A/N: Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Hope everyone had a splendid turkey day, and if you didn't, or you live in a country besides the US and just had a normal day, perhaps this update will make it a wee bit better- at least, I like to think so. That's all I can think of to say right now, so…
Ready, set, read!
Shit. Sara cradled her head in her hands as she sunk to one of the benches in the darkened locker room. How had she not seen this a mile away? Thirty-three years old, you'd think she would know what disaster looked like when she saw it. She should have just said 'no'. She should have stood her ground and refused. Why? Why? Why was she so stupid? And now the whole team had seen her practically run out of the break room. The questions would start as soon as she left her hideout.
But what hurt the most were Catherine's words. Just a game. Doesn't change a thing. And she had just walked out. Clearly, she had regretted it. Not that Sara had ever really thought she had stood a chance, but to be dismissed so thoroughly? She ached inside, her eyes welled up and spilled over for the first time in a long time. It was all just too much.
And how could she have thought that a kiss would set her world right again- a world that had overbalanced the day she had met Catherine Willows? Had she really believed that this would help? That she could extinguish the fire in her heart with a kiss?
She sniffed audibly. If she had believed that, it was almost funny how wrong she had been. Because she had been wrong. That fire now burned hotter than ever, fueled by eight seconds of pure joy and delight. She had felt so alive in those eight seconds. Real life seemed so dull and colorless in comparison. But what could she do?
Standing, she walked to the corner and leaned her forehead against the cool metal of the locker. She closed her eyes and tried to breathe evenly. She allowed herself to relive that perfect moment. No kiss had never felt so true to her as when she had captured Catherine's lips in her own.
There was a soft knock on the door. Sara dabbed at her eyes with her sleeves. It was probably one of the boys, coming to check on her. She didn't really want to have this conversation right now, but she knew it would be worse later. She just hoped that her face wasn't red from crying, she didn't know how she would explain that too. Tucking her hair behind her ear, she sat back down on the bench.
"Come in." The door creaked. Sara heard it close before she could see which of the guys it was.
"Finally found you. I've looked just about everywhere."
Sara froze. "Catherine?"
Catherine stood in silhouette, the light from the hallway leaking in to outline her figure perfectly. She could see Sara in shadow at the end of one of the rows of benches and began to make her way. "That's me."
Sara couldn't see her smile, but she could hear it in her voice. "What are you doing…here?"
Catherine stood over the brunette for a moment before taking a seat beside her. "Well…I wanted to talk to you. I went to the break room, but no one was there except Hodges. So I turned around and walked right back out. Then I went to see Greg, but he wasn't there. So I went to the layout rooms, the bathrooms, all the techs, but no one had seen you. I decided to ask Gil, but all he knew was that the boys were all in the garage. I was on my way there to see if they might know something, when I suddenly remembered how cozy the locker room can be." She looked pleased with herself. "And here you are."
"Yep." Sara licked her lips nervously, "Here I am." She nodded and looked at her shoes. She still wasn't exactly sure why Catherine was there. "What did you want to talk to me about?"
"Hmm?" The redhead frowned.
"You said you wanted to talk to me."
"I did. But…Have you been crying?"
"No big deal." Sara shrugged it off but didn't deny it.
Catherine hesitated and then rested her fingertips delicately on Sara's thigh.
Sara looked up sharply at the contact. She met with genuinely concerned blue eyes and sighed. "I just…before? In the break room?"
The brunette nodded. "It just…brought up a lot of stuff I thought I had dealt with a long time ago."
Catherine edged closer to the younger woman as she anchored her hand more firmly on her thigh. "Like what?"
Sara stared at the hand on her leg, completely confused. "Uhh…nothing. Just feelings, memories, that sort of thing." Catherine's fingers had begun to stroke her knee. Her pulse quickened. "What are you doing?"
