"I can’t believe you’re actually leaving."
"Well believe it," she responded blankly.
John looked at her. There she was trying to appear as if void of emotion. She couldn’t possibly stand before him and not feel anything. He still had strong feelings for her. Hell, he still loved her. He wondered if she really didn’t love him anymore. John didn’t want to believe that, especially after everything they’d been through together.
"I hate this, Evangeline. I hate this…this feeling."
He began running his hand through his dark brown locks. He hesitated for a moment as if searching for the appropriate way to describe his feelings precisely.
"I hate to feel the love between us die," he finally said, resting his hands on his masculine hips.
Evangeline began shaking her head in disbelief. How did he have the nerve to stand there and say that?
"John, the love between us died six months ago. You know it and I know it. We’ve been through this. It’s over," she said turning to walk away, disposing of her coffee in the open trash can.
John tenderly reached for her arm, catching her hand in his. "I know…I know it’s over, Evangeline," he began. "But please, just hear this and then I’ll go," he said pleading with her.
Evangeline didn’t respond, but she didn’t move away. Was this the plea, the recognition she’d been wanting? Even though she knew they had no future together, she wanted to believe that her time with John wasn’t in vain. He’d always have a place in her heart. Would she occupy a space in his?
"You gave me more to live for, Evangeline, more than you’ll ever know," John said looking at Evangeline with love, sorrow, and regret in his eyes.
Evangeline gazed at John with the same emotions in her eyes. At one time, John and Evangeline were the premier couple in Llanview. Full of fire and passion. Their relationship had been through the ringer, everything from happy times to life and death situations. And through it all, they remained together. To top it off, their much envied romance began on an innocent dare.
So many times they were in sync, yet before they ended things six months ago, they were always out of sync. She wouldn’t allow herself to go down that path, to feel the pain of her broken heart yet again.
"John don’t…don’t do this to me or to yourself. We know how this story ends."
She looked at her hand still linked with John’s and realized how long it had been since she felt his familiar touch, since she’d admired his handsome, strong hands.
John stepped closer to Evangeline. He noticed her hair hanging down over her face. The urge to see her beautiful features over took him, taking it upon himself to tuck her tresses behind her ear. He then tenderly cupped her cheek.
In that moment, John realized and accepted what was happening. He knew that this would be their last embrace.
He noticed all things around him as if time stood still. Silence. No movement of people, no sounds of rustling leaves, no birds chirping. He and Evangeline were alone in that moment. John was mentally burning the image into his memory.
She was so incredibly attractive with her stunning good looks, intriguing personality, and heart of gold. At one time, she was his and all was right with his world. That time seemed like a century ago. Yet he still dreamed about her. Every time he lay down to go to sleep, he saw her. Her face was a constant.
Evangeline didn’t back away from John’s touch. She turned into his hand that cupped her cheek. And though everything inside of her told her to move away, she didn’t. She missed his comforting and gentle caress and she knew this was the last time she’d be this close to him.
"Why can’t we overcome this wall?" John asked softly. It was a rhetorical question. He knew the answer. They both did.
John and Evangeline were engaged to be married. In the early stages of their courtship, everything was new and exciting between them. The little problems in the beginning were just stumbling blocks. They loved each other and that’s all that mattered.
John later proposed and neither of them could be any happier. They were soul mates and were destined to be together. But then it all got to be too much. They were often working on opposing sides of cases, he being the Chief of Detectives, she being the lead defense attorney. They couldn’t learn to leave their work at work, well John couldn’t. He was a cop, and 95% of the time he was in "cop mode," giving cases top priority over everything, including Evangeline.
Evangeline felt that John was becoming more and more distant, and that did nothing to help her overcome her fear of marriage. She’d seen one too many divorces in her life and she promised herself that she’d do everything in her power to not be like those other couples, to not be like her own parents.
She remembered how torn up her mother was when things ended with her father. Though she loved John with all of her heart, she refused to put herself through that. Sometimes, love just isn’t enough.
Evangeline looked into John’s crystal blue eyes and saw that he was close to tears. John always held his feelings close. He was never the type to be outward with his emotions. Seeing the tears in his eyes, she knew that he still loved her.
She lightly ran her thumb across his cheek. She still loved the masculinity of his chiseled Irish jaw line. Leaning forward she met John with a tender kiss on the lips.
