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Tax Time

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Tax Time
by DabbaDo

     

Part One Ė W-2

Luis and Sheridan lingered on the doorstep to her cottage. They couldnít part, but Luis needed to get home and Sheridan really wanted to talk with Julian. Luis kissed her again and tried to let her go. "I donít want to leave you. If I let go, I might wake up and realize this has all been a dream." Sheridan smiled, "Luis, itís not a dream. Iím here and Iím not going anywhere." They thought back to the past few weeks in France. It was their first day back, and it was time to find out who was behind the misunderstanding that broke them apart.

Sheridan continued, "As much as I hate to say it, youíd better go. Your mother is probably worried sick about you, and I need to go up to the main house and see my family." Luis looked concerned, "Why donít I go with you?" Sheridan shook her head, "No. I need to do this on my own. Julian has some explaining to do. And I also need to see Ethan." He kissed her goodbye and gave her a big hug, "Iíll call you later, ok?" Sheridan agreed and watched him drive away.

Sheridan walked into the mansion and up the stairs on her way to Ethanís room. Ethan and Theresa were in his room talking over wedding plans for his wedding to Gwen. Ethan saw Sheridan standing in the doorway and ran to hug her, "Sheridan, I didnít realize you were coming home today. I am so glad your back. Whereís Luis? I want to thank him personally for saving you and bringing you home to us."

Sheridan explained, "He just left to go back to his house." Theresa exclaimed, "I canít believe you two finally cleared things up. I am so happy, and I know that my brother is over the moon." Sheridan smiled and said, "How are things going here? Have you guys got this wedding all planned?" Ethan asked Sheridan to take a look at the plans, but Sheridan said that she needed to see Julian. Ethan asked, "Are you sure you donít want me to come with you?" Sheridan replied, "No. I need to do this on my own."

She saw that Ethan was distressed, "Look, it may be that your father had nothing to do with this. I just need to talk with him." Theresa tried to change the subject, "Did you say Luis was headed home?" Sheridan said, "Yeah. He wanted to catch up with you guys, which reminds me, Luis still doesnít know you are working here, does he?"

Theresa said, "No. Not exactly, but now that you two are together, he canít be angry, right?" Sheridan was concerned, "Well, I suppose not, but I would still feel better if you told him as soon as possible. I hate keeping things from him. Heíll find out soon anyway because I imagine that he will be over here quite a bit now." Sheridan thought how wonderful it would be to have Luis around.

Luis was alone at home. He started going through the mail when he remembered the date, almost April 15. Time to get the tax forms together. He had pretty much finished everyoneís forms, but he put Theresaís unopened W-2 to the side. He opened it and was stunned by the contents. "What the hell is this? Theresaís been working for the Cranes." Luis got his coat and headed to the mansion.

Sheridan saw Julian in the Living Room, "Hello, Julian." Julian was caught off guard and jumped. "Sheridan! I didnít expect you home so soon." Sheridan replied, "I can see that. Look, Julian, we need to talk." Julian got uncomfortable, "Sheridan. I told you on the phone already, I donít know anything about what happened between you and Officer Lopez-Fitzgerald. If I were you, I would be asking Luis to explain himself."

Sheridan answered, "Luis has explained, and I believe him. I know what you and father are capable of, Julian." Julian walked over to her and looked at her with his best sincere face, "Sister, I would never do anything to interfere with your happiness. When I heard about your abduction in Paris, I was sick with worry. We were all relieved that Luis was there to save you from those bastards."

Sheridan wasnít buying it. "Kind of makes you wonder why Luis would risk his life if he were just using me, now doesnít it?" She had a point. Julian replied, "Well, maybe he didnít say those things. I mean, you have always been one to let your imagination run wild." Sheridan knew his meaning and remained strong. "I didnít imagine this. There was a man who looked exactly like Luis on the wharf that night. I will find out the truth, Julian, and Luis is going to help me."

Julian warned, "Sheridan, trust me, you donít want to press this issue. You donít want Luis to start looking into our family matters, now do you? Digging up the past? How would he react if he knew what you were really like? His beloved Sheridan. He thinks you are so unlike the other Cranes." Julian laughed.

Sheridan was starting to worry but continued to put on a brave front, "Julian, I have nothing to be ashamed of. I was only a child, and it was just a terrible nightmare." Sheridan looked at Julian to read his face. Had it really just been a nightmare? She knew that Luis loved her. But what if she had killed someone?

Luis arrived at the mansion determined to find Theresa. He saw Sheridan and Julian in the Living Room. Luis entered the room, "Sheridan, how long have you been keeping this from me?" Sheridan turned to him. Had he heard her conversation with Julian? Julian excused himself, "Well, I can see you two lovebirds have some talking to do." Julian lurked outside the door. Luis demanded again, "How long, Sheridan? How could you not tell me?"

