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.
My eyes can not quite believe what they are seeing. Let's see mom is um, . . . sixty two; so how come she looks so damn old? She used to be larger than life, and one of the most intimidating people I have ever known. What could have possibly happened?
I turn in Sofia's embrace before asking "What's wrong with her? Is she sick?" Sofia shrugs her shoulders and answers "I don't know if anything is wrong with her. I just assumed the struggles of prison life along with aging would make her less powerful in your eyes. At least that was my hope."
Focusing back on mother, I concentrate on the one part of her anatomy I have always avoided, her eyes. They are dark like mine, but they have a soulless quality as if love has never resided there. She could always make me feel so small with a single glance.
Mother looks over at the mirror at the same time I am zeroing in on her black orbs. She stares in the mirror for several seconds before focusing back on the door. The moment those eyes make contact with mine I attempt to step backwards away from the glare; however, my movement is stopped by Sofia's embrace.
I don't realize I'm shaking until Sofia holds me close and says "Relax, Sara. She can't hurt you anymore. You need to face her and take your life back. You can do this." I close my eyes and allow Sofia's words to sink in.
She's right; I have been intimidated by mom for far too long. I'm thirty seven years old for God's sake. I'm not that scared little girl any longer, and it's high time I realized it.
Stepping from Sofia's embrace, I reach for her hand and walk towards the door to the corridor. Linda is patiently waiting on the other side and extends her hand forward. I give Sofia's hand a squeeze before releasing it. Together, Linda and I head toward the truth with a protective Sofia following close behind.
I square my shoulders and enter the room first. Mother looks up at me and immediately begins to smirk. As she opens her mouth to make a snide remark, Linda steps into the room beside me. Mother closes her mouth and stares at the two of us. After only a mere second, she reverts back to her smirk, but I saw the widening of her pupils. She was not expecting this entrance.
Mother continues to look between the two of us before saying "Okay, which one of you bitches is my daughter? I don't feel like playing games today." Neither Linda nor I say a word; we just move to take a seat across from the woman of my nightmares while Sofia chooses to stand by the door.
The standoff lasts for several more minutes before I ask "Hey mom, how come you never mentioned I had a twin?" She immediately throws her head back and laughs. Chuckling, she answers "Sara, my dear. You don't have a twin. Granted this girl looks like you, but haven't you heard the expression 'everyone has a twin somewhere.' I guess you found yours."
Linda starts to speak, but I stop her with a squeeze of her knee. Instead, I say "DNA doesn't lie, mother. This is Linda Silverton, your daughter and my sister. We are here to find out the truth. What happened in that hospital on the day I was born?"
Mother stands up and leans toward us. Sofia moves forward, but I put a hand up to stop her. I want to hear what mother dearest has to say.
"Sara, I see you still escape to that fantasy world of yours where there are picket fences, homemade pies, and parents who dote all over you. Well, you have gone too far this time. I'll tell you what happened on the day you were born. I was in labor for fifteen hours before you pushed your way into the world kicking and screaming. Your son of a bitch father was drunk in some bar and didn't even drive me to the hospital, and for your information, the only sorry excuse for a baby I had that day was you. There wasn't a twin."
After her long spiel, mother begins to cough uncontrollably. I get up to move to her side, but a deadly glare keeps me on my side of the table. Several minutes later, she reaches for a glass of water and drinks down half the liquid.
The coughing has stopped, but her breathing has become labored. She wipes her mouth with a Kleenex and sits back in her chair. I can't help but focus on the blood covered Kleenex.
Mother watches my eyes before saying "Your wish has finally come true, Sara. I have stage four lung cancer. Matter of fact, I just found out a couple of days ago. You know how I have always hated doctors. I've avoided going to the clinic for as long as I could, but the damn jailer drug my ass down there last week. Hell, I could have told them I was dying."
Stunned, I sit back in my chair. Linda reaches over and takes my hand while she attempts to ask mother a few questions. I try to stay focused on the conversation, but my mind won't let me. I can't believe it; mother is dying.
I turn my attention back to the two of them just as mother stands to leave the room. Looking directly into my eyes, she says "Don't come back, Sara. Let me die in peace." With that, she walks out of the door escorted by a uniformed officer.
Sofia moves behind me as soon as the door closes. Placing her hand on the nape of my neck, she lightly massages my neck and shoulders. I lean into her touch and force myself to stay in control.
Not allowing myself the opportunity to break down, I ask Linda "What's your take on what mother said about the birth?"
Linda shakes her head and replies "She sure seemed adamant about you being the only baby. I get the impression she really thinks I'm just someone who looks very much like you."
Nodding, I add "I agree. I don't think she knows anything about the apparent abduction which for the life of me I can't explain. I guess we're back to square one."
I feel a squeeze on the back of my neck before I hear "What about the nurse? I think she may be able to tell us something."
Before I can reply, Linda asks "What nurse?"
Sofia proceeds to fill Linda in on her findings regarding the attending doctor and nurse while I sit back and reflect upon this surreal situation. Is this really happening? Am I calmly sitting here in this visitation room? A room that not five minutes ago was occupied by my dying mother who has denied having any knowledge of a second child. How can that be and why am I inclined to believe her?
If I came out kicking and screaming like she described, wouldn't Linda have been close behind? I would think delivering a second child would be something she would remember. From what I've heard about childbirth, I know I certainly would. Something had to have gone horribly wrong. What could it have been?
Sofia's hand on mine turns my attention back to the here and now. I look up as she says "C'mon, let's get out of this place. We can discuss our new game plan when we get back to Linda's." I obediently rise and walk out with the two. We have a new game plan?
