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You've Got Mail Passions Style - Part One
by JSP

     

Chapter 18

Sheridan closed her eyes as she allowed the tension of the day leave her body. The hot spray of the shower water was just what she needed after another encounter with Officer Luis Lopez Fitzgerald. She shook her head as she tried to make the images of her latest fight with Harmonyís caveman cop disappear, but for some reason she couldnít get the visions out of her head and it bothered her. It bothered her because she was allowing this man to get to her. It bothered her because she hated the idea she was being punished for something he thinks someone in her family might have done to his father years in the past. It bothered her that he acted this way only around her, to everyone else he was just as Jay and Pilar described, an honest hard working loving family man with a sense of honor unlike any other man in Harmony. What bothered her most, was that it bothered her at all.

"What is it about Luis Lopez Fitzgerald?" She asked herself. "Why canít I get him out of my head?" Sheridan recalled him chasing after her when she stormed out of the Youth Center.

**FLASHBACK**

"Sheridan! Sheridan, wait, please!" Luis yelled as he caught up with her gently grabbing her arm.

Sheridan whirled around to face Luis, her eyes shooting daggers at him, yet she couldnít help but feel her arm tingle from his touch. "Whatís the matter Officer? Did you forget something? Oh I know what it is! You found out I bought the pop corn with my own money! I am so sorry Officer. Iíll make sure I return the unused portion of it first thing in the morning. That is ok with you isnít it? If youíd rather Iíll go get it right now and return it? After all, we wouldnít want anything bought with Crane money staying overnight in your precious Youth Center." Sheridan turned to go back inside the Youth Center but Luis stepped in her path blocking her.

Luis fought every instinct he had to return her sarcastic remark with one of his own. "Look, Sheridan, I came after you to apologize for what I said in there. I jumped to conclusions and I was wrong."

"Do my ears deceive me? Is the mighty Luis Lopez Fitzgerald actually admitting he was wrong?" Sheridan asked in surprise.

Luis did his best to ignore her comments. Admitting he was wrong was bad enough, but to admit it to her, a Crane was even worse. "Yes, Iím admitting I was wrong this time, but it doesnít mean itís going to happen again, just a warning."

Sheridan smiled. "Of course not Officer" she said scornfully. "Iíd expect nothing less."

Luis shot her a mock grin, his face then became serious again. "Mr. Kralik wanted me to thank you for everything youíve done for his granddaughter."

"His granddaughter?" Sheridan asked in confusion.

"Yeah, Alfred Kralik is Tammyís grandfather. He and his son Robert have seen amazing changes in her since you started working with her at the Youth Center. Last night Robert actually heard Tammy talking to her rag doll and it was the first time heíd heard her voice since her mother died."

Sheridanís face lit up. "Thatís wonderful!" Sheridan said excitedly. "I bet sheíll be talking a blue streak before anyone knows it."

"Well lets hope so" Luis said. "So apology accepted?"

The smile was replaced by a frown. Sheridan thought for a moment and decided to let bygones be bygones. "Apology accepted Officer" Sheridan said quietly.

"Good, thanks" Luis said nodding his head and turned to walk away. He stopped and turned back for a moment. "Just remember one thing Miss Crane, Iím still going to be watching you."

Sheridan felt the heat in her cheeks. "You couldnít resist could you?" She fumed. "You just had to get one last dig in didnít you? I donít know why I even bother! You have to be the most pigheaded, ill tempered, egotistical, inflexible, infuriating man Iíve ever had the displeasure to meet!" With that Sheridan hopped into her car and took off before Luis had a chance to insult her again.

**END FLASHBACK**

Sheridan climbed out of her shower, dried off and put on a pair of sweats. She forced herself to stop thinking about Officer Lopez Fitzgerald. Instead she reminded herself how disappointed she was she wasnít going to get the chance to talk to Pezz tonight, but she could at least email him. Not to mention, sheíd written to Godis and BabyShuis earlier in the day asking them if they wanted to chat tonight and both of them jumped at the chance. She hadnít chatted with either of them since before she left Paris and was dying to catch up with their news.




Luis sat at an outside table at the Book cafe waiting for Jay to arrive. He checked his watch noting it was nearly 8:00 and normally heíd be chatting with KC right now. Heíd emailed her this morning telling her of his guess, but she hadnít responded by the time he got home. He knew it was early considering sheíd been working all day, yet he still hoped maybe there would be a response confirming what he already knew in his heart, KC lived in Harmony.

