DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS, no infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: In Total Fulfillment of the Demand-a-Ficathon. Hand-In Date: 12th March 2006. Subjects: Sara Sidle/Sofia Curtis & Catherine Willows/Wendy Simms. Prompt: Wendy and Sara seek each others advice in wooing a blonde.
SPOILERS: Secrets and Flies S6E06, A Bullet Runs Through It Part 1 S6E07, A Bullet Runs Through It Part 2 S6E08, Dog Eat Dog S6E09, Werewolves S6E11, Daddy's Little Girl S6E12, Kiss, Kiss, Bye, Bye S6E13, Nikki and Nora Pilot Episode
REFERENCES: http://www.sunsetcities.com/callville-bay-lake-mead.html, http://www.tasteofvegas.com/tokyo/, http://www.bellagio.com
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: My thanks as always go to Geonn for his help with the British-ism's, to L for the enlightening comments, to Ralst for the request and especially to Ankhramon for the sterling beta work.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Two Heads are Better than One
Sub-Title: Two brunette heads are better than one in the process of achieving true love (lust) with a blonde haired beauty - A Study in Process
After 10 years working in the labs of San Francisco's crime scene investigation bureau Wendy Simms had relocated to the Las Vegas labs and she couldn't be happier. That wasn't the whole truth of course, she could have done without the hassle of a messy break-up with her longtime partner, Detective Janet Rhodes, but here in Vegas she had already been reunited with her close friend Sara Sidle and had already realized her new crew were the best out there. Working in this lab was going to tax her to the limit but, from what she had seen so far, would also be very enjoyable. Yes, Las Vegas CSI appeared to be a damn good career move in the long run.
Wendy Simms smiled. The DNA evidence she'd been asked to run by Catherine Willows had just thrown up an unexpected result. Paging Catherine, she waited to meet the woman that Sara had warned her about, in a friendly manner of course, it seemed the brunette had turned the corner in a rocky relationship with the more senior CSI. Catherine was the only member of Graveyard she had yet to meet. All the staff she had already encountered were friendly and capable of working the most horrific crimes with a smile on their face, so she was sure Catherine's bark must be worse than her bite.
As a blonde woman entered her domain she looked up and was ensnared by the perfect vision in front of her. If this was Catherine Willows, the move to Vegas suddenly took on a whole new meaning; she was gorgeous.
After the swapping of names Wendy stared into Catherine's eyes. She could see that Catherine was actually more of a strawberry blonde with subtle highlights of red cascading through the waves, and the eyes, blue pools of expression stared back at her quizzically. Wendy realized that she had to say something, it was after all her that had requested the CSI's attendance, a little off balance she began to ramble.
"So, I heard that my predecessor in DNA had all these you know personal hygiene issues. Well, just for the record I'm not like that. I've always been very touchy feely I mean I used to work in San Francisco, you know, so every day we started with hugs."
"That must have been nice for you, so " Catherine chuckled sarcastically but Wendy had never been one for ducking out of a challenge and she jumped in quickly with both feet flying.
"Hey, how about lunch tomorrow, just you and me, 'cos see I figured that you gotta know where all the bodies are buried around here, so to speak." The brunette winced inwardly at that dumbass remark and the open-mouthed stare it wrought out of Catherine.
The blonde stuttered, "Is that why you paged me?" obviously intent on getting the conversation back to her case.
"No, no, I compared Christina Adalian's DNA to baby Joey's and guess what mother and son, they're not mother and son, at least not genetically speaking, there's no relation." She handed the paperwork over to Catherine and offered her theory that surrogacy was involved.
It was Wendy's turn to be thrown for a loop when Catherine's eyes glazed over in thought before sharing her thoughts, "Surrogacy? That would explain the hymen."
The lab tech had to ask, "Hello?"
"Her hymen was intact which is consistent with in vitro fertilization."
Back on solid ground, pleased that Catherine hadn't been totally fazed by her clumsy offer of a date, Wendy felt confident enough to theorize with the blonde, "Yeah, but there's one problem, a surrogate's not supposed to keep the baby, a surrogate is supposed to be a gestational carrier who returns the child to the biological parents after it's been born."
"Yeah, that is a problem."
With those few words Catherine turned on her heels, offered a muttered 'later' and left Wendy to muse over her performance and the fact she hadn't received any sort of answer to her question.
She decided to page her friend from back in San Francisco, Sara would know what to do. If there was one thing they had always shared it was a love for a pretty blonde and Sara had been here for six years now, the CSI'd know how she could win over Catherine.
"Hey! You paged me?"
Wendy looked up from her papers and smiled.
"Sara Sidle, I presume."
"Hey Wendy, what can I do for you? Catherine said you'd already given her the DNA results; I'm just about to go and look at Christina's personal papers. Just waiting for Warrick so thought I'd answer your page."
As she walked towards the DNA tech she was stopped in her track by Wendy's quiet question, "What do you think of Catherine?"
"Huh? She's good. Why?"
"Well, um, she's gorgeous and um well I just asked her to go to lunch with me. She looked a bit put out and I just wondered if I'd blown it "
"You asked her out? Already. Jeez Wend, get to know her, huh? What did she say?"
"Well she didn't say no, then again she didn't say yes either. She's busy, I guess. Don't suppose you have any ideas for how I can convince her to go out with me?"
Sara chuckled as visions of a past life assaulted her brain, "I might have, yeah, but what's in it for me, huh?"
Intrigued at the sly expression in Sara's eyes and pleased that their previous friendship seemed to have survived the six years apart Wendy teased back, "Well, how about in return I teach you how to win the younger, but oh so definitely blonde blue-eyed beauty, wearing those hot tight pants that you were ogling earlier today. Detective Curtis, I believe?"
"I was not ogling; I was just admiring the cut of those pants."
Sara remembered back to earlier that morning and Sofia arriving at her crime scene to ask for Grissom. The ripple of energy that ran through her at the question felt something akin to jealousy. And those pants were certainly hot, and the detective somewhat too. Ruefully, she admitted that Sofia was a fine looking young woman and the electricity that ran up and down her spine hinted at some kind of attraction, unfortunately, their interactions so far had been pretty much hit and miss.
They'd enjoyed some gentle flirting a few months back and Sofia had actually offered her some comfort after her assault in the mental institution, since then however their relationship had turned a little frosty. Sara hated to admit it but that was because of the apparently growing friendship between Sofia and Grissom and her jealousy of that.
It had been three long years since her last date with a woman and the inside knowledge from that little excursion really ought to help Wendy, in more ways than one, and maybe helping Wendy to woo Catherine might give her some ideas about how to convince Sofia that she was worth more than a passing glance.
Before she could share any pointers with Wendy, Warrick popped his head around the door to say that he was ready to head out. As she passed the lab technician, Sara said, "How about coffee tomorrow, before shift?"
Seeing the nod from Wendy, Sara winked as she teased, "Maybe we can both learn something from each other?"
Two brunette heads are better than one in the process of achieving true love (lust) with a blonde haired beauty.
Sara and Wendy were sitting in the coffee shop around the corner from CSI headquarters. They talked about their past life and how good it was to be able to fall straight back into their comfortable friendship.
Before long anticipation got the better of Wendy, that and the fact she couldn't get Catherine's blue eyes out of her mind, and she questioned Sara about her teasing comment yesterday.
"Come on, Sar, I'm dying here. What did you mean, 'I might have' when I asked if you had any ideas how I could win Catherine over?"
"Um, yeah, well let's see. Take it from me she likes girly things, for want of a better word. So, flowers, little notes, thoughtful gestures, those sorts of things."
"Ok, I can do that." Wendy was already planning in her head her first line of offense. She muttered under her breath. "Wonder what sort of flowers would work?"
