A/N: Trying something new here. This is my first fic written in first person; it's all from Greg's POV. Hope you like it!
"Hey Greg; come to my office; I need to talk to you."
I turn around and see Grissom standing in the doorway of his office. 'Here we go then.' I nod and start walking towards him. The coffee will have to wait. I know this is way more important, but still long for the coffee I've brewed in the break room. I walk inside, close the door and take a seat in front of my boss. I know what this is about so I stay quiet; just looking calmly at him.
"What's this Greg?" Grissom's holding up the letter I lay on his desk almost one week ago.
"It's my letter of resignation. Since it's dated one week ago; I'm out of here in three weeks."
I can see his brows furrow. I honestly don't think anyone has ever resigned with him before. I'm not sure he knows how to handle it.
"Why Greg? What's wrong?"
I look at him, my eyes feel tired. I've been expecting this question; but that doesn't make it easier to answer.
"I'm moving to Switzerland. I've been offered a job at CERN as a researcher. A friend of mine from Stanford mentioned my name when a new position in bio-chemistry was open. I got the offer one month ago; and last week I decided to take it. So I'm moving next month."
"Why? Aren't you happy here? Is it about money, or don't you have enough challenges?"
"It's nothing like that. I love my job, I don't need more money and there are plenty of challenges. It's personal reasons to my leaving. I just can't live here anymore. I can't stay in Vegas. And the job is something I've been offered four times before and of course thought about before; but my relationship and my love for this job has made me reject it. But now there's nothing keeping me here; so I've decided to take it."
"What do you mean; personal reasons?"
"Look Griss, I really don't want to talk about it. Just believe me when I say that it hurt me bad. A six years relationship ended with tons of lies, secrets and cheating. So you see; I really can't stay here. It hurts too much."
My eyes start to tear up again. Damn this thing. Damn my still strong feelings. Damn my emotional heart. Damn my fucking idiot ex-boyfriend. 'Don't think about it. You really don't want to start bawling your eyes out in front of Grissom.'
Even though Grissom is quite dense when it comes to reading other people, he can see how I struggle. It's obvious to him that something bad has happened to his young level 1.
"Okay. I'm really sorry to see you leave. It's been great to watch you grow like you have. Do you want to tell the team yourself or do you want me to do it?"
"I'll do it. I think I kinda owe it to them. It'll be fine."
"Okay. The assignments are ready, so you can do it now, or you can wait. It's up to you. Either way; I'm behind you here."
A small smile graces my face then. Grissom has been like a father to me since I started at the lab; slightly scaring and intimidating sure, but always supportive and present. He was there for me after the explosion and the beating, helping me cope.
I know it will be hard leaving this place; my family, but it's just something I have to do. As I follow Grissom to the break room, my mind wanders off to the last six years of my life. And especially what happened only one week ago. The events leading to this mayor shift in my life.
It started off so well
They said we made the perfect pair
I clothed myself in your glory and your love
How I loved you
How I cried
We did really start out well. My parents were so happy for me, and all my friends said we fitted perfect together. I guess you see it, eh? My parents, my friends. After being together for six years, and living together for five of those; Nick still hasn't told his parents or his friends, and he forbid me to tell our shared friends. Can you imagine living like that?
When I first realized I was bi-sexual (around the age of 12) I swore to myself never to lie about who I am. And I haven't. Everyone at the lab, every person that has ever met me knows that I'm interested in both sexes. Even though I haven't said it out loud; they just know.
The years of care and loyalty
Were nothing but a sham it seems
The years belie we lived the lie
"I love you 'til I die"
I thought I could handle it; the secrets and the lies. And probably I would have handled it, had it not been for all the other stuff. Nick going on dates with women to please his parents, bringing one-night-stands to Texas just to show how much of a man he is. You think that's cool? It hurt even though he swore to me that he didn't shag any of them. How the hell could I know that he was telling me the truth? I couldn't; and as I figured out later; he didn't.
Save me save me save me
I can't face this life alone
Save me save me save me
I'm naked and I'm far from home
So maybe I brought this upon myself. I mean; I should really have seen it coming. After all I was together with Nick Stokes; the straight-laced-always-so-eager-to-please-his-parents Texan. Just the last word should have told me that this was no good. He's from Texas; the state of Christianity, fucking George Bush and anti-gay-movements. I guess the relationship was doomed from the very beginning.
