Coming Clean Chapter 36 ~Evian, Simone, Dylan, Foxney, Savy, Chad~
by Luvin_Evian

“Chad, I…” Eve began.

“What?” he barked. “Is what Ms. Winthrop said right? Is Ethan your son?” Chad took a menacing step forward. “Well!”

Julian stepped in front of Eve, meeting the angry young man with a venomous glare of his own. He pushed Chad away. “You better think twice before stomping up to my wife like that again, and if you’re smart, you will temper you tone. Do you understand me?”

Eve tugged on Julian’s arm. “He’s angry, Julian, it’s okay.”

“No, it’s not okay. It’s never okay for anyone to address you in that manner.”

“I don’t care about Dr. Russell’s hurt feelings, Mr. Crane. Is somebody going to answer me or not?” Chad fired cutting looks to Julian and Eve before gazing over his shoulder at Ivy. “What the hell is going on here? I deserve some answers!”

“You heard what’s going on here,” Julian replied, having had enough of Chad’s caustic outbursts. “You are not our son. And before you ask, yes, we knew this when Father made his little announcement at our wedding.”

“You knew?”

“Yes, we knew. We didn’t know Ethan was our son, but we knew you weren’t. When Father presented you, Eve and I knew he was only out to hurt us, and we also knew our real son was out there somewhere, very much alive.”

“We were determined to find him, no matter what it took,” Eve said.

“Eve and I pretended to be at odds for Father’s benefit and we agreed to go along with his declaration that you were our son until we could find the truth about our real son.”

Chad grunted. “So, I was just a pawn in your game? Is that it?”

Julian drew a harsh breath. “Look, we--”

Eve held her hand to his chest, halting his words. She cleared her throat. “Chad, we’re sorry you’re upset, but I won’t apologize for what Julian and I did.”

“Neither will I,” Julian added.

“We’ve been kept from our son for over twenty-five years. Some hurt feelings in our quest to be united with him seemed a small sacrifice.”

“No one else knew about your little act,” Chad asked. Julian chewed on his bottom lip. Quiet hung in the air for several moments. “I’ll take the silence to mean yes. Who?” Chad glared at Simone. “You knew, didn’t you?”

“Back off!” Dylan warned.

“Shut up, you! I’m talking to Simone. You answer me. Yesterday at the Book Café, I asked if you knew about Whitney, where she went, and you didn’t say a word.”

“Because we asked her not to,” Julian responded. “If you have a problem with that, you take it up with me.”

“Who else knew?”

The elevator dinged before anyone could answer. A weeping Whitney along with Fox and Theresa exited the car.

“How’s Daddy,” Whitney asked, racing over to Eve.

Eve stroked her daughter’s cheek, brushing away her tears. Fox stayed close to Whitney, his arm secure about her waist. Julian narrowed his eyes. What was this closeness about?

Chad barreled over. “Take your damn hands off her!” he said, shoving Fox.

Fox shoved him back. "What is your problem?"

Julian stood between the two as Dylan came over and led Fox away.

"Come on, man, this is not the place," Dylan advised.

Fox gave his friend a once over. "Dylan, what are you doing here?"

"I was looking for you, but I found something else," he explained, gazing longingly at Simone.

Julian groaned. Between Fox and Dylan, he was going to have his hands full protecting his new stepdaughters.

"Mom, how is Daddy?"

Eve shrugged. "I don't know, Whitney. We haven't heard anything yet."

"Like you give a damn," said Liz, approaching from the opposite end of the corridor.

Julian rolled his eyes. This just kept getting better and better.

Whitney approached the injured woman. “Liz, what happened to you?”

“I was in the car with your father, but don’t worry about me, I’m just a little sore.” Liz rubbed her ailing arm and turned a scathing eye to her sister. “Don’t try and pretend you care about T.C., Eve. It’s because of you and your lies he’s here in the first place.”

“No, Liz, T.C. is here because he can’t control his temper. He raced down the street like a bat out of hell and endangered the lives of three innocent people. I want him to be okay for my daughters, but my main concern is for my son. The man T.C. almost killed in his quest for vengeance.”

