Eve walked further into the living room and took a seat on the couch.
This confession was proving to be as hard as she thought it would be. Harder.
She spotted TC watching from the corner of her eye. He was a good man.
He could be volatile, but he was caring, and he loved his family. He just
had no concept of unconditional love.
For the longest time she thought TC was everything she wanted. He represented respectability for her and made her want to be the Eve she tried so hard to be. Now, pretending had gotten too hard to do, and her feelings for Julian too strong to resist. So far she had been able to stay true to her wedding vows, just barely, but she wasn’t sure how much longer that would last. It was truth-telling time. She was coming clean with everything.
Finding a breath, she held on to it for several moments then let it go. As angry as TC had made her over the last few days, and as strained as things have been for the last several months, breaking his heart didn’t seem quite fair. No, no, no. She’d have to worry about hurt feelings later. She was tired of being blackmailed by her sister and Ivy, and it was going to end today. Her eyes met with TC’s. “I think the first thing I should say is I’m sorry. I should have done this a long time ago. I’m going to tell you a story, TC. The true story of Eve Johnson.”
TC stuck his hands in the pockets of his navy warm-ups. He was clearly bewildered. This was the first time in a long time she had seen something other than an angry scowl on his face. “The true story of Eve Johnson?”
She chewed nervously on her bottom lip and nodded. “Yes.”
TC laughed. “You make it sound so ominous. I know your life story, Eve. You came from a wealthy family, you were an only child, you--”
She held up her hand to stop him. “No, that’s not the truth.” She sighed. “My family was working class, and I wasn’t an only child. I had a sister.” She cast a subtle glance in Liz’s direction.
Lines creased TC’s forehead and the corners of his eyes as he processed what she said. “What? You had a sister? Eve, you told me….”
Eve cut him off. “I told you a lot of things, and a lot of things I let you believe through your own formed opinions. I’m not perfect, TC. In fact, I’m far from it.”
“Eve, I don’t understand. Why would you lie about your family?”
Liz’s eyes brightened. A taunting sneer spread over her lips. “Yes, Eve, why would you lie about your family? Did you have some checkered past you wanted to keep buried?”
“Of course not,” TC bellowed, as he moved to the couch. “Eve is perfect. Perfect in every way.” He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her cheek. “I’m sorry I questioned you. Your family background and past doesn’t matter. What matters is right now.”
He wouldn’t say that if he knew the rest. “You’re right, now is what matters. But….”
He gave her hand a squeeze. “Can the rest of this wait? You know, I really want to hear about Liz’s slut of a sister. The fact that a woman like that is running around Harmony, it just makes my blood boil. Chad, Liz’s sister, and Julian Crane,” he raged, pounding his fist into his hand. “People like that shouldn’t be allowed to breathe the same air we do.”
The angry scowl on his face was back. This was something about him that really bothered her. How he jumped to judgment without hearing all the sides. He was like a man possessed when he got like that. The smirk on Liz’s face displayed the glee she got from his tirade. “TC, let me finish what I was saying.”
“I’m sorry, Eve. It’s just that Liz’s sister is such a horrible woman. Maybe Whitney met this woman and she put ideas in her head.”
“I think you might be on to something, TC,” Liz remarked.
Eve’s eyes burned holes through her sister. It was getting impossible to fight the urge to tackle Liz and beat the crap of her. Eve managed to paste on a smile and attempt to reason with her husband. “TC, you said before that the past doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t, but sometimes the past plays into the present. There are things about me you know nothing about. Things you need to know,” she said, glaring at Liz.
TC looked from Liz to Eve. His narrowed eyes shined with realization. Eve’s heartbeat accelerated. “TC?”
“I know what you’re going to say,” he murmured.
“Yes, I know the truth. I know everything.” Eve’s eyes filled with tears. She steeled herself for his barrage of insults. She was surprised when his hand covered and softly caressed hers. “Whitney leaving made you think about your family and how your upbringing wasn’t what you wanted it to be.”
Eve’s heart sank to her stomach. He couldn’t be further from the truth.
He brought her hand to his lips. “You made up your family in the image you wanted the family we would create to be. The problems with Whitney made you think about your own hard upbringing, and Liz telling us about her sister made you think about your sister. That’s what you meant about the past being a part of the present, right?”
Eve groaned. She rose from the couch and faced him. “No, TC, that is not it.” She covered her hands with her face. There was no easing into this; she just had to say it. Summoning every ounce of strength in her body, she engaged in a silent count to ten then blurted it out. “I’m the hateful sister Liz has been shouting all over Harmony about. I’m the slut of a sister that left her and the family to sing.”
