Chapter Thirteen:

ÖÖ. "Iíll pick you up at your room at 12 pm. Dress casually and donít eat ahead of time because lunch is part of the date."ÖÖÖ

John and Evangeline were so busy with their respective careers, that it turned out that they didnít get to see each other in person the rest of the week. Evangeline put out feelers looking for Aceís biological mother and John was on a stake out trying to figure out who was sabotaging the Love Center project. Each time there was sabotage, Shannon had a flimsy alibi. John wanted to make sure his cousin wasnít falsely accused. As had become their routine, John and Evangeline talked every night so that each otherís voice was the last they heard before they drifted off to sleep. John didnít know why, but he really seemed to sleep a lot more peacefully after talking to Evangeline.

When Sunday finally rolled around, John was more excited than heíd been in a while. He got ready a whole hour early. There he sat in the lobby, twiddling his thumbs and pacing back and forth, waiting for Evangeline to show up. He had changed a couple of times before he finally decided on a sweater and a pair of blue jeans. He laughed to himself, "Get a grip John. Itís not like you havenít been out with her before. Youíre a couple now. Just relax."

As John stood around loitering in the lobby, Natalie Buchanan came walking in. A few days earlier, Jessica had told Natalie how she had a talk with Evangeline and hopefully she had talked Evangeline into backing away from John. Natalie wasnít sure that would happen, especially after sheíd seen John and Evangeline together a few times, but she thought, "What the heck. Iíll go see if John wants to play some pool. Obviously the making him jealous with Paul idea hadnít worked. Iíll start a new plan and go back to being his friend again."

John said, "Hi" to Natalie as she walked up. He had a big smile on his face.

Natalie thought, "This is a good sign. He seems happy to see me". "Hi", she said in return. She then went on to say, "If you're not busy John, do you want to grab a bite at Rodiís and play a round of pool?"

John said, "Uh, sorry Natalie, I canít. Iím waiting for Evangeline. We have a date." He could see the air kind of deflate out of Natalie. He felt bad and said, "Were you wanting to talk or something?"

Natalie regained her composure and said, "No, not really, I was just trying to figure out something to do to fill some of my spare time. You know, keep my mind off of Paul and that whole fiasco."

"Oh, sorry, but Iíve been looking forward to this date for 4 days. Iíll have to take a rain check on the pool, okay?" John said.

"Thatís fine John", she said. "Iíll talk to you later." With that being said, she turned and left just as Evangeline came walking in. She noticed how Johnís face lit up when he saw Evangeline. Natalie realized that he never smiled so brightly when they were hanging out together.

***************************************************************************************************************

Evangeline had gotten up early on Sunday morning and went for a run. She was trying to calm her nerves before she went to pick up John. She was so excited and at the same time a little nervous about opening up a part of her life to John. It was weird because she wanted to share her life, but she had no practice in doing it. Even though sheíd dated RJ for a little over a year, there were certain things she just kept to herself. She had changed her shirt about 5 times before she settled on a baby blue t-shirt to go with her blue jeans and running shoes. She left the house to go pick up John and start their date. She just hoped heíd have a great time on her date the way she did on his. When she entered the lobby of his hotel as she passed Natalie on her way out, it didnít even faze her. All she heard in her mind was John saying, "You are the one that I want to spend my time with and only you." The smile on his face when he saw her was just back up for what he had said.

***************************************************************************************************************

"Hey", Evangeline said as she approached John.

"Hey yourself", John replied as he gave her a quick peck on the lips.

"Well, are you ready to go?" she asked.

"You bet", he said. "Iíve been down in this lobby for an hour."

"Thanks John", Evangeline said kind of nervously. "No pressure there."

"Trust me", he said. "We could sit on this couch and just stare at each other and Iíd be a happy man."

"Alright" she replied, "letís go". They headed out hand in hand.

When they got in the car and Evangeline started to drive, John asked, "So where are we going for lunch?"

"Weíre going to my favorite Cajun restaurant in Philadelphia. I use to go there all the time when I was going to Penn. Do you like Cajun food?"

 

"Yeah, I do" he said.

"Mental note", she thought, "he likes Cajun food. Hot and spicy. No wonder heís so passionate. Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm."

As they drove along, they talked about their college days. John was more of a loner and kept to himself and studied a lot. Evangeline was a joiner and was in many different groups. They both graduated with honors.

***************************************************************************************************************

When they pulled up to the restaurant, John read the restaurant sign, "Boudreauxís Cajun Kitchen".

As they both got out of the car, John walked around to Evangelineís side of the car and took her hand. He said, "It smells great from out here."

"Letís just hope you like what you get", she replied.

As they walked in the door, Evangeline was met with a hearty laugh from a big, jovial man. "Vangeline my dear. Long time no see. How ya been?" Simultaneously, he grabbed her into a big bear hug.

