Possibly due to the airline strikes and resulting drop in tourism, it was unexpectedly quiet in the city that never sleeps. Grissom got caught up on paperwork as the rest of the team processed remaining cases. Although odd, it was reassuring that nature and humanity could co-exist with no fatal occurrences. While that would certainly change, it made for a welcome break.
Grissom assembled the team in an impromptu meeting in the ME's autopsy room. Nick, Sara, and Warrick sat on the empty, shiny steel table while the others huddled around.
"First off, I'm sure you'll be happy to hear that Jim Brass was cleared of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of our infamous Alphabet killer," he announced to brief applause. "In speaking with Catherine, she's ready to come back. She says, and I quote, 'I'm bored to death' and she is eager to return. Several of you have expressed an interest in scheduling the same night off to attend a welcome-back dinner for her. While normally that wouldn't be possible, in light of the recent lack of crime I was able to trade favors with the day shift. We managed to rearrange schedules to allow this. So Warrick, Nick, and Sara have tomorrow night off. Doc, Greg, myself, and Griffin from days will cover the shift."
Gil glanced towards the open doorway as a figure appeared. He smiled and nervously cleared his throat as he recognized Lizzy. "Are there any questions?"
"Are we on call?" Warrick asked.
"No, you are officially off. Feel free to enjoy dinner and whatever follows." Grissom looked directly at Nick with a stern face as he delivered the answer. He was still angry about the incident. "As for tonight, there should be enough to keep us busy. If not, find something. And if you can't find something, I'm sure I can find something for you."
"Where's Doc?" Greg asked.
"He's at UNLV giving a talk about Forensic Medicine," Nick answered. "He couldn't have picked a better time."
Grissom trailed behind the others, who curiously glanced in Lizzy's direction. He stepped up to her, unsure how they should greet. She sensed his apprehension as she leaned forward and lightly kissed his cheek. Lizzy wondered if this was such a good idea after all.
"How was the drive? Did you have much trouble finding the lab?" he asked.
"The drive was pretty," she lied. Lizzy couldn't take notice of the passing scenery or enjoy the city lights because her stomach was tied in knots and doing flips like never before. In her mind she kept hoping things between them would work out, but at the same time saw the approaching pain and misery of heartbreak. She didn't know why she'd let him in the door that first night. It didn't help that he was hopelessly adorable. "Your directions were precise, like you've been here a few times before."
"Just a couple," he said as he smiled and enjoyed her stab at humor. It lightened the tension that hovered like a fog around them. "Thanks for coming. Let me give you the tour that I promised. "
* * * * *
Dr. Robbins was initially nervous as he began the speech. He felt uncomfortable in a suit and preferred hospital greens. Beads of perspiration formed on his brow, trickled from the sideburns, and ran down his neck. Standing behind a podium in a bright spotlight didn't help. His fingers trembled, and the papers that contained his speech vibrated and made reading them difficult at best. But once he got started it all flowed. His nervousness disappeared. The audience was captivated by his experiences and discoveries in forensics. A question and answer session followed, and he addressed them in a friendly and sincere voice.
During his 90 minute informal lecture, his gaze was repeatedly drawn to an exceptionally beautiful young woman in her early twenties. She was one of the few that elected to sit in the first row directly in front of the podium, and he couldn't help but notice her. He never suspected she wanted to be noticed.
Her shoulder-length strawberry blonde hair shimmered in the light, as the seat she chose was at the extreme bottom edge of the spotlight. Her narrow face and high cheekbones reminded him of some of the supermodels that graced the pages of women's fashion magazines. The rest of her was equally appealing. She had a sleek, slender form, and was nicely dressed in a tight red pullover top that emphasized what appeared to be gorgeous breasts. The outline of her nipples teased and tempted him to stare. Her golden legs were crossed, and periodically she changed which thigh was crossed over which knee. When she did the very short white skirt shifted position and flashed him a peek of her white lace panties.
Her round blue eyes were dazzling and bright, and repeatedly captivated him. Doc could have gotten lost in her gaze if he allowed himself the privilege. She became so distracting that he made a conscious effort not to look at her, but that quickly made her presence even more evident in his mind. Several times the young woman derailed his train of thought with a simple gesture, and when he paused to recover she smiled as if she knew she'd been the cause for his stumble.
