DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Sofia slid off her aviator sunglasses as she stepped from the oppressive heat into the refreshing cool the mall had to offer. Taking just a moment to allow her eyes to adjust, she headed for the bookstore to purchase Jen Wright's "Killer Storm." She'd seen a few reviews and had been hoping for the chance to read the book for herself, and since she was off the next three days, she decided now was as good a time as any to indulge in her secret vice, reading lesbian fiction.
The detective nodded at the clerk as she entered the store, and the young woman smiled at her latest customer. She'd flirted shamelessly with Sofia the last time the blonde had visited the bookstore, and she was hoping that today she'd be able to talk the other woman into exchanging phone numbers. Sofia seemed to realize the clerk's intent as she quickly lengthened her strides and headed to the back of the store.
Relieved that she'd managed to temporarily avoid the clerk, Sofia almost missed seeing the dark haired woman standing at the end of the aisle, skimming the pages of a book. Sofia quickly darted to the adjacent aisle to avoid detection; however, the woman was so engrossed in the text, she wouldn't have noticed Sofia even if she'd stepped right next to her. The detective took a moment to study the other woman.
Sara was leaning against the bookcase, flipping page after page, her focus as intense as if she were studying case notes. Sofia moved a couple of books aside and zeroed in on the title of the book Sara was reading. A few moments later, Sara glanced left and right and then lifted the book up a little higher. Sofia smiled brightly when she was finally able to read the print, "Best Lesbian Erotica 2007." Her suspicions were confirmed, Sara Sidle was a lesbian.
Sofia pushed a strand of hair behind her ear and turned to walk around the bookcase. Swinging her hips in an exaggerated fashion, she strutted around the corner.
"Hey, Sara. Good book?"
Sara's head snapped up, and she dropped the book to the floor. "Sofia? What are you doing here?"
"Just looking around. What've you got there?" Sofia moved to pick up the book, but Sara was just able to snatch it off the floor before the other woman. She quickly slid it behind her back.
"Nothing. Just some research is all."
Sofia's eyebrow rose. Research? Surely, Sara wasn't just now figuring out that she was gay.
"What kind of research?" Sofia pressed the investigator, not about to let her off the hook so easily.
"Um, just looking for new ways to do things." Sara fidgeted, glancing over her shoulder at the books behind her. She almost shouted for joy when she noted the 'Auto Mechanics' section.
Sofia grinned. "Things?"
"Yeah, different ways to check for evidence under the hood." Sara motioned to the bookcase behind her.
"Oh, I just bet you can't wait to get under the hood after studying that book so intensely." Sofia couldn't help but smirk as she watched the color drain from Sara's face; however, Sara stayed true to her course.
"Well, there are some very interesting theories presented that I wouldn't mind trying out."
"Like what? Tightening and loosening belts, checking the dip stick for fluids, or maybe, inspecting the drive shaft?" Sofia bit her lower lip to keep from bursting out laughing while Sara turned even paler.
"Er, that sounds about right." Sara began to slowly wedge the book between two others in the shelf behind her. She'd just about succeeded in working it onto the shelf when Sofia's words stopped her cold.
"Mind if I see it? Cars fascinate me."
Sara's lack of response and deer in the headlight look almost had Sofia changing her mind about pushing the other woman; however, she was too interested in Sara to let this opportunity get away. Her mind made up, she reached around the investigator; her sudden move catching Sara off guard. Sofia easily pulled the book from Sara's grasp.
"This one's not worth the asking price. It's not nearly as good as last year's. If you're interested in reading it though, you can always borrow my copy."
Sara watched the detective flip through the pages in much the same way as she had earlier. Sofia had pretty much outed both of them, and Sara had no idea how to respond.
"You know, this bookstore has very good coffee. Would you like to get a cup?" Sofia looked up and smiled reassuringly, hoping to put Sara at ease.
"Um, yeah, I guess so." A splash of color returned to Sara's face as she turned a nice shade of pink, and nervously, she shuffled her feet back and forth. She felt just like a teenager accepting her first date.
Sofia placed the book back on the shelf, and then held out her hand to the investigator. Sara stared at the offering, slowly reaching out to take Sofia's hand. She couldn't believe that Sofia could be interested in her.
Sofia smiled once again as she led Sara down the aisle, heading towards the other side of the store. "Hey, Sara, you're off this weekend, too, aren't you?"
The clerk watched the couple walk towards the coffee shop, hand in hand. Both women were beaming as they placed their orders and took a seat in the corner booth. The young woman sighed and turned her sights on another.
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