Chapter 11


John perched in the window seat of their bedroom watching the early morning sun kiss his wifeís body. He knew she hadnít released all of her fears but she must feel some relief because she was sleeping nude, something she hadnít done since tossing him into the pool. Evangeline had become so uncomfortable in her skin since she started to show a bit. He wanted to rub his face against her tiny protruding belly and feel her and their child as one. He wanted to laugh in delight and awe at every movement of their baby and share it with Michael, Shannon and his mom as though they were the first people on earth to have experienced all these things. Mostly he just wanted the reassurance of knowing Evangeline was truly okay and at peace with motherhood.

Her grandmothers were scheduled to leave the next day and Van and John are hosting a McBain family and friends gathering that night to tell his family the baby news. Her grans had let John know he would be wise to stay out of how and when Evangelineís parents and the rest of her family were told. They would handle the brunt of the familiesí displeasure at being kept in the dark and everything and everyone would be alrightÖeventually. If the grand grans said it, it had it be true, so John stopped worrying about offending Evangelineís family and concerned himself with his own and telling a few friends.

"John?" Van raises her head and looks fuzzily around the room squinting to block out the sunís light and to be able to focus on him, then she glanced at the bedside clock. "You were gone longer than I thought, is everything okay at work?"

"Itís fine; we closed another case tonight so my work loadís easing up a bit." John stopped unbuttoning his shirt, rose and walked to her side as she propped herself up. He rearranged the pillows behind her for comfort and placed his hand on her tummy and leaned in for a kiss. She reached for the bed sheet and tugged it up over her body as their lips met.

"Hey, thatís not fair I was enjoying the view," he said pulling lightly at the cover, "Youíre the most beautiful woman why are you being so bashful these days? I love you, I love your body. Please, show it off and let me see you. Look at you. I like to look, you know this."

The lovingly teasing note in Johnís voice allowed Evangelineís hands to fall away from the sheet as he gives it one more tug and pulls it down to her knees. She wants to reach for a pillow to use to cover herself but John would get that away from her too. Reminding herself that she was walking a path to acceptance and reclaiming her happiness Van leans back against the pillows and makes herself comfortable. It HAS been a long time for them and Van knows the smothering of their sexual closeness and general intimacy is on her. She wants to change that, and as John worships her with his eyes and light touch of his fingertips Evangeline tries to relax into giving herself over to just feeling.

Hours later when the rest of the world is also awake Evangeline and John step out of the shower moving comfortably around their bedroom as they dress. "I canít imagine what my grandmothers think weíre doing in here all this time," Van said reaching up and smoothing nonexistent wrinkles from Johnís t-shirt.

Laughing he kisses her earlobe, "Iím certain they know what weíre doing and theyíre happy for us. Besides they know youíre moving a little slower these days, you need extra rest."

"Excuse me, and this qualifies as rest in your mind?"

"Well, you are more relaxed arenít you? More so than when I first came home, right?"

"Well, yes, I just had a nice long and interesting shower with my favorite shower accessory."

She had to admit that she felt pretty damn good; the way she always used to feel whenever she and John finished making love and she just let the feelings wash over her. He was always so attentive, so sweet and in tune to her desires. Realizing John was talking to her pulled Van out of her reverie.

"Darliní the phoneís for you."

Catching the slightly stressed note in his voice and look of dismay she stepped towards John with a quizzical look, "Itís your mother."

"Great, as usual Dinaís just in time to blow my calm vibe."

"Donít let her."

"Iíll try not. Hello? Really, why? Donít feel you have to, Dina, really I wouldnít want to inconvenience you anymore than my being alive already has. No, not to worry no Cassadines are expected. Of course, Alexis and Nikolas might just show up unannounced; theyíre family so theyíre allowed to surprise me. But itís unlikely that Sonny would let Alexis travel alone and he and John arenít great friends. What time should we expect you?"

As Evangeline hangs up the phone John comes to her side and starts rubbing her temples. Leaning into his arms she murmurs, "That feels terrific, can you keep that up all day? Dinaís coming to the party. I pray my dad comes to keep her in check. I suspect that grandma Dinah called and ordered her to attend. I know she meant well, but oh, I wish she hadnít."

"Your mother just might want to be here to celebrate expecting her first grandchild. Ok, I know thatís not true, but she wonít act out with her own mother in the room, and if Laurence is here too you know Dina will behave."

