"Come on, Sunshine, wake up."

Nick traced his index finger across Sara's shoulder, stopping and gripping it gently, trying to get her to get up. In truth, before they were together Sara was lucky to get more than five hours of sleep a night. A regular sex life can work wonders, he thought as she rolled towards his touch, seeking contact even in sleep. Slowly, slowly, her brown eyes opened, squinting at light's sudden intrusion. "I like it when you call me that," she murmured quietly, draping an arm across his chest in an effort to make him join her on the bed.

"Really? I do seem to remember that you smacked Greg when he did."

She had closed her eyes again but cracked one open at his words. "You're different."

"Oh, really?"

"Yeah, the sex with Greg wasn't as good."

Nick shot up, looming over Sara who had been sprawled across the mattress by his sudden movement. "You didn't-"

She stretched lazily, extending her arms and arching away from the sheets. "Of course not," she responded with a sigh, "I just like appealing to your masculine territorial instincts."

"If Sanders even looks at you, I'll rip him apart."

Rolling onto her stomach Sara replied, "Start with the tongue. No more stupid nicknames or pickup lines."

Nick stooped, grasping Sara by the hips and throwing her over one shoulder as he walked towards the kitchen. "As you wish."

The phone was ringing…very, very loudly. Sara winced, pressing her palms against Nick's chest and pushing herself off of him. "So much for Gone with the Wind," she muttered, watching the credits slowly scroll across the TV screen. She hadn't intended to fall asleep; though the length of the movie and Nick's semi-short intention span had guaranteed that physical contact would take precedence in their evening. She had been right. Twice.

The identity of the caller was a mystery to her, even as she reached the phone. Her coworkers always called via cellular telephone and it wasn't as if Sara's social life extended very far beyond the lab. Blearily, she picked the receiver up mid-ring and said, 'hello?"

"Hi, is Nick there?" The voice was female, slightly inquisitive, as if they had not expected for Sara to answer the phone. The first prickles of paranoia started immediately, crawling up Sara's spine. Another woman? Not that she would ever suspect such behavior from Nick, but once a woman had been cheated on it was hard not to be suspicious. The voice of the caller sounded relatively aged, though it wasn't a concrete conclusion.

Sara's pause must have slightly bothered the caller, because she began to ramble. "Oh, well I thought I had the right number. I called his old apartment and they said he had moved here. This is also the home address listed at his work…"

"He's here, just asleep. Would you like me to wake him up?"

The still unidentified caller seemed apologetic, "no, no, that's alright. I just realized I forgot to introduce myself, since I don't think we've met before. I'm Jillian Stokes, Nick's mother."

Sara's posture immediately straightened as an adrenaline rush entered her system. Nick's parents didn't know that he had moved in with her, didn't know about 'them', and Sara had no idea if they would be receptive to the idea of their youngest son dating her. Also, it would probably be best if it was Nick that broke the news. Though, the aforementioned male was still asleep, and happily so.

"Err…" she supplied, "actually, Mrs. Stokes, we have met before. I'm Sara Sidle and I work with Nick at the crime lab. I spoke with you at Desert Palm Hospital."

Jillian's voice brightened considerably, 'Oh yes, I recall. And how are you, Sara?"

"Well, thank you, and yourself?" Keep it moving, Sidle, she thought, try and keep it simple.

"I'm fine," responded Jillian, her Texan accent creeping in the way she said 'I'm'. To Sara's ears, it sounded like 'Ah'm'. (A/N: I'm a Texan, born 'n raised, and I do have an accent. Though, I kinda' like it.)

The kindness in Nick's mother's voice made guilt prick at Sara's skin. Keeping her relationship with Nick a secret from coworkers was relatively easy, seeing as disagreements had occurred between them before. But Jillian Stokes had been nothing but kind to her, nothing but trusting, and keeping a secret like this from her seemed wrong.

"Um, Mrs. Stokes, I thought you should know. Nick and I are," she continued, taking a deep breath, "seeingeachother!" The words came out so fast, in a landslide of syllables that were hardly recognizable.

"I- I mean," she fumbled, flustered and trying really hard to still her breathing, "Um, Nick and I are…seeing each other. We actually live together. I know we should have told you about 'us' before, but you're actually the first person to know…" Now it was Sara's turn to ramble, overcompensating for her guilt. "We've been together for about nine months now. I'm really sorry…"

There was silence on the other end and Sara tensed. When Jillian responded, her voice wasn't actually angry, just surprised. "Sara, why are you apologizing? It's quite all right. I suspected Nick had a new girlfriend, and I knew he had feelings for you…"

"Wha- what?"

"At Desert Palm, Nick wanted to see you as soon as we finished speaking to him. He hadn't even seen anyone else from your lab. Don't forget, Sara, that I've raised quite a few children in my time, and I know when one of them has a love interest."

Sara was reeling. Nick's mother wasn't angry, wasn't even surprised! She was the only person who knew about them, and she was taking the news quite well. Now, if only Sara could be as calm.

"Well, just tell Nick that I called, please. It was really nice talking to you, Sara, and I'm happy for the two of you. Though," she continued, and Sara could hear Jillian's smile on the other end of the phone, "don't think I won't have some choice words for him for keeping a secret from his mother. Bye, Sara."

"Goodbye, Mrs. Stokes."

"Jillian will do fine, dear."

That was a bit surprising. Jillian had only met Sara face-to-face once, and yet she was completely open and welcoming. She had no reason to trust Sara, to even be polite, and yet she was. Sara's own mother had always insisted on being called 'mother,' not 'mom' or 'mommy.' Sara's mother had never been so kind. Jealously flared in her chest, envy of the compassion in Nick's family, of the closeness that she never had.

"Alright then, goodbye, Jillian."

"Bye." There was a click, and the line was dead. Sara slowly set the phone down, breathing deep, still shaken from a relatively simple encounter. Of course, Jillian was the first person she had told, so it made sense to be slightly freaked out. Walking over to the couch, upon which Nick was still sleeping, she wormed her way in between her boyfriend and the couch. His lazily brought one arm up, curling around her shoulders. A few moments passed and Sara drifted back to sleep. Finally he inquired, his voice husky with sleep, "Who was it on the phone?"

"Mmm…your mom."

He stirred. "Really?"

"Yeah. I told her about us."

His lips curved into a smile, knowing that if Sara told someone, whether it was his mom or the pizza guy, it meant she was finally feeling comfortable in their relationship. "And how did she react?"

"Better than expected. Now stop talking, Nick. Some of us didn't sleep the entire time your mom was on the phone."

He laughed, his chest vibrating against her cheek. "Yes ma'm."