Author's note: If Silk Stalkings had remained on its original network, CBS, it and Touched By An Angel would have been on the same network, and who knows, maybe this is exactly what we might have seen someday! And now, I'm proud to present the very very first Silk Stalkings Touched By An Angel Fanfic. Enjoy!
On The Side Of Angels
"Chris, we have to go in," Rita insisted breathlessly between her husband's kisses.
Flashing her his best grin, Chris pulled back slightly and asked, "What? I'm not allowed to kiss my wife goodbye before we go to work?"
Unable to resist his smile or his kisses, Rita gave in once more before reminding him, "We're going to be late for work. You know how they always look at us when that happens."
"Aw, come on, Sam. We're still newlyweds. They should all understand." They continued their playful arguing as they opened the car doors and headed for the Palm Beach Police Department.
Across the parking garage, neither noticed the two women watching them. "They're our new assignment, Monica," the heavyset, graying, black woman said to the slender brunette beside her. "Sgt. Rita Lance of the Palm Beach Police Department and her husband, Sgt. Chris Lorenzo."
Monica frowned slightly as she looked at her supervisor. "They are? But, Tess, they seem to have it all! They're beautiful, obviously in love, and seem to be happy with life. Why would they need angels?"
"Angel-girl, you know by now that having it all on the outside does not guarantee a trouble-free life," Tess admonished gently. "And those two have seen quite a bit of trouble in their young lives already. They're newlyweds, happier than they've ever been before, but they are about to face their greatest challenge."
"What are we supposed to do?" Monica asked. "I mean, it's clear that angels don't exactly fit in here in Palm Beach, Florida."
Tess smiled in agreement. "I am to serve as a police psychologist, and you are about to become Chris and Rita's new neighbor." At Monica's look of disbelief, Tess continued, "Don't look at me like that, Angel-girl. We have a job to do. Let's get to work."
Monica watched as the young couple exited the parking garage. Taking note of Rita's obvious pregnancy, she asked Tess, "You say they're newlyweds...." She trailed off when she saw Tess frowning at her slightly.
"Baby, we are here to do God's work, not to judge! Yes, Rita was pregnant before they were married, but that doesn't make any difference. God loves them, they love each other, they're going to need us, and that's why we're here!" Tess said firmly. "Now, let's get to work!"
Chris and Rita stole one last kiss before walking through the swinging palm tree doors into the Homicide Division. "Cap said we have a new police psychologist coming in today," Rita said. "I hope this one's better than the last one we had. That guy just didn't know how to handle people who were traumatized after finding a body. He frightened them instead of getting them to open up."
"You know, Sam, I think you'd be good at something like that."
Rita looked at him in surprise. "Well, thank you, Sam, but I can't see going back to school for all that training now." She laughed as she patted her swollen belly.
Holly Rawlins came up to them. "Hi, Chris. Rita, how are you doing?"
"So far so good," Rita answered. In another month or so, I'm going to be a blimp!"
Chris left the two women talking and slipped quietly into Harry Lipschitz's office. "Hey, Cap, you got a minute?" he asked as Harry looked up.
"Sure, Lorenzo, sit. What's up?"
Chris took the chair Harry offered. He glanced over his shoulder at Rita and Holly still talking. "Anything new about her promotion?" he asked.
"Nothing definite," Harry answered, "but things look good so far."
Chris sighed. "I want her out of danger. It scares me to see her out and about in her condition. I think she would be a lot safer in a position like what we're thinking. If it doesn't work out...."
"Chris," Harry interrupted, "will you take a friendly piece of advice and relax? Rita's doing fine, and you know I'd never send her into anything that would endanger the baby." Harry knew that Chris was worried about Rita since they were no longer partners, and he didn't trust anybody else to look after her as well as he could.
Chris nodded. "I know, Cap, but I can't help but worry. She's my wife now, and she's pregnant with our baby. If the new position doesn't work out, I want her to do something else."
"You know Rita's not going to take too kindly to your obsessing about this, don't you? She knows she's capable of taking care of herself in spite of her condition. Does she know how hard you're working to get her promoted and why?"
"Oh, yes. She knows, and she knows why, but she also knows I think she deserves this promotion more than anyone. She's a great cop, and I think she's earned it."
"I agree. She does deserve it, and I promise you I'm doing everything I can to see that she gets it."
Satisfied that he had Harry's total support, Chris rose to leave when a knock sounded at the door. Harry looked up and motioned as Chris turned to see a heavyset black woman looking through the window.
"Come in, Tess," Harry said. Tess opened the office door and entered. "I'd like you to meet one of my best homicide detectives, Sgt. Chris Lorenzo. Chris, this is our new department psychologist, Tess McGraw."
Chris spent a few minutes talking with the kindly older woman, and by the time he left Harry's office, he was certain that Rita would find Tess to be the perfect replacement for the last psychologist that had worked with them. He couldn't put his finger on it, but something about Tess had really made an impression on him. Was she like his Grandma Rose? He shook his head. No, he decided, though she was very grandmotherly and kind, it was something else. He was certain she would be a welcome addition to the PBPD.