Sheridan shivered, "I wanted to, Luis. I just didnít know how you would react. Itís been killing me inside, but I just didnít know how to tell you. I kept it a secret for so long." Sheridan was getting upset. Luis was silent. Sheridan continued, "I feel really terrible about this Luis. Can you ever forgive me?" Still Luis said nothing. Sheridan said, "I understand. You probably want to be alone. Iíll go." Sheridan walked out the side door back to her cottage.

Luis thought about going after her, but he heard Julian stumbling around in the foyer. Luis opened the door and demanded, "Where is my sister?" Julian was confused, "Your sister? Well how the hell should I know. She is probably in Ethanís room." Luis felt the heat on his face as he heard this - Ethanís room. He headed up the stairs to find her.

Luis saw Theresa and Ethan sitting on the bed. He said, "Theresa, get your coat, weíre leaving." Theresa was scared, "Luis, itís not what you think. I am helping Ethan plan his wedding to Gwen." Luis replied, "Weíre not going to talk about this here. Get your coat. Weíre leaving." Ethan explained, "Look, Luis. Itís not what you think. Gwen is out of town on business until the wedding. She asked Theresa to help us. This is strictly professional."

Luis remained cold, "I donít really care about that, Ethan. All I know is that my sister has been lying to me for many, many months, and you have all been covering for her. I wonít tolerate lying." With that, Theresa and Luis left.

Sheridan walked aimlessly all over town, trying to tell herself that it was going to be ok. She walked to the overlook and sat on a bench watching the ocean. There was a storm rolling in and it seemed to coming straight towards her.

How could this have happened? They had just found each other in France. Luis told her he loved he and that nothing would keep them apart. She realized that she should have told him about That Night, but what was there to say? She had a bad dream. Her family sent her away. None of it made any sense to her so how could she expect Luis to understand it? There was always the "what if" lingering out there. Had Julian lied to her? It seemed so real. Maybe it wasnít a dream. Sheridan felt sick and didnít even realize that the storm had reached her.

Luis, Theresa, and Pilar sat in the kitchen as Pilar explained the situation to Luis. "We didnít tell you because we knew your reaction." Pilar said. Theresa continued, "At first, it just started as a job with Mrs. Crane, but then Gwen and Ethan were so impressed with me that I starting helping them out too. Luis, I love my job. They pay me very well, and it hasnít interfered with my classes."

Luis sat and listened. "What bothers me the most is that you have all been lying to me. You, Mama, andÖ" Pilar interrupted, "Sheridan? Luis, you canít blame her. We asked her to keep it quiet. It was months ago, before you twoÖ." Pilar didnít finish.

Theresa confessed, "Sheridan asked me to tell you the truth. She hated keeping it from you." Luis thought back to his earlier conversation with Sheridan. Had he been too hard on her? She seemed to be so sorry for lying to him. He should call to apologize.

Luis suggested that they call it a night. Theresa headed to bed and Luis tried to call Sheridan. She wasnít picking up. Pilar saw his worried expression and asked, "Did you two have a fight?" Luis revealed, "I went to the mansion to find Theresa but found Sheridan instead. She was talking with Julian and I was so angry. I didnít even give her a chance to explain."

Pilar suggested, "You should go to her, Luis. Sheridan may appear to be strong, but she is really vulnerable. Julian and Alistair have always been tough on her. And now that you two are together, I imagine her family is not too happy with her." Luis thought about this and wondered what he interrupted earlier when he walked in on Julian and Sheridan. He saw the rain pouring outside and hoped that Sheridan had not decided to go for one of her walks. "Iím going to go and find her, Mama." Luis said.

Sheridan still wasnít answering at the cottage and Luis was beginning to get worried. He drove around town looking for her. He had almost given up when he saw someone sitting on the bench at the overlook. The rain had stopped, but the temperature had dropped quite a bit. She was drenched and shivering, but she seemed unaware of her state.

Luis walked over to her. "Sheridan, what are you doing? Come on, we need to get you home. Youíre freezing." Sheridan sat there looking into the distance. "How did you find out?" she asked. Luis was puzzled, but replied, "Tax time." Sheridan finally looked up at him. She was so confused. Luis explained, "Theresaís W-2. It listed her employer as Ivy Crane. I was shocked. I had no idea."

Sheridan realized that Luis hadnít heard her conversation with Julian. She was safe for now. She said, "I didnít know it was a secret until the night that I was attacked by that mugger. When we were back at your place talking about money and relationships, I figured it out. I kept quiet at first because I didnít know why Theresa hadnít told you. Then, later, I just continued keeping it a secret. I donít know why. I hated lying to you."

Luis was touched by her honesty. "Sheridan, itís ok. Mama and Theresa explained it to me. Iím sorry I was so cold with you earlier. I was just shocked to find out. Now come on, we need to get you home and out of those wet clothes."

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