It’s a cold and damp day in Palm Beach. Rita didn’t remember the last
time it was actually cold in October. Closing her coat tightly across
her chest, she couldn’t help but shiver as a chill came up the back of
her neck. Not sure if it was the weather or just the fact that it was
Halloween that was putting her in a very strange and dark mood.

Taking off her coat as she walked through the Palm tree doors of the
squad room, Rita smiled at her partner. He was sitting at his desk and
he was shooting his tiny Nerf basketball into the trashcan net. Making
the shot, he howled in joy.

“Nice shot partner.” Rita replied while hanging up her coat.

He sprang up from his seat when he saw her. “Sammy! Did you see that
shot? I’m so hot today. Come here and touch me, I bet you would burn
your fingers.” he walked up to her and gave her a hug. It was like he
instinctively knew she needed one.

“I think you’re hot everyday Sam.” Rita laughed and replied while
walking over to get a cup of coffee. The stunned look on Chris’ face
made her ask, “Did I say that out loud?” while she smiled mischievously.

“Yes, you did. Care to find out how hot Sammy?” he was right behind her
and whispering in her ear, while reaching around her to refill his
coffee cup.

Looking over her shoulder and giving him the “In your dreams” stare, she
smiled. Reaching for the coffeepot she hesitated before pouring herself
some, “Did you make this Chris?”

“Yeah, what about it?” he feigned mock anger at her, while he walked
back to his desk with his nose up in the air.

Turning and watching him go back to his desk, “Before I take one drop of
this, what’s the recipe for making coffee Sam?” she was looking deeply
into his beautiful baby blue eyes. He had the ability to look like a
3-year-old with the most amazing angel face.

“It’s one scoop for each cup and one for the pot!” he replied sitting
down at his desk picking up a file acting like he was hurt by her
comment. The next thing he heard was a crash and when he looked up, she
was picking up the pieces of her broken coffee cup.

Rita’s mind was reeling. She could swear she just saw her father in the
back of the squad room. He was there as plain as day, but just as quick
as she saw him, he was gone. In her disbelief, she forgot what she was
doing and she dropped her coffee mug.

Rushing over to her side, he knelt down to help her pick up the coffee
cup. “Are you ok?” When he looked into her eyes, she was trying to
hide her embarrassment over being so clumsy.

How could she tell Chris that she has been seeing her father all week?
Would he tell her it’s her mind playing tricks on her. After all, it is
Halloween. More than likely, he would make her talk to someone. He was
so over protective of her that he would drive her crazy until she agreed
to talk to the Department shrink. Trying to hide the small fear that
was forming in the pit of her stomach from all of the sightings she
replied, “You shouldn’t do that to me so early in the morning Chris.”
She grinned to try and throw him off the track.

“Do what to you?” he questioned while throwing the broken cup in the

“Shock me by actually remembering how to make coffee.” After cleaning
up the mess, she grabbed a paper cup and filled it with coffee. “That
was my favorite coffee cup too.” She frowned while walking back to her

Noting the disappointment and something else in her eyes that he didn’t
recognize, he tried to cheer her up. “Like I was saying Sammy, today is
my day. I’m hot and I can’t miss. Maybe we should go get a lottery
ticket. Who knows, maybe today is the day I will finally get lucky with
you?” he raised his eyebrows up and down and smiled at her. Choking on
her coffee from his statement, she was about to reply when Cap bellowed.

“Rita, Chris, would you please come see me in my office?” his voice was
sad and mellow and it scared them to death.

“What do you suppose is up with Cap Sammy? He never calls me by my
first name.” Chris said with a very worried look on his face and pulling
her chair out for her.

“I don’t know, maybe a Frannie thing,” she said as the dark mood started
to float over her again. She knew it had to be very bad. She could
feel the hairs on the back of her neck standing straight up.

The look in Rita’s eyes worried Chris a great deal. He knew that she
had been in strange mood for a week now and he couldn’t stand to see her
upset. When he tried to confront her about it, she denied anything was
wrong. He was determined to get to the bottom of it at lunch today. He
could take anything except her being upset.

“Have a seat you two.” Cap sat on the edge of his desk and the
apprehension in his voice stilled the room. “I have some news to share
with you. The Chief wants to start a new program. He wants to use his
more experienced detectives to teach the new ones. You two will have
new partners.”

With the words “New Partners” still hanging in the air, Chris sprung to
his feet with a burst of anger, “No way, I’m not doing it Cap. I’m not
going to let anyone else watch her back. I don’t trust anyone else.”
While Chris reacted instantly to Cap’s announcement, Rita on the other
hand was in complete shock and felt like she was in a bad dream.

Holding his hands up in the air, Cap stilled any further remarks that
Chris had. “This is not up for discussion, it’s just a test program for
the next 6 months. Hey, this doesn’t mean you can’t still talk to each

“So we don’t get a say in this? Is that it?” Chris wanted to know.

Cap stood up as he watched Chris stand and leave his office, with smoke
coming out of his ears. “Chris......” it was too late, Chris was gone.
Cap turned his attention to the still stunned and silent Rita. “Rita, I
don’t have any control over this. It’s only for six months.” Rita
stood up finally and spoke for the first time.

“I know Cap.” she turned to leave his office and she was completely
depressed. This was just perfect. She knew that something bad was
going to happen to her. She could feel it. The only problem was that
she was sure it wasn’t the only bad thing that was going to happen. She
could sense it in the wind.

“Rita.......” he felt helpless. He knew how important they were to each
other. He knew this would be very hard for them to accept. She walked
out of his office with head hung low. Before she closed the door she
asked him a final question.

“When is this change going to happen Cap?”

With a low voice he replied, “First thing tomorrow morning, Lance. Is
Lorenzo going to be ok?” he was really worried about him. “Try to make
him understand.”

“Yeah, he’ll be fine Cap, just give him some time ok?” she closed his
office door with a weak forced smile on her very troubled face.


An hour later she was still searching for her partner. She moaned aloud
as she realized what she just thought. “Her partner” not anymore.
Spotting him sitting on a bench looking out at the ocean, she took a
deep breath and let it out and headed his way. “Mind some company?” she
said trying to cheer him up a little as she stood behind him with her
hands on his shoulders.

“No,” he grabbed her hand and forced her to sit down next to him on the
bench. He was not going to make it easy for her. She put on her best
attempt at a smile and then with her shoulder nudged his shoulder.

“Well…..look on the bright side Sam, we could go to that motel now.” she
thought that would make him laugh, but he turned to her with the biggest
look of shock and surprise.

Grabbing her hand and pulling her up off the bench, he remarked with a
completely serious face, “let’s go...” she held back and now she was the
one that was shocked.

“I was only kidding Chris.” she resisted his tug at her arm and when he
turned around to look at her, he gathered her up in his arms and his
lips slowly descended on hers. He was kissing her slow, hard and deep.
Hearing his groan of desire, she replied, “Oh god.... is this really
happening?” in between his sweet seductive kisses. Putting her arms up
around his neck she joined him in the ultimate release of 5 years of
yearning and longing.

He pulled away from her and again started to drag her back toward their
cars. “Come on Sammy. We have a date to keep.” Before she knew it, he
was pulling her into a motel room and as she watched him close and lock
the door, she could feel her heart leap into her throat.

She watched him come toward her with look of a hungry panther. She kept
backing up as he came forward until he had her backed up against the
wall. With his forearms resting on the wall on each side of her head,
he leaned down to kiss her passionately. Her arms instinctively wrapped
around his back and as their tongues fought for control of the kiss, he
felt her tugging at something behind his back. She was unbuttoning the
cuffs of her shirt. Looking deeply in her eyes with the heat matched
only by the fires of hell, “Finish the rest of your shirt for me
Sammy.” Slowly she started to undo each button down the front of her
shirt. With each button she opened, his mouth sought out the soft skin
beneath it.

“Oh god, Chris...” her passionate pleas brought his face back up to hers
and he smiled seductively into her eyes. Seeing the passion hazed eyes,
he groaned in the back of his throat and gently and lovingly kissed her
cheek, eyes and forehead. He leaned his forehead against hers and let
his emotions start to finally unfold within him.

