Rain drenches his windshield. The windshield wipers had long since needed to be replaced. He drives his Buick a little slower than normal. Headlights stream in offering temporary blindness. He sighs.

She's leaving.

He tries to shake his thoughts from his head and turns the dial slowly on his radio.

Just what I need, the all night love line, he thinks to himself.

A soft voice comes on and dedicates another song to some hopeless romantic. As the words of the song cascade through his car, suddenly it becomes hard to breathe and he has to pull over, because of the tears that overpower his vision.

***

"Rat a tat tat."

"Coming," McCall goes to the door, removing one of her earrings. The familiar knocking makes her skeptical. Only one person knocks like that. She opens it and stands shocked, gazing up at him.

Hunter, soaked and shaking, stands in the doorway.

"Hunter, you ok?"

"Can I come in?"

"Of course." She opens her door wider and he steps through. Glancing around the room, boxes packed everywhere, Hunter looks anxious. McCall gazes up at her partner and lowers her eyebrows, concerned. She grabs his elbow.

"Hunter? Rick?"

He looks down at her and smiles. His smile was always contagious so she grins.

"What's up?"

"I was on my way home and I heard a song. My car, just drove its way over here."

Tears fill his eyes and McCall motions for him to sit down. He squeezes the breach of his nose and sniffs, wiping away a tear.

I thought I could do this, I thought I could be the bigger man and walk away, but I-I can't..."

"Can't do what?" Dee Dee asks, her heart breaking for her partner.

I can't let you go."

He gazes deep into her eyes now, waiting for a response. His eyes are darker than usual, always a sign that he was upset. She grabs his broad hand and squeezes.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have come. I should go. I'll show myself out," he says hurriedly striding toward the door. McCall chases after him and grabs his arm again.

"Rick, wait."

He stops and looks away from her.

"Damn you Hunter. Why now?"

"I've always been the one with great timing. You know that."

She rolls her eyes, remembering all the times his timing had been less than impeccable. However he was always there when she needed him.

"I never said anything because I'm a cop and I want you to be happy. That's all I've ever wanted for you."

She sighs, remembering her confession to him.

He continues, "Alex seems like a great guy and I would never do anything to jeopardize your happiness." He pauses, unsure whether he should continue. What the hell. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain. "Damn it Dee Dee, I LOVE YOU!"

He opens the door, peers out at the rain and makes a break for it without ever turning his gaze toward her. He shuts the door softly behind him and leaves her standing motionless.

"I love you too," she murmurs to the empty room, "but it's too late for us Rick." Tears well up in her eyes. "It's just too late."

***

McCall is sitting in her dressing room, flattening out the last ruffles of her dress when there is a light rap at the door. She opens it slowly and sees her partner's face beaming at her. For the briefest moment she thinks she notices a tear in his eye. He is holding an arm full of roses and an envelope. She opens the door and ushers him inside.

"Here ya go." He hands her the bouquet. "You look beautiful." A genuine smile crosses his face. "Are you ready?"

"As I'll ever be." She says, sliding the envelope into her purse, still unsure as to his sudden change of character. She slides her arm through his, the last time they would ever be linked.

They slowly make their way around the corner and through the double doors, as the music starts to play. They walk past the smiling faces. She sees Alex and squeezes Hunter's arm. He places his free hand on top of hers and continues to lead her.

"Hunter?"

"Yeah."

"I'll miss you."

Hunter shuts his eyes tight and holds back the tears, his heart is being ripped out of his chest but he knows that it's too late.

"I'll miss you too. Always."

They stop in front of the preacher and he takes her arm from his and slips her hand into Alex's.

"Take care of her."

Alex smiles broadly at him. "Don't worry. I will."

Hunter kisses McCall on the cheek and without another word walks over to his pew.

McCall tries to shove the kiss out of her mind. It was just a simple one between friends but to her it meant so much more. She couldn't help but begin to cry.

"Are you alright?" Alex whispers in her ear. She smiles and squeezes his hand. "I am now." They turn back toward the preacher and continue the ceremony.

