PART 5 – CONCLUSION
The dance at the Youth Center was in full swing. Luis was
working in the back of the gym when he heard a commotion near the front door. He looked up and saw a group of girls
near the door. The girls were very excited. Then, Luis spotted her blonde head in the middle of the group. Luis’
heart skipped a beat because Sheridan had come to the dance.
Luis watched as Sheridan sat down in the third row of the bleachers. Several of the young girls sat down around
her. Luis spotted Kay, Simone, Whitney and his sister Theresa among the group. The girls were asking Sheridan questions
about Paris. They wanted to know all about the latest fashion trends and styles. They asked about clothes, makeup
and hairstyles. Sheridan happily answered all their questions.
Luis couldn’t take his eyes off Sheridan. He wanted to go to her, to talk to her, to take her in his arms and cover
her with kisses. He felt like an irresistible force was pulling him toward her. He forgot what he had been working
on and started to walk toward where Sheridan was sitting. He saw her throw her head back as she laughed at something
one of the girls said. Luis thought that Sheridan was positively glowing.
When Luis had made his way a little more than halfway across the gym, Sheridan looked up at him and their eyes
locked. As much as he wanted to be near her, Luis realized that he wasn’t sure what Sheridan wanted. They hadn’t
spoken to each other since they left the hanger at the airport. Luis decided that this wasn’t the appropriate time
or place to talk to Sheridan. Instead, Luis smiled at Sheridan and mouthed to her that he was glad she had come.
Sheridan smiled back at him. Luis walked out of the gym and headed for his office.
On the way to his office, Luis came across the 3 Abbott brothers, Bobby, Brett and Billy, in the Youth Center foyer.
The two older boys were in the process of betting each other $5 that they could get their girlfriends to leave
the gym and come to them in the foyer just because they told the girls to come.
Luis spoke to the boys and told them that they should treat their girlfriends with respect and kindness, rather
than bossing them around. Luis explained to the Abbott brothers that women prefer to be asked to do something rather
than told or ordered to do it. Luis told the boys that this was a lesson he had recently learned himself.
The Abbott brothers argued with Luis. The boys insisted that they controlled their girlfriends. Then, they challenged
Luis to prove his point and bet with them.
Luis refused to bet. He told the boys that betting on a woman was not something that a gentleman would do. However,
Luis did tell the boys that after their methods failed, he’d show them the proper way to treat a woman, just not
as part of a bet.
Bobby Abbott turned to his youngest brother, "Billy, go in the gym and tell Cindy that I want to see her out
Billy went into the gym and did what his older brother had told him to do. Billy returned from the gym by himself.
"Where’s Cindy?" Bobby asked.
"She said to tell you that she is busy talking with the other girls and she can’t come now," Billy reported.
Brett said, "Billy, go tell Wendy that I NEED to see her out here."
Billy again went into the gym and returned by himself. "Where’s Wendy?" Brett asked.
"She said you must be playing a trick on her and she doesn’t feel like playing. She said if you want to see
her, you can come to her."
Luis laughed. The Abbott boys then challenged Luis to prove that his way would work better. Luis went into his
office. He returned with a note. Luis gave the note to Billy and told him to give the note to Sheridan.
The two older boys taunted Luis. They said he wouldn’t bet with them because he knew there was no way Sheridan
Crane was going to come and he’d lose the bet for sure. Luis ignored them.
Sheridan was still sitting in the bleachers surrounded by young girls when Billy approached her and shyly shoved
the note at her. Sheridan smiled at him and he ran back out of the gym.
In the foyer, when Billy came running back out of the gym, the boys laughed at Luis. They joked that Luis’ way
of treating girls didn’t work any better than their way did. The Abbott brothers stopped laughing when the gym
door opened and Sheridan walked out into the foyer.
Luis was smiling as he went to meet her. She smiled at him as he gently took her hands in his. "I got your
note." Sheridan said.
"Thanks for coming." Luis responded.
"Did you need to see me for something, Luis?"
Luis said, "No, actually Sheridan, just the fact that you came out here after you read my note helped me prove
a point to these very misguided young men about the proper way to treat a lady."
