The standard disclaimer applies. This is a story about Theresa finding that there is life after Ethan. On with the story.
Theresa sat in a rocking chair singing to her baby son. She was trying to forget about Ethan. He was marrying Gwen in a few days. Spending time with her son was a great way to forget. He was one of the few people who didn't judge her.
Speaking of people who didn't judge her, a newcomer to the mansion was Fox. Nicholas Foxworthy Crane to be exact. He had arrived the day before at the request of Alistair, another person who didn't judge. Both men supported her choices and decisions. She had made the decision that morning to divorce Julian. Alistair offered the services of his personal attorney to assist her in the proceedings. Rebecca was thrilled but Julian was not. Julian knew that unlike Ivy before her, Theresa didn't sign a prenup. Rebecca knew that this meant Julian could now marry her and make her the new Mrs. Julian Crane.
Ethan didn't say much at breakfast after Theresa's announcement. Gwen was nervous. Like she feared this meant Ethan was going to leave her and clung to Ethan's arm for dear life. So, into her musings, Theresa didn't notice Fox standing in the doorway watching her and his baby brother.
Fox arrived in Harmony to a not so warm welcome. In fact, the only welcome was from his stepmother, Theresa, and his grandfather, Alistair. His mother and father view his homecoming with skepticism and contempt. They accused him of gambling his way into trouble, not believing he had finished school early and that Alistair wanted to train him to run Crane Industries since the Crane patriarch didn't trust Julian.
Fox found a familiar soul in his new stepmother, Theresa. Both were sort of like outsiders in their own families. Pilar was a mother to them both as well. The older lady was the only other one to give Fox any kind of warm welcome. Clearing his throat, Fox watches as Theresa looks up and blushes.
"Fox, what are you doing standing there," asks Theresa, blushing at being caught unaware. "Just taking in a beautiful sight," Fox says as he comes fully into the nursery. Theresa stands and puts a sleeping Ethan Martin into his crib. "What can I do for you Fox," ask Theresa quietly as she leads him back out, shutting the door behind them.
"Loaded question," says a smirking Fox. Laughing at the look she gives him. "Grandfather wants to see us both," says a still smiling Fox. Smiling back, Theresa says, "Let's go." They both head to Alistair's study.
As they are walking towards Alistair's study the past the front parlor. Theresa and Fox overhear Ivy, Rebecca, and Gwen finalizes the plans for Gwen and Ethan's wedding. Theresa tense and Fox puts an arm around her shoulders. They pass by without alerting the women to their presence. Soon they arrive at the study.
Soon the arrive at the study. Knocking, Alistair calls out for them to enter. "Ah, Fox, Theresa, good," says Alistair, "I have something to discuss with you both." "What is it you wish to discuss," asks Theresa as she and Fox sit in the chairs in front of Alistair's desk. Looking towards his desktop at the designs that lie on it, "I was thinking about adding a new division to Crane Industries," he began, "and I was thinking of having you, Theresa, head it up." "What type of division would it be Grandfather," asks a puzzle Fox. Theresa herself was also curious. "I was thinking of getting Crane Industries into the fashion industries" Alistair states, surprising both Fox and Theresa. "Wow, I don't think I am exactly qualified Alistair," says Theresa. Fox also wonders what exactly his grandfather was alluding too. "I have seen some of the sketches that were left out in the parlor, and see a lot of potential in them," says Alistair, "I know with the backing of Crane, that you could make billions." "This is a big gamble, grandfather," Fox says speaking up for the first time. He, too, saw the sketches and sees the potential in them. "I think Theresa is just the sort of designer that can make a design house great," exclaims Alistair. "I will be glad to do it if you think I can," replies Theresa. Both men assure her that they have full confidence in her. Alistair tells the two that he will make the announcement at the board meeting the next day. Fox and Theresa leave the study as Theresa has an appointment with the attorney handling her divorce. Alistair makes a phone call to his private investigator as soon as the door closes. He is looking for a lost family member.
Fox walked Theresa to get her purse and things she needed for her appointment. "I know you have your doubts about this Resa," Fox says, using the nickname he had given her when they met. "I know that you and Alistair are taking big risks in trusting in me, I just can't help doubting," says Theresa gathering her things looking everywhere but at Fox. Fox takes her by the arms and looks directly into her eyes. "I believe in you, Grandfather believes in you, even Pilar believes in you, you can do this," Fox says earnestly. Hugging Fox Theresa thanks him and speaks briefly with the nanny. She leaves for her appointment. Fox watches her leave, marveling at her strength and determination to do better for her son, her family.
