Pandoras Box
By Lisa

Part Two

The next two days passed quickly by for Chris. The residents of Palm Beach were clearly agitated by the release of someone who they believed was guilty of numerous murders. The station had been flooded with a deluge of phone calls from frightened citizens every night since Cragos' release, all sincerely fearful that there was someone lurking around thier house outside. The overburdened police did thier best to check out each and every call,despite the number of them.

While the patrol cars tried to keep the streets safe and the panic to a minimum,Chris was busy himself,investigating the one case in which maybe the police really should have been called for help.The judge that had ordered Cragos release had been found shot in his own home,with a spray painted message on his bedroom walls that this was the justice he deserved. Chris was the primary in the investigation,and he never even made it home the first day Judge Victor Rielly had been found.

By halfway through the third day,Chris was totally exhausted .He went home after lunch,to catch a few hours of sleep before going back in again. Rita was on her way out when she opened the door to Chris ,who was on his way in.Seeing him standing there, barely awake,she took him into a hug,then followed him upstairs. They talked as he showered,catching up on each others lives.

"I wish I could help you out there,Chris" Rita sighed as she watched Chris towel himself dry.

"I wish you could too,Sammy. I miss you ,partner. "

He yawned,as he gathered her into his arms. "So where were you on the way to when I got home?"he asked her.

"No where really...just going to check on my apartment,feed the fish ,water the plants.and get my mail..Then I was going to stop by and see how Taylor was doing."

"Oh...," Chris yawned again."say hi for me..."

Rita playfully pinched his butt..." To who? Taylor or my fish," she giggled.

Chris groaned at her joke."I meant your fish...but you can tell Taylor I said hi also." he laughed,as once again,another yawn escaped him.

"Come on Sleepy head," Rita said,as she led him to the bed. "Climb in" she odered him.

Chris smiled,just looking at her,and the next thing she knew she was laying under him,and he was tickling her."Only if you join me,Sam" he pleaded.

"No,Chris....I would love to," she said,giving him little pecks on his lips" but you,need to sleep."

"Awe,Sam...I need you more." he complained.

"You get some sleep first. I promise you,when I get back,I'll make it up to you,...Now close your eyes."she whispered ,as she brought her lips up to his eyelids,and began to place light feathery kisses on each one,over and over again. Chris had no choice but to close his already heavy eyelids,and he smiled contently as Rita whispered "Sweet dreams,Sam...I love you."

"Love you too,Sammy..." he managed to speak before he felt himself sinking into his dreams.

Rita gave him one last kiss before standing and just looking at him,as he let out a last protesting groan . She smiled as she watched the love of her life fall asleep,suddenly feeling an urge to snuggle in besdie him . No,she told herslef,he needs to sleep,and your fish need to eat. She quietly let herself out of the apartment.



He had been following her for two days now. The papers were right,she must have really been suspended,because she didn't go into work when her partner had. In the last two days,he had learned quite alot by watching her..During that time,his rage against her grew.What right did this woman have to be so happy when she had taken away the only person who had ever brought him any happiness of his own.....

He had watched her partner...her lover,....go into the apartment they shared,and didn't expect to see her quite so soon,but now,fourty minutes later,she was leaving.She got into her car,and he followed behind her,keeping himself at a discreet distance.. Perhaps he would learn even more about Seargent Lance today.



Rita drove to her apartment,only ten minutes away,and let herself in. She opened the windows to air out the place,and then she fed her fish. She watched them as the hungrily chased after the food as it floated down in the water,and she smiled.. As simple as they were,watching them always brought her pleasure,and she had grown attatched to her little pets. And why not,she thought.laughing to herself. They had been around for awhile,despite Chris's warning,and they had kept her company times as she had thought aloud while watching them.

After seeing that her fish had eaten,she watered her plants,then decided to go pack a small suit case of things she needed. She had been spending more time at Chris's lately then she did here ,although she still liked to come by as often as possible. This was her home,her sancutuary...a place where she could touch base when needed. It was hers alone,and she felt good just knowing it was there.

