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Of Porcupines and Sprinklers
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Of Porcupines and Sprinklers
by Twig

Crane Mansion

Julian, more than slightly tipsy, staggered in the front door and stumbled right over his wife, who was picking red paper hearts off of her feather boa.

"Ivy? What on earth happened to you?"

Ivy glared at him, still stewing over the day's earlier events. Before she could stop herself, her mind wandered over what had happened that day at Grace's antique shop…



Antique Shop
Earlier that Day

"Okay," Ivy said glumly, finally finished hanging the sickening paper hearts on the wall. She handed the remaining papers to Sam, who was doing his best to ignore her.

"Oh it's beautiful!" Grace exclaimed, hugging her husband close, "Oh, Sam, don't you love it?"

The three stared up at the wall, which was covered floor to ceiling with paper hearts containing either SAM or GRACE, written in black pen.

"Are you sure you couldn't fit any more?" Grace asked, troubled, as she studied the amount of papers Sam clutched in his hand.

"Believe me, if I tape one more paper to that wall, it'll collapse," Ivy said with a sigh.

"Well, we wouldn't want that to happen, would we Sam?" Grace asked her husband with a totally oblivious laugh.

Sam nodded grimly, "That would be terrible honey."
Grace hung her head, "I hate to think all of those will go to waste."

"I'm sure we'll live," Ivy snapped, shorter than she'd intended to be. Fortunately, Grace did not seem to notice her impatience.

"Oh Ivy! I have a wonderful idea!" she exclaimed, snatching the papers from Sam.

Ivy backed away nervously, "What do you have in mind?"
Grace grinned, "You'll see."

Moments later, Ivy stood, covered from head to toe in the little paper hearts that Sam and Grace had so gleefully adorned her in.

"You look so great!" Grace exclaimed, reaching out to touch one of the hearts that proclaimed SAM. "Everyone will love it!"

"Everyone?" Ivy asked in a small, terrified voice.

"Yes," Sam grinned from ear to ear, "Everyone. You'll attract them to the store!"

"Me?"

And then the sickeningly sappy duo were pushing their unusually attired third party out the store entrance.

"Just wave at the passerby," Grace instructed.

She and Sam moved to go back into the shop.

"Sam!" Ivy yelled desperately.

Sam merely smirked at her, "You had this coming Ivy. Maybe this will convince you that I will never want to be with you."

And then he was gone, leaving her at the mercy of the masses.




Crane Mansion
Present time

Ivy shivered at the memory, realizing for the first time that Julian was still staring at her.

"Well darling," he slurred, "I'm waiting."
"Please, hold your breath," she instructed him, stomping off. Julian rolled his eyes at her and bent to examine the rumpled hearts on the floor.

"Grace…Sam…" he shuddered, "Oh god! The Bennetts! Lord knows, if I were married to Grace, I'd have killed her long ago. There are just some things people married for years just don't do…"

He continued his grumblings as he poured himself a glass of scotch.

Ivy stood in front of the door to Ethan's room, praying that he had recovered from his head injury. She slowly unlocked the door and pushed it open.

"Ethan?"

Ethan was sprawled on his stomach on the bed. But it wasn't his prone form that caught his attention. It was the state of the walls. It appeared that Ethan had not stopped at just one collage. His room was completely covered, floor to ceiling, with pictures of Theresa.

"ETHAN!" she shrieked, covering her mouth.

Ethan stirred, "Wha?" he mumbled, his voice thick and sleep-heavy.

She crossed the room to his bedside, "Ethan, what did you do to the walls?"

"I made some T'reesa collages," he murmured, burying his face in the pillow.

"Some? Ethan what's gotten into you?"

"I couldn't find enough T'reesa pictures to make a collage, so I scanned them into my computer and printed lots of 'em…." he rambled on.

Ivy glanced up at the walls, millions of Theresa's staring down at her. She shivered.

"Take them down! Do you want your father to see them? Or Gwen?"
Ethan's only response was a loud snore.

Shaking her head, Ivy left the room, once more locking the door behind her. Maybe Ethan would sleep it off, she decided.




Crane Cottage

Sheridan sat glumly on the couch, glaring at the carton which held the remainder of her and Luis's lobster dinner. As the minutes ticked by, she began to wonder if he'd realized that he was supposed to follow her.
"Oh god," she said to herself, "I hope he didn't think I was serious with the comments I made back there."

Before she could cast further doubt on herself, there was a soft knock at the door.

"Luis," she said with a smile, flinging it open.

Luis stood there, looking handsome despite his butchered hair. "Hi," he said softly, presenting her with a rose.

Sheridan, still in her rumpled dress; hair matted to her head, accepted the rose with a dazzling smile, "Thank you."
He shrugged awkwardly.

"I was almost afraid you wouldn't come," Sheridan laughed nervously.

He shrugged again, "I was delayed. You can add another head injury to your toll for the evening."
"Who?" she asked, alarmed.
Luis laughed, "TC Russell. I scared the hell out of him when I crawled out from under the table. He tripped over me and hit his head."
"Is he all right?"
"He'll live."

Sheridan held up the Styrofoam cartons, "Speaking of living, are we gonna eat, or what? I'm starving here!"

Luis laughed and joined her on the couch. They opened their cases and dug in.

"You know Luis," she said, chewing thoughtfully, "Despite our little…um…problems… this is turning out to be quite a nice evening."

"You want to know something funny?"

"What?"
Luis grinned at her, "I was just thinking the same thing."
This time, there was no one to interrupt their kiss.

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