Startled back to reality, Julian sighed uneasily. "Good afternoon to you too, Father."
"You have work to do, but I see that you are busy doing what you do best - nothing! Turn that damn music off. It gets on my nerves."
Reluctantly, Julian got up and turned off the stereo.
"I would think you would trash that tape now that Eve Russell has turned you down," Alistair sneered.
Julian turned toward the phone, a look of surprise on his face. "You know about that?"
"Of course I do, Julian," Alistair smirked. "The former ghetto girl turned down a chance to be with a billionaire. Just how bad in bed are you, anyway?"
"Shut up, Father," Julian protested. "Eve's not from the ghetto, and she didn't turn me down. She...she has a family that she loves and doesn't want to leave."
"Well, be glad the so-called doctor did refuse your advances. I warned you what would happen if you took back up with her - I would completely disinherit you. You would be left with nothing."
"Except my dignity."
"Don't get me started on that, Julian. You have no dignity. Anyway, at least nobody else saw you sucking face outside of that dive a couple of weeks ago - nobody except your tramp of an ex-wife Ivy, your loser son Fox, and me."
"I didn't know you had the whole town under surveillance," Julian said, blushing. "I should have known. Not to worry, Father. It's in Ivy's best interests not to talk, and I took care of Fox."
"Yes, you handled your son well, Julian. I'm surprised. At least that's one thing you learned from me - how to make your wayward children mind you."
"Speaking of children, Father," Julian said, "I want to talk about Sheridan."
"Why would we talk about her? She's out of the picture now, Julian."
"Father, you didn't have anything to do with...?"
"Of course not!" Alistair blared. "But can I say I'm not disappointed she's gone? Hardly!"
"She's pregnant!" Julian said. "Don't you have a heart at all?"
"A heart? I thought you would get over that lovey-dovey nonsense when Eve Russell stiffed you!"
"Yes, well, maybe my heart is here to stay, even if I don't have Eve," Julian sighed.
"Get over it, Julian! Now, I have important business matters I want you to attend..."
"Father!" Julian interrupted excitedly. "You could help find Sheridan. I just realized - your cameras. They had to see everything the night she disappeared."
"That's nonsense, Julian. I have no cameras in the cottage. I got sick of seeing nothing but Lopez-Fitzgeralds running around."
"Yes, but the grounds cameras - they had to have picked up something!"
"So what? As I said before, she's out of our way now. That's good news for both you and me - not to mention Crane Industries."
Julian shook his head sadly. How could a man not care whether his own daughter lived or died?
Luis rubbed his fingers through his hair in frustration. He had been sitting at his police desk for over two hours, combing through his notes on Sheridan's disappearance. He kept coming up with nothing.
"I don't get it. I'm missing something." His mind turned to Beth. Charity's premonition had implicated Beth in the disappearance, but he hadn't wanted to believe it. The entire cottage of Lopez-Fitzgeralds and friends had grilled Beth for hours, until she had finally broken down and told them that Sheridan had run away.
According to Beth, Sheridan had said she couldn't take the stress anymore. She was worried about the health of her baby and had decided to leave town, to have her baby in peace. "She did it for the baby's sake, Luis," Beth had said. "You know a mother would do anything to protect her child."
Sheridan had told Beth about it because she knew she would understand the stress she was under and would not try to stop her, Beth had revealed. She was afraid Gwen would have tried to talk her out of it.
"I did try to talk to her," Beth had said, "but her mind was made up. So I helped her pack."
"I was worried about your baby," Beth had insisted, looking at Luis. "I didn't want anything to happen to it."
When Sheridan realized no one was outside of her cottage, she had left through the bedroom window, according to Beth. "I don't know how she left the estate," Beth had assured them. "In a car, taxi, bus - I don't know. Maybe she hitchhiked."
Luis shook his head at that suggestion. He knew no matter how desperate Sheridan was, she would never hitchhike.
The real blow had come when Gwen admitted that Sheridan had told her on more than one occasion that she had thought about leaving town.
Luis had never expected to hear that. He couldn't believe she would just up and leave him.
He set his notebook down on his desk. Did Sheridan really leave, just like that? Had she left him and Antonio because she couldn't take the pressure?
"Maybe I put too much pressure on her," he thought, "constantly saying we needed to tell Antonio the truth. It would be too much for anyone, especially someone in her condition."
Luis thought of Sheridan's sweet face. "I miss you, sweetheart," he whispered, tears forming in his eyes. "I just want you to come back."
Shaking his head in disbelief, Luis stood up, clutching the police notebook in his hand. "I will find you, Sheridan," he vowed. "Whatever it takes, I will bring you back to me!"