***

Hunter sits anxiously waiting for his best friend to enter the room with her new husband. The DJ announces them and she enters, beaming. She's beautiful, he thinks and begins to clap for her. He places his giant fingers between his lips and whistles. Dee Dee smiles at him and acts as if she's flattered by the gesture.

After everyone has taken their seats the familiar chant begins. Everyone taps their glasses in an effort to see the newlyweds kiss, who happily oblige. The pain subsides a little bit when he sees how happy Alex makes her. A slow song starts up and the DJ announces that the happy couple will have the first slow dance of the night. The song is For the First Time by Kenny Loggins.

Halfway through the song the DJ invites everyone else out on the floor and Rick sits back in his chair, staring at her over his glass of water, hovering just below his lips. He purses his lips and looks away from them. He stares at the door, needing to leave but wanting to stay and contemplates what would've happened if things had been different.

What are you doing? He thinks. She's gone. Can't you just be happy for her once? It's not always about you, ya know.

A blonde has occupied the seat next to his and begins to endlessly drivel about how trivial her life is. Normally he would've listened to her with full erection, er, attention but not tonight. Tonight he just wants to be alone. The song ends and another one comes on. He is only half aware of the subtle tap on his shoulder and the glare from the woman who has introduced herself as Cindy. A slightly harder tap on his shoulder brings him back to reality and he spins around to see Dee Dee staring at him.

"Dance with me gorgeous," she says in her best old time actress impression. Her hand is outstretched.

"Thank you."

He realizes she had just referred to him as gorgeous, "but I think I'm going to sit this one out."

Without thinking he heads for the door.

"This song goes out to The Big Guy from our lovely bride. She'll miss you."

Hunter listens to the song now, realizing what it is and a tear comes to his eye. The song is "Inspiration" by Chicago. McCall stands shocked as she watches Rick walk away. The DJ notices what had happened and immediately changes the song. Dee Dee takes off.

Once outside he stands in the cold night and stares up at the stars. It is a threatening evening. Rain is in the air. The wind blows through his hair as his tears hit the pavement along with the first drops of another California shower. He wipes his cheek and with a final sniffle heads toward his car.

Just as he opens the door a familiar voice breaks through the silence.

"Rick, wait."

He pauses for a second, glances over at her and smirks. Then he lowers himself into his car and turns the key in the ignition. She picks up her dress and runs across the parking lot. As he is about to pull out she places her hand on his window.

"Please don't do this."

He lowers his head and cuts the engine. Then he rolls down his window.

He sighs and opens the door. The rain begins to patter against the pavement.

"I can't. I can't let you go."

"I will always love you," she says softly.

Hunter takes a deep breath and stands before her. Gently he wraps his arms around her. He closes his eyes and nods, choking back tears.

"Ditto."

"This isn't fair, Rick."

"It never is," she places her hand on his chest, gently tracing the outline of his lapel with her index finger. He grabs her hand placing it over his heart. He purses his lips and rests his other hand on her cheek. They stand this way for a moment and then Rick clears his throat, running a hand through his hair again.

"Now, go back inside before you get all wet. Alex is probably looking for you."

The rain is now soaking through his tux and drips down his face. She glances up at her partner and sighs.

Suddenly Alex emerges from the building and yells over to the two figures standing in the rain.

"Dee Dee? What are you doing out here?

She turns her head to face him.

"We're getting ready to cut the cake."

"I'll be right in," Dee Dee yells.

"Ok, don't be too long. I think Aunt Sophie has had one too many."

She smirks and glances down at her feet. She locks eyes with her partner again. Another song has started on the radio and she smiles.

"You owe me a dance partner."

He glances around the parking lot and smirks. Obviously this was a silly idea but it didn't seem to matter anymore. The rain enveloped the couple and washed away the tears.

I wish you the best

And I wish you nothing less

Than everything you've ever dreamed of

And I hope that you find love along the way,

But most of all, I wish you'd stay.

