Chapter Twenty One:

ÖÖ."I bet you are" Evangeline cooed as she shut the door behind themÖÖ..

Evangeline awoke first on that Monday morning before Thanksgiving. Her jaws were sore and she realized that it was because she must have been smiling in her sleep all night. As John lay behind her with his right arm on her waist and his left arm under her neck she remembered what had happened the night before when they got to his room.

"It was amazing" she thought. They had made out a little before settling into the bed, but then they just lay next to each other and talked for a while. John would remember a sign and do it and Evangeline would see if she could remember it. Then Evangeline would do a sign and see if John knew it. They both remembered more than they thought. As they both became sleepy, Evangeline turned her back to John and as he put his arms around her, they spooned as they fell asleep.

"Just magical" she smiled. It was one of the most intimate moments they had ever shared and there was no sex involved. "When did this happen?" she thought. "When did she become so comfortable with him? He really has become everything to me." These thoughts made her nervous. Not because she felt them, but because she never wanted to lose them. Nora had been right. She had fallen hard for Lieutenant John McBain.

The sound of the alarm awoke John and he moaned as he reached over her to hit the snooze button. "No, no, no" he said. "Do we have to get up already? Iíd rather just lay here all day with you in my arms."

"That sounds great to me" Evangeline said. "However, I have to meet Antonio and get him prepared for the trial on Wednesday. I only have two days left to get everything together."

John looked at her inquisitively and said, "Youíre really nervous about this case, arenít you?"

Evangeline didnít speak, she just shook her head yes.

"Why?" John inquired. "Why are you nervous? I know you and I know that youíve prepared for this case better than any other in your whole life. Iíd be so afraid right now if I were RJ and his lawyer. Really, I have so much faith in you and I know you will win this thing."

Evangeline gave John an endearing look and said, "Thanks. I needed to hear that right now. You really believe in me, donít you?"

"More than anyone else I know" he said.

The snooze alarm went off and when he reached for it this time, he gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and got out of bed. "You have a big case to go win" he said. "Weíd better get dressed."

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John and Evangeline walked hand and hand through Angel Square until they reached the statue of Luna. "Youíre sure Antonio is going to meet you here at 9 am?" John asked.

"Yes" Evangeline replied. "Itís only 8:40 am, but youíd better go. He could get here early and I donít want the two of you to have a run in. I need him to concentrate completely on his testimony and this trial."

In astonishment, John said, "Me? Have a run in with Antonio? I canít believe youíd think Iíd do such a thing." He laughed after his own statement and said, "Iím going."

Before he left, he leaned in and kissed Evangeline and said, "Have a good day. Iíll call you later."

With a look of bliss on her face, Evangeline said, "You have a good day too."

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John headed for the Love Center because he had a phone mail message from one of the investigating detectives on the Love Center sabotage case. The detective had said he had information on Paul Kramer and that John wasnít going to like it. He had no idea what the detective could mean.

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Evangeline sat by the statue of Luna going over her strategy once again and reviewing the questions she had prepared for Antonio. She got a cold shiver up her spine and felt like someone was watching her. As she looked up, a white male was headed toward her with a determined look on his face. She stood up, but didnít have time to go one way or the other. Before she knew it, he was in her face and he said, "You people think you own the world, donít you?"

Evangeline was taken aback and all she could say was "Excuse me?"

"Donít act all innocent with me" he replied smarmily. "Your kind has already ruined my life and I see that you are trying to take down one of my fellow compatriots."

"What are you talking about?" she asked. "I think you have me confused with someone else and you need to back up a little and give me some space." At this point, she was getting more and more nervous about the situation. She looked around and didnít see anyone else in the near vicinity.

The fact that she acted like she didnít know what he was talking about just enraged him more. He yelled, "Why donít you stick to your own kind and leave my people alone! Better yet, you should all go back to where you came from!"

"Pittsburgh?" she asked in a confused state. "What do you mean?"

At that moment, her comment made him livid and he grabbed her by the arms. He said, "Donít you be smug with me. You know what I mean. I saw you here kissing that guy, one of our guys. Stay in your own species!"

