Chapter Nine

Switek, sitting alone in the waiting room, starts to talk aloud. "What else can happen? Who else is going to get hurt? I don't want to get hurt but I also want to get the guy that did this. But what can we do?"

"Everything that we have to," says Rico as he walks in the door.

"I know, I know. It's just…" says Switek.

"Just what Stan?" asks Zito.

"…just that Trudy's upstairs because she got hurt and Sonny's just barely alive for the same reason. Who else is supposed to get hurt or killed before we get this guy?"

"I don't know. But I do know that we will do what ever it takes to catch this guy and make him pay for what he's done. Even if it means sacrificing myself to do it," says Rico with a look of hatred in his eyes.

"No! No one else is getting hurt for any reason!" screams Gina.

Rico rushes over to her and holds her in his arms. "You're right. I shouldn't have said that. I'm sorry Gina. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to upset you."

"Just don't go getting yourself killed, promise?" she asks hugging him tighter.

He takes her face in his hands and looks her in the eyes. "I promise," he says rubbing his thumb over her cheek.

"Thank you," she says as she takes his hands in hers and leads him to the couch to sit down. Once they sit down, along with Zito, Gina asks "What did the doctor say about Sonny?"

"He's in critical condition. He has a punctured lung. He's lost a lot of blood and because of that he's had a seizure. The doctor said that he might have another seizure and possibly a heart attack because of the blood loss. They have him on a constant blood drip and a ventilator," says Zito.

"Oh my…Did the doctor say if he was going to be okay?" asks Gina.

"He's not sure at the moment. The guy that did all this managed to cut through one of Sonny's arteries, which caused all the blood loss. And the doctor said he might be in a coma. He can't be sure of that yet until Sonny's a little more stable."

"A coma!" bursts out Rico. "Even if Sonny lives, but doesn't come out of a coma, it's still going to be like he died."

"Rico!" says Gina scooting away from Rico.

"I'm sorry. I was just trying to say that whoever this guy is, he's doing a good job of putting all the cops he meets in the hospital."

"Are we allowed to see him yet?" asks Gina sitting back into the crook between Rico's arm and chest.

"Not unless Switek saw the nurse come in while I was getting you two."

"No, no one came in. The doctor said he would send someone to get us when we would be allowed to go see him."

Gina looks up at Rico from where she's laying her head on his chest and says "Since we can't see Sonny just yet, do you want to go see Trudy?"

"Sure that way Castillo can come back down here and let these two go walk around or something. That work for you guys?" he asks.

"Yeah, I need to get a drink anyway. We'll wait here for Castillo to come back before we go anywhere," says Switek.

As Rico and Gina get up to go see Trudy, Switek and Zito give each other looks. Zito mouths the word "Wait". After Rico and Gina leave Switek starts to speak. "What just happened?"
"I don't know. I found them outside asleep on a bench in the parking lot holding each other. I'm not sure what's happening but I think I have a pretty good idea."

"After that spectacle so do I and I don't think Sonny's going to like it one bit…especially if he wakes up."

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Castillo wakes up to a sharp pain in his neck and soon remembers where he's at. As he sits up he starts to rub the back of his neck. Soon after he hears a noise and looks up to see Trudy staring at him. "Lieutenant?" she asks groggily.

"Hello Trudy. How are you feeling?" he asks while moving hair out of her face.

"Not well, sir. My chest hurts."

"That's because that's where the bullet stopped. But the doctor says you're going to be just fine. You'll just be a little sore for a while."

"Is there any water in here? I don't think I've had a drink in a few hours."

"Let me check." As he stands and looks around the room he hears a knock on the door. As he opens the door, he's startled to see Rico and Gina standing there. "Rico! Gina! Have you talked to Switek and Zito yet?"

"Yes, we were just down there. We thought that since we can't see Sonny yet we'd come and see Trudy. And to see if you wouldn't mind sitting in the waiting room so Zito and Switek could go walk around or something for a little bit," says Rico.

"Yeah sure I'll go sit in there for a little while. Trudy just woke up and I was looking for some water for her."

"I'll get it. It's just over there on the table," says Gina as she walks over to the table.

"Okay, well Trudy I might be up here later. I'll go ahead and let them go for a little while. I'll come up and let you know if the nurse says we can see him."

"Okay. Thanks Lieutenant," says Rico.

"See you later and thank you sir," says Trudy as Gina helps her drink a small amount of water.

"You're welcome Trudy," he says with a smile on his face as he steps through the door.

After the door closes behind Castillo, Trudy asks "So how's Sonny doing?"

"From what we heard from Switek and Zito he's in critical condition. He's lost a lot of blood from a severed artery and has had a seizure. The doctor says he might be in a coma but it's too soon to tell at the moment. He has to wait until he's a little more stable," says Rico as calm as possible.

