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Beautiful Deception

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Disclaimer: I am in no way associated or a part of Passions. That honor belongs to NBC and JER.
Rating: R (non-explicit sexual content)

     

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Beautiful Deception
by Stephanie

Notes: This is a little something I couldnít get out my head. Itís something I doubt weíd ever see on the show, but then again, once can always hope :-)

Chapter One
Ethan and Theresa had shared the most wonderful day of their lives yesterday. Yesterday was the day they vowed to love, honor, and cherish one another for all eternity. Their wedding day had been more beautiful than either one had ever dreamed, and more importantly it went off without a hitch. While Theresa had worried for days that her and Ethanís wedding day wouldnít be perfect, she was overjoyed at the pleasant turnout of the entire day. Their ceremony had been simple, yet elegant. Their vows had been written and recited in such a way that defined their love. And their wedding night...had been absolutely perfect. Theresaís fears were instantly swept away once Ethan lifted her in his arms and carried her over the threshold of their hotel room. The night was filled with passionate, and tender lovemaking. And this morning was even more wonderful once they awoke wrapped in each otherís arms.

Today, Ethan and Theresa were glowing with happiness. Theyíd agreed that they would hunt for their first apartment before they left tomorrow for the Russellís cabin by the lake. While theyíd been leery of imposing on the Russellís vacation home, theyíd accepted their offer once Eve and TC insisted they spend their honeymoon in the cabin. Ethan and his new bride were ecstatic at the prospect of spending the next few days uninterrupted by the lake.

But first on todayís agenda, once they managed to pull themselves out of bed, was to meet Ivy at the mansion for brunch. Sheíd practically begged them to have lunch with her, after all, she and Ethan were trying to see past their differences and start over.

Ivy beams with excitement when she sees her son and new daughter-in-law practically floating through the front door.

"Ethan! Theresa!" she greets them and hugs them both. "Oh, you both look so tremendously happy." Reaching over she brushes Theresaís hair from her shoulder, "Youíve made me so happy. I know you and Theresa will share all the love and happiness in the world."

"Oh, thank you Mrs. Crane." Theresa says excitedly, "I still canít believe itís all true. Ethan and I are really married." Turning back toward Ethan she kisses him gently, "I love you so much." Ethan pulls his wife against him and kisses her back just as gently.

"And I love you," he answers much to his motherís joy.

"Well, you two, please. Wonít you sit down? I want to hear all about your plans." Ivy explains. Ethan and Theresa take their seats and immediately cuddle against one another on the sofa.

"Well, the only thing we know for certain Mrs. Crane is that weíre going to shop for an apartment today, and tomorrow weíre leaving on our honeymoon by the lake." Theresa explains.

"Oh, well that sounds just so delightful." Ivy smiles broadly, "Oh, but please Theresa, I want you to call me mother, or Ivy, which ever you prefer. We are after all family now."

Theresa smiles in response to Ivyís request and tingles inside at the thought that she and Ethan were finally husband and wife. Unbelievably, it was as if the reality of it hit her all over again, each time she considered it. "I would like that very much."

Just as the three of them begin to strike up a new conversation their attention is turned toward the entryway. Theresa slightly shudders against Ethanís warm embrace when she catches sight of Gwen and Rebecca Hotchkiss approaching them. Feeling her uneasiness, Ethan tightens his hold on her slightly and pulls her closer against him. He certainly didnít like the look on Gwenís face this afternoon; she looked almost territorial.

"Rebecca," Ivy made no effort to hide her disgust. "What are you doing here?"

"Well, Ivy...Gwen and I wanted to come over and find Ethan." Suddenly she drops her voice and masks it in Ďconcerní. "Ethan, weíre so sorry. We know this comes at an awful time, but we wanted to let you know that weíve gotten a break in the search for the person who leaked your paternity to the tabloid."

"You what?!" Ethan, Theresa and Ivy ask simultaneously.

"Thatís right Ethan," Gwen tells him, "we felt we should look into it, since we felt at least somewhat responsible for that terrible night. I mean we did throw you that party."

"Yes, but..." Ethan tries to cut in.

"Ethan, please! Just listen," Gwen tells him.

"Mother and I tracked down the reporter who crashed the party that night. He was the one who received the letter your mother wrote to Sam Bennett. Using his email and Internet account we were able to trace where the letter was sent. I wanted to tell you about this yesterday before the wedding, but we couldnít get in to talk to you, let alone watch the ceremony." Gwenís nasty glare in Theresaís direction isnít lost on anybody. "Anyway, here are the results of the trace." Pulling out a white computer printout she hands it to Ethan whoís stood up to approach her.

He takes the sheet out paper and just stares at it in shock for a moment. "I canít believe this," he whispers. His face drops in horror as he turns to face his wife. Staring her straight in the eyes he manages quietly. "Theresa, how? Why? How could you do this to me!"

She shoots up from her seat in complete shock. "Ethan, I donít understand what youíre talking about! What is wrong? Who is it?"

"What do you mean who is it?! Itís YOU!" He almost shouts.

