DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
SPOILER: Brief mention of the final scene in "Way to Go".
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Abduction
By Ann


Part 1

I awake from my dream bathed in sweat and gasping for breath. Shaking my head, I try to dispel the image of Grissom in my bed. What the fuck was that all about? Grissom is old news. In fact, he is prehistoric news. Now, Sofia is definitely another story. Hell, I wouldn't even care if she had on the same god awful shirt Grissom was wearing in my dream as long as she was in my bed. Of course, if I had my way, she wouldn't have it on for long.

Tossing and turning for the next few hours, I find I can't sleep for more than fifteen minutes at a time. Every time I drift off, Sofia's face keeps morphing into Grissom's. Just the thought of Grissom in my bed is enough to give me the heebie-jeebies.

Realizing sleep is not an option; I get up and put on my running clothes. I always feel so much better after I exercise. Maybe I can exorcise my Grissom dream as well.

A few hours later, I am somewhat rejuvenated and ready for work. Hopefully, I won't be paired with Grissom tonight. The memories of the dream are just too fresh, and I certainly don't welcome of any feelings they invoke. Maybe I can request to work with Greg. After all, it has been awhile since we last worked together, and he is so much more fun to be around.

The team assembles in the break room waiting for Grissom to grace us with his presence. The mood is light and carefree as the news of Brass' improved prognosis has cheered everyone up. It's hard to believe that just yesterday his life was hanging in the balance and all we could do was pray. At least we had each other to lean on for support, but I wonder who was there for Sofia. Did she have to go through the ordeal alone?

Grissom's arrival interrupts my musings as he begins to hand out the night's assignments. As luck would have it, I do indeed draw Greg. Grissom gives me one of those weird looks when I smile at the pairing. I really wish he would quit looking at me like that. My dreams certainly don't need any more Grissom fodder.

I glance at the slip on the way to the Denali. Damn it, a child abduction. This type of case has a tendency to work its way into my heart and soul. I just hope I can keep my perspective, but mostly my control. I pick up my pace and encourage Greg to do the same.

We arrive at the Bellagio and take the elevator to the penthouse floor. As the doors slide open, we find Sofia pacing back and forth. She instructs Greg to go inside and asks me to wait behind. I guess there must be some vital information I need to know about the case. Too bad this talk is not under better circumstances or because she is just happy to see me.

As we stand in the corridor, Sofia opens and closes her mouth a few times without saying a word. If her expression is any indication of the news she has to impart, then something catastrophic is definitely heading my way. When she reaches down to take my hand, I know for certain the world as I know it is about to rotate off its axis. Sofia is not a touchy-feely type of person. At least, she has never laid a finger on me, not that I would have minded.

Taking a deep breath, she lightly squeezes my hand and says "Sara, an eight year old girl has been abducted. As you can imagine, the mother, Linda Silverton, is very distraught. A man somehow gained access to her suite and took the little girl from her bed. The mother was asleep in the other room and woke after the child had already been taken. I have one of the patrolmen checking to see if video surveillance picked up anything. I figured you would want to take a copy back for Archie to study."

Okay, I don't get it. This is routine information. Why is Sofia so nervous about relating the specifics of this case? Granted, she knows the abduction of a child is definitely the type of case I take personally, but I don't usually come unglued until the middle or end of one of these cases. Why the kid glove treatment? It can't be someone I know. The only person I can think of who has a child is Catherine. Besides, Sofia said the mother's name was Linda something or other.

My questions are placed on hold as Greg comes back into the hall with what can only be described as a stunned expression. He barely makes eye contact with me as he says "Sara, er . . . I'm going to run back to the truck to get something . . . um . . . I'll be back in a few minutes." He quickly turns on his heels and heads for the elevator leaving Sofia holding my hand in the hallway. What in the world is going on? Looking for answers, I turn to the person who is clasping my hand tightly.

Sofia watches Greg go, but still has not given any indication as to why I am being left in the dark about something obviously significant. Judging from Greg's reaction, I'd say the answer lies in the penthouse. I immediately release Sofia's hand and make my way toward the door. As I step across the threshold, I hear Sofia calling "Sara, wait." Bullshit, I'm not waiting any longer. I'm getting to the bottom of this once and for all.

The woman on the couch has her head buried in her hands when I walk in. She seems very familiar, but how can that be? I study her physical characteristics and determine we are roughly the same build. We even have the same coloring as well as the same dark hair.

What did Sofia say her name was? Linda Silverman … no … Silverton, that's it. I step forward to introduce myself. "Mrs. Silverton, my name is Sara Sidle, and I work for the Las Vegas Crime Lab. I'd like to ask you a few questions, if I may."

Mrs. Silverton hesitates a few minutes before wiping the tears from her face. As she looks up at me with chocolate colored eyes, I reflexively take two steps back. Holy shit, it's as if I am looking into a mirror. Linda Silverton could be my twin.


Part 2

The two of us continue to stare at each other spellbound. If I didn't already know who I was, I would swear that was me sitting on the couch. This definitely ranks way up there on the weird and eerie meter. My doppelganger must think so too as she falls sideways on the couch in a dead faint.

Several nearby officers race to her side to render assistance while I stand stock-still observing the action. Talk about surreal; it's as if I am watching one man roll me onto my back, and another place a wet washcloth on my head.

I am barely aware of Sofia's presence next to me as she whispers softly in my ear, "Sara, let's go into the other room." She once again takes me by the hand, and with an arm around my waist, ushers me from the room. I glance back over my shoulder for one last look at the figure on the couch.

When we reach the bedroom, Sofia veers toward the sitting area and encourages me to take a seat on the small divan. Wordlessly, I comply with her instructions. She kneels down in front of me and says "Sara, I am so sorry I let you walk into this situation without warning. I just didn't quite know how to go about explaining to you that your twin was the victim's mother. I know how obsessed you get with these cases, and I wasn't sure how you would react to a relative's abduction. I didn't even know you had a twin."

What is she talking about? Surely, she doesn't think . . . Taking note of the serious expression on Sofia's face, I realize exactly what is going through her mind. I would probably think the same thing too if I wasn't already aware of my birth and subsequent miserable life.

