CSI: Old Friends


"No, actually Katherine called me while you were in the bedroom and said that you have been removed fully from the list of suspects. However, you or someone else will have to, well, um, identify the body." He finished awkwardly.

"When? I mean when do they need this done?" I asked.

"Whenever you are ready to. Or whenever you pick someone to do it." He assured me.

"How about in the morning, after my parents get here, can you schedule it?" I asked wanting it to be done with.

"Yes, I can do that," He told me. "If you are sure you want to do it that soon."

I assured him that I did. I heard his cell phone buzz. Answering it, he got up from the couch and I curled up on my side of it. I could hear him say, "you are kidding, right?" I wondered who was calling and thought maybe it was a girl friend or something. He finished up rather quickly and came back to the couch. Sitting down at my feet, he turned to look at me. I could tell that there was something that he was trying to decide how to tell me. "Nick, is something wrong?" I asked, not sure I wanted to know the answer.

"Well, Jess, there is something I have to tell you. I am just not sure how to tell you this though." He wavered.

"Nick, just tell me. I think that we have known each other long enough to be upfront." I said quietly.

"OK, here goes. Gil and Katherine did some preliminary identification. When Eric's prints were ran through the computer, they got a hit."

"Are you saying that Eric had been arrested?" I asked confused.

"No, the hit was for an Enrick Lafferty. His mug shot also matched 'Eric's'. Jess, Eric, well the Eric you knew isn't really Eric Shell. Apparently, Enrick, killed Eric and took over his identity." He explained. I was so confused. Eric wasn't Eric?

"I don't understand. Why, how? It makes no sense." I reeled out.

"I know it doesn't and we will learn more. Tell me everything that Enrick, Eric told you about himself." So I did. I told him everything that Eric had told me about his life. I told him about the death of his parents, about him living with his Aunt Ella, everything as I knew it. Nick listened only stopping once or twice to ask me a few questions.

"Well, the background you gave me almost matches what Katherine and Gil found out about the real Eric Shell. Except Eric didn't have an Aunt Ella take him in. He stayed in foster care until going to college." He explained, "I could tell you what I think, from what we know of Enrick Lafferty. I think that Enrick picked Eric, and after learning about his background he killed him. We know that Enrick was a con man, he'd been picked up for it. He was also married, to a Ellen Lafferty. I think that is 'Aunt Ella'. Jess, I think they picked you, they were going to get your trust fund," he finished.

I let what he had just said set into my mind. Eric, crap, Enrick killed the real Eric and took over his identity to meet me and take me for my money. Suddenly little things started to come to mind. I remembered that when I asked him to meet his Aunt Ella he always put me off with she was too ill to travel or didn't have room to have us visit. I remembered talking to her on the phone and was surprised to hear how young she sounded.

"My God, I was such a fool. I was grieving for him. He lied to me, how did I miss it? How did Daddy miss it? You know he had him investigated. How did this slip through?" I was angry now. I realized that the "Eric" that I loved didn't exist. I felt so stupid. My numbness ended.

"Jess, he was well versed in how to get away with stuff like this. He knew how to answer questions that came up and even how to cover if your father investigated him. You weren't stupid, he was just too good at what he did."

He calmed my anger and talked to me into something to eat. I was amazed at how the weekend was going. I came to Las Vegas to celebrate my engagement to someone I thought I loved, and within under 12 hours everything was turned upside down. My fiancee wasn't who he was supposed to be. He was dead, murdered. I was turned upside down and by my side was a guy that I hadn't seen in 5 years. A guy that when I was 15, I would have given anything for him to talk to me, comfort me the way he was doing tonight. God I wasn't actually thinking romantic thoughts about Nick now was I?

"Hey, what are you thinking over there?" Nick asked across the small hotel table the next morning.

"Sorry, I was just kind of amazed at how my weekend has turned out." I replied, thinking I was crazy to think about Nick this way. I mean shouldn't I be grieving still?

