"Sara," Lindsey screamed from across the hall, Catherine having barely gotten to the lab.
"Hey, Lindsey," Sara greeted with open arms and a wide smile. "How've you been?"
The tiny blonde gave Sara a tight squeeze as the two hugged.
"Great, I mean, as great as things can be when you have a mom that works a lot, a literal dead beat dad, and school. Yuck!"
Sara laughed at the face Lindsey made at the mention of school. She looked the small ten year old over then brought her eyes to the taller blonde standing in the room across from them.
Catherine stared into Sara's chestnut brown eyes before seeing Lindsey flashing a giant smile that spread from ear to ear. She watched as Lindsey tugged on Sara's hand and dragged her attention to her daughter.
"Do you think you can come over later? I need some help with my homework and… I like spending time with you," the petite girl smiled, looking up to Sara with her charisma flaring wildly through her beautiful blue eyes.
Sara smiled and bent down to be eye level with Lindsey. "Maybe, you'll have to ask your mom first."
"I don't want to. I think she'll say no," Lindsey started to pout.
"If she says no then I'll have no other choice but say no, too. You know that, Linds."
"Yeah, and that's why I don't want to ask her."
"Okay, but why do you think she'll say no," the brunette took Lindsey's hands into hers.
"Because all of last week she couldn't stop talking about how you made her so mad with your stubbornness and how she couldn't think straight. She's been so worked up and frustrated, even if she hadn't said those things about you I still think it'd be a bad time to ask."
"Then wait until it's the right time, but if your mom has a problem with me, then maybe I shouldn't be hanging around too much," she let out slowly, trying to let the sweet girl down easy.
Lindsey crossed her arms over her chest and looked at Sara in anger. Sara smiled, finding her adorable, then focused on the floor for a moment.
"Look, Lindsey, I have no objection to the idea, but make sure ask her first?"
Lindsey took her eyes off Sara's hands on her arm reassuringly and looked at Sara. She unfolded her arms and lightened her expression. "Okay."
"Good," Sara smiled again and looked over at Catherine who was rubbing the back of her neck, obviously tired and fighting off a headache.
"Why don't you go find Greg and hang out with him for a little bit," Sara offered innocently.
"She doesn't want me to go anywhere."
"Well, she can be upset with me for it. Go." Sara pushed the little girl in the direction of the childish but occasionally mature DNA specialist, turned and stood up, walking toward the overworked strawberry blonde in the break room.
"Where's Lindsey," Catherine asked, freaking out momentarily as she saw Sara, but not her daughter.
"Chill, Catherine, she's with Greg," the younger woman explained calmly, placing her hand on the senior CSI's shoulder.
"And you didn't ask me about that first?"
Catherine seemed a little on edge to Sara.
Try paranoid, the brunette thought.
She furrowed her brow and rubbed her hand up and down the blonde's back in comfort. "Are okay, Cath?"
"No, you passed my daughter off to someone without my consent!"
"Catherine," she started, removing her hand from the older woman's body. "I didn't think it was going to be this big a deal, I'm sorry. I saw you rubbing your neck like you usually do when you're stressed and I thought you could use a little break. I'll go bring her back if that's what you want."
Catherine shook head and let out a light laugh. "No, forget it. I'm overreacting."
Sara stared into the mother's glistening blue eyes as she was on the verge of tears. She put her hand on Catherine's back and rubbed as before. She redirected Catherine to the couch and sat her down.
"What's going on?"
"It doesn't matter," Catherine tried to hold back tears, her head in her hands.
"It does to me," Sara pushed gently.
"Because I consider you a friend even if you don't agree and I care about all of my friends," Sara answered, wrapping her arm around the blonde's shoulders, rubbing Catherine's left arm simultaneously.
Catherine looked again into those chestnut eyes of her coworker's and debated whether or not to spill her guts. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, taking Sara's hand in hers as she turned her body to better face the brunette.
"I'm sure, but I think Eddie came to my place and stole a few things. After shift I came home to find the door opened and the house ransacked!"
"Oh my God, was Lindsey okay?"
"Yeah, she was at my sisters."
"Did you call Eddie and ask him about it?"
"No, I didn't think to because he tends to lie."
"What about reporting it? Have you told anyone about this?"
Catherine hesitated and pulled away, looking back into Sara's deep and comprehending eyes.
"I told you," she choked up.
Sara shut her mouth and embraced the stunning blonde in a hug. "I guess you do need a break. Have you ever thought about it not being Eddie?"
