Here is the revised introduction....heartfelt thanx go to my unofficial beta reader Tracy LeGates for the minor corrections and the formatting advice :) Thanks go to Old Ping Hai's Basement for designing the wheelchair graphics :)


Introduction

Peter paced nervously in his apartment as he waited for the phone to ring. It had been ten months since he quit the force, and now he was waiting for Captain Simms decision on whether he's be reinstated or not. He had broached the subject a week earlier over drinks at Delancey's with Frank, and he'd been a bundle of nerves ever since. He chided himself as he continued to pace. Get a grip, this isn't the end of the world! You have everything to gain and nothing to lose. He wiped his sweaty palms on the back of his Levi jeans and walked to the open window at the other end of the apartment. It wasn't a bad view really. It faced the street so he could see what was going on at a moment's notice. Cop instincts he said to himself. Pete sighed as he closed the window and headed back towards the phone. Mercifully, it rang just as he was about to pace again. He picked up the receiver and silently prayed as he tried to slow his breathing down.


"Hello?"
"This is Captain Simms. I'll save you the questions and get right to the point." Her voice was cool and crisp, almost confident. Peter tried to regain control of the knot in his stomach as he listened.
"Be at my office at 9:30 a.m. sharp tomorrow morning. You'll need to jump right in." She smiled to herself as she added, "Welcome back Detective. The 101st wasn't the same without you."
Tears of relief welled up in Peter's eyes, and his throat was suddenly dry. "Thanks. It's good to be back."

He gently placed the phone in its cradle and wiped the tears from his eyes and swallowed the huge lump that had been in his throat. Well Pop, he thought to himself, wherever you are, I made it. Iím back on the job.

He padded barefoot across the carpet and headed into the bathroom to clean up. It wasnít too terribly big, but not too small either. It was a neutral cream color, with floor tile to match. To his right was the tub and shower unit, done in the same color, with frosted sliding doors. He splashed some cold water on his face, dried off, then went around the corner into the bedroom to find something clean to wear. After a few minutes, he settled on a basic black T-shirt and a clean pair of jeans. He ran a comb through his hair and put on his socks and sneakers, and donned his wristwatch.

Just a few minutes later, Peter was in his Stealth and headed to the mall. He had a few last minute items to grab before his return to work the next day, plus he needed some fresh air. He rolled the window down, letting the cool morning breeze caress his skin. He breathed deeply, enjoying the sights, smells, and emotions that flowed around him. He felt alive again. Yep. Everything was perfect, well almost. He wanted someone to share his life with, maybe even settle down and have a family. Hell, he wanted to be in love. Not just physical love either. Real love, the kind that makes time stand still, your heart beat fast, and your palms sweat. The kind of love that his folks have. Granted, his relationships with Kira, Kelly, and Jordan were nice, but they fizzled eventually. Cops dating cops, sometimes it worked, and sometimes not. Case and point, his long time buddy Tom Ryan married Cassie, and seven months later they called it quits. And they still had to work together. Ugh, not me, no sir. I sure as hell am NOT marrying another cop. Too hard on the nerves.

He shook himself out of his reverie and deftly maneuvered the midnight blue Stealth into a parking spot. Thank goodness the mall wasnít crowded. He got out of the car, pocketed his keys and headed inside. Little did he know that inside those very walls would be the woman that would change his life forever, and send him upon a journey filled with sorrow, joy, choices, and life decisions. He was about to fall in love for the first time in his life.

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