June 22, 1987
You live your life in the songs you hear
on the rock and roll radio.
And when a young girl doesn't have any friends
that's a really nice place to go.
Folks hoping you'd turn out cool
but they had to take you outta school.
You're a little touched you know, Angie Baby.
(Written by Alan O'Day/recorded by Helen Reddy)
Angie was ready. Truly ready.
She had already taken the first step. Big Daddy didn't like that at all. When she cried and cried, he finally agreed to let her change her name. Sylvia was a perfectly respectable name, but it was no secret that her mother had named her after Sylvia Plath. Who welcomes a baby into the world that way?
Maybe Mom's name should have been Sylvia. She's the one who, shortly after her child's third birthday, jumped from the twentieth floor of one of Big Daddy's hotels. Perhaps she admired the crazy writer a little too much.
Already, people were saying that Sylvia/Angie was taking after her mother in certain ways. But, Angie knew she was not suicidal. Not at all.
She pressed the button on her red Panasonic tape player.
Her name was now officially Angela Carson Sloane. Angie, baby—complete with theme song.
She had the song recorded ten times on each side so she could hear it for hours without having to get up and restart a record. It was the number one hit on the day her mohter took her swan dive in 1974.
She wasn't afraid of what people said about her. Let them talk. There were some problems with her because Mom did drugs and things while she was expecting, and Angie was born real early. She could understand all that, in theory, but she didn't see herself as any different than anyone else. Maybe more of a dreamer, but that was about it. But Big Daddy always said she was special and should be cherished by only a few. Not the world at large. And that was okay with her.
The only thing was, she wanted to choose some of the few. That was her right.
Angie walked to the window. There he was: Tommy. He was the only one who searched for her after she was taken out of school. The others probably forgot her as soon as she left that last day. But he remembered. Tommy with the blond hair and ice blue eyes. Behind the huge oak tree in the back of the house.
She turned on a small light and doused the overheads. Then she walked to the window, fully opened the curtain and threw off her robe.
Completely naked, she began to dance to the music of her theme song, and out of the corner of her eye, she watched Tommy watch her.
Breakroom, Las Vegas Crime Lab
August 27, 2007, 12:10 AM
"Sara," Nick said, throwing his arms around her, "Welcome back."
Sara lightly hugged him and turned to Warrick, who was waiting for his turn to acknowledge her return.
After being passed around the break room, she took her seat and the room was suddenly, uncomfortably, silent.
Grissom stood at the head of the table, looking at them all. He had returned, alone, three weeks before, but this was a whole new ballgame.
He handed out assignments Warrick needed to meet up with Catherine, who had begun working on a suspicious death at the Tangiers. Nick was working solo on a robbery at the Trop, and Greg had a trick roll off the strip.
"DB at the old radio tower. Sara, you're with me," Grissom concluded, as a soft, unmistakably male snicker followed his last statement.
Grissom put down his clipboard and everyone heard the scraping sound it made as it touched the table. Greg squirmed a bit under his supervisor's gaze.
"Uh," he started, brilliantly, "I didn't mean that the way it probably sounded. I just meant…well, it was just nice to hear Sara's name in our lineup."
"Yes, it is, Greg. Now, can we all get to work?"
Greg was the first one out of his chair. As he passed, Grissom said, "Nice save, Greggo."
Greg turned back to him, gave him a sheepish smile and shrugged his shoulders. "I'm sorry."
Grissom nodded and turned back to Sara. "He's sorry," Grissom informed her. "Still glad to be back?"
She got up and gave his upper arm a quick squeeze. "Yes. And life wouldn't feel normal without Greg's daily visits to his junior high school roots. You okay?"
Grissom winced a bit and nodded. Their 'real' relationship was beginning now. The fantasy life they had lived, in their hermetic confines, was history and they were now thrown in a fishbowl. Frankly, it was more than a little frightening.
"Let's go," Sara said, "Time to solve this thing."
"And I thought you were overzealous before. You don't even know what 'this thing' is."
"Doesn't matter. Come on."
Her enthusiasm for work was familiar, comforting. He followed her out of the building, almost feeling like life was back to normal.
Calsden Radio Tower, outside of Las Vegas, Nevada
"Now, here's a sight for sore eyes," Brass said, in lieu of a greeting. Sara smiled as he gave her a quick one-armed hug.
"What have we got, Jim?" Grissom asked, walking toward the body.
"Man walks his dog here every night. A couple of nights ago, the dog goes nuts over this spot. Man doesn't see anything. Dog, apparently, is still flipping out. Tonight, dog starts to dig and voila," Brass pointed to an arm sticking out of the earth, showing signs of decomposition. "We haven't touched a thing but, obviously, this is an extremely shallow grave."
"Sara?" Grissom turned around to look for her, and then quickly looked down toward his feet. She was already on her haunches, unpacking her kit. He smiled softly. She was eager to start working.
She suddenly seemed to remember that he was her supervisor and should be the one calling the shots in an investigation. She stopped rummaging and looked up at him for direction.
"Keep going," he said. "You know what to do."
She smiled back at him, and Brass cleared his throat to get Grissom's attention. He gave Gil a small smirk, and received one in return.
Grissom could 'do' casual. No big deal.
After a few hours of working to uncover the body while preserving the evidence, David did a preliminary examination and quickly announced that the time of death could not be determined by liver temperature. It had been buried and exposed to the elements for too long a period of time. They would have to do further testing at the lab.
"Dead male. Early 30s. UPS uniform. There seems to be some bruising and cuts to his face and head, but he also has multiple stab wounds on his back."
"Wait," Sara said, looking beyond the body. "What's that bit of red over there?"
They took a small brush and started flicking dirt away from the tiny bit of red plastic they saw sticking out from the dirt beyond the body's feet. In a few moments, they dug out a vividly red plastic audio tape recorder/player.
Sara held it up. "What is this?"
"Don't know. Could be nothing. Could be something," Grissom said. "Let's wrap it up."
Sara bagged and tagged the potential evidence and went back to checking out the soil around the body.
Grissom and Sara's Townhouse
Grissom finally got Sara to leave the lab. She was dead tired, and he knew it, but she was also enjoying her first night back at the lab after the "incident," as Ecklie had referred to it, and didn't want to leave.
He watched her go through the doors of their townhouse, give the dog a kiss, ask Grissom if he was going to walk Bruno, and then plop, head first, onto the couch. He now returned with an empty dog and decided to let her sleep on the couch for a while.
"Come, boy," he said and Bruno followed him to his home office.
He sat at his computer and did a little research on the tape recorder they found. It was manufactured in the 70s and made to appeal to teenagers. For all intents and purposes, it was an early, mini-boom box.
Well, that didn't tell him all that much but it was a start. The machine certainly looked well taken care of, but was still old. Nowadays, if an audio cassette was used at all, it would be used in a walkman type of player. This was much bigger and was designed to be used, primarily, without headphones.
He logged off, and wandered over to the bedroom.
Work had been good today but still felt odd. He wasn't entirely comfortable with everyone knowing his business. Sara's business. And, yet, he was the one who revealed it all. He hadn't even been thinking at that particular moment. He remembered them all sitting around, being clinical about Sara's abduction by a serial killer, while his whole life was exploding before his eyes. This was not another victim. This was Sara. His Sara.
He got up off the bed, and went back to the living room to sit on the chair across from her. If he couldn't sleep, he could at least shower. Change clothes. But, he didn't want to leave her just yet. His Sara. Safe, secure, whole, healthy. He had wanted that more than anything and still found it difficult to believe that those particular prayers were answered.
Looking at cases that morning had been a challenge. He wanted something 'safe,' that wouldn't remind her of what she had been through in any way, shape or form.
Sara began to move around on the couch and Grissom held his breath. He didn't want to wake her. She needed sleep badly. But, apparently, she needed to be awake even more. She was up and rubbing her eyes in the next moment.
"Go back to sleep, Sara."
"No," she got up and stretched. "I don't sleep without a shower."
"You did for the last half-hour."
"That was a nap," she said, bending down and warmly kissing his cheek.
She ran the tip of her tongue over her lips.
"Salty. You haven't had a shower either. Want to conserve water?"
He let her take his hand.
The minute the bathroom door was closed, she pushed him against it and started kissing his neck. "I feel so alive today, Gris," she said, and scraped her teeth lightly against his skin.
