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The Price of Love
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The Price of Love
by AshleyTara

CHAPTER 17
Crane Mansion

Ivy sat down on the side of her bed with the cordless phone in her hand. She took a deep breath to calm herself down. Sam had just dropped her off at home. They had decided on the drive back to Harmony that it would be best for Ivy to stay in a hotel until things cooled down. Sam had come in with her and walked her upstairs. Luckily no one was home so it would be easy for her to get in and out. Sam had offered to stay and drive her to a hotel, but she had refused.

"No, you go to your family. Ill be fine. Besides, I want to bring my own car so I can drive places myself." Sam had been hesitant, but accepted it and left.

Now Ivy was calling Pilar to let her know she was back in town and doing okay.

"Hello?"

"Pilar, its Ivy."

"Mrs. Crane, are you doing alright," Pilar asked with concern.

"Im fine Pilar. Sam just dropped me off at the mansion. Im going to pack as much as I can now and then Im leaving to stay in a hotel. I think Ill call Ethan from there."

"That may be a good idea. I have a few errands to run for the mansion and then Ill be there to help you pack. I should be only about an hour or so."

"Thank you, Pilar. Id appreciate that. Im still kind of sore."

Ivy obviously wasnt going to offer any information and Pilar was determined to get to the bottom of what happened to her employer. "Is there anything youd like to talk about, Mrs. Crane," Pilar began cautiously.

"Actually, yes. I told Sam about Ethan."

"You what? Mrs. Crane, that was not a wise decision."

"Oh, Sam was angry at first, but when he actually listened to my story, he understood. Were on good terms now. We plan on telling Ethan sometime, were not sure when. For now, were just going to keep it between the two of us."

"That was a very risky thing to do, Mrs. Crane, but Im glad Sam understood."

"Me, too. Well, I need to change and get to my packing. Hurry over!"

"I will. Good-bye, Mrs. Crane. Its good to have you back."

"Its good to be back. Good-bye."



Theresa and Ethan had arrived at the mansion to find no one home. "Ethan, I dont know if we can keep this a secret now that Gwen knows about us."

"I know Theresa. I hate to exclude Mother from this, but now would be a good time to call Gwen. The mansion is empty and there wont be anyone to interrupt us."

"Do you think your mothers plan will still work," Theresa asked.

"Probably not without her here. She cant back us up. Well just have to tell her Mother approves. Hopefully Gwen will buy it since I know she wasnt able to call and tell Mother about us earlier."

"I hope so. Okay, Im ready, Ethan. Call Gwen over."



Ivy had first changed into one of her many suits, being careful to pick something with long sleeves and a higher neckline. Then she had plaited her hair and applied her make-up. Luckily the swelling had gone done and she had made up an explanation for her bruised eye. She still did her best to cover it though with concealer and continued to touch-up the few bruises her clothes did not cover.

She wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, so she had first packed a smaller bag with some clothes and her necessities. She was on her second bag now, but when Pilar arrived, she planned to leave and have Pilar send the rest of her bags over to the hotel when she was finished packing them. Ivy just didnt want to be there when Julian got back.

While she was folding a skirt, Ivy heard the front door open and what sounded like Gwens voice. I wonder why Gwen is here and who shes talking to. I was sure no one was home. She then left her room and went downstairs to find Ethan, Gwen, and Theresa all staring each other down. Ivy could tell there was something brewing. It looked like Theresa and Ethan had gotten themselves in deep and it was up to her to save them. 'No time like the present to put my plan into action,' she thought. They hadn't noticed her coming down the stairs, so she broke the silence, "Well I didn't know anyone was home."

Ethan's gaze shifted towards Ivy and his face lit up. "Mother, I'm so glad you're home," Ethan exclaimed as he ran over to his mother and embraced her. All the while he was thinking, 'Thank God she's home. Calling Gwen over when we thought she wasn't here would definitely have been a disaster.'

"It's good to see you too, Darling," Ivy bubbled. She nodded to Theresa, "I'm glad both you and Gwen are here, too. We have some wedding plans to discuss. Gwen, there are a few things I want you to decide on. After all, you are the bride and it is going to be your day!"

"I wouldn't be so sure of that, Ivy." Gwen continued to glare at Ethan.

"What? Ethan darling, what is she talking about," Ivy feigned innocence.

"My Mother was right," Gwen finally burst out. "Ethan has been going behind my back with that little Latina tramp. I caught them together in the park. Go ahead Ethan, tell your mother," Gwen began to smirk. "Break her heart."
Ivy turned to her son, "Ethan, is this true?" Ethan said nothing, not sure how to respond.

Ivy took this as a cue to turn to Theresa. She was much better at improvisation. Ivy knew that from experience. "Theresa? Tell me. WHAT is going on?"

"Mrs. Crane, I love your son. And he loves me. We're going to be happy together no matter what anyone does to keep us apart."

Ivy was pleased with the way this conversation was going. 'Good girl, Theresa,' Ivy thought to herself.

"Come now, Theresa, be reasonable. If you really love Ethan, you'll leave him so he can marry Gwen and be happy. The family will make it worth your while to stay away. You can have an apartment and living expenses for anywhere in the world, but stay away from my son."

