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She felt her body tingle all over as she stared at the new couple. It was odd. She didn't' realize just how much she wanted to be with him until it seemed as though she would never be with him again. Feeling a hand on her shoulder she turned and gave Nora a tight smile.
"How are you doing kid?"
She simply shrugged. "I know that I should be over this. I mean this isn't anything new. I knew that John and I were over... at least in theory I knew... but I guess seeing them together... announcing their engagement... it's just... it's final."
"I know that it's hard but you know you're better off." Nora was trying to be helpful. She wanted to be there for her friend. And in all truth she really did believe that Evangeline was too good for the introversive detective. But the heart didn't always understand the mind. Sometimes the heart just wanted what it wanted and there was no reasoning with it.
"Yeah... so much better off... if that's true then why do I feel so empty without him in my life?" She asked honestly. She didn't understand how you could be better off without someone when the time that you were with that person was one of the happiest times of your life.
"You just need time." Was Nora's answer.
She watched the couple from across the room. Natalie basking in the afterglow of finally getting what she wanted and John by her side like the white knight he so desperately wanted and needed to be. She exhaled a deep breath, feeling her mind and body grow tired with just looking at them. Downing the rest of the complimentary champagne that was being thrown around like water she set her glass down on the table, grabbed her purse and headed out onto the terrace. "I need air." Was her only response before she exited.
Across the room...
He could feel her eyes on him and it took everything in himself not to acknowledge her presence. Would it always be this way? Would he always be able to know where she was like it was second nature? He swallowed hard as he smiled at something Vicki said but he wasn't really paying attention. It was Natalie's hand in his that kept him rooted to the spot beside her. Looking up he saw her exit out into the night and felt the pull to go to her.
Turning to Natalie he motioned that he would be right back. She gave him a look of concern but he quickly dispelled it with a kiss on her cheek and then he was gone.
She felt the cool winter breeze blow across her skin and wished she had brought her jacket with her. But she had been in flight mode when she left and wasn't thinking straight. But now that she was faced with the harsh weather she felt this uncontrollable urge to go back for it and yet she couldn't look at the happy couple anymore.
The feel of satin on her bare shoulders made her slightly jump. Turning she smiled at Todd as he gave her arms a gentle rub before coming to stand beside her.
"Hey... I didn't think you would be at this farce!" He remarked resting his arms on the railing.
"I was actually having dinner with a friend when they came in and blocked the exit. I thought it would look bad if I just ran for the nearest escape route... So I stayed. What about you? What are you doing here?" She asked.
He shrugged. "I wasn't going to... but it's important to Vicki and well..." He let the sentence trail off both of them knowing that he would do anything for her.
"Walk over hot coals..." She stated absently.
"Yeah... whatever. Don't let her know that. She might use it against me." He sighed as he rubbed his hands together. "So... are you going to do that catty woman thing that you women do?" He asked.
"What?" She asked.
"Oh don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. You know that thing that you women do! Don't act naive!"
"First off... I do know what you're talking about but the fact that you thought I would resort to something like that... well it's sad and beneath me!"
"I agree... I also have no idea what that guy was thinking! But then again I don't think much of detectives in the first place. Why you ever thought he could keep up with someone like you is beyond me. I mean first off you're way too smart for him."
"You think the bottom of my shoe is way too smart for him."
He shrugged. "I'm not denying it."
"Todd you know you don't have to bash him just because things didn't work out between us... although I do appreciate it."
"Hey don't try and make me out to be a nice guy. I would insult the guy even if he were your betrothed!"
"Well it's always nice to know that you're consistent." She stated with a smirk.
"I do my best."
There was a moment of general silence before he spoke again. "You know if you want... I can have him taken care of... no one would have to know." He stated.
She sighed. "First off I'm a lawyer and that would be illegal, second Natalie would be crushed. I don't think her losing someone she loves twice would be good and third... having said that... I am thankful that you care so much." Leaning in she knocked her shoulder into his and gave him a genuine smile.
Reaching out he brushed his fingers through her hair and sighed looking over her face. "You know... If I didn't have Blair and two kids..."
"Yeah... yeah... yeah... that's what all the great guys that are unavailable say to me." She laughed trying to lighten the mood. The sound of John clearing his throat made them both look up.
She tensed up on instinct and Todd simply sighed in agitation. But John ignored him and continued to stare at her... and her back at him almost as if without consent. When Todd went to move she reached out and grabbed his hand. Looking down he nodded. "If you want... I can stay." He stated.
She stood there for a moment and then turned to look at him. Staring him in the eyes she sighed. "No... no I'm okay... I want to congratulate him... I owe him that."
"No you don't." He stated firmly looking her in the eyes and meaning it.
She sighed... "I owe it to myself to be able to do this... I want to."
"Whatever." He remarked before walking away. Went he got to John he simply sighed. "No backsies!" Was all he said before going back inside.
