There haven't been many occasions when I've actually been frightened doing my job, but last night, I'll admit it, I was terrified. Yes there have been a couple of close calls with suspects wielding guns around, even finding the pipe bombs in that house a few months back was scary but when the adrenalin kicks in and you've got back up with you, you feel almost invincible.
But not last night. Last night I felt vulnerable and frightened and worse, alone. It may have only been for a couple of minutes, but when Adam Trent held me in that headlock, his arm tightly around my throat and his hand pressing that piece of pottery into my neck, it felt like an eternity.
Grissom had only left me for a few moments, I should have been safe. There were hospital staff around and the patients weren't supposed to be anywhere near the office, neither of us were to know that Adam would corner me like that. Maybe we should have been more careful. I don't blame Grissom in the slightest for what happened even though I know he'll be cursing himself for leaving me alone in that place. But I was terrified, I think even more so than that night Dad died…….my whole body was trembling and I felt as if I was choking Adam's hold on me was so strong.
I saw it in Grissoms' face too. It may have only been for a fleeting moment as Adam ordered me not to look at him, but I saw a look in Grissom's eye, it was one I've never seen from him before, he was scared too………. I'm sure he was.
Am I reading too much into the way he looked at me? Of course you are Sara, get any thought of him being concerned about you beyond seeing a friend and colleague in danger. He would have reacted the same way about any other member of the team had they been in that situation. You're never going to be anything more than friends, you've got to get past that.
But I'm happy that things have been easier between us these past couple of months after the tension of the past year or so and I blame myself entirely for that. I never could take rejection well, you'd have thought I'd be used to it by now after all the rejection I've had in my life after my father died. Foster parents, friends, boyfriends……Grissom, they all rejected me for one reason or another but it was Grissoms rejection that hurt the most because I know that he felt something for me. I may not be most clued up person as to reading the signs right, but no man has ever looked at me the way he does, it's different to how Nick or Warrick look at me. But his rejection of dinner, recommending Nick for the promotion, his speech to Dr Laurie, the flirting that I'm sure he's aware of doing, left me confused and angry and resulted with my DUI.
Looking back I can see that I was channelling my inner anger at Grissom instead of focusing on the real root of my emotions. What was it I told him….I look for validation in inappropriate places. Never a truer word spoken. I'd spent too long hoping that this man who had captured my heart all those years ago during the Forensic Academy Seminar would eventually notice me, chose me, love me…..but no, as my luck would have it, he was emotionally unavailable for me……I wasn't worth the risk. I let him off the hook though after the team got split, I suppose I didn't really have the energy for it all anymore. Hell it was no wonder I was mad at the world and anyone who dared to cross me!! I guess it was only a matter of time before someone felt the full force of Hurricane Sidle and poor Catherine was that person. I did myself no favours by being off hand with Ecklie, I'm not surprised that he suspended me but I never expected to find Grissom turning up on my doorstep after it happened.
He'd arrived with orders to fire me but instead wanted to know what was making me so angry despite my protests to leave things alone. He never expected to hear what he did but I felt so relieved to finally talk to someone about my family. In return, he listened, he held me, comforted me and let me cry until I finally fell asleep - we'd reached a new understanding of one another and he made a promise that night to stand by me and I finally had my friend back and accepted that I had to let go of any expectation of there ever being an "us"
But that look in his eye last night, I can't shake it out of my head. After it happened and I managed to get free, there were no arms of comfort from him, too public I guess, but there were words of comfort and a friendly ear as he let me tell him about my mothers time spent at an institution like that one. Some people think Grissom is too focused on his work and his bugs to really take notice of the people around him, but I've seen the compassionate side of him, I know how it feels to be in his arms, it may have on been a brief encounter but our time together at that seminar will live with me forever.
The second knock at my door had shaken me from my daydream and after a brief hesitation of wondering who would be visiting me on my day off, I headed for the door and peeked through the peep hole. The butterflies in my stomach told me that I was pleased to see my visitor……..and far from being over him.
"Hi, I'm not disturbing you am I?" he asked noticing I was wearing my pj bottoms and a vest top.
"No, not at all, I was just lounging around, please come in" as I let him past "Can I get you something to drink?"
