Luis leaned over and gave his baby daughter a kiss. She was safe in Sheridan's arms, where she belonged. He couldn't believe he had his beloved Sheridan back, along with their child. That night, he knew, was the beginning of the rest of their lives.
They were still at Beth's house, where the touching reunion between mother and baby had taken place.
Julian and Eve headed over to where the new family had gathered. "I am so thrilled you have your baby back, Sheridan," Eve said, smiling.
"Yes, it's wonderful," Julian agreed, looking down at the infant. "You can tell she's happy to see you too." He reached in and tickled her chin.
Sheridan smiled. "I know. I love her so much. This is like a dream come true. Thank you guys, both of you, for making this happen."
"And Luis, my goodness, we would still be in that pit if it weren't for you," Eve said warmly. "You saved all of our lives tonight."
"That he did," Julian said. He looked at Luis intently. "Just how did you figure out we were down there?"
"Yes, how?" Sheridan asked, looking over her shoulder at Luis.
"We can thank this sweet little baby for that," Luis answered, a big smile on his face.
"I don't understand..." Sheridan began, looking from Luis to Julian and Eve.
"Well, let's just say her face gave it away," he said, reaching in to caress the baby's cheek.
"You mean you recognized her? You knew she was ours?" Sheridan asked, shocked.
Luis nodded. "Beth called me earlier in the day and told me she had had the baby." He went on to tell them about the details of the phone call. "So she told me to come over here at seven to see her."
"And that's when you just knew she was Sheridan's?" Eve asked.
"Oh, yes," Luis said. "I just knew - she looked so much like Sheridan when I saw her. They have the same shape face, nose, and mouth. Sheridan's face is so etched in my brain - and when I leaned over that bassinet, that's what I saw - Sheridan! At first I thought my mind was playing tricks on me, but the more I thought about it, the more it all seemed to fit - Beth being due at the same time as Sheridan, not wanting to see a doctor, having the baby out of town...and on the same day I knew that Sheridan's and my baby was born."
"How did you know that I had had our baby?" Sheridan asked incredulously.
Luis explained about the dream he had had three nights before.
"That's when she was born!" Sheridan exclaimed. "Oh my goodness!"
Eve smiled. "What a connection the two of you have!" she said.
"The three of us now," Luis corrected.
"But what happened after you realized she was Sheridan's baby?" Julian asked. "Did you get Beth to talk?"
"Oh, she tried to deny it, to worm her way out of everything, but I saw through her lies for the first time," he answered. "It was actually Mrs. Wallace who cracked first, when I started turning up the heat."
"Mrs. Wallace knew?" Sheridan cried. "That sweet old lady?"
"Yeah, she knew," Luis said. "She said Beth had been threatening to send her to some rat-infested nursing home if she talked. I get the picture she wanted to turn her daughter in all along, but she was just too scared."
"That poor old woman," Sheridan said.
"What kind of daughter could do that to her mother?" Eve asked.
"The loony kind, I guess," Julian offered.
Just then, the kitchen door opened and two officers stepped through. One was leading Beth, in handcuffs, while the second was following Mrs. Wallace as she slowly moved across the floor with her walker.
Sheridan placed the baby in Eve's arms. She marched across the room to where the officer was escorting Beth. He stopped. Beth looked down at the floor to avoid Sheridan's eyes.
"You bitch!!!" Sheridan cried, slapping Beth across the face with all her might. Beth flinched and put her hand on her cheek, rubbing the spot Sheridan had hit.
Luis ran over to pull Sheridan back. "It's OK, Tom," he said to the officer. The policeman nodded at Luis.
"You're going to let her get away with that?" Beth asked angrily. "What a jerk you really are!" She spat at Luis.
"Get her out of here, Tom!" Luis ordered. To Beth, he said, "I don't know what I ever saw in you."
"Oh, Bethie, I told you that you would pay!" Mrs. Wallace cried. "God won out in the end, didn't he? He always does!"
"Shut up, Mother!" Beth yelled.
At that very moment, a third officer entered the living room through the hallway, helping a dazed, handcuffed Charlie make her way toward the door.
"That must be the one who was tormenting us all that time!" Sheridan cried. "Hey, I've seen her before! She's the woman who attacked me a long time ago on the wharf! Who is she? How does Beth know her?"
"Oh, she and Bethie are goooood friends," explained Mrs. Wallace, winking. She turned to Charlie. "You know Beth just used you all this time, don't you?"
Charlie scowled. "I always hated blondes and everything they stood for. Now I hate brunettes too." She glared at Beth. "I hear you tried to sell me up the river; you blamed this all on me, huh, Beth? You just wait until I see you in prison!" She roared with laughter.
Beth shivered and looked away.
"Come on," Tom said, leading her on out the door. Beth glanced over her shoulder one last time at Luis, and then headed on out.
As Charlie was about to be escorted out, Eve quickly but carefully handed the baby to Julian and approached the brutal kidnapper. "I should slap you too for what you did to them in that pit. You shot Julian and took poor Sheridan's baby. I hope they throw the book at you!"
