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epilogue

 

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Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About
by SheridanLF74

For two hours the pair romped through the hills of snow outside. They made snow angels across the yard, some of which even held hands. After digging out Sheridan’s old sled, they went for a ride down a nearby hill. Finally, they finished the Sheridan snowwoman and returned inside. They were cold and flushed, but laughing like children. Sheridan never thought she could have so much fun doing something so simple, but she had.

"Look, let’s change out of these wet clothes and then I have some champagne and strawberries to much on," he stated as he helped her remove her soggy coat.

"All right," she smiled and headed into the bedroom. Luis followed her after hanging up his coat.

"Are you sure you only want to change?" she purred seductively, pulling her slightly damn sweatshirt from her body.

"Yes. I have plans for us right now," he grinned. Changing quickly, he added. "When your done changing, go sit by the fire and warm up. I’ll bring in our provisions."

"All right," she sighed, disappointed that he didn’t want to snuggle beneath the covers instead.

Luis went into the kitchen and found the remainder of the roses that he had asked Theresa to buy. Sneaking into the living room while Sheridan still changed, he placed the roses on the hearth, leaving one for his surprise. He checked to find the present he purchased hidden beneath a nearby table and then returned to the kitchen.

Sheridan exited the bedroom just as Luis returned to the kitchen. She spotted the roses and inhaled their scent. She loved how Luis surprised her. Settling into the pillows before the fireplace, Sheridan sighed. He loved her and she loved him. Life was good.

Checking her watch, she waited five minutes before she started to get antsy. She wanted him to return, and quickly. Sighing again, she tried to force the impatience down. When he finally did return, she was surprised to see a very proud look on his face and a smile that melted her heart.

"What?" she asked him curiously.

"I love you," he replied easily.

"Ditto," she pecked his lips.

"Do me a favor."

"Anything," she replied.

"Close your eyes."

Confused, but intrigued, she closed her eyes.

"Keep them closed until I say."

"All right," she sighed. What could he be doing?

Switching on the radio, Luis was pleased that his sister had fallen for country music. He didn’t want to propose to the same lame song as last time, and this one was suitable for today.

I did everything I could
To get you here tonight
Without telling you why
Now girl if you only would
Please hold out your hand
Just close your eyes
I've been dying to ask you
One burning question
Will you be mine?

Luis pulled out his gift for her. It was a giant teddy bear holding a heart in his left paw and two roses in the right one, one silk one real. Attached to the heart was a diamond engagement ring: heart shaped to remind her of his love. It was the same one he had attempted to give her on Christmas Eve. "Open them."

From here to eternity
I'm asking you to share your life with me
Now and forever I guarantee
I'll always stay by your side
I promise my love to you
I'm willing and able and ready to
Whatever you need I am here for you
And I'll always be
From here to eternity

Sheridan opened her eyes and smiled. She loved the present. It took a moment, but the firelight caught the diamond just right causing a sparkle in the left paw of the bear. She caught Luis' eyes and he asked, "I’ve been trying to decide how to ask this of you, Sheridan. I love you with all my heart and I’m terrified that you’ll say no even though you say you’re ready." He got on one knee and looked deep into her eyes. "I love you with all of my heart and will forever love you, Sheridan. I want to spend the rest of my life loving you. So tonight, I’m asking you from my heart to be mine for eternity. From now on we’ll be a team in every sense of the word. Sheridan Crane, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

Well, I saved a year for this ring
I can't wait to see
How it looks on your hand
I'll give you everything
That one woman needs
From a one-woman man
I'll be strong
I'll be tender
A man of my word
And I will be yours

Sheridan released a sob and felt the tears roll down her cheek. He had proposed to her and she couldn’t have asked for it to come in a better way. She watched as he removed the ring from the heart and waited for her answer. She nodded, not trusting her voice right away.

From here to eternity
I'm asking you to share your life with me
Now and forever I guarantee
I'll always stay by your side
I promise my love to you
I'm willing and able and ready to
Whatever you need I am here for you
And I'll always be
From here to eternity

"Is that a yes?" he asked, sliding the ring onto her third finger.

