Sorry this took so long. Thank you to my editor.
"Morning," Theresa stumbled into the kitchen where her cousins were having breakfast and poured herself a cup of coffee. "Where's Max?"
"He went to the pub to help out Uncle Roman," Shawn said. "Girls keep you up?"
"Half the night," Theresa nodded, sitting down and accepting a plate of waffles from Chelsea. "I guess you brought your earplugs from home?"
"Never leave home without them," Shawn smirked.
Theresa couldn't think of a proper response, so she merely stuck her tongue out at her cousin.
"You want me to keep an eye on them?" Chelsea offered.
"Thanks Chels, but Mom and Dad claimed them for the day. I'm taking them over there as soon I can get myself awake enough to get dressed. Then I'm going to do some shopping for clothes. I'll make dinner tonight."
"Don't bother," Shawn shook his head, "Uncle Roman wants us all over for dinner at the pub. He's closing it down and making it a family affair."
"Meaning Claire will be there," Theresa nodded. "I can't go."
"Why not?" Shawn asked.
"Because Claire will look at my daughters, mention them to Belle, who will mention them to Brady, and then I'll have a process server on our doorstep," Theresa said. "I'll take the night shift at the hospital tonight. We'll make Jen go home and sleep. She needs it."
"So do you," Chelsea pointed out.
"I'll take a nap later. I guarantee you Jen has been sleeping in the chair next to Eric's bed for the last week. She needs a bed. I'll call JJ and get him to back me up."
"Speaking of JJ," Chelsea smirked, "That boy grew up cute."
"Hortons and Johnsons have turned out some lookers, so I don't know why you're so surprised," Theresa smiled.
"I cannot hear this," Shawn folded the newspaper in his hands and got up from the table.
"Oh, come on, Shawn. You know we think you're cute, too," Theresa teased him.
"It's just that we're blood related to you, so we can't act on it," Chelsea smirked.
"JJ on the other hand," Theresa said, "No blood relation at all. There is a bit of an ick factor considering he slept with my sister and was in love with my niece."
"It's nothing this town hasn't seen before," Chelsea reminded her. "Hell, Gabi slept with three Horton boys."
"Yeah," Theresa said. "Speaking of Gabi, I need to tell you guys something. I caught her going through Aunt Kayla's files yesterday."
"What?" Shawn asked. "Gabi?"
"Yeah. Then I ran into the new DiMera Dark Prince."
"That must have been fun," Chelsea snorted.
"What happened?" Shawn asked, seeing the look on Theresa's face.
"I accused him of changing the test results for the paternity test."
"Valid accusation considering who you're talking to," Chelsea nodded.
"Lemme guess. He denied it," Shawn rolled his eyes.
"Yeah," Theresa nodded. "God, did I let loose on him."
"Good," Chelsea said.
"Then I started thinking about what I said to him and called Abby. Gabi is the one who told Stefan about the baby and Abby having an abortion. Gabi claimed it was an accident."
"But?" Shawn prodded.
"Yesterday when I caught her in the files, she was in the 'A-F' drawer."
"You don't think-" Chelsea stopped talking as she started to piece it together. "Oh God."
"She's Abby's best friend," Shawn pointed out.
"Abby's alter put her in prison where she was beaten so badly, she can no longer have children," Theresa said. "I can't say I wouldn't take some kind of revenge if I found out the person who caused my sterility was going to have a baby."
"Shawn, I kind of agree with her."
Shawn sighed, nodding, "Yeah, I kind of do, too."
"So, what do we do?" Theresa asked.
"You two don't do anything," Chelsea said. "Gabi will be on guard around both of you."
"Chels," Shawn started.
"No, listen," Chelsea said. "Shawn, you and Abby are family. Reesie, you're already on her radar because of yesterday. It's better if I snoop around on her."
"You sure?" Theresa asked.
"Yeah. I can do it."
"Alright, Chels," Theresa nodded. "Be careful, okay?"
"I always am," Chelsea smiled.
"Yeah, right," Shawn smirked
Theresa smiled at the barista and dropped her change in the tip jar before taking her caramel latte and leaving the coffee shop in Horton Square. She scoped out the scene. There were no free tables.
Just as she was about to take her coffee and window shop on her way home, someone tapped her on the shoulder.
She turned around and smiled hesitantly at Rafe, thinking of the conversation she'd had with her cousins that morning, "Detective, what can I do for you?"
"I need to ask you about yesterday," the older man explained. "Security said you were the one who reported Gabi."
