2004-11-08 - 5:48 p.m.

This entry is an answer to a challange at yourtaxdollars, a CSI (among other things) message board. The challenge was to write a a fic in which the Grissom is taught how to play spin the bottle at the lab, various elements were to be included.

Catherine held up the shirt and pointed her chin at the pink smear on the collar. “L’Oreal Fairy dust Shimmer.” Grissom wrinkled his forehead, the right side of his mouth twisting upward, “huh?” She shrugged, “Lipstick. You can have it tested, but I’m pretty sure.” “So we check the girlfriend’s make up.” “Probably not the girlfriend’s.” “Because?” “She’s a redhead.” His eyebrows lifted, his lips pursed. His face said he understood but clearly, he didn’t. Catherine sighed. “This color works on a blond.”

Sara came in and held up a baggie with two long blond hairs “Then maybe you have her lipstick?” “And these came from?” Carpet in the basement where…” Sara flipped through notes, “Daniel, owner of the shirt, Tammy, our vic, and about 6 other kids were having a party, playing truth or dare, spin the bottle, beer pong.” “Beer pong?” Grissom had that look again. Sara had been a serious student but even she knew beer pong. Greg looked up from the jeans he was processing, eager to finally be the expert.

“Beer Pong. I’m the champion of my college dorm. You get these cups…” animatedly he set up a makeshift pong table and mimed a game. Brass’s call saved Gil from a lesson he was certain he didn’t need. He excused himself to sit in on the questioning of Daniel Morsli’s girlfriend Tara.

Brass waited for Gil outside the interrogation room. They walked in to find a pretty 17-year-old girl, red hair almost to her hips, wide green eyes. Before either of them spoke she was at the edge of her seat, “I don’t know why I’m here.”

One look at her and Grissom understood the pink lipstick comment. Brass sat down, and spoke up, “Where were you Thursday night?” “My friend Caroline’s. Only til 10, then my dad came to pick me up.” “Girls only, or did you have company?” “Just us, well, her brother was there, but he hardly counts…uh, I don’t know how specific you need me to be. I’ve never been in trouble before.”

Grissom favored her with a smile; “You’re not in trouble now Tara, we just have some questions. What were you and Caroline doing?” “Psych paper, Existentialism. Caroline was into it, but I would have picked something more fun.” Grissom smirked, “Hedonism?” but it went right past her. “I don’t know, but anyway her parents were home, we were working in the living room so they saw us.”

“No one dropped by? Danny maybe?” Brass encouraged her, open hands, mild face. “No, he was bent because I wouldn’t blow off my paper to party with him and his stupid baseball friends. He was texting me every two seconds until I shut my phone off.” “Did you save those messages?” “They save automatically, unless I delete them.” “But you didn’t.” “Not yet.” Brass leaned in, “We’re going to need to see those if that’s okay. Prove you weren’t at the party.” Tara tossed her hair from her shoulders to her back, “You bet I wasn’t at that party. If I had been that slut Tammy Childs would have kept her hands off Danny.”

A look slid from Brass to Grissom and back. “Tammy made a move on your guy?” “He shouldn’t have been playing to begin with, it’s disrespectful. He has a girlfriend.” “Playing?” “Spin the bottle.” Grissom stroked his chin, “Danny told you he played spin the bottle?” “He’s not that stupid. He didn’t tell me.” “Then what makes you think he played?” “Josephine and Alice told me so. They were bragging Friday morning in the girls room about how it looks like now all the baseball guys are with cheerleaders. They were passing around a tube of that gross pink lipstick and talking about how soon all baseball uniform collars will be marked in Cheerleader Pink.”
“They're friends of yours?” “Hardly. I don’t hang out with that crowd. They don’t like me and it pissed them off that Danny was with me so they were telling me that Danny was spinning to Tammy on purpose, but I’m guessing it was the other way around.”

