Disclaimer: CSI and its characters are the property of CBS and Alliance/Atlantis Networks, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. I'm writing this story for entertainment purpose only. No copyright infringement intended.
Author's note: Well, after a Christmas fanfic I couldn't leave out a New Year's Eve story. Again a little early, but I hope you will like it.
Special thanks to Missy and Devanie for reading my story. You're the best!
English is not my native language. If you find an annoying writing error in this story, please email me (instead of mentioning it in a review) and I will correct it immediately. Thanks!
The Promise of a New Year
"Sara, want a glass of champagne?"
Sara gave a visible start. In the mirror's reflection she could see her pale complexion and the reluctance written all over her face. She didn't want to turn around; she wasn't in the mood to play nice. It had been wrong of her to come to this party. She should have stayed at home with the curtains closed, in one hand the remote controlto watch the Discovery Channel and in the other a nice, cold beer.
That would have been a lot better, but she had been foolish enough to go anyway, hoping that it would take her mind off other things, more disturbing things. Instead she was at this party, feeling just as crappy as when she'd left home.
Slowly she turned around. Catherine was standing behind her, two glasses in her hands. A warm expression lay in the woman's eyes. From the moment Sara had entered the room, she had sensed something was wrong.
"Don't you just hate these parties?" Catherine said casually, taking a sip of her drink. "Mingling with people we would normally avoid."
Sara's gaze wandered about the room. "You mean people like Ecklie?"
"You've read my mind."
"Why? What did he do?"
"Show up." Catherine took another sip.
A smile curled upon Sara's lips. She knew Catherine was trying to distract her and she appreciated that. They'd had a rough start, both unwilling to give up territory, but now she couldn't wish for a better female partner.
"Then why did you decide to come?"
Catherine shrugged. "For Lindsey. Better than sitting with her mother on the couch watching the reruns of Pokemon."
"It looks like she's having a good time."
Catherine turned around and followed Sara's gaze. Her features softened as she saw Warrick giving Lindsey a piggyback ride. Her daughter looked happy, laughing loudly. They were so good together.
Warrick was much better with Lindsey than Paul had ever been. He had tried, but Catherine knew that he'd wanted her all to herself. Lindsey belonged to her though; they came as a package deal. And it was the whole package or nothing. She had made that very clear to him.
Last week he'd told her that he couldn't handle an eight-year-old child. He wanted his own child. Not now, but one day. She hadn't stopped him; she hadn't tried to persuade him to stay. She had liked him, but she'd never loved him. And so it had been much easier to let him go. Still, it felt a little awkward to be standing here without him.
A deep frown appeared between her eyes when Catherine noticed a man standing only a few feet from them. His intense eyes were burning a hole in Sara's back.
"Don't look back, but there's a guy checking us out."
Of course Sara turned around. "Where?"
Catherine sighed. "God, as if we're cows at the market. Why do they always think that we're looking for someone? Is it that absurd that we might like to be alone?"
Sara's face clouded. Disturbing thoughts crawled back into her mind. She'd called Hank to be her date this evening. She had really wanted to have him here, to be part of her life and to meet her colleagues. He had declined though. In a way she'd already expected it. He'd told her that it didn't work out, that it was him, not her. All those cliché break up lines.
"I need some time apart, to think it all over."
She knew the real reason. He couldn't deal with her job. First the bag and the smell, then on their second date the finger. She couldn't blame him.
'Who wants a girlfriend whose life is surrounded by death and violence?'
Well, she could think of one person, but… She shook her head. It was pointless thinking of him. It wouldn't do her any good fantasizing about something that could never be.
Nevertheless, her gaze drifted off to the other end of the room. Grissom was talking to Brass, without a doubt about their last case. She let her eyes run over his appearance. He looked good in his suit, very distinguished and charismatic.
He fitted right in with the rest, but she knew that he was just as much an outsider as she was. They weren't good at this. Give them a microscope and they were happy. Socializing was not one of their strong points and so secretly she hoped for their beepers to go off. Maybe a robbery or even better, a skeleton in the desert. She loved bones.
Unfortunately her wish didn't come true. Instead she was confronted with the same man who had inspected them before. His hair was glued to his skull – had he never heard of too much gel – and his suit was impeccable. He was rather handsome, but everything was just too pretentious about him.
"Ladies, can I get you something to drink?" His voice was sensual, his smile seductive.
Catherine didn't deign to glance at him. She raised her glass. "As you can see, we've already been seen to."
The smile on the man's face froze at the sound of her voice. "My apologies." And he made a hurried exit.
Sara shook her head. "Poor man. He really thought he had a chance."
"He shouldn't think at all."
Their twinkling eyes met and they grinned mischievously.
"What's so funny?"
They both jumped at Warrick's voice. He was standing behind them, together with the rest of the team.
"What were you talking about?"
"Our attraction to the other gender," Sara joked. "Apparently we're hot!"
Nick rolled his eyes. "Sara, I thought you were coming with Hank?"
"So, where did you leave him?"
If looks could kill Nick would have been dead by then. Catherine really felt like kicking him. God, how ignorant could men be?
