I felt like I was floating, drifting through clouds as we kissed into the new year. She knew how to make melt, how to use her tongue in all the right ways, where to touch me to make me shudder. Her fingertips rested against my neck with a feather like touch I had to press into for me to believe she even touched me.

I moaned and leaned further into her as our legs intertwined under the blanket. I felt myself letting go of all my worries and giving in to my heart's greatest desire. Her free hand ran along my inner thigh as my legs naturally spread for her. It didn't take long to know who ran the show because when Sara's hand traveled up the inseam of my sweatpants, she charged me and I ended up on my back on my own couch.

Her fingers lingered around my waistband and I whimpered as I took a quick breather. She started kissing my neck and her hand found my weak spot at my hips. I bit my lip and let my hand slide down my body to meet hers. I laced our fingers and got her attention. Sara stared deep into my eyes as I lightly panted then looked at our joined hands. A small smile crept across her face and the twinkle in her eyes matched my earlier lovestruck look.

"I don't know much about two thousand-eleven, but I like it already," she continued to smile.

I smiled back a moment before she kissed me again. For the life of me, I couldn't get one song out of my head.

"Oh, I can't believe it's happening to me. Some people wait a lifetime...for a moment...like this."

I smiled, big and wide, into the next kiss and relaxed under her.

"Comfortable," she asked with a smile between kisses.

"Mhm," I moaned as her knee tempted me when it slid between my thighs.

"Don't be," she purred as she scooped me into her arms and peeled me off the couch.

I wrapped my legs around her waist and allowed her to carry me up the stairs and into my room. She dumped me on my bed and grinned at me as she inched closer. I bit my lip and reached for her belt, which came undone in a matter of seconds. She unbuttoned her pants as I unzipped them and, in record time, I had her standing in front me in only her underwear, which pleasurably ended up in my face.

I looked at her knowing she was all I wanted and all I couldn't have as long as she was with Grissom.

"We can't," I sighed, miserable.

She closed her eyes and pursed her lips.

"I know."

I shook my head.

"This is what I know I shouldn't feel," I said as I stood.

There was a silence as I tried to screw my head back on straight.

"If you want me, you shouldn't hold back because you know I want you too."

"That's just it. I don't want you for one night. I need you for as long as our potential happiness lasts."

"Okay," she started. "I'm going to pretend that didn't make me want to laugh because I agree with the idea of what you're trying to say. Catherine, I'm not saying that I only want to get physical with you. I want it all. You're one of the most amazing people I've ever met and I hate going a day without at least hearing from you. That's why I took your calls at ridiculous hours," she chuckled.

I laughed, hoping her confession meant I could be with her.

"Look, I hate the idea of sneaking around...probably as much as you do, but...I want to be with you more than anything. Grissom and I have talked about this time and time again. He's ready to let go...for the most part."

"Wait...what does that mean?"

"It means that I love Gil and I'm happy with him...but as intimate friends. He and I agreed to go through a 'pleasant' divorce and stay close...as friends."

"And the sneaking around thing?"

My heart began to race and I couldn't breathe. What did she want from me? Make me a two time cheater?

"I don't want the guys to know anything yet. I know that's a lot to ask, but-"

"No, I get it. Things are still confusing enough for you right now and you need to work through it with Gil before you say anything."

"Yeah...I don't want to say anything until it's final. And after that..."

"We're free to be open about us...whatever that entails."

"Right," she gave a single nod.

"So for now..."

I hinted to her with my eyes where I wanted things to go and I watched her match my expression.

"Now..." she trailed off as she swayed into my arms. "We can pick up where we left off."

I followed her grin until it captured my lips and I fell victim to her heavenly kisses.

Hours later, the sun peaked through the bedroom window and I became blatantly aware I hadn't slept alone. I wasn't alarmed or shocked, but calm as I knew who shared my bed.

I rolled into Sara and smiled as my eyes eased themselves open.

"Good morning," I smoothly spoke with a smile.

