Ad Infinitum by Huntereyelandgrl
Chapter 10: Isnít She Lovely?
I look up at the door and my breath stops completely. Standing beside Michael in the doorway is a tall, beautiful woman that I know from pictures is Eve McBain.
I let out a long breath and Layla glances at me curiously before turning in her seat and looking towards the door.
"Hey Michael, if youíre coming over here, can you bring that beautiful lady standing next to you? I think sheíll more than make up for your lack in the good looks department."
Everyone at the table laughs as they approach, Michael rolling his eyes and muttering under his breath and me silently thanking God for a nosy sister.
John stands from the booth and greets his mother with a warm hug and a kiss on the cheek, before turning slightly towards me with a smile and saying, "Mom, this is the wonderfully famous Evangeline."
She smiles warmly. "The woman youíre going to marry sooner than later, right? Itís a pleasure to meet you Evangeline."
I stand and hug her as well. "Itís wonderful to finally meet you Mrs. McBain."
"Itís Eve. I intend to have a wonderful relationship with you and none of my friends call me by my last name."
I canít help but to beam, which causes her to turn to John and ask, "What sort of stories have you been telling your girlfriend about me John? She looks awfully relieved that I didnít eat her."
"Itís not Johnís fault, my sister just freaks out about the smallest things. Iím Layla, the famous Williamson."
Eve smiles and hugs Layla and then I introduce her to my mother, who I can tell likes Eve already. We slide over in our booths to make room for Michael and Eve and wait for a waitress to come an take our order.
"So John, did you actually propose to Evangeline without a ring?" I glare at Michael and fight the urge to slide further down my seat. The chairs are made of vinyl and I would hate to slide right onto the floor and make a fool of myself.
"No, I didnít propose nimwit. Why donít you focus on your own problems, namely your lack of looks."
That of course takes the heat off of John and puts it right back on Layla. Those two fight more than Layla and I did growing up.
"You know Layla, that hurt my feelings. I am too good looking."
"Are you gonna cry every time I say something to you Michael?"
This could go on for hours, so I ignore them and turn my attention to Eve.
"So Eve, how long are you in Llanview for?"
"For two weeks, then Iím working again. I might sing a few times at Capricorn, but not immediately. I donít feel like dealing with RJ right now."
"RJ doesnít own Capricorn anymore. As a matter of fact, Antonio owns it now.
"And I would love to have you sing at the club,"Antonio says, briefly pulling himself out of a conversation with my mother.
Eve smiles graciously. "Thank you Antonio. Iíll be sure to give you a call when Iím available."
Our separate conversations are halted momentarily when Carlotta comes over to take our order. The diner is extremely full and from the looks of things, weíre not going to be getting our lunch for any time soon.
"Eve do you have any good stories of John growing up? He banned Michael from telling me the good ones."
"Well there was the time when John watched an old Dracula movie and thought he could glide so he tied on a black towel and tried to glide down the stairs. A broken collarbone and eight stiches later, he figured out that it wasnít real."
I laugh and glance at John, who seems a little embarrassed. As my Aunt Rita always said, thatís so it goes mídear.
"Is that how he got that scar on his knee?"
"No, thatís a more boring story. We were in the woods hiking on vacation when John was 13. John and Michael wandered off and one of them must have bothered a beeís nest, and they started running back down the hill. Except John had just had a major growth spurt and he still didnít know what to do with his arms and legs, so he tripped and fell on a rock knee first."
Iím holding my sides from laughter. I can just see in my mindís eye a thirteen year old John running wildly down a hill, a swarm of angry bees after him.
"Ok, as happy as it makes me to see my two favourite ladies bonding, I think that story time is over."
"John, move over a bit please? Youíre sitting on my thigh."
"I canít go over anymore, Iíll squish your mother. You can sit on my lap, if your uncomfortable."
"Are you aware that weíre in the middle of a crowded restaurant and that our mothers are on either side of us," I whisper.
"Yes, Iím perfectly aware. Iím not going to do anything, I just want you to be comfortable."
"Iím fine. Forget I said anything."
"You are not. I bet your thigh is going numb by now."
