|Sleep With Me
Author: RhiannonWrites PM
Coffee spills. Grissom's car is in the shop. Sara listens to quasi-pop music. Why does Grissom own tee shirts that are too big? Because otherwise Sara would be naked. Silly summary; serious story. GSR; M for language and suggestiveness. R&R, and I'm yoursRated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Romance - Gil G. & Sara S. - Words: 7,147 - Reviews: 24 - Favs: 28 - Follows: 2 - Published: 09-15-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4540237
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: The time frame of this story is somewhat nebulous; canonically, it should probably take place late season five or early season six, but it does not matter. No spoilers, unless you forgot that Sara asked Grissom to dinner at the end of season three...and I know you didn't.
The song Sara is listening to in the car is Sarah McLachlan's "Ice"; I recommend reading the lyrics and/or listening to the song before reading, if you are so inclined. As per my writing style, I listened to "Ice" about sixty-four thousand times while writing this piece, and its lyrics and emotional tenor are probably reflected in my writing. Music is a profound part of my life and colors much of my creative efforts. Anyway...I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I have been saving for six weeks now, and my penny jar is only half full. So, for the time being, CBS owns everything CSI-related, and I borrow them for sheer entertainment. But I'm keeping an eye on the curb. As Catherine once said: "People throw things away every day." I'm hoping for the brown leather couch...with a Grissom stuck under the cushions.
I was silent as I entered the room, silent as I closed the door carefully behind me. Exhausted, his head had fallen forward to pillow on his arms, and he was dozing, still seated at his desk. I would not disturb him, would not call attention to my presence just for the sake of staring, however briefly, into his eyes. My fingers closed over the file I needed, and I slipped it between my arm and my body, cradling my coffee in the other hand. I allowed myself a luxury then, letting my gaze sweep down over his hair, his hands, his bearded cheek. My lips pressed together as I imagined laying them against that cheek, and I turned to go.
His voice was soft and heavy with sleep. I inhaled and turned back, forcing nonchalance.
"Sorry to wake you. I just needed a file."
He leaned back in the chair, rubbing a hand over his weary face. I tried not to study those hands too closely, tried not to imagine the whorls of his fingerprints pressed into my skin like intimate, invisible tattoos. "What file?"
I held it up, balancing my drink precariously. "The DB from Houston and 83rd. Don't worry about it; Nick and I have everything under control. Why don't you go home and get some rest?"
He shook his head, his mind already drifting away from me, eyes combing over the piles of paperwork threatening to topple over on the corners of his desk. "I have a lot to do here. Probably a good thing you woke me up."
I nodded and turned to go. Every moment in his presence lately was torturous, and I was eager to escape to the simplistic camaraderie of time with Nick.
I turned back once more. "Yeah."
He nodded to my cup. "Coffee?"
I nodded. "Greg actually made some. It's delicious." I hesitated. "Do you want me to get you some?"
"No, I can get it myself. Just curious."
I forced a small chuckle. "As if I drink anything but. I'll see you."
One more half-pirouette was apparently the last temptation of fate. The toe of my shoe caught on the foot of one of the chairs near the desk and I tripped, my hot coffee splashing open and spreading wet heat over my dark blue shirt. I cursed, then flushed at doing so in front of him. My fingers fumbled to pull the damp fabric away from my breasts and stomach.
"Are you all right?" He was beside me, his face concerned. He took the file and cup from my hands and set them on the offending chair.
"I'm fine. Just clumsy. I'm going to go change." I could not decide if I was more embarrassed or in pain. His hands came up then, gently tugging the hem of my shirt out of my pants and lifting the rapidly cooling cloth even further from my skin.
My eyes shot up, and I knew I was doing a poor job of hiding my shock at the intimacy of his gesture. He was not looking at my face, but at the reddening flesh of my chest above the collar of my shirt. "Are you burned?"
I shook my head, not trusting my voice, and he finally looked up into my eyes. I wondered what we looked like from the hall—standing close together, his head slightly lower than mine as he hovered over me, his hands lifting my shirt away from my body, our eyes locked in a gaze fraught with unreadable emotions. I stepped back, almost too hastily. "I'm not burned."
