Meant To Be

By tuna.dc

Chris kicked back on the sofa and zoned out in front of the television. The remote lay on his stomach, his right hand gently lying on top of it. This was one of those dream days. A Saturday with no job related work to do and nothing that needed his attention around the house, aside from his wife. He smiled devilishly to himself at the thought.

He was set for this afternoon. He surfed through the sports channels and decided upon a basketball game between Indiana and Michigan State. It wasn't the same Michigan he loved, but it was being promoted as a Big Ten classic game of the season. The game was about three minutes in and he settled comfortably against the pillows. He wore some yellow Michigan shorts, a navy Michigan T-shirt and of course atop his head was his beloved Wolverine hat, the traditional ball cap with the famous gold M emblazoned on top. His feet were bare and the front door was open allowing a pleasant warm breeze to drift in.

Behind him on the table was a can of Pepsi, a glass filled with ice and a giant sized bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos. It was a man's day!

The phone started to ring. From one of the bedrooms he heard Rita call out, "Chris, can you get that please?"

He sat up just a smidgen and saw the phone dangling on the table, down by his feet. He lifted his right foot and kicked at the phone causing it to fall onto the sofa, near his knees. Instead of reaching down and picking it up with his hand, he used his feet to guide the phone up further along his body, until he could grab it with his hand. His eyes remained fixated on the TV watching the game. All the while, the phone continued to ring. It was the embodiment of laziness, brought to new heights.

"Chris!" Rita called again, this time more impatiently.

"I got it, I got it," he yelled back as he worked it up within his reach. "Yeah, Lorenzo," he said into the handset. "Hey D, what's up?"

"Is that Diana?" Rita shouted.

"Hang on D. Yeah Rita, it's for you," he shouted down the hall. "So, how's that little guy of yours doing? That's terrific. I know, we need to go to lunch one of these days. Yep, just you and me, I promise. For two hours or so, we'll just ditch our spouses! Yeah, ok, well, here's Rita," Chris said, handing the phone to his wife who had come walking into the living room.

"Thank you Sam," she said to Chris. He gave her a grin and turned his attention back to the game.

"Hey D, I'm all set, can you still make it? Hang on Diana. Chris can you turn the sound down just for a minute?" She looked over at her husband. He grudgingly took the remote and brought the sound down. Rita went back to her phone conversation. "Great, how 'bout if I pick you up in like half an hour? Terrific, I'll see you then. Bye." Rita hung up the phone and tossed it back at Chris. It landed on his stomach. The thump of the landing surprised him and he winced a little from the shock.

"Ouch, that hurt."

"I think you'll get over it," Rita said with a smile, she reached down and planted a loving kiss on his forehead. "Looks like you're set for Armageddon," she commented as she noticed the Pepsi and the oversized bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos. "That stuff will rot your insides."

"I've decided it's a man's afternoon," he said reaching back and finding the bag of chips. "You two still going to a flic?"

"Yes, we are. Tre is all set to watch Joey, so Diana and I are going to take advantage of it. We haven't been out together in months I think. I guess that's what having a child does to people. Different priorities."

"I wouldn't mind those kind of priorities. Just think of all the joy you get from kids," he said rather poetically. "And a child that comes from you would be so special," he gave his wife a quick once over, followed by a warm and caring smile.

"Well, it would take both of us to create something that special," she smiled back at him. They'd both hinted from time to time about having a child of their own, but they still hadn't seriously discussed it. Their time together now was special to each of them. When they hinted at it, they both would let it drift off, to think of at a later time. The moment, for now, was gone again.

"I suppose you're gonna see one of those 'Sleepless in Seattle' type things?" Chris said, his eyes never leaving the TV.

"Maybe, I don't know yet. Have you seen this morning's paper?"

"I think it's in the bathroom."

"That's disgusting," Rita said, shaking her head.

"Sam, every male in America reads the Saturday morning paper in the bathroom. It's one of the facts of life."

"Is this yet another Chrisism?"

Chris let out a 'ha.' "Yeah, I guess it is."

Rita walked down the hall and into the bathroom. She came back carrying the paper. She sat down in the chair just to the right of the sofa and began to scan for the movies. "Here they are," she said, ripping the listings from the paper. "Are you going to just sit there all afternoon and watch TV?"

He didn't answer her.


"What, huh?" he said, taking his eyes off the TV. The game was in a timeout now and a commercial blared in the background.

"I asked if you were planning on doing anything today?"

"Besides what I'm doing now?" He saw that answering her question with another question didn't amuse her. "I wasn't planning on it. It is Saturday, you're going out, and college basketball is on. You know March Madness is coming up." He stopped watching for a minute and asked, "Why, do you have something in mind?"

"How about going out for dinner? We could drive down to Lauderdale maybe?"

Chris scratched his head. "Sure," he said with a smile, "absolutely, we can do that. Great idea Sammy."

"I'll see you in a couple of hours then, alright?" Rita rose from the chair.

"Ok, take care." Chris called out to her and settled back to watch the game.

"Do you have time to stop for a cup of coffee, Diana?" The two of them walked out of the movie theater and headed for Rita's car.

"You bet I do," she laughed. "I didn't give a specific time that I'd be back, poor guy!" Diana added, referring to Tre.

Rita laughed. "So how is motherhood, year one?"

"The terrible two's are all they're said to be! Joey is into everything and then some. But he's such a good little guy. And Tre is wonderful with him. I think Fatherhood has done him wonders."

"I think marriage has done him wonders!" Rita said. "And you've done wonders with him."

"Maybe, that's a nice thought. I suppose it's a combination though. Everything that happened to us was so fast. I'm not sure that that's the best thing though. We never had any times to ourselves, like you and Chris are having."

"Whatever works right?"

"Right. And just how is marriage, year one?" Diana asked, tapping Rita on her shoulder to emphasize the question.


"Is it everything you hoped for?"

"All that and more. I think we've learned so much about each other, it's really amazing, especially after being friends and partners for so long, I thought I knew everything about him, but there's so much more, and then to see him grow and change. I'm sure I'm doing it too. It's just plain old great! What can I say?"

"Marital bliss huh?"

"Probably not bliss, but you know, I don't even seem to remember the bad stuff. Maybe that's a secret to a long marriage huh?" They arrived at the car and Rita opened up the door for Diana.

"Forgiveness is, that's for sure."

"You do a lot of that?" Rita questioned her. It sounded as if that was a big part of Diana's life.

"It's both ways, Rita. Like I said, everything happened to Tre and I really fast. We don't always have the time to learn from something, especially when it comes to Joey. He's this whole other little life that depends on the two of us. Sometimes that can be overwhelming."

Rita studied Diana carefully. "You sound a little regretful."

A huge smile broke out on Diana's face. "Not at all. This is the happiest I've been in my life. And I don't have the time to be regretful!" Diana laughed. "I love Tre and I love Joey. To me that's everything, you know."

Rita nodded and smiled as they drove over to the coffeehouse. "I know exactly what you mean!"

Rita and Diana found a trendy coffee shop about a half a mile away from the movie theater. Rita parked the car and the two of them walked over to the shop, ordered their coffee and sat down in one of the outside tables. That way they could watch the traffic and people go by, while enjoying the late winter sun.

"I think Chris is getting ready to have a baby," Rita began.

"I hope he knows that he can't do that alone," Diana's eyes lit up and she smiled brightly. Rita laughed at her comment. "Have you two been discussing it?"

"Not really, but every so often he mentions something about having a child. It's kind of funny, he gets all dopey-eyed on me and says the sweetest things. It's actually cute."

"Oh, girl, you are in so much trouble. He does have it bad," Diana said before pausing and continuing. "Maybe you ought to discuss it a little further and find out for sure. You kinda sound like you want to have one too." Diana stopped for a moment and then asked, "Are you ready to be a Mom?"

Rita was sipping her coffee, but she set down her cup and gave Diana a smile. "I think so. And I'm not getting any younger."

Diana laughed. "You better do more than think, you need to be absolutely sure about this. It's gonna mean a lot of changes. Whew, girl, you don't even know the half of it. You know, your job, your free time, money, your relationships with other people and your life with Chris. It's a complete 180 from where you are now."

"Ok, ok, stop, you're starting to scare me now. Are you trying to talk me out of this or what?"

"No, I'm not, I think it's wonderful, it's great! You and Chris are going to be great parents. There's no doubt in my mind. But you gotta know that it not only changes your life for the better, it just plain old changes your life. And you guys need to be sure you're 100% ready."

"Can you imagine me a Mom?" Rita shook her head in disbelief.

"Totally!" Diana said with enthusiasm. "You're not doubting that you can do it are you?"

"Maybe a little," Rita looked down. "You know Sue Lance was a great example, but there's still that little part of me that didn't have my very own Mom. And then the whole thing with my Dad. Plus Chris didn't exactly have model parents either. It will be like working the high wire without a net. It's a little scary. How will I know if I'm doing the right thing or not?"

"How do any of us know Rita?" Diana asked with a shrug of her shoulders and then answered her own question, "We just do it, that's all."

They continued to talk about everything and anything and just as they were finishing up their coffee and getting ready to leave, they both turned suddenly and looked toward the street. Two cars had collided, and the screeching sound of metal and squealing tires had anyone within the area turning to look and see what was happening.

Both women instantly pulled out their cell phones and started to dial up 911, asking for police, fire, paramedics and an ambulance to the corner of State Street and Florida Avenue. After the calls, they both headed out to the crashed cars to see if they could offer any help.

"I'll check this one," Diana said, stopping at the first car they came too.

Rita nodded and headed over to the other. When a man attempted to get in her way, she pulled out her badge and told him she was a police officer. He gave way. She went over to the drivers' side and saw a man of about 40. He was conscious, but he already looked like he was in shock. Rita began to talk to him with a soothing voice. "You're gonna be just fine sir, help is on the way, can you tell me your name?"

"Uh, it's Charles Rohner, but everyone calls me Chuck," he said, looking her.

"Hi, Chuck, my name is Rita, I'm a police officer, I'm off duty right now, but I saw the tail end of the accident. Right now, I just want to help you."

"How, uh, um, are there people in the other car? Are they hurt? I hope I didn't hurt anyone."

"I don't know that yet Chuck, there's someone over there who's helping out though, you just hold on. I hear the sirens coming already. We'll get you out of there in no time."

Two street officers came up to Rita and asked what had happened. They both recognized her as Lieutenant Lorenzo, and they immediately gave her their undivided attention. She leaned in and told Chuck to relax. Then she stepped away from the car and talked to the officers.

"Relax guys, I'm off-duty, I'm not here to scrutinize how you're going to handle this. I'm sure you'll do just fine." They she turned her attention to the accident victims. "This guy is Chuck Rohner, I haven't moved him, we'll just wait for the paramedics to do that, in case of a neck injury. Diana Thomas from the Coroner's Office is checking on the other car. Maybe one of you can find out what's going on over there."

"Yes, ma'am, Lieutenant," one of the officers responded and trotted over to the other vehicle.

The officer that stayed with Rita began to write down names and other facts that would be pertinent to his report. "Lieutenant, may I ask if you witnessed the accident?"

"Only the tail end, I heard the noise and the collision. Diana and I were sitting over at CuppaJoe's having some coffee. I didn't notice it till it was pretty much done. My instinct from the way the cars crashed and seeing how they ended up seems to point to Mr. Rohner being at fault," she concluded.

"And what makes you say that Lieutenant?"

"The tire marks that you're standing on and the impact. Look at the front of the cars," she noted.

The officer continued to make notes. The other officer came back over to them and began to talk. "There are two victims in the other car. It doesn't look to be too serious, they're both wearing seatbelts and the airbags deployed. Probably some minor cuts and bruises. I think everyone's pretty lucky. The two ladies say the guy came into their lane. They couldn't avoid him." Fire and Rescue personnel began to flood the area.

Rita smiled at the officers. "Good job guys, I'll leave it in your capable hands. Call me if you need anything else from me."

"Thanks Lieutenant, we appreciate all your help and input into the situation."

"Your welcome, see you guys later."

Rita walked over to Diana and together they headed over to Rita's parked car. "We can't even escape this on our day off," Diana commented.

"Tell me about it, what an afternoon huh?"

"Having kids is a lot like this, total chaos!" Diana replied, referring to their earlier conversation.

"Are you trying to talk me into this parenthood thing or what?" Both ladies headed off to the car.

