"Luis!!!!" Sheridan cried out from the floor of the pit. "Is that really you?" She could not believe her eyes - that after she had nearly given up hope, here he was - the love of her life had found her!
"Yes," Luis said, returning to his feet and looking down at her. "It's me, Sheridan. I can't believe I have found you...and you're OK!" Tears of joy formed in his eyes. He smiled as he wiped them away so that he could see the woman he loved more clearly.
"How did you find us?" Sheridan asked, everything still not sinking in. It seemed too good to be true to the woman who had been through so much.
"I'll explain all of that real soon; first, I have to find a way to get you guys out of there..." He began scanning the basement with his eyes.
"There's a rope ladder up there somewhere!" Julian called, finally getting his voice back after the shock of seeing Luis. He and Eve looked at each other. She smiled broadly and hugged him, careful not to hurt his injured arm.
"I can't believe it's really Luis. We're safe!" she exclaimed.
Julian pulled back and looked into her eyes. "Thank God you are going to get out of here..."
"We are going to get out, Julian," she corrected him. "You aren't staying down here, you know." She smiled.
"A part of me wishes I could stay," he revealed, "with you."
"Oh, Julian," she cried, realizing what made him say that. "It's going to be a rough road ahead...but remember one thing: I love you." She hugged him again.
"I love you too, Eve," he said softly, running his hands along her back.
"I found it!" Luis called from above. He quickly attached the rope ladder to a pole and flung it over the side of the pit. In two seconds flat, he had shimmied down the ladder and run into the waiting arms of the woman he loved.
"Oh, Sheridan," he sobbed, lifting her off the ground and spinning her around. "I thought I would never see you again." Luis let her down and looked into her eyes. Then he slowly leaned in and kissed her. Her lips eagerly welcomed his. She soon parted them and their tongues met in the most passionate kiss the two had shared since they were in Bermuda.
After the kiss, the young couple embraced warmly. Sheridan slowly lifted her head from his shoulder and stepped back a bit so she could see him. "You look so wonderful," she said, fighting back her tears.
"So do you, sweetheart," he said, putting his hand under her chin. "You don't know how I've missed you."
"Oh, I think I do." She smiled. "And if it's half as much as I've missed you, then it's enough to last a lifetime. Never again am I letting you out of my sight..." She stopped, remembering then what else she had to tell him. "Luis, the baby..."
"Yes, I know," he said softly. "She's upstairs, and she's just fine."
Sheridan let out a squeal of joy. "Oh my goodness! She's fine?! You've seen her?!"
"Yes, sweetheart, and she's wonderful. She's sleeping upstairs as we speak."
"I...I want to go see her - now!" Sheridan cried.
"I know you do, Sheridan, and you will," Luis said gently. "There are just some things I think I need to tell you first." He looked around at the others.
Eve stood up and helped Julian get up off the floor. The two walked on over to where Sheridan and Luis were standing.
"Luis, thank God you found us," Eve cried happily. She reached up and touched his arm.
"Yes...we're very grateful," Julian said, hesitating a bit because he knew how Luis felt about him.
"I'm so glad you're safe too, Dr. Russell," Luis said, hardly giving Julian a glance. He looked once more at Sheridan, gave her a big smile and hug, and then stepped back, keeping one of her hands in his.
"I guess I should explain where we are first...so it's not a shock to all of you when we go upstairs."
"You mean I know this place?" Sheridan asked, wide-eyed. "Where are we, Luis?"
Luis took a deep breath. "Beth's," he said simply.
"Beth's! But how..." Sheridan looked puzzled. "Why would we be at Beth's?"
"You mean Beth Wallace was behind this whole thing?" Eve asked in surprise.
"Beth Wallace? The Book Café owner? Luis's ex?" Julian asked. "I wondered about her in the beginning...the whole 'woman scorned' thing."
"Well, it seems Beth isn't playing with a full deck," Luis admitted. "I never caught on. She had me fooled."
"I can't believe Beth..." Sheridan said, shaking her head. "I thought she was my friend."
"She obviously only pretended to be your friend, Sheridan," Luis said. "This whole time she was after me."
"And I thought I was the only one with crazy women from the past coming back to haunt me," Julian said, rubbing his neck.
"What crazy women?" Eve asked, giving him a funny look.
"Not you, dear," Julian whispered. "I was speaking of others from my past."
"Oh," Eve said, still wondering who Julian was talking about.
Luis looked from Julian to Eve with a puzzled look on his face. He shook his head, realizing he didn't even want to ask, and turned his attention back to Sheridan.
"Sheridan, honey, Beth is sick," Luis revealed. "Maybe she always has been, or maybe something just made her snap; I don't know. But what I found out tonight leads me to believe she is not in her right mind."
"Because she kidnapped us and held us in this pit?" Sheridan asked.
"Yes, and because she took our baby," Luis answered. "Beth wasn't really pregnant, Sheridan. It was all an act to try to hold onto me, I guess. She wanted to pass our baby off as hers."
"How horrible!" Sheridan exclaimed. "And she was going to kill us! That's what the other one - the big one - said."
"I can't believe it," Luis said, shaking his head. "Beth was such a sweet girl."
"I always said, 'Be careful with whom you sleep. It may come back to haunt you,' " Julian admitted.