"Morning," she smiled back as she stretched.

I moved and felt the confinement of my panties restrain me. We didn't have sex, but we got far enough. We'd enjoyed much more than the company and had a few bruises to prove it.

Sara's fingertips gently played over her teeth marks she left on my hip and I bit my lip to hide my smile, which didn't make a difference because I needed up blushing.

She grinned.

"Are you remembering how it happened or enjoying what I'm doing now?"

"Both," I smugly smiled.

Her grin spread as she leaned in and kissed me. I lightly bit her lip before we parted and relished over the lustful spark in her eyes.

"Wanna go again," she purred.

"Yes and no. Kitty likes to play," I teased.

"Believe me...I know," she smiled. "My little Kit Kat plays a lot."

I giggled.

"It's funny how we've spent one night together, messing around, and already you've got two nicknames for me."

"Oh, Cat, I've got more than that...and I've had them stuck in my head for years."

I smiled and reached out to run my fingertips over her hip. That's when I remembered what I'd seen during our "play date".

I reached around her hip and slid my fingertips over the left half of the small of her back. Jagged edges and tiny bumps made me think of the life she once lived. Most of the people I knew were covered with scars, but none of them were ever physical, only emotional. Sara had both.

"What happened," I asked as I traced three, closely spaced scars.

"My mother was schizophrenic," she stated after a beat."Sometimes she would go on a rampage destroying anything in her path. My father tried to disappear when that happened...and drank when he wasn't successful. My brother stayed in his room and I had to fend off her assumed personalities so...when she threw things, I happened to be in the line of fire."

I frowned as I continued to trace the scars.

"Did that happen a lot?"


"All these years...you and domestic violence cases didn't mix. From all the anger you directed at the men in the cases, I thought your dad might have hurt you."

She shook her head.

"He wasn't the World's Greatest Dad, but he never touched me."

My jaw dropped a few inches as Sara rolled onto her stomach, her tank top still revealing a medium size patch of skin. Her right side had several run-on scars from her hip to her ribs. They seemed to disappear around to the other side and they looked more than painful.

"These are from my uncle."

"What did he do," I asked as I slowly reached out to touch them.

"The real question is what didn't he do. He molested me, beat me to keep me quiet, and locked me in his bedroom every other Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday."

"He didn't go to jail?"

"How could he when I never told?"

"I'm sorry, Sara," I said before I leaned in and kissed along her visible scars.

Her breathing slowed and she started to relax under my touch again.

"It's okay. I'm done crying over it...but what you're doing helps."

I smiled.

"Do I know your kryptonite, or what?"

She giggled and rolled back onto her back. After a minute of staring at me, she reached out and touched my neck where she left a pinkish red and purple mark.

"You look hot," she stated as her fingertips danced along the outline of the hickey.

"I bet you're only saying that because you have proof you got to sink your teeth into me."

"Maybe," she grinned.

I smiled again.

"No, I think you're hot every day."

"Aw, thank you," I kissed her.

"One night together and we're already lovey-dovey."

"You should probably get used to it."

She beamed.

"I think I just did."

I laughed and kissed her again.

"Time for me to take a shower," I said as I slipped away.

"Any chance I can get in on that action?"

"Maybe when I'm done," I winked.

She bit her lip, a wicked look in her eyes. She shot off the bed and rushed to the bathroom doorway where she wrapped me into her arms and locked us in the bathroom together. I couldn't stop laughing.

It didn't take long before I gave in and let her shower with me. Normally, I'd wait a few dates before I let that happen, if I ever let it happen, but with her everything was different. I allowed way more to happen between us and let it happen ten times faster than I would usually feel comfortable.

After an hour long shower, my favorite shower ever, I got a call from Jerry. I rushed out to my cell in a towel and pressed the green button the second I picked up the phone.


"You coming in today? Al said you're a natural. He expects you to take it from wherever you two left off the other day."

"Uh, yeah...I'll be in after lunch."