He seemed to come back to himself then, realizing how instinctive and familiar his reaction had been. He stepped back as well. "Good." He cleared his throat. "Maybe I'll skip the coffee."
There was nothing else I could say. I grabbed the file, left the mostly empty cup, and strode from the room. I knew him well enough to know he would be standing there still, staring after me, his scientist's mind running through the events and trying to make sense of them, evaluating and filing away scents, gestures, tones. Sometimes I wondered if he considered me a mystery; other times I was certain I was some bizarre experiment in human behavior to him. I let the door snick shut behind me and hurried as quickly as I could to my locker.
Yanking off my shirt, I glanced down at my skin. Splashes of red decorated my chest above my bra, and my stomach below. I winced as I ran my fingers over the heated flesh. Maybe I was a little burned. I scowled at my bra. The taupe satin was stained, and possibly ruined. My fingers reached behind me to unhook it, sliding the straps from my shoulders.
He was walking into the locker room. Shit. Why was I taking off my bra in the locker room? A bathroom stall would have been a lot more private. I snatched the first piece of clothing that presented itself—a black tee shirt—and managed to press it to my chest before he appeared around the corner. His eyes widened and he immediately turned away.
His voice was a study in stumbling. "I'm sorry. I had no idea—that is, I wanted to be sure you were—that you weren't—"
I took advantage of his back being turned to pull the shirt over my head. It was snug, which was both good and bad in my current state. The tightness would add support, but do little to conceal. I grabbed my vest to try and counteract that. "I'm fine, Grissom. And you can turn around now."
He turned back, his face expressionless, but I caught a hint of redness on the rims of his ears. "And you're sure you're okay?" At my raised eyebrows, he continued defensively, "You like to pretend you're a little tougher than you really are, Sara, and I realized a long time ago that if I want to keep you around, I have to push you to take care of yourself."
I was torn between retorting in annoyance and flushing at the truth of his statement. I picked something in the middle. Lifting my chin, I rolled my eyes. "Hello, pot? This is the kettle speaking. Right back at you."
He scowled slightly. "Touché. Glad you're all right." He walked away, leaving me clutching my vest and wishing I had the courage to hurl it after him.
The early morning air was still slightly cool when I walked out of the lab for the day. Pink and orange smears of sunrise were painted over the eastern sky, and I lifted my face to the whispering breeze in pleasure. I missed California sometimes, where the heat was moderated by cool wind and moisture from the nearby Pacific. Here in the desert, my skin and hair and lips were often parched, and I missed the peaceful murmur of ocean waves.
I stood there for long moments, my back leaning into the building, my eyes closed against the morning light. I let my fingers drift up into my hair and free it from its ponytail, feeling the breeze stir a few strands against my cheek as the weight settled onto my neck. Professional science nerd Sara Sidle gave way to a side of me I rarely indulged anymore. Almost unwilling to open my eyes, I walked slowly over to my car, slipping onto the warm seat and immediately lowering all the windows. Turning on the stereo, I pressed play through half-slitted eyes and let the soothing strains of Sarah McLachlan fill the vehicle. Angsty chick music was one of my more benign secrets, but a guilty pleasure I would still deny to any member of the team. It did not really suit my image.
The soft tap of fingers against steel roused me, and I lowered my sunglasses and looked up. Grissom stood just outside my door, bent over slightly to peer through the open window. "Sara, you okay?"
My fingers fumbled for the volume knob as I swiftly silenced the music. "Yeah. Just tired, I guess." I would never confess to him that I was giving in to such silly sensualities as sorrowful pop music and morning breezes.
"Too tired to drive?"
I shook my head, suddenly nervous that he would try to offer to take me home. "No. No, I'm really fine. You're going to have to trust me."
He smiled slightly. "I do." I watched his eyes roam over my hair, and was suddenly self-conscious. It was probably a tangled mess at this point in the day. I pushed it back from my face and smiled as brightly as I could.
