A/N: Well, I wrapped this all up nicely before I realized I'd forgotten Cora's killer. So in a nod to the world's most stupid criminals, I gave Goren and Eames a break while they recover.
It was pure, dumb luck that led them to the man who murdered Cora Richards. A routine traffic stop in Montauk led to a suspicion of drugs which gave probable cause for a search. When the search turned up Cora's wallet, the driver and his friend were arrested. A home search found a necklace that Vicky Yarborough identified as Cora's, one they had given her for Christmas. She'd been wearing it the day she was killed.
Faced with the evidence, the driver of the car sang like a songbird, fingering Cora's ex-husband, who had hired him to kill her so he would no longer have to pay alimony. He had taken the necklace as part of his fee for services rendered, and it was instrumental in his conviction.
Since Goren and Eames were still recovering from the shooting, as a favor to them, Logan and Wheeler finished up their paperwork on the case.
The bedroom was dark, except for the glow of the streetlight as it illuminated his outline near the window where he sat. He watched the vacant street, casting a glance into the depths of the room when he heard her move, but she didn't get up. He was glad. At the moment he simply wanted to be alone with his thoughts. What had he done? When had he allowed his desire control over his better sense?
A breeze fluttered the curtains, caressing his bare chest which had been coated with sweat a mere hour and a half ago. He looked back into the dark room toward the bed. Something moved in the shadows near the closet and he tensed, until a soft voice spoke, for his ears only. "Why is this such a dilemma for you?"
"Aren't you dead?" he snapped irritably.
Eames stirred in her sleep, and Marcy said, "Keep it down unless youw ant to involve Alex in this little talk, too."
"I have involved Alex in quite enough, thank you."
"Does it matter to you at all that she loves you...or that you love her?"
He turned back toward the window. "I have...always loved her. I am used to that. But this...I don't know. It's too much of an investment. What happens to me when I finally do chase her off?"
"Now why would you do something stupid like that?"
"I wouldn't, intentionally. It's just something that always happens. I've learned not to invest myself too deeply into a relationship." He looked at her. "It's easier for me that way, when she leaves."
"Did it ever occur to you that maybe that was why they left, because you weren't really part of the equation?" His silence gave her the answer she expected. He knew. "Bobby, don't repeat the mistakes of your past with her. This is probably the best chance you have to actually be happy for the first time, and for the rest of your life." The ghost of her image wagged a finger at him. "She loves you, and if you blow this, so help me I'll haunt you for the rest of your life. Invest yourself for once. Let her know that you love her, too. Don't just give her what she needs or what you think she wants. Let her give back to you. It's all right to let her love you, too."
He looked at the floor. "I'm not twenty. I have to unlearn a lifetime of conditioning. That won't be easy to do."
"No one said love was easy, but it is worth it. Talk to her. I'm sure she'll understand, and she'll be patient. She does understand you."
"I know she does, and that scares me."
She smiled. "Everything about her scares you and intrigues you and enchants you..."
"Yeah, yeah...I get it."
"I sure hope so. Now stop second-guessing yourself and go to bed. Remember, Bobby, as badly as you want her, she wants you, too, or she would not be where she is now. Please tell me you won't be an idiot, so I don't have to keep an eye on you."
Goren got up from the chair by the window and moved deeper into the darkness of the room. His eyes adjusted to the dark and he watched the sleeping form of the woman he loved. "Let her love you," Marcy's voice sounded beside his ear.
He made up his mind and gently grasped the blanket in his fist. He glanced toward the opposite side of the room where he could only barely make out Marcy's fading form. "Rest in peace, Marcy."
"Now, I will," she responded as she became one with the shadows in the corner and was gone.
Sliding under the blanket, he reached out and laid gentle hands on the woman in his bed. She stirred, opening her eyes and offering a sleepy smile. "What is it?" she wondered, smoothing her hand over his hair and down along the side of his face.
He needed no words to convey his desire, and she did not hesitate to respond to him. Cushioned by her love, he was no longer afraid to fall, knowing she would be there to catch him as surely as she knew he would be there for her. And he vowed to try never to let her down.