"You don't have to, you know. Technically, you don't start working her until next week."

"I know."

"And, because you're Sam's daughter, you really don't need to even lift a finger."

"I don't want to do that. I'm not like Paris Hilton. I'll earn my money, thank you."

He chuckled.

"I understand. That's actually one of the reasons I fell for you."

"Fell for..." I trailed off in shock. I couldn't believe he had admitted that, especially since we were only physical.

"Look, it's fine. You and that cop are-"

"Not together anymore. Wait...you fell for me," I cut him off, at first with a flat and steady tone.

Sara walked into the room in a sports bra and boxers, her hair slightly curled as it was still wet.

"You and your boyfriend broke up? When?"

"Not important. How could you have...fallen for me?"

"You're an amazing woman. How could I not fall for you?"

Sara stepped behind me and slid her arms across my torso, her chin on my shoulder.

"When we were together...I was cheating on my boyfriend and you think I'm amazing?"

"That didn't matter. You work hard, you're caring-"

"I'm good in bed," I flatly asked.

"No, I mean yes. God yes, you're... spectacular in bed. But-"

"But nothing. Jerry, I thought we were clear on this. I'm going to manage the hotel and I don't want things to be awkward between us. We ended this a while ago and...I'm not exactly single."

"But you said you and the cop are done."

"Right, but that doesn't mean I didn't move on. Listen, it's complicated and I really don't want to get in to it. You're a great guy, but we're better friends than we are anything else."

He sighed.

"I know. I'm making this uncomfortable. I'm sorry. I'll stop."

"It's okay."

He took a deep breath.

"Okay, so...you're coming in today?"

"Yeah, around two."

"Sounds good."


"See you then."



I rolled my eyes and hung up.

"Why did he have to say that?"

"Say what," Sara asked.

"Jerry really likes me."

"I don't blame him."

"That doesn't help," I broke out of her grasp. "I'm supposed to work with him and he still wants me."

"He'll get over it."

"How do you know?"

"He's gonna have to with me around," she grinned as she tugged my hand and pulled me into her.

I smiled.

"Would you kick his ass if he made a move on me?"

"Definitely. I wouldn't even have to think about it."

"God, I love having you around."

She smiled and guided me to the bed. When we got there, she picked at my towel and sat on the edge of the bed, my towel went down with her. She bit her lip and looked over her work.

I had a bite mark hickey on my neck and another to match on my hip. If anyone else saw it, hey would guess it hurt, but I'd enjoyed it...all of it. In fact, I'd never fooled around the way I did with Sara. The things we did were more satisfying than anything I'd ever done with a man. That probably had something to do with the fact that Sara could hold out. She had incredible stamina and knew what I liked. Not many men I'd been with could find what really peaked my interest.

"Cat," Sara called to me as she traced infinity symbols along my thigh.

I snapped out of my thoughts and looked at her.

"Careful. I don't want you to hurt yourself," she teased with a grin.

I shook my head with a lustfully sinister look and pinned her to the sheets. She laughed on her way down and swiftly placed a knee between my thighs.

"With you around...there's no such thing as careful."

A few more hours later and it was off to the Eclipse. We still hadn't had sex, but tat was mutual decision. In fact, with all the fooling around we were doing, I really didn't want to lave.

"Good to see you back," Al greeted with a warm smile.

"Thank you," I smiled in return.

Al didn't spend much time with me, only exchanged pleasantries and moved on. He knew I could handle my new job well enough to still be standing at the end of the day.

I headed off to the pool to check the towel supply and ran into Jerry.

"Hey, Catherine..can we talk?"

I sighed and rubbed my forehead.

"Jerry, it's fine. I don't want to make things worse."

"No, look...I need to apologize. I shouldn't have jumped all over you like that."

"Apology accepted. Now can I get back to work?"

"Just...wait, he said as he grabbed me by the shoulder and spun me around to face him.

My hair flew off my shoulder and disappeared behind me. My neck was exposed and his brow furrowed.

