A Soul Reborn
Peter Caine sat down on the bench and looked out towards the lake. The early morning sun did nothing to warm the chill in his soul. He closed his eyes, remembering an event that never should have happened.
Peter ran down the alleyway following George Silver, a psychotic madman who'd taken a young teenage girl hostage. He tried to stop him from getting out of the bank, but Silver took the girl as insurance, which caused a change in plans.
He stopped and yelled. "Freeze, Silver!"
Silver turned around and smiled. "I don't think so, cop." He put the gun to the girl's head. "You see, she has to pay for her sins."
She stared at Peter. "Please, help me."
He looked at her and saw his own reflection mirrored in her dark green eyes. He swallowed the lump of fear in his throat. He looked back at Silver. "Silver, let her go. Can't you see she's scared."
Silver smiled devilishly and pulled the trigger.
The shot roared through Peter's ears, threatening to deafen him. "No!" He watched in horror as she slumped to the ground, lifeless.
"No!" Peter averted his eyes from the girl's body. The man was ready to fire at him. Peter pulled the trigger. The force of the bullet slamming into Silver's body caused him to leap in the air, landing a few feet away, dead.
Peter opened his eyes, putting his head in his hands. "She's dead because of me." He stood ready to face the world of violence.
Peter sat at his desk drowning himself in his work. It had been two days since Silver shot Stephanie Andrews. For two days he continued to blame himself for what happened.
Captain Simms looked out her window and then at the file in her hands. I hope you're right about this, Harry. I think what Peter needs is a time to heal. She smiled to herself. I have the perfect assignment for him. She opened the door.
"Detective Caine in my office now."
Not now. Peter got up, entering her office. He sat down in a chair nearest to the door, wanting to flee at any opportune moment. "You wanted to see me, Captain?"
She closed the door, handing him the file. "I'm assigning you to a special detail in Palm Beach. You'll need to report to Captain Harry Lipschitz of the Palm Beach homicide department."
Peter looked at her questionably. "Why?"
She sat down in the chair beside him. "Peter, I know you haven't been the same since Silver shot Stephanie."
Peter cast his eyes down. He didn't want any comfort. His own words came back to haunt him. She's dead because of me. "It's my fault she was shot. I should've shot him first before he exited the bank. I…I didn't want to take a chance of people getting hurt, and because of that he took her instead and then killed her right in front of me."
She placed a hand on his shoulder. He tensed a little under the touch. He didn't want her pity. "Peter, it wasn't your fault. That's why I'm sending you on this assignment. It'll give you a chance to heal and maybe find peace within yourself."
He smiled a half smile at her. "You sound just like my father."
She smiled back. "Well, your father tends to rub off on people."
He got up and walked to the door, opening it. "Thanks, Captain." He left.
My father, Peter thought, I have to let him know I'm leaving. It was ironic that he was fearful of his father leaving him and now he was the one leaving town, but only for a short time. Peter pulled his blue Stealth in the alleyway behind his father's building and bounded up the stairs.
"Pop, ya here?" Peter called out as he marched down the hallway. He took a quick glance towards the meditation room and noticed it was empty. He moved to the end of the hallway to his father's apothecary room. "Pop, I got-" Peter halted, he noticed his father was with a patient, a young pregnant woman.
"I'm sorry," Peter whispered. He walked towards the French doors to wait for his father to finish.
"Will these help me, Master Caine?" The woman indicated the herbs he had put into a pouch and then he gave them to her. "To ease the morning sickness?"
"Yes, mix them with hot water. The tea will ease the symptoms."
She bowed at him and he answered in kind. She left the apothecary.
Caine turned his attention to Peter, who was studying the plants on the garden balcony.
"You wish to tell me something?" he inquired. Ever since Peter was a young boy, he would fidget whenever he had something difficult to say.
"Um, yeah, Pop. I do." He glanced at the floor to avoid his father's gaze. He felt his father's hand on his shoulder. Caine gave it a gentle squeeze, encouraging him to continue with his thoughts.
"I have to go out of town for awhile." He released the breath he didn't know he'd been holding. "Captain Simms is sending me to Palm Beach on an assignment. I just wanted to let you know."
"That is good, my son." Caine knew Peter had taken the shooting very hard. He had avoided coming to him. Peter felt responsible for the shooting and he wouldn't accept solace of any kind.
"You're not upset I'm leaving?" He studied his father's face, searching for any clues to his reaction.
"I am pleased that you will be, ah taking a needed break?" He stumbled on the unfamiliar expression.
"Yeah, a needed break," Peter laughed. "Actually I do think I should take the opportunity to soak up some rays. And the women...WHAT?" Peter noticed his father's hand on his wrist, checking his pulse.
"Yes," Caine smiled. His son was already on his way to healing.
"Don't worry, Pop, I'll be back." Peter wanted to assure his father, and most of all himself.
"I will be here, my son." They embraced. Peter retreated to his Stealth.
Peter made his way through the busy Palm Beach airport, bumping into some of the people rushing to and fro as he walked to the baggage carrousel.
"Are you Detective Caine?" an uniformed police officer asked him.
"Yes, I'm Caine." Peter spotted his luggage rolling towards him on the conveyor belt and pulled it off.
"Captain Lipschitz told me to pick you up and drive you to the precinct. Would you like me to help you with that?" the officer offered.
"No, I can handle it, thanks." They walked back through the throng of people and out the sliding doors. The officer had his patrol car parked outside.
"Gee, is it always this hot down here?" Peter asked as he felt a blast of heat strike him in the face. It was a sharp contrast to the cold weather he'd left behind back home.
"Yes it gets even hotter and more humid in the summertime."
Peter took in the sights that flashed by as they drove towards the precinct. "How did you know it was me back at the airport?" Peter asked.
"It wasn't hard at all. You'll see what I mean when you get to the station," he said as they wove their way through the traffic.
"Tom!" Cassy St. John yelled across the squad room.
The cops stopped what they were doing for a second to look at her, and then resumed their work.
She sighed in frustration, moving toward Harry's office. Entering, she saw a dark-haired man sitting in one chair. Tom? Nah, couldn't be. Shrugging her shoulders, she walked up behind him tapping him on the shoulder. "May I help you?"
The man turned around and smiled at her. Not realizing whom it was, she punched him, hard, in the shoulder. "You son-of-a-bitch! You were supposed to wake me up this morning, so we could go on the Thomason stake out together!"
The man looked at her curiously. "Excuse me?"
She grew angrier. Who do you think you are? "Don't play dumb with me, Thomas Ryan. You're not that good."
Harry shook his head, walking into the office. "Well, I see you two met."
Cassy turned around. "Captain?"
Harry smiled at her. "Cassy, I would like to introduce Detective Peter Caine."
Cassy stared at Peter, flushing in embarrassment. Oh, shit! "Oh, my God! I didn't know. I'm so sorry."
Peter stood up, grinning. "It's all right." He held out his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
"Cassy St. John." She shook his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, too."
"Who is Thomas Ryan?"
"Tom is Cassy's partner." Just wait and see. This is going to be good. He motioned to the squad room. A minute later Tom made his way into the bullpen. Harry smiled, waving him over to his office. "Thomas, do you have a minute?"
Tom looked up at his captain. Oh, no I remember the last time he said that. Nope, not going there. It must be bad. "Sure, skipper." He walked towards the office, stopping abruptly. Peter did the same.
Tom stared at his captain, shocked. "Is…Is this a joke, Harry?"
"Thomas, I would like you to meet Detective Peter Caine." Harry replied.
The two men continued to stare at each other, until Peter decided to break the silence.
"It's a pleasure to meet you." Peter extended his hand. "I've heard so much about you." He winked at Cassy.
Tom swallowed nervously. "You … you, too," he stammered. He took another look at the man, shaking the offered hand.
"Enough with the pleasantries." Harry's tone was now serious. "We've got an assignment."
"What assignment, Captain?" Cassy asked.
"Detective Caine and you two are assigned to the drug and arms detail attached to the FBI. There's been a rise in drugs and arms dealings in Palm Beach. I want to know who's behind it and why since we are helping the FBI in this matter. They are keeping a very tight lid on this."
"Why not vice or Narcotics? We're homicide." Tom asked.
"Because, my dear Thomas, vice and Narcotics can't get a shred of evidence on this guy, whoever he is. Their not telling us either. That's why I called Detective Caine here. His captain recommended that with his expertise in arms and drug dealings that he's dealt with, in the north, he will be a great help to us," Harry answered.
The three detectives nodded, then turned to leave.
Peter stopped in the doorway, turning. "Yes, Captain?"
Harry shut the door, motioning Peter to sit.
"Karen Simms is a very good friend of mine. She told me what happened, and is very concerned about you. She thought it would be a good idea for you to come down here."
Peter looked down. Harry sat down beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Peter, I don't know you very well, but I know how it feels. You've got to believe unched by Cassy, and finally looking at Tom. That was weird, but Pop always said you have a double somewhere.
Peter continued to look out over the water. He found that meditation was not helping him like it sometimes did when he was troubled, neither was being by the water. His spirit was not at rest. He was miles away from his home. I'm stranger in a strange land. I suppose what they say is true, you can't run away from your troubles. 'Is that what I am doing?'
He finally found a place on the sand and sat down. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and began to meditate.
Cassy watched Peter walking along the beach from her deck. "I guess we have something in common." She smiled to herself. "I should really apologize to him for what happened this morning."
She walked down the stairs and headed towards him. She found a comfortable spot and sat down.
Peter sensed her and opened his eyes. "Are you going to punch me again?" He smiled, holding up his hands in the air. "I'm prepared this time."
Cassy shook her head. "I'm really sorry about that. It's just that I was angry with Tom. When I saw you and not realizing who you were, I took my anger out on you." She gave him the once over. "Besides you look exactly like him except your hair is longer."
He smiled. "It's all right, Cassy. You don't have to explain yourself to me. It could have happened to anybody."
At least he's honest. "Mind if I ask you what brings you here to my favorite beach?"
He shook his head. "I don't mind." He then looked out towards the water. "I was trying to meditate. The water always brings me a peace of mind and focus, but it doesn't seem to be helping me right now."
