Chapter 1: This Time
(Johnís POV)


...Call Evangeline man. Get rid of the baggage. Tell her everything. You know maybe if you finally get that weight off your back maybe youíll finally be free...


I stare at the gold letters and numbers in front of me. 35 H. I run my fingers lightly over them before knocking on the door. Itís amazing that I even got up here in the first place, because Evangeline left specific instructions that I wasnít to be allowed inside. I just convinced the doorman that I was here on police business. Now that I think about it, if I could get in here with such a lame story, this building probably needs a new doorman.


The door swings open and Iím staring right into the eyes of Lisa Williamson. I canít help but shiver a little at the cold stare she gives me.


"Good evening Mrs. Williamson. May I speak to Evangeline please?"


"Lieutenant McBain, Coo- Evangeline does not want to see you. And especially not at this ungodly hour."


"Iím sorry Mrs. Williamson. I thought that you would be asleep by now, but Evangeline is usually awake at this time and itís very important that I speak to her."


Mrs. Williamson sighs and puts her hands on her hips. "She doesnít want to speak to you, Lieutenant."


Evangeline appears at the door behind her mother and says, "Thatís enough Mom. John, come in."


I move into the apartment and attempt to make eye contact with Evangeline, but her mother steps in front of her.


"Mom please donít do that. No disrespect, but id I needed or wanted a spokesperson, I would hire one. John and I do need to talk and I have some towels in the laundry room downstairs. Do you think that you could go get them for me please, and I leave John and I alone for a few minutes?"


Mrs. Williamson faces Evangeline and says, "Baby, I am not going to leave you alone with this man."


"Mom. This man saved my life, and for that you should be grateful and you should thank him for it."


"Fine." She turns to face me again. "Iíll leave and let you two talk. Consider it my thank you. But if I come back and find my child crying, so help you God..."


I smile slightly and nod and she storms out of the apartment, slamming the door. Evangeline and I stare at each other for a few seconds, until I break the silence by saying, "I can see where you get it from."


"Get what?"


"The temper."


Evangeline rolls her eyes. "John, I was actually just getting into bed when you came, so can you please get to the point?"


"Itís about what you said at the hospital."


"You mean about the case? Is there a new lead?"


"No, itís about what you said about us, about me making a final choice."


"I donít want to talk about this right now."


"And right now, I donít care! We always talk about what you want, when you want, when it comes to our relationship. Now weíre going to talk when I want to."


Evangeline gapes at me, and even Iím inclined to be a little shocked. And thatís when the attitude kicks in. Evangeline puts her hands on her hips, draws herself up to her full height and steps up to an inch away from me.


"See now, this has gone too far already. Iím not going to stand here and let you verbally manhandle me in my own home. And if you think I will, youíve got another think coming!"


"Sorry. I just want to get my chance to speak and everyone seems determined not to let me have it."


"I already told you that I donít want to talk about this."


"Good. I donít want you to talk. Just listen."


Evangelineís eyes glitter dangerously, but she doesnít say anything. She walks away from me and sits on the sofa. I would like nothing more than to be able to sit next to her, but I donít think I could handle Evangeline recoiling from me again. SO instead I go sit in one of the chairs by the fire place.


"John are you going to talk or just sit here all night?"


"You said something to me in the hospital that really struck a nerve. You said that I wavered between you and Natalie and that you never came first for me. And you also said that I saved Natalie first because she has always needed saving more than you and I need that sort of dependency in my life. Right before I came into that hospital room, your mother said that I never cared for you and judging from the way you reacted, Iím inclined to believe that you believe her. So let me tell you how I truly feel. That way no one will have to speculate.


"When I first met Caitlyn, I thought that I was on top of the world, invincible. I fell for her because she was just such an amazing person. I loved her more than I ever thought was humanly possible. And when she was killed, I thought that I would never, ever love any one again. I havenít told my mother or Michael that I loved them since then. I just felt like maybe if I never said I love you to any one, I wouldnít ever lose my loved ones to someone else. And it worked until I met you."


Evangeline looks at me like Iíve just lost my mind. I donít blame her, since Iím sort of rambling on and not getting to the point.


