The afternoon went by quickly. Before anyone knew it, the
ceramic knick knacks were out of the oven just waiting for the kids to bring them home to their parents as gifts.
Ellie was nice enough to give each child and adult alike a box for their prize.
With proud creation in hand, each youngster thanked Ellie with a hug or a handshake and the four adults couldnít
give her enough praise. The afternoon had been a great success and all agreed they would recommend KCís Kiln to
everyone they knew.
The walk back to the Book Cafe didnít take long at all. Many of the parents were there waiting and the younger
kids couldnít contain their excitement as they handed their gifts to them. Sheridan smiled as the expressions of
surprise and pride came across each parentís face as they opened the gift from their child.
Sheridan stood with Jay and Luis watching the excited youngsters, as Buzzy busily counted heads before allowing
anyone to leave for the day.
"Look at them" Sheridan marveled. "They are so excited giving their artwork to their parents."
"Of course they are Sheridan" Jay answered with a quick grin. "Donít you remember giving something
you made to one of your parents as a kid and having them go crazy over it? I remember when I was in Girl Scouts,
we made these drawings that our leaders had turned into dinner plates. The plates were plastic and didnít last
very long, but my mother was so proud of the plate I made for her."
"That sounds nice Jay" Sheridan smiled. "How about you Luis? Did you ever make anything for Pilar?"
Luis grinned. "Yeah, I made her a bird cage out of Popsicle sticks one time. It was lopsided and crooked,
but she thought it was the best thing sheíd ever received. We didnít have a bird, so she did the next best thing.
She bought a few accessories for it and a small stuffed bird and made a decoration out of it. I think she still
Sheridan tried to picture a young Luis proudly giving Pilar her birdcage and the mental image was precious. She
hoped one day to have a child of her own present her with such a gift. She tried once to give her father something
sheíd made and it was a very traumatic experience.
"Iíll have to ask her about it sometime. Iíd love to see it" Sheridan grinned, trying not to let on how
hurt sheíd been as a child over a similar incident.
Tammy came bouncing over to Sheridan with her father holding her hand. She donned a contagious smile as she pulled
her father closer. She tugged on Sheridanís skirt to get her attention.
"Hi sweetie" Sheridan beamed as she leaned down to greet the little girl at her height. "Are you
going home now?"
"I guess Iíll see you tomorrow morning then. We have another busy day ahead of us."
Tammy pulled on her fatherís sleeve and motioned for him to hand Sheridan the box he was holding. Robert Kralik
did just that.
"For me?" Sheridan asked in surprise.
Tammy nodded excitedly.
"Thank you sweetheart" Sheridan grinned. She took the box from Robert and slowly opened it to reveal
the contents. A look of pure delight shone on Sheridanís face. "You made this for me?"
Again, Tammy nodded excitedly.
"Tammy, this is the most beautiful angel I have ever seen!" Sheridan remarked, a tear forming in her
eye. "I will treasure it always. Thank you so much!"
Sheridan put her arms out to embrace the tiny girl and she readily jumped in her arms.
"I love you Sheridan" Tammy said out loud.
Sheridan pulled back in shock. Robert stood there with his mouth opened and Luis and Jay were completely taken
by surprise as well. "I love you too Tammy" Sheridan said, her eyes now filled with tears. "Very
much." Sheridan hugged Tammy again and then pulled back, pride in her eyes. She looked up at Robert Kralik
who was wiping tears from his own eyes.
"Come on Daddy, letís go home" Tammy said. She spoke to her father as if sheíd spoken those words every
night for the past year.
Robert laughed, his voice filled with emotion. "Whatever you say honey." Robert picked up Tammy and mouthed
the words "Thank you" to Sheridan as he carried his precious daughter out of the Book Cafe. "Weíre
going to celebrate tonight Tammy" Robert could be heard saying as they were leaving. "Weíre going out
to dinner and you get to choose the restaurant."
"McDonalds!" Tammy cheered as the door closed behind them.
