Title: One Step in the Right Direction
Pairing: Greg Sanders, Catherine Willows
Genre: Drama, Romance
Summary: Being in love with someone unattainable hurts, but upon closer inspection you may find that something better is waiting right around the corner.
Disclaimer: I don't own CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, nor do I know any of the actors. This has been made up in my sick little mind for your viewing pleasure. None of this is real, just simply fiction.
One Step in the Right Direction
Catherine stands off to the side, at one of Nick's parties, and watches Warrick in silence. It has been months since she heard the news and yet she still can't wrap her head around the fact that he is a married man. She was shocked when she heard the news that he had married Tina, at the time it felt like she had been punched in the gut... she couldn't breathe. She has fought with everything inside of her though to move past this; accept the fact that he will never be hers. Even though this isn't exactly the easiest thing to do she believes she has done a fairly good job so far. Then again here she is at a party with her colleagues; her closest friends and she is standing in a dark corner alone. Not to mention she cannot keep her eyes off a certain man, maybe she isn't handling this as good as she tries to tell herself.
She releases a deep sigh and forces her gaze away from the laughing man. She really doesn't like pining like this, she isn't some teenager with a crush for God's sake... she shouldn't be having such a problem with this. Scanning the room she decides to find the rest of her friends within the crowd, she figures trying to find them in an overly crowded room will keep her mind off of a certain married man for at least the time being.
Her eyes settle on Sara and she has to resist the urge to roll her eyes. The poor girl is following Grissom around like a lost puppy dog. Catherine thinks she should respect herself more than that, but never says a word. One day Sara will figure out that Grissom, the man she is in love with, is in fact gay and that she has no chance with him. She pities Sara because she knows what it is like to love someone only to have your heart crushed when you realize you will never be able to be with that person. When that day happens for Sara though Catherine will make sure to be there with a lot of money for the amount of alcohol Sara will need to numb her shattered heart.
Scanning the room further her eyes land on Greg and she can't help the smile that forms on her face. He of course is talking with Jackie, well he is more or less singing rather loudly to a song that isn't even playing and dancing in place. Since this is Nick's house he choose the music which so happens to be country and Greg wasn't too happy about that. Seems that he has decided if he can't listen to his type of music he'll just sing it rather loudly, probably figuring that Nick will get annoyed enough to tell him to bring in one of his CDs just so he will shut up. Figures Greg would be able to put a smile on her face; he always manages to do that even when she is feeling her lowest.
Unconsciously her gaze wanders back over to Warrick and she feels like crying when she sees Tina standing next to him; her arm around his waist. She watches with envy as Warrick turns his head and places a soft, but passionate kiss on his wife's lips. It isn't anything provocative and is pretty PG-13, but it still causes Catherine's heart to ache painfully. When she feels a hand on her shoulder she turns her sorrow filled eyes and locks them with Greg's sympathetic brown ones. For some odd reason she feels like she could drown in those chocolate orbs if she stared too long, but she shakes this thought from her confused mind and looks down at his chest instead of into his eyes.
"You look like you need to get out of here for a while, want to take a walk with me and get some fresh air?" He asks after a moment of silence and she slowly nods her head; her eyes showing just how grateful she is.
He begins walking to the front of the house and she follows along behind. He opens the front door for her and she slips outside, taking a deep breath of the warm night air. Returning her attention back to Greg she finds him staring at her and she can't help giving him a questioning look. He just smiles slightly before slowly walking down the front path leading to the driveway and once again she is left to follow along behind. Once they reach the sidewalk though he slows down so they are walking side by side.
A comfortable silence engulfs them and Catherine just stares in front of her as she walks; her mind occupied with thoughts she wants to disappear. Every once in a while she can feel Greg's eyes on her and she knows that she should probably say something, but is unsure if she wants to cross that line as of yet and is glad that Greg remains silent. They just continue to walk aimlessly and his presence fills her with a calm feeling that she hasn't felt in quite sometime. All she has felt is despair from the heartache that is slowly killing her, an aching tiredness from working herself to death to keep certain thoughts at bay and the numbness that has slowly been taking over every other emotion until she fears it will consume her. It will be at that moment when all she feels is numbness that she knows she will be too far gone to ever be found again. She knows she will lose herself and she desperately doesn't want it to come to that, but feels she isn't strong enough to prevent it.
