Chapter Three

Cabin off Route 77

The woman knelt down beside John and checked his pulse. When she saw that he was just sleeping, she somehow got him onto the sofa. She removed his jacket and brushed his hair back. She cleaned the cut on his forehead and covered it with a bandage. She got him out of his wet clothes and covered him with a blanket. She then moved to a chair across the room and watched him sleep.

As she sat watching him, she reflected over her life and thought of all the bad choices sheíd made. The consequences had been more than she wanted to remember. Sheíd had a hard life growing up and when sheíd found her real family sheíd thought things would get better. They hadnít. Now maybe she had a second chance.

She looked on and smiled, "Youíre all mine for now John McBain. I know I can make you love me. Youíre all Iíve ever wanted. Cristian left me years ago, because I couldnít get over you. Well now I wonít have too."

McBain Home

Evangeline had been pacing for hours. She was tired but she couldnít sit still. She had called Johnís cell multiple times and couldnít reach him. It just wasnít like him not to check on the three of them. Ever since they were married, she talked to him every night, no matter what. She knew something was wrong.

She finally decided to call Antonio and dialed his cell phone.

"Hello?" he said answering the phone.

"Hi, Antonio, itís Evangeline. Iím sorry for calling you so late."

"Evangeline, whatís wrong? Itís 4 am."

"John isnít home yet. I know he was checking out a missing personís case, but he always checks in on me and the kids."

"He hasnít called?"

"No, he hasnít. I called I donít know how many times and left messages. I still havenít heard from him. Maybe heís fine, but this is not like him at all."

"Iíll call in and have an APB put out on his car. Maybe we can find it in a little while."

"I hope so. I need to know that heís okay."

"Iíll have someone follow the route he would have taken and give you a call back. We will find out something. Iíll call you back as soon as I know."

"Iíll be waiting."

"Evangeline, try to get some sleep."

"I canít sleep until I know that heís okay."

"It might be a little while before I call back and I know the twins will be up in a couple of hours."

"Iíll be waiting," she said and moved to the love seat in their bedroom. She turned and picked up the wedding picture sitting on the side table and traced Johnís face. She thought back to the vows John had spoken to her that day.

Angel, you came into my life at a time when I had just begun to feel again. What I felt for you took me completely by surprise. It scared me. But, you were unlike any woman Iíd ever met, keeping me on my toes. Thank you for giving me the time and the space to realize just how much you mean to me. I promise to work to always be what you need in a man and as the father of our children. I loved you yesterday. I love you even more today. And, I will love you for all my tomorrows.

She wiped the tear that rolled down her cheek and whispered, "Please, God, let him be okay."

Cabin off Route 77

The woman awoke and turned to John as he groaned in his sleep. She went to him and laid her hand on his head. He opened his eyes and there was no sense of recognition in them.

"Hi," she said to him quietly.

"Hi. Who are you?"

"Iím Natalie. Your wife."

"My wife? I sorry, I donít remember you."

"Donít apologize. Just rest. Iím going to take care of you."

McBain Home

Evangeline was going through her jewelry box when she saw her string of pearls. John had given them to her when they were still dating. When heíd told her the story of his father giving them to his mother, sheíd been so touched that he would give her something so precious.

One night a year after the twins had been born, when sheíd been wearing nothing but the pearls, the two had talked about giving them to Lyn on her 16th birthday. Evangeline smiled as she remembered how that night had progressed and then she sobered, as she worried about where John could be.

"Mommy and Daddy are you ready for breakfast?" the kids said running into the master bedroom since the door was open this morning.

"Morning, kids. Dad didnít get home last night. Why donít you go downstairs and get your cereal? Iíll be down in a minute," she asked from her place on the loveseat.

"Mommy, why didnít Daddy come home last night?" asked Lyn, anxiously. Johnny shared that look with her.

"Daddy is working on a case. Iím sure weíll hear from him in a little while. Now go ahead and start breakfast," she said. The twins looked at her, then each other before heading down the stairs.

Evangeline went into the bathroom and splashed water on her face. Sheíd been up for hours and had decided to shower and dress. She was tired, but she couldnít rest. She needed her husband at home with her and her children. She didnít want to think the worst, but she was becoming more and more anxious as the time past.

Antonio had called her back and let her know that someone was indeed driving the route John had taken and he would get in touch with her as soon as he knew anything. She was holding on the fact that Antonio would do everything within his power to bring her husband home. She was depending on it.

As she went downstairs, the doorbell rang. She called out to the twins that she would be right there. She opened the door quickly when she saw Antonio through the door.

"Hi, Antonio. Did you find him?" she asked as he walked into the house.

"Evangeline, I think we should sit down."

"Antonio, I donít want to sit down. Tell me what happened to John."

"EvangelineÖ"

"No, you tell me what happened," she said fiercely.

"We found his car. It looks like he swerved off the road as he was approaching a bridge on Route 77 and his car hit a tree and then slid into the river. It rained out there so we couldnít find any foot prints that would indicate that he got out of the car. We have a team out there right now dragging the river."

While Antonio had been talking, Evangeline realized for the first time that John might not be coming home. Her eyes flooded with tears and her knees buckled.

Cabin off Route 77

John sat up on the sofa. He groaned. He had a splitting headache. He couldnít remember what heíd felt, but it had been intense. In his mindís eye, he could smell flowers. Where had they come from?

McBain Home

Antonio caught Evangeline before she hit the floor and just held her to him. He hated to be the one to tell her, but he could do no less. John was his best friend and Evangeline was like a sister to him. As he heard the twins running toward the living room, he pulled her to the sofa and let her sit down.

She heard the commotion as the twins came running to her. At first, she couldnít make out exactly what they were saying. Then she pulled them to her and hugged them. She knew she was scaring them and she had to pull it together. She took a deep breath and looked at the twins. She calmed herself down. What would John do now, she thought, heíd find me.

"Mommy, whatís wrong?" Johnny asked. She looked at him and saw John in his eyes. She blinked back the tears and smiled at him.

"Sit down on the sofa with me," she said.

The twins sat on either side of her. She put her arms around them, her babies. They were so independent, but right now they needed their mother. She would deal with her feelings later.

"Daddy was in an accident and right now heís missing. Uncle Tonio is looking for him and as soon as he finds him, heíll be home."

"Was Daddy hurt in the accident?" Lyn asked, as her lip trembled.

"Sweetheart, we donít know. But remember Daddy always says no worries."

"Daddyís okay. We would know if he wasnít," Johnny said to his mother. Then he looked at his sister, before adding, "Iíll take care of you and Mommy until he gets back."

"Thank you, Johnny. Daddy will be so proud of you," Evangeline said and hugged them to her. Then she looked at Antonio, "Find him and bring him home."

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