"Yeah, you would know, Crane," Luis said, scowling. "I'm still wondering how you got mixed up in all this - especially since it was Beth who was behind it. What on earth did she want with you?"
"Julian came here to rescue me," Sheridan revealed.
Luis looked at her incredulously.
"It's true. He got hit over the head and knocked into the pit by that brute friend of Beth's. If it weren't for him, Luis, I wouldn't even be here." She went on to tell him how Julian had been hurt trying to escape, how he had worked to save her and the baby, and how he had been shot trying to protect their child.
Luis's mouth was wide open in surprise. "I never would have believed it..." he said, stunned.
"It's true," Eve said. "If Julian hadn't talked the kidnappers into getting me, both Sheridan and the baby would have died."
"I guess I owe you an apology and my sincere thanks," Luis said, offering his hand to Julian.
Julian firmly shook hands with Luis and smiled. "I would do anything for Sheridan," he confessed.
Luis frowned, remembering all the bad things he knew Julian had taken part in that had affected their lives.
Seeing Luis's look, Sheridan patted him gently on the back. "Julian and I have mended fences," she revealed. "There are no more secrets between us. Let's just say I know Julian's heart now, and find it very similar to my own."
Luis took a deep breath and shook his head slowly, considering what Sheridan had just said. "I guess you went through a lot down here - all of you. Sometimes these kinds of crises bring people closer - even enemies," he said, looking at Julian and Eve. Something seemed up with those two. He thought they couldn't stand each other, but now there seemed to be some sort of intimacy between the two of them. Nah, maybe he was just imagining things, he thought.
"Luis, can I go see my little girl now?" Sheridan asked excitedly.
"Sure, darling," he said. "I just wanted you to be prepared first with who else you're going to see upstairs."
"Is Beth still up there?" Sheridan asked fearfully.
"Yes, but don't worry," he said. "I have her handcuffed to the table. She's not going anywhere."
"And the big one with the rifle?" Sheridan asked. "Luis, she's dangerous."
"I took care of her too," he said. "I had to use my club on her though, right at the top of the stairs. She's out cold, but I put my other set of handcuffs on her, just in case. Back-up should be here anytime."
He looked at the trio of captives. "Anyone for getting out of here?" he asked, smiling.
Luis watched as first Sheridan and then Eve safely made their way up the ladder. Eve turned and called down, "Julian's going to need help!"
Luis nodded and said to Julian, "I'll follow you up. Take it slow."
Using his good arm, Julian slowly eased his way up the ladder. His ribs were killing him, but he was able to grin and bear it. He simply thought of all the good things awaiting him above - mainly Eve.
Eve reached down and helped Julian up over the edge. The two hugged on the basement floor after he had made it safely up.
Luis pulled himself up next and eyed the intimate embrace. He looked at Sheridan questioningly.
She smiled and shook her head as if to say, "Not now." Sheridan ran over to hug Luis again. "I hated leaving you out of my sight...even just for a moment!" she said.
He laughed. "It is I who is never going to leave your side again."
"Let's go get the baby!" Sheridan said, pulling Luis up the stairs after her.
Julian and Eve scrambled to their feet and headed after them. "Are you OK?" Eve asked, noticing he was in pain.
"I'm fine," he said, squeezing her hand as they headed upstairs.
The main floor of the house was now swarming with police officers.
Sheridan looked all over the living room, desperation on her face. "Is this what you're looking for?" Hank asked, lifting the baby up out of the bassinet.
"Oh, Hank," Sheridan cried, running to her infant. She took the baby from him and held her tightly in her arms. "My little angel," she said. "Mommy's here for you." She lowered her head and kissed her daughter.
Luis came up behind Sheridan and put his arm around her. "She's beautiful, isn't she?" he said, the love he felt for his daughter so evident in his voice.
"She's the most beautiful baby in the world," Sheridan declared. "And the most loved."
"She's ours," Luis said, rubbing his hand along Sheridan's back.
"I know, I have just felt that she is ours," Sheridan said, smiling at the baby.
"No, I mean she really is ours. I know for sure," Luis said.
Sheridan turned and looked at him in surprise. "How do you...?"
Luis explained the whole Antonio situation to Sheridan. She was shocked, then saddened at her husband's cruelty, and finally relieved. Most of all, she was thrilled. "I knew it, Luis! I knew she was ours!" She kissed the baby again and said, "Now we are totally free to be together!"
Luis reached down and touched his daughter's face with his hand. "Our baby..." he said softly.
Julian and Eve smiled at the touching scene across the room. "Looks like everything has worked out for the two of them," he whispered.
"Yes," she agreed. "You can't keep true love down." She turned to look at Julian, grasping both of his hands in hers.
He smiled at her, knowing the unspoken words that she was communicating. Looking around at the officers, Julian reluctantly dropped her hands, knowing that all too soon someone else who knew them may come through that door.
Eve realized that they were back in the real world now, and she would have
some big decisions to make. She knew soon she would have to tell TC the truth.
She wanted no more part of the lies she was living. Life was too short to pretend
to be someone you're not. Eve wanted to be true to herself the rest of her life.
She would need to gather all of her strength to do what was necessary to make
that happen. She smiled again at Julian. Somehow, someway, she would see that
he was part of her life. She wasn't about to lose him again...