She was surprised when Sara answered, "Um, the Stargazer Lily would work. They kinda signify 'ambition' or that's what Cath says. Or, if you can't get them, the stock replacement would be the Calla Lily, that one means 'beauty'."
Wendy looked at Sara with new wonder, just how did Sara know all this stuff.
Sara shrugged; she was in the flow now. "Or you could wait a month or so and send her the lovely little Jonquil, that's a small variety of Daffodil, that's Catherine's birthday flower, another of her favorites."
"Ok, ok, I get the flower angle, what else can I try? You've been here six years now, what kind of things does she like doing?"
"That's easy. Family things. She likes nothing more than a walk in the park watching her daughter play. Mind there's a problem with that, Lindsey is heading up 13," the CSI shrugged her shoulders, "she prefers a game of soccer or basketball these days to swings. Hey, there's a thought, do you play soccer? Spending time with her daughter is a sure way of making a friend."
Sara couldn't help chuckling at the look of shock playing across Wendy's normally calm features, "Or better still you could conspire with Lindsey to arrange a family picnic, Cath loves that sort of thing."
Sara looked across at Wendy and smiled inwardly; she could almost see the cog wheels turning. Having herself taken nearly three years to get anywhere near having any sort of relationship with Catherine she knew there was one more thing she ought to say.
"Um, there is one other thing that might work take it slow."
"What do you mean?"
"Um, well Catherine would probably be described as being bisexual. She tends to have relationships with males but is open and caring enough to accept the female/female side of her. In fact, I know for certain she has relationships with women but they take time to develop. If a man asks her out and she's interested she says yes; if a woman asks her out, even if she's interested, she has to think it out."
"So, I need to take my time, not rush her."
"Um, yeah, that's about it. You might have to work at it, convince her that you're the one she wants. It's like when "
Sara's words trailed off and her expression became a little wistful.
Wendy prompted, "When ?"
"Oh nothing, I was just remembering something else. I think that's enough clues to be starting off with; flowers, treats, notes, Lindsey, family, take it slow, there you go, mission accomplished."
Wendy was confused, querying of her friend, "Hey Sara, tell me how you know so much about Catherine Willows? I thought you said I needed to beware of her bite? It sounds like you've been very good friends with the woman."
"Um, yeah, we are good friends now." Sara smiled. "I meant you'd need to be careful or she'd ensnare you. I know what you're like when there's a pretty blonde around, you know."
"Still doesn't explain how you know her favorite flowers, her birthday, her daughter, her relationship history; a lot of stuff not even close friends would know. So, come on, who did you have to pay to get the inside scoop?"
"Actually, we dated for about six months a few years ago and I became very good friends with Lindsey; she's a mine of information regarding her Mom." A raised eyebrow encouraged her to continue talking, "Cath's husband had just died and Linds needed an adult figure other than her mom to talk to. Anyway, you know my history, I kinda fell into the role and mine and Cath's relationship developed from there. So, the girly things worked for a while, and it was good. To be honest, I envy you this chance to get together with Catherine, you'll be good for her, I know that."
Wendy smiled at her friend's confidence but was now intrigued, "So, what went wrong?"
"Um, we just couldn't live with each other. Not literally, it was never quite strong enough to make that step. What I mean is, as lovers we drove each other mad, as friends we're good. You'll see what I mean, once you've been here a few. Cath and I we work best when there's competition between us, in a loving relationship that wasn't good. We were just too passionate, and by passionate I mean aggressive; as lovers that was tantamount to destruction, we argued constantly; as friends that passion knocks the crime scene for dead, we feed on scoring points off each other and it's the perps who suffer instead of the two of us." A wistful look crossed Sara's face; the togetherness she had shared with Catherine seemed a long time ago, too long, she missed having a relationship. Maybe the arrival of Sofia would finally negate that loss.
Seeing Wendy's look of fear, Sara quickly added, "Oh don't worry Wend, that lover's fire burned out long ago for me and Cath, I've got my eyes on Sofia, you'll have no trouble from me. In fact, I think you're the perfect foil for Catherine's fire, go for it my friend."
After talking for so long Sara was ready for another coffee. She checked her watch and found they still had thirty minutes before shift started, and called the waitress across to order another round. Grinning at Wendy she asked, "So, I haven't talked that much in years, you owe me. So, about your offer of helping me win over the good Detective Curtis. After all you're the expert on that score, winning the heart of a blonde, blue-eyed detective. Come on Wendy, what can I do to prove to Sofia that I want to love her not hate her?"
Wendy shrugged her shoulders, "Ah, that's not totally fair, Sara. You do know it was Jan that left me, don't you? So there was something I wasn't doing right."
"Yeah, I know, but you did snag her in the first place, so give."
"Ok, let's see. She's a detective right, and her mom's also a detective, so she's got something to prove. If she's anything like Jan, she'll work herself to the bone to prove she's good enough, every little thing will get under her skin and she won't talk about it. Kinda like you actually but that's another story."
Sara winced, Wendy was right; she did find it hard to talk about her feelings. That was one of the good things to come out of her fling with Catherine; she at least nowadays managed to share a little with the older CSI. She nodded at Wendy to continue.
"Well, something tells me, one of the ways to get under Sofia's skin, is to be there. You know, whenever she needs an outlet, be there, listen, talk, don't try and guide, just understand. Can you do that, Sara?"
"Do you know something; I think I probably can these days. Catherine's made me talk about things recently. Now, there's a good listener for you, damn good talker as well," she laughed, knowing the effervescent Wendy would appreciate that outgoing-ness more than herself, "but yeah, she's taught me the importance of sharing some things. So, you think, late night chats over the photocopier is the way to go, huh? Anything else?"
"Um, well I don't really know Sofia, so the next bit is up to you. You have to talk, find out what she's interested in. You know, she might like flowers just as much as you say Catherine does but to be honest I don't know. Tell you what, I'll try and get her in my lab and give her one of my famous quizzes, see if I can find out what she likes and what she doesn't. You can help by getting her in my lab in the first place."
"Go on, what do you mean I can help?"
"Well, you need to ask her to collect some DNA results for you. I know you, you're so territorial, I bet you never let her help with cases and didn't you say she used to be a CSI, so basically she knows what she's doing, yes?"
"So, give up a bit of a case to Sofia, let her in, I bet she'd appreciate it."
Sara mused over that last sentence; she had been a bit short with Sofia over a couple of issues where the blonde detective had tried using her CSI skills during a case. Suddenly she realized just how harsh she had been, once a CSI always a CSI, even if you were now batting for the police side. Sara made a vow to try and be more understanding.
Once again checking her watch, she saw it was time to go into work. As they wandered around the corner the two women chuckled together, wishing each other luck in their pursuit.
Later that night, towards the middle of their shift, Catherine Willows was driving back from Joey Adalian's biological mother's house thinking over yesterday's meeting with the new lab tech, Wendy. For her part Catherine was flattered by the immediate reaction from the younger brunette and couldn't help comparing the two brunettes she had worked with that day: Sara Sidle, so insular and hard to know, Wendy, apparently more open and expressive. Smiling to herself, she had to admit that the new lab technician held a certain attraction, young, brown hair, and gorgeous ebony eyes, "come-to-bed" eyes her father would have called them. Lost in thought, she was disturbed by Sara chuckling beside her.
"Whoa Cath, you were miles away then. Penny for them?" Sara was surprised to see a red flush on Catherine's neck.
"Um, I was just thinking about the new DNA technician. She worked in San Francisco too, did you know her before?"
Sara chuckled, "Yeah, I was friends with her ex, Detective Janet Rhodes, we started in 'Frisco around the same time. When she got together with Wendy, the two of us found we had a lot in common." 'Like having a thing for beautiful blondes,' ran through Sara's head in tandem with her actual words, "Like water skiing and roller-blading. Janet wasn't interested so Wend and I used to hang out."
