Chapter Title: Chapter Two: Truth and Fiction

Author: Merrianna

Story Title: Tangled Web

Disclaimer: I don't in any way own the series CSI. Those are the sole property of Anthony E. Zuiker, Jerry Bruckheimer, CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Now I believe there comes a time
When everything just falls in line
We live an' learn from our mistakes
The deepest cuts are healed by faith

Pat Benatar

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Standing in front of his office window, Mac Taylor gazed out at the tall buildings, birds flew by and the ever present clouds in the sky seemed to him to be a normal occurrence in his live now. His mind wandered to the events that had happen a few days before. The Commissioner's ball and the woman who'd walked back into his life, 'Star Berlusano.'

The woman had the audacity to threaten him and his daughter but had it really been a threat. She had said that her boyfriend wanted her to seduce him. Ms Berlusano hadn't done that instead she'd told of the Sassone stooge's plan, either give up on his Italian Mafia cases or become a targeted of their hit men. It had been he who had done the threatening with blowing her cover, it was any wonder that she had run off.

What unsettled him most about the encounter was the fact the he couldn't seem to stop the sexual response that he had. He consciously had to beat down his physically reaction. It caused some of his problems when he talked to the fiery brunette.'Taylor, get your head together you have more important issues to deal with than your bodies urges.'

The mere thought of the Mafia woman had other emotions well with in the blue-eyed man, though he didn't even know why... 'Despite what you may think, I'm not a murderer and I don't sell myself to the highest bidder.' Star's parting words sprang forth taunting him. Mac had been unaccountable startled when she spit those words, before leave him at the edge of the dance floor.

The Criminal Investigator wasn't going to take the chance that Ms Berlusano would contact him; he was going to track her down. She was the only link to a possible hit being place on him. The image of the lithe figure in a red dress flashed in his mind before he'd control it. 'Taylor, you have other concerns that are more important.' He gave himself another mental kick. He had other concerns that would be popping up one was in the form of Donald Flack Jr. Mac knew it was only a matter of time until Don cornered him on what had happened during the time he had been with the alluring Ms. Berlusano at the party. The ex-marine had forestalled the young detective's curiosity that night and had subsequently dodged him for the past two days about the incident.

"Here's the last of it." Adam rasped as he tried to catch his breath.

Turning from the dismal sights of a September rain that began falling relentless outside 35th floor of the NYPD Crime Lab Mac nodded his appreciation of his employee's efforts. "Thanks, Adam."

The young lab tech gave his boss a half hearted smile and escaped with a wondering expression his expressive face as the beard man sneaked a peek back at his supervisor.

Mac had seen the curious look that pass over Adam's face as he left. He knew that Adam wasn't one to gossip at work, but that didn't mean the young man wouldn't let something slip. Unfortunately, he knew that even without the tech's help the office discussion would circulate about the fact the he was reviewing the Grezano case. Which meant that in no time at all a certain tall blue-eyed investigator would learn about it. Then there'd be more questions that he wasn't yet ready to provide the answers to.

Mac didn't want to acknowledge just where his sudden urge came from to look again at a case, which the DA's office had turned down prosecuting. In favor of some testimony that had yet to materialize.

Danny knocked on the glass door of Mac's office. Mac could see by the expression on the young man's face that he had something serious to discuss.

"Come on in Danny." He waved the young detective into his office.

From Mac's vantage point the blonde haired man seemed unable to stand still. "What's on your mind Danny?"

Danny looked up finally face his supervisor, his glass riding mid way down his nose. "Mac, I was just wondering if you'd heard anything more from Star."

"Why would you think I would know anything about your cousin?" Mac hoped that his expression hid the momentary shock he'd had at his investigator's question.

Danny shoved his hands into his pockets while shrugging his shoulders, "It just appeared at the ball thing that you and her seemed to be getting friendly."

Before Mac could refute his subordinate, Danny quickly began to ramble on. "She a great person smart, loyal, and giving but Mac, I know that Star's been involved in some shady things. I guess what I'm trying to say is that she not a girl to get messed up with."

"Danny your concern is touching but there's nothing going on between Ms Berlusano and myself." Mac interrupted, hurriedly down playing what Danny might be thinking.

The blonde man's eyes seemed to appraise his supervisor for a moment before he nodded. "Okay, Mac."

There was an uncomfortable silence for a moment when neither said a word. Mac broke it by returning the conversation back to work. "So, how is the Clark case going?"

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Star rolled over in the king sized bed the other sided was cold. She opened one green eye and could see that her boyfriend wasn't there, a relieved sigh burst forth. Laying quiet she listened, there wasn't any sound in the apartment but her breathing so it wasn't just the bedroom that Frankie had left but the resident as well.

"Come on Star get your ass out of bed." Star chided herself for her lateness in waking up. She had an appointment with the DA that afternoon and it would take sometime to lose her tail that Frankie had placed on after the Commissioner party.

Slowly getting up, she made her way to the bathroom to start getting ready for the day. After a hot but short shower, the curly-haired woman strategic made her face though it wasn't going to matter to the people she was going to see. She donned lace underwear, fishnet nylons, and a tight see through lace green dress and two inch heels. She covered the dress with a long coat to stem the moist autumn air.