They stood there for a moment staring at each other from opposite sides of the terrace before Evangeline broke the silence. "I guess congratulations are in order... I don't have anymore champagne though... left my glass inside."
Walking over to her he put his hands in his pockets and stood stationary in front of her.
She felt her stomach do flip flops as he approached her and wanted desperately to call Todd back. She wondered if she screamed if someone would come for her. But that would be too damn dramatic.
"How are you?" He asked and instantly felt like an idiot. "Wait... I didn't mean to ask..."
"I feel good... don't I look good?" She questioned.
He nodded. "You look beautiful."
"Not like someone who got her heart broken." She stated with a small smile.
"Evangeline..." He began but she shook her head.
"Don't... I don't want to do that... I really don't." She remarked tiredly. "I really am happy for you. I never thought that you would get married again... I mean I thought that you would but... I mean... well... okay you really should stop me from putting my foot further down my throat." She stated with a soft laugh.
"I know what you mean." He remarked.
"Do you?" She asked seriously. "I mean do you really know what I was going to say?"
He hesitated only for a moment. Not because he didn't know but because he wasn't sure that he should go there. "You thought that you and I might..."
She nodded. "Is it really that hard to say?"
"No... not at all. There was a time when I thought that you and I might take that route."
"No you didn't."
"Yes...I did. You know I think a lot of the reason why we didn't make it was because of all the things that weren't said."
"Whose fault is that?" She muttered.
"Mine... I suppose... but yours too."
"I was always honest with you. I always told you how I felt and what I was thinking."
She stood there for a moment in shock. The way he just called her a liar as if it were okay to do so. As though he were right to do so.
"Excuse me? I think you need to back up detective!"
"Oh don't try and deny it. You think that I didn't have feelings for you? You think that the only reason why I came to your woman of the year awards ceremony was for Natalie..."
"I never said..." She began but he kept talking.
"I came there for you! I came that night to support you and be there for you because I loved you!"
"And the fact that you thought I would do that to you. That I could be that way to you... Do you know how that made me feel?"
"Wait a damn minute! Where are you getting this? How do you even know about what I was thinking that night?" She questioned.
"Do you deny it?" He retorted. When she didn't reply he nodded. "You see... you always want what you want when you want it. I had so many things that I wanted to tell you that night... so many things that I wanted to share with you. Even after you were kidnapped and we found you... I know that I didn't do what you thought I should but..."
"NO! I know you did what you had to do."
"Do you? I mean you say that but do you believe that?" He asked honestly. "Because I don't think you mean it. You say it but I think you put more weight on what happened that night then you want to admit."
"What... what do you want me to say?"
"The truth! I want the truth! I mean what else is there to lose? Talk to me and tell me. Stop trying to be the noble, honorable one and be angry and upset if that's what you want damnit because if that's the truth then be that! But stop walking around here trying to be a damn martyr it's not working for you! I mean look where it's got you!"
"Go to hell! I don't want to martyr myself. That's not what this is about!"
"Then spell it out for me! Talk to me."
"I... I... was hurt and angry... and..."
"and disappointed." He offered.
She shook her head trying to dry her eyes. "No... no I wasn't that. I wasn't disappointed... I was... I was... scared."
"Scared.... of what?"
"Of... everything. I was scared of losing you... I was scared of the way you could make my heart stop just by looking at me. Or the way I could feel you in the room before I saw you. I was scared of the way every time I looked into my future you were always right there... you were in my future John and I never knew if I was in yours... or if you even thought about your future..."
"Why didn't you just ask me?"
"When? When should I have asked you? We were either ripping each other's clothes off or in this transitional phase and I didn't want to press any issues."
"That's not an excuse... that's not a reason not to talk to me... not when you always wanted me to talk to you. You can't have it all be one sided... just because you say 'I love you' first doesn't mean that you get to stand on the sidelines for everything that happens after that."
Leaning her back into the railing she stared at him. Exhaling deeply she stared down at her feet trying to concentrate on anything other than the feeling in her stomach. "You're right." Inhaling a deep breath she raised her chin to the sky and let out a small humorless laugh. "God why... why is this happening to me?" She felt him come to stand beside her resting his hands on the railing and looking over at her profile. Feeling his eyes on her she turned to him. "I really want to blame you for everything.... I mean do you know how much easier it is to be able to feel the way I do if I can just say that you are the sole reason why we aren't together anymore?"
Laughing slightly on an exhalation of breath he nodded. "Is it wrong for me to say that I'm glad you can't blame me for everything?"
She felt a small smile tug at her lips. "You are still at fault."
"I know that."
"BUT! I know that I did my share of mistakes... more than I want to admit right now... but I do know."
There was a silence that followed as they each thought back on their relationship and how it could have been changed.
