It was one of the lowest moments in her life, the moment when she walked through the door at the firehouse. She felt everyone staring at her, conversations fading, quite whispering the second she walked by someone. She tried her best to seem on top of the situation. Smiled happily and said hi to all the wellknown faces. Inside she felt like digging a hole and disappear. It hadn't turned out so good at the FBI academy, she never felt at home and it had felt like she lost control of things. Most of the students there were great policeofficers and knew exactly what to do in any given situation. She wasn't the best student nor the best officer. She was just average. Nobody noticed her because of her achievements, she couldn't deal with that. She wanted to be noticed, that people looked up at her, and used her as an example of great policework. That hadn't happened. She felt misplaced. She couldn't take it any longer, she couldn't deal with the constant pine either. The extreme longing for TC. Even though she had filed for divorce more than 4 months ago, he was always on her mind. Made it impossible for her to concentrate or be herself. So she had decided to go back to Santa Monica. Even though she was fully aware of what a drawback that was for her. How people would gossip about her behind her back. About her and TC, about Cory. About her failure both as a wife and an officer.
Cory sat behind her desk doing some paperwork when she looked up and saw Chris standing in front of her.
"Hi", Chris said cheerfully, with an undertone of nervousness and contempt.
"Hi", Cory answered and got up and around her desk to give her a hug. Chris gave a brief hug back and took a few steps away from Cory. Her belly had gotten bigger, it was very easy to see that she was expecting a baby.
"How are you?", Chris asked still secretly looking at the belly.
"Fine, I'm just fine", Cory noticed that she looked at her.
"The baby is doing great", she continued, but regretted it the second it came out. Chris wouldn't be interested in knowing that. That her best friends baby was doing great, the baby who's father was her husband. Chris just nodded for an answer and turned around and headed for TC's office.
He hadn't noticed that she had come in that morning, he was busy reading through some papers that he should have read through last night.
She opened the door slowly and looked at him for a second before she entered the office quietly. He looked up at her, and felt his heart skip a beat. He didn't know what to say or what to do. They hadn't spoken since she left, he had just gotten a call from his chief that Chris was coming back and if it was okay with him that she started working at the firehouse again. He had said yes without hesitation. It was like a dream come true for him, having her back. But he knew perfectly well that this was a low point for her and that all of her dreams had been crushed. Still it made him happy, maybe this time she would realise how good they were together. That her dream would change, and she started dreaming of a life with him again instead. A life where they had the same goals for the future, where she didn't use all of her energy on being the best all the time.
He gave her a long hug, held her tight to him. Smelled her hair and stroke her back.
She felt like vanishing in his arms, be there forever. But everytime he was near her or everytime she saw him, the image of him together with Cory poped up in her head and ripped her heart out. Over and over again.
"It's so good to see you", TC whispered in her hair. She didn't answer, swallow hard a couple of times and loosened herself from his firm grip.
She put on a cold smile and looked at him.
"I wont be long, I'll just stay here while I search for other jobs. Eric might find something for me in homicide", she said. She felt satisfied when she saw how TC bit his teeth together. She knew how TC felt about Eric Thomas. The detective that had borrowed her a couple of times to investigate homicides. She also knew that Eric hadn't made it a secret that he wanted her, and that TC had noticed that every single time he saw the two of them together.
"Will you be living at home?", TC asked to change subject, he wanted to avoid talking about Eric for all it was worth.
"I don't have a home at the moment. I doubt there will be a good idea for us to stay together. After all we are divorce", she made the divorcepart seem like a victory. In reality just saying the word made her ache. She had divorced the person she loved the most, the only one she cared about. The only one who had hurt her more than she ever thought was possible.
TC sat down on the sofa with a beer in his hand. He had wanted to throw something hard at Chris when she mentioned the divorce. How could she file for divorce without even trying to make things better, without offering one second to fix their marriage. And the way she had talked about that Eric guy. He felt nauseous just by thinking of the way he had used to look at his wife. With a hungry smile and always putting a hand on her shoulder. He had no business touching his wife. The anger rose in him and made it impossible for him to sit still.
