Rose Colored Glasses
By Lisa

The only sound left was the steady beeping of the heart monitor, a few weary sighs, and the soul aching sobs from his wife. They had fought the battle for his life, but in the end they lost. The young doctor turned off the machine, the sound it made was a reminder, and would serve no purpose anymore. Only her cries could now be heard. She was crumbled on the floor, near the door, and the sound of her sobs told him that she already knew what he dreaded he had to do. He went to her, kneeling down to speak with the distraught woman, guiding her up as he spoke. "I'm very sorry, Mrs. Lorenzo... There was nothing else we could do for him... we tried." He watched as she shook her head in understanding. "I know... I know... Can I please see him... please?" She looked up at him, her tears still rolling down her cheeks, her lips quivering, and her whole body shook. He nodded yes to her, but she just stood looking towards the room. He understood, he had seen it all before. She was having trouble taking the steps to get there, so he lightly touched her back, guiding her to her husband, then left her alone with him. Rita looked at Chris. He was just sleeping, that's all, she thought. She took his hand, and it was still very warm, yes he's just sleeping, she told herself. It was when she gently ran her fingers over his cheeks, and could feel no breath, that she knew she was only fooling herself. Her husband, her best friend, and her Sam, was dead, and it was for real. She felt her heart skip a beat as she realized this... and her baby moved. She wanted to say so many things to him... but her mind was frozen now, there was nothing she could think to say. He was gone, he had left her... they always did. She sat there with him, whispering for him to please come back to her... but she knew he wouldn't, especially when they came to take him away, to the morgue.

She stood staring at the empty bed, where he had rested on earlier, as she had held his hand and dreamed he would be better. She never heard Harry come in, and she jumped when he placed his hands on her shoulders to turn her around to face him.

He saw the tear stains on her face, but no tears anymore. It was the look in her eyes that worried him. He had never seen a look like that in Rita before... it was empty, she wasn't there at all...

Harry whispered to her "I'm sorry, Rita," and he took her into his arms, but she immediately backed away... a look of fear quickly crossed over her face. She simply stated "I'm fine." as if that was her explanation, then she quickly turned, walking out of the door, and leaving Harry, sadly shaking his head, as he watched her go. She was in shock, yes, but he also knew her, and now he realized that Rita had just sentenced herself to a lonely life behind a high thick wall that she surrounded her heart with.

Harry glanced one last time at the empty bed, and went to follow Rita, he knew she needed a ride home... and he and Frannie were planning on taking her home with them, since she shouldn't be left alone at a time like this.

Frannie saw Rita come down the hall, and head towards the elevator, as if she was in a trance. She called out to her, but Rita never even looked her way. Harry soon followed Rita, and he signaled to his wife to follow them. He didn't think Rita had any clue as to where she was going, or even how she would get there. When they reached the doors leading outside, he took her arm, and guided her to his car, and she willingly went along, as if nothing mattered, and to her, nothing did anymore.

The next few days were very busy for Harry, as he took it upon himself to arrange Chris's funeral. Frannie tried to take care of Rita, and it wasn't an easy task. She wouldn't eat, and Frannie had to remind her of the baby. Rita would nibble on something then, caressing her swollen stomach as she ate. That was the only thing that seemed to get through to her, anything about her baby. That was what Fran focused on.

Rita woke early the day of the funeral, but she just lied in the bed, staring at the ceiling, and unable to move. It was almost hard to even breathe, as she thought of what she had to do that day. Fran came in to wake her and saw she was already awake. "Rita, ... it's time, honey... you should start to get ready."

"I can't, Fran" her voice broke.

"Oh, Rita... "Frannie sighed for her "I know, dear... I know, ... but you really do have to get ready... we don't want to be late, now do we"

"I don't want to go at all" her voice sounded so flat to Frannie

"I know you don't want to go... no one does.." Fran said sadly.

"I can't, Fran... "Rita felt desperate to make Fran understand her . Fran could hear it in her voice and see it on her face... and she did understand. She knew this would be a very tough day for Rita, but her and Heschy would be there for her. Over the past few days, they had sheltered her from everything, the news media, the Internal Affairs, planning the funeral, and even her close friends, but this was one thing she would have to face, and Fran knew that.

"Yes, Rita, you can... .and you will. This is your husband, your best friend, and the father of your baby. You will go and pay your respects to him, you will tell him goodbye, and you will thank him for all the love and joy he brought into your life.

Now let's go, get up, and out of that bed, and get dressed. Come on! Fran used her best "I mean it voice. It was hard for her to see the surprised look that crossed Rita's face, at the tone of her voice. She looked miserable, but she did as she was told. In a few minutes Rita joined Harry and Fran in the kitchen, fully dressed, and moving about in her usual daze. Fran went up to her, and took Rita into her arms

"I'm sorry, sweetie... you understand, don't you?" she said .

