Sheridan watched Luis’ pickup once again disappear out of sight and she couldn’t help the tears that fell from
her eyes. He had been so angry with her and she knew he had every right to be. She had never intended to say
those things to her parents. She had just been so angry with them and the words had just tumbled out before she
could stop them. She had no doubt that her parents were livid right now and she was not looking forward to going
back inside that house.
She heard the door creak open behind her but she refused to turn around. She didn’t want to talk to anyone. She
closed her eyes as someone laid a firm hand on her shoulder. Ethan, she thought with a sigh, Ethan had come out
to talk to her. Actually, yell at her was probably a better description. She knew he was angry too. She had
seen the look on his face when she’d come out of Luis’ bedroom earlier and then again when she’d walked into the
living room a few minutes ago. She knew he was going to let her have it and she didn’t particularly need his lecture
on top of the two she’d already received today.
"Are you okay?" Ethan asked turning her around to face him. "Luis looked pretty pissed."
Pissed? Luis had been beyond pissed, she thought opening her eyes. He had been downright furious and she deserved
every bit of that fury too. She had caused him to lose his job and as he not so gently pointed out… she had also
caused him to lose Julian and Ivy’s respect. She knew from the hurt look on his face when Julian had told him
how disappointed in him he was that those words crushed him far more than losing his job ever could. And as he
said nothing she could say was going to change that. The damage was done and there was no way she could reverse
it now, no matter how much she wanted to.
"I’m fine." She lied. There was no need to tell him what had just happened between her and Luis. Besides,
she had a feeling he pretty much already knew. "Luis said he doesn’t want to see me again."
Ethan nodded. "Maybe that’s for the best."
For the best? No, she thought shaking her head, it wasn’t for the best. She couldn’t leave things like that between
them. She had to explain to him. She had to explain that she hadn’t meant to say what she said. She had just
been so angry and she was so tired of the way her parents treated her… but Luis wouldn’t understand that. At least,
he wouldn’t right now. She would have to wait to explain it all to him. Right now, he needed space to cool off
and she needed to give it to him. It was the very least she could do after the damage she’d just caused.
"Sher," Ethan started in his –I’m-about-to-say-something-you-won’t-like tone. "I –"
"Don’t Ethan. If you are going to lecture me on what happened in there a few minutes ago don’t bother. Luis
already gave me an ear full and I don’t think I can take much more okay?"
If truth be told she knew she couldn’t take much more today. Just remembering the cold fury in Luis’ eyes and
the anger in his voice was enough to make her want to go upstairs and not come back down for a week. She knew
his anger stemmed from his hurt and the fact that she had caused that hurt was almost more than she could bare.
He was a proud man, she knew that and for him to show her that much today was more than she would have expected
him to do. She could see him being angry and just walking off not saying anything to her, but for him to actually
tell her how that made him feel said something about him. He wasn’t the bad boy he pretended to be. Underneath
that cool exterior was the heart of gold, Theresa had talked so much about. She had seen it today. He had really
been hurt by what Julian had said, she had seen it in his eyes. She had heard it in his voice and knowing she
had caused that hurt... She shook her head wondering if she would ever be able to make it up to him. Something
told her she wouldn’t. Something told her she would never be able to undo the trouble she had caused him today.
Luis walked into his apartment and slammed the door. He was still seething with anger and he knew it was partly
directed at himself. If he had stuck to his guns and stayed the hell away from Sheridan Crane, he wouldn’t be
in the position he was in now. How in the hell was he going to tell his dad that he had gotten thrown off the
job because he’d slept with Julian’s niece? Julian and his father were friends, good friends, and he knew that
his and Sheridan’s actions today would cause problems for them. His father as going to hit the roof and he was
definitely not looking forward to seeing his father’s Irish temper.
He shook his head then made his way into the kitchen and grabbed a beer out of the fridge. After twisting off
the cap and downing about half of it, he walked back into the living room and sank down onto the couch. He closed
his eyes then leaned his head back against the cushions and cursed his own stupidity. If he had just stayed away
from her… but he hadn’t. He hadn’t and now he was paying the price. One night with her and his whole world was
turned upside down.
Julian’s disappointed gaze flashed in his mind again and he opened his eyes hoping to rid it of the memory. It
didn’t work. He raised his beer to his lips and took another long swig. He turned his head to the side and eyed
the phone sitting on the table beside him. He knew he had to call his dad and tell him to send Marty to the Crane’s
to finish up the pool house, but he couldn’t bring himself to pick up the phone just yet. He wasn’t sure he would
ever be able to make that call. He’d been working for his dad’s construction company for years and he had never
gotten thrown off a job before. He always took his job very seriously and always made sure he satisfied the customers.
