“Hey Nora, I’m sorry I’m late.”
“That’s okay,” Nora looked up at her and could immediately tell that something was wrong. “What happened? Are you okay?”
Evangeline sat down gently as she was still holding Tristen. She kissed his forehead and rested her hand on top of his. A single tear rolled down her cheek and into his hair. Nora turned to a booth behind her and waved for Mary Ann, Matthews’s babysitter, to come here.
“Hey, could you possibly watch Tristen for a while I talk to Evangeline?”
“Sure.” She bent down and lifted Tris from Evangeline’s arms. Tris started to move, but he didn’t wake up.
“Evangeline, what happened?” Nora asked as she put her hand over hers.
“I’m not sure,” she started as she wiped the tear streak off her face, “I took Tris to the park to play. Everything was fine until I saw Antonio and RJ.”
“They had been arguing, when Antonio lost his temper and nearly hit RJ.”
“Yeah. I stopped him, but that was just the beginning. RJ is suing Antonio for full custody of Jamie, so I agreed to represent him.”
“Shouldn’t you have talked to John about this first?”
“I know, but Antonio really needs my help.”
“Is that why you’re so upset?”
“No, RJ left after being his usual insulting self, and then we saw Cristian and Natalie. Antonio told them about me representing him.
“Something happened between you and Natalie?”
“Between Cristian and I.”
“Antonio was congratulating me on the baby, but then Cris just flipped out. He started talking about hating John and our children.”
“What! That doesn’t sound like Cris at all.”
“I know. I couldn’t believe that he would say things about our children.”
“Did Tris hear all of this?”
“No, he was sleeping. Thankfully.”
“No wonder why you looked so upset.”
“Hi, can I get you anything,” Carlotta said from behind Evangeline.
“No, thanks.” Evangeline smiled at her. ‘I wonder if she had noticed if Cristian had been acting strangely. She was his mother though; she is probably glad just to have him back’, thought Evangeline to herself as Carlotta walked away.
“I thought that Cristian would be getting better by now. Bo said that Natalie had gotten him to go to counseling.”
“I don’t know, Nora. Cristian has felt a need to hate John for seven years. Even when his memory wasn’t that good he still remembered how much he hated John. I’m not sure that it is going to be so easy for him to let those feelings go. You would have thought that things would be better since he found out that it was Tico who orchestrated the whole thing.”
“I think he just needs more time, and definitely some distance between him and John.”
“You’re right about that.”
(At the McBain house)
“John, are you sure you don’t want me to help with something?”
“No, mom, I’ve got everything under control.”
“Ok, well how’s work going?”
“Everything is fine mom. What’s with all the questions?”
“I’m not asking you a lot of questions. Besides, I’m your mother I have a right to know what’s going on in your life.”
John decided to ignore that comment. Since Evangeline hadn’t gotten back home yet it was just him and his mother. Where were Michael, Marcie, and Shannon? He was starting to become really annoyed with his mother’s game of twenty one questions.
“When did you say Evangeline was coming back with Tris?”
“I didn’t, but I’m sure she will be back soon.” John heard a knock at the front door. “Could you get that mom, it’s probably Mike?”
John sighed in relief as his mom left the kitchen. He figured now would be a great time to check in with Evangeline. He wiped his hand on a towel and dialed her cell number from the kitchen phone. The phone rang once.
“Hi, this is Evangeline Williamson. Please leave your name, number, and a brief message and I’ll call you back at my earliest convienence.”
“Voicemail,” John said as he hung up the phone.
“Who were you talking to,” said Eve as she reentered the kitchen.
“Don’t worry about it mom. Hey Michael, Marcie,” John said as they both entered the room.
“Hey bro, where are Tris and Evangeline?”
“They will be here soon,” John said with frustration in his voice. He was hoping that they would be the next two people to walk through the door.
“Hey Marcie, why don’t we go check and see if the coals are ready?” Michael could tell John was stressed by the tone of his voice. The two walked out of the kitchen hand in hand.
“I’m so glad that those two were able to work out their differences.”
“So, have you given any thought to what we talked about before?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Marriage, John. You and Evangeline have one child and another on the way. Don’t you think it’s time for you two to start talking about it?”
“Just stay out of this mom, okay.”
“Just leave it alone.”
“Fine.” Eve could tell that she had hit a wall. She hated how closed off John could be sometimes.
“Hello Eve,” Evangeline said as she hugged her.
“For the last time, call me mom. Eventually my son will ask you to marry him, but why wait until then.”
“John just sighed. There was no winning with her.
“Where’s Tris,” John asked.
“In bed, he fell asleep after I took him to the park.”
“I’m just going to go up and check on him if you don’t mind,” Eve said before excusing herself.
“How was the park,” John asked as he walked toward Evangeline and kissed her forehead while one hand caressed her abdomen.
“It was fine,” Evangeline hated lying to him, but she knew he would be upset if he really knew what happened.
“I ran into Antonio today.”
“Really, what did he say?” Evangeline assumed that John spoke with him before she agreed to be his lawyer.
