John stood up from his chair, looking back and forth between Alcazar
and Antonio. "Well, isn't this convenient," he said.
Lorenzo Alcazar pursed his lips and went to Evangeline. He touched
Evangeline's shoulder, playing with her hair for just a moment, and
his body language softened ever so slightly. He spoke to her in
Spanish, telling her that he had been in Latin America, looking after
the ill mother of his son Diego. Everyone had told him that she was
dead and that the plane was a total loss, Lorenzo said, pulling
Evangeline to her feet. Sure that Antonio was listening to their
conversation anyway, Lorenzo switched to English.
"I just found out you were alive. I went by your home first. This
was my second choice, your office," Lorenzo said.
Antonio grabbed John by the arm, before he could move to pull
Evangeline from Alcazar's hold. John shook off Antonio, just as
Lorenzo was letting go of Evangeline.
"Are you well, guapa?" he asked her, giving Evangeline the wry smile
that reminded her so much of when they were younger.
Evangeline shook her head, almost laughing to herself at the way the
universe was playing with her. Now, she could understand more fully
why things always seemed so surreal to John. Perhaps it was Llanview
that demanded such divine intervention and attention. She studied
Lorenzo's face and pinched his cheeks. She would have tugged on the
wide collar of his navy blue shirt, like she used to do, if she hadn't
seen the steam coming from John's ears. She stepped back and smiled.
"I am well. Thank you, Lorenzo," she said, taking her seat again.
"As well as she can be with someone trying to kill her," John said,
listening more to the devil on his left shoulder, more than the angel
on his right. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would
you Mr. Alcazar?"
"John, don't let your temper get the best of you," Antonio said, his
leg starting to throb.
"No, I didn't know anything about that, detective," Lorenzo said.
"Lieutenant," John and Evangeline said in unison, though neither of
Lorenzo looked down at Evangeline and lifted her head up by her chin.
"Now that I do know, you're coming home with me, and you'll be safe
under my protection," he said.
Antonio hopped in front of a lunging John, though it hurt his leg. He
groaned in pain and leaned on Evangeline's armrest. She jumped up to
grab Antonio by the waist and sat him in her chair.
"John, back up! Don't you see Antonio is hurt? Look what you've
done," she exclaimed, pointing to her friend.
John couldn't see anything. His vision was blurred with anger, and he
certainly wasn't going to apologize to Antonio, who had put them in
this unexpected position by keeping the information about Alcazar's
plane to himself.
"She doesn't need your protection. She's with me," John said, his
hands gripping his hips for fear of turning into fists.
Alcazar raised his eyebrows and smirked. "Oh, really, lieutenant. Is
this how you keep her safe – bringing her to places where she is known
to be regularly?"
"I've taken bullets for her. What have you done for her lately,
besides put her in a plane that crashed?" John said, opening his shirt
to show his wounds.
"OK, that's enough!" Evangeline yelled. "I can take care of myself!
I pulled myself from that wreckage. So, don't talk about me like I'm
Antonio had his hand over his eyes, trying to manage the pain in his
leg. Evangeline squeezed his hand and asked him if he needed to go to
the hospital to have his leg checked. He grimaced and said no, asking
for the painkillers in his desk. Evangeline went around to the other
side of Antonio's mahogany desk and retrieved two pills for him and a
paper cup of water from the cooler in the corner.
"Thank you," Antonio said, chasing the pills down his throat with the water.
"Thank you," Evangeline said. "I'm sorry you were hurt while looking for me."
"Anything for you, Eva," Antonio said.
Evangeline walked to her love and stood before him. She stared into
his eyes, until the veil of anger lifted a bit from the blue. Her
fingers brushed over his bullet wounds, and he closed his eyes at her
touch. She put her arms around him and her mouth directly to his ear.
"Thank you, my love. I know you would die for me, and I know I'm
always safe with you. Let's get this thing solved so that we can be
alone, no distractions," she whispered.
