Sorry it's been a while since my last update and sorry this is a new story when I still haven't finished the others. This idea just came to me, even though I've done something very similar. I just feel that this one will better and I had to put it out there. Enjoy.

Chapter One

Mail is something that connects people. It's also something that can give a forty-two year old a serious panic attack.

When I saw the envelope, I already knew I would be exited, but I could also tell that I'd need a paper bag to help regulate my breathing. The envelope floated onto the counter and all that remained in my hand was a fancy letter, an invitation.

'Jennifer Daniels and Kay Dillinger proudly welcome you and guest to

their joyous civil union. RSVP by April 28, 2011 and make sure to save the

date! This lovely union will occur on May 6, 2011.'

I skimmed through the letter to see my friend's name, important dates, and a couple phone numbers. The rest made the invitation look special and eloquent, but I only cared to know who the lucky friend was. When I saw Jennifer's name, I smiled and knew I had no choice but to attend. I reread the entire letter and, of course, realized one flaw: "and guest". I didn't have a date and I couldn't go stag. I was sure all my old friends would be there, all my old friends that had stated time and time again how jealous they were of my successful love life. If I showed up with anyone less than amazing, they'd clearly see that my plan to move to Vegas, the one I had told them would get me exactly where I wanted to be in life, was a massive mistake.

I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want them to pity me and my lack of a relationship. I didn't want them to see that no one had truly cared to love me, except the one person I wouldn't dare bring with me to the occasion. Sure, Gil is nice and reliable, but our marriage greatly suffered. The thousands of miles between us, as I'd told his mother, works for us. What I failed to mention is that it only works because if the rest of my life had to revolve around him, I would cheat on him in a heartbeat. I love him and he's the best husband a girl could ask for, but there was one thing I left in my past. That one thing liked to resurface every time I saw Special Agent Dana Scully with her gun and wit, and obviously her expertise in the field of science.

I hadn't told Gil much about my past before he proposed, nor did I say much more after we tied the knot. There are plenty of things I'm sure he's too blind to notice and things of relative nature he certainly had no knowledge of due to my locked up thoughts and feelings. I also didn't know how to tell him I used to date women when I lived in San Francisco, how to tell him that several times I'd fantasized about going down on the sensational Detective Olivia Benson. I didn't know how to tell him anything really. He listened to me when he demanded to know why I was always so angry. He listened to me when I was in college, always took me where I wanted to go, did whatever I wanted to do. He opened up to me in ways, told me things that no one else knew about, not even after he left the lab. I told myself over and over that even though he truly trusted me, he only valued my ears.

Then, of course, the lovely Heather Kessler entered the picture. But I have to give her props, because even though I swear she slept with Gil at some point, I still appreciate things about her sensual movements and dangerous yet tender green eyes. I don't much care for her previous line of work, or present one for the matter, but she does what satisfies her and that's fine by me. The only hostility between us centers around my husband, but I guess it didn't always bother me, especially when I imagined myself teasing a handful of beautiful women.

I shook my head as I stared down at the invitation again. I looked at Jennifer's name once more and remembered one of our conversations.

"Sara," Jennifer cooed as she eyed the woman I brought with me to our gathering. "Yet again you've managed to shock me. ...Who's your date?"

I smiled as the woman at my side squeezed my hand.

"This is Camille. She's a little shy."

I urged Camille toward Jennifer for a proper introduction and placed my hand on her lower back. I knew she needed to feel safe and supported in case she fell, and I made sure to paint the perfect picture that I was there for her.

"Hi," she softly said as she held out her free hand to shake hands with Jennifer.

"Hey, no need to be shy. We're all friendly here. Of course, I understand how nerve wracking it is to meet new people through someone you're close to. But don't worry...any friend of Sara's is a friend of ours."

"Which means," another one of my friends interrupted with a smile and beer. "We've got you're back."

Jennifer smiled as well as she took her hand back from Camille. My other friend offered me the beer in her hand and secured her arm around Jennifer's waist. I watched her kiss Jennifer's neck for a few moments before the two of them reentered reality.

