Yet again I seem to be neglecting my other fics, but I have a special plan for this one. Each chapter is going to be one day out of the month of December so I want to get out a chapter a day to keep it current. Of course, I can't post a chapter every day because right now...I'm swamped! But I do plan on working through the next two or three chapters this weekend. I'll always try and get a chapter for each of my other two current fics. :) Enjoy this early holiday gift. ;)
December first, the first day of the twenty five days of Christmas. ABC Family would have a movie a night and an encore presentation of each almost immediately following in spirit of the holiday. I only knew this because in years past, Lindsey would always beg me to watch the movies with her. I found it comforting to know she still wanted me around, even as she got older. In fact, I missed those days now that she was off at college. Even if she was only twenty minutes away, she might as well have been twenty thousand miles away. Hopefully she'd come home for the holidays, though. I invested way too much faith in my daughter, but what mother wouldn't?
I felt Lou's hand on my lower back as he attempted to coax me into his lap on the loveseat. I hadn't planned to sit in front of the television with him too long, but I spent too much time thinking about things that I'd forgotten to get up. He stared at the screen as he rubbed along my lower back and sides and I knew that a good girlfriend would fall into his lap and glue their eyes to the screen like their boyfriends, but I guess I wasn't a good enough girlfriend. I got off the arm of the chair and walked away from his touch. If he looked at me as I walked out of the living room, I didn't know because I never looked back.
Lately, and I'd never admit this aloud, he'd been getting on my nerves. I'd been avoiding sex with him and I hardly spent more than a few minutes at a time in close proximity to him. He couldn't accept the way I deal with relationships and he certainly couldn't handle seeing me with Jerry, a friend of my father's. One hug and the green monster I call jealousy sprouted up from the seed of insanity in Lou's mind. I'd never known him to sound so pissed and all because I'd never told him about my business transactions. We'd been together long enough for him to know certain things about me, but it's not like we were married. I didn't need to run anything past him and definitely didn't need to prove myself to him. I wouldn't even need to do that if I was his wife.
I walked into the kitchen and pulled out all the ingredients needed for my favorite kind of sandwich. When I started to put it all together between two nice pieces of whole wheat bread, Lou came in to join me. I kept my eyes on my sandwich in the making.
"Hey, did I do something to piss you off," he asked as he stepped behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist.
"No, we're fine," I tried to shrug it off, but my words came out with resentment and agitation. I'm sure they'd cut him like knives.
"Well, it doesn't seem like that," he tightened his hold on me. He didn't want power over me, he just wanted me to pay attention to him. He wanted me to at least acknowledge his presence.
"What makes you say that," I escaped his hold and put some things back in the refrigerator.
"Well, for starters...you won't even look at me," he stepped in front of me, blocking my pathway anywhere but right into his arms as I walked away from the frige.
I softly sighed, though, in my mind I sighed loud enough for Iceland to hear me. I looked up into his big, hazel eyes and wanted nothing more than to get away from him and out of my own house.
"What have I done to make you give me the cold shoulder?"
"Nothing. Now, please, get out of my way."
"Oh, come on, Catherine."
"I didn't have to say please," I flatly said as I looked him dead in the eyes and believe me, if looks could kill, he'd be on the floor needing a casket and burial plot at the local cemetery.
He sighed and let it go, yet again, like he always did. I didn't want him to stop me, but something inside wished he cared enough to show he still wanted things to work out between us. Of course, that was why most women get ragged on, because we really are that complicated. But, being a woman, I didn't see the problem with it. I also didn't see the problem with wanting to kick Lou between the thighs just because I felt like it. Then again, those were my complicated hormones talking and I didn't want to hurt him, but I did feel obligated to scream at him from time to time. Now was one of those times, but I had learned a masterful thing long ago called self-restraint. The neighbors didn't need to know what I really thought at this point in our relationship and I didn't even think he needed to know.
So I kept my mouth shut and headed back into the living room where I changed the channel on the television and took complete control over the room. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Lou stare into the room and shrug his shoulders in defeat. He turned and headed for the door.
