Chapter Four: It Was Bound to Happen
Over the next few weeks, Lucien and Evangeline became fast friends. It turns out that Nora had been right and that they did indeed have a lot in common. They had both been raised in middle income, working class families who emphasized education. While both of Evangeline’s parents had been teachers, Lucien’s mom was a teacher and his dad was the manager of a bank. Evangeline had graduated valedictorian of her high school class, Lucien had done the same. Evangeline had gone to Penn for her undergraduate degree and to Stanford for her Law degree, Lucien had gone to Georgetown in Washington, DC for his undergraduate degree and to Penn for his Law degree. Evangeline played the piano and took dancing lessons. It turned out that Lucien played the violin and had a cousin that danced in a ballet company. They both liked tennis and they would play golf on occasion. When the frustrations of work or life became too much, they would jog. It had crossed both of their minds that if their families wrote a description of the perfect person for their child, each of them fit the other’s bill.
Evangeline questioned whether she was using Lucien as a distraction from her thoughts of John, but she had to admit that she enjoyed spending time with him. Lucien was easy to talk to and she never had to wonder what was going on in his head. When it came to work, they stuck strictly to work. She had given him all the information she had gathered on Paul Kramer when she was defending Natalie and what she had gathered recently while she was preparing to defend Jen. Lucien caught Evangeline off guard when he asked her why during Nat’s arrest, Lt. John McBain was heavy on the case, but now with Jen’s impending arrest, it was all Commissioner Buchanan. Without getting too personal, Evangeline tried to explain the Judge Hernandez grave excavation situation. She was grateful at the time that Lucien hadn’t pressed her any more about it.
John couldn’t help but notice that Lucien and Evangeline were spending a lot of time together. He’d seen them laughing and talking at the station on many occasions. Once, after hearing Evangeline mention going to the ballet with Lucien, his curiosity got the better of him and he asked her out right if they were dating. At first, Evangeline wanted to say that it was really none of his business, but she rethought her snappy comeback when she realized that she was the one who said that they were still friends. So, she told John that she and Lucien had a lot in common and that they were just hanging out together if that was okay with him. John could tell by her testy reply that she didn’t appreciate his question, but he felt a pang of sadness that she didn’t want to tell him something. Even when he had to struggle to get it out, one of the great things between them was that they could talk.
After completing their biweekly ritual of meeting at the diner and taking a 2 mile run around Angel Square and the park, Lucien and Evangeline wriggled themselves into a booth to collect their reward for their run—a thick, chocolate milk shake. Lucien had been trying to figure out the optimum time to ask Evangeline something he had been wondering about. He finally decided this was the time.
Since he just wanted to know, Lucien blurted out, “What’s up with you and that John McBain? Really, what’s up with McBain in general?”
Evangeline coughed before she said, “Excuse me? What do you mean?” Lucien’s question was the last thing she had expected him to ask.
Lucien replied, “Well, I’ve heard rumblings around the station about how you and McBain use to be an item and they all seem to feel that McBain is an idiot for letting you get away. I’d have to agree with that, by the way. How close were the two of you and why does he seem to have such a huge chip on his shoulder around me?”
Wide eyed, Evangeline didn’t know what to respond to first. Luckily, she was saved for about thirty seconds as the waitress brought them their shakes. Finally, after a sip, she said, “John and I were a couple for almost a year. We had some personal issues that we couldn’t seem to get passed, so now we’re just friends. As for what’s up with John in general, he’s just very intense about his job and he takes it very seriously because lives depend on him. Now, I couldn’t begin to tell you why he has a chip on his shoulder when it comes to you, but it most likely has to do with him feeling like your encroaching on his territory.”
With a raised eyebrow, Lucien said, “Do you mean you? Friend or more, does he still feel like you’re his territory?”
“No, no, no,” Evangeline quickly responded. “I meant you coming in to try and solve a case he feels is his duty to solve. That’s all.”
