So excited to be posting my first story on here. Yay!
I don't own these characters because if I did you best believe OLTL would not be cancelled and JoVan would have been endgame all the way. Can I get an amen on that?
The story IS mine and I have no problem with anyone printing it for their personal use or reposting it on other sites as long as you ask me first and give the credit where it's due. Ask and it shall be given to you! Unlike, the devil Frons over at ABCDummy who was asked many times to back JoVan and save OL and didn't give a fig. LOL.
I posted this back in `06 on the John and Evangeline Archives site. I've tweaked it just a tad, but it is 99% the same.
The songs inspired in the first chapter is Frankie J's amazing Don't Wanna Try and an oldie but goodie I Don't Know How To Love Him by the incomprable Helen Reddy.
I have been a fanfic writer of different fandoms since this genre of writing started and that was when I was thriteen (almost fifteen years ago!) and it's how I open the creative juices to work on my own orginal fiction.
I've been a fan of the chamber for almost four years now and I love the stories that come one here. I'm excited to do my first posting! I was kind of intimidated after having lurked on these board for the past four years. So many great writers on here need to be published like Mamba, Omni, Token, etc. that it can really put you off your sqare. LOL. Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
...How I wish things would have
Happened so differently
I tried to say this many times
But still you couldn't see
"I just don't want you to think that I can't handle this. This thing...this...us," the statuesque beauty stated matter-of-factly. Looking into the eyes of her lover and seeing the passion that lay right behind the icy blue orbs, was not going to deter her from the discussion this time. She had no question in her mind that he wanted her. But anyone could want. It was a rudimentary skill acquired during infancy and honed during playtime. She needed to know more.
The Irishman looked at the woman who stood before him. She was a mixture of intelligence, passion, and courage. Three things the detective always found intriguing in a woman. She was as much of a mystery to him as she claimed he was to for her. He wanted to know everything he could about her and yet there was still a part of him that seemed insistent on holding back. This was the part of him who could understand why she gave him the time of day. Why she stuck around when it was clear he could not stick. Why couldn't he do or say the things that the woman before him seemed to need? It was so simple and he was a simple guy who craved and believed in simplicity. Don't complicate uncomplicated things.
In his heart, he knew what he felt for the beauty was so much more than anything he'd ever felt before-even with Caitlin. One would have to be dead not to see what made her special and practically perfect. Perfect for him. It seemed, however, every time the words wanted to tumble blindly out of his mouth and from his heart, a force deep within his soul snatched them from his throat. Or maybe it wasn't really that deep. Maybe his mind was just ignoring what his soul already seemed to know. The point was that whatever he could or couldn't say, he had to know that she was always going to be there. Maybe it was selfish of him and maybe he was doing all the taking and none of the giving, but he didn't care.
"Listen," he started softly, "I'm not saying there isn't a chance for more. Every day spent with you is like a breath of fresh air. Yu make me feel things. Things I thought were long gone. It's just-"
There was a sharp slice of laughter that cut him off. He watched as she rolled her eyes and pushed a lock of glossy dark chocolate hair away from her flawless face to reveal a smooth and elegant neckline that begged to be devoured by a mouth. Not just any mouth. His mouth. He'd seen her do it hundreds of times since they became a couple; the little flicker of a hand spoke volumes about her confidence, experience, and intelligence. But the simple movement alone sent shivers down the detective's spine.
"Boy was my mother right," she laughed again, this time a tinge of bitterness skimming the edges.
The detective looked at her impatiently. Her only flaw was that she always thought she knew what he was thinking before he could say it. Fine. Most of the time she did know but she wasn't always right. He tilted his head slightly to the side as if to get a better understanding. "Wait. What...what?" He didn't know what she was about say, but he was sure he didn't like where it was headed if she brought her mother into the conversation. The woman never liked him from the moment she met him.
"She said: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?'"