"The thing is, when I realized that I was in love with you, every time I tried to tell you, something stopped me. I almost told you on my birthday, but you fell asleep and every time after that I chickened out. . But I tried, in so many ways to show you. I know that it wasnít enough, but I couldnít explain to you why I couldnít say the words because that would mean explaining it to myself. And when I realized that I you were kidnapped, Evangeline you have to know that you have to know that I almost lost it. But when I got to the basketball court, I had to do my job. So I stopped thinking with my heart and I saved Natalie first, NOT because I chose her, but because she would have died if I hadnít. Even though I Ďm upset that Natalie is missing, I donít know what I would have done if it were you. And even if I told myself that I donít love you 24 times a day, 168 times a week and 8, 736,000,000 times in a million yearsĖ yes I did the math, it could never be true. So donít you DARE believe that I donít care about you or that I donít love you."


Before Evangeline can react, Mrs. Williamson comes bursting into the apartment. "Okay Lieutenant, your few minutes are up, so if you would kindly leave..."


I glance at Evangeline, but her eyes are blank and reveal no emotions. She seems to have reverted into a shell of herself. I look back at Mrs. Williamson and say, "Itís okay. I said everything that I wanted to say. Goodnight."


I go out the door and am halfway down the hall when I hear Evangeline call out, "John wait."


I stop and a few minutes later, Evangeline comes tearing out of her apartment, searching for me.


"Evangeline, Iím right here."


"Weíre not done. You canít just drop something like this on me and leave."


"Yeah well, you seemed a little shell-shocked and your mother seems to be about ready to kill me. I didnít want to overstay my welcome."


"I need to talk to you. Come back inside. Please."


She gives me a pleading look and I nod. We go back into the apartment, but to my surprise her mother is no where in sight.


"Whereís your mom?"


"She got pissed with me so sheís locked up in the guest room. Of her own volition, I assure you. Letís go into my room to talk, itís the only place my mother canít overhear our conversation."


I give her a dubious look, but follow her just the same. Evangeline sits cross legged on the bed and I sit on the chair in front of her vanity.


"John I never doubted that you care about me, or that you love me. Okay, maybe for a minute or two, but still."


"If you never doubted my feelings for you, why are we broken up? Why are the words so important to you?"


Evangeline takes a deep breath and closes her eyes tightly. "I used to think that the worst day of my life was the day my father died. You and him are a lot alike. Strong, quiet, caring. The last time I could remember him saying I love you to me, I was ten. And the next time, he was lying on his death bed. But I never doubted that he loved me, because he had to, he was my father. But you John, you donít have to love me."


"Yes I do."


:No. Thatís what you think. The point is you showed me that you love me, but you never said the words. And I was fine with it at the time because I realized that there was probably a reason why you couldnít say it. So imagine my surprise and pain when right in the middle of Llanview Hospitalís ER, Natalie Vega announces to your brother that you said you loved her. And John that wasnít even what hurt the most. What really hurt, what really tore my heart to pieces was that I couldnít march over there and tell Natalie that what she just said was impossible because you love me. I should have been able to defend our relationship, and I couldnít."


A lone tear squeezes out of Evangelineís closed eyes and I reach to wipe it off of her cheek, but something stops me. My hand just hovers in mid-air for a few seconds before I pull it back.


"Evangeline, I know that I hurt you. I canít take that back though I wish I could. And I donít expect you to ever forgive me, but I can hope and pray that you someday will., it was all I wanted and needed and I would do anything to have it back and make it work this time."


Evangeline watches me as I pull a key ring out of my pocket and separate two keys from the rest.


"What are you doing John?"


"When you gave these back to me, you justifiably walked out without a second glance. Iím giving them back to you. If you ever forgive me, use them to let yourself back in. And if you never do, well..."


I place the keys in Evangelineís palm and stand.


"Bye Evangeline."


She nods once as I leave the room, and I let myself out of her apartment.


I sit in my car silently for a few minutes before starting the ignition and driving to the police station. I try for a few hours to do some work, but I quickly give up and go home. I unlock the door to find a dark, empty apartment. I immediately go into the bathroom and get into the shower. When I go back into my bedroom, Evangeline is sitting on my bed, smiling that smile that makes my heart skip three beats and my thoughts turn to nonsense when I see it.


"What are you doing here?"


"Ready for some heavy lifting John?"




 To be continued.......