"Thanks, I'll have whatever you're having"
"I'll make some more coffee then, please have a seat." Indicating towards the sofa "So……what brings you here?"
"I was in the neighbourhood…."
"Sorry that was a poor attempt at an explanation. You left so soon after the interrogation, I wanted to see you, make sure you were ok after what happened last night."
"Thanks, I'm fine, honestly"
"I never apologised for leaving you alone in that office, I'm sorry I should never have done that"
"You have nothing to apologise for Griss, you weren't to know that he would corner me, neither of us could have known, you're not to blame for what happened"
"I felt so helpless"
"Griss you've got to let this go, I'm fine, I promise you that"
"No Sara I won't!"
"No Sara I won't. I know you like people to see you as being this strong person, but it's ok you admit you were scared"
"I never said that I wasn't scared, I do admit to being scared but what I want is to put it all behind me and move on and I don't just mean what happened in that office."
"The memories of your mother?"
"Yeah - it's the smell of the place more than anything, the empty looks in the patients eyes. I was too young to really understand what those places were all about, I just knew it wasn't your average hospital. Two showers later and I can still smell that place on me"
"I'm sorry I left you"
"Griss don't do that, don't be blaming yourself, you couldn't have known"
"I should have been more careful, made sure someone remained with you"
"Griss, I've worked plenty of crime scenes alone, we can't have people watching us all of the time"
"I know but…"
"No buts Griss. We can go through all the what ifs but what would be the point in that? We can't change what happened, yes it shook me and I was scared, but I'm fine, I'm not going to have some relapse and hit the bottle again if that's what you're worried about."
"I wasn't going to say that"
"Look, if it's bothering me, I'll go see my counsellor again, talk to her about it."
"You can talk to me too Sara"
"I know that and I appreciate that, I really do, but I just want to put it all behind me ok"
"I don't know if I can Sara"
"Please Griss, I don't want this hanging around me, I want to move on."
"Ok, for now"
He stands and makes his way over to the window
"Grissom, what's going on here?"
Looking over his shoulder at me "I told you, I wanted to make sure that you were ok"
"And I am, but you seem on edge"
"No you're not, you're playing with your hands, you do that when you're apprehensive about something, it's one of your tells"
He looks down at his hands before giving me a half smile "I'm fine"
"Who are you trying to convince, me or yourself?"
"I don't need to convince either of us" he says looking back through the window
I shake my head in disbelief at him, he expects me to talk to him but won't return the courtesy. I head towards my door
"Whatever - look Griss, I'm tired, if you're not going to tell what this is all about, I'd like for you to leave"
Turning to look at me he moves slowly back towards me "Have you slept at all since we finished the case?"
"No, that's why I'm tired…..and don't turn this back onto me Griss, you came here for a reason and unless you're going to tell me what that is…"
Grissom looked away from me and went and sat on the edge of the sofa, leaning forward to his arms on his knees and sighed
"Sara…….I ………." he closed his eyes and shook his head
"Griss, I'm too tired for this, if you're not going to talk I'm going to bed, please see yourself out"
With that I head for the solitude of my bedroom and climb into bed pulling the duvet up tightly around me before turning out the light. I'm so tired of his mind games, I don't think he realises how emotionally draining they can be, in fact I'm sure he doesn't realise it. I mean what the hell is he even doing here? There's obviously something he wants to talk about, I just wish he'd get over it and tell me. His mind games drive me crazy.
Has he left yet? I haven't heard the door close, maybe I should check, no, surely my leaving the living room and going to bed, he would have taken the hint and left. Although I should have closed my bedroom door too, that would have validated my point more but he would have seen the light go out. Wait…..is he in here?
I take a deep breath as I turn over to face the door, my heart racing as I see him standing in the doorway. I remain lying on my side facing him, if he wants to talk, then I'm not going to be the one to initiate it.
"I was scared ok!"
"I'm not yours to lose Griss"
"Doesn't mean I was any less scared that he could have taken you away from me last night"
"But he never, I'm still here"
"That scares me even more"
"My being here scares you?"
"No………admitting just how I feel about you scares me"
"Oh….and how do you feel about me?"
"Sara …..could we maybe go back into the living room please?"
