At The End of the Day
(AN: This is a post-ep for 'The Good, The Bad, and The Dominatrix'. Just what happened after Heather was introduced to her grandchild? Big thank you to TDCSI for her beta skills and feedback. Disclaimer: I don't own CSI.)
"Hey Sar, You done for the day?" Nick asked as he pulled a clean shirt over his head.
"Yeah I guess. You're not going to ask me to stay on longer, are you? I mean I heard days was short."
"What? No, they have Sanders, they'll be fine. You wanna get some breakfast?"
Sara thought for a moment, she hadn't seen Grissom in a while and didn't really feel like rushing home just to see if he was there. "Why not."
"Your enthusiasm touches me," he mocked as he pulled his fist over his heart.
"Oh, I'm sorry Nicky," she responded in baby talk.
They decided on the same diner they had frequented so many times before. As soon as they were seated a waitress came over and offered coffee as she explained the specials. They both knew the menu by heart, so no need to wait to order.
Once the waitress was on her way Nick asked, "So I hear you got to meet Lady Heather?"
Oh crap, she thought, Is this what breakfast is going to be about? "Yes, I did," she replied as she casually added sugar to her coffee.
Nick waited, but when she did not continue he prodded, "And…"
"And… It was sad. She sold her life to someone who wanted the thrill of the kill. Look it has been a long few days, depressing; do you think we could talk about something else? What about your case? I hear you're a hero?"
"It doesn't take a hero to stop someone disoriented from walking into traffic, just someone paying attention, and their car hitting the cruiser caught my attention."
"Well, he's lucky you were there. Now what about the cab driver?"
"Now that was sad, this other driver was trying to cut in on his action, and then started hitting his cab. His passenger got spooked so he let her out, not realizing that she had his wallet. In her haste to leave she tripped in front of his cab just as the other driver hit him from behind pushing the first cab into the woman." As he explained he used two jam packs as the taxis and a sugar packet as the victim for visuals. "The second driver convinced him that it was his fault so he left the scene out of fear."
"So now he is looking at deportation?"
Nick nodded as he pursed his lips together. "Yep, he was a good guy, working for that illusive American dream, and now it's over."
"Why are we here, we should be at a bar?" They both chuckled at that as their food arrived.
Grissom's cell phone rang out from the seat next to him. He picked it up and opened the device without looking at the ID, "Grissom," his voice was even.
"Hey dumbass, what the hell is your problem?"
"You have what most men would give their right ball for and you cast her aside when the dominatrix comes calling."
"She needed a friend Jim."
"She needs professional help, and your girlfriend needs you. Look, I'm not going to debate this with you, just know that you are lucky to have what you have and if you screw it up you will have to live with it forever."
"What are you talking about?"
"Cut the crap. Sara deserves so much better than you give her, and yet she is still there. She knows that you dropped everything to be there for Heather. Have you ever dropped everything for Sara?"
"Goodbye Gil," with that the line disconnected.
A few minutes later he pulled into the drive. He looked around in vain; her car was nowhere to be seen. He sat for a minute weighing his options: 1) Sara is still at the lab working in which case I should go in and start breakfast, 2) Jim was right and I had pushed her aside and now she has gone back to her apartment, or 3) She is just running errands which is unlikely because she usually would let me know if she wasn't coming straight home. When would she have let me know? The last time I saw her, I could barely open my mouth to speak to her, and the only thing she said to me was 'We may have a suspect'.
He punched the car back in gear and drove towards the lab while dialing her apartment on his cell. When the machine picked up he froze for a brief second, and then hung the phone up. Ten minutes later he was just down the street from the lab when he recognized her car in the diner's lot. Option number four, breakfast out, he thought.
He pulled into a parking space and exited his car as Sara and Nick walked out the door. Nick saw his supervisor walking towards them first, "Grissom, man we thought you were busy or else we would have waited for you."
"Don't worry about it Nick, I'm just going to get something to go anyway," he said as he gave Sara a quick glance.
"Well, I'll see you tomorrow Griss, bye Sara," Nick said as he went to his car."
"By Nicky," Sara said as she too walked to her car. Through the window she could see Grissom placing his order, and she thought about waiting, but it had been a long night and she was too tired to hear about his morning at that time. She considered going to her apartment, but knowing that very little of her necessities were there, she thought better of it.
Grissom ordered a coffee to go just incase Nick was watching, he decided to skip the food, he wasn't very hungry anyway. A few minutes later, coffee in hand he went outside to find Sara pulling out of the lot. Frowning a little to himself, he pulled out his phone then thought better of it. If she was in a talking mood she would have waited for him.
Ten minutes later he was pulling back into the drive, only this time he saw Sara's car parked right in front of his.
Sara set her things down on the counter and then made her way to the shower. She turned on the spray allowing it to heat as she stripped off her clothes and placed then in the hamper on top of Grissom's boxers from a couple days ago, before the call had come in. She tested the temperature and climbed in. Her body was sore with exhaustion, more emotional than physical, so she wasted no time and quickly shampooed, washed, and conditioned. When she turned off the water and pulled back the curtain he was standing there offering her a clean towel.