"I'll see you tomorrow," he flatly said, trying not to let his voice waver.
I could tell how much my silence killed him and I felt like an intolerable bitch, but I smiled at how I got what I wanted: a night alone.
I ate my sandwich as I watched a movie on TV and dozed off in peace as I had my house to myself. I didn't have to hate myself as I slept beside Lou and pretended to find comfort in his embrace, his arm draped over my waist. In truth, I'd stopped finding comfort in it a couple weeks ago when he couldn't handle the fact that I hadn't told him about my partial ownership of the Eclipse. He'd called me a few nights after our brick wall discussion, but he didn't call to apologize. He called and said he wanted to take me out to dinner. I agreed, but I hated him for not saying he accepted my choice. That's when sleeping with him became an even bigger turn off than all the screwed up things Eddie did when we were married.
But, with the house to myself, I didn't have to worry about it. I could sleep without a single thought involving Lou and I could get away with not being touched by his large, unpleasing hands I had to bear too many times. Amazing what a few months in a relationship can do to you, how it can change you. I found out that maybe Lou and I are growing apart. I wanted to start the second part of my life with someone and he wanted to spend the second part of his life trying to get back the comfortable relationship with his ex-wife he'd lost years ago.
I hummed in my sleep as nothing but blissful images and scents took over my brain. That's when I could finally think about leaving the lab for the Eclipse guilt free. I didn't have Lou next to me as a constant reminder of why I hadn't left sooner this year.
When I woke up, I felt rejuvenated and full of life. I'd never felt better and I'd slept sprawled across the loveseat in my living room with the TV quietly droning on. I went upstairs, took a shower and tried to prepare for the day ahead of me. I wanted to get my Christmas shopping done before everything went out of stock and I wanted to look good doing it because everyone could see I wasn't getting any younger. Fifty-two and nearly flawless is what I wanted people to think, but with Lou around, that seemed like an even more far fetched goal each day.
I applied anti-aging cream to my face and rubbed another miracle working cream under my eyes to minimize the bags and by the time I'd finished, I'd managed to shock myself. I looked at least five years younger and I didn't seem tired at all. I appeared cool and confident and full of energy. My first night sleeping without Lou and I'd already seen an improvement. But...I didn't think I'd be saying my first night. I didn't think I'd want to make it a permanent thing, or even a thing at that. I thought, One night and I'll have cooled off. But that's not what had happened.
I'd cooled off, but I'd enjoyed it a little too much. Maybe I needed to be alone for a while. Or maybe I needed someone other than Vartann around me.
So I called a friend, someone I trusted, someone I wanted to spend the day with me. I called my sister Nancy.
"Hello," she answered with a mouthful.
"Did I catch you at a bad time?"
"Cathy! Mm, no. I'm just...having breakfast," she gleefully replied as she swallowed. "What's up?"
"How's about a little holiday shopping?"
"Yeah, you're not doing anything, are you?"
"When have you ever known me to have too much on my plate for you? I'd love to go shopping. When do you want to go?"
"Um, after I take a shower?"
"That's fine. Should I come get you?"
"Yeah, that'd be great," I smiled. "You can come over now, but I might still be in the shower when you get here. Do you still have a spare key?"
"Um, I think so. ...Yeah."
"Great. I'll see you in a bit."
It took me ten minutes to shower, seven minutes to dry and brush my hair, and two minutes to throw on a great outfit.
I chuckled at the sight of Nancy with her jaw to the floor and her eyes popped out of her skull like Wiley Coyote before he realizes the roadrunner set him up for his own trap.
I twirled for her with a large smile and ended in a pose like a runway supermodel.
"I think I need to change," she joked.
"Please, it's not like I'll upstage you at the mall. No one notices me anymore."
"Well, maybe before you reserved yourself for that charming, good-looking boy toy of yours. What happened to him that made you pull out the good clothes?"
"Nothing. We're still together. I just...decided to wear something a little less...domesticated."
"Thank god. Now I can finally see you instead of the quiet, boring Cathy I saw a few weeks ago."
