Hey all. Sorry about the delay. I had laser eye surgery done so looking at computers was difficult for a few days, and working at a restaurant at the mall during the holiday season keeps me busy. Anyway, I hope you like this. I know there is a part that is similar to Cropper's Sniper, but I wrote this before I read that one, I promise, ask my Beta! LOL. Speaking of my beta, thank you, Nicki! You rock.
I still own nothing…
Grissom, Greg, Nick, and Sara arrived at the abandoned warehouse that had been used for the sting. They immediately got to work processing the scene.
"Why are we here, exactly?" Nick asked. "I thought we knew the circumstances of what happened."
"We do… for the most part," Grissom replied smirking. "We still aren't entirely sure why the gun fight started. According to the detectives who were observing the sting, everything was going fine. I guess one of the arms dealers figured out that Vartann and the other guys were cops, and started firing. Like I said earlier, two of them were killed, but two of them got away."
"So, we need to figure out who those other two guys were?" Greg asked.
"Yes, and we need to figure out how they figured out that the detectives were in fact detectives, and not prospective buyers. I will take the interior, try to find which bullets belong to which gun, and see if I can trace one of those guns to the missing suspects. Greg, take the perimeter, see if you can find any shoe treads or anything out there." Grissom paused and turned to Nick and Sara. He saw something in Sara's eyes that he found a bit strange.
"Nick, Sara, go to the hospital and talk to Detectives Vargas and Bradley, see if they can give us any indication as to what went wrong, how those guys figured out they were cops."
"Sure thing boss. Want us to come pick you up after we are done?" Nick asked. "I mean, it is your Denali out there."
"No, I talked to Catherine a few minutes ago, she is going to meet us here after she drops Lindsay off at school, she can drive us back to the lab when we're done here," he replied.
"Alright, we'll see you back at the lab. Come on, Sar." Nick and Sara turned and walked out of the warehouse toward the Denali.
"Was it just me, or did Sara seem really quiet all night?" Greg asked in a concerned tone.
"She did. But we can't worry about that now, we have a scene to process," Grissom replied. Greg just nodded and they went to work.
After talking to the other two detectives and returning to the lab, Nick and Sara decided to take a short break and grab a bite to eat at one of the local diners down the street from the lab.
"How you holding up Sara?" Nick asked after they had placed their orders.
"I've been better," she replied. Nick could hear in her voice that she was trying to fight back tears. "I feel awful, Nick."
"It's understandable why you would be upset, but you have no reason to feel bad, Sara."
"We got into a fight last night…" she said quietly, her voice trailing off.
"Want to talk about it?" Nick asked carefully.
"It was stupid. Well, more like me being stupid."
"You going to give me more to work with here? Or am I just going to have to guess what was said?"
"It was our one year anniversary. We went out for dinner and some drinks. We were walking around the strip after dinner and we saw Catherine with her new boyfriend. Tony wasn't too happy when I insisted we walk down a different street so she wouldn't see us. We went home and started arguing. He seems to think I am ashamed of him," she said, wiping away a small tear.
"Well, are you?"
"No! What is with you guys? Why would you think I am ashamed of him?"
"Well, considering no one else from our team knows about you guys and I only found out by chance, it kind of makes one wonder. I can kind of see where Vartann would get the impression you are ashamed of him," he replied, not really giving her the answer she wanted to hear.
"I'm not. Really. I just don't want things to get complicated. I mean, a criminalist dating a detective? That might not look too good to a lot of people. I just didn't want anything to jeopardize either of our careers. But as I was saying, we argued for a bit, and then he said he loved me." Sara kept trying to hold back the tears, but it was getting more and more difficult as she told the story. "And yes, he has said that before and no, I have never said it. I just want to be sure. Using that phrase when you don't mean it can lead to a lot of problems. So after that, he says that he is going to be late for a sting operation. He tells me happy anniversary, hands me something, and walks out the door." She paused for a breath, and the tears start to fall freely. "It was an engagement ring, Nick. He was going to propose last night."
"Would you have said yes?"
"Yes," Sara said without hesitation. "Yes… I love him. Oh God, Nick. I am so stupid. I probably screwed up the best thing that has ever happened in my life."
"Go see him, Sara."
"He's still in a coma."
"Come on, you know as well as I do what they say about coma patients being able to hear. And even if he can't, I think it would help you to get things off your chest."
"I suppose you're right," Sara said as she tried to gain her composure.
"I always am," Nick replied giving her a wink. "Now go, I will figure out what to tell the guys."
"You know what, I really don't care what you tell them. I am tired of hiding my feelings for him. I'll see you later," she said walking away.
"See you later."
"Oh, and Nick?" She turned around to face him.
"Making me realize what my heart already knew," she said, a slight smile forming.
"What are friends for? Now go on! I will take care of the bill!"
Sara gave him a grateful smile as she ran out the door. Nick sighed as he watched her make her way to the lab to get her car. Nick really hoped things would work out for the couple… Vartann was good for Sara.
After calling Tony's parents to make sure they had heard, Sara arrived at the hospital and made her way to the ICU.
"Excuse me," she said to the woman at the desk. "I am looking for Detective Tony Vartann. Could you tell me what room he is in?"
"Are you his family?" the nurse asked skeptically.
"No. I'm his, um, fiancé. Look, I know the policy, but please, I have to see him. His parents are in New York and they won't be here until tomorrow, someone should be in there with him until they arrive," Sara said as the tears started to flow again.
The nurse couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor girl standing in front of her.
"I really shouldn't, but he is in room 213... Straight down the hall, second to last door on the right."
"Thank you, thank you so much."
Sara entered the room and took a seat by the bed.
