CSR one-shot from a challenge. Early seasons, lots of fluff, first date. Happy. Thanks to Jamie – itbloomedforyourlittlegirl – for setting the challenge.

Set season two, starting around Organ Grinder, and moving on to You've got Male and beyond.

Enjoy! Emz

Xxx

Sara POV

Even though I'm still upset about the results of our latest case, well rather, lack of results I should say, I do know we all did our best. It just hurts sometimes that our best doesn't seem to be good enough. I'd found evidence of heavy metal poisoning on our suspicious circs turn death – murder – but proving who had done it had been impossible. She said she said. I'm trying to not let it get to me; I keep replaying Grissom's words in my head over and over. I know he's right, but I don't understand how he can appear so calm about it. That's just it though, I suppose. Appearances. They can be an illusion.

The other thing my mind keeps flittering back too is Catherine. Although we all worked the case, it wasn't until we were nearing the end, that the two of us really started to work together. Her findings bought us a step closer to where we needed to be.

And that look she gave me…

xxx

Catherine POV

Lindsey is full of energy tonight, it's the end of the week and she knows I don't have to work today… tomorrow… whichever. It's late Friday afternoon, she's finished school and I'm not due back at the lab until start of shift Sunday evening, which is usually 10pm. I'm on call however, but usually Grissom knows to double up on cases unless it's a big case or an extremely busy night, especially at the weekends. He might not be a family man, but he knows how the few weekends I get with Lindsey are precious.

Even when she's like a whirlwind.

She's looking at me expectantly, and I realise I've drifted off when she was talking to me.

'Sorry sweetie, Mummy didn't sleep too much when you were at school… what were you saying?' It's true, I didn't really sleep, after the case we had that went nowhere, despite the time, hours and effort we put into it, I still had paperwork to sort out from some other cases, open and shut, then I had to go to the supermarket, the post office, and the bank, on a Friday, one of the busiest days of the week. Realising I'm getting distracted again I double my attention back to Lindsey.

'…. So please, please can we get pizza? I really want Garlic Bread…. Please mum?'

I close my eyes for a moment, of course my 8 year old daughter wants pizza, she always wants pizza, but why the sudden need for garlic bread, today of all days. I've had enough of garlic… and once again, my mind is on the case.

'Sure sweetie…' I give in after a moment, seeing the adorable look on her face, plus it saves me from cooking anything when I don't have the energy.

'Thanks!' she squeals before running off to do god only knows what. I wish I had even half of her energy right now.

Picking up the pizza menu, I look for something I can eat that doesn't have any garlic in it… I don't think I want to eat the damned stuff anytime soon. Thinking of garlic, my mind once again drifts off, and I find myself thinking of Sara, and that look she sent me…

Xxx

Sara POV

After a long run, 5 miles and a new personal best, a little sleep and some food, I've thrown myself into work once more. I need to learn to accept that for every one crime we can't solve, we usually solve at least 3 or 4 others. I'm working on a liquor store robbery, and lucky me there is CCTV which is always a help, especially when all of the cameras actually work. I still can't believe the number of scenes I've processed where the CCTV has been dummies, or the tapes have been pointing at the cash registers only… It just seems dumb to me. Why pretend to have security when really you have none at all, and then get all prissy when something bad happens and you can't get answers… Doesn't the saying go 'Prevention is better than cure'

The case is easy, and my part is done in half a shift, so now I'm stuck catching up on paperwork, else Grissom had threatened to ground me, I'm running close to maxing out on my overtime for the month, again, and we are only on the 19th.

I'm finding my regular lab, an old room in the back corner of the lab that is unofficially officially mine, far too quiet though, so I move my work to the break room, where the bustling of people and the background noise is at a perfect level for me. Not so loud it's distracting, but not so quiet that I drift off… too much.

A few people come in and out, but for the large part they don't bother me, but I do find myself a little more disappointed each time I glance up and see that Catherine isn't one of them.

Stretching after about two hours, I decide to make a fresh pot of coffee, just as I'm about to load the beans into the coffee machine, Greg walks in.

'Hey, stop…' he calls almost urgently.

I turn, raising my eyebrow, but halt my movements 'Okay…'

'I'm having a late break, I've got 30 minutes, and I'm in need of Blue Hawaiian, if you brew that pot, I have to either waste it, or waste time, when this coffee needs a good 4 minutes to brew, and 15 minutes to drink, so you see, I don't have time to waste or wait on the sludge the lab gets…'

'Well quit talking then and brew away!' I smile at him, sitting back down at the table 'And don't forget to share'

'Well… as it's you, I suppose I can do that' Greg smiled, setting about getting the coffee ready.