After packing an overnight bag with a few more essentials,Rita closed the windows again . She softly tapped on her fish tank, and said goodbye before locking up the door behind her. It was the last time she would be home.


He watched as she drove away,but this time he did not follow her.,. He walked up to the building,and read the names on the mail boxes.

Coming back to his car,his mind had already begun to form a plan, would at least be a start..a simple enough way to begin to destroy her life,to take away some of her happiness for now,....yes,he grinned would definetly be a start.



Harry was sitting at his desk,rubbing at the burning in his stomach as he popped in two more rolaids. It was this damn new case, involving Judge Rielleys' death. Add to the fact that half of his best team was being overworked because the other half was out on a ridiculous suspension ....

Not that Franny would agree with him on this...she'd say it was that breakfast burrittos he had eaten this morning...that is if she had known he had eaten them.As far as she knew,he had eaten the bran muffin,and the cantalope slices ,and he had,but it hadn't filled him up at all. He was starving and it had still been hours away until lunch....and so he had stopped to get the buritto....and it had been good....and then had bought another. He did feel guilty about it...but it hadn't been enough to stop him from discarding the turkey on wheat bread sandwich Fran had packed for him at lunch time ,and instead eating a reuban sandwich. He might have to eat the dinners Fran cooked for him,but he was getting pretty good at sneaking lunch the past few days now,and what was even more deliteful about it ,was that he guilt he felt in doing it was easily ignored.

However, ,it was certainly not the forbidden food he had eaten that day to cause the burning he now felt...sourkraut could not make one feel this was everything else...."Uggg..." he moaned as he again opened his rolaid bottle for a few more tablets




Rita had a pleasant visit with her friend Taylor and as she drove back to Chris's place,she felt good. In three more days,the boards review would take place,and she felt the truth would come out. She had good friends,and she had Chris....if they all believed all would turn out well,then she suppossed she could too. She hadn't actually liked not being able to work ,but it hadn't been all that bad either. She watched Chris go off without her to work ....but she also was the one who he came back home to....and at the end of the day,that was all that mattered really.

She let herself into the silent apartment,realizing that Chris was still asleep,and she went to the bedroom. Looking at him again,she couldn't find any other excuse not to finally join him now,so she took off her clothes and slid into the bed,wrapping her body around his. It wasn't much longer before she could feel a part of Chris wake up before the rest of him officially did, and she giggled. Hearing her,Chris allowed the remainder of himself to awaken also

"You....." He kissed her "you really know how to wake up a man."

"You like that,do you?" she asked seductively.

"Oh,yeah....I like that...I like this too," he said as he rolled over now,laying her gently underneath him,and sofly kissing her."And this too" he he lowered his kiss to her breast..." and then there is this " he added as he stoaked between her legs.

"Oh...I like that too." she whispered to him,before his lips captured hers.


Later as Rita layed in Chris's arms,her hand on his chest,and her head resting in the crook of his arm,,Chris watched her smile in her sleep.and softly murmor his name. He brought her closer to him,and gently kissed her forehead. His heart swelled with the love he felt for this woman,and he had never in his life felt so complete and whole,so alive as he did when he held her in his arms,as he did now. After all the time he had known her, cared so deeply for her ,loving her without even understanding what love really was,she was finally giving to him her entire being. He could no longer feel the absence of that little piece of her heart that she had once held back,even from him.... he now felt within him the part of her that once she had been so afraid to surrender to anyone, giving so wholly and totally of herself..

Again,he heard her mumble something and the only word he understood was his name. It was the only thing he needed to understand. Rita was truly his,and that was all he could ever want or need.



Billy Crago stared into the fire ,the small spark almost possessing his thoughts. He allowed he match to burn,quickly consuming the paper stick,and crawling it's way to the finger that held it. He felt the burning,and closed his eyes,forcing himself not to react to the intense pain it caused.Instead he made himself bear the pain....doing so always made him stronger,somehow making him feel almost divine like with himself.He could take the pain,he had been training for it his entire life.When the match had at last burned it's way out,he again lit another and again let it burn the tips of his finger.

