Squad car lights were whirling, slapping orange and red against the buildings, pavement and strained faces of police officers, onlookers and intent-on-a-story faces of the reporters. The swirl of lights increased as emergency medical vehicles arrived to handle the medical fallout of the standoff.
John felt as though he had been issuing orders for hours on end with no relief available. Finally the press and spectators had been pushed further back from the crime tape, a version of order was being restored and the number of cops calling John’s name for consult had lessened. Lowering his hand from his hair John saw a film of blood on his fingers. He remembered he had been on TV and hoped Evangeline hadn’t seen the gore; hoped she’d missed the entire damn thing. “Vince, are things secured?”
“Yes sir, all under control now, Lieutenant. Uniforms are assisting the hostages not transported to the hospital; 1 perp is dead, 2 suspects are en route to the hospital and 1 heading for questioning then lock-up. We’re good, only superficial wounds among us.”
“I want a team at the hospital; start notifying relatives. I have to make a stop and then I’ll meet you at the hospital later. Have an update ready for when I get there.”
Quickly moving past the barricades holding back the media, the concerned and the curious while brushing off shouted questions and requests John heads toward his car pausing mentally as he notes an EMT moving rapidly in his direction. As she nears him the professional concern is obvious on her face and in her pace causing John to slow down and look around to see if they missed an injured party. Stopping John she says “You need to have that looked at now, head trauma’s nothing to ignore.” Quickly glancing at the blood drying on his fingers he pauses, “Do you have something I can clean-up with?” he asks turning and following her to the ambulance. “Sure, but I have to ask questions, do a prelim treatment then get you to the hospital for a complete checkup with tests.”
Sitting him down and starting to wipe blood away from his head with an antiseptic cloth she asks “Did you lose consciousness? See spots? Any ringing in your ears?” John methodically cleaned his hands as he responded then stood abruptly, “I’m fine, really but thanks.” “But you should be tested!...” “I’m stopping by the hospital later and I’ll speak to Dr. McBain if I have any problems.” “But symptoms might not be obvious …” But John has already walked away lengthening his stride. He reaches his car, starts it and flips on the lights and siren to clear a path.
Nora flips her phone shut and turns meeting Evangeline’s anxious eyes, “They’re taking the wounded to the hospital, bad guys to lock-up, interviews, the usual. John’s name isn’t among the police being treated and no cops are listed among the dead. I do need to get into work; will you be alright here alone?”
“Yes, I’ll be okay. Nora, thanks for your help. We’ll have to try getting with Blair on another day and banning all criminal activity that day.” Van manages a weak smile as they move toward her front door, “If anyone says they need a defense attorney don’t call me. I’m too worried about John to give due process to anyone involved with putting him in danger!” The women hug and Nora gets in her car vowing to find John and make him call Van right away.
Her cell phone in hand Evangeline wanders distractedly through the first floor of her house ending up back on the sunroom’s porch. Was it only a handful of hours ago she and John were having breakfast, getting deep about her fears, then making love in the tub while splashing at bubbles in between steamy, prolonged kisses? Just a short time ago he’d left her so hungry for him—for his voice, his presence as much as his touch that she hadn’t been able to regain herself and had to tap her girlfriends for aid?
Her phone trills a Stevie Wonder song and Van fumbles and almost drops it as she answers, “Hello? John?”
“Sorry, no, it’s Blair. Should I get off and leave the line clear?”
“No, no. I’m sure it’ll be hours before I hear from John, what’s up?”
“Just reassuring you that I know he’s alive and doing his job, not heading for the hospital unless it’s to take statements. Listen, I’ll cut to it…I can’t count how many times and for years at a time I believed Todd was dead and gone forever. Even the times I thought ‘good riddance, finally.’ The loss of him…messed with me, screwed me up and I know no matter how angry I am with him life is so much smaller, dimmer when he’s not in my life or just getting in my face trying to get me to come back to him. Evangeline, don’t waste time that you really don’t have, tell him. Ok, I have breaking stories so I’m almost off my soapbox. They’re three little words, the most important in life. Off my box now, later.” Before Van could make any response Blair clicked off.
Blair’s words were still echoing in her head and Van didn’t hear the first ring of the doorbell, focusing only when the bell took on an impatient, slightly frantic tone. “Coming! I’m coming, hold on.” Flustered that she hadn’t heard the initial ring; preoccupied with Blair’s words and still worried about John Evangeline pulls open the door, “How many times must I ask you NOT to just open the damn door? It’s not safe, not even in this neighborhood.” Humor underscored John’s mild rebuke of Evangeline. Blinking her wide eyes twice Van rubbed her hands across her eyes to make sure she was awake and seeing things accurately.
On instinct her hand went to his hairline where she had seen his blood running down on the television, her contact was light and loving against his skin. She felt him tremble slightly at the contact while John felt his body temperature dropping from its fevered moistness work-induced by adrenalin to the calm, normal temperature of contentment as he cooled down inside and out from her touch.
“I thought it would be hours or a day before I heard from you. John, to see you…come in, please, now.” Hearing her voice cracking slightly Van turns away to try and steady herself, “Should I offer you decaf to bring you down from the day you’ve had? Hmm, don’t think I have it, I’ll start stocking it.” His hand on her back stilled her, turning her around they just looked at each other and saw everything in the others’ eyes.