"I'm not boring!"
"I know you're not...now that the real you is ready to go," she smiled.
I looked down for a second and mentally sighed. Had it gotten that bad that I wasn't even acting like myself? Well, that was going to change...starting with this girls day out.
I took a deep breath, looked up, and smiled.
Nancy smiled and we quickly headed out the door.
Twenty minutes later, Nancy and I arrived at the mall and a flood of people beat us to the front doors, but we weren't discouraged. We had all day to browse the stores for the perfect gifts.
"So...who are you shopping for this holiday season," Nancy asked as we walked into the place.
"Lindsey, of course. I should get Lou something. And...maybe a few little things for the team."
"Hmm, you don't sound happy to shop for the boyfriend."
I looked at her with a straight face and shrugged.
"To tell you the truth...I'm not exactly happy to be with him anymore," I replied as I looked forward to see where I was walking.
"Then...why not break up with him?"
"It's...I know, right? But...there's..." I sighed. "It's complicated."
"I can tell. I think you broke the record for the longest time to get out two simple words."
"Shut up. This is why I don't talk to you as often as I used to."
"Really? I never would've guessed you hated being told the truth."
I rolled my eyes.
"Cathy, if you're not going to break it off...talk to him. I'm sure he doesn't like being kept in the dark."
"And I never wanted to put him there, but...it's a lot more involved than you think."
"Then tell me how involved it is," she grabbed my arm and spun me to face her completely as we stopped in front of Victoria's Secret.
I averted my eyes as she let go of my arm, and when I looked up, I could see right into the store and saw no one other than Sara Sidle.
"Shit," I muttered as I turned to face forward and tried to start walking again.
But of course, Nancy couldn't let me do that because she wanted me to talk.
"Catherine," she piped up as though I wouldn't have heard her if I lived in Florida. "What is it? Why is it more involved than I think?"
When I turned to face her again, I looked back into the store and noticed several eyes on us, and one of them notably a chocolate brown pair belonging to Sara.
She smiled and I knew I had to smile back because Sara wasn't the problem. Nancy looked behind her and saw Sara, which would've been the perfect time to bolt, but I couldn't do that without raising questions.
"Hey," I greeted Sara as I went inside Victoria's Secret and saw the other eyes fixated on me regain focus on the merchandise.
"Hey," she casually responded. "What are you doing here?"
She laughed and flashed her gap toothed smile.
"Other than that."
"Christmas shopping," I smiled in response to her laugh. "With my sister."
I hitched a thumb over my shoulder at Nancy as she walked up behind me and stuck out her hand for a shake.
"Hi, I'm Nancy."
"Sara," she shook Nancy's hand.
"I work with Sara," I explained to Nancy.
Nancy nodded as she and Sara ended their hand shake.
"Actually, I work for her. She's the boss," Sara interjected.
"Right," I felt a tiny blush wash over my cheeks. "So...what are you doing here?"
"Shopping," she smiled.
I rolled my eyes with a smile as I gently shook my head.
"I really am shopping, but...not Christmas shopping. I'm thinking of doing that in France."
"Oh, right. You're scheduled for vacation the week of Christmas. I forgot."
"Yeah, but I'll be back for New Years. In fact, I'll be back on New Years Eve."
"Nice. I'm sure Gil isn't thrilled about that."
"Of course not, but he and I made a deal. He could get me for Christmas or New Years. Obviously, he picked Christmas because he'd get more time with me."
"It's the logical choice," I smiled and slowly nodded.
"Ooh," Nancy finally jumped into the conversation. "Is that bra part of the new collection?"
I mentally groaned and tried not to let her embarrass me.
"Uh, yeah. I think so. I got it over there," Sara politely answered with a smile as she pointed to a section of the store behind her and far from us.
"I think I'm gonna go check it out over there," Nancy told me as she started in the direction of the bras and panties.
"Okay," I quickly nodded.
When she was out of earshot, Sara resumed our conversation.
"She must be fun to hang out with," she grinned.
