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Of Porcupines and Sprinklers
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Of Porcupines and Sprinklers
by Twig

Crane Cottage
6:15 pm

Sheridan stood in front of the mirror, attired in her dress and carefully selected shoes, putting the finishing touches on her makeup. As she finished applying mascara to her eyes, a knock sounded at the door.

"That can't be him already," she muttered, heading over to open the door.

Ethan stood in the doorway, a sheepish grin on his face. The shoeprint was an ugly purple that looked comical on his otherwise handsome face.

"Just wanted to see my favorite aunt off on her date," he said with a smile. She noticed his eyes were still a bit glazed over.

"How's your head feeling?" she asked him, reaching out to gingerly poke the bruise. Ethan winced, "Not so good. But I'll live."
"Good to know."
He stood back to appraise her outfit, "I see my suffering was not in vain. You were able to find the perfect pair of shoes to go with your dress."

"Does it look all right?"

"It looks wonderful," Ethan assured her.

Sheridan fluffed her hair one last time before reaching for her purse, just as Luis pulled up in front of her cottage.

"Well," Ethan said, glancing at his watch, "Six fifty-two. At least he's prompt."
Sheridan swatted her nephew, "Will you just go…make a collage of pictures of Theresa or something?"

Ethan frowned, "Why would I make a collage of pictures of Theresa? I don't think I have enough pictures of Theresa to make a collage…"

She shook her head, "Never mind Ethan. Just go back up to the mansion. And don't let Julian find out about Luis and I!"

"I won't!" Ethan rubbed his head, "I'll just tell him that Gwen hit me with a shoe. He'll probably believe that."


Shaking her head, Sheridan shoved Ethan out the door, following him to find Luis just stepping out of his police cruiser. Her breath caught in her throat as she finally got a good view of him. No matter how much she attempted to hide her feelings for him, from others as well as herself, she had to admit that he always looked good. Except…it wasn't his good looks that caused her eyes to bug out of her head this time. It was…it was…

"YOUR HAIR!"

Luis flinched, touching the top of his head self-consciously, "Yeah," he mumbled, "Sorry about that…"
"No, I mean, you don't have to apologize…it's just…WHAT HAPPENED?!"

Luis shrugged sheepishly, "Theresa was a bit overzealous in her attempts to make me look less like…I believe she said I looked like a porcupine."

Sheridan had to laugh in spite of her date's predicament, "Luis, you never looked like a porcupine."
"I didn't?"
"No."
Luis sighed, running his hand through his hair (or lack thereof), and then gestured to the car. "Your chariot awaits."
Smiling at him, Sheridan made her way over to the police cruiser. Luis headed back over to his side and climbed in, shutting the door. Just as she was reaching for the door handle, the unexpected happened.

The sprinklers that irrigated the Crane property suddenly turned on.


Lobster Shack

"We must look like the most dysfunctional couple here," Luis chuckled as they relaxed in their chairs.

"Between your hair, and…" Sheridan sighed, not knowing what was worse, the fact that her dress was completely soaked and ruined, or that her hair was drenched and matted to her head. Perhaps it was the fact that her satin shoes were also destroyed by the water, or maybe even the mascara that ran down her cheeks.

"We're quite a sight, that's for sure," Luis finished, leaning across the table to wipe at her cheek with a napkin. Sheridan sat very still as he cleaned the offending makeup off, then sat back.

"All better," he said with a laugh.

"Thanks," she replied, touching her cheek self-consciously.

Luis gazed across the table at her, opening his mouth to say something. To Sheridan, it looked to be something rather important. But, as is always the case with them, the waitress arrived at the table to take their order, and the fleeting moment was lost.

"Lobster," they both said in unison, and then grinned at each other.

When the waitress was gone, Sheridan carefully folded her napkin in her lap.

"You know Luis," she said, "I think this is the most I've smiled in your presence for a long time."
"Um…" he paused, "Thanks. I think."

She smiled at him for effect.

"Are you sure you're not just laughing at my hair?"

Sheridan sighed, "At least we know Theresa can rule out hairdresser as a possible future career."
"I pity the next poor victim she confronts with a pair of scissors."
She leaned over and touched the angry red mark on Luis's forehead, "What happened?"
"Theresa gets clumsy."

"This is not a good day for head injuries," she sighed, "I hit Ethan in the head with a shoe while I was getting ready."

"Is that why he was stumbling around in the bushes when I pulled up? I though he was drunk."
Shaking her head with a grim smile Sheridan informed him, "No, I'm afraid that was all my doing. He'll come to eventually, I'm sure."



Crane Mansion

The door swung open and Ivy Crane stomped in, little red hearts stuck to her with tape. Peeling them from her clothes angrily, she tossed them on the floor and stomped on them, kicking the flimsy paper across the living room.

"STUPID GRACE BENNETT!" she yowled, her shrill voice echoing off the richly decorated walls. Realizing for the first time that the house was silent except for her tantrum, Ivy headed up the stairs to investigate.

Her first stop was Julian's study. She knocked softly on the door, poking her head in.

"Julian? Where are you?"

Oddly enough, his chair was empty. A half-filled glass of brandy sat on the polished mahogany, leaving a ring.

Shaking her head in disgust, Ivy made her way over to her son's room.

"Ethan?" she called, "Ethan, you in there?"
She pushed open the door to reveal her precious son, sitting on the floor, scissors in hand, hunched over a piece of construction paper. Little bits of photos were strewn everywhere across the floor.

"Ethan! What are you doing?!" Ivy exclaimed, looking down at the mess in disbelief.

Ethan turned around, an ugly, purple shoe imprint marring his forehead. He waved the scissors around, eyes glassy, "I'm making a collage!"


"A collage? A collage of what?"

"Aunt Sheridan told me that I should make a collage of pictures of Theresa. So I am."
"Ethan, are you feeling all right?"

Ethan rubbed absently at his head, "I'm fine mother. I'm just making a Theresa collage."

"Why?"

"Because," he said impatiently, "Aunt Sheridan told me to!"

"Ethan, what happened to your head?"
"I got hit with a shoe."
Ivy sighed, "whose shoe?"
Ethan giggled, "Somebody's shoe! The shoe flew! The shoe flew true! The shoe flew true now I'm black and blue!"

Shaking her head, Ivy decided that it would be for the best if she let her son recover on his own. She carefully closed the door to his room and locked it, praying that the injury wasn't too serious.

At least Julian isn't here, she silently offered up thanks.

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