CHAPTER 3

Evangeline was taking notes on Killian's case, trying to listen to his
story and keep her thoughts straight. He was describing his wife's
murder, and from the pained looks on his face, she couldn't imagine
how anyone thought him the killer.

"I think I have a good case for appeal, considering some of the things
you've told me about the judge," she said, putting the pen down and
rubbing her face.

Killian frowned and reached out. Evangeline had a gray pall over her
skin, and although she had tried to hide it, she hadn't been eating
much in the past day or so. Evangeline leaned back, just out of his
reach, and gave him a weak smile.

"Now, hold it right there, doctor. I'll go back to being a patient
when we're done here," she said, patting his hand. He took the
opportunity to grab her wrist and check her pulse.

"I hope your Irishman hurries along," Killian said, as Evangeline took
her arm back.

She had a rapid heartbeat, and he was afraid the fever might make
another appearance. He regretted letting her go out into the snow
with him to build their monument of wood to attract help from any

rescue planes that may come by.

"Please don't worry about me, Killian. I'll be fine," Evangeline
said, adjusting her posture to look healthier than she felt.
Secretly, she was worried that John wouldn't find her in time.

"I cleaned out your wound as best as I could, love, with my best
whiskey, I might add," Killian said, his hooded, green eyes turning
dark with concern. "I think it might not be enough. We've got to get
this infection out of you, and I don't have the proper medicine. If
your lad doesn't show up in a couple of days, we're going to have to
make a go of it ourselves."

"He'll come, Killian," Evangeline said, strongly. "Tell me more about Rajani."

Killian crossed his arms over his broad chest. His cheeks caved into
enormous dimples as he smiled, thinking of his beautiful wife. She
was Punjabi, with light brown skin and hair as black as a raven's
feathers. The only makeup she wore was onyx liner around her eyes.
She was utterly serious, and he thought she couldn't stand him when
they first met in medical school. Whenever he made a joke, Rajani was
the only one who wouldn't laugh, and she consumed him whenever she
turned her midnight-black eyes on him.

One night, he'd found her hidden in one of the remote parts of the
campus library, crying. He'd thought she was homesick or something
had happened to her family. He took her in his arms and rocked her
until she stopped. When he asked her what it was that had caused her
such grief, he was surprised when she said it was he. She had seen
him with a blond woman, kissing her, and Rajani was upset that the
sight of it made her so unhappy.

She was even more troubled that this sight of Killian and the
forgotten blond had driven her to pray to her gods for aid. In her
dreams, she had gotten an answer: if Killian found her in the library,
in a set of stacks where he would have no reason to tread, then he
would be hers forever.

"You found me," Rajani had said, shaking in his arms like a flower in the wind.

Killian had, indeed, found her among the immortal words of Yeats and
Dylan Thomas. He hadn't had the heart to tell her that it was a spot
he often frequented, every Irishman being a poet. He just kissed her
deeply and made her his own.

The night he had become a widower, that treacherous night, he had
stopped to buy Rajani some flowers. Not because they'd had a fight,
but because he thought she should have something beautiful, because
she had given up her dream of joining Doctors Without Borders to be
with him, because he loved her.

When he had found her on their living room floor, with her sable eyes
still open, the life emptying out of them, he had dropped the bouquet
of cheap flowers, and the pink-white petals were strewn around her
dying body, soaking in her blood. She had looked at him at him and
smiled.

"My love," Rajani had whispered, the sound of her voice floating just
above his muffled cries, "you always brought me such joy. You always
made me laugh, Killian."

"I tried to save her," Killian told Evangeline. "I tried for so long."

Killian leaned forward and put his head on the table and cried again
for his lost soulmate. Evangeline rose from her seat gingerly and put
her arms around him. She apologized for making him relive it, but
together, they would figure out who killed his wife.

When Evangeline swooned, Killian stood quickly, knocking over his
chair. She apologized, sounding confused, her eyes rolling around in
her head. When she fainted, he carried her back to the bed and took
her temperature. He estimated that it was climbing into the danger
zone.

If he took her out into the ocean of white now, he wouldn't be able to
see, with the impending nightfall. He would have to wait for first
light, and he hoped Evangeline would last that long.
____________________________________________________________________

Antonio could see that John was getting frustrated, that he was
beginning to lose hope. Each of them had underestimated the danger of
the mountain. Each of them had needed help negotiating the terrain at
different points. And, now, it was snowing. They had set up camp in
a cave for the night.

"Look, John "

"She's slipping away from me, Antonio. I can feel it," John
interrupted, staring into the fire they had built. He put the heels
of his hands up to his eyes.

