The Stars...Renee Goldsberry & David
CHOICES By Stacey
(2005) Mary, Renee, &
Main Line Philadelphia, 8:30
Evangeline sat at her vanity, just outside the still
steamy bathroom. She tightened her favorite terry robe closer
around, not wanting to part from its softness. As she opened her
toiletries bag, she looked at her reflection, closed her eyes, and
flashed back to....
She made her way past the crowd for a
tiny room at the backyard, grasping her train before closing the
door and exhaling. Wisely, she kept the cosmetics case on standby
overnight. As the reception was to start in ten minutes, she
proceeded to the mirror and desk when....
immediately was onto that voice. No one said it like he
Her eyes traced that sound in the mirror as he rose
to his feet.
"Please let me have a look at you and wish you
well. I had to show up...."
Evangeline's mouth moved, yet no
words came forth as she neared him, not believing her eyes. That
handsome face was now etched with furrows, cobalt electricity
replaced with cornflower. A few gray veins resided in his hair and
beard. Tears were flowing again as she wished he could be revived
back to the man she knew and would always
His hands reached out
for hers; the gesture was impossible to resist. Feeling their chill,
she touched his face. His eyes closed with her touch, as if she
could rescue him from his despaired state.
When he witnessed
the vows shrouded in shadow, he thought she looked so ethereal in
her snowy princess gown and lace mantilla. All he could not watch
was another man claim what once was his.
She sobbed as once
upon a time, she was certain they would be together...how many times
had she dreamt of him saying those promises, tasting that special
John finally opened his eyes and continued,
you have to go...I just had to be here...I had
With both hands at his face, her
lips grazed his before taking them one last time. His hands did the
same for her face, his desperate need coming out. Both exchanged
light pecks, their tears mingling.
Another sweltering morning in the station, and John
crouched in his swivel chair, back aching and head throbbing with
pain. He reluctantly poured another cup of the clerk's bad coffee as
he turned to the bureau to peruse the stack of newspaper and mags.
With a slow day at the office, he flipped through the latest issue
of Cite. He would have made it past the wedding section had it not
been for those pesky subscription cards. John's eyes froze on the
largest spread -- exclusive coverage of Cristian and Evangeline's
nuptials. For all technicalities, they had moved; somehow the
magazine felt obligated to feature the pair anyways. Fingers trailed
over her face, and then, her figure. Looking at the photos were
painful, yet gratefully, they were in glorious color as John could
magicially feel Evangeline's skin for real, recalling each sigh,
tremble, and calling of his name.
He avoided reading, not willing
to connect with his emotions. Instead, he gathered up the article,
skillfully tore it out, and placed it into his hidden folder -- a
tribute to his true love. Afterwards, he bent his head down and
Main Line Philadelphia, 5:28 p.m.:
secured the gallery doors and made the quick trek to his car.
Placing the key in the ignition, he started it up and sat back to
exhale. It had been quite some time since his release, and he still
felt the need to stop and test his reality. "Thank you, thank you,
thank you," he whispered, comparing his time in a cold, dark cell to
the bliss and vigor he had now with a revived career, nice business,
and a loving, charming wife.
Driving, he thought of how wrong
his hopes were when he was set free. The partner he adored and
longed for felt the same for someone else. Yes, he intended for
Natalie to go on -- but certainly, not that soon. He admitted he'd
made a drastic, ill-conceived decision that affected so many people.
But he also knew what he lacked was the fight in him. How sad it was
not his beloved in his corner...but another woman, in her own way, a
Evangeline not only defended him and his case, but
his wife's love -- love given in another direction. Cristian could
never get any clear details of her lost year. Evangeline ended up
being the bridge. That glimmer of hope held for his titian-haired
spouse slowly dimmed as the legal eagle would divulge little pieces
here and there, during many pep-talk afternoons. He always liked his
girl's spunk; not so when Vangie shed tears over her frequent and
fake-assed run-in's with John on their time. And John? As much as
Cris was still in love, he knew Evangeline was a class act. Any
other man would break the shackles to run free with someone like
her...and what did he do instead? Took and led the poor woman
through hoops like a circus animal.
