Chris rarely dreamed, but she did that night. She dreamed about the sergeant's exam- about hitting the books, studying her ass off, and not being allowed to take the exam. She dreamed about pushing papers and selling her sports car. She dreamed about bloody birth and sleepless nights- about feeling all alone. She dreamed about completely losing her independence and herself.

Around 3 am, she awoke in a panic and forced herself off the couch and into the bathroom. Traces of dried tears stained her cheeks. She felt more exhausted than she had when she fell asleep and couldn't help but start to cry again. Who did she think she was kidding? She couldn't have a baby. She couldn't put her life and her career on hold. Other women could do that sort of thing. Mary Beth could do that sort of thing. But she just couldn't.

Eventually, she found her bed and reached under her pillow for the rosary her mother had given her when she was a child. Her fingers found the rough sides of the miniature crucifix before she brought it to her lips. Though Chris wasn't sure what she believed in and certainly didn't plan on returning to mass anytime soon, praying the rosary was a ritual, something constant and familiar to her when so many things were uncertain. "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. I believe…" She started to recite the Apostles' Creed and for a moment, she was in first grade again. Her parents were still together. Her brother, Brian, would actually play with her and look out for her on the playground. She wasn't a woman close to forty years of age, pregnant by a coworker she wasn't even sure if she liked. The biggest decision she had to face was what film to see at the movie theater after school.

Her eyelids drooped and her breathing became steadier. She trailed off somewhere in the middle of the First Mystery. After that, her dreams were softer, sweet even. She dreamed of nursery shopping and baby showers. She dreamed of baby kicks and oil massages. She dreamed of Victor and his confident, steady way. She dreamed of his hands in her hair, on her neck, her stomach- rubbing the belly he gave her. She dreamed of date nights and small talk and constant flirting.

By the time she awoke, she almost believed that everything would work out. Her left hand found her stomach as her eyelids fluttered open and registered the time on the alarm clock. A quarter past 8:00. "Good morning, baby," she whispered, almost embarrassed to be talking to the thing again.

Usually Chris hated the weekend and wanted it to go by as quickly as possible. Being a detective was the one thing she knew she was good at doing. Everything else always seemed to pale in comparison to her work. Now that she knew about the baby, she didn't think dating was such a good idea. She didn't even want to go over to Mary Beth's. Her partner just had a way of getting her to tell her the truth, and she wasn't ready to spill the beans yet. Only her doctor and Paul LaGuardia knew about the pregnancy. She briefly considered inviting him over before she thought better of it. No. She didn't want to talk about it. This was her decision to make. Though, with each passing minute, she was becoming more certain that there was no decision. She was having a baby. She kept convincing herself that it would be a good thing. Hadn't she always wondered what it would be like to be a mother? This was her chance. Who knew if she would even be capable of getting pregnant again? Maybe she would miscarry. Her mother had trouble carrying to term. Maybe she would be the same way? It was hard for her to conceptualize the tiny little person.

She just couldn't think too far into the future about it. Everything was still so unknown. Hell. She wasn't even showing yet, not really anyway. But then again, LaGuardia had known. She could definitely tell a difference in her breasts. Whereas before, she had hooked her bra on the tightest setting, now the loosest hook felt the best to her. They ached too. By the end of the day, she couldn't wait to yank off her bra. Even then though, her nipples were so sensitive that it was hard to find a comfortable sleeping position. Even a thin t-shirt felt like too much against them. As for her stomach, it felt bloated like it did the week of her period. She didn't think it was too noticeable though to anyone who wasn't looking for it. If they did notice, they likely thought it was alcohol related.

Telling Victor Isbecki could wait another month or so, she decided. She wasn't sure she would be able to keep it from Mary Beth that long though. She yawned and gently cradled her breasts in her hands for a few moments as she lay there in bed, thinking to herself. Eventually, she climbed out of bed and staggered into the bathroom.

As she showered, she contemplated her options. Maybe I'll take a leave of absence and fly to Paris until after the baby comes. The thought crossed her mind, but she quickly dismissed it. No. Too many responsibilities. Mary Beth would have to find a new partner and who the hell would look after Charlie? Brian would never leave his precious Cali for that long, and Pop could never leave New York. How am I going to tell Charlie? She sighed before she submerged her face under the stream of cool water trickling out of the shower head. After a few moments, she turned off the faucet and reached outside of the shower for her towel. She groped the surface of the counter only to come up empty.

