Eyes To Die For
by Kilohana

Rita rolled over in her bed, expecting to find a warm, sleepy body next to her, her mind screeching awake when she realized she was alone. She looked at her bedside clock. 4.00 AM. She leaped out of bed and walked towards the living room. A dark figure could be seen curled up on the couch. Rita was about to call out when she remembered that she was naked. She reached for her silk nightgown, but changed her mind and opted for a T-shirt and cotton shorts instead.

"Sam", she whispered as she entered the living room. "Are you awake?"

A heavy sigh was all she heard. She sat down on the floor in front of the sofa. "Are you sorry about earlier", she asked quietly. Another deep sigh from the heap on the couch. "Look", she added, suddenly feeling insecure, "it doesn't exactly do wonders for a girl's ego to wake up alone when she didn't fall asleep alone..."

"Have you ever seen heaven within reach, and wondered why you couldn't feel the beauty of it", Chris mumbled, and turned away from her. He murmured something more that she couldn't work out.

"Sam", she whispered and placed her hand lightly on his back, "come back to bed. Please?"

"I can't", he mumbled, "it isn't..."

"Chris, I'm a big girl, I think I..."

"You don't get it, do you", he cried and sat up with a desperate expression on his face.

"Try me."

He took a few deep breaths, but failed to meet her eyes. "Last night shouldn't have happened", he said.

"Maybe so", Rita said slowly, her heart sinking with fear, "but we can't change the fact that it did happen, Chris, we have to deal with it. Maybe it shouldn't have happened, but I don't regret anything, it was good, I have never felt more special, more cherished. If you can look me in the eyes and say it was a mistake... Chris, I am also your friend. Best friend, remember?"

Heavy sigh.

"I have to be at work in a few hours", she continued, hiding the fact that this was her weekend off, "if you don't wanna share my bed for the rest of the night, there's a blanket over there in the corner. I'll leave you some breathing space for now, ok, but Chris, please don't shut me out. I'll always be your friend."

She paddled barefoot back to her bed, tears quietly streaming down her cheeks, her heart cold with fear, but a quiet rage was beginning to form, a rage towards the female who had reduced the man she loved so dearly to a mere shadow.


She got up early, but not early enough. Chris was gone. She sighed and decided to put in a few hours work, even though it was Saturday. Her apartment was still in a horrible state, reasonably tidy, but nonetheless extremely filthy, and all her fish were dead.

A yellow post-it-note was taped to her computer screen when she entered her office.

"We have a head, lt., yippeee, talk to ya later, M & C, 4 AM, SATURDAY!"

Rita smiled. She grabbed her mug, walked over to the coffee machine and poured herself a healthy dose of caffeine. The pile of papers on her desk didn't look as threatening as earlier.

"Lieutenant? Do you have a minute?"

Rita turned and saw Holly a few meters away. "Sure. Do you want coffee?"

Holly turned a sickly shade of green and shook her head no.

"That time of the month, is it", Rita asked and gave Holly a sympathetic look.

"Not really", Holly began and took a deep breath. "I tried to call you at home, but figured you might be here. Thing is, I am... pregnant, and have decided to keep the baby. As a single parent, I need to avoid the normal risks of my job, and I was hoping you could help me find a desk job I can keep for good."

"Holly, that is fantastic", Rita exclaimed, "I had no idea! How far along are you? How long have you known? Are you feeling all right, is there anything I can..."

"Seven weeks. I mean, I am seven weeks pregnant, I will be a mom in only thirty-three weeks or so. It's amazing! I've only known for a week, and my boyfriend's been giving me hell, he doesn't want it, I'm single, scared witless and very happy. Am I insane for wanting this baby?"

Rita shook her head. "No, you're not insane, Holly. I'll help you in any way I can, as your superior and as your friend. Just make sure you've had time to think it through properly."

"Would you have chosen an abortion if you had been in my situation", Holly asked seriously.

Rita silently panicked and started to count the days since her last period. Fifteen days. They hadn't used any protection last night. She could very well find herself in a situation like this soon.

"I think every woman in that situation must think through all alternatives before she makes her own decision", she said slowly. "To tell you the truth, I would probably keep the baby, but I am not sure. There are many unwanted children in this world. Contraception is certainly better than abortion, but I believe abortion may be better than bringing an unwanted child into the world."

