The alarm clock sounded off loudly.

John Cooper groaned loudly before burying his head into his pillow. "Not today" he muttered to himself before managing to lift his head up from the pillow. He hated today.

The sunlight had managed to seep through his closed curtains and he was blinded momentarily. This happened every morning and every morning it frustrated him to no avail. His blurry vision followed the annoying sound to the source. He slammed a hand down, missing the first time but effectively putting it out of commission the second time.

He lay still for a moment.

He figured that he should take in the quiet serenity of a Los Angeles morning before it was all shot to shit.

Russell entered the kitchen cautiously. Upon seeing that the coast was clear he went straight for the coffee machine and switched it on. He was taking a coffee mug from the cupboard when the backdoor opened. Russell cursed himself silently as his wife entered holding an empty laundry basket. He took a deep breath.

"Morning" he mustered with a smile.

She nodded without looking at him.

A familiar tension filled the room. Russell could tell she was in a bad mood so he decided on a different approach.

"Coffee?" he asked.

She turned on her laptop and sat down. "I already had a cup Russell" she said, not looking up. "I had a cup two hours ago when I was getting the kids ready for school, ironing your shirts and trying to organise lunches".

Russell nodded and put the cup back in the press immediately. He took a disposable cup from the counter. "I'm in a hurry" he lied while pouring the coffee, "but I'll be back tonight". He looked at her for any type of response.

Nothing. She didn't even look up from the laptop.

He rolled his eyes and left the room wondering why he even bothered. "Russell?" he heard her call after him. He ignored her and headed for the door. He heard her follow after him and decided to stop. She walked toward him holding a plastic container. "You forgot your lunch" she said finally looking at him. He took the container silently.

Another awkward silence.

He nodded thank you and reached down to kiss her. It was uncomfortable. She mustered a smile and he did the same. Both trying to mask the deep unhappiness they felt was taking over their lives. Russell escaped out the door and into the sunshine and dry heat. He let out a sigh of relief.

It had been a better morning then most.

"I'm sorry that I haven't had much time but it's just been crazy these last few weeks and I wanted to –"

"It's fine mom" her son cut her off. He focused on his gameboy. Chickie Brown sighed and concentrated on the road. She didn't want him to be late for school for once so had insisted that they leave an hour early to beat the traffic. Traffic was heavy though and she predicted that they would be late anyway.

"We could go surfing this weekend?"

"OK." He still didn't look up.

Chickie sighed. She knew that he didn't believe her. She didn't blame him but she wanted him to acknowledge that she was at least trying. The last few weeks had been intense. She was working extra hours as well as training a lot more. She rarely had weekends off and when she did she usually spent them with her son.


The last two weekends that she had off, she used to go on a tactical training course thus strengthening her skills and abilities as an officer but damaging her relationship with her son.

"Well, do you wanna do something else instead?" she asked, silently begging him to show her some enthusiasm.

He shook his head.

They drove the rest of the way to school in silence. He played his gameboy while she tried to think of the right thing to say. Apparently there were no words. As she stopped at the school gates she turned and faced him. He looked up at her in the disappointment in his eyes stung her.

"I promise kid, this weekend it's just you and me". She smiled and held his stare. He nodded at her and gave a small smile. "OK mom". She kissed his cheek he got out of the car. As she watched him walk up the steps she felt only remorse at her absence. She had her ambitions but she didn't want them to affect her son. She needed to be around a lot more. She had never wanted to be one of those mothers who let her kids down to fulfil her own needs but then again she had never wanted to be one of those mothers that feel too worried about her kids to try to fulfil her needs. She didn't know what kind of a mother she actually was anymore.

Where did all the balance go?

Ben Sherman and Ellen Sanders entered the station together. It was their first day. Ben looked around expressionless while Ellen's excitement was more obvious.

"Do you think they'll let us do much today?" Ellen said glancing around.

Ben shrugged. "Maybe, I don't know".

"It's going to be crazy" she said to herself before turning to Ben. "You know I was watching NYPD Blue last night and I was thinking that like, this is us now". She smiled proudly.

"It's a TV show Ellen," he said not sharing her enthusiasm. He sighed and sat down on a waiting chair. The truth was that he was nervous. He wasn't scared but the importance of his job could be intimidating. Ellen's comparisons of it to TV shows frustrated him because he felt that she didn't quite get the grasp of how important this was.

"Hey, you think we might get to use our guns?" she said sitting down next to him. When he didn't answer she looked around the station thoughtfully. "You never know, we could get to take a bad guy off the streets on our first day". She smiled at the thought of this and Ben looked at her sharply.

"That's not why we're here. You sound ridiculous".

Ellen rolled her eyes. "Of course it is Ben. It's now our duty".

Ben turned away from her. He wanted to tell her to shut up and that being a cop wasn't just about guns and killing bad guys. He wanted to tell her that it was about justice and helping people find it. It was their duty to protect people and help them. He didn't know Ellen very well but he was irritated that she seemed to have such arrogance about the job when it was only her first day.

Ben didn't like confrontation though so he just ignored her. He put his head in his hands and waited for someone to call out his name.

Approximately an hour and a half after waking, John Cooper drove into the parking lot. He was still tired. He parked his car and looked up at the station. He hoped that today would be a little better then yesterday. His phone vibrated and he read the message.

"Hope your back is ok. Go easy on the rooky. Thinking of you."

He smiled to himself.

Maybe today wouldn't be so bad.