That afternoon, Chris looked across his desk at Rita. She was working diligently on the never-ending paperwork that had crossed her desk that morning, but he thought she looked tired. "Hey, Sam, are you okay?"
Rita smiled as she looked up at him. "I'm fading a little," she admitted.
"I'm sure Cap would give you the rest of the afternoon off and let me take you home so you can get some rest. We've had a busy morning, so I know you need it."
Smiling again at his protectiveness, she opened her mouth to protest but thought better of it. They had put in long hours this week, and if it was all right with Cap, she would like to go home and relax. "Okay," she agreed.
Chris dropped Rita off at their apartment then headed back to the shop. He wanted to get his paperwork caught up so he could hopefully get home early this evening.
Rita intended to rest for awhile and then start dinner. She slowly climbed the stairs, heading for the apartment, but she stopped as she saw a young woman come out of the building. The woman had long, dark hair, pulled into a ponytail, and was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. She must be a new neighbor moving in, Rita thought. "Hi," she called out.
The woman looked up at her. "Hello," she responded. Rita took note of the woman's foreign accent. She must be new to Palm Beach, Rita thought.
"Are you moving in?" she asked.
"Yes." A tall, blond man came up behind the woman before she could say anything else. "My name is Monica, and this is my friend Andrew. He's helping me."
"I'm Rita. I'd offer to help you, but...." Rita patted her belly and laughed. "My husband has a fit if I lift anything!"
Monica laughed along with her, and they talked for a few minutes before Monica and Andrew resumed their moving and Rita went inside to rest. It didn't occur to Rita until later that she hadn't found out what kind of work Monica did or where she was from. But she'd found both Monica and Andrew to be very pleasant, and she looked forward to getting to know them.
Chris saw Tess in the hallway as he entered the PBPD building. "Hi, Tess, how are you doing? Are you adjusting to life here so far?"
"Oh, yes, just fine. Thanks for asking. Where've you been?"
Somehow, Chris didn't find the question from Tess to be unusual or prying. "Taking my wife home," he answered, and then, forgetting about the unfinished paperwork on his desk, he found himself telling Tess all about Rita, their years as partners, how their relationship had changed over the years, and their life as newlyweds. He grinned as he said, "Married life has taken some getting used to, but I realize now that all along I never could see either of us married to anybody else. I wish I'd realized a lot sooner how much I loved her, but we're together now, and that's what counts."
Tess smiled. "Young man, you sound like you know a good thing when you find it."
Grinning, Chris responded, "Oh, yes. With Rita, I sure do. I know I drive her crazy when I worry about her all the time, but that's our child she's carrying, and I don't want her to over-exert herself."
"She sounds like a lucky young woman to have you looking after her."
"Looking after each other is what we do best. We were partners for almost five years before we got married, but we couldn't be married and stay partners. I really miss working with her, but I'd say we made the better choice. I'd much rather have her as my wife than as my partner on the job if I have to choose. My new partner Holly is all right, but she's not Rita."
Tess continued to listen as Chris went on about Rita, their jobs, and how concerned he was about her now that he wasn't there to watch her back on the job. She smiled, knowing this was one young man who was fully committed to his marriage.
After a short nap, Rita went in search of Monica and Andrew, intending to invite them in for a sandwich or coffee. She found Monica alone, unpacking a box in her living room. Rita knocked on the open door. "Would you like to take a break from that and come have some coffee?"
"I'd love to, Rita. Thank you." As she rose from where she was sitting on the floor, the phone rang in the kitchen. "Excuse me for a minute. I hope this won't take long, and then I'll take you up on your kind offer." Monica went to answer the phone, and while Rita waited, she noticed the song that was playing on Monica's radio. Rita thought she'd heard the song before, but this was the first time she'd actually paid attention to the words.
I've never been so certain, I've never been so sure
We're on the side of angels, if we believe this love is pure.
Is it so hard to trust it, cause we've been wrong before?
There comes a time in every life we find the heart we're waiting for.
After all the might have beens, the close and distant calls,
After all the try agains, don't be afraid to fall.
We're on the side of angels after all.
Every time you touch me, don't you feel it, too?
The gentle hand that's guiding us, you to me, me to you.
After all the might have beens, the close and distant calls,
After all the try agains, don't be afraid to fall.
We're on the side of angels after all.
Heaven only knows why this took so long,
But only heaven knows if love is right or wrong.
After all the might have beens, the close and distant calls,
After all the try agains, don't be afraid to fall.
We're on the side of angels,
On the side of angels,
On the side of angels after all.
Listening to the words, Rita thought of how they might apply to herself and Chris. After so many failed relationships, she and Chris had finally realized how right it was for them to be together, and Heaven only knew why it had taken them so long. Did they have angels on their side, she wondered? She didn't have time to ponder this any longer; Monica had finished her phone call and returned.
Rita poured Monica a cup of coffee and a glass of milk for herself. As they sat down in the living room, Rita intended to find out more about Monica but instead found herself telling Monica all about her years of working with Chris, their friendship that had evolved into love and their marriage. "I don't know why neither of us realized how much we loved each other a lot sooner. I know now that I can't imagine life without Chris by my side. I miss working with him, but being married to him is so much better!"
