Eve stared helplessly at Liz. Everything that she had worked so hard to protect was going up in smoke before her very eyes. TC was demanding an explanation, and Eve knew there was no way of getting out of this.

Liz smirked at Eve in delight, loving the torment she saw on her face.

“What is going on here?” Rachel, the nurse, demanded. “Dr. Russell needs to rest; I will not allow you two to upset her like this!” she flared. “You’re going to have to leave… now!”

As Rachel checked Eve’s vitals, TC and Liz left the room reluctantly. “We’ll finish this later,” TC promised, still upset with Eve’s continual defense of Julian Crane.

After they had left, Eve breathed a sigh of relief and thanked the nurse. “Thank you, Rachel. Please tell my husband that I am going to rest now, and that I would like to see him later - alone!” Eve made sure that Rachel understood that Liz was not welcome.

“Sure, you just take it easy and rest; I’ll see what I can do about these outbursts that keep occurring here.” She smiled sympathetically.

After Rachel left, Eve pulled the covers up under her chin and turned off the lights, except for the nightlight above her bed, and lay back and tried to relax. Troubled by TC’s behavior, and the ever present threats that Liz was always throwing at her, Eve finally drifted off to sleep.

Outside Eve’s room, Rachel took TC and Liz aside. “You are her husband; I thought that you might be more sympathetic considering what she has been through. Here you are acting like a spoiled child who couldn’t get his candy. Eve needs to rest, not to be yelled at by the man who is supposed to love her. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Mr. Russell,” Rachel said to TC, who hung his head in embarrassment.

Turning, she glared at Liz. “What is the matter with you people anyway? Have you completely lost your senses?” Rachel was getting more and more irritated by the moment. “If this happens one more time, I will have you both banned from the hospital, family or not!” Rachel didn’t bother to give TC and Liz time to explain as she headed back to her station, completely forgetting to tell TC that Eve wanted to see him later.

Red-faced, TC and Liz made a mad dash for the elevator. Liz, slightly miffed at being told off, was disappointed at not having had a chance to stick it to Eve. TC, though feeling ashamed, couldn’t let go of the fueling anger toward Julian that still raged inside of him.

Around the corner, Julian Crane had listened and waited for TC and Liz to leave. His heart ached for Eve and the trouble she was going through just to protect their fragile friendship. It thrilled him that she was sticking up for him, but he didn’t want her to be hurt in the process, especially now, so soon after her accident.

When TC and Liz had left, Julian waited for Rachel to enter another patient’s room before he quietly tiptoed into Eve’s. With all this sneaking around, he was beginning to feel like a criminal, but with TC out to kill him, who could blame him for being extra careful?

Quietly, he closed the door and approached Eve’s bed. ‘She must be really exhausted,’ he thought as he sat on the stool next to her bed and placed the wrapped scarf on the night table beside of it. He watched her sleep. She seemed peaceful and happy, and to him, more beautiful than ever.

Unlike her troubled reality, Eve’s dreams took her to a happier place, far away from the troubles of her life, to a place where she was completely happy, a place that gave her peace and joy and complete acceptance…

(Dreaming here...)

Eve lay in her comfortable bed, snuggling deeper into the pillows. Her hand bumped against an arm, and she jumped up with a start. Her confusion quickly turned to joy at the sight of Julian smiling up at her.

“Good morning, beautiful.” He pulled her down for a kiss.

“Hmmm,” she murmured against his lips. “I could get used to waking up like this.” She smiled after a moment.

“Me too!” Julian grinned and rolled over with her, laying her head onto her pillow.

Looking up at him, Eve could hardly believe that he was here, in her arms, just like she had always dreamed. Her heart fluttered when he smiled. His eyes were deep and warm, the windows to his soul, and so full of love for her. “I love you, Julian,” she whispered as she reached up and tangled her fingers in his hair and pulled him down for a kiss.

(End Dream)

When Eve whispered in her sleep, Julian leaned over her to try to catch what she was saying. To his surprise, she suddenly reached up and pulled him down for a kiss.

Julian tried to resist at first, but the softness of her lips pressing against his was more than he could take. He raised his hand and caressed her cheek, his heart pounding wildly in his chest.

With the scent of his cologne in her nostrils and the pressure of his lips on hers, Eve awoke and opened her eyes.

Julian, aware that she was awake, pulled back quickly, expecting her to slap him. He paused and looked into her eyes. There was no sign of anger; instead, she stared up at him, not moving a muscle.

Eve’s heart pounded furiously, and she was thankful that the heart monitor was turned off. She gazed at him, dressed in his winter overcoat, looking so handsome and distinguished. She fought the impulse to reach up and touch his graying hair, though it was almost too dark in the room to see it.

His gentle eyes roamed over her face, lingering on her lips, and then moved back up to hold her gaze once more.

Eve noticed the change, the passion in his eyes…his intent.

Still, he held back, not wanting to overstep his bounds.

Even though she knew it was wrong, she couldn’t help but feel exhilarated at the forbidden thought of kissing Julian. And whether it was right or not, she wanted him to kiss her again.

Realizing that she was not objecting to his obvious intentions, Julian slowly lowered his head, hesitating, just to be sure. They were so close, their breathing becoming shallow, and their lips moved closer still. He paused, unsure if he should continue, but all his doubts were erased when her fingers crept into his hair and she closed the breath’s space between them, pressing her lips to his.

Immediately, his mouth fused to hers. He kissed her with the passion and hunger of a man about to live his last days on earth, and to Julian this was the way he would want to spend them, with her mouth, so soft and full, completely surrendering to his.

Eve’s heart pounded in her ears as she opened her mouth and allowed him to deepen the kiss. She loved the feel of his tongue dancing with hers and the pressure of his lips against hers...tasting, feeling, causing them to swell as he invaded every part of her mouth.

As her fingers ran through his soft hair, Julian shivered with pleasure. He had forgotten what sweet ecstasy it was to be in the arms of a woman that he truly loved…Eve’s arms, the only woman he had ever loved, and he hoped against hope that she might still love him too. He caressed her cheek as he continued to kiss her, and then his fingers roamed into her dark hair, tangling in the softness of it.

When they finally came up for air, their breathing was ragged and shallow. They stared at each other, unable to pull away.

After what seemed like forever, Julian pulled his fingers from her hair, and with his thumb, gently traced her lips, still glistening from his kiss. “Eve,” he whispered as he caught his breath when she parted them slightly.

“Hmmm,” she breathed, completely lost in the drunken pleasure of his kisses as she licked her lips.

He groaned when her tongue brushed his thumb. Leaning down, he replaced his thumb with his lips, claiming hers once again in a firm but gentle kiss. He deepened the kiss with a hunger that overpowered his ability to reason. He cared for nothing at this moment, only that she was in his arms and her lips were upon his.

As much as he would have like to spend the night kissing her, and loving her, Julian knew that he was treading on shaky ground. Reluctantly, he broke the kiss and sat back down on the stool. Eve’s hand slipped from his face and landed on his hand. She didn’t bother to move it.

Julian turned his hand over and grasped hers in his. He stroked it for a moment with his thumb and then looked up into her eyes.

Eve leaned back into her pillow and sighed. She smiled at him nervously, well aware of the line they had crossed. As she held his gaze, she knew her life would never be the same again.