SIX YEARS AGO, Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald bought a one way bus
ticket out of Harmony and swore that she would never look back. She'd left town nursing a broken heart and now
she was back home for the same reason, only this time it wasn't her heart that was broken.
She didn't know the details of the accident that took Charity's life, but she knew the devastation Miguel was feeling.
After all, she knew first hand what it was like to lose someone you love. When Ethan married Gwen, Theresa thought
her life was over. What she didn't realize is that it was only just beginning.
After leaving Harmony, she went to New York and there she got a job as an assistant to a famous clothing designer.
Four years later, she opened her own clothing store, Fate Inc. Her store has been a success ever since. Too bad
her love life wasn't.
She'd dated several guys in the last few years in the hope that she would meet someone that would make her forget
about Ethan. But she never did. In fact, in all the years since she left Harmony, not a day went by that she didn't
think about Ethan and wonder how he was and if he was happy.
Theresa pulled her royal blue convertible into the parking lot of the church and wondered if Miguel was already
inside. Judging by the parking lot, she figured he was. After all, it seemed as if everyone in Harmony had turned
out for Charity's funeral.
Theresa punched the button to put the convertible top back up, then turned off the ignition. She'd just put her
keys inside her purse when someone knocked on the driver's side window. Glancing up, she saw her brother Luis and
his wife Sheridan.
Luis opened her door and the moment she stepped out of the car, enveloped her into a big brotherly hug. She'd missed
those hugs. "Hey, Luis. Sheridan. It's good to see you guys."
"It's good to see you too, sis. It's been too damn long."
"Luis is right, Theresa. We've all missed you so much." Sheridan followed the statement up with a hug
of her own.
"Thanks, Sheridan. I missed all of you too. How's Miguel?"
Luis shook his head sadly. "Not very good. He's really hurting. I think the only thing keeping him together
right now is Kay."
"Well, thank god, Miguel has a friend like Kay." Theresa said following Sheridan and Luis inside the
church. "But if Kay is helping Miguel deal with this then who is helping Kay? She must be devastated that
she lost her cousin."
"She is." Sheridan answered. "I think right now they are helping each other through it."
"I'm not surprised." Theresa said searching the room for Miguel. "They've been doing that since
we were kids."
Theresa spotted Miguel sitting near the front and was just about to walk in that direction when someone laid a
firm, masculine hand on her shoulder. She turned to find the one person she had hoped to avoid on her trip home...Ethan
ETHAN CRANE looked into Theresa's deep brown gaze and was reminded of the last time he saw her. The night before
his wedding to Gwen. Theresa had finally found the courage to come clean and tell him she was in love with him.
At first, he was so shocked he didn't know what to do, but then...
Ethan shook his head remembering the pain and the anger he felt when he realized Gwen had been right. He'd trusted
her and she'd betrayed that trust by lying to him. That's what had hurt the most. The fact that she wasn't honest
with him. That's when his pain had turned to anger. And that's when he told her that she wasn't who he thought
she was and that he never wanted to see her again.
At the time he meant it, but after a few hours he realized that the possibility of never seeing Theresa again hurt
worse than the lie she told ever could. But when he went to look for her, to tell her how he felt, he couldn't
find her. No one, not Pilar, not Luis, not even Whitney knew where she was.
He'd stayed up all night searching for her, but he never found her. He finally went home around six the next morning
and that's when he saw the letter on his bed. He knew before opening it that it was from Theresa. And he knew before
reading it that she was gone. He couldn't explain how he knew, but he knew.
He could still recall every word of that letter.
I never meant to hurt you. That is the last thing I would ever want to do. I wanted to tell you the truth a thousand
times, but I was afraid. I was afraid you wouldn't love me back and I wasn't ready to deal with that. I pray that
one day you'll be able to forgive me. But if you can't I understand. Just know that I love you and I always will.
Forever & Always,
"Ethan," Theresa said cutting into his thoughts. "Are
you alright? You look a little pale."
He shook his head. No good would come of remembering the past. What was done was done. "I'm fine. I just didn't
expect to see you."
