Summary: How do you know when it's meant to be? Nick recalls the events that led to him falling in love with his wife. Nick/Sara? Nick/Mandy? Nick/Wend? Or Nick/OFC.
AN: This has been in my head for months, and I finally have it out, on paper! The good news is that it is practically finished, so updates will regular. Also, I understand that many people don't like to read fics when they aren't sure of the pairing. I completely understand this, but I hope that you'll understand why in this case, giving away the pairing would mean giving away the ending. I hope you'll stick around just the same. There will only be four chapters, so you won't have to wait long. I had a lot of fun with this, and I hope you enjoy reading it as well.
Disclaimer: I don't own CSI. Shocked I know.
"Honey, are you ready yet?" Nick Stokes ran his hand over the banister as he checked the watch on his other hand. "We're going to lose our reservation," he called up in a futile attempt to hurry things along. He was switching his cell phone to vibrate when he heard the creek on the second to the top stair signaling his wife's descent from the second floor.
Turing, his eyes immediately fell on her breath-taking smile. "You look gorgeous." He offered his hand as she reached the last steps.
"I look like Shamu." She stepped onto the landing.
"You look beautiful," He reaffirmed, pulling her in for a kiss before she could protest further. Their lips separated, but their faces remained close. "Happy anniversary," he whispered.
"Happy Anniversary," she purred back.
His hands slid up and down her arms, "We should go." He followed her through the front door, and locked it behind them. She walked in front of him, but when she reached for the door handle, he quickly leaped into action, "Let me get that, milady."
Biting back a smile, "Always the gentleman."
Gently closing the door once she was settled in her seat, he made his way to the driver's side. As they pulled out of their subdivision, Nick looked over to find his wife propping her head up with her hand. "Darlin' you alright?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." She quickly put her hand down, but he didn't look convinced, "Really I am." She forced a smile in a vain attempt to prove it.
He brushed a few fingers over her cheek, "You sure?"
"Uh-hum," she nodded. "I've been tired all day, and now I'm just a little…blah." She reached up to take his hand in hers.
"If you're not up to it, we don't have to go out to dinner." He would be somewhat disappointed, but he was more worried about her.
"No." She said a little louder than what was needed. To his questioning glance, she added, "Not only is it our anniversary, but it's also probably the last time in a long time that we'll be able to go out, just the two of us." She placed her other hand on her swollen belly. "We're going."
She was so insistent, he couldn't argue with her. "You'll tell me if it becomes too much?"
"No worries, I won't suffer in silence." After a wink, she brought his right hand to her lips and placed a soft kiss on his knuckles before releasing his hand.
(Almost two years prior)
Nick sauntered into the locker room with an ear-to-ear grin lighting up his face. "Hey man," he tapped Warrick's back as he made his way to his locker.
"Someone's in a good mood," Warrick observed as he pulled his vest up and over his shoulders.
"And why shouldn't I be? Grass is green, birds are singing…"
"Sounds like Nicky got lucky." Warrick shook his head as he holstered his service revolver.
"Why do you always jump to that, just because I'm in a good mood?" He was only slightly offended.
"Well, first you are always in a good mood, second this is Vegas in August. The grass is dead because of water restrictions and the birds, if there are any, are too hot to sing."
"Alright, alright." Warrick paused as he was headed out the door to turn and look at his friend, waiting for the story time to begin. "Her name is Cindy, and we've been seeing each other for a couple of weeks." He set his keys and wallet on the shelf in his locker before removing his jacket.
Warrick was getting impatient, "And…"
"And, we're going to San Diego for the weekend." He fastened the vest over his chest.
"Really? Have fun, think of those of us who have to work all weekend while you're off on a beach getting laid."
Nick shook his head and followed his friend out the door. Once in the hallway. Wendy Sims nearly ran them over"Hey guys, I was just looking for you."
"Our results from last night's double homicide?" Warrick held his hand out.
"Yep," she handed the file over, "Three donors on the condom, your two DBs, and an unknown female."
Before Nick could finish his question, "Nope, she's not in the system."
"You're good; what am I thinking now?" Nick teased.
Wendy playfully slapped his shoulder, "Get your mind out of the gutter, you're at work." She smiled and walked away, leaving Nick watching until she turned to enter the DNA lab.
Warrick kept his eyes on the file in his hands, "What about Cindy?"
"Hey, Wendy's no Cindy, but I can still look, man." Nick continued his walk down the hall.
Without missing a beat, "Yeah, until one of them finds out."
Their conversation went back to the case at hand until Nick's cell phone alerted him to a new text message. He removed it from his belt, and read aloud. "Mandy got a hit off one of the prints from the scene."
Two minutes later, they entered the print lab, "Hey Mands, you got something for us?"
Mandy hit a few keys on her computer, "Yep, check it out." She tilted the screen for them to see. "This should keep you busy tonight."
Nick leaned over, "Tricia Spaulding," He looked to Warrick, but asked Mandy, "As in Tony Spaulding's wife?"
"The one and only Councilman Spaulding. Mrs. Spaulding's prints were in the system from when she worked in the counting room at the Luxor."
"It's going to be a long night," Nick sounded defeated.
"Take heart, at least you have the next two nights off." Now Warrick was the one sounding hopeless.
"You're off for the weekend?" Mandy was already scanning prints for another case.
"Yes, Nicky boy here is taking his latest love to San Diego for the weekend." Warrick put the file he'd been holding on the table made notes detailing Mandy's findings.
A thought occurred to Nick, "Hey Mandy, you're from San Diego, right?"
"Yep, born and raised." Her eyes never left the screen.
"If I want to…"
"Impress?" Warrick offered, still writing in the file.
Mandy's attention was perked, "So this uh, serious Nicky?"
Nick blushed a little, and ran his fingers through his hair, "Never mind." He turned to go to the door, "Warrick, ready"
"Oh, we're done now" Warrick's frustration was more about his own failed marriage than about his friend's excitement.
Just as they were about to pass through the door, Mandy called out, "Nick." As he turned, she removed her glasses, "The beach in La Jolla is best for a quiet time, Pacific Beach if you want to go surfing or body boarding. Moonlight dinner cruise of the Bay is very romantic, and if she's anything like me, she'll love the shops in La Jolla or Seaport Village. Then of course there's always the Zoo, Wild Animal Park, or Sea World."
"Thank you." Nick made a mental note so as to remember everything for the trip.