TC began waking up and reached over to touch his wife. His hand landed on her pillow. Opening his eyes, he noticed that Eve wasn’t home yet. He looked at the clock and saw that it was almost seven o’clock. “Hmmm…” he murmured. “Eve was supposed to be home hours ago.”
He wondered if he should call the hospital to check on her. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “She has worked late every night she’s been on call lately. All those extra hours…Maybe the hospital does need her, but this family needs her more.”
Rubbing his eyes with the backs of his hands, TC continued conversing with himself. “If it hadn’t been for all that damn overtime she’s been putting in at the hospital, our family would still be together. Whitney would be in Harmony, playing tennis, instead of running around LA with that punk, Chad. And my little Sugar Bear would be happy, instead of moping around in her room all the time.”
TC looked at the clock once more. “Nah, Eve’s probably just putting in some extra hours again, giving her time to others instead of us. Well, the hell with it, she can call me to let me know what she’s up to!”
He firmly pressed down on his pillow with his hand and lay back down. “Come to think of it, she probably didn’t call because she was afraid she’d wake me. I guess at least that part’s good. Eve knows how much I enjoy my rest in the summertime. He smiled, closing his eyes. “I’ll just catch up on my sleep,” he decided and began nodding off again.
Eve stirred and opened her eyes. It did not take long for them to adjust to the dim morning light that was streaming down from above. “There is obviously a window up there somewhere,” she surmised.
Feeling secure in Julian’s protective arms, she looked up at his face and noticed that he was sound asleep. She had forgotten how adorable he looked when he was sleeping. Absentmindedly, she ran her fingers along his face. He began to move.
Eve quickly dropped her hand before Julian’s eyes opened. He turned his head so he could see her better. “Eve…” he said softly.
She smiled at him. “I…I tried not to wake you,” she stammered. “I was just going to get up to check on the baby.” Julian moved his arms and lifted the blanket so that she could get up. Eve walked over to the clothesbasket. Leaning over the basket, she could tell that the baby was still asleep. She headed back to Julian.
“She’s still sleeping, but I know not for much longer. She’ll be hungry soon, and I’m going to have to show Sheridan how to nurse her.”
“Here,” Julian said, raising the blanket up for her. “It’s cold out there.” Eve hesitated for a second and then freely went into Julian’s arms, snuggling close under the warm blanket.
“It feels good to be near you, Julian,” she said. “To feel you and know that you are alive.” She smiled as she lay with her head on his chest once more, her left hand and arm touching his back.
“You really did believe I was dead?” Julian asked. “I mean, I just thought maybe…”
“What? That I would just somehow know that you weren’t dead? That I could feel it?” she asked.
“Well, no,” he started. “I don’t know. I hoped that you wouldn’t have to go through any of that.”
“Well, I did,” Eve admitted sadly. “At first, when TC told me that you were probably dead, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was completely and utterly devastated. I hadn’t felt like that since…”
“Since you were told our child had died?” Julian asked softly.
“Yes, not since then,” she said, tears forming in her eyes. She began sobbing at the reminder of all the pain she had gone through – recently and long ago.
“My dear Eve, everything’s going to be fine,” Julian said, tilting her head so that he could wipe her tears away with his thumb. “I’m all right, and our child is too. You’ll see.”
“I am thrilled that you are OK,” Eve said. “I was pretty sure that you were alive after I talked to Luis. He suspected that something just wasn’t right with the accident.”
“So Luis knows that something else is going on? That I’m being held prisoner?”
“Yes, he does,” she answered. “And he even thinks that whoever has you has Sheridan.”
“Good,” Julian said, relieved. “Maybe the police will find us, then, before it is too late.”
“Julian, why did these people kidnap you? If it’s not for money, then what?”
“First, they didn’t really kidnap me – not in the way you are thinking.”
“They didn’t?” Eve asked, turning her head to get a better look at Julian.
Julian relayed the whole story of how he had acquired his father’s videotapes and studied them, looking for clues to Sheridan’s disappearance. He told how he had seen the kidnapper, a woman, on the tape and at that same moment had spotted her spying on things outside of the cottage. “When she left, I immediately jumped into my car and followed her. She was driving like a maniac. I kept up with her until she parked in front of this house.”
“So you know where we are?” Eve asked, excited that maybe that could give them a clue to what was going on in the minds of the kidnappers.
“I didn’t recognize the place,” Julian admitted sadly. “I wish I had looked around for a street sign or something. All I know is we are somewhere on the eastern side of Harmony – not far from the wharf and the Book Café.”
“But how did they get you in here?” Eve asked.
Julian filled her in on how he had approached the home, planning to call the police on his cell phone, but had heard a noise that sounded like a faint scream. “So without thinking, I barged inside,” he said.
“You were worried about Sheridan, weren’t you?” Eve said, touched at his feelings for his sister.
“I really was,” Julian admitted. He told her about hearing the voices in the kitchen and hiding in the basement. “That’s where I discovered Sheridan in this Godforsaken pit,” he said. “But before I knew what was happening, I got struck from behind, probably with a baseball bat. That’s when I woke up here.”
“You fell all the way down?” she asked incredulously. “It’s a wonder you survived.”
“Apparently Sheridan had a similar kind of entrance,” Julian reported. “When they brought her here, they simply threw her in.”
