Leave It To Fate
Hello, my name is Elisa. This is my 4th attempt at a Silk Stalkings Fan Fic. It's scary to think that these ideas come to me while I'm supposedly in class. Oops. This story was headed one way and ended in another. Hope you guys like it. ~ Fate ~
"Hey Sam", Rita greeted her partner as he made his way down to their desks. Chris glanced up and flashed her one of his irresistible smiles.
"Hey yourself Sam" Rita looked over at him with a curious stare. He was in too good of a mood.
What?" She asked suspiciously.
"Nothing." He answered innocently. Rita shook her head at him in mock frustration, knowing that it wouldn't take him long to spill.
Rita began to leaf through her paperwork, one eye remained on her partner as she pretended to be absorbed in what she was doing. Chris watched her amused knowing that she was trying her best to get him to crack, but not a chance. Not this time. He and the Captain were planning her surprise party and there was not a chance he was going to leak information. Rita was watching the clock with her other eye, timing him, usually it didn't take more than five minutes. After 10 minutes, she let out a huge sigh and gave up. So he wasn't going to share.
"Fine two can play this game." she muttered to herself. Chris looked up from his desk. He couldn't quite catch what she said.
"What Sammy?" Rita shrugged.
"Nothing Chris. I was just you know talking to myself." Rita got up from her chair and started to walk off. Chris held his laughter in. She was trying to get him back. Rita went to the bathroom and took out her cell phone.
"Hey D...Do us a favor?" Diana listened as Rita rehashed what evolved between her and Chris. She laughed knowing that Chris couldn't contain himself which, is the reason why Rita was now suspicious. Because of this Diana agreed to be a part of Rita's scheme. Diana was laughing while Rita began to tell her what she had planned.
"Okay Monita...give me 5 minutes. I just want to finish up this report."
"Thanks D." Rita hung up and slipped her cell phone into her jacket pocket before making her way out back to her desk.
"So Chris, got any plans for tonight?" she asked trying to get his mind off her intentions.
"No, not really. It's not as if I've had anything better to do since Jillian left." he replied quietly. Rita glanced up and looked at him.
"I'm sorry Sam. You okay?" For a moment she herself forgot her intentions.
Jillian had left only days before and even though she and Chris had broken up weeks before. The idea that she was gone made an impact on Chris. It made it seem so final. He knew that he made the right choice, but in the back of his mind he wondered why everything seemed so unresolved. Chris snapped out of his momentary state of mind and gave her a small smile.
to her plan. As if on cue the phone on her desk began to ring.
"So now what?" Diana asked amused by the games her two friends were playing with each other. Chris watched Rita's eyes light up as she pointedly spun her chair around and began to whisper into the receiver. "Well, a little bit of this and that," she answered coyly. Chris began to clear his throat.
"I think you've captured someone's interest." Diana observed as she heard the scuffles Chris was making in the background.
"You may be right there." Rita said seductively. Diana began to laugh uncontrollably at Rita, to an extent that Rita was almost about to burst into laughter herself.
"Okay, throw your heard back and laugh." Diana threw in, doing as she was told Rita let out a flirty laugh and threw her head back.
"Oh stop" After a few more minutes neither one of them could continue any further.
"I better go. I am at work." She said quietly but loud enough for Chris to hear. She knew that if she turned around she would see Chris hovering over from his side of the desk.
"Will you get any work done after this?" Diana teased.
"Can you?" Rita threw back with another seductive laugh.
"Well, I'll get back to you." Diana answered putting on her own seductive voice. At that point Rita knew she had to get off before she blew her own plan.
"You bet Monita. I want to know what happens." Rita let out a short giggle for Chris' benefit and put the phone down. Without a word she turned back around and began to sift through her paperwork as though nothing happened. Chris waited for her to say something, but she didn't.
"Sam..." he said slowly. Was this a new love affair she wasn't dishing about? His curiosity was sparked.
"Yeah Chris?" she looked up looking without interest. It was then it dawned on Chris.
"You're playing with me aren't you? What did you do? Get Diana to call you and try to act like your new mysterious love?" he said accusingly with a huge smile on his face. Rita remained calm and unruffled.
"Yeah Chris, that's exactly it." Chris stared at her, but her face revealed nothing. She knew that he would pick up on her intention, the trick was making him doubt himself till he believes that she was keeping something from him.
The day passed with Chris glancing at his partner from time to time. As if waiting for her to say something. Though he knew she wouldn't. She was a lot better at keeping secrets than he was. Chris was thankful that her surprise party was the following day. Keeping anything from her was so hard.
"Hey Sam, wanna hang out at your place?" he asked. Rita was about to say sure when a thought entered her mind.
"Sorry partner. I have plans."
"With who?" he demanded. Rita broke into a mysterious grin.
"Just a friend." Chris opened his mouth but shut it again. He knew there was no point. She wasn't going to tell him. He would just tail her. Rita walked into the Cap's office and bid him goodnight. Before heading out she asked Chris if he was going to be okay. Rita was still worried that he was suffering form the after effects of Jillian's departure.
"Yeah Sam, I'll be okay." he said reassuringly. Rita gave his cheek a kiss and left. As soon as she left Chris picked up his jacket and yelled a quick goodbye to his Captain.
