Nick Stokes plastered a huge grin on his face as he slid into Greg's lair and slapped down his report. "Read it and weep, Greggo! All the results from this past weekend's football scores. You think you could read the highlighted area? Right there?"
Greg Sanders spun around in his chair, a frown adoring his usually bright face. He leaned over and took a look at the Philadelphia/Dallas score. He shook his head and read aloud, "Philly 27. Dallas 17. They won by ten."
"Just like I said they would," Nick laughed, clapping his hands together in anticipation. "I believe you owe me forty dollars."
"You cheated somehow. I mean, what guy bets against his home team?" Greg asked, truly bewildered.
"A guy who knows his home team," Nick grinned even wider.
Greg squinted his eyes in frustration and defeat as he fished in his pockets for the money. He handed it over begrudgingly, then jumped up from his seat. He slid up next to Nick and said discreetly, "How about you give me a chance to win that back? Double or nothing?"
Nick was in the process of counting his winnings when he heard the word "double". He perked up at that proposition and asked, "What do you got in mind? More betting on sports?"
"No way man! We're thinking too small!" Greg stepped back, slightly alarmed at such a suggestion. He wrapped an arm around Nick's shoulders and emphasized with great determination, "We gotta bet on something much bigger than a stupid football game. This is 80 bucks we're talking about here."
Nick took a moment to glance at Greg's arm around his shoulders, then gave an irritated smile, "Get your arm off me."
"Right," Greg quickly complied, but wouldn't back down from his double or nothing offer. "All I'm saying is, we've bet on baseball, DNA results, what creamer Catherine puts in her coffee. I just think we need to bet on something bigger. Much bigger."
"What do you got in mind?" Nick asked, a growing anticipation bubbling in him. He had to admit, their previous bets had been easy winnings for both sides. Nothing was even remotely challenging.
At that very moment, Sara walked by catching the eyes of both men. Nick assumed she had tired of waiting on him to help examine the clothes from their current case and was going to do it herself. After she had disappeared into one of evidence rooms, Nick glanced up and saw the young lab techie had developed a mischievous glint in his eyes. Nick's mouth formed an 'O' as he returned his gaze to where Sara once was. He shook his head immediately and said, "No. No way, Greg. Ain't no way I'm doing that. Just no."
Greg shrugged and repeated, "No? No what?"
Nick laughed nervously, "I mean, no. We're not going there."
"What? What were you thinking?" Greg asked, stepping back in mock surprise. "Because I definitely wasn't just thinking we should bet on Sara. And I most definitely wasn't thinking we should place eighty dollars on a bet to see who can score a date with her first. That would be wrong. Shame on you, Nick, for even suggesting it."
"Greg," Nick warned him, pointing a wary finger at him. "She just ended a serious relationship with a guy who didn't appreciate her. I already overstepped my boundaries when trying to hook her up with a friend."
"C'mon, Nick, where's your adventurous side?" Greg teased, waggling his eyebrows elfishly. "Besides, I definitely wasn't just thinking we should do it behind her back."
"We let her in on it? Tell her we're betting on her?" Nick asked for clarification.
"Precisely, my dear Watson," Greg grinned brilliantly.
Nick shook his head in the negative once more and stated, "Greg, you're nuts. She would never go for it and like you said, it's wrong. Pick something else to bet on."
Nick tucked his winnings from the football bet into his back pocket, found a lab coat and met up with Sara in the evidence room. She had already spread out the vic's clothing on the table and smiled when he came in. "It's about time you showed up. I was beginning to think you ditched me for Greg."
Nick laughed, then stated with more seriousness than he intended, "Sara, I would never ditch you." She glanced up at him and her smile faded, noticing the change in his tone of voice. He quickly coughed and with a nervous chuckle added, "Especially not for Greg."
He was relieved when she smiled again and began probing the white dress shirt for any evidence. Nick began inspecting the khaki pants. Through his magnifying glass he spied some fibers. He grabbed some tweezers and picked them up, "Blue fibers. Maybe from a pair of jeans. I'll let Hodges confirm that."
It was Greg standing in the threshold and he was grinning his face off. Oh no. Nick looked up and Greg could see that his eyes filled with worry. Greg winked mischievously. Nick shook his head no. Greg began to nod insistently. Again, Nick shook his head no, his eyes widening desperately. Of course, Sara noticed their obvious silent communication and interrupted them by saying, "Okay, guys. What's up?"
"What are you doing Saturday night?" Greg asked promptly, now ignoring Nick. Bet or no bet, Greg had finally mustered up enough courage to ask Sara out on a real date. No more harmless flirting. This was the real deal.
"Saturday? Uh, probably nothing, why?" Sara said, shrugging in response.
"Well, I was thinking. . ." Greg began.
Nick immediately stepped in and corrected, "We were thinking you would like to go see a movie. With us. Together. Because Greg and I were going and thought you would like to go too. Isn't that right, Greg?"
