TITLE: Hocus Focus

AUTHORS: Gomey, Caroline

RATING: Strong R

SPOILERS: Cross Jurisdictions (2-22)

DISCLAIMER: All known characters and premises belong to their respective owners. So there.

SUMMARY: Things go awry for Catherine and Gil at a social benefit.

NOTES: [Gomes] Sadly, the Apocalypse nears as Caroline and I have collaborated. Be warned . . . this bears a high implosion alert. This fic has been in the works since...what December 23rd 2003, if not earlier, so we figured we might as well post the first chapter now. big grin
[Caroline] And with that in mind, Gomes and I would like to strongly advise you to start hoarding canned goods and non-perishable food items at this time.

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"Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Mesto Presto!" A voice echoed through the room, offering the environment a feedbacked-speaker break.

Sheriff Brian Mobley occupied the area in front of the large, white-clothed table, his back to the rest of the people seated there. His eyes roamed the stage whilst his acting skills as a public leader kicked in, and he willed himself to enjoy the amateur show.

Gil Grissom kept staring at the back of Brian's head. His lower jaw tense, his tongue pushing against his clenched teeth; he narrowed his eyes at the man whose ass he was forced to kiss. He closed his fist harder, the one that held a crumpled up cloth-napkin captive. His peripherals caught a glimpse of blond hair but his gaze kept straight ahead.

"Gil, anymore and you'll burn a hole straight through his head." Catherine Willows leaned in, whispering in his ear.

He kept his eyes locked on target. Gil didn't consider himself a violent man - in fact he shied away from most physical contact in general, but the desire to chuck his martini glass at the Sheriff's head was strongly overwhelming.

"You'll thank me for this publicity, Gil." The pomposity of Brian's voice slapped Gil in the face.

Gil's hand tightened around the stem of the glass and he felt it lift off the table. His hand dropped when slim, soft fingers caressed his own digits. He looked up at his companion.

"Down boy." Catherine smiled. "You wouldn't want to hit our dear Sheriff, would you?" She asked with sweetly-sarcastic smirk.

"What did you think I was aiming for?" Gil muttered, bordering on whine. "I have things to do, not attend some stupid soiree all the way out in L.A, just to make that jack-ass look good."

Catherine gave an innocent smile to the Sheriff, who had turned around briefly, suspiciously eyeing the two senior CSIs who were seated at the table. Catherine nudged Gil in the side. "It's just for a day, Gil - enjoy yourself." She leaned back in her chair. "When else do I get to see you dressed up?" She gave him a grin, eyeing him from head-to-toe. "Hey, that time you came back from Miami . . ." He trailed off, seeing the look of defiance in her eyes.

"Please!" She scoffed. "You were dressed to the nines for a funeral."

"I was still thinking of you." He offered, his crystal blue eyes sparkling.

"At a funeral . . ." She paused, trying to assess the damage. ". . . I don't know whether to be flattered or insulted."

"Catherine, Gil." Brian turned around and gave them a warning look. "Babysitting two lead CSIs is not part of my job description, so could you two make an effort to behave? My career is at stake here." His voice was stern, and abusive of his authority. He turned around again, watching the magician and faked enchantment - anything to boost his confidence in his eyes, and in the minds of others.

"I have other places to be - what about the lab?" Gil pouted, his lower lip resting outwards slightly.

Catherine couldn't hold back a smile, eyeing her best-friend and partner: he looked like a spoiled little boy who wasn't getting his way. "Gil, relax. Warrick and Nick can handle it for the weekend, and they can always call for back-up."

Gil sighed aloud, letting go of his crumpled up napkin. He busied himself folding it, trying in vain to return it to its natural state. His eyes travelled the room, wishing he had brought a crossword puzzle to keep his restless mind occupied. He glanced over at the other two familiar faces at the table, noting that both Greg Sanders and Sara Sidle seemed as excited about the magician as he was.

Greg turned to Sara, who was practising her origami skills with the napkin. "This blows." He muttered, boredom laying heavily on his shoulders. He slouched down in his chair, leaning his head back.

"Meanwhile, back at the hotel, you couldn't contain your excitement." Sara raised her eyebrow. "I was contemplating giving you a Thorazine injection."

"Yeah, but that was before I found out that 'David Cop-out' would be doing his act." Greg crossed his arms over his chest.

