Lost Love – Ch 8
Dani was curled in her father’s arms sobbing quietly. She was fine, just scared. After her talk with her daddy, she had gone downstairs to get Johnny Boy where she’d left him on the patio. When she got there, Johnny boy was sitting on the lounge chair with a knife stuck in his chest through a folded note. Dani had screamed that "Johnny Boy was dead."
As soon as John and Evangeline had gotten to the patio, they’d checked out Dani to make sure she was alright. Evangeline had picked her up and stroked her back in hopes of calming her down. John had walked the backyard to see if there were any clues as to who could have been there. He’d found none and knew that the knife and note would not bear any finger prints. As soon as he was in her line of sight, Dani had reached for him. She had wrapped herself around him and nestled her face into his shoulder. She had been inconsolable until her mother had picked up the bear and carefully removed the knife and showed Dani that the bear could easily be repaired. She was now clutching the bear to her chest and holding on to her father as if her life depended on it.
John was cradling Dani, but he was furious. Someone had been in the yard while they’d all been upstairs. Had they been in the house? He didn’t think so, but could they have been? Yes. He looked at Evangeline as she removed the note from the knife and took a deep breath.
As she unfolded the note, she stiffened. She didn’t know what to expect, but she did know that it couldn’t be anything good. Someone had been in their yard and stabbed her child’s teddy bear. The person had to be sick and they had to hate her. She took another shuddering breath before reading the note.
You can’t protect this bear and you can’t protect her. Enjoy your time with the two of them while you can. It won’t last. I’m going to make sure of it.
Evangeline glanced at John before she carried the note into the kitchen and sat it on the table. John rose from the lounge chair carrying Dani who had settled down. She was still sniffling, but she had flashed him a couple of tiny smiles. He knew she was going to be fine, but he wasn’t sure about her mother. He walked into the house and double checked the lock. As they passed the table, Dani caught sight of the plate of cookies and her picture.
"Daddy, did you see your picture?"
"I sure did. Thank you for coloring it. It’s very nice. We’ll have to put on the refrigerator," he said smiling at the little girl.
"Okay," she said smiling back.
He looked around the downstairs and didn’t find Evangeline. As he climbed the steps, he knew that Evangeline was blaming herself for what had happened. He wanted to help her deal with this, but in her time away from him she’d learned to depend only herself. Plus she was still carrying a lot of guilt from four years ago, and now this. He was determined to be there for her, no matter what.
As soon as he deposited Dani with her mother, he would call Bo at Eve’s and get a forensic team over to the house. He was afraid that this was all related to the Santi case that Van had testified in. All his inquiries indicated that the Santis were eliminated, but there could still be stragglers from the organization out there. He’d tell Bo to give Sonia Toledo a call and see if there were any INL agents still investigating the Santi Organization. She might be a good contact for finding the person that was after Evangeline.
He found Evangeline in his bed curled into a ball crying. Dani looked at her mother and then her father with a frown. When John sat down on the bed, Dani turned to her mother, while John laid his hand on Van’s hip.
Dani laid her hand against her mother’s cheek and said, "Mommy, Johnny Boy is okay. See." Dani held him out to her, trying to assure her mother that everything was alright.
Evangeline smiled at Dani through her tears, "I see munchkin. I glad Johnny Boy is okay. When I go back into my room, we’ll stitch him up okay."
"Okay. Can I lay down with you?"
"Sure you can," she told her daughter. Dani crawled off of her daddy’s lap and into her mother’s arms.
Evangeline looked up at John, who smiled at her.
"Angie, this is not your fault," he said leaning in to kiss her.
"I know. I just hate that it’s happening."
"Yeah, well we’ll handle it. I’m going to call Bo. There will probably be quite a few guys downstairs in a few, so why don’t the two of you stay in here. That way I’ll know where to find you."
"Yay," said Dani. They all laughed at her enthusiasm. John leaned over and kissed both of his girls before going downstairs to make his call.
Within minutes, Bo and a group of crime scene investigators were on the scene. The investigators were dusting for prints and checking for footprints in the back yard. They’d taken the knife as evidence and were checking for any fibers.
John was still furious about the note. Why would anyone target Evangeline? Or threaten his daughter? It just didn’t make sense. He told Bo that as they were standing in the kitchen.