"He bought it D. He's stewing. This should teach him not to mess with me." Diana laughed. Rita glanced up and saw his charger a few cars behind.
"D, he's tailing me. I can't believe he's tailing me, just to see who I'm going out with." Rita was amused at the lengths he was willing to go to.
"What are you going to do? If nobody comes knocking at your door, he's going to know you were stood up or worse, that you were tricking him." Diana pointed out.
"Hang on....Rita why don't you come here. I'm at my brother's place house sitting. When I open the door I'll just stay away from the door." Rita's enthusiasm reached its peak
"D, that's the best idea. You want me to bring anything?" she asked, excited at the prospect of getting even with Chris
"No, I was just about to order a pizza."
As planned Rita walked slowly down the long hallway. She could feel Chris' swift moves behind her. She was about to knock on the door only to find that it had been left open. Rita contained her composure as she let the door open wider and found that the whole room lit up by candles, rose petals thrown on the floor of the doorway luring her in. Chris watched from where he hid and saw it all.
"Oh Honey..." Rita gushed. Before Chris could take a closer look Rita closed the door. Rita was about to burst out laughing when Diana held her finger to her lips and pointed to the door. Chris was listening in. Diana picked up the remote for the stereo and hit the play button. Kenny G began to fill the room. It was quiet enough to be romantic and loud enough to muffle their conversation.
"You're an absolute legend D." Rita praised.
"Nice touch with the candles and the petals."
"Yeah well I thought so" Diana replied with false modesty. Rita grabbed a pillow and threw it at her. Laughing Diana threw Rita a pair of sweat pants and a T-shirt.
"Thought you'd be more comfortable in these" Rita took the clothes from her gratefully and went to the bedroom to get changed.
"Quick Rita he's going back to his car." She heard Diana yell.
Hurrying Rita ran back down to where Diana was looking out the window. They watched him walk down toward his car. What surprised them was that when he got in, he didn't start the car. He sat there and watched the window. Hiding behind the curtains Diana and Rita looked at each other and started giggling hysterically, till they fell to the floor uncontrollably.
"I feel like I'm back in high school" Diana commented in between breaths.
"I know. Not to mention I feel guilty. You don't really think he's going to stay there until I go home do you?" she asked regaining her composure.
"Something tells me so. Come on lets eat. All this giggling is making me hungrier." Rita followed Diana to the kitchen where the large pizza box sat.
Diana grabbed the wine and the glasses and pointed to Rita to take the box. They settled in front of the TV and began to eat. An hour passed, watching TV, talking, and checking on Chris every so often.
"D, when I say so start blowing out the candles one by one...all the way to the bedroom." Diana jumped to her feet and got ready.
Just as Chris looked up once more she signaled Diana. As soon as Chris saw the first candle close his eyes remained locked to the apartment windows. He watched as each candle was blown out. All the way down the hall...the bedroom he guessed. Rita watched his undivided attention. She almost felt sorry for him. With one last glance she returned to the living room with Diana and closed the door behind her so the light wouldn't seep in from the TV.
"You think he bought it?" Diana asked.
"Oh yeah. I almost feel bad Diana. You know for pulling one over him, but he deserves it thinking he can pull one on me." Rita and Diana fell asleep talking.
The next day was Saturday and was also Rita's birthday. Rita woke up to the smell of Diana cooking her breakfast. She walked into the kitchen and greeted her good morning.
"Hey D. Why are the curtains closed?" she asked out loud.
"Because I didn't want to be seen." Rita's sleepiness vanished as she dove for the curtains in astonishment.
"He stayed. My God." Diana laughed at Rita's disbelief.
"Happy Birthday Monita." She said pleasantly handing her a cup of coffee. Rita grinned and thanked her.
After breakfast Rita got dressed in the clothes she was in the night before and headed out. She looked the other way as she made her way to her car. She could feel Chris' eyes on her the whole time. As she drove home she sighed with relief when he followed her home. She and Diana were worried that he would wait until someone else came out of the apartment she entered. When she was inside her apartment, she heard his charger drive off. Rita grabbed a long hot shower. She and Chris had plans to spend the day together. An hour later Chris knocked on her door.
"Happy Birthday Sammy." he greeted with a big smile on his face. He pulled her towards him in a huge hug.
"Thanks Chris. You're late," she said pointedly. Chris released her and looked at her sheepishly. How was he to explain himself now?
"Sorry Sam, I was late because I waited till you went home from that strange guys place. No way." Rita watched him shift and fidget uncomfortably. She could feel the corners of her mouth begin to form into a smile. She wished he'd just admit to it and get it over and done with. She could tell he was dying to ask her about her date, his face said it all.
"Just kidding Sam. What are we doing today?" She asked shifting the conversation elsewhere. Chris smiled and remembered that he had to bring her to the Lipshitz house that evening.
"No way Sammy. That's my secret." Rita broke into a grin touched at the trouble he was going to.
"Come on girl." Chris grabbed her hand and led her out the door. Rita had no idea where they were going, but enjoyed the mystery. Rita was surprised to when Chris stopped at the beach. Chris got out of the car and opened the door for her.
"Why thank you sir." Chris came from behind her and started to blindfold her.
