Friends, Lovers, and Liars, Part 7

In the last part of our story, Jillian was arrested for the murder of a Federal agent, and Rita found herself jealous over the attention Chris was paying to his ex-lover' s predicament. In addition, Eric was about to turn up the heat on the plot to separate our favorite lovers. Will he succeed? The usual disclaimers apply, and any comments can be addressed to

Rita rolled over and stretched, reveling in the fact that she could sleep in.

Chris snaked an arm around her waist and drew her closer. "You wake?" he yawned.

"Huh-uh," Rita murmured, tucking her head in the curve of his neck.

Chris smiled drowsily, and drifted off to sleep. Maybe an hour later, the phone rang, causing them both to groan.

" Don" t answer it," Rita sighed.

"Fine with me," Chris agreed. But the phone rang on. With a grunt of surrender, Chris reached over Rita to grab the receiver, " Hello?"

Cap' s voice buzzed in his ear, " So are you two ever coming back to Palm Beach, or are you working for the Feds now?"

" Still have work to do here," Chris yawned and sat up.

"So I hear," Harry said dryly. " I never was a fan of Dr. Dupree, but a murderer? I can' t believe it."

"She didn't kill anybody," Chris groused.

Rita, awake too, rolled her eyes and yanked the covers over her head. Chris shook his head in dismay, but he reached out and massaged Rita' s hip. In return, she held his hand in place.

"So, who did it?" Cap was asking.

"Ah, hell I don' t know," Chris was wide-awake now. " She says someone shoved the smokin' gun in her hand.

Rita muttered," She' s covering for that someone."

"Here we go again," Chris sighed.

"Who are you talking to?" Harry demanded.

"Rita," Chris answered.

"What does she think?" their boss was curious.

"She thinks Jillian' s lying," Chris acknowledged.

"Maybe Rita' s right- she has pretty good instincts," Cap reminded him.

"Rita is just in a bad mood because someone interrupted her beauty sleep," Chris laughed.

Harry made a disgusted noise, " I do not like the sound of THAT. You are no longer a married couple, Lorenzo, you get my drift?"

Chris was distracted momentarily by Rita' s butt pressed against his thigh, and when she moved his hand from her hip to her breast" Uh, I know that, Cap," Chris stammered.

Rita laughed silently as Chris plucked at one of her nipples through the silk nightshirt.

Meanwhile, Cap' s voice was bordering on a bellow, " I' m going back to the original question-When are you two gonna get your butts back here?"

Chris took a deep breath, "Well, we need to finish paperwork, interview some witnesses, and see if we can help Jillian. I' d say at least another week.

Rita moved his fingers to her mouth, and started to nibble at them, sponging each fingertip with her tongue. She felt his breath accelerate, and rolled over to face him, smiling seductively.

Harry lost what little grip he had on his temper, " What the hell am I supposed to do without my best team? Huh? I cannot spare you both- I expect one of you or both of you back here in the next few days. You got that?"

"Yeah, I GOT that, Cap. See YA!" Chris punched the off button on the cordless phone, and threw it halfway across the room." Damn it," he cussed.

Rita scowled, " What is it?"

"Cap wants us back in Florida ASAP," Chris groaned.

Rita pressed a kiss into his palm, " Well, like you said, we still have work to do here."

"He wants one of us back in a couple days or there' ll be hell to pay,"he sighed.

Rita raised up on one elbow, and stroked his chest soothingly, " Maybe we" ll get done with our work sooner than we think, and save ourselves from Harry' s wrath. After all, we did just help bust a major drug ring."

"Maybe," Chris was dubious.

"Besides, Christmas is in six days, and I was thinking, wouldn' t this be a great place to spend it?" Rita added.

"Yes, it would be parfait," Chris brightened, remembering a certain diamond engagement ring in the room safe. He slowly unbuttoned her silk nightshirt. " We could," he pressed a kiss on her chin, " play in the snow." Another kiss, on her throat, " Sleep in Christmas morning." He turned his attention to her breasts, " Order room service for breakfast."

Rita arched her back, " Oh, yeah, tell me more," she breathed.

He was at her navel now," Um, open our presents in bed" by the way, what do you want for Christmas?" He lifted his head.\

" Oh, Chris,"she moaned, weaving her fingers in his hair. " I have you, that' s all I want. What do YOU want?" she cupped his face in her hands.

"You, Sammy," he said hoarsely," only you." In a swift motion, he rose over her, and joined their bodies intimately, taking to a place where there was just the two of them, and reckless, sweet release. Their passion washed away the worries of the moment, leaving them sublimely content that cold Colorado morning.

