Euphemisms For the L Word


Summary: When Greg finds Sara alone in a bar, she realizes that while the door to one relationship may have closed, the door to a new one was—and always has been—wide open. Sandle.

His shift ended and he considered going home but decided to hit the bar instead. After all, it was the beginning of his weekend, and he didn't want to start it by heading straight home. It was still early enough that most of them were still open, but late enough that many of the drunks had already caught cabs home or passed out, so it would be pretty quiet. He thought about all his regular bars and realized he was so tired of them. He needed something fresh. So he asked Nick for his opinion.

"The Empty Glass over on Crescent," Nick recommended. "They have the best beer on tap."

So upon his advice, Greg headed over to Crescent, alone, hoping to maybe chat up a few girls and just relax after shift. Who knows, maybe he would even score a few numbers, or score something far better than that.

It wasn't a difficult place to find. The name of the bar was emphasized by neon lights, plus a blinking beer mug that was constantly being drained. He didn't know what he had expected. It wasn't exactly a dive, but it wasn't the classiest bar he'd ever been to. It was dimly lit, with red ceiling lights and a pool table where about four girls seemed to be playing a game. Upon his entrance they looked up and smiled at him. That was his invitation. He sauntered over to them and lifted a pool stick from off the wall. He put it on the floor and leaned on it.

"Hey ladies," he said. "What's the score?"

"We're playing teams right now," said a saucy redhead. "But we'll let you know who wins, so you can play them."

So Greg stood to the side and watched them play, every so often making a comment on their skills, generally with plenty of sexual innuendo. Sometimes they laughed, flirtatiously, and other times they rolled their eyes at the corniness of his pickup lines. By the end of the game, the redhead was spending most of her time away from the table and closer to Greg by the wall, her hands constantly on his shoulder, or his arm.

"That's it, Mary Anne," one of the girls said. "You lose."

"And I have to head out, Jeremy is waiting for me," one of the other girl's said as she headed out.

"Singles, girls?" the redhead asked, her eyes glued on Greg as she slid her arms around his waist. "Well, then I think, as I lost, I'll sit this round out. You two play. Greg and I are going to get a little closer acquainted."

Greg had to let out a laugh at this woman's tact, or lack there of, as he felt her hands slowly slide from his waist to his ass before giving both cheeks a light squeeze. He'd been having fun, but she was a little too tasteless for Greg's liking. Her fingernails were long and painted red, and her cutoff shorts left little to the imagination, as did her low-cut red halter top. While she was exceptionally attractive, Greg found to his great surprise that he wasn't aroused by her at all. Most of their conversation consisted of small talk and heavy flirtation, which was fun for a while but quickly began to bore Greg and his eyes wandered the bar, looking for something to entertain his mind as Mary Anne went on about her ranch back in Montana.

And then, his eyes fell upon the lonely brunette sitting at the bar. He would know the back of that head anywhere. A rich-looking guy with full black hair and a winning smile that must have cost him a fortune sauntered over to her and leaned on the bar. Put him in a letterman's jacket and he was the captain of the football team in Greg's old high school, and just as sleazy.

"Hey there, doll, can I buy you a drink?"

"I'm not interested…" she muttered.

"Come on," he said, pushing her hair back behind her ear. "It's just one little drink, what could it hurt? I just want to get to know you."

"I said I'm not interested," she returned, sounding much more annoyed now as she turned to glare at him.

His smile disappeared. "No need to be snarky, Sparky, I was just trying to be friendly."

"I don't need any friends right now," she replied. "Now please leave me alone."

He slid in the chair next to her and put his hand on her thigh. "Come on…" he said, persuasively. "I know a little wildflower like you must be a demon between the sheets." As he said it, Greg watched the guy's hand crawl up Sara's leg. His blood began to boil and he was about to vault the pool table just to kick that guy's ass when Sara beat him to it. She grabbed his hand and twisted it behind his back as he let out a cry, distracting everyone in the bar.

That's my girl, Greg thought smugly to himself.

"Hey!" the bartender called. "No brawls in here, I'll have you kicked out, lady!"