"Sofia, I don't have a twin. I've never seen that woman before in my life. Though, I do have to admit the resemblance is uncanny." Sofia immediately blurts out "Uncanny? Sara, you look exactly like her right down to the birthmark on the inside of your upper left arm."

She has got to be kidding; that mark is barely visible. Sofia would have to be seriously checking me out to notice such a small detail. Has she been checking me out? Could she possibly be interested in me?

Get a grip, Sidle, there is no way she would ever think of you as girlfriend material. Get your head out of your ass and concentrate on the case.

As I start to reply to Sofia's ridiculous assumption, Catherine's voice filters in from the outer room saying "We'll just see about that." She appears in the doorway and addresses Sofia effectively ignoring me. "Sofia, Sara is playing games with me. She says she's not Sara. Did she hit her head or something?"

How can I possibly be playing games with her if we haven't exchanged more than two words since shift began? We argue often enough as it is. I certainly don't need her to conjure up some imaginary confrontation. I look to Sofia for some help with the hallucinating Catherine.

Sofia doesn't say a word. She merely stands and moves out of the way so that Catherine has an unobstructed view of me. Surprised, Catherine looks at me and then back to the den area. Her jaw drops to the floor as she mutters "Sara?"

Now I get it, she must have had an argument with my clone. I smile as I realize this must be Catherine's worse nightmare, two Sara Sidles.

Sofia explains that she had paged Catherine and asked for assistance during her initial meeting with Mrs. Silverton. Sofia did not go into any details and evidently Catherine missed Greg downstairs. Like me, she walked into the scene totally unprepared for what she would find.

After discussing the specifics of the case, I decide to let Catherine take the lead. Together, we return to the room, and Catherine begins to question Mrs. Silverton.

Mother and daughter arrived back in the room around 10:00 p.m. They had been to the Treasure Island hotel to watch the Cirque du Soleil presentation, Mystère. The daughter, Natalie, was exhausted from the day's events and went straight to bed. Linda Silverton watched TV for about thirty minutes and then also retired for the night after checking in on Natalie. She heard a noise around 11:30 p.m. and went to investigate. The door to the penthouse was wide open, and Natalie was nowhere to be found.

My presence seems to unnerve Mrs. Silverton so I offer to process the child's room hoping the old adage 'out of sight, out of mind' holds true for both of us. Greg agrees to assist me, and I have to wonder if he wasn't sent by Catherine to keep an eye on me.

I dust for fingerprints while Greg checks the bed for fibers. Working near the headboard, I find myself drawn to the picture on the nightstand. I carefully dust it and only then do take note of the subjects in the photo, two women and a little girl. I lean closer to get a better view.

There I am . . . I mean Mrs. Silverton is with her arms wrapped around a petite redhead. The child is nestled in the lap of the redhead, and all three appear to be very happy. I get a sense of a family-type atmosphere when I look at the three together.

After avoiding the inevitable for as long as I can, I finally zero in on the little girl. She looks exactly like her mother which in turn means she looks exactly like me. I swallow and hold the tears at bay as I realize if I had a daughter, she could very well resemble this child, this child who has been taken from her mother and could be in a great deal of danger.

The sound of a voice being cleared interrupts my thought process. I look up to find Catherine, Sofia, and Greg watching me or rather staring at me. I can't tell who is more unbalanced by the recent turn of events, me or them. Sofia steps forward, and it becomes apparent by her atypical fidgeting, she has been nominated the spokesperson for the other two. I guess Greg is too close to me, and Catherine is afraid she'll say something to piss me off.

"Sara, the three of us would like for you to consider something you will probably think is a bit radical. It is clear neither you nor Mrs. Silverton knew of each other until today, but it is also obvious you two must be related in some way. How would you feel about testing your DNA against hers?"

Stunned, I respond the only way I know how by vehemently striking out at the three of them. "How can you people be considering such a ludicrous idea when there is a little girl somewhere out there whose life is in danger? Time is of the essence; we can't afford to be fooling around playing science games. We have to find her. We have to find her!" Tears are streaming down my face as I end my tirade. The three exchange worried glances before Greg and Catherine leave the room closing the door behind them.

Sofia steps toward me and softly says "Sara, we believe the father is the one who has her. Video picked up a man wearing a ski mask entering the penthouse and leaving with the girl who appeared to be sound asleep. An officer immediately brought it to the lab to be processed and studied. Archie says he is the same size and build of the father. The two have been divorced for almost a year, and Mrs. Silverton believes he has taken Natalie in order to receive money he thinks he is entitled to. She says he won't harm the girl, and Brass already has a solid lead on the guy."

I completely lose it and break down as Sofia pulls me into an embrace. What is wrong with me? Why do I feel such a strong connection to this kid? I hold on tightly to Sofia and let it all out. I can be embarrassed later. Right now, I'm just thankful for the strong arms encircling me; making me feel safe.


Part 3

My tear ducts have finally dried up and my breathing has returned to normal, but I can't quite bring myself to release Sofia. Never before have I been comforted by the physical touch of another. In the past, I was left to my own devices to deal with any pain or anguish. I honestly didn't realize what I was missing until this very moment.

How am I going to explain my extreme reaction? I don't think 'Sorry, Sofia, but I guess I'm just a big titty baby' would be very appropriate seeing as how mine happen to be currently smashed against hers, and they feel oh so good by the way. I selfishly hold for a tit, I mean, a bit longer.

Keeping my head down, I am finally able to pull away and quietly apologize for my meltdown. Sofia places her hand under my chin and gently raises my head. When our eyes meet, she says "Sara, don't be embarrassed. You are under a great deal of stress. It's not everyday you walk into a scene where your tw… um … look alike is the victim. Catherine should have dismissed you from the case."

I start to protest, but Sofia places her hand over my lips. God, her fingers are so soft. I almost miss her next words as I revel in her touch. "Sara, I think you should go through with the testing. If we just take a swab, we can find out if the two of you are related. Aren't you in the least bit curious?"

There is a distinct difference between curiosity and fear. Of course, I'm curious as to how someone can look so much like me, but at the same time, I am afraid to find out the reason. I've managed just fine all these years on my own with my convicted mother as my only relative. I'm not so sure I want to know if there are any more of us out there.

