CHAPTER 10 - RECOMBINANT DNA

Beth stood next to the door in a darkened room, peaking out through the narrow opening into a brightly lit hallway. Satisfied that the corridor was vacant, she carefully closed the door and turned her back to it. After letting her eyes readjust to the darkness of the room, she walked across the records room towards the woman typing on a computer.

"Have you got it yet?"

"Not yet."

"Well, can you hurry up?" Beth asked urgently, as she nervously wrung her hands. "I want to get this done and get out of here before we get caught."

"Don't worry so much, Beth. I've got it under control," the other woman replied gruffly. She typed in a few more keystrokes, then leaned back. "There we go, paternity results for Sheridan Crane's unborn baby. I told you I could get it."

"Great, Charlie," Beth said unenthusiastically, but her partner-in-crime seemed proud of even that scant praise. "But now you've got to make sure the results say that Antonio is the father and Luis isn't."

"No problem, but isn't Antonio Sheridan's husband? Why do you want her to think her husband's the father? How is that going to get back at her?"

Beth sighed, impatiently. "I told you. She doesn't love Antonio. She loves Luis. And if everyone thinks that Antonio is the father of the baby, she'll have to stay with him and be trapped in a marriage with the man she doesn't really want to be with. And Luis will be free to-" Beth caught herself short and quickly changed what she was about to say. "to be miserable for the rest of his life because he can't be with Sheridan. Do you understand?"

"Yeah, but why not change the results so that neither one is the father, then she'll lose both of them."

Beth thought that idea over. She could just imagine what would happen if both tests came up negative . . .

"What do you mean neither one of us is the father?" Luis would demand. "Who else have you been sleeping around with?"

Then Sheridan would sob and try to deny that there had been anybody else. But Luis and Antonio wouldn't believe her. How could they when the tests clearly said that neither brother had fathered her unborn child.

"God, Luis, I can't believe we let this lying slut come between us. I'm sorry," Antonio would apologize.

"Me too."

"Well, I'm not going to make that mistake twice. I'm filing for a divorce as soon as I can."

Then Sheridan would crawl forward, wiping her tears as she grabs on to Luis' arm. "Did you hear that Luis? Now we can finally be together, the way we always wanted."

"What? You think I would still want to be with you after finding out what a slut you are?" he would ask, shoving Sheridan aside. "I never want to see you again."

As Luis walks away Sheridan would call after him, pathetically, "Luis? Wait? Where are you going?"

"To make up for the biggest mistake of my life." Just as he would turn away he would spot Beth standing in a doorway, framed in light, as heavenly music starts to play in the background. "Beth! You're the true love of my life!" He would call out as he ran over and took her in his arms.

Then they would all walk away from Sheridan, leaving the blonde heiress alone, sobbing as she collapses to the floor. "Luis! Antonio? NOOOOO!!!!!"

Beth grinned gleefully to herself. Now that was a pretty picture. But what if Luis stuck by his word to stay with Sheridan no matter who the father was? It would be just like Sheridan to snag Luis that way. Beth decided she couldn't take that chance.

"No, just stick to the original plan, Charlie. So we can get out of here."

Charlie watched Beth suspiciously as the petite woman resumed her lookout at the door. She didn't like how touchy Beth got whenever the subject of Luis came up. But whenever Charlie questioned her motives, Beth turned defensive and bossy. Not that she minded that much, she found the assertiveness of Beth's personality appealing. But maybe Beth didn't always know what was best for her. Charlie was sure that her own plan was better for getting back at Sheridan and all blondes who mistreated other women who weren't as gorgeous as they thought they were. Beth would change her tune once she saw how well things worked out, if Charlie went ahead and did things her own way. She might even be impressed. But if they didn't go well, for some reason, Beth would be furious with her.

Charlie bit at her lip, trying to decide what to do, as she glanced back and forth between Beth and the computer screen. Then she started to type.

"Ok, that's it," Charlie announced once the information in the computer system had been changed and the last pages were printing to replace the hard copy files.

"Ok, great," Beth said, relieved that they were almost finished. "Just put the new pages in the files, grab the old ones and let's get out of here."