The slate will soon be clean
I'll erase the memories
To start again with somebody new
Was it all wasted?
All that love?
He told his family that I was his room-mate. That he needed the money to be able to pay down the mortgage. I remember when his parents came after Nick's kidnapping. They would of course live in our house. After we found him and he was safely in the hospital; I went home and hid everything that could make us look like more than just friends. I moved all my clothes into the spare room, and made it look like I've been living there for one year. I hated every minute of it.
When Nick's parents came later that night they settled themselves in Nick's (our) bed room. I lay in the guest bed crying all night. Crying because no one was there to comfort me, even though I had almost lost the love of my life, crying because I had to sleep in an uncomfortable bed, and crying because I wanted to be there for Nick; not as a friend but as a boyfriend.
Two days later I was talking on the phone with a friend of mine in San Francisco. It was quite early, and I had no idea that Nick's father was awake. Thankfully I only said "my boyfriend" and not his name. I think Nick would have killed me if I had outed him like that. Might as well have; 'because the scolding I got after I hung up was from another world. I was taken totally by surprise, so I sat there listening to the father of my lover calling me a sinner and a devil and a disgrace to human race for ten minutes until I managed to talk back. The words coming out of my mouth right then was something I don't think the judge had ever heard before. I was so angry; I almost burned inside. After I was done shouting at him I fled the house, and stayed with Sara until Nick came back and his parents had left.
Nick was so mad at me. He had gotten his own earful after he got home. His father had almost demanded that I should move out. That fight was our first fight, but it would not be the last.
I hang my head and I advertise
A soul for sale or rent
I have no heart, I'm cold inside
I have no real intent
Sure every couple fight, but our fights have been big; and always about the same. About him living by his families wishes, never daring to go his own way or live his own life. I get that he is scared to come out to his family; with a father like that I would be too. But he didn't have to go on dates with women or bring girls home to Texas, just to make his parents happy. I don't think he ever understood how much that hurt me. And I really don't care if he fucked them or not, well okay; of course I care, but what hurt me the most was thinking 'bout him with someone else, playing a happy couple, kissing, holding hands and God knows what else.
I always felt like he was ashamed of me; ashamed of being gay. And believe me; it's not a good feeling.
Save me save me save me
I can't face this life alone
Save me save me
Oh I'm naked and I'm far from home
So what was the last straw you ask? Well; it's been building up over a long time. But the last year has been really bad. After Warrick was killed last year the demand from Texas; that Nicky should find himself a nice girl and get married, intensified. It got so bad, Nick would go on dates almost twice a month; always with some girl his parents had flown over or knew lived in Vegas. Twice a month; can you believe that? That's 24 dates with different women all in one year. And he could never say no.
I know it took its toll on him; and I really do feel bad for him. But in the last couple of months, I sensed a change. Suddenly I knew that he was cheating on me. Sure; I've suspected it earlier, but now I knew. I could feel it in the way he kissed me and the way he touched me. I could see it in the way he looked at me and the way he talked to me. I could smell it on his skin and on his clothes.
Each night I cry and still believe the lie
I love you 'til I die
So, in the end I left him. I tried to talk to him. I tried everything I could to make this relationship work, but in the end it was all a waste. One week ago, on his night off; he was on a date again, and he didn't return until after I'd gotten home from work. I cried myself to sleep that night; like so many nights before. When I smelled the sex on him again; I knew enough was enough. I couldn't let him do this to me anymore.
On my night off I packed my things and moved to a friend. I waited for Nick to come home from work; I wanted to tell him face to face. It was terrible. He cried and I cried and I almost didn't leave. But I was strong and decided, for once, to be true to myself; so I left. And then I called Matt and told him I'd take the job at CERN.
Save me yeah save me oh save me
Don't let me face my life alone
Save me save me
Oh I'm naked and I'm far from home
Leaving Vegas, and leaving Nick will be the hardest thing I'll ever do in my life; but it must be done. Seeing him at work every day is so hard; now a days me crying is more common than me not crying. I don't think I'll ever love anyone like him again. I knew from the first time we kissed that this was the love of my life; my soul mate; my life-partner. But I owe it to myself to move on; be true and live my life the way I want to. I'm tired of others deciding for me.