"Why?" Theresa said clearly not knowing what he meant. "Charity was my sister-in-law. Miguel is
my brother. I wouldn't be anywhere, but here today. "
"I know. It's just with so many people here... I just didn't expect to see you."
Theresa smiled. "You said that already."
"Yeah, I guess I did. How's Miguel doing?" Ethan asked wanting to change the subject.
"I haven't seen him yet. That's where I was going when you... when you stopped me."
"Oh, I'm sorry." Ethan said wishing things weren't so awkward between them. There was once a time when
neither of them had to wonder what to say to each other. He supposed that what happened in the past and the time
apart had changed that. "Theresa, about-."
"Theresa," said Luis interrupting what he was about to say. If he even knew what he was about to say.
"Mama and Miguel were asking for you."
"Okay, thanks Luis. I have to go." Theresa said turning back to Ethan. "It was good to see you."
"It was good to see you to." Ethan said. But Theresa was already gone. Ethan watched her walk up the
aisle and felt a familiar tug in his heart. He wished things had turned out differently between them. Of course,
it was too late now. Wasn't it?
As Miguel finished his heartbreaking eulogy, Theresa wiped the tears from her eyes. Looking around the first few
pews she realized she wasn't the only one. Just as she was about to turn back to the front where Father Lonigan
was now speaking, her eyes connected with Ethan's. He was sitting with Sam & Grace on the front row.
She wasn't here when Ethan found out about Sam & Ivy. She'd already been living in New York for six months
before she learned what Ethan was going through. She'd almost come home, but then she realized he didn't need her.
He had Gwen.
She knew from Whitney that Ethan was devastated when he learned that Sam was his father and then again when he
learned he wasn't. Still the Bennett's regarded him as family and he them. She could tell by looking at them. They
were all so close. She knew Ethan was hurting just as much as Sam & Grace. She could see it in his eyes.
Theresa closed her eyes and remembered the last time she saw that sadness in his eyes. It was the day that she
left Harmony. The day that changed her life forever. She'd been so sure Ethan was in love with her that she'd finally
gone to him and told him she loved him. She'd confessed everything to him. He was shocked at first, but then he'd
gotten angry and told her he never wanted to see her again.
She believed him and that's why she left town. She couldn't hang around and watch him marry Gwen. That would have
been much more than she could have handled. Gwen probably had a fit when Ethan told her she was right. But of course,
her anger wouldn't have lasted long. After all, she was the one that won him in the end.
"Theresa," Whitney said breaking into her thoughts. "Are you just going to sit there? Everyone else
has already started to leave."
Theresa opened her eyes and saw that Whitney was right. She'd been so lost in thoughts of the past that she hadn't
even known the funeral was over. "Yeah, I was just lost in memories."
"Memories? Of Ethan? I saw you two looking at each other during the service. I thought you put him behind
you when you left Harmony."
"I did Whit. But a part of me will always love Ethan. He was my first love, you know? It's hard to just forget
Whitney gave her a long look. "I think you need to know something. Ethan -"
"Theresa," her mother interrupted. "Everyone is heading over to Sam & Grace's house. Are you
Theresa nodded. "Yes, Mama, I'll be there in a second. Whitney was just telling me something."
"Alright, don't be long. Your brother needs us today."
"I know Mama. I'll be right there." Theresa watched her mother walk off and then turned her attention
back to Whitney. "Now what were you saying?"
"It's doesn't matter. It's not important."
"Okay, Whit. You just sounded so serious a few minutes ago. Like you had some secret you had to tell me. Of
course that's crazy. You don't keep secrets from me."
"Right," Whitney said shifting her gaze toward the door. "I should probably get going. Chad's probably
waiting in the car for me."
"Alright, I'll talk to you later."
"Okay." Whitney said over her shoulder as she walked out of the church.
Theresa couldn't help, but wonder what Whitney had been about to tell her. Something in Whitney's voice told her
it was important. But for the life of her, Theresa couldn't think of what it could be. Or what it would have to
do with Ethan?