The smell of bacon, eggs, and toast wafting through the loft woke Rita from one of the most comfortable night's sleep she'd had in the longest time. As she lay snuggled up in Christopher Lorenzo's bed, she couldn't help but remember the night only a few short weeks ago that had brought her to this point.
"I'm sorry, Sam. I must be hearing things because I could've sworn you just asked me to marry you." Chris was utterly shocked.
"I did," Rita said softly.
"But, I mean… you and me… married?"
"It wouldn't be a real marriage. It'd just be for show," Rita clarified. Chris's heart fell. He was slowly beginning to realize that his feelings for his best friend ran deeper than the boundaries of any friendship should dare to explore. He wouldn't risk calling it love, but the thought of him, Rita, and the kids being one happy family was a welcome one in his mind.
"I don't know how long this would be for, Sammy. I can't let you waste months, maybe even years, of your life for me."
"It's not only for you. It's for those kids, my godchildren. To me, that could never be a waste of time."
"But I can't ask you to…?"
"You're not asking. I'm offering," Rita cut in. "Look, I feel as helpless as you do in this situation, and now, there's something I can do. I wanna help you keep your kids, Sam. Please let me."
They sat in silence for some time after that, while Chris thought about his options. In truth, there really weren't any. He couldn't choose to fight Jillian's parents, even knowing he would eventually win because that would force him to put his kids in the middle of a custody battle, which he flat out refused to do. Willingly giving them up wasn't even a consideration. And then there was marriage. A quick and easy solution to a situation that could be described as ridiculous at best. Fighting someone for custody for his own kids. There was really only one choice he could make.
"Are you sure you wanna do this, Sam?" Chris asked reluctantly.
"Then, yes. I accept your proposal."
Until the words 'marry me' had passed her lips, Rita didn't even realized how much she wanted just that. To share her life, and her love, with Christopher Lorenzo. Her best friend. Her partner of many years. Now, he was her husband.
But this was only a marriage of convenience. 'He only married you so that he could keep his kids,' she had repeatedly told herself.
Now, here she lay, in his bed, if only he shared that bed with her. He'd insisted on sleeping on the couch in his bedroom, which was a good thing and a bad thing in Rita's book. Bad because he had a sensitive back, which wouldn't prosper from night after night on the couch. And good because, even though the bed was big enough for them both to fit comfortably, it was still small enough for Rita not to be able to trust herself. She knew that she'd surely wake up in his arms one morning, and then she wouldn't know what to say. Yes, it was definitely safer with him on the couch. Much safer.
"CJ, go grab the orange juice from the 'fridge and put it on the table," Chris whispered while he handed Lexie some toast to butter.
"Okay, daddy," CJ whispered back. They were all being as quiet as possible, not wanting to wake Rita until breakfast was completely ready.
Just as Chris placed the frying pan filled with eggs on the table, a groggy Rita entered the kitchen. She smiled finding Chris and the kids acting like the family that they were and knowing she had a part in keeping them together. She was clad only in a smooth silk robe that ceased just above her knees, sending Chris's heart rate through the roof as he turned and caught sight of her.
"May I ask what you're all doing in the kitchen at this hour and why I wasn't invited?" she teased trying to sound serious, but failing miserably.
"Mommy!" CJ yelled as he ran over to the woman he now recognized as his mother. Rita scooped him up into her arms, giving him a good morning hug.
"We made breakfast. We wanted to surprise you," Lexie explained.
"I can see that. I knew I never should have said I liked a nice homemade breakfast in the morning. Now, your dad's gonna expect me to cook for him tomorrow," she teased, looking pointedly at Chris.
"You don't like your surprise?" Chris gave her his best puppy dog look.
"Well, I'll have to taste it before I give my final verdict."
"Then, take a seat. Breakfast is served," he said in his best British accent - which was nothing wonderful - as he made a sweeping motion with his arm to point out all the food.
The four took their seats at the table - Lexie and CJ on one side, Chris and Rita on the other - and they started to eat.
"So, how's it taste, Sammy?"
Rita's scrunched her face up, making Chris think she didn't enjoy her food. Then she quickly broke into a tantalizing smile.