Sara released the man and he spun around, rubbing his sore wrist. "That bitch is crazy!" he yelled. "She just attacked me for no reason!"

Greg glanced at the redhead, who was watching the argument along with everyone else in the bar. "Excuse me a moment, would you, Marry Anne?" He walked up to the bar. "Excuse me?" he called to the bartender, making both Sara and the sleazeball turn to look at him as well. "What kind of people do you let in here? If you knew anything about combat, you'd know that hold she had him in was a defensive move. This guy was harassing her, I could see it clearly from across the room. She had every right to defend herself."

"This is none of your business, punk. This is between this broad and I. What do you know?" the sleazeball asked, rolling up his sleeves as he approached Greg.

"Apparently more grammar than you," Greg replied. "It's this 'broad and me,' Einstein, and— actually, last I checked, she had a name. Did you even ask her what it is before you made up a few of your own for her?"

He saw Sara roll her eyes and sigh as she pretended not to be there. She caught Greg's eye. "Please, just let it go," she begged him.

"Look, I meant it when I said no fighting in here," said the bartender. "If you two are going to go at it, you better take it outside."

"There's no need for that," Greg said. "I don't want to fight. All this guy needs to do is just walk away."

Everyone was looking at the sleazeball, and he knew it. So he relaxed and nodded, still glaring at Greg. "Alright," he said. "Alright, I'm out of here. This place is a dive anyway."

He made to leave and Greg turned to Sara and smiled. She was sitting at the bar, her hands in her hair as she rested her elbows at the bar. She looked up at Greg out of the corner of her eyes, looking unimpressed. And then, her eyes widened. "Greg—"

But before she could even finish the sentence, Greg felt a sharp pain in the side of his head as the headache from hell encompassed his brain. Spinning around, he saw the sleazeball, shaking out his hand.

"OK, that's enough!" the bartender insisted, and he pulled the guy out of the bar.

Greg held his hand to his throbbing head. Through blurred vision, he saw Sara's fingers fly to her mouth, first to suppress a gasp, and then to suppress a giggle as she couldn't help herself.

"I'm sorry, Greg," she said as she smiled, still chuckling a little to herself.

"Aw, it's OK," he replied, taking a seat next to her. "It doesn't even hurt, really."

She laughed again. "Liar."

"So what are you doing out here all by yourself?" Greg asked. "I thought you were going home early today."

"Yeah, so did I," Sara replied, her dark demeanor returning as she stirred her cocktail.

"You wanna talk about it?" Greg asked, his brow furrowing in concern.

"Not really," she replied.

"Come on, I was just punched in the side of the head for you," Greg whined. "I could have a concussion for all you know. The least you could do is tell me why you're here, and why I had to save you."

"I don't need saving, Greg," Sara snapped. "Did I ask for your help?" She sighed and closed her eyes. "What is it about men? They always have to rescue the damsel in distress."

Greg was not to be deterred. He put his hand on hers. "He was touching you," he said. "It wasn't right."

She pulled her hand away. "Well it happens sometimes, Greg, and I deal with it fine enough without you. I haven't let myself down this far, have I?" she asked.

"I don't know," he returned. "Have you?"

She sighed and raked her hands through her hair. "I don't know, sometimes I just have terrible taste in men."

"I admit, tall, dark and stupid wasn't exactly the cream of the crop," Greg joked.

"Not him," Sara said absently as she stared at the olive swirling in her martini. "Grissom."

"Ah," Greg said. "He still not picking up on your signals? That man is either thoroughly thickheaded, or has no idea what he's letting slip through his fingers."

"He's already let me slip through his fingers," Sara told him. "Been there, done that, moving on…"

Greg was confused. "What are you talking about?"

She gave him an as-if-you-don't-know look. "Grissom and me. It's over."

"But how can it be over before it even…" Greg trailed off as realization dawned. "Ah. Um. How long? Was I the only one that didn't know about this? How come no one ever tells me anything? I am so going to kill Nick! He never tells me anything good!"

