Chapter Three:

Elevator #1:

"What just happened?" Sara asked, fearing to move in case the elevator might be holding on by mere threads.

"Well, I just told Hodges-" Grissom started.

"No, Griss," Sara would have laughed, but even her severe dislike of the lab tech couldn't overcome her sense of propriety. "What happened to the elevator car?"

"It-" Hodges started to speak, and then stopped as though one of his companions would be opposed to his input.

"Go on," Grissom encouraged him.

"It sounded like the hydraulic system could be malfunctioning," he said, tentatively. When neither Grissom nor Sara objected to his suggestion, he elaborated. "The kind of elevator used in this size building is most likely a roped hydraulic--the lift is controlled by both a hydraulic system, and a collection of pulleys. The cables keep the car aloft should there be a problem with the lifting mechanism." His professional sounding explanation put them all at ease, until- "Unless I'm wrong, of course."

"You had to add that," Grissom groaned.

Elevator #2:

"Is it a good dream?" Brass, who had shut his eyes in order to savor the experience before he was either told off or fell to his death, peeked at her through his eyelashes. Not that he needed to open them to know she was there. The contact--which had begun a moment earlier with his light touch on her arm--was now manifested as full-body contact. As much as he was enjoying it, he was seriously worried that the extent of how much would soon be embarrassingly evident.

"Would you slap me if I said yes?" Jim decided that her frank way of speaking must be contagious.

"Would you like it if I did?" At this, his eyes popped open in shock. She was smiling at him with an easy familiarity that ignored the fact that they'd met mere minutes before. He began to relax, another action that shocked him on the inside--it wasn't like him at all.

"Are we playing the question game?" he asked her with a genuine smile. "Because if we are, you'll probably lose--I have more practice." She rewarded him with a beaming smile of her own.

"You already lost, Officer," she observed. Brass colored a little, and shook his head in admiration.

"Not many people are brave enough to point out when I'm wrong," he said, honestly.

"Are you often wrong?" She asked this as though they knew each other well, when in actuality, he didn't even know her name.

Elevator #3:

The five people in this elevator had a little more idea of what was going on than the crew from CSI. Their trial had been held down the hall from the celebrity trial, and each and every one of them had been thankful that yet another day had passed without the press knowing they were there. When the trouble started, however, one man in particular knew that his time may have just run out.

Peter Veccio was not a part of the mob. When he had been arrested, that was the mantra he'd repeated over and over to the disbelieving cops. At long last, they'd finally believed him--but not after showing him the evidence they had collected against him; evidence that proved that although he wasn't a member of the Vegas Mafia, he had been unknowingly working for them, just the same. Veccio was an accountant. In actuality, it was his assistant that was the criminal, and when Peter had discovered this fact, in the interrogation room at police headquarters, on the night his life changed--he'd agreed to testify against her.

Elevator #4:

While Catherine and Nick were in the corner, talking in hushed tones, Warrick was against the wall, testing his boundaries. A slight move of the waist to the left--so far, so good. The same movement to the right caused a sharp pain to course through his body, making him gasp quietly. He made a mental note to definitely avoid similar movement in the future.

Warrick's next movement was a sharp jerk of his waist to the right.

It was involuntary, however--caused by the object in his back right pocket. His cell phone was vibrating. When it started, he also broke his mental note to keep quiet and let Catherine and Nick have a private conversation.

"Holy--Owwwww!!"

The two other people in the room looked over at hearing Warrick's outburst in time to see his whole body jump in surprise and his handsome face grimace in pain.

"What?" Nick, who had just calmed down due in most part to Catherine's soothing voice, was once again a nervous wreck.

"T minus two seconds," Catherine muttered to herself.

"What is it Warrick?!" Nick rushed to his friend's side, concern etched across his features. The other man was reaching an arm back in the direction of his injury, an action that confused Nick. "Your back is bruised, man--don't touch it," he said, clasping Warrick's hand in his to prevent his further hurting himself.

"Pocket," Warrick whispered, clearly in pain. Nick looked down, and laughed.

"'Rick, did you know your ass is vibrating?"

Elevator #1:

"Just covering my ass, sir." Hodges said with what sounded suspiciously to Sara like humor in his voice. 'Well, well,' Sara thought to herself wryly. 'It seems that miracles do happen.' As the meaning of what she'd just said to herself hit home, the amusement she'd felt slipped away, replaced by a strange sort of sadness. When she was a child, she'd often wished on a star, and a few of those times she'd been delighted to find her wish come true. As she grew older and wiser, Sara realized that they'd been easy wishes to grant--a trip to a favorite vacation area, a dog for Christmas. This knowledge never stopped her from wishing, though. The last wish she'd made on a star had been just after the lab explosion.

