The last week of July absolutely flew by. Luis spent his
days at the station, ending his working day by stopping at the Youth Center for a few hours. He then went home,
ate dinner and immediately rushed to his room, to his computer. Since his long IM session with KC the week before,
the two of them had set aside time each night to spend with each other. Each day they emailed each other while
Luis was at work and Sheridan packed. Once evening hit in Harmony, the two would get on IM until it was dawn in
Paris, the rising sun their clock. Neither ever seemed to want to end their chats, which covered any and every
It was now the eve of Sheridanís final departure from Paris.
They hadnít been able to send emails during the day, as Sheridan needed to box up her computer and ready it for
shipment to the States. She did however purchase a laptop for the interim that afternoon. The thought of not being
able to talk to Pezz for even a few days was almost more than she could bear at this point. Something was happening
between the two of them, something wonderful. Neither one of them had yet to speak of it, but they both knew it
was there. They each freely admitted to the other how much they enjoyed spending time together chatting and there
was hardly a mention anymore of Pezzís ex girlfriend or KCís ex fiancé.
Luis stopped at the Youth Center only briefly this afternoon,
as he wanted to spend as much time as possible chatting with KC before she had to go to bed. She had an early flight
the next morning, which meant she couldnít stay up till her usual six am.
Fruition of their little game hadnít quite paid off yet
either. Both had agreed that until one of them guessed the town the other was from, neither would give out personal
information such as names, nor would they send pictures. Truth be told, they enjoyed trying to figure out everything
about the other without the information being dumped in their laps. It made for interesting conversations and genuine
Sheridan was the first to get online. She was slightly
disappointed he wasnít around, but knew it was early and heíd be there soon. She decided to read mail and let her
friends know she was leaving in the morning.
Where have you been? Iíve hardly heard from you since you returned to Paris. Iím glad to hear youíre getting away
from all the memories in that city. A change will do you good. I know it helped me after I broke up with my ex.
A new start in a new city. How long has it been since youíve been home anyway and when are you leaving?
Nice thing about the computer is I donít have to tell you I
miss you! LOL. You will be online in the states, right? Hey, you never told me what the deal is with PezzMan? And
donít tell me nothing! He was like a maniac the week you disappeared and who was the first person you contacted?
Was it your best cyber pal Godis? Nooooo! It was candy man himself! LOL
Talk to you soon I hope,
Sheridan laughed softly reading her friendís email. She
felt a slight wave of guilt that sheíd been pretty much ignoring her other friends since she and Pezz had started
chatting every night.
Sorry I havenít been around much, but Iíve been pretty busy. Iím leaving Paris first thing in the morning and Iíve
been packing all week. Iím glad too we donít have to say good bye. Iím taking my computer with me and my nephew
Ethan promised to have my cottage internet ready by the time I get home.
I told you who Pezz was. Heís just a guy who responded to one
of my posts on the travel board. Weíve found out that we both have a lot in common and have become pretty good
friends. As a matter of fact, weíll probably meet at some point after I get settled in in Harmony. Iím not sure
exactly where he lives yet, but itís somewhere in Northern New England, so it canít be too far from me. What are
the chances huh?
Take care Godis and I promise Iíll write when Iím settled in
my new home.
Sheridan responded to a few other emails, BabyShuis and
Ethan the main ones. As she was finishing her note to Ethan she heard a door opening and when she checked her buddy
list a huge smile appeared on her face. She quickly finished her note to Ethan and sent it just as she saw an IM
Good evening beautiful!
Sheridan blushed when she read his message.
Good afternoon yourself! Iím flattered youíre calling me beautiful, but youíve never even seen my picture.
[PezzMan] I donít need to see your picture. I already know what you look like.
[KCGirl] You do?
[PezzMan] Iíve seen what a beautiful spirit you have through all of our emails and
IMís. Thatís all that really matters. Looks donít matter.
"Heís too good to be true" Sheridan grinned.
She closed her eyes and tried to conjure up a vision of her this mystery man saying these things to her. For some
reason every time she tried to picture PezzMan, all she could picture was the tall dark stranger from her dreams.
In her dreams he never showed his face, but when she brought the image to her mind, she imagined he had the most
intensely beautiful brown eyes sheíd ever seen.
Aww, that is so sweet of you! I believe you really mean that too.