He heard her speaking to him,complaining about why it was taking him so long to seek her revenge. She was counting on him to do what she couldn't herself,and he would not let her down...not this time,he thought. "Tonight" he whispered to her.


He finished his session of torturing himself,and went to gather the things he would need. When he had gotten everything together,he put on a clean t-shirt,catching himself in the mirror as he did.At first glance,he saw the brown hair and the slightly crooked nose,the tall ,lean man he had grown to be... Cold dark eyes stared back at him,and he was taken aback by this.

For the briefest of moments,the nine year old little boy who had been abandoned by his parents was looking back at him now.He didn't like what he saw though....the pain in his eyes.He felt a sympathy for the little boy he saw in the mirror,an emotion that now he rarely felt. The boy who looked back at him through that mirror had been through hell his entire life,had always longed for love,for security and happiness. It had been all he ever wanted,and as he walked past the other homes on his block, he would casually look through the windows,seeing families together,,playing outside or eating at the dinner table, maybe just watching tv... but it all seemed so perfectly wonderful to him,and he wished he could have been a part of it all.

He lived with a foster family.... people who were suppossed to have given him what his parents could and would not. He had been nine when his parents had just up and moved away ,while he had been in school. He had been surprised of course to come home to an empty house,but not especially mournful of it either. His mother hadn't ever wanted to be a mom. He wasn't even allowed to call her had to be Sandra instead. His parents had spent thier nights in a bar,and thier days sleeping it off.Billy couldn't ever remember Sandra ever fixing him a meal. Most often,he would just find whatever was in the fridge,which wasn't much. He was lucky if he saw bread, cereal and milk among the beer and liquor bottles when his parents remembered to do the shopping.

The boy had learned to take care of himself,and eventually he had learned to stop craving for those things he desperately wished to have,to stop caring ...and to stop feeling the pain of thier absence in his life. When he had found Gina,somehow,she had broken through his protective shell,perhaps because he saw in her the same need he had. Then she had gotten pregnant,and refused to give up the baby. He didn't want a child....the thought of a child brought back the memories of the little boy he once had been,the same little boy he now saw staring at him through the mirror.....

It was the boys eyes now that he fixed his own eyes on. He saw the pain,yes....but he also saw something else. What he saw was his own soul. A soul that knew nothing but what it had been exposed to and hated what it had been denied .....and a soul that desired revenge more then anything else to fill it's emptiness now.



Chris and Rita strolled down the street to the near by chinese restarant for dinner that night,and then parted ways for awhile,as Chris had to back into the shop and Rita was going to see a movie with Fran.



Victor Rielly had been married once,but he had also been a young lawyer trying to climb the ladder of success for his family.He discovered too late that once he had reached the top of his ladder,he no longer had his family.With each step higher he got on the his way to success his wife would remind him that she also needed a husband to be there for her and the children needed thier father. After years of being ignored,his wife had finally given up and moved away,taking both of thier children along with her.A few years later,she had remarried.

He had lived on his own ever since,sad,and lonely,but never willing to become involved in another relationship.

Both of his children were grown and married now,and his daughter had just recently given birth to his first grandchild .Over his vacation ,still another month away,he had been planning to see his grandson for the first time ever.

Victor Rielley was glad for his his family,especially his ex-wife ,and they both had become friends at least once the divorce itself had settled,but he never did allow himself to become involved with anyone else again A part of him felt that somehow that wouldn't be very fair to the family he once had. He had learned a valuable lesson about life and love,but it was one that just didn't seem right to start over with ,and so he kept to himself. Instead he buried himself in his work,and that was why he had found himself a judge fairly early in his career.He had a good reputation and was liked by most of the lawyers and the police as well. He had been known to be fair. Which was why,as much as he despised doing it,he knew he had no choice but to release Billy Crago back to the streets,and that was a decision that cost him his life.

