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Just to See You Smile
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EPILOGUE


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Just To See You Smile
by
OKDeanna

     

Chapter Two

Luis stood frozen in place still not quite believing he was really seeing an angel. He had to be dead. It was the only possible explanation for what he was seeing.

"Not the only one." The little girl replied. "Not the only one at all."

He swallowed hard. "Am I dead?"

"No." The little girl replied shaking her head. "You are in a deep sleep."

"So I can wake up then?"

"Yes," The little girl replied her eyes serene and peaceful. "But waking up will require a lot of strength. Strength your body lacks right now. You will have to take it easy and let your body heal first. Only then will you be able to fight your way back."

Fight his way back? "W…where am I?"

"You are in between heaven and earth."

Luis took a deep breath then lowered his head to look at the ground. A second later, he saw the ground disappear beneath his feet, but he wasn’t falling. He was standing, as if on a cloud of air, and underneath him was the view of his hospital room. The doctors were working furiously on him. He could see the worry on Dr. Russell’s face and knew his condition was critical.

The scene beneath him changed to another room in the hospital. This time he saw his family. Mama was sitting in a chair her hands clasped together praying. Theresa was in Ethan Crane’s arms. He felt the anger start to rise but then he noticed the way Ethan was holding Theresa, as if she was the most important person in the world to him, and his anger vanished. He loved her, Luis thought in surprise. Ethan Crane was in love with Theresa. A person would have to be blind not to see it. It was clearly written all over his face. He knew Theresa still loved Ethan and he made a promise to himself that when he woke up, he wasn’t going to stand in their way. He was going to give them his blessing. All he wanted was for Theresa to find someone who loved her and Ethan Crane obviously did. He may not like the fact that he was a Crane, but he wasn’t going to hold it against him any longer. He was going to give him the benefit of the doubt. Sheridan always said Ethan was nothing like his father and grandfather and from what he could tell, she was right. He’d better not tell Sheridan that though. She’d never let him live it down.

Where was Sheridan? He didn’t see her anywhere. Luis turned his head to the right and saw Miguel holding Kay’s hand. He saw Miguel turn toward her and then he saw the look that passed on Kay’s face, he knew that was another thing he’d never noticed. Kay was in love with Miguel and no one had a clue. It must kill her to see him with Charity. But then again, Charity wasn’t there right now… Kay was and from what he could see, Miguel seemed to like having Kay there with him. There was something in his eyes when he looked at her… Could his little brother be just as in love with Kay as she was with him? When he woke up, he was going to ask his brother about that.

Luis turned his attention to the other people in the room, but he the only people he saw were Hank, TC, Whitney, and Chad. Sheridan wasn’t there. "Where is Sheridan?" He asked raising his eyes to the little angel girl. "Why isn’t she there?"

He’d heard her voice after the shooting telling him to hold on and that she loved him. He knew she hadn’t been hurt, but if she was okay then why wasn’t she there?

"She is there." The little girl replied. "But you cannot see her yet. You are not ready to see her yet."

Not ready to see her? Of course he was ready to see her. He loved Sheridan and he needed to see her.

"You will see her soon." The little girl replied as the hospital scenes beneath his feet disappeared. "You will see her after you’ve rested. You were just given a small glimpse into some of the things you have been missing. You must give your mind time to digest them before you see anymore. After you have gained more strength you will see Sheridan. I promise."

He nodded his head fully aware that he had no choice but to wait… wait and hope that Sheridan really was okay.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Sheridan opened her eyes and blinked in confusion. Where was she? She struggled to sit up only to jump back in surprise when a firm hand reached out to help her. She looked up to see Sam staring at her in concern. "Easy Sheridan. You don’t want to sit up too quickly. We don’t want you fainting again."

She’d fainted? Why? Then, like a bolt of lightning, it hit her and she bolted upright then tried to get out of the bed. "Luis! Oh God Luis!"

"Calm down." Sam said taking her gently by the arms and helping her to stand. "They managed to stabilize him."

"I have to see him!" She yelled struggling against Sam’s hold on her arms. He didn’t release her. "Let me go, Sam. I have to see him!"

"You can’t Sheridan. They took him into the operating room a few minutes ago."

She stopped struggling at that. They were operating on Luis? Oh god. "Why? What’s wrong? What do the doctors say? Is he going to be okay?"

Sam shook his head. "We don’t know. He’s lost a lot of blood and the bullet hit one of his lungs. They are going to try and repair that. Eve said she won’t have the whole picture until they go in and see the extent of the damage."