"My god...who did that to you?"

He reached out to touch my hickey, which looked worse than it had when I first got it, but I pulled away before he laid a finger on me.

"Doesn't matter," I flatly said.

"It looks bad. Is someone hurting you?"

"Don't worry about it."

"I can't. Tell me who did this!"

"Get over it! If I didn't want them to bite me, I wouldn't have let them."

"You're trying to tell me you welcomed that?"

He pointed at it again.

I groaned and attempted to get around him. I was successful, but he stepped in front of me again anyway.

"Is this what you were trying to tell me earlier?"

"Yes," I started to show my agitation. "I'm seeing someone. I already told you."

"Who is he? I'll kick his ass if he hurts you."

"Leave it alone, Jerry. I know you're trying to help, but it's not working. Look, I'm sorry if you didn't understand this before, but...I used you. Our time together meant nothing more to me than a satisfying way to kill time, loneliness, and depression."

He looked heartbroken. To know that I hurt him like that, hurt me. Of course, I did have every reason to tell him the truth and put an end to his feelings for me, make it real.

"I'm sorry. I guess I really didn't get it the first time."

He cleared his throat and immediately stiffened his body frame.

I'll leave you alone and keep things professional between us."

I pursed my lips and hoped he didn't feel too bad. I thought he could handle it and I hated to see a man, a good man, sink to his knees in emotional pain. I hated to cause people I cared about pain.

"I'm sorry, Jerry. I didn't mean to sound so harsh, but...I thought you should know the truth."

He nodded.

"Thanks. I appreciate that."

"We're...still friends, right? I don't want anything to change between us."

"Of course. ...I'd like that."

"Great. Um, okay...I'm...gonna get back to work now."

"Good. Good...thinking. I am too."

"See you later," I nodded.

"Bye," he said before he made an awkward exit.

I rolled my eyes and spent minute or two with my head buried in my hands.

I definitely screwed up that friendship.

Several hours later, I rolled into the lab, a little beat up from working at the Eclipse. I didn't have a break between the hotel and CSI.

"Finally, the amazing Catherine decides to grace us with her presence," Ecklie sardonically greeted, a few slips of paper in his hand. "You're twenty minutes late."

"I'm aware."

"I got your team started. Sara and Greg are working on their case from last week and Nick and Ray are checking out a DB in an ally off the strip."

"Got it."

"Here are three new cases you can take care of."

He handed me the slips and walked away with a sinister smirk.

I closed my eyes and sighed in defeat as my shoulders dropped as though the pressure of the world rested on them.

"Cat," her voice reached my ears with a joyous tone, happy to see me again.

My eyes shot open and I smiled.



I nodded.

She wrapped her arms around me and squeezed, a warm, necessary hug. To anyone else, it looked harmless. To us, we knew it meant everything.

She let go and backed away from me, but left little space between us.

"I can help you relax after shift if you'd like."

"Mm. Sounds nice."



"Good because I'm thinking a little massage can go a long way" she grinned.

I grinned back and knew I had it made.

"What would I do without you," I blissfully sighed, content with the situation.

Sara smiled and looked around to make sure no one was around to catch on to our overly civilized behavior.

"I saw Ecklie. He was looking for you."

"He found me," I said as I raised the slips.

She cringed.

"And he expects you to do all that?"

"Until someone else is free I'm assuming."

"Greg and I wrapped our case three days ago. I'm all yours."

"Three days ago? While you were in France?"

"There are such things as phones and computers. Video chats really helped."

I was officially jealous. Not only did Greg have some time on his hands, but he got to talk to Sara, got to see her, while she was away.

"Catherine? You look a little...red. And not a shy, embarrassed kind of red. Angry red."

"What? No, no, I'm fine. It's just..."


"I hate him right now."

She laughed.

"He's not the one I'm spending all my time with, is he?"

I blushed.



I lightly laughed.

"You need an extra set of hands," she asked.

"God yes."

Suddenly, it occurred to me.

