An Angels Lullaby

I was never alive till
the day I was blessed with you.
When I hold you late at night
I know what I was put here to do
I turn off the world
and listen to you sigh
And I will sing my angels lullaby.

Knowing forever near,
the one you can always call
Right now all you know to fear
are the shadows on your wall.
I'm close enough
to kiss the tears you cry
And I will sing my angels lullaby.

So tell me how to stop the years from racing
Is there a secret someone knows?
I'll never catch all the memories
I'm chasing ,never be ready to let go.
And when the world seems cold
You feel that all your stregnth is gone
There may be one tiny voice
Your reason to carry on.
And when I'm not close enough
to kiss your tears you cry
You will sing your angels lullaby.
Let this be our angels lullaby.

Chris set the alarm clock,and crawled under the covers.He had just given Samantha her last bottle for the day.As new parents ,he and Rita considered themselves blessed with good fortune. Samantha would usually sleep through the night,waking around five for her breakfast,and allowing them all a full nights rest.At only three months old,she had determined the daily routine for thier lives,and to keep the blissful contentment that had been found,they had adapted to her schedule and almost never strayed from it.It had been discovered in the twelve weeks since she had been born that life was easier for them all this way.

It was only a month ago that Chris had started to give his daughter her last meal before bedtime. Rita had come down with a virus, and her doctor had suggested that Chris give the baby at least one supplemental bottle each day to allow his wife more rest. It was good for the baby to become used to the bottle anyway,he said and for the daddy to have the experience in feeding his child.Rita reluctantly agreed,but only because she cherished those special moments she had with her daughter. Soon though, she came to enjoy the extra time it offered her.Knowing Chris would feed the baby her eleven pm bottle allowed her to finish up any neglected chores at the end of the day,and then to climb into bed at the same time her husband did.Occassionly though,she would sometimes finish earlier and climb into bed before Chris,in which case she would be sound asleep the moment her head touched the pillow. Like tonight.

Chris leaned over and kissed his exhausted wife goodnight."Sleep tight,Sammy" he whispered to her.

It was hardly ever the baby who woke him at night anymore ,but his wife instead. It wasn't every night the dreams came,but when they did he would hear her soft whimpers ,or feel her restlessness as she tossed and turned .Usually he needed only to whisper his assurances to her and softly caress her cheek ,and she would calm down and fall back into a peaceful slumber again.Every so often, when he would sleep through the start of her nightmares,he would be awakened with her screams. She would be soaked with sweat and trembling by then.And he would have to bring her into his arms and hold her while she cried until eventually she would just wear herself out.He never liked for the dreams to take her that far though,and so most times he would sleep lightly in order to heed her first crys.

He had a feeling that tonight her dreams would come.

Earlier that evening.....

They had been watching the news together earlier that evening.A young cop over in West Palm Beach had been found murdered in an abandoned warehouse,killed by several shots to his chest.The news had shown a scene of the cops wife being escorted from a police car into her home,the look on her tearstained face was one of shock and bewilderment.Her father had spoken to the news crew about how the young couple had just celebrated thier first anniversary,and that he hoped the person responsible for his son-in-laws death would soon be caught. Chris had seen the look that quickly passed over Ritas face as she watched the news,before she quickly turned away and walked into the kitchen .He turned off the tv and follwed her into the kitchen.watching her as she chopped up some vegetable for the stir-fry she was making for thier dinner that night.

"You alright,Sammy?" he asked her.

She looked up at him,but there wasn't a hint in her eyes of how she was feeling."Of course,I'm fine. Why do you ask?"

Chris shrugged."Well....the news hit a little close to home..You looked a little upset."

She smiled at him,then walked over to him for a quick hug." I'm fine,really. Okay,maybe seeing that poor womans face,the way she looked...well I guess I just remembered the way I had felt when you got shot" She smiled,standing on her toes and tilting her head up towards him ."But I didn't loose you.....So maybe I don't know what she is really feeling ....I just feel bad for her,that's all. But you don't have to worry,Sam. I'm fine.I'm more then fine.....I have you."

He hugged her tighter,before releasing her."You'll always have me.I promise you that."

Chris wiped a stray lock of hair from her face,as he searched her green eyes deeply.He had been trying to find a way to tell her all evening about the upcoming trial.,and tonights news hadn't made that task any easier for him.George had just told him that day that the trial for Louis Montoya ,Joses Montoyas' brother,would begin next week. Chris ,Cap and Rita were all expected to give thier testimony concerning the roles they played in the attempted destruction of the Montoya cartel. He knew it wouldn't be good news for her though. She worked hard at evading any conversations having to do with Montoya or drugs. However this time it was going to be unavoidable.But then she knew this day would eventually come.

She leaned in for another hug."That's what I'm counting on."

After a moment,she started to pull away from him."No,Sammy...come here.Sit please.". Chris took her hand and led her to a chair by the table before continuing on. "George stopped by today."

"Oh? How is he? Are he and Adrian having problems again?"Her voice was filled with concern for her friend.

"No...,it's not that. Other then feeling a little anxious about our conversation,I'm sure he's fine."

"Oh." She said it softly now,looking away from him.Only one word,but somehow he immediately knew she understood what he was about to tell her.Of course she did.She had been living in dread of it for the past seven months.

" Rita...the DA has been made aware of some new evidence which can proove Louis Montoya played a role in what happened to us that day." THAT DAY,..he thought to himself... there was no need to explain what particular day he was referring to.He paused,giving her time to absorb the imformation before he continued with the rest of it. "They can proove he is one of the men who kidnapped you.They need you to testify about what happened that day.They can finally get the rest of this family off the streets." He paused when he saw her turn away from him.

"The trial date is set to begin next week." he sighed, hoping that the relief he felt would somehow get through to her.He kneeled in front of her,and turned her face to make her look up at him.Her eyes were beginning to fill with tears."We can finally put this all behind us sweetheart.We can get on with our lives,Sammy." He tried his best to make her see the good in all of this.

Despites his efforts,he knew he was failing. She looked at him,silently shaking her head. A few tears rolled down her cheek."No.....,No,Chris! We can't do it......please........Don't you remember who we are dealing with ......they won't just stand by and let us testify against them! I think we should move far away instead,.....maybe that's better. We can go someplace where they'll never find us."

She stood up now,as if she was unable to just sit still for this.He grabbed her hands firmly,making her stay to hear him out."No,Sam.." He shook his head at her sadly,as he wiped away her tears.

"Yes,Chris...we can! We have to! My God !...We have the baby now.....Chris...they kidnapped me and they almost killed you! Do you remember that!? Cause I do! Every freaking day of my life I remember that!" She broke down completely now,covering her face with her hands at the same time Chris was trying to pull her into his embrace.

"Shhh,Sammy.It's going to be fine.He realized that trying to assure her wasn't going to work,and decided to reason with her instead."Rita,you know that we have no choice here anyway.They need us to help put these guys away! This is something we have to do."

She looked up at him,and the look of fear he saw on her face was one he would never forget for as long as he lived."Chris , are you remembering the fact that these people aren't just everyday drug dealers? ...You know how nasty these people can be...what if.....?"

Chris stopped her words short."No Sammy.....they won't get to us.Louis Montoya is locked up on other unrelated charges now, and before the trial date is publically announced the FBI is going to temporarily place us in protective custody. We will be safe.George promised me that ....the FBI promised me that...Believe me Rita,I wouldn't let anything happen to you or the baby."

"Oh damn it, Chris!....You really don't get it,do you? I have no choice BUT to believe YOU! " Her voice began to rise ,but at the same time it was trembling . "Remember, I was there that day they shot at us.I watched you almost die for me and the baby.No,I don't need you to be the hero again,Chris...All I need is for you to be there for us..., for you to see Samantha grow up,and to be her daddy.We can have that, Sam...if we just go away...they don't really need us if they have all that other evidence..Okay?"

His heart broke at the pleading he heard in her voice. He had thought he could never deny her anything. He was wrong.

He knew her fears were deep,but until now he had no idea of how much they had become apart of her.They had literally changed who she was.The Rita he knew only a year ago would never have thought of running away from anyone or anything.

"Sammy....what is happening here? This isn't like you. I've never known you to want to run away ." his words were sober.

Hers were just as solemn,but more cutting, as she replied back to him.. "The woman you used to know is dead,Chris. She died the day Montoya kidnapped her and shot her husband."

She broke away from his grasp and without another word, went back to making thier dinner.


After a silent strained dinner,Chris could no longer stand the tense air that had come between them. As Rita stood to clear the table,he pulled her into his lap and made her look at him."Sammy,please,trust me. This is all going to be over soon,and everything will be parfait!" He kissed her softly on each eye.

Rita smiled reluctantly, unable to resist herself from caving in and then returned his kiss on his forehead.She hated fighting as much as he did.

"I want to believe that Chris....I really do." She sighed and leaned against his chest,until she suddenly remembered her earlier plans for that night.She jumped from his lap,and went into the kitchen. A moment later she walked out carrying a small cake.

" We have some celebrating to do tonight! Our little Sammykins is three months old today!"

Chris eagerly accepted the change in the mood for the evening."Oh,that's right....that must have been the reason I had this irresistable urge to stop at the toy store on the way home." Chris smiled sheepishly ,glad to have discovered a plausible excuse for his spoiling thier daughter yet again .

"Christopher! You didn't! You promised me that you would stop going to the toy all the time...I swear,your becoming worse then Franny, if that is even possible. What could there be left that our child does not already have?,hmmm?" She made her voice sound motherly.

Chris tried to look ashamed of himself."Hey...I haven't gone there in two weeks Sam,honest....but I ordered this weeks ago.When they called me at work and told me it was in,I had no choice but to pick it up. Special order and all,you know." Knowing he was in trouble,he put forth his most charming Lorenzo smile ever,adding to the effect with his innocent boyish look as well,usually reserved for times like these.

"And?" Rita said expectantly,as she tried to hide her amusement and waited for his answer.

"And what?" he asked, feigning ignorance while rubbing the back of his head.

"And just what is this toy that was so special ,you had to special order it,anyway hmmm?"

He shook his finger at her."Ahah,Sammy" He tried to convince her that what she was thinking wasn't true,but seeing her face,he realized she knew him way too well."Oh Okay,but it just looked so cute and I know she's gonna love it when she gets older."

Rita rolled her eyes at her husband. Sometimes it was like she was raising two children instead of one. Then again,she had expected it to be this way all along.Chris was a wonderful daddy,and she would have it no other way.

"Fine." she said,turning away and pretending she wasn't curious about his gift."Spoil her rotten.You'll regret it one day,Christpher."

Chris laughed."Nevah,Sammy!"

Chris went to the closet pulled out a huge box.In it was a toddlers basketball set."Isn't it the coolest Sammy!" Chris had exclaimed, just like a child in the age group that the toy was actually meant for would.

She burst out laughing ."Chris...she is only three months old,it's gonna be quite some time until she can play with it."

Chris pouted then,causing Rita to burst into another fit of laughter.

"Oh,okay, you can play with it in the meantime." She paused for a few seconds before adding."Since your gonna need all the practice you can get!"

"Oh you...You are just so funny,aren't you?" Chris grabbed her and began to tickle her." Hey..Wanna play with me,Sammy?" he asked sounding hopeful.

Laughing and teasing each other, they spent the next half hour playing with Samanthas new toy,while she sat in her infant seat and watched. For a short while it was just like the good old days. Rita scored the point that won her the game,then fell into a other fit of laughter at Chris expense."I let you win!" he claimed.

"Yeah right!!!! Samantha is my witness. Sammykins, tell your daddy I won fair and square!" Rita said as she tickled her daughters belly.

Chris threw the soft basketball at his wifes head."That doesn't mean a thing. You females always stick together!"

Rita went to pick up her daughter." I wonder what she is thinking right now?" she said,as she watched her daughter sucking on her hand and looking wide eyed at her parents."Probaly wondering why she had to get such a looney set of parents."

"Oh..I don't think so Sammy.I bet she's hoping she grows up to be just like her mommy." Chris said,lovingly.

The frivolous moments they were having suddenly turned tense again,and Rita handed her daughter to Chris. "Well, let's hope that isn't true.That's the last thing I want for her." She stood and left the room.

Chris looked at his his daughter.His wifes words stung him. "What did I say?" he asked the drooling baby.

Samantha couldn't answer though,and he knew Rita wouldn't. Or maybe he just had the good sense not to ask her about it. Minutes later he could hear the dishes clinking as they were being washed He put the baby in her swing and winded up the music box,then went outside to mow the lawn.His instincts told him that he would have to get used to these sudden mood changes for the time being.


Chris couldn't believe that she could just go about as if nothing had happened last night. She couldn't have felt rested after all the nightmares she had had.He certainly didn't. But there she was chattering on about the plans she had made to take the baby to the photographers that afternoon.As she placed his breakfast in front of him,she noticed his thoughts had been drifting while she talked. "Chris?"

