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You've Got Mail
Passions style-
Part Two

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 to be continued


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

     

Chapter 34

Luis finally grasped the full impact of Bethís presence. What was she doing here anyway and what made her think that she had any hold over Luis? "Beth, what are you doing here?" Luis finally asked, holding Bethís cold stare.

"I think I should be asking you the same question Luis" Beth said. "Whoís your little friend?" She asked in a condescending voice.

Luis really wasnít in the mood to fight with Beth, nor did he want to stoop to her level. He also didnít like the way she was referring to Sheridan.

"I believe you know Jay" Luis said as he looked at Jay. Beth didnít even look in Jayís direction nor did she acknowledge Luis. "And this is Sheridan Crane. She moved back to Harmony shortly after you left."

"Crane as in THE CRANES?" Beth asked in total disbelief.

"Yes, thatís right" Sheridan answered. "Alistair Crane is my father."

"Luis, now I know youíve lost it" Beth said, the shock still apparent on her face. "The Luis I know wouldnít be caught dead within fifty feet of anyone with the last name Crane, never mind be caught dead sleeping with one."

Sheridan felt her anger build, but said nothing. She didnít have to say anything.

"Look Beth" Luis said curtly, "What I do or whom I see is none of your business anymore now is it? You are the one who walked out on me, walked out on a ten year relationship because you didnít think this town was exciting enough for you. And I would appreciate it if you didnít speak about Sheridan in that manner. You donít know her and you certainly donít know anything about my relationship with her."

Beth laughed. "I never would have believed it. Luis Lopez Fitzgerald a kept man. I bet your buddies at the station are getting a big kick out of this."

Now Luis was really angry. He stood and placed a protective hand on Sheridanís shoulder. "I donít know whatís with you Beth" Luis answered, trying to keep his temper in check. "But I donít appreciate your insinuations. You have no idea what you are talking about and as far as I am concerned this conversation has ended."

Luis leaned down and spoke softly in Sheridanís ear.

"Iím sorry about this Sheridan. Can I take you home?"

Sheridan gave Luis a grateful smile. "Yes, thank you" she whispered.

Luis looked over at Jay. "Jay?"

"Thanks Luis. I have my car outside" Jay answered as she stood up. She was more than happy to leave at this point.

"Well, I guess this says it all" Beth laughed sardonically as she nodded towards Luis who was placing Sheridanís old bandage back on her neck. "Well, at least I didnít have to pay for it when Luis was mine."

All Luis could see right now was red. Had Beth not been a woman he was sure he would have decked her. As it was it took every ounce of strength he had to keep from making a huge scene.

"Can we just leave?" Sheridan asked quietly. She didnít know Beth prior to this meeting but she was not impressed by what she did see.

"What's the matter Sheridan?" Beth asked. "The truth hurts?"

"Sheridanís right Luis" Jay said, itching to get out of there. "Letís go."

Sheridan had had enough. She loosened herself from Luisí grasp and walked over to face Beth.

"Look, Beth is it?" Sheridan said, "I donít know you. Until today the only thing I knew about you was you were Luisí ex-girlfriend who was bored with Harmony. Once I got to know Luis I couldnít understand why any woman would leave him. I felt badly for Luis having to suffer through a break up because Iíve been there and itís anything but pleasant. I even felt sorry for you for letting such a wonderful man go."

Beth continued her icy stare.

"And just for your information Beth, there is nothing going on with Luis and me. He is not a kept man and from what I can see never will be. Iím surprised after spending 10 years with him you donít know what kind of a man he really is? We didnít see eye to eye when we first met, but it didnít take me long to meet the real Luis and so far I like what I see. If Iím ever blessed enough to find a man as genuinely good as Luis I wonít make the same mistakes youíve made Beth, believe me."

After finishing, Sheridan turned and walked away from Beth with Luis and Jay right behind her, leaving a speechless Beth in her wake.



Jay raised her arm so Luis would see her. He nodded and walked over to the table Jay had secured for them at the Lobster Shack.

"Hey" Jay greeted as Luis sat down in his chair at the table.

"Hi Jay" Luis said as he took a deep breath, finally allowing himself to relax a bit.

"Are you ok?" Jay asked in concern. She knew Luisí earlier confrontation with Beth hadnít been pleasant.

"Iím fine" Luis answered fingering the water glass in front of him. "Iím more worried about Sheridan. She didnít deserve to be the target of Bethís wrath."

"Is Sheridan ok?" Jay asked.

"I think so" Luis frowned, his gaze fixated on the rim of the glass as he slowly followed the circle with his finger.. "I apologized for Bethís behavior and she seemed ok with all of it. Jay I just donít know what got into her tonight. Iíve never seen Beth behave in such an atrocious manner."

