Pain

Prologue

Summary: I don't really like the way things are panning out with So Much for My Happy Ending, so I'm taking a new perspective on it. I may continue SMFMHE or not, I'm not sure. I hope you'll enjoy.

Let me tell you a little something about pain. In my life, it and I have always been very well acquainted. I've felt pain, both physical and emotional. I've dealt with more things, more flying bows and arrows in my twenty-two years than most people will in their entire lives. And through it all, no moment or breath in my lifetime was ever as bad as this.

Ethan and Gwen; Man and Wife, held together in holy matrimony for all eternity. They had the blessing of god to protect them and hold their love true and strong forever. And I had lost the one man I had devoted everything to. In the staircase of life, I've been climbing forever, trying to reach the landing where my life with Ethan began. What do you do when suddenly all the steps ascending disappear? Do you stay where you are or do you start to descend? Go back to the beginning? I'm just not sure anymore.

I've tried to hold strong, tried so hard to show them that this isn't the end of me. And I will show them. I have my resolve and my son and I am determined to become something. I will show the people of Harmony that I am so much more than crazy little Theresa Lopez-Fitzgerald. I'm a woman, a mother, a child, a lover, a fighter, and an executive. Someone said that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. And I have.

And I'll destroy them from the inside out. The Crane's have taken too much from me. Fight fire with Fire. The Crane's have never met a fire such as mine. I'm going to make them pay. I'm going to take everything from them.

But for now, I'll just stand and act the dutiful wife of Julian Crane. I'll hide behind the mask and the beauty and I'll bid my time. Nobody will ever expect what's about to come.

Nobody.


"Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you, Mr. And Mrs. Ethan Winthrop. "

My heart is pounding against my chest like it wants to break right free. A resounding chorus of applause rang out through the ballroom of the Crane Mansion and I fought against myself and joined in. I heard the sounds of two people catcalling something from the side of the room but I ignored it and tapped my fingernail against the side of my glass. At hearing this noise, all eyes of the room turned on me. I did not writhe and blush under their gaze like I would have just months before. Oh no. I'm not that naïve little girl anymore. I was the epitome of womanly charm and silent determination, Queen of the Crane castle.

"Gwen... "I began, my voice strong and husky, my eyes holding Gwen's gaze as I raised my small champagne glass in the air. "... Ethan. We've had lots of difficulty over the years. But thankfully, all that is behind you now. Your marriage not only has god's blessing but my own. I hope you both are very happy and that one day, you'll be presented with the healthy, fruitful family that you so richly deserve. Best Wishes. "

The silence was thick in the air and I could almost smell the disbelief of all the people assembled. Not that it mattered now; I had taken my first step. Raising the glass to my lips, I sipped on the contents and ignored the looks of those around me. In time, their gazes turned from me and I relaxed, my back lessening in its stiff stance. I glanced around the ballroom and slowly drifted towards my mother standing in the corner of the room, looking uncomfortable and uneasy. She definitely stood out as the housekeeper of the mansion and inwardly, I once again began to wish she had accepted my offer to quit her job here at the mansion. ' I'm a Crane now, mama. ' I had insisted. ' And you're my mother, not a housekeeper. ' Her mother had only refused her offers over and over, claiming that she was pleased to be working for the Crane's and that an honest days work would keep her grounded. I shook my head as I placed a tanned hand on my mother's shoulder, bringing her attention towards me.

"Theresita, you startled me. "

"I'm sorry Mama. You look ill? Are you okay? "

Pilar smiled, bringing both her hands to either side of my arms and rubbing soothingly. "Yes Mejia. I'm fine, just a little uncomfortable. I'm not supposed to attend these kinds of gatherings. "

"Mama! Of course you are! When are you going to understand that I'm a Crane? "

"And when are you going to understand that I am your housekeeper? Mejia, I have served this family for years and I refuse to denounce my loyalty, no matter how horrible they may be sometimes. "

I sighed. I was exhausted. I couldn't continue to defend my new status as Mrs. Julian Crane to my mother. We got on so much better when we just avoided the topic. I was just about to open my mouth and ask if she had spoken to Paloma recently when I heard the noise of someone clearing their throat and I turned around to face my husband, the man I despised with more fiber of my being than anyone I had ever none. I allowed my well groomed eyebrows to arch over my brown eyes and crossed my arms eloquently across my chest, hoping to purvey an icy sense of determination and to distill a little bit of fear into Julian.

