Basic Geometry by Kim

Chapter 3

"Hi Carlotta."   As Evangeline offered the greeting,
her eyes quickly scanned the booths of the restaurant
and Cristian was not in sight.  The deposition ran
much longer than she had expected, and now it was just
past 1 o'clock, more than an hour after she had agreed
to meet Cristian.  Unexpectedly, she felt a little let
down that he wasn't there waiting for her and
Evangeline realized that subconsciously she had been
looking forward to their lunch date.  The attorney
received a surprise when Carlotta, after approaching
her, embraced Evangeline and kissed her affectionately
on the cheek.

Carlotta whispered, "Thank you mi angel".   Carlotta's
brown eyes were brimming with tears as she pulled back
from the embrace and dropped her hands to tightly
grasped Evangeline's hands.  Nodding her head towards
the kitchen, Carlotta explained, "Cris in the kitchen
fixing a small leak in one of the pipes for me.  He
told me about his encounter with you at the hospital,
confessing that he might not have kept his appointment
with the doctor if it hadn't been for your
encouragement.  It's going to take some time for him
to heal but today was the beginning.  I can feel it in
my heart and I can see it in my son whom I love more
than anything.  Thank you for the friendship with both
of my sons."

It brought a smile to Evangelineís face, hearing
Carlotta speak so fondly of her friendship with Cris.
She and Cris hadn't interacted much before he
disappeared from Llanview but since his return there
was an indefinable connection between them.
Evangeline almost involuntarily cringed when the word
connection popped into her head.  Wasn't that the same
word often used by people used when describing the tie
between John and Natalie?  "I'm not going to go
there," Evangeline thought.  No matter what was or
wasn't going on between Natalie and John, Evangeline
didn't want it to overshadow her budding friendship
with Cris.  Carlotta looped one of her arms with
Evangeline's and they walked together to the kitchen.

"Don't even think about paying for lunch today,"
Carlotta warned Evangeline with a grin.  "You come
with me to get Cris and then you two grab a booth." 

Once the kitchen door swung open, Evangeline saw a
pair of jean-clad legs and Addidas shoes sprawled on
the kitchen floor in front of the cabinet under a
sink.  The shirt and jacket Cris had been wearing
earlier that day were on the back of a nearby chair.
Several employees walked quickly about the kitchen
preparing meals and were being very careful to not
step on the fix-it man while he worked on the pipes.

Carlotta placed her hand on Cris knee to alert him of
her presence.  "Cris, Evangeline is here.  Are you
finished?"

"Yes Mama.  I am."  Cris scooted out from under the
sink and stood up.  His hair was a bit disheveled, and
attentive mom Carlotta smoothed it down with her hand.
The crash of a dropped plate and two employees
arguing demanded Carlotta's immediate attention, so
she hurried to the other end of the kitchen.

"Hi," Cris greeted Evangeline with a shy smile.

"I'm so sorry I'm late."

Cris watched curiously as Evangeline picked up a paper
towel, dampened it with water, and handed it to him.

"You have a bit of a smudge on your face," Evangeline
noted with a grin.

"Where?"

Pointing, she replied, "On your right cheek."  After
seeing Cris miss the spot a second time, Evangeline
gently clasped his hand with hers and moved it to the
smudge on his face.

"Right there..." Evangeline's voice faltered as she
heard the sharp intake of Cris' breath and watched his
eyes darken.  She quickly removed her hand and offered
to secure a booth for their lunch date in the diner.
Not waiting for his reply, Evangeline swiftly turned
and left the kitchen.

Cris stood motionless for a few seconds, gazing at the
swinging kitchen door where Evangeline had just
exited.  What the hell was that?  Maybe it was because
his emotions were on edge because of the stressful
session with the psychiatrist.  No, it wasn't the
session or just Cris himself.  This was the second
time today he's witnessed a slight break in the cool,
smooth facade normally presented by Evangeline
Williamson.  Evangeline was person who made her living
being careful how she presents her emotions to a judge
or jury.  Yet, for a few fleeting seconds Ms.
Williamson was not 100% in control of her feelings.
It was obvious to Cris that despite her compassionate
nature, Evangeline was resisting becoming emotionally
closer to him.  Was it because she didn't want another
part of her life to involve Natalie?  Cris could
certainly understand this, especially since almost
every time he heard Natalie speak of Evangeline it was
always in a negative manner.  Frowning, Cris was
struck by that thought.  For the first time he
consciously realized how odd it was Natalie disliked
Evangeline and not Evangeline's boyfriend, John
McBain.  McBain had caused them to lose a year of
their marriage and Natalie had faced danger because of
him, yet she held no malice towards John McBain.  Just
the opposite, Natalie was always defending McBain
whenever Cris spoke bitterly of him.  Well, Cris
decided was going to do his best to put Evangeline at
ease with their developing friendship.  After putting
on his shirt and jacket, he left the kitchen to join
Evangeline in the booth she had chosen.