"Still think we're no good for each other," Jennifer's girlfriend Diane smugly asked.

"Yes," I blatantly stated, Camille's hand then rested on my shoulder.

"Sara," Jennifer warned with a slightly pleading undertone.

"Sorry," I said.

"No you're not," Jennifer frowned.

Camille stared at me with utter confusion.

"Can you give us a minute," I asked her.

"Yeah...sure," she nodded as she looked between me and the other two women as she took off for the ladies' room.

"I thought you were done with this," Jennifer started.

"Me too, but then you told me you were serious about her."

"Look, she doesn't want you anymore," Diane interjected.

"Was I talking to you?"

"Guys, stop it," Jennifer begged.

"She broke up with you a long time ago. It's time to realize that you're never going to be the one that makes her smile, or the one that makes her laugh, or the one she wakes up to every morning."

"And you think that person is going to be you?"

She looked at me with a profound expression of "duh!" and I scoffed.

"News flash, you'll be out of her life in a matter of months," I raised my voice.

"Because that's all the time she gave you, right? Because she left you for no reason."

"Diane, stop," Jennifer grabbed Diane's wrist and stepped between us.

"No," I gently pushed Jennifer out of the way. "I want to hear what she has to say."

"Then you better listen closely because I'm only going to say this once. You weren't a good girlfriend by any means. She only kept you around because she believed you'd be the same person she met three years ago, but you fucked up.

"When you two started dating, you instantly thought she'd do all the work and all you had to do was come home. You used her to kill the loneliness that was eating you alive and you ended up making her even lonelier than you had ever been! She didn't want to hurt you, but she finally couldn't take it anymore. She needed someone who cared about her and you just couldn't be there like you had all those times before. So now it's my turn and I certainly won't make the same mistakes you did."

I clenched my fists as I tried to stay calm, speechless and ready to pound Diane into the wall.

I'd met Diane through Jennifer, but they hadn't been dating when she joined our circle of friends. They met during yoga class a few months after Jennifer and I split, and even though it stung to hear her say we were over, I was more than happy to remain friends. It wasn't until she started seeing Diane that I had a problem with our break up. I knew I hadn't been good to her, didn't treat Jennifer the way a real girlfriend should have, but I knew I was better than Diane. I feared the blonde train wreck Jennifer called her girlfriend was using her, but I didn't have any proof.

Jennifer shoved us apart, aN outraged look on her face, and I knew I was in for it.

"That's enough! ...Diane, why don't you get me another drink."

Diane turned her attention to Jennifer and displayed controlling eyes that immediately made me want to punch her.

"I really need to talk to her...alone."

Diane took a deep breath and upon releasing it, gave me a death glare that didn't have me worried at all. I knew I could take her in a fight and I was ninety-nine percent positive I would win. I restrained myself of course, if not to protect myself from getting kicked out of the place, then for Jennifer's sake.

Diane walked away and slowly felt my tense muscles relax.

"Why are you still with her," I jumped to ask.

"I'm the one who gets to ask the questions... What is your deal? You didn't have a problem with her when you two first met."

"That was before you started sleeping with her," I angrily stared at Diane from across the room.

Jennifer grabbed my arm and my focus quickly shifted back to her.

"Even though I'm the one that ended it, it still hurts me to see you with other women, but do I say anything?"

I exhaled, disappointed in myself for letting her down yet again.

"We're better friends than we are lovers, Sara, and I know you know that. Diane is great and I'm happy my friend, you should be happy for me. Do you think you can do that?"

I took my time to answer as every memory of her flashed before me, all the smiles, the cute games that either led us to the bedroom or into a cuddle in front of the TV. I didn't want to lose her.

"I'm...glad that you're happy," I said, my eyes directed at the floor.

She hooked her index finger under my chin and lifted my head in order to initiate eye contact.