Arriving at the law office of James Rafferty, Theresa was immediately shown into his office. "Ms. Crane, you're right on time, I was just going over what we discussed on the phone," he said as she entered. Theresa smiled and said, "I like to be on time, am I what I want doable." "It most definitely is, even without Alistair Crane on your side. You signed no prenup, so you pretty much have Julian over a barrel. Even if you didn't get a sympathetic judge, your still entitle to half of Julian's assets and alimony. Not to mention child support. Also, it's no secret he's cheating, it's in all the tabloids and on the front page" he goes on to tell her. "Good draw up the papers and have him served ASAP," she tells her attorney. They discuss a few minor details and then Theresa gets up to leave. Rafferty sees her put of the office and she get her car from the valet. He watches her drive off and could tell what it is the draws a man like Alistair to her. She certainly a stronger woman.
After she left, Rafferty returned to his office. Telling his assistant to hold all calls, he called Alistair to give him a status report. He reported that by the end of the day Julian will be served with the divorce papers and custody papers. Rafferty also told him that he got Theresa an expedited hearing before a friendly judge scheduled for two weeks from then. Alistair thanked Rafferty for all his hard work and promised him a big bonus in his next check. After thanking Alistair, Rafferty hung up the phone. He thought to himself, Julian won't know what hit him.
At the mansion, Fox was working in the room he took over as his personal study. Ivy walks into the room and immediately asks Fox if they could talk. "I'm kind of busy Mother," Fox says brushing her off. "But we haven't really spoken since you came back," she replies undaunted. "Mother, cut to the chase and just tell me what you want," an annoyed Fox shoots back. Ivy is taken back at the annoyance lacing Fox's voice. "I just wanted to talk, do you really think so little of me," Ivy says making sure to put a little hitch on her voice. Fox just rolls his eyes. Seeing that Fox wasn't budging, Ivy finally breaks down and says, "I just wanted to warn you about Theresa, she is nothing but trouble," states Ivy very frankly. Irritated, Fox looks back at the papers on his desk and says, "Mother you didn't care who I hung around with before, please don't start now. Please leave." "Fox, I am jus" Fox interrupts her. "PLEASE LEAVE," says Fox through clenched teeth. Ivy is really stunned at the tone of Fox's voice. Deciding discretion is the better part of valor Ivy turns and leaves. Fox heaves a huge sigh of relief. He wonders what the woman was thinking. She wasn't a mother to him at all growing up and now she thinks she can tell him what to do and who to hang out with. With another shake of his head, Fox returned to his work.
It was late afternoon at the Crane mansion when there was a knock on the door. A maid answers and it is a man asking for Mr. Julian Crane. She has the gentleman wait at the door as she informs Julian of his visitor. Julian, intrigued comes to the door. There the man reveals himself to be a process server and hands Julian two manila envelopes. He then walks away.
Julian is dumbfounded. What, he thinks. Opening one of the envelopes he pulls a sheath of papers. Looking at them briefly, he sees they are divorce papers. Opening the second he sees they are for a petition for sole custody of Ethan Martin Crane. Angry, Julian immediately goes in search of Theresa.
Finding her in Alistair's study with his father and Fox, Julian storms in. "Theresa, what in the hell is this," shouts an extremely angry Julian with Rebecca and Ivy trailing behind. They heard Julian shouting for Theresa as he searched the mansion and decided to see what was going on. The barging into his office angered Alistair. "Julian what in damnation do you think you're doing," Alistair fires back. "I see you got the papers," Theresa states calmly. Theresa was pleased to see that the papers arrived so swiftly, and to see Julian's reaction to them. Angrier at seeing Theresa so calmly smirking at him, Julian said, "You won't see a single cent from me and I won't give you custody." "Julian, you are the one at a disadvantage, I signed no prenup and as for custody, you not better fit to raise a dog let alone a child," replies a confident Theresa.
Julian just sputtered at this. Rebecca looked on, partly furious, partly excited. IF Theresa and Julian divorced then Julian could marry her and she'd be the rightful Mrs. Julian Crane, with all that money too. Ivy was partly amused at her ex-husband's situation. Both women were surprised at Theresa's audacity. They also saw the look Alistair gave his son for barging into his study uninvited.
"Just leave Julian, your presence is unwanted," says Alistair giving his son a hard look. Finally looking toward his father, Julian saw the look on his face. Deciding not to anger his father any longer, Julian tells Theresa that it isn't over and throws her a look and leaves with the two other women trailing him. "I could just strangle that man," Theresa says after Julian and the older ladies left, slamming the door behind them. "Don't bother yourself with any of them," says Fox. "My grandson has a point, with my support and Rafferty's help, Julian doesn't stand a chance," Alistair says. "You both are right," she admits. "OF course, we're right, we're Cranes," says a smirking Fox. Alistair redirects them back to business. They put Julian out of their thoughts and continue to work.
