“Hey, have you been avoiding me?” John asked when he saw Evangeline a few days later at the station.
“No,” she said without looking at him. He had seen very little of her and while he knew she’d been in court for the last two days, that had never kept them from talking before. “I’ve just been really busy with a client.”
“Are you sure that’s all?” he asked watching her face to get an idea of what was going on in her head. The one thing he could count on was her expressions.
“Yeah,” she said continuing to not look in his face.
He caught her arm and she looked up at him startled. “What’s going on? Whatever it is, you can talk to me about it.”
“There’s nothing going on. I’m just really busy.” She held an emotionless expression on her face and he knew then that something was wrong. She was hiding from him and he didn’t like it.
“Okay. Do you want to have dinner later?”
“I don’t think I can. I’m meeting a client for dinner.”
“Okay, after dinner then.”
“John, it’s probably going to be late when I get in. How about we get together tomorrow or something?”
“We’ll figure out something.” He pulled her to him. He kissed her and felt her tense before relaxing into him. He wrapped one arm around her waist and the other he stuck in her hair, feeling the silky strands caressing his fingers. He held her in the kiss for several seconds before ending it. When he ended it, the softness in her eyes was evident.
“I’ll see you later,” he said and went into his office. She stood there for several minutes wondering how she’d gotten to this particular place. She was meeting Nora in about an hour and she needed to keep it together. Nora had a way of getting her to talk when she didn’t want to. She left the station and headed back to her office where she could have some privacy.
“John, what’s this I hear about you spending the evenings here at the station?”
“Just catching up on some case work.” John said as Nora walked into his office.
“Since I’ve made you’re life my business, what’s up with you and Evangeline?” Nora propped herself against the corner of John’s desk.
“What do you mean?”
“Last I heard, you guys were in a good place. The last few days I haven’t heard from her and I find out you’re here more than not. There’s something wrong with that picture.”
“We were in a good place. There’s something going on with her that I don’t know about.”
“I know, but I’m going to find out what it is.”
“That’s my boy. I’m meeting her in a few minutes so if something comes up, I’ll see where it leads.”
“Don’t push her, Nora. I need her to trust me with it, whatever it is.”
“Okay, I’ll leave it alone, but remember I offered.”
“You want me to tell her anything for you.”
“Just that I miss her.”
“I like that,” Nora said with a smile turning to leave the office. He sighed as Nora left. He was going to find out tonight if he had anything to do with it.
“Hey, Johnny. You got a minute?” Michael asked as he walked into John’s office.
“I guess I need to make a minute since you just walked right into my office.”
Michael laughed as he took a seat in front of John’s desk.
“I wanted to tell you something.”
“Go ahead,” John said looking at a file on his desk.
“I’m asking Marcie to marry me tonight.”
“That’s great. I knew that you guys were working on getting back together, but this is good news. So things are working for you?”
“Yeah. We’ve been spending time together for the past few days and getting through those misunderstandings that broke us up. We’ve talked about some compromises and made some decisions about how we can make time for each other and still have our careers. It’s been great.”
“Mikey, I’m happy for you. You deserve this.”
“Thanks, Johnny. What about you and Evangeline? I know a while back I mentioned you thinking about proposing to her. Have you rethought that at all?”
“Actually, I have. I’m thinking about it.”
“Really? You do love her.”
“Yeah, I do. I just realized it a few days ago, but I think Evangeline is running scared.”
“I thought she wanted a more committed relationship with you.”
“She did, but I don’t think she was expecting me to want marriage with the woman I fell in love with.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. I would think she’d want marriage too.”
“It’s a long story, but there are some concerns about marriage on her part.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“Change her mind.”
“Hey, Marcie,” Evangeline said when she entered the Palace restaurant. Marcie appeared to be on her way out of the restaurant. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m okay. Getting better all the time and me and Michael are doing really good.”
“Marcie, I’m so happy for you. That is wonderful news.”