"Well, goodnight." Even those it was morning, the sentiment seemed less harsh than goodbye, and good morning rang with a brightness I did not feel, and an intimacy I did not care to imply. He cocked his head.
"Actually, I was wondering if I could impose on you just this once. My car is in the shop, and Catherine had to leave early to see Lindsey off to school."
I wanted to refuse so badly that the words trembled on my lips. I knew he lived a good forty-five minutes from the lab, and I was not sure I wanted to subject myself to whatever awkwardness was sure to raise its ugly head during the long drive. But how could I say no? I found myself nodding my head.
"Yeah. Get in."
He slid easily into the seat beside me. I waited for him to ask me to put up the windows, but he never did. After a moment's hesitation, I shifted into drive and guided us out of the parking lot. Keeping my eyes on the road was going to be a really good excuse for not looking at him, and I was about to spend the better part of an hour pretending to be a very attentive driver.
"What were you listening to?"
My eyes widened slightly. "Nothing."
I could see his eyes narrow in my peripheral vision. "Funny. It sounded a lot like music. I didn't think my hearing was that bad."
I wondered if the joke was painful to make, or if the self-deprecation was the only way he knew to move past that potentially life-altering situation. I kept my face carefully neutral. "It isn't. The CD is still in there. Just turn the volume up."
He obeyed, and the rich soprano voice poured out of my speakers, caressing high notes and vowels in the unique way she had that made her most depressing music heart-wrenchingly beautiful. I fought between embarrassment at the revelation that I listened to modern pop, and the desire I always had to sing along with female vocalists. I bit my lip slightly and concentrated on the road.
A song I recognized but could not remember the name of began, and I wondered briefly if Grissom was hating this, as he did Greg's music, or if he would find the sensual sounds of the guitar and saxophone appealing enough not to turn the stereo off. I glanced at him swiftly, out of the corner of my eye, and he was leaning back into the seat, his eyes closed, a slight wrinkle creasing his brow the only indication that he was other than asleep. I reached for the volume knob, thinking perhaps the crease was irritation, but his hand reached out and caught mine before I could silence the song.
"Leave it. I'm listening."
I dropped my hand back to the steering wheel, the brief touch of his fingers tingling against my skin. My brain, fumbling for something else to fixate on, caught some of the words to the song on which he was concentrating, and I felt color rise in my cheeks.
The only comfort is the moving of the river
You enter into me, a lie upon your lips
Offer what you can; I'll take all that I can get…
I reached over once more and turned the volume knob to off, yanking it so hard that it almost came off in my hand. I had to slam on the brakes then to keep from rear-ending the car braking in front of me for the red light, and the combination of forceful reactions made his eyes fly open.
I had expected him to scold me for driving carelessly, or question me on why I had silenced the music. His baritone voice and thoughtful words were slipping instead into the dangerous realm of the personal, and I affected a light tone.
"Just hate that song."
When he did not respond, I turned to look at him. His lips were pursed slightly, and I recognized the look as his I-don't-quite-believe-you expression. He tilted his head a bit and, without meeting my eyes, said, "Always, or just when I'm listening?"
The car ahead of me released its brakes, and I pressed my foot to the gas with slightly more pressure than necessary. "I don't know." I dug my fingers into the steering wheel. I had not been intending on honesty.
"I don't hate all modern music, Sara. I was actually enjoying it."
"Hardly." He leaned forward slightly, his fingers reaching for the stereo controls. My own hand shot out before I could stop it, and I closed it over his.
I felt rather than saw him raise his eyebrows. "You're very touchy this morning."
He did not move his hand. "You thought I wouldn't like it because of the style?"
I allowed myself a brief nod. His hand turned slightly in mine, and my breath caught when I felt his finger move slightly against my palm. "But you like this style."
Another swift nod, and the heat of admission stained my face. The errant finger seemed to be traveling delicately toward my wrist. "So why do you hate that song?"