Seeing that she finished her shirt he spoke in a husky voice, “now do
mine.” Putting a little space between them, so she could unbutton his
shirt, he was now leaning up against the wall on his hands (that were
still placed on each side of her head). She took her time, savoring the
look in his eyes as she slowly undid each button. “Sammy....are you
always this slow.” he pleaded with her in a gruff, deep whisper. The
look coming from his eyes were enough to set a fire so hot that she was
sure she would burst into flames.

“I like it slow...” she said as her mouth started kissing his chest with
hot open-mouthed movements. The deep satisfying groan that came from
his throat landed directly on her loins. Her hands went immediately to
his pants and undid his belt and she was now unzipping his pants.

The feeling of her touching him was driving him mad. It was going too
fast. He didn’t want things to proceed so quickly. Reaching for her
hands, he stopped her from going any further. Taking her arms and
wrapping them around his neck, he looked into her eyes and they were
full of a tenderness that was his undoing. “Rita, I need this to go
slower. I need to feel every minute….no every second,” he whispered
tenderly. He took his index finger and started to softly touch her
eyebrows and then her nose (he grinned into her eyes and tapped her
nose) and then as his finger touched her lips, the smile disappeared.

She couldn’t believe the rush his finger could give her. As his finger
softly caressed her lips, she closed her eyes and she heard his breath
stop in his throat. “You are so beautiful.” With her eyes closed, she
flinched a little when she felt his lips softly caress hers. When his
hand gently cradled her cheek, she moaned and he smiled.

“Rita…..Rita……RITA!” Chris was standing beside her and she was in
another world. “Sammy, where are you?” he took her arms and shook her a
little and she started to smile looking into his eyes. He had gotten up
from the bench when he saw her just standing there in the sand looking
out into the ocean, lost in her own world.

She was looking into his eyes and smiling. He was a little annoyed that
she could be so happy. They just broke up. How could she be happy?

“What are you doing here Rita?” he snipped at her as he walked past her
toward his car. Pulling herself back to the present, she stored that
dream away to savor later.

“Hey wait up for me. I was coming to see you.” She was waving her hand
at him and he stopped in his tracks to let her catch up. “Why are you
so angry at me?” she asked when she got close enough to him to grab his
arm and turn him toward her.

“We just got separated as partners and you are standing there smiling.
I guess being my partner doesn’t mean that much to you.” He ripped his
arm out of her hand and started back to his car. He realized he
shouldn’t take his anger out on her. She didn’t split them up, but it
hurt him to think that it didn’t upset her at all. She meant everything
to him. Without her, he didn’t want to do this job. He didn’t want to
be a cop if it meant she wasn’t standing beside him.

“CHRISTOPHER LORENZO, how can you say that to me?” she was so angry with
him. How could he think that it didn’t bother her at all? It was
killing her, why couldn’t he see that? “Men can be so stupid some
times.” She huffed under her breath and stormed off to her car leaving a
very confused partner and best friend behind.

Hearing her comment about men, he lost it. He caught up to her at her
car, “just what is that supposed to mean Rita?” he was angrier by the
minute. Now he had her arm and was looking into green eyes full of
fire. “We just got new partners and you are standing there smiling.
What worthless thing could you possibly be thinking about at a time like
this?” She ripped her arm out of his hand, and grimaced a little from
the pain that action caused. As she reached out for her car door, she
tried desperately to bring her raging emotions under control. He saw
the spark of pain that flecked across her face and immediately tried to
reach out to her and make sure he didn’t really hurt her. He would
rather die than cause her any pain, whether it be physical or emotional.

Opening her door she looked up at him with tears in her eyes (Chris’
heart sank). She couldn’t believe he actually asked her what worthless
thing she was just thinking about. She yelled back at him as she closed
her door and started her car, “My best friend, that’s what!” she backed
up the car and sped off. Chris stood there stunned. What did she mean
by that? He then recalled the tears and pain he saw in her eyes and
turned and ran to his car. He had to catch up to her and apologize. As
he rounded the corner of her street, his pager went off and he moaned
because he was being called to a crime scene.

Upset by all of the day’s events was the only reason he didn’t recognize
the address he was summonsed to. When he saw the building, that is when
he realized that this was Michael’s (Rita’s brother) apartment
building. Looking at the apartment number on his pager, his heart leapt
into his throat. Man this was Michael’s apartment number. Already
knowing what he was going to find, just not what it would look like, he
ran for the building and to his Rita.

As he stepped into the apartment, everything around him seemed to be in
slow motion. The room was full of activity. There were cops everywhere
and they all passed him in a blur. He spotted Rita and she had her hand
over her mouth and she was staring at a body on the floor. As if she
sensed that he was there, she turned toward Chris with tear stained
cheeks and her eyes were huge and full of fear and hurt. She called to
him shaking her head no and everything was still in slow motion,
“C-h-r-i-s”. With the instincts of a man protecting his own, he had her
in his arms within seconds.

“Are you alright?” he pulled her closer to his body and it was then he
could feel her trembling. “Rita…” he hugged her so tight that she was
having trouble breathing. She didn’t care though. Unless she was about
to pass out, she wasn’t going to say anything. She needed him now. She
needed to feel the heat and strength of a loved one. Sure he didn’t
feel the same way about her that she did about him, but for right now
she would pretend. She would imagine what it felt like to be the center
of someone’s life. Rita’s world existed of only Chris. She wouldn’t
let anything else in. If she did, she wouldn’t be able to hold herself
together. The ramifications of what she saw a minute ago was more than
she could handle today. As she buried her face in Chris’ chest, she
thought of Michael and all the wonderful things he did for her when she
was just a frightened little girl and just arrived at the Lance house
hold. It was Michael who taught her it was ok to trust again. She saw
the love he had for the Lance’s and the love they held for him in

He saw the pretty little girl standing in the doorway watching him and
his foster parents while he filled them in on the events at school. The
haunted look in her eyes reminded him of himself five years ago. He
remembered what it was like not being able to trust anyone and the
feeling of loneliness that not trusting made. He could see the hungry
look of want in her eyes. He could almost feel the need to be held and
hugged and kissed radiating from her.

Momma Lance told him to just be patient with her. It would take some
time for her to feel safe around them. They told Michael all about Rita
when she first came to live with them. They wanted him to be aware of
her fears and pain so that he could help watch over her for them. It
wasn’t until years later that he realized that they were trying to make
him feel secure too. By trusting him with the details from Rita’s past,
they made him a big brother. The instant he found out everything she
went through, he made up his mind that he was going to protect her and
that he was going to show her how good it could be to have a real mother
and father that cared about you.

“Well anyway, Jenny told Tommy to knock it off and if he didn’t he was
going to get it.” As Michael watched his mother stirring the pot of
soup on the stove, he looked over at his father sitting at the kitchen
table and he was watching Rita. The look in his eyes made Michael
smile. He remembered seeing that look in his father’s eyes before and
many times since. It was the look of a father that would give anything
to take you in his arms and hold you and love you. It was then that
Michael decided it was time for his little sister to get a little dose
of faith and he knew just how to do it. He jumped off the counter that
he was sitting on next to the stove and started to finish his story.

As his mother asked him what happened, he reached down and picked Rita
up and spun her around the kitchen while he finished his story. The
laugher coming from Rita filled the kitchen while his mother turned to
see what was happening to make their quiet little Rita laugh. “Well,
did Tommy knock it off?” his mother asked with a smile in her voice.

He stopped spinning Rita and held the smiling child in his arms and
explained, “Nope he didn’t.” He turned his attention back on his little
sister and started tickling her. After he stopped teasing her, he
looked at the little girl in his arms and smiled at her and hugged her.
Rita’s reaction to the hug was instant. She wrapped her arms around his
neck and hugged him back like a drowning man would hold on to a life

“Well what did Jenny do?” Michael looked at his father and smiled and
he saw that his eyes were getting misty. Pop Lance was a kind, gentle
and loving father and he knew he was about to get emotional. Michael
walked over to his father and started teasing Rita again by acting like
he was going to drop her, but instead he plopped her down in Pop Lance’s
lap. He did it causally as he sat down on the table next to them and
finished his story.

