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The Price of Love
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The Price of Love
by AshleyTara

CHAPTER 28
Hospital

"It all started over twenty years ago," Ivy began. "It was summer, and I spent that summer at the beach. I met the most incredible man there and we started dating. He was handsome, kind, gentle, caringÖhe asked me questions and actually listened with interest when I answered. We fell in love that summer and thought weíd be together forever, but before we knew it, everything changed. My father found out about us and arranged for him to have a job on a fishing boat. While my love was gone, my father intercepted all of our letters and phone calls. He had plans for me to marry Julian since it would benefit both families. I was young and naïve and Julian played a very convincing charming gentleman. It had been weeks since I had heard from the man I truly loved and I thought that he no longer cared for me. So when Julian proposed to me, I accepted. On my wedding day, the man I loved came back and ran to the mansion to find me, but he was too late. I had already married Julian and Pilar sent him away. That night I heard Julian talking to Alistair. Julian was complaining about having to marry me instead of some other woman he was in love with at the time. I was devastated. Of course I have never really loved Julian, but he had taken the time to woo me and I thought that he actually cared about me. I couldnít take the fact that my father had basically sold me, so I ran to the man I loved. We had one last lovely night together and in the morning I snuck into the mansion to get my things so we could run away, but my father caught me. He said if I didnít stay with Julian, he would destroy the man I loved. So, I stayed and convinced the man I truly loved that I felt I belonged with Julian. Then the man I loved ran away."

Theresa had tears in her eyes. "Thatís such a sad story. It kind of reminds me of the trouble Ethan and I have had. But luckily, we had a happy ending," she smiled at Ethan.

"Yes," Ethan remarked, "and it explains why you were so sympathetic towards Theresa and I, but what does that have to do with what happened to you recently?"

"Iím getting to that," Ivy started again. "Well, a little ways into my marriage, I found out I was pregnant with you, Ethan. Only, oh, this is the hard partÖjust give me a second," Ivy closed her eyes and took a deep breath before she continued. "The only thing was, I hadnít been with Julian." Ivy blushed and both Ethan and Theresa looked confused again. "I didnít love Julian, so I hadnít spent a night with him. I knew the father of my baby was the man I loved. I was ecstatic at first. I thought surely my father would let me go back to him now. But I was wrong. I was told that if Julian and Alistair found out or if I tried to run to the man I loved, that both my baby and my love would be destroyed. I couldnít let that happen, so I spent a night with Julian and everyone was convinced that you were his child."

The room was so silent that you could here the clock on the wall ticking. Ethan just stared at his mother. Ivy stared back and occasionally looked down. She knew Ethan so well, yet she could not read the expression on his face at that moment. "So youíre telling me that Father is not my father." Ivy nodded. "Does he know?"

"Well, up until a few days ago he didnít. Thatís why he attacked me. He went rummaging around in my room while I was gone and found your parentage papers. He confronted me about it and then tore into me. Ethan, I donít expect you to accept this or forgive me and I have no right to ask anything of you after all of this, but I do hope you wonít hate me forever." Ivy became livid, as her beloved son remained silent, staring at his hands.

Theresa, trying almost to act as a counselor, "But that still doesnít explain why you left the night before or the bruises you had." Then more gently, "Would you like to talk about it?"

"I Ė I donít know if I can, Theresa."

Sam had been quiet for a long time, but he finally spoke. "Would you like me to tell them for you?"

"Iíd really appreciate that, Sam." Ivy laid back against her pillows and closed her eyes in an attempt to pretend that everything that Sam was about relay was just a dream and not the harsh reality she had faced only a few days ago.

"Iíll try to make it short. Julian became drunk that day and had a spat with Ivy in the foyer. He slapped her and then proceeded to drag her up the stairs by her hair. When they got to her room, he locked to door and took advantage of her. When she woke up, she lunged at him but he held her back. Ivy managed to kick him, thus agitating him more. She was hit again and kicked once in the back and once in the head before she blacked out and Julian left. I came over to see Julian about police matters and met Pilar in the entry. When she turned on the lights we saw glass and blood all over the stairs and foyer. I followed Pilar upstairs and we found Ivy lying on the floor. We thought she was dead, but then she woke for a moment and objected to being taken to the hospital because of the publicity. So, I took her to a small town hospital and checked her into a motel for the night. Then we came back in the morning."

