TITLE: Stuck In A Moment


EMAIL: flotternz@snap.net.nz



SUMMARY: Sara has to come to turns with Grissom's refusal.

SPOILERS: Play With Fire, minor for Evaluation Day (I think)

DISCLAIMER: CSI isn't mine – I don't own it nor do I earn any money from it!


Stuck In A Moment

By Saz


As I pull out of the parking lot I know with certainty that this will be the last time that I drive from this place. It will be the penultimate time that I drive through the streets of Las Vegas, the city that has been home to me for the last three years.

It's my home no longer.

I'm starting to wonder if it was ever my home to begin with. I came here to work, and that's *all* I did.

Oh, and I managed to become infatuated with my boss too. Yeah, can't forget that minor detail. After all, it's the reason I'm preparing myself to get home and pack. It's the reason that I'm leaving.

I have nothing to show for my time here except the heartache and embarrassment that has rendered my soul with desolate emptiness. I'd always believed that deep down he felt the same way, that he cared for me as deeply as I him, that he would be willing to open up and let me in.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Maybe I was foolish to even ask, maybe my head was still screwed up from the lab explosion, but I thought I was taking a positive step forward when I asked him to go to dinner with me. I thought it could be a positive step forward for us.

I didn't expect the surprise that filled those intelligent eyes, the way they hardened as my words sunk in, the simple and blunt "no" of his reply. I don't know what hurt more – that or the quickness the reply came to his lips.

I still can't work out why I had to continue to push the point, why I couldn't have just walked away then without further embarrassing myself. But that's me, doggedly persistent even if I know I'm only going to get hurt, despite knowing deep down that he just *was not interested*.

"I don't know what to do about this."

It was like a slap to the face, coupled with a punch to the stomach so forceful that it drove the air from my lungs. About this, what the hell did that mean? That I was a pesky itch that couldn't be gotten rid of no matter how hard it was scratched? Is that all I am, *an annoyance?*

I wanted to scream at him, I wanted to slap him, vent my frustration and hurt, but I didn't. Instead I turned and left, hoping that he would follow me, that he would apologize, that he'd admit to me that he felt the same way.

He didn't.

Angrily, I swipe at the tears on my face. I feel like that's all I've done in the last day – relive that moment over and over and cry. At least I realized that day what I had to do. I was miserable, I'd been miserable for a long time, and that night only cemented my decision.

My life is waiting to be packed into a U-Haul, mainly taken up by bulky furniture and several meagre boxes - a sure sign that my life is absorbed by my work and barely anything that resembles a normal life, despite the year that I spent with Hank.

My resignation sits on Grissom's desk, where I left it ten minutes ago, waiting to be opened and read when he arrives for the new shift. I've organized to take the paid leave I should have taken yesterday, and with the leave I already have owing I will never have to step foot in that building again.

I feel strangely emotionless as I drive home, detached, as my thoughts focus on one thing – getting away. I don't want to think anymore, I don't want to feel.

But the moment I pull into the car park of my apartment building I feel reality crash down around me. The U-Haul sits in my parking spot, waiting to be loaded. In the entranceway I walk past the boxes I stacked there earlier, ready to be packed into the U-Haul tomorrow morning, and I feel the numbness encompassing me rapidly dissolving into loneliness and despair.

I have nothing to show for my life, and no one to share it with even if I had. Why did I have to let my job consume me so much?

I wrap my arms about myself as grief overwhelms me and curl into the corner of my sofa as sobs begin to overtake me.

It hasn't just been one thing that has begged me to change my life, but a conglomeration of every godforsaken thing that has happened to me in the last couple of months – Hank, the long, endlessly frustrating, shifts, the explosion, and finally of course, my infatuation with Grissom.

I guess it was just a matter of time before I snapped, before something happened that would force me to re-evaluate everything, every decision I've made, the way I chose to live my life. I just never thought it would be because of this. I honestly never expected him to turn me down, but life is never about getting what you expect is it? If it was about that we'd never have to learn from our mistakes, never grow stronger through our disappointments.

But why does it have to hurt so much?

I lose track of how long I lay there, curled into a ball, sobbing. The only comfort being received my own, in the form of my arms wrapped tightly around my body. But soon, my sobs, my exhaustion have lulled me to sleep.

The next thing I'm aware of is someone pounding on my door, the sound so unexpected I jump up off the sofa, instantly alert. Blinking the sleep from my eyes, I pad to the door, my heart sinking. I already know who it's going to be, without having to look through my peephole. There's only one person that it could be.

Why couldn't he have just stayed away, ignored it like he usually does?

I chance a look in the mirror as I grip the door handle. I look like hell, my eyes puffy and bloodshot, my hair tousled and messy. I look paler than normal too, my face gaunt. Good, let him see how this is affecting me. It doesn't matter anyway nothing that he says is going to make me change my mind.

As I pull the door open I expect anger to wash over me, cold and bitter, but then I meet his eyes, see them widen as he takes in my appearance. I feel numb, unfeeling, as I meet those eyes and can't help but be struck by the emotions burning in them – more emotion than I have ever seen him show.

He steps forward, closer to me, his eyes not leaving mine. His action seems confident and certain, but I can see the pain in his face, the doubt. I'm frozen in place under the strength of his gaze, but I'm determined not to let him affect me. I've waited too long, been hurt too much and too often, to be swayed by whatever he has to say.

Too often he has coaxed me back with flowers, or the simple plead that the team needs me. I guess I should have realized then that he wasn't interested. That it was always the team needing me, not him, should have been the biggest indication right?

So, nothing he can possibly say will affect my decision in the least.

His hand reaches out, touching my arm softly before he pulls it back quickly. "Please, don't leave me."

Except that.