As for Julian, Rebecca, and Ivy, they went to Julian's study. Julian didn't say a word, but Ivy had made a call to Ethan. He told her he'd be right there. Rebecca sat down on the couch in the study. She had decided to look on the bright side of this debacle. Theresa was closer to being back in the gutter where she belongs, thought the red-head. Julian just sat there and seethed. How could she think she could get away with this, how could Father support her, thought Julian? The small group sat for about twenty minutes until Ethan arrived.
Julian was starting to calm down by the time Ethan arrived with the help of some twenty-year-old scotch. When Ethan arrived, he asked, "What was filed?" "These," says Julian handing him the stack of papers from the desktop. Ethan looks over the papers and heaves a heavy sigh. Things don't look good for his former father. "I think that Theresa has the upper hand here Julian," he begins, "she didn't sign a prenup and she is asking what seem to be very reasonable terms. As for custody, your reputation isn't good." "But Ethan all Theresa cares about is getting money out of the Cranes you know that," whines an annoyed Rebecca. Ivy, who agrees with her, shakes her head at that statement. "I know you think that Rebecca," Ethan says, "but the question custody is up to the judge and Julian has a tough fight on his hands concerning the divorce." "But Julian will win right Ethan," a worried Ivy asks. "He can," Ethan reluctantly answers. "Well, Ivy and I will leave you two to talk," says Rebecca catching Ivy's arm and pulling her along out of the study. Ethan and Julian begin to plan a strategy after the two women left. Julian told him of how Theresa had both Fox's and Alistair's support. Ethan told him it would be an uphill battle.
The news that Theresa served Julian with divorce and custody papers spread. Also, it was Ethan and Gwen's wedding day. Theresa chooses not to go, not wanting to upset Gwen. This made Gwen both happy and annoyed. Happy that Theresa couldn't object, annoyed that she couldn't rub her marrying Ethan in Theresa's face. Rebecca was just annoyed at the woman she felt was now trying to ruin her life. Ivy was just glad that Theresa was seeing that Ethan and Gwen didn't want to see her.
Gwen spends the morning getting ready, anxious after hearing about the night before. Ethan was just plain nervous. He knew he was doing the right thing, but that didn't mean it was an easy thing to do. He was glad that Theresa chooses not to torture herself by coming to the wedding, even though he would have liked her to come.
The wedding itself went off with a few minor glitches. Ethan hesitated when he was supposed to say Gwen's name. It upset Gwen, but she swallowed her hurt and put on a brittle smile and continued with the ceremony. As upset as Gwen was at this, Rebecca and Ivy were both angry. Both women immediately blamed this on Theresa. Rebecca vowed right at once to make sure Theresa paid and Ivy vowed to get Theresa out of her son's life even if it kills her. Both smile when the priest pronounces Ethan and Gwen man and wife. Everyone in the church heads to the Crane estate for the reception.
Gwen spends the reception trying to keep from blowing up at Ethan. Thinking that he was going to say Theresa name, almost ruined the whole day for her. She was determined not to let that little tramp, Theresa, come between her and Ethan. Bad enough she and Ethan were postponing their honeymoon to deal with the divorce and custody case. First, cause a ruckus with Julian, then Ethan pausing when it came to saying her name when saying his vows. She shook her head before her thoughts could get away from her.
Seeing Gwen's face, Ethan walked over to her. "Gwen, honey you okay," he says concerned. "Fine, honey," says Gwen with another brittle smile. "Just a little tired, what with long ceremony and long day" she goes on to say. "I know it's been a long day for you already," Ethan tells her, knowing that she wasn't telling him something. "But, it is only for a few more hours then we will be on our way to the Crane Cabin for our honeymoon," he says as he rubs her arm. "Why don't you sit down and I get you a drink and something to eat," Ethan tells her as he guides her to a chair. She agrees and takes a seat and he leaves to fetch her food and drink.
Seeing Gwen alone at the table, Ivy and Rebecca soon join her. They ask where Ethan is and she replies that he is getting her something to eat and drink. Ethan soon joins them and the four are soon joined by a slightly drunk Julian, who is still fuming over the divorce papers. The five of them pass the rest of the time making small talking and staying on safe topics. Soon Gwen throws her bouquet and Ethan tosses the garter. Then the two of them leave on their honeymoon.
