3 in the pool (Parts 1-3)

4.4
(14)

Note: an older, re-edited story)

Part 1 – The investigation

“What’ve we got, Catherine?” Gil Grissom asked as he entered the backyard through the patio door.

“You’ve got to see this,” Catherine Willows told him, motioning toward the rectangular pool.

He followed her around the edge of the water. Gill looked curiously at the nearly deflated air mattress that floated in the corner of the deep end. She led him around to the end of the pool where she stopped.

Catherine looked down into the deep end again, once more shaking her head in disbelief. This was the third time she’d seen them all down there. And she still had a hard time believing her eyes.

There was something else about the scene. But she would never tell her superior about how she felt. It was something that caused her to feel a strange flush of (dare she admit it to herself?) sexual excitement.

Grissom looked down and saw the nude body. No, there was more than one body lying on the bottom in eight feet of water. His jaw dropped open in astonishment.

A white male was sandwiched face down between two white females, his arms splayed outward. The two women were wearing what appeared to be beige-colored weight belts around their waists. Their arms stretched out and came together, almost as though…

He looked more intently. What the hell? Was he seeing what he thought he was seeing?

“Those ladies are cuffed to each other’s wrists!” he observed aloud, staring in surprise.

The two women appeared to be cuffed together. They looked as though they were trying to prevent the man between them from getting away. He got a mental image of the three of them writhing in agony, bubbles dribbling out of their mouths while each one desperately struggled to hold his or her breath.

“That’s what it looks like to me,” Catherine said softly. She was still feeling breathless at the sight in front of her, even though she’d been there for several minutes now.

“Why? To keep him from getting away?! It looks like he could have squirted out from between them anytime he wanted to.”

“Maybe he didn’t want to,” Catherine suggested. She looked down at them again and found herself longing for a cool, refreshing swim. Why was this affecting her so?

“What’s that?” Grissom pointed downward. “That… thing sticking out of her. Is that what I think it is?”

He looked at Catherine and felt a slow burn creep up his face. “Yeah,” she smiled, chuckling inwardly at his embarrassment. “Looks like a dildo to me.” She looked down again before adding, “Looks like the other woman has one too.”

Grissom’s eyebrows raised in astonishment. “Seems this party got a little kinky. We have any identifications on the bodies?”

“As a matter of fact, we do! The female on the bottom is Melissa Atherton. She owns the place. The guy on top of her is Travis Andrews. That’s his car parked in front of the garage. Apparently he and Melissa were having an affair.”

“How do we know that?”

She turned and pointed at two young boys standing up against the backyard wire-mesh fence with a police officer, eyes wide with excitement. “Our two young voyeurs have seen Travis and Melissa together in the pool on several occasions. They jump the fence and sneak in a swim whenever no one is around. They’re the ones who called the police. When they came over the fence…”

“…they found the pool ‘occupied’,” Grissom finished for her. “They didn’t see anything before they came into the backyard?”

“Nope. Our trio was already at the bottom of the pool when they arrived.” She paused, wondering why she was trembling. Must be the heat.

“You want to guess the identity of the top member of our threesome?” she said with a hint of a smile.

“We have an I.D. on her, too?!” Grissom asked in surprise. In this business, I.D.’s were often hard to come by. To be able to identify all three victims in a matter of minutes had to be a CSI record.

“Got her purse right over there,” Catherine said, pointing at the object on the ground under a lawn chair.

“So who is she?”

Catherine smirked as though she knew something he didn’t, enjoying the feeling of having something over her all-knowing boss. “Take a wild guess.”

Grissom looked at her and picked the most ridiculous person he could think of. “Is she his wife!”

Catherine’s face fell. Damn! How did he KNOW these things??

“You’re kidding,” He remarked in surprise. “I just sort of pulled that out of the air. That’s his wife down there??”

“Name’s Tammi Andrews,” she sighed, hoping she’d get him on some juicy piece of information next time.

Catherine looked down into the pool once more. She felt another quiver of excitement ripple through her. Her boss curiously peered down as well.

“You think they all jumped in together?” he asked curiously. “A sexual threesome and something went wrong?”

“I don’t know. The boys say they’ve never seen Tammi over here before. Besides, we found that.”

Catherine Willows pointed at a lawn chair. Gil turned and stared curiously. A handgun rested in the padded seat.

“Nobody brings a gun to an orgy,” he mused thoughtfully. Catherine looked at him curiously.

“I’ve never been to one so I wouldn’t know,” he replied quickly. “Maybe they were role-playing. You think the wife brought it with her?”

Catherine shook her head. “If she did, why would she cuff herself to her husband’s mistress and stick hubby in the middle? If she wanted to drown all three of them, you’d think he could have somehow extricated himself from between the women before it was too late.”

“Maybe the gun belongs to someone else… somebody who wanted them all dead. Do we know if Melissa was married?”

“Not yet, but I haven’t seen any evidence of a husband.”

“What about a jealous boyfriend?”

“If someone else was involved, why not cuff all three together?”

Catherine looked down into the pool again. She felt another tremor of excitement ripple through her. She was trying to imagine what it must have felt like, holding your breath while knowing you were going to drown.

Her boss continued to stand there as though puzzling it over in his mind. Catherine desperately needed to take a cold shower. Could she could come up with an excuse to go into Melissa’s house and throw some cold water on her face. It would be way too obvious (and unprofessional) if she “accidentally” fell into the pool to cool off.

“Curiouser and curiouser,” Gil muttered.

“Alice in Wonderland,” Catherine smiled at him. “How appropriate.”

Gil took another look into the pool. “We got anything for taking underwater pictures?”

“Nick and Sarah are on their way with a camera and some scuba gear.”

“Good. We’re gonna need ’em. We have a lot of evidence to process. And we’ll need to cover every inch of this backyard to find out what happened.” Then he smiled as he added, “I think I’ll give Nick the assignment of taking the underwater pictures.”

Catherine smiled in amusement. She looked down and felt a perverse tremor again. She wondered if Nick would be affected the same way she was experiencing these strange feelings. Was it crime scenes like why she liked this line of work?
—–
Captain James Brass and Warrick Brown stopped by the crime scene long enough for Catherine to fill them in. She gave them the address to the deceased couple’s residence. Then she handed them the wife’s set of house keys.

They drove across town to the home belonging to Travis and Tammi Andrews. They pulled into the driveway, got out and checked the garage. There were no vehicles inside.

“Looks like we’re looking for another car,” Warrick concluded as they unlocked the front door. “The keys on her ring don’t fit the car parked in Atherton’s driveway. That vehicle must belong to her husband.”

“So she drove over and parked somewhere nearby?” the captain suggested.

“Probably,” Brown admitted. “Shouldn’t be too hard to find once we find out the make and model. There’s got to be something in the house that will tell us what she’s driving.”

They entered the kitchen and saw the telephone. It had a built-in answering machine with Caller ID. There was a green number 1 in the circular display, indicating a message had come in and been checked.

The two men looked at each other. Warrick slipped on a pair of rubber gloves. Then he carefully punched the message button with a gloved finger.

A man’s canned voice spoke out… “One… message… message… one… Saturday… four-oh-two pm…” What followed came from an angry female…

“You’re supposed to be here right now, asshole… so let me guess! You’re over at her house again, aren’t you, you sonuvabitch! I know who she is and where she lives! Maybe I’ll just come over there right now and burn your ass, you fuckin’ bastard! Maybe I’ll burn the both of you!”

