The Joy of Christmas

by Billiek26

"Evangeline, what can I get you?" Carlotta asked, a few days before Christmas.

"Lowfat Blueberry muffin and coffee with cream and sugar."

"Coming right up," Carlotta said.

"Evangeline Williamson?" came a voice with a British accent from beside her.

"Yes?" she said looking up at a very handsome man that also happened to be very tall, "what can I do for you?"

"My name is Ethan Cambias and I was told that if I needed an attorney in Llanview that you were the person to talk to."

"Why donít you sit down and tell me what it is youíre trying to achieve and I can determine if Iíll represent you?"

They talked for the next hour over coffee about what Ethan wanted out of the deal and the services that he needed from the attorney that would represent Cambias Industries. Evangeline and Ethan had moved on more casual topics and were actually laughing at some joke Ethan had just told, when John walked into the diner. He watched them for a few moments before heading to the counter. Evangeline saw him out of the corner of her eye, but didnít allow herself to react. She hadnít talked to him and she didnít expect to.

"Would you have dinner with me tonight? We can discuss this further."

"Sure. What time would you like to meet?"

Upon hearing her response, Johnís eyebrows went up.

"Is 6 oíclock good?"

"That should be fine. If you need to reach me, give me a call," she said handing him a card, which John didnít see.

A week prior, Evangeline had told John she was taking a break. Since Cristian Vegaís return, John had been conflicted about what his feelings for Natalie were. Heíd tried to explain, but he knew heíd done a piss poor job. He still had some problems communicating, but he really was trying with her. He could understand why she wanted the break, but he didnít like it. His feelings for Natalie in no way took away from the feelings that he had for Evangeline. He just didnít know how to say that he needed Natalie to fill that place in him that needed to be a hero.

Evangeline could understand somewhat that John was confused about his feelings, after all for a year John had blamed himself for the manís death. During said year, John had developed a friendship with Natalie; and Evangeline knew that Natalie had developed feeling stronger than friendship for John. He said they were just friends, but there was something there and it wasnít Evangelineís imagination. She just couldnít determine how deep it went and she didnít want to confuse the issue more while John was trying to figure it out for himself.

Ethan got up from the table and thanked her again for her time, "Iíll see you tonight."

"See ya," she responded and watched as John made his way to her table.

"Hey," he said.

"Hey, how are you? Howís the investigation going into Ticoís murder?"

"Fine. How are you?"

"Iím good, but you didnít answer my question. How are you?"

"Iím okay. Tired, I havenít been sleeping well."

"Sorry to hear that. Maybe you should see a doctor about that."

"I donít want to see a doctor. I want to see you. I miss you."

"Well, I donít think thatís going to be possible."

"Because of Natalie?"

"No, because of you. You need to know what you want, because the last thing either of us needs is for there to be resentment or regret later. I wonít be second choice."

"You have always been my first choice."

"John, donít do that. Donít make those flowery statements that in the past have caught me off guard, but they really donít say anything."

"Look, can we go somewhere and talk?"

"I have a meeting in a little over an hour."

"Letís take a walk in the Square."

"Okay," she retrieved her purse and was about to leave a tip, but John laid bills on the table to cover it.

He grabbed her hand and led her toward the door.

"John, what did you want to say?" she said as she removed her hand from his.

"Evangeline, you are the woman that I want. Youíre the woman Iíve always wanted. You let me be myself and yet you challenge me to be better. A better cop and a better man. You support me in my decisions and have confidence in my abilities. You are on me about eating, all the time. I know that you care about me the man. All my life Iíve taken care of other people. Thatís how my life has been defined and in the past Iíve been needed by the women in my life. That is until now.

"You are so independent and you want to do everything on your own. You donít need me and I have a hard time with that. There have only been two times that Iíve been allowed to be there for you; the custody case ruling and the attack in the train station; and both of those times you were still being tough. Iíve never dealt with a woman like you before, so itís more comfortable for me to deal in rescue. So yeah I guess I was conflicted, because I knew with Cristian back I wouldnít have anyone to help, but never was there a question in my mind about whether or not I wanted you."

"John, I do need you. Not to rescue me, youíre right about that. But donít you understand, I need to talk to you sometimes after a hard day or sometimes I just need to hear your voice. Both of those events you mentioned were traumatic for me and Iím glad that I had you there. And no I donít expect to have events like that often. I mean Iíll never be the damsel in distress, but I know that youíll come to my rescue when I need you to. You need to learn to let yourself rest in someone elseís desire to make you feel safe."

