"Rita's Dream"
by Sara

So you're not completely confused, here's a brief explanation of what you are about to read: I have been living in denial ever since Chris was (supposedly) killed, way back in 1995. After watching the series finale this past spring, I realized that I could rewrite history to better suit my warped mind. Did you ever notice that as Tom hits that tree there is a flash of white light? Well, just think of that as you read this.

Tom screams, Virginia screams. There is a blinding flash of bright, white light and...

Rita sits up right in bed suddenly, her heart racing, head pounding, covered in sweat, and breathing heavily. From what seemed like a million miles away she heard a very groggy Chris ask her what was wrong. When she doesn't respond to his question he too sits up in bed and shakes her slightly, and then repeats his question. "Sam, what's wrong? Are you okay?" She suddenly realizes that he is right next to her, right where he has always been. He hasn't died and he hasn't left her all alone. Even in this realization all she can do is mutter "Oh my God" under her breath. Now quite concerned, Chris asks her again, "Rita what's wrong? Sam, talk to me, please?" She turns to her right and looks him to the face, her expression one of complete joy, confusion, and sadness, all at once. Chris just looks at her with questioning look in his eyes. "What happ.." he starts, but Rita interrupts him.

"Oh, Chris, I had the most awful dream!" Saying nothing more, she pulls him into a fierce hug, afraid to let him go. He responds by wrapping his arms around her, not able to respond at first. He is just relieved that what ever had just happened to his wife was apparently explainable. After a few moments of just holding her, Chris began to tell her that everything was okay, but was interrupted by the shrill cry of a nearby baby.

As they pulled out of their embrace, Chris looked again at his wife's face. He was relieved to see that she had calmed down. The passage of those few moments had allowed her to return to the real world. Still very concerned, he responded only "Um, I'm going to see if she's okay."

Trying to give the impression that nothing important had just happened, and failing at it miserably, she replied "Okay. She's probably just hungry."

Chris got out of bed and as he walked toward the door and turned to go down the hall to Kristen's room, he saw Rita out of the corner of his eye. She was still sitting up in bed, lost in thought and biting on her thumbnail. Another cry from the baby reminded him why he was out of bed and he proceeded into his daughter's room.

When he got there he saw a screaming six month old who showed no signs of stopping her loud complaining any time soon. He picked her up out of her crib, brought her over to the rocking chair, sat down and just held her for a little while and tried to calm her down. "It's okay sweetie. I'm right here. It can't be that bad. What's so terrible? It's okay, Kristen. You're probably just hungry, huh? As soon as we get you calmed down a little bit, we'll get you a bottle, okay?" After a while she stopped crying so loudly, but was still not completely satisfied with her father's attempts to get her to calm down. After another ten minutes of continued assurances that everything was all right, she finally settled on just sniffling.

"There you go, it's okay. It's all right. I told you so, didn't I? Your daddy can be pretty smart when he wants to be, huh?" he asked smiling at the calmed infant. His last remark even got a small smile out of her. "I bet you're hungry, huh? Is that what all this fuss is about? Well then, let's go and get you a bottle."

As he got up out of the chair he noticed for the first time that Rita had gotten out of bed as well and was standing in the doorway of Kristen's room, watching them. "Is she going to okay?"

"Yeah, she'll be fine as soon as we get a bottle into her. Huh, little one?", he asked looking down at Kristen.

Rita smiled slightly and reached out for her baby. "You go and get the bottle and I'll stay here with her."

"Why does that sound like an attempt to make me do all the work while you get to have all the fun?", he asked as he handed a very eager Kristen over to her mother.

"Because it is," she responded as she sat down and cradled the baby in her arms and mad funny faces at her, "Now go."

"All right, all right. I'm going." Chris said and disappeared down the hall and into the kitchen.

Rita continued to make faces at her baby, who, while smiling at her mother, was about ready to start crying again if she didn't get fed quickly.

By the time Chris returned with the bottle, he realized it wasn't needed as he saw the baby was now quietly nursing as Rita looked down on her, smiling happily.

"I thought we were weaning her from that."