The ride back to the house is silent. Linda is typing fast and furiously on her laptop while I lean heavily on Sofia. Mother's words keep replaying over and over in my head. 'Hell, I could have told them I was dying.'
Lucy greets us at the door firing question after question. I walk past her toward a set of sliding glass doors. Opening them, I step outside leaving Linda and Sofia to play twenty questions. I don't want to rehash the meeting. I just want some time alone to sort out my feelings and emotions.
My eyes immediately light up when I see the Olympic size pool. There is nothing like a little exercise to stimulate the mind. Shit. I didn't bring my suit, and I'm fairly certain swimming in the nude is not allowed. Putting my hands in my pockets, I stroll toward the pool. At least I can dip my feet in the water.
Nearing my destination, I notice a rather large pool house set back to the left so I decide to check things out before sitting on the pool's edge. I open the door and walk to the far wall where I find at least twenty bathing suits still in the package. Smiling, I strip off my clothes and choose a lavender Speedo. On my way out the door, I grab a matching cap and goggles. I make a mental note to pay Linda for the suit and accessories later.
I dive into the cool water and breast stroke to the end. Completing a flip turn, I change to freestyle and concentrate on my breathing. After a couple of lengths, I have fallen into a comfortable rhythm. Now, it's time to concentrate on my emotions.
Stroke, stroke . . . so mother's dying . . . stroke, stoke . . . how does that make me feel? . . . stroke, stroke . . . sad? . . . stroke, stroke . . . confused? . . . stroke, stroke . . . no, relieved . . . stroke, stroke . . . does that make me a bad person? . . . stroke, stroke . . . no, it makes me human . . . stroke, stroke, stroke.
Sixty lengths later, I have worked through my feelings about mother's impending death. Even though she never wanted me and made my life a living hell, I am grateful to her for my being; for that alone, I am sorry for her plight.
I slow my approach to the near wall and lazily flip back toward the other end. Completing the final length, I touch the wall, grab hold of the side, and blow out a final breath. Damn that felt good. I wish I could start out every day with nice cathartic swim.
As I put my hands on the coping to push myself out of the water, another hand comes into my view. Looking up through my goggled eyes, I see a silhouette of Sofia's shape. I take hold of her hand and allow her to pull me from the pool. I reach up to remove my swim cap and goggles as a towel is placed over my shoulders. Walking toward a couple of lounge chairs, I take a seat on the end as I continue to dry off.
Sofia moves to the adjacent chair and lies down as she watches me. Oh, to be that chair. Using the towel to dry my hair, I ask "Is Lucy all caught up with the life and times of Sara Sidle?" Sofia chuckles and answers "I don't know. I only waited a few minutes before I followed you out here. You swim very well by the way. Not to mention you look pretty damn hot in that suit. I didn't realize a one piece could be so sexy."
Embarrassed, I avoid eye contact and wrap the towel around my 'sexy' body as I offer my thanks. I don't think anyone has ever referred to me as hot. In fact, I'm sure of it.
Now, Sofia on the other hand exudes sexuality. Those tight fitting pants riding low on her hips with her blouse unbuttoned revealing just the slightest bit of cleavage. Along with the confidence she radiates and her cocky swagger, she has heads turning left and right.
The next thing I know, the object of my thoughts is sitting right next to me. Sofia reaches out and removes the towel from my body as she slowly pushes me down with her. We lie entwined on the lounge chair, and I shiver as her hand moves dangerously close to my ass. All thought processes come to a screeching halt as she leans forward and kisses me deeply. I pull her close and return the passion.
Ever so slowly, Sofia begins to work her way to my neck. Always the helpful partner, I turn my head to the side and allow her access. A throat is cleared signaling the arrival of a third party as Sofia licks and sucks her way to the top of my suit. Sofia lifts up and kisses me once more before turning her attention to the intruder. "Hello, Lucy. Can we help you with something?"
I open my eyes to see a very amused Lucy. She grins and says "Sorry for the interruption, but Linda would like for the two of you to join us for a light lunch. Sara, there's a shower in the pool house if you want to rinse off the chlorine." Turning back toward the house, she adds "Lunch will be served in about half an hour. See you two on the terrace." She leaves a trail of laughter in her wake as two sexually frustrated individuals watch her departure.
We reluctantly untangle ourselves and finally stand. Reaching down for the towel, I lift back up and notice Sofia's damp clothing. Motioning toward her shirt, I say "Shit, Sofia. You are going to need to change as well. I'm sorry I got you all wet."
Grinning mischievously, Sofia responds "You don't know the half of it, Sara. I'm going to have to change my underwear too."
Falling back against the lounge chair, I catch myself before I flip over the side. Sofia takes a step toward me and lightly kisses my cheek. Chuckling, she says "Close your mouth, sweetie. You're going to catch flies." I immediately snap my mouth shut as Sofia steps away and turns toward the house. As she begins to walk away, she adds "You go take your shower, and I'll go change. Meet me on the terrace when you finish." Jeez, this woman is definitely going to be the death of me.
Dechlorinated and freshly showered, I make my way back to the main house. I was finally able to pull myself from the chair and walk to the pool house since it took quite some time for me to regain my equilibrium. I have a feeling I will need to be on my toes constantly with Sofia around.
