Chapter 11

 

Held in his arms Evangeline could feel John trembling and working up a plausible defense for her actions, "Well, ok, so you hurt back people that hurt those you care about; you were young, needed cash, all of your options were outside of legalÖ"

 "Stop it, just stop yourself. Making up these excuses wonít keep the truth at bay for very long John. THIS is who I am, THIS is what I do. No spin. How will you deal with this knowledge? Youíre an agent for the FBI; I think youíre supposed to be arresting me about now, not taking a travelogue of my body."

 "Have you done jobs in the States?" he asked quietly.

 "Do you think Iím crazy enough to answer that question? Anything Iíve done, wherever Iíve been, Iíve left no evidence behind. Bank on it; Iím clean and home free. You, on the other hand, no longer have plausible deniability if anyone should question you about my actions to date. I wasnít covering my ass by not answering your endless questions all these years, John; I was protecting your behind. Now what do you do? What becomes of us? Thereís no changing the past."

 His eyes close and for several minutes heís still, but his arms remain around her and his hands stay in light but constant motion over her. Sheís unsure if heís trying to seduce her to make her stop talking or assessing to himself that this was all real, not a nightmare that he can wake up from.

 "Itís in the past," he mumbles in her hair "what happened can stay buried and gone. I can fix things so Durant doesnít come after you legally or by other meansÖ"

 "You think Iím afraid of John Durant pressing charges? I think not, then the truth of what HE did also comes out and Iím sure my friends and I arenít the only ones he left smeared and destroyed." Giving a cold laugh she nods her head against him, "Oh yeah, just let Durant come after me. I look forward to it."

 "John, Iím not admitting to anything here now, but remember I did say I hadnít totally given up the life and I didnít intend to change my lifeóat least not totally."

 "Weíre setting up a home; building a life I call that major change for us both. This isnít ĎMr. & Mrs. Smithí I canít be married to a professional. I canít hear about high profile jobs being pulled off and not start to track your movements in my brain remembering if we were together or apart, could it be you or was it someone else. I canít do that."

 "Then we have our answers, and I do understand that this goes against everything for you."

 

Turning and pulling her on top of him John cups her face in his hands and looks into her eyes: still clear and ingenuous, no guilt or remorse, no hint that sheís an assassin at worst, a thief and desecrater of ancient temples and ruins at best. "Why are you settling down in nowhere with me? I love you; you have never said those words to me although I know you care for me deeply. No matter how deep in our passion Iíve never felt the words were on the tip of your tongue about to spill out of your luscious mouth, Iíve waited and waited for the words."

 "Oh, forget the damn words! Why are they so important, anyway? I want you and trust you more than even I knew, John. Now Iíve acknowledged to myself how much I would like us to work out and beÖ.happy? Iím telling you what you said you wanted to know, needed to know to have a full life with me. This past year or so youíve been intense, tense and insistent that you needed to know all about me, know me, claim me. Well here I am and this is your beloved Evangeline. Now what?"

 "Itís the pastÖ"

 "No, John, itís here and now. I could get a call tomorrow for a job. If I say Iím going sailing will you ever again believe Iím doing just that? Even though I really am, most of the time? How soon before you interrogate me about every second not spent in your presence or tracked by Bo and Antonio and whomever else you ask to keep an eye on me?"

 Pulling herself into a seated position on his thighs Van glanced down at his member replaying the feel of him moving inside her, the way he always makes her lose herself, want to give herself completely, "If you really want this life with me and you want it all, well, this is part of the all, I donít consider it the worst part."

 "You donít need the money anymore, why continue? The rush of getting away with it, what?"

 "Iím in the habit of survival John, even now, although Iíve been more than comfortable financially for years; know who my family is now, what happened to me as a kid and why. But I canít shake those early years; I canít forget the feeling of being kidnapped, taken against my will, Carlaís screams still wake me at night. I canít forget all thatís happened in my life, all Iíve seen and done and had done to me. Thereís no running from memory, but there is a sense of control one can have, as you well know. And this is how I exert my control, show my endurance, feel alive. Isnít everyone looking for the job that theyíre good at? These are among the things I do best."

 "I thought I made you feel alive; gave you a sense of place and ties to the world. I thought you knew I need you to exist for me, Iím lost without you, thereís no point in going on if I donít have you."

"John, Iím sure you felt that about Caitlin too, yet you struggled on when she died. Yes, of course, I know your feelings for me John and I want to share in this with you, why else would I change my life so completely if not for you? Move to the States, move in try and create a worldÖa safe haven just for us. My feelings for you are so strong, and you know it. Why do you need the damn words all the time too? Iím here, Iím telling you the truth, I ask again now what?"

 "I.." the beeping of Johnís cell and pager pull his attention away. Struggling to sit up to take the call he eases his legs out from under Evangelineís body and sits upright in the bed. As he talks, Van looks him over to weigh the damage done here todayóplenty with more to come. "Why did I stupidly decide I wanted to make a real home with this man?" she wonders to herself, "I never let sex or sentiment cloud my judgment before."

 Sighing she rolls to the side of the bed and prepares to rise when Johnís land line rings, looking at him with raised eyebrows he indicates she should take the call, "Hello? Oh Eve, hi, howís the cruise gig treating you? Yes, it was good to spend some time with you too; I look forward to more time together with tales of little John." Listening for a moment Van gestures to John to see if heíll take the call, "Eve? Johnís on a police call and his pagerís going off, can he call you back? Ok, Iíll tell him, bye."

