Could have Been by Serenity [Reviews - 9]

The thump of rock music echoed around the auditorium as Nick made his way backstage to where their DB had been found. Brass was waiting to lead him through the labyrinth of corridors to the dressing room, where the body of a white male lay slumped over the table.

Brass opened his notes and filled Nick in on the details. “Name is Roger Cartwood, 56 years old, he’s the manager of the support act that’s playing here tonight.” He squinted as he read the name. “Foul Play.” He drew out the name as if it was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard.

Nick made his preliminary walk around the room, taking in the scene. “I hear music, don’t tell me the band’s still playing with their manager laying dead in the dressing room?”

Brass shook his head. “They pulled out, but the main act is going ahead. There‘d probably be a riot if the show was cancelled, it‘s a sell-out.”

Nick nodded, snapping a few shots of the room. “Who found the body?”

Before Brass had a chance to answer, a voice came from the doorway. “I did.”

Nick turned to see a young man standing behind him. His stomach did a flip as he took in the sight. The young man was tall and lean, but obviously worked out. Nick could see the ripples of toned muscle under the tight black T-Shirt he was wearing. His hair was a little longer than shoulder length and dyed black, and he had smoky black eyeliner smudged underneath the most intense brown eyes that Nick had ever seen. The hard ‘rock star’ look was softened slightly by adorable moles dotted over his face, portraying an innocence that betrayed the dark image.

The CSI mentally shook himself. It was never a good idea to be attracted to someone who could possibly be a suspect in a homicide and he had to remain professional, no matter how cute the guy was.

He walked forward and introduced himself, moving them out of the dressing room and into the corridor. “You shouldn’t be in here Sir, this is a crime scene. I’m Nick Stokes from Criminalistics, Mr…..”

“Gray.” The man replied, looking Nick up and down.

“Well, Mr Gray. Can you tell me what happened here?” Nick stood with his hands on his hips and desperately tried to ignore the pounding in his chest.

“There’s no Mr. It’s just Gray. I’m the lead singer with Foul Play.”

Nick raised an eyebrow at Brass, who rolled his eyes in return. “Ok, Gray, what can you tell me?”

Gray licked his lips and began. “We were just about to go onstage, so I was looking for Roger. I came into the room at approximately eight thirty pm, and I found him lying over the table. I checked to see if he was breathing, but he was pretty cold, so I’d guess he’d been dead for a while. I know that no one had seen him for at least an hour before I found him. I didn’t touch anything and I made sure no one else came into the room, then I called the police.”

Nick nodded, looking the young rock pretender up and down. “I’m guessing that Gray is a stage name.” He indicated to Brass. “You’ll have to give the Captain your full name for our records. We may need to speak to you again.”

Gray turned towards Brass. “My real name is Greg Sanders. The band’s staying at the Tangiers if you need to get in touch with us again. Anything I can do to help…. Actually, here, take this.” He reached into the back pocket of his black leather pants and pulled out a card. “It’s my cell.” He handed it to Nick. “Just in case.”

Brass stood aside from the doorway to let David enter the room to inspect the body. Nick nodded to the coroner in acknowledgement, before turning back to Gray. “You don’t seem that upset at the death of your manager. Is there a reason for that?”

Gray shrugged. “I am upset, of course, but I didn’t really know the guy that well, we only hired him last week. Our bassist, Stix,” he turned to Brass again “that’s Steve Nixon, has a sister and she used to be our manager. But she got pregnant, so we hired Roger to take over. This tour is major for us, until now we‘ve been playing the worst dives you can imagine, so to open for Black Reign is a huge deal. No one in the band would do anything to jeopardise that.”

David popped his head around the door and cleared his throat to get their attention. Nick walked back into the small room to hear the findings. “So, what have you got for me, SuperDave?”

David indicated to the body. “Liver temperature indicates that he’s been dead approximately 4 hours. There’s no obvious signs of trauma or injury, and his airway is clear. He is cyanotic, so it may have been a heart attack. We’ll know more when we post.”

Nick took a closer look at the man‘s blue lips, nodding. “OK, thanks David. I’ll finish processing the room, make sure we’ve got everything. I’ll see you back at the morgue.”