“Those pigs!” Eve cried. “That poor girl – it’s a miracle she and her baby have made it through all of this.”
Julian nodded, “And that’s thanks to your medical expertise,” he said admiringly.
“Speaking of my ‘medical expertise,’ how about I use it to take a look at those ribs of yours?” she said, remembering his injury.
“They’re not too bad,” Julian said, telling her how he was again struck by the bat-wielding maniac during his escape attempt.
Eve shook her head. “Julian, that sounds horrendous. Let me examine you.”
“They don’t hurt any worse than when I cracked them in the fall,” Julian revealed. “But I guess I can allow Harmony’s finest physician to examine me.” He smiled at her in a devilishly fun way.
“Flattery will get you nowhere,” Eve laughed. “But I am going to take a look at those ribs.” She pulled the blanket back and began unbuttoning Julian’s shirt. He shivered at the touch of her fingers against his chest.
“My fingers must be like ice. It’s so cold down here,” Eve said, noticing his reaction.
“Funny, I was just thinking how hot it was getting,” Julian said, a sexy grin on his face.
Eve tried to keep a straight face as she finished unbuttoning Julian’s shirt. “Don’t distract me from the task at hand,” she said. “I have my doctor’s hat on at this point.”
“What about when the doctor’s hat comes off?” Julian asked, continuing to press the issue. He couldn’t believe how much she had returned his banter up to this point. Something had definitely changed with Eve from the last time he had seen her, when she had told him that her heart and life belonged to TC. Julian decided to see just how much things had really changed.
Eve did not reply to his last question, but her mouth turned up in a slight grin. Julian also noticed that she was beginning to blush. “Why, doctor, apparently you have sensed the heat as well,” he said, caressing her face with his hand.
Eve turned her face toward his as her heart began racing in a reaction that only Julian could invoke. Noticing the desire in her eyes, Julian gently pulled her face toward his as he leaned in for the kiss. Their lips hungrily sought each other. Eve soon parted hers, allowing Julian to explore her entire mouth with his tongue. Then in a wave of passion, his tongue and hers furiously danced together, as each gave in totally to the moment.
After several minutes, their lips parted, and Eve pulled back slightly and looked into Julian’s eyes. He saw in her eyes all the love that he used to see – what he had not seen completely for over 20 years.
“I love you, Eve,” he said, reaching up to touch her face once more with his hand.
“I know you do, Julian,” she said. “I…I …” She tried to deny her feelings for him – to tell him that she had just been caught up in the heat of the moment, under very unusual circumstances. But looking into his eyes, and seeing all the way to his soul, she just couldn’t do it. She remembered the tremendous pain she had felt when she thought he had died, the overwhelming joy at seeing him alive, and the delight in noticing how much he had matured lately, particularly regarding Sheridan. Lastly, she reflected on the passion he was able to stir in her, the way he could always reach a place with her that no one else, even TC, could venture near.
Eve took a deep breath and smiled, looking deep into Julian’s eyes. “I didn’t want this. I have fought the notion back with every ounce of my strength these last few months. But God help me, I can’t do it anymore. I love you, Julian Crane. So help me, I do.”
Julian’s heart filled with joy on hearing Eve’s confession. Her love for him didn’t surprise him in the least. He had known her true feelings for so long. What did surprise him was that she finally admitted it to herself and to him. He reached up to pull her into another kiss, but she beat him to it.
They immediately deepened the kiss this time, sharing a passionate moment unrivaled by any either of them had shared with another. Julian moved his hand up to the back of Eve’s head, pulling her body closer until it was firmly pressed against his.
Eve fingered the back of Julian’s neck, and then moved her hand into his hair as well.
Slowly and gently, Julian pushed Eve backwards onto the floor of the pit, while the two continued their steamy, magical kiss.
Pressing himself gently on top of her, Julian’s left hand caressed Eve’s back, keeping her head up off the hard ground. His right hand began to roam down her shirt, finally tugging at it in hopes of untucking it.
Eve suddenly pulled her mouth away from Julian’s, gasping for air. “No, Julian, we can’t,” she said, after she got her breath back. Seeing his obvious disappointment, she nodded toward the cushion. “Sheridan…” she said, her eyes moving to where Julian’s sister was sleeping soundly on the other side of the pit.
Julian lifted himself off of her and grinned. “For a moment, I completely forgot where we were,” he said, blushing. Secretly, he was pleased beyond measure that she had added the “Sheridan,” part as her reason to stop what was happening. At that moment, Julian knew that somehow, some way, Eve would be his again. He already had her heart. Soon he would have all of her.
As if reading his mind, she looked at him intently. “What are you thinking?” she asked, smiling at him in a scrutinizing but sensual way.
“Only that I am the luckiest man in the world,” he said pulling her in for a hug. They leaned back against the wall and sighed, completely secure in each other’s arms.
“You’re trapped in a pit, Julian,” Eve said, slowly rubbing her fingers along his arm. “I would hardly call that luck.”
“Well, that’s why I just said ‘world.’” he explained, grinning. “If it weren’t for this pit, I would have said I am the luckiest man in the universe.”
Eve laughed and leaned her head against his chest. Despite the danger
they were in, at that moment, she felt completely safe lying there in the
arms of the man she loved. The man she loved! She felt so free after revealing
her true feelings to herself and him. She had no idea what the future held
in store for them, but one thing she was certain of - her life would never
be the same again.