Chapter 15

Change Partners and Dance

“That was a fun party, thank you for just going with it all and not making a fuss or being too standoffish.” Tossing her hair Blair gave a little laugh “I know dealing with all the Cramer women together can be a bit much. Why, you were even civil with Dorian!”

“I just try and focus on the qualities she shares with you that I like so much, then she’s bearable.”

“Oh? What shared things are those?” Blair asked in a teasing voice as she squeezed his hand resting around her waist while he unlocked the door.

“You’re both fearless and fiercely protective about the people you love; you have strong and passionate beliefs… even when you’re dead wrong. As far as the family’s concerned your hearts are always in the right place, your execution of things is ah, skewered sometimes shall we say?” his laughter came from deep in his chest and Blair leaned back against him to feel it rumbling through her as they stepped inside and he turned her face to the side for a deep kiss.

Immediately her body relaxed into the moment and the rush of feelings turning and dropping her hands to his waist, unfastening his belt to show him where her mind and body were very willing to go. She smiled at the sensual way he touched her while undoing the buttons on her blouse and tossing it away from them uncaring where it landed.

Damn, yesss!! Blair thought grabbing part of the sofa back and the nearby table as he bent her over the edge of the sofa reaching under her tight skirt, working her out of her panties while stroking her thighs and legs. That was a fortuitous moment when she walked into that seedy lowlife bar, Jake’s, and John McBain looked over at her unable to hide his agony and torment over Evangeline while she was drowning over the final break with Todd. She had been surprised at how sensual, inventive and attentive McBain was in bed and how exhaustive his sexual appetite was, easily matching her own.

They hadn’t pretended to get drunk to explain things away in the morning. John just took her in, in her red dress as he leaned to listen while the bartender, Coleman, the owner, she found out later, said something to John that Blair knew was a carnal comment about her. McBain never took his eyes off her as he wrapped his fingers around Coleman’s neck and gave him a painful shake or was it three? All she really recalled was John stepping toward the stairs a key dangling from his pinkie and suddenly she had slipped her fingers through his belt loops and he was leading her to a room above.

They stayed in that room for four days and when they reemerged she left her rental car in Port Charles and they drove back to Llanview together. They’d remained that way even as shocked stares and whispers quickly falling into silence had followed them around every appearance they made together. Eighteen months after that fateful night they were still high on the gossips’ lips all over the East Coast and beyond.

John was still in so much pain and so was she but they understood where it came from. Somehow the pain had inverted and allowed them to find each other, connect, and forge something new, different, really kind of wonderful although neither spoke about everlasting.

Tangled together half on the sofa and half on the floor Blair ran her fingers through John’s hair glad that he had flicked on a far light when they’d had entered. His lids where closed but she knew his face now, knew the little ticks and tugs of his emotions that were chased rapidly across his features by his desire to only allow himself iron control over his feelings. But she knew more then a few things about this lonely man.

Wrapping her long legs around his waist Blair trailed her lips down his neck to his shoulder blades and back up to his ear before she spoke, brushing back his hair so she could get a partial look at his face “So, did Bo tell you Evangeline’s coming to Llanview? Taking care of some unfinished business about BE, I hear.”

“He said he had to be in some BE-related meetings over the next few days, I, I thought Justus Ward takes care of BE stuff.” John said keeping his head turned sideways, his right cheek rubbing against Blair’s bare breast.

“Yeah, I’m sure he’ll be here, and possibly Jax’s ex-wife, Alexis, will be in on it all too. But it was confirmed to me this morning that Evangeline is definitely coming to town to make all the final decisions and then leave it to the suits to broker the details.” She relaxed her legs grip of his waist saying softly, “Do you want me to let you know the minute she’s in town? Tess, Layla and Adriana are handling the details of her visit on this end, working with Evangeline’s people in Port Charles. We sent flowers and all but it would be a chance to express your condolences in person, if you want I’ll go with you.”

Slowly shaking his head John got up and half-turned his torso to Blair “I feel like ice cream, do you want anything from the kitchen?”

“Bring two spoons and answers to my question when you come back. Jax is dead. Evangeline’s alone. So John, whatcha gonna do?”

“There’s nothing to do, at least not from my end,” he replied “her husband’s been dead a little over year, she’s pulled back from everything to focus on their child and picking up the pieces of her life as a single mother, none of this involves me.” Looking down at her he asks “Blair, are you trying to start an argument here? This your way of breaking things off with me, using a simple visit by Evangeline as a pretext?”

