John notices that the lights of Llanview have come on as Van’s sobs subside and she no longer shook in his arms. He continues pressing kisses in her hair while waiting for a sign that she wants to talk more. He was trying to suppress his own happiness which she didn’t share. It was soon, too soon to start a family but it meant he would now have everything that he had long ago stopped dreaming about and had given up as hopeless. But it was all coming true when he least expected it—he had the woman, the home, a sense of place and belonging and now a kid on the way, all he had to do was figure out a way to release Evangeline’s fears of motherhood. He remembered back to how fearful Alexis was of impending motherhood, how much she now loved her daughter and wondered if she might be able to able help her sister. Lying next to John Van felt wrung out, raw and frighteningly insecure and the baby wasn’t even close to being in the world yet.
He touched her arm, "I know you long for a real drink but in lieu of that can I get you some tea, maybe some toast?" She shook her head ‘no’ against him and still didn’t speak. Stirring she pulled out of his embrace, kissed his eyelids and cheek and started to get up to face the night and their new life.
"Of all the things I obsessed about between our marriage and finally living together, pregnancy never crossed my mind. How stupid am I? My mind’s a jumble of a million incoherent thoughts, John, all racing and crashing into each other." Van pulled on one of John’s robe for comfort and sat at the edge of the bed, "We need to tell our families, all at one time if we can arrange it. I guess now I really do need to hire long-term help for around the here. I was enjoying cooking for us and it basically being just us."
"You’re not going to stop spoiling me with amazing meals are you? You seem to get a kick out of that part of domestic life. I’m surprised that you choose to embrace that old school wifely tradition, happy about it, but you surprised me."
"You mean you’re shocked that I can not only actually prepare a meal that’s more than just the basics but that I enjoy cooking? Actually, I learned to cook to keep Jason amused and entertained; he’d roll in so late at night and was always happy that I stayed up for him. I had to do something while I waited so I started cooking. Plus it gave me something to talk about with Sonny a common ground, instead of constantly fighting with him about Jason or Alexis. Jason would come home and we’d talk into the morning while trying my latest food experiments. I like most things that I know I’m not obligated to do day in and day out. Yet another problem with me being a mom—alarmingly short attention span."
Squeezing his foot she gave a half-hearted laugh, "Maybe we just go along and tell no one until the tabloids break the news by wondering why I’m getting chubby, downright fat. Then we wait for our families to connect the dots."
"You’re not serious," John couldn’t tell if she was joking or not, "They’ll come after us with murder in their eyes. We have to tell them before the rumors start and hit the press." Van knew he’d go along for a little while if she really insisted on doing complete denial but it would strain relations with Eve and she really liked her mother-in-law.
"I’m half-serious. I would like to keep it between us until after my first doctor’s appointment and we have more information on how I’m doing and what we’ll need to do. I’d like for us to have made a few firm decisions before the families weigh in with their brilliant ideas on my health, child-raising and rearing, where we should live and how. Okay with you?"
"Yeah, sure, but Michael’s a resident at the hospital and he has a big mouth about happy news, I think we’ll need to loop him in sooner than everyone else."
"Fine by me, we’ll just impress upon him the need for the down low and that means no telling Marcie for now." She sighed and looked around, "I’m suffocating here so can we just get out and go for a drive? Anyplace, top down, drive fast, please, please."
"Sure." John got up, dressed and went to a small table for his house keys, badge, gun and wallet. On the dresser he saw the pregnancy and baby brochures Dorian had left them, all with happy anticipating faces on the covers.
"Hmmm, which car should we take?" she asked. "How fast are you willing to drive?"
Sighing John tried to think how to avoid the obvious answer but knew he couldn’t. "Not that fast at all with my pregnant wife in the car. I’m sorry it changes everything just by knowing. I won’t put you or the baby at risk in a fast-moving Italian sports car."
He watched Van’s expressive eyes close down so he couldn’t read her thoughts but her instant aggravation with him was in her stance and obvious to him—her hands went to her hips and her foot started to tap an impatient beat. Pulling her into his arms he brushed her hair from her face and made her look at him, "Yes, I’m going to monitor what you eat and drink, worry and nag you not to overdue anything. I’m already thinking about the nursery and soon she’ll be a toddler so maybe we should cover over the pool sooner rather than later. We have too many balconies, nooks and crannies for a crawling baby and a toddler to get lost in and hurt themselves. Maybe we should find a more child-friendly house; at least start now to make this place more suitable."
Evangeline wanted to scream because it was already happening, he was besotted by their daughter—now he had her thinking it was girl!—and his whole being was honing in on becoming a parent. How much longer could he tolerate his wife’s unease over carrying their child?
