Staring up at the evening sky, Eve could see that the snow was still falling lightly. She blinked as a flurry landed near her eye. Julian singing?? That was enough of a shock, but to run out and find herself suddenly flipped onto her backside with Julian landing on top of her, well, you can just about imagine her surprise.
Julian laughed; the stunned look on Eve’s face was priceless, but honestly, she never looked more beautiful. “I’m sorry, Eve. This is not what I had planned at all.” He chuckled, making no attempt to roll off of her.
“Get off of me!” She squirmed and tried to move him.
“But I like this position,” he teased, holding her more firmly.
“Julian, this is not funny!” She tried to be as serious as possible. “You’re squishing me.”
Finally, he rolled off of her but firmly held onto her hand. He jumped to his feet and pulled her up with him. When she slipped again, he caught her, almost falling again himself.
“Whoops, it’s getting really slippery out here,” he commented as Eve tried to regain her composure.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you made this ice, Julian.” Eve brushed the snow from her jacket.
“Me?!” he asked in mocked horror. “I wouldn’t dream of making you slip.”
“Right!” Eve said sarcastically. “Just like you didn’t plan this, this…so-called horrible excuse for a talent show.”
“But you liked it, didn’t you?” He grinned, feeling pretty proud of himself.
“No!” she retorted, almost too quickly, refusing to admit that she was completely taken in by his gesture, and that she loved every minute of it.
“I know you liked it. You must have, otherwise you wouldn’t have stayed; you wouldn’t have danced with me; you wouldn’t have let me kiss you.” He leaned closer and tried to kiss her again.
Still angry, she turned away. “Well, you practically held me hostage. It was not like I could leave,” she exaggerated. “Besides, I must have been drunk. I did have a beer.”
“You HAD a beer, but from what I saw, you dropped it on that…that…” He couldn’t come up with a word to describe Grace.
“Her name is Grace!” Eve retorted.
“You were not drunk; I bet you only had one sip.” He smiled at her attempt to lie.
“Well, that was enough; it completely messed with my head,” she said lamely.
“You know what I think?” he asked. “I think that I am the one who got into your head and caused you to go deliciously drunk with pleasure.”
“Oh, get over yourself, Julian. I was not drunk with pleasure.”
“Well then, drunk with loooove,” he drawled, and then quickly pulled her closer and planted a firm kiss on her lips before she could make up any more ridiculous excuses.
She refused to give in at first, but when he softened the kiss, she couldn’t help herself. Sighing, she surrendered to him completely.
When the kiss ended, he held her close, afraid to let her go. “I love you, Eve. I love you so much.”
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Eve gave in to her emotions. “I love you too, Julian. I always will.”
Julian laughed with joy. “I can’t believe this, after all those nights dreaming, hoping to find you and hear you say those words to me!” He kissed her again, as she laughed with him, sharing his happiness.
When she shivered from the cold, he pulled her closer and said, “Come on, I’ll drive you home.” He signaled the driver to bring over the Mercedes.
Stunned, Eve stared at the black car. “That was you! You were the one in the parking lot.” Suddenly it dawned on her. She pulled from his arms, rubbing her temples, trying to relieve the sudden throbbing in her head. “This was all you, wasn’t it? The whole bit, the apartment, the nanny, and…oh my word…YOU had me transferred, didn’t you?”
“Well, that depends…are you going to be mad or happy about it?” He smiled, hoping for the latter.
“I don’t believe this!” Eve cried in disbelief. “You had no right!” She turned and angrily ran toward the hospital.
“Eve!!” He ran after her and grabbed her arm.
“Don’t touch me!” She snapped her arm away.
“Please, at least let me explain.” He stepped in front of her and stopped.
“I don’t want to hear it,” she said and tried to step around him. Exasperated when he kept blocking her, she threw up her arms in surrender but refused to look at him.
“Please!” he pleaded.
“You have one minute.” She turned her back on him, furious with herself for being such an idiot and not having seen this before.
“Please look at me,” he begged. Frustrated when she refused, he simply began to speak. “The last time we met, at the hospital benefit, I was completely blown away. I never thought that I would ever see you again. But that night, I knew that no matter what happened, there would never be another woman in my life that I would love as much as I love you, Eve. I also realized that if I didn’t do something, I would lose you forever. And I just couldn’t live with that.”
“So you had me transferred and set up where you could spy on me?” she asked in disgust.
“Not spy…just look after you.” He tried to make her see that his intentions had been honorable.
“You know, this is the most underhanded, the most manipulative, selfish…”
“OK, OK, I get the picture,” he said dryly.
They stared at each other quietly for a moment.
The silence was deafening to Julian’s chauffeur, who had been standing by the car waiting. He was about to get into the car, thinking that this could take awhile, when he saw a dark car slowly approach Julian and Eve. He panicked when the window rolled down and a gun appeared. “GUN!” he shouted, and dove to the ground.
Julian wasted no time. He grabbed Eve and dove for the cover of his car. Two shots rang out and landed close to Julian as he covered Eve’s body with his own, crushing her into the snow. When the car sped off into the night, he got up and stared after it. When he heard Eve cry, he quickly dropped to his knees and tried to help her up.
Eve sobbed uncontrollably as she sat in the cold snow. Julian’s arms around her were little comfort to the terror in her heart. She knew without a doubt that it had to be Alistair making good on his threat. “J.T.!” she cried in desperation and jumped to her feet. “My baby!”
“Come, I’ll take you too him,” Julian offered, truly concerned about this horrific turn of events. He helped Eve into the car and slid in next to her. He held her in his arms as she cried hysterically. “Drive, man, drive!” Julian urged and gave him directions.
“It’s going to be OK,” Julian tried to comfort Eve. “I won’t let anyone hurt you. I promise.”
A few minutes later, they arrived at Eve’s home. Without a word, she opened the car door and raced to the apartment building’s entrance with Julian close at her heels.
“Eve, wait!” Julian yelled.
Frantic, Eve raced for the stairs, not wanting to wait for the elevator. Taking the steps two at a time, she ran, desperate to get to J.T., fearing for his life.
Julian was in good shape, but he was nowhere near to having Eve’s stamina. He couldn’t believe the energy she had. ‘Good lord, I must be getting old,’ he thought as he puffed after her, losing ground with each floor. He couldn’t understand why she was so worried about her son. After all, he was home with Pilar, safe!
With adrenaline rushing through her veins, Eve finally reached the fifth floor. She ran to her apartment and hurriedly fumbled with the key. Opening the door, she rushed in.
“Oh, he’s quite all right,” the dreadful voice said.
Eve paled when she saw Alistair
sitting on the living room chair, holding her son.