She placed a hand on his shoulder. "Want talk to about it?"
He looked at her. I can feel something between us, but I don't know what. "Maybe some other time." He stood, helping her to her feet. "Good night, Cassy." He turned to leave.
I can feel something between us, like he needs someone to love. Get a grip, Cassy. You barely know him. She grabbed his arm. "Wait, Peter. Do you have a place to stay?"
"I was going to check into a hotel."
She released his arm, smiling. "You can stay with me. I just live right there." Whoa, wait a minute. What am I doing? I barely know this man and I'm offering him to stay with me.
Quit being so selfish, Cassy. Her heart told her.
That's the way you are. Her head told her.
It's the least you can do. Besides I can have some fun with him. She pointed to her home. "You can stay in the spare bedroom. It would be my way of apologizing for what happen this morning. Besides, I would love to get to know you better." A whole lot better.
Why is she being so nice to me? Maybe this is the other voice Harry was talking about. "All right. I'll go get my stuff and meet you in a few minutes."
She nodded. "Okay." Now, for some fun.
A few minutes later, Peter approached the house. She was waiting for him, grinning. "Come on in. I'll show you to your room."
Peter entered, following her.
She showed him to her guestroom and helped him settle in.
"If you'd like to clean up, the bathroom is right down the hall. There are fresh towels if you want to take a shower."
"Thanks, Cassy," Peter flashed his boyish smile at her.
She went downstairs to get the laundry basket. She did a load of wash and left the basket in the hallway. Carrying it to her bedroom, she placed it on her burgundy carpet. She heard the sound of running water coming from the shower.
She busied herself by folding the clothes. Picking up the folded washcloths, she took them to the linen-closet in the hallway, hearing the bathroom door slide open. She was torn between looking and giving Peter his privacy.
Just a peek wouldn't hurt. Besides it's my house and I used to do this to Tom all the time. Glancing around the doorjamb, she watched as Peter exited the bathroom.
He was dressed in nothing but a blue towel around his waist. Her heart was pounding a bit harder in her chest. He's so sexy. He isn't Tom, but he sure has a great body, though. She could tell that he worked out by the muscles on his chest and arms.
She quickly ducked back into her room, taking a few breaths before she ventured back into the hallway. What am I doing? Peter had disappeared into the guestroom and closed the door.
It had been quite some time since Cassy had a man staying in her home, and that relationship was, thankfully, a short-lived one.
She hadn't felt this comfortable with a man since Tom. Peter was a good guy, she could see that in him. It was so uncanny how two people could look so much alike. Well, they do say you have a twin someplace and besides it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to get back at Tom and now I have the chance to do that.
Peter intrigued her. She hoped he would stick around long enough for her to get to know him better.
She turned off the light and went to sleep.
Peter walked out of the bedroom, heading towards the deck. He watched the water for a few minutes, feeling his eyelids getting heavier. It was time to turn in. Maybe things would look brighter in the morning. At least he would have a lovely companion to join him for breakfast.
He checked the locks on the door after he shut it behind him and turned the lights off. He trudged up the stairs. Pausing outside Cassy's room, he glanced inside. He felt a tinge of gratitude for her not only giving him a nice place to stay instead of an impersonal hotel room, but for lending him a sympathetic ear in a way. He closed the door and headed off to bed.
The waves washed gently over the sand, as the moonlight cast its light through the windows of Cassy's home. There was silence throughout; the only sounds that broke the calm were the hum of the refrigerator and the ticking of the clock on the living room wall.
"No! Oh NO! Silver no!"
Cassy bolted upright in her bed, her peaceful sleep shattered by the eries coming from the bedroom down the hall. She scrambled out of bed, grabbing her robe, quickly tying it as she padded to the bedroom. Jerking open the door, she found Peter sitting up in the bed, arms were wrapped around his legs and his head was resting on his knees. He was breathing very hard. She quickly went to him. Sitting on the bed, she gently touched his shoulders.
"Peter, what's wrong?" she queried.
"Nothing, it's just a nightmare," he said, trying to get his breathing under control.
"It's not nothing, I know about nightmares. I've had plenty of my own." She put her hand on his arm, rubbing it up and down hoping to soothe him.
"I just can't get that scene to stop playing in my mind. That little girl was innocent, she didn't do anything why did he have to kill her?" Tears threatened to spill as the scene played out in his mind's eye. "Why, Cassy, why?" he bowed his head, the tears streaming down his face. Cassy wrapped her arms around him. Peter leaned his head against her shoulders.
"I don't know, Peter. There are some things you just can't make sense out of." She rubbed his back. He'd taken his shirt off and she could feel the sweat on his bare back. Peter gripped her tighter, running his fingers through her hair. He gently kissed her neck, slowly moving to Cassy's cheek.
Her hands went to his hair, fingers stroking the soft locks. Their lips met, soft kisses quickly tuned into passionate ones. Cassy followed Peter's body as he lay back down onto the bed. What had started as comforting touches were turning into ones of desire. Their eyes met briefly, no words needed to be spoken, as their bodies pressed tightly together. Peter helped Cassy off with her robe, which fell onto the floor. Her gown joined the robe and finally Peter's pants joined the pile.
Their cries mingled together as they climaxed into each other's arms.
Later that night, Cassy woke up in Peter's arms. She moved out of the bed carefully, trying not to disturb him. She grabbed her clothes, opened the door, and ran out of the room. She ran into her bedroom, carefully shutting the door. She sat down on the edge of her bed.
"Cassy, what have you done?" she asked herself. "You've just slept with a total stranger." She smiled wickedly. "But, I slept with Tom's double, in a way. I think I'm going to enjoy having him here. A total substitute for Tom." She lay down, drifting off to sleep.
The next morning Peter arrived a little bit early to the station. Tom arrived a few minutes after.
"Good morning, Tom."
He looked up. "Good morning, Peter." He sat down in his desk.
Peter turned on the computer. He clicked his mouse on a file. It was an e-mail from a very good source. A smile crossed his lips. "Tom, take a look at this."
Tom put down his file and went over to Peter. "What's up?"
Peter pointed to the screen. "According to the FBI, there's been a large shipment of drugs coming from Cuba making their way into Palm Beach."
Tom looked at him curiously. "How did you get this?"
Peter grinned. "I have my ways."
Tom rolled his eyes, throwing his hands up. "I don't even want to know."
"Hey guys. What's up?"
Tom looked up. "Hey, Cass. Nothing much. Looks like Peter found a connection."
She leaned over Peter's shoulder. "What did you find, Peter?"
"I found the who and the why." He pointed to his screen once again. "The FBI has been tracking down a drug lord named Renee Salvador. According to this he's one of the most ruthless drug lords there is, and also a huge arms dealer. It seems he wants more power in the ranks. He's killed a couple of his competitors. Vice and Narcotics couldn't finger him to the homicides. No wonder they are keeping a tight lid on this." He hit the print button. "Here's his address. The FBI had him staked out at the old warehouse district, but called it off because their presence was leaked. I think they called us to have fresh faces that couldn't be recognized."
Cassy grabbed the piece of paper and turned to leave. "Let's go get this creep."
Peter looked at Tom. "Is she always this forceful?"
Tom shrugged. "You don't even want to know."
They got up and left.
"Well, Senor Salvador, do we have a deal?"
The dark-haired Mexican smiled. "Yes, Senor Campos. We have a deal." The two men shook hands.
"You should get your shipment next week, Senor Salvador."
The man nodded. "Gracias, Senor." Campos left.
Renee Salvador was in his mid-forties, with dark brown hair. He would cut his mother's throat just to move up in the ranks. If you wanted special types of weapons, he was the man to ask. He adored the power it brought and his competitors knew he wasn't a man to mess with.
He rubbed his hands together, laughing. "The fool. He doesn't know what he's getting into and why he shouldn't cross me. Who does he think he is anyway? Didn't he know I would find out that he is working with the cops to get me! He should be realizing that right about now."
An explosion reverberated throughout the warehouse.
Tom, Cassy, and Peter arrived in time to watch the limo burst into flames. Salvador walked outside the warehouse to watch his handy work go up in smoke.
Peter saw a lone figure in the doorway. "There he is." Peter pointed to Salvador. "Let's go." He hurried towards the warehouse.
"Peter, wait," Cassy called out.
Tom shook his head. "He's just as impulsive as you."
Cassy gave him a dirty look. They went after Peter.
Peter entered the front of the warehouse while Tom and Cassy went towards the back. Peter spotted Salvador walking towards a small wooden table. Cocking his gun, he made his move.
"Hold it right their, Salvador!" He shouted.
Salvador whirled. "Who the hell are you?"
"Detective Peter Caine, and you are under arrest."
He looked at the cop, sneering. Does this cop know whom he's messing with? Oh, I'm shaking in my boots. "What's the charge?" he asked innocently.
Peter kept his cool. "Drug peddling, arms dealing, and murder."
"You have to catch me first." He turned to run, but came face-to-face with Tom and Cassy.
"Hold it right there." Cassy pointed her gun at his face. "Cuff him, Tom."
Tom went behind Salvador, cuffing him and reading his rights.
Harry arrived a few minutes later with backup and the entire FBI swat team. "Nice work you guys."
"Thanks Harry. Here's a present for you." Tom handed over Salvador.
Harry handed Salvador to one of the officers. "I'll see you guys back at the station and I want full reports on my desk from all three of you by 9:00 tomorrow morning." He left.
Tom smiled. "Well, I guess our job is done here. Let's go."
They left the scene and went back to the station.
Tom stretched his aching muscles as he entered the squad room. "Well, I don't know about you, but I'm going home and maybe catch a game on TV."
"Oh, no you don't, Thomas. You heard Harry, we have to have our reports by morning," Cassy replied.
"Cass, don't start. I'm not pulling an all nighter, besides I was going to work on them when I come back here, which will be early in the morning."
"You're so typical, Tom. I'm going to work on my half and give it to Harry as soon as I finish."
"You talk about typical. Fine, I'll call you later to see if you have yours done. I'm leaving."
"Hey, Peter, you want to join me and leave Little Miss Perfect to do her share of the report?"