Sheridan was still in tears as she watched Robert and Tammy walk down the street. Jay had a few tears in her eyes
"Way to go Sheridan!" Jay said giving her a quick hug as she acknowledged her friendís accomplishment.
"Thanks Jay" Sheridan said as she wiped tears from her own eyes.
"Sheridan, I have to tell you, I am impressed!" Luis said quietly as he approached her. "You really
got through to her. Iíve never seen anyone as good with the children as you are. You really are fantastic, you
"Thanks Luis" Sheridan said, tears of joy still falling down her cheeks. Sheridan wasnít sure why she
was so emotional, except maybe she felt like sheíd done something for Tammy that no one could do for her after
her own mother died.
"Iím sorry for getting so emotional" Sheridan said trying to laugh it off.
"Hey" Luis said softly taking her chin in his hand, "You have every right to get emotional. What
you did for Tammy and her family was amazing. Do you have any idea how many doctors they took her to in the months
after her mother died?"
"I can imagine" Sheridan said bitterly as she recalled her own experiences with different doctors. Sheíd
never stopped speaking, but the emotional impact from her motherís death still was with her today.
"Come on Sheridan" Luis soothed wrapping his strong arm around her waist. "Youíve had a lot of excitement
for one day. Eve wants you to take it easy and Iím here to make sure you follow doctorís orders."
Sheridan looked up through her tear stained face and smiled into his warm friendly brown eyes. "Thank you
Doctor Luis" she grinned.
Luis laughed as he guided Sheridan to a table. "Iíll get us some cold drinks" Jay called after them as
she headed towards the counter.
"Now sit down Sheridan" Luis encouraged, holding the chair out for her. "Doctorís orders."
Sheridan did as she was told and grinned at Luis. "Thank you Doctor. Oh, that reminds me. I have something
"You have something for me?" Luis asked in surprise.
Sheridan held out the box sheíd been holding onto and placed it on the table in front of Luis. "I know it
wonít replace the one I broke this morning, but I hope it will at least take the curse off it."
"Sheridan, you didnít have to do that" Luis said sincerely. "It was just a mug. The incoming cadets
all get together and buy the graduating class coffee mugs. Itís kind of a joke. You know how some people think
all cops do is sit around all day and drink coffee?"
"Nevertheless, this is for you" Sheridan insisted.
Luis opened the box and a grin instantly formed on his face. It was a coffee mug and on one side was Luisí name
with the superman logo and on the other side was written Top Cop and Top Doc. There were small pictures of a policeman
and a doctor underneath.
"Sheridan, this is really nice" Luis commented with a large smile. He examined the mug carefully and
saw that sheíd signed the bottom with her initials SKC.
"Whatís the "K" stand for?" Luis asked.
"Katherine. My middle name is for my mother."
"Sheridan, this is really very thoughtful of you" Luis said happily.
Jay returned with the cold drinks. "I see Sheridan gave you the mug" Jay laughed as she placed the drinks
on the table. "I think Iím going to start calling you Doctor Luis."
"If you call me that in public, I have a few names I can call you" Luis laughed. "How about....."
"Never mind!" Jay grinned. "I get the picture."
"Well, now itís my turn to hand out surprises" Luis smiled. "Tickets for the ladies to see The Boss!"
"All right Luis!" Jay yelled giving him the high five across the table.
Sheridan smiled. She really was pleased that Luis had gotten her the ticket but wasnít sure if she should go. "Luis
that really was very sweet of you to get the tickets, but Iím not sure I should go. If my memory serves me correctly,
those concerts get pretty rowdy."
"You know, youíre right" Luis agreed, the excitement leaving his voice. "I doubt Dr. Russell knew
we had Springsteen tickets when she gave Sheridan the go ahead to take part in the Youth Center activities."
"Iíll stay home with you Sheridan" Jay offered. "We can watch it on TV. Itíll be fun."