Chris' statement brought her out of her thoughts. She looked up at him, still smiling and said, "I know, but she was hungry and I was here. She knew food was nearby and started fussing again when I wouldn't let her. I just figured that it couldn't hurt anything, not really anyway." She looked up at her husband with a look that just drained all the fight out of him. She was so beautiful. For him, it didn't matter what she said or did, when she looked at him like that, he just couldn't say no, and she knew it too. That was what made him really mad.

"Oh, all right. I guess it doesn't matter. I just wish you two would have decided on this before I had to go all the way into the kitchen and make this.", he said, placing the bottle on the nearby dresser. He walked over to the chair and kneeled down next to the two most important people in his life.

"We're sorry and we won't let it happen again, will we Kristen?", she promised as she kissed her husband briefly on the lips. She then smiled at him again.

"Okay, fine. Just stop that, I'm defenseless when you look at me like that."

She laughed and looked down at her baby. "She's so beautiful, isn't she?"

"Yep, I'd say she's just like her mother, in a word parfait!"

"Parfait?", she asked, grinning at him.

"Yes, parfait, it's a real word you know. Now tell me about this dream you had. What was so important that you felt you needed to wake me up at 2:30 in the morning?"

"You know, it's not like I woke you up on purpose. And besides, your daughter was going to wake you up anyway so it's not like you lost any sleep."

"Sure, sure. Just tell me about this dream."

"It was so weird. It's hard to describe. The first thing I remember dreaming is that you were in the hospital, it must have been right after you were shot by Wayne because you were in a coma. I was sleeping in a chair next to your bed when you woke up. We started talking. I told you that I knew you would pull out of it and come back to me. You told me that you would never leave me, that we would be together forever. I told you that I loved you and you said the same thing to me. Then all of a sudden I woke up, it was like a dream within a dream thing, you know? You were still in the hospital, and was still next to you, but all the machines were going off around us and a nurse was pulling me out of the room."

Rita paused for a moment remembering the eerie detail of her dream.

"Rita," Chris said, "That's exactly what happened, you were just remembering it."

"No, Chris, this time you flat-lined and they couldn't bring you back. You died right there, with me watching the whole thing. I was in such a state of shock that I couldn't even leave the room after they took you out. I went to your funeral, then later I handed my badge over to Cap and left Palm Beach." She paused again, on the verge of tears, thinking about how real it had all seemed.

Her thoughts were then interrupted by the hiccup of a now very full Kristen. "Well excuse you, little girl!" Rita exclaimed and smiled down at her daughter.

"Here, let me take her." Rita gave her to Chris and stood up. By the time Chris had burped her, changed her, and put her back down in her crib, she was well on her way back to dreamland. Rita watched as her husband did all of this and then leaned over and kissed his daughter good night. She came up behind him, wrapped her arms around him, looked over his shoulder and down at the now peaceful child.

"You know what?", Rita told her husband, "I think you're right, she really is perfect. I mean parfait, excuse me."

"Well of course she is, just look at her parents." he replied as he turned around to face his wife. He gave her a long kiss and then pulled away, smiling at her.

She smiled back and asked "Okay, if she got her looks, talent, and intellect from me, what did she get from you?"

"Oh, that very funny. Now you're going to get it." He started to tickle her.

"Chris, stop it!" she pleaded quietly between laughs, "You're going to wake her up before she even gets a chance to fall back asleep!"

"I'm going to wake her up? You're the one laughing so loud." He let her go and she leaned over the railing of her daughter's crib to kiss her good night, and to make sure that she really was still sleeping.

Turning back around to face Chris, she said "Now let's go back to bed, we can argue about this in there." She started to walk out of the room.

"You know, I'd rather hear more about this dream of yours." he said, following her out of the room and shutting the door quietly behind him.

"Okay, but just remember, you asked for it." she warned as they walked into their room. Once they had gotten back into bed and gotten comfortable in each others arms, Rita picked up where she had left off.

"So after I left, it was like the story of Palm Beach homicide just kept going. First Michael and Holly were the ones solving all the crimes. After a while though, they just kind of stopped, they just sort of disappeared from the dream. Then they were replaced by.."

Chris interrupted, "Wait a second, you mean to tell me that Michael and Holly were homicide partners? Come on, now I know you were dreaming. Michael lives and breathes under cover vice and Holly was so unstable it was scary. Why do you think Cap had her transferred to San Diego?"

