Tea for Three
There was no way for Evangeline to stay put in the kitchen for as long as she wanted, she had been brought up right and couldn’t hide even from unexpected guests. She had spoken to Jax’s pilot, no, HER pilot and pushed back her departure; she’d left messages on all of Jax’s numbers and had resorted to a text message too.
The tea pot had been singing for some time and even under the guise of making sure she prepared the tea with careful authenticity knowing the way former British subjects liked their brew Van had to get back to the mothers of the two men who held her heart. She was in quiet terror of the women discussing their sons in relation to her while she was gone. She liked what she knew of both women and was reluctant to make enemies out of either one.
Loading up a tray to take into the living room Evangeline heard the shifting and clanking of silverware with each nervous step leading her toward the kitchen door. Setting the tray on a counter she took several deep breaths, put her hands to her shoulders and rubbed, reminding herself she had done nothing wrong, unreasonable or anything to be ashamed of, hell she’d even given John back his mother’s pearls when he said she should keep them. They were still in the McBain family and John would probably pass them to Michael to give to Marcie. She was proud of herself when she lifted the tray and was able to move again with silent grace into the living room and smile at her guests.
“Lady Jane, Mrs. McBain how would you like your tea?” calmness radiated from Evangeline as she set the tray down on a side board that was artfully angled between the living room, formal dining room and the kitchen.
“Hmmm, Jax has become a coffee drinker more than a tea person,” his mother said as she rose to assist Evangeline with pouring and serving, “Oh no, he’s just so used to Americans not making tea correctly he just goes for the coffee. But if he knows it’s being served the right way, he’s happy to gulp down several cups! Of course, I remember the lessons you taught me before so I can make tea and coffee just the way Jax, and you, like them.” Van said smiling as she handed a freshly poured cup with a splash of milk to Lady Jane.
Glancing at Eve to see how she wanted her tea Evangeline wondered how much John, no Michael and Shannon had kept her up-to-date on the shambles and smoking ruin that was John’s life now. Probably none of them knew about the ticking Cristian time bomb reveal but Van remembered Eve had met Cris’s wife a few years back when he was dead so maybe she’s very caught up on John’s life now.
“Evangeline, please, call me Eve. I’ll take my tea straight, thank you.”
“Eve and I were just discussing how we’re not usually ones for surprise visits so isn’t it funny that we would both end up at the same doorstep surprising the same person!” Jane said raising her cup for a sip and closely watching Evangeline’s demeanor in this uncomfortable afternoon.
Reaching for a coaster before she set her tea cup on the end table Eve is at war with herself. She could allow the impression to linger with the interloper’s mother that John and Evangeline were not done with their relationship. Perhaps Lady Jane’s report back to Jax would precipitate a terrible fight and break-up, reopening a door for a reunion between John and Evangeline. Maybe it would just make things worse for all concerned; especially considering it wasn’t Jax’s presence in Van’s life that caused the end of her relationship with John.
Trying to be fair Eve admitted silently that all Michael, Shannon and Bo had told her and what they left out let her know that while Evangeline was the best woman for John HE couldn’t seem to stop himself from causing her pain. The lovely, lively young woman before her deserved happiness as much as her son did. And her happiness apparently wouldn’t lead to adding McBain to her name. With a deep inward sigh and shudder Eve acknowledged she had arrived in the game too late to help her eldest regain his happiness.
“Evangeline, I really do apologize for just dropping in, especially when I can see you’re packed for a trip.” Eve smiled brightly and innocently, “I just realized that I had never returned these to you after you so generously let me borrow them.” Looking directly into Lady Jane’s blue eyes she explained, “I’m a professional singer and I had a very formal engagement that called for conservative, serious jewelry which I didn’t have with me and Evangeline graciously allowed me to borrow something of hers. I’ve been too long in returning them.”
Turning to Evangeline she slipped a slim box into her hand, “You should never let go of these, they’re too precious and filled with such a family history of love and loyalty even during the most strained times, which happens in a long relationship. Sometimes, all you can do is grit your teeth and endure knowing the good times will make the misery worth it.” Standing quickly Eve moved toward the door and had it open before Van could think of anything to say.
“And my dear, for you there will be so many good and happy times. Wear them and remember the love that brought them to you and never doubt the truth of that love. No, no I can see myself out. Have a pleasant journey.” Glancing at Jax’s mother Eve pasted a sincere, non-threatening smile on her lips “I’ve seen photos of your son and our Evangeline; he makes her laugh out loud. Tell him to treat her right, she’s…quite special to the McBains. It was nice to meet you, Lady Jane.”
Over Van’s protests Lady Jane lifted the tea service and headed for the kitchen giving Van a moment to open the box and recognize the return of Eve McBain’s pearls to her. She knew if she tried to give them back to John again he would know of his mother’s trip. She suspected if she sent them directly to Eve they would just keep coming back to her. Rubbing her forehead Evangeline put the box in her bedroom safe and decided to give it some time before she returned them to Michael with firm and explicit instructions.