"No, Jay you go!" Sheridan insisted. "Iíll be fine by myself. In fact Iím used to being alone. All
of the company Iíve had since I moved back to Harmony is whatís new to me. Iíll chat with some of my friends on
"Are you sure Sheridan?" Jay asked, "because honestly I donít mind. Not one bit."
"No, go have a good time with Luis and the others. I could use some rest anyway before the softball game tomorrow."
"What color sweatshirt do you want?" Jay asked. "You at least need a shirt from the concert."
"Any color is fine with me Jay" Sheridan said. "Thanks for the offer."
"Iím going to check on you after the concert, Sheridan" Luis told her. "I promised Eve Iíd keep
my eye on you and I intend to do just that."
"Thank you Doctor" Sheridan grinned, "but I promise you Iíll be fine. Just go have a good time."
Sheridan was feeling a bit tired and although she would love to see The Boss on any other night, tonight wouldnít
Sheridan waved good bye to Luis and Jay and headed back to her cottage. She planned on spending a quiet evening
chatting on the computer with her cyber pals. Jay and Luis on the other hand, were headed to The Summer Carnival
to hear the Boss. They both looked forward to a very fun evening.
The cheering crowd died to a dull roar shortly after the warm up band finished its last number. Marty and Cal ran
to the concession stand leaving Luis and Jay alone.
"They were pretty good werenít they?" Jay said loud enough so her voice would be heard above the crowd.
"Yeah" Luis responded in a similar tone. "They were pretty good."
"Itís too bad Sheridan had to miss it" Jay said thoughtfully. "I still think I should have stayed
"She wanted you to come Jay. She told both of us to come and have a good time."
"I know" Jay answered, "but I still feel a little guilty for enjoying myself when she canít be here."
Luis grinned. "I know what you mean. I feel sort of guilty as well."
"Luis, Iíve been meaning to tell you that I really am proud of you for admitting you were wrong for treating
Sheridan the way you did. I know how hard it is for you to admit when youíre wrong. You did the right thing when
you sincerely apologized to Sheridan for the way you behaved towards her and I think you made Sheridan feel a whole
lot better too."
"Thanks" Luis said with a small smile. He knew better than anyone how difficult it was for him. "Youíre
right, it wasnít easy for me, but I couldnít have lived with myself if I hadnít apologized to her. Iíve never been
that cruel to any woman in my life and Sheridan didnít do anything to deserve my inexcusable rudeness." Luis
sighed with relief. His expression seemed to lighten a little. "Iím just glad Sheridan found it into her heart
to forgive me. I might have missed out on getting to know a really nice lady."
"Sheridan is worth making the effort to get to know" Jay replied. "I honestly wasn't sure you were
going to be able to keep your promise not to mention Sheridan's family to her. I knew you meant it when you told
her you wouldn't judge her based on her last name, but truthfully, I wasn't sure you could pull it off."
"Well, there have been a few times when I had to stop myself before I said something, but all in all I have
to say, itís easier than I thought it would be" Luis admitted. "You know something Jay, you and Mama
were right. Sheridan is nothing like the rest of her family. Not only is she beautiful, but sheís thoughtful, kind,
considerate and Iíve never met anyone who is better with kids. Jay, she is truly amazing. Look what sheís done
with Tammy?" Luisí whole face seemed to light up when he talked about Sheridan. It was unreal how someone
who couldnít say two civil words to her a few days ago, was now singing her praises so highly.
Jay laughed. "I never thought Iíd see the day Luis. You know, if I didnít know better, Iíd say that you and
Sheridan might actually be starting to become friends."
"We are friends Jay" Luis smiled. "I told Sheridan that not so long ago. She really is a nice person."
"Iím glad youíve finally seen things my way" Jay said impishly.
"Youíre always right arenít you?" Luis laughed.
"You know me so well, donít you Luis?"
Luis shook his head and laughed. Jay always reminded him when she was right.