Catherine's fingers froze, but her hand stayed where it was. Sara looked up again, and was completely unprepared for what she saw. If she had merely glanced in Catherine's direction, she probably wouldn't have seen through the interested, innocent mask the older woman had put on. But Sara's eyes met the other woman's squarely, penetrating her pretense and seeing straight through it. The emotional vortex she found was enough to send her mind spinning and she felt a tightness in her chest that she wasn't used to. She stood quickly and backed away, knocking Catherine's hand off her leg. "Uh…" She knew she wanted to say something, but she couldn't for the life of her remember a single word in the English language.
Catherine stood as well, moving closer to her younger colleague. "Sara…"
Unfortunately for Sara, she had backed herself into a corner and now had nowhere to go. She spluttered, desperately trying to come up with anything to say- anything at all. But apparently words were not her friend today.
When Catherine was just a pace from Sara, she stopped. She covered the other woman's mouth. "Sara, quit babbling. I'm trying to talk to you. If I move my hand, are you going to listen?"
Sara nodded, eyes wide.
Catherine freed the brunette's lips and took a deep breath. She looked down, trying to gather herself together. What the hell, what did she have to lose? Just grab the bull by the horns and ride it out. No regrets, that was her motto, right? She looked up, confidence bubbling to the surface, erupting from that wellspring courage deep inside her that had always seen her through. Okay, here goes nothing. "Sara, today when we kissed…I think we can both agree that wasn't the brightest idea either of us has ever had."
The younger woman sucked in her breath too quickly. It felt like a brick had just been dropped in her stomach.
But Catherine didn't appear to notice. She continued talking. "At work, in the break room, in front of the guys, on a dare…" Catherine blinked once, slowly, and let the other shoe drop. "That just isn't the way two people's first kiss should be- not in my opinion, anyway." She studied Sara's face. But when the brunette didn't say anything, she got nervous and began to babble. "I mean, don't get me wrong, it was a great kiss. But when you think about your first kiss with someone, don't you want to think of a starry night? Or roses? Or candles? Or being more than twenty meters away from Hodges? I don't think I'm explaining this right. I guess I'm sort of apologizing or…I don't know. It's just, well, I-"
This time it was her mouth that was held shut. "Catherine. Shut. Up."
While Catherine had been rambling away, Sara's brain had been hard at work, trying to process what she was hearing. First kiss? But saying a 'first kiss' implied that there was going to be a second kis. What? How…? And yet, there was no other way to look at it. Did that mean? She looked at the worried eyes in front of her. "What are you trying to say?" She removed her imprisoning hand.
Catherine opened her mouth and then snapped it shut again as she thought carefully. After a moment, she smirked , stepping into Sara's personal space. "What I'm trying to say, my dear Sara," her voice dropped to a whisper. She raised a hand to sweep a lock of hair out of the other woman's face as she looked deep into her eyes., "is that I crave you…I need you…you light up my life…and, if you'll have me, today is my dream come true."
Sara could scarcely believe…and yet she could, because suddenly, the tightness in her chest was receding and she was surprised to find a smile on her face. Her eyes, which had never wavered from Catherine's, glistened while the other woman found, in those same eyes, what she had been searching so long for. She beamed.
Sara searched Catherine's expression for any signs of insincerity and came up short. The air in the room grew still and her gaze was drawn to the other woman's lips- not for the first time that day. Catherine's mouth drew closer, but Sara inserted her hand between them.
The redhead frowned, confused.
Sara explained. "We already screwed up the first one, I think our second kiss should at least be outside of the lab." She beamed when Catherine did, awed that she could make her glow like that.
"Does that mean you might want to grab something to eat? After shift?"
Sara gave her famous half grin, "Since when do I turn down a challenge?"
And that's it! Thoughts?
I, myself, have done some thinking, about being thankful- and I realized how much I am thankful for all of you. I mean, how many people have a place where they can go where they can just be who they are and express themselves without fear of rejection? It's pretty cool, actually. So thank you. And I wouldn't be me if I didn't beg for a Thanksgiving review so…that was me asking for a review. :P
Now its back to work on my two open fics. Ciao!