The last person,other then the killer to see Judge Rielley alive had been a waitress at a diner close to where he lived. He had stopped off there as he did several nights a week. The waitress often tried to flirt with him,and said sometimes he would flirt back,but never once did he allow it to go any farther.He would come in,place his order and chat for a few minutes with the other regulars he had gotten to know,then simply eat his dinner and mind his own buisness. That night,she told Chris,he had stopped by and nothing out of the ordinary at all had occured. She had been horrified to learn that the man had been murdered in his own home later that night.


Chris thanked the waitress,and went to Caps office to fill him in on what she had told him. He had only been working two hours since he got back,but he was still exhausted. A five hour nap just hadn't been enough.,especially when he had only actually slept four,he thought...but then he remembered why. He grinned.....He couldn't wait to get home and fall asleep again ,just for the chance that Rita would wake him up...he really liked how she woke him,..he thought.



Billy Crago watched as the small flame traveled,and grew with each second of it's existance. It was a good one he thought,as he backed away from it now,it would do what it was intended to do,especially with the help of the gas he had splashed around.

He took one last look,saw the fire approaching the fish tank now and surrounding it. He let out a laugh,,remembering how he had always wanted a pet...but no,never fish...he had wanted a dog himself.......

Quickly he let the door close behind him before dashing down the stairs and out the door,racing to his car which he had parked in the next block over.He would go home now and just wait .


Fran and Rita has just sat down in the movie theatre when Rita 's cell phone rang.Embarrassed,even though the movie hadn't yet started and only a handful of people were seated already,she stood and went out to the lobby.


"Seargent's Officer Thompson here.My patrol was called over to a fire on Palm Drive. I hate to be the one to tell you this but it's your apartment building that is on fire."

A fog enveloped over her then....and she heard herself tell the officer she'd be right there and hung up,walking slowly back to her seat and sat down,without a word. Franny knew immediately that something was wrong when she saw Rita .Her face was ashen.,and her hands trembled.

"Rita,dear...Is something wrong? You look as if you 've just seen a ghost."

She turned to Franny now,looking at her through a daze."My apartment is fire." she whispered.

Franny didn't think she heard her right...a fire.?....."Rita,did you say fire....your apartment is on fire?"

She watched as Rita sat,slightly shaken her head.

Immediately Fran understood what was wrong. Rita was going into shock and not thinking clearly. She stood up and pulled Rita from her seat,forcing her to follow her out of the theatre.She led Rita to the passenger seat , as she called Harry from her phone.,and told him to find Chris. They planned on meeting over at the fire.


By the time they had gotten there,the fire was almost extinquished,leaving a black and smokey shell of the once beautiful white building it had been.A few of Ritas' neighbors stood outside,watching as the firemen tried to save what they could of the buildings other side.

Rita jumped out of the car even before Fran could come to a stop,and ran towards her apartment. She could see that the fire had ravaged her apartment the worst. As she got closer,a fireman stopped her and blocked her way. Rita just stood there then, watching them fight the fire. All she could think about was that her parents pictures were in there...the pictures of her and Chris...the guardian angel pin he had given her....and her fish.

Fran rushed to her when she saw Rita suddenly double over,and begin to cry..She knelt beside her and tried to comfort her, truly feeling sympathy for her friend.. It had to be a difficult thing to watch almost your entire life destroyed in such a way.

She wished Harry and Chris would hurry and get there.

Ten minutes later,they finally arrived. Chris immediately sprung from his car,his eyes searching for Rita.He saw her,now on her knees,crying into her hands,and he rushed to her side,taking her into his embrace.

She looked at him,as if pleading for him to wake her up,to make the nightmare go away...something he desperately wished he could do for her. He stood her up and led her back to this car,where Cap and Fran now stood,helplessly watching them.She was shivering,despite the rather humidly warm night,and the heat from the fire itself.Chris wrapped his arms around her to try and stop her trembling.