Grissom shuddered slightly and tightened his hold around her waist. Grissom knew that she hadn't liked her enforced leave. She had injuries that needed to heal, and he was probably being overly solicitous but … that's just the way it had to be. It didn't stop him from feeling guilty, though. God, he wanted her to be happy again. Truly happy. He just had a feeling she was hiding a lot under her 'everything is normal' exterior. He ran his hands up and down her back and pulled her even closer. She stopped kissing him, and looked into his eyes. Sara's fingers moved up and into his curls.
"Stop that," she said, with a smile.
"Thinking so much."
It was his turn to smile. "You know that's a physical impossibility."
She grabbed his hands and moved him over to the shower enclosure. It was built for two, easily. All dark gray stone with a bench built into the wall. When they selected it on special order, Grissom had actually blushed and Sara quickly followed. The salesman had looked as if he was going to laugh out loud over the reaction from the two adults before him. It had proved worth the embarrassment.
Sara was turning on the water without either of them removing one article of clothing.
"Nope. I'll take care of them later," she said, unbuttoning his shirt, and running her mouth over his exposed skin.
"Wet clothes are harder to remove than dry, you know," he said, feeling his heart grow lighter by the moment.
"I know. I love a challenge."
He lifted the hem of her shirt but the water cascading from one of the four showerheads directly on that spot made it slip out of his fingers.
"Damned water," he said, trying again, this time successfully.
Sara laughed and pulled his shirt off entirely.
"Don't be so happy," he told her. "I might start to question exactly how you became so proficient at clothing removal under extreme conditions."
She laughed again and got to work on his pants. He only managed to get her down to her underwear, when she had completed his stripping.
She put her hand in the middle of his chest and pushed him toward the bench. "Sit," she said.
Suddenly, he stopped and looked serious, "Sara, no."
Her fingers went back to his hair and she pulled him down for a kiss. She immediately sought, and received, the warmth and softness of his mouth and her kiss was none too gentle, a little desperate, and over as soon as his moaning began. She pulled her mouth away, while holding his head firmly in place, so he had no other choice but to look her straight in the eye.
"I'm fine and I want to do this. Just…sit, okay? It's all right. Everything is all right," she said, seriously, and then smiled, "You've never stopped me before. Let's not start any nasty precedents, okay?"
He looked down into earnest brown eyes and nodded quietly. He knew she hated being fussed over. He wasn't crazy about it himself. And there were no serial killers after her right now. He had to remember that. They were safe. Nice and cozy in their warm cocoon of a shower. They had lots of hot water, a locked door downstairs, and a good dog who barked at the least hint of any form of life that was not his people.
They were safe.
He sat down and she was already moving his thighs apart and stroking his flesh.
"Nice to know at least one part of you is willing to cooperate," she said, before leaning over and tasting him.
He moved his head back against the wall and looked down at her. She was so intent on what she was doing. Hands and lips and mouth. He lightly ran his fingers through her hair to stroke the silky strands as she stroked him.
He briefly closed his eyes and reveled in the sensations.
He was a very, very lucky man.
August 23, 2007, 2 PM
When he walks in the room, he feels confused
like he's walked into a play.
And the music's so loud it spins him around
'til his soul has lost it's way.
And as she turns the volume down
he's getting smaller with the sound.
It seems to pull him off the ground.
Toward the radio he's bound…
never to be found
(Written by Alan O'Day)
Angie was not happy.
Stupid UPS man. Stupid, stupid NEW UPS man.
Where was Roger anyway? He was a good guy. She liked Roger. He came every day, like clockwork. And Big Daddy let Lucille take her down the stairs to pick up her package. No, this one, this stupid Mark guy held some of her packages back so he'd only have to make one or two trips a week.
That was the only thing she was allowed to do. Didn't he understand that? Go downstairs and pick up the packages.
Every day, every day, she'd watch the shopping channels and order something. Or she'd go on the internet and buy something from ebay or Amazon. Big Daddy let her have her own account. $200 a week. That was her "allowance." Of course, she was way too old for an allowance. Time did go by. But it was an agreement. She stayed at home, guarding the house for Big Daddy and he gave her money for her books and things.
But Lucille was in the bathroom when the doorbell rang and Angie ran downstairs anyway. She wasn't supposed to answer the door without Lucille but, she—Angie—was the houseguard. Not Lucille. She could answer if she wanted. Plus, it was way past the time that Mark should have been here and she wanted her package of books.
She opened the door and found him there. Three packages in hand. Stupid, hoarding man.
"Where's Roger?" she asked him, suddenly.
"Roger? The guy who worked the route before me, you mean?"
She didn't like this Mark guy. He treated her like she didn't have any brains. Like there was something wrong with her.
"Yes, the nice UPS man who worked here before you did. He delivered my packages every day."
"Uh, well. I guess you ordered more stuff back then," he said, with a twinkle in his eye. She hated twinkles. They made fun of her. "He's working the other side of town now. We change routes every few years."
Angie didn't like that. Not at all Still, maybe it was just a matter of making new friends. She could make friends with this Mark guy.
She could ask him if he wanted to see her room. No. No, she couldn't. He wouldn't like that. Especially without Lucille there.
"I have a package that needs to go back. Can you help me with it?"
Mark looked around the big mansion. She could see him trying to figure out if she'd tip him. She had a few dollars in her pocket. She'd tip him.
"Sure," he said, and followed Angie up the stairs.
End of Chapter 1
Las Vegas Crime Lab
August 28, 2007, 12:45 AM
"Blood," Sara said, holding up the swab that had just turned pink. She had been working on the red cassette player for almost an hour, searching every nook and cranny for evidence. Greg was working quietly at a layout table, combing the victim's work uniform for trace.
"The radio?" Greg asked her.
"Cassette player. I found blood in the corner of the compartment that held the batteries."
She sealed the bindle and looked up. "Just how did they rope you into working on our case, Greg?"
"Don't know. Gris wanted me to comb through the UPS uniform. I'm found some hair and epithelials "
"I'm gonna see if it matches the vic." Sara got up to go to the DNA lab, when Greg turned to her.
"I'm sorry about yesterday."
"What did you do yesterday?"
"You mean you weren't just happy to hear my name back in the lineup?" She asked with a smirk.
"Well, I was but I was…well, you know before—when Grissom let the cat out of the bag—we all thought we were hearing things. But, now, you're back and it's real, you know. And kind of funny to think of him as…"
"I was just going to say as your main squeeze. So, anyway, I'm sorry. I was being juvenile."
She smiled. "Yeah, you were. And that's normal—for you. It felt right."
"So, we're good?" He asked, using his best puppy-dog expression.
"Do I still stand a chance?" he asked, with a hint of mischief in his eyes.
"Not even a fraction of one," she said, knowing he was really happy for her, in spite of his initial, boyish crush.
"Geez. Let a guy down easy, why don't you? What does he have that I don't have?"
"Me," she patted him consolingly on the shoulder and left the room.
Grissom and Sara watched Doc Robbins in multi-task mode. He was briefing them over their radio tower victim, while putting in the final stitches, post-autopsy.
"Well, as you pretty much suspected, there was a missing persons report filed for him. Two, actually. One by his employer, and one by his wife. They were issued three and a half days ago. No one began seriously investigating until a few hours before his body was found. I think they just assumed he hijacked his delivery truck and left his wife. She confirmed identity earlier today. His name was Mark Menoit. Age: 34. Cause of death, multiple stab wounds."
"Doc, we found a…I don't know, this mini-boom box type of thing that had some of his blood on it."
"Well, that could have been the weapon used to inflict these cuts and bruises. But it isn't what killed him. There are four stab wounds. Any one of which would have killed him. Three nicked his heart, one his lung."
"Probably shortly before they noticed he was missing. He was out in the elements so his body temperature evened out. There is some decomposition consistent with being dead for a little more than three days."
"So, we have a man in his work uniform," Grissom began to sum up what evidence they had. "Hit in the head, stabbed, and buried in a shallow grave. We probably have one weapon, even if it wasn't used to kill him, but it has no prints or anything to identify it with."
"Except…" Sara began.
"Yes?" Grissom prompted.
"It's really old."
"Well, yeah. We've determined that."
