Chapter 9

The room seemed out of focus as her eyes slowly opened. The little light available in the hospital room seemed to fuse with the surroundings adding to her confusion. She was groggy, and her body ached in several different places. Evangeline closed her eyes again, hoping the second time around her thoughts would gain some clarity.

This time when her eyes opened, her surroundings were suddenly clear, pieces seemd to come together like a puzzle as she gazed into the deep blue eyes she knew so well.

"Hey," she out on her brightest smile.

"Hey." John made an attempt to return the warmth, but there was a saddness behind those eyes.

"John," the tone of her voice changed suddenly. Istinctively her arm snaked up to his face, caressing the side of his face. "What is it?"

Evangeline tried to sit up, but the blindidn pain that shot through her side immedately forced her back against the pillows.

"I'm ok," She saw John move closer, his hand moving to cover hers, where she had placed it to help ease the pain. But before she could stop him he was hitting the call button frantically. As Evangeline protested once again, the door to he hospital room swung open as Dr. Watts nad Michael walked in closely followed by a nurse.

"Good your awake, How are you feeling?" Dr. Watts checked Evangeline's vitals as the nurse helped and Michael watche on.

"I'm fine." she started to say before John abruptl cut her off.

"Her side seems to be giving her trouble, she winced when she tried to move." Evangeline's eyed immediately moved to his. But John wasn't looking at her. He was was talking ot the doctor, but not to her. Evangeline immediately felt like she wasn't in the room, like he hadn;t acknoledged a single word that had come from her mouth. The feling that crept over her was that of a dsobedient child that had been hurt by going against her faher's wishes, and she didn't like it. What made it woirse was that it came from a man who was suppose to understand her, to respect her, to be her equal in every way possible.

"That won'r be necessary," she piped up at the mention of another night in the hospitla for further observation.

"I think she might need something more for the pain," Dr Watts nodded at John's suggestion. Michael McBain didn't miss the look that Evangeline gave his brother.

"Everything looks pretty good," Dr. Watts turned back to her patient, seemingly uncomfortable over the situation. "Umm...Evangeline, I can only do so much, I need you to tell me, tell US what happened."

Evangeline held her breath as all eyes focused on her. She'de completely forgotten about her reason for being there, she hadn't thought about what she'd say about her condition. John's eyes burned into her as if watching the wheels turn in her head, struggling to come to with a plausible explanation. Evangeline wanted to tell him the truth, that she had argued with RJ, that he had lost it and tried to strangle her, tackling her to the floor. But she didn't....

"I fell," she blurted out, Dr Watts slighly nodded her head as if it confirmed everything, Michael cocked an eyebrow, forcing Evangeline to formulate the lie firther. She didn't think of the lie as it flowed from her. She explained how she had been at home fixing a cabinet and had taken a fall landing heavily on her side. It seemed so absurd, but somehow she made it believable. As she continued talking she avoided Johns eyes, his face was expressionless.

"Well, "Dr Watts shrugged, "Detective McBain is right. We definatly should keep u here overnight to make sure there's no more bleeding. Besides you need all the rest you can get to facilitate the healing process."

Evangeline didn't hide her anger. Michael shot her a knowing smile as he patted her shoulder reassuringly. Dr Watts was still talking as John thanked her and walked her to the door. Evangeline waited for the doctor to leave before she decided to speak up.

"Michael would you excuse us, I need to speak to John alone," Michael didn't hesitate as he headed towards the door mentioning how he would check on Evangeline later. Once he was gone, Evageline sat up, her anger building as she locked eyes with John.

"Are you mad at me or something?", she already knew the answer to the question, the anger was evident in his eyes, boiling so close to the surface. But she had chosen to ask anyway. John was a hard person to read, and as well as se knew him, she also knew that she had to work to draw out any kind of straight answer where his feeling towards her were concerned.

"John?, " he hadn't answered as he had crossed the room to stand beside her.

"Are you ready to tell me the truth?" he threw back suddenly. " I hope all that bull about the fall was for Dr Watts's benefit coz I didn't buy a single word of it."

"John I can't tell you what you want to hear." she admitted finally.

"What the truth? My bad I thought those strings actually meant somethig. It meant you and me and commitment, and trust and-"

"RESPECT," she finished the sentence angrily.

"What?" he seemed genuinely confused.

"What the hell was that all bout John, with Dr Watts? You pretty much ignored everything I had to say and talked to her like I wasn't even in the room and YOU want to talk about trust, and-"

"Ok, you know what I can't talk to you like this, you need your rest, and the way I'm feeling right now, I might say something I don't mean." He started to walk away.

"The say something you DO mean!" she yelled suddenly, "why is it always cloak anddagger with you. Its so hard to read you like this-when you shut me out!" the urgency in her voice brought unwanted tears to her eyes. It made her feel weak and lonely. The same lonely she'd felt the night of the gala, when John had left her apartment.The same lonely she felt now. How possible was it to feel so empty standing so close to a man she cared so deeply about. John had stopped to turn and look at her, reading the emotion written all over her face.

"You wann know what I MEAN! Do you have any idea what it was like for me watching you lying in that bed, hurt and not being able to do a damn thing to help you!" He had moved to cup her face, holding it close to his, firmly. "DO YOU!"

"John, you can't always be there for me," she was fighting back tears now. "You're there for a everyone, everyone who needs you. People trust you and are alwasy running to you for help. I want to be the one person you don't have to worry about. One less person for you to rescue, I want to be the one person you can lean on." Evageline's head lowered before he forced her to look up.

"Evangeline, I WANT you to need me. Don't you get it? You're it for me, right here and right now.Part of this thing-with us has to mean being there for eachother. Don't try and do this for yourself. I can't handle it if you shut me out, you mean too much, WE mean too much." Evageline knew those were hard words for him to say. He was right, she owed it to their relationship to tell him the truth, about everything.

"John," she touched his hands where they still cupped her face.

"Evageline-" They both looked up and past John to the figure at the door. John's hands slowly moved from her face as he turned back to her before getting up. Turning so that his back was towards her, Evageline watched as John tensed up at the site of RJ Gannon.

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