"Is this really necessary. I'm not sure I trust you leading me anywhere blindfolded. For all I know you're going to push me off a cliff."
"If you don't shut up Sam, I will." he teased. Rita took the opportunity to elbow him in the stomach.
"Ouch, Sammy that hurt." Proud of herself she turned around and flashed him a smile.
"It's nice to see I have your sympathy Sam." he commented rubbing his stomach, turning her around and grabbing hold of one of her hands they walked slowly towards their favorite spot.
When they were a few meters away Chris began to undo the blindfold, as Rita's eyes adjusted to the brightness of the sun her gaze fell to the picnic blanket carefully laid out with food, presents, and flowers. It was perfect.
"Oh Christopher." she said quietly, her emotions began to take over. She could feel the lump on her throat that was beginning to form. She turned around and gave him a hug. Chris returned the hug and held her tight.
"You're welcome Sammy."
"How did you?" she asked in a state of shock. Knowing his whereabouts for the past 24 hours. Chris pointed towards the parking lot again. Rita squinted to see a short woman waving from her car yards away.
"Fran." Rita exclaimed and waved back. They waved till Fran got in her car and drove off. After she left Chris led Rita to the blanket and sat her down.
"Thanks Sam. Is this the secret you were keeping from me yesterday?" she asked as the guilt began to ooze from her. She was about to start confessing when Chris' grin widened.
"Maybe, maybe not." With that Rita's guilt flew out the window and decided to keep going.
"Okay then." she said slowly as her mind buzzed wit curiosity.
After eating Chris wanted her to open her presents. She thought every box had been opened but another box remained. It was from Chris. Chris handed it to her. She thanked him and opened the card.
"To my dearest Sammy. Happy Birthday! May all your wishes come true, know that you are never alone in this world, nor will you ever be. I'll always be here. Love, Sam."
Rita's eyes began to mist as she read his card. Rita leaned over and gave his cheek a gentle kiss. Chris pretended to blush and act shy. Laughing Rita took the top off the box.
"Uh, thanks Sam" she said confused as she stared at a corked glass bottle, sheets of stationary and a couple of pens. Chris smiled at her expression and began to explain.
"I wanted to do something different than just buying you a gift, so I thought of something we could do together. I was thinking, I write you a letter and you write to me. We write about how we feel about each other right now, we put it into this bottle, cork it and throw it in the ocean. Maybe one day it'll find it's way back to us...in years to come."
"Oh Sam, I love it!" she said enthusiastically. She grabbed a few sheets for her and for Chris. Side by side, they poured out their heart and soul into the letter that may never make its way back to them. In each letter, their worth to one another was expressed. The love they shared was bared with no hesitation. After an hour or so, they both looked up and smiled at each other.
"You ready?" Chris asked. Rita nodded eagerly. Chris took her letter from her hands and rolled them up with his. Rita handed him a piece of string to secure it. Rita watched as Chris sealed the cork tightly. He stood up and held out his hand. Rita took it. Hand in hand they made their way towards the edge. He handed her the bottle and stood behind her. Rita reached for his hand and together they threw the bottle into the sea. They watched it float away, bopping up and down, till they could no longer see it anymore. It didn't matter if the bottle would never make its way back to them again. It was the experience itself that mattered.
The sun was setting by the time he and Rita decided to go. They had spent a great day together. Just as they were packing up his cell phone began to ring.
"Yeah Cap. Sure, I'll tell her." Rita listened to Chris' end of the conversation.
"Cap wants us to pick him and Fran up their car won't start." Rita nodded. She had almost forgotten about their dinner plans with the Harry and Fran. They drove back to Rita's place for a quick shower and change of clothes. The subject of her date wasn't brought up till the ride over to the Lipshitz's.
"So Sam, why didn't you invite that mystery guy of yours to dinner?" he asked. Rita straightened out her outfit as an attempt to look casual.
"Never came up." Chris threw a glance her way. Rita pretended to ignore his gaze and looked out the window. At that very same moment her cell phone began to ring.
"Sargent Lance" she answered.
"Hey there sexy..." Diana's voice said seductively. Rita let out a laugh and decided to play along. Throwing away the promise of not playing with Chris anymore. If he was so interested in assuming, she was going to give him something to assume. She justified it with a promise to tell him everything by the end of the night.
"What are you up to?" she asked in coyly in a whisper almost.
"Nothing much. Just thought I'd see how your day was going." What Diana was really asking if they were on their way yet? They were almost an hour late.
"It's been a great day. It started a great day. You were there remember?" Rita said throwing it in for Chris' benefit.
"Now we're on our way to dinner with the Captain and his wife." Diana got all the information she needed, and bid her goodnight. As Diana hung up the phone she laughed. It was fun playing double agent. Though she knew as soon as they both found out, she'd be in big trouble. But it was worth it. "
They're on their way." She announced to their friends. The Lipshitz household was full of Rita's friends waiting to surprise her.
"Oh come on Sammy. I tell you all about the loves of my life. Why are you holding out on me now?" Chris moaned. Rita almost felt sorry for him as he pretended to pout and feel hurt that she wasn't confiding in him.
"You'll meet soon. I promise." she said trying to pacify him. Satisfied with the answer he let it go.