"I want to keep my baby", Holly said and placed her hand protectively over her abdomen.

"Than I wish you all the best", Rita smiled, walked around her desk and hugged Holly. "You ask if you ever need help, ok? Anything at all."

Holly left the office. Rita felt a bit empty. She and Chris had certainly messed everything up. What if she did get pregnant? Damn, why hadn't she thought about protection before they did anything? Why hadn't they talked things over properly? Him regretting everything certainly didn't make life any easier. She looked at the half-empty mug of coffee on her desk.

Half empty? Half full, wasn't it? Optimism versus pessimism? She forced herself to smile. Chris would come around eventually. One day...


Michael and Cassy tumbled into Rita's office a few hours later.

"Lieutenant", Cassy said, slightly short of breath, "we got him, we got the head, we have an ID!"

"Why well done", Rita exclaimed and smiled widely, assuming they were talking about the headless body that had been found a few days earlier. "Has the head been opened and tested yet?"

Michael nodded. "We've just been to the morgue. Dee did some more tests and will call us as soon as she has the results. Our man is a certain Bruce Wullings, we're fairly sure, though he's not been formally identified yet. The fingertips on the body were too damaged for us to get a proper fingerprint, but she'll will check dental records and blood just to make sure."

Rita remembered the name. Wullings had been in and out of prison since his late teens. Mostly small offences like burglary and shoplifting, but he had once been connected to a homicide. He had not served time for that though, as there hadn't been enough evidence to convict him.

"Good work, team", she said and smiled at them. "Good work."


Rita stopped next to her car. She didn't feel like working, and she didn't feel like going home. A wave of nausea hit her.

"I can't be pregnant", she murmured between her teeth, "besides, it takes weeks before morning sickness starts, not just a few hours. Pull yourself together!"

She sat down on the ground next to the car. Life wasn't fair. Life never had been fair. What did she have to offer a child if it came to that? And what was wrong with Chris anyway, why did he let her down?

The sound of footsteps and chatter made her remember where she was, that she hadn't picked the best spot for meditation. She gathered her things and drove towards the beach.


Meanwhile, Michael and Cassy had decided they'd worked enough for one day. Cassy phoned home and asked her husband seductively to draw her a hot bath. Michael groaned silently and decided he needed a healthy dose of Holly before he turned nuts. He didn't bother calling her, just waved at Cassy before he drove off.

He found Holly in tears, on the patio with the phone off the hook.

"He gets to me every time", she sobbed when she saw him, "I don't get it, I should be used to his manners by now."

"Hey, hey, hey", Michael soothed and hugged her. "What's that creep done now?"

"Nothing new. Just telling me how immature I am to put an unwanted child into this world."

Michael muttered a few chosen words under his breath, an unflattering description of Holly's ex lover that immediately made her smile.

"Holly, that baby will never be unwanted, you know that, right? You want it, I want it, Rita... and I'm sure everybody else as soon as you tell them."

"You want it, huh?" She smiled softly and rubbed her flat belly.

"Yeah", he whispered and pulled her close again, "I want it."

"You know, it's funny", she continued while leaning back in his arms. "Tom and Cassy were partners for years before they got hitched. Rita and Chris looked pretty cozy the other night. But you and me, we're still just... you and me."

"Friendship is important too, isn't it", he murmured into her hair.


They stayed quiet for a while, until Holly's tummy made a rumbling noise.

"Holly, you animal", Michael teased, "we better get you fed. Do you have any food around? How about we cook dinner together? Would be fun, don't you think?"

"Sure", she smiled. "I have spaghetti, plenty of tomatoes and onions. Reckon you can make a meal out of that?"

"You add garlic, cheese and a touch of cream to that list, and I'll make a meal to kill for!"

They laughed and teased one another while they prepared the food, and it was late before Michael decided to call it a night and go home. That is, he didn't intend to go home. Not yet, anyway.


He let his car creep slowly forwards, lights off, while he watched the fashionable mansion ahead of him. Pulling out his cell-phone, he glanced at the rumpled piece of paper in his hand, and punched the numbers written there. A child answered the phone.