"Not really. He's been getting far more aggressive in recent weeks, so I'm almost sure it was him. Who else could've done it? He knows where the spare key is in case he has to take Lindsey home and it can't be his place."
Sara nodded, accepting what her friend was telling her. She weakly smiled and stood up. "If you need anything--"
"You could take Lindsey home with you," she blurted almost too soon and too excitedly.
"Um…okay. She'll be happy to hear that, seeing how she wanted me to come over… Are you sure you want her to go with me?"
"Yes, I'm sure. If it's Eddie, I'm assuming he'll be back and I don't want her to be around if and when that happens."
"Okay," Sara nodded before turning to leave. "I think I should drive you two home, have her get her things for the night... and maybe you could take the spare key and get some overnight things for yourself."
"No, I couldn't."
"If someone broke into your house I don't want you to be there if they decide to come back."
Catherine looked into Sara's pleading eyes before focusing on the ground. When she looked up at Sara again, she nodded in compliance and headed out of the break room with Sara only to go in the opposite direction.
Sara went to see Greg while Catherine headed into the locker room to grab a few things and went to get Lindsey.
"Are you serious!?"
Catherine heard Lindsey exclaim, jumping into Sara's arms.
"Yeah, I'm serious," Sara laughed, tightening her grip on the tiny blonde.
"I see you told her," Catherine smiled.
"I love you, mommy," Lindsey grinned and rushed to hug her.
"I love you, too, sweetie," she accepted the hug.
"So…when are we leaving," Lindsey asked, eager to get out of the lab.
"Anytime now, shift is over," Sara informed the two of them.
"Then let's go! What are we still doing here!?"
Sara and Catherine shared a smile. Sara turned around and saw Greg grinning, laughing to himself. Sara bent over and gave him a kiss on his cheek.
That sure as hell shut him up, Sara mused.
"What was that for," Greg asked, beginning to blush.
"Thanks, Greg, for keeping Lindsey company."
"I love it when you put it that way, instead of how mom always 'looking after' me." Lindsey looked back at her mom and stuck out her tongue, making her point very clear.
Sara turned to Lindsey and smiled before looking at Catherine, wearing a grin.
"See ya later, Greg," Sara said quickly as Lindsey pulled her by the hand out of the room.
"Bye," he waved with a smile, watching his favorite brunette dragged through the lab by a ten year old.
When they arrived at the Willows residence, the first thing Catherine did was retrieve the spare key from plant pot beside her at the door. Sara waited patiently in the car, engine still running.
Lindsey ran into the house and up the stairs to grab her overnight bag and necessities. Catherine glanced at her answering machine to see no new messages and headed into her bedroom. She noticed the picture of her and Lindsey with Eddie on her vanity mirror and thought about how Lindsey felt about the divorce. In the picture, they had been on vacation on beach with smiles all around. Everything looked fine, all were happy.
What the hell went wrong, Eddie? Why did you have to end it with every stupid decision you made?
She shook the thought from her head and grabbed an outfit for the following day and some pajamas for the stay. Suddenly, a shrill came from down the hall that she recognized as Lindsey screaming. She ran through hall into her daughter's room, finding the brunette already calming her down.
"Sara," Catherine asked confused. "I thought you were in the car?"
"I was when I decided to invite myself inside in case it was going to take longer than expected. I was almost in here when I heard her scream."
"Are you alright," the blonde asked her daughter who was gripping Sara's arms.
Lindsey was facing her mother as Sara held her from behind, her arms wrapped around the small blonde's body. Catherine looked behind the younger woman and noticed the window was opened.
"Did someone get in," she asked Sara.
She shrugged, not knowing what had really happened. "I just came in her to make sure Lindsey was okay and the next thing I know, I'm being squeezed to death by your daughter."
"I didn't see anyone, but I thought I wasn't safe, so I got scared," Lindsey admitted, shaking Sara's arms.
Catherine shut the window and bent down to be at eye level with the little Willows. She tucked a strand of her daughter's hair behind her ear and reassured the little one.
"It's okay, sweetheart. You're safe."
Sara hauled Lindsey into her arms completely, lifting the mini-Catherine off the floor. "Let's get this show in the road."
Catherine watched Sara carry Lindsey out of her room and down the hall. She went back to the window and looked beyond the pane with fear and worry. A moment later she sighed and headed out to Sara's car where her daughter and friend were listening to music.
Getting into the car, she checked on the youngest female in the backseat then looked at the brunette ready to drive off.
"Thank you for doing this," Catherine smiled before facing forward, eyes on the road.
"No problem," Sara smiled back, focusing on the road ahead as any safe driver would.