At the last comment his eyebrows could have risen three feet so was the look of shock and annoyance on his face. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" he asked, his voice rough with bubbling anger.
Maybe she had gone too far but she needed to see his response. She had to know if all it was was just this sexual force that kept them coming back to each other time and time again, or if it was more than that. "It...doesn't mean anything," she offered weakly.
She picked up her tailored gray Bill Blass jacket with the matching purse off the back of his desk chair and made a move towards the door. The detective, however, was not going to let it go that easily. His ivory pale hand reached for her slender honey dipped fingers. Every time he saw the contrast, it blew him away.
"No, you said it and I want to know exactly what you're implying here."
"Come on John. You've heard the expression before. It's just that I've made it so easy for you. When we're together, I just can't seem to control myself and I practically forget anything I was raised to believe. That maybe there's something more to just the physical aspect of a relationship and when you put that before the emotional connection, things don't really go as smoothly."
John McBain couldn't believe what he was hearing and from someone as forward thinking as Evangeline. "Don't tell me you're ashamed. This is a new millennium. It's not a crime for two consenting adults to be intimate with each other."
"Hmmm...you ever notice how the more notches ‘consenting adults' carve in their bed posts, the more they can't commit to a serious relationship? All I'm saying is that a new millennium doesn't equal no boundaries."
"Don't preach to me Evangeline," he warned. "I don't need to be saved."
She let go of his hand. The lawyer in her was well aware of her senses when he touched her in any way and understood that it was a case she could never win. She was sprung, but she would only ever admit that to herself. The key was to not let him see just how much she was. "I'm not trying to pull some self-righteous epiphany on you. I'm no angel or evangelical for that matter, despite my name. But maybe there is some truth to what the Good Book says."
"Evangeline," he said her name again. Was he not making himself clear? "I'm not taking you for granted. Me not being able to handle more right now has nothing to do with the fact that you're sleeping with me under these circumstances. We both agreed that for now that's what we both wanted and that we would add strings along the way whenever we decided to."
"Yes, detective, we did," she nodded stoically. They had agreed to taking things slow during a dinner that brought out a side of the closed off man of blue she had never seen before. Then, it sent waves of pleasure up her spine knowing that he was willing to take their relationship further. "But now I'm retracting my previous statements."
"Do you ever give the legalese a rest?" he challenged.
"Do you ever get rid of you Bruce Wayne complex?" she fired back.
The spit fire answer made him smile for a brief moment. "Touché. So what are you saying? You know? What is this all about?"
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. It was almost as if she were willing herself to say the words she had been practicing all day. Just get in there, say it, and then leave, she thought. She opened her eyes once more and met the pair of cerulean eyes that were suddenly so masked beyond repair, the strength to say it was suddenly there. She knew what lay behind the mask; had seen it come briefly to the surface every now and then. It was why she, a woman of strength, had let things carry on the way they had. But she knew he was capable of more and she was tired of trying to help him come to that conclusion.
Evangeline nodded her head as more of a confirmation to herself and simply replied, "I want us to not be together anymore."
"What?" For a split second, it felt as if the world around him had shattered into a million shards of glass and he had been thrown carelessly on top of the wreckage. The blood through his veins turned to ice and his heart skipped a beat.
She saw the reaction and would have been satisfied with it if it didn't hurt so much. She wasn't the kind of person who capitalized on other people's pain and definitely not when she had to cause it. But the fact that he looked at least a little hurt did sooth her aching soul somewhat. As much as she knew John wouldn't get it, she knew what she had to accomplish today. It was a matter of her well-being, which for once, she was going to put first.
"It's the best thing to do. We both want different things right now and I'm not the kind of girl who sits by the phone and waits for some guy to call or be in control of my emotions. I mean, that's one thing I'm taking from the millennia past and present."
"I'm not trying to hurt you Evangeline."
"No, I know." And she did know that. "Not intentionally. But that's not what this is about. You say you need time but you don't have a problem with sleeping with me while you figure it all out. And I'm just thinking that maybe my heart and body is worth a little more than this."
