Chapter Eleven:

ÖÖthoughts of Evangeline and the look on her face were in the back of his mindÖÖ

The case John had been called out on when he was trying to decide whether to go after Evangeline or not seemed to be taking forever. The longer he went without talking to her, the more he felt like he should have stopped her before she left the station. He was so mad at Jessica that he couldnít see straight. He thought to himself that he sure hoped Antonio got his act together and filled Jessica in on what was going on before Jessica hurt all of them.

As John was walking to his car after questioning the last witness, he called Evangelineís office. When her assistant answered, he said, "Hey, this is John. Is Evangeline in her office? I donít want you to put me through; I just want to know if sheís there."

Evangelineís assistant said, "No John, sheís not here. She left about an hour a go. She said she was meeting Nora at the Angel Square Public Tennis Courts."

John said, "Thanks for the info", and hung up. He headed right to the tennis courts to talk to her and straighten everything out.

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Nora and Evangeline had been playing tennis for about an hour and Evangeline had been running Nora all over the court. With each game, Evangeline seemed to be hitting the ball harder and harder. She had the most determined look on her face that Nora had ever seen. Finally, after Nora felt like she couldnít run any more, she yelled across the net, "Evangeline! What the heck is going on? Why are you so mad? Who are you mad at?"

Evangeline responded, "What do you mean? Weíre just playing tennis and I happen to be wiping the court with you."

Nora said, "You know how competitive I am, but even I can tell that there is more to this game than friendly competition. Spill the beans girlfriend before I drop a lung trying to get to all these balls."

That comment made Evangeline laugh and it broke her anger a little as to where she decided to tell Nora how she felt. "Okay, okay", she replied, "Iíll tell you whatís going on. Actually, I think I need your input. My new found girly feelings are starting to frustrate me."

"Talk", Nora said as they both came over to the bench on the side of the court and sat down.

"Well", Evangeline started, "it all began when I saw a note that Natalie Buchanan had left John one night on his room door. The note asked John to come to the roof of their building because she needed to talk to him. At first, I didnít think anything of it because I know that they are friends and that Natalie has had a hard time of it with the loss of her husband, being attacked by the Music Box Killer, and her Mom coming close to death with needing her heart transplant. After all, Natalieís known John longer than I have and I know they have a history. John told me that Natalie wanted to tell him that sheíd broken it off with Paul Kramer and at the time, I got a gnawing feeling in my stomach, but I blew it off. However, today, Jessica Buchanan felt the need to inform me that if Iíd back off, John would be with Natalie like it should be. I see John and Natalie together a lot and maybe he just canít think of a good way to tell me that he wants to go back with Natalie? Jessicaís words just keep running in my head and itís really frustrating because I shouldnít let her get to me like this."

Nora looked at Evangeline in astonishment and said, "Jessica said that John should be with Natalie? What did John say when you asked him about it?"

"I didnít ask him about it", Evangeline replied, "I just walked out."

"Evangeline!" Nora exclaimed. "How can you not talk to John about this? Only he knows how he truly feels, no one else. You canít take Jessicaís word for anything. Face it, she thinks sheís looking out for her sister, but itís really none of her business. You have to talk to John. Is it that youíre afraid too?"

Evangeline let out a little laugh and said, "Darn it! I keep forgetting that you know me pretty well since weíre alike in some ways. I think itís that John and I have become so close and even though we said it was Ďno strings attachedí, Iíve got strings all over me and Iím afraid itís not the same for him. He has opened up to me more, but Iíve never been in this situation before and I donít know how to handle it."

"Let me tell you Evangeline, from my vast experience with relationships, it always works out better if you just go to the source and get it all out in the open. Donít speculate. Youíre a lawyer for Godís sake, go get the facts", Nora said.

"I know youíre right Nora, it just scares me", Evangeline said.

"Noraís right about what?" John said as he walked up to the tennis courts. Both Nora and Evangeline jumped.

"What are you doing here John?" Evangeline asked.

"Iím looking for you", he replied. "Hey Nora. Look Evangeline, we need to talk".

Nora said, "Hey John, youíre right. You two need to talk. Iíve got to go pick up Matthew anyway. Iíll see you guys later." Nora left John standing there looking at Evangeline like he was trying to examine her as to what she was thinking and feeling.

"Well, are you just going to pull a Me on me and not say anything, or are you going to talk to me? What happened back at the station? Why did you walk out like that?" John had so many questions.

