"I think I'm going to make it, if that's what you mean," Julian answered softly, trying to smile. "We Cranes are a tough breed, aren't we? Look at all the things we have escaped in the past."
"Yes, especially me," Sheridan said. "There have been so many times I have almost died - from the gangsters in Paris, being buried alive, and the boat explosion in Bermuda."
Julian winced at the mention of the incident in Bermuda. A wave of guilt overtook his whole being as he remembered what he had tried to do to Sheridan. "Sometime when I'm better, there's something I need to talk about with you, Sheridan. Some things I need to tell you."
"It can wait, Julian," Sheridan said, not sure what her brother was referring to. "You probably shouldn't even be talking now at all - you should just rest."
She got up and gently laid Julian's head down on the floor of the pit. Sheridan retrieved a blanket and folded it up neatly. She then lifted his head up and put the blanket underneath as a pillow. Then she knelt down beside him.
"You're being a very good nurse," he said. "I don't deserve all the kindness you are showing me, but I am thankful for it."
"Julian, you're my brother. No matter what's happened between us in the past, you know I'll always be there for you when it counts."
"God, how did I ever deserve a sister like you?" Julian asked. "If you weren't so much like our mother, I would say you couldn't possibly be a Crane. There's not a trace of Alistair in you."
"You're not exactly a chip off the old block either, Julian," she replied. "I see a lot of Mother in you too - like when you were worried about my safety earlier. I'm sure that's something our mother would have done too."
"Yes," Julian admitted, "but I do have some of our father's traits as well, unfortunately. I think it's high time I stand up to Father, though...high time I start being my own man, no matter what our dear old dad has to say about it."
"I'm impressed," Sheridan said. "I've never heard you talk like this before, Julian. Has being down here changed you that much?"
"I suppose it has, along with some other recent events," he answered thoughtfully. "I believe my epiphany came when everyone believed I was dead. I realized where my life was headed, and I didn't like it."
Sheridan nodded slowly. "Being close to death can change people, usually for the better. I know with me, it made me more determined than ever to be with Luis, the man that I love."
Julian smiled in agreement. "Just like I realized who I wanted to be with too."
"But you are with Rebecca already," Sheridan said. "There's nothing standing between the two of you is there?"
"So, Blondie's brother didn't die after all!" the hideous voice bellowed from the top of the pit.
Looking up, Julian and Sheridan could see the masked female leaning over the pit's edge.
"No thanks to you!" Sheridan cried, as Julian tried to motion her to stop.
"Well, well, Blondie does have a backbone!" Charlie yelled. "And it looks like you're going to need it!" She laughed in a loud voice.
"Of course, it won't do you any good," Charlie continued. "And now that that brother of yours is alive, I'm going to have to go out of my way to make people think otherwise. It would have been easier just to throw his body off a cliff."
"What are you going to do?" Sheridan asked fearfully. "You know, Julian is worth a lot of money - billions. I'm sure our father would pay a lot to get him back."
"It's not money I'm after!" Charlie declared angrily. Then in a calmer voice, she said, "I just want a happy life - a peaceful life, with someone I love. You, Blondie, are going to allow that to happen."
As the masked kidnapper left the edge of the pit, Sheridan and Julian looked at each other in utter confusion. "What on earth was that insane woman talking about?" they both wondered.
Luis stared at his brother, completely speechless. He had just told Antonio the truth about him and Sheridan, and his brother's reaction was far from what he had expected...
Antonio had said, "So, you finally decided to tell me the truth!"
Luis couldn't believe what he was hearing. "You knew?! All this time, you knew and you said nothing?! You bastard!" He lunged at Antonio, grabbing him by the shirt with both hands.
"I ought to kill you for what you've put me and Sheridan through!" Luis declared, pushing Antonio back against the living room wall.
Antonio forced Luis's hands away with his own. Luis backed up and swung his fist at his brother, striking Antonio in the mouth.
Antonio wiped the blood from his lip with his right hand. "I deserved that," he said simply.
"What the hell have you been up to - lying to us all this time, pretending you didn't know anything about Sheridan and me?"
"I didn't know the whole time," Antonio insisted. "I didn't know until Sheridan and I came back to Harmony."
"That was eight months ago," Luis said. "You've known for eight months and you said nothing?" He lunged toward his brother again.
"Listen, Luis, I can explain," Antonio said, "if you just give me the chance."
"Oh, this ought to be good," Luis sneered. "Go ahead, big brother, explain. Explain how you have put Sheridan in jeopardy, and the baby..."
"I didn't mean to hurt Sheridan," Antonio insisted, "or the baby. Look, Luis, this goes back a long time ago, to the night I left town."
"You mean back to the time that our father disappeared? What did you have to do with that?"
"Nothing!" Antonio insisted. "It's not what you think. Alistair Crane had something on me, and he had Julian force me out of town."
"Force you out?!" Luis yelled. "You mean he bribed you, don't you? What the hell for? What did you do, Antonio, huh? What kind of crime did you commit that had the Cranes after you?"
"It wasn't a crime," Antonio said. "I don't want to get into that now. It's not what's important."
"You let me decide what's important," Luis retorted.
"OK, Luis, the important thing is Sheridan, right? It's finding her and the baby."
"You bastard! If you had anything to do with Sheridan's disappearance, I swear I'll kill you - brother or not!"
Antonio held his hands up in front of him. "Luis, just listen... I had nothing to do with Sheridan's disappearance - honest. I truly believe she left town on her own, just like Beth said."
"All right, Antonio," Luis said, folding his arms. "Tell me what it is you do know then."
"It started a long time ago," his brother revealed. "The Cranes made me leave town. I left the country - went to Mexico first, then hopped around all the islands in the Caribbean. Finally I landed on St. Lisa's, where I found myself, really. I became a pretty good fisherman."
"Keep going," Luis urged, not impressed with his brother's tale of how he 'found himself.'
"Then one day I fished a beautiful woman out of the sea - you know all about that. I had no idea who she was, Luis. You have to believe me. I had no idea until I came back to Harmony."
"How did you find out then?" Luis demanded.
"It was Alistair. He called one day - said he had to talk to me. He told me everything, all about you and Sheridan. I couldn't believe it at first - that my own brother would lie to me. Finally, he convinced me he was telling the truth."
"That bastard!" Luis yelled. "He never gave a damn about Sheridan."
"He told me to keep quiet about everything, to not let on," Antonio said. "What he wanted me to do seemed easy enough - just stay with Sheridan, the woman I love."
"Why would he accept you with her and not me?" Luis demanded. "Because you were his stool? Is that why, Antonio? Because he could control you?"
"I guess," Antonio shrugged. "As I said, it seemed easy...but it wasn't. I knew how much I was hurting the two of you, but I did it anyway. Inside, it was killing me."
"Oh, I bet it was," Luis said angrily. "You were the victim in all of this, of course. What about your illness? Was that all faked too - part of the plan?"
"No, Luis," Antonio said. "I really was sick. That part was true."
"The wedding - how could you go through with that? How could you do that to Sheridan, knowing she was in love with me? Don't tell me you ever loved her. You couldn't."
"I did love Sheridan; I still do, Luis. I wish she really was mine, completely - she and the baby."
"The baby?" Luis asked. "What do you mean you wish the baby was yours completely?"
"There's something I need to tell you about the baby, Luis," Antonio said softly. "I guess I owe you that much."