Rita arrived home from the afternoon outing with Diana. She walked into the quiet living room and didn't see Chris. She could hear the sound of running water coming from the bathroom. She walked toward the sound.

Stopping in the doorway, she saw that Chris was getting ready to shave. He apparently hadn't heard her or noticed that she had come home. He hummed a little unfamiliar tune and smiled at himself in the mirror as he ran the palm of his hand over his stubby whiskers. "You are one handsome goob, Lorenzo," he said to his reflection.

She covered her mouth to hold in a giggle. Chris must have heard her anyway because he glanced into the corner of the mirror and noticed her. He gave her a patented Lorenzo grin. She smiled into the mirror and walked in towards him. He still wore his yellow shorts, but his shirt was off, and he had a towel slung over his left shoulder.

"Sneaking up on me, huh Sam?" he said, staring at her from the mirror. She came into the room and stood just off to the right side of him.

"I just got home and no I wasn't sneaking. I heard the water running," she replied, grabbing the razor he used off the bathroom counter. She had a devilish look on her face. "Besides, I can't resist a handsome goob now can I?"

"Well," he cleared his throat and tried to contain his composure, "The game I was watching ended, so I thought I'd get cleaned up for this big night you're planning."

"My plans are changing as we speak."

"Ah, does this mean I don't need to get cleaned up?" His grin began to match hers.

"Not exactly," she said, running a finger over the stubble on his cheek. "What I'm thinking now is that you need some help in getting cleaned up," she raised her eyebrow suspiciously. She leisurely pulled the towel off of his left shoulder that sent a deliberate chill up and down his spine. Her right hand still held the razor.

Chris didn't move a muscle. The grin from his face disappeared and was replaced by an intense look of passion. He watched her move behind him by continuing to focus on her in the mirror that was in front of him. In ten seconds she had gone from playful to downright seductive. He felt his heart actually skip a beat in anticipation.

Rita set the razor back down on the counter out of Chris' reach. He didn't think he could grab it anyway. He was paralyzed with the wonder of the unknown. She walked back to the other side of him. Their eye contact in the mirror remained locked. Rita started to walk out of Chris' view and he turned his head longingly to see her. She noticed his movement right away and came back toward him. Using her hand she turned his face back facing the mirror. "No peaking," she said. His lips curved upward slightly and his eyes narrowed. What in the world did she have in mind for him?

Before he could think. Her fingernails lightly skimmed along his whiskers. He thought he had died and gone to heaven. His mouth opened slightly and he took in a precautionary gasp of air. He checked his image in the mirror and saw a man who was about to enter paradise. Either that or he had become the actor in one of those shaving cream commercials. Rita was totally hot. No wonder those actors had those smiles on their faces. His mind was going in every direction possible. Like the rest of his body, his mind had lost control. Rita was in charge. And all it took was a simple touch and her standing next to him.

Chris had tried to nip and devour her fingers as she roamed close to his mouth, but she avoided his minor plea and kept up her own routine. After a few minutes of running her fingernails and tips across his sensitive skin, she removed her hand and reached down to the faucet and directed the water to its hottest setting. Steam began to fill the sink bowl and it filtered up onto Chris chest. Tiny beads of moisture began to form on his skin.

"It's getting hot in here, isn't it?" she asked him, as she slowly undid the buttons on the blouse she was wearing. She pushed open her blouse. Chris began to stare at the exposed parts of her breasts. If only he dared to reach out and touch her. Something prevented him from doing so, it was the game she was inventing that had him so intrigued.

"That's an understatement," Chris replied, his voice cracking. He drank in as much of her face and body as he could see from looking in the mirror.

Rita grinned, knowing her plan, which wasn't even completely formed in her own mind, was working just fine.

She picked up the razor and ran it under the hot water. Chris focused his eyes downward and watched the razor as the near boiling water raced over it. Rita stood so close to him that if he moved an inch, the skin from his stomach would collide with her arm. He ached for that to happen, but Rita was carefully clever in avoiding that.

"Let's see if I remember how to do this exactly," she said in a low voice. She lifted up the razor out of the water and went to put it along side Chris' left cheek. He felt the slight burn of the metal blade on his skin, but quickly Rita pulled it away. "Hmm, I'm forgetting something aren't I?" she asked.

Chris was too enamored by what was happening to even think, let alone to answer her simple question. His heart pounded, his arousal grew, blood boiled throughout his body. His right hand even grasped the side of the sink to hold on.

Rita knew he was gone and she loved every minute of it. She saw the Edge shaving gel on the right side of the counter. From his left side, she leaned across him, this time skimming his stomach with the palm of her hand. He immediately tightened his stomach muscles and let out a longful moan. His skin was damp and hot.

"Is this what you want me to use?" she said, pulling her arm, hand and the can of Edge back along the same route. The coolness of the can teamed with the sweaty part of his stomach. Chris closed his eyes and opened his mouth in agonizing ecstasy.

Rita popped the top off the can and let it hit the floor. She sprayed a little in her left hand. "It's not foamy, hmmm? Isn't it supposed to be foamy?" she kept up her teasing, "How can I make this work?" She stuck one of her fingers into the gel and began to circle it around. "Ah, heat and touch activated," she said, smiling that devil of a grin she had to him in the mirror. "This is a perfect product, I would say, wouldn't you?"

Chris managed to nod his head.

Taking some of the gel into her hand, she came around to the front of him and sat up on the counter of the sink. She settled her two thighs around his left leg, squeezing gently. She felt Chris push his body towards her in this area. He'd give anything to dive onto her ruby lips and taste the sweetness that was all her. She knew he wanted that as well, only she wasn't ready to travel down that road with him quite yet. As he inched toward her, she held out her right hand and placed it tenderly on his chest. His heart beat quickly and his intake of air into his lungs was shallow and steady. For now, he stopped his movement to satisfy her needs. He cleared his throat and tried to convince himself that letting her have her fun would be a total turn-on for him as well. She was just so damn gorgeous sitting there, he feared he couldn't play by her rules for very long.

"Now you're getting the hang of this," she said, looking him straight in the eyes. She dipped her right fingers into the gel in her left hand. Slowly she moved her right hand onto his cheek, watching closely as the green gel turned into creamy white foam. This was just about killing him. The soft touch of her fingers, combined with the creamy feeling of the gel turning into foam was leaving him weak-kneed. He closed his eyes for what seemed like an eternity. He feared that if he watched her do this him, he would pass out from the anticipation. His mind whirled out of control. "Don't you want to watch me?" she asked in such an alluring voice, he was about ready to commit himself.

As her sweeping motion moved from his cheeks to his throat, Chris suddenly opened his eyes. It was yet another sensation that he was bombarded with. She really did want to kill him over a shave. "Sammy," he said weakly, while watching himself in the mirror.

"Hmm?" she murmured in return. She was nearly getting off herself on this 'game' she was inventing.

"I think that's enough," Chris managed to stammer out.

Rita looked at his face. The shaving cream was spread nicely over the area on his face that needed shaving. She hadn't caught Chris' entire meaning. He was ready to plunge into her for all he was worth and she still wanted to play. "Next comes the shave then huh?" she said, raising her eyebrows. She quickly let her hands run under the boiling water, removing the unused gel/foam and grabbed the razor once again. The other hand she placed on Chris' chest. It was intensely hot and the water dribbled down from it onto his chest onto and into his shorts. He squirmed under the assault. His flesh was filled with goosebumps.

Rita sensed his urgency and paused for a minute and began to place tiny kisses on his chest, lapping up the moisture that was forming. One of her hands reached down and tenderly caressed him. Chris let out a low moan.

"You're not helping here," he said, out of breath.

She pulled her hand away and stopped kissing him, "then we'll move on with the shave."

Chris let out a tormented smile. "I think you're either going to kill me with anticipation or I'm going to slip while you're shaving me and you'll accidentally cut my throat."

"I wouldn't let either one of those things happen to you," she said, preparing to shave him.

"Damn Sammy, where did you come up with this one?" he asked, his voice wavering an octave higher than normal. He let out an awkward sounding laugh. "You are so hot, this is incredible!"

She gave him that devilish grin of hers again, "I'm making it up as I go along, the only stipulation is to play by my rules."

"Believe me, I'm trying, I am trying," he said, letting out a deep, cleansing breath. He shook his head a little to try to regain some composure.

Her free hand slid up and down from his stomach to his chest and back up and down. She was just about ready to proceed with the shave when he reached out with his left hand and held her roaming hand steady over his chest. "Sammy, if I move, and believe me, if you keep touching me like this I will move, your handsome goob's face is gonna be hamburger."

Rita chuckled and gave his hand a squeeze. "I haven't had to shave you since that time you were in the hospital, but I bet it's like riding a bike, once you do it, you never forget how."

He let out a laugh and put both his hands out to his sides. "I'm all yours woman, just be gentle with me. It's the only face I got!"

Chris decided to watch her in the mirror. She started by brushing long strokes down his right cheek. Just knowing that her tender, soft fingers were guiding the razor over his skin was a total turn on. It was the same razor he'd used forever, but in her hands it felt like pure silk. It was smooth and soft and it was one of the best feelings he'd ever experienced. She was incredibly gentle and sensitive to his every need. For awhile he watched her in the mirror, but soon he found himself watching her eyes and her face. He saw that she was loving every minute of this probably more than he was, though that was hard to believe. After every stroke she shaved clean, she bent forward and soothed the area with a kiss. He could see that she was being extremely careful and cautious. Her intention wasn't at all to hurt him, just to drive him wild. She was succeeding on both accounts. Before long she paused, not sure of which part of his face to do next. He decided it would be all right to join in and little and he raised up his finger to motion to her where to proceed and just how to continue. He mentioned how careful she needed to be around his mouth and right near his Adam's Apple. She listened carefully and followed his instructions. She had no desire to hurt him, she merely wanted to arouse him. He lifted up his chin to give her easy access to the area and when she finished up under his chin, she dove in for a little kiss. He smiled as he watched her in the mirror.

Rita grabbed a nearby washcloth and ran it under the water and brought it up to Chris' face for a final cleansing of the area. She ran both her hands over his freshly shaven skin and was deeply satisfied with the shave she had given him. She wasn't going to hold back any longer and she tenderly guided his smooth cheek toward her own face and lips. Chris wrapped his arms around her and met her lips in an all-encompassing embrace. They stayed locked in the kiss for minutes.

"That feels so good," she said, trailing her fingers over his skin, followed by her lips.

"You're telling me," he said, still out of breath.

Chris started to push off the blouse she wore once and for all. It fell to the floor. When they both broke off from the kiss, Chris said breathlessly, "We need to take a bath. We need to clean up." He helped Rita off the counter, so that she was standing and together they peeled off their remaining clothes. Chris moved toward the tub and turned on the water. "You did come to play now, didn't you?" he asked her as she stood nearby. He held out his hand to take hers.

"Yes," she replied simply, holding out her hand to be taken.

He led her into the steamy bath and they both took a seat. They reached in and began to kiss. Chris let his hands roam over her water slicked skin. Her skin was so creamy white and pale. His wish every time they made love was to touch her everywhere. There wasn't a spot he would miss. Rita inched closer to him all the while. His legs spread to the edges of the tub and she managed to push herself up close to him, so their stomachs were touching. She slid her legs over his hips. Their lips melded together. His chest pressed against her breasts, while the warm bath water glided against the side of the tub and occasionally out onto the floor.

Rita's hands slid over his back. Chris let out a moan of pleasure, causing her mouth to hungrily grope at his. She let out a sigh of her own as his arousal pressed against her. Chris grabbed at her backside and squeezed at it, pulling her closer. Rita felt herself push against his body again and again. She wanted him so badly.

Chris laughed against her lips, "looks like I'm not the only one who gets turned on with a touch." He grabbed at the soap, sitting in the soap dish and he began to lather it up in his hands. Starting at her shoulders, he worked the soapy foam onto her arms and down the sides of her stomach. Following along, he worked down her thighs onto her calves, massaging the area as he went. Rita threw back her head in hungry anticipation. She brought her head back up when his hands began to play upon her breasts. He gave them extra time, circling around them, first one at a time, then both in unison. Her hands reached out as she slid her fingers over his face once again. He looked up and gave her a smile, right before she dove in for another kiss.

As he started to work the soapy concoction down to her intimate area, she found the soap and began to lather up her own hands and she begin to 'clean' him up as well. This all out touch fest wasn't going to last much longer. His hands grabbed her back and pulled her closer. In one movement he filled her and their rhythm begin to cause the water to spill and wave over the sides of the tub. Rita softly sighed with each move they made.

