Chapter 9

“No, no, we understand. It was an impulse anyway, a chance for a big family getaway. If Dina can’t break away just now for extended playtime why don’t we all just gather here in Llanview?” John rubbed his eyes and tried to loosen his grip on the phone and not let his annoyance seep into his voice, couldn’t Van’s mother EVER just do something with or for her daughter without it turning into a mini power struggle? “In a few weeks or a month? That’s longer than we were thinking. Maybe we’ll fly to you, Laurence. The grans are coming soon so I’ll check schedules and we’ll call you back. Van sends her love, yes, she understands, she knows how her mom is. Goodbye.”

“Oh yes, indeed. I know just how my mother is and how she can be.” Evangeline sat back in her chair, “If she and Helena hadn’t shared the same man they would now be exceedingly well-dressed fast friends, running buddies, practically homies. Best buds, shall I go on?” Picking up a pillow Van lays it across her stomach, “So no tropical vacation with the Williamson and Parker clans. Good thing we hadn’t invited anyone else in the families yet.”

“Your dad sends his love.”

“Yeah? I’m sure he got the full extent of Dina’s resistance to being in my presence even with layers of family and a Hawaiian backdrop between us.” John plopped down on the footstool next to her feet, noting that she kept the pillow pressed firmly against her abdomen. “Now what do we do? People are noticing and commenting to my face that I’m not quite myself. The guessing game is beginning.”

Reaching for her feet John places them on his lap and starts to rub them, he notices a touch of swelling around her ankles and even her toes look a tiny bit fuller, observations he keeps to himself. “This does complicate things. I guess we just phone in the baby news to our families if we can’t gather them together. Or they’ll hear it in the news.”

“Well since my grandmothers are coming in I suggest we invite your mom and the rest of your family over after I drop the news about my, what shall we call it? ambivalence? about my condition. At least they’ll hear it directly from us.”

“And your parents?”

Van shrugged, “The grans will tell them; we tried and got nowhere what more can we do. Oh, we could send an e-mail or text message.”


“What? What do you want to do? Get my dad to twist Dina’s arm to share air space with me? I’d rather not, really. Release my feet please.” Getting up Van swayed slightly and John quickly reached for her, “Hey, hey, sit are you ok?”

“I’m fine, just a moment of dizziness. Actually, I think I’m hungry, well, not me so much as the baby.”

“Come to the kitchen, I’ll make you something. We do really need to get serious about getting fully staffed here.”

The days seemed to speed up, much to Evangeline’s chagrin. She felt as though not even a day gone had by since she’d tossed John into the pool; now they were preparing to head to Llanview airport to pick-up her grandmothers. John had suggested she wait at home but Van declined, freely admitting she didn’t want him talking to her grans without her there. Alexis had phoned to say she couldn’t leave Port Charles right then; happily Michael had been found but was too seriously traumatized for Alexis to leave Sonny to cope on his own with three children. They agreed to run up their phone bills and e-mails in the earliest and latest hours of any given day.

“Great, lets add that to our list of worries and woes to obsess over. I don’t have an AJ in my life but the offspring of the well known and wealthy are always potential kidnapping targets. John, should we worry more about Helena or just everyone we and our baby comes in contact with? When do parents get to rest and not worry?”

Tucking her purse under her arm while glancing at John’s profile and seeing the faintest signs of tension leaching out from his calm façade, Van touched his shoulder brushing off invisible dirt, “You could at least show how nervous you are so I’m not flapping out here in anxiety all alone, husband.”

Smiling inwardly because he just loved it when Evangeline called him ‘husband’ and she hadn’t since the baby news John looked at her with concern crinkling the corners of eyes, “I’m only tense for you. I know your grandmothers will ease you if you’ll let them in. Will you let them all the way in?”

Looking at her he wanted to tell her she was glowing from the inside out—he wanted to believe it was as much from the baby as the joy of seeing her grandmothers again, he believed it was true, wanted to believe she was settling into this pregnancy. She was breathtaking; he couldn’t wait until she started to show the evidence of their loving union. He was refraining from saying that to her though, just waiting her out. “This is family. You can tell them everything you’re feeling, don’t be afraid.”