"It's delicious, you guys. You know, a girl could get used to this kind of treatment."
"Well, daddy can cook you breakfast every day now that you live here," Lexie said excitedly.
"Sounds good to me." Rita looked at Chris, an evil grin forming at her lips. "You up for that, my dear husband?"
"Ahhh… we'll have to do some negotiating there, Sammy," he winked.
"Mail delivery." Chris walked into Rita's office through his connecting door later that morning. As per their normal routine, Chris and Rita had eaten breakfast with the kids and left for work after the sitter, Mrs. Sporsden, arrived.
"Thank you," Rita said as she took the envelopes from him.
"This one looks interesting, Sam. Open it up." He indicated an envelope postmarked Phoenix, Arizona and watched her facial expressions as they changed while she read through it; shock to excitement to disappointment. He could always read her reactions. "What's the letter about?"
"You remember the Phoenix commissioner I told you about? He came to Palm Beach a couple weeks before you came back."
"You mean the one who was interested in starting up a department like ours?"
"Yeah. It seems the Phoenix Police Department was so impressed by how our department is run that they want me to head up their new and improved Homicide Division."
"Yeah, read this." She handed him her envelope.
"Wow, Sam. This is some offer. It's almost double your salary!"
"True, but it's not worth it. My life is here. I'll have to call tomorrow and turn them down."
She took the envelope back from Chris and tossed it on the desk before she began going through the rest of her mail. Chris noticed how quickly she dismissed the idea and knew there was something else on her mind, but he decided to ignore it… for now anyway.
"So, did Jacobs get his paperwork in on the O'Reiley case, or do I have to light a fire under his ass?" he changed the subject.
"Ahhh, let's just say you should invest in a value pack of matches, Lt.," Rita winked, causing Chris to smile back at her.
"I'll have him get it to you by the end of the day. Nobody defies my wife's orders, except for me of course." Before Rita could think of a comeback, they were interrupted by a knock at her office door.
"Come in," she answered.
"I'm sorry to interrupt Capt. Lorenzo, Lt. Lorenzo," said Rick Sanders, a nervous rookie. The department was very apprehensive about how to act around Chris and Rita, considering everyone believed they were happily married.
"You're not interrupting, Sanders. In fact, I was just on my way out," said Chris. "You're partner's late with his paperwork."
"I'll remind him that Capt. Lorenzo needs it, sir."
"Not a problem. I'll tell him myself. I'll see you later, Sam." Chris left the office.
"See ya. So, what can I do for you, Sanders?" Rita asked.
"I was asked to inform you that your daughter's on line two. Seems the new lines aren't hooked up correctly yet, so I get to play messenger." Rita smiled when Sanders called Lexie her daughter.
"Was she calling for me or should I get Chris back in here?"
"She asked specifically for you, Captain."
"Okay, thanks." Rita said surprised as she picked up the phone. Sanders left the office. "Lexie?"
"Hi, Aunt Rita."
"What's up, kiddo?"
"Well, see my friend Cailey just called, and there's this thing tonight, and I know it's short notice, but I really wanna go, and I'd like you to go with me, and…" Lexie rambled on until Rita stopped her.
"What is it, sweetheart?" Rita smiled.
"It's a mother-daughter sleepover for my Girl Scout troop, and since mommy's gone, and I think of you as my mom now, I want to go with you. Will you take me?"
"I'd love to, Lexie. What time does it start?"
"Okay, that should give us enough time to have dinner with daddy and CJ, and then we'll head over. Where is it?"
"It's at Cailey's house."
"All right. Seven-thirty it is. And thanks for inviting me. You don't know how much it means to me that you think of me as your mom."
"I do. I love you, Aunt Rita. I'll see you when you get home."
Rita hung up the phone and smiled broadly to herself. Yes, the Phoenix offer was great, but there was no way it could even compare to the joy she felt spending everyday with Chris and the kids. Not even close.
It was past ten o'clock, and the girls were already tucked into their sleeping bags in the living room, while the 'moms' talked in the kitchen. They had played with Barbie dolls, dressed up in fancy clothing, and did makeovers. All of which tired the girls out.
