Chapter 7

"What?" she asked. "What happened?"

"The results came back and Cristian is really Cristian."

"What is he going to do?"

"Heís with his attorney now discussing his case."

"Thatís amazing. Heís Cristian. His attorney should be able to get a continuance. That should give them enough time to get a legal DNA test. Since he was brainwashed, with a psychiatric review, his lawyer should be able to get him acquitted."

"Thatís good news. Iíve got to talk to Antonio. I told Cris that Iíd tell him."

"What about Natalie and Carlotta?"

"Cris is going to tell them himself."

"Do you want me there with you when you talk to Antonio?"

"No, Iíll be okay. Iíll come find you later." He pulled her to him for a quick kiss. She laid her hand on his chest and smiled at him before turning to leave.

---------------

Before the accident Marcie had purchased a beautiful party dress in Kelly green. Green was Michaelís favorite color and when sheíd seen it, sheíd known she had to have it. At the time, sheíd berated herself for thinking of him, now she was extra glad that sheíd listened to her heart instead of her common sense. As she looked in the mirror, she knew she couldnít do anything about the bruises, but she could do a little damage control.

"Marcie, do you need any help?"

"No, Michael, Iíve got it, but I would like to talk to you."

"Okay. Is it alright for me to come in?"

"Of course," she chuckled. Michael was such a gentleman.

"Wow, you look beautiful," Michael said when he caught sight of her in the mirror.

She glanced over her shoulder at him and gave him a look that said, "Yeah, right."

"Iím serious. Youíre beautiful to me."

She smiled and turned back to the mirror to finish her make-up.

"What did you want to talk about?"

"Why you wanted me to go to this party? Youíre usually so protective and now you want me to go to this party before anyone else thinks Iím ready. Why?"

"I just want you to have everything you ever wanted. I love you."

"I know that, but that doesnít explain this complete about face when it comes to my health."

"Do you think Iíd ever endorse something that would jeopardize your health or safety?"

"Of course not, but this isnít like you and thereís something that youíre not telling me. Iím going to keep bugging you until you tell me."

"Okay. I overheard Hayes on the phone earlier and he was talking about the fact that they caught a break since youíd been in the accident. I donít fully know what he meant, but he indicated that he was glad that you wouldnít make the book party. I know how important it is to you and Iím so proud of you. You should be there and you can be."

"Michael, it could be nothing. You could have misunderstood."

"Maybe, but I donít think so. I think heís glad and that he may be trying to use the accident as a publicity stunt. You donít need that. Youíre a good writer. Your book will sell because itís a great book. You did that, not Hayes and all his stylists or anyone else."

"Michael, I love you."

"I love you, too."

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"Why is there a postponement of the imposterís case? I just found that out. This is really hard on my mother," Antonio asked when he went to meet John in his office.

"Iím sure it is. The postponement is actually what I wanted to talk to you about."

"What about it?"

"Thereís some new information that just came to light that will have some affect on the case."

"What kind of information?"

"A DNA test was done on the imposter and it determined that the imposter is really Cristian."

"What?"

"The guy in the cell downstairs is really Cristian. He is your brother."

"How can you be sure that the DNA test is right?"

"I had it run. His DNA was tested against your motherís."

"Howíd you get my motherís DNA? For that matter, howíd you get Crisí?"

"Letís just say I had reliable sources."

"Evangeline and Natalie?" Antonio asked with a slight smile.

John ignored the question and continued, "The two samples were tested against each other and the results were better than 99% accurate. He is your brother."

"Why would anyone go to all the trouble of making him believe he isnít Cris?"

"Maybe to make it easier for him to make a hit on you."

"My mother will be so relieved. She was so sure that Cris was alive and she was right. Sheís been going through a hard time since he confessed. Natalie has too."

"I know it. Cris is telling them after he finishes with his attorney. Iím sure heíd like to see you."

Antonio really smiled for the first time since walking through the door to Johnís office.

"My brotherís alive," he chuckled. "Hey, John, thanks for finding out the truth."

"Thatís my job."

"Tell Evangeline thanks as well," he said with a smirk and left the office on his way to his brotherís cell. Now all they had to do was get his brother cleared of the charges. "Hey do you think sheíd be able to help with Cristianís case?"

"Antonio, please donít involve her in Crisí case."

"Why? Did something happen?"

"Whoever brainwashed Cris is still out there and I donít want Evangeline involved any more in this case than she already is. Hopefully, now Cris will be willing to get some help and will be able to identify someone for us. As it is, you could still be in danger."

"I can take care of myself and I do understand about Evangeline. Youíre pretty protective of her."

"Yeah, not that it does me any good. If she knew it, sheíd have my hide. Sheís pretty independent, but I canít let anything happen to her."

"I understand. I feel the same way about Jessica."

---------------

Evangeline was sitting at one of the desks looking at some information for one of her clients when John found her in the bullpen. He walked up behind her and ran his fingers up and down her back.