"I donít know that and neither do you. We can only hope. Suddenly, Iím in much less of a party mood."

"Please, love, donít let your mother ruin things for us. And donít start revisiting your fears about motherhood. Maybe we need to get a pep talk from the grans?"

"I suppose it wouldnít hurt, but itís going to take more than just a few words. Oh, damn, you donít think sheíll stay with us do you? We canít plead lack of space. Maybe I can ask Asa to put her up at his place. Dina needs a full-blown staff to feel comfy and we still havenít hired a soul."

John scratches his head and runs his hands through his hair, he sincerely prays Dina wonít stay with them, and truly there was only so much a spouse should have to endure. Opening the bedroom door he gestured to Evangeline to leave with him.

Finding her grandmothers in the living room they brought up Dinaís call and their concerns, "I didnít tell her to come although I did inform her about the party," Dinah said, "I promise Iíll put her on notice the moment she enters not to make a scene or sheíll answer to her mother and it wonít be pleasant." Rolling her shoulders a bit to ease the flare-up of tension in her back Dinah calmly stated, "Trust me, even grown, I can still check my daughter and her attitudes with a look."

"Is Laurence coming too?" Celeste asked.

"Weíre not sure, we hope so." John started then went to answer the ringing phone, "Oh jeez, please I canít stand anymore surprises where this announcement partyís concerned." Van mumbled under her breath.

"That was mom and Bo; they asked what they should bring. I told them not to bring wine or beer. Do you think I tipped them off to the secret?" John said, "Actually, Iím amazed it still is a secret; that no one seems to suspect and Michael apparently has kept his mouth shut and didnít even tell Marcie."

"Hmm, Iím not all that sure that Michael and Marcie are on the same page these days," Van said quietly to John, "Youíve been so busy and havenít noticed but whenever Iíve seen or spoken to your brother he seems subdued and kind of sad. Who is HughÖHughes? And why is Marcie spending quality time with Rex Balsam, of all people?"

"Well, Marcie and Rex both loved Jen Rappaport and with her murder they seem to have bonded in pain and put aside their differences in her memory. Hughes is an ADA who works with Nora."

"And thatís really his name?" Van asks with her eyebrows quirked upward in that way he adores.

"Yes, and heís a damn good ADA, even with that stupid family name. I think heís a III, possibly a IV. I didnít know he was hanging around Marcie, though. Iíll put an end to that."

"You canít interfere in Michael and Marcieís lives, John."

"Thatís brotherly love, not interference. Before he hooked up with Marcie, Mikey and I were hardly ever in the same room, you know this, and now weíre really close. I give her all the credit. Iím just making sure my little broís heart doesnít get smashed here." Johnís hands went to his hips as he thought out loud, "What happened to the good ole days when every woman wanted to marry a doctor? My brother is a doctor, heís a great catch; of course heís a McBain so he comes with heavy baggage but weíre so worth it, right honey? Honey? Am I right?" Looking around John realizes that somewhere in his tirade they had abandoned him and he hadnít noticed. "Well, I said we come with some baggage, didnít I?" he muttered as he went to the security system to determine their whereabouts.

Evening came quickly and their guests started to arrive filling the penthouse with laughter and bad jokes, music played softly in the background, and drinks and food were in abundance. John watched as Evangelineís face turned unreadable every time the elevator doors opened and more people spilled out, but neither Dina or Laurence appeared.

"Everyone, everyone gather around near the balcony doors and grab a glass," Celeste and Dinah announced together getting everyoneís attention and making sure no one was hanging out in other parts of the house, "the kids, yeah theyíre grown folks but kids to us, have some news you might want to hear. John? Evangeline?"

Holding Van close the two of them raised glasses of ginger ale to their guests and said in unison "Weíre having a baby!" As the congratulations and good wishes were shouted at them the elevator door slid closed and the sharp tone of the womanís voice cut through the merriment, "Dear God, Evangeline, have I taught you nothing? Having a baby will make you completely lose focus. Bad enough youíve disrupted your life to take on being a wifeóa stay-at-home-wife and I suppose a stay-at-home mother as well? I swear, child, what comes over you sometimes?" Dina Williamson Parker was definitely in the house.  Behind her a smooth voice joined in, "Regrettably, I must concur; this is ill-advised at best, Evangeline." Stefan Cassadine affirmed.