Pandoras Box
By Lisa

Part One

This story takes place after Night Crawlers and Day Dreamers. If you haven't read that yet,you should before reading this one.

According to Greek Mythology,Pandora was the first woman on Earth. The Gods of Mount Olympus gave Pandora great beauty,as well as a box that they told her never to open. However she was soon overcome by temptation,and lifted the lid to the mysterious box. When she did,all the evil and disease,and sorrows of the mind entered into the world. Only hope,the one good thing within the box ,remained to comfort humanity in it's misfortunes.

Since the time of the Greeks,to open Pandoras Box,has meant to explore the forbidden and pay the consequences.


Captain Harry Lipshitz sat at his desk,staring at the lunch his wife had fixed for him,trying to remember what real food tasted like.He couldn't though. It had been awhile since he had actually eaten "real food"

A hot and thick cheesburger,with the works,the juice dribbling down as you bit into it,that was what he craved for now,not this.What was this anyway,he wondered? Ever since Fran had taken that "Healthy for life" cooking class,he had been the one suffering for it.A guinea pig,that's what she was turning him into.He had eaten all the strange concoctions she had been learning to make,dishes that they considered to be tasty as well as beneficial to his health. Sure,he might live a few years longer,but at what expense he wondered. Would he really have to eat like this for the rest of his life?

He picked up his fork,and poked at what lay in the container now. A mixture of spinach and endive lettuce along with some tuna,nothing else.A small mound of cottage cheese lay beside the smelly tuna dish, what was suppossed to be a salad,he guessed.For his dessert,he was treated to a pear.

She had to be kidding. Did his wife really think he would enjoy this? Had she forgotten how much he despised tuna? "Franny,I'd sooner die,then eat this" he mumbled to himself as he stood up,and tossed container and all into his trash can. There was no way he could force himself to swallow that food,especially with a cheeseburger on his mind. Just this once,he was going to enjoy his lunch. He saw Chris sitting at his desk as he walked by on his way to the roach coach.

"Hey,Lorenzo..Quit pretending to be working over there,and come have lunch with me." Harry ordered

Chris looked up,as innocent and shocked as he could make his face look."What do you mean I'm not working? I'll have you know I just finished the Edwards file"

"Lorenzo !You just now finished that today! think I don't have any marbles left now... I can't remember just two days was me wasn't it, who told you then to have that file on my desk,and your just now getting it done?"

Chris quickly tried to hide the hotrod magazine he had been reading,widely grinning. "Well,Cap,I did get it done,now didn't I"

Harry rolled his eyes toward the ceiling. 'Lorenzo...somedday your going to put me in the insane asylum,you know that.Now c'mon, it's lunch time and I'm starving!"

Chris looked up at the clock on the wall. Rita must still be over at the courthouse with George,he thought. They were suppossed to meet for lunch fifteen minutes ago.She was probaly running late,it wasn't uncommon,especially when preparing for a trial.

He was hungry though,so he decided to join his boss for lunch,and hopefully Rita would see them outside.He would order her something awhile.

.After ordering himself a bowl of chilli and some nachos,and Rita a chicken salad,he sat down at the table with Cap.He was amused and shocked to see what it was Cap was having for his lunch. A huge cheeseburger sat on his plate,and a pile of cheese fries lay by its' side.

Chris laughed."Uh,Cap....Is Franny out of town or something?"

Harry looked up to see his seargent widely grining at him,..He didn't care to explain anything to him,of all people,the king of junk food consumption. Looking at what Chris was eating,,then looking up at the cocky smile on Chris's face,he became annoyed "No,Franny isn't out of town....she just forgot to pack my lunch,that's all" he lied.

Chris was about to say something else,but now Cap shushed him.,waving his hand for him to go away. He didn't want any distractions from anyone now. The moment had come.

He picked up his cheeseburger and turned it around in his hands,inspecting it. Finally finding the one best spot to take his first bite,he brought it to his mouth. As his mouth opened his eyes closed,and he bit into it,,relishing the feel of the hot juicy grease running down the side of his mouth. He chewed slowly and thoughtfully,savoring the bite,as every taste sensation had suddenly come alive and rejoiced in food that actually had some real flavor to it.

Chris stared.He had never in his entire life saw such ecstasy on anyones face like he saw least not while they were eating

Just then George came up to join them at thier table,a hero sandwich in one hand,a tall cup of iced tea in another.

He too stared at Captain Lipshitz,only his disgust was easily readible on his face.

Chris misread just what that disgust was for though. George Donavan would soon let them both know what was on his mind

"What have you done with my partner,George" wondered Chris,as he glanced around,expecting to see her also.

George Donavan stared at Chris,knowing that he would have to tell him and Captain Lishitz the same news he and Rita had just been imformed of themselves.

"Chris,I'm not sure where she is....but...."he hesitated,trying to find the best way to tell them the news.Admittedly,he was grateful that Rita had heard it from Conroy ,because he didn't think he would have had the nerve to tell her himself. She was always troubled by the way justice sometimes worked.but this time,there would be no justice,none at all.

"What is it ,Donavan? Spit it out!" snapped Harry Lipshitz.already knowing he was in for one hell of a case of heartburn,and not because of the cheeseburger either.

Chris could also tell something was wrong,and he immediately began to fear for Rita.His fierce protective instincts for her rising from deep within now,as his mind began to imagine every dark possibility.

"George" he growled, "what's going on?"

He had to tell them,he knew that....hell....It would be on the five o' clock evening news ,the entire city of Palm Beach would soon know.It wasn't going to make any of them happy either.

"Guys....Rita and I were going over some of the files in the Crago case....Roy Conroy stopped by my office.He had just reviewed everything we had,and he is mad as hell. He says he has nothing to take this case to trial,nothing at all,and worse still,Cragos' lawyers are demanding his release.

"What?!" shouted Chris "You've got to be kidding me,he can't release that maniac....wait a minute...what's going on here? What do you mean he has nothing to convict him!"

Harry Lipshitz was pissed. He sat,quietly shaking his head,knowing exactly what Conroy was going after now.It was something he had feared could hapen,but he had hoped maybe,with any luck,it wouldn't . ...Damn!.... he thought.He had worked everyone under him practically to death on that case,and all for nothing. Chris and Rita especially.

'Lorenzo...hold your tongue and let the man speak!" he spatted out. "Donavan...what's Conroys problem?"

George took a long sip of his iced tea,then looked up,the anger in his eyes as clear as day. He hated this just as much,Chris saw.He felt a twinge of guilt for jumping on his friend. He knew Donavan,and he knew it wasn't his decision.

"Sorry,Goerge...what is the DA's problem with the case?"

"Look,Chris,I know you and Rita worked your butts off to get this guy..but Conroy says we are handing him nothing. He says that all the evidence we thought we had on this guy is instead going to come back and haunt the department. And he's right. There are just too many things that are screwed up here." George cringed when he said that,knowing he could have chosen better words.

"What the hell is that suppossed to mean,Donavan!"Chris ' voice grew louder.He forgot his resolve not to blame his friend on what was going on

"Lorenzo..C'MON! You know exactly what it means! For sarters,let's take the key Rita found...Cragos' lawyers will have a field day with that one...remember the Simpson case,the glove Furhman found?" he said,knowing that would get his point across.

"Just what are you saying here George? That Rita planted that key,for Gods'sake,George,we'er talking about Rita Lance here!You know her? She is as stand-up as they come!!"

