Now, he was lying awake again. Trying to solve a case first, but then, thinking of Rita. Would she feel the same way about him? And if he would keep on feeling this way about her, then wouldn't that spoil their wonderful friendship? Last nights, he had been wondering so much about how she would react if she would know it. And he knew that if she didn't feel the same about him, it would really take everything down. It was the first time he keeped a secret this big for his partner. Usually when he had been playing golf or something, Rita was the first one he told. And most times, the only one he told. He looked at his clock. It was 2 AM. He should stop thinking and start sleeping. There was a lot of work to do tomorrow. But he just couldn't stop his thoughts. This wasn't the first night he was sleeping bad. Ever since he knew he felt this way, his eyes were opened all night. He turned on the light and looked at her picture again. And he made a decision. He would tell her about the way he felt. He couldn't go on working with her while keeping a secret like this. She needed to know about it. After making this decision, he could finally sleep well again.
Next day he spent with doing paper work. If he kept on looking at the files, he had no time to pick a look at Rita. But it was too late, he had already seen how beautiful she looked today. As usual. Rita could feel some of his distance. "Are you OK, Sam?" "Yeah, actually. I just had a bad night, that's all." "Did you spend that bad night alone or with company?" "No, all by myself." Rita stopped asking but she knew her partner wasn't telling the truth. He was hiding something. Then, after work, when Rita was walking to her car, she heard Chris shouting her name. "What?" "I need to talk to you, Rita. Can we go to a private place?" "Yes, sure." She was happy he would tell her about the things that were bothering him. Maybe she could help. They went to her appartement. Chris seemed very nervous to her. What was wrong with him?
As soon as they were at the appartement, Chris wanted to start telling. He knew waiting with it would only make it harder. "Rita, I want you to sit down and listen well to what I'm gonna tell you now, OK?" "Sure." "I... My God, I'm so afraid all this is going to ruin everything." "What do you mean, Sam?" "Rita, I... I didn't know this until last week... But I do know it was there for so much longer..." He hided his head in his hands. And he thought of the friendship he was about to ruin now. Maybe it would be better not to tell it. Then in future he'd never be angry with himself for telling. "Chris, are you OK?" "I keep on thinking about this all the time... It keeps me awake. If I tell it to you now, it will keep you awake too." "Hey, I'm your friend. If you want to tell me something, then please don't hide it because you think it will hurt me. I'll be fine." "You don't understand.... Rita, it's about you." "Chris..." "I'm in love with you Rita. I can't help it, I tried to fight it, but I just can't." Rita felt like being shot. Suddenly her partner told her he was in love with her. She always thought they had friendship, great friendship, and then this... My God, what to say to him now? This wasn't easy for him either. "Rita?" "God, Chris..." "I didn't want to tell you first but I think now this is something you should know." Why wasn't she responding? Did he ruin it? What did he do by telling her? "Look I... I know this is hard for you Sam, but I'm not in love with you." "I know that." Yes, he could say that now, and of course he knew it, but he had been hoping for the opposite so much this week. "Look Rita, from the beginning on we could have known something like this would happen one day." No answer. She was just turning her head away from him, she was staring at the wall. She seemed so sad and he wanted to help her. In the past when she felt this way, he always comforted her. But he knew if he would do that now, she wouldn't like that at all. So he didn't do anything. There was a long, long silence. And during that silence, Chris was killing himself for what he did. During that silence, Rita was wondering why she never saw this coming. She was wondering what their friendship would be like in future. And somewhere deep inside her, she was wondering if she felt the same way. But she didn't allow herself to think about that. "Look Chris, I know this is going to sound very mean, but..." "You want me to leave." "Actually I do. I need some time to think about this." "I'm outta here. Give me a call when... When you are a little bit used to it, okay?" "I will." As soon as he was outside, Chris started to cry. He walked to his car and got in. But he didn't start it. He was waiting for hours, hoping Rita would come outside to call him back. During those hours, he thought of the thing he had lost. Why did he do it? He always knew this friendship whas the most worthwile thing in his life. You don't put that on the line for something you feel for a week, do you? What did he want with telling it? He made her sad, he made himself sad, he ruined the thing that kept them both alive. Inside the appartement, Rita didn't know what to do. Chris, her best friend, her partner. She didn't want to loose him. But how could they ever be friends if she'd wonder every time he looked at her if he had been dreaming about her tonight. If he wanted more. She was sure she didn't have the mental power for that. But living on without Chris as her friend... She couldn't imagine it. With all the boyfriends she had the last years, she knew they would leave one day. If she bought something, she knew it would be gone one day. But Chris would never go away. He was the thing that had always been there and always would. He was the one that helped her when she had lost something or someone. He was always beside her. Thinking of Chris, she fell asleep. When she woke up, she tried to forget the dream she had about him.