"There is a piece in there that looks like it recently snapped off."
"So, maybe whoever owned it, needed to replace it."
"Why wouldn't they just buy something newer?"
"I don't know. But, it's well used, and it might have some sentimental value. That's why it got its own burial, rather than being tossed in the trash."
"And they might try to replace it, if they could find an exact duplicate."
"Vintage radio shops?"
"Maybe. Or Ebay."
Grissom reluctantly left Sara alone, doing web searches, on old audio equipment, while he met up with Roger Demby, the man who last worked Mark Menoit's route.
"Thank you for coming in, Mr. Demby," Grissom said, after shaking the young man's hand in greeting.
"Hey, you're welcome. I just have to be out of here in an hour or so. My shift starts at 8 and I'd like to grab something to eat. I didn't know Mark well but, geez, that's a terrible thing to happen. You know who did it? Or is that a dumb question?"
"Not a dumb question. But, no. We don't know at this point. We think he may have been killed while he was on shift. According to his supervisor, he checked in after his lunch break. He had 87 more packages to deliver before going back to headquarters. He never arrived. His truck was found just this morning in the desert."
"I was hoping you could tell me a little how your route works."
"Well, it's simple really. We all have a section of town. Depending on what comes in, we have 400 to 500 packages a day. The packages are loaded in the truck in a certain way, for maximum efficiency, and we are pretty much told—electronically—where to go and what to deliver."
"Anything odd in your route? Any disgruntled people?"
"Nah. I mean, there are some older folks who get a little grouchy sometimes if you arrive later in the day. Especially since they are used to the older system, which was more a driver's discretion type of thing. So, sometimes you make exceptions for them and then potentially get The Suits mad at you. But, I figure, the oldies shouldn't have more stress at this time of life. I can still deal with The Suits, you know?
Uh, who else? There is a lady—Kathleen Baker—she lives on Elm and Lakewood, she likes to answer the door in her underwear. This guy, I don't know his name, he lives on Old County Road, he likes to run out of his house and chase my truck for a little bit, insisting I take a package that's clearly for the post office. He thinks we're all the same. Oh, and there's Angie."
"Uh, yeah. She's the granddaughter of Maxwell Sloane, the guy who owns all the hotels? She's…I don't know. In her late 30s, I guess. She orders lots of things online and on those home shopping shows. She gets a package every single day. Man, when I worked and if two of them came in on the same day, she'd get very upset, thinking that she'd have no package the next day. So, now don't tell anyone, but I'd put one of the packages aside so I could give her one each day. Well, except for the weekends, but I think the old man was home then. She's just…lonely, I guess. Always asking me if I wanted to come up and see her room."
"Once. And it's against regulations, although I did it on my own time, during my coffee break. She just kept asking and the housekeeper said it was all right. I think she's a housekeeper and caregiver, you know. Nice lady."
"Is this Angie mentally or physically challenged?"
Roger sat back and thought about it for a minute. "Physically, no. I think there is something off mentally. I mean, sometimes, she seems to be as smart as a whip but…she doesn't seem to be as old as she looks. Kind of acts like a teenager, in a way."
"Did you get a good look at her room?"
"Yeah, it was…retro."
"Wait here for just a moment," Grissom got up and went to the lab Sara was using.
"Hey, Gris. I found a recent sale…just two days ago. The winning bid of a red audio recorder/player was someone with the username: angiebaby. One word."
"I think we may soon have more than that," he grabbed the bagged recorder and went back to his office.
"Do you remember seeing this in Angie's room?" he asked Roger.
"Yeah. Wow. You know, I would probably never remember on my own, but now that I see it, it's like…how could I forget? She has…her theme song on there."
"Her theme song?"
"Yeah, some song from the 70s by that singer…the one who sang "I am Woman." Yeah anyway. She has Angie Baby on there. She says she recorded it like 10 times on each side and likes to play it over and over again because it makes her feel closer to her mom. She died when Angie was a little kid. So, in the 10 minutes or so she was showing me around, I heard the song like 3 times. I don't know how it doesn't drive her nuts."
July 6, 1987
The headlines read that a boy disappeared
and everyone thinks he died.
'Cept a crazy girl with a secret lover who
keeps her satisfied.
It's so nice to be insane.
No one asks you to explain.
Radio by your side, Angie Baby.
She liked this sex thing. Kind of. It did sort of feel good, in a wicked sort of way.
Making love. Not sex. Sex was crude. Like their first time, really. Too much pushing and it hurt. And then it was just…kind of groady. She kind of thought he might have been stuck, but he started to move and grunt and hiss orders at her and then he was done, and he made a mess all over her.
But, a couple of weeks later, she had changed her mind. He was a little nicer to her. Told her she was a "hot bitch," and even though she didn't like that word, she thought he kind of meant it as a compliment. After all, it was the twentieth century. Not the nineteenth. Men weren't courtly like they were in her books.
So, he was in her and grunting and moving in and out really fast, and she was hanging on to the bed when the door opened and the light from the hallway spilled into the room.
She knew she and Tommy were too loud. She had thought about that once. But, usually, everyone slept soundly.
The shouts started and she had to keep him safe and quiet and get him back where he belonged.
There was a knife and blood.
And then he was hers.
End of Chapter 2
August 28, 2007, 10:00 AM
Maxwell Sloane was somewhat of a business legend in Las Vegas. In his mid-70s, he was still an imposing figure. About 6 foot 4, a full head of white hair and dressed in a mock-casual fashion. The clothes were way too expensive to successfully scream "devil may care comfort."
"Please, sit down. I was quite surprised to get your call this morning. I don't know how helpful I can be in whatever you're investigating but I'd sure like to try."
"Well, as you may have heard," Brass started, "a UPS driver was found dead nearby at the old Radio Tower on Perkins Road. I understand he had this route and frequently delivered packages to an Angela Sloane."
"Yes, Angela gets a lot of packages. She likes to shop. As most women do."
"She's your granddaughter," Grissom stated.
"Yes. Actually, I raised her. My daughter died when Angie was three, and her father was never a part of her life. No offense, but why do you want to know about Angie? What would she have to do with anything?"
"There was something found near the shallow grave he was buried in. It was an audio recorder from the 1970s. There was a small amount of blood, the UPS driver's blood, found near the battery compartment of the recorder. And bruises on his face and head are consistent with the recorder's size and shape."
"He was beaten to death?"
"We didn't say that," Sara said. "But it was a weapon used against Mr. Menoit. After some investigation, we found that Angele Sloane bought the exact same model recorder from on online auction site. Just one day after Mr. Menoit's murder."
"And you think my granddaughter had something to do with it?" he asked, suddenly amused. He sat back on his couch and stretched his arms out across the back. "Again, you have no way of knowing this, but Angela is…handicapped. She hasn't left the house by herself in years."
"She's physically handicapped?" Sara asked.
"No, mentally. She has difficulties being among people. Behavioral issues."
"What kind of behavioral issues?" Grissom asked.
"Do we really have to go into this?" Sloane asked.
"If you want to rule her out as a potential person of interest in this case."
Mr. Sloane sighed, almost in an exaggerated manner.
"My daughter, Gloria, became pregnant at the age of 17. It was 1971. Free love, no consequences. She had issues with … moodiness. She wasn't happy with the pregnancy and she did everything in her power to make sure it didn't continue. At first, we thought they were just accidents…too much drinking, drugging…but, no. I don't think so anymore. She took everything she could. Ended up in the hospital a couple of times. Gloria wanted an abortion without having to go the illegal route. God had other plans. Angie was born 2 months premature. And she beat the odds. But Gloria was in and out of her life from the beginning."
"And then she passed away?"
"She actually didn't 'pass' anywhere. She wrote a 'note' to her baby daughter…just a quote from some damned poet, and then went to my tallest hotel, took the elevator to the roof and flew off. Anyway, Angie seemed to be right as rain for a long time. But in high school, she just started acting up. She was disruptive with her behavior. Didn't pay attention and was kind of lost in her own world. Acted on whatever impulse she had at the time. If she wanted to sing, she sang. Had conversations with people who weren't there. That type of thing. Finally, I just took her out of school."
"What was she diagnosed with?"
"She's not a lab rat. I didn't have her tested. I know she has problems. I take good care of her. I give her everything she's ever wanted and she's loved."