After lightly knocking on the door, Catherine walks in and apologizes for the interruption. She informs us that Mrs. Silverton is more than curious about me and would like to go ahead with the DNA testing if I am agreeable to the idea. I hesitate before nodding my assent.

Catherine steps forward and carefully swabs my mouth. I can't help but notice a slight tremor in her hand. What is she nervous about? I'm the one who should be scared shitless. I glance over to see Sofia glaring at Catherine almost daring her to say something inappropriate. Ah, so that explains the shakes. Catherine closes the lid over the swab and quietly leaves the room.

Hmm, I wonder if I can talk Sofia into being my permanent bodyguard. It would definitely be a full time job keeping Catherine in line. Personally, I would be most agreeable to Sofia guarding my body any time she gets the urge.

As Sofia and I exit the bedroom, a uniformed officer swiftly approaches us. He informs Sofia that Brass has the father in custody. He was picked up at the airport near the Swiss Air ticket counter, but the girl was not with him. The manifest of the last flight out from the terminal listed ten children. Two of them were eight year old girls, Jane Adams and Amy Martin. Both were accompanied by their parents.

The plane was already ninety minutes into the flight, and since there was not sufficient evidence that the girl was on board, the airline would not recall the flight. The big question remains as to why the father wasn't on board.

It seems Nick came across his name, Terry Silverton, on one of the later flights. No other passengers were listed with him, so evidently he was scheduled to fly out alone. What could he have possibly done with his daughter? There has to be an accomplice or two involved in his scheme. Hopefully, all will be revealed in the interrogation.

An officer stays behind with Mrs. Silverton while the rest of us head back to the lab. Greg is going to personally run the DNA samples while Sofia and Catherine go over to the police station for the interrogation of Terry Silverton. I get the distinct impression I am about to be left out of the loop.

In a totally out of character move, I plead with Catherine and Sofia to take me with them. Catherine adamantly refuses while Sofia appears to give the plea some thought. I immediately turn all my attention to the one person who is somewhat on my side. "Sofia, I just want to listen. I promise to stay behind the glass. You can even handcuff me to the table."

Her eyebrow rises at my last suggestion, and there is a flicker of something in her eyes before she takes on her usual stoic expression. I store that bit of information away for later as I pull out all stops by using the one word foreign to my vocabulary. "Please, Sofia."

I walk into the viewing room with a huge smile on my face. Catherine and Sofia exchanged words concerning my presence, but Sofia finally prevailed. I might actually win a few more arguments with Catherine if Sofia were around more often.

I move closer to the window awaiting the arrival of Terry Silverton. The door behind me opens, and I turn to greet the visitor. Sofia is leaning against the door facing with a pair of handcuffs dangling from her finger.

With a smirk on her face, she asks "Am I going to need these or are you going to behave yourself?" Oh my God, the images this particular scenario provokes has me clamping my legs together tightly. I have to keep myself from glancing at the table surface in question. Swallowing, I squeak out "I promise to be good." Inwardly, I want to ask what she plans to do with me if I did misbehave.

Smiling, Sofia answers "I'm going to hold you to it" before pushing off from the facing and leaving the room. As she shuts the door behind her, I release the breath I didn't even realize I was holding.

This latest encounter keeps replaying in my head as I pace around the room keeping my distance from the sturdy table in the center. Every now and then I study it and keep coming to the same conclusion. It can definitely withstand our combined weight. Arrgggh, why did Sofia have to go and put those thoughts in my head?

My libidinous notions will have to wait for another day as I notice movement in the interrogation room. Turning on the audio monitor, I step up to the glass as Catherine takes a seat at the table. Sofia enters next followed by two seemingly arrogant men in business suits. Sofia moves to the chair next to Catherine as the two men sit on the other side of the table.

Sofia begins the questioning with "Mr. Silverton, would you mind telling us exactly what you are doing in Las Vegas?" One of the men smiles as he says "Mr. Silverton will be more than happy to answer all of your questions after her has had the opportunity to speak to his ex-wife alone. No one can be present in the adjacent viewing room either. He wants complete and total privacy."

Catherine explains it may take some time to arrange such a meeting. She smiles as she adds "We know you are the one who abducted the child. Fibers and fingerprints from your car confirm the child was with you. I'm sure a judge would show a little leniency if you would tell us where the child is." The bastard just smiles and shakes his head no.

A uniformed officer escorts Terry Silverton from the interrogation room back to a holding cell. The lawyer leaves his cell number and demands to be contacted when the meeting takes place. He wants to ensure no one is listening in the viewing room. The shyster hands Sofia his card and exits the room as well.

Sofia glances at the mirror and shakes her head. She and Catherine leave the room to points unknown while I sit down in a nearby chair and try to make sense of Silverton's strategy. Why would he want to talk to his ex? Is he somehow trying for a ransom of some kind?

A hand on my shoulder almost causes me to fall from the chair. Looking up, I meet Sofia's blue eyes. "Shit, Sofia. Give me a little warning next time. You almost gave me a heart attack."

Sofia smiles and replies "Sara, I called your name several times, and you didn't respond. I'm sorry I frightened you. Um . . . listen, . . . um . . . Greg has the results of the DNA tests, and he wants me to bring you to Catherine's office."

Glancing at my watch, I note several hours have past since we split up. Damn that was fast. Well, I guess Greg did say he was going to process the tests himself. I may as well get up and face the music. Now, if I can only get my legs to cooperate.

As I make the attempt to stand, I realize I'm about to get some potentially earth shattering news while in the presence of Sofia, Greg, and Catherine. I really don't care to have Catherine witness another potential meltdown, and I certainly don't need her to have any more ammunition against me. I wonder who else was invited to the unveiling.

Sitting back down, I turn to Sofia and ask "Why Catherine's office?" She calmly answers "Because she is on her way to talk to Mrs. Silverton and Greg thought we would have more privacy." How very thoughtful of my friend, Greg, who conveniently vanished the last time I got upset.

Making up my mind to remain in this very spot, I say "Sofia, if you know the results I would rather you tell me right here and right now. I want to hear it from you." She softly asks "Are you sure?" I answer with a resounding yes as my inner self strongly disagrees.