"Relax," Sara said quickly. "No one else really knows. We didn't want to cause a commotion in the lab, or with Ecklie, so we kind of kept it under wraps. And it was going so well, too, and then he…" She sighed. "I don't know. We were supposed to have the night together. I had the whole evening planned. I'd rented this French film I've been wanting to see, and I even cooked! And I never cook. And he just… he didn't. I mean, something came up at the lab, he ended up doing overtime, and he forgot to call… He apologized to me immensely, but I was annoyed, and it sparked this whole other argument about all these other latent issues that I didn't even realize was bothering me. And we decided it just wasn't working. Not to mention if Ecklie ever found out, he'd probably fire me, if not both of us. But the problem with a secret relationship is that when it's over, there's no one you can commiserate with. So I came here alone. I like this place. I came here once with Nick and Warrick. It's familiar to me. I thought maybe I'd draw some comfort from it…"

Greg watched her for a long time as she didn't even touch her martini. She seemed content just to stir it. "Why don't I take you home? You sound like you've had a long night."

She sighed. "I don't have a home," she said. "I've been subletting my apartment, and the last tenant doesn't leave until three weeks from today. I figured I can stay at the Motel 6 across the street from here."

"You moved in with him," Greg reasoned, realizing the depth of this relationship he had known nothing about. "You two were living together, and yet no one in the lab, as observant as we all claim to be, noticed anything?"

She laughed lightly. "Thanks, Greg. Watching you get hit in the side of the head, I swear, it's the first time I've smiled all night."

"Well, gee, I'm glad to be of service," Greg said with a dim smile and only a little bit of sarcasm. She smiled softly, but didn't speak, continuing to stir her martini. Greg sighed. "You know, you don't have to stay at the Motel 6. You can stay with me, until your sublet is up."

"I don't think you'd be able to stand me for three weeks," Sara said lightly.

I could stand you for much longer than that, Greg thought to himself. "Well, I think I can manage to put up with you. You going to drink that martini or just play with it all night?"

She stopped stirring and stared at her glass as if seeing it for the first time. She looked up at Greg and smiled. "You know what?" she said. "I think I will."

He flagged down the bartender. "Can I get a gin and tonic?"

"How girly of you," Sara teased.

Feeling challenged he flashed her a look. "Make it a beer," he said to the bartender. "My friend tells me you've got the best stuff on tap."

"We do at that," said the bartender as he filled up Greg's mug. "On the house, for the guy who stood up for his girl."

"Uh, I'm not his girl," Sara clarified and Greg tried hard not to look embarrassed.

"Oh," the bartender said. "Right, sorry, my mistake." He handed Greg his beer. "Here you go, sir."

"Make it two," Sara said, and Greg noticed she had finished her martini. "On his tab."

"I don't recall offering to pay," Greg said with a smirk.

"Well you wanted to save the damsel in distress, Greg, and right now the damsel's broke," Sara returned.

Greg grinned as the bartender filled up her glass and gave it to her. She was already acting in higher spirits, and he was glad for it. He could still tell by that look in her eye that she was still thinking about Grissom and their split. It was probably a big deal for her. She had been chasing after Grissom for…

For as long as he'd been chasing after her.

He knew what it felt like. That delayed gratification. Always reaching, always hoping, always trying and yet always coming back empty-handed. And yet, somehow, Sara had obtained her goal. Grissom and her had gone so far as to move in together. And if seven years of pursuing him had paid off, then maybe Greg just needed to try a little harder, and maybe then she would come around.

They both tossed back a few beers, but after his second, Greg switched his out for water. He let Sara drink as much as she wanted though. He found that the more she drank, the more she laughed, and the more her worries seemed to retreat deeper into herself, and away from her conscious mind. He enjoyed watching her, how she told him clever personal anecdotes verging on embarrassing, things she probably wouldn't have told him completely sober, but nothing she would probably regret later. She laughed harder at his lame jokes, she smiled bigger, and she touched him more. And while Greg would never take advantage of her, he enjoyed her closeness, and her openness with him.