"Monday morning when Diana walks into the precinct I'll introduce you," she thought to herself.
Harry answered the door and greeted Rita with a huge Birthday hug.
"Come on into the living room, Frannie's still not ready. Surprise surprise. Just turn the lights on, Chris you know where it is." Following Chris to the living room Rita totally unaware, jumped a mile when everybody screamed,
"SURPRISE!" Rita was shocked. She turned around to Chris and slugged his arm.
"You!" Chris grinned at her and gave her a quick hug.
"Happy Birthday Sam" She returned his hug as everyone piled into a line to greet the birthday girl. Diana last in line, popped her head in and Rita laughed. Before Chris could walk away she grabbed his arm.
"I'd like you to meet the person I was with last night." she gestured over at Diana. The look on Chris' face was monumental. Rita and Diana broke into uncontrollable laughter.
"Gotcha didn't we?" Chris tried to squirm his way out.
"No, I knew all along."
"Yeah, that's why you tailed me, and stayed in your car the whole night huh? Oh Sam, I think we need to work on you detective subtleties." Chris knew then that he'd been had quite successfully and there was nothing he could do about it. He smiled at Rita sheepishly, throwing an arm around her shoulder.
Sam, I believe we were both played," he whispered into her ear referring to Diana. Though Rita had already come to the same conclusion.
"You think we should tell her?" he said giving her a quick wink that said, 'Go with me here'.
"Yeah, I think it's time." she replied looking up at him.
"Ah D, we don't quite know how to say this to anyone. Since Rita and I consider you our really close friend, we want you to know first, how do we put this into words." Rita watched as Chris played it for all he could. He looked around the room and noticed that they were all alone in the living room.
"See D, its like this." Without another word, he placed his lips over Rita's. Surprised but played along with it Rita kissed him back. After a few moments they pulled apart. Their eyes both glowed as they looked at each other and began to walk away, leaving an open-mouthed Diana behind. When out of clear sight Chris held up his hand for a high five.
"That should teach her not to play with the masters."
Rita laughed and slapped his hand with hers. If Chris' look was monumental, Diana's was definitely unforgettable.
Months later on the other side of the ocean a bottle was swept to shore. A young woman sitting down watching the waves noticed it. Without a thought she picked it up and began to read the contents.
"To my dearest Sam,
Happy Birthday. Can you believe it? We've been friends for 6 years. Tell you this much Sam, it's been the best 6 years of my life. We've been through so much. I have never been as close to anybody as I am to you. Rita, I love you. I have always loved you. From the moment we met, till the moment I die. I know in the back of your mind, you think I may have doubts about going to Boston with Jillian. Sam, I don't. Letting go of Jillian was a hard thing but it was also the right thing. See I was never in love with Jillian and she knew it. Every woman I have ever been with has felt threatened by you, and I couldn't argue knowing that anyone who ever walked into my life, I compared with you. I wish I could tell you how I truly feel, but I'm scared that as soon as I do you'll run from me. Yeah you would Sam and you know it. I know how important our friendship is to you, and I know you wouldn't want anything to risk losing that. Like jumping into a relationship. That's okay. I would rather have you in my life as my best friend than nothing at all. My life would never be the same if ever you were no longer in it. I guess the reason why I came up with the idea of this is just so I could let out how I truly feel, in hope that maybe one day we can be honest with each other. For now I'll be content with throwing these thoughts into the ocean, and if by some chance someone comes across this in a similar situation, I hope they will take the brave way that I have ignored and tell the person they love how they truly feel. I have a lot to be thankful for, and the main one would be you. I love you Rita. One day I hope to be able to tell you that. When that time comes, I hope that you're ready to hear it.
All my love, Sam,
Christopher J. Lorenzo,
Palm Beach P.D.
She wiped the tears that had begun to flow. She was so touched by the unreserved words that she had read. The way this man had declared his love for his best friend. If only...as soon as the thought came out she cursed herself for thinking of him again. She leafed through the next page and began to read.
Whoa, what a present. Never thought you were so deep partner. Well okay, I always knew, but you blew me away with this one. I like the whole idea of fate taking its course. Thank you Sam. Not just for the sentiment, but for everything you have brought into my life. Love and Friendship that is so unconditional and so full with trust. I cherish it, and you so very much. I want to say thank you for being who you are, and for who I am and have become because on you. Your presence, love and friendship brings me so much comfort. You have never given up on me. Not once...no matter how stubborn and pig headed I've become even when I know I'm wrong. You're one heck of a friend. I would hate to think what my life would be like if you were no longer in it. Jillian's decision to move to Boston scared me. Mostly because I thought I was going to lose you. But you didn't go. Thank God. I could survive anything but losing you. You once said those words to me, and I'm, saying them to you now. I could never bear losing you. Which is why I can never tell you how I truly feel. I know at times you seem as though I'm holding back, it's only because I'm afraid one day I won't be able to stop and the real feelings show. At this point, I can't let that happen. Our friendship is great the way it is and I would hate for it to change in such a way that we are so uncomfortable with each other. Which is what I fear would happen. I love you Sam, I hope one day I can conjure up enough courage to tell you that. For now, I go to bed with a smile on my face knowing that I have you in my life. As my best friend, my one true love.