Gwen was also pleased. She was getting her way now and her father would definitely be pleased that the merger was still on. 'No way is Ivy Crane going to let someone from the wrong side of the tracks mess up her precious son's life.'

"Mrs. Crane," Theresa began, "I'm insulted I love Ethan, and no amount of money can buy me off." Theresa was quite surprised to say the least when she felt Ivy's hand strike her face.

"How dare you," Ivy shouted. "You may think you can actually marry Ethan and extort him for the family money and leave him, but I won't let ANYONE hurt my son. Especially not a gold-digger like you."

Theresa was surprised and a little scared. If this was a scene for Gwen, then Ethan's mother should have been an actress. Theresa was deathly afraid that Mrs. Crane had changed her mind about Theresa and her son being together. Gwen was beaming happily from the background. Ethan finally stepped in, "Mother, I love you, but I WON'T have you talking to Theresa like that. I love her." Then he turned to Gwen, "I'm sorry Gwen, I didn't want to hurt you like this, but I have no choice. The wedding is off, I love Theresa."

Gwen was fuming. "Fine Ethan Crane. See if I care. This whole engagement was a fraud anyway. My father was making me marry you for the family merger. I was getting the money and power that came with the Crane name. I'm really glad I'm not marrying you. I see what you've been doing with Theresa behind my back, and you're just like Julian."

Gwen's little speech hit a nerve in Ivy and she couldn't control herself. She slapped Gwen as hard as she could. "Ethan is NOTHING like Julian. If anyone is happy that this union is being called off, it's me. It seems to me that you're the gold-digger in this situation. Now leave this house and don't ever come near my son again or there will be hell to pay."

Gwen was a trifle shocked, but recovered enough to slam the door on her way out. They had all watched her go, and then Ivy turned around and hugged a shaking Theresa. "I'm so sorry about that, Dear. I hope you didn't think I was serious about any of that. "

Theresa was so relieved that the whole scene was over that she just clung to Ivy. "I was a little scared at first that you had changed your mind about Ethan and me, but I know that we had to make everything believable."

"You're a smart girl," Ivy said pulling away to look at both Ethan and Theresa. "I think, Theresa, that you and I make a good team. Wouldn't you say so Ethan," she said smiling.

"I would I have to agree with you," Ethan replied. "I was at a lose for words, but it turns out that you and Theresa really didn't need me here to deal with Gwen." They all laughed and then Ethan changed the subject. "Mother, how was your trip? By the looks of your eye, you hit that wall harder than you thought."

"Yes, well, don't worry about me, I'm fine. I am however going to stay at the Harmony Hilton for now. When Julian and Alistair catch wind of you and Theresa and the fact that I'm supporting you now, this will no longer be a safe house. Not that it ever actually was. I would suggest that you do the same, Ethan."

"You're probably right, Mother. I'm going to spend the rest of the day with Theresa and then I'll come home and pack. Call me later to let me know that youre okay."

"Of course," Ivy hugged Ethan and then Theresa. "Have a good time today. You may not get another day like this for awhile."

"Alright, Mother," Ethan said as he shut Theresa door.

Ivy watched them drive away and then made her way upstairs to wait for Pilar. She wasn't due for another half an hour, so Ivy began packing again when she heard the screech of tires and the front door open. Assuming Pilar was early, Ivy called out, "Pilar? I'm upstairs. Would you come up here and help me?"

Ivy heard footsteps approaching her door and as she turned around, Julian entered her bedroom. Ivy gasped at the sight of him, walking around to the other side of her bed while looking for something to protect herself with.

"Well, it looks as though my better half is back and none the worse for wear. But it looks like I gave you quite a shiner," Julian laughed.

"Stay away from me," Ivy warned as she reached for the heavy marble clock on her nightstand.

"Oh relax my dear," Julian's voice was bitter. "I don't have time for that today. We have something very important to discuss. It involves Ethan." Julian patted the briefcase he was holding. "And I have to tell, Alistair was not pleased. No, not pleased at all. I know your secret."

Ivy's eyes grew. "Just what are you saying Julian?"

"I found the papers, darling. They're all here in the briefcase."

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Ivy lied.

"Don't lie to me." Julian had approached Ivy and he slapped her. She began to swing the clock towards him, but he grabbed her arm and twisted, causing her to drop the clock.

"You're nothing but a two-bit whore," he seethed.

Ivy writhed in pain as Julian continued to grip her arm, but she knew how to push his buttons, "Maybe so, but not until my father sold me to you, and at a pretty high price I might add."

That did it. Julian snapped. Ivy felt his fist sink into her gut. He swung his suitcase and it hit her in the side of the head, causing her to fall to the bed. Everything in front of her was blurry. She couldn't see to fight back. Then he grabbed her arm, throwing her to the floor. He continued to kick her for several minutes until she was obviously unconscious.
Julian stopped to catch his breath. "Well, that will teach her a lesson until Father comes up with a better punishment." With that, Julian stormed out of the house and back to his car to join Alistair.

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