'Hey Greg…' I ask my nose half buried back in the paperwork.

'Yeah'

'Have you seen Catherine tonight?' I asked, hoping to sound casual about it.

'No, and I won't either, it's her night off, she won't be back until Sunday evening… I'm a tech, you're the CSI… Why?' he asks pulling two mugs out of the cupboard.

'Oh, no reason, just wondered if she was on a big case is all…'

Greg turned around and looked almost sceptically at me 'Right…. Because if there was a big case Grissom would really have you in here doing paperwork, and not out there…'

'Coffees ready' I cut him off, my eyes glued to the papers in front of me, even though they aren't really focused.

Xxx

Catherine POV

Lindsey and I ended up watching Mulan, again, whilst eating our pizzas, but she barely made it half way through the film before falling asleep. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't noticed, but I was too comfy to move, and it was nice to have her curled on my lap, so I carried on watching the film before putting her to bed. Now I'm soaking in the bath, glass of wine in one hand, whilst humming some of the songs from the movie… That's the curse of having a child. I don't watch much T.V at all, but when I do it's mostly children's shows or movies… and they have a way of getting stuck in your head, especially when you've watched something at least a dozen or so times in the past few months.

I suppose there are worse things to get stuck in my head, like graphic crime scenes, or conversations… looks. My curse, by trying not to think of something… someone, I find myself thinking of them.

Of a certain look, or word… that smile. Those eyes…

Placing my wine glass on the side, I slip further into the water, holding my breath for a few seconds, allowing the water to calm me, to surround me, before rising up again. My eyes close, but the image doesn't fade, and somehow, I don't want it too.

Xxx

Sara POV

Leaning against the wall, I give myself a moment or two to get my heart rate back under control; I've just completed a quick 3 mile run, one of my latest addictions and outlets. The release I get from pushing my body, getting that much faster each time is just incredible, and it's one of the few times I find that my mind slows right down. I can be sad, or angry, tired, over emotional, and running just takes it all away. After running at least 2 miles a new kind of tired takes over, but the longer the run the better.

Pushing off from the wall, I check my mail box, 3 new catalogues, a flyer for a steakhouse I will never go to, nothing else. Not that I was expecting anything. Walking up to my 3rd floor apartment, I glance briefly at the catalogues. It's always tempting, and it saves me having to engage with others. If only I could do my food shop like this too.

I left work a little late, wanting to get through the paperwork for the case file I was updating, and I'm tempted to go back in later, even though it's supposed to be my night off… I rarely take them though, unless exhausted and hormonal, but I remember Greg's words.

Catherine won't be in.

Do I want to be if she won't be?

Pushing the thought aside, I grab some water out of the fridge, and open one of the catalogues, highlighting the things I am tempted to buy.

Clothes I won't wear

Jewellery that won't leave the apartment

More throw cushions and Blankets…

Picking up the phone I dial a number that has very quickly become ingrained in my brain.

'Hello Pottery Barn, Claire speaking, how may I help' a chipper voice answers that I recognise. It's scary how quickly you can get used to something. Mind you, I do phone and order at least once a month, often more

'Hi Claire, its Miss Sidle…'

'Sara, hi, so you got the new catalogue?' she responds, voice just as chipper. I don't know what's more scary, that fact that she must deal with 100's of clients a week but knows who I am, or the fact that I've clearly ordered so much from them that I'm likely keeping them in business, or at least it seems that way

'Yeah… Yeah thanks, I'd like to order some more bits…'

'Of course, I'm just logging into your account now… ah, good news, your loyalty points have come through with a bonus, you've been approved for a $100 free spend and some luxury candles…'

Oh dear god, really? Again? It seems just the other month they said the same thing… do I really buy that much stuff from them? Looking around my apartment, I realise that, yes, I do.

Great.

Oh well, why break the habit of a lifetime, ordering stuff and talking to Claire currently beats going into work when I know Catherine won't be there.

Xxx

Catherine POV

Not only is it rare for me to get a full weekend off from work, so I can spent time with Lindsey, it's rare that my sister Nancy, a nurse, gets the same time off, so today we've decided to have a picnic lunch in her garden so Lindsey and Jeremy, my nephew, can play together and enjoy the sunshine.

I sit watching them, nursing an ice tea, my mind half on them, and half drifting off once more to think about a certain brunette. Nancy must have caught my dreamy look.

'So…' she draws out, sipping at her own drink

'So, what?' I try and feign ignorance

'So, why do you keep getting a far of look and smiling like that… have you met someone?'

'No… No, no one new'

'Oh…' I sense Nancy's smile getting bigger 'So if not someone new, someone you already know… someone to do with work?'