Peter shook his head, smiling. "No, thanks Tom, maybe some other time, but thank you for asking. I'll see you tomorrow."
"See you guys tomorrow," he paused. "Or maybe even sooner." Tom hinted. He waved goodbye and left.
Peter sat down at Tom's desk, while Cassy sat down at hers. She sure is uptight when it comes to paperwork. Man, I feel bad for Tom. "You know you were a little hard on him?"
"I know I was, but he'll get over it. We do it all the time."
Two grueling hours later, they've finished their half of the reports. Peter was waiting for the right moment to finally talk to her about what he'd felt the night they met on the beach and what occurred afterward. He felt something between them, but didn't know what. Maybe I'm just losing my mind or something. Maybe last night was a mistake. I did get that feeling when she wasn't in bed with me the morning after, but I guess it was much too soon. He took a deep breath to calm his rising nerves. Here goes nothing. What do I have to lose?
"Cassy, would you like to join me for dinner?"
Cassy smiled at him. "That would be great, Peter."
He let out a sigh of relief. "Good, I'll meet you back at your place." He got up to leave. "What kind of wine do you like with your dinner?"
"Red it is then. I'll meet you at home." He left skipping and whistling all the way.
She watched him leave, smiling. I wonder what he has planned? Maybe an encore is just what the doctor ordered. She got up and left.
Two hours later, Cassy entered her house to the smell of garlic and tomato pasta sauce cooking in her kitchen. She stood in the doorway and inhaled the delicious scent.
"Peter, you home?" Setting her keys and purse on the table, she found a note addressed to her.
Cassy, went down to the beach to meditate. Help yourself to some wine. Peter. She set down the note.
She walked over to the cabinet, grabbed a glass, and poured some wine. She took a small sip, and went over to the saucepan, lifting the lid to smell its contents.
"Smells good." She was about to grab a spoon.
"Don't even think about it."
She almost dropped the glass on the counter. Shit! Whirling, she glared at Peter. "Don't ever do that to me again. You about gave me a heart attack!"
Peter smiled, shrugging his shoulders. "Sorry about that. My father does that to me all the time. I think I've picked up on the habit."
She returned the smile. "You're forgiven."
"Why don't you make yourself comfortable while I finishing setting the table."
He sure is charming. Another Tom quality. She walked up the stairs to her bedroom and changed.
A few minutes later, she walked out of her bedroom, and down the stairs. He was standing by the table, which was lit by candles.
"Your dinner is served my lady." He pulled out a chair.
She sat down. "Why thank you, kind sir."
He refilled her glass. "My pleasure."
She closed her eyes and inhaled the scent once again. "Smells good."
Peter sat down and smiled. "Thanks."
After dinner, they sat outside on the deck and looked out towards the water crashing against the shore.
"So, how did you and Tom meet?"
She took a sip of wine. "It's a long story."
"I would like to hear it, if you don't mind. If you don't want to talk about, I'll understand."
She shook her head. "I don't mind." She took another sip of wine. "Well, we met on a stake out a few years ago. We fell in love. To give you the short version; dated for a couple of months, married, divorced seven months later, and then were re-teamed three years ago. We've been a team ever since."
He listened to her as she told her story and recognized the look in her eyes. "You still love him, don't you?"
She nodded. "Yes, I do." But, I have you instead. She took another sip of wine. "I know in my heart that we can never be together and I know he holds a special place in his heart for me. We both accepted the fact that we can never be together, and decided to remain friends, but sometimes I don't know how he feels." She set down her glass, glancing at him. "What's your story?"
Peter looked out towards the water. Taking a deep breath, he replied, "I grew up in a Shaolin temple until I was twelve years old. A renegade Shaolin Priest named Tan destroyed it. I thought I had lost my father at that time, too."
He swallowed the lump in his throat, continuing, "I grew up in an orphanage until I was fifteen. I was placed into a foster home with a police captain named Paul Blasidell. I entered the police academy because of him. A few years ago I was reunited with my father and now we've been able to build up our relationship that we'd lost so many years ago."
We have another thing in c ng up that memory again.
Cassy could see his pain. Grabbing his hands, she held them tightly. "What happened, Peter?"
Opening his eyes, he met her gaze. "He shot the girl right in front of me. The look on her face it was … it was-"
She pulled him into a hug. "It wasn't your fault. You didn't know he was going to shoot her."
Peter lifted her face, seeing the truth behind her blue eyes. "You…you understand."
She looked deep into his eyes. "I understand how you feel. I felt the same way when Tom was shot." She paused, "I thought I was going to lose my best friend. The doctors told me he was going to die, but he beat the odds."
She looked down at the ground. "If he died, I would have never been able to forgive myself because there was so much left unsaid between us." A tear escaped, rolling down her cheek. "I…I never told anyone this before."
Peter placed his hands on her face, brushing it away. "Thank you for trusting me with that secret. I know it was hard."
"Maybe we should call it a night?" Cassy released him. What's happening to me? I barely know him, but in someway I trust him. "Good night, Peter."
Peter watched her. What are you afraid of? "Good night, Cassy."
Cassy looked at herself in the mirror before going to bed.
I can feel the connection between us. We share a common bond and I know he can feel it, too. I never shared a bond like that with Tom, in fact me and Tom never agreed on anything, maybe Peter is the key to getting back at him.
"I've got to tell him." She headed towards the deck, knowing he was still there, since she didn't hear him go to bed. He was sitting in the same spot. Taking a deep breath to gather up her courage, hoping that her voice wouldn't betray her, she said, "Peter."
He turned. "I thought you were going to bed."
"I need to tell you something." She took another deep breath. "Last night where we'd made love, I thought it was a mistake, but I don't know anymore." Keep going, Cassy. Reel him in. "I've been listening to my head for far too long." She placed his hands in hers, gazing into his eyes. "I've been trying to get Tom back for far too long that I'd never listened to my heart. I felt a connection between us that first night on the beach. I know you've felt it, too, or we wouldn't have found ourselves in each other's arms."
Peter stood. Taking her into his arms, he kissed her. "I did feel it." Placing his hands on her face, he kissed her again. Cassy wrapped her arms around his neck and allowed the sensations of having someone to love overcome her.
A warm breeze caused her to shiver, not out of coldness, but out of desire. "Maybe we should continue this in the bedroom."
Peter lifted her up, carried her into the bedroom, and set her down on the bed.
She saw the desire in his eyes and hesitated a moment. "Peter, are…are you sure about this? Remember what happened the last time?"
Resting finger to her lips, he whispered, "Shh. No more words." He kissed her. "Let me make love to you." She wrapped her arms around his neck and allowed him to do so.
Later that night, Cassy lay in Peter's arms. She rested her head was on his chest, feeling it rise and fall as he slept. She'd only lain like this once before, but that didn't last very long. No, I'm not going to think about that. Tom is…was a great lover. She was lying in the arms of a man who'd she thought was Tom's double.
Impulsive, caring, charming, and much, much more. She'd waited all her life for a man like that to sweep her off her feet.
She moved her hand up and down his body. Peter opened his eyes, smiling.
"Hey there, beautiful." He leaned down, kissing the top of her head.
She looked deep into his eyes. For the first time since she met him, she saw peace there. Lifting her head from his chest, she kissed him.
"It looks like you found peace within yourself."
Taking a hand, he placed it to his lips. "Thanks to you."
She held on to him tighter. "Glad I could help."
He smiled. Maybe everyone was right. Maybe I had to listen to another voice.
That voice belonged to a woman who'd shared and understood how it felt to hurt inside.
They held onto each other, drifting off to asleep.
"Do you have to go, Peter?" Cassy said, hugging him tightly.
Peter held on to her, not wanting to let go. "I don't want to go, but I have to." He lifted her face, seeing the tears in her eyes.
"I won't ever forget you, Peter."
Kissing her, he placed one of her hands over his heart. "I won't ever forget you, Cassy."
"Flight 525 to Sloanville now boarding," the airport PA called out.
"That's my flight."
They held onto each other once more.
"I have to go."
He walked to the boarding gate and disappeared.
Cassy walked to the window and watched him board his plane. "I won't forget you, Peter."
Peter sat in his seat, closing his eyes as the plane took off.
A month had past since Peter was in Palm Beach. Cassy walked into the station, moving towards Harry's office. She wore sunglasses to hide her red rimed eyes and the shadows that hid beneath them from the lack of sleep. She knocked on the door.
She entered the office, sitting in one of the chairs and looked down at the floor. Harry put down his file, studying her. "What's up, Cassy?"
She took off her sunglasses. "I would like some personal time off, sir."
Peter you have captured her heart. Good for you Cassy, you finally found someone, maybe sometime off would do you some good. "Since crime has been really slow and Tom is out with the flu, I don't see why not."
She grinned, knowing he got the point. "Thanks, Harry."
"Your welcome, Cassy. Have fun," he winked at her, "and next time just call me. Oh, and another thing, don't make a habit out of it."
It had been an hour since Cassy had landed in Sloanville. She'd already been to the precinct looking for Peter. She met Captain Simms and noticed how his fellow officers spoken very highly of Peter. She was a bit intimidated when she met Kermit. He was very enigmatic. She sensed a very violent past that he would not elaborate on. He was very helpful, nonetheless.
"Do you know where I can find Peter?" she asked.
He smiled. "He's at the park at the center of town."
"Thank you very much for your help."
She'd parked her car and walked, stopping on a hill to scan the grassy plot in front of her. In the distance she spotted a familiar figure sitting under a maple tree next to the water.
Peter sat in a lotus position on the grass. Thoughts of Cassy lingered in his mind, which weren't helping him to calm down. Got to stop thinking of her. But I can't.
"Hard to find a focus?"
He opened his eyes and thought he was dreaming. "Cassy?"
She smiled. "Hello, Peter."
He stood, hugging her tightly. "What are you doing here?"
She looked up at him. "Harry gave me some time off, so I thought I would surprise you. From the look on your face, it worked."
He leaned down, kissing her passionately. "I couldn't stop thinking about you."
She returned the kissed with equal intensity. "Me, either."
