Author's note: My apologies for the delay. I had a small problem with my eye so I had to take some rest. That's why it's a little late. I want to thank everyone who has reviewed the first part of my story. It means a lot to me! Special thanks to my betas Geena, Missy and Devanie!
Sara entered his office without knocking. Grissom was still working, apparently on something that either couldn't wait or that offered him the desired distraction. Her eyes widened when she saw her Christmas tree still standing on his desk.
'He hasn't removed it.'
After his reaction of the other day she had not expected to see it here. He'd hated the thing and it was rather horrible, but he had accepted it for her.
For a moment her heart filled with hope, but when Grissom didn't even show that he had heard her coming in, her heart sank into her boots instead. An anger rose inside of her.
"Grissom, we need to talk." Her voice was formal.
Without looking up he asked: "About what?"
"What do you think?" she shot back.
Grissom took off his glasses and gave her a piercing look. His blue eyes were of ice. "Sara, if this is about the other night… I assumed you'd realize that it didn't mean anything. It was just…something that happened."
Sara gulped. In a way she'd already expected this reaction from him; she knew him better than anyone probably did. Still, expecting and receiving were two very different things. He had pushed her away again.
She tried to control herself, clenching her fists behind her back, but she couldn't stop the words from gushing from her lips.
"Is it really that easy for you to dismiss what happened as 'just something'? Wave it away, so you don't have to deal with it and God forbid, feel something?"
Grissom sighed. "Sara, I…"
At that moment Sara made a decision, being so sick and tired of playing games. Without thinking twice she came up to her supervisor and before he could say another word, she had already captured his lips with hers. This time it was Grissom who was totally caught off guard, but his soft gasp of surprise was soon swallowed as her kiss became more passionate.
He wanted to push her away. His whole body was screaming at him to stop her. He'd let his feelings run free one time, not so long ago to be exact, and he was afraid of doing it again. But her touch was more vehement than he had expected and no matter how strong he thought he was, he could never be strong enough to resist her. Soon he gave up all resistance and found himself kissing her back, matching her intensity.
When Sara felt his lips move under hers, she deepened their kiss. In a response Grissom placed his arm around her waist and pulled her closer, feeling her warm body against his. He could hear her slightly irregular heartbeat, breathe in her sweet scent, and feel the softness of her skin against his. His head was spinning, yet it had never felt so right.
While their tongues were playing their game, their hands did an exploration of their own. His left hand moved under her top, feeling her bare skin while the other tenderly caressed her face. His lips trailed kisses down her cheeks, her neck, then found her mouth again.
Just when he thought it was going to lead to something much more than was intended, Sara suddenly broke away. She touched her slightly swollen lips. Her eyes were shadowy as she looked at him. "Now tell me that that didn't mean anything."
All Grissom could do was stare at her, breathing heavily.
"That's what I thought." With that, knowing that she had made her point, Sara turned around and left his office.
Grissom sank down on his chair as soon as the door closed, not sure if his knees would hold him any longer. His hand trembled as he rubbed his face. What in God's name was that? A kiss, yes. That he knew for sure, but the emotions it had triggered were totally new. This time there'd been no dare. It had been passionate, a kiss between two people with feelings for one another.
"So, that was quite a show."
Grissom jumped up. Catherine was standing in the door opening, leaning against the doorpost, just like the day before. A knowing smile tugged at the corners of her lips.
He avoided her gaze. "What are you talking about?"
"I heard Sara yelling at you at the end of the corridor." Her eyes glistened of mischief. "Then it was quiet for some time. And when Sara came storming out of your office, flushed and with her shirt all crumpled… Well, you don't have to be a genius to figure out what happened here."
To her huge surprise and pleasure Grissom colored slightly. She had never seen him do that. He was actually shy. She shook her head. Wonders would never cease.
Grissom cleared his throat, trying to regain his composure. "Is there anything else you want to tell me?" He started to shuffle some papers. "I'm rather busy."
"Yeah, I can see that."
Sarcasm was dripping from her voice. "Look, I'm only going to tell you this once. The rest is up to you." This was Catherine, straight to business. "You like Sara. You have feelings for her."
Grissom wanted to protest at her assumptions, but she silenced him with her gaze. "Don't insult my intelligence, Gil. It's so obvious. Even the news delivery guy knows about the two of you."
Her colleague started to look more uncomfortable with each second and although it did make her feel sorry for him, she didn't stop. This needed to be said. Apparently it was up to her to do so.
"I don't know what happened between the two of you in the past and maybe I don't want to know. But I see you in here. You're not that young anymore. Don't tell me you want to spend the rest of your life alone when there's a woman like Sara waiting for you."