The look of fear on Rita’s face was instantly replace by surprise when
her father wrapped his arms around her and hugged her to him while he
listened to his son’s story. She wondered if he even knew he was
hugging her? All she knew was that it felt good to be in a Daddy’s
embrace again. She leaned back on her Daddy’s chest and listened to her
big brother talk.

“Don’t leave us in suspense Michael. What did Jenny do to Tommy?” The
look of love and contentment in his mother’s eyes as she watched Rita
lay in her husband’s arms for the first time filled her with such joy.

Rita smiled as she watched Michael walk over to her new mommy and he
took her in his arms and spun her around the kitchen. He looked at his
mother and said, “she did this..” he leaned down and kissed her on the
cheek and laughed. The kitchen was full of laugher and it was that day
that Rita first started to trust again.

<Back to the present>

Shaking her head she just kept mumbling into his chest, “No…No…..No,”
wrapping her arms around Chis’ waist tighter and tighter.

“Sargents,” Chris and Rita where both drawn back into reality, by a
fellow officers' call. Giving Rita a quick hug and reassuring her that
everything will be ok, they walked over to Officer Logan.

“Yeah, what do you have Logan?” Chris asked as Rita left his embrace to
lead him over toward the rookie. Wiping the tears off her cheek, she
started to fall back into cop mode. It was the only way she was going
to get through this. Pretend it was just another case.

“We found this note addressed to you Sargent Lance,” Logan started to
hand the note to Rita, and Chris tried to intercept it. He didn’t think
she could handle any more shocks today. His instincts told him that she
was teetering on the edge of the deep hole she once told him about, the
place where everything was gray and nothing was black and white.

“No Chris,” she took the note back from him and tried to give him a
little smile to thank him for looking out for her.

“But Sammy,” he tried to change her mind. While she was opening the
envelope with her name written across the front, she looked up at him.

“I’ll be ok. OK?” she stopped messing with the letter until he answered
her. The look in her eyes was begging him to act like this was a
routine request. She needed this to be just like any other crime scene.

With reservation in his voice he replied, “Ok Sammy. What does the note
say?” the look in his eyes told her he would do anything for her. She
could lean on him if she needed it and with a small smile, she thanked

Returning her attention to the opening of the letter, she slowly
unfolded it and started reading it.

Ms. Lance,

How has your day been so far? Are you having fun yet? If you aren’t
don’t worry, just wait. This day is full of surprises.

How does it feel to lose someone you love? It doesn’t feel good does
it? I will not stop until I have destroyed your world like he destroyed

Until we meet again,

A Mourning Organized Murderer

Rita handed Chris the note and they looked at each other totally
stumped. “What’s going on?” Chris asked as he handed Logan the letter
to put into evidence.

“How was Michael mur..” Chris stopped in the middle of the word, and
looked at Rita with great compassion in his eyes. He wasn’t sure Rita
could stand hearing that particular word just yet. Changing his tactics
he asked Logan again, “What exactly happened Logan?” Chris looked at the
officer while wrapping his arm around his partner’s shoulder.

Rita cuddled into Chris’ side when he put his arm around her. She
looked up at him and watched him as he questioned Logan. She wondered
if he even knew he took her into his embrace. Forcing herself back into
action, she looked over at Logan and listened to him explain the details
to Chris.

“Well, the victim…”

“His name is Michael.” Rita snapped at Logan. After hearing herself
jump on Logan and feeling Chris tighten his arm, she apologized. “I’m
so sorry Logan. Please forgive me. Go on.” She was begging the fellow
officer for his forgiveness when he reached out to gently squeeze her

“No apology is necessary Sargent. I really do understand.” Logan smiled
at her to hopefully ease her pain. While still holding on to Rita’s
arm, he switched his attention back up to Chris. “Michael was hit with
a blunt object on the side of his head. I don’t think he even knew what
hit him. I don’t think he saw it coming.” Logan noticed that Chris was
glaring at him. Chris kept looking between Logan’s face and down at
Logan’s hand holding on to Rita. Taking his hand back, he noticed the
immediate response of relief from Chris.

With his anger back in check, Chris questioned Logan further.
“Estimation of the time of death?”

“Dee says not more than three hours ago.”

“Who found him?” Rita asked after collecting her runaway emotions. She
pulled out of Chris’ embrace and started to walk over to Michael’s body

Chris and Logan followed her over to the body and as Rita lifted the
yellow tarp, she was shocked again by all of the blood. Chris grabbed
her and walked her over to the couch. “Just stay here Sammy. There’s
no reason you need to see him like that. Let me take a look and talk to
Dee for a minute ok? I’ll be right back Sunshine.” He sat her down on
the couch and then leaned down and kissed the top of her head.

Walking with Logan toward Dee, Chris apologized to Logan for his earlier
display. “Logan, I’m sorry man for my attitude before. If you haven’t
noticed, I’m a little protective of my partner.”

Logan smiled at the sergeant and replied, “I don’t blame you. If I had
a partner like that, I would be protective too.”

With a small smile Chris replied while looking at his partner, “You got
that right.” Reaching Dee he stepped back into cop mode. “Dee…what’s
going on here?” the worry was back in his tone.

“Is she alright Chris,” Dee looked across the room at her dear friend.
When she pulled her attention back to Chris, she was left speechless
from the look of tenderness she found there. He was looking at Rita
like a man in love. She smiled inside and hoped that what she suspected
was true.

Turning to look back at Dee Chris replied, “I think she is doing as well
as can be expected. She’s trying so hard to be strong. My partner is
amazing,” he reached over to touch Dee’s arm. “Thanks for your

“Hey, she’s my friend too. You don’t own the monopoly on caring for
Rita Lance, Lorenzo.” Dee placed her hand over Chris’ and smiled at

“I know. I have to remind myself everyday that she doesn’t belong to
me.” The look in his eyes was so sad and full of longing.

“I think she belongs to you more than you know Chris.” Trying to get
back to the subject at hand, she smiled at his look of confusion. With
the frown returning to her face, “Michael was beaten over the head with
a hard blunt object. My guess is that it was a baseball bat or some
other kind of sporting equipment. I also think he knew his assailant.”

“What makes you think that?” he looked at her puzzled then glanced down
to write in his notebook.

“By the position of the trauma, it suggests that he was hit from the
side. I think he had to see it coming. That’s why I think he knew his
attacker. You would only let someone you know come up on you that way.”

Watching Chris’ face while he absorbs the information, “Why do you think
it was sporting equipment?”

“Well, my theory is what kind of item can someone pretend to be swinging
around you and you not get suspicious? It might not be that, but like I
said, it’s only a theory.”

Looking back at Rita sitting on the couch, Chris stiffened. Rita was
looking at him. He felt like she was looking straight into his soul.
The feelings he was having for her were so against everything he is
supposed to be feeling for his best friend. He wanted to run over to
her and wrap her in his arms and never let go. While still looking at
Rita he addressed Dee, “Ok Dee. I need to get Rita out of here.” He
looked at Dee now and wondered what she was smiling for. “I don’t want
her to be here any longer than necessary. Call me, not Rita, if you get
anything ok? I want to be there if we find out anything more that’s
going upset her.”

“You got it. Take good care of her Chris. She’s not as strong as she
leads everyone to believe sometimes.” She walked with Chris over to

“You know I will and I know. Thanks D.” Chris took her hand in his and
gave it a light squeeze.

Dee acknowledged Chris by squeezing his hand back and then she let it go
and sat down next to Rita on the couch and took her into her arms. “How
are you holding up Sweetie?” Dee pulled back out of the embrace so she
could look at Rita and she wasn’t surprised by what she saw. Rita had
her game face on. She could still see the pain in her eyes though. “Do
you need help with the mortuary?”

“No, but thanks Dee. Chris will help me. Won’t you Chris?” She was
looking up into his eyes and the tears were barely holding in her eyes.
The uncertainty and just plain pain reflect in the tears she was barely
holding on to.