Turning my head to look at her briefly, I open my mouth, and then turn away once more 'No, nothing like that, just… never mind'

'No, go on, tell me' she begs 'You know I won't shut up until you do'

I know it, she knows it… the worms know it 'It's nothing' I cave 'Just a case I worked the other day, Sara and I…'

'Sara?' Nancy cuts me off 'You're smiling because of Sara?'

'What… no' I scoff, trying not to blush 'No…' I compose myself a little more 'Just remembering this interview we did together is all…' I partially lie.

How can I explain something to my sister that I don't fully understand myself?

Xxx

Sara POV

Once again I've gotten in from work late. I rarely leave on time, always wanting to chase down one more lead, or process one more piece of evidence. The more time sensitive the case, the less I seem to sleep. Walking to my apartment door I am momentarily confused, there are a lot of boxes and parcels on the step. It's been nearly two weeks since I ordered from the pottery barn; I guess I forgot about it. Now it's here though, I've got something to pass the time. I won't be going out running for a few days yet; we seem to be in the middle of heavy rains and thunderstorms.

Unpacking my new purchases I begin to unwind, we've just wrapped another case, which is always a great feeling, and now, hopefully, I can relax a little. I wanted to ask Catherine out for a late breakfast to celebrate, but she had to get home to Lindsey. We've been getting along well lately, having coffee together here and there when work allows it.

It's been stirring up feelings I've had for a while now.

Every time I feel even close to approaching her though, something comes up.

Work.

Lindsey.

Work.

Other people.

I tried a while ago, about 14 months ago now I guess. We had a case together at a carnival, and a little girl had died on one of the rides. I still remember the look in Catherine's eyes, even now. The look on her face when the young body was collected by the coroner's assistant. The look when she confronted Pickens, the number one suspect at the time. The look on her face when I asked her to lunch.

The look on her face when she confronted the mother.

We never did have lunch.

I thought she'd gone to spend time with Lindsey. I was wrong on that count.

I let it go though. Not being a mother I had no right to judge what she did afterwards.

Anyway, since then I've been trying and trying to ask her out for lunch again.

Seems the few times I have she's either had plans with Lindsey, needed sleep, or misinterpreted the invitation and the whole gang has ended up going out.

Once again I'm over thinking things.

I go back to unpacking my pottery barn order, cracking open a beer.

Xxx

Catherine POV

I must have drifted off, again. Nancy is looking at me expectantly, and I have no idea why. If my mind isn't working on a case or Lindsey, of late it seems to be thinking of a certain brunette.

Sara's been a part of my life for about 2 years now; she's bound to be in my thoughts from time to time. We do work together after all, but lately… lately I seem to be thinking about her not in relation to work.

Her smile.

The look on her face when she's concentrating.

Her eating habits and the way she likes her coffee. Little things I've noticed over the past few weeks and months, when we've been out together as a team, and the few occasions it's been just us.

Since the case with the heavy metal poisoning about two weeks ago, she's been on my mind more and more. I've worked 5 cases since then, only one of them with Sara, and yet still she's on my mind.

I wanted to ask her out for breakfast this morning, but I knew she would be pulling yet more overtime to help wrap up the case. I couldn't stay though, because of Lindsey.

Lindsey, the most important thing in my life.

Period.

Now she's at school and I'm back at Nancy's having a coffee before I head home for a little sleep before I pick my little girl up from school. She has a half day today, something about teacher training, and I don't have to work this evening, so I'm planning on taking Lindsey to the botanical gardens.

She's recently become interested in plants and bugs. I haven't dared tell Grissom that just yet though… I can just imagine how that conversation would go.

The last time Lindsey showed an interest in something Grissom knew about he was over for dinner every night for a week teaching her about it, bought her a few books too, it was sweet.

But annoying.

And in typical child fashion, Lindsey had soon moved on to something else.

I was glad; I wasn't sure how much more I could take hearing about marine life and the various biodiversity and subspecies of seahorses, seaweed and other organisms.

I think this time I'll let her learn at her own pace.

I'm tempted to invite Nancy and Jeremy along, but I'd rather have the bonding time alone with Lindsey… Yet if Sara asked to come, I wouldn't hesitate to say yes.

Once more I have to shake myself away from my own thoughts to concentrate on Nancy, and join in with the conversation she is trying to have with me.