[PezzMan] Of course I mean it. Besides, I have a picture of you in my mind already
and you couldnít be more beautiful.
[KCGirl] I hope youíre not disappointed if we ever meet.
[PezzMan] Not if KC, when. We will meet and I could never be disappointed. Nothing
matters to me except whatís inside. The heart and soul are a true measure of a person, not the way they look or
[KCGirl] Can I ask you a personal question? I know we agreed not to ask, but I really
would like to know this one thing.
[PezzMan] Ask away.
[KCGirl] Iím a little embarrassed to ask this, but I just canít get this vision out
of my head. Do you have brown eyes?
Luis couldnít keep the grin off his face. His hazel brown
eyes sparkled with mischief.
Hmm, lets see. What are the choices of eye colors. Blue, green and brown? Are those the three colors you are thinking
of or something more specific?
[KCGirl] Well, if youíd like to include the shade too that would be nice, but Iíll
settle for the general color.
[PezzMan] I donít know if I should tell you. It might ruin your image of me.
[KCGirl] Pezz, nothing could ruin my image of you. I, like you believe in a personís
inner beauty. JL was a very handsome man and look where it got me?
[PezzMan] Ok, Iíll tell you, but it comes with a price.
Luis was really enjoying this. He loved teasing her and
he could almost see the wicked grin on her face right now.
Why am I not surprised. Whatís it going to cost me?
Sheridan laughed as she waited for his response. She knew
he was really enjoying himself thinking he was torturing her.
Same information. I want to know what color your eyes are.
[KCGirl] Blue. My eyes are blue.
[PezzMan] Thank you ;-) I pictured you with blue eyes. Blonde hair too, care to fess
[KCGirl] Oh no you donít! LOL. We agreed no personal info, remember? But since we
just agreed to eye color, itís your turn.
[PezzMan] OK, I tried! LOL. My eyes are brown. The intensity of the color changes
with my mood.
Sheridan felt her heart skip a beat. "Oh my God! He
really has brown eyes. I bet they are just as I imagined."
Several hours later
Pezz, I really hate to do this but I have to leave. I need to be at the airport in a few hours.
[PezzMan] I know. :-( Be safe will you?
[KCGirl] I will, I promise.
[PezzMan] And youíll let me know as soon as you arrive so I know youíre safe?
[KCGirl] The first chance I get Iíll email you.
[PezzMan] I donít know what Iím going to do with myself in the evenings for awhile.
[KCGirl] Iím sure youíll think of something :)
[PezzMan] I know I will. I think Iím trying to tell you Iíll miss you.
[KCGirl] Iíll miss you too. You know weíll probably only be able to email for awhile
until I figure out what Iím going to do.
[PezzMan] I was afraid of that, but I think weíll be ok. My second job will be heating
up this month anyway. Weíre gearing up for an end of summer bash. Iíve lost help recently and I should be spending
more time there anyway.
[KCGirl] Well, I still expect to hear from you Mister! LOL
[PezzMan] Oh, you can count on it. ;-) [KCGirl] Sweet dreams Pezz.
[PezzMan] Same to you beautiful. :-)
Sheridan spent the entire next day traveling whether by
air or by car. Ethan picked her up at JFK in New York and the two of them took a nice leisurely drive back to Maine,
getting reacquainted along the way. Sheridan could easily have flown into Boston or caught a connecting flight
to Harmony, but Ethan has been visiting his girlfriend Gwen in New York anyway.
Gwen spent a good deal of time in New York on Hotchkiss
family business. Ethan enjoyed the drive, so he most often chose this route to flight. Sheridan was more than happy
to spend some time with her nephew. Taking a scenic drive of New England would certainly beat another flight.
Ethan opted to take the long way home, so he and Sheridan
traveled Routes 1 and 1A all the way from New York to Harmony. It was a gorgeous trip, but added several hours
to an already lengthy trip.
As much as Sheridan loved the view, she was already regretting
her decision. The whole flight, she kept thinking about Pezz. She promised sheíd contact him as soon as she got
home, but with the added time on her trip, she wasnít sure when that would be. By the time Sheridan arrived in
Harmony, greeted her family and dropped her luggage off at the cottage, she was exhausted. She fell asleep within
minutes and never heard a thing until the next morning.