"No! I'm not saying she planted that key,Chris,but you know yourself that she was alone when she found it.You know what the lawyers will say! That on top of her finding the journal and the notebooks,that again she was alone ...and it isn't a well hidden secret that this case really got to Rita.Half the department saw her breakdown right after Crago was arrested.His lawyers will use whatever it takes to win,and the DA doesn't even want to go there,not without anything else we can convict this guy on...besides the journal is all hearsay." George was red in the face now,as he tried to explain everything to Chris. He hated what he was telling his friend,but he hated even more what he wasn't.There was sure to be some serious consequences as a result of certain very minor,but very important technacalities

"Okay...fine,George...what about the fact that we all actually caught this guy in the act of trying to muder the Claymonts themselves,!" Chris was getting angry again...this just wasn't possible he thought.

"'s not enough to put him away...because his lawyers are singing another tune as to what happened. According to them,Crago and Lawrence were out on a date,and they had just happened to be driving by,and saw some suspicious things going on.Crago claims he knew that the Claymonts wern't home,and since he was thier handy man,he decided to take matters into his own hands and check the place out. He only had a gun drawn because he had heard some noises as he was walking through the house,and he was frightened. His shooting the gun was a reaction to his being frightened by steps behind him...which we know would have been you.That is his story. As a matter of fact,he is threatening to sue the department for Ginas' death. Internal Affairs is looking into it as we speak.He says Rita never even identified herself as a cop before she shot at Lawrence,and if you would have identified yourself first,instead of scaring him,his gun would never have went off to begin with."

"No...wait George...she never had the chance to identify herself. Gina was within a second of plunging that knife into me..and I didn't identify myself because we were trying to catch this guy in the act, that was the plan,remember? There is no way he can let a killer loose,back on the streets,and we can't do a thing about it!"

"Sorry,Lorenzo, it's out of my hands,it's out of Conroys' really. We have nothing on him,and his lawyers know that.No one has come up with any of the missing articles from the houses to tie him to the crimes,and what we do have means absolutely nothing to the courts.

"I can't believe this...what the hell ...every person out there will be in danger !"

Captain Lipshitz noticed that about a dozen people were now watching as Chris stood shouting at George.

"Lorenzo...Calm yourself down now" He said to his hothead detective" you can't go blowing up like a volcano right now...we need to rethink this,find another way we can keep this animal behind bars" he said as he himself rubbed his stomach,trying to stop the burning that seemed to be getting worse by the second.

Chris quickly reigned himself in ,but it wasn't because his captain told him to.Instead another thought occured to him now,and suddenly that was what was most important to him now.

"George,Rita knows all this?" he asked.

"Yeah...she was in the office with me at the time." George replied,now the anger in his voice turned to sadness."Chris,we both tried to reason with Conroy about this, Rita was livid.The last I saw her,she had just thrown these down on my desk ,saying she was quitting. She stormed off before I could stop her."

George reached into his breast pocket then and handed Chris Ritas' gold shield,and her gun."I thought maybe you could talk to her,give her these back."

Chris stared at his partners badge and gun.,shaking his head unbelievably. After a moment he picked them up and shoved them into his jacket."She'll quit over my dead body!" he said before striding off,knowing exactly where he would find her.

"She quit?" Harry asked George. George could only nod his head,as he sat watching Lorenzos' retreating figure.

"Oh God" moanaed Harry,as he closed his eyes,hoping maybe he was just having a bad dream."Half of my best team." He tried to act as her captain,but he knew he couldn't hide the concern in his voice either.George heard it,and felt the same way.

"Don't worry Harry,he'll talk to her.He isn't going to let her quit,you know that." he said reassuringly.


Chris drove to the beach,knowing that when she was upset over something,this was where she came to think,and to recollect herself,to put things into a new perspective.He sighed when he saw her sitting in favorite spot,and staring out into the ocean,glad that she was so predictable at times like this.

He walked over to her ,and sat down without saying a word,just staring out into the same ocean she was.

After awhile he spoke to her.

"Sammy, you want to talk about it?" he asked her gently,as he reached over and took her hand into his.

She remained silent though,simply shaking her head no,still staring out into the ocean as a single tear rolled down her cheek.

Chris scooted over behind her now,so that he could wrap his arms around her .She leaned back into his embrace and together they sat giving each other the comfort they both needed without any words ever spoken.

Finally he convinced her to take a walk with him,and he held her hand as they strolled the beach and talked.

"Rita,you know I'm not going to let you quit on me."

"Chris...nothing,forget it "

"What were going to say something,...tell me?" he stopped her from walking ,taking her other hand into his now,so that he had them both,and could look into her eyes.Eyes that were so sad,he thought.

"It's just that I don't understand why we keep doing this....I mean,we work until we drop to put these guys behind bars,and they just let them out again....what's the use?"she asked,looking away from him now.

Chris could understand what she was feeling,sometimes the same doubts plagued at him,but he also knew he couldn't let them ,because they would eat away at him.She knew it herself,but she forgot temporarily. It was part of his responsibility as her partner to remind her again of it.That was what partners did.

"Hey, know why we do it.For every bad guy that slips by us,we see ten others put away.That's ten less animals out there in the jungle...ten or more innocent people who are safe because of it,that's why we do it.We do it for the families who have to come in and identify thier loved ones body,we do it for them,Sam. You can't let just this one case decide your worth."

"Chris...they are doing that for me,they think I planted evidence,...They are investigating me Chris..The department is going to be sued because of what I did to Gina....and her baby," those last words slipped out unnoticed by her,but not by Chris

He was so much more then just her partner .He was apart of her,and she was of him,and that was the part now that ached the most now for her.He hated seeing her in any kind of pain.Ever since they had gotten together,things had been so good for the both of them,they had been deleriously happy.Chris could feel that blissful time was coming to an end,and they were about to again go into another battle.

"I won't let them win this one, Sammy. I promise you that. '" He brought her close to him now,holding her tiny form against his large one,and daring anyone to strike out at her. "I'll be right here by your side,always.You can count on that."

Later that night,while Chris was in the shower,Rita was laying in thier bed,watching the news on tv. It was announced that Billy Crago ,a suspect in the Night Crawler case that had enshrouded the city of Palm Beach in fear several weeks ago ,had just been released from jail,and that no further imformation was given at the time. Rita watched as Crago looked right into the camera,an evil grin on his unshaven face,and it seemed to her he was looking right into her,sending her a message that was meant just for her. She shivered at the sight of him,turning away to find the remote so that she could switch the channel.She was just about to when she heard his voice,speaking into one of the many microphones the cluster of reporters surrounding him held out .

"Yes,I am glad that the truth has finally come out.I did not kill those people. My only crime was that I was looking out for my employers welfare.I lost my fiance because of the mishandling of this investigation by the PBPD.It's another example of the incompetence that exists in that department.These people have got to be held to a higher standard ,and we as citizens have got to see that they are. They are civil servants,they work for us,and it's about time we take notice and inventory of who it is we have as our "finest" For this reason alone,I intend to file a law suit against the department,and the officer responsible for the death of my fiance.This city needs to wake up and I think I will be just the one to do it."

Rita closed her eyes,trying to erase the image of Billy Cragos' face. The news went onto another story,but still she stayed like that,trying to keep her emotions in control.She had no idea that the shower had stopped running awhile ago,and Chris came out to hear the very end of Crago's ranting.He watched her now,as she leaned back onto her pillow,her eyes closed,her hands rubbing at her temples now.

He crossed the room,and layed on the bed next to her,taking her into his arms.

"Hey,you okay?" he asked

She opened her eyes,and he could see her unshed tears."They let him go,Chris. He's out right now.It's not over..... "she said in fear of what the near future would bring to them,to thier city.

