Casa Caliente 2: Pet

Chapter One


Sara looked up and frowned. She sat cross-legged on her sofa, laptop before her, fingers flying over the keyboard in a rapid dance as she checked the clock once more.

 

“Damn it—“ she growled to no one in particular. Hitting a last button, she sent the E-mail off and sighed, then shifted the computer to the coffee table next to a pile of books. She eyed the stack, wondering which of them would be best to start with, then picked up the topmost one with the red cover:

 

Erotic Surrender: The Sensual Joys of Female Submission by Claudia Varrin.

 

She rolled her eyes at the title, but a faint smile played about her generous mouth.

 

“Not about equality, huh Gris? We’ll see about that—“

 

So saying, she carried the book with her as she grabbed her coat and headed out the door.

 

The traffic had been bad, and she strode into the lab a few minutes late, but still managed to be the first one to arrive. In the locker room Sara carefully hung her coat up and took a few minutes to read the preface to the book as she straddled the bench. She was so engrossed that she didn’t hear the soft footsteps approaching.

 

“Sara?”

 

Guiltily she looked over her shoulder to see Grissom standing there in his lab coat, watching her over the top of his glasses. He looked amazingly sexy in a professorial way. The hot throb of desire that never left her now surged hard between her thighs.

 

“Hey—“ she struggled for a nonchalant tone, all too aware that it was Thursday night. From the hint of hunger on his face he was aware of it too. He held himself back, stiffly, and Sara understood why. She smiled.

 

“Been a long week.”

 

“Interminable,” he replied, watching her face. Sara felt the urge to rattle his cage a bit, and held the book up, smirking.

 

“Thought I’d do a little reading—might finish it this weekend.”

 

Grissom caught the title, and his eyebrow went up as he cocked his head.

 

“I’d highly recommend chapters three and four.”

 

She blinked and flipped to the front, reading the headings and blushing. Gil crossed his arms, looking down at her with a thoughtful expression.

 

“I’m impressed you’re willing to do the research. That shows initiative—“

 

“Really—?“ Sara murmured.

 

Grissom nodded, turning to leave. Over his shoulder in a low voice he added silkily, “--Keep it up and you’ll be teacher’s pet.”

 

And as he left, Sara couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t annoyed by his words. She SHOULD have been, she argued with herself, but all she could feel at the moment was a rush of breathless excitement for Friday.

 

  

***   ***   ***

 

Nick looked at the feet sticking out of the culvert and sighed—mismatched shoes and socks generally meant homeless, which meant smelly and unsanitary and pretty damn unpleasant as well. He tried not to be judgmental about the dead but it wasn’t easy at times. Across from him, Catherine gave a cynical smile.

 

“Prone means murder; supine, accidental death—“ she waved her beam over the feet, which were clearly pointing down. Nick shot her a puzzled look and she elaborated.

 

“If the body’s face down in a culvert it’s usually because they crawled away or got stuffed into it with help. Supine means something happened while they were sleeping or in the grip of something—heart attack, choked on regurgitation—“

 

“You always take me to the nicest crime scenes—“ Nick winced. Catherine shot him an indulgent smile and squatted, letting the beam shine deep within the pipe. She tried to hide her shiver and almost did.

 

“Dark—possibly blocked off on the other end—I don’t envy you at ALL, Nick—“

 

His face fell and he shook his head.

 

“Oh no, no NOT me, Catherine—you’re way smaller than I am and you’re lead on this--!”

 

“Which makes me in charge, so get moving. We need at least four flash photos of the body, standard, so the sooner you get in the sooner you get out, right?”

 

Looking distinctly disgruntled, Nick snapped on latex gloves and glared at the back of Catherine’s head to no avail; he swore he could hear her soft snicker as he bent down and began to climb into the culvert, working his way around the body and thinking unrepeatable things about his supervisor.

 

The odor of decomp was just beginning to rise from the corpse, and Nick thought he was doing fairly well in keeping his lunch down as he set the camera to his eye and hit the flash. There was a quick scramble somewhere near the corpses’ head, and Nick turned, peering into the dark, wondering what the hell could be in the culvert with him.

 

“Cath? I may have company in here—“ he called back over his shoulder. Immediately a flashlight beam danced over the body.

 

“When in doubt, get out—“ Catherine murmured, concerned. Nick hesitated.

 

“One more shot—“ he told her and hit the flash on the camera again.

 

Then the flash hit him.

