This story was inspired by a recent episode of Dawsonís Creek and the movie Ice Castles.

Part 1
By JoyLepper

"It is often said that the things we want most in life are usually right under our noses and we are just to blind to see it. How wonderful it is in that first moment of clarity when we see our first glimpse of destiny and it is even better when that destiny is the best friend you have ever had in your life."

Chris pulls up to Ritaís apartment while she is out in the parking lot washing her car. She has her hair tied back in a ponytail and her shirt is covered with dirt. Chris rolls down the window in his car and starts to tell her they have a new case.

"Sam we have to go. We have a DB down at the beach. Cap says the DB is the Mayorís daughter."

"Man, I wanted to finish washing my car."

"I wouldnít bother Sammy, its going to rain anyway."

"Nope the weather man said it would be clear all day."

"Well, I beg to differ. My knee is aching and you know that means it is going to rain."

"We will just see about that."

He had to grin, she was so tough. She actually believed that she could stop it from raining just because she willed it so. "What a partner" he thought to himself as he watched her run in to change her clothes. He could honestly say he has never met another person like her in his whole life. She was the best friend a guy could ever have.


On the way to the crime scene Chris started telling Rita about the call he got before he left. "You will not believe who called me today? Come on Sam guess." he said grinning from ear to ear.

"By the way you are grinning it has to be a woman."

"Why does it have to be a woman? Do you think that is the only thing I grin about?

"With that grin Sam YES" she thought to herself, am I ever going to see him look at me like the way he looks at ......Women? As far as he was concerned, she was just one of the guys. While most of the time that was OK with her, lately it kind of hurt. To him she might as well be ...his sister. Isnít that what he said to her once. She is going back into her memories to that day when were sitting around a table with a few friends after work sharing a beer.

(fade into memory)

"Chris you mean to tell me that you and Rita have never ever kissed?"

"No we havenít, have we Sam?"

"Nope, we havenít and we never will." she states confidently.

"Roger, Rita and I are best friends. It would be like...kissing you. Would I kiss you? do have beautiful eyes Rog." Chris is now leaning into Roger with his lips puckered. He and Rita start laughing so hard they are crying. Roger is over in his seat with his face beat red with embarrassment.

"OK, I get it. I get it. Can we talk about something else now?"

(Rita is pulled back to the present)

"Sam? Sammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm? Are you coming?" he says as he is getting out of the car heading out to the beach. Rita runs to catch up with him.

"So who called Chris?"


"See I knew it was a woman. Not only was it a woman, but THE woman. What did she want?"

"She wants to see me. I guess she moved back from Boston. It didnít work out."

"How do you feel about that?"

"I donít know Sam, I just donít know."

"Lance, Lorenzo OVER HERE NOW!"

"Oh man, just once I would like to walk into a room and hear Cap say "Chris, Rita would you like to join me in a relaxing conversation."

Rita snickered at Chris and he just smiled right back at her.

"What do we have Cap?"

"It is nice that you two finally felt like joining us today."

"Not my fault Cap, Rita is the one that took 20 minutes to get dressed."

Capís face went completely white and Chris asked what was wrong.

"And how do you know she was not dressed? Is there something you two want to tell me?"

"What are you....oh Cap what are you thinking? You think that Rita and I.............Give me a break Cap!"

Rita felt like she was just slapped in the face. She made a remark before she could stop herself. "And why is that so hard to believe Christopher? Is it impossible to think that someone would want me?" she walked away leaving a very confused partner and Captain.

"What was that all about?"

"I donít know Cap, I donít know." When Chris gets over to Rita he puts his arm around her shoulder and tries to apologize. Rita immediately steps out of his embrace and starts to ask Dr. Lincoln some questions.

"What do we have here doc?" she says while she looks at Chris and gives him a " Iím sorry" glance. He grinned back at her as to say, "Its all right."

"We have a 25 year old female strangled with a tiara. I thought I have seen it all. Why am I so surprised each time?"

"A tiara? You mean like what a queen would wear?" Rita could not believe what she was hearing.

"Yep that is exactly what I mean. She is dressed like a queen too."

"Sammy wasnít she in the Miss Florida State Pageant?" Rita looks over at him and smiles, "Leave it to you to know that she was in a beauty pageant."

"No Sammy, it is not like that at all. She was on the cover of the paper yesterday. They said she had a good chance of winning. This is such a shame. She had her whole life ahead of her." Chris looked genuinely upset for her. Why was Rita surprised? Chris is a loving and caring person. He was a big teddy bear. Sweet and cuddly. Rita starts talking to herself again, "Did I just call Chris sweet and cuddly? What is going on with me?"

"So what do you have?" Cap asked his two hot shot detectives back at the office.

"Well, we have Jodi Carter, 25 year old beauty pageant contestant who was strangled with a tiara." Rita explains.

"Do you think this has anything to do with the Florida State contest?"

Donít know Cap?" Chris adds his two cents.

"Well, the Governor wants us to pull out all of the stops on this. So Chris, you are going in undercover as a pageant judge."

