PART ONE – “The First Taste”

Don’t wish it away
Don’t look at it like its forever
Between you and me
I could honestly say
That things can only get better

And while I’m away
Dust out the demons inside
And it won’t be long
Before you and me run
To the place in our hearts
Where we hide

Evangeline sat in her spacious bathtub listening to the soothing sounds of Sir Elton John coming from her radio. Picking up her glass of pinot noir, she took a sip. She held the glass a minute, savoring the taste, before sitting it back down on the side of the bathtub.

The delicious grapes danced over her taste buds. “Mmmm,” she said, sinking lower into the tub. This was nice. A glass of red wine, a perfectly warm bubble bath, and being serenaded by Sir Elton. It was also a nice way to end the work week. Lately, she had more cases than she knew what to do with. The nightly bubble baths had become her escape from work, as well as the rest of her life.

Wait on me girl
Cry in the night if helps
But more than ever
I simply love you
More than I love life itself

And I guess that’s why they call it the blues
Time on my hands
Could be time spent with you
Laughing like children
Living like lovers
Rolling like thunder under the covers

“And I guess that’s why they call it the blues,” Evangeline mouthed, singing along. The bath was so relaxing, she thought about staying in there all weekend, soaking away all her troubles.

As she listened to the lyrics, she thought about her now defunct relationship with John McBain. Some of the words were ringing true and she didn’t want to spend any more time on that chapter in her life. So much of her free time was spent thinking about John and it wasn’t healthy for her. She knew exactly where she stood in John’s life, and she knew that they were in two different places, whether they wanted to be or not.

Evangeline was resting her eyes when she was rudely disturbed.


She opened her eyes. So much for that relaxing bubble bath.


Great! Layla was yelling for her once again. What the heck was wrong?

“Lay, what is it?” Evangeline asked still remaining put in the bath tub. Knowing Layla, she just wanted her to open a jar of peanut butter.

“Just hurry up and get out here, Vangie!” Layla insisted, more demanding this time.

Against her better judgment, Evangeline stood up, grabbed her towel and stepped out of the bath. This had better be important, yet something told her it wouldn’t be.

Since Layla arrived in Llanview, she’d been staying with Evangeline. The Killing Club Case had finally been solved and Hayes Barber was now serving a life sentence in Statesville. However, Layla had no intention of leaving her sister alone in Llanview. She continued hostessing at Capricorn, obviously planning to stay a while. For some reason, Layla felt the need to protect her big sister. And while Evangeline loved having her younger sister in town, she wondered how much longer they’d be able to live together without ripping each other’s hair out.

Evangeline tied her towel around her, barely taking the time to dry off. She opened the door.


Evangeline walked down the hall.

“Okay, Lay, what did you want?” That was just like Layla not to answer. Evangeline immediately knew it wasn’t anything important.

She walked into her guest bedroom that Layla had turned into her own personal paradise. “Layla?” she said again. Still no answer. She was going to let Layla have it for interrupting her bath time.

“Layla Marie Williamson…you know, I got out of my perfectly warm bubble bath for you…”

Evangeline’s words trailed off as she walked into her den. Stopping in her tracks, she expected to find Layla, but instead she saw her heart.

John McBain sat on her sofa looking like he’d been there waiting for a while. He hadn’t been to her apartment in some time but he looked so natural sitting there, like he belonged. For so long, he did.

He looked great wearing a light blue t-shirt, dark blue jeans, and classic white Adidas Superstar’s with the black stripes. The blue in his shirt brought out the magnetic crystal blue in his amazing eyes. Those amazing eyes that she’d looked into so many days…and incredible nights.

He stood up immediately upon laying eyes on her. “Hi,” he said simply, hopeful.

“What are you doing here? Where’s Layla?” she asked strongly, forcefully. She willed herself to remain strong.

He heard what she was asking but he was taken aback by the sight of her. She was simply beautiful. This was the Evangeline he loved most. No make up, no frills, just natural. She had no idea how sexy she looked wearing nothing but a towel and her hair in a bun atop her head – all without trying. God, he wanted to get rid of that towel.

“John…answer me! Why are you here?”

He could tell she was pissed. Maybe this was a bad idea.

“Layla left. Something about meeting Adriana at Ultraviolet.”

Evangeline tried to remain calm. “Why are you here, John?” she demanded, still sounding pissed.

“I wanted to talk to you. I needed to see you,” he said walking closer to her.

“The Killing Club Case has been solved for weeks. If you needed to talk, you could’ve called.”

“I tried that, remember? You never returned any of my calls. Like I said, I needed to see you,” he said, continuing to walk closer.

“Don’t…” Evangeline put her hand up to stop him. “Don’t do this, John. We’ve been through this before.”

