Chapter 3

By week’s end when John went back to work he felt the ratcheting up of curiosity in the air of the station. Clearly rumors were flying; John had never seen so many people find a reason to hang out around his door. Antonio was waiting in his office when John came back from meeting with the DA, "I hear your Mrs. has arrived and the whole town’s talking about Evangeline Williamson sightings."

"We haven’t left home so aside from her stop off here to find me, no one has seen my wife except me."

"The gossip’s going and they say she came looking for you in an ultra-stretch limo."

"Not true. Evangeline disdains limos and avoids them if she can. She came in a classic Rolls."

"That’s what I’m talking about—a true diva." Antonio laughed, "And your appeal for her is what? You are a lucky, lucky man."

"True enough, more than anyone will ever know. But she’s a true diva meaning it’s all about her talent being so much greater than just about everyone else’s, not about throwing attitude or pitching silly fits. She doesn’t need to, her clarity of vision about herself, our life and her career keeps her grounded."

 "Actually, since you can’t quite make peace with your Santi and Vega sides you should talk to her, she’s been where you are and survived. She’s survived worse, really."

"Can’t be the same, much less worse."

No, Antonio, it is much worse and remains awful and insane to this day; she’s lived through a lot but she’s thriving. You’ve heard of the Cassadines?"

"Displaced Russian nobles? Obscene wealth? A never-proven bent for murder in, who is it? The granny?" snorted Antonio "Surely…"

"That woman is NOT your typical grandma. She is lethal and has tried to hurt—kill— Evangeline and her half-sister, Alexis, on more than one occasion. Especially now that Nikolas and Stefan Cassadine want Evangeline to take a more pro-active role in the family business and upholding their royal standard," John was speaking in much calmer tones than what he felt inside which was a tightening up of all his organs at the thought of Van hurt or so much worse, "She…"

John was suddenly aware of how quiet it was outside his door and moved to open it. Talking to Bo and Nora Evangeline was glistening in snug fitting chocolate-colored suede pants, low boots and a wheat toned cashmere shirt wrapped tightly around her body, setting off her brown skin while flaunting every toned curve. Accenting her neckline was a slight V that promised a tantalizing view if she leaned over. She screamed of a luxurious life, untouched by worry or unhappiness. John recognized her public persona when he saw it. As he and Tonio approached them Antonio touched his arm and gestured to indicate Natalie was entering the squad room.

"Thanks for treating my guy so well. He likes and respects both of you," Van said ignoring the fallout of her presence on everyone. "I look forward to spending time with both of you and getting to know you." Then she smiled. John watched as the normally unflappable Bo tried not to drown in Evangeline’s eyes; not to dance in delight at her smile and the music in her voice. John was amused and entertained but liked Bo enough to rescue him from his wife’s undeniable allure and star power. "Honey, work can’t happen with you standing in the middle of my squad room. Come in my office." John nodded to Bo and Nora, "Care to join us?"

"Uh, no can’t, but thanks." They managed to sputter.

Evangeline was tempted to engage in public displays of affection to upend whatever views John’s co-workers had about him; and to wipe the smug look of possession off his face as her effect washed over everyone. Instead she settled for John’s hand on her elbow and trying on the role of dutiful cop’s wife.

 As they turned towards his office a girl stepped to the side caught up in Evangeline’s glow and powerful hold on John. "Oh, uh, Natalie Buchanan Vega, Evangeline Williamson McBain, my wife."

"Evangeline McBain will do just fine, nice to meet you at last Natalie. My husband has told me quite a lot about you."

Natalie was shocked into stillness, she knew John was married but had been confident in her attraction for him. Before Cris had returned from the dead, she’d felt sure John would break away from his wife and start a new life with her in it. She’d been secretly pleased at the thought of him as her fall back position should she ever need one. Hadn’t he stayed in Llanview for her? Now she wasn’t so sure. John was clearly and deeply in love with his wife and his wife couldn’t be dismissed as a non-issue.

"And this is Antonio…" John trailed off.

"Santi Vega," Tonio finished for him. Pleased to meet you, welcome to Llanview."

Nice to meet you, Antonio." Her smoky voice enveloped him, wrapped him up and left him light-headed. Then she and John were behind closed doors and the squad room inhabitants tried to recover from Evangeline.

