TITLE: DINNER INVITATION

AUTHOR: fanofkdc

RATING: K+

SUMMARY: WHEN GRISSOM IS JILTED FOR A DINNER DATE, HE TURNS TO SOMEONE ELSE TO ACCOMPANY HIM; GSR

A/N: A NICEL LITTLE, LIGHT-HEARTED FIC FOR MY FANBASE

DISCLAIMER: NOT MINE, EXCEPT GOOD OLE BANKS.

Damn. "Yes, of course I understand Peter, family concerns always come above work." How the hell would I know? "Sure, I hope you're wife will be okay, send her my regards. Hey, don't worry, we'll meet up next time you're in town." And with a grimace, Grissom placed the receiver down. A fellow entomologist, Dr. Peter Banks, had been scheduled to fly in to Vegas from Nebraska to give a talk at UNLV, and had arranged to meet Grissom for a meal after the lecture. Unfortunately, Banks' wife had been taken ill with appendicits, leaving him with no option to cancel his talk, and thus, the dinner date. Grissom wasn't bothered that he had cancelled, understanding Banks' devotion to someone close to his heart. The only problem was that the talk was due tomorrow, and the restaurant they were planning to visit so high-profile that Grissom would have had to cancel the date three weeks ago. So he was stuck with a table for two, with only one person using it, and he certainly wasn't going on his own.

Running a hand across his face, he checked the duty roster for the night-shift for the next day. Damn again - Warrick was on call, so was Nick, and Catherine was supervising. The only two people not on duty were Greg and Sara, the latter of whom had reluctantly agreed, after sme pressuring, to take the night off. Grissom didn't particularly fancy taking Greg on a dinner date being especially worried that some patrons might think them lovers, or, even worse, gigolo and client. That left Sara.

"So, what are you planning to do on your night off?" Warrick asked in the changing room as he switched shirts for the start of shift.

"Got myself a date with a nice laydee," Greg replied, his thumb rotating the wheel of his iPod at breakneck speed. "What about you Sara?" he added.

Sara smiled ironically, strapping her gun to her hip. "What I normally do. Put on Forensic Files and fall asleep to the sound of the police scanner," she replied.

Grissom chose that moment to stick his head around the door. "Okay guys, I need you in the breakroom for assignments," he said, eyes automaticaly searching out Sara, like a heat-seeking missile. "Uh, Sara, could I have a word?" he muttered more quietly, as she was last to leave the room.

One of Sara's erfectly-sculpted eyebrows arched. "What have I done now?" she asked, a half-smile playing about her lips, her voice permeated by that wonderful half-drawl that made Grissom's stomach do triple somersaults.

"Why do you always jump to the conclusion that you've done something wrong?" He eyed her carefully, sussig out whether or not she was just humouring him. When he received a shrug, he continued. "I was wondering if you had any plans for tomorrow night."

Sara's face lit up. "No, I don't. Why? Do you need me to work?"

"Not exactly, no." He saw her face fall. "But I do need your assistance in another area."

Sara's expression changed from crest-fallen to vaguely interested. "Oh?"

"I was supposed to be going out to dinner with a friend tomorrow, but his wife fell ill, and he's had to cancel his lecture. It's too short-notice to cancel, and I don't want to sit on my own looking like a fool, so I thought that if you weren't doing anything, maybe you'd like to join me."

Sara smiled, one of those beautiful ones that illuminated her face like a belisha beacon and showed of the pretty gap between her two front teeth. "Sure. I'd love to. What time's the reservation for?"

Grissom felt his heart leap in joy. "Um, it's eight o'clock, so I'll pick you up at seven. Will you be ready in enough time?"

Sara flashed another smile. "No problem. How formal will it be? I mean, what will you be wearing?"

Here, Grissom floundered. "I hadn't thought about that. Maybe a smart shirt, dress trousers and a blazer, but no tie. I guess a smart trouser suit with a top, but if you've got a dress or something ...". He trailed off, wondering if Sara had even been within ten feet of dress, neer mind owning one. So her reply surprised him.

"I've got a couple of dresses at home. Would backless be appropriate, or straps?" She studied his expression, seeing the subtle changes behind his eyes and around his mouth.

Grissom cleared his throat. "Backless would probably be okay, provided you wear something over it so you don't too cold."

Sara felt herself flush at his concern (at least, it came across as concern). "I'll see what I can do, then. Come on, we should go to the breakroom before people start talking." One more smile, and she swept from the room, leaving Grissom with a strange feeling in his stomach - like a void, but a nice, positive sort of void. He shook his head, more in an effort to shake the effect that Sara had on him from his brain than disbelief.

