopped what she was about to say. He walked toward her and she couldn't look away from him. He held her captive with his deep brown eyes. He cupped her face in his hands then wiped away her tears with his thumbs. She leaned her face into his palm, loving the feel of his rough hand against her skin. "What's with the tears, Sheridan?"

She took a deep breath. "I have something I need to talk to you about. Something I need to ask you actually and I need you to tell me the truth."

Luis placed a hand at the back of her neck and stared deep into her eyes. "Sheridan, I've always told you the truth. Always."

Sheridan searched his eyes and saw nothing but sincerity in them. He had always told her the truth? So when he said he loved her that was the truth? "That night you kissed me at the wharf? I left and you were still there. Do you remember that?"

"Yeah, I left not too long after you did. I had to head to the station to check in."

Sheridan shook her head and stepped away from him. She knew that wasn't possible. "Luis I came back and saw you on the wharf. You were talking on the phone to someone. I heard you say I was a spoiled princess and that you were using me for your own ends."

Luis furrowed his brows in confusion. "Using you? Sheridan, I don't know what you are talking about. The only person I called from the docks that night was you."

"Luis I saw you. I heard you. Are you going to tell me I imagined it? If so, don't bother because I know I didn't."

Raw hurt lit his eyes and Sheridan felt as if someone was cutting her heart with a knife. He honestly looked as if he didn't know what she was talking about. "This is why you slapped me isn't it? This is why you turned against me? Because you thought I was using you? Hell, Sheridan, I thought you knew me better than that!"

"I thought I did too," she whispered sadly. "But then I heard you on that phone."

"But it wasn't me dammit! I never would have said those things about you! Never!"

"Then tell me who it was, Luis. Because I'd really like to know. I'd really like to know how someone who looked and sounded just like you could be walking around Harmony."

Luis paled suddenly and in that moment, Sheridan knew he was telling the truth. Dear god, she thought sinking onto the couch behind her and burying her face in her hands, it really hadn't been him that night. But if it hadn't been Luis then who was it? And why did he look exactly like Luis?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Luis watched her fall back onto the couch and bury her face in her hands. He could tell by the look in her eyes that she knew it wasn't him she heard on the phone. An image of her walking into the youth center and slapping him flashed in his mind and he knew she hadn't imagined anything. She had been too angry to have had any doubts about what she saw. Someone had been there, but who? And why in the hell would someone be walking around Harmony impersonating him anyway? Was he still out there impersonating him? Or had it just been for Sheridan's benefit?

Luis looked over at her slumped, defeated form on the couch and the ache in his heart increased ten fold. He knew it must have killed her to hear that, but why hadn't she just asked him about it? They could have cleared this up months ago if she had. Her stubborn pride, he thought shaking his head sadly. Her damn stubborn pride kept her from telling him about this. He took a deep breath then went to sit beside her on the couch. She didn't look up. In fact, she didn't move at all. He lightly touched her shoulder and after a few seconds, she finally raised her head, her once bright blue eyes now filled with a deep and heart wrenching sadness that went straight through his soul.

"I'm so sorry." She whispered tears pooling in her eyes. "I'm so sorry I didn't trust you. I should have known you wouldn't use me. After Julian tried to bribe you and you didn't take it, I should have known."

"Yes, you should have and I'm sorry you didn't." He dropped his hand from her shoulder then turned and placed his head in his hands. "How could you ever believe I would use you, Sheridan? After everything I've done, how could you believe that?"

He heard her take a sharp in drawn breath and wondered what she would say. Hell, what could she say? It all boiled down to trust and she hadn't trusted him. But in that alcove she had said she loved him. Had she meant that? How could she have if she believed him to be using her? Unless deep down, in her heart, she knew he hadn't. "Luis -"

"No," he said raising his head and looking at her. "No, It's my turn. I need to know something and I want an honest answer from you."

"Okay," she said reaching up to wipe away some of the tears trickling down her cheeks.

He nodded then took a deep breath. He had to know if she meant what she said. He had to. "Did you mean what you said in that alcove? Do you really love me?"

Her eyes widened for a fraction of a second. Then she locked them into his. "Yes, I meant it. I do love you Luis. More than I ever thought possible."

Relief came swiftly. He hadn't realized he'd been so tense until that moment. She loved him. She really loved him and to him that meant more than what she believed to have happened all those months ago. If she meant what she said in that alcove, then he knew she hadn't really believed he used her. If she had there was no way she would admit she loved him. She was way too stubborn and had way too much pride to do that.

He looked over at her and realized he had something to tell her as well. But it meant breaking his word. He'd never broken his word in his life, but he knew this time he had to. Otherwise, Julian would hold it over his head forever. "Sheridan, I need to tell you something too. Something I shouldn't have done, but at the time you wanted nothing to do with me so it didn't seem like such a big deal. But now... now I know I can't go through with it."

"What is it Luis? What did you do?"

He got up and started pacing the room. "When you threw me in jail for kidnapping, I was so damn angry at you. I was so angry I couldn't see straight. As far as I was concerned, I didn't want to see you again. I thought you felt the same way so I agreed to something that I wish I hadn't."

"Just tell me Luis. What did you agree to?"

He stopped pacing and fixed his eyes on hers. "Julian came to see me and offered me a deal. He would drop the kidnapping charges against me, if I... if I agreed to stay away from you. I agreed then gave him my word I wouldn't tell you any of this. But I can't do it. I thought I could but I can't."

"And what happens if you broke the deal?"

"They would send me back to jail."

"The hell they will!" She yelled jumping up from the couch. All traces of sadness were gone from her face, now it was just pure anger. "They can't do that. I won't let them."

She walked toward the phone, picked it, and started punching in numbers. "Who are you calling?"

"Someone I should have called a long time ago." She said giving him a look of fierce determination. One he wasn't sure he had seen before. "Yes, this is Sheridan Crane. Let me speak to FBI special agent, Hal Freeman."

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