That afternoon, Chris and Rita attended Jillian' s arraignment. Afterwards, they reinterviewed hotel staff and guests, and went over the witness statements. Finally, back to the jail to see if they could get anything more from Jillian.

The doctor was no more forthcoming than she had been previously, pissing Rita off."Look, we' re sick of the fairy tales, Jillian!" Rita slammed a case file on the table."This game-playing is getting us nowhere. You want us to help you, but you won't tell us the truth!"

Jillian looked to Chris for support. " Chris, why don' t you believe me?"she whined.

"Because so far we've found no one to confirm your version of what happened. Can you remember anything else about the man who put the gun in your hand?" His voice was gentle but insistent.

"I' ve told you all I know," she looked at them helplessly." I' m sorry."

And so ended another fruitless round of questioning. That night, Rita picked at her dinner, frustrated.

Chris shook his head, and helped himself to a bite of her steak. " I guess I won' t ask," he smiled.

"She' s lying, Chris, don' t you see?" Rita pushed her plate towards him.

" Sam, we don' t know that," Chris dug into the remains of her meal ravenously. Mouth full, he added, " She' s just scared-wouldn' t you be?"

"Yes, I sure would. Perjury is a felony, too," she replied sarcastically.

"Can we not talk about this anymore?"Chris groaned.

" Fine," Rita snipped.

But her bad mood didn' t last when they got to their suite. The lovers snuggled in front of the fire, then soaked in the Jacuzzi, before falling into bed together.

"I Could get used to this" Rita murmured into his sweaty chest.

"Um hmm," Chris yawned, his arms wrapped around her. " Love you."

"I love you so much," she smiled in the dark.

So the night ended on a happy note. So happy in fact, that Rita was blindsided by the events to come.



Heavily disguised, Eric showed up at the jail to see Jillian, posing as a lawyer. He laughed at her shocked face.

"You' re no lawyer!"she hissed.

He held a hand to her mouth, " Remember, the walls have ears. I am the best friend you've got right now, and don' t you forget it."

"You' re a murderer, and you framed me," she said hoarsely.

" Shut up and listen,"he snapped. " Trust me, I' ll get you out of this. After all, I need you to distract Lorenzo."

"Well, THIS sure as hell isn' t working," Jillian countered." Dear Rita is with him all the time."

"Oh, don' t be so sure," Eric reached into his jacket. " Before my-uh-coworkers in the bureau searched your room, I had to protect your own interests. I found this slid under your door." He handed her an envelope, on hotel stationery.

Jillian whispered in wonder, " It's from Chris." Her hands were shaking as she tore open the letter.

Dear Jillian,

You know, I' m sorry for al the time we spent apart. I ran from my true feelings for you, even when I could see the love in your eyes.You always told me I could never commit to anyone long-term, but I realize as time goes by, I find that' s not true. All those women- they pale in comparison to you, my one true love. I knew for sure when I saw your face in the hospital, after I was shot. You were so right about something else-I was scared. It took time for me to realize that you ARE my life. My feelings stopped being mixed- up the other night. We belong together, forever. Love, Chris


Jillian was sobbing happily," He DOES love me."

Eric tried to hide his disgust at her gullibility. He cleared his throat, and said, " Well, that should help your cause with Lorenzo."

"Not if I' m in jail for life," Jillian said soberly, the enormity of the situation coming back to her.

" I can' t tell you how, but I' ll have you out soon, I swear," Eric promised, as he left.

Meanwhile, Chris was out on assignment, taking Celia' s confession with Richard and another Federal officer. Richard was antsy to get back t o Washington, as his and Shelby' s baby was due in less than a month, and so wanted to get all of her statement as quickly as possible. Celia was cutting a deal, in hopes of keeping her children. She expressly asked that Rita not be present, which suited Detective Lance just fine.

Rita busied herself at the Federal courthouse in Denver, going over the minutiae of paperwork and computer records in the case. It was tedious, but she could use tedious, after the whirlwind of activity the past week, she mused wryly. She got along quite well with the other female agents, and found that they groused about the same things as she did, especially the role of women in law enforcement. They had lunch in a swanky restaurant, something that Rita enjoyed immensely. She had skipped breakfast in favor of a sexy shower with Chris, so she was starving.

