Beth continued pacing back and forth across the living room floor.
"You're going to ruin that good carpet if you keep doing that!" Mrs. Wallace called from the other side of the room.
"Be quiet, Mother, I am trying to get my plan in order in my mind. I think I almost have it."
"You think you almost have what - a mind? I don't think so, Bethie. If you did, you certainly wouldn't be doing the things you are doing."
"Watch it, Mother, or I will throw you in that rat-infested nursing home this instant!"
"No, you won't," Mrs. Wallace fired back. "I have too much on you, Bethie, with all this stuff going on in the pit. You could go to prison for life."
"Well if you tell, you'll go right along with me," Beth said. "Now, Mother, just leave me alone. I think I just about have it all planned out."
"Well don't keep me in suspense, Bethie. Go on, tell me your plan!"
"OK, I have to make Luis believe somehow that I've had the baby, right? But it can't be here, because he would wonder why I didn't go the hospital, or he would try to make me go afterwards, which would be worse. I need to make him think I was out of town and had the baby...so how about this? How about I call him and tell him that I went to, I don't know, Rochester, New Hampshire, to take care of your sister..."
"I don't have a sister!" Mrs. Wallace exclaimed.
"I am aware of that, Mother, but Luis doesn't know that. So I'll just tell him that I drove there to spend a couple of days with her and went into early labor...and they had to put me under, so I couldn't call...and then later, the phone lines were down in a bad storm, and I couldn't get a call out. What do you think?"
"I think he's going to say, 'Where was your cell phone?' " Mrs. Wallace smirked.
"I'll just tell him the battery was dead, if he asks," Beth explained carefully. "But I don't think he will, Mother. He has been so preoccupied with poor Sheridan lately. He's hardly had any sleep. I don't think he'll ask many questions."
"Doesn't that tell you something, Bethie?" Mrs. Wallace asked. "That he is so worried about Sheridan? The man is in love with her, not you."
"Well, I just have to help him get over her, that's all. And the baby is the perfect way to do that!" She clapped her hands together excitedly.
"What's going to prevent Luis from coming over to Rochester to see you?" Mrs. Wallace asked. "Did you think of that, Bethie?"
"I did, Mother. See, I'll be on the way home by the time I phone Luis. I'll say some friends of my aunt's offered to bring me and the baby home, and I used their phone to call. It's perfect!"
"But, are you really driving to Rochester?"
"No, Mother, Luis will just think I went to Rochester. Really, I'll be hiding out here - upstairs - so nobody sees me."
"And just when do you plan to put this little scheme of yours to work?" Mrs. Wallace asked fearfully.
"Well, I just saw Luis recently; so to make it work, I can't call him tomorrow. It'll have to be the next day. That'll give us time then."
"Time for what?" Mrs. Wallace asked, her eyes as big as saucers.
"It'll give us time to take the baby," Beth said matter-of-factly, "and time to get rid of everyone in the pit."
Eve and Julian lay in each other's arms, leaning back against the wall, the blanket wrapped up around them. They had just had the most exquisite round of lovemaking either had ever experienced. Two souls joined as well as two bodies. They both realized what level they had reached together. Neither one had to speak of it. They just knew in their hearts that they totally belonged to each other now.
Eve reached out and caressed Julian's face. "I love you," she said softly. Tears formed in her eyes as she thought of what could lay ahead for them. "This may have been our last time...to be together like this," she said.
Julian turned his head toward hers and placed his hand under her chin, lifting it up. "Eve..." he said slowly, trying to find the right words. "Whatever happens, know that I love you with all my heart...as much as any man has ever loved a woman...and if we can't be together in this world, I pray to God we will be in the next."
"Oh, Julian," she cried, choking back sobs.
"Here, here, I didn't mean to upset you more," he said, wiping her tears with his fingers. "I was trying to make you feel better."
"What you said was beautiful, Julian," Eve said. "It was the most beautiful thing anyone has ever said to me. I'm just so happy and so sad - all at the same time."
Julian caressed her cheek once more. "You know I would never intentionally hurt you, don't you?" he asked carefully, trying to phrase the words correctly in what was probably one of the most important conversations in his life. "I wouldn't have allowed this to happen if I thought it would upset you or mess up your life. You know that, don't you, dear?"
"Honey, I am not sorry that we made love," she said. "In fact, I am thrilled beyond belief about what just happened here tonight. It was simply wonderful...so much better than anything I have experienced before, even with you. There was an innocence about it that wasn't there twenty years ago, something almost spiritual. You felt it too, I know."
"I did," he said, nodding. "I think that's because I'm not the man I was twenty years ago. I have possession of my soul again...and it was free to join with yours."
