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Unjust Suspicions

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Unjust Suspicions
by
Caseytlk

     
Chapter Sixteen

Theresa parked Luis' jeep outside the Crane mansion and went in search of Ethan. She had an idea and she knew that Ethan would be the best person to help her, having known Sheridan so well when they were young. She found Ethan in the living room poring over some papers, and she burst into the room. "Ethan! There you are! I need your help with something." Ethan glanced up from the papers and frowned. "I'm kind of busy Theresa... can it wait?" "I guess it can... but it's about Sheridan." Ethan perked up, his interest in the papers forgotten. "Have you heard from her? Is she back?" he asked eagerly.

"No, we haven't heard from her. Only the ads in the paper, the same as everyone else. Luis saves them all in a little pile on his desk..." Theresa's voice trailed off sadly. "But I thought of something that may help. I hope it will give us a hint or something." Theresa plopped down beside Ethan on the sofa, and grinned with excitement. "I was thinking about how Sheridan just started a new life, changing her name and all. Well, I thought about what name I would choose to use and I figured I would use a name that I liked when I was a little girl. Whitney and I used to play pretend and I always pretended my name was Aurora... anyway, that's the name I would pick. I had this thought... what if Sheridan did the same thing?"

Ethan's eyes widened and he smiled broadly. "We used to play pretend games like that too. There was a name that Sheridan liked... it was from a book she used to read over and over. I can't remember the name she used though..." his voice trailed off as he furrowed his brow in concentration. "I can't think of it. You know what though? A lot of Sheridan's books and toys are in the room she had as a child... maybe I can find the book!"

He jumped up from the sofa and grabbed Theresa's hand, towing her along. "Come on! Let's go check it out!" He hauled her upstairs to the third floor where he and Sheridan and his sisters had their rooms as children. They were always on the third floor where they wouldn't disturb the adults. He led Theresa into a room that was any little girl's dream. It was pale pink, with white carpets and drapes and a lacy white comforter on a canopy bed. Toys and dolls were everywhere, and Theresa gaped in awe. "What a wonderful room..." "Yeah, i guess so..." Ethan wasn't that enamoured with the frills and lace. "Here's her bookshelves over here..." He began to flip through the books... avoiding the ones that seemed to be seldom read and pulling out the worn ones to inspect further. "Wait! Here's the one she loved!" He held the tattered book aloft and smiled broadly.

Ethan opened the cover and scanned the first page. "Angela! That was it... Angela." "Great!" Theresa enthused. "What about a last name?" Ethan read further. "Baker, Angela Baker. Could it really be that easy?" Theresa frowned. "Maybe not... but lets go talk to Sam and see if he can check that name against the names on all those lists he got for Luis before." "You mean the ones from the bus station and airport?" Ethan was excited. He'd been so worried about Sheridan and at loose ends for anything to do about it. This was something to hope for at least. "Yes, let's go to the station right now!" "What about Luis? You can use the phone and call him if you want." Theresa shook her head. "No... I want to talk to Sam first. I don't want to get Luis all worked up over nothing."

"...so Chief Bennett... can you help us?" Theresa eyed Sam anxiously after explaining what they wanted. Sam nodded, "Yeah, it shouldn't be a problem to run the name through the list. You two have a seat and I'll go get the lists. I'm sure Luis has them in his desk." Sam went off to find them and Theresa and Ethan sat on the two chairs in front of Sam's desk. They looked at one another and smiled nervously. Theresa wanted so much to find something... any clue that would give Luis some hope. She was afraid he was going to run himself right into the ground with the search otherwise.

Sam returned with the huge piles of papers and handed a stack to Ethan and one to Theresa. He settled into his chair with his own stack and sighed. "There are so many names here... I guess we look for any name with either Angela or Baker in it." Ethan nodded and began to look through the papers from the train station as Sam began with the bus station. Theresa had the ones from the airport and she eagerly began to scan them. Inside she was praying that the name would be on the list... or at least part of it.