"May we speak with her?" Grissom asked.
"She doesn't do well with other people."
"Neither do I," Grissom said, getting an involuntary smile from both Brass and Sara.
"Are you asking me, or is this a veiled order?"
"It's not an order…yet. But a warrant is going to be delivered shortly. And, if we find anything at all, then it will be," Brass said.
"I'll get her," he said, quietly, standing up and slipping out of the room.
Grissom pulled out his pager, and then fiddled with his cell phone.
"Sara, I need you to see what's happening with the warrant."
"No, I'd rather you pick it up. We can get things done faster this way."
"But, you don't know that it's not being delivered right now."
"Well, I'll call and tell them to hold it, that you'll be picking it up."
"That doesn't make any…" she stopped. He was her supervisor; he didn't have to make sense. And they were in front of Brass. "Sure. I'll go. I'll be back within the hour."
"Great. Keep your phone on."
She gave him a mock glare and left.
"Smooth," Brass said, as soon as Sara left.
"Yeah, well. I don't want her having to face another mentally unstable person. Not right now."
"You're forgetting. You were the one with the most contact with Natalie. Sara remembers very little of it."
"Are you going to be able to breathe? Wondering if she makes it back to the lab safely by herself?"
"She's a grown woman."
"And you're a mama hen. Hey, I sympathize, but Sara's only going to take it for so long. Just a word to the wise, okay?"
The door opened again and Sloane walked in with his granddaughter. She was in her mid-30s. Her long dark blond hair had numerous silver strands running through it. She wore a peasant skirt and a gypsy blouse. One could say her style was retro, except Grissom had a feeling those clothes were actually from the time, not reproductions.
The two men stood up and extended their hands. The woman shook hands shyly and took a seat.
"Big Daddy told me we had company. And that you wanted to ask me questions."
"My grandfather. I don't call him that because…he is the only father I ever had. But, I don't know. It's just something I call him," she shrugged.
Brass pulled out a picture of Mark. "Ms. Sloane, do you recognize this man."
She took the picture and looked at it. An angry frown crossed her face.
"He killed Tommy."
"Angie…" Sloane interrupted her.
"Well, he did," Angie said and then looked at the picture again. "He's our new package guy. I liked the old one better. He was nice. I thought this one would be nice, too, so I invited him up to my room but all he did was kill Tommy."
"Who, is Tommy?" Grissom asked carefully.
"My boyfriend," she said,
Grissom looked at Sloane who mouthed the word, "imaginary," behind her back. Grissom nodded slightly.
"How did he kill Tommy?"
"I told him to pick up a package. I wanted to return it. But I really did it so he could come up to my room. See it. Maybe we could be friends. But, he was reaching for the package—it was these platform shoes. But they weren't authentic. Not like, you know, from a while ago. Anyway, he reaches over and he knocks over my player."
"Yeah. I have a tape recorder. He knocked it over. And I tried and tried to make it work but it didn't."
"Were you angry?"
"Yes. I told you. Tommy lives in there during the day. And I sat there thinking, well, there goes Tommy! He wasn't killed the first time, but now, he's probably finally gone and what will I do? No more Tommy," she said, eyes wide and focused on no one. "But I got another one just like it on ebay and they sent it express mail. I paid extra. Different delivery guy. Different color uniform. He wasn't nice at al. Just 'sign here.' But I didn't care because I really wanted to see if it was the same. So, I opened the package and I popped in the tape and there was Tommy again. Good as new!"
"Ms. Sloane, did you hit Tommy with the old recorder?"
Sloane got up and objected. "You have no legal grounds to be questioning her in this manner. We have no one here to represent her. I thought this was going to be an informal discussion."
"It is informal. But, we can have a lawyer present and take a formal statement, if that's what you want."
"I want my lawyers here. Absolutely. Lucille!" He called and a woman nearly his age walked into the room.
"Take Angie to the sun room. I think these officers will be searching Angie's room. Keep her amused."
She nodded and took Angie by the hand. Angie looked back at Grissom and Brass.
"I did hit him," Angie said. "But, don't worry, he wasn't dead."
Lucille all but dragged Angie out of the room.
Las Vegas Crime Lab, 11:25 AM
Sara walked down the hallway in a slight daze. She had been more than a little miffed over the wild goose she had just been through at the courthouse. Apparently, the warrant had been delivered to the lab, and she would have expected Grissom to call her before she wasted time trying to track it down in the bureaucratic maze, but he hadn't. She knew he wanted her away from Angie's questioning, and she knew why. She also knew that it was probably killing him to leave her alone for a few hours. Good.
And, yet…bad. Because she hadn't really expected the pure fear that washed over her as she entered the parking garage, alone, for the first time since she was back. More security measures had been added since her abduction but that didn't stop the shaking and the overwhelming compulsion to run.
Sara had taken a deep breath and forced herself to walk at a normal pace. The only way to get through it was to get through it.
Catherine was rounding the curve of the hallway as Sara stalked through the halls.
"Sara! Uh," she approached the younger CSI and gave her an awkward hug, "Welcome back. I was so busy with my case yesterday that I didn't get a chance to stop by and see you. How are you feeling?"
She stood back and gave her a head to toe examination. "Well, you look better than you did in the hospital, but you also look a bit hot under the collar. Trouble in paradise already?"
Sara let out a small huff of air. "I spent the last hour or so looking for a warrant that was already delivered here."
"Oh, yeah. I signed for it. Uh, it's on Grissom's desk. I called him and he said you might be by."
"Sara, just a word of advice," Catherine said, in her most 'reasonable' voice. "Cut him some slack. He's not good at the whole love affair thing and I'm sure it's very difficult for him. It's not easy balancing a relationship and a career, when the workplace is the scene for both. He has to be careful not to appear to have any conflicts of interest."
Sara opened her mouth and thought better of it. Catherine was going out of her way to give her advice on how to "handle' Grissom. She had to remind herself that the woman knew very little about their relationship. Just that they had one. Not how long, or how intense. In any case, a cat fight, in every sense of the word, would not be something either of them needed at this point. Still, Sara was just rattled enough to not let Cat off the hook completely.
"I'll keep that in mind, Catherine. Your concern for my welfare is overwhelming. I'm just gonna get that warrant now."
"Hey, Sara," but Sara was determined to let nothing stop her on her way to Grissom's office, "I really didn't mean that the way it sounded."
Instead of answering, Sara gave a half-hearted dismissive wave, before entering Grissom's office and closing the door.
She leaned her back against it and closed her eyes.
She felt safe, for the moment. When she had stepped into the office the day before, she had been very happy to see the miniature crime scene dioramas gone, locked up in the evidence holding room. There was not a trace of them here.
And, in here, this room that held memories of long talks and longing looks, she could remember the almost two year period of time when their relationship belonged to them alone.
There were moments during the past six months, in particular, when Sara had wanted nothing but full disclosure. The lies by omission were getting to her and she also suspected the continuing secret was used to cover a lack of complete confidence and commitment by Grissom.
But one look at his face when she was found told her she had been wrong.
It was ironic that, soon after, she found out that Grissom had "outed" their relationship in a moment of duress.
And could never be hidden away again.
It would eventually affect their careers. People were now on red alert, waiting for the moment when either one of them would "slip," and Gil Grissom's quarter century of good works could be ruined by his "chickie."
Sara approached his desk and found the warrant.
She wouldn't give him shit over his over-protectiveness. It would pass.
She could only hope everyone else's interest in their private affairs would do the same.
End of Part 3
Sloane Mansion, August 28, 2007, 1:02 PM
Sara walked through the door and Brass took the warrant.
"Thanks, kid. Actually, Sloane let us start without the warrant."
"Oh…kay," she blew out a quick breath and took another one, then moved her head until her left ear touched her shoulder and then treated the other side to the same treatment.
"I guess so. It's the first double I've pulled since I've been back."
Sara smiled. "Thanks. Not just for now but, well, for taking care of Gris. I know you did and, I'm grateful."
"Hey, he was there for me, many times. I wasn't glad to have to be able to return the favor, especially since I'm kind of fond of you myself and would have loved to sit down for a good long blubber, but…he's a good guy. And he needed hope. And, who else would he go to for a bit of sunshine and happiness?"
"Only you," she said, with that same soft smile before she pointed upstairs, "Which room?"