When he connected those
pieces, Natalie's "I--I--I..." diatribes fell onto deaf ears. After
a bitter last rant, he left her blustering, hate you/want you
ambivalence behind in the town square. Too frustrated to go to home,
he instead reached inside his pocket and found the scribbled-on
piece of paper....
At the railroad crossing, he remembered
the evening he stood at Evangeline's doorstep. Looking at the
flashing red lights, he recalled how red his eyes must've been,
considering the change in her demeanor. He saw her smile vanish,
tears fall, and arms reach out over that threshold. So
compassionate, he thought, as she selflessly comforted, asking no
questions but providing all she could give from that strong mind and
deceptively small frame. He thought Statesville was the last place
where he'd cry like a baby. In her condo, he had finally let go of
the grief that kept him imprisoned. As he wept, all traces of
Natalie blew away like sand as he was anew and instantly devoted to
slender fingers that brushed tears away...the body that withstood
his sobbing, crumpled self...the voice that conjured up only the
best times ahead.
Fast forward...he was beyond himself as he
and Evangeline were pronounced husband and wife. He was happy they
agreed to learn all about each other before and during their
courtship. Neither liked discussing hurt, but felt it necessary to
air their feelings to avoid further harm; and as an incentive, not
to end up like their respective exes. Cristian took the relationship
even further, by not becoming intimate with her. He wasn't sure if
she actually recalled this, but during a dinner featuring wine, she
alluded to some passionate time with McBain in a basement. He
immediately knew making love was not the best thing to get involved
in. Alas, both needed a great, big shot of romantic innocence. Mama
Carlotta raised him right, and with her available, he was going to
give the world.
Main Line Philadelphia, 7:52
He was just as enamored with her as he was on their
honeymoon, not wanting to let go of the fresh banter they'd adapted
very well into; but wanting to go further, needing to solidify their
love. Whether covered from head to toe or without a stitch on,
Evangeline was flawless. That first night in the grand suite...his
hands shook like the first time with brush and canvas as he unhooked
her gown, then pantyhose....
He recalled the tears of joy as
everything he ever wanted was held against him, returning all of the
passion that flowed out effortlessly.
Seeing her in his paint
splattered tee, from dinner to the movie, he was hypnotized. He let
out another low whistle as he gathered her in his arms, whirled
around, and lay her atop the rumpled bed. Cristian thought of an
idea as he halted his kisses and went to the cupboard.
better hurry back," Evangeline shouted in passionate frustration,
missing him already.
"I'd never be away from you for too
long, you know that," he responded, excited with what he was about
to do. She waited, up on her elbows as he produced a small pink
canister and brush.
"You've got me nervous with that jar,"
she said, as he twitched his eyebrows.
"Where's your canvas,
He crawled to her side, doffed the shirt, unscrewed
the top, and dipped the brush.
believe this," said incredulously as she gave in, swirls of paint
decorating her skin.
"It's 'fessing up time," he said,
letting the brush hover around her mouth.
"What's this?" she
wondered as it purposely hit. As she drew her lips in, she tasted
"Oh Cristian," she moaned as he licked
the thick confection off of her exquisite self.
Philadelphia, 10:17 p.m.:
It'd been a year and a half since
he became her husband. Who knew life could be so unpredictable?
Evangeline couldn't help but ask Cristian once if he ever thought
about Natalie; with every fiber in his being, he declared she was a
distant memory, to be kept in the past. She lay in his arms as the
full moon dangled outside their window. As a breeze caressed the
curtain, she flashbacked to the times when John would survey the
outside, standing like a stoic yet tortured superhero, consigned to
his fate and placing the world's troubles on his shoulders. Yes, it
was she who left him -- the right choice -- but she also cared
despite the bete noire that kept them from true
She didn't imagine becoming Mrs.Vega. One of her
sweetest court victories became the turning point of her love life.