About an hour into the job Theresa let out a squeal. Then, as both men turned and looked at her she said, "It's here... Angela Baker... right here on this list." She smiled her thousand watt grin and laughed out loud. "We did it!" Sam frowned, "Don't get too excited Theresa... it could be a coincidence." Theresa shook her head. "No, Chief Bennett... it's not a coincidence... it's fate! Luis and Sheridan belong together and fate is making it happen." She gazed over at Ethan with that dreamy look she often had, but he was too busy looking at the list with Angela Bakers name on it. "She went to New York. My Aunt Sheridan is in New York..."

"What? You know where she is?" Luis had entered the station without anyone noticing and he overheard Ethan's statement. Theresa jumped up and threw her arms around her brother. "We haven't found her Luis, but we have a lead... we may have the name she's using." Theresa explained what they'd discovered to Luis, who could barely keep still enough to listen.

"I'm going to New York..." he said, interrupting them. "I have to go... I have to find her!" "Hang on Luis," Sam said. "Let's make sure she's still there. Let me check the flights out of JFK on the day she arrived." He made a call and waited while the operator put him through to the correct place. After speaking a few moments he hung up, dialed again and spoke to someone else.

"Okay," he said, hanging up the phone and turning to the three anxious faces before him. "Angela Baker took the next flight out of JFK to Seattle Washington. Apparently she didn't fly out of there anytime in the week that followed. That gives us a pretty good chance that she's still in the Seattle area."

Luis nodded, a huge grin on his face. "Okay... now we track down the Angela Bakers in Washington." He moved to his desk and his computer and ran a search on the name Angela Baker in Washington state. He was a little put off when the data base emitted 127 names, but at this point he was willing to do anything.

He printed out all the profiles and began to sort through them. He eliminated any that were under 20 and over 40 years of age. There was no way Sheridan would be able to convince people she was in either of those age groups. That left 76 Angela Bakers. Luis wondered why Sheridan's favorite character couldn't have had a more unique name. Then he eliminated all the profiles that weren't Caucasian and all the profiles with children and spouses. Sighing softly he held in his hands a stack of 39 profiles. It wasn't going to be easy, but he would eliminate them one by one. He moved back to the computer and began searching work records for the names. Slowly he dwindled the list down to 11. These 11 either started working in Washington since Sheridan's disappearance, or else they didn't work at all. He pored over their profiles, but there was nothing in them that could help him eliminate any more.

He stacked the papers neatly on his desk and leaned back in his chair. Theresa and Ethan had left hours ago, as had Sam and Luis was beat. He picked up the phone and made a plane reservation to Seattle. Then he went home to rest for a few hours. If he was going to find Sheridan tomorrow than he needed a little sleep. For the first time in months Luis had real hope again. By this time tomorrow he might have Sheridan in his arms where she belonged.

Angela Baker lay in bed, not sleeping, but thinking. It was still early, but she was spending more time in bed lately. She never seemed to want to do anything anymore. Kelly, from work, had tried to talk her into seeing a movie tonight, but she had begged off, claiming to be too tired. In fact she wasn't tired at all. She spent almost every evening lying in bed, missing her home and the people she cared about. She lay there imagining Luis with his baby... surely it would be born by now. She envisioned a boy... with Luis' colouring and dark hair and eyes. A beautiful little child that he would love and raise with Beth.

She rolled over and hugged Snowy to her gently. Beth had Luis' baby and she had a cat... it hardly seemed fair. Not that she didn't love her precious ball of fur, but it wasn't the same of course.

She knew she had to get out of this slump she was in. She was on the fast track to depression... sometimes it seemed she was already there. She kept telling herself that Luis wasn't worth it... that no man was worth ruining her life over, but her heart just wouldn't listen.

Lately she was beginning to think that she should have just ended it all that day so many months ago on the overlook in the park in Harmony. It would've been easier that way.

chapter 17

       
     

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