 Walking into the living room she grimly acknowledges that the pink elephant that had been taking up so much space in his small domicile was still there, but at least a normal elephant color now. Feeling Johnís eyes on her, she says over her shoulder, "Your mom said to call when you can. Do you have to go to work?"

 Walking up behind her he presses himself fully into her body so she can feel his arousal, his manhood nudging between her legs of its own volition trying to get home John figures as he drops several tiny kisses on her shoulders. "I have to go into the station and Michael phoned to say Durantís being released today and heís asking for me to stop by. And I should have Michael check me, my shoulder isnít quite right." Her body doesnít jerk away nor indicate in any way that heís given her unpleasant news, all his hopes that she had an overwrought imagination dies. Sheís who and what she says, he should be arresting her for attempted murder. Instead, he would see Durant, ask his side of the story and inform him that Van was more interested in torturing him then killing right now and then, if necessary, blackmail Durant into silence about Evangelineís awfully good try at putting Durant into a world of pain, with murder coming down the line.

 After John left the thought formed in Vanís mind that she needed to have face time with Cristian so she headed over to gallery and then Carlottaís diner. Arriving she headed to an empty booth where she could survey the comings and goings inside the diner and immediately outside the space; she noted Kevin leaving a table with Natalie and groaned when they made their way to her.

"I understand John and Cris had an altercation," Kevin says taking in her sleek ponytail, and very upscale deceptively causal look, with the tendrils escaping and curling around her ear lobes, especially sexy, "is everything alright at home?" She looked up at him like a woman very recently satisfied in her manís bed.

 "Yeah, Iím surprised to see you I thought you left town." Speaking lightly to not let her jealously show Natalie also looks Van over and knows for sure the men were fighting about Evangeline.

 "Natalie, I was looking for Cris are you expecting him here? I need to speak with him."

 "About the fight?"

 "Yes, among other things."

 "It wonít happen again; Cristian told me they both lost their tempers. The past isnít over for them."

 "No," Van says softly, "the past is never over for anyone. But in a way it is for you Natalie, you thought you were a bride and a widow in practically the same day, and now once again youíre wife to the man you love. The present can render the past meaningless if you focus on the here and now."

 "Yeah, and look to the future. Speaking of which there wonít be a future BE if I donít get to the office. Natalie lets talk more about you coming on board at the family business, think about what you might want to do. I think though, you should go back to college and get some kind of degree, even with BE to fall back on, canít hurt."

 "Youíre going back to school?"

 "If I can ever figure out what I want to do, yeah, maybe. For now itís enough to be with Cris, it should be but heís not the same as before. Not that I expect him to be; itís just hard to not know who youíre living with day-to-day." Startled by her admission Natalie blushes and starts to work up a snit.

 "No, itís fine I know things roll around in your head and out your mouth; things that need saying. You should take Kevin up on his offer to work, look around and learn at BE it might help give you some insight into your job future, if nothing else. Nothing wrong with wanting to be with your man 24-7, but better to have your own resources and life to bring to the relationship; just my opinion. Speaking of your manÖCris, can I talk with you for five minutes?"

"Look the fight was stupid, just blowing off steam." Cris says quickly.

 "I donít care about that; youíre both alive so letís forget it. Can we talk? Natalie? Just a few minutes."

 "Nat, wait for me at the counter. What can I do for you?"

 Lowering her voice she gestures for him to sit beside her, "Itís a bit touchy I know but I was wondering if you had remembered anything else about being held captive and the orders you might have been given. Obviously, you didnít follow through and kill Antonio, but I do know youíre the one that dealt with Tico Santi. Donít get wound up, I donít give a damn about his death or having anyone pay a price for dealing with him. He was sloppy, he had to go."

 "McBain knows about me and Santi?"

 "Not to my knowledge and Iím not sharing this with him. What I want to know isÖyour conditioning was over a period of time, does your shrink think there are more bombs waiting to go off inside of you? If so, whoís the target or targets?"

 "If weíve discussed it that would be privileged information and none of your damn business."

 "Cris, look, for reasons Iím not going to explain Iím well aware of how you lived your life once you got off the ship and before you returned to Llanview. Iím not interested in blowing up your life and you yourself resisted the orders on your brother. Great. But I would think youíd want to make sure that youíre not a threat in anyway to others that you care about; and I want to make sure youíre not problem a for John."

 "I donít know what to say to that." he responded warily, "why should I trust you?"

 "Because Iíve known about your part in Ticoís death before I got here and said nothing; and by telling you that I know and havenít told my FBI boyfriend Iím giving you something to hold over my head. Trust is irrelevant; we have a common need to get some answers about your past which may impact my present and future."

 "You want to work together?"

 "On the down low, yes."

 "So I get to cloak and dagger with you and have McBain confused, jealous and annoyed that weíre spending quality time together? I like it, how will you explain it?"

"Iím commissioning you to do two art installation pieces for our new houseóweíre going to have to spend a lot of time together to get it just right, a complement of your vision and talents and imagination with what I want for my home with John. Are you with me?"

 "Oh yeah, Evangeline, Iím with you all the way." Cris said chuckling, "and Iíd love to be around when you drop this on McBain."

 "Yeah? Well I can sure stick around while you tell your insecure little wife."