That was it. Just like that it was the end of their
conversation. All at once Evangeline was struck with
the burn of instant regret. The man beside her tensed
almost immediately at the sound of RJ Gannon’s voice.
A minute ago they had been talking …really talking.
For the first time in what seemed like weeks it felt
like they were actually getting somewhere. It felt
like, well like finally he kid-gloves had come off and
they were actually being honest about their
relationship. Evangeline had made the decision, in
that moment, to let John know what was in her heart.
It had been a thought constantly invading every
thought, threatening to overwhelm her. She was ready
for him to learn the truth, to know what her true
feelings towards him were. After that it would be up
to him to make the next move, to decide whether this
thing between them would grow further or finally be
put to an end.
But as easily and as naturally as that moment had
presented itself, it was gone. The walls John had
built up around himself the ones she had worked so
hard to break down, had gone up again with no warning.
As he stared RJ head on, Evangeline could feel him
slipping away from her, resigning himself to the
emotionally closed off man she had met, over a year
“Get the hell outta here,” John made an attempt to
step towards RJ before he felt Evangeline’s fingers
tighten around his wrist.
“I ah- wanted to see if you were alright.” RJ stepped
forward, choosing to concentrate his menacing stare
beyond the confrontational figure in front of him.
Evangeline didn’t respond, she didn’t know how to.
Obviously John was sensing some connection between her
injury and RJ, if only he would just leave. Beneath
her fingers, she felt John’s pulse quicken as the
blood pumped through the veins in his wrist.
“Please don’t,” it was a mistake the moment the words
left her mouth. John was a good man, a rational cop,
but asking him to look the other way was on this was
pushing it too far. John felt the urge to beat RJ
senseless, but he fought against it. Seeing him rot
away in a jail cell would have to do.
“I’m going to enjoy this,” John broke away from her
grasp, walking so he was mere inches from the other
man. The smile that played on RJ’s lips seemed to
spread wider as he witnessed just how agitated John
was. He enjoyed seeing Llanview’s ever calm and
collected hero clearly disorientated and ultimately
enraged. Good, he thought, very good.
John witnessed his gleaming white teeth appear as the
smile took on a life of its own. John knew he had been
right all along; RJ being here and Evangeline’s injury
were definitely connected.
“You know when Evangeline finally presses charges, I’m
gonna love nailing you to the wall.” The stupid smile
“John I need to talk to RJ…alone.” Both men returned
their attention to Evangeline who had been watching
the exchange as she held her breath.
RJ attempted a smile whilst John just stood there, a
blank stare masking his disappointment. It was
happening again, she was still protecting him, even
after everything he had done put her through, why.
John initially made no attempt to acknowledge her
request. But it was what she wanted. Pushing past RJ
he walked back out into the hallway, all he could
think of was how much he hated him and how betrayed he
felt by her words, all he wanted now was to get as far
away from them as he possibly could.
“Well,” RJ started to move closer, bringing in front
of her the small arrangement of flowers he had
safeguarded behind him.
“Look-“ she held her hands up as if to fend him off.
“I want you to understand something. I did NOT protect
you out of some twisted sense of loyalty. I’m at a
point RJ, where all my sympathy towards you has run
out.” As he listened his eyes moved to her fingers,
where they grasped the white sheets beneath her,
twisting them as she spoke.
“I don’t want John getting involved in this…this…” She
shook off the confusion when the words didn’t come.
“He doesn’t need to get dragged down for my error in
judgment. I made the mistake of trusting you once,
never again. Somewhere deep down, a part of me will
always care. But I want you; I need you, to stay away
from John…and that means staying away from me.”
RJ stared at his ex-girlfriend with critical eyes. She
was angry, and anger made people say things they
didn’t mean. But every word out of Evangeline’s mouth
was backed with incredible intense conviction. For a
while all he had wanted was revenge, but somehow he
had also hoped there was still some feeling left
between them. But any hope for the two of them had
vaporized the night he had laid his hands on her. He
missed her, but he had gone too far, way too far.
“I guess sorry would be out of the question.” He
responded apologetically, laying the arrangement of
tulips on the table beside her bed. He watched her
shake her head without hesitation. Sighing he decided
to fulfill her request, but not before he said what he
had come to say.
“You do know, no matter what you do, no matter how
happy you are with McBain, you’ll never be number one.
“Stop it, RJ” she glared at him, wanting nothing more
than for him to be gone.