It finally became clear to Evangeline what was going on and in that instant she realized that this guy was a bigot. Not only was he a bigot, but an angry bigot that saw her kissing John a few minutes earlier. That must be what set him off. His fingers were really digging into her arms now and she tried to wrestle herself free. Just as she was about to use one of the womenís self defense moves she had learned, she heard Antonio yell, "Hey, get your hands off her!"

Antonio was moving in fast and when the guy saw him, he threw Evangeline up against the base of the statue hard and ran away. As Evangeline flew back, she hit her side on the edge of the statue base and fell in a heap to the ground. Antonio ran up to her and asked, "Are you okay? Do you want me to go after him?"

Evangeline was in a daze and couldnít catch her breath. When Antonio realized that she couldnít speak, he picked her up and said he was taking her to the hospital.

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Antonio brought Evangeline into the Emergency/Trauma Room to get looked at. Sheíd been able to speak a little now and had told Antonio what had happened. "Thank You, Antonio" Evangeline said. "I donítí know what would have happened if you hadnít have been there."

Antonio replied, "Youíre welcome, Evangeline. I just wish that I had gotten there earlier."

At this point, Jordan and Michael hurried up to Evangeline to question her. They were both on Emergency Room duty that morning. Michael and Jordan asked what had happened and how she was feeling. As she explained, she told them that she was having a hard time taking a deep breath and that her side hurt. The two began to make their diagnosis.

Antonio said, "Since youíre in good hands now, I realized that Jamie has her 18 month checkup in about 15 minutes down the hall in the clinic. Do you mind if I go down there to see her?"

"Go, by all means go" Evangeline said. "Iím in good hands here and itís your right as her Dad to be with her during her exams."

"Okay" Antonio replied. "Iíll check in with you before I leave. If youíre okay, we can go over my testimony the first thing tomorrow morning."

"That will be good" she replied.

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After Antonio left, Jordan and Michael took the rest of Evangelineís information and vital signs and Jordan told Michael to take Evangeline to x-ray. Jordan believed that Evangelineís ribs could be bruised or broken from the fall. After Michael rolled Evangeline down to x-ray, Jordan called Evangelineís Mom to tell her that Evangeline was in the hospital. After the x-ray technician took Evangeline in to the room, Michael called John.

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When Antonio walked up to the waiting room in the clinic, RJ was not happy. "What are you doing here Vega? I mean Santi?" RJ spit out.

"Iím here to accompany my daughter to her 18 month check-up. If thatís any of your business, grandpa" Antonio icily said.

RJ seethed and said, "You have no right to be here."

"Actually, I have more rights than you do at this time, RJ" Antonio replied in tone. "I have primary custody of her and youíre just babysitting."

RJ was livid, but he didnít want to cause a scene two days before the trial. He figured it wouldnít be good for his case to blow up at Antonio in public. Losing control and having an explosive temper were Antonioís personality, not his. He could wait. So, he left Jamie with Antonio and walked down the hall toward emergency to regain his calmness.

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When John got to the Love Center, he realized that the investigating detective was right. He was not happy with the news the detective had for him. The detective had told him that even though the Angel Square surveillance cameras show Paul Kramer in the vicinity of the Love Center before and after each incident; the cameras did not show what happened inside the Love Center. To add insult to injury, the detective told John that Paul Kramer had been seen a couple of times in what looked like heated conversations with RJ Gannon.

"What are you up to now Gannon?" John thought. Just then, his cell phone rang.

"McBain" John answered.

"John, itís Michael" Mike said.

"Hey Mike" John replied. "Whatís up?"

"Evangeline was brought into Emergency about 30 minutes ago. I thought youíd want to know" Michael said.

The thought of Evangeline being in the Emergency Room made Johnís heart sink. It gave him a flashback of Caitlynís death. He could hardly speak and his voice was barely audible when he said, "Is she okay?"

"Oh God, Iím sorry" Michael said apologetically. "I phrased that all wrong. I meant to say sheís in x-ray. We think she has a couple of bruised or broken ribs. Sheís going to be just fine, physically."

After his sigh of relief, John said, "What do you mean sheís going to be fine physically? What happened?"

