Characters were created by James Parriott and Barney Cohen and belong to Sony/Tristar. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
by Nancy Braman
He was surrounded by thick, swirling mists.
Nick was tired--very tired. He had had a frustrating shift, he had come home and packed his suitcases, and he had written three very difficult letters. Then he had fallen asleep on his leather couch. He remembered lying down to take a nap, so why was he suddenly standing here in the mist? No matter how sleepy he was, he knew perfectly well that mist did not belong in his loft, so where on earth had it come from? And, more importantly, why was it here?
"Patience," counselled a voice.
Nick frowned in puzzlement. He knew he should know that voice, but it seemed to come from all directions, and was distorted just enough to prevent recognition. As he tried to place where he had heard it before, the mists slowly parted...
Nick saw himself and Natalie Lambert standing side by side. She was wearing a long white gown, he was wearing his dress uniform, and they seemed to be in a church. The mists parted further, and, as if someone had flipped a switch, he could suddenly hear, as well as see, Father Rochefort pronounce them husband and wife. As he did so, the sun emerged from behind a cloud and poured through the stained glass windows of the church, as if in a benediction. Then the mists closed over the scene.
"No...wait!" Nick wanted to see more, and tried to move forward into the mists.
"Patience," repeated the voice, as the mists parted again...
He and Nat were again in the church, this time watching, with their friends, as Father Rochefort christened their son, little Donald Nicholas. Then the scene was once again obscured.
Time and time again the mists opened and closed over more scenes of a possible future--the birth of a daughter, then of twins, his and Natalie's promotions, the children's school and college graduations, Nat's retirement from her position as Toronto's chief medical examiner, his retirement as a highly respected police commissioner, and then one final scene...
Nick and Natalie stood in front of their home as a car pulled into the driveway. From the back seat erupted--that was the only term for it--three young children who tore across the lawn toward them yelling happily,
As the now elderly couple hugged the three rambunctious children, the scene froze as, one last time, the mists closed over the tableau. The voice spoke again.
"This could be your future, Nicolas de Brabant. But if you leave now, you'll be turning your back on all of it--a chance for happiness, Natalie, and future generations as well. You must rediscover your determination--and your faith." Then, before the mists disappeared altogether, the voice had one last message for him.
Nick opened his eyes slowly, not wanting to let go of the dream. As he headed for the refrigerator, he knew that it was more than just a dream. He realized that he had been shown glimpses--the high points--of what might be...if he stayed.
Thoughtfully, he opened the fridge and pulled out one of Nat's protein shakes and a bottle of cow blood. As he drank the shake, taking a swallow or two of blood only when threatened with nausea, he mentally reviewed all he had been shown.
As he finished the shake and rinsed out the container, he smiled broadly as he remembered the final message. The voice, no longer distorted and coming from all directions, and having lost its unaccustomed formality, had spoken loudly, clearly, and in no uncertain terms into his ear:
"It's closer than you think, Nicky-boy. Don't blow it now!"
Only one person had ever called him that.
"Thanks, Schank," he said aloud, and then, suspecting that Don Schanke's spirit had been only the messenger, he glanced upward and added, "and thank You."
As he walked past the table, he noticed the three letters he had written--farewells to Nat and Tracy, and a letter of resignation to Captain Reese. With a renewed sense of determination, he picked them up, swiftly tore them into tiny pieces, and dropped them into a wastebasket. Then after a quick glance at his watch, he retrieved his suitcases from beside the elevator door and headed upstairs. He would have just enough time to unpack before heading to work, and to his future.
No, not just his future--his and Nat's future. Together.