Ad Infinitum by Huntereyelandgrl
Chapter 9: You Can Ring My Bell
There is only one invention in this world that I hate more than the telephone, and thatís the doorbell. Because no matter what weíre doing, Evangeline feels she has to answer both. And I always have to try and convince her not to, even if I know Iím not going tor win.
"Evangeline, just leave the door. This is the first time weíve been alone together for more than ten minutes in a week. And our time is almost up, we have to meet Layla at the diner. Who ever it is at the door can come back later if itís really important."
I pull her towards me in a searing kiss, but after a few seconds, she pulls away.
"John, stop trying to seduce me. I canít not answer the door, itíll be rude. Besides, what if itís the pizza guy?"
"You ordered pizza?"
She smiles and I let her go reluctantly. She laughs as she leaves the bedroom.
In just a robe. And the kid that delivers the pizza is more than a little weird. I better go check on her.
"Hon, who is it?" I ask, walking into the living room. And I come face to face with Lisa Williamson. Did I mention Iím only wearing a towel? No? Well I am. Thank goodness my thoughts have been pretty innocent.
Evangeline stares from the door, her mouth wide open and her eyes even wider, while Mrs. Williamson looks more amused than mad.
"Mrs. Williamson. Hi."
"Itís Lisa, John. How are you?"
As Evangeline breezes past me, she mutters, "Tell her youíre on deathís door and get in here. Now."
I smile politely at her mother and say, "Iím fine thank you Lisa. While Iíd love to catch up with you, I think Evangeline would like to yell at me, so if youíd please excuse me..."
She smiles and nods and I go back in to the bedroom where Evangeline is sitting on the bed, her face a mask of calm. Iím not fooled, I know sheís going to kill me, if I donít die of embarrassment first.
"John, what would possess you to come to the door in just a towel?"
I shrug. "You said it might be the pizza guy, and you were just in your robe. Heís always looking at you weird when youíre fully dressed."
Evangeline rolls her eyes and responds, "John, if you feel threatened by a 16 year old, we have a more serious problem than my mother seeing you in just a towel."
I study her silently as she repeatedly runs her fingers through her locks a she always does when sheís frustrated or overwhelmed. "You know, I think she already knows Evangeline."
"You think who knows what?"
"I think your mother knows that we..."
I trail off when she looks up at me with her eyes sparking. "What? That we what John?"
Almost before the comment is out of my mouth, Evangeline socks me in the shoulder. And like an idiot, I laugh. Because this is sort of funny. But Evangeline must not think so, because she does it again.
"That hurts Evangeline."
"Darn! I wanted it to tickle."
"The first one sorta did."
"John, did you wake up this morning with the sole intent to drive me insane?"
I smile. "My mother used to ask my dad that all the time. See, we already sound like a married couple."
Before the doorbell rang, Evangeline and I were debating the merits of marriage. And while it was really casual, it was taking a very fast route to becoming a heated battle. The last time we talked about marriage, Evangeline didnít talk to me for almost a week, she was so upset. So maybe it is a good thing that we were interrupted.
She heaves a frustrated sigh. "John, I refuse to have this conversation with you right now. Not today."
"Why not, we have to do it sometime."
Then she asks me something that disarms me momentarily. "Are you drunk?"
"Ha. Thatís funny. No, Iím not, just happy. I think your mother likes me now."
Evangeline raises her eyes heaven-ward and mutters, "Oh, sweet Jesus."
"No, Iím John. Remember?"
She bites her lip in an attempt to curb a smile, but she soon finds herself laughing.
"I donít know why I put up with you."
"Because you love me."
"Thatís right, I do love you. Now put some clothes on for Christís sake," she says, throwing my jeans at me. I catch them easily, sticking my tongue out at her. We get dressed quickly, mindful that Lisa is still waiting in the living room. Though by the sounds of things, sheís enjoying herself channel surfing.
I emerge from the room in jeans and a thin T-shirt; itís 93 degrees outside. Evangeline insists that I would be less hot if I wore shorts like she is, but I think Iíll pass. Lisa looks up at us and smiles. "Done with the tonguing?"
I can feel my cheeks flaming a bright red, and one look at Evangeline tells me sheís blushing too. And after a few seconds, so is Lisa. "Sorry, I didnít mean that. So where are you two going?"
"Weíre supposed to meet Layla for lunch at the diner. Come with us, sheíll be so excited that youíre in town."
"More than you were, baby?"
"Sorry Mom. Itís not that Iím not happy to see you, I am. But I am also a little surprised that youíre here."
"Well when Layla called and told me that she was in Llanview, I figured I would come down here for a visit with both my girls. Henry, Clay and Brenda are coming tomorrow, but just for the day."
At the sound of Henryís name, I do my best to stifle a sigh, but I think I let it out anyway, because Lisa smiles at me sympathetically. "Donít worry John, Henry will be on his best behaviour tomorrow. Brenda is his older sister, and she will not hesitate to smack him upside the head in public."
