08/29/2005 Monday afternoon
It had been five days since Reilly's ultrasound showed they were having a girl and Nick had made sure everyone knew it, because he loved showing off his baby's first picture, her sonogram. Everyone was truly happy for him and he knew he was being sappy, but he didn't care. Even Reilly couldn't help but get caught up in his silliness whenever he pulled out the picture to show if off for the umpteenth time. He'd even shown their waitress when they'd gone out to dinner last night.
He was like a little boy. He was smiling more and he was trying to make things right with Sam, too. They had talked and they were working out their feelings towards the situation and with each other. They were both trying very hard fro Reilly's sake.
Sam had gone back home to check up on her grandmother and her daughter, but she'd come back to be here for Reilly for a few days, because Reilly had decided to stay in Vegas until she delivered the baby. Mainly so Nick could be there when his child was born. She was still up in the air about whether she would decide to live here permanently.
Nick was slowly winning Reilly over, too. She had moved from the hotel to his place and was staying with him for now. They were both still walking around things and she was still fighting her feelings of not measuring up in her own eyes as worthy of Nick and he was still trying to make her feel needed and wanted. He was really trying hard to fix heir relationship.
Standing just outside the spare room at Nick's house, Reilly watched as Nick and Sam painted it for the baby. Nick had enlisted Sam's help in turning the room into a nursery and as she watched Nick trying to paint the ceiling with the roller brush, she saw he was getting more paint on him than the ceiling. She smiled at how gorgeous he was even with pink paint smearing his face and body.
As she stood there watching, she couldn't help thinking about the first time the two of them had decided they didn't really hate each other quite as much as they had thought. Although that wasn't the way they had started out. The two had butted heads from their first hello. It was after Reilly and Brass had found Reilly's goddaughter, Lexie. Reilly had come to Vegas to find her when she went missing and it had been traumatic and had left Reilly feeling like such a failure for not finding her sooner.
They had found Lexie in a car in the city; she was being transported to another location. They had had come from a cabin at Lake Mead, where she was first being kept, and the place… well, the cabin had been full of things that Reilly hadn't really wanted to see at the time. Three days after Lexie went back home with her family, Reilly decided she needed to see the place. She needed to see exactly what Lexie had been through. Brass wouldn't let Reilly go alone, so he had asked Nick to take her, since Nick knew more about the case than any of the other CSIs; and Nick had thought he could go over the place again for anything that may have been missed, but he knew Brass just wanted him to babysit her.
It was raining hard and the roadway was slick. Reilly was driving the POS cop car to the best of her abilities, but the car couldn't handle the slick pavement as well as Nick's truck would have. She knew she should have let him drive them, but she hated having him drive her anywhere, let alone in his personal vehicle with him in charge. This way she could at least think she was still in charge of things.
Nick sat in stony silence in the passenger seat just staring out at the rain. He was clenching and unclenching his jay, and Reilly knew that was a sign he was trying very hard to keep quiet and keep his temper in check. She didn't care what he thought anyway, but for some reason, just seeing him sitting there not talking pissed her off more.
"Look, you didn't have to come. I don't need a babysitter. Brass should be more worried about this case than what may happen to me out here." She said, as she white-knuckled the steering wheel. The rain was coming down in sheets and it was getting hard to see even with the wipers going at top speed. "Stupid piece of shit car; should have rented something." She mumbled to herself, but Nick had heard.
"I told you we should have taken my truck, but NO, little Miss Kansas Princess decides one way or another she's gonna have her way so she can be in charge." Nick said sarcastically. He couldn't believe the things he did for his friends. He was so going to kick Brass' ass for this. Making him babysit this woman when he knew Nick couldn't stand being in the same room with her, let alone the same car.
"Hey, don't get pissy with me, science boy; I don't want you here anymore than you want to be here. So shut up already and let me drive." She practically hissed at him.
"Look, Reilly…" Nick started to tell her to just pull over and let him take the wheel, but his eye caught sight of the frightened deer before she could. The doe was running across the field on his side so Reilly hadn't seen it yet. "Look out!" He yelled as he reached out for the steering wheel at the same time Reilly hit the brakes upon seeing the deer.
"What the…!" She started to yell at him for grabbing the wheel, but then she saw the deer and they both were wildly fighting for control of the steering wheel. She hit the brakes a little too hard, and the car began to hydroplane across the roadway on the right side of the road. The car couldn't be stopped now, so she let off the gas pedal completely, and started pumping the brakes, but because they were both still fighting for control of the wheel, the car didn't know which way to go, so it chose it's own way and it slid completely off the roadway into the grass and kept going until they ended up sliding across mud. The car continued to try to make a run for it anyway as they headed straight for the huge tree in their line of sight.
"Reilly!" Nick yelled as he released the steering wheel and grabbed her and pulled her down in the seat and tried his best to cover her with his upper body. He released his seatbelt and moved to cover her in case the air bag deployed.
Reilly let him cover her and she felt his body jerk as the car skidded directly into the tree. A tree branch came through the windshield and the glass was hanging from the limb more than actually being where it should have been. Nick had hit the steering wheel with his right shoulder as they came to a complete stop and she had felt it as well as heard him grunt from the pain of the blow. It took a few seconds for realization to dawn on Reilly that the car was stopped. She tried to push up, but Nick's heavy weight was still covering her. She turned her face outward and tried to move, but his weight was too much for her.
"Nick!" She yelled.