Disclaimer: I do not own the Stephanie Plum series. The characters belong to Janet, I am just borrowing them.


He smiled as he watched her sleep.

He found nothing more calming then watching her chest rise and fall with each breath, completely unaware of what was going on around her, while she slept. This is where he came to center himself. To think and clear his mind for the next day of grueling take downs, meetings with wealthy, paranoid clients and just the everyday craziness that was his wife's life.

She has no idea that he still comes to see her. To make sure that she is alright. Even though he gave up that right when he came home from his last mission with a wife. He remembers her face, more so her eyes, when she heard the news.

Six months ago.

He enters her apartment like fog on the bay; silent and fast. He needs to tell her the news before the gossips get it to her first, mainly the Cop, who would like nothing more then to rub it in her face that Manoso didn't want her either. As he steps through the door, he can already feel that he is too late. She already knows.

They lock eyes and in an unsettling turn of events, hers hold no emotion and his show his torment of having to hurt her like this. He doesn't want to. Madre de dios, he doesn't want to. He has to though. He has to let her know that there will be no someday for them. She has to hear it from him so she doesn't hold out hope that he will come for her and tell her it was a mistake. He has to make her believe that they really are over, before they even had a chance to start.

While he is sorting through his rapidly moving thoughts, she stands and holds his gaze as she walks towards him. He doesn't move, hope and fear running through his heart that she does or doesn't touch him. He is not sure if he should feel relieved or hurt that she walks by him to open her apartment door. With a nod of her head, she spoke the last words he'd hear from her.

"I understand. Goodbye, Ranger."

With those words, what was he supposed to do? She handled the situation for him. While he was trying to figure out how to break his woman's heart, she was severing the ties that bound them together. He wasn't a fool. He was as much hers and she was his. This is just the way it had to be. With a calm strength that he didn't feel he spoke the last words she'd hear from him.

"Babe."

With that, the door to the apartment that held his heart and sanity was closed.


A.N. This is my very first story. I will take all criticism, whether it be good or bad, and roll with it. Please, all I ask is for it to be at least constructive. Thank you and enjoy!