Monica smiled. "It sounds like the two of you have a beautiful relationship." She drained the last of the coffee from her cup as she stood. "This has been so much fun. I have to get back to my unpacking, but I hope we can do this again."
Rita saw Monica out and, noticing how late it was, she decided to start dinner, hoping Chris had managed to get away early like he'd planned.
Chris shuffled the paperwork on his desk, realizing his unplanned visit with Tess had taken up time he'd intended to spend doing paperwork. Oh, well, he thought, the paperwork could wait. He had told Rita he would be home early, and he fully intended to be. With a "see ya tomorrow" to Holly, he slipped into his jacket and left.
Several hours later, Chris leaned back against his pillow. Rita curled up against him, just enjoying lying in his arms. Absently stroking her hair, Chris said softly, "We need to think about baby names, Sam."
"Hmm," Rita mumbled sleepily. "I know. But it's hard when we don't know if we're having a boy or a girl."
Chris reached for the baby name book on his bedside table. "We can think about names for both."
Just then they heard an insistent pounding at the door. Both got out of bed, Rita reaching for her robe. "Yeah," she called out on her way down the stairs, Chris right behind her. The knocking sounded again. "Who is it?"
"It's me, Holly."
"Holly?" Chris asked. What was she doing there at that hour?
Frowning as she tied her robe, Rita paused to look at Chris before taking the last few steps to the door and opening it. Seeing Holly's distraught expression, Rita was immediately worried. "Holly? What happened?"
Without waiting to be asked, Holly stepped inside. "He attacked me!" she ground out through clenched teeth. "He tried to rape me!"
Shocked, Rita stepped aside, allowing Holly to enter. "Who?"
Concerned, Chris looked closely at his partner. "Detective Ray Quiller?"
Chris and Rita spent the next half hour learning the frightening turn Holly's date with Ray Quiller had taken. After bringing her home from a night out for dinner and dancing, he had indeed tried to rape her. Holly was insistent that she had to report the attack to Internal Affairs, and while very concerned, Chris and Rita both warned her that IA would make things very difficult for her but promised they would do everything they could to help her. Realizing Holly was unable to calm down enough to go home, Rita finally insisted that she spend the night with them.
Next morning at work, Chris, Rita, and Holly gathered in Harry's office to discuss the events of the night before. Like Chris and Rita, Harry also tried to warn Holly that she was fighting a losing battle against Quiller, but he, too, promised to do all he could to help her. Realizing she had gone as far as she could for the moment, Holly left to make her report. Chris and Rita turned to follow, intending to help.
"Ah, wait a minute, wait, wait, wait, wait, hold on," Harry interrupted. They turned to face him, not knowing what was up. Harry picked up an envelope from his desk. "Like they say, there's no time like the present." He handed Rita the envelope and waited for her reaction.
Looking from Harry to Chris, Rita opened the envelope. "What is it?" Her face brightened as she read what Harry had handed to her.
"Hey! Your promotion came through!" Reading over her shoulder, Chris grinned as he wrapped his arms around Rita and kissed the side of her neck.
Beaming, Rita exclaimed, "Chief of Detectives! I actually kind of like the sound of that!"
Harry grinned. "Congratulations, Lieutenant!"
"Does this mean that you're going to be my boss?" Chris asked her.
Looking at Harry for approval, Rita wasn't about to pass up this golden opportunity. She turned to look at Chris with a straight face. "Well, as a matter of fact, uh, yes, Sergeant, actually it does mean that, and I have been wanting to say this for years. Lorenzo, get into my office now!" Seeing Harry's smile of approval, she turned and left her husband smiling and staring after her.
Chris was still grinning, so proud of Rita he felt he would burst. "Ha, she's good at that!" he told Harry. "I think we created a monster!" Harry was still smiling as he watched them leave his office. He, too, was proud of both of them, and was glad he could finally ease Chris' worries about Rita working in her condition.
Later in the day, a distraught Holly informed Chris and Rita that Quiller had been cleared of her charges. Knowing they couldn't really do anything else to help her, Chris and Rita told her how sorry they were. Chris wondered briefly if he could find Tess and have her talk with Holly. He believed the kindly woman would provide the listening ear Holly needed right now. But as for Quiller, well, Chris intended to take care of the jerk himself! He would never have let anyone treat Rita like that during all the years she had been his partner, nor was some arrogant scum going to get away with treating his new partner that way. He made some half-hearted excuse to Rita and Holly, then headed for the parking garage.
Leaning against the cement column near Quiller's car, Chris jumped when he saw that Tess was there beside him. "Hi, there. You startled me."
"As well I should have, young man! Why do I get the idea you're about to do something you shouldn't?"
Chris took a step back in disbelief. Could this woman read his mind or something? "What?"
"Beating up Quiller isn't going to solve anything, Chris," Tess warned. "It could make things worse for Holly, and how on earth do you think you could explain something like that to Rita?" Unable to respond, Chris stood there with his mouth open as Tess continued. "If you do something like that, you'll not only compromise your position, but Rita's too. You'll put her between a rock and a hard place as your wife and as the Chief of Detectives!"
