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The Price of Love
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The Price of Love
by AshleyTara

CHAPTER 4
The Hospital

"Ethan, please just tell me the truth. Was what you said true? Do you really love me?"

"Of course I do. Iíd be crazy not to. Youíre my closest friend."

"Thatís not what I meant and you know it. Are you going to tell me the truth, Ethan," Theresa pleaded.

Ethan couldnít contain his emotions any longer. He reached out and held Theresaís hand as he leaned in towards her for a kiss. Little did either of them know that as Ethan had taken Theresaís hand, Gwen and her mother had walked into the room.

"What did I tell you, Gwen," Rebecca steamed. "That little gold-digging trollop has been after Ethan the entire time!"

"I can see that, Mother," Gwen snapped back. She glared at Ethan and then Theresa. Gwen had been denying it all along, trying to convince herself that nothing was going on, but deep down she had always known she would have to keep a close eye on Ethan. He hadnít been very attentive to her lately, and now his actions only affirmed her suspicions.

"Gwen," Ethan started, "I think we need to talk Ė"

"Talk! Ethan really, you canít be serious about this little Latina tramp," Rebecca accused. "Sheís nothing but a housekeeperís daughter. Thatís all sheíll ever be. I canít believe you would do this to a Hotchkiss, not to mention Ė"

"WHAT IS GOING ON IN HERE," an all too familiar voice echoed in the small room.

"Mother," Ethan managed to whisper. This was sure to be a bad scene. He had never heard her yell that way, even when she was dealing with his father. He looked over at Theresa. She hadnít said a word since Rebecca and Gwen had walked in, but her eyes had grown twice their original size and since his mother had walked in, they looked even larger. She looked scared and, he thought, she had every right to be.

"Mother," Ethan began again.

Ivy held up her hand and looked to Rebecca. "Rebecca, what do you think youíre doing? Didnít I tell you multiple times to drop this ridiculous notion of yours about Ethan and Theresa? You have nothing to worry about and Iíll not have you insulting a good friend of the family like Theresa. Have you forgotten all that she has done for your daughter and Ethan? She was the one who convinced Ethan to propose to Gwen and then continued to plan the entire wedding almost single handedly."

"No I havenít forgotten, Ivy. But perhaps you should open your eyes to what your son and that little gold-digger really are. When Gwen and I walked in, they were holding hands and kissing. From what I understand, this isnít the first time Gwen has caught them in an awkward situation."

Ivy turned to her son, "Is this true, Ethan? Is it?! Is there something going on between you and Theresa? Answer me!"

Ethan merely looked down. He was still holding Theresaís hand. Rebecca stood in her corner of the room, happy to have been proven right about the whole situation.

When Ethan didnít respond, Ivy started fuming. She was absolutely furious and could feel the anger begin to boil inside of her. This could not be happening. Ethan had to marry Gwen; she was going to make sure of that. He had been named the Crane heir at long last and the Crane-Hotchkiss merger was the one thing that Julian and Alistair cared about. If he called off the wedding, Julian would more than likely be reinstated as the Crane heir. Ivy wasnít about to let that happen. Her charade of a life will have been wasted. She had sacrificed everything for her children. Just as she was about to unleash her fury, she heard a small voice begin to speak and she looked over at Theresa.

"Gwen, Mrs. Hotchkiss, Mrs. Crane, Iím sorry, but youíve got it all wrong. Ethan doesnít love me."

At hearing this, Ethan looked up into Theresaís eyes. This didnít escape Ivy.

Theresa continued, "I was a little upset when Ethan came in. When he asked me what was wrong, I started to cry. I was upset because I thought that because of the accident, I miss the wedding. I really want to be there. Ethan was trying to make me feel better so he took my hand and tried to console me. It helped and then he said, ĎDonít worry Theresa, youíll be as good as new when the wedding comes, I promise.í Thatís when he kissed me and when Gwen and Rebecca walked in. It was all completely innocent. After all whatís a kiss between friends?"

"Ethan, is that all this was," Rebecca inquired.

"Oh Mother, quit being so silly. Of course it was. How could we have ever doubted such a devoted man? He and Theresa would never do anything like that to me," Gwen reprimanded her mother.

Gwen may have been convinced, but Ivy had seen the look in Ethanís eyes. It infuriated her. This wedding had to take place! Then, she looked over at Theresa. Suddenly, she wasnít quite so angry anymore. She recognized the love and the pain in those large eyes that Theresa was trying to hide. After all, a similar lie had worked for her twenty years ago, why wouldnít it work for Theresa now. She shook off the small smile that was beginning to appear on her face.

"Well, since everythingís cleared up, why donít we let Theresa rest and go get some lunch," Gwen suggested.

"Thatís a wonderful idea. But you three go ahead, I want to talk to Theresa alone for a moment," Ivy replied.

Rebecca smiled deviously. Theresa was in for it now! There was no way Ivy Crane would let the housekeeperís daughter break up her sonís engagement.

"Mother, wonít you please join us," Ethan pleaded trying to save Theresa from a lecture he was sure would be fatal.

"Ethan I told you, I want to talk alone with Theresa. You and Gwen can visit her later."

Ethan knew better than to argue with his mother when she had that look in her eyes. Well, he would just have to work things out with Theresa later and apologize for everyoneís behavior.

After everyone had left, Ivy sat down next to a trembling Theresa. There was a moment of silence.