"Hey, listen-" he started
"No," she held a finger to his lips; lips that she had spent many hours secretly obsessing about and tending to. She would miss those lips she thought. Instead of acting on her own mouth's desire, she shook her head and smiled. She wasn't going to cry. She'd rather die than cry in front of him over this. "I'm not blaming you. You didn't take anything I wasn't willing to give. It was a mistake to get involved. Well, at the least the way we did. Look, I should get moving."
"Don't go," the detective pleaded with a strained voice.
"I think I should. We can still talk." She shrugged as she backed up and went for a coy grin but she knew the hurt in her eyes were as obvious as the moon shimmering through John's window. "We can be friends maybe." The minute she heard the lie come out of her mouth, she knew that she was making the right decision. She was not a liar and she wasn't going to be a pathetic woman who lied to herself constantly to make herself feel better just to hold on to a man in any way she could for fear of being alone.
Evangeline turned towards the door to make her exit when John asked vehemently, "Can we?"
The question forced her to stop dead in her tracks. Her head whipped around to face him. Her silky hair followed. Her eyes met his in a questioning glare. He walked over to her. He needed to invade her space to make her see how much of a unit they had become. His hands outlined her collarbone, one of her many sweet spots that he discovered when they first became a couple.
"I normally don't do to friends what I've done with you. What I want to do to you every time you're in the room and I see that beautiful skin of yours waiting to be touched." She knew he was going for her neck. The way his beard would tickle against it drove her crazy and she knew he knew that too. He kissed it softly at first then began to suckle gently. Yes, he was playing dirty and it wasn't fair.
As much as Evangeline wanted to give into the pleasures of her flesh, she knew nothing could be solved that way. Not anymore. She backed away and put her arm out to create some distance leaving a still passion-glazed John in confusion.
"So you make me feel desired and beautiful and sensual and those are great emotions. But do you want to have a relationship and a future of some sorts? Without being coerced or making me feel like I am pushing you to do something you aren't ready for?" He looked at her for a moment and the started to speak but Evangeline put up a hand. "I don't want you to answer that. I just want you to think about it and then understand why your hesitation is an answer enough for me. And why it is at all that I even have to ask you."
"You're a liar," John said softly.
"Excuse me?" Evangeline asked with chagrin.
"You preach to me all the time about expressing my feelings and being honest. But let's just get down to what's really bothering you. You're afraid."
Evangeline was stunned. It was an answer she didn't expect. And she wasn't going to let it slide. "Afraid? I-"
"You're afraid that I'm with you because I can't have Natalie because Cristian is back. That you're a fall back."
"Oh, you're way off base here." Evangeline claimed with an attitude that John had never seen before. And damn it if it didn't turn him on even more. He loved that about her. She would never just take what he said and run with it. She always challenged him no matter what.
"Oh, am I?"
"Yes, you are. Listen, I know you and Natalie shared something before what with losing people you both loved and all that and, of course, her sick way of enabling you to play the hero at any cost is much to be noticed. I'm not clueless-far from it-but Natalie has nothing to do with me. Quite frankly I find her to be an immature, selfish, brat faced infantile victim, who doesn't know her foot from her ass. But that's neither here nor there. You might have residual feelings for her and that's fine. Because when you're making love to me you scream out my name and not hers. So at least in that area, I feel that I'm pretty confident. Your heart, that's a different matter. But trust me John, I'm way over the point of thinking about whether you think of her while we watch a movie together or when you kiss me or call me. I don't do the jealous thing very well."
John was man enough to know when he stood corrected. "Okay fine," he acquiesced, "Then what's the problem? Why are you making this bigger than what it is?"
