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.
"What's up with Molly?" Evangeline asked her colleagues James and Ethan while sipping on her latte.
In about twenty minutes, they were scheduled to conduct a breakfast meeting. Kent provided a valid excuse, he had a court session, but Molly neither called or sent any messages regarding her absence. Some days Molly kept up her best pretense of getting along, and other days there was no love lost between them.
"These few months, she has taken on a lot of cases," Ethan offered. "In addition to scheduling meetings with these clients."
"Or it could be that she's still uptight about Thomas choosing you to be second-chair, but that's between them and not you," concluded James bluntly.
"That decision caught me off-guard. However, I prefer to believe that Thomas is evaluating my ability to handle whatever tasks come my way and the stresses that come along with it."
"And for someone who has just recently started, I'm sold." James concurred with Ethan's assessment.
Evangeline smiled. "Thanks, guys. Still, we are all members of the same team. We must work together to succeed. Eventually, I must have a word with Thomas about this."
"Hey, Hey, Hey. Where is everyone taking off for the Christmas holiday?"
Tiffany Thomas, the team's Administrative Assistant, popped in with a tray filled with cinnamon buns, scones, mini donuts, and crepes accompanied with bread plates and napkins.
Ethan's eyes lit up. "Tiff you are spoiling us this morning," he said instantly seizing one of the cinnamon buns.
Tiffany's bubbly personality was infectious. Few had anything negative to say about her. She interacted well with her colleagues, and her work efficiency was a bonus.
"I thought I would give the best team at S & L an exquisite feast. Thanks, everyone for the presents and no I haven't opened any as yet. Humph strangely, the ice queen isn't around as yet. I'm glad; she would have gobbled up half of the contents on this tray."
Evangeline shook her head. "Tiffany..."
"What?" Tiffany feigned ignorance. "It's true, and everyone knows it to be so. So where are you guys going?"
James replied, "My wife and I have already booked a flight to New York. We're spending time with her family."
"Well, my laptop and I will be spending quality time together," Ethan sighed. "I'm a little behind on my case files."
"Oh, poor Ethan." Tiffany sympathized, tapping his shoulder. "You can join my family and me for a proper Christmas dinner, if and when you can."
"I'm flying to Llanview, PA. My best friend was kind enough to facilitate me with his private jet." Everyone went quiet and stared at her, fascinated.
James whistled and Tiffany said, "I wish I had a friend like that. And he's just a friend?"
"Just a friend."
"Imagine no hours of standing in long queues at the airport."
"Or listening to the endless arguments about who was first in line."
"Or if you were driving having to deal with the snow and traffic jams.""Don't forget the road rage."
"May I join you?" Ethan asked.
"Unfortunately, there is only room for one. Conditions usually apply with these types of favors," replied Evangeline with a sly smile taking a bite of her crepe.
"Are you as excited as I am?"
"Victor, I hope you are not overdoing it as usual?"
"Vange, come on. I haven't seen you in a while. Why shouldn't I get a teensy bit excited about seeing you, and Sam is too."
"Hmm-hmm. Are you using Sam for this purpose knowing how much I adore him?"
"I may or may not. I plead the fifth."
Evangeline giggled. "So how are things going with Jack?"
"Victor, did you hurt yourself?"
"My fingers got burned a little. I'm trying to cook some spaghetti."
Suddenly he heard a fit of laughter coming through the phone. He imagined Evangeline must have fallen off her chair in the process.
"Are you still there?"
Evangeline finally caught her breath. "Okay...okay...I'm good."
"My cook, Angela, gave me a few tips, and the penthouse hasn't burned down as yet okay."
It all sounded pretty odd to Evangeline. "Why did you need to ask Angela for cooking tips? Just order takeout like you usually do."
"If I can do something for myself, I will. Besides, it helps when I have Sam with me, and I can whip up a snack for him."
"Father knows best, indeed. I'm truly impressed. So how is that spaghetti going?"
"It's just about ready. By the way, I'm in the process of writing a novel."
Evangeline's ears perked to attention. "A novel? What is it about?"
"I'll tell you all about it once you get here."
"Victor, tonight you are just full of surprises."
Sunday evening and Victor was over at Llanfair for dinner. Full course meals took time, so he and Jessica retreated to the game room to play a round of pool. The blue-themed room featured a foosball, air hockey, and pool tables, leather chairs, and a built-in fireplace.
"Uncle Victor, stop saying that you are allowing me to win. You've been out of practice for a while now."
Technically, Jessica's assessment was on point. He didn't frequent the clubs or pool halls like before. Those places were Todd's arena, not his.
"Fourball corner pocket." Victor chuckled when she used to cue stick to indicate the play. "Mom is certainly pleased that you and Lynn are getting on so well."
"I'm sorry to inform you that Viki is barking up the wrong tree. Lynn is not my type. She's far from it." Jessica's cue ball bounced off the table. "I guess it's my turn."
Jessica tensed. "Mom has also invited Lynn over. It's going to be an awkward evening."