"She’s hotter than hot." "How did McBain?..." "Well, I heard…"

The jumble of voices tried not to carry into John’s office, but no one wanted to move until the door opened again and they caught another glimpse of a goddess in their midst.

John turned to Evangeline, "Thank you. No further work will get done today. You planned this."

"I was meandering around town learning my way when I looked up and saw Llanview’s finest in a cluster and figured this must be the cop shop. Of course," laughed Van, "YOU are Llanview’s finest." She was pleased to watch as John struggled not to blush. "Can’t a woman stop in and say a hello to her hubby? Isn’t that allowed?"

"Come closer and say a proper hello, then," John said extending his hand to her, "Well, maybe not proper as much as hello…forever."

Somewhere in their kiss John pressed her against a wall and began to exercise his right to touch her as he really wanted and needed. The intercom’s buzz finally registered on them and Evangeline rested her chin on his shoulder as he turned away from her to answer. She tried to regain some composure but it was useless.

"Come home with me?" she said smiling sweetly up at him.

"I can’t love; I just got back to work. I can’t just go."

 "You’re the Chief of Detectives, of course you can, for a bit? Show me Llanview…from our bedroom."

Thrilled as he was that she’d called Llanview home his work load was stacked up high. He couldn’t just leave with her. Or could he? Sensing his hesitation and wavering Evangeline was elated at this display of her hold on him. His ability to be single-minded and focused—especially when he used it to seduce and arouse her—was part of his appeal for her; for her to be able to make him consider shirking his duties, well.

"Okay, okay, stay at work. This is starting to feel like a real marriage, I’m put on the backburner by your job. I like it. But come to me at a reasonable hour, alright?" Van sat in his chair and spun around in it and looked at his desk, "Now that you’re not doing cloak and dagger work anymore I want my picture on your desk."

"An 8x10 glossy? Is that what you’re offering me when I have the real thing to hold in my arms?"

John stopped her chair twirling, his hands on the chair’s arms and his mouth not even inches from hers, she gazed into his eyes counting the shades of blue she found there, her hand went to his lips her touch gossamer light. Her effect making him reconsider her proposal to come home. John closed the miniscule gap between them and enthralled her with his kiss. She jumped when the intercom sounded again.

While he talked she took out a dual frame with two photographs in it from her bag and positioned the frame on John’s desk. Anyone sitting in the side chair would see the diva, flawless, beguiling and perfect. A woman made for the word ‘superstar,’ Evangeline Williamson. But only from John’s chair could anyone see the second photograph of her with her hair up in a haphazard ponytail, skin glowing without make-up and a certain look on her face and in her eyes that only John could bring out; her smile was for him alone and if you looked closely you thought saw him reflected in the depths of her eyes. This was Evangeline McBain.

Half listening to his conversation Van knew it was time to go. She tapped his shoulder and mouthed goodbye. She paused a second before opening the door to mix being his wife into a variation of her public face. After all, these were his co-workers. They should know they were getting a peek of her as a woman, a wife, not just an icon. Van stepped into the squad room and felt the warm blast of abject adoration and worship from strangers fold around her, covering her head to toe. Then John’s hand was lightly on her waist escorting her through and out to her car. The chauffer opened the door and waited out of listening range.

"Dinner out tonight?" John asked while winding his fingers in her hair. Pressing her cheek to his palm she replies "Lets see how we feel once you get home." "There was that word again," John thought, "home. I think we’ll be alright with this move. "

John vaguely heard the sound of shoes on pavement and followed Van’s eyes as they shifted towards the sound and a look of confusion coupled with delight settled over her face, "RJ? Randall James Gannon, is that you?"

"Princess Heartbreak? The wild and wildly luscious Evangeline in my little hamlet? Surely, I’m dreaming."

RJ and Evangeline rushed into an embrace laughing together. John felt his ire rising, he instantly disliked RJ’s causal familiarity with his, John’s, wife. When Van stepped out of RJ’s hug John put a possessive and protective arm around her neck and casually draped his hand on the butt of his gun. He and RJ subtly stared each other down; Van felt she could touch the animosity flowing and glanced, worried between them.

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