Kneeling down in front of Rita, Chris took her hands in his. “Sammy you
know I will. I will never EVER abandon you.” He reached up and
lovingly pulled the hair out of her eyes and put behind her ear. Then
he held her cheek cradled in his hand and his eyes held hers captive.
“We love you Sammy. You’re not alone.” It seemed like an eternity that
they sat there looking at each other. The next thing they heard was Dee
clearing her throat.

“Well, ok. But don’t be afraid to call if you need anything.” Rita
turned to Dee a little embarrassed that she lost herself so deeply in
Chris’ eyes.

“Dee, there is one thing you can do for me.” Rita looked at Dee with
vulnerable green eyes.

“Name it Sweetie.” Dee took Rita’s hand waiting patiently for her

“Would you take extra special care of Michael. Will you watch over him
for me?” The request Rita made was full of so much pain, hurt, and
vulnerability Dee looked over at Chris and his eyes were starting to get
misty. The pain in Rita eyes reflected in his. Dee reached out and
patted Chris arm and then looked at Rita.

“I’ll make sure that he is handled with love Rita. I will personally
take care of him for you. I’ll make sure he’s safe.” Rita reached for
Dee again and hugged her.

“Thank you for being such a dear friend.” Rita pulled out of the hug
and pulled her emotions together as much as possible. Looking at Chris
she spoke softly, “Chris can we leave now or do you need to ask more
questions?” Her eyes were pleading with him to take her away from the
nightmare of this scene.

“Come on Sammy. I’m taking you home with me.” As he pulled her up off
the couch she tried to say something.

“Chris, I..” Before she could get anything else out he interrupted her.

“I will not take no for an answer. You’re coming home with me and
that’s final.” He had a very determined look on his face and she
reached up to caress his cheek with her hand. He put his hand over hers
so she couldn’t pull it away.

“I wasn’t going to object Sam. I was just going to ask you what I’ve
done to deserve such a wonderful best friend.” She tried to smile, but
he could tell it was a big chore.

Trying to cheer her up a little he smiled and replied, “I don’t know
Sammy. I guess you’re just lucky.” She smiled in return this time and
he could see a small bit of her Lance spark in her eyes. Chris sighed
inside, because he knew that even though it was going to be hard, she
would get past this. Grabbing her by the shoulder he walked her out to
the car. “Come on Sammy, let’s go see Cap and then you and I are going
to dinner and a stroll on the beach. What do you think of the idea?”

“I’d say it’s a plan. Thanks partner.” She hugged him while he stood
at the passenger side of the car opening the door for her.

“Anytime, partner. Anytime.” Chris leaned over and kissed her on the
cheek, helped her in the car and then shut the door. On his journey to
the other side of the car, he wished he could tell her how he felt about
her. He just didn’t have the heart to do it. She was upset enough
right now and the confession that he loved her more than his own life
would only make things worse for her. But his instincts told him that
maybe she needed to hear it right now. “What should I do?” He asked

“What should you do about what Sam?” She looked over at him as he got
into the car and the startled look on his face told her he had something
bad to tell her. She screamed in her heart, “He is afraid to tell me
something. What could it be? I don’t think I can stand this right
now. I need him so much.”

Startled because he didn’t realize he was talking out loud when he asked
himself that question, he covered up his shock. “Ahh…I was just
wondering if I should make reservations somewhere for dinner Sammy.” He
had to turn his glance away from her. He couldn't lie to her. He never
could get away with it.

She tried not to notice that he was lying to her. She was just too
vulnerable to ask what was wrong right now. Later…I will confront him

Out in the parking lot, the killer sat in a green van watching Chris and
Rita. Smiling the killer reached over into the passenger seat. Picking
up a clipboard with a picture of a young boy and one single sheet of
paper on it, the killer slowly crossed Michael off the list and laughed
out loud. The killer put down the clipboard, started the car and headed
out of the parking lot with the next destination in mind.


It took him most of the night, but Chris finally got Rita relaxed enough
to sleep. Dinner was a very quiet affair and he wasn’t surprised that
he couldn’t get her to eat anything. At midnight he made one more check
on her up in his bed. Noting that she was sleeping, not soundly, but
sleeping none the less, he backed out of the room and went downstairs to
the living room. He turned on the TV so he could watch the news and as
the anchorwoman said the time and date, he was pulled back into a past

The car was speeding down Palm and he was chasing a possible murder
suspect. “Come on baby. Just keep up with him. We almost have him!”
The next sound he hears is CRASH!!!!!!!!

(Back to present)
Chris is jolted back into the present and he has sweat bullets on his
forehead and he has a painful glazed look in his eyes. “How could I
forget.” He shook his head trying to shake the memory from his past, but
no matter how hard he tries, every November 1st brings back the pain.

“Chris…you will get pass this. Give it some time.” Rita has her hand
on his arm trying to comfort him and when he looks up into her eyes, he
notices the tears she is trying to hold back and he can see his hurt
reflected in her eyes.

(Back to present)
“God….I’m so sorry Ronnie. I didn’t see you.” He puts his face into
his hands and tries to hold back the tears of shame and remorse. Being
so absorbed in his memories, he didn’t hear Rita come down the stairs or
enter the room.

“Sam?” Rita questions his mood as she walks over to stand in front of
him by the couch. He can hear the worry in her voice and he does his
best to wipe his eyes and put on a false smile. He can’t tell her what
is wrong. The last thing she needs is to worry about him right now.

“Rita…” he says with a smile in his voice, but she can hear the strain
in his tone. “What are you doing out of bed?” He reached up for her
and pulled her down next to him and he puts his arm around her shoulder
and she laid her head on his chest.

“Chris…what’s wrong?” He could feel her tremble as she implored him to
tell her what is wrong.

“Nothing’s wrong. Why are you awake? You were sound to sleep not 30
minutes ago.” He gives her a small little squeeze and then kisses her
on the forehead.

“Chris, you were crying. Don’t tell me nothing’s wrong. Is there
something you’re afraid to tell me?” She couldn’t take the not knowing
anymore. She remembered that earlier in the afternoon he wanted to tell
her something, but he seemed too afraid.

“I was not crying.” He sounded offended that she would think he was.

Getting her second wind, the anger started to set in from the day. She
couldn’t stand this anymore. No more secrets. “Christopher Lorenzo,
you were to crying. Don’t lie to me. I can’t take this anymore. What
do you want to tell me that you are too afraid to say? Just tell me
Chris.” Her angry and demanding tone startled him. The smile on his
face startled her. “Do you mind telling me what is so funny?” she
whispered as she looked up into his eyes after she pulled her eyes off
his mouth.

He was so relieved to see a glimpse of his old Rita. She couldn’t hold
back her anger with him and in doing so, he saw a bit of the Lance
sparkle in her eyes. He couldn’t help himself when he took her into his
arms and hugged her close to him.

“Nothing’s wrong Sunshine. It’s just been a very long day. Lets get
you back to bed ok?” She couldn’t help but think he was still holding
something back from her. All of the sudden she was just so tired. As
he pulled her up off the couch, she wrapped her arms around his waist,
lay her head on his chest and they walked back up the stairs to his loft
together. He could still feel her tremble in his arms and before he
pulled the blankets back, he hugged her to him and reassured her. “It’s
going to be alright Sammy. I promise.” He kissed her on the forehead
again and smiled when he felt her tension start to ease from her body as
she sighed.

With her arms wrapped tightly around his waist she attempted one more
time to get him to open up to her. “Chris…we really need to talk.” She
looked up into his eyes and saw so much love and warmth that her eyes
started to get misty again.

Seeing the tears forming in her eyes, he took her face between his hands
and looked into her eyes. “Tomorrow Sammy. We will talk tomorrow. You
need some sleep now Ok?” He was doing it again. He was looking at her
with his puppy dog eyes and her heart was pounding so hard in her chest,
she was sure he could feel it.

It was taking every bit of his discipline not to kiss her. When he
looked at her mouth, he felt himself go hard. Every fiber of his being
wanted her lying naked under him while he entered her again and again.
“Don’t look at her mouth again Lorenzo.” He was telling himself quietly,
but he couldn’t resist looking. He looked down at her lips and
groaned. He wondered if they would be as soft as they looked.

