DISCLAIMER – Not mine. Belong to Anthony Zuiker, et al, CBS and Alliance Atlantis.
A/N – One more chapter of this story (maybe more). The next update will be Hopelessly Devoted - a separate Sara vignette, that should be posted in the next few days.
In the weeks since Sara's resignation, Grissom had become morose. Increasingly being filled with doubt, self-loathing and recrimination. Never the most accessible of people, he'd now withdrawn to the point where unless he was dealing directly with a case, he spoke to no one.
There was no time in his life that he could remember feeling worse. Thoughts of Sara occupied his mind constantly. At crime scenes it was all he could do to concentrate on the case. At the office piles of paperwork were growing exponentially.
Catherine had tried repeatedly to talk to him. Everyone knew what the problem was, and if would only be a matter of time before Ecklie would call her on the fact that her signature was on Grissom's reports, not his.
The new guy that had come from Colorado, Kyle Maxwell had turned out to be and absolute asshole. Surprisingly it was Sophia who stepped in to do something, about the plummeting morale at the lab.
Stepping into her former boss's office without him noticing, she waited till the prickly feel that someone's watching you, alerted him to her presence.
There was only a slight reaction of surprise when he looked up to see his former subordinate. Having his attention, she closed the door and sat down.
Without preamble she said, "Where did Sara go?"
Ecklie tried to stare her down, but she didn't falter. He pretended to finished checking some paperwork before acknowledging her with an answer. "I'm sorry Miss Curtis, but you have no right to ask that question."
"Bullshit Conrad. You screwed me over by sending me to nightshift, and I've learned to live with it. As it turns out, the nightshift crew really is a hell of a lot better than the dayshift, especially when you were the supervisor. Gil Grissom is the best teacher anyone could wish for, and he's a hell of a leader. You know you screwed him over when you let Sara Sidle go. You KNEW they had SOMETHING. Wether or not they were in a romantic, sexually relationship it doesn't matter, because if you don't bring her back he will leave, and you'll have lost the ONLY asset this lab has. You'll be able to forget any more grants, and the spotlight will never be on this lab again. Sure you've got some great, top level CSI's, but the new guy is bringing everyone down.
I thought I could provide come of the support that Sara obviously gave Grissom, but I'm not her. So either you tell me where she is, so I can at least give Gil some piece of mind, or you call her and ask her to come back to the lab!" Having finished saying her piece she sat back and waited for the lab director's reply.
His voice was calm and ice cold. "Firstly Miss Curtis, I WILL NOT be talked to that way in my own office. I am very aware of the situation, and you overestimate the influence of both Miss Sidle and Dr Grissom on this lab. The disruption caused by the two of them and whatever relationship they have, has ALREADY been a detriment. I sincerely doubt that Miss Sidle's return would change that fact. Your concern has been duly noted and dismissed. Thank you for your observations and input. Good day Miss Curtis."
Taking a deep breath to calm herself, Sofia left Ecklie's office. She knew he could have fired her for the outburst and what she was about to do next, but she also knew that he didn't have the balls to do anything to her after shafting her out of the Swing-shift Supervisor position.
Her next stop was to Sheriff Atwater. Even if the rumours of his neutral relationship with Grissom were true, surely he could see that Gil Grissom was an asset they couldn't afford to loose.
A solitary figure sat in the bleachers of an empty ice rink. The Zamboni had finished smoothing out the ice almost an hour ago, but Grissom's mind was still focused on the moment years ago when he'd been sitting with Sara. One minute he'd been talking about baseball, telling her that he thought it was a beautiful game. The answer to her 'Since when are you interested in beauty?' had fallen from his lips without fore-thought or intent. "Since I met you."
He'd seen her shock out of the corner of his eye, and casually stated that they go search the ice for clues. He left quickly not trusting himself to say anything else for fear that he'd blurt out more than that.
Everything since then had been a push me, pull you game that had wounded both of them. He thought nothing could have been worse than when he'd found out she'd been dating the paramedic, Hank Pedigrew, he was wrong. He never would have believed that it would ache so badly to have her out of his life.
The truth was though that he'd never actually believed she would. He'd trusted that she was smitten enough with him to remain unhappy, despondent, and lonely in Las Vegas. Yes it was chauvinism at its worst. What had made him think that a bright, beautiful woman like Sara would be satisfied with the pseudo relationship he was offering?
He could have looked for her. Being a brilliant investigator it would have taken him a matter of hours if that. But it seemed pitiful, as pitiful as the thought that she'd stay in Las Vegas and be unhappy for him. As much as his pride was keeping him from pursuing her, the gapping hole in his heart was causing him to waver.
Across town, Sophia had finished talking to Sheriff Atwater, and the smile on her face could have lit the entire Strip for a week. She then did something she never thought she'd do, she called Catherine.
Ten minutes later she sent a simple text message to Grissom's cell phone – SS 6125552370. Grissom who'd reluctantly returned to his town house checked the message that lit up the screen. He put his cell phone down and slowly picked up his land-line handset. He punched in the numbers and waited as call went through.