"Hey Mr. Boudreaux. Iím great. How are you?" she replied while trying to breath under the weight of his hug.

"You look great", Mr. Boudreaux said, "but I can see that you really need some of our cooking. Youíre still almost skin and bones."

Evangeline said, "Thanks for the complement, I think, Mr. Boudreaux. Is Cynthia here today?"

"Sheíll be here in about Ĺ a hour." he replied. "I know sheíll be so happy to see you."

John stood there taking all of this in and thinking to himself, "Man, everybody that knows her, cares about her so much. She really is a special person." He was brought back from these thoughts when he heard her call his name.

"Mr. Boudreaux, this is John McBain. John, this is Mr. Boudreaux, the owner of this fine establishment." Evangeline said.

John held out his hand and said, "Nice to meet you Mr. Boudreaux."

As Mr. Boudreaux reached out his hand, he said, "Nice to meet you too son. Aw, come here" and he proceeded to pull John into a big bear hug also.

Evangeline just laughed to herself. She knew that John wasnít the most touchy, feely person when it came to most people. She was one of the exceptions.

She was brought back from her thoughts when she heard Mr. Boudreaux say, "You could use a little more meat on your bones also son. Here, let me show you to your table."

After they were seated and Mr. Boudreaux left to greet the next restaurant patrons, John looked at Evangeline and said, "Heís a pretty happy guy, huh? My ribs are a little sore from that hug."

Evangeline smiled and said, "If it werenít for Mr. Boudreaux, I may have had to go some nights without dinner during college. His daughter Cynthia and I went to Penn together and when I ran out of money, sheíd bring me down here for a meal. Sheís one of my best friends and she, Jordan, and I use to hang out here a lot."

"Jordan, Dr. Jordan Kingsley that Michael works with?" John asked.

"Yeah", Evangeline replied.

"I keep forgetting that you two have known each other for awhile." John said. "Why arenít you looking at your menu?"

"Oh, I always get the same thing, the Jambalaya. Itís the best Iíve ever had", she replied.

With that answer, John closed his menu and said, "Jambalaya it is."

While they waited for their food, Evangeline told John about her friendship with Cynthia and how they had met on campus. Cynthia was an accountant and had gone on to get her MBA when Evangeline left for Law School. Their food arrived and they both dug in.

"Wow", John exclaimed, "This is spicy, but great."

"Iím glad you like it", she said.

By the time they were almost finished with their lunch, Cynthia came running over to their table. Cynthia exclaimed, "Evangeline! Itís so great to see you. Itís really been too long."

Evangeline jumped up and gave Cynthia a big hug. John stood up also. Evangeline said, "Cynthia, this is John. John, this is Cynthia."

John reached out his hand and said, "Itís a pleasure to meet you Cynthia. Evangelineís been telling me a lot about you. All good of course."

Cynthia smiled and replied, "Nice to meet you too John. She better be telling you all good stuff. I know her secrets you know."

"Really", John said, "sit down and tell me all about it."

"Thatís enough you two", Evangeline said in protest. "Weíll have none of that."

John and Cynthia just laughed.

John sat and listened as Cynthia and Evangeline caught up on things. John particularly noticed how Cynthia asked Evangeline about Jordan like maybe Jordan and Evangeline could have been involved at one point. He drifted off in thought and was thinking, "What is wrong with me? I assumed that RJ was the only one serious relationship Evangeline had in her life. Letís face it though, sheís outgoing and everyone gravitates toward her. There had to have been others. Maybe Jordan was one." The thought that sheís loved others made him a little jealous. He was still thinking about it when he heard Evangeline say his name.

"John, earth to John, are you okay?" Evangeline was saying to him.

"Uh, sorry", he said sheepishly. "You caught me mid thought."

"Oh", Evangeline said while giving John an inquisitive look. "I was just saying that Iím going to stop by the Ladyís room and then we have to leave for the rest of our date."

"Thereís more then?" he asked.

"Oh yeah", she smiled. "There is definitely more to come."

Now John was intrigued and he told her, "Well hurry up then."

While Evangeline was away from the table, John and Cynthia sat and talked awhile. Cynthia said, "Youíre alright John McBain."

John replied, "Thanks, I guess. What do you mean by that?"

"I mean you must be a pretty special person to bring that smile and glow out of Evangeline like that. She can be so serious and such a workaholic sometime. Iím glad she met someone that she can let her guard down with and have a little fun."

John chuckled a little and said, "How ironic because all my family says she does that for me. Iíve never heard that I do that for her before. Thank You."

Evangeline walked up and said, "Thank Cynthia for what?"

"Nothing", they both said in unison.

Evangeline gave Cynthia a hug goodbye and waved to the back to Mr. Boudreaux. "Iíll call you Cyn, I promise", she said as she and John took care of the bill and walked out.

Back | Chapter 14