Just the thought that she could be any number of women that heíd passed by that day caused a huge grin to appear on his face. Every blonde haired blue eyed woman he didnít know by name, heíd given a second glance at wondering if maybe she was the woman he desperately wanted to meet. Luis knew most of the people in Harmony, but not all and with this being tourist season it made it nearly impossible, yet it was fun looking. He didnít even know for sure that KC had blonde hair, itís just how heíd imagined her and after all, she never corrected him.

Luis was so caught up in his own thoughts he never heard Jay as she approached, called his name three times and sat down across from him. It was only on the fourth try and practically hitting him in the head did Luis actually come out of the daze he was in.

"My God Luis, where were you?" Jay asked in surprise.

"Jay," Iím sorry" Luis said sheepishly. "I was just thinking about something."

"Something?" Jay asked "or someone?"

Luis smiled. "All right, you caught me. Someone."

"And does this someone have the initials SC?" Jay asked.

"SC?" Luis asked with a perplexed look.

"Sheridan Crane?" Jay asked spelling out the obvious.

"What? No way! Why would I be thinking about her?"

"Well, for starters, because you like her?"

"WHAT?!" Luis shouted. "Are you nuts?"

"Not according to my file Iím not, at least the Beverly Hills file, I donít know what Sam had to say about me" Jay remarked with a small grin.

"Ha Ha!" Luis said snidely.

"I think we should go inside" Jay suggested. "Youíll be less likely to shout at me with a lot of people around."

Luis gave Jay a cold stare but stood up from the table and helped Jay with her chair. The two of them walked into the Book Cafe and were surprised to see computers at about half the tables.

"Whoa! I was just in here yesterday" Luis said "and I didnít see any computers in here. I wonder whatís going on? Beth never said anything about this."

"Youíre forgetting Luis, Beth no longer runs the Book Cafe. She left town" Jay said with a grin. "Which reminds me, I still have to do my happy dance for you in person on that one!"

Luis threw his head back and fought the laughter that was about to ensue. "Thatís one of the reasons I love you Jay, always the comedian" Luis grinned. "Seriously though, I would have thought this would have been planned months ago."

"Well, why not ask the new manager about it?" Jay suggested. "Heís right over there." Jay pointed to Chad who was chatting with some customers at one of the computer tables. "Iíll go grab us a table. Do you want one with or without a computer?"

"Definitely with!" Luis answered over his shoulder as he walked towards Chad.

"Now how did I know he was going to say that?" Jay laughed as she snatched the last available table with a computer. She shook her head as she watched her friend talk Chadís ear off.

"Hey Chad!" Luis greeted Chad Harris, manager of the Book Cafe and music expert extraordinaire.

"Luis, my man!" Chad smiled as he shook Luisí hand. "Whatís up bud?"

"Whatís with the computers? I was here yesterday and it was the same old Book Cafe itís been for years. I walk in here today and every other table has a computer at it."

Chad grinned from ear to ear. "Yeah, itís great man, check this out! All of the tables with computers at them have internet access. Itís the latest rage my man! See, all of the book stores and small cafes like this are putting them in."

"Chad, donít things like this usually start out in California or New York, big cities and places?" Luis asked.

"Well, yeah man they do, but who says we canít have them here in Harmony too?" Chad asked. "I know Iíve only been the manager here for a few weeks, but I felt this place needed to keep up with the changing times. People are gonna love it, youíll see."

"Didnít this cost you a lot?" Luis asked curiously.

"Heck no! That was the best part of it! The internet company made me a deal I couldnít refuse on all of the computers and threw in the access for the first six months. If this goes over well like I think it will, Iíll have computers at all the tables in a few months."

"Well, good luck with it all man" Luis said. "By the way, how does it work? Can you access your own mail from your home computer?"

"Sure thing man" Chad grinned. The internet is always on and to access your own mail account just type in the main address. For example hotmail.com or aol.com and go from there. Any place you regularly visit that requires a screen name and a password, just type it in as you normally would."

"Thanks a lot Chad and good luck again. Hey, weíre still on for the party at the Youth Center?" Luis asked.

"Sure thing man. Just let me know all the details and Iíll be there."

Luis walked back over to find Jay while Chad busied himself with other customers.

"So what did you find out?" Jay asked as Luis sat down.

"It seems as if this is the latest rage. Chad says all the book stores and small cafes are doing it."

"Chadís right, all the Fox Bookstores in California have computers in their coffee shop. Iím not sure about the cafes though."

"Thatíll be the day we get a Fox Bookstore in Harmony" Luis laughed.

"Now where were we" Jay said changing the subject. "Oh yes, I remember, We were talking about Sheridan Crane. By the way, I ordered you a coffee."