"This one time…" she began. "It was really, really late and shift started in like… three hours, and neither of us had slept, right, because we were both working overtime. But I was still kind of… you know… antsy… So he's trying to get a few extra hours of sleep and I climb on top of him, and start kissing his neck, right? All of a sudden, I mis-estimated where the edge of the bed was and I put my knee down in the wrong place and totally toppled off the bed. It was a disaster, I took the alarm clock and like… three books on his bedside table down with me, but he was laughing so hard, and I was laughing…"

Greg nodded. "You mis-estimated it, huh?" he said.

"Hey," she said. "I know when you're making fun of me. I'm not that drunk."

Greg just smiled and nodded. "OK, Sara, what do you say we head back now? You can lie down and go to sleep and I have the perfect remedy to help with that hangover tomorrow morning."

"I'm not that drunk," she insisted. "But I am tired."

"Good," Greg said as he led her out of the bar and over to his car. She stumbled on the curb and he caught her, but she was laughing. She looked up at him as he held her and grinned.

"You know, Greg, I really had a good time tonight," she said. "Thank you."

He nodded. "Yeah, me too. Now come on, let's get you to the car."

She was chatting with him the whole way home, and Greg rather enjoyed just listening to her talk. Most of it was about pointless things. Cases, random stories, and not just about her and Grissom, but also things about Nick he wouldn't have guessed, and musings about how she always thought that maybe there was something more between Warrick and Catherine.

"Sometimes I get a little chatty after a few beers," she said as he pulled up outside of his apartment. "You'd tell me if I was talking too much, wouldn't you?"

"Hey, the best kind of drunk is a friendly drunk," Greg said honestly, much preferring loving drunks to depressive drunks. He hadn't expected Sara to become this outgoing after a few drinks, but he was glad to see it. He walked around the car and helped her out, voicing his thoughts. "I didn't have you pegged as a happy drunk."

She laughed. "It depends on the company I keep," she replied. "It's all about the energies."

He liked that, too. He took her by the hand up the stairs, where she stumbled a few more times before they got to Greg's apartment. As he fumbled with his keys, she leaned against the wall and yawned, watching him, suddenly very quiet.

"You're a very good friend, Greg," she said, sounding as sober as Greg had ever heard her.

He looked at her, toying with his options. "What are the odds you'll remember this tomorrow morning?"

"Slim," she returned with a yawn.

He nodded and turned back to the door. "Well, Sara," he said, "truth be told, I'd do anything for you. And if I were Grissom, I would have swept you off your feet a long time ago. I'm head over heals for you." He held the door open for her.

She smiled at him and nodded, looking impressed. "That is… very sweet, Greg," she said as she walked aimlessly into his house. "Very sweet…" She looked around and smiled at the charming mess.

"I know, I really need to clean up a little," Greg said, gathering some old magazines up from the coffee table. "You take the bed, I'll sleep on the couch."

She turned and cocked her head at him, eying him curiously. "You sure you don't want the bed? I don't want to impose…"

"We'll sort out better arrangements tomorrow, when you're sober," Greg said. "For now, take the bed. You need it."

A wicked grin spread across her face as she sauntered over to him. "We could share it…" she suggested, her voice low and husky.

Greg laughed. "It is taking all my willpower not to jump in there with you right now, Sara, believe me. But you're drunk, and I'm tired."

"You don't look tired," she said. "And I don't feel drunk."

"Well how things seem are often different from how they really are," Greg said. He took her by the shoulders and spun her around. He began walking her over towards his bedroom. "Now, to bed with you."

"I really have gotten used to sharing a bed," Sara said, with mock innocence. "I'll miss not having someone next to me."

Greg sighed as he turned on the light to his room, glad he had made the bed that morning, which was a chore he didn't always do. "Believe me, Sara, it's not me you want lying next to you. You and I both know that."

She turned and gave him a peculiar look before turning back to the bed. "OK. Fine. Be a spoil sport." She looked at him over her shoulder as she straightened out the pillows of her bed. "I'm going to get undressed now, if that's OK with you."