Chris stared at the ground. "You're right," he finally admitted, nodding. "I don't know what I was thinking. I guess I just got so angry, I wasn't thinking. If anybody had done that to Rita..."
Tess looked at him knowingly. "It sounds like you're still having trouble making the transition from being Rita's partner to being Holly's. If somebody does something to your partner, you react as if it were Rita. A cop should always look out for his partner, but things are different now. Of course you'll be more protective of Rita. She's your wife now, and as you told me yesterday, you always loved her in a deep, special way that went far beyond merely being partners on the job. You're supposed to protect her and look after her like that. But when it comes to Holly, you have to let her take care of herself."
Chris sighed. "I know." He cocked his head and smiled at the older woman. "Hey, you're pretty good at this. What are you, a psychologist or something?" They shared a laugh as they headed back to police headquarters. Chris glimpsed Quiller from a distance but heeded Tess' advice to simply ignore the man.
Later, meeting Rita at the Roach Coach for lunch, Chris reflected on Tess' words. The woman had been absolutely right. How would he have explained a fight with Quiller to Rita? The jerk wasn't worth jeopardizing his career for and certainly not his relationship with his wife! He and Rita shared a leisurely lunch between kisses, and Chris thought again how lucky he was to have her.
Just as they were sitting down to dinner that night, Chris and Rita were once again interrupted by a very agitated Holly. She had paid a visit to a prisoner that Quiller had arrested and heard the man's accusations against Quiller and had then followed Quiller to the home of a known drug lord named Jesus Montoya. She insisted that Quiller was on Montoya's payroll. Chris and Rita listened patiently to her theory but reminded her that pursuing a personal vendetta against Quiller could be very dangerous. They assured her they understood how frightened and angry she was after what Quiller had tried to do to her but tried to discourage her in her efforts to get Quiller. Finally, believing they wouldn't help her, Holly left, promising to get Quiller, no matter what it took.
Rita sighed as she shut the door behind Holly. "She's like a loose cannon, Chris. I'm worried about her. I know she means well, and she's right that Quiller shouldn't be allowed to get away with any of this, but she's going about it all wrong."
"Yes, she is," Chris agreed, "but I don't know that there is a right way to go about this. It's a very sticky and very dangerous situation. I want to help her, but I don't know what to do."
Wanting to distract her from her troubled thoughts, Chris grinned at her. "Hey, Sam, let's get back to that dinner for two." He came up behind her, put his arms around her, and nuzzled her neck. "I still don't know if I'm hungrier for dinner or for you."
"Sex maniac," she teased.
Tess, Monica, and Andrew were gathered in Monica's apartment, comparing notes on their current assignment. "Rita's so sweet," Monica told them. "I'm so happy for her and Chris. They deserve each other. But I still don't know exactly what we're doing here." She turned to Tess, hoping for an answer.
"All in good time, Angel-girl," Tess responded. "Rita has a wonderful husband in Chris. He would do anything in the world for her, and he loves her about as unconditionally as humans are capable of. But like I told you when we first came here, they are about to face the biggest challenge of their lives, and we are here to help them through it."
Monica turned to face the tall, blond Angel of Death. "Andrew, do you have a special assignment here, other than helping us?"
"If you mean am I here for someone, I don't know yet," Andrew replied. "But I know what you're thinking. After all the losses Chris and Rita have already experienced in their lives, neither of them deserves to lose the other. But you know as well as I do that that's not a decision we angels can make. I'm here to do a job just like you and Tess, and as time goes by, I'll know more precisely what that job is."
The next morning, Rita got a call that Quiller had been found dead in the parking garage. At the scene, she and Chris quickly determined that it had been a professional hit. The large amount of money they found made it obvious that it hadn't been a random robbery or mugging. Chris also found a mysterious key that he guessed went to a safety deposit box.
Minutes later, Holly showed up at the scene, and Rita was horrified. She didn't for one minute believe that Holly had been involved in Quiller's death, but after what Quiller had tried to do to her, Holly certainly had a motive. After trying to talk some sense into the young detective, Rita felt forced to place her on administrative leave. She hated to do that, but she hoped that that would get Holly out of the way for the time being and get her to calm down.
Chris spent the morning following up Holly's hunches about the Quiller-Montoya connection. He got the runaround from both Montoya himself and Quiller's partner Wayne. It appeared that Holly was on the right track, and Chris came to believe that Montoya had most likely had Quiller killed because of a double-cross attempt. Stopping by Holly's apartment to see how she was doing, Chris found her hard at work on her computer. She had managed to trace the safe-deposit box key found at the scene of Quiller's murder to a local bank, and when Chris left to get a search warrant and go to the bank to check out the box, he had a hard time convincing Holly to stay home.
Rita ran into Chris as he left the PBPD to head for the bank. "Hey, Sam, what's up?" she asked.
"So much for putting Holly on administrative leave," he answered. "If you think she's ever going to sit around idle, think again. She does good work!" He went on to explain what Holly had found and that he was on his way to the bank to check things out.
"Good work, Sam! I hope it pays off! Listen, I'm going home a little early. I need to stop by the grocery store for a few minutes, but I should be there by the time you get home."