"No, I'm comfortable here" I tell him as I lean over to turn on my bedside lamp before turning back to face him
"Ok" he says nervously as he slowly walks towards my bed and sits down on the far corner, half facing me half turned away from me. "I really don't know where to begin Sara, I've never been good at this, you know, the personal stuff"
"Just say how you feel Griss, it can't be any worse that I've already heard from you."
He looks at me a little confused
He lets out a deep sigh and lightly shrugs his shoulders "I'm sorry I said no so bluntly to your offer of dinner that night, I never intended it to sound as harsh as it did. I didn't know then what to do about us, I still don't know what to do"
"I wasn't referring to that Griss and as far as there being an "us", you've made it very clear that there would never be an "us""
"What were you referring too?"
I slowly sit up drawing my knees up to my chest in a defensive stance, so much for him doing the talking
"You have a great knack Griss of shifting the conversation from yourself to others, this is about you and why you're here today, not dredging up a moment that happened two years ago."
"You keep saying that"
He looks at me with half a smile and a slight shrug. For a man of such great intellect who can quote some of the greats at the drop of a hat and speak so passionately about his work, it's rather endearing as much as it is frustrating that he finds it so difficult to express how he really feels.
"Griss, please just tell me whatever it is you want to say"
"Sara……I know you want to forget all about what happened last night but I can't shake the image out of my head of him holding you like that. In an instant you could have been gone and I don't think I could have lived with myself if he had taken you away from me."
"Like I said Griss, I'm not yours to be taken away from you"
"Exactly my point"
Now is my turn to be confused "What are you trying to say Griss?"
"I'm nearly 50 years of age Sara, I've worked all of my adult life and forgone many things for the sake of my career. My career has been my life and I've been happy with that, I didn't need anything else or anyone interfering with that. Then you came along and made me question that and have been ever since we first met. But there was this part of me telling me that it could never happen, I could never have you, you were too young, I was your supervisor, there were so many risks that I wasn't ready to take or at least, I didn't have the courage to take, but that didn't mean the feelings went away."
"I know you couldn't take that risk…….I heard what you said"
"I heard what you said to Dr Laurie, I was the other side of the mirror when you were in the interrogation room. You'd been off the whole case, spent almost all of your time at Debbie's house and I couldn't figure out why this case meant more to you. You'd asked me to get her toe prints and after I was done, I took a look at her face. It was like looking into a mirror, but you knew that didn't you?"
As I looked up at Grissom, he looked sadly away from me as I continued
"Even Catherine passed a comment about how much Debbie looked like me. I guess curiosity made me watch your interrogation with Jim and the Doctor but I never expected to hear you say what you did - I was crushed Griss, you knew that I had feelings for you and to hear you say that I wasn't worth the risk of everything you had worked for really hurt me"
"I was afraid Sara, I've never allowed anyone to get close to me, I've never been in a long term relationship, I've never had anyone make me question myself about what I wanted from my life. To reach my age and never find what most people take for granted, you learn to accept that this is what is destined for you, that you are to spend your life living alone"
"It still scares me Sara of how I feel about you but I do know that I don't want to waste anymore time being alone. I want to be with you Sara."
I can't pretend not to be elated that Grissom is finally opening up to me but I have this doubt in my mind about his true intentions
"Griss, this is just a knee jerk reaction to what happened last night, if Adam Trent hadn't locked me in that office, you wouldn't be here right now and we wouldn't be having this conversation"
"I admit that what happened last night has played a part in my being here but that's only because it opened my eyes to what is important to me and that is you."
"I want to believe you Griss I really do, but why do I feel like a pity case?"
"Sara I don't see you as a pity case"
"It just feels to me that you're here because of what happened so that you can feel better because you feel guilty for leaving me alone, not because you all of a sudden have feelings you want to act on"
At this he stands and moves closer to me sitting down rather abruptly next to me
"God Sara, my feelings for you aren't all of a sudden, I've spent the past five years trying to ignore how I feel about you for your sake, for the sake of both our jobs. That week we spent together in San Francisco meant more to me than you realise but we couldn't get involved it was too…"
"I want to take that risk Sara, I want an "us" that is if you still want me"
"Griss I've wanted you for so long but right now I'm so tired that I can't think clearly I'm not sure what I really want, I'm a little confused"
"Then maybe I should leave then, give you some space and time to think about this" he said as he stood to leave
I slowly lay back down as I watch him head for the door, my mind racing with his revelations that he wants to be with me and my insecurities as to his true intentions - why can't I let myself be happy? Maybe because the last time you thought you were happy with a man, you found out that you were the other woman in the relationship. Grissom isn't Hank, deep down you know that, you've thought it yourself Sara, no man has ever looked at you the way Grissom does.