Never breaking eye contact, Sofia kneels down on one knee before me. I can think of another reason why I would want her on bended knee, but unfortunately this is not the case. Instead, I am afraid she is about rock my world and not in a good way.

Taking a steadying breath, she says "Sara, you and Linda Silverton have the same genotype. You are identical twins. There is no mistake. Greg went over everything twice with a fine toothed comb. Your DNA is identical."

How can that be? I would know if I had a twin, wouldn't I? Surely my parents would have said something even if it was just one of the hurtful barbs they always threw my way. I know I favor both of them so they have to be my natural parents. That would mean Linda was what? Adopted, given away, or . . . oh shit . . . sold?

The air in the room suddenly becomes too thin as I find myself gasping for breath. Sofia immediately stands and pushes my head between my knees. She gently rubs my back and says "Sara, slow down. Take deep breaths. C'mon now, you can do it. Relax, that's it, just relax."

I close my eyes tightly and try not to throw up. Instead, I concentrate on Sofia's soothing voice. Combined with the process of inhaling and exhaling deeply, my breathing cadence finally approaches normal. After several more minutes, I am able to lift my head while I rest my elbows on my thighs.

Sitting quietly, I try to wrap my mind around this double whammy with emphasis on the double. Could we be looking at a cold case abduction? How ironic would it be for both mother and daughter to have been abducted?

Okay, Sara, first things first. We have to find Natalie then we can investigate how Linda and I came to be separated. I need to put all my efforts into finding the niece I didn't even know I had.

Sofia breaks through my thoughts by asking "Are you okay?" Exhaling loudly, I jokingly say "Yeah, but there's no way we're auditioning for one of those Doublemint commercials." After a brief pause, Sofia's laughter fills the room as I can't help but join in. Greg walks in as we are both doubled over in uncontrollable laughter.

Greg turns toward Sofia and says "Sofia, you were supposed to bring Sara to Catherine's office." She looks at Greg and says "I know" as she continues with her laughing fit. Disgusted, Greg walks over to me and says "Sara, I completed the DNA test."

Trying to regain control, I reply "I know. I hear I get to celebrate Twin Day this year." I lose my straight face as I break up once again. Greg watches the two of us before he starts to smile. Several minutes later, all three of us have lost total control.

There's nothing like a good laugh to break the intensity of a situation and give you some much needed perspective. I think I'm going to need all the help I can get to deal with my very complicated situation.


Part 4

Wiping the tears from my eyes, I watch as my two laughing cohorts do the same. I have always heard a good scream is the ideal cathartic release of emotion, but for me, laughter seems to be the best medicine. It's even more rewarding when it is experienced with friends. Greg has always been considered a friend, but Sofia is inching her way into becoming a true confidante.

The three of us leave the viewing room back in full control following our little trip into 'uncontrollable laughter land.' Since the case is at a temporary standstill, Greg and I decide to go back to the lab. Maybe we can dig up some more dirt on Terry Silverton. At the very least, we should be able to put together a list of possible co-conspirators.

As we are on our way out of the building, Sofia calls out to us. She has received a phone call from Catherine requesting our immediate presence at the hotel. Before I can respond, Sofia takes my hand and leads me out the door. I decide not to protest and follow wherever she leads. Carole King definitely had the right idea with that song of hers.

Twenty minutes later, we meet Catherine outside the penthouse suite. She informs us Linda's partner has arrived, and the two of them have quite the story to tell. In a rare act of intimacy, Catherine reaches out and puts her hand on my forearm as she says "Sara, I didn't tell her the results of the test. I thought you should be the one to give her the news." I nod my thanks as she gives my arm a light squeeze.

Composing myself, I knock on the door and enter as Catherine and Sofia follow; apparently allowing me to take the lead. The three of us walk into the den area where Linda and her partner are sitting close together on the couch. Linda sucks in her breath when she sees me alerting her partner to my presence. The redhead turns toward me and blurts out "Holy Mary, Mother of God." I barely catch myself from answering "no, not even close."

Introductions are made, and the five of us take a seat. The redhead now has a name, Lucy O'Connor. She has begun to weave the tale of their story, and I am given a temporary reprieve in delivering my message to my twin.

Linda and Lucy met in college and fell in love, but Linda didn't want to disappoint or embarrass her mom and dad since the elder Silverton's were quite wealthy and very well known in the LA social circle. Putting their heads together, the two hatched a scheme whereby they would find someone to marry Linda, and Lucy would be hired as her personal assistant. Terry Silverton became the perfect choice.

Terry was a local playboy from a rich family. He had no intention of getting married, but his father was threatening to cut him off if he didn't settle down. A pact was made between the three and they lived happily, separately ever after until Terry's family lost most of their money in a bad investment. Terry blackmailed Linda into giving him spending money, and once again, things were going well for the most part.

The main exception being the one night Terry came home drunk when Lucy was out of town. He began to tease and taunt Linda about being gay, telling her if she was ever fucked by a real man, she would jump the fence without ever looking back. She tried to walk out, but he grabbed her and pushed her up against the wall, eventually raping her with Natalie being the end result. Terry continued to verbally abuse her throughout the marriage, but he never physically touched her again. Of course, Lucy did threaten to kill him if he ever laid another hand on Linda.

Terry still accompanied Linda to the obligatory public appearances, but Lucy was always waiting in the wings. As far as the child was concerned, he completely ignored Natalie and was content for Linda and Lucy to raise the child. As long as he received his spending allowance, he stayed out of their way.

Eighteen months ago, Linda's parents were killed in a private plane crash. Linda inherited the entire family fortune, and Terry decided to up the ante on his blackmail scheme. He made one major miscalculation; Linda didn't care what other people thought of her relationship with Lucy. She was only protecting her parents so when Terry came to her with his new proposal, she filed both divorce papers and a restraining order.

With no prenuptial agreement, poor Terry was left out in the cold; however, Linda decided to give him a two million dollar lump sum to dissuade him from causing any trouble. It seemed to work as he didn't even bother trying to get custody of Natalie because he never wanted her in the first place. The two haven't heard from him since the divorce became final.

Lucy winds down by adding "Linda is intimidated by Terry. Ever since the rape, she has a difficult time being alone with him. I don't want her anywhere near that man."

