When Evangeline woke up, she was surprised to see John still in bed. She looked over at her bedside. It was already 6:30 am. She would let John sleep for a little while longer, while she made breakfast and got Tris ready for school. She climbed out of bed and went to the bathroom to brush her teeth. John’s ringing cell phone startled her on her way.
“McBain.” John sat up as if he had been expecting the call. He listened for a few seconds, “Okay, I’ll be in soon.” He hung up the phone and flopped down on the pillow. Evangeline walked to their bed and sat down beside him. She leaned over and kissed his cheek.
John sat up and looked into her eyes. He nodded. He brushed a few random strands of hair from her face and smiled. This, waking up to her every morning and falling asleep with her in his arms every night, is what he loved.
“I love you.” He gently brushed her cheek. He leaned in and ever so slightly she brushed her lips against his. With both hands, he grabbed the back of her head and brought her lips closer to his. As their kiss started to get intense they were interrupted by the pitter patter of little feet. Tris burst into their room like a mini titan.
“Guess what today is daddy.”
John had to laugh. He understood now how children can interfere with your sex life. Tris had seen John and Evangeline kiss all the time, so interrupting them meant nothing to him.
“No, you have to guess.” Tris climbed on the bed and sat on John’s leg.
“National pi day.”
“What? No, that’s not it. Keep guessing.”
“Babe Ruth’s birthday.”
“Daddy you’re not being serious.” Tris crossed his arms and stuck out his bottom lip.
“I’m sorry. Why don’t you tell me what today is?” Evangeline pulled Tris into her lap and kissed the top of his head.
“It’s bring your mommy to school day.”
“Oh. I bet that’s going to be really fun.”
“Yes, mommy says she is going to bring cookies for everyone. Isn’t that cool?”
“It sure is. Does mommy need any help making the cookies?” John looked into Evangeline’s eyes.
“Of course she does, because every good mommy has a really good helper,” Tris interjected.
“Don’t worry John. I made the cookie dough last night and all we have to do is put them in the oven. They will be ready by the time we leave.”
“Okay.” John was glad she didn’t. After all, he was good at making simple things and cookies wasn’t one of them. “Come on Tris. I’ll help you get ready for school before I go to work.”
“John you don’t have to do that. You got a call. Shouldn’t you be heading into the station?”
“I think that they can handle the situation until I get there.” John loved his job, but if it came down to a choice he would always choose his family. He lifted Tris from Evangeline’s lap and started walking out their bedroom door.
John stopped in his tracks. He turned and met Evangeline’s intense gaze. Her eyes were wide open and she was holding her abdomen. He gently placed Tris on the floor, before rushing to Evangeline side.
“Honey, what’s wrong? Are you okay? Is it the baby?”
John continued to spew out questions. Evangeline took John’s hand and placed it softly on her abdomen. He was startled when he felt the tiny person inside her moving. Suddenly his questions stopped. He smiled at her and wrapped both of his arms around her and squeezed gently.
“I guess our little one wanted to say hello.” John whispered into her ear.
Their tender moment was interrupted as Evangeline saw the fear in her son’s eyes. He didn’t know what was going on. The look on his face was that of pure terror. He stood there silently with tears streaming down his face.
“Oh Tris, I’m sorry. Mommy’s okay. Come here.”
He hesitated before walking back to his parent’s bed. John lifted him up and sat him on his lap. He stroked the top of his head and kissed his cheek.
“Is the baby okay, daddy?” He couldn’t help but to worry. Tris was extremely excited when he knew that he was going to become an older brother. His teacher said he talked about it non-stop for well over two weeks. Even though he was small, he was able read people’s emotions. He was also very in touch with his own feelings.
John took Tris’ small hand in his and placed it on Evangeline’s abdomen. He pulled it back, not knowing what was going on.
“It’s okay, sweetie.”
He slowly placed his hand back and was shocked when he felt his mother’s abdomen move.
“What was that mommy?”
“That’s your little brother or sister.”
“Yes. Right now they are probably just moving around in there. That’s what you just felt.”
“Wow, I didn’t know that babies could do that.” Tris’ tears stopped as he realized that his mother and unborn sibling were okay. He kissed his mother’s stomach and turned to John. “Did I used to move inside mommy when I was a baby?”
John laughed a little. Tris was like a little soccer player. He would keep Evangeline up most of the night, moving and kicking inside of her. John would talk to him while he was in the womb, and that sometimes seemed to calm him down.
“Yes, you did. That’s a good thing you know, that the baby is moving inside mommy.”