I step onto the terrace to find the gang's all here. Apologizing for making them wait, I take my seat next to a smiling Sofia. Natalie immediately begins to tell me how much fun she had in Vegas and wondered if she could come visit me for a few days this summer. Flattered, I tell her I would love for her to visit as long as it is okay with her mother. Linda seems pleased as she agrees. The rest of the lunch conversation deals with all the things Natalie wants to do when she visits. I think Natalie will be the death of me too.
After our meal, the grown-ups retire to the den while Natalie heads to her tennis lessons from the local pro that comes to the house twice a week for the instruction. Linda says Natalie is quite the athlete, but she really hates to practice. Ah, I remember those days. The tournaments were great fun; however, Natalie is right, practice definitely sucked.
The four of us move to the game table to discuss our strategy. Lucy places several computer printouts on the table, and the four of us quietly read over the information. There is quite a bit of data on the attending doctor and nurse as well as the new wing that was built shortly after our birth.
Looking through the next paragraph, I come across a very interesting tidbit. The wing is named after the attending doctor. Reading the highlighted section, I find the name of the benefactor, John Paul Silverton.
Holy shit, this does not look good for the elder Silvertons. Could they have 'purchased' Linda? I glance up to find my twin watching me with a sad expression on her face. This must be killing her to think her wonderful parents may have taken her from her biological ones.
Turning my attention to Linda, I say "Hey, we don't know the chain of events that occurred before this wing was constructed. There is no need to draw conclusions when we don't know the facts. Let's wait until we find out more."
Lucy nods her head at my assessment and adds "Sara's right. Now is not the time to be making any conjectures. Your parents were good people, Linda. I'm sure there is a reasonable explanation for their actions."
Linda smiles and reaches for Lucy's hand. Sofia then smiles and reaches for mine. I certainly hope we don't complete the circle and sing "Kumbaya." I'm not quite ready for unity and closeness yet, well at least with Linda and Lucy that is. I have been ready for Sofia for some time now.
As we continue our discussion, the phone rings and Lucy excuses herself. Linda, Sofia, and I pick up the remaining research to scan. I am halfway through the hospital notes when Lucy rushes back into the room. She excitedly says "I've got us an appointment with Nurse Morris tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. The doctor says she remembers almost everything up to 1972. There's a good chance she will know what happened with the switch or abduction or whatever."
Linda gets up and embraces Lucy before replying "That's wonderful. Let me go and arrange for a helicopter pilot to fly us to Tamales Bay." Together the two of them exit the room leaving Sofia and I confused. It seems Lucy is extremely resourceful. I figured it would take days to even get a doctor to talk to us, and there seems to be one more little detail that no one has bothered to mention.
Turning to Sofia, I ask "Um . . . did Linda just say Tamales Bay?" In a matter of fact tone, Sofia answers "Yes, Nurse Morris never left the city. Why? Is there a prob . . . shit . . . I'm sorry, Sara. I didn't even think. Stupid, stupid, stupid."
I tighten my grip on Sofia's hand to stop her from berating herself. "Hey, it's okay. It was just a bit of a surprise." Trying for a little levity, I add "I may as well visit my old stomping ground while I'm here. After all, I made it though mother's visit. How hard can it be?"
Sofia leans in and gently kisses my lips. Pulling away she says "I am sorry for not telling you. I just didn't think about how you might feel to go back there. I promise to be more vigilant of things that might affect you."
Wow. She really means it too. I lean forward and return her sentiments.
Of course, Linda and Lucy choose this exact moment to return. Both of them find enjoyment in giving us a little grief about not being able to keep our hands or lips off each other.
Since tomorrow will be intense to say the least, Lucy suggests we go into the city tonight for a relaxing dinner. Natalie has been invited to stay over at a friend's house tonight and tomorrow. Linda assures me it is a trusted friend and is both amused and touched that I am looking out for her daughter's well being. Well, isn't that what aunts are supposed to do? Especially aunts who are members of law enforcement?
Linda has the limo drop Natalie off at her friends while we take Lucy's 2006 H2 SUV Lux Series Hummer. I didn't think it was possible, but I now have SUV envy. Hell, even if I could afford the vehicle, I would have to admire it in its parking spot since I couldn't afford to keep filling it up with gas. Single digit gas mileage is not for me.
Lucy pulls into Manora's Thai Cuisine, and I am very pleased with her choice. Thai usually has a vegetarian menu as well its regular one so score one for Lucy. I think she has been paying attention.
We enjoy quiet conversation in the relaxed atmosphere. Lucy and Linda are so laid back, and it is obvious how much they love each other. I hope to share the same comfortableness with Sofia one day.
As we leave the restaurant, I finally start to get some of my bearings back. It's been far too long since I've been in this city. Noticing the turn signal, I look around and immediately realize our destination. I sit back and take Sofia's hand while Lucy finds a parking spot.
Lucy doesn't disappoint when she chose Wild Side West, a unique bar reflecting the attitude of San Francisco. More importantly, it welcomes lesbians. I personally can't wait to beat the pants off of Sofia in a game of pool. Of course, I wouldn't mind her losing them in the bedroom either; although, I can think of a more erotic way to remove them if that were the case.
We walk into the bar, and Lucy instructs Linda and me to go grab a pool table while she and Sofia get the drinks. Linda and I state our drink preference before moving to the back of the bar. There are several tables to choose from so we decide on one near the far wall. Grabbing a couple of chairs, I place them near the table just as our partners join us.
Sofia gives me a kiss as she hands over my beer. There's nothing quite like a kiss with a beer chaser. Next time, I think I'll try it the other way around.
