Sheridan lay nestled in Luis' arms, half asleep, in a languorous state. She had never been so blissfully happy
as she was that very moment. She lifted her gaze to meet Luis' and he smiled at her. She snuggled closer to him
as he ran his fingers softly up and down her arm. "Oh, Luis..." she sighed. "I know Angel..."
he whispered back, "it was more than I ever imagined..." Sheridan nodded in agreement, and abruptly
her bliss faded away..."And I almost ruined it..." "Sheridan, you didn't. We're together now and
that's all that matters."
Sheridan shook her head sadly and pulled away from Luis. She sat up, pulling the sheet around her and sighed.
"My God Luis... I left you in a hospital bed and created a new identity... how can you forgive me for that?"
Luis sat up too, choosing his words carefully. "You didn't just leave me... I know that you were there for
hours and days on end, waiting for me to wake up. Theresa told me how you read sports magazines and newspapers
and held my hand. She even told me that you were protesting on my behalf about the romance novel she was reading
me... and I do appreciate that, believe me..." He was hoping that would draw a smile from her, but she just
gazed at him bleakly.
"Sheridan, I understand why you left... I truly do and all that matters is that I found you." Luis urged
her to lay back down with him but she resisted. " No Luis. I didn't trust you... after all the times you
proved to me how trustworthy you were I still jumped to conclusions and refused to listen to you. That has to hurt
you... and I know from experience that hurt like that doesn't just disappear over night."
"It hasn't been overnight Sheridan... I have been looking for you for months. Hell, I practically devoted
my life to finding you Sheridan. That should prove that I love you and forgive you." He paused, before adding,
"Unless... unless the baby mix-up was just an excuse... that you really just wanted to get away from me and
Harmony and everything else in your life. Is that it Sheridan?"
Luis looked intently at Sheridan, and the look of raw pain in his eyes was her undoing. "Oh Luis...no! It
was never like that. I love you Luis... more than anything. And tonight I discovered something after you left...
it wasn't even about the baby... not really. It was about me... my insecurities. Unconsciously I was looking for
you to hurt me and I blew the whole scene at the Book Cafe out of proportion in my mind." She searched his
eyes earnestly, looking for understanding. He was listening, but she knew that he didn't understand the depths
of her insecurities. He didn't live the life she had. "Luis, you don't really know what it was like for me
growing up. My mother died when I was so young... and my father never had much time for me. The rare occasions
I did see him it was only for him to either criticize me or brush me aside. All I ever wanted was his approval...
and to this day I never got it. Instead I got rejected, time and time again."
Luis nodded. "I understand what kind of man he is Sheridan... look what he did with the impostor mess."
Sheridan smiled weakly. "That was just the icing on the cake Luis."
She sighed. "I ached to hear anything positive from him... especially for him to tell me that he loved me...
or even cared a little. Instead he continuously told me that I wasn't worthy of the Crane name and that I was essentially
unlovable. Julian took great pleasure from re-enforcing those ideas whenever he had the chance... more so the older
Luis nodded a little. He knew what a bastard Julian was too. "As I grew older the people I met were mostly
like my father... wealthy, arrogant and cold. The men I dated were only out to use me... the word love became something
I associated with the ultimate scam... marrying into the Crane money." Her eyes moved up to meet Luis', filled
with anguish and pain, "Nobody has ever truly loved me Luis..."
Luis pulled her into his arms and her tears wouldn't be contained any longer. "I love you Sheridan... I love
you more than anything in the world. I don't want your family's money, their power, their name... all I want is
you! I want you in my arms every night for the rest of my life. I want to watch our babies growing inside you.
I want you to love me as much as I love you. That's all I want Sheridan..."
"Luis," Sheridan sobbed, "That's all I want too... all those things..." Luis kissed tears
from her face and continued to hold her. "We will have all those things Sheridan... I promise..." He
Sheridan believed him... she knew in her heart that he loved her and he would never hurt her. He wasn't like the
others... nothing like them. Luis had more love, kindness and morals in his little finger than all the men she'd
dated combined. She had waited all her life for her soul mate and here he was... loving her as much as she loved
him. Her tears dried and she felt her mood elevating again. Luis cuddled her close and they went to snuggle down
into the pillows again when Luis winced.
"What the..." he reached under his back and pulled up the compact he'd given her. "You still have
it?" He asked in wonder. "Of course," she smiled sweetly. "It's my most prized possession...
the man I love gave it to me..." She reached over to the bedside table, sliding the drawer open, "That's
not the only thing I kept..." She pulled out the dried rose and showed it to him, feeling suddenly shy.
"Oh, man..." Luis said, remembering the rose he'd brought her tonight. "I'll be right back..."
He pulled on his jeans and left the room. Sheridan was confused. Did her keeping the rose freak him out? Did it
make her look crazy? But Luis was back in moments, his hand behind his back. "I brought something to give
you tomorrow, but I guess now is as good a time as any..." he extended his hand, revealing the perfect yellow
rose and Sheridan's breath caught in her throat.
"Oh, Luis..." she whispered, trying not to cry yet again. The simple gesture meant so much to her...
if he'd held out a bouquet of flowers it wouldn't have been half as touching to her. A bouquet was meant to impress...
this single blossom was meant to reveal his deepest feelings and Sheridan was beside herself. "Luis, I'll
save it, always..." She took the flower, stroking it against her cheek, inhaling it's heady fragrance.
Luis smiled, realizing he'd been right to buy the single rose. He climbed back onto the bed, wrapping his arms
around her. She leaned back onto his chest and they sat there, silent for the longest time, savouring the easy,
Finally Luis broke the silence. "Are you going to go back to Harmony? Or has your new life been more satisfying?"
Sheridan thought briefly about the last months... spent virtually alone, pretending to be someone she wasn't.
"No," she said slowly, "Angela Baker's life wasn't very satisfying. It was rather lonely. Although
I must admit, I did enjoy the freedom of my own home." She glanced over her shoulder, meeting Luis' eyes.
"Do you think I should go back?"
Luis laughed. "Well, it's either that or else see if Port Orchard needs a new cop..." He stopped chuckling
and turned her to face him. "Sheridan, I'm not going to lose you again. If you want to stay here, then so
be it, but I'll be here with you."
Sheridan beamed at him, her heart in her throat. He was willing to leave Harmony and his family for her. No one
had ever sacrificed anything for her before. "No, Luis. I don't want to stay here. Harmony is my home... I
just never realized it before. Let's go back Luis... soon."
"Very soon." He agreed. Snowy chose that moment to leap onto the bed. She took one haughty look at Luis,
hissed at him and retreated to the far corner of the mattress. "I suppose you'll want to bring THAT with you...?"
He asked, in a teasing tone.
Sheridan grinned and put her elbow softly into his ribs. "Yes, I'll be bringing Snowy. Will that be a problem
officer?" Luis returned the grin. "No Ma'am... you can bring any little thing your heart desires..."