Forever and Always,Sam
Rita Lee Lance
Palm Beach P.D.
Carefully she placed the letters back into the bottle and sighed. She could have written that letter herself. She told herself to snap out of it, to stop thinking. It was getting her no where. She'd been sitting there for hours and didn't even realize it. Running her fingers through her hair she decided to get up and go. She chucked the bottle in her back pack and drove home. It had been one heck of a day. She thought everything was under control, especially her emotions. She realized how wrong she was earlier that day.
"Nina, we need to talk. Can you meet me at the beach, in about an hour?" Nina looked at her watch. It was 9 in the morning. What could possibly be so important?
"Sure Michael. What's up? You okay?" She asked worrying.
"Yeah I'm ok Nins. Though I'd rather wait till we're face to face and talk."
"Okay then. See ya at the usual place in an hour. Take Care"
As Nina hung up the phone she wondered what was up with him. She hadn't heard from him in quite some time. Though it used to bother her when they lost contact for a long time, it no longer did. She was no longer as insecure about their friendship as she once was. She missed him in his absence but she could always feel his strong presence in her spirit and heart. Each time a chance would rise for a meeting they both jumped. Though it was rare, for them to see and speak to each other, it was as though no time had passed. Picking up from wherever they left off, and the friendship continued to blossom, even through their physical absence. Nina arrived early just so she could see him walk from his car. It was a habit she had picked up, watching him walk towards her gave her time to figure out the mood he was in, and measure the seriousness of the situation. Just as she thought, it was serious. He walked towards her with his hands in his pocket, his hand hung low as he walked slowly. They stood face to face, both waiting for the other to make the first move. Everything had been weird between them, since...Since a couple of weeks ago.
"Hey you. You okay?" Nina asked taking the first step. She leaned over and gave his cheek a kiss.
"Yeah Allie, I'm okay. But we need to talk." Nina smiled as he called her Allie. He was the only one who ever called her that. Her full name was Katrina Alexandra Reed. Allie came from the Alexandra.
"Al, you know how much you mean to me right?" Nina nodded, she had no idea where his speech was headed. Michael took her hand in his and held it. Looking at her in the eye he said it.
"I've asked Patricia to marry me."
Nina's gaze shifted towards the sea and back to his face. What was she supposed to say to that? She let go of his hand and turned her back on him. She knew what happened a couple of weeks ago was a mistake. A big one at that, but it happened. So they kissed. Though she felt so much more, she hid it when he looked so guilty and horrified afterwards. She was willing to live with that. To settle for being his best friend, as long as he wouldn't change. But ever since that night they hadn't even talked, and now he's marrying Patricia. It all seemed so sudden and convenient to Nina. He was running, that was obvious, but from her. She never thought she'd see the day. Her heart sank at the very thought.
I realized after what happened that night a couple of weeks ago is that you and I are never meant to be more than just friends. We should have kept it that way. After I realized that, I also realized that Tricia, is the one I want to spend my life with."
As he tried to say the words bravely he cursed himself a coward. He was lying through his teeth. He loved Nina, he was in-love with Nina, but he didn't want to lose her. He didn't want to take that chance. Their friendship meant more to him than any possibility of what might be. He knew that he would hurt her by what he said, but in the end they would pick up where they left off. Their friendship was as important to her as it was to him. She turned around and gave him a small smile.
"Okay." Was all she could say, she placed a kiss on his cheek before heading back to her car. Her mind raced as she drove around. When she saw that he had left the beach, she returned and played out everything in her mind. Hours later she found the bottle.
"Nina phone" Casey screamed.
Nina tried to scold at her ten yr old sister for screaming but she couldn't. The smile that was spread across her face made just about anyone melt into her hands. She took Casey's face with one hand and gave it a gentle squeeze before planting a kiss on her nose.
"I told you not to scream like that squirt." Casey giggled at her sister. They were 11 years apart. Nina was like Casey's second Mother. Nina adored her from the moment she first laid eyes on her. "Hello." she said speaking to the receiver while pulling her little sister into a hug.
"Allie." a voice quietly spoke on the other side. Nina felt her whole body freeze. She wasn't ready to talk yet. Not to him, or to anyone. Casey looked up at her sister feeling the sudden tension that filled the room. Nina brushed Casey's hair away from her face.
"Munchkin, can you give me a minute?" she asked covering the phone with her hand.
Casey obliged with a small smile. She was almost out the door when she ran back and gave Nina another hug before running out of the room again. Smiling Nina almost forgot about Michael who was waiting for her to say something. He wanted to call her, to see of she was all right. Though he knew he was doing it for himself too. He was trying to ease his guilt. Nina took a deep breath,
"Look Michael, I don't know what you want me to say. So I'll just say, Congratulations. I'm glad you've taken the step. I'm sure you and Tricia will be fine." Was that what he wanted to hear? At that point Nina would have said anything to end the conversation.
Nina tried her best to remember what she would have said before. After a little while she was overly grateful that her Mom called her to dinner.
"Listen Michael, my Mom's calling. I have to go. Don't worry. I'm okay," she said as reassuring as she could. After putting the phone down she went down to the dinner table where her Mom and Stepfather were waiting.
