Evangeline stood in her bedroom getting ready. She put on her favorite shimmering brown lip gloss and applied her mascara. After putting on her silver chandelier earrings, she walked over to her full-length mirror.
Even she had to admit to herself that she looked pretty stunning. The long black velvet halter gown with a high left split looked like a couture piece on her. It fit perfectly, showing off all her curves. Her Manolo Blahnik black stilettos were as sharp as they were flirty, perfectly accenting her dress. And by her hair being styled in a modest bun, the low-cut back of her dress looked very classy, yet extremely sexy. She couldn’t wait to see John’s reaction.
Tonight they were attending the Llanview Police Department’s Holiday Ball. This was the first year for the black tie affair and she loved things like that. She thought about John though and had to laugh. She knew how he felt about fancy shindigs, how he’d prefer to do without them. But because this was a work related holiday event, he’d endure the so-called torture.
Evangeline and John had been together now for almost two years. During that time, Evangeline learned so much about herself. She’d always taken pride in being strong and in control of every situation, often referring to it as part of her ‘lawyer complex’. However, by being with John, she realized that it wasn’t necessary to always be in control. Sometimes it was good to just go with the flow, to be spontaneous.
Evangeline’s door bell rang promptly at 8p. As usual, John was right on time. Walking out of her room, she stopped to spray on her favorite fragrance, Flowers in Springtime. She loved the scent and knew it drove John wild!
Opening the door, an instant smile claimed her face. John stood before her looking absolutely stunning. He always looked great but tonight he looked especially dapper. So clean-cut and crisp. The traditional black and white tuxedo suited him well.
Upon seeing Evangeline, John was equally impressed. Beaming, he thought she looked exquisite. Simply breathtaking. He constantly thought she was gorgeous, but tonight she looked like royalty.
He greeted her with a kiss. "You’re beautiful," he said stepping away from her, admiring her beauty once more.
"And so are you, Lieutenant," Evangeline began with a grin. "It’s obvious that the tuxedo didn’t make you break out hives."
"The night is still young," John responded with a smirk. "Plus, you know I only do the formal wear for special occasions."
"Well, I definitely think that Llanview PD Holiday Ball qualifies as one of those occasions."
"Yeah, well that and other things."
"Such as, Lieutenant?" Evangeline questioned, moving to get her coat.
John, helping her put it on, replied, "Being with you. That’s always a special occasion." He began to lightly kiss her neck.
While she always enjoyed John’s kisses, she knew that it was time for them to go to the Ball.
"Okay John," she began with a giggle. "You know you can’t have dessert until you’ve had dinner first."
"Yeah, I guess we better get out of here," John stated, looking at his watch. "And for just for the record Counselor, I’ve always hated that no dessert before dinner rule," he said with a smile.
On the drive to The Palace, John and Evangeline shared wonderful conversation as always. He thought about the past two years and how much he’d grown and developed simply from having Evangeline in his life.
John had basically sworn off relationships. After his fiancée, Caitlin Fitzgerald, was killed by the serial killer he was investigating, John had given up on life and love. He felt guilty about Caitlin’s death and as a result buried himself in his work. He took on case after case, on top of case, just so he wouldn’t have to feel anything.
And then he met Evangeline, the woman who was so patient with him. She taught him how to walk again, how to love again. He didn’t think it was possible, but being with Evangeline proved otherwise. She put love and happiness back in his life, and he was such a better person for it. John loved her and he hoped by the end of the night she’d know just how much.
Upon arriving at The Palace, Evangeline noticed the parking lot.
"Wow, either we’re very early or this Ball is going to be a bust."
"Yeah, it looks like you’re right," John said, helping Evangeline out of his black Firebird. "But hey, that means more open bar for us. I do believe an ice cold draft is calling my name."
"Yeah, a glass of merlot would be nice," Evangeline stated, linking her arm with John’s.
"Oh yes, we’ll have to get the lady a glass of merlot," John said a grin, sweetly mocking Evangeline.
Evangeline laughed. "Hey! Don’t knock the merlot! Merlot is what brought us together. Need I remind you about the infamous night in Mary Barnes’ basement?"
