Catherine, Greg, Riley, Warrick, and Nick sat around the break table telling jokes while they drank sodas and coffee. It was a rare time when all of them were able to take a break at the same time.
Grissom entered the room holding call sheets. He began passing them and his team razzed him. He took it with a smile, glad to find they were in good moods.
“Why am I getting two?” Nick said when Grissom placed a second in his hand. His humor immediately vanished. “And why are they on the same street?”
The others tried not to snicker.
“In all likelihood they’re related, Nick. I need to get your reviews in tomorrow, so I won’t be available unless it’s an emergency.”
Nick muttered something under his breath.
“What?” Grissom asked.
Nick didn’t repeat what he said. Grissom poured himself a cup of coffee and left, eyeing Nick as he walked past him.
In the hall, an officer stopped Grissom, handing him another call sheet. Grissom read it and returned to the break room. He plucked the call sheets from Catherine and Greg’s hands and handed one each to Warrick and Nick. He handed the new one to Catherine.
“I have three now?” Nick almost snarled.
“Quit whining,” Warrick scolded him.
“I am not whining! I don’t know where this address is, I’m not sure how to get around the construction to get to these other two, and I am not looking forward to some dimwit’s bass ackwards directions.”
Riley pointed out, “That’s whining.”
“Shut up!” Nick told all of them.
He stood up, knocking his chair over, and stormed out muttering obscenities under his breath. The group watched him disappear down the hall. When he disappeared around a corner, Grissom turned back to the team.
“What was that about?” Grissom asked.
“On his first call tonight, our favorite dispatcher sent him to an imaginary crime scene at an imaginary address with imaginary stiffs.” Riley shrugged. “He’s been short-tempered since he got back.”
Catherine looked up at Grissom, batted her eyes, and with an emo, manipulative teenage voice said, “Doctor Grissom, I’m giving you the address from the static map. How was I supposed to know that was a dead end road? There’s construction all over town! Doctor Grissom, Gary said that address was right. Doctor Grissom, your C.S.I. are being mean and rude to me. Doctor Grissom…”
Neither Grissom nor Greg were amused by the act, but it left Riley, Catherine, and Warrick in stitches.
“Capri has only been on the job for three weeks. She’s getting better.”
“Better?” Catherine scoffed. “No, Grissom, the woman is getting worse. And maybe if everyone didn’t coddle her because of her double D’s, she might actually get better.”
“She’s a nice girl and she’s trying to improve. Give her a break,” Greg told them.
“You’re just saying that because you like her,” Warrick told him.
Before Greg could retort, Riley told him, “I was fooled by her first impression too, until I found myself in Henderson and my call was in Paradise.”
“That was your mistake, Riley,” Grissom said. “You should have known where that address was and not relied on someone to tell you. Dispatch is not there to guide any of you to your calls. That is why we invested in GPS units in the vehicles and everyone has books of maps in the back. Next time, use them.”
Catherine reminded him, “I don’t have a GPS unit still.”
“It will be here next week, and I expect you to use it.”
Riley almost said something but Catherine barely shaking her head to stop her.
“Catherine and Greg, you are both on this call,” Grissom said, pointing at Catherine’s call sheet. “Everyone have a safe night.” Grissom left.
Greg stood up. “Capri is trying, guys. We all were where she was at one time.”
“You’re dating her, aren’t you?” Riley asked.
“No. I’m not.” He headed out the door.
Catherine stood and followed him. Riley turned to Warrick.
“Are they dating?”
Warrick laughed. “No. They are not dating. But the way he gets testy when you ask, I think Greg has a little crush on her.”
“It’s her breasts, isn’t it?”
“With Greg? No. It’s not the breasts. He likes women for other reasons. I guess there’s something about her only he can see.”
“Well, if she would get her directions straight, maybe we could see it too.”
The two chuckled at the joke.
May 21, 2011: Capri’s Apartment
Two police guarded the door while Super David, his assistant, Finlay, and Sara worked inside apartment 152.
In the bedroom, David examined the body. Finlay stepped into the doorway. She looked around the room at all the blood, and then down at Capri. Finlay turned her head so she could see Capri’s face right side up.
“She looks like a teenager,” Finlay commented.
David told her, “She always did. I think that’s one reason men liked her so much.”
“And not the chest? Are those even real?” It was hard not to notice Capri’s large breasts as small as she was.
With a smile, David answered, “They’re real.”
“Why are you smiling about that?”
“That was the other reason men liked her. There was a rumor they were the reason she was able to hold onto her dispatching job as long as she did.”
Finlay sat her forensic kit at the door and began snapping off photographs. She noticed David lift Capri’s head to examine the tubing around her neck. Finlay snapped off photographs before he started unwinding it. David pulled the tubing off and pushed it into a plastic evidence bag.
“Do you think anyone will mourn her death?”
David paused and then looked up at her. “Maybe Greg.”
“He tried to hide it back then, but everyone knew he had a crush on her. He was probably her loudest advocate, next to Grissom. Of course, after she nearly got Catherine and him killed, I don’t really know how he feels about her.”
“Greg never mentioned if he liked her?”
“Her name became a taboo in the lab. He never mentioned her after she was fired.”
Finlay could understand that.
David’s assistant helped him move Capri onto a gurney and gave Finlay the room. She moved slowly around the room as she photographed and documented anything that could be evidence. She returned to the doorframe and noticed a bloody fingerprint. She sat her camera down, and retrieved a fingerprint strip from her kit. As she started to stand up, she saw something behind the dresser. Finlay crouched again and retrieved it.