"We broke up." Only three words, but with an obvious emotional charge.
Nick colored. "Oh, I'm sorry."
As she looked the other way, Sara caught Grissom's glance. The expression in his eyes surprised her. It almost seemed as if they betrayed relief. As if he was happy that Hank was out of the picture.
A sudden anger took control over her. If he'd been so uncomfortable with her dating Hank then why hadn't he opened his mouth and said so? Why did he always have to be so secretive? Why did he never tell her how he truly felt? Maybe things would have been different then. Because if she would be completely honest with herself, she would admit that she'd only dated Hank to forget about the other man in her life.
The same man who didn't give a clue as to his feelings for her, who could disappoint her every time yet attract her like no man could. It was so damn frustrating. There were times she wanted to yell at him, strangle him, walk away and never come back. But then something always happened that only made her feelings for him even stronger. A touch, a comment…
'Since I met you.'
What did that mean? There was so much she wanted to ask him, there were so many 'whys', but she couldn't. All she could do was stare at him. Maybe her eyes said enough, because after a few seconds Grissom turned his head away.
It didn't make her feel any better though and she was glad when Brass changed the subject into something more light-hearted.
"So, did everyone make New Year's resolutions?" he asked. He placed his hands on his stomach. "I'm going to lose some weight."
Catherine gave him a dig. "Oh come on, Jim. A little more flesh looks good on you."
"Catherine, are you hitting on me?"
They all laughed heartily, including Sara.
"Warrick, what about you?"
"What about me?"
"Do you have any New Year's resolutions?"
"Yeah, no gambling!" Warrick stated. His voice was confident, leaving no doubt that he really meant it. They all knew why. Last year he'd gotten himself and Grissom into trouble with his gambling problem. Grissom had given him a second chance, so this year he wanted to start with a clean slate.
"This year more women!" Greg added to that. He put on an aggrieved expression when everyone burst into laughter. "I'm being serious here! This year I'm planning to find the mother of my children."
"Of course, Greggo." Nick gave lab boy a friendly slap on his back. "Sweet dreams."
Warrick just shook his head. "Cath, what's your New Year's resolution?"
"I haven't made one."
"You haven't?" some people said surprised.
"Is there nothing you want to change?"
Catherine shook her head. "Never doubt and never look back."
It was her motto. Life was too short to look back and have regrets. Besides, she had a lovely daughter, a fulfilling job, and wonderful colleagues. Why would she want to change anything?
"And you Sara?"
They all turned to Sara, who still hadn't said anything.
"I'm thinking of taking a photography course," she confessed a little reluctantly.
"Why? So you can make better pictures of our corpses?"
Nick gave Warrick, who was obviously very pleased with his joke, a high five.
"Funny, Warrick," Sara said, while giving him a poke in the ribs that made him moan. "No, I need a diversion."
Grissom jerked his head at that remark, his face betraying his surprise. Then he shot her a smile, one of his rare smiles, the one she hadn't seen in a very long time. It was so warm that it tightened her throat.
Unfortunately she never got to hear Grissom's New Year's resolution, because someone suddenly yelled: "It's almost time, people!"
They all turned to the clock and watched together as the final seconds of the year went by.
"TEN, NINE, EIGHT, SEVEN, SIX, FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE…. HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
Sara kissed Catherine on both cheeks, wishing her a wonderful New Year with Lindsey, who had fallen asleep in Grissom's office. "And don't worry about her imitating you. If she turns out just like her mother, she will be a wonderful person."
Catherine pulled her in a warm embrace and whispered: "And you stop worrying too. Trust me; he will notice this year."
Sara raised her eyebrows. Before she could ask Catherine what she meant by that and hear what she already knew, Nick grabbed her arm and turned her around.
"Happy New Year, Sara," he said mischievously and kissed her full on her mouth.
Of course Warrick couldn't back out and his kiss took even longer. "Mmmm, did anyone ever tell you that you are a wonderful kisser?"
Sara, a little breathless by the two kisses, pushed an errant strand of hair behind her ear. "Like a zillion times. And you're not so bad yourself."
From Ecklie she got a handshake. "Happy New Year, Miss Sidle," he muttered.
Then she stood face to face with Grissom. They both looked uncomfortable at each other. A handshake would be too impersonal, but to kiss him like Nick and Warrick had kissed her was also unthinkable. Well, not unthinkable, but she doubted whether it would be appropriate, especially with all those people standing around them. Maybe if they'd been alone…
In an impulse, taking a middle course, Sara threw her arms around him instead. "Happy New Year, Gris."
Grissom stiffened at having her so close to him. He could feel her warm body against his, every curve to be exact, and strong feelings surged through him. Without thinking twice he tightened his arms around her for just a few seconds longer than expected between boss and subordinate.
"Happy New Year, Sara," he said softly.
Sara's face crinkled into a smile. Maybe this year wouldn't be so bad after all. It had already gone off on the right foot; who knew what was lying ahead of her? Maybe exactly what she wanted.
I hope you liked my story. Please let me know what you think of it! Thank you! - Karin -