"I want to. Are you willing to be patient and help me get there?"

"Absolutely," she said and he leaned in to kiss her. He felt at peace the moment his lips touched hers. When they parted, she leaned her head against his chest and sighed, "Iím glad thatís over. I missed you too."

"You couldíve fooled me. I havenít talked to you in days and then I saw you having coffee with that guy in the diner."

"John McBain, are you jealous?" she asked leaning back to look at him.

"No," he said and she continued looking at him, "Okay, maybe a little. I overheard you make dinner plans."

"You were eavesdropping?"

"Iím a cop, what do you expect?"

"You are ridiculous. Iím having dinner with a client to further discuss a business venture. Are you satisfied now?"

"Iím not sure, but Iím better. What are you doing after dinner?"

"Iím going home to watch ĎItís a Wonderful Lifeí while I decorate my Christmas tree."

"That sounds nice. I havenít decorated a tree since I was kid."

"Would you like to join me?"

"I thought youíd never ask."

That night after Evangelineís dinner meeting, she and John decided to decorate the tree before watching the movie. There was a lot of fun and laughter and joy floating through Evangelineís home. They finally finished. The tree was decorated in crystal, gold and cream. The white lights were twinkling in the branches and tree looked absolutely beautiful.

"Thatís beautiful," Evangeline whispered looking at the tree with awe. In that moment, John could see her as a little girl as Christmas with excitement bubbling over onto everyone around her.

"Yes, you are," he said, kissing her as she looked up at him. The kiss ended and they moved to the sofa to watch the movie, munching on popcorn and sipping hot chocolate.

Halfway through the movie, Evangeline curled into John and fell to sleep. He wrapped his arm around her and stretched out on the sofa, pulling her on top of him. He pulled the afghan from the back of the sofa to cover the two of them and in moments he was asleep too.

For a moment when Evangeline awoke the next morning she didnít know where she was. Then she felt Johnís arms tighten around her and snuggled into his chest.

"Good Morning," he said kissing the top of her head.

"Good Morning. Iím sorry for falling asleep on you."

"No problem. Iím glad I could serve as your pillow," he said with his pat dry humor. She laughed and he continued, "Really, Iím glad that you did, because last night was the best sleep Iíve had in a week."

"Iím glad I could help you."

"Do you have to go to work?"

"No, actually I took the next few days off. Iím going to spend this afternoon at the community center. What about you?"

"Iíve got to go in for a couple of hours to finish up some paperwork, but I was wondering if you might spend Christmas Eve and Day with me. I remember you saying that you werenít going to your Momís until after the New Year."

"I would love to share the Christmas holiday with you, but what about your family?"

"Well, weíll actually be with my family on Christmas Eve. We normally exchange gifts and have dinner together. Mom got back to town over this past weekend and she wants to meet you."

"Really?"

"Yeah, when we talked about the holiday, she said that you had helped me recapture the joy of Christmas. Sheís excited about Christmas and what the New Year is going to bring. So am I," he said looking at her with a look she had only imagined before and was afraid to put a title on.

"Iím excited too. What are we going to do Christmas day?"

"Whatever you want to do, as long as, weíre together."

"I like that," she said leaning in for his kiss.

Christmas Eve was wonderful. Eve greeted Evangeline with a hug and made her feel completely at home. The laughter and ribbing between the two McBain brothers was hilarious. Eve, John, Evangeline, Michael, Marcie and Shannon exchanged gifts and sipped on eggnog. It was a great night for Evangeline with the McBains; something she could definitely get used to.

Christmas morning rolled in with a refreshing surprise. The ground was covered with snow and the picture window in Evangelineís den looked like a postcard. She was standing in front of the window sipping coffee swaying to the Christmas music playing in the background, when John found her. He moved and wrapped his arms around her from behind, before taking a sip from her coffee cup.

"Merry Christmas," she said leaning back into him

"Merry Christmas. Thank you for sharing it with me."

"Thereís no place Iíd rather be than right here with you."

John smiled at that comment and turned her around. He kissed her and they danced. His mom was right. He had regained the joy of Christmas and what a wonderful feeling it was.