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In the End

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In the End
by
Shuis112

Chapter 13
"You're late." Sheridan and Nick exchanged glances and braced themselves for the lecture that was to follow those two words. Instead, their short chubby boss adjusted his suspenders and huffed out only three more words. "Get to work." Nick shrugged his shoulders when his co-worker looked at him questioningly. They did as they were told and sat down at their desks. "Do you have that report for me, Crane?"

"Yes, yes sir. It's right here."

"Good. What about you, Webster? What have you been doing?"

Sheridan noticed the small smile that Nick flashed after hearing the boss's question. "I, sir, have been investigating possible advertisers for the company's new branch. And before you ask, yes I'll have a list drawn up for you by tomorrow." Sheridan stuck her tongue out at him when she knew the boss couldn't see.

"Good, good. Start working on it, son. And you, Crane, you help him." He patted Nick on the back. "I'll be in my office." Sheridan waited until her boss had closed the door behind him.

Then she swung her chair around. "What have you been doing, Nick?" He looked at her with the most innocence he could muster. It wasn't enough. "Don't give me that look. I know when you're up to something. What is it?"



Luis stopped to catch his breath. Man, he hadn't run that hard since he was on the high school track team. He ran his hands through his thick black hair, trying to gain some control over his erratic breathing. He looked around and found himself where he was last night. Near Sheridan's beach house. What had compelled him to run out here in the morning anyway? He shook his head at his foolishness, but instead of turning around, his feet led him towards Sheridan's front door. His arm knocked softly, and his legs stayed rooted to where they were, not letting him change his mind and run away.

The door creaked open slightly. Luis was confused. Then he realized the door must have been unlocked. He pushed it open and stepped inside. "Sheridan?" There was no answer. She couldn't be in the shower; he would have heard the one downstairs, and the one on the second floor was being remodeled. "Sheridan, where are you?" he called out a little louder, only to be answered with silence. A panicky thought struck him. What if she was in trouble? Or hurt? He ran through the house, frantically searching each room.


"Sheridan, I've only been in Harmony for less than a day. What do you think I could possibly do?"

"You did propose to me the first night we met," she reminded Nick.

He grinned. "You almost said yes, too."

"I was drunk. Thank god I came to my senses before I blurted out that fateful word," Sheridan joked. "So you see, I have reason to be suspicious."

"Well, it was I who got my heart broken last night. Not the other way around." Sheridan looked up and expected to see amusement in Nick's eyes, but he looked serious.

"Ooh, sounds like last night wasn't so great for you."

He sighed. "See, I bumped into this gorgeous brunette, and we got stuck at this restaurant thing because of the storm, and we were talking, and she was telling me all about Harmony, because she's lived here almost her whole life, and I thought she really liked me, and then once she mentioned this guy, and I asked her who it was, and she said it was her fiancé. So then naturally I backed off and have been beating myself up for not seeing it sooner."

Sheridan hugged her friend and tried to comfort him. "Aww, come on. You two just met. You can't expect to know if she's single or not just by looking at her." She pulled back and looked at him thoughtfully. "Wait a minute. Didn't you see her ring?"

"She didn't have one. Said she left it at her apartment."

"Well, then maybe she was lying because she was uncomfortable with how much she liked you and wanted to keep you from asking her out before she was comfortable with the idea." Nick eyed her with disbelief on his face. "Or not."

He shrugged. "Whether he's real or not, I'm supposed to be meeting both of them for dinner Friday night. Would you please accompany me as my date?"

"Me?" Nick nodded before breaking out into a huge smile. "You're the only beautiful woman I know that can keep me from punching the daylights out of this guy." Sheridan laughed lightly before shaking her head yes.

"Get back to work in there," a voice growled from inside the other office.


Luis checked the kitchen for the third time before coming to the conclusion that Sheridan, or anyone that didn't belong here, wasn't home. He knew he should go home and get to work, but there was something not letting him leave. Besides, Sheridan told him last night that he was welcome to come over anytime. And she didn't say she had to be home when he did. Her words from last night flooded his mind.

"So let's talk."

"Right. Talk."

Sheridan shifted uncomfortably on the couch. "Um, tell me how you kept yourself from beating my nephew up when you found out he and Theresa were engaged."

Luis looked at her in surprise. "You really want to know?" She nodded. "Well, for a while, all I saw was red, and I almost did beat him up, but then I thought about what I was doing. I thought about who I would be hurting if I hurt him. Theresa, Mama, y-" He stopped.

"Who?"

"Theresa and Mama. I thought that if they loved him so much, he at least deserved half a chance." He looked down.

"Thank you for giving him that chance." She lifted his chin up with her finger. " Now you know why I love Ethan so much. He's really nice once you get to know him." Luis smiled and nodded in agreement. He didn't tell her that she was the only reason he didn't hurt Ethan, and that her face flashing through his mind served as a reminder to exactly who his actions were going to affect. "Your turn."

"I'm not trying to be rude when I ask you this, but it's been sort of nagging at me."

"Go right ahead," she said. "Friends can ask each other anything."

"Friends," he stated. "I'd like to be friends."

"So would I."

"Then we are friends." He smiled. "Anyway, the question I wanted to ask was, why get a job and buy your own house when you don't have to? You lived at the cottage before. Why the change?"

Sheridan leaned back against the couch and closed her eyes before answering. "When I went to California, I wanted to start a new life. Become a new person. Instead of sitting home all day, I decided to find a job. That wasn't too hard, since I had some connections there. The hard part was keeping the job. There were so many days when I just wanted to stay home and relax. But somehow I kept on working and went from a temp to getting a permanent position. Once I started to get a steady salary, I moved out of my family's home there and bought my own place." Her eyes flew open. "I wanted to do something for myself, by myself. Not by depending on anyone else. Does that make sense?" Luis had been watching her intently and suddenly realized that this was a different Sheridan he was looking at. She still had her independent spirit, but now it was stronger than ever. She had lived a different life for three years, one he wasn't a part of. And she had survived, without him. He wasn't her superhero anymore. She didn't need one.

"Luis?"

He came back out of his thoughts to reality. "Yes," he said simply. "Yes it does." ** Luis shook his head and looked around him. What was he still doing here? He had to get to work before he was late. He walked to the front entrance and opened the door, only to run in to Theresa. "Luis," she said, the surprise evident in her voice. "What are you doing here?"

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