Rita's body tightened, then relaxed around him. He eased in and out and pushed in deeper with every thrust. Chris loved the feeling of stretching her, filling her with everything he had. As they moved together, he fondled her breasts and lapped at them, he wanted her so close, and she gave him just what he wanted.

Her sudden release was a surprise, the sound triggered the climax in Chris as well. It was incredible. She sunk forward a little bit in his arms, close to collapse. He held her snuggly and kissed her head and damp hair. He lay back, leaning against the wall of the bathroom and the side of the tub, but taking her with him as he went. He stroked her head and her back and together the two of them took a rest, while the water in the tub began to calm itself.

"I've got an idea," he said.

"Hmmm, what?" Rita asked, her body and mind still whirling.

"Let's clean up like this all the time," he said with a laugh.

He felt her smile against his chest, as she let her hand roam up and down his wonderful body.

The drive down to Lauderdale was pleasant. They both still floated in a dreamy state from their recent bout of lovemaking. The conversation was light.

They drove through the downtown area and finally both agreed on a place that looked pretty nice from the outside. As they walked inside, Rita noticed that a poster outside the eatery was advertising dancing every Saturday night to a live jazz combo. She pointed it out to Chris, who acted as if he didn't want to dance. He rolled his eyes. She playfully jabbed him in the ribs and they went inside.

"Do you have room for two more?" Chris asked the host.

"Do you have a reservation, sir?"

"No, I'm sorry, we just drove down from Palm Beach. Is that gonna be a problem?"

The host gave him a warm smile and said, "let me just check." He went off into the restaurant area and came back less than a minute later. Chris and Rita shrugged and waited. "I think we can get you in, could you give us just a few minutes sir?" the host asked.

Chris grinned, "Yeah, sure, no problem, take your time." He turned to Rita and gave her the same grin. "Great choice Sam," this place is great. They both stepped away from the host's station and began to look at the ambience of the restaurant. They could already hear the jazz combo playing. It sounded like a good group. The décor of the restaurant was reminiscent of a prohibition era club. Everything from the wall hangings to the design suggested that time period. Neither Chris nor Rita had ever been to this restaurant before.

"Excuse me sir, your table is ready," the host said, tapping Chris on the shoulder.

"Thank you," Chris said, allowing Rita to first follow the host and then walking behind the two of them.

The place was packed. It must be the place to be, they both thought as they were led to their table. The host gave them menus and told them that their waiter would be along momentarily to take their order.

"Great choice Sammy," Chris said, leaning in and giving his wife a kiss.

"This is pretty nice, isn't it?"

"I may even have to dance with you," Chris kidded.

"I might have to let you," she fired back.

Dinner was splendid. They took their time, ate leisurely and enjoyed being together. "Well, so how was your afternoon, and what movie did the two of you go and see?" Chris asked.

She suddenly remembered that she hadn't even told him about the accident that she and Diana had witnessed yet. "Oh my gosh, I didn't even tell you about what happened."

Chris interest was piqued. "What happened?"

"We witnessed the tail end of a pretty nasty car accident," Rita began. "After the movie we decided to go have a cup of coffee. So we drove over to CuppaJoe's and while we were sitting there, wham, these two cars collided."

"Are you kiddin' me?"

"No, I'm not kidding you!" she mocked teasingly. "We ran over to see if we could help. Luckily there were no majors injuries. Everyone just seemed to be shaken up."

"That's good! And here I thought you guys were just having a relaxing afternoon."

"You should have seen the cars. There was a lot of damage."

"It's a good thing you both were there to help."

Rita let out a little laugh. "You should have seen the two officers that arrived on the scene first. Talk about brown nosers. I'll have to put them both in for a commendation. They followed the letter of the law."

"It's just cuz you were there. You have quite a reputation now," Chris said.

"Me? What exactly do you mean?"

"Sam, in case you haven't noticed it. You are a mover and a shaker as far as the Palm Beach Police Department is concerned. Every female officer wants to be just like you and the guys, well, the guys, they either want to marry you or work with you. But I'm the only one that gets those assignments," he said, followed by a 'ha.'

She leaned in and kissed him for that comment, "my inflated ego thanks you."

"For what? It's the truth. Rita, you have the respect and admiration of everyone I know, hec even some people I don't know. I'm just glad that I am lucky enough to have you as my wife."

"Well that goes both ways. You know you're a terrific cop too."

Chris gave a little shrug, "maybe so, but I'm not so sure that being a 'terrific cop' is what I want to do for the rest of my life." He watched her closely for a reaction.

Rita was intrigued, stunned, surprised and most of all shocked. She didn't make any sound.

Chris spoke again. First he took a deep breath. "It's not like I even know what else I'd like to do. I don't have a clue really. But you know that I've been thinking about this for awhile now. We've kinda talked about it before. It shouldn't be a total surprise."

"No, I know, we've talked about it before. So what brought this on tonight?" she asked, nodding her agreement to his statement.

He laughed, "I saw an ad on TV during the basketball game. It was one of those 800 number things, but it was for taking a test to determine what your interests are in, you know for careers. And no, I didn't call to order one. It just got me to thinking is all."

Rita listened carefully and continued to be supportive. "You know they have those down at the Job Development Center. Maybe you should take one, just to see what the results might be." He shrugged off her suggestion. "I'm serious Chris, it wouldn't hurt to see what it comes up with right?"

"I always wanted to be a cop."

"People change," she nearly sang.

"Who else is gonna hire someone with a degree in criminology?"

"There's only one way to find out. Besides, just because you majored in criminology doesn't mean you can't have a career change."

"Take the test," he said mocking her.

She nodded, "yep, take the test."

"Aren't I too old for a career change?"

Rita gave him the patented look. "Chris, maybe it will tell you that your career should be in law enforcement. Maybe you just need to get out of homicide. You know there are other things to do for Palm Beach PD."

"You're still in homicide."

"You know, you're not making this any easier. Here I thought you were trying to convince me, but you're trying to convince yourself, aren't you?"

He grinned at her, "Let's dance," he said, grabbing her hand and leading her over to the dance floor area.

"Chris?" she said, stopping him for a moment.

Her sudden movement caused him to jerk, he turned around, "I'll take it, ok? Now can we dance?"

They sashayed around the dance floor, not speaking, but holding onto each other tightly. They both had some heavy thoughts on their minds. Chris wondered if telling her about making a career change was a good idea, while Rita wondered if she should tell Chris what else she and Diana had been talking about.

They clung to each other a little more closely.

Someone however, came up and tapped on Chris' shoulder. Chris stopped leading Rita and pulled back. He gave the gentleman tapping his shoulder a puzzled look.

"May I cut in sir?" the stranger asked.

"No, I don't think so," Chris said abruptly. The over-protective, 'this gal is mine and only mine,' Lorenzo kicked in.

"Chris?" Rita said in a gentler tone. Now he looked at her in a puzzled tone. She was about to say something when the strange man spoke again.

"I don't mean to seem forward, Mister, ah," the man said.

Chris was getting angry. "Look, I don't know who you are, but I'd appreciate it if you would leave my wife and I alone."

"Chris," Rita tried to bring some peace to this awkward situation.

"No, it's ok Sam, this guy was just leaving," Chris took Rita back into his arms and started to dance. Rita stopped him. "Sam, what the," he said.

"Chris, this is Chuck Rohner, he was involved in the car accident I witnessed this afternoon," she finally explained.

Chris dropped his hands from around Rita and nodded his understanding. Every so often now the overbearing Christopher Lorenzo showed his face. Now he felt a little bit like a first class fool.

"I'm sorry, I don't remember your name, but I thought I recognized you. I didn't mean to interrupt your evening. I just wanted to say thanks again," Chuck said, as he started to turn and walk away from the two of them.

Chris reached out and grabbed him, "Listen, I'm sorry. I'm Chris Lorenzo and this is my wife Rita. I didn't know."

"It's ok, I understand, you have a beautiful wife. And she's very kind too. Like I said, I just wanted to say thanks."

"How are you feeling Mr. Rohner? Did you get yourself checked out by a doctor?" Rita asked.

"Please, call me Chuck. And yeah, I went to the hospital and they gave me the all clear sign."

Chris realized that Chuck was no threat, so he excused himself to their table and allowed Chuck to dance with Rita.

"Your husband is a nice man," Chuck started.

"And very protective, sorry for the misunderstanding," she replied.

"No need, I can imagine I looked like some kind of playboy or something worse. I don't know what I was thinking."

Rita smiled warmly. "What a coincidence to see you down here in Fort Lauderdale."

"You sound like a cop now," Chuck laughed.

"It goes with the territory," she shrugged her head from side to side.

"This is one of my restaurants," Chuck explained.

"Really, hmm, that's very interesting. And let me just say, the food is exquisite."

Chuck smiled in return, "I'm glad that you enjoyed it. Is this your first time in here?"

"Yeah, yeah it is, but I'm sure we'll be back. This is a great place."

"I own Le Jardin down in Palm Beach too, have you been there?"

"A couple of years ago, I'm afraid I don't get out to such fancy places as much as I'd like to. But the reputation is outstanding."

The song ended and the band announced they would be taking a short break. Chuck walked off the dance floor area with Rita. She headed back over to the table that Chris was sitting at.

"Mr. Lorenzo, again, I'm sorry for the awkward approach out there. I really did just want to thank your wife for her assistance this afternoon. She was very kind."

"Hey, it's ok, all my fault. I'm afraid I jumped to conclusions, I apologize and please, call me Chris."

"I understand you've enjoyed the food this evening?"

"Yeah, it's very good, I like the whole place as a matter of fact," Chris replied.

"This is Chuck's restaurant, Chris," Rita spoke up.

Chris looked at Rita and nodded. "This is a great place Chuck, really nice."

"I'll tell you what, the dinner, it's on me, my treat alright? It's the least I can do," Chuck said.

"Oh, no, Chuck, please you don't have to do that," Rita butted in.

"Nope, I insist. My way of saying thanks alright?"

"Thank you very much Chuck, that's very thoughtful of you," Rita said.

"Yeah, thanks Chuck."

"Listen, enjoy yourselves, dance a little, have some more wine, listen to the music, please," he said, giving them a wave goodbye

"That was very sweet, don't you think?" Rita asked Chris.

"Yeah, it's really a small world. I'm really sorry, I should have let you explain."

She smiled, "Someday, I suppose you'll learn that lesson. And I'm not mad, seeing him here took me completely by surprise as well."

"Good, thanks for understanding," he said grabbing her hand, he held it tightly. They sat quietly, listening to the music.

"Chris, there's something else we should start talking about," Rita broke the silence between them.

"A baby!" Chris said again for the zillionth time. They walked outside the restaurant and got into the Jeep. "You want us to have a baby!" They had just spent nearly a half-hour inside the restaurant discussing it and here Chris was still acting giddy.

Rita gave him the look and shook her head. "I think we should discuss it. You know all the pro's and con's."

"But you want to have one right?"

"At some point, but maybe now isn't the right time, Chris. How do you feel about it?"

"Excited, surprised, nervous, kinda like a kid myself."

"I didn't say I was pregnant, nothing is going to happen yet!"

"I know, I know," he let out a deep breath and a nervous laugh. "And we have both mentioned it a little bit every now and again. But this is pretty serious huh? I mean we're actually discussing it. It's so incredible, a baby! Just thinking about us being parents is amazing. I don't think I could be happier."

She nodded, "Yeah I think this is pretty serious too. I mean, a lot of people don't really give themselves time to think about it. It just happens, you know?"

"Like Diana and Tre," Chris said. "They seem pretty happy though."

"They are, but I couldn't help but think that maybe they wish they would have waited a bit. Marriage and a child right from the start has to be hard."

"Well, we've been married for almost a year now. Plus another nine months or so, we'd be way beyond newlyweds," Chris said. "Look at Daniel and Susan, I think they're great parents."

"And Geoff and Connie too, with all their foster kids."

Chris stopped talking and thought deeply for a minute. "You know, they're all gonna be tough acts to follow."

"It's not a contest," Rita chuckled. "There's no plan to follow for being a parent Chris. There are no right and wrong answers to follow. It's this amazing little life that we'll be totally responsible for." They both sat in silence for a few moments. They had gotten into the Jeep and started to drive north, back to Palm Beach.

"Do you think you're ready Sam?" Chris asked.

"Can you ever be truly ready to be a parent?"

"No fair, you gotta answer the question."