"Wait, if you wrapped your case...why did Ecklie just say..."

She looked at me with suggestive eyes as she tried to silently answer my unfinished question.

"You lied," I stated with wide eyes and a small grin.

"Greg's been helping Nick with your paperwork for the past three days."

"How did you know it's mine?"

"I took a look at it. Most of them require your signature. Some of them were employee evaluation forms. I think you forgot to sort through the papers before you passed them on to him too, because one of them is a notice for Catherine Willows to schedule an exit interview."

"I seriously gave him that?"

She nodded.


"Is there something you want to tell me?""

I took a deep breath before I began again.

"Next week I'll at the Eclipse and done with solving cases."

"You took Jerry's offer."

I nodded.

"I knew it."

"You were right. You got to me. I listened to you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it."

"All I said was that I knew you picked the Eclipse over the lab. I had this feeling when I was talking to you one night."

"Am I really that predictable?"

"No, I'm just that convincing," she smirked.

Right," I sarcastically said as I rolled my eyes.

"I think it's great. If it's what you want to do then go for it."

I smiled.

"I love having you around."

"I love being around."

I continued to smile until I noticed Greg walk by.

"Hey, did Sara tell you about our case," he asked as he looked back and forth between her and me.

"Yes. Thank you for helping Nick with the paperwork."

"Does this mean I have to work a new case?"

I emitted a light chuckle.

"You're going to have to work cases as long as you work here, Greg."

"I know. I'm actually hoping you give me a case. Nick still has a forth of the paperwork to go and as much as I don't mind thinking a lot, I'd prefer to see a little action with it."

Sara laughed.

"Good. Glad to see you're on board," I smiled.

I handed two of the slips to Sara and one to Greg.

"Handle these? I'm going to switch Nick his desk duty for a night out. Give one to him?"

I pointed to the slips in Sara's hand and she nodded in understanding and agreement.

"Thanks," I said before I flew off to relieve Nick from the treacherous clutter of mundane activity.

Several hours and a heap of completed paperwork later, I'd managed to take care of most of my responsibilities, of course, not without the help of my friends.

At first, I smiled, but that soon turned into a sigh because I realized I still needed to tell the team. With friends like them, I thought, how could I possibly explain my career change?

I inwardly groaned before I stood up and organized the files to return to Ecklie. I also needed to make an appointment for my exit interview. Why did everything important have to ambush me at my weakest point in life?

Pushing the questions to the back of my mind, I headed to Ecklie's office with the large pile of signed papers. I almost made it without any trouble until I ran into Nick...literally.


"Whoa, sorry," he said as the paperwork flew out of my hands.

When the last sheet hit the ground, I sighed.

"Aw, man. I'm really sorry," he apologized with great concern.

"It's okay...as long as you help me pick it up."

We shared a smile and exchanged a look.

"That I can do."

He and I scooped up all the folders and started putting the papers back in place. Within a few minutes, everything was reorganized and all I had to do was transport them the rest of the way to Ecklie's office.

"Thanks," I almost breathlessly said.

"No problem."

I half turned when he stopped me.

"Hey, is everything all right?"

I turned back to look at him, his furrowed brow an apparent display of his compassion.

"Yeah, why do you ask," I wondered, slightly scared for an unknown reason to me.

"Oh, well," he softly trailed of as he extended his arm and pushed my hair behind my shoulder.

My eyes went wide. I had completely forgotten about my hickey until Nick had pointed it out.

"Uh, it's nothing. I, uh, got hit with a golf ball."

"Since when do you like golf?"

"I don't, but I was visiting the course at the Eclipse...checking up on business there, and someone yelled fore but I didn't duck."

I made a face that read, "Guess that's what I get. Just my luck, right?"

Nick looked incredulously at me.

"Okay," he slowly said as though he tried to buy it. "I'll, uh, see you later."

"Uh huh," I nodded.

He walked away, but looked back every few seconds with a scrunched up, disbelieving face.