Evangeline and John arrived at Nora’s at 6:00 p.m. While they waited anxiously for Juan Hernandez, he told her Augustico Santi had died in an apparent accident on the outskirts of town. The car was being checked to determine whether it was, in fact, an accident. Evangeline seemed relieved and disheartened. She was sorry about the accident but feared she would never know the truth about Tico’s possible involvement in the Buchanan custody hearing.
“John do you really think it was an accident?”
“I don’t know. I choose not to speculate until I get the facts.”
“So very professional of you. Well I hope you get some answers,” she said.
“Me too,” John said. Just then the doorbell chimed and he went to answer it. It was Juan Hernandez.
“Hi Mr. Hernandez.” John reached out and shook the man’s hand. “I’m John McBain. Come on in.”
Evangeline walked toward Mr. Hernandez and shook his hand and welcomed him. “Please let me take your coat, then you can follow John into the living room,” she directed.
”Thanks,” he said, taking off his coat, “I’m so glad you were able to meet me.”
Evangeline and John waited until Mr. Hernandez was seated. Hernandez took a seat in a chair and John and Evangeline took the couch.
“Mr. McBain, Ms. Williamson, it was hard deciding to come here but I knew once I got my mothers letter and a tape that I had to come forward. She would not have taken the time to make arrangements for me to receive these things if she had not wanted me to bring them to the authorities.”
“What letter, and tape? Judge Hernandez left some important information concerning her Buchanan decision didn’t she?”
“Very astute Ms. Williamson, no wonder you have a reputation for being a winner. You are intuitive. Yes, it is regarding the child custody case. Before I give it to you however, with no stipulation as to how you use it, I want you to be aware that up until she was coerced my mother was an exemplary judge. She went to law school and earned her degree at a time when it was hard for Hispanic Americans in this country. She became the first Hispanic judge in Pennsylvania, an achievement for which she was proud.”
“Please, Mr. Hernandez, you don’t have to tell me. I admired your mother very much. I know her record. She was one of the best sitting judges I had the pleasure to try cases before. But I have to ask: do you really want to do this; I mean, share this information.
“Ms. Williamson you lost a case, a child’s life was affected.”
Evangeline felt John shift and realized that he was not liking this at all. But she felt compelled to go on. “Mr. Hernandez, may I call you Juan?” She waited for him to nod his assent. “I know that you think that honesty is best. Perhaps you are right. The day Judge Hernandez rendered her decision I was devastated. It was the first case I had lost in my career. I can’t tell you how humbling that was. I had invested so much in seeing that the best interest of the child then known as Asa Buchanan was insured. Recently, however, it has been proven that the child I fought for did not belong to either party. He was stolen. While it may be true that you have some information concerning the outcome of the trial, whom would it help for that to come out now?” She reached for John’s hand squeezing it asking for understanding.
“You are saying, that sometimes, that which is done can’t be undone. Even if it could what purpose would it serve, Yes?” Juan asked.
“I’m saying that I’m okay. I don’t want to sully the reputation of your mother, a woman who I believe would only compromise her principals under a profound and realistic fear for her family, if there is nothing to gain from it. Sometimes the bravest things are those that bring us pain long term. Judge Hernandez is gone. Her reputation should remain a legacy to her children and grandchildren. Justice will be served, maybe not the way you or I hoped. I just believe people pay for their deeds in one way or another.’
“I don’t know what to say. Mr. McBain, you haven’t said anything. Do you think we should let the past bury the past?”
“I’m a cop. Until I get the evidence or find new evidence, there is nothing I can do. So far I have only heard supposition no real facts. Plus, this is not my call. I will abide by what you two decide,” he said.
“Well Mr. Hernandez, do we understand each other?” Evangeline asked with a smile.
Juan let out a deep breath, “I don’t know what to say. Except thank you.”
“If you have any of her old things, now would be a time to let them go. Do you understand?” She asked.
“Yes, and now I must go. Thank you both for seeing me. No don’t get up, I’ll get my coat and go.” He went over and shook John’s hand, then Evangeline’s, and let himself out.
After he left Evangeline got up and walked over to the window, and looked out. John came up behind her and circled her waist.
“You do know what you just did right?”
“I don’t quite understand you sometimes, because you are not predictable.”
“Neither are you, that’s one of the reason’s I love you.”
“Care to explain?”
“Explain what just happened or why that is one of the reason’s I love you.”
“Just what happened? Why didn’t you accept the information he had? I’m curious as to how your mind works.”
“First I already lost the case, but in my mind and heart I knew I didn’t’. Second, Judge Hernandez is dead what was done was done. Third, I believe and although I couldn’t have him confirm it here because then you would be obligated to investigate, that Tico Santi blackmailed Judge Hernandez. Since Tico is dead, the baby known as Ace is with his biological parent and my goal was not to win the case but to save a child, then I am satisfied. Now I have one mark on my record, but I have learned a lesson for life.”
“And that would be….”
“Winners don’t always win, and the best lawyers are the lawyers who knows not only their worth, but the worth of others.”
“Way too deep for this community college guy.”
“Yeah, so you would like others to think,” she said turning around in his arms and looking up into his gorgeous blue eyes. “We compliment each other McBain, my ability to see the big picture and your ability to pick apart the little details.”
“You know this because?”
“Because I love you. Now is the time you would think the man would kiss his woman, take her home, rub her feet and make her some herbal tea.”
“Now you’re talking,” he said, and brought his lips to hers, and kissed her till she nearly had to be carried home, she was so weak. Yes he had that effect.