Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald sat on the front steps of Sheridan
Craneís cottage. He wasnít ready to go inside and face her just yet. He still needed to work some things out in
his mind. He needed a clear plan of action before he began his assignment as Sheridanís round-the-clock bodyguard.
Luis thought back to the conversation he had had earlier that evening with his boss and friend, Sam Bennett. Sam
hadnít pulled any punches with Luis about this assignment, nor about Sheridan.
"Luis, this assignment from the FBI is very important to your career. If you do a good job working with them
and protecting Sheridan, itís likely that the promotion to detective that youíve been working so hard for will
finally be a done deal."
"I know that Sam." Luis stated flatly.
"Luis, look, I know you arenít going to like hearing this, but I have to say it. From everything that Iíve
seen, and heard, youíre in love with Sheridan." Luis started to interrupt with his usual denial of feelings
for Sheridan, but Sam wouldnít let him. "Let me finish Luis, this is important."
Luis was annoyed and he said with a reluctant huff, "ok, Sam."
"Luis, you keep trying to deny it, but I believe youíre in love with Sheridan. And whatís more, I believe
sheís in love with you, too."
"Sam, you know thatís crazy. Sheridan hates me. She is constantly telling me that she doesnít want me in her
Sam raised his voice, "Luis, stop interrupting me! You need to hear some straight talk before you begin this
assignment. So keep your trap shut until Iím finished. Am I making myself clear, Officer?"
"Crystal clear, chief."
"From the top. This assignment is important to your career. Itís important to you personally because youíre
in love with the woman youíve been assigned to protect. Weíve all seen the lengths youíll go to in order to keep
Sheridan safe. But, as weíve all seen, and heard, your relationship with Sheridan isnít very good right now. Iím
afraid that your personal feelings, or hers, will get in the way of your assignment. Your job is to protect Sheridan.
In order to protect her properly, youíre going to need her to cooperate with you, not argue with you. Luis, with
professional hit men trying to kill her, thereís going to come a time when you need her to do what you tell her
without her questioning your decisions. Her life and yours may depend on her cooperating with you."
"But Sam, sheís so stubborn and pigheaded and she twists everything I say. I donít know what I can do to get
her to listen to me. Even when it is for her own good, for her own protection, she still argues with me. The woman
"That is my point Luis. If youíre going to properly protect Sheridan, you need to find a way to change your
relationship with her. She is angry with you, for whatever reason, and sheís not going to change just because it
would be in her best interest to do so. YOU are going to have to change. Youíre going to have to change your behavior,
what you say to her and how you speak to her. Figure out something. If you change, I have a strong hunch that Sheridan
will change too. She may not trust you with her heart, but Iíd bet my badge that she completely trusts you with
her life. So find a way, Luis. Find a way to put your personal feelings about Sheridan aside and focus on making
sure that she is safe. Itís the only way to keep her, and yourself, alive."
Luis remained on the cottage steps mulling over what Sam had said. Alone with his thoughts, Luis could admit to
himself that he had feelings for Sheridan. He wasnít sure what those feelings were, but he was keenly aware that
Sheridan had gotten under his skin. Luis knew that Sam was right. He had to put his personal feelings aside. He
had to change things between himself and Sheridan.
Luis had been thinking about a plan of action ever since he had spoken with Sam. He had considered and rejected
Finally, sitting on the cottage steps, Luis felt that he had come up with the perfect plan. Luis decided that heíd
Ďkill Sheridan with kindnessí. She was always complaining that he ordered her around, so he decided that heíd ask
her to do things. He would change his tone of voice and his body language when he talked to her. Most importantly,
he would refuse to let her bait him into an argument. He would never get angry with her, no matter how she tried
to rile him. Heíd overwhelm her with his meticulous concerns for her safety. Everything he did and said would be
done in the name of protecting her. Luis was determined to find a way to convince Sheridan to trust him and to
cooperate with him in his efforts to keep her alive.
With many of the little details of his plan taking shape in his mind, Luis walked up the steps and knocked on the
door to the cottage. Luis identified himself and the agent on duty let him in.
Luis greeted Sheridan with a professional tone, "hello Sheridan."
Sheridan looked up at him from her seat on the couch and quickly looked away. Her face was scowling as she practically
spat his name, "Luis."
