Chapter 13

Back to Reality

The calendar officially flipped to high heat days and nights with John soaking up watching Evangeline in her tantalizing summer clothes of shadow, light and glimpses of flesh. He drank in her barely decent around-the-house dressing which meant no work could be done; he was too busy eyeballing and ambushing her with sudden hungry, romantic and slightly frantic rendezvous all through the house and on the grounds.

With a languid stretch Evangeline felt around the pool’s edge and found a summer stripped throw pillow tossing it on John’s lap she laid down smiling up at him “Tell me again, why do I bother putting on clothes around you?” she asked reaching to caress his face. She gasped at his body’s reaction to her closeness and nakedness then deliberately rolled onto her stomach pressing the pillow and the side of her face into his crotch. As the pillow lifted from his arousal she laughed outright which quickly changed to a soft moan as John hands played lightly over her body.

“You’re going to turn lobster red from all this sun exposure,” she warned catching her breath with a sharp intake as his fingers probed between her legs “we’ve been at this for quite a ahhhh, John,…”

“Don’t stop? Is that what you want to say?” he asked smugly relentlessly bringing her to a pleasurable peak repeatedly but not letting her find her final release just yet. He licked droplets of pool water and sweat from her neck, back and arms rolling the salty chemical mixture on his tongue and finding the signature taste of Evangeline. Unable to resist rolling her onto her back he let his mouth seek out that same special mix of tastes dangling in a droplet off her tightly puckered nipples. Gathering Van in his arms he rolled with her the short distance to the pool’s lip laughing together between her shrieks. No underlying tension, hesitancy or need to take charge wafted from her, she trusted he would see them clear.

They fell in with splash his grip on her loosened momentarily then she was wrapped back in his embrace floating in blue water creating deep ripples as John grabbed her buttocks lifting and settling himself inside her, her legs wrapped tightly around his waist, her body arced back from the waist and her hair fanning out on the water.

Gently propelling her backwards until her back met the wall John balanced Evangeline taking his pleasure and signaling with his body that this time he would allow her release to happen and she would take him with her. Finally giving himself over to his own lust John was unprepared afterwards when she turned her head and breathed in his left ear “I love you, John, always, always. Remember that. I love you.”

Pressed completely inside of her and heavily against her John lifted his head from her breasts kissed the side her mouth and opened his eyes to the array of lush blooming plants which had already taken root and residence around their new home. Already summer was giving him suggestive encounters with outdoor life that a city-bred Jersey boy could embrace and enjoy. No doubt this was bliss, something he had never foreseen for or in his life. Here was someone he wasn’t willing to lose or let go of even with his dying breath, he was sure he could and would reach from the grave to love her.

Later, John watched Evangeline lazing in the pool floating beyond his reach from poolside; he could feel her happiness in a way that had never been possible before. When did she start to really love him? His inner cop warned she could only be this intimate and open about her feelings when she’s on the threshold of leaving him.

In the back of his mind he was uneasily aware that he wasn’t closing cases at his usual pace, although his ratio was still outstanding. Work just wasn’t his sole interest or even highest priority any longer. He knew his family was astonished by this transformation and gave all due credit to Evangeline. John did too, but he knew his interest in her was bordering on the obsessive, he had assumed living together would sooth his need for her and to know everything about her, instead it inflamed him to try everything in his power to posses her completely knowing it could never be accomplished.

Evangeline had convinced John that criminal mastermind Carlo Hesser was exacting a calculated and well thought out plan of revenge and havoc on the lives of Cristian and Antonio in the last few years. John speculated that RJ Gannon was behind the rest, maybe even working with Hesser. But there wasn’t a shred of evidence John could find much less make use of to build a case. He couldn’t bring himself to ask Evangeline to use her underworld connections to help and he suspected that she wouldn’t comply if he had. She had aimed him in the right direction that was all she was willing to do.

Besides, things seemed to be looking up for the Vega brothers through Carlotta’s steady and strong faith in them. Antonio was bankrolling all sorts of small businesses and good works in and around Angel Square with the Santi money, and championing the disenfranchised with his law practice. Cristian appeared to have his Evangeline crush and lust under control and seemed intent on making a go of his art career although not his marriage. It was annoying for John how people kept giving props to ex-cons with an artistic bent but if it kept Cris and his wife out of John and Evangeline’s way he was able to let it go.

Uneasily John considers that the FBI had stepped up its interest in the varieties of person or persons unknown making assassination an exercise in slippery finesse in and out of the United States. The Bureau was slowly wising up and no longer so quick to dismiss the idea that women were able to devise and pull off complicated and risky jobs. He was afraid for Evangeline although he couldn’t pinpoint why, she was right by his side now and he could account for her whereabouts….most of the time.