Greg frowned, "Well, Nick, I was thinking that maybe Sara would like to go with. . ."
"Us to the movie because we don't hang out enough," Nick said, now smiling widely at Sara. "What do you say?"
Before Greg could object, Sara smiled warmly. "Sure, guys. Just let me know what time?"
"Okay," they both said, as she walked out. Once she was gone, Greg immediately began to pout. "That was wrong, man. Totally wrong. Now we're both going on a date with her!"
"Okay, we'll up the ante," Nick suggested. "Whoever kisses her first gets the 80 bucks. Deal?"
"See you Saturday," Greg said arrogantly, before turning to leave.
Nick stood there a moment, then leaned all his weight against the lab table. Oh God. He thought to himself. What the hell have I done?
Nick and Greg leaned against the wall of the theater, searching the sidewalks for their 'date'. They had barely spoken to one another, if you excluded the mild barbs at the others expense. Having had enough of the silence, Greg nudged Nick's shoulder, trying to get his attention. Nick dutifully ignored him. One final nudge got the result Greg wanted.
"What, Greg?" Nick finally replied, only mildly irritated.
"Check it out," Greg said, holding up a box. Nick spied the box, but was showing very little interest. Greg had to sell it. "It's candle wax, man! It's like Ricky Martin and all that jazz. Livin' la vida loca! Chicks dig this stuff!"
"Firstly, Sara is not a 'chick'. She's a woman," Nick corrected Greg, holding up a finger to warn the lab techie of taking his jokes too far. "Secondly, the bet was to see who kisses her first, not who beds her and pours candle wax all over her body first."
"Who said I would be pouring it on her?" Greg asked with genuine bewilderment.
Nick's expression was somewhere between intrigued and disgusted. "You are unbelievable sometimes, you know that?"
Greg rolled his eyes. "Okay, seriously. Give me some credit. Sara or no Sara, I'm going to have some fun tonight. Candle wax is just the beginning."
Nick took up his post against the wall again. "Whatever. If Sara knew the real reason we asked her to the movies, she would kill both of us."
"Hey, guys, sorry I'm late," Sara greeted them, appearing out of nowhere. They both straightened up quickly, Greg shoving his candle wax box back in his jacket. She surprised them both when she leaned up and gave Greg a kiss on the cheek. She smiled at him. "Hey, you."
"Uh. . .um, hey, Sara," Greg stammered, completely caught off guard. Did Sara just kiss him? He spied Nick's shocked eyes as well and could only grin in triumph. When Sara turned to Nick, Greg mouthed, "She. Kissed. Me. I. Win."
Nick was going to mouth something back, but Sara leaned up and gave him a kiss on the cheek too. Nick produced an elfish grin of his own, before hugging Sara back and greeting her, "Hey, Sunshine. Nice of you to join us."
"We probably didn't miss the opening credits, right?" she asked, leading the way to the front door. The two men followed behind, whispering harshly at one another.
"She kissed me first. You owe me 80 big ones," Greg hissed.
"I don't think so, Greggo. Let's go over the bet again," Nick hissed back. "It was whoever kissed her first. Besides, I thought we agreed it had to be on the lips."
"But. . .," Greg went to object, but Sara called them both. She urged them to hurry so they could get some good seats. They obediently obliged.
Nick was hardly watching the movie. All he could think about was the kiss. Well, the pair of kisses Sara Sidle had issued to them both. He knew Sara well enough to know that she just didn't outright greet her friends with kisses. Hugs, maybe. Kisses? No. He had never seen or heard of her doing such a thing. That is, not until tonight. Something was off.
"You can't relive the past, but you can sure change the future?" Greg repeated disgustedly, breaking Nick from his musing. "Who wrote this film? That has to be the lamest line I have ever heard!"
"Would you keep it down?" Sara whispered, pinching Greg's arm for emphasis. She nearly laughed when he jumped at the mild pain. "You guys said it was my choice, remember? Independent films do tend to be on the somewhat 'lame' side, but this has a good moral. A good story. It's not that bad of a movie."
"Oh, yes it is," Nick jested back, squirming in his seat. He was never one to like movie theaters. The seats were uncomfortable, the food pricey and inedible. He would suggest leaving this joint, but Sara seemed to be enjoying the film and he didn't want to spoil her fun.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Greg overtly yawn and stretch out his arms. Nick let his jaw drop as he watched Greg lazily lay his arm across the back of Sara's chair. Greg winked as if to say, 'Score points for me!' Nick nearly snarled.
Mercifully, the movie ended about twenty minutes later.
Their next stop was a bar.
Nick could tell Greg was running out ways to try and impress Sara. The poor guy was draining his drinks and doing stupid tricks. Like, making a penny disappear. Now it's one hand and now it's gone! Amazing! Nick could only roll his eyes. It was no wonder the boy couldn't keep a girlfriend for more than a week.