"Changing the subject a little" Jay said, her expression becoming serious. "How are you dealing
with this whole shooting mess? Iím sure itís gotta be tough."
Luis shrugged his shoulders. "Iím trying not to think about it Jay. I know I did the right thing. IA will
find that out as well. I just wish they didnít have to take so long doing it."
"I know how impatient you can get Luis, but just try to relax" Jay offered. "We all know you were
justified in what you did. Just think of it as a paid vacation. A vacation that you get to spend with ME!"
Jay said with a devilish grin.
Luis laughed. "I canít think of a better way to spend it either Jay."
"So Luis" Jay said nonchalantly, "Howís KC? I havenít heard you mention her in what? A day? Whoa,
can it be?"
Luis gave Jay a wry smile. "KC is fine, thank you very much. As a matter of fact, we chatted last night for
"Good" Jay said. She then started giggling and was having a hard time stopping.
"Whatís so funny Jay?" Luis asked. He couldnít imagine what she was laughing at now.
"I was just remembering the look on your face when you met Ellie this afternoon" Jay said cracking up.
"It was priceless the way your mouth dropped to the floor when you saw that sweet little old lady announce
she was KCís wife. I know you were still half expecting a young blonde to introduce herself."
Luisí cheeks turned red. Even though he was almost positive that his KC wasnít the ceramics storeís Ellie, he wasnít
prepared for an older woman to be the owner. It was truly a shock to him.
"I was a little surprised I guess."
"Pleasantly surprised I might add" Jay grinned.
Luis rolled his eyes and laughed with his friend. Now that he thought about it, the whole thing was pretty funny.
Sheridan fixed herself a light dinner before her scheduled chat with her friends. At least she hoped sheíd be able
to chat with them. Sheíd sent out an email to them with the time sheíd be available, but hadní t heard back yet.
As Sheridan dried her dinner dishes, her mind drifted back to that afternoon when she gave Luis the coffee mug
sheíd made him. Sheíd been so unsure about her decision to get to know Luis, but the more time she spent with him,
the more she was sure she was doing the right thing. The way he looked at her when he received her simple gift
was enough to make her heart melt. The look of surprise and genuine pleasure on his face said it all to her. Lately,
every time their eyes met, she felt her stomach do flip flops and wondered if Luis felt anything at all?
She so wished that he felt something, even a little something towards her, but it was so hard to tell. As she closed
the cupboard and put her dishcloth away, Sheridan let out a soft groan and slowly walked into her living room and
sat down at her computer.
Sheridan clicked on her email and was delighted when she saw she had a note from her friend Marianna. It had been
so long since sheíd talked to her and Sheridan missed their talks a great deal.
My dearest Sheridan.
I hope this email finds you well. I just returned
from Paris this evening and I thought about you while I was there. I hope you are doing well in your new home in
I can not get that conversation out of my mind, querida, the one about your internet lover. For some reason I have
been having the strangest sensations about him lately. I keep sensing that he is closer than you know. I do not
mean to frighten you, it is not a bad feeling. Please, when you get a chance, please write and tell me how things
are going with him, if only to satisfy this womanís crazy notions.
My husband and I will be visiting your country soon, that is the reason for my recent trip to Paris. (Some new
clothes of course!) Sheridan, I have finally located my brotherís daughters! I lost contact with them after he
died, but followed a lead and discovered they are now scattered on two continents. I spoke with his eldest, Maria
and we had a nice talk. She told me her sister lives in New England and she was planning a visit there next week.
Maria told me if I could come to the States, theyíd both love to see me again. They have grown families and I canít
wait to meet all my grand nieces and nephews!
If you have time, Iíd love to meet you while I am visiting the United States. Maria suggested I fly into Logan
airport in Boston and she would meet me there. I still havenít confirmed my flight, but I should be in your country
within the next few weeks. Itís been years since Iíve been to the States.
I am very tired querida, so I am off to bed. I look forward to hearing from you soon and meeting with you during
my visit. I also hope to hear that you and your young man will be visiting us for Christmas.