"Not right now, she isn't," I muttered as I bitterly stared after her until she disappeared around a corner.
"Well, they're great bras, so...I understand why she'd jump on the chance to buy them."
I snapped out of my vengeful thoughts and stared at her with owl eyes, soon followed by me furrowing my brows and my eyes returning to their normal size.
"How many pairs of those particular bras do you have?"
"This one makes five."
I relaxed and grinned.
"Let me guess, they're all different colors and you have matching panties for them."
"I mix match the panties with the bras, but you're right about the colors," she grinned back because she knew what I was getting at. "Don't stand here and lie to me when we both know you're wearing one of their bras right now."
She stepped forward and slightly invaded my personal space as she called me out. I liked her style.
"Maybe I am. How would you know?"
"Because," she pointed at my shoulder. "I'm a trained observer. I thought we discussed this."
I looked down at the shoulder she'd pointed at and noticed a bra strap poking out. I brushed it under my shirt and looked up at her again with a smile.
"Okay," Nancy said as she headed toward us from the back section of the store. "We're coming back here later. They've got a sale on fragrances and I noticed a few clearance thongs too."
I shook my head.
"I guess that means you're ready to go?"
"Yeah. I don't want to be here when the lunch mob rushes in. It gets crazy!"
"I know what you mean. That's why I do most of my mall shopping in the morning," Sara said.
"All right," I smiled. "Well, it was nice seeing you. You should...probably pay for that now. And...I'll see you for shift."
"See you then," she smiled back. "Nice meeting you, Nancy."
"You too, Sara," Nancy cordially smiled and shook Sara's hand again.
I waved goodbye and Nancy and I slipped out of the store as if we were never even there.
"I like her," Nancy quickly commented, her face forward with a wide smile spread across her face. "Now tell me about her."
"She's just someone I work with. I've known her over ten years now and she's a great CSI."
"That's all...very fascinating... Now tell me what she's really like."
"Well...what do you want me to say, Nance? She's married to our old boss who's currently located in France, she used to react strongly to domestic violence cases, and I hope her apparent happiness lasts because I'd hate to see her leave again."
"No," my eyes widened as I pointed my index finger at her. "There's nothing interesting about it."
"You don't want her to leave. That's interesting."
"No, it's not. I only said that because last time she left, she'd been left for dead in the dessert a couple months prior. She wasn't happy and I hate seeing my friends feel like that."
"Okay...this is the same Sara that Lindsey's complained about you getting frustrated with when you still liked to pick a fight?"
"She's mentioned that to you?"
"Years ago, when I still got to babysit her...yeah."
"Don't get your panties in a bunch, it's fine. But...you called her your friend and...you've never mentioned her to me before. I've heard about Nick, Warrick, Grissom, even Greg for crying out loud! But you've never dropped her name."
"Maybe because we weren't that close. It took us some time to completely warm up to each other."
"After she helped me when I thought...I might've been raped...she and I sort of had this silent understanding."
"What? Whoa, wait a minute! You thought you were raped?"
"Yeah, but...it's not important. I didn't want to talk about it with Lou and now I don't want to talk about it with you."
"I can't believe you didn't tell me."
"I can't believe every time I tell someone about it, they all say the same thing!"
"Fine. I get it. We can drop it, okay? What store do you want to go to first?"
"Thank you. I appreciate it. ...Um, I guess this one's a good place to start," I pointed at the place next to us before we decided to pass it.
Four hours later, Nancy and I were up to our necks in shopping bags from stores all over the mall, including Victoria's Secret, and we were ready to get home.
"I'm thinking we should stop somewhere for lunch," Nancy said as we made our way to her car.
"I agree. I'm too tired to make anything."
"God, I don't miss being on my feet this much at all!"
I, of course, was referring to my days as an exotic dancer, but Nancy was referring to her days as a waitress at a frequented restaurant. She and I did our tough jobs for the same amount of time and always bitched about it to each other at the end of shift. But then we talked about the bonuses of our jobs, like her enormous tips and overtime payment, while I mentioned the way men gawked at me all night and how I earned a few extra hundreds under the table.