Ethan surprised Sheridan with breakfast on his way to Crane
Industries. He stayed long enough to make sure she didnít need anything and then left for work. Sheridan sighed
in contentment as she returned to the couch in the living room of her cozy little cottage. It felt so good to be
back in Harmony. Sheridan planned to explore this small town sheíd missed so much while she was in Europe.
Before she did anything however, she had something sheíd
been wanting to do since the minute she touched down in New York, email Pezz. Happily she typed her note describing
how happy she was to be home. Before she had a chance to finish it, there was a knock on the door. She ended her
note before sheíd intended and answered the knock, only to find Pilar, the Crane family housekeeper standing there
with a welcoming smile.
"Pilar!" Sheridan remarked with delight. "Oh
Pilar, itís so good to see you!" Sheridan threw her arms around the only person she really missed besides
Ethan. Sheridan invited Pilar to come in and offered her a cup of coffee. Pilar accepted and the two women sat
down to catch up on each others lives.
"Sheridan, itís so good to have you home! Iíve missed
you so much. We all have."
"I have no doubt you and Ethan missed me, I missed
the two of you terribly, but please donít make excuses for the rest of my family."
"Iím sorry Sheridan, I didnít mean ..."
"Donít worry Pilar" Sheridan smiled. "I
didnít come home to see them. I came home to see Ethan and you and this town. I never realized until very recently
how much I missed living in a small town."
"I imagine Paris is quite different" Pilar said
with a small smile.
"You can say that again" Sheridan said wryly
as she took a sip of her coffee.. "Paris is a wonderful city, but it never really felt like home to me. I
hope I can make Harmony my home."
"I do hope things work out here and you choose to
stay. It was always a pleasure to have your beautiful smiling face around here." Pilar always cherished her
relationship with Sheridan more than that of the rest of the Cranes. She and Ethan were the two people who she
could honestly say were nothing like the rest of the family.
"Thank you Pilar." Sheridan said blushing slightly.
"Do you have any plans?" Pilar asked curiously.
"I think Iím going to get to know my hometown again.
Some things look familiar, but others are so different." Sheridan shook her head in wonderment as she remembered
her ride through town with Ethan. She felt as if she were in a dream. Things familiar, yet things sheíd never seen.
It was an eerie feeling.
"Not so different, really" Pilar said. "Things
always look different in the eyes of a child."
"I suppose youíre right, but I still want to explore
Harmony." Sheridan smiled.
"Iím sure youíll love it once you get to know it Sheridan.
Wonderful people live in this town."
"Iím sure they do Pilar. In fact, Iím counting on
it." She thought of Pezz and how much he treasured life in a small town. A place where people you pass in
the street call you by name. thatís what Sheridan wanted and she didnít want it because of her last name.
"Do you have any plans, long term? Is there anything
youíd like to do while you are here?" Pilar asked. She was very much afraid Sheridan would leave for Europe
again and thought if she helped get her involved in some volunteer work, she might stay. Ivy is very much involved
in all the activities at the Country Club and Iím sure sheíd be more than happy to find..."
"Please Pilar, no" Sheridan groaned. "The
last thing I want to do is spend my time with a bunch of arrogant pompous snooty women whose biggest problem is
what decorator to get to redo the guest room for the bazillioneth time."
"I understand Sheridan" Pilar smiled knowingly.
She knew Sheridan had never really enjoyed the lifestyle her family chose to live. Sheíd attend the events when
she had to, but she much preferred a simpler life, which was why she chose to live in the cottage rather than the
"Iíd much rather volunteer my time helping children
who need it" Sheridan said adamantly. "Children whose parents are doing the best they can, but life isnít
always easy. Children who might need a little extra TLC due to a tragic loss of a parent or a child who needs some
extra guidance. There is so much potential wasted in this world and Iíd love to help a child like that become someone
someday. Iíd like to help them build self esteem, self worth."
"That sounds like a wonderful idea Sheridan"
Pilar said staring at Sheridan thoughtfully. "If youíre serious about that, I might just know the perfect
job for you. Have you ever heard of the Harmony Youth Center?"
Sheridan thought for a moment and shook her head. "No,
I canít say that I have."