No one said a word as they watched the firemen finish up thier work, checking for any remaining sparks that might still ignite.One fire fighter needed to be taken to the hospital,because of severe smoke inhalation.When the ambulance left,Cap went over to speak to the fire chief and a few of cops to learn what happened. A few minutes later Franny turned to Chris

"Take her to your place,Chris. Give her some brandy and wrap her in a blanket...I'll be right there."

Frannys' words broke through the daze that had settled over Chris,as he was living his own nightmare.All he could think about was how grateful he was to have Rita safely in his arms just then.

"Yeah" he said,as he took off the light suit jacket he wore and wrapped it around Ritas shoulders. She looked at him with tears in her eyes and he pulled her closer to him,wrapping his arm around her shoulder and leading her to his car.


Franny watched the young couple leave,then went to tell her husband she would be over at Chris's place.

She caught the cheifs last words as she approached them.

"......seems to have been started on purpose...we found gas cans and the path of the fire is what made it get so out of control so fast...this was if.."

The fire chief was interupted now,as Fran stepped in,not in the least bit aware that she had no actual right in doing so.In her mind,the thought never even occured.

"I just can't understand why someone would do something like did you say your name was?

The fire chief was taken by surprise at this small ladys' boldness."Parker" he replied

'Well,Chief Parker...a very close friend of ours lived here" she referred to her and Harry with her hands.."she's also a cop,.....the first female detective to get a gold shield in the department." she added proudly,as an after thought... "I am just so thankful that she wasn't caught in the, she is certainly upset over this,and I am sure I don't need to tell you that the person found responsible for starting this fire should be brought to justice. ...Ohhh...How is the man who was taken to the hospital anyway? To think of all the damage this person has done....could have done...I'm sure that between your department and my husbands here....the person who started this will be will cooperate with the police in this,won't you?" she ordered in the form of a question.

"Ahhh.. Yes, Ma'am..Of course..."

"That's good to know.' said,sharply,and was just about to say something else when Harry reached over and pulled her away from the small group.

"Franny! He's the Fire Chief,for crying out loud...he knows what he's let the man do his job." He begged her.

She looked him in the eye then,gave him that look he knew so well....and he melted inside .His wife was really quite remarkable...always wanting to take care of everyone and everything. ...a small woman with a huge heart. Sometimes she went too far,but she really had only the best of intentions........

He leaned over to her,and tenderly placed a kiss on her cheek.Times like this always put everything into the right perspective,and he was very grateful for his wife.

Franny gave him a tight hug in return,before she backed away,still looking at him.She knew he was right in this matter...Sometimes she really could go too far.

" find out who did this,okay.....I'm going over to Chris's place to see how we can help"

Harry sadly nodded his head...he had been so caught up in the investigation,he hadn't really given much thought to Rita. He was glad that his wife was.

"I'll meet you over there in a bit.."

He watched as she walked away,and he wondered what he would ever do without her.He hoped never to find out.



Back at his apartment,Chris poured them both some of the 20 year old scotch, his father had given him for Christmas the past year.,and then sat on the sofa beside Rita. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and gently caressed it as he handed her the scotch. She took a sip and he laughed at the sour face she made,before handing it back to him.He took it from her and placed it on the sofa table,then leaned back again,sighing heavily.She never said a word,but she moved herself closer to him and rested her aching head on his shoulder

He wrapped her securely in his arms,and kissed the top of her head,holding her close to him.

Softly she began to sob,and he cried right along with her,because there was nothing else he could do.Her pain was hurting him just as much.

A few minutes later,he was kissing away tears,forcing a smile for her,when they heard a knock at the door.

He stood and went to open it as Rita rushed up the stairs to wash her face..

It was Franny,just as he had expected it would be."'s Rita?...I was worried about her....I thought maybe she was going into shock." asked Fran as she came in.

Chrs closed the door behind her,just as Rita came back down the stairs.

"Rita...Oh dear,I am so sorry" Franny went over to her now,her eyes doing a quick and thorough examination of the younger woman beside her.She saw her swollen red eyes and the pain in them. She was shaken up,but Fran decided she wasn't in danger of shock anymore.

