His hands were hot against her skin, his breathing ragged
and loud. She smoothed her hands over his bare back and moaned into his neck. He nipped at her earlobe, succeeding
in shivers running down her spine. Tilting her head back into the pillow, she gazed at him with glazed eyes.
His smile made her heart pound in anticipation as she uttered, "I want you, Luis."
"Sheridan..." His voice was barely above a whisper. He lowered his head and covered her lips with his
own, brushing her mouth briefly before quietly confessing, "I want you, too."
She arched against his nude body, urging him to take her. He hesitated for only a moment before obliging.
Sheridan awoke, heart pounding and beads of sweat on her forehead. The room was dark, with only a slit of light
filtering through her closed curtains. She groaned and rolled onto her stomach, burying her head into her pillow.
After her father had shown at the hospital, Luis had gone through with his promise to take her out to eat. When
finished, he took her home and told her to get some rest, promising to check in on her soon.
All she wanted to do now was get back to her dream. It was no surprise that she'd dreamed of Luis, either. She'd
been doing so for weeks, but the details had never been so ample in her previous fantasies.
Muttering a curse, she tossed her pillow to the side and rose from the bed, meandering over to a chair and throwing
on the robe that had been draped over it. Running her hands through her tangled hair, she traipsed to the bathroom
and flicked on the light, peering into the mirror.
She looked like hell.
Groaning, she touched her fingers to dark bags beneath her eyes. Her face was pale, her hair a mess.
"Amazing," she muttered with a wry smile. "One day of stress and I look like Frankenstein's creation."
With a dry chuckle, she twirled away and removed her robe, intent on taking a shower to soothe her nerves.
"You're worried about her,aren't you, Luis? That's all you care about anymore. Sheridan this and Sheridan that."
Emily slammed her hand onto the dinner table. The glasses and silverware shook at the action.
"I'm sick of it!"
Luis glared angrily at his fiancée. She was making a scene in front of the Warrens, her parents and siblings,
and his own. They'd settled down to have a nice dinner, but, per usual, Emily ruined it.
"Emily, darling," he said soothingly, "calm down. I haven't said a thing about Sheridan."
"No? Then what was that comment?" Emily's nostrils flared as she went on loudly. "'I wonder how
Sheridan's mother is doing'? God, Luis! You act like you love the little tramp!"
"Emily, Sheridan is hardly a tramp," Darren interrupted, casting his sister a withering glare. "Would
you sit down? You act like it's the end of the world just because someone has the heart enough to care about a
"Give me a break!" Emily spat. She tossed her hair behind her head and sniffed. "I'm going outdoors.
I can't take another minute of this."
Spinning on her heel, she stalked out of the diningroom. Luis groaned and leaned back in his chair.
"Well...wasn't that something," Dave Warren muttered. The Warrens were business partners with the Lopez-Fitzgeralds,
and joined them for dinner occasionally. They seemed a nice enough family, when Luis got the chance to see them.
"She's just upset," Pilar replied defensively, sipping smoothly from her wine glass. "It's normal
when one is pregna--ummm..."
Luis sat stiffly when his mother's voice trailed off. "What?"
Pilar struggled for a reply, laughing nervously. "Nothing, darling. Nothing at all. Forget I said anything."
She rose from her chair. "Excuse me while I freshen up."
"Mother," Luis said harshly. "Tell me."
Pilar bit her lip nervously and looked away. "Emily should be the one to tell you."
"She's pregnant, isn't she?" Luis cast his gaze at the empty plate in front of him. Damn. Why hadn't
she told him?
"Well, I...ah... I shouldn't have said anything. You'll need to speak to her yourself." Pilar smiled
tightly and exited the room in a hurry, with a cursory, "I'll be back."
Pinching the bridge of his nose, Luis sighed, guiltily thinking that this had to be some sort of nightmare.
Sheridan was just reaching for a potholder to remove a pathetic excuse for food from the oven when her telephone
rang. Glancing up, she hurried over to her computer desk and plucked the receiver from its cradle, saying an anxious,
"Hello?" and thinking it might be news about her mother.
The unfamiliar voice filtered back, "Sheridan Crane?"
Frowning, she shifted her weight and cradled the phone between her shoulder and ear, sauntering back into the kitchen.
"That's me. May I ask who's calling?"
"This is Pilar Lopez-Fitzgerald."
She stopped mid-walk, her eyes widening in surprise. "Oh...hello. I, ah... What did you need?"
"No need for the chit-chat. I'm just going to get straight to the point." There was a momentary pause.
A furrow marring her brow, Sheridan went back into the livingroom and took a seat at her computer desk.
"Go on," she prodded, a bit unnerved by Luis's mother's tone of voice.
"Emily is pregnant."
Sheridan's mouth fell open slightly. Scrambling to find words of response, she could only utter an, "Oh."
"I've known for quite a while," Pilar went on. "But Luis didn't know until a few hours back, when
we were having dinner. Why am I explaining this to you?" Sheridan could imagine the woman shaking her head
irritably. "The point being, Luis's fiancée--" she used the same smug tone of voice as Emily had "--is pregnant,
and Emily is worried about your...relationship with my son."
Sheridan blinked back unwanted tears, and chastised herself silently. Why was she so upset? It wasn't like she
had any claim on Luis.
Forcing the words out, she replied softly, "She doesn't need to worry, Mrs. Lopez-Fitzgerald. Luis and I have
She didn't hear his mother saying, "Good," nor did she notice when Pilar hung up. As if in a trance,
she slowly hung up the phone and stood.
A pang of bitterness hit her heart. Shaking her head and muttering a curse, she mentally kicked herself for dreaming
about Luis; for having false hopes. She and Luis were just friends. That was all they ever would be.
Yet she couldn't help feeling as though they couldn't even be that. Not when she couldn't rid herself of the feelings
he made her feel when he was around her.
She silently vowed to keep her distance from Luis.
"Give me one good reason why you hid this from me," Luis demanded, his eyes flashing with anger.
Emily defiantly lifted her chin and looked away from him, over the sloping hill that the Lopez-Fitzgerald mansion
sat atop. The sky was a dark black, with only the sliver of a moon and no stars painted upon it. A slight breeze
rattled the trees, but, otherwise, the night was placid.
"You were too busy going on about that...Sheridan woman," she spat bitterly, refusing to look at him.
"God, Emily!" Luis stood from the bench he'd been sitting on and paced. "You're pregnant, for crying
out loud. Just because you have a lack of trust where it concerns Sheridan didn't mean you had to hide that you're
carrying my child."
Emily tensed, but then relaxed and smiled. Reaching out, she grabbed for his arm and urged him to sit down next
to her once again. Sighing, she leaned into his embrace and said, "I'm sorry, darling. I should have told
you. I only found out last week."
Luis closed his eyes and leaned his cheek against her hair. "How many months?"
"Three." She placed a hand against his chest and smiled. "Three months along... Imagine, Luis. We're
going to have a family together. And when we get married in a month..." She squealed with delight and pulled
back to look at him, her eyes sparkling. "We're going to have a family!"
Luis smiled tightly, thinking that he should be more happy than he was about this. Something just didn't sit right.
And he couldn't help but dread the time when he would have to tell Sheridan.
But he wouldn't tell her. At least, not yet.