"Taking full advantage of that new position, aren't you?" he teased. "Just leave whenever you want to, Lieutenant!" He hugged and kissed her. "Be careful and don't try to lift anything too heavy. Just leave the groceries in the car and I'll get them out when I get there."
Rita smiled at his protectiveness. "Yes, sir," she agreed. "See ya, Sam."
As Chris entered the bank, he didn't notice that he had been followed, or know that at that moment, Montoya was receiving a call telling him, "Lorenzo's at the bank with a warrant." Inside, he opened the safe-deposit box and found all the evidence he would need - Montoya's surveillance tapes! That should be enough to prove Quiller and Wayne's connection to the drug lord and to put Montoya away forever!
Rita left the grocery store and drove home leisurely. She had kept her promise to Chris and hadn't bought anything that would be too heavy for her to lift in her condition. She parked the car and unlocked the trunk, not noticing the dark blue van that had pulled up behind her. Next thing she knew, she was grabbed and forced into the van, and though she fought as hard as she could, she wasn't able to escape her captors.
Monica watched the scene from the window of her apartment. What was happening to Rita? And what was she supposed to do now? She turned to find Tess in her living room.
"Rita's in serious danger, baby," Tess told her. "I think it's time for you to go to her and comfort her. Such stress in her condition could be dangerous for her and for the baby. And I'm going to help Chris."
Chris heard his mobile phone ring as he exited the bank. He would answer this call, then go turn in the evidence and head home to Rita. He felt his blood run cold as a threatening voice came to him over the phone.
"I have something you want, you have something I want. You'll be contacted."
Rita struggled against the ropes that held her. She was terrified not only for herself and the baby, but for Chris. She knew she had been kidnapped in an effort to make Chris turn over whatever he had found at the bank. And she doubted that Montoya and his people would leave any of them alive as witnesses. Would any of them get out of this alive?
Gasping as she heard Monica's calm voice behind her, she turned to see her new neighbor standing beside her, bathed in a softly glowing light.
"Monica! How did you get in here?"
"I'm an angel, Rita, sent by God to help you." Rita gaped at her in disbelief as Monica continued. "You are in a lot of danger right now, but I am here to tell you that God loves both you and Chris very much, and your baby, too. You must remain calm, and remember that God is with you."
"What? You're an angel?" Rita's voice broke as she fought the urge to cry. "Oh, Monica, I'm so scared! I'm afraid of losing Chris, of losing his baby, of leaving him! You see, he and I have both lost so many people we love!"
"I know, I know," Monica said, trying to calm her. "God knows it, too, and that's why He sent me to help you."
"Can you help me get out of here? I'm afraid Montoya's going to kill both Chris and me. I know he's not about to leave any witnesses who could put him away. I don't know what I'd do if I lost Chris! I don't want to have to live without him!"
Monica could see that Rita was becoming more distraught, which she knew was dangerous to both her and the baby, so she did something she knew she had no right to do. She made Rita a promise she hoped with all her well-meaning angel heart that she would be able to keep. "Rita, you and Chris and the baby will be all right."
After receiving a second call from Montoya telling him where to meet to swap the tapes for Rita and instructing him to come alone, Chris took off for the park where they were to meet. He nearly drove into a utility pole when Tess suddenly appeared in the passenger seat beside him. "Tess! What are you doing here?" He screeched the car to a stop.
"Keeping you from doing something foolish again, young man!"
"Tess, this drug lord has kidnapped my wife! I have to go get her now! I don't have time -"
"Will you stop and listen to me for a minute?" Suddenly, she was framed by a bright light. "I'm an angel," she continued, "sent by God to help you and Rita."
Chris stared at her with his mouth open. "An angel? Oh, please help me get Rita out of there alive!"
"What you are about to do could end up getting both you and Rita killed. Are you seriously going to meet Montoya and not tell anybody?"
"He said to come alone. He'll kill Rita if I bring backup."
"That's what they all say. But you're a cop, and you know no cop goes into a situation like this without at least having backup on standby!"
"I can't take anybody, Tess. He'll kill Rita!"
"Then at least let somebody know where you're going. Call your Captain, call Holly, just let somebody know!"
Chris knew that Tess was right. "Okay," he relented, "I'll call Holly. She's on leave right now and can't do anything anyway. But at least somebody will know." He picked up his mobile phone and punched in Holly's number.
"Rawlins," she answered.
"Listen, Holly, you were right. I got tapes from the bank to prove it. But Montoya's goons kidnapped Rita, and I have to turn the tapes over to him to get her back."
Holly gasped. "Chris? Where are you meeing him? I'll be right there!"
"No, Holly, I have to go alone! He'll kill Rita if I don't. I just wanted somebody to know what was happening. I'm on my way to the park now. I'll let you know when it's over." He disconnected the call without waiting for a reply and looked up to find Tess staring at him.
"What? I told somebody. What more can I do? I have to get my wife back alive, and that's all there is to it!"
"You need help, Chris, and I can only hope it comes in time."
