When he reached his office, he was greeted by Karen. “Mr. Crane!” she exclaimed in alarm. “You look like you were run over by a truck.”
“I feel like it too,” he said with a sigh as he closed his office door. He made an attempt to tug off his tie, but lack of energy and motivation caused him to leave it half undone as his arm sank back to his side.
“Here, let me help you,” Karen said as she stepped closer and started removing his tie. “You want to talk about it?” she asked.
“I don’t want to bore you with my personal life, Karen,” he said wearily, as he stood patiently letting her remove his tie.
“I am a good listener, remember?” she reminded him. Removing his tie, she stepped away and placed it over the back of a chair. “Come sit down and try to relax. I will get you a drink.” She went over to his private bar and poured him a brandy.
Julian sat down on the sofa, placing his feet on the coffee table in front of him. “Make it a stiff one,” he said.
Karen chuckled. “Aren’t they always, Julian? What has got you down in the dumps this time, hmm? Rebecca again?” she asked, handing him his drink.
Julian rolled his eyes. “No, I broke things off with her.”
Karen poured herself a glass of water and sat down on the sofa next to him. “I heard that Whitney Russell is really your daughter,” she stated.
Taking a gulp of his drink, Julian placed his feet on the floor. Sitting up from his slouched position, he leaned forward and placed his elbows on his knees. He turned his head and looked at Karen. “Well, I guess it was too much to hope for that people would just mind their own business.” He took another sip.
“I guess. It was all over the office this morning,” Karen replied, drinking from her water. “I wasn’t sure if it was true.”
“It is. It’s hard even for me to grasp, that that beautiful girl is my daughter.” He shook his head in disbelief.
“What about her family?” Karen asked, unsure if she should or not.
“TC, well he raised her, and Eve….” Julian paused as he remembered the previous night that he and Eve had spent together.
“Do you still have feelings for her? The rumor was that she kissed you in front of everyone at the club.”
“They left nothing out, I see.” Julian shook his head in amazement.
“I’m afraid not,” Karen sympathized.
“Oh well, it doesn’t really matter now, I guess.” Julian sat back again.
“What happened? Do you want to talk about it?”
Julian looked at her and smiled. “There is not much to talk about.”
“Do you love her?”
Sighing, he exhaled. Taking another sip from his brandy, he said, “More than ever!”
Karen smiled gently. “It must be really hard being in love with someone you can’t have.”
“I just want her to be happy, Karen. If that means with TC, then so be it. I refuse to manipulate her in any way, shape or form, just so that she will choose to be with me.”
“That is so unlike you, Julian. I remember the days when you would not have let anything like a woman’s husband stop you from getting what you wanted,” Karen pointed out.
“Well, Eve is my heart; to have her any other way except of her own free will would cheapen my love for her. She has managed, without realizing it, to completely change the way I look at the world. Without her my life is meaningless.” Julian drained the rest of his brandy.
“So you are saying that there will never be another woman in your life, even if Eve decides to stay with her husband?” Karen asked incredulously.
“How can I? It wouldn’t be fair. I would only be wishing for Eve.” He sighed.
“I guess I had better cancel that wedding dress I ordered,” Karen joked.
Julian laughed. “I guess you better.”
Karen finished her water and got up. “So where are you going at such short notice?” she asked.
“Not me, we!” He smiled. “I bought some new property, and I want a woman’s input. And since it’s very obvious that Eve is not up for it, I thought maybe, if you don’t mind, you might want to come along with me. It’s only for a short while, and then you can come right back to Harmony.”
“Well, since I don’t have much of a life outside of this office, and I haven’t had any vacation this year…I guess it would be all right. But let me just call my significant other…Oh wait, I don’t have one.” She laughed.
“Why not, a beautiful woman like you? Surely there is a young man somewhere that has his eye on you,” Julian said.
“Afraid not! I guess it doesn’t help that I am here all the time, heading straight home right after work. Really, I don’t have much outside of work. Hopefully someday it will pay off,” she hinted as she cleaned up her glass.
