Summary: Sequel to Falling. Sara reveals some truths.
Disclaimer: I still do not own CSI.
Uncertainty ran through Sara as she entered the living room. The folder in her hands felt heavier than it truly was. She looked at the man on the couch and wanted nothing more than to curl up in his arm and die. His soulful blue eyes looked at her questioningly.
She slowly moved towards him, clutching the folder to her chest. She had never shared it with anyone. Few knew of its existence. The first psychiatrist her aunt and uncle had forced her to see had tried to destroy it. He had informed them that it would only hinder her growth. At the time she had allowed them a few documents after having hid the rest. She had tried to throw it way several times herself but could never complete the act.
Sara felt his hand running circles on her side before she realized that she had reached the couch. Grissom still had the letter in his hands. He opened his mouth to speak but she beat him to it.
"My mother," Sara said and looked away from him. "Well, I'm not sure she deserves that term of endearment."
"She is in jail," Grissom stated. Sara looked at him. "And she is up for parole."
She nodded and closed her eyes. Taking a deep breath, she tightened her grip on the folder. She tried to focus for a moment on the sensation of his hand along her hip. How many times had she dreamed of his hands on her body? But now was not the time.
"Why is she in jail?"
Her eyes opened at his question. She handed the folder to him, her hands shaking slightly. Grissom placed the letter on the coffee table and set the folder in his lap. Sara felt completely on edge. It felt as though every nerve ending in her body was on fire. "Do you want something to drink?" she asked as she wrapped her hands protectively around her midsection. "God, I could use a drink."
At his look, she clarified, "No alcohol. There hasn't been any alcohol here since…well, since that day. I meant coffee, or tea. Maybe water. But it would have to be from the tap…"
His hand on her arm stopped her. She really did always over talk around him. "Water," he said brushing his thumb along her forearm.
"Are you sure? I might have juice or soda?" Sara asked, butterflies once again fluttering in her stomach. His touch made her already overactive synapses begin to work overtime.
"Just water," he said and offered her a smile.
Sara tried to smile back at his reassurance. One look at the folder in his lap caused the smile to falter. She stepped back, breaking contact. Immediately, she began to feel cold and hollow. "I'll get the water," she said and headed to the kitchen.
She retrieved two glasses from the cupboard and quickly filled them with ice and water. Turning back towards the living room she saw him open the folder. Placing the glasses on the kitchen island she closed her eyes.
She gripped the counter top. She knew the first thing that he would see. The family photograph. All five members of the Sidle family smiling genuine smiles. It had been taken the year before all hell had broken loose.
She could see the picture clear as day in her mind. They were at the beach. Her parents were in the back of the photo, lounging on beach chairs. Her brother, Johnny, was beside them on a towel. His brown hair was dripping wet from the wave he had just caught. In the foreground were her sister and her at four-years-old. The two were making a sandcastle together, placing seashells on it as a finishing touch. They wore matching pink bathing suits. The only characteristic to tell them apart was the gap in her younger images smile.
Sara opened her eyes and made her way to the couch. Grissom was looking at the photo, his eyes locked on the little girls. She placed the drinks on the table. "This is your sister," Grissom said, pointing to the four year old. "You are--"
"Twins," Sara said as she sat on the couch. She brought her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. Resting her head on them, she stared at the picture. "Her name was Emily."
She could feel his eyes on her, taking in her use of the past tense. She knew he would catch onto that. "She died," he stated. Sara nodded and continued to look at the picture, lost in the beauty of her sister's smile. "How?"
His simple question brought her on the verge of tears. Her voice was useless again. She touched the paper in his lap, willing him to continue his search. She let go of the breath she had been holding when he began to look at the next artifact.
Sara took the photograph and stared at it. She knew what the next artifact was, a newspaper clipping detailing the death of her father in an automobile accident. He had been on the way to see his mistress, a fact Sara had not learned until later in life but one her mother had learned quickly. Sara looked at her father in the picture. How different would everything be if you had never left that day? She wondered. Or would it have only delayed the inevitable?
Hearing his quick intake of air, she knew he was looking at the old Polaroids from the hospital. She couldn't remember how she had acquired them. Her aunt and uncle had probably received them and had never noticed them missing. Bruises and cuts covered her five-year-old face. The bright, carefree look that had been in her eyes in the previous photo was replaced by a haunted one. The next photo would show her with her right arm in a cast that came up to her shoulder. The next showed the bruising along her chest and ribs. And the last photo showed the cuts and bruises along her back. She had been in excruciating pain for weeks because of those injuries. But none of it had hurt as bad as the loss of Emily.
The photos came to rest on top of her father's article. Next would be the article on her sister's murder and the attempt on her life at the hands of their mother. Sara looked back at the photograph in her hands. Their mother. The woman who was supposed to protect them from the monsters of the world had turned out to be one.
She heard the papers tumble to the ground and allowed herself to be pulled into Grissom's warm embrace. She clung to him and began to cry. She felt wetness against her hair and knew he was crying as well. Sara cried harder. Tears she had held for years spilled forth. She cried for all that she had lost, for all she had endured alone, and for the sister who would never have a chance to know the man she loved, who never had a chance to find someone to love.
Grissom ran his hands in calming motions along her back, kissing her hair softly. He repositioned them on the couch to allow her to lie more smoothly. Eventually, Sara's breathing leveled out and her grip on him lightened. He knew without looking that she was asleep. And for once instead of analyzing the situation he allowed himself to fall asleep with the woman he loved in his arms. Tomorrow would be the time for answers.