"Oh my! Does the doctor think he's going to make it?"

"He's not sure right now. The nurses are trying to get him stable enough for us to go and see him."

"Do you think it was the same guy?"

"Castillo thinks it was, and so do I. But I'm just not sure how to get him without someone else getting hurt."

"We can think about that later when we've all had a little sleep," says Gina.

"Yeah, you're right. And we should probably go back downstairs anyway."

"Why?" asks Gina.

"Because Trudy's asleep again," says Rico as he goes to cover Trudy up with the blanket.

"Yeah we should probably go and let her get some rest. Want to go walk around outside the hospital?" she asks walking to the door.

"Sure, I could use some fresh air anyway," he replies as he opens the door for her.

As they make their way down the stairs and out of the hospital he takes her hand in his. Startled, Gina looks at Rico and he smiles back. They walk away from the parking lot, down a street lighted by nothing but neon signs. As they walk a little further they see a coffee shop and decide to go in. The waitress on duty takes them to a table in a corner and asks them what they would like.

"Two coffees, please," says Rico as they sit down.

"Coming right up," says the waitress as she goes behind the counter.

As the waitress prepares their coffee, Rico and Gina sit together in silence. Rico has his head in his hands and his eyes closed. The waitress walks up with their drinks and asks Rico if he's okay.

"Yeah, I'm okay, just had a rough day."

"Oh I hear you. Well hopefully it gets better," she says with a smile.

"Thank you," says Rico as he takes a sip of his coffee.

"You're welcome and if you need anything else just let me know," she says just before she turns to help seat a couple that just walked in.

"She's nice. Don't normally find people like her working in places like these," says Gina looking at the odd expression on Rico's face. "Rico? Rico, are you okay? Rico?" she says lightly touching the back of his hand.

Rico looks up at Gina with tears in his eyes. Gina holds Rico's hand and asks "What's wrong?"

"I don't know. I just don't know. I don't know what to do. What will I do if Sonny dies? He's my best friend. I just can't let him die. I've got to catch this guy, but I don't know how to do it. I don't know where to even start to look for him."

"Did you get a good look at his face?" she asks.

"No, all I saw was the car, but even then I didn't see the license plate number. It was too dark in the bar and even darker once we got outside in the alley. I know the car was a red Corvette, but I don't know what year. Sonny would but…" he says as he drops his head into his hands.

"Rico…"

But before she could finish her sentence Rico looks her square in the eyes and says "This just can't be happening. How could I let this happen to him? How could I let Sonny get stabbed? How? I swear Gina, if Sonny dies I don't know what I'll do."

"Rico, he's not going to die."

"We don't know that. I should be in his place right now, not him. It was my fault that he's hurt. If I hadn't gone to pick up the phone he would never have been stabbed."

"Stop blaming yourself. It's not your fault."

"Yes it is! I should never have turned my back on that guy. I did and look what happened," he says as he slams his fist on the table. The other people in the restaurant jump at the noise. Rico just stares at them and they go back to their food and conversations.

"Rico calm down. Sonny's going to be fine. We're going to be fine," she says as she takes his hand again.

"Damn it Gina, I can't calm down," he says as he pulls his hand out of hers. "The guy that did this to Sonny is still out there somewhere. And if Sonny dies I'm not going to rest until I find him. Hell I won't rest even now."

"I know Rico, I know. But you're not thinking straight right now. None of us are."

"Yeah, well you don't have the vision of him getting stabbed playing through your head over and over again," he says raising his voice.

"No I don't. I have the one of Trudy getting shot. Same difference. Your best friend and partner got stabbed and mine got shot. We're in the same boat Rico," she says with a look of anger on her face. "Stop blaming yourself for something that you couldn't control. We're not blaming you. I'm not blaming you," she says as she takes his hand again and looks him in the eyes.

"I know you're not. But I'm blaming myself. I let it happen. I let the guy get away. And if Sonny dies, he won't be the only one paying the price. I'm going to catch him Gina, if it's the last thing I do."

"Rico…" she says as she diverts her eyes.

"Yes Gina?"

"I…I think we should go back now."

"Okay let's go," he says as he takes a $10 bill out of his wallet and leaves it on the table. As he walks past the waitress he says thank you. He gets to the door first and holds it open for Gina. They walk down the lighted street with only a few of the signs having been turned off. Rico takes Gina's hand again and they walk the rest of the way to the hospital in silence. Rico deep in thought and Gina cautious as ever. When they reach the entrance to the hospital, Rico pulls Gina aside. They go around the corner between two bushes.

"I want to thank you," he says as he wraps her up in a hug.

"For what?" she asks returning the hug.

"For knocking some sense into me. You were right. I need to stop blaming myself. But I do know one thing."

"What's that?" she asks looking up at him.