“Well, you can be sure that I will put a bonus in your next paycheck for all the great work that you have done for me - not to mention for putting up with all my moody crap that I have been dishing out lately.” Julian smiled gratefully. “Also I think that a raise is due, don’t you?”
Karen raised her eyebrows and leaned against the bar. “Wow, Eve must really have done a number on you lately. You have never offered me a raise,” she pointed out.
“I guess you could say that she has brought out the best in me recently.” He smiled at the thought of her.
“Well, remind me to thank her when I see her,” she said.
“Well, I don’t think, other than you going to her, that you will be seeing her around here anytime,” he said sadly.
“I’m sorry. I really wish that things would work out for you, Julian. I really do. You have been so kind to me. I only wish you the best, and if Eve is what you want, then I hope that is what you get.”
Julian got up from the sofa. “Well, I second that. Because Eve is what I want, more than anything.” He placed his glass on the bar and took off his blazer. “Well, you better go home and get ready; we’ll be leaving in an hour. I’ll send a car to pick you up.”
“I guess I better get moving then; that doesn’t leave me a whole lot of time.” She laughed.
“Sorry, but I want to get out of here as soon as possible,” he replied.
Julian stood and looked out his office window. He had poured another brandy, hoping somehow it would ease the pain in his heart. But, experience had proven over and over to him that it was not going to work. “Oh Eve, what have you done to me?” he sighed as he watched Karen’s car leave the parking lot.
At the hospital, Eve headed for TC’s room. When she got there she was surprised to see TC getting dressed. “Were you released?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said rather stiffly.
Suddenly uneasy, Eve said, “I didn’t expect that to happen today.” She smiled nervously.
“I asked to be. There is no reason for me to stay anyways. I can get the same rest at the house,” he said.
“The house?” she asked. “Why are you referring to our home as ‘house’?”
Ignoring her question, he asked, “Where were you last night, Eve?”
Eve’s heart pounded with sudden fear, “Why I…”
“Don’t bother lying to me. I know the truth,” he said coldly.
“What truth?” she asked weakly.
TC looked at her with disgust. “You never stop lying, do you, Eve?”
“I didn’t….” she started.
“That’s bull, Eve, and you know it. You came in here this morning, acting like everything was all right between us, and now you have the gall to stand there and try to deny that you stayed with Julian Crane last night,” he snarled.
“What?” Eve shrieked, “Who told you that?”
“Don’t bother lying about it, Eve. Liz had you tailed.” His eyes blazed with anger.
“Liz! That bitch! How dare she…”
“No, Eve, how dare you! I want a divorce, and I want it now! I refuse to have anything to do with a woman who has been used by Julian Crane,” he said as he threw a blue envelope at her.
Eve bent to pick it up, her fingers shaking. “What is this?”
“Remember a few days ago, I told you I had a lawyer draw me up some divorce papers? Well, I never got a chance to cancel that when I thought that we might be able to work things out - something that I would have been willing to do…forgive your past, and make things right for our family. But now, after what Liz just told me, you can forget it. I want a divorce, and I want it tonight,” he spat. “My lawyer was just here. He thought I might want the papers right away when he heard what happened at the club last night.”
Eve looked at him, her eyes filled with tears. “TC…”
“Don’t bother with the tears and the ‘TC’ crap. I don’t want to hear it. I want you out of my life for good. I shudder at the thought of touching you after Julian Crane.”
Eve cried as TC brushed past her. “I didn’t mean for things to turn out this way.”
“Oh yes you did - or you wouldn’t have slept with that pig. I want those papers by tonight.” With that, he stepped out of the room and slammed the door.
Eve sank to the floor and wept. “Dear God, what a mess
my life has become.” She leaned against the wall, unable to stand any
longer. Raising the papers so she could read them, Eve sobbed as twenty years
of her life as she’d known it, slipped away page by page.