She'd wished that she could finally know what Grissom felt about her... felt for her.

Miracles did happen, but like the story of the monkey's paw, they didn't always turn out the way you expected them to.

Grissom had been watching Sara when Hodges made his last comment, and what he saw intrigued him. She'd been full of mirth one moment, and deeply saddened the next. 'Damn her!' The sudden thought surged forward, carrying the anger with it. She just made him so darned uncomfortable! He wished he could just come up to her and say, look--I really like you, but I can't let myself get involved. I'm too vulnerable! It would never work...

"Speaking of how long we'll be in here," Sara said slowly, "don't you think we ought to notify someone about the problem? Or at the very least, tell the others we'll be late coming back to the lab?" Grissom had informed everyone that he wanted to have a short discussion of the day's court proceedings before they all went home for the night. Sara felt her pockets for her cell phone and then remembered she'd left it at home. The whole crew had been together all day, so there wasn't any need to carry it with her. After all, who else called her but her work colleagues?

"Oh right," she said, for the others' benefit. "I left my cell at home." She looked at Hodges, who shrugged.

"Don't look at me," he said. "I hate the things."

"I'll do it," Grissom said, removing the small device from his jacket pocket.

Elevator #3:

"Oh, my God," Peter said, looking around at the others in the elevator. His mother, who had come to the trial to provide moral support--she had waited in the judge's chambers for his testimony to end. Just the knowledge of her presence had given him strength, but now... now he feared that she might suffer his same fate. His lawyers--one a personal friend and the other hired by his employer--and the FBI agents that had called him to testify, they were innocents in this matter. If he had spoken this thought aloud, his friend would have told him that he, too, was innocent, but Veccio didn't feel that way. He felt responsible; he felt as though he should have known what had been going on.

"Now, don't jump to conclusions," his lawyer friend Saul Marks said in his deep voice. "It could just be a freak coincidence."

"Don't you think there have been too many of those in this case already?" Peter answered him, the fear evident in his voice.

"Oh, dear," his mother said, quietly. All the men in the room looked over at her, every one of them feeling regret that she'd chosen to take the elevator with them. She didn't deserve...

"Its ok, Mom," Veccio lied.

"Petey, I saw two other elevators with people in them," she said, worriedly. "I sure hope they're all right."

Elevator #2:

"Do you often conduct interrogations this close to your..." Brass trailed off, once again feeling out of his element. He couldn't believe she hadn't moved away from him yet.

"Suspect?" she finished for him. The way she said it simply dripped with innuendo, implying that there were many different ways she could have finished his sentence. Brass cleared his throat nervously.

"Do you need a cough drop?" she asked coyly, lifting her lips to display a Vick's between her teeth. Jim's mouth dropped open in shock. He was simply speechless. The fascinating woman lifted a manicured finger to close his mouth, her touch light and gentle. It lingered there for a moment, and they shared an electric moment of eye contact before she moved away, searching in her purse for something. In a moment, she found it.

A cough drop.

Elevator #4:

"I BEG your pardon?" Catherine said, whirling around at Nick's outrageous comment. She caught Nick with his hand buried in Warrick's back pocket, and the unexpected finding had her speechless. Nick's face turned a violent shade of near-purple, and Warrick's whole body shook with laughter.

"Cell phone," Nick squeaked, not sure whether to be deeply embarrassed or laugh his ass off. So to speak. He held out his hand, the object still twitching.

"Well, are you going to answer it?" Warrick, who'd resumed his position against the wall, shrugged his still shaking shoulders. He was laughing too hard to form words yet.

"Don't look at me, Catherine," Nick said, making a face. "This thing was in his back pocket!"

"Oh, give me that!" she said in exasperation. "A bunch of babies," she muttered.

"Catherine?" It was Grissom.

"Yes, it's me--Warrick is," she paused, looking over at the giggling men in the corner. "Indisposed," she quipped.

"I see." Grissom said. "You wouldn't happen to be-"

"Stuck in an elevator?" she finished for him. "As a matter of fact, yes, we are."

"Who's we?"

"Me, Warrick, and Nick the proctologist." she answered him with a grin.

TBC...