He breathed a sigh of relief when the presentation ended and the last question was answered. Doc packed away a few items he'd brought to display to the audience, and when he was done and started to leave he realized the woman was still sitting there. She finally rose from the chair and walked towards him.
"Impressive speech," she applauded his efforts. That was when the full impact of her beauty hit him. She was entrancing, and he was immediately under her spell. "Let's get a cup of coffee."
"Yeah, uh..." Doc raised his right hand to his head and rubbed his temple, as if he was battling an inner war of good versus evil. When he decided, his fingers caressed his scalp and his arm lowered to his side. "Okay, that sounds great. Do you have a place in mind?"
They walked to his car side by side and he dropped off the bag that contained the medical items. When he offered to drive, she declined.
"It's a beautiful night. Let's walk. It's not that far."
As they crossed the campus they paused several times and admired the star-filled sky. Doc felt like a teenager again. His stomach tightened with nervous fear as he walked with the gorgeous lady that was a fraction of his age. He didn't understand what he was afraid of.
"I've rattled on long enough about myself and my career," he finally stated. "What's your story? I'd really like to know."
"You already know my name," Tiffany commenced. "I'm a West Coast girl and have bounced around several different places since I graduated high school. I enroll in classes from time to time for something to do or to meet new people, but I don't take life very seriously. I work at a job until it bores me, and I drift to another place."
"What drew you to my lecture?" he quizzed his new acquaintance.
"It was more the picture of you on the poster than the topic," she confessed, giggling like an excited teenager instead of a twenty three year old woman. "I'm sorry, I'm acting silly. I don't know why I'm so nervous."
"I am too," he admitted as he held up his hands. "I haven't had sweaty palms in years."
They stopped in the middle of the freshly mowed grass underneath a canopy of stars and laughed at the situation. When the laughter stopped their eyes met. This time Doc made no attempt to avert his gaze from the gorgeous sparkling orbs of white, blue, and black. The hair on his neck stood up as a chill rippled through him. His sweaty palms lifted and embraced her smooth, warm cheeks. Her hands raised and caressed the back of his hands. The bright moon bathed them in heavenly light. Had anyone else seen them, they would have balked at the difference in age and think the romantic moment looked silly.
After getting lost in her gaze for several long moments, Dr. Robbins leaned forward. Their heads tilted slightly and their eyes closed just as their warm lips embraced in a first kiss that rattled their bodies with excitement. Heart rates spiked and breathing quickened. After several gentle kisses, her tongue extended into his mouth. The kissing grew passionate and for several minutes they savored the warm wetness of one another's mouth. Swishing, thrusting muscles explored and entwined. Neither wanted the moment to end.
Doc slowly retreated from her mouth, surprised and astounded by the amazing kiss. "Did you mean for this to happen, or did it just happen?" he whispered, his hands still embracing her soft face.
"I adore older men, and I did everything imaginable to make sure you noticed me in the crowd," she honestly revealed. "After that, I wasn't sure what would happen, if anything. When I suggested we walk, I was hoping it might spark something. I'm glad that it did."
"You're going to break my heart, aren't you?" He had intended it to be a joke, but after he heard his own words and saw his soul reflected in her eyes he realized it wasn't.
"I meet people, I love them, and I drift," she admitted with a shrug of her shoulders. "I don't take anything seriously, and I won't apologize for who I am. You can either hang on for the ride, or let go right now. The decision is yours, but I'd much prefer you hang on."
He knew he should have let go at that moment, but instead he climbed on. He was the moth, she was the flame, and destiny be damned. When their kissing resumed he heard the tell-tale click-clack of a roller coaster being hauled by heavy moving chains to the tallest peak of the ride. He had no idea how low the other side would be.
* * * * *
"And this is the computer lab," Grissom said as he led Lizzy to a computer terminal. "Go ahead, sit down and I'll show you a few things."
Gil reached his arms around her and placed his hands on the keyboard. He leaned his head over her right shoulder and noticed the scent. "You've changed your perfume."
A wide grin appeared on her face that he saw reflected on the monitor. "I was hoping you'd notice. Hey, wait a second, you're wearing cologne."
"I hoped you'd notice," he replied.