Sheridan sent a quick note to Marianna and planned on calling
her tomorrow. So much had happened since Sheridan had gone to Spain after she discovered her fiancé, Jean
Luc was already married to another woman. She was also intrigued by Mariannaís feeling that her internet "lover"
was closer than she knew.
Sheridan still didnít have any mail from her cyber pals, so she got up from her computer and walked over to the
couch and sat down. "If only" she said to herself as her mind wandered back to Luis. Goosebumps appeared
on her arms as she recalled vividly Luis cleaning her wound earlier in the day and then blowing on it. She closed
her eyes and leaned back into the soft cushions as she reveled in the memory. "If only..." she said again.
Sheridan picked up the remote control that was sitting on her coffee table and decided to catch some of the Springsteen
concert. She flipped through the channels until she found it. She laughed silently to herself as she remembered
Jay and her grandmother wanting to go to bed early last night because Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune had been preempted.
She imagined she was probably just as upset tonight.
Sheridan turned the volume up as she heard "Born to Run" being played. She found herself singing along
with him and tapping her feet. She really wanted to go to this concert, especially since Luis was going to be there,
but knew it probably wasnít a good idea. When the camera scanned the crowd and she saw how rowdy everyone was,
she knew sheíd made the right decision no matter how disappointed she was.
The Springsteen concert was in full swing. Marty and Cal had found two girls who were Boss groupies and were dancing
in the aisles with them. At first, Luis was laughing at them for their public display. That was of course until
Jay grabbed his arm and the two of them joined Marty and Cal. Bruce then began playing "Dancing in the Dark"
and Luis let loose. He was no longer laughing at Marty and Cal but leading them in the aisles.
Sheridan almost forgot her troubles when she heard "Dancing in the Dark" begin to play. She recalled
seeing Bruce with some of her sorority sisters a few years earlier and theyíd gone absolutely crazy when the Boss
played it. She knew every word and sang along as she watched, this time calmly from her living room. As the TV
cameras scanned the crowd, Sheridan almost fell off the couch. Who did she see dancing in the aisles? Marty, Cal
and Jay and ... Luis. Her shock soon wore off and she smiled at the sight of Luis. She couldnít help but wonder
what would have happened if she had gone to the concert. She fantasized about being there to dance with Luis in
the aisle and then laughed at herself.
"I have to stop this" she said to herself, but silently she could have kicked herself for telling Luis
not to worry about her. After all, he had offered to check on her after the concert.
"You know Luis" Jay said as she and Luis walked to his car in the parking lot, "We can still meet
Marty and Cal at Jackís. They probably arenít there yet."
"I know Jay" Luis said thoughtfully. "Itís not that I donít want to go, I just think I should check
on Sheridan. After all, I did promise Eve."
Jay fought the smile that threatened her face. "Yes you did" Jay answered.
"Itís a shame she had to miss the concert" Luis said, Sheridan still on his mind. "I think it was
one of his best."
"He was in top form tonight no doubt" Jay agreed. "I bet Sheridan watched it on television. She
probably even saw you going wild."
Luis laughed. "I donít know about that. You never recognize people in large crowds like that."
"Maybe" Jay mused. "I was surprised to see Robert Kralik there. He seemed to be just as into it
as the rest of us."
"Yeah" Luis nodded. "I was surprised as well. Who was the woman he was with, a new girlfriend?"
"Nope" Jay said shaking her head. "I heard her call him bro. I bet it was his sister. Besides, I
donít think Tammy is the only Kralik that likes Sheridan."
"What do you mean by that?" Luis asked suspiciously.
"I donít mean anything by it, just that I think Robert likes Sheridan."
"Thatís crazy Jay!" Luis said obstinately. "Heís just grateful to Sheridan for all she has done
"If you say so Luis" Jay said. She looked at Luis and smiled inwardly. Luis was jealous that another
man might be interested in Sheridan. This was definitely a step in the right direction.
