Evangeline walked into Rodi’s and glanced around for Dr. Jamison. They’d met earlier at the hospital when she found out that Jessica was seeing him. She needed to be assured that Jessica would prove to be a good witness for Antonio. Unnecessary risks couldn’t be taken when it came to Antonio’s little girl. RJ would every bit of information he got to take Jamie away from Antonio and Evangeline couldn’t let that happen.
Eric Jamison rose from the table in the corner and waved to get her attention. He stood waiting for her to join him at the table. Eric held a chair for her when she got to him.
“Thank you,” she said smiling up at him. As he sat down opposite her, she said, “Dr. Jamison, thank you for meeting me.”
“Call me Eric and it’s always a pleasure to have dinner with a beautiful woman.”
“Thank you. I wanted to meet with you about Jessica Buchanan.” The waitress arrived to take their order before he could answer.
“Ms. Williamson, you know I can’t talk to you about a patient,” Eric answered when they were alone.
“Call me Evangeline. I know that you can’t talk about a diagnosis or anything pertaining to her care. That’s not what I want. I am representing Antonio Vega in a custody hearing and Jessica may be called as a character witness. The opposing attorney is going to come at her with anything they can find to attack her character. Will she be able to handle that?”
“I’m not really sure how to answer your question.” He stopped as the waitress brought their drinks. “Jessica is dealing with some problems, as I’m sure you know. I can’t be absolutely sure that she will be able to get through the trial.”
Evangeline leaned back in her chair and thought for a moment. Viki could testify. She had babysat for Jamie on more than one occasion and knew Antonio and his family. Recently cleared of bogus misappropriations charges, Llanview University had asked her to come back as President. Viki would make a good witness.
The waitress brought their food to the table. When she left, Evangeline looked at him and apologized.
“I’m sorry. I was thinking about my case.”
“That’s fine. It was a comfortable silence. I knew something was going on in the beautiful head of yours.”
“You’ve got to stop saying things like that.”
“Why? I’m just telling the truth. I’m a shrink, so I tend to study people. From our conversation, I know that you’re highly intelligent and very self assured without being arrogant. That’s a great combination.”
“Thank you; for the compliment and for the information.”
“No problem. I mean I got the better deal. I got to meet you and I don’t know many people in Llanview yet.”
“That’s right. You just moved to town. Where’d you move from?”
“Really, I went to Law School there.”
“What a small world. I was on staff at the University Hospital in the Psychiatry department.”
They ate and talked about Stanford. Evangeline laid her hand on Eric’s arm and was laughing at a joke he’d made when she felt John in the room. She could always tell when he was around. A glance over her shoulder confirmed what she knew and her eyes connected with his. She smiled at him and he smiled back, but something was wrong; the smile never reached his eyes.
John wasn’t expecting to see Evangeline talking and laughing with another man. A couple of waitresses had been standing beside the door when he came in talking about Evangeline and whoever this guy was.
“He’s a hottie,” one of them had said watching the table. “Ms. Williamson has all the luck.”
“I know it. That cute detective is usually with her and tonight she’s out with this new doctor. She could be my shero.”
John walked past them and said hello. They both turned red as they hustled away to get back to their tables. When Evangeline glanced around at him, he saw her eyes widen in surprise. She smiled at him and he took it as an invitation. He made his way to her table and kissed her.
“Hi,” he said and ran his hand over her head. The strands curled around his fingers. As usual, John settled himself behind her chair and stood over her.
“Hi,” she replied.
Once John had staked his claim, he turned to the man that had been laughing and talking with HIS girlfriend.
“John, this is Eric Jamison. He’s a relatively new doctor at Llanview Hospital. Eric, John McBain, Chief of Detectives for Llanview PD.”
“Detective McBain,” Eric said, rising from his chair to shake John’s hand.
“Dr. Jamison,” John replied.
“Excuse me, Gentlemen. I’ll be right back.” Evangeline got up from the table and made her way to the restroom. John watched her cross the room. He turned back to Eric Jamison and realized he wasn’t the only one. John didn’t like it one bit.
John took Evangeline’s seat. “So, you’re new at the hospital?”
“Yeah, I’ve only been in town for a few weeks.”
“Well, how do you like it? Do you have a family?”
“Llanview’s been good. I’ve met some good people and I like the small town feel. And, no, I don’t have a family. It’s just me.”
“Well, it’s a small town and you’ll get to meet plenty of people before long.”
“Yeah, I was glad to meet with Evangeline tonight. She’s really something special.”
“Yes, she is. We’ve been dating for a while.” John felt the need to let Eric know exactly who he was to Evangeline.
“That’s nice. You’re a lucky man.”
“You are absolutely right,” John said as he spied the object of the conversation on her way back to the table. He knew just how lucky he was and he knew when a man was interested in a woman. Well, Dr. Jamison was in for a disappointment, because Evangeline was not available for his advances.
“How small is the world? Can you believe that he worked and lived in Stanford?” Evangeline asked, after Eric had said goodnight and left them alone at table.
“That’s pretty amazing. What were you two meeting about?” Evangeline could hear something in John’s voice, but she couldn’t figure out what it was.
