Chapter 12

The guests were gone, quickly ushered out by the grand grans with a mixture of rage and embarrassment; only fuming family and the Cramers were left standing around the living room in subtly different versions of defensive postures. Each person intent on protecting Evangeline and John from any more insanity masquerading as tough love from her mother and half-brother. As a last resort Evangeline had to use the pregnancy card to keep John from tossing Stefan over a balcony and throttling Dina. Van had clasped her arms protectively around her stomach, bent slightly over and had Johnís total attention then John and Dorian helped her to their bedroom to lie down. Van hand-signaled to Eve that she was really just fine. After checking Evangeline over just to be sure Dorian left them alone and reassured everyone that Van was tired but she and the baby were in good health.

"I do believe however, when the hosting couple retires to their bedroom this means the party is over. Kelly, Blair, David I think weíre overdue to leave." Dorian glanced around and spotted Eve and Dinah, "Thank you for inviting us to what was, until moments ago, one of the best parties Iíve ever attended. I hope to see you both again, goodnight. Girls, David, lets go home." The elevator doors barely whispered shut and then it was just family.

"It is not my intent to upset my sister, but this pregnancy is just too perfect a chance for Helena not to make a move on Evangeline. You all know this, sheís completely vulnerable and will only become more so as the baby makes Vanís movements slower and more awkward." Crossing to the portable bar Stefan assesses the offerings and pours himself a port. Bottle held elegantly in hand he looks at the faces glaring at him and silently gestures to the bar to see if anyone will join him. No takers. "Helena will consider getting rid of Evangeline and her child a wonderful two-for-one opportunity. Am I wrong on this, Lieutenant McBain?"

All eyes turned to John as he headed down from the landing outside of their bedroom, "I asked you to think of a strategy that would help me stop anything terrible from happening to Evangeline from the Cassadine side of her family. I did not ask you to destroy our happiness on this of all days, or on any other day for that matter and I CERTAINLY never asked you to have her mother in tow should you ever come to our door. Sorry Dinah," John came to her side and pressed his lips to her hair and continued, "but if I ever had any remorse before I donít now. I intensely dislike what your daughter, Evangelineís mother, does to her. And from now on I want Dina kept out of our lives and away from us."

"Donít speak about me as though I werenít in the room, John. Evangeline is my child, I raised her and if she canít handle the truth from her own motherÖ."

"Donít you dare speak to my son for any reason whatsoever. Really, Dina, as always youíve already overstayed your unwelcome. Get out."

Dinaís perfectly done eyebrows arched in amusement as she turned her head slightly in Eveís direction, "I donít recall addressing you Eve, or even acknowledging your presence in my daughterís life, much less her living room."

"Thatís enough out of you Dina, come with me weíre going to have a mother/daughter talk you wonít soon forget. To treat Evangeline and John this way, and in their own home! To act out like this among family and friends," Dinah shook her head in disgust "wait until I speak to your father. Oh, he will be so deeply disenchanted but this will be the final disappointment we, any of the family, are made to endure from you."

"Mother, you knowÖ"

"Be silent, I said come with me and do not speak until Iíve said my peace and then some!" Giving Eve and John an apologetic glance Dinah turned to leave the room and realized Dina wasnít following. "I said come on with me, girl, donít make me raise my voice!"

"John, is Evangeline sleeping? Iíd like to sit with her if you think I wonít disturb her."

"Mom, go ahead, she was awake when I left the room but if sheís asleep a part of her will know youíre there sending reassuring thoughts our way. And she does need a lot of reassurance; Dina has done such a number on her."

"Eve, do you mind if I join you? Iíd like Van to know Iím here for her and sort of standing in for her father." Celeste raises her hands and drops them, "Laurence. He needs to know what happened here, I doubt he realizes Dina came without him. John, youíll have help in shaking her until her teeth rattle and her eyes roll around her head. Iíve never understoodÖ.oh, never mind, their marriage is none of my business." Turning back to Eve she adds, "Go ahead, I do have to call my son and alert him to his wifeís latest tirade. Lord, lord, lord help that silly vindictive woman, I no longer have the fortitude or the self-control to put up with her."

"Michael, why donít you take Shannon on home now?"