After lunch, a call from Chris further buoyed her spirits. It was such a thrill to hear the love in his voice, and the fact that they didn' t need to hide their relationship here. Back in Palm Beach, things would be different, she realized soberly. They couldn' t have the relationship and the partnership both. But she brushed the thought aside. It was a beautiful day, and there would be time enough to worry about that later. Chris and Richard were planning a" boys" night out, and so wouldn' t be back to Vail until late. As much as Rita would miss him, she wouldn't mind the chance to dive into bed early. She was tired, and needed a little extra sleep. The other agents teased her about not adjusting to the high altitudes, but Rita knew the real reason-she and Chris had spent more time making love than sleeping, and she was beginning to pay for it.

The next call on her cellular phone did not make her happy at all. Captain Harry Lipschitz had used some connections, and demanded that Rita be back at work in Palm Beach, day after tomorrow. He was deaf to her protests, and insisted that he needed the help. Cassy was in the hospital with appendicitis, and the detective shortage was desperate. As badly as Rita felt for Cassy, she felt worse for herself. " Cap, use those connections and get Chris to come back, too," Rita said recklessly.

" Lorenzo is still involved in the case, and they cannot spare him. They agreed to let one of you go back, and I asked for you. That should make you feel needed," Cap insisted.

"Well, it doesn' t," Rita snapped. " Cap it's s almost Christmas. I know you' re Jewish, and don' t do Christmas, but Chris,

he' s the only family I have. We always spend Christmas together".

Harry sighed heavily, " Rita, you are needed here. I have put a request in for Chris to come back to Florida as soon as possible. I know important the holiday is to you, but work has to come first. I'm sorry." His tone was unusually kind, but he was going to take no arguments.

Rita hung up, after verifying that there was a flight reservation in her name for ten AM tomorrow.

On the way back to Vail, Rita wondered if she could get Jillian to give her any more information about the shooting. She agreed that Jillian didn' t do it, but she also had a strong feeling she was holding back. In addition, Rita was jealous of the lady doctor, and a little threatened by her re-entrance into their lives. In spite of everything Chris had done and said to reassure her, she was insecure about their new relationship. She turned off the interstate, and headed for the county jail.

Jillian looked surprisingly serene, and regarded Rita with cool superiority." So, what do you want?"

Rita sat down opposite her, " Jillian, I just wanted to visit with you again, to see if you remember anything further. I thought it might be helpful to talk, after you' ve had time to think about things. Chris and I are probably the only ones who believe you, and our time here is limited.

Jillian' s facade cracked," Chris is leaving?"

"I am,"Rita admitted. " Chris will be following in a few days.

"Don' t be too sure of that," Jillian was smug in her relief.

Rita leveled an icy look at her, " Things have changed since you went to Boston, Jillian. Chris and I are together and we' re in love. You know, I never liked you much, but I do have to thank you. Because you moved away, Chris finally realized how he felt about me."

Like I said, Rita, don' t be too sure about that. This was delivered to me today. Read it and tell me who Chris loves,"Jillian said triumphantly.

Rita took the letter, puzzled. As she skimmed over the words, a sick feeling engulfed her. She forced herself to examine the letter more closely. It certainly LOOKED like Chris' handwriting. But a love letter, to Jillian? She dropped the piece of paper on the table, as if burned.

"He loves ME," but Rita' s whisper was uncertain.

Dr. Dupree watched her rival' s reaction, delighted, " Like I said, don' t be too sure of that, Rita. You know how Chris is about women."

Rita recovered somewhat, " I don' t know what this is, but I do know a convicted murderer will never win Chris."

Jillian snapped, " I' m innocent and Chris knows it. He believes in me."

Rita roe to her feet and summoned her courage, not wanting Jillian to know how hurt she was, " One thing' s for sure, Chris' opinion isn' t going to free you. With the evidence the Feds have, and your prints on the gun and your ridiculous story, I don't think I' ll have to worry about competition for Chris' affection," she swept out the door.

In reality, Rita was deeply shaken by her encounter with Dr. Dupree. Chris wasn' t answering his cell phone, and she threw her phone down in disgust. Furiously, she put her energy into packing her belongings. In spite of all her best efforts, some of Jillian' s words hit close to home. Chris had bedded more women than she cared to think about, he hadn' t told her about seeing Jillian in Colorado, his adamant defense of his ex-lover and then there was the letter.

Tears of frustration filled her eyes. He was her best friend, and they shared everything. She had been terrified of losing their friendship, so she' d never told him how much she loved him. But, this week, it seemed all the obstacles to their happiness were removed. All those days and nights together, the mindless passion, the loving words and gestures, were they all a lie? The tender side of her realized she should give Chris a chance to explain, but he wasn' t here. Probably still partying with Richard , or was he at the jail with Jillian? She slammed the door on that thought. " Damn it!" She yelled in frustration. Too many times, the men in her life had let her down, and she was eaten alive by insecurity. Well, no anymore. Squaring her jaw, she finished packing, and fell into bed.