"I should probably feel guilty for what we just did, but I don't," Eve admitted, looking down at the blanket. "I know it was wrong that I broke my marriage vows, but on so many levels, what happened here just now was so right. I think it was meant to be - destined perhaps - maybe long overdue."
Julian pulled her in for a hug and moved his strong arms gently down her back, caressing her soft skin.
Eve pulled away finally and placed her hand on his cheek. "I love you, Julian, more than I have ever loved any man. It is you my heart belongs to. You know that, don't you?"
"I think deep down, I have always known that," Julian said, grabbing her hand from his cheek and pulling it to his lips for a kiss. "I was just too scared to find out for sure...for all those years...afraid of my own guilt...afraid of the pain I saw in your eyes. It was easier to just ignore it and pretend I was only after one thing with you."
"Oh, you were good at that." She smiled. "But even then, Julian, when you were at your worst, I still couldn't stop thinking about you. Did you know that? Whatever power you have over me is too big for me to fathom. It's just there, and like it or not, it always will be."
"I hope you like it," he said, laughing. Then he became serious. "Eve, I know exactly what you mean. You hold a power over me like no other. Oh, you might say Father has power over me too. He does, to some extent, with his threats and illicit spying on me. But that doesn't hold a candle to what you have over me. I literally haven't been able to function these last few months. Did you realize that? I couldn't do anything when I was at home - I just lay on the sofa and listened to your tapes all the time, over and over, and tried to use alcohol to take away the pain of not having you in my arms. It didn't work."
Eve reached up and played with Julian's hair, feeling how soft it was even though he had been down in this filthy pit for so long. "I had no idea...that it was that bad for you, Julian," she said. "I wish I had known, but then I don't think it would have made a difference. I wasn't ready then to see what I see now."
"Which is what?" he asked, grasping her free hand in his.
"That I was living a lie," she said slowly. "That I wasn't the person I was pretending to be. That for good or bad, the person I really am is the woman I am right now, right here...with you."
Julian sighed. "I knew that you weren't allowing your real self to be free," he said. "But it wasn't my place to push. I had to honor what you thought you wanted, which was to be a respectable physician, perfect wife, loving mother, and an upstanding citizen of Harmony - someone beyond reproach."
"I am some of those things," Eve said. "But others I only pretended to be - like the perfect wife. If TC could only see me now."
"I think he would see blood if he saw us now," Julian said. "My blood...and I don't blame him. Here I am, with his wife, when I don't have the right."
"I'm sure he would go ballistic, Julian," Eve agreed. "But as for you not having the right to be with me like this... I don't know, in some ways it seems more right than it ever was with TC."
"Because it's more real?" he asked.
"Yes," she revealed, "because I am my true self now. There are no lies between us; there's no pretending. What you see is what you get."
"And I like what I see," Julian said, pulling her closer.
"I know you do." Eve smiled. "I can't believe it took me so long to realize that. You knew the real me, all along, and loved me. I was so afraid to show that side to TC and lose his love...but it didn't matter to you. You love all of me, even the part of me that I think is unlovable."
"Nothing about you is unlovable," Julian said, placing his hand on her smooth cheek. "You are the most beautiful, wonderful, caring person I know...and the most lovable. Only God knows how much I love you."
Eve smiled warmly and leaned in to kiss Julian. Their lips met first, greeting each other in anticipation. He parted his lips as her tongue swept over his, unleashing the passion that was always just under the surface when they were together. Hungrily they kissed, tasting the pleasure of each other's mouth.
As the passion surged in both of them, Julian placed his hands on Eve's shoulders, feeling every inch of them. Then he slowly ran his hands down her arms and moved them over to her breasts.
Eve suddenly pulled back and touched Julian's face with her hand. "I think we should stop," she said, catching her breath. "It must be almost time for the baby to wake up."
"We have time for another round, I think," Julian said enticingly, "if it is a quick one. What do you say?"
"I say, how can I resist a man who lives on the edge?" she asked seductively. "But we had better make it fast."
"Well, I think I can manage...if you can keep up with me," he laughed.
"Honey, I was ready for another round the minute we finished the last. It's the man who has to recharge his battery."
"Well, this battery is fully charged," Julian said in an alluring tone, "but I think we should take it for a test spin - just to make sure."
Eve laughed. As the pair feverishly reclaimed each other's lips, she ran one hand through Julian's hair and the other across his back.
Julian wrapped both arms around Eve's back and gently pushed her down onto the blanket. Lying on top of her, he began exploring her body with his hands.
Eve placed both hands on the back of his head and ran her fingers through his thick hair. Then moving her hands down his back, she pressed her fingers tightly against his skin, sighing as his touch stirred even more desire in her body.
The lovers again gave into their passion completely and shared
another precious wave of bliss. Their forbidden, but oh so right, love expressed
itself once more in the magic of their time together on that fateful night.