DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Scanning the tri-fold pamphlet, Sara stomped down the corridor on the way to her supervisor's office, cursing under her breath every step of the way. "He's out of his fucking mind if he thinks I'm doing this."
The investigator never noticed the redhead coming from the other direction, holding an exact duplicate of her pamphlet and paraphrasing Sara's curses. "Fuck, there's no way in hell I'm going out in the middle of nowhere."
Both women swung around the corner and stepped into Grissom's doorway at precisely the same moment, the unrehearsed movement so beautifully performed it appeared to have been choreographed. The casual observer would never guess neither woman was aware of the other's presence.
"Gil!" Two voices exclaimed in stereo, the obvious displeasure echoed in their tone.
Grissom's head snapped up from the microscope's lenses; he'd been expecting an argument from each woman, but he'd hoped to speak to Sara and Catherine separately. Facing the united front of his very headstrong investigators was something he'd wanted to avoid.
The supervisor focused on the pamphlets being held tightly in the women's hands. "Catherine, Sara, I didn't have anything to do with this."
"Yeah, right Grissom."
Once again, the investigators managed to echo their dissent in perfect harmony. Sara turned her glare from her supervisor to the redhead beside her, and Grissom knew he was in big trouble when the brunette deferred to her colleague, nodding for Catherine to speak her mind.
"Gil, what the hell is this?" Catherine held up the crumpled pamphlet. "Inner peace? You want to take Sara and me out of the rotation to send us on some stupid, look inside yourself and find your inner peace, commune with nature, fucking camping trip? Well, just forget it, we're not going."
Catherine folded her arms over her chest and glared at her supervisor, and Sara, who'd been expecting to have to add to her colleague's words, mimicked the redhead's stance. She didn't need to expound; Catherine had said everything that needed to be said.
A few buildings away, Jim Brass sat in his chair facing his own version of righteous anger in the form of Detective Sofia Curtis. "Brass, this is preposterous; inner peace, my ass. Who in their right mind would remove a detective from duty for three days to attend some idiotic 'lose yourself to nature' weekend?"
A voice from the hallway drew near. "Ah, Detective Curtis. Did Captain Brass give you the pamphlet on the Inner Peace seminar?"
Sofia turned to face the Undersheriff; McKeen, she should've known. "Yes, he did. As a matter of fact, we were just discussing the very retreat. I don't think it's a good idea to shuffle the shifts around for something so trivial."
"Trivial or not; you're going, Detective Curtis. The mayor has promised that he'd send three representatives from the LVPD, and you're one of them." McKeen glanced at his watch. "You better hurry along. You three need to leave within the hour."
The Undersheriff turned on his heel and walked away, leaving Brass alone with a fuming Sofia. Her blue eyes moved from boring a hole into the back of McKeen's suit to focusing on the captain sitting behind the desk.
"I'm sorry, Sofia. I did try to talk him out of it, but he was insistent. Look at it this way; you'll get away from crime for awhile. There won't be any murders out in the woods."
Sofia plopped down in the chair, resigned to her fate. "Yeah, whatever. So, who are the other lucky two representatives?"
Brass grimaced. "Um, I believe Catherine and Sara will be accompanying you."
The detective's laughter surprised the captain, and he waited for Sofia to enlighten him on her sudden mirth.
"Well, Jim. There may be a murder after all. Sara and Catherine will never last being cooped up together for three days. One of them will definitely kill the other."
Brass began to chuckle and, soon, the office was filled with quiet laughter.
Sofia drove down the country road, wishing she'd remembered to bring her ear plugs. When Catherine and Sara weren't agreeing with their total displeasure at having to give up three days to attend the seminar, they were at each other's throats disagreeing with anything and everything.
"So, you're saying that dating a co-worker is a big mistake? Is this from personal experience?" Catherine turned in her seat and addressed the brunette sitting directly behind Sofia. Sara had originally buckled herself in behind Catherine but, when the redhead kept turning completely around in her seat to argue with the other woman, Sofia had asked Sara to slide to the other side. The swiveling had gotten on her every last nerve.
"What? You're kidding, right? Who in the world would I want to go out with?"
"Grissom." Catherine smirked; she knew Sara had a thing for the supervisor, and she wasn't about to waste this golden opportunity to tease the brunette.
"Grissom? No way! Well, not since I realized how dull he really is. I mean, don't get me wrong; he's a brilliant criminalist, but he's not exactly boyfriend material."
Another golden opportunity presented itself, and Catherine latched on. "So, then, what about dating a female co-worker? Would that be any different?"
Sara's jaw dropped into her lap, and Sofia gripped the steering wheel more tightly. The small group of parked cars caught the detective's eye, and she quickly diverted Catherine's attention elsewhere.
"Well, it looks like we've arrived; sure is a small group."
Catherine twisted forward and looked out the windshield. "What the hell? They're all women. Are we the only ones who need to find our inner peace?"
Sara unbuckled her seatbelt and leaned forward in her seat, placing her head between Sofia's and Catherine's. "Maybe there's a separate inner peace seminar for men only."
"I doubt it. The men probably think this is all too touch-feely for them." Catherine disagreed, but this time it wasn't just for the sake of disagreement. The redhead actually believed that they'd been sent solely based on their sex. As they parked next to the others, Sara and Sofia began to wonder if maybe Catherine wasn't right.
Sofia and Sara secured the last stakes of their tent and stood back to admire their work. Catherine had managed to rig their sleeping assignments, and Sara never said a word about the redhead's overt flirting to get the seminar's counselor, Betty Segrest, to team the three of them up together for the weekend's events. However, the fact that Catherine was able to use her charms on another woman raised a question Sara wasn't sure she wanted an answer to.