"Chris don't interrupt. Besides what do you want me to do, I didn't say it was realistic, I said it was a dream. Anyway, they were replaced by this couple, their names were Tom and Cassy I think. They had been married but got divorced, so Cap partnered them up. The cases they were doing were so familiar. The whole thing was just creepy. Too creepy and too realistic for my taste. The last thing I remember is that Tom crashed into a tree with his fiancÚ. Well, she wasn't really his fiancÚ anymore because he had found out that she was involved with some guy named.."

"Details, details. Get back to the part where the dream ends, and what's his name gets in a crash."

"His name was Tom and stop interrupting or I won't tell you anything else!" she punched him playfully in the arm, "As I was saying, he was headed straight for a tree and as he crashed they both started screaming and then I woke up. The end." She stopped talking and looked at her doubtful husband for some kind of response.

"So, let me get this straight. After Wayne shot me and I went to the hospital and went into cardiac arrest, I died? Then you left Palm Beach and two sets of wackos took over our jobs? I don't know Sam, it sounds to me like you have watching way too much of The Homicide Files. It sounds like all of the plots just ran together in your head. I told you that stuff would rot your brain."

"Hey, mister, you wanted to know. And besides it was so real. When I woke up for a split second I thought I really had lost you. Do you have any idea what that would have been like? I couldn't live without you to fall asleep with every night and wake up with every morning. It's a scary thought, you know?", she said as she pulled him into a hug.

"Okay, I'm sorry" He placed a kiss on her forehead and then on her lips. "But you know, that could never really happen."

"Really?" she asked, running her fingers along the outline of his face, "Why not?"

"Well, for one thing, you would never leave Palm Beach. You love your job and the beach way too much. Second, if I had died, Cap would never let you out of his sight, you would have to stay here. Third, and most importantly, I would never, ever, ever, in a million years, leave you or our child alone" He looked deep into her emerald eyes and, looking back into his crystal blue ones, she knew that he meant everything he had just said.

"I know that you mean that, but you can't control.."

"Shhhhh, don't even think about it. It would never happen. Just go back to sleep, we both have to be up in three hours, assuming, of course, that our little angel doesn't get hungry again."

"Okay." she replied softly. She paused a moment and looked up at Chris, framing his face with her hands. "I love you."

"I love you too. Now and forever. I mean that." He kissed Rita so passionately that there was no doubt in her mind that he did mean it. She kissed him back and moaned with both pleasure and then regret as he pulled away. "I do, you know. Goodnight."

"I know", she smiled at him, "Goodnight." She gradually fell asleep, just like she always did.

Chris was on his back, one hand under his head and the other arm wrapped protectively around his Rita, who had one arm on his chest and her head on his shoulder. As he listened to his sleeping partner's peaceful breathing he wondered what it really would have been like for her to go through the past nine months without him. They had been through a lot, and he couldn't imagine missing any of it. He remembered when he had finally been released from the hospital and had started thinking that everything really was fine. Then Dr. Ried had told them that he was assigning bed rest for Rita until the baby was born. He had told them that the amount of stress she was under was dangerously high. If she expected to carry the baby to full term, she would have to slow down. The doctor had, of course, warned her about this before, when she was still in her first trimester. Chris had known that she was too stubborn to listen to him then, she had just gotten married, and just been promoted, she had prove to herself that she could do everything. Chris' plan had been to let her handle it herself until her fourth month, then he would force her slow down. Then he had gotten shot and she wouldn't have slowed down for anything. In her mind she had to be there for him, and do everything for him. So it came as little surprise to him when the doctor had told them that she had to stay in bed. It was also little surprise when she refused. He smiled to himself as he remembered how he had persuaded her into seeing it his way.

*** Flashback ***

They were alone, walking down that same stretch of beach that they always walked down, hand in hand.

"Rita be reasonable."

"No, I won't do it, I..."

"Sam, he only has your safety, and our baby's safety, in mind. I can handle things myself, I need to handle things myself. I'm not broken, you know. If I don't start doing things by myself, I'll never get better. I think you need to let me take care of you for a change. Please Rita, if you won't do it for yourself, do it for me, and the baby."

"Chris, I can't lose you. I have come so close so many times and the last time I really thought it was for good. I can't risk your health, not now."

