Gil watched as Logan Airport disappeared from the window of the town car. He gave silent thanks that his driver wasn't the chatty sort and lost himself in the maze of the Big Dig.
Check in at the Fairmont Copley was smooth and efficient; in fact everything about his weekend in Boston was rolling along suspiciously well.
At 9:00 he showered and dressed in a dark suit and tie. Miguel's brownstone was only a few blocks away but Grissom opted for a cab rather than braving the cold December evening. Boston had many strong points but weather wasn't one of Grissom's favorite things about the city.
A black iron fence surrounded the small yard on Marlborough St. It's gate opened to a brick path leading a short distance before three stone steps. The large wooden door was open, a storm door closed out the chill. Through the glass Gil could see men and women in standard cocktail party clothing milling through yellow light. They carried champagne flutes and wine goblets, coffee cups and the inevitable tumblers of amber Glenrothes. Before he could press the discreet circular doorbell Connie, Miguel's round and rosy-cheeked wife appeared and invited him in.
"Gil, brilliant, you've made it! Mig was positive you'd be delayed with all the snow they've been threatening. Come in, come in!"
He found himself nearly sucked into the house with vacuum force. The warmth of the home was more than the work of a fireplace and radiators. There was a sense of joy, camaraderie and safety here that showed in contrast to the day in and day out of Gil's life.
Connie relieved him of his overcoat, handing it to a passing friend with instructions to "dump it on the bed with the rest darling" and led Gil up a flight of stairs and through the small gatherings of friends. Her hostess work of presenting Gil to her husband with a flourish finished Connie disappeared as quickly as she had popped up at the door.
Miguel hugged Grissom warmly and Gil fought not to bristle at the gesture. Instead he backed slightly and put a hand on Miguel's shoulder. "Congratulations Miguel." His smile was wide and genuine. Introductions were made; the small circle around Miguel consisted of Harvard colleagues already making a dent in Miguel's famous stash of rare scotch and cigars. Piano music drifted from an adjoining room. Gil excused himself to the bar. "No sense leaving all this good whiskey in the coffers and Miguel with all this retirement time on his hands. If we don't drink the bulk of it we'll be responsible for his advance into alcoholism."
There were roughly 50 people at the party, enough to keep a brownstone buzzing with activity, and enough that you didn't necessarily see the same people over and over as you mingled from grouping to grouping. Gil didn't mingle much as a rule, but he knew a few people here personally and more professionally. There was enough shop talk and literature review to keep him feeling mostly on top of things, and enough whiskey to make him not mind so much when he wasn't.
He was feeling a warm sense of comfort and complacency about a particular window he had been leaning next to when someone mentioned that it had begun to snow. Most of the revelers took little notice, being from Boston, or at least New England, but a few drifted toward the window for a look. He turned himself and pressed his forehead, slightly fevered from the rare slosh of alcohol in his blood stream, against the cool windowpane.
"Wow, it's snowing pretty hard, the road's already covered."
A vague familiarity played at the edges of his consciousness but he chose instead to focus on the sparkles of white in the streetlamps. "At Christmas I no more desire a rose Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth; But like of each thing that in season grows."
His attention snapped quickly from Shakespeare to full realization of what he found familiar.
She laughed, and he stared, confounded. Before he could register how stunning she was in the red silk dress, he had to force himself to place her in the situation.
"Why didn't you tell me you were coming?" She leaned against the opposite wall and lifted her glass to her lips.
"I had no idea you'd be here. I take it you had Miguel as an instructor?"
Sara sighed and shook her head. "You really don't read any of that paperwork you sign do you? I had to requisition this weekend off. I left it all on your desk…you signed the paperwork."
He smiled, sheepish, "Probably in the pile of stuff I had Catherine cover. Hell of a long way to come for the retirement of someone you had a class with."
"It was more than that." She gave him a minute to wonder, and was rewarded with an arched brow.
"I was his TA and then I started babysitting for him and Connie. This was my second home all through my senior year. He's the one who got me the job in the coroner's office in San Fran when I was in grad school."
Gil smirked, "And all this time I thought I was your mentor."
She held her glass out to him, "Oh, you were, later, but Mig got there first."