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Meant To Be
by
OKDeanna

     

Theresa could feel Ethan's eyes on her. The same as she had since she and Alex had walked into the room. He hadn't said much when she had introduced them all to Alex. In fact, he hadn't said much to her at all. Maybe agreeing to go out with Alex hadn't been such a good idea after all.

"Theresa?" Alex asked interrupting her thoughts. "Is something wrong?"

She smiled at him, giving him her full attention. "No, I was just thinking about something."

"About that Ethan guy?" Alex asked.

Theresa smile fell. "What makes you ask that?"

"Well, he's been staring at you ever since we walked into the room and you've been staring at him too. It doesn't take a genius to see something is between you two."

Theresa swallowed hard. How should she reply?

Alex didn't give her time to answer. "Don't worry about it. I take it you're trying to make him jealous?"

"Alex, I... " Theresa lowered her eyes in regret. "Yes. I'm sorry."

"Don't be." Alex said reaching over to pat her hand. "If you want to know the truth that was my hope in getting you to go out with me. I'm trying to get over someone, but a part of me had hoped we would run into her here tonight and she would... well, she would be jealous."

"Is she here?" Theresa asked glancing around the room.

"No, " Alex replied with a slight frown. "I haven't seen her."

Theresa shook her head. They seemed to be in the same boat. It figured. How could she make Ethan jealous when her date was wishing her were with someone else? Her plan was not working.

"Theresa, " Alex said standing up and holding out his hand. "What do you say we work on making the person that is here jealous? How 'bout a dance?"

Theresa beamed up at him. "I would love to dance. Thank you."

She walked with Alex toward the dance floor and as soon as a new song began Alex pulled her into his arms. Theresa smiled at him and laid her head on his shoulder. If she wasn't in love with Ethan she could really like Alex. Theresa let the music take over and just continued to move with Alex across the dance floor. Even if going out with Alex tonight didn't make Ethan jealous, Theresa was still having fun.



ETHAN watched as Theresa and her date swayed to the music. He couldn't help but wish he was the man holding her in his arms. Damn, why did she affect him this way? He was engaged to be married, he shouldn't be lusting after another woman. But the fact of the matter is that is exactly what he was doing? His thoughts were interrupted when Gwen touched his arm. "Honey, how 'bout we join Theresa and her date on the dance floor?"

Ethan nodded and stood, automatically holding out his hand to Gwen. "That sounds like an excellent idea."

He led Gwen to the dance floor and enveloped her in his arms. He continued to watch Theresa and his breath caught when she suddenly looked up at him. Had she known he was staring at her? She smiled and he felt a tug in the vicinity of his heart. They continued to look into each others eyes as the music came to a close. It didn't matter that they were dancing with other people, it felt as if they were the only two in the room.

Ethan watched as a young woman approach Theresa and her date. The woman didn't seem too happy. In fact, she seemed livid. Theresa's date stepped back and the shock on his face was apparent. The lady said something and Theresa's eyes widened. That's when the lady raised her hand and slapped Theresa hard across the face.

Alex reached for Theresa, but she stepped back away from him. Ethan didn't even think about what he was doing, he just let go of Gwen and walked over to Theresa who was rubbing her cheek where the lady had slapped her. "What is going on here?"

"What is going on," the red head that slapped Theresa said. "is that my husband is out in public with one of his whores."

Theresa gasped. "Your husband?"

"Oh like you didn't know? Please, I've seen your type before, you gold digging little -"

"Don't even think about insulting her again." Ethan said with narrowed eyes.

"And what business is this of yours? Or are you one of her men?"

Ethan stepped closer to the lady and she took a step back. "I am Ethan CRANE and this LADY is a friend of mine. I will not tolerate your insulting her. The person you should be mad at is your husband. Theresa, would never knowingly go out with a married man."

"Oh and you're so sure of that?"

"Positive. I know her and she is not that type of girl. Now I think you owe her an apology."

The woman raised a brow, then turned toward Theresa. Her voice was lethal, but she did as he asked. "If I misunderstood the situation here I apologize."

Theresa nodded, but didn't reply. Ethan sent a withering glance toward Alex. "You owe Theresa an apology as well."

"You're right." he said turning toward Theresa. "I am sorry Theresa. I never meant for this to happen."

Theresa closed her eyes and just shook her head. "I'm sorry too, Alex."

Alex nodded and took the red head by the arm. She pulled away from him and Ethan just shook his head. How could that guy have done this to Theresa? Ethan didn't even notice that Gwen had also come over until she put her arm around Theresa. "Why don't you let Ethan take you home?"