"Poor Christopher. I know you will just hate that assignment." Rita says sarcastically at Chris while giving him a comforting pat on the back. He is just grinning at her trying to act like he is making the sacrifice by doing it.

"Not so fast Lance. We want to hit this from both sides."

"What does that mean? I have a feeling I am not going to like this."

"Pipe down Lance. You will be going undercover as Miss Lake County."

Chris is now laughing so hard he has actual tears streaming down his cheeks. Rita is throwing him looks that could kill. "Sammy as Miss Lake County. Now I have seen it all." He is sitting down on the chair by Caps desk holding his sides because they ached from laughter. What he didnít see was a woman who looked like her heart had just been stomped on.

"He is laughing at me. He is right, I am nothing compared to the beautiful girls and I will make a fool of myself trying to measure up to them." she thinks to herself.

"Cap, please donít make me do this."

"Sorry it is a done deal Lance. You better go practice your runway walk."

"Her runway walk. I can hardly wait to see this." he is still laughing.

"Oh and Lance."

"Yeah Cap"

"Donít forget the talent portion. You will have to have an act of some kind."

"Talent portion, Oh Cap stop youíre killing me." Chris is out of breath from laughing so hard.

"Cap, what do I know about being up on a stage?" Rita remarks while throwing Chris looks of daggers.

"I thought you might say that so I called an old friend of Chrisí and she has agreed to coach you."

At exactly the same time Rita and Chris ask "Who?" Just then someone standing at the office door said, "Me."

When Rita and Chris looked over at the door they could not believe their eyes. It was Rickki. Chris runs over to her and grabs her into a huge hug.

"Rickki, wow how are you? I have not seen you in so long." he has her hands in his and he is now spinning her around to get a good look at her. "You look amazing!" There is the look. He is looking at Rickki like he just saw his first sports car.

"Iím fine Chris. You look great too." She has him in a hug again. Stepping out of the hug she walks over to Rita and shakes her hand. "Rita how are you? Do you think you could stand having me around for a few days?" Before she could answer Chris cut in and said, "Sure we can." and he walks her out of Capís office. Cap notices the look of hurt in Ritaís eyes. He already knows that Rita is in love with Chris, but he also knows that Lorenzo is so blind he canít see it. He canít see her as anyone but his best friend.

"Rita are you all right?" he states in fatherly tone.

"No Iím not. I have to enter a contest with 20 gorgeous women and try to act like I should be there."

Cap can not believe what he is hearing. She is always so confident. Could she really not know she is a knock-out? "Rita, you are more valuable than all of them put together. You could even win this thing."

"Yeah right Cap. Listen can I go home for the day? We can not do anything else until the contest starts up again in two days."

"Sure go ahead Lance and take your new best friend with you. She will be spending every waking minute with you to get you ready for this."

"Great, just great." she says under her breath.

"What was that Lance?"

"I said Great, Cap, I cant wait." she says with a fake smile.

Well after 30 minutes trying to pry Chris off Rickki, the two women went to Ritaís apartment to start the training.


"Rita, I know you donít like me very much."

"Rickki that is not true. I like you a lot. I have always thought that you were one of the nicest girls Chris ever dated. Why would you think I donít like you?"

"I always felt like I was in competition with you when Chris and I were dating. I find this kind of funny, I was always worried that Chris would wake up and see how gorgeous you are." Rita was stunned by this revelation. "And now I am the one that is going to show him what his best friend really looks like. He is going to be very mad at me when this is done." Rita doesnít understand what she means, but Rickki knows when Chris see Rita for the first time as a woman instead of his best friend and partner he is going to drop dead. He will not be able to fight back the true feelings he has for her. The feelings Rickki has always known that he had for his Sam.

"Rickki, you should see the way Chris looks at you. He has never looked at me that way."

"and Rita you should see the way Chris looks at you. No man has ever looked at me that way." Rita doesnít understand what Rickki means, but her fears about the contest out weigh her curiosity.

"I donít think I can do this Rickki. I will just be making a fool of myself. Have you seen those girls? Chris is right, it is a joke to think I can do this." Rita walks away and goes into the kitchen to get them a drink.

"Chris said that Rita?" Rickki made a mental note to talk to Chris about this. Men can be so thick sometimes. Ritaís apprehension was starting to make sense now. Chrisí opinions were always so important to her. He had no idea that Rita was in love with him. Rita didnít have a clue yet either, although she was starting to show signs of it dawning on her.

"Not in so many words, it was more in the uncontrollable laughter." Rita returned with two glasses of water and they both sat down on Ritaís couch.

"Rita when I get done with you, he will be speechless. Trust me. I have a dress you can wear and I am not concerned about your runway walk, but what are we going to do about the talent portion?"

"Oh, donít remind me please."

"How about dancing. Can you dance Rita?"

"No, I canít"

"OK then that just leaves singing. What kind of music do you like?" The thought of singing in front of all those strangers had Rita sick to her stomach already. "Donít worry Rita, it is not that bad. You know what I do when I am nervous and in front of so many people? I imagine them in their underwear."