"What?! Thatís impossible!" she contends without hesitation. She walks up to him and takes the paper in her hands, needing to see the proof for herself. "Ethan, this is impossible. I would never, could never hurt you. I love you. Somehow thereís been a mistake."

"Oh, Iím afraid thereís no mistake Theresa." Rebecca interferes. "That printout youíre holding is proof positive that the letter that destroyed Ethanís life was emailed from your computer. How could you do such a horrible thing!" she presses on dramatically.

"Ethan," Theresa steps forward and tries to touch his arm comfortingly, but he jerks away from her touch. She is incredibly hurt. "This is outrageous! I LOVE you Ethan. I would never hurt you. You have to believe me! I swear to you I had nothing to do with this!"

"Are you telling me that that letter wasnít on your computer? Are you denying that you knew I wasnít a Crane and didnít tell me?" he asks more calmly.

Sighing deeply in sadness she answers, "No. I knew you were Sam Bennettís son, I wanted to tell you. I almost did too, countless times. But I didnít want to hurt you Ethan. As much as I wanted to tell you the truth I couldnít. But I can explain all of that if youíll just hear me out!"

"No! Theresa, I trusted you. All this time I thought there were no secrets between us. I believed that there was nothing that could make me turn away from you, that as long as we were together we could do anything! I was wrong! Theresa, how do you expect me to believe you now when you tell me you didnít send that letter, when all along youíve lied to me about knowing I wasnít a Crane?!"

"Because I didnít! I love you!" she pleads.

Shaking his head, he almost looks ready to cry, "I canít believe you Theresa. I want to, but I canít. As much as I love you...I think weíve made a mistake! I canít trust you anymore Theresa, and I wonít be in a marriage that is empty of trust."

"What are you saying Ethan?" she sobs.

Heís quiet for a minute until he looks back up at her and meets their gazes. "Iíll call Father Lonigan and request an annulment this afternoon."

"NO! Ethan, you canít do that! I love you! I canít live without you! Please just let me explain," she begs. "I know Iíve done a horrible thing in keeping the truth from you, but I swear I only did it to protect you! You have to believe me. I canít live without you Ethan PLEASE!" she cries.

Tears pool in his eyes as he tells her shakily but determinedly, "Iím sorry Theresa...but itís over."

"Ethan..." she tries breathlessly before he turns away from her. Then, his heart almost stops mid-beat when he hears and feels her run away from him. She rushes through the door sobbing as Ethan almost collapses in devastation. The woman he loved more than life itself had just deserted him, what else was there to do.



It had almost been 20 minutes since Theresa had run from the mansion. Ethan sat with his head in his hands on the sofa, his mother gently rubbing his back. "Ethan, dear, I know youíre upset, but maybe you should go after Theresa. Find her, and talk to her. She loves you, I know she does, Iíve seen it. And you love her."

"I do love her mother. But that just isnít enough." Lifting his head he pointedly tells Gwen. "Iím sorry. I never should have turned my back on you the way I did. All youíve ever wanted was my happiness. And youíve been a wonderful friend." Looking down and away from her he adds, "Itís good to know there is one person I can trust."

Gwen smiles sickeningly in victory. "Iíd never hurt you Ethan. Iím just glad I could expose Theresaís deception before she was able to do any worse."

Ethan nods. "Gwen? Before your search, did you suspect Theresa at all?"

"Unfortunately, yes. I didnít want to say anything though until I was sure."

"Of course," he answers. "I just canít believe sheíd do this to me? What reason could she have for hurting me this way?"

"I donít know Ethan. But she had that letter in her laptop for weeks before it was ever sent." Gwen mentions without thinking about what implications her words have.

"How do you know that Gwen?" he asks in curiosity.

Caught off guard she stumbles for words, "I, uh, just meant that she...would have known for some time. I canít believe sheíd keep something so important from you if she loved you so much."

Unwilling to hear such things from her, Ethan excuses himself. "I need to get some rest." Turning to Ivy, "Would you mind if I lie down in my old bedroom, maybe gather my thoughts?"

"No, of course not. Take as much time as you need dear. Youíre always welcome here."

Nodding in appreciation he stands up and takes a few short steps toward the stairs before Gwen speaks up, "Ethan, you want me to stay with you?" Ivy shoots her an angry look. Stopping dead in his footsteps he turns around to face her, "No Gwen. I think you and your mother should go home now. Iíll be fine. I just need some time alone." Smiling politely he heads back toward the stairs.

Upset over his rejection for her Ďcomfortí she nearly storms out of the mansion, followed by her mother. {I will have Ethan! Maybe its time I pay little Miss. Theresita a visit} she thinks as she and her mother leave the estate.



Needing to clear his head, Ethan stood up in his old bedroom. He anxiously paces the floor as his body nearly burns with anger. He couldnít believe it. She was right! And it was tearing him apart on the inside. His back faces the door as he aimlessly wanders the room. From behind him, Theresa opens the bedroom door and quietly steps into the room. She closes the door silently behind her.