"Do we have to talk about Sheridan Crane?" Luis asked frowning. "I donít know if Iíll be able to digest my food if Iím forced to think about her."

"Luis! Behave!" Jay scolded. "Why is it you canít give Sheridan a break? Sheís never done anything to you and yet because of her last name you wonít give an inch."

"Hey, I apologized to her today, Iíd say thatís giving an inch" Luis announced, proud of himself for his good deed.

"You know what I think your problem is Luis?" Jay asked.

"What?" Luis asked.

"You like her" she answered simply. "You like Sheridan, but because sheís a Crane youíre mad at yourself for liking her, so youíre taking out all of your frustrations out on her."

Luis scoffed. "Jay, that is the most ridiculous thing Iíve ever heard. Me? Like a Crane? Get real!"

"Luis, this is me youíre talking to, not Cal or Marty or even Sam. Itís me, Jay, your old partner. I know you better than you may even know yourself. You can try to lie to yourself if you need to, but donít even try to lie to me on this one. Iíve seen the way you look at Sheridan and I can tell youíre attracted to her."

"All right, Iíll admit sheís not bad to look at but that doesnít mean Iím attracted to her" Luis reiterated. "Sheís a Crane for crying out loud."

"Luis, tell me honestly, when you first met Sheridan, before you found out she was a Crane, werenít you attracted to her? And wasn't the attraction more than just because she's a beautiful woman. Weren't you attracted to her personality, too?"
"All right, Iím telling you. I wasnít attracted to her."

Jay shook her head in frustration. Sometimes Luis could be the most stubborn men she knew and this was one of those times. "Well, according to Pilar, you two couldnít stop staring at each other the entire time you were here, before you took her to the Youth Center. And Pilar also told me that those looks continued through the whole tour of the Youth Center and right up to the point that Theresa identified Sheridan as "Sheridan Crane."

"My mother told you this?" Luis asked, not knowing how to answer, so he answered with a question.

Jay knew exactly what he was doing. "Answer this one for me then. If you hated Sheridan BEFORE you found out she was a Crane, then why did you offer her the job with the kids?"

Luis sat silent. He couldnít even look Jay in the eyes at this point. He also refused to admit it to himself that he was indeed attracted to the very beautiful Sheridan Crane.

"I just wish youíd cut her a little slack Luis. You don't have to act like you love her but could you stop picking a fight with her every time you see her. Maybe you could try just being civil to her for a change. You read that letter Mr. Kralik wrote. Look what sheís done for his granddaughter? The kids at the Youth Center adore her and personally I think she's a fantastic woman with a good head on her shoulders, who is kind hearted and a lot of fun to be around. Why canít you just look past her last name and see her for the good person she is?"

"Jay, itís not that easy, you know?" Luis answered defensively.

"It could be that easy Luis" Jay answered. "I think youíre passing up an opportunity to get to know a woman who is perfect for you."

"What makes you think Sheridan Crane is perfect for me? What makes you think that I havenít already found the perfect woman?"

"Have you?" Jay asked, stunned by Luis revelation.

"Maybe" Luis answered. His mind filled with thoughts of KC and a smile now tugged at the corner of his mouth.

"Donít keep me in suspense here big guy, out with it! Who is she?"

"Donít you know?" Luis asked.

Jay studied Luis carefully. "Donít tell me? Have you fallen in love with your cyber pal KC?"

"I donít know Jay" Luis replied honestly. "All I can tell you is this. I think about her all the time and we email or IM each other any and every chance we get. She is truly the most amazing person Iíve ever met."

"Luis, isnít she in Paris?" Jay asked.

"Not any more" Luis grinned. "She moved back to the States."

"Do you know where in the States?" Jay asked

Luis took a deep breath. "I guess itís been awhile since weíve really talked, hasnít it?" Luis asked.

"Iíll say" Jay answered. She knew Luis liked KC, but this was much more serious than she knew.



Sheridan clicked on the mailbox icon and grinned happily when she saw Pezz had sent her mail. There was just something about hearing those three little words, Youíve Got Mail, that gave her that warm and fuzzy feeling all over. Emails from Pezz had been the highlight of each and every day from the day she received her first. No matter what else was happening in her life, she could always count on smiling for a few minutes anyway, as she read the words he wrote to her.

My Dear KC,
Iím not sure what brought it on last night, maybe it was our confessions to each other but I dreamed about you again. It was a strange dream to be sure, but one that caused me to wake in the middle of the night and go running for my thesaurus.