"I figured this was coming. Shouldn't Lani or Eli be doing this? I know you outrank them, but she is your sister," Theresa said. She knew nepotism was frowned upon in law enforcement or at least people tried to frown upon it. She also knew with two of his sisters dead, his father in jail, his mother AWOL most of the time, and his brother on the run, Gabi and Arianna were the only family he had left. Add in the fact Gabi was the youngest and Rafe the oldest of the Hernandez siblings, and Theresa wasn't sure Rafe could be objective about the situation.
"I'm not here to try and talk you out of seeing what you saw," Rafe assured her. "If Gabi was doing something wrong, then I want her held accountable. I just need your story in your own words."
"Okay," Theresa nodded. "Are we going to the station, or do you have a recorder handy?"
Rafe took out a pen and paper, "For now, this'll do. If Kayla decides to pursue the matter, you'll be called in for a formal statement."
"Alright," Theresa motioned to a recently vacated table, "Shall we?"
Rafe took a seat across from her and flipped through his pad before he looked at Theresa, "Just start from the beginning."
Theresa went through the events that led to her calling security on Gabi, pausing to answer any questions Rafe had along the way.
Once she was done, she took a sip of her latte and waited to see if Rafe had anymore questions for her.
"I think that's everything," Rafe said, looking at his notes.
"Okay," Theresa nodded. "Anything else, you know how to find me."
Rafe nodded with his trademark grin, "Say 'hi' to Shawn for me."
"I will. Bye, Rafe," Theresa took her leave.
"Okay, Shawn," Theresa said into her phone. "Thanks. I'll see you soon. Give my love to everyone. Okay. Bye."
She hung up and drew her legs up so her heels rested on the edge of her chair and wrapped her arms around them as she looked at her cousin. As peaceful as he looked, she wished he'd wake up.
"Hey Eric," she said quietly. "I know you like to sleep, but this is bordering on the ridiculous."
She unfolded herself and got up to walk to the window. She managed to get it open a crack and inhaled the scent of early spring before turning back around, "I was thinking about when you first came to live with us the other day. You were so lost. You didn't think you deserved to be out of jail, even though you saved the governor's daughter's life. You couldn't see past Daniel's death. Steph and I were so worried about you. Your dad called us every day to check on you. We were so glad when you started seeing one of the counselors the ISA keeps on retainer. We were even happier when you felt strong enough to become one."
She laughed even though tears gathered in her eyes, "And you were the one holding my hand the day Mena and Sophie came into the world. You were more terrified than I was, but you stayed on your feet. You never faltered. You were a pain in the ass about me telling Brady right up until finding out he was helping Nicole break the law and taking Tate away from his entire family.
"I have to admit, I wasn't crazy about the idea of you coming back here, but it wasn't because I thought you'd blow my secret. I was worried about you dealing with everyone and everything you'd left behind; especially Maggie and Nicole. I was glad when you started working at the rectory and a little worried when Nicole started working there, too. I know something happened with you two before she left town even if you won't confirm it. Believe it or not, I was glad when you started dating Jennifer Horton. Everything about you lightened up. It was great.
"I guess what all this is leading to is that you need to wake up already. We all really need you around, Eric," Theresa smiled a little as she swiped at her eyes.
"You gonna let me get in a word or two?" a creaky voice asked.
Theresa whirled towards the bed and laughed, "You're awake?"
"And you still talk too much," Eric smirked. "What the hell happened?"
"I'm getting a doctor first," Theresa shot for the door and yelled down the hall about needing a doctor.
Once the doctor had gone over the chart and taken Eric's vital signs, he advised him to stay calm and he'd be back to check on him a little later.
While the doctor had been checking Eric over, Theresa was on the phone with various family members, all of whom were on their way down.
"Can I get you anything?" Theresa asked once they were alone again.
"Water," Eric said.
"You got it," Theresa grabbed the plastic cup from the table and shot into the bathroom. She was back in a few moments and helped Eric sit up a little to take the straw in his mouth to sip. "Go slow."
"Yes, Doctor," Eric teased.
Theresa smiled and rolled her eyes before she put the cup down and sat back down, "How are you?"
"Sore. What happened?"
"You don't remember?" Theresa asked.
"The last thing I remember I was in the park going to meet Jen. There was some pain and then I woke up here."
"So, you didn't see who hit you?"
"No. Why? Do you know anything?"
"I think Hope should talk to you about this," Theresa evaded.
"Theresa," Eric fixed her with a look.
"Eric, I don't think I should-"
"Talk," he ordered.
"There's evidence-I mean, it's feasible that-They think," Theresa stammered.
"Theresa," Eric grabbed her hand.
"They think it was Brady."