Chris silently nodded to her as he poured another cup of coffee.His mind was elsewhere

"You feel okay,Sam" she asked him.

"Hmmm...ahem...yeah,just a little sleepy, I guess." He decided to push it a little further,hoping to get a reaction from her.He couldn't believe that she didn't remember the dreams at all .Last night had been the worst."Because of last night,you know."

Rita raised her eyebrows in a curious gesture."Last night?"What happened last night? Did the baby wake up and I not hear her? You should have waken me Chris."

"No,she slept fine." Chris mumbled,becoming quiet again as he realized that it was true. She had no recollection of the dreams she'd had all night long,or that she had lied in his arms shaking,terrified of something he could not protect her from.

" it the news? "She asked,seeing the newspaper on top of the table.The headlines were about the young cop who had been killed yesterday. "You didn't know him ,did you Chris?" She assumed that was what was troubling him. Alot of the cops from Palm Beach and the general vincinity often congregated at a local cop bar. She came up behind him and began to rub his shoulders.

"No,I didn't know him."He decided to let the matter of last night drop for the time being. He wasn't sure how to handle it yet.

"Chris....are you sure your alright?" she asked him,still noticing his somber mood.

He made himself immediately switch moods,forcing a smile for her.He didn't want to add to her worries.He was doing enough for the both of them.

"I 'm sorry Sam. It's ok,I'm fine. So don't you worry ,you got that? "He tapped her nose playfully."I just didn't sleep all that well last night.Insomnia happens to the best of us at times."

"Oh...well,I've got a remedy for that....maybe tonight we could put it to good use ,hmmm?"Rita teased seductively, as she wrapped her arms around his neck from behind his chair.The next thing she knew she was being pulled into his lap.

"Very good idea....I married a brilliant woman.!"Chris joked before she cut off his words with her kiss.

"And I married a sex maniac!" She laughed.

For the time being,Chris forgot all about the secrets which haunted them at night.The sun was shinning brightly,the birds cheerfully singing ,and his precious baby daughter was happily cooing in her infant seat. All this at the same time his wife was teasing him with her hands in places better not awakened when he was about to leave for work.

Yet he couldn't help thinking of the irony of it all. Everything seemed just as it was suppossed to be. Life was wonderful and perfect,and yet underneath it all,he knew that it was all just pretense.

He was determined that one day it wouldn't be. One day soon,it would be for real..


He wasn't in a good mood when he walked into the shop. Finding his partners desk empty yet again,he glanced at the clock . He dismissed the sarcastic remarks he had ready for her since he noticed that he too was twenty minutes late this morning.He had just sat down in his chair when he heard Caps voice calling from his office."Lorenzo! In here now!"

Sighing Chris stood and walked in to face his captains wrath.He decided to try first with an old,but reliable excuse of his."Sorry I'm late,Cap,but my car was giving me trouble."

"Oh...really? Rita just called me and she said that the electric at your place went out last night and you over slept. So which is it?"

"Ahhh...both?" Chris smiled innocently.

"Uh,huh...never mind,I don't think I want the truth after all." Cap gave him a peircing stare over his glasses." Well anyway, your partner is going to be in court all day again.So it looks like you and I are on.We have a floater on the beach. Ready?" Cap stood and was already heading out the door.

Chris nodded,happy to have the company of his captain for the day. His captain was a damn good detective and Chris always learned something new each time he was privledged to work with him.The other benefit was that it would give him a chance to confide in his mentor.

"Sure...sure...just let me get my jacket." he said,following right behind.


While Chris and Cap were standing over the body of a man who appeared to be in his fourtys,and later interviewed the people who had been unfortunate to find him,Rita was just heading out for the daily morning walk around the neighborhood,with Samantha in her stroller.

This morning she was feeling a bit tired and edgy.More so then usual. The news last night had only made things worse.It gave her fears the ground in which they implanted themselves in. Every morning, as her husband walked the door ,the memeories of the day he had been shot played out like a movie in her mind.She would always try hard to bury them,but never with any success. Every unexpected phone call or knock at the door would bring back the panic she had felt the day she had watched him go into cardiac arrest.Always,she would try to convince herself that she was worrying needlessly. Afterall, fate had taken it's turn with her husband twice already and had lost both times. Surely the chances that something horrible would ever happen again had to be less then zilch,right? Countless times her head and heart would have this very arguement.Unfortunately,she didn't think either side ever won.

But this was her life now .For the rest of today,she would be preparing herself for that phone call or that knock at the door, and then again tomorrow,and the day after after that.She would just have to find a way to deal with it,and move on.

A small boy about three years old came running out of a house just as she was approaching it. He was crying and a few seconds later, a young girl of about eight came running out after him, and calling his name." Michael...get in here now!"

Michael turned to face her ,his tears streaking down his dirty face,and yelled "No..don't wanna go nappy no more gain!"He wore only a sagging diaper,and no shoes.Rita could see he was a hand full for the little girl and hurried the thirty fee in to reach him .

Just then Michael darted into the street,as he tried to escape his sisters grasp.Rita could see the car coming,only a few feet from where he stood,and without any hesitation,she left the babys stroller and raced to the young child.At the same time the driver of the car saw the boy in it's path and swerved his vehicle to avoid hitting the boy.He struck a stop sign instead.Hearts were racing,but the calamity had been prevented.The sound of the cars screeching tires still resignated in the air,along with the little boys crying.Rita ran to him,and picked him up and try to calm him down.

The driver got out of his car, inspected it first,and then came over, extremely irate over what had just happened.He began shouting at Rita.

"Are you alright?" Rita worriedly asked him ,at the same time she was checking over the little boy.

"Are these your children!" he yelled, ignoring her concern.Finally he took notice of the unkept children,then of the baby stoller that was still sitting on the sidewalk.Rita carried the little toddler in one arm as she walked over to the bring her babys stroller closer to her. "No...THEY aren't my children...I think they live there."She said pointing at a rundown house which contradicted the rest of the neighborhood.

Just then the little girl who had been calling for Michael approached her."I'm sor..... sorry." she sobbed..."but he wouldn't listen to said I had to put him in for a nap ,but he kept running away from me."

Rita looked down at the small girl.She was almost the spitting image of her younger brother,with dark brown hair,big brown eyes,and a light splash of freckes dotting across her nose.Ritas heart went out to her seeing how upset the young child was."'s alright isn't your fault.Okay.Besides,nothing really bad happened now,did it? Your little brother is okay."

"What do you mean nothing happened? Take a look at my car now !"shouted the man.Rita glanced over at him,wondering how someone could be so absurd.She was astonished by his attitude.By appearances,it was apparent to her that the man had plenty of money to have the damage fixed easily himself. But there he was,dressed in his tailored cut suit,overly priced shoes,and making a fuss over just a car.She thought it irrational to be so concerned over a car when he should be extremely relieved that a fender bender was all the damage that had occured.She hated to think what could have happened if he hadn't hit the stop sign instead.

The little girl continued to cry,as she pulled at the boys legs to get him down."I have to take him inside now.....mama is gonna be mad if she knows we are outside!"

"We have to call the police." the driver of the car said,clearly annoyed.

Rita nodded her head,agreeing with the man."Yes,your right. " Her instincts told her that something wasn't right about what was going on here,but she couldn't put her finger on it just yet.All she knew was that a child had almost been hit by a car,a car that had made a very loud screech while trying to stop ,and even now, nobody had come rushing outside to see what had happened.

She turned to the little girl."Hi.My name is Rita.And I know this little one here is Michael." she said smiling at the youngster in her arms."What's your name sweetheart?"

"I'm not allowed to tell you...We're not allowed to talk to strangers." the little girl began to fidget."Give me my brother now ,please. "she said as she stole a look back to thier house.

"Why don't I just take him inside instead..that way he can't run away from you again,hmmm?" She began to walk towards the house,pushing the stroller with her.The little girl followed after her.

"No!..please you can't...mama won't like it. He'll be good now,won't you Micheal?"

Michael nodded,his eyes wide with fright now as he looked at Rita."Yes Jenny..I be good now."

"See.....he says he'll be good.Just give him to me and we'll go inside.I'm very sorry about what happened.!"

Rita watched the little girl for a moment.She was very nervous,but also very scared. "Jenny,is it? Well,Jenny,someone has to let your parents know about what happened just now. And we have to call the police.This mans car got damaged.We need to talk to your mother."

The man stood by grumbling impatiently as he listened to Rita.She gave him a stern look when he began swearing in front of the children." Do you mind?" she said,turned off by his attitude.

"But you can't" Jenny continued on...."She'll get mad at me...and at Micheal....please don't tell her!"If you have to call the police,I'll go to jail instead,okay?"

The childs tone broke Ritas heart,but also made her more determined to find out what was causing her to be so upset.She picked up her daughter out of the stroller and knocked on the door. The driver of the car was right behind her.

Jenny opened the door then"She won't hear you.She's sleeping."

Rita glanced at her watch. Sleeping? It was eleven thirty in the morning,and the woman had two young children. How did she manage to still be sleeping she wondered.

As Jenny led them into the house,the visitors were greeted by the foul stench of sour alcohol and old garbage.Rita nearly gagged from the odor,noticing that the man behind her actually did.The house itself was in a complete dissaray ,with empty beer bottles sitting all around,and trash, dirty dishes and laundry tossed everywhere.In a chair was a stack of unopened cases of beer bottles.As she walked around the house she began to feel sick.from the knowledge that these children lived there.Then Rita noticed a box of cheerios on the kitchen table.In a bowl was some leftover cheerios and some Koolaide,instead of milk..

"Jenny. Could you please go and wake your mother."

"Mama will be real mad cuz your in here.Please go." the little girl begged.

"She needs to know about what happened hon." Rita tried to explain.Jenny looked to the door,then hestitated. Rita smiled sympathetically at the young child.""I just need to talk to her .I promise she won't be mad at you."

Jenny nodded,and went to get her mother.Rita looked around for a place to put the baby down,but decided that there was no fit place anywhere. She walked back outside to get Samanthas stroller and brought it inside with them,then set Samantha down in it.Just as she finished,Jenny came back out from her mothers room.

"She won't wake up yet.I tired,but she's still too sleepy.Miss,just let her sleep.I promise I will watch Mikey better now."

Rita looked over to the driver of the car who had been grumbling non-stop the entire time He was growing more impatient by the second.Looking at his watch,he growled "Forget it" and stormed out of the house.Jennys eyes followed him,and then with relief, they turned to Rita, looking at her expectantly,almost hopefully.

Rita took the little girl into a hug,and checked on her little brother who was watching tv.Her instincts were strongly telling her that she could not just walk away and leave as easily as he had.There were two children here and something wasn't right.She waked over to the bedroom door,and rapped hard and loud on it.After waiting another minute ,and not getting any response to her knocking,she opened the door and entered the room.

A woman was laying on the bed side ways,in what seemed like an unnatural state.Rita went to her and checked for her pulse. It was strong and steady,but still the woman remained unresponsive.

It was then that Rita noticed the plastic bag with white powder in it,and a syringe beside it laying on the floor by the bed.She knew right away what was going on here now. She pulled out her cell phone.


Cap hung up the phone and looked out the window to make sure Chris hadn't left for home yet.He rubbed his stomach in hopes of relieving the burn he was begining to feel.All day he had been worried about Chris.The man had been too quiet.They had been on the way to the beach to check on that floater and Chris had been in an unusually reserved mood on the way there. Cap had been trying to strike up a conversation with him.

"Oh,George told me last night he needs to meet with the three of this weekend. Wants to go over a few things...get us prepared for the Grand Jury.So Fran invited you all over for dinner Saturday night.That okay?"

Chris nodded,but he seemed lost in his own thoughts."Yeah sure,Cap,that's fine." His voice trailed,as if he wanted to say someting else.Finally."Ah,Cap...something is up...can I ask you for some advice?"

Cap gazed over his glasses at Chris."Anytime Lorenzo,you know that. So what's up? " He made sure to hide the rolaid he was about to pop into his mouth .

"Well..."Chris had begun.

Just then Gracies' voice had come over the radio to notify Cap about a minor problem the coroner was having with the floater.By the time Cap finished speaking with her and hung up,they were already at the beach,and other matters became more important for the time being.

From that moment on,they had been busy ,and Chris hadn't went out off his way to bring the matter back up.But Cap hadn't stopped worrying about it. He knew that something was bothering Chris Lorenzo.

Cap stood and called out to him."Lorenzo,get in here!" Yes..he thought ...,sometimes it was good to be the captain.He could issue demands that he otherwise wouldn't have any right to.