"I know,sunshine,I know" he replied,leaning down to kiss the top of her head."But like you said,Sammy,it's not over yet.We'll get him for good,he won't be out for long."

"I really screwed up ,didn't I Chris?"she asked.

"No Rita..Your a good cop,You were only doing your job.You were trying to get the scum off the streets,trying to protect innocent lives.

"Chris,I didn't save Gina.She was just as innocent.She was so young,her life was so messed up ...she deserved a second chance,you know."

He pulled himself up,looking at her,as he brushed the hair away from her face.

"Rita...we've been through this before,you've got to stop being so hard on yourself."he told her."

"Maybe your just too easy on me." she replied.

"No" he said as he leaned over and placed a kiss on her lips,to keep her from protesting his assurances "besides,Sammy,your hard enough on yourself for both of us. It'll all come out alright,Rita,believe that,okay"

She smiled at him,hoping he was right. .She pulled him closer to her,and kissed him with all the eagerness she felt for his touch,for his being to fill the emptiness she felt on the inside.

"I love you Chris." she uttered before she again was captured by his mouth,anxiously seeking to return her kiss,to fill her needs,as much as she filled his.He tenderly stroked her breasts through the white lace of her lingerie,his hand gliding down to the soft material that covered her stomach,then reaching up under it,and suddenly no longer patient for her to remove it herself,he did it for her.He stared at the goddess that lay on the bed before him,only for him,and then lied himself gently on top of her. That night,he spent replenishing the confidence in her that had been so easily taken away,and allowing her to take from him what she needed.In return,he gained so much more then he ever thought possible.


Chris did manage to talk Rita out of quitting,but all for nought.When they entered the shop the next morning,they were greeted by Cap,Donavan,Conroy and a member of the Internal Affairs board.

Chris knew right away he wouldn't like what was about to take place ,and he stepped slightly in front of Rita,his stance suddenly growing another two inches as he stood by her side,his face locked firmly in anger.He shook his head,his fists clenched together and he nodded his head,staring right past the men,summoning every ounce of control he could.

"Well,well, look who came to pay us a visit this morning,Rita." he said sarcastically.

Rita stood there,her arms crossed in front of her,also knowing what was about to come,and although she was struck with a sense of panic,she also was feeling very betrayed and just plain pissed off because of it.Chris could see the intesity of her feelings by the fire in her eyes,and he feeded off that as well.The battle was about to begin,he thought

"Lorenzo...Lance" Cap nodded slightly at them,while trying to convey to them a message of warning,seeing his two detectives and thier body language."How about if we all take this to my office....huh guys,"he looked at the three other men who had payed him a visit and brought him the news only a few minutes earlier.

The men all turned and started for Caps office,and Chris was about to as well,but he noticed Rita just stood ,her green eyes venomously following after them,but not making a move herself.He saw she was paralyzed with her fear and anger towards them,and so he slightly touched her elbow and lead the way himself,whispering softly "'ll be alright." before they entered Caps office.

"So what's up guys" Rita said,with a false courage as she entered Caps' office.

"Detective Lance" started Harrison,the man sent from the IA board "as you already know about what's going on with the Crago case,I'm sure you realize that the department has no choice but to investigate the matter."

"So I've been told" Rita said. Only Chris,Cap and George,who knew her so well, could hear the strain in her voice.

George stared down at the floor,wishing he could be anywhere else at the moment,as Conroy spoke up now

"Have you seen the papers this morning? Crago was released yesterday afternoon. The mayor has been getting nonstop phone calls from everybody wanting to know why this happened and what he intends to do about it."

"No kidding...imagine entire town upset because a killer has just been set free to prey on them again.." said Chris sarcastically.

"Enough Lorenzo!" spoke up Cap,thinking apparently his detective had missed the warning he had been trying to send to him.Now he looked over his glasses at the young seargent ,making it abundanltly clear to him to keep his mouth shut.

"So what does the mayor intend to do?" asked Rita

"Exactly what he should do,Seargent Lance.He wants an investigation launched wiithin the department.He wants answers as to why proper police procedure wasn't followed,starting with the search of the house,and why you both wern't together at all times while conducting it,especially since there are some questions about the eveidence that was found."

Again Chris could not keep his thoughts to himself."You go to hell!"

"Lorenzo! Did I pull your string to talk!?" shouted Cap,very annoyed with him now.The man wasn't making things any easier,for himself,or his partner.

"Cap! You hear what he's saying!" Chris couldn't believe Cap was just going to let that just slide on by.

"There is more to this matter then just the evidence that concerns us." Harrison spoke up sharply."There are also accusations of use of excessive and deadly force against you detective Lance.You will need to come in for a review over that."

Rita looked over to Chris,shaking her head,then at George,then to her Captain."I can't believe this" she said quietly.

"Believe it detective Lance. As of this moment,you are being placed on temporary suspension until the boards review." Harrison told her.

"What! can't be serious!" shouted Chris.

George looked up from the floor now,straight at Rita,who stood silently by,her eyes cast to the floor."Sorry.....We have to do it this way, Rita"

" Cap?" Rita looked up to him,hoping that he would be able to somehow fix this.

Cap looked away,not wanting to see the pleading in her eyes,and sadly shook his head. "I'm sorry Lance. You know the rules. I need you to turn in your gun and badge pending the outcome of the review board."

Rita understood.She even expected it would happen this way,but it didn't make it any less easier,and it hurt like hell. She had invested everything she was into this department,and now it felt like they were throwing her to the wolves.She refused though to let them see that side of her now.She silently placed her gun and badge once more on top of a desk,and stood staring at them for a few brief seconds,wondering why her entire career somehow seemed to be defined by only those two items .Then she turned without a glance at anyone and hastily walked out of the room.

Chris watched her,as she took off her badge ,hating like hell what he knew was going on inside her,and hating the cause of it.He wished he could go right up to her then and scoop her up in his arms and carry her away from everything right then.When she left the office,he turned to follow her,but knew he had one other thing that needed to be said ,whether his captain wanted to hear it or not.

"I don't get it? She is a both our cops" he said as he pointed to Harrison and his captain "aren't we all be on the same side here? I thought that at the very least,our own department would stand by us in this.?"

That said,he turned away and went to look for Rita,leaving Cap and George to stare silently after him,then turn and look at each other,knowing what the other was feeling.

Chris got to the parking garage just in time to see her car leaving. "Shit" he muttered to himself. He had no idea of where she was going,but she was driving erratically,and he knew she was in one hell of a mood.Not that he blamed her,but he wished she wouldn't have just left like that. He watched all the progress he thought they had made in thier relationship drive away with her .Every time something went wrong,she retreated from him,either physically ,emotionally or both. When would she ever learn to just trust him,he wondered.

He would have liked nothing more then to follow her ,but he knew he had a job to do also,and couldn't just leave to go after her,as much as he wanted to.He went back and finished up the paperwork on a case they had just wrapped up the morning before,and then he went over it with the assistant da on the case.Afterwards he quickly grabbed a cup of the now foul coffee and returned to his desk,pulling out the file from the Crago case,.His frustration grew as he read over the words he had memorized by heart now. He knew though what he would find. No matter how much he hated that the DA was right ,he and Rita had slipped up by not going exactly by the book...Not that it mattered any to the Crago case anyway,really The journal was all all hearsay,and the key had no prints on it. Cragos' lawyers had simply withered away much of the evidence against him,and blew smoke at what remained. What it resulted in was that a killer was back on the street and Rita was being put in for a bad shooting. She was getting punished for killing someone who had helped to kill fifteen ,no make that sixteen, other people.,and Crago was out free.

"Damn" he punched his desktop in frustration." Ouch!" he whined as he he shook his hand out,looking up when he heard Caps voice.

