Chapter 5

When John and Evangeline left the hospital, Michael went back into Marcieís room. Her father and brothers had gone back to Ronís place to get some rest and would be back in a few hours. While Marcie slept, Michael talked about their life together and where the two of them could go. He talked about their first kiss and the first time theyíd made love. He told her how much he loved her and that he always would.

Michael took the time to tell her all the things he had planned when she got out of the hospital. He knew she would have her book tour, but he planned to make time to spend with her whenever she was home. They would have picnics and intimate dinners. He didnít plan on her ever thinking that she wasnít the most important person in his life ever again.

"Michael?" Marcie whispered.

"Hey, how are you feeling?"

"Like I got hit by a car," she said with a slight smile.

"Marcie, donít joke about it. You could have been killed," he responded somberly.

"Yes, I could have, but I wasnít. Itís over now. Iím going to be fine, right?"

"You have to be," he said with a tremor in his voice.

"I will be. I have too much to live for."

"Youíre absolutely right." He ran a finger down her cheek and kissed her lightly. "I love you."

"I love you, too."

Outside the door stood the rest of the Walsh family. Ron and Eric smiled as they watched the exchange and pulled their father away from the door.

"Dad, do you see now that Marcie needs Michael? Whether you agree or not, thatís the way it is," Ron said.

"Yeah I see, but I donít have to like it."

"No, you donít, but you do have to live with it," Eric replied.


When Evangeline walked through the door to her apartment, John pushed her against the wall and kissed her.

"Iíve missed you," he said when the kiss broke.

"Really? I wondered. Youíve been really busy."

"You are never far from my thoughts."

She smiled in response and he leaned in to kiss her again.

"John, how do you feel about me?"

"Iím not sure what youíre asking." Evangeline pulled away and walked across the room from John.

"While I was with Michael and I watched how he was dealing with Marcie being in surgery, I thought about how I would feel if it were you. I would be a wreck. I realized that Iím falling in love with you."

"Didnít you say we shouldnít use those types of words?"

"Yeah, I did, but it doesnít change my feelings for you."

"I donít know what to say to that."

"Hmmm, I think that says it all. You should probably leave."

"I donít want to leave you like this."

"I donít think we have anything else to talk about. If we continue as we have, Iíll just become more tied to you. I donít want that. If you canít or wonít allow yourself to love me, I need to get out now."

"Evangeline, I donít know if I can give you what youíre asking me for. I want to be with you and only you, but losing Caitlyn changed me."

"I can only imagine how hard it must be to lose someone you plan to spend your life with, but that doesnít change that not only do I want love out of a relationship, but I deserve it. If you canít give me that, I need to cut my losses now." Evangeline was torn between her feelings for John and her need for self-preservation.

"I hear you and Iím sorry that I canít give you what you want right now," he said as he moved to her side. He ran his hand over her hair and then ran a finger down her cheek. "I just need some time. We said we were taking our time and I need you to be patient with me. If I could love anyone, it would be you."

John could see the conflict in her eyes. She was struggling with the emotions John evoked when he touched her and what her common sense was telling her. She trembled as he leaned in to kiss her. She knew she wasnít strong enough to resist him, so she didnít.


When Marcie awoke a few hours later, Michael was still holding her hand. He was asleep with his head cocked in what looked like an uncomfortable angle. Heíd been there all night and had indicated that he wasnít going anywhere. She was so happy that he was there. The last few months had been awful. They hadnít been in sync and then theyíd broken up. She didnít ever want to go through that again.

"Michael?" she called as she squeezed his hand.

"Uhm?" he answered, opening his eyes without fully waking up.

"Michael, wake up. You need to go home."

"What are you talking about?" he said in a gravelly voice.

"You need to go home and get some real rest."

"Iím not leaving you. I already told you that."

"Michael, Iíll be okay for a few hours. You need to rest and I need to know that youíre okay, too."

"Iím not leaving. What if I have them bring a cot in here? That way I donít have to leave and you can see for yourself that Iím resting."

"Arenít they uncomfortable?"

"Yes, but I sleep on one all the time when Iím on 36 hour rotations, so itís no big deal."

"If youíre sure?"

"I am. Iím not leaving."

As Marcie was about to respond, Hayes walked into her hospital room. He glanced at Michael, but didnít acknowledge him. He walked to the bed and touched Marcieís hand. He smiled down at her.