“End of… message…”

“Loving couple,” Warrick remarked dryly.

“I’d say she caught up with him,” the captain observed, looking Brown squarely in the face.

“I think she caught up with both of them!” Warrick replied soberly.

“You think she killed ’em?”

The crime scene investigator winced. “From the sound of her voice I’m glad she wasn’t angry with me! Drowning… damn! What a way to go!”
—–
“What’ve we got?” Grissom asked the next day as he and Catherine entered the coroner’s examination room. The bodies of the people found in the pool were on three separate tables. Dr. Albert Robbins, coroner for the CSI team, shook his head in amazement.

“All three of them drowned, that’s for sure. Where do you want to start?”

Grissom suggested, “Let’s start with Atherton… the owner of the house.”

“All right.”

Dr Robbins moved over to the body of the dead female. Then he motioned at the body. “See these abrasions? She was punched here and here.”

He motioned at the woman’s face and chest area. “Down here… on the abdominal region? This is bruising consistent with being kicked in the stomach. She probably rolled around on the ground trying to deflect the blows. I’d say she was in a fight of some kind before she died.”

“With who?” Catherine wanted to know.

“My guess would be the wife. Her body also shows signs of a recent struggle.”

“So the wife and the mistress had a fight?” Catherine asked with interest.

The coroner looked at her thoughtfully. “Wouldn’t you if you caught someone having an affair with your husband?”

“I don’t know that I’d go that far.”

“What else?” Grissom asked.

“Some interesting marks on Melissa,” he said, motioning toward the ankles.

Catherine took a closer look. “Those look like cuff marks. Her ankles were cuffed together?”

“I’d say her ankles and her wrists.”

“We saw the cuffs holding both ladies together,” Grissom added.

“These marks may not have been made by the cuffs you saw on both women,” Robbins said, lifting up one of Melissa’s wrists. “See here? Indentations are more pronounced. She had these cuffs on her for a lengthy period of time. If she would have been cuffed and drowned right away, the cuff marks wouldn’t show to this extent. Look here…” and he pointed at the shoulders.

“Muscle strain?” Catherine asked, looking closely.

“If her arms were cuffed behind her back for any length of time,” Grissom observed thoughtfully, “that could account for the muscle strain.” The coroner nodded in agreement.

Gil thought it over for a moment. “That would mean at some point the cuffs were removed and then reattached to her wrists, perhaps at the time the two women were cuffed together.”

Dr Robbins nodded again. “I found muscle strain in her thighs as well. I think they were spread apart and kept that way for some time.”

“Spread apart?” Catherine responded curiously.

She looked at the dead woman’s thighs and noticed something peculiar. “What are these lines?” she pointed, causing Grissom to look.

“It looks like she got cut,” Gil said curiously.

“There’s a matching set on her arms,” Dr. Robbins added.

“A matching set??” Grissom looked closer. “They’re not from a knife… not deep enough. But it does look like she rubbed against something… something sharp enough to leave a small cut. It looks like she might have drawn blood.”

“How did they get there?” Catherine asked curiously, checking the same marks and lines on the woman’s upper arms.

“I don’t know,” Robbins admitted.

“Another mystery to solve,” Catherine said aloud, curiously shaking her head.

She turned to Dr. Robbins. “Did they all drown together?”

“I don’t think so. I started with the premise that they did and worked backward. I’m not sure about the Andrews couple. It’s still too close to tell between those two. But I’m pretty sure the Atherton woman was in the water longer.”

“So they couldn’t have gone in together,” Catherine mused thoughtfully. “So how did she get cuffed to Mrs. Atherton?”

“That’s what we have to find out,” Gill Grissom said with determination.

Dr. Robbins moved toward the body of the male. “I think Mr. Atherton was cuffed too.”

“He was??” Grissom looked at him in surprise.

“Very faint cuff marks on his wrists,” the coroner explained. “I think he was struggling to get out of them. Then there’s this.”

He motioned toward the dead man’s waist. Catherine bent over and took a closer look. There were faint impressions in the skin. “He was wearing a weight belt at some point as well?”

“Not for very long,” Robbins admitted. “But that’s what I think.”

“But he wasn’t wearing cuffs or the weight belt when we found him.”

“Which means…” Grissom said, appearing thoughtful. “…they were removed too, probably after he was already dead.”

He turned to Catherine, having come to some preliminary observations. “The belts were on both women, along with the cuffs. Either someone else was there, took the belt and cuffs Mr. Andrews and put them on his wife. Or…”

He stared at Willows and gave her a knowing look. Catherine looked at him curiously. “You think the wife did this herself? You think she drowned the other two and then killed herself?”

“Possible. She drowns the two people she hates the most, feels remorse over what she’s done and decides to do something about it. It’s not all that unusual; we’ve seen it before. What I can’t understand is why she chose to swim down and cuff herself to Atherton? We’re still missing something here.”

He paused for a moment. Then he looked right at Catherine. “One more question. Why use the dildos?”

“Because they were handy?” Catherine suggested with a wry smile. “I don’t know… why not go out with a bang?”

She pictured Tammi squirming around in the water with the vibrating dildo they’d found inside her. Almost immediately she wished she hadn’t. An erotic quiver rippled through her.

‘Damn!’ she thought, feeling a flush of embarrassment creep over her. ‘This case is getting to me!’

“Funny you should mention that,” Dr. Robbins told them. “I’m pretty certain both women died with the dildos inside them. The pc muscles are stiff and indicative of their last few moments of life. I also did a kit on both of ’em…”

He paused, shaking his head in wonder. Then he continued. “It seems Mr. Andrews had himself one last fling before he died, unless another male is involved. We’ll have to do a DNA test to make sure. But I found fresh semen in his wife, probably happened a short time before she died. I also found semen in the Atherton woman. Fairly recent activity, I’d say.”

“He did both women??” Grissom said in amazement. “And you say Melissa died first?” Robbins nodded his belief in that assessment.

Sex, dildos and drowning. This case was really getting to her! Catherine desperately needed to get out of the examination room and cool off.

“Anything else that can help us?” she asked.

“There is one more thing,” Robbins added. “I found trace elements of something besides water in the lungs of both females. I wasn’t sure, so I sent it to Sanders.”

“Guess we’ll need to have a little talk with our Greg when he has the results for us,” Grissom replied. “Thanks, doc.”

He and his assistant headed out the door. Catherine stopped at the restroom door. “I’ll be in my office in a moment. Just need to make a pit stop.”

She dashed in before Gil could stop her. Catherine made a beeline for the sink. She turned on the faucet and splashed cold water in her face.

Gil Grissom looked at the door she’d disappeared through rather abruptly. He raised his eyebrows in curiosity. Then he continued down the corridor to his office.

This case was definitely getting curiouser and curiouser…
—–
“So how are you today?” Sara Sidle grinned as Nick Stokes walked into the room she was working in.

“I’m fine. Why do you ask?”

“You just seemed overly excited yesterday.”

“I was underwater taking pictures of nude women cuffed together. How was I supposed to seem?”

“Just concerned about your welfare,” she said with an impish grin.

“Sure you were. Enough about my welfare! Any prints on the gun?”

“Mr. Andrews’ fingerprints are all over it. After all, it’s registered to him. But…”

“But what?”

