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An Affair of the Heart
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Ethan & Theresa:
An Affair of the Heart

by
OKDeanna

     

Part Four: When Morning Comes

Never Forget Me
For I Will Love You Always

~~~~~~~~~ Dream ~~~~~~~~~

Theresa saw him the moment she stepped into the arched doorway of the church. He looked so handsome standing up there in that white black tuxedo, waiting for her, she thought with a smile. The love in his eyes was clear and bright. He finally knew they were meant to be and today was the day they would prove it to the world. Today was the day she would become Mrs. Ethan Crane. She had always known fate would bring them together and it hadnít let her down. In a few moments, after a lifetime of dreaming, she would be Ethanís wife.

The wedding march began to play and she started her walk down the aisle, never taking her eyes off Ethanís. Just as she reached the altar and Ethanís side, the wedding march started over and Ethan turned away from her. She furrowed her brow in confusion then turned to see what had caught his attention. Her heart stopped beating when she saw Gwen walking down the aisle toward them. When she got to the altar she took her place by Ethanís side and Theresa watched in horror as the man of her dreams married another woman. When it was over, and Father Lonigan had pronounced Gwen and Ethan husband and wife, Theresa finally realized that her mother and Whitney had been right all along. Ethan Crane would never marry her.

~~~~~~~~~ End of Dream ~~~~~~~~~

"NOOOO!" Theresa yelled, her scream piercing the morning breeze.

"Theresa?" Ethan asked immediately wrapping his arms around her. "Whatís wrong?"

Tears slid silently down her cheeks as she realized that today could possibly be the day that her nightmare would come true. Today was Ethanís wedding day Ė to Gwen. Dear god, how would she be able to stand at the altar and pretend her heart wasnít breaking? How could she stand up in church and watch the man of her dreams, a man sheíd made love to just last night, marry another woman? She should have realized how difficult that would be last night, but she had been so grief stricken that all she wanted was for Ethan to put his arms around her and block out all the pain she was feeling inside. Sheíd just wanted one night to remember and he gave it to her. Heíd given her a night she would never forget.

But now she had to face the light of day. Now she had to face the fact that today Ethan would marry Gwen. All her dreams were about to come crashing down. In just a few short hours she would watch the man she loved marry another woman. She knew it would take all the strength she possessed to put on a happy face and pretend her heart wasnít shattering into a million tiny pieces. God, why did fate have to be so cruel? Why couldnít she and Ethan be two totally different people? Then they would be free to be together. But of course that was just a dream. They were who they were and no amount of wishing would change that.



"Theresa?" Ethan said turning her around to face him. When he saw her tears, a dull ache shot straight through his heart. "Please donít cry, sweetheart. Please donít cry."

He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her head to his chest, wishing he could erase all the pain he was causing her. Heíd give anything to be able to put that light back in her eyes, to put a smile back on her face, but he knew the only way to do that would be to call off the wedding and he couldnít do that no matter how much he wanted to. His family didnít care about love the way Theresaís did. They didnít give a damn about anything but money and power. They had been planning his wedding to Gwen almost his whole life and he knew if he defied them now, they would make life a living hell for Theresa. He couldnít put her through that. He knew what his family - and Gwenís family - was capable of. Heíd taken off his rose-colored glasses months ago. He knew they would destroy Theresaís whole world and he couldnít let that happen. As crazy as it sounded, the only way to protect Theresa was for him to marry Gwen.

"Iím trying to be strong." She whispered against his chest. "Iím trying to be brave, but Ethan I feel like Iím dying inside."

"I know baby. I feel the same way."

She raised her head and looked at him. "But youíre still going to go through with it, arenít you?"

He wished he could tell her what she wanted to hear, but he couldnít. He got up, unable to look her in the eyes a second longer, then pulled on his clothes. "Yes, I have to. I have no choice."

She closed her eyes as more tears trickled down her cheeks then stood and reached for her own clothes. When she was finished dressing she looked up and met his eyes, he was surprised by the intensity he saw. "You always have a choice Ethan. You can choose not to marry Gwen. Youíre family doesnít scare me. If I have you, I can handle anything."

He wished that were true. He wasnít doubting Theresaís strength, he knew what a strong woman she was, but he also knew his family was capable of almost anything. He didnít want Theresa to have to handle his family. He wanted them as far away from her as they could possibly be. There was someone else they had to worry about too. "What about Luis? He would never accept us being together. He hates my family you know that. Thatís the whole reason he and Sheridan arenít together."

