Friends, Lovers, and Liars, Part 4

When we left Chris and Rita in Part 3 of " Friends, Lovers, and Liars," they were faced with an interesting, albeit, dangerous offer from their new "friends" , Jack and Celia Demming. Also, two troublemakers from our detectives pasts surfaced in Vail. Just how are they going to impact the case our favorite couple is trying to solve? Before I fill you in on some of the answers, here comes the disclaimer: this is fiction, based on the USA network series Silk Stalkings, and I' m just borrowing for a while. Adult content warning applies for the love scenes. Thank you, my friend Lisa, for hosting and posting!

Chris smilingly shook his head at Celia' s offer, an idea forming in his head. " Thank you so much, but Lisa and I have chosen a more businesslike way to test new products. We send all samples to our lab for analysis."

Celia pouted, " That' s hardly much fun."

Rita quickly came to Chris's rescue, " Celia, there' s an even more important reason Michael and I are avoiding any-um-extracurricular substances. We' re trying to get pregnant, and I've been doing a lot of reading. It' s so important that both parents be healthy to help insure a perfect baby. I' m sure you understand that, having three beautiful children of your own," she offered Celia a warm smile.

Jack grinned at his wife, and clapped " Michael" on the shoulder, "Hey, we understand. Celia and I did that, too, didn' t we?" Celia laughed, and added, " At least until I was through the first trimester. Hey, if you change your mind, just let us know."

Rita, fighting a wave of revulsion at Celia's words, couldn' t speak.

Chris could read his partner' s thoughts, and asked to keep the sample, "for chemical analysis"." I' d like to send it by courier this morning, if possible," Chris' tone was businesslike.

Jack nodded and agreed, " We can meet later and discuss shipments, product purity, and price. Sound good to you?"Chris nodded, but had one concern," I" ll be honest, I'd like a little extra time to confirm this with my father, and protect my own interests. There has been a lot of noise about federal drug busts,"

"And" Jack grinned, "you want to make sure we' re not undercover DEA or something. We understand perfectly. After all, don' t think we didn' t check your backgrounds, too."

Rita recovered her voice, " Just the cost of doing business these days. We'd be disappointed if you HADN' T done that. Michael, darling, it' s after four, and I' m getting tired. Can we wrap this up?"

"Shure,"Chris grinned." Look, we' ll see you about two. Where do you want to meet?"

"How about we ski Beaver Creek again?" Celia suggested.

That agreed on, the two couples said good night. Rita was silent as she and Chris rode up the elevator to their room, and when the door of their suite closed behind them. She tossed her coat on the couch, and went into the bedroom, purpose in her stride. Still in silence, she cast off the navy dress, and headed for the bathroom. Chris was puzzled, but let her stew a minute, until he heard the Jacuzzi filling. Grinning, he stripped off his own clothes, and joined his " wife." To his amazement, she was leaning against the sink, tears trickling down her cheeks, face pale.

" Rita, are you sick?" he took her face in his hands, kissing away her tears.

"Yes, I am. Heartsick. How could she?" her voice was shaking with anger.

"Who?" Chris asked, thinking Rita had somehow found out Jillian was in Vail.

"What do you mean ? who? Celia! How could she use drugs while she carrying her own precious babies?" Rita began to sob. " She made it sound like it was as safe as taking an aspirin."

Chris put his arms around her, and murmured soothingly in her ear, " It was pretty cold, wasn' t it? But, you-you saved us when they offered us that heroin. The baby thing-that was quick thinking."

Rita sniffled, wiping her nose, " It was desperate thinking," she said wryly. "I' m sorry-I don' t know why I fell apart like that."

" I know why," Chris smiled tenderly at her."Because you can' t stand to see any child hurt-you want to save them all. And THAT is the sweetest, most noble thing"he rained gentle kisses on her face and neck, making her forget, for a little while, that there was a world where children weren' t cherished in every family, "One of the reasons why I love you so much."

"I love you," she sighed, as they got into the whirling waters together.

