Sheridan's panic increased at the familiar voice on the other end of the line. Emily Hanson. It figured.
"Emily?" she greeted weakly.
"Yes? Who is this?" the female voice demanded irritably.
Sheridan nervously glanced around her livingroom, playing with the telephone cord with her forefinger and thumb.
"This is..this is Sheridan. Listen, I--"
"What business do you have calling here?" Emily inquired shrilly. "After this morning, I would think
"My mother is in the hospital," Sheridan interrupted, on the brink of tears. "I don't have a ride.
I was hoping Luis could--"
"You little whore! How dare you try to get his sympathy just to seduce him? Well, Miss Crane, you can just--"
"Please," Sheridan interrupted, panicked. "I just need a ride to the hospital. My wallet is missing,
and I have no car."
At Emily's snort of disapproval, Sheridan lifted her free hand to her mouth and uttered a sob. Luis's fiancée
didn't believe her.
She had no ride.
Worry and panic overwhelmed her. Her mother was in bad condition and she wasn't there for her. She would never
forgive herself if she didn't get there in time.
"Please, Emily," she attempted again.
"I don't see why you even called here expecting my sympathy -- or Luis's, for that matter. You can find another
person to give you a ride to the hospital." It was clear from her tone that she didn't care a bit about Sheridan's
"And I'll give you fair warning that if you ever come near my fiancé--" she said the word smugly
"--again, I'll tear you to shreds, and maybe even ruin your career. Luis mentioned you were an author -- am
I right?" She laughed darkly. "Have a nice day, Miss Crane."
With those words said, Emily hung up.
Tears fell from Sheridan's eyes as she numbly hung up the phone and turned to face the couch, where the contents
of her purse were scattered haphazardly on the violet cushions.
Who could she call? Who did she know?
Spinning to face the phone once more, she snatched the receiver and quickly punched in the number to her ex-boyfriend's
cell phone, praying that he would answer.
When he did, she nearly whooped for joy.
Explaining quickly about her mother and her missing wallet, she all but begged him to come pick her up, and sighed
with relief when he agreed and said he'd be there in five minutes at the most.
She hung up and rubbed her temples, walking slowly to the couch and gathering her purse and its contents, placing
the various items back inside and slinging her black purse over her shoulder. She hurried to the door and stepped
into the frigid night air, closing the door behind her and locking it.
Taking a seat on the curb of her empty driveway, she buried her head in her hands and sobbed for her mother.
When Sheridan and Darren hurried into the waiting room, her father and brother stood with their faces drawn into
She embraced her father and buried her head into his shoulder, sobbing. Alistair Crane patted her back and whispered,
"I'm sure she'll be fine."
"Do you know for sure?" Sheridan sniffled, pulling back to look at him. She searched his pale blue eyes.
"Have they said anything?"
Alistair shook his head, casting his eyes downwards. She could see the tears welling up in them and felt her heart
"Nothing yet," he said with a tired sigh. "It happened so suddenly." He looked up at his daughter
and snapped his fingers. "Just like that."
Sheridan had to bite her lip to keep from bursting into tears again. "I'll stay here with her. You can go
home and get some rest, if you'd like."
Alistair shook his head and sat down in a chair in front of a plain white wall, running his fingers over his face.
"No. I'd never be able to sleep right now."
Sheridan took a pace back and turned to face Darren, who was staring forlornly at the scene before him. Julian
sat back down and let out a miserable sigh, burying his face in his hands.
"Thank you...for taking me here," Sheridan whispered to Darren. "You don't have to stay. I'm going
to wait here, probably all night."
Darren shook his head and wrapped her in his arms. "I'll stay here with you." He kissed her hair. "I
couldn't just leave you here."
Sheridan sniffled and wrapped her arms around him. "Thank you, Darren. I appreciate it." They parted,
and Sheridan sat down in a chair next to Alistair while Darren took a seat next to her. She clasped his hand tightly.
A series of memories invaded her thoughts, all of her mother -- her mother smiling. Although she didn't like the
lectures she got, she appreciated them, because they showed her mother's caring for her. She thought suddenly that
this had to be a bad dream, but knew it wasn't. Her mother had had a heart attack.
Her mother could die.
Turning her eyes on Darren, she bowed her head and heaved a sigh, suddenly wishing that he were Luis.
"You did what?"