Still John worried, he thought he felt Van longing for a more covert and dangerous life then thinking through the placement of the stables or changing upholstery, window treatments and wallpaper over from winter to a summer palette. Since Christmas she had deftly sidestepped all of his attempts to discuss marriage again or possibly having children. He knew she was peeved that her family had latched onto him since meeting him during the holidays and kept him very much in the loop of information and plans for family vacations, and in the know about their family’s history and hopes for Evangeline’s future with him. She was not thrilled that her loner G-man was showing graceful compatibility with the last remnants of the family she hardly knew. Evangeline just couldn’t stand how they had all bonded over their wishing of a normal life for her to enjoy.

Through it all, of course, there was the nonstop sound of moving water feeding from the property’s ponds into burbling streams, babbling brooks, slipping and gushing from the most cutting-edge look in fountains. Frowning John listened intently to the water incessantly flowing around them to remind her of a different life. The world she knew and moved comfortably in, the place where Evangeline and John were on opposite sides of the law. The sound was beginning to make John grit his teeth and it was the sound she loved the most, the one that lulled her into a deep and easy sleep as satisfying and restful for her as the aftermath of their most exquisite love-making. He hated how jealous he was of that sound. How worried that it was calling her away from him.

“Sooo, you’re not going to comment are you? Do you think it was a slip of the tongue?” Evangeline turned away from the little stream that fed into the garden outside of their cozy living room. She had insisted they come inside knowing John’s Irishman’s tan was no match for the sun and UV rays even under the extensive system of awnings, thick overhanging tree limbs and vast sunshades strategically placed shading the pool area. He had practically gotten sun poisoning out on her boat the one and only time she had taken him on one of her wandering water journeys. It had not been pretty although he tried not to be a baby about it, she knew he had been in severe and near constant pain.

“I know you don’t like me to overreact to every word that slips from your mouth,” John cautiously replies, although he had thought of nothing else and heard nothing else she said since those three words fell from her tasty lips. “I figured I’d wait and see if you said it again or if this was a one-time deal.”

“Well, how often do you need to hear the words?” she asked warily her guard starting to rise though she did try to fight it down. Mentally she had made a pact with herself to be as honest as possible with John where she could in the hopes it would offset the things she still would never divulge to him. “Saying that I love you isn’t a tactic; it’s just a truth I wanted to share with you.” She saw the intense focus and emotion on his face and was unsettled again by how much feeling for her was in him “I just knew in that moment how real, permanent and true it is and I felt you should know that I love you, John.”

“I love you, too” he responded, “That’s uh, three times now that you’ve said the words I’m so…touched and honored. I know that seems a weird word to use ‘honored’ but I am to be loved by you, to be in your life and you’re in mine.” He knew he should just stop there but they had agreed a long time ago to try and verbalize as well as show their intense, deeply buried emotions. Two complete emotional cripples forging a life together that in many ways had come to work so easily.

Softly he asked “Are you going somewhere?”

Puzzled Van shook her head, “No, I don’t have any plans tonight, is there something you want us to do?”

“I mean are you about to head out on an, an adventure and leave me behind?”

“You mean a job, don’t you? John, I’m out of the life I told you that, I gave it up for us. Why would you ask that?”

Leaning back into the couch John ran his hands over his face, rubbed his eyes and focused on the ceiling, “Something in the way you’ve been lately, the way we make love it’s bittersweet it feels like an ending when we’ve just entered a new phase.” Sitting upright he pulls her from her chair and settles her next to him “Please be straight with me. I won’t get mad, hurt, but not mad. I feel your mind is somewhere else lately, so if you’re not taking a trip what’s going on with you?”

Aw, sugar and shit!!” Van fumes inwardly. Not only did she promise to give up her work they have a no lying clause which includes sins of omission too. It’s crazy the things she agreed to overtly and covertly to be with this man. “I got a call from a man…”

“About a horse? You’ll have to do better then that. A lot better.”

Cutting her eyes at him she exhaled loudly, “A call from Carlo, he’d like to meet and discuss.”

“About the Vegas?” John asked surprised, “He just phones and knows what all we’ve been up to and he wants face time?”

“No, John, he doesn’t know that, I’m reasonably sure. We’ve done business in the past, I’m sure he has something he feels will be of interest to me. Probably thinks living with an FBI agent I can give him the 411 filled with insider info on some things and he’ll make it worth my while.” Putting her arms around his neck she looks into his eyes, “I’ve agreed to meet him next week. Yes, I am going, no you can’t come with he would obviously be suspicious and you would only slow me down.” As she watched the fear and anger heat up his eyes Evangeline wrapped her body close to his and waited for the explosion to come hoping he didn’t push her too far, praying that they wouldn’t go someplace so angry they would never recover from it.