Chapter 10

Evangeline has schooled herself not to call John when he’s at a crime scene; he didn’t need distractions and she never wanted to be the indirect cause of him getting hurt, or worse, because his focus shifted to her instead of the situation at hand. Watching the TV she hesitated to break her own rule it sounded as though the stand-off was still volatile. There were too many unknowns and variables, she couldn’t call him now but knew it would be hours or the next day before he remembered to reach out to her with a phone call.

Van looked pleadingly at Nora as she finished her call to the police station, “Sorry Evangeline, no word at the station on who’s hurt and how bad it might be. It’s still going on and yes, John is there he’s giving the orders and overseeing everything. He might not be in the direct line of fire.” Nora looked at Van hopeful that she would ignore the little hedging and believe that John would actually stand back and let the uniforms handle the worst of it.

Closing her eyes and bracing her hands on the chair’s arms to keep from leaping up and heading straight to John, Van chants silently that she can’t help him there, only by waiting and being a comforting presence for him when he reaches for her when it was all over—that was the help he’d need from her, to appear untouched by the day’s events. His oasis from the ill will of the world towards anyone carrying a badge; not an easy thing for a criminal trial attorney to pull off.

Two pairs of eyes turned to Blair’s back while she was deep in animated conversation with someone from The Sun, she felt their worry and wrapped up, “Call me when you have any confirmation of victim’s names, if you know who was shot and how bad, confirmation on who’s down.” Hanging up Blair stood and went to Evangeline, perching on the end of the coffee table in front of Van’s chair, “I know he’s not dead, I don’t know if he’s hurt. The Sun’s reporter is there and it’s still pandemonium right now. Lots of gunfire; I have to go into work, but I’ll call with any shred of information.”

“Yes, yes, go and please, Blair, call me with anything, anything at all.”

“I’ve got a reporter en route to the hospital and one’s heading to the police station, Bo’s probably preparing to make a statement soon. I’ll update you as soon as I can.”

Van stood and hugged Blair, released her and followed her to the door and watching as she pulled out of the driveway.

“John’s too smart and quick to get seriously hurt…”

“Nora, please don’t. This is a waiting game now. Only hearing John’s voice can make this better for me, feeling his body against mine. How do the loved ones of cops and firefighters handle this much stress with the sound of every siren? I may not be cut out for this.”

“Evangeline, I won’t try and play off how tough this role can be having someone you love put in danger by their job. I’ve been there with Bo and Hank when he had tough cases as the DA; I’m sure I’ll be there again with Daniel. But you and John are deeply bonded already; hell, you’re in love whether either of you hardheads ever say the words out loud or not.”

“How did you get through and support your man? God, there’s a country song in there somewhere.”

“Always ask yourself the age old questions: is your life better off with him in it or without him? And could you stand to see another woman living what should’ve been your life with John?”

“I don’t think this is the moment to mention not having John in my life, Nora.”

“Oh, you know what I mean. Don’t wait for another crisis or major obstacle before you say what you truly feel. You’re more afraid of the emotions than any showdown in the streets John might face. Admit it.” Nora moved back to the living room gathering up the remnants of what had started out as an afternoon of fun and laughter.

“I tucked the danger of law enforcement way back in my mind and ignored it. I convinced myself that as Chief of Detectives John’s time is spent in managing the other cops in his department, rarely venturing into the field and the line of fire. How delusional can I make myself? How many times has he left me to go on a call or come to me from the field? I just never dealt with the danger directly and I can’t lose him, Nora. I can’t, I can’t.”

Picking up the remote Evangeline started surfing the channels looking for updates on the situation. Finally she was rewarded with the image of a worn out John McBain reluctantly answering reporters’ questions, ignoring the shouts from spectators. Unknowingly Van slipped to her knees and moved right up to the screen to examine then try and touch John’s face. She saw a thin trickle of dried blood at his hair line when he swept his fingers through is hair in aggravation; Van knew his opinion of the media. There was a cut across his cheek bone and his eyes were becoming blood shot.

Watching her Nora realized Van was no longer aware of her presence, of where she was. Even on the TV’s screen Evangeline touching John’s face was intimate and powerful, telegraphing the erotic link between them. Moving away to give her privacy Nora dialed the station again.

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