He stood leaning against the pier, looking over the water, his heart heavy with both longing and dread. Tomorrow was his wedding day - a day that should bring joy to a man – instead; it brought him sorrow and despair.
Rebecca….how he wished he had never met her. She was nothing more than a gold digging tramp.
A hand on the small of his back startled him. He turned and smiled widely. "Eve."
"Julian." She smiled. "How are you?"
He snorted. "I've been better," he said, turning to lean against the pier again, looking out over the water.
She stood beside him, leaning her arms on top of the pier, her hands clasped in front of her. "You don't have to do this, Julian." She reached out and took his hand in hers.
"Yes, I do. I promised you that I would do whatever it took to help you keep your marriage to TC, and I meant it." He smiled tenderly at her.
"But to marry a woman you don't love?" she asked.
"She threatened to expose our past to TC when she caught us together in the elevator at the hospital." He smiled as he remembered the moment.
He had just gotten out of a board meeting, when the doors to the elevator opened, and the lovely Dr. Eve entered. They had stood staring at each other for a moment. He had reached out and trailed his finger along her cheekbone to her lips. She'd stood rooted in place, unable to object as he drew her into his arms. As their lips had met, the door slid open and there stood Rebecca, grinning like a cat that had just caught a canary.
Julian shook his head. "Anyway, it doesn't matter who I marry; the woman I want to be with is already attached." He smiled sadly.
"I know; I am so sorry. I wish there was something that I could do to make this whole nightmare go away," she relayed.
"There is," he said. "Turn back Time, so that I can do right by you and our son and marry you instead of Ivy." He turned to face her, squeezing her hand and blinking back tears.
"I'm so sorry, Julian. I know you mean well, and that you love me, so much so that you were willing to die to save my life when I got sucked out of your jet." She shuddered, remembering that horrible night. "And now, you are marrying a woman who is only after your money, a woman who doesn't love you the way you deserve to be loved." A tear rolled down her cheek.
Julian reached out and brushed the tear away. He smiled. "I am afraid you are right, my dear. She doesn't love me."
"Julian, I won't let you do this. It's insane. I know you love me, but this is too much. I can't let you do this to yourself," she said desperately.
"There is going to be no argument, my love. I promised to stand by you and protect you. I am going to do right by you this time." He caressed her cheek tenderly. "There is no sacrifice too big for you."
"Oh, Julian...” Tears flooded her eyes as she reached up and placed her hand over his.
"You make me feel so loved, more than anyone ever has."
"I do love you, Eve. More than you will ever know. I will do anything for you." He pulled her hand up to his lips and kissed it. "I just wish that I was the man in your dreams."
"Actually, you were - last night," she said with a smile, trying to change the subject.
"I was?" he asked with a smile as he loosely placed his arms around her waist.
She stood in his arms and looked up at him, suddenly shy. "Yes, I was right here in this place...feeling down, probably from all the stress I am under these days, and you came along and cheered me up." She smiled.
"See, no matter where or when, I will always be there for you." He grinned.
"I am beginning to see that more and more. I don't know where I would be without you in my life."
"You will never have to find out. I will never let anything come between us and our....friendship." He had wanted to say love, but didn't want to push it, as he drew her a little closer to him.
"Nor will I; you mean too much to me, Julian. I could never give that up," she said, her heart beating faster, well aware that he intended to kiss her.
He noticed the change in her. He smiled at her, drawing her closer still, his eyes never leaving hers.
She didn't resist. She never did. Julian was in awe of that. She should slap him, yet she never so much as raised a hand. Sure she would object later, but she never stopped him.
His lips slowly descended towards hers, his heart pounding at the thought of her sweet lips pressed against his.
Eve sighed as his lips settled on hers. Her arms slipped up onto his shoulders, then crept into his hair.
His mouth roamed over hers, encouraging her to deepen the kiss.
She responded fully, not thinking, not caring about anything except being in his arms, kissing him, and being loved by him. Her heart soared; she was the luckiest woman in the world to be loved by a man like Julian Crane.