Chris reached for one of the fancy bottles of massage oil, and poured some into his hand. "Just relax, Sammy. Mr. Magic Hands will make all your problems-disappear," he growled.

"Of that, I have no doubt," Rita gave herself up to his touch, purring like a contented kitten.

He began with her neck and shoulders, kneading away all the tension. Slowly, he slid his hands under the water, down her back, over each arm and hand, her breasts and belly. Next, he turned her to face him, and he began to massage her feet and ankles, moving up each leg.

The tension that drained from Rita was replaced by a different need, as his caresses became more intimate. Her eyes flew open and her head dropped back when he found her womanly core. "Chris,"she moaned, one foot resting on his shoulder now.

"You don' t like that, sweetheart?"he smiled. " Okay, I' ll stop."

Water splashed as she lunged for him. " Christopher!"she shrieked. " I didn' t say stop!"

He laughed, trying to hold onto her," You' re all slippery from that damn stuff," he indicated the massage oil.

She evaded his grasp, and poured some of the oil between her palms. An evil grin crossed her face, as she commanded him to turn around. " You gave me such a relaxing massage, I want to return the favor."

He eyed her suspiciously, "And what if I don' t WANT a massage?"

She laughed, " Too bad!"

"Oh, all right," he gave in. " But I expect a reward for all this compromise.

Rita giggled in his ear, " I think that could be arranged."

The lovers fell into bed, spent, after daybreak. They slept until the alarm woke them at noon.Chris grunted, and turned over, ignoring the electronic beeping. Rita sighed, and rolled out of bed, nearly knocking the clock off the nightstand.

"You gonna get up?" she asked, testy." No, go away," he muttered.

They both were exhausted, after several nights of sleep deprivation. " Chris, c' mon. We have to meet our DEA contact in an hour."

"You go. I' m dead," Chris flopped over, and yanked the covers over his head

."That' s the price we pay for living such a decadent lifestyle," she said matter-of-factly, ripping the bed linens from his grasp. "GET UP!"

"Damn, you' re bossy," he groused, but he did sit up.

In spite of her impatience, Rita grinned at Chris. His hair was sticking up in cowlicks, his blue eyes were bleary from sleep, and he was still the best-looking man Rita had ever seen. She came over and hugged him, "I love you so much."

" I love you," he smiled, his irritation forgotten. " Suppose you come back to bed and I'll show you just how much"he proposed.

"No no-no-no," Rita laughed, slipping from his arms. "Work, remember?" She skipped into the shower, leaving him to shake his head.

But by one o' clock, they were meeting the " courier" from the chemical company. In reality, they were meeting Shelbys husband, and they passed on their progress on the case so far. Richard was suitably impressed by all they had accomplished, and felt as though the arrests could occur within a week. He passed on a message from Captain Lipschitz, saying they should call him at their earliest convenience.

Rich laughed, " He said he'd be happy to keep up with the concerned father routine."

Chris shook his head, " Routine? I' d say he' s got it down pat!"

Rita made the call from their cell phone as they sped towards Beaver Creek, " Hey, Dad, it' s your daughter, Lisa."

Harry' s voice boomed into her ear, " Hi, Lisa! How are you liking Vail?"

Rita rolled her eyes, " We're loving it, especially since we' ve picked up a new business contact."

Cap caught her meaning instantly, " And Michael thinks this is a good prospect?"

"The best," Rita answered. "In fact, we may tell you about it in person within a week or so. You and mom feel like company?"

You know you' re welcome anytime, and I suppose you can bring that husband of yours, too," he added grudgingly.

"Now, Daddy, you know we' re a matched set: where he goes, I go," Rita reproved.

Chris grabbed the phone from her hand," Remember, Pop, you have to be nice to the father of your future grandchildren."

Harry snorted, " Grandchildren! I' ll be believe that when I see it."

Chris smirked, " Oh, believe it. We' re working on it night and day. See ya!"and he punched the end button.

Rita was shaking with laughter, " Chris, he' s gonna have heart failure!"

"Only if you come back to Palm Beach pregnant," he teased.