"Thank you. ...And let me be the first to commend you on your great girlfriends. Everyone you've had since our break up have been even better than the next. I don't know why you don't stick to just one though. They've all been perfect for you."

She leaned in and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

"Everyone agrees," she smiled as she pulled away from me.

Obviously, since she was getting married to someone else, she eventually broke up with Diane, but not until she caught the slut cheating on her with her friend from San Diego. But that wasn't the point.

She had admitted that people other than her were jealous of me. Eleven years later and I was in a sweet but semi-passionate marriage with a man twice my age and nothing to show for the last decade except my new friends and lack of social confidence.

I sighed and placed the invitation on the counter before I picked up the envelope and disposed of it. I had a less time than I wanted to RSVP and even less time to find a date. I knew I couldn't wait much longer to confirm my attendance, but I wanted to ensure a date for the evening first. I knew how to make chemicals react and make it a work of art, and I knew how to calculate any equation in under a minute, but I honestly didn't know how I was going to pull off the wedding.

I looked at the clock and got ready for work. I grabbed a snack to eat on my way out and walked into the locker room about fifteen minutes later. I went straight to my locker and dropped my keys inside. I notice a clean shirt hanging and decided I'd rather get down and dirty in it instead of the nicer shirt I'd worn to the lab. As I peeled it off, someone joined me in the locker room.

Standing in my bra, my shirt in hand, I looked behind me to see who'd come in to keep me company.

"Wow...first time in a long time that you're actually here on time as opposed to half an hour early," Catherine teased with a smile.

"Don't get use to it," I smiled back as I threw my shirt in my locker and grabbed the other. "What have you been up to?"

"Huh," she sighed. "I got home late this morning because I visited Lindsey on my day off. I thought I'd make it back before 10p.m., but...I just couldn't leave."

"Oh, how's doing?"

"Good. She's sucking me dry, asking for money for every little thing, but she's got a part-time job maybe I'll be responsible for a little less. Of course, that's not important, is it."

I chuckled.

"She's all grown up," she started again. "I can't believe she's almost nineteen."

"Well, I'd tell you to watch out because she's a looker like her mom, but I'd hate to worry you," I pursed my lips to hide my obvious grin.

Her eyes widened.

"Why would you say that? ...Ugh, now I'm worried."

I chuckled again.

"Relax. She's also smart like her mom. She'll do just fine for herself."

"Pft, smart like her mom. I've always fallen for the assholes. I even married one."

"You also divorced one, dumped one you caught cheating on you, and eventually found one of the good guys."

She sardonically chuckled.

"Which goes to show how messed up I am to keep him at arm's length...except for when we have sex."

"Wait," I slowly started. "What are you saying?"

She sighed.

"That the only guy I've met worth dating is only a toy to me."

"You're...using Lou? For sex?"

She nodded with a self-loathing expression on her face, her tongue between her teeth, her eyes glazed over in disappointment.

She snapped out of her trance and made eye contact with me.

"Don't tell anyone what I just said."

"Have I ever told anyone what you tell me in confidence?"

We both knew I'd referred to the time she thought she was raped, and we both knew I could be trusted.

She nodded and I finally slipped into my shirt.

"So...what am I working tonight?"

"Since you're the only one that wrapped a case recently, you can assist me with my 419."

"The mangled DB off Imperial?"

"That's the one."

She shut her locker and took a seat on the bench as she changed shoes.

"You might want to wear your boots. We're hitting the streets."

"And by streets you mean..."

"Things might get slimy."

"Right," I slowly said. "We don't get paid enough to crawl through sewers or get caught in a filthy crime scene with walls of grunge and blood."

"I know, but somebody's got to do it. Luckily, I'm a cool boss and I'm doing it with you."

"Yeah, I don't get why you don't just make us do all the dirty work."

"Would you prefer I did?"

"No," I chuckled. "I'm just're nice."

"Am I?"

I heard the doubt in her voice. Something told me she'd made decisions recently that made her question her personality.

"Do you want to talk," I flat out asked her.