Evangeline smiled as she went back to their night at Capricorn...his
moves leading her across the dance floor, those hands and eyes
giving away his intentions to woo and make her his. She could easily
hide her own pain from John, who was too wrapped up in his to
notice; in Cristian, she found he held the same antennae towards
deep feelings. As their first date at an art gallery led to a
proposal in one of the finest museums, Evangeline was finally able
to surrender vulnerabilities to one up for the challenge and able to
Now, she savored this new love while saying
goodbye to one once so familiar. She retired the low and raspy
voice, tattoos, and watchdog habits. Eyes watered as she let go of
the steely gaze and lips that could speak irrationally yet make her
feel pleasure unbound. Then, she smiled again as Cristian stirred,
his warm brown pools immediately fixed on her. Her hand tangled
itself in that mussed mop of hair as she brought him closer for a
kiss, letting him know he was on her mind. Her warm, hearty laugh
filled the air as his caresses and espanol occupied her night
Llanview, 8:53 p.m.:
John sat in his
well-worn chair in the corner, the one with the neon sign and the
best view in his cramped room. He had been having another one of his
worse nights, eventually using a roll of Tums to rid the heartburn.
The corner also held a fresh reserve of air; cigarette smoke
permeated the bed and made him ill.
Another beer was popped
open to rinse the grit. John sighed and reached for his secret book.
He used a certain passage in the text to hide his version of gold --
the wedding announcement.
Although he didn't care for the
man, he admitted Cristian's rendering of Evangeline extraordinary.
The portrayal of her ink black mane, doe eyes, and cherub face was
pinpoint accurate...a blend of dream bride and fantasy supervixen.
How many times did he lose himself in those eyelashes, that smile,
the beauty mark?
The decades old streetlight, with its
yellowed bulb, cast just enough brightness for him to glance at his
side of the bed; the one once occupied by that dazzling, sexy
If she ended up phoning, a quick chat would extend
to hours as he'd bite his lip as she talked, her innocent remarks
turning on those sexual fireworks...his voice betraying the familiar
reaching for the pillow to contain himself. And if she planned to
stay, the hovel would be transformed into a suitable place for
royalty like she. John loved giving up the dollars for her favorite
food and movies. Never did he think he'd sit through ballet
documentaries or eat something homeade. Whether they'd wrap up the
night early or have it last 'till daybreak, he would feel
well-rested, calm, and centered.
Yet another driver with
blasting bass sat at the light as John made out the song. Listening
and looking at the bed again, that empty spot dissapated; in its
place were the two between the sheets, hands linked together at the
And as the car and its noise sped away,
Natalie's flailed arm came into view. John exhaled as he took
another swig, disappointed he couldn't jump into those memories.
This pair was now a year into their 'new' relationship, and he still
could not free the Angel from his mind. The cheap, wannabe spritz
couldn't compete with Flowers in Springtime; the wan, cold skin had
nothing on the warm, inviting blanket that was Evangeline. Even sex
was a mental ordeal. Natalie, to his relief, only liked it from
behind; at least he didn't have to look the girl in the face or even
perform well. Such a contrast versus a woman who would bloom like a
flower and share her world, taking him to heights unimaginable. How
many times had he awoken during the night just to sit near and watch
her sleep, she grasping and inhaling the sheets in his absence while
he memorized each and every curve?
Now, those sheets bore the imprint of a
hanger-on...ruthless, calculating, and two-faced. John ended up
settling for easy, and now reaped its unfortunate reward. Here he
was, savoring silence better used for rest he could not recoup.
As the beer buzz took over, Natalie woke at feeling mattress
instead of flesh. "Shit...he's in the corner again" she said, awake
for seconds and already pissed off. Why he wasn't knocked out, she
didn't know -- they had done the deed for ten whole minutes! She
maneuvered to face the opposite way. In the dark, she wondered why
her man couldn't seem to accept what was now. She was doing
everything right, right? John made a decision and chose her. Natalie
knew he had feelings for her...wasn't it evident all along? She knew
she was better than that lawyer...even better than the mysterious
Caitlyn he never discussed.
"I understand him," she
Still, she couldn't figure out why they still were
here, in this semblance of a room. She was jealous at hearing of
their exes. The guy is hardly removed from prison and has a
townhouse and thriving business?!
"Ugh," she exhaled as she
rolled her eyes at visions of the fading, peeling wallpaper and
brick wall views. Natalie sucked her teeth at John. What happened to
her knight in armor? The guy seemed to live on java and seemed too
bleepin' eager to take a case rather than play pool or sit on the
roof with her.
The rare times E-vang-leen would be at the
station, he'd turn into a Pavlovian dog with the click-click-click
of her heels. She remembered a particular time E. was there,
researching files in the archive room. To her credit, she didn't
inquire about nor need John.