Holly hung up the phone in frustration. What was Chris thinking? Surely he knew Montoya wouldn't leave any witnesses alive! There was no way he and Rita would get out of this alive, at least not like this. He had to have some help, and Holly knew it was up to her to bring it. She grabbed her car keys and mobile phone as she dashed out the door. Administrative leave or not, Chris and Rita needed her help, and she intended to be there for them. She called the PBPD for backup, then took off for the park where she knew Chris was meeting Montoya.
Tess and Monica watched the exchange in the park from a distance, knowing their abilities were limited. Everything now depended on what Chris and Rita did and if Holly had thought to send for help. Monica thought about the promise she had made to Rita earlier, the promise she knew she'd had no right to make nor the ability to keep. "Tess," she began, knowing she had to come clean, "they're going to be all right, aren't they?"
"I don't know, baby, I don't know." She noticed Monica seemed more worried than usual. She knew Monica had become very fond of Rita, but she realized there was more to her worry than that. "What's wrong?"
Monica stared at the ground, then slowly lifted her eyes. "I made a promise to Rita that I might not be able to keep." She saw Tess open her mouth in shock, but she continued, "She's lost so many people in her life, Tess! She doesn't deserve to lose Chris, too!"
"I know, Angel-girl, but you know we don't have the authority to make or keep promises like that!"
"I'm sorry, Tess. I just felt so sorry for Rita, and I had to say something to calm her down!"
"I understand that, but if Rita thinks an angel lied to her or broke a promise to her, what do you think that's going to do to her?"
Before Monica could answer, Andrew appeared beside them and Monica's heart sank. If Andrew was here, that wasn't a good sign. "Andrew? What are you doing here?" she asked, afraid to hear the answer.
Seeing Monica's sad expression and knowing he could do nothing about it, Andrew simply said, "I have an assignment."
Tess knew that if the Angel of Death had an assignment at this spot, things didn't look good. "Which one?" she asked.
"I don't know yet. I just know I'm to pick up somebody here. I'll know when the time comes."
Tess reached out and squeezed Monica's hand, wishing she could comfort the young angel, and then looked again at the scene in the park. Chris and Rita were in each other's arms, and Montoya's car was driving away. Everything looked all right, but if Andrew was here with a job to do, it couldn't be over yet.
Chris and Rita held each other tightly and kissed, finally able to relax again. "I'll never leave you again," Chris promised. Neither saw the figure on rollerblades approaching in the distance. They did, however, hear the sirens growing louder by the second, and Chris realized Holly must have sent for backup. It wasn't necessary, he said to himself, but he was glad she had thought to get them help.
Suddenly a car screeched across the pavement toward them. "Chris! Rita! Look out! Get in the car quick!" Holly yelled, jumping out of her car and running toward them. The rollerblader they hadn't seen until now was getting closer, aiming a gun at them. As Chris and Rita dove for cover inside their car, Holly continued running toward them. Seconds later, two shots, obviously meant for Chris and Rita, hit Holly in the back and sent her falling to the ground. With their backs to her, Chris and Rita didn't see what had happened. The sirens grew louder, and within seconds several police cars and an ambulance arrived at the scene, and the rollerblader went down in a hail of gunfire.
On the floor of the car, Chris and Rita held each other tightly. Pulling back slightly, Chris stroked Rita's hair and looked her over for any signs of injury. "Are you okay, Sammy?"
Rita nodded. "Are you?"
"Yes, I'm fine as long as you are. You weren't hit?"
"No, just afraid you were."
"I'm okay, and no, I wasn't hit."
Unseen amid the chaos, Andrew made his way across the pavement to where Holly lay. Paramedics were working on her in vain. He leaned over her nearly lifeless form and held out his hand. "Come with me, Holly," he said gently.
A uniformed officer approached the car. "Lorenzo? Lance? You two okay?"
Chris and Rita slowly raised their heads. "Is it over?"
"Yes. We got him."
Chris emerged from the car and helped Rita out. "What happened to Holly?" Rita asked, then gasped as she turned to see the paramedics covering the young detective's face with a sheet. "Oh, my God, Holly!" She and Chris ran to Holly's side. When one of the paramedics shook his head, they knew it was too late. Chris and Rita held each other tightly and cried, knowing that Holly had given her own life to save theirs.
Still watching the scene, Monica asked Tess, "Are they going to be all right? I hate for us to leave them now. They're both going to have a hard time dealing with this."
"Our work is not done here yet, Angel-girl," Tess answered. "In this assignment, I've learned a lot about survivor's guilt, and that's what Chris and Rita are going to have to get through now. And whether you believe it or not, Holly's death is just as tragic as Chris' or Rita's would have been."
"I know, Tess. God loves everyone, no matter-"
"No, baby, that's not what I mean. You know all about Rita's background, losing both of her birth parents so young, growing up in foster homes, losing her foster parents, and all that. But Holly's life has been just as tragic. She spent her childhood with an abusive stepfather and lost her sister, her only sibling, to a drug overdose a few years ago. Holly's mother eventually divorced her husband and is finally married to a kind, loving man and is very happy. But now she's lost both of her children to tragedy."
Monica gasped. "She needed an angel before this!"
"She had one, baby, but now we have to help her, as well as help Chris and Rita get through this."