“Have we really, Evangeline?” he said, ignoring her hand, still walking closer. “It seems that we don’t do much of anything anymore. Almost like we’re afraid of each other.”

“John…” Evangeline could feel herself losing it. John was standing less than two inches away from her and she was getting weaker by the minute.

His scent was intoxicating her and she wanted nothing more than to lose herself within him like she’d done countless times before. But things were so enormously different now.

“I think you should go,” she managed to say weakly.

“Evangeline, listen.” John tenderly took her hand. He held it and looked at them intertwined. It was a perfect fit. The way it should’ve always been. Her caramel complimenting his olive, the way it was meant to be. He didn’t want to let her go. He had to tell her.

“I miss you, Evangeline,” he said, rubbing tiny circles with the pad of his thumb on the inside of her hand, almost massaging it.

While it was very relaxing, and a tad bit erotic, Evangeline knew that she didn’t want to fall back into this same pattern. The reason they were apart was because John couldn’t admit his feelings for her. He had a hero complex and while she was even somewhat willing to accept his need to always save Natalie Vega, she couldn’t and wouldn’t accept that he was never able to tell her he loved her. In her heart of hearts, she wanted to believe with everything inside of her that he did, but if he couldn’t say the words, then it all meant nothing. Evangeline knew that words and actions went hand in hand. One without the other made everything void.

Thinking about all of that was enough to bring her back to reality. Reality was that her ex was now standing in her den proclaiming he missed her and she was dressed in nothing more than a towel. This nonsense needed to end.

She took her hand back. “John, you really need to go. The Killing Club Case has been solved. I’m safe. There’s no reason for you to be here.” She began retreating back to her bedroom. “You know the way out.”

“I love you.”

The words chilled Evangeline to the bone. They echoed over and over in her head. Was she hearing things? She stood frozen in her bedroom doorway.

John walked back to Evangeline’s room. He saw her standing still in the doorway. He knew she heard him, and even though her back was facing him, he knew she was questioning whether or not she heard him correctly.

“I love you, Evangeline,” he said standing so closely behind her that he could smell the sweetness of the Flowers in Springtime scented bubble bath that lingered on her creamy brown skin. That was his favorite scent on her and she’d made it a habit of wearing it just for him. Was she wearing it just for him today? Was she thinking about him and what they meant to each other? Did she miss him as much as he missed her? The sexy, seductive scent drove him wild and nine times out of ten, they were guaranteed a wild night of endless passion just from the effect of the scent alone.

Evangeline gripped her towel with her left hand. A single tear fell from her right eye that she immediately used her right hand to wipe away. Was this really for real? She had long dreamed of hearing John verbally declare his love for her. Was he for real and if so, why now?

John tenderly ran his index finger along the back of Evangeline’s neck. She still hadn’t turned around to face him. He didn’t want to force her and he knew that getting her back would be an uphill battle. But she was worth it. He loved her.

“Why now, John?” she asked without turning around.

“Because I’m in love with you,” John stated simply.

“John, no!” Evangeline turned around to face him, finding the courage she knew she had. He wasn’t just going to declare his love for her and think everything was okay. She wanted to get to the bottom of this right now.

“Tell me why you can now say the words? How can you say that to me twice in the past two minutes, yet you couldn’t ever bring yourself to say that once in the past six months?”

“Evangeline…there’s so much baggage with me. I’m broken…damaged goods. Part of the reason was that I couldn’t believe you really wanted to be with me.”

She opened her mouth in protest but John stopped her. “Please, let me explain everything and then you can yell at me all you want,” he said with a small smile.

Evangeline didn’t smile back. She only stared in response. John continued, hoping she’d understand.

“Evangeline, look at you. You’re a beautiful, intelligent, and successful woman…and a leading defense attorney to boot. Honestly, what would you ever want with a cat like me? Yeah, I’m a lieutenant now but I’m still the same punk from the streets of Atlantic City. I didn’t get caught up in all that shady stuff but it just as easily could’ve caught me. Look at you and then look at me. I didn’t grow up with the fancy education, in the fancy neighborhood, driving the fancy cars. I don’t play golf, tennis, or polo. I don’t know anything about exquisite French wine. Hell, I’ve never even been out of the country,” he said with a chuckle.

Evangeline wasn’t amused. “John, I told you before that none of that stuff mattered to me. Why now?” she demanded, wanting a straightforward answer as to why he finally admitted that he loved her.

John got serious. He raised his right hand to brush a stray hair on Evangeline’s forehead. “When Barber took you from the Woman of the Year ceremony, I was so terrified. I never knew if I’d see you again alive. Then when I rescued you in the gym, I thought you were safe. But then he broke in here and I thought I could possibly lose you again. I tried to convince myself that you’d be safe if we weren’t together. But the truth of the matter is that you’re a part of me. If I’m not with you, I’m thinking about you. When I’m with you, I’m wondering what you’re thinking, if I can really make you happy.”