“Yeah, we’ve come to some decisions about how we’ll handle the relationship. I don’t know what will happen, but we’re closer than we’ve ever been. I just hope that I’m what Michael wants.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, Michael is a doctor. A gorgeous doctor and he wants someone who’s going to always be there. I’ve just found something that I’m really good at and I don’t want to have to choose.”
“Marcie, Michael loves you. He always has. You are what he wants. I’m an attorney and John doesn’t expect me to be there all the time. He knows that my job is important to me. Michael is no different.”
“Well, I’m enjoying just being us, together. How are you and John?”
“We’re . . . we’re fine. Just been busy with work and all.”
“Don’t let work keep you from the people you love. It’s never worth it.”
“I know Marcie. I just need to work through some things right now.”
“If you need somebody to talk to, I’m here.”
“Thanks, Marcie. I’ll see you later.” She glanced around and found Nora sitting in the corner of the restaurant waiting on her.
“Hey, Evangeline. You’re late,” Nora said when Evangeline reached their table.
“I know. I got sidetracked at my office.”
“That’s a likely story.”
“Yeah, yeah. How are you?”
“I’m good. Matthew’s over his flu and Daniel and I are getting ready to set a date for the wedding.”
“That’s great Nora. I’m so happy for you. This is wonderful news.”
“I think so. What about you and John? I hear he’s spending evenings at the PD again.”
“I’ve been working late on cases the past few days. It’s been a rough week. I’ve been dealing with telling John that I’m falling in love with him. I just talked to this guy who wants me to represent him….”
“Wait… wait . . . you told John that you were falling in love with him?”
“Yeah, I did. Then we talked about some very personal things. We made a deeper emotional connection that I thought we would. He told me that if he fell in love with me, he’d want to get married. I’m not sure I want that, Nora.”
“I thought you wanted such a deep connection with him that any connections with anyone else wouldn’t even phase you.”
“I did. I do. I just don’t know if I’m ready for what he’ll want if I get that deeper connection.”
“Well, you can’t have it all your way.”
“I know that. That’s what scares me.”
“He told me to tell you he misses you.”
She smiled at Nora and said, “I miss him too.”
“Talk to him. Let him know what’s going on. He’ll understand.”
“Yeah. Let’s talk about something else,” she said in hopes of changing the subject. The rest of their lunch was uneventful, but John was never far from Evangeline’s thoughts.
Michael had been in Angel Square for an hour putting the finishing touches on the setting. He wanted everything to be just right. He had lilies decorating the bench that he wanted to use. He had a small table lit with candles and glasses of wine for toasting if things turned out like he wanted.
“Michael, why did you want to meet me here?” Marcie asks as she walked into Angel Square. “What’s all this?”
“I wanted to talk to you,” he said taking her hand and letting her sit on the bench.
“Okay. What do you want to talk about?”
“Well, I’ve been thinking. We’ve been through so much over the past few months. We could have just gone our separate ways with all the fighting and misunderstandings.”
“Yeah, but we didn’t. We decided to work through it.”
“We did. We’ve only been back together for a few days, but we’re closer now than when we split up.”
She smiled at him before responding, “Yes, we are closer.”
“Marcie, I want more out of a relationship.”
Marcie frowned as she listened to Michael. Was he about to break up with her? They’d just gotten back together. They’d been spending all their spare time together, but maybe she wasn’t what Michael wanted. She was afraid to ask him what he meant, knowing that he would continue.
“I want all that comes from being with the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with. You know the picnics in the park; the midnight talks in bed; the holding hands while taking a walk down the street; the comfortable silences that come from knowing the other person knows you better than you know yourself; the growing old together. I want it all.”
“Michael, what are you saying?”
He got down on one knee and pulled out a beautiful ring. Marcie started to tear up as soon as she saw the ring. She almost couldn’t believe what was happening. A moment ago, she’d been afraid that they were breaking up.