"Third door, staircase to the right."
Sara found Grissom on the floor of Angie's room, combing her carpet for evidence. The room was spacious, airy, ultra-feminine, and somewhat juvenile.
He lifted his head, looked at her and gave an audible sigh of relief. "You're back."
"Yeah. I got the warrant."
"Um, yeah. I meant to call you and tell you they delivered it to the lab, but things got out of hand here."
"It's all right. How, exactly, did they get out of hand?"
"Well, Angie admits to hitting Mark—but says she didn't kill him. Once that was out of her mouth, they took her into another room and insisted that any further questioning be done with a lawyer present."
"Well, I guess that's a smart move."
"It is. But we weren't really interrogating her. She pretty much volunteered the information. Sloane and his lawyers are having some summit down there now, though."
"Anything else I should know about before I get my kit?"
"She said that Mark killed 'Tommy'—who Sloane says is an imaginary boyfriend. Angie seems to be stuck in her teenaged years so be on the lookout for a diary or something of that nature."
Sara pulled on a pair of gloves and started to process the room. Grissom was on the other side continuing his work.
"It's like stepping into a time capsule," Sara said.
"I guess it provides some comfort. She lost control over the rest of her life…so, she surrounds herself with the familiar. And, yet, she's moved on in her taste for some creature comforts," he said, nodding toward the large plasma television mounted to the wall and the sophisticated computer setup.
For a few hours they bagged and tagged evidence, paying attention to the small details before addressing the largest project in the room.
Grissom finally stood up. "New carpeting," he said, and Sara nodded. She had smelled it the minute she walked in the room.
He went to a corner and moved aside a large potted fern. Then he took the edge of the carpet and tore it away from the staple board underneath.
When he had enough of the rug moved aside, Sara sprayed the surface of the hardwood floors underneath with luminol. In a minute, the tell-tale signs of blood emerged.
"This," Grissom nodded toward the door, "is not going to be pretty."
Sloane Mansion, 5: 22 PM
The next few hours were spent in a whirlwind of meetings between Sloane and his lawyers, Brass on cell phone conversations with mental health professionals and advocates for the disabled, and the arrival of more CSIs. All the furniture in Angie's room was moved aside and a large patch near the foot of her bed showed the presence of blood on, in and around the floorboards. Samples were taken and sent to DNA.
When Grissom and Sara finally came down the stairs, Brass was just snapping his cell phone shut.
He puffed out his lips and let out a loud breath of air. "After pulling a lot of strings, we're going to do Angie's questioning here. I'm just waiting for a few advocates to show up. Sloane's lawyer, of course, will be there and, as Angie's legal guardian—Sloane will be present but not allowed to speak with her beforehand or try and influence her."
"Good luck with that."
"Well, we do have some pull there. Technically, Angie has never been declared incompetent in any way. So, we could use the argument that we are doing him a favor letting him sit in."
Brass looked uncomfortable.
"What else, Jim?" Grissom asked.
"I'm debating whether I should ask you to step aside or discuss this with both of you."
It was Sara's turn to be uncomfortable.
"Okay. Here's the deal," Brass said, obviously making up his mind to discuss it with both of them. "Sloane is a big shot in this town. And he has big bucks to back it all up. When push comes to shove, if Angie offed the UPS guy, he's going to do anything in his power to get her off, and that might mean playing dirty. So, while I'm not telling you to step aside, I think you need to get someone else in here as lead investigator."
"Why?" Sara asked.
"Because both of you have just been very personally involved in a case involving a deranged, mentally ill woman and you could be seen as biased against the mentally challenged."
"That's ridiculous, Brass. We're trained professionals. We deal with this all the time," Sara said.
"We're not talking all the time. We're talking a little more than a month ago. And we're also talking about a very rich, powerful man. You don't want your names splattered all over the press over this, do you?"
"I'll call Catherine," Grissom said, already reaching for his cell phone.
"So, what? We just sit on our hands and keep quiet?" Sara asked.
"You investigate and hand over your findings to Catherine."
Sara pressed her lips together, but said nothing. Grissom got off the phone and nodded briefly to Brass. "She'll be here in about an hour. Sara…"
"Is that a good idea?" he asked, no longer caring that they were not alone.
"Well, you tell me," she said, her patience finally wearing out. "Am I still a good CSI, or have I been damaged beyond reparation? Because if that's the case, I really should just quit and take up knitting or something to fill up my time while I wait for you to come home each morning."
Grissom finally seemed aware of Brass' presence and so did Sara. She looked down and Brass excused himself and walked off.
"I'm sorry," she said. "It's…"
"It's fine" Grissom said. "You're right. I just, if you feel uncomfortable, don't try to be superwoman, just leave the room."
"Okay. Same thing goes for you," she said, smiling.
He gave her a smirk in return. Crisis averted.
Dining room, Sloane mansion 7 PM
"I hope you didn't touch my cassette player," Angie said, staring at Sara.
"Your player is fine, Angie," Sara said.
"Good. I don't want to have to lose Tommy again."
Grissom sat there and tried to keep in poker face mode. From the time they entered the room, Angie's attention had fluctuated between Sara and Catherine. He thought of what it might be doing to Sara. He knew what it was doing to him. If anyone else became overly focused on Sara…
"Tell me about Tommy, Angie," Sara said. She seemed cool and collected.
"Tommy doesn't exist," Sloane said, under his breath.
"Mr. Sloane. Please. Just let Angie talk," Brass said. Sloane's lawyer whispered something to him and he calmed down.
"Tommy is my boyfriend. I told you that."
"When did you meet Tommy?" Catherine took over the questioning.
"In school. After I left, I'd see him outside on the grounds. I'd go to the window and invite him in."
"And did he come in?"
"Does he still come in?"
"No. He doesn't have to. He lives here forever."
"Where? I thought your grandfather and Lucille were the only ones who lived here."
"That's because he only comes out at night. We dance. Round and round the room. And he brings me flowers and candy and jewelry. And then, well," she leaned forward, "we go to sleep. But we shouldn't since we're not married but we are married in our hearts. That has to count, right?"
Brass interrupted. "Where does he stay during the day?"
"In the cassette player. That's why I got so mad at the delivery guy. I had to give him a couple of whacks to remind him to not get so close to other people's stuff next time and drop them off the table."
"Is that what he did?"
"I just told you that, didn't I? Yes. He came to my room to get a package. He was bending over to pick it up and knocked over a small table that had the cassette player on it. I picked it up and tried to play my song, but it was broken. I got so mad, I just started grabbing him."
"And then what?"
"Enough!" Sloane yelled. "Angie, I'll finish the story."
"No, I want to…"
"Mr. Sloane, we aren't through with our questioning," Catherine said.
"Yes, you are. I will not have you badger her. I did it. What she told you is the truth. I heard her screaming, I ran into the room and saw the delivery boy with his hands on my granddaughter, and she was yelling and seemed to struggle. I just…took a letter opener from Angie's desk and started stabbing him. I didn't even stop to think what I had done until he was dead."
Sara watched Angie's face. She seemed confused.
"Angie," Sara said gently. "Is that what happened?"
Mr. Sloane looked at his granddaughter intently. Suddenly, in spite of the silver streaks and fine lines around her eyes, she looked like a three year old.
"Big Daddy doesn't lie," she said and then said nothing more.
August 29, 2007, Morgue, Las Vegas Crime Lab, 3 AM
Grissom was pouring himself a cup of what Doc Robbins laughingly referred to as coffee, while the man himself was sitting and reviewing the autopsy findings of Mark Menoit.
"Well, Sloane certainly didn't do it the way he claims," Doc Robbins confirmed, without much fanfare.
"No letter opener?"
"Those stab wounds are from a much larger, sharper knife."
"That's all I wanted to know. We're going to get a warrant in the morning for the whole house. And grounds."
"Sara looked through old yearbooks found in Angie's room. There were three Toms in there. Two were easily found. She found one who disappeared in 1987, the year Angie left school, who has never been found. When we first questioned her, she said something about Tommy "finally" being gone now. So…we're going to look into all possibilities. Actually, we're going to sit this one out and watch as everyone else does the leg work."
"You and Sara. The Number 1 and Number 1 workaholics of Clark County? Really?" Doc Robbins clutched his chest in mock horror.