"So Janet, where's Mike tonight?" Janet, Cailey's mother, was asked of her husband.
"He's staying at his brother's place. He's not into this female bonding thing. He only agreed to it because he loves Cailey and because I bribed him," she laughed.
"With?" Ally, one of the other moms, asked with raised eyebrows and an evil grin forming at her lips.
"Get your mind out of the gutter, Al. I made him his favorite dinner. That's all."
"Oh, I was hoping for some details." Ally was a real gossip. "So, Rita, how's your sex life? You're a newlywed. You've got to have some details for us."
"What?" Rita blushed furiously. Chris had told her that some of the mother's in Lexie's Girl Scout troop were gossipmongers, but this was totally unexpected. Now what was she supposed to say? She didn't know these women well enough to confide in them about their situation, but she wasn't one for lying… except, of course, for that one little lie of making everyone think she was in love with Chris.
"Your sex life. Come on. Don't tell me the thrill is gone after only a few short weeks."
"Yeah, with a husband as good looking as Chris, you've got to have some stories for us," said Janet.
"Umm… let's just say that marrying Chris was the best move I've ever made. I don't regret it for a minute," she smiled. It was true. Chris was everything a woman could dream of in a man. Caring. Loving. Thoughtful. Gorgeous. And oh so much more. But he wasn't the one thing that Rita craved. He wasn't in love with her.
"Not one regret?"
"Nope. I mean just this morning, he and the kids had breakfast cooked and ready for me when I got up."
"Aww. That's so sweet."
"I wish Mike did those things for me," said Janet.
"Well, my Jack can be a sweetheart sometimes, too. He'll call me at work just to say he loves me, and I feel like I'm just gonna melt," said Ally.
"So, Rita, what's it like marrying into a built in family?" Erin, another woman, asked. She had brought her fiancé's daughter to the sleepover as a way for them to spend more time together.
"What do you mean?"
"Was it hard to adjust to becoming a full-time mom? Justin and I are getting married next month, and I wanna be prepared for what comes next," she explained.
"Well, I'm not the best person to go to for advice," Erin looked confused, so Rita explained further. "See, I've known Lexie and CJ since they were born. Chris and I were best friends, and I'm their godmother."
"Really? So, the adjustment must not have been very hard if the kids were already close to you."
"No. In fact, CJ calls me mommy now that Chris and I are married because he doesn't really remember his mother. He was only two and a half when she died. And when he first asked me if it was okay, I was a little surprised, but I was mostly scared at what Chris would think of the idea. I knew deep down that he wouldn't object to it, but I wasn't sure if he was ready."
"Why?" Ally's gossipy nature reared its ugly head yet again.
"Well, Jillian hadn't even been gone a year yet, so it was still a sore subject. But Chris said he didn't mind, so CJ calls me mommy now. Lexie still calls me Aunt Rita, but I can understand that. She's old enough to remember her mother, and I think she somehow feels that calling me mommy would cause her to forget."
"Wow, you really know those kids inside-out. Maybe I should be taking notes," Erin said, half kidding, half not.
"Don't worry. It'll just take time. I'm sure you and your fiancé's kids will get along great once you know each other a little better."
"Yeah, I hope you're right."
"So, Rita, we got a little off track here. You were just about to tell us about your sex life."
After a long night of evading the topic of Chris and Rita's non-existent sex life, Rita sat in her office and couldn't help but think about the job offer in Phoenix. It really was a great offer, but she didn't know what to do. Talking with women who were happily married the night before had only served to repeatedly point out to her that her own marriage lacked love. Sure they had a love that began with friendship, but sadly enough for Rita it ended there as well.
Maybe looking into that job offer wasn't such a bad idea after all. Rita shuffled through the papers scattered atop her desk and found the envelope from Phoenix. She searched its contents for a telephone number and, finding one, dialed the number.
That night after work, Chris and Rita were sitting on the couch in a somewhat uncomfortable silence. The kids had long been fed and put to sleep, but neither Chris nor Rita were the least bit tired, so they decided to watch a movie. Rita told Chris to pick one out and was hardly surprised when he chose Maltese Falcon. Now, they were about halfway through the movie and had barely spoken a word to each other.