Rita giggled and then started picturing Chris in his underwear. Just the thought sent an electrical charge up her spine. "Stop that Rita" she said to herself.

"Never mind Rita I know the perfect song for you to sing. Leave it to me. I will go and buy the sheet music and we will start rehearsing that tomorrow." Rickki had a strange grin on her face. Rita is wondering what she is up to. Rickki on the other hand has started to formulate a plan. She is going to get Chris and Rita together if it is the last thing she does. "Letís call it a night OK Rita? I will be here first thing in the morning and we will start on the sheet music. Sleep well OK? I promise everything will be all right." she leaned over and gave her a quick hug.


It is 9 PM and Rickki was heading straight to Chrisí house. After her discussion with Rita, she had a few things to say to him. She is knocking on his door when he finally answers it she is a little surprised. Jillian answered the door not Chris.

"Yes, can I help you?" Jillian says like she is the lady of the manor.

"Yes I was looking for Chris, is he here?"

"He is in the shower. If you tell me your name I will let him know you dropped by." she is looking at Rickki like she is so beneath her.

"Tell him Rickki stopped by and to give me a call OK? It is important."

"Of course I will tell him. Bye." Jillian practically slammed the door in her face. Rickki is furious.

"This canít be good. I thought he stopped seeing her. She is definitely going to put a crimp in my plans." Rickki heads home to figure out her next plan of action.


Chris walks into the station and he notices that his partner is not there. Where is she. Oh thatís right. She and Rickki are rehearsing for the pageant. He is a little depressed. He looks forward to seeing her wonderful smile each morning.

It is now 3 PM and Chris is really in a foul mood. Cap just has to laugh. The kid canít function without his partner by his side. He is so lost without her. He really didnít have a clue about Rita did he. These two kids are in love. Everyone knows it but them. I am really going to hate splitting them up when it finally happens Cap thinks to himself as he watches Chris from his desk. "Lorenzo, in my office NOW! Where do we stand with the Carter case?"

"Same place as yesterday Cap. There is nothing we can do until this pageant starts." Chris is sitting in the chair across from Harry and he looks almost sad.

"OK, I want you to take a ride over to your partnerís house and check on how Rickki and Rita are doing." Chris immediately had a smile on his face. Harry had a real hard time not laughing.

"If you say so Cap. Iíll see you tomorrow OK?"

"What are you still doing in my office? Out, Out." Cap goes back to reading the file in his hands.


"Sammy, come on open up." Chris says while banging on her door.

"Chris what are you doing here?" she states a little surprised.

"Cap wanted me to come over and see how things are going over here." he notices that she is sweating and that her hair is tied back in a messy ponytail. "Is this what you are wearing for the formal wear Sammy?" Rita just turns and walks away from him. He is laughing at me again. He is right. I will look like this compared to all of those girls she thinks to herself. Rickki who heard his comment was very mad at him.

"Chris I want to talk to you outside NOW!" she grabs his arm and he is startled. Why was she so angry at him? Rita went into the kitchen to get a glass of water (she said). What she really did was stand at the sink and cry. Why was Chrisí comments bothering her so much lately. They are just best friends. So what is the big deal?

"I canít believe you Christopher Lorenzo. What is the matter with you?" Chris is looking at her like he does not have a clue what she is talking about. This made Rickki more angry.

"Hey whatís wrong? What did I do?"

"Chris can you really be this dense? Canít you see how much you are hurting Rita? I know she is your best friend, but she does have feelings you know."

"What are you talking about. I would NEVER hurt Sam. I donít understand what I did wrong." he feels like he is being accused of something he hasnít done.

"Chris your best friend is probably in there right now crying. You really donít have any idea of what your opinion means to her do you? I have been around for less than 24 hours and I have seen you make fun of her numerous times. She is convinced that she is going to make a fool of herself. She thinks that she is.ugly compared to those other girls. Can you imagine that? I canít, but I understand why she thinks that way. You have done nothing but ridicule her. I have heard you make fun of her walk, talk, and her talent. Chris you are supposed to be her best friend, act like it." Rickki saw real hurt in his eyes. Maybe she was being too rough on him. Maybe she was taking out her anger on him because he never called her back.

"Does she really think she is ugly? Rickki, I would never ever do anything to hurt Sam. I was just teasing her." he walks away from Rickki in search of his partner and best friend. He walks into the kitchen and Ritaís back is to him. "Sammy?" Rita is startled by his voice. She reaches up and tries to wipe the tears away from her eyes.

"Yeah Sam?" she does not turn around she canít let him see her crying. But he is not going to let her get away with that. He walks up behind her quietly and puts his arms around her. He forces her to turn around and look at him. What he sees tears his heart in two. She wasnít crying anymore but the pain was still evident in her eyes.

"Sammy, Iím so sorry. I have only been teasing you. I have not been teasing you because I donít think you have a chance. That is far from the truth. Rita, you out shine everyone of those girls. They pale miserably next to you. Sammy, Iím sorry if I hurt your feelings. I would never do that." he reaches up to wipe the tears rolling down her cheeks. Just the thought that he has caused her any pain destroys him. When she looks up into his eyes she sees the agony he is feeling.