“John, I still don’t…”

“Evangeline, when I left the station this evening, I went back to my apartment. It was empty. It was void of the one thing I needed – you. I need you, Evangeline. I love you. I guess I finally realized that not saying it doesn’t make it any less true, and saying it doesn’t put you in any more danger. I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to you or me and I never told you what you deserved to hear, if I never told you the truth.”

John and Evangeline shared a long, intense stare. Their eyes did all the talking for them. So much was being said – new understandings, new emotions being shared.

“John,” Evangeline began, more calm. “I wanted to hear those words for so long from you. I wanted to believe you loved me but I needed to hear it. And for so long after you didn’t say them, I wanted to believe you had real reasons for not saying them. You know, the death of your dad, losing Caitlyn. But after a while, I became convinced that it was because you didn’t love me. And then with that psycho killer Hayes, after you saved Natalie first, I knew you loved her, not me.”

“That’s not so, Evangeline,” John said taking her hand tightly, willing her to understand. “I was in cop mode when I saved Natalie first. I had a split second to make a decision. It had nothing to do with love. She’d passed out and you were still fighting. I never said I was in love with her. I’m not in love with her.”

“Yeah, but John, you were so hell bent on saving Natalie from the killer even after I came back. I realize that you were just doing your job, but that was way personal for you, John.”

“You wanna know why I was so hell bent on saving Natalie? Why I was so hell bent on finding the killer myself?” John began forcefully, convinced she still wasn’t getting it. “It was because I didn’t want that lunatic to have another opportunity at taking you. I couldn’t rest until Natalie was found because I wanted that bastard to pay for putting your life in danger. I wanted to make sure that it never happened again.”

Evangeline carefully tucked a piece of John’s dark brown tresses behind his ear. She smiled at him, as if to let him know that she was fine.

“John, I’m okay. I’m right here, right here with you, right now.”

He raised her hand to his mouth and kissed it. “I love you, Evangeline.”

She smiled. “I love you, too.” She realized that was first time she ever said ‘I love you, too’ to him. Before, she’d always tell him she loved him and he’d never respond. Evangeline knew she wanted and needed to hear the words from John, but she had no idea how good it would feel to actually hear them. It was like a beautiful symphony that came from his lips.

John tenderly cupped her cheek and lowered his head down to take her in a breathtaking kiss. It was the best, most exquisite kiss they’d ever shared. All of their cards were now on the table. They knew exactly where they stood with one another.

The spectacular kiss turned passionate quickly. Evangeline snaked her arms around John’s neck, pulling him closer to her. John returned the kiss with everything he had in him, swiftly lifting her up, pinning her body against the nearest wall. Evangeline let out a sigh at his strength. Her bun had come undone on its own and John ran his hand through her gorgeous mane. She’d lightly bumped the back of her head against the wall but she didn’t care. She was with her man and he loved her. Right now, she needed to feel his love.

Apparently John needed her just as much, as Evangeline felt his member strong and large trying to break free from the confines of his jeans. Oh how she’d missed him! His manhood was trying to find its way home and Evangeline had every intention of guiding him there.

She had one leg lifted around John’s waist and he was working one hand up her thigh, all while he balanced her with his other hand sturdy against the wall. She let out a soft moan and so did he. His member throbbed for Evangeline’s attention, wanting to dwell inside her sugar walls. John wanted nothing more than to be inside his woman, loving her nice and slow.

The towel that shielded her from being exposed came undone. Evangeline didn’t notice, but John did immediately. The white towel fell to the floor and John followed it’s path in slow motion with his eyes. He looked over Evangeline’s body, tracing it with his hand, stopping to appreciate everything from the round mounds of her full breasts to the inviting curve of her slender hips. Even though this wasn’t anywhere close to his first time seeing her nude, this was the first time he’d seen her bare after telling her what she so desperately wanted to hear, what he so desperately needed to say.

Evangeline noticed that her towel had fallen. She also noticed the way John observed her body. He was studying her like she was a fine piece of art. When they made eyed contact again, she knew he’d seen her soul.

That made the whole experience so much more meaningful and purposeful. He needed her and he wanted her, but knowing their past, he didn’t want her to get the wrong idea.

“Evangeline,” he began, tracing the outline of her lips with his index finger. “I want you to know that I didn’t come over here to tell you ‘I love you’ for us to end up in bed. That wasn’t my plan.”

She smiled lovingly, knowingly. “I know. But plans change. I want you, John. I always have, always will...”