“Dinner with the Family”
Evangeline and her mom were busy setting the table for dinner.
“Mom, can you please bring the garlic bread? I left the bread basket out for it.”
“Sure. Anything else?”
“No, that should do it,” Evangeline said as she finished the last touches on the table. She thought John should be coming soon and Marcy did say she might stop buy if her book signing wrapped up.
“Annie, bring me that candle from the living room. I need one more.”
Annie got up to do as her aunt asked. The doorbell rang, and Evangeline went to answer it. Annie was right behind her. Evangeline knew that John to be on the other side.
John stepped in and Annie threw herself between John and Evangeline. John scooped her up hugged her tight and she hugged him back. He shifted her to the side and bent in to kiss his woman hello.
“Great, you two can go wash up and I’ll get the rest of the food on the table. Don’t leave a mess. I know how you both like to splash water.”
Annie and John looked at her like she was crazy; she couldn’t be talking about them. John let Annie down and reached for her hand. John told Annie he hoped she had a great day and he was going to read to her later.
“Those two are funny momma. They don’t speak, yet they do. I believe they both told me I was crazy and they didn’t say a word,” Evangeline laughed.
“I know the feeling.”
“Yeah, you did the same, but it’s okay. You are getting some of it back. John is a good man.”
“Yes, he is.”
“So when is he going to propose? Or, do you have to be the one? Since this is the 21st century, I guess women can propose to men now.”
“Oh, I don’t think John and I are ready yet,” Evangeline said.
“Ready for what?” John asked as he came up behind her with Annie, both a little wet.
“Mom was just asking about something; I said we weren’t ready.”
“What aren’t we ready for?” he asked.
“To each other?” he asked, looking quizzical.
“Yes to each other. Who else McBain?”
“Just wanted to be clear, but I’m ready.”
“Ready for what?”
“Marriage, so if you aren’t you need to be,” he said and walked off with Annie leaving Evangeline with her mouth open. Her mom had a sweet smile; yes she liked John she really did.
Marcie did make it and dinner was terrific. Every one enjoyed the food and the company. John even had seconds. Sometimes he could be greedy like that. He said it was the best spaghetti he had ever had.
“Mom made the sauce. Don’t worry I can make a sauce just like that. Now that I know you prefer hers to mine.”
“No. I don’t mean I don’t like yours. This is special your mom made it.”
“Clean it up John. You need to quit while you are ahead,” Marcie said smiling and taking another piece of garlic bread.
“Mom made the bread from scratch. She is the best.”
“Mrs. Williamson, I really enjoyed dinner,” John said.
“Thanks John, now if you guys will go in the living room, Evangeline and I will clean up.”
“Can we help?” both John and Marcie asked.
“No, you go on. We have dessert, so we want to clean up first. Let the food settle. Watch TV or something.”
Marcie, John and Annie went into the living room and watched a very old Disney movie that Annie really enjoyed.”
“Marcie. How is the book coming? Sales and all?”
“Great, we’re still number five on the best sellers list. I couldn’t be happier.”
“You and Michael get to spend much time together? He was worried that your success would keep you guys too busy.”
“No. We make time. He was supposed to be here, he called to let me know he had something important to do. I’m glad I came. Dinner was great.”
“Yeah being with family is the best.”
“Hey, you guys we have some sherbet. Do you have room?” Evangeline asked the three of them.
“Yes,” John and Marcie said at the same time. Annie nodded her agreement.
“Good, I’ll go prepare it. You guys sit.
Later, everyone was content and Evangeline talked about seeing a movie. John suggested that she and her mother go with Marcie. He would stay with Annie. At first, the women protested, but John was adamant. It would be nice, plus he didn’t mind watching a Pooh Bear movie with Annie and getting her ready for bed. They agreed and he saw them off. Evangeline gave him a quick kiss good-bye and patted his chest before saying, “McBain, you are a good man.”
“Glad to be of service. Have fun.”
Later, John and Annie were watching the movie. Annie was laughing and having fun, when his cell phone rang. He saw it was from Michael, so he took it.
“Mike, what’s up?”
“I got the report ready. The DNA test is back. We were right. Samantha has been identified, we ran her prints and they confirmed. You won’t believe what she was wanted for.”
“Can’t get into that right now. Get the lab results on my desk. I’ll go over the report as soon as I get back to work. The women have gone to the movies so I got babysitting duty.”
“All of them? Marcie, too?”
“That explains why I can’t reach her. She must have her cell phone off. When she comes back, tell her to call me.”
“Will do. I got to get Annie ready for bed. Talk to you later. Thanks for getting me that report.”
“Anytime,” Michael said and hung up.
“Annie, time to get ready for bed.”
Annie shook her head no.
“Don’t be difficult. I promised your Aunt and Gigi that I could handle this, so go on and get washed up. I’ll be up in a little while to read you our favorite story. Now scoot.”
Annie reluctantly trudged up the stairs, looking back to see what Uncle John was doing, he was just waiting. She went on up he had that look that she never argued with.
Annie came back down in her pajamas with her book and waited for John to pick her up. He took her upstairs, pulled the covers back and dropped her playfully in her bed. She was so tiny. He tucked in the covers and sat on the side of the bed and began to read.
“Once upon a time, in a far off place, a beautiful African princess lived in a sand castle with…”
He saw her doze off and finally he heard her gentle breathing letting him know she was asleep. He went to cut on the night-light, then left with her room with the door ajar. John was somewhat distracted or he would never have allowed what happened next to happen. He missed a step. He reached out to steady himself and tumbled down the stairs, crashing into the railing, knocking himself out.
Annie, a light sleeper for many reasons, heard something crack. It startled her awake. She pulled the covers back and went to see what happened. She got to the top of the stairs and saw her Uncle John lying there unconscious. She screamed and ran down to him.
“Hmm, Hmm,” she moaned making noise, trying to get him to open his eyes. She was so scared. Uncle John, Uncle John, she thought. What was being heard in her head started to form on her lips.
When the women returned, they found Annie, trying to wake John and saying his name “Uncle John, Uncle John”.
The women went into action. Evangeline rushed to John and Annie. Marcie got on the phone and dialed 911. Amelia went to comfort Annie and pray; thanking God for this miracle and praying for another - the recovery of John. He was needed; by her daughter, who looked like her whole world was lying in front of her, and Annie. He had to be okay. He just had too.