Nicole stared blankly at the wall. Her hands shook as she relived Jess's death for the millionth time, her best friend had died six months ago, and she still saw it every time she dared to close her eyes. Antonio was worried about her, she could tell from the way he looked over at her, and he had mentioned a shrink after she woke up screaming for the second week in a row. She had refused, saying that she could work through this herself, she didn't need anyone to lean on. Deep down though, Nicole knew that once, this might have been true. Once Nicole Scott had walked this road of life alone, and was content to do it. She and Antonio had, once upon a time, walked that road together, lately she had seen that his road was nearing hers again, but in truth, Nicole hadn't been truly alone since the first day she had met that young, redheaded psychic, that is, until now.
Her phone rang, startling her. It was Pollock, which surprised her. Nicole was set to go back to work next week, Antonio had returned a month or so ago, but last she heard, Pollock was too unseated to return to his chair. Michealson had taken over again, like he had after Janey's death, even if this time no one expected the same recovery from Pollock as last time. Antonio had told her that Pollock hadn't showed up at a crime scene yet. She looked at Pollock's text: I would like to talk to you, will you meet me for lunch? Nicole replied with a 'sure.' And he told her to meet him in an hour at a restaurant, not far from her place.
Nicole walked into the restaurant, and found Pollock quite easily. She recalled the professional Pollock, the on suspension after Janey's death Pollock, and neither of them fit this man. He had a five o'clock shadow, his hair was tangled and fell into his eyes, and his clothes were wrinkled so much it looked like had slept in them. At least he didn't smell.
"You wanted to talk, sir?" Nicole asked hesitantly, taking a seat across from the ghost of the man she used to know.
"Yes, but no formalities. I am John and you are Nicole." Nicole nodded, and noticed that John's hands were shaking. "I need to tell you some things, things that I think you should know about Jess." It shocked Nicole to hear him speak about Jess so casually, and what would he know about her best friend that she didn't?
"I'm listening s- John."
"Well, my divorce from Janice was official last fall, as you must know and she moved to Canada as she had full custody of our kids, and since then Jess and I had been dating. We were engaged to be married." Pollock's eyes filled with tears as he remembered his lost Jess, but Nicole was thrown into a state of shock. Jess had been dating Pollock and hadn't told her?
"I'm sorry. I had no idea. You must feel worse than I do."
"I lost my true love in that shooting, you can't possibly fathom how I feel. And she was pregnant too, she wanted it be a girl. That's all she'd talk about when we were together, the baby." Pollock buried his head in his hands and shook with the force of his sobs.
Nicole leaned over and began to rub his back, it was all she could manage while processing the information. She hadn't lost just her best friend, her sister, in the fire, she had lost an unknown niece or nephew too, they had lost two lives, not just one. Nicole heard her own tears hit the table, life was so unfair. It should have been her! She should have died, Jess had a man who loved her, and a baby on the way too, Nicole had nothing like that. Nicole didn't have that much at stake. Pollock reached for her hands and they cried together.
Their moment was interrupted when someone screamed, "FIRE! FIRE!" Smoke detectors blared, and the restaurant became a stampede to get to safety. Nicole and Pollock were swept up into it. Once outside, they could only stand and watch the fire burn, until a woman screamed, "MY DAUGHTER! MY DAUGHTER'S INSIDE! SOMEONE GET MY BABY!" The fire alarms could be heard, but by the time they got there, that little girl would be dead.
Pollock broke away from Nicole and ran inside, Nicole watched the door, as did the frightened mom that stood in the arms of her husband, tears rolling down her cheeks. Both knew the same thing as the others in the parking lot did, they better get out before the fire reached gas and the whole thing blew. Everyone smiled as the little girl came racing out the front door, yelling for her mommy. Nicole waited for Pollock to emerge, but he never did. The small building blew to pieces as the fire managed to find the supply of gas.
Nicole could only stare at the final resting place of a man whose heart died six months ago.