When Sheridan woke up Tuesday morning, she was not feeling
very well rested. She was tired after her second straight night of interrupted sleep. While Sheridan and Luis were
eating breakfast, there was a knock on the door.
Luis left the kitchen and went to the door. He asked who it was and the voice came back, "itís Sam. Luis we
need to talk about a few things."
Sheridan had made her way to the kitchen door and was listening. Luis opened the front door to the cottage and
when Sam saw Sheridanís head pop out of the doorway to the kitchen, Sam said, "Luis, I think we should talk
Luis turned around and saw Sheridan standing behind him. He looked at her and could tell she had heard what Sam
had said. Luis smiled at Sheridan and said to her, "Iíll be right outside the front door, Sheridan."
He turned away from her and said, "letís go Sam."
Sam could see the look on Sheridanís face. He flinched a little as he could see that she was going to go off.
Sheridan started yelling, "Damn it Luis! Stop treating me like a child. You say that like Iím going to escape
out the back window or something. Iím not going to try anything. You donít have to make a point of telling me that
I canít get away because youíll be right outside and youíll catch me. You are such a control freak. I canít believe
the lengths youíll go to humiliate me!"
Sam looked at Luis. He kept waiting for Luis to respond. Heíd seen them argue so many times. He was waiting for
Luisí comebacks. Luis kept his back turned to Sheridan as he looked at Sam. Sam could read Luis lips as he silently
mouthed Ė I treat you like a child because you behave
like one. But Luis said nothing aloud in response
to Sheridanís latest tirade.
Sam shot Luis a look of confusion. Luis gave him a knowing look and mouthed, "watch this."
Luis turned around to face Sheridan and calmly said, "I just wanted to let you know where Iíd be in case you
needed me for anything." He turned back to Sam and said, "letís go outside and talk." They left
Sheridan standing in the living room sputtering.
Sam and Luis sat down on the cottage steps. "So whatís up, Sam? What did you need to talk to me about?"
"Not so fast, Luis. First I want to know what that was all about. What is going on with you and Sheridan?"
Luis explained, "I thought about what you said to me the other night Sam. You know, that the most important
thing is making sure that Sheridan is properly protected and that she stays safe and alive. I realized that you
were right when you said that I wouldnít be able to protect her, if she wonít trust me. So, I came up with a plan
to get her to trust me. What you saw in there was simply the execution of part of my plan."
"Well, I hope this is a fast acting plan, Luis, because youíre not going to have much time to make it work."
"Why? Whatís going on?" Luis asked.
"The FBI is working on a plan, call it a sting if you will, to catch the guys who are after Sheridan. They
think it will take less than a week to get everything in place."
Luis sighed, "less than a week."
Sam continued, "I hope your plan works Luis, because youíll need to have a cooperative Sheridan when this
thing goes down."
"Donít worry about it Sam. My plan will work and weíll be ready when we need to be." Luis said confidently.
"Come over to the car. The FBI gave me some things to give you."
Sam gave Luis two boxes. "The bigger box has a bulletproof vest for Sheridan. You are supposed to make sure
that she has it on when the sting goes down or any other time that you let her leave the cottage. This other box
has all the communication equipment that youíll need."
"Okay. I got it," Luis said as he took the boxes from Sam.
"Luis, the FBIís plan is still in the works. So, I donít have any details to give you yet. But they have assured
me that we will both get a full briefing before anything actually goes down."
"Thanks Sam," Luis said as he started up the steps to the cottage.
Sam quickly got into the car and started the engine. Before he pulled away, Sam rolled down the car window and
shouted, "Luis. I almost forgot. Thereís one more thing Iím supposed to tell you." Luis walked over to
the car window. "The FBI wanted me to tell you your code names. You should use them during all official communications
for the rest of this assignment." Sam had to look away from Luis to keep from laughing out loud. "Sheridanís
code name is Princess, the cottage is The Castle and your code name is (Sam started to laugh so hard he could barely
say) Frog." Sam burned rubber making a quick getaway.
