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Hot Under The Collar

By Alan Carter

Facing death, Father Antonio and Gabi finally make love, betraying his brother and God. It's the Sunset Beach moment you've been awaiting--yet dreading!

Time is running out. Oxygen is low. Gabi and Antonio have been caught in an explosion caused by the evil embezzler Gerard and trapped in a cave. They think they're about to die. Just as they're about to take what could be their last breath, they look into each other's eyes--and see overpowering sexual need.

Yes, this is the week Gabi and Antonio finally make love. A little ungodly lust in the dust. OK, so doing the wild thing isn't on the "To Do" list of any Survivalist Handbook we've ever read, but put yourself in their shoes.

Gabi is dating Ricardo, and Antonio is his brother, a priest. Still, Gabi and Antonio share a mightly love that cries out for consummation. And there's no time like the present--since the entombed duo may not have a future.

But this is a soap opera. We know Gabi and Antonio will survive the explosion and make it to safety. What we don't know is what Ricardo's reaction will be when (or is that if?) he ever finds out that his brother the priest had sex with his girlfriend. Now that would be the explosion!

For Priscilla Garita, who plays the once-nefarious Gabi, there's no villain here. "its not like Gabi made this happen," she insists. "She's definitely guilty of doing something wrong. She and Antonio both take responsibility for what they've done. But I don't think either of them is bad because of this. Who would say no here? They have strong feelings for each other--and they're about to die." Besides, adds Garita, "Gabi loves two men at the same time. She isn't the first woman to do that. That doesn't excuse what happens, but she's in a confused state of mind."

Of course, one could argue that if Gabi's budding romantic relationship with Ricardo was truly solid, she'd never have given his brother Antonio a glance. No matter what her feelings were. Deep down or not. "Ricardo is enough for Gabi," Garita offers, "but here's one more man from the same mold. They're both wonderful. She's not doing this to hurt Ricardo. I don't even think Ricardo enters into it. [Gabi and Antonio] don't make the decision to have sex worrying about Ricardo finding out. That's the last thing on their minds."

Nick Kiriazis, who plays Father Antonio, believes the good priest didn't have sinful thoughts on his mind, either. "Antonio made a mistake," he says, "but it's almost a forgivable one. What's not forgivable is that he put himself in this situation. He allowed himself to fall in love with Gabi. He had dreams about her. But that didn't mean he ever had to act on them."

"Coming to terms with God for what he's done will be difficult enough," he adds. "He can make peace with God, but he'll always have to wrestle with the way he betrayed his brother. That will be harder for him."

Garita says SUN fans are pretty equally divided thus far over whether they want her to make love with the handsome--but conflicted--priest. "The fans are very understanding," Garita says, "as long as Gabi doesn't hurt Ricardo. "

It might be too late for that. When they come out of the cave, Gabi and Antonio will look a mite suspicious. But, says Hank Cheyne, who plays Ricardo, "He has no idea they were doing that. He knows something was going on in the cave but nothing sexual. Ricardo thinks Antonio had a crisis of faith. [Gabi and Antonio] having sex is the last thing on his mind. His girlfriend? With his brother, who's also a priest? Ricardo isn't suspicious at all. Not yet. He wouldn't ever see this coming. He values these people."

Should the day come when Ricardo must sit in judgment on his girlfriend and brother, will he be understanding? "If he is, he'd be a much better man that I am," Cheyne says.

"How could he not see this as the ultimate betrayal by both of them? I mean, Gabi would be bad enough. I'm sure he could rationalize any man being attracted to her," he adds. "But this is his little brother, not just some guy. They were supposed to be close. And Antonio is a priest. I don't know if Ricardo could ever truly forgive either of them." Ricardo has already had to forgive Gabi for wrongfully accusing him of rape. That's one hurdle that Garita and Cheyne both believe was hard enough to overcome. But this? "He's had to be incredibly strong to be with her," Cheyne could get over this."

Says Kiriazis: "This story is a little about religion but much more about friendship and loyalty." But Cheyne persists, speaking on behalf of his character, Ricardo, "I don't see how a relationship between two brothers could survive something like this. The religious aspect just adds another layer. A complicated layer, but just a layer."

Antonio's religious beliefs will play a part in the story, of course. He and Gabi are both dealing with guilt. "Antonio wants to confess [naturally], but Gabi doesn't think it's such a good idea," says Kiriazis. "He wants to tell all. He feels terrible about what happened. He's very torn. But Gabi's telling him to not say anything."

"But you never know," Cheyne chimes in. "Ricardo's mother has been telling him all along that Gabi was interested in another man. Maybe he finally figures it out on his own."

Maybe, maybe not. But here's one tip about possible things to come. Antonio won't be shedding his clerical collar anytime soon. "I hear I'm staying a priest for a long while," says Kiriazis. -- SON, 2/9/99

Love Among the ruins: (From top): At first, Antonio tries to provide simple comfort to Gabi as their trapped in the cave, then protection as the roof continues to collapse. But when faced with the possibility of death, the priest gives in to his ungodly passion -- as does Gabi.

Meanwhile, Ricardo uses all his strength to try to save his girlfriend & brother.

Could They, Would They?

Here's an interesting scenario. You're about to die and you're trapped with someone, a person you shouldn't sleep with. Do you? Who better to pose this question than the three actors in this intriguing storyline.

Cheyne: "I'm a married man, so...," he paused a long time before answering [Laughs] "I guess I'd say yes. it wouldn't be [normal] sex. That's about human survival. To be thrown into an abnormal, horrific situation like that, you would do things way out of character, I'm sure."

Garita: "If I truly thought I was going to die, and I was with someone I was attracted to, and I was involved, seriously, with someone else, yes, I could have sex with that person. That's human nature."

Kiriazis:"I don't think so! I don't see this as human nature at all. I'm sorry. I can see people doing it. It happens. But me, personally, no. never. I could never be in this position. I mean, [Gabi & Antonio] are running out of air and we make love. I think for it to be really good, you'd need air, for one thing. I can't believe that's what I'd be thinking about." [Laughs]

Take My Advice

Priscilla Garita's advice to her character Gabi? "Oh, God!" Garita says with a nervous laugh. "I'm not sure I could give her advice. Certainly to tell the truth. That's for starters. But I don't see what she did as wrong, so it would be hard to have given her advice [not to have done it]."

Hank Cheyne's advice to Ricardo: "Ricardo wants the truth. I'd tell him to keep asking questions until he gets it. They're avoiding him. And I don't think he'll stop until he finds out. I wouldn't."

Nick Kiriazis' advice to Antonio: "He did the right thing wanting to leave town. He knew he couldn't act on these feelings for Gabi. He's a priest -- and he'd hurt his brother. But now that it's been done, he has to let it be. He can't really have Gabi."



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