His dad had never questioned his work ethic, but he knew he was bound to now.
Getting thrown off a job from his best friend’s dad stung. It stung more than he would ever admit to anyone.
And he had no one to blame but himself. He had really laid into Sher and he knew she had deserved part of it,
but part of it had been directed at himself too. He had known getting involved with her wasn’t smart, but he hadn’t
been able to stop himself. There was just something about her that he couldn’t walk away from. She had this energy…
this vitality that drew him to her. She was unlike any girl he had ever met and he knew his attraction to her
wasn’t just physical. He’d figured that much out last night. He knew he cared about her, but he also knew that
he shouldn’t. Because caring about someone left you vulnerable to pain and heartache and he’d already had more
than his share of those thanks to Beth and Josh.
"Luis, are you sure this is the ring you want?"
Theresa asked for the second time. "It’s awfully expensive. Are you sure you can afford this?"
He glanced at the ring then smiled. It was perfect. The ring had a small diamond in the center and was offset
by two rubies on both sides of it. The rubies represented two hearts and the diamond in the center represented
the love those two hearts shared. It was the perfect ring. "Yes, I’m sure. Beth, will like it won’t she?"
"Of course she will.’ His sister beamed linking her arm through his. "She’s going to love it. When
are you going to give it to her?"
He laughed as his sister’s face lit up with excitement. "Tonight. We have plans to go out to dinner and
I thought I’d take her to the Seascape then maybe we could walk through the park and I’ll propose there. It’s
where we first met after all."
"Oh, Luis that sounds so romantic. Who knew my brother was so romantic?"
He laughed. "I have good motivation. I have Beth. I swear I never thought I could love anyone so much but
I do. I can’t wait until tonight. I just hope she says yes!"
"She will, Luis. She loves you. You know that."
I do. I got lucky when they were handing out girlfriends. I got one of the best."
"Spoken like a man in love." Theresa said laughing. "Now what do you say you pay for this ring
so we can get out of here."
"Absolutely. I want to go back to the apartment and talk to Josh about making sure he isn’t home tonight.
I have a feeling Beth and I will want our privacy tonight."
He couldn’t wait to see the look on Beth’s face
as he popped the question. They hadn’t been together long but they had been together long enough for him to figure
out he loved her and wanted to marry her. He never thought he would say those words to anyone but he had and she
had said them back. That had been the happiest night of his life, but he had a feeling tonight would top that
- unless of course she said no. If that happened then it would be the worst night of his life.
Luis paid for the ring then slipped the little black box in the pocket of his coat. He and Theresa made their
way back to his truck and headed toward their folk’s house. After dropping Theresa off, Luis made his way toward
the apartment he and Josh shared on Harmony Drive. He hoped Josh was home. He really needed to talk to him about
tonight. He wanted everything to go well and if it did then he wanted him and Beth to be alone so they could celebrate.
Smiling, he shut off then engine, grabbed the keys out of the ignition, then jumped out of the truck and headed
toward the apartment. He took the stairs two at a time, the smile never leaving his face. He couldn’t wait to
see Josh’s face when he told him he was going to propose to Beth. He could just picture the shock. Josh was a
confirmed bachelor and the m word scared the hell out of him. Luis was going to have fun making him realize just
how wonderful having a woman like Beth in his life was.
Luis unlocked the door and walked in. The soft music on the stereo caught him off guard because normally Josh
listened to heavy metal. The only time he listened to this was when he was trying to get a girl into the sack.
He cocked his head to the side and listened. He didn’t hear any voices so he wasn’t sure if Josh had a chick
with him or not. He started to call out but just as he opened his mouth the bedroom door opened and out walked
half dressed Josh.
A second later, his whole world came tumbling down like a ton of bricks because that’s when he saw the reason behind
the soft music blaring on the stereo. Standing right behind Josh was Beth and she was wearing Josh’s blue button
up shirt. The moment they saw him both their eyes widened to the size of saucers and he knew… he knew he’d been
played for a fool.
Luis shook his head to clear it of the painful memories.
That night was the last thing he wanted to remember, especially right now. He was upset enough he didn’t need
to remember how big of an idiot he was on top of everything else. He downed the rest of his beer then got up and
walked back into the kitchen to get another. He knew the booze wasn’t going to help ease the ache in his chest,
but he hoped it could dull it somewhat.