“Your son?” Whitney questioned as Fox joined her. “Mom, what are you talking about?”

“This morning, Julian and I discovered the secret Alistair has been keeping from us for over twenty-five years. The son we’ve been looking for is Ethan.”

Theresa gasped. “My Ethan?”

“He is not yours!” Ivy fired. “And he’s not Eve and Julian’s, either. This is Alistair’s idea of a sick joke. It can’t be true.”

Julian rubbed the back of his neck, staving off the growing tension for as long as he could. With the knots in his shoulders, he knew relief would be short-lived. Worry about Ethan and his lack of sleep and sex came together to make for a very unhappy man. He sighed deeply as he turned his attention to his ex-wife. “Ivy you can keep telling yourself this is a mistake, but it won’t change the fact it’s not.”

“I heard you before, Mom, but I don’t know how this can be,” said Simone. “Ethan, he’s… He’s not… He doesn’t look like us.”

Eve nodded. “You’re right, he doesn’t. That was the beauty of Alistair’s plan.”

Acceptance evaporated the doubt on so man faces as Julian and Eve shared the details of their discovery to the uninformed. Ivy continued to fume, refusing to accept the unacceptable, but Julian wouldn’t allow himself to get caught up in anymore of the woman’s drama.

“So, Alistair switched your baby with Ms. Winthrop’s.”

“Yes, Simone.” Eve pressed her hand to her daughter’s cheek. “He was fair and very tiny at birth. So, three months later, when Ivy delivered a ten-pound baby boy that looked the part, no one was the wiser. All the while, Alistair got his kicks.”

“Wow.” Simone blew a long breath. “Ethan is my brother.”

“No, he is not!” Ivy swiped endless tears from her cheeks. “What is wrong with you people? Ethan is my son.”

“In a lot of ways he is and always will be,” Eve allowed, “but I’m the one who gave birth to him, Ivy. It’s my blood coursing through his veins, and you need to come to terms with that.”

“Yes,” Julian agreed, more than tired of Ivy’s ravings. “I suggest you and Sam pay serious attention to finding the son you have that’s out there somewhere. Ethan can always use your thoughts and prayers, but this hoping for what won’t change isn’t helping anyone.” Julian turned his attention to Fox, who continued to keep a protective arm around Whitney, much to Chad’s obvious displeasure. “What are you doing here? I told you to stay put.”

“Whitney was having trouble staying away, so we flew back this morning. After we touched down and got into the car, we heard the news about the accident on the radio and cane right over. What’s the news on Ethan?”

“He’s still unconscious,” Julian answered, tightening his hand around Eve’s. “The next several hours are critical.”

“I have to see him!” Theresa broke out toward the ICU. “I have to be with Ethan, we belong together.” Julian caught up with the unsettled woman before she got too far. She struggled against him, her flying dark hair like an errant feather duster against his face. “Let me go, Julian!”

Julian tightened his hands around Theresa’s spindly arms as she continued to wrestle with him. The heat of anger fanned his face. “You get a grip and listen to me!” He shook her enough to get her attention but not cause her the bodily harm, which was a struggle, as he wanted to break the insolent child in two. “You will not put your selfish needs ahead of Ethan’s today, do you understand me?”

“I need to see him,” she cried. “Ethan needs me.”

“What Ethan needs is rest. The last thing he needs is your histrionics and foolish talk of fate. He has a wife and daughter in this hospital who are fighting as hard as he is to get well. You have no place here, Theresa, and until Ethan says differently, you will stay away.”

“I will not!”

“Yes, you will.” Maintaining his grip on the woman who now waged a new struggle, Julian dragged her over to the nurse’s station desk and picked up the phone. “This is Julian Crane and I need security at ICU right now.” A minute later, two burly men stepped off the elevator.

“You called for security, Mr. Crane?” said the smaller of the huge men.