Sara's last statement caught Gil's attention and he leaned in, his voice lowering in order to dodge the wrath of Mobley. "Sara, you might want to keep that Thorazine handy in case I come knocking at your door at some un- Godly hour of the night." He gave Greg a nod who smiled sheepishly in return.

"Yeah, you enjoy that." Sara grinned, somewhat pitying her supervisor for getting stuck with Greg.

Catherine glanced over at Gil, who had just given Sara a small smile. A pang of jealousy slashed at her heart, and she tried to blink away the tears that were forming. She sighed, knowing that she and Gil had shared so much more together than Sara could ever fathom, but her heart still turned green whenever she saw the younger CSI converse with him. She feared that mutual feelings would develop between the two, because of their similarities, and each smile or conversation would blind her into believing that her best-friend was slowly slipping from her reach. She let out a grim chuckle, lost in her moment, knowing that Sara had done some 'developing' of her own; her impatient eyes had been set on their much respected supervisor for quite awhile now.

She finished the rest of her wine, and letting the glass fall heavily on the table. Eyeing the magician on stage, she took in his thin moustache - waxed to curled perfection, his thinning jet black hair tied loosely in a ponytail; even his body was lanky and Catherine grimaced, noting something unsettling about the character on stage. Her eyes travelled to his assistant, a younger man who was seemingly well-kept in comparison. A buzz- cut would insinuate him to have been in the army or the marines and is posture seemed to back up Catherine's internal theory. She observed how the tall, built, meticulous assistant dwarfed the magician's being, almost paling his presence.

Gil finished lecturing Greg on the rules of their shared room when a bright light caught his attention. He turned, staring directly into the spotlight that illuminated his handsome features. He squinted, turning to Catherine. "What's going on?" He whispered, though his rich tenor voice seemed to echo through the now-hushed room.

Catherine raised her eyebrow. "Looks like you've been summoned." Her eyes flicked to the stage, then nested back with Gil's gaze.

Gil's eyes grew wide. "No." He whispered to Catherine then looked back at the magician. He put his hands up in defence, politely declining tel invitation.

"Gil."

Gil closed his eyes painfully as Brian's voice made it's way to his ears. It wasn't the voice itself that caused such discomfort, but more so the intent behind the voice. Gil sighed and opened his eyes. "This is not up for discussion, Brian." Gil said, staring the sheriff down.

"You're right, Gil, it isn't up for discussion." Brian said defiantly.

"Gil, just go." Catherine placed a hand on his shoulder.

Gil sighed, and stood up, sluggishly walking on stage.

Catherine watched his every move; his distinctive walk that she had long since grown accustomed to and loved, the way he would drum his fingers on his thumb whenever he was pensive, the way his eyes always seemed to scan the room yet were never far from her being. She smiled softly, thinking how cute he looked when he was nervous: his brow slightly crinkled, his lips pursed and his eyes wide open.

Gil turned and faced the audience, swallowing hard. This was not how he intended his evening to transpire; he expected to experience boredom, not be the cause of it. He sighed as he watched the magician putz around stage, ordering his lackey to perform various so-called-tricks.

"I want you to hold out your hand Mr. . .?" He questioned Gil as he lazily stuck out his left hand.

Gil just rolled his eyes, and then looked at the Sheriff who was shaking his head. "Gil Grissom." He muttered to the magician.

Mesto Presto smiled. "Thank you, Mr. Grissom." He said, in to the microphone. "Now, hold it right there, until I find you a partner." He stepped down from the stage and began to meander through the scattered seats. He stopped at their table and put a hand on Sara's shoulder. "Miss?" He offered her his hand.

Sara shook her head. "No, no no!" She looked around, palms sweating. "I have to, uh, go to the bathroom - I'm really not feeling well." She exclaimed lamely.

The magician stood there, not budging. "Miss, you won't regret it. This is my most famous trick ever, and to be a part of it would complete your life; stories to tell generations to come -"

Catherine stood up, pushing the chair away with the back of her thighs. "I'll go." She mumbled, and made her way to the stage, not bothering to wait for Mesto to escort her.

