Second Chances

Dr. Andy Yablonski was not aware of the footsteps echoing toward his office. Instead of being his normal observant self, Andy was staring at the picture that he clutched in his hands obvlious to his surroundings. It was a picture of him and his wife Rena on their wedding day. Years ago on that day, Andy and Rena were both content with each other. They were happy. Now Andy barely recognized the beaming man in the picture as him. Andy was separated from Rena, in more ways than one. "I don't think I have a wife anymore."

Andy sighed. Over the past few months, their marriage had been broken into pieces. With each day Andy and Rena were not living their lives together, they became more and more like strangers to one another. Like the time I fixed up Phillip, Andy thought miserably. Although he had saved Detective Phillip Lombardi, Andy and Rena had remained estranged. Rena said that if they both didn't take time to share their lives with each other, then their marriage was over. An icy feeling chilled over Andy's body whenever he thought about what she had said. He had been spending his time with his colleagues often – no, more than often – and it came to the point where Andy had to admit it himself. Miranda, David, Pam, Ryan, Dr. Jordan, and Koul were his family. Even Luc had softened and they were getting along reasonably well. Rena had her own family – her fellow officers and detectives. Not him.

Andy's office door opened, and a voiced called his name. "Andy?"

He looked up, out of his thoughts now the moment the voice had spoken. The brunette woman standing in front of his desk was frowning slightly, and her brown eyes were sharp with agitation. Andy thought that his wife looked more beautiful than ever. Her name was on his lips as she spoke.

"How long has it been going on?" Rena demanded. She was surprisingly controlled and cool. Her gaze, however, was icy, and Andy forced himself to look away. He knew what question Rena had asked and he knew the answer. Andy stared at his hands, his body burning with shame and guilt. He could almost feel Lisa Reed's skin brush across his own, and again he felt the ice-cold feeling that rushed across his body. A couple of months ago, Andy had hooked up with Dr. Lisa Reed, a pretty and blonde resident. He had slept with her, and Andy couldn't deny that he felt attraction to Lisa. But was it love? He couldn't look Rena in the eye that night when she spotted Lisa with him outside Three Rivers. "Your date is waiting, Andy." Like her question, the words had cut through him, reminding him of his guilt, and of his shame, and of his life. Andy asked himself the question again. Was it love? During that night, he had thought that he had loved Lisa Reed. Now, with his estranged wife's gaze onto him, Andy realized that what he felt that night was lust and attraction. Not love.

"It's been going on for a month," Andy answered. His voice was quiet and raspy. Andy looked up at Rena again, and saw that she only nodded. "Rena…" he began, only to realize that he had no words to say what he wanted to say. He fell silent.

"Andy, there's something that I need to tell you." Something in her voice made Andy peer closer at Rena. Her arms were folded across one another, and Andy noticed that there was another emotion other than agitation when she spoke. The anger was gone now. There was a sharp urgency in her tone.

"What is it?" Andy asked. He stood up.

"Michael was caught a couple of days ago." Rena's arms were by their sides, and her collective emotions measured Andy's racing own. "He's been charged of theft and murder, Andy. He's in police custody."

Andy tried to quiet the racing emotions inside him, but it was no use. He closed his eyes and clenched his fists in anger and disgust at Michael Zelasko, his uncle, and despair over the fact that the inevitable had occurred. Just over ten years ago, Andy had been at Michael's side, and now he had left and Michael would have to defend his demons on his own. "We're family, Andrew." Michael's voice echoed in Andy's mind. "We're blood, bond together for all time. Don't think you can just walk away from your uncle Mike." Andy remembered all the times that he had stolen and lied for his uncle, and the pain that followed, including getting shot. He had vowed to never get tangled up in Michael's world again, but Michael had indeed spoken the truth. I can't just walk away from him.

"What do the police want from me?" Andy asked. He paced now, as if that would help with the stress.

"They want you to rat him out, Andy." Rena said. "You know as well as I do that there is no escaping that now." She eyed her husband.

Andy stopped moving. "Yes." He sighed. "Remember when I told you that I would never tangle in his mess again?"

Rena refused to meet his gaze. "What do you plan to do now?" she asked.

"I don't think I'll visit him," Andy said. "Not now, at least. I have too much work to do, and I have a new patient."

Simultaneously Andy and Rena looked at the mess on his desk. It was strewn with papers and a jacket lied lopsided on the chair. Rena's eye was caught by one of the pictures on the desk; the picture that was taken on the wedding.

"You kept that?" Her voice heightened with surprise. "I never saw it before."

"I kept that special one in a drawer hidden away from the others." Andy calmly answered. He was hoping that Rena would meet his gaze, but she didn't. "It reminds me when we were happy… and it gives me hope."

"Hope?" Rena repeated. She didn't sound convinced. "How is this picture so special, Andy?"

"This picture gives me hope for our relationship." Andy replied. He resisted the urge to hold her hand. "It's special because to this day, that day was the happiest day of my life."

"Not even when you slept with Lisa?" Rena demanded. Her voice turned sharp and although she met his gaze, he felt her fiery anger directed at him.

"No. Even when Koul got his transplant, the happiest day of my life was that day. I never regretted marrying you, Rena." Andy whispered.

"I don't know what to think, Andy." Rena's voice was hard. "You say that your affair with that girl has been going on for a month, and yet you say that our marriage day was the happiest day of your life." She shook her head. "Our marriage was all ready broken, and now…" the sentence remained unfinished.

"You gave me a second chance after what happened with Michael when we were still kids," Andy whispered fervently. "I know what I did was wrong, and I regret it. I'm sorry that I hurt you, and I don't expect you to forgive me anytime soon, but please, give me another chance."

Blue eyes met brown, and Rena stared at the man that had been her first love. Now their love was bittersweet. Could they love again as they loved each other long ago?

"Do you remember what I said to you when we first met?" Rena asked Andy.

Andy smiled. "'I'll always watch out for you.'" His gaze softened. "I'll always remember that."

Rena now let Andy's hand entangle her own. "If I should trust your love and our love, we're going to have to work on this, Andy. Together." She was firm with Andy, and Andy smiled again. She was always the strong and tough one.

"I know." Andy said. "That's why I want to make this work this time." Putting a finger to her lips, he kissed her softly. Rena betrayed no emotion as she unclasped her hands from his. All she said was "Goodbye, Andy" as she walked out the door.

Andy remembered the conversation he and Rena had months before his affair.

"You save lives, Andy. What's more important than that?"

"Having one. A family. A home."

Yes, Andy thought. Having a life, a family, a home…with you.