Now Ethan did speak, "Iíll kill him! How dare he!" He stopped when he saw the surprised look on his motherís face. "Mother, Iím a little surprised to say the least, but I could never hate you. No matter what you may have done, you were always there for me and I knew you loved me. Iím just confused right now." Then his mood brightened, "At least now I wonít have to worry about being pressured to marry Gwen by the family."

"Oh, but you do have to worry, Ethan," Ivy told her son. "Theyíve lost their merger yes, but theyíre also embarrassed and angry. Theyíre going to come back for revenge on me, on you, on Theresa, on anyone that may have been involved. Thatís why you and Theresa have to leave. Leave now, tonight. Get married as soon as possible before anything happens to stop you."

Ethan looked at Theresa and she smiled. "I have no objections to becoming Mrs. Ethan Crane tonight!"

Ethan looked back at his mother when he heard Theresa say ĎCrane.í "Mother, you know Iíll go to the ends of the earth to protect you and Theresa, but I need to know, whatís my name? Whoís my father?"

Ivy looked down and then back up at her son and whispered, "Sam Bennet." Sam put a hand on her shoulder. He felt his pride swell as Ivy had finally admitted the truth out loud.

"Chief Ben-, I mean, SamÖis it all right if I just call you Sam for now," Ethan asked. Sam quickly agreed with his son. "How do you feel about all of this?"

"I was just as shocked as you were," Sam replied. "I even let my temper get the better of me, but only for a minute. How could I be angry about having such a wonderful young man as a son?"

What happened next surprised everyone. Ethan got up from his chair, walked over to Sam and embraced him. "And I couldnít think of anyone better to have as a father."

"Thanks son."

Ivy fairly beamed with happiness as they hugged and Theresa came over to hold her hand.

Ethan continued as he pulled away, "Youíve been so supportive for me through all of this, despite all of your own Ė"

Sam cut him off, not wanting to let Ivy know about Grace just yet. He wasnít quite sure what her reaction would be. "Donít thank me, Ethan. It was the right thing to do."

Pilar walked in on the happy scene looking grim until she saw that Ivy was awake. "Oh Mrs. Crane, thank God youíve woken up," Pilar ran over and hugged her as Ivy did the same.

At the same time Ivy whispered to Pilar, "Weíve told him Pilar."

Pilar smiled at Mrs. Crane. "Iím so glad you were all able to get through everything tonight," she told them all. "But Iím afraid I bare some not so pleasant news."

"What is it, Mama," Theresa inquired.

Pilar began to pull a thick envelope out of her purse. "Mr. Crane gave me my walking papers today and this as well." She handed the envelope to Ivy.

Ivy looked at her curiously and then opened the envelope. After Pilarís announcement, everyone was quite surprised to see a smile spread across Ivyís face. "Someone get me a pen," she said with excitement. Pilar obliged by pulling one out of her purse. Ivy quickly and furiously began flipping through the pages, signing several on the way. When she was done, she smiled triumphantly and announced, "I am no longer Mrs. Julian Crane. Iím now Ivy Winthrop again and free from the prison of Crane!"

"Mother, were those divorce papers?"

"Yes; Iím being divorced on the grounds of lying about your paternity and not producing a male Crane heir. Iíve never felt so free."

"Not to sound disrespectful Mother, but how are you going to survive? Knowing them the way I do, Iím sure my ex father and grandfather will cut you off without a cent as punishment for their embarrassment."

Ivy smirked at her son. "Ethan, you give me no credit at all. Iím more intelligent than you think. I have a B.A. in both English and Fashion Design. Iíll get along just fine. Besides, what Julian and Alistair donít know is that I inherited quite a legacy from my father after he and my mother passed away. Iíve kept it hidden very well and invested some of it wisely."

Ethan smiled back at his mother. "I guess for once in my life I underestimated you."

Sam brought them back, "I have a question. When are you going to press charges on Julian?"

"Oh Sam, whatís the use," Ivy replied with a little sarcasm. "Iíve gotten rid of Julian and he thinks heís gotten revenge on me by cutting off of the money, not that money ever really meant that much to me anyway. It was just a consolation for the life I had to lead. Anyway, even if I did pursue it, Alistair would just find some way to get him out of it."

Sam was a little disappointed. "Yeah, I guess thatís true."

Ivy was feeling much better suddenly and becoming somewhat giddy. "Come on everyone, letís just be happy Iím rid of Julian and that Ethan and Theresa have found each other." And for the night, thatís what they all decided to do.

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