"So, is it your fault she's come here to work?"
"Um, no, not really, we'd lost touch since I came here. It seems her and Janet broke up and Wendy remembered Janet talking about the Vegas CSI being the best, she saw Greg's post advertised, remembered I was here and well here she is."
Sara smiled evilly, remembering her earlier chat with Wendy, she decided to push, "I heard she asked you out to lunch. You going?"
Catherine flushed again. "No, no, I don't think so."
"Why not Cath, you like them young and brunette?"
Catherine laughed out loud, then glared at her younger colleague, "Yeah, yeah, but I think I need to know a little more about her first. She wanted to see 'dead bodies' or something like that, don't you think that's weird?"
"Yeah, but I promise you Catherine, Wendy's one of the good ones. Think about it, huh?"
The blonde smiled at Sara, deciding to play her at her own game. "So what about you and Sofia?"
"Are you going to ask Sofia out?"
"No, she wouldn't be interested in me."
Catherine groaned at Sara's continuing insecurity and joked, "Sara, I was interested in you, so I'm damn sure that Sofia would be. You're gorgeous, intelligent, buff and single, what's not to like? I'm sure Sofia could do worse, give her a chance."
Sara muttered, "Maybe," as Catherine pulled the Denali into a vacant parking space at the CSI building.
Jumping out the brunette waited at the curb for Catherine and had to smile as she heard Catherine's low comment as she waltzedby, "Anyway, she's always checking out that cute butt of yours, go get her woman."
Catherine walked into the office she shared with the day shift supervisor expecting to have to move all the water fowl from the desk, instead she was assaulted by the vision of five separate vases of Stargazer lilies. Gasping at the sight she pondered who might know her passion for this beautiful pink flower that had always served to re-enforce the ambition she strived for in life.
Gil Grissom, of all people, had sent her her very first bunch the day she started her degree course in her pursuit of being a fully qualified CSI, since then they had remained one of her favorites. She remembered telling Sara the story but couldn't think who else she had told.
Walking towards the desk she spotted a small card and, fingering one of the blooms, read,
After insulting your intelligence by suggesting we look at dead bodies together I thought these beautiful flowers might make amends.
May I take you to the Botanical Gardens at the Bellagio?
Sofia Curtis walked into what was classed as her office; a cluttered desk in the middle of LVPD's bullpen, surrounded by hordes of baying detectives, often high on testosterone. She chuckled at her analogy; it had been one of those weeks, too many cases but nothing that she could really get her teeth into. It seemed like weeks since she'd had the chance to rub shoulders with her friends on the Graveyard shift at CSI.
The year before when she had been demoted to Graveyard by that buffoon Ecklie she had sort of hated things. By the end of her short stint there she had been reluctant to leave Gil, Catherine and their team of competent friendly CSI's, but the call of police work won over and here she was a rookie detective in this male dominated environment.
Sometimes she craved the close working she had occasionally shared with her colleagues at CSI, at least there, while working the evidence, they could share anecdotes and chit-chat. She also missed the gentle, quiet chats she had shared with Gil Grissom; he reminded her so much of her older brother it was unbelievable. She missed her brother greatly and Gil helped heal the separation.
Smiling to herself her thoughts wandered to the lanky brunette in CSI who was more often than not on her mind, Sara Sidle. God but that woman had a great ass and a beautiful smile when she decided to use it. Yeah, a case with Sara, or maybe even Catherine, would be very beneficial right now.
Walking across the bull-pen Detective Vartan called out to her, "Hey Sofia, there's a note here for you, came about an hour ago."
Grabbing the note, she hoped it wasn't to do with the cases she had running, she needed a break. A gasp escaped her lips when she saw the note.
Do you fancy going out for coffee? I heard you were a bit pushed and thought you might like a break. Give me a call at CSI if you're free.
Sofia reached for her phone.
The woman in question looked up from her position bent over the evidence table intent on retrieving the bullet Detective Curtis had intimated may be in Officer Bell's vest. She smiled at her visitor and raised her eyebrows at the mug of coffee being thrust into her hand.
"Thought you might be in need of sustenance, it's been a long old shift. Did your interviews go ok?"
"Yeah, not bad, but let's not talk about work for a few minutes, you're right I needed a break."
Catherine looked towards Wendy, really looked for once. All she could see were deep, soulful eyes holding a hint of warmth and unmistakable friendship. "I never really thanked you for my lilies, did I? They were beautiful. Did Sara mention they were one of my favorites?"
"Yeah. Hope you didn't mind me asking her what you liked but I wanted to make it up to you, that was a stupid thing I did, asking you out to show me 'dead bodies', what an idiot, huh?"
Seeing the look of contrition on Wendy's face, Catherine had to laugh, "Actually I was very flattered, it's not often a younger woman asks me out in any way shape or form, though breakfast might have been better than dead bodies, I admit."
Wendy joined in with the laughter. "Hey! Less of the younger woman stuff, you're not that old, are you?"
Catherine decided to be honest for once in her life, her age didn't bother her much, and she knew she was still good to look at but, she'd decided that maybe if Wendy really was interested in her she would say yes. "A girl never tells, let's just say I passed my forties a while back and if you're old enough, you'll know the year President Kennedy was shot, my birth year."
The strawberry-blonde smirked, imagining Wendy rushing back to check her calculations on the internet.
"Well, I'm 34, just so you know, and I don't care if that's what you were playing at, testing me out." The brunette touched Catherine's arm and indicated the bullet-proof vest. "I'd better leave you to your work. Catch you later."
"Yeah, that would be nice."
Just as the lab tech reached the door, she turned and asked one more question, "So, dinner at the Bellagio is acceptable."
It was a statement not a question.
Catherine grinned and went back to work.
"Hey Sara, can I have a quick word with you?"
Catherine Willows popped her head around the door of 'Sara's lab', where Sara herself was painstakingly piecing together a picture of the gang/police gunfight using hundreds of photographs from the scene, and smiled.
Sara looked up at her colleague and smiled back. The smiles they shared were genuine if a little forced, nobody liked to hear that a cop had been killed while on duty and the death of Officer Bell was even harder to comprehend because of the involvement of their close friends, Detectives Brass and Curtis.
"Hey Cath, how did the interviews go? Jim and Sofia hold up ok under pressure?"
"Actually Sara that's what I wanted to talk to you about. Sofia's really cut up about the death. I think she's got it in her head that she might have had something to do with it and I thought you might be able to talk to her."
Sara jumped, "Why me? She's on administrative leave, isn't she? That means we can't talk to her."
"Come on Sara, she's your friend. I thought you'd been getting closer to her. Stuff the rules, she needs a friend right now, give her a call."
Sara mumbled, "I'll see," before trying to change the subject. "Anyway, talking of friends, what's this I hear about you going for coffee with Wendy? I thought you needed to get to know her first?"
Allowing the change of subject, Catherine chuckled. "Well, there's no time to get to know anyone in this place, hell I haven't seen you to talk to for over a week and we've been working the same cases. And anyway, it was only coffee over the evidence table we never got out the damn building." The blonde CSI shrugged and added in a contemplative voice, "She seems quite nice though."
Sara grinned as Catherine left, maybe it was time for Wendy to up the ante. Her mind turned to Sofia. Sure they had had a few short get-togethers, but whether Sara was strong enough to support her through this mini crisis she wasn't sure. Standing from her chair with a new determination, she set out to find Sofia. According to Wendy this was the way to a detective's heart and the brunette CSI had decided that she did want to try and have a relationship with the detective. If so, she'd have to try this hard comfort stuff.
After securing her evidence Sara left the lab to see if Grissom would give her an hour's leave to call and see how Sofia was doing. As she walked towards Grissom's office however, she could hear Sofia was already there. The jealousy that ripped through her at the sight of Sofia and Grissom having a heart-to-heart caused her to forget all her previously made plans. She ripped into the young detective with no thought for pleasantries.
