A Christmas Confession
John sat at his desk, looking over a file, but mostly staring at the football wrapped in twine that Evangeline had given him. He smiled to himself just thinking about the times they had spent together and how he felt when he was in her presence. He looked at his desk calendar and realized that it was Dec. 20, 2004 and that Evangeline would be heading home to see her Mom for Christmas on Dec. 23, 2004. He suddenly got a flash of brilliance and put his plan into motion. He picked up his phone to dial.
Evangeline sat in her office looking over a file, but mostly thinking about Christmas. She was looking forward to going home for Christmas to see her Mom, but she felt kind of sad that she wouldnít be spending part of her Christmas with John. After all, it would be their first Christmas together as a "strings attached" couple. Her thoughts were interrupted by her phone ringing. She said, "Evangeline Williamson, how may I help you?"
"Hey Evangeline," John said. "How are you today?"
"Iím doing great, even better now that I hear your voice," she replied. "Whatís up?"
"Well," he said tentatively. "I wanted to ask you out for dinner on Wednesday. Do you think youíd be able to do that? I know youíll be getting ready to go home for Christmas, but I need to see you and spend some time with you before you leave. It can be our own Christmas celebration. Iíll even bring you a gift."
"A gift," she inquired. "Now you have me intrigued. I can definitely make dinner. What time?"
As soon as she said definitely, John breathed a sigh of relief. "Our reservation is for 6:30 pm," he said.
"Reservation?" she responded. "Since when do Rodiís or the Diner need reservations?"
John just laughed and said, "You think you know me so well. Weíre not going to either of those places, but just because of that comment, Iím not telling you where weíre going."
It was now Evangelineís turn to laugh. "Okay, okay," she said. "Keep your little secret. Iím looking forward to it."
"Yeah," he said.
"Yeah," she replied. "And, after dinner, how about coming back to my place for dessert and opening up our gifts?"
"Our gifts?" he added. "Should I infer from that that you got me something too?"
"Youíll just have to wait and see, like me," she teasingly said.
"Fair enough," John said. "Iíll pick you up at your house at 6 pm."
"I canít wait," she said as they hung up.
They both sat back in their respective desk chairs and contemplated what events would occur on Wednesday, Dec. 22nd.
By the time John left his room to go pick up Evangeline, he had to admit to himself that he was more than a little excited and a little nervous. He knew what he had planned for their evening and he just hoped that it would turn out the way he wanted.
As Evangeline sprayed on her "Flowers in Springtime" perfume and headed downstairs at her home to wait for John, she realized she had butterflies in her stomach. The thought of spending uninterrupted time alone with John McBain excited her. She knew she had it bad, but what she accepted now was that she liked that feeling. She cherished it. The doorbell rang.
Opening the door, she greeted John with a smile and a quick peck on his cheek. "Hey," she said.
"Hey," he returned. "You look great." Feeling the need to return her gesture, he gave her a quick peck on the cheek.
She grabbed her coat and they both walked to his car.
As they drove along, they chatted with their normal repartee until Evangeline realized where they were driving up to. "The Bayberry Inn?" she asked.
"Yeah," he said. "I want to try to make it up to you for me forgetting about our special dinner we had planned a couple of weeks ago. Is it okay?"
"Oh yeah," she almost blurted out. "Itís the best. You donít really have to you know."
"I want to," he said. As he looked at her intently as he was helping her out of the car, he took her hand and said "I really want to."
Their dinner together was almost magical. They had a secluded table with candlelight that set the perfect romantic mood. They talked and laughed during dinner and every once in a while, John would reach over and hold Evangelineís hand or touch her cheek. They would both look into each otherís eyes and smile. They ordered dessert to go and headed back to Evangelineís place as planned.
As they entered Evangelineís home, he followed her to the kitchen because she was going to make coffee. As soon as he made it to the threshold between the Living Room and the kitchen, Evangeline grabbed him and planted a big kiss on him. When they came up for air, John said, "Wow! Where did that come from?"
Evangeline just giggled and said, "Youíre standing under the mistletoe," as she pointed up. "Iím just following tradition."
John grinned and said, "In that case," as he grabbed her and planted a passionate kiss on her awaiting lips. They were both smiling as their lips parted.
Evangeline grabbed two forks for the dessert and John grabbed the two cups of coffee when they were brewed. They went into the Living Room. Evangeline put in a Christmas CD and joined John on the couch. After their dessert, Evangeline couldnít take it any more and said, "I want my gift now, mister."
John laughed while saying, "Remember, patience is a virtue."
Evangeline retorted, "I do believe Iíve shown great restraint. After all, I didnít rip it right out of your hands when you first got here."
"True, true," he acquiesced. "However, I want to give you your gift last. So, can I open mine from you first?"
"Are you trying to torture me?" she asked sarcastically.
"Maybe a little," John said slyly. "Really though, I want to give you my gift last."
"All right," Evangeline said as she gave in. "Hereís your gift."
When John opened it, he laughed and said, "Youíre soooo subtle Evangeline. I get the hint though."
Looking all innocent, Evangeline said, "What do you mean?"
John replied, "Outburst: The Game of Verbal Explosions? You know Iím working on expressing myself more with you."
