This Is Christmas: Blended Family

By musingonsoaps


"Iím sorry sis; I know I didnít hear you correctly. Iím more distracted than I thought."

 "Oh stop, you heard me." Layla hits Evangeline upside the head with a rolled up magazine,

 "You heard and you donít want to believe but yes, Iím breaking all the old rulesóno surprise after all, Iím meóIím getting married on New Yearís Eveóbe there or else."

 "Married? Married, to whom?  No, not Antonio.  I will not let you two take this farce of a relationship that far."

 "Antonio, no way Vange.  Read my lips girl I keep telliní you weíre just friends.  Iíve been seeing someone elseÖ."

 "No you havenít, I would know.  Unless of course itís been all of three minutes that youíve been dating this person."

 "Please.  Youíre so wrapped up in your own life and work if I donít tell you you'll never know.  So Iím saying it Iím getting married let the countdown fun begin."

 "Is this a rehearsal for a part?"

 "No.  This is for real, for always, forever, for love."

 "Yeah?  Does mom and the rest of the family know?"

 "For your information miss know-it-all mom and Uncle Clay have met him, and more than onceótheyíre warming up to Rex."

 "SHUT UP!!  No way.  Now I know youíre joking, lyingóboth. Rex who? You barely know Rex Balsom so it can't be him."

 "I know him well enough to marry him, yes Rex as in Balsom.  Viki Davidsonís having a party for us at Llanfair; Rex thought it would help offset the Roxy factor.  The soon-to-be mothers-in-laws havenít metÖyet."

 Vanís mouth practically hung down to her chest as she waited for the alarm to go off and pull her from this nightmare.  Four days later she was still trying to convince herself it was a bad, bad dream.  And a long one.  But Viki approached her about co-hosting a combined Christmas and pre-wedding celebration, apparently Natalie couldnít wrap her head around having Layla for an in-law anymore than Evangeline could process being stuck with the combined Balsom/Buchanan clans for all eternity.

 "Youíre still nursing that headache?  Maybe you should call your doctor." John eyed Evangeline with concern, not only was she having non-stop headaches she wasnít looking well, her face was ashen lately.  Really more of a gray color as though she was developing a terrible illness right before his eyes.

  "A doctor canít fix this.  I donít know whatís worse: that Layla seems dead serious about making a lifelong commitment to Rex; that Iím helping plan a major party during the holidays while dealing with Toddís caseóand I need files from you on that case as you well know; that we're working opposite sides of yet another case; or that from 2006 on all Williamson family gatherings include the strong possibility of spending it with RoxyÖand Natalie."  Rubbing her temples Evangeline closed her eyes briefly, "Iíve tried and tried to embrace the spirit of the season and rise above or put aside my feelings about this but I just canít.  Just as you and I are back on track and our lives are, well, our version of a normal at least, Lay sideswipes me with the Rex connection.  Not that her hanging with Antonio made me any happier but at least I actually LIKE himÖmost of the time."

 "Well then nowís not the time to tell you more family news youíll just hate." John observes while stretching out on the sofa and goes back to reading files and twirling his pen.  "Ok, you canít leave me hanging like this.  What family news can be more miserable than this?"

 "Itís Mikey."

 "I saw him earlier this week, he seemed happier than heís been in awhile whatís wrong with him?"

 Sighing deeply John closes his eyes so he wonít see the look on her face, "Even if Layla and Rex call it quits today we wonít have Natalie out of our livesóshe and Michael have developed this friendship as you knowÖ"

 "Yeah, and?"

 "Theyíre dating; they have been for awhileóquietly."

"Dating? Quietly? They must go to the same secret places Rex and Lay hang out at.  Whereís your gun, really, just shoot me now."

 "It's not that bad, they're dating, they're lonely, and it probably won't go anywhere."

 "Yeah, sure, you're right.  As if the last thing I want to have happen in this universe won't happen.  Honey, I believe with stuff like this God says 'gotcha!' and waits to see how we roll with it.  You finally agree to put real distance between the two of you and now the girl's in our family?  Her faux brother marries my sister and now she realizes Michael is the soul mate sheís been looking for, all this time she was chasing down the wrong McBain? Coincidence?  I think not."

 "It's unfortunate, but Evangeline it is all just random chance.  Believe me, there's no evil plot to always keep Natalie and the rest of her combo family in our faces and in our lives."

 "So you say."

 "Yeah, I do say.  As you said Michael seems happier than he's been in a long while sooo, we just go with it for now I think. What do you say?"

 Evangeline comes over and sits on the sofa next to John and rubs her hands over his arms, chest through his hair and back again, "So, Lt. when do I get those files on Manning?"

 "How about a work slow down until the holidays are done?"

 "My client's in jail without bail!"

 "Your client has the means to be a flight risk.  We're not supposed to bring our work home when we're working the same case, remember?  That's part of our new deal."