As Charlie, started to stuff the papers into the file, Beth grabbed her arm and hissed, "Someone's coming."

The two women stood frozen in the center of the room as heavy footsteps in the corridor approached. The noise stopped just in front of the door to the records room as a shadow appeared in the door's small frosted window.

"What are we going to do?" Beth whispered anxiously, as she quickly glanced around the room. "We've got to hide."

"In here," Charlie motioned towards a tall cabinet door. She ducked inside and pulled Beth in after her. Squeezed together in the small space they just managed to get the door closed before the stranger walked into the room.

Huddled in their hiding place, they waited for something to happen, but when the lights weren't turned on, Beth inched the cabinet door slightly and peeked out.

"Who's out there?" Charlie whispered only to be shushed by Beth.

There was a man in the room standing with his back to them as he searched through the files arranged alphabetically on shelves. He pulled out one file from the "B's," two from the "H's" and set them down near the computer as he started typing in data and printing out pages.

Beth turned to Charlie, with a look, as if to say "can you believe this?" but the other woman was more interested in her close quarters with Beth than what the man out there was up to. Beth turned away in disgust.

When the man returned the files back to their places and seemed about to leave, Beth let out a side of relief, eager to get out of there. But before the man could leave, someone else was approaching.

Beth saw him hurrying towards them and pressed back away from the door, and subsequently closer to Charlie, but there was no way to hide from him. He swung the door open, hoping, like they had, to find a hiding place from the person coming in, but gasped when he found the two women already crammed into the little space.

As quickly as he opened the door, he closed it again, and instead huddled for cover in a corner behind a counter.

"Was that David Hastings?" Beth whispered to Charlie.

The taller woman shrugged. "Who cares? There's only room in here for you and me."

Beth squirmed as Charlie snuggled against her, but held still again when another man entered the room. When the figure picked up the files that she and Charlie had left lying on the counter and started leafing through them, she started to panic. What if they had been caught tampering with Sheridan's medical files? Then she realized, if that was someone who worked at the hospital, they surely would have turned on the lights when they came in and they probably wouldn't be dressed all in black.

After a few minutes, the stranger returned Sheridan's file back to its place and then left.

Beth was eager to get out of the cabinet, but waited there a few seconds longer, just to make sure someone else didn't come sneaking into the records room. Who would have thought the place would be so busy at night?

"Ok," Beth finally said. "I think the coast is clear now."

As she pushed open the door and started to step out, Charlie grabbed her arm, gently. "What's your hurry. I think it's kind of cozy in here."

Beth slapped at the other woman's hand and then pulled herself out of the cabinet. "Will you stay focused? Let's just get out of here before someone catches us and finds out what we're doing here."

"What are you doing here?" David inquired as he rose from his hiding place and dusted himself off.

Beth hesitated a moment, trying to decide what to say before retorting, "I could ask you that same question."

"Me? I'm not doing a thing," David replied innocently.

Beth shrugged, matching his attitude. "Neither are we. In fact, we were never even here."

"I wouldn't know anything about that," David replied. "Seeing that I was never here to see if you were here or not."

"Then great," Beth replied. "I don't see why we would have any problems then."

As Beth and David stood nodding at each other awkwardly, Charlie looked from one to the other, confused.

"Well, if you'll excuse me . . .ladies, I'd like to be not here for real," David said walking past the pair.

"Sure, we were just leaving too," Beth stated, nodding for Charlie to follow.

The group proceeded to the door, led by David. He inched the door open to make sure no one was in the corridor and then opened it for the women. Beth took a look around before stepping into the hallway, but Charlie stayed in the room, glaring at David.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Do you think we need men to open doors for us?" she asked, sounding as if she had been personally insulted.

"No, of course not. You seem very . . .capable. I was just being polite," David explained apologetically.

"Charlie, please. Let's just go," Beth interceded.

"If anyone is going to be polite to Beth, it's me," Charlie added as she followed Beth out the door.

"My apologies," David mumbled, giving the pair an odd look before walking down the hallway in the opposite direction.