Linda sits up and quietly says "If it means finding Natalie, I can do it. I have to do it."

Taking Linda's hand, Lucy softly replies "What if he says something that triggers a bad memory? You know how adept he is at pushing all your buttons. I don't want you hurt. There's got to be another way."

As I watch the two of them, I can't help but feel a little envy. What I wouldn't give to have someone look at me with such love and devotion. Turning my head toward my colleagues, I find two sets of twinkling eyes on me. Instinctively I look down to see if there is something wrong with my clothes. Nope, so what's with the looks?

Grinning, Catherine decides to reveal the secret first as she says "What if Sara went to talk to Terry instead of Linda?" My jaw drops at her suggestion. Is she nuts? I don't even know the guy. How in the world could I pull something like that off?

I look to Sofia for help only to find her sporting an identical grin. Looking over at Lucy and Linda, I find Lucy grinning as well, but Linda is as surprised as I am. I guess we must be related seeing as we're the only sane people in this room.

The three crazy people adjourn to the other room to talk strategy leaving us 'twins' alone to discuss the results of the DNA test. I have to say it is very uncomfortable sitting across from 'me.' I wonder how long it will take to get used to this mirror image thing.

After a few moments of awkward silence, I finally begin to outline the results of the test by first explaining the process involved and how the number of common alleles determine how closely two people are related. I also point out that no two people can have the exact DNA unless they are identical twins.

Linda doesn't wait for me to finish as she says "We have the same DNA, don't we?" I nod my head and answer yes as well giving us both double confirmation of what we subconsciously already knew. Well actually, I guess we were consciously aware of the fact the minute we laid eyes on each other.

Neither of us remembers our parents ever making mention of another child, and poor Linda didn't even know she was adopted. The only thing our lives seem to have in common was that we grew up in the same state.

Both of us agree to concentrate on Natalie's return before delving into the reason for our separation. We do, however, plan to dig and dig until we find the answers to our many questions. Curious, Linda asks if I could just tell her a few things about my childhood.

After a few questions, I skillfully steer the conversation away from our parents. I don't think now is a good time for Linda to find out what mother did to dear ol' dad, and she definitely doesn't need to hear about my abusive childhood. Instead, we discuss her life with Terry in case this harebrained scheme of me posing as Linda comes to fruition.


Part 5

Standing in front of the mirror, I can hardly believe the image being reflected nor get over how well everything fits. This damn Armani suit coupled with these Prada shoes cost more than all the car parts I need to purchase to restore my Jeep. At least I'm not being made to wear one of Linda's many skirts. I would have had to sneak home and shave my legs if that were the case.

I sure hope the powers that be know what they are doing. Personally, I think this is a form of entrapment, but the DA has signed off on it. At least everyone is more concerned about getting Natalie back than building a case against Terry Silverton. It's refreshing to see priorities are being set straight for once.

Now it's up to me to pull off this charade. I'll have to be on my best behavior that's for sure because I'm fairly certain Linda's normal reaction would not include jumping over the table and throttling the guy. In fact, I'm a little surprised at how very different we seem to be.

Sofia walks in to give me some last minute instructions, but not before looking me over and letting out a wolf whistle. Whoa, if I had known I would get this kind of reaction from her, I would let my Jeep sit under the tarp for the rest of the year and spend my hard earned money on one of these outfits instead. After all, my Jeep has been neglected for quite some time as it is. It would be worth the extra delay if I were to receive this kind of attention from Sofia more often.

I am taken by surprise when she steps into my space and proceeds to straighten my collar. Making the attempt to look nonchalant, I put my hands in my pants pockets before they can position themselves on her hips. Sofia finishes adjusting my collar and says "You look very nice, Sara. If you can control that temper of yours, I think you will be able to pull this thing off." My reply comes in the form of a snort.

In a seemingly natural move, Sofia reaches down and takes both of my hands before replying "Okay, no hands in the pockets. Linda is quite a bit more femme than you so I don't think she would ever strike that particular pose. It's more of a butch position, don't you agree?"

Is that some kind of rhetorical question? I certainly hope so because I have no intention of answering it. Besides, she now has piqued my curiosity as to why she is comparing me to a butch. Could it be wishful thinking on her part? If so, I can just whip out my butch card and put an end to the question once and for all.

Speaking of questions, why is still holding my hands and better yet, why is she stroking her thumb across the backs of them? I don't think she is even aware of what she is doing.

Looking into her eyes, I am surprised by what I find. There is a definite gleam of desire, and I take the opportunity to step closer to her. Testing the waters, I lean my head forward. She tilts her head and closes her eyes to accommodate me. As our lips are millimeters from each other, the door to the locker room opens, and the two of us spring apart as if shocked by an electrical current.

Lucy strides into the room totally unaware she has interrupted our intimate moment. If I could find a soundproof room, I would test that cathartic scream theory because laughter is not even close to the best medicine in this case. In fact, I think I would deck anyway who thought this was remotely funny.

Walking up to us, Lucy says "I really wish I could go in there with you, Sara. Between the two of us, we'd have Terry singing like a canary." She laughs as she adds "Of course, he would only be able to hit the high chirps after we'd finished with him."

Sofia nervously laughs before saying "Um, I should leave the two of you to finalize your strategy. I'll be waiting for you over at the station." She strides out without making eye contact or uttering another word. Crap, what have I done?

Lucy and I go over Linda's typical behavior around Terry one more time, and she once again cautions me to avoid eye contact with him as much as possible. As we leave the locker room, Lucy says "As much as I would enjoy it, try not to punch him out, okay?"

We make our way over to the police station and stand outside the interrogation room. Everyone agreed Terry would suspect something if Lucy didn't accompany Linda to the station, and naturally, Lucy can't wait to confront the bastard. She points out it would be out of character if she said nothing. No shit, this woman definitely speaks her mind.

I glance down the corridor in time to see Sofia coming around the corner with Terry and his asshole lawyer. Lucy immediately grabs my hand pulling me close, and I have to keep myself from jerking my hand back. Funny, I don't have the same reflexive reaction whenever Sofia takes my hand.

Terry begins to smirk as soon as he notices me. Following my coaching tips, I go against my natural instinct to stare back, and instead, duck my head to avoid eye contact.