She had been looking through the window before she knocked on the backdoor.
TC went over and opened it, and let out an annoyed sigh when he saw Monica standing there.
"What do you want?", he asked irritated.
"Well lieutenant, that's not the tone of a happy man who has just gotten his beloved wife home again", she said and smiled childishly at him and stroke his arm.
"Drop it Monica. What did you come over for?", he dragged his arm to him to make her stop the stroking.
"I just wanted to see how you were doing. I'm worried about you. Here Chris is back again and everything should be just great, but instead of spending her first day here at home with you, she spends it at the boardwalk together with detective Thomas. So, I felt sorry for you", she said in a babyvoice.
TC pushed her towards the door so hard she almost fell down, and locked the door shut behind her.
"That damn bitch", he said to himself, referring to Chris. He put on some other shoes and went out the door, headed for the boardwalk.
They sat close together on a bench just above the beach. The sun had started to set and TC hid behind a palmtree a bit away from them . Chris had spotted him in the corner of her eye, but didn't let him know he had been caught. This was what she had planned for all along. When she had seen Monica looking at them just half an hour earlier she knew that TC would show up any second. At least she could always count on Monica to spread that type of gossip. She laughed quietly to herself, and slowly leant towards Eric and rested her head on his shoulder. He looked at her with a big smile on his face, and put an arm around her waist.
TC's blood was boiling, his heart was beating its way through his chest, and he felt like he would suffocate any second. Then someone placed a hand on his shoulder and he turned around and saw Jamie standing behind him.
"What are you up to?", she asked him. He gave no answer, instead Jamie looked in the direction TC had been looking. It was Chris sitting there on the bench with another man, at first she didn't recognize him, but then it dawned on her that it was Eric Thomas that she knew Chris had worked with a couple of times. There had even been some rumours at the firehouse about what the two of them were doing behind TC's back. But Jamie had never bought those rumours, she wasn't the one who believed in all kind of gossip.
But now she wasn't sure anymore. Her hand was still on TC's shoulder and she felt how intense his breathing was.
"Maybe we should go away", she said a bit concerned. TC looked like he was about to run down there and beat the living daylight out of Eric any minute now.
TC turned around and looked at her and unwilling followed her when she started walking. She bought two cups of coffee and sat down on the grass. TC sat down beside her and looked gratefully at her when she handed him the cup.
"I'm sorry", she said to him when she had made herself comfortable on the sticky grass.
"Yeah…", TC answered and took a sip of the coffee.
"So maybe the rumours were true after all", he said more or less to himself.
"You knew about them?", Jamie asked.
"The firehouse is a small place, and I'm there a lot", he said with a laugh.
"Not the best place to keep a secret, that's true", Jamie laughed back.
"God, what if they were true…", TC leant his head back and tried to get the image of Chris and Eric out of his head.
"I don't know whether they were or were not true TC. But excuse me for saying this…", she looked at him to get clearance to go ahead. He nodded at her.
"Didn't you and Cory…"she said, didn't feel a need to complete the sentence as TC would know what she meant anyway.
"Yeah…", he said in a breath.
"Is that any better than if Chris and Eric did?"
"Chris had already left when Cory and I slipped that night."
"She had left for Virginia, but she was still your wife", Jamie looked at him. He twirled a little and hesitated before he answered.¨
"I know what Cory and I did was extremely out of line. I'm regretting it every single day. I can't make it undone, I can't tell Chris how sorry I am, because when truth shall be told, in a way I'm not sorry".
"You're not sorry?", Jamie asked surprised.
"You have no idea how much Chris hurt me when she left. When she said that being in the FBI meant so much more to her than I did and ever would do. She threw our lives away, I wasn't good enough. And she didn't mind telling me that over and over again.", TC explained himself.
She nodded, she knew that feeling of being told you're no good. Feeling that someone is ashamed that you haven't accomplished more than you have.
"But still you love her?", she asked.
"More than words can say", he answered and sadness filled his eyes.