Chris had insisted that Rita go to the hospital and have a doctor check her out. "That was too close, Sam. I'm not taking any chances," he told her firmly.
The doctor quickly put their minds at ease. "Everything seems fine," he assured them.
"The baby's okay?"
The doctor smiled at them. "Yes, in a few more months, you're going to be having a healthy baby... Do you want to know?"
"You mean boy or girl?" Rita asked.
When the doctor nodded, Chris asked, "You mean you can tell that from the tests you ran on Rita just now?"
"No, I found out from the tests we did on her last week. I can tell you, or we can let it be a surprise."
Chris and Rita looked at each other, silently communicating their wishes. "Tell us," they said in unison.
Chris and Rita hugged each other tightly and allowed themselves a few minutes to enjoy this piece of news, but both knew they were putting off the inevitable. A funeral for a police officer killed in the line of duty was never easy, and this one was going to be the worst for both of them. And even worse than that, they both dreaded facing Holly's mother. The poor woman had already lost so much in her life. How were they going to be able to face her, knowing her daughter had died because of them?
At home that night, Rita relaxed as Chris rubbed her feet. "Are you sure you're okay, Sam?" he asked for what seemed like the hundredth time.
Rita nodded sadly. "As okay as I can be for now. Oh, Chris, I feel so awful! I was Holly's supervisor! I should have-"
"Rita, don't do this to yourself!" Chris interrupted. "I was her partner and feel like I should have been able to do something to save her, too! I feel so guilty that I didn't even see her go down, didn't know what had happened until it was all over!"
Tess and Monica suddenly appeared in the room. Together, Chris and Rita gasped. "Both of you are angels?"
"Yes, we are," Tess answered, "but I have to say you're both sounding like you could use a psychologist as much as you could use an angel right now. You're familiar with survivor's guilt?"
Still shocked at finding the angels there, Chris and Rita nodded and said nothing.
"Then you know what you're going through is normal," Tess continued, "and you're handling it well. Always remember how much you love each other and never be afraid to share your feelings with each other. If the two of you keep talking just like you are right now, you'll get through this. Just don't shut each other out or bottle your feelings inside. And remember help is always available if you need it."
The angels stayed with them awhile longer, and before they left, they reassured Chris and Rita that Holly's mother was being taken care of. After they left, Chris and Rita both somehow sensed what neither Tess nor Monica had said: The incident with Montoya in the park would have resulted in a death no matter what, and if it hadn't been Holly, it would have been one of them.
The morning of Holly's funeral, Chris, Rita, and Harry all felt like they were functioning on autopilot. As Holly's partner, supervisor, and captain, they were all scheduled to speak, and none of them were sure they were going to be able to get through it. They had all talked with Holly's mother and were surprised at how well the woman was holding up. Betty Rawlins Johnson had already been through so much in her lifetime; and maybe her earlier experiences had served to strenghthen her, they reasoned.
With the people assembled at the cemetary, the minister began the service, saying they were gathered to pay their last respects to Holly Denise Rawlins. Harry, Rita, and Chris each read their prepared statements, and then Betty rose to say a few words about her daughter.
"Holly made me proud," Betty said, her voice trembling slightly. "She died doing what she loved, for people she loved. Harry, Rita, Chris, she spoke so fondly of all of you. I knew long ago that she would gladly give her life for any of you. She had a lot of obstacles to overcome in her young life, and I think it's a testament to her character to have come through it with such a loving, caring heart, and a willingness to serve those she loved. Holly didn't die in vain."
A week later, Harry called Chris and Rita into his office and suggested that Chris take over Rita's position when she started her maternity leave. All were agreeable, and Rita was as relieved as Chris had been when she had been promoted. After the close call with Montoya, she wanted him in a safer position.
That night, they cuddled in bed and tried once more to discuss baby names. "Now that we know we're having a girl, it should be easy," Rita insisted.
"Yeah, easy," Chris agreed, reaching for the baby name book. He flipped through a few pages, then asked, "What sounds good to you, Sam?"
Rita grew serious. "I'd like to give her Holly's middle name," she said quietly.
Chris hugged her, knowing she still had as difficult a time as he did. "Okay. Her name was Holly Denise. So, what first names can we think of that go with Denise?" He began turning pages in the book again. "Alison, Amanda, Ashley, Caitlin, Chelsea, Christina...."
Rita laughed. "Slow down, Sam! Let me have a look at that." She took the book from Chris and began leafing through the pages. "Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Anna...."
"Hey, Sam, is there a reason you're coming up with all those old-fashioned, Biblical names?"
"Hmm, I never thought about it. But after our recent experiences with angels, maybe there is. Let's see what some of these names mean. What's one you like?"
Off the top of his head, Chris said, "Katherine."
"Katherine? I like that, Sam! Could we call her Katie?"
"Sure, Sam, anything you want. What does it mean?"
Rita flipped through the book. "Katherine means 'pure.' Katherine Denise Lorenzo. How do you like that, Sam?"
Chris grinned at her. "Well, since it was my suggestion, I have to love it!"
Rita laughed and hugged him. "I do, too, Sam."