"Sofia, you're on administrative leave, you should not be in this building."
"I was just talking to a friend; if I can't talk to a friend who the hell am I supposed to talk to?"
Sara wanted to say, 'Me, not Grissom for fuck's sake, me', but the hurt made her say, "Any friend outside the department."
It was obvious Sofia was very angry with Sara as the agony ravaged her features, "And how many friends outside of work do you have, Sara? Or maybe I should go talk to my mother, oh no sorry I forgot she's a cop too."
Sofia's eyes beseeched Sara to understand, and Sara did but she was too far into her own pain of being hurt and unvalued. The CSI's eyes expressed their conflict but her voice betrayed her, "I can recommend the departmental psychologist."
Sofia's whole manner deflated, her shoulders sagged and her face drooped in deep anguish; it was obvious she was on the edge, just barely managing to hold herself together. Turning to Grissom she offered her apologies for a bad idea and turned to leave. The glare she threw at Sara as she passed cut Sara to the core; the CSI had messed up badly. The look from Grissom only emphasized that fact and Sara could only groan inwardly knowing what the response from Wendy and Catherine might be.
She quickly handed her findings to Grissom then went in search of one of her two friends.
"Wendy, I've blown it."
"What do you mean, blown it?"
"Sofia was talking to Grissom, hell she was crying with the man and I lost it."
Sara winced at the look of disbelief her friend threw her way, "Yeah, I know, I admit it, I was jealous as hell. How could she seek Grissom out for comfort? What the hell is wrong with coming to me?"
"Sara, all you've done since she came back is keep her out of your space. A few offers of coffee and you think that's it? Maybe she sees you as more than a friend, maybe she needed to talk things out with someone she has no emotional ties with, maybe hell, Sara you didn't give her chance to tell you anything. Who do you think she's gonna go to?"
"Yeah, yeah, so what do I do?"
"Um, you know I said you ought to be there for her and you've just blown that right out the window, well maybe it's you that has to be all needy. Forget going to Catherine for your support, go to Sofia. Let Sofia know that you need help, and let her. It's about time you let someone look after you a little, give it up to the woman."
Sara looked at Wendy incredulously, hell she'd never had anybody willing to help her, always had to go it alone, how could she even ask for help?
Wendy, seeing the look from Sara, put on a deep, Southern drawl, and teased.
"Yes siree, young lady, you need to play up to Sofia's cop persona. It's no good acting all mean and moody she obviously doesn't want that, so you need to be in distress, you need to need her help. She'll come running on her trusty steed and you'll get to say, 'why thank you ma'am. She'll be smitten and bob's your uncle."
"Wendy, she's a cop not a cowboy and I sure ain't no dairy maid."
"Have you seen how she walks? Trust me, she's a closet cowboy. Play the lady in trouble just right and she's all yours."
At Sara's continuing look of disbelief Wendy burst into loud laughter.
"Hell Sar, you should see your face. I'm joking, been wanting to say that cowboy line for a while now. Truthfully, you need to just be yourself. I know you can do this understanding thing, just let yourself do it. Don't analyse everything so, just be. Do you know why Janet considered you one of her closest friends?"
Sara shrugged, "No."
"Because you would just listen when she'd had a rough day, you never judged, never gave your opinion, unless it was asked for. For some reason, you seemed to understand the cop in Janet. That Sara is what you have to do for Sofia, just be there for her and let her be there for you. The rest will come naturally, I promise you."
"Now how far have you got with helping me out?"
Later that shift Sara had the dubious pleasure of proving that Sofia had not been responsible for the shooting of Officer Bell. She was more than pleased to exonerate the blonde detective but in the process had to prove that her other friend, Jim Brass, had fired the fatal shot.
After closing the case the CSI's had a few quiet days in which Sara pondered the way she was going to make amends to Sofia. Seeing the detective on her way to Officer Bell's wake Sara's heart skipped a beat at the beauty that was a blonde in uniform. It was the first time Sara had seen Sofia in her full dress uniform and she hoped it wouldn't be the last.
Deciding this was the time to start, as Sofia walked on by, ignoring the CSI, Sara gently caught the arm of Sofia and whispered, "I'm sorry."
Sofia spun around, anger on her face, "Sara, this is not the time, leave it."
"I know, I know, but if I don't say it now, I might never find the right time, I know what I'm like." She offered a hint of a smile to the detective. "I was wrong. I wanted to be there for you and I failed. All I can say is 'I was jealous' and I had no right."
Squeezing Sofia's hand in comfort, Sara turned and left the detective to her grief.
Catherine opened her locker after another hard day out in the field. She was ready to go home, to see Lindsey. It had been days since she had shared a coffee with Wendy and the lab tech had not been in contact about the Bellagio.
After days like this Catherine craved some friendly comfort and was beginning to wonder if she ought to arrange a time with Wendy herself.
Her mind on Wendy she missed a small envelope attached to the door front. Grabbing her stuff she was about to close the door when suddenly, the mental image of the note punctured her oblivion. She pushed the door closed and pulled the note from its place.
She opened the note and a small card fell out.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder
Beauty is in all things.
Beauty is in the sky.
Beauty is in the water ever so blue.
Beauty is the winter when trees are covered with snow.
Beauty is the summer when you smell and see the flowers grow.
Beauty is all things big and little.
Beauty is in all things,
Black and white.
Beauty is in all things, you and me.
Beauty is all around us...can't you see?
Smiling at the beauty of the words, Catherine spotted a small handwritten note from Wendy, basically saying that she hadn't forgotten and when the time was right she would arrange a time for their trip to the Bellagio.
Sara and Nick had been called to a double 419 in Henderson. Sara read their call-out slip and realized the investigating officer was Sofia.
She tapped Nick on the shoulder and asked him to pull into the Starbuck's drive-through. He was surprised when she asked for three coffees; his favorite, what he knew to be Sara's favorite, and one other.
"Who's that one for?"
"Oh, thought Sofia might appreciate a pick-me-up."
Nick grinned, not able to stop himself teasing his normally reserved colleague, "And you know her favorite coffee how?"
Sara smiled shyly back, refusing to answer his question.
At the scene she offered the coffee to Sofia and was immensely grateful it was received in the spirit it was given, maybe Sofia was beginning to forgive Sara her recent faux pas.
The two women shared a few quiet moments catching up while Nick retrieved the evidence kits and then the three officers entered the crime scene. As Sofia told the two CSI's about the discovery of two bodies, husband and wife, Sara couldn't take her eyes off the slender body in front of her. To Sara's trained eyes it was obvious Sofia worked out in some way, she put that thought to one side for now to be acted upon once the crime was solved.
Reluctantly turning her gaze to the dead bodies she heard Sofia say she was leaving to chase up the coroner's whereabouts and felt rather than saw the detective start to leave the building. Sara looked up quickly and saw the shy smile that graced Sofia's lips with pleasure.
Lindsey Willows, who appeared more and more adult every day that Catherine came home from working long hours, smiled at her Mom's friend.
Wendy smiled back and suggested a hotdog.
"Yeah, sounds great." Lindsey linked her arm through Wendy's and pulled her towards the street seller. She had been surprised when her mom said a colleague had asked them both to the fair and even more surprised to hear it wasn't Sara. After meeting Wendy, she was really hoping these treats happened more often.
Glancing back over her shoulder Wendy called out, "You want one Cath?" Both younger women couldn't help laughing at Catherine's indignant refusal; they had both heard the CSI's recounting of her day investigating the death of Jerry Gable and his addiction to food.