"Really?" Sheridan was intrigued, but she didn’t pressure Luis for details in front of the three boys,
two of whom had very red faces. "I’m glad I could help. If that’s all you needed, I’ll go back inside now.
The girls are waiting for me with more questions."
"Thanks again, Sheridan," Luis said sincerely as he released her hands.
Sheridan left the foyer and walked back into the gym. She returned to her seat in the bleachers. She felt relaxed
as she sat down and draped her right arm over the bleacher railing. Sheridan noticed that a few of the girls had
left, but there were still several girls excitedly waiting for her to return. Sheridan enjoyed answering their
questions and she continued to enthrall the girls as she related stories of Paris’ high fashions.
In the Youth Center foyer, Luis finished making his point with the Abbott brothers. Then, he sent the three boys
back into the gym.
Luis wandered outside of the Youth Center. He couldn’t stop thinking about Sheridan. He wanted to be near her,
to talk with her, but the crowded gym wasn’t the right place for that. Being so close to Sheridan, yet so far from
her, was making him restless. Without realizing where he was going, Luis made his way back into gym through the
back door. He walked under the bleachers until he was directly below where Sheridan was sitting. Luis stood, unseen,
under the bleachers, close enough to hear her voice clearly. For the time being, hearing Sheridan’s voice would
be enough for him.
Luis recognized some of the other voices speaking with Sheridan. He wasn’t paying attention to the conversation,
until he heard Hank’s voice, "so Sheridan, it looks like you survived your close encounter with Luis without
looking any worse for wear. In fact, you are looking as beautiful as ever."
Sheridan tried to be gracious as Hank climbed over the girls to get close enough to give Sheridan a sloppy kiss.
She turned her head, so the kiss landed on her cheek. "Thank you Hank. It’s nice to see you too."
Hank pushed his way in and sat next to Sheridan. "It must have been a terrible ordeal for you. I mean having
to endure Luis bossing you around constantly. And in your own home too." Hank continued. "I just bet
he was grouchy all the time. He must have made your life miserable, barking orders at you day and night."
"It really wasn’t like that," was all Sheridan was able to say before Hank interrupted her.
"Look, Luis is my best buddy, and I love the guy, but he can be a royal pain in the rear sometimes. Besides
that, I’ve seen how the two of you fight. You really go at each other. I can only imagine the damage inflicted
during several days without a referee."
Theresa spoke up, "I love my big brother, but he can be overbearing at times."
Whitney agreed, "I’ve seen Luis go overboard with Theresa many times over the years."
Theresa continued, "Luis can be so stubborn and when he gets that way, he won’t listen to anything that you
have to say."
Hank jumped back in, "and I heard how he ORDERED you to leave the Book Café last night. I bet you’ll
be filing a complaint report with his superiors over that one."
"I heard about that too," Theresa said.
"I think everyone in town has heard about it," Whitney added.
Hank was on a roll. "Luis kept telling me, and anyone else who’d listen, how he wanted nothing to do with
you. Then, you’re forced to spend 24 hours a day with him. He probably spent the whole time insulting anything
and everything about the Cranes, including you."
"That’s enough!" Sheridan said forcefully. "You don’t know what you’re talking about. None of you
know. You all seem to be forgetting that Luis was willing to put his life on the line to protect me. His life!
For the past week, Luis has done nothing but try to keep me alive. At one point last night, he stood so that his
body was literally shielding me from any potential attack by the hit men who trying to kill me. Luis was willing
to DIE to protect me. That kind of bravery and selflessness is truly extraordinary. And I will not forget that
for as long as I live." Sheridan paused briefly to catch her breath before she continued. "You are partially
right about one thing. It was terrible, at the beginning, anyway. But, it was terrible because of me, not because
of Luis. In the beginning I treated him very badly. I was rude to him. I insulted him. I disagreed with him. I
constantly tried to pick fights with him. I did everything I could to make things difficult for him. And how did
Luis respond to my awful behavior? For the entire week, from beginning to end, Luis was a perfect gentleman. He
treated me with kindness and respect, no matter how I treated him and he simply continued to do whatever was necessary
to protect me. Luis was absolutely amazing for the entire time that he was at the cottage. He even cooked all our
meals. I’ll never understand how Luis managed to stay so patient with me until I finally saw the light and stopped
fighting with him about everything. Once I started to work with Luis, rather than against him, I discovered that
a partnership with Luis could be an incredible experience. In fact, the past few days with Luis have been the most
incredible experience of my life." Sheridan paused for another breath. "And as for last night at the
Book Café, I don’t have a problem with what happened, so I don’t know why any of you should. Luis was under
orders from the FBI and he was just doing what was necessary to protect me. I’m very relieved that my life is no
longer in danger and I pray that I never again need a fulltime bodyguard. But if I ever do, I’ll do anything that
I have to, agree to any terms and conditions necessary, in order to have Luis be the person who would protect me."