 "A kiss or ten would help refresh my memory of why it's so important to keep work out of our personal space.  What were those reasons again?" Mentally, Evangeline decideds to check the temperature of Marcieís relationship with Hugh, maybe Michael was just putting any redhead in Marcieís place and anyone with the right hair color would do for now.

 "Do not try and manage this to the outcome you want," John opened one eye and stared into Evangelineís thoughts "your kiss lost some of its focus just now and I know youíre plotting ways to get Michael back with Marcie."

"John, Iím thinking, just spinning possibilities."

 "What are the possibilities of taking this upstairs where I can change your focus to the present?" "Race ya!"

 Mediating between her mom and Roxy on the wedding details took Evangelineís negotiation skills to a new level. Each morning she woke up hoping it was all a dream to laugh with Layla about, each night she went to bed in defeat.

 She had to admit Rex was being incredibly charming and showing a depth she hadnít credited him with. In her fair moments Evangeline chided herself about being as snobby about Rex as her family had been about John. And Layla clearly loved him as much as he loved her; they were great business partners in Ultra Violet as Rex encouraged her sisterís bent toward the dramatic to play out in the new décor Layla designed for the club. They were happy and she would be happy for themÖeven if it killed her. Now all she had to do was find appropriate Christmas gifts for Rex, Roxy and, alas Natalie, three new names to her Christmas list. She intended to gift Michael with a new girlfriend.

 As Vikiís holiday and wedding celebration event grew closer John could see Evangeline was determined to make herself sick enough to be bedridden and avoid the whole scene. He started to point it out and then decided to keep his mouth shut, he would just be there and support in any way he could and was asked to; Evangeline wasnít shy about asking for what she needed. Sure enough, the afternoon of the party Vanís voice was gone and she was running a fever, "Go without me, John, and please make my apologies. I donít want to spread my germs."

 "Oh, but giving it to me is just fine? I may not be ill yet but Iím sure I will be, after all weíve been in our usual state of very close contact."

 "Youíre a big, strong guy youíll do fine."

 "Do you really want me at Llanfair with the family without you? Someone needs to be here to take care of you, which should be me."

 "I trust you always, and Iím hoping between Viki, Michael and Rex, Natalie will be reminded to be on relatively good behavior. As you so like to point out, I canít control every situation, actually ANY situation so there we go. Have fun, Iíll miss you. Wake me when you get back and tell me all about it."

 "When I show up without Lisaís Cookie sheíll be over here in seconds. Iíll give her the spare key so she doesnít wake you up if youíre sleeping." Kissing her on the cheek John shuts of the bedside lamp and leaves.

Left alone, Evangeline drifts into a fitful sleep with dreams centered on the party and upcoming wedding which quickly deteriorate into nightmares. The covers wrap and entrap her and she tries to fight her way out as the wedding processional becomes a gauntlet of fisticuffs. Drenched in sweat Van frees her arms and swats at the hands touching her then bolts upright and gazes around the room dazed and confused, "John?"

 "Yeah, finally, youíre back with me. Weíve been so worried about you, sweetheart."

 "Oh, I had the worse nightmare, can I get some water? I dreamed the wedding was going on and there was a fight. How was the party?"

 "What party?"

 "Come on, it couldnít have been that bad maybe not your style but Iím sure Viki puts on a memorable event."

 "Itís not New Yearís Eve yet, hon, so you havenít missed the party at Llanfair."

 "No, the pre-wedding holiday party Viki had for Lay and Rex. Stopping messing with me."

 "I swear I donít know what youíre talking about. When did Layla start dating Rex and what were you shouting about Michael?"

 "Layla surprised us with the news about her and Rex getting married New Yearís Eve."

 "Okay, well, were you also visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future? I know I donít pay much attention to these things but to my knowledge your sister is still quite content with Hugh Hughes, Rex is with Marcie, Michael is dating Kelly, and Natalieís still with Antonio. What am I missing here?"

 They looked at each other for a few moments then Evangeline broke into a grin, "Nothing, youíre missing nothing. Iím awake now and allís right with the world." Leaning back into the pillows she runs her fingers through her hair, "I was having the worst nightmare ever. What day is it?"

 "The sunís just coming up so we are now, officially, on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas love, I think weíre going to have a great start to 2006."

 "Oh yes," she agreed enthusiastically "a new year with great things and everyone where they should be! Letís make it a very Merry Christmas, McBain."

 The ringing phone propels Van out of bed to get aspirin from the bathroom cabinet as John answers the phone she can hear portions of his muffled conversation, "Hey Michael, what's up?  Yeah, she's doing much better now this flu thing is passing.  Wait, when did this happen? I thought you two were just buddies, sparing partners when did you dump Kelly for Natalie?  Never mind.  Wait until next year to tell Evangeline, better yet wait for 2007. Yeah, Merry Christmas to you too, bro."