copyright 2004, by Chase456
He was almost awake when she sighed and shifted in her sleep. Her warm breath on his neck reminded him of where he was and the woman beside him and it made him smile slightly and open his eyes. She was cuddled up against him, face buried between his neck and shoulder, her black hair fanned out like silk across his chest. She sighed again, murmuring, still dreaming. He thought he could stay there all night, admiring the curve of her hip under the sheet.
It was hard to imagine that not long ago, they were not even speaking. He had, for a time, come to think that they would never speak again. He spent months going over the events in his mind, again and again, trying to think of something he might have done differently, but when all was said and done, there really hadn't been anything else he could have done. He was Gil Grissom, night shift supervisor, CSI, Las Vegas and it had been his duty to put personal interests aside. He had known it would hurt her, asking for the insulin kit, but he had always thought that she would understand that it was his job. But then, perhaps that was the problem...it was his job and the job was him. It had always been that way.
He would have to get up soon. He was never late to work, and usually arrived early, but until now, until Lady Heather, he had never had a reason to be late. At the moment he was hard pressed to think of anywhere he would rather be than work...except here with his arm more asleep than he was, cradling this magnificent woman who had walked back into his life only two weeks ago and had sent him reeling in a way he had never expected. In fact, he had always thought of himself as immune. Heather wasn't the first young, beautiful woman who had offered herself to him, but she was the only one that he could not resist, the only one worth risking his heart and carefully planned life for.
Probably the least likely place one would imagine running into Lady Heather would be the supermarket, but that was exactly where he had found her again. He had spent one night sitting in front of her house, trying to think of a way to explain that didn't sound like begging and just couldn't bring himself to knock on the door. Fear. If she answered and refused him, could he still breathe? So he had driven himself home, put Brahms on the stereo, downed a short glass of bourbon and spent a night on the sofa staring at a box of mounted butterflies on the wall. And then, months of sleepless nights later, there was a stabbing at a supermarket on one of those hot Vegas nights where there's a murder every hour and not nearly enough CSI's to cover them all and he ended up working the scene alone.
Brass met him in the parking lot with the basics." It's a man, mid thirties, multiple stab wounds. Apparently the assailant nailed him in the coffee aisle and ran out of the store before anyone realized anything had happened. There was one witness who turned the corner with a shopping cart just as the victim dropped to the floor. She got a glimpse of the killer."
Grissom nodded, taking the information in. "I'll want to talk to the witness. I'd prefer to get her impressions in the aisle where the body is....is this a woman who can handle that?"
Brass' face showed no emotion, but there was an almost imperceptible twinkle in his eye as he replied, "Oh, I think this woman can handle just about anything, Gil. The question is, can you handle 'her'."
Grissom liked Brass. They shared a macabre sense of wry humor that served them both well in their profession. When the detective motioned with his head toward the entrance to the store, Grissom followed, curiosity piqued by Brass' amusement at some unseen funny thing that Grissom sensed would amuse him as well. "Give me about 10 minutes with the body and then bring me the witness, Jim. I find that eyewitness credibility increases when the witness is interrogated as close to where they witnessed the crime as possible."
"Will do." By this time, they had reached the body and Brass turned on his heel and headed for the back of the store.
Grissom set his kit down, pulled on rubber gloves and squatted down close to the body, careful not to disturb anything. David hadn't been here to release the body to him yet. It was definitely one of 'those' hot Las Vegas nights and it might be a while before the assistant coroner would be able to get there. The bodies were piling up all over town.
There were a lot of little drops of blood around the body. And interestingly, there were a few drops that seemed to lead away from the body down the aisle. Grissom quickly pulled out yellow markers, numbering the drops as they led down the aisle and took pictures of the drops, careful to include the ruler portion of the marker in each photo. He knew that often in a stabbing, slippage of the knife will cause the killer to cut themselves. It was obvious that the victim hadn't trailed blood down the aisle and out of the store so it was a good bet that the blood drops he was photographing belonged to the killer and would provide the killer's DNA profile. The computer database was often the detective that solved crimes such as these in Las Vegas, matching the tiniest bits of DNA material to the perpetrator of the crime.
Grissom moved back to the body, kneeling close, "What can you tell me?" he asked the body, "What is your story?" He was concentrating so hard, he didn't realize that Brass had returned with the shopper witness. It wasn't until the detective cleared his throat to get his attention that he became aware of them, just to his right. His first view of them was their feet. Brass' well polished wingtips were of no immediate interest, but as he broke from his high state of concentration he also became aware of two small women's feet in black boots, stiletto heels, placed slightly apart, and oddly giving off an air of confidence. Realizing he was staring at the tiny ankles and slender legs, he forced his eyes to rise, but was unable to stop lingering slightly longer than was polite. As he reached that familiar face, ruby red lips, and flashing eyes just beneath a fringe of shiny black hair, he forced himself to close his mouth, which had begun to gape right about the time he had reached her waist in his visual tour. "Hello."
She was wearing a long black skirt, ending just as the boots began, and a black shell. It was probably as casual as he could imagine her. She was also being completely inscrutable. He rose slowly and stood facing her, trying to be calm, but he was almost sure she would be able to hear his heart pounding.
It was almost as if she were studying him, trying to make some sort of decision. Finally, she held her hands out in front of her and with no small amount of sarcasm in her voice she asked "Did you want to cuff me this time?"
He blinked, caught off guard. He'd been so pleased to see her. An unexpected wave of joy had washed over him and he was still reveling in that warmth when her voice slammed into him like ice water. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, like a long sad sigh. Sometimes his whole life seemed like that to him, a long sad sigh. He smiled, not with pleasure...sadly, but it still creased his face with dimples. He couldn't know the effect those dimples would have on her. "Are you going to torture me about that forever?" he asked.