 

  

***   ***   ***

  

 

Sara straightened up and sniffed the air uncertainly, aware of an odor, but not able to place it right away. She looked around the Trace lab, and walked to the door in time to see Grissom emerge from his office and various other techs gather in doorways, as the stench grew stronger. She went to stand by him.

 

“Mephitis mephitis—“ Grissom muttered uneasily, looking down the hall. Sara blinked.

 

“You can’t mean—“ she protested, but before she could finish, Nick lumbered in, and the fumes radiating off of him were strong enough to make the air around him waver. Personnel scattered, most holding their noses. Grissom’s eyes widened and he turned his face slightly; Sara held her ground grimly as he approached.

 

“And I’M the lucky one—“ he choked, his face tight and upset. Before anyone else could speak Nick continued.

 

“The DB in the culvert had a skunk in there with it—I only got sprayed—Catherine got bitten. She’s at Desert Palms getting the rabies series, Gris—“

 

“Did they collect the skunk?” he asked quickly. Nick nodded, his eyes bloodshot and watering.

 

“Yeah—I hated coming in here and doing this to y’all, but I didn’t want to break the chain of evidence. Here—“ he handed over the two paper bags to Sara, who took them at arm’s length. Grissom nodded tightly.

 

“Commendable, Nick. Go take a long tomato juice bath—about ten two quart cans ought to do it, and get to a doctor for your eyes. The rest of us will cover through the week.”

 

Okay—“ Nick blinked sheepishly, his normally cheerful expression bleak, “ Catherine’s gonna be all right isn’t she?”

 

“She’ll be fine. Rabies treatments have gotten down to a single injection—Nick—GO—“ Grissom urged kindly but firmly then turned to Sara.

 

“I HAVE to check on Catherine—hold down the fort until I get back, and tell Warrick what’s happened.”

 

“Right—“ she nodded.

 

Sara turned and marched the bags to Trace, her eyes watering. Once there, she set it on the table, then scurried off for air, wiping her eyes. At the doorway, she caught a glimpse of Lydia, looking concerned.

 

“It smells like a skunk—please tell me differently—“

 

“I wish I could, but it’s definitely skunk permeated evidence from Nick and Catherine’s case, and considering what happened to the two of THEM, it’s on us now—“

 

Lydia rolled her eyes.

 

“Ah the glamour of the job—you know they’d NEVER show something like this on television—“

 

***   ***   ***

 

The next shift and a half was relentless, and Sara had never been so bombarded with so many different cases. She, Lydia and Warrick scrambled through together, finishing up their own four and the two that Nick and Catherine had going. Gil was off testifying in court, but he’d phoned in that both of the downed CSIs were doing well and Nick at least would be back by Monday.

 

“And the weekend shift is coming in a little early—we’ve got some overtime I can pay them out of General Funds to make sure the rest of you aren’t burnt out—“ he told Sara over her cell phone. She smiled at that.

 

“Thanks, boss. It’s good to see that sensitivity training finally kicking in,” she teased. A little growl came back to that.

 

“Yes, well I have plans for the weekend, Sara. Starting at five AM. You might consider getting out of town yourself.”

 

“Is that an order?” she asked lightly, but her stomach tightened in hot anticipation. Sara could almost feel his slightly feral smile.

 

“Consider it a--request—“ came his low tone right before he disconnected. Sara shifted her hips as she slowly closed the cell phone, shivering.

 

 

 

She drove slowly, a sense of eagerness fluttering through her senses as she approached 10867 Caliente Way. The night air was heavy and cool in the rural darkness but Sara could see the hint of light grey along the eastern horizon as dawn approached.

 

Her fatigue was gone for the moment, drained away by curiosity and a physical hunger she hadn’t realized was growing until she reached the gravel driveway and pulled up. The bungalow was dark and there were no other cars in the driveway; Sara chewed her lower lip. Carefully she pulled her keys from the ignition and stared at the new gold one dangling on the Braves keychain. A Schlage lock house key winked at her, taunting her.

 

She smiled.

 

Climbing out, she went to the door and unlocked it, pushing it open and reaching for the light switch, taking a moment to enjoy the sight of the orderly, comfortable living room. Glancing up at the Yin Yang over the fireplace, she laughed out loud, the sound breaking the silence.

 

“It figures—I KNEW you’d catch that—“ she told herself.