"That I will catch this guy. But that I need to be careful how I do it because I have something worth a lot in my life now," he says as he moves hair out of her face.

"And what would that be?"

"You. Other than Sonny, I found another important thing in my life. I found you," he says as he looks in her eyes.

"Rico, I…"

But she never got the chance to finish because right at that moment Rico tilts his head down to meet her lips. Stunned Gina resists until finally giving in to the feelings that overwhelmed her. All the feelings she's been holding back towards Rico just burst out of her. The kiss is so passionate that neither one of them wants to break it. Rico wraps his arms around her and pulls her into him. Each deepens the kiss one last time and then they stop. By the time the kiss was over they were both out of breath. All of a sudden Gina starts to push away from Rico.

"What's wrong?" he asks, startled.

"I shouldn't have done that. Sonny…Sonny cares for me, Rico. Hell I'd even swear that he loves me," she says shaking her head.

"But do you love him?" he asks.

"I…I'm not sure. It's different with Sonny. He's not like other guys. Not like you. He's more like dynamite. You know, can go off whenever and wherever."

"I know. "

"He's sweet and everything, but he's not always there when you need him, emotionally. He's always off somewhere else in his own head. I just don't know. You want to know something?"

"Sure, I think."

"Sonny asked me to dinner tonight. And I agreed. But I don't think I really wanted to. Like I said, he's nice and everything, but I just don't think he's right for me."

"What about me? Other than me being a cop, I'm nothing like Sonny. Want to give me a try?" he asks stepping closer to her.

"I…" seeing the look on his face, she could tell he was telling the truth and gave in. She wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him deeply. Rico wraps his arms around her waist and kisses back.

He lets her go and says "Thank you."

"For what?"

"Giving me my chance. Come on let's go inside," he says as he steps out of the bushes and takes her hand. They walk into the hospital and walk down the corridor to the waiting room. They spot Zito at the vending machines and offer to wait for him.

While opening a Snickers, Zito asks "So where did you two run off to?"

"Coffee," says Rico giving Gina a look.

"Cool," he says as he takes a bite. What did they go and really do, he thinks to himself. I know they did something besides that. Sonny is going to have a field day with all this when he wakes up.

"Zito, you ok?" asks Rico with an odd look on his face.

"Huh? Oh, yeah. I'm fine, just a little bit tired."

"Aren't we all?" asks Rico opening the door to the waiting room.

They go inside to find Switek asleep in a chair and Castillo reading a book in the other chair. Zito goes to lay down on the floor while Rico and Gina go sit on the couch. Gina lays on the couch and puts her head in Rico's lap. He starts to rub her head and soon she is asleep. He leans his head back on the couch and falls asleep too.

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At the Fiddle Street Pier all the lights are out except for the ones coming from the windows of the Saint's Widow. Inside two men are talking.

"Did you accomplish what I sent you to do?" asks Barton lighting a cigar.

"Yes sir. But unfortunately the other man got away with your briefcase of cocaine," says Jackson handing Barton a briefcase full of money.

"No he didn't. All he had was a briefcase of baby formula and flour. The real stuff is here with me."

"Does that mean that what you were trying to sell the women was fake too?"

"Yes it does. I want you to lay low for a few days because his partner might tell the cops. And we can't have that kind of trouble right now. So go home and I'll call you when I need you."

"Yes sir," he says as he gets up and walks out. He gets in his car and drives off.

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He reaches the gate and opens it. As he walks down the path in the grass he sees people, not people other cops. No one looks up as he walks up to them. He looks at what they're looking at and stands there shocked. He walks a little closer only to have the air ripped from his chest. There in front of him are gravestones, baring the names Larry Zito, Stanley Switek, Gina Navarro Calbrese, Trudy Joplin, Martin Castillo, James "Sonny" Crockett, and Ricardo Tubbs. At seeing his own name, Rico falls to the ground and starts screaming.

"How? What happened? Someone answer me?" he yells to the people standing around the graves. And then it hits him. He's dead, no one can hear him. He gets up and runs out of the graveyard screaming. When he reaches the gate that he can in earlier, he finds that its locked and he can't open it. He starts pulling on it and shaking it, but it won't budge. He finally realizes that he can't leave. He's not allowed to leave. And that's when he feels a hand on his shoulder.

"Rico wake up!" says Castillo. "Rico!" he yells.

Startled by hearing his name, he opens his eyes and sees Castillo.

"Lieutenant! You're alive," says Rico rubbing his eyes.

"I should hope I'm alive. You were having a nightmare. You started screaming and yelling. I thought I should wake you up before you woke everyone else up."

"Thank you. My God. That dream, it felt so real. It scared the hell out of me," he says sitting up a little straighter and trying not to disturb Gina.

"What was it about, if you don't mind me asking?"

