A/N: Just a little bit of SoNic lovin', loosely based on the Jack Johnson song "Constellations." Leave me your comments! It's sad, but I live for those reviews.
Disclaimer: Don't own either CSI or "Constellations."
Sofia Curtis leaned back against the only source of shade in the area. The tree's branches swayed in the hot Texas wind that blew over the desert. She'd grown up in the desert. Vegas was her hometown. But even Vegas wasn't quite like this. She wiped a droplet of sweat off her brow before it trickled into her sparkling blue eyes.
"Well, we're stuck," Nick Stokes said wryly as he approached the blonde detective. He wiped his oil-covered hands on his jeans and gestured to the beat-up old pickup idling a few feet away from him. "Radiator's dry. Shoulda checked it before we left Odessa."
"It's karma, Nick," Sofia replied with a grin.
He sighed and plopped down in the dust next to her. "Go ahead. I deserve an 'I told you so'. After all, I did insist on us driving out here."
"Wouldn't dream of it." She handed him their only bottle of tepid water. "Here. Drink up."
"Thank you, ma'am," he drawled as he tipped his cowboy hat to her. She stifled a giggle as he took a long swig. It was almost adorable… his cowboy, gentleman ways. She'd never quite met anyone like Nick Stokes.
"So what do we do now?" Sofia asked as she tied her hair up in a high ponytail to keep it from sticking to the back of her neck.
Nick shielded his eyes and looked up at the bright Texas sun. "There was that little town about ten miles back. But it'll be dark soon. Gets mighty cold when the sun goes down."
"It's better than just sitting here. Something tells me that this desert road isn't very traveled."
"It's not. My dad used to take me down this way when I was growing up. There's a small lake about three miles that way." He gestured toward the west. "We used to go fishin' out there."
Sofia sighed. "You wouldn't happen to have cell service, would you?"
He pulled out his cell phone and checked. "Yeah, I have a couple of bars. I'm gonna call a tow truck."
"Call while we walk." Sofia stood up and dusted off her jeans. "It's gonna be dark soon. We don't wanna get stuck out here." She reluctantly left the shade of the small tree and started walking off.
Nick watched her walk off toward the west, blonde hair blowing about in the desert wind. She could be dangerous for him. Sofia had an uncanny ability to disarm him with one smile, one twinkle of those baby-blue eyes. She could be even more dangerous with the way she looked now… T-shirt clinging to her sweat-soaked skin, jeans covered in dust, hips… he didn't even want to think about those hips.
Sofia's voice broke into his thoughts, and he could have sworn he saw her grin.
"You coming?" She jerked her head and motioned for him to come.
"Yeah," he called back as he got up, dusted his jeans off, grabbed a jacket from the truck, and dashed after her.
The tiny lake shimmered bright shades of orange and pink, reflecting the light of the setting sun. Nick snapped his phone shut and sighed as he placed it on the picnic table. "Tow truck's coming in from Odessa. They said it'll be at least a few hours… maybe more."
Sofia sighed and pulled her boots off. "Well, there's only one thing to do."
He raised an eyebrow at the pretty detective. "Oh yeah? What's that?"
"Go swimming," she replied as she pulled her t-shirt over her head, revealing a black lacy bra.
This time his jaw dropped and his face grew flushed. "What?"
"Oh, c'mon, cowboy." She shot him a quick grin as she stripped to her black, opaque panties. "There's no one around. It's hot. We walked three miles through the desert. You wanna cool off or not?" With that, she turned on her heel and gingerly walked toward the lakeside.
Nick stared after her for a second. Oh yeah. She could definitely be dangerous for his health. Finally he sighed and grasped the corners of his own t-shirt, pulling it quickly over his head. He struggled out of his jeans, stripping to his boxers, and dashed toward Sofia.
Sofia let out a small gasp as Nick's arms wrapped around her body and they tumbled into the water. She was submerged for just a second, before he pulled her out of the water gasping. "What… the… hell?"
"Bee," he said, standing up in the knee-deep water, his muscular chest dripping. "I saved your life."
She studied him for a moment, and a smile broke out over her face. "Bull," she said simply before she splashed him with the lake water.
"Oh, you'll regret that, Curtis," he growled playfully as he wiped the water from his eyes.
"Only if you catch me, Stokes," she returned before she dived into the water, her long strokes and powerful legs taking her several yards away from Nick before he had a chance to move.
But she was no match for Nick's own powerful arms. He caught up with her quickly and wrapped his arms around her slim waist. The water was just deep enough for him to stand, and he pulled her to his chest. Sofia screamed playfully and struggled to get loose. "Let me go!" she yelled, reaching out with one hand to splash him with more water.
"In your dreams, Stokes! Let me go!"
"Say it or I'm not lettin' you go!"
Before she could blink, he dropped her into the water with a loud splash. Within seconds, she came up, sputtering. "Told ya you'd regret it," he said with a grin.
Sofia shook her head and pushed her wet, blonde hair out of her eyes. She opened her mouth to make a sharp retort, but something up in the heavens caught her eye. "Look," she said quietly, pointing up. Nick followed her finger with his own eyes. "The first star."
Sure enough, in the deepening blue of the western sky, a lone star winked down at them. They stared at it for a moment, neither saying a word. In the distance, the crickets started their own humming, joining the music of the twilight.
