"Luis!" Sheridan nervously said as she opened
the door and saw him standing there.
"Sheridan? Are you all right?" Luis asked with concern. He reached out and touched her forehead, noting
she was covered in sweat.
Sheridan recoiled from his touch, almost as if burned.
"Sheridan, what is wrong?" He asked, his worry mounting by the minute. "It seemed like I was knocking
forever before you answered the door and now I find you covered in sweat. Are you ok?"
Finally regaining her composure Sheridan answered him. "Luis I’m fine, really. I fell asleep after the concert
was over and I must have been dreaming when you knocked on the door. I’m fine now."
"Well good" Luis said with relief.
Sheridan noticed a plastic bag under Luis’ arm and took a deep breath so she could remain calm. "What’s in
the bag?" She asked.
Luis looked down at the bag and laughed. "Oh! This is the sweatshirt Jay got for you" Luis said. "There’s
also a little something in there from me."
"Luis, you didn’t have to do this" Sheridan announced, but secretly she was pleased that he thought enough
about her to buy her a gift.
"It’s nothing much" Luis said shyly. He watched as Sheridan opened the bag and pulled out a small box.
"I just thought that maybe you should have one of your own at the Book Cafe."
Sheridan’s face beamed when she opened the box and pulled out a coffee mug with "The Boss" on it. There
was a picture of Springsteen on it and it said, "My friends saw "The Boss" in concert and all I
got was this lousy mug!"
"Thank you so much Luis!" Sheridan said, totally pleased with his gift. She threw her arms around his
neck and gave him a quick hug. "This was really sweet of you to get this for me."
Luis found himself not wanting to release Sheridan from their embrace. Her body felt so soft and warm against his
own and the scent of her perfume wreaked havoc with his olfactory senses.
"You’re welcome Sheridan" Luis smiled. "How are you feeling, by the way? Your neck I mean?"
Sheridan turned her head in several different directions and grimaced slightly when the tape pulled her skin a
little. "The tape is a little annoying, but other than that it feels pretty good."
"Do you mind if I take a look? I just want to make sure it doesn’t look any worse than it did this morning."
"Sure" Sheridan replied, but with her dream still vivid in her memory, she was a little nervous.
"Do you have any bandages?" Luis asked. "I left everything Eve gave me at the Book Cafe. I know,
that wasn’t very smart was it?" He chuckled slightly in embarrassment.
"I have all sorts of things in the bathroom" Sheridan answered. "Luis I can do it. It really is
sweet of you checking on me like this, but I don’t want you to have to go out of your way to..."
"Sheridan, I promised Eve I would keep tabs on this" Luis insisted. "Besides, I don’t mind, really."
His tone softened and she could tell by the look in his eyes that he meant what he said.
"All right" Sheridan smiled. "As long as you really don’t mind, it’s always easier when someone
else does it."
Sheridan led Luis to the bathroom and pulled the needed supplies out of her medicine cabinet.
"Can we do this in here?" Sheridan asked. Her earlier dream was still weighing heavily on her mind. Opening
the door and finding Luis standing there right after she dreamed about him wanting to make love to her had really
Luis laughed. "Wherever you want" he said.
Sheridan pulled out the bench to the vanity next to the sink and seated herself. Luis placed his supplies on the
vanity and sat down next to her.
"Are you ready?" He asked.
"I’ll never be ready" she said, "but go ahead. It has to be done."
Luis peeled off the bandage as gently as he could and inspected the wound. He nodded thoughtfully as Sheridan watched
his every move in the mirror in front of her.
"How does it look?" Sheridan asked nervously.
"It looks a little better than it did earlier" Luis answered. "It’s not quite as swollen."
"That’s a relief" Sheridan sighed. "I really didn’t want to wind up in the hospital."
"I need to clean it now Sheridan" Luis warned her. "This might sting a little."
‘Oh God’ she thought, ‘here it comes.’
Sheridan closed her eyes and grimaced as he cleansed the area with alcohol. True to his word, her neck began stinging.
Almost immediately she felt a wave of cool air and the stinging began to lessen. When the cool breeze stopped she
opened her eyes and saw Luis had fanned the area with the package the gauze came from rather than blowing on it.
"That’s it?" She asked in surprise.
"Well, yeah" Luis said with an amused look. "Did I forget something?"
Sheridan’s cheeks turned crimson. "No!" She yelled. "I mean no, it was perfect. Thank you."