The knots in Lizzy's stomach loosened and the tension lifted. She was guarded but hopeful, and felt the looming pain of rejection retreating, if only momentarily.
Grissom logged in and demonstrated the wonder of technology. He showed how to enter names, select databases, and perform selective searches. Gil secretly hoped she was paying attention.
"I'm sorry, I'm being paged," he apologized for the interruption. He reached for his cell phone, flipped it open, and excused himself. "I'll be back in a few minutes. Stay here."
There had been no call. After disappearing through the doorway he guarded it. He didn't know if Lizzy wanted to know or not. He'd let her natural curiosity find, or refuse to seek, the answer.
Realizing she was in front of a powerful tool, she typed in her own name. She followed the link to her mother's name and successive links as well. Tears formed in her eyes. She tried fighting them back but they ran down her cheeks unabated. It didn't take a detective to see that Grissom had led her here for a reason. He returned a few minutes later.
"I'm not my mom," she said in a broken voice. "You don't have to be scared of me."
Gil grabbed the chair she occupied and spun it around. He knelt before her. "You do scare me, but not that way. I wasn't sure if you wanted to know. I didn't know what else to do. I couldn't be with you knowing you had no idea," he tried to explain and justify his actions.
Lizzy gestured both her understanding and appreciation, and a meeting of their lips followed. Nick innocently observed from the open doorway, and then stepped back. He was surprised at the very least. He wasn't sure what to do when Grissom and his friend emerged from the room.
"Oh, hey, Nick," Gil greeted with all traces of anger gone.
"Look, I just wanted to personally thank you for calling in favors to make tomorrow night happen."
"I did it for Catherine," he pointed out.
"I know," Nick replied. "I'm not proud of the choice I made, and it won't happen again. Look, it's dead around here. Take off, I'll handle things."
Grissom raised an eyebrow in response to the 'dead around here' remark. "Can you handle it?"
"I think I can," Nick assured him.
Gil gave him an appreciative smile. "You're not off the hook yet."
Grissom started to leave, then stopped and turned to face him. "Two?"
Nick's smiling face confirmed it.
"Was it worth it?" Grissom asked.
"Any other time, yes," Nick confirmed. "But damaging the relationship with my highly respected mentor? No."
Grissom smiled as he pointed a finger at Nick. "Oh, you're good."
* * * * *
A small café was next to her apartment building. Doc and Tiffany occupied a small, round, glass-topped table outside next to the sidewalk and sipped on specialty coffee as passers-by noticed her beauty and much older companion. She ignored them.
She reached beneath the table. "Give me your hand."
His look questioned her intentions. She just smiled and licked her lips seductively.
"Come on," she encouraged him.
He glanced around and finally consented. She grasped his hand and extended it between her parted thighs. The skin felt wonderful to his fingers. She inched her chair closer to him and pivoted towards the sidewalk instead of away from it. Her left arm slid around his shoulders and she pulled her body closer to his. Doc's hand moved up and down from the knee to the edge of her skirt and enjoyed her magnificent quivering flesh.
She smiled admiringly at him. "You can go higher."
"Here?" he questioned in shock as cars and pedestrians passed by so closely.
"Here," she confirmed. "You can't stop this ride once it starts."
When his fingers reached the bottom edge of the skirt they pushed it higher and continued moving to her pussy. He swallowed hard as the pads of his fingers pressed against the outline of her lips. They felt wonderfully warm, and a hint of moisture was already present. His penis immediately stirred. Her body shuddered against his, and she softly groaned into his ear. The warmth of her breath on his ear further heightened his excitement. He deftly threaded his fingers under the crotch of her lace panties and touched her bare flesh.
"Isn't it a rush?" she softly whispered. "Everybody's looking at me, wanting me, but you're the one that has me. Tell me that's not exciting."
Doc nervously cleared his throat. "It's...stimulating."
"Open up that stuffed shirt and release your soul." Her lips and tongue kissed and licked on his ear. He was surprised at the incredible sensations it generated, and Doc groaned in delight. After she devoured the lobe her flicking tongue pressed inside the canal.
He closed his eyes and forgot where he was, although the sounds of cars and footsteps reminded him. He pushed a finger between the outer folds of her pussy and explored the moist slit. It grew wet as he fingered her.