Rita smiled slightly at Fran ,looking Chris's way for a little support .Chris knew immediately that Ritas control of her emotions was still very fragile,and he came up to her,and wrapped his arm around her shoulder now.

"Why don't we all go into the kitchen and I'll make us some coffee."

"Oh,no...Christopher...I have had your coffee....Why don't you just sit here with Rita and I'll go and make the coffee. Heshy will be along in a few minutes .I believe,...." she continued talking as she went into the kitchen.

"Thanks,Sam" Rita softly said,as she looked at him,into his deep blue eyes that were her saving grace,she thought.

He touched the tip of her nose,"Anytime,Sammy" he said smiling for her,hoping to get one in return. She did try,he could see that,but a smile just wouldn't come...Instead he was rewarded with her outstretched arms reaching for a hug.


Thirty minutes later they were all sitting in Chris' kitchen eating the sandwiches Fran had made along with the coffee.

"Rita...I want you to come and stay with Fran and I until you can find another place." He offered her.

Rita ,who had been pretty quiet the whole time, now looked over at Chris. What should they do?

He understood her panic as well...they couldn't tell Cap about thier relationship,not now,on top of everything else going on,but he hated Caps idea even more.

"What a wonderful idea,Heshy." added Fran.

"Ah...Cap,Fran...I already told Rita she could stay here with me for awhile." Chris spoke up.

"What?...Nonsense! ...Where would she sleep?...I suppose you would put her on the sofa out here...what kind of chivalry is thatLorenzo!,...So maybe you'll let her have your bed,....while you take the,'s better MY way! "

"No,Cap,Fran...I couldn't impose on you like that,really...I don't mind Chris's sofa." Rita tried herself.

Fran raised her eyebrows at this, if you would actually be sleeping on his sofa,she thought.......

"Lance,Your staying with us !" ordered her captain "We have a guest room where you could have your own bed,not a sofa." he cast a piercing glance over at Chris now "..and this way,Chris won't be bothering me with any excuses about backaches.... Now,not another's settled.!"

Rita looked helplessly at Chris,annoyed to see he was looking back at her the same way. Just great she thought...Could things get any worse?

Chris could see the look of despair in Ritas' eyes. He knew that she needed to be in his arms that night just as much as he needed her to be there. He wasn't about to let them be split apart,not tonight....perhaps now ,they should at least tell thier captain the truth. He was a good man...he would understand...wouldn't he?

Later,as Fran was washing up the few dishes,Chris pulled Rita aside.

"Sammy...I'm going to tell Cap about us.....we have to tell him sometime...and I'm sure he'll understand..."

"Are you sure,Chris?" she asked him hesitantly "I mean..we could be split up as partners for good...I don't think I could bear that."

"Look,Sammy...we have no choice...if we don't,then we'll be split up tonight...and I can't bear that...can you?" he asked her,seeing in her eyes that she couldn't.

"No" she admitted,quietly "I'm scared,Chris.."

He pulled her into his arms,feeling her sigh heavily."I need to hold you tonight,Sammy....that's all that matters to me now." he whispered to her,pressing his forehead against hers,kissing her eyelids.

"Me too" she nodded

"Then we'll tell"he asked.

"Yes" she nodded,tightening her hold on him. " yes....."

Chris held her for a moment,giving her the stregnth he knew she needed for what was to come,and taking from her his own.Then he took her hand,and together they walked into the kitchen and asked Fran and Cap to sit down.

"What is it Lorenzo? I have to get up early ...and so do you?" Harry reminded him

"Cap...Fran...ahh...Rita is staying here with me tonight,after all." Chris got right to the point.

"Lorenzo...we already went through this....I have a bed...she will stay there.!"

"No,Cap." Rita added " I'm staying here with Chris."

Fran smiled slightly now,knowing what was about to take place."Finally" she mumbled to herself.

Cap looked over to her now,giving her a look that Fran had rarely seen in all the twenty plus years of thier marriage.She let him handle the situation now.