"You'd be better off using your heavy bag for that Lorenzo" Cap said quietly to him.

"Yeah,well,it's not available at the moment so..." he snapped at his captain,still annoyed that he hadn't spoken up for Rita or him.

"Chris....I'm in her corner on know that"

"Really? Well it didn't seem so at the time Cap. "

"Look Lorenzo,as the captain I had no choice,I had to follow the protocal." he lowered his voice now,trying to make Chris understand."It's part of my job,you know that"

Chris felt bad then for Cap,realizing that what he said was true."Yeah,Cap,I know. I'm not really mad at you.It's just that this really isn't fair,Cap. Alright,so we slipped up a little with the search,but they can't use any of that anyway,right...and they know Ginas' death wasn't Ritas' why are they letting all this fall on our shoulders?"

"Lorenzo,you know Conroy,how he is. It's cover your ass time and you and Rita are the ones he's using to hold the shield."

Chris nodded in agreement."Well,he had better not let Rita go down for this....if she does...I promise you Cap,so will he."

"Where is Rita ,Chris?" Cap asked him. He had been thinking about her all morning long.

Chris just shrigged his shoulders as he looked up to his captain. "I don't know that either,Cap. I tried to call...she isn't at home. "

Cap knew he wasn't really going to get any work out of Chris that day. He had been surprised Lorenzo had hung around as long as he had. "Go on Chris. It's lunch time anyway. Go find her...take the rest of the day off,okay." He put his hand on Chris's shoulder,giving it a squeeze.I'll see you bright and early tomorrow though,okay. I have some thing to go over with you then."

Chris nodded back at Cap,smilling a bit as he did,"Thanks Cap."

"Early,Lorenzo...I mean it!" barked out his captain at him."That doesn't mean you come strolling in ten minutes AFTER eight....I'd prefer it to be ten BEFORE eight,if that's possible!"

"Yeah yeah yeah.I got it" Chris grinned,gathering his jacket .

"Oh,and'll talk to Rita for me? " his tone softened now as he asked his seargent for the favor."Please."

Chris understood. He nodded towards Cap. "Yeah." See ya!"

"Remember Lorenzo....EARLY!!!" reminded Cap,as he watched Chris walk through the palm doors.


He had expected to find her alone and upset,probaly sitting on the sofa and drowning her sorrows in chocalate ice cream,as she watched the soaps on tv

"Rita" he called as he opened the door to his apartment,where she had been staying with him for the few weeks they had been together. Apparently she was home,but the radio was blaring and she must not hear him,he thought.He made his way to the where the sound was coming from,thinking she was in the bedroom.

He was surprised instead to find her in his bathroom,all thier stuff packed up in a box, the towell racks unscrewed off the the wall,and half the bathroom already painted in a new color.What once had been just a plain white,was now a baby powder blue.He groaned inwardly,knowing it wouldn't be very wise to say a word to her. After all,it had been him who had begged her to move in with him,not ever wanting to sleep without her by his side ever again.

The sight of her with a splatter of the blue paint on her nose,and streaked across her cheek made him forget his shock over what she had done to his bathroom,and instead he laughed. He couldn't help but think how very cute she looked just then.

She turned around ,surprised he was already home,and frowned at him.Chris,what are you doing home already?"

He tried to contain his chuckles"Well...Cap told me to take the rest of the day off."

"Oh...I was hoping to be finished before you got home."she pouted.

"Ha...Maybe that would have been might have gotten the chance to clean yourself up for me a little too." he laughingly teased her."Ahh...Sammy,WHAT are you doing?"

"What's it look like Christopher...I'm painting the bathroom."

"Yeah...I can see that" he said grinning and noding his heas,still trying to hold back his laughter."What I want to know is why?"

" needed it,that's why..AND I 'm glad your home after all...I was just about to finish up the ceiling.It's a stretch for me,even with the step ladder so...,now you can do that ." she added,smilling sweetly at him.

"Oh NO! No,no,no,no! Do you remember what happened the last time I helped you paint? You practically broke my back!"

"Awe...come on Chris...please" she stepped forward to him,making the face at him,the one she knew he couldn't resist.

Chris took a step backwards though.

"No." he smiled at her

"Please" she pouted at him,stepping closer again to him,reaching for him.

Again he took another step away from her,"Sammy....I have my work clothes on." he said.

"So take them off...." she said as she leaned in for a kiss. Her face changed from one of sweet and innocent pouting to one seduction now,as she reached for his shirt and began unbuttoning it,placing tiny kisses as each one was opened.

" got paint on my shirt," he complained,as he again tried to back away.knowing he was loosing the battle.

"I'll buy you a new one." Now she was undoing his belt.

Fight it,Lorenzo...he could hear himself think,but he knew it would be a lost cause. She had his pants off now,was sliding them down his ankles,lowering her kisses,and still pleading with him.

This isn't fair,he thought. She knew he had no defense against her womanly tactics,against her

He allowed her to completely undress him to his socks and underwear and then she turned to hand him a pair of jeans and an old t-shirt.

The game was over,and she had won.

"Rittttaaaaa" he whined.

She smiled a smile he hadn't expected to see at all that night,not after what had happened only a few hours before." It won't take long,and I promise,when your all done,we 'll scrub all the paint off of each other,okay"she said.

He stood there looking at her with blue hands and her stained up clothes,the hair falling out from the scrunchy she had used to tie it back,a strand of it blue to match the blue on her cheek.,her eyes teasing,and that beautiful smile on her face

How could he say no to that,he thought."Alright,alright...but you stay away from the ladder,you got that!" he reached out and pulled her close, whispering just as seductively as she could be,"And when we are all done the painting,Sammy,you meet me in the shower,got that?"

She handed him the paint stick. "As soon as the paint drys!" she burst out laughing,as she quickly dashed away from him.

Chris groaned and set himself to work,wondering how this woman had reduced him to a level he had promised himself would never happen. He had become whipped,just like Cap was with Fran.To make matters worse,he even enjoyed it.

They worked up for another hour or so,and finally Chris stood back,looking at the powder blue bathroom and shaking his head.Powder blue,huh,he thought.It would take some getting used to.

He saw Rita stripping out of her clothes,her back towards him,so he snuck softly up to her,and suddenly picked her up,flinging her over his shoulder. She shrieked in delight,begging for him to put her down,as he made his way back to the bathroom,careful not to touch it's freshly painted walls.

"Chris,we can't take a shower yet...maybe we should wait for the paint to dry."she protested.

"I can't wait...besides it'll be okay." he said,as he placed her down in the shower and quickly undressed to join her

They spent the next several minutes just literally scrubbing the paint off each other,and then Chris pulled the plug up,and lowered her down into the tub with him,as the hot water filled the tub.He wrapped himself from behind her,and she leaned back into his arms,taking his hands into hers.

The radio was still on and together they sat in silence listening as the music played.

Oh,why you look so sad?...Tears are in your eyes...Come on and come to me now

Don't be ashamed to cry...Let me see you through...Cause I've seen the dark side too.

When the night falls on you...You don't know what to do....Nothing you confess

Could make me love you less...I'll stand by you....I'll stand by you

Won't let nobody hurt you.....I'll stand by you......So if your mad,get mad

Don't hold it all inside....Come on and talk to me now

Hey,what you got to hide?....I get angry too....Well,I'm alot like you

When your standing at the crosswords....And you don't know which path to choose

Let me come along....'Cause even if your're wrong....I'll stand by you,

I'll stand by you....Won't let nobody hurt you.......I'll stand by you

Take me in, Into your darkest hour....And I'll never desert you.....I'll stand by you

And when..... When the night falls on you,baby......Your feeling all alone

You won't be on your own....I'll stand by you,.....I'll stand by you

Won't let nobody hurt you....I'll stand by you....Take me into your darkest hour

And I'll never desert you....I'll stand by you................