Theresa glanced at her in surprise. "Gwen, I don't think -"

"Please, Theresa." Ethan said interrupting her and taking her by the arm. " Let me take you home. "

Theresa looked up at him and Ethan saw the tears starting to form in her eyes. "Okay," she whispered.

Ethan nodded and looked at Gwen. "Are you coming?"

Gwen shook her head. "No, I'll get a ride with Julian and Ivy."

He nodded and placed a kiss on her cheek. "I'll see you later then."

Gwen nodded and turned toward Theresa. "I hope you're all right. That situation was not your fault. That man was a jerk."

"Yes." Theresa said sadly. "And I was a fool."

Then she pulled free of Ethan's arm and walked out of the restaurant. Ethan didn't even say goodbye to Gwen, he just walked out after Theresa.

Ethan caught up with her outside and swung her around to face him. "You are not a fool Theresa. I swear I could have broken that guy's nose for hurting you."

Theresa shook her head. "He didn't hurt me Ethan. He just disappointed me. He told me he was trying to make someone jealous, but he didn't tell me he was married. And from the way he spoke I don't think the woman he was trying to make jealous was his wife."

Ethan didn't either. He'd seen the shock on the guys face when the woman had come up to them. Damn, him for putting Theresa in that position. "Come on," Ethan said putting his arm around her and walking toward his car. "Let me take you home."

"Ethan, I really don't want to go home yet. It's still early and Luis will probably be up. I don't want to tell him what happened tonight. He'll give me a lecture on the dangers of dating and I'm not up to listening to that tonight."

"Okay," Ethan said unlocking her door. "I won't take you home yet. How 'bout we go to the beach? Would that be okay?"

Theresa got in and looked up at him with sad brown eyes. "I don't care where we go as long as it isn't home."

Ethan nodded and shut her door. Then he got in and started the car. Before he pulled out of the parking lot though, he glanced at Theresa. He saw a tear fall from her eyes and he reached out and wiped it away. She turned toward him and his heart felt the pain he saw in her eyes. He hated to see Theresa upset. He promised himself that before he took her home tonight he would erase that sadness in her eyes.


Theresa stared up at the sky and wrapped her arms around herself. It was a romantic night, she was here with Ethan, and yet she wished she was a million miles away. That scene in the restaurant had been mortifying. Her plan to make Ethan jealous had totally backfired. She supposed it served her right. If Ethan really loved her, she wouldn't have to come up with a plan to make him realize it. He would realize it on his own. The only good thing that had come out of the scene with Alex was the fact that Ethan had rescued her from it just like a white knight would have done.

Theresa watched a star shoot across the sky. She would have made a wish, but she didn't have the heart too. Her wishes never came true anyway. If they had she would be in Ethan's arms right now.

"Theresa," Ethan said coming to stand beside her. "I finally found the blanket. It was in the back of the trunk. Let me just spread it out so we can sit down."

"Okay." She said turning around to face him. His hair glistened in the moonlight and her fingers itched to touch it. But she couldn't do that. They weren't here as a couple. They were friends. Theresa turned back to look at the ocean, fresh tears brimming in her eyes. She knew Ethan wanted to make her feel better and that only made her feel worse. Theresa reached up to wipe a tear away, but before she could Ethan took her arm and turned her around to face him.

Worried concern lit in his eyes. Ethan took her face in his hands and with his thumbs wiped away her tears. Then he pulled her gently into his arms. She wound her arms around his waist and laid her head on his shoulder. It fit perfectly in the hollow between his shoulder and his neck. Like his shoulder had been meant for her. "Don't cry, Theresa. Please don't cry."

Theresa closed her eyes as Ethan's hands rubbed her back. Being in his arms was a dream, one in which she never wanted to wake. Only it wasn't a dream. She was awake and she was in Ethan's arms.

"Theresa, tonight wasn't your fault." Ethan said raising a hand to the back of her head. "You did nothing wrong."

"I know it wasn't my fault, but I should have -" Theresa broke off without finishing. She wasn't sure what she could have done to prevent the spectacle at the Seascape tonight, besides of course not going in the first place.

"Should have what?" Ethan asked pulling away to look into her eyes. "Theresa, there was no way you could have known the guy was married. No one could have."

Theresa looked away. She knew he was right, but it didn't stop her from feeling like she should have known. God, all she wanted was to make Ethan jealous and now he felt sorry for her. She wished he felt more than that, but she had to face the fact that he didn't. Tonight she had learned a lesson, plans and schemes were not going to get her Ethan. The only thing they had ever gotten her was in trouble. It was time to grow up and face the fact that Ethan would never love her.