She is startled when a hand grips onto her own and looks at Greg with wide eyes, questioning this action with her own eyes. He simply squeezes her hand reassuringly and she understands that he is trying to provide her some friendly comfort. Oddly enough she does draw comfort from this simple action and she smiles gratefully at him, which he returns with one of his own that is filled with warmth. She realizes now that she makes it pretty obvious that she is miserable. She then wonders if anyone other than Greg realizes it.
"I... I guess I'm not hiding it as good as I thought I was, huh?" She asks suddenly, but Greg seems to understand what she is talking about for he simply gives her a sympathetic smile.
"You're pretty transparent." He responds and she lets out a sigh. "At least you are to me anyway, I don't know if anyone else has taken notice."
"I just can't help it Greg, I held onto the fantasy that he would return my feelings for so long that now I don't know how to move on. Believe me I have tried and it just doesn't seem to be working. I hate going to these parties because he is always here with her and while I know she is his wife I feel like he is shoving it in my face. It kills me to see him with her only there isn't a damn thing I can do about it." She rants, throwing her hands in all directions to emphasize her frustration. When she looks at Greg however she blushes in embarrassment for her outburst. "I'm sorry for unloading all of this on you Greg, I know it's the last thing you need. It's just I have held this in for so long that..."
"It's okay Catherine." He interrupts her with a warm smile on his face. "I understand how you must be feeling and think it's best that you get it off your chest. I'm honored to be the one you finally confide in, I'm your friend and am here for you whenever you need to talk."
"I know you're my friend and I'm grateful to have you, but you couldn't possibly understand how I am feeling so it's unfair to me to throw this all at you."
His eye brows furrow in disbelief and he looks slightly hurt before turning his gaze away from her with a determined expression on his face that makes her feel bad for some reason, like she crossed a line she hadn't known was there in the first place. "How can you say I wouldn't understand? I think I would understand more than anyone would Cath." He says softly as he stares at the ground as they walk and she looks at him curiously.
"What do you mean by that?" She inquires.
"Well I mean I have only been in love with Sara since the day she joined our team." He says with a frustrated motion of his hands. "I know everyone thought it was just some silly high school crush, but it was so much more than that."
Her eyes widen in surprise before a solemn expression takes over her features. "I'm sorry Greg, if I had known..."
"No there's no need for that." He interrupts quickly. "I have learned to deal with it and am proud to say that I'm moving on, but what I'm saying is I know what it is like to love someone that will never love you in return... I know what it is like to love someone who loves someone else."
"I... I guess you would know what it's like then." She says softly, more to herself than to him.
"Yeah, but I'm slowly moving on and believe that so will you... given time of course." He looks at her when he says this and she feels a small smile growing on her face as she grabs his arm; squeezing gently.
She looks up in surprise when she sees her house just a few feet in front of her. Her and Nick live on around the same area, but she is surprised by how quickly they walked here... not to mention that they weren't even planning on coming here. Unconsciously she must have been leading Greg here and he kept silent, that is he noticed of course. She isn't quite ready to have him leave though so as they walk up her driveway she decides to keep the conversation going a little longer. It isn't often that she gets to talk with him anyway so she isn't going to pass this opportunity up.
"So... I hope you don't mind me asking this question, but what is it you like about Sara. What made you fall for her of all people?" She asks curiously, looking at him inquisitively.
A small distant smile appears on his face that she knows has been seen on her own before and almost immediately she wants to reach out to him, to comfort him like no one has comforted her. "There are many things that drew me to Sara; she is an amazing woman Cath. Her fierce attitude would have to be one of the things I love about her. Though I don't particularly like being on the end of that fierce attitude I admire her for her determination, how she fights for what she believes in and how she won't take crap from anyone. Not just that though, she also has a kind heart. She cares intensely for her friends and will do anything she can to make sure they are alright."
Catherine listens intently as Greg talks and feels a sort of longing take hold of her heart. If it weren't for this conversation she wouldn't know what a mature person Greg was underneath all the music and playfulness she saw at work. She wishes someone would talk about her that way, with so much love and admiration that you feel surrounded, but in a good way. She wants someone to love her the way Greg loves Sara. She isn't even sure if she had that sort of thing with Eddie and now she is cursing Sara for not noticing what a kind man Greg is. She has someone that loves her whole heartedly and is too infatuated with Grissom to realize it.