Rita smiled slightly at Fran "Yeah, I do... I'm sorry too Fran, I know your right, ... it's just that this it, you know... it's really over... "Rita choked back a sob, and held back the tears that threatened to finally escape. She would not cry, she told herself... it would do no good ... it wouldn't bring back her Chris

Fran looked away from her... the grief she saw on Rita's face was just too much, and it scared her more then she could ever admit... if it had been her Heschy, what would she do?

Rita also looked away, she had seen a look pass quickly on Frannie's face. It was a look of fear, relief, gratitude, and love.

Harry came up to Rita then, and he took her into his arms. He felt her stiffen again, and she quickly pulled away. He had watched her do the same with Frannie, and this worried him. She was closing herself off from them, just as she closed herself off from everyone else.

"Rita... I know this will be hard today... I want you to know I'll be right there for you, we both will be. Harry touched her on the chin, gently lifting it to face him, since she looked down. "You are strong, Rita... you can do this, alright"

Rita nodded her head... she wasn't as sure as he was, but she knew she had no choice but to try.

The church was filled, almost overflowing with Chris and Rita's friends. Harry escorted Rita down the aisle, feeling her tremble with each step that brought her closer to his casket. He wrapped his arm around her for more support. With every few steps they took, friend who mourned for Chris would offer her their sympathies, and Harry wasn't sure if she would make it after all. When they arrived in the front, Harry asked her if she would like to go, but Rita shook her head no, so he guided her to a chair instead. Fran had followed them in, feeling shaky herself, as Chris was like a son to her, but she understood that Rita needed her Heschy more right now. She saw them sit down without going to see Chris, but she herself went up. She wiped the tears from her eyes. It really wasn't fair, such a young and wonderful man, just recently married, and expecting a baby, to have been killed. He had been so excited about Rita, and their baby. At least he had been happy with his life in the end. He knew what he was doing when he had taken those bullets for Rita, he was saving the woman he loved more then his life, and he was saving the life of his unborn child. Fran wished Rita could understand this, but she was too consumed with her grief... it was if as she felt that Chris had willingly left her. Fran wasn't really sure what was going on deep inside Rita's heart, if that was how she was feeling or not... but she knew that there was something more than just grief eating away at her very soul.

Fran touched his hand, seeing his wedding ring on his finger still. She gently pried it off... it should have been already offered to Rita. She would give the ring to Rita at another time, when it wouldn't add to the burden that she already had to face today.

"Don't you worry, Christopher, you just rest in peace. We will take care of them for you, you can count on that, ok" Fran whispered her goodbye, and went to join Harry with Rita. A few minutes later, the service started. Rita sat up straight, and had kept her sunglasses on, hiding behind them, and looking straight ahead. She barely heard the words being said about Chris Lorenzo. She knew him better then anyone else, and she did not need to hear them all remiss about him. She chose instead to remember her own memories, the private ones they had made together. She tried to think about the happy times, but she couldn't. As soon as a memory washed over her, she felt the strong urge to cry again, and it was getting harder to resist. She went back to spending her energy into fighting off the tears, and trying not to feel at all. That was the only way she knew how to make it through this.

Soon she heard music, and the words were what brought her out of the daze she felt... they were beautiful, and they seemed to touch her heart in a way nothing else had.

Close the door, shut the world away All the fights gone from this wounded heart Across the floor, dreams and shadows play like wind blown refugees

Call the man who deals in love beyond repair He can heal the world of hearts in need of care Shine a light ahead, when the next step isn't clear Call the man, He's needed here

I'll close my eyes, I remember when your sweet love filled this empty room the tears I cry won't bring him back again Unless the lonely star should fall

Call the man who deals in love beyond repair He can heal the world of hearts in need of care Shine a light ahead, when the next step isn't clear Call the man, he's needed here

Needed in the chaos and confusion from the plains to city hall Where the crowd who walk the wire are set to fall

Call the man who deals in once upon a time Maybe he can heal this broken heart of mine Shine a light ahead, now the future isn't clear Call the man, he's needed here Call the man, he's needed here Call the man He's needed here.

All those in the church silently wiped away their tears, all except Rita, who struggled just to keep them from coming at all. Harry watched her from the corner of his eye. That song had gotten to him... and he wondered where it had come from. It hadn't been one he had chosen, since he had never heard it before... but he would have to thank whoever did... it seemed to reach Rita more then anything else had the last few days.

After the service, Rita was asked if she would like some time alone with Chris, and she adamantly shook her head no. Harry was concerned that she would one day regret that decision, but he could see it was just something she couldn't take. She already looked as if she would crumble, and she still had the burial service to get through yet. George helped to usher everyone out and to their cars, and then came back to oversee to the pallbearers. Chris would have an official burial service, and the cops that were chosen by Harry had held high esteem for Chris Lorenzo. George saw that Fran could use her husbands support, and so he came up to help Harry out. He guided Rita out of the church, and tried to keep many of the other mourners away from her for the time being. All the words of encouragement and expressions of sympathies were touching, given by people who truly cared for Chris and Rita. Some of them even seemed to be looking at her for support, and encouragement to make it through their own grief over loosing Chris. It was getting to be too much for even himself to take, and he knew it had to be even harder on Rita.