Julian pushed Theresa toward them and each took an arm. “I don’t care how you do it, but I want this woman to stay out of this hospital and off the premises until I say differently. Take her away,” he said, brushing his hands as if he’d just disposed of a bag of garbage. “The Ethan who needs you is your son. Go home!”

“You can’t treat me this way, Julian!” Theresa screamed. “I belong with Ethan. We belong together.”

“Get her out of here,” he instructed, walking back to Eve and tuning out the words he’d heard over the years more times than he cared to remember. Surprisingly, not one person came to Theresa’s defense as the guards led her away and the elevator doors closed behind them.

Eve pressed a kiss to his cheek. “You handled that very well. Neither Ethan nor Gwen need Theresa around right now.”

He smiled. “Thanks for saying so.”

Ivy stomped over, pointing an angry finger in Julian’s face. He fought the urge to bite down on the accusatory pointer, and instead extended a warning. “You might want to move that if you want to keep it.”

“You may have been able to shut up Theresa, but you can’t get rid of me that easily, Julian.”

“Ivy, I don’t care what you do, just do it away from Ethan, Eve, and me.”

“Julian,” Eve tugged on his hand and motioned to the opposite corner.

Like a tiger on the prowl, Chad was about to pounce. Julian dropped her hand as they rushed over, but not getting there before Chad struck.

Fox went flying against the wall. “I told you to keep your hands off Whitney!” Chad roared, his face contorted in barely controlled rage.

“That’s it!” Using his head as a battering ram, Fox made direct contact with his foe’s midsection. The two men went scrambling to the floor as Dylan and Sam tried to separate them.

Whitney pleaded with them to stop but her cries went unanswered as the men continued to pummel each other.

Julian joined the fray and managed to get Fox off the wildly swinging Chad. “Stop this now!” he demanded, almost wanting to throw them back together and letting them kill each other just so the madness would end for good. “This is the last time I’m going to come between the two of you again. If you want to fight like a bunch of animals, take it outside! This is a hospital.”

“Are you alright, Fox?” Whitney asked, tending to his bruised cheek.

He nodded. “I’m okay.”

Chad wiped away the blood spilling from his lower lip. “Get away from him, Whitney. You’re my girl, you should be looking after me.”

“Whitney’s a woman.” Fox kissed her hand. “And she’s mine now.”

Julian watched the scene unfold. Whitney didn’t seem to object to his son’s words. In fact, he noted a soft smile on her face. Just what happened when they were in L.A.?

Before more could be said, a man dressed in green scrubs made his way over. As Julian recalled, this doctor was new to the staff from University Hospital in Salem.

“That’s T.C.’s surgeon,” Eve said, meeting up with the doctor as Simone, Whitney, and everyone but the sulking Chad, followed in step behind her. “Neil, what can you tell us?”

Tears welled in Simone’s eyes as she met the doctor’s noncommittal expression. “How’s my father, Dr. Curtis.”

“Mr. Russell sustained very extensive injuries. Multiple bone breaks and severe internal injuries of the likes I have never seen. The fact he survived the accident is a miracle, but…” Neil looked from Whitney to Simone and then at Eve. “We’ve made him as comfortable as we can, but I’m afraid there is nothing more we can do for him.”

“Are you saying he’s going to…” Whitney started and stopped as emotions overwhelmed her.

Neil nodded. “I’m afraid so. You can go in to see him, but there isn’t much time. I am very sorry,” he said, before walking away.

“T.C.,” Sam murmured, lowering his head to Ivy’s shoulder.

Simone and Whitney turned to the young men who had practically become fixtures at their sides. Julian looked on in silence; getting upset at the sight seemed trivial at the moment. He didn’t give one damn about T.C. Russell, but he cared a great deal for the man’s daughters, and if Fox and Dylan could offer the young women comfort he would let them without fear of reprisal.

Julian held Eve close to him as her daughters’ uncontrollable sobs filled the otherwise quiet room. For so many years he had been a target of T.C.s unbridled anger and murderous threats, how ironic this same anger would be the cause of T.C.’s death.

Chapter 37
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