Lucy immediately strikes out at him when they draw near. "You, son of a bitch, what have you done with Natalie?" Sofia steps between the two and cautions Lucy to settle down. Terry laughs, but doesn't say a word. The lawyer laughs as well as he walks down the hall and enters the adjacent viewing room.

Sofia opens the door to the nearby interrogation room and motions for Terry and me to enter. He smiles and says "Ladies, first." I clench my fists to keep myself from knocking that cocky grin off his face. Staying in character, I take a tentative step toward the room.

As I take a second step, Lucy pulls me back toward her and embraces me. Releasing me, she takes my face in her hands and gently kisses my lips. Stunned, I turn back toward the room, but not before catching the expression on Sofia's face. A very jealous expression I might add.

Before the door closes behind us, Lucy says "Don't worry, baby. I'll be right here waiting for you." I barely pick up a muttered "me too" from Sofia. Maybe there's hope for me yet.

Concentrating on the task on hand, I walk to the table and take a seat waiting for Terry to unveil the reason for this meeting. He struts to the other side and plops down in the chair. Putting his feet up on the table top, he says "Okay, bitch. Here's the plan."


Part 6

My hands are clenched so tightly that my short fingernails are cutting into my palms. How am I going to sit here and listen passively to this dickhead? As I glance to the mirror and remember who is on the other side, I force myself to relax my hands just in case the scumbag lawyer picks up on my body language.

Evidently I am spot on with Linda's lack of response because Terry doesn't even falter as he lays out the plan. I listen to each and every word of his scheme, and it seems he has definitely done his homework.

Terry is asking for twenty five million dollars to be wired to a Swiss bank account. He is well aware of the fact that Linda set up specific guidelines when a significant amount of money is to be transferred. The main one being she must be present at the sending end of the transfer.

The procedure can only be changed with a request in writing by Linda, and then the change would be made after a ten day waiting period, no matter the reason. As a precautionary measure, Terry has an accomplice who will be closely monitoring the activity to be sure no changes are made to the initial guidelines.

Since Terry's family has had some serious banking problems in the past, he purposely set up the receiving account to require either he or Linda be present at the exchange. With Linda's name on the account, the bank had no problems approving any transfers.

After outlining the plan, Terry adds "When the money has been successfully wired, you will be sent a message by another one of my colleagues informing you of Natalie's whereabouts. By the way, this second colleague will be monitoring the Swiss bank's activities. If the exchange is not made by four o'clock PDT tomorrow, you will never see Natalie again."

Folding his arms over his chest, he cockily says "Pretty ingenious, huh? There's no way you can be in two places at one time, so you'll have to use your connections to get me out of here. I need to be in Switzerland in time for the exchange to take place."

Terry rises from his chair and moves toward the mirror. Smiling into the glass, he says "My attorney will be expecting your call. I'd say you have a couple of hours to get the ball rolling." Walking toward the door, he pauses with his hand on the knob and adds "I'll be waiting." He opens the door and tells Sofia he's ready to go back to his holding cell.

Lucy immediately enters the room and says "Sar …" I quickly jump from the chair and pretend to cry as I hug her close. I whisper in her ear "The lawyer may still be in the other room. Let's wait until we're sure he's gone before saying anything." She must understand because she holds me tight and offers reassuring words.

Thirty minutes later, Catherine, Sofia, and I join Lucy and Linda back at the penthouse suite. We have to figure out what we're going to do with this latest demand. Several minutes of silence pass as we each try to come up with a game plan.

With the growling of Lucy's stomach, Linda moves to the phone to order room service. She insists we will think better if we have a bite to eat. I'd rather have a stiff drink, but I hold my tongue for now.

I surreptitiously watch her as she picks up the phone to place the order. I guess I was so focused on our similarities I haven't taken the time to look at our differences. She exudes a sense of style and grace whereas I am about as far from chic as you can get and certainly less refined.

I take note of her hands as she talks on the phone to the room service operator. They are the same size as mine, but hers appear to be soft and callous free. Her fingers are manicured and sport several rings.

Glancing at my rough and calloused hands, I view my short fingernails and unadorned fingers. I smile as I think about the times these hands have been covered in grease and motor oil. I have a feeling Linda wouldn't be caught dead under the hood of a car.

My musings are brought to a halt as Sofia and Catherine have come up with some sort of plan in which Lucy seems to be in favor of. I zoom into the conversation that more than likely revolves around Linda and me. When this is all over with, I am keeping the three of them away from each other for the sake of both Linda and my sanity.

Lucy jumps up and leaves the room while Catherine jots down a timeline of sorts. Linda and I take a seat and await the manifestation of the plan. Sofia leans forward and begins to outline the details.

My eyes take on a mind of their own as soon as they realize Sofia's top buttons are undone. I am presented with an absolutely lovely view of a low cut silky bra. I force my eyes away from the sight as my imagination can take it just fine from here.

Now Linda is nodding at the plan. Damn it, I really need to pay attention. As Lucy runs back into the room with a passport in her hand, I focus in on the timeline. The light finally goes on in my head as I realize what the four of them have in mind. Thinking back to my conversation with Terry, I find he was terribly mistaken. Linda can indeed be in two places at one time.

We finally decide Linda needs to be the one at this end of the transfer since the accomplice may somehow work for the bank. The way Terry spoke of him leads me to believe he would actually view the transfer in person. The second guy was mentioned as checking to see if the transfer took place. I believe he is somehow using a computer to monitor the activity. Let's just hope I'm right.

I am apparently not allowed to travel alone since Sofia has insisted she accompany me. Linda wants us to take her private jet, but Catherine is worried it might raise suspicion. Instead, she charters another jet using Lucy's name. I don't think she is being watched closely enough for someone to pick up on the second jet.

After our quick meal, Linda escorts me to her bedroom to pick out some appropriate clothes for me to wear. I sure hope I don't get used to these designer digs because I am pretty sure they would clash with my overalls.

Thirty minutes and three outfits later, Linda and I return to the den. It's time for Sofia and me to pack a few other things before heading to the airport. Catherine is going to contact all the appropriate personnel to inform them of the plan. She will also coordinate the timetable, and we will all check in with her at each phase of the plan. We say our goodbyes and step into the elevator.