After several minutes of silence,Chris whispered softly to her."You okay."

She played with his fingers."Yeah,I am." she turned to him,smiling.

"You sure?" he asked. She had taken quite a blow today,and he was still worried about her. He knew being a cop was as much of what made Rita as her very soul was.

He could see the sparkle in her eye,the one that always told him how she was feeling,and he siged with relief. It was there, maybe slightly dimmer then usual,but it was still there.

"Chris....I walked out of there today,and I felt like the world was coming to an end...well,at least for me.Then you know,I started thinking,and I realized that no matter what happens,I still have you...that you are all I need,you know. It's like nothing can hurt as bad now...I don't know,I guess I'm not explaining myself clearly,but...I just know that as long as I have you,that other stuff just doesn't matter to me so much anymore.Being a cop was how I defined myself before....but now....maybe I just realize there is more to life,you know.?" she looked away from him now,slightly embarrassed.

Chris softly hugged her tightly to him,understanding exactly what she was trying to tell him.

" have just made me the happiest man alive,and I promise you ,sunshine....I will always be here for you, I will never let you down.. I love you so much,,,more then I could ever imagine was possible,and it means alot to me that you just said that to me,Sam

"Chris...I've told you how much I loved you before." she giggled

"Yes,......Sammy... It's just that now I know how much....I know you have faith in me,Sam,in us.That means alot to me."

She turned around in his arms,laying him back as she leaned over him for a kiss.'It means alot to me,too,Chris."

"I know" he whispered to her,before thier lips came together.'I know"


Chris was just about to call out for a pizza when the doorbell rang. "I got it ," he called out to Rita,who was busy in the kitchen now,doing God knows what,he thought.He opened the door,and there stood Cap and Franny,a casserole dish in her hands,a bottle of wine in the Caps.

"Fran! Cap...What a surprise ."he raised his voice now,hoping Rita would hear.

"Yeah well,I thought maybe I'd bring some dinner by for you guys...I know you never have any food here,and when I tried to call Rita,she wasn't home,so we figured she must be over here with you.Is she here?" Fran stepped into his apartment,looking around.

"Franny!" spit out Harry,as he followed her in."Not a word,you hear me?"He knew his wife,and he was worried over what she would say. So far Chris and Ritas' relationship had remained a secret,or at least they believed it was,and he preferred to keep it that way if possible.

"What...I didn't say a thing,Heshy! " she whispered back to him."So is she here?" She asked Chris out loud.

"Oh...yeah,she's here,in the kitchen...she ah...was helping me paint my bathroom earleir today."Perfect Chris....he thought,that is a good one."We were just about to order some to join us." Chris thought to ask. After that bath with Rita and the short nap that they had both tried to take,he was starving.He grinned,as he thought to himself,a bit tired too.....that nap had worn him out.

"I'd love it" said Cap at the same time as Fran spoke up"Oh,no,Harry can't eat food like that"

They each glared at the other,both recieving a look that spoke volumes back. Chris could tell right away who won,when he saw his captains eyes cast downwards in shame.

"I thought we could all eat dinner together,I made plenty." Said Fran as she left for the kitchen."I'll just go find Rita and we'll get things ready." she said,giving her Heshy one last stare.

Chris let out a chuckle as she walked past him,winking.Cap on the other hand,turned to focus his glare now on his young seagent.

"Not a word,Lorenzo!" he snapped at him.

Clearing his throat of the rest of the laughter caught inside,Chris nodded his head,and put on his most serious face

"Hey...I've been on her recieving end before...I'm not looking for any trouble."

Cap rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I learned that lesson a long time ago."

Chris sympathized with the man. He was beginning to understand him better then Cap knew.

"She's the reason we are here right now. I guess I was sitting at home feeling all miserable about Rita and all,and she made me come.I hope it's all right?"

Yeah,'s fine,not a problem."

"So how is she,Chris?

"She's doing good,Cap,really. I can see she is hurting inside over all of this,but she's strong,you know. I think she'll make it ." Chris looked in the direction of the kitchen,as he heard laughter from the two woman he most adored."So what's new at the shop."

"Not much.The board will review the shooting in another week,then we'll see. If she gets past that,I think everything else will turn out fine."

"What about the other accusations,Cap. They are just as serious.I want her cleared of them,or her reputation will be ruined.The mayor and the DA are looking for an escape goat,and you know that. I'm not letting her go down for them.No way."

"Chris,I promise you,that won't happen. I won't let it happen .Trust me,okay" He put his hand on Chris's shoulder and gave it a squeeze,communicating as one man to another,a message that would always exist in the DNA of men everywhere.It was thier duty to protect thier woman.

In the kitchen,Fran found Rita wiping down the inside of the cabinets. She understood right away that Rita was releasing her tension from the past few days events.Looking around Chris's kitchen,she decided Rita couldn't have picked a better place . It was a mess,and she decided to help her.Placing the casserole into the oven to warm it up,she found another cloth and began to clear out another cabinet.

"Fran,you don't have to do that,I'll just finish this one,and we'll all have dinner . I'll do the rest tomorrow...." her sentence cut off quickly,as her thoughts interupted what she was saying..... She would have plenty of time to do the entire apartment tomorrow...she wouldn't be working...

Fran knew what she was thinking."No,we'll get it done tonight,at least in here. Tomorrow,you and I are going out shopping. I've been wanting to take you to this new outlet mall I found...We'll have a girls day out! You'll love it,Rita.! I intend to make the most of the time your we can do all the things we keep meaning to do...It'll be fun!"

Rita grinned as she understood what it was Fran was trying to do.Knowing Fran,it would be fun,she thought. Franny Lipshitz wouldn't allow it to be anything but.

"Thanks Fran,and for the dinner too,that was so sweet.You really didn't have to though."

"Yes,Rita ,I did. I." Fran glanced back towards Harry. "He's been miserable ever since he got home this evening.He hasn't said much,but I think it's bothering him about what happened today,with you.He really feels bad about it,Rita. You and Chris are like his children to him. I thought maybe if he could see you,that you don't hold anything against him,he'd sleep better tonight. You don't,do you?"she asked,a little worriedly herself.

Ritas' eye began to mist."Oh no,Fran...I don't blame,Cap!" she quietly said. "How could I? He is only doing his job" She finished restocking Chris's cabinets,and climbed down the step ladder.

"Does he really think I'm mad at him?" she asked,wiping her hands on a towel now.

Fran just shook her head. "He's worried about something. I don't know what else it could be." she said,as she reached out and wiped a strand of hair away from Ritas' eyes."Maybe you can fix things up then tonight"

Rita leaned into Fran,giving her a hug."I will." She pulled away now. "Is dinner ready yet? I'm starving!"

"Oh,really?" Fran asked eyeing her up."All that painting you did today"

Rita caught something in Frannys' tone. It seemed a bit if somehow Fran meant something else by that remark.

"Yeah....all that painting" she said,smilling,still trying to understand what Franny had meant. No...she couldn't have meant that,she was just Fran,being Fran,is all.Her and Chris's relationship was still a secret.....and for now that was how it would have to remain. No one could know... especially not now.

The two woman walked back to join thier men,Ritas' gaze going immedialtely to Chris,for reassurance that all was fine,thier secret was still only thiers.He halfway smiled at her,and she understood.