She slowly turned her body toward me, her work shoes completely on. The expression on her face told me to mind my own business, but her rigid frame told me I'd hit a nerve, which made her vulnerable.

"Sorry, it just...seems like you've got a lot on your mind."

After a beat, she sighed and relaxed.

"Let's focus on the case. Are you ready?"

I took my boots with me, shut my locker, and nodded.

"Let's go."

Ten minutes later, we were at the scene, which happened to be a run down corner of real estate. I thought plenty of drugs passed through this part of town and I jumped to the conclusion that the victim's death had to do with an illegal exchange gone wrong.

"If you're thinking this has to do with dealing, it's not. The victim wasn't killed here."

"Body dump?"

"Looks that way. I found some fibers in the waistband of his pants and a few in his nose, consistent with your basic cotton bedsheets."

"You're thinking he was suffocated and then wrapped in his own sheets."

"Exactly," she said.

This is the part of my life I appreciated, the team work, the partnership, the mystery of the case. If there was anything to be proud of after I moved to Vegas, something to show off at the wedding, it would be the increase in communication. Back in San Francisco, my coworkers didn't respect me unless they were sleeping with me and the only person I worked with that I slept with was my supervisor, Elise Dennison. Obviously, I recognized the pattern of my work place romances, but I had different reasons for starting relationships with them. It had absolutely nothing to do with their positions of power, of course, that fact didn't hurt Elise and I in the bedroom department, by any means.

My mind wandered further and I wondered what Elise has been up to since I transferred to the Vegas lab. Then, it occurred to me that I could ask her to accompany me on May 6th. We ended on great terms, both of us happy that I had a chance to succeed elsewhere. Elise even encouraged me to take the job without a second thought because she knew that as long as I worked in 'Cisco, I'd always be at the bottom of the Totem pole. Of course, it'd been years and she probably already found someone new, but it was worth a shot to ask her to be my date. All I needed to do was find her number.

"Hello? Earth to Sara."

I blinked and shook my head to reenter reality and saw Catherine snapping her fingers in front of my face.

"I lost you for a while."

"Yeah, sorry. I, uh, I've some personal things on my mind."

"You...wanna talk," she teasingly asked as a smile spread across her face.

I laughed a little and rolled my eyes.

"Why don't you catch me up on the progress you've made."

Her smile stayed a little while longer before she ran through the evidence for me.

"Doc Robbins is taking a second look tonight. I sent the fibers to Trace, the blood to DNA, and Henry's looking into the alcohol our vic was doused in."

"Are you thinking he'll be able to match it to a specific brand?"

"I'm hoping it's fine wine or something so we can narrow our suspect list."

"Did he have an ID on him?"

"No, but I did find a picture of him with a young girl. She looks about Lindsey's age. On the back it said, 'Me and Becks 2010'."

"So it was taken some time last year."

"Yeah, and I doubt she's romantically involved with him."


"That's where I'm at," she said.

"Have you tried to track her down?"

"Not yet. Archie doesn't come back from his vacation until next shift and I'm still processing the scene. I feel like I missed something."

"Well, I could get a ride back to the lab and cross-reference her with students at the local universities. Plus, it's possible she looks older than she actually I could also check the high schools."

"No, I need your eyes. This is the third time this week I've come back to the scene and I'm still not satisfied. ...And how would you get a ride?"

"Greg," I nonchalantly answered.

"He would seriously come across town from his crime scene to give you a ride back to the lab, then go back to his scene?"

I nodded.

"And all because you asked," she stated with disbelief.

"Yeah, he owes me."

"For what?"

"He's got a girlfriend now thanks to me."

"You set him up with someone?"

"I was at a bar with him and he saw this woman...I talked him up and acted like his wing man. Since I'm a woman, she trusted me more than if she'd heard it from someone like Nick so...she hung out with him all night and called him for a first date the next day."

"Wow. How long a time does he owe you?"

I smiled.

"Once, but if something serious happens to me after he already paid me back, or even before, he'll still drop everything."

