Julian was well aware of the fact that he was probably committing suicide by stepping into Eve’s room and declaring that he was the father of her dead child. But regardless, he was not going to let Eve go through this alone. So he stood, almost defiantly, as he smiled tenderly at Eve, who stood frozen in total shock. “Yes, TC, that is right. I am the father of Eve’s son.”

TC whirled around, almost losing his balance, as he stared at Julian in surprise. Breathing heavily, he slowly staggered toward Julian, his fists clenched at his side. “You bastard! How dare you come in here!” he snarled, closing the distance between them.

Standing inches from Julian, his eyes piercing with hate, TC breathed heavily into his face. With fists clenched and teeth grinding in rage, TC reached out to grab Julian.

“Touch me, and I’ll have your job,” Julian threatened angrily, as his eyes turned cold. “I’ll make sure that you never work in this town again.”

TC paused a moment, not quite sure that he had heard right. Julian wasn’t acting like his usual cowardly self. In fact, this was the first time that he had ever stood up to him, and TC was not sure how to react to this.

Eve’s heart pounded furiously as she helplessly watched TC and Julian face off. She admired Julian for stepping up to the plate, but feared for his life, as TC breathed on him heavily, his body shaking with rage.

“I am going to kill you!” TC snarled. “How dare you come in here and say that you had a son with my wife. She is a good person. She would have nothing to do with the likes of you. Isn’t that right, sweetheart?” He turned to Eve.

Eve stood trembling, not sure what to say that would ease the shock for TC. She was comforted to have Julian there for support but feared what TC might do when he learned the truth.

Liz grinned like a sly cat at Eve’s discomfort. Then, before Eve could say anything, she jumped in and said, “Yes, Eve, why don’t you tell TC exactly what your likes were…” She laughed wickedly.

TC backed off from Julian for a moment and turned to Liz. “What is that supposed to mean, Liz?”

Eve breathed deeply. “I think it is time you knew the truth, TC. There are some things that I never told you. Things that I am not proud of. Things that I kept from you so you wouldn’t get hurt.”

“Just spit it out, Eve,” TC said impatiently, realizing that this was more than he had thought.

Eve looked at Julian, who smiled encouragingly at her, his eyes full of pain for her. She smiled back weakly, thankful for his support.

Chad and Whitney fiercely held hands, until Whitney winced with pain. “Sorry, but this is getting a little nerve wracking,” Chad said.

“I feel so bad for my mom,” Whitney replied.

“Before I met you,” Eve began, “my dream was not to be a doctor, but to be a singer.”

“What?!” TC asked in disbelief. “You hate singing.”

“I don’t hate singing; I just don’t want anything to do with that lifestyle,” Eve explained.

“Why?” TC asked, confused.

“Well, I used to sing. I managed to get a job singing at a nightclub in Boston. I did real well too. Then one night, I met a young man who charmed me and swept me off my feet.” TC’s face clouded visibly.

Julian smiled to himself at the memory of his first meeting with Eve.

Eve noticed and then continued. “He kept pursuing me, and eventually I gave in. We got involved and I got pregnant. And then the baby died when I gave birth.” She gave a cleaned up version of her life, hoping to soften the blow to TC’s heart.

Angrily, TC cried, “Why didn’t you tell me the truth? Why didn’t you trust me enough to tell me the truth?” The hurt in his voice was undeniable. “What was so horrible about that? I would have understood. I would have helped you deal with the baby’s death.”

“She didn’t tell you because of who the father of the baby was,” Liz pointed out.

“Shut up, Liz,” Eve snapped.

TC paled when it hit him. “Julian Crane!” He was visibly sick as he grabbed hold of Liz to steady himself.

Eve reached out to try to help him, but shrank back when he pushed her away. Julian wanted to run to Eve, but feared that TC would flip his lid completely if he got involved.

“Get away from me,” TC said to Eve, his voice cold and full of pain.

“Wait, TC, she has more to tell you,” Liz said cruelly. “Tell him about your drunken nights and drug abuse.”