As Linda and Sofia take a seat, it becomes obvious who the competitive ones will be. I glance over at Lucy who has rolled up her sleeves and is racking the balls. We each grab a cue, and I defer the break to Lucy. She gives a cocky grin as she walks to the end of the table. We'll see how cocky she is after I soundly defeat her.
Sofia begins to chuckle at something Linda has whispered in her ear. I certainly hope I'm not the brunt of their joke.
I turn back in time to see Lucy hit the cue ball with amazing force. I watch as it makes contact with the others, and the corner balls fly into the end pockets. Shit, I think I'm in for a long night. Linda and Sofia immediately burst out in laughter, and now I know I've been had.
After a couple of beers, Lucy's game has actually improved. I feel like I'm watching the World Championship of Billiards on ESPN. Some of the shots she has made defy the laws of physics. I'm just glad we're not playing for money.
Lucy finally relinquishes her cue to Sofia following five straight wins. Good thing too because I was beginning to get a major inferiority complex. And to think I thought I would be the superior player between the four of us. Just goes to show, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. I figured Lucy would be weakest player of us all.
Half-way into our game, it becomes apparent Sofia and I are very evenly matched. No one will be beating the pants off the other in the game of billiards, but I have to say I look forward to our 'match' in the bedroom. It will be quite enjoyable trading stroke for stroke in that particular venue.
Around ten thirty, we decide to call it a night. I can't remember how long it's been since I have had such a pleasant and entertaining evening. Of course, I've never been out with such enjoyable company either.
Lucy wheels into the garage as the four of us crawl out. I give one last look at my dream car before I allow Sofia to pull me toward the house. Linda has arranged for us to leave the airport around seven to allow time for us to get something to eat before our appointment. We agree to meet downstairs at six thirty to head for the airport.
As the four of us reach the top of the stairs, we say out goodnights, and the two pair split off in different directions. I suddenly realize I have no idea where my things are; however, Sofia seems to know our destination so as usual I blindly follow her lead.
She opens the door at the end of the hall, and together we step in. The light on the bedside table illuminates a turned down king size bed. Squinting, I can just make out the mint on each pillow. My sister certainly has a style about her that's for sure.
Sofia turns toward me, her silhouette outlined in the dim light. I reach out and lightly stroke her face; she is so damn gorgeous that I can hardly believe she's willing to be with me. Smiling, we lean toward each other, and in silent agreement, decide to let nature take its course.
Our kisses start out sweet and gentle almost reverent. Sofia backs up slowly as I trail her steps. Soon, we are standing beside the bed, and the kisses have turned passionate. I reach behind her and pull her shirt free of her pants while she mimics my actions.
Together, we sit on the edge of the bed without breaking contact. Both of our shirts are unbuttoned and hands are roaming freely. Shoes and shirts are discarded and pants undone. Soon, we are laying side by side with our bra and underwear the only barrier between us.
Sofia breaks the kiss and reaches over for one of the mints. Smiling, she opens it and places half of it in her mouth. She leans forward to offer me the other half defining a whole new concept of sharing as I greedily accept her offering. Before long, our tongues are fighting for control of the chocolate treat.
By the time we share the second mint, all clothing has been removed, and we experience skin on skin for the first time. A small battle for the top position ensues with Sofia becoming the victor. Well actually, I kind of conceded seeing as how neither position was a bad thing.
Hands map out body parts as we explore and learn. A few hisses and pants are released as sensitive areas are discovered. Slow and deliberate quickly turn into fast and furious until we both reach our climax at the same time and weakly fall into each other's arms.
A perfect match in the bedroom indeed, trading stroke for stroke was more than enjoyable. It was positively euphoric. Hmm, I wonder if she's up for another round.
Waking up with a naked Sofia in my arms stirs up numerous emotions. Mostly, I feel happy and alive, two feelings that have remained dormant throughout most of my life. Smiling, I look at the clock to see we only have about forty five minutes to get ready for the ride to the airport. Damn, I was hoping for a re-enactment of last night's activities or at least a little more snuggle time.
Things become a little heated when I wake Sofia with light kisses which quickly turn into a dueling match between our two tongues. I try to cool things off by explaining about the time constraints, but neither of us seems to be able to turn down the intensity level.
Sofia skillfully solves the problem when she gets up and pulls me into the shower with her. I have to admit water conservation has never been at the top of my list, but I now see the definite need for concern. I make a vow to continue 'partner' showering every chance I get especially if I can get Sofia to make these little purring noises.
At exactly six thirty, Sofia and I walk down the stairs holding hands and wearing identical grins. Even a blind man could tell the reason for our happiness; however, I don't think he would be quite as blunt as Lucy. The minute our feet hit the bottom of the stairs, she says "Whoa, I think somebody just got laid." Linda immediately slaps Lucy on the shoulder.
We manage to survive Lucy's incessant teasing and still make it to the airport on time. Linda's occasional reprimands to Lucy only seem to shut her up for a minute or two before she comes out with something else. I'm just happy we're traveling by helicopter since conversation should be held to a minimum.
A very polite young man greets us at the hangar and escorts us to the helicopter. He helps us into the seats and fits us each with a helmet. I guess communication is going to be possible after all. Oh well, maybe Lucy has run out of innuendos.
Sofia pulls me out of my brief reverie and assists me in buckling in. I smile my thanks and turn to look out the window as the rotor blades begin to pick up speed.
I wave at the man who assisted us into the helicopter as we begin to lift upwards. Wait a damn minute. If he's on the ground, then who is flying this thing?
