Chapter 3

The women arrived at Rodiís in a convoy. They walked into the restaurant like old friends laughing with each other. They commandeered a table and ordered two large servings of onion rings. They noticed that a couple of guys were finishing their game of pool and Evangeline went to claim the table.

"Hi, gentlemen," she said to the two young men. "Are you finished with the table?"

While she was talking to the young men, Michael and John walked into Rodiís and headed to the bar. When Marcie saw Michael, she excused herself to say hello.

"Just a couple of idiotsÖ." Marcie heard Shannon say as she moved to the bar. She laughed and tapped him on the shoulder.

"Excuse me, do you have a girlfriend?" she said with a hint of humor in her voice.

Michael turned around and smiled at her upon hearing her voice.

"Actually, I do. Sheís this wonderful woman who I love very, very, much."

"Oh, MichaelÖ" Marcie said, leaning into him for a kiss.

John rolled his eyes at the pair and scanned the room. His eyes fell on Evangeline standing near the pool table talking to two guys that appeared to be completely into her. She had their undivided attention. They looked like they were in awe of her. An uncomfortable feeling coiled in the pit of his stomach.

"Go over there and talk to her, John," Michael said seeing the look of longing in his brotherís eyes.

"We donít have anything to talk about Mikey."

"How about that look in your eyes when you see her?"

"What does that mean?"

"It means that even though you decided that you arenít seeing each other, you still want to."

"I donít know," he said.

"If youíve decided that you really donít want her in your life then donít talk to her. But, donít let fear hold you hostage."

He and Evangeline had been apart for over a week. They hadnít talked or run into each other at the police department. Antonio was still her client, but heíd had no reason to bring him in for questioning.

She was so beautiful. She was wearing a red shirt and tight fitting blue jeans. If he closed his eyes, he could imagine what she would smell like. He watched as she turned and saw him. Their eyes met and excitement gave way to sadness in her eyes. She quickly turned toward the table where Shannon and Nora sat talking. She beckoned Shannon to her.

"Shannon, I want you to meet James Thomas. James, this is Shannon McBain. Heís a junior at Llanview University. I was telling him about you being a psychology major and he was telling me that he is as well. I thought he could tell you about some of the upcoming classes youíll have to take."

"That would be great," Shannon responded with a knowing smile. She would have to thank Evangeline personally for the matchmaking effort. "That is if you donít mind, James."

"Not at all. Iíd be glad to tell you all about the classes," James replied.

"Great, you guys go ahead and talk. It was really nice meeting you, James and Dick," Evangeline said.

"It was great meeting you, Ms. Williamson," Dick said with a smile for Evangeline.

"Call me Evangeline. Hopefully, Iíll see you guys around. Have fun," she said and made her way back to the table where Nora sat watching.

"What was all that about?" Nora asked as soon as Evangeline reached the table.

"That was about introducing Shannon to a guy who has no ties to anyone else we know."

"Thatís sweet, but it looks like girlsí night has turned into a night for just the two of us. And I donít think that weíll be getting a game of pool out of Shannon or Marcie."

"I think youíre probably right," Evangeline said reaching for an onion ring. They must have been delivered while she was interrogating James on Shannonís behalf.

"And the way Johnís looking at you, I think it will soon be just me."

"I think youíre exaggerating. We decided it wonít work."

"Thatís the fear talking. Oh, here he comes. Be nice. Iím going to go see if I can find Daniel."

"Call me and let me know how it goes."

"I will. Tomorrow," Nora responded and turned to leave the bar.

"Do you mind if I sit down?" the voice that she loved said from behind her.

"No. Have a seat."

"How are you?" he asked after taking the chair closest to her.

"Iím fine. How are you?"

"Tired."

"Did you want something?"

"You."

Evangeline sighed and didnít respond other than to give him a bemused look.

"John, why are you doing this?"

"Why am I doing this? Iím doing this because I think we have what it takes to make a relationship work."

"Just over a week ago, you were talking about how we are too busy and how Iíve taken cases just because youíre the investigating officer. What could possibly have changed in that time?"

"Until yesterday, I would have said nothing. Then I started thinking about what weíve had. A few moments ago, when I saw you, Michael said something that made me rethink. I miss you. I saw the look in your eyes earlier. I know that you have feelings for me. Iím willing to work at this wacky relationship we have."

"Why now?"

"Now, I know what itís like to be without you and while Iíve been willing to deal with it. I donít like it."

"John, I donít know."

"I know. I should have been honest with you weeks ago. That marriage talk through me for a loop. I guess subconsciously I just assumed that someday we would potentially move forward. Maybe marriage and when you said that marriage ruined things and how you were afraid of divorce, I saw red. I didnít want to run you off then, but I started putting up walls. Iím sorry for that."

"Iím almost sorry we had that talk. Iím not so much afraid of marriage as I am of divorce. My parents divorce did a number on me and I donít want to put my family through that. I do want a husband and children. I just donít want to lose them."

"Iím still working on these murder cases, but Iím planning on taking some time off and delegating some of the work to other officers. Do you think you can take some time off, too, and we can spend some time together with no distractions?"

"Sure, but what are we going to do while we spend this time together?"

"I figure, we can take the time to really get to know each other. Iím ready for a deeper relationship with you. I want it all. What about you?"

"I want it all too. Iím just afraid that Iíll get it and then lose it."

"Not if we work at it," he said and pulled her into a kiss. He was at peace in that kiss. He hadnít been there in the past week. "I love you."

"What?"

"I love you. Iíve known for a while, but I wasnít ready to put it out there. Now if weíre going to go deep, I need to be completely honest with you."

"I guess that means that I owe you the same courtesy. I love you, too."

He smiled at her and leaned in for another kiss.

"Do you think we can take this someplace a little more private?" he asked.

"Absolutely," she replied taking a note from his book and leaned into him relishing this new development in their relationship. She didnít know where they were headed, but as they left Rodiís she realized it promised to be an interesting ride.

The End