"Ok, yeah, I THINK I'm ready. But does that mean that I am ready?" She watched him while he drove. "What about you?"

"Two can play the same game, I THINK I'm ready too."

"This isn't getting us very far," she giggled.

"Maybe there's some sort of test we can take for this, you know, to determine if we're ready to be parents. You know, like 1-800-PARENT."

"According to Diana, you do what you have to do. There's not exactly a lot of time to think. Sometimes you have to make tough decisions about your child and hope you make the right choice."

"Sounds like being a cop," Chris said. "I mean, we do have to make split second decisions right?"

Rita was impressed and she smiled at him. "You're absolutely right. That is what we do." She took a deep breath and said, "so maybe it is time. Maybe we are ready, maybe," she stretched out the be, "maybe we go ahead and take the next step to parenthood."

Chris grinned and took his eyes off the road for a second to show off his grin. When he saw her looking back smiling at him, he decided to pull off the road. "Oh what the hec," he said and he drove onto the shoulder. He leaned over and gave her a powerful kiss, which she returned immediately.

"I take it that you agree," she said pulling back.

"Agree? Agree? I do more than agree, I wanna get started right now! Rita I can't tell you how happy you make me. I love you with everything I have, heart, soul, everything belongs to you!"

"I love you so much, too," she said, diving in for another kiss. "Now, how 'bout driving us home, so we can get started."

The two of them walked together into the station on Monday morning. They both came in on cloud nine. Chris held the door for her as she entered the squad room, both smiling and laughing as they headed for the coffee machine.

"What's got into the two of you?" Tre groused.

"What d'ya mean?" Rita asked.

"Why are you both so unusually happy?" he observed.

"Are we acting unusually happy?" she said with a certain lilt in her voice.

Geoff laughed. "You certainly are for a Monday."

"Maybe there's just lots to be happy about," Chris said.

"This newlywed thing is just not wearing off with you two is it?" Geoff said.

Tre watched them and their mood for a few minutes more and finally turned his attention back to the report he was typing. He had seen enough.

"Tre is anything wrong?" Rita asked.

"Nah, nothing serious. Joey got sick on Saturday and we've been up round the clock with him. Diana's taking him to the doctor today. I'm just beat, that's all."

"If you need to use some personal time Tre, go on home, I understand."

"I'll be alright. I got a lot of paperwork to catch up on."

"And I'm due in court in about a half an hour," Geoff said. "Tre, I'll catch up with you later man, ok?"

"Yep, I'll be here."

"Tre, anything I can do to help? I've got some time," Chris offered.

"Sure," Tre showed the first signs of a smile, "if you'd like to type up some of this, it would be great." He lifted up a stack of files.

"No problem, send it over," Chris said. Rita went into her own office and began doing her own work. Cap hadn't arrived yet.

Chris sat down and checked his phone messages. He reached over and took a stack of files from Tre and opened up his laptop and began to plunk away at the keyboard.

It was nearing 9am when Cap came in. "Lorenzo, get in my office now," he said sharply.

Chris stopped dead in his tracks. He couldn't remember anything he'd said or done to set off Cap. Tre stared at Chris wondering what it could be. Chris shrugged, got up and walked into Cap's office.

"Close the door," Cap said in a huff.

"What's up Cap? Did I say or do something wrong?"

"What? What? No, this is nothing like that."

Chris took a sigh of relief. "So what's going on?"

"How much do you know about computers Lorenzo?" Cap blurted out.

"Ah, um, a little I guess. Rita's more of an expert at it though, should I get her?" Chris started to go for the door.

"No, don't do that," Cap said, holding up his hands. "Wait," he breathed deeply, "I mean like the Internet and email and chatrooms. Do you know how to use them?"

"I've muddled my way around them. Why, do you need to send an email?"

Cap sat down behind his desk and opened up his laptop. "I just need to learn how to use one of these things Lorenzo, that's all." He was being very vague.

"I can help ya with some of the basics I guess. Say, don't you have a computer at home that you can play around with now?"

"Yeah Lorenzo, I do, but I also have a wife that's on the blasted thing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She's driving me crazy with all this dot com stuff. I don't have a clue as to what she's talking about. So, I gotta come here to work and use this one."

Chris laughed. "It can't be that bad Cap, can it?"

Cap picked up the phone and handed it to Chris, "Dial 555-6439 and tell me what you hear."

Chris did as the Captain suggested and listened to a busy tone on the other end. "Uh, it's busy Cap."

"It's busy," Cap repeated. "I have to call the Phone Company from here and have them come out and add a second line, she says. She can't even do that from home, because she's always on-line," Cap said, raising his voice.

"It's probably just a phase Cap, I'm sure it'll run it's course."

"I'm not so sure. She actually enjoys this thing, more than anything I have ever seen. I have got to learn how to use this, so I know what she's talking about. She's in these chat rooms all the time. She talked to someone from Nepal yesterday. I don't even know where the hell Nepal is. Now can you help me or not?" Cap shouted.

"Calm down," Chris shook his head, and put out his hands to quell Cap's voice. "Sure I can help. What exactly do you want to learn?"

"Well how do I get attached to the Internet?"

"Well, basically here at work, we're always connected, because we have a LAN. So when we power you up and see the icon for the net connection, all we have to do is double click it and viola, you're on the net," Chris clicked the mouse and the computer began automatically searching for the PBPD home page. "At home, you guys have a dial up modem. So you hear all the connection beeps and screeches."

Harry nodded his understanding. "That's it?" Cap asked in amazement.

"Yep, that's it."

Cap stared in awe at the computer screen. "Alright, so let's try to get into one of those chat rooms, how does that work?"

Chris looked puzzled, "Cap, I'm not sure we can do that here at the station. I mean this is our workplace."

"Workplace, schmerkplace. Listen, are you gonna help me here or not?"

"I guess if you say it's ok, let's get you in a chat room." Chris shook off the abruptness, "well, first we should set you up with a email account at someplace like yahoo, excite or hotmail."

"Hotmail, what's that? Like a porn site or something?"

Chris laughed, "not exactly. It's a place where you can have free email. Maybe we ought to have you stick with yahoo ok?"

"Sure, whatever you think is best."

Chris navigated the mouse around the screen and typed in and came up with the email registration form. "This is something you need to fill in now. Every blank space, you need to type in the information they are looking for. Do you want to do it, or do you want me to fill it in?"

"Let me try," Cap said, beginning to plunk away at the keys.

"When you get through, just hit the submit button at the bottom of the form and they'll tell you whether you've been accepted or denied."

"How could they possibly deny me?" he asked.

"It's usually based on the code name you pick out. If someone already has it, you'll have to choose something else."

"So I shouldn't use my real name?"

"If you're going into chat rooms, I wouldn't if I were you."

"Hey, hey, how about Captain Marvel?" Harry laughed and felt like he had just come up with a winning lottery ticket.

"I'm sure that one's already taken," Chris said with a grin.

"I'm going to try it, he, he," he said with a laugh.

"If it doesn't, just try adding a few numbers to it, sometimes they'll accept it that way."

"Captain Marvel52, that's my age, I should be able to remember that," Cap submitted his form. "Ha, it's accepted. Ok, so now what?"

"You can go into a yahoo chat room if you want, see where it says chat? Click on that and it will ask you for your name and password, then you're in."

"This is so easy."

"Yep," Chris said matter of factly, "listen Cap, do you need anything else?"

Cap was enthralled with the computer and he didn't take his eyes off of it.


"Yeah, what is it now Lorenzo?"

"Do you need me for anything else?"

"No, nah, go ahead, go on home."

"Uh, it's only 9am Cap," Chris said at the door, "but if you think I deserve the time off I'll take it."

"What? Huh?" Harry looked a bit befuddled as he realized his mistake. "Well, get to work then."

Chris shook his head and exited the office.

Rita met Chris at the roach coach for lunch. "So tell me, what was the close door meeting with Harry all about?"

Chris gazed at his wife's curious look and shook his head. "Sam, you surprise me! Thinking that I would violate the trust of my esteemed supervisor."

Rita let out a little chuckle. "It has to be something personal then, hmmm," Rita continued to prod him.

"I think you're drawing some awfully big conclusions," Chris tried to act nonchalant. Turning to the employee of the roach coach he said, "Let's see, I'll take a ham and Swiss sandwich please, with some chips, a pickle and a bottle of raspberry tea." Turning back to Rita he asked, "What would you like dear?" His tone was dripping with syrup.

"I would like the chicken salad croissant please and a pickle and a bottle of water too. And could you pour some truth serum over his sandwich," she said to the employee. Turning to Chris, she grinned.

"We're out of truth serum today, but you detectives work better than that hocus pocus stuff anyway," he replied trying to keep the humor alive. "That'll be $12.50," he added.

Chris opened his wallet and gave the guy a $20. He came back with the change and their drinks. "We'll call you when your order is ready."

Rita and Chris walked over to the nearby picnic tables and sat down. "It's a scorcher today," Chris said wiping his brow with the cool bottle.

"I don't think it's bad at all," Rita began, "of course I'm not withholding any information either. That always counts for at least ten extra degree's."

"Very funny," he said, "but I'm still not telling you anything."

"Maybe not now, but I know I'll get it out of you soon enough."

Back at work that afternoon, Rita went into her office to work on some reports. As often was the case, one of the other departments had distributed a flyer on a missing girl. Rita picked up the sheet and looked at the face of the girl. According to the data, the girl was 15 and had been reported missing from Miami three days prior. She studied the round face of the girl and felt that lump form in her own heart. This girl looked familiar, but the name didn't ring a bell. After all her years of police work and volunteering at the shelter, these kids faces all started to blur together. She put the sheet into her 'to do' file, continuing to stare at the eyes of the girl. It was always the kids that really got to her.

The following night after work, she met Franny over at the local mall. Franny had called her during the day and asked if she would meet her out there. She wanted her opinion on a new outfit that she wanted to get. Rita happily obliged and she told Chris that he would be on his own for dinner. He tried to give her his puppy dog look, but she wasn't falling for it. He decided he'd stay an extra hour or two at work and try to catch up on some reports.

"Hi doll," Franny called out across the mall entrance. She stood frantically waving. Rita smiled, waved in return and picked up her pace to meet up with Fran. "I really appreciate this dear," Fran continued, "I should have gotten this outfit weeks ago, but I have been so wrapped up lately I just let it slip my mind."

"Hi Fran," Rita managed to get in a hello. "What exactly have you been up to?"

"Didn't Heschy tell you?" she said with a laugh. "It's that computer we got for Christmas. It's absolutely fantastic. It's like another world out there on the Internet."

Rita had to stifle a laugh. "And just what have you been doing on there?"

"I have met so many wonderful people. From all over, you know?"

"Fran, you haven't been camping out in chat rooms have you?" Rita couldn't believe that Fran would fall for that.

"It's not what you think doll, the people are super nice. I was skeptical at first, but I'm not anymore."

"What does Harry say about all this?"

"Heschy? Hmmph," she made a throaty sound. "I don't think he cares anymore at all whether I'm dead or alive."

"That's not true Fran, you know that," Rita said in a scolding tone.

"Do I? I hate to say this, but I think the spark is gone and neither one of us know what to do to ignite it anymore."

"Well, sitting in a chat room isn't going to help," Rita gave her two cents worth.

"Maybe you're right, but lately, Harry and I just don't seem to have the same interests. I hope this never happens to you and Chris."

"Well Fran, just because you don't have the same interests, doesn't mean he doesn't love you. Maybe you could include him in on some of the computer stuff."

Fran sighed, "I have, believe me I have, but every time I show him how to do something, he gets all upset and storms off into the other room. And then he won't talk to me."

"Have you let him use the computer by himself yet? Maybe he'd just like to tackle it one on one. There is a reason they call them personal computers you know?"

"I haven't tried that," she said with a pause, "maybe that's it. Maybe he wants to accomplish using it all by himself. I never thought of it that way."

"And maybe, just maybe, you two could find something that you could share together. I don't know, maybe join a club or something."

"Now I know that will never work. We tried ballroom dancing once. What a disaster! He kept stepping on my feet for the entire 13-week course. No one wanted to be his partner, including me," she laughed remembering the course. "What do you and Chris do for fun?"

Rita thought for a moment and a bright smile came to her face.

"Besides that," Fran caught on right away. "I was a newlywed once too, doll."

Rita wondered if she should mention their weekend's conversation to Fran. It was too exciting to keep a secret for too long. She was quiet for way too long when Fran prodded her again. She needed to tell someone.

