Chapter Sixteen:

ÖÖ.Evangeline gave him a quick peck on the lips and left. John yelled after her, "Iíll call you tomorrow."ÖÖÖ..

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RJ had fumed all night about what had happened at the Angelís Square Diner. "Thatís it", he thought. "Iím tired of sharing my granddaughter with her ungrateful father and what turns out to not even be her grandmother. Iím going to begin putting a stop to this today."

He thought over his options and decided that he couldnít ask Evangeline to take his case because after all, she defended that Vega boy the last time and he really couldnít stand the sight of her now that he knew she was back with that Quantico leftover, McBain. He mulled it over and figured that who he needed was the same lawyer that Kevin Buchanan had during his custody case. Obviously, he was good because he beat the great Evangeline Williamson. Plus, if Evangeline took Antonioís side, AGAIN, having to go against the one person who has defeated her would put her off her game. He called around to find out Kevinís lawyerís name and then made an appointment, ASAP.

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It was 7 am and as Evangeline unlocked her office door, her phone was already ringing. She realized that her assistant wasnít in yet as she ran over to answer the phone saying, "Hello, Evangeline Williamsonís office, how may I help you?"

"Good Morning Diva E", she heard him say in such a sexy voice. Immediately, she had a smile on her face.

"Good Morning McB", she replied. "What are you doing awake already? Are you at work too?"

"No, Iím still at home", he said. "I just wanted to hear your voice before I go out into the world today."

"Oh", she said. "Iím actually glad you called. I missed you last night, even though it was me who made the decision to leave."

He was the one now smiling on his side of the phone as he responded, "I missed you to."

They both just kind of held onto the phone, listening to each other breath, when finally John said, "Hey, Michael wants us to have dinner with him and Marcie on Friday night. I know youíll be busy this week, but can you break away this Friday for a meal?"

"Sure", she said. "I have to eat and Iíd like to get to know your brother a little better. Plus, I adore Marcie."

"Okay, Iíll let them know and Iíll tell you where and when later. Have a good day", he said as he was about to hang up the phone.

Just before he could hang up, Evangeline said, "Call me tonight, okay? Iíve gotten use to talking to you every night before I close my eyes. I donít know if I can sleep well without hearing your voice."

What she said had given him such a warm feeling inside and he said, "Itís a nightly ritual that I look forward to and it gets me through the day. Iíll call you tonight."

With that said, they both hung up. Each kind of stared off into space, just thinking about the other.

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After RJ explained his situation to Kevinís attorney, Emerson, and let him know that Evangeline Williamson could be Antonioís lawyer, Emerson took the case with zeal. He told RJ that the fact that Antonio isnít who he thought he was and that heíd left Jamie with him for a while, should work in their advantage. Plus he said, "Iím the only one to ever beat Ms. Williamson and I relish the chance to do it again." He had a conspiratorial grin on his face.

Thatís all RJ needed to hear, the fact that Emerson thought he had a good case and that Emerson wanted to beat Evangeline again. RJ quickly paid the retainer and requested that the case come as soon as possible, hopefully before Thanksgiving. Emerson said heíd file the paperwork that morning and he was sure that Antonio would be served that afternoon.

RJ left Emersonís office feeling pretty good about himself. "Two birds with one stone", he thought to himself. "Two birds with one stone".

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Emerson was a man true to his word. He had the papers filed that very morning and Antonio would be served that afternoon.

Once again, Tico received a call from the courthouse, letting him know about this latest development. "Great", Tico thought. "This will keep Antonio tied up and out of my business". The wheels of Ticoís mind started to turn and with some more pressure, he was able to get the case assigned to Judge Hernandez.

Tico was feeling so smug now. With Judge Hernandez presiding over the case, he wouldnít have to find out information on some new judge and he could just turn the screws a little more on her. "This couldnít have worked out any better", he thought. "The cherry on top of the cake will be if Antonio gets Evangeline Williamson to represent him again. Then Iíll have all the players right where I want them.

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Antonio and Sonia were sitting in Rodiís having a beer and discussing some of the logistics on how to find out who El Tiburon is. Antonio still insisted that it was Tico, but Sonia just wouldnít listen. She was staunch in the fact that it couldnít be him and that they would find out who it was.

As they sat there strategizing, a young man in a suit walked up an asked Antonio if he were Antonio Vega, aka Manuel Santi Jr. Skeptically, Antonio replied, "Yes I am. Why do you want to know?"

The young man pulled out the court order and handed it to Antonio and walked away. As Antonio opened the court order and read it, he became furious. Sonia asked, "Whatís wrong Antonio? What is that?"