Nick turned in time to see Gray walking past the doorway. They shared a moment of eye contact, making Nick’s heart beat wildly, before he disappeared down the corridor. Nick sighed with relief. He could do without the distraction of Gray hanging around.


The chill of the morgue made the hair on the back of Nick’s neck stand on end, and he pulled his lab coat tighter around his body, shivering slightly. He made his way to the autopsy table, where Doc Robbins was just finishing with the body of Roger Cartwood. Nick nodded to the older man. “Hey Doc. You got cause of death for me yet?”

He nodded, pointing to the still - open chest. “Massive heart attack. Take a look at these arteries, they’re completely blocked. This man was a walking time bomb.”

Nick leaned forward to take a look. “You got that right. I’ll tell Brass, he can notify his next-of-kin and the members of the band he managed. Thanks Doc.”

As he left the morgue he fingered the card in his pocket, the card that Gray had given him. He took it out and looked at it, wondering if he should call him and tell him the results in person, but he knew that it would just be an excuse to talk to the young man again. “Bad idea.” he said to himself as he threw the card in the trash. He ignored the sinking disappointment he felt at knowing he would never see Gray again.


Nick stifled a yawn as he let himself collapse into the padded leather booth of his favourite diner. The waitress took his order for coffee, smiling at the need for caffeine evident in his voice and promising to rush the order. Nick rubbed his face with both hands and didn’t look up when he sensed someone standing beside him, figuring it was the waitress with his coffee.

“Hey Nick.”

Nick jumped slightly at the familiar voice, his head snapping up to see who it was. He was surprised to find Gray staring down at him, a hint of a smile on his full lips. He looked different, his hair pulled back into a messy ponytail and dark glasses propped on top of his head. He was dressed in tight black jeans and a white vintage Gun’s n Roses t-shirt.

“Gray… What are you doing here?” he stammered, feeling that same flip of attraction that he’d felt back at the crime scene.

The singer seemed to take that as an invitation and dropped into the booth opposite Nick. “I just came in for some coffee, I thought it was you sitting here. You finished work?”

Nick nodded, smiling at the waitress who had finally brought his much needed coffee. Gray ordered a coffee called Blue Hawaiian that Nick had never heard of, but the diner didn’t have it so he had to settle for a generic brand. He smiled at the look of disdain on Gray’s face at the thought of it, and took a sip of his own coffee before speaking. “You were told that your manager had a heart attack?”

Gray nodded. “It’s a shame, he was a nice guy. Seemed like he could have been a good manager too. And he was only in his fifties, it sort of makes you think, you know? Carpe Diem and all that. If you see something you want, you should go after it.”

Nick couldn’t help but notice that Gray seemed to be flirting with him, the way he was looking at him seemed to indicate that Nick was the thing he was going after.

Nick leaned forward, trying to change the subject in case he gave in to temptation and grabbed the young man, kissing him right there in front of all the other customers. “Hey, how come you seemed to know the right things to do to preserve the crime scene? Most of the time whoever finds the body will inevitably do something to mess it up. But you didn’t.”

Gray shrugged. “After I graduated from Stanford I interned in a crime lab back in San Francisco for a while. I’ve always had an interest in science and forensics, but then the band started to take off and I realised that I couldn’t do both. I had to make the decision, did I stay on and become a DNA tech, or did I commit to the band full time on the off-chance that we might actually be successful.”

Nick smiled. “Looks like you made the right choice.”

Gray repeated his shrug, looking somewhat wistful. “Yeah, well, to be honest, I wonder. I mean, I love being in the band, love performing, but sometimes being on the road is a pain. You know, I sometimes I think about where I could have been now if I’d decided to stay on at the crime lab. I was pretty good at it you know.”

Nick nodded, believing him. “I’m sure you were. So how did you get into the band in the first place?”

Gray laughed. “It’s a funny story actually. I was dating this guy who was their original singer. I used to go to rehearsals with him, but one time he had laryngitis, so they asked me to stand in while they rehearsed. By the end of that day I was their new singer but minus one boyfriend. So, I said goodbye to a life in science and became a rock star, got a new name, a new image… but I guess I kinda lost myself somewhere along the way.”