Hearing what Sheridan said made Luis deliriously happy. He reached up from where he was standing and took Sheridan’s
fingers in his hand. Sheridan looked over the railing and saw Luis looking up at her. From the look in his eyes,
she could tell that he had heard what she had said about him, about them.
Luis gently caressed the top of Sheridan’s hand with his thumb. He slowly brought her hand to his lips and quickly
kissed it. Then, he released her hand and he disappeared out of sight, back under the bleachers.
Sheridan looked back at the group sitting around her. She saw looks of shock on all the faces, except one. Theresa
had a dreamy look in her eyes and she said to Sheridan, "I think that is the most romantic thing that I have
ever heard in my whole life."
Sheridan suddenly felt like she wanted to be alone, so, she decided to leave the dance and walk home. As she walked
down the bleachers on her way out of the gym, Sheridan heard Kay Bennett’s voice saying, "if you don’t close
your mouth Uncle Hank, you’ll start catching flies."
When she walked out the front door of the Youth Center, Sheridan was pleased to find Luis was there, waiting for
her. Luis asked if her could walk her home and Sheridan readily agreed.
When they reached the cottage, Luis nervously said, "Sheridan, there is something that has been bothering
me and I need to apologize to you."
"Apologize? Luis, what for?"
"So that I could protect you, I made you promise to do whatever I said without arguing or questioning it."
Luis began to stumble over his words. "Last night … In the hanger … When I said … When we ... You know ...
When we kissed …. Well, that wasn’t something that was necessary to protect you. When I think about it, I feel
like I took advantage of your trust and I want to apologize."
Sheridan could see that Luis was very serious and sincere in his desire to apologize. Sheridan tried to be serious
too. She tried not to smile, but she couldn’t help it as she recalled kissing Luis in the hanger the night before.
She tried to suppress the happy grin that appeared on her face as she said, "I know that our kissing had nothing
to do with protecting me from the hit men. And Luis, you don’t have to apologize for anything."
"Yes, Sheridan. I do." Luis stated with conviction.
"If you insist. Then, I’ll agree to accept your apology in exchange for you doing something for me."
Luis was relieved that Sheridan wasn’t angry with him. "Sure Sheridan, what do want me to do?"
"I’d appreciate it if you would you come inside and check all the doors and windows for me. It felt odd last
night after everyone left and you weren’t here to do a security check. It would make me feel safer tonight."
"No problem. I’d be happy to do a security check."
As she opened the door to the cottage, Sheridan looked back at Luis and playfully quipped, "just for the record
Luis, I knew last night too."
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. When he finished the security check and was reluctantly preparing
to leave, Sheridan reminded Luis that he hadn’t checked the windows in her bedroom.
Luis went into Sheridan’s bedroom as he had so many times in the past week. He methodically proceeded to check
the bedroom windows. The windows were locked, but the drapes were open. Instead of closing the drapes all the way
as he usually did, this time Luis left the drapes a little bit open. This opening allowed a small amount of moonlight
to dimly illuminate the room.
When Luis finished with the bedroom windows, he turned and walked across the room toward the door. Sheridan was
standing in front of him. Sheridan never took her eyes off of Luis as she gently closed the bedroom door behind
her. Luis stood in front of Sheridan and he was instantly mesmerized as he looked into her sparkling pale blue
eyes. Then, Luis heard the unfamiliar sound of Sheridan locking her bedroom door, locking them both inside her
The next sound he heard was Sheridan’s voice, in a whisper, "kiss me, Luis."