Julian drove like a madman up the Crane driveway. The car screeched to a halt, nearly knocking Sheridan, Julian’s sister, down in the process.
“What the hell is wrong with you, Julian?!” she shouted angrily as she brushed herself off. When she noticed that he would not get out of the car, she became worried and approached.
Julian sat with his head leaning against the steering wheel, tears streaming down his cheeks, his body trembling with silent grief.
Sheridan stood, shocked. She had never in her life seen Julian this emotional. Unsure of what to do, she finally opted to open the car door. “Julian?” she said cautiously. When he didn’t respond, Sheridan became fearful. “Did something happen? What’s wrong?” The panic in her voice rose.
Julian leaned back, wiped the tears away, and then got out of the car, slamming the door shut. He brushed past Sheridan. “It doesn’t concern you, Sheridan. Leave me alone.”
“Leave you alone?” she said in concern. “I am afraid too, Julian. What is wrong? You never cry. This must be pretty horrible if the ‘mighty Julian Crane’ is all emotional about it.”
Julian didn’t respond.
“Oh God, the family fortune…we’ve lost it all!” Sheridan gasped in horror.
Julian shook his head in amazement. It appeared that not even his own sister thought he had a heart to break.
“What, then? Did something happen to Father?”
Julian turned to her with a sad smile. “One could only hope.”
Sheridan stepped closer. “Do you want to talk about it?”
He looked at her for a moment. His sister…he didn’t remember the last time he’d ‘talked’ with her. As he thought of the horrible things he had tried to do to her in the past, his stomach churned and he threw up.
“Good Lord, Julian. I am getting very worried here. What is the matter with you?” Sheridan’s voice started to tremble.
Not wanting her to cry, he held out his hand for a moment, and finally asked, “Do you think I deserve any happiness, Sheridan?”
“Wha…what do you mean?” she asked, confused by his unexpected question. “I know you have done some things, but you are my brother, and I care about you…hard as you make that sometimes.” She smiled. “But everybody deserves happiness, Julian. Even you.”
He smiled at her gentle reasoning. Leave it to Sheridan to see the good in everything. “I love her, Sheridan,” he said finally. “I want nothing more in this world than to be with her.”
“Who? Rebecca?” Sheridan asked in surprise. “I am sure she’d marry you in a heartbeat.”
Julian snorted in displeasure at the thought of marrying Rebecca. “I am sure she would too. But no, not Rebecca.” He stared into the darkness.
“Who, then? Don’t keep me in suspense,” she asked curiously.
“Eve,” he said simply, turning to face her.
“Eve? Eve who?” she asked, confused.
The look he gave her shocked Sheridan as she realized who he meant. “Eve Russell?” She asked incredulously. “How can this be? It makes no sense.”
“It makes perfect sense!” he snapped, and then, was immediately sorry. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you. If you knew the whole story…” he began.
“Do you want to talk about it?” she asked again.
“I guess I’d better talk to someone before I lose my mind,” he said as he walked toward the cottage. “Come, I’ll walk you home.”
As they walked, Julian poured out his heart to Sheridan. A few times he had to stop to collect himself before he could continue.
Sheridan listened in awe. She never in her wildest dreams had thought that her brother lived such a sad and pitiful life. She finally understood why he was so harsh and unfeeling all these years. His love for Eve seemed deep and genuine. She was amazed; she had never thought him possible of a love like that.
Even more amazing to Sheridan was that, according to Julian, Eve had shared the same love for him. And Whitney… ‘Oh my goodness, she is my niece,’ she thought suddenly.
“And that is why I have to leave Harmony, Sheridan. I can’t stand to see her with TC. At least if I go, I won’t have to face him anymore.” His voice choked as he spoke.
Filled with compassion for him, she stopped him and stepped into his arms. “I am so sorry, Julian.” She hugged him to her.
Unsure about her sudden affection, Julian stood frozen for a moment. Finally he let go; he hugged her fiercely and cried. “No, I am sorry, sorry for all the pain I have caused you. Please forgive me.”
Tears welled up in Sheridan’s eyes. “I do. We haven’t had the best life, Julian, in spite of all the money. But there is no law that says we can’t start over,” she offered.
Julian smiled. “Yes, I would like that,” he said as he pulled back. “But I do have to leave. You understand, don’t you?”
“Yes, I can imagine what you are going through. My love life hasn’t been a picnic either.” She smiled gently.
“Yes, I hope that things work out for you, however you choose to spend your life,” he said.
“Well, we do have tonight. Why don’t we go to the house instead and have something to eat? We can talk more there,” Sheridan offered, not really wanting to go home just yet.
“That sounds great, but I am afraid we’ll have to go to my room,” he said.
“What on earth for?” she asked in surprise.
He leaned over and whispered, “Cameras. Father has them everywhere, except my room,” he said.
“Oh,” she replied nervously, as she realized that her father could be spying on her as well. “I guess that would be wise then. Maybe we can play a game of chess like we used too.” She smiled.
“Thanks, Sheridan. You were right; talking about this has helped a great deal. And yes, I think a game of chess will help me get my mind off my problems.” He smiled and squeezed her hand affectionately.
When they got to the mansion, the phone rang immediately. Julian picked it up with a sigh. “Hello, Father.”
Sheridan smiled her amusement. Julian had their father so figured out.
“Well, well! It seems my estranged son and daughter have made amends,” Alistair said. “Well, get over it. A Crane man has no time for women’s emotional hogwash.”
Julian sighed. “Don’t you have anything better to do than harass me, Father?”
“You mind your tongue, Julian. And I’ll have you know that you had better stay away from Eve Russell, if you know what’s good for you.”
“Don’t worry, Father. Eve is no longer a part of my life.” Julian felt like his heart had dropped into his shoes when he said that.
Sheridan motioned to Julian that she was going upstairs. He nodded.
“Julian! Don’t even try silent language with Sheridan. I can see everything.”
“Father, I am tired, and I am going to bed. If you have anything else to say, tell your secretary. I am sure she’ll be more than willing to listen.” With that, he hung up the phone. “Damn Father, no one has any privacy these days.” He rubbed his eyes wearily.
Sheridan looked at him sympathetically. “I’m sorry, Julian. You look so tired. Maybe we can get together some other time.”
He smiled at her kindness. “Thank you, Sheridan. I would appreciate that. Besides, I don’t think I’d be great company anyway.”
Sheridan smiled knowingly. “I understand. If you need me, you know where I am.” She smiled and touched his arm before she headed out the door.
Julian climbed the stairs to his room. The heaviness in his soul was too much for him to bear. When he got to his room, he cleaned his face and brushed his teeth, washing away any trace of him throwing up. He poured a brandy and drained it, his favorite mouthwash! Then he collapsed on the bed as tears flowed freely down his cheeks.
As he slept restlessly, tossing and turning, trying in vain to find rest, he was suddenly awakened by a knock on his door. “Go away!” he said hoarsely.
The knock persisted until he fumbled angrily for the lamp, and then got up and ripped open the door. He stood there, still dressed, his shirt open and un-tucked, in complete shock.
There before him stood Eve, her face tearstained from crying, and her clothes slightly disheveled.
“Eve!” he cried in disbelief. “What are you doing here?”
“I couldn’t let you leave like this. I had to see you…” she cried and bolted into his arms.
Julian swung the door to his room shut and held onto her tightly, his heart pounding madly in his chest. “Oh God, Eve, do you know what you are doing?” he cried as he crushed her lips to his.