"You're a man John so maybe it's not for you to understand. But just know this: when all you can do is think about me-I mean being with me, needing me, but most importantly loving me-then maybe we can talk. I know you don't love Natalie, not the way she might love you, but this is beyond her. No, this is about you. You and your feelings and fears. Whatever they are, it's holding you back from all of the wonderful possibilities that lay before you. And that's sad John but...not sad enough for me to want to stick around and get my heart broken over it time and again. I see now that I can't help you. That whatever this is you've got to do it on your own. I've got to be woman enough to let you go to grow on your own time if that's what you need."
"So that's it. You're just going to walk out of here and not even try," he stated rather than asked.
She cocked her head to the side and folded her arms. Maybe if she looked that part of fierce she could actually channel the attitude into herself. "Detective, I'm doing something I've absolutely never done before. I'm making a decision for myself based on what's good for me. I'm not just leaving it to you to decide whether I deserve you as is. I am fair, however, so I'm also going to let you do what's good for you too. I'm putting the decision in your hands as well. What you do with that power is up to you, but I'm not waiting around and I'm not going to give my body or heart to you anymore while I wait. Let's just call it a spiritual awakening. See you around detective."
"Wait," he pleaded.
Evangeline stopped and turned around to face him once more. "No, John. That's all I seem to do. Why don't you do the waiting this time?"
"This isn't going to change anything for me Evangeline. I'm still going to want you and I'm still going to want to take things slow."
The lawyer laughed but her eyes, however, were full of disappointment. "Don't flatter yourself in thinking that I'm trying to bait you. Despite my behavior in your presence I have a little more dignity and respect for the both of us. I'm not a desperate whore."
John‘s eyes went dark again, his mouth thinning at her words. "Don't ever think that I think that about you."
"You just did. But here's the deal John. No matter what you decide, this woman is moving on with or without you. I'm not asking for marriage, hell, I don't even believe in it. But I want a commitment of some sort. And all the little strings you tie on our wrists and things you say to me, it doesn't always compute with the things you do."
There was a long silence there. As much as she needed to leave, Evangeline waited just to see if he would say what she wanted, no, needed to hear. Not that she would believe him at that point. Still, she wanted to see if he was even going to try to make an attempt. But the words never came. She shrugged outwardly and sighed inwardly.
Evangeline took a final second to compose herself then, with her back still turned to the only man she ever loved and a hand still on the door, said softly, "I don't want to try anymore John."
The door shut softly behind her, a little click snapping John back to reality. To him, it sounded like the soft click before a bomb explodes. He was left alone in the middle of his bedroom with nothing but his own thoughts.
Don't wanna try
Don't wanna try
‘Cause all we do is fight
And say the things
That hurt you bad
To where we both begin to cry...
"Van! Hold on!"
Evangeline looked up to see her good friend Nora Hannan Gannon Buchanan Rappaport running up to her, her briefcase tucked firmly under her arm, cell phone in one hand, and coffee in the other. She smiled sincerely at the sight of friend who always seemed to be juggling everything but a beach ball. Thank the Lord she wasn't crying. She didn't feel like explaining how her life was going down the tubes at the moment and she definitely didn't want to explain tears.
"Hey Nora. I'm sorry I didn't hear you the first time."
"Or the fifth time for that matter," the red head said as she tried to catch her breath.
Evangeline put on a smile and shrugged. "I'm sorry," she apologized once more. "I was just a little..."
"Yeah, that would be it." Evangeline had learned in her two years of knowing Nora, there was nothing she could hide from her friend.
"Ah," Nora replied sympathetically. "Is this about a man who happens to be a police detective, tall, dark, gorgeous, and a little mysterious?" she asked with a grin that implied she knew everything that wasn't going on between the two love birds.
"Oh, you know me so well," Evangeline replied sullenly.
"Well, my friend that's what I'm here for. I was just in the neighborhood speaking to Rex Balsom about a case involving Ultraviolet. C'mon. Let's go get a bite to eat at Rodi's and talk about why men suck." Giving Evangeline a quick pat on the back, she ushered her towards her car.