Chris rose from his desk,and went his captains office, realizing he would probaly be late getting home. Not that he was in too much of a rush anyway.He loved his wife and daughter very much,but the thought of going home and having to pretend that all was well wasn't one he looked forward to at all.That realization alone was wrenching his gut. Rita and Samantha were his life.

"Geez..I've seen health store clerks look happier,Lorenzo" Cap said,at the same time,Chris couldn't hold his worries any longer."Cap,about his morning." His voice was filled with pent up emotions.

Cap nodded."Good....because that is what I want to talk to you about." He sighed heavily."But first,why I called you in here. I was just on the phone. About your wife.Seems she ran into a situation earlier today while on a walk with the baby...."

While Cap told the story of what had happened,Chris began to shake his head and lean forward in the chair. He put his head into his hands and sat that way for the rest of the time,only the occassional nod of his head or a grunt or two let Cap know that Chris was even listening to him at all.When he had finished,Chris finally looked up at him.Cap was shocked by the desperation he saw in Chris' eyes.

"Cap...what am I going to do? if enough wasn't happening,now this?"

"Lorenzo,unless you tell me what is going on,I have no idea what your talking about here."

"It's Rita,Cap.I'm really worried about her.Quitting the force was more then just about her becoming a mother,you know."

Cap nodded his head in agreement."I kind of figured that....but with her about to have a baby,I guess it just seemed like a good decsion to me anyway.I'm not going to pretend I wasn't relieved when I knew she was out of any more danger.That whole incident with Montoya really put a scare into me for her pregnancy."

Chris agreed."Me too,Cap.I was happy when she quit working...But see.. now that is only the tip of the iceberg.This has been going on for a little over half a year now.The babys here now,and I thought by now,she'd want to come back to work.But she won't even talk about it.She's not getting any better...if anything,things are deteriating...See, at first she never wanted to talk about what happened.It would get her so upset whenever I brought up that day...I just couldn't see any reason worth doing that to her,you know.......Then she began to have these dreams occassionally,but it seemed like she wouldn't remember them the next morning.When I started working again, that's when things began to get worse.The dreams came more often,and she began to expect me to call her when I was leaving work,and then she would watch the clock for my arrival home. If I was five minutes later then she expected me,she'd get genuinely panicked.She doesn't want me to talk about any of the cases I work on , but especially if they involve drugs. She avoids any discussion of coming back to work herself...she simply refuses to talk about it.And Cap...We were watching the news last night...and the story about that cop over in West Palm came on,and she got pretty damn upset about it.She pretends that nothing is wrong ,that she is fine,but she still keeps having these dreams at, they are like nightmares...and they are so bad they freak me out, but I don't even know what she is dreaming..... I'm guessing it has to do with that day.....Cap, it's killing me that this is happening to her,and I can't help her. I honestly have no idea how to get her to talk about what's going on."

Cap had known that Rita had put up certain safety zones around herself ,guarding herself from anything that could remind her of that day,but he hadn't known things had gone this far.His heart broke for the both of them."She's afraid,Chris."Cap quietly said.The memory of Rita kneeling over Chris' blood soaked body ran through his mind ,though it wasn't a memory he himself chose to recall.

Chris stood and walked over to the window,gazing out at the desk that she once used to occupy."I know,Cap. I have never seen her this way's changing her. I told her about the trial last night,you know. She was begging me to leave with her,can you believe that? Rita Lee Lance running from anything?Cap,you know that isn't her!"

Cap understood what Chris was feeling.Still he also saw some things Chris apparently wasn't."It's Lorenzo now,Chris. Rita Lee Lorenzo." he simply said,his thoughts still on that day all thier lives had changed.

Chris looked over at Cap questioningly ,not getting his point.

"Look Chris...all I'm saying is that she isn't the same woman anymore. She hasn't been since the day you married her. She is Rita Lorenzo now,your wife,and the mother to your child. Sure, Rita Lance would have never run from anything ,but she wasn't married,and she wasn't a mother. Do you understand.?"

"So your saying we should go away?Avoid testifying? " Chris was astounded.

"No,damn it ,Lorenzo! I'm telling you that you can't help Rita if all your seeing is the way she once was...she will never be that person ever again.You have to see who she is now."

Chris was silent.He knew that what Cap was saying was true.Rita had lost alot in her lifetime. If she feared loosing more then she once did, it was only because she had more to loose.Still,Chris felt there was something more going on with his wife.Something he couldn't get a grasp on.

But Cap had one other peice of advice to offer to him."Chris....It seems to me that Rita lost a huge peice of herself that day you were shot,and she has never gotten that back.You've got to find out what that was.She has you,she has the baby.What is it that she's missing? Find that,and you'll find a way to help her."

Chris turned to face his captain."Yeah." He nodded his head sadly.Even Cap had no magic answers to give him."I guess I should get going....considering what happened today, she's going to be worried about the kids."

"Childrens services is placing them with a foster family She did the right thing.Don't let her beat herself up over this,okay.She has enough on her plate already."

"Thanks Cap....I won't " Chris turned to walk out."Hey,give Franny my best,okay?"

"Sure will ...and you do the same.Send Rita our love and give my grandbaby a kiss for me.Tell her Grandpa has a little surprise for her. It's the cutest little stuffed bat and baseball set.I'll give it to her on Saturday,when you all come over." Cap added.

Chris burst out laughing."I don't know Cap.Ritas' been hinting that she doesn't have the room for anymore toys."

Cap shrugged indignantly."So we'll keep it at my place.That way she'll have something to play with when she comes over."Caps eyes sparkled at the thought.

Chris grinned knowingly.He had visions of someone other then his daughter playing with the sport set .

Whether it was his captain or himself we'll never know.


Rita was sitting on the sofa when Chris walked through the door.He saw the baby sleeping contentedly in her bassinett.

"Hey" He said as he sat down beside his wife and took her hand.

"Hi." He could hear that she had been crying.

He squeezed her hand gently."I heard you had quite a day."

She looked over at him with watery red eyes.

"I've had better."

Chris pulled her into his arms."Yeah,I guess you have." He felt her take a deep shuddering breath against his chest ,and expected that she would cry ,but instead she looked up at him,trying to force a smile.

But I've also had worse,and so have you." I guess I should just get used to it huh? I mean you can't escape it .People are always going to be cruel to each other."

Chris shook his head."No Sammy,I don't think that is something anyone should ever get used to."

Rita smiled bitterly."Yeah does no good to fight it either,now does it? I'm beginning to believe this is a war no one wins."She stood and walked to the kitchen."I'm not very hungry tonight but I made you a pasta salad and a ham and cheese sandwich for your dinner. Is that alright?"she asked.

Chris watched her intently,wanting so much to continue thier conversation,but not quite sure how to proceed with it.He had a feeling that she wasn't just speaking out of todays incident.He was sure there was more meaning then just today behind her words.

Rita sighed as she opened the refridgerator door.He went and stood behind her,and began to rub her shoulders.She allowed herself to lean back against his chest.

"Rita..." he wanted to say so much more ,but the words wouldn't come.She turned around to him then and he saw a tear roll down her cheek.

"Sammy..... what is it? Hmmm? What's bothering you.Please talk to me."

"Chris....don't you ever get tired of it all? Watching so much sadness? Today two small children had to be taken away from thier mother. They were calling out her name and crying...and you know what? She was so out of it that she had no idea what was going on She had no idea that her little boy had almost been hit by a car,or that her little girl thinks it's all her fault.I feel so bad for them,but I just didn't know what else I could do."

"Sounds to me as if you did the only thing you could ,Sammy."Those kids are safe now."

"Chris...those kids are in a foster home now." He could barely hear her words over the sobs that threatened to break threw.

He reached for her and brought her close to him again."I know Sammy..I know."


Rita slept restlessly again that night .Chris layed beside her,trying to get this mind devoid of all thought so that he too could get some rest.He had finally just reached the edge of oblivion when he heard Samanthas' whimpers over the monitor.He got up quickly,so that her crying would not wake Rita and went to check on his daughter.

"Hey kitty....what's the matter? Are you hungry again? How about daddy feed you again? Would you like that?"

He picked his daughter up and went down to the kitchen to warm a bottle up.While it was warming he played with the baby,who had stopped her fussing for the time being.As he made his way back to the nursery,bottle in hand, she began to grow impatient ,and voiced her demands.Chris sat in the rocking chair,trying to shush her.

"Well,you sure got your daddys appetite,don't you,kitty..hmmm?" He gave her the bottle and began to hum a lullaby to her.

Immediately Samantha became content again in her daddys arms.Watching her,he stroaked her soft brown hair.So much like her mothers.He wondered how much else like her mother she would be.As much as he loved his wife,he hoped for his daughters sake that she hadn't inherited the same kind of soul as her mother had.Souls like Ritas were precious and few.Though exquisitly beautiful,it was much too fragile for the world in which it existed in.It would always be easily strikened by the cruelties and injustices of fate,always seek for,but never find, a gentler world then the one it existed in,.Chris understood this about her,and loved her all the more for it,and he tried to shelter her from the crushing weight of bearing such a soul.

Rita heard Chris humming a lulluby through the monitor. Feeling guilty,knowing he had to go into work soon,she got up to take care of the baby and send him back to bed.."Hey Chris..."

The sight of him in the rocker holding Samantha was always heartwarming to her,but this time it took her by surprise and made her stop short in the doorway.When he looked up at her approach ,he had tears in his eyes.

"Sammy....we have to keep fighting...for her...for our daughter, and for her future.Don't give up on that,okay?"

Rita went to him and kneeled in front of his knees,laying her head on his lap as she touched her daughters tiny hand.

"I don't want to give up..." she told him quietly.

Chris leaned forward and handed her the baby.Rita took her carefully,seeing that she was falling back to sleep again.Chris pulled both of them in to his lap then, holding his wife who held thier child.As they rocked,Rita laid her head against her husbands chest,listening to the beating of his heart.


Chris understood that Rita wasn't thrilled about having to testify,but he believed that she had finally accepted that it was going to happen.Rita undertood that she had no choice in the matter anyway,because she was bound by law to do so,and so she would,but she wasn't going to be happy about it either.

The next two days went by with Chis occupied by the upcoming trial and his concern for his wife.Rita had gone to visit Jenny and Michael in thier foster home,and was relieved to know that they had been placed with a loving couple with two other children.Michael had easily adapted to his new home,but Jenny was slow to warm up to the new family and avoided Rita all together during her visit. Rita emphathized with her,knowing how she was feeling ,but she hated to see the little girl shutting herself away from everyone.She felt a bond with the little girl,and hoped that she would be able to reach her.Though she never realized it,a seed was being planted in the back of her mind.

By Friday morning,Rita had enough of the growing unease she had been feeling within herself all week and announced to Chris that she was going to take Samantha to the park for a walk.

Uh..Rita...You know the DA will be holding a press conference later this evening They are going to make the announcement about the trial.George said we will be picked up at one o'clock today..I don't think it's a good idea for you to go out now."

Look Chris..I need to get out of here for a little.I'm soon going to be cooped up in some godforsaken place for who knows how long. All I want to do is to take my baby on her morning walk around the block..If you want to come with us,then your welcome to,but as long as the announcement hasn't even been made yet.,I see no reason why I can't go about my daily routine.just as I did yesterday and the day before.Now are you coming or not?"

Chris knew this was one arguement he wouldn't win.He could tell by the tone of her voice that her mood wasn't one to be challenged right now,or it would only grow worse.So he had a choice.He could become just as stubborn and forcefully keep her in the house,or he could give in to her simple request and go along with her on the walk to assure himself that no harm would come to his family.It was an easy decision.

"Fine...I could use a stretch myself." He stood ,and walked over to the door,leaving his wife a bit startled at his lack of belligerance towards her.She stared at him,as if she was still exxpecting something.

"You coming?" he smiled over at her as he held the door open. Rita gave him one of her long suffering looks,then walked over to pick up the baby. She walked past him through the door without a single word. Chris couldn't help chuckling behind her back. God,how he loved this woman.


The front door leading into the living room was thrown open,followed by a machine guns bullets being sprayed all around,hitting into the walls,lamps,furniture,and even a bassinet.At the same time the door in the kitchen was also forced open.and the sound of another gun blasting into cabinets and dishes being shattered echoed that of the first assault.The deadly noise continued,fast and furious,through out the entire house,and up the stairs,into the bedrooms and a nursery.There was an errie silence broken only by the sound of disgruntled cussing .The entire incident took only minutes,but the damage was incredible,and the home destroyed.

The two men left as quickly as they entered.


Rita began to relax a little.The sun was warm and shinning brightly,and the baby was happily cooing away as the three of them strolled along a peaceful tree lined street..She couldn't help but smile at the picture they were creating.It was exactly what she had imagined the moment she had found out she was pregnant.

They passed a little convenience store on the corner,and Chris decided he wanted some ice cream.He went in and came back out with two popscicles.They ate them as they walked along, and occassionally would stop to allow Samantha a little taste . For a short while,everything was perfect.