I whirl my head toward the front seats to see Lucy pull back on the stick. Oh my God, Lucy is flying the helicopter! I sure hope she is as good a pilot as she is a pool player. Sofia reaches out and grabs my hand. Together, we silently pray for an uneventful flight.
An hour and a half later, we set down beside another hanger. Sofia and I are still holding hands, but we relaxed our death grip about thirty minutes into the flight. It certainly was helpful to find out Lucy is a certified pilot and has flown hundreds of times without incident. I think it would have been even more helpful to have known she was going to pilot the thing in the first place.
A limousine and driver are waiting for us as we climb from the helicopter. Linda immediately turns to me and asks if there is anyplace in particular I'd like to have breakfast. I temporarily frown as her question seems to come out of left field until I realize exactly where we are, Tamales Bay. I was so worried about making it back to the safety of the ground; I temporarily forgot where we would end up.
Sofia places her hand on the small of my back, and I find myself relaxing immediately. Turning toward Linda, I answer "Let's head down Main Street. There used to be quite a few restaurants although I'm not sure if any of the old ones are still there."
The four of us climb into the limo as Linda gives the driver instructions. An uncomfortable silence ensues until Lucy asks "Hey Sara, ever done it in a helicopter?" The conversation turns significantly lighter as a result, and I somehow manage to avoid answering Lucy's question knowing it will lead to similar type questions from her.
There are still a few of the older restaurants around, but Sofia suggests we try one of the newer ones. I smile and squeeze her hand in thanks. Later, when we are alone, I will demonstrate my gratitude in a more pleasing and satisfying manner.
We are seated at a corner table, and I take the seat facing the door. In my youth, I always made it a point to situate myself where I could see the comings and goings of the patrons. I wanted to have plenty of time to sneak away if either one of my parents came looking for me. Old habits die hard I guess.
Breakfast is served as we discuss how we should approach Nurse Morris. She needs to feel comfortable enough to relate any information she may have without feeling pressured. Sofia suggests we speak to her doctor before deciding how to progress. We all agree, and the conversation shifts to more pleasant topics including an invitation by Linda and Lucy to join them on a mini-vacation to the Bahamas when this is all over.
Doctor Jensen greets us at the door upon our arrival. He ushers us into a small conference room where he briefs us on Nurse Morris' condition. Doctor Jensen feels she will respond better if we talk to her in the outdoor patio. He says she loves the outdoors and always seems to talk freely when in this setting.
His nurse shows us to the patio while Doctor Jensen leaves to get Nurse Morris. We decide to get acquainted with her before asking any questions. Sofia agrees to lead the questioning since she has the most experience other than me, and Linda and I agree to stay silent once Sofia swings the line of questioning around to us. I just hope we are able to abide by our promise.
A few minutes later, Doctor Jensen arrives with a smiling Nurse Morris. It's amazing how comfortable she is with us as she begins to talk to us about the flowers, the weather, her family, and just about every detail of her life up to 1972. Her memory of those days is absolutely amazing.
The four of us sit back and listen to her regale us with her past. The minute she begins to talk about her stint as a nurse, Sofia starts to slowly ask a few innocent questions specific to nursing before asking the leading question "Nurse Morris, did you by any chance work with Doctor Paul Gregg?"
Nurse Morris does not hesitate in answering Sofia's question. "Oh yes, what a fine man. He works so hard for the hospital; it is his life you know. Why he even arranged for a wing to be built and dedicated in his honor in thanks for his wonderful work in obstetrics." Sofia keeps her voice gentle when she says "Yes, I think I read about that. Let's see it was a Mr. John Silverton who generously donated the money wasn't it?"
The older woman begins to show a slight case of the nerves as she slowly wrings her hands. She also avoids eye contact with any of us as she answers "Yes, it was quite generous of him to donate the money. You see Doctor Gregg was responsible for finding parents for a young couples' unwanted child. Mr. Silverton and his wife could not have children so Doctor Gregg arranged for them to adopt the child. The young couple was going through a divorce and neither wanted the child. It was so very sad, but Doctor Gregg found a good home for the infant. Mr. Silverton offered to build the wing as a thank you to Doctor Gregg. It has always been a dream of Doctor Gregg to have a part of the hospital named for him."
I glance over to Linda to see relief in her eyes. It is looking more and more like her parents were totally unaware of the circumstances of the adoption, and her dad built the wing and dedicated it to the doctor in gratitude for helping with the adoption. I hope for her sake this part of the story is true.
Nurse Morris continues to talk about Dr. Gregg and his wonderful contributions to the community. We silently listen and hope she somehow falters or shows some sign of guilt. It is very strange listening to her talk about him in the present tense, but if the truth comes out of this, I'd be willing to listen to just about anything.
Sofia excuses herself from the group and quietly leaves the patio area while Nurse Morris spins tales of her 'present.' Sofia returns a few minutes later with Doctor Jensen in tow, and he takes a seat at an adjacent table while Sofia takes her vacated seat. As Nurse Morris winds down from one of her 'Doctor Gregg is wonderful' stories, Sofia asks "You have a son, don't you?"
The older woman's eyes instantly light up, and a huge smile appears on her face. "Oh yes, he's six now, such a good boy. He loves to play baseball with his father." Sofia smiles and continues her gentle questioning. "Does he favor you or your husband?" Nurse Morris maintains her smile and answers "Neither. He's adopted. Doctor Gregg arranged for the whole thing. He's such a wonderful man."
I swear if I hear those words again; I won't be held responsible for my actions. Linda picks up on my irritation and reaches over to lightly pat my back. It's not nearly the same as Sofia, but it does manage to calm me.
