Chapter 2

Evangeline as sitting on the bedroomís balcony drinking coffee in a splash of autumn sunlight and warmth on her body, a body already calm and radiant from Johnís attention to all her needs. Her legs were propped on the railing and the sunís golden gleam set off her brown skin and she appeared to glow in the light.

John planted a kiss on the top of her head and wrapped one hand in her hair as he reached for her coffee cup, "Share?" he suggested. "Iím sorry, when has Johnny Mac ever shared a cup of joe? No." Van laughed slapping his hand away. "Get your own. Do you know how long it took me to find the kitchen?" "Iím just amazed you recognized it for its function when you saw it." John replied.

Iím not that spoiled, McBain."

"Uh-huh. Whatever you say, dear."

 When he returned mug in hand leaning forward Van said, "I will share my seat with you." "Thatís too provocative a thought." he said sitting behind her. They nestled together and sighed in unison. Occasionally she lifted his hand to her mouth and planted fluttering kisses in his palm and on his fingers.

Shifting between his legs she put her cup on the table "Ok, I need answers. Why have you become attached to Llanview? Judging from the reactions at the station no one there knows Iím your wife. Do they even know youíre married?"

"The commissioner knows; AntonioóI mentioned him to you, he knows." John shrugged and laughed, "Until they see it whoíd believe Iím married to you? YouíreÖyou and more, who would even imagine you marrying a cop?"

"Well, thatís another thing John; donít get me wrong Iím thrilled, thrilled, overjoyed and ecstatic that youíre done with the FBI. I hated your working undercover. I loathed that sub-rodent ex-boss of yours. I swear he gave you the riskiest assignments out of spite."

"Spite?" John repeated in puzzlement, "Yes. He was intimidated and jealous of you, made worse when we got together and then married." John felt the vibration of her rage as it made her blood quicken and pulse speed up, "You know when you were shot that time? He waited FOUR days to inform me. Didnít want me to rush to you and jeopardize the mission!! You were critical those first 48 hours, I couldíve lost you. I nearly strangled him."

"Is that why he was demoted?" "Yes! I pulled some of my familyís connections. How dare he!" The steady rhythm of Johnís breathing calmed her down a bit, "Iíd decided once I wrapped up this movie and the pr tour we would have a serious talk about you and the Bureauóbut then you quit on your own."

As he spoke Johnís hands shook slightly laced through her fingers, "I told you what went down with the newlyweds in Vegas; then Stephen Haver came out of the mist to torment me again with the music box killings and Natalie Vega got pulled into that too."

"The horror and guilt engulfed you again, I know." Van said quietly, "Iím so, so sorry I couldnít just drop everything and stay with you and see you through all of that. I wasnít as completely there for you as you needed me to be and I wanted to be. Forgive me. Please."

John felt a splash of water on the back of his hand "Weíve discussed this. Youíre always there for me so I have nothing to forgive."

"Not true, John, not true. Iím your wife I should have jettisoned everything and to hell with the potential lawsuits for walking off the set. I could feel you drowning in agony. Again."

"Yeah," his head rested on top of hers, "But itís better now; Iím kinda better on my way to being much better now that youíre with me." He hugged her tightly, "Are you hungry? Should Llanview meet my famous wife?"

"I could eat," she turned to face him, "something very American, I beg you. But Iím not ready to put on clothes thatíll take extra time to get out of when you want me."

"God, Iíve missed you. Iíll order in some cheeseburgers and fries." After ordering they took a tour of the penthouse and stood by the pool, its blue water teasing and inviting them in for a swim.

"Okay McBain, how long have you had this place? Because I know you havenít actually lived here for more than ten minutes!!"

"What? What do you mean?" he was all innocence with his eyes bluer than blue.

"You abhor penthouses only slightly less than full-blown estates with stables, live-in staff and the works. John, why do we live here?"

"Iíve mellowed, and to prove it I have a short list of potential house staff for you or your assistant to interview." "House staff? Help?" "No live-in help. If I want to make love in the living room Iím not interested in giving a show." John said sternly. He cocked his head as the intercom buzzed, after answering he told Evangeline the food had arrived and left to meet the delivery boy before he became hopelessly lost as he stepped off the elevator.

After taking a few wrong turns Van made her way back to the kitchen and searched for the cabinets with dishes and glasses. When John found her he showed her where all the basics were located. After serving up the burgers and John surprising her with the addition of dessert they settled at the kitchen table to eat.

"Back to live-in help and being bashful, you arenít an exhibitionist but if the desireís there youíre willing to be indecent. Remember, weíve made love in elevators. Glass elevators."

"Hey, Iím the one that stepped us out of the line of the security cam, YOU kept right on undressing me when I showed you that they were rolling tape."

"The elevator was going up the side of a Manhattan high-rise, aside from helicopters there was no one to see us." her smile was wicked, "Well, if someone had seen us the photos wouldíve long since been sold to the media and splashed around the world, count on it." Van bunched up her napkin and dabbed at a few drops of ketchup on the edge of Johnís mouth, "Again, how long have you lived here and why here?"

 John shook his head, "If you tire of the movie and singing business come over to police work. Youíre relentless with the Q&A. Look, itís simple: the security here is top-notch, as soon as I saw how spacious it is, the colors, fireplaces everywhere, and the pool and wraparound balconies I thought you could feel at home here. And Shannon said it was my only hope of convincing you to think about staying in Llanview."

"Honey, I like my job, I respect and like Bo, my family has moved here one by oneóMichael, Shannon, mom, give it a chance?"

Evangeline sat back in her chair and John gave her time to think and process, he went to warm up the pie and check the freezer for ice cream. "Of course Iíll give this a chance John, more than a chance if youíre happy here. But you know itís tough for me to lower my profile in a major city among lots of other well known people. And my unwanted family members are out there with Helena lurking in the shadows, always looking for the moment to hurt me, hurt us. Youíre protective of me, of us and rightly so. But for the first time in our marriage weíre going to do ongoing day-to-day living together, as a couple. I want you calm not obsessing on my safety. " Van watched the emotions playing over Johnís faceówhen did he stop trying to hide them from her? And didnít know whether to worry more about the Cassadines or them finding their way as husband and wife.

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