Brass stood now. “That made you mad? Knowing that Tammy was after Danny?” Tara shrugged, “Tammy was after Danny way before we started dating. Danny said Tammy was boring. I never worried about it.” “So when the cheerleaders told you about the party…” “I was mad at Danny for acting like an ass, I was supposed to go out with him Friday night but I went to a movie with Caroline instead to teach him a lesson. But mad at Tammy? No, she’s just always like that with everyone.” Brass nodded, then looked Tara in the eye. “You know Tammy was found dead Friday night, you have any idea who might have wanted that to happen?” “You think someone killed her? I just figured she got drunk and hit her head. Something stupid like that. I know she made a lot of enemies at school because she was obnoxious about being a cheerleader, but I don’t think anyone would KILL her.”

Grissom left Brass to have Tara write a list of who she knew was at the party, and get the text messages from her phone. Rejoining his group in the lab he updated them and then looked to Nick, “So what are the rules?” Nick seemed lost. “Rules?” “Spin the bottle. Tara said it was disrespectful of Danny to play.” Nick shook his head, “Aw, Boss, don’t tell me you’ve never played spin the bottle. Where’d you grow up man?” “Nick. Rules?”

“Okay, so you get a group, guys and girls and you all sit in a circle.” Gil motioned for his team to sit around the conference table. “Ah, okay, then you get a bottle…” Sara shoved her empty Gatorade bottle his way. “Thanks. You put it in the middle and spin.” Nick spun the bottle and it flew wildly around the table. “Usually it’s a glass bottle, usually recently emptied of alcohol.” Grissom sent Greg in search of a better bottle and when he returned he took the first spin. The open end of the bottle pointed to Sara and Greg started to push back his chair.

“Don’t even think about it pal.” Sara’s words put Greg back in his seat. Gil looked confused. Greg sulked, “That ain’t right.” “Enlighten me. What happens now? Sara drinks?” Five incredulous faces around the table. Warrick spoke up. “It’s not a drinking game Grissom, it’s a kissing game.” Greg’s eyes brightened, “Yeah, and someone owes me a smooch.” Sara was nonplussed, “Smack more like.” Their supervisor ignored the exchanged, “So the spinner would walk around and collect.” “Crawl.” “What?” Catherine raised her eyes to his. “Kids don’t play this as a conference table. They play it in basements and backyards.” “Woods” “Football field” “Playground” each member chimed in a memory. “Graveyard.” All faces turned Sara’s direction. “What? Everyone hung out there.”

Gil as always pulled the group back on track. “So you play on the ground.” It was Catherine who groaned first. Soon the circle of investigators sat cross-legged on the floor. “Okay, Sara’s up.” Sara spun the bottle and landed on Catherine, there was some whooping from the boys but Sara merely grimaced and grabbed the bottle again. This time she got Nick, tossed salute his way and rolled the bottle to him. “Wait a minute. What would happen here?” Was Grissom stupid, or just trying to annoy her? Hard to tell.
“I’m not kissing Nick.” “’Fraid you’d fall under the Stokes spell?” “Afraid of your breath.”

“No, who would crawl to whom?” Nick piped up first, “A gentleman always makes the move.” “Well, I’m a gentleman,” Greg retorted, “but when we played it was more meet in the middle.” Warrick played by different rules, “Nah, if you spin you crawl.”

They spun a few more rounds, no kissing or crawling involved. This time an experiment to see if you could spin deliberately for a chosen partner. Greg managed one time, but that was hardly conclusive.

The game broke up when Catherine’s beeper went off. Only Grissom remained on the floor. Last out the door Sara turned back to him, “Coming?” He did a half head shake, “Sit across from me.” She did. “Now say you were the spinner and the bottle pointed to me.” Sara arched a single brow, her voice skeptical, “And?” “Suppose we’re playing by Warrick’s rule. You spin, you crawl.” “So you want me to…”

“Crawl to me Sara.”

She smiled widely and shook her head slowly, “This is research huh?” but she complied. A playful look on both faces as she covered the short distance between them on her hands and knees, her curls falling over one eye. Stopping just shy of his face she asked pointedly “Now what?”