When Wendy had invited her to the fair, Catherine had been stunned to hear that Lindsey was included in the equation. Wendy had said quietly that it wasn't a date just a chance for the brunette to get to know the most important part of Catherine's life.
Catherine grinned at the ease with which her daughter had accepted Wendy's presence on this day out. Sometimes both Mom and daughter thought they were missing out on the growing up years and days like this were an unexpected pleasure.
If this was part of Wendy's ploy to keep Catherine interested, Catherine realized it was working.
Sara Sidle had just received a page from Sofia and had grabbed a few things together and set off. She whistled a tune as she drove towards her destination. It had been a few days since she had seen the detective and she was looking forward to seeing her again. The last couple of weeks had been a time of rebuilding their friendship and Sara pondered the thought that it might be time to ask Sofia on that date she was hoping for.
Spotting Sofia leaning against a phone booth, she pulled the Denali to the curb and jumped out.
"I've been waiting for you."
Sofia sounded put out.
"Sorry, I headed out as soon as I got your page"
"Really, 'cos I left a voice mail several hours ago."
Sofia chewed on a long match and Sara couldn't help remembering Wendy's comment about Sofia being a closet cowboy. She tried to hide her smirk not wanting to upset Sofia further.
"The anonymous call was traced to this phone booth so I figured you'd want to process."
Sara walked past Sofia feeling a shiver as she gently brushed against the still lounging woman. She started as she saw the booth and couldn't help her sharp comment, "There is finger print powder on the phone." Old habits died hard.
"Yeah, I got bored waiting, I thought you might need some help." Sofia shrugged her shoulders and looked sheepishly towards Sara who was now staring straight at her. Surprised when Sara seemed to offer only a mental shrug, the detective continued, "No useable prints but check out the floor"
Sofia just spotted the smirk on Sara's face as she bent to collect the hair into a bindle and smiled herself.
Sara collected the hairs quickly and the two women chatted about the case as she worked. Walking back to their cars to go in different directions Sara quizzed Sofia about her hours, intending on calling around to Sofia's apartment if they got off early enough.
Back at the lab Sara and Wendy discussed their progress while waiting for the DNA results on the hair. Sara was pleased that her friend seemed to be wooing Catherine slowly but surely. The love she held for both her friends meant that she wanted their relationship to get off the ground. She was just encouraging Wendy to ask Catherine out once more when the tell-tale bleep of results echoed around the lab.
The hair collected in the phone booth was not only female but had seven alleles in common with the murdered young man. The young man had a sister. Sara hurried off to do some research.
Catherine and Sofia drove quietly towards Alison Bradford's house. Catherine had to search the young woman's room and protocol insisted that a law enforcement officer was present.
Both women were lost in thought, Catherine of Alison and whether her solitary existence could have lead her to kill her brother, Sofia of how she would react to meeting this young "Werewolf" for the first time, would she be able to disguise her shock and offer the reassurance she wanted to give. If both women were totally honest with themselves their thoughts were also crossed by visions of Wendy and Sara respectively.
While Catherine searched the room Sofia studied Alison shyly. She'd managed to hide her surprise at the young woman's appearance as best she could although she'd been unable to hold in the small gasp that escaped her lips. Glancing towards Catherine Sofia had tried to convey her apologies for the gasp and been pleased to see the older CSI offer her a reassuring shrug.
Unfortunately Catherine found blood inside the secret room and came to stand beside Sofia as the CSI led the questioning of Alison. Alison claimed to know nothing about the shooting and Catherine's gentle questioning was getting nowhere until she asked a direct question.
"Did you kill him?"
Both women jumped at the hurt look in Alison's eyes as she professed her love for her brother. Catherine probed more trying to say that Alison was afraid of losing her brother to his girlfriend.
"Do you think I'm some sort of animal?"
Sofia winced and heard Catherine's hidden sob at the haunted expression in Alison's expressive eyes; at that moment they both knew that Alison was innocent, they just had to find out the truth and that was appearing harder and harder to come by.
Gentle probing was getting nowhere and Sofia decided to play the good cop bad cop routine. She gently touched Catherine's side, hoping the CSI would realize she was only trying another tack.
"Ok, I'm sorry but we can do this here or we can take it downtown."
It worked. Catherine indicated that she would lead the questions again by reaching backwards and returning the gentle touch. Catherine was surprised, but pleased, at the easy understanding shown between herself and Sofia. She already had a good working relationship with Jim Brass, it now appeared she had the prospect of an effective relationship with his junior officer.
Eventually they managed to tease out that Hayden's best friend Brad was the shooter.
Catherine smiled inwardly at Sofia's obvious understanding of the troubled Alison when the detective asked gently why Alison had held the information back from the investigators.
Driving back to headquarters Sofia supported Catherine's view that they would get the evidence needed to convict Brad without Alison needing to make a statement.
Hours later the two blondes were once more side by side, this time interrogating Brad Moyer. Catherine had taken great pleasure in getting a warrant to search the suspect's home and Sofia had taken even greater pleasure in finding the piece of evidence that broke the case; the silver bullet maker. All that was left was to find the reasons why.
"Hayden was going to marry my sister. I couldn't let that happen. He was diseased. Wasn't a problem for me but my sister deserved better."
Sofia was appalled at Brad's answers. She couldn't help snapping, "So you killed him?"
The young man continued to spout filth and hatred against his so-called best friend.
"It means my sister could have given birth to freaks."
Sofia flinched again; she couldn't understand how anybody could have so much hatred to do that to his sister.
"My sister's out there waiting, and since I've confessed can I at least go out and talk to her, explain why I did it."
There was no way this bigot was going to soothe things over with the distraught young woman she had comforted earlier. Sofia eyed the young man with distaste and snapped, "Why don't I do that for you?"
Catherine looked over to her young colleague, shocked at the pure hatred she heard in the tone. She smiled inwardly, normally she was the blonde that went off at suspects, suddenly she knew that she was going to enjoy working with the new Detective.
Eventually, Sofia returned and with no more words to Brad Moyer, she hauled him up and read him his rights on first degree murder.
Catherine watched Sofia leave and seeing the anguish on her face knew there was something she must do.
While Sofia escorted Moyer out of the building Catherine made a small diversion, quickly made three phone calls and then left to finish up on the paperwork.
Sofia Curtis lounged on her couch and watched some totally inane teen drama she couldn't name if she'd tried. Her third bottle of beer stood empty as she contemplated making the effort to fetch another from the fridge; needing another to block the vision of Moyer's stare as he mouthed the word 'freak' in relation to his sister's fiancé.
Suddenly, her lazy stupor was shattered by a banging on her front door. She opened the door to find a sheepish Sara Sidle on her stoop.
"Catherine said you were a little upset after the interrogation, so thought I'd stop by and see how you were?"
The blonde stepped back allowing Sara to enter.
Sara scanned the apartment, noting the empty bottles and the too loud playing of The O.C, a program Sara just couldn't see Sofia enjoying.
"You don't look fine."
Sofia's eyes filled with tears, "How could anybody do that to their sister? She really loved Hayden and Moyer thought he was a freak, so he killed him. Why?"
Sara sighed. Wanting only to take the hurt away she walked over and enveloped Sofia in a hug.
Catherine Willows stared into the eyes of Alison Bradford and marvelled at the young woman before her. She had to deal with a hideous genetic complaint and yet appeared so gentle and unassuming. Even now Alison was claiming to be alright, that she'd live isolated, just buying things off the net, Catherine's heart broke at the quiet resilience.
"You're set with money?"
Catherine sighed. "Alison, I have every confidence that you're gonna be just fine here but if you ever need anything would you please give me a call."
"I will, Ms. Willows."
"Catherine." The smile she gave to the younger woman was soft and genuine.
Both women were so intent on their conversation they failed to hear a car drawing up outside.