Luis and Sheridan continued their individual struggles
with their ongoing close proximity in the cramped quarters of her cottage. They managed to make it through their
second day together without another blow up by Sheridan.
In between his visits to Sheridanís bedroom, Luis reflected
on the current status of his plan. For the second day in a row, Sheridan had lost her temper only once. They had
spent another day in relative silence. They werenít talking, but they werenít fighting either. Luis felt that the
lack of fighting was setting the tone for a changed relationship with Sheridan. Luis was now totally convinced
that he had made the right decision with his choice of plan and was ecstatic that his plan seemed to be working.
Sheridan spent another restless night. By this night, the third night of Luis coming into her bedroom several times
each night, she didnít need to hear him. Sheridan could sense him. She could feel his presence when he was there.
The way his presence made her feel was distressing to her as it seemed to affect her dreams. When she could fall
asleep, her dreams about Luis were becoming more and more sexually stimulating.
When she woke up Wednesday morning, Sheridan was feeling
the effects of her third night without restful sleep. Luis could see it on her face and in her somewhat sluggish
After lunch, Luis was stretched out on the couch reading
a book. His eyes were tired so he decided to close them for a few minutes.
Sheridan saw Luis lying down with his eyes closed and she figured that he was asleep. This was the opportunity
that Sheridan had been waiting for. She tiptoed past the couch and as quietly as she could, she reached for the
front door knob. As she started to turn the knob, she froze when she heard Luisí voice saying her name.
Since he hadnít been asleep, Luis had heard Sheridan and immediately realized that she was trying to sneak outside.
He purposely waited until she had gotten to the door before he spoke. Luis was careful when he said her name. His
tone of voice wasnít angry or accusatory. When he said her name, it sounded like a question, "Sheridan?"
When Sheridan turned to look at him, Luis could see the guilt written all over her face, "I thought you were
asleep," was all Sheridan could say when she realized that he had caught her.
In the past, as recently as three days before, Luis would have responded to her with a curt word like "obviously"
or he would have taunted her about catching her behaving like a child trying to sneak out of the house. His response
would have triggered one of their usual arguments. But, Luis did not respond to her with a zinger or an accusation,
not this time. This time he just looked at her with a quizzical look on his face and waited for her to try to explain
"Okay, you caught me." Sheridan admitted. "I was going outside to get some air. I need to get out
of here! I feel like a prisoner in my own home. Luis, it feels like the walls are closing in on me. I wasnít going
to go far, I was just going to walk around the grounds."
Luis noticed that for the first time since he moved into the cottage, Sheridan was having a confrontation with
him, but she wasnít yelling at him. She was clearly upset, but she hadnít raised her voice.
Sheridan continued, "I canít stand being cooped up all the time. I need some fresh air and you wonít even
let me open a window."
Luis couldnít believe that Sheridan had presented him with another unexpected opportunity that would fit so well
and so perfectly into his overall plan. He was certain that he was going to be able to make some real headway with
this one. Luis looked at her with an expressionless face and calmly said to her, "Letís talk about this Sheridan."
Sheridan threw up her hands in an exasperated gesture. "Whatís the point? Youíre just going to lecture me
about my trying to sneak out, so what is there to talk about?" Sheridan turned and started walking back to
Luis let her get most of the way to her room before he spoke, "I think we may be able to work something out.
Sheridan, come sit down and talk with me about it."
Sheridan stopped. He had used that word again. Luis had said please and he had asked her to come talk with him.
He didnít tell her to come. He had asked her to come. And he had said they could work something out.
Sheridan was very confused. She was unsure whether to continue to her room or to go and talk to Luis. But she was
desperate for a chance to get out of the cottage, to put some space between them, so she sat down in the chair
at the end of the couch. Sheridan sat quietly, refusing to look at Luis while she waited for him to lecture her
about her childish behavior.