"Can we say jealous?" Jay suggested.

"I donít know" Luis said letting out a frustrated sigh. "Maybe. I wish I knew. As many problems as Beth and I had, she was never one to take out her anger on a third party."

"Luis, did it ever occur to you that maybe Beth came back to Harmony because she wants you back? Jay suggested. "She probably never expected to find you with another woman."

"But Iím not involved with another woman, Jay" Luis protested as he looked up at his friend.

"Arenít you?" Jay asked.

"You know Iím not Jay" Luis insisted. "I havenít so much as kissed another woman since I broke up with Beth. Hell, itís been so long I canít remember the last woman I kissed besides her."

"Luis, you need to be honest with yourself if you plan on being honest with Beth or any other woman in your life."

Luis just stared at Jay and waited for her to make her point.

"Do you remember an email I sent you quite awhile ago when you told me Sam wondered if you had a woman on the side?"

"Yeah, I remember but what does that have to do with..."

"Luis it has everything to do with it. I told you that even though you would never consciously cheat on Beth, in a way you were because of the internet relationship you and KC had. She was all you ever talked about."

Luis nodded. "I seem to remember something about that."

"Good, I'm glad that you're paying attention when you read my emails" Jay said. "Luis, donít try to delude yourself into thinking youíre not involved with another woman because you are."

"Look Jay, Sheridan and I are not involved."

"Did I say Sheridan?" Jay asked with a raised brow. "I was talking about KC, but as long as youíve brought up the topic of Sheridan, letís talk about her."

"Here we go again" Luis moaned.

"Here we go again nothing" Jay said. "I just wanted to tell you how proud I was of you for sticking up for Sheridan the way you did with Beth."

"I couldnít let Beth talk about her like that. She doesnít know Sheridan. Sheís not like the rest of her family."

"Bravo Luis" Jay smiled clapping lightly. "You have now truly accepted Sheridan as a person in her own right."

"I know I was just as bad or worse than Beth was to Sheridan at first, but it doesnít make it right. I donít want to see her hurt anymore. I did enough of that already."

"Well, you definitely have done a 180 where Sheridan is concerned."

Luis nodded in agreement.

"So Luis, what are you going to do about Beth?" Jay asked. "If she wants a reconciliation will you give her one?" Jay prepared herself for the worst possible answer in response. If he said "yes", she didnít want her disappointment showing all over her face.

Luis sat there and thought for a long moment. He then very slowly shook his head. "No Jay, I donít think so" Luis finally said.

The relief on Jayís face was so evident that it caused Luis to grin.

"Even if Beth hadnít made a scene like she did today at the Book Cafe, I donít think Iíd get back with her. I wasnít happy before we broke up and I remember a feeling of freedom when she walked out of the police station that night." Luis paused and took a breath as he reflected. "No, I want to move on with my life and hopefully Sheridan will be part of that new life.... Why do I keep doing that? KC, I mean I want KC in my life."

"Freudian slip Luis?" Jay asked.

Luis feigned a smile as he picked up the menu in front of him and snapped it open. "Shall we order something Jay?" Luis asked. "Iím starving."

Jay gave Luis the same smile back and picked up her menu as well. She knew however that there was more to Luisí little slip than he let on. A lot more.



Sheridan awoke earlier than usual the next morning with a huge smile on her face. Dinner with Robert, Alfred and Tammy Kralik the night before had been simply wonderful. Sheridan was witness to a family that had been given a gift that no amount of money could buy. Sheíd already seen how happy Robert was with Tammyís breakthrough, but watching her with her grandfather was incredible. Alfred Kralikís eyes, which always held a hint of sadness now sparkled like a freshly shined diamond.

Robert and Alfred had all the initial paper work completed by the time Sheridan arrived for dinner. She was in awe by how quickly theyíd arranged all of this. Robert and Alfred agreed to meet early at the Book Cafe so they could meet with Luis before the kids arrived. Sheridan couldnít control her excitement as she envisioned the look on Luisí face when he learned about the scholarship.

So much was going on at the Kralikís that Sheridan didnít arrive home as early as sheíd expected so she didnít get a chance to talk to Luis on the computer. She decided to send him a note this morning and hopefully make plans to talk with him again tonight. When she checked her mail she had a note waiting for her from Luis and happily sat down to read.

Hi Angel,
I guess things ran later than you anticipated? Donít worry about it Angel. I understand completely. I just got home a short time ago myself. I went out to dinner with my old partner and lost total track of the time.