"Yes, Luis, I’ll marry you," she whispered tearfully.

He was glowing, his own eyes tearing. "Yes?"

"From here to eternity," she replied.

He kissed her passionately. Sheridan looked deep into his eyes and felt another tear roll down her cheek. Luis was her fiancé. Leaning in again, she kissed him hard on the lips. He caressed her hip and she pulled him closer, lying back against the pillows. Then and there, the two made love their before the fireplace as a truly engaged couple.



Luis and Sheridan had decided that Luis would tell Pilar about their engagement while he ran home for some clothing. While he was gone Sheridan planned on going to the main house to spend some time with Ethan.

Sheridan entered the foyer of the main house with a huge smile. She had never felt happier in her entire life. Not only was she engaged, but also she was in love with the man and couldn’t wait to be married to him.

"Sheridan, you look extremely well today," Ivy stated, entering the foyer on the way into the living room.

Sheridan grinned and followed her sister-in-law into the other room. "I am very well today. In fact, I have never felt better in my entire life."

"What has happened to make you feel so happy?" Ivy asked.

Joining Ivy on the couch, Sheridan held out her left hand. Ivy immediately saw the twinkling diamond.

"He proposed!" Ivy exclaimed happily.

Sheridan nodded. "And I said yes!"

Ivy remembered the disaster at Christmas and hugged her sister-in-law. "Sheridan, I’m so happy for you. Where is your fiancé?"

"He went home to pick up a few things and tell Pilar the good news. He couldn’t wait to tell her that I accepted."

"I bet," Ivy laughed.

"I hate to interrupt," Ethan spoke from the doorway for the living room.

"Ethan!" Sheridan jumped up to hug her nephew.

"Sheridan," he smiled. "Father wishes to see you in the office."

"Really?" Sheridan asked.

Ethan nodded. "I believe he’s on the phone with Grandfather."

Sheridan panicked, but tried to hide it. Smiling slightly, she headed towards Julian’s library.


Julian sipped some brandy from his glass and sighed. "How did you find out, Father?"

"I have my ways, Julian," Alistair growled. Damn that cursed camera. Sometimes it showed far more than he needed to see.

"I don’t understand why we can’t just tell her not to marry him."

"Like we told her not to date him? That worked well, didn’t it?"

Again Julian drank from his brandy glass. Sheridan peeked her head in.

"She’s here, Father," Julian said into the speakerphone as Sheridan entered the room and sat across the desk from him. Anything that included Alistair couldn’t be good.

"Hello, Sheridan, a pleasure to speak with you this evening," Alistair stated sarcastically.

Sheridan rolled her eyes. "Hello, Father. What is this about?" She knew something was going to happen and needed Luis now more than ever.

"I hear congratulations are in order," he began, "my only daughter is marrying a lowly cop on the Harmony police force," his tone rose slightly. He was angry and disappointed.

"It’s true. Luis and I are planning on marrying after this…crisis…is over," Sheridan replied without faltering. How did he find out so quickly?

"Is that so?" Alistair continued.

"That’s so," Sheridan added stubbornly. "I love him, Father, and I want to marry him."

"He’s not good enough, Sheridan," Julian decided it was time to say something. He put his glass of brandy on the desk. "He’s a pathetic cop out for your trust fund."

"He isn’t like that, Julian," Sheridan defended angrily, rising from her chair. "He loves me for who I am, not for how much money I’ll have!"

"If you’ll have any," Alistair added.

"What?" Sheridan asked, suddenly bringing her attention to the phone and returning to her seat. What did he mean *if* she had any money?

"Well, my dear Sheridan, I was originally going to speak with that…fiancé of yours, recommend he stop this nonsense and be reassigned before something happened. I decided he would take my little comments as threats. Then I was merely going to recommend that you leave Luis and not ruin his life by marrying him, but that two would sound inappropriate, no?"

"Yes, it would," Sheridan replied.

"So I decided that there is one thing I could do. I have the right to disown you. Now since you are my only daughter, I’ll be fair. I want you out of the Crane cottage within two weeks. In your bank account you will find some money, not what you were originally entitled to, but quite a sum for a no body. You are to have nothing to do with this family. You will no longer be a Crane…or you could give up Luis and remain part of the family."