"Rita I have been teasing you because I know how much you hate these things. It has nothing to do with you. Come here." he walks her over to the kitchen cabinets and make her stand in front of them. They are the shiny kind of cabinets and you can see your reflection in them. "This isnít the face of an ugly girl, this is the face of an angel." She turns around and he embraces her and she sobs softly into his chest. After a few minutes she calms down and she finally has composed herself enough to reply.

"Iím sorry Chris. I know you would never do anything to hurt me. I donít know why I am so emotional lately. Please forgive me for making such a scene." he takes her face and holds it in both of his hands and kisses her on the forehead.

"You have nothing to be sorry about. This was all my fault. No more teasing I promise." he looks down into her eyes and she is finally smiling. He has not seen her do that for a few day. It felt so good to have her smiling at him that way again. In the living room Rickki is eves dropping and she has a huge smile on her face. "OK, step one done, on to phase two of my plan." she says to herself.

"Rita, I have to step out for about an hour. Make Chris help you eat the Chinese we just ordered OK? Iíll be back in a while." the next thing Rita and Chris hear is the door shut.

"Come on Sunshine, lets sit down. It has been a very long day." Chris grabs her by the hand and walks her out into the living room and they sit down on the couch waiting for dinner to arrive. He immediately takes her into his arms and they sit together quietly, content to just to be together. It had been a hard day for him without her.

"So Sammy," Chris says into her hair as he holds her in his arms, "What are you going to do for the talent portion of the pageant?"

"You wonít believe what I am going to do. It is a surprise." she states into his chest. "Do you think it is wrong to try and bribe a judge with chineese food?"

"I donít think so Sammy." he states as his stomach growls.

"Great at least I will get one vote." she laughs as she gets up to answer the door. The Chinese food was finally there. Chris grabbed her hand just in time before she got away from the couch. She looked down at him surprised.

"That is my best friend you are talking about. Knock it off!" he grinned at her.

"Thanks Sam."

"Anytime partner, anytime."

It is two hours later and Rickki shows back up at Ritaís. Rita was upstairs taking a shower when Chris let her in. Rita heard the door bell so she got out of the shower and was listening for who was there when she heard Rickki and Chris talking. "Thanks Rickki for setting me straight. I never knew you had such a bad temper." he grinned at her.

"Well, in all fairness, I was also a little mad at you for not calling me back last night."

"What are you talking about?"

"I came over to your house last night and Jillian answered the door. She said you were in the shower." Rita had heard enough, Chris and Jillian must be back together again. Her heart ached at the thought of Chris with her. She went back in the bathroom to get dressed.

"You did? She didnít tell me you came by." he stated annoyed.

"Are you seeing her again Chris?" Rickki just held her breath waiting to hear his response. His answer would make or break all of her plans.

"No. What we had is over. I told her that last night. She is not the girl for me. She got upset and spilled her wine on me, so that is why I was taking a shower. I am very upset with her for not telling me you came by. Iím sorry."

"No harm done Chris."

"What no harm done. You practically took my head off tonight because of it." he smiled at her. "What did you want to talk to me about?"

"Oh nothing, it isnít important anymore. Where is Rita anyway?"

"Upstairs taking a shower. What did you do to my partner today anyway. She is exhausted."

"You will see tomorrow night." she smiled wickedly.

"If you say so, Hey Sammy I am heading home. See you tomorrow at the park OK?" he leaned over and kissed Rickki on the cheek good-bye.

"What did you say Sam?" Rita asked standing at the top of her stairs with her robe on and her hair up in a towel.

"I said I will see you tomorrow at the park. You didnít forget that we were going to work at the fair did you?"

"Nope I will be there. Good night Christopher and thank you." she said with love in her eyes. He ran up her stairs two at a time and hugged her and kissed her on the forehead.

"Good Night Sunshine." he kissed her forehead one more time and bound down the stairs and out the door waving at Rickki. Rita was just standing at the top of the stairs with a smile that said it all.

Phase two done now for the third phase, Rickki smiled to herself. "Hey Rita, what are you and Chris doing at the fair tomorrow?"

"Sam and I work at this fair every year to help raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy. Our job is to coach the kids softball game. We coach one team and the fire department coaches the other. These kids are so special. They just warm my heart everytime I see them. Chris and I have been doing this for 4 years now and we can hardly wait for it to come around every year."

"Chris really likes kids doesnít he?"

"Yeah he does. He is always saying he wants to have a dozen when he gets married."

"Oh, his poor wife." but she is thinking oh poor Rita. "OK enough stalling. You have to learn this song by heart for the show tomorrow night." she says handing her the sheet music.

"Oh, I donít know about this song Rickki." she swallows the lump that is rising in her throat.

"It is perfect Rita trust me. Donít you like this song?"

"Sure, it is one of my favorite songs, but...."

"No buts, let go." Rickki stays really late so they can practice the song. By the time she leaves she it smiling and thinking "Watch out Lorenzo, you are dog meat."


