PART FOUR

Evangeline stood in her spacious dressing room inside the Plaza Llanview Hotel. She looked herself over in the mirror and couldnít help but smile. She looked like a princess and more importantly, she felt like one.

She thought back to 18 months prior, and her decision to go with John. She remembered the conversation she and John had during their 90 minute drive to Atlantic City. Specifically, she thought back to Johnís question.

"I really want to be with you, Evangeline. I hope you know that. But I want you to want us too. Are you sure about this? Do you believe in your heart that you made the right decision?"

Evangeline sat quiet for a moment and looked at John. She took his right hand in her left. "Iím sure I want to be with you John. We owe it to ourselves to see if we have the connection we think we do. I couldnít bear to marry Alan-Michael in a few hours and always wonder what I couldíve had with you."

John smiled. "I donít have any doubts. I think weíre going to be pretty happy together."

Evangeline smiled back. "I think youíre right, too." She then let out some nervous laughter. "Iím gonna have so much explaining to do."

John lightly sqeezed her hand. "Iíll be with you every step of the way. Remember, have no fears," he said giving her his million dollar smile and a wink that gave Evangeline the support and assurance she was certainly going to need.

Once they got to Atlantic City and got settled in their hotel room, Evangeline began making phone calls to break the news. She started with Alan-Michael. Evangeline felt horrible because it wasnít like heíd done anything wrong. She just felt a stronger connection and attraction toward John. She told Alan-Michael that he didnít deserve to be in a relationship, much less married to someone who truly didnít feel the same way about him.

Evangeline didnít tell Alan-Michael that sheíd cheated on him with John, or that she left town with John. That wouldíve been rubbing salt into the wound. Alan-Michael didnít deserve that.

Deloris was the next person to receive a phone call. Evangeline felt her mother took the news even harder than Alan-Michael. She then called Greenlee and the rest of her bridesmaids. Everyone was shocked but all agreed that if she were experiencing any doubt then it was best to call the whole thing off.

Evangeline also made it a point not to tell anyone that sheíd gone away with John. She just let everyone assume that sheíd gone to Atlantic City by herself to sort things out. Deloris and Greenlee were ready to come to her rescue, but Evangeline never disclosed her exact whereabouts in the city.

Later that night, John and Evangeline had a long talk. Amazingly, they were on the same page regarding how to proceed with their new relationship. That shouldnít have surprised Evangeline, but in a weird way it did. The connection she and John shared was special and rare. If she wouldíve decided to marry Alan-Michael, she wouldíve settled for being with someone whom she loved, but wasnít in love with. Spending the day with John, she knew she was where she was supposed to be, furthermore, where she wanted to be.

After their talk, John and Evangeline fell asleep on the sofa in each otherís arms. They had been up for hours as the day had been a long one for both of them. Decisions had been made, promises had been broken, and new life had begun for John and Evangeline.

John awoke the next morning and looked at his watch. It was 9:15a. Evangeline was sleeping peacefully on his chest. He took a moment to admire her. He hoped with everything in him that she wouldnít wake up and change her mind. He was certain that he and Evangeline were perfect for each other. He was also certain that he was falling in love with her.

John wanted to get up, shower, and get them something for breakfast. However, he didnít want to disturb Evangeline as she slept. He knew that she hadnít gotten much sleep the past couple of days.

He picked Evangeline up and moved her to the bed. He laid her down and Evangeline sleepily awoke.

"Hey," she said in a sleepy voice.

"Good morning," John said with a smile. "I moved you over to the bed. I know you need more sleep."

"Last night was the best sleep Iíve had in weeks."

John smiled. "Well, Iím going to shower and then Iíll go out and get us some breakfast," he said leaning down, kissing her forehead.

Evangeline reached out and took his wrist. "Donít go, John. Not yet," she said. The words came out as if she were fearful heíd changed his mind about pursuing their relationship.

"Iím not going anywhere. Iím just gonna shower."

Evangeline smiled at him. She pulled him down on top of her. John smiled back at her.