Gil stood there, arm slightly numbing from still-kept ninety degree angle. He watched her, cocooned in a magnificent cadmium red dress that hugged her tight around the waist, and ruffled down to the floor. It was a strapless number, that showed off her kissable shoulders, touchable...suckable neck and - his eyes roamed her breasts with a gasp, forcing him to momentarily drop his gaze in a vain attempt to keep his libido in check

Catherine made her way on stage, and stepped up beside Gil, as he dropped his hand to the side, fed up of waiting for the famed magician. "Hey, maybe we can request the disappearing act, and get the hell out of here, huh?" She muttered to him, from the corner of her mouth.

Gil turned and smiled at her, knowing that she could feel his nervousness in front of so many people. He was a quiet man who enjoyed his privacy, and the public eye was definitely not something that he wanted to be a part of. Unlike Brian Mobley, Gil couldn't care less about popularity, and the less popular he was, the more in his element he was.

Mesto stepped back on stage, snapping his fingers at the assistant. The assistant walked up to the magician and snapped a burgundy cloth off a small, rectangular box. "La pièce de résistence." Mesto exclaimed as he opened the wooden box. Taking out a pair of hand-cuffs, he showed it to the audience. "Hand-cuffs, one of a kind. Made out of Titanium steel." He clinked the hand-cuffs together, in demonstration. A table was brought out in front of him and he placed them on top. Taking a sledge hammer, he raised it weakly, and brought it down on the table, crushing it to pieces. Picking through the splinters, he retrieved the hand-cuffs, with not even a scratch on them.

Gil looked at the audience, still clapping from his demonstration. "Modern day Gallagher." He commented sarcastically to Catherine, who had also witnessed Mesto's prowess with the sledgehammer.

After a few more demonstrations involving a blow-torch, wire-cutters, and other various tools, Mesto stepped in front of the two senior CSIs. "Please, stick out your arms."

Catherine and Gil shared a look and complied. Catherine raised her eyebrow when one cuff went around her right wrist, snapping a sealed deal. She glanced at Gil, feeling him flinch, as the cuff clasped over his left wrist, locking them together.

Meanwhile, Greg watched with amusement; but not the scene developing on stage, but more so the brunette's reaction. He grinned and edged closer to her, addressing her in a sing-song voice, "bet you wished you went up there." He ducked, narrowly missing her flailing arm. "Hey, that was intent to harm." He smiled, trying to put on his best 'wounded puppy-dog' look.

"Shut up, Greg." Sara crossed her arms over her chest, ignoring the knowing- grin plastered on his face. She kept her eyes on the two senior CSIs, her emotions ringing true to Greg's observations: she really did wish she was in Catherine's place - and not only on stage at the moment, but in general: Catherine was everything Sara aspired to be, and though she tried hard to deny it, respect held every word that Catherine spoke. «Brains, beauty and family. . . » She mused. Sara eyed the man standing beside Catherine, he who she had fancied since they had met in San Francisco, only now realising that in Las Vegas, his heart was out of her reach. «Family. . .» She thought to herself, ignoring the pain in her chest.

"Aaaand now, the moment you have all been waiting for!" Mesto hollered into the microphone. Turning towards Gil and Catherine, he whispered, "when I throw the sparkling dust on you, just turn your wrist counter-clockwise and pull." He then threw them a wink and turned back to the audience. "Now, ladies and gentlemen, I ask you all to focus your energy and direct it to the hand-cuffs - only your presence can filter the magic!"

Gil glanced at Catherine, completely unimpressed. His eyes travelled towards Mesto's assistant, and he noted an almost trance-like state, though his gaze never left Mesto's being. Gil was about to comment on it to Catherine, but was distracted as a loud explosion went off in front of them, and a mixture of smoke and sparkling dust fluttered in the air. He rotated his wrist counter-clockwise, hoping Catherine was doing the same, and then, closing his eyes, he pulled his arm roughly to his side.

Body to body contact was made on stage, as Catherine was yanked towards Gil. Collision achieved, she felt a strong hand against her slim tummy, steadying her stance. "Sorry ..." It danced to her ear, pleasing her senses. She met his eyes, and the two shared a stare not missed by Mesto, his assistant, nor the audience. Even Mobley's ego registered the exchange, and the Sheriff shifted nervously in his seat, pondering the repercussions of such a relationship between a supervisor and lead CSI.

Catherine exhaled loudly, her aroused breath forcibly having been held in for too long. She unconsciously wet her lips, as her eyes soaked in his mouth, before flitting back to his crystal-blue eyes. Her breath quickened as she felt him lean in, and in the back of her mind the hushed anticipated stares of the audience lingered.