"We're playing politics. And, frankly, it's Sara's first week back and she's more tired than even she realizes. And so am I. I'm more than happy to let everyone else take over. We'll compare notes when we come in this evening, but—for now, we're going home."
Robbins shook his head in amusement. "I never thought I'd see the day."
"These compromises have been surprisingly easy," he shrugged. "Priorities change."
"The times, they are a changing" the older gentleman said. Grissom grunted his agreement, thanked the coroner, and then dumped his coffee and left.
As he was leaving, he heard Doc Robbins chuckle. By the time Grissom reached the exit, he started chuckling himself.
Grissom and Sara's Townhouse
She was whimpering in her sleep again. Grissom woke up and turned to her, rubbing her back softly as he whispered her name.
"It's all right, "he said, over and over again, until he knew she was awake. She lay there for a few more moments before turning to him.
"Hey," she said softly, putting her hand to his cheek and rubbing his face as softly as he rubbed her back.
"Don't be sad."
"I'm not," he lied, hating to see the aftereffects of Sara's abduction. He leaned forward and gave her a soft kiss. "Nightmare?"
She sighed and kissed him back. "Nothing tangible. Just…feelings. Shadows." She shrugged her shoulders and looked around. "Where's Bruno?"
"You're worried about the dog? Now?"
She loved Grissom in mock-jealous mode. "No, I'm just worried he might be interrupting us, wanting his own shot at slobbering."
"We're hardly slobbering, although it could be arranged."
She locked her fingers behind his neck and drew him closer. "No. I like this type of kissing, too," she said.
"But, we're barely doing anything," he said, smacking his lips against hers again.
"I like it. I like the way we sound together."
His lips curved up in a smile, "Way back in the Stone Age, when I was a teenager, and you were probably…in Pampers, I kissed my first girlfriend. I used to be embarrassed by the noises lips make during a kiss. I thought…where were those squeaky, slurpy sounds in the movies?"
Sara laughed and burrowed her face against his neck. "You have such an adorable side to you, sometimes. Don't get freaked out, or anything, but, occasionally, the idea of hiding here with you forever is pretty appealing."
"It's very appealing. Especially now. But it's not a healthy, normal existence. If your whole life becomes just one portion magnified, it's not very challenging, is it? And the importance of everyday details can get so blown out of proportion, they become potential motives for murder."
She looked up. "Way to kill the romance, Gris."
"Sorry," he said, running his hands up and down her upper arms.
"It's okay," she said, lightly kissing his neck.
He knew she was teasing him, but he also knew she was not only trying to be romantic, but also confessing her desire to withdraw from the world a little. His timing at bringing the case into the conversation…sucked. While he was thinking of a way to steer the conversation back, he noticed a change in her breathing.
It would have to wait until tomorrow. Sara had fallen asleep.
End of Part 4
Grissom and Sara's Townhouse,
August 29, 2007, 1 PM
Grissom was pacing around the room, cell phone in hand, when Sara finally woke up.
"What happened?" She asked, as Grissom got off the phone.
"I'll tell you later. Go back to sleep," he said, leaning down and kissing her forehead.
"Not a chance. And stop kissing my head. You're not my Grandpa."
"I'm sure that's a matte of debate among some."
"They don't count. Now, come here and give me a real kiss and then the low-down on the case. In that order," she said, then added sweetly, "Please."
Grissom bent down again and gave Sara a proper kiss. She surprised him by grabbing him around the neck, wrapping one leg around the back of his knees and managing to propel him over her and onto the mattress.
He looked up at the ceiling as she straddled him, leaned down and kissed his forehead.
"Where did you learn that, Grandma?"
"Judo class. 1991."
"Thanks. Now, spill."
Grissom nodded at the sleeping dog on the foot of the bed.
"You ever notice that when I pounce on you, he barks like a maniac, but if you pounce on me, he just goes right on sleeping."
"Don't distract me. Come on, tell me about the case." she said, once again eager to be a part of solving it.
"All right. Since you asked nicely. Big developments overnight."
"Such as?" She said, rocking against him a little to further entice a little information from him.
"OK, I'm going to make this quick so we can further investigate whatever it is that you're starting here, and I don't want to hear that you want to go tearing down to the lab first. Deal?"
"Deal. Even though we already "investigated' once tonight."
"If I'm up for it, you can be, too," Grissom said, taking pride in his pun.
Sara rolled her eyes.
"So, I told you, Doc Robbins said the letter opener did not do it. They had a confession but no weapon, booked him on the basis of his confession and he was bailed out before the sun came up. While he was in lockup, though, they questioned Angie again about Tommy and she calmly told them he was buried in the back yard. When they asked her how he died, she said he wasn't dead, and then didn't say another word. Sure enough, they dug where she told them to and found remains."
"Wow. Did they ask her about how Mark died?"
"Yes. They thought it might do some good without Sloane in the room but all they got was "Big Daddy doesn't lie.'"
"So, back to square one, but with two bodies now."
"She did it, Sara. Whether she's fully aware of the fact or not. Sloane is only trying to protect his granddaughter."
"Don't say that. You don't know that at all. There's nothing to indicate any such thing. I mean, Sloane's story is completely plausible. He walked in and thought Mark was attacking her…"
"He didn't know what weapon he used? Sara, everyone knew, from the news stories, that Mark Menoit was stabbed. Obviously, Angie is not going to keep a sharp knife in her room…"
"So, then how did SHE stab him?"
He let out a huff of air. "I don't know."
"Exactly. You don't. So, we have to do some more investigating before we throw the book at Angie. Come on, it's not like you to be this way."
He looked up at the ceiling again. "You didn't see her, Sara. You didn't see Natalie in action. She was full of hate for you. She didn't even know you, but she wanted you dead. To punish me. And then I lost it. I started yelling at her, trying to snap her out of it and she just spaced out. For her own protection but…how do you break through that? This girl, this woman, could be capable of anything."
"Just like any other human being."
"I know," he said, feeling defeated.
She lay her head down on his shoulder, her rump slightly in the air. He stroked the flesh of her behind, as she kissed his earlobe. "I love you so much, Grissom."
"I know that, too."
"Well, I also believe in you. So, you have to stop second-guessing yourself. Use your logic and your mind. They haven't let you down all that many times. Okay?"
"Now, come on…let's go to work!"
"Not a chance, babe. You and I made a deal."
"Babe? You're choosing a roll in the hay over work?"
"Well, you get brownie points for being polite," she said and reached down to fling off her nightshirt.
Grissom reached up and gently covered her breasts with his hands, kneading softly. "Feel good?"
He moved his hands off her breasts and around to her back, where he took firm hold and flipped her over, to the sounds of Bruno getting up on all fours on the bed and barking.
"See, I told you!"
Sara was too busy laughing to fully appreciate Grissom's complaint. Grissom just kept on hushing the dog, while removing articles of his own clothing. Tee shirt, sweatpants, and boxers all went in the direction of the barking dog.
"Bruno, down. Go to your bed," Sara said, and the dog jumped off the bed and left the room, presumably to sleep on his big dog bed in the living room. Once he realized he couldn't stop the proceedings, Bruno was not much of a voyeur.
"I told you he loves you more than he loves me," Grissom grumbled, settling himself on top of her.
"Is it your turn to worry about the dog when you have a warm, ready, and very naked me underneath you?"
He lifted his head up from where he was kissing her neck and shook it, then moved back down and opened his mouth over hers. She loved the way he kissed. For such a seemingly conservative man, he truly gave his all while kissing. His tongue was tangoing with hers while he moved his knee in between hers.
Grissom's fingers were imitating his tongue and then he finally slipped inside her warmth, in one very deep thrust. Sara gasped against his mouth. "Too much?" he asked.
"No, I'm fine."
She had been quiet the last few weeks and he knew she wasn't entirely letting herself go all the time. He respected her need for control at this point in her life, but he wanted her to lose just a little of it, for her own sake.
He pulled out and back in again, deep and hard. He watched her lick her lips and shut her eyes tightly.
He moved his mouth to her ear. "Let go," he said, moving his hand to her breast and kneading again.
"Um, I will."
"No, I mean, now. Let go."
She frowned and then slammed her eyes shut again when he went in even deeper than before.