KC, tell me this is real, please? Are you from Harmony? Harmony, Maine? Was that the reason you told me not to look at the obvious? Concord hit me in the face in the dictionary, where Harmony was only spelled in a different form of the word. At the time I paid no attention to it, but looking back that really was a wonderful clue.

I know you have to work all day, so do I for that matter, as I would have preferred to wait until we were on IM to talk to you about this, but when I opened that thesaurus and read those words.... My God KC, can we really be that close to one another?

I should probably shut up now as you havenít figured out where I live yet and I certainly am not spilling the beans until I hear confirmation from you first. How I wish I didnít have plans for tonight, but I canít break this date. An old friend is visiting from out of town and we havenít seen much of each other yet.

Trust me, if there is a way for me to get online later tonight I will! We need to talk... soon! If I have my way weíll be talking in person this weekend. I have to work every other weekend, so your news came at the right time, that is if you still want to meet me?

Oh Angel, I still canít believe this is happening! Harmony!! Of all places!

Enough for now, please write as soon as you can and tell me if Iím right? Iím dying over here! LOL

Take care my angel. Iíll miss you tonight.
Pezz

Sheridan couldnít keep the smile off her face. "He figured it out and he knows where Harmony is!" She squealed with delight. Sheridanís heart began to pound as the reality of the situation sank in. She reread one line over and over again. ĎIf I have my way weíll be talking in person this weekend. I have to work every other weekend, so your news came at the right time, that is if you still want to meet me?í

"Of course I want to meet you Pezz" She laughed to herself as she attempted to catch her breath. Never in her life could she remember herself reacting in this manner for any reason, never mind just reading a few words on a computer screen, yet right now, she felt as if sheíd never breathe normally again.

"This weekend" she said out loud as she calmed herself. "Today is Thursday, which means tomorrow night is the beginning of the weekend!




Chad arrived carrying the coffee Jay had ordered for both of them and took their sandwich order at the same time. Jay waited patiently for Luis to explain himself.

"Do you remember the game I told you KC and I were playing? The one where I give her clues and she tries to figure out where I live from the clues?"

"Yeah, I remember. Last I heard she had it narrowed down to someplace in New England" Jay remarked watching Luis intently as she dumped more cream and equal into her coffee. She took a quick sip and smiled happily. It wasnít every place that would add chocolate to your coffee.

"Well, when KC decided to move back to the States, we made it a two way game" Luis explained then took a sip of his coffee.

"So now she's been giving you clues and you're trying to figure out where she's from?"
Jay asked.

"Thatís right" Luis said. "We both started out knowing we were both from New England."

"Itís a small world Luis" Jay chuckled. "Itís a small world Luis" Jay chuckled. "You start off with an ocean between you and KC and you end up living within a few hundred miles of each other."

"Jay" Luis said in a very serious quiet tone, "Itís a lot smaller than you may think."

"How so Luis?"

"I think KC is from Harmony."

Jay almost choked on the coffee she was sipping at the time of Luisí announcement. "Luis, you canít be serious? What makes you think KC is from Harmony?"

"Unison."

"I don't understand."

"Her clue Jay, it was Unison."

"There's got to be more to it than that. You can't be basing your conclusion that KC is living in Harmony on that clue alone. That's not enough evidence. Besides, I've got a pretty fair vocabulary and I suspect that there are at least a half dozen words that unison could be a synonym for, so what makes you think her clue meant Harmony?"
"Jay, trust me, I looked it up in both the dictionary and thesaurus. As a matter of fact my first guess was Concord. KC told me nice try but it was wrong. She then advised me to try a thesaurus. I have those words committed to memory. Unison-- concord, accord, HARMONY, symphony; homologue; agreement."

"She also let it slip that we were from the same state after she read my clue to her that night."

"What was your clue to her?" Jay asked, still reeling.

"Presidential retreat" Luis answered.

"Kennebunkport" Jay answered without thinking. At first Jay wasnít so sure KC was from their Harmony, after all there was probably a Harmony of some sort in every state, but add that to the clue about the presidential retreat and there was little doubt. "Have you asked her if she lives in Harmony?"

"Yeah, I emailed her this morning, but she hadnít returned my mail when I last checked."

"Luis, you're going to be careful about this thing with KC, aren't you? I know you know all about the really strange people lurking in Cyberspace."

"I know all about the psychos out there Jay and I refuse to believe KC is one of them. After all, Iím the one that emailed her first. I was just responding to one of her posts. Itís not like we met in some kinky singles chat room. You know as well as I do that most of the weirdoes hang out in chat rooms" Luis said. "I believe KC is exactly who she says she is, which by the way is a 26 year old gorgeous blonde with the most incredible blue eyes."