I wake from my trip down the memory lane when I hear voices around me. I've walked in to the break room behind Grissom and the whole team is there awaiting their assignments. I look at them all; I'm really going to miss them. Catherine's mothering, Sara's persistence, Grissom's calm behaviour and Nick's; yeah well you know. I'll just plain miss him. As I look at them I decide to get it over with, after all; it won't get any easier later. I glance at Grissom and give him a look. He nod's his understanding and sits down at the table on the other side of me.
"You got our assignments Griss?"
"I do Nick, but Greg has something to say first."
Four pair of eyes turns towards me and I can feel a lump trying its best to choke me. I swallow a few times; trying desperately to keep the tears at bay.
"Yeah. Eh… I don't know how to say this; so I'll just say it. I've resigned. I'm leaving the lab in three weeks."
I don't dare to look at any of my friends; my eyes are locked on the table. The silence is unbearable and I can see the shocked expressions from the corner of my eyes.
"No Greg; you can't do this. Why?"
"I agree with Sara; why Greg?"
My eyes meat Catherine's blue. Her eyes are moist and big from the shock. My heart tares when I see the same in Sara's brown eyes.
"I've gotten a job at CERN. I'm moving to Switzerland next month."
The questions are simultaneously and I decide to answer the latter first. Hoping that the dreaded why-question will be forgotten eventually.
"CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research located near Geneva in Switzerland. They mostly have physicists working there. But since I have taken some physics-courses and they also need my line of expertise; they've kind of offered me a job there every second year since I graduated Stanford. I've always turned them down; but now I decided to accept it."
"And I ask again; why?"
Trust Catherine to never yield until she knows everything. I dare a quick glance at my ex-lover and almost crumble from the sadness emanating from those beautiful brown eyes that I love so much. A tear falls quietly down my chin as I turn towards Catherine.
"Personal reasons." 'Please let her be content with that, please, please, please.'
"What personal reasons?" 'I guess not.' "You got a girl waiting for you over in Europe?"
I sigh as I ponder about how to answer that question. I'm so tired of lying; I just decide to tell her the truth. I keep my eyes on her, refusing stubbornly to look at Nick sitting beside her.
"No. The opposite actually. I just broke up with my boyfriend; and I just can't stay in Vegas anymore." 'Please leave it there; I don't want any more questions.'
"Why did you break up? I mean; I didn't even know you had a boyfriend. Why haven't you told us?" 'Fuck, fuck, fuck. What is it with this woman?'
"That's part of why I broke up. He didn't want anyone to know about us. The other part is that he hurt me too much. But; love is a strange thing. I still love him, he is the man of my dreams; and that's why I can't stay. I just know I'll go back to him; and in the end it'll kill me. So, yeah; I'll loose a part of me by leaving. But if I stay; I won't be me. So I just had to make that choice."
"He hurt you?" Sara was looking livid; her eyes dark with anger.
"Not physically; mostly emotionally. Lies, secrets and cheating." I hurry to explain, not wanting them thinking that Nick hit me; and man I just feel like swallowing my tongue now. I had no intention of saying that. I didn't want anyone to know that my lover had cheated on me.
I can see Nick's face going pale; tears are rolling from his eyes. I'm crying too; but so are all in the break room. Even though I want Nick to feel as bad as I am feeling, I can't gloat in the revenge I've gotten. The hurt and the sadness is terrible to see, and I have to use all my will-power to keep me from wrapping my arms around him and kiss it better. As I said; I do still love him.
"What's his name? I'm going to hunt him down and beat the crap out of him. No one's hurting my friends." The anger hadn't left Sara, and I could see Catherine nodding to her statement.
"No you're not; 'cause I'm not telling you. No amount of violence can solve this. Nothing can solve this. It's over and done with. I'm leaving for Europe and that's that."
I look at Grissom for help, and he quickly intercepts Sara's attempt to argue with me.