Sofia looks over toward Doctor Jensen and receives a nod in return. She turns her attention back to Nurse Morris and asks "Do by any chance remember a patient by the name of Laura Sidle?" Nervous, the former nurse answers "Um . . . what was the name again?" Sofia repeats mother's name, and all color drains from Nurse Morris' face.
Doctor Jensen gets up and moves to the chair next to his patient. He gently explains "Elizabeth, these people just want to know what happened to Mrs. Sidle's second child. No one is going to get in trouble; I promise. If you could help them, I would really appreciate it."
The older woman smiles at the doctor and simply nods her head. I guess she's found another man to idolize. Here's hoping his influence can get us to the truth.
Nurse Morris directs her full attention to the doctor as she begins to speak. I personally don't give a damn who she addresses so long as I find out who was involved in this convoluted scheme.
Her voice is barely above a whisper as she begins to recount the day's activities. "Mrs. Sidle had a very hard time delivering the first child. She barely looked at the baby girl before she passed out from the pain. I began to clean her up when I noticed something wasn't right. Doctor Gregg quickly examined her only to find the presence of another child. We rolled her into surgery with only Doctor Gregg, the anesthesiologist, and me present. Doctor Gregg performed a caesarean section just in time. The second child was also a girl, and she too, was in excellent health."
The older woman takes a sip of water before continuing with her tale. "Bill, the anesthesiologist, and I were both indebted to Doctor Gregg for finding babies for our family. Bill's wife wasn't able to have children either, and Doctor Gregg arranged for them to adopt a baby as well. Both of us were totally unaware that our children were made available for adoption only because Doctor Gregg talked a couple of unwed teenagers into letting him take care of their problem. He threatened to take our children if we told anyone about Mrs. Sidle's second child. He said he would let the authorities know we didn't go through proper channels to adopt our children."
Doctor Jensen ushers a distressed Nurse Morris away as she continues to mutter "I had to keep quiet; I couldn't lose my baby." The four of us sit back in our chairs stunned by the development. How could someone have stolen a child just so he could have a wing named after him? I am almost sorry the son of a bitch is dead because I certainly wouldn't mind having a go at him.
Sofia snaps out of the fog first and asks "Wouldn't your mother know if she had a c-section? Even if the doctor told her some lame story about surgery, don't you think she would have put it all together when she saw the two of you walk into that room together yesterday?"
That certainly is a very valid point. Mother is definitely no dummy. Someone has to be lying about the c-section, and I really don't think believe Nurse Morris is the guilty party.
Closing my eyes, I try to visualize mother, more specifically if I've ever seen my mother's abdomen. We went to the beach that one time, but she was wearing a shirt over her swimsuit. I remember building sand castles, and she even got down on her hands and knees to help. As we were putting the finishing touches on the top, the surf came crashing down, knocking over the castle in the process. Mom cursed a blue streak then took off her drenched shirt and . . . shit . . . she does have a scar, and it is very similar to cesarean scars.
The bitch lied or rather withheld evidence which could have explained the birth of a second child without her knowledge. She had to have realized the significance of her 'surgery' scar the minute she laid eyes on Linda.
I don't know why I'm surprised she kept silent about it. If she didn't want me, she certainly wouldn't want two of me. Why couldn't I have been the second child? Why was I the one who was left behind to be raised by the parents from hell?
Leaving the pity party, I open my eyes and am surprised to find only Linda sitting with me. Where did Sofia and Lucy go? I glance around to see if they are still somewhere in the area, but Linda informs me they left to give us some time alone. Crap, I'm not ready for this conversation, everything is just too raw.
Linda doesn't allow me time to escape as she says "Sara, we need to talk about this. I need to know what you're feeling, and you need to know how I feel. Obviously, I have been living a lie my entire life, but somehow I think you got the worst of it. I, at least, had parents who loved me. I don't think the same could be said for you."
I snort my response, but stubbornly keep my mouth shut. She doesn't need to know what I'm thinking, and she doesn't need to know what a nightmare my life has been. She only needs to know I'm her sister and her only family. Mother is just someone who gave birth to her.
After a brief standoff, I settle for giving her a condensed outline of our parents' personalities. Linda's a smart woman; she won't need me to describe any specific instances of cruelty or neglect. She already knows the final outcome of life with the Sidles, and I think it more than adequately sums up the violence through the years.
My assessment of my sister proves to be correct as she doesn't ask any questions and absorbs all my information like a sponge. I can tell by the look in her eyes that she has already figured out what went on in the background.
When all is said and done, Linda surprises me by pulling me into a tight embrace. She apologizes for not being there and promises she will be here for me from now on. I return the sentiment as we take comfort in each other's arms.
On our way out to the limo, we both agree not to dig any further into our birth. As long as the two of us know what happened, the case is closed. Doctor Gregg is dead, Nurse Morris is exactly where she needs to be, and neither of us wants to find the anesthesiologist. Everything is as it should be.
Exiting the building, we find Sofia and Lucy leaning against the limo deep in conversation. If I didn't already know Linda and I are more than likely the topic of their conversation, I would be worried. I'm afraid the two of them together could spell trouble for Linda and me. I guess only time will tell.
As we step off the curb, the two push off the limo at the same time and make their way toward us. Simultaneously, they place their arm around their respective partner's waist and escort us to the car. If this wasn't so serious, I would be laughing. I glance to Linda to see her stifling a grin as well. I think this is going to be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
The drive back to the airport is filled with silence. This is one of the few times I have seen Lucy subdued. Even when Natalie had been abducted, she was lively and full of suggestions. I take advantage of the solitude and lean back against Sofia drawing both strength and comfort from her presence.