"Iíll stay and cover your back while you chat with his royal darkness. Royal insanity is what it is if you ask me, bro."

"Of course, no one did. Still, if even you have picked up on the insanity DNA running through the family Iíd say that is all the more reason you shouldnít want your sister-in-law passing on the dreaded Cassadine crazy genes, they do exist and then some. Assuming Helena can be prevented from harming mother and child." Looking into Johnís seething eyes Stefan continues, "I cannot believe you were foolish enough, careless enough to allow this pregnancy to get started. Have you listened to nothing Iíve said about the evilness within my mother and her fixation with destroying all of my fatherís illegitimate offspring?"

"I heard you and I believe you. This baby was an accident but a delightful one."

"Really? Delight for you but for Evangeline? I saw her eyes as her mother spoke, Evangeline knows this baby is just in harms way with Helena on the loose. Plus, she does take after her mother; her career and living a certain type of life is of paramount importance to Evangeline. Eventually, she has a duty and responsibility to keep the family bloodlines going, but right now? Yes, Iím quite sure this was an unplanned visit from the stork."

"Beyond Evangelineís safety, our marital life is off limits to you; actually all aspects of our lives arenít your concern. Update me on what you know or suspect weíre in for. Then kindly or not so kindly, get the hell out."

For the first time in countless years Dina was truly more than a little afraid of her mother. She saw the anger in Dinahís eyes spark, catch fire and with each mental replay of Dinaís dramatic, upsetting entrance more kindling was added to the blaze.

"Dina, sit down."

"Mother, I need to go, I havenít even checked into my suite yet; itís getting late and Iím quite tired."

"Oh no, donít you play the exhausted child card with me. Hear me clearly: I know you come by being totally self-absorbed honestly; Iím that way I passed it on to you. Your choice of careers just heightens your self-involvement; your family can accept this. But the way you treat Evangeline, have always treated her in your torment over what happened between you and Mikkos, or more to the point didnít happenóenough. No one in the family, and this includes your husband, is going to continue to humor your bad spells, tolerate your engineered fits, or look the other way while you turn parenthood into a curse word. Enough. Grow the hell up, and if you canít be happy for your daughter and the wonderful life and man sheís found for herself, with no help from you, then stay away from them. From now on, unless Evangeline initiates the contact and she wonít, you are not to attempt to communicate with her, John or Johnís family in any way shape or form."

"You know you canít really ban me from my own childís life even if youíre her grandmother."

"Of course I can," Dinah states calmly. And itís that level of calm that has been the undercurrent keeping Dina ultra alert and aware of the conviction behind her motherís words, "Your father and I can, and will, completely cut you off. No contact with the extended family and of course, you still have a significant inheritance earmarked to come your way when your father and I die. I know you want it and that money, land, companies and the rest of the items in our financial portfolio can certainly go elsewhere. After all our first great-grandchild will be making an entrance and should arrive knowing he or she lacks for nothing financially. Alas, the McBain side will have to take all the weight on the grandparent watch; but theyíll make sure that baby knows how truly loved and wanted they are, the joy theyíve brought to so many lives just by breathing and being in this world."

"Evangeline has her own doubts."

"Yes, sheís wracked with doubts and guilts thanks to you. Iím just realizing what a complete mess youíve made of her when it comes to her personal life. Thank God, sheís clearly told John all of her fears from the beginning and heís prepared to counter all of Evangelineís misgivings about being a mother, the type of wonderful mom sheís sure to be. NO thanks to you."

"Okay, everyoneís tired and upset. Weíll get a nightís rest and convene and talk in the morning. Iíll apologize for my rude behavior to John, Evangeline, Celeste, and the rest of the McBains. Then weíll make proper plans to welcome this child into the family while protecting the baby from Helena. I was only trying to caution my daughter to be wary of how out of sight and mind that Cassadine witch has been."

"You will get a goodnightís rest on the plane heading home. I will not allow you to put head to pillow in Llanview, the place my granddaughter and her husband call home. The carís coming around with your luggage loaded as we speak, goodbye Dina. I sincerely hope the break between seeing you is long enough for me to cool off from your latest revolting actions and my greatgran child can be introduced to you as they graduate from, I donít know, medical school?"