A/N Sorry this update has taken so long. Real life has been hectic, and since it's the last chapter, I wanted to be extra careful with it. Special thanks go to Leslie and smryczko for their helpful suggestions!
As always, thanks so much for all your wonderful reviews! This has been so much fun, I hate to see it end. I need to get working on the sequel, and those ideas I have for "Breakfast with Sara".
Please note, the rating of this chapter is R to reflect sexual content.
Chapter 12 New Memories
He was kissing Sara while they were lying together in his bed. Yet this time instead of the frantic, breakneck pace, they were tender, soft, leisurely kisses. She moaned softly and trembled as he captured her mouth with his. As much as the sensations thrilled him, he realized, with some disappointment, that it must be that overly vivid dream which continued to taunt him.
As his dream had previously dictated, he reached to pull Sara closer to him so he could feel her body pressed up against him. Yet something was different this time. A slight protest from his mending ribs startled him. That and the sunlight beginning to filter into the room indicated that he was awake, that this in fact, was reality. He paused, momentarily stunned.
"Are you okay?" Sara asked, wondering why he'd stopped.
It didn't take long for the events of the last twenty-four hours to flash through his mind.
"Yeah," he mumbled, blissfully returning to what he'd been doing, concentrating on kissing her while using both of his hands to shove her T-shirt up above her waist. He roughly caressed the bare flesh of her abdomen with one hand, and cupped her rear with the other. He didn't know who'd initiated things, and frankly, he didn't care. Some parts of him had revived much faster than others.
Their kisses became deeper and more passionate, as their tongues intertwined and their hands reached to touch and stroke one another, to get as close as humanly possible. Sara's inquisitive fingers found their way beneath his T-shirt. He was rapidly becoming more excited, his breath was coming faster and his heart thudded rapidly. Her scent, her texture, her taste were all intoxicating him. Like a raving alcoholic, he craved more.
He moved his hands higher up her body; to attempt to touch her breasts but the blanket covering them and the fabric of her T-shirt kept bunching up, getting in his way. He was also becoming slightly frustrated by his own lack of mobility. He couldn't bend very well and he had to move cautiously so as not to hurt Sara with his heavy cast. Finally, after tossing off the blanket and wrestling past the annoying folds of fabric, his fingers made contact.
Yet, as she began to moan in response to his touch, his brain started to catch up with him. Didn't Sara tell him last night that she wanted to wait? That she wanted their first time to be special? He tried to ignore that thought, for she was obviously enjoying herself so he was being ridiculous. Wasn't he?
However, this was Sara, the woman that he loved, the woman with whom it had taken him over ten years to initiate a meaningful relationship. She was the most important person in his life. After all the stupid mistakes he'd made in the distant and recent past, he couldn't afford to start off on the wrong foot, so he pulled back while he still could in order to be sure.
She whimpered in protest when he stopped kissing her. "What's wrong?"
"Is this what you want? Is it special enough for you?" he panted, although his fingers seemed to have a mind of their own, as they began to rub her nipples. Heaven forbid, if this wasn't the right time for her, he needed to bolt, fast.
Sara gasped, instinctively pushing herself closer to him. Then she laughed, a deep throaty laugh. "Of course it is, who do you think started all this?"
That was all he needed to quench any doubts. "Take off your shirt," he growled hungrily.
She yanked it over her head then tossed it towards the floor. "What about yours?"
He sat up to remove it; since it was a little more challenging for him with his injuries, Sara helped him pull it over his head.
"Where do you want me?" she asked suggestively, her brown eyes sparkling mischievously.
"On your side."
He examined her panties, which were light pink and bikini style. He slipped his fingers beneath the slim band of fabric and seriously contemplated ripping them right off her.
Sara caught on to his plan and protested, "Hey, I don't have any other underwear here."
He grinned naughtily, "And that's a problem?"
His fingers were poised, slipped beneath the fabric, ready for action. Yet he could see her cringing at that thought, so he respected her wishes and gently peeled them off of her. He lay down beside her, her back resting against his chest. Her skin felt warm and smooth against him. He began to trail wet kisses on the back of her neck as he caressed her breasts with one hand and slid his other hand between her legs. She moaned as her body responded to his attention.