"You too huh?" the young lawyer inquired with a raised brow as she slid in the seat beside Nora.
"Most definitely," the D.A. grimaced after she turned to her friend, put the key into the ignition and rode off.
"So you really gave him an ultimatum? Just like that?" Nora asked right before she bit into her double deluxe cheeseburger. Her friend's forehead became wrinkled as she stirred the straw in her soda.
"Nora, I don't know what came over me. All I can tell you is that I was just so...frustrated," Evangeline sighed slightly annoyed at herself for being such a...well, for being such girl.
Nora laughed. "Men can do that to you."
"Tell me about it."
"What I want to know," Nora began, "is how this even came about?"
Evangeline recalled the moments before she entered John's apartment in her head and took a deep breath. "I was sitting in my office when John called me to remind me we were on for dinner and a movie tonight. The conversation was fine; there was nothing particularly wrong about it. I told him I would be there in a few minutes and he said okay. I hung up, got in the car, went to his place and just sat there for a moment parked. And I kept thinking to myself, why am I so upset? All day there was this foreboding presence, this nagging feeling that I had something on my chest and I needed to get it out. And I realized that these past few months I have become the kind of woman my mother and I would laugh about. The kind that takes whatever is given to her because she fears being alone or rejected. And that's just not me. And I hated feeling that way and John for making me feel that way. I hated myself even more for allowing it. So, I just got out the car and went up the stairs and knocked on the door and just told him everything I was feeling. And then there was this point where I backslid and I actually could hear myself say, ‘I don't want you to think that I can handle this thing...this us.' I was so disgusted with myself Nora because I was lying to myself and to him. I couldn't handle the way we were. It was driving me up the wall. So that's when I gave him the ultimatum."
Nora nodded with a smile. "I'm proud of you. You finally did what you had to do for yourself. That's a good thing even if it had to come from a bad situation."
"I guess so," was all Evangeline could muster. Now that she had done it she did feel better, but the rush and emotions behind it were starting to fade and the enormity of what she had done was starting to sink in. If she was honest she was missing him already.
Putting her burger down, Nora brought her chair closer to Evangeline for more privacy. In Llanview, whispering wasn't enough to keep people out of your business. "Okay, don't take this the wrong way-I'm a lawyer so devil's advocate is like second nature to me-but where is this coming from? What do you expect to get out of this?"
Evangeline shrugged and leaned in closer to her friend. "Look, I realize that I'm no Virgin Mary. I'm not Heidi Fleiss either. I can honestly count on less than one hand how many men I've been with. Obviously it's a little too late for all of that, but I need to know where he stands on us. And sex? Well, sex just complicates everything. It makes it easier for us to not talk about what the real issues are. Call it self-preservation or paranoia or whatever, but I don't want to feel like a tart anymore."
Nora gasped slightly, the shock on her face plain for all to see. She didn't think John McBain was the kind of man to go there. "I don't believe it. Did he say you were?"
"No! No." Evangeline exclaimed. "God no. He didn't say that at all. I don't think we'd be speaking of him in present tense if he had. I told him it was more of my fault than anything. And I wasn't lying when I said that. I am the one that had everything to give and I gave it all away for free knowing how he was the whole time. It's not like he lied to me about anything. So I really can't be mad at him for taking what I put out."
Nora's brow rose and she shook her head with disbelief. "Evangeline, you didn't do anything wrong. I mean I had no idea you were so..."
"Convicted? Religious? Evangeline offered. "John said pretty much the same thing. Believe me I'm not. I believe in God and the Bible and all that goes with it but that's not where this is coming from. Well, not wholly anyway which I'm sure disappoints my mother to no end, poor woman. But really it's about this feeling that I have. This feeling that he...this is crazy." Evangeline shook her head as if the simple motion would make the thoughts in her head disappear.
Nora smiled having the slightest suspicion she knew what Van wanted to say but wouldn't out loud. "Don't back down now. C'mon and say it."
