Early the next morning Timothy Crane waltzed into the library. Seeing Alistair there he smiled and held up that
Alistair looked at him, confused, until it registered what was on the front page. The entire Crane and Barrett
families were there in a publicity shot they had taken months ago when announcing the wedding. Right under that
a slightly smaller photo showed a more recent picture of Rachel and Alistair together. The headline blared: 'Crane/Barrett
marriage set to happen in two short weeks!'
"Well?" Timothy demanded.
"It doesn't feel that short to me," Alistair shrugged.
"ALISTAIR!" Timothy barked. "Aren't you pleased we made the front page? I mean, if this is the coverage
we get now, imagine the wedding day. I'm quite pleased, son. QUITE pleased."
"Thank you father," Alistair sighed.
"Of course we'll need to arrange for more shots to be taken just after the wedding - and some of you and
Rachel should be taken as soon as possible. And of course photos of the wedding party - and you and Rachel alone
with her in her wedding dress and you in you're tux - she and you look so AWFULLY good together, so photogenic,
what a pity if we were to waste that. And she's going to be SUCH an asset - "
As his father droned on Alistair rolled his eyes.
True to her word, Rachel showed up at the Crane mansion at 9 am that morning. She was shown into the library where
Alistair and Timothy were still talking.
"Rachel! My daring girl!" Timothy exclaimed, standing and putting an arm around her. "How ARE you
"I'm well, thank you Mr. Crane," she answered. "And you?
"Oh PLEASE," he insisted, smiling, "You really MUST call me Timothy."
"All right, Timothy," Rachel said in a skeptical voice, raising her eyebrows. She glanced over at Alistair,
"Well, I'll leave you two lovebirds alone," timothy was saying as he walked out the library doors. Rachel
laughed the second he was out of sight.
"What on EARTH has gotten into him?" she questioned, taking a step closer to Alistair as he stepped closer
"Well hello to you too," he laughed, lightly kissing her cheek. She smiled.
"He's acting very oddly Alistair," she insisted.
"He likes the coverage the wedding has been getting, and apparently some stock prices jumped too - I'm not
sure, I tuned out most of the conversation."
She giggled. "You did NOT." He shrugged. "What wedding coverage?" she asked suddenly. He reached
backward and grabbed the paper without moving.
"Wow - " she said softly. He nodded. Suddenly she spotted flowers on a small table to his right.
"Lilies!" she exclaimed, walking over to them. "White lilies. My favorite."
Alistair smiled and took one out of the large vase, tucking it behind her ear. "There you go."
She grinned up at him. "Thank you," she murmured.
Suddenly he frowned. "Don't go sailing today," he said in a serious voice.
She looked up at him still smiling, bewildered. "Why not?"
His own brow furrowed. "I - I don't know." He admitted finally. "I just have a really horrible
feeling about it."
Rachel felt a small chill go through her body as his words sunk in. Her smile faded. In the entire time she had
known him Alistair had NEVER said anything to anyone like that. EVER. She frowned, then hugged him tightly.
"Don't WORRY!" she insisted. "I'm only going out for just a few hours, and it's the most BEAUTIFUL
day. I sail all the time," she 1/2 smiled. "Look!" she exclaimed, gesturing to a chair over which
she had draped a yellow rain slicker on her way into the room. "I even have that, just in case. Now tell me,
how many people would be that prepared on a day like today?" she teased lightly, gesturing to the daylight
pouring through the window..
He laughed. "Forgive me. I don't know WHAT came over me. Have a good time," he said, kissing her lightly.
"M-hmm," she nodded. "And maybe when I see you next we can talk about buying our own house?"
He shook his head, amused. "WHY won't you give that up?"
"Because it's something I really, REALLY want for us," she said sincerely, putting her arms around his
"Maybe I could give it some thought," he relented.
"Well maybe you could," she teased. "But right now I should probably go - I told them I'd be there
"Well then you probably should," he teased, Â½ mocking her. She laughed and after a moment
so did he.
Rachel kissed him lightly and then pulled away. "So I'll see you soon then," she said. "I may even
stop by after I get done sailing, but no promises. I think I should talk to Katherine - she's been acting oddly."
"All right then," he said, grabbing her hand lightly. "I love you."
She smiled gently. "I love you too," she nodded, hugging him again. Slowly she turned to walk out the
library door. As she reached the doorway she stopped and turned around once more. She smiled and shrugged, then
As soon as he was satisfied that she was gone, Alistair picked up the phone, smiling. "Yes hello operator.
Can you give me Harmony florists? Yes - hello! I want every lily you have delivered to 312 Beacon Hill. They're
for a Miss Rachel Barrett. Yes. EVERY SINGLE ONE. This is Alistair CRANE. Of course. And I'd be much obliged if
you cold call other florists for me and get them to deliver their lilies? Of course with a generous compensation
for you. A card? Uh - just 'Love, Alistair'. Thank you."
After hanging up he glanced out the window and picked up the phone again. "Operator? Could you give me a good
real-estate broker please? I'm going to buy a house!"
"Now is the time, Fluffy!" Tabitha said gleefully. "The time to strike Rachel down and make Katherine's
selfish wish come true." She looked contemplatively into her orb. "Any moment now. ANY moment."
The angel girl suddenly appeared. "Tabitha, re-think you're plan," she begged. "This will only lead
to heartache for EVERYONE involved."
"Goody goody!" Tabitha cackled with glee.
"INLUDING YOU!" the angel girl cried.
"Oh hell's bells, as long as the Crane's suffer I'll be bright as rain," Tabitha insisted.
"Oh poor Alistair," the girl whispered. "I fear for him. Less for her, one tragic minute and HER
suffering will be over. His is just beginning, as is her sister's."
"What on EARTH are you talking about?" Tabitha snapped, annoyed.
"Their love is deep and pure," the angel girl answered. "I fear it is the ONLY thing keeping Alistair
pure, in such a corrupt family. If you go through with this, I fear he'll end up WORSE than his father, Timothy."
"You fear, you fear!" Tabitha snapped. "You're worse than Pilar Lopez-Fitzgerald is going to be.
And anyway, their love isn't 'pure' and 'deep' enough to save them."
"No," the angel girl sadly agreed. "It might be if they had powers other than-"
"Well they don't!" Tabitha shouted. "Now go away, you're distracting me! "The angel girl could
only shake her head and sadly watch.