I struggled to keep my attention on the road. His fingers were definitely caressing my palm now, with his thumb brushing over the pulse in my wrist. He could have been trying to slip his hand free while I was distracted to win the stereo war, but the purpose was less important than the havoc his touch was creating in my body.
"I'm going to guess it was the lyrics."
My stomach tightened. Most people could not understand lyrics fully the first time they listened to a song, and I had not expected he would have caught them. I should have known better; he was a man of words as much as science.
He released my hand suddenly, and I let it drop to my thigh, the muscles too weak to even cling to the steering wheel. He leaned back in his seat once more.
"I thought they were very thought-provoking."
Nothing. I would say absolutely nothing. He was trying to be provoking, for whatever reason, and I was not going to play this game.
We moved onto the interstate, and the hot morning air whipped into the car, providing me a curtain of my own hair as it danced around my face. Maybe he would fall asleep now. I drove in silence, my heart beating out a staccato pattern against my chest.
I turned my face toward him, startled. He almost never apologized. "For what?"
"I made you uncomfortable. I shouldn't have pushed you to let me listen to the song." He hesitated, his tongue darting out over his lips, as if he was debating over whether or not to continue. With a deep breath, he did. "I suppose sometimes I think that I'll learn more about you if I make you go to places you try to avoid. We can discover quite a lot from what makes others nervous or angry or afraid, sometimes more than we can by learning what they love. But it's unfair of me to force you to open up to me."
"It's fine," I murmured automatically, my mind reeling. His hand tentatively covered mine where it still lay motionless on my leg.
"Sara, you should tell me when I cross a personal line. Sometimes I can't tell." His voice was so soft I had to strain to hear it over the roaring of the wind rushing past.
"Will do," I replied, slipping my hand out from beneath his and gripping the wheel once more. Stupid song.
Not soon enough, we were in his parking lot, and I maneuvered into a guest spot. His hand hesitated on the handle of the door. "Thanks for the ride. Do you—" He stumbled, began again. "Do you want to come up for a minute? The least I can do is get you some water or tea or something."
I started to shake my head, but there was a very odd look on his face. Inhaling a breath of acrid desert air, I nodded once and slipped out of the car. He led the way across the lot and up the stairs to his apartment, and I followed on autopilot, letting my beleaguered higher brain functions shut down.
His home was cool and shadowy, blinds drawn against the bright morning light. A ceiling fan stirred the air; the faint scent of chemicals and fresh earth wafted from down the hall. I imagined he had an office there, filled with shadow boxes and the bodies of carefully preserved insects. I tried to repress a slight shudder, focusing instead on the beautifully displayed butterflies on the living room walls.
"What do you want?"
"Water is fine."
He came back with two glasses, translucent with a faint blue tint. Ice tinkled lightly against the sides as he handed it to me, his eyes very focused on mine. I let my gaze fall to the floor and lifted the water to my lips. Even though there was not the slightest scent of salt in the cold liquid, I suddenly, terribly, missed the ocean. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the sensation of the fluid sliding down my throat.
His fingers were suddenly on my skin, tracing the deep vee of my black shirt, and I could feel the slight sting that meant the flesh beneath his fingertips was, in fact, at least a little scorched. My heart stuttered, and I reminded myself that he was a scientist, that he was a concerned boss, that he was a friend. The sensation of his roughly calloused fingers argued loudly with me as it sent weakness cascading into my knees.
"You should put something on this when you get home," he said quietly, and as suddenly as he had touched me his hand was gone, and he was taking a sip of his own water. I set my glass down on the table near the door, just a little too hard.
"I will. Thanks. You should get some sleep."
He did not lower his glass, looking at me over the rim, his eyes slightly hooded. With a final swallow, he set it beside mine, fingers coming up to wipe away the moisture from his lips. His head was cocked slightly, and I felt like one of his bugs, squirming beneath him, impaled on a pin.
"I'm not ready to sleep."
