DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to the lovely mrswoman for the speedy beta via her mobile.
CHALLENGE: Written for the second 24 Hour Challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Turn of Events
By Ann


Returning from the ladies room, Catherine slid her chair further away from her date before sitting. If the asshole tried to slide his hand under her dress one more time, he was coming away with a stump.

"Ah, what took you so long?" The greasy haired man shuffled his chair to the side, regaining the space Catherine had managed to put between them.

Catherine pasted a fake smile on her face. "Just touching up my make-up."

Her date leered at her and moved his hand to Catherine's thigh. He was saved from dismemberment when the waiter appeared to refill their wine glasses.

"More wine?" The handsome young man stepped between the two and smiled at Catherine. He could spot an unhappy woman a mile away.

"Yes, please." Catherine drew out her request, thankful for a moment's reprieve from her blind date. She never should have let Ecklie talk her into going out with his friend, but she figured the favor would come in handy should she need something from him later. Had she known the guy was a total sleaze, she'd have never agreed; she'd have just taken her chances that she wouldn't ever need Ecklie's help.

"Can I get you anything else?" The waiter asked sweetly, trying to give Catherine a longer respite from her date.

"Get lost, will ya." The rude man gestured with his thumb for the waiter to take a hike.

Biting down on his words, the waiter turned to leave. He was barely out of hearing range when the creepy little man decided to use what he thought was his ace in the hole.

"So, Conrad tells me you used to be an exotic dancer. Any chance of giving me a sneak peek after dessert?" The slimeball leaned closer and winked. "Or, maybe you can be the dessert instead."

Catherine had had enough and opened her mouth to tell the scumbag exactly where he could get off. No promotion, whether real or imagined, was worth having to put up with the worst innuendo she'd ever heard, and she'd heard some of the very worst.

"Listen here, you . . ." Her words were cut off by a familiar voice, one that she'd actually dreamt of on a number of occasions, twice this past week, in fact.

"Hello, Catherine."

"Sofia, what brings you here?" Catherine turned her attention to the new arrival, and unfortunately, so had her date.

"Is she a friend of yours, Catherine?" He eyed Sofia up and down. "She's quite a looker; think she'd be interested in sharing dessert with us later?" The pervert winked at Catherine and then at Sofia. Sofia raised an eyebrow and glanced back at Catherine.

"Okay, that's it." Catherine stood and threw her napkin down on the table. "I've had to listen to your disgusting suggestions and tolerate you trying to stick your hand up my dress all evening, but I will not stand for any lewd comments being directed towards my friend."

Sofia stepped closer to the table and moved her blazer aside, revealing the gold shield attached to her belt. The sleaze turned pale and held up his hands in surrender.

"I didn't mean anything, Detective. I was just having a bit of fun."

Reaching towards the table, Sofia removed a toothpick from one of the appetizers and pointed it at Catherine's date. "So, you were only alluding to a ménage à trois as a joke? Do you always joke with other woman like that?"

The man tried to deny the allegation, but only succeeded in digging a very deep hole. "Oh no! Just when my dates are known to be easy."

"Hey!" Catherine stepped menacingly towards the asshole, but a touch to her arm stopped her. She shivered when Sofia maintained contact with her.

"I think you should apologize to the lady." Sofia slid the toothpick into her mouth and stood tall, her boots placing her several inches over the short, balding man.

"Huh? Oh, right." He turned towards Catherine but retreated a step when he caught the glare being directed his way by two pair of steely, blue eyes. "I'm, uh, sorry, Catherine. It's just that Conrad . . ." His voice trailed off as he realized what he'd almost blurted out.

Catherine inched forward. "Conrad what?"

"Um, nothing. He didn't say anything at all."

Sofia dropped her hand from Catherine's arm and moved to stand beside her. "Conrad? Conrad Ecklie?"

"Yeah? You know him?" The sleaze took another step back.

"He and I go way back." Sofia smiled. "So, why don't you tell me what he had to say?"

The man took another step back, and another, and another…

At the bar, Catherine laughed aloud. "I can't believe you threatened him."

"Oh, c'mon, Catherine. He was an easy target, all talk and no action."

Catherine took a sip of her drink. "Yeah, but it was fun watching you scare the piss out of him."

"Good thing he was wearing black."

Both women looked at each other and burst out in laughter. A few minutes later, a chuckling Sofia motioned the bartender over.

"Could I have the tab, please?"

"Don't be a spoilsport, Sofia. Let's stay awhile longer." Catherine stuck out her bottom lip in the cutest pout Sofia had ever seen. She'd give anything to suck the soft-looking lip between her own.

"Okay, one more, but that's it."

Catherine nodded and moved her stool closer, holding out her empty glass to the bartender. Sofia just smiled and motioned for another beer. With Catherine's thigh resting comfortably against hers, she'd definitely need it.

"So, why'd you accept the date anyway?" Sofia sipped on her ice cold beer.

Catherine shrugged. "To be honest, I really don't know. At the time, I thought it would be a good idea to get back on Ecklie's good side. I figured I'd have a nice dinner and bid the guy good-night, promising we'd get together soon."

"And, of course, you had no intention of making good on that promise."

"Certainly not." Catherine answered emphatically. "Unless he turned out to be some gorgeous hunk of a man." She smiled at Sofia, but Sofia didn't smile back. Instead, she turned serious.

"Would you have slept with him if he had been?"

Catherine broke eye contact and began to fiddle with a napkin, tearing it into tiny little strips. Sofia took another sip, figuring that Catherine wasn't going to answer. She was wrong.

"I hate to admit it, but chances are I would have." Catherine spared a glance at Sofia. "Would you have thought badly of me if I had?"

"To be honest, I'm not sure what I'd have thought." Sofia shrugged. "It's really none of my business who you sleep with, Catherine."

"Would you like it to be your business?" Catherine's words were out before she could catch them. "Um, I mean . . ."

Sofia placed a hand on Catherine's thigh, but she didn't move it from its resting spot. Catherine wished that she would, higher would be nice.

"Catherine, what are you asking?" Sofia's tone was soft and reassuring.

"This isn't a good time for this conversation. We've both had too much to drink." Catherine stared at her half-empty glass.

"I'm not drunk, Catherine. Are you?"

Catherine hesitated before she shook her head. "No, but I still don't think it's a good idea."

Sofia persisted. "Catherine, what if I had been your date?"

Blue eyes snapped up and lit on a similar pair. "What do you mean?"

"If I had been your date, would you have bid me good-night and promised we'd get together soon?"

Catherine swallowed hard. "No."

"Then what?" Sofia squeezed Catherine's thigh.

"I'd have asked you to come in."

Sofia smiled brightly and turned to the bartender. "Put the two tabs together, please."

Catherine looked up confused.

"My treat, Catherine. Consider this our first date."

A smile slowly spread on Catherine's face, and she reached for the hand on her thigh, grabbing hold tightly.

"Okay, but the coffee's on me."

The End

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