Chapter Fourteen:

ÖÖÖshe and John took care of the bill and walked outÖÖ..

"Where to now?" John asked as they started off in the car.

"Well", Evangeline said. "I donít know if I ever told you this before, but I mentor 4 inner city high school girls to help prepare them for college. For the last 2 months when we met, I helped them prepare to take their SATs. They took them yesterday and I let them talk me into taking them bowling today to celebrate the test being over. They said I was a real slave driver about the test."

John smiled and said, "So youíre determined in every area of your life, not just your job, huh?"

"Of course", she replied. "You know how my father instilled the importance of an education into me. I feel itís my civic duty to pass that along to others that may have to be just as strong to make it in this world."

John reached over and touched Evangelineís leg as she drove and smiled admiringly at her.

"Whatís that for?" Evangeline asked. "Am I on my soap box again?"

"No, no", John said. "I just admire how you help so many people. Thatís all."

They were pulling into the bowling alley parking lot as Evangeline said, "Thanks."

As they were walking into the bowing alley, Evangeline warned John, "These girls are pretty defensive around people theyíve never met because theyíve had to protect themselves and their families to make it. They may start off a little weary of you at the beginning and theyíll have a lot of questions. Can you handle that?"

John squeezed her hand and said, "You bet I can."

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John and Evangeline had gotten their lanes and balls while they were waiting for the girls to show up. John laughed at Evangeline when she came back with a pink bowling ball.

"What are you laughing about?" Evangeline inquired of John.

"A pink ball, Evangeline?" John replied. "This is bowling you know, not a girly powder puff thing."

"Really", she said. "Well, Iíll wait and see how you feel when I beat you with this pink ball."

He gave her a sly look and said, "Now thereís the competitive Evangeline that I know. Iím going to have to put my game face on. First though, come here." He pulled her to him and gave her a kiss.

That caught her off guard and when their lips parted, she said, "Donít try to distract me, Lieutenant. That kiss wonít make me take it any easier on you."

They both stood their just smiling and looking into each otherís eyes.

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Tamika, Aisha, Theresa, and Lien came walking in to the bowling alley just as John was kissing Evangeline. Tamika said, "Whoís that pushing up on Evangeline?"

Theresa replied, "I donít know, but she doesnít look like she minds." The four of them laughed as they walked toward John and Evangeline.

Evangeline heard them laughing and turned to face them. "Hey girls", she said. "You donít look all worn out or anything. I guess the test wasnít as bad as you thought, huh?"

"Are you kidding?" Lien replied. "Iíve never seen so many long vocabulary words in my life. I finally realized why you made us play scrabble so much. The ones I didnít recognize right away, I was able to kind of figure them out by their syllables. Thanks for the help. Lucky for me, I want to be an accountant. All I really have to remember the meaning of is Ďin the redí and Ďin the blackí."

"What about the rest of you?" Evangeline said. "How was the test for you guys?"

Aisha said, "It wasnít as bad as I thought it would be. You really prepared us well. Thanks."

The others chimed in as well, "Yeah, thanks."

Evangeline said, "Youíre all very welcome. Look, thereís someone Iíd like you guys to meet. John, this is Tamika, future doctor, Aisha, future web designer, Lien, future accountant and Theresa, future attorney. Girls, this is John McBain."

John reached out and shook each of their hands. "Very impressive", he said. "Itís very nice to meet all of you."

They all shook his hand and replied, "Nice to meet you too sir", but he could tell they were holding back a little, reserving their opinions for later.

Evangeline took them up to get shoes and help them all pick out balls while John set up the score card. He put himself last so that he would always know how many pins he needed to try to keep ahead of Evangeline. He remembered her saying what her average was once and he knew sheíd be hard to beat.

As they all bowled, the girls were having fun, even though they werenít doing that well. However, what they got the biggest kick out of was the competition between Evangeline and John. The lead between those two went back and forth and the girls noticed the look of determination on Evangelineís face. Aisha mentioned to Theresa, "I donít think Iíve ever seen Diva E act this way before. Sheís really into him. He seems okay, but he better not hurt her."

"Yeah", Theresa replied. "He better treat her like the Queen that she is. But you know, he seems really into her too."

At the end of the game, it turned out that Evangeline beat John by 12 points. John said, "I canít believe you beat me with that pink ball. Iíll never be able to live this down." He held his head down and slumped his shoulders like he was all depressed.

Evangeline walked up next to him and put her arms around him and said, "Iím sorry. I just couldnít let you talk about my pink ball that way. Pink Rules!!! Am I right girls?"

The four girls chimed in, "You know what time it is. Preach it Sista."

John just smiled.

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Evangeline said, "Who wants pizza?"

All the girls said they did and Evangeline had them go turn in their shoes and order the pizza. She told them that she and John would meet them at a table in a few minutes.