Halfway down, Sofia utters "Oh shit." Catherine and I both turn to her as she explains "Terry will know something is up when he doesn't get released. We will be able to keep him under wraps, but what about the lawyer? How will we keep him in line?"

Catherine gives one of her shit eating trademark smiles and says "Leave the lawyer to me."


Part 7

Sofia and I arrive at the airport in Linda's private limo. The driver takes us right up to the plane where we are met by the pilots and flight attendant. Each greets us and insists on carrying our bags on board. We both grudgingly agree and follow the two up the steps to the plane. As I reach the top step, I turn to find the seats. Holy shit, we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

The inside of the Gulfstream IV looks very much like a narrow version of the den area in the penthouse. There are comfortable looking chairs and a couple of couches along with a few tables. The small area located in the back of the plane is setup for the flight attendant, and the front of the cabin is set off from the rear by a partition. I'm normally not too keen on flying, but I think this trip is going to be quite bearable especially with Sofia as my flight buddy.

Our flight attendant, Aaron, stows our luggage and asks if we would like anything before departure. We both decline as we sit in the chairs designated for takeoff. He promises to check back with us once more before takeoff.

Lucy checked on all the recently opened accounts in Linda's name and found the account in question at the Swiss National Bank in Zürich. Now we know our specific destination, and in a mere nine or ten hours, we will arrive.

Let's see that will put us at the Hotel Baur Au Lac Zürich around 10:00 a.m. CEST. Since Las Vegas is nine hours behind Zürich, we will need to be at the bank at 5:00 p.m. for the transfer. That should give us plenty of time to check in and rest for awhile. I just hope my body is able to adapt quickly to this time change.

My thoughts are placed on hold as Sofia says "Damn, Sara. Can you imagine living like this all the time? Staying in penthouse suites, jetting around the world in this type of luxury, wearing designer clothes, and basically, have the ability to do anything you desire." Grinning widely, she adds "I'm going to enjoy every minute of this trip."

Hmm, I could go for the bit about doing anything you desire that's for sure; however, I think I would like to go one step further with 'do anyone you desire.' I wonder what Sofia's feelings are on the subject since neither one of us has spoken of the 'almost' kiss episode.

We really do need to talk about it. Maybe I can broach the subject when we are at 45,000 feet, then I won't have to be embarrassed the rest of my life if she rejects me. I can just jump out of the plane.

Aaron comes back to tell us we will takeoff in a few minutes. He reminds us to buckle our seatbelts and to stay in our seats until the captain gives the all clear signal. We thank him as he once again moves to the rear of the plane. I can't help but wonder what this trip has in store for the two of us.

Several minutes later, the captain informs us we have been cleared for takeoff. I pop a piece of gum in my mouth and close my eyes. I really hate takeoffs.

When I am absolutely certain we are airborne, I crack one eye open and glance over at Sofia. Here eyes are shut tightly, and it appears as if she is experiencing some pain. I quickly open my other eye to get a better look. Damn, how can she be so beautiful even with a grimace on her face?

Even though we haven't been given the go ahead, I unbuckle my seatbelt and kneel next to Sofia. As I touch her hand, her eyes snap open, and she probably would have jumped out of her seat if her seatbelt wasn't keeping her in place. "Hey, it's okay. I didn't mean to frighten you, but I was worried about you. Are you feeling okay?"

She attempts to smile through the pain as she says "I have a horrible earache. I guess the pressure built up too fast." I take her hand and instruct her to hold her nose with her free hand while inhaling deeply and exhaling by blowing out a few times.

After a few exhalations, she squeezes my hand and offers her thanks. I smile and return to my seat. My twisted mind immediately fills with images of me blowing the air into Sofia's mouth for her. Sort of like a CPR only with the victim alive and kicking. I wonder if I could use my tongue to help clear her airway.

Now it's my turn to be startled as Aaron arrives on the scene and asks if we'd like some refreshments. I never saw him until he was right in front of me. I guess I was too focused on my daydream. Sofia laughs and orders a beer for both of us with hopes it will settle our nerves.

We take our beers and move to the small couches located directly across from each other. Settling down, we enjoy a few sips before slipping into conversation about the case. Sofia feels Natalie is being held somewhere near Las Vegas since Terry indicated Linda would be able to go get her. I point out Linda has the means to go anywhere at anytime so Natalie could be held in any number of places.

It's nice to have a discussion with someone where tempers don't flair when there is a disagreement over something. Everyone else I have had a difference of opinion with always takes it personally and begins an argument. I truly enjoy the relationship I have with Sofia. I just wish it were a little more on the personal side.

Sofia laughs as she talks about Lucy. My sister certainly has her hands full with that one. I can't wait to get to know more about both of them. Hopefully, it will be under happier circumstances.

Shaking my head, I agree wholeheartedly with Sofia's assessment of Lucy. She definitely is a loving and loyal partner not to mention highly protective of Linda.

Taking the last swig of my beer, I add "You have to admit she is damn smart too. I would never have thought of booking Terry on the next flight out in case one of his accomplices is monitoring the airlines, and Linda's pretty sharp as well by using her contacts to list Terry on the flight manifest. These two would be hard to beat if they ever turned to a life of crime."

Aaron returns with some chips and salsa along with new bottles of beer. This guy is quickly becoming one of my favorite people. He places the refreshments on the small table between us and takes his leave. Sofia and I immediately lean forward and dig in. I don't allow my eyes the opportunity to take in Sofia's lovely assets and instead focus on the salsa.

Sufficiently full, we lean back and finish our beer in silence. I don't think I'm going to last much longer without sleep. After this beer, I'll suggest we try to get some shut-eye.

I take the last swig just as Sofia asks "Sara, if Lucy hadn't come into the locker room, would you have kissed me?"

I promptly spew beer all over myself. Good thing I chose to wear my own clothes on the flight over because I wouldn't know the first thing about removing beer stains from Armani.


Part 8

Sofia quickly leaps from her couch and moves to my side where she immediately starts daubing my shirt and pants with napkins. Thank God the beer is cold because Sofia pushing against different body parts is causing a heated reaction. In fact, I'm surprised there isn't steam coming off me.