"Youíre probably right Luis" Jay agreed. "She seemed very nice and genuine the night I talked to her in the chat room. "How do you know what she looks like? Did she send you her picture?" With LuisĎ description of KC, Jay was really curious now what she looked like. The only person "in Harmony" she could think of was Sheridan Crane.

"Not exactly" Luis answered. "Weíve talked about what how we look and thatís how I picture her. Iíve also told her it doesnít matter what she looks like on the outside, itís whatís on the inside that counts."

"Sounds like you two have been doing quite a bit of chatting" Jay remarked. "Luis, just how much time have you spent emailing and chatting with KC since we last talked?"

Luis looked long and hard at his friend. "With the exception of tonight and the night she moved from Paris, every evening since she got back from Spain."

Jay was amazed. Never had she seen Luis this involved in another personís life. Even when he and Beth were at their best, Luis never saw her more than a few nights in a row.

"Jay, I donít know how to explain this to you, I wish I did. Thereís just something about her. Weíve connected in a way I never dreamed possible. We both want the same things out of life, we both want to live in a small town and now it appears we both live in the same small town."

"So what are you going to do now?" Jay asked. "What happens if when you check your email next, you find a message from KC saying "Pezz, youíre right! I am from Harmony!"

Luisís face lit up with his signature grin. "Thatís easy Jay" Luis said. "Iíll meet her and if she turns out to be everything I think sheíll be, Iíll grab on to her and never let her go."

Jay smiled at the excitement she saw in Luisí eyes. He was like a kid in a candy store, everything he ever wanted in life soon to be his just for the taking. "Go ahead Luis. We've got a computer at our table and we might as well put it to good use." Jay prompted. "Check your mail. Iím as curious as you are now whether KC is from Harmony or not."

"Thanks Jay" Luis smiled. He pulled the keyboard in front of him and began pounding on the keys until heíd accessed his mailbox. When he opened it up, there was indeed a note from KC.



Dear Pezz,
I donít know what to say Pezz, Harmony? You think I live in Harmony? Now where would you ever get an idea like that? :)

I canít do this, I was going to make you suffer a little longer, but it appears youíve won our little contest Pezz. You are right. Harmony is the town I lived in as a small child and recently came home to. I never realized how small it truly was until I returned this time. As small as it is, it exemplifies everything I hold dear about the mystique of living in a small town. Itís picture perfect, the people are wonderful, except of course for the town bully. Itís almost exactly as you described your own home town.

May I assume you live nearby, since you seem familiar with Harmony? Iíd also like to know if I am going to find out where you are anytime soon? It doesnít matter really, since I lost youíre coming to Harmony, am I right?

Did you really want to meet this weekend Pezz? I canít think of anything I would rather do this weekend or anyone Iíd rather spend time with than you. I canít tell you how excited I was, how excited I am that you figured out the clue. I still canít believe our good fortune to start off at such a great distance and wind up practically on each others door steps.

Iíll be online tonight in the chat room with Godis and BabyShuis, so if you get on later you cam IM me. As much as I love chatting with those guys, I donít think theyíd mind if I chatted with you as well :-)

I hope your dinner goes well with your friend, enjoy yourself. I hope to talk to you soon Pezz, very soon.

I miss you,
KC

"Whoa, Jay" Luis laughed, "She is from Harmony and she wants to meet me this weekend."

Jay smiled. "Iím happy for you Luis. I hope she turns out to be everything youíre looking for."

"Thanks Jay" Luis grinned. "Now I have to decide where and when to meet her."

Luisí cell phone rang and he answered it still happily thinking about his date this weekend. The smile soon faded from his face as he listed to the person on the other end of the phone. Jay could tell by Luisí expression whoever it was was not the bearer of good news. She waited until he hung up to ask him about it.

"Whatís going on Luis?" Jay asked. "You donít look happy."

"Youíll never believe this Jay" Luis said in frustration. "That was Bud Anderson. He works for the state building code enforcement. As of Monday morning, the Youth Center will be shut down for needed roof repairs. There was an emergency meeting earlier today and it seems that because of all the rain we have been having lately and the fact that this appears to be a very active hurricane season, all work slated for later this year has to be completed ASAP. Starting Monday any and all buildings not up to code will be shut down until the needed repairs are completed."

"Oh no, Luis!" Jay sighed. "What are you going to do?"

"I have no choice but to comply. I had the repairs slotted to be done after the kids went back to school, but Iíll have to move things up a few weeks. It looks like the Youth Center will be closed until after September 1st."

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