"How is Evangeline?" asked Bo.
"Upset. She’s upstairs with Dani. She’ll be okay."
"Fine, probably attempting to cheer up her mother."
"That’s my girl."
John glanced at the sink. He realized that he needed to order dinner. Evangeline would definitely not be finishing the meal tonight.
"Did you call Sonia about the Santis?"
"Yeah, I did. She said that there were some rumors floating around that a couple of guys from the Santi organization were still out there. She’s going to look into it and get back to you."
"Did you have any problems with her? I was skeptical about having you call her, since she and Antonio split."
"No, she didn’t give me any problems at all."
"Good, maybe she’ll be cooperative this time."
"We can only hope."
"Mommy, where’d you get this ring?" Dani asked as she turned the ring around Van’s finger. She was facing her mother where they lay on John’s pillow.
"Daddy gave it to me."
"I think so too. Your daddy has good taste," she wasn’t going to tell Dani that it was an engagement ring. She figured that she and John should tell Dani together. Dani would be so excited. For that matter, Van thought that the McBain clan would feel the same. She smiled as she thought about how the announcement would go over.
"I want one," not knowing what she was asking for.
"I’m sure you’ll get one when you get older."
The next morning Evangeline opened her eyes to a new day. The sun shone through the bedroom window and rested on Dani and John. Sometime during the night, Dani had pulled both of their hands across her chest. One thing about Dani that had never changed since she was a baby was the fact that if she slept with someone, she burrowed herself under them. Right now, she had lodged herself under John’s shoulder and the two were facing Evangeline.
Van took a deep breath and just enjoyed this moment of being able to look at them. She had to smile. Evangeline could see so much of John in Dani. They looked so adorable together. Then she remembered what was going on in their lives. Someone was out to get her and they were threatening the man she loved and their child. She resolved in that moment that neither of them would be harmed.
Once John had gone downstairs, Evangeline had given Dani a bath in the master bathroom and dressed her in her pjs. Once she’d found cartoons on John’s TV, she went to her room and changed into a t-shirt and shorts to sleep in. She and Dani had watched Kim Possible while they waited for John to finish with the officers. John had told her about Bo and Eve taking some steps forward, so Evangeline had called Eve to let her know that they were all okay. She’d also discussed Dani with Eve. The two women had come to an understanding.
After the officers had left the house, John had come upstairs to join his family. He found them curled up on his bed asleep. He’d awakened them to eat dinner. He served a half veggie/half cheese pizza on a blanket on his bedroom floor. They’d made it a picnic. He did his best to distract Van from thoughts of the afternoon. Dani appeared to be none the worse for wear. He’d changed into pajama bottoms and a t-shirt, before climbing into bed with them. He’d kissed them both on the forehead before wrapping his arms around them and going to sleep. Evangeline loved him more everyday and she would do whatever was necessary to protect him.
"Stop worrying," John said softly. His hand was resting at Van’s waist and as her gaze moved to his, she realized that while she’d been deep in thought, he’d been watching her.
"I’m not so much worried, as concerned for you and Dani."
"Dani and I are both fine."
"Yes. Dani is right here safe with us and I’m a big boy. I can take care of myself. I’m concerned about you."
"I’m fine. I just hate what this is doing to our family. Whoever is doing this isn’t going to hurt me. They want me to suffer the loss of you and Dani. That’s why I should go; maybe they will follow me and then the two of you would be safe."
"You’re not going anywhere," John said in an intense voice.
Evangeline sighed, "Well Dani is. I talked to your mom last night while you were with the other cops. She’s going to take Dani for a little while. Since Bo is there so much lately, she was going to talk to him about some additional protection."
"I’m not sure about this."
"Whoever this is wants me to find these little hints or threats. If Dani isn’t here, I think the threats against her will stop."
"Okay, we can try that and just see how it works," he said. He stroked her cheek and said, "Everything is going to be fine. We are going to catch this guy and then we are going to get married."
"We’re getting married?" Dani asked from where she lay between them in a sleepy voice.
"Yes, Dani, we’re getting married," John replied.
"Yay. Yippee," she bounced on the bed and fell into her mother’s arms. She then turned to John and said, "I told you, Daddy."
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