Charlie grinned. "Trying to protect that boyfriend of yours? Well, he looks no worse for wear than he did before. Of course, that's not saying much." She cackled loudly.
"You're disgusting!" Eve shouted. She backed off when she felt Julian's hand on her shoulder.
Charlie was led out the doorway, and Mrs. Wallace soon followed. She paused before she went all the way out. "I want you to know I'm glad you're all OK," she said. "My Bethie is one sick girl. I'm glad none of you were hurt too badly." She lowered her head.
"Thanks, Mrs. Wallace," Eve said.
As the elderly woman was helped through the door, Sheridan turned to Luis. "What's going to happen to her?" she asked.
"They'll question her, but I doubt if charges will be brought against her," Luis replied. "She'll probably end up being placed in a nursing home, hopefully a better one than Beth threatened her with."
Sheridan nodded. "I do feel sorry for her." She walked over to where Julian was holding the baby. "You are great with her," she said, smiling. "But Julian, you're going to hurt that arm of yours holding her like that. Here, let me take her."
"It's OK, really," Julian said, handing the infant to Sheridan. "I'll be fine."
"I had them call an ambulance for you," Luis told him.
"I don't need an ambulance!" Julian protested.
"It's best," Eve said. "It's procedure for gunshot wounds."
"I will be driving you and this little one to the hospital in my cruiser," Luis said, speaking to Sheridan. "They're supposed to be bringing me a car seat."
The group headed out the door to wait on the ambulance and infant seat.
Eve pulled Julian aside on the sidewalk. "I just wanted to tell you one more time that I love you. Remember that," she said, squeezing his hand in hers.
Julian smiled. "That is something I will never forget," he said, his eyes shining. "So are you ready for what's in store for us?" he asked.
"Ready as I'll ever be," she replied, pulling him in for a hug.
At that moment, an ambulance pulled up to the curb. Eve walked Julian over to it. The emergency personnel got out and began preparing him for transport.
Just then, a car came screeching up and parked near Beth's house. Sam jumped out of the driver's side...and from the passenger's side - TC!
He ran over to where Eve was standing near the ambulance. "Eve, baby!" he cried, scooping her up in his arms. "I'm so glad you're safe!"
She smiled uneasily, knowing that Julian was watching the scene. "TC, it's good to see you," she said.
"Is that all the greeting I get after you've been away from me for three days?" he asked, pulling her in for another hug. He finally released her.
Eve patted her husband's arm. "I am just...tired," she said. "It's been a long three days. A lot has happened, TC."
"I know, but we'll have plenty of time to catch up," he said, wrapping his arms around her once more. "And when I get my hands on that scum Julian Crane... I heard he was the reason you were kidnapped. Where is that bastard?!" TC let go of Eve and began scanning the crowd that had gathered outside the house.
"TC, Julian didn't do anything wrong," Eve said, trying to calm her enraged husband. "I was glad to be there to save Sheridan and the baby. If I hadn't been, they would have died."
"Yeah, well, I still don't like the way he thinks he can play God with my family," TC blared. "He thinks he can put his needs and his family's needs above everyone else's. You could have been killed!"
"I don't think Julian has put his needs over the needs of others for a long time..." Eve said slowly. "A very long time..." She turned and looked at Julian. The paramedics had strapped him onto the stretcher.
TC followed Eve's glance. "There you are, Crane!" he roared, moving toward the stretcher.
"TC, no, he's hurt," Eve said, trying to pull her husband back.
"He will be hurting even more when I get through with him," the angry man vowed.
"TC, you may not know this, but Julian saved my life in the pit. He stepped in front of me when one of them fired a gun at us. Julian is a hero."
"Yeah, some hero," he spat. "Crane, if I ever catch you having anything even remotely to do with my wife again, you'll be a dead man. Understand?"
Julian looked at Eve. He saw the worry in her eyes. "I understand, TC," he said. "I'll have no more to do with Eve than I did in the pit."
She smiled at him, understanding the underlying message. "My, he has a way with words," she thought. Julian returned her smile.
TC wondered why Julian was smiling. "Strange fool," he murmured to himself.
The paramedics began loading the stretcher onto the ambulance. Eve turned to TC. "I really should ride with Julian to the hospital - he's been shot."
"Are you crazy?" he asked, looking at his wife like he didn't recognize her. "I'll take you to the hospital. You need to be checked out too, but you're not riding with that pig. He has plenty of help anyway." He pointed to the paramedics that were climbing into the ambulance. "Now let's go."
Eve reluctantly began following TC to Sam's car. She turned for one last look
at Julian in the ambulance. He lifted his head up and waved at her. She raised
her own hand slightly in a wave, careful that TC didn't see. Eve turned and
headed toward the car. She opened the passenger side door and paused before
getting in, taking a deep breath. "Lord, please help us through the tough
times ahead," she prayed.