But his scent was on her pillow, and the pain engulfed her. She cried herself to sleep.

Chris came in shortly after midnight, a little unsteady after all the beer he' d consumed. The Feds weren' t such a bad bunch after all, just were better dressed, he laughed to himself in the bathroom. Stripping to his shorts, he brushed his teeth and then headed back into the darkened bedroom. As good a time as he'd had, he was hoping for more fun now. He slid under the covers and wrapped his arms around Rita, and snuggled his face into her shoulder.

To his surprise, she murmured, " No," and squirmed form his embrace.

Stung, Chris rolled over. The he remembered how Rita felt about drinking. The alcohol caught up with him, and he was soon asleep.

Rita was up early, showered and dressed. She made sure she'd gotten everything from the closet, dresser, and bathroom. She tried to be quiet, not wanting to talk to Chris yet. She picked up a bottle of perfume, her favorite. Chris had bought it for her, waving away protests that it was too expensive. As she crossed the room, tears blurred her eyes. The bottle slipped from her fingers, and shattered against the tiles of the fireplace hearth. " Damn," she swore softly, leaning down to pick up the shards of glass.

"You okay?" Chris sat up, rubbing his eyes"

"I' m fine," Rita turned away.

Chris realized she was dressed, and then noticed the pile of luggage in the doorway,"What' s this?"

She carefully put the glass in the wastebasket," I' m going home."

"Because I stayed out with the guys and had a few beers?" he tried to joke.

"Because if I' m not at PBPD tomorrow by eight AM, I don' t have a job," she snapped.

"What?" Chris was confused. " Who says?"

Rita impatiently brushed her eyes with the back of her hand, " Lipschitz says, which you' d have known if you' d bothered to answer your phone yesterday.

"I\' m sorry, the battery was dead," he explained, getting out of bed.' Rita," he grabbed her arm. " Don' t go."

" I have to. Besides, you have to stay here and help Jillian," She added bitterly, recalling yesterday' s visit to the jail.

"Oh, are we back to that again?" Chris groaned. "You know she didn' t kill anyone."

"I don' t know anything anymore," she pushed him away and took a shaky breath. 'This this is a mistake. We should never have crossed the line."

Chris was stunned," WHAT? Rita, no!" Tears welled in his eyes.

"We' re both at fault, really," she continued, not looking at him." We were lonely and needy but it was wrong. The only thing I don' t get is why you told me you loved me, and at the same time, you told Jillian you loved her."

"I never!" Chris was appalled. "I love YOU, only you. I NEVER told Jillian that."

"Sure you did, Chris, why lie about it?" she was trying to keep in control.

That angered Chris, "You think that little of me?"

Rita bit her lip, " I don't think you meant to hurt me. You never do. You know, I used to joke about the string of broken hearts you' d left. But it' s not so funny anymore because I never dreamed you' d break mine."

Chris face was cold and still. Only his eyes betrayed his hurt "Oh, I get it now. You' re pushing me away, just like you push everyone away who gets close to you. I never thought that would include me."

"I trusted you," Rita' s eyes filled with tears. " You were my best friend."

Chris took her by the shoulders, "I still am, Sammy."

"We should have left it that way," Rita let her head drop to his chest.

Chris felt a tiny glimmer of hope as she let him hold her.

The snowy landscape passed by in a blur as Chris drove her to the airport. In spite of her resolve to forget, she hugged the memories of their time together to her soul.

At the gate, Chris grabbed her in a desperate embrace, " I love you, Sammy. We' ll work it out, I swear to you. I' ll be home as soon as I can."

Rita was openly sobbing, "I Love you, Chris Bye."

As she boarded the plane, she added silently, " I' ll love you forever."

And that' s Part 7! Now, you just know that there' s more trouble ahead for Chris and Rita. And what of Eric and Jillian? Something must be done about them, and soon! For more on this, stay tuned for part 8.......................


Hey People...Can you believe how she just leaves us all hanging right here!!!! She told me she thinks she's gonna get killed for this,and I told her she just might...and I would be leading the pack...but after giving it some serious thought,I think we should let her live....afterall ,we really do need her to finish this story for us now,don't we? LOL....So,if your as impatient as I am,please send lots and lots of email to Lorry and tell her you want her to hurry! LOL!!! I can't stand this! Rita thinking Chris doesn't love her???? Of all the things...I might kill them off,but even I would never do that! LOL!!!

Hello Lorry!!! < grinning and whistling very innocently....>


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