Luis yelled, startling his fiancée. She rolled her eyes and lifted a hand before dropping it back to her
Sitting on the couch in the livingroom of the Lopez-Fitzgerald mansion, she'd mentioned Sheridan's call, and only
now did she regret it.
"I told her to take a hike," Emily repeated nonchalantly, scanning her well-groomed nails. "And
to never call here again."
Luis spun in anger and frustration, running his hand over his face. "Dammit, Em."
Emily let out a sigh and rolled her eyes again. "Come now, Luis. She's surely gotten a ride to the hospital
by now. We don't need poor people expecting us to be their personal slaves."
"You--oh, my God. How could you be so heartless, Emily?" He turned to face her once more, his features
bunched up in anger. "The poor girl's mother could die, and all you can think about is how 'poor' she is."
He shook his head, an incredulous expression dominating his features as he took a step back. "Do I even know
Emily stared at him, shocked; unable to reply.
"Do I, Em?" Luis demanded again. "You didn't use to be like this. Or maybe I just never saw it."
Emily's jaw trembled. "Luis, I--"
"Save it, Emily." He grabbed his jacket off of a chair in front of a genuine oak desk, tossing it on.
"I'm going to the hospital. And you're going to stay here..." he turned away "...and mind your own
With that, he stalked out of the mansion, leaving her in shock and tears.
Darren was asleep in the chair next to Sheridan by the time a doctor approached them. Julian, Alistair, and she
looked up and stood immediately, asking how Victoria was. The doctor informed them gingerly that she had a heart
attack due to a blood clot, and that they had performed streptokinase thrombolytic therapy, explaining that they'd
given her drugs to break down the clot.
Sheridan's immediate reply was, "Will she be okay?"
The doctor offered a grim smile. "We don't know yet. We'll let you know as soon as possible."
Sheridan closed her eyes for a moment, heaving a sigh and holding back threatening tears -- something she'd been
doing a lot since her mother's condition.
She opened her eyes. "Thank you, doctor."
A moment later, she was again seated in the chair after insisting that her father go home and get some rest. He'd
finally given in and left, giving her a kiss on the cheek and telling her he'd return in the morning. Julian slowly
fell asleep ten minutes later, leaving Sheridan to wallow in her melancholy. The truth was, she'd rather be alone
with the stress her mother's condition had bestowed upon her than in this crowded hospital.
Approaching footsteps went unnoticed by her until the person stood directly in front of her. Lifting her eyes,
she followed blue jeans, a white muscle shirt, and finally focused on a handsome face with the same golden eyes
she'd often dreamed about gazing down at her.
Letting out a sigh, she stood and embraced Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald, who asked her gently how her mother was doing.
"I don't know..." She bowed her head, burying it in his shoulder. "She had a heart attack."
"Emily told me," he whispered back.
"She did?" Sheridan stepped back in confusion, the backs of her legs coming in contact with the chair
she'd been sitting in. "But, why? She told me not to call you again."
He offered a weak smile. "So she said." He shrugged and looked down, looping his thumbs through the beltloops
on his jeans. "She just mentioned it." He looked back up at her. "I came immediately. She was cruel,
and I'm sorry."
Sheridan lifted a shoulder and dropped it. "It's in the past now. I'm glad you came," she added.
He studied her face in concern. "You want to go get some coffee?"
Sheridan shook her head, staring perfunctorily at the floor. "I don't think so. No. I...I just want to stay
here and see how my mother's doing." She shifted her weight from right leg to left, then back again. "You
don't have to stay, if you don't want to. I don't want you to lose any sleep over me," she said with a half-hearted
laugh, lifting her eyes to meet his once more.
He smiled gently. "I couldn't just leave you here alone. I'll stay."
"All right," she replied, gratefully offering a smile in return.
"I'm going to get some coff--" Luis stopped abruptly when his gaze fell on a sleeping Darren. "What's
he doing here?" he asked, his tone suddenly changing.
Sheridan stared in confusion at the sudden change in attitude. "He brought me when Emily refused to let you
bring me. He didn't want to leave me." She studied his face. "Why? What's wrong?"
Luis shook his head and turned away. "I'm going to get some coffee."
She watched him go before tucking her feet under her legs and resting her head in her hand. Her gaze rested on
Darren, and she wondered why Luis had seemed to withdraw when he saw him.
She silently scolded herself. Wishful thinking. Luis was with Emily.
For now. No sane man could stay with a self-centered, callous woman like that. So maybe Sheridan had a chance after
Maybe. But, for now, she wanted to focus on her mother's well-being.