"Ethan..." she says softly. At the whispering sound of his name on her lips he turns around to face her. Their eyes meet and they stand apart for a moment and simply stare longingly at one another. Then Ethan sucks in his breath at the sight of her bottom lip beginning to quiver. His heart breaks at the sight of his incredible wifeís tears.

Sighing, his gaze immediately softens as they walk toward each other and he pulls her into his arms. His eyes close at the terrible feeling that consumes him as he feels her body wracked with sobs against him.

"Theresa..." he whispers in her hair. "Please donít cry," he begs. "Iím sorry. I didnít mean for it to get so out of hand. I was just afraid that if I didnít get angry enough that she would know something was wrong," he explains quietly. "I had to know the truth, and Iím sorry I let my rage get the better of me." He pulls her more closely into the warmth of his body. Heíd missed her terribly in the few minutes theyíd been apart. And he never wanted to know that feeling again. "Iím so sorry baby...pleaseÖ" he breathes into her hair.

"I know Ethan," she whispers against his chest. "I just...I...didnít like the feeling of us fighting, even if it was all staged." Looking up into his eyes she tries to make him understand. "I know it was all my idea. I just donít want us to be mad at each other again...ever."

He smiles his promise, "Me either." He lowers his lips to hers and catches her in a light-reassuring kiss. Pulling away carefully he wipes away her remaining tears. "Feel better?"

"Much," she whispers and wraps her arms more securely around her husbandís waist. "So what did you find out?"

Sighing he explains, "Well, Gwen and Rebecca were definitely involved in the tabloid getting my motherís letter. There was something about the way Gwen looked at me, and the things she said...I just know she knows more than sheís saying. You were right. She even casually mentioned your laptop." Shaking his head in annoyance, "Iím just so...how could she do this to me? I thought she cared about me enough to not hurt me like this."

Lightly running a hand over his heart she listens to him vent his frustrations. "Most of all, I canít believe I was so blind. How did I spend so much of my life with a woman who would destroy everything I am...all for money?!"

She lifts her hand and directs his gaze into her loving eyes. "Ethan listen to me. You canít doubt yourself. Gwen made a terrible mistake when she chose money over you. You are a wonderful, passionate, sensitive and loving man. And you trusted her the way any man in love would trust his fiancée. Sheís the one who lost Ethan. Because she lost you, and you are irreplaceable!"

His eyes glaze over in tremendous affection as she continues, "Ethan, I will never take you for granted. You gave me the greatest gift imaginable when you gave me your heart. And I promise you, together we are going to build a future that will shower us with happiness for the rest of our lives."

Smiling tenderly he tells her with all of his heart, "I love you...so much."

Leaning up against him, "I love you." He closes the space between them and passionately kisses her. They are so wrapped up in one another that the only thing that forces them apart is a need for air.

"Theresa..." he breathes as he begins to lift her blouse over her head.

"Ethan, what about Gwen and Rebecca?"

"To hell with them. Weíll deal with them tomorrow. Tonight, I just want to make love to my perfect wife." He completely rids her of her shirt and presses her body against him, reveling in the warmth of her skin through his shirt. "God, I love saying that," he admits softly through a smile.

"Ethan," she smiles as she unbuttons his shirt and presses her breasts against his chest. "Iím hardly perfect." Looking up into his eyes she tells him sadly, "I mean I wasnít as honest with you as I should have been."

"Theresa, donít. You told me the truth. You confessed everything to me because we love and trust each other. I understand why you didnít come forward before, and itís amazing to me that you would risk everything you hold dear, just to keep me from being hurt. Iím just sorry that I made you feel you couldnít tell me the truth sooner."

Placing a finger over his lips she interrupts him with a smile. "Ethan, I think weíre both sorry." She pushes his shirt off his shoulders and kisses his chest sweetly. "Now shut up and kiss me!" she teases.

Smiling widely at her request he answers, "Absolutely." Her lips part and grant him access to her mouth. As their lips hungrily join, their hands freely explore the otherís body. He leads them back to his bed and sweeps her up into his arms. Softly depositing her onto the bed, he covers her body with his. They frantically crush their bodies together and rid each other of their remaining clothes. When finally their bodies are joined, their passion builds until the moment they simultaneously release their desires.

Spent, they hold and caress one another lovingly under the covers. But, their distraction only lasts so long though before both are left wondering what to do next.

"Ethan, what are we going to do about Gwen and Rebecca?" She hated bringing up the subject, but she and Ethan had to do something, anything, to put the whole thing behind them, once and for all.

"I donít know honey," he admits, "but whatever we do, has to ensure that weíll never have to worry about them interfering in our lives again. I refuse to have to look over my shoulder, and fear for my family."

She smiles at the thought of their Ďfamilyí. One day she and Ethan would have children of their own, and she never wanted to fear their safety. "Weíll think of something," he assures. Then, suddenly as if a switch has been flicked in her mind, a thought occurs to Theresa that could end all their worries.

"Ethan. I think Iíve got an idea."

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