"Sherman Dalfrey, please", Michael said, using his most polite voice.

"One moment", the child replied. Michael heard a thump he assumed was the phone being dropped, and heard a faint "daddy, daddy, phone!" in the distance. He smiled secretly.

Yes", a male voice said.

"Am I speaking to Mr. Sherman Dalfrey", Michael asked.

"Yes. Who is this?"

"Unless you want your wife to find out about a certain fling of yours, you better not hang up on me", Michael threatened. "Are you somewhere you can talk?"

"What is this? Is it money you want?"

"Sir, blackmailing is a criminal offence, and I am not a criminal", Michael pointed out. "You though, I'm not so sure about. Phone terror certainly is illegal. I am not pleased with the way you have been treating Miss Rawlings, and I have a proposition to make. Do you have the guts to step outside for a moment, sir? I am right outside your house, and will only be too happy to knock on your door and have a quiet word with your wife."

"No! I'll come."

"Good. Now we understand eachother." Michael smiled into the phone, sensing the other man's nervousness. A moment later he saw a dark shadow emerge from the house. He got out of his car, pulled his collar up around his neck, and waved. "This way, Mr. Dalfrey!"

He waited till the other man was a few meters away before he continued in a threatening voice. "As you may have guessed, Mr. Dalfrey, I am a friend of Holly's. What the hell gives you the right to knock her up and treat her like trash, huh? How would you like for your wife to go through the same, huh? Or your daughter, when she grows older?"

"Leave my daughter out of this!"

"'Hey, hey, hey, Mr. Dalfrey, I set the rules here! I said I had a proposition for you. I take it you wouldn't want your family to find out about your little brat, huh? I've had a little talk to Miss Rawlings, she seems pretty adamant to keep the kid. Shame it will grow up without knowing his daddy or his siblings. Real shame."

"You have a point with all this?"

"I want to father your kid. The minute it's born, you sign paternity papers and adoption papers."

"What's in it for you?"

"You shall leave Holly and the kid alone, from this moment and forever after. No freaky phone calls, no lurking around her house or office, no nothing. I get the pleasure of you disappearing from her life. Otherwise, your wife is sure to find out, one way or the other, about your romantic escapades."

"And if she finds out about the adoption? If you signed for paternity it would be..."

"I don't trust you, Dalfrey. If I sign for paternity, I have no rights whatsoever if someone finds out. With the adoption, I'm the kid's legal father. You can take it or leave it, Dalfrey, but the way I see it, you have no choice!"

The man sighed. "It's a deal."

"Good. I'll drop by with the papers once the kid is born. Discretely, of course."

"Of course."


Rita walked slowly from her car to her front door. It was late, she had spent the day pondering about the future, and her head felt like wet sand. Unlocking the door, she tried to balance her grocery bags without dropping anything.

"Hang on", she heard a familiar voice call out. "Hi Sam, welcome home."

Chris managed to grab the bags before Rita dropped them, and smiled at the expression on her face.

"Wow", was all she said. Her apartment was clean and tidy for the first time in months. The fish tank was cleaned and filled with fresh water and new plants, and a few guppies were swimming lazily around.

"You like it", Chris grinned and carried the groceries into the kitchen.

"You gotta be kidding", Rita yelled, "this place was a dump this morning, messy and dirty and I wouldn't want to..."

Chris came back, carrying two glasses of wine. "I owe you an apology, Sam", he said.

"Chris", Rita said before he had a chance to say enough to make her cry again, "if you really regret it, let's just forget it and move on as adults."

"Hear me out, Rita." He gave her one of the glasses. "I want to apologize for very early this morning. I have had a lot of time to think, and I need to tell you some of what's been going through my mind. I panicked, Rita. I loved Jillian so much, and I lost her. Part of me thinks that's my fault. I have loved you for more years than... than I care to remember. My feelings for you have always been special, I never dreamed of making love to you. Ok, I thought about it sometimes, yes, and last night, I couldn't stop touching you, it felt so good, and I feel like I've messed up everything, I'm a complete mess, Rita, I can't loose you 'cause there would be nothing left of me."

Rita placed both their glasses on the table and leaned in for a tight hug. "I promise you that you wont loose me", she murmured. "I'll back off for a while if that's what you need."