As Alison told Catherine she knew that somewhere out there her mother was alive, that she had forsaken her daughter, Catherine's heart broke a little more. Knowing there was nothing more she could do at this point, Catherine rose to leave, just as a gentle knock broke the quiet.
Catherine touched Alison's hand and turned to open the door. A small woman stood on the stoop. She smiled sheepishly at Catherine and with a timid voice introduced herself as Rita Bradford, Alison's mother. Catherine stood back to let the woman pass and gave a wave to Alison before leaving the two women to mend their bridges.
She walked over to her Denali and climbed into the passenger seat giving a sad smile to the waiting Wendy.
"Thank God that's over."
"Was that the mother? She sure looked nervous, came back to the car once, then obviously decided to go on in. I know this might sound odd but I think she must be so brave to come back, after walking out and all."
"Yeah, a coward to leave, a brave woman to come back. Jeez, I hope they can work things out."
Catherine covered Wendy's knee with a trembling hand and squeezed tight. "Thank you so much for coming out here with me and waiting. It means a lot."
Wendy reached over and pulled Catherine towards her in a strong hug, sharing her body warmth. With her other hand she hooked a piece of Catherine's hair behind her ear and murmured, "Cath, there's no where else I'd rather be."
Sofia watched the woman pounding the streets beside her and smiled.
Things were finally beginning to look up for the friendship. Ever since Sara had turned up after the case involving the 'werewolf' family and just listened things had improved. The comfort she had felt in being held by two strong arms and the non-judgmental way the young CSI had listened made Sofia realize that Sara really did mean it when she said she wanted to be friends.
Today, Sara had called saying she had signed up to run the Henderson Marathon to raise money for the local Vegan Society, that she had never run further than six miles, that she'd heard Sofia ran longer distances, and could Sofia please help her through this madness.
Sofia had chuckled and agreed readily.
Waiting for Sara she'd decided Sara's tale was probably just a ploy to hide the fact that she was once again offering Sofia comfort from the harsh realities of her new profession. Nick Stokes, like Catherine before him, had more than likely informed Sara of Sofia's obvious distress at being unable to revive Kelly Gordon.
Sofia hated to feel needy; hated to feel the need to rely on anybody but herself. Yet, in a perverse sort of way, she was immensely pleased to feel loved and cared for by the CSI Graveyard shift. Although she'd only ever been part of their team for a few months, it was obvious they'd taken her under their combined wing. The fact that Sara was the major player in all of this was becoming more important to the normally alone detective.
Watching the lithe body beside her, even if the wooly cap was a little hard to take, she decided there and then that running with Sara Sidle had one or two other benefits than just keeping fit and alert. With an evil grin she let the seedier side of her brain loose for a few moments.
Yes, having company on her lonesome runs through the streets of Vegas was a small hardship to bear to keep her CSI colleagues happy.
"Looking under formal, dress number 161."
Sara and Catherine were hiding out in Lois O'Neill's clothes closet. Ostensibly looking for evidence of blood or GSR on the starlet's clothes they were actually having a much needed friendly chat as they worked.
Sara couldn't help smiling as Catherine seductively pulled a feather boa under her nose and mused, "You gotta admit this is some kind of closet."
Moving along the rail she found that the dress was missing. Theorizing that the dress was probably at the dry cleaner's they mused over getting a warrant before Sara decided to search out the matching jewelry using the in depth computer catalogue.
"Sofia would kill for this alphabetized list."
Catherine looked across at the brunette noticing the flush that was creeping up Sara's neck. She chuckled at Sara's discomfort and teased, "So, she's a control freak, huh?"
Sara grinned, "Nah, more of a neat freak, but whatever."
"You two getting on ok now?"
"Yeah, we are. I kinda want to take things a step further, you know, but how do I move from being a friend to being a date?"
"Just ask her, Sara, you do remember how?"
Sara blushed again, knowing that Catherine knew all about her reticent behavior years before. The brunette shrugged, "It's been a while, Catherine. You asked me out and there's been no-one else since."
"Oh Sara, just call her, say 'put on your glad rags', pick her up, and take her somewhere special."
"She'll want to know why, where, when, what for " Sara trailed off realizing just how whiney she sounded.
With another laugh at Sara's discomfort, Catherine encouraged her friend to just go for it; to take the choice away from Sofia and to go out and get what she wanted, in a nice way.
Sara suddenly called out, "Got it, drawer 19." As usual the two women had carried on working as they talked and Sara had pulled up the jewelry that matched the missing outfits.
"Oh, how apropos that she's named names; The Canary Diamond."
Catherine fingered the enormous ring as Sara joked, "Wanna bet the birdie sings in the key of GSR?"
Before heading back to check the joke out, the two women fingered a few more of the elaborate robes in the closet. Sara decided to get her own back on Catherine.
"So, have you managed to scare Wendy off?"
Catherine spun around, "No, we're good. She and Lindsey are getting on great, she and I are getting on great, in fact she's a wonderful friend, but "
"The date just isn't happening."
Sara grinned. It was so unusual to hear the hesitancy in her friend's voice. "So, it's not like you to not take the bull by the horns, what gives?"
"Well, I'm waiting for Wendy to set the time and date; it was her that asked me out."
"Yes and you that thumbed her off. Ask her. You just told me to go for it, you go for it."
Sara reached for a green bustier an idea forming in her head, "Catherine, you've got something like this, haven't you?"
Seeing the nod, Sara continued, "Well green is Wendy's favorite color. Wear that, the brown gypsy skirt and high heels and you'll have her eating out of your hands, I promise you."
Catherine laughed, undecided whether having a relationship with the friend of an ex was a good or a bad thing, but undoubtedly now having a plan in her head.
Catherine looked across the table at her mother and the man she now knew to be her father, Sam Braun. She smiled gently; she had to admit that her Mom looked happy for the first time in a long time and Sam had been the perfect host since her arrival. Despite her best intentions Catherine realized she was happy for the older couple to see each other.
Discretely checking the time she reached forward to cover her Mom's hand; it was time to leave.
"I have to go. I just wanted to come by and see for myself that you were ok."
Feeling Sam about to pass a comment, feeling his hurt, she turned to face him with an apologetic look. "I'm sorry for what I said earlier, Sam, I can see that you're really trying with mom." She squeezed her mother's hand then got up to leave.
Walking around the table, she hugged her mom close, then pecked Sam on the cheek, and offered her farewells. She walked across the restaurant floor deep in thought; it seemed her own happy mood was rubbing off on all her relationships. Things were looking up.
She left the restaurant and strolled through the nearby casinos, all the while taking in the heady atmosphere of the massive complex. The noise and the bustle of the casinos were soon replaced by the gentle calm of the entrance to the Café Bellagio.
Catherine took a moment to stand in the Café entranceway, scanning the tables before her. Soon her eyes rested on the gorgeous woman patiently waiting for her. Earlier, immediately after being told by Sara to take the initiative, her mother had invited her to meet up with her and Sam Braun at one of the Bellagio's many restaurants, Catherine had taken it as a sign and invited Wendy to join her here at the Café Bellagio.
Unnoticed, she watched Wendy, amazed that the beautiful young woman was waiting for her. Wendy was wearing a beautiful black dress inlaid with net and shiny sequins that glinted under the bright yet subdued lighting and when she spotted Catherine and stood to meet her, Catherine saw that it was cut high at both sides showing tempting glimpses of feminine thighs.
Wendy smiled at Catherine and held her hand out in welcome, pulling Catherine in to offer a chaste kiss to her cheek she whispered, "Missed you. Everything ok?"
Catherine returned the kiss and smiled, genuinely pleased to say, "Missed you too and yes, Mom and Sam are fine; I really think it might work for them this time. Then again it is Sam, so we'll see." Squeezing Wendy's hand as they took their seats to wait for the waiter she added, "But let's not talk about them, I'm kinda hoping there's something working here too."