Cap ,on the other hand was watching both Franny and Rita,his forehead crinkling up.his eys not meeting Ritas'.

"Are we going to eat or what? " he asked them both.

"Sure,,everythings' all warmed up and ready.....Ah,Cap,would you mind helping me in the kitchen for a second. I can't reach Chris's salad bowl.Chris,Franny wants you to show her the bathroom. She is thinking about redoing thiers and wants to see the color you chose."

"I chose?" he asked,lifting his eyebrows with a questioning attitude.He stopped speaking when he saw the face Rita gave him....much like the one Fran had given Cap earlier when they had arrived. Oh yeah,he thought, as he looked into her green eyes,I'm sinking deeper and deeper .I've got it bad.


"Where is this bowl you want,"Cap said as he followed Rita into the kitchen.

"It's right up there,above the that cabinet. "See it" she replied as she watched him reach up and open the cabinet doors.

Yeah, it." he said.

He turned around,and handed it to her. Her eyes met his,and he turned away.

"Cap.? " she asked."You okay?"

"Who me,of course I'm fine...why wouldn't I be fine." he said,a bit too hastily

"Oh...well,....then,that's good! I mean,Fran said..."

"What did she say?"

"Well....she thought you seemed upset,that's all. About what happened today,I mean. Are you?"

"Lance,why should I be upset? Hey...I didn't exactly like suspending you,but I was just doing my job. I had no choice,Lance,so don't blame me!"

"I know that...and I don't blame you Cap.....I hope I didn't make you think I did."

",Rita." he hesitated a moment... alright, so maybe I did worry a little about really understand why I couldn't stand up for you then?"

"Ummm..." she paused, pretending to take him into consideration "Yes!" Rita flashed him one of her smiles. He had to admit to himself,that other then Franny,no other smile had ever lit up a room for him the way hers did.

"Thanks,Rita. " he said,as he gave her a quick hug "I want you to know that I am still behind you and Chris....and you are not alone in this. I'm in your corner,and so are many others,for that matter,except those a-holes in the IA,and Conroy."

"That's good to know,Cap. Thanks. "

"So your fine then?" he asked,pulling away now to look her in the eye.

" Yeah...maybe feeling a little betrayed by the department,you know,let down" she lowered her head now,looking away,and then sighed,...".but I kind of expected it, I guess. "What bothers me more,is that Crago is out there again,and I can't do a damn thing about it,you know." She looked back at him,her emotions once again in her own control.

"I know,Rita,I know...that bothers us all.We'll get him though,somehow,someway,he's not gonna walk away from what he's done."

"Yeah...hope so."she said softly,as she smiled at this man who she had come to think of as her mentor,and so much like the father she wished could be apart of her life now.They could hear Chris and Fran laughing at something as they came down the stairs.

"Well,let's get this salad made,huh."

",let me chop up the cucumbers awhile." he took the knife from her and began chopping.Chris and Franny walked in to the kitchen then,.Franny stopped short at what she saw" Heshy? Are you helping in the kitchen?" she asked incredulous.

"Why not...what's the big deal?" he replied.

"''s just that you never help me!"

" never let me.!" he retorted.

"Oh." she simply said,as she stood there and watched him expertly slicing into the vegatable. "Hmm" she let out,before becoming quiet,as if in deep thought.

"Rita....I'm impressed." she finally said.Rita looked up at Chris,not quite sure what she meant. Chris laughed though,knowing very well what Franny meant

"Come on,let's eat,!" he laughed.

Later,after Fran and Harry had gone home,they went into the bedroom and watched tv. As Chris searched through the channels,He passed by Geraldo,who at the moment was giving one of his long windbagged spiels about his take on the situation in Palm Beach. Chris quickly switched to another channel,but Rita reached out and stopped him."No."

'It's Geraldo,Rita...He's like a scavenger,he feeds off others....."

But she only sat staring at the tv, again watching Billy Crago being released,and listening to the comments all the so called experts were making.

"Enough " Chris said,pushing the off button,then turning back to Rita."Sammy...don't let them do this to you ,okay."He took her into his arms and held her close to him,twirling a strand of her hair with his finger.

She sighed,knowing he was right. She had to try and not let this get to her.

She snuggled up under his chin,placing tiny angel kisses on his neck,and down his chest. "It's not him I'm thinking about right now,Sam," she said.

Once again he gave into her needs. It was a tough chore,yeah,but he was her best friend,...and after all,that's what best friends were for. He had promised he would always be there for her and he would be.An hour he was sound asleep,never knowing that she was still awake,and again watching tv,another news group on CNN discussing the Crago case along with a few others.

Chris arrived early the next morning at work,but really is wasn't because he had already promised his Captain he would. He had gotten up for work,and come down the stairs to find Rita sitting at the table reading the newspaper.He went over to place a morning kiss on her cheek when he caught a glimpse of the headliner.That was when he noticed Rita was only staring at the paper ,her hand trembling as she held it . He tore the paper free from her grasp,and read it.

PBPD officer faces charges in fatal shooting

Palm Beach homicide detective Seargent Rita Lee Lance will sit in an unfamiliar role as defendant next week,charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of 18 year old Gina May Lawrence

The District attorney's office alleged Lance,the first female officer to earn a gold shield in the PBPD,failed to use less violent means to try and stop Lawrence from attacking her partner,Christopher J. Lorenzo with a knife.

Lawrence,along with William Crago,the once suspect in the NightCrawler Murders,had been in a home where the police had planned to apprehend the suspects in the Night Crawler crimes.According to the affidavit,Lance told investigators that Crago had just been arrested when Lawrence supposedly came from nowhere ,weilding a knife and pushing Lorenzo to the floor.Lance claims that the shooting was a gut reaction,and that she hadn't had time to shout a warning first for Lawrence to stop. She said she simply acted on her instincts as a cop in trying to protect the life of her partner.

In a City Hall news conference,the district attorney,Roy Conroy,said that Lance has been placed on paid leave from her detective job, pending completion of an Internal investigation by the city.

"This is not an easy case" said the da."It's not a happy day for me,my staff or any member of the PBPD whenever a law enforcement officer is charged. We're all sworn to uphold the law,and that's exactly what we are trying to do here now, with the investigation of this case."

Added Police Captain ,Harry Lipshitz" No one wins in this case. While I have sympathy for the loss of any individual when an arrest is being made,my thoughts are most definetly with Seargent Lance,and I as her Captain ,do intend to support her through this. Cetainly no police officer sets out in the course of the day to take a human life."

Seargent Lance is also facing other controversies concerning the Crago case. It was because of some questionable evidence that Crago,who had already been arrested , has now been released and all charges against him have been dropped.A lawsuit against the city of Palm Beach and Seargent Lance has been issued by Cragos' lawyers.Crago alleges that he watched Lance shoot his fiancee' without real provacatin,and that he was arrested and charged falsely. His lawyers have stated that Cragos' case will be an exaample to show that surely no one is above the law here in this town.

"What the hell!" he groused,slamming the paper down when he finished reading it."What is Conroy up to,that bastard! "

Rita jumped in her seat as the paper slammed down in front of her ,her hand knocking into the coffee cup by it's side,and causing it to spill the steaming liquid on her fingers.

"Ahh...ouch!" she cried. "Stop it...just please stop it,Chris!. I don't want you to go storming around with your macho cave man attitude,Please,I can't handle that too.!" She couldn't help the tears that fell now,her emotions were over the top,and she couldn't hold it back any longer,as much as she tried to.Her eyes were looking at him.pleading with him to understand

Chris looked at her,realizing that she was right,he really wasn't helping the situation any acting like he was . She didn't need any more stress,and he worried she couldn't take anymore as well.He calmed himself down for her benefit only,promising himself that when the opprtunity came along,he would then release his pent up frustrations. Not now though,not with her.