"Sam, don't worry about me, Dr. Klien says the physical therapy is going very well. I'm walking on my own, I can eat real food again, and there is no reason why I can't do normal activities. I just can't over exert myself, you were there, you heard him."

"I know but I just remember watching you go into cardiac arrest at the hospital and thinking that was it. I can't risk losing you, especially because I had to stay in bed for three months.

"Rita you're not going to lose me. I promise you that, just because I have to make you breakfast and pick up the dry-cleaning doesn't mean I'll drop dead from a heart attack."

"Don't even joke about that Sam." She stopped walking and looked out at the ocean.

"I'm sorry Rita, I didn't mean to upset you but the point remains." He turned her around and held her in his arms. "I'm not going anywhere, you can't get rid of me that easy. I will never let down, or you for that matter.", he said, putting his hand on Rita's swollen belly and smiling at her.

She smiled back at him, "Okay, I'll do it, but only because your doctor said you were okay. It has nothing do to with how much I love you or that killer smile of yours. Do we understand each other?"

"Yes ma'am, Lieutenant" He gave her a mock salute. "So it's settled, as soon as we get home you go to bed and don't get up until it's time to bring you to the hospital." He took her hand in his and they started walking down the beach again.

"You're going take good care of me right? I mean, if I get hungry you'll bring me a snack and if my back hurts you'll give me a massage?"

"Yep, five star treatment Mrs. Lorenzo. Nothing but the best for my wife and child."

"You do realize, of course, that this means no sex for four and a half months, three months now and then six weeks after the baby is born."

Chris stopped dead in tracks. "Wait a second, who said anything about no sex while you were in bed? I don't remember him saying anything about that."

Rita smiled and sat down, she pulled him down with her to watch the ocean as the sun set behind them. She sat in front of him and he wrapped his arms around her. "I think that it was implied, Sam. He said, and I quote, 'no unnecessary activities of any kind'. He said I could only get out of bed to take showers and go to his office. Only relaxation for three months, I can't even bring home files from the shop to look at. Remember him saying that?"

"Well, if 'no sex' is what he meant, he should have said it more directly. I have needs too you know. I think we should rethink this whole bed rest thing"

"To late Sam. You already convinced me that it was a good idea, plus you promised to take care of me and the baby, it's settled. And, by the way, is that all you ever think about?" She turned around in his arms and looked at him, waiting for a response.

"No, sometimes I think about cars too."

"You are unbelievable. Do you know that?"

"Yeah, but you love me anyway, right?"

"Maybe," she said, laughing and poking him in the ribs.

"What do you mean 'maybe'? If you weren't six months pregnant woman, I'd tackle you, right here and now! But since you are, this will have to do." He proceeded to tickle her until she gave in to him.

After about ten minutes of the torture, she finally gave in and said, gasping for air in between laughs, "Okay, okay, I love you anyway," she started. He let her go and she stood up to brush the sand off her dress.

"That's better" He replied as he stood up too.

"Most of the time," she finished, laughing at him.

"That's it partner. As soon as you're in bed I am going to make you watch Casablanca without any Kleenex until you change your tune."

"Sounds like a plan Sammy. Let's go home," she said, still laughing. She took his hand and they walked toward the car. "I do love you, you know," she said, kissing him on the cheek.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. You still have to watch Casablanca."

"That isn't really punishment Sam."

"It is if I make you watch it alone."

"Sam!"

"I'm just kidding."

*** Back to Present ***

If she had been so stressed out that she had to spend three months in bed and he had lived, he couldn't imagine what would have happened to her if he hadn't made it. He shuddered just thinking about it. She probably would have lost the baby and would have been left with nothing. Then, after three months of bed rest there had been the actual delivery. Sixteen straight hours of nonstop pain. He knew for a fact that it was painful. He hadn't been able to move his hand for two days afterward. He sighed deeply as he remembered the hardest part, right near the end. .

*** Flashback ***

"Ow! Ow! Owwwww! Sammy you're hurting me!"

"You think you're in pain Christopher, how about we switch places here?!" she practically yelled at him.

"Okay, okay, I know you're in pain but do you think I could switch hands, just for a little while?" She glared at him. If looks could kill, he thought, I'd be dead. "Okay, so I won't switch hands. I'll be right back, okay?" He kissed her quickly on the forehead.

