The Rest Is Silence by musingonsoaps
Exiting from the car Evangeline and John paused on the first landing of steps leading up to the house to gaze at the grounds and how the mansion fit an immaculate picture of wealth, privilege, power and best of all privacy.
"Okay, well then, is this whatís referred to as a ĎStately Wayne Manorí starter home?" Van queried as the realtor opened the front door for them, "Are you playing the part of Bruce Wayne, John? I definitely have always seen you as the Dark Knight Batman begins-type." Laughing as she gives John a sideways glance Evangeline followed the agent into the foyer.
The realtor had sized them up as they came up the steps, although he knew they were Antonioís friends he wanted to make sure if a deal was struck it was to all their benefits. The commission on the sale of this house would be substantial, the vibe off John, the realtor concluded, wasnít right for this type of massive financial plunge but the woman; she was a walking advertisement for the zip codes of the truly wealthy. Nothing flashy but everything was just so, deeply luxurious and luminous. She would fit right in here he concluded, it would feel instantly like home, evoking fond memories of being the pampered daughter of a rich man. Now to make her not just like it, but love it, need it, just have to have the house.
"I have floor plans and descriptions in the library, why donít you look around a bit on your own? Iíll be back in a minute or longer as you prefer." Chao-Li Ling commented, glancing at Evangeline for her initial reactions to the house.
"Take your time," John answered "Iíve been here more than once so I can give the grand overview tour." Taking Evangelineís hand and pulling her body close he added, "Weíll call out to you if we need some details filled in, alright?"
"Iím sure weíll have some questions so all the plans and additional information you can provide would help, thank you." Evangeline said smiling while savoring being in Johnís near-embrace.
As Chao-Li left the room she looked at John, "Actually, this place takes the concept of Ďstatelyí to a whole new level. Itís a monstrosity. Iíll bet thereís not a hardwood tree left in the forests of the world. Theyíre all here, look at the different woods used for the floor in this space alone; add in the stairs and the woods used that we can see in the study. I bet the whole house is a shrine to exotic woods, rare marble and Venetian plaster."
Holding hands Evangeline and John toured the first floor ending up on a large terrace built on a separate level overlooking the gardens and grounds, the exotic blooms around them still being well-maintained for an unused house. From the terrace they went up to the second floor and checked out the guest bedrooms, balconies, sitting rooms, and a media center. Eventually they made their way to the third floor and the master suite which took up most of the space. Tico and Jessicaís furniture had been covered over; the old world masterpieces on the walls leading up the stairs and carefully placed on the bedroom walls gave an air of European royalty to the house.
"John! If nothing else I can appreciate aristocrats who understood the importance of the bedroom suite." Checking out the master bathroom and the adjoining space with a sauna, Jacuzzi and steam room, Van turned to John with a saucy look in her eyes, "Why donít you inform the realtor weíll need to give this place a closer, longer and more personal inspection, hmm?"
"A bedroom test run? Donít think heíll go for it." John cracked, but the longing look in her eyes made him turn towards the bedroom door, "Iíll see if heís still in the library."
"Just use the intercom on the wall," Van pointed toward the device, "It should have a button for all the major areas of the house."
Dispatching the realtor with instructions to leave the floor plans on the foyerís table John turned back to Evangeline who had taken off her earrings, kicked off her shoes and lay sprawled across the bed patting the space next to her and beckoning him to come much closer. The bed sat up high, John nearly had to jump up to get seated next to her, even his legs dangled over the edge and slightly above the floor, "Sooo, what do you think of the place so far?" he asked while taking off his tie and unbuttoning his shirt sleeves, "Can you see yourself as the mistress of the manor? Is this place larger or smaller than your familyís home?" John asked as he lay down next to Evangeline and put his hand lightly on her waist watching as her mocha colored eyes turned a darker, unreadable shade of brown.
"Truthfully, this is smaller than their main residences and the familyís favorite cottage is; but larger than some of their other getaway homes," Van stated sighing slightly, "That reminds me, I need to check in with the family. There were real estate and other decisions they want me to participate in and act as if I give a damn about it all."
"I do love the flowers and layout of the gardens, and the light filtering through the house in areas where I expected somber, dark spacesóitís great. But the vibe isÖ.all wrong, too much like the life I almost grew up in, worse itís kind of oppressive and staid, weíd end up spending another fortune turning it to our tastes." Propping herself on her elbows she slowly looked around the bedroom, "But this room, aside from losing all this floral and chintz fabric, I would take just the way it is. Weíd never have to leave this space why thereís even a wet bar with a small fridge across the way there. This I like very much being alone here with you, McBain."
John was rubbing her stomach with small circles and as always at his touch Evangeline felt herself starting to float away from the real world to that strange realm that was only and all about John. He was the only person capable of making her always-on-full-alert instincts stand down; her mind turn fuzzy and her emotions gain dominance; she used to actively resist and hate this eerie power he had over her. Now, she just accepted it as part of all things John in her world.