They heard the sirens as they made thier way back home,and niether paid any attention to them at first.It was only as they turned onto thier own street that the dread began to seep back into Rita.And then they saw the police cars and the ambulance parked out on the street in front of thier house.Chris' steps quickened ,but Ritas only became slower now.If she had her own way,she would have stopped and turned around,to run in the opposite direction,but something else was compelling her on now.

Chris who was ahead of her was met by Cap and two other cops. He stopped to talk with them,never seeing Rita, as she pushed the baby stroller past him, and continued up the walk that led to the front door,which stood wide open. She left the baby in her stroller outside.

Chris saw her go in.. "Rita..wait !"

She walked in a fog ,as if she had no control of her own will now..She heard him calling to her from a distance away ,but it didn't matter. Something was wrong,that was all she knew.She entered into her home.

She saw the bullet holes in the wall first,then the pictures that had been knocked off of them.Broken knick knacks from the shelves layed on the carpet.....along with a picture of the baby with the glass shattered,and another of her and Chris the day they had been married........the sofa had holes in it,showing the stufifng.......and the tv blasted had been blasted through........there were holes the bassinette where her daughter most often layed during the day ,a little stuffed pink bear that Franny had bought for the baby....a mirrow which hung on the wall...the lamp shade.The fish tank had been shot through as well,and she immediatly averted her eyes away from the mess. .......In a haze,she found herself climbing the stairs, again hearing her husband calling to her from somewhere far off.Her head began to fill with a loud deafening hum She went into the babys room ,at first seeing the broken window.She looked into the crib then.The sound grew louder,filling up her ears,as if she was drowning in it,and causing her head to feel heavy...or maybe it was light....she couldn't decide.She began to feel dizzy and gripped onto the rails of the crib tightly.There was Samanthas blanket......her babys favorite..she would want was so soft ,with tiny little angels all over it.She had bought that for Samantha..........Rita reached for the blanket.....but the noise was begining to hurt now..... it was blinding her....she couldn't see very well now.....or maybe it was just getting dark outside.... no,it was her eyesight dimming.....going gray .......maybe she really was drowning,under some water.......the nosie was overwhelming now,and it was turning everything black......

"Rita!" Chris had followed her into the hous.He had just entered the nursery when he saw her standing over the babys crib.He called her name,but she didn't seem to hear him.He watched her grip the crib railing,and saw her knees begin to buckle.He ran over to her and caught her just before she collapsed on the floor.

" she up here?" He heard his captain call to him,as he gathered his wifes unconcious body in his arms.He couldn't stand to be in this room,or the house itself,and he didn't want her to reawaken in there either.

"Yeah Cap....I got her ." He called as he carried his wife to the door and met his captain."She's fainted." he said seeing an immediate look of concern cross his captains face."Let's get her out of here."

Cap nodded,and led the way down the stairs. He stepped outside and called a paramedic over to them. Chris gently layed Rita on the grass,and wiped away some hair from her face.

"Sammy.....come on baby,wake up." he said.His voice trembled with worry.

The paramedic came over and took Ritas pulse."It's a bit rapid,but I think she'll be alright.Just have her rest somewhere away from here." He held some smelling salt in front of her nose,and Rita soon began to come around.

"Chris...." she said weakly.

"I'm right here,'s okay." She tried to sit up,but a wave of dizziness washed over her again."Shhh...just take it easy Rita."

Rita fell back for a second,but then remembered her daughter."My baby...My God....where's my baby!?"she began to cry.

"Shhh...She's fine Sammy....she is with Holly right now.How do you feel?" he asked,still worried.

He wasn't prepared for the assault she answered him with,or for the anger he saw blazing in her eyes."How the hell do you think I feel,Chris! My house was just shot babys bed had bullet holes all over it! How do you feel about that? My God Chris...what if we had been home..oh my God" She began to cry hard,gulping in huge breaths of air" Oh my God.....they would have killed us...they would have shot our baby......Chris!!!!"

The paramedic saw that she was beginning to hyperventilate.He tried to calm her down,at the same time trying to get her to breathe into a paper bag.He finally succeeded.While Rita was trying to get her breath back,Cap came up to check on her.

"How is she?" he asked Chris.

"She's pretty upset,Cap...I need to get her away from here. "

"Yeah, I called George. Somehow word of the trial must have gotten out to the streets before it should have.The DA wants to meet with you and me immediately back at the station...Rita and the baby will be coming with us too...... In the meantime,he is sending a car over to pick up Franny. These guys are serious.The FBI wants us all to go into protective custody right away."

Chris nodded,as he watched his wife.She was furious,and she had every right to be.But he also knew that below her anger,was one very frightened lady .Hell...he was scared himself now.The thought that if they hadn't gone for that walk....

"Fine Cap......but......"

"But what,Chris?"

"The baby...she'll need things......they know that,don't they?"

Cap nodded in understanding."I'm sure they do,and they'll provide.They told me not to take anything from the house."

Chris walked over to Rita,and knelt down next to her. She was breathing normally again,and now he only saw tears in her eyes when he looked into them.

"Chris....I'm scared." Was all she said. She reached out her arms to him,and he took her into his holding her tightly as she cried.Looking over her shoulder,he stared at thier home,and at the broken windows,with its tattered curtains swaying in the gentle breeze. He wanted so much to tell her that everything was going to be all right,but he didn't....or maybe it was that he couldn't.


The car arrived just a few minutes later and whisked Cap,Chris,Rita and the baby all back to the station. Cap and Chris were all ushered in for a meeting with the DA and the FBI,while Rita wheeled the babys stroller to the small break room that sat off to the side of the homicide department.Samantha had fallen asleep on the ride over,and now ,alone, Rita couldn't tear her eyes away from her precious daughter sleeping so soundly and thankfully unaware of the days events.Rita on the other hand was still shakened by them.Try as she might,she couldn't escape the terrifying thoughts of "what ifs" .

She shivered in the empty room,as a tingle went down her spine.She couldn't help but wonder what would be next.Would her life always be this unsettled? Just then the door opened behind her,and she turned to see Fran at the door.

Frans eyes were full of worry as they first looked to Rita,and then quickly scanned over the baby.After reassurring herself that her little angel was not harmed.she walked over to Rita and opened her arms for her."Oh honey,I just heard....Thank God you are all okay." She breathed a sigh of relief.

Rita found herself being drawn to the comfort of Frannys arms.She felt a desperate need to hold on to someone.Franny seemed to sense this ,and gently rubbed her back with reassurring strokes."It will be over soon ,doll" She heard Rita quietly sob,but a moment later,her heart ached as Rita pulled away from her,and sat down. She wanted so much to help her. She regarded this young woman as a daughter,and this wasn't the first time she had felt a mothers pain over the knowledge that her child was hurting so much and she couldn't do anything to take that away.

Fran sighed heavily,as she sat in a chair across from Rita and looked around.."So this is it....I wasn't happy about this protective custody thing,but after Heschy called me and told me what happened today,I just couldn't get out of there fast enough.I don't suppose they told you where they are taking us,did they?"

Rita shook her head."No they haven't.They won't." Rita reached down now and tenderly picked up her sleeping daughter,cradling her in her arms.She leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on the babys soft cheek.For a moment she paused there and closed her eyes,as she breathed in her babys sweet scent. Fran watched her,and it dawned on her how Rita was really coping with all this.She understood now.Once before,Rita had drawn the stregnth she needed from her baby.She felt somewhat relieved to know this.

The door opened again,and Chris,Cap and George walked in,followed by the man from the FBI who had driven them over and another woman who Rita did not reconize.Chris looked very somber as Rita stood to greet him .He went to stand behind his wife and wrapped his arms around her waist.He gazed down at his precious daughter sleeping so soundly.

George broke the errie silence in the room."Ah,if everyone could please have a seat,we'll go over some things before Joe here will take you all into custody."

Cap pulled out a chair for himself next to Franny,and Chris guided Rita back to her seat.When everyone was settled,George continued ."'As we speak,there are twelve identical recreational vehicles downstairs in the parking deck.We've closed it off and secured it.You will all get into only one of them,one in which is already specified.Once you are inside,the RV will leave the garadge at the same time as the others.Each of them will leave in different directions to throw off anyone who might be watching .The driver of your RV will know where to take you from that point.Joe will also be there.When the time comes for your testimony,they will escort you back here to Palm Beach again."

The next few minutes were spent going over the rules and instructions,and answering any questions.While the FBI agent and George spoke,Chris' eyes never left his wife and daughter.

"So...I guess that about does it for now." George said,and looked over nervously towards Chris now.

Chris looked up and met Georges eyes.He knew what was next.His eyes quickly diverted over to his captain now.His captain gave him a solemn nod in recognition of what he was about to do. Looking back over to George now,Chris acknowledged his duty.All this passed over in a matter of seconds,with Fran and Rita completely unaware it was even happening.He reached over to Rita,and gave her arm a caressing rub.

"Here Sammy,let me take the baby now. I want to hold her." He reasoned to himself that this wasn't a lie. He did want to hold his daughter,more then anything else right now,he wanted that.

Rita never even questioned this.Why would she ,he thought.He was her babys' father.She leaned down and kissed the babys forehead before handing her over to her daddy.

Chris stood,just looking at her as he held her in his arms.Very slowly he walked over to the female FBI agent who stood by the door, at the same time George,Cap and Joe,began to place themselves in between Rita and Chris..Only now did Rita begin to sense something was going on. "Chris?" Her voice came out meekly as her eyes followed her family.

She watched Chris kiss his daughter,and then stood up just as Chris handed Samantha over to the female agents waiting ,suddenly realizing what they were doing.Immediately she was surrounded by the other three men, all having to forcefully restrain her from any movement.

The agent took the baby,and quickly left the room. Chris closed the door behind her,at the same moment the loud anquished scream of his wifes' heartbreak chilled his blood. "Nooooooo!!!!!"

The three men released the hold they had on her.Chris was still standing by the door,and Joe immediately went to stand with him.As expected,Rita was right behind him,trying to get the oversized man to move out of her way.She kneed him between his legs,and still the man remained a towering fortress.

And then she saw Chris,and everyone else was forgotten as she leaped at him and began pounding on his chest."Why did you let them take my baby...they took her and you let them! I hate you! I hate you Christopher!"

Chris had expected all this,and probaly more.And he hated himself for what he had just done too. He stood quietly and allowed her to hit him,over and over again,until finally Cap and George came over and put a stop to it.They led her back over to her chair,and made her sit down.

"All right,that's enough ! Look Rita,we are going into a very dangerous situation.It is against the law to endanger a child,you know that! Cap talked sternly to her."The FBI can not assure us of our safety with a baby in tow.Too many unexpected things could happen They won't allow us to bring her. Chris was only doing what he had to do.None of us want any harm to come to that baby!They have taken all the precautions they can to guarentee us of safety.You should be relieved to know that she's out of harms way now."

Rita said nothing.She just sat there shaking her head and crying.Chris was dying inside as he watched her.

Franny ,who had been watching in shock as everything had happened,now stepped into the scene herself. She walked over to Rita and embraced her in a hug,rocking her as Rita cried into her shoulder.

Looking up to the men in the room,she shook her head reproachfully at them."You shouldn't have done that.Not that way."

While George,Cap and Chris looked on,Fran turned her attention back to Rita.The door was opened,and another man stepped in,introducing himself as Jack,the second agent who would be driving them to where they were going.The four of them were escorted from the room and down to the parking garadge.Fran guided Rita along as they walked behind Jack,with Cap and Chris following right behind them,and Joe covering thier backs.


Everything was happening fast now.The foursome were placed into the RV,one that the government had adapted for such purposes like this.It held all the necessary items to function comfortably,as well as food,clothes and other personal items .There was a small living area,and a kitchen with a refridgerator and stove,a bathroom with a shower,and a small bedroom which held two double beds,with a built in table between them.On the other side were two built in chests of drawers,small,but adequate enough for some storage.

The drivers seat and the passenger seat up front were divided by a captains table.Joe climbed into the passenger seat next to Jack,and the others took seats in the living area.They were on the road in no time.

Rita had stopeed crying by now,but she still hadn't said a word to anyone.She refused to meet Chris's eyes where he sat across from her,watching her now,and trying to find a way he could apologize to her.Although he knew what he had done was best for Samantha,it was the worst for his wife.Everything had gone just as planned though.He had taken the baby easily from Ritas arms,agreeing with Cap and George that she would not be made aware of what was going on.It was the easiest way to handle what had to be done.They had known she would have never voluntairly handed over her baby without a fight..Chris didn't want a scene in which Samantha would become upset.He knew taking the baby from Rita would be emotional in and of itself ,but he couldn't imagine having to do it with Samantha crying through it all,and instigating even further her mothers instincts to protect her.