"So, how was the sleepover last night? I got Lexie's version all throughout dinner. Now, I wanna hear yours."
"Oh, it was nice. I had a lot of fun spending time with Lexie. And you were very right. The mothers of the girls in her troop are extremely gossipy."
"See, I told you. So, what'd they do? Dish all night about who's cheating on who in Palm Beach?"
"I wish. I could have handled that a lot better. They chose to get a little more personal."
"Oh, do tell."
"You sound like one of them, Sam," she kidded.
"Does that mean you're not gonna tell me?" he pouted.
"If you really wanna know they asked, repeatedly I might add, about our sex life."
"What?" He almost choked on his coffee. "What'd you tell them?"
"There's nothing to tell. I skillfully evaded the question every time they brought it up."
"Good job, Sammy." Rita turned back to the movie, but it was obvious she wasn't really paying attention. "Wanna tell me what else happened at the party?"
"What do you mean?" she asked confused.
"Well, I know you Rita, and I know you're holding something back from me. Now, it's either something to with the party? Or maybe something to do with work? Or the kids? Or me? I'm not sure, but I'm positive that something's bothering you, so spill."
"Chris, let it drop."
"So, you admit there's something then?"
"Chris," she said almost pleading.
"Okay Sammy, okay. If you don't feel comfortable telling me, I understand." Chris turned back to the television with a pout on his face, hoping that Rita would see it then feel guilty and tell him what was bothering her. It was childish, sure, but it worked.
Rita saw his frowning face and said, "It's the job offer in Phoenix, okay?" It was the truth, but not the whole truth.
"What about it?"
"I wanna go check it out. It really is a great offer, but I would just feel so guilty if Jillian's parents took the kids away because I moved to Phoenix and we got divorced."
"Don't let that stop you, Sam. I don't wanna hold you back. If you decide to take the offer, we'll work something out."
"But nothing. Go to Phoenix for a couple days. Talk to the suits. I can handle the station and the kids for a couple days."
"I don't know." Maybe going away for a few days to clear her mind of all thoughts having to do with Chris was a good idea.
"Just do it. You'll never forgive yourself if you don't at least look into the offer."
"You're probably right. But are you sure you can handle things here while I'm away?"
"Hello? I was single father before we got married," he pointed out.
"That's not what I was talking about. I would never assume that you couldn't take care of your own kids. I meant the department."
"Oh what little confidence you have in me, Sam," he kidded. She smiled. "I promise you the department will still be in one piece when you get back."
"Okay then, I'll go."
Rita was only away for one day before Chris was reduced to moping. At work, he was moody at best. Each officer in homicide was sure to be on top of their game, not wanting to give Acting-Captain Lorenzo a reason to take out his hostilities on them.
The kids noticed a change in him as well. He was less tolerant of their misadventures, yet constantly wanting to spend time with them. But most of all, they noticed he was sad.
"Daddy?" Lexie walked into Chris and Rita's bedroom to find him lying on the bed after work one night.
"Hey, Lexie. What's up?" He patted an empty space on the bed, and Lexie crawled up with him.
"When's Aunt Rita coming home?"
"She should be home in a couple days, sweetheart."
"Oh. I miss her."
"So do I. But I think I should warn you. Aunt Rita was offered a job in Arizona. That's why she went away for a couple days. I think she might take it."
"What does that mean, daddy?" she asked sadly.
"It means that Aunt Rita may have to move there."
"Would we move, too?"
"No, Lex. We wouldn't."
"So, that's why you're so sad?"
"Yeah, I don't want Aunt Rita to leave us."
"Do you love Aunt Rita, daddy?"
"Yes, I do… very much," he said without even a second thought.
"Like you loved mommy?" It hit him like a ton of bricks. He was totally and completely in love with Rita Lee Lance Lorenzo.
"Lexie, come watch Mulan with me," CJ called from the living room.
"Okay," she yelled back. "You wanna watch the movie with us, daddy?"