I had an unpleasant experience earlier today. Remember my girlfriend? The one who left me for "the big city?" Well, she came back yesterday and I was with two friends. She made some very disparaging remarks causing us to leave. I canít tell you how disappointed I was in her behavior. Iíve never known her to act that way and still donít know what she wants. Jay, my partner thinks she wants to get back together with me. If thatís the case, sheís going about it all wrong.

I know I told you it didnít bother me that much that she left me and in a way it didnít, but it still hurt me at the time. Now, after her display yesterday I wonder how I could have stayed with her for so long?

I have a feeling I havenít heard the last from her. Donít worry Angel, I have no intention of going back with her. Iíve felt a sense of freedom ever since she left and I donít intend on giving that up.

I should get some shut eye. I have to go roller blading tomorrow and Iíve never been! God help me! Iím supposed to be there for the kids... Who is going to be there for me? :)

Take care sweetie. I hope to talk with you soon,
Pezz

"Well Luis" Sheridan smiled as she read the email. "Iím an expert rollerblader much to my familyís disapproval. Iíll be there for you." Sheridan typed her response to Pezz and then quickly showered and changed for the Book Cafe. This was one morning she had no intention of being late.



"Morning Mama" Luis yawned as he stumbled into the kitchen and poured himself a cup of coffee.

"Good morning Hijo" Pilar greeted. "Sit down son. I have breakfast for you."

"Thanks Mama" Luis smiled. He sat down and Pilar placed a plate of bacon and eggs in front of him. His face turned dour as he thought about his encounter with Beth.

"Whatís wrong Hijo?" Pilar asked. She knew by Luisí facial expression that something was not right.

"Itís nothing really, Mama" Luis said.

"Is it Beth?"

Luis looked at his mother with surprise written on his face. "How did you know?"

Pilar smiled. "Iíd like to tell you that I am psychic, but the truth is she called here last night."

"I see."

"She was pretty upset Luis."

"She should be upset after the scene she caused in the Book Cafe yesterday."

"She didnít explain anything to me" Pilar admitted. "She just wanted to talk to you."

"Well, Iím not calling her. Sheíll have to find me and at a more appropriate time and place."

"Hijo, you and Beth were together for so long..."

"I know Mama" Luis interrupted, "but I know now that Beth isnít the one. She never was "the one" for me. I guess I just didnít want to admit it. Thatís probably why I never married her."

"I always thought there was something holding you back" Pilar sighed. "You know I always loved Beth, but I would never pressure one of my children into marrying the wrong person. I want my children to be happy. I want you to marry for love. The kind of love that comes along only once in a lifetime. The kind of love I had with your father."

Luis smiled. "Thanks Mama. I donít know how Iíll know when it happens, but I appreciate the advice."

Pilar grinned. "Believe me Luis, when it happens, you will know it. I knew it the first time Martin kissed me. Iíd never felt anything like it in my life." Pilar remembered that kiss as her eyes seemed to glaze over. "Trust me hijo, you may deny it to yourself at the time, but deep in your heart, you will know."

"Well, if thatís the case, it hasnít happened yet" Luis laughed.

"It will Luis. There is someone out there waiting for you."

"Thanks Mama" Luis said.

Luis finished his breakfast and excused himself to hurry and get dressed. When he got to his room he decided to check his email before he took his shower. A huge smile appeared on his face when he saw a note from KC.

Dearest Pezz,
Iím sorry about your confrontation with your ex. I donít even want to think about ever seeing mine again. That is a chapter in my life that is closed permanently. Itís amazing how we can think something about someone and find out we are so totally wrong. I know I was in shock when I found out JL was married. I hope for your sake itís just that she wanted to get back together with you and no other reason.

Roller blading sounds like fun to me. I did a lot of it while I was in Paris. Actually I became quite good at it :) If anyone helps you along the way and I am sure they will, pretend itís me ok? Iíd like nothing better than to skate holding you in my arms. :)

Again, I have no plans for tonight but after yesterday I donít want to promise Iíll be online. I donít know what will happen from one minute to the next these days. I really want to talk to you soon Pezz. I miss our chats so much. Maybe this weekend? I shouldnít be as busy as I have been, but I may be working at the Carnival on one of the days. Iím not sure yet, as I havenít heard anymore about it.

Take care Pezz and have a great day. If you hurt yourself, let me know and Iíd be more than happy to kiss your boo boo ;-)
KC

"If youíre going to kiss my boo boo, I might just have to hurt myself on purpose" Luis laughed. He typed his response and headed for the shower. It looked like another long, but fun filled day ahead.



Luis was the first to arrive at the Book Cafe. "Hi Chad" he greeted with a large smile as Chad had his Top Cop/Top Doc mug waiting for him filled with steaming coffee.