Xxx

Sara POV

Another shift has gone by and I've barely seen Catherine let alone anyone else, I worked a solo body dump, and I'm looking forward to going home, if for nothing else I need a very long very hot shower to wash away the dirt and grime of the scene I spent the majority of shift processing, not to mention the fact the body had been there a couple of days. Heading into the locker room, I see Catherine sat on one of the benches, and I feel my heart almost skip a beat

'Hey' I call out, a smile creeping onto my face

'Hey' Catherine glances up at me, then back to whatever she's holding.

'How have you been, how's Lindsey?'

'Yeah…' Catherine stands up, opening her locker 'She's ok, we went to the botanical gardens Friday, and now I'm exhausted. You'd love it there'

'Perhaps we could go sometime… I haven't seen Lindsey for a while, I'm sure she'd love to go again…'

Catherine seemed a little distracted, but nodded anyway 'Yeah… Yeah, ok… next time were both off then…'

'Great' I beamed back

'Right… well I'm heading out, I don't know whether to get some sleep or to stay up, either way my sleeping pattern is pretty screwed right now… See you tomorrow Sara'

'Yeah… night' I watch Catherine walk away, part of me wants to go after her, to ask what's wrong, or to offer her breakfast or some kind of distraction, the other part of me, and the part that wins, let's her walk away.

Getting ready to leave myself, my mind goes over the one positive bit of the brief conversation we just had.

We'll go to the botanical gardens together.

Xxx

Catherine POV

I'm a city girl. I almost always have been. When I moved – ran away – from Montana to Vegas, I missed the countryside for a while, but I soon grew to love the big city, with its big lights, and the dazzle of the life I was leading at the time. From time to time, it's nice to get back out into nature though.

It's just a shame that it's almost always for a case rather than pleasure.

Nick and I have spent the past couple of days working a supposed hunting accident, that turned out to be a suicide. The wife was devastated when she found out, as are most loved ones left behind.

The case meant we weren't in the lab too much, so I only briefly saw Grissom, Warrick and Sara.

I don't know much about the case they worked, but I do know that it took Warrick about 5 hours to piece back together a glass door that had been smashed. If that's not commitment to puzzle solving, I don't know what is.

Right now, I'm sat on the sofa, enjoying some peace and quiet, large glass of red wine in hand, so I jump a little when I hear the phone ring.

Glancing at it I don't recognise the number, but pick up anyway

'Willows residence'

Xxx

Sara POV

It's taken a case to make me really realise how pathetic my life has become. I order take out most nights, I shop from catalogues… if it wasn't for work, I don't think I would ever interact with another human being.

Animals are easier, and I don't even have a pet to come home too.

I've known for a while now that my life has become stagnant, but I haven't really made any effort to change it.

This case has made me see what I've become.

Why is it we can see faults in others that we ourselves hold but don't, or won't, notice until they are painfully pointed out?

Nick's words echo in my head when I get in for the evening. I've thrown out the food, cleared away the catalogues, and now I'm holding my phone, dialling a number that I know by heart, even though I've never rang it before.

Well, no, I have rang it before, but I've always hung up before it was answered.

I wait, bracing myself, and as the voice answers, I take a deep breath

'Willows residence' comes Catherine's voice.

'Hi…it's Sara…I, was thinking… you wanna go out, somewhere?'

Xxx

Catherine POV

I'm momentarily lost for words, I try to speak, but can't, when I find my voice, Sara is trying to speak at the same time.

'Sure we can meet the boys before…' I said, at the same time as Sara saying

'Sorry, I shouldn't have bothered…' we both pause at the same time, and after a moment I realise she's going to let me speak

'I'm up for dinner with you and the gang, yeah' I smile, taking a sip of wine

'Oh…' Sara's voice sounds heavy on the other line 'I… never mind'

'No, go on' I try and encourage her

'I meant… do you want to go out sometime, just the two of us… like, on a date…' Sara almost mumbles the last part, and once again I've lost my voice.

Before I even have chance to formulate a sentence, the line goes dead.

Xxx

Sara POV

Great. I finally took a leap of courage, and I was shot down. No, I wasn't even shot down; I was met with utter silence.

I feel like an idiot, and I want to cry.

A few seconds later, the phone rings again.

I'm reluctant to answer it; I know who it'll be. It will be Catherine berating me, offering me condolences, coming up with excuses, if not demanding we don't work together again. I answer anyway, I need to know why.

I don't say anything; I just wait for her to talk

'Yes' I hear, and then a silence.

'Sara… I know you can hear me, I'm sorry I didn't answer straight away before, but yes, I'd love to go on a date with you. As luck would have it Lindsey is at my mum's all day, and staying the night… pick me up at 5.30, we can have dinner before work…' Catherine pauses again, I'm trying to get my breathing under control.

'Sara?'