During the drive to the cemetery, Rita was gently rubbing her belly. Harry was glad to see that with as much distance as she put between herself and others, her baby still mattered to her. That child would be her reason to carry on.

Once they arrived at the cemetery, Harry and George escorted Rita and Fran to the waiting crowd of mourners. The service began, and Chris was given a very honorable sendoff. Rita held up through it all, until the gunshots went off, echoing along with her quiet sobs. Harry reached over to hold her steady, as she flinched when each shot sounded. She wasn't hearing the shots that honored her husband, she heard the shots that killed him.

Rita quickly recovered herself, as a police man came over to her, and handed her the flag that had been draped on her husbands casket. She took it from him, and held it close to her, as if that would somehow bring him closer to her. Everyone watched as Rita placed a flower on Chris's casket, leaning down to place a kiss on it and whisper I love you to him . She went back to her place, and watched as everyone else said their good-byes also.

She saw Anna, Chris's mother then. She hadn't told her about Chris's death, never even thought to, but she realized Harry must have. She also realized that Anna hadn't even been told of her and Chris's marriage, or of their baby she carried. Neither had his father Benny, Rita looked around for him as well. She saw him standing in the background, looking directly at her.

Anna was very upset about everything, her son had died. Then she had found out at the same time that he had married, and was expecting a baby. She came up to Rita while everyone was leaving, after the service.

"Rita... I am very upset that you and my son could not see fit to inform me of your marriage... or of the baby. You said you were only friends, "best friends, "I believe were your words, and suddenly you are married? At least my son had the character to face up to his responsibilities... only it seems to have only got him killed for it, hasn't it? I never had the chance to tell him how much I love him. Well... you must be happy at least, he left you with a child... I have nothing left of him." Anna's voice was hostile, and she glared at Rita. For some reason she had felt betrayed by her, and by her son, and since her son was lying in a coffin, she directed all of this on his wife.

Harry stood by Rita's side, and George on the other, and they both glared back at Anna. She might have been lost in her grief, but she had no reason to say those things to Rita... and no compassion either. Rita turned her head away, looking down, and didn't say a word. George had enough of Anna, and he took Rita gently by her shoulders, and guided her away, Frannie following behind, giving Anna one of her disapproving looks as she did.

Harry though chose to stay, and he looked at Anna over his glasses, wondering how she could have possibly been Chris's mother. He was so different from her, but then Harry knew that she hadn't really raised Chris. His grandma Rose was responsible for the fine man Chris had turned out to be.

"Your son would have never stood for you talking to her like that. I think that you should apologize to her. She is not in very good shape right now, and it wasn't fair of you to put all that on her." Harry used the authoritative tone of his voice he used in the office.

Anna wasn't used to being told what to do, and she had never put anyone else's feelings before hers, that was the way she was. Harry remembered all the things Chris had told him about his mother. He remembered Chris telling him how he and Frannie were like his and Rita's real parents, as the ones they had were either gone as in Rita's case, or just unavailable.

"I'm not apologizing to her... she is the reason I don't have my only child anymore... he got himself killed to save his baby... a baby that was created by mistake, ... and then they couldn't even tell me about their marriage, and that she was pregnant. How am I supposed to feel, can you tell me that?" Harry just shook his head sadly, she really did not know her son, and he thought that perhaps that was the true reason for her outburst... she was realizing it all on her own, and much too late.

"Let me assure you of one thing, Anna. Chris loved Rita with all that he was, heart and soul. He would have given up for his life for her, from the very first moment he met her. There was a bond between them, and whether she carried his baby or not, I know that they would have married eventually. It is a shame that you feel so much anger towards her, because I tell you, she is just as much a part of Chris, as he was to her, and now she is carrying his child, your grandchild. A gift he left to her, and to you as well, if you are willing to understand that. He loved Rita, and he loved his child they were expecting, he did what he felt he had to do... something I feel we should be proud of, and honor him for that, by continuing to care for his wife, and his child, as he would have wanted. It would be a shame if you had to miss out on knowing Rita, and baby, and in doing that, knowing your son, as you have never known him before." Harry said what he had to, knowing that he had hit the nail on the head, by the look that crossed her face. He began to silently walk away, but realized he had one other thing that needed to be said.

"As you know, there will be a small gathering at my house now. I don't think you should show up after all... unless you are willing to make amends with Rita, that is.

See, right now, my concern is for her... more then you, or me, or any of us, she is the one who lost the most. I will not have you throwing your grief in her face."

He passed her, as he walked to the limousine that awaited him, with his family inside, and left a bitter woman, standing all alone, her mouth still open in surprise, thinking to herself that how dare he talk to her that way!

