The last three days of Gil's sabbatical passed far too quickly for my tastes. I knew better than to try to contact Sara, but I wanted to so badly. I found myself fingering the peach colored roses every time I walked past them in my bedroom, their silky softness reminding me of Sara. I was turning into such a girl. And I knew there was no chance of getting this woman. It was pathetic, but I was glad she had taken one of the roses, a memento. I actually thought about pressing the rest of the bunch when they started to whither as a keepsake, but took them out and tossed them in the apartment dumpster so I wouldn't be tempted with such sentimental crap. Pathetic.
I knew when Gil's plane got in; I wasn't prying, really, I just wanted to avoid him. It seemed like so much longer than four weeks that he had been gone. While I was still me, I felt I had changed in some important way. I thought he would see right through me, see this change, and while I doubt he would bother to inquire, I didn't want him trying to figure me out. Especially since I haven't entirely worked out for myself what has changed.
That's a lie; I fell for Sara. That's what changed.
So I wasn't around when he got back to the lab, coming straight from the airport, of course. But Archie told me about watching Grissom run into Sara in the hallway. People never seem to get that it is all glass walled; people can see you from two labs away. Archie said they were talking and Sara kept backing away and Grissom kept advancing on her. I tried to ask nonchalantly what they had said, but Archie was too far away to hear. But he did try to describe the look on her face when she smiled at him. He knew it meant something, even if he was too smitten by her to read between the lines. I wonder if I ever saw that smile.
By the time my shift was over, I was so on edge from avoiding them both, that I snapped at a lab tech who got in my way on the way through the lobby. I didn't even realize how rude I had been until I got to my car. Shit, I'll apologize tomorrow. I just needed to get home before I lost it.
I spent most of the day puttering around my apartment, ordered greasy takeout, and watched reruns of old programs on Spike that I generally don't admit to liking. That's always a problem with working graveyard, all of my friends keep banking hours and I had no one to call and bully into taking me out to get trashed and then drive me home at two in the afternoon so I could sleep it off before shift.
I held out on disturbing any friends at work until almost three, which I thought was impressive. Then I found myself calling Jean and telling her all about Sara and Grissom and what an ass I had made of myself. She was understandably surprised since the last time I had mentioned Gil and Sara, it had been when I was still obsessed with him, not her. But she was sympathetic and really great, and I found myself crying on her shoulder via cell phone for a while. She was offering to take me to dinner and talk more, and I accepted, though I think she probably would have shown up even if I hadn't.
Jean came by my place to pick me up, and we went to an early dinner, which turned into a long meal, and then drinks at her place, and me calling in sick to work. We stayed up half the night talking about our lousy love lives and everything else, and by the time we crashed, I was so exhausted it didn't even phase me that she invited me to share her bed rather than take the couch. I didn't think twice about wrapping my arms around her as she turned into me in her sleep. And if her hair didn't smell like jasmine, it was something almost as enticing. I drifted off with the smell of Jean in my nose, and if I dreamed of Sara I didn't remember upon waking.
Jean and I are, I don't know, something. It is not the same as what I had with Sara, and Jean knows it as well. She keeps telling me she's not gay, but then neither am I. And I am still on the rebound. It was possibly the most intense relationship of my life, and it lasted all of four weeks. Being with Jean helps pass the time, which may not be fair to her, but she seems to accept it. When she curls against my back at night, it is like she shelters me from the dreams. The 'Sara Dreams,' as I call them. The 'Amazingly-hot-and-acrobatic-sex Dreams,' would also be appropriate. But after a few weeks she starts to appear less frequently in my dreams. And after a few more weeks, I don't need my Jean-Shield to keep them away. Though I still burrow into the safe space between her arms each night, just in case.
I switched to days for a while, claiming near burnout on the graveyard. The reality was I just couldn't face the two of them. OK, really, I just couldn't deal with her all the time. It was too much to have her treat me the same as she treats all of her colleagues. Her professional manner seemed to alternately make me want to throw her against the nearest wall and kiss her stupid or curl up and cry. Days is a little more high profile and yet less challenging in many regards. It is something about the crazies just coming out to howl at the moon, I guess. And as time went by, I stopped listening for her footfall and getting goosebumps when we ran into each other around.
Recently we were assigned to work a case together in one of those weird trades the supervisors sometimes make between shifts. We spent two days going over the minutia of this murdered woman's life, making very little progress. It was going to be another one of those cases that haunts Sara, I could tell. I finally called the end of the shift, two hours after I thought we would be home, and helped her round up the loose paperwork from the table. I was carrying the box, and so she hit the light switch, and I looked up in the dim light to catch her reflection in the glass wall. I realized then that this must have been the smile Archie was talking about; it transformed not just her, but the space around her, the people as well. A more pure expression of love I have never seen before, and for a moment, my hope leapt up. I could feel my heart pounding, and I moved towards her without a thought. Until she moved through the door towards Grissom waiting on the other side of the glass, her reflection morphing as she left, until it disappeared completely.