"You were right about one thing though", Chris whispered after a while. "It was really special..."

Rita smiled into his chest, his words warming her. "Maybe we ought to take things slow, Chris", she said quietly, remembering the possible pregnancy. "There is one thing we haven't talked about."

She stayed quiet for a few moments. Chris read her mind as usual.

"You are not on anything, are you", he asked. She shook her head no. "Would it be such a bad thing, Sammy", he continued. "I know it wouldn't be planned or anything, but it would be us... you know?"

Rita hugged him a bit tighter. "You know I would love to be the mother of your children", she mumbled, "but not now, not until... we need to be sure we're fit as a couple. You're still married to Jillian, right? What are you gonna do about her?"

Chris sighed. "I want a divorce", he said. "And I want you."

"In that order", Rita concluded.

"Rita, this would be your first child, and you are nearly..."

"Forty, yes, I know, no need to rub it in, Sam."

"Sam, I'm no expert on fertility, but if we want children, and I know I do, we may not have all that much time."

"Chris, we're not even done figuring out our own relationship yet, how can we plan a family?"

"I'm not, really, I'm just asking you not to start taking anything. Let me take care of the protection for now, while you concentrate on healthy food and stuff. That way, when we are ready, we can start right away."

Rita smiled warmly. "That I can do."

********************************************************************** Michael sat in bed reading, with a can of beer clutched between his knees. The book was one of Holly's favorites, and he'd picked it up from the library hoping it would make him feel closer to her when she wasn't around. It was a thrilling story about a man determined to make a perfume that smelled as enchanting as a beautiful, unattainable maiden, and in order to do so, killed one young girl after the other and did to her body what perfume makers did to rose petals. Michael had problems putting the book down, he was amazed over what took place in the story, and wondered how anyone could even think of such a crime, let alone commit it. It was beautiful in a barbaric way, a serial killer driven by scent.


Holly sat in bed reading, too frustrated to sleep. She half expected Sherman to call and scold at her, and didn't want him to wake her up, so she'd picked her favorite book from her shelf, and sat turning the leaves and reading only the most beautiful parts. Perfume. A man had written an entire novel about scents, normal body scents, lovely flower scents, bewitching scents that drove people to the brink of madness. She loved the essence of the book, the way it allowed her to close her eyes and tease her nostrils into believing they could really smell something.


Cassy lay cuddled up next to Tom. Their skin smelled faintly of roses after an hour together in the bathtub. Two miniature bottles of champagne and a bowl of strawberries stood next to the bed. They lazily fed one another, and made soft small talk between each bite.

"How's your latest case going", Tom murmured and reached for a berry.

"Slow. But we're getting there", she answered slowly. "It's all so barbaric, a head here and a body there. What happened to the "plain, old shot in the head and dump the body"-murder, Tom? This case is creepy. And I miss you out there, partner."

Tom sighed.

"Not that this doesn't make it worth it", Cassy added and kissed him.

"I get to spend these long, glorious evenings and nights with you now..."

The phone rang. Cassy groaned, and answered it while clutching Tom's hand.

"Hey partner, I've just spoken to the medical examiner", Michael said without hesitation. "We have one headless body, and one head, but they are not from the same man... The head belongs to Wullings, but heaven knows where his body is, and whose body we have, and where the head to go with that body is... Dee was freaked, to say the least! Just thought I'd let you know so you'll be at the shop bright and early tomorrow. Nighty-night."


As you may have guessed, I do not intend to solve the headless-body-case quite yet. If ever ;-)

Due to a very busy schedule, with little time to think, let alone write, this story has taken a "little" longer than planned, and is also slightly shorter than planned. I have no idea when I'll finish it. Sorry...

"Perfume" (Das Pafüm. Die Geschichte eines Mörders) is written by Patrick Süskind and is highly recommended

D, did you like Dee? Made her especially for you, buddy.

Thanks to the gals for their enchanting feedback, life's never boring with Internet access and those lunatics online. I know I've been quiet lately, I promise I'll be back... with a vengeance ;-)

Legal stuff:

Chris, Rita, Tom, Cassy, Michael, Holly, Jillian, Harry and Frannie all belong to Stu Segall, Stephen Cannel and USA Cable Network.  

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