"When you were hypnotized.... you were saying all the things that you were thinking that night of the Women Award's Dinner..." She looked over at him not understanding. "We started from the moment right before you were grabbed... I guess you were in the wings on stage.... looking over your speech and you were nervous."
"I know... I remember."
"Yeah well... while you were in that trance or whatever you told the doctor what you felt that night... what you were thinking... about everything... about me... Natalie... that warped thing of a triangle that we were in." When he saw recognition light up in her eyes he nodded and then turned to look out into the vast night. "Do you have any idea how that made me feel? Hearing you doubt me like that... I mean to hear you think that..."
"What was I suppose to think? I mean you're not into things like that... and she was being threatened and you just offered to go with me. What was I to think?"
"You were to think that it was your night... It was your night and I was your man! I wanted to be there for you. I wanted to share in your joy!"
"You went there to protect Natalie! Don't lie to me!"
"I'm a cop, Evangeline! I'm on duty every hour of every day! I may have been looking out for danger but the reason why I was there was for you! I went there because I wanted to listen to your speech. I wanted to see you smile and I wanted to be the one that you came to when you walked off that stage. I wanted to tell you that I loved you... that Loved where we were going... and what it could lead to! I wanted to share those things with you."
"It's so easy to say those things now! Now that it doesn't matter anymore." She remarked softly.
"That's a lie and you know it." He sighed. "Do you know why I'm with Natalie?"
"Because she needs you to save her and you love doing it?" She offered.
"No... because she allows me to take care of her."
"I don't need to be rescued."
"That's not what I said."
"It's the same thing!"
"No it's not damnit! That's it! That's what I'm talking about. You think that allowing me to do things for you, is allowing me to take over your life. I'm not trying to ride in on my white horse and save you. I just want you to let me be there for you every once in a while. I want to know that you need me but you can't allow yourself to need anyone! You think that you have to face everything on your own and in a relationship that's not the way it works. You're always telling me that you need to know how I feel... that you need to hear the words well this is what I need. I don't need to rescue you Evangeline, I just need to know that I'm needed by you."
"You were needed... you were so needed. But you can't expect me to just count on you... not when every time I turn around you're running behind Natalie... telling her things like 'I love you'."
"I never told Natalie..."
"Exact phrasing isn't the issue. I don't want to go around with you about that. What I do want is to get this straight once and for all so we both can walk away from it with no misunderstandings between us." She stated so tired of being stuck in this limbo that they were in. She hated it. It was like walking a damn tight rope! "I just want to know... was there ever a time that you didn't doubt our relationship?"
He stared at her for a long time... "The day that you were leaving to make that speech at your old college... we were standing on the platform waiting for your train, and we were talking... you looked up at me and smiled and there was so much light in your eyes... and for that moment... I knew in my heart that you and I were going to make it."
She didn't even feel the tears on her cheeks until he reached out and wiped one away. She exhaled deeply as she felt his hand massage she flesh of her cheek. Closing her eyes she just allowed herself to be in the moment. "Why can't I stop loving you?" She asked softly.
The words were so soft and so sudden... and they came as such a surprise to him. He wasn't even sure why they were a surprise. It wasn't as if he didn't know that she loved him, she said it more than once. And yet for some reason he believed that she had stopped.. As though she could just turn her emotions on and off just at whim. As if once something was decided then that was the way it would be. Perhaps that was because that was the way she handled life. It was always all or nothing with her and although that was what turned him on it was also their downfall... he wasn't a man that could do all or nothing... not anymore... not like this.
"Maybe for the same reason why I can't stop thinking about what could have happened for us." He whispered hoarsely before grabbing her chin and directing her lips towards his mouth. The kiss was insistent and urgent much like their relationship. There was this desperate need to be close... as close as possible. And both of them could feel the heat between them... the passion that would never go away.
She felt as he moved his hand from her chin to the back of her neck as the other hand encircled her waist and pulled her body to his. Running his fingers through the back of her hair he took in her breath... her scent... her very being.
And then just as quickly as it began it was over. She pushed him away placing her fingertips to her lips. They still tingled. She looked up at him with sad eyes. "Don't..." The word felt like it was being ripped from her body.
"I don't know why... I shouldn't have..."
"No you shouldn't have... We have to... we have to stop this." She gestured between them to emphasize her point. "This thing between us... as strong as it is... it's not going to change anything... I'm not ready to... and you... you can't." She remarked with a sad smile.
Placing his hands on his hips he looked down at his own feet shaking his head slightly. "You're right... I'm sorry... I really am."
"Me too." She whispered.
"I'm going to uh...I'm going to go back inside." He gestured with his hand already taking a step towards the door.
"I'll be there... in a minute." She mumbled practically incoherently turning away from him. Bracing herself on the railing she held onto for dear life. She listened for his retreat and could only bow her head once he was gone. The tears were on her cheeks, the sobs filling up her throat. There she remained...