Sheridan woke up, stretching lazily, much like a cat. She was alone in the bed now and the sunlight was streaming
through the window. She recalled last night, when Luis had comforted her after the nightmare. Falling asleep in
his arms was wonderful and she had never slept better. Curled up in his embrace, feeling so warm and safe... well,
she wished she could have that every night forever.
She sat up and slid from under the covers. She could hear noises from down the hall so she knew others were awake
too. When she went to stand her legs felt a little weak and she steadied herself for a moment before moving away
from the bed. The doctors had said it would take a few more months of therapy before her legs would be totally
back to normal, but it couldn't happen fast enough for Sheridan.
She slipped into her robe and went down the hall to the bathroom. After brushing her teeth and washing her face
she moved to the kitchen, feeling a little uncomfortable about wandering around in her robe, but not wanting to
dress before showering.
She opened the swinging door and peeked inside. Theresa was the first person she saw, also still in her pajamas.
Sheridan opened the door further and went inside. Theresa and Whitney were at the table, their heads bent over
the morning paper, giggling about something. There was no sign of Pilar and Miguel, but Luis was at the counter,
his back to her. Theresa spotted her first. "Good morning Sheridan." She smiled.
"Good morning everybody." Sheridan replied. Whitney greeted her and the girls quickly closed the paper
and retreated to the living room. "Boy, do I know how to clear a room or what?" Sheridan said, unsure
if she was joking or not. Luis laughed. "Don't take it personally... those two are full of secrets."
He came over to her and slipped his arms around her. "Good morning beautiful. Did you sleep OK?" Sheridan
leaned into his embrace, sliding her arms around him tightly. He was fresh from the shower, his hair still damp
and he wore only an unbuttoned shirt and his jeans.
"I slept wonderfully, once you were with me..." She whispered, her breath tickling his bare chest. "I
wish you'd stayed there... I was gonna bring you breakfast in bed." He grinned and kissed her briefly.
"I don't need breakfast in bed Luis... all I need is... well, this..." she indicated the kitchen. It
was sunny and bright and cluttered with things like baskets of fruit and spice jars and there was bacon sizzling
on the stove and then here was Luis, all smiling and happy. It was everything Sheridan had imagined about being
part of a normal family.
With the exception of the last while when Luis was guarding her Sheridan was used to waking up alone, to an empty
cottage, or an empty hotel suite. If there was another human being in the area it was a servant or hotel staff
member... someone paid to be there.
Luis smiled at her and moved away to turn the bacon. "Is there anything I can do to help?" Sheridan moved
to peer around him into the pan. "Nope... you can sit down and relax. You're the guest."
Sheridan frowned and her happy mood started to trickle away. "Luis... I don't want to be treated like a guest...
please don't do that." "But I want to take care of you. Company shouldn't do chores."
Sheridan felt tears in the back of her eyes. She knew she was being silly but she couldn't help it. She turned
away and moved to look out the window so he wouldn't see her lip trembling or her eyes tearing up. Luis was more
perceptive than she'd hoped though. He came to her and turned her around to face him. "What's wrong Angel?"
"Luis... it's nothing..." "It's not nothing... please tell me?" She turned and looked at him.
"I don't want to be 'company'... all my life I've felt like 'company' in my own home. Yesterday, last night,
I felt what is was like to be part of a family. A real family. You have no idea what that meant to me..."
Her lip trembled again. "Don't make me be 'company' Luis... please?" Luis just took her into his arms.
"Alright Sheridan... I won't. I'll try not to do that anymore. I can't imagine what it must have been like
growing up that way." "It was lonely... that's what it was like." Sheridan whispered. Luis looked
into her eyes and smiled. "Well, that part of your life is over now." "I'm glad." She smiled
Luis moved back to the stove then and Sheridan asked again, "So... is there anything I can do?" "You
can set the table and find the girls... this is just about done." Sheridan beamed happily at him and began
searching for the items to set the table with.
"Just the girls? Where are Miguel and Pilar?" She asked, after finishing the table. "Miguel is at
his second home, the Bennetts and Mama left for work already." Sheridan nodded and went in search of Theresa
Luis and Sheridan were doing the dishes later, Luis washing and Sheridan drying. "The trial starts tomorrow...
do you want to go?" Luis asked, searching her face for a reaction. Sheridan sighed. "I don't know Luis...
I feel like I should, but I'm afraid."
"There's nothing to be afraid of Sheridan... Alistair will be serving time. He can't hurt you anymore."
"I'm not afraid of him Luis... I'm afraid of what's going to come out." "I know it's going to hurt
to hear how he planned to kill you Sheridan... but I'll be right there with you."
Sheridan smiled and reached up, touching his cheek softly. "And I love you for that Luis. But that's not it
either. There are so many secrets in the Crane family... many which I don't even know about. A lot of people could
be hurt by what's revealed during the trial." *Especially you Luis...* she thought. *If Julian has told about
that night and it turns out that the body was Martin's... it will kill you.* Sheridan shivered. *and what if I
was the one who did it? You'll hate me...*
Luis saw her shiver and slid his arms around her. "You should go get dressed Angel, before you catch a chill."
He smiled at her. "Look, whatever secrets come out in the trial they are out of your control and they aren't
your fault. You've been away from Harmony since you were a kid so nobody will blame you for anything."
Sheridan nodded and gave him a weak smile. He kissed her and gave her a gentle push toward the door. "Go get
your shower before Theresa and Whitney get in there or else it'll be a cold one."
Sheridan stood under the warm spray and thought sadly about the trial. The truth would come out, she was sure.
Julian had been offered immunity for ratting on Alistair and Sheridan knew Julian well. As long as he wasn't in
trouble he would've told every last detail he knew about everything.
She suddenly had a flash of that night, standing over the body, her hands dripping blood. Then another flash of
the coffin, and the cold voice blaming her. Sheridan snapped back to the present and whispered, "But did I
really do it? Did I kill somebody? God forbid, did I kill Martin?" She knew that if she did it would be the
end of any chance she had of ever being happy. Not only would she have to live with the fact that she had killed
someone, she would lose Luis forever. Nobody was capable of forgiving someone who killed their father. Not even
someone as wonderful as Luis.
And she thought about how wonderful his family was too. They'd welcomed her into their lives and truly cared about
her. How would they react knowing she'd taken the man they'd loved from them. A man who's disappearance had made
life a struggle for them...
Sheridan's tears mingled with the water from the shower and she leaned against the wall and sobbed. She was doomed...
there was no way this could work out for her... no way.