Chapter Three: The Arrival of Lucien Teng
A month had passed since John’s birthday and for him, it had been like living in a fog. Once he realized that the deaths of Hudson Prescott and Julie Tanaka were somehow linked to Marcie’s book, The Killing Club, he had spent more and more time at the station. While he always became a little obsessed when working on his cases, he took this opportunity to push himself into overdrive to dull some of the pain of being lonely without Evangeline. It wasn’t like he could sleep when he was at his apartment anyway. He truly hadn’t realized how seamless Evangeline’s presence in his life had become. Mike came in every day or so, when he could get away from the hospital, and would force John to go with him to get something to eat at the diner or Rodi’s.
There were a couple of times where they ran into Evangeline with either Antonio or Nora and they’d all sit down and enjoy a meal together. The conversations were usually average, nothing too personal, and light. Evangeline was concerned about Marcie when she heard about the Killing Club murders. She’d always shown concern for Marcie and Michael. Michael always took that opportunity to point out to John what a great, caring friend Evangeline really was. It wasn’t like John didn’t know that already.
When Evangeline came to the station, if it was too obvious that she was avoiding contact with John, she’d pop her head in and check on him. She’d warn him not to let his job take over his life. He’d begrudgingly accept her concern and tell her that he was trying not to. At the time, they both knew that it was too soon for them to be regular buddies and pals because there was still too much between them. Maybe, it would get better with a little more time, at least they both silently hoped. For both however, in down times, when they let their minds wander, each of their thoughts would turn to the other.
“How could we have been so close, but so far apart?” Evangeline asked Nora as they sat having lunch at the Palace restaurant one afternoon. “No, don’t answer that,” she replied to her own question. “I’ve got to stop analyzing this. I need to move on. Don’t I?”
Nora had real empathy for her best friend. Evangeline had told her all that had transpired between herself and John only a short month ago. While she felt bad for Evangeline, she really did think that Evangeline had made the right decision. Now, she just wanted to be there for her friend to help her make it through this adjustment in her life.
Nora decided to lighten the mood by agreeing with what Evangeline had said. “Yes, you have to start moving on and I think I have the perfect way for you to do it.”
With a quizzical expression, Evangeline slowly replied, “What do you mean Nora? You know your thoughts always scare me a little.”
Laughing, Nora said, “I have someone that I want you to meet. Because of the Paul Kramer murder not being resolved and due to the conflict between Bo and Daniel, the Attorney General has sent down one of his assistants to work on the case. His name is Lucien Teng and if I say so myself, he’s a real looker.”
“What?” Evangeline asked. “You want to set me up with someone? Are you serious?”
“Are you serious about moving on?” Nora rebutted.
Evangeline hemmed and hawed before she said, “Um, yeah, I guess so.”
“Don’t get all nervous Evangeline. What I really want to do is just introduce you to Lucien because he doesn’t know anyone in town and I think you two have a lot in common. Also, since you represented Natalie and you’re representing Jen, you can fill him in on some of the information of the case. Even though he’s here to help us, Daniel isn’t taking it too well. I need this case solved as fast as it can be because Daniel’s insistence that Jen is the murderer is causing problems for us and for his relationship with Riley. What do you say?”
“Sure Nora,” Evangeline replied. “Why not? You can never have enough friends, right?”
“That’s the attitude I like to see!” Nora said enthusiastically.
A week went by before Nora was finally able to set up the meeting between Lucien and Evangeline. Nora hadn’t said much about Lucien except that he was a great Attorney and investigator. Nora had set it up for Lucien and Evangeline to meet her and Matthew at Rodi’s for a burger and then she planned a game of Putt Putt golf. She figured it would be something relaxing for them to do while not putting a lot of pressure on either of them. Plus, it served the duel purpose of getting Matthew out of the house away from Daniel and his foul mood.
Evangeline was sitting at a table for four awaiting their arrival when she saw a very hot, Russell Wong looking fellow enter Rodi’s and kind of scan the room. Evangeline knew right away that he must be Lucien Teng. She walked up and introduced herself, “Hi, I’m Evangeline Williamson.” She extended her hand to shake his as she asked, “Are you Lucien Teng?”
Lucien gave her a big smile and a hearty handshake as he replied, “Yes, I’m Lucien. It’s very nice to meet you Evangeline.”
They sat at the table that Evangeline had been holding and in just a few minutes, Nora and Matthew joined them. They all laughed and talked while they enjoyed their burgers. It turned out that Lucien had a niece and nephew around the same age as Matthew, so he was able to carry on a conversation with him and make him feel included. Overall, Evangeline thought to herself that Lucien Teng seems like a genuinely, nice man. She also thought that he wasn’t bad to look at either.
While the foursome sat eating burgers and laughing and talking, John and Mikey walked in to grab some dinner. As they sat at a table across the room, John’s eyes made a beeline to the table of four. He was so deep in thoughts about what was going on over at that table, that he didn’t hear even a quarter of what Mike was saying.
Finally, in disgust, Mike said, “Gosh, John. You could at least try to act like you’re listening to me. I’m asking you about the woman I love and how the Killing Club murder case is going.”
“What?” John asked distractedly. “What did you say?”
Exasperated, Mike said, “Who are you looking at?” Mike turned around to see the table of four. He then said, “Oh, it’s Evangeline. I should have known. Who’s that nice looking guy she’s laughing it up with?” Mike realized too late that he should have kept that last remark to himself.
“What’s going on with you Mikey?” was John’s annoyed reply. “Since when do you comment on guys looks?”
“Sorry,” he said. “I just meant that I’ve never seen that guy before. Who is he?”
While still staring at the table of four, John said, “He’s an assistant to the Attorney General. He’s here to quote, unquote, help the department with the Paul Kramer murder case. He’s supposed to be a big deal, but I don’t see it.”
“Is that a hint of the green eyed monster I’m hearing big brother?” Mikey questioned.
“What? No!” John sputtered. “What do you mean by that?”
Mike said, “It just looks like to me that Evangeline is having a good time with that guy. I think she’s doing what you told her to do. She’s moving on and maybe meeting someone that can give her what she needs. Aren’t you happy for your friend big brother?”
“Shut up and eat your burger,” was John’s brusque reply.