"Antonio brought her in" was all that Michael was able to say before John just said heíd be there in 5 minutes.

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When RJ had walked down the hall to the emergency room to calm down, he saw Michael taking Evangeline in a wheelchair down the hall. He asked around about what was going on and found out that Evangeline was going to x-ray and sheíd been attacked. He blended himself into the background to await her return to her emergency trauma room.

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When Michael brought Evangeline back to her emergency trauma room, she was informed that there was a call for her on the room phone. Quizzically, she picked up the phone and said, "Hello, Evangeline Williamson here."

"Honey, are you alright?" Evangelineís Mom said urgently.

With a look of exasperation on her face, Evangeline replied "Yes, Mom. Iím okay. How did you know I was here at the hospital?"

"Jordan called me" was her Momís response.

"Mom, Jordan shouldnít have done that" she said. "Iím going to be just fine. Iím sure."

Her Mom asked her what had happened and Evangeline reluctantly told her. After Evangeline was through, her Mom said, "Honey, I know you like this John fellow, but maybe this is a sign that you should stop seeing him."

"Mom!" Evangeline exclaimed and then winced from the pain in her side. "Where is this coming from? Youíve never had a problem with me seeing John before. Are you saying this because he is white?"

"No, no, no" her Mom said. "It has nothing to do with him being white, just like my thinking you should stop seeing RJ had nothing to do with him being a reformed felon. Itís the same reason for both, they are men. Men, no matter how great we think they are will always let us down. You know that first hand from your father."

"Mom" Evangeline said frowning. "I know how you feel about this, but Iím just not up to talking about it right now. Can we talk about it later? Iíll call you when I get home."

"Okay honey" her Mom said. "Let me leave you with this thought though. Men, no matter how good they seem to be, are really more trouble than theyíre worth. In the end, itís your career and family that will keep you happy."

"Yes, I know Mom" Evangeline replied in a resigned tone before she hung up.

Just as she was hanging up and holding her side from the twinge of pain, RJ entered the room. "Oh great" she thought.

RJ looked at her with a snaky smile and said, "Well, well, well counselor. I told you that Quantico reject of yours would only lead you to pain."

"Get out of here RJ" Evangeline replied. "Iím not in the mood for any of your commentary today."

"Itís hard to admit that I was right, isnít it?" RJ asked.

"RJ, Iím not going to take the bait, so just leave" she said again.

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Antonio was walking down the hallway towards the Emergency Room with Jamie in his arms. He was partly looking for RJ and partly wanting to check on Evangeline. When John entered the Emergency Room and saw Antonio, he made a beeline to him.

"Look Antonio" John said in a hushed anger as to not scare Jamie. "I donít know what youíre into and frankly, at this point, Iím not so sure I care anymore. However, when you bring Evangeline into it and she gets hurt, youíve crossed the line. Donít get her involved in your Santi business."

"What are you talking about?" Antonio replied in an equally hushed anger. "Evangeline wasnít hurt because of me. She was hurt because of you."

Johnís ears couldnít believe what they were hearing. Antonioís comment sent a pain right through Johnís heart. Antonio realizing that John had no idea what had happened, told him all that he knew of the situation. John stood in astonishment as he tried to comprehend what was being said to him. At this point, Jordan and Michael walked into the Emergency Room area with Evangelineís x-rays. As Jordan went into Evangelineís room, Michael headed toward John.

At the same time, as Jordan entered Evangelineís room, RJ was walking out. John witnessed this and the hair stood up on the back of his neck. He started moving toward RJ. Michael and Antonio, with Jamie in his arms, made sure they kept in between RJ and John. "What were you doing in there?" John said intensely.

As RJ returned his intense gaze, he said "Just reminding her how everyone gets hurt around you. Thatís all. Remember, I told you this would happen in your office that day. Women donít stand a chance around you, Lieutenant."

Michael could see the fire shooting out of Johnís eyes and he put his hand on his shoulder. He could feel the heat coming off of John and said, "RJ, you need to leave now."

RJ laughed as he took Jamie from Antonioís arms and walked away.

Michael kept his hand on Johnís shoulder to keep him from going after RJ.

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