"That's okay Greg. As I said before; I'm sad to see you leaving and I think the rest also are. But crime hasn't taken a vacation. I know how hard this was for you Greg; so I want you to stay in the lab tonight. Wendy's sick and I haven't been able to find a replacement for her. Nick; you've got a 480 on Washington Avenue. Sara and Catherine; a 273D gone bad in Seven Hills. I'm still on my 419 from yesterday. So get to work people."
I'm secretly glad that Grissom told me to stay in the lab tonight. I don't think I could have handled going into the field with any of my co-workers, especially not Nick. The week since the break up has been bad; but I know the next three weeks will be hell. I know he'll try everything to make me change my mind. I think I need to come up with a strategy to keep myself from complying. He's so soft spoken, and he knows just what to say to make my mind falter and my knees to go week, but I can't stay. I can't do that to myself. I won't do that to myself. 'Just think about all the times you've cried, all the times he hurt you, all the times you were home alone while he was out there shagging some new slut. That'll keep you from giving in.' I can do this, I'm strong, and I can survive this. The mantra has been repeating itself in my mind every minute of every day since I left Nick; and now I need it more than ever.
I had no idea that three weeks could go by so agonisingly slow and yet so fast. I'm standing in the locker room; putting the last items in my bag. I'm done now. This was my last shift at The Las Vegas Crime Lab. I can't help feeling sad, and tears are rolling down my chin as I close the door to my locker for the last time. I have to sit down for a while; the emotions getting too strong for me.
As I sit there thinking about all the things that has happened since I came to the lab 10 years ago, Sara enters. I sigh as I look at her, and wipe the tears from my face.
"Feeling a little melancholic are we?"
A small smile tug at my mouth.
"Yeah I guess so. It'll be sad to leave you know. I've really loved it here."
"I know Greg. It's hard to see you going too. I really want to punch that son-of-a-bitch-no-time-looser-ex of yours though; but I guess you still won't let me."
My smile grows bigger and I can feel a need to giggle grow inside me. Trust Sara to always make me feel better. She's like a big sister to me; and probably the one I'll miss the most (besides Nick of course).
"Thanks for caring Sara. It really means a lot to me. But you're still not getting his name. I should get going. I'm kinda tired and feeling emotionally drained; I think twelve hours of sleep will be good right now."
"No sleep for you my friend, at least not yet."
I look at her with a puzzled look. Now what?
"You don't really think we'll let you leave without a proper good bye party, now do you? You just drive to where you're staying and I'll follow you and drive you to the party. I volunteered to be designated driver."
I groan a little, but I know there's no point in refusing. These guys don't take no for an answer. So I drive my Jetta to my friends place, close it and slide in the passenger seat of Sara's car. We talk about things we've done since she came to Vegas, and it's not until I notice some familiar scenery outside my window that I start wondering where we're going.
"Eh, Sara? Where are we going exactly? I kinda thought we were going to Denny's."
"Nope. No Denny's today. Nick wanted to have the party at his place, so we're going there."
I groan inwardly, knowing that this will not end pleasantly. I've spent the last three weeks dodging questions and talks and (almost) succeeding in avoiding the Texan as much as possible. Now I have to go back to my home from the last five years. See the walls that I've painted, the kitchen I decorated and the bathroom we've made love in so many times. Hell we've made love on the couch, the kitchen counter, the table and up against every wall in the house. I groan again; fuck, how am I going to survive this? I'm sure my ex has done this on purpose. Well, fuck him. I'm not going to crumble. 'I can do this, I'm strong, and I can survive this.' I will survive this.
'Fuck, fuck, fuck. This really really sucks.' Two hours into the party and I'm feeling like hell has taken me without me knowing it. I'm sitting on the couch I picked out, looking at the familiar pictures on the wall. I'm thinking about all the good times we had; all the times we made love or just snuggled close watching a movie. Thinking about the meals we ate, the laughs we shared and the talks we had.
Hodges comes over and sits down next to me. I guess it's his time to say something smart or nice or whatever now.
"So Sanders. How the hell did you land a job at CERN? I thought it was supposed to be just the smartest guys who got positions there."
'Well thanks a lot Hodges. Great to know you believe in me.' "I got it through a friend of mine. Matt and I went to Stanford together, and he mentioned me to his boss. I mean how cool is that? It's CERN for crying out loud. They invented the fucking web!"