"Thanks man" Luis said.

"Anytime man" Chad offered. "Besides, I think youíre going to need it this morning."

"Why?" Luis questioned.

"Thereís someone waiting for you" Chad said as he motioned to a table.

Luis looked over at the table and groaned inwardly. Beth was sitting there anxiously waiting to talk to Luis.

"Thanks Chad. Iím going to have to face this sooner or later so it might as well be sooner."

"Good luck Luis."

Luis acknowledged Chad and walked over to the table where Beth sat waiting.

"Beth" Luis greeted skeptically.

"Hi Luis" Beth responded shyly.

"What are you doing here?" Luis asked calmly.

"I came here to apologize for my behavior yesterday Luis. I was completely out of line."

"Youíre right on that account. You were out of line."

"I donít know what got into me Luis" Beth said with a whine in her voice. "I came back to Harmony hoping to get back together with you. After spending time in New York, I realized that everything I ever wanted was right here. Youíre what I wanted Luis."

"Well, you certainly have a funny way of showing it Beth" Luis said hesitantly.

"I know and Iím sorry about that" Beth said anxiously. "Itís just that I was nervous coming here and when I saw Jay here I freaked. I know how she feels about us as a couple. Sheís never hidden the fact that she doesnít think Iím right for you. And then when I saw you with Sheridan in that well, compromising position I guess I just totally lost it. Iíve never seen you that close to another woman Luis and I was jealous."

"Beth, this really isnít the place to discuss this" Luis suggested. "The kids from the Youth Center will be here any minute..."

"Luis, please" Beth insisted. "I have to know, is there something going on with you and Sheridan or do I have a chance of getting you back?"

Luis let out a frustrated sigh. "Beth, look" Luis began, "there is nothing going on with me and Sheridan. Weíre just friends. She was stabbed by a mugger a few nights ago and her wound got infected. Eve Russell asked me to change the dressing for her and thatís what I was doing."

"What, a Crane canít hire someone to do that for her? She has to have the hottest guy in Harmony do it for her?"

"That was completely uncalled for Beth" Luis said angrily. "Sheridan is one of the nicest women I know. I was doing it for her because I am her friend and thatís what friends do for each other."

"If you say so Luis" Beth sighed in defeat.

"Beth, look, Sheridan has been working with some of the kids at the Center. She even managed to get Tammy Kralik to talk again. The kids love her and I for one want to keep her at the Center for as long as possible. Sheís proven herself invaluable to me."

"Wow, Tammyís really talking?" Beth asked.

"Yeah, she is. All Sheridan did was spend some time with her and encourage her to have some fun. Heck, I donít know how she did it but she did and thatís all that matters."

"Well, Iím really happy for Tammy and her family" Beth said, "but you still havenít answered my question Luis. Is there any chance for us to get back together."

Luis looked at Beth long and hard. "Beth, Iíve had a lot of time to think about things since youíve been gone. Even though Iím not seeing anyone right now, Iíve come to enjoy my freedom Beth. Iíve come to realize that I donít think we were meant to be. You were right when you told me that you thought I had misgivings about us Beth. Subconsciously thatís probably the reason I never asked you to marry me."

Tears welled up in Bethís eyes.

"Beth, Iím sorry to hurt you like this, but it really is for the best. I donít think we would have been able to go on much longer the way things were between us anyway, do you?"

Beth cocked her head to one side and shrugged her shoulders. Tears were now streaming down her face. She couldnít answer him. All she managed to do was get out a few words between her tears.

"I guess this is it? Itís over?" She asked, needing Luis to finalize it for her one more time.

"Yes Beth" Luis answered quietly. "Itís over. Itís been over for awhile now."

Beth smiled slightly through her tears. "Goodbye Luis" she said and then ran off towards the door. She never even saw Jay and Sheridan walking in as she breezed by them.



"What happened?" Jay asked Luis, after watching Beth leave in tears.

"Beth happened. You were right Jay. She did want to get back together."

"Judging by her reaction I assume you told her that wasn't going to be happening."

"Yeah, I told her it was over" Luis frowned. "I did the only thing I could do, but I hate seeing her hurting like this."

"Luis, Beth's decision to leave you seemed selfish at the time, but since she's been gone, I think you've realized that her leaving was actually the right thing for you."

"I know" Luis answered sadly.

Sheridan spotted Robert and Alfred Kralik come in. "I think I might have something to lift your spirits Luis" Sheridan said with a Cheshire grin.

"Oh? What might that be?" Luis asked curiously.

"Hello Luis" Alfred Kralik greeted with a huge grin.