"Hey Marcie, how are you feeling?"

"Iím okay, Hayes. Iíll be out of here in a few days."

Michael started to interrupt letting her know that she probably wouldnít be out until the end of the week.

"Thatís great. Itíll be good to get you back on track for the book tour, but youíll miss the publishing party. That is too bad."

"I may be able to make it. Iíll have to talk to my doctors, but I may be able to show up."

"Donít worry about it. Iíll take care of everything. You just take care of getting well and weíll hit that tour. Iím going to leave so you can rest," he said the last part with a glare in Michaelís direction. "Iíll see you later."

"Do you want to go to the book party, Marcie?" Michael asked when Hayes left the room. He moved to the bed to caress her cheek.

"Of course I do, but I canít go like this."

"Maybe you can. Weíll talk to Dr. Miller about it when she does her rounds."

She smiled up at him and said, "Thank you for understanding how important this is to me."

"Youíre important to me, so no thanks necessary," he leaned in to kiss her. He had missed being able to kiss her at any time for any reason.

"Now, you need to go and find a cot. Arenít you supposed to be back on staff today?"

"Iíll be back on staff when youíre better. Iíll go see what I can find out about a cot right now."

As Michael walked down the hall, he heard Hayes on the phone. He moved closer to hear when he heard him mention Marcieís name.

"Öwonít be able to make it to the publishing party. We caught a break. I had thought we could get her to change her look, but when she had this accident; it really worked in our favor."

Michael stood seething with anger. So, Hayes doesnít want Marcie at her own book party. The accident worked in his favor. Okay. Weíll just see about that.


John glanced into Evangelineís face where she lay in his arms, as he was lying on his side. She was lying on her back asleep with her face turned toward him looking like an angel. He brushed the hair back that was on her cheek and ran his finger down the curve of her face. He frowned when he thought about their talk earlier. He was so deep in thought that he didnít realize her eyes had opened.

"You took advantage," she whispered, slightly smiling, raising her hand to touch his face.

"What are you talking about?" he asked with a completely innocent look on his face.

"You know exactly what Iím talking about. You took advantage of the fact that Iím susceptible to your charms."

"Susceptible? Hmmm. Well, when you put it like that, I guess I did," he said with a grin and kissed her deeply.

"John, this is what I wanted to avoid. If you canít love me, I canít keep doing this," she said seriously when the kiss broke, with a gesture at the bed.

"Iím not sure if Iím capable of loving anymore. When Caitlyn died, I shut down a part of myself and Iím not sure if that part of me still exists."

"Thanks for telling me the truth," she said as she rose from the bed and pulled on his shirt. John caught her hand, but she pulled it free and went downstairs.

When she was really upset, she played. The baby grand in her living room was beckoning her now. She sat on the bench for a few moments before placing her hands on the ivories. She knew that she was falling in love with John and sheíd told him. Why had she done that? She didnít want what they had to end, but she knew what she wanted now. She couldnít, no she wouldnít, allow herself to settle for less than the love she deserved.

She started playing a song that was one of her favorites. Over the last few weeks, she been listening to it and hadnít realized that it had stuck with her. Sheíd found herself changing the words of the song to reflect what sheíd been feeling about John. She thought John was in the shower, since he probably had to get back to the station. He had clothes hanging in her closet so he shouldnít need his shirt back just yet. What she didnít know was that he was sitting on the steps listening to her sing "All is Fair in Love".

As he listened to her, he felt all the emotion that she put into the song. He couldnít believe the depth of it. He didnít know if anyone had ever expressed that amount of feeling for him. He was overcome with emotion and so was she. When she finished the song, she just sat there for a moment. When he pulled himself together, he moved behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders. She tensed momentarily.

"That was beautiful."

"Thanks. I didnít know you were there."

"I know. Iíve had this barrier in my heart, because I was afraid to love anyone again. When you love, you can lose and it can destroy you. But while I was listening to the words of the song, I realized that no one knows the future. There are no guarantees. I want to do more than play. I want you; all of you. I think thereís something that you donít understand though. For me love and marriage go hand in hand. If I fall in love with you, Iím going to want to marry you and I wonít settle for less than that."

Evangelineís breath caught, as John turned her to him for a kiss that rocked her to the core.


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