Part Two – Death and Taxes
Luis made a cup of tea for Sheridan as she changed into her pajamas. She came into the room, holding a towel. She
was dazed. Luis saw this and grabbed the towel from her hand. He motioned for her to sit down and he began drying
her hair with the towel. "I made a fire." Luis said. Sheridan was still out of it, though she was enjoying
the comfort of having his warm hands drying her hair.
"Are you ok?" Luis asked. "You hardly said a word on the way home." Sheridan answered, "Yeah.
Just tired. Probably jet lag." Luis knew this was a lie. Sheridan had slept, wrapped in his arms, through
the entire plane ride from France to Harmony. He sat down next to her and grabbed her hand, "Sheridan, if
this is about what happened earlier, I already told you I was sorry. Is there something else going on? Is it Julian?
Did he say something to upset you?"
Sheridan looked at the fire, "No, Luis. I just feel like I let you down, like I always let you down. I left
for France without giving you the chance to explain and now it’s our first day back and we’re fighting again because
of something I’ve done." Luis had no idea how bad Sheridan felt. He said, "Sheridan, it wasn’t your place
to tell me about Theresa’s job. She shouldn’t have put you in that position. As for what you heard on the wharf,
I believe you saw someone who looked like me and sounded like me. I can’t expect you to deny what was right in
front of you. We’re going to find out what happened. The main thing is that you know it wasn’t me. I would never
do or say anything to hurt you. You can tell me anything and I will always love you." Sheridan thought about
this and wondered if now was the right time to tell Luis about her nightmare, but she was so tired and just wanted
Luis put her to bed and sat with her until she fell asleep. He made a bed on the couch. There was something wrong
with Sheridan, but he didn’t know what. It was that same feeling he had before, like something was haunting her.
He couldn’t leave her like this.
Luis tossed and turned trying to get comfortable. Suddenly he heard a noise coming from Sheridan’s room. Sheridan
was dreaming. She was in a garden maze, trying to find her way out. She could hear Luis calling for her but at
every turn she saw something disturbing. First, Pilar looked at her, "Sheridan, how could you do this?"
Then Ethan, "It was you. I can’t believe it was you." Julian was laughing, "Sister, I warned you
not to meddle. Now father will be very angry."
Then she heard Alistair’s voice saying, "You’ve been very bad. You’ve brought shame to this family."
Suddenly, Alistair’s voice turned into another voice. It was Luis saying, "Lies, lies! How could I ever love
you now? How could anyone ever love you?" Sheridan sat up and screamed, "LUIS!" Just then Luis rushed
to hold her, "It’s ok. I’m here. It’s ok." Sheridan was in tears.
Luis held Sheridan until she fell asleep. Sheridan awoke the next morning wrapped in warmth. She felt secure. Luis
was still holding her. She could feel his breath on the back of her neck. She turned to face him and watched him
as he slept.
Luis finally woke up to Sheridan’s beautiful blue eyes staring straight at him. She was smiling. She must be all
right now, Luis thought. "Morning" he said. "Hi" Sheridan replied quietly. "You ok now?"
he asked. "Yeah. Thanks for last night." She answered. "Bad dream?" he asked. Sheridan nodded,
"Yeah, but it’s ok now. You’re here."
It was killing Luis to see Sheridan in pain. He had to know what was causing her so much grief. He didn’t want
to upset her, but these nightmares had to stop. He suggested, "You might feel better if you talked about it.
If not with me, then with someone else." Sheridan wanted to tell him, but where to start?
"There’s not much to tell, Luis. I have had these terrible dreams for years and there’s nothing anyone can
do about them. The doctors told me that my nightmares are caused by the guilt I feel over my mother’s death."
Luis asked, "Your mother? Why would you feel guilty about her death?" Sheridan confessed, "Because
her death was a result of complications from my birth." Luis felt terrible for Sheridan. "Well, maybe
there’s more to it. What do you see when you have these nightmares? Last night you were calling out for me. Were
you dreaming about me?"