"Sorry Mom." She said apologizing. The last thing she needed was to get in trouble for being on the phone so much. Which often happen.\par "You're okay this time," she said giving her a smile.
"Nina, what have you got planned now that you've graduated?" Ethan asked. Nina looked up at her stepfather.
"I was thinking of getting a more of full time permanent job for awhile, just so I could save up to travel. If or when I save enough, I want to take a year and travel like I mentioned to you guys before." She answered.
Ethan walked into their lives when Nina was seven. Never knowing her father, Ethan became her father.
"Well, since you have nothing planned then I guess you have time for this..." he said handing her a plane ticket. In a state of shock Nina read to through the destinations. New York, California, Washington D.C., Mexico, Florida, Boston, England, Ireland, Italy, France....the list seemed endless. She looked at both parents and broke into a huge grin. She threw her arms around both of them.
"Mom, Dad. Oh my...Thank you!!!" she exclaimed. Excited she ran over to Casey and hugged her.
"Your ticket can be changed. Meaning you choose where, when, and how long." her Mom pointed out. Nina couldn't wipe the grin of her face.
Throughout dinner she kept looking at her plane ticked just to convince herself that it was real. For the next couple of weeks Nina was busy with her travel arrangements. While in the US she would be staying with various relatives. Europe was well equipped with hostels. She was all set. The prospect of adventure lured her. Everything was done, except for one thing. Michael. She hadn't told him, though he called from time to time. Nina never found an opportunity to mention it. Nor the courage. The day before her departure she had asked him to come to dinner. Before dinner was ready she took him to their backyard and sat across him on the grass.
"Michael, there's something I have to tell you. And I'm sorry I didn't tell you until now, but I didn't know how. Michael, I leave tomorrow, for the US, for Europe. To travel, to follow, our...um, my dream."
As she said the words it made her sadder. When they were younger she and Michael had made a pact to see the world together, but it was never going to happen. With his impending marriage, how could he possibly? At the same time Nina was relieved to be gone at the time of the wedding, which was only months away. Michael didn't know what to say. He was absolutely speechless. Nina placed her hand over his, at that very moment her Mom called them to dinner. Their last meal was solemn, nobody knew what to say. Michael excused himself after dinner but promised to return later that night. He wanted to give Nina some time with her family. not to mention time for himself to sort through his thoughts. He asked her to beep him as soon as her parents were asleep. Nina tucked her sister in for the last time in a long while.
"I love you Nina" Nina's eyes began to water as she looked at her sister. She was going to miss Casey and her enthusiasm.
"I love you too Squirt." Nina leaned over and hugged her. Nina lay beside Casey till she fell asleep and went to her parents room. For the first time since Casey was born Nina climbed into bed with her parents, placing herself between them.
"Thank you, for letting me do this." she said gratefully, she knew how hard it was for them to let her go. She kissed them both goodnight and hopped off their bed. Before walking out the door she turned back and flashed them a smile. "I love you" and closed the door behind her.
She beeped Michael and waited for him in her backyard. Just as he walked in through the gate Nina walked up to him and threw her arms around him. Without a second thought Michael encircled her securely in his arms. Nina buried her face on his chest as Michael repeatedly kissed her head. They sat in her backyard in each others arms without really speaking. Before leaving Nina handed him the bottle.
"Please don't read this till I'm gone." Michael nodded and hugged her one last time.
"You take care." he whispered hoarsely. Nina nodded through her tears and gently pushed him towards the gate. Nina waited till he drove off before going back in. In the kitchen she found her mother.
"Hey Mom, you okay?" she asked, knowing how hard it was for her to let Nina go.
"Yeah baby I am. I want you to know that I'm so proud of you."
"Thanks Mom, I know that." she replied with a smile.
"What am I going to do without you, it's always been me and you. Now..." before she could go on, Nina wrapped her arms around her Mother.
"Mom, you still have me. I may be gone physically but you have me in your heart. Remember when I was little and you used to say that it didn't matter where we were, together or apart, all we had to do was listen to our hearts and know we're together."
"That was you going to kindergarten Nina," she said laughing."Just pretend that I'm at Kindergarten if it makes in any easier. In a sense it is, because it's a brand new beginning. But the point is Mom, I may not be here. But I'll always be here." she said pointing to her mother's heart.
They sat in the kitchen till dawn talking. There was no point in sleeping so they made breakfast together. Nina went to wake up Casey while her Mom woke up Ethan.
"Casey baby, wake up." She said gently stroking the little girl's hair.
Casey woke up and smiled at her sister. She sat up and threw her arms around her.
Hey, what was that for?" Nina asked, Casey didn't say anything all she did was hug Nina harder.
"I'm going to miss you too Squirt." Hand in hand Casey and Nina made their way down to breakfast.
After showering Casey made sure that she had everything. Ethan had just finished his shower, her Mom was helping Casey get dressed. Ethan knocked on her door and stood by the doorway. He had always treated Nina as his own, and Nina loved him completely.
Hey pumpkin." Nina glanced up and smiled.
"I should probably mind that you call me that at my age, but I love it. Dad," Nina began
"Yeah..." Nina walked towards him and wrapped her arms around his waist as she did when she was a child. Ethan bent his head forward and placed his lips on top of her head.