It is the next day and Rita and Chris are getting the kids ready for the game when someone neither of them expected showed up. "Hi Jillian, how have you been?" Rita tries very hard to smile at her. She knows that Jillian is someone special to Chris and that she would not do anything hurt his feelings so she swallows her hurt and reaches for her hand. Chris is walking up to them by now.

"Well, hello Rita." Jillian looks down at Rita's hand and sees that it has dirt on it and decides to just nod her head and smile. Rita was just showing a couple of the kids how to slide into home base and she was just wiping the dust off her clothes. Rita pulled her hand back and smiled back at her. All of this did not go unnoticed by Chris.

She will never change, she is still to high and mighty to shake someone's hand because it was dirty. When he gets up to them he puts his arm around Rita and finishes wiping the dirt off her shirt. Man, he had the best friend in the whole world and she didn't mind getting down in the dirt with the kids. "Hi Jillian, what brings you down here?"

"I thought I could come down and help support your cause. I just bought 3 dozen hot dogs over there for the homeless." she states like she has just saved the world.

"Oh, that's very nice of you Jillian. Well I have to kidnap my partner. It is time for our game to start." he takes Rita's hand in his and brings it up to his mouth and kisses it and then looks back at Jillian with at smuggly.

"Thanks Sam, I am afraid my dirty hands offended her."

"Anytime partner anytime. Now lets go kick some fire department butt."

One hour later they are in the last inning and losing when one of the little girls on their team starts to cry. Rita goes to her and kneels down in front of her wheel chair. "What's wrong honey?" she is stoking the little girl's face lovingly. Chris is now by their side just watching. Jillian thought maybe something was medically wrong and that she could really get in good with Chris if she does something to help so she walks over there too.

"I'm sorry. It is all my fault that we are losing. I am the one who keeps missing the ball. You should of taken me off the team a long time ago." the little girl is very upset.

"No, it isn't your fault Kimmy. Anyway who cares if we win or not. Are you having fun?"

"Yeah, but."

"No buts about it, the most important part of this game is having fun. I don't care if we lose by 100 runs, if you are having fun we are really winning." she takes the Kimmy in her arms and lovingly rocks her to stop her from crying. Chris jumps in and says grinning, "That is a fact Jack! I would have you on my team any day." he takes his hand and rubs the top of the little girl's head and she smiles.

"That is all this fuss is about. I thought it was something important." Jillian says in her typical manor. Chris is just so shocked with her attitude. He was just about to say something to Jillian when someone yelled to Rita. "Watch out" when Rita looked up she saw a ball heading right toward the Kimmy's head so she jumped up and covered her with her body. Chris turned just in time to watch the ball hit Rita right in the eye and she fell back into his arms knocked out cold.

Rickki had just got to the park when she saw Rita get hit by the baseball. She ran over to make sure she was all right. Rickki and Rita had become friends in the last couple of days and she was really scared for her. She ran up to Chris and looked down at Rita in his arms. "Rita...Rita, come on wake up Sam. Please Sammy please wake up." she started to stir and the look of relief came over Chris' face. When he looked up at Rickki she saw love in his eyes for Rita. If Rickki had any doubts about how he felt for his Sam, they were all answered by his smile.

"Chris what happened?" she says as she tries to sit up. "Oh my eye." she reached up and put her hand over her eye. Chris grabbed her hand and brought down away from her eye so he could look at it.

"You are going to have one heck of a shiner Sammy." he was smiling at her as he reached up and kissed her on the forehead. "Are you sure you are OK Sammy?" he sits back and looks into her eyes.

"Yeah, I'm fine. How is Kimmy? She didn't get hurt did she?" she is looking around for Kimmy.

"She is fine Sammy. I had Rickki take her to get some ice cream."

"Thanks Sam." she says as she grins at him.

"For what partner?"

"For just being you. You are the best friend a girl could have." Chris is smiling at her while they are walking over to the concession stand where Rickki and Kimmy are waiting for them. "Anytime partner, anytime." he has his arm around her shoulder. Rickki hands Rita a bag of ice.

"Here put this on your eye. Maybe we can stop most of the swelling." Rita takes the bag and puts it up to her eye.

"Hey Kimmy that ice cream looks good. Can I have a bite?" Rita leans down and Kimmy is giggling as Rita takes a bite and then tickles the little girl in the stomach.

Rickki and Chris are standing back watching them and laughing. "You know your best friend is really something." Rickki says to Chris with genuine affection. He puts his around her and says back, " You got that right. You got that right." when Rickki looks up at Chris, his eyes are shining and he was watching every move Rita made. "Yes, phase three is working. Now for the grand finale." she smiles and walks up to Rita.

"Rita we need to get going. We have to start getting ready for the contest tonight." Rita is looking at Rickki while still holding Kimmy's hand, "There is no way I will win now. I have a huge black eye." just as Rickki was about to make a comment, they heard Kimmy's sweet voice, "I think you are the prettiest girl I know Coach." Kimmy was smiling when Chris interrupted and said into Rita's ear, " I agree." and he turned and walked away. Rita was stunned. Did Chris really think she was pretty?


