John was now standing inches away from Antonio’s face. His face was flushed with anger. How could all of this be his fault? All he wanted was to protect the people he loved. He knew Antonio would feel the same way if the situations were reversed.
“Right now I am asking you as a friend, find another attorney. Don’t pull Evangeline into this messy situation between you and RJ. She is going to have enough stress. I don’t want you adding more to it.”
“I can’t do that John. I need her. Evangeline is the best attorney that money can buy, and right now that is exactly what I need. She had a personal relationship with RJ. That means she can get into his head. She knows what makes him tick. She knows how to get into his head. This will be more than helpful during the case.”
Antonio was not about to back down, not now. He was now starting to feel the pain of being without his daughter. He missed her terribly. He had convinced himself against better judgment to allow Jamie to live with RJ in the first place. If he had only trusted Carlotta, this wouldn’t be happening now. Instead, he was angry at her for lying to him and keeping him from his true identity. In a fit of rage he convinced himself that Jamie was in danger and needed protection, but in actuality he hated everyone including himself. He was punishing Carlotta for lying to him; that’s why he let RJ keep Jamie.
“If this is about finding out what makes RJ tick, then why don’t you just get Evangeline to consult on the case?” John was practically begging Antonio. What else could he do? He couldn’t understand why Antonio was fighting him so hard on this. Evangeline was indeed an excellent attorney, but she did not specialize in family law. There were other lawyers he could turn to.
“No, John. I’m sorry you’re just going to have to deal with this, okay. Evangeline is going to be my lawyer. She’s going to help me bring Jamie home, where she belongs. Nothing is going to happen to her. She can handle this. I have faith in her and so should you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my brother.”
John looked to the right and saw Cristian, who was practically staring a hole through him, sitting alone at a table. He returned his stare with a cold glance. Once again, his eyes met with Antonio’s. He could see the sadness in Antonio’s eyes. There was no way he could imagine what he was going through. John knew this was going to be a very emotional trial for everyone involved, even for RJ. Several times while taking Tris to the park, he saw Jamie and RJ. The love that RJ showed for her was obvious. He wished that there were someway they could work out a custody agreement. That would make things easier, and keep Evangeline out of harm’s way.
Antonio stepped to the side and tried to walk past John, but John also moved and stepped in his way.
“I’m not asking you anymore. I’m telling you. Find another lawyer.” John’s voice was cold and unfeeling. Right now he didn’t care about anyone’s pain except for his and his family’s.
Antonio once again tried to walk past John, but this time John grabbed the collar of his shirt. Cris, witnessing everything, rushed to his brother’s aid. This was just what he wanted. He was waiting for the perfect time to hurt John, and now seemed like the perfect time. No one would blame him if he was only trying to protect his brother.
“Let go of him John,” a familiar voice said before Cristian had a chance to do anything.
John let go of Antonio, and turned toward the bar. The bartender took a couple of steps back. He didn’t want to offend John in any way.
“Are you alright?” Bo said to Antonio. He wasn’t a regular at Rodi’s, but Paige wanted to meet him here for a drink. Bo was glad that he got there before anything physical took place. Bo knew that John and Cristian were hardly friends, but he thought that John and Antonio had resolved their differences.
“Yeah.” Antonio didn’t stay to chat with Bo; instead, he took Cristian and led him back to their table.
“John you want to tell me what that was all about?” Bo said as he turned and stared at John’s back.
“Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
John turned on his barstool until he was facing Bo. “Evangeline is going to be representing Antonio in the custody battle.”
Bo was confused. By the look on John’s face he could tell this was a bad thing. “Isn’t that good?”
“No, it’s not good. Evangeline is pregnant. I’m worried that this case is going to be too much for her. If this pregnancy is anything like the last, there is no way that I want her involved in that case. It’s going to be too much stress. She won’t be able to handle it.” John kept his voice in a low tone, as he usually did when he was angry beyond words.
“I see. Well don’t you think Evangeline is capable of making her own decisions?” For some reason Bo could understand exactly John’s reasoning. A man should to anything to protect his family, and in Bo’s eyes that’s what he was doing. For now, Bo was trying to help John see things from a different perspective.
“I trust her Bo. She is the mother of my child, you know. If I didn’t there would be no way that I would ever have had children with her. The thing is that she sometimes thinks she can take on the whole world. That she doesn’t need help from anyone, but right now I don’t think that she is thinking clearly. She is putting her life and our child’s life in danger. I know she can take care of herself, believe me I know, but I just want her to listen to me. This thing is going to get real ugly real quick, and I don’t want her to be apart of that. I don’t want her worrying about RJ and his snide remarks or about letting Antonio down.”
“You want her to let you take care of things and I understand that John, but you have to trust her on this. You need to be there to support her. I know this is going to be a messy trial. She needs someone to help her relax when she gets home, and if it’s not you then I’m sure that this could present a problem for her.”