Luis was intrigued by her reaction, but said nothing. He caught her gaze in the mirror and was memorized by her
beautiful smile. He couldn’t help but to smile back. At this moment, Luis couldn’t believe he’d ever uttered a
derogatory word to her. How could he have been so cruel to someone so beautiful? As he continued to hold her gaze,
he began to wonder if she wasn’t the most beautiful woman he’d ever met. His eyes finally broke contact with hers
and he then found himself staring at the woman looking in the mirror. When he caught himself wondering what it
would be like to kiss her, he managed to snap out of his trance.
‘I can’t think like this’ he said to himself. He shook his head slightly to clear it and returned to the task at
hand. He gathered up the supplies and returned them to their proper place.
Sheridan was now dealing with her disappointment as well as her relief. She was disappointed that nothing more
came from their encounter and relieved for the same reason. One thing was for certain, this incredibly kind, caring,
thoughtful, handsome, sexy, perfect specimen of a man was driving her absolutely crazy.
Sheridan decided she’d had enough excitement for one day after Luis left and decided to call it a night. Tomorrow
was the softball game and picnic at the park and she wanted to be well rested. She knew she couldn’t play, but
there would still be plenty for her to do.
Grace and Pilar once again were heading up the food end of the picnic and Sheridan had been recruited to help with
dessert. This would be the first year they’d have "make your own sundaes" for dessert and all the adults
believed it would be a big hit with the kids.
Sheridan climbed into bed, physically exhausted, yet her mind was still reeling from everything that happened this
day. Her fondest memory by far was Tammy speaking for the first time since her mother died. Just thinking about
it now brought tears to her eyes. She could hear her sweet angelic voice saying "I love you Sheridan"
over and over in her head. The look on Tammy’s father’s face was also a look she wouldn’t soon forget. Her heart
swelled when she thought that she might have had a small part in bringing him such happiness. That is what she’d
wanted to do with her life and she now was attaining her goals. She wanted to make a difference in a child’s life
and in the process she was also making a difference in their parents’ lives.
Sheridan smiled shyly when she brought to mind the look of utter surprise, happiness and then pride on Luis’ face
when he heard Tammy speak. She knew Luis realized that she’d played a big part in that. Sheridan knew how Luis
felt about the Cranes all too well and had the feeling that the thought she was a Crane never even entered his
mind at the moment. She hoped and prayed that this is the way Luis would continue to think. Think about her as
Sheridan and forget her last name.
As she lay there thinking about Luis, she realized she hadn’t heard from Pezz yet tonight. She’d replied to his
email at the Book Cafe and that was the last she heard from him.
Suddenly she laughed out loud. "And how did you think he was going to email you Sheridan when he spent the
afternoon with you at the ceramic shop and then went to the Bruce concert this evening? Not to mention that instead
of going home to write KC, he stopped by to see you Sheridan and make sure you were all right."
Hearing herself say this out loud brought a huge grin to her face. She pulled her covers back, quickly climbed
out of bed and headed towards her computer. Sheridan decided that she wanted to send a quick email to Luis before
she went to bed. At least as Pezz, Sheridan could be more honest with him about her feelings towards him.
Typing furiously, Sheridan composed her letter to Luis and then returned to her comfortable bed for a good night’s
"How was the concert hijo?" Pilar asked as she greeted her son.
"It was great Mama" Luis smiled. "Jay got me dancing in the aisles again" he laughed. "She
does that to me every time."
Pilar laughed and shook her head. "I suppose I will have several phone calls in the morning from my friends
who watched on television last night and saw my son the policeman dancing in such a fashion?"
"Yeah" Luis said, "but don’t forget to tell them that there were three other cops dancing with me.
Jay Cal and Marty."
Pilar just smiled at her son. She then glanced at the clock and saw how late it was getting. "It’s time for
me to go to bed" Pilar announced. "Tomorrow is the picnic and I still have much to do in the morning."
"I’m going to bed too Mama" Luis said. "It’s been a very long day for me and tomorrow will be another
Luis walked his mother up the stairs and kissed her good night. He closed his bedroom door behind him and quickly
stripped his clothes off, now clad only in his boxers. He sat down to his computer and pulled up his email. He
had two notes from KC and eagerly read the first.
It looks like I just missed you. It’s sweet of you to want to make something for me at the ceramics shop. I’m sure
I’ll love it when I see it. I don’t believe for a minute that you are inartistic. I bet it’ll be fabulous.
