The morning at the Harmony Bowling Alley flew by quickly.
Sheridan decided to keep score and help the younger children with their game rather than playing herself. For some
reason the cut on her neck was bothering her this morning and she was afraid it would open up again if she put
too much strain on it. She didnít dare tell Luis, Buzzy or Jay because she knew theyíd make a fuss. Truthfully,
she was fine except sheíd promised Dr. Russell to take it easy for a few days and she thought it best to comply.
Tammy stuck to Sheridan like glue. Sheridan had a marvelous time walking up to the lane each time with her tiny
friend explaining to her exactly what to do. Tammy had been laughing and giggling all morning which warmed Sheridanís
heart. She still hadnít spoken, but Sheridan had a feeling it would just be a matter of time. Though she tried
not to show any partiality among the children, it was hard not to give Tammy extra attention. The little girl absolutely
adored her, not to mention the fact that Friday would be her last day at the Youth Center for the summer. Tammyís
father and grandfather were taking her on a vacation Saturday morning, so Sheridan wanted to spend as much time
with her as possible.
Luis couldnít keep his eyes off Sheridan all morning. Jay caught him gazing at her in an amorous fashion and called
him on it, but Luis just dismissed it like she was crazy. It wasnít but a few minutes later when Luis was right
back at it. Every time Sheridan walked Tammy or one of the other children up to the lane for their turn, Luis became
completely memorized. Luis couldnít keep the smile from his face when he saw Sheridan literally glow after Tammy
bowled a strike. He felt his heart literally pound out of his chest and found himself wishing he was the one Sheridan
was hugging rather than Tammy. When he thought about what was going through his mind he frowned and admonished
himself for being completely ridiculous. Still, try as he might, he seemed to be drawn to her in a way he couldnít
Lunch was at the Book Cafe immediately following the morning of bowling. The kids were all wound up and hopefully
a quiet lunch would help calm the restless natives.
Pilar, Grace and Eve had arrived to supervise the children for the lunch hour, this giving the others a little
peace while they shifted gears from a rowdy morning of bowling to a more subdued afternoon at KCís Kiln.
Chad had been waiting for them when they arrived from their morning bowl and lunch was already at tables waiting
for the children, who eagerly sat down and began to eat. Sheridan, Luis, Buzzy and Jay found a table at the other
end of the Book Cafe to enjoy their lunch away from the constant chatter of young voices.
"This is nice" Buzzy said as he leaned back and relaxed with a huge smile on his face.
"Enjoy it while you can Buzzy" Luis grinned. "In another hour weíre right back at it."
"True" Buzzy acknowledged. "I plan to."
"Just wait till we go roller blading Buzzy" Sheridan said with a mischievous grin.
"Never mind roller blading" Jay said, "What about miniature golf and the go carts?"
Buzzy groaned loudly. "Iím looking forward to the softball game myself" he said. "I know my team
will wipe up the field with Luisí team."
"Oh you think so do you?" Luis asked with an amused look. "Keep dreaming buddy."
"I donít know Luis" Jay said with a smirk. "From where I sit, Buzzy looks like he has the better
team this year."
"Youíre only saying that because youíre on it Jay!" Luis laughed.
"I didnít know you made up teams already" Sheridan asked quietly.
"We didnít Sheridan" Buzzy smiled. "I just recruited Jay already for my team. I needed a jump start
and Jay is my best chance of saving face after the way Luisí team killed mine last year."
Sheridan smiled. "Good thinking Buzzy."
Chad interrupted them as he carried over a tray of coffee. "How about a caffeine infusion people?"
"Sounds good to me" Sheridan said gratefully. She was still feeling a little off today and hoped that
another cup of coffee might help.
Chad placed the mugs on the table and gave Luis a quick grin when he placed his special mug in front of him. "Enjoy.
Iíll be back in a few minutes to take your order."
"Thanks Chad" Luis responded as Chad turned to leave.
Luis poured milk in his coffee but couldnít locate the sugar. He was sure it had to be there somewhere, but for
the life of him couldnít find it. "Ok, whoís hogging the sugar?" He said in a joking fashion. Sure enough,
there was no sugar on the table.
"I see some at that table over there" Sheridan said pointing to an empty table. "Iíll get it."