"Dammit," she said out loud and stepped out of the shower. With everything that had been going on with her, she hadn't thought to do the laundry. She squeezed the ends of her hair out into the sink and padded into her bedroom, leaving a trail of wet footprints on the carpet. She may not have had a towel clean, but she thankfully had a yellow terry cloth robe that had only been worn a few times. The fabric clung to her damp body as she ran a brush through her short hair. She scrutinized her appearance in her full length mirror for a few moments. I look like a drowned rat. I certainly didn't get Mother's classic good looks. And where the hell did these lines come from? She traced the little crow's feet that had developed around her eyes.

"I think you're responsible for these." Her free hand found her middle as her eyes took in the few gray hairs that sprouted around her temples. "I'll be all gray by the time you get here," she tittered and set the brush down on her dresser. She moved her other hand so that she was cradling her abdomen. She didn't say anything for a bit, just relishing in the silence, content in the knowledge that her secret was safe for now, growing and blossoming inside her.

When the phone rang, she jumped and quickly pulled her hands away from her stomach like she was fifteen again and busted by Sister Agnes for carving dirty words into a church pew.

"Cagney, four…" she stopped herself from saying "fourteenth" out of habit when she answered the telephone. "Cagney," she repeated.

"Boy, you eat, sleep, and breathe being a cop, don't you?" Victor's voice came through the line and Chris hated herself for blushing. "Chris, don't hang up. Please. Listen, I've just...I hate how things are now between us. Do you think…" he trailed off. "I mean, could I buy you breakfast? I didn't get to...the morning after."

Her heart started pounding in her ears and she cleared her throat. "Well gee Isbecki, you're a real gentleman. Next thing you know, you'll be wanting me to meet your mother."

"Cool it, Cagney. You still have that apartment in SoHo?"

"Yeah," she sighed as her eyes scanned the room, hoping something clean and sexy would magically appear for her to wear.

"So I'll pick you up in thirty, okay?" He didn't wait for an answer before he hung up the phone.

"No! I...Victor!" She slammed the phone down and started to pace.

Thirty minutes. That wasn't even enough time for a rinse cycle. She waded through the piles of discarded clothing on her floor and tried to find something that wasn't hopelessly wrinkled.

"Damn," she said out loud and peered into her closet. The only items that were clean were suits which just seemed way too formal for breakfast with Isbecki at some sleazy diner.

She was still trying to decide what to wear when she heard an obnoxious drumming on the front door of her apartment. Out of time and options, she decided that he could see her in her robe. Maybe she would just cook for them. She truly had nothing to wear and he had seen her in far less, she reminded herself.

"Hi," she said sheepishly as she opened the door for him. Her cheeks flushed and she couldn't quite meet his eyes. "Let's just stay here, okay? I'll cook. I've been pulling so many late night steak outs that I just haven't had a chance to uh pick up around here. I don't even have a clean shirt," she shook her head, embarrassed.

"Aw man. I didn't mean to push my way in," Victor sighed. "I should've let you talk. I just...I guess I thought I was going to know romantic or something. I forget you're not like other women, Cagney."

"And just what is that supposed to mean, Isbecki?" She was instantly furious.

"Typical Aries fire," he laughed and shook his head at her. "I'll cook. You just make the coffee."

"I might have to do up some dishes too," she mumbled.

"I'll do them. I forced myself in here. Just tell me where you keep everything."

There was something deeply sexy about Victor Isbecki cooking breakfast for her in her kitchen with her little gingham apron tied around his waist.

She tried to concentrate on the morning paper but couldn't stop herself from watching him. "I never knew you knew your way around a kitchen."

"Oh yeah," he shrugged and took a sip of orange juice. "I was a latchkey kid. Mom wanted to make sure I could fend for myself...Chris, do you even have bread?" He asked as he scanned the contents of her pantry.

"No," she sighed. "I've been meaning to go to the store."

"It's fine. I'll make biscuits," he waved away her frustration.