Rita and Rickki are in her room at the hotel getting Rita ready to meet the judges. "Rickki, I don't know about the name you picked out for me. Do you think it is such a good idea?" Rickki is walking up behind her and she hands her a gold bracelet for Rita to wear.

"Trust me Rita, you have to keep them off their balance." Rita looks at her and questions her on that statement.

"Keep who off their balance. What does that mean?" Rickki realizes she said more than she meant to so she tries to cover.

"The judges, you have to stun them so they will remember you. That is all I meant." Rita is looking at Rickki with that "I am not sure I believe you" look that she always gives to Chris. "What?" Rickki asks innocently. Rita just shrugs her shoulders and walks away. Rickki lets out a sigh and thinks, "I almost blew it." Rita will know soon enough what she really meant.


Chris is dressed to the nines when he enters the hotel. He is Chris Sergeant, Movie actor and playboy. Cap really had fun making this cover for him. "Mr. Sergeant." Chris turns around and takes off his dark sunglasses and nods his head at a beautiful fuller figured woman. She was probably 10 years his senior, but he did notice that she was still a very beautiful woman.

"Yes. and you are?" he says kind of snooty.

"I'm Debra Decker, I am the chairman of the pageant and once winner of the Miss Florida State title." she kind of blushed at Chris.

"Well, I certainly believe that" he says as he reaches for her hand and kisses it. "I'm very happy to you Miss Decker, I am Chris Sergeant" he released her hand and started looking at all of the girls that were walking past him.

"The girls just got back from a taping at the beach. You will be meeting them tonight before the pageant." she had a strange look in her eyes as she watch Chris admiring all of the girls.

"Until then?" he reached for her hand and kissed it again. Chris walked away and started for the front desk.

"Mr. Sergeant? Your room is ready and waiting for you. Please follow me." Chris turned to the young man that had just addressed him and started to follow him to the elevators. "A guy could really get used to this first class treatment." he thinks to himself.

"Here you go sir, and my name is Todd if you need anything, please just pick up the phone and ask." with that said he turned and closed the door and Chris stood in a fully decked out penthouse suite. He was walking around in complete shock. "Sam would never believe this. Wait until I rub into her that I am in the penthouse suite." he grins to himself as he starts taking off his coat.


It is later that night and Debra is introducing Chris to all of the contestants. "This is Jennifer Sanders, "Miss Polk County. This is Betty Lou Biggs, Miss Semonle County, (Chris just clears his throat as his eyes notice why her name should be Biggs.)." Betty Lou purposely brushes up against him and he feels her greatest attribute up against his chest

"I am so excited about meeting you Mr. Sergeant. I have seen all of your movies. I would love to talk to you about that sometime (she says seductively)."

Chris has to pull away from her because she is pressed completely against him and he knows he is not suppose to be involved with any of the contestants. But in his mind he is thinking. I would love to discuss it with you. "Well, maybe we can Miss Biggs. Good luck in the contest." he walks toward the next girl but is still looking at Betty Lou.

"This is Miss Lake county, Rita Lorenzo." Chris just stops dead in his tracks. Did she just say Rita Lorenzo? He looks up and sure enough there stood his Sam. He takes her hand and kisses it and says, "Its very nice to meet you Miss. Lorenzo. You know I use to know a Lorenzo once." he is looking in her eyes and she is squirming. He can't believe she is actually squirming. "Well, it is a pleasure to meet you Mr. Sergeant." she tries to pull her hand away but Chris won't let her.

"Oh, call me Sam. All of my friends do." he looks at her and grins and she in now grinning in response.

"Well then you will have to call me ...."(she leans into him and seductively says) "you Sam can call me anything you want." she was grinning at Chris and he was speechless. "Is anything wrong Sam?' she says softly and innocently.

Chris clears his throat again and Debra is pulling him toward the next girl, when he looks at her one last time and says, "We will finish this conversation later Miss L-O-R-E-N-Z-O." he is now shaking an other girls hand and Rita is walking away. She started walking away giggling, and Chris was watching he had a little spark of something in his eyes.


It is time for the contest to start and they have just introduced the judges. The contestants start coming out one by one as they are introduced. They are all in their formal wear. "Next is Rita Lorenzo Miss Lake County." Rita steps out on stage and Chris can not believe it. His eyes are having a heartattack. Rita is dressed in a green sequine evening dress that showed every curve and valley. Her hair was pulled up with just two curls hanging down the side of her face. She gave new meaning to the word elegance.

Chris couldn't believe this was the girl he spent all of his free time with. This is the girl he would spend all day with at work. He always knew she was beautiful, but he didn't have a word to describe her now. Rita looked down at Chris and she smiled. He felt his stomach tighten into one big lump. When she turns to walk to the back of the stage she could still feel Chris' eyes on her. When she reached her final destination, her feelings were confirmed. He was still looking at her. Rita felt a warmth running completely thru her body just from the look in Chris' eyes. All of the sudden they heard clapping and they startled back into the pageant reality. They have not taken their eyes off each other. It was almost magical. After the iniatial shock wore off, Chris smiled and then winked at Rita and she blushed a bright red. This of course made Chris smile even bigger. She is so cute, he thinks to himself as he watches her leave the stage.


