Two months later….
Evangeline was home and decided to call her mom. She had been placed on bed rest, because her blood pressure was elevated. John insisted she follow the doctor’s instruction to the letter. Oh, she hated when he was right. The most important thing was their child so she acquiesced. As she dialed, she knew that she had to let her mother know the latest update in her pregnancy or risk the consequences.
“Mom, it’s me, Evangeline.”
“Cookie, how are you? Is the baby okay?”
“Yes, the baby is fine, but that is why I’m calling. I had a checkup and the doctor was kind of concerned about my blood pressure. He said I was fine, but I needed to get some rest.”
“Yes, John insisted and you know him. Stubborn is that man’s middle name.”
“He was right, to insist. He shouldn’t have to,” Lisa said.
“I know, but I can’t stand being in bed and doing nothing.”
“I know, but your health and that little one come first.”
“Speaking of that, when are you and John getting married?”
“Mom, I thought we discussed that already.”
“No, you talked about all the reason’s you couldn’t, I just listened.”
“Mom, nothing has changed.”
“Yes, it has. You two are getting ready to bring a new life in the world and I want my grandchild to have everything you had.”
“Mom, my life was not that perfect.”
“Not toward the end, but in the beginning, you had two loving and stable parents.”
“I did, but it fell apart.”
“My marriage, not yours.”
“Mom, I don’t want to risk it.”
“That is what I have a problem with. How can you not? You have never been a quitter. Hasn’t John shown how much he loves you? He is even willing to forgo marriage, even if it is what he wants more than anything, because he loves you.”
“I know. John has been terrific. He takes care of me and he does adore me.”
“So, why can’t you at least consider the possibility of marriage?”
“Cookie, your dad and John are two completely different men. What happened between your father and me, well was between us. Yes, I would have liked things to turn out differently, especially since it has had such an impact on you. You need to let the past bury itself.”
“How can I? I saw first hand what the divorce did to you and the family.”
“Yes, and if you learned anything, it is that people are human. They make mistakes. Sometimes, they can be fixed, sometimes they can’t. The most important thing to realize is I never regretted marrying your father or the memories we shared. I would not trade them for the world. Yes, there was pain, but baby there was such sweetness in our life together and unbelievable joy. That is the part I think you forgot.”
“I didn’t. I saw how happy you were, we all were until it ended.”
“My marriage did. You and I are different. I love you baby, but ask yourself how can you not want it all; the vows, the promises and the infinite possibilities?”
“Mom, John loves me. I don’t doubt that, but what if...?”
“What if you marry and you live a long life together? What if he goes out and doesn’t come back and he never knows you… my baby girl had faith in him and in you both?”
“Mom, I will give it some thought, but I’m not promising anything.”
“That’s all I ask. By the way, I’m coming to see you two next week. Give John my love.”
“Will do, love ya.” She hung up.
Evangeline lay back and thought for a moment. John hadn’t pressured her and she was grateful. He laid his cards on the table. John loved her; she was sure of that. He came home to her each night. When she was tired, he made dinner. When she couldn’t reach something that fell, he was right there to pick it up. He kissed her stomach and told their child the dumbest stories, but he always made her smile. So why couldn’t she take that leap? Fear.
She had allowed herself to fear the possibility of failure. Evangeline forgot to acknowledge that if you never reach for the stars, you’re bound to stay on the ground. She could have all that love brings, if she could let go. Yes, fear was preventing her from becoming one with this man. John was her soul mate; she recognized and embraced it, so she had to make a decision. Let go of the pain or allow it to dictate her future? Evangeline sighed, knowing what she had to do. The time had come to let it all go.
She whispered, “Papa, I miss you so much. Your love was the first I had. You taught me to fight and be the best. Well, being the best wife and mother just became my number one priority. I just hope John won’t be too surprised.”
Two weeks later…
“Evangeline, what did the doctor say, exactly?”
“He told me to cut back on my work load; I did. Take my vitamins, rest as much as possible and stay away from talkative friends.”
“Funny,” Nora laughed.
“So, why did you call to tell me to meet you at the jeweler’s?”
“Because, we are going to find an engagement ring.”
“Okay. Color me stupid, but an engagement ring. You are picking out your own?”
“No, I’m getting one for John,” she said smiling.
“You are going to propose to him and bind him to you, huh?”
“Yep, I figure since he proposed and I said no. I should ask him.”
“You can’t be serious. This will set all women back a hundred years. Promise you won’t tell anyone.”
“Nora, you are funny.”
”Well, I’m not planning on trying matrimony again, but I don’t want you setting any trends.”
“I won’t. This is just between John and me.”
They spent the afternoon laughing and choosing a ring to fit the man known as John McBain. Boy, would he be surprised.
“Lunch? The jeweler has your specifications and I’m starved,” Nora said.
“Yes, let’s get something to eat. I need to plan the dinner to go along with the proposal.
“Dinner? You cooking?”
“No, I’m ordering in. You don’t think I want him to get indigestion, before he says I do, do you?” Evangeline laughed.
“No, so let’s go plan that dinner and figure out the best place to order it.”
Evangeline and Nora decided on Italian.
“Yes, they make the best rigatoni with meatballs and the side salad is scrumptious,” Nora said, talking up a quaint little Italian restaurant.
“Nora, they deliver, right?”
“Of course and if they didn’t I’d pick it up personally. I just wish I could see his face when you propose. Do you think you can take a picture?” The grin on Nora’s face was absolutely mischievous.
“No. I can’t. I will tell you if he says yes or no.”