The winter breeze whipped through Cassy's hair, causing her to shiver. "It's a little chilly. It's so much warmer in Palm Beach."
Peter chuckled at the small joke. He rubbed her arms to keep her warm. "Why don't I take you to my place and get you settled in."
She wrapped her arms around his waist. Lead the way, Tom. Oops, wrong one. "Shall we go?"
Cassy picked up the small Buddha statue from the bookcase; she looked at it curiously for a few moments, and then set it down. "Peter, your place is very interesting."
He walked up behind her with two glasses of wine, smiling. "Here you go."
She turned around. "Do you have a habit of scaring me like that?"
"Sorry." Shrugging, he offered her one of the glasses.
She took it. "Thanks."
They leaned over and kissed until there was a knock at the door.
"Damn." He kissed her again. "Hold those lips for me." He hurried to the door, opening it.
Caine bowed to his son. "Hello, my son. May I come in?"
He opened the door further and ran a hand through his hair nervously. "Sure." He knew his father always had an excellent sense of timing.
Caine walked inside and saw Cassy sitting on the couch. She saw him walking alongside Peter. She stood up, smiling.
"I am sorry. I did not know you have company." Caine said.
Peter shut the door and walked towards Cassy. "Pop, I would like you to meet Cassandra St. John."
Cassy extended her hand. "Nice to meet you."
Caine took her hand, kissing it. "I am honored."
Now, I know where Peter gets his charm. She smiled.
Caine bowed. "I came by to ask if you would like to join the Ancient and me for lunch tomorrow. You may bring your friend, if you'd like."
Cassy beamed. "I would like that." She glanced at Peter. "Is it okay, Peter?"
Peter smiled. "Okay, it's a deal."
Caine bowed to them. "It was nice meeting you, Cassandra. I will see you tomorrow, my son."
Peter walked to the door, opening it to let his father out.
"Your father seems to be a very interesting man and also a very charming one."
Peter sat down beside her. "He is. Now you know where I get it from." He kissed her. "Now, where were we?"
She leaned over again and kissed him passionately. She wrapped her arms around his neck. He took her by the hand and led into the bedroom, setting her down on the bed.
She looked deep into his eyes and kissed him again. She moved her hand down his back, removing his shirt from the waistband of his jeans. "I've missed you." More than you know.
"I've missed you, too." He removed his shirt and hers, as well. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he kissed the spot between her breasts. She moaned in delight as his hands moved lower, slipping her pants down off her legs.
Her hands started to tremble while she moved them up and down his back. He continued his work. Peter's touch was so powerful and gentle, it sent shivers of delight throughout her body. Tom was never like this. Wait? What I'm I talking about? He isn't Tom. He's so much more.
The morning sun streamed through the small blinds in the bedroom. Peter opened his eyes, as the rays hit his face, and looked down at the woman lying in his arms. He kissed the top of her head and got out of bed.
He put on his pants and sat down beside her. He bent over, kissing her cheek, and rubbed it. She didn't stir from the gentle touch. "I love you, Cassy." He left the room.
Cassy woke up a few minutes later, smelling something cooking from the kitchen. "Hmm. Something smells good." Just like Tom. Why am I thinking of him? He's not Tom. She grabbed a robe from the bathroom, heading towards the kitchen.
She walked up the small flight of stairs, wrapping her arms around his waist, kissing his back. "Good morning."
He turned around, returning the kiss. "Good morning yourself."
She looked over his shoulder and into the pan he was using. "What are you making?"
He smiled. "It's a surprise." He kissed her again. "Why don't you go freshen up and I'll set the table."
She kissed him again, inserting her tongue into his mouth. Peter broke the kiss, trying to catch his breath. "If we keep this up, we'll never eat breakfast."
She wrapped her arms around his neck pulling him closer to her. She ran her hands through his hair seductively. "That's the point."
Peter smiled devilishly as he reached over and shut off the stove. They walked down the small flight of stairs, nimble fingers disrobing each other, and they landed on the couch. The breakfast was now forgotten.
Peter and Cassy were sitting at a table with Caine and Lo Si. Lo Si was telling Cassy something about Peter's adventures. She was trying to keep her laughter in check and trying not to notice Peter cringing.
"That's very interesting, Lo Si," Cassy said, drinking her tea.
He bowed his head. "Thank you, Cassy."
She smiled and took another sip of tea. "Why do they call you The Ancient?"
He grinned. "Because I'm so very, very old."
"How did you and my son meet?" Caine inquired, shaking his head in amusement.
She set down her cup. "Well, I'm a detective from Palm Beach." Cassy continued, "We were assigned to the drug and arms detail to capture a drug lord."
Caine could feel something between them as he sat there listening to her. There is a very strong bond between them, but I sense other reason in her. "Very interesting, Cassy."
"Peter tells me you teach kung fu. I know a little from a self defense course I took while I was in the academy, but I would love to learn more, if it's okay."
"We would love to teach you." Peter turned to his father. "Is that okay, Pop?"
Caine nodded. "I would be honored to have you as a student, Cassy."
"When can we start?" She replied eagerly.
Caine and Cassy were practicing some simple Kung fu forms. Cassy mimicked Caine's graceful strides.
He smiled. "You are a fast learner."
"Thank you, Master Caine."
Peter watched from the doorway. "How'd she do, Pop?"
He turned to his son and bowed. "She is an excellent student, my son."
"That's good." He went over and picked up her bag. "Ready to go home?"
"Ready when you are." She bowed to Caine, kissing him on the cheek. "Thank you for the lesson."
Caine bowed to her. "You're welcome, Cassy."
Peter and Cassy left.
Caine watched them leave. He went to the small altar and lit a few candles. He then sat in the meditation room and began to meditate.
Tom walked into the station. He was feeling better. He'd been out for a week with the flu. It felt good to be at work again. He walked towards Harry's office, knocked on the door and then entered.
Harry looked up from his file. "Hey, Tom. You look better."
Tom sat down in a chair. "Thanks. I didn't see Cassy. Is she sick too?"
Harry shook his head. "She took some personal time off. She should be back next week."
"Did she say where she was going?"
Something's up. I just know it. It's not like Cass to take some personal time off. He got up and headed towards the door. "I hope she's having a good time." I wonder with whom.
Peter began to light candles around his apartment as Cassy sat down in the middle of the living room. He was going to teach her how to meditate and needed a calming atmosphere to do so.
"Now, another part of kung fu is focusing the mind, as well as the body." He sat down across from her, placing his hands in front of him. "Join your hands with mine and close your eyes."
She reached over, took his hands and closed her eyes. "Okay."
"Now, take a deep breath, and try to center yourself and find a focal point."
Cassy breathed in deeply as she began to center herself. Once she found a focal point, she began to see images of Tom and her together and then Peter and her.
"Tom!" Her eyes snapped open, hands squeezing Peter's tightly.
He saw the fear in her eyes. "Cassy, what's wrong?"
She tried to catch her breath. "I…I saw images of Tom lying in a pool of blood like…like before, in a warehouse without me, but I don't know what they mean."
He gathered her into his arms, trying to calm her. "Shhh. It's all right. I'm here."
She looked up at him. "I've had images like this before when Tom and I worked a case with a psychic. She said I had a gift, but I didn't believe her. I…I have to go back to Palm Beach. I…I need to."
He held onto her. "We'll leave first thing in the morning."
She hugged him tightly. "Thank you, Peter."
Cassy was trembling during the flight down to Palm Beach. She tried to sleep but the images of what she had before interrupted her.
Peter grabbed her trembling hand. "Cassy, everything is going to be okay. Trust me."
She squeezed his hand. "I hope so, Peter. I really hope so."
"Tom, would you come in here please?"
Tom put down his file and went into Harry's office. "What's up, skipper?"
He pushed a folder towards the edge of his desk and Tom picked it up. "With Cassy gone and me being over-staffed, the task force needs an extra hand. They need someone to go to West Palm, specifically the warehouse district, to check out a tip on some drug deal."
"Well, with the crime rate being really slow and you sitting on your butt with nothing to do, I thought I would give you something challenging. You will offer any assistance if needed. "
Tom smiled. "Gee, thanks, Harry." He got up and left.
Two hours later, Cassy ran into the squad room with Peter right behind her. She stopped right in front of Harry's desk.
Harry glanced at her. "Welcome back, Cassy. You're a week early." He saw Peter standing behind her. "Nice to see you again, Peter."
"Enough with the pleasantries." Her voice was sharp. "Where's Tom?"
"He's down in West Palm on assignment at the warehouse district." Harry looked at her curiously. "Is there something wrong?"
Without another word, she ran out of the squad room.
He watched her leave then looked at Peter. "Is something wrong, Peter?"
Peter shook his head. "I don't know. I'll keep you informed."
He pursued Cassy.
"Cassy, slow down, you're going to fast!"
She stepped harder on the gas. "We've got to get there before it's too late."
"I don't know. It's just ever since I had that vision of Tom, I feel I'm going to lose him again." Just like before. You'll never understand.
"You're not going to lose him, Cassy."
"I hope you're right." She stepped harder on the gas, dodging a few cars as she increased the speed.
"There's his car." She pulled next to it and ran.
"Cassy, wait!" Peter shouted, but she was gone. "Damn her." He ran after her.
She entered the warehouse and saw the man in the shadows pointing a gun at Tom. Just like my vision.
"Tom, get down!"
She pushed him to the floor as the gun went off.
"Cassy, no!" Peter shouted. He shot the man, heading for Cassy.
He checked her pulse. "Tom, call an ambulance now!"
Tom pulled out his cell phone. "This is Sergeant Ryan. I have an officer down at 4415 Evergreen Terrace the old warehouse district."
Peter took off his jacket rom behind some crates, which turned out to be a gunman. Then Cassy jumped right in front of me." Tom paused a moment. "It happened so fast."
Peter placed a hand on Tom's shoulder, causing Tom to tense. "It's going to be okay, Tom. She's tough. I know she'll pull through."
"Are you here for Cassandra St. John?" a short, blond woman asked.
The three men nodded.
"I'm Dr. Kelly. I've been treating Ms. St. John since she was brought in."
Harry nodded. "I'm Captain Lipschitz. How is she?"