"I'm gonna get another," Greg slurred. He rose from his chair and stumbled up to the bar. He sounded disappointed at how the night was turning out. It wasn't that Sara wasn't talking to him, she was. She just wasn't responding to any of his romantic advances.
Nick sipped on his drink, smiling at something Sara had said. She had treated him rather cooly as well, none of his well placed one liners cracking that hard Sidle shell. At this point in the night, he wasn't even trying to 'woo' her anymore. The night was a bust and it seemed their double or nothing bet would have to be put on hold until another time.
They heard a loud raucous. They turned and saw Greg had dumped the entire pitcher on himself and the bar. He was apologizing profusely and offering to help clean it up.
"Don't you think we should switch him to water?" Nick asked her, grinning.
"I'll let him sweat it out a little bit longer," she smiled back. She saw Nick's face fall. "You didn't think I knew, did you?"
Oh, God. She knew about the bet.
"Uh, Sara, I can explain," Nick began quickly. Sweat forming on nearly every part of his body.
"I don't want an explanation, honestly," Sara chuckled, finishing off her beer. "It's been more fun for me than you'll ever know."
"Fun for you? How?" Nick said. He was a bit surprised that Sara wasn't mad, but to be amused?
"Why do you think I kissed you both on the cheek when I arrived?" she posed, laughing a bit more. "I thought something was up between you two, so when I left you two alone at the lab, I stood by the door and eavesdropped. Heard you talking about 'upping the ante'. Kissing Greg on the cheek and watching his eyes light up, thinking he won. That was priceless. And you calling me Sunshine out of spite? Cute. Very cute."
Nick began to blush, drinking just to be doing something other than looking at her. He rubbed the back of his neck and tried to be casual. "I'm glad you found this all so amusing."
Sara rubbed his shoulder. "Oh, don't be embarrassed, Nicky. I'm flattered, really. Just, don't ever try and pull something like this ever again."
"Yes, ma'am." Nick smiled bashfully, then looked around for Greg. He wasn't at the bar anymore. "Uh, where did Greg go?"
Sara did a quick search herself. "Good question. He's drunk."
"So he's probably getting into trouble," Nick said, coming to the same conclusion as Sara. They both got up and heard shouting outside. They rushed out and gasped at the sight.
"Hey guys!" Greg yelled down at him. He waved and said merrily, "Look! Palm trees!"
"Greg!" Sara called up to him.
"What the hell, man!? Get down!" Nick yelled back. Then he muttered to Sara,"How did he get up there?"
"This truck them, uh, soooo cool, dude," Greg tried to explain, his grin lopsided and goofy looking. "Some show down there somewheres. I climbed them."
Nick smiled at Sara. "Did you get any of that?"
Sara couldn't help but laugh. "Uh, yeah. You climbed them, Greg. Good job. Now get down before you're arrested. C'mon."
"Okay," was Greg's reply. Instead of just climbing down, though, Greg just let go. Nick and Sara jumped back when Greg fell and hit the ground with a sickening crunch. They watched him giggle like a little school girl.
"Oh no," Nick said as Sara bolted forward. "God, he's an idiot."
"Greg, are you okay?" Sara asked, kneeling down next to him.
"Ah, ah, ah," Greg winced in pain, shutting his eyes. He laughed some more. "Doesn't hurt at all...actually."
Nick viewed the awkward bend in Greg's leg and knew instantly it was broken. He whipped out his cell phone and called 911. As he explained the situation, he watched Greg squirm. Sara was trying her best to keep him still. Once the call was made, Nick helped. He placed a hand on Greg's shoulder to keep him down. "Hey, Greg. Focus on me."
"'Kay," Greg smiled.
"I think your leg is broken. You understand?" Nick said, his lips forming half a smile. Greg nodded. "Okay, buddy. You better hope your latest drinking binge doesn't wear off too soon. The alcohol is probably what's numbing the pain."
Greg nodded again, but went to sit up again anyway. That's when he sobered up, quickly. "Ah, crap! Ow, ow, ow...it is broken! Aww, man!"
The lab techie looked at Sara helplessly.
"Hi, Greg," Sara said, her features scrunching up as if she could feel his pain too.
Greg looked as if he was on the verge of tears. "I was just trying to win. . .the bet."
Nick frowned. "By climbing a palm tree?"
"It seemed like a good idea at the time," Greg groaned.
"Hey, Greg?" Sara called him. She held up a box of crushed candle wax. She wore a perturbed frown on her face as she asked, "What were planning to do with this?"
Nick began to whistle and turn away. "I'm gonna see if the ambulance...is here yet."
Greg helplessly watched Nick scamper away, then turned his attention to Sara and her glare of death. He said the only thing he could think of.
"Uh, livin' la vida loca?"