"Well, the two of you must do something besides that?"

"We're thinking of having a baby Fran," Rita spilled out quietly, looking around to see if anyone had heard her revelation.

"A baby? That's wonderful. Oh Rita, love, that's just terrific. And I won't say a word, not even to Heschy, I promise. I think you two will be wonderful parents. This is just the best news I've heard in such a long time," Franny kept doting on her.

Rita tried to motion to Fran to keep her voice lower. "Nothing has happened yet Fran, we're just still kind of in the thinking process."

"You wouldn't have told me if you weren't serious," she waved off Rita with her hand, "besides, one look at your face and I know you're way beyond thinking."

Rita titled her head to one side and smiled. "What do you mean?"

"That's exactly what I'm talking about dear. A woman can tell these things. It's not gonna take the two of you very long to become parents, especially since your favorite activity together is..." Fran continued her sentence by rolling her eyes.

Two elderly ladies walked by and looked a bit shocked by what they heard Franny say. "Fran, shh, please," Rita said, pulling Fran along through the mall.

"Well it's true, for heaven sake."

"Maybe, but every citizen in Palm Beach doesn't have to know this. And whatever you do, don't tell Harry, because he's sure to say something to Chris and Chris will kill me."

"Honey, my lips are sealed. Believe me, I can keep a secret."

Meanwhile, back at the station, Chris plunked away at his laptop, typing up some reports. He hadn't even realized that Cap was still in his office doing what appeared to be work. Chris noticed him as he went over to get himself a cup of stale coffee and a left over donut. He poked his head into the office. "Hey Cap, I didn't know you were still here?"

"Huh, what? Yeah, yeah, I'm here."

"Anything I can give you a hand with Cap? I'd be glad to help you out so you can get home."

"I'm not working Lorenzo, I'm, hmm, whatta they call it, surfing?"

Chris let out a 'ha.' "Yeah, that's what they call it Cap. What are you looking up?" Chris plopped down in the chair across from Cap. He bit into the hard donut and nearly spit it out, it was terrible. He leaned over and aimed for the garbage can.

"You're not gonna believe this kid, but I met the most amazing woman in here last night. I didn't go home till midnight. We had a wonderful chat."

"No way, really?"

"Even her name is perfect, she calls herself Princess0501. Is that just perfect or what?"

Chris watched Harry closely. He was serious. "Cap, you know you are a married man? I wouldn't get to hung up on this you know?"

"I'm not hung up on anything Lorenzo. It just was fun to talk to someone who understood me."

"Cap, you realize she's probably some 13-year old, oily faced, teenager who is just yanking your chain."

"In an 50's chat room? What would a kid want to be doing in there?"

Chris shook his head and leaned his head forward into his hands. "Cap, everyone lies on the Internet, especially in those chat rooms, no one is who they say they are."

"I think you're wrong Lorenzo. This lady knew all about stuff. No 13-year old is gonna know that stuff."

"Maybe you're one of the lucky ones Cap," Chris paused, "so are you chatting with her now?"

"She's not on line. But I'm working on an email to her right now. I wanted to send her some virtual flowers."

"Virtual flowers? Are you out of your mind? Have you been on line constantly? How do you know about all that stuff?"

"Well, Franny was right about that, once you start, it's easy to pick things up. You think the flowers are inappropriate?"

Chris watched in shock, surprise and horror to some extent. Cap had been completely and utterly taken in by the Internet in just a few short days. "Cap, you're an adult, you do whatever you want to do."

"Alright, here's a sight. Virtual flowers for every occasion. So what should I send, roses? Or something else, maybe just a big bouquet huh? Ah, now this one is nice, what do you think of this?" Harry asked Chris. "It's not like they're really, they're just a picture."

Chris rose and walked around the desk to glance at the computer screen. "That is nice, but are you sure you want to do this Cap? You really don't seem to me to be an Internet junkie. Today a picture, tomorrow who knows?"

Cap stopped what he was doing. "What exactly do you mean by that?"

"Well, what's Franny going to say, if she finds out you sent virtual flowers to some other woman?"

"How's she ever gonna find out Lorenzo?" Cap asked him pointedly.

Chris cleared his throat. "Not by me, that's for sure. You're on your own on this one, but don't say I didn't warn you." He gave Cap a grin and went back to his own desk to do some work.

"Now that you've told me a secret doll, I've got one to share with you too," Fran began. Rita raised her eyebrows and a smile came to her face.

"This sounds good," Rita replied.

"I told you all about the Internet, right?" Rita nodded. "Well, last night I met the most incredible man on line in a chat room. I swear if I wasn't married to Heschy, I'd scoop this one up in a heartbeat. We must have chatted till almost midnight. It's a good thing Harry had to work late."

"Tell me about him," Rita asked.

"We were in a 50's chat room and we just connected. We talked about everything. I guess he used to live in New York City at one time too, so we reminisced about all the places up there."

As they were sitting there chatting, Chuck Rohner came over and greeted Rita once again. "I guess we're just bound to keep running into each other huh?" he said with a smile and he nodded a hello to Fran.

"Hi Chuck. It sure is turning into a small world isn't it? How are you?" Rita asked.

"I'm doing just fine and yourself?"

"I'm doing great! Ah, this is my friend Fran Lipschitz, Fran this is Chuck Rohner. He owns Le Jardin."

"Pleasure to meet you Ms. Lipschitz," he said making eye contact with her.

"Nice to meet you too. Le Jardin is a wonderful restaurant," she commented.

"Thank you, I'm on my way over there now. I just need to stop by the mall and pick up a few things," he said, holding up a bag, "for my daughter. My wife and I are divorced, so my daughter gets bounced back and forth between us. She lives down in Miami."

"She must like black huh?" Franny asked, seeing the color on the clothing that was inside the bag.

"Typical 15 year old, you know?" Chuck said with a smile, as he oddly moved the bag behind his back. "Well, I was just passing by and spotted you Rita and I thought I'd say hi again."

"It was great to see you too, Chuck. Take care," Rita said with a warm smile.

"Goodbye and nice meeting you too," he said to Fran and then he walked away.

Fran waited to say anything until Chuck was way out of earshot. "How in the world do you know him?"

"He was in a car accident last week. Diana and I just happened to witness it," Rita explained, "why?"

"You don't read the social column in the paper too much do you?" Fran began, "Charles Rohner had one of the nastiest divorces in the country in probably the last 30 years. It's no wonder his daughter wears black. According to police accounts, Charles and his wife continuously beat on each other. Most of the time one or the other was in the hospital convalescing. They finally agreed to divorce and counseling. I think they both were in institutions for some time. I didn't know they had a child, poor thing."

Rita was dazed. "Are you sure he's the same guy? He doesn't seem that way at all."

"I know my Palm Beach society dear, if he's the owner of Le Jardin, he's the one. He's got quite a temper. I guess he goes through chef's like there's no tomorrow."

"Wow, I need to read more huh?" Rita asked. "He's seems like such a nice man."

"They said that about Attila the Hun too and look what he did."

Rita laughed it off. "Well I don't plan on seeing him or anything. I only know him as an acquaintance."

"It's better to stay away from him. You never know when he might snap."

Chris was getting ready to leave for the night and Harry was still plunking away on the computer keyboard.

"Cap, is it okay if I come in a little late tomorrow?"

Harry looked up from what he was typing. "Sure kid, what's up?"

"I just want to take care of a personal matter, but I wanted to clear it with you first," Chris said cryptically.

"Whatever you need Chris, it's fine," Harry rarely called him by his first name. He always called him Chris when he knew something serious was going on. "Anything you want to talk about, I'm all ears for ya!"

"No, everything's fine," Chris answered with a small smile.

"Ok, good, cuz you know I'm always here for you, right?"

"Yeah, I know. Thanks Cap, I shouldn't be too late. I appreciate it," Chris replied. "I'll see ya tomorrow then."

"Yeah, goodnight," Cap answered.

Chris walked into the Job Center bright and early. The receptionist behind the information counter did a double take when she saw him coming toward her. It was the usual effect he had on most women.

"Hi, uh" he started, "I was wondering if I could take one of those career interest tests," he finished asking.

"Sure, we offer that service. Are you registered into our data bank sir?" she asked pleasantly.

"Ah, no, I've never actually been here before. Can I do that today too and still take the test?"

"No problem, just go in through those doors right there and a guide will come and help you get all set. Just tell them what you'd like to do."

"Thank you, thanks very much," he said with the usual grin.

The receptionist melted and made sure she caught the 'behind' view as he went through the doors he was directed to. Too bad he was wearing a wedding ring, but the view still was pleasing to the eyes, she thought.

Chris easily registered into the state of Florida's Job Center. It basically was a service for any citizen to use. All of the state's taxpayers contributed to the funding of these types of centers all around the state. The Center offered job openings, job training seminars, resume writing classes and even the career interest tests. It served a lot of Florida residents.

The guide assisted Chris through the process and set him up at a quiet desk and handed him the test booklet and scorecard. He also provided him with the infamous number two pencil.

"I feel a little bit like I'm in 3rd grade taking the Iowa Basics again," Chris chuckled, referring to the standardized tests that every child in America has to take.

"Yeah it is a little like that isn't it, it's gotta be the pencil," the guide said. "There's no time limit though, and no right or wrong answers on this one. It's all your opinion. What you like and what you don't like."

"Thanks a lot," Chris said as the guide headed off to help another person.

Chris opened up the test booklet and let out a sigh. Quietly he said, "This is gonna be real interesting Lorenzo. Let's find out what I want to be when I grow up."

Rita came walking into the squad room after lunch and Tre called out to her. "Hey Rita, the traffic cop boys are looking to talk to you." He held up a pink memo slip for her to see.

She walked over to his desk to look at the message. "I gave them all the info I could, I wonder what they want."

"There's only one way to find out," Tre said with a smile.

"Yeah, I know, I'll call them."

She proceeded into her office and dialed up their extension. "Officer Denton please," she said into the receiver.

"This is Denton, can I help you."

"Hi there, it's Lieutenant Lorenzo up in Homicide, I got your message, what can I do for you?"

"Thank you for returning my call ma'am. I just wanted to ask you a few more questions about the car accident that you partially witnessed."

"Sure, I'll see what I can remember."

"You said that you didn't see the cars before the collision, is that correct ma'am?"

"Yeah, that's correct."

"And was there anything strange about the victim, Chuck Rohner, when you arrived at his car?"

"Strange? I'm not exactly sure what you mean Officer?"

"Did he say anything inappropriate about the accident?"

"Not unusual, no, he asked if their were any other victims. He wanted to know how they were."

"He never admitted any guilt to you?"

"No, well hmm, wait, he did say he hoped that he hadn't hurt anyone. But he was going into shock, so that's not unusual."

"Alright, thanks Lieutenant."

"Officer Denton, may I ask what you might be looking for?"

"There's a possibility that he might have been trying to kill himself, we're looking into it a little more. From the skid marks we determined that initially he was heading for a light pole, but he swerved at the last second."

"I don't think Mr. Rohner is a suicide threat."

"Well, ma'am, his daughter's been missing for nearly 2 weeks now. That may be affecting his mental state. I sent up a poster on her to you the other day. I guess you didn't tie her into Rohner, since they have different last names. Did you get it?"

Rita fumbled through the papers in her inbox. She remembered the face and pulled it out quickly and looked at the name. Now she realized why the girl looked familiar. She resembled her father. "This says her name is Susan Sterling. Is this the girl?"

"Yes ma'am, she uses her mother's last name apparently. Miss Sterling was supposed to be coming to Palm Beach to spend time with her father. He reported her missing to us and to Miami Police. The family has had a lot of domestic problems before, so we're just checking into some things."

"I wish I could help you more, Officer Denton. Let me think on it ok?"

"Thanks Lieutenant."

Rita hung up the phone and stared at the photo of Susan Sterling. Someone was knocking on her door. She suddenly looked up and saw a grinning Chris waiting to enter. "Come on in," she set down the picture and gave him a warm smile in return. "And where have you been all morning?"

"I had some personal things that I wanted to take care," he said as he took a seat.

She looked at him suspiciously. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"Not really, I just wanted to let you know that I'm back."

"Awfully secretive of you isn't that?"

"Just call me a man of mystery," he joked and quickly changed the subject. "So what's up this afternoon?"