But, the precinct is something
else; four-inch heeled designer shoes and floral fragrance elicited
several whistles from the beat cops and set John's radar off.
So, she peered through the blinds like a hawk as McBain's
pouting, schoolboy self. He looked as if he were about to cry...or
apologize for what? Most of all, why was the ring
Cristian had given her so miserly compared to the rocks dripping on
"If only I had been quiet," she thought, rueing the
moment when, in her frustration, the piping coffeepot was knocked
over, revealing her locale.
Evangeline somehow sensed an extra
presence, and John looked thoroughly embarrassed. Shortly
afterwards, she departed to leave the detective and clerk with their
collective mess. Well, until she was nearing the elevator...he
hesitated, then went after her like a moth to a
Natalie couldn't keep herself in cover anymore. She
reached for the purse on the bureau and pulled out her
Llanview, 12:49 a.m.:
Her nagging and his
silence led her to flipping the channels, the colors whizzing and
popping on the walls...the only action his room would see from this
duo. John hoped Natalie wouldn't take her mood to the deep end again
-- network shopping sprees on his cards created yet another divide.
"If only I had opened up...." he thought as he slid out of
view enough to take the cordless, crouch in the dark corner, and
dial her number.
Hi, you've reached the office of attorney
Evangeline Williamson-Vega; operating hours are....
emerged as John would hang on to each inflection, each syllable as
he could only say...I love you.
THE WEDDINGS OF LANDVIEW ( SOME
COUPLES TIE THE KNOT! GUESS
WHO!!!) by Mary
Catherine Stomer-McGregor (2007)
MATRIMONIAL MERRY GO ROUND!
& Evangeline's Wedding Day
Carpenter: "Is there anyone here who feels this couple should not be
joined in marriage, let him speak now or forever hold his
Cris: (bursting into the church and running toward
"I OBJECT REV. CARPENTER.
THIS WOMAN IS HOLDING MY
DEPOSITS AND BY DAMN I'M GONNA MAKE A WITHDRWAL RIGHT
Cris: "Excuse me Reverend". (Cris pushes Todd into the
pulpit) "I'm still in love with you Evangeline" and I know you're
still in love with me, right?"
Van: (smiling )
YES....YES....I never stopped loving you, ever.
each other and kiss passionately while everyone's mouth in
the church is open in shock and awe. Cristian and
Evangeline realize people are staring at them and they stop.
Cris: (looking Van straight in the eye) Okay, babe, then
let's get the HELL out here.
Van: (laughing) Yeahhhh, let's
They turn and walk out the church arm in arm smiling
at each other. Meanwhile Todd comes too and tries to sit up.
Groggily he says "What the hell happen? Ouch, my head hurts.
(looking around confused) Where's Evangeline?"
(kneeling beside Todd, smirking) "Oh, Todd, I'm so sorry honey, but
she changed her mind and left with Cristian."
the front of his head in shock) "You got to be kidding me. She left
with Vega. (thinking for a moment) Well I'll be DAMN! (Todd trying
to stand up and looking around) Where's Blair then?"
(smiling slyly) "I'm right here Todd sweetie. And I'm wearing white
Todd: (slowly smiling) "For real?! You're wearing
white TODAY. (a moment of clarity/revelation) Oh, HELL, come here
woman. I paid too much damn money to let this ceremony go to waste.
Blair: (rushing to Todd) "YESSSS.....YESSSS....I
will. I'm still in love with you Todd."
Todd: (grabbing Blair
and her passionately) "I'm still in love with you too. I never
Rev. Carpenter, coming out of shock , regains his
composure and proceeds with the cermony.
Starr to Jack: "See,
I told you they live happily ever after."
"Yup, we're the Mannings....one big happy family."
Meanwhile, at the court house, JOTP says "I now pronounce
you husband and wife.
What GOD hath joined together, let no man
Cristian & Evangeline
kissed passionately and they left the court house, living
happily ever after.... all the while continuing to make future DEPOSITS!!!! (4 little
Vegas in 4 years....2 boys and 2girls)
MY STORY AND I'M STICKING TO IT!
MY HEART Chapters 1-51 2006
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