Dr. Kelly glanced at her clipboard. "She's a very lucky woman. The bullet went clean through her shoulder. Her shoulder is going to be sore and stiff for possibly a month. It'll also be a while before she can return to active duty. I'll explain her condition further when I have more details."
"When can we see her?" Peter asked.
"We'll be moving her into a private room in about twenty minutes. I'll have one of the duty nurses come get you." She left.
Harry faced his detectives. "I'm going to call Frannie. She'll want to know what's going on." Pausing he added, "Will you two be all right?"
Oh, yeah sure, Harry, after I take care of something. Tom nodded. "Go call Frannie. We'll stay here."
Peter went back to the window as Tom watched Harry walk down the hall, disappearing from sight. He moved towards Peter, spinning him around.
"What the hell happened?" Tom couldn't control his anger any longer. "Why did she do that? Why is she here with you?"
"I can't explain it, Tom. You wouldn't understand."
The response made him angrier. "You can't explain it. I wouldn't understand? My partner is lying in a hospital bed and you stand here telling me that I wouldn't understand."
Peter stood his ground. "No, you wouldn't understand because sometimes you just can't admit when you're in love with her and it's just tearing "you" and her apart."
"Why, you selfish son of a…." Tom raised his fist.
Peter readied to defend himself as Tom punched him. Peter punched Tom in the face, ramming him into the wall. Tom spun Peter around, punching him again. The men continued to exchange blows.
Harry ran down the hall, seeing the exchange between the two men. He'd heard Tom yell after he'd made the call to his wife. "Thomas, Peter, control yourselves! That's an order!" He pulled Tom away from Peter, just as Tom was about to punch Peter again.
"It's his fault she's here!" he screamed.
Harry glared at him. "Tom, enough!"
Peter felt an overwhelming guilt. Maybe it is my fault. I've should've stopped her. I wonder if Tom realizes Cassy saved his life? "Tom's right, Harry. It's my fault she's here." He pushed his way past the two men. "Excuse me." He stalked away.
Harry glared at Tom. "What the hell was that about?"
"Harry, he let her run into the warehouse unprotected."
He positioned his glasses to the bridge of his nose. "Cassy saved your life. Don't you understand that, or are you just jealous?"
"Jealous?" Tom replied.
"Yeah, jealous. I figured out what was going on between them when Cassy asked me for some time off. I think you have, too, and you can't accept the fact that she's moved on with her life."
Tom remained silent.
"Nothing to say, Thomas?"
Tom cast his eyes downward.
"Well, it looks like I'm right."
The duty nurse entered the waiting room. "The doctor told me to come get you when Ms. St. John was moved into a room. Please, follow me."
Harry nodded. "Go with her, Thomas. I'm going to wait for Frannie." He crossed his arms across his chest.
What have I done? I'm such an idiot. Tom left with the nurse without saying a word.
The nurse showed Tom to his partner's room. "You'll have a few minutes." She left.
Tom swallowed nervously, opening the door. Cassy's shoulder was bandaged securely against her chest. It was the first time that since they've known each other, that he's seen her like this.
He walked to the bed, sitting in the chair. He took her hand, placing it in his. "Hey, partner. I know you can hear me, so I've got something to say." He took a deep breath and chose his next words carefully. "I know about you and Peter. I know that we can never be together, and I have to truly accept that. I now know you've accepted it. I'll always love you, Cassy, and I know that you'll always love me."
"I'm glad you finally gave in the fact."
Tom turned, seeing Harry and Frannie standing in the doorway. He stood up, walking towards them. "Harry, I must apologize for my behavior earlier. I…I was way out of line."
"Tom, it's not me you should be apologizing to."
He nodded. "Peter."
"You owe him more than an apology."
Tom sighed in defeat. "You're right as usual, Harry."
The duty nurse came back. "Excuse me. It's time for you to leave."
They stepped out into the hallway. The nurse shut the door.
"I've got to find Peter and talk to him. Thank you for setting me straight, Harry." He left.
Harry hugged his wife. "You know, Fran. I now know what it feels like to have children. I swear Tom and Cassy are very stubborn when it comes to matters of the heart."
She smiled. "You love them anyway."
"Yeah, I do." He put an arm around her shoulders. "Let's go home."
Peter opened the front door to Cassy's house, not bothering to close it. He set the keys on the table, heading towards the deck. He sat in one of the chairs, staring out at the water.
Maybe Tom was right. I hope he realizes Cassy saved his life because she loves him. He stood, moving into the kitchen. Opening the top drawer, he found a piece of paper and a pen. Beginning to write a letter, he stopped as a voice interrupted him.
"I think we should talk."
Tom drove away, knowing exactly where Peter would go. He would be at Cassy's. I just hope I'm in time. He turned down the familiar street and pulled up next to the Boxster. Oh, good he's still here.
He saw Peter walking into the small kitchen, pulling out a piece of paper and a pen from the top drawer.
"I think we should talk," Tom spoke.
Peter's eyes narrowed. "Enough's been said."
Tom kept his distance. "No, it hasn't."
Peter turned his back. "I have nothing to say to you."
He sighed. "I deserve that. I had no right to say the things I said."
Peter whirled to face him, eyes showing his anger. "No, you didn't."
Tom sat down on the couch, folding his hands together and placing them in his lap. "What I said to you was inexcusable. I had no right to yell at you for what happened to Cassy. She saved my life." He took a deep breath. "I know what's going on between you two, I was hurt. I still love her, and I know she still loves me. I have to accept the fact that we can never be together. I know she's accepted it."
Peter sat down beside him, his anger now gone. No wonder she loves him so much. He placed a hand on his shoulder. "You're a brave man, Tom. It takes a brave man to admit when he's made a mistake."
Tom gave him a smile. "Just don't tell Cassy that. I'll never hear the end of it." He stood, offering his hand to Peter. "Friends?"
Peter rose, shaking the man's hand. "Friends."
Tom yawned as he headed towards the door. "Well, Cassy's not waking up probably until morning that's what I'm guessing, so I'm going to bed. I'll see you tomorrow."
"Good night, Tom."
"Good night, Peter," he replied, leaving.
Peter went out to the deck once again. You're a good man, Tom. I can see why she loves you, and why you're a great friend to her.
The next morning Peter walked into Cassy's room.
"Good morning, beautiful."
Cassy smiled as Peter came in carrying a bouquet of roses. Just like Tom. I think I'm going to like this. "Good morning, yourself. Are those for me?"
Placing the roses on the small table, he kissed her. He sat in the chair. "Don't ever scare me like that again!"
She grinned sheepishly. "Okay, I won't. The doctor says I should be able to go home in a couple of days and be able to return to active duty in about a month."
He kissed her again. "You need a vacation."
She spotted Tom standing in the doorway. "Hey, Tom."
Tom entered the room and kissed her on the cheek. "Thank you for saving my life."
Looking at Peter, she asked, "Would you mind if I talk to Tom alone for awhile?"
Peter shook his head. "Not a problem. I have to call Captain Simms anyway." He kissed her and left.
She pointed to the chair. "Sit down, Tom. We have to talk."
He sat down. "Cass-"
"Let me speak, Tom. Please." She took a slow, deep breath. "This is going to be hard to explain, but here goes nothing. Do you remember what happened when we worked on the case with Faith?"
"When Peter was teaching me to meditate, I had a strange vision, not like the one with Faith, this one was real." Tears began to fall freely down her face. "I felt you dying in my arms like…like before and that scared me. I felt I was going to lose you again."
He grabbed her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. "You're not going to lose me, Cass. I was shot in the head, remember, and everyone told you I was going to die, but here I am. I'm going to be with you for a long time to come."
"You proved everyone wrong, didn't you?"
"Yes, I did. So see, Cass, you're not going to lose me." He hugged her.
She leaned into his embrace, then let out a yawn.
"Why don't you get some rest and I'll see you later."
She closed her eyes, drifting off to sleep. Tom left the room. Peter was standing in the hallway waiting.
"You two straighten everything out?"
"Yes, we did." He replied.
He turned to leave.
"Hey, Peter, you wanna catch a game or something?"
"Sure, why not."
Cassy was released from the hospital two days later. Peter escorted her into the house, helping her sit on the couch.
"Peter, you don't have to baby me."
"Cass, the doctor said not to over due it."
She glared at him intensely. "Tom used to do this to me all the time. He knows I hate it."
Peter sat down beside her. "I'm sorry. It won't happen again."
She leaned over and kissed him. "It doesn't mean that I don't appreciate the thought though." She kissed him again, with more passion. "But I love the thought of you spoiling me."
He smiled. "I love spoiling the woman I love."
He pulled her closer, holding her. He missed the feel of her body next to his. He kissed the top of her head. She leaned into his embrace.
They held onto each other.
Peter walked into the station with two cups of coffee in his hands and a smile on his face. He headed towards Tom's desk and handed him one of the cups.
"Good morning, Tom."
Tom looked up, taking the offered cup. "Good morning, Peter. How's Cassy?"
He took a sip of coffee. "She's okay. The doctor gave her some medication so she can take it easy for awhile."
Tom smiled. "Cassy? Taking it easy. I would love to see that."
He laughed. "You would, wouldn't you."
Harry walked out of his office. "Hey, hey, take it somewhere else."
They quieted down.
Harry placed a file on Tom's desk. "We have a DB on the intercoastal. Go check it out." He returned to his office.
The two men left.
The morning was a warm one for the fall, but it sent shivers down Peter's spine. Something is definitely wrong. I just know it.
Tom and Peter stood on the edge of the ramp to the intercoastal and watched the coroner team bring the body from the shore. Peter watched them put it by the van while Morton headed towards Tom.
"So, what do we have Morton?"
Morton, glancing at his clipboard, replied, "We've got a woman about 5'6, red hair, probably mid twenties or early thirties, and it looks like she was dumped here."
Peter faced the man. "Any signs of foul play?"
Morton did a double take. Oh, Lord, now there are two of them.
Tom noticed the expression on the Morton's face and chuckled.
"Um…I don't know for sure. I'll have to do an autopsy and report back my findings." He swallowed nervously. "Do…do I know you?"