"As you would for him," she stated to gain reassurance.


"Nice," she said with a nod after a beat. "What if something happened to me?"

"I'd be at your bedside nearly twenty-four seven."

She smiled and looked down at the ground like a blushing school girl.

"Don't look so surprised. How could you not know I'd be there for you?"

"Well, I'm the boss...and not everyone likes the boss."

"You know we're not a normal team. We're closer than any regular coworkers are and ever will be. So of course we like the boss."

"I guess it helps that we've all been through so much together over the years."

"Especially since almost a dozen years have passed," I smiled again.

"Oh god. Has it really been that long?"

I laughed as she finished her question and nodded.

"I know. It's hard to believe."

"It feels like yesterday we still picked fights with each other," she added.

"Definitely. It feels like an hour ago I met you for the first time."

She chuckled.

"I'm not gonna lie to you. ...I did enjoy playing with you."

"I'm not gonna lie to you. ...I knew you did," I mimicked her with a grin.

She furrowed her brow.

"Then why didn't you fight back?"

"Too much fun watching you try to cut me down. Besides, Gil told me about Holly Gribs...before she was shot, and...I knew you needed space. Plus, I was different from Holly. I wasn't as green. I didn't need you to look out for me."

A soft smile played on her lips.

"Well, thank you...for letting me do what I wanted then."

"You're welcome. I'm glad to see it got you somewhere."

She emitted a tiny laugh.

"Too bad it'll be short-lived."

"What do you mean?"

"I'm leaving the lab...or at least...I plan on leaving the lab," she slowly responded.

"And do what?"

"I have no idea."

I took a deep breath.

" could get into the casino business. I mean...Sam gave you partial ownership of the Eclipse, right?"

She questionably looked at me, shocked to hear my comment.

"How do you know about that?"

"You're his daughter. Even though there were some issues, he regretted plenty of things. The Eclipse was just another one of his ways of trying to do right by you."

"What, did you have a conversation with him or something?"

I gulped and avoided eye contact.

"You...wait, you talked to him? When?"

"I ran into him, after I processed the motel room for you four years ago."

"How did you happen to run into him?"

She appeared pissed and extremely on edge. I knew I had to tread lightly through the obviously sensitive subject.

"I didn't go looking for him. He sought me out."

She shook her head, I guessed because she didn't want to hear my matter how much she demanded the truth from me.

"He called the lab and asked for me. I was looking over the trace I'd collected, you know, to 'keep it between us', and I had to take a call at the front desk. I put the phone to my ear and oddly was Sam Braun."

She took a deep breath to prepare herself for what came next.

"He asked me to stop by, I told him I was busy, and he insisted that if I didn't go to him to talk, he'd come to me. So I met with him and he asked about you."

"What did he want to know," she quietly asked.

"How's Catherine,"Sam asked as he put his hand on my back and guided me to walk with him.

"She's fine."

"I didn't ask you to come here and lie to me. I want to know what's going on with my daughter."

"She and I aren't that close."

"Cut the crap. You're the only other woman on the grave shift. I know she confided in you."

"Look," I sighed. "If you want to know what's going on with her, why don't you ask her instead of berating the people she knows."

"Sara," he gripped my arm with authority. "I want to know if somebody's screwing with my family. I don't know what she told you about our relationship, but I can assure one comes after my loved ones."

"If she wanted you to know," I said after a beat. "You wouldn't have had to call me."

I hastily forced myself out of his grasp and started to walk away. Again, he stopped me.

"If you care at all about'll tell me why I received this," he coldly spoke up behind me.

I turned around and saw him holding up a picture of Catherine laying naked, face down on the motel room bed I'd processed earlier.

I gulped and ground my teeth.

"What the hell happened to her," I angrily asked as I advanced toward him once again.

I hesitated, my eyes still fixed on the photo.

"I would know if you hadn't wanted to talk," I flatly said before I turned around again and continued toward the front doors.

"I didn't tell him anything," I told Catherine.