"Uh, maybe in a little while. Daddy's got some stuff to think about right now," he said, still dazed.
"Okay." Lexie jumped off the bed and scurried off into the living room as Chris's thoughts returned to Rita.
How could he have possibly spent the last couple weeks sharing the same bedroom with the woman of his dreams and not have known it? Lying only a few feet away from her while aching so desperately to hold her? Wanting to slug every man that came anywhere near her? Almost kissing her the night she asked him to marry her? Staring at her every five seconds? Memorizing the way she smelt? God, how the sheets he was laying on right this second filled him with the heavenly scent that was Rita. Anyone in their right mind would have picked up on the signs, but not Christopher Lorenzo.
So, now what was he going to do? He couldn't let her take that job in Phoenix. But how was he supposed to stop her? Was he ready to lay these feelings out on the table and take the chance of being rejected?
Scared or not, he knew he had to tell her to keep her from leaving. He'd fallen too far and too deep now, and there was no turning back… even if he wanted to. He couldn't live without her, and she needed to know this. She needed to know that he loved her.
Rita moved her seat back into the upright position as the plane prepared for landing. The pilot had just announced that they were approaching Palm Beach, and Rita was both nervous and excited about returning home.
She had loved Arizona and all that came along with the job offer, but it just wasn't home for her. Christopher Lorenzo was her home.
Her days away had brought Rita to the conclusion that she had to tell Chris about her feelings. If she didn't, she'd just spend the rest of her life in misery, wondering if anything could ever develop between them. Putting her feelings out on the table could open up a whole new realm of possibilities. Of course, rejection was one of them. But the hope for rewards overshadowed that of the irreparable damages that could be done. It was now or never, and Rita chose now.
"Chris, Lexie, CJ? Anybody home?" Rita yelled out as she walked through the front door of the loft with a bag over each arm. Chris walked down the stairs from the master bedroom with a nervous smile on his face. "It's now or never," he said softly to himself.
Rita saw him walking towards her and silently reminded herself of the same thing, "It's now or never."
"Hey, Sammy! Welcome home. Ooh, I missed you," Chris croaked out as he embraced her in an affectionate hug, causing her bags to fall to the floor. She hugged him back tightly.
"Where are the kids? I missed them so much. I can't wait to see them," she said disappointedly when she noticed that they weren't following behind Chris.
"I tell you I miss you, and you ask where the kids are. That really does wonders for my ego." Rita grinned at him.
"You know I missed you too, you fool. That's a given," she countered playfully. They pulled back and moved to sit on the couch. "So seriously, where are the kids?"
"They're spending the night with Cap and Frannie. We have to pick them up bright and early tomorrow morning though. I promised Lexie. She's been dying to see you since I told her about Phoenix," he said warily.
"What do you mean? What did you tell her?"
"Well, she asked when you were coming home, and I kinda told her about the job offer. She doesn't want you to leave… and neither do I, Sammy."
"No. Rita, you need to hear this." She was about to tell him that she wasn't leaving, but the desperation in his voice told her to just listen, so she remained silent. "While you were away, I came to some realizations that surprised the hell outta me. Even with all the signs that were right in front of my face, I still couldn't see it," he rambled.
"See what?" She asked, but he ignored her and continued on.
"I started thinking about what my life would be like if you took this job and moved to Arizona, and I didn't like what I saw. I spent the entire time you were gone moping around like lost puppy dog. I lo… you just can't leave me," he almost said it but chickened out.
"Chris, if you'll let me explain…" she tried to clarify, but he stopped her again.
"Look, I know this is a great offer, and I'm probably being the most selfish friend in the whole world right now, but I'm begging you. Please don't leave."
"All you have to do is give me one good reason to stay, Sam, and I will." She knew where this conversation was headed, but she had to hear him say the words before she could bring herself to say them.
"Rita, I… I love you… I'm in love with you." Rita closed her eyes as a sigh overtook her. Chris couldn't read her reaction until a tearful but pained grin broke out across her face. Still, she remained silent. "Please say something. Tell me you love me too. Tell me I ruined our friendship. Anything but the silence."