She let the previous topic drop. She knew their first anniversary was coming up on February 13th, so she didn't push it any farther. He was probably out shopping for some type of gift. "I just had a bit of an unusual call from traffic. Remember Chuck Rohner?" Chris nodded. "They think he may have been trying to kill himself. Apparently his daughter has been missing for a few weeks and he's been a little distraught."

"Not distraught enough to work in his restaurant," Chris interjected.

"Exactly! I thought that was a little weird too."

"If my kid was missing, I'd be looking for her."

Rita nodded in agreement. "Me too. I just wish I had seen more of the actual accident. Traffic has determined that the accident was his fault, but they said skid marks indicated that he was heading for the light pole, before swerving back into traffic."

"You don't believe that?"

"No, it's not that."

"Those traffic guys are pretty good you know?"

"I know that. I think they do a great job. I guess I don't see Chuck as a suicide case."

"Since when are you on a first name basis with this guy?" Chris was curious.

"I ran into him the other night at the mall with Franny. He even mentioned his daughter and that he was their to buy her some clothes."

"If she's missing, why would he do that?"

Rita shrugged. "Maybe he is twisted up over it. Maybe he needs some psychological help. Maybe he doesn't want to accept the fact that she's gone."

"So maybe Traffic is right in their assessment?"

She nodded. "I'll call them back and see what I can do."

"And what about me? What would you like me to do this afternoon?"

"As I recall Sergeant Lorenzo, you have some reports to work on. In fact, some of them are over a month overdue now, aren't they?"

"Well, you see, I have this supervisor. She can be a real slave driver, and then sometimes, well, sometimes she's a complete angel and she kinda lets me get away with things."

"You're right, she is a complete angel, but for the next few hours she's gonna become the slave driver. You need to get some of those done and turned into either me or Harry."

"Consider it done!" he said, rising up and flashing her a grin. "Maybe that angel will come home in a good mood tonight?"

"We'll have to see, won't we?"

The end of the workday was upon them. Rita packed up her briefcase and turned off the lights in her office. Chris was still plunking away at the keyboard. "The slave driver is letting you know that it's time to quit for the day and go home."

Chris looked up from the monitor. "I'll be leaving shortly, I just want to finish this one up as long I've already started it. It's fresh in my mind you know?"

Rita nodded, "No problem, I'm gonna stop off at the grocery store and pick up a few things. I'll meet you at home."

"Sounds like a plan."

Rita gave him a kiss on the cheek and then poked her head inside Harry's office and said goodnight to him as well. He too was wrapped up in his computer. "'Night Cap."

Harry looked up, "Oh yeah, that time already huh? Good night Rita."

"Are you and Chris working on the same project? You're both hot and heavy into your computers?" she said jokingly.

"I'm just trying to catch up Rita, this paper work starts to overload you real quick."

"I know! Believe me I know. Well, goodnight," she said giving him a wave.

"Goodnight Rita."

She turned and headed out. "See you at home Sam," she called out to Chris.

Just as soon as she headed out the palm tree doors, Cap came out and asked if Chris could come into his office.

"In a sec Cap, let me just finish this sentence." Chris put the finishing touches on the report and hit the save button, followed by the print button. Then he got up and headed into Cap's office.

Harry was already back behind his desk, his nose buried so close to his computer monitor, that he nearly could breathe in the screen through his nose.

"What's up Cap?"

"Come here, I think she's on line right now," Harry waved Chris over with one finger. "I almost thought Rita was going to find out what I was doing."

"I don't think I want to be a part of this Cap, it's kinda creepy," Chris stood back, afraid to move any closer.

"No it's not, now get over here. You can give me hand for a few minutes."

"Cap, I don't feel right about doing this," he said as he went behind Harry's desk.

"You're doing it for me Lorenzo, that's all ok? Remember all the favors I do for you?"

Chris let out a deep sigh. "You got me on that one Cap," Chris sat on the corner of Harry's desk.

Harry pecked away at the keyboard and finally he was into a chat room.

CaptainMarvel52: Hi Princess, are you out there?
Princess0501: I'm here Captain. How are you tonight?
CaptainMarvel52: I'm fine. And yourself?

Chris read the screen as the words came on and couldn't believe the innocent conversation that was forming. "Cap, I can't take this. Can I just go?"

Cap tore himself away from the computer screen. "You're not going anywhere Lorenzo, till I say you can go. Just sit there and be quiet."

"It's not like she can hear us."

"No, but I can hear you and I want you to be quiet. The only time I want you to say something is when I need to say something romantic."

"You gotta be kidding me Cap, you're married remember? Remember Franny?"

"I know, but this isn't gonna hurt anything or anyone to have a little fun."

Chris shook his head. "Whatever you say Cap. But if Franny finds out, you are dead meat."

Princess0501: I'm wonderful. It's been a lovely day
Princess0501: Are you still here Captain?

"See, you made me wait to long, she thinks I've left now," Cap said.

"Well just type something in."

CaptainMarvel52: Yes, I'm still here

"Good comeback," Chris said sarcastically.

Cap gave him a stare.

CaptainMarvel52: I'm glad you had a nice day
Princess0501: Well, the weather here is beautiful
CaptainMarvel52: Where do you live?

"You haven't asked her that yet? What the hec do the two of you chat about?"

Cap ignored his comment and watched the screen.

Princess0501: In Florida
CaptainMarvel52: No kidding, so do I.
Princess0501: I won't make you tell me where. That way we'll still have a little secret between us.

"Isn't she great?" Cap commented.

Chris rolled his eyes. What was Harry thinking? "Cap you're acting like you're in high school. No, wait, make that junior high school."

CaptainMarvel52: Living in Florida is a lot different than growing up in NY isn't it?
Princess0501: Tons, I think I like it much better down here though
CaptainMarvel52: I think I do too. NY is so big. I got tired of it after awhile. Too many weirdo's and crazy people, you know?
Princess0501: I know exactly what you mean

"I don't think I need to be here Cap, sounds like you're under control going down nostalgia lane."

"Just hang on, wait, we'll get there soon enough."

CaptainMarvel52: Those were some good times up there though
Princess0501: Too bad we didn't meet long ago. Who knows what might have happened between us then.

"Here we go, Lorenzo. I can tell that she's looking for romance by what she writes."

"Then you're a better man than I am. Sounds like she's just a lonely woman to me."

Cap continued to type.

CaptianMarvel52: Yeah that would have been something huh?
Princess0501: We could have gone to Coney Island together
CaptainMarvel52: During the daytime hours we'd walk on the boardwalk and after dark, we'd head under the boardwalk

Chris was amazed that Cap would even think something like that, let alone type it to a complete stranger. What amazed him even more was Princess0501's comeback.

Princess0501: I would have gone under the boardwalk with you anytime

Chris laughed out loud. "Cap, there is no way that she is the same age as you."

"Why would you say that?"

"She is coming on to you. I bet if you told her where you lived, she'd arrange to meet you tomorrow. And she's probably some 23-year old college student who is just killing time. Better yet, it's probably some male inmate in a minimum security lock up who wants to cyber with you."

"Lorenzo, you have one sick mind. Did you ever stop to think that people my age were people your age at one time. We know what making love and having sex is all about."

Chris was taken back by Cap's words. He never really thought about Cap in that way at all. He was more of a Father figure. And one never thought of Father figures in that way. "Listen Cap, Rita's waiting for me, so I'm gonna call it a night alright. You have fun with you new pal."

Cap was already back typing. "Yeah, yeah, go ahead."

Rita hated stopping at the supermarket after work. That's what everyone did, and it was always packed with people who didn't want to be there, but had to be there to pick up food. She was no different. She knew exactly what she needed to get and wanted to grab a hand basket and get in and out of there quick.

Up and down the aisles she went picking something here and there off the shelves, trying to avoid bumping into people.

It was too late. Chuck Rohner spotted her and started walking over to her. So much for her plan to get in and out quick. She'd have to make some small talk with him.

"Hi Rita, imagine bumping into you again! How are you?"

Putting on her best smile, "I'm fine Chuck how are you?"

"Good, busy, but you know how it goes right?"

"Yeah, I'm just picking up a few things for dinner, then I'm off to do some cooking."

"Me too, I took the night off from the restaurant. I have to force myself to do that. If not, I tend to go nuts."

Rita couldn't believe his choice of words. She knew too much about Chuck Rohner, it was not a fair meeting. And there was no way she could mention his daughter. "Ah, so no ill effects from the accident huh?"

"Nope, none at all. Though I do feel terrible about the other car and the passengers. But I guess there were no serious injuries and my lawyer says I'll get to keep my license. It was a ridiculous thing I did."

Rita didn't make any judgements. "You're right, as long as everyone's ok, that's the main thing."

"And you were so wonderful to me. I was lucky, incredibly lucky. I don't think I'll ever forget your kindness."

Rita smiled again, "It comes with the job Chuck, that's all it is." She really wanted to end the conversation with him, but she was afraid to in a sense. And the cop in her wanted to hear what else he might have to say.

"Well, hey listen, I know you're in a hurry, so I'll see you around ok?"

She'd been saved, Chuck must have picked up on her vibe and ended the conversation. "Nice seeing you again Chuck," she said as she walked past him and continued on with her shopping. She glanced back at him as she rounded the aisle and he stood there staring at her. She kept going.

Chris stood up from the table and said, "That was a terrific meal Sam, I don't think I'll need to eat for a week." He patted his gut, right before he leaned down and gave Rita a tender kiss on the cheek.

"Thanks Sam," she replied with a smile. "Did you want some coffee?"

"Nah, I think I might go outside and work out on the heavy bag." He started to walk out of the room.

Rita didn't respond.

"Is that alright with you?" he asked, surprised by her silence. "Sam?"

Rita shook the cobwebs free. "Yeah, sure, I'll just clean this up."

Chris stood still. Something was on her mind. "Rita, is everything ok? Is there something you want to talk about?"

She got up and went and poured herself a cup of coffee. "Everything's fine, why do you ask?"

"Cuz you're acting a little strange right now. You're in one of your little worlds."

"Strange worlds?" she laughed. "I just have a few things on my mind that's all. If you want to take a shower go ahead."

Chris laughed, she obviously hadn't heard a word he'd said. Now Chris was really puzzled. "I said I wanted to work out on the heavy bag."

"Of course you did, and then you'll need to take a shower," she said trying to cover up her blunder.

He stood still for a minute and came up with the conclusion. "How 'bout if I clean up the kitchen and you go sit down and relax, maybe read one of your trashy novels."

"You're babying me again."

"You're damn right I am. You need to relax. We can't possible create a baby if you're mind is full of other stuff."

She was giving him her full attention now. He changed directions on her so quickly. She repeated his words to make sure she had heard them correctly. "We can't create a baby if my mind is full of other stuff. Hmmm, where did you come up with that?"

"I think I saw it on the Internet somewhere. Did it work?"

Rita laughed, "No, but I'm not gonna argue with you. I'll just go relax. Go ahead and clean up!" Rita took her cup of coffee and headed into the living room. Chris followed close behind and adjusted the lights, lit a few candles and selected some soothing jazz CD's. Rita sat down in her favorite chair, tucked her legs under her and picked up the book that was sitting on the table. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you were trying to set up a certain mood."

"I'm trying to help you relax, that's it, there's no ulterior motive here."

She watched him closely. "Christopher, I think I know you too well. I know exactly what you're up too."

"Oh really?"

"Yes, I do, and it's working," she said with a smile.

No matter how Rita tried to concentrate on the book that was in her hands, she couldn't. The only thought that entered her head now was that Chris was in the kitchen and how she wanted him to be with her. She didn't let the thought of having a baby enter her mind on a regular basis, but right now these last few days, for some reason, that's all she was thinking about. How special it would be to have a child with the man she loved heart and soul. She unknowingly kept turning pages one after another, soon she was lost in a complete daydream. Who would a child of theirs look like. If it was a boy, he'd take after Chris, full of life, outgoing and precocious. If it was a girl would she look like Rita, the emerald eyes, and the dark hair. Would she be smart and sassy? She began to imagine a family. She dreamt their children would be an extension of themselves. All of the best qualities would lie in their children. They'd be a happy and loving family.

Chris finished up the dishes and hung the towel up on the rack to air dry. He flicked off the light in the kitchen and went into the living room. He smiled as he saw his wife, book open, eyes closed and the most peaceful, gentle look on her face. His relaxation therapy seemed to have done its trick. Quietly he lifted the book out of her lap and he marked the page with her bookmark. He placed a kiss on her forehead and was just about to call out her name. Her eyes opened up right away from the touch of his lips.