He continued bustling around the kitchen, occasionally asking her where something was while she absentmindedly thumbed through the paper. She stopped on the horoscopes. He knew her sign, but she realized she didn't even know his birthday.

"Victor," she cleared her throat. "Isn't your birthday in the summer?"

"Huh? Oh yeah. Yeah. August 12th. I'm a Leo. What's it say about me?" He wondered.

"'Leo. You will receive life altering news.' You know, these things are so dumb. Just because of how the stars were positioned when we were born, they think they know us," Chris mumbled.

"Lighten up, Cagney. Who pissed in your Cheerios?" He laughed. "Unless you have news for me, I doubt it's real. I'm not due for a promotion until next year."

"You mean, assuming you don't pass the sergeant's exam," she looked over at him.

"Well yeah. I bet you and Petrie will be the only ones in the precinct to make it," he said honestly.

Thinking about it made tears come to her eyes.

"Are you going soft on me?" He asked. "It wasn't even a compliment. It's just the truth."

"Oh, shut up, Isbecki," she mumbled and rested her head on her hands. Her elbows were propped up on the counter and she could hear her mother's disapproving voice in her head. There were times when that voice ate her alive, but she always had to remember that her mother was dead. No one who mattered in her life cared that she wasn't "ladylike." So what if she propped her elbows up on the table, never did her dishes or laundry, and ate out for almost every meal? She was Charlie Cagney's little girl. It was in her blood.

The two were quiet for a little while as Victor finished preparing the meal. Eventually, he set a plate down in front of her and gave her a wink. "So what's it say for Aries, huh?" he nodded in the direction of the discarded newspaper.

"'You will receive the answer you've been searching for.' Like I said, it's all woo woo." She crumpled the paper up into a ball and threw it at the wastepaper basket. It fell in with a satisfying thunk and she gave Victor a smug look.

"Jesus, Chris. Is there anything you can't do?"

She blinked a few times before looking away from him and tearing into her breakfast. The man had just walked into the crime scene that was her unkempt apartment, found her completely disheveled, made her breakfast because she couldn't even do something as simple as that, and had the gall to ask if there was anything she couldn't do. He had just witnessed at least five of the things she couldn't do! And yet, his tone was genuine and sweet. He really thought she was something despite all of her obvious failings as a traditional woman.

There was an awkward silence while she ate and tried to stop herself from picturing him holding their baby at the breakfast table some early morning before work. No. She had to get it together. She had to be rational. Isbecki wasn't going to give up his womanizing, partying ways for her. They barely even knew each other really. They were coworkers and occasional partners in certain cases, but that was it. Their hookup had been a mistake. He seemed to understand that. Why couldn't she?

"Does it taste okay?" he asked her, pulling her from her jumbled thoughts.

"Great," she nodded. "Thanks for...this." She swallowed hard and set her fork down on the napkin next to her plate. At home, she didn't even put her napkin on her lap. She added another tally to the mental You Are A Disappointment to Your Mother count.

"Yeah I just…" he sighed. "I feel bad about the way we ended things or I guess didn't end things. You're not just some one night stand to me, Cagney. I was trying to get up the nerve to tell you that, but then you got shot and I...I got really scared, okay? That's why I said that thing about hooking me up with the nurse. That's why I've been so weird."

"I'm sure my scar running practically from head to tail is off putting," she said flatly.

"That's not what I meant!" He shook his head angrily. "You're just as sexy as ever, Chris. It just…I realized I don't want to lose you. I care about you so much that I got scared. You're reckless, Cagney. You drink too much. don't always think. You take chances like you don't care if you live or die. I didn't want to get too close because I don't want to have to feel the pain of losing you."

She was speechless as she listened to him. When he had finished, his eyes found hers and she saw something in them that scared and aroused her. He looked genuinely in love. She hadn't seen that look on his face since Mary Beth had asked him to hold Jeannie. He had tried to put on the macho act and pretend he didn't like it, but Chris had seen right through him.

The whole thing blindsided her. Victor cared about her, really cared about her? Even after her accident? It was unexpected and only made her feel more conflicted about what she was going to do.

She moved toward him then, eventually closing the gap between them with her body. "Don't say any more," she pressed her finger to his lips. "Just...come to bed."