The pair spent the next hour talking about art - Cris'
passion - and music - Evangeline's passion outside of
the law.  Every so often Carlotta would come by to
refill a water glass and offer a tie-breaking opinion
during the discussion.  The lively discussion was
interspersed with moments of reflection where Cris and
Evangeline quietly observed each other.  They
surprised themselves in discovering they had more in
common than they had expected.  And on the areas where
they passionately held divergent opinions, each person
understood exactly where the other was coming from and
respected the different point of view.  Towards the
end of the meal Evangeline was ready to tease Cris for
snatching another spoonful of her sherbet when she
felt a masculine arm drape possessive over her
shoulder.  Surprised, Evangeline looked up just as
John swiftly kissed her.

Pulling back from the kiss John whispered, "Hey. I
came to get some coffee and here you are."

"Yes, here I am," Evangeline replied, slightly
breathless from Johnís kiss.  "I'm just finishing
lunch with Cris."  Evangeline turned her head and
looked at Cris, hoping John would take the hint and at
least say hello to her lunch companion.  John did,
quickly glancing at Cris and offered a curt hello
before ignoring him again and focusing only on
Evangeline.

Gently stroking her hair and with his face only a few
inches from hers, John softly asked, "You want to walk
back with me to the station or to your office?"

John's question reminded Evangeline of the mound of
paperwork on her desk at the office.  Where has her
head been this afternoon?  Not on work since she had
spent well over an hour in the diner, that was
obvious! Smiling, Evangeline agreed to John's offer.
"Sure.  I really should get back to work." For most of
the lunch Evangeline had carefully avoided talking
about Cris' doctor appointment and how it went.  She
had no intention of broaching the subject now but she
wanted to get an honest answer of how Cris was doing
before they parted.  Needing a moment to say goodbye
to Cris in private, Evangeline suggested for John to
go to the counter to get his coffee, and he
acquiesced.

Looking at the papers in her tote bag as a
distraction, Evangeline used a somewhat nonchalant
tone in her voice as she queried, "What are you going
to do the rest of today?"

Cris smiled.  For most of the lunch Evangeline had let
defenses down a bit - maybe a bit too much for her
comfort and now he could feel her pulling away
somewhat.  For some reason Cris was in a playful,
devilish mood and he wasn't going to leave her leave
without something to think about.

Fingering the salt and pepper shakers on the table,
Cris responded, "I'm going to do a few charcoal
drawings today.  I've gotten some sudden inspiration."

Evangeline heard the slight challenge in Cris' voice
and looked at him quizzically.  She refrained from
satisfying her curiosity by asking the obvious
question - what this sudden inspiration was.  Instead
she said, "Ummmm.  Have you now?  So you're going to
work too this afternoon?  I'll look forward to seeing
the new drawings in Lindsay's gallery."

"You may not see them there," was Crisí cryptic reply.
"These might be private works but if they are I
promise to let you view them."

"O.K.  I'll count on it."  John was paying the cashier
for his coffee.  Disappointed she didn't really have
the opportunity to ask Cris about his session,
Evangeline trusted her observations and senses that
Cris would be O.K.  She rose and stated softly,
"Listen, take care of yourself and I'll see you
around."

Taking her last words as a promise to be kept, Cris
echoed them. "Yeah, I'll see you around."

Cris didn't leave his seat but he leaned out of the
booth to reach out and touch the sleeve of
Evangeline's blazer, which arrested her movement.
Cris' hand dropped from Evangeline's forearm to
tightly clasp her hand.  For weeks Cris had dreaded
attending his first therapy session and this morning
Evangeline had been instrumental in helping him cross
that first hurdle.  Now, after the session, which was
little more than an introduction between himself and
the psychiatric, Cris tensed in anticipation of people
asking how it went, of people scrutinizing his every
move for evidence that the therapy will help in fixing
him.  But after spending the last hour eating comfort
food and discussing art, music, and even gossip (!)
with his new friend, Cris believed he could handle
whatever else came his way that day.  He looked up,
locking gaze with Evangeline's huge brown eyes and
told her simply, "Evangeline, thanks again for today."

The sincerity and warmth in Cris' demeanor and words
touched Evangeline deeply. She remembered the
diffident, mercurial young man she had seen on a few
occasions during the past few months.  That man was
gone, at least for the moment he was.  More than most
people she realized the difficult and stressful road
ahead of Cris as he dealt with his past, and with his
new life.  The thought of being a part of Cris' new
life as his friend gave Evangeline an unexpected
feeling of pleasure and anticipation.  Blushing, she
squeezed Cris' hand in response and whispered,
"Anytime."  Evangeline turned and strode out of the
diner as John held the door open for her. 

Cris watched Evangeline leave.  The young Vega wasn't
fazed at all by the heated gaze John McBain gave him
as the detective stood at the opened diner door.  John
McBain had been far too much of an unwelcome influence
in Cris' life.  A friendship with the beautiful,
strong-willed attorney was something Cris really
wanted - almost craved - and at the moment it wasn't
clear why.  Maybe it would become clear in time. But
there was no way Cris would let John interfere with
his life and prevent him from gaining his happiness
again.  If Cris could convince Evangeline that it
would be worthwhile being friends with him, baggage
and all, then McBain would just have to live with it.