Wendy chuckled and nodded her assent.
The meal was glorious with numerous delicious dishes to eat, enjoy and share and all the while they delighted in each other and the breathtaking atmosphere of the adjoining Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. It was a rich and rare combination that satisfied and enhanced all their senses.
By the end of their meal they were already intoxicated; by the atmosphere and by each other, so much so that it felt only natural to walk hand-in-hand as they took the time to stroll around the botanical gardens that truly were a further kaleidoscope for the senses. Row upon row of exotic plants and flowers weaving a glorious tapestry, the magnificent garden abounding in fragrance, texture and color, each other's enchanting company, the gentle hand-holding of new lovers all served to create a moment to cherish.
Leaving the gardens they continued to walk hand-in-hand towards the Bellagio's world-famous fountains. There, swept away by this breathtaking union of water, music and light, they shared their first real kiss. Wendy pulled Catherine to a quiet corner of the terrace and allowed her lips to hover gently over Catherine's welcoming pair, until Catherine couldn't wait any longer. She cupped Wendy's face and closed the distance carefully. Wendy's soft lips claimed Catherine's so lightly the blonde almost didn't feel them. She did however feel the electricity and couldn't stop the quiet moan that escaped. Then Wendy's lips took her harder and her hands pulled the smaller woman in tight.
Neither woman was prepared for the way their senses reeled. Catherine's body was on fire and Wendy struggled to breathe at the intensity. As they pulled apart both were wide eyed, pupils round, mouths slightly agape, grins forming in unison.
Wendy leaned forward and rested her forehead on Catherine's, staring into the blue eyes locked on her own, she whispered, "Jeez, Catherine, let's hope that's the first of many."
Chuckling the two women walked on, lost in each other, lost in the beginning of love.
Sara was driving east out of Vegas central towards Lake Mead, concentrating on the road, enjoying the quiet natural connection with Sofia, pleased that they had reached a point where conversation didn't need to be forced. She turned to her companion and smiled.
"What?" Sofia looked a little nonplussed.
"Nothing. I was just thinking the Tokyo Restaurant was a really nice place. Maybe we could go again."
After leaving Catherine earlier that day Sara had called Sofia, telling her to wear something smart and to be ready for 7pm. As she had prophesized Sofia wanted to know details but Sara had held out and kept their destination a surprise. She was infinitely pleased to see the look of pleasure as she had pulled into the parking lot of the family-owned Japanese restaurant just off East Sahara.
As they had feasted on the finest Japanese food served by women in full kimono dress they had let the peaceful tranquility that permeated the dining room soothe their over-worked brains and bodies. Rice paper panels and wood railings served to enhance the gentle Eastern atmosphere of relaxation and peace.
Sara could still hear the gentle music that tinkled in the background, soft enough to allow conversation. She hadn't realized just how much she adored Sofia's voice and the way it occasionally slipped back into its old English dialect; a country she had left as a girl but a country it was hard to leave behind forever. Thinking back now, Sara realized the evening had only served to prove that she was falling and falling hard for the gorgeous blonde beside her.
Lost in thoughts of the wonderful evening she was startled when Sofia coughed. "You didn't hear a word I just said, did you?"
A sheepish grin spread across Sara's face, "No."
"What were you thinking about?"
The look of pure joy that crossed Sofia's face eased Sara's worry about the half-lie; although her thoughts had concentrated on the restaurant, she had been thinking about Sofia and her rightful place in Sara's best evening in years.
Silence descended once more as the signs showed they were within minutes of the turn off towards Callville Bay and Sara didn't want to miss it. Callville Bay was one of the places Catherine had introduced her to; close enough to Las Vegas to be convenient, yet far enough away to be a little less crowded than other places on Lake Mead. The reason Sara had come to love it so much was the drive down and especially the place that Sara liked to call her own; the place she was now going to share with Sofia.
She glanced over to Sofia trying to find the words to explain.
"I come out here when I need to think. A few years ago Catherine of all people," she still hadn't told Sofia that she had dated the older woman for awhile, "brought me to Callville Bay, another 5 miles further on. I loved it and often used to drive out to go water skiing."
Sofia was entranced at Sara's words, surprised that the normally insular woman was starting to share pieces of her life. She smiled in acknowledgment.
"One day I spotted this little track and pulled over to take a look and well you'll see in a few minutes what I mean. Anyway, it became my place; my refuge; my thinking stone; my peace."
As Sara turned into a hidden entrance Sofia reached over and squeezed her knee, amazed that she was being shown this private piece of Sara.
Sara pulled the car over and walked around to hold the door open for Sofia. Taking her hand she drew her towards the hood of the car, where she pulled the smaller woman into her arms and held her tightly. Sofia gasped at the panoramic view in front of her. Over to the right were the twinkling lights of a large marina but below and beyond was the perfectly peaceful sight of acres and acres of gently lapping water.
"I've never shown this spot to anyone else, it's mine. I wanted to share it with you." Sara whispered the words so quietly Sofia barely heard them. She turned in the circle of Sara's arms and rested her head against the taller brunette's shoulder.
After a few moments of companionable silence Sara leaned in and rested her lips against Sofia's, "I want to kiss you, I'm going to kiss you," and with those quiet words she did. It was a gentle lip to lip kiss that affirmed her attraction. Sara drew back carefully and allowed her tongue to stroke over Sofia's lower lip.
Sofia looked shocked as if she couldn't believe Sara had the guts to do what she had just done.
Sara smirked, absurdly pleased with herself, and absolutely certain that she wanted more.
"Can I do that again?"
"I don't know, can you?"
Sara laughed and ground out, "Smartass," in a teasing tone. "May I do that again?"
Sofia's smile was playful as she replied, "What?"
Sara pulled Sofia to her, the gentleness disappearing, "This." There was no chasteness in the kiss this time. Sara's lips were open and hungry for more and Sofia's opened in immediate response. Tongues stroked and danced in deft exploration. Lost in the sensation Sara's hands dropped of their own volition to cup Sofia's firm ass; she was rewarded by a deep moan from Sofia's throat.
Sofia cherished Sara's courage and exploration, her body thrumming with need, her mind shorting out with electrical energy. Reluctantly she pulled back, and looked into Sara's eyes, seeing the energy and need reflected back at her.
Sara's eyes changed to questioning, "What?"
Sofia grinned evilly and leant forward to murmur in a husky voice, "I'm not gonna spoil this relationship by having sex in a semi-public place, no matter how deserted it is." She grabbed Sara's hand and pulled her back towards the car, "Come on."
Sara threw her head back and laughed out loud. Following the smaller blonde, she was mesmerized as Sofia sashayed her hips, lost in the feelings coursing through her body, she could wait. Awhile.
Catherine Willows looked out over Callville Bay marina and laughed out loud. In the distance she could just make out two brunette heads sitting astride a jet ski each. She didn't need to hear the words being exchanged to know it was some sort of wager and accompanying challenge. Sure enough one of the women chopped her arm to count down three, then the two jet skis disappeared in a splash of foam.
Sofia Curtis also looked out into the distance, directed towards the racing pair by the arm of her blonde CSI colleague. She too laughed.
The two women left back on the shore wandered over to the near-by cocktail terrace and treated themselves to ice-cold drinks. Sitting together in gentle friendship they talked a little of work; Catherine going into some detail about the unusual case she had shared with Greg and Detective Sam Vega, and Sofia recounting her recent "blast-from-the-past" lunch with the much missed Detective Ray O'Reilly.
The conversation came to a comfortable end and Catherine looked out across the water once more. She turned towards Sofia and raised her glass in silent acknowledgement of all they had. They smiled at each other and then sank back in peaceful contentment.
Suddenly, excited chatter broke the peaceful reverie the two blondes were sharing as a soaking wet Lindsey threw herself on a nearby chair.