"No it isnít."
Yes it is.
"Yes it is, Evangeline. But do whatever you want."
"I donít what the big deal is Vange. IfĖ "
I glare at Layla. "If I hear one more word about it, Iím going to super glue your butt to Antonioís lap, see how much you like that."
I say excuse me to Eve, who stands, and then I scoot out of the booth, heading to the bathroom. I splash cold water on my face, and stare at my image in the mirror.
I have no idea what just came over me. It wasnít fair to snap at Layla or to involve Antonio in a conversation that wasnít even about him. I step out of the bathroom, where of course, John is waiting right outside the door.
"What was that outburst really about Evangeline?"
"I donít like putting on a show John. You know that. What ever I do, whenever I do is because I want to. I felt uncomfortable enough without you making it worse."
"Are you uncomfortable because my mother is here or is it because of what my mother heard?"
"Both. None. I donít know John. Why do you feel you have to prove anything to our families? Why canít we just be?"
He laughs and Iím sorely tempted to hit him. Talking about the marriage issue always leaves me in a bad mood for days, and these unexpected visits from our mothers just has me on edge. I canít help feeling like this is a set-up.
"Hon, Iím not trying to prove anything to our families. Or friends or the rest of the world for that matter. Iím trying to prove something to you. Every one but you seems convinced that I love you enough to want to marry you and spend the rest of my life with you. And your opinion is the only one that counts."
"You think Natalie is convinced of our love for each other? Namely your love for me?"
"Natalie is not an issue right now and as far as Iím concerned, she wonít be one. So stop using her as an issue when you feel too vulnerable around me. Stop trying to make me retreat."
I sigh. "Sorry. Look, right here is really not the place to discuss this. I promise when we get home we can talk about it, but right now, can we just go back outside and enjoy our lunch?"
He leans over and kisses me on the forehead tenderly before taking my hand in his. When we return to the table, Layla looks at me warily and asks, "Are you okay, or are you going to threaten to super glue another of my body parts to Antonio?"
"Iím okay. Iím sorry I got mad at you. And Antonio, Iím sorry I threatened to torture you."
We all laugh as Layla rolls her eyes and says, "Yeah, youíre right back to your old self. Lame jokes and all."
Finally our food arrives and we all start to eat heartily. When I finish mine, I snag a few fries from Johnís plate, just to show him that Iím not still mad at him. He smiles and shakes his head, and Mom looks like sheís trying to resist the urge to tell me not to do that.
"Hey Layla, didnít you say that you had something to tell us all?"
Layla grins at Antonio and I know that she didnít forget, she was just waiting for someone to ask.
"I, Layla ThereseĖ Michael if you say anything, Iím gonna give you a punch to rememberĖ Williamson, am going to be a star!"
"Thatís great baby! What are you starring in?"
Itís great that Mom is actively taking more of an interest in our adult lives without actually meddling like she used to. Before we hated to tell her anything because we knew she would want to add her two cents worth, but lately I think that sheís realized that even if she thinks that something one of us is doing is a mistake, she has to let us make it.
"I have the lead in a version of Romeo and Juliet. Itís set in the pre- Civil War South, and the play is for a fairly well known theater in New York City. Iíll have to commute to go rehearsals and stuff, but I think that itís a great opportunity."
"Of course Iím getting front row seats for Opening Night, right," Michael asks.
"Yeah, only if you promise not to do anything stupid and embarrass me."
"When have I ever embarrassed you?"
"Let me see. How about last night when that guy was hitting on me at the bar and you completely scared him off?"
"Ok, you two, quit it. Layla congratulations. Iím proud of you, sis. I know that this can be the big break that you need and deserve."
I reach across the table to hug her quickly.
"Congratulations Layla. Be sure to tell me when Opening Night is ahead of time so I can get the night off."
Layla grins at John and my heart swells with pride and love for this man. I can count on one hand how many times any of my former boyfriends showed any interest in my sister. And hereís a man who has completely taken her in, treating her like sheís his own little sister.
As we laugh and joke around, I observe my friends and family and think to myself, íI could get used to this.í