Peter shook his head, extending his hand to the ME. "Detective Peter Caine. I'm filling in for Cassy while she's recovering."
Morton shook his hand. "Nice to meet you. You…you look so much like Detective Ryan."
Peter grinned. "I get that all the time."
Morton turned back to Tom. "I'll bring you my report when I finish the autopsy."
Tom nodded, trying not to burst into laughter. "Thanks, Morton."
He left. I need a vacation. I thought one was bad enough, but now there are two of them.
Peter walked over and watched him examine the body one more time. He unzipped the body bag to get a closer look. It was then he saw the cuts that were all too familiar and it sent a violent shiver down Peter's spine. Oh, god not again.
Tom saw him shiver and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Are you okay?"
Morton put the body into the van.
Peter nodded. "Yes, I'm fine."
Just like Cassy. Always putting up walls to shut out the world. No wonder they're perfect for each other. "No, you're not. Cassy does this to me all the time. I hate when people brush me off, especially my partners."
Peter sat down on the ramp, looking out towards the water, hoping it would bring him a peace of mind. "Did you see the cuts on the body?"
"Yes. Why?" Tom replied.
He turned to face Tom. "I think I know who did this."
Tom sat down beside him. "You know who did this?"
He replied, "There was a case after I had been reunited with my father. His friend was killed the same way. It's what the Chinese call, 'A Death by a Thousand Cuts.' The man that was behind it was Qo Chen. My father defeated him, and I arrested him. I haven't heard about him since then."
Tom nodded. "Until now."
"I think the body is a message. He swore revenge on my father and I think he's going to come after me in order to accomplish it."
Tom stood up. "Well, let's go get the report from Morton and see if what you said is true."
Peter suddenly felt a cold breeze despite the warm weather. Something's going to happen. I can feel it.
He followed Tom, unaware of the figure watching them leave.
The scarred man watched the men leave the scene. "You run, young Caine, but you'll never get away from me. I'm glad that you remember me. I've waited too long for this moment and nothing is going to get in my way. I will have my revenge!"
He got into his car and sped off into the distance.
They walked into the morgue. Morton handed them a folder as they entered. "Well, the victim's name is Rebecca Stevens. She was reported missing three days ago by her parents. They were worried because she has missed three days of school and didn't check in when she was supposed to. When they called around trying to find her, they reported her missing the first day, but some of the neighbors thought they were just over reacting. I guess they were wrong. The Steven's just left a few minutes ago to identify the body. Such a terrible waste."
Tom looked at Morton. "I know what you mean. What else do you have for us?"
"Glad you've asked. Follow me, I want to show you something." They followed him to the metal table. He uncovered the body. "I've never seen anything like this before." He pointed to the various cuts. "It looks like someone enjoyed doing this."
Peter looked at the body and then at the ME. "It's called, 'A Death of a Thousand Cuts.'"
Morton looked at him. "How do you know? It could be something else."
He shook his head. "I've seen this type of death before."
Morton looked at him curiously. "How?"
"As I told Tom, I had a case that dealt with a type of death like this."
Tom placed a hand on his shoulder. "Let's go report to Harry."
They left the morgue and headed for the captain's office. They entered the office and sat down.
"Well, what did Morton say?"
Tom looked at him. "The victim's name is Rebecca Stevens. Here's her file." He placed the file on the desk.
Harry studied it, lifting one of the pictures. "Did Morton say anything about these cuts?"
Peter looked at him. "No. I did."
He looked at him curiously. "You did." He paused, "I made a call Peter's captain after you two left and told her what happened. She told me about something like this happening before in their city."
Harry looked at them. "Report here tomorrow and we'll go over all possible leads. I want you two to be careful until then."
"Yes, sir," they said in unison.
They got up and left the office not noticing the man watching them in the shadows through narrow eyes.
He watched them leave the station. He watched Tom go in one direction and then Peter in another. "I have you now son of Caine."
He turned the key and followed Peter.
Peter pulled into the driveway and entered the house.
The man got out and followed him. He pulled out his cell phone.
"Meet me at the beach house in ten minutes. Do not fail me." He hung up. He ran back to his car, grabbing a pair of binoculars and watched the house.
"What's up with your new case?" Cassy asked causally. She was trying to get Peter to talk to her ever since he'd gotten home.
Peter sat beside her. "What did you say, hon?"
Something is definitely wrong. "I said, what's up with your new case?"
"Oh, that. Nothing much. Just your typical body on the beach."
He's holding back something. Dammit! "Peter, don't give me that."
His voice rose in anger. "Will you just let it go?"
She stared at him in surprise.
Seeing the look on her face, he glanced away. "Sorry, Cass. I…I didn't mean to yell at you."
She placed her hand on his. "I'm sorry for pushing."
He looked up at her and smiled. "That's okay. It's just been a really hard day with this case were on."
"What's so tough about it?"
"The way the body was found is one thing. I thin
Nodding, the group headed towards the bedroom.
Peter kissed Cassy on the top of her head. He got up, walking to the window, lost in his thoughts. It just can't be. He can't be back. Father said he would be back, but I didn't know it was going to be this soon. What am I going to do? I can't put the people I love in danger. Please, father, help me.
Peter heard a noise, as a cloth was placed over his nose and mouth. He glanced over at Cassy, who was already unconscious. He looked in horror as he saw a face from his past and then the world went black.
Tom reported to the station to find Cassy's desk empty. Where's Peter? He should be here. Harry walked out of his office.
"Where the hell is Peter?"
Tom shrugged. "Don't know, skipper. Want me to go over to Cassy's to see if he's there?"
He nodded. "Go and make sure he reports to me."
Tom smiled and left. I feel sorry for you, Peter. It's not very nice to make Harry angry.
Tom pulled into the driveway and got out of the car. He pulled his gun out of the holster when he saw the front door opened. I know Cassy. She doesn't leave her door opened. "Peter, Cass you home?"
When he didn't get an answer, he entered the house.
"Peter, Cass are you here?"
He checked out the house. He went up the stairs to the bedroom and found the door opened.
He smiled. "Okay, guys, you better not be doing what I think you are doing." His smile faded once he entered the bedroom. The room was in shambles. He noticed a white piece of paper on the bed. He read it.
If you want to see the son of Caine and his lover alive, come alone to the warehouse district. No back up or they will die just like the girl on the intercoastal.
"Oh God." Taking the note, he ran out of the house.
The man pulled out his cell phone. His boss picked up the other end.
"Did he see you?" the man asked.
"No, sir. He didn't see me."
The man chuckled. "Good. Leave and we'll execute the plan."
They hung up.
The man drove off into the distance.
Rushing into the precinct, Tom moved into Harry's office, slamming the door. "Harry, we have a problem."
"What kind of problem?" Harry demanded.
Tom handed him the note. Harry read it, frowning. "This is a problem. What are we going to do?"
Tom shook his head. "I don't know. I think this is about revenge."
"What do you mean?" He asked curiously.
"Peter told me about a man named Quo Chen. I think he's responsible for their disappearance. He also murdered the girl."
Remembering Peter's words, Harry answered, "Oh, my god, do you think he plans on killing both of them like that girl?"
He nodded. "Yes, I do. I just hope we can find them before it's too late."
"According to the note, we'll find out tonight. I suggest we wait until then."
"I really don't like this Harry."
"I don't either, Tom. I want you to take your cell phone. You'll have back up a few feet away in the distance. I don't want to risk losing you, too."
"Harry, you don't believe he'll just hand them over, do you?"
"No, Thomas, I don't, but we are going to wait and see what he wants."
"Damn, Harry, you can't be serious!"
"Yes, I'm serious. You stay put and wait for tonight."
Tom crossed his arms. "I don't like this."
Peter slowly regained consciousness. Glancing around the small room, he saw Cassy on the small bed next to him, unconscious. Standing carefully, he walked to her and knelt beside her, stroking her cheek. "Cass, come on, it's time to wake up."
She moaned, eyes fluttering. What the hell did they give me? "Pe…Peter where are we?" Peter guided her as she sat up.
"I don't know, Cass. Can you stand?" He helped her off the bed, bracing her against a wave of dizziness that swept through her. The door opened, startling them.
"Well, I see you two are up."
Peter lunged for the man.
Cassy screamed, "Peter!"
Whirling, he saw one of the men holding a knife to her throat. He glared at the man in question. "Let her go! It's me you want, Quo Chen, not her."
Quo Chen smiled devilishly. "Oh, I know it's you I want, son of Caine, but I want to see you suffer first."
Two men grabbed Peter from behind.
"You bastard! Let her go!"
"Take her away." Quo Chen gave the order.
"Peter! Peter!" She struggled against the man who held her. She elbowed him in the stomach and ran. The other man caught up to her and hit her in the head with the butt of his gun, stunning her.
"Cassy!" Peter watched in horror as they removed her from the room.
A few minutes later, Peter heard the grunts and groans coming from the next room.
"Bitch!" came a shout.
"Get her!" came another.
"Let go of me you jerks!"
Peter chuckled and smiled inwardly.
Quo Chen grabbed his chin, forcing Peter to be eye-to-eye with him. "I will have my revenge, son of Caine. I've waited two long years for this." He slapped him. "Bring him with you!" He ordered the other two men.
They followed him. Quo Chen rubbed his hands together, laughing. "Just wait and see what I have in store for you, son of Caine."
He followed his men into one of the large rooms.
"Strap him into the chair."
They did as they were told.
"Let me go!" he shouted.
Quo Chen slapped him again. "Silence! Bring me the girl."
They brought Cassy into the room. Her swollen face showing the beating she received. She struggled against the men that held her. "Peter! Peter! Let me go, you bastards!"
They forced her to her knees. Her shoulder hit the floor, causing her to moan in pain.
Quo Chen smiled. "Oh, did they hurt you? Here, let me help you."
Peter struggled against the bonds that held his hands. "Don't you dare touch her!"
He helped her up to her feet, looking at her seductively. "Oh, you're even more beautiful than that girl I dumped on the intercoastal. I can see why he loves you." His hand trailed down her face. "I have special plans for you. I'll make you happy than he ever could." He kissed her hard on the mouth.