Greg nodded and leaned against the door frame. It took him a minute to realize what she was insinuating. "Oh! Right, yeah, of course, um… Good night, then…" And feeling a little insecure, he left the room and closed the door.

After preparing for sleep himself, he threw himself onto his couch and turned on the TV before falling asleep to early morning infomercials, and thoughts of the gorgeous woman sleeping in his bed…

In his dream, he was lying right beside her under the down comforter. She was lying on her side, staring at the raindrops trickling down the dark window pain as he ran his fingers up and down the length of her bare side. He was fascinated by her curves, and the way her body moved, how everything seemed as if it was carved to perfection by some master sculptor, with just enough flaws to make her human, touchable, and therefore timelessly beautiful. He breathed in the smell of her coconut shampoo as his hand slid across her stomach, pulling her as close to him as he possibly could. He couldn't believe she was his, if only for a moment. He heard her giggle as he pushed back her hair and kissed her neck. He had never been happier than in that moment…

Until the blender broke through his hazy dream. Half-conscious, he heard the machine whirring to life and resented it in its entirety, vowing to get up and throw it out the window before going back to sleep in hopes of finding that perfect dream again.

Grumbling, and lethargic with sleep, he rolled over and fell right off the couch, which gave him an even more abrupt wakeup call.

"Stupid couch…" he muttered before pushing himself up onto his hands and knees and hitting his head on the coffee table while he was at it. He let out a muffled cuss word as he rubbed his sore head. "Stupid coffee table…" he said. The blender was still ringing in his ears. "And stupid blender!" he said loudly. Why was he sleeping on the couch anyway? Had he fallen asleep watching cable porn again?

One glance at the kitchenette and he realized why his blender had mysteriously turned on. Dressed in what looked to be his bathrobe, Sara took a pot of coffee and poured some in a mug before turning around to see Greg and smiling.

"Hey there, sleepy head," she said.

He glared at her. He was not a morning person. "You're supposed to be hung over," he said, feeling gypped. He had hoped she'd be conked out until at least the afternoon. He had planned to do the same. "What time is it anyway?"

"About one," she replied. "I woke up an hour ago. Sorry. I tried to be quiet. Took a shower. Hope you don't mind. Oh, I, uh… borrowed your bathrobe," she said, looking a little awkward. "I'm sorry, but I left all my clothes over at Gil's… I kinda stormed out pretty fast."

But Greg smiled, despite his grogginess. "Whatever makes you feel at home," he said, honestly. He would never tell her, but he thought she looked sexy wearing his bathrobe. It helped him to maintain the fantasy that they were a couple. In some… alternate reality…

She nodded. "I'm making banana milkshakes. In case you were feeling, you know, a little… blah, after drinking last night."

He narrowed his eyes at her. "I seem to recall only having two drinks," he said. "An hour before I drove you home. You were plastered."

"Funny thing about me that you should know, Greg…" Sara said, pouring Greg another cup of coffee. "I don't really get hangovers. Sometimes I get a little queasy, but I can deal." She handed him the coffee. "You, on the other hand, look terrible."

"Thanks," Greg said sarcastically as he took the coffee. "I'm not exactly a morning person. I am not hung over."

Sara turned off the blender and poured two cups of the banana milkshake. "You know, bananas will also help you wake up in the morning. Try it, you might feel better."

"One drink at a time," Greg said, holding up his coffee. "I'm not exactly a double-fister."

"Second thing you should know about me," Sara said, as if he had just reminded her. "I'm not exactly a lightweight."

Her cocked an eyebrow. "Come again?"

She gave him a half smile before sipping on her banana milkshake. "You were a real gentleman last night, Greg," she said, opening the fridge. "I made advances, you didn't take. See, when I'm tipsy, like everyone else, my judgment kind of goes out the window, you know? I may have said a few things or done a few things…" She put the milkshake in the fridge and closed the door, turning to face Greg. "Anyways, my point is… I appreciate having a friend like you who wouldn't take advantage of something like that."

"You weren't tipsy," Greg said. "You were drunk."