He moved his hand up to her face and stroked it gently. "Stop biting your lip and let go."
She looked into his eyes and nodded and he moved his hand to her inner thigh and pushed her leg further to the side. Then he slid in again, hard and fast. A very audible gasp was heard in the room. He did it again and got a moan. On the third stroke, he got a louder moan. And he continued, moving hard and fast, until he could barely stand it himself. The sounds of her excitement was arousing beyond measure. Finally, when he pushed his hands under her butt to tilt her pelvis a bit, she exploded around him and it only took a few more strokes before he came just as hard.
He flipped over on his back, taking her along with him.
"Oh, God, Grissom. That was so good," she said, breathing heavily against his neck.
"Mmmm…I need a nap," he said, as she cuddled against him.
"Twenty minutes," she said, warm and relaxed.."Then, work. Okay?"
He was half asleep, fully sated and ridiculously happy that she was so ridiculously eager to return to work, in spite of it all.
End of Chapter 5
August 29, 2007, 6 PM
"You want to tell me why you lied?" Brass asked Sloane.
"I didn't lie."
"All right. How about giving me a more believable version of the truth, then?"
"I told you. I found Mark in Angie's bedroom. Her bedroom. You get it? People take advantage of people like Angie. I saw her screaming and his hands on her shoulders and I went…crazy. Okay? After, I picked up his dead body and buried it at the radio tower."
"Why bury Angie's cassette player?"
"I thought it was safer there than throwing it out and having it turn up in some landfill or something."
"Mr. Sloane. There was no way a letter opener killed Mark Menoit," Grissom said.
"Well, tell that to the dead body because that's the way it happened." He said and then sat back.
"All right. Let's go on to murder #2. Or, I should say, murder #1. Tommy Fiangella. We found his remains in your backyard. Buried much deeper, I might add."
"I was a lot younger then," Sloane smirked.
"I suppose you killed him, too."
"I did. For the same reason. With Mark, I definitely jumped the gun, but I walked in on Angie and Tommy having sex. She was 16. He was on top of her and I stabbed him to death, too."
"Butcher knife. I had my suspicions about the noises coming from her room. I went downstairs and grabbed a knife before confirming them."
"And you let two people wonder, for over 20 years, what happened to their son?"
"Wondering is hope. Knowing is forever."
"I don't do haiku. You want to translate that for me?" Brass asked.
"It means I would rather wonder where the hell my daughter was wandering around, rather than knowing she was so depressed that she took a header from the top of one of my hotels, all right? And I was not going to let anyone, or anything, hurt Angie in the same way my daughter was hurt. Ever. Case closed. Lock me up."
"And then what happens to Angie?"
"Lucille will take care of her and I've made arrangements for her to train a younger person to share the role, and eventually assume the role, when Lucille is too old to handle it."
"When did you do this?"
"The other day. Before I turned myself in."
Grissom looked straight at the mirror. He knew Sara was on the other side of the wall, behind the glass, watching their every move.
She got his message. "I'm on it," she said aloud, and took off down the hall.
Sara was working feverishly on the computer when Greg popped into the office, full of energy and carrying a folder.
"DNA results, my girl…uh, Grissom's girl…hot off the press!"
"Stop that. Now, give me the highlights. I'm finding something interesting here."
"Okay. You can show me yours after I show you mine. So, those epithelials I found? They were from three contributors. The epithelials from one person, a female, was found basically on the forearms and shoulders of the vic. Then there was a male contributor. Epithelials under his arms, on the pants by his ankles…shares point 25 alleles with female number 1."
"Yes. Now things get really interesting. Contributor number 3 is female, too. Her epis are all over the body. Like she kind of hugged him from behind or something. And she has point 25 alleles in common with female number one, and no alleles in common with the male."
"She's a grandparent?"
"And Mrs. Sloane died years before."
"That's…very interesting, Greg. Did we get the results of the DNA testing from the people in the Sloane household?"
"Yes. But you haven't shown me yours yet…"
"Spoiled sport. Fine, Angie is female #1—she only had contact with Mark's upper arms and shoulders, consistent with the transcript of her questioning. Gramps Sloane, who seemed to be dragging the body and getting his epithelials all over the joint is the lone male, and….drum roll please…Angie's granny , with her epis all over the vic is…"
Greg broke off and did a very bad rendition of a very old BB King song.
The guy was such a ham.
Grissom, Catherine and Sara sat around the makeshift "interrogation" table in Sloane's dining room. Brass was there, as well as a couple of uniformed officers. Lucille Sullivan was seated on one of the side seats.
"Where's Angie?" Grissom asked.
"She's upstairs in one of the guest rooms. Thank you for letting her keep her recorder. It means a lot to her."
"Well, it's not sentimental, on our part. It wasn't involved in the crime, and we have enough proof of its purchase and delivery. It wasn't needed as evidence."
Catherine gave an almost imperceptible signal to Sara.
"Ms. Sullivan, we've run across a few things that we hope you can help us clear up."
"Of course. Anything I can do to help poor Mr. Sloane."
"We were a little confused when Mr. Sloane, who seems very in control of every aspect of his life, made arrangements with you to care for Angie, even before he knew he was going to be arrested. You have been employed by him since Angie was a baby, but it still seemed as if he'd be the type of person who would want to care of her himself, if it was at all possible.
So, we decided to do a little more research. I looked up Angie's—Sylvia's—birth certificate. There is a father listed. A James Sullivan. Any relation?"
Lucille's eyes went wide and her pink cheeks flushed a dark red.
"Ms. Sullivan?" Sara prompted.
"He was my son."
"So, Angie is…"
"Does she know?"
"No," Lucille shook her head vigorously. "There was no need to tell her such a thing. Besides, it would only lead to questions about her father."
"He would have been, if he had lived. He went to Viet Nam shortly before Sylvia was born. His remains were returned to me. But he wanted nothing to do with the child. He had plenty to do with Miss Gloria. I raised her from the time she was a young girl. Her mother died of cancer when she was just 10 years old. I moved in with my son and husband to take care of the family. My husband died, then my son became a teenager and just went crazy. One big walking hormone. I was so embarrassed over what he did to Miss Gloria. Mr. Sloane, he took it in stride. He tried everything to make sure Gloria would not be embarrassed. Told her he'd send her to Paris until the baby was born. She could make up a husband who had died overseas. Anything. But, by that time, Gloria was really abusing the drugs. And she really didn't want the baby any more than my Jimmy.
Poor Sylvia—Angie. She had troubles right from the start. So tiny. She wasn't expected to live and Gloria was sitting in the corner, praying. Every day, she'd be in that baby nursery in the corner, praying and praying. And I just knew it wasn't for her baby to live."
"Tell me what happened when Gloria killed herself," Grissom prompted.
"Not much to tell. Security called immediately. Even before the police showed up. Mr. Sloane ran over there and really took it hard. He had a hard time with her moodiness. He blamed himself for not getting her help beforehand."
"Just like with Angie?"
"You don't understand. He knew something wasn't quite right with both girls. His biggest fear was that they'd try and take them away from him. Lock them up in some mental institution. He couldn't have that."
"So, he took on the responsibility of raising the girl?"
"No, he always had the responsibility of raising her. When Sylvia—Angie—was released from the hospital, Gloria left for three months. We didn't hear anything from her. Joined a commune or some such nonsense. Every once in a while, she'd come back home and play with her child as if she were some kind of doll. She'd stay for a few days and then leave. Mr. Sloane and I raised the girl."
Catherine leaned forward. "Will you tell us the truth about Tommy?"
They sat back as she took a sip of water from the Waterford glass before her.
"I sleep heavily. Both of us do. Mr. Sloane works very hard in the hotel industry, I worked very hard at home. My room is right down the hall from Angie's and Mr. Sloane's is upstairs. I had a friend come into town one night and went out with her. We drank a lot of coffee with our desserts, and I couldn't sleep when I got home. I tried reading and watching tv, and then finally thought I'd put that energy to use. I went to go to Angie's bathroom to pick up her dirty clothes to wash, when I heard some noises from her room. I know those noises. I…just couldn't do this again. This couldn't happen. No more babies having babies. I went downstairs and grabbed the biggest knife I could find. I just wanted to scare the hell out of whoever was there with her.
