In the ladies’ room, Eve washed her face and reapplied her makeup. She had sobbed her mascara right off. The dance with Julian, still fresh in her mind, caused her to lose it again. As the tears rolled down her face, so did her fresh makeup. "Damn you, Julian Crane. Why do you do this to me?" she cursed.
"Because what we had together is still there." Julian stood just inside the door, one hand in his pants pocket and the other resting against the door jam.
Startled, Eve whirled around. "This is the ladies’ room."
"I know. I put an 'out of order' note on the door, so we are all alone." He locked the door and then turned and walked towards her. "Now, tell me about your son!" he demanded.
Startled, Eve dropped her mascara, and then quickly fumbled to pick it up as Julian slowly approached her.
"How did you find out?"
"Tell me!" he insisted, ignoring her question.
Eve looked at him, feeling unnerved by his insistence. "There is nothing to tell." She brushed past him, her back now to him. "It was a 'one night stand’ after I left you, and I got pregnant," she lied, hoping that he would buy it.
"You slept with someone else?!" he cried, grabbing her arm and turning her to face him.
"What difference does it make, Julian?" she flared. "It's my life; I can do what I please. And I certainly don't need to explain myself to you."
He bristled, his lips pressed tightly, his eyes blazing with fire. "So that's it? It's your life; you don’t care who you hurt, just as long as you get your fun?” He was having a difficult time controlling his anger.
"I didn't hurt anyone!" she fired back.
"You hurt me! Or did that never occur to you?" The pain in his voice was unmistakable.
Eve shrank back like a whipped puppy. "I didn't mean to cause you any pain. I left you because it was the right thing to do. I had no choice."
This really blew Julian away. "The right thing? The right thing for whom, Eve? It certainly wasn’t the right thing for me. Or were you just playing me for a fool, telling me that you loved me, and then throwing me away like yesterday’s trash?" His nostrils flared with anger. “You took my heart and ripped it to pieces, and then you stomped all over it. And for what?"
"I had my reasons, just accept it." She walked towards the door.
"Oh no, you’re not getting away that easily. You’re not leaving till you tell me why you left me." He took hold of her arm and held her tightly.
She winced when he squeezed tighter. "You’re hurting me!"
"Sorry!" he said sarcastically as he let go of her arm.
"Why are you doing this?"
"This is why." He grabbed her once more and pulled her into his arms. Then he crushed her lips to his. His kiss was fierce and full of anger.
Eve pushed against his chest and struggled to free herself, but she was powerless against him. The more she struggled, the tighter he held her.
His lips roamed over hers, demanding total surrender.
With her hands trapped against his chest, she could feel his heart pounding. Her knees weakened under his onslaught of kisses; he assaulted her senses unlike anyone she had ever known.
Weak from struggling, Eve parted her lips and surrendered to his kiss.
Her response caused Julian to pause for a moment, her soft lips against his, wanting him, just as much as he wanted her. His anger fizzled out, and he softly kissed her upper lip. He raised his hands and cupped her face, looking into her beautiful brown eyes. It was there…she loved him; it was clear as day.
Slowly he lowered his lips to hers once more, this time gently moving them over her mouth, tasting, feeling, loving…. He parted his lips to cover her mouth and deepened the kiss, his arms sliding around her slim body and holding onto her for dear life.
Eve responded fully to him, her heart pounding. She managed to push her arms into his jacket and around his back. She pressed him closer to her, wanting to be a part of him, giving herself to him. Her tongue responded to his and together they awakened desires hidden deep inside for so long.
Finally Julian released her lips and rested his forehead against hers. Their breath was quick and shallow. They stood quietly, still in each others arms, listening to the rhythm of their breathing.
Eve moved and leaned her head against his chest, feeling the steady beat of his heart. She loved the feel of him, the way he filled her arms.
Julian bowed his head and pressed his face into her hair. The sweet smell of her shampoo filled his nostrils. "You’re the only woman who can make me crazy with anger and crazy with desire at the same time," he finally said.
Jerking herself out of his arms, Eve stepped back, trying desperately to put some distance between them. “Julian, please,” she pleaded. “This is all too much.”
Feeling like she had just dumped cold water on his head, he stepped closer. “Too Much? After all this time, you owe me more than that, Eve. I want to know why…why you left me. And I want to know where you got the insane idea that I would be better off without you. You had completely changed my life, Eve. I used to be a player - lots of women; then you came into my life and completely rewrote my entire existence. Then one day I woke up with a smile on my lips, rolled over and hugged an ice cold pillow. I remember I was so angry, I completely trashed the room we stayed in.”
He inhaled sharply and shook his head to clear his mind. Raising her downcast face with a finger, he said, “After the most incredible night together, and believe me, I have played it over and over in my mind… Too bad I didn’t have the good sense to bring my camera along then. I may have saved myself a lot of mental grief with some actual visual images.” He smiled at the thought.
