"No, I can't do it. I won't!"
Julian let out a loud wail, slamming his fist against his pillow. Kill his own sister? No, he couldn't, could he?
Just the idea that he even let the thought run through his mind was killing him inside. She was his baby sister.
And he loved her, despite what everyone thought. There was a time when he was capable of love, and he did love
that little girl, with every ounce of his being.
The little blonde beauty squealed as her big brother dragged her into his arms.
"Julian, be careful!" Katherine hollered from the pool side. Sipping her margarita, she watched her twenty-five
year old son perch her three year old baby onto his shoulders. "Yes, Mother." He replied obediently,
his voice bearing a hint of repetitiveness, as if he had spoken the words a million times before.
"We're gonna play barbies, Mummy!" Sheridan squeaked in between giggles, as Julian tickled the bottom
of her feet.
Ivy glanced at her husband, reveling in his embarrassment, as she continued to nurse her four month old baby. The
perfect ammunition for their next quarrel, which had become a daily ritual since their honeymoon.
Julian's face turned a light shade of red. "No...! We're going to... admire..." He trailed off. "The
garden. Yes, the garden!"
"Garden of BARBIES, Dear?" Katherine sputtered, amused.
Julian just let out a stifled gurgle. "We'll be in the solarium..." He started to make his way into the
house, mumbling to himself. "Having a nice, long chat with my darling sister."
Sheridan continued her famous giggles while Julian sat her on top of the couch and crouched down to her level.
Her tiny blonde curls outlined the chubby cheeks of her heart shaped face. Her small body sank into the cushion
with her pink polka dotted bikini leaving a wet imprint.
"Now, Sheridan..." He prepared his famous 'You can't tell anyone I play with DOLLS' speech in his head.
"Yes, Ju-Ju?" She batted her big blue eyes, doing what she thought to be her 'Ivy Impression'. Her adorable
essence made him lose thought of his previous embarrassment.
"Nevermind..." He grinned at her adoringly. She had a way of bringing out his good side. One look into
those bright eyes and he was gone. If ever he had a soft spot, she was it.
Next thing Julian knew, her arms rung around his neck and her little lips grazed the end of his nose. "Mmmmm-WAH!"
Julian couldn't help his laughter. "What was that for?"
"Nuttin'..." She grinned devilishly, with an ulterior motive of course. "Be a horsy, Ju-Ju?!"
She begged, her arms still stuck in the same position they were several seconds ago.
"A horse?!" Julian gasped, wearily. Sheridan's sweet smile suddenly turned upside down. "Aw, how
could I say 'No' to THAT face?"
Soon Julian was on his hands and knees. Sheridan sat on his back as if it were a saddle, her laughter filled with
glee. The laughter and movement quickly subsided though, and was replaced with silence as they heard the door to
the solarium jolt open. And then they saw him staring them down from the threshold.
"Julian!! Get off your hands and knees and stop acting like an ANIMAL and more respectable -- like a CRANE!
And Sheridan, go play with your dolls and leave your brother alone. Julian has far more important things to do
-- for example, what some might call WORK, although I don't believe Julian has grasped that concept yet."
Alistair turned his attention to Julian again. "When I come back, it would behoove you to be working, not
acting like the moronic ass that you are!" The door slammed on his way out and Julian stared at it blankly,
still situated on the floor. Sheridan had shied into his arms during their father's rants and now she looked up
at him with her warm, admiring eyes. "Don't cry Ju-Ju. I luv you..."
And she did love him. The sweet, innocent child adored him more than anything and he knew it. He loved how her
little features bore hope. But that died with their mother, as did their relationship. After Katherine died, everything
changed. Each day, Alistair grew colder, Julian grew weaker, and Sheridan grew lonelier.