"Yeah," she laughed. "However, we can all use a little practice." She was still smiling when she said, "Take the top off the box, thereís something else."
He gave her a quizzical look as he lifted the top of the box. Inside was an envelope that had written on it, "Your Chance to See Robert Roger Clemens."
"What is this?" he said as he opened the envelope. "What? These are tickets to a Phillies vs. Astros game."
"Yeah," she replied. "I canít be sure that Roger Clemens will still be playing then or if heíll be pitching, but itís the closest the Houston Astros will be to you next season."
John was in shock and leaned over and gave her a kiss. He was a little choked up that she would put in the effort to get him something like this. The fact that sheíd done this only enforced his resolve about what he was preparing to do.
"Thank You," John said. "Thank You so much. Now I really have to give you my gift." He stuttered a little as he said, "I want to tell you something and I donít want you to comment at all until Iím done. Okay?"
Evangeline shook her head up and down and said, "Okay." She was quite intrigued.
John started off by placing his gift on her lap. He said, "Donít open it until I finish."
John cleared his throat and said, "I have a confession to make. I want to apologize for some of my actions over the last couple of weeks, especially forgetting about the special dinner you had planned for us when you knew how confused I was about Christian still being alive. Iím really sorry for that. The look on your face when I told you that Iíd had a burger in the park with Natalie really brought it all home to me. I havenít been putting your feelings first the way I should. Over the last couple of weeks, I came to the realization that all you ever asked me is to give you some inkling of what place you have in my life and I havenít really made it clear to you. I understand your insecurity about me and my feelings for Natalie, especially since everyone and his mother keeps telling you that there is a connection there and that since Chris is back, Iíll be with you because I no longer have a choice."
Evangelineís nose started to crinkle when all kinds of questions were swirling in her head and John said, "Hold on a little longer. Iím almost at the end." She nodded in acceptance.
John continued, "I know Iíve told you that you are the woman I want to be with yesterday, today and tomorrow. I know that I told you that if I get torn up again, youíre worth it. I even know that I told you that there is more than a chance between us. What I havenít told you is why I feel that way. The reason is I love you Evangeline Williamson. No, let me rephrase that. I am so in love with you that I feel empty when youíre not around. Just one sight of you lights up my soul."
At this point, Evangelineís mouth is hanging wide open and her eyes are as big as saucers. She finally manages to push out in a very hoarse voice, "What?"
John reiterates, "I am in love with you. Iíve actually known it since that day you came back from California and you were so hurt when you found me in my room with Natalie. When I caught up with you in the park, I knew then that I could not be without you. I knew that you were in my heart."
She was just staring at this point and couldnít even speak. She couldnít verbalize what she was feeling. He told her to open her gift now. She looked kind of dazed, but he placed her hand on the package and by rote, she started to tear off the paper.
It was a box and written on the outside, it said, "Because of What I Just SaidÖ" When she lifted the top off the box, there was a picture frame. In the frame were four photos of John and Evangeline that they had taken for fun in one of those photo booths that happened to be at the stadium when they went to the Philly Eagles game. She didnít even know he had kept them. The matting around the pictures had phrases written in different languages. Because the English phrase said "I Love You," she assumed the other phrases were the same sentiment just in different languages. He was staring at her and said, "Push that button on the frame."
When she did, Johnís voice came from the frame and said, "Evangeline Williamson, I am so in love with you."
Evangeline was just staring down at the frame in the box on her lap and John had to touch her arm to get her to look up at him eye to eye. When she did, he said, "This is for you to keep with you so that on those days, when others butt their noses in and try to get you to doubt me and you, you can come home and hear me say that you donít have to doubt us because you know that I love you."
A single tear ran down her cheek and as John brushed it away, he told her to pick up the picture because there was one more gift under it. She nodded her head no and said, "I donít think I can take much more without saying something back to you."
John said, "Just open the last gift and then you can talk as much as you want."
She took a deep breath and lifted up the picture frame. Below it was an envelope and written on it were the words "Because I Love YouÖ" Her hands were trembling as she opened the envelope. Inside were two tickets to "The Lion King" on Broadway. She looked at them, looked at John, looked at them, and then looked at John again.
He said, "I donít know if Iím ready to sit through a ballet with you yet, but Iím willing to sit through a musical. I hear this one is really good."
Evangeline leaned forward and kissed John so tenderly. She stared deep into his eyes and said, "Thank You so much. Can I respond to what you said now?"
He shook his head yes.
Evangeline started, "John McBain, I never imagined that day that I spontaneously kissed you at the Palace Bar that weíd be sitting here on my couch today. The affect you have on me is so unexpected and I never thought that Iíd fall so deeply in love with you. I have to admit that my love for you has scared me on more than one occasion and I never thought Iíd be able to tell you how much I do love you, but I do. Iíve known that I love you since that night on the docks after the Philly Eagles game we went to. When we were sitting on those crates talking and I told you that your not seeing me by my skin color was one of the things I love about you, I really wanted to say that I love you. I want you to know that Iím in love with you and I always will be."
John pulled her in for a kiss and they just held each other for a while. Then, John pulled her up off the couch and they danced to the music playing in the background. After standing there swaying back and forth to the music, John finally broke the silence and said, "This has been the best Christmas confession Iíve ever made."