Sheridan stood up and walked over to the empty table and grabbed the sugar bowl. She returned to their table and
held the sugar bowl out for Luis to take. "Here you go" she said. Just as Luis was about to take the
sugar from her, Sheridan got a sharp pain in her neck, where her bandage was and she suddenly cried out in pain
dropping the sugar, and grabbing her neck, the source of her pain. The sugar bowl fell directly onto Luisí prized
coffee cup and landed with a crash. Luis jumped up as steaming hot coffee rolled off the table into his lap. He
too yelled out as hot coffee splattered on his jeans, but luckily his reflexes were fast enough to avoid being
Sheridan gasped when she saw the disaster sheíd caused. Luisí cup was laying there in a dozen pieces. Still holding
her neck for support, Sheridan apologized. "Oh my God, Luis, I am so sorry!" She said sincerely. "I
broke your cup! I truly did not mean for this to happen. I donít know what got into me. Iím such a klutz today!"
Luis barely saw the broken cup on the table. He saw Sheridan holding her neck and grimacing in pain. "Never
mind the mug. Sheridan, what Iím concerned about is you. Are you all right?" He asked with great concern.
He immediately guided Sheridan to her seat and placed his hand gently over hers, removing it to inspect the bandage.
"How long has this been bothering you Sheridan?" Luis asked softly. He didnít want to alarm her by telling
her there was blood seeping through.
"Itís not that bad, really" Sheridan said trying unsuccessfully to laugh it off. "I just noticed
a little tingling this morning."
Luis gingerly removed the bandage from Sheridanís neck and saw that the knife wound had reopened. The area around
it was quite red and a little swollen. "Sheridan, I think this wound might be infected" Luis said in
a calm manner. He held one arm on her shoulder and gently caressed it trying to sooth her. "Jay, could you
go ask Dr. Russell to come over here for a minute? Buzzy, would you see if Chad has any antiseptic here? Maybe
a first aid kit?" He directed his friends in as calm a fashion as he could. His heart was racing a mile a
minute, looking at her infected wound, but he didnít want to alarm Sheridan or the others any more than he already
Buzzy and Jay were off in a flash while Luis stayed with Sheridan. He was crouched down in front of her and his
heart went out to her when he saw the overwhelming look of fear on her face.
"Sheridan? Sheridan, look at me" Luis said in a soft tone as he gently placed two fingers under her chin
and lifted it up so she would look him in the eyes. His gaze held hers and he smiled. Her normally bright, sparkling
blue eyes were now dull and filled with fear. She was fighting back tears "You just have a little infection.
Eve will take a look at it and probably write you a prescription for an antibiotic. Youíre going to be just fine."
Sheridan stared into Luis extraordinarily expressive brown eyes and nodded. She felt herself relax, Luisí kind,
caring gaze and considerate gestures now giving her a sense of safety and security. Somehow she knew he was right,
everything would be ok.
"Luis?" Eve said gently, but her voice filled with authority, "Let me take a look at Sheridan, would
"Of course Dr. Russell" Luis said as he stood up and backed away slightly. He continued to give Sheridan
an encouraging smile, which she was grateful for. She smiled back at him for a moment and then turned her attention
to Eve while she examined her wound.
"Luis is right, Sheridan. This is definitely infected" Eve said as she examined Sheridanís neck. "Jay?
Could you be a dear and go out to my car and get my medical bag? It should be on the floor in the front."
"Sure thing Dr. Russell" Jay said and left immediately to retrieve Eveís bag. As Jay was leaving, Chad
and Buzzy returned, Chad was carrying a first aid kit.
"Oh good" Eve smiled as she took the kit from Chad. "Thank you."
Eve sorted through the kit and found some alcohol and gauze and put it to one side. She grabbed her purse and searching
through it for a moment found what she was looking for. She looked up at Luis and Buzzy. "I need one of you
to go to the drug store and fill two prescriptions for me. I want to give Sheridan an injection of an antibiotic
to get her a good start and then another prescription for pills to follow."
"Iíll go" Buzzy volunteered.
Eve nodded and quickly filled out the prescriptions and handed them to Buzzy who sprinted out of the Book Cafe.
Eve started to settle down to clean Sheridanís wound when her beeper went off. She glanced at it and frowned. "Itís
the hospital" she said. "I have to take this."
"Take your time Dr. Russell" Sheridan said, feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of this attention.
Eve hated leaving Sheridan like this. "Luis?" she said as an idea occurred to her, "Would you mind
starting to clean Sheridanís wound?"
"Not at all" Luis assured her.
Eve explained exactly what she wanted him to do and then quickly left to find a payphone.
Luis gently dabbed the gauze with alcohol and approached Sheridan. "Iíll be as gentle as possible Sheridan"
Luis told her. He tried to smile but he knew from personal experience how much alcohol hurt when used to clean
"Itís ok Luis" Sheridan smiled back bravely. "I know you wonĎt hurt me."
