Chapter Six: The Meltdown
John realized that he was more exhausted than he even realized. When he left the station the night before, he walked around for awhile before finally going home and crashed around 10 pm. As he strained to open his eyes and focus on his watch, he realized that it was 1 pm the next afternoon. John had slept for fifteen hours straight. He was still feeling a little groggy when he saw the date on his watch and he began to fall into despair. It dawned on him that today was the seventh anniversary of his and Caitlyn’s engagement.
As he remembered back, he realized that that day was one of the happiest of his whole life. As he lay on the bed, he felt himself being engulfed by an overwhelming sadness. As he began to obsess on the events that happened after that happy day, it became clear to him that his sadness was even deeper this year than it had been years before. As a small tear formed in the corner of his eye, he understood that his sadness of losing Caitlyn was now multiplied with his sadness of losing what he had with Evangeline. He closed his eyes and lay on the bed for a little longer. He let the sadness overtake his soul.
Evangeline and Lucien came walking into Rodi’s for their obligatory chocolate shake after their evening run. When they entered, they saw John sitting at a table by himself over in the corner. Right away, Evangeline knew that something was wrong with John, but she wasn’t sure if she should approach him or not. Lucien escorted Evangeline to a table at the other side of Rodi’s and they ordered their shakes. Evangeline kept her eye on John.
Lucien took this time to ask her, “What do you think is wrong with McBain?”
Evangeline slowly took her gaze off of John and looked at Lucien. She said, “What do you mean?”
Lucien went on to say, “He and I had a run in at the station yesterday morning about the Paul Kramer case. It seemed he was really gunning for me for some reason. I do have to admit that I goaded him a little. I just felt the need to flick that chip on his shoulder a little.”
“Lucien!” Evangeline exclaimed. “I know you think John is temperamental, but he is the best cop there is. If he’s a little moody some times, you should really cut him some slack. You’ll never have a more brilliant investigative mind working with you.”
Lucien gave Evangeline a deprecating laugh and said, “Sure. You two are just friends alright. How long before you think that torch you have going for him is going to go out?”
Evangeline just smiled and returned her gaze to John. If I’m really honest with myself, I know I’ll never stop loving John McBain.
As Michael drove into the parking lot of Rodi’s, he was a little perturbed with himself that he’d forgotten what day it was. When the bartender of Rodi’s had called him to tell him that John was sitting in a corner of Rodi’s nursing a huge bottle of bourbon, Michael knew exactly what was going on. He knew that John was spiraling into despair remembering the day he proposed to Caitlyn. He hoped he wasn’t too late to pull John out of his funk.
As Michael walked into Rodi’s, he spotted Evangeline before he saw John. He smiled in her direction giving her a nod of recognition. Michael then headed right for John’s table.
“What’s going on bro?” Michael asked as he pulled up a chair and sat across from John.
As John looked up, he saw Michael through a fog. His words slurred as he said, “Hey little brother. What are you doing here?”
Mikey realized from the sound of John’s voice that he had gotten a bigger start on him than he imagined. The bourbon bottle was three fourths empty. He knew that getting John out of his funk was going to be a most difficult task.
“Hey John,” Mikey started. “Have you eaten today?”
John laughed as he said, “Do you count the grain they used to make this bourbon?”
“Maybe I should order you something big brother. What do you want?” Mikey asked.
“I want Caitlyn alive,” John said matter of factly. “It was seven years ago today that she said she’d marry me. Do you remember that?”
Sadly, Mike let himself reminisce a little as he said, “Yeah, John. I remember that.”
Michael realized that he would never be able to get John to eat anything, so he decided that he should just try to get John to agree to let him carry him home. Just as he was about to bring up the subject, his beeper went off. It was the hospital and it was a 911 page. He felt like he shouldn’t leave John alone too long, so he went over to Evangeline’s table and pleaded with her to go sit with John while he called the hospital. Evangeline agreed immediately. She excused herself from Lucien.
As Evangeline approached John’s table, she hesitantly said, “Hey, John. How are you doing?”
John raised his head and he and Evangeline’s eyes locked. In the same slurred tone as he had talked to Mikey, he said, “You’re sleeping with him, aren’t you?”