"I'm certainly glad I'm teamed with you two. When Betty said we had to break into threes to share a tent, I figured there was no way she was going to allow women from the same department to share a space. I'm just glad Catherine was able to talk her into letting us bunk together. I don't think I could sleep with strangers." Sofia moved over and took a seat on a nearby rock.
Sara glanced around, looking for Catherine before replying. "Me, too, but I just can't believe Catherine played up to her. I mean, she's a woman."
Sofia chuckled. "Yes and your point is?"
"I didn't realize Catherine would use her sexiness to gain favor with another woman."
"Sexiness? Do you think Catherine is sexy?"
Sara turned beat red. "Huh? No, well, yes, um, I mean, yes I think she's a beautiful woman."
"Who's beautiful?" Catherine walked up from behind Sara causing the brunette to almost leap a foot off the ground.
"Shit, Catherine! Don't sneak up on me like that."
Catherine shrugged and offered an insincere sounding apology. "Sorry; so who do you think is beautiful?"
"Um, we got the tent up. I'm going to go check in to see if there's anything else we're supposed to do." Turning, Sara practically ran down the slope towards the main area.
Sofia shook her head. "Catherine, why do you always have to mess with poor Sara?"
"It's fun?" Catherine laughed and walked over to share the rock with Sofia.
After sunset, the three women walked from their tent to meet with the others who were sitting around a roaring campfire. As they started down the main path, Catherine expressed her views about the retreat thus far.
"You know, this actually hasn't been too bad. The nature walk was nice, and it is kind of enjoyable knowing I'm not going to have to look at a dead body for a couple of days."
Sara agreed, somewhat. "Yeah, but I have a feeling we'll be expected to reveal our innermost feelings. Just look at the way the group is huddled close together."
Catherine turned her attention on the women sitting around the fire. "Well, I know one thing. If they break into camp songs and start roasting s'mores, I'm out of there."
Sofia laughed and placed her hand at the small of Catherine's back, assisting the investigator down the steep slope. Sara focused on the hand and noted the almost imperceptible movement. Sara's eyes shot up in shock; Sofia was rubbing Catherine's back!
At the base of the rise, Catherine turned and winked at Sofia before increasing her stride, walking out of the touch. Sara followed silently behind the two, looking for any other signs she might have missed.
After the group went through more introductions, Betty began to speak. "Okay, ladies. Tonight, I'd like to focus on our innermost thoughts and desires. I'm not going to ask any of you to divulge any of your secrets, but I do want you to think about them and be true to yourself."
Collective sighs of relief could be heard, and everyone laughed nervously. Betty smiled and continued. "I'd like everyone to close your eyes and try to clear your mind. Don't think about work or what you need to do tomorrow or the next day. Don't think about the phone or your computer or your e-mail, just relax."
The counselor allowed the women to sit quietly for several minutes and, when everyone seemed to comply with her request, she added, "Now, each and every one of you have within you something that you've been wanting, but something is holding you back. It's time to ask yourself why you're keeping yourself from what you desire; why won't you allow yourself the simple pleasure of letting yourself go?"
Sara closed her eyes more tightly. She knew what she was afraid of; she'd been afraid her entire life. She didn't want to be afraid anymore, but she didn't want to face the consequences either. Slowly, she began to relax a little more and allowed one of her dreams to come out of hiding. A set of blue eyes looked at her, and Sara focused closely on the shining orbs. Just as she could almost make out the face, another set of blue eyes stepped into the picture, but the moment was broken when Betty spoke again.
"Okay, I think that's enough for tonight. I'd like you all to go back to your tents and take some time to think about what you want and how you're going to go about getting it."
Sara once again followed Catherine and Sofia back to their tent, but this time, her focus was on the path. She didn't like this inner peace retreat one bit. The pair walking in front of her kept a close eye on the investigator from over their shoulders, worry clearly etched on their faces. Sara was being unusually quiet, even for her.
Citing a headache, Sara crawled into the tent and climbed into the far sleeping bag. Betty had brought out thoughts and feelings she'd kept suppressed for so very long. She needed to get back to the city so that she could regain her control. Closing her eyes, she fell into a fitful sleep, her dreams filled with two separate longings.
A soft touch to her lips woke Sara, and she feared that some insect or reptile had snuck into their tent, but when another soft touch nipped at her neck, Sara instantly identified the touch. She slowly opened her eyes to her dreams, only they'd somehow merged together.
The lips attached to hers belonged to Sofia, so that meant that the lips sucking lightly on her neck had to be Catherine's. Sara tried desperately to swallow the moan threatening to escape, but she failed miserably as a hand worked its way under her shirt.
The couple worked in perfect tandem to bring Sara to a frenzied state, and the brunette gladly surrendered and allowed Sofia and Catherine free access to wherever they wanted to go.
Soon, the soft moans couldn't be distinguished as the three women continued to pleasure each other. Fingers and tongues slid over swollen nipples, down taut stomachs, and into welcomed wet, slick openings; each woman was relentless in their quest to please the others until the final screams were muffled by another's lips.
Sofia pulled Sara against her, and Catherine slid on the other side of the brunette. Soft words of reassurance were spoken in Sara's ear, and she finally relaxed in the combined embrace, accepting the moment for what it was, an answer to her dreams.
Staring sleepily at the canvas of the tent, Sara lay cocooned between the two sleeping women as she slowly began to drift to sleep, her heart and mind filled with a calmness she'd never known. She could now accept her sexuality and come out of the dark closet which had held her captive for so very long.
Sara held onto the hope that the inner peace she'd been seeking was here to stay.
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