"Oh god…" she gasped as she writhed with pleasure, her cries heightening his arousal. He continued to stroke her, his fingers well lubricated, as her movements became even more frenzied.
"Oh god," she cried as her body arched then relaxed. Breathing heavily, she flipped over to face him, eagerly searching for his mouth, covering it with hers, while her hand brushed against the large bulge in his sweats.
He wasn't going to be able to hold back much longer. Ignoring his pride, he asked Sara, "Help me get my pants off."
Sara rapidly complied, yanking his sweat pants past his hips then over his knees and ankles. She banged his cast a little in the process but he didn't care, the faster, the better.
"How do you want me?" she asked.
Ideally he longed to be on top of her, but he didn't think he could handle it. It would be hard to maneuver with the ribs being so tender, and with the cast. So they opted to lie side by side, facing one another. Sara put her leg over his thigh, drawing them closer.
He slid himself inside of her and the two began to move in that familiar rhythm, matching one another's pace. Their tempo quickened rapidly as did their breathing. Just as he thought he'd almost reached his peak, Sara began licking his neck, the added sensation instantaneously triggering his release. Hot and sweaty, they collapsed in each other's arms.
Grissom turned to lay on his back while Sara cuddled with him, leaning her head against his chest and throwing an arm about his middle. Panting, they sought one another to kiss gently, tenderly. Then Sara collapsed, laying her head back against him.
"That was..that was incredible," she sighed.
It was. Over the years, he'd slept with numerous women, some even skilled in erotic pleasures. Yet, in spite of his physical limitations, no encounter had come close to equaling the intensity of the one that he'd just experienced. Maybe that was the difference between having sex and making love.
"I love you Sara," he whispered. He'd never felt this way about any other woman. The intensity of his feelings was a little frightening, yet he was thrilled that he'd finally been able to take the steps to become involved with her.
Contentedly she murmured, "I love you too baby."
The two held each other as the sun's rays started to enter the room in full force. He lightly caressed her back as their breathing slowed down. Finally he was truly grateful that his life had been spared, that he'd been given a second chance, that he was still alive. For this was what had been missing all those years. If his mother's god had been the force behind his accident, at least something beneficial had arisen from it.
And hopefully yesterday's spark would bear fruit. He was encouraged by the event and cautiously optimistic that his mind would continue to heal on its own.
He felt Sara shiver so they managed to pull the blankets over them, then resume their original positions.
It was amazing how quickly life could change. One day he was planning on driving to an entomology conference, only to find himself fighting for his life after a few hours. Three days later, he'd accepted that he was going to die, only to be treated in the emergency room within hours. Only twenty-four hours ago, he'd been nervously waiting for Sara to show up at his apartment, absolutely stricken by the thought of not seeing her again, and now she was in his arms.
"Uh-huh," she murmured.
He propped some pillows behind his head so he could see her face better. "Why did you come back? I mean, I'm glad you did, but…why? After what I did…" His voice trailed off. He hoped he wasn't getting himself in trouble here, but he was confused, he needed to understand how she felt. He didn't fully comprehend how she could forgive him.
She began to trace on his chest with her fingers. "Your letter. Griss…er Gil?"
"Whatever you're comfortable with."
"I never dreamed that I would actually hear you say those words." Her voice was starting to get hoarse. "And for you to write them down on paper…for anyone to see. Where you couldn't take it back or deny that those words ever existed." Her eyes started to tear up. "It was a huge step for you, the equivalent of a commitment. I recognized that."
His curiosity overcame his pride. "What took you so long to get here? I was getting pretty anxious," he confessed.
"I felt like I'd been slapped in the face when I realized that you couldn't kiss me that day in the woods. It hurt. Badly. I needed to distract myself, to get away from the pain. I knew alcohol would only make things worse, so I showed up at the lab to immerse myself in work."
"Did it help?"