Grissom was ten minutes early in knocking at Sara's. She ran to the door, checking through the peehole to make sure it definitely was him, and opened it ever so slightly. "I wasn't expecting you to be early," she told him breathlessly. Keeping her body behind the door, she pulled it open, the only part of her body visible to Grissom being her head.

"Is there a problem?" Grissom asked, somewhat amused. "Why are you hiding behind the door?"

"I'm not dressed," she told him bluntly. "Except for this towel," she added triumphantly, seeing Grissom redden.

"Oh. I'll keep my eyes closed then. Um, is there anywhere I can sit while you finish changing? You won't be long will you?" He opened one eye, noting that Sara had painted her toenails and put her make-up on.

"I've just got to put my clothes on and do my hair, and I'll be all yours," she said as she scurried off to the bathroom, her words carrying a certain amount of seductive charge, which remained in the air for several minutes.

Grissom was almost knocked for six when Sara exited the bathroom nine minutes and forty seconds later. She had opted for the backless dress, a dark green affair that accentuated the mocha colour on her lips and her dark brown eyes. The dress ended just below the knee, and to accentuate the curve of her calves, she was wearing a pair of light brown sandles, propped up with a one-inch heel. She had pinned her brown locks up, reminded Grissom of all the times she pinned it up when she was at work, especially when she wore one of those adorable all-in-ones for car cases.

Sara smiled, pleased with the effect she semmed to be having on Gil. But he was not the only under a spell of wonder. She could feel her knees go weak just at the sight of him. His beard was trimmed, his curly hair shorter than usual. He was wearing a black suit with a sky-blue shirt, open at the collar. The shirt, coupled with his salt-and-pepper hair, set of those wonderful blue eyes, and she could almost feel herself drown in them.

He offered her his arm, waiting for her to pick up her purse and a green throw to put across her shoulders. "Shall we?" he asked, his voice soft and tender.

The restaurant was full of couples and friends, obviously reuniting for the first time in years. It was fairly quiet, only light background hubbub, and dominated by low lighting, creating a rather romantic atmosphere. Gil regarded Sara over the top of his wine glass as they waited for their meal to arrive.

"This is a really nice place," Sara commended. "Where the hell did you find out about it?" She sipped her wine, and set the glass down again, pursing her lips and folding her hands in front of her.

Grissom flashed a half-smile, and he looked irrestistable. "Do you actually think I don't go out at all? I would say that I have wined and dined several times, but I wouldn't want to insult you." He raised an eyebrow, seeing the expression on her face. "Okay, so I have brought oe or two dates here in the past," he admitted shamefacedly.

"That's all I wanted to know," Sara replied, sitting back as the waiter delivered her plate of pasta. She waited for him to leave before she commenced speaking. "How have you been?"

Grissom looked up from his fish, his face unreadable. "I'm fine, I think," he said uncertainly. "I'm having a nice time," he added. "What about you?"

Sara shrugged. "I'm enjoying myself too. I'm just glad things are back to normal between us. We haven't been for a meal in about three years, maybe four."

Gil sighed. "I'm sorry. I kinda missed it, too. We used to have fun," he said wistfully.

And who's fault was it that it went balls up? "Maybe we should do this more often." She risked looking up at him slyly.

"Maybe we should," Grissom replied, to her complete and utter surprise.

They were silent whilst they ate, occassionally stopping to sip their wine. "I'm sorry," Grissom said suddenly, leaning forward, the candle on the table lighting the underside of his face.

Sara stopped dead and regarded him curiously. "What for?"

He looked straight in her eyes. "For screwing things up between us. I ...".

"Uh-uh," Sara interrupted, setting her fork down. "We've discussed this already. We came to the agreement that it was my fault for looking for validation in the wrong place. Look, can we not spoil a perfectly good meal? I'm having a great time."

Grissom silnced himself unhappily, but spoke before he had time to check himself. "We need to talk about this," he said desperately.

"Not here, not now," came Sara's adamant voice.

They ende the meal in silence, this one not as companionable as the previous lull. The waiter came to clear their dishes. "Desert? Coffee?"

"No thank you," Grissom replied. "Just the check please."

Sara raised an elegant eyebrow. "No coffee? Jeez, what's up?"

"We can have coffee at mine," he said unemotionally.

"That's rather presumptuous of you." Sara may have sounded cool, but inside she shook like the glass of water from Jurassic Park.

"For once, I don't give a damn," came Grissom's terse, but dangerous reply.

Sara found Gil's muted demeanour intimidating, noting that this was the first time he had ever been cold towards her. But it wasn't just cold. Ironically, it was a sort of white heat radiating from her, cooking her from the inside out.

Gil was in turmoil. He had done the wining and dining part, done the presemptuous part - he hadn't expected to be doing this for quite a long time, but here it was, already happening. He would have to be careful to keep things in check, not let any situation that might arise get out of hand. He killed the engine, turned off the headlights, all without a single word, then climbed out of his side and opened the door for Sara. He offered her his hand, the height of the car and her shoes making such a manoeuvre slightly tricky. He linked his arm with hers, walking her across the carpark to his townhouse.