"Touch my breast," she requested as she breathed heavily into his ear and moaned in arousal.
Doc couldn't refuse her. He was hard and throbbing, filled with excitement and desire for her gorgeous body. His right hand reached across his body and cupped a glorious mound through the red top. He quickly realized she wasn't wearing a bra, that the swell he fondled was naturally firm and gravity-defying. It was wondrous. His finger pushed into her canal as far as it could reach and began moving in and out. She was quickly wet as her lithe form writhed in the seat. His hand squeezed on the breast, enjoying the soft tissue and swollen nipple that pulsated with excitement.
"I want you," he said as he acknowledged his powerful desire for her.
Tiffany smiled. "I was waiting for that. Come on, my apartment is just a dozen steps away."
Hand in hand she led him to the next building and through a set of glass double doors. They walked down a hallway past several doors until reaching hers. She unlocked the door with trembling fingers and swung it open. She stood beside the threshold as he closed and locked it behind them. They were both breathing heavily and were flushed with excitement. Doc grasped her hands and moved them high above her head, pinning them helplessly against the wall.
"That's no fair, you've been reading my mind," she teased, then purred and grinned. She bent her right leg and eagerly rubbed her bare thigh against his left outer leg. Tiffany wanted him badly and loved the style in which he was taking her.
He moved her wrists together and kept them pinned with one hand, releasing the other to enjoy her body. He anxiously tugged the tight red top up to the neck and admired the beautiful breasts. The round swells were all natural. He delicately cupped one and they both groaned as he savored the silky warmth of her flesh. His penis restlessly stirred and hardened after its brief lull during the walk to her apartment. Her nipples easily doubled in size and pulsated with desire. He gently pinched and twisted on the rubber-like, diamond-hard nub.
Doc leaned down and devoured the other breast with his mouth. She gasped aloud and shuddered in delight as saliva bathed her creamy flesh and nipple. A groan caught in her throat and her body flinched as his actions triggered a sudden jolt of joy. It left her center and rippled throughout her body, with smaller aftershocks following. Her body released a squirt of essence as the warmth in her loins grew hot with passion. Tiffany moved her thighs together, alternately flexing and releasing the muscles and placing delightful stimulation on her pussy. Doc would have none of that and pressed his right knee between her legs, stopping her.
"You are so cruel," she whispered as he denied her the self-pleasuring act.
"You picked up the wrong guy this time. You're going to be begging for my cock long before I really get started," he simultaneously warned and promised her.
"No, for once I think I found Mr. Right," she countered.
He leaned his head back and looked at her incredible, heaving breasts. They were stunning, and one glistened with saliva from his efforts. His mouth descended to the other and gave it equal treatment as her groaning and twitching grew louder and harder. Her back arched and she pressed herself harder against him, moving a shoulder forward in an effort to fill his mouth with her aching tissue. A persistent throbbing developed between her legs as her pussy announced its need to be stimulated. Her hands tested his resolve to keep her pinned and was further aroused as she verified her complete and utter helplessness. It added fuel to the tingling warmth and an intense wave of pleasure was released. It almost felt like she was peeing in her panties as her body stiffened and vibrated. The smell that wafted upward seconds later confirmed it wasn't urine but rather essence that now soaked her panties.
When he'd filled his need for her breasts, Doc pushed the red top up over her head and up her arms. He suspected she might challenge him for the fun of it, and wasn't wrong. It was a tricky move but he released her wrists and simultaneously tied the top around her wrists to secure them. Tiffany fought him and they dropped to their knees on the floor in a brief wrestling match that either Doc won outright or she had conceded to. Regardless, her wrists were tightly bound behind her back. He helped her up and led her to the bed, tossing her down on the mattress.
"What's next?" she asked as she flashed him a smoldering look of desperate desire.
Tiffany didn't have to wait long for an answer. Doc kneeled on the bed and pushed her thighs apart. She playfully resisted as she played the role of an unwilling victim. He did the same as her captor and treated her roughly and with contempt. She made him earn his way between her thighs and when they parted her fighting stopped. She lay back on the bed as he pushed up the bottom of her shirt white skirt and admired the view of her panty-clad crotch. He saw the signs of her significant arousal as it stained the white lace and smeared along the edges.