"Itís a brand new day for us, Lieutenant."

"That it is, Counselor. Brand new day with brand new beginnings."

John kissed Evangeline ever so passionately. Evangeline returned the kiss with everything she had in her. For the first time since that eventful night in Mary Barnesí basement six months ago, John and Evangeline made love. This time, there wasnít anything to feel guilty about, no one elseís feelings needed to be considered.

Their lovemaking was magical. Evangeline felt everything she tried to force herself to feel with Alan-Michael. She felt whole and complete. She felt like sheíd been gone away and finally returned home. Being with John was Ďhomeí to her.

In that moment, she finally realized and admitted to herself what she previously tried to deny -- she was falling in love with John McBain. She was falling in love with the man he was and looked forward to loving him for a lifetime.

There was a knock at the door.

"Come in," Evangeline said, stepping away from the mirror.

"Daughter? Itís your mother," Deloris said poking her head in the door.

Evangeline turned to face her mother. Deloris put her hand to her mouth and began tearing up.

"Please donít cry, Mom," Evangeline said with a smile, walking over to her mother. "I havenít even walked down the isle yet."

"Honey, youíre so beautiful. You truly look like a princess," Deloris said giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Evangeline stood in a white strapless full ballroom gown. The bodice had intricate diamond beads sewn in and the skirt was full and flowy. Her hair was in a gorgeous up-do, and a tiara sat upon her head.

"Oh thank you, Mom. John makes me feel like a princess."

"I know he does honey. He really is a wonderful man. I know you two will be happy together."

"Thank you so much, Mom. Your blessing means the world to me," Evangeline said giving her mother a hug.

Her motherís blessing meant so much to Evangeline. She knew her mother had grown to love Alan-Michael. She also knew that Deloris took it very hard when Evangeline called the wedding off. When Evangeline told Deloris that she was involved with John, her mother was not accepting of their relationship.

For months after the split with Alan-Michael, Deloris tried to get Evangeline to give Alan-Michael another try by saying that John was just a rebound guy. Deloris didnít begin warming up to John until nearly five months into their relationship. She now loved him and sincerely believed that he was indeed the right person for her daughter.

"Look at you, Evangeline. Your father would be so proud," Deloris said, pulling away and admiring her beautiful daughter.

"I know he would, Mom. I know heís looking down at us right now, smiling."

"I think youíre right. And I know he would love John."

"Yeah, Daddy would so love John," Evangeline commented. She and her mother shared a smile and a small laugh as they each thought about how their lives would be today if Stephen Williamson were still alive.

Evangeline looked at her mother and noticed the hint of sadness in her eyes. Though Stephen passed away five years ago, it was still hard for Deloris to deal with at times.

"Mom," Evangeline said, taking her motherís hand. "I know how much you miss Daddy. I miss him, too."

Deloris smiled at her daughter. "I know you do dear. Your father was a very special man, the love of my life," she said looking down at the floor. "But," she began, looking up, patting her hand on top of Evangelineís. "This is your day! Youíre getting married! My baby is getting married!" she exclaimed.

She and Evangeline shared a gleeful grin. Deloris went into her handbag. She pulled out a jewelry box.

"Mom, whatís in the box?" Evangeline asked, her interest piqued.

"Well darling, itís your wedding day. And of course, you need something old to wear."

Evangeline opened the box. "Mother, theyíre beautiful!"

"Thank you, baby. These are the first pair of diamond earrings your father ever bought me. He gave these to me on our first anniversary. And sure he bought me other things over the years and I loved everything, but these mean so much because they were the first. I thought theyíd look beautiful on you today."

"Mom, Iíd be honored to wear your earrings. They are absolutely beautiful."

Evangeline picked up the dangling diamond earrings and put them on. She walked over to the mirror. Her mother followed.

"Thank you so much, Mom. If John and I can have half the happiness you and Daddy shared, I know weíll be happy."

"Honey, I have no doubt that you and John will share nothing but happiness."

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