She smirked. "How things seem are often different from how they really are," she quoted.

His eyes went wide. "You played me!" he exclaimed, nearly dropping his coffee.

She shook her head. "I didn't play you, Greg. I told you I wasn't drunk."

He set his coffee down and closed his eyes, remembering the things he'd said. "Oh my God, Sara… listen…"

But she quickly hurried to him and put a finger to his lips. "Sh," she said with a smile. "Don't ruin it. Don't take it back."

He closed his eyes as she rested her palms on his chest. "Sara…" But whatever he may have wanted to say was stifled by her lips pressing against his. Her hands slid around his waist and under the hem of his shirt as they crawled up his bare back. Greg's hands flew to either side of her face, totally thrown by this unexpected move on her part, but quickly came to his senses as he broke the kiss.

"What's up with you?!" he asked. "Are you still drunk?"

She was grinning as she shook her head. "No, Greg," she said. "I'm happy. For the first time in a long time."

"You just broke up with Grissom," Greg said. "I don't want to be some rebound guy…"

She laughed lightly as she cupped his face in her hands. "Greg… you're far too good of a guy to be a rebound guy. Rebound guys are guys on Harleys, who have prison tattoos, who hang out in bars using lines like 'a wildflower like you would be a demon beneath the sheets.' You respect me. You put me first. That's something Grissom stopped doing a long time ago." And with that, she slid her hands around his neck and into his hair as she kissed him again, only this time he didn't stop her, his hands gliding around her small waist. She pressed herself up against him, her hands traveling down his neck and his back, her fingertips reading the bumps in his chiseled back like Braille until she reached the hem of his shirt and seized it, pulling it up over his head.

His own hands found the tie that kept her robe closed and he pulled it lose, letting the terrycloth robe fall open to reveal that she wasn't wearing anything beneath it. He kissed down her neck, his hands exploring her body beneath the robe. They wrapped around her waist as they had done in his dream, his lips trailing kisses down her neck line until he reached her breasts, where he focused his attentions. She let out a soft moan as his tongue swirled around her nipple. Her hands entangled themselves in his hair as he moved to her right breast, one of his hands traveling up her side to fondle the other breast. He kissed up her chest and neck again before claiming her lips, feeling her leg slowly creep up against his. She leaned her head against his forehead.

"Can we share the bed now?" she asked, to which he replied with a grin and literally swept her off her feet with a shriek of surprise on her part as his arm found the crook of her knees and he carried her out of the kitchen. He laid her down on the bed, the robe having now fallen completely open as he stripped off his boxers and climbed on top of her, kissing her lips before moving down again, past her soft breasts to her navel where he looked up at her seductively before traveling further still until he had found the place that was aching for him, his tongue stimulating her clitoris before plunging into her sex. She let out a soft moan as he explored her depths, tasting her for the first time. And then, to his surprise, she was pulling him up, flipping him onto his back on the bed, taking control. She finally shed the robe completely, throwing it to the floor as she mounted him. Her hands raked down his chest as she moved slowly, up and down, her eyes closed. He reached out and held her hips as he watched her intently, too enthralled by watching her move to take his eyes off of her. She was smiling as her hands moved up his chest and grabbed his shoulders, her body moving slowly, gracefully, as if dancing to some inaudible melody. And she was smiling because of him. The mere sight of her smile, and the feel of her hands on his shoulders, her hips gyrating against his, sent him into a frenzy as she leaned down closer to him, her breasts dangling right above his chest as she opened her eyes and saw him watching her, her smiling growing.

His hands moved up her torso, cupping her breasts and massaging them gently, his thumbs running over her hardened nipples as she leant down to kiss him slowly, softly. His hands traveled up her chest and neck until they were entangled in her soft brown hair. He kissed her again, and increased the tempo of their symphony, his tongue more aggressive, his hands sliding down her neck and onto her back before rolling her over, taking the reigns as her chest heaved up and down with surprised laughter. He began to kiss down her neck.

"I hadn't expected that," she admitted, breathless as his soft lips moved across her shoulder blades.