“Mrs. Andrews held it last,” Sara concluded. “Her prints overlap anything Travis made. They came out clear, too… no smudges or anything indicating the use of a glove or anyone trying to wipe it clean. No one tried to hide those babies. Mrs. Andrews was definitely the last person to hold it in her hand.”

Nick added his two cents to the conversation. “Warrick and the captain found her car yesterday evening. It was a block and a half away from the residence. Those footprints you found by the back fence match her sneakers.”

“Which means she was probably back there watching the two lovebirds,” Sara concluded.

“That’d be my guess,” Nick agreed.

“Warrick said the message left on the answering machine had been checked. Mr. Andrews must have gone home, found the message on the answering machine and gone back.”

“Seems reasonable. If that’s the case, was the Atherton woman alone and Tammi confronted her?”

“That could explain the bruises Robbins found on her body. It might also explain this.”

She lifted up a slide of glass with a speck of green on it. “I found a grass stain on the gun.”

Nick took a look at it. Then he tried to piece it together in his mind. “Melissa grapples with Tammi and knocks the gun out of her hand, causing it to end up on the lawn?”

“That would account for the grass stain,” Sara replied. “But the fight must’ve taken them both into the pool.”

“What makes you say that?”

“I found chlorine in Tammi’s clothes. I thought I smelled it in them at the scene, so I had them tested. Sometime later, she must have taken them off and draped them on the lawn furniture. How would they get chlorine in them unless she ended up in the pool fully clothed?”

“So she has a fight with Melissa and ends up in the pool in her clothes,” Nick observed, thinking aloud. “At some point she takes them off. Then all three of them end up naked in the pool?? What am I missing here?”

“I don’t know,” Sara mused thoughtfully. “Travis’s clothes were in a little pile near the deep end. They weren’t wet and there was no chlorine in them. They were removed before he got into the water.”

“So was Melissa alive or dead when he got back to her house? Robbins says she died first; death by drowning. If Melissa died first, maybe Tammi was waiting for her loving husband when he came back.”

“And maybe… ” Sara offered, “…maybe she somehow helped her husband join his mistress in the pool.”
—–
“What’ve you got for me, Greg?” Grissom asked the young man when he entered the lab.

“I don’t suppose you got any pictures I can look at, do you, Gil?”

Grissom smiled inwardly, wondering if he should have known this case might have affected the young man more than it should have. “Just give me your report, Greg.”

“The stuff in the lungs of our two females appears to be vaginal fluid.”

“Vaginal fluid? That doesn’t make any sense at all!”

“I did a rush job on the DNA samples. I thought you might be anxious for it.” Grissom just lifted his eyebrows with amusement.

“Anyway, I found Melissa’s DNA in Tammi’s lungs and Tammi’s DNA in Melissa’s, courtesy of the vaginal fluid of each female.”

Grissom was flabbergasted. “How did that get in their lungs??”

“I found traces left in each mouth which would account for that amounts sucked down into the lungs by the pool water when each woman drowned. I tested the contents of both stomachs for confirmation. I found the exact same vaginal fluid among the contents of each one.”

Grissom’s head was spinning at the implications. Why would Tammi do that to the woman who was having sex with her husband? Hell, why would Melissa, for that matter??

What the hell had happened in the pool that afternoon??

“Anything else?” he asked, afraid of the answers he might get.

“That’s pretty much it,” Greg replied, unable to contain his enthusiasm. He wanted to make one more plea to see the crime scene photos, just to see what these two women might have looked like. But he decided against it.

“Thanks, Greg. Well done. That will be all.”

Grissom turned and walked out the door. But his mind was reeling from the implications. Travis has sex with Melissa… then Tammi and Melissa go at it… then to top it all off, Travis has sex with his wife??

He shook his head in wonder. It was amazing the strange things human beings did to each other. Just when he thought he’d seen everything, the job threw something new at him to investigate.
—–
Catherine sat in her chair staring at the deflated air mattress on the floor of her room. Her eyes were wide from discovery as her mind raced. She’d just matched several sets of fingerprints she’d found on it and was trying to process the information in her mind.

It didn’t make sense! What was Tammi doing playing with the air mattress? If she’d gone there to confront Melissa, how the hell did the mattress fit into the picture??

Focus on the prints, her mind told her. Don’t look at the forest… just concentrate on the tree in front of you! She sighed as Grissom’s philosophy penetrated her thoughts.

“Ok,” she said aloud. “So where did you find the fingerprints, Catherine?”

She tried to picture them in her mind. There were numerous prints along the edges of the mattress. The wife Tammi must have grabbed it there on each side… several times, as a matter of fact.

But why would she do that? The only two people who could possibly be on top of it would be her husband or his mistress. Why would she grab it like that over and over again?

What if Melissa was on top of it? In the struggle, Tammi might angrily flip it over. That would mean she would grab onto the mattress to try to overturn it. But again and again?? There were numerous prints.

Catherine suddenly sat upright in her chair. Melissa had been cuffed for a period of time before she died. What if she’d been cuffed to the mattress? What if her arms and legs had straddled it and she’d been flipped over?

Arms and legs straddling… flipped over…

Catherine stared at the mattress as though seeing it for the first time. Her eyes zeroed in on the seams on either side of it, seams that stuck out like long, thin flaps… flaps that could conceivably cut into a person’s flesh if…

She remembered the marks on the Atherton woman. A theory came to mind. “Tammi cuffed Melissa onto the mattress,” Catherine said aloud as though trying to picture it. “She must have flipped her over several times. To make her suffer? To show her anger? Then the mattress is deflated. She must have…”

She went silent as she processed the scenario over in her head. Had Tammi pulled the plug, allowing the air out of the mattress so she could watch Melissa slide off, sink to the bottom with a weight belt attached, and drown? Would that explain those matching cuts on the dead woman’s arms and legs? Hade she gotten them from the air mattress? It would certainly explain the deflated air mattress floating in the deep end of pool.

There was a way to find out. But she’d have to gather a few things together. Then she’d need to get some help. An idea formed in her mind, causing a faint shiver of excitement to ripple through her.

For this experiment there was only one person she would even consider asking. Catherine Willows reached for her cell phone, trembling from a strange excitement. Somehow she managed to stop shaking long enough to punch in the number.
—–
Catherine wasn’t in her lab when Grissom stopped by to give her the information Sanders had presented to him. He saw the deflated mattress on the floor. Was she still pursuing that angle?

Back out in the hallway, he ran into Nick. “Have you seen Catherine?”

“No. But Sara just left. She told me Catherine called her and asked if she’d meet up with her and help out with a project. She didn’t say what it was.”

‘Greg’s info can wait,’ Grissom thought to himself. Then he told Nick, “If you should see her, tell her we got the report back from Sanders. She might find it interesting. I’ll be in my office.”

2005; 2020 (written Aug 1 ’05; ed. Mar 29 ’20 by riwa)

Part 2 – Catherine’s Project

Sara emerged through Melissa’s patio door into the backyard wearing a light-colored T-shirt and shorts. That’s when Catherine felt the butterflies well up in her stomach. Now that her colleague had arrived, she felt forced to go ahead with her project. She tried not to show how nervous she’d become.

“So what are we going to do?” Sara asked cheerfully. She found these impromptu tests fascinating.

A fully inflated air mattress floated on top of the water. Apparently her colleague had gone out and acquired another one. It looked similar to the one they’d found floating in the pool when she and Nick had arrived on the scene a couple days ago.