Nick noticed the easy way that Gray had referred to his sexuality. He was obviously out of the closet, unlike Nick, who usually kept his experiences limited to nameless guys in club bathrooms.

Gray leaned forward, closing the small space between them. “Of course, choosing the band definitely has it’s up side.” His brown eyes sparkled with obvious intent. “If I was still stuck in some lab somewhere, then I wouldn’t have met you.”

Nick blushed slightly as the guy shifted one leg in between Nick’s thighs underneath the table. Nick cleared his throat, trapping the leg in place “I guess not. So, how much longer are you in town for?” He couldn’t quite believe that he was asking that question, but Gray definitely seemed interested.

Gray licked his lips suggestively. “We leave this evening. Until then, I’m all yours.”

Nick threw some bills down on the table as they jumped out of the booth, the spark between them driving them both crazy. All Nick knew was that he had to get out of there, had to feel Gray’s hot lips across his skin, feel those hands on his body.


They raced to the hotel, and barely got into Gray’s room before he was pinned against the door, warm wet tongue plundering his mouth, hands tearing at his clothes.

“Fuck.” Nick moaned into the open mouth.

“That’s the plan.” Gray smirked as he kept kissing him. They tumbled their way to the king-sized bed and Gray twisted their bodies at the last second so Nick was once again pinned underneath him.

He pulled off Nick’s black shirt, kissing a burning trail across the slab chest, flicking a wet tongue over his nipples and blowing cool puffs of air across them, making the pink skin around the hard nubs pucker and darken.

Nick ran his hand through Gray’s hair, loosening the ponytail and letting the long hair tumble down, tickling his stomach as Gray continued to devour him, working his way down over his muscled abdomen, licking the sharp contours that rippled beneath the skin.

Nick had never felt such an intense need to touch someone, such an intense need to be touched. He wanted Gray so badly that all sense and logic had left his brain and rushed, along with the heated blood, straight to his groin.

They were a blur of tongues and teeth, lips and tangled limbs fighting to feel more, to touch more, the need always for more overwhelming them.

Before he realised what was happening he was completely naked, with the equally naked body of Gray writhing on top of him, biting at the hollow of his neck, his hands roaming all over the exposed tanned skin. “I want you so much.” he moaned as Gray salved the bite marks with his tongue.

Gray fumbled blindly in the bedside cabinet, and triumphantly returned with condoms and a small bottle of lube. Nick noticed that it was unopened, and he felt a small wave of relief wash over him. Gray hadn’t slept with anyone else since arriving in Vegas, at least.

Gray poured a generous amount of the lube over his fingers, and gently circled one finger against the cleft in Nick’s cheeks. “Are you ready?” he growled. Nick could only nod, looking down at this beautiful creature before him, wanting him. Taking him.

He gasped as the finger swirled around the tight channel, probing him. “Another one.” he managed to say. Gray carefully added another finger, working him open, warming those tight muscles, readying him.

Gray’s patient attention was driving Nick wild with need. He couldn’t wait anymore. “Please….” he begged. “I need more.”

Gray shot him a satisfied look, making sure that Nick had a good view of him ripping the condom wrapper open with his teeth and sliding the rubber down over his thick shaft. He worked more slippery lube over it with his fist, and Nick twisted himself until he was lying on his stomach, his head turned so he could still see the show that Gray was putting on for him.

Gray positioned himself against Nick’s entrance, and leaned forward to whisper in his ear. “I’m going to fuck you until you scream.”

Nick inhaled sharply as he felt the blunt head of Gray’s cock pressing into him, pushing against the ring of muscle until he was inside. He pushed against the sensation by instinct, which seemed to help the singer enter him.

“Jesus, you’re tight.” Gray panted, beginning to thrust. Nick felt the delicious sensation of being completely filled, then the ache as the pressure disappeared again as Gray pulled out almost to the tip before thrusting back in again.

“Oh, God.” he moaned. “Harder.”

Gray was still talking. “I wanted to do this from the moment I saw you backstage last night. I haven’t stopped thinking about you, about screwing you like this.”