It had been a week since the wedding of Ethan and Gwen, and the town of Harmony has met changes once again. Crane Industries has opened Crane Couture and Designs, and Ethan and Gwen have returned from their short honeymoon at the Crane Cabin. The divorce hearing for Julian and Theresa was at hand. There were clearly two teams. Team Theresa and Team Julian. On Team Theresa was Alistair, the Lopez-FitzGeralds, Fox, the Bennetts, the Russells, Chad, and practically the whole town of Harmony. On team Julian, was Ethan, who was representing Julian, Gwen, Rebecca, Ivy, and some of Julian's old buddies. Julian was hoping for Judge Reilly, whom he could "influence" to side with him.
They all gathered at the courthouse at ten a.m. The bailiff calls the room to order and announced not judge Reilly but Judge Michaels. This crushed Julian and Ethan. But, Theresa and Rafferty were both thrilled with the selection of a judge. Michaels told them all to be seated. He laid down the rules for his courtroom. Then Michaels let Theresa's side go first since she filed for divorce.
Rafferty started out by stating that Julian was cheating and that he was even living with his mistress under the same roof as Theresa. He also pointed out how Julian does nothing for their child and doesn't support him. The Judge asks Theresa some questions as does Ethan. Then it was Ethan's turn.
Ethan tried to paint Theresa as a gold-digger, only after Julian's money. Rafferty objected. He submitted evidence that proved Theresa was supporting Ethan Martin and herself with her job at Crane Industries and was only still living at the Crane mansion at the request of Alistair himself. The objection is sustained. That torpedoed all of Ethan's case as Theresa signed no prenup.
Then the judge asked for both sides to give one last statement. Ethan tried to again paint Theresa as a gold-digger. Then he rested. Rafferty once again went over his case, pointing out that all Theresa wants is her son, and Julian wasn't interested in the boy anyway. The judge then retired to make his decision. It made for a tense thirty minutes. Judge Michaels came back out and said he came to a decision.
The bailiff called the courtroom back to order when the judge returned. The judge began to speak as soon as he was seated and looked at both sides. He said, "I've thought long and hard about the issues on both sides and that both sides have brought up. While I don't doubt Mr. Crane's sincerity, Mrs. Crane did not sign a prenup. With that said, I find that she is entitled to half of the marital assets and primary custody of the minor child she shares with Mr. Crane. Mr. Alistair Crane has written to assure the courts that Mrs. Crane will always be welcome at the Crane mansion so access to the child will never be in question. Mr. Crane will have every other weekend and three weeks in the summer as well as alternating holidays with the child. So order."
It was later that day when an angry Julian and his party returned to the mansion. The group as a whole was still angry over how the divorce and custody hearing went. It had to be Father's influence, thought a fuming Julian. Ethan was still smarting over the loss in the courtroom. He still felt that he was clearly the better attorney and shouldn't have lost the hearing. Gwen, Rebecca, and Ivy, collective, felt that Theresa was spreading her legs for Alistair to get him on her side. To them why else would he side with her. This, to them, just proves how much of a gold-digger Theresa was. On the other hand, Rebecca was glad that Julian was now free. They could finally marry and she would be Mrs. Crane. This did not enthuse Julian when he realized it.
As the group made its way towards the dining room for dinner, as it was time, they overheard the conversation coming from within. "The looks on their faces were priceless, Grandfather," was heard out in the hall being said by a jubilant Fox. They could hear the sunny tones of Theresa's laughter and the bass of Alistair's as they responded to Fox's remark. This enraged the group. How dare they celebrate stealing from Julian and stealing Ethan's victory. Gwen was becoming livid. "Just ignore them and have a nice dinner," Ivy insisted to the others before leading them into the dining room.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't my useless son and the rest of the insipid bunch," remarked Alistair as Julian's group made their way into the dining room lead be Ivy. "We're not in the mood for your insults Alistair," sniped Ivy right back hoping to cut off any more biting remarks from the man. "I'd watch myself, mother, wouldn't want to be homeless again now would we," drawled a smug Fox. Alistair just smirked and signaled for supper to be served. Theresa, Fox, and, Alistair, kept up a lively conversation between the three of them, ignoring the sullen people at the table with them. Soon, the supper was over and Ivy left to go to her room, angry at being snubbed by her own son even. Gwen and Ethan left to their room, Ethan wanted to stew over his loss in private and Gwen wanted to get as far from Theresa as possible. Rebecca and Julian remained a little longer than the others. Julian was hoping for some sort of recognition from his father but soon realized that Alistair still held him in contempt. Rebecca was not leaving her man. She stood by Julian and followed him out when he left. Rebecca's hatred of Theresa grew that day. No one humiliated her or her family or man and got away with it. She vowed to get Theresa for everything Rebecca felt she had done to her, her daughter, and Julian. Now to get Ivy on board.
Soon Harmony would become an all out battlefield.