[Author's Note: This is my take on John and Evangeline's first kiss from John's point of view. The dialogue has not been changed from what ONE LIFE TO LIVE aired.]

Pomp and circumstance always struck a sour note in John McBain's belly. He hated being put on display. Putting worthless criminals behind bars came with the job. He certainly didn't do it for ribbons and commendations.

The medal sparkled under the intimate chandelier lighting. He snapped the jewel case closed with a quick movement of his thumb. The smiling faces and curious gazes became too much, suffocating him in their overabundance. He broke from the crowd and inhaled the peaceful solitude of the lobby.

He exhaled a deep, relaxing breath. Slowly, his equilibrium returned. In his mind, he fast-forwarded to being at home. A long shower, a bottle of beer and sleep--all seemed to be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Then, he heard footsteps. The scent of an exotic perfume hit him full force. He knew that fragrance. Better still, he knew the woman who wore it. Ripples of excitement flooded through him. He met Evangeline Williamson's all-knowing grin with a tentative smile of his own. When she offered to buy him a drink, he hesitated, but deep inside he knew it was a done deal as soon as she asked.

"Want another drink?" He watched her swallow an olive. Her full, red lips opened and closed. He swallowed hard. His mind searched for anything to change the direction of where his thoughts were headed.

"I'm feeling this one." She laughed softly and tossed her head. Black, glossy waves of hair brushed her bare shoulders.

 

"That can be a good thing sometimes."

She frowned. "No, it isn't."

"Figured you'd say that." The certain need to provoke her just overpowered him. He sipped more bourbon to prevent a smirk from sneaking out.

"Is that a dig?" She sat forward. Her entire demeanor teased and pleased him. A hint of a challenge flashed in her expressive brown eyes.

"Sound like a dig?"

"Do you always answer a question with a question?"

"Are you sure you don't want another drink?" he countered.

"Why are you so interested in my drinking?"

He didn't have to think hard for an answer. She intrigued him the first moment he saw her. Finally, the opportunity arose for him to indulge his secret interest in this woman.

"I'm just curious. Do you ever let down your guard? I mean, do you ever let," he said, gesturing with his hands, "all this go?"

"I don't need to let go."

He cocked an eyebrow and smiled. "Opinions vary."

A pair of perfectly arched eyebrows rose. "Bartender! A double!"

John caught the bartender's eye and held up two fingers. "Well, now, that we've got that settled."

Okay, McBain, he thought, tone it down. Don't let curiosity override common sense. Yes, she was a beautiful woman and some sort of magnetism attracted him to her, but there was a place and a time for all things. To make the silent lecture have some validity, he directed the conversation to even ground--the law.

The bartender arrived with their drinks. John watched the lovely legal eagle dive in. He marveled at the light in her eyes as she looked at him and sipped the fresh martini. A playful side lurked somewhere deep inside her. He wondered what lay beneath the tough exterior she presented to the world. The walls that protected her could use a good, hard crack. It was time she let down her guard.

"Well, I'm really feeling it now," she announced.

"A first time for everything."

"What is that suppose to mean?"

He shrugged. Since she asked, he refused to let this moment pass. "I'm thinking you've never done a really spontaneous thing in your whole life."

"You're wrong."

"Name it."

"What?!" She all but stammered.

"The spontaneous thing."

"Why should I tell you?" Merry delight twinkled in her brown eyes. John swore she was enjoying this as much as him.

"I don't think you can because it doesn't exist."

"Really?" she countered.

"Really."

She crooked her index finger, beckoning him. "Curious?"

"Oh, I gotta hear this." A decadent thrill rippled through him. He couldn't imagine her truly enjoying a spontaneous moment, but if she had one, he knew he'd be the first to hear it. She simply wasn't into disclosure. He scooted across the booth and pointed to his ear. "Right here."

Before he completely settled at the edge of the seat, she curved her fingers around his chin and pulled him to her. Her sinfully sweet, moist mouth parted over his. The soul-searching massage surprised him completely. He placed his hand at her neck. His fingers enjoyed the softness of her skin and the silkiness of her long tresses. He longed to savor the taste and feel of her. All too soon, the kiss came to an end.

"Is that spontaneous enough for you?" Triumph gleamed in her eyes. She breathed in shallow breaths.

"Spontaneous. It straightened me out. Cleared up something I always wondered about."

"What is that?"

"Just how far lawyers are willing go to prove a point."

They laughed.

"Well, it is my job to win arguments."

"Oh, you won." Admiration burned inside him. She upped the ante on their flirtation. Now, he knew with full certainty that the attraction was mutual.

"And, as much as I would love to stay here and debate with you, I have a meeting." She grabbed her purse from the table and stood. "I'm late."

He rose from the booth. Looking into her smiling face, he couldn't resist a teasing comment. "Oh, the kiss and run type."

"Apparently so," she said, looking as pleased as punch.

"Well, thanks for the drink and thanks for the other thing." He meant every word of it.

"Goodnight."

"Goodnight." He watched her departure, looking forward to their next meeting and the surprises it would surely bring.

One Life to LiveŠABC
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