"Don't give up on Eva. She's a strong woman," Antonio said.

"Her name is Evangeline," John snapped. He looked up at the roof of
the cave and let out a deep breath. He apologized in the next
instant.

Antonio shrugged it off. "Hey, man, if my wife was missing, I'd be
going insane too," he said, taking a bite of the dried beef they had
brought with them. He inched closer to the fire and began poking it
with a stick to make it burn more brightly.

John began to think more deeply about his love. An old daemon that he
thought he had mastered crept back into his mind: if he hadn't loved
her so much, she wouldn't be taken away from him.

"I had no right to touch her at all in that basement. I had no
right," John said, staring at the earthen floor of the cave. "If I
hadn't reached out for her, we wouldn't be here right now."

"You act like all you ever did was break Evangeline's heart," Antonio
said. "You gave her love, man. You have no idea how much that woman
needs you."

John's body jerked involuntarily at the notion that Evangeline needing
him, as if responding to her call at that moment.

"She doesn't need me. She never needed me. She told you that she needed me?"

"Yeah, she did," Antonio said, smirking at the blush creeping over his
friend's cheeks. Antonio reached over and hit John in the leg with
the stick, and they both began to laugh.

"I guess I do have a tiny hero complex," John said, still smiling.

Antonio stood from the hard ground and started to run to get the
circulation back in his legs. John began to shake his legs from where
he was sitting.

"Antonio," John started.

"No, Evangeline and I never hooked up," Antonio interrupted, staring
ahead, stifling a laugh.

John nodded, leaned back and closed his eyes. "Good, that's very
good," he said.

"She loves it when you get jealous," Antonio said, sitting abruptly.
He, too, leaned back and prepared for sleep.

John propped himself up on his elbows. "She told me that she hated
it," he said, incredulous.

"Nope, she loves it."

"Women," John said, leaning back again and drifting off to sleep.
____________________________________________________________________

Todd only waited for the sunrise to get the helicopter moving because
the pilot insisted on having the light of daybreak for safety reasons.
Todd fired and rehired the man six times within the space of 10
minutes.

There was no logic to the Manning blitzkrieg search. Todd ordered the
helicopter east, west, north, or south at random, based on his gut
instincts. When he spotted the SOS a few miles from a cabin, his
heart leapt.

"There. Touch down there," Todd said, pointing and pushing against
the wall of the helicopter as if he could make it move by shoving it
in the right direction himself.

Todd smiled as he ran over the banks of snow to get to the cabin. He
had visions of Evangeline's grateful countenance and declarations that
she knew he would find her. He imagined the headline he would run on
the front page of The Banner Sun: "Publisher Rescues Presumed Dead
Legal Eagle; Llanview PD Fails Again."

When he reached the cabin, Todd didn't even have the satisfaction of
kicking the door in. It was wide open, with a note on it that read:
"Gone for help." Todd went in and saw Evangeline's business suit
draped over a chair in the corner. He picked up the gray-blue suit,
catching sight of a rip in the fabric stained around the edges with
blood.

"Damnit, Evangeline, where are you?" he said under his breath,
storming out of the cabin into the chill of day.
____________________________________________________________________

Killian stopped pulling the sled carrying Evangeline. He'd bundled
her loosely in the bedding, hoping the cold air would keep her
temperature from rising higher. He tried to get his bearings, but
there was nothing but expanses of white stretching for miles in
whichever direction he turned.

He looked up at the bald, distant sun to determine east, and then,
relationally, north. There was a call box for the rangers about five
miles away. Hopefully, he could spot a temporary shelter along the
way. His hands were already numb from the cold, despite wearing thick
work gloves.

"Come, my beauty," Killian said, putting the rope connected to the
sled over his shoulder once more. He dug in to the snow and began
pulling.
____________________________________________________________________

"Do you think you broke it?" John asked as he knelt beside Antonio in the snow.

Antonio cradled his ankle, groaning from the pain. He had stumbled,
knee-deep, into a snow-filled hole.

"No, I think I just twisted it."

John put his hands on his hips and looked around. "I can get you back
to the cave," he said, grabbing Antonio under the arms and pulling him
up.

"No, no, no," Antonio said, limping. "Let's keep looking for her."

John nodded. "She's close. I think she's close. But if she's hurt,
I can't help her and help you," he said.

"I understand. Don't worry about me, John," Antonio said.

John pulled a thick branch from a nearby tree to help Antonio walk.
He looked out into the distance, and thought he saw something move.
He started running toward the shadow, calling out, "Evangeline!"

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