Chapter 17


Despite the physical outburst that took place on the balcony, John and RJ had to admit that opening night was exceeding their expectations.  They had received lucrative offers on several of the paintings and sculptures showcased.  If they continued to have this kind of success, they intended to expand and utilize the storage space upstairs and open a restaurant and nightclub.


"Hey man, I'm sorry about the whole situation with Natalie," John said apologetically.  "I almost ruined things for us tonight."


"Yes you did," RJ replied with a hint of annoyance.  "But everything seems to have worked out for the best.  So once again, I forgive you."




"It never ceases to amaze me how much drama follows you McBain," he smirked, patting John on the back.  Yet, I have to admit, your family is never dull."


John couldn't help but roll his eyes at RJ's comment.  "Man, why don't you cut the bullshit.  You know damn well drama follows you and ninety-nine percent of the time it pertains to a woman." 


"There's a difference between my drama and your drama," RJ said with a hearty laugh. 


"Oh really!"


"Yes, really. You see McBain, some type of physical altercation always seems to follow you around," he said confidently.  "As for me, I can't help being so damn fine and irresistible to women."


"Yeah whatever...what's the matter?" John asked, as he noticed RJ's expression change from jovial to serious.


RJ stood motionless, as he watched a blast from his past walk though the door.  She moved with pure elegance and grace, as she charmed everyone who crossed her path.  After all this time, she was still the sexiest woman he'd ever met.  "Why was she here," he mumbled to himself.  He felt the memories rushing back, as he watched men fall under her spell.


They met five years ago at little café in Paris.  She was on a sabbatical and he was there on vacation enjoying the wonderful culture.  He found himself mesmerized by her intelligence and beauty.  After one week, RJ knew he'd finally found the woman to share his life. 


Every day was a new adventure, as they traveled throughout Europe exploring the culture and each other.  He told her about the mistakes he made in the past and the goals he's set for himself.  One of those goals was to be a good father to his daughter Keri.  Although he wasn't able to be around when she was growing up, he was trying to make up for lost time.


She told him about her divorce and always being there for other people during her life.   This time in Europe was a way to heal mentally and spiritually.


As the time came near for her sabbatical to end, RJ finally found the nerve to propose.  Much to his dismay, she turned him down and returned to the states.


RJ was heartbroken and roamed aimlessly through Paris drowning his sorrows, until he met John McBain, another member of the lonely hearts club.  While commiserating over lost loves, they developed a strong friendship.  Although they differed on sports, politics and Star Trek vs Battlestar Gallactica, they shared a common thread, when it came to matters of the heart.  Neither man fell in love often, but they fell hard and loved with whole heart.


"Hello," John said, snapping his fingers.  "Earth to RJ.  Man, what's wrong with you?"


"Remember when we met at that bar in Paris and I told you about the woman that broke my heart?"


"Yeah, I remember," John said softly.  "You said her name was Jacqueline.  But, why are you brining her up now?"


"Because, she's here!" RJ nervously replied.


"Where?" John asked, searching the crowd. 


"The beautiful black woman talking to Vicki Buchanan," RJ pointed, feeling his heartbeat faster.


"You mean Mimi Frye?" John asked, giving his approval. "We trained together at Quantico.  I hear she's Chief of Detectives at the Pine Valley Police Department."


"No, the other woman in the purple beaded dress," RJ said softly.


John slowly looked back in the direction where RJ was pointing.  Shock registered on his face, at the realization of who RJ was talking about.  "You can't possibly be serious?" John asked in disbelief.  "Do you have any idea who that is?"


"Of course I do!" RJ replied. "She's the love of my life!"


"Well, the love of your life is Lisa Williamson, my mother in-law!"