As for me, I’ve done ceramics a few times in my life, but not recently. Maybe I’ll try it again very soon. I hear
there is a new shop that’s opened in town. I might check it out :)
I hope your day goes well with your restless natives. I’ll have a busy one myself with my group. I don’t know if
we’ll get a chance to talk later today because of our schedules, so I hope you have a great time at the concert
"I knew she wasn’t KC’s wife all along" Luis
boasted with a slight chuckle. He smiled easily when he recalled Ellie’s pleasant face and gray hair greeting them
this afternoon. He clicked on the second email.
I trust you enjoyed yourself at the "Boss" concert tonight? Sadly I was unable to go to see Bruce at
the Carnival. I really did want to see him, but I had a run in the other day and am not feeling up to par. It is
all I can do to keep up with my day job, so to speak.
I did happen to watch it on television and as I watched I kept wondering if I would see you in the crowd. Every
time I saw a tall, dark haired, dark eyed, incredibly gorgeous man in the audience, I had to do a double take wondering
if it was you. I have to tell you, my attention was drawn to one pretty hot guy in particular that was dancing
in the aisles. All I could think of while I was watching him was how much I really wanted to be there. I don’t
know what got into me! LOL
I really missed you tonight Pezz. I know we’ve spent quite a few evenings lately otherwise occupied, but during
all that time I was pretty busy. Tonight I was alone for most of the evening and found myself thinking about you
almost constantly. I even fell asleep on the couch and had a dream that you came to my door. I wonder what that
dream was trying to tell me? :)
I have another hectic day lined up tomorrow Pezz. I’ll be on a field trip so to speak and won’t be able to even
sneak onto a computer, but I should be home tomorrow night and would love to chat if you’ll be home.
Take care Pezz. I miss you,
"So you had another dream about me?" Luis grinned.
"I think I’ll try to have one about you right now KC." Luis typed a response to her and then went to
bed. Tomorrow would be another hectic day.
Sheridan arrived early the next day at the Book Cafe with her coffee mug in hand. Chad laughed when he filled it
for her. "Luis handed me his new mug last night" Chad said pointing to the mug Sheridan made for Luis
sitting on the shelf. "He told me that he’d hurt anyone who dared mess with his mug" Chad laughed.
Sheridan smiled. She was pleased that Luis liked her gift and held it in such high regard. "Well, I don’t
think I’d want to see anything happen to this mug either, Chad" Sheridan remarked. "It really was sweet
of Luis to get it for me."
"If you ask me Sheridan" Chad said as he leaned over the counter and looked around to make sure no one
else was around, "Luis likes you."
Sheridan blushed. "I don’t know about that Chad" she said demurely, "but at least he doesn’t seem
to hate me anymore."
Chad smiled devilishly and shook his head adamantly. "Nah, no way Sheridan. It’s more than that. I think Luis
really likes you."
Sheridan was about to answer Chad when the door to the Book Cafe opened again and Sheridan heard a small voice
calling her name.
"Sheridan!" a tiny girl’s voice called happily from the entrance.
Sheridan turned around and her face lit up when she saw Tammy running towards her. Sheridan bent down and greeted
the little girl with a hug. Her father smiled as he watched his daughter fly into Sheridan’s arms.
"Good morning Tammy" Sheridan said. "And how are you this morning?"
"Great!" Tammy said excitedly. "Today is the softball game and I can’t wait. Daddy’s been teaching
me how to hit the ball and I bet I get a homerun today. I hope I get to play on your team, Sheridan."
Robert Kralik laughed as he approached Sheridan and Tammy. "Good morning Sheridan" Robert greeted with
an glorious smile.
"Good Morning Mr. Kralik" Sheridan smiled back.
"Please, call me Robert" he requested.
"Good morning Robert" Sheridan corrected.
"Did you know that Tammy talked almost non stop from the time she left here last night until she went to bed?"
Sheridan laughed. "You did that Tammy?"
"Yep" Tammy smiled proudly. "After Daddy left to go to the concert last night, I read Grandpa a
"You read your grandfather a story?" Sheridan asked in amazement.
"Yes she did" Robert said shaking his head. "My father is now the one that is speechless."
Sheridan and Robert laughed. "I’m very happy for all of you" Sheridan remarked. "I know how I felt
when I heard her speak yesterday, I can’t even imagine the joy you and your father must be feeling."
"Sheridan, that gift Tammy made for you says it all. You truly are an angel" Robert said.
"Well thank you Mr... Robert" Sheridan said shyly. "I didn’t really do anything except try to be
Tammy’s friend and encouraged her to have some fun."