'Yes… Yeah, great… see you at 5.30…'

I hang up the phone, a smile quickly spreading across my face, before quickly dialling another number.

I have a favour or two to call in.

I'm a little nervous as I walk up to Catherine's front door, but I'm also over the moon that she said yes. I don't know why I didn't ask her out sooner.

I knock on the door, and I don't have to wait long before she answers.

If anything my smile gets even bigger, Catherine is wearing a pale blue ¾ length sun dress, with a delicate flower design over it. It's both casual and elegant, and now I feel both under and overdressed. I'm wearing my favourite pair of black jeans, kitten heels, a red silk blouse and my black pinstripe waistcoat.

I feel like a fool.

And I'm glued to the spot.

Catherine leans forward, and kisses my cheek, taking the gerbera plant I have bought her out of my hands 'You look lovely Sara' she whispers in my ear before pulling away again.

Xxx

Catherine POV

Stepping away from Sara, I walk into the house, taking in the subtle scent of the plant she has given me, my mind reeling a little. I mentioned to Warrick, months ago, how flowers were nice, but never lasted, and that one day I would love to be given something that lasted, like a plant, or some other token. I recall Sara being in the room at the time, but she didn't join in the conversation. Standing the plant in the window, I turn around and grab my purse off the side, shaking my head a little.

Sara hasn't moved an inch.

I walk towards her, and then brush passed her, a little closer than necessary 'Come on Sidle, we haven't got all night'

With that, Sara seems to come to her senses 'Ummm…' she pauses 'We kinda do… Nick's going to cover your shift tonight, and Grissom said it was about time I took a day off anyway… I hope you don't mind?'

I place my hand on her arm, feeling the softness of the silk 'No, not at all, in fact, I'm rather glad' reluctantly I pull away, and get into her car, curious as to where she will take me, and what our night will have installed.

A short while later, Sara pulls up outside a restaurant in an area of Vegas I have never been to before, and I thought I knew the city well.

'Hope this place is ok… It's Indian, and they cater for many diets, but it also has some of the best veggie and vegan food I've found… It's a bit pricey, but it's worth it… we could go elsewhere, if you'd rather?' Sara questions, looking a little unsure of herself.

'No, here's perfect…' I smile, squeezing her hand before stepping out of the car.

Xxx

Sara POV

I've been coming to this restaurant once every couple of months, but this is the first time I've ever bought anyone. So far everything is going well. We have a semi-private table near the back, soft lighting and candles light the table. The walls are painted a dark red, with soft furnishings, and traditional decoration. One of the things I love best about this place, is its authenticity, the owners moved here from India 20 years ago, and 5 years ago they were able to open this place.

They have kept to traditional recipes and ways of cooking, wherever possible, yet have a very open and accepting atmosphere. They employ a variety of people from different backgrounds and ethnicities, and all walks of life. Two of the wait staff I recognise as young adults who have spent some time in county jail, the front of house greeter is a charming older gay black man, the sous chef is an amputee from Nigeria, and two of the general help are twins with downs syndrome, and that's just the staff I've meet.

How could you not love this place? The food is to die for, and their ethics and values are even better.

'How did you find this place?' Catherine asks, glancing up from the menu

'Oh… I worked a scene 4 buildings over. The owner, Navii, came over when most of the crowd had gone, offered me some food and drink, I was a little reluctant at first… but I didn't want to be rude, and well, I was hungry. They were some of the best vegetable samosas I have ever had. Now I come here once every couple of months, more if I can' I explain, smiling fondly at the memory

'Do you normally bring company?' Catherine asks, trying not to sound overly nosey.

'No, you're the first. I wanted to bring you somewhere special…and this place is very special' tentatively I rest my arm on the table, wanting to, but not taking Catherine's hand. I reach my fingers out slowly, waiting for a reaction.

At this rate, I think I'll have to see a doctor, as it doesn't take long for Catherine to place her hand in mine, and when she does, my heart seems to stop for a moment or two.

Xxx

Catherine POV

If I'm honest, I've had a bit of a sweet spot for Sara for a while now. Once I'd grown used to having another woman on the team, I really liked having her around. Anyone can see she's passionate about the job, with great integrity, work ethic, and brains too boot. A while back we were all talking, whilst she went to Harvard and Berkley, I was kicking a habit and attending night school. For a while I felt distant from her, how could someone so smart, want to work with, let alone be friends with someone like me, someone with my background and 3rd class education, but Sara has never once judged me for it. She may be a little distant at times, but she's never been mean or vindictive towards me, even when I've been less than kind to her. Now, with our hands entwined, she is being so incredibly sweet. We've had starters, a main, and now we're enjoying some time together before we think about ordering a desert.