She hesitated. It's not that she was afraid to tell Nora what she was thinking. She was afraid to tell anyone. Putting it out there in the open, in the air, was sort of finalizing it. It couldn't be taken back once it was said. It would be actualized and in reality. But, Evangeline supposed, if you couldn't be real with your best friend then who could you be real with? Evangeline gathered her courage, and went for it.
"I don't know. What if he's the one? What if he's the person I want to spend the rest of my life with? And if he is he'll never realize it if he thinks he can take me for granted or if he keeps holding on to this past of his that just brings him down. If I accept his behavior and enable him to treat me like I'm an outsider to his feelings, then my opportunity for a lifetime of happiness is gone. Whoosh. Right out the window. Because I wouldn't be happy in a one sided relationship. I'm not trying to play games; I'm just trying not to get hurt."
I don't know how to love him
What to do
How to move him
I've been changed
Yes, really changed
In these past few days
When I've seen myself
I seem like someone else
She waited for Nora to say something. Anything. It took a minute but the surprised look on her face had said it all. "I...I had no idea that you felt this way. You, the woman who speaks against the forevers and L words of romance."
Evangeline bit into a french-fry shaking her head as she chewed. "Isn't it crazy? It's just what if he is the person that could change my life? I have such strong feelings for him and I've never felt this way about anyone before. Period. Everything I thought about love and every time I thought I was wasn't truth. That was not what love was. For the first time, I feel like I want to love someone and that I can very easily."
"And you think by staying away from him you will make the relationship stronger?" Nora asked, not sarcastically but a little skeptical all the same. She wasn't sure that this was the best way to handle the situation but Evangeline was a smart girl and she knew John better than she. If there was anyone who could figure out anything it was the pretty lawyer sitting across from her. And given her track record she was no one to really be giving out advice.
"No, I think by cutting off the entity that brought us together it will give us both an opportunity to see if this thing we have is just basic chemistry or if it's something else. If we have something that stands aside from terrific sex. I'm simply taking out a major element in our relationship and seeing where the cookie crumbles. If I fall in love with him, I don't want to be the only one doing the loving, the giving, and the talking. If it's not love for him then I still have the opportunity to get out now. Sure, I'll be a little worse for wear but it won't be as bad as me keeping up this farcical pursuit of a non-existent thing."
Nora really sympathized with her friend. She understood where she was coming from, she really did. It reminded her of all the times she had kissed all of those frogs thinking she had found her prince. But deep down, she had chosen those frogs subconsciously because she didn't want to fall in love. She wanted to be independent and unruffled by any man.
I don't know how to take this
I don't see why he moves me
He's a man
Just a man
And I've had so many
In many ways
He's just one more
She squeezed Evangeline's hand to show her support. "It was bound to happen. You couldn't avoid love forever."
Vangie put her hand up in consternation. "Don't say it. I don't know if I'm ready to hear it yet." She paused giving Nora a once over. A light bulb went off in her head. "Let me ask you something."
"Ask away. That's what I'm here for," Nora replied leaning back in her chair.
"Is it wrong for me to feel this way? About John?"
Nora raised a brow, clearly confused. "Why?"
"Because it's just different. We're different."
Should I bring him down?
Should I scream and shout?
Should I speak of love
Let my feelings out
I never thought I'd come to this
What's it all about?
Nora thought she understood where Evangeline was going with this. "Oh, you mean because he's white? I can tell you what it was like for me to be in an interracial relationship, but every couple is different. I guess the most general advice I can give you is if you ignore the few outsiders who are ignorant then it's no different from any kind of male-female relationship."
"No, not that," Evangeline admitted, "Well, that is a thing. I will admit to never having been involved before with a man who wasn't of color but that's not the issue."
"Oh, you mean because he's a copper and you're a lawyer?" Nora asked.