“Chris what is it? Do you feel all right? You groaned.” Reaching up
to feel his forehead, she noticed that he was cool, clammy, but cool.

Trying desperately to get his body under control, he stepped away from
her and pushed her into the bed and pulled the blankets up over her.
Kissing her on the forehead one last time, he finally spoke. “I’ll be
fine if you’d let me get some sleep.” Tapping his finger on her nose
and grinning down at her, he spoke again. “Get some rest sleepy head.
Will it bother you if I jump in the shower? Will the noise bother
you?” He suddenly needed a VERY cold shower.

Barely holding on, she spoke as she fell asleep, “No, it won’t bother me
at….” He looked down at the woman that held his very heart in her hands
and sighed.

Leaning down over her, he kissed her gently, but this time he kissed her
on the lips. Pulling his face up just a few inches from hers, he
whispered as his eyes roamed over her beautiful sleeping face, “I love
you.” If she would have opened her eyes at that very moment, she would
have been shocked by the passion and yearning on his face. The next
sound heard was the shower turning on and a shocked yelp from Chris as
he turned the water colder.


Chris yawned as he and Rita enter through the Palm tree doors of the
squad room. Looking up at Chris, Rita feels guilty because Chris didn’t
look like he got one ounce of sleep. “How ‘bout some coffee partner?”
she smiled hesitantly.

Covering his mouth because of another yawn he replied, “Sure thanks
Sammy.” As Rita tries to hand Chris his cup of coffee, she notices that
he is very distracted. He is staring at his desktop calendar and he is
lost in another world.

“You killed him. You are a murderer You killed him!”

(Back to the present)
“Chris?” Rita is standing over him and the look in her eyes is worried
again. Taking the cup of coffee she was holding out to him, he sat up
in his chair and thanked her. “Thanks, Beautiful.”

“Don’t thank me until you taste it Sam.” She attempted a smile but her
heart just wasn’t in it.

“I don’t care if I have to eat the coffee grounds out of the can Sam, I
need the caffeine.” He smiled back at her and noticed that she was
struggling with her broken heart. “Hey, come here.” Chris stood up and
wrapped her in a warm comforting hug. “How are you doing this
morning?” He leaned back so he could look into her eyes. As he gently
brushed her hair out of her eyes and behind her ear he answered his own
question. “You aren’t doing too good today are you?” At that moment
Cap walked out of his office and he has a stunned look on his face.

“Chris…I need to see you in my office. NOW.” Chris moaned and Rita
laughed for the first time that morning. She stood on her tiptoes,
kissed his cheek and then pushed him in the direction of Cap’s office.

“Great…what could I have done already. I just got here.” Chris was
grumbling as he walked into Cap’s office and sat down. Looking up at
Cap, his expression turned from exasperated to scared. “What’s going on
Cap?” Chris was sitting straight up in his chair and Cap was looking at
Rita out his window and he was white as a ghost.

“We’ve got more trouble Chris. This was found on a DB in Miami. It’s
addressed to Rita again.” Cap reluctantly handed the letter to Chris
and watched as his detective’s face lost all color.

“Damn….What’s going on?” Chris looked up at Cap as he finished reading
the note. “She can’t handle anymore surprises Cap.”

“I know. I’m very worried about her Lorenzo.”

“Do you know who the DB was Cap?” As Cap shook his head yes, Chris
could already feel his heart stop.

“This is going to kill her Lorenzo…. its Nicole Masters.”

“Oh God….she was just a kid. I don’t see how Rita is going to get pass
this Cap. Nicole was a punk runaway when Rita and I found her on the
beach. Rita loved her like she was her own daughter.” Chris stood up
and started pacing in Cap’s office and when Rita looked up at him, she
could see something was very wrong. The hair on the back of her neck
stood up again. “Is someone taking care of Nicole’s body Cap?” Chris
asked not aware that Rita was watching him and heading toward Cap’s

“Yeah, her sister is taking care of the arrangements. How…” Cap was
interrupted by a knock on his door. Both Cap and Chris knew who it was
before they even looked up.

“Cap…how am I going to tell her?” Chris was pleading with Cap as Rita
stood at the door waiting for Cap to invite her in.

Patting Chris’ shoulder lightly, he said, “WE will tell her with all the
love we have for her Chris.” The compassion in Cap’s voice was almost
Chris’ undoing. “Rita, come on in.”

As Rita slowly opened the door, Chris heart broke. She walked right
past Cap and stood directly in front of Chris and she knew. She knew it
was really, really bad. “Chris…..” and before he could even tell her
what was wrong, she had tears in her eyes. “What is it?” Chris took
her by the arm and sat her down in the chair in front of Cap’s desk and
then he knelt down in front of her.

“Sam..” his eyes were starting to get misty.

“Just tell me Chris.” She took his hands in hers and begged him with
misty eyes to tell her what was wrong. Chris couldn’t get the words
out. The thought of how much he was about to hurt her was more than he
could handle. Cap walked over and sat in the chair next to Rita and put
a comforting hand on Chris’ shoulder with one hand and he covered their
joined hands with his other.

“Rita….there was a call from Miami this morning. Nicole Masters was
murdered last night.” The look in Rita’s eyes scared the hell out of
Chris. They were empty. There wasn’t one tear shed or one gasp
echoed. He knew why. She just fell down that hole. The hole of
despair that she feared more than death. It was the hole of

Without blinking, she looked Cap in the eye, “Who would do that? Are
there any clues Cap?” Chris could tell she was hanging on to her
emotions with every ounce of strength she had left. Chris’ grip on her
hands got tighter with that question. “Oh god, there’s more?” Looking
back at Chris, her eyes pleaded with his for it to end. “Chris?” The
sound of her voice begging him to help her would haunt him till the day
he died.

“Yes, Sam there is more. They found another note addressed to you.” He
handed her the note and she began to read it out loud.

Ms. Lance,

I told you that there was going to more fun before the day was out. As
you can see, there is only one more member of your family that I have
yet to get. When the day is out, you will know what is to be alone. I
will have my revenge and he will finally know what it is like to have
your family taken away from you.


A Mourning Organized Murderer

Lowering the letter into her lap, Rita looked up at Chris with tears
rolling down her cheeks. “Its all my fault Chris. They’re dying
because of me. What did I do?” She had her heart on her sleeve as she
begged him to explain what was happening to her.

“NO!” his immediate objection to her conclusion came out a little louder
than he intended. Calming himself down he cradled her face in his hands
and tried to soothe her. “You didn’t do any of this Sammy. You are the
loveliest, kindest, smartest, gentlest, caring person I know. You
couldn’t hurt anyone. Do you hear me? I’m not going to let you blame
yourself for this.” He took her into his arms and rocked her while she
cried for Nicole and everything she had lost in the last two days.

She gripped him closer to her as he tried to end the embrace. She had
the biggest sense of doom as she thought about the letter. She knew
whom the murderer was talking about. There is only one person she would
consider for a husband and he was holding her in his arms right now,
trying to protect her like he always does.

“Are you going to be alright Lance?” Rita was startled when she heard
his voice. She forgot he was in the room. Both Chris and Rita jumped
at the sound of Cap’s voice. They were so lost in each other. Pulling
out of Chris’ embrace she wiped her cheeks and tried to smile at Chris
and then she did what she always did, she prepared herself to start
surviving another causality in her life.

“Yeah…I’ll be alright.” She turned to him and he smiled and hugged
her. “Is Nicole’s sister going to take care of things Cap?”

Wiping the hair out of Rita’s eyes he smiled at her, “Yeah. That’s
already handled. I know this might sound heartless Lance, but we need
to talk about this note. Are you up to it?”

“Would it be alright if I went to the Ladies room first Cap?” She was
begging him for a couple of minutes to compose herself.

“Sure Lance. Why don’t you grab a cup of coffee on your way back in.”

“Ok. Thanks.” Rita stood up and started for the door and stopped and
looked up at Chris. “Chris?”

“Yeah Sammy.”

“You have to let go of me so I can leave.”

“Oh..” He didn’t realize that he had a death grip on her hand. He was
afraid to let her go. Everything within him screamed for him to take
her into his arms and never let her go. “Sorry Sammy.” He gave her a
small smile and she tried to return it.