Luis gingerly placed the alcohol soaked gauze on Sheridanís neck and her initial reaction was to flinch. Luis pulled
back his hand immediately fearing heíd hurt her.
"Iím ok, the cold just surprised me."
Luis nodded and hesitantly started again. Slowly he cleansed the wound in outward circles. Sheridan closed her
eyes and held back the grimace that threatened. The alcohol stung, but she didnít want to let on how much it truly
Luis could sense that Sheridan was being as brave as she could be. It killed him to inflict more pain on her, but
he knew he had to get rid of any germs that might be lingering there before it was rebandaged. He worked as quickly
as he could and still remain thorough and was relieved when he finished. As he was pulling the gauze off her neck,
he caught her flinching again and saw the facial grimace sheíd been trying to fight.
Not knowing what else to do, Luis gently began to blow on the area, hoping to dry it as quickly as possible.
Sheridan felt Luisí warm breath tickle her neck and felt tiny shock waves flow through her. Her eyes flew open
and her grimace turned to a slow burning smile. "What are you doing?" She asked giggled softly.
"I was just blowing on it trying to stop the pain. Mama used to do it to me whenever she had to clean a cut
or scrape I got as a kid. I remember it always seemed to help" Luis explained innocently. "If itís bothering
you, Iíll stop."
"No, itís not bothering me" Sheridan chuckled. "I was just surprised thatĎs all. And Pilar was right.
Once you started blowing on it, the last thing I was thinking about was the pain."
Jay stepped into the Book Cafe with Eveís medical bag and saw Luis and Sheridan alone. Judging by the looks on
their faces, she gathered they were "involved" in something and she wasnít going to be the one to interrupt.
She stepped out as quickly as sheíd stepped in.
"Good" Luis smiled, pleased with himself.
"Thank you Luis" Sheridan grinned back. "It really does feel better now." Her smile faded slightly
and a rueful look replaced the grin.
"You know Luis, I canĎt remember the last time anyone was this kind to me" she said with a combination
of surprise and gratitude. "My family never once asked how I was after the mugging. The only mention I even
heard from them was a note slipped under my cottage door from my brother. He told me I need to do a better job
keeping a low profile, that Father wouldnít be pleased by my attracting media attention." She laughed cynically
as the full impact hit her of what cold men her father and brother truly were.
"Iím sorry Sheridan" Luis told her. He placed his hand on her shoulder as if giving her a show of support.
"I know I said I wouldnít bring up your family but I just need to say this. I think I was wrong about you.
I was wrong when I treated you the way I did because of your last name."
"Luis, youíve already apologized for that..."
"Sheridan, please let me finish" Luis asked.
"I was wrong to judge you solely based on your last name. Mama, Jay and everyone tried to tell me you were
different from the rest of your family, but I was too stubborn to listen. I can see you are nothing like the rest
of the Cranes."
Sheridan smiled. "You mean that donít you?"
"Yeah, I do" Luis smiled back, his hand still on her shoulder. "No one deserves to be treated the
way your family apparently treats people, including their own. You need to know that there are people who do care,
"Are you one of those people, Luis?" Sheridan asked demurely.
Luis blushed slightly. "I guess I am Sheridan. You know, Iíd like to think we can be friends."
"Iíd like that" Sheridan said with a cockeyed smile. "And I think I was wrong about you too."
Luis returned Sheridanís smile. The two stared into each otherís eyes for a moment until they heard Eve approach.
"How are you coming Luis?" Eve asked as she hurriedly returned. Luis pulled back and allowed Eve to inspect
"You did a fine job. Now as soon as Jay returns with my bag, Iíll put a new bandage on it."
No sooner said, Jay came jogging back into the Book Cafe with Eveís medical bag. She handed it to her and Eve quickly
pulled out what she needed and expertly bandaged Sheridanís neck. Buzzy returned a short while later and Eve gave
Sheridan a shot of Rocephin, a potent antibiotic and then handed her the prescription bottle.
"Starting tomorrow morning, I want you to take one pill every six hours for 10 days, Sheridan" Eve explained.
"And if this cut doesnít seem to be getting any better or if it gets worse, call me immediately."
"I will Eve" Sheridan said sincerely. "Thank you very much for everything."
"Youíre welcome Sheridan" Eve smiled. "Iím glad I could help. Now take it easy, will you?
"Weíre supposed to be going to the ceramics shop this afternoon Dr. Russell" Luis said. "Will it
be ok for Sheridan to go?"
