Sheridan looked to Luis, her mouth dry. What was left
to say? Nothing—and everything.
"I didn’t know," she finally said, her voice so small, it barely reached above a whisper. Though quiet,
her words seemed to ring hollowly in her ears. "I didn’t know." She looked down at her hands, imagining
the blood. It covered her hands, and it would never be gone.
Luis didn’t know what to say. Everything was coming at him so quickly; it was difficult to process it. He tried
to push aside his emotions, to look at the situation analytically. Yes,
that is the way to handle everything. Try to be objective,
he told himself. Yet how could he be objective, analytical, when the woman he loved more than life itself was standing
before him and was, by her own words, the person who took his father’s life? It just didn’t make sense!
It was then that Julian approached the duo. The room full of guests at the engagement party was silent, watching
the events unfold before them.
Sternly crossing his arms, Julian glared at his sister. "What did I tell you, Sheridan? Some things are better
Luis clenched his fists, amazed at Julian Crane’s callousness. "You’ve known all along!" Luis snapped
at Julian. "My mother has worked in this house for
years. How many times have you seen her wonder
about her husband? And how many times have you seen her struggle to make ends meet? You knew that she was devastated
over the disappearance of my father, and you said nothing!"
Julian rolled his eyes, not in the least impressed by Luis's emotional outburst. "There are times when the
truth is best left untouched. Besides, I was protecting my sister. You know how fragile she is."
"Like hell, Crane! You were protecting yourself! How could you do this to your sister?" Luis roared.
Sheridan touched Luis’s arm hesitantly. "I did it, Luis. I must have! The dreams…"
"That’s right, Sheridan. The dreams were real," Alistair’s booming voice announced over the loudspeakers.
"You were a naughty, naugh—"
Ethan quickly ambled to the wall and cut the power to the speakers. He walked back to Theresa, took her hand in
his, and led her to where his father, Sheridan, and Luis stood.
"There’s more to it, Sheridan," Luis said finally speaking to her. "There has to be!"
"But my own words, Luis—they tell us everything we need to know."
"They tell us nothing, Sheridan," Luis insisted.
"Luis is right, Sheridan," Ethan interjected. "Do you actually remember seeing Martin Fitzgerald?
Actually remember harming him?"
Tears spilled down her cheeks. "No, but—"
Luis’s eyes darted around the room searching for Eve Russell. She could clear up everything. His gaze finally rested
on her. She looked visibly shaken as she stood with her husband.
Eve’s lips trembled as she met Luis’s gaze. She looked away from Luis into the eyes of her husband and then to
the expectant face of her daughter, and she nervously bit her lip. So many secrets, so much pain, and the Cranes
were always in the middle of it.
"How Eve? How could this happen?" Luis demanded.
"I was…I was…"
"Spit it out!" Luis insisted.
"I was trying to protect Sheridan—and you, Luis."
Sheridan spun around, looking at the sea of faces. "Why does everyone think they know what’s best for me?"
she cried out. "Why did you think I needed your protection? The only thing that hurts more than knowing the
truth is finding out like this!"
She choked back a sob and felt Ethan’s hands rest on her shoulders. He pulled her close. "It’s going to be
okay, Sheridan. It will be," he assured her.
"No, it’s not! It’s never going to be okay again! Don’t you see, Ethan? I’m a murderer! I took a precious,
"You were a child," Ethan reminded her. "How could you be responsible for it?"
He looked to his father, disgust and shame coursing through him. His father and grandfather fed Sheridan to the
wolves that night. There had to be a reason. There had to be….
Ethan’s eyes then met Theresa’s tear-filled ones, and he felt his heart lurch. It was supposed to be a happy night,
a special night, a night to celebrate their love. It had been turned into a sideshow with his aunt as the main
Sheridan didn’t seem to hear Ethan’s words. She held her hands in front of her, staring at them.
"The blood, Luis. The blood—" she whispered. Her hands were marred; her soul was marred.
"Oh Sheridan," Luis said quietly as a tear slid down his cheek.
Luis didn’t know what would happen or even what to think anymore, but he loved the woman who stood before him.
He needed her like he needed air.
Taking a deep breath, Luis took Sheridan’s hands in his.