The Lab Girls: CI in
by Jessica (la_belle_dame)
It was, Marisa reflected as she stirred her neon pink daiquiri with a curvy plastic straw, miserably hot in
Jess mumbled in her sleep. “Nicky, again? Geeze.”
Marisa winced and plucked a chunk of ice out of her glass. With a practiced flick of the wrist, she bounced it clean off Jess’s shoulder. She yelped and sat up, brushing at her newly pink skin. “Crap! That was cold!”
Marisa gave an elegant shrug, or as elegant a shrug as can be given while wearing a tankini. “You just breezed right past TMI and into overshare with your sleep-talking. You deserved it.”
“I most certainly did not,” retorted Jess, but her face was pinker now and Marisa felt nice and smug. Ha, she thought. That will teach you to make fun of Greg for wearing black nail polish. Of course, is he really wearing it if I painted it on while he was asleep? A familiar voice interrupted her train of thought.
“Marisa? Jess?” Marisa whipped off her sunglasses and squinted at the tall woman calling their names. Cropped red hair, thin face. It couldn’t be…
“Liz!” Jess tossed her beach towel off her legs, knocking the half-empty bottle of Coppertone sunscreen to the ground. “Liz, is that you?”
Their ex-supervisor broke into a wide grin. She looked incredibly pale among the tanned,
“We transferred,” Marisa said, praying Rodgers hadn’t heard about the details of their departure.
“But you didn’t stay at SVU very long. I was called in for a consult there a month after you left Major Case, and Miranda said she was missing you. I guess the lab got a huge backlog of evidence when Stabler and Benson took their honeymoon” Rodgers turned sharply when Jess began emitting a series of high-pitched squeaks. “Is she alright?”
Marisa sighed. “It’s nothing. I just owe her fifty dollars now.”
“And Greg has to wear eyeliner to work for a week!” she crowed. Marisa scowled. Greg would not be pleased by this turn of events. Rodgers looked confused, so Jess changed the subject. “We, uh, actually – ”
“ – transferred,” Marisa interjected.
Jess nodded vigorously. “Yeah, transferred to the CSI branch in
“—an opportunity for advancement arose –”
“ – and now we work at the Las Vegas Crime Lab,” Jess finished. Rodgers’s eyebrows crept up with every new fact. Jess added, “We’ve been here nearly six months.” Rodgers made a polite noise, but Marisa didn’t think she really understood what an accomplishment that was. Well, for them at least. “Are you here for the conference?”
Rodgers said, “Conference?”
Marisa nodded. “On forensic evidence collection procedure. There’s supposed to be a talk on remains identification technique later today.”
Rodgers looked around at the in-pool bar and the veritable sea of bikini-clad sunbathers. “The district is shelling out for a conference at the
Jess became extremely interested in the tiles decorating the ground under her feet while Marisa haltingly explained. “Yeah, it was supposed to be this May at the Municipal Annex lecture hall, but I guess there was some kind of computer glitch or something. And it got rescheduled for February. And here.”
“We don’t know what happened,” piped up Jess. “We weren’t even there. It was our day off.”
“Real shame, though.” Marisa added.
“Yeah, especially what with the district being such a tightwad about vacation time for the analytical team and all. I guess it all even out, huh?”
Marisa smiled sweetly, the very picture of innocence. “Karma, and all that.”
Rodgers was tactfully not laughing, fiddling with her designer sunglasses. “You girls were always handy with a computer and a network password.”
Marisa grinned now. “We have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Jess leaned in toward Rodgers. “But if we did, Marisa here would be the real genius. Anyways, what are you doing all the way over here?”
Rodgers shrugged and looked over her shoulder around the pool, scanning faces. “Oh, just a little vacation. Some me-time. Getting away from all that Northeastern slush. Beating the February blues.”
“Taking a break from the lab grind?” Marisa remembered the constant stream of new, top-priority case evidences that came with the Major Case prestige.
Rodgers nodded. “I really missed both of you after you left. The two knuckleheads the Captain found to replace you took forever to train. When they came in, they didn’t know gunpowder residue from dirt. I spent half my time just explaining how the fingerprint registry worked. It was a nightmare.”
Jess punched Marisa’s arm. “Hey, isn’t there a lecture series on blood splatter analysis in
Marisa thought for a moment. “Yeah, but we don’t need help with blood splatter. Grissom took care of that.” Rather viscerally, Marisa remembered. She saw blood splatter every day, but when it was your blood… She shuddered.
“Well,” Jess huffed. “It couldn’t hurt to brush up on basics. Plus –” she motioned to Rodgers, “we could take a couple days and visit you at the lab. You know, help you catch up on some cold case stuff.” She stared meaningfully at Marisa. “See some old faces.”
Rodgers brightened. “I’d love that. Please, whenever you’re in the city, come by. I’ll get Eames and we’ll all do lunch uptown. My treat.”
“Nothing motivates impoverished lab techs like the promise of free food,” quipped Jess and Marisa snorted. Rodgers chuckled, but something distracted Marisa. She thought she heard someone yelling. There it was again.
Marisa watched as the someone jogged past the No Running On the Pool Deck sign and came into view. A male someone. She exchanged an interested glance with Jess.
He was just a hair shorter than Rodgers, but then again, Marisa reasoned, Liz was wearing wedge sandals. His hair was dark and incredibly curly, springing out from his head at crazy angles. His blue-red Hawaiian shirt hung out of his khaki shorts and the middle two snaps were misbuttoned, almost as if he had just—
Marisa heard Jess suck in her breath as she came to the same conclusion. They turned in unison to find Rodgers flushing as her…friend? Companion? Boyfriend? Slowed his step and slung an arm around their old boss. Marisa noted that his ratty flip-flops made a soft, shuffling sound against the concrete pool deck.
“Hello!” chirped Jess. “We’re old friends of Liz here. From
Strangely, the man blanched for a moment at the mention of
“I just wanted to let you know that room service said they’re out of that type of champagne. I said sparkling wine would be fine. Is that okay with you?”
Rodgers smiled and the man shook hands with Jess and then Marisa. He had a good grip, like he used it often. Not a politician? “Ladies, nice to meet you. And you,” he rubbed Rodgers back affectionately. “I’ll see you later.” He winked and, to Marisa’s amazement, proceeded to slap Rodgers good-naturedly on the behind before jogging off, his sandals shuffling loud in the silence he left behind.
Jess was making choked noises somewhere between giggles and hiccups. Rodgers must have read Marisa’s mind because she burst out, “No, he’s not my type. No, he has no fashion sense. No, no one at work knows about him. And yes, he’s the best I’ve ever had.”
This time Jess winced. “Wow, Rodgers. You just breezed right past TMI and into overshare right there.”
“Bitch,” Marisa muttered under her breath while Jess preened. See if I cover for your “research lunches” with Detective Stokes again.