"Look Cap..There's something we need to tell you," Chris said."Rita and I ....we are together now...We are in love....and she is staying here with me tonight."

Cap stood there in silence,gazing at the two. He had known about thier relationship all along,of course,but still it was a shock that they had come out in the open with it.He nodded his head at them.

"You too realize what this means...the consequences it may have?" he asked them sincerely.

"Yes,Cap...we do" Chris said,pulling Rita closer to him.She wrapped her arms around him now.

"Cap...we didn't want to hide it from you,and we're sorry ...but we really didn't want to be split up as partners....and we still don't....but we know the rules....and we decided that our relationship is more important to us then being partners.." she said this,with a quiver in her voice that they could all hear.

" feel the same way?" Cap asked him"Your prepared to be split up as well?"

I don't want to Cap,but yes,if need be ..then as partners,I am willing to be split feelings for Rita are real,and mean more to me then my job."

Cap smiled now at the young couple,truly happy for them."Good for you Lorenzo!" he said estatically,as he went over and patted his seargent on the back. Then he went over to give Rita a hug."Your happy ,Rita?...really happy with him?" he asked her,in a fatherly way.

Rita smiled now."Yes,Cap...happier then I've ever been."

Now Fran joined in as well.."Oh kids...I just knew too belong together...I'm so happy for you both.!" she cried joyfully,embracing them both into a hug.

Now the good mood was broken again,when Cap brought back reality to them all."As happy as I am for you two...and because I'm not willing yet to loose my best homicide team...I am going to keep this to myself...we will go on as before......." "However" he added "there are other matters here we need to consider........."

Fran hated seeing what they were doing to the kids..but Heshy was would be better that the IA didn't get wind of them living together.....There was alot more at stake .

Rita gave one last long look at Chris as she was being escorted out to Fran and Caps car. They had agreed with Cap.....knowing they really didn't have much choice,that this was best for now...for the sake of Ritas' reinstatement.

That night,Chris layed on his side of the bed,clutching the pillow she used to his chest,breathing in her scent and remembering the look in her eyes as she was leaving. He had caught a quick glimpse of it ,and had to turn away. It was unbearable for him to know he wouldn't be holding her in his arms that night .He knew that she needed him that night,and he had promised her he would always be there for her. How could he have let Cap and Fran take charge so easily? he wondered.......

Simple,...he knew the answer....because Cap had been right. Rita was already being put through the wringer....she didn't need the added fact that they were living together being thrown into the equation....he knew that would only be the beginning of the accusations and innuendos from the board.

Rita had tried to convince them all that it didn't matter to her anymore,she didn't care what the board thought,but Cap and Chris knew her too well.Cap had given Chris an imploring look,one that told him Rita was simply given in to her emotions at the moment ,but that Chris shouldn't. He would have to stand strong for her on this.

Which is what he did,....agreeing with thier captain....against her,....that she should go with him.He hated doing it,but for her sake,he did.

He feared anything that threatened to harm her...she already had lost so much ...he knew he couldn't let her loose her career.

He had convinced her it was for the best,and he truly believed it was . Still..... watching her leave when she belonged there with him........ it had felt like she was being torn away and he could see she was feeling the same way.


Rita sat down on the bed in the guest room,taking in her surroundings.She was exhausted,her head was aching,and all she wanted to do was snuggle close to Chris and go to sleep. Instead she was here,without him,when she needed him the most.She needed to feel his arms around her now. She really was trying to remain in control....but it was so much easier to do that when he was right beside her. She walked over to the window and gazed out,seeing some lights still on in the other homes on the street,despite the late hour. She envied them thier comfort,thier security.....praying for them that it would always be there for them.She knew too well how easily all that could be taken away.A tear rolled down her cheek as she thought about her apartment.

In the glass relection of the window,for just the briefest moment,she saw a little seven year old girl staring back at her.Though she knew it wasn't true,she felt as that little girl did all those years ago ,that she was all alone in the world...again.


Stay tuned for Part three of Pandoras Box! Coming soon! For questions or me ! Lisa


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