“Something I’m working on in a case. I thought you were going to call me when you were ready to take a break.”
“I was, but then I just decided to meet you. I missed talking to you.”
“Oh, really? What did you want to talk about?”
“My mind’s been stuck on the case and I thought maybe you could help me with it. You always tell me that when I’m ready to talk that you’re ready to listen.”
“Oh.” She hadn’t expected to talk to John about his case anymore except to see how he was doing with it and if he’d found anything new. “Well, tell me what’s going on.”
John gave Evangeline the quick and dirty of what was going on in the case. She sat thinking about the information that he shared. While he talked, she studied him. He hadn’t had a haircut. There were getting dark circles under his eyes and he looked exhausted. Michael had talked to her about how John could get obsessed with a case and she was worried.
“Have you taken a break from the case?” she asked when he stopped talking to take a swig from his beer.
“Short ones. The killer is out there targeting someone. How can I possibly think about taking a break?”
“Do you think that maybe the reason you’re missing something, as you say, is because you’re too close to it? Maybe you need to take a break and a step back and look at it from a different perspective.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, you’ve been looking at who was at the book signings and who might be connected to Marcie, but what if the killer isn’t in it for the murders or at least all the murders.”
“What are you saying?”
“I said before that it was like the killer was laughing at us. Maybe the killer is really after you. It’s common knowledge what happened in your cases before. Is there anyone out there that hates you enough to kill people to get to you?”
“I hope not, but I did put a lot of guys away when I was with the FBI.”
“Maybe you should check there. You did get a dedication by name in the book.”
“How do you do it?”
“Make the connections you do. You can pull back and look at the big picture and still stay on track.”
“I don’t know. I just back off so I don’t get tunnel vision. Something I learned while I was clerking at the Supreme Court. I just process information differently than other people.”
“No wonder you draw so much attention.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Eric Jamison, for one.”
“He’s interested in you.”
“John, come on. I just met the man. He is not interested in me. We were only talking about a case.”
“Evangeline, I’m a man. I know when another man is interested in my girlfriend.”
“You’re imagining things. He was just being charming earlier.”
“Oh, really?” he said sarcastically.
“Yes, really. What is this? Surely, you’re not jealous of a man I just met a few days ago.” Evangeline couldn’t believe what was happening. She had never done anything to cause John to doubt her feelings for him.
“I’m not jealous. I just wasn’t expecting to find you laughing and talking with someone during a business meeting. It caught me off guard. I’m sorry.”
“You’re forgiven, but be very clear. You don’t have any reason to be jealous or upset about me seeing Eric or anyone else. I’m where I want to be.”
“You are not the one I’d be upset with.”
Evangeline had to laugh. There was no reason for John to act as if he was threatened. She had told him how she felt about him; he on the other hand had never said the words. Well, now he knew how she felt sometimes.
“John, you don’t have to be upset with anyone.”
“Well, I don’t want to lose you.”
“You won’t lose me.”
“Really? I feel like I am losing you. I feel like something’s changed over the last couple of weeks and I don’t know what it is. Something just feels off. Maybe it’s the fact that we haven’t spent much time together. Whatever it is, I want to fix it.”
“John, I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”
“Evangeline, you know what I mean.”
“I’ve just been trying to give you the space you need to do what’s needed to solve this case. I realized that I was pushing you and I don’t want to do that.”
“You’re not pushing me. I just have the tendency to be an idiot sometimes. I don’t want you to give me space. I’m sorry if I made you feel like I didn’t want you with me. I do. I just get caught up in cases sometimes and I need you to pull me back.”
“Okay.” Evangeline nodded at the look from John that begged for understanding. She was willing to make an effort to be what he needed, as long as he was willing to do the same.
He grabbed her hand and stood. “Let’s blow this popsicle stand.”
“I’d like that.”
Evangeline pulled her keys out of her pocket and unlocked the door of her apartment. John needed to get away from the case and Evangeline knew that his apartment at the Angel Square Hotel was just another office he’d set up to be close to said case. She pushed through the door and dropped her purse on the bench nearby. John followed her into the apartment, took off his jacket and crashed onto the sofa.
“Can I get you something?” she asked as she watched him, worriedly.
“Just you.” John smiled and winked at her.
“I meant, do you want something to drink?”
“No, I don’t want anything. I’m just tired.”
“Have you been sleeping?”
“I think I told you before that sometimes I have problems sleeping.”
“Yeah, when you can’t turn your mind off. Well, you could come here to sleep,” she offered.
“I don’t want to do that to you. I know that you do a lot of work at home and I don’t want to be in the way.”
“John, you’re at the station most of the time. You wouldn’t be in the way.”
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
“There may be times when I’ll be furious with you, but you’ll just be sleeping here until the case is solved, unless we decide something different later. It’ll be okay.”
“How about we try it for a few days and see how it goes?”
“That’s fine.” She went into her bedroom and retrieved the extra key. When she went back into the living room, John was stretched out on the sofa and she moved to sit beside him. Evangeline leaned over and joked, “Why don’t you just make yourself at home?”
“I am home,” he said and pulled her to him. “I’m home whenever I’m with you.”