Rita opened her eyes, her smile brighter and more blissful. She slowly brought her hands up and framed his face with them. She brought them closer together until their foreheads were touching and watched as he closed his eyes quickly and then reopened them.
"I am so completely in love with you, Christopher Lorenzo, that I couldn't leave even if I wanted to," she whispered, looking directly into his crystal blue eyes. A smile finally dared to cross his lips as the tears slowly cascaded down their cheeks. "I've wanted to tell you that for a long time, but I just didn't know how."
"Would I be pushing my luck if I were to kiss you right now?" His broad smile lit up the room.
"You'd be pushing your luck if you didn't," she grinned back at him.
"In that case…" He brought his lips, ever so slowly, to hers, increasing their anticipation of an event that was both long awaited and way overdue. Their lips brushed back and forth as one of his hands found its way to her back and began caressing her through the thin fabric of her shirt. His other hand, positioned behind her neck, held her face in its place, while he deepened the kiss with a slip of his tongue.
What had started off as a simple brush of the lips was now a fire fueled by an unstoppable passion. They both pulled back but only out of the mere necessity of air.
"Rita…" he groaned, his voice filled with passion. He needed to ask her how far she was willing to go, but his desire-induced state severely limited his vocabulary.
"Make love to me, Chris."
"No buts, no second guessing ourselves. I want to be your wife in every sense of the word. Make love to me," she repeated.
Chris saw a determination in her eyes that he had long ago learned not to fight. His lips crashed down once again upon hers in a long, drawn-out expression of their love. Roaming hands left no place untouched as clothes, piece by piece, were painstakingly discarded.
Chris placed one arm behind Rita's head and the other under her knees as he drew her up into his arms. She began placing frantic kisses along his jaw as he carried her up the stairs to their bedroom… to their bed. From this night on, Rita Lee Lance Lorenzo would never sleep alone.
They entered the bedroom and turned on the light so Chris could see where he was walking. After gently placing Rita in the center of the bed, Chris grabbed a book of matches from the nightstand and lit a few candles throughout the room before turning the lights back out.
As Chris re-approached the bed, he could see the beautiful smile covering Rita's face. Her deep green eyes were shining brightly, making them glow in the candlelight.
"Are you sure?" he asked one final time as he lay on the bed next to her.
"Very sure." Chris smiled happily. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
Chris gently lowered his body on top of Rita's, while kissing up and down her chest. Rita moaned softly as his lips suckled softly at her breasts and then ventured lower. Finally, she couldn't take it any longer and directed his lips back to hers while guiding him into her slowly, carefully.
Two bodies, two hearts, two souls became one, and for a little while, all was right with the world.
Let's get this out of the way first. Christopher Lorenzo, Rita Lee Lance, Harry Lipshitz, Fran Lipshitz, Jillian Dupree, Jillian's mom, and anyone else that ever made an appearance on Silk Stalkings are the property of USA Network, Stu Segall Productions, and Stephen J. Cannell. No copyright infringement is intended. Any character that never made an appearance on Silk Stalkings, like Lexie and CJ are mine. Play nice, no stealing. Anything else not mentioned that you recognize from somewhere else isn't mine either.
Now, after being forced to reread just about every Silk story available, I finally sat my butt down and wrote part two of this story. *Calling all Silk writers!* C'mon people, let's get creative here.
And I'm sure anyone that's ever read a decent love scene could already tell, but this was the first time I've ventured to go this far, so be kind. If you didn't like it, tell me something constructive so I can make it better for next time.
Anyway, I hope all of you liked how this story turned out. I really appreciate feedback. Even criticisms are better than nothing. They help me to improve my writing. And feedback just lets me know that people are reading because after a while of not getting responses, all writers start to wonder if it's worth it to continue writing anymore.
Enough somber thoughts! On a high note, I'm working on another story that's yet to be titled. It takes place after Chris's "death", and that's all you're getting out of me right now. I don't know when it will be out because I'm very busy. What else is new? ;-) After that, I'm taking a little break to finish up some ongoing soap fanfic. I tell ya, writing fanfic is addictive!
You can email me at email@example.com with comments, suggestions, flames, etc…