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Of Porcupines and Sprinklers
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Of Porcupines and Sprinklers
by Twig

Lopez-Fitzgerald House

Luis stood, arms crossed, as his younger sister stood in front of him, pleading with him in a tear-filled voice.

"Luis," Theresa said brokenly, "You don't understand. It's fate."
He eyed her skeptically. "Theresa, this is NOT fate. This is two people going out for dinner."

"No," she shook her head and stared at him, "No Luis. It's fate."

He narrowed his eyes, "How is it fate?"
"If you and Sheridan can be happy together, is there any reason that Ethan and I can't be together?"
"So that's what this is about." Luis rolled his eyes, "Theresa, I've told you to give up this crazy dream of being in love with Ethan. He doesn't even know you exist."

"It's fate."
"It's NOT FATE!"
"That's what you think," Theresa said stubbornly, and Luis suddenly realized how much he was like his sister. Not in her flighty pursuits of romance, but they shared an identical habit of not letting go of things. Of refusing to give up on what they held most dear.

"Fine," he finally said, realizing that there was no way he could win this argument, just as Theresa said, "Fine Luis, you win."

They both paused and eyed each other.

Theresa spoke first, "If you won't recognize my love for Ethan, and his love for me…would you at least let me give you a haircut?"
Luis frowned, "Why do you want to give me a haircut?"

"So you don't look like a porcupine!"
He touched his head, "I look like a porcupine?"

Theresa narrowed her eyes, "When was the last time you got a haircut?"

"I don’t know, I haven't really thought about it-"
"You don't want to scare Sheridan off. Come on. Let me cut your hair for you."

Luis shrugged, defeated, "Fine. Go ahead."
It was to be his first mistake of the day.



Crane Mansion

Sheridan held up two dresses, attempting to decide between them. Finally she tossed them both to the floor in disgust and headed back to her bag to collect another armload of clothes. Ethan stood in the door, shaking his head.

"Sheridan, you're making me dizzy."
"I'm making myself dizzy," she snapped, tossing the garments to the floor and stepping over them.

"Why don't you wear this?" Ethan held up a blue dress.

"Because…" Sheridan eyed the dress, "It's too long."
"This?" he held up something else.

"It's too short."

"What about this one?"

"It's too…perfect."

Ethan sighed, "Then you're on your own."

"You're supposed to be helping me!"

"I can't help you if you drive me crazy!" Ethan shot back, "I'm no good to anyone unless I'm sane. And I don't think that Luis would be too happy if you showed up escorted by two men in white coats."

"I'm not that bad…am I?"

Ethan merely raised an eyebrow.

Sheridan kicked one useless dress across the room. "I don't want Julian to hear us talking. When you want to say Luis, say another name, okay?"
Ethan shrugged, "Like what?"

"Maurice."

"You can't be serious."
"Then you think of something!"

Ethan shrugged again, "Um…Louis."

"Oooh, that's original."

"And Maurice was? Did you happen to notice what it rhymed with?"

Sheridan sighed, "Rufus, then."

"RUFUS?! What the hell kind of a name is that?!"

"It's better than LOUIS."
Ethan threw his hands in the air, "Fine. Call him Rufus."

Sheridan smirked, wondering what Luis's reaction would be if he knew.

Ethan studied the mess on the floor with an incredulous gaze, "So what time is, uh, Rufus picking you up for dinner?"

"Seven."

Ethan glanced at his watch, "And it's eleven right now. Wow, you'd better hurry."

"Your sarcasm is going to get you in trouble."
He blinked, "I'm never sarcastic."

Sheridan frowned, but decided to ignore him and focus once more on the more important task. The clothes.

"It's no use," she said finally, "I have nothing to wear."

Ethan gestured frantically to the huge piles of clothes, that he was amazed had fit in her tiny overnight bag to begin with, "What do you call that?"

"Nothing at all," she groaned, kicking at the garments.

"Look," Ethan sighed, "Just close your eyes and grab something. I'm sure you'll look great in it."
Sheridan shot him a withering look but complied. She leaned over and felt around in the piles before her fingers closed on a fabric she found suiting. She stood up, clutching it in her hands, finally opening her eyes.

"This'll do," she said finally, and Ethan shot her a knowing look.

"It's how I pick most of my ties," he explained.

"Oh, so is that why they never match?"





Ivy strolled purposefully into Grace Bennett's store, casting a critical gaze around. Not her style, she decided, but if it was what Sam preferred…

"Ivy?" Grace was standing on a ladder, tacking something to the wall, "What are you doing here?"

Ivy beamed at her, mentally congratulating herself on how natural she appeared, "Oh, I remember you telling me something about how you and Sam would be fixing the place up. I decided to help…"

"That's so sweet!" Grace exclaimed, "Isn't it Sam?"

Sam emerged from behind the counter, "Isn't what sweet?"

"Ivy Crane has volunteered to help us with the decorating!" Grace clapped her hands together and looked adoringly at her husband. Ivy fought hard not to gag.

Sam, to his credit, managed not to show any outward signs of how Ivy's presence affected him. However his eyes did narrow, and he pressed his lips together so they formed a thin line.

"That was very kind of her," he said in a low, controlled voice, "But why don't you tell her that we have it all under control?"
"That would be rude Sam!" Grace said, swatting him lightly, "I know you want me all to yourself, but we could use a little help here." She smiled at Ivy, who forced herself to smile back.

Ivy walked up to Sam, "What can I do to help?"

He backed away, "You'll have to talk to my *wife* about that."

Ivy stared at him for a moment longer before reluctantly stepping away and heading over in Grace's general direction.

"Grace, what do you want me to do?"

Grace handed her a stack of red, heart shaped construction paper cutouts, "You can hang these on that wall over there."

Ivy took the papers and the thumbtacks wordlessly, heading over to the wall. Only then did she look down at what she held in her hand, red hearts with names in black marker in them. Half of the hearts said SAM and the other half said GRACE. Ivy sighed. This was going to be a long day.

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