Chapter Twenty Six:

ÖÖ."You may have been trained at Quantico," RJ thought. "However, I was trained in the streets. You will never get me."ÖÖ

As John came walking into the station, Officer Danson was waiting nervously outside Johnís office door. John approached him quickly and said, "Where is he?"

As Officer Danson squirmed, he said, "I think I should have mentioned on the phone that heís dead. Heís in the morgue."

"What!" John bellowed. "What do you mean heís dead? How did his body end up in the morgue? Why donít you start explaining now?"

"Okay," the officer replied. "I was patrolling down by the quarry and a couple of kids flagged me down and said they saw a body floating in the water. I went to investigate and I discovered an arm sticking out of the water through a whole cut in the ice. From what we can tell, whoever placed the body there thought the body would sink and be trapped under the ice. However, the lower water was frozen enough to keep the body up and the water was cold enough to kind of preserve the body. Heís been shot in the head, but you can see his features and he looks like the description of the guy that Ms. Williamson described as the person that attacked her."

"What?" John said again in confusion. "Kids spotted the body at the quarry? Isnít this the second or third body that kids have found down there? Why do they keep hanging out there? Anyway, have you figured out who the guy is yet?"

"There was no identification on him," Officer Danson replied. "Weíre running his finger print right now. We were going to call Ms. Williamson to identify him as her attacker, but we thought we should get your okay first. How would you like for us to proceed?"

"Evangeline," John thought. "I donít want her to have to see this guy again, but itís the only way weíll know if heís the guy that attacked her. Why was he shot in the head? There was more to her attack than our races and I know it."

When he came out of his thoughts, Officer Danson was standing there staring at John. John replied, "Letís make this as easy on Ms. Williamson as we can. Take pictures of the John Doeís face without getting the bullet hole in his head, if possible. Iíll call her down here to look at the pictures and see if she recognizes him."

"Iíll go get those pictures right away," Officer Danson said as he walked away.

John entered his office and called Evangeline.

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Evangeline was in her office looking over the file that the detective had put together about Ace Buchanan. She was getting an unsettling feeling as she read the information. It looked more and more like Paul Kramer had stolen that baby from the Chandler family and not helped out some homeless woman that wanted a good home for her baby. If that was true, how would she be able to tell Kelly Buchanan? Not only would the custody case be null and void, but Kelly and Kevin would lose Ace to his true parents.

Evangeline was mulling over what to do and decided to wait until the detective got more concrete proof before she mentioned any thing. Just then, her assistant buzzed in and said that John McBain was on the line.

Evangelineís first instinct was to pick up right away, but then she hesitated. She considered having her assistant tell him she was busy, but then she remembered that she agreed he could call her every couple of days. So, after a few shallow breaths, she picked up the phone and said, "Hey John. How may I help you?"

Just hearing her voice was like music to his ears, but he couldnít get caught up in the fact of how much he missed her. He was on official police business and heíd handle it that way. "Hey Evangeline," he replied. "We think weíve found the bigot that attacked you. Heís been murdered and we discovered his body. I need you to come to the station and look at some pictures to identify him for us. Can you do that? Are you up for that?"

Once Evangeline heard him say they think they have the guy that attacked her, she stopped breathing. She gulped to get herself together and said, "I can handle it. When do you want me to come to the station?"

"Now if you can," John replied.

"Iíll be there in about 15 minutes," she said as she hung up.

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As Evangeline walked into the station, she was a little apprehensive. Not only would she be seeing the face of the man that attacked her, but she may see Michael and it was hard to take the look in his eyes because of the way he felt that she was hurting his brother. She couldnít blame him really. On top of all that, seeing John right now just really took it out of her. She was relieved to see that Marcie wasnít in this afternoon. She approached Johnís office and knocked on the door.

As he waved her in, he stood to greet her. "Hey," he said tentatively. "Thanks for coming in."

"No problem," she responded.

He pointed for her to have a seat in front of his desk and he called Officer Danson to bring in the pictures. When the officer came in, he placed 3 pictures in front of her. The look of her attackerís dead face made her squirm, but seeing him immediately brought back every rude thing he had said to her. It was so vivid. It was like she was going through it again. John could see her tensing up and he came around the desk and put his hand on her shoulder to reassure her. Finally, she said, "Thatís him. Thatís the guy that attacked me in the park right before Thanksgiving."