Luis took a deep breath and thought to himself, Ďthis
isnít going to be easy, but it will be worth it. I canít let her get to me. I have to follow my plan.í
Luis and the agent moved toward the door. They spoke in whispers and the agent briefed Luis on the situation, including
the fact that Luisí clothes and other personal effects had been delivered and placed in the spare bedroom. Then,
the agent left Sheridan and Luis alone in the cottage to begin their time together, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Luis made certain that the front door was locked. Next, he proceeded to check each of the cottage doors and to
make certain all the windows were shut and locked. Sheridan sat on the couch trying to concentrate on the book
she was reading. She couldnít concentrate because she was so angry about Luis invading her home and her life. Her
blood was boiling at the thought that Luis would be trying to control her life and that heíd be living in her house
while he tried to run her life.
When Luis returned to living room after completing his security check, Sheridan tried to ignore him. She couldnít
ignore him. His presence unnerved her. Being alone with Luis brought up all kinds of emotions in her, emotions
that she wasnít prepared to acknowledge, let alone deal with. Frustrated with herself, Sheridan announced she was
going to bed.
Luis didnít even look at her when he said, "please leave the door unlocked."
Sheridan went ballistic, "What do mean by that? I donít even want you in my home and now you are talking about
coming into my bedroom! I will not leave my bedroom door unlocked!"
Luis expected that this would be her reaction. He also was determined to follow his plan. So, he sat calmly and
let Sheridan continue yell at him.
"You arenít going to tell me what I can and canít do! Especially in my own home! Iím not only going to lock
the door, Iím going to put a big piece of furniture in front of it to keep you out!"
While Sheridan was yelling, Luis made a conscious choice not to respond in kind to her barbs or her accusations.
He forced himself to remain calm. He refused to get angry. He wouldnít let her draw him into one of their usual
arguments. He thought to himself, Ďkill her with
kindness and concern for her safety.í
Luis looked at Sheridan with genuine concern on his face. His tone of voice was calm and caring. "I just meant
that I wanted to be able to get to you in case anything bad happened. I just want to keep you safe and alive."
Sheridan ignored him and continued her rant. "I canít believe what a control freak you are! This is my home
and this is still Crane property! Youíre not going to dictate to me anything about my home and especially my bedroom!"
Luis was struggling with his temper, but he managed to stay calm. "Iím just concerned about your safety, Sheridan.
leave the door unlocked." He tried to emphasize the word please, without it being obvious to her that he was
Sheridan was confused by the change in Luisí demeanor. When it became clear that Luis had nothing more to say to
her, she turned away from him and stomped into her bedroom. She slammed the door shut. She stood inside her bedroom,
contemplating whether or not to lock the door. She was still very angry with Luis. Locking the door when he specifically
asked her not to would show him who was in charge. Sheridan refused to let Luis control her life. But when she
calmed down enough to think clearly about what Luis had said, she realized that he had ASKED her to leave the door
unlocked, he hadnít told her to, or ordered her to, and he had actually used the word please.
Luis kept listening for the sound of Sheridanís bedroom door being locked, but when he didnít hear it, he knew
that she had left the door unlocked. This simple gesture of Sheridan leaving the door unlocked when he asked her
to was enough to convince Luis that his plan was going to succeed. Luisí only concern was whether he could be strong
enough to carry it out.
Shortly after midnight, Luis put an aspect of his plan into motion. Luis opened the door to Sheridanís bedroom
and went inside. He purposely made just enough noise to wake her up. She screamed when she saw his silhouette near
"Sheridan, itís okay. Itís me." Luis said in a reassuring tone.
Once Sheridan realized she wasnít in danger, she started in on him. "What are you doing in my bedroom Luis?"
She yelled at him. "I knew I should have locked the damn door! Just get out! Get out! Now! Get out of my bedroom
Her reaction was exactly what Luis had anticipated. He ignored her and proceeded to double-check the windows to
be certain they were locked.
Sheridan continued her harangue. "Didnít you hear me? What part of GET OUT donít you understand?! I mean it
Luis; you have no right to be in here! Get out NOW!"
When she paused for breath, Luis calmly and factually said, "Iím just following standard FBI procedure. Iím
supposed to conduct a thorough security check of all windows and doors every few hours." Luis was glad that
it was dark because if Sheridan had been able to see his face she would have known he was lying. Luis knew there
was no such FBI procedure, but he hoped that Sheridan wouldnít question it. Luis felt guilty lying to Sheridan,
but he rationalized that it was ultimately for her own good.
After Luisí explanation, Sheridan calmed down a little, but she was still angry. "So why didnít you tell me
about this procedure earlier? You scared me to death coming in here and waking me up. And why are you in here anyway?"