"Not really, but it took the edge off. Of course, Catherine was hovering, trying to bug me, she realized that something was wrong, but I told her to leave me alone. I was pretty rude to her. I don't know how much time went by before she showed up again and insisted that I take a break. I gave her a lot of grief. She practically dragged me into the break room where I saw the flowers. I knew they were from you. I have to be honest, my first reaction was to throw them away, I was angry and hurt."
"I know," was his soft reply. He'd been afraid that she'd react in that fashion.
"When I tried to grab the base of the container to pitch them into the trash, Catherine blocked me and insisted that I had to read the card. I wanted her off my back so I did. You know, she was smart enough to leave the room after I started reading, because that's when I starting crying."
He made a mental note that he owed Catherine dinner, or a bottle of wine or something. Perhaps Sara could help him figure out how to show his appreciation, for Catherine had played a vital role in bringing them together.
"I'm sorry you had to go through all that," he apologized then he kissed her as he ran his fingers through her hair.
Since they were getting to know one another on a deeper level, there was another question that had been bothering him for some time. More than one person had alluded to this as if it were highly significant. He hoped he wasn't pushing his luck.
"Can you tell me about what happened at the hospital?" He felt her stiffen; she didn't want to talk about it so he kissed her temples. "Please honey, I need to know."
She took a deep breath, striving to describe her memories. "Let's see…Catherine left us a frantic message to meet her at Desert Palms ER. We had no idea why. I think Nick, Warrick and I had just worked a double, and we were finishing up with a late breakfast at some diner. When we arrived at the hospital emergency room, I knew the minute I saw her." A tear slid down her cheek.
"I just froze, I could hear her voice, but it sounded like it was coming from a long way off. She told us that you'd had an accident, that you'd lapsed into a coma and that you might never regain consciousness. I couldn't move. I couldn't do anything. I guess I was in shock." She suppressed a sob.
"We were in the waiting room for hours, and at some point we moved up to a hospital room. Then some of us had to report for work that night. I could hear the others murmuring about it, guess they got Days and Swing shift to help out. Nobody bothered to ask me, they left me alone."
With sudden clarity, he replied, "You stayed until I woke up, didn't you?" He could vaguely remember the nurse talking about a girl who'd stayed with him all night. At the time, he didn't make the connection.
She nodded. "Actually I just missed it. The nurses convinced me to lie down for a while on the couch in the nurse's lounge. They sent someone to get me but by the time I arrived, you'd fallen asleep."
He was shaken. "Sara, you were there over two days straight? After you worked a double shift too?" She must've been like the walking dead.
She tried to minimize it. "Yeah, the others were checking in as they could, but I stayed."
"Why?" Up to that point, she'd had no reason to suspect that he had deeper feelings for her, at least none that he was aware of.
More tears crept down her face. "I thought you were going to die. I was afraid that you'd never wake up. I knew, at that point, I knew that I loved you, even if you didn't return my feelings. Even if you never could return them. No matter how much I tried to deny it, I didn't have a choice any more; I couldn't get away from it. So I accepted the fact that I loved you, so I couldn't leave until you showed some improvement."
He was surprised. "You didn't act differently towards me at the hospital."
"You wouldn't have been able to tell, you were so out of it, Gil. It was scary. Even so, I avoided looking at your eyes because I thought there might've been a slim chance that you could. Everybody else sure could. I felt like I was wearing a neon sign which shouted in bold flashing letters, 'I'm in love with Gil Grissom'." Her cheeks became flushed. "And you were in such bad shape; I didn't want to add to your burdens. I couldn't make it worse. I remembered how uncomfortable you were when I asked you out, I couldn't take that chance of adding to your problems in that hospital room."
He hated to admit it but she was right. Maybe he would've accepted comfort from her in the very beginning of his stay, while he was in a daze, but it would've lead to a potentially awkward situation.
"So when did you go home?" he asked.
"After the nurses told me that you'd revived for a few minutes. The doctors were greatly encouraged and felt your condition was turning around and that you were out of danger. I guess I was relieved. I…I kind of collapsed. I think Nick took me home. I don't really remember, it was kind of a blur." She tried ineffectively wiping her cheeks with the back of her hand.