He holds her close to him, each one becoming the other's protection from the driving rain. As the last notes of the song play he waits for the inevitable tug as she pulls away from him. When he didn't feel it he glances down at her. She clings to him hard and slowly begins to convulse. He slides a hand down her back, pulling her even closer to him. He removes his jacket and drapes it over her arms. She chuckles through her tears and wipes them away. She can see his muscles through his shirt and wants nothing more than to rip it off all together. However, this is her wedding day and it would be generally frowned upon to do so. Her mascara leaves a small black smudge on his shirt..

"Oops."

"Don't worry about it. It'll come out in the wash."

"I'll miss you, Big Guy. Don't be a stranger."

"I'll never be." He purses his lips again and leans in to her face. "It's now or never," he thinks to himself, heart thumping hard inside his chest. Unsure, he begins to move in closer. She can feel his moist breath on her lips and she inches closer to him. He easily slides his hands over her cheeks resting them by her ears and gently grazes her lips with his own. Just the feel of her makes him want to go weak in the knees but there was no turning back now. The electrical impulses that immediately flow through her, scare and excite her at the same time. She leans into him, running her hand through his damp locks.

"What am I do--" She doesn't get to finish her thought as he pulls away gazing into her eyes.

Then it happens.

With a an impish grin he moves in for the kill, pressing her lips against his. She moves to help him, parting her lips slightly, allowing his tongue to gently roam through her mouth. No thought escapes her at this moment and a gentle moan escapes her lips. Then as quickly as it started it is over. Hunter backs away from her, still searching in her eyes for some sign. Reluctantly she pulls away, suddenly aware that someone may have seen them.

"Bye," she offers awkwardly.

"Be good," he adds uneasily.

He slowly backs the car out of the parking lot and heads toward the freeway. He silently curses as he realizes he STILL hasn't fixed the windshield wipers and slowly merges into traffic.

McCall goes back inside, trying to desperately dry herself off. Her head full of conflicting thoughts and feelings. Her heart tugs with every step she takes toward the building. She quickly ducks into the women's bathroom and rips open the letter he has given her.

Dearest Dee Dee-

I am beyond words on this special day. I am so happy for you. As happy as any good friend could and should be on this special day. Nothing will ever change our relationship Dee Dee, so please, if you ever need ANYTHING don't hesitate to call me.

I know I picked the worst time to bring up certain things but in my heart I know that you understand why I needed to tell you. The lyrics to the song that I mentioned to you at the house are enclosed here. Please understand that my intentions in having that talk with you were never to get you to change your mind. As a matter of fact that's the last thing I want you to do. I had my chance. I could've told you how I felt and I didn't. That's my problem and something I have to deal with.

But, I do want to tell you that I'm sorry. For everything and so much more. I know I'll never find a better partner than the one I found in you. I wish you all the best with Alex in London. I know you'll make those kids extremely happy. You've certainly made this oversized child incredibly so. I'll miss you McCall. Best of wishes to you always and forever.

Sincerely,

Rick

She smiles and turns the page over. As she reads the lyrics she understands all that he had tried to tell her and more. She was right to marry Alex. After all, he is the security she could never get with Rick. Still, in her heart, she can't help but feel she had made a terrible mistake.

Girl, I heard you're getting married
Heard you're getting married
This time you're really sure.

And this is the end
They say you really mean it
This guy's the one that makes you feel
So safe, so sane and so secure.
So babe, if he loves you more than me
Maybe it's the best thing
Maybe it's the best thing for you;
But it's the worst that could happen.... to me.

I'll never get married, never gettin' married;
You know that's not my scene.
But a girl like you, needs to be married
I've known all along you couldn't
live forever in between.

And babe, if he loves you more than me
Maybe it's the best thing
Maybe it's the best thing for you
But it's the worst that could happen... to me.

Girl I don't really blame you
For having a dream of your own.
Girl I don't really blame you
A woman like you needs a house and a home.

Babe, if he really loves you more than me
Maybe it's the best thing
Maybe it's the best thing for you
But it's the worst that could happen... to me.