“You could go into the Ladies room with me if you want Sam.” She was
worried about him. He looked so tired and down. She was not the only
one having the hard time. Trying to get him to laugh a little would
help both of them.

With a little grin he spoke. “No thanks Sammy. That place scares me.”
She squeezed his hand one more time and then he let go.

As Rita was collecting herself, Chris sat down in the chair she just
vacated and tried to rein in his own out of control emotions.

“I’m afraid if I don’t break this thing Cap, it’s going to break me!”
Chris was yelling at Cap and was trying desperately to hang on to his

“As your friend, I understand. As your Captain, No Way! You will stop
investigating this case and stay away from the Evans kid. Am I
understood Lorenzo?” Cap voice was quiet but very threatening. He had
to sound tough to get through to Chris. He cared a great deal for this
kid, but he was destroying his police career and Chris was to good a cop
to loose. “It wasn’t your fault. Do you hear me?”

“You should have seen her Cap. The look in her eyes when she looked at

(Back to the present)
When Rita walked back into Cap’s office, Chris was sitting in the chair
and staring off into space again. Cap was rambling on about holidays.
“Lorenzo, I like the holidays as much as the next guy, but it’s only
November 1st and they are decorating the stores for Christmas already.”

Rita stopped in her tracks and turned to look up at Cap. “What did you
just say Cap?” She had a stunned look on her face and her voice
trembled a little. Chris knew she finally remembered.

“I said they have the stores decorated for Christmas already.”

“No…not that. Today is November 1st?” She was looking at Chris when
she realized what the haunting look was in his eyes. How could she
forget? Was she so wrapped up in her own problems that she would forget
Chris' agony on this day? November 1st was the hardiest day of the year
for him. “Why didn’t you remind me Sam?” She was kneeling next to him
this time and he grabbed a hold of her hands.

“I didn’t want to add anymore worry or pain to your life Sammy. Just
forget it ok?” The look in his eyes forced her to let go of his hands
and reach up and cradle his face in her hands.

“No. You are my best friend Sam. Nothing’s more important to me than
you are. Did you do it yet?” He shook his head no and she sighed with
relief. She always went with him when he went to Ronnie’s grave to put
down flowers. “Why don’t you and I get out of here right now and take
care of that ok?” She stood up and kissed his forehead.

“What the hell are you two talking about Lance? You can’t go anywhere.
We have a crime to solve.” Cap was totally clueless to what was going

“Cap. It was this day three years ago that Ronnie Haskin died after he
and Chris crashed while Chris was chasing the Evans kid remember?”

“I forgot. I’m sorry Lorenzo. I didn’t remember.” Cap was trying to
apologize when Rita cut in again.

“We have somethings we have to take care of Cap. I hope you can
understand that. Chris and I will be in early tomorrow to pick up where
we left off.” She was begging him with her eyes to understand.

Cap reached out took her in his arms and agreed. “You two are
exhausted. Go do what you need to do and get some rest. We’ll start
again tomorrow. Is there anything Frannie and I can do for either of
you?” He sounded so sorry for them.

“No Cap. We just need some time. We’ll be ok. Give Frannie a hug and
kiss for us and tell her not to worry ok?”

“That’s easier said then done Lance. You know her.” He was trying to
get them to smile. He couldn’t stand the pain he saw both of them in.
“Promise me something you two.”

“Anything Cap.” Chris finally stood up and walked up next to Rita and
took her in his arms.

“Take care of each other.”

“Don’t worry Cap. I’ll take care of her.” Chris was hugging Rita and
he swore to himself that no one was going to ever hurt her again.

Turning in Chris’ arms, she looked up at him and caressed his cheek and
replied, “And I’ll take care of him.” Rita’s eyes were starting to get
misty again and Chris closed his eyes and tried to absorb the love she
was showing in her caress. When he opened his eyes, he saw the need in
her eyes. “Let’s get out of here Sam.”

“Lead the way. I’m right behind you. Just like always.” He gave her a
small squeeze and she walked back over to Cap and hugged him.

She whispered in his ear, “Thank you Harry. I love you.”

Cap’s response was to wrap her in his arms and give her a reassuring
hug. “Go on get out of here. Call me if you need anything.”

“See ya Cap.” Chris’ normal goodbye was usually so entertaining to
Cap. His “See ya” always made him smile at Chris. Not this time.
There was no joy for life in his voice today.

“Lorenzo?” Chris stood with his hand on the doorknob getting ready to
close the door when he heard Cap calling him and he stopped.

“Yeah Cap?”

“It wasn’t your fault Kid. When will you start listening to me? It was
not your fault.” He wished Chris would accept that but he knew that he
would be fighting this memory for the rest of his life.

“I know Cap. I know.” The sorrow in his voice slowly drifted out of
Cap’s office as Chris closed the door.


Through the whole day, Chris never let go of Rita. He was never more
than a foot away from her and she was never more than a foot away from
him. They both needed to know they were near. They needed to touch
each other like fish needed water.

Her hand was tucked tightly in his as he laid the flowers on the grave.
His arm was wrapped desperately around her waist as they stood at the
funeral home picking out Michael’s coffin. His mouth was buried deeply
in her hair as he rocked her to sleep that night. The pain went so deep
for both of them. When he tried to roll off of the bed to go down to
the couch she wouldn’t let him go. Even in her sleep she was holding on
to him for dear life. So he decided to just stay there and comfort her
(and himself).

In the middle of the night, they reached for each other. The pain and
loss was so deeply embedded in their hearts, they could no longer deny
how they felt for each other. Still half asleep, Chris reached for her
and wrapped her in his arm and pulled her back up against his chest. As
his mouth started to nuzzle her neck, she moaned and reached back behind
her and ran her fingers through his hair. “Chris…” The need in her
voice lulled him into deeper passion.

Chris started whispering loving, passionate promises in her ear as she
reached for his hand and laid it on her breast. His reaction was
immediate. “Oh god…Rita.” She moaned and tightened his grip on her
breast. He pushed her onto her back and as he caressed her breast, he
lowered his mouth onto hers. The kiss was soft, but demanding. She let
go of his hand that was on her breast and sunk it deeply into his hair
and he reached up to cradle her cheek in his hand. With his thumb and
forefinger he gently forced her mouth open and then his tongue swept
into her mouth with hot, frantic need.

She responded to him just like he fantasized that she would. When her
tongue brushed up against his, he felt himself go completely hard.
“Rita….I want to feel you under me. I have to be inside you.”

Rita’s response was to deepen the kiss and moan, “Yes Chris, yes.”
Within minutes they were both naked and she was indeed under him.

As he entered her, they both ached and moaned from the act. They were
finally connected. They were finally one as they always should have

Chris tried to slow Rita down. He didn’t want the feeling to end. In
his mind, he was finally starting to understand what loving someone
really meant. It was this peace and contentment of being one with her.

He stopped her movement underneath him with his hands on her waist and
his forehead on hers. “No, Sammy, not yet. Please…I want to feel you
wrapped around me, for just a little while longer.” The shortness in
his breath told her that his restraint was pushed to the limit, but she
couldn’t help herself. She had to feel him moving inside her. She
needed it like she needed the air around her to breathe.

Reaching up to hold his face in her hands, she brought his mouth to hers
and she kissed him deeply. It was a kiss that consumed her down to her
very core. She was hot….he was hard……and they were ready. She was
whispering in his ear, “Now Chris. I need you so much right now.
Please…” As her tongue dove deeply into his ear, her hands reached down
and grabbed his behind and pulled him down hard on her.

Chris snapped.

Her tongue, hands and sexy pleas broke any resistance and he was now out
of control. He thrust into her time and time again. Her groans of
pleasure make him more and more out of his mind. As he felt her tremble
from the first stage of her climax, he pulled back to look at her face
and the pure beauty made the last wall he held up against her fall
down. As he found release, his heart called out to her. “Oh god Rita…I
love you so much.”

With the flames of desire at last sated, Chris fell to sleep with Rita
in his arms. He had a smile on his face, she was crying. Her mind was
screaming to her, “Now look what you have done.”


