DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Pulling up to the front of the casino, I reluctantly allowed the valet to park my Jeep. I informed him that I didn't intend to stay long and for him to park it on the street so that it would be close by when I returned.
I handed over the keys and watched as the grinning man jumped in and headed toward the parking garage. Oh well, so much for his tip.
Stepping inside the roped off casino area, I shook my head at the stupidity of this situation. Who in their right mind would have a police department fund raiser in a casino? Oh, yeah, Ecklie and the sheriff, and everyone knew what kind of mind those two idiots had.
My attention was quickly diverted to one of the poker tables as Greg jumped up and waved. "Sara, over here. I saved you a place." Well, I may as well be amongst friends if I have to be here. I still can't believe Grissom ordered us to attend. It's not like him to cave into Ecklie's demands.
I decided to sit out a few hands before joining my colleagues. They all seemed to think I just needed some time to acclimate myself to the environment, but in reality, I needed to see if any of them had a tell sign. After a couple of hands, I'd picked up on several.
Hodges, the fool, raised his eyebrows and smiled one of those sickening little smiles whenever he got a good hand, and David pushed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose. Nick always moved his cards into his left hand, Catherine moved her hair behind her ear, and Greg chomped on the ice from his drink.
Warrick and Sofia didn't seem to have a tell sign. Both were relaxed and smiling all the time. I'd never seen Sofia like this, and I watched mesmerized as she chatted with the others and occasionally reached into a nearby glass filled with ice chips.
She'd pinch a few chips out of the glass and raise her hand slightly above her head. Tilting her head back, she'd drop the ice into her mouth, using her tongue to swipe the last chip from her fingers. It was the sexiest thing I'd ever seen, and soon, I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up. I wanted to be one of those ice chips.
"Okay, Sara. Time to ante up; I think you've seen enough," Warrick teased, gesturing for me to sit in on the next hand. Smiling, I took the empty seat between Greg and Sofia as the dealer placed a stack of chips in front of me, and glancing to my right, I noted the glass with Sofia's ice chips. If I couldn't actually be one of those chips, getting a front row seat to watch them being eaten was the next best thing. I don't think I'd ever lost money so gracefully in all my life.
Two hours and four glasses of ice chips later, an announcement was made calling for the last hand and thanking everyone for making the night a success. The winner at each table was allowed to come out even, and the rest of the money was donated to the department.
At our table, the winner would be determined by this last hand. Warrick and Sofia had the same number of chips so whoever came out on top at the end of the hand would be declared the winner. Me? I'd lost a hundred bucks, but it was for a good cause. Right?
I folded immediately as I'd drawn a 2, 4, 7, 9 and 10, a typical hand for my night. Sitting back, I watched as Greg and David joined me. Catherine had pushed her hair behind her ear, and Nick had switched his cards over to his left hand. Oh, and Hodges was grinning like a fool. This was going to be an interesting hand.
After all the raises and calls were made, Catherine nervously placed her nine high straight on the table, followed by Nick's two pair, aces and tens. Hodges laid out a club flush, king high, while Sofia and Warrick casually looked at the various hands laid out in front of them.
Finally, Warrick placed his cards down one at a time revealing a full house, queens over jacks. All eyes turned to a poker faced Sofia, and she very calmly began to lay her cards on the table; 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 of hearts. The only thing better would've been if she'd had the queen of hearts because tonight I'd finally come to the realization that she was the queen of my heart. Too bad, it was a card I'd have to keep hidden up my sleeve.
Bidding my colleagues good night, I went to find my favorite valet, and the grinning man took my receipt and winked as he left to retrieve my Jeep. Shaking my head, I watched him round the corner to the garage, but my attention quickly turned to the person who had stepped beside me.
"Um, Sara? Do you think that maybe, well, we could ... um, get some coffee or something?" Sofia asked, running her hand through her hair before nervously clasping her two hands together.
Smiling at the skittish detective, I replied, "I'd love to."
Well, what do you know; it seemed that Sofia had a tell sign after all, and I was ever so grateful to be the one to trigger it.
Maybe someday I'd be able to show her what I had up my sleeve.
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