“Oh, he’ll say yes. I’m sure of it.”
“I hope you’re right.”
“I am. Let’s finish this up and get you home. Remember, you are still supposed to be resting.”
Two nights later….
“Hey,” John said answering the ringing phone.
“Hey yourself. Are you still going to be on time for dinner?”
“Yes, barring an emergency.”
“Yes or I will be by the time I get home.”
“Good. Have a good day. See you soon,” she replied about to put the phone down.
“Hon, everything okay?” John’s voice stopped her.
“Sure, why do you ask?”
“Well, for the last couple of days you’ve been awful nice to me.”
“I’m always nice to you.”
“Hurry home, Lieutenant. We miss you.”
“Miss you both, too.” He hung up. He still had the feeling she was up to something, because she had been nice to him, extremely.
Later that evening. . .
“Hon, I’m home.”
“John go wash up. Dinner is almost ready,” she yelled from the back of the house.
“Great, I won’t be long.”
Coming back downstairs, he smelled the amazing aroma coming from the dining room.
“Hey, what happened? You learn how to cook?”
“I beg your pardon.”
“I’m not complaining. It smells really good.”
“I hope you enjoy it. Now sit.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He sat and looked at the food, which looked amazing. He thought maybe she wanted to surprise him with her cooking. If this was any indication of how good it would be, he was happy.”
“Evangeline, this is terrific,” he said after the first bite.
“Yes, I didn’t know you could cook like this.”
“John, I don’t think you need to say anymore. Just enjoy.”
“No, really this is great.”
“Try the salad, I’m sure you’ll like that, too,” She was getting ticked. She tried not to, but if he said one more word about how good the food was, she was going to throw some bread. That would definitely ruin a great moment.
“Hon, what a wonderful surprise. The beer’s chilled just like I like it, a meal to make any man happy. So we having twins or what? You can tell me. I can take it.”
“John McBain, we are not having twins and can’t I just be nice. I mean, I’m a nice person.”
“Yes, you are, but lately you’ve had some mood swings.”
“Not tonight. Tonight is special.”
“Can I talk to you for a minute?”
“Talk? You want to talk? Okay, what do you want to talk about?”
“Let’s take this into the living room.”
“Okay, want me to get the dishes?”
“No, leave them. This is important.”
John did not like this. Talking never led him anywhere good. He hoped this was different.
They walked into the living room and he took a seat on the couch, Evangeline sat beside him with her feet tucked under her and she draped her arm around his shoulders.
John, you know how much I care for you right?”
“You have been so patient with me, really. I don’t know many men who could have put up with me.” She watched him smile just slightly.
“I love you. I don’t put up with you. I adore you, good and bad.”
“Well, that’s why I adore you; you accept me.”
“So, I need to show you how much I adore you and trust us.” She pulled the box from under the cushion and gave it to him.
“What’s this, a present?”
“No, it is a request. Will you John McBain do me Evangeline Williamson the honor of becoming my husband?” she asked waiting for him to say something. He stared.
“You’re asking me to marry you? What about what you said? Your fear of divorce?”
“I’ve never let fear control any aspect of my life. I will not let it control the love I have for you. I’m letting it go, for you and for us.”
“I love you, but I …can’t accept this.”
Evangeline felt her heart drop. Here she was, asking him to marry her and he had just turned her down. Nothing prepared her for this.
“Evangeline, are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine, so if you don’t want to get married, I take it you want to go on like this; living together. That’s okay with you?”
“Yes, I love living with you, but no, it’s not okay with me,” he said. “Wait here. Don’t move, I’ll be right back.”
Evangeline was numb she couldn’t believe it. He didn’t want to marry her anymore. She had waited too late. Then John came back, but he did something strange. He knelt in front of her and took her hand.
“Evangeline Williamson, light of my life, will you do me the proud honor of becoming my wife?”.
She hit him in the chest. “What? You just turned me down.”
“Yep, you don’t think I’m going to have my sons and daughters thinking their dad didn’t propose to their momma, do you? There will be no dinner talk about how you asked me. I asked you first and I’m asking you last, marry me?”
“John, you tease. You were going to ask me again, weren’t you?”
“Yes, I told you, you are everything to me. Nothing in my life means anything without you. You are my partner, friend, lover and now you are going to be my wife. No way was I going to lose you.”
“How did you know I would come around?”
“I counted on your spirit. You’re a fighter and sooner or later I knew you would fight for us, our future. I just had to be patient and let you do the letting go.”
“You think you’re smart don’t you?”
“No. I’m an idiot, but I know I’m loved by the prettiest, smartest, and most intelligent woman on my planet.”
“So, you’ll marry me?”
“Lady, like yesterday. Now, give me some of your sweetness and I’ll give you my love.”
“Come here and don’t even think of asking me to cook like this every night of our marriage.”
“What? The place you got it doesn’t do take out five days a week?”
“McBain? You knew?”
“Trust me, if you could cook like that, I’d know.”
He took her face in his hands and got his sweet kiss. They spent the night cuddling and planning. After all they had to be married soon, before the baby arrived. Evangeline smiled, secretly, because she couldn’t wait to tell John they were having triplets. She thought it could wait until morning. The man had enough to deal with. John had placed the beautiful solitaire on her finger, and she the band of gold on his inscribed, with “Love of my Life”.
Letting go was sweeter than holding on, Evangeline had found out at last. Love was taking chances and she and John were worth the love and laughter and all the rest. At last, love had found a home, in her heart and his.