Her lips were just within desire's reach, and he dared to venture closer, breaths mingling while their senses yearned for eachother. "Guess you're stuck with me, now." He gave her a lopsided-smile, but the humour was negated by the blatant lust in his eyes. She opened her mouth, her lips slightly grazing his in the process. "Gil ..." She saw his hunger, and it thrilled her to a fearful degree, afraid that his cravings were as powerful as hers.

"Hahaha! Give them a hand, audience!" Mesto infiltrated the thick bubble- encased sexual tension, and his words were followed by polite claps. He leaned into the shocked couple, placing his arms around each of their shoulders - his back to the audience once again. "Meet me in my trailer after the show, I have the key." He whispered a wink, and guided them off- stage. Turning towards the audience, he let out a chuckle. "One thing I forgot to mention is that these special handcuffs are very sensitive to the chosen two that they encase: they only release those that -want- to be released." He added lamely, causing Gil to stop in his tracks and shoot the magician a dirty look.

Both CSIs sat down at the table, not meeting each other's gaze, nor anyone else at the table. They could feel the tickled glances of the audience, the inquisitive looks from the other two team members and the aghast glare of the Sheriff. "Gil?" Brian's tone demanded an answer from the famed duo, and he folded his arms across his chest, signalling that it was in all seriousness.

Gil looked at him innocently. He lifted up his cuffed hand for the Sheriff to see, elevating Catherine's at the same time. "Well, I guess the cuffs don't lie, do they Brian?" He asked, cheekily.

Brian narrowed his eyes at the supervisor's boldness. "Do you know how people are going to read this?" He asked, his face beginning to redden with frustration.

"That Grissom is the S&M maniac that we all suspected him to be?" Greg offered with a big grin - his joke's pride causing his lips to spread even further.

"Greg!" A myriad of voices scolded his name simultaneously.

The young lab technician sank in his chair, his child-like nature inciting him to fiddle with his napkin. He muttered an apology through pouted lips, transforming it into an infantile 'sowwy', which did win a smile from the strawberry-blond.

Gil gave the Sheriff a tight smile. "We'll just meet up with Mesto after the show, and he'll unlock us." He gave his wrist a shake. "The cuffs just jammed, Brian - it's not like Catherine and I planned this."

"Please, if I want to be attached to Gil, I know of far more original ideas than hand-cuffs." Catherine stated, her eyes throwing a Cheshire smile to the brunette, who still appeared to be shell-shocked by their compromising position. Catherine swallowed hard, taking in the stunned-silence that followed her statement. "...I, uh, mean theoretically, of course." A nervous smile danced on her glossed lips, embarrassment now aware of her presence. Wanting desperately to detour the attention from her somewhat revealing slip-up, she dramatically let out an 'aah', in vain attempt to offer the focus to Mesto. All eyes eventually lost interest in the slip courtesy of Freud himself, except for a pair of pure blues, which refused to leave her being.

Gil felt his body riddle with shivers by her statement and his eyes immediately sought hers; his gaze never faltering even when she didn't return sight. He deliberately moved cuffed hand, so it would brush up against hers, trying to win her attention.

Catherine's eyes widened upon feeling his energy collide with hers. A simple brush of the hand could spark a fire deep within and his aura had enough fuel to ignite her senses leaving her skin tingling with anticipation, begging for another touch. She shifted her eyes to his, her head slowly following her gaze, and she met his intense stare with one of fear and a lusting she tried desperately to hide. She tried to read his eyes; though they spoke volumes, they were always encrypted - masked with misted intrigue and leaving her hungry to decipher his look.

He broke focus momentarily, narrowing his eyes in deep contemplation of his action, wondering how he would seduce her into divulging any hidden meanings behind her previous spoken words. Had it been a casual remark - or had she shared thought of such scenario before? He returned his attention back to her eyes, sparkling with mystique. Both sets of blues battled for answers hidden behind the hues, void of blinks and distractions. He felt her begin to pull away, and he watched her deterred attention, now indulging the amateur magician. He too finally turned head, glancing at the frail man and his assistant unenthusiastically. He watched the magic show, a blank expression caressing his boyish features, until clapping woke him from his state of a suspended animation-like trance. He scrubbed a hand over his face, not thinking of his current situation. Breaths held, both felt the electricity course through them, channelled by the skin-on-skin contact. Gil kept his hand in place, mostly covering his eyes, and just took in the scent of her hand, the feel of her skin against his cheek.

