Chapter One: The Argument

“…Why am I so upset about this in the first place? Why don’t I just give up?” Evangeline said in an excited tone.

John responded with, “Why don’t you?”

“Are you daring me to pull out of this relationship?” Evangeline questioned.

“No, but I don’t want to hold you back if there is somebody out there that can give you what you want. What you deserve,” John replied.

“Okay,” Evangeline said.

“Okay?” John asked with a quizzical expression in his crystal blue eyes. “What does that mean?”

In a matter of fact tone, Evangeline stated, “It means if that’s the way you really feel, then I’m giving up. I’m done.”

Shocked, John didn’t know quite what to say. He stared at her for the longest time before he finally uttered, “Are you serious? Are you trying to say it’s over between us? It’s over because of a silly key conversation I had with Natalie?”

“Frankly, John,” Evangeline started, “the key conversation has nothing to do with it. I’ve been thinking about this for a while actually. Every time you say how you don’t deserve me and how you don’t want to hold me back, it makes me think that I should give some merit to what you’re saying.”

Seeing that John was at a loss for words, Evangeline continued, “You always say that you don’t know what else you can do to show me that you want to be with me, but I don’t know what else I can do to prove that you are the person I want to be with and nobody else. Every time I push to get you to tell me your feelings, you look like you’re in physical pain and I can’t keep doing this. Like I told you in the station that day, I’m in love with you and I can’t keep putting myself on the line like this and not get any concrete communication from you in return. I don’t want to be the person that puts that sadness in your eyes. I don’t know what you think love is, but to me, it means putting the person you love first.”

John reached out to touch Evangeline’s arm and slowly said, “Like I told you that day at the courthouse, I don’t want this to be over. I don’t want this to be over.”

With a sad smile on her face, Evangeline responded, “It’s not all over John, just the physical part. I can’t keep being intimate with you this way and having no idea what you are feeling. It’s tearing me up inside and I have to take care of myself. I am so afraid that in the end, I’m going to be hurt.”

Evangeline could see the pleading look in John’s eyes, but in standard John mode, he was stoic and said nothing. Why does he have to have such soulful blue eyes, she asked herself. I have to stop looking directly into those eyes or I won’t make it through this.

“Next to Nora,” she continued, “you’re the best friend I have in this town and I don’t want to seem presumptuous, but I think I’m one of your best friends too, next to Mikey, of course.”

John let out a slight chuckle to her last remark and kept staring deep into her brown eyes. While he was starting to register what she was saying, he couldn’t believe that she was actually saying it. Was his inability to let her into his heart going to cost him the best thing that has happened to him since Caitlyn?

Evangeline watched John as he mulled over the whole situation. She couldn’t quite figure out what he was thinking. Finally, with a half smile, she said, “You know this whole situation is so ironic.”

“How so?” John asked.

“YOU make me want a deeper relationship with someone, a loving relationship where loving each other is everything, but that’s the one thing that you can’t do. You can’t be in this all the way the way I can. How crazy is that?”

John continued to stare at her without saying anything. A plethora of thoughts were running through his head and a plethora of emotions were running through his veins, but he knew he couldn’t tell her what she needed to hear; what she deserved to hear. He stood there rubbing her arm and willing her not to go, but he knew the inevitable was going to happen.

After feeling his touch, maybe for the last time in this way, Evangeline gave John a hug and slowly pulled away from him.

As she walked out his apartment door, she turned around and with a smile said, “I’ll see you around, Lieutenant. I know that there is still something bothering you and if you ever get to the point where you can talk about it, I’m always here to listen.” With that last commentary, she shut the door behind her.

A pain shot through John’s heart in perfect time with the click of the latch of his door jam as Evangeline walked out. He made a step toward the door to stop her, but he hesitated knowing that he couldn’t make that final step yet. He fell back in the chair that was facing the door and stared. He sat there for hours contemplating what he had just allowed to happen. What is keeping me from doing this, he thought.