Luis gathered his thoughts. He reminded himself of his plan to treat Sheridan only with kindness and concern for
her safety. Luis spoke with sincerity in his voice, "I apologize for waking you up and for scaring you. Sheridan,
Iím really very sorry. I didnít mean to disturb you. I was just following procedure because Iím concerned about
keeping you safe and alive. And, youíre right; I should have told you that Iíd be coming in here during the night
to check the windows. Sheridan, I apologize for that too."
Sheridan didnít know how to react to Luisís apology. He had thrown her off balance. Still, she managed to put some
venom in her voice when she said, "Okay, youíve checked the windows, now I still want you to get out of my
When Luis reached the bedroom door, he quietly said, "Iím sorry and Iíll try not to wake you next time."
Then, he quickly shut the door before she could say anything else.
Luis remained right outside Sheridanís door. Again, he was listening to see if she came and locked the door. She
did. Luis waited. A few minutes later, he heard Sheridan unlock the door.
Luis decided to get a little sleep on the couch before he woke Sheridan again. He was glad that he was one of those
people who could grab a little sleep at any time in any place. He was going to need his sleep if he was going to
keep his wits and not fall into the trap of arguing with Sheridan.
Part of his plan included making sure that Sheridan didnít get a good nightís sleep. He knew that the disruption
of her sleeping habits should lead to her being too tired to fight and an eventual improvement in her disposition.
Luis made certain that he woke Sheridan up each time he entered her bedroom. She didnít speak to him, but he could
tell that he had woken her up. He made his visits to her room seem entirely professional. As soon as he was sure
she was awake, heíd check the windows. Then, he would quietly leave, gently shutting the door behind him each time.
Luis was pleased that Sheridan never got up and locked the door.
Luis answered the door to the cottage. One of the Crane
family servants entered holding a tray. Just then, Sheridan emerged from her room. "Oh good. Breakfast is
here. You can just put the tray on the kitchen table."
Luis watched the servant take the tray into the kitchen and return to living room. The woman looked at Sheridan
and asked, "will there be anything else, Miss Crane?"
Sheridan smiled and said politely, "No thatís all. Thank you for bringing the tray down. Oh and thank cook
for me, please."
Luis locked the front door after the servant left. Sheridan went into the kitchen leaving Luis standing by the
Luis couldnít believe the golden opportunity that Sheridan had just dropped into his lap. He hadnít thought about
food when he came up with his plan. But now, this was just too good to pass up. He quickly decided what to do and
steeled himself for Sheridanís reaction.
Luis walked into the kitchen. Sheridan was just getting ready to put a forkful of food in her mouth when Luis shouted
in an alarmed voice, "Sheridan! No! Donít!"
Before Sheridan could react, Luis grabbed the tray of food and threw it in the trash. Next, he grabbed the fork
out of her hand and rinsed the food down the garbage disposal.
Sheridan was livid. "What do you think youíre doing? Are you totally crazy? That was my breakfast! You had
no right to throw it away!"
Luis bit his tongue. He wanted desperately to respond to her as he usually did. Arguing with Sheridan had become
as normal and natural to him as breathing. But, he kept telling himself that he couldnít argue with her now. He
needed to stick to his plan.
Sheridan continued yelling, "I donít have to put with that kind of macho controlling behavior in my own home!
How dare you!"
Luis waited while Sheridan kept yelling. When she finally stopped screaming at him and she got up to storm out
of the kitchen, Luis spoke. He was very careful to keep any anger or hostility out of his voice when he said simply,
"Sheridan, please, let me explain."
Sheridan ignored him and stomped out the kitchen door. She stopped a few steps later. There was that word again.
Luis had said "please." Somehow, his use of that simple word had gotten to her.
She stomped back into the kitchen. She glared at him while she stood with her hands on her hips. "Okay Luis,
explain to me why you trashed my perfectly good breakfast."
Luis said to her, "I only did that because Iím concerned about your safety and keeping you alive."
Sheridan sarcastically responded, "so you threw out my food. Well that makes perfect sense Luis."
Luis was having trouble not arguing with her, but he knew he couldnít let himself. He took a deep breath and said,
"Sheridan, I was afraid that the food might have been poisoned, like the wine was in Paris."
"Luis, thatís ridiculous! That breakfast was prepared by the Crane family cook. Sheís been making meals for
me, for the whole family for years and no one has been poisoned."
