Eve entered the cubicle where Julian was being examined by Dr. Simmons. "How is he doing, Craig?" she asked the emergency room physician.
"I think he's going to be just fine, thanks to you," he said, smiling. "Mr. Crane here told me all about how you saved his life down in that pit. Nice going, Eve."
"Thanks, Craig," she said. Eve looked at Julian and smiled. "Mr. Crane here saved my life as well in that pit."
"It sounds like there were a lot of heroics going on down there," the doctor said.
"There definitely were," Eve stated. "Craig, does he have to have surgery?"
"I think I can do what needs to be done right here, with a local," he replied. "I don't think we'll have to put him under."
"Good," Julian said. "Then that means I can get out of this place tonight."
"Not so fast," Dr. Simmons said. "I think you're going to need to stay a little while for observation - maybe a day or two."
"Oh, come on," Julian complained. Turning to Eve, he asked, "Can't you pull any strings for me, doctor?"
"Actually, I'm in complete agreement with Dr. Simmons," she said. "I think you should stay for observation."
"Oh, thanks," Julian said disappointedly.
"It's not all bad," Dr. Simmons said. "With qualified people like Dr. Russell taking care of you, I'm sure you'll enjoy your stay."
Julian's face lit up. "Well, in that case, I think I will stay as long as you need me to."
Dr. Simmons said, "I am going to leave you here for a little bit so I can get things ready for the procedure." He left the room.
"We're finally alone, doctor," Julian said, his eyes twinkling.
"Yes, I can see that," she grinned, inching closer to her favorite patient.
"You know I am in such pain I think I need a kiss to make it better," Julian said enticingly.
"A kiss, really? On your arm?" Eve asked, smiling.
"Well, actually, it's my mouth that's hurting at the moment," Julian flirted, "from missing yours."
Eve laughed and couldn't resist Julian's advances any longer. She leaned in and kissed him on the lips. With his tongue, he urged her to deepen the kiss. She obliged and the two were swept away in an incredibly passionate kiss.
Pulling back finally, Eve smiled and tried to catch her breath. "You certainly...don't seem sick," she said, laughing.
"Not anymore," he joked, reaching out with his good arm to take her hand in his. "Eve, how did your exam go?" he asked.
"Quick and easy - I'm fine," she said. "Sheridan is in another cubicle right now with the baby. They are going to admit them too - just for observation, like with you."
"Good," Julian said. His demeanor became more sober. "Is TC still here?" he asked.
Eve nodded. "He's in the waiting room. He didn't want to let me out of his sight."
Julian took a deep breath. "It's going to be difficult..."
"Very," Eve said. "But I have to tell him the truth about my past. All that I've been through recently has made me realize life is too short to spend all of your time worrying."
"I'm glad you finally see that," Julian said. He looked at her intently. "It's going to be hard for him to take."
"I know," Eve agreed. "But what I'm worried about most is what he might do to you."
"Don't worry about me. I have money to hire all the bodyguards I need," Julian said. "It's you I'm worried about."
"TC won't hurt me, not physically," Eve said. "He will be angry, and upset. But can we blame him?"
"No, I will totally understand his feelings," Julian said. He hedged a minute, unsure of whether to say what else was on his mind.
Eve could tell something was bothering him. "What's wrong, honey?" she asked, rubbing his good arm.
"I just don't know what your plans are...for the future," he said slowly.
Eve took a deep breath. She didn't know exactly what the future would hold for her either. "Julian, there are a lot of things I'm unsure about," she began. "But one thing I know for certain is I want you in my life - somehow. I couldn't stand being separated from you for another twenty years."
Julian smiled, relieved that at least Eve was counting on some sort of future with him.
At that moment, Dr. Simmons returned to the cubicle. "Things are all ready for the procedure, Mr. Crane. The nurse will be here any minute to assist. Are you staying, Dr. Russell?"
"No, I had best be going. I have some other patients to look in on," she said. She smiled at Julian and then turned and headed out of the cubicle.
Luis entered Sheridan's cubicle. "There's a swarm of reporters out there now," he said, coming over to greet her. "I guess everyone wants to find out the story of how Sheridan Crane was rescued from the pit." He leaned in for a kiss. Ah, the taste of her sweet lips! How he had missed that most of all.
Sheridan smiled and held onto Luis's hand. "The only thing I care about is seeing you. I have missed you so much, Luis. And not just for the three weeks I was in the pit. I have missed you since I returned to Harmony and got my memory back. It's been such a long time for us."
"It has been a terrible time," Luis agreed. "And we can thank my brother for most of it."
"I still can't believe Antonio knew the truth about us for nearly a year...and that he allowed my father to blackmail him to keep us apart. What on earth could he have done that was so bad that Father could blackmail him like that?" she asked.
"All I know is it's the same thing that allowed your father to drive him out of town," Luis said. "He wouldn't go into it much. And you know what? I didn't really care...just as long as he left town. I told him as much too."
"Do you know where he went?" Sheridan asked, suddenly concerned about something.
"No, but I figured it was somewhere in the islands," Luis replied. "Why?"
"Well, I just thought of something. We need to know where Antonio is so that we can get the annulment filed."
"Oh, don't worry about that," Luis smiled. "I have that all taken care of."
Sheridan looked at him in surprise. "What do you mean?"
"Before my brother left, I told him to pick up some annulment papers and sign them. I called Mama to make sure he did. It was all taken care of, Sheridan. The papers are at the cottage."
"That's wonderful!" Sheridan cried, pulling him in for a hug. "Now there is absolutely nothing standing in our way!"
"Except your father...and maybe Julian," Luis said.
"Not Julian, Luis," Sheridan declared. "He and I have made peace. I trust him completely."