"I love you." she whispered. Though she knew that she didn't need to say it, she wanted to, She wanted him to know how much she cherished having him as her father.
"I love you too Pumpkin." Nina remained in his arms till her Mom cleared her throat by the door, regretfully telling them that they had better go.
Tearfully the four of the four of them went to the airport. When it was time to board Nina looked at them bravely, anxious for her new adventure. She hugged them all goodbye, with one last glance and an, I love you she turned around and went in.
Michael sat on the beach, he looked at his watch. He knew Nina would already be up on the plane. He glanced down at the bottle in his hands. Carefully he uncorked it and began to read. After reading both letters he was surprised to find an extra couple of pages. He recognized Ninas' handwriting.
By the time you read this, I'm on my way to next chapter of my life. Funny, I always thought, I would be spending this part of my dream with you. After all, this began as our dream.I found this on the beach the day we had the 'talk', you know the one. What timing! You could say that it made me feel worse. I mean how could two people love each other and not tell each other. To be each other's world, reveal all secrets, except for the most important one. Does that sound familiar? I think the time to be completely honest has come. So I want to be honest with you. Once and for all, I want to be honest with myself. I love you Michael, I'm not sure exactly when it happened yet it did. It could be from the day I fell of the tree and you carried me all the way home, we were what 8? Or these last few years, who knows. You and I have been through every significant moment in each other's lives. We know each other by heart, which amuses me because at this 'love stuff' we're so daft and ignorant. I know if we both looked hard enough, and forget fear, we'll see what is truly there. I want to make you a proposition. I'm going to be at Palm Beach in 3 weeks, before I head for Europe. On the 20 of next month I'll stand in front of Palm Beach PD at 10am. If you feel the same, I'll see you there, if not, I'll know your answer. I'll be there till 11am. If you don't show I want you throw the bottle back into the sea in hope that it finds its way to somebody else who may need that extra nudge. So the ball's on your court. Take care of yourself and think with your heart. It's never failed you before. I love you. I always will, no matter what....Allie
Three weeks later Michael made his way down to Palm Beach PD. He knew Ninas' plane was landing that morning from Boston. Her Mom had filled him in on her itinerary. From the moment he read her letter, he knew in his heart what he wanted and that was her. So badly that he called her himself and told her that he was coming. The weeks passed slowly as he tried to organize everything to enable him to travel with her. He arrived at Palm Beach a day earlier. He spoke to her the night before from the airport.
"I can't believe we'll be together tomorrow." Nina said enthusiastically.
"I know, I can't wait. I'm sorry...."
"Don't! We've been through this. Everything happens in due time. No regrets. What matters is that we got here." she said soothingly, knowing he regretted the time lost.
"Promise me you won't keep doing this to yourself."
"Promise. I can't wait to see you," he said solemnly.
"Right back at ya. Listen I'm boarding, see you tomorrow."
Counting the minutes. Al..."
"I love you!" Nina broke into a smile.
"I love you too."
Chris and Rita made their way into their office in their usual fashion, bantering all the way in.
"Come on Sam, you owe me." Chris stated.
"For what? Saving you from yourself. Get over it Chris."
"Sam, I would have beat you."
"Yeah Chris that's why best out of three became best out of five."
Chris bumped into a young man on his way in. Both men looked up and smiled at each other.
Days later on his way into the precinct Chris spotted the same young man, he was pacing around the lobby.
"May I help you?" Chris asked. The young man looked up, trouble lingered in his eyes.
"Ah...I was looking for a Sargent Lance and a Sargent Lorenzo."
"Well one out of two ain't bad. I'm Sargent Lorenzo. Chris. And you are?"
Michael Manning." Chris shook his hand firmly.
"How may I help you?" Chris asked politely, for some reason he felt drawn to the young man. Before he could answer Rita had walked towards them. Chris placed a hand on the small of Rita's back.
"Michael, this is Sargent Lance. Sam, this is Michael." Rita held out her hand and smiled at him warmly. Michael took note of the Sam and almost smiled.
"Michael was looking for us Sam." Chris explained.
"Um, yeah I was. See I'm writing this article and I was hoping to interview you. It's about people in the workplace. Partnership, that sort of thing." Chris and Rita immediately picked up his accent.
"Where are you from Michael, you have a very distinct accent?" Chris asked.
"Originally, Sydney Australia. I'm here for a couple of months and I'm freelancing for a magazine, and I was always interested in the chemistry between work mates. I saw your picture in the paper and I just had a gut feeling that you guys had a great chemistry, so here I am following that instinct. I promise not to be a bother. If we could maybe have lunch together, that's all it would take. And you get to read what I wrote before anyone else. Please. This means a lot." He said sincerely.
He felt bad for not being totally truthful but he couldn't find another way to do it. Chris and Rita looked at each other in hesitation but there was something that made them want to do it.
"Sure Michael, how about you meet us back here at noon and we'll go to lunch. Michael nodded giving them a grateful smile. Walking back to their desks Rita shared her curiosity.
"Sam, am I the only one who feels there's something more to this?"