John sat for a moment to allow what Bo said to sink in. Bo was right; although, he hated to admit it. If she and John were going to fight about it everyday and she had the stress of the case things definitely would get worse. Besides, John didn’t want to expose Tris to their disagreements. John and Evangeline had never argued in front of Tris. John remembered how she talked about her parents fighting constantly toward the end of their marriage. There was nothing she could do. She was didn’t know what was going on just that they seemed to be angry all the time. She felt alone, because she didn’t want to get close to one parent. To her it felt as though she was choosing sides. Neither John nor Evangeline ever wanted to put him through that, so they agreed to keep Tris out of their adult problems.
“You’re right. I never thought about it like that. I’m just so worried, you know. After losing Caitlyn, I thought my life was over. Then Evangeline comes into my life and everything changes, and now I just feel like I could lose it all again. I don’t think I can handle that. I don’t want Evangeline to work this case, but like everyone keeps reminding me, she’s a big girl. I trust her and I guess all I have to do now is to let her know that I will support her and if she needs anything to just let me know.”
“Now, you’ve got it. Look it’s late. You should go home now. I’m sure Evangeline is worried sick about you.”
“Thanks.” Bo was always indirectly giving John advice. John appreciated Bo kind of like a father figure. He turned from the bar and stared on his way home. He was hoping that Evangeline would be sleeping by the time he got home, but she was probably waiting up for him.
John walked silently up the stairs. He stopped for a moment and looked at a family picture of him, Tris, and Evangeline. He smiled and thought of the day they took the picture. Those were definitely happier times. He lightly brushed his fingertips across the pictures and continued up the stairs. He looked in on Tris and made sure he was still sleeping. Reluctantly, he made his way down the hallway to his bedroom. He paused. He could hear Evangeline crying through the door. Damn. I shouldn’t have let it get this far.
He opened the door slowly and watched her for a moment. She was curled up in John’s chair. She didn’t notice as he walked to her. He gently wrapped his arms around her and kissed her forehead. For a moment, her crying stopped. She wasn’t sure what kind of mood John was in, and that made her cry again. He stroked the top of her head and tried to comfort her.
“I’m so sorry, honey. I’m just worried. I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want Tris to not have a mother. I can’t raise him without you. We’re a family now. I’m used to coming home to you. If you weren’t here, I don’t know what I would do. I don’t want to lose this. I love you. I love you.” John repeated that over and over.
There were a million things she could say, but nothing seemed right. She was starting to wonder if she had made the right decision. She wanted to help Antonio, but she didn’t want to hurt John. If only there was a way for him to understand.
“I know that I have been the main source of your stress as of late, but I promise things will change. I know you want to help Antonio, and I’m sure that everything is going to work out.”
She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. What had changed John’s mind? She wiped her tears and looked into the eyes of the man she was in love with. She knew that he was against this, but he was still willing to support her.
“John, what changed your mind?”
“Bo, I saw him at Rodi’s tonight. He helped me remember that trust is what is important. I trust you completely. If you say you can handle this case, then I’m sure that you can. I just want you to know that if at any point it feels like you can’t handle it, then you will come to me. I don’t want you to think you have to go through this alone. I know it’s going to be tough for you and everyone else, but you are my main concern and I just want what’s best for you.”
“John, I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything. I know that you are committed to this case, and fighting you on it would only make things worse for you and the baby.”
Tears rolled down Evangeline’s cheeks. For once, she felt as though she didn’t deserve John. He put aside everything that he was feeling, all his doubt and insecurity, to support her.
“Thank you, John. Thank you for understanding. I want you to know that this isn’t going to be as hard as you think. I talked with another lawyer who has agreed to be co counsel with me. I know that you don’t like this, but I have to help Antonio. Our baby is going to be fine. I know that you have always protected us and you always will.”
These words came as a shock to John. He didn’t want to make a big deal out of it though. He brought his hand to her protruding abdomen and gently moved his hand around is circles. He then whispered softly to his unborn child.
“Hey sweetheart, daddy is sorry for making mommy so upset. I know you can feel everything she feels and I don’t want you to be scared, ok. I love your mommy very much and I love you. I can’t wait to meet you.”
Evangeline rubbed her hand through John’s hair as he kissed her abdomen. She loved when he talked to the baby. She could feel his love for her and this baby.
“So.” John looked up at her.
“I saw the results came back from the amniocentesis.”
“Yes, and I called Dr. Grahm. He said that I am a perfectly healthy pregnant woman.”
“Oh really, well did it say anything about whether we will be having a Little John or a Little Evangeline.”
“It did. Dr. Grahm put the results in a separate envelope.”
“What did they say?”
“Does it matter?”