“Well, that brings me to the other office scuttlebutt,” Lucien continued. “Around the water cooler, they tell me that McBain dug up that grave to prove his friend Natalie’s innocence. Some have even rumored that she is the reason that you two broke up because she’d never left you two alone. I have to say that down at the station, 9 out of 10 times when I pass his office, there she stands trying to get his attention.”
A twinge of jealousy began to rear its ugly head in Evangeline, but then she squashed it. As John’s friend, she realized that she didn’t have a right to be upset if he was getting closer to Natalie, even if she did think that in the end, it would be disastrous for him. Finally, she said, “There is some kind of connection between John and Natalie, but that had nothing to do with why we broke up. John feels responsible for Natalie’s well being for other reasons he’d have to tell you himself.”
“Very interesting,” Lucien responded. “The question is, what about the connection between you and John?”
“Friends,” Evangeline replied forlornly. “John and I are just friends.”
After finishing their shakes, Lucien suggested that they take a walk in Angel’s Square. He decided that since he’d opened up the bucket of worms, he might as well lay all his cards on the table. He pointed to a bench for them to sit at and once they were seated, he said, “You know, if I had to write down a blue print of the perfect woman for myself, she’d be you. I mean you’re beautiful, intelligent, and sexy as hell and I feel like I can tell you anything.”
With a look of shock, yet understanding, Evangeline replied, “I feel the same way about you, 99 percent of the time. This is so weird because our friendship just seemed to come so naturally.”
“I know,” Lucien said in kind. “Is John McBain really your friend now and nothing more?”
With sadness, Evangeline said, “Yes. We are just friends.”
Urged on by that last declaration, Lucien moved in closer to Evangeline and placed his lips on hers. First the kiss was soft and gentle and then it became more intense with tongues connecting. All sorts of thoughts were running through each other’s heads.
John had called in a take out order from the diner and he had decided to walk there from the station to pick up the order. As he came out with his brown paper bag to begin his return to the station, he spotted Lucien and Evangeline on one of the park benches in Angel’s Square. He could see them kissing and how the kiss was intensifying. John felt a knot tighten in his stomach, because he really didn’t know what to do. He felt like someone had just knocked the air completely out of him. John turned on his heels and headed back to the station as fast as he could.
All kind of thoughts were racing through his head. Now, he had a better understanding of how Evangeline felt when he’d told her that he accidentally kissed Natalie at the Love Center Christmas party and Evangeline just turned and walked away.
My God! What kind of idiot am I? Why am I prolonging my problem of not being able to get passed Caitlyn’s death? Am I going to let Evangeline get away from me because I refuse to face up to my issues? Have I already let her get away? John flopped down in his office chair to contemplate what he had just witnessed and what he was going to do about it.
When Evangeline and Lucien’s lips parted, they stared deeply into each other’s eyes and then both burst out into hysterical laughter. When they were finally able to compose themselves, Evangeline asked first, “Did you feel anything at all when you kissed me?”
Still laughing a little, Lucien replied, “Not really. It was like I was kissing my childhood friend. What about you?”
With a smile, Evangeline said, “It was the same for me. How weird is this? On paper, we seem like the perfect couple. Don’t get me wrong, I do think you are one sexy, sexy man; however, I just don’t have that feeling for you. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry,” he replied. “I don’t have that feeling for you either and it just seems logical that I should, but I don’t. I care about you so much, but it’s more like family. I don’t ever want to see you get hurt by anyone and I feel a little protective of you now.”
“Ditto for me,” Evangeline replied. “It feels good to know that you’ve got my back.”
“Always,” Lucien said. “Don’t let McBain treat you any less than the way you deserve to be treated. If he can’t see what an amazing person he had in you, then he doesn’t deserve you.”
“Thanks Lucien,” Evangeline said with a bashful smile.
When they reached their cars, they gave each other a hug and Evangeline said, “Day after tomorrow, right here at 6 pm?”
“Sure thing,” Lucien replied.
Evangeline then laughed and said, “Seeing that I just don’t float your boat that way and striving to have your back the way you have mine, I’m going to work on finding you someone.”
“Knock yourself out,” Lucien laughed as he got in his car and drove away.