“Mom, is Nana on her way?” Lyn asked from the top of the stairs.
“Yes, sweetheart. Do you need something?” Evangeline replied glancing up at her daughter.
“No, ma’am. We just wanted to know,” she said before looking at her brother. The two went back up the stairs. They were up to something. The kids had been quiet since the day before and Evangeline was worried about how they were doing.
Evangeline needed to think about Eve at the moment. Eve McBain was expected to arrive at John and Evangeline’s early that morning. Evangeline wanted to tell Eve in person that John was missing because she was concerned about how Eve would handle it. Especially since, she was always worried about John being hurt in the line of duty like his father. Michael and Marcie were out of town, but Evangeline had called them about John and they were on their way back.
While she was worried about Eve, she could stop thinking about the twins. They wouldn’t talk to her and she didn’t like it. The one thing that always happened in the McBain house was that they talked. It was funny now that she thought about it.
When they’d first started seeing each other, John had been hard pressed to share his feelings at all. Now, he was the one that spent time getting the kids to talk about what was going on with them. He was such a good father and she didn’t know how she was supposed to do this until he was found. And yes, he had to be found. She and her children needed him.
As Evangeline was thinking of checking on the children, the doorbell rang. She took a deep breath as she went to the door. How do I tell Eve that her son is missing?
“Hi, Mom, Come on in,” Evangeline said and gave Eve a quick hello hug.
“Hi, sweetheart, I got here as quickly as I could,” Eve said, noticing the expression on Evangeline’s face. “What’s wrong?”
“Let’s go sit down,” Evangeline said and turned to go into the den.
“Evangeline, what’s wrong?” Eve said, still standing near the door.
Evangeline caught Eve’s hand and led her into the den.
“Evangeline, you are scaring me. What is going on?”
“John is missing,” Evangeline said directly. “The police are looking for him, but they haven’t found him yet. Antonio is out there, but I haven’t heard anything yet. I don’t know anything else.”
As Evangeline was talking, her voice became more frantic.
“Oh, honey,” Eve said and the two women embraced. Evangeline had made a vow to herself that she would hold it together, but as soon as Eve held her in her arms, she started to sob.
Within moments, Evangeline had pulled herself together. She glanced up and saw Johnny peeking around the door frame.
“Johnny, come here,” she said, pulling away from Eve and turning toward her son.
He walked into the room and stood quietly in front of her. She pulled him to her and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. He was so much like his father that it was scary sometimes.
“How are you, sweetheart?” she whispered in his ear.
“I’m fine, Mommy,” he said, but Evangeline saw through it. He only called her Mommy when he was sleepy or upset.
“Really?” she asked in her “I’m your mother, don’t lie to me” voice.
“Yes, I’m okay. Daddy will be home soon and then we’ll all be together.”
“I sure hope you’re right, honey. Where is your sister?”
“She’s upstairs pulling out all the stuff she and daddy will need to finish her doll house. She said that she wanted to be ready when he gets home.”
Evangeline wanted to cry as she thought of how lost her children must feel. She prayed that she would be enough until John came home. She knew he was alive. If he wasn’t she would know, their bond was too strong.
“Well, since you and your dad are always building something, why don’t you go help her? I’ll have a snack for you guys in about a half hour.”
“Okay, Mommy,” he said. “Hi, Nana.” He moved to Eve for a hug and kissed her on the cheek. She patted his cheek and they smiled at each other, before he rushed for the stairs.
“Johnny?” Evangeline called.
“Huh?” he said turning toward her.
“I love you,” she replied with a smile, not bothering to reprimand him for using non-words.
“I love you, too,” he smiled back.
As she listened to him ascend the stairs, she turned to Eve, who had tears in her eyes.
“Are you okay?” she asked Eve as she moved back to her.
“I’m fine. I’m just worried about John and you and the children.”
“We’re all going to be fine.”
“When did he go missing? What happened?”
“He went missing night before last. He was working on a missing person’s case and he was going to drive the route. It looks like there might have been an accident, because they found his car in the river, but he wasn’t in it.”
“The night before last? Why didn’t you call me right away?”
“I didn’t want to worry you. There was nothing you could do.”
“Except be here for you and my grandchildren. Evangeline, I know that you prize yourself for being a tough girl, but you’ve got to learn that there are people who love you and want to be there for you. You are my daughter and he’s my son. I had a right to know as soon as you did.”
“I know, I’m sorry. I didn’t want to worry you and I guess I didn’t want to say it out loud. I need him home.”
“I know you do. I know how much you love him,” she remembered when James had died. She’d felt as if her whole world was gone. She’d had two young boys to raise and she hadn’t been sure that she would make it. John had become the man of the house and she’d let him. She leaned on him, perhaps too much. When John had joined the FBI, she’d been terrified that she would lose him too. She hadn’t. Now he was missing and she wasn’t sure how she would handle it. Whatever happened she would be there for Evangeline, Lyn and Johnny.
Evangeline smiled at Eve’s statement. She’d voiced a similar one at John and Evangeline’s wedding. Telling Evangeline that she was glad her son found someone to love him for himself. She had been ecstatic when Eve welcomed her into the McBain family. Eve treated her like a daughter and Evangeline had been trying to protect Eve.
“How about you stay here with me and the kids until they find him?”
“I would really like that. I’ll run home and pick up a bag. How about I take the twins with me? That will at least get them out of the house and give you a few minutes alone.”
“That would be great. I’ll get them,” she said and started up the stairs. She paused a third of the way up and turned around to Eve, “Thank you for being here for me. This is a time when I need my mother.”
Evangeline continued up the stairs. Eve stood there stunned. Evangeline’s mother had passed away years ago and even before that, they had not been close. She felt honored that Evangeline thought of her that way. She’d worked at making sure that Evangeline knew how much she loved her, but she’d never expected this kind of revelation from her daughter-in-law. In the midst of this crisis she found something valuable, a daughter’s love.
John was sitting on the back porch, taking in the beauty of the scenery. He was tense and he wasn’t sure why. He and Natalie had talked and she’d given him the cliff-notes version of his life. The life she described didn’t fit to him. Granted he didn’t know who he was, but he had a feeling that all was not right. He couldn’t put his finger on it and it didn’t appear that Natalie had a reason to be dishonest.
When he’d woken up earlier he’d had a sense of children laughing. He felt as if he had lost something. He knew that he and Natalie didn’t have children, because surely she would have mentioned them by now. Who did they belong too? He also couldn’t get the smell of flowers out of his head. He didn’t know what to do. He hated not remembering.
When Natalie had tried to kiss him earlier, he’d responded by turning away from her. She’d been hurt, but it had been a natural reaction for him. He’d tried to apologize, but he couldn’t kiss her. Maybe they’d been having problems and his subconscious was still holding that information. He didn’t know, but he did know that he needed to remember his life, because something wasn’t right.
Natalie was sitting in the other room fuming. He couldn’t remember anything, but he still wouldn’t kiss her. What was she going to do? She needed him to fall for her before they went back to the city. I’ve waited too long to lose you again. I am going to make you want me, like I want you. I won’t make the same mistake twice. Evangeline won you last time but I will have you this time. Fate, bought you back to me, I know it. John, if you only knew how much I love you, what I would do to keep you.