"Oh dear god." Sheridan said her hand flying to her mouth. "I can’t lose him, Sam. I can’t lose him."

"Hey, " Sam said wrapping his arms around her in a comforting hug. "You’re not going to lose him. Luis is fighter. He’ll pull through this."

Sam was right, she thought stepping out of his embrace, Luis was a fighter and he was way too stubborn to give up. He would be okay. He had to be okay, because there just was no way she could live without him. Luis was her heart… her soul… he was everything to her and there was no way she would survive without him. No way at all.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Luis opened his eyes and found that bright lights once again surrounded him. He looked at the ground but found it to be as white as the rest of what he saw. He looked back up just as the little girl emerged from the door in the lights. Was she going to take him to see Sheridan now?

"Yes." The little girl replied nodding her head. "I will take you to see Sheridan now, but I must make sure that you are truly ready for what you will see and hear. You will not be able to talk with her or touch her. All you will be able to do is watch and listen. Some of what you will hear may be painful to you so you must make sure you are strong enough to handle it."

Luis shook his head in confusion. Painful to him? Why would watching and listening to Sheridan be painful to him? Unless… "Is Sheridan hurt? Is that what will be painful to me?"

The little girl shook her head. "She is not physically hurt. I cannot tell you anymore. The rest you must see for yourself."

Luis nodded then met the little girls’ eyes with his own. "I’m ready."

As if that was all she was waiting to hear, she held out her hand and waved it once through the air. Like magic the bright lights disappeared and he found himself in what looked like a chapel. He heard a noise behind him and turned to see Sheridan kneeling in front of a large cross with her hands clasped together in prayer. But what got him the most were the heartbreaking sobs coming from her throat.

"Listen and you shall learn all you need to know."

Luis wanted to turn and ask the little girl what she meant but he couldn’t seem to tear his gaze away from Sheridan. Listen and you shall learn all you need to know. What did she mean? What would he learn? What did he need to know? He watched as Sheridan raised her head toward the ceiling. "I’ll do anything God, anything you want. I’ll give away all my money, I’ll give away everything I own, just please don't take away the man I love. Please don't take Luis away from me."

Luis clutched his chest as the pain in her voice hit him full force. He couldn’t stand it. He couldn’t stand to see her in so much pain. He’d give anything to be able to take her in his arms and make all that pains go away.

"But you can’t" the little girl whispered behind him. "You can’t help her now. You can only listen and there is more, more that you need to hear."

More? How could he possibly stand there and listen to more? Sheridan’s heart was breaking. Her heart was breaking because of him and he was supposed to stand there and listen as she poured her heart out to God? He prided himself on being a strong man but Sheridan was in pain and he felt…helpless. He felt completely and utterly helpless. He couldn’t take it. He couldn’t take seeing her in so much pain. He tried to take a step toward her but a small hand stopped him.

"You mustn’t go to her." The little girl whispered. "It will only cause her more pain."

More pain? He didn’t want to cause her more pain. He wanted to get rid of her pain.

"To get rid of her pain you must listen. You must listen with your heart, Luis. Only then will you learn what you need to know."

Luis opened his mouth to ask her to explain but before he could Sheridan started speaking and drew his attention away from the little girl and her cryptic statements. "Please don’t take him from me God. I need him. I need him so much. I can’t bare to live without him. He’s my whole world. I wasted so much time believing he hurt me that I never stopped to see that he was the one that made me whole again. All my life I’ve believed I didn’t deserve someone’s love that I wasn’t good enough for someone to love me. Then I met Luis and he challenged my belief in just about everything. He challenged who I thought I was and who I thought I wanted to be. The truth is without him I wouldn’t be here today. It’s not because my life was and still is physically in danger. No it was the emotional danger that would have killed me a long time ago. The truth is I wouldn’t be alive inside if it wasn’t for Luis. He woke something inside me that died when I was a little girl and I didn’t think I would ever get it back. He woke my heart, my soul, he woke me. He opened my eyes to what had always been missing in my life. He woke me up to what real love was."

"I didn’t know that what I was feeling for him was love because I had never been shown what love was. Outside of Pilar and Ethan, no one in my life had given me even a tiny glimpse of what real love was so I didn’t recognize it even though it had been staring me in the face for so many months. But I know it’s there now. I know it is and I’m not ready to lose it. Please God I can’t lose him. I can’t lose Luis. There is still so much I have to tell him. Still so much I have to say."