Every instinct that Luis had was telling him that he had come to a crucial point in his plan to get Sheridan to
trust him to save her life. He knew that this conversation with Sheridan could potentially make or break the entire
plan. Because of this, Luis took his time and gathered his thoughts. He chose his words very carefully before he
began speaking to Sheridan.
"Iím sorry, Sheridan." Luis began. Sheridanís eyes widened in surprise. This was not the start of the
scathing lecture that she was expecting. "I had no idea that you felt like a prisoner or that you apparently
see me as your jailer." Sheridanís jaw dropped a little as she stared at Luis. "Iím here as your bodyguard.
Iím here to keep you safe, not to make your life miserable."
Luis made eye contact with Sheridan and held her gaze as he continued to speak, "All Iím trying to do is protect
you. And protecting you would be a lot easier for me, for both us of us, if youíd agree to work with me instead
of fighting me. Sheridan, you and I working together, weíd make a great team, if only you were willing to help
me keep you safe."
Sheridan was too stunned to say anything. When she had reluctantly sat down in the chair, she had been expecting
to be on the receiving end of a dressing down from Luis. She was expecting him to try to assert further control
over her life. She wasnít expecting another apology from Luis, let alone an offer of compromise.
Luis took advantage of her silence to continue to drive home his point. "Sheridan, the next time that something
is bothering you, rather than trying to sneak around behind my back, please just come and tell me about it. Iíll
listen to your concerns and do everything I can so that we can find a workable solution to whatever is troubling
Sheridan couldnít look at Luis any longer. He was being so understanding and patient about her trying to sneak
out of the cottage behind his back that Sheridan was ashamed of her behavior. She remained silent and hoped he
didnít notice the flush of embarrassment that was turning her cheeks red.
Luis had more to say. "If you want to get out of the cottage and walk the grounds of the estate, I think that
we can work something out to make that happen." Sheridan looked up briefly with a small smile and a glimmer
of hope in her eyes. "But, your safety has to be the main priority. So, I hope you understand that there will
be some conditions that you will have to agree to before we can work this all out."
"Such as?" Sheridan asked with a mixture of suspicion and trepidation.
"Such as, you canít go alone. Youíll need to have 2 agents go with you as bodyguards. Iíll ask them to give
you some room, but youíll need to stay fairly close to them and never let yourself get out of their sight."
"What else?" Sheridan asked.
"You canít leave on the spur of the moment. I will need at least 30 minutes notice in order to make the arrangements
to get the agents here to accompany you."
"Youíre not going to insist on coming yourself?" Sheridan asked with genuine surprise.
Luis tried not to laugh, but he couldnít suppress a smile. "No, Iím not going to insist on coming on your
walks. Iím sure youíll be adequately protected by the FBI agents. Besides, Iím only guessing, but I suspect that
youíll be happy to have some time away from me. We are sort of on top of each other in here."
"So far, I can live with these conditions, so what else is there?"
"You canít go out at the same time each day and you need to vary the route that you take around the grounds.
We canít give the guys who are after you a predictable target. There canít be a regular time or place where they
can expect to find you."
"Is there more?"
"Yes. The final conditions are that you have to promise me that you wonít try to leave the grounds of the
estate and you wonít try to ditch the agents who are guarding you." Luis waited until she looked up. He locked
his eyes onto hers so she couldnít look away when he said sincerely, "Iíll believe you, if you give me your
word on that Sheridan."
Sheridan stood up and walked to her room. She stopped outside the door and without looking at Luis said, "Iíll
think about it and Iíll let you know what I decide."
Luis watched as her door closed. He wasnít quite sure what he was feeling as he watched her struggling to hold
on to her stubborn need to be in control of every situation.
Sheridan sat in her room trying to clear the confusion from her mind. She was searching to find something to make
her feel like she was still in control of her life. She replayed the conversation she had just had with Luis several
times. She had been expecting Luis to turn the situation to his advantage. She had been prepared to listen to a
lecture and to have Luis insist that he take more control over her life. But, Luis had surprised her. The whole
conversation with Luis had thrown her completely off balance and Sheridan felt like her life was staring to spin
out of her control.