"You should have seen those two idiots, Mom. Racing around those buoys Sara nearly lost it and Wend nearly crashed into her. Then, then, she " Lindsey pointed at the approaching Sara, " jumped off her ski and pulled me off mine, while she " this time she pointed at Wendy," held my head down."
As the two listeners burst into laughter Lindsey pouted.
Reaching the table Wendy bent down to kiss Catherine's lips, then turned to ruffle Lindsey's hair. "Come on Linds, you enjoyed it really, huh?"
Lindsey grinned from ear-to-ear and murmured, "Yeah."
Sara lifted her head from greeting Sofia in the same manner as her friend had greeted Catherine and sighed.
"All that exercise has got me parched, Linds? How about helping me fetch some ice creams?"
Suddenly full of extra energy, the teenager jumped up in agreement.
When later they were joined by their male colleagues from the CSI and police departments and an impromptu flag football game ensued it was Sara and Wendy's turn to watch over their girlfriends. Leaning against each other's shoulders, exhausted from earlier in the day, they looked back over the last few months with wonder.
As if by magic they turned to each other and said exactly the same words, "Thank you for helping me win " They laughed out loud.
Sara reached over to give Wendy a hug. "Seriously Wend, thanks for helping me find Sofia, it means a lot. And thank you for coming to Vegas, I like it." She didn't need to say anymore because Wendy understood the sentiment exactly.
Wendy smiled then added her own thoughts. "No, thank you for taking me back into your world and thank you for giving me Catherine." She held up her hand to stop Sara's words, "I know you didn't give me her literally but without your help I might have still been chasing dead bodies through the night."
Chuckling at the thought the two brunettes leant back to happily watch their extended family enjoy each other.
Catherine Willows and Sofia Curtis were enjoying a quiet drink. The two blonde women had been mutually surprised to find they had struck up a strong friendship in the past twelve months. It helped that their respective girlfriends were good pals and kept insisting on joint outings but Catherine and Sofia had found they'd also connected on a level that didn't need Sara and Wendy to be around.
Now, as had become custom, the first Tuesday of every month was what they jokingly called Alternate Night; the four women swapped partners while Sara and Wendy had a night on the town and Catherine and Sofia enjoyed a movie and a drink at home.
Sofia grinned at her companion and thought back over the development of her relationship with Catherine. It was true she had found a loving partner in Sara and yet their too similar tendency to bottle things up rather than talk them through with each other had found an outlet in the much more experienced Catherine. Both Sara and Sofia turned to the older woman for counsel, mostly at separate times but occasionally together, and the resulting friendship from all angles was mutually supportive.
Catherine for her part found that having a young effervescent partner like Wendy meant she occasionally needed to slow down. Surprisingly, Sofia had turned out to be the perfect remedy. The younger blonde woman, Catherine slowly found out, enjoyed the exact same things she did, even to the extent of dancing her way through university rather than being beholden to her parents. Sofia was a kindred spirit to Catherine in many ways, with a sometimes volatile temper to match.
Luckily, the steady personality of Wendy Simms kept this sometimes volatile threesome in check. Catherine smiled inwardly as she thought about her partner. She had found a perfect counterpart in Wendy and wasn't afraid to admit it. The brunette lab tech had quickly become the bedrock from which Catherine managed to live her life to the full; a perfect lover, a caring 'parent' to Lindsey, a friend to her mom and sister, and surprisingly more than a match for her father. Yes, Wendy and Lindsey were her family now and that was all that mattered.
Catherine's musing was broken by the sound of a genuine laugh from her young colleague.
"Did Wendy tell you about the experiment she and Sara were running this time last year?"
"Um, I don't know. Tell me?"
Sofia chuckled again. "Well, it seems you'd just blown Wendy off when she first asked you out."
Catherine grinned at the memory and listened as Sofia continued.
"Anyway, Wendy asked Sara how she might win you over and Sara agreed to help if Wendy helped her to win me over. You know, I guess, that Wendy used to be with a blonde detective back in California and Sara thought she'd have all the answers. Needless to say Sara nearly blew the whole experiment during Alison's case."
Sofia stopped her tale to ask after Alison Bradford. She knew that Catherine and Wendy spent a couple of days each month just talking and interacting with the lonely young woman. After agreeing to join Catherine on her next visit she continued with her earlier train of thought, wanting to know Catherine's theories.
"Hey Cath, back to what I was saying. Wendy and Sara had this theory: two brunette heads are better than one in the process of achieving true love with a blonde haired beauty. I'm not convinced, what say you?"
Catherine laughed; she could see the two brunettes in question and almost hear their words as they made plans.
"Ah but what they forgot to take into account is that this blonde haired beauty has a mind of her own. I'll tell you something, Sofe, if I didn't want to go out with Wendy it wouldn't have mattered a jot if one or two heads planned the assault and I'm sure that's pretty much the same for you."
Sofia laughed again and nodded her head in agreement.
"Mind, I kind of liked the way Sara encouraged her to win me. The sweet way is always the way to get me but the most important bit was the winning over of Lindsey. Without Lindsey's acceptance I couldn't have made a go of it with Wendy."
"Yeah, what Sara doesn't know is that Mom had her checked out quite thoroughly." Sofia winked at Catherine then gave a gentle shrug; they both knew Sara's background. "Luckily for me, Mom doesn't let facts put her off until she's seen the whole picture. She loves Sara."
Catherine smiled again. It was good to hear that Sofia's Mom loved Sara; her CSI colleague needed that support. She took a moment to think about this so-called experiment.
"So, what we're saying, using the experimental analogy, is that it's not really possible to say conclusively that our two brunette heads were better than one in the process of achieving true love with us blonde haired beauties." She gestured between the two of them. "However, it's sort of clear that the support they gave each other played a major part in the smooth," she winked at Sofia, "or should I say relatively smooth, pursuit and subsequent winning of true love with said beautiful blonde."
Taking up the teasing tone Sofia continued in a voice stolen from her much beloved professor of years ago, "Yeah, it appears the variables were plentiful leading to questions of the reliability of the experimental process. Time, circumstances, outside influences, weather and environmental conditions, all served to alter the intended route to true love and yet the final result was the same."
Sofia looked up at Catherine; Sara had finally told her about her previous relationship with the older CSI. Sofia had been surprised to find it didn't matter, she could see that the two women still had a deep friendship but that, now, Catherine so obviously adored Wendy. However, she also knew that Catherine still cared deeply for Sara and for that she needed to reassure Catherine that she was genuine.
"I do love Sara, you know, deeply. I will never knowingly hurt her."
Catherine leaned over and squeezed her friend's hand, "That's good to know because if you do I will willingly kill you whether we're friends or not. Mind Sara would probably be the CSI in charge of the investigation and I'd be in deep water so you'll probably be safe. Just know "
Catherine's words trailed off, her threat hung heavy in the air; Sofia knew that Catherine would protect Sara to the end. That said, both women also knew the true depth of feeling involved in both of their present relationships, it didn't need to be said but Catherine decided to lighten the mood again by offering her support as best she could.
"So, from all the evidence we have in front of us, it's sort of obvious that you and Sara can and will have a strong and very long relationship." With another squeeze of Sofia's hand she added in a whisper, "and I for one am more than glad."
Sofia blushed and effortlessly took up the original line. "It's also obvious that you and Wendy are perfect partners for each other." Switching to her professor voice she continued, "So, it appears the only conclusion we can offer is to say that each of the brunettes would have achieved true love with their blonde haired beauty without the help of the second brunette."
Laughing, Catherine finished the thought, "However, two brilliant heads may have sped the process up twofold."
Clinking their wine glasses together in celebration they toasted their absent partners successful experimentation and settled back to wait for their return.
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