Charlie continued gazing into Sheridan’s cottage, watching what looked like a quarrel between Luis and Beth. “Good,” she thought, “At least my Bethie’s not trying to comfort him or anything.”
Inside, Luis was having trouble getting his point across to Beth. “Listen, Beth, I can understand why you think Sheridan might not know who she wants to be with – my brother or me. I mean, if I was looking at the situation from the outside, I might get that impression too. After all, she is married to the guy.”
“And maybe pregnant with his child,” Beth said.
“No, no, the baby is mine,” Luis insisted.
“You don’t know that,” countered Beth. “It could be Antonio’s, Luis.”
“The baby’s not Antonio’s, OK,” Luis exclaimed, “I know it deep down in my heart. You wouldn’t understand.”
“Why wouldn’t I understand, Luis? I am pregnant too, you know. I can feel the love you and I have for this child we created deep down in my heart too,” she said, patting her sugar-filled stomach.
“I do love our child, Beth,” Luis said, “And I don’t want to hurt you. But you know the love that Sheridan and I feel is special, don’t you? What we have is a once in a lifetime kind of love.”
Beth had trouble concealing her pain; her lower lip began to quiver.
Outside, Charlie grew angry. “Don’t let that man upset you, Bethie,” she said to herself. “Men aren’t worth it. I’ll never treat you that way.” She smiled, fantasizing about her and Beth taking a leisurely stroll in the park, the baby in tow…
Julian looked at the image on the screen intently. There before his eyes, he could see the large, reddish-haired woman dragging a motionless body outside of Sheridan’s cottage on the night his sister disappeared.
“Good work, Father,” he said to himself. “You finally came through for your daughter, even if you don’t realize it. Those hideous cameras of yours actually captured Sheridan’s kidnapping!”
He studied the woman on the screen carefully, memorizing her features.
“A rather homely looking brute, isn’t she?”
“Well, I need to get this tape to the police so they can try to identify this woman,” he said. “At least now we know for certain Sheridan didn’t run away. She was kidnapped!”
Julian ejected the tape from the VCR and walked over to pick up his jacket off the chair by the window. Looking outside, he gazed toward Sheridan’s cottage. He couldn’t believe what he saw - the same woman who had kidnapped Sheridan, peering inside the cottage window! Wait, she was leaving!
Julian hurriedly dropped the tape, grabbed his jacket (with his car keys in the pocket) and took off for the staircase. Running down the steps as fast as he could, he opened the front door and bolted outside.
“Now where did she go?” he wondered. He caught a glimpse of the woman heading toward the fence. “Damn, where are the security guards when you need them?” Julian asked. He headed toward his car, which had been brought around to the front of the mansion for the business meeting that he was supposed to attend two hours ago.
Hopping in as fast as he could, Julian started up the car and headed toward the front gate. “I need to get through this gate before she gets away,” he cried.
The gate opened automatically, and Julian sped through it, hoping he was off the estate in time.
He could see a car just pulling away from the side of the road. “It’s her!” he realized.
Julian knew he should have gotten Luis before he left, but there wasn’t time. “I’ve got my cell phone,” he said. “I’ll call him when we get to wherever we’re going.”
He tried to stay far enough behind the woman’s car so that he did not bring any suspicion to himself, but the old sedan was flying. It was all Julian could do to keep up with her.
Eve Russell put the medical file she was looking at down on her desk. Her mind wasn’t on her work at the moment, and she knew she needed to take a break. Rubbing her head, she thought of all she had been through the past few weeks. What a terrible time for her family!
First, Whitney had announced she was moving to LA with Chad. Then she said they were getting married. T.C. had disowned her and had blamed the whole mess on Eve’s lack of being there because of her job. If that wasn’t enough, Simone had declared her hatred for her sister, and had called Whitney a slut.
Then there was Liz, relishing in the crisis like it was Christmas. How she wanted to wipe that stupid grin off of her face! She was glad now that she had hit her, but she knew that that wouldn’t stop her evil sister.
There were others who were threats as well – Ivy had seen her and Julian kissing. Fox was close to the truth about her past. Those two could be handled, she thought, the real threat is Liz. She won’t stop at anything to destroy me! How could things have gone so wrong with her sister?
Eve knew she needed someone to talk to, but there was no one she could turn to. Grace was away with David, something else that upset her. And Julian –
She paused, thinking about him. They had become so close lately, so close it scared her. He was the only one she could really confide in, the only one she trusted to reveal all her problems to. She could tell him anything, and he wouldn’t judge her. She had called him her rock – hell, he was her boulder. She never needed him like she did now.
They had crossed a line with the kiss – Eve knew that. That was why she had told Julian in plain, simple terms that there was no future for them. She loved T.C. and her family. It could be no other way. Why did her heart feel so heavy though?
She had not seen or spoken to Julian in two weeks. She missed him, she realized. She missed his company and the way he always cheered her up.
Eve knew that the two of them would have to eventually see each other – he was looking for their son, and she wanted to be informed every step of the way. She fingered the phone on her desk. “Maybe I should call him – to see how the search is going.”
She picked up the phone and dialed his cell phone number, taking a deep breath as she waited for an answer. “Hmm…he’s not picking up,” she said, her heart sinking with disappointment.
Julian heard the cell phone ringing but ignored it. He couldn’t take his attention away from the car ahead of him. She was pulling away from him – how fast could an old clunker go? His brand new sports car could barely keep up with it. “Maniac driver,” he said. “Of course she’s a maniac – she kidnapped Sheridan."
The car turned a corner into a lower-middle-class neighborhood. It came to an abrupt halt in front of a little house on the middle of the street. Julian parked his car several houses down. He waited for the woman to enter the house. When she was inside, he crept toward the house and peered inside the window. Not seeing anything, Julian pondered what he should do. “I should call Luis,” he said. Faintly, he heard a muffled scream coming from inside the house. “Sheridan!” he cried.
Julian tried the front door. It opened easily. He entered the home carefully, looking around for anyone. He saw no one. As Julian walked toward the closed door in the back of the house, he heard a voice coming from the other side – the voice of an elderly woman. “There’s something familiar about that voice.” He thought. The door began to swing open. Panicking, Julian opened up a different door nearby and stepped inside, closing the door carefully behind him.
His eyes adjusted to the dim light. He could see that he was at the top of the basement stairs. He cautiously climbed down the stairs. He could make out what looked like a large hole in the center of the basement. Quietly making his way to the hole, Julian leaned over and peered inside. He could just make out the outline of someone sitting down in the pit – Sheridan!
Overwhelmed at finding his sister, Julian did not hear the sound of footsteps coming up behind him. Nor did he see the baseball bat that was raised in the air above his head. “Crack!” was the sound that the bat made when it struck him in the back. He tumbled head first into the pit. The sound of his body hitting the ground caused a loud thud. He lay motionless on the floor of the deep, dark pit.
Charlie smiled to herself. “That was close. Good job with your swing,
ole Charlie girl. You’ve still got your touch. You hit a home run with