John had wanted to kiss Evangeline for so long. He missed her lips, but he hadn’t forgotten how they felt. They were as soft and delicate as he’d remembered. He dreamed of this moment, but he knew it wouldn’t last.
He had a sad, reminiscent look on his face as the kiss ended. "I’ve dreamt of kissing you again every single day for the past six months," he began, shaking his head knowingly. "The only difference was that I wanted you to kiss me out of desire and not consolation."
Evangeline didn’t respond. She honestly didn’t know what to say. She kissed John because she wanted to. She did miss him and she still loved him. But John was right. The kiss was consolation. She knew it was over, no matter how much she wished things were different. She had to protect herself…her heart.
"John…" Evangeline said softly, looking away from him.
"You know," he began, not realizing he interrupted her. "It makes me so angry ‘cause I know…" He stopped before completing his thought as though trying to figure out what he wanted to say, exactly how he needed to say it. "I know that in time I’ll only make you cry," he finally said after running his hand through his hair, resting his hands on his hips.
Evangeline noticed the look on his face. She’d only seen it once before and that was when they’d first started seeing each other. Evangeline was going to walk away from their relationship. John asked her not to give up on him. The look of intensity in his eyes made her believe in him. He had that same look of intensity in his eyes at this moment, but it was mixed with the sorrow of knowing that their relationship had ended.
"John, our relationship ended because of the both of us. There were things we both should’ve worked on."
"Well why didn’t we fight to work on those things? We meant the world to each other," John said.
"Or maybe we just thought we did," Evangeline responded dryly.
"That day six months ago when you broke off our engagement, what went through your mind? Did you say, "this can’t happen to me?" Did you rush to your phone to call me?"
"John, why are you bringing that day up? After we got into that huge argument at Rodi’s, I knew it was over. I knew we couldn’t go on like that no matter how much we loved each other," she said, pausing for a moment. She didn’t want to get into this with John, not today. But unfortunately, the can of worms had already been opened.
"John, you don’t get it. I don’t think you ever realized how serious my fear of marriage was. But I was willing to overcome my fear because I loved you," she said, once again pausing wanting desperately not to become overly emotional. "I guess I should say I wanted to believe I could overcome my fear."
John reached out to touch her. Evangeline quickly put her hand up to stop him. "But you did nothing to calm my fears. Like I said, our relationship ended because of things we both did. I let my fear of our marriage failing get in the way. I shouldn’t have expected you to read my mind. You were always working because it’s who you are. I began working more just to keep myself from thinking about you and our lack of communication. In the end, it was easier to walk away. Better safe than sorry."
"Yeah, better safe than sorry. It’s always been that way with you, Evangeline."
Evangeline didn’t respond. She shook her head and gave John a knowing look as if to say, ‘you still don’t get it.’ She began walking away.
"So, was there a voice in the back of your mind saying maybe you didn’t know me at all?" John blurted aloud.
Evangeline stopped dead in her tracks, turning around. "Yeah, John. I did hear a voice but it was telling me just the opposite. It told me that in fact I did know you, maybe just a little too well."
She took a few steps forward towards John. "John, I know you loved me. I know that you still do and you know that I still love you. But I also know that you love your job. That’s what you’re about. It’s who you are. For you, being a cop is as natural as the air you breathe. I can’t compete with that, John."
John didn’t respond. He knew she was speaking the truth. John wanted to change for her but the truth of the matter was that he couldn’t. And he knew he’d have to live with that fact for the rest of his life because there would never be another love like Evangeline Williamson.
"I’ve gotta go. Take care of yourself, John."
And with that, Evangeline walked out of John’s life forever. He walked back over to the bench he sat on earlier.
The bells in the church tower chimed and it was like the sounds were burning clues into his heart. If only he’d expressed himself to Evangeline and showed her what a priority she was in his life. If he’d only told her that together they could get through anything. But he didn’t and now John realized what he had, what he’d lost, and how now she’s gone forever.
He thought back to the day Evangeline ended their relationship. He remembered her soft brown eyes that were consumed with sadness and the memory of her sighs declaring "It’s over…It’s over…"
John unintentionally allowed a tear to escape, falling down his cheek. The life he’d hoped for himself and Evangeline would never be. That dream was over. Sometimes love just isn’t enough. This indeed was their last goodbye.