The Youth Center exists for those very children you want
to help.. Itís a place for the youth of Harmony to go and stay off the streets. It offer sports, arts and crafts,
counseling and other activities to help these kids learn how to become productive members of society. For some
it helps build confidence and self worth. For others it helps fill a void left by an absent parent.. Most of the
parents of these children are struggling to make ends meet and knowing their children are at the Youth Center is
a major relief to them."
"That sounds perfect Pilar!" Sheridan said enthusiastically.
"Itís just the sort of thing Iím looking for."
"Right now the main focus is for the end of summer
party. The kids work with the volunteers in planning it, decorating for it, providing the music and pretty close
to everything else."
"That sounds like a lot of fun." Sheridan said,
her enthusiasm building.
"I also happen to know they are in desperate need
of volunteers. One of the volunteers just moved to New York and she hasnĎt been replaced. There is always a problem
with money, so all of itĎs employees are volunteers. The director would rather spend what little funding he gets
on equipment and supplies for the kids. Parents of the children often offer up their day off to help out. Grace
Bennett and I have been filling in when we can, but I'm afraid itís not enough" Pilar admitted.
"Do you think I could help there?" Sheridan asked
anxiously. "I would love to start working there, that is if you think the director would want me to."
Pilar smiled. "I know the director there very well.
I think I might be able to arrange a meeting. May I use your phone?"
"Certainly Pilar" Sheridan said, motioning to
the phone. She was home less than a day and Sheridan was already feeling like part of the community. It was something
sheíd longed for most of her life.
Luis just finished the paper work on the latest Harmony
crime wave. He shook his head as he placed the folder on Samís desk. "Case closed Sam" Luis smirked.
"You caught the kids who knocked over those headstones?"
"Yeah Sam" Luis said. I doubt theyíll be doing
that again. Not after theyíre finished putting them all back up, as well as cutting the grass there for the rest
of the summer."
"No, I imagine not" Sam said shaking his head.
"Are you heading back out?"
"Yeah, in a few minutes Sam" Luis said.
"Ok buddy." Luis left Samís office and went back
to his desk. He hadnít heard from KC and hoped heíd at least have a quick email letting him know sheíd arrived
safely. When he logged on to the computer, a grin spread across his face.
Well, I finally made it home and I feel like a new person. My nephew picked me up at JFK and we had a nice drive
home. It was wonderful to wake up this morning and smell the fresh cool air of this wonderful small town. As soon
as I get dressed, Iím going exploring. Itís been a long time since Iíve been here and I need to get reacquainted
with my home town. Hopefully Iíll get a chance to meet some of those charming people you describe living in small
Thereís a knock on the door Pezz, so Iím going to run. Iíll
email you with my adventures later.
Missed talking to you last night,
P.S. If you want to chat, Iíll be online around 8pm New England
Luis grinned. "I missed you too KC" he said in
a low voice as he reread her note. "More than I ever imagined." Still grinning like a fool he answered
her note with a quick sentence. He then saw he had another email from Jay. He wasnít sure how long it had been
there a since his main focus these days was checking to see if he had mail from KC.
This will surprise you, NOT! Mom thought she had told me when Grandma's surgery had been scheduled and I was waiting
for her to tell me the date, figuring I'd have a week to get back East. But NO! Turns out Grandma already had surgery
and mom is wondering why I'm not in Harmony yet. Sigh - make that BIG sigh.
I'm scrambling to get the earliest flight that I can. I don't
know any details yet as it is all very last minute. We can talk basketball after I get to Harmony. Oh, and you
can bring me up to speed on you and KC - I'm sure there is a lot to tell!
I'm on the way - Woo Hoo! I'll find you after I get to Harmony.
I have a feeling I'm going to need a big hug and a lot of sympathy by the time you see me.
"Good deal" Luis said with a grin. "God
I canít wait to see her." The telephone began ringing shaking him from his reverie. He turned his attention
to the phone picking it up.
"Lopez-Fitzgerald here" Luis said.
"Luis" Pilar greeted.
"I have someone I want you to meet this afternoon.
I think I have the solution to your volunteer problem at The Youth Center."
"Really? Youíve found someone to replace Beth?"
"If you like we can meet you this afternoon"
Pilar assured him. "How about the Book cafe when you get out of work?"
"Sounds great Mama" Luis said enthusiastically.