Sheridan reminded Luis that he was late for work and convinced him that they would talk later. She had to pull
herself together and she needed to get some answers. The telephone rang in Julian’s study. "Julian Crane"
he answered. "We need to talk" the voice on the other end demanded. "What about?" Julian requested.
"Just meet me at the cemetery in an hour" the caller ordered. "Why all the cloak and dagger?"
Julian inquired. "Just be there…and don’t tell anyone where you’re going."
Julian grabbed his coat and headed out the door. What was this all about, he wondered? Did this person have the
goods on him? Had they figured out his latest indiscretion? Julian wasn’t nervous, rather he was intrigued. He
loved the mystery of it all. He saw her standing by their mother’s grave.
"Sheridan, why couldn’t we talk at home?" Julian said. Sheridan didn’t answer his question. It was obvious.
She wanted to talk with Julian without being interrupted or overheard by anyone else in the family. Sheridan looked
straight at him and said, "Tell me about mother. What really happened to her and what happened that night?"
Julian was growing uncomfortable. Sheridan had that determined look in her eye. She was not giving up, even though
he had little information for her. "Sheridan, mother never fully recovered from your birth. You came along
late in her life, and it was too much strain on her. As for that night, we’ve already told you, it was all a nightmare."
Sheridan walked over to him and grabbed his hand, "Julian, I know that somewhere deep inside of you, there
is a decent person. I am your sister, for god’s sake. Can’t you be honest with me? Can’t you see how this has haunted
me? Why do you remain so loyal to a man who doesn’t give a damn about his children? You must remember mother better
than I do? Didn’t you love her? Wouldn’t she want you to be honest with me?"
Julian was affected by her words. Sheridan’s eyes were piercing his soul. He promised his mother that he would
always watch over Sheridan and he had failed her. Sheridan held his hand, searching for the big brother she hoped
was somewhere inside.
Julian began, "There’s not much I know, Sheridan, but I do know this. You don’t want to start looking into
the past. Father knows everything that goes on and he will make your life a living hell." Sheridan knew Julian
wanted to tell her more, but he was afraid. "Julian, I am not afraid of Father. This uncertainty is killing
me. I can’t stand the thought that I may have…" "Killed someone?" Julian interrupted. Sheridan nodded.
"No, Sheridan. You didn’t kill anyone. I can tell you that." Sheridan looked up at him. A weight had
been lifted. "How can I believe you? What if you’re lying to me, Julian?" Julian smiled a small smile
that told Sheridan that he was being honest. "No, Sheridan. You didn’t do anything wrong, but please heed
my warning, drop it. Don’t open a box that you wish you never had. Remember that sometimes ignorance is bliss,
Sheridan knew there was much more to the story, maybe even the truth about Martin Fitzgerald. She wished she could
take Julian’s advice and go on with her life, but she had to know…for Luis. She loved him and wanted so much to
repay all the kindness he had shown her. Luis deserved to know the truth about his father.
Julian read this from her face. "You love him, don’t you? You love Luis?" he asked. "Yes, Julian.
I do, very much. So much, in fact that I would do anything for him, take any risk." Sheridan replied. She
continued, "I have to ask. If I did start looking into the past, what would I find about you?" Julian
looked down with a guilty face. Then he lifted his head proudly and said, "You may not understand this, but
everything I have done, I have done for this family, Sheridan. I am not ashamed."
Sheridan and Julian stood there for some time. She looked a her watch and said, "I appreciate your honesty,
Julian, but I wish you realized how misguided you are. You shouldn’t let Father be such an influence. You deserve
better. I wish that you could find real love Julian, real happiness."
Julian was touched but tried to remain stoic. "Just know that you are innocent, Sheridan. And try to enjoy
what little happiness you have found. Now get out of here and go find that blue collared Neanderthal you claim
to love." Sheridan smiled and gave him a hug. She whispered, "I know you are really a good person deep
down. I love you."