His facial tick was lightening fast but anyone could have read the desire and regret in it. “That was pretty smooth crossing. I wonder what it would have been like if you’d been drinking.” His breath on her neck a little more than she could take, Sara sat back and considered. “Well, I’ve crawled around the bathroom drunk before, not pretty, but still, not hard to do.” She got up on all fours and leaned into him again, this time swaying some, “But I’m thinking that the kissing might me more dicey. Easy to miss, slip, hit a collar, leave your lipstick as a souvenir.” He smiled, “Exactly. And if instead we were playing by Greg’s rules…” he scooted back away from her and they began to creep toward each other.

This time the amusement was gone, their eyes locked and breathing was decidedly more rapid on both sides. Sara wasn’t certain her arms were going to hold her up, and less certain of where she’d stop if he left it to her. Even in her wildest imagination she hadn’t pictured this. His beard barely brushed her cheek when they heard Brass clear his throat. They each sat back. Brass looked delighted with his discovery, “Sorry to interrupt. Interesting information to share, but I’m guessing not as interesting as whatever this is.” “Reenactment Jim. Standard practice.” Voice steady. Face, scarlet.

“Bottle from the party? Guess whose prints were on it?” “Enlighten me.” “Tara Johnson.”
Sara tilted her head, “So she lied about not being at the party?” “No. She was where she said she was Thursday night. The question is…where did the bottle come from?” “I’ll bite, where?” “Seems it wasn’t just jocks at this party. One of the science nerds, a Sean Davis got in on the action too. They don’t normally hang around him but he’s got connections.” Gil was growing impatient. “Meaning?”

“Meaning he supplies the bottles, usually full, in this case, also empty. Josephine shared with me that the bottle being spun that night came from his car.”

Guess we talk to Sean.

Sean was exactly the kind of guy Sara hung out with in high school, if she hung out at all. He was tall and awkward and seemed eager to appear neither. Now instead of being the girl he’d do homework with she was the hot girl who intimidated the hell out of him. She still felt like homework girl.

“So Sean, I’m Sara, I just wanna talk to you a little, that okay?” “I guess. Am I in trouble?” “No, I don’t think so, we just have to know some stuff. You get alcohol for some of the other kids?” “I uh…” “It’s okay, we just need to know that truth.”
“Yeah, sometimes. I’m not exactly a sports guy, you gotta have some angle. It works.”
“Did it work with Tara Johnson?” “Tara’s not like that.” “But you’ve bought for her.”
“Not really. No.” Sara shrugged. “Her prints were on a bottle from your car.”

Sean looked worried. “Look, she’s not that kind of girl, she not like those stupid sluts at the party. She needed a ride home from Chem Club wed. night and I gave her one. She was supposed to get a ride from Danny but he took off without her, again. He treats her like crap. She was pretty upset, so I was being a friend, we drove out to the desert, parked, drank a little. She knew she needed to leave him.” “So you went parking with her. Danny find out?”

“It wasn’t ‘parking’, not like you mean it. Nothing happened. She did tell Danny. He was pissed. I told him nothing happened but he doesn’t believe it cause he cheats all the time. He figures if he does it she does too.”

“Must’ve made you mad to see him cheating at the party Thursday night, knowing how upset Tara was.” “I told him he was an asshole. I figured I’d get my ass kicked but I didn’t care, Tara’s a friend.” “I don’t see any bruises.” “He just told me to fuck off. I didn’t even matter enough for him to get mad.”

“Where were you Friday night?”

“I didn’t mean to kill her.”
Sara’s face registered none of the shock she felt. “I was heading over to one of the baseball guy’s houses to drop off some…stuff…and I saw Danny and Tammy, all over each other. I saw the bottle on the floor of my car, thought about Tara crying over this useless shit. I jumped out of my car, ran up behind them. I meant to hit him, but he moved and I hit her. I ran before he even saw me, and for what it’s worth he ran too, didn’t even try to help her, just ran away like a little girl. You don’t know how I wish I’d hit him instead. At least now Tara doesn’t have to worry about Tammy though right?”

When Sean was in custody Sara walked to where Grissom waited, “Who knew kissing could complicate things so much?” Grissom winked as he answered with one of his famous Bard quotations, “"You can kiss a fool, you can let a fool kiss you, but never let a kiss fool you."


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