Christmas music was playing softly when Julian entered the Book Café. Chad stood behind the counter, smiling at Whitney, who was sitting on a stool across from him. Julian approached the couple. “I see that you have taken my advice, Whitney.” He smiled.

“Oh! Hello, Mr. Crane. I didn’t see you there,” she said.

“Mr. Crane.” Chad looked uncomfortable. “Uh, thank you for saving Whitney’s life. I don’t know what I would do without her.” His eyes shone as he took her hand.

Julian smiled. “I would do it again in a heartbeat. I would never have forgiven myself if anything had happened to you, Whitney. Your father would have probably killed me, and your mother…” He stopped, thinking of Eve…her luscious lips, so sweet on his own.

“My mother? What about my mother?” Whitney asked.

“Yeah, what about Eve?” Chad asked suspiciously, not trusting Julian at all.

Julian cleared his throat guiltily. “Well, they say that the mother takes it the hardest when they lose a child, and I just am glad that she was spared the grief,” he tried to explain.

“She is very grateful too,” Whitney said and then turned to smile at Chad again.

“You two hang onto the love you have. Don’t let anyone take it from you,” Julian said.

“Oh, Mr. Crane, are you talking about the woman that you loved all those years ago?” Whitney touched his arm sympathetically.

“I still do, Whitney. I still do.” He shook his head and said, “Enough about me. What about you two?”

“We love each other very much, Mr. Crane. And thanks to you, I was able to tell Chad so.” Whitney smiled adoringly at Chad.

“It was not my doing. As long as you hold onto your love, you can make it through anything,” Julian said, his heart longing to love Eve.

“Well, I hope that you find a way to be with the woman you love, Mr. Crane.” Whitney smiled.

“Me too,” Julian said and then ordered a coffee to go.

“When he had paid for his coffee, Julian headed out to do a little Christmas shopping. In the window of a local shop, he saw a beautiful scarf. It was not an outrageously expensive scarf, but it reminded him of Eve, and against his better judgment, he decided to get it for her. When the scarf was wrapped, he headed back to the hospital.

At the hospital, Dr. Bradley opened the door and entered Eve’s room. “Good afternoon, Dr. Russell. How are you feeling today?” He smiled at TC, who was sitting on the stool next to her bed.

“I feel good. I am hoping to go home soon,” she declared.

“I am very pleased that you stood today. You need to get up and about some more; then we will see if you are ready to go home.”

“You got out of bed today? By yourself? You didn’t tell me that.” TC looked at Eve in wonder.

“It was nothing.” Eve tried to dismiss the subject.

“She did have help, so you need not worry, Mr. Russell,” Dr. Bradley assured him.

“Oh good, the nurses helped.” TC sighed in relief.

“Actually, you can give your thanks to Julian Crane,” the doctor said, unaware that Eve wanted to keep it quiet.

“Julian Crane? Why do I need to thank him?” TC asked, getting irritated.

“Well, he is the one who helped your wife get to her feet.” Dr. Bradley wasn’t sure why TC was getting all hot and bothered about it.

“That pig touched my wife?” TC bellowed. “I’m going to kill him.”

“TC, stop it!” Eve pleaded.

“I’m sorry; I didn’t know that you would get so upset,” Dr. Bradley said, feeling terrible that he had mentioned anything at all. “I’ll let you two discuss it. I’ll be back later.” With that, he left, leaving the door slightly ajar.

Out in the hallway, Julian walked up to Eve’s room and stopped short when he heard TC’s angry voice. He leaned closer to the door and listened.

“TC, please,” Eve pleaded. “He didn’t do anything. He just helped me up and back down again. It was nothing at all.” Eve tried to calm him down.

“Nothing?! I don’t want that pig to touch you; you are too good for him. You are like…like a temple, and I don’t want him defiling you!” TC fumed, not caring about the spectacle he made of himself.

Finally, Eve had had enough. “TC…TC!”

“What?” He paused for a moment, just long enough for her to get a word in edgewise.

“This has got to stop!” Eve said in a stern voice. “I have had enough of this…this outrageous behavior. I told you that he did nothing to me but try to help. I am so tired of you blowing everything out of proportion. And if it doesn’t stop…well, then this temple that you come and pray in will no longer be available for prayer.”

Outside the door, Julian’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Ooooh, Eve, you naughty girl… I would love to pray with you,” he said, with a glint of mischief in his eye.

TC stopped short in surprise. “There you go again, always defending him. Why is that, Eve? What is going on?” he panted in anger.

Eve rubbed her temples, trying to relieve the pain. “TC, you have got to stop. I will not stand for this any longer. Enough is enough! Get over it already!! How long do you want to continue with this ridiculous vendetta of yours? For years you have been nursing this anger, and I think it is time to let it go and move on…for all our sakes,” Eve said, her voice rising to a higher level of irritation.

“Let it go? You want me to let it go?” TC said, his eyes flashing angrily. “You want me to forget what that pig did to my career - to forget that he broke my father’s heart and caused his death?”

“Yes, for your own good. This is not healthy, what you are doing to yourself.”

He stared at her in complete and utter shock; he couldn’t believe that she was no longer supporting his beliefs - the belief that Julian must pay!! “I never thought that I would ever see the day when my lovely, perfect wife would support a pig like Julian over her own husband,” he spat in disgust.

“She’s not so perfect!” Liz said, leaning against the door jam.