Tick Tock

The clock was ticking.

Tick…

Tock…

Tick…

Tock…

Detective Lydia Adams didn't know when she became aware of the incessant noise. It haunted her in the dead of night and the early hours of the morning. It was with her in the shower and when she smiled sweetly for the barista who added an extra splash of caramel to her latte.

She couldn't pinpoint the exact moment it began.

Was it at Moretta's funeral when they tossed the shovel of dirt on top of the casket as his wife clutched their youngest child tightly to her chest?

Maybe it was the first time she ran into Sammy, Moretta's partner, with his son Nate.

It was mid – April and she remembered somewhere her mother or grandmother speaking against the ill – advised practice of bringing a newborn out before the last frost of winter. She'd been mesmerized by the baby and his constant fight to shove his fist in his mouth. Even more impressive were the changes she'd noticed in Officer Sammy Bryant. His shoulders were relaxed; his chest rose and fell with added pride, the man seemed happy. They had said their goodbyes andLydiareturned her attention to the three miles left on her morning run.

Tick…

Tock…

Tick…

Tock…

The sound had grown more persistent that morning as her feet pounded the earth beneath her. The syncopated rhythm drowned out the melodic scales Ella's voice climbed in the buds blocking the sounds of the outside world from Lydia's ears. She was thinking and that was deadly.

Enid Adams had done it.

Lydia's mother had fallen in love and started a family while maintaining the career she enjoyed. She had raised her daughter to aggressively pursue life. Detective s hadAdams known success in high school, college, and now in the neighborhoods she worked to protect daily. Why couldn't she offer the same values to a family…a baby of her very own?

Tick…

Tock…

Tick…

Tock…

Lydia stopped, continuing to run in place as her thoughts played on and the wheels began to turn. She'd thought about it once or twice; when her idea of the perfect man graced her sheets. She wanted it, just like any other woman - the quintessential relationship and evidence of their love. The band that represented their commitment to one another and the expansion of her belly that promised new life and a future that couldn't be denied.

She'd cried the first day of her last cycle.

The tears had flowed not from relief that God had decided to spare his wrath and see fit that no little Ochoas had formed in her womb. She sobbed because, again, her desires had been denied. She knew if she asked, mentioned, or even hypothetically discussed the possibility of a child Rodrigo, the man would run out buy a ring and proclaim his intentions to half of the LAPD to see. That's the type of man he was. Josie had raised him right, but she wasn't sure that's what she wanted.

The baby – yes…

The man…

Rodrigo wasn't built to only produce a child and not honor his obligation. She couldn't ask him to do that. His standards were obvious the day met. She saw them immediately in his persistence to share a cup of coffee or force feed half a bag of chips while they stood vigil outside of his mother's hospital room. He was a keeper; a man who deserved a woman who wanted his love and protection.

Could Lydia be that woman?

She stretched delighting in the burn traveling from top to bottom. Her thoughts were clearer, however unanswered questions lingered.

Tick…

Tock…

Tick…

Tock…

The sound grew fainter, dying a little more with each new day. Two months had passed since her near break down on her morning run. While her wants had yet to diminish, other things occupied her mind.

Rodrigo had laid claim to her heart. When Lydia tried to push him away he only gave her space for the anger to dissipate before he returned and held her in a way that spoke volumes about the depth of the feelings between them. Josie had threatened her life and ensured bodily harm if she broke the heart of her favorite son, only to follow her menacing words with, "You'll be good for him. He'll take care of you."

The couple scoured the classifieds and visited condos on the 's mother's joyous sounds with her live in love became too much for either armed officer to stand.

The third month arrived with the movers who carted her furniture out of the home that once belonged to mother and daughter. Lamps and boxes of books shared a testament about the changes that had occurred over a short span of the time and the peace that comes with accepting love and releasing fear.

Lydia watched as Rodrigo supervised the men and directed them on what stacks to grab next. She loved the sound of his voice and enjoyed the roll of his tongue in more ways than the one. The butterflies in her stomach fluttered and for a minute, Detective Adams felt like a lovesick teenager watching her boyfriend on the basketball court.

She walked back to the house determined to help instead of being relegated to the sidelines to watch. Her head swam and she cursed herself for not eating earlier. She wiped the thin sheen of sweet from her her unsteady frame down on the top step and took a deep breath.

Men carrying furniture and more boxes buzzed around her and she became increasingly aware of the building nausea that would soon force her to bow at the porcelain throne. She stood to attempt a dash for the stairs and the bathroom that waited there. Instead she found herself tumbling backwards into the arms of her concerned boyfriend.

She ignored his incoherent babblings as they waited for the doctor to enter the exam room.

"I'm fine."

Lydia relayed through clenched teeth only to be met with Rodrigo's exasperated and incoherent reply.

"No seas tonto."

She was tempted to send her lover home, back to the boxes and furniture that needed to be arranged. Her vitals were fine and then the interrogation began.

"When was your last cycle Ms. Adams?"

Her eyes fell on the man that shared her bed as she sought direction. Counting back weeks that turned into a month, then two, and finally…

"Shit."

His eyes stretched and her heart began to beat.

Three months had flown by and now there were six left to go.

A new clock began.

Tick…

Tock…

Tick…

Tock…