"Yeah, I know it was rough on you. I am sorry how things turned out, but at the same time relieved that it didn't get you hurt." He said looking into my eyes. Was I seeing an interest in me, or was it just sympathy.

"Well my parents should be here in an hour. Daddy said he would go with you to identify the body if you need him to."

"Actually I guess I forgot to tell you. Katherine called a little while ago, while you were waking up. The found Ellen Lafferty and her new boyfriend early this morning. They confessed to killing Enrick. So the case is closed." Nick said with finality.

"Do you know why they killed him?" I asked curious.

"No, but I am sure they are telling all." Nick said and took a drink of juice.

"I guess you will be back on the job today then?" I asked laughing. "Hopefully the next time we see each other I won't be a blubbering fool."

"Oh, Jess, I understand what happened to you wasn't easy. I just wish we had stayed in closer touch. Last time I saw you, you were just a little high school girl. You are a lovely woman now."

"Gee, thanks Nick. Was I so ugly when I was younger?" I joked, enjoying the lighthearted turn the conversation took.

"No, but you were younger. I was terrified Joe or Jason was going to figure out that I was checking out their baby sister and beat the crap out of me." He confided.

"You checked me out?" I asked truly surprised. "I thought I was the one checking you out. I loved when Joe invited you over. A whole weekend with you in the same house as me was something I bragged about at school. Even if you didn't pay any attention to me." I added.

"My God, if you really knew how much attention I paid to you, well you father would have had my head." He laughed. Just then there was a knock at the door. "Darn, I think he figured me out."

I walked to the door and opened it greeting my mom and dad. When they saw Nick, they embraced him, just as they always did. Our parents had always been close and Nick and my brothers were constant fixtures at each others houses. After reminiscing for a few minutes, my father asked about the situation with Eric.

While Nick filled him and Mom in on everything, I walked to the terrace and walked outside. The heat felt wonderful, my suite overlooked the pool of the hotel. I watched as people, some my age, some younger, some older everyone having fun. I wanted that, I wanted to have fun, I wanted to go back to before I met Eric, before I fell in love.

"Honey, come in out of the heat." My mom called through the terrace door.

I walked back into the suite. Nick and my dad were sitting in the chairs flanking the couch. Apparently they were finished with their discussion of Eric and what happened. Now they were talking about whatever men talk about when they talk.

"Well, Jessa, I guess that we will be leaving for Texas in the morning. I don't think that you would want to stay here too much longer." My father announced. Nick looked up at me and I thought about what I could have if I stayed in Las Vegas a little longer.

"Actually, Daddy, I think I am going to take a longer vacation than originally planned. I need a break and especially after what happened I want to just be away from everyone's questions for a little while." I said, surprising myself.

"Well, honey, we thought you might want to have family around you at this trying time," my mom broke in.

"No, Mom, I was made a fool out of and then the man I thought I loved was murdered. I know the debs will be on me like, pardon the expression, white on rice. I am not ready for that, yet. I don't know when I will be, but I think I deserve a break." I rushed out.

"Well, Jessa, I think that is a good plan for you. However, I don't like the thought of you being alone out here." My ever protective father put in.

"She won't be alone, Mr. Clarington, sir." Nick interrupted. "I am here, and actually I am taking a vacation for the next two weeks. So I can keep Jessa company."

This surprised me, Nick didn't say anything before about a vacation. Was he already planning a vacation or was he just rescuing me from having to return to a snake pit of venomous debutantes? I didn't have time to think about his reasons, I acted.

"See, Daddy and Mom? I won't be alone. Nick will show me the sites and I can recover myself before coming home. That is if you can spare me, Daddy?" I asked although I already knew I was staying.

The next morning I saw my parents off from the airport where they boarded the company's private jet. Nick stood beside me waving them off. I turned to him and asked what I wasn't sure about.

"So did you really plan on taking a vacation for the next two weeks or were you just rescuing me again?"

"Honestly? I haven't taken a vacation in three years. I figured what better a way to spend two weeks than with a lovely woman from my past?" He asked looking down at me.