"Nope, but I couldn't say no. There's something about this that makes me want to keep going, you know kind of like starting a book, and you want to keep going till you know the end." Rita nodded in understanding.
Michael met up with them promptly at noon. Chris and Rita led him to the vendors outside the precinct and sat under the trees. As Rita and Chris unpacked their lunches Michael sat before them.
"There's something I have to tell you." Chris and Rita looked up from their food and stared at Michael, waiting for him to go on.
"I lied, I'm not a free lance writer. Not here at least. I came here to meet up with my best friend. She and I know you both from this...." Michael pulled out the bottle from his backpack and placed it on the table. Michael watched their expressions. Surprised. Almost scared.
"Please let me finish. Nina, I call her Allie found this on the beach. I had just dropped a bombshell on her and she was thinking things through. I guess I should start from the very beginning. Allie is my best friend. We grew up together and no one knows me better than she does." Chris and Rita exchanged a knowing look.
"A couple of weeks before she found the bottle, something happened between us. We were walking along the beach and we were talking as normal. We were talking about our dreams, her head was resting on my shoulder. I looked down at her, at the same time she looked up at me, and something happened that had never happened before, we kissed. We swore it was nothing as we both pulled away. Two weeks later she and I met at the beach where I told her I had asked my current girlfriend to marry me. She knew I was running, but she let me be. A couple of weeks later she dropped a bombshell of her own. She was going away for a year to travel. She was living out one of the dreams we made together, alone. Before she left she gave me the bottle and made me promise not to open it till I knew she was already airborne. So I sat at the beach and opened it. I had no idea what it was, when I read it I knew what she was trying to say. I'm sorry if we invaded your privacy, that we read your letters, but when she found them. She had no idea what they were and neither did I. Which is why I want to read you what she included with the bottle, I want to share this with you, in hope that you know what to do with the lesson I learned."
At this point he had Chris and Rita's undivided attention. They listened to Michael as he read Nina's letter. As Rita listened to Nina's words she could feel her heart tighten. It was so heartfelt and she could relate. She admired Nina for her courage to face her worst fears. Michael put the letter down after he was done and cleared his throat and continued.
"Nina and I spoke before she left Boston to meet me. We couldn't wait for our time that had finally come..." Michael looked up at them,
"Nina died in a plane crash on her way here" He finished softly, as tears trickled down his cheek. A cry escaped from Rita's lips. The plane crash he was talking about was widely broadcast. There were 20 fatalities. The rest of the passengers were injured.
The day she died was her 21st birthday." The tears were beginning to roll down Rita's cheeks, Chris' arms protectively wrapped around her.
"When I asked Allie, what she wanted for her birthday, you know what she said? She said, all that she has ever wanted would be waiting for her in front of Palm Beach PD on the 20th . Nina, Allie, was never the one to cover how she truly felt. Except when she knew I couldn't take it. I wasted time, and that is something I have to live with. I guess my reason for being here is to prevent you guys from making the very same mistake. It's obvious how much you love each other, and I just met you. And I'm not saying that because of what I read in your letters, it's the way you are with each other. The way you move. You're a part of each other. Don't ignore it. Don't turn your back from something that could be so much more. I want you guys to have what Nina and I were never able to have." He stopped for a moment trying to regain his composure.
"I had always wondered why Nina chose Palm Beach PD as the place to meet, until today. I realized that she wanted to capture the magic that we both saw in your letters. I'm sure if I hadn't showed up she would have stormed up here and demanded for the two of you to be honest." He smiled at the thought.
"I also know that if we both made it here that day, she would still storm up to your offices and make you see what's meant to be. I guess that's my main reason for being here, is for Allie. It would have been something she would have wanted. She was always a sucker for romance. I just want to say that, please don't take time for granted. No one ever really knows how long they have. More importantly, don't make the same mistakes I did. Don't underestimate your capacity and capabilities to love each other. I hope you guys have what Nina and I would have had, and can never have. Don't deny yourself something so beautiful. You love each other. That's all that matters. "
Chris and Rita read each other's letters. When they finished, tears ran down both their cheeks. Reading it now meant so much more. Through Michael and Nina they learned that the next step isn't as scary as they thought it would be. Their reasons for staying apart seemed so trivial. They realized that time was precious, and it was limited, and that they shouldn't take it for granted. Chris faced Rita and wiped her tears with his thumb.
"Oh Sam," Rita leaned forward and rested her head against his chest. Chris wrapped his arms around her.
They were ready to take the next step. Together they can overcome any fear they both may have. Nina and Michael were like the guardian angels that were watching over them to make sure that they let destiny take its course. Chris and Rita learned not to fight fate and just take it in stride, day by day. The realization was something they were thankful for. Though there was still a long road ahead, it would be a road traveled in complete honesty, and without reservation. Whatever comes their way, they face with their complete unity of love and soul. For that they would always be truly grateful to Michael and Nina.
Okay as you all know Christopher Lorenzo, Rita Lance, Diana, Harry and Fran don't belong to me. Michael Manning, Nina Reed and Family are a creation from my imagination. I know they were a little too perfect as a family, but hey give me a break, this fantasy I call a life led me towards that direction. Thank you Lisa for you undeniable faith in me. And of course to you too Linda for posting it for me. Take Care Peeps....
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