When Sara smiles, her eyes light up, and it's wonderful to see. It's wonderful to know I put that smile on her face.

We've talked about everything and nothing, and we haven't had any awkward silences yet. There's a question burning at the back of my mind though.

Just how long has Sara felt like this?

Why didn't she say anything sooner?

Why didn't I say anything sooner?

'Would you like to order anything else, desert, drinks?' the waitress, Rebecca, asks us.

'I'll have another soda water with lime please… Catherine?'

'Do you not want desert?' I ask, my fingers gently moving against her hand

'No, thank you, I don't really have a sweet tooth, but don't let me stop you'

'I'll have the coconut laddo please and a small glass of wine, thank you' I ask, turning my attention to Rebecca for a moment or two, before turning back to Sara.

Squeezing her hand a little more, I can't help but smile

'This has been nice'

'Yeah, it has' Sara agrees, looking at our entwined hands

'Sara…' I begin tentatively, waiting for her to look up 'Sara… how long have you been wanting to ask me out on a date?'

'Oh…' Sara pulls her hand away for the first time this evening, and I have to try and hide the disappointment on my face 'Oh… well actually this is the second date I've asked you on…'

Ok, I'm so confused right now. I have no idea what Sara means, and I think my face reflects that.

'Remember that carnival case last year? Little girl in the tunnel of love…' Sara looks down at the table, fiddling with her napkin

'Yeah…' I close my eyes for the moment, wishing the rage I felt back then not to resurface.

'We were gonna have lunch… but you called a rain check… I never collected on it… my intentions were when we were out to ask you more… officially… but, well, after that I lost my nerve, and then you were with that guy, and well, life and work… and here we are' Sara mumbles almost into her chest

'Oh…' I reach my hand out, lifting her chin so I can see into her eyes 'I'm glad you found your nerve again Sara'

Xxx

Sara POV

I can feel Catherine's hand on my cheek, I hear her words, and I try to smile, but an unwanted feeling begins to stir in the pit of my stomach, putting me on edge. I raise my hand up, placing it over Catherine's, and I lean into the touch, turning my head slightly, I kiss the palm of my hand, before pulling away 'Excuse me' pushing away from the table, I make my way to the bathroom, cursing all the way.

I can't believe this is happening right now.

I'm so angry it's unreal.

Today of all days.

Xxx

Catherine POV

I'm not exactly sure what's just happened, but I know when Sara returns from the bathroom, her mood has changed, and even if she's not conscious of it, she's checking her watch every minute or so, and fidgeting in her seat.

I don't know if she's trying to ruin this date deliberately or not, but she is.

'Everything ok?' I ask, putting my spoon down after finishing my desert

'Oh… yeah, everything's fine' Sara smiles, both hands on her glass. I feel a bit stupid now, I've had my hand on the table for 15 minutes now, since she got back from the bathroom, and not once has she reached out to take it

'Ok… well, I've had a really great dinner… why don't we settle the bill, then we can do something else, it's a nice evening…'

Sara gestures to Rebecca, signalling for the bill 'Yeah… I um… I don't want to um… I don't want to overstay my welcome…'

'Oh… ok…'

Sara settles up the bill, not even letting me put a dime towards it, not that I'm complaining too much. Walking back to the car, she holds the door open for me, and then drives back towards my house. The radio is playing quietly, but nothing else is being said. At the beginning of the night the conversation didn't stop, now it seems like Sara is fed up of my company, and just wants to get rid of me.

It doesn't take long to get back to mine, and Sara seems even more unsure of herself.

'Thanks, for dinner… do you want to come in, have a coffee maybe?' I ask, placing my hand on her leg

'I…' Sara closes her eyes

'It's just coffee Sara…' I sigh, unbuckle my seatbelt, and start to open the door

'Wait…' Sara's hand holds me back 'I do want to, really I do… I pulled strings so we wouldn't have to go to work, so the night wouldn't end… it's just…'

'Just what Sara?' I snap a little 'We had a really nice night, one of the best night's I've had in god knows how long, and now… you seem very eager to be out of my company… did I say, or do something wrong?'

Sara shakes her head no

'Then what is it, why are you so eager to leave?' I place my hand on her arm, rubbing it gently, trying to ease her nerves

'Because… it's embarrassing ok, it's… I started my period ok, right in the middle of dinner… unexpected and unprepared, and right now I just want to wash… I feel so… ashamed and dirty…' Sara closes her eyes, turning her head away.

Leaning over to her, I kiss the back of her head, then pull her head around, our faces or so close; I can feel her breath against my skin. My eyes dart down to her lips, then back up again, and I slowly lean in, pressing my lips to hers for a moment, before pulling back again, a smirk on my face.