Two months later, Tess and Monica stood quietly in the waiting room of the hospital. Both jumped slightly as Andrew appeared beside them. "Andrew?" Monica asked anxiously, "you're not....?"
"You can relax, Monica. I'm here to see the baby, just like you! I'm not on an assignment. How's Rita?"
"Doing fine, but still in labor," Tess answered.
Chris held Rita's hand. "Push, Sammy, push, you're almost there!"
Rita gasped and tried to do as he said. Minutes later, they heard a loud cry, followed by the doctor's, "You have a healthy baby girl!" Nobody, not even Chris and Rita, could see or hear the three angels cheering across the delivery room.
"We're done here now," Tess said.
"We are? What about Betty?" Monica asked.
"Betty has help whenever she needs it," Tess assured her. "But I think the best help is going to come from her friends, people like Harry and Frannie, Chris and Rita, and other people who knew Holly."
Two weeks later, Rita was relaxing at home while Katie napped. Chris had taken some time off work, and he was trying to make sense of the list of baby gifts they had tried to keep. "Who gave her the pink blanket, Sam?" he asked.
Before Rita could answer, the doorbell rang. "Sit tight, Sam. I'll get it." He got up to answer the door, knowing it was no doubt another of their friends. The endless stream of company had finally dwindled, and though they appreciated all their friends' attention, it had been a bit tiresome, too.
Chris opened the door to find Betty in the hall. "Hi, Chris," she said. "I'm sure you've had more company than you know what to do with lately, but I heard Rita had the baby, so I wanted to stop by for a few minutes."
"By all means come in, Betty." He opened the door wider and allowed her to enter. "How are you doing?"
"I have good days and bad days," she admitted. "My husband Richard has been wonderful. He loved Holly like she was his own daughter, and I only wish I'd found him when both girls were younger."
Rita got up to greet Betty. "It's so good to see you," she said, hugging the older woman. "Have a seat, and I'll get the baby."
"Oh, don't wake her if she's asleep," Betty insisted.
"It's all right. I want you to see her." Rita returned minutes later with a sleeping Katie in her arms. "Betty, this is our daughter, Katie."
"Katie? What a pretty name!"
"Yes, Katie," Chris said. "Katherine Denise Lorenzo."
Betty looked surprised. "Katherine Denise? You named her after Holly?"
Rita nodded. "Here, you can hold her if you like."
Betty took the sleeping baby from Rita and looked down at the child with tears in her eyes. "She's so beautiful."
Fighting her own tears, Rita said, "Thank you. We sure think so."
Her voice quivering, Betty told Chris and Rita, "When I see you two with your beautiful little girl, I know that Holly fulfilled her mission in life. She did what she came to do. Giving her life so that both of you and your baby could live was what she was here for. Knowing that, I can accept her death and somehow go on. I'll miss her every day of my life, but I know everything happened the way it was supposed to and for a reason."
"Betty, we promise you that Katie will grow up knowing about Holly and what she did for us. Holly won't be forgotten," Chris said emphatically. "And you're welcome to come visit anytime."
Betty's eyes lit up. "I'd love that. And if you two ever need a babysitter..."
Chris smiled at her. "Thanks! I'm sure we'll take you up on that soon enough!"
After Betty had left, Rita leaned back on the couch in Chris' arms, still holding the sleeping Katie. "Betty's amazing," she said. "If I'd been through all she has, I don't know that I could go on."
"She seems to draw comfort from seeing us. She knows Holly's death allowed both of us to live and to have Katie. We're very lucky, Sam."
Rita stroked the dark hair on Katie's head. "We sure are. I have to wonder how different things might have been if the angels hadn't shown up."
Chris hugged her. "Don't think about that, Sam. I'd say having all those angels on our side made all the difference in the world for us, but I don't want to think about the alternative!"
Rita rubbed her cheek against his. "I think Tess, Monica, and Andrew have moved on, but somehow I think we'll always have some angels watching out for us."
"So do I, Sam, so do I."
Standard Disclaimer: The characters of Chris, Rita, Holly, Harry, Quiller, and Montoya are the property of Stephen J. Cannell and Stu Segall Productions. The characters of Tess, Monica, and Andrew are the property of Martha Williamson and Moon Water Productions. No infringement intended. Katie, Betty, and all the "extras" are mine.
Credits: The song "On The Side Of Angels" was written by Gerry House and Gary Burr, and was recorded by LeAnn Rimes.
Thanks to: Christopher Lanza for all the help and encouragement, and for posting this story. Cathy Reinhardt for editing.Lia, Denise, Jaclyn, and all my other AOL Silk chat buddies for all the helpful suggestions and for encouraging me to attempt a Silk Stalkings/Touched By An Angel fanfic. Laurie Anne for showing me the Touched By An Angel and crossover fanfic on line.
How did you like it? Do you think justice was served? Or have I lost my mind for turning the one we love to hate into a hero? I did that because I think Chris and Rita would have had a major case of the survivor's guilt I mention had something like this happened. Because they were such kind, caring people, they wouldn't have taken the death of a fellow officer lightly, even if the viewers had, and they would have had a lot of empathy for someone in Betty's position. Send all comments/questions/suggestions/ "you're crazy" notes, etc. to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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