His lips on mine were warm and firm, and when I gasped in shock, his hand pressed into the small of my back. He kissed me tenderly, thoroughly, but never let his tongue slip past my lips, even at that first gasp. I could not close my eyes, could not pull away, and he kept his eyes open as well, so that each time he leaned back slightly before moving in for another kiss our eyes met, a collision of brown and blue.
It was seconds that truly seemed to stretch on for hours, and when he stepped away my heart was thudding against my chest and my hands were trembling. My voice tried to betray me, to break, to fail me, but I swallowed hard and forced the words to come. "I should go."
"I'd rather you stayed."
Every dark night, alone in a room filled with hot desert air that stirred the curtains on my open window and washed over my uncovered skin, I dreamed of this. Faced with reality, my uncertainty was paralyzing. I knew him, had known him for years. He was reticent, cautious, closed off to emotion and especially to me. Friendship and flirting were as far as he had ever been willing to go, and lately even that had vanished from our working relationship, leaving nothing but awkwardness and misplaced anger. The abrupt about face, the touching, the kiss—it was terrifying me.
He moved in closer until I had to step away, had to come to a stop against his door, my back flush with the cool surface. A wry smile tugged at the corner of his lips. "I should think I made that rather apparent a moment ago."
Something broke inside me. He could smile, he could be cool and calm and collected and so thoroughly, completely Grissom while I melted down internally and waited for the punch line. It was completely unfair. I whirled, my hand fumbling for the doorknob. The door had opened only a few inches before his hand came up beside my head and pushed it shut again. I was not about to struggle with him, knowing I would lose, and I leaned my forehead against the wood, letting a frustrated tear slip down my cheek.
"Do you really want to leave?" His voice was still calm and even, but I thought I detected a faint hint of insecurity lurking. I pounced on it, turning back to him, pressing myself as close to the door as I could to try and put some space between us.
"I just want to know what the hell you're doing." The words were harsh, but I could not try and pretend my confusion was absent. "I mean, I thought you turned me down for dinner because you weren't interested in me. If you just didn't want to waste the cash before fucking me, you should have said so."
His expression was one I had never seen before. Shock warred with rage, and I saw his hands clench by his sides. "I turned you down for the very reasons I expressed to you then. I didn't know what to do about what was happening between us, about the interest you were showing in me. I lacked your confidence, and I was attempting to maintain some sort of professionalism in our relationship. But you make it very difficult for me, Sara." Anger was seeping into his voice with each word. "And you do it purposefully. You punish me when I don't respond to you the way you want me to, and half the time I can't even figure out what it is I've done to upset you. You wanted something from me that I was not prepared to give…then. Things change."
I winced back, unable to melt properly into the door as I longed to. He saw my face and lowered his voice, losing none of the intensity coloring it. His eyes were tight when he murmured, "But I did not ask you in to fuck you."
He had never used that word in front of me before, and I felt the color draining from my face. I fumbled again for the doorknob behind me, but he caught at my shoulders and pulled me away from the door. "No, Sara. You don't get to walk away this time. Sit down."
My chest hurt; my eyes were burning. I wanted to run away from the expression on his face. "Grissom—please."
And his anger was gone, just like that. It washed away, vanished, and his fingers were touching the trail of wetness my solitary tear had left on my face. His expression was rueful.
"Do you think it's possible for us to ever move past this?" he asked, not meeting my eyes. I felt my heart splinter.
"Sure. If I leave Vegas."
Blue eyes darted to mine, widening. "Leave?"
"It's probably the only way, honestly."
"Sara…" He cleared his throat. "I don't want to get past everything."
I let my confusion show. With another throat clearing, he gently took my hand, pressing his lips to the back of it. "I want to get past the anger, the regret, the fear. I want to see what's on the other side of the madness." His lips were warm, soft, and my body was softening again at his touch. "But I don't think we can do that if you're gone."
The words slipped out before I could stop them, filled with my longing and desperation. He paused with his lips against the center of my palm. Without lifting his head, he whispered into my skin, "I am sure."
I drew his head up this time, seeking out his lips. He kissed me just as passionately and chastely as before, never forcing his way into my mouth. Briefly I wondered if he ever kissed more deeply, and realized that he would never have to. I was already trembling from the skill with which he moved his mouth against mine, the delicious pressure of his lips.