"Sheridan, I really am concerned about your safety. I hadnít seen where the food was kept. I wasnít there
when it was cooked. I didnít see who had access to it before it got to you. I was truly afraid that you could have
been poisoned." Luis knew he was really reaching to explain his actions and he was praying that Sheridan would
be so upset that she wouldnít spend much time questioning the logic of his explanation.
Luis was in luck. Sheridan was too angry to think straight. "So what am I supposed to do for breakfast now,
supercop? You threw away a perfectly good meal. What am I supposed to eat?"
Luis couldnít believe how well this was going. Here was another opportunity to kill her with kindness. "Iíll
cook you breakfast, Sheridan."
Sheridan was so surprised that she started to laugh, "youíll what?"
Luis knew he had her right where he wanted her. "Iíll make you breakfast. In fact, from now on Iíll make all
of your meals."
"Oh no you wonít! You wonít do any such thing! You? Cook? Hah! Iím not eating canned soup or frozen TV dinners,
Luis had to turn away from her to prevent himself from reacting to her assumption about his inability to cook.
He regained his calm demeanor and turned back to face her. "Sheridan, itís the perfect solution. If I cook
all of your meals, I wonít have to worry about them being poisoned. This will work, if youíll let it. I can have
one of the agents go to the store and buy supplies. The meals might not be fancy, but they will be good and I promise
you theyíll be more than edible. Iím really am just concerned about keeping you safe and alive."
Sheridan was calming down. She was mulling over the situation in her mind. She was beginning to like the idea of
Luis slaving to cook meals for her. She pictured Luis in a frilly apron while she ordered him around. Yeah, Sheridan
liked that picture.
Sheridan decided that she wasnít going to make it easy for Luis. "Iíll consider your idea Luis. But I want
a test meal first. I want to make sure that your alleged cooking skills arenít going to kill me before the drug
cartel can. Iím going to take a shower now. Have my breakfast ready in half an hour."
Luis made breakfast and Sheridan was surprised to discover that he was a pretty good cook. She reluctantly agreed
to go along with Luisí decision to cook all their meals.
They spent the rest of the day together in the cottage.
Their physical proximity was difficult for both of them to deal with. Even when they had been fighting and arguing,
the physical attraction was still palpably present between them. Luis was actually glad when he could go into the
kitchen to cook lunch and dinner, as it gave him some time away from Sheridan. The time away from her allowed Luis
to focus on his plan and to fortify his resolve to carry the plan out.
Sheridan couldnít believe that Luis not only did all the cooking, but he did all the clean up afterwards too. Her
kitchen had never been cleaner. She didnít know it was all part of his plan to kill her with kindness.
When Sheridan announced she was going to bed, Luis again
asked her to leave her bedroom door unlocked. She glared at him, but she didn't say anything.
Sheridan was having trouble falling asleep. The past 24 hours had been very confusing to her. She was having trouble
figuring out Luisí behavior. He had apologized to her, offered to cook all her meals, hadnít raised his voice even
once, refused to fight with her, hadnít insulted her or called her a spoiled child. She was trying to figure him
out and all she could come up with was that he was being, just, well, he was being different. He just kept saying
that he wanted to protect her, to keep her safe and alive and he seemed so sincere about that. And the most amazing
thing to Sheridan was that Luis had said please more than once.
Luis was sitting on the couch thinking about Sheridan and his relationship with her. He was at a complete and utter
loss to figure out how their relationship had deteriorated so far. He didnít know how they had gotten to the point
where they couldnít have a conversation of more than 3 sentences without one of them insulting the other, starting
an argument or hurling an angry barb.
Luis reviewed the past 24 hours in his mind. They had spent the day with minimal conversation, only speaking to
each other when it was absolutely necessary. Meals had been eaten quickly and in silence. Life in the cottage was
tense, but Luis was pleased when he looked back over the day and realized that Sheridan hadnít lost her temper
since the morning incident with the food. As he assessed the current situation, Luis began to feel empowered. He
had a plan and he was making it work.
Luis made certain that he went into Sheridanís room at different times than he had the previous night. He didnít
want to establish a regular pattern for his "security checks" in Sheridanís room.
Sheridan pretended to be asleep each time that Luis came into her bedroom that night. However, after she caught
a quick sight of his physique (he was shirtless and clad only in a pair of shorts), she had even more difficulty
falling asleep. When she did manage to finally fall asleep, Sheridan began having erotic dreams about Luis coming
into her bedroom and doing more than just checking her windows.