Whitney covered her mouth in horror. It was hard for her to think of her mother as a drunken drug addict having an affair with Julian Crane. Chad hugged her close in support.

Eve glared at Liz, wanting more than anything to put her in her place. “My sister, my flesh and blood….to think that I actually felt sorry for what you claim is ‘my ruining of your life.’ I have never loathed anyone more, sister dear!” Eve spat.

TC looked at Eve, his beautiful, perfect Eve. Now he didn’t even know her. Trembling with rage, he pointed at her. “I never…want to see you again.” His eyes were filled with pain.

“TC, that was in the past, before I met you,” Eve pleaded.

“I…don’t…care,” TC said. “You lied to me. You slept with Julian, had his baby. You have no idea how that sickens me.” His face contorted with disgust.

“You slept with Liz.” Eve tried to gain some kind of control.

TC stared at her in disbelief. “How can you even compare the two? You have lied to me for twenty years. I was drunk; hell, I don’t even remember sleeping with Liz. And you think that makes us even?” he asked incredulously.

“You were drunk? Isn’t that a convenient excuse?” Eve cried in disbelief.

“At least I told you the truth. But you, you have lied… I don’t even know who you are,” TC spat, and then turned to leave. “If I never see you again, it will be too soon.”

“TC please…” Eve cried and touched his arm.

Yanking his arm away, TC said, “Don’t touch me! I don’t want anything to do with anyone who had an association with Julian Crane, let alone slept with him.” In disgust, he grabbed Liz’s hand and turned to leave. He stopped short at the sight of Julian beside the door.

Julian moved out of his way, not sure what TC was going to do.

“If this wasn’t a hospital where they could easily revive you, I would tear you to pieces,” TC snarled.

Liz pulled TC from the room, fearing that he would do just that. “Come on, TC. Let’s get away from here. They aren’t worth the effort.”

After they left, Eve began to sob. Her whole life had just gone up in smoke, and all because of lies.

As she sat back on the bed, Whitney and Chad approached her. Not sure what to say, Whitney reached out her hand and laid it gently on her mother’s shoulder.

The touch of her hand seemed to shock Eve. Looking into Whitney’s eyes, she saw that unlike TC, she understood. Pulling her close, Eve hugged Whitney tightly, and they cried together.

“I am so sorry, Mom,” Whitney said.

Eve only cried harder.

Feeling like he was intruding, Julian stepped out of the room.

Chad noticed and followed him out, giving Whitney and her mom the privacy they needed. “I thought for sure that TC was going to kill you,” Chad said.

“Don’t think that I didn’t think the same.” Julian breathed a sigh of relief.

“He didn’t even touch you,” Chad remarked.

“Maybe there is a tiny bit of self control in him after all,” Julian replied.

“Maybe,” Chad said as he turned to look into the room. He smiled when Whitney approached the door.

Outside Eve’s room, Chad, Whitney and Julian stood in silence. No one really knew what to say.

Finally, Whitney said, “My mom wants to see you, Julian, but I am warning you. You better not hurt her. She has been through enough.”

“I promise,” Julian tried to reassure her. “I would never do anything to hurt your mother.”

Satisfied that he was being honorable, Whitney and Chad left. Julian exhaled loudly and entered the room.

Tears streamed down Eve’s face as Julian approached her. Brushing them from her face, she said, “That went well, huh?”

Julian smiled as he sat on the stool next to her bed. “I am so sorry you had to go through that.” He brushed a stray tear from her cheek.

“Well, it was inevitable though, wasn’t it?” She breathed deeply and brushed her hair back from her face. “I don’t think I’m going to be going home for awhile.”

“If you need a place to stay, you can stay at my hotel. Free of charge of course,” he said, and then got up and helped Eve back into bed. Pulling the covers up under her chin, he tucked her in. Her cheeks glistened with tears, and he fought the urge to kiss them away.

“I couldn’t…” Eve started.