Harry was worried... she still hadn't cried, and he knew she was trying not to feel anything... he knew her past, and him and Chris had often worried over this same thing before, particularly during hard cases, or at a rough time in her life. This was the worst time ever, and she was at the worst as Harry had ever seen her.

"Chris... help me out here" he whispered to his friend. she really needs you now... I don't know what to do anymore, I've tried everything I can think of... she's dying inside, and I'm scare, buddy"

He stood at Chris's grave, talking to the man he missed so much. Two months had gone by now, and Rita still lived in a daze, hardly talking to anyone. She had returned back to work, saying she needed to get on with her life, that Chris would want that of her. He would too, if she really could get on with her life. Harry knew that she would never be really able to until she finally said goodbye to her husband, and she really grieved over his death. He had caught her many times, lost in her memories, and hoped she would finally let it all out, but she always remained in control of her emotions... she had become quite good at that by now.

"I need your help, Chris... somehow. I can't bear to see her this way. It's not like I expect her to completely get over you... I know that will probably never happen, but she has her whole life ahead of her, and your child will soon be here now. She needs to come to grips with this, before it destroys her. You know how she is, but with you gone, she is even worse then you've ever seen her... help me, Chris... Help her."

Rita was alone in their apt, trying to push back all the memories that forced their way out, as she walked around each room, seeing ghosts of yesterdays gone by... Chris and her eating Chinese food, and working at the kitchen table, Chris and her reading a book on the couch. Watching Maltese Falcon, and falling asleep together, in each other's arms. Chris holding her as she cried over a nightmare. Opening a small gift, and seeing a guardian angel pin, making a dinner she had prepared all day on, and then having it burn, and Chris calling for pizza as he joked with her. Painting the walls, and him falling off the ladder. Wrapping Christmas presents for their friends together, and him teasing her about what he got for her... dumping a bowl of popcorn on him... trying to help her through some insomnia... coming home to find him thrilled to see her, thinking she had been killed... him telling her not to become to emotionally attached to her new fish... .. All these memories kept jumping out at her, and she tried desperately to push them away, and to do what needed to be done. She was planning on leaving Palm Beach, forgetting everything, and everyone... it was the only way she could go on, without Chris. She hadn't told anyone about her plans yet, and no one knew she was over here now. She was going through her things, and through his, as well. Each time she found something of his, she would hold it tightly to her, not wanting to, but not being able to let go of it either. Eventually, she placed all his things into a box, planning to store it with all the other things, from both of their places, until a later time, a better time, if one should ever come. Time had no meaning for her there, she had been there for hours, and it didn't occur to her that anyone would be worried over where she was. Fran was worried though, and she tried not to be, knowing Rita was a grown woman, and could take care of herself. Harry had come home, earlier, and told her the same thing. After dinner had come and gone, even Harry began to wonder where Rita had gone to all day long. He called the shop, the only other place Rita would go to. She never went out anymore, except for work, and Harry became more concerned for her, because it was unlikely she would be anywhere else... except maybe she would go to their apartment now... it was the only place he could think to look. He decided to drive on over, and check, just in case he was right. The more he thought about it, he felt he was. This might just be the thing that could break her, force her to release her pent up emotions, at least he hoped.

She was packing up the videos and the CDs, each one of them bringing a different memory to her, until she saw a tape cassette, sitting on top of the video cabinet, next to their wedding picture, with just her name on it, and no other words. Her curiosity got the better of her. She placed it into the cassette deck on the stereo, and pushed the play button. Her heart froze when she heard Chris's voice.

Rita... my Sammy... they told me that they have you... and I didn't want to believe them, that your life was in their hands... when I got that call, I rushed right home, and then I saw all the groceries spilled from your car... oh Sammy! We are caught in something big... and I'm so sorry that I wasn't here to protect you. I know that you will be all right, that our baby will be alright also... I have to believe that.

Sammy, so do you... you have to believe that you'll make it through this. I know it will be hard, honey... and I pray to God that I can bring you home safely, and then toss this tape into the trash can, after we both laugh at how silly I was... I hope that is all this is... but I'm afraid, Sammy. They have you, and I can't bear that... they want the evidence I found at the bank, and I'm giving it to them Sam... cause I can't play games with your life. We both know though how these people work... they don't play fair, do they? I have a bad feeling about all of this... I wish I had you here with me, we would just walk away from this place, leaving this whole life behind, and start over. Just you, our baby, and me safely tucked away somewhere in our own little corner of the world. If we get through this, Sam, that is what I would like us to do... we are going to be parents soon, and we need to think about our baby now. You could be that schoolteacher, Sam... I'll be a lawyer... and we'll live happily ever after. Sunshine... I am trying to believe in all that, in order to see us both through this... but I also have to face the possibility that one or both of us might not get out of this alive, Rita. That thought alone is killing me already. Thinking you could be taken away from me... I can't imagine that... and I won't let that happen! You are my whole life, Sammy, my entire being, all that I am, exists only for you, for our child. I will not let anyone hurt you... you understand that, don't you Sam? ... I need you to really understand what I'm saying to you now... for me their is no other way, if it comes down to that.