"Come here,sunshine," he whispered,taking her into his embrace,and kissing her forehead. "I'm sorry. Your right." He wiped what remained of her tears,and again kissed her,this time on each wet eyelid."''s gonna be alright.Okay?"

She shook her head,as she layed it against his chest.After a moment,she had collected herself again and sniffed as she said "Hey,you've got to get ready for work,go on,and I'll make you breakfast."

He took her hand,seeing the tender red skin."First,let me fix this up for you." He led her to the bathroom,and dug through the box that she had placed the contents of the medicine cabinet into. He took out some ointment for the burn and carefully placed it on her wound.Then he gently wrapped her hand,and smiled as he brought it up to his lips and kissed it."I love you,Sammy"

She smiled now ,back at him,touched as always when he looked at her in that special -only for her -way."I love you too Sam"

He couldn't bear to see her ,as she watched him shave,and dress.She had made him quite a feast for his breakfast ,more then even he could manage to eat,but he suspected she needed to do it. She told him of the plans Franny had made.He could hear in her voice though that as much as she pretended to be happy,she wasn't. He was going in to work ,without her.She wasn't one to indulge herself in a day like Franny planned for them. She only wanted to go to work,and do what she was born to do,to be a cop.And she hated that her partner would be on his own now. He reminded her it was only for a little while,until after the board had it's hearing. She did her best to smile at him and assure him she really was fine,but he could see through to her sadness at watching him get ready for work.

He had left her doing the breakfast dishes,kissing her on the cheek and telling her to have a nice day.He couldn't wait to get to work,away from that scene. It was enough to make him loose control again. But she was holding up so well,it wouldn't do for him not to,even if that's how he felt. He walked into the shop,and sat at his desk,looking across to her empty one ,and knew this wasn't right. She should be here with him.

'Cap" he said as he knocked on the door and then walked into the office."I'm here. What did you want me in earliy for?"

Harry Lipshitz looked up ,his mind already fogged over by the files he was reading."Lorenzo...good your here.I was thinking yesterday...about the notebook and Journal Rita had found. I sent down for the video of the crime scene taken at the Richardsons that first day,and I thought we could look at it together...see what turns up.?"

"Hey,yeah,great idea,Cap...maybe that will at least proove Rita did find them, wouldn't do any good in the case against him,but it would at least clear up her name ....let's see!" Chris said,excited at the thought of taking some good news home to Rita.

They watched the tape,as room by room,the video camera explored every corner.Chris was once again reminded of the horrible images from that day as the camera went int the master bedroom,and captured the victims bodies as they had been found. He looked away,rememering Ritas' reaction to that scene,as well as his own and many of the others cops that had been there. It had shaken them all up pretty badly,almost as much as when they had found the couple with the litle boy that Crago had killed.

Harry also turned away,shaking his head "SHwooo...: he exhaled."I'm glad I wasn't there for that one."

"I wish we hadn't been,Cap." said Chris

Then the camera left the master bedroom,going down the hall,and then into the bathroom.Shortly after that,the camera again was showing another room,this one was the babys room,where Rita had found the notebook and diary..They held thier breath as the camera scanned the room,and an errie silience filled the room.Once again Chris had wished he would have been the one to search that room instead of his parter,but then he wished they had been together anyway. It would have been one less headache for them now.

"Bingo!" shouted Cap as he quickly stood to push the pause button on the vcr."Look ...there they are,right there on the changing table,where she said they were found!" he cried out happily."Oh...just wait until I show the DA this....this makes my day!"

Chris was happy at what he saw. Ritas' name would be cleared of planting evidence was one hurdle they had overcome,now they just needed to get past the boards review for bad shooting.Maybe things were looking up for them .

"Cap,this is parfait!' grinned Chris,already wishing he could go home and tell Rita the news.

Cap read his mind though. "Go on,Lorenzo....Tell your partner! Go! Go!" he laughed as he urged his seargent out of his office. Soon he would have his best team back working together again.

For the first time in twenty four hours he felt some relief from the burning in the pit of his stomach.


Normally he never read the newspaper,but this morning he had. He knew it would be about him,and he took great pleasure in reading of the turmoil he again was causing the city. There was a new surge of the fear and panic that had gripped the city a few weeks earlier,and he was once again the cause of it.He heard what they said,knew of thier fear,,hearing it in thier voices as they called into the CNN news talk shows,discussing him on the radio,and local tv shows. It brought him joy.

Reading about the detective who had killed his Gina had also thrilled him.He missed Gina so much,actually ached inside because she was gone now,and he could never again touch ,never again hold her....He had never known how much apart of him she had been,but now it was too late...and it was all that cops fault.

He shook with rage as he finished the article about her.

Chris tried to call home,but when the phone wasn't answered there,he remembered Rita had gone out with Fran,and so he decided instead to tell her that night,rather then ruin her time out with Fran by bringing any part of work up at all,even if it was good news.He went out to investigate another crime scene that had just been called in, earlier that morning.. A twenty year old boy had just been shot and killed by a home owner. The young man had been out walking his dog the night before and the dog had gotten away from him,running into a nearby yard. The homeowner had assumed the person walking around his property was the same man that the police had let loose,the same man who had killed other families,but in no way was going to harm his.....and so the homeowner had shot and killed the young kid.It was an accident,but one that would still have serious consequences on this fathers life,and all he had been trying to do was to protect his family. Chris shook his head in disgust thinking of all the lives this one killer had destroyed,and wondered how many more would suffer at his hands. He was determined to make sure Rita's wasn't one of them.Crago could claim all he wanted that Rita just shot at Gina without any warning,but it was his word against Ritas excellent career,her gold sheild,and many character witnesses. She would come through that hearing with flying colors,that Chris was sure of.Crago was not going to destroy her life,and if he had anything to do with it,Crago would be behind bars again as soon as possible.

Rita layed on the table,a towel halfway covering her naked backside,and tried to relax. It wasn't easy,however. She really didn't like to be in such a vulnerable position, least with anyone other then Chris,she thought,as she smiled a bit. Fran saw the smile,one of the few of the entire day.

"That's a girl,Rita....just relax....enjoy it. It'll do wonders for you honey." Said Fran,who layed on the other table across from Rita. She had been talking to her masseur,catching up on the latest gossip over some mutual aquaintance,as she every now and then would direct the woman to a new spot that just needed to be worked on. Rita giggled,amazed at the things Fran chose to do to spend her days. It wasn't so bad,actually,she thought.But she could never get uses to it herself.

She closed her eyes and tried to relax,as Fran told her to,feeling the mans fingers kneed deeply into muscles she hadn't noticed were so tight until he began his work. Rita hadn't wanted the man,but Fran had insisted he was good and she take him,...besides she really had alot of catching up to do with Bonnie,her massuer.

Josepsh,the man who was massaging Rita,was a quiet man,and he didn't like to talk while he worked,unlike Bonnie. He believed his customers relaxed much better while not gabbing,and he could see this lady needed some relaxing. She was very tight,and he thought she would be in for a killer of a head ache if he couldn't work out the tension he felt with in her.

He worked along her spine,and up into her neck,and continues to rub at the places where her knots were.After awhile he felt her totally succumb to him,and he knew she had fallen asleep,despite the gabbering over across the room.It was the ultimate compliment to him,and he was glad he could spare her the pain he knew would have accessended on her soon with all the tension she had been carrying.