I looked up at him and saw something I never saw in Eric/Enrick's eyes. I saw real passion and concern for me. "Well, let's get started then. Where are we going to go, and what are we going to do?" I asked quickly.

A flurry of activities followed, for the first three days we saw shows, gambled (very little), did all the touristy things people do in Las Vegas. We didn't do the one thing I thought about constantly though. We never kissed, never touched at least no more than two friends would. The fourth night I was in my suite getting ready to go to dinner. I decided to outdo myself. I brushed out my long hair and twisted it up into a loose knot. I put my makeup lightly, only enhancing my eyes. My dress was a lovely empire waist black crepe that ended just above my knee. I finished my look with simple black "flip flop" like low heels. Looking in the mirror, I was happy with the overall appearance. Nick, I hoped would love it.

I had called room service earlier in the day and now the sitting room was set up just as I asked. The small table was white cloth covered and held two silver covered dishes. The champagne was chilled and sitting, uncorked by the table. Candles were lit throughout the suite, the bed was turned down. I turned the stereo system on, and put on a melodic CD on, just as a knock came to the door.

I walked over to the door, and asked mockingly, "Who's there?" Laughing I opened the door to a startled Nick. He stood there looking absolutely gorgeous in a pair of jeans and a tee-shirt with a sport jacket. He was taking in my outfit as I ushered him in.

"I changed our plans. Hope you don't mind." I said as I presented him with the atmosphere I had created.

His answer was turning to me, and pulling me into his arms. I looked up into his eyes as he whispered, "Are you sure this is what you want, Jess?" I answered by reaching my arms around his neck and dragging his head to mine. My lips brushed his. Sighing he pulled me closer to him and took my mouth. Our mouths, with the pent up passion from the previous three days, tasted and tempted. I pulled away reluctantly.

"Don't you want dinner first?" I whispered. His answer to me was picking me up into his arms and carrying me to the bedroom. Setting me down beside the bed, he started to unzip my dress. I pulled off his jacket. With both of us working on ridding the other of our clothes, we were naked in no time. Standing naked before him, with his eyes drinking me in, I never felt more beautiful.

Bending his head to mine, our lips touched. I licked at his bottom lip as he nipped at my top lip. Wrapping my arms around his neck, his arms wrapped around my waist pulling me closer and pressing our bodies tight against each other. The kiss deepened, our mouths promising our bodies what was yet to come. My hands searched, running through his close cropped hair, around his ears, down his cheeks. His hands flattened on the small of my back, smoothing down over my ass and back up teasing at the nape of my neck. He broke the kiss. His head dipped lower, tasting and teasing my jaw line, lower to my neck, he nuzzled the curve where my neck turns into my shoulder. Nipping at my neck, licking and tempting. I turned my head to his neck and lightly lapped at his neck. Kissing and working my way up, I took his earlobe into my hot wet mouth. Sucking slightly, I heard and felt his breath intake. He released a ragged breath and pulled away from my teasing tongue.

Pulling away from me, I felt coolness where seconds ago was burning heat. I whimpered and looked at him wondering why he moved away. Before I could speak he was back, lifting me into his arms again and laying me down on the bed. Moving over me, he whispered, "I thought this might be more comfortable lying down."

Lowering his head to mine again, his mouth claimed mine. Moaning my arms wrapped around him again, running down the muscles of his back, settling at his ass. I could feel the hardness of his cock pressing into my belly as he moved his lips from my mouth. Working a trail from my mouth down my body he settled on my left breast. Flicking his tongue out, he teased the puckered nipple, and caused me to writhe. Arching my back, his mouth enveloped my breast, sucking while his hand found my right nipple. My hands held his head to me, begging him not to stop. He rose from my right breast and followed suit on my left. The hotness of his mouth was driving me crazy and I wanted more. His mouth left my breasts and he moved down my body kissing. Teasing at my belly button, he moved lower. At the apex of my thighs, he stopped, looking up at me I could see the lust in his eyes.