She saw a camera, some lab equipment and a bag. Her colleague clearly had something in mind. Catherine casually walked up to her despite the discomfort she now felt.

“We’re going to re-enact Melissa’s last few minutes in the pool,” her coworker told her. “I want to piece together what must have happened here the other day.”

She peeled her shirt up over her head. Underneath Catherine was wearing a black one-piece swimsuit that hugged her body. It covered her breasts but came partway up her sides, exposing her hips.

As she pulled her pants down, Sara instinctively began to undress as well. She figured she might be getting wet. As a precaution she’d chosen to wear her suit underneath her clothes.

What she was wearing was not as professional. In fact, it was a rather skimpy, white bikini that contrasted nicely with her skin. A questioning glance from Catherine made her wonder if she should have worn something less revealing.

“Nice day for a dip in the pool,” Sara remarked hesitantly. She was looking forward to her coworker’s project. And she was hoping she would eventually end up in the water, more to cool off than to assist.

“You should be out on the beach in that get-up,” Catherine observed dryly. “Not working on some case with ‘yours truly’.”

The older woman noticed the difference in their attire. ‘Interesting,’ she thought curiously. ‘I’m wearing black and she’s wearing white. I wonder if that should mean anything.’

Sara smiled shyly. “I’m not letting any of the guys at work see me in this. It’s only because we’re alone and it’s going to be a warm day.” Catherine smiled in reply.

She reached into the bag and pulled out two sets of handcuffs and keys. She set them on a nearby patio table. Then she pulled out the beige weight belt she’d brought along.

“Did you see the marks on Melissa’s body the other day? …those cuts on her thighs and arms?”

“I was wondering about them,” Sara admitted. “Is that what this project is all about?”

“Not entirely, but that’s a part of it,” Catherine said as she fastened the weight belt around her waist. “I think the air mattress made them. Anyway, that’s what I intend to find out.”

She grabbed the cuffs and made her way to the shallow end of the pool. She slowly descended the concrete steps into the cool water. Strange how she was feeling a little aroused over all this.

“What do you want me to do?” Sara asked, following her in.

“I want you to help me onto this damned thing. Hold it steady for me. Here; hold these.” She handed Sara the cuffs who nodded with an “Ok; sure”.

It took her a couple of tries before she managed to get onto the mattress. She carefully rolled onto her back. Still, she nearly tumbled into the pool in the process.

“Ok,” she breathed when she felt the mattress stabilize underneath her. “Let’s start with the wrists.”

She extended one arm outward, allowing Sara to attach a cuff to it. “Now let’s see if I can get this underneath me,” Catherine muttered.

She tried to wrap both arms under the mattress. She fumbled for the loose cuff but couldn’t snag it with her free hand. “You’re gonna have to cuff me, Sara; I can’t… unh… seem to… unh… reach it.”

Sara came right up to her, nodding with understanding. She was right about sensing she would be getting wet. Did this mean Tammi or Travis had cuffed Melissa’s wrists together?

She reached under and found the loose cuff. She struggled to snag Catherine’s free wrist. She had to work to pull both arms underneath the mattress to get the wrists close together.

“Oh… OW! Damn, Sara!”

“Sorry. Boy, that’s hard to get to…” She struggled as she fumbled with the cuff under the mattress.

Ow!”

“Sorry.” Then Sara brightened with a “got them” as she successfully cuffed the two wrists together.

Catherine sighed heavily. She was now having second thoughts. But this was a theory she wanted to investigate, and she was determined to press ahead.

“Ok… now let’s do the ankles.”

She watched as Sara cuffed one of them. She spread her legs wide, trying to wrap them around the edges of the mattress. She believed Melissa’s had also been cuffed underneath.

Sara struggled as she tried to attach them together. “Unh… how the hell did Melissa… unh… manage to… get ’em wrapped around… ”

Sara reached under again. She snagged the free ankle with one hand while grabbing the loose cuff with the other. Then she roughly pulled them together, amazed she hadn’t been forced to go under and hold her breath to do all this.

“Oh… OW…”

Sorry, Catherine. Just trying to… reach…”

She fumbled under the mattress. Then she yanked on the ankle to get it closer. “Oh… OUCH, that’s tight!”

“Sorry,” Sara repeated apologetically.

She got the ankles close to each other. Then she worked to shackle them together… “Ouch!”

Sara finally finished. She took stock of her helpless CSI counterpart lying on the mattress. “Damn, Catherine. I should take advantage of you all trussed up like that. You ticklish?”

She took a menacing step forward. Catherine cried out, “DON’T YOU DARE!” She was breathing heavily, her heart thumping loudly in her chest.

Her legs were spread painfully, her crotch all but exposed. She felt more helpless than she’d anticipated. She also felt aroused… and extremely vulnerable.

Sara looked at her with a twinkle in her eye. “That’s quite a sight, seeing you bound like that. Maybe I should go get the camera and take a few pictures, just to show everybody back at the…”

“Do that and you’re a DEAD woman!”

Sara’s arms went up defensively. “Ok, ok; it’s your project. So what do you want to do next? Or do you just want to float around a while and enjoy the sunshine?”

“I found Tammi’s fingerprints on the mattress,” Catherine said to her younger colleague. “Actually I found them along both sides of the mattress.”

“For what purpose?” Sara mused thoughtfully. “What was Tammi’s game?”

Catherine thought it over. “The prints were along the sides. What if she secured Melissa on top of the mattress, just the way I’m tied up? What if she flipped her over?”

Sara nodded as she moved into position. She grabbed the mattress as though preparing to flip her colleague over. “Like this?”

“Right about there, yeah. That’s close to where they were found along the mattress.”

“So what now? You want me to flip you over?”

Catherine felt a spike of anxiety coupled with a disturbing arousal. “It would be a good way of duplicating the location of the fingerprints. The weight of someone on top of a mattress being flipped over. Yeah, I… I want to go through with this.”

“You think Tammi was torturing Melissa over her husband’s infidelity?”

“It’s one possible theory. I want to check where your prints end up in comparison to the ones on the mattress we found.”

“So you want me to flip you over for sure?”

“There were several prints along the edge of the mattress. I think Melissa was flipped over more than once. I’m hoping to prove this is what Tammi did with the mattress. I’m assuming she dunked Melissa, although I don’t know why she would…”

She trailed off when she saw the wicked grin spread across Sara’s face. “Now wait a minute! I didn’t say you could enjoy yourself – AAUUGGHH!”

Catherine was abruptly flipped over with a splash. She burbled wildly, not expecting to be flipped over so soon. A few seconds later she was flipped back over into the afternoon air, leaving her gasping for breath.

“You mean like that?!” Sara asked with a grin.

“You could’ve warned MEEEEE…!!”

Catherine was abruptly flipped over again, her face hitting the water with a splash. She was under only a couple of seconds, air spewing out of her mouth. Then she was flipped back up to the surface, setting her to gasping and sputtering.

“Having fun?” Sara asked with a laugh.

“I think you’re the one who’s enjoying this!” Catherine gasped, glaring at the woman. “I should’ve made YOU do THIIIIIISSSSS…!!”

Sara grabbed on and gave a great heave. Catherine went back over until she was face down, twisting, squirming and bubbling. Instinctively she fought against the cuffs that held her against the mattress.

She was not under long before she was flipped back over, snorting water out of her nose. “You ok?” Sara asked as she bent over her, concern in her features.