When Sheridan thought about the conditions that Luis had proposed for her walks, she realized that none of them
were unreasonable. He had explained each condition and why it was important to her protection. She hated not being
able to move about freely on her own familyís property, but Luis had made a clear case for putting her safety first.
Sheridan opened the door and informed Luis that sheíd agree to his conditions and that sheíd like to go for a walk
as soon as he could get the agents there to go with her. Sheridan went back into her room to put on some walking
Luis made the call requesting 2 agents to accompany Sheridan on her walk. Sheridan came out of her room with a
bounce in her step. Luis told her that she could leave on her walk as soon as the agents arrived.
"Sheridan, thereís one more thing that I forgot to mention earlier."
"Whatís that, Luis?"
"You canít wear those clothes on your walk." Luis waited for the explosion that he knew was coming and
Sheridan didnít disappoint him.
"What?!" Sheridan yelled. "Now youíre going to tell me what I can and canít wear? Talk about a control
freak. Officer Luis Lopez-Blackwell. Now youíre a fashion critic."
Luis was struggling not to laugh at her latest temper tantrum.
"I canít believe your arrogance. Or is it your ignorance? Thereís nothing wrong with what Iím wearing."
Luis decided it was time to stop this particular tantrum. He didnít want the arriving agents to hear her shrieking
at him. He knew that he shouldnít play with her, but he just couldnít resist the temptation. He stood up and looked
at her with a smile on his face as his eyes looked her over, slowly moving up and down over her entire body.
Sheridan stopped yelling when she saw how Luis was checking her out, but before she could berate him for ogling
her, Luis said factually, "youíre right Sheridan. Itís a nice outfit and you look very beautiful in it. But
what I meant about your clothes was that they wouldnít fit over this." He held up the bulletproof vest that
Sam had brought to him that morning.
"Iím not wearing that!" Sheridan stated.
For the first time in the 3 days since he had moved into the cottage, Luis took a stern tone when he spoke to Sheridan.
"Sheridan, this isnít my rule. This is the FBIís rule. Any time that you leave the cottage, you are to have
the bulletproof vest on. This is NOT negotiable."
Sheridan could tell that Luis was serious. She felt defeated as started to go back to her room saying, "fine,
Iíll put on something ugly and baggy."
Luis said gently, "Sheridan, please, wait a second. I need to show you the proper way to put the vest
on." Sheridan stopped and listened while Luis showed her the proper procedure for putting on the vest. Then,
she took the vest into her room and changed her clothes.
Luis knocked on her door to tell her that the agents had arrived. When Sheridan came out of her room, Luis could
see that she had been crying. Luis felt bad that Sheridan had been crying, but he assuaged his guilt with the realization
that they had made significant progress this afternoon.
It was about two hours before Sheridan and the agents returned from her walk. Sheridan went to take a shower and
Luis asked the agents about Sheridanís behavior on the walk. They told Luis that she had given them no trouble
at all. Luis was very pleased to hear that Sheridan had followed the conditions that she had agreed to abide by.
Sheridan was exhausted from her lack of sleep and her 2-hour
walk, so she went to bed early. Luis didnít even have to ask to leave her door unlocked, as she left it slightly
ajar. Sheridan was so tired that she didnít even dream of Luis.
Luis made his nightly assessment of his plan. He was pleased that there had been a noticeable change in Sheridanís
behavior that day. Because she had behaved with the agents during her walk, Luis let Sheridan sleep for most of
the night before he went into her room and Ďaccidentallyí woke her up during his security check.
Luis was feeling hopeful that this day had been a turning point day in his plan. He was hoping that Sheridan would
continue her cooperative attitude. If she were cooperative, he wouldnít need to continue to conduct the nightly
security checks with as much frequency. If Sheridan would cooperate with him, heíd be able to let her get some