"Mrs. Crane, you really have nothing to worry about. Thereís nothing going on," Theresa rambled. "You can ask Ethan. I hope you donít fire me because of this. I love working for you and it means so much for my career."

"Theresa dear, please stop," Ivy laughed.

Theresa was extremely confused now. Just a couple of minutes ago, Mrs. Crane had been furious with her. Theresa had seen it in her eyes. Now that fury was replaced by kindness and warmth. She didnít understand what was going on at all, but she still expected the worst.

When Ivy saw that Theresa didnít understand, she sobered up, "Theresa, you donít have to hide it from me. I know."

Theresaís eyes grew as she gasped, "You know?"

"Itís written all over your face, my Dear. I have an unknown talent for being able to read people. And of course Ethan canít hide anything from me. Iím his mother, and I know everything about him, even if he doesnít tell me."

"Mrs. Crane, I do love Ethan. Itís not something I can control. I tried to fight it but,"

"Theresa, you donít have to explain to me. ĎI understand more than you know,í she added to herself. "And if we play our cards right, you could be calling me ĎMotherí before too long!"

Theresa smiled, "I would like that more than anything."

Ivy looked at the young girl in front of her that was so full of kindness and love for her son. Their situation so reminded of her of her own twenty years ago. She knew then that she was doing the right thing.

Ivy returned Theresaís warm smile, "So would I, dear, so would I."



Ivy walked down the corridor from Theresaís room and began digging through her handbag for her keys as she turned the corner when she bumped into someone.

"Oh excuse me, I wasnít thinking," Ivy said as she looked up. "Oh itís you, Eve."

"What are you doing here, Ivy? Looking for me so you can rub those pictures in my face? Well, you can just forget about it. Iím sick of all of this. I wonít betray my best friend anymore."

"You know, Eve, those were my thoughts exactly. Forget about the blackmail."

Eve was skeptical, "What do you mean? I donít believe you."

"Oh, Iíll keep the pictures, Eve. You can be sure of that. But for Julianís sake, not yours. Iím turning over a new leaf. Donít misjudge me, I still love Sam and I do want him back, but only if heíll come on his own. Iíll not ruin my childrenís futures all for myself."

"This is all just a little too suspicious, Ivy. Whatís going on? Youíre not telling me something. There has to be some reason because you and I both know that Sam will never leave Grace on his own."

"Well Eve, you werenít there and didnít see it, but Sam did love me once, and I think somewhere deep down, he still does. But thereís something else I want you to know as well. Grace really is a wonderful person and I have nothing against her. I am jealous of her because she has Sam, but I donít blame her. Sam and I had our love before she was even in the picture."

"Oh stop your manipulative behavior, Ivy!"

"Donít believe me if you donít want to, Eve, but you are going to hear what I have to say. I had a nice long talk with Grace today. She claimed I was kind, a good person, and that she felt blessed to have you and I as friends."

Eve felt shame takeover and color her face.

"That was the nicest thing anyone has said to me in years, literally. So, in the name of good sportsmanship, Iím calling it all off. You and I both know that neither of us is worthy of her friendship. Donít deny it. So, donít worry about helping me anymore. I have no desire to hurt Samís familyÖor Grace."

"What about Grace," a familiar male voice countered.

Ivy turned around to face Sam. "I was just telling Eve that I saw Grace earlier today at the shop and hoped that she and T.C. and you and Grace would join Julian and I at the mansion for dinner sometime. Isnít that right, Eve," Ivy covered.

Eve nodded in agreement, "Well, I really must be leaving. I was on my way to see a patient. Good-bye, SamÖIvy."

As Eve walked away, Ivy tried to retreat in the other direction, but she felt Samís strong hand grab her arm. "Donít lie to me, Ivy. Tell me whatís going on."

"Nothing, Sam. I did see Grace at the shop today and we had a nice long conversation."

"About what," Sam asked nervously. "So help me, Ivy if you hurt Grace,"

"Sam, I didnít tell her anything. I donít want to hurt Grace. Grace and your children are the innocence in this mess. I wouldnít do anything to harm them." Sam thought for a moment how odd it was that she looked so sincere as she spoke. "Just donít let them get caught in the crossfire of your anger."

Sam didnít believe what he was hearing. "What are you saying? I want to know whatís going on. This isnít like you. I know from experience that I canít trust you."

His last statement cut deep into the wounds that were already in Ivyís heart, but she wouldnít let him have the satisfaction of seeing her in pain. "Sam, I still love you. I always have and I always will. Julian has never meant anything to me. The only thing he has ever given me that means anything is our children. I am a mother after all, and I would never want to see my children hurt. The point is, Iíve been a fool chasing you the last year and Grace is a good woman. I wouldnít do anything to harm your familyÖor Grace."

Sam was angry and ready to fight, "Youíre damn right youíve been a fool."

"Well, at least we can agree on something. Good-bye, Sam."

Sam stood frozen to the floor as he watched Ivy walk down the corridor and enter the elevator. ĎWell, at least sheís out of my life. Iím better off,í Sam thought to himself as he stood there. But there was more, he just knew it. She was hiding something. Even after all these years he could see it in her eyes. Ivy had tried to hide it, but when she had turned to leave he had seen the pain and sincerity in her eyes. Sam just didnít know what pain and sincerity meant any more when it came to Ivy.

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