"I don't think this is an appropriate conversation, Catherine. So if you don't mind…"
"I do mind," she cut him short. "Sara is not going to wait forever, you know. You're pushing her away. Why?"
Grissom sighed, knowing that he couldn't get rid of her. Catherine could be a pit bull when she had her mind set on something. "Okay, I will play along. For now," he added quickly. "First of all I'm her supervisor."
"And I'm sure there's a solution for that."
"Second of all, I'm a lot older than she is." He knew how lame it sounded the moment he'd finished the sentence.
Catherine's eyes flashed. "Don't give me that crap. That's never been the problem and you know it. Do you want to know what I think is the real reason?"
"What if I say no? Will you go away?" Grissom asked wryly.
Catherine smiled sweetly. "Guess again. I think you're afraid. Afraid to feel. You're afraid that she will get too personal, and that she may hurt you just like someone else has done in your past. You've done so much effort to build up that wall around you, and you're afraid of tearing it down. It's so simple. You're afraid of loving her."
Grissom remained silent. His face was still blank, but she could see a flicker in his blue eyes. Her words had effect. Good.
"Just think about it." Afraid of being too hard, she continued softly. "Don't let her go, Gil. You'll never find anyone like her."
Grissom pensively watched Catherine leave his office. He shook his head in disbelief. Why did it always have to be Catherine to point him at things? First with Sara's leave of absence, then the mistletoe the other night and now this. Was he really that blind? Apparently.
He leaned back on his chair. He needed some time to think it all over. Catherine's words had really affected him.
"She's not going to wait forever."
What if Sara left? What would he do then? Probably all the things he had done before she'd come to Las Vegas. But had he really been happy then? He did his job with pleasure, but every morning he returned to a cold house, a cold bed.
Now everything had changed. Catherine's words, their kiss…actually two kisses. It had opened a new world for him, a scary world, one he hadn't explored in a very long time. He couldn't imagine a life without Sara anymore. She had become his life, just like his work once had. He'd never felt that connection with any other woman, not even with Teri.
And yet he had hurt her. He'd seen the pain in her eyes. It troubled him. The fact that he could deliberately hurt her, just because he was afraid. She was right. He'd taken the easy way out. It was much easier to push her away than to admit his growing feelings for her.
Grissom felt like he was standing on a crossroad, with two paths leading to different destinations. It was clear that he had to make the next move. Sara had done enough to open his eyes. It was up to him now.
Hoping that it wasn't too late, he stood up and grabbed his jacket.
Sara threw the doors open. She still couldn't believe what she'd done. She had acted upon impulse, on her feelings for him. Had she just ruined everything in those few seconds? Was it wrong? It hadn't felt wrong. Actually it had felt so good.
A breeze welcomed her flushed face as she stepped onto the parking lot. It was cold. She held her hands in her pockets and keeping her gaze to the ground she made her way to her car.
The first time she didn't even hear him, totally lost in her thoughts.
Sara looked up in surprise as she recognized the voice. Grissom was standing near his car, holding the door to his passenger seat open.
She stood still. "Yes?"
Grissom hesitated, obviously looking for the right words. It was strange. He was more intelligent than the average man; he could quote every single passage by Shakespeare yet he was unable to express his own feelings. Even now he felt reserved, afraid of exposing too much of himself.
"Would you like… Do you… Are you coming?"
Sara frowned, not really sure how to react or even feel. This was not quite what she had expected from him. Grissom had sounded like he was inviting her to ride with him to a crime scene instead of his house. At first she wanted to decline – she could not lay aside her frustration and disappointment in him that easily – but then she remembered Catherine's words.
"Well, there's certainly no better couple than you two. Both too stubborn for their own good."
Catherine was right. Maybe Grissom had not said the things she wanted to hear, but at least he'd taken the first step. This was the move she'd longed from him. Not to ignore her, but to invite her in his life, making her a part of it. Of course, she had not lost her sense of the reality. She knew it wasn't going to be easy. They were both very complex people. The last twenty-four hours had proved that. But right now she didn't care much about the future. Today she needed him, wanted him. That was all that mattered.
As she was about to step into the car, Grissom stopped her for just a few seconds, placing his hand on her arm. His touch sent shivers down her spine.
"Thank you," he said in a soft voice.
Sara jerked her head, surprised by the two words. His smile was hesitant and the expression on his face betrayed that he was terrified for the consequences of his decision, but his eyes radiated warmth. That was when she knew for sure that she was making the right choice.
They drove away…together.
Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart... filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever.
--Bess Streeter Aldrich
I hereby want to thank all of my readers for their wonderful feedback this year and I wish everyone a magical Christmas and a Happy New Year !!
- Karin -