One Way Or Another

Chapter 31

08/30/2005 Same day 8:00AM-8:30AM

Chapter Thirty-One

Nick slowly woke up to find every muscle in his body protesting at having been stretched and restrained all night. He tried to move his arms and legs just a bit, but his restraints didn't allow much movement. And he needed to use the bathroom again.

He listened to see if he could hear anything, but he didn't hear a single sound except his own ragged breathing around the gag in his mouth. His throat was dry from being stretched and stuffed with the fabric and his wrists hurt from the movement of the metal cuffs biting into his skin.

Nick thought about his dream of Reilly back when he'd gone to drag her out of that bar for Sam. He missed her so much right now. He hoped she was holding up okay. He hated that he was probably causing her stress in her condition.

Nick was just about to give up on staying awake when he heard the lock turn on the door and when he turned towards the door at the man who entered his cell; he wasn't surprised to see John come in.

"So how's our guest doing?" He asked, smiling down at Nick.

Nick just glared at the man since it was impossible for him to say the words he really wanted so badly to say.

Smith reached out and Nick saw he held a large hunting knife in his hand; but Smith simply used it to cut through the ropes securing Nick's ankles. Then he produced a handcuff key and said, "No tricks here or I swear you'll regret it." He held onto the knife in a defensive position with the blade running parallel to his wrist as he unlocked Nick's cuffs.

Nick slowly brought his hands down to his body wincing as the muscles protested the entire way down. He rubbed his wrists for a few moments and then he reached up to try and pry the gag out of his mouth, but it was too tight. Smith reached out with the knife and carefully slipped it between the cloth and Nick's cheek and sliced through the fabric.

Nick pulled the cloth away and slowly sat up as he stretched the muscles in his back and shoulders. Nick didn't say anything to Smith who just stood there watching him. He was way to intent for Nick's liking and he was getting the feeling that Smith was looking at him like he was trying to figure out what made him tick or something. It was beginning to unnerve him.

"We're leaving in a few minutes. Do you need to use the head?" Smith asked matter of fact.

Nick looked up at him and slowly nodded. He hated letting this man see any kind of weakness, but he couldn't deny his bodily needs. The best he could do was to try and stay as healthy as possible during this ordeal and when the opportunity presented itself, he'd be able to escape.

Smith reached out and grabbed a hold of Nick's arm and hauled him to his feet, while his legs protested the sudden movement. As Smith pulled him along Nick saw Jameson standing in the doorway with his gun in his hand.

"Larry, here take the key and get the cuffs and get the rest of the rope. We'll need it all later for our guest." Smith said as he tossed Larry the key and guided Nick out of the room and letting Jameson enter.

"Okay, you know the drill Nick. In and out or I come in after you." Smith said as they reached the bathroom.

Nick pulled his arm free of Smith's grasp as the man laughed at him and he went into the bathroom.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Brass sat in interrogation room number 2 with Grissom seated next to him. The two men were facing Lauren Hall Coleman, who sat nervously tapping long crimson colored nails on the table top between them.

"So Miss Hall, is it?" Grissom asked.

"Yes, but you can call me Lauren." She replied somewhat bored.

"Well Lauren, we'd like to talk to you about your visits to the Clark County Detention Center to visit with inmate John Smith."

"Who? I don't know a John Smith and I've never been to the jail." She seemed shocked that they'd think she was the type to be connected to a criminal.

"You might want to rethink that answer, Miss Hall." Brass said, as Grissom produced copies of the log sheets from a manila folder. "We have your signature here showing you visited Smith every other day for at least the last three months."

"That's not my signature. That says Lou Ann Smith. I'm not Lou Ann Smith."

Grissom pulled two more sheets of paper from his folder. "This is your signature, Lauren Hall, from a credit card receipt when you were kind enough to pay for Reilly and Sam Mallone's dinner at the Sands a few days ago." Grissom pointed to the first piece of paper. Then he pointed to the second piece. "And this is a notarized document stating that your signature is a match to the log in signature of Lou Ann Smith from our handwriting analyst."

The woman just stared at the pieces of paper in front of her. "Well, that's a lie. That is not my signature. I've never been to the jail to meet anyone, let alone a John Smith." She stated adamantly.

Grissom kept his face neutral as he pulled two 8 x 10 glossy black and white photos from his folder. He placed them side by side on the top of the other pieces of paper. One photo showed Lauren hugging John Smith. The second showed the woman kissing Smith. "Then these must be a lie too?" He asked her as he allowed himself a small grin at her reaction.

"It's posted in the jail all over from the minute you enter that all visitors are monitored with closed circuit monitors. Big brother at his finest, Lauren." Brass smiled as Lauren began to tremble slightly from the shock of their findings. "You see, this evidence ties you to both Nick Stokes and one of his captors, John Smith. That's probable cause and I can detain you for forty-eight hours to start with until I can put together a case against you as an accomplice to his kidnapping. This evidence tells me you possibly knew about the kidnapping and jailbreak plans and I think it's in your best interest to come clean on what's going on here." Brass added as he placed his elbows on the table and leaned forward towards the woman.

Lauren just sat there taking in the pictures and everything. Finally after several minutes she looked at them with a resounding sigh and asked, "What do you want to know?"

"Where is Nick Stokes?" Brass stood and leaned on the table into Lauren's face.

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