Her anger had faded as I explained the situation and now it seemed to resonate with her that not even Sam Braun could get any information told in confidence out of me.

She slowly nodded.

"Was that...the only time..."

"Until he talked to you. After your scuffle with him in the casino, after Lindsey was kidnapped...he came to see me. That's when he told me a few things he hadn't told you...about the Eclipse and his regrets as your father. He made me promise if anything happened to him that I'd look after you."

"Why? Why you? Why would he say that?"

"I asked him the same thing. He said I had strength and integrity, that I reminded him of himself, of the way he handled aggressors."

She scoffed and rolled her eyes.

"I can't believe he talked to you like that. He never respected boundaries."

I reached out and placed my hands on her shoulders to get her to relax.

"He has no effect on what I think of you. But...I do think it's cute the way you find it embarrassing even now."

I smiled and rubbed her arms as a way of deceasing her tension. She let go of the stress and worry and I felt her melt in my arms.

"Wait," she knitted her brow and straightened herself out, still somewhat comfortable and calm. "Did you just admit that you think I'm cute?"

I froze and let Catherine's previous tension inhabit my body. I hadn't realized I'd called her cute and I honestly hadn't paid attention enough to filter my thoughts before I spoke them.

Did I really think she was cute?

"Let's get back to work," I suggested and patted her arms before I turned and walked away.

Conveniently, as I walked away from her, I spotted something out of place.

"I think I found what you thought you missed," I mindlessly spoke as though in a trance while I approached the object.

I heard her move behind me, closing in on what I found.

She crouched down beside me, her breath hitting my shoulder. She examined what I had picked up and reached out to help hold the tweezers I trapped it in.

"And that's why I needed your eyes," she said as she pulled out a small evidence bag and let go of the tweezers as fast as she'd grabbed them.

I dropped the unknown object into the bag without her instructing me to do so and immediately proceeding that action, she sealed the bag and slipped it back into her pocket.

Several hours of combing the scene passed and, at some point, we'd managed to arrive back tat the lab.

"You hungry," Catherine asked after we dropped off our evidence in the proper analysis labs.


"Let's say we grab a bite to eat, come back and find out who Becks is," she suggested.

"Sounds good to me."

She smiled and within seconds. It seemed we were on the road to eating the best food our money could buy and our stomachs could devour.

"Why are you always the one to drive," I asked as we went further from the lab.

"Because I'm older and it's my car. look at the road like you're in Fast and Furious."

"Oh my god. Am I ever going to live down that reputation?"

"Probably not."

She pulled into the parking lot of a place I recognized not much later, a place I frequented.

"Uh, know this a vegetarian restaurant, right?"

"I know. I know it's also the only place you order from when you're at the I'm assuming you like this place."

I knitted my brow in a nonverbal way of telling her she was crazy to know that.

"I pay attention," she said as though I was crazy to think she didn't care about anyone but herself.

We got out of the car and waited for our server almost immediately.

"'s Gil?"

I cleared my throat. "He's great. He's excited about the entomology panel in Italy. This year he's been offered a spot on the panel."

"Nice. Glad to see he's still traveling."

I nodded, not too interested in the subject.

"Something tells me you're not as happy about that."

"No,'s not that. I'm happy for him, proud even, but...I can't pretend I don't feel like we've forgotten how to live together with us being apart most of the year."

"This might sound like a stupid question, everything okay? I mean, I thought being apart was what you two wanted."

I hesitated.

"Yeah," I avoided eye contact and attempted to sound chipper. "Yeah, it is what we wanted. We're good. I get to see him at the end of next month. It's fine."

"You sound like you're trying to convince yourself rather than me."

I finally met her eyes.

"Maybe I am."

She slid her hand across the table and took my hand in hers. I felt her fingers squeeze mine and goose bumps formed beneath the surface of my skin, a tingling feeling.

The waitress came around and instantly, our hands released.

"Hi, I'm Cheyanne. I'll be be your waitress this evening. What can I get y'all to drink?"

