Author's note: Yeah, I know I said soon, but that didn't happen! Sorry! Anyways, here is the next chapter! Enjoy! Oh, and btw, someone said that they were surprised Sara didn't think of California first. That is very true, and I realize that now, so I'm gonna chalk it up to the stress of the moment for her and the fact that she has tried to repress as much of California as possible. Or at least that's what I'm gonna say, lol! Oh, and I'd like to thank my wonderful new beta, Cybrokat! She did an amazing job! thank you!
"I don't know why I didn't even think about this," Sara fumed as she stared at the picture in her hands. Grissom just stared ahead silently as she continued, "I mean, that beach meant so much to her. It was her escape. I should have known that she would go there."
"It's understandable. When people are dying, they try to see what they haven't seen before they go, right?" Grissom stole a glance before turning his attention back to the road.
Sara turned to him, a skeptical look on her face. "Grissom. Ever the voice of reason," she sighed. "No, you're right. Look, um, I'm going to need to take a week, maybe two, off. And you can drop me off at my apartment. I'll need to pack."
The car went silent as Grissom took a right. He clenched his hands around the steering wheel, and unclenched them just as quickly. Running his tongue over his bottom lip, he took the opportunity to glance at Sara one last time before he started to speak.
"I'm, uh… I'm coming with you."
The silence got quieter as Sara turned slowly to look at him, mouth tight and face pale. Her eyebrows came together briefly before her mouth twitched into a nervous smile.
He shrugged as he pulled into a parking space outside her apartment, "I know this is your thing, and I, uh, I know you want to do it alone, but that's a long drive for just one person. You should have someone with you. You know, to help you drive."
Sara shook her head. "No."
"And what if you need someone when you…," but he was cut off.
"Need someone? Grissom, no offense but I'm not sure you're the right person for the job."
"I want to try to be," he whispered.
He looked up and met her stare. The silence had returned, hanging heavily in the small space between them. Sara swallowed then nodded her head slowly.
"Ok," she paused and smiled. "But you're driving first."
She opened the door and stepped out, Grissom following close behind.
Sara packed quickly, and when they arrived at Grissom's townhouse he did the same. After each made a few short phone calls, the expansive and dusty highway was folding out in front of them, cool air filtering in through the vents and the radio playing softly in the background. The ride started out silent, Sara drumming her fingers against her knee, Grissom mulling over his motivations for coming with her on what was a very personal trip. He couldn't help but feel guilty; he had always known he wanted her, and why he chose now of all times to let himself act on those feelings, he would never know. But part of him couldn't help but be proud of himself.
After all, he was driving his Denali all the way to California with the woman of his dreams. That had to count for something.
Sara shifted awkwardly in her seat. Her eyes met Grissom's brief gaze before they both turned back to the road in front of them, "When was the last time you were at the shore?" Grissom asked.
Sara shrugged, "Awhile ago. It was the last place I visited before I left for Harvard. I wanted to leave on a good note, not thinking of all the bad I was leaving behind. I just stood there for a little bit, then left. It was no big deal."
But in fact, it had been a big deal. The secluded shore had never held any bad memories, never held any Sidle family tears, until the last time she had set foot on the sandy shores. It hadn't been a happy goodbye for Sara as she sat at the edge of the waterline, letting the cool water brush up against her toes, watching her tears fall into the salty water. The trip wasn't to remember all the good times so much as it was to release the bad memories that had been building up her whole life. It was freeing, and she hadn't been back since.
"What about you?" she asked, "You grew up in California. Your family must have had a vacation spot on the shore."
Grissom grinned, "Actually, no. My mom, being a painter, found that the shore was painted to often by the artists of California. She tried to be different. We had a cabin up by Lake of the Woods, on Cuddy Creek. I would roam the woods all day, and my mom would paint. It was beautiful."
Sara smiled and refrained from bringing up an old question about beauty. Instead, she asked, "What about your dad? What did he do to relax?"
The car went silent and Grissom gave a small frown, "My father died when I was nine. Lake of the Woods was something of an escape my mother made every year after he passed away."
Sara bit her bottom lip and let out a small breath, "I'm so sorry, Grissom. I didn't know…"
"It's alright," he stopped her, "You didn't know. Almost no one does. Matter of fact, besides you, the only other one from Vegas who does know is…"
This time, the shrill ring of his phone stalled the conversation. "Catherine," he finished, rolling his eyes at the irony displayed on the caller ID.
"A week? You're leaving me with your mountains of paperwork for a week? And you told Ecklie before telling me?"
"I thought you missed being in charge," he mumbled.
"That's not the point, Gil, and you know it. Not only are you gone, but I'm short a CSI as well. You both may act clueless, but you and Sara HAVE to be psychically in tune, or something. Both take a week off at the same time, I swear you plan this sort of thing just to annoy me," Catherine huffed and Grissom could almost see her shaking her head on the other end of the line.
"I'm sure Sara has a very good reason for taking a week off, as do I Catherine. Now, not to cut this enthralling conversation short, but I'm kind of on the road, and I really need to go."
"Oh no you don't," Catherine hissed, "Not without a damn good…"
"You're breaking up, I can't hear you," said Grissom as he clicked his phone shut. Sara stared at him in disbelief before letting out a chuckle.
"I can't believe you hung up on her," she said.
Grissom shrugged. "I didn't hang up on her. We just hit a bit of bad reception."
Grissom smiled and winked at her before turning his attention back to the road. Sara blushed and turned to look out her window. As the ride turned silent again, she couldn't help but feel a little guilty that she was having a good time when she was on a mission to find her dying mother.