“After all we’ve been through together it’s just drawn us closer together. I love you and I know you love me. Will you marry me?” Michael said, waiting for Marcie’s answer.
She pulled him to his feet and wrapped her arms around his neck.
“I want nothing more than to be your wife. Yes, I’ll marry you. I love you Michael.”
“I love you, Marcie,” he said and kissed her sealing the engagement. He rested in what was the beginning of his life with her. He pulled back and placed the ring on her finger and smiled at her, before kissing her again. The kiss shook both of them. He lifted his glass, while handing her the other one.
“Marcie, to us. I plan to show you everyday how much I love you. That isn’t going to change.”
After they drank their wine, they blew out the candles and collected them, before they left Angel Square holding hands. They went back to Michael’s to celebrate their upcoming marriage.
Evangeline opened the door to her apartment and tossed her briefcase on the side table. It had been a long day and she’d finally decided to just end it. She couldn’t get her mind off John and their relationship long enough to get any real work done. She was disgusted with herself. She had been avoiding him and she felt ashamed of herself.
She was afraid to talk to John about her fears again. Would he understand? Maybe, but that wasn’t what she was afraid of. She was afraid that she wasn’t strong enough to get past the fear. She’d always prided herself with being able to handle anything that was thrown her way.
“Evangeline,” she heard a deep voice call from the darkness of the living room. Her breath caught for a moment before she realized that it was John.
“What are you doing here sitting in the dark?”
“I needed to talk to you. You’ve been avoiding me and I need to know why.”
“John, I thought we said tomorrow.”
“No, you said tomorrow. I need to know what’s going on with you. I’ve realized that I’m not real patient when it comes to you.”
“What if I’m not ready to talk?”
“You might not be ready to talk, but if that’s the case you can just listen. You’re scared,” he said with an arrogant look on his handsome face.
“What do I have to be scared of?” she replied with a superior tone.
“My feelings for you. You’ve wanted us to have a deeper connection. You want me to love you, but on your terms. You can’t have it both ways.”
“What do you mean both ways? You told me you weren’t sure if you could love me or anyone else.”
“Not gonna work. You are not redirecting this conversation on me. Nice try, though. You can’t have me love you and then say you won’t marry me.”
“I never said that.”
“No you didn’t, but you know that you’ve broken through the barrier in my heart. I want to love you and for you to love me. I also know that I’m going to want a legal commitment from you, soon.”
“Nope, you can’t get out of this. This is who I am. You have to take all of me, not just the parts you like.”
“John, I don’t know if I can do it. I told myself that I wouldn’t ever marry. After what the divorce did to my parents, I didn’t want any parts of marriage.”
“I can understand that, but that divorce didn’t happen to us. There’s nothing that says it would happen to us. Marriage is about giving your all to someone else and depending on them to do the same. It’s working through your problems instead of keeping things to yourself,” he said with a pointed look.
“That’s cute. I’m just not sure I can.”
“So you’re a coward. I never thought I’d get that from you.”
“I’m not a coward.”
“What do you call this,” he said gesturing between the two them.
“I call this being cautious.”
“It’s cowardly or maybe it’s a lack of trust in me.”
“John, I trust you with my life.”
”But, do you trust me with your heart?” he asked and waited for an answer. When she said nothing, he continued in a raised voice. “Now, I understand. You want me, but you don’t trust me enough to take care of you and your heart.”
“That’s not true. I love you…” she stopped abruptly as she realized what she’d just said. She took a deep breath and looked up at John.
“I love you, too,” he said in a soft voice that sent shivers down her spine. “And I’m not saying I want to get married tomorrow or that I’m even asking tomorrow, but you need to be open to it.”
He pulled her to him and rested his forehead to hers before tilting her head to receive his kiss. They rested in each other for long moments.
“I do love you,” he whispered and swooped back in to take her mouth in another mind blowing kiss.