"I can handle Luis, Ethan."

He wasnít so sure about that. Heíd seen her afraid of Luis finding them together on more than one occasion. He knew Luis would never accept his little sister getting involved with a Crane and he refused to put Theresa in that position. "Iím sorry, Theresa. But I have no choice. I have to marry Gwen."

Her silence was deafening. He wished she would say something, but then again he wished she wouldnít. He knew the longer they stayed here, the harder it was going to be to walk away from each other. "Theresa, I Ė"

"Donít." She said raising a hand and closing her eyes. "I donít need to hear anymore. You made your choice."

Tears started to fall down her cheeks again, but he didnít move toward her. He knew if he touched her one more time, he would never be able to do what he knew he had to do. Evidently, she felt the same way because she stepped back away from him. When she opened her eyes, the pain in them was almost unbearable. "I have to go. Mama will be worried about me. I didnít leave her a note about my coming to the beach. I... I was upset and didnít think about it."

She was gone before he could stop her. God, he thought falling to the blanket and burying his face in his hands. He was such a bastard. He didnít deserve the precious gift Theresa had given him. He didnít deserve Theresaís loveÖ He didnít deserve Theresa period. In a few hours, he was going to shatter her heart. He was going to shatter her dreams, her belief in fate, her belief that love would conquer all. And for that, he would never forgive himself.



Theresa had just stepped onto the porch when her mother threw open the door. "Theresita! Where have you been? Iíve been so worried about you! Why did you not call me?"

"Iím sorry, Mama. Iíve been at the beach. I needed some time to myself and I ended up falling asleep. I didnít mean to worry you."

"Hija, are you all right?"

Theresa nodded. "Iím fine Mama. Donít worry about me."

"I canít help, but worry about you. Youíre my daughter. Maybe you should stay home today. I can tell them youíre arenít feeling well."

Theresa shook her head no. "Mama, I have to go. You know I do. Iím not going to cause a scene. I promise you. Ethan has made his choice. I accept that."

"Theresa, I donít want to see you hurt."

"Itís too late for that Mama." Theresa gave her mother a sad smile then walked into her bedroom and shut the door. The dress she was wearing to the wedding laid on her bed as a reminder of what was going to happen today. She was going to Ethanís wedding only she wasnít going as the bride. She felt the tears start to slip down her cheeks again, but she reached up to wipe them away. She had to stop this now. She had to block the pain of losing Ethan out of her mind. At least until after the wedding was over. Once it was, she could make her excuses and then she could leave. She shook her head and grabbed the dress off her bed then headed into the bathroom to shower and get ready for the wedding that was never supposed to happen.




Ethan stepped out of the shower and glared at the tux hanging on the back of the door. Today was supposed to be the happiest day of his life, but in actuality it was the worst. He was about to marry a woman he didnít love while the woman he did love stood by and watched. How could he watch Theresa walk down that aisle today knowing she wasnít walking down it as his bride? How could he say his vows to Gwen in a church, in front of God and everyone, knowing it was all a big lie? He didnít love Gwen. He didnít want to marry Gwen. He wanted Theresa. But he couldnít call off the wedding because by doing so he would be defying his family and ultimately he would be destroying the life of the woman he loved.

He quickly pulled on his underwear and the black tuxedo pants then turned toward the mirror and wiped away the steam that had collected on it. He sucked in a deep breath as he saw his reflection in the mirror. He did not look the part of a happy groom. In fact, he looked like he was about to confront a firing squad at high noon. He shook his head then picked up his can of shaving cream and began to clean himself up. Once he was done, the only evidence of his unhappiness was in his eyes. They were tinted with a dull sheen that he knew wouldnít disappear anytime soon. He knew he would be seeing that same look in the mirror for the rest of his life. How could he not? Without Theresa in his life, he would never be happy again.

"Ethan?" His mother called out from his bedroom. "Are you almost ready? We have to leave for the church soon. You donít want to be late to your own wedding, do you?"

No, he didnít want to be late to his own wedding. He just didnít want to go at all. He quickly finished getting ready and once he had masked the unhappiness in his eyes, he opened the door and stepped out into the room. His motherís smile widened and he somehow managed to return it. He cleared his throat then forced two words he didnít mean past his lips. "Iím ready."

to part five

Disclaimer:
I don't own these characters, JER & Passions do, I'm just borrowing them for awhile!

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