"Oh that was a great night! Yeah, the merlot was certainly our friend," John said smiling with a reminiscent look across his face. "But you know what? The alcohol may have played a part in getting us together that night, but it hasn’t had a thing to do with us staying together."
"Yeah," Evangeline said smiling, full of pride. "We did that all on our own, didn’t we Lieutenant?"
"Yes we did, Counselor," John said, kissing Evangeline’s forehead.
They were greeted by a doorman when they walked into The Palace. He gave them directions to the grand ballroom. Once John and Evangeline reached the ballroom, another doorman greeted them.
"Good evening Ms. Williamson, Mr. McBain. We’ve been awaiting you. Have a wonderful evening," he said opening the door.
"Thank you," Evangeline responded with a smile, silently wondering how the man managed to know both of their names.
"Thanks," John replied to the doorman. The doorman gave John a ‘thumbs up’ sign. John smiled at the doorman’s vote of confidence. He hoped that Evangeline would be just as confident.
The couple walked into the ballroom and was greeted by the soft sounds of a six-piece jazz band. The room was illuminated by dim lighting. Evangeline noticed a sole candlelit table for two near the middle of the room.
Uneasy, she looked to John. "John…I think we’re in the wrong place. We’re probably interrupting something very important," she said taking his hand, turning around to leave.
"Hey, not so fast," John said with a little laugh, pulling Evangeline back to him. "Let’s just see what’s going on."
Evangeline looked unsure but sided with John anyway. She chalked it up to his detective nature. They walked over to the table.
The intimate setting for two was beautifully decorated with a five-piece votive centerpiece, 12 long stem red roses, and purple snowflakes scattered about.
Though still unsure, Evangeline smiled as she noticed a bigger purple snowflake on the table. It had her name written on it.
"John, what’s going on?" she asked with a quizzical smile.
John simply shrugged his shoulders giving an impish grin. "Looks like someone left a purple snowflake for you."
Evangeline opened the card and read aloud.
As sure as the snowflakes
fall from the gloom,
I will always remember this night
here with you…
She immediately began smiling an infectious smile as John instantly grinned in return.
"John, these are the lyrics to Marvin Gaye’s 'Purple Snowflakes'. You know that’s my favorite holiday song."
"I know," John responded, still smiling.
"What’s going on?" Evangeline asked, looking around the room.
John replied by giving her a soft kiss. He pulled out her chair and then sweetly said, "Have a seat and enjoy."
"Just what exactly are you up to, Lieutenant?"
As John was walking around the table to take his seat, a server came out with a bottle of merlot and two glasses. The server poured each of them a glass, informing them that their salads would be out momentarily.
"You’re just too much, John McBain," Evangeline said, beaming from ear to ear.
"I love you."
"I love you, too," Evangeline said, as both she and John raised their glasses to each other.
They dined on Mediterranean salads, steak and lobster, a snow pea vegetable medley, baked potatoes, and breadsticks. For dessert, they shared a delightful slice of German chocolate cake.
"John, this is all so wonderful. I’m truly stuffed. Goodness, I hope I don’t burst out of my dress," Evangeline said with laughter, obviously over exaggerating the last part of her statement.
Everything was perfect. The ambiance, music, and food were a success. Now there was only one more thing that needed to happen in order to make the night spectacular.
The classic song, I Only Have Eyes for You by The Flamingos began to play.
"Well, we’ll see about that," John said walking over to Evangeline, extending his hand to her. "Dance with me."
Evangeline gladly accepted John’s hand as he led the way to the dance floor. Cheek to cheek, they swayed to the soothing sounds, creating a wonderful rhythm.
"This is perfect John. Everything is so beautiful," Evangeline stated with a smile as she slid her hands behind John’s neck.
John smiled and asked, "You really like it?"
"Are you kidding? What’s not to like? I love this," she responded looking around the room, admiring the set-up once more. "But I’m guessing there was never really a Police Department Ball tonight, was there?"
John laughed. "No… no Llanview PD Ball tonight. You’re not too disappointed, are you?"
Evangeline gave John an assuring smile. "Nope, not at all Lieutenant. I have you and you’re the only policeman I need."