John said, "Okay, thatís all we need. Officer Danson, please get these pictures out of here and find out who this guy was and who wanted him dead." The officer shook his head in compliance and left Johnís office.

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Outside of Johnís office, Officer Danson ran into a reporter from the Sun that was snooping around. Some how, the reporter finagled a copy of one of the pictures from the officer and got the officer to tell him why Ms. Williamson was in Lieutenant McBainís office looking visibly shook up. As he left the station, he thought to himself, "My boss Todd Manning is going to love this story. This one will sell a few papers."

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After Officer Danson had left Johnís office, John could see how upset Evangeline was. He pulled her up out of her chair and held her. She tried to control herself, but the emotions over came her and she broke down. As she sobbed into Johnís shoulder, she said, "Why did he do this to us? Why did he have to shatter our world like this? Nothing has been right since that morning in Angelís Square."

"Oh Evangeline," John empathized. "I donít know why he did this to us, but Iím going to find out. His being murdered just fuels my gut feeling that there is more to his attack on you than just the racial factor. Baby, we donít have to let him come between us."

Evangeline tensed up with those words and said, "Even if there is more to him attacking me; which I canít figure out what it would be, that doesnít mean that it wonít happen again from some other bigot. I still need some space John. Iím still confused."

Evangeline stepped back out of Johnís arms and even though he didnít want to let her go, he did because he could tell she was barely holding it together. He said, "I can give you more time. Iím not going anywhere. Iíll be here when youíre ready to admit we should be together." He was going to say that he loved her, but he didnít want to push it.

Evangeline wiped her face and was about to leave Johnís office when she turned around suddenly to face him.

John looked concerned and said, "What? What is it?"

Evangeline hesitated because she didnít know how to ask him. However, she knew she had to, so she took the bull by the horns and spit it out. "Theresa and Tamika will be here on Friday morning. Itís a ĎWatch your Mentor in Action" type of deal. Tamika asked me if I thought youíd take her to meet Michael then. Oh, never mind, Iím sure Michael is too mad at me right now to help her out. Maybe Iíll try to get Jordan to do it."

The mention of Jordanís name caused John to have that familiar twinge of jealousy. He responded with, "No, Iíll do it. Michael is fine. He cares about you. He just doesnít like to see either one of us in pain. Thatís all. I promised Tamika Iíd do it and Iím actually looking forward to it."

"Really?" Evangeline asked. She was a little taken aback that heíd still do this for her, but then she really wasnít. This is just another example of the great guy John is.

"Really," John said. "How does it work? Do I come get her from your office or pick her up at the train station?"

"Um," Evangeline replied. "How about I drop her off here at the station while Iím showing Theresa around and then you can take Tamika to the hospital."

"Okay," John said. He didnít want to push his luck, but then he added, "After their tours, how about we take them to lunch at the Angel Square Diner before they head back? You said you never like to send them away without feeding them."

"Darn him," Evangeline thought to herself. "Heís using my own words against me."

"Alright," she finally replied. "That would be nice. Iíll see you on Friday morning. Bye."

"Bye," John replied in turn as she walked out of his office.

"Wow!" John thought after Evangeline had left. "That didnít take too much convincing on my part. She will come back to me. I know she will."

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Friday morning couldnít come fast enough for John. He hadnít been sleeping well at all since their breakup. He had become so accustomed to hearing her voice right before he went to bed. Trying to get to sleep now was torture. Not only did he miss her more everyday, but his mind was swirling with his cases. Why would RJ put Kramer up to sabotaging the Love Center to set up Shannon? Why did someone murder the guy that attacked Evangeline and who really sent him to attack her? Who has gotten to Judge Hernandez and why is her assistant so nervous? What has Antonio found out about El Tiburon and which government agency does Sonia work for? His mind was permanently on all the time.

Friday morning brought more nerves to Evangeline than she expected. Half of her was looking forward to seeing John and spending a little time with him. The other half of her dreaded it because each time she saw him, it was just like resetting the clock and she had to build up her resistance from scratch to keep doing what she felt was the right thing for both of them. "When did this happen?" she thought. "When did my life become such a whirlwind of emotions?" Also, she hadnít mentioned to the girls about the attack or that she and John had broken up. The girls really liked John and she didnít know how to tell them.