His head dipped, but his eyes stayed on mine as his tongue gently lapped at my wet slit. Watching him, watching me while he ministered the most tender caress, I felt myself getting wetter. Nick licked and suckled at my clit and I felt myself coming unglued. My hands found his head and as he brought me over I bucked up to his mouth and cradled his head as he caught my climax with his mouth. Coming back to my senses after the shatter of orgasm, I pulled his head up my body and back to my mouth. Kissing him, I tasted myself on his tongue and rolling put him under me.

Loving his mouth, the way his mouth just loved me, my hands roamed down his body. Gently grazing over his nipples, down his chest I roamed. Breaking the kiss, I began to explore with my mouth. Kissing down his neck, I could feel his pulse beating against my mouth. Licking along his shoulder, I moved lower. I reached his nipples and nipped each with my tongue. Further down I moved, until I was where I wanted to be. Taking his cock in my hands I looked up to see him watching me. Wanting to return the favor, I lowered my head and kept my eyes on his. Flicking my tongue out, I teased the tip, tasting pre-cum on the head. Opening my mouth, I sucked the red tip into my hot mouth. His hips rose off the bed, but my hands held him where I wanted him. Sucking and twirling my tongue around the head, I began messaging the shaft with my hands. Moving a hand to the base, I worked my mouth down taking as much of him into my mouth as I could, relaxing my mouth to let some saliva out, I started pumping my hand up and down working him with my hand and my mouth. His hips kept moving off the bed, I felt his hands in my hair and watched his eyes glazing over with lust.

Suddenly I felt him moving me from him. Questioningly I look at his face. "Jessa, I love what you are doing, but I don't this to end this way," he whispered. Pulling me up on the pillows, he rolled me onto my back and kissing me positioned himself between my legs. I felt the head of his hard cock pressing against my wet pussy. Pulling back and looking into my eyes, with a thrust he entered me. Holding me in his arms, together we moved together. Our bodies pressed together as he filled me. He thrust harder and faster and our mouths met. With our mouths and our bodies locked together my nails raked down his back, clinging to his ass and pulling him to me harder. I could feel my orgasm building, his thrusting quickened and together we came.

Nick , exhausted, lay down on me. His head rested in the curve of my neck and we lay together letting our breathing return to normal. A few minutes later he rolled off of me and pulled the cover up over us. He pulled me to him and cradled me in his arms. Kissing me again, he asked, "where do we go from here?"

I hadn't wanted to think about what happens next. I had a life in Texas, but that life, well part of it, was a lie. What I wanted was for this, this feeling I had with Nick to last forever. Was I willing to say that now? Sighing, I answered, "I don't know, Nick. What do you want?"

"You, this, now. I want this, us, only I don't want it in a hotel. I want us. The us that has fun. The us that knows one another. The us that has passion and lust. Jessa, I want you." Nick said, shocking me. Nick had always been honest, but I didn't realize that he really felt the way I did.

"Are you sure? I mean, Nick, we haven't seen each other for five years. Couldn't this just be lust that just came up from us crushing on each other when we were younger?" I asked, afraid that he would change his mind, but needing to know for sure.

"Yes, I was in love with you when we were kids, and when I walked into this hotel room the first night I realized I still do. Jessa, you are the woman for me, but there are some things that we would have to look into." He said, as I digested the fact that Nick just said he loves me.

"Nick, before we get into any issues we need to look at. Could we go back to the part where you said you love me?" I asked glowing.

Laughing he looked into my eyes and said, "Jessica Clarington, I love you. I have since you were 15, I have since I saw you standing here with your world crumbling around you. I will love you even if you decide to leave me and go back to your life in Texas."

Giddy, I sat up on the bed, hugging the sheet to my chest. "Nick, I love you too. I think I just gave up on the fantasy of having you in my life, so I found someone else. When Katherine and Gil came to my hotel door and told me that news, the only person I could think of to lean on was you. I want this too. I want you, I love you."

Agreeing to put off the issues that we need to work through until the morning, we snuggled down close together and drifted off to sleep.

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