"You’re already totally in love with this kid; I bet you’re thinking about names already!" When he shrugged sheepishly Van looked up at him, was caught and enthralled by the love and devotion in his eyes and let the fight slip out of her, "Ok, a slow, sedate ride—in the Lamborghini! top up—wouldn’t do for me to catch a chill—and while we’re driving around we’ll start making real baby decisions. I’ll get happy, I’ll adjust, I swear I will."
Van didn’t think she’d seen John so outwardly happy for all to see since their wedding. He tended to bottle up his happiness inside and emit a faint glow from within; his eyes becoming compelling and beautiful, his mouth quirking in an irresistibly kissable way. But if you didn’t know him well you’d miss all these signs and not know this was his happy face. No denying it John McBain was gloriously happy that she was making him a father, a dad. He was dampening it down because she didn’t, couldn’t, share in it and he knew it. Taking her hand they left the bedroom and John stopped by the key holder and took the keys to the sports car.
They arrived home in time to reap the benefit of penthouse living—a pink, gold and lavender sunrise surrounded and enveloped their home. The rays seemed designed just to entrance them, welcome them and suffuse the living room’s floor to ceiling windows with color. They had talked and talked and Evangeline had a growing, serious headache. She was about to give the performance of her illustrious career and it was going to be the longest performance ever—a lifetime achievement award would be hers if anyone ever found out. Already she was shifting through web resources in her mind to find articles, books, films, plays that would give her bits and pieces for the blueprint of the ultimate good mother role that she was going to embody. John would probably know she was acting but only if he choose to look closely and really think on his wife and her possible motives, but if the act was working he would probably hold his tongue.
"We’ve skirted around some major things, John. Not that we have to figure everything out right now but you have to start thinking now about the insane hours you work when a case is breaking. I’ll need you to be much more available to me, I’ll need you near. Can you do that? And when the news hits the media Helena will know I’m at my most vulnerable at last and she’ll strike at me someway, somehow, I have no doubt."
Nodding he said, "Yeah, I’ve been thinking about Helena doing something—she’s one big reason I don’t want to move to a house just yet. I’ll never forget that she slit the throat of Alexis’ mother while Alexis watched. Eventually, we’ll need to talk to Stefan and strategize protection for you and our baby." John’s eyes lost focus as he pondered all the potential ways Helena could lash out at Evangeline, he felt Van’s fingers in his hand and gave them a squeeze of reassurance, "First things first I want to make as many of your doctor visits as I possibly can; and should we ask Mikey his opinion on that list of doctors Dorian gave you?"
Picking up her Palm Pilot and rubbing her tired eyes Van agreed to call Michael later that day and assured John that she’d select a doctor and set-up an appointment as quickly as possible. John watched her enter a lengthy baby-related to do list and worried that Van would throw herself into the busy frenzy of pregnancy and avoid dealing with her feelings and sharing them with him.
He needed to talk to someone about this or get her to reach out to a girlfriend. He knew she liked Nora and Blair, but they weren’t that close; Dorian was her primary doctor and the Cramer family history was pretty tangled so maybe he should approach her and give her a heads-up on the situation. He thought about his mom but without going into Evangeline’s history with Dina she wouldn’t understand the demons driving Van; maybe he’d call her grandmothers, Van liked them both and they’d been there for her during her most difficult moments with her mom and in her life. They were the first family members she’d told about her relationship with John. He made the decision with relief, after her first doctor’s appointment John would call her grandmothers and Alexis, invite them to visit and once they were here explain the situation and ask for their help in easing her fears.
"You…did…what?!!" Evangeline exploded at John and it was more intense than he’d prepared himself for; Van rarely allowed her anger to overtake her, surge and break loose. She was afraid of how it consumed her and fought for control whenever she felt the explosive force building inside. "How dare you, John? What were you thinking? Calling my grandmothers? Alexis?" Storming towards their bedroom door she turned back to him, "I will NOT be managed by you for the next eight 8 months John McBain. My insecurities about motherhood belong to me; I share them with you, my husband because I trust you. No one else is in this, so you better pick up the phone and uninvite them. Lie, whatever, but they better not show up at our door!"
She slammed the door so hard John watched the artwork on the walls to make sure none would fall. He sank down to an ottoman sat for a bit and then slid to the floor quietly in thought. Resolved that he had made the right decision John decided to clue everyone in on the situation before they arrived, including Evangeline’s current displeasure. His wife would just have to be angry with him and deal with it. Damn, here it was: their first major married fight.
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