Nick cried out as the tip of Gray’s cock began to rub across that amazing bundle of nerves buried deep inside him. His hardened cock was dripping with iridescent beads of precum, soaking into the crisp hotel sheets. Gray pumped harder, babbling incoherently about Nick’s body as he plunged in and out of him.

Nick could feel Gray’s thrusts becoming more erratic, he knew that the young man was close. He could feel the white heat building in his own spine and flashing forward into his balls. He let the sensations overwhelm him as the orgasm built, emitting what could only be described as a roar when he finally came. Gray wasn’t far behind and he collapsed on to Nick’s back, trembling.

He pulled out gently and tossed the condom in the trash, rolling back across the bed until their bodies were touching again. Nick turned and faced him. “Hey.” he blushed, not really knowing what else to say.

“Hey yourself.” Gray smiled, those beautiful brown eyes gleaming, his skin flushed and damp, his lips swollen from their frantic kissing. He reached out and played with Nick’s dark brown hair, twisting it around his fingers. “Can I get you anything? A beer, or some water?”

Nick shook his head, not wanting to lose the heat of Gray’s body against him. “What time is it?” he mumbled drowsily.

Gray reached across and checked his watch that was sitting on the nightstand. “It’s just gone midday.” He groaned softly. “I’ve only got six hours before I have to check out. Do you feel like hanging around?”

The CSI couldn’t stop the lazy grin that dominated his face. “Yeah. I’d like that.”

Gray yawned and stretched, pulling the sheet around them both. “I’m wiped. Come on, let’s grab an hour or two.”

Nick let Gray throw a leg across his thighs as he nuzzled into his neck. The last thing he remembered was running his fingers through that long tousled hair before drifting off to sleep.


Nick awoke to the sensation of Gray running his fingers up and down his chest as he lay spooned behind him. He shifted into the embrace, moaning at the tingling in his balls at the touch. He craned his neck to kiss the younger man, pressing his backside into the hardness behind him. They kissed and fumbled and explored until they ended up having slow, lazy sex, the complete opposite to the frantic fuck they had shared before.

Nick had had his fair share of one night stands in his time, but he’d never felt such an intense connection to another person. He knew nothing about Gray, except he was from California and his real name was Greg. But he knew everything he needed to know when that talented tongue twisted around his mouth, exploring every inch of him. He didn’t want to think about the fact that in a couple of hours his lover would be gone. He couldn’t explain how those eyes, dark like melted chocolate, seemed to see deep into his very soul. It was almost as if he’d known this man for years.

Those last two hour went much too quickly, and it was time for the band to be checking out. Nick was searching under the bed for his missing shoe, having given up looking for the socks that seemed to have disappeared completely, while Gray packed his belongings into a suitcase, the silence echoing almost painfully around the room.

Finally Gray spoke. “I’ve had a great time with you, Nick. I just wish I could stay longer.”

Nick returned from under the bed, clutching the shoe. He tossed it onto the bed and grabbed Gray’s face in both hands, pulling him in for passionate kiss. A knock on the door and a shout from outside forced them apart. “That’s Stix.” Gray sighed. “I have to go.”

Nick nodded, letting his hands drop to his sides. “OK. I’ll just finish getting dressed and I’ll be gone.”

Gray pulled him back in for another kiss, then zipped up his suitcase. “Take as long as you need, but I really have to run. You still have my number, right?”

Nick shook his head, his cheeks flushing. “I…. I tossed it. I didn’t think I’d ever see you again.”

Gray laughed. “It’s OK. Here, hold out your hand.” Nick did so, and Gray scribbled something on the skin on the back of his hand. Nick recognised it as the cell phone number he’d thrown away. Underneath the number was scrawled ‘Greg’.

Nick fumbled in his pocket and pulled out his wallet, taking out his own card. “Here. If you’re ever back in Vegas, you can look me up. That’s if you remember me when you’re a big star.”

Gray leaned forwards and kissed him softly. “I can promise you this much Nick. I’ll never forget you.” He picked up the suitcase, and with one last look back to the Texan, left the room.

Nick stared at the closed door, sighing. He sat back down on the bed, his head in his hands. He had a feeling he would never forget this day either.

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