She unconsciously moved her fingers, allowing them to innocently caress his cheek - an intimate act that did not shy from the inquisitive Sheriff's eyes.

Gil turned to meet her eyes, and he inhaled sharply upon feeling her fingers meet his lips. Neither attempted to move, but just gazed at eachother. The only movement that came was the feather-light kiss granted by soft lips against her slim fingers.

Brian cleared his throat, overlapping the timid moan that escaped Catherine's mouth. "Gil, may I have a word with you, alone please?" He wanted to speak to the supervisor - fears of a budding relationship between one of his fellow employees would not look professional on his roster, and so the Sheriff decided to nip any bud he could.

Gil glanced at Brian, his voice perhaps harsher than usual. "And how would you like me to do that, Brian?" He held up his left arm, once again inviting Catherine's for the ride. "Should we ask Catherine to cover her ears and close her eyes?" Sarcasm dripped, perhaps fuelled by the intense moment that had been arrogantly interrupted.

"We go see the magician -now-." He got up from the table, already making his way back-stage.

All four watched the Sheriff walk briskly out the door and then simultaneously glanced at one another. "Well, I guess we should join his majesty." Catherine commented dryly, standing up. She gave her arm a tug, signalling Gil to follow.

Greg snickered at the action that had just transpired. "Heh, I always knew Catherine wore the pants in the relationship."

"Greg!" Sara punched his shoulder weakly. "There -is- no relationship!" She got up, tossed her napkin on the table and stormed off towards the lobby.

Catherine glanced at the retreating brunette then met Gil's confused eyes.

"What's going on?" Gil asked, pointing towards Greg's direction, insinuating the blow-out that had just occurred.

"In layman's terms - it means that you're my bitch." Catherine deadpanned.

Eyebrow raised, he shot the strawberry-blond an warning, though his eyes couldn't neglect the humour that sparkled. "No, I meant with Sara." He pointed vaguely towards the doors, now filling up with people venturing to the lobby.

Catherine rolled her eyes, incomprehensive towards her supervisor's naivety. "You really should open your eyes sometimes, Gil. Evidence isn't only at a crime scene." She stared at him, wondering if he understood the layered meaning. She turned on her heel, deciding it to be a good moment to leave him pondering her statement, though momentarily forgetting her subsequent attachment to her desire, was jerked back to her place, landing against him.

Gil's hands immediately reached out for her, bracing her lost balance. He helped her straighten up and again they locked gazes, something neither were tired of falling into.

"I hate handcuffs." Catherine pouted, breaking the concentrated looks. "Let's go."

Gil nodded, his heart unwilling to calm its rate from their close encounter. He turned towards Greg, who had been sitting there, watching the whole exchange. Gil took in the stupid smirk on the lab tech's face and frowned. "Go take care of Sara." He shook his head, and followed Catherine's lead, trailing the Sheriff's path.

They walked through the doors, finally reaching a metal one adorned with a paper marked 'exit' in bold red letters. Stepping outside, they were greeted with a blinding sun and the smell of smoke. "I didn't know you smoked, Brian." Gil gave a half smile.

"Sometimes I need to calm my nerves." Brian replied tightly, taking one last drag and tossing the butt on the ground.

Gil eyed the cigarette then glanced back at the Sheriff. "Well, smoking is not only bad for your health, but for your image as well." He replied patronisingly, stepping on the cigarette.

Catherine elbowed him in the ribs, despite a grin that erupted. "So, is the good magician in?" She asked, still smiling.

"Well, I knocked a few times, but got no answer. His assistant said he might be in the shower." Brian exhaled his response, smoke mingling with his words.

Gil nodded and began to inspect the surroundings, dragging a confused Catherine along. He pulled her to the other side of the trailer and stopped abruptly, then began staring at the sky. Catherine glanced up, squinting, imitating his head's tilt. "What are we looking at?"

"Not looking, listening."

She glanced at him, noting that his eyes were closed. She wanted to do the same - wanting to hear what he was hearing, but she couldn't tear her eyes away from his face. His hindered vision allowed her the opportunity to memorise his features to a fuller extent, and she branded his face - every detail - into her mind's eye.

"Do you hear that?" He asked, eyes still closed.