"I entered a gate and walked down a path until I saw a bunch of people. They were all staring at something in the ground. I walked up to them and saw a bunch of gravestones. They all had our names on them. All of us. I started to run for the gate. But when I got to it, it wouldn't open and that's when you woke me up."

"I don't know whether to say it was just a fluke nightmare or if it has some meaning to it. Just try not to think about it right now. Oh and do me a favor?" asks Castillo.

"Sure."

"Don't tell any of the others. That will just make them even more scared. And I don't think they can handle being scared any more."

"I don't think I was going to tell them anyway. Have you gotten any sleep yet?" he asks yawning.

"Not a lot. I've just been dozing on and off."

"Why don't you get some sleep? I'll stay awake for a while. Don't really feel like going back to sleep anyway. Not after that dream."

"Thanks. I could use a good nap," says Castillo as he lays down on the other couch and drifts off to sleep.

What the hell was that dream about, Rico thinks to himself. I hope it's not a sign of bad things to come. And everyone dead? Why everyone? Why Trudy? She's doing better. And Gina, poor Gina. I can't take much more than this. If that really happens, let me go first. I can't sit and watch everyone die. I can't.

Just then Rico hears a knock at the door. The person peaks her head in and says "Detectives, it's okay for you to go see your friend for a few minutes a piece. He's down the hall, third door on the right."

"Thank you," says Rico as the nurse leaves and shuts the door. He kisses Gina on the forehead to try and wake her up. He whispers her name in her ear and she starts to stir. "Gina, sweetie, time to wake up," he says.

As she sits up she asks "What is it?"

"We can go see Sonny."

"Really?"
"Really. I just need to wake everyone up first," he says as he walks over to Zito and nudges him awake. Then he goes and wakes up Switek and Castillo.

"Why'd you wake us up Rico?"

"We can go see Sonny. The nurse said we can see him for a few minutes each. I was going to say that Castillo, Zito, and Switek go see him first. Then Gina, then me. Does that work?" asks Rico.

"Yeah, that works. Me and Larry can go in together and then Castillo. When we come back you can go Gina," says Zito.

"The nurse said that he's down the hall, third door on the right."

"Okay, we'll be back in a few minutes."
"We'll be waiting," says Gina as Rico goes to sit next to her.

As Switek, Zito, and Castillo walk out of the room, Gina takes Rico's hand. She looks at him and he looks nervous.

"What's wrong Rico?"

"I don't know what to say to him. Don't know what to say about him getting stabbed or about us."

"Just say whatever you want. I know he'll understand in the end."

"Thank you Gina," he says as he touches her face with his hand. He pulls her closer to him and tilts his head down. He lightly kisses her once and then deeply. She lets him for a little bit then she pulls back. He looks hurt.

"I don't want the others to find out just yet. Please?" she asks.

"Anything for you Gina."

"Thank you," she says as she lightly kisses him.

Just as they break the kiss, the others come back into the room. They all look sad.

"You can go in now Gina," says Zito taking up his spot on the floor again.

Gina stands up and turns to Rico. "Come with me?" she asks.

"Okay," says Rico as he takes her outstretched hand.

They walk out the door and down the hall. When they reach the room he's in a nurse starts to walk out the door. "Only a few minutes a piece please," she says as she holds the door open for Gina.

"Thank you," says Gina as she walks into the room. As the door closes behind her she looks around and sees him. All of a sudden her mind goes completely blank. She walks up to his bed and takes his hand very carefully. She bends over and kisses him lightly on the forehead and lets a tear drop into his hair. She stands up straight and lets go of his hand. As she walks to the door, she stops, turns towards him and says "I'm sorry Sonny." She opens the door and walks out.

Rico looks at her and asks "Are you okay?"

She just looks up at him with tears running down her cheeks. He wraps her up in a hug. She pushes away and runs for the waiting room. After she enters to room he leans against the wall. Looks like it's my turn buddy, he silently says to himself.

He pushes the door open and slowly walks inside. He walks up to Sonny's bed and freezes. He sees all the tubes and wires covering Sonny's body. He goes to sit in the chair next to Sonny and checks the monitors. Everything seems okay but what do I know, he thinks. Poor Sonny.

"Sonny, I'm sorry," he whispers as he takes Sonny's hand. "So very sorry. It's all my fault. I never should have taken my eyes off the guy. It should be me here instead of you. Everyone keeps telling me to quit blaming myself, but I can't. I know it's my fault. And I promise you, I'm going to get the guy that did this. Even if it puts me here beside you. I would gladly trade places with you. You shouldn't be here. You should be on your boat, sleeping. But instead you're here because of my stupidity. I'm so sorry Sonny. Please don't die. It would be like losing my brother all over again. And I can't go through that again. Please Sonny," he says as he leans his head back on the chair. As tears roll down his cheeks he drifts off to sleep.