I let my hands wrap around the back of his neck, running strands of iron-grey hair through my fingers. His hands were on my hips, gently holding me to him, and I fought the urge to arch them up into his when he lightly kissed right over the pulse point of my throat. The glorious blend of passion and reverence was sending my senses reeling.
And then he was ever so gently pushing me away, and I let my eyes flutter open. His face was very serious. "Do you remember what you asked me after the Kaye Shelton case?"
I felt a very heated blush creep up my cheeks, even though it had been years. "Yeah. I was annoyed at your matter-of-fact response, and I was trying to shock you."
Grissom smiled slightly. "You succeeded." He dropped his eyes. "I hesitate to even hint at how my mind raced before you clarified." He laid a hand tenderly against my face. "But when you did, I realized that whatever else either of us wanted, in that moment you were talking about just sleeping beside each other."
I nodded, the corners of my mouth lifting in an ironic gesture. "Yeah. Sometimes another body beside you is the only thing that keeps the nightmares at bay." I sucked in a breath. "Sometimes not even that is enough."
He nodded lightly. "I told you that I didn't bring you here to seduce you." I could not help but grin at his word substitution. Apparently fuck was only for the angry moments. "And I didn't. But I'd like to take you up on that previous suggestion, if the offer still stands."
"You want to sleep with me?" Same words, slightly more astonished tone.
"Yes, Sara." My breath caught in my throat at the words. "If you'll stay."
I followed him down the hall to his bedroom, trying to decide my primary emotion and failing. I was torn. I felt overwhelmed, pleased, terrified, and oddly rejected. He just wanted to sleep beside me. He wanted to sleep beside me. He wanted to sleep beside me. I shook my head at the warring feelings.
The room was cool and dark, the comforter on his bed a rich navy. I glanced down at my jeans and black shirt, wondering if I could sleep in them. I looked up as he crossed the room, tugged something out of a dresser drawer, laid it out on the bed. It was a thick oversized white t-shirt; one I could tell just from sight was too big even for him. I was tall, but it would still come to mid-thigh. I looked up, a question in my eyes.
He shrugged easily. "My mother is a bad judge of clothing size. I think it's the closest thing to sleepwear I have for a woman."
I reached for the shirt, my fingers cold and trembling. "Grissom…"
He moved around the bed, resting a gentle hand against my cheek. "Sara, I don't want anything from you but your presence." His thumb brushed lightly against the shadows under my eyes. "We're both very tired, and you're at least a little injured."
I sighed. "What is this to you?" I hated how demanding my voice sounded, laced with neediness. I could not reconcile his kisses with this behavior, this request to share his bed but not my body.
He smiled faintly. "Let it go, Sara. We're not in the lab. Stop analyzing."
I stared at him in shock. Gil Grissom was telling me to stop analyzing something?
He left the room, stepping into the master bathroom and closing the door quietly. I debated for a moment, then unbuttoned my pants and let them fall to the floor, stepping out as I kicked off my shoes. My shirt followed, pulled up over my head. Yanking the white tee on over my panties, I was pleased to see it was even longer than I had assumed, falling nearly to my knees and completely enveloping me in warm cotton. Unsure of what to do next, I busied my hands folding my clothes, laying them neatly in a pile beside the bed.
The bathroom door opened, and I caught my breath. I could not turn to face him. I wondered briefly if this was his plan, to seduce me with the simple intimacy in which I was now feeling enveloped. Passionate sex would have been amazing, and after his kisses, it had been what I was hoping for, expecting. Instead, he was slowly luring me in, offering me a night in his home, his bed, his clothes, wooing me with closeness. And it was working. My nerves were on fire, more than they would have been with the touch of his hands. I licked my dry lips. I thought I had wanted him before. I thought I had wanted him for years. All that desire paled in the face of what I was feeling now, standing in his bedroom, waiting to lie down beside him.
