Morning had not yet bubbled like golden syrup up over the horizon when
Evangeline heard the knocking at the door. She knew who it was. Her
soul had risen before her eyes had popped open. Her heart had heard
the call before the sound of knuckle meeting wood had careened
throughout the house. Her mother had come.
Evangeline jumped out of bed and felt unsteady from the suddenness of
her movement. She held on to the bauble head of the bedpost, growing
more and more impatient with the infection that had exhausted her
body. She grabbed the sapphire-blue robe John had gotten her for
Christmas the year before and put it on, her arms pushing through the
sleeves of silk one at a time, alternately holding on to the bedpost
with whichever hand was free.
She watched John sit up in the bed, as though someone had bashed his
stomach with a two-by-four. His eyes not yet open, John's hand
automatically went to the gun he had resting on the night table.
"What's the matter? What's wrong?" John whispered, finally opening
one eye and squinting with the other. "It's still dark."
"That's mother," she said, smiling and letting go of the bedpost.
She didn't hear John groan as she nearly trotted out of the room. Nor
did she hear his warning to take it easy. She was already at the
bottom of the staircase by the time he had found an old set of
mismatched slippers to wear.
Evangeline opened the front door wildly and gathered her mother into
her arms. The two women held on to each other tightly, and
Evangeline began to cry like she had when she was a small child and
couldn't find her favorite teddy bear before going to sleep.
"Thank God," the old woman said, pulling back to look at her
daughter's face. "My beautiful, beautiful girl. I knew you were out
there breathing. I wouldn't listen when they tried to sell me that
nonsense that you were dead."
Evangeline smiled and wiped the tears from her eyes and laughed a
little. She was happy to see her mother when she had thought, on the
mountain, she might never see the gray-haired swan again. The cough
of a laugh gave away to tears again, and suddenly Evangeline felt
John's hand in the small of her back.
Holding on to Evangeline with one arm, Diana Williamson took John's
free hand and pulled him closer. She caressed the side of his face
and lifted his downcast face by the chin. Her dark brown eyes chased
his azure oracles.
"Hey, honey bear, you still sweet as ever?" Diana said, affecting her
Southern drawl to make the man who loved her daughter smile.
John smiled involuntarily. "I brought her back like I promised."
From nowhere, the feeling came: all this might be a dream. Maybe he
was laying in the skinny, scratchy bed of his hotel room, in an
alcohol-induced coma because Evangeline really had died. Maybe he
hadn't been able to even conceive of the loss of her and was sitting
in a sterile room somewhere, medicated and drooling onto his
hospital-issued gown. But then, Diana pinched his arm, twisting the
little grip of flesh until it turned lollipop red.
"I told you to call me the minute you found her," Diana said,
transferring Evangeline to his arms.
They all sat down together, Evangeline insisting that she sit between
the two of them. She never was as happy as she was at that moment,
holding her mother's delicate hand, inhaling the fresh scent of
Diana's lemon verbena perfume, and leaning into John's body. She
sighed with pleasure, and her mother laughed.
"Can't we just stay like this all day?" Evangeline asked to no one in
John sat forward. He was still feeling the bright sting of pinching
fingers. "Diana, just so you know, I wanted to call you, but a
certain someone wouldn't let me," he said.
Evangeline slapped his thigh. "John!"
"Girl, you should know better than that," Diana said. She was about
to pinch Evangeline, too, when John reached his arm across her body.
"Wait, Diana, I'll take her licks for her. She's still healing, and
you know, I can't stand for her to be hurt," he said.
Diana kissed her hand and rubbed the spot where she had tweaked his
skin before. "You're a sweet boy," she said, with more sincerity than
John could take.
Kissing Evangeline briefly on the lips, John excused himself and went
to make breakfast. Diana and Evangeline requested pancakes
simultaneously. He smiled and said it was going to be that or bowls
of oatmeal all around. He hadn't had a chance to stock up before they
As soon as he left the room, Diana turned to her daughter and said,
"So, when am I getting my big wedding?"
Evangeline giggled and extended her arm toward her mother. She
wiggled her fingers, one shining more brightly than the other, shining
like the white kiss of an October moon on the surface of a private
lake. John had slipped the diamond-encrusted claddagh engagement ring
on her finger moments before they'd left the hospital. She'd said yes
before he'd finished asking.
"Soon," she said, hugging Diana. "That was our mistake last time. We
waited too long."
Nora had been the first to come. John had called her and asked her to
bring Bo with her. John pulled Bo aside and explained the situation.
Nora had thought John was having a rough time with Evangeline's
passing and perhaps needed some guidance as to the disposal of the
When Bo returned to her side, Nora had been fully prepared to offer
comfort to John. Instead, Bo asked her to sit down. She refused.
Something was wrong, she thought to herself, and she'd asked John to
tell her what it was. When Evangeline entered the room, Nora's mouth
fell open with shock. She hadn't realized she was screaming until Bo
had sat her down on the couch and had begun snapping his fingers in
front of her face. She shook her head and covered her ears and closed
her eyes. After Bo had managed to calm her down with sweet whispers
and assurances that she was not seeing ago, Nora began to understand
and accept that her friend had been returned to her. She shook with
happy tears as she and Evangeline held each other tightly.
Hours later, the rest of Llanview had slowly been informed of
Evangeline's resurrection. The more important people had been called
to the house while others discovered the truth through The Banner Sun,
though Killian had not been mentioned in the article by name.
As the special few who had been told the news in person milled around
the room, gathering the story of what happened from Evangeline and
Killian. Todd knocked on the back door in the kitchen, where Nora, Bo
and John were discussing what to do with Killian after John arrested
him. John answered the door.
"We've got a problem, flatfoot," Todd said to John. "The feds know
"How?" Bo barked.
"I don't know. Ask your ace detective here. Where's your leak,
McBain?" Todd said.
"Todd, are you sure about this?" Nora asked.
He nodded. "Bigelow heard it on the grapevine," he said.
"Where's your leak, McBain?" Todd asked again.
"Right here," Killian said, leaning in the doorway.