“Cool. I can’t wait to tell all the kids at school today.”
Evangeline looked back at the clock and realized that if they didn’t hurry up, they would all be late today.
“John, it’s already 7:15. You should head into the station. I can handle things here.”
“I know you can. I’m just going to help out, ok.”
Evangeline knew there was no point in arguing with John. He was in hero mode, so she decided to compromise.
“Okay, how about you help Tris get dressed, and I will put the cookies in the oven. By the time you are finished dressing Tris the cookies will be ready. Just leave them on the counter and I will handle the rest.”
“Sure thing, boss.”
“Daddy, mommy’s not your boss.”
Evangeline smiled at that comment, if he only knew. John smiled to. He kissed Evangeline on his way out of the bedroom.
(Later in John’s office)
When John arrived at work, it was already 8 o’clock. He was immediately bombarded with paperwork and phone calls. He sighed came to terms with the fact that this would be a very long day. He turned on his computer and got right to work. A few minutes later, he was interrupted by a knock at his office door.
“Hey John, how’s it going.”
“It’s going all right boss.” John stood from behind his desk and walked to the coffee machine. “Can I pour you a cup?”
“What can I do for you boss?” John went back to his desk and slumped down into his chair.
“Is everything okay. I mean with you and Evangeline.”
“It is now. I kind of realized that she would never do anything that would endanger the lives of our children. I can’t help but be more than a little overprotective though.”
Bo could understand. He’d lost a son and knew that he would not be able to live with himself if something ever happened to Matthew that he could have prevented. He sat down in the chair facing John.
“I know what you mean. It’s natural to worry.”
“I’ve lost a lot of important people in my life. It was difficult to get past all the stuff that happened, you know. I just…I don’t ever want to bury someone I love again. I know it ridiculous to believe that they will all live forever, but…I have so much to lose now. If something ever happened to Evangeline or the kids, I’m not sure if I would ever be able to recover.”
John stood up from his chair and sat in the window behind his desk. John had surprised himself and Bo with his admission. He had never been so open about his feelings except to Evangeline and Michael. Bo didn’t know what to say, so the two men sat in silence for a while.
“Sorry Bo. I didn’t mean to unload on you or anything.” John was in mid-sentence before Bo cut him off.”
“I’ve never known you to be so open John. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but I am saying that you should continue to do so. I like to think we’re more than just coworkers. If you ever have something that you need to talk about, I’m your man.”
John turned back to face Bo and smiled. “Oh, really?”
John nervously ran his hands through his hair before sitting back down at his desk. He opened a drawer in his desk and retrieved a tiny black box.
“Is that what I think it is?”
“Yeah, it’s an engagement ring. I’ve had it for a while now. I just can’t find the right time to ask her. You know, she still is afraid of marriage, and now that we have Tris and another one on the way I’m not sure if she will be more open to the idea.”
“You know what I think? I think that she will definitely say yes. You guys have been through a lot and are still going strong. You have a great kid. I know she had her doubts in the past, but I’m sure she will want this just as bad as you do.”
“I really hope so.”
There was a knock at the door and a young officer entered shortly thereafter.
“Commissioner, the DA is here to see you.”
“Thanks Berkley. Have him wait in my office, will ya?”
“Sure thing.” He left almost as quickly as he came.
“I guess we’d better get back to work.”
“Sure thing, boss.”
John watched as Bo walked out of his office. He played with the ring box for a moment and then returned back to work.
(In Evangeline’s office)
“Antonio, Jessica hi.” Evangeline stood from chair and shook Antonio’s hand.
“Wow, Evangeline. How a far along are you?” Jessica stared in disbelief.
“Do I look that bad?” Up until now, Evangeline had worn clothes that hid the fact that she was pregnant. She and John wanted to keep it to themselves for at least a little while. “I’m a little over five months, now.”
“No, no. You don’t look bad at all. I’m just surprised that you hid you pregnancy for so long.”
“Well, John and I wanted to find the perfect time to start telling people other than our families.”
“I’m happy for you two, congratulations.”
Antonio smiled at the interaction between the two women. He knew Jessica had lost a child and that had been extremely traumatic for her. He wanted to have children with her, but since they were just getting back together he knew now would not be there perfect time.
“This is the sweetest picture.” Jessica picked up one of the many picture frames that rested on Evangeline’s desk. She always wanted to have something that would easily brighten her day at her fingertips. “How did you ever get John to do this?” The picture was of Tris’ entire t-ball team dog piled onto John.
“He volunteered, he loves spending time with Tris.”
