Chicago Warriors: The New Woman?

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Susan looked at Beth and asked, "Who's that with Pete?" "I don't know," she replied, "I've never seen her before." "Well, she's probably a cop judging from her looks," said Susan.

"Maybe," said Beth, "but she's awfully attractive..."
Marilyn was wearing a dark pair of capri pants, and a form fitting sleeveless black top with a scoop neckline. The shirt in particular showed off her female muscularity quite well. The definition in her shoulders and arms was evidence of her hard work in the gym. She looked pleasingly athletic, rather than blocky as some female bodybuilders have a tendency to appear. Her dark hair was down, just off the shoulders. Her olive complexion complimented her lean, fit body, which she topped off with a thin gold neck chain and bracelet. The off duty Marilyn was a stark contrast to the one in uniform.

Beth was worried. Who was this woman that Pete was with? They obviously knew each other, maybe even knew each other too well since she went right up to him and gave him a hug. Was Pete already seeing someone? Were things worse than she imagined? Was this just another brick in the wall that was getting higher and higher between her and Pete?

Pete and Marilyn reached the door to the ER where Susan and Beth were standing. "Hi Beth, hi Susan, I'd like you to meet Marilyn Benson-she's my new partner."
Marilyn extended her hand to them both and exchanged greetings. She sensed that the moment was uncomfortable and quickly excused herself, "Pete, I'm going to go inside and see how Mac is doing and say hello to some of the people that I know. Nice to meet you both."

I turned to Susan, "How are you and the boys doing?"
"I guess as well as can be expected Pete. They're still in a fog, not able to understand why daddy isn't coming home. The Hundred Club of Cook County came over to the house and gave me a check for $15,000.00. That should hold us over for a while until I can figure out what money we have and where all of the paperwork for the accounts is located. Joe took care of all the money and bills; I took care of the children and the house. But knowing how organized Joe was, it shouldn't be hard to figure it all out."

The Hundred Club was a blessing to all police families that suffered a loss of their mother or father. Within 24 hours of the death, they present a check to the spouse. Later they review the family's debts and will pay up to an additional $50,000, to include up to $30,000 in mortgage or real estate. Furthermore, they provide educational assistance to spouses and children for vocational schools and college. Started in Detroit in 1950 by a single businessman, the program has spread across the nation and has provided help to over 230 families.

"That's great Susan, thank God for organizations like that. And please remember that I'm only minutes away for you any time that you need anything."

"Thanks Pete. So many people have been by to offer support and prayers... We'll be fine. Beth has been a big help the last couple of nights. My parents had to go back home; I'm afraid the boys wore them out. I don't know what I would do without her; she has a knack for making the boys feel safe and loved."

No doubt I thought. Beth would be a wonderful mother for any child; she has the qualities that are inherent in every mother, love, compassion, and an unselfish attitude that would ensure children live in a wonderful love-filled home. If only...

Susan turned and said, "I'm going to sit with Shirley for a while," and went back inside. That left Beth and I alone, and admittedly I felt a bit uncomfortable.
She brushed a strand of hair from her face and said, "You didn't tell me that your new partner was such a stunning looking woman. How is she working out?"

I didn't know how to take that question; didn't know if she was probing me or not. "She's good Beth, she has a lot of experience-she's a tough cop."

"Well, I don't know how tough she may be, but she's a beautiful woman isn't she? You looked pretty comfortable with her when she gave you that big hug over by the driveway."

As soon as the words came out of her mouth she regretted them. Who am I to read anything into a hug between two co-workers greeting each other as they visit an ill colleague? But, what if it wasn't just an innocent hug? What if she's more than a partner? The possibilities mounted in Beth's mind and she imagined the worst outcome...
"Beth...what do you mean?"

"Nothing Pete, I'm sorry...I shouldn't have made that remark."

"Listen; if you think that Marilyn is anything more than a partner you're wrong. I have way too many problems in my life to add another one. So much has happened recently that my head is still spinning. I find it difficult to concentrate in class; my mind is off in space somewhere.