“If it isn’t his work than it’s his dead fiancé, and
let’s not forget about Natalie Vega. Anyone can see
how he always runs to her rescue.” He head snapped up
at the mention of Natalie.
“Is that what you want? To be home, wondering,
waiting, while he chases that red-head all over town.
C’mon Evangeline, you’ve never been much good at
playing second best and you know it.”
Those last few words burned through her. Not so much
that they were true, but somehow he had managed to
voice her darkest fears.
“Get out RJ.”
He stared at her one last time, knowing his words had
hit a nerve. The old RJ would want to kick her when
she was down. But he had hurt her enough. She deserved
better than John McBain and she definitely deserved
better than him. RJ retreated from the room in
silence, outside hr stepped into the hallway, feeling
John’s eyes on him as he walked away.
Evangeline didn’t hear him as he walked back into the
room. Her eyes were closed where she lay slumped
against her large pillow. She sat with her head
slightly tilted to the ceiling as she nursed the
beginnings of a migraine headache.
John’s shadow loomed over her as he watched her
quietly. All he wanted to do was reach out, make
everything all right for her. They had been at each
others throats lately, about work, about RJ but mostly
about his feelings towards Natalie. He knew he had
been acting like a jackass and he really had no
excuse. But that was his defense mechanism, to lash
out at her even though he knew she cared. Part of his
problem was that to some extent, everything that she
said held some truth. It was things he was never
willing to admit to himself, and as a result he would
turn it around on her, he knew what would hurt her and
he used it.
But afterwards, after the words were said, he knew he
couldn’t take them back. As always he felt the dark
empty depression begin to settle in. It gnawed at him
more and more these days. He didn’t like the man he
was becoming and how much he was hurting her. She was
the reason for so much of the good in his life. Being
with her managed to awaken the John that had lay
dormant since Caitlin. Her presence helped him fend
off the demons of the past and forced him to be a
better man. Then why was he trying so hard to push her
away, he was offering her so many outs even though he
knew, deep down inside that he would die if she walked
Evangeline’s eyes fluttered open. Her brown eyes
seemed to search his for any indication that her
actions hadn’t completely pushed him away.
He sat down beside her, his icy stare studying every
inch of her beautiful face, refusing to reach her
“I- uh, saw RJ in the hall,” he began, “I guess it’s
safe to say you’re not pressing charges.” He smiled,
but his eyes were empty of feeling.
“There’s no need to press charges,” she busied herself
with the sheets on her bed.
“Aah, ok, so I guess you’re trying to tell me Gannon
didn’t do this,” his hand reached across her touching
the bandage that covered the sight of her injury. When
Evangeline didn’t respond he stole his hand away,
trying hard to fight the anger that boiled inside him.
“Why are you protecting him?” He got up to stare out
of the window beside her bed.
“It’s not him I’m protecting.” She answered
truthfully. She prayed that somehow he would
understand the true meaning behind her words. “Why
can’t you just leave it?” she was getting frustrated.
“Because I’m a cop and because anyone with half a
brain can tell Gannon is feeling guilty of something.”
He walked back towards the bed, leaning over her, his
eyes drilling holes into hers.
“I can take care of myself,” she threw back.
“Yeah, well I can see what a bang-up job you’re doing
of that,” his tone rose slightly making her shiver.
“God, is it that hard for you to actually need
somebody let somebody else be there for you!” his face
stood mere inches form hers. Something in the way he
said those words cut into an open wound. She cocked
her head upwards, raising her voice to match his.
“John I’m sorry if you’re angry, that this is such a
problem, and I’m sorry for having to keep this from
you, I really am. But I WILL NOT apologize for not
leaning on you every chance I get. I’m sorry I’m not
some damsel in distress, like…”
“Like Natalie!” he finished for her. She breathed in
sharply at the mention of the other woman’s name.
“That’s what you were getting at, wasn’t it?”
“That’s not what I meant” she seethed
“Evangeline, whether you say it or not, I see it in
your eyes. Its always there. It’s like your just
looking for a reason for us to break up.” He breathed
“Look whose talking! All you do is push me away every
chance you get.”
“What the hell does that mean?” he threw his hands up
exasperated. “You know what; I dunno why we even
Those last words shook her to the core. Evangeline
stared nervously at her fingers, not bothering to hold
back her hurt. She was tired , tired of walking on
eggshells, of feeling like she was on the outside
looking in, and most of all tired of being hurt by
“Why are we doing this?” she asked softly to no one in
particular. “All we seem to do lately is hurt each
other.” When John didn’t answer she chose to continue.
