Disclaimer/Author's Note – See Chapter One
Grissom sat in the SUV staring at Sara's apartment building. He wasn't sure how long he'd been sitting there, but it was still dark when he got there and now the cold early morning light had begun to hint at another day of brilliant sunshine.
He didn't know what he was waiting for. He knew what he wanted. It had taken a long time to reach this place, and still he waited. Hesitation had become second nature, he mused. His excuse, pitiful as it was, was that he still thought he might have left it too late.
With a deep breath, he got out of the Denali. His knock on the front door was answered in moments. Sara was up early, as always.
'Hey,' she greeted him, flashing her brilliant smile. 'Checking up on me?'
'In a manner of speaking,' Grissom replied, giving her a small smile. 'May I come in?'
'Sure,' Sara replied, stepping back to allow him access.
Inside, Grissom's eyes zeroed in on a framed picture on the coffee table that he hadn't seen before. It was of the whole team, Catherine, Warrick, Nick, Greg, Sara and himself, probably taken at the previous year's Christmas party in the break room.
'Nice photo,' he commented.
Sara smiled, looking at it. 'Yeah. I had it in a drawer, but… I figured I do have some friends in this town after all. I guess I've been isolating myself long enough.'
'I know the feeling,' Grissom replied quietly.
'So, I figure I'll be good to come back to work tomorrow. I'm feeling okay, and I'm better off working anyway, so…'
'Sara,' Grissom cut her off. 'I'm actually not here to talk about work.'
'Go figure,' Sara replied wryly. 'Do you, uh, talk about anything else?' she joked.
Grissom let out a sigh and Sara's smile faded. She could see he was serious about something and if it wasn't work, then she was worried.
'What's wrong?' she asked.
'Nothing,' replied Grissom. 'And, everything.'
'Okay. Well, that wasn't at all cryptic.'
'Sara, I…' Grissom paused. He had no idea how to start.
'Gris, you're making me nervous. Spit it out,' Sara told him.
He turned to her and smiled. He took a step closer.
'Would you like to have dinner with me?' he asked.
Sara was stunned. 'What? Why?'
'Because you're hungry? Because you want to? Because…' Grissom took a deep breath. 'Because I want to see what happens.'
'Grissom…' Sara started uneasily.
'Sara,' he cut her off again. 'I finally know what to do about this.'
He stopped, scared to say more. Stop hesitating, a voice inside him said.
'Please tell me I'm not too late.'
Neither of them spoke. Grissom's words raced around in her mind. She had given up hope long ago, when she heard him say he wouldn't take the risk for her. But now, he stood before her, baring his heart in a way she had never dreamed of.
Grissom was about ready to admit defeat when, slowly, Sara raised a hand gently to his face and held it there.
'No, Grissom,' she told him. 'You're not too late.'
A small laugh broke free from him, a combination of relief and complete joy. Slowly he raised his own hand to her cheek and savoured the warmth of her skin under his touch. When she flashed him that brilliant smile again, he felt his heart would burst. Unable to wait a moment longer, he leaned towards her, tasting her smile. The warmth that spread through his heart was breath-taking. It felt as though he had never truly been alive before this moment. Drawing Sara closer to him, he embraced her with every ounce of himself, opening his mouth to deepen the kiss. Sara responded with passion that equalled his.
So this is what it feels like to live a life without regret, he thought. Catherine was right. It's the only way to live.