Rita, I know what I promised to you, ... I hate it so much that if you are listening to this, and I am not with you to laugh about it, then it means the worst has been dealt us, and I can't be there with you. Knowing that you will be the one hurt the most, is not easy for me to deal with either... I don't know what I should do. Rita.

She could hear him sobbing now, as the tape continued.

I remember the thing you once said to me, when I lived through the most horrible time in my life ever, when I thought you had died, and I had to go on without you... Remember you said it is how you look at life, about whether you see the glass as half empty, or half full. I was so glad to have you back with me, to see your beautiful smile again, and to feel you in my arms, I just looked at everything through rose colored glasses for awhile... but eventually, the pessimism in me snuck back... until you told me you loved me. My whole world changed that day, Sammy. I began to picture my entire future... and in every picture, there you were. I saw you so happy, sunshine, because that is what I wanted to do, to make every one of your dreams come true, and to make you happy. Please always believe that sweetheart, always believe how much you meant to me, how much I loved you. I am so sorry that instead of my making you as happy as I wanted to, I am the cause of even more pain in your life. Rita, honey, when I promised you I would never leave you, I meant that, and it is still true. I may not be able to wrap my arms around you, and hold you as you cry, but I'll be there... I may not be able to hold you at night, or to wipe away your tears, or help you through this pregnancy, and the delivery, but I'll be there, honey. When you hold our child for the first time, Ill be there with you, and when you watch our baby's first steps, I'll be there... through all the bad times, through all the good times, I will never leave you, my sunshine. I'll be your real guardian angel, always watching over the love of my life. Remember that.

I promise you, Rita that you will make it through this... I'm looking through those rose colored glasses you gave me, and I'm still seeing you with all I wanted for you. You are happy, and our child is happy, and you both are going on with your lives. Rita... please don't shut yourself down, honey... don't mourn for me forever, but let your sorrow out, so that it won't eat away at you... then put on those rose colored glasses and step into that future I imagined for us. Go on, Sammy, and smile that beautiful smile of yours I have always loved. My best friend, my wife, and my partner, forever... I love you!

It was hearing his voice that brought down the wall around her heart, crumbling into a million pieces. She fell to the floor, pulling her legs tightly against her chest, as she sat crying. She could not hold back any longer, she had no control. The tears she cried were two months old, and then came the tears from long ago... all the tears she shed already from other losses in her life... everyone always died... always left her alone... even Chris. She almost hated him for that!

She yelled at him now, releasing the anger she had always held back, along with the guilt she felt for that anger, and for even living at all.

"How could you do this to me, Chris! You always had to be my hero... the white knight coming to rescue the damsel... and I always told you not to, why couldn't you understand me! I never needed a hero! I just needed you! You should have followed procedure... called for backup... but did you? NO! You had to once again come rescue me... and then you went and gave your life up for me! How in the hell do you expect me to live with that! I can't, Chris, I can't! You said you couldn't live without me, that's why you did it? Chris, I love you just as much I don't think I can live without you either! It's so hard! I need you so much... I miss you! How can I do what you want? I don't know how! I'm not sure I want to! You should have let me die..." She said these last words quietly, then she picked up the wedding picture, and threw it against the wall, shattering the glass, screaming. "YOU KNEW IT WOULD HAPPEN, DAMN YOU! YOU PROMISED ME YOU WOULD ALWAYS BE HERE, AND THEN YOU LEFT ME!!" Her voice quieted again, dissolving into sobs..."You left me..."

Harry had heard it all through the door, and as hard as it was to hear her that way, he remained outside her door, fighting every instinct he had to go in there to her, and comfort her. He knew this was what she needed, and hearing her, he knew that she had been worse off then he thought. He let her face her demons alone, so that she could not run to him and hide from them. They needed to be slain, and put to rest, once and for all. He turned from her door, and walked away, leaving her in tears, and his heart breaking.

All night long, his mind kept him awake, thinking about what she was going through. He never realized that she had also felt guilty for Chris dying, on top of everything else she had to deal with. It made sense though... survivor's guilt... many cops had been destroyed over it, and yet that had never crossed his mind with her... he really was too close to this whole situation... but that was the way it was.

Harry tried to think what he could do that would help her. He also said a little thank you to Chris for that tape. It was a start. Rita was at least beginning to feel again, finally.

Harry woke up early the next morning, needing to talk with the priest at the church where Chris's funeral had been. He remembered the song they had played, and for some reason, the urge to find it was strong within him, and he had finally slept peacefully once he thought of it.

He had been confused when they had played that song during the service... it wasn't one of the ones he had chosen... but he remembered at the time, how it seemed to have brought some comfort to Rita... and he thought it might help now.