“Don’t be silly. You need a safe place to stay, a place where you won’t be bothered. And your girls can still come and see you,” Julian assured her, wiping a tear from her cheek.

Eve started to cry. “How did my life go so wrong? What am I going to do now? TC wants nothing to do with me. My sister hates me. Lord knows what Simone will think. Thank God Whitney understands.” She leaned into Julian’s chest.

Julian sat on the edge of the bed and held her in his arms as she cried. “I always thought Whitney had a good head on her shoulders,” he said, as Eve nodded her head in agreement. When she finally stopped crying, he kept on holding onto her, trying to help ease some of her pain.

After a long while, Eve pulled from his arms. “You know I actually feel much better than I thought I might. This burden I have been carrying had become unbearable already.” Eve sighed in relief. “I probably lost TC for good though,” she said sadly.

“You haven’t lost me.” Julian smiled as he brushed his hand lightly up and down her arm. “As a friend I mean.”

Eve smiled. “I’m grateful to have a friend.”

“You can always count on me, Eve. I know that things may be a little rougher from here on out, but I will be there for you. Don’t be afraid to ask.” He leaned forward and kissed her on the forehead.

“I don’t quite know what to make of you, Julian. I haven’t seen this side of you in a long, long time.”

“I know…I got lost missing you.” He smiled tenderly, his voice full of regret.

Eve gasped at the raw emotion in his voice. “Julian…”

“Shhhhh…” he whispered as he bent down and placed his lips on hers.

She hesitated for a moment and then leaned closer, hands clinging to his shirt.

Her response encouraged him to pull her completely into his arms. He released her lips for a moment and whispered, “I love you, Eve.” Then, without giving her a chance to reply, he reclaimed her lips, tasting her, kissing away the pain, the hurt, all the confusion that had settled around her. If Eve knew nothing at this moment, he wanted her to be certain of his love for her.

Her heart pounding, she gave into her body’s response to his kiss. She opened her mouth and gasped at the incredible wave of passion that swept over her when he deepened the kiss, invading her senses, leaving her breathless and desperate for more.

As Julian leaned her back against the pillows, he reached up blindly and pulled the cord to the lights and switched them off, leaving only the soft dim glow of the side table lamp.

Her arms circled his back, pulling him closer. As he leaned against her, he was careful not to hurt her. He released her lips and kissed her cheek, then her neck, loving the smooth silkiness of the tender skin.

Eve shivered when he kissed her sensitive skin. “Julian…” she groaned as she pushed against his chest. “We have to stop.”

Breathing hard, he pulled back and looked into her eyes. “I’m sorry.” He tried to pull away.

“Don’t,” she whispered as she placed a finger against his lips.

Kissing them, he smiled. “I don’t want to leave, but I think I’d better. I will get that apartment ready for you. As soon as you are released, I will take you there. There you can rest till you feel up to facing your family again.”

Smiling sadly, Eve whispered, “Thank you, Julian.”

“OK then, you get some rest. I’ll see you soon.” He got up from the bed and picked up his coat and scarf that he had dropped earlier. “Hopefully you can get out of here tomorrow.”

“I hope so too,” she said.

“Good night.” He smiled and left the room.

Eve sank back onto her pillow, her heart wounded, but not shredded. Somehow Julian had managed to save her from what might have been a total emotional disaster. The last few days, he had managed to reawaken old buried feelings that she now realized she still had after all this time. Even though his lifestyle didn’t show it, she felt that inside he truly was a wonderful man, and that man seemed to be reborn every time he was around her. Eve smiled. Maybe this turn of events was for the best, and maybe with Julian was where she belonged.

Her thoughts drifted to TC. She had loved him for a long time. As it sunk in that her marriage was basically over, she was surprised that it didn’t sadden her like she had expected it would. Actually, she felt kind of relieved…relieved because for the first time in a long time, she felt free. Free from TC’s rage; from the secrets she had been keeping; free from Liz…free to be herself, the woman she was when she first came to Harmony twenty years ago.