For the first time in so many years, Chris wanted to take a day off. He didn't want to see Rita right now. And on the other hand, it was the only thing he wanted. He decided to go to work. Maybe Rita wouldn't be there. Rita was thinking about staying away for one day too. But she couldn't. For a reason she didn't know herself, she wanted to see Chris. And so that morning, they arrived at the same time. They didn't dare to look at each other. But how can you ignore each other while you are working all day together? They did some research for a case, talked about it. But Chris could feel so well Rita's distance. She wasn't saying anything more than necesarry. At the moments she use to be joking she was now saying nothing at all, just staring. Rita tried to force herself to act normal. After all, Chris never wanted this to happen and she shouldn't punish him. She had no reason to treat him this way. But deep inside her heart, she knew she had. She was afraid of feeling the same way about him. If she had been totally honest with herself, she would have known she already felt that way. But she kept that thought out of her head.
The distance kept on existing, for weeks. It was a pattern: At morning, they both got up, promising theirselfs to be nicer to each other. At work, they only talked about cases. And then at night, Rita was hating herself for her behaviour to Chris and Chris was hating himself for ever telling her. For ruining their friendship. Of course, Lipschitz wasn't blind and knew there was something going on. But before asking his team about it, he asked Frannie what she thought of it. She answered she couldn't make anything of it, the two of them probably had been fighting, and that would be solved in future. For maybe the first time in his life, Harry didn't believe his wife. Of course, he knew Chris and Rita better than Frannie did. Chris and Rita had never been fighting very much in the first place. And then, they would always make it up very soon. As soon as his team arrived next day, he shouted: "Lance and Lorenzo, in my office now!" And so Chris and Rita went. They expected to hear something about the case they were working on. But their Cap started: "Guys, what's going on here? You are hardly talking to each other!" They looked at each other for one second. Then Chris said: "I'm sorry Cap, but we can't tell you that." "You can't tell me? What is this? I'm your Captain and if my partners can't get along that's also terrible for the case. So tell me!" "We really can't, Cap. But we promise you it will be solved soon. Just give us a few more weeks." While saying that, Chris prayed it would be solved that soon. Living without the Rita he use to meet every day was killing him. He was nothing without her. "Fine, you got 2 weeks to solve it and if it's still there after those weeks, I want to know. Understand?"
After work, Chris said to Rita: "We need to talk." "No Chris, I can't. I have an appointement." "Do we have a PD-meeting tonight? Then I forgot it." "No, I'm having a date." While saying it, Rita couldn't understand why she was being so mean to the guy that used to be her safe rock. She wasn't having a date tonight and she wasn't busy with anything else either. She was just afraid to talk. Chris couldn't take it anymore. "This is it, Rita. You are treating my like dirt for weeks now. Maybe I should suggest the Cap to put me in another team." And he walked away, to his car. "Chris, wait!" But he didn't look back. And then, at that moment, Rita was washed away by her feelings for Chris. She knew they were there, they had always been there. And she was treating him so bad while she could have exactly what she wanted. She drove home and wondered what to do. Then she got into her car and drove to his appartement. As she ringed his doorbell, she prayed he would be home. The door was opened, and she looked right into Chris blue, burning eyes. He looked so mad. "Can I please come in for a while?" He let her in. "Chris, I'm so sorry for my terrible behaviour. I can explain..." "Right Sam. First you're totally ignoring me, and then you're coming up with excuses. Forget it!" "If you could just wait and hear what I want to say!!! The reason I was treating you that way was because I wanted to deny my own feelings. The truth is, Cristopher..." Chris could hardly breathe. Would she finally tell him now the thing he wanted to hear for so long? "That I'm in love with you too. I just didn't want to see it. But it's true." The anger on his face turned into happiness. Rita couldn't remember ever seeing him happier. He moved to her and kissed her so tender. He had her back. His best friend. Now, she was even more. He had been crying, praying and begging for this, and now it was there. He pulled her closer and kissed her with more passion. As Rita whispered his name, they both knew their friendship had gone. But something else, so more magical, had come instead of it. They celebrated it with a game of golf.