"Well, whatever you did, we are eternally grateful" Robert smiled, "and my father and I would like
to somehow repay you for what you’ve done."
"That’s not necessary, really" Sheridan insisted. "Having Tammy talking again is all the payment
"I figured you’d say something like that" Robert grinned. "So my father and I have devised something
we don’t think you can turn down."
"Oh really?" Sheridan asked, intrigued.
"We’d like to set up a scholarship fund. My father and I will send one deserving child each year from the
Youth Center to college for a full ride."
As Robert was explaining about the scholarship fund to Sheridan, Luis walked into the Book Cafe. He saw Sheridan
talking to Tammy’s father and quietly found himself a table.
"Are you serious?" Sheridan asked in disbelief.
"I’m dead serious Sheridan" Robert smiled. "I wasn’t sure bringing Tammy to the Youth Center was
such a great idea, but my father talked me into it. I wanted to send her away to camp this summer, a special camp
that could deal with her problems. My father thought sending Tammy away might do more harm than good. She might
think we were abandoning her or something like that."
Sheridan nodded. She wished Alfred Kralik had been around to stick up for her when she’d been in a similar situation.
"In any event, my father was right, as usual" Robert grinned. "Bringing Tammy to the Youth Center
was the best decision my father and I ever made and we want to in some small way show our gratitude."
Jay walked in and saw the same scene as Luis. She then spotted Luis at a table and walked over to join him.
"What’s up with Sheridan and Robert Kralik?" Jay asked quietly.
"Shh" Luis motioned. "I’m trying to find out. I can’t hear them."
Jay rolled her eyes with an amused chuckle and sat down. She found it highly entertaining watching Luis watch Sheridan.
"Robert, this is wonderful!" Sheridan said excitedly. She gave Robert a quick hug which he instinctively
returned. "Thank you so much. I can’t wait to tell Luis. He’s going to be as excited as I am."
"Sheridan" Robert said thoughtfully, "I think you should wait to tell Luis. At least until we get
the program set up."
"Of course" Sheridan said. "I guess I was just getting carried away."
"It shouldn’t take too much to set it up Sheridan" Robert explained. "As a matter of fact, I think
we can get most of it taken care of today and we can tell Luis tomorrow if you like."
"That would be fantastic" Sheridan readily agreed.
"I think I need a cup of coffee, Jay" Luis announced. "How about you?"
"You’re going to get it?" Jay asked in surprise.
"Yeah, what’s wrong with that?" Luis asked innocently.
"Nothing Luis" Jay answered. "Nothing at all."
Luis walked up to the counter at the Book Cafe. He was far enough away from Sheridan so he didn’t look obvious,
but close enough he should be able to hear what was going on.
"What do you say you join me for dinner tonight Sheridan?" Robert asked with a twinkle in his eye. "We
can finish our discussion and tomorrow, well you know what we’ll be doing tomorrow."
"That sounds like a wonderful idea Robert" Sheridan said happily. "I’d love to join you for dinner."
"Goodie!" Tammy shouted. "Sheridan is coming to dinner. I can‘t wait!"
Sheridan and Robert both giggled at the little girl’s excitement and exchanged warm smiles.
Luis, who heard the invitation and acceptance while waiting for Chad to pour his coffee felt like he’d been kicked
in the stomach. ‘Jay was right’ he thought to himself. ‘Robert does like Sheridan and apparently she likes him
Once the teams were equally divided, Buzzy ran to the trunk of his car and pulled out a box of shirts. "OK
guys! All members of Buzzy’s Bruisers come get a team jersey!"
Children could be heard cheering as they ran to the back of Buzzy’s car.
"Buzzy’s Bruisers?" Luis asked with a skeptical smile.
"That’s right Luis" Buzzy said with a devilish grin. "This year Buzzy’s Bruisers are going to beat
Luis’ Losers! Ha!"
"Oh brother!" Luis laughed. "Buzzy’s gone into obsession mode again."
Jay threw her hands in the air. "I had nothing to do with this" she said.
"I know Jay" Luis replied. "Buzzy does this every year, or something like this. There is something
about this softball game."
"Oh yeah, I can’t wait!" Jay laughed. She then looked over at Sheridan who had Luis’ team gathered in
a huddle. "What’s Sheridan doing?" She asked.
"I don’t know" Luis answered, though he was as curious as Jay. "I think I’ll go over there and find
Luis walked over to his team who cheered loudly as Luis approached. "What’s all this?" Luis asked grinning.