“Stupidly, I didn’t say I love you before I left. I wanted to, was going to when Bo called. Evangeline, I’m saying it every time you’re in my arms; silently screaming it as I pour myself into your body—your lush, warm, welcoming flesh. I didn’t want to say I love you in midst of lovemaking because I didn’t want you to believe I was just in the heat of the moment. I love you, Evangeline, I love you.” John’s hands went to her hair as he stepped into her personal space and pushed the door shut with his foot. As it closed John leaned back and pulled Van into a loose embrace, her arms immediately went around his neck as she tried to meld herself into his body, “John, John you’re here and you’re alright? There was blood…I saw it, saw you on TV, not your blood?”
“A minor flesh wound, I have a hard head as you know.”
“Oh, John, I love your hardheadedness; I love you, I love you, too.”
“Yes. I’ve felt your love for awhile now. I wanted to say the words, John, but I didn’t think you wanted to hear them. After all I did set the grounds rules to banish terms of endearment and commitment between us, and I was afraid!”
“Don’t be afraid, honey, never afraid of us or for us. I love you, we love each other, if we remain honest no matter the struggle or issue we’ll always be fine. No one can take this away from us, get in between us.”
“John, I can’t believe I’m saying this but STOP TALKING!! Kiss me, a lot.”
Laughing John covers her face with noisy, sloppy kisses before she finds his mouth and they lose themselves in tantalizing sensations. Sometime in their breaths between kisses John turns, lifts her and presses Van against the front door, “John,” she gasps. “If you’re going back to work today, we need to stop this…soon, now,” John shifted his body
against hers and they both moaned as she continued, “or I refuse to let you leave until you tell me you love me in my ear as you’re…, oh, Jesus! John!” Leaning into her body he gulps for air, “I need to call someone to oversee taking hospital statements…” as her fluttering kisses found his throat while she undid his shirt buttons John said a nearly smothered anthem, “I need you, Evangeline, I need to feel your love. Let me take you to bed. Let me show you how much I love you, need you, was afraid I might not get to say the words to you. I love you.”
Suspended in the air and held close by John’s arms, buoyed by their declaration of love Van laughs in their kiss, shimmies out of her shoes then wraps her long legs around John’s waist. As they head for the stairs she pulls off her top and tosses it aside, braless, causing John to inhale deeply and gasp in delight and surprise at the sight of her and the feel of her breasts brushing teasingly against his chest with each step he takes. Pausing on the stair’s landing to take a nipple into his mouth John drops carefully onto the stairs with Van under him saying over and over how they love each other as their bodies take up the chant, reinforcing their love with the need to join as deeply and as fully as possible.
Opening his eyes and stretching John mused on trying to recall how and when they had finally reached the bedroom. He felt light, felt the sun warming him and was puzzled because dusk was quickly sliding into night on the window sill. Turning his head John met Van’s eyes and they were larger than ever before, luminous and brimming with a womanly satisfaction. They hadn’t realized it was possible for their passion to reach yet another height but it had; didn’t know they were each holding back and that saying the words of their love would let loose and free them completely to express their emotions physically without the tiniest of invisible barriers holding them back. They soared and seared their imprint on each other with each touch. With every kiss between them the desire and yearning in every thrust John made into Van’s body was answered with her erotic moans ‘I love you’ vibrated around and through them.
“Won’t you have to check in or go in to work, John?”
“Trying to rid yourself of me already? I feel so cheap; seduced by powerful words, ravished and abandoned.” Amusement laced his words, rising on an elbow he relished his right to enjoy watching Van’s body cooling down from their passionate acknowledgement of their love. “I’ve already checked in, there have been some processing delays so my presence isn’t missed yet, but yeah, unfortunately, love I can’t linger with you too much longer; for now that is.” He kissed the tip of her nose, “I wish I could stay all night. I knew when the bullets were whizzing around and by me that I would survive to get to you and say what I should’ve said this morning; months ago, really. I love you, Evangeline, I want all of you, all of us, you’re my future and my future is right now.” r
Sighing happily Evangeline feels his words seeping into her morrow, squeezing his hand she turns and entangles her body with his and breaths him in taking in their mingled scents, combined into one perfect erotic fragrance, a meld capturing and revealing all that is between them. For a moment she was lifted out of her present and could see their future: not the everyday life but the emotions and commitment were utterly sharp and clear; a happy life, with bumps along the way, fulfilled, content, together.
“…The moon had slipped behind a cloud/Like a single wave on a lonely beach/I thought I was lost beyond your reach/Gave me something I could build on/When all my hopes were gone/You’re the last thing I expected to see/It all happened so good to me/Renewed everything I trusted in…/Who patched up my broken wing/Said on you I could lean/Wrapped me up and took me home/Made my body strong/Rocked me all through the night/Dried my tears and gave me sight/Took this old piece of broken heart/Pumped it up and made it start/Brought into my life such happiness/All mixed up but you brought out the best/Every bridge I met you helped me across/Never once gave me up for lost/Gave something I could build on/When all my dreams and all my hopes were gone/Lost alone out in the cold so long/Now I got a place that I can call home/And there’s no more hanging round/Been Found/No more hanging round/Been Found…