Rushing into work at 7:00 am, Chris found Rita exactly where he knew he
would. She was sitting at her desk. Her head was bowed and she had
both arms lying on top of her desk and her posture screamed defeat.
While getting his heart back under control, he tried to think of a game
plan. He knew what she was doing, but by god he wasn’t going to let her
do this. She was his and that is the way it was going to be.

Softly and gently he walked up behind her and leaned over her shoulder
and softly laid his left hand on top of her flat left hand. She jumped,
and then tried to turn to him. “No, don’t’ turn around Sammy. Don’t
look at me, just listen. Listen with her heart not your head.” His
breath was so warm in her ear. Memories from last night came flooding
back, sending shivers up her spine. He took a deep breath and let it
out and started to talk to her in a low, calm voice.

“I know what you are think you are doing, but it’s not going to work.
You can leave my bed and long after your touch is gone from my skin and
long after the scent of your perfume is gone, your love still lingers
on. You can’t take that back.” The very core of him is screaming to
pull her into his arms, but she needs to come to him this time. She
needs to understand how it is going to be.

“Chris” she attempted to speak. He stopped her.

“No, let me finish. We didn’t turn to each other last night just for
comfort. It wasn’t lust either. You’re not just someone I see when I
am lonely. You’re not just someone that I think about when I need to
talk.” He is softly rubbing the back of her left hand while he tries to
tell her what is in his heart. His voice is starting to crack from all
of the emotions running through him.

She looked down at his hand on top of hers. She remembered how that
hand tenderly made love to her last night. She remembered all of the
times that beautiful, strong hand held hers when she needed
encouragement or when it teased her with tickling matches. Her eyes are
glued to his hand on top of hers while she listens with a heart that
yearns to hold him close until her last breath. But that never happens
to Rita Lance. The last two days have showed her that much. With tears
welling in her eyes, her heart listened to his.

“Rita, you are my best friend. You are where my heart is……You’re all
the passion that exists in a kiss. Isn’t it obvious to you yet who is
in my heart? You are.” He whispered the last two words with more
devotion then he has ever shown before. She closes her eyes tighter and
the tears start to finally flow from her eyes. All of the anguish of
the last two days finally starts to pour from her soul.

“Chris….” Her voice reflected all of the pain and fear she felt.

“Talk to me Sammy. Talk to me.” Pleading for her to open up to him, he
knelt down by her side and with his right hand he touched her chin and
forced her to look at him. He wasn’t surprised by all of the pain and
fear he saw there. Softly he whispered his plea again, “Talk to me
please.” His left hand held her left hand down on the desktop. It was
his silent way of telling her he wasn’t going to leave or let her go

Looking deeply into his eyes, she finally gave into her greatest fear,
the loss of control. “Chris, my life is spinning out of control and no
matter how hard I try to hold on or try to believe that it will be ok, I
feel like I’m sinking into this great big hole. The only thing that I
could count on has been my best friend and now I’m so afraid that I’ve
lost him too.” She grabbed his right hand and begged him to
understand. “I feel like I’m going crazy.” Her eyes searched his to
see if he understood what she was saying to him.

He finally understood what this was all about. It was about him leaving
her. She really believed that he would leave her too. How could he
make her see that if he left, he would be leaving everything he loved
and needed. Finally letting go of her left hand, he reached up and
cradled her face between both of his hands. He smiled at her and her
startled eyes and startled gasp told him he had her undivided
attention. “You want guarantees. You want something solid in your life
that won’t let you down.” Looking deeply in his eyes, he let his heart
take over his words. “I’m going to give you something better than a
work partner or even a best friend to hold on to.”

Her response pleased him, “What could be better than my best friend?”
She couldn’t believe he didn’t know his own worth to her.

The authority and certainty in his voice was his first gift to her
tattered heart and his words were the second gift. “I’m going to give
you a lover and a partner for the rest of your life. I’m going to give
you hope, love and joy. That’s what you’re going to be holding onto for
the rest of your days.” Tightening his grip on her face he looked
straight into her eyes, “You’re going to hold onto me.” Wiping away her
tears with his thumbs he smiled again, causing her to smile through her
tears. “Hold on to me when you feel like there’s no middle ground.
When you don‘t know how to hold onto those dreams of yours, you hold on
to me for dear life. I’ll be there. I promise you that I’ll be there.”

Feeling her heart finally accept “her destiny”, she couldn’t fight back
the sudden feelings of joy. The freedom he gave her by giving her his
heart sent her spirit soaring. She couldn’t stop herself from teasing
him. After wiping the tears away from her cheeks she took his hands in
hers, “ I don’t need to worry about your self esteem Sam. You’re head
is so big right now I don’t think you would fit through that door.”

By the sparkle in her eyes he could see he finally reached her. God how
he loved her. Wrapping her in his arms he laughed and replied, “Your
love makes me feel 10 feet tall Sammy. I don’t think there is a door
big enough anywhere for me to get through right now.”

Wrapping her arms around his neck, she held onto him with all her might
and moaned, “Oh Chris….” and the tears started to flow again. Only this
time they were tears of joy.

Cap was terrified when he walked into the squad room and saw Rita crying
in Chris’ arms. Before he could stop himself he yelled so loud all of
Palm Beach could hear him, “Lance…what happened? Are you alright?”

Chris and Rita both jumped when he yelled, “Man..Cap, you just scared
the hell out of us.” Chris stood up patting his heart while Rita
grabbed a tissue from her purse and tried to get herself under control.

Cap’s concern for Rita wouldn’t be side tracked. “I just asked you a
question Lorenzo, now answer me. Is she alright?”

Rita blew her nose and then responded, “Yeah, I’m ok Cap. It’s just
everything started caving in on me and I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s
alright now, Chris talked to me and now I feel much better.” She gave
Cap a small smile and Cap let out a big sigh of relief.

When Cap settled down a little and saw that Rita did in fact look a
little better he tried to get her laugh. He missed her laughter.
Looking up at Chris, a twinkle and smile came into his eyes. “You mean
Lorenzo actually said the right thing for a change?”

Chris was just about to protest to Cap in fake anger when Rita spoke,
“Oh Yeah….” Her seductive tone drew Chris’ attention to her. “He said
ALL the right things Cap.” Her eyes never left Chris’ and the passion
reflected in her glance made his body respond immediately. Man….all she
had to do was look at him and he went hard and she knew it.

Cap’s stomach started to act up when he saw the way the two “best
friends” looked at each other. He couldn’t hold in his fear, “Oh…you
two are going to kill me.” Shaking his head and holding his stomach the
three of them started heading for his office. Chris put his hand on the
small of Rita’s back as he walked behind her. She reached behind her
and grabbed his hand and gave it a small squeeze.

As they walked into Cap’s office Chris replied, “What did we do Cap?”
He smiled at Rita as he helped her into one of the chairs in front of
Cap’s desk.

Cap sat down and watched the display and grimaced, “That’s what I’m
afraid to ask you.” Plopping Rolaids in his mouth he brought things
back to hand, "Let’s get started. The sooner we solve this, the sooner
Lance can sleep at night.” Cap bent down to pick up a pencil he dropped
under his desk when Chris leaned into Rita and whispered, “Don’t plan on
getting too much sleep at night Sammy.” He grinned and she smiled.

“What was that Lorenzo?” Chris startled and looked back at Cap and
shrugged his shoulders.

“Nothing Cap.” He looked guilty Cap thought to himself “You don’t want
to know Harry.”

“Then let’s quit this joking around and get back to work.” Cap looked
at Chris over the top of his glasses.

Chris smiled, “Sorry Cap.” Cap noted that Chris didn’t look sorry.


The next three days passed by in a blur. They were the best of times
because he loved Rita and they were the worst of times, because he loved
Rita. The day of Michael’s funeral was the worst day of all. That was
the day that everything started to fall into place and it all started
with the third and last letter from their unwanted pen pal.

Chris and Rita stopped by the office to pick up Cap. Cap and Frannie
insisted in going with Rita to the cemetery. She was having a small
funeral for Michael and only his closest friends were invited. When
Chris thought back in his mind to the funeral, he smiled when he noticed
all of Michael’s closest friends were women. Other than Cap and
himself, everyone else was a woman.

