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Unjust Suspicions

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Unjust Suspicions
by
Caseytlk

     
Chapter Eleven

Sheridan was leaning over the railing, staring down at the shore below. It was littered with huge rocks and the waves were crashing violently against them. Sheridan could imagine falling through the air, down onto the rocks... then the feelings would drain out of her body and her heart would be numb and pain-free...

Sheridan suddenly realized what she was doing and she gasped, pulling back from the railing. "What are you thinking?" She whispered to herself. "Things aren't that bad!" Her heart thudded in her chest, as though it were trying to argue the statement.

She wrapped her arms around herself and walked slowly away from the overlook... telling herself that it was just a momentary lapse in her sanity. She would never have really done it, she told herself firmly. But there was a niggling of doubt in the back of her mind... perhaps she would've. Given her current state of mind anything was possible.

Right that moment she made a decision. She was never going to let anyone hurt her again. When the pain bubbled up in her heart she forced herself to squelch it. She didn't need Luis... she didn't need anybody. From now on she was going to be just like her brother and father... cold and selfish. All these years she'd tried to avoid being anything like her family and where had it gotten her? She was alone and miserable. Julian seemed to be relatively happy living his life day to day, not caring who he stepped on or who he harmed. She could do that... live for herself and to hell with the world. The world had never been good to her, so why continue to try and do good for it? It was a good plan... a plan that she would stick to... but beginning the plan would have to wait, because Theresa was running across the park towards her. Despite herself, her heart lurched and she wondered if Luis was worse. "Sheridan! I'm glad I found you. Mama wants you to come back to the hospital." "Why? Beth is there now." Sheridan replied. Theresa looked confused, "So what? Luis needs you Sheridan, not Beth." Sheridan was surprised... Beth obviously hadn't told them about the baby... " Theresa, I don't think..." Theresa interrupted, "Please Sheridan! You're the one Luis needs... Mama and I know that you're the one who can get him to wake up... please?"

Sheridan tried to harden her heart, but the pleading in Theresa's eyes was her undoing. She sighed. "Alright Theresa." She'd lived with the pain this long, surely she could handle it just a little longer.

The next few days went by slowly for Sheridan. She spent practically every moment at the hospital, either comforting Pilar or sitting beside Luis. There had still been no signs of him coming out of the coma, and according to Eve Russell every day that he remained unconscious lessened the chances that he would be alright. Day after day Sheridan held his hand and talked to him. She talked about the youth center and how the kids were calling and sending him cards. Some of them had come to the hospital, and even though they hadn't been allowed in the room they stood by the window and hoped for his recovery. Sheridan relayed all their messages, hoping that he could hear her. When she ran out of things to talk about she read things to him... the newspaper, sports magazines, whatever was handy. Eve told them he could probably hear them and it was good to keep talking to him. So Sheridan talked and read until her voice was hoarse and then Pilar, Miguel or Theresa would come in and do the same.

Theresa was reading him a romance novel. That made Sheridan smile every time she saw it resting on the bedside table. She could just imagine what Luis would think of being read such a thing. He was probably laughing inside the whole time.

The days stretched into a week and in that time Sheridan only saw Beth once. She couldn't help but wonder why Beth was staying away and why she hadn't told Luis' family about the baby. If Sheridan were the one carrying Luis' baby she would have been right at his side and shouting the news from the rooftop of the hospital for all of Harmony to hear. But she wasn't carrying his baby... she could only imagine why Beth wasn't there...

One day Sheridan was there, reading from a sports magazine... some insufferable story about football, which was confusing the hell out of her. But she read on, knowing how much he loved football and knowing he'd be reading the article himself if he could.

The first time it happened Sheridan thought she imagined it... then she saw it again. His hand moved! Her heart was doing little flip flops and she dropped the magazine and leaned forward, "Luis?" She grasped his hand and felt his fingers flutter in hers. "Luis, can you hear me? Open your eyes Luis..." His eyelids moved and she dropped his hand, flying to the door. "Pilar! Theresa! Miguel! He's coming out of it!" The family crowded into the room, followed closely by Eve and Sheridan stood back by the door. It was over... Luis was awake and she just knew he would be alright. Now she could leave... leave and start her new life. Her life that revolved around herself... where she needed nobody and expected nothing. She turned and walked away, moving slowly down the hallway. She didn't look back, because she knew that if she did she'd never have the strength to start walking again. Hopefully she would never have to see Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald again. She knew that was unlikely in a town the size of Harmony, so she would leave. This time she wouldn't go to Paris though... she would go someplace new... where nobody knew her and nobody would bother her. The more she thought about it the more she liked the idea. She would cut ties with her family and leave. She had her huge trust fund from her mother and she could live in anonymity anywhere in the world. She made up her mind right then... she would do it. She would just disappear and nobody would find her... not her family, not the over-persistent Hank Bennett and certainly not Luis. She laughed, a harsh barking noise, as if he would even look for her. No, he would settle into his life with Beth... they would have their baby and a few more too probably. They would be happy in their life... the life that should have been hers. Sheridan would settle into her own life... in some big city where she would go unnoticed. She would be just another face in the crowd and nobody would care about her and she would care about nobody. It was as easy as that. She went to her cottage and began to make plans. The arrangements were easier to accomplish than she'd expected... she would be able to leave that very night...

Luis was groggy, but awake. His family was gathered around him, overjoyed and all talking at once. He was glad to see them, but his gaze moved unsteadily around the room, looking for someone else. Where was she? He knew he'd heard her voice. "Sheridan?" He sounded strange, all garbled and confused, even to his own ears. "Where's Sheridan?" Pilar looked around, surprised she wasn't there. "I think she stepped out into the hall... I will find her Luis." Pilar went to the hall and the waiting area but couldn't find her anywhere. She went back to Luis.

"Where is she Mama? Where's Sheridan?" "I don't know Luis, but she will be back. She's been here everyday since you've been hurt." Pilar explained. "Yeah Luis," Theresa added, "She never left you... she's been sitting here reading and talking to you the whole time. She'll be right back... I know it." Luis gave a weak smile. He couldn't wait to see her... she must have forgiven him for whatever he did to her. When she got back everything would be perfect.

A woman got on a plane at the Harmony airport and settled into her seat. Her ticket told the world that her name was Angela Baker... at that moment Sheridan Crane ceased to exist and Angela hoped it would stay that way.

chapter 12

       
     

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