Catherine shook her head, finally closing her eyes. "No."

"Exactly." He allowed light to once again infiltrate his senses and turned slowly, casting gaze upon the heavenly beauty beside him. He, in his unknowing turn, took opportunity to observe her flawless purity, and a sincere smile caressed his lips. "There's no running water." He cocked his head to the side, awaiting her response.

"So, what are you saying? That the magician did a disappearing act of his own?" She opened her eyes slowly, adjusting them to the sun's rays.

Gil shrugged. "Let's see what tricks this guy has up his sleeve." He motioned her to follow him, and both CSIs walked to where Mobley still stood.

"Find anything?" He asked impatiently.

"We'll let you know when we do." Gil replied boldly as he knocked loudly on the trailer door. "Mr. Presto?" He hollered, causing Catherine to grimace at the volume.

"Do you come with a volume control?" She joked.

Gil's trademark brow shot up. "Funny, I ask myself that question about you everyday." He couldn't suppress his smug grin.

She feigned hurt and playfully slapped his shoulder. "Mesto Presto!" She too hollered, slyly aiming for Gil's ear more than towards the door. When she caught view of his frown, she threw him a satisfied smile. "I guess he's not home."

Gil glanced down at the handle and then back at his companion. Untucking his shirt from his pants, he grabbed a fist of the material and tested the door with his covered hand.

Catherine swallowed hard as she had just observed her supervisor struggle at the beginnings of feverishly divesting himself, and her mind concocted wicked images of such an action mixed with a different scenario ... thoughts that even made a rosy hue creep on to her own cheeks.

"You wouldn't happen to have some gloves hidden somewhere, would you?" He asked in jest, still wrestling with the rusted handle.

Her eyes caught view of the smooth skin of his stomach and she yearned to feel his heated skin beneath her touch, to taste him. "Sorry, latex clashes with my dress."

Her arcane reply caused him to do a double take. A raised eyebrow questioned her comment, and she pressed her lips together in abashment.

"I mean..."

His smile assured her that the humour was not missed and he turned his attention back to the trailer's door, though his thoughts chose not to venture far from the imagery her comment sparked. Distracted by desired thoughts, he brought his other hand to the handle, aiding his attempt to pry it open. His intention worked, and the door opened with a rickety creak, wobbling before idly resting closed. His eyes fluttered closed however, and he began to question whether his subconscious was mocking his heightened aroused state.

They once again found themselves in trapped in moment's fervour, and Catherine chanced a stroke against his abdomen's skin, feeling warmth at her wish's command. Her fingers danced to his cumberbun, her thumb sneaking under the silky material while her other fingers applied pressure on the upper part of his pelvis.

He felt himself resist the pressure, his hips bucking slightly in response. Exhalations came at a deeply slowed rate and he found himself leaning towards her, mesmerised by the glow in her eyes and tempted by her full lips, slightly parted for what he interpreted as his personal benefit.

"Gil." Brian rounded the corner, his eyes ablaze at the scene before him. "How are we getting on locating the magician?" He offered a glare to the two agents, mainly directed at Gil for being in the more powerful position.

Gil took a step back and opened the door once again using his shirt-covered hand. "Please, by all means." He dramatically motioned the way with a sweep of the hand.

His warning headed no desired response from the supervisor, so the Sheriff stepped in to the trailer, his eyes scanning the confined interior. "He's not in here."

"Did you check the bathroom." Catherine asked, biting back any sarcastic comment as she too filed in to the small area. One side of her dress was hiked up to her thigh, aiding her attempt to climb up the high-set metal staircase and she blatantly missed the carnal stare her partner had plastered on his face.

Drying mouth, lips parted and mind imprinting her image in his brain, he tried desperately to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, following her up the narrow stairs. Her hand trailed behind her back, dragging his along for the ride and he ached to reach out and feel her...touch her...just grab her and hold her close. She stopped abruptly and he found his face dangerously close to her toned buttocks, which seemed to have been accentuated by the snug material that hugged her warmly. He didn't consider himself a jealous man, but at that moment, her dress was the subject of his envy.

They both glanced at Brian who donned a look of despair and irritation. "He's dead...bound with chains and rope in a shower stall filled with water."

Gil pursed his lips, pondering the Sheriff's statement, "even Houdini made some mistakes." He deadpanned, sharing a look with the strawberry-blond beside him.

--TBC--