It was dark inside, and it took Grissom a while to find the lightswitch. "Take a seat, and I'll put the coffee on," he told her softly but firmly.

Sara did as she was asked, and took in her surroundings. The clean, bare surfaces, bookshelves stuffed to the gills, butterflies and other bug-life pinned and framed on the walls. She jumped slightly as Grissom came back and set two coffee cups down on the coffee table.

"Black, one sugar?" he asked rhetoricaly, checking he had his doses right.

Sara smiled uncomfortably. "Yeah." She glanced once more at the room. "So, why are we here?"

"We are here," Gil replied. deliberately obtuse, "because I asked you to dinner, you accepted, and then I told you we would be returning here for coffee."

"That's rather forward, especially for you," Sara remarked, the comment holding a sting for Gil. He winced.

"Yes, it is."

Sara grew impatient. "So?"

His eyes glared maniacally. "Sara Sidle, for once in your goddamn life, shut up and let me finish. If you let me speak sometimes, maybe you might actually hear something positive." He stopped when he noticed her face drain of colour. "I'm sorry," he mumbled, automatically reaching for her hand. It had grown to be a default action for him.

"'s fine," she answered quietly. "I'm just sick and tired of waiting to hear you say something, and then you can't find the words." She shrugged and smiled self-deprecatingly. "I must be really masochistic. Why else would I put myself through ...".

Fed up with her whining, Grissom silenced her with a kiss, pushing her back into his couch and placing his lips upon hers. "Got your attention?" he asked, eyebrows rising in question. Sara nodded breathlessly. "Good. We've established that you are attracted to me, but we haven't cleared uo where I stand. So here it is. I'm attracted to you too. Okay so far?"

Sara nodded. "Now what?"

Gil rolled his eyes. "Sara," he murmured, his voice low and threatening. "What do you want to do about it?"

"Now? Well, with how you look in your suit, I want you to drag me off to a beach and emualte that scene with ... Oh, God what's his name?"

"The sex-on-the-beach scene? That wasn't quite what I had in mind."

"So you wine and dine me, invite me back for coffee, then say 'maybe not tonight'? Typical Grissom," she muttered angrily.

"I didn't say that resolving anything would be easy," he retorted. "I just though that maybe if we came back here and discussed it, we might be able to come to some sort of resolution."

"Were banking on sex tonight?"

"What!"

"You heard me. Did it cross your mind that we would come back to a place that isn't neutral ground, and I would just accpet it that you wanted sex?"

Grissom floundered once again. "It's not about sex," he growled. "Here I am, trying to sort this out, and you're just giving me shit for it." He took a deep breath and spoke again. "I would offer you my bed tonight, but just my bed. My body would not be involved in the equation. It would give us a chance to see where we stand, and where we want to stand - it's a way of gauging the situation. Would it bother you if we saw each other?"

Sara smiled. "You know it wouldn't."

"I've already been too presumptuous this evening," he responded. "But now you know it wouldn't bother me, either. I've though about this a lot, and just seeing you this evening - you look stunning, it reminded me of everything we used to have. I want that back, and I don't mind admitting that I want more."

"Hell, Gil, you're a man of needs," Sara told him. "And I'm a woman with needs. So right now I need sleep. So I'm taking the bed, and I'm making it known that you're welcome to join me."

It was Grissom's turn to smile. "Not tonight, honey."

"So let me just clear this up. From this moment, are we seeing each other?"

Grissom worked his jaw back and forth. "I'd like that," he answered softly. "Would you?"

Sara mirrored his expression. "Yes."

"Good. The get ready for bed, and I'll come and tuck you in."

Sara looked adorable, snuggled beneath the covers. "Hey," she said, after Grissom responded to her call for him to come in.

He sat on the side of the bed and brushed stray strands of hair from her face. "You know how cute you look?" he asked.

"Yep."

Grissom nodded affirmatively to a question that hadn't even been asked. "I'm gonna take the couch, but if you need a drink of water or anything in the night, don't worry about waking me. I'm a heavy sleeper."

"What if I want something more?" Sara asked seductively.

"No can do," came Grissom's soft rebuttal. "We really have a lot more to clear up before we can make any sort of physical resolvement of the issue," he told her. Bending over her, he kissed her cheek then stood up. "Okay?"

Sara nodded forlornly. "Sure. But does this mean we're ...".

"Lovers? Yes it does," Gil replied, a hint of amusement on his face. "Just get some sleep." He stepped backwards, flicking the light switch to 'off.' "Night, honey," he whispered.

"Night, Gris," came the reply.

THE END