Julian sat on the edge of his bed, the VCR remote control in his hand. He had been fast-forwarding and watching the videotapes from Alistair’s secret cameras for what seemed like hours. So far the tapes had yielded nothing out of the ordinary on the night his sister Sheridan had disappeared.
He had brought the tapes to his bedroom so that just perhaps his father would not know what he was up to. “That would be a first,” Julian muttered to himself, “if I can keep anything from dear old dad.”
He had remembered one time that Alistair had said he had removed the cameras in Julian’s bedroom because he was sick of all the sex games Julian and Rebecca played there. “Maybe I will be able to watch the tape without Alistair’s interference,” he said hopefully.
Julian didn’t really know why he was so concerned about Sheridan. He had never before gone out of his way to help her, in fact on several occasions he had even tried to hurt her. He just knew that this time it was different – he was different. He had found his soul again when he had made that trip to Oz with little Timmy, and he was a changed man.
Julian popped in the last of the dozen tapes that showed the happenings on the grounds of the Crane estate the night Sheridan had disappeared. So far he had found nothing. “Maybe they’re right and she just ran off,” he said, “but I doubt it.” He knew his sister wouldn’t leave Luis like that, especially when they were about to have a baby. Passionate love was something he and his sister had in common, and he knew she couldn’t just walk away from Luis – no more than he could walk away from Eve if she had wanted to be with him. He would rather die first.
Thinking of Eve, Julian smiled sadly. She had not wanted to be with him, even after their recent kiss. She had chosen her family over him, and he understood that. Her family was a big part of her identity, the identity she had built for herself after he had nearly destroyed her. Without her family, Eve would be completely vulnerable to him again, completely open to any possible pain he might cause. She couldn’t take any more pain, he knew. Once in a lifetime was all anyone could take what he had put her through.
“I wouldn’t hurt her ever again. I would die before that happened,” he vowed to himself. Still, he understood that she couldn’t take that chance, and he respected her for it. Had he been in her shoes, he didn’t think he would ever have given his former lover the time of day again – and certainly wouldn’t have allowed the person back into his heart.
Julian closed his eyes momentarily and relived the passionate kiss they had recently shared once more in his head. At least he had this memory to cling too, to file away with all those memories from long ago.
Suddenly, a hand was placed on his shoulder. Startled, Julian turned around, half expecting Eve to be standing there. It was only Rebecca!
“Ooh, Pookey, what are you watching?” she asked in a seductive tone. “Can I watch with you?”
“It’s nothing, Rebecca,” Julian said in a rather irritated tone. “You know you should really announce yourself when you come into somebody’s room. I could have had a heart attack.”
“Oh, Pookey, if you never had a heart attack from all the things we’ve done in this room, I don’t think you’d have one just from me sneaking up on you.”
“Yes, well, Rebecca, I’m not getting any younger,” he said, not sure why he felt embarrassed at what she said.
“Is that why my Pookey has taken to watching videos instead of the real thing? Is that why you haven’t joined me in my bedroom in awhile? Is my Pookey sick? Is something wrong with Little Julian again?”
“These aren’t those kinds of videos,” Julian protested. “It’s just work. See? Nobody’s even on the screen.”
“But where is the cast of characters?” Rebecca asked, not believing what he had told her. “Pookey, this tape seems kind of bland. If I were you, and I wanted to get in the mood, I think I would pick a different one.”
She walked over to the box of videos on the floor sitting by the TV. Kneeling down, she picked up one. “Oh, Pookey, this sounds like a good one – RF-69. Hmmm…maybe I’ll have to watch this one with you.”
“Becks, why don’t you go shopping – pick yourself out something real nice. Here,” he handed her his credit card. “Now see that you don’t max it out today, huh?”
Rebecca grabbed the credit card. “Sure, Pookey, anything you say. I think I’ll visit Gwen too. She is doing much better. I called the hospital this morning.”
“Good,” Julian said. “I hope everything turns out all right for her and the baby.”
Rebecca left, and Julian turned his attention back to the TV. There
on the screen he saw the figure of a woman outside of Sheridan’s cottage.
He got up and moved closer to the TV. The woman was dragging something
across the ground. What was it? A large sack of something? Looking closer,
he couldn’t believe his eyes. It was Sheridan!