Going to a secret spot in her closet Star gathered the remnants of the undercover surveillance camera and mike. "The widgets were most likely not worth the taxes payers money." Star sneered as she stuffed them into her small purse. One last check in the mirror, she slipped out of the apartment.

Taking a deep breath she left the apartment complex ready for a day of shopping. At least that's what her tail would think.

Star made it a game to see how many stores she'd have to go into before her unwanted companion got tired of watching so closely. It became annoying that the big brute hadn't gotten bored until she entered her eleventh shop. Then Star saw her chance when a group of college girls sashayed by the man. It was obvious to the streetwise woman where his attention was. She made a quick escape out a side door and was lost in the throng of New York City before the muscled guard knew it.

Glancing down at her watch Star realized that she would have to catch the subway in order to keep her meeting. The crush of humanity and the rain that had periodically come down had slowed her progress but she eventually made it to the right stop.

Star strolled down the street ignoring the occasion catcall and kept moving to her favorite Greek restaurant.

"Kherete, Carlita." Star greeted in Greek to the hostess at the door.

The dark eyed woman gave Star a warm smile that was genuinely expressed on her face. "Your, usual is already in the back."

Star followed the woman all the way into the back reception room which was where she'd be meeting up with her DA contact. She remembered how easy it had been to get Carlita and her husband to agree to let her use their restaurant as a meeting place. They'd been friends of her mother's and they'd blamed the Mafia for being behind her mothers' disappearance.

The first person Star saw when walked in was Assistant District Attorney Cliff Howard standing with his arms crossed and murky brown eyes trained on the entrance. "You finally made it."

"Yeah, I finally made it. You know it not easy getting away from Frankie's henchmen. Which I now have trail after me since the Commissioner Ball," stated Star insolently.

Howard gestured for the surveillance equipment which commenting. Star gritted her teeth at his quick dismissal of her efforts. Instead of placing the bits of electronics in his hand Star dumped the contents of her purse on the nearest table.

"You should be more careful of with the equipment." reprimand the technician as he examined the broken parts.

The young female aid frowned, "Star, you need to be cautious these gadgets are very expensive."

"Be more careful... of the equipment; you would think you'd be worried about what is happening to your star witness." Star cried indignantly.

Star's next comments were laced with irate sarcasm "But I just bet you and your cronies' get a thrill over watching every dirty little deed that bastard does."

Cliff put up a straining hand in the air to forestall anymore bickering. "Star, of course we're worried if you're in danger but you did agree to this. The wire is costly it would be not only our best interest but yours as well to take better care of it."

"Fine." Star acquiesced at several long minutes, the tension in the air dissipated momentarily.

The Greek woman could see the wheels turning in Cliff's head she knew that he was considering his next words to her. "Why did you single out Detective Taylor at the Commissioner party?"

Star shrugged her shoulders indifferently, "I just felt like bugging the man. He's such a tight ass. Good-looking, but a cold fish."

"Really? That's all you were doing?" Cliff mused, unconvinced with her answer.

"Yeah. That's all I was doing. Detective Taylor was the one who found the evidence to put me in this mess. Do you really think he or I would have a lot to talk about?"

Cliff raised an eyebrow at Star's words. "Ms Berlusano, do you want out of your agreement?"

'I hate lawyers.' Star scowled at the attorney. "No, Howard. I don't want out. I'm trying to understand why Sailor boy is so interesting."

Laughter erupted from the other two people in the room causing Star's scowl to deepen. "What is so funny?"

Tracey, the DA's assistant sucked in a breath then expelled, "You called Mac Taylor a sailor."

"And that's funny why?" Star inquired in exasperation.

The tech calmed him self enough finally to give the irate green-eyed woman an answer. "It's fun because Detective Taylor is a former Marine. That's not something you do. Jarhead maybe but not Salior."

"And I was to know that how?" Star could feel heat invading her cheeks. Though she remembered now that the detective had mentioned something about being in the military but she'd still been too wrapped up in his presence to pay attention to what branch it was.

"All right everyone. Let's get back to work." Howard had blend of amusement and impatient in his voice which was reflected on his face. "Leon, give Ms Berlusano a run down the new surveillance equipment."

Leon turned serious immediately, "This is your new wire. It's a little more durable than the last one. The mic and video camera are in two different pieces." He slided a jewelry box over, "This is the video camera."

In the box Star found a medium size pendant that had a jeweled opaque center looking into it you couldn't even see the tiny video camera inside. "Nice. What do you want me to do with this?"

"Be imaginative. Go on, Leon." Cliff cut off apparently not wanting anymore distraction.

Leon shoved another jewelry box over, inside were a pair of earrings. Star assumed that they were the microphones. "Great. At least they go together."

Cliff's murky eyes pinned her for a second before he spoke. "Remember Star you make sure nothing. I mean nothing happens to them. We haven't gotten the big guy yet. The next time it might not be us knowing about the problem."

Star smiled grimly at the young man, "I know how things work Howard."

"Give us a few minutes then you can leave." Cliff let the tech and his assistant depart then slowly followed behind.

Star decided that she didn't want to wait and as Cliff Howard stopped briefly to talk to some patrons the brunette strode out. She deliberately bumped into the DA on her way past other patrons and the main window. "My, isn't it nice to see you here Assistant District Attorney Howard. I love to be able to talk but unfortunately, I have another appointment so I need to get going but I'll see you again soon."

TBC...