"Sheridan should be able to go to any of the activities youíve set up with the Youth Center. Just make sure
she takes it easy. All of you" Eve said as she looked at each Luis, Jay and Buzzy. "And Luis, since you
did such a good job cleaning Sheridanís neck earlier, as well as identifying there was indeed an infection, I want
you to keep an eye on it for her. This is a serious infection and I want someone besides Sheridan watching it."
"Thereís no need for that, really..."
"Sheridan, I could have you put in the hospital for this" Eve warned. "I think we got to it in time
to avoid that, but it needs to be carefully monitored. If youíd rather, you can stop by my office each day..."
"No, no, thatís all right" Sheridan smiled. "I just didnít want to be a burden to anyone, thatís
Eve pulled out a pile of bandages from her bag. "Clean the area and redress it twice a day. From what I understand,
you two will be spending all day together with the Youth Center activities, so it can be done when Sheridan comes
in in the morning and before she goes home at night."
"No problem Eve" Luis grinned. "Iíll take care of it and let you know if there is anything wrong.
ThatĎs what friends do for each other."
Luis and Sheridan shared a special smile that did not go unnoticed by Jay or Buzzy.
"I know you will Luis" Eve said. "Youíve got a good head on your shoulders and a kind heart."
Eve smiled and returned to her duties with Pilar and Grace.
Jay didnít know exactly what happened while she was gone, but she decided that the first opportunity she had, she
planned to find out.
Lunch was finished and everyone would be leaving shortly for the walk to KCís Kiln. Luis excused himself, citing
he wanted to check his email quickly before leaving. Sheridan kept the grin off her face, but kept her eye on Luis,
curious if he was intent on reading or writing an email. She smiled when she found him pounding quickly on the
keyboard and wondered if he was sending KC a note. She desperately wanted to find a way to check her mail before
she left to see if he was emailing her and what he wrote. She glanced around and when she was pretty sure Luis
was just about finished, decided sheíd do exactly what Luis did.
"You know, I was expecting a note from a friend, so I think Iíll check my mail too" Sheridan said as
she stood up to find a computer.
Jay just shook her head and smiled. "Weíll meet you outside, Sheridan" Jay called after her. "Buzzy
and I will get the kids ready for the walk."
Sheridan thanked her and found an empty table with a computer at it and logged on to check her mail. She kept an
eye on Luis, who had finished with his computer and now was talking with Chad. When her mailbox popped up she smiled
as she saw that she did have mail from Pezz. "So Luis did send me an email" she whispered as she opened
I just finished lunch at the Book Cafe and couldnít resist sending you a note. Iím sure youíre not around to get
it, but being able to write to you somehow makes me feel closer to you. :)
I donít have a lot of time right now. Weíre taking the restless natives to a ceramics shop right now. Hey, you
never did tell me if youíve ever done ceramics before? Iím about to find out how inartistic I am. LOL. I think
Iíll make something special for you and give it to you when we finally meet. Just donít laugh if it turns out badly.
Time for me to go angel. Iíll try to write later if I get a chance before the concert.
Have a great day sweetie,
Sheridan grinned and couldnít resist sending a response.
She typed as quickly as she could. She knew Jay and the others were waiting for her. Just as she clicked send,
she heard a voice behind her.
"Sheridan, are you coming?" Luis asked.
"Luis!" Sheridan said as she whirled around in surprise. "You startled me."
"Weíre going to be late" Luis informed her.
"Iíll be right there" she said as she quickly signed off. She sighed with relief when she realized Luis
hadnít seen her screen name.
Sheridan, Luis, Jay and Buzzy escorted the children as they toured the store on Fifth Street, KCís Kiln. Luis had
to hold back his amusement when he met the owner of the shop, Ellie Hobson. Ellie was a very pleasant heavy set
lady in her early sixties with salt and pepper hair and brown eyes. Jay and Sheridan both saw the look of relief
spread across Luisí face when he was introduced to Ellie, but neither one of them said anything to him. Ellie showed
the group the entire process of making a piece from the beginning, but told them that today, they would only be
decorating an already prepared piece of their choosing and then it would be fired after they finished their art
The kids were excited as they each chose a piece to decorate. There were many different articles to choose from.
Some of the kids chose to make picture frames, some chose little animals like bunny rabbits and birds, but the
most popular item was a lighthouse, which Ellie seemed to have an endless supply of. She laughed when asked about
it and told the group that she missed more than anything the sound of the fog horn at night. It had always lulled
her to sleep as a little girl and it took her years to find as good a night sleep without it.
