Chapter 10 – Archie, Bobby D, Mandy

Mandy stared at her computer screen until she was almost cross-eyed. She blinked a few times and rubbed her eyes until she saw spots dancing across her vision. She looked up at the clock and saw it was half past the end of shift. She leaned back in her chair with a yawn.

Bobby and Archie barreled into the lab and bounced on the balls of their feet as the smiled inanely like 5-year-olds on crack.

She glanced blearily at them and yawned again. "What?"

"It's Thursday!"

"And?"

Archie hopped on nearby stool and spun around. "We always go out on Thursdays. We were thinking the Pink Flamingo tonight."

"No! I am not going to a stripper bar."

"Come on…where's your sense of adventure?"

"I left it in my other lab coat."

Bobby looked down at his shoes with a guilty expression, his southern drawl making him sound all the sweeter in the midst of his fault. "I hope you guys don't mind. I invited some people."

Mandy raised an eyebrow. "Who?"

"I asked Katie. She said she had some juicy gossip for us."

"Katie? Oh, that cute blond at the front desk." Archie waggled his eyebrows.

Mandy rolled his eyes. "Put your eyes back in your head, Arch. Who else did you ask?"

Bobby looked even guiltier. "Er…dahinhojis."

"Come again." Archie leaned closer.

"I invited Hodges, okay."

"Why."

"He had to tell someone their daughter was in the morgue."

"One of the showgirls?"

"Yeah."

"So, why'd you invite him? It's not like he'd invite us out."

"Because I'm a sucker for hard cases. And it's the right thang to do. He's had a hard time."

"And the fact that he's hilarious when he's piss-ass-drunk has nothing to do with it?" Archie asked with a grin stretched across his face.

Mandy leaned over and squinted through the window across the hall. "Do you guys see that or am I so tired I'm seeing things?"

Archie and Bobby turned to follow Mandy's line of sight and saw Grissom and Sara standing close watching a flickering television.

Bobby frowned at Mandy. "What are you talkin' 'bout?"

"I don't know. I'm just getting some funky vibes off of 'em."

Archie raised a sole eyebrow. "I think you're seeing things. But you're still going out with us."

All three watched as Grissom whispered something to Sara and then reached up and wiped a tear away with a gentle touch. Then he led her down the hall with an arm wrapped around her. They gave each other brief looks and then turned back to see Grissom and Sara walk down the hall so close they might as well have been connected at the hip.

"So you guys noticed too." A somber voice said from behind them.

They turned to find Hodges standing behind them with his hands in his pockets and sad eyes watching the secretive pair stroll down the hall.

Mandy shrugged out of her lab coat and hung it half-hazzardly on the peg by the door before slipping an arm through Hodges's. "Come on you look like you could you use a drink."

"You know, I hate Grissom and Sara."

"Why's that?" Bobby asked as he and Archie fell into step behind them.

"They have each other when things get bad. Not me…everybody hates me."

Archie patted him on the shoulder. "Well, you are an ass. But you can come and get piss-drunk with us."

"Really? You don't mind?"

"Nah. You can even hit on Katie if you want."

Hodges perked up. "That cute receptionist is coming too?"