As confused as he had been at the time, he was even more confused when he left the church... the priest had remembered him... and Chris's service, and they went through the funeral plan. The song was written down... as if he had requested it. Harry knew though that he had never heard of that song before. On the way to check on Rita, Harry stopped off at the music store, and bought the CD, Celine Dion, Falling into You, since the priest had told him that the song the choir had sung was from there. He climbed the stairs that lead to the apartment, and then paused outside the door, listening for any sounds.

Hearing no sounds from within, Harry quietly let himself in, using the key he still had from a few months before, after he had come to get some things Rita had needed. He saw her right away, lying on the sofa, curled up into a ball, and clutching a pillow close to her, asleep. His heart broke at the sight. She looked so lost, so alone, and so vulnerable.

He noticed the smashed picture he had given to them, one that had been splashed all over a rag magazine. Seeing that just brought a tear to his eyes... knowing that she viewed her life in just that way.

He knelt down beside the sofa, and gently shook her awake. "Rita, sweetheart, shh... it's okay," he said, as she awoke with a start "it's just me, honey. I was just checking up on you. You had us worried. Are you alright?"

"Oh cap... yeah... I'm fine... I guess I fell asleep here... sorry, I didn't mean to worry you or Fran... I..." She stopped, not wanting to tell him why she was there in the first place, to pack up, and leave town... to escape her heartache.

Harry nodded... Well, if your ready now, I'll take you home now, okay. You look like you could use some more sleep and not on a sofa either."

"Cap... thank you... but I think I just want to stay here for a little while yet... would you mind going back without me?"

"Are you really alright, sweetheart? Would you like me to send Frannie over here to help you?" He looked around, noticing the boxes she had already packed up, thinking she was going through Chris' things. "I don't think it is a good idea for you to do this all alone, Rita"

"I would rather do this alone, Cap... but thanks anyway... really... I am fine." Harry scrutinized her carefully over his glasses. He didn't believe her, ... she was not ok, ... but he knew that this was what she needed... to confront her ghosts, and bury them... and to face head on, her future, without Chris. He took out the CD he hid in his jacket, and laid it on top of her TV, while she stood up, and stretched. Then he walked over to her, giving her a quick hug, and telling her to call if she needed anything, or anyone. He turned to leave, still worried about her, and whispering a silent plea to Chris "watch over her, Chris... it's up to you now, I did all I could."

Rita continued on with her task, anxious to leave the apartment now... she had confronted the ghosts, and now she was scared, knowing they would haunt her forever. She went to pack up her Susie Pratt books, thinking that someday she could read them to her child, and as she passed by the TV, she saw the CD lying there. She picked it up, and decided to play some music while she worked, trying to calm herself down.

Celine Dion, she thought, one of her favorites, and yet she didn't remember buying it. Shrugging, she put it in, and listened to the music. She recognized one song in particular, called If That's What It Takes... Chris had once dedicated it to her over the radio. Hearing that song only made her hurt more now, would everything always remind her of him? Would she ever be able to forget him? She walked over to turn it off, but found herself unable to... as much as it hurt, she couldn't deny the fact that she wanted to listen. She started to feel overwhelmed with her emotions again... "NO! Stop it... you are not going to do this again... crying won't change anything... he's gone, now just deal with it... he's gone, and you have to go on." she scolded herself. As she struggled with herself, she suddenly felt a calming warmth spread through her, bringing a peaceful tranquility... and she felt as safe as she once had in Chris' arms. She shivered, and felt herself giving in, not knowing what she was giving in to. She collapsed onto the sofa, and picked up the pillow, hugging it tightly, then seeing her hands twist at it, trembling as they did. Her whole body felt as if it was in anticipation of something, and in a surrender of sorts... even the air was electric… The music was still playing ... the only sound she could hear, and it was what she focused on, the one thing familiar to her senses right now. That, and the feeling as if her Sam was right there next to her, holding her, and loving her. She suddenly recognized the song... it had been sung at his funeral service... and she remembered feeling the same way then, except this was so much more intense. Even if she had tried to fight off the pain she felt, she couldn't have won, but now she didn't even try... it was as if Chris was there with her, the one person she could never hold anything back from. It came in strong waves, crashing through her inner walls. This time the sobs weren't from frustration of trying to escape the anguish she felt, but from feeling the anguish itself... feeling the misery of her loss, the loss of her best friend, her husband, and of her dreams. The words reached deep into her very being, touching her soul, and making it cry out for help. She shook with that need, with the need for Chris.

Close the door, shut the world away All the fights gone from this wounded heart Across the floor, dreams and shadows play like wind blown refugees

Call the man who deals in love beyond repair He can heal the world of hearts in need of care Shine a light ahead, when the next step isn't clear Call the man, he's needed here.

I'll close my eyes, I remember when Your sweet love filled this empty room The tears I cry, won't bring it back again unless the lonely star should fall.