He had promised his mother on her death bed that he would always take care of Sheridan. And he had wanted to, he
had -- he still did. But the wrath of Alistair was more than he could think to bear. He wouldn't wish Alistair's
wrath on his worst enemy, and there was a lot he wished on his worst enemy. His whole life, Julian had let Alistair
manipulate and control him and he just couldn't anymore -- not when it came to his sister's well-being.
The truth was, Julian envied Sheridan. Even at her lowest hurt and depression, she always remained strong. Sure,
they both always looked for their father's approval, but Sheridan didn't let him control her life. She broke away.
He didn't. He couldn't. He didn't know how.
Then there was love. The big 'L' word that Julian often wondered about. Sheridan had supposedly found it with Luis.
But what was it? And what did it feel like? All he knew was that Sheridan seemed more happy than ever, and as much
as he didn't like that Lopez-Fitzgerald, he liked seeing her that way. She deserved to know happiness again even
though Julian couldn't. With his marriage being the sham that it was and his millions of mistresses, 'love' seemed
like a hopeless cause.
Maybe he had overlooked love? Maybe it was right under his nose and he didn't see it? He had thought for a while
that he loved Eve, but he didn't get that sensational feeling when he thought of her -- that feeling that everyone
always referred to. Maybe he could have had it with Ivy? If he was only given the chance. What he would do to have
her react to the mention of his name the way she did Sam's. To look at him with those fiery, passionate eyes again.
That passion the nights their children were conceived. But that's all it was, nothing more. He was just being used
for what she could get out of him, just like everything else in his life. But God help him, he loved her all the
same, yet he couldn't figure out why. He hated to love her -- hated himself, hated her for bewitching him with
whatever spell she had cast. The Ice Queen reigned. In some ways, she had more control over him than his own father.
Those ice blue eyes did something to him, something he couldn't begin to explain.
But Ivy wasn't the issue momentarily, Sheridan was. He had to go through with his promise. For his deceased mother
and for himself. He had already dug his own grave with his father, and he would be damned to dig his sister's...
and be the one to push her into it at that! That wouldn't stop his father, though, he was sure of it. He had to
protect her, he had to. But how?
His hand crashed down on the night stand and the tears burned in his eyes. He could no longer stop the river of
tears from flowing. These foreign tears were long over due for a visit and he sought comfort in his feathered pillow.
It was now that he wished he knew 'love' more than ever before. To have someone wrap their arms around him now
would make up for all the comfort he lacked the past twenty-two years.
The door creaked ever so gently as light shown into the room. "Julian...?" Ivy whispered, wondering if
her husband was asleep. "Julian...?" She wrapped her sheer robe around her a bit more, before emerging
into the dark room.
"Go away." He spoke through a deep facade. A little round of name callings didn't suit his mood this
"Not to feed your extraordinary large ego any further, but I came in here to check on you. I heard a loud
noise from the hallway." No answer. She rolled her eyes at his lack of a response. "It really is a pity
that Rembrant falling on your head wasn't what I heard."
"Good one, Ivy." He rolled over in his bed, praying she'd disappear.
"What? No witty comeback, dear? Are you running a fever perhaps?"
"Well, there was another reason I wanted to see you. Your daughters came home a few hours ago... but I'm sure
that's the least of your cares. If the spirit moves you, and you do decide to pay them a 'hello', Adrianna's at
the pool, Elsbeth's eating in the kitchen... and I believe Bethany went to visit your sister."
Sheridan. No! What if Father tried to kill her while Bethany was there? God help that man if he laid a finger on
his baby! Julian jumped out of his bed. "No! I don't want her over there. Tell her to come back to the main
house -- immediately!"
"What on earth are you talking about, Julian? Did the fumes from those new oil paints go to your head?"
"This is NO time to joke, Ivy! I want her home, and I want her home now!"
"I don't think you'll be able to pry her from her favorite aunt that EASILY Julian! After keeping her away
for nearly TWO years!"