TC’s mouth was agape. His head shook in disbelief. “No. This is…no.”
“Yes, TC, it’s true, and there’s more.” Closing her eyes, she paused for a brief moment. “The son I lost all those years ago was not miscarried, and he wasn’t yours.”
The veins in his neck bulged to near bursting. “That’s not true!” he shouted.
Liz scurried to TC’s side like a faithful puppy. Her spindly arms wrapped around his like a vine. “Oh, but it is true, TC. Eve walked away from Mama and me, leaving me to be molested by our father. She ruined my life.” Liz shot an angry glare her way. “And still there’s more. Tell your husband who your son’s father is.” Liz wrapped her arms further around his muscular one. Clinging to him like he was a life preserver and she was just thrown in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. “Brace yourself,” she advised him.
Eve’s hand itched to slap the woman into the middle of next week. “Shut up, Liz!”
“Don’t you dare lash out at Liz!” TC demanded. “You’ve already put her through enough.”
Liz inched closer to him on the couch. “Thank you for your kindness, TC.”
“You’ve lied to me for years. You looked in my face every day and lied to our girls and me about your perfect upbringing, and how moral and upstanding you were. Huh,” he grunted. “So, who was this man? I don’t think hearing his name could shock me anymore than what I’ve already heard today.”
“Think again,” Liz quipped.
“From what I remember you said of Liz’s sister,” his tone sarcastic as his fingers made quotes, “she met a man that broke her hurt. A man that turned her into a drug and alcohol addicted slut.”
“Oh,” Eve groaned, “there’s so much more to it than that.” She walked over to the window, staring out at the hot summer day as she recalled the good times of those bygone years with Julian. “Yes, this man introduced me to a world of drugs, alcohol, and extravagance, but he also introduced me to something more. Something real. Something that I can just now admit always stayed with me somewhere deep inside. True and unending love.” Eve turned from the window and made her way back to the front of the couch. Her eyes met with TC’s. “I loved this man with all my heart then, and I love with all of my heart now.”
“What did you say?” His voice was low, almost deadly quiet. His eyes glazed with anger. Fury was simmering within him and it was going to boil over at any minute.
She had seen TC angry before, but she had never seen him like this. He looked crazed. His nostrils flared, and his fists were balled into two tight knots. “I do love you, TC, but I’m not in love with you. Our happy family hasn’t been happy for a long time, and neither have I. Simone is living with Kay at Tabitha’s and Whitney’s in California with Chad. I--”
TC’s raised hands trembled with rage. “Enough!” He stormed over to her, breathing like he just ran the Boston Marathon. “You say you love him, does he love you?”
She nodded. “Yes, he does.” A smile warmed her heart, the way it always did when she thought of Julian. “He loves me very much. Even with all my faults.”
A muscle flinched in his jaw. “Who is this man? Tell me, Eve. Who the hell is he?!”
It was time to submit the last piece of crucial information. A year
ago she would have never dreamed this moment, but here it was. Eve wondered
if TC could get any angrier than he already was. Pretty soon she wouldn’t
have to wonder. She drew a breath and let it and her love’s name pass from
her lips. “Julian Crane.”
I thought I knew
I could live without you.
Remembering your touch
That gave me such a rush.
But now I know it’s true
For not one second or two
I could live without you….
Julian sat alone in the darkened library. Listening to Eve’s voice was his favorite pastime, and he really needed to feel close to her right now. “Oh, Eve.” Julian rubbed his hands over his face. He was so worried about her, and then there was Rebecca. She had gone shopping for baby furniture with Gwen, so she would be out of his hair for at least several hours. It was a welcome relief, because he needed time to think. There was no way he could marry Rebecca. Ivy and that thing with Theresa gave him his fill of loveless marriages. The next time he said “I do” he would mean it, and he was determined to say it to Eve and no one else.
He sighed. How could that happen? He was so close to grabbing the brass ring, but there were doors slamming his hands at every turn. He would lose Eve forever if he married Rebecca, but if she found out he tried to have Sheridan killed, she would never forgive him and he would lose her anyway. Losing Eve wasn’t an option. He couldn’t endure that pain again. He just couldn’t. There had to be something he could do.
The shrill ringing of the telephone grabbed his attention. Maybe it was Eve calling. He lowered the volume on the stereo with the remote and answered the phone. “Julian Crane.”
It wasn’t Eve, but the P.I. he hired to locate his and Eve’s baby.
“What do you have?” Julian asked.
“Nothing you want to hear, sir,” the man solemnly replied.
Author's Note: The words to the song are probably wrong, but I wasn't
close to my tape when I did that part, so I wrote strictly from memory.
I've heard that song so many times, I think it's right.