Caught completely off guard by his comment, all Evangeline could do was gasp, “What?”
“Don’t make me ask it again,” he pleaded. “Just answer my question.”
Not knowing how to reply to such an accusation, Evangeline remained silent. Mikey waved her over and said, “Evangeline, I have a huge favor to ask you.”
“What is it?” she responded.
“Can you take John home for me?” he pleaded. “I know he’s in a bad way and usually I’d do it, but I have to get to the hospital because they are short staffed in the emergency room and they need me. I can’t leave him here like this.”
As Evangeline was considering what to do, she asked Michael, “What is upsetting him so much? Did something happen in the Killing Club murders? I’ve never seen him this bad before.”
Michael responded by saying to her, “Today is the seventh anniversary of the day he proposed to Caitlyn. He usually goes into a funk on this day, but it seems a lot worse this year than it’s been in a while.”
Feeling so much compassion for John, Evangeline agreed to take John home for Michael. While Mikey went back to the table to tell John what was going to happen, Evangeline went to her table to tell Lucien.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Lucien asked Evangeline as she explained to him what she was about to do. “Do you want me to come with you?”
“After the confrontation you two had yesterday,” Evangeline replied, “I don’t think that would be such a good idea. I’ll be fine. I’ll just drop him off and maybe I can still meet you for that movie later.”
Lucien nodded his acceptance as Evangeline left the table.
Thankfully, Mikey had gotten John to Evangeline’s car while she was saying goodbye to Lucien. All Evangeline had to do was drive him to the Angel Square Hotel and get him to his apartment. How bad can this be?
It took her a little while to get John up to his room. He was a little wobbly on his feet and the stairs were a big challenge. Even though he was an athletically, slim man, as dead weight, he was a load to try to maneuver.
Finally, she got him into his apartment and across the room to his bed. He fell forward on the bed like a falling tree. In her head, she heard the word, Timber!
She removed his shoes, socks, and jacket. While he lay face down on his bed, she removed his watch and laid it on the nightstand. She then went into his bathroom and filled a glass full of water and grabbed a couple of aspirin. She left those on the nightstand as well. To be on the safe side, she placed his trashcan next to the bed as close to the location of his head as possible. Just as she went to leave and was walking passed him lying there, he grabbed her hand.
The action startled her because she thought he was completely passed out. When she looked down, her eyes met his and she could see that his normally crystal blue eyes were stormy and wet with torment. He mumbled to her, “Why does this keep happening to me? Why?”
She sat on the edge of his bed and in a confused tone, she asked, “Why does what keep happening to you?” She absent mindedly pushed the hair from in front of his eyes. It seemed so natural to her.
As he slowly started to cry, he said, “Why does almost everyone I love and care about leave me?”
Evangeline felt so much for John in that second that all she wanted to do was to comfort him. She didn’t know how to though. She didn’t know quite how to respond to his question, so she just tried to sooth him by rubbing his back and saying, “John, try not to think about all the sad things that have happened to you. Just try to go to sleep. I promise things will look better to you in the morning.”
Evangeline started to get up off the bed and leave John to sleep off his drunken despair. However, he still had a hold of her hand and as she tried to leave, he squeezed it tighter. With the most beseeching look in his eyes that she’d ever seen, John begged, “Please don’t leave me. Please stay here with me. I can’t lose another person. Please.”
Evangeline acquiesced to his request and sat back on the bed. She rubbed his back until he fell asleep.
Once John was in a deep sleep, Evangeline slipped her hand free of his and stepped into the living room to call Lucien.
“Hey Lucien, it’s me.”
“Evangeline? Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, everything’s fine, but I’m not going to make the movie.”
“I’m staying here with John tonight.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, he needs me.”
“Evangeline, take care of yourself. If you need anything, call me, okay?”
“I will, thanks.”
Evangeline tip toed back to John to make sure he was still sleeping and she covered him with one of the throws that was on the couch. She then walked back over to the couch and laid down herself. She felt so bad for John and all the pain he was in. She wished he’d let her in a little so that she could try to help relieve some of it. In the end though, she’d come to the conclusion that this pain was too personal to him and that it was something that he had to go through some times. She vowed to herself that she’d try to be there for him when she could and he’d allow her to be.