He hung up the phone with his mother and returned to his morning patrol of the wharf. This was turning into a great
After her visit with Pilar, Sheridan set out to explore
her new home of Harmony. She spent a wonderful morning and early afternoon walking up and down Main Street looking
at all the quaint shops. She went in to several, talked with the shopkeepers and other patrons as if they were
long lost friends. She introduced herself to these people only as Sheridan, not wanting to reveal the fact she
was a Crane. It wasnít so much that she was ashamed to be a Crane, it was who she was, but she wanted to get to
know these people first as a person. For once in her life, she wanted to blend in with the rest of the town. She
wanted people to remember she was Sheridan for who she was, not because her last name was Crane.
After lunch, she walked the pier and watched the fishermen
as they unloaded their catch of the day. A smile crept on her face as she remembered Pezz giving her fishing boat
as a clue to where he lived. "Like every New England town doesnít have fishing boats" she laughed. Everywhere
she went that day she encountered a friendly face, a welcoming smile. Everything Pezz had told her about small
town life was true. She wondered what she hadnít decided to return home years ago.
Sheridan had plans to meet Pilar at the book cafe at three
oíclock. She glanced at her watch to check the time and saw it was only 2:30. Remembering a conversation sheíd
heard earlier about how the Harmony cops were radar crazy especially during tourist season, Sheridan decided it
was better to leave early rather than chance getting a ticket for speeding. Five minutes after she got into her
car and began driving to the Book Cafe, she knew sheíd made a good decision. Sheridan smiled to herself when she
saw the police car on the side of the road with itís radar aimed right at her car. She knew it would read exactly
what the speed limit was and was quite pleased with herself. She knew she had a tendency to have a heavy foot.
Too engrossed in the police car on the side of the road
and patting herself on the back for not speeding, Sheridan didnít see the fallen board in the middle of the road.
Before she knew it, sheíd run over a bump in the road.
"What was that?" She said glancing over her shoulder
when she heard her tire hit the board. She drove for another minute waiting for something to happen. "I guess
it was nothing" she shrugged with relief. Just as she said that she heard a thud her car began limping to
Frustrated, she climbed out of her midnight blue BMW and
surveyed the damage. "Just my luck" she sighed in frustration. She grabbed the cell phone out of her
purse and began to dial. She barely hit the send key, when it too failed her. "I canít believe I forgot to
charge my phone!" She exclaimed in disbelief. "Now what?" She asked herself out loud. She contemplated
her precarious situation for a moment and decided to do something sheíd never done in her life. Change a tire.
Luis Lopez Fitzgerald finished his afternoon duty of radar
patrol. Every summer the town of Harmony was filled with tourists from all over New England as well as teens on
summer break. Speeders seemed to run rampant in the small town each summer and this time the new Police Chief Sam
Bennett decided enough was enough. It hadnít taken long for word to spread to the residents of the small town that
speeding would no longer be tolerated. Sam was pleased that at least the locals had slowed down a bit and the money
received from the out of towners caught speeding would be used to provide traffic safety classes and drivers education
for the young people in town.
As Luis eased his cruiser down the road he saw a car in
the distance pulled off on the side. As he came closer he saw a very shapely blonde struggling with a tire, as
she attempted to lift it from the trunk. He smiled to himself as he pulled over behind the damsel in distress.
Luis picked up the mike to his two way radio and called in to the station.
"Hey Cal, Itís Luis"
"Go ahead Luis" the voice acknowledged.
"Iíll be a little late coming in. I have a what appears
to be a very beautiful damsel in distress here. Iím going to change her tire for her."
"Ooh baby! Lopez Fitzgerald on the prowl again!"
Luis laughed. "Right Cal. See you in a few" Luis
said as he replaced the mike.
Sheridan never heard the police cruiser pull up behind
her. She was too engrossed in what she was doing to notice anything else, anything that is until she heard this
incredible voice call to her.
"Good afternoon Miss" Luis called in a friendly
voice. He couldnít help but to give well-formed sleek body a once over. He felt his heart skip a beat as his eyes
appreciated the view the pale pink linen sundress gave him. It hugged her curvaceous body in all the right places.
He pulled his glasses off as he saw her head slowly turned to face him.