“That’s exactly what I want.” Antonio finally spoke up. “I just want the chance to be with my daughter. See her when I want. Take her to the park. Help her with her homework.” Antonio was holding back tears. He knew that he made a big mistake leaving Jamie in the custody of RJ. Jessica returned the frame to its place and sat down in the chair beside Antonio.
“I’m not going to lie to you Antonio this is not going to be easy.” Evangeline could see the hurt in his eyes. She wanted badly to give him what he wanted, but at the same time she kept picturing RJ. She and John often saw him in the park with Jamie. He had been an excellent parent to her, and she didn’t want to take her away from him either. For the most part, he was starting to become kinder. She couldn’t tell if it was Lindsey’s influence or Jamie’s. That didn’t matter now. “I’ve decided that this will be easier if I hire a co counsel.”
“What? No, I want you Evangeline. You’re the one I trust. I don’t want someone else screwing this up.” Antonio was starting to raise his voice.
Antonio wasn’t sure if he was okay with this. He didn’t know Katie Allen; therefore, he didn’t trust her.
“Calm down Antonio. Katie Allen is an excellent attorney. She specializes in family law. She will help do some of the motion filing and other tedious work. I will still be in charge. You don’t have to worry about that.”
“Antonio, I wrote an article about her. She is an excellent lawyer, with a great record. I think you should hear Evangeline out.
“If it will make you more comfortable, I will schedule a lunch with her. We can all sit down and if you still object I will discontinue her services.”
“Is she really needed?”
“I think that she will be a positive addition. She is more familiar with family law than I am, and in my current condition I would like to cut down on some things than I can have someone do for me. This is your call, but I would like you to trust me on this.”
Antonio needed to think it over for a bit before he committed to this. “How about we have lunch tomorrow afternoon at the palace?”
“That sounds good to me. I’ll have my secretary set the meeting up.”
“Okay, thanks Evangeline.”
The couple left Evangeline’s office hand in hand. Just as she started getting back to work, her phone started to ring.
“Hey, how was take your mommy to school day?”
“Oh, John, hello. Everything went well. We read stories and Tris showed me all the artwork he did to prepare for today’s events.”
“I can’t wait until he brings it home. His face always lights up when he talks about it.”
“It looks like we may have an artist on our hands. Oh, I forgot to tell you. Tris’ artwork was picked to be showcased at Lindsey’s art gallery.”
“Really.” John was smiling ear to ear. Tris was excelled at everything he tried. He gave 100% no matter what and that is what made John really proud.
“Yeah, they are trying to promote the arts in school, so it’s part of a special showcase. They will have a big art reveal of all the children’s artwork that was picked. You need to get your checkbook ready, because they will be auctioning our son’s artwork.”
“I will. I can’t wait to hear him tell me more about it. You know, the reason why he is so brilliant is because of you, right. You were great at everything you tried, and so is he. I hope our unborn child is just as lucky as Tris was.”
Evangeline loved to hear John brag about how she was close to perfect. “Don’t sell yourself short, McBain. That little boy is a combination of his parents. He gets lots of his personality and abilities from you too, you know. His strength, determination, and courage are the easiest to credit to you.”
“You really think so?”
“I know so.”
“Thanks, I like hearing things like that.”
“Anytime. So, what’s been going on at the precinct?” Evangeline hadn’t stopped by there in a while and wondered how things were going. Ever since Marcie had been hired, and Natalie had been hired things had been a little hectic. Whenever Cris came to visit Natalie, he and John always found some way of bumping into each other. John tried to be civil, but Cris could careless. He would confront John ever chance that he got. Natalie tried to be the peacemaker, but it only made Cris angrier when he felt that Natalie was siding with John. Natalie had finally gotten Cris into counseling, but she wasn’t sure how effective it was.
“If you mean, did Cris come by today. Then no, things are fine. I’ve just been bogged down with paperwork. I don’t think I’ll be home early tonight, so I was wondering if you could do something for me.”
“Sure, what is it?”
“Just like that, you will say yes without even knowing what it is? Hmm, I’ve got to remember that for our mommy and daddy time.”
“Nice try, but really, what is it that you would like me to do for you McBain.” Evangeline was now speaking in a low tone. John noticed the sudden change in her voice and was immediately aroused.
“First, I want you to stop that. If I’m going to make it through this day I can’t be distracted by the things I would like to do with you. Second, I would like for you to bring Tris by the station at about, 6:30. If I can’t make it home for dinner, I thought it would be nice if you and Tris came here instead.”
Laughing at John’s first statement Evangeline replied, “I think that’s a great idea. Tris loves spending time with his daddy at the station.”
