Thanks for the comments and also to those who stayed with this story for the whole ride! I thought that I would go ahead and post the epilogue...it's all fluff.
The sweet smell of chocolate chip cookies wafted through the townhome and into the bedroom where Grissom was pulling on a LVPD t-shirt. Following the smell he found his way into the kitchen where the sight before him made him stop in his tracks and amusement turn up the corners of his lips.
Sara was covered in flour, head to toe, and she was waving a spoon towards a giggling Mattie who was equally covered in flour and jumping up and down in excitement. White powder covered the counters, the floor, and the utensils. A complete mess. Grissom grinned at the sight and backed up quickly, not wanting to get involved in the middle of the flour war that had exploded in his kitchen.
Standing a safe distance away, he cleared his throat and held the palms of his hands up in self defense. "I simply would like a cookie, without the flour drama."
"They aren't ready yet," Mattie offered as he bent to peek into the oven. "Another five minutes?"
With a grunt, Sara wiggled her eyebrows. "You sure you don't want to play, Griss?" She held out the spoon filled with batter and gave him that wide smile that never failed to send a shiver down his spine.
"As tempting as that sounds, I don't think so," he said with a mock frown at the mess. "You two should have fun cleaning up my kitchen though," he let his eyes run up and down Sara's white powdered body. "and yourselves in the process."
Backing further into the living room, he picked up his newspaper and settled on the sofa while picking up the remote control.
"That's too bad, Griss, because these cookies are going to be delicious and if you don't contribute you don't get any."
Grissom lowered the newspaper and peered over the edge of it towards Sara who was back to placing more dough on a cookie sheet after delivering her light hearted warning.
"You won't give me any of those cookies unless I join your flour war? You can't hold the cookies hostage from me." Grissom folded his newspaper and placed it on the table in front of him before standing up and venturing slightly closer to the pair.
"When I go back to my apartment I may take the cookies with me," Sara teased. "At least the ones that Mattie and I don't eat or take to the lab."
"I wonder if you remember how to get to your apartment," smirked Grissom. "You have spent the past month here with me and Mattie so I'm not so certain of that threat. The lab, however, would be a good place to take the leftovers since it appears that you have succeeded in making more than double the recipe." He stared at the bowl of cookie dough and added with an arched brow, "make that tripled the recipe."
The timer on the oven alerted them that the first batch of cookies was ready, interrupting their conversation, and causing Grissom to step a few feet closer to the kitchen as Sara pulled on an oven mitt and then bent over the oven, pulling out the tray of cookies.
"I'll help clean up this mess if you give me one of those cookies. Only one."
"I don't think that you could stop with one," teased Sara as she placed another tray of cookies in the oven and turned on the timer. "You have never tasted my recipe."
"That sounds like a challenge," Grissom stepped further into the kitchen and eyed the tray of cookies. It was humurous to himself that he was making such a big deal out of cookies, something that had never been a temptation to him in the past. Over the past few months many things had changed in his life and it was as though a tremenduous weight had been lifted and vanished from his shoulders opening up his life and mind to a new realm of lightness.
Grissom looked at Mattie who had his arms pressed on the counter next to the oven, his nose sniffing the air at the sweet aroma. Sara was watching him as he looked at his nephew and when he moved his eyes to hers they exchanged a silent communication. Mattie had been with him for the past month because life for him in Caliente had been similar to what Grissom feared. He had phoned Grissom one day, five weeks after returning home with his mom and Andy, and pleaded with Grissom to come get him.
Elaine had been willing to let him go for the remainder of the summer with something Grissom had deemed as relief. Andy, who was slowly recovering, was taking all of her energy, leaving little for the attention that Mattie deserved. Tom had taken a leave of absence from the FBI and moved back to Calienta to be there for his family and, for awhile, it had been enough for Mattie but he too was expending most of his energy and attention with Andy. Tom and Andy had moved back into a comfortable relationship after many angry words and tears of remorse. With his help Andy was on the mend.
Grissom had driven to Calienta and picked Mattie up without much fanfare and the two had returned to his townhome with Mattie immediately asking about Sara and requesting that she have dinner with them. It had been so easy, their slide into this comfort zone. Him. Sara. Mattie. Grissom had taken a leave of absence from work in order to spend the time with Mattie and simultaneously begin working on the forensic entomology textbook that he had been gathering research on for years.
Within days they had established a routine that had felt so right to both Grissom and Sara and now they stood in his kitchen, chocolate chip cookies in front of him and a simple challenge in the air.
"Oh, I can eat just one. Try me," he winked at Mattie who had turned to watch their light banter.
Taking one of the now cooling cookies he bit into it and savored the look on Sara's face more than the taste of the cookie.
"Perfect," he said at last.
"You would like another one?" asked Sara with a teasing smile.
A puzzled expression raced over Sara's face before she said with uncertainty, "Okay."
Wrapping his arms around her waist and caring less if the flour transferred to his own clothes, Grissom kissed the tip of her nose and said softly. "I want them all."
If the mushiness didn't sicken you, then please let me know if you liked the story? Thank you!