"Watching Viki attempting to play matchmaker will be fun," he smiled. "Lynn is my buddy. She's easy-going, but sometimes I think I overwhelm her. It's not like I'm looking for anyone at the moment. I'm still working on myself."
"Could have fooled me."
"What's that supposed to mean?" He questioned while chalking his cue stick. "I've been alone for long periods." "Be honest with yourself, Uncle Victor. Soon you'll want and need someone in your life."
He thought about it and then thought about it some more. "There will certainly come a day when I wake up and say I'm ready for all that. So far, no one in Llanview excites me enough into wanting a relationship."
"Then maybe she's not here, but someplace else."
"Possibly and that's all I'm saying." He smiled at her.
So she was finally back. The plane ride was short, yet oh so relaxing. From the comfortable seating to breakfast of french toast paired with freshly squeezed orange juice, it created a picture of dining out at a fancy eatery. All too soon the smooth ride came to an end when the pilot announced that they had arrived in Llanview.
"Hey, gorgeous!" Victor picked her up and spun her around.
"Nice seeing you too handsome."
They gave each other a quick smack on the lips then a prolonged embrace.
"Hmm, it's been too long."
They gazed at one another for a short while.
"It's been a hard few months not seeing you. You look amazing. I hate saying it but Washington has been good to you."
"You don't look bad yourself."
"Unlike last time," he chuckled.
"You always clean up well."
They happily strolled arm in arm; a short walk from the hangar to his awaiting vehicle. Evangeline's face lit up when she spied Sam standing next to Paul. He was clutching a small bouquet of white roses.
"Is that little Sam?"
"Do you remember me?"
Sam vigorously shook his head. "Evangeline, you are daddy's best friend."
"That's right," Evangeline beamed. "Are those roses for me?"
"Hmm...they smell amazing. I hope I can get a hug from you." Instantly Sam hugged her. "You are such a cutie," she said, kissing his cheek.
"Evangeline, daddy is taking me ice skating. Are you coming too?"
Victor quickly interjected, "Sam, Evangeline wants to relax after her flight. We'll go after Paul takes her home. Okay, buddy."
"It's okay Victor. I'll go skating with you guys. I'm sure you can find me a pair of ice skates somewhere. By the way, purple is my favorite color."
"Evangeline, you don't need to do this," he whispered by her left ear.
"Victor, I've got the energy. Besides, I want to spend as much time with you guys as possible. Who knows when we'll get this opportunity again."
The car ride to Angel Square was quite chatty with Sam providing Evangeline updates about the life of a four-year-old - his favorite teacher, best friend, the food he enjoys and on and on. Sam's iPad laid aside. Victor barely got in a word edgewise.
"Daddy and me have already decorated the Christmas tree."
"Oh wow. I need to see it."
It appeared that Evangeline was a natural around children. Later on he would chat with her after Sam had gone to bed that is.
However, once they exited the car and strolled over to the Llanview Center's outdoor ice rink, Evangeline's mood turned frosty like the weather.
"Do you need help with that?"
Victor was lacing up Sam's skates when he noticed Evangeline hadn't done the same with hers. Her mind seemed to be someplace other than where she was now. There was this faraway look in her eyes.
"Oh..." She stared down at them and quickly realized that her laces were still undone
"Ow Daddy, it's too tight."
"Sorry Sam. ...Where did you go just now?"
"Just got lost in my thoughts. ...Here comes trouble."
"Hey, Sam. ...Evangeline, I didn't expect to see you here in Llanview so soon. You look refreshed."
Blair wore a black, winter jacket over a grey sweater matched with blue jeans; a knitted wool cap covered a sleek hair bob style.
"And you look...the same."
"Whoa...Whoa..." Victor stepped in between them. "Evangeline, please take Sam unto the ice. I'll join you guys soon."
"Come on, Sam." Sam grasped her hand.
"Blair, what are you doing here?"
"Everybody comes to the center to ice skate. I just wanted to say hi to Sam. Is that such a crime? " She pushed her loose strands behind her ears.
"Then why create a scene with Evangeline right in front of Sam."
"Ms. Perfect gets under my skin, that's all. Sam is still a kid."
"He understands more than you realize."
"It's so strange that you remained such close friends with Evangeline after everything."
"Well, that's none of your business. Is there anything else?"
"I guess not."
"Blair, be happy in your life and keep out of mine."
When Victor joined them on the ice, he said, "Evangeline...I'm..."
She cut him off. "Let's not dwell on it.
Afterward, the trio enjoyed their time out on the ice laughing and playing a few games. Everyone's mood had changed for the better.
"Man I'm getting hungry. I can go for some turkey chili for lunch."
"And I want a Waldorf salad."
"What is it with women and salads."
Evangeline nudged his shoulder. "I can say the same thing about men and chili."
"Chili is a hearty meal while a salad is rabbit food."
"Whatever...," Evangeline grinned. "What do you want to eat Sam?"
"I want pizza!"