Catherine coughed once before composing herself. “I’m all right. I can see why Tammi might have wanted to torture her like this. But I think you’re enjoying this way too – AAAUUUGGGHHH!!”

“You mean like this?” Sara asked as she flipped her over once more. She thought about the fingerprints she was leaving. To her it seemed like a perfectly plausible theory.

Catherine burbled wildly as she hung upside down in the pool. Her heart pounded in her chest. Instinctively she struggled against the cuffs holding her to the air mattress.

It felt like a few seconds longer before she was flipped back over onto her back. Sara smiled, allowing her coworker to catch her breath. “How am I doing so far?”

Catherine panted while glaring at her. “Enjoy it while it lasts, girl!”

Her captor grinned back malevolently. “A couple more perhaps?” Then she grabbed the mattress and flipped it over once more.

Catherine Willows went back over with a bubbly cry. Air bubbled up around the mattress she hung down from. At the surface her coworker grinned mischievously before flipping her back over.

“Time out!” Catherine gasped, anxiously shaking her head.

“Ok; we’ll take a break,” Sara replied. “How are the legs and arms?”

“Uncomfortable as hell. I can sure feel the edges to the mattress.”

“Tammi couldn’t have drowned her like this, right? They were found together on top of each other in the deep end.”

“That’s how they were found, all right – WHOOAAA!!”

Catherine was flipped over again. She struggled instinctively against the cuffs, wondering what all this was going to prove. Was this truly what Melissa had gone through before she drowned?

Sara watched with interest. She left her coworker under a couple seconds longer, although she wasn’t sure why. Maybe this was bringing out a sadistic side to her personality.

A few seconds later she flipped her back over. Catherine came back up on top of the mattress at the surface. She panted wildly for breath, her heart pounding in her chest.

She could feel a certain sense of arousal over being flipped over so much. Had Melissa felt like this as well? Or was it nothing more than a side effect of what had occurred that fateful day?

“Those cuffs are definitely going to leave a mark,” Sara observed. “It looks like you’re really struggling down there.”

“Can’t help it,” Willows gasped. “When I’m submerged it’s like I really want to… get out of ’em.”

She paused as she thought about it. Sara felt a little remorse. “You want me to stop?”

“I’m ok so far,” Catherine panted. Then she winced unhappily.

“What?”

“Maybe you should flip me over to check and see if the cuffs have left any indentations.”

Sara thought it over for a moment. “Ok; I can do that. How long can you hold your breath?”

“How long is it going to take you to look at them?”

“Touche.”

“I’ll manage. Just flip me over and check my wrists and ankles.”

“You want to do it now?”

The woman on the mattress nodded as she began taking long, deep breaths. Sara counted her down… “Ok… in three… two… ONE!”

Catherine took a deep breath. Sara flipped her over with a splash. The younger CSI agent took a quick glance at her watch before looking closely at the ankles that were sticking up in front of her. She had to resist the urge not to tickle the soles of the helpless woman’s feet.

There were faint marks, although not as deep as the ones found on Melissa’s body. Then Sara quickly checked her coworker’s wrists. Something similar was happening there as well…

Down below Catherine’s cheeks bulged as she held her breath. She found herself wondering how long it took for her colleague to check her body for cuff marks. ‘C’mon, Sara! I’m out of breath down here from all the dunking you’ve put me through!”

Air trickled out of her nose. She lost a small burst of air. ‘Sara Sidle, I swear you’re going to pay for- WHOA!’

Catherine was flipped back over. She gasped for breath as Sara brushed her hair out of her eyes. “I can see them. They’re faint, but they’re there. By the way, you were under for 37 seconds.”

“Is that all? It felt a hell of a lot longer.” Willows paused before adding, “You say the marks are faint?”

“Not deep enough to match the ones found on the body, no.”

Catherine thought about it for a moment. “Damn!” she breathed quietly.

“What?”

“I think… I think we’ll have to go a little longer.”

“What do you mean?”

“I want to know if the deep marks could have been made as a result of being tortured while being cuffed lying on top of the air mattress.”

“Tortured? Catherine, are you suggesting I…?” Now Sara was starting to grin.

“Don’t you dare enjoy this!”

“Oh, I won’t; I promise!”

“I’ll just bet you won’t.”

“You want to replicate the marks found on Melissa’s wrists and ankles?”

“Just to make sure, yeah.”

“Catherine, are you sure about this?”

“Hell, no! But we’ve got to find out one way or the other. If I struggle hard enough…”

“…then the marks should become deeper and more pronounced?”

“I would think so. Ok, Sara. I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but… go ahead and make me suffer. Just don’t drown me.”

Catherine thought about it for a long moment. Then she looked her colleague right in the eye. “Sara Sidle, you breathe a word of this to anyone and I swear I’ll…”

“Oh, I won’t, Catherine; I won’t.”

“I’ll just bet you won’t.”

“Here we go!” And with that Sara flipped her coworker back over.

Catherine Willows filled her lungs with air just in time. Then she found herself floating face down, staring at the pool floor as bubbles slipped out of her nose and mouth. Her arms and legs were feeling damned uncomfortable from being cuffed around the mattress for so long.

She tried to calm the wild beating of her heart by running the scenario over and over in her head. Were the three of them together when this happened? Or was it just Tammi and Melissa?

She felt her lungs began to spasm. Catherine wriggled and squirmed. But she was not flipped back over just yet

She became alarmed over how long she’d been under. At the same time she felt a perverse arousal. It made her think of the dildo that had been found in the pool.

She began to wriggle uncomfortably as she jerked against the cuffs. She lost more bubbles out of her mouth. Then she was flipped over onto her back.

Catherine panted for breath as she glared at her coworker. Sara grinned back at her before flipping her back over. The older CSI agent let out a bubbly cry as her heart leapt into her throat.

She was promptly flipped back over until she was panting and coughing at the surface. Sara flipped her over again. Catherine cried out a froth of bubbles as she began to fight against the cuffs to her wrists and ankles.

She shook her head; now she was thinking she wanted the experiment to stop. She was flipped back up where she panted like crazy. Then she was promptly flipped over again.

Catherine looked down at the pool floor as a surge of horrific arousal flowed through her. What if Sara accidently drowned her? Would her colleague be able to set her free in time to resuscitate her??

She suddenly became aware of Sara poking and probing. Catherine tried to calm herself down. It felt like Sara was looking at her wrists and ankles again. Surely she could hold her breath that long, couldn’t she?

She was finally flipped back over. Catherine Willows panted wildly for breath. This was crazy!

Sara came up to her and nodded. “I can really see them now. I’d say it’s a definite possibility they were created from being tortured on the air mattress. I don’t think we need to continue the experiment long enough to make them deep like what we found on Melissa’s body.”

“Good,” Catherine panted with a nod. “By the way: did you happen to check for any cuts on my arms and legs?”

Sara looked at her in surprise. “You didn’t tell me to check for cuts.”

“Oh, shit.”

“Catherine, we can get you off that mattress and check you out of the water if you want.”

“No, I’m already here. You’d better… flip me over again. I want you to check… for any cuts on my arms or legs.”

“Got it. I’m going to time you again. This way I can glance at my watch to make sure you’re not under too long.”

Catherine wasn’t thinking about being under too long. She was already thinking ahead to the next part of her experiment. If she really wanted to know what had happened to Melissa, she would need to hold her breath longer.