As John heads for the kitchen Blair gave herself over to the pleasure of watching his muscles move under his skin as he walks away from her. The back view was really quite delicious, she would be sorry to lose him as a lover if it came to that. Very sorry but reality claimed her, they were exclusive but not committed to a future together, each was free to walk away neither ever had a reason to do so, until now.

They settled into his living room’s nook where they could sit next to each other at the cushioned bay window shielded from view from the street but able to see everyone and everything from his window. John handed her a beer and set bottled water at their feet as he held the carton of ice cream between them and she reached for a spoon. They ate in a compatible, comfortable silence only the clink when their spoons collided making any noise between them.

Blair dropped her spoon in the carton and rubbed her stomach “I have to stop this; I need to look absolutely chic, sharp and in perfect shape for the week ahead. I suspect it’ll be grueling.”

John looked at her puzzled “Why? What do you think Evangeline’s here to do? Your divisions of BE are raking in profits. I’m not even paying attention to that stuff but I hear the talk about it. You’re a success, of course.”

“Yeah, we’re making profit but she may want to divest herself of some of her husband’s holdings, he owned so much she may want to lighten her load, who knows? Maybe she’s just checking in at all of her companies so everyone can see she’s coping, she’s in charge and things will be fine. I dunno.” She shrugged and glanced at John, “Or maybe, just maybe she’s back to see if an old flame is still burning. I really have no idea. I DO know Asa’s tried every snoop, spy and private eye to get the jump on her plans for this visit and he’s turned up zip, you know how infuriated he must be by that. He wants BE controlled by the family again before he dies and there’s no sign that’ll ever happen.”

“Well, I can assure you Evangeline’s not coming to see me. Our contact’s been less then minimal since she married Jax four years ago. I never even spoke to her when I went to Port Charles, instead you and I met at Jake’s.”

“Hooked-up, you mean, got very busy. You’ve never told me what happened, why you suddenly found me irresistible.” She looked at him over the edge of her beer bottle and waited.

“A hot blonde in a hot dress, what’s to resist? Who would want to?” he asks pressing his bottle’s neck against the glass and making patterns and shapes.

Blair looked at him remained silent and waited.

“Okay, I saw her—them, but we never spoke she didn’t even know I was near. Or maybe she did, she glanced around for a few moments, twice, and then she turned her full attention to her husband.” Closing his eyes John leaned back and tried not to remember all he had felt that day. The expectation that she would be content but not truly happy, that he would see a way in and back into her heart. He didn’t want to recall that his last ragged hope and all of his sanity hinged on knowing she still felt the pull of something, of making her feel that connection between them. He had gone to tell her he could and would wait and that the time apart would be as nothing once they were reunited.

Went to say he had completely reordered his life after getting caught up in that prison riot and ordered to see a shrink or lose his badge. That he had told Bo it was him or his niece but not both of them working in the department and she was now living in Puerto Rico with Antonio. That he had moved out of his Angel Square hole, had closed the case on his father’s killer. That he was so close to being a complete man and all that was missing was her love.

But he saw them enter the Metro Court Hotel, actually had heard her happy laughter before he even caught sight of them. Listened in as a waiter and busboy gossiped that Mr. & Mrs. Jacks had just purchased almost all of the lake-front property and Jax was gifting his wife with the home of her dreams. John had risen to lean casually behind a post that gave him viewing and listening advantage while he remained out of sight when he heard Alexis congratulating them on their baby news. Watched Jax walk to the bar to sign something and John heard Evangeline gush to Alexis how life had never been sweeter, how she never knew such joy was possible, how she loved her husband and this surprise baby.

“To this day I have no idea how I found that bar or how long I was there when you walked in. I actually think it was days. But you know I never touched those drinks I had Coleman line up down the bar. I sat there a long, long time and when I reached to toss back the first one, in you came. A lifeline, my salvation. Evangeline and I are as finished and over as you and Todd, Blair, no worries, it is what it is.”

“Oh I’m not worried,” Blair responds “I’d just like to be halfway prepared for what’s to come and that includes you fully facing your feelings for Van just as she has to deal with what she still feels for you.”

With a twisted smile John reaches for Blair and draws her to his chest pressing light kisses into her hair. How often had he done this with his eyes closed and opened them expecting to see dark hair, not blonde? How often in the night had he awakened with Blair wrapped around him and for a moment he couldn’t figure out how and why those arms, legs and breasts weren’t a rich chocolate brown? “I’m pretty sure she’s dealt with any lingering feelings of resentment and disappointment with me. Everyone’s moved on, the wheel has turned and this is the hand we’ve been dealt.”