"'s nice,at least." Fran said,just to have something to break the silence."We have everything we'll need,I suppose."

Chris and Cap exchanged a look with each other,but Rita stood and walked back to the bedroom without a word to anyone.She slammed the door.

Chris made a move to follow her,but Cap reached out and touched his elbow.He shook his head no."Not yet,Chris.Give her some time."

Chris looked over at the closed door,then relented.

Fran stared hard at the both of them.Cap knew the look on her face only too well."What?" he replied to it.

"Oh,you know what." Fran retorted back to him sarcastically.

"Franny,we had no choice.We did what was best.Look around here.There is no room to accomadate a baby. Besides,we couldn't risk any unforseen circumstances.If she got sick and needed medical attention......" Cap sighed. "A baby would just bring more attention to us." He attempted to make his wife understand the many logical reasons he had to back him up.

"Oh,I understand why you did it.It's how you went about it that I don't like.You should have told her!" argued Fran.

"She would never have agreed to it.We wanted to avoid having to tear that baby out of her arms." said Cap.

"I think if you had just talked to her first,you could have made her understand.She loves that baby.She would have done whatever she thought was best for her." Frans voice began to get heated now.

Caps voice also began to rise as he still tried to convince his wife that he hadn't really done anything wrong."Of course she would have.But we couldn't take the chance that what she thought was best would collaberate with what we knew is best.None of us wanted to do this Franny.We just didn't have any other choice ."

Chris had been staring at the floor with his head in his hands.He came to his captains defense now."Don't blame him Fran.He's right.I know Rita better then I know myself. She would never have agreed to letting a total stranger care for our baby,no matter what."

Fran stood up."'s all water under the bridge now,isn't it? I'm going back to talk to her."And with that said,she stood and join Rita in the bedroom.

She knocked on the door first,but when Rita didn't answer,she peeked in and saw Rita lying on her side,and clutching a pillow to her face.Thinking she was crying,Fran went over and sat on the bed.

It was then she noticed that Rita had fallen asleep.Her face was still streaked with tears,and some of her hair stuck to her face..Poor thing must have been exhausted after the day she hadFran wiped the hair from her face,and shivered from the over chilled air conditioned room.Retrieving the blanket from the other bed,she covered Rita with it before leaving.

As she joined her husband and Chris again,she announced"She is sleeping now.So...I think I'll make some coffee.I could use a strong one.Anyone else?"

Cap jumped at the chance to change the current topic,and get back into his wifes good graces. Fran hardly ever had a temper,but when she did,it almost always concerned someone she loved being wronged in some way.She could even hold a tortuous grudge if she deemed the cause worthy enough. Cap thankfully realized that this was not going to be one of those occassions.

He went to help Franny find the coffee.Chris stood and quietly went back to the bedroom.He was careful to enter as quietly as possible,glad that she was getting some much needed rest.He sat beside her on the bed,just looking at her while she slept.Even in her sleep,he could see signs of the stress she was under.Every so often he would hear the grinding of her teeth,or a muscle would twitch.

He knew that what he had done today had hurt her.It had hurt him to do it.He only hoped that she would soon forgive him and understand why.He had made this decision in order to protect them all.Samantha would be safe,and more comfortable where she was,and they wern't risking thier own safety now either.It was the only way he could be assured that they would all get through this.

"You've got to forgive me Sam.....I love you and Samantha so much,but this was the only way." he whispered it to her.Leaning over her,he brushed her cheek with a soft kiss,then left the room.Cap and Fran were sitting at the table and playing cards.

"We are playing rummy.You in?"asked Cap.

"Yeah sure," Chris said and went over to pour a cup coffee ,thinking to himself that it was going to be one long weekend.


After they had been on the road for several hours,Fran had grown bored and for lack of anything else to do,she began dozing.Finally Cap convinced her to go lay down in the other bed.Soon though,both Cap and Chris were dozing themselves,both cramped and fighting for space to stretch out on the small sofa.

Chris felt the RV stop.A few seconds later one of the agents called back to them."We are here!"

Cap heard him,and yawned as he stood up,while Chris gave him a wicked smile and stretched out his legs in the area Cap had just been.Bringing his arm over his face and covering his eyes,he asked"And where exactly is "here"?"

Cap shot him a darting look"Well it certainly isn't a vacation,Lorenzo" he said sharply "Just what do you think you are doing?"

Chris removed his arm and opened only one eye as he looked up to his captain"What?" he asked innocently.

Another lethal look,along with some grumbling.Chris enjoyed getting under his captains skin.

The agent named Joe came back to the living area with them."We'll be getting out now."

A minute later Jack opened the RV door from the outside,and Joe led their way out. Chris and Cap looked around thier new surroundings,finding themselves in a secluded wooded area,with no sign of civilization anywhere to be seen except for a small log cabin.

"Where are we?" Chris asked.

"You are on government property.Sorry,I can't say just where.However I can assure you that while we are here,we will all be safe.There are federal marshals posted all around the outskirts of this property." replied Joe.

Cap nodded"Well,at least that is a relief."He drew in a deep breath of fresh air."Ahh,that's nice." Immediately he began sneezing.

Jack nodded toward the cabin."You'll have to wake your wives now.We should be getting inside."

Chris started backing his way into the RV,but Cap stopped him.

"You want me to wake them both Chris?"

Chris shook his head no,then turned to go inside."I'll wake Fran for you." he said before he dissapeared.

He opened the bedroom door and tiptoed inside.He glanced towards Rita,but walked over to where Fran layed instead. He gently shook her awake."Hey Fran,it's time to wake up" he whispered to her."We are here."

She opened her eyes and sat up,impressing Chris with her alertness which came so easily to her.

"Oh good.And just where is here anyway?" she asked him.

Chris shrugged his shoulders."Your guess is as good as mine."

Rita was beginning to stir.Chris's eyes immediatly looked her way.

Frans eyes followed his."I'll go now so you two can be alone." she whispered to him.

Chris nodded his thanks to her and watched her leave.He went over to Ritas bed and sat down next to her.Leaning down,he kissed her forehead and softly called her name"Hey Rita" He ran a hand over her temple,wiping back some of her hair.

Rita turned her head to the side,and brought a hand up to rub her eyes.When she opened them,Chris saw her confusion,which was quickly replaced with sorrow,as she looked back at him.Sorrow that he was determined to take away from her.

"Hey Sammy...we've stopped driving now.It's time to wake up now."

Rita sat up,tearing herself away from his close proximity to her.

"Fine. You can go now.I'll be right out." she spoke with an edge to her voice.

Chris sighed."Look Rita,we need to talk."

"No...I don't think so.I really don't think you'd want to hear anything I'd have to say to you right now."Her voice was harsh, and still very unforgiving of him.

Chris mumbled something as he stood up,and ran a hand through his hair.

Rita watched him and could see he was frustrated.It anoyed her that he was feeling that way about HER.If anyone had a right to show thier frustration towards the other,it was going to be her,not him." Oh,poor Christopher.What's wrong? Haven't I gone along with the plan? Was I suppossed to have forgiven you by now?See, I wouldn't know.I wasn't made aware of the plan.."

"Damn it Rita! Knock it off,and just listen to me.Okay?"

She stood up."Excuse me? I don't think you have anything to say that is worth hearing now.If you did,you would have told me before you took my baby away from me.!"

She opened the door and walked out,leaving it to slam in his face.


Outside,the two agents had been talking to Fran and Cap about the cabin as they waited for the Lorenzos to come outside."You are all set up with everything you will need.There is clothes,food,and toiletries.We brought along a few games as well,and Jack here is a chess master."

"Oh really?" Cap perked up at the sound of that.You don't meet many young folk who enjoy chess these days.We'll have to play a few games...that is if you want to play with a real chess master."

"Oh Heschy." Fran said,embarrassed by her husbands boasting of himself."

When thier conversation was interupted by raised voices ,they didn't need to wonder what was keeping Chris and Rita. They could easily hear the arguement going on inside.

"How many rooms did you say are in this cabin again?" Franny asked with a dismal tone to the question.

"Just one ma'am" answered Joe,himself sounding dismayed at that very thought.

Fran breathed out a huge sigh."Well...I don't know about anyone else,but I don't intend to live with those two behaving like that."She marched back over to the door,then turned back to face Jack."You've got the key."

Jack stared back at her,apparently appalled at what she was implying.Not that he himself thought it was such a bad idea though.

He looked over to his partner to see what his opinion was about it.

Joe shrugged his shoulders,then nodded his consent.The RV was certainly safe enough.It was made to keep unwilling guests safely inside once the key was turned outside.The only way one could get the door open was to have the key.With all the doors locked,one practically needed a can opener to get in or out of there,unless of course,they had the keys to it.

Jack held up the key,then went and made sure all the doors were locked.Fran smiled with satisfaction of what they had done,while Cap took out another rolaid and popped it in his mouth.

The four of them started for the cabin.They stopped though when they heard someone pounding on the door.It was soon followed by Ritas voice calling out to them."The door won't open! Could someone please open this door!"

Fran turned back and went up to the door."It's okay Rita,it's just locked.Now we'll all be in the cabin right next door.You'll have all the privacy you'll need now.You two should talk."

"Franny? No! Don't go! I don't want to talk to you hear me? Open up this door now!" Rita yelled out to her.

"Sorry doll,I don't have the key." Franny said.then turned back to the three men."Should we go inside boys?" She stepped to lead the way.

The agents gave Cap a look of sympathetic awe. Cap just shook it off.He knew that in no time at all,they would meet the same fate as he had.One just did not question Fran Lipshitz.

Chris heard Rita yelling and pounding on the door.Hearing what Fran said to her through it,he couldn't help but laugh at what she had done.Thank you Franny,he thought.That was one very smart wife his captain had.She knew Rita would have to listen to him,and hopefully do some talking as well.....eventually.

Chris decided to give Rita some time to herself,hoping that she would calm down.He was in no hurry.After all,they had nothing but time...and each other.


Rita glanced at her watch.No wonder she was hurting so much.She hadn't nursed Samantha since ten o' clock this morning.It was now thirteen hours later.Her swollen breast were another aching reminder of how much she wanted her baby with her right now. She had missed two of the babys nursings,since Chris usually gave her a bottle before bedtime. Damn him..Damn them all,she thought. Didn't anyone think of that? No probaly not.They didn't seem to give her much of any thought these days. She stood up and went to the bathroom.

Chris heard her coming back towards him,and waited for the door to open.When it didn't ,he realized where she had gone instead.Good time to leave the bedroom ,he thought. Get out there and establish my territory before she came out of the bathroom . He quietly opened the door and tiptoed past the bathroom.He went out to the living area and poured some cooffee for them both.A few minutes later,Rita returned to the living area and stopped short when she saw Chris.

"Coffee?" he asked her.

She glared at him before turning around and heading to the bedroom.Chris heard an angry groan from her as the bedroom door slammed shut.

"Goodnight Sam!" he called out to her,not getting any response in return.

He walked over to the closed door."Sooner or later,you are going to have to talk to me Sam!" he called to her through it.

He heard the sound of a radio coming through the door,but that was all.He sadly shook his head and turned back to the table.Pouring the coffee down the drain,he decided to turn in for the night.He felt a pang as he realizeded that he should be feeding Samantha her bottle right now.It was then that he remembered that Rita hadn't nursed thier daughter all day either.With a heavy heart,he turned on the radio in hopes of drowning out his own thoughts.He could only find one station that would tune in well enough to listen to it.He pulled out the sofa bed,and layed down on it, listening as the woman dj talked about love and relationships with callers who were requesting song dedications.It occured to him that since this was the only viable station in the area, that Rita must be listening to the same show as he was,and an idea came to him.

Rita sat on the edge of the bed,staring out into the darkness and trying to get a hold of the three different emotions that were whirling inside her.One was a deep sorrow over not having her baby in her arms.She had never been separated from her before like this.Except for an occassional run to the grocery store when Chris was home,or the hour at the gym she took twice a week,she had always been with her baby.And when she hadn't been,she had always known just where Samantha was and who she was with.She had never had to worry about her babys safety before.

Her other two emotions contradicted each other.One was an indescribable anger towards her husband,and it went hand in hand with the dissapointment in him,that he had felt it necessary to decieve her.He had made a decision concerning all three of them ,soley on his own,without ever even talking to her first or asking for her opinion.Despite all thier talk that thier marriage would never change thier friendship itself,she knew it had.She didn't know what she was more angry at now.What he had done,or that he had planned it without any input from her.Yet the same man who now had her blood boiling was also the same man she wanted with her right now more then anything.

Which was where her third emotion came into play.As mad as she was at him,she also felt a desperate need to hold him tightly in her arms,and to be in his.She wanted to be that happy family that had taken a walk down the street today. She wanted to hear him tell her again that they would be again ,that everything was going to be alright.Most of all she wanted to believe it was true.