Antonio replied, "RJ Gannon is fighting me for custody of Jamie, AGAIN! How dare he do this now when so much is going on!" Antonio could hardly contain himself

Sonia suggested that Antonio should go get legal counsel right away. He agreed and they both got up to leave. Just then, Jessica was walking in and tried to stop him from leaving, but Antonio blew right passed her.

Once again, in a poíd state, she walked up to the bar where Natalie was working. "Whatís going on now?" she asked Natalie.

Natalie replied, "I donít know. I just saw a guy with a suit come in, hand Antonio a piece of paper, and Antonio became livid."

"I canít take this any more", Jessica replied, almost in tears. "I canít let him keep treating me this way. Iím moving back to Llanfair with you and Mom."

Natalie sighed and said, "I think thatís the right thing to do Jessica."

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During the rest of the day, as Evangeline tried to stop daydreaming about John, she hired a new PI to investigate whoís the biological mother of Ace Buchanan. She gave the information that she knew of to the investigator, that Kellyís brother, Paul Kramer, had met a woman that wanted to give up her baby and that heíd brought the baby to Kelly. She told the investigator that she really needed for him to track down the biological mother. He left her office to do just that as Antonio and Sonia came storming in.

Evangelineís assistant said, "I tried to tell them that you were with someone, but he just blew right passed me."

"Thatís okay", Evangeline replied. "I can talk to them now. My other meeting is over".

Her assistant, Renee, left the office and shut the door behind her, but she was none to pleased with Antonioís attitude.

Evangeline looked at a furious and happed up Antonio and asked, "Whatís wrong? Why are you guys here?"

Antonio showed her the court order and asked her, "Will you represent me again?"

After reading the court order, Evangeline made a call to the courthouse and found out that Judge Hernandez would be residing over the trial. The trial was to start the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. She also realized that Emerson was RJís lawyer. Upon finding out this information, Evangeline asked Antonio, "Do you really want me to represent you? After all, I just lost my first case to RJís lawyer, Emerson, it was a case tried under this judge, Hernandez, and it was a custody case".

Antonio thought about it for a minute and then asked, "Are you saying you donít think you can win my case? Do you think RJ has the upper hand?"

"No", Evangeline replied. "I think you have a good case, but Iím a little gun shy, thatís all".

"Look", Antonio replied, "In my opinion, youíre the best person I could have. Youíve represented me before and there is no way youíre going to let this Emerson beat you twice in a row, right?!"

Thatís all Evangeline needed to hear. She snapped out of her momentary lapse into insecurity and said, "You are so right Antonio. I am the best person to represent you and we will win".

Antonio gave her a dollar to put her on retainer and they set up a meeting for later in the week to discuss the situation. He and Sonia left the office.

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During the rest of the day, as John tried to stop daydreaming about Evangeline, he delved more into who could be sabotaging the Love Center Project. He realized that the cameras that had been installed in Angelís Square after Adrianaís kidnapping had been turned on again after the sabotaging of the project had started up. He watched the tapes screen by screen and realized that every time the incidences had occurred, Shannon would have just left and that Paul Kramer would have been hanging around. "What are you up to, Kramer?" he thought to himself. "Thereís got to be more to this than coincidence".

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When John called Evangeline that night to say goodnight, she was so glad to hear his voice. She told him how Antonio had asked her to represent him in the custody case and how she freaked out a little. She went on to tell him what Antonio had said.

John responded by saying, "Antonio is right. You can win this case. You should never doubt yourself. Youíre a fighter".

"Thanks for the words of encouragement", she replied. "I guess I just needed to hear them".

"Evangeline", John said, "Weíll find out who got to Judge Hernandez before this trial and youíll be a winner, trust me".

"I do", she said.

"Plus", he went on to say, "This gives me hope in Antonio that he hasnít gone completely over the edge. Heís still smart enough to know a good thing when he sees it."

She smiled to herself and again said, "Thanks McB".

He laughed and said, "Youíre welcome Diva E. Oh yeah, Mikey and Marcie want us to meet them at Rodiís on Friday night at 6:30 pm. Itíll be Mikeyís break from his emergency room rotation at the hospital. Does that work for you?"

"Absolutely", she said. "Iíll be there".

They both held the phone for about 30 seconds without saying anything and then they both said goodnight and hung up.

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Evangeline thought to herself, "When did this happen? When did I get to the point where I could let my guard down enough to let someone else see my vulnerable side? Where is this coming from? What is it that heís doing to me?"

John thought to himself, "When did this happen? When did I open up enough to make her feel comfortable enough to show me her vulnerable side? Why does this make me feel so good? What is it that sheís doing to me?"

They both had smiles on their faces as they drifted off to sleep.

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