Her heart thumped in her chest as she heard herself say, “Keep me under for at least a minute.”

“A minute?? Catherine, are you sure? It’s not going to take that long to…”

“Just do it, Sara; ok? I can hold my breath one lousy minute, can’t I?”

“Catherine, are you sure?”

“I’m not sure about anything. But let’s do it anyway. Take your time checking for those cuts.”

Sara sighed uncomfortably. “It’s your project; you’re the boss. You ready?”

“No.” Then Catherine took a couple of long, deep breaths before nodding, “Ok. Let’s get this over with.”

“Ok. Over you go in three… two… ONE!”

Sara waited until she was sure she heard her friend inhale before flipping her over with a splash. She quickly checked her watch. Then she began to closely examine her friend’s thighs.

Sara felt a slight flush of embarrassment over getting such an intimate look at the body of her coworker. She shook her head, reminding herself this was nothing more than a clinical examination related to the case at hand. Still, it was a bit uncomfortable.

It looked like the flaps to the air mattress were definitely pressing into her colleague’s skin. It was certainly enough to leave a mark. But she didn’t see any cuts.

She was sure Catherine had brought the camera to take pictures of her skin. She wasn’t sure she would have had the gumption to go through with something like this, just to have pictures taken of what it did to her body. But then again, she wasn’t Catherine Willows. She knew from past experience that her friend and colleague would do just about anything to get at the truth.

Sara checked her watch again. Then she looked down at the woman hanging under the mattress. It made her wonder just how long she should keep her down there…

This time Catherine wasn’t quite as anxious. She held her breath easily enough, idly scanning the pool floor below her. She didn’t expect to see much because of her blurred vision.

It kept her mind occupied with something other than holding her breath. She was also aware of the pain of the cuffs on her wrists and ankles. When this was all over she would have a better working theory over what had happened out here in the pool.

Catherine allowed a couple of bubbles to dribble out of her nose. Then she felt the first stirrings of need gently nudge her from inside her chest. She burbled a trickle of air past her lips to ease the growing strain on her lungs.

The urge grew stronger as a spasm rippled through her. She blew a burst of air as her lungs began to burn. A moment later she was flipped over until she was flat on her back and panting quietly.

Sara smiled kindly at her. “I saw the bubbles so I rolled you back over, You ok?”

“I’m fine,” Catherine gasped. “How’d I do?”

“Minute eighteen,” Sara told her. “Not bad at all.”

“Anything showing… on the thighs and arms?”

“I can see where the mattress flaps are pressing into your body. But I don’t see any cuts.”

“Damn,” Catherine said as she shook her head. She had a good idea what she had to do next. “I think I know… how to get them.”

“Get the cuts on your arms and legs? How’s that?”

“You’re going to pull the plug on the air mattress. Then you’re going to shove me into the deep end toward the area where we found the bodies.”

2005; 2020 (written for Melissa Aug 5 ’05; ed. Jun 5 ‘20 by riwa)

Part 3 – Into the deep end

Catherine Willows felt a shiver of fear mixed with excitement ripple through her. This was the moment, the real experiment she’d come here to conduct in the first place. This was the method she intended to use to prove how Melissa got those cuts on her arms and legs.

Sara Sidle’s jaw dropped open in astonishment. “You’re kidding, right?”

“I’m serious.”

“I’m not letting you drown, Catherine.”

“I don’t want you to let me drown. You can swim, can’t you?”

“Of course!”

“Then you’ll swim down and pull me up into shallow water when I’m done… unless you can’t reach the bottom on your own. Do you think you might be too buoyant to reach me?”

“I can get down there easily enough!” Sara replied indignantly. “I’m just amazed you want to go down the way you propose.”

“It’s only going to be for a minute or so, ok? That’s why I had you keep me under that long. It was so I could find out how long I could hold my breath.”

Catherine finally decided to tell her what she suspected. “Sara, it’s the only way I know to prove how she got those cuts. I think she slid off the mattress when it deflated. That’s how she cut herself, similar to how you get a paper cut by sliding your finger along the edge. I also think it might explain how she drowned.”

Sara looked at her dubiously. Then she sighed heavily. “You really want to go through with this?”

“I’m a little nervous about the whole thing. But yeah. I think it’s the only way to find out for sure.”

Sara had not anticipated Catherine would try this as an experiment. Then a thought struck her. That’s when she got a strange grin on her face.

Catherine saw her expression and frowned. “What are you thinking?”

“You know we found her on the bottom with that dildo sticking out of her. Are you going to re-enact that part as well?”

Catherine felt her face flush with embarrassment. She’d known it was going to come down to this.

She hadn’t truly decided what she was going to do about it. The truth of her intentions was lying in the bottom of the bag she’d brought with her. She didn’t want Sidle to think she’d been planning this all along.

Maybe it was better to make her think it was her idea. “Well, I was kind of wondering. I wasn’t sure, but I…”

She paused as Sara looked at her curiously. Sidle suddenly turned and waded to the end of the pool where she climbed out. “Sara? Sara, where are you going?”

“To test a theory.”

Catherine’s embarrassment intensified the moment her coworker walked up to the bag. Sara reached down and pulled the item out. “That’s what I thought,” she observed as she turned and waved the toy at her, grinning wickedly.

“I brought that with me in case we might need it. It was found at the scene, remember?” Now she was really embarrassed… and disturbingly aroused.

“Catherine Willows, crime scene investigator, sticking a dildo inside herself to test a theory. Now I’ve seen everything!”

Sara shook her head as she descended the steps back into the pool. If nothing else, she’d certainly have something juicy to hold over her coworker for a long, long time.

“I’m not entirely certain we need to use it for this test,” Catherine stammered.

She started to squirm but there was nothing she could do. She was deliberately cuffed to the mattress to test out her theory. That meant for the time being she was totally at Sara’s mercy.

Sara smiled broadly. “I think you ought to do it, ‘Cath’! We ought to know for sure; right?”

This was totally unexpected. But Sara found herself looking forward to it. She was looking forward to watching Catherine squirm cuffed naked to an air mattress with that dildo stuck inside her…

Uh…

…from a purely clinical perspective, of course…

Catherine began having second thoughts, even as her body began to tingle with arousal. “I’m beginning to think it’s not really necessary for our experiment after all, Sara.”

“How do you know? You want to find out what happened, don’t you? How do you know it wasn’t the added effect of the dildo inside Melissa that contributed to her getting those cuts on her legs? Don’t you think you should find out? After all, you’re in place all ready to go, naked and…”

Sara grinned at her. “Not funny, Sidle!”

“Oh, so are we getting all formal for your experiment now?”

Catherine was torn. She wanted to experience the dildo inside her for this last experiment. But that meant Sara would know about it. The danger of her telling someone later…

“I’m, uh… not so sure about whether or not we need to use…”

“Admit it, Catherine. I think you want to. Hell, you wouldn’t have brought it with you otherwise. What was the point, especially if you were going to try this as an experiment anyway?”

Deep down, Catherine had been thinking about it ever since she’d first seen the crime scene. The humiliation was almost more than she could bear. But she suspected Sara would be good enough to keep this embarrassing little secret.

She resigned herself to the inevitable. After all, she’d brought the toy with her. Sara was observant enough to call her bluff if she tried to protest. She might as well use it.

