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(During this coronavirus pandemic everyone please remember to keep calm and stay safe)

Now is always the time

(If not now, then when; if not here, then where, if not you, then who)

Chapter 1

They pity her so much. The vibrant defense attorney now only a shell of herself, lying in a coma as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. What a pity they say. Although she won many cases, she did lose a few. How about that custody case for Kelly Cramer or the one for Antonio Vega and they can't forget that murder case against Todd Manning? They guess she wasn't so high and mighty as she carried herself. Oh my and they talk about her relationship with that cop John McBain. That was so embarrassing. Gracious they question how can anyone forget that he left her to burn and rescued that Natalie Vega chick instead. Add to that she even underwent hypnosis to help the police find that Vega girl anyway. The worse thing though was she ended up in a relationship with Natalie Vega's ex-husband, Cristian Vega. She went from bad to worse. At least the cop had a job while Vega is a wanna be boxer painter whatever. They tsk, tsk for how the mighty have fallen.

But there are those who stand by her even while she languishes in the coma. Of course, her family surrounds her with their love. Her mother visits regularly as does her Uncle Clay. Her sister Layla is a constant fixture along with Layla's boyfriend Vincent Jones. Her family has eased visitation rules and now allow others to visit her. The doctors contend that the visits continue to stimulate her mind even though they hold little hope of her ever recovering from this devastating injury.

There are two visitors who come as often as they can. They want her to know that they are there for her, that they will never forget her or allow her to be forgotten. Although the two of them don't get along they agree that Evangeline is worth whatever effort they have to expend to keep her engaged. Nora Hanen and Todd Manning put aside their differences to help their friend.

Nora Hanen counts herself as her best friend. She too suffered through a coma but she survived and she expects nothing less of her friend. She talks with Evangeline about what's happening in Llanview but she also talks with her about new legal precedents so as to keep her friend abreast of what's changing in the legal world. She tells her about the new thing that Matthew, Nora's son, is doing and how he is growing so much. During her visits Nora fights to not cry but it grows more difficult each day that Evangeline remains comatose. Nora vows to prosecute the perpetrators of this dastardly act to the fullest extent of the law. She thinks to herself, 'no one hurts my friend and gets away with it'.

Todd Manning considers Evangeline to be his best friend, his only friend in the world. He doesn't get along well with many people because he can be obnoxious on his best day but for some reason, he has a soft spot for the lady legal eagle. She's saved him many times from legal entanglements and even though he was convicted of murder and executed, she risked her career and reputation to help him and he will never forget that. She was his listening ear when he needed someone to talk to and his shoulder to lean on when he was weak. She didn't coddle him, she always told him the truth and he appreciated that to no end. If he could he would kidnap her and take her somewhere to get her the best medical care possible but he knows that would devastate her family. He remembers all of the flack he received when he flew in medical experts to operate on her when she was blind. Even with those limitations he has offered to assist in her care. Todd can't totally commit at this time because he's in the midst of trying to find his son, the son from Margaret Cochran, the crazy lady who drugged him and raped him. She's now dead but his son is alive out there somewhere and he intends to find him. Maybe if he had allowed Evangeline to travel with him to Chicago this would not have happened to her. He can't change the past but he can promise to get justice for his friend. On that he and Nora agree.