“Are you still into that silly old game?” she retorted, annoyed at his tasteless idea of ‘good sense.’
“Only with you, my dear,” he replied, enjoying her obvious discomfort.
“What happened to Ivy Winthrop?” Eve asked, trying to change the subject.
Julian straightened up and smoothed his rumpled suit. “The Ice Queen? The only thing she ever gave me was frostbite. Every time I approached her, her fangs would drip and she would snarl like a pit bull. I always love a challenge, but I am no fool. I had no doubts that she would pull a ‘Lorena Bobbitt’ on me. I really don’t know what Sam Bennett sees in her. He probably has to sleep in his parka.”
Eve covered her mouth with her hand to hide the smile at his choice of words. He always had a hilarious way of putting things.
“Anyway, I told Father that I refused to marry her. He was furious with me and tried his best to bully me to change my mind. But one look at Ivy's nasty disposition and I knew that I had made a sane decision. Besides, her head was in a fog anyway. Most of the time she was daydreaming; I assume about Sam Bennett. Finally when I told her it wasn’t going to happen, she gladly fled into his arms. I think she felt more trapped by Father’s arrangements than I. If it worked out for her or not, I do not know.” Julian shuddered at the thought of her.
“I’m sorry things didn’t work out better for you,” Eve offered.
Julian gazed at her. “Not nearly as sorry as I am.”
Eve looked at the floor nervously, knowing that he was speaking of her and not Ivy Winthrop. “Well, sometimes things just don’t turn out the way we want. Things happen that can change the whole course of your life. One day you think that you have it all, and the next it is all stripped from you.”
“What happened, Eve? Why did you run away from me? Did I do something to hurt you?” His eyes filled with concern as he reached out to touch her.
Eve quickly moved to avoid his hand, not trusting that she wouldn’t give in if he were to pull her into his arms. “I can’t talk about it, Julian. Just know that you did nothing wrong; you just loved the wrong woman,” she said sadly.
“The wrong woman? There is no one on earth more right for me,” he pressed.
“Do you really think that your father would have allowed you to…?” Her voice trailed off.
“Do what? Marry you?” He grinned at her hesitation with what he was sure she meant.
“Yes…I mean…a black Mrs. Crane? Think about it, Julian. I can see it now, the headlines, calling it scandalous.” Tears suddenly flooded her eyes.
“Hey.” He brushed the tears from her cheeks. “I think it would have been the most wonderful moment in Crane history. Nothing would have made me happier than making you my wife, Eve. I don’t care what people say. All I know is how you make me feel inside. You have made me a better person. Without you, I am nothing.”
“That is all very flattering, Julian, but it changes nothing. I can’t be with you now… or ever.” She pulled from his arms and fled from the bathroom, her body trembling with sobs.
Julian punched the door in frustration. ‘What the hell is going on with you? It makes no sense. Worrying about the tabloids?? No, there had to be something else, something you are not telling me.’ He rubbed his knuckles thoughtfully to relieve the pain. ‘If it is the last thing I do, I will find out why you left me, Eve. And then I promise you, we will be together again. One way or another, you will be mine again, my luscious beauty. You will be mine again!”
Julian made his way back to the party, his mind racing. He had to come up with a plan, something that would ensure that she didn’t disappear from his life again. Suddenly he smiled, a wicked grin spreading across his face. “Eve, my dear, it is only a matter of time, only a matter of time.” With renewed confidence, he strode purposefully to find Joel Ward, the man who would set his plan in motion.
An emotional wreck, Eve located another bathroom and tried to clean herself up. She had to get out of there. She couldn’t afford to run into Julian again. Her life, and her son’s life, depended on it. With trembling hands, she wiped her face, and took an elevator to the day care to pick up J.T.
Thankful not to have run into anyone she knew, Eve quickly dressed a ‘not so eager to leave’ J.T.
“No!” he cried, wanting to play some more.
“Shhh, sweetheart, Mommy has to go now. We will come back tomorrow, OK?” She brushed the tears from his cheeks, and then picked him up and rushed out the door.
“Forgive me, Joel,” she breathed into the breeze as she hailed a taxi and quickly made her escape.
From the balcony above, Julian watched her intently. ‘Run, my sweet, but you can’t hide anymore. This time I am in control of our lives.’
He turned and shook Joel Ward’s hand. “For this, you have my full support on your new development. Just name your price, and it is all yours.” Julian smiled gratefully, having assured Joel that his intentions toward Eve were nothing but honorable. “Thank you. It has been a pleasure.”
Joel shook Julian’s hand, his heart going out to the guy. ‘He sure seems to love Eve,’ he thought, feeling guilty for his part in this elaborate scheme of Julian’s. And for Eve’s sake and little J.T.’s, he sure hoped that it worked.