It is a photograph of Greg dressed like a mobster. From the background, she could tell he was at a costume or Halloween party. He held a broom handle like a fake microphone and appeared to be singing to the photographer. Seeing her co-worker so happy made her smile, but it also made her wonder how this photograph ended up in Capri’s apartment. Had she been stalking Greg? Had her killer been stalking Greg and now, years after the fact, decided to punish Capri for nearly killing him?
November 5, 2008: 11:30 AM
With Catherine behind the wheel, the SUV cruised down a dark, paved road. She had the call sheet pinned to the steering wheel with her thumb, referencing it each time they came to another road sign.
Greg sat in the passenger seat, munching an energy bar and sipping from a travel coffee mug. She slowed as another sign came into sight and glanced at the call sheet.
“We have gone twenty-five miles and I still haven’t seen road 92. Greg, pull out the road map and figure out where we are.”
He sat his meal on the dash and dug the book of maps out of the door pocket. He switched on the map light and looked for the road they just passed.
“Let me see it.” He held his hand out for the call sheet.
She handed it over. He referenced the address on the call sheet with the map.
“It’s not on here.”
“It has to be.”
“Maybe I should try the county state map.”
“Try the Postal Service map. It shows some of those roads that don’t really look like roads.”
Greg searched the pocket and then the glove box. “It’s not up here.”
“Probably in the back.”
Greg unbuckled his seat belt and started to climb into the back.
“Greg,” she said to him in her mother tone.
He stopped, looking at her.
“Are you sure you’re old enough to drink? You do not climb into the back of a moving vehicle.”
He planted his butt back in the seat with a sheepish grin, which made her smile. She pulled over on the side of the road.
“Now you can go look.”
Greg jumped out and jogged to the back. She heard him rummage through the back. He closed the back and then climbed into the back seat to search. He returned to the front and sat down in his seat, looking at her.
With a boyish shrug, he said, “No Postal Service, mile marker, or county map.”
She picked up her radio to call dispatch. “Oh Nicky, Nicky, Nicky.”
“Nick promised to put it on the charger for me this morning. It only has a quarter battery left on the radio.” With a level look, she stared at Greg. “But do you want to know what’s worse than that, Greggo.”
“Your phone is dead too?”
She smiled. “No. Your girlfriend is working tonight.”
“She not my girlfriend. Call into dispatch. She doesn’t answer the phones tonight.”
She pulled her cell phone from the holder on the dash and pressed a button. The phone lit up and showed no signal strength.
“Do you have any signal?” she asked Greg.
He checked. “Nope. We are in a dead zone. Apparently our carrier doesn’t have a few thousand people to follow us around and make sure we have service here, there, and underwater.”
She laughed. “What exactly is in that coffee?”
“It’s apple juice. It was too warm for coffee. Although, DJ Alfie said it’s supposed to drop to the low thirties after midnight, but no snow. I love winter in the desert. It’s so extreme.”
“And on that five-second weather update…” Catherine put her phone back in the holder and picked up the radio. “Let’s hope she remembers which direction the front door of dispatch is today.” She keyed the radio. “C.S.I. Willows to dispatch.”
After a few seconds Capri’s warm, sexy voice came across the radio speaker. “Dispatch.”
“She should be a phone sex operator instead…” Catherine commented to Greg.
“Catherine!” Greg scolded. He shut his door and went back to munching his energy bar.
“Dispatch, we need directions to our crime scene. 34452 County Road 92. Crossroads were not provided. Further details of call, it is located twenty-one miles northwest of Las Vegas municipal.”
Catherine lowered the radio to her lap while she waited.
“Hey, she just said stand by instead of hold please.”
“I thought you liked her.”
Before he can answer, Capri came back on. “Directions to follow.” Catherine grabbed the call sheet off the dash, a pen, and pushed them against the dash. She keyed the radio. “Go ahead, dispatch.”
She wrote down the directions as Capri rattled them off and stared at them for a few minutes. She looked at Greg. He shrugged.
Catherine keyed the radio again. “Dispatch, these directions take us southwest, not northwest. Please confirm these directions?”
“Directions are confirmed.”
“The address has been confirmed. Dispatcher 324 out.”
“I want to know who confirmed these directions, dispatch.”
Capri didn’t answer.
“Dispatcher 324, who confirmed these directions?”
There was no answer.
“C.S.I. Willows to dispatch.” Catherine’s temper was quickly rising.
Capri still didn’t answer.
“Dispatcher 324, answer me or so help me—”
Greg covered the radio mic with his hand to prevent her from making the situation worse.
Catherine tossed the radio on the dash, slammed the SUV into drive, and squealed the tires as she drove away. Rocks showered everywhere behind them and the SUV fishtailed a little before the tires gripped the pavement.
“I can try, Catherine,” Greg offered.
“Don’t bother,” she snarled. “I am going to have that little twit’s head.”
Greg fell silent, sipping his apple juice as he watched the dark landscape speed past. After a moment, she let out a frustrated sigh.
“I’m sorry I snapped at you, Greggo. This isn’t your fault.”
He shrugged a little. “Even I thought that was pretty rude and unprofessional.”
Knowing Greg was still on her side and not his crush’s side, calmed Catherine down a little.