"Where do you think you're going?" she asked, not letting go of his hand. "You did this to me, and there is no way I'm going through this alone!"

"I know, I know. I'm just going to talk to the doctor for a second. You're not going to have another contraction for another two minutes. I'll back in plenty of time."

Just then a nurse came up to Rita. "Mrs. Lorenzo you're doing great. It's almost time to start pushing so I just want you to rest for a minute." Chris took this opportunity to slip away from his wife and talk to the doctor.

"Is she okay, I mean it's already been more than 14 hours and she's in so much pain. Can't you do anything?"

"She has already said that she doesn't want any drugs. She wants to be completely aware of what's going on. As for the time frame, the first delivery is always the longest for any woman. She's doing very well. I can't say I have ever seen a woman more in control, all things considered. Now, I suggest you get back to your wife. According to this," he said pointing to a monitor, "she's about to have another contraction. Don't worry Mr. Lorenzo, she and the baby are just fine."

"Chris!!" Rita screamed at him from across the room. He rushed over to be by his wife's side

"I'm right here, I'm here. Here," he said giving her his hand, "squeeze as hard you want. Just keep breathing Sammy, you're doing great. It's almost time to push and then we're done."

"Yeah, pushing. Nothing hard about that part at all." She looked at him with tears in her eyes as the contraction ended.

"Oh, Rita if I could do something for you I would, you know that. You're the strongest person I know, you can do this. You'll get through it. You are doing so well all ready. I'm so proud of you." He kissed her again, this time on the lips, she managed a faint smile.

"I know, I'm just glad you're here for me."

*** Back to Present ***

"What would she have done without me?", he wondered to himself as he kissed his slumbering partner lightly on the forehead. She moaned his name softly in her sleep. He smiled and continued in his thoughts.

The best part of the last few months had to be when he promoted to Lieutenant and he and Rita had been reinstated as partners. This time they weren't just homicide detectives but Co Chiefs of Detectives, not only that but they still got to solve the occasional society murder. If he had died, that never would have happened.

*** Flashback ***

"So, let me get this straight Cap, Rita and I are partners again?"

"That's right Lieutenant." He paused a moment, shaking his head and looking over at Rita, "I never thought the day would come that I would actually say that. Lieutenant Lorenzo, wow, boggles the mind, doesn't it Lance?"

"It does Cap. But moving on to more important matters, do we really have to share the Chief of Detectives title? I kind of liked having it to myself." She looked over at her shocked husband.

"Hey! You said that it was your idea for us to share!"

"Well, it was but I'm having second thoughts. I mean really Chris, do you want to spend every second of the day together?" Rita asked, giving a quick wink to Captain Lipschitz.

"Of course I do! Don't you?"

"Yeah, but I just had to make sure that you did." He pretended to be hurt, but it didn't work. "Come on Lieutenant, I'll show you our new office." She opened the door.

" So you're not having second thoughts?" he asked, getting up and going over to his wife.

"Of course not, I have to keep an eye on you, you know. Make sure no beautiful women try and give you their phone numbers." She started out the door, followed very closely by Chris.

"Oh that's very funny, now about you keeping the name Lance..."

"We've been over this Chris" She closed the door to Cap's office behind him.

*** Back to Present ***

Their life together was perfect now, he thought. He couldn't even imagine what it would be like to lose her, well he had some idea, it had happened before, but to really lose her... It upset him just thinking about it. No wonder the dream had scared her so much, I'd be scared too he reasoned. He looked down at his partner, his love, his life, his Rita, and just smiled. As he slowly began to drift off to sleep with her he whispered "I love you Rita, heart and soul, I love you. I will never, ever leave you alone. Believe that."

***************************************************

Disclaimer: I don't own Chris, or Rita, or Cap, or Michael, or Holly, or Tom, or Cassy, or Virginia. (But don't I wish I did... oh the shows I could write...) They all belong to USA and Stu Segal and Stephen Cannell. I do, however, own Kristen, she is my creation.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Linda and Lisa for posting my story, they have a great site and I am glad I could be a part of it. Thank you Liz, if it weren't for you I never would have had a plot, or a great line to start with! And thanks for your ideas/editing/critiquing/ etc.

If you liked this story (or hated it for all I care) write to me at CLSH81@aol.com. I love e-mail, and I would love feedback.

 

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