Tears burned his eyes as he listened to the pain Sheridan had kept hidden for almost all of her life. The pain of feeling unworthy of love. How could he have been so blind? All these months, how could he have been so blind? Sheridan had been acting the way she had toward him because she was scared. She’d been scared of her feelings because she hadn’t known how he felt about her. She hadn’t known he loved her because the only people that had ever showed her love was her nephew and his mother, a woman that treated her like a daughter.

He shook his head as the pain in his chest got tighter. He was sure any minute now his heart was going to explode from all the pain that was coursing through it right now, but he would gladly let it happen if it meant it would ease Sheridan’s burden even for a minute. He raised a hand to wipe his eyes but then he heard Sheridan start to speak again and his hand stopped in midair.

"I never told Luis why I pulled away from him… why I slapped him that day at the youth center. But I need to God. I need him to know the truth. Please don’t let him die without knowing that I’m sorry that I was wrong. I believed he wanted to hurt me when it wasn’t true. Hearing him say he was using me was like a knife in my heart." She stopped and shook her head then continued on unaware that he was listening. "He’d never given me any indication before or after that one moment in time to make me think that what was between us was nothing more than his way to get back at my family for all the wrongs he thinks they did to him. I never would have believed he was using me had I not seen and heard him with my own eyes and ears. It never made sense to me though. It was like he was two different people, but now I know that whoever he was at the wharf that night is not the Luis I know and love. If Julian and Alistair hadn’t had me so convinced that he could never love me, I would have confronted him about it months ago. But instead I let my foolish pride stand in the way and now I may never get the chance to find out the truth."

Luis stumbled back a step unable to believe what he’d just heard. Sheridan had believed he was using her? She’d seen and heard him say it? How was that possible? He’d never said those things about her. He never ever could. He loved her. Even then he had loved her. He had denied it, even to himself, but it was true. What he was feeling toward Sheridan had always been love. She had stolen his heart long before he knew it was missing. He shook his head as her words echoed in his ears. Like he was two different people…. Julian and Alistair had me so convinced… Like he was two different people…

Luis froze as he realized the impact of those two statements. It was like he was two different people because he had been two different people. He wasn’t sure how what she had seen and heard was possible but he knew it was real. She had been way too angry and way too certain for it to have just been a case of mistaken identity. Someone down at the wharf that night had made her think it was him. He didn’t know who, but he knew Julian and Alistair Crane was behind it. They were the only people that didn’t want him and Sheridan together. Julian had tried to bribe him and when that didn’t work he and Alistair must have cooked this up. When he’d made that deal with Julian he had been making a deal with the devil.

"No, not the devil." The little girl answered. "Just someone who takes pleasure in other people’s pain."

Pleasure in other people’s pain. This time they had caused Sheridan pain. They had caused her… both of them… so much pain and heartache. All because they wanted to keep them apart. Why? Why were they so afraid of him and Sheridan being together? What harm could it possible do?

Sheridan started speaking again and he once again focused all his attention on her. He hated to see her in so much pain, especially since he could do nothing to alleviate it. At least not right now anyway. Right now all he could do was watch and listen to her speaking straight from her heart.

"Luis and I have lost so much time. So much precious time. But if you give me another chance… if you give us another chance, I promise you it won’t go to waste. I love him with all of my heart and all of my soul just as I know he loves me with all of his heart and all of his soul. We were both too proud to admit it until it was almost too late. Please don’t let it be too late, God. Please give us another chance. Please don’t let Luis die. I don’t know what I would do without him. He has been there for me even when I made it almost impossible for him to be. He has more strength and more courage than anyone I know." She stopped talking and reached up to wipe away the tears travelling down her cheeks. The pain in his chest grew even more intense… so intense it took his breath away. "He’s a strong man, but right now he needs your help. Help him fight his way back to me, God. Help him fight his way back to the people that love him."

Heart wrenching sobs tore from her throat and caused his heart to stop beating. He wanted to hold her to comfort her. He wanted to wrap his arms around her and tell her how much he loved her.
"But you can’t. Not right now." The little girl’s voice once again whispered. "Right now you can only listen to her. Right now you are supposed to listen to her."

He wasn’t sure how much more he could take. Listening to her pain and anguish was breaking his heart. He knew he had never felt this much pain before. It had a life of its own and right now it was tearing him apart inside. "I want to help her."

"You are." The little girl whispered. "You are helping her by listening."

"This is all my fault!" Sheridan suddenly cried out. "If Luis dies it will be all my fault. Another death -" She broke off and looked down at her hands as if she were looking at something on her hands. "Another person’s blood will be on my hands… only this time it will be the blood of the man I love… the man I can’t live without. Oh god, please don’t let him die. If this is because of what I did as a little girl I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do it. I didn’t mean to kill the man. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to."