Tammy walked up to Luis and tugged on his shirt. "Sheridan was just telling us that what we look like isn’t
important, it’s what’s inside. She said that inside all of us we have a winning team so wearing team jerseys doesn’t
"I agree" Matthew Gomes, a 12 year old feisty boy with curly red hair concurred. "We have the winning
team right here."
"We sure do" his twin sister Melissa agreed. Melissa had long blonde hair and the only resemblance between
the two was their birthday.
"That’s right" Reese Durkee said adamantly. "Sheridan’s right. If we consider the ages of each player,
experience, size and strength, I’d have to agree that this team definitely has the advantage."
Luis stared at Reese in disbelief for a minute. He knew Reese was one of Miguel’s friends, but sometimes he had
"Are we ready to play everyone?" Luis asked.
"Yeah!" The kids shouted.
"Then let’s play ball!"
The kids ran to the field to take their positions. Tammy had a position in the outfield which she ran to as if
she’d been doing it every day of her life. Sheridan couldn’t help but smile as she watched the little girl take
her place among the mostly older team.
Luis stayed behind while his team took the field. "Thanks for giving the team a pep talk, Sheridan" Luis
said. "I was afraid they’d be disappointed that I didn’t get them jerseys."
"No problem Luis" Sheridan said, her eyes sparkling as she caught Luis’ gaze. "I have to admit though.
I was a little surprised at Buzzy."
Luis laughed. "For some reason, Buzzy goes a little overboard every year during this game. The sad thing is,
the harder he tries, the worse his team does."
"Oh no!" Sheridan laughed. "I bet the kids that have been around awhile dread the thought of being
on his team."
"That’s why we have most of the older kids on our team" Luis grinned. "They’ve been around."
"I see" Sheridan answered knowingly.
"Well, I have to get out there" Luis said finally. He placed his hand on Sheridan’s shoulder. "Thanks
again for the pep talk to the team" he smiled. "And thanks for being on my team."
Sheridan blushed and felt a surge of warmth through her body. His smile right then made her want to just melt.
"I wouldn’t have it any other way Luis."
Luis held her gaze for a moment. He then winked and ran off to the pitcher’s mound and assumed his position.
Watching Buzzy’s team in action was almost like watching Abbott and Costello’s "Who’s on First" played
out. Though the team looked great with their matching red and white jerseys, which all had Buzzy’s Bruisers written
across the front, for the most part they had no clue how to play ball.
One might have even thought Tabitha Lennox was there casting spells on Buzzy’s team. One little boy managed to
hit a long fly ball that wasn’t caught. It would have been a stand up double except for one thing. He ran from
home to third and then to second. When the ball finally made it back into play, it was thrown to first and he was
Ground balls managed to make their way through legs, high flies dropped right next to outfielders, instead of being
caught. It was a comedy of errors that had Buzzy, Jay and the rest of the Bruisers cringing.
On Luis’ team, the kids were having a wonderful time. Even little Tammy managed to hit a "homerun" just
as she predicted thanks to several fielder blunders. Tammy was proud and excited when she crossed home plate and
got a high five from several of her teammates.
The most embarrassing moment for Buzzy’s team was caused by Buzzy himself. In what must have been a delusional
moment on his part, Buzzy decided he was Babe Ruth and called his shot. As his team cheered him on, The Mighty
Buzzy struck out. That was the end of the game. Luis’ team won, 22-6.
With the game over, Buzzy seemed to come back to reality. He escorted his team over to Luis’ team to shake hands.
With his head lowered, he held out his hand to Luis. "I did it again, didn’t I?" Buzzy asked in defeat
as he slowly lifted his head.
Luis laughed. "You did get a little carried away Buzzy" Luis remarked in amusement.
A little carried away?" Jay asked with a mischievous grin. "Is that what they’re calling psychotic episodes
"I’m sorry Jay" Buzzy apologized. "I don’t know what comes over me. It just does every year when
we play this game."
"It’s all right Buzzy" Jay laughed. "I’ve just never seen you like this, that’s all."
"Come on Buzzy" Luis called. "Mama and Grace Bennett have a feast prepared for us. I think we should
all go eat."
The kids were already on their way over to the picnic tables. Luis, Sheridan, Buzzy and Jay soon followed. The
other three listened as Buzzy vowed never to get carried away like this again. Luis laughed, as this was the same
speech he heard from Buzzy at the end of every game.