Her features seemed to soften and whether it was the dimples, or the plaintive quality of his voice, almost childlike as he asked his question, she suddenly felt all of the anger she had for him melt away. Almost playfully, she cocked her head to one side. "Only until you say 'stop'."
"Oh," he almost gasped the words, "Please, stop."
"I hate to break up the party, but David is here to release the body. You remember the body, right, Gil. THAT body." Brass pointed at the corpse on the floor. "The one that's bleeding all over the linoleum."
Heather laughed, a bright sound, sparkling. And then they had gotten down to the business of taking her statement. She had explained what she'd seen, described the killer and pointed out the direction he took leaving the store. Everything had been all business from then on, but something had changed between them and they had known it. They both had their 'professions' after all.
It was unusual, but this particular crime was solved before the scene was even cleared. The knife wielding assailant was found by uniforms just three blocks away, still holding the knife, blood streaming from hers hand where she had cut herself in the attack...the man's wife.
Grissom and Lady Heather stood in front of the market as he put his equipment case back into the back of the SUV. "Domestic violence," he said, shaking his head. "How can two people be married, have children together and then inflict this kind of horror on one another."
"You're probably asking the wrong person about that, Gil." Heather smiled at him, understanding his confusion. He was a complex man, and yet in some things he was so very simple. "You know the saying, we only hurt the one's we love."
He looked at her a long time, thinking how beautiful she was. Odd how in Vegas thinking that a woman's hair looked especially beautiful capturing the colors of the neon around her didn't seem as cheesy at it would anywhere else in the world. He couldn't help but marvel at how comfortable she was gazing back at him. So many women would turn away, made shy by the admiration in his eyes. "And tell me, Lady Heather, why would a beautiful woman like you be in the supermarket pushing a shopping cart in the middle of the night?"
She blushed and it pleased him to know he'd made her blush like that, rosy and pink in the night. "Well, Gil, even prosperous business women like myself have our needs."
His eyebrows raised in amusement. "Needs?"
"Yes, needs. In my case it is a completely classless addiction to Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts. I was out. I needed them. I don't deny myself those sorts of pleasures." She tried desperately to appear deeply serious about this. "You're laughing at me, I can tell by the look in your eye." She feigned a huffy attitude but was failing miserably. She thought how strange it was that she prided herself on creating personae for the girls in her house to use and she thought herself quite the actress, but with this man, she was quickly becoming lost. Not little girl lost, but woman lost, and for a woman with a heart, that was the scariest kind of lost there could be.
"I'm not laughing....no really. I'm not. I just can't stop thinking what it would be like to taste warm brown sugar and cinnamon from those lips."
She'd bought her pop tarts. They'd driven to his place, more private than her house where things were always busy. He was off his shift, and while his normal thing would be to go to the office, maybe sleep a while on the sofa there, or do paperwork until he was completely exhausted, his only thought tonight was to be alone with this woman. In fact, he wasn't sure whether it would have mattered if it was the end of his shift or not. He wanted her. It wasn't a simple lust, but the white hot fire that sometimes flares when a man's heart is held back too long. He needed her, needed her mind, her thoughts, her understanding. This was no girl, but a woman, and the only woman who could ever tear him away from the lab, his work, his life. So, other nights, he would have been back at the job before the coroner's wagon had gotten back with the body. But that night, he'd taken her home and they'd shared Pop Tarts. And the brown sugar and cinnamon had tasted just as sweet from her lips as he had imagined.
Grissom's cell phone chirruped from the side table. He grimaced, knowing it would be work calling him to some new scene of human despair. It was true that CSI's often met people on the worst days of their lives. He'd always known that, but Lady Heather had accentuated that knowledge by bringing to him what he believed were the very best days of his life. Sometimes, the contrast was almost overwhelming. He grabbed the phone. "Grissom."
"Hey, we got a DB in a house out in Wilson Estates, wanna come?" Sara always sounded a little too happy about finding dead bodies to Grissom, but he knew she was just a little too ambitious and a little too interested in working with him. She was good at her job, but she could be aggravating. At the moment, she seemed like an intrusion, but it wasn't her fault. How could she know?
"I'm supposed to be at the office in an hour anyway, Sara. Do you need help?"
"Well, I don't need help working a scene," she replied, a bit huffy. "But...." she added dangling the bait, "there are bugs."
Lady Heather had woken up with the phone and had rolled back propping her head up on her hand, watching him, loving him most of all like this...tousled, a little sleepy, but already curious about the case he was about to work on. She couldn't resist a little bedevilment and ran her free hand along his thigh delighting at his slight gasp.
"Give me the address and I'll meet you there in 20 min....er, make that 45 minutes." He groaned as he rolled to press his lips against Heather's shoulder, snapping his cell phone off as he did so.
Across town in the CSI locker room, Nick turned to Sara, "If Grissom is meeting you, I'll go with Warrick on the case at the Tangiers." He waited for her answer but she was still frowning at her now silent phone. "Sara?....Sara! Is he meeting you?"
Sara shook her head to clear it. "Yeah, yeah. He said he'd meet me in 45 minutes."
"45 minutes? His place is only ten minutes from there." Nick grinned. "Don't tell me Grissom is slowing down after all these years."
Sara rolled her eyes. "You know Nick, Grissom isn't that old! But he sounded funny. Maybe he's sick or something."
"Grissom doesn't get sick." Nick was still grinning. He knew Sara hung on Grissom's every word. "Maybe he just wanted to have some breakfast."
"Yeah, I think that's it...he said something about pop tarts." She walked out of the locker room and headed to the parking lot thinking, 'or maybe he was just happy about getting to see ME this evening." And then having settled it in her mind, she smiled.
copyright 2004, by Chase456