I went to the room and just walked in. Angie was on all fours and he was taking her from behind, like a dog. His hand was in her hair, pulling her back, and he was calling her a dirty bitch and other, even more foul things. I…she's my granddaughter. 16. She was 16 and this filthy thing was doing these things to her and calling her these names and she was moaning like she was in some ecstasy. I just…didn't even think. He was dead in seconds."
Catherine closed her eyes for a moment. "And then what happened."
"Then my brain started working again. Angie was screaming. Mr. Sloane came running. He heard her from all the way upstairs. I threw a sheet at her and told her to cover up. We all just sat there for a while, trying to think of something to do."
"And that's when you decided to bury him in the back yard?"
"Yes. No one knew he was there. Well, according to Angie, but I believed her. Angie never lies. On the one hand, he knew Angie was an easy target for sex, because she didn't completely understand, but those kids in school were scared of her. She had been acting very strangely…so, I don't think he would have mentioned his conquest to them because they would think he was odd, sleeping with the "crazy kid.' We buried him in the backyard. Deep in the yard. And never said a word to anyone. No one ever even came here to question us."
"And then what happened?"
"Nothing. We went on like this for years. Angie got older and older and we just continued to take care of her. "
"Did Mr. Sloane or Angie kill Mark Menoit?" Catherine asked, already knowing the answer.
"No. I did. I was in the downstairs bathroom. As I was coming out, I saw Angie and Mark go upstairs. I knew she wanted to return a package. She asked me a day or so before if it would be okay to show him her room and she did that, from time to time, when she wanted to make friends. It never worried me because her definition of friendship was not anyone else's. It was just coming to see her room, knowing a bit of what she liked and that was it. I went into the kitchen to make lunch and then I heard her screams. I just…did it again. Grabbed the knife and ran. The truth is almost exactly the way Mr. Sloane described it. Angie later told me what happened. He came in, knocked over her table and broke her recorder. She always thought that Tommy's soul—or maybe even Tommy, himself, lived in that stupid thing. It had stopped playing that song she likes so much and she started screaming and attacking him with it. I came in and just saw him standing with his back to me and his hands on her, while she was struggling. I stabbed him. Right in the middle of his back."
"The same butcher knife I used all those years ago."
"Where is it?"
"In the butcher block. I had cleaned it in the dishwasher. I don't know. Maybe you already took it into evidence."
"Ms. Sullivan," Grissom started, "I don't understand why you buried Angie's original recorder out by the body?"
She smiled. "Mr. Grissom, picture two old, stupid people who are in deep trouble, again. This time, the police might come and question us since they could probably find out which was the last house he delivered a package to. We needed to get him off the grounds.
Mr. Sloane drove the truck somewhere into the desert. When he got back, we dragged Mark's body down to the car, after dark. We found what we thought was a nice deserted place. Who goes to that old radio tower, anyway? And we started to dig. And dig. It was so hard. In the middle, we took a breather and sat in the car for a few minutes until we heard digging ourselves. We were so scared. We looked to the gravesite and saw Angie digging. We ran over and asked her how she got there. She hid in the trunk of the car. She knew exactly how to open it when we got there, snuck out and into the woods while we were digging and then—probably—made her own little spot for 'Tommy's remains.' Neither of us knew about the original recorder being gone until you told us. But we knew she was there. We just thought she was helping us dig. She was even wearing gloves. When she isn't listening to that goddamn recorder, she watches way too much television. All those freaking crime shows."
Lucille started to laugh. The hollow sound filled the room, leaving nothing behind but an empty, lonely feeling.
August 30, 5:20 AM
Maxwell Sloane was standing at the desk, retrieving his things.
"I'm going to try and get her out, you know. Temporary insanity."
"Times two? And a 20 year old cover up? That's not temporary, my friend. I'd suggest, Mr. Sloane, that you worry about keeping yourself out of jail."
"Can we go into your office for a moment? And ask Mr Grissom to come along."
"I don't care if I go to jail. Not for myself. I do care for Angie. Lucille has been booked and I will pay anything to get her out on bail so we can both find a suitable caretaker for Angie. But, I don't really regret a thing. Lucille just did what I would have done, if I had been there first. So, I protected her. And I protected Angie.
I told you Gloria left a poem to Angie before she jumped? Well, here it is," He pulled out a very old piece of paper from his wallet. It had been folded 8 times to make a small square that fit into one of the compartments meant to hold a photograph:
Think of me… and the woman you were named after. She wrote these words. I lived them.
Gloria (your mother)…
Mad Girl's Love Song
"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)"
"Except for the fact that she's not as morbid as my daughter, history has repeated itself with Angie. And, apparently, I didn't do any better raising a child this time around" Sloane said, then stood up and left the room.
Angie's Room, Sloane Mansion
January 23, 2008, 8 PM
Lovers appear in your room each night
and they whirl you across the floor.
But they always seem to fade away
when your daddy taps on your door.
Angie girl, are you all right?
Tell the radio good-night.
All alone once more, Angie Baby.
Angie Baby, you're a special lady
living in a world of make-believe.
"Angela, please turn that radio down a bit."
"Can't. Tommy likes being loud."
Good God. Laurene shook her head, set a tray of food on the desk and left the room. If she wasn't getting paid so bloody much, she'd never stay in this creepy house. Give up her life for this crazy woman before her. Shit.
Angie turned the radio up and loosened the string on her peasant blouse. She gyrated across the floor, smiling at a lover who was not really there.
Or, was he?
Break Room, CSI Headquarters,
January 24, 12:10 AM
Sara, we have a DB down in Henderson. You're with me."
No snickers could be heard in the room. While at work, everyone tended to forget Grissom and Sara were even in a relationship. They really had compartmentalizing their lives down to a science.
Occasionally, in a social situation, the staff marveled at the difference.
And every once in a while, they did find themselves socializing outside of work.
The times…they had changed.
February 1, 2008
Self-proclaimed Uncle Greg loved his 'nephew,' Bruno, at first sight, and on one bright and sunny day, he took the dog to his place so Bruno's "parents' could have an extended weekend on the East Coast.
"Bruno, old boy," he said, as they walked away from the townhouse. "Those people in there are nuts. It's like, what… 20 degrees in Boston? Maybe less. What the hell do they need to go there for?"
Bruno looked at him, slobbered a little and Greg would later swear, but no one took him seriously, that the dog shrugged.
And, less than 12 hours later, Grissom and Sara stood on the beach at Cape Cod. Freezing their asses off. Breathing in air so cold, it actually hurt their lungs.
And exchanging words and rings to no one but each other and the heavens above…
And a preacher and two witnesses they rounded up on the beach.
Sometimes, you just felt like making a commitment that went beyond what was in your head and your heart.
Amidst laughter, gray, windy skies, and looks that could melt an iceberg, Grissom and Sara made the marriage of two married souls "official."
Credits: "Angie, Baby" was written by Alan O'Day and recorded by Helen Reddy. It was the number one song in December of 1974. I was a young teenager then and found it appealingly creepy. Still do.
"Mad Girl's Love Song" was written by Sylvia Plath: my writing prompt.
A/N: I wanted to write a casefile for Grissom and Sara. Badly (I'm not officially into torture…but…) I had the Angie, Baby idea in my head in a very, very vague sort of way. It was actually when I got the prompt that I thought I could maybe combine the two. I then thought…oh, I'll take the easy way out and just drop the most fabulous little tidbit I found out about Sylvia Plath--which was her dad was a bug man! Yes, old Otto wrote a book on bees. I thought I'd have Grissom mention that. And, another fun fact: Otto was at least 20 years older than Sylvia's mother (another 70s song, if you're keeping count—although that one was just dreadful, IMO).
But, I read the poem I quoted at the end, and knew getting that prompt was kismet. Destiny! Whooohoo for destiny. (I'm too old to whoohoo, by the way). But, really, all the pieces began to fall in place.
There is always a chance, when you post a longer story that is not being posted as a serial or WIP, that no one will ever read it and I'm taking a gamble here. But, I post as a reader, as much as a writer. I like to read completed stories and am too impatient and non-trusting to go the WIP route as a reader, so…I'm just assuming some of you guys are impatient grouchy folk like me!
Hope you enjoyed this massive thing.
That will teach the organizers of these ficathons to ever use the words, "or more," after setting a minimum word limit.
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