One hour later Chris is sitting with his head in his hands saying," If I have to watch one more magic trick or flaming baton act I will scream." The judge on his left laughed and agreed with him. "And now Miss Lake County Rita Lorenzo will sing us a song. Chris' head popped up so fast he almost hurt himself. I have never heard Sam sing in all of the years I have known her. Rita walks out on the stage in costume. It is a short white satin nightgown with spagetti strapes and her hair was now down and framing her face. Chris thought he had never seen anything so sexy in his life. Chris sat there and his heart was racing and his palms were sweating. Rita came out and sat on the floor right in front of him and waited for the music to start. She was supposed to pretend she was looking down into a puddle of water daydreaming. The song she was going to sing was "You're still the one" by Shania Twain. While she starts singing Chris can not believe how good she is. He though he knew everything about his best friend. She is coming to the chorus now and as she sings it she is looking straight into his eyes.

"You're still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You're still the one I want for life.

You're still the one that I love
the only one I dream of
You're still the one I kiss good night."

The words went straight into his heart. He knew she was not just singing a song. She was telling him how she felt about him. How could he be so blind all of this time. Here she comes singing the chorus again and as she sings it to him he is smiling at her.

"You're still the one I run to
The one that I belong to
You're still the one I want for life.

You're still the one that I love
the only one I dream of
You're still the one I kiss good night."

The audience was captivated by her. She sang with so much emotion. She sang like she meant every word. Chris knew she did. As she leaves the stage they announce that it was time for a 20 minute break.

He thinks this is just the time he needs to talk to her. He was desperate to talk to her, to hold her in his arms. As he reaches back stage he sees Rita standing outside of the dressing room and she has tears in her eyes. Chris gets close enough that he hears what she is listening to.

"Can you believe her. Who does she think she is singing a song like that and did you see her flirting with that judge." "Please did you see that big black eye. I can not believe she would have the nerve to show up looking like that."

Another voice jumps in., "Well I heard that her father shot and killed himself. That she went to public school and she is an orphan. They should watch what kind of people they let in to these contests. They let just anyone join now." Rita has such a hurt look on her face. Normal she could and would defend herself when narrow minded people who thought they knew what they were talking about, but they hit her in the sorest spot possible. Her father.

She was starting to runway and leave the contest when Chris caught her by the arm. She was startled, "Chris let me go. I don't know why Cap made me do this. I feel so dumb to think that I could actually win this thing."

He lifts her head and looks her straight in the eyes, "This isn't about winning anymore Sammy. This is about people and their narrow minds. Don't let them get away with this. Don't you understand why they are trashing you? They are scared to death of you. They know you could win, even with that wonderful and beautiful big black eye. Show them what real class is Sammy. Show them the girl I know. Show them my best friend." he wipes away her tears and she smiles and hugs him.

He is right. It is time for the question and answer phase and she is going to give them a piece of her mind. She walks away to get ready for the next stage.

Chris watches her leave and shakes his head. He was not going to let those girls get away with this either. He walks over to the door and the girls looked startled. Chris is looking at them with pity in his eyes, "You guys just missed having the best friend in the whole world. Rita Lorenzo (he smiled at himself, he was starting to like calling her that) has more class and compassion in her little finger than you two put together. I really feel very sorry for you. You will never know the meaning of true friendship or love." Chris walks away shaking his head when he runs straight into Rickki and she is smiling. She heard everything from the beginning. She heard those girls and she felt the same way as Chris.

"Now that is acting like a best friend." she says smiling at him and he leans down and says as he is walking away, "I hope I'm much more than that."

Rickki is startled but as soon as she thinks he is out of ear shot she says, "Yes! You did it Rickki. You should do this professionally." Chris had turned the corner when he heard Rickki say Yes. He spied around the corner and watched her. So that is what she was up to. He should have known she would do something like this. He just grinned and started back to his seat.


"Miss Lorenzo, if you could say one thing to the youth in the world today, what would it be?" Rita looks at the host and then looks at Chris. He is grins and nods his head to incourage her. This is just the thing she needs as she puts her thoughts together.

"I would tell them to treat others the way they would want to be treated. Life is full of big and wonderful surprizes (grining and looking at Chris) and if we are full of hate and intolerance, we will miss the best things, "Each other". I have been blessed with the best friend anyone could have and it has been through his love and support that I have found the true meaning of friendship, compromise and commitment. If they have these three things in their foundation of their own self worth, they will truly know what life is all about." When Rita finished, she got a standing ovation from Chris and then all the other judges stood up with him. He was so proud of her.


"And the new Miss Florida State is.....Rita Lorenzo!" Rita is just standing there like she just lost when all of the girls start hugging her. "You won Rita, you won." She can't believe what she was hearing.