'Oh sweetheart, did you really think I wouldn't understand. I'm a woman too, I'm sure you've noticed, it's happened to me too… In fact one night I had my period start half an hour after I finished my last dance of the night, and, well, the rumours are true, I danced naked the majority of the time. It's natural, it's normal, and it's nothing to worry about… come inside, please? I have a shower, spare clothes… I don't want the night to end Sara…' I place another kiss on her lips, my fingers playing with the back of her neck, just hoping she'll agree to come inside.

I almost miss it, but Sara nods her head slightly, moving to kiss the side of my face 'Ok' she whispers into my ear 'Ok' she whispers again, moving her lips to my own.

Xxx

Sara POV

Why am I such an idiot? For someone with such a great education, I really am an idiot. Catherine has stepped out of the car, moved around to my side, undone my belt, grabbed the car keys, and is now dragging me by the hand up to her front door.

Why did I think she would be anything less than understanding?

Opening the door, she practically pushes me towards the sofa 'Sit' she walks away 'I'll be back in a moment or two…' she walks off towards the hallway, where I know her bedroom and the bathroom are located.

'Here…' Catherine passes me some towels, a gown, and some clothes 'Bathrooms 2nd on the right, use whatever you need, take as long as you need, I won't be going anywhere, ok?'

I smile, as best I can, and head towards the bathroom, wanting to get under the hot shower as quickly as possible.

Showers have always soothed me.

I lose track of time under the spray of water, and take the time to wash myself, before stepping out of the shower.

Drying myself off, I see that not only has Catherine given me clothes to wear, she's also provided me with two lots of underwear – a cotton thong, and some French knickers. I also notice for the first time that on the back of the sink there is a box of tampons and a packet of sanitary towels. I'm glad to have the options right now.

I finish getting ready, running my fingers through my damp hair, wrap the gown around my body, and walk back out into the living room, where I see Catherine sat on the sofa. She's changed herself into some pyjama bottoms and a tank top.

I can't help but notice the lack of bra.

'Thank you… really… I needed that'

Catherine just shrugged 'Don't mention it… do you think we can finish our date now? I've got some wine, if you want? Or something soft if you'd rather, we can watch a movie, or talk a bit more?' Catherine suggests, taking a sip of wine herself

'I think I'll stick with the soft drinks, thanks though…'

'If you're only saying no because of having to drive later…'

I smirk a little, walking closer; I take Catherine's wine glass from her 'Well, in that case…' I take a sip, and then another, before handing the glass back.

Taking a seat next to her, though with a little space between us, I curl up on the sofa 'What movie did you fancy watching then?'

'Anything but Disney… anything but Mulan…' Catherine exasperates

'Let me guess, Lindsey's current favourite?'

'Yep… It's beginning to drive me spare'

'I bet… ok, so…' I prompt, not knowing what DVD's Catherine posses

'Choices are, About a Boy, or Maid in Manhattan?'

'Well… seeming as you somewhat implied that you wanted me to stay, and as long as you don't change your mind, or spring for a taxi if you do, we have the night off, Lindsey's not here… why don't we watch both, unless we get tired?'

Catherine nods eagerly 'Let me get more wine… unless you want a little coffee first?'

'Wine is good'

Xxx

Catherine POV

I don't really know when it happened, but over the course of the first movie, Sara and I have edged closer together. Our hands are once more entwined, and I'm resting my head on her shoulder. I try not to make my delight to obvious, but every time she places a kiss in my hair, my insides flip.

If the dinner was romantic, this is sweet and homely. I feel so at ease right now, and our first date hasn't even finished. Not really.

I'm glad we quickly got over that hiccup.

The movie has ended, the credits are rolling, but I'm too comfortable to want to move right now. I vaguely reach behind me, and pull the blanket off the back of the sofa, draping it across our bodies.

'This is nice' I mumble into Sara's shoulder, shifting to get just a little more comfortable in her embrace.

'Yeah…' Sara brings her arm up, pulling me closer, her fingers rubbing gently on my side.

'I'm sorry we didn't do this sooner'

'Me too' I don't have to be looking at Sara right now, to know there must be a big smile on her face.

'Have you had other girlfriends?' I ask, almost shyly, and I can feel Sara shrug a little

'A couple yeah… I've only had a handful of relationships…You?'

'Yeah, a couple…' I turn slightly 'Why didn't you say anything?'