"Okay, okay, Iíll talk", she replied. "Can we go to the diner though? Iím starving."

John smiled and took her hand and said, "Yeah, we can go to the diner. When we get there though, you have to tell me whatís going on."

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When they got to the diner and sat down, Evangeline quickly grabbed a menu and started to peruse it and not look at John eye to eye. She was actually nervous and thought to herself, "When did this happen? When did I become so emotional and afraid that I canít just lay it on the line and tell him what Iím feeling?" She finally looked up from the menu to John just staring at her and smiling and waiting patiently for her to start talking.

When John realized that Evangeline wasnít looking at him in the eye and she was staring at her menu instead, he thought to himself, "When did this happen? When did she become so shy around me and feel like she couldnít tell me how she was feeling? Is this a bad sign? Is she going to call it quits? Have I not opened up to her enough? Is my emotional protectiveness going to cost me the best thing that has happened to me in a long time? Be patient man, just be patient and show her that you can be there for her the way sheís been there for you."

They ordered their burgers and when she couldnít stall anymore, she decided to take the bull by the horns. She blurted out, "I know we started this thing with Ďno strings attachedí, but itís gone farther for me than that. Iím sorry that I canít be casual about this now and if you still want it to be casual, then I donít think I can do this any more." In her head, she was out of breadth as she realized she said all of that without breathing.

John looked at her and said, "Where is this coming from? Why are you so unsure about us all of a sudden?"

Evangeline said, "Itís not really all of a sudden, Iíve just been suppressing it. It started when Natalie told you she broke up with Paul Kramer. I got a funny feeling that day like maybe that had more significance than even I realized and then today, Jessica told me that if it werenít for me, youíd be with Natalie right now."

"Why would you listen to Jessica and not talk to me? She told me she said that to you, but I just couldnít believe that youíd take her at her word and walk out of the station like that. Why didnít you stay and talk to me about it?" John replied.

Evangeline laughed nervously while saying, "This is a change of events. Itís usually me saying that you need to express your emotions more with me and now, here you sit telling me that I need to do that with you."

John laughed too while saying, "Yeah, the situation has turned a little. However, Iím serious; you really need to talk to me about what Iím feeling and no one else."

"Okay then, John. What are you feeling?" she said. "Do you feel like you should be with Natalie, but you just donít know how to let me down easy? I can take it you know. Just tell me and put me out of this misery of not knowing."

John got up from his side of the booth and slid into the seat next to her. He took her hand and as he looked in her eyes, he said, "Iím right where I want to be. If there was no me and you, I still wouldnít be with Natalie. Iím concerned about her and worried about her, but itís more like a brother/sister thing, not a girl/guy thing. To clarify, after that first night that I stayed at your house, and I told you how much I trust you and feel close to you, ití been more than casual to me."

"Really?" Evangeline said.

"Really", John replied. "I guess this is an example of how my keeping my emotions to myself has confused things again. If I had just told you that night that I feel that what we have is more than casual and you agreed with me, then you could have told Jessica where to get off today. Iím sorry I held it in."

"You donít have to apologize", she said. "I could have said something myself. Iíve just never felt like this about any one and Iím not at all acting like my regular sane self."

"Personally, I like the way youíre acting", he said with a smile. "You donít have to feel unsure about how I feel about you and how I feel about Natalie. I was hoping that our first real date would show you that. Youíre only the second person Iíve ever taken to any of those places. You are the one that I want to spend my time with and only you. Iím hoping that you feel the same and will want to share more of your life with me."

Evangeline teared up a little and said, "John, I do feel the same way and I do want to share more of my life with you. You may have to be a little patient with me though because this just scares me a little that I want to lose some of my control to you."

John said, "Are you kidding? As patient as youíve been with me? I can be just as patient with you. Take your time, Iíll be here. There is one request I have though"

"Whatís that?" she said.

"You have got to stop crying on me. I canít take it", he said with a sly grin.

They both laughed and started to eat their burgers.

As Evangeline ate, she thought to herself, "That went so much better than I thought. My God, Iím in a real relationship that I donít want to lose. When did this happen? What has he done to me?"

John thought as he was eating, "Whew, I almost lost her there for a minute. Iíve got to start telling her how I feel and not holding it in. When did this happen? When did she become such a central part of my life?"

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