"I won?" she starts looking for Chris but she doesn't see him anywhere. After she was crowned and all of the crowds had gone home she started to walk off stage. That is when she saw Chris. He was in the back of the room walking down the aisle on his way to her. Their eyes meet and they both smile and start to run towards each other. When they finally reach each other he grabs her and starts twirling her around and around saying, "You did it Sammy, you did it!" they were both laughing and when he stopped spinning her around they were both trying to catch their breath. He takes her face into his hands and looks her in the eyes while out of breath saying, "What a girl, What a girl." he kisses her forehead when he hears Rita start to talk.

"Chris" she says still panting trying to catch her breath, she looks him straight in the eyes, "I love you, I know you don't like me the same way, but Chris I love you." He is looking her straight in the eyes holding her face in his hands. What she just said opened his heart to her completely. He leans down and kisses her gently on the lips. He brushes his lips across hers savoring the softness and fullness of her lips. Then he pulls back again and sees the most beautiful pair of green eyes he has ever seen. They are eyes full of love for him. She swallows the lump in her throat, daring herself to be brave one more time. "Chris, do you think you could ever love me?"

She is gazing into his eyes looking for any sign of the way he feels about her. With shinny eyes (holding back tears) he chuckles a little and says, "I really thought you knew. I can not believe you are asking me if I could love you, Rita I already do."

Chris looks deeply into her eyes an says, "I want you Rita." he kisses her again with a full blown passion of a man completely in love. He takes control of the kiss and moves his hands down around her waist pulling her completely up against him. His kisses move to her eyes and her cheeks and then down to her neck. They are both out of breath again.

"Right here Chris?'

"Right here and now." he picks her up and carries her toward the dressing rooms. While he has her in his arms she puts her arms around his neck and pulls him down to her. She starts a warm and passionate kiss that rocks him to his toes. He stops and lets go of her legs so he can return the kiss with everything he has.

Chris now has Rita pinned up against the wall with his body, and he is talking softly in her ear, "Sammy you shouldn't have done that, we will never make it to the dressing room now." He moves to cover her mouth with his and lures her into another passionate kiss. His tounge is battling hers for control of the kiss when Rita strokes him and he loses control and groans. "Oh Rita....Rita you have no idea how long I have wanted this."

Chris' hands have moved down to Rita's legs hoping to make that heavenly journey under her skirt, but that is when he remembers she is in an evening gown. "Sunshine let go up to my penthouse suite and celebrate your victory." he says as he is kissing her neck.

Rita takes Chris' hand and leads him toward the elevator. When the doors to the elevator close they are again in their own world. Rita is leaning up against wall and Chris is standing right next to her. He is stroking her cheeks with the back of his hand and they are smiling and gazing into each others eyes. "Sammy, I can not wait to get to the room and take off these high heels." they are still gazing and says something for the first time since they entered the elevator.

"Why don't you take them off now? Here let me help you." He kneels down on the floor and gently takes her leg and places her foot on his leg. He slips the first shoe off (they are still looking into each others eyes and they are smiling). He places that leg down and takes the other leg and place her foot on his leg. As he takes the last shoe off his hands start to wander up her leg slowly. Chris' is lost in the feel of her sexy long legs until he hears Rita moan in pure delight "Chris...". His eyes search for hers again and the smile is completely gone from both of their faces. He gently takes her foot off his leg and slowly stands up right in front of her, never losing eye contact.

"Yes, Sammy." he has her mouth covered with his again and they lost in a deep and hungry kiss when the elevator doors open. Without skipping a beat Chris' reaches down and picks up both of Rita's shoes and gently takes her hand. As they reach Chris' door Rita speaks up.

"Chris are you sure about this. I kind of sneaked up on your good side tonight." she grined because Chris told her that once years before. He grined back and hugged her.

"I have never been more sure about anything in my life. Are you sure?" as soon as the words came out of his mouth Rita had him engulfed in another passionate kiss. She was kissing him hard he droped her shoes and one of them hit her foot.

"Ouch" she said with a grin on her face.

"Sorry Sammy, are you alright? It was your fault I droped them. If you keep kissing me like that I am going to forget my own name." he said staring at her lips.

"That's the plan Chris." she said this without any hint of humor. "Chris hurry and the door I have plans for you tonight."

"Oh yeah, care to share?" he smiled.

Rita leaned into him and whispered in his ear. He moaned and grabed her by the waist and kissed her very hard while trying despartely to unlock the door. He finally had to pull away from her or he would never get the door open. While he unlocked the door Rita bent down and picked up her shoes. He opened the door and was going to say something when the lights suddenly went on and they heard a big "SURPRIZE!"

Part 2 coming soon!


Any comments? I would be happy to hear them. I know I kind of got pulled away from the crime, but part 2 will fill you in on that. What is the surprize? Will Chris survive the night with Rita? What are her plans for him?

Here comes the bit about Chris and Rita, Cap, Rickki and Jillan belonging to USA. I kind of tooks some parts from Dawson' Creek and Ice Castles. Thanks to Kindy for encouraging me to continue writing and to Kristiina for taking the time to not only put this on her page, but she also formats the stories for me. I want to thank her for the countless hours of fun I have had reading all of the stories on her pages.


Part 2

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