Sara shrugged again 'What was the point? It's no one's business, and I find mixing work with pleasure… well, it doesn't end well… why didn't you say anything?' Sara asks

'I thought you knew… it's not exactly a secret, someone seems to bring it up every so often'

'You know me, I don't listen to the gossip at work' Sara declared, her hand still moving against my side

'Did you mean it?' I ask after a short silence

'Mean what?'

'About work and pleasure?'

Xxx

Sara POV

My body tenses a little, and I'm not sure how to respond at first. I don't want to ruin something before it's started, but I don't want to lie either.

'Ummm…' I clear my throat 'I had a somewhat illicit affair with someone in college… Ken Fuller… we joined the mile high club together…things didn't work out, and back in 'Frisco I dated one of the cops for a while… but, well, work got in the way, some lawyer found out, and a case was thrown out on a technicality, well… that's what she said, but I know it's because she was homophobic…and it didn't help that the cop was her ex-sister in law… so…since then I've not mixed the two…'

'Oh…so…' Catherine started, pushing herself away from my embrace 'What's this then…'

I smile weakly 'This is me taking a chance on the most beautiful woman I know, who's got under, and stayed under my skin for a long time now… this is me having the courage to try again, and the hope that there won't be anyone after you' I reach out and caress Catherine's face, hoping my words will soothe and reassure her. I breathe a little easier when I see her smile

'You want this to go somewhere? Somewhere beyond… beyond the bedroom?'

'Yes' I move my hand to the back of her neck 'Yes, I do, if all this was was about getting in your pants, I wouldn't have taken you to dinner, I wouldn't be sitting her now, and I certainly wouldn't have let my period nearly ruin the night. If this was anyone else, I would have fucked them and left, without letting them touch me. But this isn't anyone else, this is you. Catherine Willows, the Catherine Willows, and I've wanted to be with you for a long time now'

'You have?'

I nod, leaning in close, kissing her gently 'Oh yes' I murmur against her soft lips 'a long time indeed'

Slowly I pull away, looking in her eyes 'Please tell me you'll give me a chance?'

'If you didn't have a chance, you wouldn't be here now Sara, now shut up and kiss me properly'

Catherine has barely finished her sentence before my lips are once again on hers, pressing a little firmer, parting slightly, I deepen this kiss, wanting to explore everything I can, my fingers twirling in her hair, I bring my other hand up to the base of her neck, and we soon find ourselves lost in each-others embrace.

I could get used to this.

Xxx

Catherine POV

I could get used to this.

Sara is an amazing kisser; she's attentive, sensual, gentle. Her hands playing against my skin only add to the sensations. I don't want to rush this, like I normally do, and I'm actually rather glad that Mother Nature is standing between us right now. I care about Sara, perhaps a bit more than I realised, and I really don't want to mess this up.

Before now I've kept my relationships fairly casual, for Lindsey's sake, and although I don't want to get to far ahead of myself, I can't for see why things couldn't work out between us.

Sara has already met Lindsey, and although they don't know each other too well, at the moment, I know they get on.

I know that Sara will be understanding of my job, because she works the same job. We see the same horrors, work the same awkward hours, deal with the same bureaucracy.

We have the same boss.

Great, now I'm thinking about work.

Somewhat reluctantly I pull away, face flushed.

'Sara…'

'I'm sorry…' Sara pulls back further 'I thought this is what you wanted'

'It is…' I put my hand on her legs, stopping her from getting up 'It is, I'm just worried about work… about Grissom, about Ecklie…' I confess

'Oh…' Sara nods in understanding 'Me too… but it's not like I'm expecting us to announce this to the world tomorrow… I want to enjoy it, let things develop… I want to enjoy you for as long as I can before we start telling people…'

'You want to make sure this works out?' I question

Sara nods a little 'Yeah… I want to make this work, but if… IF… it doesn't, it will be awful at work… the less people who know, at least at first, the better. I never want to hide who I am Catherine, but I know I won't be able to deal with the fallout if this… if this doesn't work. I want to date you, woo you, spent time with you, and spent time with Lindsey before we let work interfere…'

'Shhhhh' I lean in, resting my forehead against Sara's 'You don't need to explain sweetheart, I want all of that too'

'I'm glad' Sara kisses me briefly, before pulling away, her face slightly contorted 'I um…' she gestures towards the hallway, and I understand what she's trying to say. I watch her walk towards the bathroom, with a smile on my face.

This has surely got to be one of the strangest, longest, most wonderful first dates I have ever been on.

Xxx

Sara POV

Freshening up, I look in the mirror, a huge smile plastered on my face. I don't know where this is going, but I'm excited to find out.

Walking back into the living room, I catch Catherine yawning. Holding out my hand, I smile once more 'Come on, time for bed'

'Stay with me?'

'Of course'

FIN