"Hey, handsome," she said as she took his hand in her own. "God, Tony, you have to make it through this. We obviously have a lot to talk about. I guess now is a good time for me to get some practice. Um, shit, I have no idea what to say. I don't even know if you can hear me. But baby, I am so sorry. Contrary to what you think, I am NOT ashamed of you. Like I told Nick earlier, a detective dating a CSI would probably not go over too well with anyone, especially your supervisors. I just didn't want to screw up any career possibilities for either of us, especially with that promotion you are being considered for. God, that seems so stupid now. We could have figured something out. I would have said yes, by the way. I will say yes if you give me another chance when this is all over. And you were right, I have never said those three words to you. Again, I was just being a coward. We've both been burned by people who have told us that in the past, and I just wanted to be sure." She then paused for a breath and to regain her composure again.
"And now I am. I love you, Tony. So damn much. I don't know when I started to love you, but I guess I have for a while. I still can't believe we have been together for a year," Sara said with a light smile, as she remembered her first date with Tony.
Sara glanced at the clock on her wall. 5:25. Five more minutes until her date arrived. She had picked out red dress that, while longer in the back, was angled and shorter in the front, and showed off her long legs. The red heels she had chosen accented her legs even more. It had been a while since her last date, and she hoped her date would appreciate the outfit. Just then, she heard a soft knock on her door.
She opened the door to find a very nervous Detective Vartann.
"Hi, Tony," she said quietly.
"Hi, Sara," he replied as he entered. "You look stunning."
"You look pretty good yourself," Sara said with a smile as she grabbed her jacket off the rack in the hall. 'That's an understatement,' she thought. He had on a gray pants and a deep blue shirt that accented his eyes wonderfully.
"Oh, these are for you," Vartann said as he handed her a bouquet of flowers.
"Aw, thank you, Tony. Come on in. Let me just put these in some water and then we can go." She walked into her kitchen to grab a vase. "So, where are we going tonight?"
"You'll see when we get there," he said coyly.
"I don't like surprises," she said with a pout, hoping he would tell her.
"Not going to work, beautiful, but nice try," he said with a wink. He noticed that she had stopped moving and was just staring at him. "What? Did I say something wrong? I can tell you if it means that much to you…"
"You just called me beautiful… none of my dates or boyfriends have ever called me that."
"Well, they are idiots. Now come on, beautiful, otherwise we are going to be late for our reservations. And no, I still won't tell you."
"Alright, I guess I can wait, handsome," Sara replied with a smile as she grabbed her coat off the rack by the door.
Half an hour later, Sara and Vartann arrived at the Venetian and were walking down the Grand Canal Shoppes. When they reached Wolfgang Puck's Postrio, Tony stopped and opened the door for her.
"We are eating here? Tony, this place is expensive, you shouldn't have."
"Nonsense. You deserve the best. Besides, I have heard they have some great meatless dishes," he said with a wink as he approached the maitre d'. "Hello, I have reservations for two under Vartann."
"Let me see," the man said. "Oh yes, here it is. If you will follow me I will show you to your table."
He escorted them to a table and told them to enjoy their evening, his eyes lingering on Sara a bit. Vartann scowled as the man walked away.
"What?" Sara asked.
"He was so checking you out," Vartann replied scowling a little.
"Aw, are we a little jealous?" Sara said with a slight laugh.
Her laugh was infectious. "I guess it is just something I should get used to if I am going to be out with such a beautiful woman."
"No, just honest. Oh, here comes our waiter. I hope it's okay, but I took the liberty of pre-ordering some wine for us," Tony said as Sara just smiled at him.
"Here is your merlot sir, falesco 'montiano' lazio," the waiter said as he poured a glass for Vartann to taste. "Shall I give you another minute to look over our menu?"
"Yes, thank you," Vartann said politely. The couple sipped their wine as they looked over their menus.
A few minutes later, the waiter reappeared to take their order. They talked comfortably throughout their meal.
After dinner, Vartann and Sara walked around the Shoppes for a little while. Vartann glanced at his watch.
"It's 8:30, we should get moving so we can find our seats," he said, as placed his hand on Sara's back to guide her to their next destination. She looked at him curiously. "You will see in a few minutes."
Sara was surprised when they arrived at the theater that housed the Las Vegas version of "Phantom of the Opera. She was even more surprised when the usher escorted them to their seats in the orchestra section. After the show, Tony took Sara back to her apartment and walked her to her door.
"Geez, Tony, you really outdid yourself tonight. First dinner and then the show. You didn't have to do this, you know?"
"I know, but I wanted to. I wanted our first date to be one you would remember… first date, am I being too confident using that word? Maybe I should just say date… unless you are having as much fun as I am and will agree to a second date?" Tony asked nervously.
Sara smiled at him and leaned in to kiss him on the cheek.
"I had an amazing time. There will definitely be a second date. And hopefully a third and fourth. But next time, you don't have to go through all that trouble. Let's just do something casual, okay?"
"Sure thing. I'll call you tomorrow. Okay?"
"Good night, beautiful," he said as he shyly kissed her cheek.
"Good night, handsome," Sara replied as she pulled him for a scorching kiss. A minute later she broke apart from him and opened her door. "Don't forget to call me tomorrow." And with a quick wink, she closed the door behind her.
As Brass walked into Vartann's hospital room, he noticed a figure next to the bed. He walked into the room a bit further to get a closer look, and smiled to himself as he noticed that the figure was Sara, who was holding the detective's hand and sleeping in the chair next to him. Brass turned to leave the room… he would come by the next day.
Like it, hate it? Review please. I will try and get the next part written soon, when I am not at work or studying for the GRE… damned higher education.