Sheridan was shocked. Her family or the love of her life? She stared at the phone; oblivious that Luis was behind her. He had arrived and found Ethan pacing the length of the hall. After Ethan admitted that Sheridan was in the office dealing with Julian and Alistair, Luis knew he had to help her. "You’re asking me to chose between my family or the man I love?"

"That’s right," Alistair replied. "You cannot have your cake and eat it too, my dear."

Why not, you do,’ she thought. "I love him, Father," Sheridan stated passionately. "I love him with all my heart. All the money in the world would never, ever replace him. He has been there for me more than anyone in my life has. I cannot…no, I will not give him up for anyone or anything. The Crane money means nothing if I have to live a life without love…a life without Luis."

"Is that your final answer, Sheridan? To turn your back on your heritage?"

"Yes, Father, it is," she responded. "I chose Luis."

"So be it," Alistair replied. "Two weeks, Sheridan, and not a day more. Goodbye," he hung up.

Sheridan stood and glared at her brother. "One good thing is I never have to deal with either of you again," she stated vehemently. Turning quickly on her heels, she started to walk out and was surprised to see Luis at the door. "I guess you heard."

He nodded. "Are you sure about this, Sheridan? I don’t want you to suffer because of me."

"I would suffer more without you in my life than without them. Luis, you are my everything and without you everything is dead," she kissed his lips lightly, not willing to start something here. "Come on, we have packing to do if we’re to be out in two weeks."


Alistair was not pleased when he hung up the phone and he waited only a few minutes before dialing Julian’s number again. Each minute that passed seemed to make his temper flare more and more. Waiting impatiently for the phone to ring, he glanced at the picture of his daughter on his desk. Sure, he resented the fact that his daughter was the cause of his wife’s death. Still, he didn’t want her to destroy their family and he certainly didn’t want Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald to find out the truth. Frustrated, he threw the picture across the room and slammed down the phone, wanting to collect his thoughts a moment.

"Had it not been his father all those years ago," Alistair growled, "then you could be happy with him, Sheridan. I cannot allow you to ruin what I have worked so hard to build…so hard to hide. Now you will have to learn that you cannot cross Alistair Crane!"

Again, he hit speakerphone and then pressed the speed dial button. The phone rang twice before Julian’s drunken voice came over the line.

"Yes, Father?" he sighed. It was uncanny how he always ruined his brandy time. Then again, almost any time was brandy time.

"Julian, we need to take action immediately. We cannot let her marry Luis, disowned or not."

"But, Father, you said it was safe for her to marry him if they promised not to live on Crane property. They cannot snoop if she has no access to the house!"

"I changed my mind, Julian. Sheridan may one day remember that night…or she may come back when she feels it is safe to do so. If Ethan were to inherit the empire after an untimely death of my own, who is to say that Sheridan would not be welcome and you would not be found out."

"I wasn’t the only one behind his disappearance, Father!" Julian defended.

"It wouldn’t matter if I wasn’t around to save your worthless life, Julian. You and Luis had a deal, which he has obviously broken. I want him arrested for kidnapping your sister and I want it done now, Julian! We’re Cranes!"

"But, Father, Sheridan will never press those charges against her own fiancé. It will look reprehensible if we have him arrested for that."

"It doesn’t matter. We recently learned of his inappropriate behavior in saving your sister’s life. We learned that he had charges signed by Sheridan to arrest him on a federal crime and that they were mysteriously dropped. Now we want them reinstated to prove that no man can defeat the law, cop or not. Understand, Julian?"

"Yes, Father," he groaned. "I’ll make a call to the governor immediately."

"Good see that you do, and make sure Sheridan is around to witness his arrest. Her broken heart means it will be easier to get her away from that no good Lopez-Fitzgerald."

"As you wish," Julian replied just before the other end hung up. "Sometimes I hate being the son of Alistair Crane." He shook his head and hung up his own phone, before placing in a long and very important phone call to the governor.

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