"That's why you weren't around those first few days."
"Yeah.' Suddenly Sara felt embarrassed by her tears. "We should clean up. I must look terrible. Want to take a shower?"
Grissom wasn't able to control his involuntary response. "No," came out a little too forcefully.
At first, she was offended by his reaction, but then it didn't take her long to realize why he responded in that fashion. She began to trace his beard with her fingertips.
"Is the nurse still helping you out?"
He nodded; he didn't want to talk about it. It was humiliating enough not being able to take care of his personal needs.
She started to kiss his neck as she spoke. "You know, just because we made love doesn't mean that I expect you to tell me all your secrets. You're a private person, and I know it will take time for us to grow closer. Now you know some of mine, but that doesn't mean that you know all of them." She lifted her head to kiss his cheek but he pulled her closer to kiss her lips soundly.
Although she was enjoying it, she broke the kiss to finish her train of thought. "Gil, this is important. You've had a terrible experience and I want to help you get through it. Can you trust me to do this?"
He felt torn. He wanted to argue that it wasn't simply a matter of trust; there was significantly more to it. But then he'd have to actually talk about those issues. So he stalled, "Sara, it's just too hard for me to do by myself now. Since I can't put any weight on my ankle, balancing is almost impossible."
Sara had made up her mind. "You're not doing it by yourself. Call the nurse later and tell him that you don't need him anymore," she replied firmly. She sat up. "C'mon, let's go."
With a sinking sensation in his gut, he reluctantly rose, using his crutches to follow her. The view was certainly stimulating. Sara was a gorgeous woman, even with a tear stained face; his eyes remained fixed on her lush naked body. Yet even his pleasure in that began to diminish as they entered his bathroom.
He was loath to admit to Sara that just being in this bathroom made him queasy, that taking a shower was a logistical nightmare for him. The first few times he'd tried to take a shower, with the nurse's assistance, he'd actually vomited. In fact, the nurse typically gave him sponge baths. Grissom had ventured into the shower with his aid's assistance only a handful of times. He longed for the day when he could take a nice long hot shower without feeling nauseous
Sara found some clean towels and started to run the water.
He sat on the closed toilet seat, unable to stand long on his mending ankle. His pulse rate was starting to escalate and his breathing was becoming ragged. "Honey, I can't…I can't do this," he objected.
She moved toward him to put her hands on his shoulders. "It's okay. Trust me, let me take care of you."
On top of his overall queasiness, his pride was stinging. It just didn't feel right. She shouldn't have to help him bathe; it made him feel old. He felt completely out of control, like he was going to pass out.
Sara was aware of his rising discomfort, but she continued getting ready. "Do you have some plastic bags to cover your cast?"
He pointed to a cabinet, so she prepared his cast.
He closed his eyes, trying to slow his breathing, feeling that familiar dread. He must be an idiot, feeling this way. Dr. Walker said it was perfectly normal, but over a month seemed like an awfully long time to be experiencing this type of anxiety. He was a grown man. This just didn't make sense. Shouldn't he be improving some?
She was waiting.
He took a deep breath. Could he do this? His gut was screaming no. Yet, the only way to deal with this type of irrational fear was to face it. Putting it off would only make it worse and even give it more power over him. He couldn't stand that thought. And didn't Dr. Walker say he needed to associate new memories with the scene of the accident?
Also, he'd just taken a huge risk opening his life to Sara, and so far that was going better than he'd ever imagined. Perhaps this could work out as well? He could tell that this was very important to her, so he'd give it his best effort.
"It's okay." She kissed him gently, "Let me help you." Then she helped him into the bath chair.
Being in the actual bathtub intensified his fears. It wasn't just the ordinary fear of falling; he was overflowing with absolute dread. He gripped the edge of the bathtub with white knuckles while praying he could keep his stomach contents down.
Sara didn't fool around; she stepped into the shower, pulled the shower curtain across, and got down to business right away, aware of his panic. She started out by washing his hair, using a cup to help completely soak his hair. For a brief instant, he felt like a little boy being washed by his mother. But that sensation didn't last for long. Her fingers kneading his scalp felt relaxing, taking the edge off his tension. His death grip on the tub began to loosen some.