She spat in his face.
He wiped the spit from his face with a smirk. "Full of spirit are we? I'll change that." He snapped his fingers. Cassy watched his men give him a knife.
"I'll show you just what I mean."
Placing the knife against Peter's cheek, he trailed down to his neck. Peter stifled a scream as the knife was thrust into his shoulder.
"Peter!" Cassy tried to stand. The two men grabbed her roughly.
"No, no, you mustn't do that. Release her."
They did as they were told and dropped her to the floor.
"I have to leave now. Don't even think about freeing him." He turned to leave. "Have a nice night."
Cassy rushed to Peter's side. "Peter, are you okay?"
Peter opened his eyes. "N…no."
Cassy took a deep breath to control her rising emotions. "Peter, stay with me. Keep your eyes open for me, okay?"
She tore her shirt into strips and carefully tied it around his injured shoulder to stop the bleeding. "There, that should hold it for awhile." She leaned his head against her good shoulder. "I'm sorry I couldn't help." What have I done?
"Not…not your fault."
She closed her eyes and sent a silent prayer to her partner. Please, Tom, help us.
Tom sat alone in his car outside the old abandoned warehouse. He looked in his rear-view mirror and watched the unmarked patrol car pass by. He pulled his gun and cell phone out of his jacket, placing them into the glove compartment. I hope they don't find these. He looked up when he saw someone heading towards him. He got out of the car.
"Where are my friends?"
The man grinned. "I'll tell you where your friends are."
"I'm in no mood to play games. Don't make me ask again."
He felt a butt of a gun strike his head from behind. Qo Chen leaned over him and smiled.
"Stupid cop. What makes you think I'll give you your friends back? The son of Caine will never see the light of day, and his lover will soon suffer the same fate as my first victim."
He walked away.
The last thing Tom could hear was the roaring laughter of Peter and Cassy's captor and then nothing.
Cassy woke up with a start.
Two men restrained her. Quo Chen went towards Peter, whose eyes were fluttering, deep moans emanating from his throat.
"I see someone has bandaged you up. I'll fix that."
Cassy watched Quo Chen as he pulled the knife from his jacket. It was still stained with Peter's blood.
"Leave him alone!" Please God, make him stop. This has gone far enough.
One of the men pulled out a piece of cloth and tied it around Cassy's mouth. Quo Chen turned his attention back to Peter.
"Now where were we?" He looked at the knife in his hands. "Oh, yes this." The knife went down Peter's face, his chest, and towards his thighs. Peter screamed as the man plunged the weapon into his thigh. Quo Chen prepared to stab him again.
Cassy struggled against the men that held her. Oh God, no! Quo Chen met her eyes and smiled.
They dropped her once again to the floor. She removed the gag and went towards Peter. She saw the deep gashes in his thigh and turned towards her captor in anger.
This is my fault. "You son-of-a-bitch!" She punched Quo Chen in the face. The two men grabbed her. He recovered quickly and was furious.
"Bitch!" He slapped her. "How dare you do that to do me. I should kill you for that, but I rather have you see your lover die right in front of your eyes." He grabbed her injured shoulder roughly. Cassy bit her tongue against the pain.
"Too proud are we? Oh, well." He let go of her shoulder. "Release her."
Cassy hit the floor with a thud once again.
He leaned down, pulling back her hair. "I'll be back for you."
Pushing her away, he left.
She moved towards Peter. "Peter, oh God hold on." Please hold on. She ripped another piece of her shirt off and carefully applied direct pressure to the thigh. She grabbed her shoulder as it began to throb in pain after the treatment it received. She held Peter tight unaware her partner was right outside.
Harry shook him gently. "Tom, can you hear me?"
Tom woke up to a throbbing in his head. Reaching a hand behind him, he rubbed the large bump. "Oh, man, that's what I get for having a hard head."
He got up slowly, shutting his eyes against a wave of dizziness. Once that passed he went to the car, grabbing his gun from the glove compartment.
"Bring the backup and paramedics."
"No you don't, Thomas. You're not going in there alone. I'm going with you."
They two men left. They spotted a car in front of one the abandoned warehouses. Harry moved to the back, while Tom took a position in the front. He listened to the men talking inside.
"When do we finish them, Chen?"
The man smiled. "Right now."
Tom swallowed nervously. Oh, God Peter, Cass. He entered the warehouse, gun drawn and followed them to his friends.
Peter's condition was growing worse. He was pale from the loss of blood. Cassy feared she was going to lose him.
She brushed a strand of hair from his sweaty face obvious that he was going into shock. "Stay with me, Peter. Come on, stay with me."
His eyes fluttered but didn't open. The door opened.
"Stay away from him!"
The men went for her. Suddenly one of them fell to the floor as a shot rang out. A smile crossed her face. "Tom!"
The other man pulled a gun from under his jacket. Tom fired once again. The man fell beside his partner. Harry arrived in time to watch the other man fall to the ground. Tom turned his attention to the man holding a knife to Peter's throat.
"Drop the gun or I'll kill him," Quo Chen warned.
Cassy took the advantage and tackled him. The knife fell to the floor as Tom fired again. Quo Chen fell to the floor, dead.
Cassy searched Quo Chen for a key and released Peter. Peter slumped heavily into her.
Peter's weight was causing her shoulder to throb more. "Tom, help me."
Tom set Peter gently on the floor.
Peter moaned. "Ca…Cass."
She grabbed one of his hands and squeezed it. "I'm here. Hold on."
A few minutes later, they heard sirens outside.
Harry started barking orders to the other officers as they entered. "Get that man to the hospital now!"
The EMT put Peter on a stretcher and wheeled him away. Harry rushed up and hugged Cassy. "Thank god you're all right."
She leaned into the embrace. "Thanks, skipper. I'm going to ride with Peter."
"I'll meet you there, Cass," Tom said.
She hurried after the paramedics.
Tom left a few minutes later.
Tom entered the hospital holding a small bag. He found her in the waiting room pacing.
"Cass, you're going to wear a hole in the floor."
She stopped pacing, glancing at him, face soaked with tears.
"Oh, Cass." He gathered her into his arms and allowed her cry. "It'll be okay. I'm here."
"They held me as he stabbed him, Tom," she choked out. "It's my fault. It's my fault. I…I couldn't help him."
He held onto her tighter, feeling the racking sobs against his body. He lifted her face, handing her the bag. "I thought you might need this."
She went to the restroom.
After a few minutes, she returned to the waiting room. "Thanks for the shirt and pants."
He gathered her into his arms again. "You're welcome, Cass."
"It's nice to see you again, Ms. St. John."
They saw Dr. Kelly standing in the doorway.
Cassy wiped the tears from her eyes. "How is he, Dr. Kelly?"
She studied her clipboard. "He has lost a lot of blood. His condition isn't life threatening though."
Tom placed a hand on Cassy's shoulder. "I'll do it."
The doctor stared at Tom. "Mr. Ryan you do look like him." Pausing, she added, "Exactly like him even though I didn't notice it before, but that doesn't prove anything. We'll have to perform a cross match and some other tests just to make sure. Follow me."
Cassy grabbed his arm. Tom kissed her forehead. "Don't worry, Cass. He's my friend, too."
He followed the doctor. She sat in one of the chairs, watching her partner disappear from sight.
Twenty minutes later, Tom walked into the waiting room holding his arm up. Dr. Kelly was behind him.
Cassy stood up. "When can I go see him?"
"He's in ICU right now." She saw the expression on her face and the tears that threatened to fall once again. "All right, follow me, Ms. St. John. I'll let you see him, but only for a few minutes."
Cassy glanced at her partner.
He smiled. "Go, I'll wait for you here. I'll give you some time alone."
She kissed him on the cheek and left with the doctor.
Dr. Kelly led her into the ICU ward and to Peter's room.
"You can see him for a short time. I'll get your partner in a few minutes to take you home. I'm going to warn you now, it's not pretty."
Dr. Kelly left to do her rounds.
Cassy entered the room and stood in the doorway, horrified. What have I done? I didn't mean for this to go on this far. Peter's shoulder and thigh were stitched and bandaged up. The tan color he once held was now a chalky pale gray.
She finally gathered up her courage and walked towards the bed. She placed her hand on his chest to feel it rise and fall. She let her tears flow unchecked.
"Oh, God, Peter. I'm so sorry." She bent over, kissing his pale lips. She felt a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"Come on, Cass. I'll take you home."
She turned and followed her partner out the door, taking one last look at the man she loved.
Tom escorted her out of the hospital.
"Come on, Cass. Let's get you to bed." Tom took her by the hand, leading her into the house. She let go of his hand and rubbed her shoulder as it began to throb in pain. He looked over at her. "Go sit on the couch and let me look at that."
She did as she was told without saying a word. He sat down beside her and gently pulled her shirt back. That was when he saw the bruises and swelling around the stitches.
"Oh, Cass. What did they do to you? Let's get some ice for that."
He went into the kitchen. He spotted a bottle of pills on the counter and filled a glass with water. He handed her the pills and water. She took them in one gulp. He sat down beside her, placing the bag of ice on her shoulder.
She took a sharp breath. "Owww. That hurts."
He smiled. "Well, at least you can talk. I'll try to be more gentle."
Her eyes began to fill with tears. He gathered her into his arms. "Shhh. I'm here. It's okay."
She leaned into his embrace, then her breathing evened out. She'd fallen asleep in his arms. Tom smiled to himself. Those are some strong pills. He picked her up and carried her into the bedroom. He found a blanket on the floor and covered her.
"He'll be all right, Cass. Just wait and see." He kissed her on the cheek.
The two men held her as Quo Chen stabbed him.
"Peter!" She turned to her captor. "You bastard!"
The man laughed at her.
"Peter!" She rose up with a start, panting and sweating heavily.
Tom ran into the bedroom, sitting beside her. "Cass, are you all right?"
She nodded. "Yes, I'm fine."
"Cass, come on, it's me. You're not all right. Talk to me."
She avoided his eyes. "I…I don't want to." Trusts me you don't me want too.
"Cass, look at me." She met his gaze. "Don't blame yourself for what happened to Peter. It wasn't your fault.