Sheridan was rocking herself back and forth holding her hands to her chest, letting her tears flow down her cheeks. As if in slow motion, Sheridan stopped moving all together and got to her feet. Luis watched as she started walking closer to the cross. She laid her hand against it and all of the sudden a bright light shot through the room. It was so bright he had to close his eyes. When he opened them again, he saw Sheridan standing in a corner of the Crane living room. She was holding a letter opener in her hand. She looked as if she were terrified. Why? He didn’t understand. Then he heard a gruff male voice call out. "Where are you? You can’t hide from me forever you know! You shouldn’t have gone snooping. I told you not to and you did it anyway. Now you have to pay the consequences."

Suddenly an image before Sheridan and grabbed her by the arms. The man was angry and he held something in his hands. It looked like a gun. Oh god, Sheridan was in trouble. Luis rushed forward to help her, but he stopped cold when he saw Sheridan raise her hand and stab the man with the letter opener… right where his heart should have been. The man fell back in surprise and just looked at Sheridan. Then in the space of a heartbeat, a little blond haired girl with curls past her shoulders replaced Sheridan. Somehow he knew the little girl was Sheridan… Sheridan as a child. He wasn’t sure how he knew but he knew. Another voice called out and this time he recognized it. Julian Crane.

"Father," He yelled walking into the living room. "I heard voices in the –"

"Dear god." He said as he noticed the body on the floor.

"Julian have you found –" Alistair Crane loomed in the doorway and when he saw the scene before him... he became enraged. "What have you done, Sheridan, what have you done."

"I didn’t mean to do it. I didn’t mean to do it."

"Yes, you did Sheridan, yes you did."

Alistair walked toward her and she backed away in fear. Julian covered the body with a sheet and Sheridan glanced down at it just as the blood started to seep through. She started in horror then fell to her knees and held out her hand to the blood on the sheet. When she touched it, she pulled back her hands in shock. She looked down at the blood then let out a bloodcurdling scream. In the next instant, she fainted and Julian picked her up then glanced at Alistair as if asking him what to do next."

"Take her upstairs, Julian and make sure no one sees her. I’m going to call the doctor and then I’m going to ready the Crane jet. We have to get her out of here immediately. No one can know what happened here tonight. No one can know what she found out. It could destroy us. It could bring down our entire family. She must not tell what she knows. We must make sure she never tells."

"Father, surely you don’t mean -"

"No, of course not. Sheridan is my daughter after all. We’ll send her to Paris to see some psychiatrists. They can help us make her forget all about what happened tonight."

"Yes father. That would be for the best."
Julian walked out of the living room and up the stairs with Sheridan in his arms. Alistair grabbed the phone off the desk and punched in a serious of numbers. "Yes, this is Alistair Crane. I need the jet fueled and ready. There will be four passengers… Julian, Sheridan, Martin Fitzgerald, and myself. Destination is Paris."

Luis froze at the sound of his father’s name. Paris? His father went to Paris with Sheridan? Why? Alistair started to say something else but all of the sudden a scream pierced the air. Sheridan. She was screaming again.

Alistair’s face held no trace of emotion as Sheridan’s screams continued to sound throughout the house. The man was as cold as ice and Luis knew he was also just as lethal. How could a father do what he had done to Sheridan?

Luis shook his head and just like that the scene before him vanished and he was once again surrounded by nothing but bright lights. Luis turned around and found himself face to face with the little angel girl. "Where is Sheridan? Why did you bring me back here? I thought I was supposed to listen to her!"

"You did listen, Luis. You did listen to her and now you must find the strength to help her. Now it is time for you to make your decision."

"To make my decision?" He asked raising a brow. "What decision? What are you talking about?"

"You will know when you are ready, Luis. You will know when the time is right."

Luis started to ask her what she meant, but the moment he opened his mouth to speak she was gone. How could he make a decision when he didn’t even know what his choices were? He shook his head. He’d think about it later. He’d think about all of it later. Right now, he wanted to see Sheridan.

"Please," he whispered. "I need to see Sheridan. I need to make sure she’s all right."

Just like that the lights disappeared and a tunnel appeared before him… a very long tunnel, but at it’s end was… Sheridan, he thought in surprise. Sheridan stood at the end of the tunnel. It took Luis all of two seconds to decide what he was going to do. He took a deep breath then took off running... he took off running toward Sheridan. As he started into the tunnel, he heard a voice whisper,
"Finally, what is meant to be will be."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

to chapter three

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