Reaching behind her neck for the tie of her halter top John couldnít take his eyes from hers, he wanted to read if she was panicking inwardly over the thought of a more permanent living arrangement; if a house felt too much like a lasting commitment to him. But he was having trouble staying focused and he hadnít even begun to remove her clothing. His senses were swamped with her and the scent of the sea that always clung ever so lightly to her body even this far from the ocean. Leaning forward John touched his lips lightly to her shoulder to feel the sunís heat on her skin, tugging her top down he gazed at her breasts reacting to his fingers explorations, to his presence then they forgot they were in a strange bedroom, in someone elseís house.
The ground lights were on a timer and they were coming on as John and Evangeline dressed from their thorough use and exploration of the delights of the master bedroom suite. "If squatterís rights count, I think weíve at least put in a bid for this place considering how long weíve been here." John said with a laugh, "Baby! You always amaze me with the way you can make me react, how you make me feel, what you make me want and want to do with you, to you."
Van nodded in silent agreement her arms and legs still felt rubbery from the steam room and Johnís repeated deep and thorough explorations and journeys over her body, between her legs. The man was nothing if not inventive; his creativity giving both of them the utmost pleasure possible while sustaining their bond and making their connection stronger. "Youíre going to have to tie the top back on for me; I canít make my arms work." She stood in front of a full length mirror fumbling with tying her sarong skirt back on.
"You expect me to put you back into your clothing? Trusting woman, Iíll do what I can but Iím better at getting you OUT of your clothes."
"Yeah, youíre exceptional on that point. Never have I had so much difficulty staying dressed in a manís presence. My clothes seem to fall off me around you."
"And you hate being that vulnerable to me, donít you?" John asked as he tried to make an attractive bow at the back of her neck, finally settling for making sure the top was just tied. Waiting for her answer he put his arms around her waist and watched her in the mirror.
"Umm, no, I donít hate it so much anymore. I certainly donít waste energy trying to fight against this pull between us. Iíve achieved a near Zen-like acceptance of how important you are in my life."
"But you wish it wasnít so."
"I, I just wish Iíd known you were out there waiting for me long ago. I mightíve done some things differently. Or maybe not, too late to start to doubt my choices all I can really do is try to work with whatís happening in my life now. John, youíre so special to me."
"What would be your Ďdo overí if you could? What donít you ever want me to find out that youíve done?" Oh, she was so good she didnít stiffen even for an instance in his embrace; her breathing didnít miss a beat. He rarely asked her personal, searching questions after theyíd just made love, from the start he realized she recognized her vulnerability to him in those moments of afterglow and was too on the alert not to reveal herself emotionally. "There are things in my life Iíd change for you if I could, Evangeline. There are still memories, painful memories, from my past that you donít know."
"Like how you blame yourself for your dadís death in addition to Caitlinís? I know about that; I guessed. I donít understand the why of it all, but I know youíve been shouldering that blame. I know you feel that every time you say ĎI love youí to someone itís a death sentence for that person."
"And you donít say those words because?"
"Because Iíd never felt the emotion, I really didnít comprehend what the hell people were talking about. Iím a lot closer to understanding the feeling now." Van leaned her head against his chest and closed her eyes, "I donít know whether to thank you or blame you. But I have learned acceptance for what this is that sweeps over me at the sound of your voice, your touch, thinking about you. I accept."
"Evangeline, whatever you may have done in the pastÖI understand how your kidnapping and having to fight for survival has toughened you. Youíve been making difficult, adult choices since you were a kid. I can live with any actions you had to take to survive. Trust me, give me your secrets I would never judge you. I will never betray you."
"I know youíd try to understand, accept." Opening her eyes she met his in the mirror, "Iíve done things and endured things that happened right in front of me that your code of living, not to mention the work you do, well, Iíve gone against all thatówhen I had to. Sometimes, just because I wanted to, when kicks were getting harder to find and I needed a rush to remind myself I was still among the living. And especially right before we met I was doing things just to prove to myself I can get away with anything. John, you donít even want to know what my life has been."
"Tell me, trust me, and believe in us." John felt her body respond to his plea, he held himself still trying not to brace his body and emotions, waiting for what she needed to share with him. What he had to hear from her mouth.
They stood motionless in front of the mirror for a long time as Evangeline struggled within herself and John watched the swift display of feelings cros her face. He understood that her first concession to him was in not covering up her confusion and resistance in this effort to be honest and completely with him in this moment.
He felt her let out a deep breath and turn in his arms to face him, "Well, John, Iím not an ax-murderer or a terrorist if thatís your concern. Iím just a woman, doing what a womanís gotta do in a manís world to keep herself for herself."
Stepping out of Johnís circle of truth Evangeline picked up her earrings, slid on her shoes and reached for her purse. Her pulse was racing from how close she came to telling John damn near everything he wanted to know. Looking at him over her shoulder she said, "Tell Antonio we like aspects of the house but overall too much pain and evil reside in the framework. There are demons here even our love canít overcome." She headed for the door and the stairs leading down and out without a backward glance. Smoke, and out of his grasp again.