Title: Right Up My Alley

Author: Dana Banks

Feedback: Any is welcome—even flames (or constructive criticism, as I like to call it)

E-mail: R, just to be safe.

Category: Humor/Romance

Spoilers: King Baby

Summary: Gil and Catherine continue their evening.

Distribution: If you think it's good enough…just let me know.

Disclaimer: These characters don't belong to me…I'm just having some fun.

Notes: I took some liberties with this fic, so some parts might be out of character. Also, they have to have some time off, right? Hope you enjoy reading anyway! Another also, all mistakes are mine...no beta.

Right Up My Alley

I really wished Jim would leave. He's my friend and all, but he just had to pick that moment to join Gil and me at that table. That moment! Gil told me he missed my tush and before I could elaborate on my 'thank you,' Jim showed up at our table from out of nowhere! He ordered a

light beer and the three of us talked about the case for awhile, but the last thing I remembered was something about Fiji. Hmm…Gil…me…Fiji. That would certainly be nice, but it'll never happen.

"Catherine?"

I was pulled out of my Fiji reverie by that silky baritone voice that I've known for two decades.

"Huh?"

"Jim said he was leaving."

"Oh." I looked at Jim as he stood up. "I'm sure our paths will cross again soon, Jim." That was so lame. I can't believe I said that.

"Yeah, see you two later." I could tell that Jim was more than ready to go, and he quickly made his exit.

Gil and I were alone once again. I snuck a quick glance at him, only to see that he was already looking at me. No words were exchanged at that moment, but our eyes were seemingly glued to each other's. He continued to stare at me, and I began to squirm. Nothing is as intense as the gaze of Gil Grissom.

"Anything else, sir?" the waitress asked.

Damn! What are we—people magnets? These people just won't leave us alone tonight.

Gil told the waitress that we didn't need anything else, and as she left to find other people to interrupt, his eyes returned to mine. "Are you ready to go?"

"I guess so." I reached for my purse, but Gil was quick to stop me.

"No, drinks are on me tonight." He smiled at me and there was no way I could argue with him.

I returned the smile. "Thanks."

We stood up and walked toward the exit, and he gently placed his hand on the small of my back. It was then that I realized I didn't want the night to end yet. I missed him too. I had to make a move then. I turned to face him and his hand fell back to his side. "Um, Gil? We haven't spent a lot of time together recently, and I was just wondering…maybe if you want to…have you ever been bowling?" I don't know why, but I was incredibly embarrassed. My eyes were drawn to the floor where I found the tile pattern very interesting.

At first he didn't say anything and I wasn't sure if that was good or bad.

"Bowling? You mean with ten pins at the end of a lane and ugly shoes?"

"If you don't want to go, it's okay."

"Cath," he said, reaching for my hand, "I didn't mean anything by that, I just never pictured you as a bowler." He squeezed my hand and I found myself looking into his eyes for the millionth time.

"Does that mean you want to go?" I said hopefully.

"Yes."

We took his Tahoe to Vegas Lanes, but there wasn't much conversation during the ride over. After Gil parked, he told me to stay in the Tahoe so he could open my door. I was touched by his random act of chivalry—it made me feel more special than I'd felt in a long time. His hand returned to the small of my back as we made our way to the entrance. Once inside the bowling alley, Gil approached the man at the counter, "I'd like a lane and two pairs of shoes."

We got our shoes (Gil was right about them being ugly) and went to lane 12. Gil put our names into the computer as I tried to find a bowling ball. I finally found a bright orange one to use and I returned to lane 12 to put on my shoes. By the time I had finished tying my shoes, Gil was back—with a black bowling ball. I guess some things will never change. Gil put my name in the computer first, so picked up my bowling ball and took my stance. I knocked down seven pins with my first ball, which I didn't think was too bad. I didn't pick up the spare, though—I missed the three remaining pins.

The pins re-racked and Gil assumed his bowling stance. He released his bowling ball and it looked like it was going to fall off into the gutter, but it made a sharp curve toward the middle of the lane and hit the pins with a decisive 'THWACK!' A strike! He smiled as he passed me on the way back to his seat. The second frame was no better than the first. I knocked down the same seven pins. And once again, I missed the same three. Gil repeated his strike. The rest of the game continued much the same, although there were a few spares for both of us. In the end, though, Gil won 172 to 123. He asked if I wanted to bowl another game, and after my affirmative, he reset the computer for the second game.