She felt a tear fall from her eye and slowly roll down her cheek.She wiped it away.No,she told herself. She had cried enough now.A person could cry only so much before the heart dried up.She suppossed that she had just reached that point.

She heard his voice breaking into her thoughts,trying to say something to her.No,it wasn't him,it was someone on the radio....someone who sounded like him.She listened closely now. Oh lord,she realized,it really was him!

"Hi Daniella....My name is Sam. I was wondering if you could play a song for my best wife,?"

"Sure,Sam.Tell me about your wife. What's her name?" Name? Uh oh,..he couldn't say her real name,and he was Sam already.He thought quickly.

Well,I call her Sunshine,because that is what she is to me."

"So your saying she is the center of your universe,the light of your life?"

"For starters.She's all that and more."

"And how long have you been married to the love of your life? " Daniella asked.

"A little over nine months now,but she's been my soul mate forever." Chris told her.

"Sam..I think you've got the attention of my female listeners now.She's a lucky woman to have you,I hope she knows that." Daniella said.

"No,Daniella,I'm the one who is lucky."

"So,do you have a song in mind to tell her just how much she means to you?"

"Yes....but first Daniella,I really need to say something to her.I did something today that hurt her very much ,and now she won't even talk to me.I know she's listening to this show right now,so .."

"So you want to talk to her now,maybe she will listen to you?"Daniella finished his sentence for him.

"Yes,if you wouldn't mind."Chris replied.

"Go right ahead Sam..I'm not against a good love story."

Thanks Daniella." Chris exhaled, then took a deep breath so that he could say as much as he felt in as much sense he could make of it all.

"Sunshine..I'm not sure what I could say,except that I hope you can you forgive me.As much as I hate that what I did today caused you pain,I can't lie to you and tell you I'm sorry for it.I wasn't blind to what I did today,I knew what I was doing, but you have to know I didn't want to do it.I would never have hurt you like that,never,unless it was for your own good, to spare you from something much worse. I live to see your smile,and I never want to be the source of your pain." Chris paused a few seconds,trying to gain control of the tears that were breaking into his voice. "I wish you would talk to me,even scream at me if you want...anything but shut me out. I know that you probaly feel like your world is falling apart.I know I do,..but your love is what I'm holding onto to get through this,and I need you to stand by me right now ,to trust in my love to get through this .And we will get us through this,I promise. Just please, don't give up on me,or our dreams.I love you so much.You are the love of my life,Sunshine.

Daniellas voice came over the radio before playing the song."This one is for Sams' Sunshine."

I am amazed
When I look at you
I see you smiling back at me
It's like all my dreams come true

I am afraid
If I lost you girl
I'd fall through the cracks
And lose my track in this crazy,lonely world

Sometimes it's so hard to believe
When the nights can be so long
And faith gave me the stregnth
And kept me holding on

You are the love of my life
And I'm so glad you found me
You are the love of my life
Baby put your arms around me
I guess this is how it feels
When you finally find something real
My angel in the night
You are my love
love of my life

Now here you are
With midnight closing in
You take my hand as our shadows dance
With moonlight on your skin

I look into your eyes
I'm lost inside your kiss
I think if I never met you
About all the things I 'd missed

Sometimes it's so hard to believe in
When a love can be so strong And faith gave me the stegnth
to keep me holding on

You are the love of my life
And I'm so glad you found me
You are the love of my life
Baby put your arms around me
I guess this is how it feels
When you finally find something real
My angel in the night
You are my love
love of my life

By the time the song had ended,there weren't many listening whose eyes wern't filled with tears.Including Ritas'.Her heart hadn't been dried up after all.


He had actually made the call about half an hour before they played his request,and he had nervously waited out the entire time.Although at first he decided he could be patient and wait until she was ready to hash it out with him,he was now beginning to remember just how stubborn his wife could be.He decided that if this didn't work,it was time to become just as stubborn as she was. He would bust the door down,if he had to .He would make her talk to him,no matter what.

The radio finished playing the song to her,and he listened carefully for any sounds from the back room,but there were none.Quietly he tiptoed back to the room,and listened attentivley.He heard a soft sniffle ,but that was all.Still it was enough to make his heart soften,and he decided he could just as easily wait for tomorrow morning to go through with his plan.Maybe a good nights sleep would do them both some good anyway.


Except that it wasn't a good nights sleep for Rita.Her sleep brought her the dreams again. Haunting scenes of a gun being aimed at her and Chris,and then of him bleeding on the ground,and herself crying beside him.A quick flash of bright light and there was Chris and he was holding Samantha, wrapped tightly in her angel blanket.Rita reached out her arms for her,but Chris turned away from her with the baby and soon there was a distance between them.She ran after them and caught up with Chris,but when she turned him around,she saw blood was all over him,and she was the one who held the gun.She took the baby from him but when she looked ,all she saw was the angel blanket in her arms now...Samantha was no longer there,and she screamed.Another flash, and there she was in a coffin,and they were burying her.Chris was calling out to her to come back to them,telling her they loved her,but someone whose face she couldn't see was threwing piles of dirt on her coffin and soon everything turned black.She could hear Samantha crying,and Chris calling her name as the dirt kept falling on her....


"Damn it!" Chris heard the terrifying scream,and knew immediately what was happening.It took him only a second to leap from the sofa bed and reach the back bedroom door.He turned the knob,but it was locked.He heard frantic crys from the other sideof the door,becoming increasingly anquished,and he threw himself against the door,trying to break it down.When it wouldn't give he tried again.Still nothing.She was hysterically crying in there now,but he knew she wasn't conscious of it .He tried pounding on the door to get her to wake up ,calling to her when he heard another scream,and more crys.

"No,...,no,....,no!!!!!! My baby....wheres my baby?,...,no........Chris!!!!!!

"Rita...Wake up this door!"he called to her.

Rita woke with a final agonizing scream." Chris!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Then he could hear her sobbing He called to her" Rita!"

"Chris?" She asked ,sounding to him, very confused and scared.

"Sammy,it's alright.Just come open the door,okay?"

Rita got out of the bed and stumbled her way to the door.As soon as Chris heard her clumsily turn the lock,he pushed the door open,and scooped his wife into his arms.She wrapped her arms tightly around his neck,and buried her head into his chest,still sobbing while she tried to talk."I....I had a bad dream....."

"Shh Sammy" he held her closely to him,and rubbed her back while he kissed her on her temple."Yeah,I know sweetheart,I know.Shhh Everythings alright now. "

After a few moments of holding her as she trembled in his arms,Chris led her over to the bed.He sat down ,leaning his back against the wall,and brought her to lay on his chest."Do you remember what it was about?" he asked her softly,gently caressing her cheek.

Rita buried her face against him."No.I don't want to think about it.I just want to forget it."

He kissed the top of her head."You can't do that,Sammy.....these dreams are eating you up inside.I want you to tell me about them."

The tender moment was broken,and two hearts silently shattered as she sat up and pulled away from him."Chris..., was just one dream.In case you forgot,which I still haven't by the way,I had a really horrible day yesterday.That's probaly why I had a bad dream."

Chris reached out,touching her on the arm and trying to make her look back at him."I'm sorry about yesterday Sam,but that wasn't what caused this dream." His voice turned serious.

" It isn't just one dream,'ve been having bad dreams for quite awhile now." he told her."You have them,and then in the morning you don't even remember them.."

Rita looked as if she was shocked to learn this,but still tried to dismiss what he was suggesting."So maybe I don't remember every dream I have,but no one does.It's okay Chris,I'm fine now.It was just a dream ,that's all."

Chris nodded his head slowly up and down,as if he was agreeing with her,though he wasn't.In actuality he was confirming to himself that it was time to stop being so abiding anymore."No's more then just one dream,and I sure as hell know that if I had even one nightmare like you've been having,I'd damn well remember it!!! Now his tone changed from that of concern to one of pleading."Rita,talk to me! Tell me what is bothering you...please."

She stood up now,and turned to face him,but it wasn't anger he saw on her face,it was fear,and he knew she was about to pull out any and all defense tactics to avoid the real issue here."You wanna know what's bothering me? Fine,Chris,I'll tell you what's bothering me! How about the fact that you took my baby away from me! Or that you went ahead and made decisions about our family,and never once thought to bring me in on that discussion. You knew I wouldn't have agreed to it,but that didn't matter,did it? But then again,I should be used to everyone making decisions about my life."Rita ,you have to testify,you have no choice.Rita,you have to go into protective custody,....You took my baby away from me Chris! We used to watch each others back,remember that? Why did you think we couldn't cover our own daughters then?"

Chris' heart was twisting in all sorts of directions,and it hurt like hell to watch her feeling so much pain over what he had done,but he also knew he wasn't going to carry that on his shoulders any longer.He had done what he knew was best."Of course we can watch her back,but hell Sam,we shouldn't have to...she's three months old,and I couldn't justify any good enough reason to bring her into a dangerous situation like this.We'd never forgive ourselves if something would have happened to her!"

Rita had to admit he was right about that,and slowly the anger she had been feeling began to ebb away,but in it's place were emotions that had no place left to hide anymore."Damn it Chris....why do you think I quit being a cop!? I didn't want to expose our baby to that kind of world...that hell on earth! It eats you alive,from the inside and out, that is if it doesn't kill you first.I chose to walk away from it,but look where I am right now,...and where is our baby? We are smack in the middle of it anyway! But live that insane lifestyle every day.I can't escape from it,and you won't leave it."

She shook her head and stood up.Her voice cracked with emotion as a damn broke within her,against her will and betrayed her loss of control ." I can't take it anymore. I tried,I really did...every damn day I tried for you.Chris, your out there ,and your fighting this never ending war,and I just can't stand the thought that one day,you won't come back home.How many times will it take before they finally kill you? You can't win them all. One day,you will loose ...and then we will loose you ."

"Sammy...that's not gonna happen....why can't you just believe that?" he asked her,his own voice barely above a whisper,wondering why she was being so pessimistic about this.

"Why? Because you promise me that nothing will happen, you talk to me about our future,about all our dreams ,and you make me want them. And then you promise me that one day all our dreams will come true." Her words choked on her sobs now,and she paused to take in a breath. "But how can I believe in any of that when you come home and tell me about r this case or that, or about a close call you've had that day,...and the whole time I'm thinking to myself, why?...Why does he put himself on the line like that? You say your fighting for Samanthas future...but I just don't see it that way.Do you know what I see when you put on your shield,and walk out the door? I see that day I watched your heart monitor go flat.Tell me, is being fatherless good for our daughters future?"

She stood there,with tears pouring down her face,as she just looked at him,waiting for him to answer a question he had no answers to.Chris wondered if it was possible for his heart to shatter anymore at the sight of her like that.Though she probaly hadn't meant to say as much as she did, he was glad of her outburst. He understood everything better now.He knew she had been worried about his job,it was typical in thier situation.A cops wife always worried.Perhaps her fears had been started by the Montoya incident,but that was only a small part of the turmoil going on inside her, and he realized now why it was.She had once been his partner,she knew what he faced every day. Her nightmares were only an extension of the horror movies in her mind she was seeing each day.

" I am so sorry Rita,.I just didn't realize...I guess I thought you had just falling off a bicycle,and you needed help to get back on again.I thought eventually you would want to come back to work.That was why I told you about my cases.I guess that's the last thing you needed to hear."

She sat back down on the bed,and leaned over,holding her stomach as if she felt sick." I know I should be with you again....I should be covering your back, and if something ever happens to you,it would be my own fault."

Chris' heart wrenched over what he was hearing.He couldn't allow her to blame herself for anything happening to him out there because she felt guilty over quitting the force.

"No,Rita...don't think like that.Holly covers my back now...I'm not alone out there."

He went over to the bed and sat down next to her.He tenderly cupped her chin,and turned her so she could look into his eyes.." I understand you don't want to be a cop...and if that is how you really feel,then I'm behind you one hundred don't have to feel guilty because your not my partner anymore.Anything that happens out there has nothing to do with you not being out there with me. It wouldn't be your fault,Sam."

"But I would make sure nothing ever happened,Chris." she said softly,"Like it used to be."

"Rita...Do you want to come back to work again?" he asked her.As sad as it was for him to accept,he was finally beginning to come to terms with the fact that she was never going to be a cop again.He could see it in her eyes.She was burnt out,plain and simple.

"Do you want me too?"she asked him,knowing that if he said yes,she would go back,that she would do anything she had to if it would help to keep him safe.

It was something Cap said to him that he remebered now ,when she asked him that question.."What is it that she's missing? Find that and you'll find a way to help her." So this was it,he thought.She needed to know that there was really going to be a future.She needed security,and craved it so much that she was willing to rub salt in her open wounds if she thought it would up the anty for it.