"Look, I know how you feel. I blamed Peter for what happened to you, but then I realized it wasn't his fault, and that you saved my life. You saved his life and so did I, in a way."
She hugged him. "Thank you, Tom, for always being there when I need you the most."
He smiled. "Hey, that's what friends and ex-husbands are for. Why don't you freshen up and I'll take you to the hospital."
She kissed him on the cheek. "Give me a few minutes, okay."
He got up. "Okay, I' ce she was finished, he grabbed the plate, placing it into the dishwasher.
"Ready to go?"
She nodded. "Let's go."
They walked down the hallway, heading towards Peter's room. One of the duty nurses stopped them.
"One visitor at a time, please."
Tom turned to his partner. "Not a problem. I'm going to call Harry."
She pointed to Peter's door. "Thanks, Tom. I'll be in there."
He kissed her on the cheek. "Be strong, Cass. He'll be all right."
Cassy's hand began to shake as she touched the doorknob. I've got to be strong. Tom's right, I can't break down. She opened the door and her courage disappeared. This scene was all too familiar to her. She wiped the tears from her eyes and sat down in the chair beside the bed.
She grabbed his hand and kissed it. "Hey, Peter. I know you can hear me and you know what, you're scaring the hell out of me. I've been through this scene once before and I wasn't planning on doing it again." She stood and leaned towards his ear. "Come back to me. There's so much I have to tell you."
She sat back down again, closing her eyes. She began to remember the last time they were together before this entire mess began.
She lay in his arms, looking at his face. He looks so much like Tom when he sleeps. She smiled to herself.
She got up carefully, hoping her stirring would not disturb him. She kissed him on the cheek and left the room.
She walked over to the radio and plugged in one of her favorite CD's and smiled as her favorite song filled the room.
When the visions around you
Bring tears to your eyes
And all that surrounds you
Are secrets and lies
I'll be your strength
I'll give you hope
Keeping your faith when it's gone
The one you should call
Was standing here all along
She felt gentle arms wrap around her waist. She turned around and smiled as he offered his hand to her. "May I have this dance?"
She took his hand and they began to dance as the chorus came on.
And I will take you in my arms
And hold you right where you belong
'Til the day my life is through
This I promise you
This I promise you
They continued to dance and caress each other as the song went on. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer to her and kissing him tenderly.
Over and over I fall
When I hear you call
Without you in my life, baby
I wouldn't be living at all
Every word I say is true
This I promise you
I promise you
He picked her up, placing her on the couch. They kissed.
They looked into each other's eyes and became lost in them.
They made love, as it would be there last time together.
Cassy opened her eyes and wiped the tears away. "I remember that night, Peter. We held onto each other, not wanting to let go." She squeezed his hand. "Please, Peter. Don't let that be our last night together." She barely got the last part out. She closed her eyes once again and let her tears fall.
Suddenly his hand tightened around hers and she stared at him. "Peter, come on, open those eyes for me."
Cassy? I hear you. I'm coming back to you. Come on, damn you, open. He opened his eyes slowly and blinked a few times. His vision was blurry at first and then it cleared. The first thing he saw was her smile.
"Ca…Cass. Where…where are we?" His voice was dry and hoarse.
She squeezed his hand. "You're in the hospital. Tom saved us. Don't you remember?"
"N…no. Ca…can't stay awake. Very…very tired."
She leaned over and kissed him. "Go to sleep. I'll go get the doctor."
He drifted off to sleep. She nearly knocked over Tom and Dr. Kelly on her way out.
She stopped to catch her breath. "He is…was awake."
Dr. Kelly grinned. "That's very good news, Ms. St. John. I'll check on him. Why not go home and I'll let you know if he wakes up again." She went inside the room.
Tom gathered Cassy into his arms. "You see, Cass. I told you he would be all right. Come on, let's go home."
She left with him.
Dr. Kelly entered Peter's room a few hours later, finding him awake again. "Mr. Caine, how do you feel?"
Peter swallowed slowly to moisten his throat. She saw him do that and handed him a cup of ice chips. "Here take this."
He lifted his head slowly and sucked on the ice chips. "Thank…thank you."
"You're welcome, Mr. Caine. How do you feel?"
"Sore and…and tired." He looked around the room. "Where's Cass…Cassy?"
She patted his shoulder. "Don't worry, Mr. Caine, I sent her home." She scribbled something in his chart and looked back at her patient. "I'll move you into a private room later this afternoon. I want you to rest until then."
"Thank you, Dr. Kelly." He closed his eyes, drifting off to sleep.
Cassy walked into the room, smiling. "Hey, how do you feel?"
"Better, now you're here."
She sat down beside him and placed her hand on his. "Well, it's good that you're feeling better. You really scared me."
He grinned sheepishly. "I won't do it again."
She let out a small laugh. "Well, I guess it's my turn to spoil you."
He pulled her closer to him. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
"Now, Cass, if you keep doing that, he won't ever get better. And, Peter, you should know better."
The couple noticed Tom standing in the doorway.
"It's great to see you awake."
"How do you feel?"
"Sore and tired, but after that, fine."
"What about Quo Chen and his men?"
"He's dead, Peter." Tom said confidently.
Dr. Kelly came into the room. "Excuse me, it's time for you folks to go. Mr. Caine has to rest."
Tom turned to leave, but not Cassy. She wanted to tell him something, but didn't have the heart to. Peter saw the look of distress on her face.
"Cass, what's wrong?"
She kissed him. Nothing. "I love you, Peter Caine."
He kissed her again. Something's wrong. "I love you, too, Cassandra St. John."
"Well, how is he?" Harry asked.
"He's going to be fine, skipper. Dr. Kelly said he'll make a full recovery and will be released in a couple of days," Cassy answered.
"That's good," Looking at Tom, he said, "You're going to be without a partner for a while."
Tom shrugged. "That's okay. I can wait and I'm pretty good at finding something to do."
Harry nodded. "I'm sure Peter won't be too much trouble."
Cassy laughed. "If he's just like Tom, we'll have to see about that."
Tom gave her a dirty look. "Look who's talking, Cass."
"I don't know about you, but I'm going home and getting some well deserved rest."
Cassy embraced him. "Thank you for everything, Tom. You're a good friend."
"You're welcome, Cass."
Harry watched them leave. "Now for some peace and quiet." Staring at his desk and the pile of files that had needed to be completed, he moaned, "It was fun while it lasted."
He picked up a file and began to read it.
It had been two weeks since Peter was in the hospital. She walked down the hall, stopping in front of his room. She knew that he would return home soon with his father after he was released, and they had to make a decision that would change both of their lives forever.
I don't know if I have the strength to tell him. I love him so much, but we live different lives. If he goes, our lives will never be the same again. I don't want to make that decision for us. I want us to be together, but in some way, I don't. She took a deep breath. Gathering up her courage, she entered the room.
Peter looked up and smiled. "I thought you were avoiding me. It's been a while since I've seen you."
She shook her head. "I'm sorry. Harry put me on desk duty until I can go back out into the field."
Something is definitely wrong. She is avoiding me. "Cass, sit down. I think we should talk."
She swallowed nervously, sitting down. She looked away, avoiding his gaze.
He placed a gentle hand underneath her chin, lifting her face so their eyes could meet. "Cass, what's wrong?"
She didn't answer.
"Cass, talk to me, please. Is it Tom?"
She shook her head. "No."
"Then what is it?"
She stood up in anger and walked to the window, tears streaming unchecked down her cheeks. "Us," she choked out.
He looked at her curiously. "Us? What do you mean?"
She faced him. "You know what I mean, Peter. What are you going to do when you're released?"
He didn't want to answer her question, but he had to. "I…I was going to go home."
She cut him off. "I've figured that. Why would you want to stay here anyway? Why would it matter to you?" she said in frustration.
He pulled back the covers and sat up carefully. He stood up, walked towards her and placed his hands on her shoulders. She pulled away.
"No, don't. Please, Peter. Just don't."
He dropped his arms to his side, standing alone. "Cass, I love you. Can't you see that? If you just let me finish…"
She turned her back to him. "I've been doing a lot of thinking about us, for some reason. When I first met you, I thought you would be like Tom, and in a way you are, but I don't know anymore. I've had my heart broken so much that maybe because of the fact that I'm afraid to…to…"
He turned her to face him. "Love?"
"Yes. I don't know if can handle it. I don't know if our love is strong enough to survive all this." She turned her back again.
Peter put his hands on her arms; this time she didn't pull away. He turned her around and gazed deeply into her blue eyes. "Cass, I don't know what I would do if I ever lost you."
"You really mean that Peter? Or are you just pulling my leg?" she said in surprise.
"No, I'm not pulling your leg, Cassy. I would like you to come with me."
She looked at him. "I don't know what to say, but I'm afraid that's not possible, Peter."
"What do you mean it's not possible?"
"Oh, come on, can you stand there and tell me that you actually love me?"
He gave her a curious stare. "Cassy, where's all this coming from?"
"You don't get it do you. Oh my God, you're just like Tom, so gullible and naïve."
He looked at her in surprise. "What do you mean gullible?"
"If you were so smart, you've would've figured out that I was just using you as a Tom subistute."
That made him angry. "You mean to tell me that you used me because I looked like your partner?"
She clapped her hands in a mock applause. "Give the man a cigar. He figured it out."
He clenched his fists, controlling his urge not to slap her. "You're a no good selfish bitch or haven't you figured that out?"
"I've figured that out a long time ago or haven't you noticed." She turned to leave. "I can say it was better sex than Tom could ever provide. Good bye, Peter." She left.
Peter took the vase of flowers and threw them against the wall. "You'll get whatever is coming to you, Cassy. I did love you, but I think you're afraid to admit to the fact." He sat down on the edge of the bed. His anger gone. Peter, how could you be so stupid? He put his head in his hands and cried from the guilt that weighed heavily on his heart.
Outside the room, Cassy slid down the wall and cried, too. I'm sorry, Peter. I'm so sorry.
("I Promise You"; recorded by NSYNC and written by Richard Marx from the album No Strings Attached. Used without permission.)