"NOW, Ivy!" Julian was nearly hyperventilating, thinking of what his father was capable of. They could
hear the cottage exploding in a matter of minutes and there was no way one of his children would be there if that
happened, or his sister. He had to put a stop to this.
Ivy was baffled as she flipped on the lights. "Julian... I've had about enou--" She stopped when her
eyes met his. His red, puffy eyes reached out and tugged at Ivy's heart. He had been crying. Julian. The man who
was incapable of feelings evidently wasn't. Out of their twenty-six years of marriage, Ivy had never seen him cry
once. "You... you're... crying?" She asked insecurely. This was a whole side of Julian that she didn't
know and it truthfully frightened her.
He looked down ashamed. Ashamed by his vulnerability and embarrassed to be seen in such a state. "I never
intended you to come here... to see... this." He tried to act aloof, but his emotions were running wild. His
hands found his bed and he returned to sitting. Ivy followed, seating herself beside him.
"Look, Julian... just... just calm down, okay?" Her hand was gently on his shoulder, afraid to further
her touch... afraid of what she might feel. She always guarded her heart when it came to him. Too many times had
she let it loose, and Julian always managed to somehow break it again and again. "You don't understand..."
He pleaded with her.
"Well, why don't you try me? My ears are all yours?"
"Your ears are better than nothing, I suppose..." He mumbled under his breath. She decided to let the
comment blow over. He obviously wasn't in need of an argument right then and there. "Seriously, Ivy. It's
nothing that concerns you, just know that we can't have Bethany spending time over there. And we have to keep our
eye on Sheridan."
"WHY?" She was becoming more frustrated by the minute. "Maybe it would help."
"No, Ivy. I can't tell you! I can't! I'm sorry... I wish I could." His eyes searched hers, hoping for
some sign of forgiveness, even if it was just for a moment. And for a moment, he saw something there, something
he hadn't seen for a long time.
"Why can't you?" She persisted, adamant in finding the truth.
"Because I can't!"
"Because it'll put you in danger, and I don't want that... I won't have it!"
"Because I care about you of course! For Heaven sakes, Ivy, we may have our differences, but you are my wife!"
Ivy stared at him stunned for a minute before pushing him a little further. "Why?"
Julian was completely riled up by now. "Do you want to know why Ivy? Do you really want to know why? Because
I LOVE you. That's right... I LOVE you." The tears now returned and Julian felt like the biggest baby in the
world, but he couldn't help himself. "I... I love you... and... and I know... that without you, my life...
Ivy opened her mouth, but nothing came out. The sincerity in his voice sent her into a state of shock. Love? Was
Julian capable of that? If his tears were solid evidence, then he had just won the biggest case he had been fighting
for years -- the trial of her heart. "L.. love..?" She questioned, wanting to be absolutely positive
she heard him correctly.
He nodded, not sure what else to do. "And I'm sorry... God, if I could only do it over again..." His
hand cupped her cheek, and he looked at her remorsefully. "I know that... that you never loved me, and I'm
not asking you to. Just for your forgiveness, even though I don't deserve it. Can you just give me that, Ivy? Just
for a peace of mind?"
It was her eyes that now burned with tears. His eyes led deep into his soul, and his soul spoke volumes that his
words couldn't meet with a ten foot pole. "I could... I could do more than that..."
"More?" His eyes were hopeful. "Yes, more..." She smiled softly and he saw it -- that passion
and desire she used to have when she gazed into his eyes, before they were married. "I love you, too, you
big lug..." She clung to his arm and laughed through her tears.
Brushing some hair from her cheek, he smiled at her. "I guess some things will never change."
"Oh, I'm sure many will... with time."
"Time.." He couldn't wipe the grin off his face. His prayers of a second chance with his wife seemed
to be answered. "I have something we could start with."
"This." He carefully pulled her onto his lap, dipping her down against the bed. His lips met hers in
a passionate kiss, a kiss that marked a new beginning for the both of them. Their chance for a fresh start -- to