“Ok,” Catherine said carefully. She winced before adding, “I, uh… I guess you’ll have to put it inside me. I’m a little… tied up at the moment. Besides, I suspect that’s how Melissa got it inside her. I doubt she cuffed herself to the mattress on her own. I suspect the toy was added as an afterthought, perhaps to humiliate her.”

“This part isn’t going into any report, is it?” Sara asked as she approached. It had just occurred to her how her name would have to be included as a witness.

“God, I hope not,” Catherine breathed softly.

She suddenly wanted to get the whole thing over with. She didn’t know whether it was from the strange arousal she was experiencing of just the embarrassment of the moment. “C’mon, Sara, I don’t want to lie here all day. Get over here and stick it in before those little voyeurs show up and sneak a peek!”

“I forgot about them,” Sara said as she glanced toward the fence.

She came up to the mattress and looked between her coworker’s thighs, wondering how to proceed. Catherine was nervous again. “Uh… just pull my, uh… pull my suit to one side down there and, uh…”

Damn! This whole thing had suddenly become awkward as hell!

Sara gingerly pulled on the suit around the woman’s crotch. Catherine gasped as the fabric was slid off to one side. It increased the erotic sensations she was already struggling with down below.

She tried hard not to moan. She did not want to make her assistant feel uncomfortable. But was she really concerned for Sara? Or was it her own embarrassment?

Sara carefully maneuvered the dildo into place. Then she began to push it inside. It made her feel more uncomfortable than she expected, considering the circumstances.

‘Think about what happened out here,’ she told herself. ‘It’s all a part of the investigation. We’re finding out how Melissa died and how she got those marks on her body. Don’t think about Catherine’s femininity. Just do it.’

The toy slid rather easily into place. Sara wasn’t sure how far to go. So she pushed until it went no farther.

Catherine clamped her lips shut as sweat beaded up on her forehead. She was incredibly aroused. The trained professional had to struggle not to moan or cry out.

Sara decided to go with it, smiling coyly at her coworker. “Ready, Catherine?” The bound woman closed her eyes and nodded.

“Are you sure about this?” She found herself becoming amused… and strangely excited.

“Can we just get on with this please?”

Catherine hadn’t anticipated becoming this aroused or humiliated. Perhaps this was what Melissa had been forced to endure. Perhaps it had been a major part of what had happened in this pool on that fateful day.

Sara quickly became all business as she moved to the plug in front of the mattress near the secured woman’s head. “I’ll be keeping track of the time, ok? I’m pulling you back up to the surface after one minute has elapsed.”

Catherine nodded again, biting her quivering lip to keep from expressing her shame and arousal. A tear trickled down her cheek. She could not help wondering if Sara could tell how much she was trembling.

“You’re sure?”

“Damnit, girl… just pull the damned plug already!” She didn’t know how much more of this she could take.

“Here goes…”

Sara pulled the plug out. Air began hissing out. “Deep end, Sara,” Catherine explained.

Sidle gave the mattress a push. It headed toward the deep end of the pool. Already it was starting to sag as it deflated from the weight on top.

“I’m climbing out to watch from the edge, Catherine!”

Sara waded to the steps that led out of the shallow end of the pool. She maintained a watchful eye on her coworker. Instinctively she did not want anything bad to happen to her despite the craziness of the experiment.

Catherine closed her eyes to focus. Was this what Melissa had experienced? She could not stop squirming a little.

The lower part of her body was on fire from a terrible arousal. She desperately tried to approach what was happening to her from a clinical perspective. But it was nearly impossible.

She started to squirm even more as water lapped around her head and chest. She heard her coworker call out, “You’re going down, Catherine! Make sure you get a good breath!”

Sara watched from the edge of the pool. She saw Catherine squirm in response to what was happening to her. She could tell her coworker was trying to maintain her professionalism.

Her head was sinking closer to the waterline. Sidle watched closely. Was this what that woman had experienced: the toy in her kitty as she’d been allowed to drown off the deflating air mattress?

She became anxious. Was this such a good idea? She told herself she would be able to get Catherine off the bottom before anything serious might happen to her.

Catherine felt her body slip on the mattress. Instinctively she tried to find some way to cling to it. She suspected the dead woman had struggled to stay at the surface for as long as possible.

Panic swelled within her. She whimpered again as she fought to stay in control. Sara saw her distress and called out, “Want to the experiment? Want me to come in and get you?”

“NO; not yet!” It took all her professionalism to give that instruction. Catherine forced herself to shake her head.

It was all she could do not to cry out to Sara and cancel the experiment. She slipped again, causing her to claw at the plastic material underneath her with her cuffed hands. But there was no way to hold on, no way to stay afloat.

The mattress sagged beneath her. Catherine slipped again. She was so close to going under.

Down between her legs an inferno of perverse arousal was raging. She dimly wondered what Melissa might have thinking at this moment, if this was indeed what had happened to her. Then she felt something cut into her thigh as she slid.

There was a faint slice of pain in her arm. Catherine slipped again, struggling desperately to stay afloat. Instinctively she pressed her ass down into the mattress in an effort to keep her head above water.

More air hissed out. Another short slice of pain nipped her other arm. Then she felt herself start to slide off the material.

“Catherine; you’re going under! BREATHE!!”

Catherine Willows gasped for breath. She cried out in growing alarm. Then she slid right off the mattress, bubbles coming out of her mouth and nose.

She began to struggle as the mattress partly followed her down. She left a trail of bubbles marking her descent. But she could not hang onto the mattress as the weight belt pulled her right down.

Sara gasped in alarm from the surface, watching the bubbles coming up. She quickly checked her watch. “I’m coming down in 45 seconds,” she muttered, her heart pounding in her chest. “Sorry, Catherine. I don’t care if you did do a minute breath-hold earlier.”

The instant Catherine slid completely off the mattress, her legs came together in blessed relief. It caused her muscles to squeeze around the dildo inside her. That’s when her body began to shudder uncontrollably.

Almost immediately she started losing little bursts of air. She snorted water up her nose, instinctively trying to blow it back out as it stung her sinuses. Then her chest began convulsing.

Her torso instinctively thrust against the dildo inside her. She almost screamed her breath away. She was starting to panic, even as an incredible surge of arousal consumed her.

Her mind screamed at her to get her feet underneath her. She needed to stand upright. That way she could kick for the surface.

Her legs kicked together. But it only worsened what was happening between her legs as her thighs came together. That’s when she felt it swell within her.

She’d been in a constant state of semi-arousal throughout the case. She was embarrassed over the way she’d felt while putting together this experiment with Sara. Perhaps being dunked had not been such a good idea after all.

Catherine did not consider how being secured like this might have affected Melissa, much less how it might affect her. The only thing she was aware of was the fact she could no longer hold it back. She was sure she wasn’t going to be able to hold her breath long enough to keep from drowning.

Catherine Willows cried out, air spewing out of her mouth as the area between her legs exploded in what felt like a massive eruption of undisputed pleasure. Instinctively she started thrashing about; bucking, kicking and convulsing. Her body was consumed by the orgasm now ravaging her.

Up at the surface Sara Sidle saw an eruption of bubbles. Panicked, she dove in several seconds ahead of schedule. That’s when she saw her coworker’s body spasming and convulsing.

She thought for sure Catherine was drowning. She swam down to her and wrapped an arm around her hitching body. Then she headed for the surface.

She was almost there when her handcuffed coworker thrashed about. Catherine inadvertently ripped herself out of Sara’s grasp. The weight belt took her right back down, just as Sara’s head was popping up at the surface.