Evangeline sighed for what seemed like the millionth time since starting a relationship with McBain. "That would be the one. We've already had some problems because of him being with LPD and me being a defense attorney."
Nora shook her head in disagreement. "Number one, that's because the biggest factor in the situation was the only other redhead-which is not real by the way-in town whose name begins with the letter N, as in Nutcase. Number two, it's only a problem if you make it a problem. And there are great examples of people on opposite sides of the spectrum that made it work."
"Anyone I know?" Evangeline asked skeptically. She was sure there wasn't.
Nora smiled smugly. Her friend thought she came unprepared. Little did she know. "Well, yes actually. You're looking at her."
Evangeline held her french-fry filled hand midair in confusion. "You and Bo? But you're not together anymore."
"Thanks for pointing out the obvious," Nora replied facetiously. "I know, but Bo was LPD and I was a defense attorney and we made it work. Believe me, the reason we aren't together has nothing to do with him being a cop and me being a lawyer."
Evangeline saw this as the perfect time to take the focus off of her. "So what's stopping you from getting back together now?" she asked innocently as she wiped her hands on a napkin.
Nora rolled her eyes at her friend's attempt to be sly. "What are you doing counselor? Changing the subject?"
"Obviously not very well," laughed Evangeline. "But don't be evasive. Answer the question."
This time, it was Nora's turn to sigh. "What's to tell? Bo and I are having a clashing of the heads right now. He's just being pig headed about everything these days."
"Would it have anything to do with you and a Mr. DA Daniel Colson?" asked Evangeline.
Nora flashed blinking hands to indicate her hitting the target. "The one and only. I just don't know why he's so upset. He's with Paige and I'm with Daniel. We're both in really good places right now. I don't know what his problem is."
Evangeline couldn't control the sudden laughter that was bursting to escape her mouth. She doubled over in giggles managing to eke out an, "Are you serious?"
"What? Why-why are you laughing?" Nora asked in a rather annoyed tone. It was one thing to be the enlightener but quite another to be on the receiving end of enlightenment.
"Is something funny?" Nora asked cutting her friend off, her foot tapping impatiently.
Evangeline finally controlled her giggles and gave Nora a pat on the shoulder. "Oh please. Nora, I know that you can't be that blind."
"Apparently so," Nora replied sucking her teeth.
"I'm not trying to be offensive but open your eyes! It's right in front of you. Bo is jealous of you and Daniel and-"
"That's ludicrous!" Nora exclaimed with an undignified shriek.
"And you're jealous of Bo and Paige," Evangeline continued with a shrug..
Nora shook her head emphatically and threw her balled up napkin on the table. "Now you've definitely have gone off the rocker. I think your new found position in romance has caused you to have a temporary occipital meltdown."
"I'm just calling it like I see it. Every time you see Paige and Bo together you look like you want to...well, hurl for lack of a better word."
"Hurl? What is this, fifth grade? Look, I am not jealous of Bo and Paige," Nora said banging her hand on the table a little too hard to convince Evangeline's mind. In fact, Nora sounded so sure of herself that Evangeline knew her friend was anything but.
"Okay. Whatever you say," was all she said still smiling and looking highly skeptical. Too skeptical for Nora's liking.
"No I'm serious Van. Whatever feelings that Bo and I have had for each other have come and gone. We'll always have a connection. We have Matthew together and that was the best thing to come out of our tragic relationship but, other than that, there is nothing there."
Evangeline knew better than to press the matter. Nora's face was starting to match her cropped do and that was never a good thing. Evangeline placed her white napkin in the middle of the table to signify a truce. "You're right. I was wrong. Faulty observation."
"Faulty observation indeed. Besides, I have Daniel now and he makes me extremely happy." Nora said it as if she was trying to, once again, reassure herself of her own words.
"I don't doubt that he does," was all Evangeline dared to offer at this point. She knew how far to push Nora and she would say she pushed enough.