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John was sitting in his office waiting for Evangeline, Tamika and Theresa as Nora walked in with a copy of The Sun. "Did you see this?" Nora asked.

"No," John replied. "What is it?"

"Itís an article youíre not going to be to happy about," she replied. "This is all you and Evangeline need right now."

"What do you mean?" John inquired.

Nora turned the first page of the paper to face John and he read the headline. There was a picture of Evangelineís attacker with a bullet hole in his head. The headline said "Frozen Lollipop spurts up at Quarry. Could this be vengeance for attacking the Chief of Detectiveís Hot Attorney Girlfriend?"

"What the?" was Johnís reply. "What is Manning doing now? Is he trying to imply that I executed that guy because he attacked Evangeline?"

"Iím sure heís trying to stir up some trouble," Nora retorted. "The fact that he phrases it as a question though keeps him in the clear. I wonder what Evangeline is going to say?"

"I guess weíll find out in a minute," John said. "Sheís on her way here now with two of the girls she mentors."

"Really," Nora said with an inquisitive look. "How do you know that? Are you to talking more? Are you making any headway with her? Huh? Huh?"

"Slow down, Nora," John replied. "Itís a bring the child you mentor to work type of thing and I had told one of them that Iíd take them to the hospital and Michael would show them around. I promised before we broke up and I told Evangeline that Iíd still do it. She didnít want to ask me, but I donít think she had a choice."

"Oh," Nora said kind of dejectedly. "I was hoping you were making head way with her."

"Well," John said. "I think I am. She didnít protest when I said we should take the girls to lunch afterwards. I think she misses me as much as I miss her. With a little more time, I think sheíll come around. I just have to be patient."

"Good luck," Nora said as she saw Evangeline and the girls walking up. "I really want this to work out for the two of you."

"Thanks," John said as he waved Evangeline, Tamika and Theresa into his office.

"Hey John and Nora," Evangeline said as she walked in. "Nora, this is Tamika and Theresa. Tamika and Theresa, this is Assistant District Attorney Nora Buchanan."

"Nice to meet you girls," Nora greeted them. "Evangelineís told me so much about you. Theresa, youíre the future attorney, right?"

"Yes Maíam," Theresa responded. "Itís nice to meet you too."

"Tamika," Nora stated, "Are you the future doctor?"

"Yes Maíam," Tamika responded. "Iím also happy to meet you in person. Diva, uh, I mean Ms. Williamson talks about you all the time."

Perplexed, Nora said, "What did you say about Diva?"

Evangeline broke in at that moment and said, "John, you should be taking Tamika to the hospital now, shouldnít you?"

John gave his Diva E a knowing look and said, "Yeah Tamika, letís get going. Weíll meet you guys at the Angelís Square Diner at 11:30 am." The two of them left.

Nora said, "Iíll find out what she meant you know. For now though, would you like for me to show you around here Theresa? Iím sure Evangeline has shown you the defense attorney side of the law. Actually, I use to be a defense attorney. Maybe youíd like to see the prosecution side."

"That would be great," Theresa said.

"Thanks Nora," Evangeline replied. "That would be great."

Nora sent Theresa ahead and took the quick free minute with Evangeline to show her the paper.

Evangeline exclaimed, "What is Todd up to now? Heís just let the whole town in on what happened when Iím trying to forget it."

"You know Todd," Nora said sarcastically. "Heís just trying to sell some papers."

"Great," Evangeline said in disgust. "This is just great."

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Even though he hated doing it, Kevin Buchanan was picking up The Sun. He felt the need to keep tabs on his uncle and The Bannerís competition. He was shocked when he realized that heíd seen the guy who was on the front page. "Thatís the guy I saw Tico kill in cold blood," he thought. He recalled the part of the conversation heíd heard from that fateful day and surmised that Tico wasnít talking about Sonia; he must have been talking about Evangeline. "Why would he want to hurt Evangeline?" Kevin wondered. "Who have I gotten myself involved with?"

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