Chapter Nineteen:

ÖÖ.John told Michael and Marcie that theyíd have to do dinner some other time, just the 4 of them. They all agreed that that was a good ideaÖÖ..

John awoke in the early morning hours and looked over at the clock on Evangelineís nightstand. It was 6:30 am. As his eyes adjusted to the dim lighting in the room, he slowly began to smile. He looked down at the precious woman who was still asleep with her head on his chest. All the memories of what happened the night before came rushing in. As he reminisced, he was becoming more aware that Evangeline was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

"When did this happen?" he thought to himself. "How has she been able to chip away at the wall I had firmly built around my heart and make herself a cozy, permanent place there?"

When they had left Rodiís the night before, John was looking forward to spending some time alone with Evangeline. They had both been so busy that any alone time was few and far between. He was glad that Evangeline had been able to meet him a few minutes early before Marcieís party. He had needed to touch her and breathe her in before he had to share her with everyone else. To his delight, she seemed to be on the same wavelength with him.

As they entered Evangelineís home, it was like they were thinking the same thoughts. She locked the door behind them and gave John the tenderest kiss. As he stood there, staring into her eyes and marveling at the fact that she was with him, she took his hand and lead him upstairs. No words were spoken, but a lot was being said. They had truly made love and to his astonishment, it was more amazing each time. Evangeline was right he thought. Attaching those strings just made everything better. He decided right then that talking to her every night before he went to sleep was great, but he really wanted to be with her more, eating dinner, watching TV, listening to music. He just wanted to be in her presence more.

As John lay there deeply basking in his whirlwind of thoughts, the silence was broken by Evangeline looking up at him and saying, "Good Morning McB. Whatís that look all about?"

John smiled sheepishly and said, "Uh, nothing Diva E. I was just reliving last night in my mind."

That comment made Evangeline shyly smile as she said, "I dreamt about it. My God, it just gets better and better."

John leaned down and kissed her and said, "Absolutely."

They both just laid there in silence for a few more minutes, holding each other. Then, John blurted out, "I want to see you more often. I mean its great talking to you every night and I donít want to stop that, but I want more time with you. I know I said I needed time, but for me, timeís up. I want us to take a few more steps forward." By the time he was done, he was out of breath.

First, Evangeline looked shocked and then she let out a breath and said, "Whew! I feel the same way. I want to see you more often too. Iíve been trying to figure out how to tell you without seeming like I was rushing you."

"Yeah" he said.

"Yeah" she replied.

"Well, youíre the plan person Diva E" John said. "How do we make this work?"

Evangeline thought about it for a little bit and then she said, "We can compromise McB. Two nights a week, since youíd call me late anyway, you should just come over and spend the night here. Then, two nights a week, Iíll come to your place and spend the night there. The other three nights, weíll talk on the phone. How is that?"

John smiled and said, "You have got to be one of the most logical thinking people Iíve ever met. That works great for me."

They laid there a little while longer, both relieved that they had said out loud what they had been thinking for a couple of weeks. "When did this happen?" they both thought. "When did we start thinking the same thoughts?"

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Finally, John started to get up because he had told Shannon to meet him at the station this morning at 9 am.

"Hey, where are you going?" Evangeline asked. "I thought we just decided to spend more time with each other?"

"I know", he said. "Itís just that I told Shannon to meet me at the station at 9 am this morning and if Iím not there, sheíll just leave. Iím sorry. I really need to talk to her about the Love Center sabotage."

"Youíre not arresting her, are you?" she inquired. "I told her that if she needed me, Iíd be there for her."

John looked surprised and replied, "You told her that?"

"Yeah", Evangeline replied. "I told her that. I donít think she did it and I didnít think that you thought she did it either."

"I donít think she did it." John said. "Donít get all protective of her on me. You can stand down from lawyer mode. I just want to ask her what she saw when she was there those few times. Thatís all."

"Oh," Evangeline replied kind of embarrassed. "I guess I do click into lawyer mode pretty fast, donít I?"

John just laughed and said, "Yeah, you do. Thatís okay though. Youíre doing it to protect a part of my family and I canít get upset about that."