When they walked into Harry’s office and asked him if he was ready to
go, he shook his head no and the pointed to the chairs in front of his
desk. “Lance, we got another one.” He knew what she was going to ask
so he answered before she could say a word. “No..relax, there weren’t
any dead bodies attached to this note.” She actually sighed out loud
with her relief.

Reading it, she started getting angry. This surprised Chris. He
reached for the letter and read it.

Ms. Lance,

I hope you have fun at the cemetery today. Get used to going there.
You will be going there everyday, just like I do, by the time this is
over. This is the last letter you will be getting from me, because
today I am going to take away the last of your family. Just like he
took away mine. It’s funny, by taking away your family from you, I am
really killing him.

See you at the cement garden,

A Mourning Organized Murder

As Chris reads the letter to himself he gets a nagging feeling. He is
pulled out of his thoughts as he hears Rita ranting and raving.

“If this guy thinks he is going to get you Chris, he’s going to have to
come through me to do it. I am so sick of this. I’m not letting him
have anymore power over me.” Chris tried to pull her into his arms as
Cap took the letter from him and he pulled out all of the others. As
Cap reads them he starts asking a few questions.

“Why would he be going after Chris, Lance? According to his last
letter, he is going after your husband or the man you consider husband
material. Shouldn’t we be putting Eric under protection?”

Chris’ response shocked Cap. “Over my dead body.” Chris pulled back
and looked into Rita’s eyes and responded. “You aren’t going to marry
Eric, Rita. The only way you can is over my dead body.” The sound of
anger in his voice shocked both Cap and Rita.

“What are you talking about?” She was so deep in her own ranting, she
didn’t hear what cap said about guarding Eric.

“Cap thinks the killer is going after Eric because you consider him for
your husband. I won’t let you. Do you hear me? You belong to me.”
The possession in his tone of voice shocked her and pleased her.

Reaching up to stroke his cheek she replied, “Chris, this killer knows
me too well to think that I would marry Eric. He knows that you are the
only one I could ever marry.” Her acknowledgement of her love for him
filled his heart to overflowing and it filled Cap’s with terror.

“I didn’t hear any of that, got it? I swear before this is over, you
are going to be burying me.” The agony in his voice was lost on the two
lovers. They were kissing right in front of Cap. “Oh man…I don’t see
anything either.” Cap reached in his drawer for his Rolaids and as he
plopped them in his mouth, he watched Chris and Rita with awe. The love
they showed in their eyes as they looked at each other softened his
heart. “It’s a good thing for you two that Frannie and I consider
ourselves your Mom and Dad, or you would really be in trouble right

The terror that came into Chris’ eyes after Cap’s statement sent a chill
through both Rita and Cap. “What is it Chris?” Rita’s concern was
evident in her trembling voice. Chris let go of Rita’s hand and ran for
the door. “Chris where are you going?” Rita was yelling at him across
the parking lot. He was driving out of the parking lot as Cap grabbed
Rita and they followed behind him.

As Cap and Rita followed Chris, he radioed ahead for back up. “Cap what
is he thinking?” Rita was searching through her memory back to their
conversation. She was looking for any clues.

“If I had to guess Lance, I’d say he just figured out who is doing this
and if we don’t stop him, we will be visiting him at the state pen.”

“Chris wouldn’t hurt anyone Cap. I’m more afraid of what they will try
to do to him. Why would he go off and leave me like that Cap. Why?”

“Lance, if anyone hurt Frannie to get to me, I’d kill them.” The
sincerity in his voice scared her. She knew that Chris would too. He
would kill anyone that tried to hurt the people he loved.

“Cap can’t you go any faster? Where is he going? If I didn’t know any
better, I swear he was going to the cemetery.” Cap looked at her and
picked up the radio and told them where to send the back up.

As Chris pulled up to the gravesite, he saw her kneeling down talking to
the headstone. She didn’t turn around when she spoke, “So you finally
figured it out huh? How does it feel to be at someone else’s mercy you
murderer?” The venom in her voice was Chris undoing.

The anger in his voice was very evident, “Why? Why drag Rita into
this? This is between you and me.”

She stood up and turned around and looked up at Chris. That is when he
saw the gun in her hand. “Why? Because you loved her that’s why. You
took away my Ronnie, and what did they do to you? Nothing. So I
decided to take away your family like you took away mine.” As Cap and
Rita jumped out of their car, Ronnie’s Mother looked at them and that
was Chris’ opportunity to jump her.

When Rita got to Chris’ side, he had his gun pointed at Ronnie’s
Mother’s chest and the look in his eyes scared Rita. He looked like he
was one step away from losing total control. The anger in his voice
scared her even more. “You killed innocent people. You murdered an
little girl for revenge.”

“So did you!” The woman was insane. Cap and Rita could see that, why
couldn’t Chris?

Rita jumped into the argument when she saw the pain come into Chris eyes
from her statement. “No! That was an accident, a tragic accident.
What you did was pre-meditated murder.”

“You can call it what you want lady, but I say he murdered Ronnie and
I’m glad I killed your family.” She sneered up at Chris and the hatred
in her smile pushed Chris too far. She dared to touch his Rita. No one
touches her and lives to regret it. He was pulling the hammer back on
his gun when Rita screamed out to him.

“No Chris. Don’t do it. Let her go.” The terror in her voice made
Ronnie’s Mother smile and Chris even more angry.

“Why should I? She has made your life a living nightmare.” Chris had
never felt this much rage for anyone. Just when he thought he was about
to lose his own sanity, an angel’s calm loving voice finally reached
him. His angel. Rita.

“Do it for Ronnie Chris. Do it for Ronnie.” The pleading in her voice
brought him back. When he came out of his rage, he saw what he was
doing and then he put the hammer on his gun back into place. He stood
up and walked over to Rita and pulled her deep into his arms.

After Ronnie’s mother was taken away, Cap came to check up on his
detectives and he found them still embraced in each other’s arms. Chris
was whispering in Rita’s ear and she was nodding her head yes. Cap
hated to interrupt them. They were doing the best thing they could,
they were comforting each other, but there was still a long day ahead of
them. They still had a funeral to attend.

Walking them back to Chris’ car Cap questioned him. “How did you figure
it out Lorenzo?”

“You actually did Cap. Something you said made me realize who it was.
I already guessed that it was someone after me, not Rita. They kept
hinting that they wanted me to suffer not Rita.” Chris wrapped his arm
around Rita’s shoulder and she wrapped her arms around his waist and
looked up at Chris while he explained. “You told us that we were lucky
that you and Frannie considered yourselves to be our Mom and Dad and
that is when it all fell into place.”

Rita finally understood, “A Mourning Organized Murderer.” She then
whispered loud enough for Chris and Cap to hear, “A Mom.”

“Exactly.” Chris squeezed Rita and then opened the car door for her.

Before Rita got into the car, she put her hand on Chris’ chest and spoke
to him. “You no longer have to feel like you owe something to Ronnie
Chris. You paid your debt to him. Even though you didn’t owe him
anything. It was an accident. You can let him go now Chris.” The love
in her eyes made his heart jump in his chest.

“It seems to me, that you are the one who ended up paying the debt
Sammy.” He took the hand that was laid on his chest and pressed it to
his mouth and kissed it.

“When you love someone Chris, their debts become yours.” She loved him
so very much and even though her heart was breaking from all her loss
this week, she couldn’t help but feel the joy in everything she gained,

Smiling down at her he saw the love and the hope she was trying to hold
on to on this very sad day. He tried to make her smile, “Does that mean
that all of your debts are mine too?”

“Of course they are Sam.” She looked up at him and smiled.

“Why does that make me very nervous?” She kissed him hard and
thoroughly and then got into the car. He closed the door, walked over
to the other side of the car and looked over at Ronnie’s grave for the
last time. “Goodbye Ronnie. Rest in peace.” He got into the car took
Rita’s hand in his and headed into their future.

The end


To my Editors D & Linda, thanks for all of the great insight and tips.
You two are the best!!

I know…I don’t own these characters (wish I did). I just used them for
some fun. Thanks USA.


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