Author's Notes: To follow.
The Invisible Man
by Kristen Elizabeth
"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." - Theodore Hesburgh
"When did you start loving me?"
Only hours into their engagement, they found themselves curled up in Sara's bed after Jacob had been put down for the night. They faced each other, their fingers loosely laced as long-buried thoughts were brought to the surface, an emotional purge that they both desperately needed.
Impatient for an answer, Sara went on, "Was it that first day at the seminar?"
"No," he replied, smiling softly. "I was attracted." He reached out and stroked his fingers through her hair. "God, was I attracted. Instantly."
"But not in love?"
"It had always been my experience that love builds and grows. So when I met you…I figured it was only a matter of time." Grissom's brow creased. "I kept you at arm's length. An email buddy. And then a colleague. I tried so hard to keep it that platonic."
Sara rubbed his knuckle with the pad of her index finger. "To keep from loving me?"
He nodded. "But then one day, I came face to face with the reality of what it might be like not to have you in my life at all."
"When I threatened to quit?"
Sara tried again, "The lab explosion?"
"My kind-of DUI?" He shook his head and she sighed. "Gil, it's pretty sad that I could just keep going."
"You volunteered yourself to bait the FBI's Strip Strangler." Grissom's fingers tightened around hers. "It occurred to me in that moment that I could lose you. And I loved you." He lifted one shoulder. "It wasn't a gentle realization. It was more like being hit in the head with a two-by-four."
"Maybe…just maybe…it had been building. And you were too busy looking the other way."
"It's a distinct possibility." Grissom took her hand and placed it over his heart. "So…when did you know you loved me?"
"When you glared at me across that seminar hall."
"You were talking during my lecture," he reminded her.
Sara's nose crinkled up. "How many times do we have to go through this? It was the guy next to me; I was merely telling him to shut up."
"The 'guy next to me defense." Grissom chuckled. "If I had a dime for every time I…" He stopped, realizing something. "It doesn't bother you...does it? That it took me longer to figure it all out?"
"No," Sara assured him. "Girls are always a step ahead of boys. Besides..." She strained her neck to kiss him. "It was just your eyes that I fell for that first day. I've been falling in love with pieces of you ever since."
Untangling her fingers from his, Sara let her hand creep down his chest and slip under the sheet. "You're a puzzle, Gil. There's probably still a few parts of yourself that you're holding back."
He took her hand again before she could distract him. "There are things I don't know about you, too."
"Like what? Ask me anything. I'm an open book."
Grissom looked down at their hands. "What would you say about me…wanting to adopt Jacob?"
A shiver ran all the way down her spine, visibly shaking her slender body. "Legally?" she whispered.
"Legally. Fully." He paused. "I love him, Sara."
Her eyes were dewy. "There's a lot of that going around."
Grissom inched closer to her. "You don't have to answer now. I'm not going anywhere."
"Good. Because I need a little time to…process all of this." Sara bit her lip. "Getting everything you want in a single day is exhausting."
He opened his arms and she snuggled into them. Closing his eyes, he sighed. "Tell me about it."
Five years later
"Daddy, watch me!"
From the bottom of the slide, Grissom nodded at Jacob. The little boy pushed off and slid down, landing in a pile at his father's feet. He looked up and grinned; there wasn't an inch of him that wasn't covered with sand.
"Oh, your mother is not going to be happy with us, Jake." He picked the little boy up, hanging him upside down in mid-air, much to his delight. "It'll be baths for you; the couch for me."
A moment later, Grissom deposited his giggling load onto the picnic blanket. Sara set down the picture book she was reading to their two year-old daughter, Jessy. "Who is this sand-person you've brought me?" she asked her husband.
"It's me, Mommy! I'm a perfect mess," he proudly announced, repeating something he'd heard many times before.
She couldn't not smile at this. "Oh, I know. You get that from your father." Jessy started squirming on her lap. "Gil, can you…?"
He lifted Jessy out of Sara's lap. "Still working on pushing up that tooth, sweetheart?"
She clung to her father's neck. "Da-da," she whimpered.
Jacob was doing a bit of whining himself as Sara took a wet-nap to his face, attempting to penetrate the layer of sand on his face. She was so focused on her maternal task that she didn't notice something blocking the sunlight until it spoke.
Squinting, she looked up. But it was Grissom who said, "Hank."
None of the adults seemed to have any idea what to say next. Fortunately Jacob was there to pick up the slack. "Who are you?" he asked the tall, blond man.
"A friend of your mother's," Hank answered the little boy. "And you are…"
"Jacob," Sara answered for her son. "Jacob Grissom."
Jacob blinked his big blue eyes, a near perfect match to his father's, as the man studied him. "You know," Hank eventually said. "You could have just told me the truth back then, Sara. You didn't have to make up the whole artificial insemination thing."
Sara and Grissom exchanged a look. "Are you here alone, Hank?" Grissom asked, side-stepping the issue.
"No." He pointed across the park where a pretty woman waited, one hand on a stroller.
"Congratulations," Sara told him, honestly.
Hank nodded. "Same to you."
When he was gone, Grissom reached for Sara's hand. "Now aren't you glad Jake takes after me?" he asked with a wink.
Her good mood returned. And it lasted until Jacob asked, "Mommy, what's artidicial semilation?"
There would be a lot of questions in their future, some easier than others. But, as Grissom liked to remind his wife, she had wanted inquisitive children.
Author's Notes: Thank you to everyone whose enthusiasm for this story has kept me going. Your words have been heard and appreciated very much. I look forward to doing this again soon!
Another friendly reminder, I am going to be the Featured Author of the Week on YTDAW starting on Monday. I'm ready to answer any and all of your questions!
Again, thank you!