She was a beautiful woman,he thought,and wondered what could possibly affect her that much. He finished with his treatment and left her to sleep for a few more minutes .He closed the curtain around her and signalled to his co-worker that he was stepping out for a moment,and to hush a bit.

Bonnie nodded her head,and smiled."He's done it again,Fran. Josesh just put your friend to sleep."

Frann chuckled at that. She had already been on the recieving end of one of Josephs massages,and she knew that had been just what Rita had needed.

"Good...I'm glad she finally gave in..She's been wound up tight all day. This was my last hope."

"Well,Fran,you know if Joseph could make the Queen of England relax,he could do it for anyone,huh?"

From across the room,they heard a very soft snore and they both broke out in laughter.

Chris arrived home before Rita did that night. After they had gone shopping at the outlet mall Fran had discovered,and had lunch at a very chic restaurant ,they had gone to the spa,and Franny had had them do the works on both of them. By the time Fran and Rita had left,they had been primped over every inch of thier bodies,and they walked out.contented,and deleriously happy. Rita suggested she treat Fran now to dinner at Fritz's ,to which Fran readily accepted.

Fritz.of course was delited to see them,especially his Rita. He told her to hang in there and that he was going to cook the two ladies a scrumptious meal ,and for desert he had just what they needed.,his famous chocolate mousse. Both ladies ate ,enjoying the meal that had ended a truly wonderful day out,with even Rita admitting as much.By the time Rita came home later that night,Chris was bursting with his good news for her,and also feeling very lonely in his empty loft that greeted him..He could see the change in Rita immediately,she looked much more at ease then she had when he left her that morning.

Chris told her about the tape and they celebrated by popping some corn and watching Double Indemity,her favorite movie They fell asleep on the couch with the movie still playing. Later in the night,Chris woke up and turned off the tv and vcr. He looked over at Rita ,who was huddled uncomfortably at the end of the couch where she had been massaging his feet. He sat up and gently took her into his arms and stretched back out on the sofa,lying her on top of him.He was back asleep within seconds,his last concious thought was how he liked feeling the beat of her heart against his own.

Rita woke first the next morning,finding herself spread out on Chris and immediately her senses were wide awake as well.She rubbed his chest,and nuzzled under his chin,and began to wake him with her soft suckles on his neck.He smiled in his sleep,but didn't awaken,only wrapped his arms around her tightly,and drifted off again,until her hands made thier way down to a more intimate area . He slowly opened one eye,watching her,and grinning.

"You used to tell me this would only happen in my dreams,Sam. "

" aren't dreaming now,are you?" she asked him.

"If I am,I never want to wake up. Come here,sunshine."

She slowly trailed her kisses up his belly,to his chest,before her lips landed on his.It was a good morning kiss that took another hour,before Chris finally had no choice but to get up and shower for work. Rita followed him in,and an hour later,Chris was dashing out the door,already twenty minutes late.

The day passed quietly for Rita,who decided to go through the living room closet in Chris's living room,and give the apartment itself a thorough cleaning.At lunch time,she packed up some food and drove to the station to meet Chris for lunch.As she walked into the shop,she was greeted with meloncholy ,longing to be where she belonged,craving the action all around her.

Chris was out on another new case.A gang of young hispanics had beaten to death a man.The guy had been hitting on the sister of one of it's members,and he had looked remarkably like the picture of the guy in the newspapers.,they had said. It wasn't normally the homicide detail he and Rita were used to,usually they were assigned to the Silk Stalking cases,as they called them.but because this death had to do with Crago in a roundabout way,he went to investigate.Another death related to Cragos actions,another life destroed because of him,Chris thought.

When he returned,he found Rita waiting for him outside at a table,and immediately he cheered up,just by seeing her,...she truly was his ray of sunshine,he thought. He took her quickly into a hug,before they both backed up again,knowing they still needed to keep thier relationship a secret .They couldn''t greet each other with a kiss,but thier eyes met and locked,speaking words they didn't need to say aloud anyway.

"'s it going?" she asked him "Heard you got another one."

Chris raised his eyes,and shrugged."Yeah....all hell is breaking loose with that monster being set free."

He didn't want to talk about that now though...He just wanted to enjoy his lunch and the time he had with her. He had been missing her all day,being so used to having her by his side all the time.They sat down and began to eat the sandwiches Rita had brought.

"So what have you ben doing with yourself today? Fran stop by?" Chris asked her.

"No...she called me and invited me to her bridge group" she shook her head as she wrinkled up her nose at the thought

" just not me"she added.

"Ha!" Chris laughed at her" should have went with her...I think you would make a pretty good bridge player."

Rita reached over and slugged him.After a few moments of Chris's teasing Rita jumped up " Let's go take a still have a half hour yet" she said as she rose,already walking away.

Chris stood up to follow her,grabbing his sandwich,and the can of soda.They headed to the nearby path that would take then to the park.


Billy Crago was a free man now. His lawyers had seen to that. . He had his rights,and now the cops could not keep tailing him around.Now,he was truly free to come and go as he pleased ,to do as he wanted. At first he had been reconized when he left his apartment,but now,with a cap and sunglasses,he was just any other Joe on the street.He couldn't stand to be pent up in his hot apartment any longer,and he decided to get out. He had no idea of where he was going,he just simply walked,and in his memories he was with Gina again.After an hour,he found himself at Ocean Park,and thought of the the ironcy of himself walking to the area of the police station,only two blocks down.He sat on a bench,just watching,while he listened to her speak inside him.. She would often come and talk to him.It had started when he had been in the jail,and it was the only time in which he found any peace .

He still felt within him that hatred when he watched all the people walk by. Woman pushing baby strollers.....people jogging, and rollerbladders gliding by,children laughing as they played, lovers walking as they held hands......They all seemed so happy and contented...he couldn't help but hate them for it.

He was distracted by someone laughter now,and he turned to the sound. Another couple,holding hands as they walked. Something about them seemed familiar.......and he watched them now as the woman playfully darted away from the man as the man lunged for her,and then caught her in his arms,causing her to laugh once again.They strolled over to a tree and the man lowered himself to the ground,leaning against the tree,and taking her hand to help her sit beside him. As she lowered herself though,he quickly pulled her onto his lap,and now they both laughed,before coming together in a kiss.He watched them,mesmorized by them,until suddenly he knew who they were.They were the cops who had arrested him,who had took away his Gina...she was the one who had shot Gina..........

They stood up again,and walked over to watch the ocean in the distance. The man came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her,and she leaned back into his embrace as she brought her hands to meet his at her stomach. They stood watching for awhile like that,as if they had forgotten the rest of the world still existed around them. And he saw something even more familiar about this pair of cops.........

One other memory came to him now as he watched them,. He remebered now ...they had been the couple he had watched in that fancy restaraunt all those weeks ago.....he remebered the kiss she had given to the man when roses had been brought to her....he remembered watching them as they had danced together,and thought about how much he had admired her beauty, had lusted for her....As he watched the couple now,he could still see the bond between them he had seen that night.He could also tell it had grown even deeper now.

The anger he had simmering within him towards the one who had killed Gina now suddenly exploded to the surface,and he seethed with it,as he watched the couple,so much in love. No,he thought...No way will I let you be so happy took Gina away from me,you bitch....You will have to pay for that, lady cop........... You will pay.........

As he watched the couple walk back the way they came,thier arms wrapped around each other,he could hear Gina speaking to him,urging him on.,and he began to plan his revenge...........


What will happen next??? Stay tuned for Part Two...soon to come. Lisa

The usual disclaimers apply...If you've seen them on Silk,then of course they are not mine.We all know who they belong to,right? Also,the song I'll Stand By You,is by The Pretenders.


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