Call the man, who deals in love beyond repair he can heal the world in hearts in need of care Shine a light ahead, when the next step isn't clear Call the man, he's needed here.

Needed in the chaos and confusion from the plains to city hall Needed where the crowd who walks the wire are set to fall

Call the man who deals in once upon a time Maybe he can heal this broken heart of mine Shine a light ahead, now the future isn't clear Call the man, he's needed here. Call the man, he's needed here. Call the man, he's needed here.

Rita was forced to give in to the tears... and she begged that Chris would forgive her for the confusion of hate and grief she had been holding against him inside her heart. She just wished he could come to her, hold her once again, and let her say goodbye... she finally faced that he was gone forever. She felt their baby move inside of her, and she mourned that her child's father would never have the opportunity to hold his baby in his arms, never get to see their child be born., or grow up. All that she had held back, was released with soul aching, heart wrenching sobs, but she cried for all that had been lost. When it was over, she just lied there, shaking, trying to gather her strength again, but instead she fell into a deep sleep.


They are sitting on the beach, watching the sunset, and he is holding her, her back against his chest, and his arms wrapped tightly around her. She is contented once again. She somehow knows though that this isn't for real.

'Oh, Chris... this is how it is supposed to be... why couldn't it? I thought we'd be together forever... just like you promised, but then you left me... "

"I never left you, Sammy... I didn't want to... but it was either you, or me... and we have a baby now, sweetheart... I did what I had to do. Rita... I would never willingly leave you... I've been beside you all along... you've just been too closed off to feel me."

Rita turned to face him. "Sam... it's just that I miss you so much... I need you, Chris!" She couldn't stop the tears from coming... she never could with him...

All our dreams... our whole life together was lost... we didn't get much time together... and it is so unfair! My whole life has always been this way, but before I had you, Chris... You brought to me all that was worth while in this life... I could make it through anything as long as you were there... but you aren't here now... I just don't know how to do it alone, without you. Why does everyone always leave me?

Chris wiped her tears away, he knew the pain she was in, but he could no longer feel it himself... Heaven had no tears, but it did have compassion, and that was why he was with her now. He still felt the love he held for her, nothing could ever take that away. He had been allowed to come so that her heart could begin to heal. He would never again feel the misery he once did when he knew she was suffering, but his love was so much greater, more then he had ever thought possible. He would always be by her side to watch over her, which would never change. He needed her to know that.

"Rita... I can't answer your question... but I do know that you are so loved. You are very special to HIM and he watches over you just as I do... He let me come to you now, to tell you that you will make it... he has a plan for all of us... and one day you will understand it... why this has to be... Sammy, he gave us each other though... and we'll always have that, sunshine... I promised you we'll always be together, I know... it's not as we wanted it to be, no... but that promise still stands, always will... I will always be by your side, happy for you, watching you go on with your life, raising our child together... .you've got to begin that life, Rita... you can't go on as you are... our baby needs you... you can still make our dreams for this baby come true, and you have to sweetheart. "

He hugged her tighter to him, bringing her the comfort she so desperately needed. "You can do this Rita... for me, for our child... and for yourself mostly... You will make it!"

"How, Chris?"

"Just by taking it day by day, at first... but giving it your all, not hiding from the world, from those who care about you. You have to open up your heart again Sam, you have to let yourself love again... our baby needs that... and so do you.

Don't be afraid, Sammy."

"Chris... I just don't know what to do anymore... I don, know how to feel, how to act, or think, ... how to just be you made me who I was ."

Chris understood that... he had felt that when he had given his life to save hers.

Rita... just trust in HIM now, he knows you, what you need... he's with you, and he'll get you through this... but you have to let him, trust in him" I have to go now, sunshine... remember I am right here for you... always sunshine. Now you smile... and you show the world why I love you so much... you are my Sammy, and your gonna make it, I promise you. Rita, I love you, so much. I'll never leave you!"

"I love you, Chris... I'll always carry a piece of you with me, you'll always be in my heart... I promise you I'll try, Sam. I miss you, but I will really try.

Chris smiled... he knew she would make it, and someday she would be with him again... He would always carry her with him as well. He knew he had been blessed in his life to be given the gift of her love, and it was the one thing he had taken with him. Nothing could ever make him give that up.

"That is my girl... We won't say goodbye, Sammy How about see ya! " He said to her.

"Yeah, that is parfait, Sam." she replied "see ya" . They both heard "I love you," as the haze disappeared...


Rita woke up, knowing that she hadn't been dreaming... she had really talked to her Sam... he really was with her, as he had told her. She smiled, and said "Thanks Sam" feeling better then she had in a very long time.

She still had her partner... she could go on now. She took Chris's wedding ring off her thumb, slipped it on a chain, and proudly wore it once more.