It then that a thought surfaces in her mind that scares her, but makes her look at things in a new perspective at the same time... she wishes Greg thought about her that way. They are both in the same situation so it would be perfect if they got together. It could be just her mind making things up, but she believes that love could be found between them if they were to just give it a chance.
Greg is still talking though so she focuses her attention back on him instead of her thoughts. "The thing I love the most about her though is her smile." He says softly as he turns his head to look at her, giving a shy smile. "Every time I see it I feel like I have won a prize, ya know? Just seeing her smile is enough to get me through the day."
She doesn't know how it happened or what possessed her to make such a bold move, but soon she finds herself pushing Greg against the garage door and planting herself firmly against him as their lips make first contact. The fact that he is years younger than her and that she has always referred to him as a baby doesn't register in her mind as she tilts her head to deepen the kiss as much as humanly possible without tongues being involved.
Greg seems to be in shock for he isn't responding and just as she is about to pull away to apologize for the horrendous mistake she has made she feels his arms wrap around her waist, his lips pressing more aggressively against her own. She slowly relaxes into the kiss once again and presses her body weight against his, pushing him further against the garage door.
She can't help smiling when she feels his tongue run seductively along her bottom lip, silently asking for entrance, which she grants almost immediately. As soon as their tongues make first contact she can't help herself, but moan into the kiss and desperately try to pull him closer even though that isn't physically possible. He responds by running his hand up her back to entangle in her hair, turning her head to his desire so he can get better access to her mouth. In response she grips onto his shirt, wrinkling it to where anyone would know what had transpired between them, and continues to explore the unfamiliar terrain of his mouth.
She is surprised to find that he tastes like Apple Smirnoff, cinnamon and something that is all Greg. What surprises her the most is she knows that she could get easily addicted to the taste of him and she finds that she doesn't mind that all so much. She likes the feeling of being in his arms, likes the scent and taste of him, finds that she could get lost in him and without in a doubt in her mind she knows that she would welcome that.
She verbally protests when she feels him push her away gently, but he places a finger to her mouth to quiet her while he takes a few deep breaths of much needed oxygen. "Are you sure we should be doing this? I don't want to be the rebound guy for you and I don't want to hurt you either. You're not exactly over Warrick and I'm not completely over Sara either, I don't want either of us to be hurt in the end." He reasons with her, but she can tell that he wants this just about as much as she does... only he is also thinking rationally, which she can't fault him for.
"Look I'm not saying that this is going to go anywhere and I'm not denying that I still love Warrick, but I also know that a relationship with him is never going to happen. It'll take time to get over him, but eventually I will and I would like you to be there when that happens. I know we have a long way to go to get over Warrick and Sara, but I truly believe there is something between us that is worth checking into." She says in practically one breath, looking at him nervously. "I understand if you don't want to see where this goes, but I would really like for you to at least give it a chance. I know it will be difficult to have any kind of relationship when we are both in love with someone else, but I also can't deny that I feel an attraction toward you Greg. Given time I would like to see if it has the potential to be more than just an attraction. You want the same thing, right?"
Greg seems to contemplate this idea for a moment, all the while leaving Catherine to wait in nervous apprehension because with every second that passes she begins to think that she shouldn't have said anything. If Greg doesn't feel the same way, this whole confession could really mess with their work relationship as well as their friendship and that is the last thing she wants, she doesn't want to lose him.
He turns to face her finally with a small smile on his face and the hope within her chest begins to build once again. "Wanna go somewhere with me after work tomorrow?"
A relieved smile slowly forms on her face as she pulls him into her arms and hugs him fiercely. "I would like that; I'd say we have a plan."
"Great. Well for now I am gonna head home, but I will pick you up tomorrow around... how does ten o' clock sound?" He asks as he pulls away.
"It's a date." Catherine confirms with a wide smile.
Greg leans in to place a soft kiss on her cheek before heading back in the direction of Nick's house to get his car. She watches him walk away until he is out of sight before slowly making her way toward the front door to her house, deciding she can get her car after getting some sleep.
With a smile on her face she leans against the front door once it is closed behind her and a thought passes through her mind, Well if all works out... Sara's loss could very well be my gain.