Theresa pulled out of Ethan's embrace and went to sit down on the blanket. She raised her knees, wrapped her arms around them, then laid her head down and cried. She wasn't aware of Ethan coming to sit beside her until he enveloped her in his arms. Then she was openly weeping on his shoulder. "I'm so sorry, Ethan. I'm so sorry."

"Sorry for what?" Ethan asked pulling away and moving the hair back off her face. "Theresa this was not your fault."

"Yes it was. If I hadn't been..." God, she wanted to tell him the truth. She knew he would hate her, but she needed to come clean with him. She needed to do that. She took a deep breath and rushed to get the words out before she changed her mind. "If I hadn't been trying to make you jealous I never would have gone out with Alex tonight."

"Jealous?" Ethan asked in a voice she didn't quite recognize. "You were trying to make me jealous?"

"Yes." She said her gaze never leaving his face.

Ethan shook his head and got up from the blanket to stare out at the ocean. After a few minutes of silence, he turned back around, looked into her eyes, and whispered two words, two words that she would never forget as long as she lived. "It worked."


Ethan watched Theresa's eyes widen at what he'd just confessed. He couldn't blame her really. It had shocked him too. But what he said was true. He had been jealous at seeing her with another man. Even more so when they started dancing. He wanted to be the one holding her in his arms. He wanted to be the one to feel her body close to his.

God, he thought lowering his eyes toward the sand and running a hand through his hair, what the hell was the matter with him? They were just friends. Weren't they? But if Theresa thought that then why would she try to make him jealous. He raised his eyes to look at her. "Why? Why would you want me to be jealous?"

"Because I -" She broke off and turned away. Ethan felt the loss down in the deepest part of his soul. No one effected him the way she did. Why? Why didn't Gwen, the woman he claimed to love, affect him this way.

Ethan walked toward her, put one hand under her chin and turned her around with the other hand. The look in her eyes said it all. "Because you what, Theresa? Because you love me? Is that what you were going to say?"

Her beautiful brown eyes widened again and he couldn't help the smile that formed on his lips. "You... you know?"

He laughed at how blind he'd been. That look in her eyes he could never quite define... it was love. "Yes, but I only just realized it. I couldn't think of any other reason why you would want to make me jealous unless you had feelings for me. Gwen was right all along wasn't she? You loved me the whole time, didn't you?"

Tears welled in her eyes, but she didn't look away. She faced him and admitted what he already knew was true. "Yes. She was right."

"Why?" he whispered. "Why didn't you tell me?"

She took a deep breath and started to turn her head, but she couldn't. He held her chin in his hands. "I wanted too. Countless times, but somehow I never could. I was afraid... I was afraid you'd hate me, if you knew how I felt... how I'd lied to you."

Ethan closed his eyes and let out the breath he hadn't been aware he was holding. "I would have... a few months ago. But now..."

"But now what?" Theresa asked searching his eyes.

"But now I can't." He said staring deep into her eyes. "It's too late for that now."

"What do you mean Ethan? What are you saying?"

"I'm saying it's too late to hate you now. I couldn't even if I wanted to. Because now I know why I could never get you out of my head... never get you off my mind. It's because I'm in love with you too. And I have been... probably from the beginning, from the moment we first met."

"Ethan -"

"No, let me finish. I was obsessed with finding my stalker. She was haunting my dreams and it wasn't because I thought she was a danger. It was her... it was you. You got to me. I didn't even realize how much until tonight. When I saw you with that guy, I felt like my heart was being torn in two. I've never felt so much pain before. And then when I saw that woman slap you... I went crazy. I knew you didn't deserve to be treated like that."

"You really love me?"

He laughed. "With all my heart."

"Ooooooh," she screamed as launched herself into his arms. "I love you sooooo much!"

"I love you too, Theresa. And now that I know, I'm never gonna let you go."

"But what about Gwen... and your family... and my family. They'll never -"

"We'll find a way Theresa. We'll find a way because we love each other. I won't lose you now. I'll walk away from my family if that's what it takes."

Theresa pulled back and stared at him. "You would?"

"Yes," He said framing her face with his hands. "I would."

Then under the moon... with the stars spread out of the sky... he kissed her. He kissed her with all the love he had in his heart and he knew from that moment on that nothing and no one would ever keep him and Theresa apart. He knew they would be together forever, because they were meant to be. It was fate.

The End

       
     

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