"The world wide web? Ever heard about it?"
"Don't even try to shit me here. The www is an American invention."
"Sorry to disappoint you Hodges, but it really isn't."
We banter about it until Archie comes over and backs me up. I guess he needed an A/V-tech to be able to believe me.
Over the next hour they all come down to sit beside me, to tell me how much they are going to miss me, to beg me to stay. It's so hard not to break down and just obey; to stay in Vegas, with my true family. 'Cause that's what they are. After being an only child my whole life; my co-workers have become my brothers and sisters; with Grissom as the dad, Brass as the uncle, Doc as the granddad and Catherine as the mom (just don't ever tell her that, or she'll kill me for sure).
After a tearful talk with said woman I excuse myself to go to the bath room, my bathroom. Well at least it used to be. As I look around the room, fresh tears start to fall. I remember all the times Nick and I snuggled together in the tub after a hard day at work, or taking lazy hand jobs and blowjobs in the shower before shift. The place looks the same, only without my shampoo, shower gel and hair-stuff. 'I can do this, I'm strong, and I can survive this. I can do this, I'm strong, and I can survive this. I can do this, I'm strong, and I can survive this.' I try repeating it to myself, but it's not working. I can't stop thinking about my friends, Nick, my old job, Nick, leaving Las Vegas, Nick. 'Damn. I really need to get out of here. I can't do this.'
I open the door and startle as someone pushes me back inside. I can feel strong hands on my body pinning me up against the counter. A familiar mouth latches itself to my. 'Nick of course, I wondered when this would happen.' I have to use all my strength to push him off me.
"Don't do this Nicky. Please, just don't."
"Don't leave me G. I need you, I love you. Please don't leave me."
Tears are rolling freely from both our eyes now.
"I love you to. I think I'll always love you, but I can't stay here. I can't be what you want me to be. I can't be invisible anymore."
"Please G, don't go." He's practically begging now. "I'll do anything."
"Will you?" This statement makes my anger come back. "Will you call your parents and tell them you're gay? Will you walk out of here and tell everybody out there in our living room that you are my ex? How do you think Catherine and Sara will react to that? Are you ready to face their fury?"
My words make him pale, even though he must have known this was coming. It looks like he's still living in some dream world where he can have me as his stashed-away-secret and still keep his image as a straight-laced lady's man.
"So this is it then? You're just going to throw away what we have? Six years Greg, six years!"
"Oh no. I'm not the one throwing anything away here. I deserve more. I deserve someone who's not ashamed of me, who's not ashamed of himself. I deserve someone who's willing to share his life with me and share me with his life. I do not deserve to be cheated on, and lied to, and hid away only to be taken out when my boyfriend finds it convenient. I deserve more than that. And fuck you Nick; I'm going to get what I deserve."
"So that's it. You're going to be with that Matt-guy. Is he your new boyfriend now?"
Nick's voice is creamed with jealousy and malice. How on earth can he believe that? Has he not listened to a word I've said all these years?
"You have no right to do this Nick. I'm not the bad guy here. And, duh! Matt… Remember; my friend from Stanford? Married to Lisa, two kids? Have you even heard one word I've said these last six years? Or have you been too afraid to be caught; caught being in love with a man?"
My heart aches as I see the hurt in Nicky's eyes. My Nick. My love. My heart. I step forward and give him one last kiss, before walking through the door. I say good bye to everyone, and ask Sara to drive me back to my friends place. I look back and see Nick standing alone on the front porch. As the car starts he drops down to his knees, a scream in his eyes, but no sound comes out. When Sara pulls out of the drive way, I close my eyes and lay my head against the cool window. I can still feel Nick's lips on mine, and I know I will love him for ever. But it's time to start a new chapter. It's time to become the main-character in my own life.
Three days later I'm sitting on a plane to Europe. I'm leaving Las Vegas, the US, my friends, my family and my soul mate, my heart. I can only hope that I'll be able to make it; to build myself a new life and maybe, hopefully, somewhere a long the way my heart will be whole again.
A/N: The song is Save Me by Queen. I hope you liked it! Please review; I'd love to hear what you think! I'll probably write an epilogue. I'm a sucker for happy endings so you can guess that I'm not very happy right now!