Rita sobered and blushed, " Well, actually, that' s-uh-something we should talk about."

"You're pregnant?" Chris grinned, as he pulled into the parking lot of the ski lodge.

"No, um-but we haven' t been very careful the last few days, and ..." she let the thought dangle.

"He put his hand over hers, and held it tightly, " Don' t worry, I' ll buy some today," he whispered in her ear."Okay?"

"Okay," she said, relieved. " I just hadn' t planned for this to happen, and I haven't since Eric. Well, you know. I didn' t have any reason for birth control. Sorry."

He pulled her into a tight embrace, " I' m the one who' s sorry. I should have thought but I didn' t."

She smiled against his lips, " We were thinking of other things, weren' t we?"

He laughed, " You are TOO adorable! I love you,"he added tenderly, kissing her.

I love you so much," she breathed, returning the kiss.

Jack rapped on the window of the SUV, " Hey, there are kids present. You two want to get a room?" he called.

The two laughingly broke their embrace, and joined their " friends." Once again, Eric and Jillian were close behind, watching them. Today, Eric was disturbed by Rita' s behavior towards Chris. He groaned as Rita playfully grabbed Chris' butt on the way to the ski lift, and Chris retaliated by washing her face in the snow.

Jillian smirked at Eric and said, "See, it' s not so much fun seeing your lover with another man, is it?"

"Shut up!" Eric said angrily. " It' s only temporary. Before too long, I' ll make her forget she ever knew Lorenzo."

"You keep saying that, but you haven' t let me in on how we' re going to accomplish that little task," Jillian said haughtily.

" All in good time," Eric growled.

Chris and Rita had a surprisingly good time that afternoon, even knowing what was to become of their new "friends." As long as they pretended to be the Bennetts, they knew that their cover was relatively safe. They skied and laughed and pushed each other into the snow. That evening, they parted company with the Demmings, and elected to spend a romantic evening alone in their suite.

In truth, they had received a message from Richard, saying that the case was falling into place quickly, and to expect the arrests to come down the day after tomorrow. So, their evening was to be spent going over each detail of the case, and planning their movements until the suspects were in custody.

Rita stripped off her ski gear, and grinned at Chris, " Talk you into a bath before dinner?"

He scooped her into his arms, and whooped with laughter, " So this is what you mean by making it up to me. I like it," he declared.

"So you like it," she yanked his sweater over his head. " So you' re overdressed."

"And I' M a sex maniac?" he kissed her over and over." I had the BEST teacher," she continued to undress him, pulling him into the bathroom.

As they soaked in the steaming water, Rita sighed blissfully, " I m gonna hate going back home."

"Why?" Chris nibbled at her shoulder. "You think I won' t love you anymore?"he teased.

"I will kill you if you stop loving me," she splashed water in his face, then added soberly, "It' s just that things will change."

"No, they won' t," he turned her around to face him. " Being in love is the same, no matter where we are."

" So we go back to Palm Beach, madly, passionately in love, walk into work next Monday morning, and go about our lives. Sure Chris," she smiled dubiously.

" You' re worried that Cap will find out," Chris pulled her closer to him, stroking a breast.

She sighed and put her hand over his, " Yeah, I am. No way we' ll be able to stay partners-you know that."

He considered that for a moment, " Then we don' t have to tell him." And he went back to seducing her.

Rita moaned quietly, and realized dimly that he wasn' t listening to her. " Chris, we need to talk about this," she gasped. " Well, maybe later," she whispered weakly.

They ordered room service for dinner, but it was hardly romantic. There were case files and computer printouts stacked on every flat surface, and Chris was banging away on the laptop on the coffee table. Rita was reviewing the layout of the private dining room, where the arrest was likely to take place. She had a sudden thought.

"Chris, what about Jack and Celia' s kids? Shouldn' t we make arrangements with Children' s Services?" she pondered.

He leaned back on the couch and frowned, considering her suggestion, " Well, they do have a nanny. Maybe she would be their guardian until their families could take them?"

Maybe," her tone was dubious. " I guess I hadn" t really thought how this is going to affect them."