Slowly he turned around to face me, one hand on the already open door
"Please don't leave………would you stay with me,…….. just lay here with me……..I don't want to be alone tonight"
He didn't say anything, he closed the door, removed his shoes and walked over to my bed and as I moved back the duvet for him, he lay down beside me, face to face but a safe distance so that we were not touching one another.
"I'm sorry Griss, I guess I'm a little taken aback my what you said to me. I've waited so long for you that I thought we missed our chance. But I just can't help but think that if what happened last night hadn't happened you would not be here right now"
"Truthfully, maybe not, but it was the kick up the ass that I needed to make me realise how much I need you. You told me that night that by the time I figured out what I wanted it could be too late, please tell me I'm not too late"
"I wanted you to feel guilty"
"It worked! Sara it just wasn't the right time for us then, I was facing surgery, I didn't want to burden you with the worry of all that"
"You could have told me you know"
"I know, I didn't tell anyone apart from Dr Robbins when I asked for his opinion and Catherine found out because I had to tell her."
"Do you really mean everything you've said to me tonight?"
"Yes I do, but you're not convinced are you?"
"I'm not like Hank Sara, I'm not one of those guys who says all the right things just to get his way with you and leaves before sunrise. I want to be with you for the long haul."
"I know you're not like him but it's just…..I have such a difficult time trusting people, and I want to believe you, I just need a little reassurance as to your true intentions."
"My intentions are to be with you for as long as you want me. I've already wasted too much time thinking about the reasons why we shouldn't be together, I'd much rather focus on the reasons why we should be"
"And those would be…."
"I need more than that"
"Ok then" he turned and lay on his back and outstretched his arm to draw me near to him and I moved closer to him, rested my head against his chest, draping one arm across him as he wrapped his arm around me and absently placed a kiss on my head "because you're beautiful, I've always thought so, you have beautiful eyes, an infectious smile that warms me more than you will ever know, your passion for your work and the empathy you have for the people we deal with, how strong you can be, how feisty you are, how you make me question myself, but more so how you make me feel when I'm with you."
"And how's that?"
"You make me feel alive Sara and I need you in my life, I want you to be a part of my life and I want to be a part of yours"
I can't help but smile, I've waited so long for this, to hear him say that he wants me…..that he needs me. I look up at him and stare into his eyes and I see it - the truth. He needs me as much as I need him. I slowly raise my hand to his cheek, tracing the line where his beard begins until I reach his lips. I'm not sure who quite made the first move, but that feeling of his mouth on mine for the first time will stay with me forever and everything else he wanted to say was said in that kiss.
"Miss, excuse me, Miss! You need to fasten your seatbelt, replace your tray and seat to the upright position, we're preparing to land"
"Sorry I was miles away……"
"I noticed you've spent most of the flight staring out of the window."
"Just thinking about the happier times that's all……"
"Well, we'll be landing in approximately five minutes"
"Ok, thank you"
True to his word he stayed with me all night, held me tight, even when his hold on me faltered, he would quickly reaffirm his grip. I felt safe, safer than I've ever felt in my life…….I miss that……I miss him, I need him. I just hope he still needs me too. He sounds so low when I talk to him, pretends that everything is ok, promises me as much, but I hear the wavering in his voice and it breaks my heart but I had to do what I did. He says he understands my reasons for leaving but without seeing his face, reading those eyes of his, I can't be sure he does. I guess I'll find out for sure soon enough. These past five months have been the loneliest of my life and that's saying something, I've spent most of my life feeling alone. He said to me that night that I made him feel alive but truth be told my life only really began that Sunday night two and a half years ago and I want that life back, I want to go home, I want a future and that future is with Gil.
"Where to Miss?" the taxi driver asks me
"Home" I reply before giving him the address.