She spoke with a hint of a southern accent, her sunny blonde hair as vivacious as the American Dream. She looked like a wholesome college student, close to graduation, and ready to take on the world outside of the restaurant business.

"Can I get a strawberry-lemonade, please," Catherine asked.

"Okay," Cheyanne sweetly said as she scribbled down the order. "And for you?"

"Uh, I'll take a root beer float, please."

"All right," she scribbled more and smiled at us before she floated toward the back.

"When's the last time you saw him," Catherine resumed our conversation.

"In person?"


"Uh, about a month and a half ago."

"Maybe that's why you feel this way. You haven't seen him in a while and you miss him. It's perfectly-"

"Last time I saw him," I interrupted. "He was rushing around to get himself on that panel I mentioned. We didn't talk much and when we did, it wasn't too personal. Mainly about work and you guys. He misses the team, by the way."

"When was the last time you two were...intimate?"

She seemed to carefully consider her words.

"I...can't remember," I sadly admitted.

She sighed out of sympathy.

"Is it because you don't want to be intimate with him? it him?"

"I don't know. I first we started drifting because he focused more on his bugs, but now...I don't know. I think it's me!"

"Is this the personal thing you had on your mind earlier?"

"No. No, that's...something else," I shifted in the booth.

" you want to talk about that instead?"

"It's nothing."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I friend is getting married. I'm invited and-oh, I'm going to need some time off in two weeks to go to San Francisco. But, friend's wedding. That's what I was thinking about at the scene."

"Oh. Is that all," she asked, her concern still evident in her voice.


She furrowed her brows in disbelief. Apparently I needed to work harder at lying.

"Strawberry-lemonade," the waitress started to set our drinks on the table. "And your root beer float. Are you ready to order?"

"Um, yes," I said before I ordered my usual entree.

"Okay, and for you," Cheyanne turned to Catherine.

"Uh, I'll have the same."

"All righty then. I'll be back with your food shortly," she said with a polite smile and spun on her heals before she disappeared into the back again.

"I'm not sure you're gonna like what you just ordered," I informed Catherine.

"If it's what you normally get, I'm sure it'll be fine. I trust you."

"I have a strange taste when it comes to food, on top of the fact that I don't eat meat."

"Relax," she reached out and took my hand in hers again. "If I don't like it, it's not an issue. I'm trying something new."

I took a subtle, deep breath and relaxed as instructed before I pulled my hand away from hers.

She appeared a little hurt that I would retract my hand that fast when she was only trying to help, but I didn't like it when people got too close. Maybe that could explain why I pushed Gil away. It doesn't explain why I married him, but it could certainly account for the issues we'd been having as of late.

"I lose you again," Catherine asked as she tried to meet my eyes.

I snapped out of it.

"Huh? Oh, yeah. Sorry."

"Was it the wedding again...or something else?"

"Something else. You actually."

"Me? What about me?"

"I'm sorry if you didn't expect me to pull away," I confessed.

"Oh. It's fine. I understand."

"No, it was stupid. I just...hate feeling vulnerable."

"I wasn't..."

I gave her a stern look that told her not to lie to me.

"Okay, so it hurt me a little. I'm just trying to help."

"I know."

We mostly ate in silence, but kept our friendship in tact as our break came to an end. An hour later, we were back at the lab, looking over our findings.

"You get anything," I asked as I stared down a microscope.

"Nope. ...This sucks. I finally found what I thought I was missing...and it gets me nowhere."

"Well, maybe we aren't looking in the right places," I suggested. "I'm gonna track that girl, see if she knows anything."

Catherine nodded as she continued to stare at the apparently useless evidence in front of her. I walked out of the room and thought about calling Elise, but I knew I had more important things to do. I had to help Catherine, had to do my job, get justice for the victim and closure for the victim's family.

I found the nearest computer, sat down, and started typing as though tomorrow would be too late to find the girl.

Thanks for reading. I hope you like it so far. Chapter 2 is waiting to be posted so don't forget to review. :)