“Maybe-maybe we need some time off…”
Before he could voice his feelings John heard his
phone ring inside his coat.
“Just get it, “she didn’t look at him as she curled up
into a ball with her back to him.
John only half listened as he heard Antonio’s frantic
voice. There had been a shooting. Tico Santi was in
critical condition. Christian Vega was hurt, all hell
was breaking loose.
“I’ll be right there,” he finished off.
For a minute he couldn’t think of what to say. Was she
right? Did they need a break?
“I gotta go,” she made no move to acknowledge his
The little space between them was nothing compared to
the distance they had placed between their hearts.
“Ma’am… you shouldn’t be out of bed.”
Evangeline pulled the turtle neck over her head, just
as the nurse walked in.
“There’s nothing to stop me from checking myself out.”
She pulled on her running shoes before finally
locating her coat behind the bathroom door.
“I should call Dr. Watts,” the nurse reached for the
“No. Look, I’m fine I just need to get home.”
The nurse seemed skeptical but Evangeline wasn’t gonna
wait around and argue.
For the last hour she had been trying to get some
sleep, but all she could think about was John and how
she had let everything get so out of hand. She should
have stopped it when she had the chance, before
strings, before it came to this…
Evangeline shook her head to snap out of her pitiful
state. Quickly she proceeded with the formalities
surrounding her release. Once outside she breathed in
the cold air. It was late and she was tired, all she
wanted now was to go home and forget about John
“Whoa there,” the file folder narrowly missed Nora’s
head as she walked into John’s office.
“Sorry,” he responded curtly, “you weren’t supposed to
“I hope not,” she closed the door before retrieving
“Heard about the Santi mess and Christian, can you
“Yeah, it’s pretty unbelievable. Christian seemed to
be doing ok, Tico not so much.”
‘I uh heard he was in a coma…but something tells me
that was the last thing on your mind when you killed
that folder. Everything alright…with Evangeline?”
“Maybe you should ask her?” he avoided her eyes as he
sat back down. Nora squirmed in her seat; she was
getting a weird vibe.
“Ok… that bad huh?”
“I dunno what I’m doing” he sighed making Nora laugh.
“I’m sorry, it’s just that…well, Evangeline said the
exact same thing. Look, for what its worth whatever
this thing is between you two, its gonna work out.”
The conversation was cut short with a knock at the
door as a uniformed officer entered, envelope in hand.
John opened it as the officer left.
“I should go, you have work to do,” Nora got up to
leave as he pulled out the postcard inside it.
‘Remember what I said, ok?” John nodded his
acknowledgment as he read the postcard, it didn’t
seem to make sense as he read it over and over.
‘Old friends never die’
Evangeline settled into the backseat, the cab driver
was exceptionally chatty.
She nodded, before returning her attention to the
drizzle that seemed to form outside. The medication
the doctor had offered was making her groggy and her
mind was restless. But once she got home everything
would be fine. She could settle into bed and get her
mind off of everything, especially John.
It’s started to rain heavily, blocking her line of
sight as they drove home.
“Wow, talk about rainfall,” the cabbie put his wipers
on full power as he eased onto the bridge connecting
to the freeway. At that instant Evangeline watched as
a dark car sped past them at a ridiculous speed.
“Man, is he crazy?” The cabbie started to hit the
brakes as the dark car suddenly pulled up in front of
them. Before she knew what was happening, the cab was
spinning. Evangeline’s hands moved to the door handle
to steady herself as the driver fought to regain
control of the car. Instinctively she reached for her
seatbelt. The car was still spinning as she finally
secured her seatbelt. The cabbie cursed as he lost all
control of the vehicle and the car hit the metal
railing on the bridge. On contact the cab catapulted
over the railing before finally landing in a ditch.
Evangeline cried out at what seemed like a nightmare.
She was upside down and her head throbbed. But to top
it all off she couldn’t breathe. From where she was
she could see the cabbie where he lay unconscious on
the outside of the cab. Her lungs burned as she felt
the seta belt, where it had wrapped tightly about her
neck, threatening to choke her.
Everything seemed to blur as she felt the rain seep
in, she flayed frantically, struggling to break her
choke hold. Her mind was slowly slipping as she felt
the seat belt suddenly loosen around her neck.
The door to the cab was being forced open as smooth
hands reached out to caress her face. Evangeline closed
her eyes as she was lifted out of the cab and carried
by strong arms into the night.