"Oh, hello Officer" Sheridan greeted with much
relief in her voice. "Am I glad to see you." The grin all but disappeared from her face when her eyes
met with the most gorgeous smile sheíd ever encountered. As her gaze shifted from his mouth to his eyes she felt
a huge lump develop in her throat and her mouth went dry.
For a moment Sheridan was completely unable to speak. She
held the gaze of the of the most beautiful pair of brown eyes sheís ever seen. Her entire body shuddered involuntarily
at the magnificent sight before her.
Luis fought the urge to allow his mouth to drop open as
he stared into the bluest pair of eyes heíd ever seen. He heard himself gasp as her natural beauty completely mesmerized
him. He fought hard to gather his wits about him and do what he came to do. "May I be of assistance?"
He asked never breaking eye contact.
thought and immediately chastised herself. Instead, she forced herself to look away for a moment. Looking back
at the tire she was fighting with she laughed. "If you can change a tire youíd be a lifesaver."
"It would be my pleasure Miss..." Luis answered,
once again finding himself lost in her incredible blue eyes.
"Sheridan" she responded shyly.
"Itís my pleasure Sheridan" Luis said flashing
his killer smile.
Luis approached the trunk of the car and held his strong
arms out taking the tire from her delicate grip. The backside of his hand gently brushed her arm and she nearly
jumped back. Luis looked up, once again catching her gaze, this time his brown eyes penetrated deep into hers.
Both felt a surge of electricity sear through them when their bodies touched for that instant.
"Iíll take that Sheridan" Luis said referring
to the tire. He took a deep breath forcing himself to concentrate on the task at hand. "My name is Luis by
the way" he said as he gathered the needed tools from her trunk he needed to fix the flat.
"Iím very pleased to meet you Luis" Sheridan
said with a huge grin. Sheíd taken several steps back and the distance helped her regain her composure.
"Are you a visitor to Harmony?" Luis asked. "I
know just about everyone in this town and I would have remembered someone as pretty as you."
Sheridan felt her cheeks grow hot. "Actually I live
here. I should say I used to live here and just moved back yesterday." Sheridan was finding it difficult to
concentrate on anything except watching his muscles flex as he twirled the cross bar loosening the bolts of the
Luis worked quickly. The conversation slowed as he magically
jacked the car in the air and in what seemed like seconds had swapped the flat tire for a full sized spare. He
let the car back down and twisted the cross bar in the opposite direction, tightening the bolts as much as he could.
Luis gathered the flat tire, jack and tire iron and placed them into the trunk of Sheridanís car. "Well Sheridan"
Luis said flashing her his brilliant grin. "Youíre good to go."
Sheridan about melted as this perfect specimen of a man
held his hand out to shake hers. She looked at his strong hand, remembering the shock sheíd received earlier. As
she was about to reach for it, Luis pulled it back. "I am so sorry Sheridan" he apologized. Here I am
covered in grease wanting to shake your hand. That was very inconsiderate of me."
"Donít be silly" Sheridan smiled. "If you
hadnít stopped here, I'd have a lot more grease on me than just from a handshake.
"It was a pleasure meeting you Sheridan" Luis
nodded at her.
His magnificent brown eyes had a sparkle in them, one that
seemed to call out to her. Ever since she first gazed into those penetrating eyes, she had the feeling sheíd seen
them before, that she knew him, but of course that was impossible.
"Thank you so much Luis" Sheridan said with great
appreciation. "I hope I can return the favor someday."
"Maybe you will someday Sheridan" Luis said with
a quick wink. "Now that youíre living in Harmony Iím sure Iíll be running into you more often."
"I hope so" Sheridan said without thinking. Her
cheeks turned a deep shade of red when she realized what she said. "I mean, Iím sure we will."
Luis chuckled. He knew by the look on her face she was
as attracted to him as he was her. He knew he would be making a point to "run into" Sheridan again and
very soon. "Have a good day" he called as he watched the most beautiful woman heíd ever seen slip into
the drivers seat of her blue car. He returned her wave as she eased her car back onto the road and it disappeared
from sight. As he climbed back into his own vehicle, he couldnít shake the feeling that somehow heíd met her before.
There was something very familiar about her... and those eyes. They were eyes he wouldnít mind losing himself in
for eternity. Luis shook the thought from his head. His mind soon shifted gears from the new woman heíd just met
to the woman heíd never met, KC.