On our drive home we couldn't make up minds as to where we'd get our food, so we chose to drive straight home since we couldn't think too clearly by that point.
"A nap sounds orgasmic right now," Nancy said as we walked through the front door.
"The guest room's free."
She hummed as she followed me upstairs, which I thought I wouldn't manage, and we both crawled into separate beds, but enjoyed the same satisfaction as we dozed off over the sheets. We woke up a couple hours later feeling much better than we had when we got back.
I stretched as I continued to lay in bed and heard Nancy wandering around my place. I sighed and smiled, blissfully victorious over my life for the first time in months. Maybe Lou and I were two completely different people and it wouldn't work out between us. Even though people always said opposites attract, but just because we were attracted to each other didn't mean we would end up together in the long run.
A semi-soft knock on my bedroom door dragged me out my recurring deep thoughts and as Nancy walked in with a smile on her face, I tried to bury those same thoughts in a heartbeat.
"I made lunch, but now it's more like an early dinner."
She crossed the room and came to sit at my bedside.
"What were you thinking about," her smile faded a bit as she cooed with concern.
"The boyfriend," I sighed.
"Of course. ...And you finally going to tell me about how invaded things are between you two?"
I sat up and leaned against the headboard.
"Everything is too serious with him. I hugged Jerry in front of him and he tried to give me the third degree about it."
"Jerry...the guy that worked with your dad?"
"Yeah. And then, when he found out I own a little part of the Eclipse, he bit my head off when I told him couples don't have to tell each other everything."
"What did he say?"
"Something, 'And who gets to draw that line?' That's not fair. If he didn't want to tell me something about work or extra money he makes on the side, that's fine with me. It's his money. He can do what he wants with it."
"That makes sense. ...But, why didn't you want to tell him about the Eclipse?"
"It never came up before we worked on a case there."
"What's the real reason, Cathy?"
"Because I don't always want to be daddy's little girl. I was afraid if I told him, all he'd see were dollar signs and a spoiled brat."
"And that's how you should've explained it to him."
"I shouldn't have to prove anything to him...and it wouldn't matter anyway because he already thinks I don't trust him."
She rolled her eyes and rested her hand on my wrist.
"And what would give him that impression?"
"I don't know, Nance! He probably thinks because I don't feel like telling him everything that I'm going to cheat, or already am, cheating on him!"
"Relax. It was just a question."
I took a deep breath.
"I know. That's why I said it's more involved that you think."
"I still have a feeling there's something you're not telling me. You just told me every reason there is for you to leave him. Now tell me why you haven't?"
"Because...I don't want to base a huge decision on little things. I don't even know if I'm right about what he thinks."
"No, no. That's not gonna work with me. What's the real reason."
"You better buy it because that's the only reason I'm giving you."
"So...there is another reason."
"Maybe. I don't know. It's-"
"Complicated? If you say so, but you're probably making something out of nothing," she said as she stood. "Come on. There's food downstairs."
"What'd you make?"
"Salad, sandwiches and chicken patties. I also mixed up some sweetened iced tea."
I got out of bed and followed her into the kitchen. I grabbed a ham sandwich, added extra mayonnaise, got a little more than a fist full of salad, and poured myself three quarters of a glass of iced tea.
"Thanks for rummaging through my kitchen to make all of this," I smiled as I took a seat at the bar.
"No problem, sis," she smiled back as she grabbed a few things for herself and took a seat next to me.
"Thanks for not hating me all these years," I looked down at my food.
"What are you talking about?"
"Well, when you found out that we're only half sister...you didn't let that change anything."
"Oh, of course not. All those years under the same roof...we've always been there for each other. Why would having different dads change that?"
I smiled, blushed a little, and dug into my food. The first of December, conquered.
Thanks for reading. I plan on the rest of the chapters being of equal, or similar, length to this one. Remember, it's supposed to cover an entire day. :) Love to hear what you think.
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If you review, you'll make my holiday. Thanks, my lovely readers.