What's So Good About Goodbye by musingonsoaps
After refusing John’s offer to escort her where ever she might be going—didn’t the man ever take no for answer?—she wondered. Van was sitting on a bench in Angel Square realizing that it was a good thing she had police protection around her since at that moment she was too wound up to notice anyone or anything near her. So engrossed in her own private hell of looping her conversations with John around and around, again and again in her head that she didn’t see RJ walking in her direction. Evangeline didn’t hear him say her name until RJ was standing right in front and then sitting right down beside her.
Squaring her shoulders and groaning inwardly Van turned her attention to a man she had mistreated in her haste to bath in the powerful fires of passion that John. pulled from her.
"RJ, I can’t spar with you about Antonio right now, I’m just not sufficiently on my game to go there with you, sorry."
"I’ll deal with Antonio and he’ll regret it when I do," RJ took a breath then said the truth, "I came over to make sure you were okay, nearly being charbroiled is no joke. I see McBain assigned flat foots to protect you. I can offer my security people for better protection."
"What? Jeez, RJ, thank you…that’s so generous of you. Unexpected, kind." Tucking some hair behind an ear Van looked RJ in the face, "I don’t deserve your consideration after all that’s happened between us—beyond my job, I mean."
Waving away her gratitude RJ decided to stay on a path of truth, "What happened with Jen took me back to Keri’s death; watching over Lindsey is beyond heartbreaking. The old grudges seem petty and unimportant in the face of real life and death. Hell, if Lindsey can broker a truce with Nora, so can we."
Standing up RJ glanced at the cop watching them intently, "Of course I can’t refrain from saying that in my world view McBain should be giving you his personal protection 24/7. Not leaving your safety to a subordinate."
On that comment Van started laughing, shook her head and looking up at RJ she placed her hand against her forehead to shield her eyes so she could see him clearly, "I owe you this and since most people don’t know you deserve the satisfaction of hearing it from me: I ended things with John awhile back, right before Nora and I fled town from our respective disastrous taste in men." Evangeline watched as RJ’s eyes widened in shock, she waited for a look of glee or triumph but it wasn’t there, "It’s okay, RJ, feel free to mock me, say ‘I told you so’ whatever, you have the right. I treated you shamefully. No matter what was going wrong between us I should’ve made a clean break before…John and I just came out of nowhere, and it went nowhere but you shouldn’t have been trampled on in the process. I apologize."
"Damn, Van, and just when I was making hating you my life’s project you step up and remind me why I was so proud to walk in a room with you. I apologize for letting my hurt feelings and temper get the better of me too many times. You’re still a class act, much too good for the likes of John McBain."
"RJ," "I know, this doesn’t mean it won’t get serious when we head back into custody court." "That’s right, but no cheap shots from my side of the room. RJ, I promise you that much." "Can’t ask for more than that, counselor. Take care of you."
Gathering up her purse and briefcase Evangeline beckoned to the police office, "I’m heading to my office now, but first I want to make a stop for coffee. I’ll buy you a cup."
"The diner’s close by, ma’am" said the cop, "Uh, no, there’s a new coffee shop near my office, we’ll go there."
Van felt suddenly lighter and realized she’d been carrying a bit of guilt around about RJ. More than anything the way things happened with John was why she and RJ hadn’t been able to say a civil word to each other in a year. Then she remembered, she’d ended things before she and John could celebrate a year. She’d been kidnapped and nearly died and that almost anniversary had gone by unmarked. Except the killer had held her in a basement. Did he know the significance of that location to her and John? What a life, oh hell, oh well.
Stepping into Carlotta’s diner John spotted RJ speaking to Carlotta, John waited until they were finished and RJ stood up from the counter to leave, "Gannon, how many times must I tell you to stay clear of Evangeline? Harass her in any way and you’ll deal with me; this is the last polite warning."
RJ looked John up and down noting how worn out, haggard even he was looking RJ had shown mercy to Van, but McBain? Never. He started laughing in John’s face, "How pathetically sad are you still trying to play the hero protector and possessive mate over a woman who’s long since set your butt out on the litter pile?"
John’s jaw and gut tightened in pain quickly followed by anger, "Our relationship isn’t your concern; stay away…"
"Check with your uniform guarding her, Van and I had a lovely chat in the park. We laughed, we commiserated over the changes in our lives, and it was just like old times. Except, of course, that now I’m not free to be pursued or to pick up where we left off since Lindsey wouldn’t like that. Still, the lawyer and I agreed now that you’re over and out of her life we can go back to being friends. You know, doing the things we do: enjoying great art, good music, fine food and wine…oh, sorry, you know nothing about the finer things in life if Evangeline’s not there to guide you through the maze called living well and having fun." Before John could come up with a response RJ walked to the diner door pulled it open and paused, "If you’d been at least this attentive to her wants and needs you’d still be her man."
RJ exited and John could feel the stares of everyone who had heard him, which was basically everyone in the place. Ducking his head slightly John glanced at Carlotta who extended a cup of black coffee to him, waved off the cost and shaking her head and muttering in Spanish she retreated to the kitchen.