Grissom wandered back into Sara's room feeling shell-shocked. Sara and Nick hadn't been dating? Sara had been trying to forget about him? And had his infatuation been so obvious that everyone at CSI knew? He shook his head slowly, trying to clear it.
Sara's sleepy voice snapped him back into reality. "Gris? What's wrong?"
He looked over quickly, wondering if she'd heard any of the lecture Nick had given him. "Nothing's wrong. Go back to sleep."
"No, I'm awake now. Tell me what's wrong. You look like you just went ten rounds with reality or something." She sat up carefully, trying to avoid shifting the IV that was now firmly planted in the back of her hand. "Come on, Gris. You wanted to talk earlier, so talk."
He sat down in his chair and leaned forward, clasping his hands together between his knees. "Sara? Would you tell me what's happening with you and Nick? I mean, what was going on before you were in the hospital, and what's going on now?"
Her eyes flew to his face. Why was he asking this now? "Why do you want to know, Grissom? I'll tell you, I mean, but . . . why?"
"Because . . ." Why did he want to know? What could he tell her? "Because Nick was acting strangely when I just talked to him."
Sara's eyes narrowed. "Strange how?"
"He just . . . uh, didn't seem concerned that I was staying here with you."
Sara thought for a moment. Was this what Nick had meant when he'd told her to make up a story about them, or had he told Grissom the truth?" "Stop clamming up, Gris. If I don't know what he said to you, then I can't tell you what's going on. What if he told you we were getting married or something?"
"He, uh, said that you two weren't seeing each other."
Whoa. Grissom had just actually told her something with substance. "What else?"
Grissom sighed. "He said that you two aren't dating, never were, and that he dated you to make me jealous."
The stiffness went out of her muscles and Sara collapsed back against the bed, staring at him.
"Sara? Are you ok?" He jumped up, worried that she'd passed out. "Sara?"
"Yeah." Her voice rose from somewhere within the pillows that were surrounding her head. "I'm fine. Just a little . . . taken aback."
Sara grinned, though he couldn't see it. "Gris, when was the last time you actually told me the truth about something personal? Never! N-e-v-e-r. You always either lie or avoid the issue. And you just told me this stuff without any persuasion on my part. I don't even have my gun!"
"I don't lie to you," he protested. "Maybe I avoid the questions sometimes, but that's my prerogative."
An unladylike snort rose from the bed. "Uh-huh. Way to backpedal." Just like him, she thought.
"I'm not backpedaling, Sara! I was just answering your question. Now, can we get back to the issue at hand?"
"What was it?"
"You and Nick, Sara. Your relationship."
"Oh, that," she said quickly, before she could chicken out. "He was telling the truth. We're not dating. We just went out a couple times so I could take my mind off . . . stuff."
"Among other things."
There was silence. Grissom sat back down and stared at the floor, trying to think of what to do next, while Sara hid in her pillows, mortified that she'd just said that when she'd sworn only a week ago that she was done with Grissom.
"Sara?" he finally ventured.
"Why were you trying to take your mind off me? I mean, why was I on your mind to begin with?"
Sara frowned and sat up, eyeing the back of his hanging head. "Do I really have to tell you again, Grissom? It's never done any good before."
Still staring at the floor, Grissom said, "Maybe it will do some good this time. Tell me."
A deep breath escaped Sara's lungs. Why, why, why? Was she dumb enough to start this conversation again? Well, yes, apparently. "You were on my mind, Grissom, because I've been, I don't know, obsessed with you since I came here. I've dropped the world's broadest hints, and you've either ignored them or shot me down. So I decided when you turned me down for dinner that I'd start believing you when you said 'no'."
Grissom cleared his throat. Oh, damn. "Sara . . ." What could he say to that? She was right, he had been ignoring and rejecting her for years.
"Exactly," she said softly after a few seconds of silence. "I don't know why you suddenly lose your voice when I talk to you, but it's really starting to piss me off. Just say something, I don't care whether it's good or bad."
"You know I'm not good at coming up with things to talk about on the spot," Grissom protested.