He spoke to her between kisses as he moved down to her breasts, his hands running down the lengths of her sides. "You didn't… expect me to… let you… call all the shots… did you?" he asked before taking her nipple in his mouth and making her moan softly. Her hands were on the back of his head and she forced him up to meet her lips, hungrily devouring him, her tongue licking his lips before probing the inside of his mouth. She broke the kiss and grinned at him mischievously as her hands found his hips and she consciously slowed down the rhythm.

"I don't think you understand," she whispered. "I always call the shots."

But he grinned, refusing to relinquish control. "Not today." His hand trailed down the length of her body until he found her swollen clitoris and pinched it between his thumb and forefinger, never once slowing down in his thrusts. His other hand was gripping her breast, tightly, almost painfully as he kissed her neck. She tilted her head back and let out a helpless cry.

"I'm yours, Greg…" she breathed, and he knew she had surrendered as her legs curled up against his thighs. Her submission was the last thing he needed to send him over the edge, and he felt her muscles tighten around him as her back arched and she bucked her hips forward as he climaxed, electric spasms of warmth shooting throughout his body like ripples in a pond, the epicenter being his adoration for the woman he was sharing this moment with. He closed his eyes and let it wash over the both of them, her hands making fists against the sheets as she continued to buck madly, their breathing deep and rapid, and then it was over.

He paused momentarily, before lowering himself on top of her, his head resting in the nape of her neck which he kissed softly. He felt her breathing beneath him, almost as if she were sleeping, and her hands came up and wrapped around him before stoking his back in a strange, contented hug.

As he laid there, breathing in her scent, he noted that her hair really did smell like coconuts. The thought made him smile. He must have noticed this earlier, and the tiny detail had crept into his subconscious and subsequently his dreams. Maybe in one of the many instances in which she had hugged him, her touch having always been just friendly, while he always lingered a little longer than he probably should have, savoring her closeness and her signature scent.

His mind numb from the sensual explosion he had just experienced, he could think of absolutely nothing to say than the forefront of his thoughts. "You smell pretty."

He felt her laugh beneath him, her fingers delicately tickling his back, making the hairs on his neck stand on end. He slowly and lethargically rolled off of her onto his back and stared at the ceiling. She turned onto her side so she could look at him and her hand slid across his chest, her fingers tracing the lines in it and drawing circles around his navel. He looked at her, the most blissful smile encompassing his features at the small little pout on her face that always drove him wild.

"You don't just smell pretty," he said, taking a stray strand of tousled hair and pushing it behind her ear.

She looked at him and grinned before moving closer to him and laying her head on his chest as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder. Her fingers continued to explore his chest, her mind making a mental map of it for future use. "How long have you been wanting to get into my pants, Greg?" she asked, curiously.

He let out a snort. "I wouldn't put it in such blunt terms…"

"You've been trying to get me in bed for a good long time," she returned with a smirk. "I'm just fuzzy on how long."

"I've been trying to win you over," Greg clarified. "With jokes about getting you in bed. Hiding behind jokes about sex is the only way I know how to deal with women that I…" He trailed off.

She was curious now and she propped herself up on her elbow. "That you what?"

He smirked. "That I want to see naked," he replied, kissing her shoulder.

She frowned in the same cute little way she did when she was trying to figure out incongruities in a case. "You're hiding behind sex jokes again," she noted.

"You're sharp," he said. "Can't put anything past you, you sexy minx."

She laid her head back down on his chest, her fingers walking the line between his abs. "You still never answered my question."

"I'm sorry, my mind's in a post-coital haze. What did you ask me?"

"How long have you…" She searched for the words then smiled to herself. "… wanted to see me naked?"

He paused. He knew she was using a euphemism for a much more taboo word. He wondered how to respond, and so did what he knew best: relied on his sense of humor. His arm crept up her shoulder and stroked her hair.

"Sara Sidle, I've been wanting to see you naked since the moment I found out you were into Van Halen seven years ago."

She cocked an eyebrow at him. "Van Halen?"