"I can't believe how close you two have become in such a short time," Luis admitted.
"It was one thing I was glad to see happen in that awful pit," she revealed. "Julian opened up his heart to me - he let me in, so to speak."
"I wouldn't have imagined he had a heart," Luis said. "He never seemed like it before."
"Oh he does, Luis! A wonderful heart... In fact, he reminds me somewhat of you."
"OK, OK, I think you're going too far with this," Luis laughed. "But I am grateful that he saved you life, and the life of our sweet baby." He looked around suddenly. "Where is our little angel anyway?"
"Here she is!" a nurse called, entering the cubicle just then with the baby in her arms. She handed the precious bundle to Sheridan. "She checked out fine," she said. "The two of you will be staying a day or two for observation, I'm sure you've heard."
"Yes," Sheridan said, making a face. "I've already been told that. I just wish we could all go home now."
"It's really for the best," the nurse explained. "But I promise you two will get good care." She smiled and left the cubicle.
Luis grinned. "You still don't like hospitals, I see," he said.
"I hate them!" she insisted. "But at least our baby will be with me." She smiled at her daughter.
"There's something I wanted to talk to you about," Luis said. "We can't keep calling her 'our baby.' We need a name for her." He reached in and rubbed the baby's cheek. It was so soft!
"I was thinking about that," Sheridan revealed. "I have come up with the perfect name for her."
"Let me guess - Katherine Pilar?" Luis suggested.
"Well, early on that was the name I wanted for a little girl," Sheridan admitted. "But now I have another name in mind."
Two hours later, family and friends gathered in the waiting area of the hospital to welcome back everyone and to greet the newest little Crane- Lopez-Fitzgerald baby. The police had given a news conference, at which both Sam and Luis had spoken. Luis even gave a Polaroid photo of the baby to the press. That seemed to have satisfied them, because they had all finally left.
Pilar, Miguel, and Charity were there, as were TC and Simone. Grace had come to join Sam, even though things were not smooth between the two of them. Hank was there as well.
Eve walked out and hugged her daughter. Simone was thrilled to see her. "Oh, Mom, I'm so glad you are safe!" she cried.
"Me too, baby. It's good to be back," she said, finally pulling back to take a long look at her little girl, who was now quite grown up.
"I even phoned Whitney...in LA," Simone said. "I found her number, and I called."
"I'm so proud of you, Simone," Eve said, squeezing her daughter tightly. "That took a lot of guts. You've become so mature."
"Thinking someone you love might be dead can really make you see what's important," Simone said.
"I know exactly what you mean, sweetie," Eve said, looking over Simone's shoulder at Julian as he was being wheeled into the waiting area.
Pilar and Grace went over to give him their thanks. Julian smiled at them, a bit uncomfortable being surrounded by so many residents of Harmony who had previously despised him.
Just then, Luis entered the room with Sheridan and the baby. Everyone gathered around to see the newest Lopez-Fitzgerald. Pilar got the first look. She kissed her grandchild. "She is just gorgeous, mijo," she said. "It's a miracle you two are safe."
"It certainly is," Sheridan said, smiling. Her eyes met Julian's. He shyly returned her smile.
"Theresa sends her love from LA," Pilar went on. "She is out there visiting Whitney. Ethan has taken Gwen to see a specialist, or I know they would be here too. "
Sheridan nodded. "It's just so great that all of you could make it. I've missed you all so much."
"We're so happy you are safe," Grace said. "All three of you... Four," she said, looking at Julian. She went over and hugged Eve.
"We're thrilled to be back," Eve said, smiling at her friend.
TC came up on the other side of Eve and placed his hand on her shoulder. "I'm never letting her out of my sight again," he said.
Eve and Julian exchanged looks. "This is going to be hard," she thought.
Luis cleared his throat and smiled at the group. "Well, we wanted all of you to gather out here so that you could officially meet our little girl. We have finally come up with a name that suits her. I think some of you may be a little surprised, but when you think about it, I think you'll see why we both agree it's the best name for this little gal." He looked at Sheridan, who was beaming at him.
"Well, without further ado," she said, "Luis and I would like all of you to meet our daughter, Julia Eve Lopez-Fitzgerald."
A hush fell over the group. Then, slowly, "oohs and ahs" could be heard.
Eve's eyes met Julian's. His mouth was open in shock. He couldn't believe it. "I...I don't know what to say," he said, his eyes beginning to tear up.
"Without you, Julian, and you too, Eve, our baby and I wouldn't be here," Sheridan said. "This was the least we could do."
"I think it's a wonderful name!" Pilar exclaimed, taking the baby from Sheridan. "Little Julia Eva," she said in her Spanish accent.
"I am so very honored," Eve beamed. "That is such a surprise." She turned to look at Julian again. He was thrilled, she could tell. His eyes met hers. They were both thinking the same thing: Here was a child who bore both of their names, in a way - a child who tied them together with yet another bond.
"Thank...you so much," Julian said, looking at Sheridan and Luis. They grinned. Even Luis was ready to forgive, he thought. He could not believe the love that had come out of their horrible stay in the pit.
"You're welcome," Sheridan said, coming over to hug her brother. "You know I love you, Julian, and I'll never forget what you did for us in that pit."
Everyone gathered around Pilar to greet the baby. Even TC went in for a better look. Eve held back and joined Julian and Sheridan. She gave each of them a quick hug.
Sheridan smiled. "It's good to be out, isn't it?" she asked.
"Yes, it certainly is," Julian said. "I can't wait to see the next thing life has in store for all of us."
Eve looked at him and smiled. Neither could she, she realized.
It was going to be a tough road ahead, but it would be worth it.