“Tonight was all that I could have imagined,” Marcie said as Michael wheeled her into her apartment.
“I’m glad. You deserve it. I want you to have all the things you dream of.”
“Really?” she said with a smile, waiting for his nod before continuing. “Can we talk?”
“Sure, about what?”
“Marcie, are you sure you’re up to it? You’ve had a long day. We can do this later.”
“I don’t want to do it later. I want to get this out now.”
“Okay, you start.”
“Michael when we broke up, you thought I wasn’t over Al or that I was using you as a substitute for him. Neither of those things is true. I let Al go a long time ago. I love you. I just don’t always understand you. I know that you’ve been busy with the hospital and your boards and all; and that I’ve been busy with my book and with Hayes. I’ve realized over the last few months that the only thing that’s really important is me and you.”
“Marcie, the only thing I wanted when we broke up was for you to be my wife, but I realized that I was being selfish. I felt like I was keeping you from doing what you needed to for this career of yours. I couldn’t do that. I wanted you for myself and I wasn’t thinking about how that would impact your life. That’s why I suggested that we take some time. I didn’t think it would last. Since our first kiss last Valentine’s Day, I’ve wanted you. That isn’t going to change.”
“Then what are we doing apart? I know when I woke up you said that the kiss with that nurse was nothing. Were you telling me the truth?”
“Yes, Marcie. Steph kissed me and caught me off guard. I had just told her that even though we weren’t together, I still wanted to be with you. I was just dancing with her because I’d already told her that there was no chance with me.”
Marcie smiled at him. “So why are we apart?”
“Because I’m an idiot. I always want to have all the facts and be right. I’m realizing more and more that I can’t always know how everything is going to play out.”
“So what does that mean for us?”
“It was a wonderful evening. I’m so happy for Marcie. She’s worked so hard and had such a hard time getting to this point, but she made it,” Evangeline commented as John took the key to her apartment out of her hand and unlocked the door. He held the door open for her and followed her inside.
“Yeah, she did.”
“She and Michael looked so happy together tonight. I think they might be getting back together. I hope so. They both deserve to be happy.”
“You’re right. Michael really loves Marcie and I know she cares a lot about him.”
“She loves him. She is a strong woman. I like that.”
“I like that, too,” John said, running his hand over her head.
“Oh, you do?”
“Absolutely. I find strong women attractive. I find that I love a woman who’s independent, smart, and sexy as hell, who walks her own path,” he said with a grin.
“Do you?” Evangeline replied with a sassy smile.
“Yeah, I do,” he said more seriously. “You know, my mom is one of the strongest women that I know. She lost my dad and raised me and Michael. She never made us feel like we were a burden to her. She loved us with her whole heart, even when we knew her heart was breaking. She’s the best. You are like her in many ways.”
“Thank you. I take that as a compliment.”
“I meant it that way,” he said pulling her close and resting his forehead against hers.
“I’m going to change. Do you want to go get some dinner or something?”
“No, before you change I want you to do something with me.”
“Okay,” she said with an inquisitive look. “What?”
“Dance with me.” He held out his right hand and waited for her to move. She put her handbag on the side table and placed her left hand in his right. He pulled her to him wrapping his free arm around her waist with their clasped hands held close to his heart.
“There’s no music,” she whispered.
“We don’t need any,” he responded back. “This is all we need. I want you, but I want to do more than make love with you. You are my best friend. I share more with you than with anyone else. I don’t ever want to lose that.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” She leaned into him and rested her head on his shoulder as they danced around her living room to the beat of their hearts.
“Marcie, it means that we can have whatever we want.”
“Why didn’t you propose to me?”
“Because it just seemed too hard and I didn’t want to make you choose between me and your career or anything else.”
“Michael, did it ever occur to you that it should be my decision or that I could have both? You don’t get to make decisions for me.”
“I know that. I just thought it would be selfish to ask.”
“Did it ever occur to you that I wanted to marry you?”
“I hoped that you would, but I didn’t take it for granted that you would say yes.”
“That’s a good thing. Never take it for granted, but always know that I do love you.”
“What do we do now?”
“If you’re serious about wanting to be with me, we need to spend some time together and get back what we lost.”
“I’d like that more than you know.” He lifted her from her chair into his arms and held her. He felt as if he’d come home.
“Now that all of my other friends are taken care of, I can focus my attention on you,” John said with a grin to Evangeline where they sat on the love seat in her living room. She was lying against John with her head on his shoulder. He had wrapped his arm around her and held her tight.
“That’s a little scary. I know to what lengths you’ll go to protect your friends. With all this focus on me, what about work?”
“You know I’d never jeopardize how I do my job, but I think I can do both. Now that Tico’s murder is solved, I’ll go back to working on Paul Cramer’s, as well as, working to find out who held Cris for a year. I’ll actually be calling in the FBI on that now, because it was basically a kidnapping. There’s no telling who’s involved.”
“The question is who would want both Tico and Antonio out of the way. Who benefits the most from it?”
“Well financially Adriana would. She’s the heir, as far as, we know. Could there be another one?”
“He’s a man. Of course, there could be another one.”
“Hey, wait a minute. I think I’m offended.”
She pulled back and looked him in the eye, before responding.
“You are not a typical man. You care deeply about the people you’re involved with. If there was a child of yours out there, you’d be a part of their life. You’d know them and they’d know you. You’d take care of them, unless it was some kind of outstanding circumstances.”
“You think you know me so well,” he said with a smirk.
“No, I don’t. You confuse me. I’ve just picked up on some things that just shine through the more time I spend with you.”
“No, you do know me. You’ve actually taken the time to pick up on those things. It amazes me sometimes how well you can read me. You’re amazing.”
“No, thank you for caring enough.”
“I didn’t have much choice. You’re pretty hard to resist.”
“The feelings mutual,” he said before leaning in to kiss her.
“Marcie, what do you want for dinner? I’m going to go and get us something.”
“Michael, I don’t care.”
“Marcie you do care. You don’t like Thai and I know you won’t want pasta right now.”
“Since you know me so well, you can just pick. I trust you to make the right choice.”
“Thanks. That being the case, I’ll go to the diner and pick something up. I’ll be back in half an hour. Your dad and Ron called while you were in the bathroom. Are you going to be okay here? I can have Jen or Evangeline come over and stay with you until I get back.”
“Thanks, but I’ll be fine. You’ll only be gone for a few minutes. I’ll call Dad and Ron while you’re gone. Hurry back.”
“I will,” Michael pressed a kiss to her lips before leaving the room.
“What do you want to do the rest of the night?” John asked.
“That’s a loaded question,” Evangeline said with a grin. “Seriously, I’d like to have dinner and talk.”
“Talking normally gets me in trouble.”
“This one won’t,” she chuckled. “We can just talk about our pasts. You know memories of growing up. Things you wouldn’t tell me New Year’s. You know just because I grew up in the suburbs doesn’t mean that I’m removed from the real world. I’ve seen it all since I became a defender. I can handle anything you share with me. I won’t judge or think that you’re not good enough.”
“Sometimes I think I’m not good enough. Here you are, one of the top attorney’s in the state, musically inclined, tennis player, dating a cop. Why?” he asked seriously.
“Why not? Behind all of that, I’m a woman. You make me feel all that there is in being a woman. You’re protective, you make me feel beautiful, and you accept me for who I am. You’re what I want. The question is will I get you.”
“You’ve already got me.”