2 Months later

He watched her as she did her breathing, slowly, in-out in a panting way. She had been in labor for the last nine hours, and he knew she was beginning to tire, and that is why he was there now, showing himself to her, in the dreamy daze she was in, because of the labor pains. "Come on. Sammy... I'm here now, sweetheart... in and out, in and out... that's right You got it... you can do this! We are having a baby, Sammy! Our baby... wow!"

She kept her eyes on him, knowing no one else could see him. He was there just for her. He couldn't stay, but she was glad he could see his baby being born, and that she could see him again. He hadn't shown himself since their talk, but she always knew he was there with her. She had opened her heart to all the feelings she had once tried to shut out, and when she did, she also began to feel him with her all the time.

"Push Rita, it's time now... at the count of three, ready?" said her doctor.

"I can't... I'm tired... AHH"

"Yes you can. Come on. One... two... three..."

"Yes you can, Sammy, it's our baby" she heard only Chris's words. Rita pushed.

"Again... Rita... it's almost here," said Frannie.

"That's it, sunshine... your doing so well... it will be over soon" said a voice only she could hear. She just focused on him through her pain.

"Here it is... we have a face" said her doctor.

"A beautiful face, Sammy... looks just like you... your both all red right now!"

He still had his humor, she thought, giving one last gigantic effort...

Rita never took her eyes off Chris, as she pushed their baby out.

"You've got a son, Mrs. Lorenzo!" her doctor announced.

Rita took her eyes off of Chris now, and looked at their son. He was perfect, a little miniature Chris, and he was howling, as loud as he could make himself be known. The nurse placed the tiny little boy in Rita's arms. He was everything she had ever wanted in her life. He was love.

She gazed at their son, and the little baby immediately quieted, his fathers eyes looked back at her, intently searching her face, and a soft little sigh escaped from him, as he settled contentedly in his mother's arms. He knew that this was where he belonged. Rita looked back at Chris now, her expression one of pure joy, he had never seen her happier, ever. He knew she would be okay now, and he smiled at her.

She spoke to him, and those who heard, thought nothing of it. She was only sharing her joy with her husband, it didn't matter if he wasn't visible to them, they knew he was there with her, that was a given.

"Look Chris, we have a son!" she beamed her beautiful smile at him. God, how he loved her!

"Rita, I knew you could do it... I am so proud of you! Look how he holds your hand, Sam... he is strong, just like his Mommy!"'

"Thank you, Sam... he is so beautiful... I love him so much!"

"Rita, I love you, honey... you are going to be such a great mom to him. What are you naming him?

"His name will be Christopher James Lorenzo Jr. To honor his Daddy."

"No Rita.. I don't think you should... It might be too much, you know? Don't call him that just for me."

"It's what I've always wanted, from the very moment I knew I would have him. That won't be taken from me..."

Chris knew his Rita, and he knew he couldn't change her mind. He was thrilled to have his son get his name, but he had thought that maybe it would be best for Rita if she didn't have to say that name every day.

"I think he would like that, Rita" Frannie smiled at her, and at her brand new godson.

Harry soon came in to meet his little godson, and he was grinning ear to ear. It was a happy time in all of their lives, bittersweet, but still sweet, and they cherished these moments.

Chris gave Rita one last smile, blowing a kiss her way, before he faded from her sight, saying, "Remember, sunshine, I'm always here for you, always... "As he did Rita hugged her son to her chest, placing a gentle kiss on his cheek. "I'll always remember Sam... always, I love you so much"

Harry and Fran stood by watching her, with her child, as she whispered these words, and they knew she was speaking to her husband, even if he couldn't be seen, he could be felt.

Harry walked away from Rita, and the baby, over towards the window. "She'll be fine now, Chris... they both will, ... we'll look after them... and I know that you are too... thank you, Chris."

Chris Lorenzo regarded his old boss with amusement... he was always so serious, he thought. Knowing Harry couldn't hear him, he spoke. "Cap, you never even had to ask... I was always with her, always will be... but thank you for caring... You always knew everything going on around you, didn't you, Cap?" Chris laughed.

Although there was no way he could have heard Chris, He still gave his former employee one last shock. "Damn right I did, Lorenzo, damn right!" THE END!

This has all been said before, and will need to be said again, but Chris, Rita, Harry, Fan, George, Anna, and whoever else I have forgotten belong to USA, and the creators of Silk Stalkings. I want them to know that I want my classics back!!!!!!!! I am not a happy person these days because of their absence!

I want to thank Kris for posting this story, and all those on the lists I'm on for their help in the words to CALL THE MAN. Also to those who said I should send this story, despite my second thoughts... I'm still having them! To all those who don't like the stories without Chris, Kas said it all to me... It was written because it really was something I had to do, get out of my system, and even though I thought I never would write one like this, well I learned never say never! I still think I gave it a happy ending... better then what USA gave us, right!

As always, feel free to e-mail me, and I say this with some fear... since everyone is usually very nice writing their thoughts, I guess I'm expecting some bad ones for the first time... but I do want to hear anything, because I am learning from all of them. Until next time, bye! Lisa

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