“Man, you smell bad,” Ray heard Nick mutter under his breath.|
“Dumpster diving does that to people,” Greg laughed as Nick unlocked the front door to his house and let the three of them in, Ray close behind the two seasoned CSIs.
When he got inside, Greg was already taking his leather jacket off and dumping it on the arm of the couch as he toed off his sneakers and left them in the middle of the floor. Within moments he was gone at a quick pace down the hall. Nick just shook his head as he took Ray’s jacket and hung it up on a peg beside his own.
“Would you like a cup of coffee or something?” Nick offered. “I’m going to call Catherine in a second, as soon as I find that missing cell phone, to tell her we’re on our lunch break.”
“Oh, no thanks. I’ll wait until we get food.”
Nick nodded, picking up Greg’s jacket and hanging it up. He then fished out Greg’s set of keys and hung them on the key rack next to the door before lining his shoes up along the wall.
Ray watched all of this with interest. He’d heard the rumors. Hodges himself had commented that the two men were sleeping together and was surprised Ray didn’t know about it. Looking up at the bookcase across the room he could see several framed photographs, but Nick disappeared into the kitchen before he had a chance to see who was in them.
As he followed him, the shower turned on from the direction Greg had gone. Nick was already at work brewing a pot of coffee when Ray entered the kitchen. Greg certainly seemed comfortable enough in his coworker’s home. Ray was sure he hadn’t asked to use the shower.
Then he saw the bag of Greg’s favorite coffee, Blue Hawaiian. That almost sealed the deal right there. Greg never let anyone near his stash at work, yet here he was, watching Nick scooping it into the coffee maker.
Light banter regarding their nearly nonexistent case carried them through until the coffee was done. The shower also turned off at the same moment. Nick poured the fresh contents of the carafe into a tall, green travel mug, and carefully measured out two spoonfuls of straight sugar.
Ray had to admit he was surprised Nick hadn’t asked his other coworker if he wanted any, but he didn’t have time to question him about it as Greg breezed into the room in clean jeans and a new t-shirt. He was smiling, the gel still wet in his hair.
“Thanks for the mirror message, Nicky.”
Nick laughed. “I’m glad you liked it.”
“I left you one for tomorrow,” Greg smirked.
Nick then handed the travel mug over to his coworker.
“Well, at least you smell better.”
“Ahhhh, you’re my hero. Oh, and I told you you’d left this on your nightstand. And you missed three calls.” Greg pulled Nick’s missing cell phone from his pocket and gave it to him.
“Thanks G. That’s probably Cath. I need to call her. Go get your shoes on so we can go. I’m starving!”
“We could just stay here.”
“But we promised Ray some In and Out. Go.”
“I’m going. I’m going.”
Ray chuckled and followed Greg back to the livingroom as Nick flipped his phone open. Without having to look around Greg picked up his shoes and sat down on the couch to put them on. Ray moved to the book shelf to get a closer look at the photographs, when a loud female voice filled the air.
“Greg dear, it’s me!” and he realized Greg had hit the button on Nick’s answering machine. But why would a girlfriend call him here, of all places?
The woman continued, “I know you’re already at work and since it’s not an emergency... well, your father and I just wanted to make sure you’re still alive and all. I know Nicky’s taking good care of you and he’d call if something happened. But you know it’s nice to hear my son’s voice every now and then, right?”
Greg sighed. “Yes, Mom. I know.”
“Hi Nicky! You tell my boy to call me, ok? Thank you dear!” And Mrs. Sanders hung up.
“Sorry about that,” Greg apologized. “My mom can be annoying sometimes.” He stood up, picked up the mug and jammed his other hand into his pocket.
“Aren’t mothers supposed to be?” Ray inquired.
He approached the bookcase, and his eyes found the picture Ray had been staring at: The candid shot of he and Nick in a tender lip lock. A faraway look filled his eyes then.
“Warrick took that picture,” he said. “About a month before he died.”
Ray could only nod.
“Hey, G. You ready to go?” Nick appeared behind the other man, resting a hand on his shoulder and giving it a squeeze when he saw the picture they were looking at.
Greg placed his free hand over Nick’s. “Yeah, let’s go.”
As they left the house Ray couldn’t help but think Hodges really didn’t know anything about Nick and Greg. The lab tech was probably just spouting things he’d heard around the water cooler, because there was a clear difference between just sleeping together and the obvious relationship the two men had built between them.
As they left, Greg grabbed his keys from the key rack and a lighter jacket without thought.