"Who wouldn't want to see a rock and roll chick naked?" he said, licking his lips with a silly smile on his face.

She returned the smile and then hesitated herself. "How many… other girls… have you wanted to see naked?"

"Sara, I'm a guy," he said, avoiding the real question between the lines. "I want to see every hot girl naked."

But she saw right through it and kissed his neck before traveling up to his ear and nibbling on it and whispering, "Liar."

He seized her in both arms then and rolled her on top of him as she was laughing. She leaned her head against his forehead, her hair falling down on either side of her face creating a curtain separating them from the outside world. Only the two of them existed. His hands on her waist, he looked her in the eye. "So," he said, "do you want to see me naked?"

She frowned again, teasingly as she pretended to think, that small little pout appearing on her features. "Hm… Well, Greg, unless you have a big surprise for me, I think I've already seen you naked."

"You know that's not what I'm asking," Greg said, with a teasing but inquisitive smile.

She returned his piercing gaze. "You'll get your answer when I get mine."

"You just love quoting me, don't you?" he asked playfully. "What is it, do you have like a voice recorder and you just tape all of my wonderful words of wisdom?"

"I'm not that obsessed, Greg," she said, laughing lightly.

"Funny," he said. "I am."

She kissed him softly. "I can believe that," she whispered. "I am very worthy of being tape recorded."

"Yeah," Greg agreed. "In fact, do you remember that time when you were talking to Catherine about how much of a Greek God I was and how much you really wanted to jump me and how I was probably awesome in bed? Well, I guess now you have proof."

She laughed. "I never said that."

"Really?" Greg said with a challenging raise of his eyebrows. "Well, golly, tell that to my tape recorder because I could have sworn—"

She silenced him with another kiss, and he didn't protest. He followed her as she rolled back onto her side before they fell apart and she looked at him with a serious expression.

"I've done the whole office romance thing before, Greg," she said. "I found it doesn't work out too well."

"You were dating your supervisor," Greg replied. "Which is a strict no-no. But me, I'm more of a peer. A colleague, an underling if you will. You can date me without any ethics getting in the way."

"Hm… underling…" Sara said seductively. "I like the sound of that."

"You just like me under you," Greg returned. "You're going to have to learn to share, Sara Sidle."

"I can do that," she replied. She rolled onto her back, her arm sprawling out across the bed as she dared him with her eyes. She was lying wide open to him, like a book with its pages ready to be read. "I can start my lessons right now."

"You're relentless," Greg teased but propping himself up on his elbow nonetheless as he began to kiss up the arm nearest him.

"And you're adorable," she returned.

"If you mean adorable like a bunny, that's not exactly a turn on," Greg whispered as he reached her shoulder.

She reached up and rubbed his arms with a sweet smile. "I think in my own quiet little way… I've always wanted to see you naked, Greg."

He swelled with pride and felt his face flush. He laughed it off and shook his head before softly caressing her cheek with the back of his fingers. "And you've always ever been the only one," he said. "And I mean that."

She smiled, blushing a little herself as she put her hand on his cheek. "You can't possibly mean that," she whispered casually. "I know for a fact you've imagined Catherine naked once or twice."

"How do you know that?" Greg asked accusingly.

She kissed him. "I have my ways."

"Are we still talking in code?" he asked.

She kissed him again. "Nope."

"Good, because I was getting confused," Greg said with a smile, taking her in his arms.

"Now," Sara said. "I believe you wanted to teach me something?"

He grinned from ear to ear. "Oh, I do," he replied, a voracious glint in his eye as he looked her over. "But I have a feeling a wild horse like you will be difficult to tame."

"Take as long as you like," she said with a wink. "You have all the time in the world with me, Greg."

She was incredible. And she was giving herself over to him completely. This was better than his dreams. And he would make it last as long as he could. He would be sure not to make the same mistakes Grissom had made. He would never take her for granted. He would always put her first. And he would tell her everyday what she meant to him, in his own Greg Sanders little way.

Because she really was the only one that he had ever really, desperately, head-over-heals, truly, madly… wanted to see naked.