"You're probably cold," he said quietly. "Come on."
I slid under the covers, still keeping my eyes averted. The bed was warm, and as he lowered himself beside me and under the comforter as well, I fought the urge to roll over and press myself against him. My own words from years before echoed in my head.
You want to sleep with me? That way, when I wake up in a cold sweat under the blanket, hearing Kaye's screams, you can tell me it's nothing. It's just empathy.
I turned then, facing him. He lay on his side, looking at me. I could see a black tee shirt and wondered what was below it—boxers? Sweatpants? Not nothing—this was Grissom. But after today, I would never assume I knew him again.
"What are we doing?"
The corners of his lips twisted upward. "Hopefully, sleeping. Do you snore?"
So matter-of-fact, the slight teasing tone. I clenched my hands into fists.
"I don't know. It's been a long time since anyone's been in a position to tell me."
"Well, let's hope for the best." He curled his arm up, pillowing his head on it. He looked like a little boy suddenly, despite the beard and the lines around his eyes. I lifted a hand, traced it over the line of his jaw. His eyes drifted closed.
"Seriously," I repeated softly. I could not let it go. "Grissom, what are we doing?"
He let his eyes open again, but only halfway. "Sara, aren't you tired?"
I sat up abruptly, letting the blankets fall to my waist. "No. I'm not."
He sat up beside me with a faint sigh. "You're tenacious."
"And you love it." I had not meant to say that.
He laughed. "I do." My eyes widened, and he added, "More so at other times than right now, mind you."
"I just want to understand. I drive you home. You ask me up. You kiss me, completely unexpectedly. We argue, we make up. Now, you want me to fall asleep in your bed. This is—" I searched for the right words. "Profoundly surreal."
He shifted beside me, and abruptly I was on my back, his hands on my shoulders, his brilliantly blue eyes gazing into mine. "And you were expecting…this?" The heat in his gaze left me with no question as to what this was.
I nodded against the pillow, feeling my heart shuddering against my chest.
He rolled away to lie beside me once more, head again resting on his curled arm. "Not tonight, Sara. Just sleep."
My body protested, and then my lips. "But—"
He closed his eyes again, and I watched in disbelief as he slipped slowly but surely into a sound sleep. When his breathing was soft and heavy, I slipped out from beneath the covers and padded down the hall, coming to rest on the brown leather couch in his living room. I stared at the floor, mind reeling. Surreal did not even begin to cover it. All my fantasies and daydreams had never even touched on the weirdness that was this day.
Slipping down into a lying position on the slick leather, I curled my legs up beneath me in an almost fetal position. Sure, I would sleep. But not in his bed, where only confusion and enigma waited for me. After nearly an hour, I slid into a fitful sleep.
Her hand trembled on the cold metal, and I held my breath, thinking that maybe she would change her mind, that she would put away the knife and everything would go back to being normal again. I hated it when they fought, when he screamed and hit her, when he came to find me—but anything was better than this. She looked so angry…
And the world shattered, and everything was crimson. She could not stop crying…
I woke up with a shout, my hair damp from sweat and my body trembling. In seconds, Grissom was in the room, standing over me, dropping to his knees beside me. "Sara!"
"Just a bad dream," I whispered, but my hands were shaking as I tried to push my hair back from my forehead. He grasped them and held them tightly.
"What are you doing out here?"
"It was too much!" I gasped out, all my internal censors off duty in the wake of my terror. "Dammit, Gris, I couldn't figure out what the hell you were doing, what you wanted. I came out here as soon as you were asleep to try and get some space, some perspective. I guess I fell asleep."
"And had a nightmare." Did his voice sound angry? I turned confused eyes to his face, my lips twisting.
"Yes. Sorry for waking you." I could not keep the bitterness from my voice.
"This is exactly why I asked you to sleep beside me," he said furiously, standing and shoving a hand roughly through his sleep-disheveled hair. I had never seen him run his fingers through it like that before, and found myself momentarily distracted. "I know you have nightmares. I wanted to be there."