"Mr. Kralik" Luis said in surprise. "How are you today?"

Luis shook hands with both men.

"Iím fine Luis" Alfred answered. "Robert and I are here to present the Youth Center with a gift. We are eternally grateful to Sheridan and the Youth Center for what youíve done for Tammy. We can never thank you enough."

"Weíre as pleased about Tammyís speaking again as you are Sir" Luis answered. "Thatís thanks enough."

"Thatís funny" Robert grinned. "Thatís exactly what Sheridan said to me yesterday."

Luis and Sheridan exchanged smiles.

"Regardless, this is for you Luis" Alfred said as he handed a large manila envelope to Luis. "Or to be more exact, this is for you to administer."

Luis gave Robert and Alfred a quizzical smile as he opened the envelope. Sheridan stood there excitedly waiting for Luisí reaction. He did not disappoint her.

"Iím dreaming, right?" Luis asked completely dumfounded.

"Itís not a dream Luis" Robert smiled. "That scholarship will go into effect in January. We tried to get it started for the fall term, but there wasnít enough time."

Luis couldnít believe it. It was too good to be true. A full ride for one student each year from the Youth Center for a four year college education.

"I donít know what to say" Luis said, overcome with emotion.

"Well I do" Sheridan said gleefully. "Thank you Robert and thank you Mr. Kralik!" Sheridan gave both men an excited hug.

"Thank you both" Luis said in awe. "This is the best news Iíve had in a long time. This scholarship is going to change some of our kids lives."

"Well, the Youth Center deserves it. Youíve already changed our lives and we want to help out some of the kids there. This is our way."

Luis talked with Robert and Alfred for a few more minutes while Sheridan happily looked on. After Robert and his father left, Luis turned to Sheridan and looked at her carefully. "You knew about this didnít you?" Luis asked suspiciously.

"Yes, I did" Sheridan answered hesitantly. Luis had a funny expression on his face and she couldnít tell if he was angry or pleased.

"Is that what your "date" was all about last night?" Luis asked.

"Well yes" Sheridan admitted. "Robert wanted to finalize a few things and we wanted to surprise you..." Sheridan was rambling due to her nervousness.

"Sheridan, relax, Iím not mad" Luis smiled. "Iím actually touched."

"You are?" Sheridan asked in relief.

"Yeah, I am" Luis grinned. "Thank you Sheridan. From the bottom of my heart, thank you."

Sheridan relaxed and smiled back. "Youíre welcome Luis. Iím just pleased that one child each year will get a chance at an education."

Luis approached Sheridan and held out his arms to embrace her. "You did a good thing Sheridan" Luis whispered as he hugged her close to him. "A very good thing. I hope youíll stay at the Youth Center for a long time."

Sheridan closed her eyes and smiled as she enjoyed the feel of being in Luisí strong embrace. "I plan to Luis. As long as you want me and IĎm helping the kids in the process, Iíll stay."

"Good" Luis said simply.

The hug lasted longer than either one of them anticipated because neither one wanted to break the embrace. Jay, finally looking at her watch realized she had no choice but to break up the love birds.

"I really hate to pull you two apart" Jay apologized, "but we still need to go over to the Youth Center and talk to the workmen before we head for the skating rink."

Luis and Sheridan pulled back simultaneously, but Luis still held onto Sheridanís hand, albeit absentmindedly.

"Right" Luis said. "I almost forgot. I need to find out how much longer they are going to keep us closed."

Luis turned to leave when he realized he was still holding Sheridanís hand. He laughed nervously and his cheeks turned pink.

"Sorry Sheridan."

"Thereís no need to be sorry Luis" Sheridan smiled shyly.

The three of them walked over to the door and walked on to the sidewalk outside the Book Cafe.

"I think Iíll check my email while you guys go to the Youth Center" Sheridan said.

"Sure thing Sheridan" Luis smiled at her.

Sheridan felt her heart flutter at the smile Luis just gave her. There was something beginning to happen between them, something wonderful.

"Come on Jay" Luis said. Letís go."

Sheridan stood there and watched Luis as he and Jay chatted while crossing the street to the Youth Center. She couldnít help the smile that shone on her face as she enjoyed the view of Luisí backside as he walked away from her.

She turned her head to the left when she heard the faint sound of screeching tires in the distance and saw a car barreling around a corner headed straight for Luis. Panic set in when she realized that neither Luis nor Jay was aware of the speeding car heading right for them.

Gathering all the strength she had, Sheridan cupped her hands and yelled at the top of her lungs. "LUIS! LOOK OUT!"

Luis turned when he heard Sheridan call his name and saw the car headed straight for him.

to be continued . . .

       
     

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