John’s voice was cajoling, pleading really and Van paid attention to the undertones and inflections in his voice. “I promised you I’d do my best, didn’t I? I am happy to see my grandmothers, always, no matter the circumstances. We’d better get to the airport, the car and driver are waiting for us.” Taking his arm they walked to the elevator, got in and hugged each other as it took them to the first floor.

As the car pulled away from the curb Evangeline scooted closer to John on the seat, “John, I know I have been so far from a joy to live with lately. You must wonder each day, several times a day, which variation of your wife you will encounter at any given moment.” Placing her chin on his shoulder Van turned John’s head to look into his eyes, “We haven’t made love since I found out about the baby; or shared the intimacy of talking quietly into the night, at least we’re still holding one another as we sleep. I apologize, I want the old us back I’m just not sure how to get to that place, that happily loving ‘us’ spot.”

“We haven’t lost our magic; we’re just adjusting to something unexpected and new but hon, we’re getting back on track. You never have to apologize for needing space and time; we are together, in everything.” He saw the questions lingering, “Although I have missed being completely with you. I know you’ve needed time. I understand. Really, its been an adjustment for both of us: marriage, living together, the baby all happening so quickly.”

“I need you, John. We need to get back to that wonderful place that’s just about our loving each other and being happy. Neither one of us are happy people by temperament, but together…”

“Together, we embody the words ‘ecstatically happy’ and we feed off of that love, that feeling keeps us going in our daily work, dealing with other people.” John rubbed his cheek in her hair, “I’m not afraid for our future; we haven’t lost anything and we both know our marriage is everything. We’re fine, love, we’re not irreparably damaged or lost to each other, we’re just taking a deep breath and sorta pausing before the next big step.”

“I’m so happy to see you both, its been too long!” Evangeline exclaimed as she was swept up in a group hug with her grandmothers. Stepping back she laughed “I come from good stock, great gene pools. When I’m a woman of a certain age I’ll be on fire, a phenomenal woman thanks to you two. John won’t be able to keep up with me! I’m so glad you’re here.”

Watching from a short distance away John felt his spine relaxing a bit. The vise grip on his heart and emotions easing up, letting some of the blood and feelings flow through. He could tell Van was immediately comforted by the presence of her grans, ‘the grand grans’ he had dubbed them after his first meeting with them. His own grandparents had all died during his childhood and early teens. He hadn’t known how much he missed that connection until Evangeline’s grans had taken him into their hearts. The women first, then their husbands had welcomed him and his claim on Van’s love. Smiling he moved in closer and asked, “Would you like to see Llanview, eat out somewhere, or just head for our place?”

“Cookie, didn’t you say RJ Gannon has a supper club here? Lets go there, RJ knows how to set a sophisticated tone backed with great food, drink, always the most interesting people and plain fun.”

“Yes, he does and…”

“I know, I know, don’t cal you ‘Cookie’ in public.”

“Ever, grandma Dinah, ever.”

“You’ll always be our Cookie, right Celeste?”

“True enough and family is all about embarrassing you at just the right moment. You’re never too grown for that! So how about a little tour of Llanview as we head to RJ’s. Cookie.”

As her grandmother’s linked arms and giggled their way out of arrivals John caught Evangeline’s eye as she raised her hands to the sky and shrugged. A movement to the side of her caught his attention and John took note of a well-dressed man with an everyman face. As they headed towards baggage claim it clicked for John as he realized the man wasn’t departing and he was inside the arrivals gates and shouldn’t be. John had been prepared to flash his gold shield to gain entry into the arrivals area gates for himself and Van. But before he could speak the airport personnel had recognized Evangeline and waved them on through. John had been mildly displeased by their laxness in not checking anything—assuming that a superstar and anyone with her were automatically ok. Something about the man rang false to John pushing mild displeasure into disquiet. As the chauffeur placed their luggage in the trunk John casually studied everything and everyone near them and stayed alert for anything else seemingly out of order.