"Oh Sammy....I miss you out there ,but I don't need you out there sweetheart. I know we always used to say no one could cover our backs like we could,and probaly that is true....But on that same note honey,with you as as my partner,I seem to think with my heart,and not my head,and that is where I run into trouble,isn't it?"He tried to get her to smile,but saw only sad eyes instead.She rested her head on his shoulder,feeling emotionally spent..

"When you took Samantha away from me,I remembered having this dream.....,in it you walk away from me with Samantha in your arms,and I run to chase you.When I catch up to you there is blood all over you,and I am holding a gun......then I take the baby from your arms,but when I look in her blanket,she is gone .and then I was being buried,but I wasn't dead. I think I've had these dreams before,because I always know what will hapen next,even though it scares me too.I remember feeling afraid,but I didn't know how to stop everything from happeneing....Chris...why would I shoot you in my dream? I love you so much...I want you to know that."

"I do know that,Sammy...I never doubted that for a moment.I just wish you would tell me when something is bothering you."

She yawned,and her head lolled on his shoulder,and on the edge of falling asleep.He didn't know if she even realized what she was saying to him."No,not about your love being a cop."

"'s okay now,okay." He gently pushed her down on the bed and layed himself beside her,taking her in his arms."It's gonna be okay now....I'm right here,"

She barely opened her eyes,but when she looked at him and he saw the usual glow was still missing.They fluttered shut again,and she buried her face back into his chest.He tightened his arms around her,and gently rubbed her back as she fell asleep.

He knew that he wouldn't see that sparkel in her eyes until Samantha was back in her arms,but he wondered if even Samantha was enough to bring it all back.

He leaned over and placed a kiss on each of her eyelids."Have sweet dreams Sammy." And he stayed right beside her to make sure she would.

Fran Lipshitz couldn't have been any happier then she was when she found them just that way the next morning.


The next five days passed by very slowly.With each new day turning into the next,Rita grew more reserved,and more sadder as the ache in her heart grew stronger and deeper.She missed Samantha.Was she being taken care of properly? Did they know she liked to sit in her swing before her bedtime bottle? Or that when she had her bath she liked to have bubbles put on her hand? And what about her prescrition skin lotion,because her skin was so sensitive to the store brands,what were they using on her skin now? Did she cry for them,and think her mommy and daddy had abandoned her? Did she cry to nurse and not understand why she couldn't?

Everyone tried thier best to keep her spirits up,but the task was an impossible one,especially since none of them were thier normal selves anymore either.Chris was missing his daughter just as much as Rita was,and along with worrying about Samantha,he was inwardly making some life altering decisions.The night Rita had barred her soul to him had been a long one indeed for him.

Caps allergies were in full force and making him just plain miserable,and there by he made everyone around him just as miserable.It didn't help that Jack would win every game of chess they played together. Fran was frustrated with his whinning,and missing her home and her friendds ,all the planned functions she couldn't attend. These thoughts didn't help any of thier moods.By day five,emotions were at an all time high,whether they were tempers flaring or tears flowing.

Joe was never so glad to get word that it was time to bring his charges back to Palm Beach.They would be testifying the day after tomorrow,he was told.Immediately everyones foul moods lightened ,and they quickly packed up and were on the road within two hours after recieving the go ahead.

An hour into thier travelling,the RV slowed,and then came to a complete stop.Cap ,who was sitting at the table with a deck of cards,called to the agents up front."Are we home already?

"No,not even close yet." Joe called back.There is an accident up ahead.We are caught in a traffic jam."

A few minutes later though,Cap knew somehing was wrong.The two agents had been whispering back and forth to each other. He met Chris' eyes,and realized that he too had noticed something was going on.Fran and Rita were busy chatting on the sofa,and hadn't picked up on the agents behavior yet.

"What do you thing,Cap?" Chris asked.He was getting an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Cap shrugged."Not sure yet....but I would rather we were moving.I don't like being a sitting duck."

Chris shook his head in agreement with him."I'm going up front."He stood and went to the front of the RV.Cap thought of following,but then decided against it when he looked over to the woman.He didn't want to get either of them worried.

A few minutes later,Chris came back."Nothing to worry about..the accident completely closed the road off ahead of us...there is a detour .,but it's a narrow bridge and they are sending one vehicle at a time."

Cap raised his eyebrows,but gave a nod anyway.He still felt nervous ,but he had no real reason why.The agents had to know what they were doing.

They moved slowly over the next half hour,but finally the RV turned onto the exit off the interstate,and they were rolling again.Fran and Rita were still chatting,and Chris and Cap went back to the card game they had started earlier.

Suddenly the RV was picking up speed,and one of the agents was speaking urgently into a cell phone.Chris stood,intending to make his way up front again and find out what was wrong.At that exact moment,something crashed into the back of the RV and threw Chris to the floor .Now everyone was aware that there was trouble."Chris!" Rita called,standing to go to him.

Just as she was helping him up,the RV was struck again,this time on the side.Rita was sent sprawling on top of Chris.

"Everyone get down on the floor!" yelled one of the agents.The RV increased it's speed,but again,there was another crash into it's side.Cap made his way over to Fran ,who was on the floor by the sofa now."Are you okay?" he asked.

" it them,the people we've been hiding from? " she asked,as she clung to him."How did they find us?"Her voice gave away how frightened she felt.

"Calm down ,Franny.We are in good hands,okay." he wanted to assure her,even though he found it hard to remain calm himself.

The RV was swerving violently to try and avoid the assaults from the car that was striking at it.Cap pinned Franny up against the sofa,and used himself to brace her from being thrown about.

Over by the table,Chris and Rita were trying to help each other get thier bearings and reach a safer place,but with each jerk of the RV,they would be thrown down gain.They were fast approaching the bridge now.

Cap heard Joe yell something to Jack about another car,but at the same time the RV was being forcefully hit again.Another hit ,and another swerve,and suddenly the RV was rolling down an embankment.

Chris and Rita were tossed from one side to another, hitting into the walls and furniture.Cap could hear someone cry out in pain,and his own wife was sobbing in fear as he grasped onto the built in sofa and held onto it for dear life,while trying to keep his wife safe at the same time.He heard Chris call out Ritas name,and then nothing.Something struck him in the head and his world went black.

He awoke with his Franny leaning over him and sobbing."Heschy....oh Heschy,you scared me so much....Here,hold this to your head,it is bleeding a bit." She handed him a dish towel.

Cap sat up and held the cloth to his aching head.He looked around at the mess inside the turned over RV.It seemed to be laying on it's side now.He could hear shouts and other noises outside, but inside it was strangely quiet.A glass coffee pot lay broken close by,and he figured that was what must have knocked him out.

" are you...are you hurt anywhere?" he asked panicking at the thought.

"Thanks to my hero here, I am fine.Frightened as all get out though.Are you dizzy at all?"

"No,I'm fine,Franny" he said,as he looked around."Chris! Rita! Are you both alright?"

There was no answer,and he saw panic pass over Frans wife and felt it go right into the pit of his stomach.Standing with her help,they both went to the aide of thier kids.

He found Rita first. She had been thrown against the door and now layed unconcious below it.There was blood seeping through her pants on her thigh.He took the cloth that was still in his hand and tied it around her leg to try and stop the bleeding.Then he felt for a pulse.He was relieved when he found it to be slow,but steady."Fran,I've got Rita over here.Hows Chris?" he asked.

Fran was kneeling over Chris feeling his pulse as well."He seems to be alright,but I think his arm might be broken." She patted him on the cheek to wake him up."Chris....Chris,can you hear me?"

Cap was also trying to arouse Rita. Slowly her eyes opened"Hey do you feel?" Cap asked her worriedly.

She sat up,squinting with pain as she did."My leg...what happened" She asked ,still a bit groggy.A second later,she came to fully enough to remember everything."Where's Chris? Is everyone alright?" Her eyes searched the room,and saw Franny leaning over Chris."Chris?!" She went to stand to go to him,but a pain in her leg didn't allow her to,and she sat back down,feeling a gush of warm blood rush out,and down her leg."Ummm." She groaned .

"Rita,you need to stay put.You've got a nasty wound on your leg.I'll go see how Chris is, ok?"

She nodded through tears in her eyes."Cap,please let him be ok...please?" She asked him,as if it was him who had the power to control such things.He nodded in understanding at her.Making his way over to Chris and Fran,he mumbled under his breath."You damn well better be okay,Lorenzo." He didn't think Rita could handle it if he wasn't.

"How is he?" He asked Fran,worried that it was taking so long for Chris to come to.

"I'm alright" Chris moaned,as he was just waking up.

"Well it's about time Lorenzo..I keep telling you telling you this is not a vacation." He smiled slightly." Good to have you back,Lorenzo. How are you feeling?"

Chris sat up and moaned,as he held his left arm.

"Careful Chris,I think you broke that arm." Franny told him.

"I'm fine...Where is Rita? How is she?" He asked forgetting all about his pain now.

"She's alright,aside from being over there making herself sick with worry about you."

Chris was already making his way to his wife,with Franny at his side telling him to take it easy.Cap followed,his thoughts on the activity outside the Rv now.He heard gunshots going off out side,and prayed that it was help coming for them,and not the ones who caused this mess in the first place.If it was them,things could get alot messier.

Chris checked Ritas leg carefully.He was worried about how much blood she was loosing.She was shaking ,and her face was already paler then it should be.

"Hey Sam,you hanging in there ?" he asked.

"Ahmm...just cold " She was shaking worse now,and Chris wrapped the blanket Franny had retrieved around her.

"Chris...I hear gunshots." She looked at him worriedly.

Chris heard them too.They all did."Yeah...I know." he said as he pulled her into his arms.

"Thank God the baby isn't here."she sobbed against his chest.

"It's alright Sam...we'll get out of this." He wished he could promise her that,but he knew she would never believe it anyway.He was having a hard time believing it himself,as he listened to the noise going on outside."I have to go talk to Cap,ok?"

She shook her head yes at him,then watched him leave.The look on his face scared her.

Cap was listening to the gunshots outside.His attention was brought back inside again when he heard Chris talking." Cap,she's got a serious gash in her leg,looks like a vein was cut. We gotta get her out of here somehow.She's gonna need medical attention and soon." He didn't mention how scared he felt all of a sudden.That all he could think of was that he didn't want to live without her.

Cap looked down at Fran ,who was now trying to hold pressure points on Ritas leg,then back at Chris ,who was watching,paralyzed with fear.Cap knew it wasn't just because of the gun shots either.He nodded his head to the front of the RV,and pulled Chris' arm,bringing him back to his senses."Let's go check the other two up front...I haven't heard a sound from them yet.We might need thier guns."

They made thier way to the front,and found Jack slung over the wheel,and Joe leaning against the window,both of them unconcious,and not responding to any attempt of awakening.A loud chain saw buzz hammered at the door in the back,and Fran and Rita each let out a frightened cry.Chris grabbed the agents guns,then handed one to Cap before they rushed to the woman again.Fran and Rita were staring at the door,and trembling at the possiblities behind it.Cap told Fran to go to the bedroom in back,and helped Chris to take Rita back there as well,then went to meet whoever it was trying to saw through the door. They held the guns aimed and ready to shoot.

A square was being cut into the door around the lock,and a minute later,it fell inward.Chris cocked his gun.

"Don't shoot" someone yelled."We are federal marshalls.Put the guns down.Your not in danger anymore."

Chris and Cap refused to lower the guns,but they allowed the marshalls to open the door without being blasted into right away.Seeing that they really were who they claimed to be,they gratefully handed over the two guns.


Chris was a lousy patient in the ER,as he impatiently watched the doctor put a cast on his arm."This could have waited.It really wasn't bothering me all that much." he complained.

"Mr Lorenzo....will you please just keep still.We'll be done in another few minutes.Your wife is still being treated anyway." the nurse scolded him.

"Do you need any more blood for her? I've got plenty." Chris offered,still thrilled that he and Ritas had the same blood type and he could donate some of his to her.

"No Mr.Lorenzo...we drew enough for her.Now quit worrying.She is going to be fine."

Chris sat back and let the doctor and nurse finish with his cast. He figured the sooner they were done,the sooner he could leave them.

Cap walked intot he room.He had a baandage over his right eye."Cap,how are you?" Chris asked.

Cap shrugged his shoulders."I've got a headache the size of your ego,Lorenzo,but I'll survive.They finished stitiching Ritas leg,and are giving her your blood now.She's being admitted for a few days,but they say she is going to be fine."

"Told you." The nurse who was helping with his cast said.

"He giving you a hard time here?" Cap asked her,as he glared at Chris over his glasses.

The nurse looked up and laughed." Let's just say I've had five year olds who behaved better then he does."

Cap smiled at the nurse."Maybe if you told him he'll get a sticker if he sits still?

"Hey,come on,Cap." Chris whined.