He twisted the cap off the bottle and tossed it onto the cabinet beside the other then chunked the empty bottle
into the trash can to his left. He gripped the edge of the cabinet as more memories flashed in his head. This
time it was memories of Sher and of last night. The look in her eyes as he’d entered her. The ecstasy on her
face as she climaxed. Then he remembered the tears in her eyes as he’d told her he never wanted to see her again.
He’d said it in the heat of anger and he knew he didn’t mean a word of it. He was still angry and he still needed
time to cool off, but he didn’t mean what he told her. He didn’t mean it when he told her to stay the hell away
from him. He hoped she knew that. He couldn’t be sure that she did though.
He knew his temper had gotten the better of him and it hadn’t been just because of what she’d told her parents
and Ethan’s parents. He had been angry with himself because he’d placed her in that position. If he hadn’t been
so content with her lying in his arms last night, he would have woken her up and taken her home. But when he awoke
at three am and felt her in his arms, he hadn’t wanted to let her go. He had been to content holding her. It
had been a long time since he’d wanted a woman to stay the night with him. Since Beth, he thought with a frown.
That was definitely not a good sign. Beth had broken his heart and he never wanted to feel that kind of pain
again. Something told him it might just be too late for that.
Sighing, he pushed himself away from the cabinet and walked back into the living room to call his father. He needed
to tell him about what happened and he figured he’d better do it before he got too loaded to think, let alone talk,
Sheridan walked back inside the house with Ethan only to hear her father yelling at her Uncle Julian for hiring
Luis in the first place. Uncle Julian fired something back, but she didn’t stick around to hear what was being
said. She just turned and made her way up the stairs to her guestroom. When she opened the door and saw her mother
sitting on her bed crying, she felt more grief and more regret than she had ever felt in her life. She hadn’t
meant to hurt her mother. She hadn’t meant to hurt anybody. She just wanted everyone to realize that she wasn’t
the porcelain doll they all treated her like. She didn’t like being on that pedestal everyone placed her on and
she was glad she was finally able to make them see that. But she did regret how she had gone about telling them.
They hadn’t deserved that disrespect. No one did.
"Mother," She said walking inside the room and closing the door. "I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make
you cry. I didn’t mean for any of that to happen downstairs. I really didn’t. I was just so angry-"
"I know Sheridan." Her mother said standing up and wiping away her tears. "I know you didn’t mean
for that scene to happen. No one did. Your father reacted out of worry for you. He didn’t mean to treat you like
a child. We both know you are a grown woman, but Sheridan it still didn’t give you the right to talk to us that
way. We are your parents and we deserved a lot more respect than you gave us downstairs."
Sheridan lowered her head toward the ground. "I know you did and I’m sorry I didn’t give it to you."
Her mother nodded then walked toward her and wrapped her arms around her. "So how well do you know this Luis?
Did he treat you right? I mean I know he’s Ethan’s friend and that Julian and Ivy think the world of him, but
what do you think of him?"
Sheridan knew what her mother was asking and she wasn’t at all sure she knew how to answer her questions. She
had slept with Luis, but they didn’t know each other well. She couldn’t tell her mother that, but then she had
to already know that. After all, she hadn’t even been in Harmony a week yet. She decided to sidestep that question
and concentrate on the other two instead. "Luis treats me well, mom. He’s a really great guy. I have a lot
of fun with him."
She wasn’t about to tell her the kind of fun she and Luis had together. Instead, she told her about the party
and how Luis had sung her favorite song from Top Gun after she had dared him to. Her mother laughed at how he
tricked her into thinking he couldn’t sing and then at how he had surprised her by having a really great voice.
She left out the stuff about Ethan and Luis getting into an argument and about Josh. There was no need to go
into those details. No need at all.
"Luis sounds like a good guy, Sheridan. I can see why you like him so much. I knew when I saw you walk in
something was different and now I know that Luis is the reason. He is the reason you have that glow about you.
The glow of a woman in love."
Sheridan froze at that. There was no way she was in love with Luis. That was absolutely the most ridiculous thing
she had ever heard. She couldn’t deny it though because then her mother would ask why she had slept with a man
she didn’t love and that was definitely not a conversation a daughter should have with her mother. In love with
Luis, she thought shaking her head, her mother couldn’t be more wrong. She and Luis had an understanding nothing
more. At least they used to have an understanding. After what happened today, she wasn’t sure he’d ever want
to see her again let alone sleep with her. She supposed that was something she would have to talk with him about.
She’d give him a few days to cool off and then she would go talk to him. She just hoped he would listen to her.