"Right. I'm happy for Bo. And the whole idea of me and him it's just so ridiculous."
"I believe that you've said that already."
"I'm just reiterating. Smart aleck." Nora said with a frown.
Evangeline was going to drop the subject until she saw that fate indeed had a very good sense of humor. And excellent hearing. Evangeline smiled her trademark half-grin in the direction of Rodi's entrance then leaned into Nora. "Hmmm. Well, then you'll be glad to know that Paige and Bo are coming our way. I think to say hi."
"Oh," was all a less than thrilled Nora could muster.
"Smile, Nora. You wouldn't want to give them the wrong impression. After all, you just absolutely love the idea of Bo and Paige honeymooning in the Bahamas," Evangeline said slyly as she watched her friend watch the couple come toward them.
The redhead scowled at her friend. "I'm suddenly beginning to think that this friendship is not going to work."
Evangeline laughed, finally happy that she wasn't the only one having trouble sorting out her feelings in the romance department. "Oh, don't be that way. You know that I love you."
"Bo! Paige! What a pleasant surprise," Nora said as they approached the table.
"Nora, Evangeline. How are you tonight?" Bo smiled at his former wife and her friend.
The smile seemed genuine. As if it had gone to his eyes. Nora had to admit she hadn't really seen him smile like that in a long time.
"I'm doing well Commissioner. You're looking pretty spiffy tonight for Rodi's," said Evangeline trying to keep the mood light and quirky. Nora was her best friend after all and seeing her in distress-even for a moment-was not something Evangeline wanted. It was so rare to see Nora off her hinges for even a second that it always took her by surprise.
Nora was determined, however, not to let anything get the best of her. She smiled brightly at her ex-husband as he responded to Evangeline's question.
"We're just grabbing something to eat before we go on our date. Thought we'd settle down with some good ol' fashioned grub."
Paige laughed. "I know how much Bo appreciates a beer and a steak and so do I."
Evangeline and Nora glanced at each other and mentally rolled their eyes. Paige loved steak and beer as much as Dorian Lord loved Viki Davidson. Paige saw the quick glance the two women before her sent to one another and her smile froze.
"Well, I think the two of us should let you ladies carry on with your conversation. Bo and I have tickets to the theatre to see La Bohème," Paige said, her frozen smile still on her thin, baby pink lips.
Nora chuckled and gave Bo a sly grin. "Ahh. And I bet you can't wait to get there, huh Bo?"
Oh yes, Evangeline thought as she watched them share another inside joke, these two still have it for each other and they don't even see it.
Paige didn't catch Bo rolling his eyes as he was behind her but she had had enough. With one more polite-but frosty-goodbye, she grabbed Bo's hand and walked off.
Nora rolled her eyes and crossed her arms against her chest. "If that woman prefers steak and beer as opposed to caviar and wine, then my name is Pamela Anderson. I tell you, who does she think she's kidding? La Bohème," she repeated in an icy tone similar to Paige's. "Bo would rather shoot himself in the foot than go to an opera! He doesn't even like to go the movies most of the time. He'd rather stay in and watch them or a good football game."
Evangeline took a bite of her burger careful not to spill any on her DKNY suit. She watched as Nora attacked her mash potatoes with a passion. She looked her friend dead in the eye and said, with a straight face, "Gee, Nora. For someone who could care less about what Bo does and who he sees, you certainly seem to still have a pulse on his tastes."
Nora sniffed the air as if detecting an offensive odor, her face drawn tightly. "I'm not even going to dignify that with an answer."
Evangeline simply nodded, knowing what was coming.
"Except to say that Bo and I were married. You just don't forget about a person's characteristics, their likes, and dislikes just because you aren't together anymore." Nora argued.
Evangeline held up her bottle of Bud Light and simply replied, "Hmm."
Don't you think it's rather funny?
That I should be in this position
I'm the one who's always been
So calm so cool
No lover's swoon
Running every show
He scares me so...
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