The doctor finished up,joining in the joke."There you go big guy,your all done.That neeeds to stay on for six weeks now." He reached into his pocket and took out a yellow lollipop.

Chris frowned."Yellow? I don't like got a red one instead?"

"Oh...Go on you...get out of here....Go see your wife. That poor woman....she must be a saint to put up with you." the nurse said to him."Take care of that arm,Lorenzo..,and your wife" she called out as an after thought."Bye"


In the elevator up to Ritas room,Cap filled Chris in on everything he had learned about what had happened.

Jack and Joe are both fine.Jack broke a rib,and Joe has a concussion.They are staying over night for observation.Apparently a car was coming across the bridge on the other side,and Jack tried to drive off to the side to avoid a collision...only we were going so fast,we ended up rolling down the river embankment instead.It was Montoyas men hitting at us.The agents had called to alert authorities of the traffic back up,and that was when they knew something was up,because there was no accident reported.They had other cars following the RV a distance behind,and sent a few of them to take the detour we did.They arrived just as Montoyas men were trying to break into the RV.Good thing is, that it's built like a tank,and wasn't making it easy for them.Anyway,the FBI got there in time,and Montoyas men fought back with guns.You live by the sword,you die by the sword...all of Montoyas men were shot and killed ,and Montoya is going away for a long time.He'll have a list of charges a mile long when we go into that court."

Chris shook his head,glad that the human scum could no longer be a threat to any of them."That's all I wanted,Cap....for him to be permantly removed from our lives....Rita and I need to put it behind us so we can heal and move on with our lives again." And I have every intention of making that happen...starting tonight.Chris thought to himself.

Cap nodded in agreement."Well ,I'm sure you'll get your wish once this trial is over with."

" can't be soon enough for me."

They arrived at Ritas room,and opened the door.Fran was sitting in a chair by the bed.Rita sat up in the bed,with her leg wrapped up in a huge bandage,and an iv going into her arm giving her Chris' blood to make up for the amount she had lost.Chris was surprised though to see George in the room,talking to her.

Hey you feeling?" he asked as he went to her and gave her a kiss.

"Hey you...oh,so your arm was broken." Rita said out of concern,as she took him into her embrace.Then she laughed when she saw the sticker he was wearing.It said Star Patient.

"Does it hurt alot?"

"Not too much,Sam,I got you a present." He held out the red lollipop to her.

",my favorite...thank you."

So how many stitches they'd give you?"he asked,looking at the bandage on her leg.

"I think they said thirty four." Fran told him.

"Ouch."he said.

Chris sat down on the bed,and gave Rita a hug,thankful that she was going to be alright.

"Alright you two,let's not get too cozey right now...there's a child in the room for crying out loud!"Cap said.

"A child?" Chris and Rita broke thier embrace and turned to him ,wanting to know what he had meant by that.

There questions were immediately answered even before they could be asked. Standing by the door,they saw Holly,and she was carrying a little baby in her arms.A baby wrapped up in an angel blanket.

"Hey guys...There is someone here who wants to see her parents." she said.

Rita nearly leaped out of the bed to get to her daughter,but Chris pushed her down.." Stay here...I'll go get her."

He walked across the room,over to Holly,and took his baby daughter from her."He hugged her to him,breathing in the baby scent he had missed so much.He looked into her eyes then,and saw her reconition.His eyes were getting misty now."Hey is daddys kitten? Daddy missed you so much."

He talked to her,as he slowly walked over to Rita,who had her eyes fixed on them in awe.As Chris approached her bed,he looked from the baby to her. "Sammy,I took her out of your arms, so I'd like to be the one to put her back where she belongs.He sat on the bed by her side and gently placed Samantha into her mothers waiting arms.Already his heart began to ache at the feeling of loss when his daughter left his arms.He had missed her so much,and all he wanted to do was hold her close to him.

He watched Rita holding Samantha as tears of joy ran down her face,and she hugged her daughter close to her.Seeing that was the only thing that could make him feel better,and it did.

After a few minutes,everyone came up to see the baby.As Cap and Fran fussed over thier granddaughter,Rita looked up at her husband. Her eyes were full of tears,but her sparkle was back again.

George interupted the happy party with some good news of his own that he had been about to tell Rita before Chris and Cap walked in.Now he couldn't hold back any longer,knowing that Rita hadn't been exactly eager to testify at the trial."Rita.....I've spoken to the judge ,and because it looks as if you will be here for a few days,he has given me permission to tape your testimony against Montoya right here.You don't have to go in to court at all."

"Really George? " Rita asked ."Because if I have to to get that guy locked up forever,I will."

George shook his head no."It's okay....we'll do it this way.You've got other things to take care of he said,smiling at her and the baby.

"Thank you George." she told him,and giving him a smile back.She suddenly realized something then,and her smile vanished.

"What is it Sammy?" Chris asked concerned.

"Our house." Rita said,reminding him.

"That's not a problem either." George said." The government is holding it as evidence for now.They have offered to put you up in a hotel for the time being,and afterwards,they will restore it back for you."

"That's great about the repairs kids" Franny said"But you will not be staying at a hotel.You two can stay with us until the house is ready."

"Oh,no Fran" Chris said."Thanks for the offer,but....actually...I think as soon as this trial is over,Rita,the baby and I are going to take a vacation somewhere...A real vacation." Chris said,giving Cap a smirking look.

"Oh yeah?....I don't recall giving you time off ,Lorenzo?" Cap said,pretending to be stern .

Chris looked down at his wife and daughter. He grew serious again."You don't have to, Cap.I'm quitting the force....Your looking at PBPDs' newest recruit instructor.That is,after I have taken a couple of weeks of personal time for my family first." He placed a hand on Ritas shoulder and smiled down at her.

She was probaly more shocked then anyone in the room."Chris?"

"It's fine,Sammy.We'll talk later about it all later." He leaned down and gave her a kiss on her cheek,then gave his daughter one too.

"You sure about this Lorenzo?" Cap asked,as he watched him from over the top of his glasses.He was studying Chris like a hawk now,to see if this was a decision the young man was truly comfortable with.It would serve no ones best intrests if it wasn't.

Chris straightened up and looked him right in the eye."I've never been more sure of anything else in my life,Cap." he told him.He took his wifes hand,and gave it a gentle squeeze.

Cap nodded,realizing that what Chris said was how he really felt.That's all he needed to know. After he and Chris had talked he began to expect something like this would happen sooner or later."Fine.I'll get the paperwork started then." he said sadly.He now was loosing the other half of the best detective team he had ever worked with,though with Holly standing right there,he couldn't say that just then.There would be a time for that later.

For awhile everyone was happy,and the mood was a light one.Soon,though Caps head was beginning to pound,and he and Franny decided to leave.They were going to spend a night at a local hotel and then Cap and Chris would drive back to Palm Beach tomorrow for the trial the day after. It was decided that Fran would stay with Rita and the baby until she was released from the hospital.They said there goodbyes,along with George,and the three of them left.Holly stayed, waiting to take the baby back to the hotel ,so Chris could stay with his wife.

After awhile,Samantha began to cry."Well,now that's a cry I haven't heard much of lately." Chris said."My daughter has got my appetite." He beamed proudly at her.

Rita looked worried though."I don't know if I can...I mean...." her words faltered.

It's okay Rita...I have a bottle for her right here." Cassie said,as she dug around inside a diaper bag for it. Finding it,she handed it to Rita,and then excused herself to give the reunited family some time alone.

Rita stared at it for awhile,then reluctantly took it,and gave it to Samantha ,who hungrily sucked it down.

She nodded her understanding as she looked up at her husband.Though he could see that she was upset by it,he also believed what she told him."It's alright ,Chris. You were right to make the decision you did. I know I would have fought you tooth and nail otherwise,and that wouldn't have been good for her to be in the middle of. I don't even want to think about what might have happened to her if she had been with us.I guess not being able to nurse her is a small price to pay for her safety,isn't it? " Chris smiled sightly. "Just don't ever do it again." She joked,trying to lighten the mood."Really though, I'm the one who is sorry,Chris...for getting so mad at you."

" apologys Sammy.Besides we both wanted the same keep her safe . I just want you to know that I will always have the best intentions for you and her,you'll always be my first priority." He thought about that brief time in the RV when he thought that he could loose her.He had been so afraid at even the thought,and had felt such an unbearable sorrow over it The thought that she had been living with those same feelings every day since he had been shot,was the final factor in making his decison to quit.

I know Chris." She exhaled."I'm just glad it's over."

Rita smiled at him,and pulled him closer to her.He wrapped his arms around her,and silently made a promise to himself. He had a wife and daughter who he loved more then anything in this world,and they had all paid thier dues. Now it was time to put his family first,and if that meant turning over his badge to someone else,then so be it.


The trial was going smoothly,and it looked as if Montoya would never see the light of day ever again.Chris gave his testimony,and then walked out of the court room a free man.That morning,Cap had told him the papers had gone through and Chris was no longer a homicide detective.

He stopped at the top of the court house steps when he saw Fran and Rita get out of a car in front of him.Rita was on crutches,and Fran held Samantha.She took her small arm and helped her to wave her hand at her daddy,while Rita beamed a smile his way.He had never seen a better vision in his whole life,then he was seeing now.Running,he scooped Rita into his arms."Ohhh..I missed you so much.How are you feeling?"

"Better then I probaly look." she said." They say I should use the crutches a few days yet,until the stitches come out. Hows your arm? "she asked.

"Better,now that your in it." he kissed her,then set her down to go see his daughter.He kised Franny on the cheek,and took Samantha from her arms." Hey Kitten...Daddy missed you so much." She giggled at him,and he gave her a kiss on her cheek."Let's go Sam. We have two hours to catch our flight."

"What? Now,Chris...we can't go..I don't have anything packed...Are we allowed to go back to the house for some clothes?"

"It's all taken care of,right Fran?" Chris asked her.

Fran shook her head."Sure is.I have the suitcases in the trunk,Chris." She smiled at Rita. "Samantha and I did some shopping yesterday afternoon while you were taping your testimony."

Rita was smiling now."So...we are going,just like that?" she asked.

Chris grinned back at her."Just like that Sammy."

"So..where are we going then?" Rita asked laughing.

Chris took her arm,and guided her into the car.He buckled Samantha into her carseat,and closed the door.He turned to Franny and gave her another kiss."Thanks for all your help...I'll leave the car in the airports parking lot."

She nodded."I'll take care of it...You just us when you get there,and have fun.!"

"Will do,Franny,Will do" Chris called to her as he went to the drivers side."Tell Cap I'll see him when we get back,okay."

Fran nodded yes,then went to the passenger side and gave Rita and the baby a kiss."I'm going to miss you all so much." she said with tears in her eyes.

"We'll be back in two weeks,Fran.I've got classes to teach then." Chris told her,as he played with his coat jacket,and tried to look distinguished."Ha!"

Rita and Fran laughed.Chris started the car,and Fran stepped back,waving to them.As the car started driving away,she heard Rita ask"So WHERE are we going anyway?"

Chris' laughter was the last thing she heard as thier car turned a corner.

She looked up the steps to the door leading into the court house and saw her husband. She knew he would be there.She walked up and met him."They're gone now." she said.

Cap nodded in agreement,as he gazed at the police station across the street."I know." he said sadly."I know."

Fran took his arm,knowing he meant something else completely."Oh'll still see them."

"Yeah,Fran..I know.,but first Rita leaves and now Chris....coming to work will never be the same .They were the best,Fran.

"They still are,Heschy...they still are." Fran said as she led him away.

The End......for now


You know which characters belong to Stu Segall,and Silk Stalkings...and that I only borrowed them,of course.

I know there are things in here that may not hold true if it was real life.....but since it's just for our reading pleasure,I know you will forgive me for not having the patience to do research to make sure it is. I know witnesses who testify are usually relocated,but I just didn't have the heart to separate Chris and Rita from Cap and Franny for good,or to even remove them from Palm Beach.So I just killed off all the bad guys instead....that sounds reasonable,doesn't it? Also,there may seem to be a loose string concerning Jenny and Michael..that was intentional,and will be continued in the next story.

I have a few people to thank.First,my partner,Linda,for just being.I could list all the reasons why,but it would be too lengthy.There just isn't enough wonderful things I could say about her.She's a special gal,and I want her to know how much I appreciate everything! I also want to give thanks to another good friend,who is half a world away and still is always there when I need her.I have taught her well in the "How to be a Fanfic Pest" lessons I have given her.She gets straight As'. Thanks for the encouragement, the opinions and the heart to hearts Lissy! To Lorry and Lia,the second half of the L gang,and Lindas and my neighbors in a land among the stars,thanks for your friendship as well,and you both know what I'm waiting for!

Oh one more necessary thing....the song Chris requested for Rita is Love of My Life,by Jim Brickman. The song in the beginning is a lullaby by Richard Marx,,called Angels Lullaby.


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