The whirlwind, formerly known as subdued Lucy, makes an appearance as we pull next to the hangar. Her hands are moving so fast; I'm surprised the limo hasn't lifted off the ground. I finally key in on her rapid speech to hear "You both have time left on your vacation or leave or whatever. Natalie will be off to camp the day after tomorrow, and we have nothing on our schedules. It's settled; we're going."
What? We're going somewhere? Where? What did I miss? I look to Sofia to find her in conversation with an animated Lucy. Next, I turn to Linda to see a relaxed smile on her face. She gives a contented sigh and says "Welcome to my world."
The airwaves of my helmet are filled with Lucy's voice describing the beauty of the Bahamas. She goes on and on about how remote the Out Islands are. I chuckle at the thought of 'remote' and 'out' in the same sentence. Someone who is out is as far from remote as you can get. That would be an oxymoron wouldn't it?
Linda insists we stick mainly to Harbour Island but agrees we should hop around to some of the others. Sofia and I glance at each other and shrug our shoulders. I guess we're going to the Bahamas.
The rest of the trip is filled with plans of fishing, snorkeling, and diving. I'm okay with the first two, but I'm not sure about blue holes, walls, and caves. In fact, I'm pretty sure I am slightly claustrophobic and being under all that water is not the way I intend to find out.
The flight home seems to take less time especially with Lucy's incessant chatter. Of course, finally knowing the reason for Linda's 'abduction' has allowed us to relax as well. Now we know neither Linda's parents nor our mother was directly involved as we each take some comfort in that knowledge.
As we arrive at the hangar, Lucy informs us she needs a few minutes to fill out some paperwork. I take the time to phone Grissom to inform him of our findings and to ask when he needs me to return. Ten minutes later, I seek out Sofia with a smile on my face.
I find her leaning against the hangar door watching the planes and helicopters take off. Stepping behind her, I put my arm around her waist and rest my chin on her shoulder. I pull her near and ask "What did Brass say?" She turns in my arms and replies "I didn't call him. I put in for two weeks, and it was approved. I'm not about to call and ask if I'm needed. Question is what did Grissom say?" A kiss and a smile serve as my reply.
Stepping into the house, Linda suggests we all take a nap before doing anything else. The emotional toll this ordeal has taken on each of us is definitely beginning to show. Sofia and I immediately head to our bedroom, and for once, sleep is at the top of our agenda.
An hour later, two sated individuals lay entwined on the king size bed. Somehow sleep moved down to the second spot the moment we removed our clothes. Our breathing finally begins to slow as we quietly drift off to sleep. My last thought being sleep will never be at the top of any of my lists ever again.
Sofia and I walk through the den area in search of Linda and Lucy. Not finding either, we continue on to the kitchen. Linda is sitting at the bar watching Lucy prepare what appears to be stir fry on the stove. I turn my nose up at the sizzling chicken but gamely take a seat beside my sister. Good thing I'm not very hungry. Regardless, there's no way I'm putting chicken in my mouth.
Linda smiles when she sees us and motions for Sofia and me to take a seat while she gets us something to drink. We both opt for sodas as Linda rejoins us at the bar after retrieving the refreshments. She immediately begins to tell us of the vacation plans.
"Sara, I hope you and Sofia don't mind, but I took the liberty of calling Catherine to see if she could find your passports and have them delivered overnight. She was able to enlist Greg's help in finding your passport; however, she wasn't sure how to go about obtaining Sofia's. She is waiting for me to call back with instructions."
Wow, talk about efficient. I didn't even think about needing a passport. Sofia had one when we went to Switzerland, but I used Linda's which means I am guilty of using a false identity. I wonder what the penalty is for using someone else's passport.
Sofia speaks up as I contemplate my criminal activity. "Tell Catherine to send Sara's. I still have mine with me." I nervously shift in my seat expecting Sofia to ask why I don't have mine. It would definitely suck to have my girlfriend arrest me for fraud.
I make it through the next two days with no mention of my illegal passport use so I'm pretty sure I am home free. In fact, every time Sofia and I have been alone; the last thing on our minds has been our passports. Between thoroughly acquainting ourselves with each other's body and listening to all the plans Linda and Lucy have come up with for our trip, the days have been full of activities and have gone by very quickly.
Lucy has arranged for us to leave early tomorrow morning, and she even managed to rent a house on Harbour Island for the next five days. I insisted on paying part of the fee, but she flatly refused. She said going on vacation with them was payment enough because she hasn't seen Linda this happy in quite sometime. Well, of course, with the exception of Natalie's safe return.
At least Sofia and I were able to pay for our own clothes. Linda took us to a local mall where we picked up swimsuits, shorts, tanks, and beach shoes. Sofia threw in a couple of floppy hats insisting that we needed to keep our faces out of the sun. She also had Linda drive us to a pharmacy where she picked up the highest SPF sunscreen they had. Hell, if vampires used this stuff, they could walk around in the sun all day long without fear of spontaneous combustion.
We board the plane with more luggage than we're probably going to need. I don't know why we brought so many things because I plan to live in swimsuits and shorts for most of the trip. Linda insisted we plan for any occasion so I grudgingly packed a few 'nice' outfits as well. My mood quickly improves when I see Aaron waiting for us with drinks and a smile. I really, really like this guy.
