Antonio looked down at the floor and started moving his right leg back and forth uneasily, scraping the carpet with his foot. "Luis, I know you're never going to forgive me for not telling you I knew about you and Sheridan...for letting you believe that Sheridan had to stay with me because I was sick, because you thought the shock would kill me."
"That's right," Luis agreed. "I will never forgive you for that, Antonio...for all the time you've cost me and Sheridan."
"I loved her too," Antonio insisted. "I still do, even though I know her heart belongs to you."
"Then why, Antonio? Why'd you do it? Are you that scared of Alistair Crane that you would sell your soul to him? If so, you don't really love Sheridan. You can't. I wouldn't have done that - not in a million years would I have made a deal with that bastard."
"It wasn't like that," Antonio said. "I didn't make a deal. Like I told you, Alistair and Julian made me leave town when I was just out of high school - they had something on me, OK? Something that doesn't concern you now. It's not important."
"You just let me say what's important," Luis said. "So you ran off, lived a carefree life for all those years while Mama and I were struggling to make ends meet. Then you rescued my fiancée, fell in love with her, and brought her back here to Harmony. Am I right so far?"
Antonio nodded. "We've been through this, Luis."
"Now we get to the really interesting part," Luis said, "the part where you stabbed your own brother in the back."
"It wasn't like that," Antonio insisted. "I wasn't trying to hurt you, Luis. God knows, I owed you a lot for everything you went through when I was gone."
"You weren't trying to hurt me? You allowed Alistair and Julian to make you play dumb..."
"It was just Alistair. Julian wasn't involved this time around."
"Yeah, I'll believe that when I see it."
"It's true, Luis. Alistair called me and brought up what he had on me from the past. He said if I didn't go along with his little game, he would make trouble for me and my family."
"So you sold your soul to the devil!" Luis yelled.
"Luis, listen, I didn't mean to hurt anyone, especially Sheridan. I wanted to be with her - that's all Alistair said I had to do - just be with her. He even said if I didn't go along with him on this, he would hurt you. I didn't want that, Luis."
"Don't pretend you did me any favors," Luis said angrily. "You're more of a bastard than I thought if you believe that."
"All right, I won't say anything else about that," Antonio said. "Really, Luis, I figured it wouldn't be that bad for you. You had Beth after all - heck you were engaged to her. I kind of thought you two had made your way back to each other."
Luis shook his head, incredulous. "You just aren't taking the blame at all, are you? You aren't sorry one bit, not the way you're trying to turn this around on me."
"Luis, I am sorry, really - especially with the way Sheridan ran off from all the stress I put on her. If anything happens to her or the baby..."
"The baby!" Luis shouted suddenly. "I want to know what you said you had to tell me about that. Sheridan always said you and she..."
"We did, Luis," Antonio said, "on the island. Not here in Harmony, I swear."
"You would have liked to though."
"You're right, I would have - but I didn't," Antonio said. He lowered his head once more, his eyes staring at a spot on the floor. "I always wanted a family, Luis. I always saw myself as a father."
"Antonio, look, I know you hope this baby is yours, but it's not," Luis declared. "It's mine and Sheridan's. I know you're probably mad that that's even possible, but I don't give a damn. Sheridan's mine, and so is this baby."
"You're right, Luis," Antonio responded, looking into his brother's eyes. "The baby is yours."
Luis looked in disbelief at his older brother. "But I thought you just said..."
Antonio nodded. "Sheridan and I did sleep together, Luis, several times on the island."
"Then how do you know you're not...?"
"The father?" Antonio asked. "Because I can't have kids, Luis."
"What are you talking about?" Luis asked, not believing his ears.
"It was a racing accident I had several years ago on the island. I was paralyzed for awhile. Physical therapy helped me, and Liz took good care of me - but there was one thing that couldn't be fixed. The doctors told me I could never have children; there was too much damage. I can, you know, sleep with a woman...but I can never be a father." Tears came to Antonio's eyes. "I just thought this was my one chance to have a family. I thought I could be a father to Sheridan's baby."
"My God, you make me sick," Luis cried. "I ought to beat you to a pulp for what you've done, for making me wonder all this time - making Sheridan have doubts too. So help me, if this costs us our baby..."
"It won't, Luis. Sheridan will come back; you'll see. Everything will be fine...even better for her than before because I won't be here when she gets back."
"Now that's the one smart thing you've said all day," Luis said. "Just see that it's soon."
"It will be. I'll call and make the arrangements. Then I'll go see Mama and tell her goodbye."
"She'll miss you," Luis admitted, "but she's the only one."
"I know there's nothing I can say that's going to make you forgive me, Luis. I just want you to know I did it for the family - for all of you."
"Tell that to Mama; I'm not buying it," Luis said. He walked to the front door and opened it. "Just so you're clear on something - I never want to see you here in Harmony again. Have you got that? Because if you try to come back and cause trouble for Sheridan..."
"I won't, Luis; I promise. I'll let the two of you live your life in peace - with your baby."
Luis turned and walked through the door, slamming it shut behind him.
Charlie drove the Crane sports car out of town. "I could get used to riding in this thing," she said dreamily. She pictured herself and Beth riding along the coast in it on a warm summer's day - the baby in a car-seat in back. "Now that's life," she said, smiling.
"Ah, well, you can't have everything you want out of life," she sighed as she parked the car along the side of the road, the front end pointed toward the edge of a cliff. Down below was the Atlantic Ocean in all its glory.
Charlie left the engine running with the car in park. She felt around the floor of the passenger's side of the vehicle and retrieved a large object. The massive woman got out of the car and looked down at the water below her. It was dark, but the moon was full, so she could just barely see the waves lapping up against the rocks.
"Nice night for an accident," she said, and then let out an evil laugh.
Charlie held the object up and examined it. It was a piece of driftwood that she had retrieved from the beach that afternoon. "Oh, you'll do fine," she told the piece of wood, smiling broadly. "You'll do just fine."
She put the piece of driftwood on the accelerator and rolled down the driver's side window. She stood up beside the car. "Now all we have to do is wait."
Five minutes later, a car could be seen in the distance, heading along the quiet road toward town. Charlie smiled excitedly and leaned into the car. She slipped the gear into drive and quickly headed toward the woods on the other side of the road.
Julian Crane's sports car rolled over the edge of the cliff into the ocean as the other car approached the scene. The driver of the car slammed on his brakes.
From her hiding place in the trees across the road, Charlie watched as the driver exited his car and looked over the edge of the cliff, shaking his head.
"Oh, Beth, you come up with some of the best plans,"
she said to herself as she hurried through the woods back to town. "Now
nobody will think Julian Crane was kidnapped, and no one will think someone
has both him and Sheridan. They'll still think Sheridan ran away. We're safe
now, Bethie. It's smooth sailing from here."