The job is different now that Joe's gone; I'm back in uniform working a beat. And I think that Rosato is out to get me for writing the DUI to his girlfriend. Amidst it all I'm trying to adjust to a new partner. The last thing on my mind is getting involved in any new relationship."
"What about us Pete? Is that on your mind at all?"
She hit a nerve with that one. Was it on my mind? Only every minute of the day! And while I think that we need this time apart for some introspection, I hate every second that we're apart. "Beth, I think about you all of the time. The house isn't a home without you. There's no longer any sense of needing to go home because you're not there. It's just a place to shower and sleep. But the thought of you and that other guy is also on my mind, and I can't shake it. You destroyed a beautiful pact that we had created and lived with for all these years. The trust that we used to have in each other was so strong, that I never imagined that one day it would be shattered. I'm having a hard time dealing with it. Every time that I see a couple walking down the street holding hands, it saddens me because it reminds me of us-how we used to be. Just seeing Mac's grandbabies in the waiting room today again reminded me of how much I wanted us to be parents. But I guess that I'm being selfish thinking that way."

"No Pete, you're not selfish; you have a right to be upset. I did something that I'll have to live with forever. I don't know that I can ever forgive myself for hurting you. And what bothers me most of all is that I've done something that you'll have to live with as well-either with or without me."

She looked so sad and forlorn that I almost wanted to take her in my arms and hold her, tell her everything would be alright I looked at Beth and noticed that her color seemed much better, and that hollow look that had begun to detract from her beautiful face was now gone. "How are you doing on eating, are you back to normal? You look well."

"Thanks Pete, I' m trying hard, very hard to get back to where I was before I let us down. Father Mike set me up with a psychologist and I had an appointment with her already. But I think that what's helped me the most is that I got honest with myself and with God. I finally just stopped and listened to what He was trying to tell me."

She didn't mean to, but she was becoming emotional, starting to tear up. In just the past couple of days, she had felt better than she had in almost three years. She was welcoming every emotion-happiness and sadness-not running away from anything or masking it with booze. All it took was to bring the Lord back into her life. And although she and Pete were separated, Joe was gone, Susan was left with the four babies, and Mac was in the ER fighting for his life, she felt strangely at peace.

"The biggest piece of the puzzle that I had been missing for these past years was honesty. I couldn't be honest with you or myself; I had to invent reasons and excuses why things were going downhill between us, and why I kept putting you off about having a baby. I'm not saying that you would have liked it anymore that you do now if I had told you when it happened, but at least we could have either worked on the problem or made a decision to end it."

"I'm glad to hear that you are doing well Beth, and I hope that you continue to improve. But can you see things from my perspective? Can you possibly understand the hurt and betrayal that I feel? We were best friends babe, everything revolved around us and no one came between us. To one day have that totally blown away is life-changing." I rubbed my eyes now, as I was beginning to feel the emotion of the past sap my strength and steal my optimism.

"I know Pete, I know. You have to make a decision on what road you want to travel," she said. "I pray that we can get past this and start anew. I can't tell you enough how sorry I am for deceiving you and disrespecting our marriage. I will abide by whatever decision that you eventually come to, and with any conditions that you may attach. You are the only one that I've ever loved Pete, and you are the only one that I ever want to love."

My heart was breaking now; I had to get out of there before I started sobbing like a baby. "Okay Beth, I need some time, and I need help. I can't get through this myself. Until this happened today with Mac, I was prepared to get some counseling to help me through the pain. But now I need to know that Mac is going to be okay. I won't be able to focus on very much until then. It's like He keeps loading me up with one challenge after another, trying to see where my breaking point is. I don't know how much more I can take."

Beth reached out and put her hand on my arm..."He won't give you more than you can handle babe, but he will test you, just as he tested me. Remain focused on what really matters in your life, and don't for one second close your eyes and ears to His message. I'm praying for you every day; you will always be in my heart."

"Thanks babe." I quickly turned and headed down the block. I needed some private time to absorb what just happened. The old Beth was somehow back, the one that I knew before the evil one had tempted her. But could I trust her not to succumb to his evil ways again? Was that one brief episode to be the only one? I needed help-some direction. I was about to make an important decision that would affect two lives-hers and mine. Could our marriage weather this storm or not? At this point, I wasn't sure.

     Next: Sgt. Mike Castro
Previous: Mac's In Trouble

John Wills spent 2 years in the U.S. Army before serving 12 years with the Chicago Police Department (CPD). He left the CPD to become an FBI Special Agent, working organized crime, violent crime, and drugs.  John Wills is an author of Chicago Warriors: Midnight Battles in the Windy City published by

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