John said, "Iím still full from the Jambalaya. I canít eat anymore."

"Iím not eating either", Evangeline replied. "I just donít like to send them home without feeding them. They are growing girls. We can just have a beer or soda."

Evangeline and John put the balls back and Evangeline paid for the games. John tried to pay, but Evangeline insisted. She said, "No, no, no, Lieutenant. This is my date. I pay."

John reluctantly agreed.

Tamika overheard Evangeline call John Lieutenant and when they reached the table to sit down, she said to John, "Youíre 5-0?"

"Um, yeah", John replied. "Why do you ask?"

"Oh, I heard her call you Lieutenant and I was just surprised. You donít act like 5-0, at least the ones in my area of town."

John didnít know what to say and just kinda stared. Evangeline chimed in, "Well actually, John use to be with the FBI, but now heís head of detectives for the Llanview Police Department."

"Hmmmm", Tamika replied.

John thought he should try to find something that they had in common, so he asked, "Did Evangeline say earlier that youíre going to be a doctor one day?"

Tamika said, "Yeah, thatís what I want to be, if itís possible."

John said, "Why wouldnít it be possible? Iím sure you can do anything you put your mind to. My little brother, Michael, is a Resident at Llanview Hospital right now."

"Really", Tamika interestingly asked. "What is his specialty going to be?"

"Heís really been into investigating mysteries lately, so I think heís going to specialize in Forensic medicine. Do you ever come to visit Evangeline in Llanview?"

"We come over some time", Tamika replied.

"Well, maybe the next time you come over, I could take you to the hospital to meet my brother and he could show you around. I know when he was in high school and really becoming serious about being a doctor, any thing medical he could learn about, he wanted to."

"Wow that would be great", Tamika said as she took a bite of her piece of pizza.

Evangeline just kind of took in the whole conversation, in between her conversation with Theresa and marveled at how John had gotten Tamika to warm up to him. "He does have that way about him", she thought.

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After the girls finished their pizza, John asked them if theyíd like to play some of the video games he noticed in the game room. They all said they would like to. Evangeline excused herself to the Ladies Room and said sheíd be right back.

John was clearing off the table and about to go buy some tokens for them when Aisha blurted out, "You know Mr. McBain, you seem cool enough, but if you donít step correct to Diva E, the 4 of us will be all over you."

John was in shock and didnít know which part of the statement to address first. He thought about it for 2 seconds and then he said, "Whoís Diva E?"

Theresa said, "Thatís our name for Evangeline."

"Why do you call her that?" he inquired.

"Well", Lien started. "Sheís taught us how to respect our elders, so we canít call her Evangeline. It wouldnít be right. But, she didnít like us calling her Ms. Williamson all the time either. So, we came up with Diva E. It fits her."

John was smiling as he said, "Youíre right. It does fit her. So, what would you guys like to call me? Iím guessing you wonít call me John, but Mr. McBain was my dad."

Tamika thought about it for a minute and said, "How about we call you McB. Can you handle that?"

"McB it is", he said. "Now, explain to me what, um, step correct means?"

All 4 girls laughed and finally Aisha said, "It means if you donít treat Diva E right, like the prize she really is, weíll be all over you. Got it?"

"Oh, I understand", John said. "Donít worry. Iím doing my best to treat her exactly how she deserves to be treated. Now that I know youíre watching, Iíll be even more careful. Geesh!!! Have you treated all her other male friends this way?"

Theresa replied, "Youíre the first male friend of hers that weíve met."

At this time, Evangeline came walking back and said, "What are yíall talking about?"

The girls just stared at her and John finally said, "Nothing really. We were just trying to figure out which game to play first." In his mind though, he saved the interesting tidbit that Evangeline hadnít ever introduced them to any other male friends. He liked the fact that she must feel close enough to him to let him into a part of her life that she didnít share with every one.

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All 6 of them went into the arcade and kind of dispersed. Evangeline and Aisha went over to the vintage games and started to play Ms. Pac Man. Theresa went over to the basketball shot clock game. While they were doing that, John, Tamika, and Lien went over to the Daytona 500 driving game and raced against each other. They were all having a good time.

John went over to the gumball machine and when he put in his token, instead of getting a big gumball, he got a big pacifier sucker on a plastic purple ring. He yelled over to Evangeline, "Diva E, I have something for you."

Evangeline turned around with a stunned look on her face and said, "What did you call me?"

John laughed and said, "Your name, Diva E."

Evangeline pursed her lips together and looked at the 4 girls. They just laughed and said, "McBís right. That is your name."

Evangeline looked confused and said, "McB?"

"Thatís their name for me", John said as he was walking toward her. As he put the pacifier ring on her finger, he said, "They have to call me something, donít they?"

Evangeline just smiled.

They finished up using the rest of the tokens and John and Evangeline told the girls goodbye and headed back to Llanview.

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