"I can do this," Sara said to herself in the rearview mirror for the fifth time that morning. She had been sitting in the parking lot of the lab for the last 15 minutes, trying to work up the nerve to go in. It had been a long time since she had last walked through those doors, and she knew what would happen when she did. The stares. The whispers. The feigned politeness from the people she once considered and still hoped were her friends, but she also knew she had to walk through them again. She had made a promise, and she was going to keep that promise, no matter how much it hurt to do so.
Sara reapplied her lipstick and adjusted her clothes for the last time. She was still trying to get used to the new her--the makeup, the highlights, the LA wardrobe, the Mystic tan. Why she had let Cameron talk her into the makeover, she would never know. Maybe the better question was how she had ever become friends with someone like Cameron Lane anyway. Cammie was the kind of girl Sara would have hated in high school--the perfect blonde with the perfect hair, the perfect teeth, the perfect everything--the kind of girl who got to walk in slow motion down the hall with an Imperial Teen song playing in the background while a geek like Sara just tried not to trip, the kind of girl who grew up to be a soap star or a model or a pop princess instead of a CSI. Heck, Sara thought, Cammie was the kind of girl she would have hated a year ago. When Richard first introduced them, it took every ounce of will power Sara had not to kill the girl with sarcasm, but now…Well, she didn't know how she would have survived the last few months if it hadn't been for Cammie.
Besides, she had to give the girl some credit. Cammie didn't exactly grow up to be a soap star, more like a soap extra. Playing the reoccurring role of "Unnamed Waitress 3" on a soap opera for the last two years didn't exactly make Cammie the next Susan Lucci, but she wasn't about to tell her that. And the girl did manage to get a degree in psychology from USC while pursuing her acting career. God knows, she and Richard both needed a good shrink, and Cammie's advice came free. Plus, Cammie seemed to have a lot more success in the relationship department than she did, so maybe there was a method to her madness. Thus, when Cammie offered to make Sara her new pet project, she didn't protest, at least not much anyway. She did put her foot down on going blonde. No way she was going that far to keep her promise.
Sara took one last look in the mirror and sighed. The graveyard shift would be leaving in 30 minutes. If she didn't go in now, she was going to have to wait until tomorrow. "I can do this," Sara repeated to herself as she got out of the car. "I can do this," and with that, Sara entered the building.
Sara said a quick "hello" to Judy as she passed the reception area. She knew it would only be a matter of seconds before Judy called to the back and stirred up the lab rats and only a matter of minutes before the lab rats told everyone else in the building that she was back. Hopefully, the rumor mill wasn't moving so fast these days that Grissom would be able to slip out the back door before she had a chance to talk to him.
As she approached the closed door to Grissom's office, Sara felt the knots in her stomach tighten even more. The last time she was here, she was trying decide whether to leave the letter on Grissom's desk or to leave it with Judy. She hadn't wanted to tell him that way, but she knew if she had told him about her plans in person, he would have tried to talk her out of them or insisted on going with her and she wouldn't have had the strength to say no. The journey into her past was a journey she had to make alone, even if it broke Grissom's heart. She had hoped she would be able to come back, make him understand, and put the pieces back together, but after what she saw on New Year's Eve…
Sara tried to push those thoughts and memories from her mind as she knocked on the door.