John smiled at Evangeline. He found himself doing that a lot around her. He could remember a time in his life when he felt he didn’t have anything worth smiling about, but since he’d been with Evangeline smiling had become as natural as breathing. He truly loved her.
"You know, I’ve been thinking about you…me…us. I don’t ever remember a time in my life when I’ve been so happy, when I’ve felt so complete. When we first started dating I had so much baggage, so many things I hadn’t dealt with, and so many other things to figure out. But you hung in there with me, never giving up, even though I know there were times you wanted to."
Evangeline laughed at his last statement. "Yeah, we won’t talk about those trying times."
John laughed lightly as well. "But seriously, I re-examined my life because of you. You made me realize what was and wasn’t important. You taught me how to love and trust again. I love you Evangeline Williamson."
"And I love you too, John McBain."
John noticed that the song had ended. The band was quiet. The room was silent. John reached into the inside front pocket of his jacket. Taking a step back from Evangeline, he got down on his right knee and opened the small black jewelry box.
Evangeline let out a loud gasp and instantly covered her mouth. "John…John what are you doing?"
He gave her his million dollar smile. "Evangeline Alyssa Williamson. I love you with all that I am. You have my heart and soul. I want to be with you now, forever, and always. I want to grow old and gray with you. I want us to be that 80 year-old couple that everyone talks about, still playing tennis at the Country Club and still going to the Eagles games."
Evangeline laughed, and at that point she was fighting back tears.
"I’d be honored if you’d make me the happiest man on earth. Will you marry me?"
Evangeline couldn’t believe it. In her heart, she always knew that John was the one. She always knew they’d be together. She had no idea that he was planning such an elaborate proposal. The floodgates opened. She was now crying.
Nodding her head yes and wiping away her tears, she said, "Yes, John. Yes, I’ll marry you."
Smiling, John took Evangeline’s left hand and placed an exquisite platinum band 2.5 carat cushion cut diamond ring on her finger. He noticed her hand was shaking.
"Why is your hand shaking?" he asked with a comforting smile, holding her hand.
"I don’t know. I guess I just got nervous."
"You, nervous?" John asked playfully. "What do you have to nervous about? I’m the one that was hoping you wouldn’t say no," he said getting up from the floor, wiping a tear from Evangeline’s cheek.
She let out a soft chuckle. "I love you John."
"I love you, too."
They shared a long engaging kiss. The next thing they heard were cheers and whistles coming from the stage. When Evangeline looked up, not only did she see the band, she saw her mother, Deloris, younger sister, Danielle, and older brother, Brandon. She also saw John’s mother, Eve, his brother Michael with wife Marcie, and John’s cousin, Shannon. And she noticed their friends, Nora, Daniel, Bo, Antonio, Jessica, Todd, and Blair. Even some of their Pine Valley friends such as Livia Frye-Cudahay, Derek Frye, Aidan Devane, and Ryan and Greenlee Lavery were in attendance.
She looked to John with more tears in her eyes. "You planned to have our family and friends here too, didn’t you?"
"Guilty as charged," he replied, wiping away a few more of her tears. "Family and friends are important to both of us. I wanted this proposal to be perfect for you."
"Mission accomplished, Lieutenant!" Evangeline responded in complete awe of what John successful planned and executed.
The remainder of the night was spent with the newly engaged couple conversing, dancing, and celebrating with family and friends.
For the last song of the night, Eve announced that she’d be singing something special for her son and future daughter-in-law. The band started playing the music and Eve began singing her rendition of Purple Snowflakes.
John and Evangeline both sang along to each other. After they sang the lyrics:
They seem to say
that our love is here to stay,
We’ll be cozy and warm
until summer flowers bloom
they both had beaming smiles across their faces.
"Gosh, I love this song. I never get tired of hearing it," Evangeline said swaying to the music. "I think it’s the one song I could listen to forever."
"I could listen to you forever."
"I think I’m gonna hold you to that, Lieutenant."
John spun Evangeline around, dipping her. "I’d like nothing more," he said giving her a precious kiss, a kiss that pledged eternity.