Rebecca pranced up the Crane Mansion stairs and headed for her room. Opening the door, she was shocked to find all of her belongings being packed up. “Phyllis, what are you doing?” Rebecca shrieked.
“Mr. Crane ordered me to pack your things,” Phyllis said matter-of-factly.
“Alistair Crane? Why would Alistair want to get rid of me? He didn’t discover that I…”
She quickly clamped her mouth. “No, he couldn’t possibly know about that,” she mused, slightly confused.
Phyllis sighed. “Julian is the one who ordered me to pack your things. And if you ask me, he should have done it long ago.”
“Well, no one asked you, and you’d better unpack my things again. I am sure that you misunderstood my Pookie.” With a flip of her hair, she gave Phyllis a smug look and went in search of Julian.
She found Julian in his study, sipping a brandy. He smiled dreamily into space, with his feet on the desk. He seemed oblivious to her presence, so she sneaked up to him and tickled him.
Julian jumped up in surprise and spilled his brandy on his clothes. “What is the matter with you?” he yelped. “That is expensive brandy.” Realizing it was Rebecca, he calmed down and smiled guiltily. “You’re still here?”
“Where else would I be?” she asked, faking a hurt look.
“Well, it’s just that I had your things packed, and I thought you might be gone by now,” he returned.
“Julian! You are not throwing me out like a common servant. I deserve better,” she fired angrily.
“Yes, yes you do. That is why I have asked Jonathan to come and get you. He is very willing to take you back,” Julian explained as he sat down.
“But I don’t want to be with him. I want you, Pookie,” Rebecca whined as she tried to snuggle onto Julian’s lap.
Pushing her off, he said, “No, it’s finished. We are through. You are moving out today.”
“You know I will go to the police. When they find out that you tried to kill Sheridan…”
“They will charge you as an accomplice. You withheld information all this time. A good lawyer may be able to prove that you were in on it,” Julian fired back.
Unsure, Rebecca backed off. “Well, I never…”
“It’s time to go, Rebecca. We had a lot of good times. I thank you for that, but I don’t love you, and I certainly am not going to marry someone else that I don’t love. The next time I say ‘I do,’ it will be for love alone.” He smiled as he thought of Eve. ‘Oh, my sweet Eve,’ he thought, ‘marrying you would be a dream come true.’
“Have you been sniffing glue, Julian? Since when do you care about ‘love’? That is highly overrated," she tried to point out.
“You should try it sometime, Rebecca. It may actually suit you.” Julian smiled.
“But why are you dumping me? Maybe we’ll fall…in love…if it’s so important to you,” she whimpered.
Julian laughed. “Becks, you are going to make some man very happy one day. That man is just not going to be me.”
“How do you know…?” she started.
“Trust me, Becks, I just know.” Julian walked her to the door, and then leaned down and kissed her on the cheek. “Goodbye, Rebecca. You are truly an artist when it comes to…spice.”
Flattered, she smoothed her dress and stood straighter. “Why thank you, Julian. I never thought of myself as an artist.” With a flip of her hair, she was off, leaving Julian to shake his head.
He closed his study door and went to the CD player and popped in the tape of Eve’s singing. Her haunting voice filled the room. He reached up and turned it off; he would no longer need this tape to feel close to Eve. After making a few calls, he grabbed his car keys and headed out, locking the study behind him.
At the hospital, Julian’s chauffeur entered Eve’s room. She was busy packing her bags. “Are you ready, Dr. Russell?”
“What?” she asked, confused.
“Julian Crane sent me to pick you up. I am to take you to the Crane Hotel,” he explained.
“Oh yes, I’m sorry. I was preoccupied,” she apologized, feeling foolish.
“I’ll just grab your bags when you are ready then,” he offered as he stepped back out of the room.