"What do you want? "

He smiled, taking my hand from across my chest and pressing his cold lips to my skin. I shuddered in disgust but did not pull away, plastering a fake smile across my face as the photographers swarmed around us to take pictures. If I was going to be the epitome of Crane Women, I had to be photogenic with my fake husband. Slowly, Julian rose back to his full height and pulled me close to him, wrapping his arms around my shoulders. I set my lips in a grim line and turned towards Julian, awaiting my reply.

"I'm being the dutiful husband and pillar of the community by posing for pictures for my lovely new wife. "

I held back the urge to snort in derisive laughter at his comments and smiled elegantly at all the camera's surrounding us, trying not to feel pressured and flummoxed by their presence. I heard my mother click her tongue in disgust and could feel her just about to walk away when the lights around us dimmed and then faded to black, illuminated by a single spotlight fixated on the top of the stairs. I squinted for a moment, trying to focus on the two figures that seemed to linger just outside the realm of the spotlight. A beat passed before the figures saw fit to step into the light and as they did, I was immediately transfixed.

A man and a woman stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight, their tanned features illuminated attractively by the soft light of the stoplight dancing across their features. They looked oddly alike and even though their arms were linked, I didn't think they were related. Also, they similarities in their faces were far to striking for me to ever believe that they were anything but close relations. Something was gnawing at me; something in the back of my mind was trying to make a connection towards these two mystery people and other people in the room. I allowed my eyes to roam, finally setting on the feature of Ivy Winthrop sitting in her wheelchair, staring up at the two apparent intruders with apparent disgust. I took in Ivy's appearance for a moment, those high cheekbones and supple lips, that shining golden blonde hair. No matter how much I hate to admit it, Ivy was very attractive in an elegant, high-class sort of way. I felt the way my husband grip seemed to slacken on my shoulders and I finally made the connection. The two people standing at the top of the stairs were two out of the three Crane children who I was told attended boarding school in Eastern Europe.

I watched them converse for a moment as I continued to take in their apparently striking appearance and I couldn't help but wonder weather Little Ethan would end up looking more like me or like Julian. I had to hand it to him; he and Ivy had produced to beautiful children. The man at the top of the stairs had strong, broad shoulders and apparently muscular arms that seemed to call to me. Momentarily, I wished that that torso wasn't covered in an expensive looking black Armani suit. Those arms, paired with a seemingly attractive face, with two dark brown eyes and a mouth that seemed continuously up-turned in the faintest of mischievous smirks. Definitely sexy... he had a way about him that made my heart beat in my chest, an apparent sexuality that seemed to pull you in. I could feel the fever running down my limbs. Without hesitation I realized that I was attracted to this man in a way that I had never been attracted to Ethan. I shook my head, forcing my mind away from naughty thoughts of Julian's son and onto his daughter.

In a feminine way, she held the same sort of appeal as her brother did. Dancing brown eyes lined in thick black lines of kohl and a smirking crimson lips gazed down upon the citizens of Harmony assembled in the Crane ballroom that night as if she were holding court. Long golden blonde hair was pulled high above her head into an eloquent updo that showed the soft curves of her neck, complimented by the thick diamond choker wrapped around her throat. I continued down her face and took in all the details of the expensive looking black velvet dress with the low v-neck cut that hugged her waist and then skimmed softly down rounded hips, coming to drape softly around her ankle's, just barely hiding strappy stiletto lace up high heels that dressed her feet and accented her long, shapely legs. As she turned to speak to her mother, I noticed the cut of the dress exposed her back and made her already tall figure seem to elongate her figure.

"Oh god. "

Finally, I acknowledged Julian again with a taunting smirk pressed across my lips.


" Julian dear... "I asked with a triumphant laugh, watching in awe as all of the photographers who had been taking our pictures just moments before had turned in a frenzied panic towards Julian's offspring. "...Whatever is the matter? "

"You have no idea, Theresa. "Mama said from behind me, taking on step forward and coming to stand at my side. "This can't be good. "

And the two siblings began to descend the stairs towards their father and mother, who had wheeled herself to Julian's side.

They both seemed confidant and even amused by the surroundings and everyone's apparent reaction to their appearance back in Harmony.

And by the look in their eyes, I could already tell that they planned to set our small town aflame.


A/N - Yay! Review for me, pretty please?