I Still Believe in You
by Judith Freudenthal
All the standard disclaimers about the main characters apply.

Natalie entered her office in a very bad mood, but behind that was a sadness.
She and Nick had another major fight. She had stormed off before either
could do something stupid, or was that stupider.

Her phone rang. She answered it scribbling down the address. She was not in
the mood to face Nick and knew he probably felt the same.

At the crime scene both were polite to each other, but nothing more. It was
too soon. Each could see the pain they had caused the other and deeply
regreted it. Schanke stayed out of it. He knew that if he interfered they
might just take his head off.

Natalie arrived back at her office and found a cassette tape on her desk.
She saw a note stuck to it. The message had been typed and was very short.
All it said was - play me. Natalie's curiosity got the better of her
causing her to stick the tape in the portable player on her file cabinet and
hit play. Music started.

"Everybody wants a little piece of my time
Still I put you at the end of the line
How it breaks my heart to cause you this pain
I see the tears you cry, falling like rain
Give me the chance to prove
And I'll make it up to you...

I still believe in you
With a love that will always be
Standing so strong and true
Baby, I still believe in you and me.

Somewhere along the way, I guess I just lost track
Only thinking of myself, never looking back
For all the times I've hurt you, I apologize
I'm sorry it took so long to finally realize
Give me the chance to prove
That nothing's worth losing you

I still believe in you..."

The chorus played again before fading off. Natalie wiped the tears from her
cheeks. She looked up to see Nick standing in the doorway with his best
wounded puppy dog look.

"Can I come in?" He asked.

"Okay. That was beautiful," Natalie said.

"I'm not very good with words so I thought I'd let a pro say exactly what I
feel. I'm sorry for hurting you, once again," Nick said.

Natalie heard the sincerity in his voice and smiled. "I still believe in
you. I still believe in you and me. I'm sorry I hurt you."

"It's been a very long time since I've cared for anyone this much and all I
seem to do is screw up."

"You're not the only one who can screw up. I care for you more than anyone
else I've known."

"So where do we go from here?" Nick asked.

"I don't know. I'm willing to try again. This time I want us to try harder
to ....." Natalie said trying to find the right words. "be honest about our
feelings. It won't be easy. It might hurt, but it will better in the long

"I'm willing to try. I don't want to lose you."

"I don't want to lose you either." Natalie smiled and asked hopeful.

"Friends." Nick smiled and moved nearer to her. He wiped away the stray
tear that found its way down her cheek.

They wrapped their arms around each other reassuring themselves that
everything was all right. At least for now.

The End