"Hey," he said with a smile and leaned into her.

"Hey, howíd it go with Antonio?"

"Okay, actually. Just so you know, I declined a job for you."

"What are you talking about?"

"Antonio asked me if I thought youíd be able to help with Crisí case now that we know he really is Cris. I declined for you."

She looked at him waiting for an explanation. There had to be one and itíd better be good. One of the things she loved about him was that he never interfered with her work.

"I just donít want you getting any more involved in this than you already are. Whoever brainwashed Cris is still out there. I canít have you getting hurt," he said sliding his fingers in her hair and cupping her cheek.

"John, thanks for caring. I really appreciate it, but you donít get to make these decisions for me. I know that you worry. I understand, but I donít have to defend him in order to help with his case. I donít have to be in the forefront. If his attorney comes to me for assistance, Iíll talk it over with you first. How about that?"

"Do I have a choice?"

"No," she said and turned her face into his palm, kissing it. She smiled at him. "You know what? We have to go to Marcieís book party."

"Is that today?"

"Yeah, it is. How long do you need before youíll be ready to go?"

"An hour. Is Marcie even going to make it to the party?"

Evangeline smiled in response, "Yes, she is. Michael took her home this morning and sheís been resting most of the day. She should be okay in time for her party. Iím so proud of her."

"Well, letís get a move on."

---------------

"Marcie, are you about ready?" Michael had gone home and gotten changed into a black suit, before going back to Marcieís to take her to the book party.

"Yes, I just need you to zip me."

"Sure," he said, before he looked up at her and sighed, "You are beautiful."

"Iím glad you like the dress."

"Itís not the dress."

"Michael, stop it. Thank you for making this night happen for me."

"I wouldnít have it any other way."

---------------

Evangeline had gone home and changed into a blue strapless dress that curved to her figure. Johnís eyes had lit up when heíd first seen her. She was the most beautiful woman heíd ever known. John had changed into a navy blue suit that fit his hard body like it had been made for him.

The party was in full swing when John and Evangeline arrived. Marcie was sitting in her wheelchair as queen of the room. She was surrounded by people and she looked so happy. Michael was standing off to the side with a proud look on his face. When he glanced in their direction, he moved to greet them.

"Hey, you made it," he said patting his brother on the back and kissing Evangeline on the cheek.

"Yeah, sorry weíre late. I had to take care of some things at the station."

"No problem. You just missed Marcie firing her agent. It was great."

"Iím glad heís gone. I know you didnít like him."

"Did they have a contract?" asked Evangeline.

"I donít know. Is that a problem?"

"It could be. Iíll ask Marcie. Iím going to leave you gentleman and go talk to the lady of the hour."

"Hey, donít disappear," John said to her catching her hand as she moved away. "Iíll be there in a few minutes."

"Okay," she said and walked away as he held onto her fingers until the last minute.

"Youíre . . . falling for her," Michael said once he and John were alone.

"I donít know about that Michael. I just know that sheís all that I want."

"Youíre falling for her," Michael repeated in a more definitive tone.

"How are you and Marcie?" John asked in an attempt to change the subject.

"We may be on the road back to each other. We still have a lot to talk about, but the agent is gone and we love each other, so Iíd say we have a good chance of making it."

"Iím really glad for you Michael."

"Me too. Iím happy for you too. Evangeline is a find. Donít mess it up."

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When Marcie caught her first glimpse of Evangeline, a full grin covered her face.

"You came."

"I wouldnít have missed it for the world. Iím just sorry weíre late."

"Donít even worry about that. Iím just glad that youíre here. It means a lot to me."

"Well, Iím so proud of you. Youíve worked hard for this. Itís a wonderful accomplishment. No one deserves it more."

"Whereís John?"

"Heís somewhere around here with Michael. Michael just told me that you fired your agent."

"Yeah, I should have done it a long time ago, but I was too busy thinking that he knew better than me whatís best. That was a mistake. He took control and I let him, but no more. I know what I want and Iím going to start working to get it."

"Atta girl. Did you have a signed contract with that guy?"

"Yes, I did. Could he come back and sue me or something?"

"Maybe, depending on what the contract says. I was going to offer to go over it for you to make sure thereís nothing in there that could come back to bite you."

"Oh, would you?" At Evangelineís nod, she continued, "Thank you so much. Iím so glad that weíre friends now."

"Me, too, Marcie. It appears that you and Michael are a little more than friends again."

"I donít know. I love him and he says he loves me and he did get me here."

"I would say youíre on the way back to each other. Iím so glad. You two belong together," the two women grinned at each other and were giggling before they realized it.

"What are you two giggling about?" John asked as the two McBain boys walked up. He turned to Marcie and laid a hand on her shoulder. "How are you feeling?"

"Iím fine. Iím getting tired, but other than that Iím great. Thanks to Michael," she said glancing up at the man standing behind her.

"I didnít do anything," Michael responded.

"You got me here. Thatís more than I can say."

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