“Did you look at them?”
“No I didn’t, and you shouldn’t either. As long as the baby is healthy, I am completely satisfied.”
“I know you want to know. You’re just afraid to look.”
“Yes, you don’t want to have another boy, do you?”
“John that is ridiculous. I would love our child just as much. I don’t care if it’s a girl or a boy. We are not going to look.”
“Please, honey. I need to know.”
“You need to know.”
“Yes. What color should be paint the nursery blue or pink? How will we know what kind of baby clothes to buy?”
“We can just buy lots of reds, orange, purple, yellow and green like we did when we had Tris.”
“You’re really going to make me wait, aren’t you?”
John stood up and walked toward their bed. He motioned for her to join him, which she did. She sat between his legs and wrapped his hands around her stomach. He kissed the back of her neck.
“That’s not going to work, John.”
“I don’t know if I want to wait that long. Please, please.”
Evangeline laughed. Now she knew where Tris got his whine from. She had to admit he sounded really cute when he begged.
“Don’t you want it to be a surprise like it was with Tris?”
John thought back to the day Tris was born.
“Excuse me, can you tell me where I can find Evangeline Williamson.”
John had gotten a call from the station informing him that Evangeline had went into labor at least two hours ago. There was so much chaos going on at the station that when Michael called they kept putting him on hold. When he finally got the call, he was driving back from Harrisburg. He put on his siren and sped back to Llanview. By the time he arrived at the hospital nearly three hours had gone by, and he was afraid the he missed the birth entirely.
“Are you a family member? If you’re not then I’m not allowed to release any information regarding her or anyone else for that matter.” The nurse seemed to be having a bad day, because she was giving John lots of attitude.
“My name is John McBain, and right now she is giving birth to our baby.”
The nurse’s head shot up as if he said he was a celebrity. “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry Lt. McBain. Hurry and put these scrubs on I think she may have already started delivering the baby.”
John and the nurse rushed down the hall to the room that Evangeline was in. “This is the room, Congratulations.”
John entered the room and saw Evangeline like he had never seen her before. She had tears in her eyes and was squeezing her mother’s hand. She had her feet in stirrups and there was a doctor that was getting more familiar with her private parts than even he had.
“John thank god you’re here.” She released the tight grip on her mother’s hand and reached for John.
“I’m so sorry, baby. I got here as soon as I could. I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”
“Now that’s a stupid question to ask!”
John recognized that voice immediately. It was Michael.
“What are you doing here?”
“I’m taping the birth, of course. Smile for the camera daddy.”
John had to suppress his sudden urge to hit his brother, because he knew someday his son or daughter would see this tape. Instead, he smiled and waved.
“John, honey, I’m fine. I’m just glad you’re here. Owwww.” Her grip tightened on John’s hand.
Wow. Evangeline was really strong. He could have sworn that she had just broken three or four bones in his hand, but compared to the pain she was in he could say nothing.
“Is she okay? Is this normal?” He looked to Evangeline’s mother for answers.
“Yes John, she’s just having contractions.”
“I think it’s time to have a baby,” the doctor chimed in.
Everyone took their places in the room.
( Twenty five minutes in to the delivery)
“Hey daddy, do you want to come down here and take a look?” The doctor wanted John to see the tiny head that was sticking out.
“Huh? Is that alright?”
John released Evangeline’s hand and stood next to the doctor. “Oh wow. Honey, I can see the head. I can see our baby’s head.”
“That’s right. We’re almost there mommy just a few more pushes.”
“Okay. I can do this.” John rejoined Evangeline and held her hand firmly. He kissed her forehead.
“You’re doing great, hon. We’re so close.”
“Do you know the sex of the baby?”
“No, we wanted it to be a surprise.” They spoke in unison.
“Do you have a name picked out for a boy and a girl then?”
“Yeah, if it’s a girl we’re going to name her Anna Lauren McBain.” Evangeline loved saying that name. She wanted a healthy baby, but a girl would be sweet and innocent.
“If it’s a boy we’re naming him Tristen Avery McBain.”
“Those are great names. Well mom. We just need one last push and you will have your new baby girl or boy.”
With one last push Evangeline delivered her first child into the world.
“Happy birthday, Tristen,” the doctor said as she placed the baby on Evangeline’s stomach.
“You did it, honey. You did it. He’s so beautiful. He’s so perfect”
“It’s a boy. John we have son.”
The happiest day of their life so far was filled with laughter and joy. The couple cried as they welcomed their new son into the world.
“That was the best surprise you ever could have given me. I suppose that this one will be just as rewarding, right?”
John kissed the top of her ear, and her head fell back against his chest. He could feel her rhythmic breathing and could tell she was asleep. He held her for a few more minutes before he tucked her into bed. Finally, everything was once again peaceful in their home.