 

Before she’d left last time she’d set the symbol on the vertical, so the male and female energies were balanced. Now though, the hanging had been turned so that the white was over the black in a blatant show of male authority.

 

Shaking her head, she dropped her purse on the coffee table and headed to the bedroom to change. As she stepped in though, she studied the room, astonished at the changes in it.

 

A thick pale green carpet lay on the floor, sculpted and soft. The spool bed was neatly made but several throw pillows had been added to it and in one corner was a three-foot Ficus plant. Sara wandered in closer; something lay on the bed itself.

 

She drew in a shaky breath and let one finger stroke the soft material. The note on top of it was in a familiar handwriting, the message short and so very Gil:

 

I DID say I’d never have you wear much in this house. Since I’m out of shirts to loan you, this will have to do. –GG

 

Slowly Sara picked up the tiny garterbelt. It was a deep chocolate lace, shot through with gold threads. The matching stockings too had gold thread running in them, and the stiletto sandals were rich brown velvet, the long heels bright gold spikes.

 

She shivered, looking down at them, feeling the knot in her stomach tighten another notch as she sighed. Then with a quick scoop she picked up the lingerie and stepped into the bathroom.

 

It fit perfectly, and Sara marveled at the thought that Grissom knew her sizes from shoes to clothes without asking. She slid the stockings up, grateful she’d done her legs earlier, and managed to fasten them to the ribbon snaps without too much struggle. Carefully she stepped into the pumps, wobbling a little before walking back to the bedroom to look in the full-length armoire mirror.

 

She sucked in a breath, startled at what she saw in the reflection.

 

Sara knew she was tall, knew she had fairly nice eyes and a good complexion, but the woman in the mirror was—stunning. The stockings and heels gave her legs an amazing curve and length, and the color matched the liquid brown of her big eyes.

 

But the garter belt—it framed her hips and the soft curls between them in an enticing display of sexuality that made her tremble. She thought of Grissom looking at her undressed like this and realized he must have already imagined it—she moaned a little at the idea.

 

Sara turned and fought the divided rush of thoughts pressing in on her and smoothed a hand down her hip. Part of her knew that catering to Grissom’s whims was sexist and cliché.  But another part of her couldn’t help being flattered at his thoughtfulness in picking out something so exquisitely beautiful. Certainly her previous lover would never in a million years have chosen a color that flattered her, or given a damn about her lingerie other than to tug it off.

 

Shaking away thoughts of Hank the Skank, Sara glanced back at the bed and picked up the note, letting her fingers trace the letters again. Not a flowery declaration, but somehow sweetly intimate. And it was clear he’d been here during the week, adding things, decorating with her in mind—Sara let her gaze move from the middle of the bed towards the headboard. She felt her pulse jump at the sight of a single deep pink rose resting there across the pillows there.

 

“Crap—“ she murmured, fighting back a flush of tears at this unexpectedly romantic gesture. Who would have thought the pedantic, enigmatic melancholy man she worked with could be so tender?

 

She picked it up and sniffed it, her lashes wet.

 

Sara looked up an hour later from the hardback copy of Myths of the Moth as the sound of an engine grew louder outside. Faint dawn was beginning to gleam through the curtains when she heard the sound of a key in the front door lock; carefully she draped herself in the big chair, long legs dangling over one arm, heels swinging.

 

The door opened, and she caught her breath at the sight of him.

 

Grissom in his court suit.

 

Oh my.

 

Blue was his color all right, bringing out those eyes behind his glasses, making them bright and sexy. She loved the broad line of his shoulders in his coat, the crisp Windsor knot in the silk tie at this throat. He blinked at the sight of her in the chair.

 

“I love what you’re almost wearing—“ Gil sighed with delight, closing the door behind him. Sara rose languorously, well aware of his heat gaze as she balanced on those dangerous heels.

 

He took her in from head to toes, his mouth turning up in a small secret smile of smoldering approval that made Sara’s pulse jump hard and fast. She made no attempt at coyness, standing with her usual cat grace as he circled around her.

 

“It’s—they’re beautiful,” Sara blurted, suddenly hot and shivery at the gleam in his blue eyes. Grissom cocked his head.

 

“I’m pleased you wore them, sweetheart, very pleased. Good girls dress up for bad games, you see.”

 

Sara batted her eyes at him.

 

“And what is this game called, Grissom?” came her soft question. He reached up and caught her chin in his hand, caressing it.

 

“Watch Me,” he replied.

 


                                       
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