"What I know, Gil, is that I'm the only one you do this to. And you're asking me why I decided to move on from my little crush on you?" She fought the urge to launch her IV stand at him. "Stupid, Grissom. It's a stupid question, and it was stupid of me to take so long to figure things out."
"You don't have anything figured out!" he said harshly, finally looking at her. "You only think you do."
"Then explain it to me."
He had lost track of what they were even arguing about. Rubbing his forehead, he said, "Look, Sara, I don't want to fight with you. God knows we do that enough when you're not sick. I just want to know . . ." He didn't know what he wanted to know. What he knew was that he wanted Sara to stop being so defensive and admit that she had feelings for him now. "I just want to know if you care about me."
"Yes," she said simply. No way in hell was she going to make this easy for him after all he'd done to her!
"Yes, you do have feelings for me?"
He licked his lips. He had expected something more than "yes." What was he supposed to say now? "Okay, you have feelings for me. What kind?"
"Let's back up, Grissom. I'm not answering another of your questions until you answer one of mine. Do you have feelings for me, or was I right when I tried to forget you?"
"Uh . . ." The words wouldn't come out, as usual. What was wrong with him? He thought frantically, trying to get his mind working on this problem.
Her voice interrupted his thoughts. "Yeah, that's what I thought." She had turned back into the pillows, hiding her face from him. "It's pointless, Grissom. If you're doing this for an ego trip, then consider your ego stroked. Yes, I've been practically in love with you for years. Hooray. If you can't say the same, then stop asking me about it."
"This is not about my ego, Sara!" he said, horrified that she believed it was. "It's about me and you."
"WHAT 'me and you,' Grissom? That's what I've been saying. You keep asking me questions, saying they're about us, but you refuse to let there be an 'us.' You're playing with me and I really, really don't appreciate it."
"Maybe you're not the only one of us who's apprehensive about all this."
"Maybe I'm not, but I'm the one who's been putting herself on the line for three years despite the apprehension."
"Yes, you have been," he agreed. "And I haven't been doing anything about it. I'm trying, Sara, believe me. But after years of not having a woman in my life . . ."
Sara wouldn't give quarter. "Do you know when the last time I had a serious boyfriend was, Grissom? My sophomore year of college! Do you get this? It's been nearly twelve years since I've had anyone close to me. So don't tell me that you're the one who doesn't have relationship experience, because I and everyone else in the whole damn world know that you're been screwing around with that dominatrix for the past three months."
"Why won't you just listen, Sara? I haven't been . . . doing that with Heather."
"I don't care whether you have or haven't at this point. All I want is to hear is either 'I have feelings for you too' or 'I don't have feelings for you.' Pick one, say it, and then leave."
Grissom muttered something. "What?" Sara asked. "If you're going to say it, say it loud enough for me to hear you."
"I said that I care about . . . have feelings for you too."
It was Sara's turn to forget how to speak and she stared at him, obviously shocked. Grissom took in her wide eyes and hanging jaw and correctly guessed that she hadn't thought she had a hope in the world of hearing him say that.
"Is it really such a shock, Sara?"
Sara nodded mutely.
"I'm sorry, then. I had thought that maybe you knew and just wanted to hear me say it. I, um, hope that you still feel the same now that you've heard me say that I do care about you?"
"So what do we do now?" Sara had found her voice and was struggling to absorb what had just happened.
"We could try going on a date – to dinner, like you asked me before," he said with a small smile.
"We could," she agreed. "First, though, would you do me a favor?"
Curious, Grissom said, "Of course, Sara."
"Would you kiss me so I know you're telling the truth?"
He started to protest, to say that she ought to believe him, but realized that he wanted to kiss Sara Sidle under any excuse he could scrape together. Leaning over, he looked into her eyes. "Did you doubt it?" he asked quietly, then kissed her.
The contact sent a shock through both of them, and they were reluctant to release each other. Finally, the sound of applause penetrated Sara's foggy brain and she gave Grissom's shoulder a push. "What the . . .?"
Looking toward the door, two shocked CSIs met the eyes of a doctor and a nurse, both applauding as hard as they could.