"Coming!" Sheridan said as she scrambled from her couch to open the front door to her cottage. As she
opened the door she was surprised to see Luis standing there with a sexy grin on his face. It was a smile that
made her weak at the knees.
"Luis!" Sheridan exclaimed. "I thought you were at the concert with Jay and your buddies?"
"I was Sheridan" Luis told her, "but the concert is over and now Iím here with you. I told you Iíd
come by to check on you when the concert was over."
"Yes, you did" Sheridan laughed nervously. She invited Luis inside and noticed he carried a paper bag
under his arm. "Whatís in the bag?" She asked as curiosity got the best of her.
"Oh this?" Luis asked holding out the bag for her to see. "Nothing really. I thought Iíd change
your bandage since I promised Eve Iíd do it twice a day."
"Of course" Sheridan smiled. "Where would you like me Doctor?"
"Right here on the couch will be fine Sheridan" Luis answered her with an affable grin.
Sheridan took her place on the couch and waited for "Doctor Luis" to perform his duties. She closed her
eyes as he gently pulled the silky tape away from her delicate skin. It pulled a little, but Luisí magical touch
kept her from feeling any real pain.
She did feel the stinging when he cleansed the area off with alcohol. She closed her eyes and grimaced at the needle
like sensation that she was currently feeling.
"Does that burn Sheridan?" Luis asked in a concerned voice.
"A little" she admitted.
"Donít worry, Iíll take care of it" Luis assured her. Luis moved in closer to her and lowered his head
to her neck. He gently began to blow on the area.
Sheridan gasped when Luisí warm breath slowly tickled her neck sending shivers through her body. Tiny goose bumps
formed on the nape of her neck.
"How is that Sheridan?" Luis asked. "Where is your pain now on a scale of 1-10?"
Sheridan smiled. "You brought it all the way down from an 8 to a 1. Thank you."
"Oh Sheridan" Luis said, "You shouldnít have to be in any pain at all. Let me see if I can take
care of that for you."
Sheridan nodded and braced herself for another breath to relieve her discomfort. This time, instead of a warm breath
on her neck, she felt Luisí hot breath blowing very slowly in her ear. She heard herself gasp out loud as the sensation
of Luisís breath sent her entire nervous system into overdrive. Her heart began to race and her breathing quickened
considerably. Instead of just blowing once, he did it several times, which further intensified her reaction. Just
when she didnít think she could take it anymore he stopped.
"So Sheridan" Luis said in a gravelly voice, "do you feel better now?" Sheridan turned to face
him and saw a look of wanting in his eyes that caused her heart to catch in her throat. She found she couldnít
speak, so she just nodded.
Luis smiled, that killer smile, never breaking eye contact. "Good" he replied, his voice thick with desire,
the back of his hand now slowly caressing her face. He leaned back in and whispered in her ear, "Sheridan
I want to make love to you."
"What?" Sheridan asked in surprise but her words almost stuck in her throat when Luis allowed his lips
to graze her ear. When he reached her earlobe he very gently sucked on it. Sheridan thought she was about to go
insane as every nerve ending in her body was at peak sensation.
There was a faint knocking at the door.
"Sheridan, I want you. I want to make love to you." Luis allowed his lips to slowly make their way from
her ear towards her mouth.
Sheridan didnít know what to do. This was too good to be true, yet it was all so sudden.
"Oh Luis!" Sheridan cried in utter surprise. The knocking persisted.
"I want you Sheridan" Luis said in a husky whisper. His lips finally grazed Sheridanís.
The knocking grew louder until Sheridan found herself sitting bolt upright on her couch. She heard the knock again
and a voice.
"Sheridan! Sheridan? Are you all right?"
In a moment of brief confusion, Sheridan patted herself and realized it had just been a dream. A very vivid dream.
Shaking herself off, she got up from the couch and opened the door. Her mouth almost dropped to the floor when
she saw who was standing there...Luis.