"Rita, Jack and Celia are the bad guys here. It' s bad about the kids, but we' re not responsible for the parents' bad acts," Chris said quietly.

"I know that. It' s just that the innocent victims always seem to pay the highest price," Rita' s expression was sad, introspective.

Chris knew that she was thinking of another innocent victim, a little seven year old girl, orphaned after her alcoholic father shot himself. He got up and pulled her into his lap, "Rita, if I could, I'd erase every lost, lonely moment of your childhood. But I can' t. And we can' t protect those three kids from what their parents do. What we CAN do is try to make this world a safer, more loving place for OUR children."

She smiled at him, tears running down her cheeks, " OUR children, Sam? I thought we decided this afternoon that we were going to wait on that."

"We" ll wait a little while. But someday" he kissed her tenderly, "someday we are going to give our babies every bit of love and security we lacked growing up. I promise you. Okay?"

"Okay," she whispered, then grinned. ' I feel better now."

"I' m glad," Chris hugged her tightly. " So, let' s get back to work!"

Meanwhile, there were other forces at work in the hotel. Eric met with one of his cronies from the DEA, and their conversation was enlightening, to say the least, " I' m telling you man, the arrest is taking place day after tomorrow, probably in the morning. So, you watch your back."

David ground out a cigarette into the snow, and exhaled, " You' d better be right on this, Russell."

Eric looked at him and chuckled sarcastically, " As far as the detectives from Palm Beach know, and in the eyes of the Feds, you' re still a piece of maggot pie. All you gotta do is play along with your drug-dealing friends until the arrests go down. Then, presto, you' re a hero."

"I hope so. Marisa and I would like to be out of this before our kids forget what we look like," David brooded.

"Remember, you' re not a married man with children. You' re a free-spending, boot-licking concierge, with a girlfriend who has expensive tastes," Eric cautioned him. " In another week or so, you can resume your life, far away from here."

"I don' t know-I have a funny feeling about this. So much could go wrong," David said harshly.

Eric slapped his shoulder, and said heartily, "I give you my solemn word-it will be fine."

David warned, " It better be." He walked away, leaving Eric to plot his next move.

Chris and Rita had long finished the required paperwork, and fell into bed together. After making love twice, they murmured to each other sleepily, dream-like talk about a bright future together. It was a precious moment, to be cherished forever.

Hours later, Chris watched Rita sleep in his arms. He thought about all that had happened in the past five years together and especially the changes between them the last few days. He crept from the bed, and went into the living room. Groping for a pen and paper, he wrote down his deepest feelings and thoughts, something for Rita to keep for all time. Christopher didn' t know why it was so important, but he continued to scrawl the words in the dim light. He was satisfied with the resulting love letter. He carefully laid it on the closed laptop. He snitched a rose from one of the fresh bouquets on the table, and laid it on top of the letter. Smiling, Chris went back into the bedroom.

Rita stirred as he got back into bed; " You okay? Missed you," she sighed drowsily.

He snuggled her close, grinning as her hand reached out to his chest, "I'm fine. Love you."

"Love you, too," as she drifted off to sleep, a contented smile curving her lips.

A shadowy form silently opened the door to the suite, and cautiously looked around. The door to the bedroom was closed, and the occupants seemed to be asleep. The figure moved quickly, perusing the papers piled on the table, the beam of a tiny flashlight dispelling the gloom. Satisfied that there was nothing new, the intruder turned to leave. He brushed against something, and cursed under his breath. He picked up the rose and the letter, and a cruel grin curved his face. This would be very helpful, he mused, as he read the contents.

Suddenly, he was startled by a voice in the bedroom. Hastily, he stuffed the letter into a pocket, not realizing there were two sheets that fluttered under the coffee table. He tossed the rose back on the laptop, and quickly exited the room.

And, thus ends Part 4. What surprises await Chris and Rita as they edge closer to solving this case? As for our resident stinkers Jillian and Eric, what part will they play? These answers and more as " Friends, Lovers, and Liars" continues! Keep watching Lisa' s site!



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