"Why? So you could quiz me when I woke up? What was it you said earlier—we can learn a lot from what makes others afraid? Was it some sort of fucking experiment?"
The horror on his face made me cringe, wishing I had kept my mouth shut. "Sara. No. No, of course not." He sat beside me heavily, his eyes weary. "I wanted to be there for you."
"To do what?"
He sighed. "To—to comfort you. To see if it helped, having me there with you."
"Because." His voice was so quiet that I had to strain to hear him. "Because I did not want our first night together—or morning, or whatever—to be strictly physical."
I wanted to laugh, but the sound would have been mirthless, and I held it back. "That's—pretty unusual for a guy."
His eyes burned into mine. "Am I just a guy to you?"
"No," I said simply, honestly.
"And you're not just an opportunity for sex to me," he said bluntly, and I felt faint color rise in my cheeks. His hand lifted, caressed my hair. "Sara, I'm not great at this sort of thing. But that conversation in my office, during the Shelton case—it stuck with me. When you asked your question of me, I reacted like a typical man. I thought you meant…well, you know what I thought you meant. It must have been obvious in my reaction."
I smiled at the memory. "A little."
"But what I have always remembered about that day is that what I thought you wanted and what you truly wanted were very different things. I thought you were suggesting sex; you were talking about intimacy." His fingers drifted down to my neck, just below my ear, and I felt my skin heat. "I want to give you what you want."
"Why today?" I blurted out, the roughness of my own voice surprising me. His touch on my skin was driving me crazy.
"Because today was not too late. And I didn't want to wait until tomorrow, when it might be." He brushed his thumb along my jaw. "There have been too many tomorrows."
I could not stop myself then. Turning to face him, I moved until I was straddling his lap, my head just above his so he had to angle it upward to look into my eyes. He looked startled just before a dark fire began burning in his eyes. I put my palms on either side of his face.
"I won't let you take this back," I said softly, my face serious.
"Wouldn't dream of it," he replied just as seriously, and I kissed him.
This time passion sparked and flamed, and I could not stop myself from running my fingers over his neck, his back, his shoulders and chest. He was warm and real and here, actually here. I nearly started crying at the thought. His own hands traced mindless patterns on my back, trailing delightful sensation in their wake. At last, his tongue slipped into my mouth, tangling with mine in gentle eroticism. Older men, I thought absently, were so very good at kissing…
"Sara." He was pulling back, his fingers still caressing my back. "I meant what I said before. I want to give you what you want."
I tried to drag myself out of my sensual euphoria. "Can't you tell what I want right now?" I let my hips press down into his a little as a hint, and watched him stifle a groan.
"Yes." His voice was curiously strangled, and I could not suppress a smile. "But please, let me do this for you." He was so earnest that the tears threatened again.
"And when we wake up?" I let my fingers tangle in his hair.
"When we wake up…" His eyes were a blue so intense that clichés leapt to mind left and right. "I will do whatever else you ask of me."
And I was kissing him again, unable to hold back from tasting him, touching him. His warmth, the smoothness of the skin on his neck, the roughness of his fingertips—it was all the most delicious drug, and I had abstained for a lifetime. I felt him trembling beneath me with the effort to hold back, to keep from pressing me down onto his couch or carrying me to his bed and finishing what my body so desperately wanted to finish. But hold back he did, and we broke apart, breathless.
"Sleep with me, Sara," he whispered, and I nodded, not trusting my voice.
The bed was still warm, rumpled from his sleep. I slipped under the covers more easily this time, tugging the comforter up to my breasts, rolling over to face him when he joined me. His arms came around me this time, and I let my head fall to his pillow, my cheek pressed to his chest, his lips in my hair.
"I am so in love with you."
I almost cried out, almost sat up. I knew the words had just slipped out before he thought, before he had time to analyze and withhold. He went very still beside me, as if he had just realized he had spoken aloud.
"I know," I said softly, not even lifting my eyes. "Me too."
His arms tightened around me, and I blinked back the tears that had finally escaped. His breath was warm on my scalp.
And I did.