"Oh, I don't know - just maybe how our little plan is working out so well. Beth, me, and the baby will all be one big happy family real soon."
"I wouldn't hold your breath," said Mrs. Wallace. "Luis will find Sheridan. He'll put you and Bethie in prison for this."
"If we go to prison, you will too, old woman!" Charlie yelled. "And prison would be worse for you than any of those nursing homes Beth's been talking about...much worse. You know, some of my best friends are locked up, and they'd take one look at that those pretty green eyes of yours - woo!"
Mrs. Wallace's eyes widened in fear.
"Oh, and how they would love to chase you around with that little walker," Charlie continued.
"All right, all right, I won't say anything more about Luis," Mrs. Wallace grumbled. "I just hope your and Bethie's little plan doesn't end up putting all three of us in the big house."
"It won't," Charlie declared. "I just took a big step to keep that from happening last night."
"How? What did you do?" Mrs. Wallace inquired.
"Well, Dame Edna, let's just say I put the cops off of Julian Crane's trail. They won't be tearing the town up searching for him."
"Why not?" Mrs. Wallace asked in surprise. "I mean, he's a Crane, isn't he? He owns this town. I'm sure Luis is out there right now searching for him. He's Sheridan's brother!"
"Doesn't matter, see," Charlie explained, "because nobody's going to think Julian Crane was kidnapped - not after last night."
"What happened last night?" Mrs. Wallace asked, half afraid to hear the answer.
"It seems Julian Crane had a bad accident. His car went over a cliff and wound up in the ocean!" Charlie laughed.
Mrs. Wallace's eyes were as wide as saucers. "You...you didn't put Julian in the car and send it over the cliff, did you?"
"I wish," Charlie said. "Nah, Bethie thought that would be too risky. She thinks it's best to take care of the two of them at the same time, you know. I suppose she wants me to shoot 'em and fill in the pit. Me? I'd like to see them slowly starve to death, especially Blondie."
"Neither of those ideas sound too good," Mrs. Wallace said, making a sick face. "Hey, wait a minute! If Julian Crane wasn't in the car, how are they going to think he's dead? I mean, won't they still be looking for him?"
"See, that's the really good part of Beth's plan. They'll be looking for him all right - in the ocean! I rolled down the car window. They'll just think his body washed out to sea. As far as they're concerned, Julian Crane is dead! HA HA HA HA!"
Eve sat down at the kitchen table with her cup of coffee. "It's finally nice to have a day off," she thought. She grabbed an orange from the bowl of fruit on the table and began to peel it. As she did this, her thoughts turned to Julian. Rebecca had said he didn't come home the night before last. Eve had tried to call him on his cell phone several times since then, but did not get an answer. She wondered if he had come home yet.
"I hope he's OK," she said to herself. Eve was pretty sure he was. She always knew Julian as a man who could take care of himself. Still, it was kind of strange for him to run off like that, without telling anyone. Luis had tried to dismiss the whole thing, assuming Julian was off having a fling somewhere. Eve didn't believe that - not the new Julian, the changed Julian.
Of course, if he were having a fling, how could she really blame him? After all, she had told him in no uncertain terms that there was no chance for a future with her - that her place was with her husband, and her heart belonged to him.
She reflected on the conversation she had had with him that night on the wharf, several nights after they had kissed. The look of pain in his eyes when she had spoken those words to him was embedded in her head. How much she had wanted to hug him right then, to kiss him once more - but she knew she couldn't. She was married, and her place was with TC.
Eve fingered the pieces of orange peel on the table. "Maybe he did run off somewhere, because of what I said that night," she thought. It had been over two weeks, but maybe he just couldn't stand it anymore and had to leave town for awhile. Eve knew him so well, as much as he knew her, as much as he knew what was in her heart. She shuddered. Julian knew that what she had told him about TC owning her heart was not exactly true. She could tell by his reaction. That was what had stung him the most - that she was living a lie.
Eve quickly wiped those thoughts out of her head. "I can't go there," she told herself. She knew if she searched her heart, she couldn't face what she would find.
Instead, Eve concentrated on figuring out what had happened to Julian. Maybe he had gotten a lead on their son. Julian had hired a private investigator to search for the child that she had given birth to - their child, the child they believed had been stolen from the hospital so long ago.
"If he got a lead, wouldn't he call me?" she wondered. He had promised to let her know the minute he found out anything. Still, maybe he didn't want to, after what she had said to him. No, she thought, Julian wouldn't have let that bother him. He would have respected her wishes and kept her informed.
She started to feel more concerned than ever about his whereabouts. "I should call the police and ask what's going on with the case," she said aloud. But what reason would she give them? What reason could she come up with that would explain why she wanted to know what they had found out? She knew she couldn't tell them the truth - that inside her heart was suddenly sick with fear...
Eve realized that she didn't care what the police thought. She just had to find out something. "I'll call Luis," she decided. After all, she was there the day Rebecca had reported to Luis that Julian was missing.
"Luis will fill me in," she told herself, "especially since I helped him with Sheridan's case."
Eve walked over to pick up the telephone. As she did, TC entered the kitchen, a big smile on his face. Eve put the phone down and walked over to greet her husband. "Good morning. You sure look bright and chipper today."
"I think it's going to be a good day," he said, "a good day for all of Harmony, but especially for my family."
"Why? What's up, TC?" she asked, smiling slightly at her husband's words. Had something finally good happened after all the tragedies lately?
"Oh, I just heard something on the radio that kind of made my day," he answered. "Now, you know I'm not one to relish in other people's misfortunes, but in this case, I feel justified."
"TC, just tell me, what is it about?" Eve asked. She felt a sudden unexpected chill come over her.
"Julian Crane," he said simply.
Eve's heart sank in her chest. She momentarily forgot to breathe. Her palms were suddenly drenched with sweat. Finally, after taking a deep breath and swallowing hard, she asked, "What did you hear? Is he still missing?"
"Better than that," TC said smugly. "They announced
on the radio that our favorite Harmony resident is more than likely dead."