Eve glanced around the room to make sure that she didn’t miss anything. She sighed wearily, unable to shake the heaviness in her heart. Her doctor had given her a clean bill of health. After a few days’ rest, she should be back to normal. ‘ Normal,’ Eve thought. She wasn’t sure what that was anymore. Her husband was a virtual stranger, and her sister despised her. Closing her suitcase, Eve could at least thank God that Whitney understood. She wondered how Simone would react to her life story.
Calling the chauffeur into the room, Eve motioned that she was ready to leave. “I’ll just sign my release forms and I’ll be right with you.” She smiled.
“Take your time, Dr. Russell. Mr. Crane told me not to rush you.” He smiled back.
Eve’s heart skipped a beat at the thought of Julian’s kindness. She could hardly believe the change that had taken place in that man. Of one thing she was sure; it was obvious how he felt about her. Should she let him back into her life? Eve wondered if she could completely trust Julian. Shaking her head, she tried to clear her mind. Right now, she needed space and time, not men.
Eve left her room and followed the chauffeur to the nurse’s station. She signed her release papers, thanked the nurses and then stepped into the elevator. She was thankful that she had a place to go. Going home to TC was the last thing she felt she needed right now.
She frowned slightly when she saw the stretch limousine parked in front of the hospital.
Apparently no one objected to the Crane limo blocking the entrance, but it still bothered her. Eve was offended that the Cranes thought they were above everyone else, that they could do what they pleased. But she was in no mood to lecture the driver. So she just clamped her mouth shut and climbed into the car.
The sheer luxury of the limo overwhelmed Eve. It took her back to the days when she and Julian would spend hours in the back seat, driving through the countryside, just spending time together away from the bustle of city life and prying eyes.
She remembered their young love…the feelings she had, and the love she felt. Tears welled up in her eyes as she wondered how their life might have turned out if Alistair hadn’t interfered. She wondered if Julian would have married her, or if their son would be alive today. As they neared the hotel, she wiped the tears from her face and tried her best to compose herself.
The car stopped in front of the hotel, and the doorman rushed up to open the door. He smiled and extended a hand to Eve and helped her out of the car. “Good morning, Dr. Russell. We have been expecting you.”
“You have?” she asked.
“Yes, Mr. Crane informed us of your arrival. I hope that you will enjoy your stay here.” He grabbed her bags and led the way into the lobby. Somehow she wasn’t surprised that the hotel resembled the apartment building in the dream she had had while in a coma.
The hotel manager rushed over to greet her. “I am going to take you to your room, Dr. Russell. If there is anything that you need, you can reach me at the front desk.” He smiled gently as he led her to the elevators.
When they stepped into the elevator, he pressed the fifth floor button.
“This is unbelievable,” Eve laughed.
Suddenly self-conscious, she said, “Oh, nothing. It’s just that…it’s like I’ve been here before,” she explained.
“Maybe you have. We do have a lot of business.”
“No, I am certain I have never stayed here,” Eve said, thinking that nothing would have made TC ever want to spend the night in anything related to the Cranes.
When they reached the fifth floor, Eve walked up to Room 503. Surprised, the manager asked, “How did you know this was your room?”
“Just a hunch…Jack, isn’t it?” she replied.
Laughing, Jack said, “Why yes, I guess Mr. Crane filled you in then.”
“Yes, in a way, I guess he did,” Eve said, not surprised when she saw the room was a suite, resembling the one she had in her dream.
“Here are your bags. If you need anything else, like I said, just call.” And with that, Jack left her to explore the room.
Eve dropped her purse and sank onto the sofa. She closed her eyes and tried to relax. The sofa was very comfortable, and the warm sun shining on her face through the large living room windows sent shivers down her spine as she warmed herself. She didn’t bother looking over the rest of the suite; somehow she knew exactly what to expect.
She dozed comfortably, feeling relaxed for the first time in a long time. Here she somehow felt safe, safe from TC’s wrath, her sister’s hatred, and all the emotional pain that she had suffered the last few days. Grabbing the blanket hanging on the back of the sofa, Eve wrapped herself in it and burrowed deeper into the couch. And in the warm sunshine, she fell fast asleep.