Tammy spotted something that wasnít on the table that she wanted and looked over at Sheridan. She then excitedly
grabbed Luisí arm and pulled him towards the shelf that the item was on. She pointed at Sheridan, then at the object
on the shelf, until Luis got the idea that Tammy wanted to make one of them for Sheridan.
"Thatís a great idea Tammy" Luis grinned. He winked at her and Tammy winked back, a precious smile on
her face. "Itíll be our secret until youíre ready to give it to Sheridan, how does that sound?" Luis
whispered to the little girl. Tammy nodded excitedly. Luis pointed to an object on the shelf right next to the
one Tammy wanted. "And I am going to make that one for a very special friend of mine" he told her. Tammy
put her finger to her lips, signaling that she as well would keep Luisí secret.
"What do you suppose is going on over there?" Sheridan asked Jay as she watched Tammy and Luis in a secretive
Jay laughed. "If I were a betting woman, Iíd say that Tammy wants to make something special for someone she
likes and doesnít want her to find out about it."
"You think so do you?" Sheridan chuckled. "Far be it for me to interrupt that!"
"So Sheridan, what are you going to make?" Jay asked.
Sheridan looked around and saw that everyone was occupied with their own thoughts. "Promise not to tell?"
"I promise" Jay answered with amusement.
Sheridan whispered in Jayís ear what she had planned.
"I think thatís a great idea Sheridan" Jay said. "A really terrific idea."
"Thanks Jay. I hope I donít mess it up too much."
"Don't worry about it. I'm sure it will be just perfect."
The next few hours were spent with everyone diligently painting their pieces. The adults mingled with the children,
helping them where they could and then would return to their own projects working on them as well. Sheridan stayed
as far away from Tammy as she could get, who was working closely with Luis. The two of them seemed to be having
a great time together, comparing notes on their projects often.
Buzzy appeared to be the least creative of the bunch. Jay watched him in amusement as he became very frustrated
with his piece and finally Ellie came over and gave him a helping hand.
"So Sheridan" Jay asked as the two women worked on their projects across the table from each other. "What
did I miss earlier? Back at the Book Cafe? When I came back from retrieving Eveís bag, I saw some heavy duty looks
exchanged between you and Luis."
"It was nothing, really Jay" Sheridan blushed.
Jay looked at Sheridan in surprise. "Sheridan, I know what I saw and those looks were not nothing. Come on
now, tell me the truth. You know I'm not going to stop bugging you until you do."
Sheridan sighed happily. "All right, youíre right. It was something, at least I hope it was something."
"Thatís better" Jay laughed. "Now, tell me what happened. Details woman, Iím dying here!"
"Luis apologized to me" Sheridan finally stated.
"Again? He already did that Sheridan. There has to be more to it than that?"
"He told me he was wrong about me, that I am nothing like the rest of my family. He said he was too stubborn
to listen to you and Pilar when you were telling him that and he hopes we can be friends."
Jay smiled. "And what did you say?"
"I said I would like that very much and that I was wrong about him too." Sheridanís cheeks seemed to
get redder by the minute and her smile was nothing short of brilliant.
"Thatís great Sheridan" Jay said, "but why do I get the feeling there is something youíre not telling
Sheridan giggled slightly. She wasnít sure she should even bring this up, but it was the cause of her giddy mood.
"Well, there was something, but itíll probably seem silly to you."
"It was just a feeling I had when Luis was cleaning my cut."
"Jay, he was so gentle and caring when he cleaned it. I canít begin to describe the overwhelming feeling of
warmth and security I felt with him being so attentive towards me. As much as the alcohol burned while he was cleaning
my neck, he was tender and sweet. He didnít want to hurt me and then when he blew on my neck to make the pain go
away, I thought Iíd about go insane." Sheridan felt embarrassed by revealing this to Jay. "See, I told
you it was silly."
Jay couldnít keep the grin off her face. "Does Luis have any idea what he did to you?"
"No! And there was no way I was going to tell him either!" Sheridan said, now beet red.
"Well, Iím not going to tell him" Jay laughed. "It does sound like you two are making some definite
"I hope so" Sheridan agreed. "Iíll tell you one thing though. I donít know how much Iím going to
be able to take of Dr. Luis cleaning and blowing on my wound. Once was bad enough, but twice a day will be the
end of me!"
Jay howled with laughter and Sheridan began to laugh too. "Enjoy it Sheridan" Jay kidded. "I bet
youíll think of a way to pay Luis back. And when it happens, thatís one fireworks display I wonít want to miss!"