“Jane, I’m going to Port Charles to see your baby boy, care to accompany me?” Van asked when Jane returned to the living room.
“Well, if you’re willing to be stuck alone with me on a plane I guess there’s truly no reason to quiz you about the McBains and their place in your life, specifically of course, Eve’s oldest son, John. John. A good strong name, the men that wear it are often very direct in many ways and yet annoyingly given to hiding their feelings when they most need to be clear and straight forward. I should know, John Jacks was the most complex and maddening man. And I miss him every day.”
Picking up her handbag Jane glanced at Evangeline, “Eve loves her son just as I love mine and we want the best for them, which means the best woman for a true chance at a happy life.”
“Yes, Eve loves both her boys and I’m sure they will each have the life they choose when it’s right for them.” Looking at her watch Van smiles, “we’re still in good time. I pushed back my departure and we don’t even have to hurry to get to the airport.” Picking up the phone Evangeline called for her car and driver.
Replacing the receiver Van was smiling to herself, Jane forgotten for the moment, as she looked ahead to a new life as the wife of the dashing Aussie who as Eve said always made her laugh out loud. Smiling at Jane Van knew Jax would ask her a life-altering question soon and she was certain of her response. She looked forward to seeing the light of surprise and happiness in his laughing blue eyes when she was in his arms again. Daydreaming she was unprepared when his eyes changed to guarded happiness and an Irish shade of blue.
Five Months Later…..
Alexis and Evangeline collapse on the carpet of their office space with the last of their boxes unpacked, broken down and waiting for pick-up to go to a recycle bin. Dressed in shorts with their hair in ponytails they exuded the giggly delight of new college roommates elated to be out from under their families’ watchful gazes instead of the icy professional cool that’s always put them in the top tier of the best attorneys in the country. Now they were opening a law firm together and Evangeline was about to marry Alexis’s ex-husband.
Amazingly, once they met face-to-face their respective competitive natures stepped back. Instead they were each thrilled to have found a like-minded smart, independent and tough woman in a city held in thrall to organized crime. That they were both successful lawyers added to their mutual glee. That Jax had suffered a terrible loss when Elizabeth miscarried their child coupled with the added blow of Courtney’s unexpected death bound Evangeline and Alexis together in their concern for Jax’s well-being.
“So, are any and all loose ends from your Llanview cases tied up in neat little knots of completion?” Alexis inquired as she searched her pockets for tissues to wipe her face with, “That John Doe, not John Doe weirdness case all done? Because on your honeymoon working cases will not fly. Jax is not THAT understanding of a woman’s career, you know that, right?”
Leaning over and grabbing her ankles in a long stretch Van touched her forehead to her knees exhaled deeply and straightened back up, “I’m done with the real/faux/real Cristian Vega case. He’s free. He either gets his girl-wife back or he doesn’t. Hopefully, he’ll be able to regain his relationships with his mother, brother and other members of the Vega clan. I’ve suggested counseling, I’m sure he won’t go. But there’s nothing more I can do for him. I just hope his temper doesn’t make him forget that his wife’s fatal attraction is licensed to carry a gun!”
Pushing wisps of hair off her neck Evangeline stands and continues to stretch, “Everything else has been dealt with and what loose ends might be left have been farmed out to other lawyers. Come on, join me it’ll calm and center you.” she says to Alexis.
“Thanks, no, that’s what popcorn is for.” Alexis states then laughs as she stands up and follows Van’s supple movements.
“I can’t wait for you to meet Nora Hanen. God, I’ve missed seeing her every day and it’s strange to think that change is permanent and my new good friend is also a lawyer”. Releasing the ribbon from her hair Van catches her ponytail and rearranges it on top of her head in a loose pile of hair. The kind she knows Jax likes to get his fingers into and make it—and her come undone. “Does this mean we can’t relate to people outside the law field?”
“Could be. Lawyers, cops, criminals, we all seem to be intertwined somehow. If someone had told me I would have the love child of the biggest mob boss…well, to say I’d have laughed in their faces long and hard is to be kind.” Alexis says shrugging her shoulders.
“Yeah, I hear ya. Alexis?”
“When you say ‘biggest’ mob boss…”
“Stop!! If we’re gonna go there we at least need the excuse of having had a lot of wine, lets start with the bottle I have right here, champagne to toast our new firm and friendship.”
“In the bag on the chair liberated from the Cassadine’s island courtesy of Nikolas to celebrate this august occasion.”
As Van held the fine crystal champagne glasses Alexis poured the golden liquid, both women watched the reflection of them and their beverage of choice gleaming in their firm’s windows. Then they glanced at one another raised their glasses touched them lightly together and drank deeply.