Chapter 12

"John, what are you doing?" Michael asked.

"Stay out of this Michael. This is between Antonio and me. Get up, Tonio. Get up."

Antonio was shaking his head from side to side and checking his jaw, "John, you got to hear me out."

"Hear, what? You knew Evangeline was carrying my child and in danger. What, you thought I shouldnít know?"

"No, I knew she was pregnant and she told me you couldnít know," Antonio said.

"See, I get her being stupid, but not you. You are supposed to be my partner, my friend. If Kerri was in Vanís situation, would you want me to keep this from you?"

"John, I made a call. You had shut yourself off from knowing about Evangeline and you said you didnít want to know more."

"Yeah, but even you couldnít be stupid enough to think I wouldnít want to know about the baby."

"Johnny," said Michael, "let me take a look at Antonio, see how much damage you did."

"Go ahead, but if I keep thinking about what he did, some more damage is possible," John said.

"Well, I give you the first punch, but not another one. I was doing my job. Yep, I would have expected you to tell me. And yes, I was wrong, but you set the ground rules. Now you have deal with the consequences. Michael, you donít need to check me out, Iím a little woozy but okay.

"Let me check just in case. Just for the record, we need to focus on Evangeline and the baby. Johnny I need to treat her and soon."

"Mickey, I get that. I need both of you to leave. Iíve got to think and right now I need to do that alone."

"John, if you need back up, despite this, Iím there for you," Antonio said.

"No, youíve watched my back and right now I donít like where it ended up. Do me a favor, stay away from me."

"John, you canít mean that," Antonio said feeling his friendís disappointment, as he knew he would.

"Yeah, I mean it and if I canít get Evangeline and our child out intact, I will be looking for you again to finish this conversation. Now if you donít mind, both of you leave."

"Johnny, man Iím sorry. Let me know if when you need me, my phone will be on. Bye," Michael left.

"John you may not get this, but I did the best I could. Maybe youíll understand one day."

"No, you need to understand. Regardless of what I told you, you had to know how much Evangeline means to me. You definitely know how important our child would be. Not to tell me, man I donít get it," looking at him and shaking his head John said, "now leave, I need to think."

Antonio leaves and John walks slowly over to the "thinking-chair" and begins to process and think.

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The Dark PlaceÖÖ

John sat reflecting about how the events had unfolded and the pain...

How did I let this happen? How? Who knew that a conversation on a pier one year ago today would have culminated into this moment?

Two men met, both tall, dark and powerful, each in his own way. One was like a lion. Fierce and strong, and physically imposing. The other was like a fox. Sleek, watchful and coiled to move at any moment. No, they didnít like each other. They were two very different species of men; one the hunter, the other his prey, but as with all things that was about to change. Enemies would become friends and friends would become something more.

"You called," said The Lion.

"Yes, you came," said The Fox

"Why did you want to meet, and it better be good?"

"You know why weíre meeting. This may be near to the last time. How are you doing with getting into the Santi organization?"

"You know, you read the last report."

"Yep, but I need more. I need you to fill the vacuum that the death of Manuel Santi left."

"How in the hell am I supposed to do that? Iím low man on that totem pole."

"Yeah, well letís just say you are going to move up."

"How is that?"

"You are gonna do a really big job, that will get you noticed by none other than Sonny Corinthos."

"You think this will move me up?"

"Yep, and then you will be in the position to do what we set out to do two years ago over coffee."

Present DayÖÖ

Thinking back how did I know so much would have transpired to bring us to this dark place, I remember our last conversation, and it wasnít very nice.

"After what you did, I donít know if I can play on this team."

"Look, it happened. I didnít plan it."

"Yeah, but you sure could have stopped it at some point."

"Maybe, but I didnít want to."

"Well maybe there should be consequences for your actions."

"You would risk the plans we made and the work weíve done over this."

"You had no problem putting them at risk. Or, did you think I would over look this transgression?"

"No, but I would have hoped you would put it aside until weíve finished."

"Maybe I will, maybe I wonít youíll just have to wait and see. I wonder how youíd feel if the situation were reversed."

"Well, it isnít so; I guess weíll never know."

Present DayÖ

I know now how he must have felt. Iíve been feeling it for the last few weeks, and the pain that was his is mine. I canít allow myself the luxury of regret. I made a choice, one that is costing me way more than Iím willing to pay. How could Evangeline keep the knowledge we had a child from me? What was she thinking? That she was wonder woman and could handle this. Well sheís not, and now Iíve got to figure out how to save my woman and our child and not blow one of the biggest cases of my career.

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