“Okay, so I’ll see you two at 6:30?”
“You sure will. Bye, John.”
“I love you, I can’t wait until tonight.”
Evangeline smiled as she hung up the receiver. She had to admit that she was a little disappointed when John said he wasn’t coming home until later, but having dinner in his office would be just as exciting. Evangeline looked over at her office clock and realized that it was almost time to pick Tris up from school. She stuffed as many files as she could into her briefcase, before leaving the office for the night. She waved by to her secretary and headed over to the elementary school.
Since it was the end of bring you mommy to school day, Evangeline signed into the office and walked down to Tris’ classroom. On her way she bumped into Lindsey Rappaport.
“Oh hi, Lindsey. What are you doing here?”
“Hi, Evangeline. I was just picking up some of the children’s artwork for the art show. By the way, I saw your son’s work; I think he may be a budding artist.”
“Thank you, I’ll be sure to let him know that someone so familiar with art thinks so.” As Evangeline stood and talked with Lindsey, she realized how their relationship had changed over the past few years. At first it seemed like they had no bad blood between them, but when Evangeline broke it off with RJ they began to dislike each other. Lindsey didn’t like they way Evangeline ended it with RJ, and let her know how she felt about the situation. Evangeline didn’t care what Lindsey thought. But over time, Lindsey and Evangeline seemed to forget about their disagreements. It seems that RJ and Lindsey brought out the good sides of each other.
“Oh Evangeline, I heard that you will be representing Antonio.”
“I will. I’m not so thrilled about it though. Jamie is a very special little girl, and I that RJ and Antonio both want what’s best for her. The problem being that they both think that involves cutting the other out of her life.”
“So, what will you do?”
“Right now, Antonio is seeking full custody, and so is RJ. I was hoping that they would both be able to come to some sort of agreement so they could share custody of her. I know that Jamie doesn’t have her mother, but she does have you and Jessica. There are so many people that love that little girl, and I just want to make sure that I try everything that I can before it comes down to who will get full custody of her.”
“I agree. I’ve tried to talk to RJ about it, but he is so stubborn. He still blames Antonio for Kerri’s death, so that is only making things worse. I want him to see that her father is someone is important to her also. I will try to talk with RJ about this more, because like you said she has so many people that love her. It would be wrong to deny her that love.”
“Thank you. If you could get RJ to agree to some sort of shared custody, I’m sure that I could help Antonio see the benefits of all of this.”
“It would be my pleasure. I’m sorry, but I have to run. If anything changes, I’ll make sure you’re the first to know. I will see you and your checkbook on Friday, right?”
Evangeline watched as Lindsey walked away and let out a breath of relief that there would be someone else who would be looking out for Jamie’s best interests. She slowly turned the knob of the classroom door and stood off to the side with the rest of the mothers, while the teacher finished addressing the class before dismissing them. When she was finished Tris walked up to her and wrapped his arms around her legs.
“Thank you mommy.” Tris relaxed his grip and put his hand in Evangeline’s as they made their way down the corridor of the school and out to their car.
“What are you thanking me for, sweetie?”
“For coming to school with me today and reading stories with everyone.”
“You don’t have to thank me for that. I’m your mommy. I love spending time with you, and I loved seeing all the art projects and crafts that you have been working on all year.”
“I liked showing them to you, too.”
When the duo reached the car, Evangeline hit the switch on her key chain that unlocked all the car doors. She made sure Tris was securely buckled in before walking to the driver’s side door and letting herself in.
On the way home, Tris filled Evangeline in about the rest of his day. He told her that out of all the mommies she had the most exciting job. They had almost made it home before Tris started into question mode.
“Mommy, do you and daddy really love each other?”
“Yes, we do. I don’t ever want you to worry about something like that.”
“I don’t want to, but…”
“But what sweetie.” Evangeline adjusted the rearview mirror until she could see Tris in it. He had his head bowed down and a sad look on his face.
“I know you and daddy say you love each other, but my friend’s mommy and daddy said they loved each other all the time and now his daddy doesn’t live with them.”
“Tris, sometimes mommies and daddies really do love each other, but they can’t live together. I know it sounds confusing now, but you will understand when you’re older. In the mean time, I don’t want you thinking about those types of things right now.”
“I know mommy, but Chuck’s mommy and daddy weren’t married and you and daddy aren’t either. I don’t want daddy to move away. I want us to be a family.”
Evangeline could hear Tris trying to hold back tears. She turned her head for a second to look back at him, and in that instant a car nearly smashed right into her driver’s side door.