"We should get dressed." Nick's voice broke the silence, and Sofia looked down to see him holding out his hand for her. "Don't wanna catch cold."
Sofia smiled softly and took his hand, allowing the southern gentleman to help her out of the lake. When they returned to their clothes, Nick handed her his t-shirt to dry off. With a grateful smile, she took it out of his hand and rubbed it briskly over her body. When she was done, she handed it back to him and pulled her jeans over her still-wet underwear. "You know," she said softly as he dried off with his t-shirt. "When I was little, I used to wish on the first star."
"Hmm…" he said quietly as he pulled on his own jeans. "You must have really liked Pinocchio, huh?"
She rolled her eyes and sat down under the tree next to their picnic table. "Very funny, Nick. My dad said that, if I ever wanted anything bad enough, all I had to do was wish for it on the first star of the night, and it would come true."
Nick nodded slowly and sat next to her. "Did it ever work?"
Sofia shrugged. "Not really."
"My mom used to tell my sisters that. I never really bought it. But my dad… man, we used to have so much fun when we'd come here."
A cool wind blew from the west as the sun finally set below the horizon, and Sofia shivered. As if he sensed she was cold in her still-wet bra and jeans, he lifted up his arm and gestured for her to snuggle closer to his bare chest. Sofia scooted closer to him and rested her head on his chest, his heart thumping in a steady rhythm in her ear. "Thanks," she murmured, her head rising with his breaths.
He smiled at her. "You're welcome," he replied as he gently ran his fingers through her blonde hair. He grabbed the jacket next to his t-shirt and draped it over them with his free hand.
"What were you saying about your dad?"
"Right." With his free hand, he gestured toward the lake. "We used to come out here for barbeques during the summer. My dad would take me to the other side for some fishing, and my mom and my sisters would stay with the grill." He chuckled. "My mom makes a mean steak."
Sofia smiled, listening as the sound of his voice rumbled through his body. "Sounds wonderful."
"Sure was. After dinner, my dad used to take me and my sisters to the lakeside and show us how to skip rocks. We'd do it for hours before it got too dark. He'd take us to the picnic bench… coals burning low on the grill… and we'd lay down underneath the stars and listen to him point out all the constellations. He'd tell stories about how they got there."
Nick sighed and pointed to the sky. "See Orion?" He glanced down at Sofia to see her slow nod. "Well he was a great hunter, way back in the day. But he fell in love with a beautiful princess who was betrothed to another man… a god. But she was in love with Orion too… and this god wasn't too thrilled about his girl foolin' around with another man. So one day when Orion was out hunting, the god surprised him, and he banished Orion to stand in the heavens every night, his bow at the ready… forever waiting for his girl."
Sofia raised her head from Nick's chest and looked him in the eye. "Wow," she murmured. "That was amazing."
He shrugged. "I'll be sure to tell my dad you liked it." He tightened his group around her shoulder, and his hand wandered of its own accord to her waist. He held his breath, wondering if Sofia would freak, but she never moved a muscle. Nick exhaled slowly. "Then my dad would let us draw our own constellations."
She laughed, a sound that was like music to his ears. "How does that work?"
"You find shapes in the stars." Nick gently nudged her. "Try it."
A skeptical look appeared in her eyes, but she sighed and looked up to the heavens. Several moments of silence passed before she pointed up. "There."
Nick squinted, following the line of her finger. "Where?"
"A scorpion. A big ol' scorpion."
He grinned. "See. Told ya."
She smiled at his childlike response. "Your turn."
Nick stared up at the stars for a moment. "There." He pointed toward the north. "Looks like Texas."
Sofia chuckled softly. "Of course it does." She glanced toward the south and pointed upward. "There's a gun."
"Look who's got a one-track mind, Detective."
She turned and glared at him before breaking out into a smile. It faded as his finger brushed her cheek, and she couldn't help but think that Nick looked even better in the moonlight. The laugh-lines around his eyes winked softly at her, and his brown orbs twinkled like the stars.
Nick lifted her chin gently with his forefinger and gazed at her. "Sofia," he whispered as her mouth drew even nearer.
"I'll only stop if you don't want it, Nick," she whispered back.
He didn't reply. His lips drew even closer to hers, as if they were magnetically drawn to hers. Finally she closed the distance between them, gently brushing her lips over his in a chaste, gentle kiss. Nick, however, had other ideas. He tangled his hand in her hair and grasped the back of her head to deepen the kiss. He ran his tongue across the lines of her lips, begging for permission to explore. Slowly she relented, and her lips parted, her tongue as eager as his to explore, hands roaming across his bare chest and arms. Finally Sofia pulled back and gave Nick a wistful smile.
"Well," he whispered, returning her smile. "That was nice."
She grinned. "Yeah. It was." She paused and settled back against Nick's chest, listening to his heartbeat again. "You know how I was talking about wishing on stars earlier?"
"Mmm-hmmm." Nick's affirmation rumbled through his chest.
"I guess wishes really do come true. At least tonight they did."
He looked at her, startled, but he didn't say anything. He just wrapped his arms tighter around the dangerous woman that had, with every word and every touch, wrapped him around her little finger. And for once… well, he just didn't give a damn.