John was fully dressed now and leaned down and gave Evangeline a kiss on the cheek as she still lay in bed. "Iíll call you later so we can decide whose house first and what night. Okay?"

"Okay" Evangeline replied. "Iíll talk to you later."

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John walked into his office at the station right before Shannon got there. When Shannon walked in, he could tell she was going to be all attitude. He told her to sit down and right away he told her that he wanted to talk to her to clear her. After that comment, he could tell that Shannon was off the defensive and would answer any question he had for her.

"Did you ever see Paul Kramer hanging around the Love Center when you were there Shannon?" John asked.

Shannon thought about it for a minute and then said, "Maybe once or twice. Why do you ask?"

"This stays between me and you Shannon. Got it?" John implored.

Shannon said, "Got it. What?"

"There are surveillance cameras in Angel Square since Adrianaís kidnapping and I looked at some of them around the time of the Love Center sabotage."

"Great," Shannon said sarcastically. "Even the Llanview Police Department feels the need to watch out for little miss innocent and perfect. Thatís just great."

"Shannon!" John shot back. "This has nothing to do with Adriana. Sorry I brought up her name. You should actually be grateful to her. Because of her, we have the cameras there and the cameras show Paul Kramer hanging around the Love Center a couple of times right after you left."

"Look John" Shannon said. "Donít tell me to be grateful to Adriana. I am grateful that the cameras are there though. Do you think Paul Kramer has something to do with the sabotage? Why would he do that? Why would he try to pin it on me? I donít even know him."

"I donít know Shannon." John said. "Thatís what I need to find out and you just answered the last question I had. I wanted to know if you knew Kramer. Iíll get back to you and let you know what I find out. Remember though, no word of this to ANYONE."

"Alright, I wonít tell anyone. Thanks for your help with this. Iím glad you believe me," she said.

"Youíre welcome," he said. "Now get out of here and stay out of trouble."

Shannon laughed as she walked out of his office.

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After John had left, Evangeline got up and started to work on Antonioís case from home. It was already the Saturday before Thanksgiving and the case was on the docket for the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. She was going to prepare for this case better than any other she had ever prepared for. She had a spark of genius and put her new strategy into play. She needed to make a few phone calls. By the time Antonio got back from wherever he had gone, sheíd only have to tell him of her great idea and prep him for his testimony. She left Antonio a message to meet her in Angelís Square by the statue of Luna on Monday morning at 9 am.

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Tico Santi sat at Lionís Heart still reveling in the fact that he had gotten Kevin Buchanan elected Lieutenant Governor. He was thinking that at least one part of his overall plan for coming to Llanview had worked. He had Kevin right where he needed him. Heíd call in that favor at the most opportune time for him.

However, he still needed to get Antonio off his trail along with Evangeline Williamson and John McBain. He made a call and he said, "Operation Manuel Confusion, day after tomorrow, on schedule." With that statement, he clicked his cell phone shut.

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As Evangeline worked methodically to hone her new strategy in Antonioís case, her phone rang. When she answered, she was delighted to hear Johnís voice on the other end of the line.

"Hey Diva E" he said. "Itís McB."

"Hey McB" she replied. "Whatís up?"

"Mike called me here at the office and wants to know if we can meet him and Marcie for an early dinner tomorrow at the Palace? He said they could meet us at 5 pm. Can you do that?"

"Yeah" she said. "That sounds great. An early dinner works because I have to meet Antonio early on Monday morning about his case."

"How early do you have to meet him? Where do you have to meet him?" John asked.

"I have to meet him at 9 am at the statue in Angelís Square. Why do you ask?" Evangeline requested.

"Well," John said hesitantly. "I was thinking that after our early dinner, you can come home with me that night. What do you think?"

"I think that sounds like a plan McB" Evangeline replied.

"Okay, great" John said in relief. He was glad that Evangeline hadnít changed her mind about them spending more time together. "Iíll meet you at the Palace at 5 pm. Iíll call you later tonight. Bye."

"Bye" she replied in kind.

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