His warm, friendly smile was welcoming. His eyes were an endless sea of crystal blue. And Evangeline recognized him immediately, a smile crossing her face.

“Well, if it isn’t Evie Williamson!”

“Well, if it isn’t Johnny McBain!”

“How are you?” They both asked simultaneously and then laughed. John gestured to Evangeline, inviting her to answer first.

“I’m fine, John. How are you?”

“I’m good. Can’t complain.” Nodding, he took a sip of his beer.

Evangeline’s eyes were immediately drawn to John’s full glass, instantly reminding her of what she was going to do before she saw him.

“Well, it must be nice. I’ve been waiting here for at least 10 minutes for my martini.”

John gave a light laugh and looked at the bartender who was still struggling with orders. “Oh yeah, that kid is new. You should have your drink by the end of the night.”

“Wonderful!” Evangeline replied with a smile, her voice full of sarcasm.

John returned the smile knowing she was being sarcastic. He remembered she had that certain spunk about her. “So, Evie’s back in Llanview. Alex mentioned you were moving home.”

“Yeah, well did my brother also mention that he has yet to install my entertainment center?”

John laughed and took another sip of beer. “You know how Alex is.”

“Oh, of course I do. Next to his drafting plans, everything else in the world is secondary,” Evangeline commented with cynical certainty.

Cautiously, John began, “He’s not that bad. I mean, yeah, he can become a bit obsessive about his job, sometimes…but you know that no matter how much he loves being an architect, he loves Sabrina and the kids even more. And he loves his sisters just a much.”

Evangeline skeptically raised an eyebrow at his comment. It was rather endearing actually. John was still coming to his best friend’s defense, just like he always had when they were younger. Some things never change.

“Tell that to my entertainment center,” she finally replied knowing full well that John was telling the truth.

They both laughed. The bartender finally handed Evangeline her martini. As Evangeline opened her wallet, John stopped her.

“Hey, don’t worry about it. I’ll get it.”

“No, you totally don’t have to do that, John.”

“Really, it’s not a problem. I don’t mind. Consider it your ‘welcome back to Llanview’ gift.”

She laughed. “You mean I come all the way back home from LA after eight years, and a drink is my gift? I know you can do better than that, Johnny! We go way back!” she concluded, hitting him lightly on his shoulder.

“Hey, you caught me off guard! I didn’t have time to prepare!” He said laughing with her.

Evangeline, still enjoying their banter, looked at him for a second, seizing him up. She then conceded. “Okay, fine. But next time I owe you a drink.”

John grinned. “I’m holding you to it.”

Evangeline returned the grin. “Okay, well I’d better get back to my food and my friend. I’ve been waiting here for so long; Lauryn probably thinks I left her.”

“Tell her I said hello. It was good seeing you, Evie,” John said continuing to smile.

“Yeah, same here, John. I’ll see ya.”

“See ya.”

Evangeline began walking away. Then, in mid-step, she stopped and turned around.

“Hey,” she said, tapping John on the shoulder. She found him still hanging around the bar. He turned to face Evangeline. Naturally, he smiled upon seeing her.

“Hey,” he greeted her once again.

“As I was walking away, I realized I didn’t say thank you for the drink, so ‘thank you.’”

Yeah, Evie Williamson was back in town. Just as sassy as she was courteous. Just as he remembered. “You’re welcome.”

Evangeline smiled back and nodded. “Okay, great. I’ll see you around then.”

“Yeah, see you around, Evie.”

Evangeline arrived back at her table. She had a smile on her face, though it went unnoticed by Lauryn.

“My God, girl! Did they send you to Russia to get the vodka?”

Evangeline laughed at her friend’s comment. “No, not quite. There’s a new bartender up there that has no idea what he’s doing. But I did run into someone during my five year wait.”

“And who would that be?” Lauryn asked, her interest piqued.

“Johnny McBain! It was great seeing him. I haven’t seen him in such a long time.”

“Aaahhh, the Chief of Detectives. I bet it was good to see him…from the front and especially from the back,” Lauryn stated inquisitively with a devious look on her face.

Chuckling, Evangeline answered. “No Lauryn, it’s not like that. Come on, he’s Alex’s best friend! To me, he’s just the same ol’ John.”

“Yeah, well that “same ol’ John” is fine as hell!”

“Lauryn!” Evangeline exclaimed. “Talking like that, you’d think you were a single woman.”

“And talking like that, you’d think you were blind!”

“Whatever Lauryn! Regardless to my eye sight, I am definitely single. You, on the other hand…”

“Technically, I am too.”

“Oh come on! You and Aidan are practically married.”

“Honey, I’m in a relationship -- not blind! I know how to appreciate a nice, fine piece of…work, like the Lieutenant.”

Evangeline playfully rolled her eyes at her best friend’s remark. Lauryn had a bad habit of justifying her lust for all attractive men by saying that they were “the earth’s candy.” She felt like she was just doing her humanly duty by stopping to appreciate “the sweetness.”

“Here we go…” Evangeline mumbled, knowing that Lauryn was just getting started.

“Evangeline, it don’t mean a thing if I ain’t got that ring.”

Evangeline didn’t respond. She began to divert her attention to the bar, knowing that having this conversation was pointless.

“Look,” Lauryn said, placing her left hand in front of Evangeline’s face. She began wiggling her fingers. “I don’t see a ring here, do you?”

Evangeline moved Lauryn’s hand away. “Lauryn, I swear we go over this at least once a week.”

“Exactly! And every week, I’m still without a diamond to keep my ring finger warm.”

“Okay, so why don’t you move to Pine Valley, or why doesn’t he move here? That’s the main issue, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I guess. But I love it here in Llanview and his business is thriving in Pine Valley.”

“Well, it sounds like you two need to do some serious compromising if you want your relationship to be the way you want it to be.”

“What I want right now is another drink. I do believe that a gin and tonic is calling my name,” Lauryn said getting up from the booth.

“Good luck! Hope you know how to make it yourself or know the way to England.”

“Trust me, love,” Lauryn began in her best British accent. “I’ve never come across an Englishman that I couldn’t handle!” she finished with a smirk, obviously referencing her relationship with native Englishman, Aidan Devane.