"Mmm, that's exactly what I was dreaming of," she said.

"And here I thought I was gonna have to carry you to bed," he said, staring a mile deep into her beautiful eyes.

She reached up with her thumb and ran them over his lips. "I still might let you do that," she said, raising herself up enough to gently kiss him.

She expected him to be as tender, but the moment their lips collided, he became a bit more daring and demanding, slipping his tongue between her lips to tangle with her tongue. She moaned her approval and let her arms rise up and slide around his neck. Things were heating up fast. Her breasts ached, her stomach was quivering. Heat simmered through every vein. He reached down and picked her up in one fluid movement, remaining locked in the kiss all the while. When he finally broke off, holding her in his arms, he grinned seductively at her. She reached up and touched the side of his face, before she dove back into those lips of his. Slowly he carried her toward the bedroom. She nuzzled at his neck and traced kisses down the length of his throat. Every touch of hers told him how much she wanted him. When she let her tongue trace the outline of his ear, he let out a deep growl.

Softly he set her down on the bed. She could see the passion flaming in his eyes, it reflected exactly the way she was feeling. A child that would come from this would indeed be heaven sent. He braced his arms on either side of her, using his hands to sweep the hair off of her face.

"Rita, I love you so much," he said deeply.

"Make love to me, Chris," she answered, seeing the fire in his eyes. She began to tug away at his shirt, wanting to press her hands onto his muscular body.

Starting slowly and continuing to build, he pressed against her body, gradually deepening the caress until his strokes began to fill her. His body surrounded her. The heat and passion engulfed them both. She grabbed the back of his head and pulled him toward her. Their lips and tongues battled, Chris moaned deep in his throat. He needed to have her. With their mouths pressed together, he slid into her in one powerful, yet erotic stroke. He felt her arch against him and heard her cry out his name against his mouth. His control was gone as she arched against his body and forced her release. She convulsed around him, the little sounds she made in her throat sent him over the edge.

He rolled onto his back, taking her with him. He held her closely and continued to kiss her softly. She ran her hand up and down over his chest. Any dream she had was now becoming reality here in his arms. She had no doubts about their future or about having a child. She was ready to enter the next phase of their life, their love together.

"As long as Harry is coming over here to watch the game with you, I'm going over by Franny's. She's been trying on clothes and buying new outfits for the last couple of weeks and now she wants my final opinion. I have no idea why she's been such a shopper lately."

"I don't know why you told him I was gonna watch the game," Chris whined, "Cap doesn't even like basketball. He's just gonna sit here and complain for two hours. I am gonna miss one of the best games of the year. I wish you would have told him that I wasn't going to be here. First it'll be too hot in here, then too cold, then he'll want something to drink, then something to eat. And whatever I give him, will end up causing heartburn. Not exactly a peaceful night, you know?"

"Will you stop already," Rita tried to be sympathetic, but she wasn't going to cave in to his demands. "I think Fran just wants him out of the house."

"No doubt there," he mumbled to himself.

"What?" Rita heard the noise coming from his mouth.

"I said, there's no doubt on that. He's been such a crab lately. And this Internet thing with him is just nuts."

"Have you bothered to ask him if he'd like to talk? Maybe something is bothering him."

"No, I think he's been talking enough on the Internet. He never says anything to me."

"I think he and Franny are going through some rough spots," Rita said.

"Well, I'm certainly not a marriage counselor, and neither are you!"

Rita gave him the look, "no, but we are their friends and we should try to help."

"You've been hanging around Daniel again haven't you?" Chris asked. "Honestly Sam, I wonder if you should have gone into psychiatry like him. You're a natural at it."

"I'll take that as a compliment! And quit changing the subject. Will you try to talk to Harry tonight?"

"Guys don't talk Sam," and before she could say anything he added, "and we don't listen either."

"Another sentiment from the annals of the cavemen no doubt?" Rita smiled as she listened to his explanation. "Will you try at least?"

Chris grinned, "yeah, I'll try, but I really did want to watch the game."

"Hi Fran, I'm here," Rita called out as she entered the Lipschitz home.

"Hi doll, I'm back in the bedroom, I'll be right there. Make yourself to home," Franny shouted back.

Rita took off the jacket she was wearing and laid it on the sofa. She took a seat next to the sofa and waited for Fran to come out. It seemed as if she was waiting forever, when Fran finally appeared.

"Hi Rita, I'm so glad you could make it over here tonight."

Rita was stunned, Fran was dressed to the nines, in a full-length evening gown. "Wow, Fran, Cap is going to love that!" she said admiring the sequined dress.

"Oh do you like it? I'm so glad!"

"So that's what you were doing huh? Getting all dressed up to surprise me huh? What exactly is the big occasion anyway?"

Franny didn't respond at first. "I'm not sure when the occasion is."

Now Rita was puzzled, "What do you mean Fran?"

Fran went and sat beside her, Rita took her hands and held them tightly. "I think I've done something foolish, but now that I've done it, I just can't stop. It's actually exciting," Fran said sheepishly.

"Fran, what is it? You can tell me." Rita was intrigued.

Franny started to sob and leaned over bawling on Rita's shoulder. "I, caaaaaan't, I juuuuussssst caaaaaannn't." Now Rita was stunned.

"Fran, it's alright, what's the matter?" Rita tried to console her.

Fran managed to begin to compose herself. "I've cheated on Heschy."

"What?" Rita asked.

"I met someone and I haven't been entirely faithful to him."

"Fran, why don't you tell me what's been going on?"

"We shouldn't have gotten that computer. And I've tried to stop, but I just can't."

"Wait a minute, you met someone on-line didn't you?" Rita questioned.

Franny nodded. "But he's so wonderful Rita, I know you'd like him. I can actually have a conversation with him."

"Are things that bad with you and Harry?"

"We hardly say two words to each other. It's like we forgot what we liked about each other."

"Have you met this person that you talk to on-line?"

"Not in person yet, but I think he's going to ask me to. We found out we live so close to one another."

"So you actually don't know who he is yet?"

Franny nodded no. "I'm supposed to meet him on-line in a little bit."

"Fran, you know you have to tell him, you have to tell both of them."

"I know, that's why I wanted you here."

"It'll be ok," Rita said, taking her into a hug.

"Sometimes I wish that Heschy and I had children. I think that would have really brought us even closer together."

"Fran, I don't mean to pry, but why didn't you guys?"

"I was pregnant once. I had an awful miscarriage. Back in those days they didn't know why things like that happened. Anyway, the doctor said that I was very sick and as a result he suggested that I have a hysterectomy. After that, well you know."

"You guys could've adopted."

"It was just too hard Rita," Franny said sadly.

"I understand," she said holding her close.

"Hey Lorenzo, let me in," Cap stood at the front door hollering through the screen. Chris was laid out on the couch.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming Cap."

Cap was carrying a big grocery bag of what appeared to be food. "Here ya go kid, I know you two still never have any food around here, plus with the game, well, you know."

Chris grabbed the bag out of his hands and peered inside. "Three bags of chips, dip and a 12-pack of Miller Cap? Well, we have beer, but thanks!"

"Not a problem kid, but first you need to help me," Cap said, hauling his laptop and setting it on the coffee table in front of the sofa.

Chris let out an exasperated sigh. "Not this Princess chick again?"

"Hey, look, if you want me to leave I'm gone. I just thought that maybe I could let her down easy with your help. I mean you are the king of romance right?"

Chris was now a bit flattered but he answered modestly, "Hey, I'm a married man now Cap."

"Married, schmarried! Are you gonna help me here or not?"

Chris wrinkled up his face and glanced over at the TV screen where the basketball game was already starting. He knew then that he'd never see the game. "Oh, alright, let's get this over with quick, that's all I can say. I don't want Rita coming home and catching us at this."

Princess0501: Hi CaptainMarvel52!
CaptainMarvel52: Hi there Princess, how's everything tonight?
Princess0501: Everything is just fine. What are you up to?
CaptainMarvel52: I'm just watching some basketball on TV
Princess0501: I thought you didn't like sports particularly?
CaptainMarvel52: Well, I'm over at my son's house right now and he loves basketball.

Chris couldn't believe what Cap had just written. "Listen Cap, whatever you want to do with your own life is fine, but leave me out of this ok?"

"I can't now, you're my son."

If Chris' glare were a laser, Cap would have had a hole burned through him.

Princess0501: I didn't know that you had a son?
CaptainMarvel52: Yeah, his name is Sam.

Chris was quickly trying to do a score check on the TV, but looked at the screen long enough to see what Cap had typed. "Are you COMPLETELY out of your mind?" Chris nearly screamed at Harry.

"What, What? I said I needed your help!"

"You said you wanted me to help you break it off with her. But you just keep telling her more. And real original on the name."

"I could have called you Chris."

"Don't do me any favors. Let's end this thing once and for all." Chris motioned for him to get back to typing.

Princess0501: Oh my gosh, what a coincidence, my daughter's name is Sam too! That's short for Samantha.

"Fran? What are you doing? I wish you wouldn't get me involved in this," Rita said.

"I'm sorry doll, but I just had the urge to say that I had a daughter."

Rita tried to be understanding, but this was getting out of hand.

CaptainMarvel52: I guess that just means that we were meant to be then. LOL!

"LOL? You have lost your mind! That's not how you're going to break it off with her!" Chris was at a loss for words.

"Well, maybe I don't want to break it off with her?"

"I can't wait to see how you're gonna explain this one to Franny!"

Princess0501: I feel like I've known you for a lifetime already.
CaptainMarvel52: I feel the same way about you.

"Good going Cap/Fran," Chris and Rita said in unison.

"Well, he's/she's perfect," Cap and Fran said in unison.

"You need to end this right now, you're a married man/woman!"

Princess0501: I have to go, sorry.
CaptainMarvel52: Listen, I'll talk to you soon!

Both Fran and Harry quickly exited the chat room.

"Cap, you have to put an end to this. Either that or you need to sit down and talk with Fran. Do you understand?"

"Are you my mother Lorenzo?"

"No, I'm not your mother, obviously I'm your son!" Chris said sarcastically. (MEANWHILE….)

"Oh my gosh, what have I done?" Franny said, quickly powering down her computer.

"You and Harry need to spend some time together and discuss this."

"I don't know if I can Rita."

"I think you have to Fran."

Chris was lying on the couch. From all outward appearances, he appeared to be calm, but his insides were still fuming from Cap's latest Internet chat.

Rita came in the front door, letting the screen door slam behind her. Chris sat up suddenly. "Is everything ok Sam?" he asked.

"Sometimes Fran drives me up a wall," she said as she collapsed into a chair.

"Well, her husband is a certifiable nut case at times, today being one of those times so it must run in their family."

"You won't believe what she did!" Rita looked straight at him.

"I know what he did will top her."

"I don't think so Chris," Rita began to explain. She leaned forward as she began to relate the latest chapter in the life of Franny Lipschitz. "She's been going into these chat rooms on-line and now she's met someone."

Chris wasn't a bit surprised, what was coming would send him reeling. "As long as you tell me her on-line name isn't Princess0501 we'll be ok."

"How did you know that?" Rita asked stunned. "She said she hadn't even told Harry her name." Chris started to laugh. "Chris, what is it? What's so funny?"

"She's been talking to CaptainMarvel52? Rita, that's Cap!"

Rita let out a laugh of her own. "Harry is CaptainMarvel52?"

"Yep, and I'm his son Sam, which must make you Fran's daughter Samantha?"

"That's kinda kinky isn't it? I mean here we are married siblings?" Rita said. "And they don't know this yet do they?"

"Not a clue," Chris said with a wicked grin.

"And all along I was going to discourage this romance." Her mind was thinking of all the fun that was waiting for them. "These two have got to meet. And I have to be there when they do."

"No, we have to be there when they do." Chris shook his head in amazement. "It just goes to show you that true love was meant to be, I guess." Chris said referring back to Cap's on-line comments from earlier.

Rita smiled, her mind was already working on arranging a meeting between Princess0501 and CaptainMarvel52.

It was a typical Tuesday in the squad room. Chris busily plucked away at his laptop, Rita was in her office working on budgeting, Tre and Geoff were off in an interrogation room with a suspect and Cap was in his office with the door closed.

The mail clerk went around from desk to desk dropping off mail.

"Something from the State for you Chris," he said as he handed the envelope to Chris.