"Good, thatíll save me the job," Evangeline says, her head half under the couch in pursuit of her car keys. She always knows where her house keys are, and mine, but she loses her car keys at least three times a day. Whereas I lose my house keys all the time, but I always have my car keys, which is why itís a good thing that Evangeline has one of my spare keys, and I have the spare keys to her car.
"Evangeline donít worry about it, Iíve got the spare. Letís just go to the diner before Layla blows a gasket. She said she had something important to tell us."
"Knowing Layla, she just wants to tell us that she and Antonio finally agreed on a pattern for the glasses. Theyíve been fighting about it all week and every time Iím supposed to help, they shoot down all of my ideas."
I turn to Lisa, who looks stricken and say, "Itís for the bar where she works."
"Thatís very good to know."
Finally, Evangeline finds her keysĖ she completely ignored my request to hurryĖ and we get into her car to drive to the diner. Along the way, my cell phone rings, and after checking the caller ID and seeing that itís Michael, I answer, "City morgue. Whoíd you kill this time?"
"Very funny John. Very funny."
"I know. What do you want?"
"Meet me at the diner for lunch and bring Evangeline with you. Iíve got a surprise for you guys."
"We can all meet up there then, Layla wants to tell us something too."
I hang up and turn to Evangeline. "That was Mike. He wants to talk to us about something, so heís meeting us at the diner."
"Today? Between him, Layla and Mom, weíre going to be hearing embarrassing stories all day long."
"Sorry hon. But thatís the way the Cookie crumbles."
I pull my arm away just in time for Evangeline to slap the dashboard. Lisa laughs from the backseat. "God donít like ugly, Evangeline."
I grin. "What she said."
We arrive at the diner before Michael does, since I donít see him in the booth with Layla and Antonio. As we walk up to the table, Layla looks up with a shriek and launches herself at Lisa. "Mom!"
"Layla, sweetheart, calm down. Youíre too old to carry on like this," she says, hugging Layla tightly, her bright smile betraying her scolding tone.
Evangeline and I slide into the booth across from Antonio and greet him. Carlotta comes over briefly to set a bowl of tortillas on the table to hold us over until we order and before long, Layla and Lisa join us at the table.
"So Antonio, you work with Layla?"
"You could say that. Iím her boss, but weíve become good friends since sheís come to Llanview. Sheís been helping me decide how I want to remodel my club. Sheís very creative."
Lisa smiles. "Both my daughters are. Iíd love to see this club."
"Iíd love to show you around. Maybe you might have some valuable input that will help us."
Lisa glows with pleasure and I canít help but whisper to Antonio, "Man whatís your secret? All the Williamson women love you."
Evangeline grins. "Just wait until Brenda meets him. Sheís gonna have a coronary."
"Because all the good ones are taken."
I lean over and kiss her on the cheek. Iím about to say something, when Lisa interrupts.
"So, when did you two get back together?"
Oh, I see know. This whole being nice to me thing must have been to make me let my guard down. I glance at Evangeline, who shrugs slightly.
"About a week before you went back home."
"Well, I donít have any objections to that, though I would like to know, what are your intentions towards my daughter?"
"Itís fine Evangeline. I donít mind, itís a viable question."
I look at Lisa and we have a moment of silent communication. Sheís not prying, nor is she asking to be rude or make me uncomfortable.
"I have nothing but the most honourable intentions towards Evangeline. I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her."
Evangeline shoots me a warning glance, which I ignore. I know what Lisa is going to ask me next, and I intend to answer it truthfully nd bluntly. Evangeline canít just want a committed relationship on her terms, I want all the strings, not just most of them. Marriage, a house, kids, the works. But Evangeline doesnít think that I truly want these things with her. Lying to a mother about your intentions towards her child is tantamount to one of the Seven Deadly sins, so Evangeline must take me seriously after this.
"John, please donít start this again. This is not the time nor the place," Evangeline whispers to me.
"John, when you say that you want to spend the rest of your life with Evangeline, does that also mean marriage?"
"Yes. I do intend to marry Evangeline. Sooner than later."
Evangeline chokes on the tortilla chip she was nibbling nervously, and as my hand touches her back to calm her, she tenses up. A lot. Methinks someoneís going to be in a lot of trouble when we get home tonight. And itís not her.
Antonio looks more shocked than he did when I told him Cristianís alive, Layla looks like this amuses her and Lisa looks satisfied with my answer. As a matter of fact, she looks like she was expecting my answer. From her last visit in Llanview, I would never have thought that Lisa Williamson would be playing matchmaker of some sorts with Evangeline and I.
Layla hands me a folded napkin, which I take and unfold. Written in her small, swirly handwriting is a note, which reads, "I hope you know you just signed your own death certificate."
I smile and wink at Layla. The bell above the door jingles and I look up at the same time as Evangeline. The sight there literally makes Evangeline stop breathing.