During the first frame of the second game, I threw my bowling ball in the gutter on my first try, and only managed to get five pins on my second try. I started toward my seat, but Gil stepped in my way. "Can I offer some friendly advice?"

"Sure."

"If you want to get a strike, you've got to use your knees more. You've got to get lower to generate more power." I couldn't stop the giggle that escaped my lips. When he realized what he'd said, his cheeks and ears turned bright red. "Get your mind out of the gutter, Cath." That only made me laugh harder.

"The gutter!" I howled. "Did you have to say that at the bowling alley?" I laughed so hard that my face hurt.

"It wasn't that funny."

"Yeah, it was," I said, trying to contain my laughter and regain my composure.

Gil got another strike. Before I bowled the next frame, I tried to smooth things over. "Can I ask you something?"

"As long as it's not about a gutter."

"I promise it's not. I was just curious about where you learned to bowl."

"My mother taught me. I practiced nearly weekly until the end of college."

"Why'd you quit? They wouldn't let you bring your bugs?" I said with a smile and a wink.

"No, I was just tired of bowling."

"Oh."

I didn't question him any further. I picked up my orange bowling ball from the ball return and tried to remember what he'd said about getting lower. I bent my knees and stayed low. I released my bowling ball, kept my low stance, and watched as my ball sped toward the center of the pins. I wanted a strike, but I left a single pin standing. When I turned around, Gil's eyes were focused somewhere lower than my eyes. Was he looking at my tush? I didn't tell him that I noticed his distraction. I assumed the stance once again (to try to pick up my spare), and once again, Gil was distracted when I turned around.

Two can play this game. I already had a plan forming in my mind. Gil seemed to regain his focus because, surprise, surprise, he got another strike. He tried to pass me, but I grabbed his arm. "Gil, I just can't seem to get a strike," I said, in a saccharine voice. "Do you think you could show me?"

"Well, I told you, Cath…all you have to do is…"

I put my finger to his lips to silence him. "I know what you told me. I want you to show me."

"Uh, you mean…on the lane…with you?" he asked, obviously panicked.

"That's exactly what I mean."

"Um, okay." WHAT! I didn't really think he'd go along with it.

I grabbed the bowling ball from the ball return, and I glanced over my shoulder to make sure he was following. I wasn't even sure I could go through with it. Then, Gil got a burst of confidence. He pressed himself against my back—his knees were directly behind mine and the fronts of his thighs were solidly plastered to the backs of mine. His chest was like a wall against my back, and his rapid breathing was hot on my right ear. His hands were quite possibly the best part though. His right hand was loosely placed over my right hand (I have no idea how I held onto the bowling ball), but his left hand was splayed across my stomach, his thumb incredibly close to touching my breast. Even through my clothes, his touch set me on fire. My breathing was already erratic, but I thought that I would stop breathing at anytime.

"You ready to do this?"

This was supposed to be my game, but all I could do was nod. I didn't have the ability to answer to answer with words.

Somehow we managed to release the bowling ball, but because his knees bent further than mine, I lost my balance, knocking both of us down. We landed on the lane in a heap of tangled limbs with me mostly on top. I didn't want to move, but the floor of the bowling alley is not the place to make a move on a friend. I tried to push myself off of Gil and the floor, and eventually I was able to stand up. I helped him up as best I could. I just happened to look toward the other end of the lane—no pins. "Look! We got a strike!" That was all it took for us both to dissolve into fits of laughter.

After receiving some condescending looks from other bowling alley patrons, Gil and I decided that we should probably leave before we were arrested for indecency. We changed back into our shoes and went to the counter to pay. I opened my purse to retrieve my wallet, but just like at the restaurant, Gil refused to let me pay.

"Come on, Gil. You have to let me pay for something," I said, placing my hand on his bicep.

"You can buy breakfast," he said with a wink and a grin.

I returned the grin. "That's right up my alley."

That caused another round of laughter. This time though, as we headed toward the door, his hand wasn't on the small of my back—it was on my tush!

He was looking at my tush!

Bowling notes:

spare-takes two tries to knock down all the pins.

Strike-knock all the pins down on the first try.

Split-when there's a lot of space (bigger than the bowling ball) between the pins.

Gutter- trough-like space on either side of the lane in which the bowling ball can fall into (no points are awarded if the bowling ball falls in the gutter).

Frame- a single unit in a game—like an inning in baseball or a point in tennis. There are ten frames in one game.