Chris looked at the return address and wondered what it was. He started to rip open the 8x10 envelope to look at the contents. He saw a familiar logo on the top page and realized it was his career interests results from the Workforce Center. He quickly pulled the pages out and started to read the cover letter. He flipped to the next page and read eagerly. A smile began to form on his face and he sat back in his chair with a stunned yet happy look by what the paper was telling him. "I'll be damned," he said quietly.

He carefully put the contents back into the envelope and went back to his work.

Chuck Rohner came walking in. He barely recognized Chris as he walked past him.

"Hey Chuck, what's up?" Chris asked looking up from the computer screen.

"Uh, um, hi Detective Lorenzo. I was hoping you're wife was around?" he said very unsure of himself. Chris got a real uneasy feeling. The cop in him started to work overtime.

"Yeah, she's here," Chris said, watching him closely. He seemed to be acting strangely. Chris stood up and began to lead him carefully toward Rita's office. When he got to her door, he knocked, even though the door was open. Rita looked up from the files she was working on. "Rita, Chuck Rohner is here to see you," he said, making definite eye contact with her, to let her know that he was acting funny.

Rita picked up on it right away. "Ok, why don't you guys both come on in," she said. Chris breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that Rita had understood the silent message. "What can we do for you Chuck?"

"Well, they left a message and said that I could come here and pick up my car. I just didn't know what to do, and you're really the only ones I know. I hope you don't mind."

Rita glanced at Chris, who remained standing near the door. Chuck had walked in and sat down in front of Rita's desk. "Sure Chuck, we can help you with that. Did they say if it was down in the impound lot?"

"Yeah, I think that's what they called it."

Rita got up and walked around the desk and waited as Chuck got up. Chris let Chuck head through the doorway first and he and Rita fell in step behind him. They both looked at each other, trying to figure out what exactly was going on.

They rode the elevator to the main floor and headed outside toward the impound lot. "Gosh, is it ever a beautiful day," Rita commented as they walked outside in the bright, warm sun.

They entered the lot and walked up to the Sergeant who was in charge and told him that they were there to pick up Chuck's car. The Sergeant handed the keys to Rohner and pointed it out to him.

"Well, there you go Chuck, that wasn't so bad was it?" Rita said.

"It's driveable then?" Chuck questioned.

The Sergeant overheard them and added. "Yep, it just needs a little body work in the front, other than that, you're good to go."

Rita smiled at Chuck. "And hopefully it won't cost you too much to fix it either," she laughed a little.

"Good luck Chuck," Chris added with a smile. They both turned and started to head back toward the building.

Chuck stood there for a moment and then called out to Rita. "Rita," he began. Both she and Chris turned.

"Yeah Chuck?"

"Thanks again for everything."

"My pleasure Chuck."

Chris and Rita both stood still now as they watched Chuck turn and head toward his car. "Sam, something just isn't right with him," Chris commented.

"I know, he's acting strangely," Rita said, "maybe it's just a shock to get back into the car he was driving when he was in an accident."

"Maybe so," Chris said, still watching Chuck carefully. "It's just been weird that you've seen him all over the place, don't you think? And now he comes up to your office, when he could have just as easily told the desk sergeant what he needed to do."

Suddenly Chuck collapsed in front of his car. Rita and Chris, both still watching him, dashed over to him, as did the Sergeant in the impound lot.

"Chuck, are you alright? What happened?" Rita asked as she leaned over.

Chris still stood over them and wrinkled up his nose as it got of whiff of something pungent. "Whatever that smell is, I'd say. That's enough to make anyone pass out."

They all began to hold their noses. Chris and the Sergeant Mulesin began to search around for the location of where the odor was coming from.

It seemed to emanate from the trunk of Chuck's car. Sergeant Mulesin asked Chuck for the keys. At first Chuck refused violently, as Chris and Rita tried to subdue him. "Chuck, give Sergeant Mulesin the key's," Rita asked.

"I can't," he began to cry.

"Why not Chuck," she asked.

"Because she's in there," he cried out, "my daughters in there. I killed her. I killed her and I didn't know what else to do," he was sobbing and curling up into a fetal position. "She was dead when I had the car accident, and I wanted someone to find out, I wanted to die myself for what I did to her. I tried to tell you, I really tried," he cried. "I wanted to kill myself and just crash my car into a pole, but then I couldn't do it and I hit that other car. Oh God, what have I done?"

Chris stood up, "Sarge, get Tre and Geoff down here now, and call the coroner."

"Right away Chris," Sergeant Mulesin said.

Chris and Rita tried to get Chuck to his feet, but he was a blathering idiot. He couldn't stop apologizing or crying. "I'll call an ambulance," Chris said, pulling out his cell phone.

Before long, there were police and rescue workers everywhere, securing the scene and taking Chuck Rohner away.

Chris and Rita were writing up their reports when Cap buzzed Chris and asked him to step into his office. "Sure thing Cap," Chris said into the intercom. When the intercom hung up, he looked over at Rita and grinned. "You know what this is about don't you?"

Rita smiled back immediately. "I think I do, what are you gonna tell him?"

"I'm gonna tell him that he needs to meet this woman. I rethought everything and I think it's worth talking to her face to face."

"Can you do it with a straight face?"

"Believe me, this will be an Oscar winning performance."

Rita let out a laugh and watched as Chris got up and went into Cap's office.

"What's up Cap?" Chris said, sitting down across from Harry.

"Good job on this case," Harry started.

Chris nodded his understanding. "That's it?" he asked.

"Well, I wanted to apologize for the other night too."

"No problem. In fact, I've been thinking. I think you should meet this woman. What would a meeting hurt right? And you said she lives around here right?"

Cap was a bit stunned. "Yeah, right here in Palm Beach actually. Are you sure?"

"Yeah, like I said, I've rethought it."

"Well, if you think I should?"

"I think you should," Chris said seriously, maintaining eye contact with Harry. "And you know what? How 'bout if I come along? You can introduce me as your son. That might make you more comfortable."

Cap stood up and paced around the back of his desk. "That's not a bad idea. That way if things go bad, you and I can just duck out there." He slapped his hands together to make a point.

Chris nodded his head in agreement. "Just let me know when and where."

Chris went back into Rita's office. "I believe I'd like to thank my parents who gave me life, the academy and of course my lovely wife Rita, without her this performance would not have been possible."

"How'd it go?" Rita asked with a smile.

"It went well. I decided to even take it a step further. I told him I'd go along and he could introduce me as his son Sam."

"That's perfect, I'll do the same thing with Fran"

"This is gonna be fun!"

Everything was arranged. Rita had talked to Fran and Fran loved the idea of bringing her along as her daughter Sam, especially after CaptainMarvel52 had told her that he was bringing his son along. Rita reminded her that she was a married woman however.

They agreed to meet at a nice restaurant along Worth Avenue. Chris and Harry were the first to arrive. Cap was as nervous as a turkey at Thanksgiving. Chris tried to be as understanding as possible, but inside, he was enjoying himself beyond belief.

"I told Franny that you and I were going to one of those sports bars, you know?" he said to Chris.

"Don't worry, I'll cover for you, if need be," Chris said.

"Maybe we shouldn't have gotten here this early. Maybe we should have let her arrive first," Cap fidgeted, "Maybe I shouldn't even be here. What am I thinking anyway?"

"Cap, you need to calm down. All you're doing is meeting her. Nothing more remember? Besides, she's probably some teenie bopper pretending to be an adult. She may not even show up at all."

"There's no way she's a kid. But you're right, then I'm gonna tell her this is it. It's over. I can't do this to Fran."

Franny tried on about a dozen different outfits before settling on a nice tailored dress. Rita patiently waited for her, already knowing what was going to happen, but keeping her secret as best she could.

"I'm so nervous, I feel like a school girl all over again," Fran said as they parked the car and headed inside to the restaurant.

"Relax Fran, he's probably some overweight, bald headed, non-conversationalist," Rita said.

"Oh he couldn't be, we've had such nice chat's on line."

"Fran, remember, we're here to end this!"

"I know, I guess I love Harry too much. I can't stand hurting him like this any longer. We'll work things out."

"By the way, what excuse did you give him?"

"I told him that you and I needed a ladies night out."

"And he bought it?"

"Well, he said that he and Chris were going to one of those sports bars over in West Palm."

They arrived at the door of the restaurant and Rita held it open for Fran to enter. "Ok, here goes," she said taking a deep breath. "He said he made the reservation under Marv Captain," she explained to Rita.

Original, Rita thought to herself.

They walked over to the maitre 'd and told them they were meeting the Marv Captain party. "Just a minute ladies."

Harry had his eyes focused on the host's station and he just about died when he saw Franny and Rita enter. He threw up his hands to cover his face and began to loudly whisper to Chris.

"Oh god Lorenzo, Franny and Rita just walked in. What the hell are we gonna do now?"

Chris looked over toward the doorway and saw the ladies standing there waiting to be seated. He briefly met with Rita's eyes and smiled. Things were falling into place nicely.

"Lorenzo, I hope you're thinking of something to do?" Cap said, still hiding behind his hands.

"Easy going there Cap, we'll figure something out."

The Maitre 'd came back and began to lead the ladies over to the table of Marv Captain. As they approached the table, Fran spotted a grinning Chris and a cowering Harry. "Ladies, here is your table," the Maitre 'd said, stopping right in front of Chris and Harry.

Fran looked back at Rita, who was also smiling broadly. "Just what is going on here? Heschy, what do you know about this?"

"Oh Franny, what a surprise, isn't this a surprise Chris?"

"It sure is Cap."

Rita pushed Fran toward a chair and sat down next to her.

"Rita, what are you doing? I don't understand this."

Chris spoke up. "Franny, I'd like you to meet CaptainMarvel52."

Then Rita broke in, "And Harry, let me introduce you to Princess0501."

"You're?" Cap and Franny said in unison.

Chris and Rita nodded at both of them, "And we're you son and daughter, Sam and Sam," they both added.

Franny began to laugh. Harry was totally embarrassed by the whole situation but he began to lighten up. "0501, May 1st, that's our anniversary," Harry said showing the first signs of a smile.

Franny nodded and said, "52 is how old you are."

"I should have known it was you all along. It was like meeting you again for the first time," Harry said, reaching over and holding his wife's hand.

"I love you Heschy," Franny said.

"I love you too Fran," Cap replied.

Chris and Rita snuck out quietly and went off by themselves, leaving Harry and Fran to reacquaint themselves with each other.

They went off and had a cozy dinner for two and talked about all the things that had been happening in their lives, like trying to have a baby and how sad they both were for Chuck Rohner. Things lightened up when they thought of Harry and Franny rediscovering each other and how much love they had for each other after all these years. They decided right then and there that when they did have children, not only would Harry and Fran be godparents, they'd be grandparents too, in every sense of the word!

When they got back to their home they put on some jazz and began to cuddle together on the sofa in their living room. Chris got up and went and opened a bottle of wine and brought two glasses into the living room. Before he left the kitchen, he opened a drawer and pulled out the envelope from the Job Center. He stuck it under his arm and walked into the living room.

"Here you go," he said, handing a glass to Rita and sitting down beside her.

"Thank you," she said, as she noticed he was carrying the envelope, "what have you got there?" she asked.

"I thought you'd never ask," he said giving her a kiss. "It's the results from the career test that I took."

"I didn't know you had taken it already." Rita tilted her head approvingly and gave him a smile. "What does it say?"

Chris laughed nervously, "It's a good thing you're sitting down."

"Chris?" she posed the question to him again.

He licked his lips and took a sip of wine and opened up the envelope. He reread the words and handed the sheet over to Rita. She set down her wine and began to read it slowly, making sure she read every word. When she got finished she set the paper in her lap and turned her head to make eye contact with him.

"Whatta ya think?" he asked, raising his eyebrows.

"I think you're the one who needs to answer that question."

"Well, I am a bit surprised by the results, aren't you?"

"Yes and no," she said, watching him closely.

"I know they have a great program down at the University of Miami, most of the classes are at night too, so I could keep working while I go to school. I made a call and asked a few questions," he explained, sensing her question.

Rita's face lit up with a smile. "You already checked into it! I'm glad," she added.

"I should be able to get the degree in 2 or 3 years I think. Passing the bar is gonna be another story though."

"I think you'll do just fine and I'm sure your Dad and George can help you out when the time comes."

"Me a lawyer Sam? I never would have imagined that in a million years."

"Maybe it was just meant to be Sam, I guess we'll see, won't we?"

The End

March 2000







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