Aaron saves the day when he arrives with a towel. He refrains from mimicking Sofia's actions and simply hands over the towel. Before excusing himself, he points me toward the restroom area and tells me to yell if I need anything else. I squeak out a quick thanks to him as Sofia applies a little too much pressure on my nipple area.

Giving her a glare, I grab her hands before they can cause any more damage. I really don't want to test my theory of spontaneous combustion at this time. Besides, she was getting dangerously close to finding my nipple ring.

I hand Sofia the towel to wipe up the surrounding area while I go to find Aaron. There is no way I am going to last another eight hours smelling like a brewery. He shows me to the restroom area which is equipped with a sink and small shower. Pointing out the linen closet, he leaves to retrieve my small carryon.

Placing the lid down on the toilet, I take a seat and await Aaron's return. A few minutes later, there is a knock on the door and my luggage is slipped through a small crack. I close the door and lock it before removing my shoes and peeling off my clothes. Turning on the shower, I step into the cold spray, the very cold spray. I don't plan to fly in a somewhat horny state either.

Clean and outfitted in fresh jeans and shirt, I leave the restroom area. Aaron must have been watching for me because he offers to take my luggage and soiled clothing. I once again thank him as I head back to the scene of the beer spill.

I find the lights have been turned down low in the cabin, and Sofia is stretched out on one of the couches sound asleep. The refreshment tray has been removed, and the area has been cleaned leaving behind no evidence of my mishap. Thankful that I have been given a temporary pardon in answering Sofia's earlier question, I crawl on the couch across from her and immediately fall asleep.

Two hours later, we are roused by Aaron to take our seats. The Gulfstream doesn't quite have the fuel capacity to fly non-stop to Zürich so we need to refuel in New York. We grumpily get up and move to the belted seats.

Linda must have called ahead and arranged the fuel transfer because we are in and out of LaGuardia in record time. As we taxi to the runway, I reach out to hand Sofia a piece of gum, and she smiles her thanks. Woohoo, only seven hours to go.

The captain comes over the speakers informing us we can now move about the cabin. We both unfasten our seatbelts and head back to the couches. Aaron has evidently anticipated our move as the lights have been turned down once more. We crawl onto our respective couches and are elated to find pillows and blankets. I really love Aaron.

I toss and turn for over an hour before I give up and stare at the ceiling. Damn it, I was sleeping so soundly earlier that I can't get back to sleep now. My body thinks it's time to get ready for work. Frustrated, I turn on my side.

My eyes adjust to the low lighting as I look across at Sofia. She is turned on her side facing me and is apparently not having the same problem sleeping as I am. I take this perfect opportunity to study her. My God, she is so beautiful with her shimmering skin and long golden hair. What I wouldn't give to make her mine.

I allow myself to drink in her beauty for several minutes before forcing myself to turn away. Why do I punish myself like this? First, it was Grissom who I was infatuated with, and I thank God everyday that nothing came from that. Then, there was Catherine.

We got along about the same as oil and vinegar, but I tell you one thing you couldn't cut through our sexual tension with a heavy duty chain saw. I came very close to casting everything aside on several occasions to kiss the ever-loving daylights out of that mouth of hers just to shut her up. Again, I am thankful we never gave into the attraction. We are finally getting along a little better and that would have never happened if we had any type of sexual relationship.

Geez Sara, there's nothing like a little morbid reminiscing to put things into perspective. I continue to berate myself at my poor choices when a voice cuts through my inner ranting. "Sara, what's the matter? What are you mumbling about?"

Damn it all to hell, have I been talking aloud? Please, please say it ain't so. I sneak a peek in Sofia's direction to see her looking directly at me. I decide to test the waters by saying "Um, nothing's wrong. I'm sorry if I woke you. I don't usually talk to myself." She sleepily responds "You didn't wake me, and you weren't talking so much as mumbling. I just knew something was wrong. I don't have a clue what you were mumbling about."

Refraining from jumping up and screaming YES, I reply "Well, my mumbling probably did wake you so I'll try to keep it to a minimum. Why don't you try to get some more sleep?" Her inquisitive mind needs to know as she asks "Why aren't you sleeping?" I explain how I've not been able to get comfortable so I just gave up. Hopefully, she will leave it at that.

A few minutes of silence follow as I begin to relax. At least she didn't pursue the reason for my mumbling. Satisfied that I have been let off the hook, I begin another round of tossing and turning.

As I land on my back, Sofia asks "Sara?" I close my eyes replying "What?"

I hear a thumping sound and turn toward her. She pats her couch and says "Come here." Well, I know what the thumping sound is, and now it has some accompaniment as my heart begins to pound in my chest. What does she mean by 'come here?'

Sofia pats the couch once more and says "Come over here." I slowly stand and make my way to her couch. I stop a step or two from her as she moves back against the hull of the plane. She pats the couch again and says "Now, lie down." Is she friggin' kidding me? There's barely room enough for her much less both of us.

By the look on her face, she is deadly serious, and I don't believe her demand is open for debate. I sit down and turn toward the aisle as I lower my body to the edge of the couch. As soon as I am stretched out, Sofia pulls me back against her. She softly strokes my hair and says "You need to sleep. Just relax."

I'm lying with her spooning me from behind, and she wants me to relax. Is she out of her mind? This is my ultimate fantasy, and I can promise you, sleeping is not involved. I guess maybe it is after I make passionate love to her, but definitely not before.

Sofia continues to softly stroke my hair while speaking in low tones. Her voice is so soothing that I find myself drifting. Right before I drift off, I mumble "This is not the way it's supposed to happen."

Aaron arrives to rouse us from sleep for our second landing. I don't believe it; I slept the entire time without a nightmare. Usually, if I sleep for more than four hours, something from the past or from one of my cases slips into my dreams. Maybe Sofia has the ability to ward off my demons. Just one of the many reasons I wish I could keep her.

I extricate myself from her arms and stand to stretch. She sleepily stands as well only she leans against me. Together, we walk to our seats, and I take the time to buckle her in before moving to my chair. Without thinking, I lean over and softly kiss her lips. I am buckled into my own seat before I realize what I just did. Hopefully, she is still too groggy to comprehend what happened. Just in case, I close my eyes to keep from seeing her reaction.

Part 9

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