Sidle gasped for breath, only to realize she lost Catherine. She let out a cry of anguish, concerned her coworker might be drowning. Then she took a deep breath before diving back down.

Her friend and colleague was not going to drown simply because she couldn’t get her up in time. She swam back down and attacked the source of the problem. Sara grabbed the weight belt and popped the latch.

At that moment Catherine grunted as she hitched hard. Then the CSI investigator went limp on the bottom. Her eyes appeared to glaze over, a look of shock frozen on her face as her mouth gaped open.

For a moment Sara was frozen in shocked disbelief. A burst of adrenaline surged through her body. She grabbed Catherine by an elbow and dragged her body through the water as she pulled like crazy for the shallow end of the pool.

She finally got her feet underneath her. Sara stood up and lifted the unconscious woman’s head out of the water. There was no response; she could detect no breath.

Oh God…

Sara scooped the lifeless body into her arms. Somehow she carried her coworker up the steps out of the pool. Then she gently laid her down on the warm concrete…

“Catherine?! CATHERINE??!!”

She checked for a pulse. It was faint, but it was there. Then she checked her airway.

Satisfied it was clear, Sara pinched her coworker’s nose shut. Then she blew two deep breaths into her friend’s mouth. Catherine’s chest rose and fell… rose and fell again.

Nothing. There was no response.

Sara experienced panic as she tried to catch her breath. This couldn’t be happening! Unfortunately it felt all too real.

Sara glanced down and saw the dildo protruding out of her friend’s crotch. She grabbed it and savagely yanked it out. “It’s my fault,” she gasped in growing alarm as she checked again for a pulse.

This time she could not detect one…

“NO!!”

She began pumping hard with her hands against the woman’s chest, desperately trying to get Catherine’s heart beating again. Her mind ran the last few minutes over and over again. Sara quietly found herself thinking she should not have let Catherine do it.

She gasped sorrowfully as tears welled up in her eyes. She paused and checked again for a pulse.

Nothing…

‘”Damnit! Catherine Willows, you CAN’T drown over some stupid field test!”

Sara pinched her unresponsive friend’s nose shut again. She pressed her lips against those of her coworker. Then she blew two long, deep breaths into the body of her colleague as tears streamed down her face.

Catherine’s chest rose and fell… rose and fell again. But there was no response.

Sara started to sob. “No, damnit! You can’t die like this! Catherine, it’s not your time, damn you!”

She began pumping hard on the woman’s chest again. Sara counted to herself as she’d been trained to do so long ago. Then she checked again.

No pulse…

Sara fought against the urge to scream in frustration and despair. Stubbornly, she pressed on, pinching her coworker’s nose shut. She pressed her lips against Catherine’s and blew two long, deep breaths into her lifeless body.

Her colleague’s chest rose and fell… rose and fell again…

Catherine Willows convulsed…

…then she coughed…

Sara gasped hopefully. “C’mon, Catherine… BREATHE!”

Catherine blinked… convulsed again… Water spewed out of her mouth in a horrifying torrent. A moment later she gasped as she blinked again.

“CATHERINE?? C’MON, GIRL… BREATHE FOR ME!!”

She gasped before going into a coughing fit. She gasped again. Then she started breathing on her own as her chest began to rise and fall in a regular pattern.

Sara could not stop the tears. She lifted her colleague up into a sitting position. Then she held her to her chest as she started to sob…

“It’s all my fault! I should’ve gotten to you sooner! I lost my grip and I… I’m so sorry!”

Catherine coughed and gagged. She gasped as though trying to get air down her throat. She was finally able to wrap her arms around the distraught girl and hug tightly.

“I’m ok, Sara. It’s not… your fault. I guess I didn’t expect it… to happen like that. I miscalculated… the fault is mine.”

Sara began to look around. “I’ve got to make a call! We’ve got to get you to a hospital! We need to have you checked out!”

“We will. Just let me… rest a moment… and catch my breath.”

She paused and looked at her arms. There were distinct cuts in her flesh. “I thought so,” she panted. “Get the camera, Sara. Let’s get what pictures we can… while the marks are still fresh. Then you can retrieve the air mattress and we can dust it for prints; ok?”

“Hospital!”

“Pictures first. I can last that long.”

Sara looked at her colleague for a long moment. She saw a familiar look of stubbornness return to Catherine’s features. Then she sighed heavily.

“All right,” she agreed, although more than a little hesitant. “But after that, we’re getting your ass straight over to the hospital!”

Catherine smiled weakly at her. Then she spread her legs open for her coworker to see. “I was right, wasn’t I?” There were fresh cuts on her thighs, one of which had started to bleed.

“Damn you, Catherine. Do you have to be right all the time?”

“Just trying to play catch-up to Gil.”

“Touche.”

Sara managed a small chuckle. Then she went to get the camera. Catherine just sat there wondering how Gil Grissom was going to react once he found out she’d nearly drowned working on one of these impromptu field tests. Maybe it would be best not to tell him…

Gil Grissom sat in his office, staring at a familiar looking form on his desk. He was wondering what he was going to put into his report. He sat back in his chair and once more went over the facts of the case in his mind…

Tammi goes to Melissa’s residence with her husband’s gun and waits near the back fence. Her husband leaves and she confronts Melissa, resulting in a fight that eventually spills one or both women into the pool. Melissa ends up cuffed on top of the air mattress and the two engage in some sort of sexual activity… (That one he had a hard time understanding, and he wasn’t sure if he should even bother including in his report). The mattress is then deflated and Melissa cuts herself as she slides off into the deep end where she probably drowns…

…which made him think of someone important to him, as they all were…

At least Catherine was all right. But he had to shake his head in amazement at what she’d done in the pool. Apparently she’d allowed herself to be dunked. Then Sara had deflated the mattress out from underneath her.

When he’d reported to the hospital, the two women had stumbled over each other in an attempt to accept blame. He’d finally thrown up his hands in frustration. Then he’d given them both the next couple of days off to recover and regroup.

All that trouble just to confirm her theory about the prints on the mattress and the cuts on the dead woman’s legs? Catherine Willows was tenacious. He had to grant her that. Maybe it was his fault for instilling a sense of being so utterly thorough in his team.

He sighed thoughtfully. Back to the report. How was he going to write this up?

Travis comes back after checking his answering machine. He and Tammi have sex? Then Travis ends up in the deep end with the weight belt and cuffs, both of which are removed from his body a short time later.

“So Tammi drowns both Melissa and her wayward husband?” Grissom thought aloud. It was the only explanation that made sense. There was no evidence anyone else was involved. It certainly explained why there were cuff and belt marks on his body.

Tammi swims down to the bodies in the deep end. Does she cuff herself to Melissa’s wrists out of guilt and remorse? End of Tammi. End of story.

A double murder/suicide?

Grissom paused again, thinking about that last part. There was no evidence anyone else had been involved. Tammi had to have done it herself. She appeared to be the last one in the pool. But why?

So many unanswered questions…

So what was he going to put in his report? A wife finds out about her husband’s affair; she drives over to the house of the mistress; she kills the mistress, her husband, and then herself. That seemed to be the abbreviated version.

Gil Grissom sighed. Then he bent over his desk and started writing. In the back of his mind he found himself mildly curious over what really happened out in Melissa’s backyard…

2005; 2020 (written for Melissa Aug 5 ’05; ed. Jul 15 ‘20 by riwa)

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