John nodded his head and relaxed. Evangeline could even see a hint of
a smile at the corners of his mouth. He was remembering them at the
safe house and how good she felt in his arms. Thoughts of her naked
body stirred something in him, and he put his arms around her waist.
The world fell away just then.
Alcazar looked over at Antonio and asked, "¿Están siempre como esto?"
Antonio nodded and smiled. "Siempre."
"No wonder he got shot," Alcazar said.
Evangeline coughed a small laugh and looked over her shoulder at
Lorenzo. He had the slightest look of amusement on his face. She was
sure she was the only one who could see it. She started to approach
her old friend, but John wouldn't let go of her completely. She
settled back into his arms, turning around in his grasp to face
Antonio and Lorenzo.
"Lorenzo, is it possible that someone was trying to hurt you by doing
something to your plane?" she asked.
Alcazar smiled at Evangeline's gentile euphemism. "You mean trying to
kill me?" he said. "In my line of work, someone usually wants to hurt
"By line of work, you mean criminal enterprise? And its other
criminals who want to kill you," John said, rolling his eyes.
"I mean what I say, lieutenant," Alcazar said, putting his hands
behind his back. "Evangeline, as dear as you are to me, I don't think
anyone would try to get to me through you."
Antonio cleared his throat. "That's what I was going to tell you
before," he said, looking at John. "Whomever shot at Evangeline
through the window knew it was her. The plane crash was an accident.
Nothing happened to the commercial flight she was actually supposed to
be on. I checked it out."
"Maybe it was someone who was upset that I came back," Evangeline
said, thinking about the surrealism of Llanview again. "Someone
thought divine providence had gotten rid of me, and he or she wanted
to finish the job when they found out I had really survived."
"Perhaps the news coverage about your death and subsequent
resurrection drew the person out of the woodworks," Lorenzo said.
Evangeline sighed. "We're back to ground zero again," she said.
"No, you're not," Lorenzo offered. "You have access to all my
resources, including 24-hour bodyguards. Lieutenant, you can't be
everywhere all the time."
John nodded. "I think Killian could use the guards more than anyone," he said.
Evangeline explained to Lorenzo who Killian was and what he had been
through. The worry about Killian came back to her, and her face fell.
They had endured so much together in such a short time, and it pained
her to have seen Killian suffering. The scratches on his back were
"Lorenzo, do you have connections in federal court?" she asked, gently
pushing John's arms away.
She took Lorenzo by his arm and took him into the hallway to discuss
pushing Killian's case through the courts. She didn't want to wait
another week for Antonio to present the case. Her instincts told her
that whoever was after Killian was trying to punish him for what
happened to Rajani. Her instincts rarely failed her.
Alone in the office, Antonio and John were silent. Antonio was
seething. After all the things he had forgiven John McBain for – most
principally, not telling him that his brother was alive and rotting in
prison for no reason – McBain still did not trust Antonio. His
therapist had helped him learn to control his temper. One of the
techniques was to count backwards from six to one. Where John McBain
was concerned, Antonio was going to have to count back from six
"I apologize, Antonio," John said, nearly shocking the teeth out of
Antonio was still counting backwards. McBain accusing him of being in
league with the likes of Alcazar brought to mind the torture he had
endured over learning he was a Santi. Some people would always lump
him in with them, but he didn't think McBain would be one of those
John stole a look at Evangeline through the door. She was hitting her
hands together, as though she was making a case. Alcazar was standing
in front of her, hands behind his back, his head tilted. He was
listening to her every word. John was proud of her. She was so
smart, much more clever about life than he. But he could see
patterns, where she could not, and he could smell blood like a hound.
Though he was reluctant to admit it, Alcazar's guards would make a
difference in cracking the case. John's mind would not be split
anymore between protecting Evangeline and solving this mystery. He was
going to find the person after Evangeline, and he was going to kill
whoever it was.