Next she rubbed some soap on to a washcloth and proceeded to wash his body, gradually working her way from his head down to his toes. She took great care about his face, carefully avoiding his eyes.
When Sara was washing somewhere between his chest and his hips, he began to relax more. Somehow, her presence and her scrubbing were beginning to sooth his frayed nerves. It did feel good to be really clean. He also finally accepted, on some level, that if he did fall, she'd help him. His accident wasn't going to replay itself. It was an immensely reassuring thought.
After she'd finished washing him, she began to wash herself. He was astounded to find himself unwinding even more. He was even becoming slightly aroused watching her, though she wasn't trying to be sexy. At one point, he grabbed her hand because he wanted to kiss her, but she insisted that they needed to finish up before they ran out of hot water.
When she was clean, she bent so she could kiss him. They exchanged a few gentle kisses then she got up to turn off the water and pull back the shower curtain.
That sound caused him to flinch, rudely pulling him back to reality, reminding him that he hadn't conquered all of his demons.
Sara helped him dry off as much as he could while in the bathtub. He could feel himself tensing at the prospect of getting out of the tub. Although Sara was a slim woman, she was strong. They cautiously transferred him out of the bathtub and then over to the toilet seat to sit down.
The tension and exertion had sapped a lot of his strength yet he was almost giddy with relief. All of the horrible feelings hadn't disappeared, but it was a vast improvement. He felt as if he'd been baptized, with the shower water washing his old life and fears down the drain. Now he was facing life as a new man.
Letting Sara help him hadn't been humiliating. It was an act of love. He cursed himself for being such a fool. If he'd allowed her into his life earlier, his recovery could've been easier. Or if she'd already been living with him, his extended stay on the bathroom floor could've been avoided. Immediate medical treatment, without the added impact of dehydration, would've had a significant impact on the nature of his injuries.
Without thinking he said, "We need a new place, one with a bigger bathroom. Maybe a stall shower?" Oh god, he was assuming a lot with that statement. He hoped he hadn't overstepped the boundaries there.
Sara had wrapped her towel around her, tucking it in over her breasts, and was trying to part her hair while looking in the mirror. She glowed, understanding him completely. "How about one of those whirlpool tubs? That'd be nice. And how many bedrooms?"
"Two, or maybe three," he grinned, enjoying this game.
Her smile became broader. "Yeah, three…in a good school district, you know…just in case."
Then Grissom came back to reality. "Sara, I don't know what I'm talking about. I can't make any plans. I still don't even know if I can return to my job."
"We'll work it out Gil. One day at a time, right? We can look at places on the Internet, just for fun." She continued to comb her hair. "Shouldn't we call your doctor about what happened yesterday?"
"That's a good idea." Though his doctor would probably just tell him to wait and see, as he'd done so many times before.
"Can I come with you?" she asked tentatively, sensing this was a private arena.
He had no objections. "Of course, but don't you have to work?"
She tested the waters. "You wouldn't mind if I took a few days off to get used to our…new relationship, would you?"
"That'd be great."
He used his crutches to slowly work his way back to his bedroom. While the shower had worked out infinitely better than he'd anticipated, he was wiped out. He was looking forward to the day when his stamina would completely return, particularly since he had a stunning new girlfriend. Sara offered to help him with his clothes and he let her. Then he stretched on his bed and watched as she dressed herself.
He didn't know what the future held for him, but for a change, he had hope. He was hopeful that he'd continue to improve, that his brain would continue to heal, and that he'd be able to return to his job. Yet he didn't hold the answers to those questions, no one did. Only time would tell.
Sara joined him on the bed, leaning against his chest and wrapping her arms around him.
And whatever life dealt him; he was no longer alone. He had someone to share his burdens with, to travel the road with. For now, he was happy. In Sara's arms he felt like a new man.THE END
A/N Yes, it's really over; I'm feeling a little sad myself. But…I have some ideas brewing for a follow up story. I'd love to hear any of your suggestions.