"Thank you," she spoke softly as she dried the drops from her skin.
He just stood there watching her dry off, and then as she began to comb her hair out he said, "Why don't you let your hair go curly very often?"
Sara froze, her breaking point somewhere behind her. "That is what you have to say to me? After barely even speaking to me you want to talk about my hair? You go to the hospital to see your friend and are surprised to see me, but now let's talk about my hair!" Sara slammed her comb down much harder than she had intended, breaking it in half, before brushing by him. She felt his hand on her shoulder and immediately shrugged it off.
"Sara, what could I have done? I was worried for her safety."
Sara pulled an oversized t-shirt from a drawer, "Absolutely you should help her; that is not the issue."
"What is the issue?"
She pulled the letter from its place in the book on the bedside table and flung it at him, "This! This is the issue."
"You saw that?"
"Didn't you leave it here for me to find?"
"Yes, but I hadn't realized that you had read it."
"Why?" She had no intention of giving him a chance to answer, "Because you wrote it over two months ago? Because you never spoke to me while you were gone, but you wrote a letter you never sent?"
She began to read, "I don't know why I find it so difficult to express my feelings to you." She looked up at him, as she held the letter out, "That's what you wrote. Yet you can express your feelings of friendship for Heather to me. Are you able to express your feelings for me to her? I know that you can express your feeling about a number of things to her. Hell, you were able to express your feelings for me to a murder suspect. What the hell is it about me that makes it so difficult to talk to ME?"
"It isn't anything about you. I don't know, I guess I have waited so long to be happy that I am afraid of ruining it."
He was sincere, she could tell. The truth is always in his eyes, and he was being honest with her. "Don't you see, it is that fear that is hurting us? You couldn't talk to me about needing a break from the lab and look what happened there. Now you can't talk to me about someone you have a history with. Am I that difficult to talk to?"
He caught a glimpse of the hurt that flashed in her eyes before she turned away, "Sara no, I just…"
She turned and waited for him to finish, resolving not to let him off the hook this time. His eyes met hers, and he still didn't say anything. She nodded a couple times before speaking, "Yeah, well someday it will be too late for you to tell me how you feel, remember this then." With that she pulled down the covers and crawled into bed facing away from the man she loved.
Grissom stood there for a brief moment as the guilt washed over him, she let him off the hook again and he let her. He licked his lips and took a deep breath. "That day you walked into the lecture I gave at Berkley, I noticed you immediately," he carefully took a step closer; her back was still to him when he continued a second later, "Your eyes followed me throughout the lecture and you asked the most thought provoking questions. When you came up to me after the lecture was complete, I was actually nervous. You were beautiful, intelligent, and too young for me to be having the sort of thoughts I was having. I found myself thinking about you the rest of the day, and that night as well."
She still faced away from him, but he could tell she was listening, "When we began to email back and forth about cases we were each working on…well I would get so…excited when I saw your name in my inbox."
He saw her head move briefly, and he took the opportunity to sit on the edge of the bed, she continued to face away from him. "Sara, I wanted you from the first moment I saw you, but I knew I couldn't, not as your teacher. Then I needed you, here in Vegas I needed your help. You didn't even hesitate, and the first moment I saw you at the hotel it was like seeing you for the first time all over again. Your eyes still had that shine, and your smile briefly made me forget the reason I needed you here."
He took a breath, unsure if he should say the next part, but decided that now was the time to lay all of his cards on the table, no more secrets. "A couple years ago you told me that you came to Vegas for me, well I asked you hear for me too." He briefly sucked his bottom lip in, as he decided to clarify, "I needed your professional expertise and your ability to be unbiased, but I also wanted to be near you. Then you came, and you stayed, and I got nervous that maybe it would be a mistake. I was wrong, and I am sorry that it took me five years to figure that out."
He chanced a soft touch on her arm, and when she did not pull away he continued, "When we finally took the chance to be together, well I found a happiness I never thought possible."
Sara rolled her body enough so she could look at him. "Sara, I love you. I always will, and I'm sorry I am not someone who can easily put their feelings into words, but I need you to understand that even though the words are not always there, the feelings are." His eyes fell to the floor, "I'm sorry I did not consider how my actions would affect you, but," he pulled his gaze up to meet hers, "I promise to work on that I and won't make that mistake again."
Sara nodded slightly, "You know I think what hurt the most is the fact that no one knows about us, but they are speculating that you have this intimate relationship with someone else. I understand why we are keeping this to ourselves, but it doesn't make it hurt any less when I hear people talking about you in that way."
"I'm sorry you had to go through that." He thought for a moment, "There is a way we could remedy that."
"Are we ready for that? I mean it could come with a lot of changes."
He saw the hesitation, "Well, we could think about it." He put his arm around her and she nestled into the crook of his shoulder as he kicked his shoes off before swinging his legs onto the bed.