“Nothing, really. He just said he was finally starting to get his life back on track.”
“That’s good. His whole family has been through enough this year.”
(Later on that day)
“Everything is ready if you guys are ready to eat,” John said as she entered the living room.
“Finally, you invite us over to dinner, and then you practically starve us to death.”
“Ok, so everyone can eat except Mikey.”
“And Tris,” Shannon added, “since he’s still sleeping.”
“Wow, he’s been sleeping for a very long time,” Evangeline said. “I’ll go wake him up.”
“I’ll go,” Eve said, “you guys go ahead and sit at the table.”
They all nodded in agreement and went to the dining room. Eve mad her way up the stairs and to Tris’s bed room. She turned the light on and was surprised not to find Tris in his bed. He was sitting in a corner with his hand around his legs and his head resting on his knees.
“Tris are you okay,” Eve asked as she approached him. She could hear him quietly sobbing. “Did you have a bad dream?” He still didn’t say a word. Eve lifted his head, and wiped the tears that were rolling down his cheeks. “Tell grandma what happened.” He still wouldn’t speak. Eve picked him up and walked downstairs and into the dining room.
“Aww, mom, if he was that tired you could have just let him go back to sleep,” John said as his mother walked into the room with Tris’s head buried in her shoulder.
“Here, I’ll take him back upstairs,” Evangeline said as she got up from her seat and walked toward Eve. She stopped when she could hear Tris crying. “What’s wrong? Why is he crying?” All eyes were now on Eve who was holding Tris.
“I’m not sure. When I went to his room, he was sitting in the dark crying in a corner. He wouldn’t say what was wrong.”
“Come here, sweetie,” Evangeline said as she took Tris out of Eve’s arms. “What’s wrong, hone? What made you so upset?” Eve moved out of the way as Jon came over and stood beside Evangeline. He stroked the top of his head.
“Tris, what’s wrong?” The sound of John’s voice seemed to help. He finally raised his head and John wiped more tears from his cheeks.
“The, the guy,” Tris finally said through his tears. “The guy was,” were the only words her could get out before he burst into tears again.
“What guy?” John asked.
It was no use. Tris was crying uncontrollably, and he couldn’t say a word.
“Excuse us,” John said he led Evangeline to the living room. She sat down on the sofa, still holding Tris, and John sat down on the coffee table in front of her. John was upset. Who did this to his son? He wanted to know what happened, now. “Did something happen while you were in the park,” John asked Evangeline. Before she could answer, Tris nodded his head. “What happened?”
Tris lifted his head, “The guys in the park were mean.”
“The other kids were mean to you?”
“No daddy, it was Mr. Gannon and Mr. Vega. Mr. Gannon got mad at me when I accidentally made Jamie fall and Mr. Vega was being mean about me and the baby. He said we were bast,” Tris was saying before John cut him off.
“Shh, it’s okay,” John said as he kissed his forehead. John could see by Evangeline’s reaction that here was some truth to that. Why didn’t she tell him what happened?
“Come here, buddy,” John said as she took him from Evangeline. “I know that you feel bad about what happened at the park, but that’s not your fault, ok. I love you and your mom loves you and that’s all that is important. Mr. Vega and Mr. Gannon were wrong to say what they said. Now, I want you to go and eat some dinner. I want to talk to your mom for a bit.”
“Okay daddy.” Tris kissed his father on the cheek and walked into the dining room.
“Is all this true,” John was seeing red and trying no to lose his temper.
“John, I didn't want to get you upset.”
“So instead you said noting and just let our son suffer. What the hell were you thinking?”
“John, I’m sorry.”
“I’m sure. This is not the time to discuss this. After dinner, when everyone is gone, and after we put Tris in bed, we'll talk.” John didn't give her a chance to respond before he walked out of the room to rejoin his family.
Evangeline dropped her had into her hands. She wiped the few tears that fell from her eyes. She took a few deep breaths and tried to relax. When she returned, there was silence. John was too angry to make small talk, and Evangeline was thinking of how she would tell John about Antonio. Everyone else wasn't quite sure what to say.
“Mommy, daddy, do you want to hear a joke?”
“Of course,” john said as he gave a smile to Tris.
“Why did the girl name her horse ink?”
“Because he kept running out of the pen,” Michael said.
“Uncle Mike, you ruined it,” Tris said with a whine.
“Way to ruin the joke Mikey.” John still love to taunt him.
“I’m sorry, Tris. Tell another joke. I won’t say a word I promise.”
“Since when have you been the silent type,” Shannon added.
“I’d have to agree that’s more likely to be John.”
“Ouch, Marcie, even you are ganging up on me too?”
Tris’s joke broke the ice. Shannon talked about how her classes at LU were going. Marcie promised a very excited Tris that she would writ a book about him. Michael told a few stories about Johnny Mac, before he noticed John giving him a mean look. Eve smiled and laughed as she enjoyed the time with her family. John and Evangeline barely spoke as their minds were elsewhere.