Author's Notes: When one story ends, another begins;) I hope this one is as enjoyable as my others. Thanks for reading!
Someone Else's Star
by Kristen Elizabeth
"It's a good thing to have all the props pulled out from under us occasionally. It gives us some sense of what is rock under out feet, and what is sand." - Madeleine L'Engle
"This stuff is never coming out, is it?"
Grissom glanced over at Sara and gave in to the urge to smile. She held the shirt she'd worn to work that night at arms length, studying the yellowish stains that marred it with a crinkled nose.
"Decomp fluids are the bane of any dry cleaner," he told her. "And Tide is no match for human fat."
"Your professional opinion then, Doctor?" Sara asked.
"I liked this shirt." She sighed as she balled it up. "I have lost almost an entire wardrobe to this job."
Grissom replaced his crime scene vest in his locker. "Occupational hazard."
"I should just start wearing these things everywhere." Sara tugged at the zipper of the coveralls she'd donned at the scene after slipping in the puddle that had surrounded their two week-old body. She had the zipper halfway down her torso before she remembered where she was. "Um…Grissom?"
It took him a second to catch on. "Oh. Sorry." He turned his back to her, swallowing heavily. Too late he realized that the mirror on the inside of his locker door was reflecting everything going on behind him.
He begged himself not to look, pleaded with himself to take the high road and act like the mature man he was. If Greg Sanders had been able to be a gentleman when he'd been forced into a decontamination shower with Sara, he could certainly do the same now.
But as it turned out, Greg was the better man.
For a moment, he thought that she had neglected to wear a bra. All he saw after she shrugged out of the arms of the coveralls was flesh, smooth and freckle-dusted. It was only when she reached behind her back that he realized the garment wasn't missing, it was just the same color as her beautiful skin.
A warning bell went off his in brain. Sara was unclasping her bra. And he was still watching.
"CSI Sidle," the receptionist's voice over the intercom saved him from crossing the line into lecherous peeper. Sara's hands stilled. "You have a visitor in the front lobby."
He heard her curse under her breath. "I'm not seeing anyone until I have a shower," she declared.
Grissom cleared his throat and closed his locker door. "Are you decent?" When he heard an affirmative response, he turned around. She had zipped her coveralls back up. "Grab your shower. I'll convey the message to your visitor."
She flashed him a grateful smile. "Thanks. I'll try not to be too long."
Shame washed over him in a great wave. Even if it had only been for a brief minute, he'd turned her into a sexual object. She might never know it had happened, but he couldn't imagine ever forgiving himself for it.
Once out of the locker room, Grissom inhaled and exhaled slowly. It took a few breaths for his heart rate to settle down. He ran a hand through his graying curls and started walking towards the front of the building.
There were several people waiting in the lobby, so Grissom went straight to Judy, the receptionist. "Sara's catching a quick shower," he said. "Who's waiting for her?"
"Over there." Judy lowered her voice. "He's been here for the past two hours, Dr. Grissom. I told him Sara was in the field, but when I wouldn't give him her home address, he insisted on waiting for her to come back."
His apprehension was a reflex, he told himself, a learned response after twenty-something years working with criminals. It had nothing to do with the fact that a strange man was asking for Sara's address. He'd feel the same way if someone showed up asking about Catherine. Wouldn't he?
Grissom thanked Judy and turned to study the man she'd pointed out. He was seated in the middle of a bank of chairs, idly flipping through a magazine. His bangs were dark and thick; they obscured his face until he tossed the magazine aside and looked up.
His eyes matched his hair, and although Grissom was no judge about these things, he would probably be considered good-looking. Late-thirties, most likely. A taller, more rugged version of Nick Stokes.
"Excuse me," the man spoke suddenly, addressing Grissom. "I'm waiting for Sara Sidle. Do you know if she's come back yet?"
"I'm her supervisor, Gil Grissom." He might have offered the man his hand under different circumstances. "Sara's indisposed at the moment."
The look on the man's face changed, grew darker. "So…you're the famous Gil Grissom." His chuckle was bitter. "Not at all what I pictured, I'll tell you."
Grissom frowned. "Who are you?"
"She's never mentioned me, has she?" The man shook his head. "That should surprise me, but it doesn't. I'm Matt Wilson." He paused. "I'm Sara's fiancée."
To Be Continued