The five hour flight goes by quickly as we manage to watch a movie, eat a bite, and take a nap. I especially enjoyed Aaron's choice of movies, "Imagine Me and You." I knew it was going to be good when he gave me a little wink before he set it up to play. The nap wasn't too bad either as being in Sofia's arms always has a positive effect on my level of enjoyment.
As we drive up to the 'rental house,' I can't help but express my opinion when I first lay eyes on it. "Holy shit, is this a house or a hotel?" Lucy laughs and ensures me that it is indeed a house. I have to wonder how small my apartment is going to feel when I return to my world. Right now, I'm just going to enjoy the company I'm in and sacrifice living in luxury for the sake of my companions or at least that's what I keep telling myself.
The house is even more spacious than I had first envisioned. There are five bedrooms, each equipped with its own bath. Two of the rooms have Jacuzzis leaving no doubt as to which rooms we will choose to use. There is a sunken den area with large couches and a big screen TV set up with a DVD player and Sony Playstation. The kitchen is immense to say the least, and it is already stocked with food and drink. Sliding glass doors open in the back to reveal a large deck and steps down to the water. Looking around, it appears we have our own private beach. I smile as I imagine the possibility of late night skinny dipping.
After the brief tour, Lucy begins to yawn and says "Man, I'm beat. Linda and I didn't take a nap on the plane like you two did. Would you mind if we rested for a bit before we begin to explore the outdoors?" Sofia and I both encourage the two to get some rest and promise that we'll find something to do in the meantime. The minute the door closes to their bedroom, Sofia takes my hand and leads me to ours. I think I'm about to indulge in a little afternoon delight.
As Lucy brings the Jeep around, I begin to wonder how I'm going to be able to climb into the damn thing. I haven't quite recuperated from the rapturous session of aerobics Sofia put me through earlier. I truly didn't know I was so flexible. I can't wait to return the favor tonight that is if I regain my lateral movement or any movement for that matter.
We enjoy a nice quiet ride around the island as Lucy acts as tour guide pointing out all the interesting and historical sites along the way. A couple of hours later, we return to the house, and Linda offers to try to find something to cook that I will be able to eat. I begin to tell her not to go to too much trouble, but she smiles and says I'm worth it. It takes everything I have to thank her without choking up.
During our meal, Lucy excitedly says "I can't wait to go diving. The coral reefs are amazing. I arranged a couple of lessons for both of you in the morning so we should be able to go out sometime tomorrow afternoon. You are going to love it."
I look over to an equally ecstatic Sofia and decide to keep my mouth shut about my feelings on diving. Maybe I can make it through the lessons and then feign some sort of vertigo or something while the three of them make their dive.
Later in the evening hours, Lucy and Linda check out the games for the Playstation while Sofia suggests we take a short stroll on the beach. Agreeing, I head to the bedroom to find out beach shoes. Ah, a romantic stroll on the beach in the moonlight. Things can't get any better than this.
Hand in hand, we walk near the water's edge as we discuss various topics ranging from work to Lucy and Linda to our relationship. Sofia would like for us to spend weekends together and play it by ear the rest of the week as our schedules can be described as erratic at best.
As far as telling our co-workers about our relationship, she says we should let them figure it out on their own, and she doesn't want to hold back or pretend not to have feelings for me when we're working. I agree and point out that we're both professionals so we should be able to work together without a problem. Of course, the first time she wears those low riding black jeans with her black shirt unbuttoned low enough to reveal her black silk bra; I'll probably want to find a nice quiet room to discuss the details of the case.
We turn back around and head for the house just when I've gotten up enough nerve to discuss tomorrow's diving trip. The minute I mention the lessons, Sofia quickly says "Sara, I kind of withheld some information from you and the others about my diving experience." Great, she feels the same way as me. I guess I'm going to get out of this activity after all.
I focus back in on her explanation as she says " . . . I've been on hundreds of dives. In fact, I'm a master diver. I didn't want to say anything because Lucy has gone to such trouble to get us lessons, and besides, I want to make sure you learn everything you need to know for your first dive."
Well, crap. What do I say now? 'That's nice Sofia, but your girlfriend is scared shitless to have all that water on top of her. She'd rather have you on top of her instead.' No, that won't do. What the hell am I going to do now?
Sofia stops our progress and turns me to face her. She watches my facial expressions before adding "Hey, don't be nervous about diving. It's completely safe. I'll admit I was terrified the first time I went down. I was having a problem with confined places and wanted to find a way to overcome my fears. A friend of mine suggested diving. She said if I could get used to the feeling of being underwater, then my other problem would eventually go away. And she was right. After my first few dives, I fell in love with it and immediately pursued certification as a master diver. I know what I'm doing down there, and I will be with you every step of the way. I love you, Sara."
Great, why does out first trust issue have to revolve around one of my phobias? Just because she tells me she loves me isn't going to make my fears go away. I'll just . . . whoa . . . she loves me!
Grinning like a fool, I reply "Okay, I'll try this diving thing, but only because I love you, too." Taking my face in her hands, she smiles and reverently kisses me making me feel as if I am the most precious thing on this earth. I try my best to return the sentiment.
Sofia finally releases my lips and reaches down for my hand. Together, we walk back toward the house in blissful silence. It's hard to believe how much my life has changed in the past two weeks. I now have a twin sister who I am becoming closer and closer to each day, a beautiful niece, a wonderful friend in Lucy, and best of all, a loving and caring lover in Sofia. If I had to endure all the heartaches of my life to get to this point, then all the pain and suffering was well worth it.
We step up to the deck of the house, and I can't help but smile as I count my blessings. Looking ahead, I see visions of a U-Haul in my very near future.
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