Hey guys :) Only one more chapter to go! Thank you to everyone who's been reading and reviewing, and apologies for making you wait for this update
Incidently, there are two songs mentioned in this chapter. I would recommend them both if you haven't heard them. The first is by Bonnie Tyler and the second by Kelly Clarkson :)
x x x x
"So, how is your lady friend?" Lily asked after a long silence, lazily stirring too many sugars into her coffee.
Catherine sent her an odd look. She had been suspicious as to her mother's motives for inviting her out for lunch, but she hadn't thought it would be about this. Truth be told, Lily had said so little on their relationship; she was beginning to think she'd forgotten about it.
"Sara?" She clarified. "She's fine. I mean, she's still in a bit of pain but she's doing okay."
"I'm sure Nancy could get her something for the pain." Lily pointed out.
"She's alright." Cath shook her head. "She's not keen on taking medication anyway. I practically have to mash it into her food to get it into her." She chuckled softly, taking a sip of her coffee and darting her tongue out to lick the foam off her top lip.
Lily cocked her head to the side, scrutinising her eldest child for a moment.
"You're happy, aren't you?"
"Happy?" Catherine repeated, frowning in bemusement. "Yeah, I guess I am. Why?"
"Cathy, I …" The older woman paused, stuttering over her words. She laughed nervously, reaching across the table to interlock their hands. "Honey, I admit I wasn't exactly thrilled when you told me you were dating a woman. And I certainly didn't like Emma." She scrunched her nose up to further highlight her antipathy. "I know we haven't really talked about it, but I can see that Sara makes you happy. And Lindsey loves her."
"And…" Cath pressed, knowing her mother well enough to know when there was more to come. To her surprise, Lily merely shrugged.
"And that's enough for me."
Catherine straightened up, taken aback.
"Oh." She said softly. "Thank you."
Lily, content that she had said all she needed to, shrugged again and sunk her fork into the slice of cake sitting between them.
Catherine stared at her for a moment longer before a satisfied smile crept across her face and she nodded gratefully.
X x x
Catherine spun on her heel at the sound of her name being hollered and did a double take at the sight of Sofia weaving hurriedly through reception to get to her.
"Hi." She greeted. "What's up?"
"Your ex." Sofia stated bluntly, thrusting a print out into Cath's hands. It was a still CCTV image of Emma sat in her car at a set of traffic lights.
Catherine's face darkened. "It was her." She stated softly, shaking her head. She had suspected as much, but in all honesty she hadn't allowed herself to think about it too much. Instead, she had focussed on taking care of Sara.
"She doesn't take rejection well, does she?" Sofia queried, cocking her head to the side at Catherine's frown.
"No." The CSI shook her head absently, still staring at the blurred face looking up at her. The face of the woman who had nearly killed her daughter and her girlfriend. "I'm going to kill her." She muttered under her breath, her grip tightening subconsciously around the photo.
"Don't bother." Sofia breathed. "I've spent all day trying to find her and guess where she was?"
Cath shrugged so the detective produced a second piece of paper. Catherine didn't have her glasses on but she could read the title at the top easy enough.
"Drunk and disorderly." Sofia nodded. "She threw her beer bottle at a cop. When I called them they agreed to send her back to us as soon as she's sobered up."
"How drunk was she?" Cath asked but quickly held her hands up. "Actually don't tell me, I don't want to know."
"Well, you might want to know this." Sofia caught her by the sleeve before she could walk away. "I don't know what they'll charge her with yet, but either way it was enough for a restraining order." She explained. "I can't promise she won't try to contact you again, but if she does we can throw her ass straight back in jail."
Catherine smiled, remembering her mother's words from earlier.
"That's enough for me." She nodded abruptly. "Sofia, do me a favour; call me when she gets here."
X x x
"Evening guys." She breezed into the locker room, a lighter air to her step with Sofia's news still in the front of her mind.
The men turned in unison at her arrival, matching grins spreading across their faces. This was the first opportunity they had had to interrogate the blonde after her little revelation.
"Catherine." Nick nodded, sidling around the bench to hover unsubtly beside her locker. "So, how's Sara doing?"
"She's alright." Cath shrugged out of her jacket, hanging it up in the locker. "She's being her usual stubborn self, refusing to admit when she needs help."
"Uh huh." The Texan nodded, sending Warrick and Greg sly glances. "And, uh, I suppose you know just how to make her behave."
Catherine paused, a look of realisation crossing her features. She turned, flashing Nick a flirtatious smile.
"Now, now Nicky," she crooned. "You wouldn't be fishing for information, would you?"
He grinned guiltily, offering a meek shrug.
"Well, don't keep us in suspense." He gestured to the other guys lurking expectantly on the opposite side of the room.
"Yeah, why all the secrecy?" Warrick asked curiously, straddling the bench.
She shrugged, leaning against the locker and casting her gaze languidly to the ceiling.
"I don't know, we just weren't ready for everyone to find out yet." She sighed at last. "It's not the sort of thing you'd normally broadcast, you know?"
"Hell, I'm all for it!" Greg grinned. "I've been picturing this for years."
Catherine burst out laughing, her cheeks flushing pink at the thought of what Greg might have been imagining.
"Me too." Nick added. "No, I mean … I haven't been picturing it." He quickly corrected, his cheeks turning the same colour as Cath's. "I mean, I'm happy for you guys."
"Yeah, we all are." Warrick assured her. "You two suit each other."
"Thank you." She smiled timidly. "I think we do, too."
Collecting her things, she followed them into the corridor en route to the break room.
Halfway down the hall, Greg appeared shoulder-to-shoulder with her wearing a mischievous grin.
"Throw me a bone. Is Sara as good in bed as I'm thinking?"
Catherine laughed jovially.
"Oh Greggy," she said sweetly. "Even your twisted little mind couldn't handle Sara in bed."
X x x
"I talked to mom yesterday." Catherine mentioned casually.
"I know, she phoned me last night." Nancy hummed. "FYI, where was my invite?"
"You were working." Cath explained, although she knew her little sis was only teasing. She ran a nervous hand through her hair, biting her lower lip. "She's really come around to the idea of me and Sara."
"Good." Nancy agreed, barely listening as she flicked through a fashion magazine.
When her sister didn't answer, Cath nudged a newspaper against her hand, getting her attention.
"Hmm?" The nurse lifted her head, quirking an eyebrow.
"Have you come to terms with me and Sara?" She repeated slowly.
"I never had a problem with you and Sara."
Catherine pulled a face.
Nancy flicked her eyes over the top of the magazine, a small smile twitching at her lips.
"Alright, so initially I didn't like it." She acknowledged truthfully. "But I like Sara. And I would certainly take her over that psycho any day."
"Yeah, well. Me too." Cath admitted. "As much as it pains me to say this, you were right."
This time Nancy put her magazine aside and fixed her sibling with a curious look.
"I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. What did you say?"
Catherine stuck her tongue out playfully at the smug look she was receiving.
"I said you were right." She repeated. "I date people who control me and use me because … I don't really know why."
"I do." Nancy retorted coolly, earning her a warning glare. Cath wasn't in the mood for more delightful psychological profiling from her sister.
"Anyway, the point is I'm happy with Sara and I'm not going to lose it again."
"Lose what?" Sara asked, sashaying down the stairs. Cath twisted in her chair, flashing her girlfriend a bright smile.
"Nothing, baby." She mumbled. "I thought you were asleep."
"I was." Sara attempted to stretch and frowned at her sling when it refused to give. Seeing her irritation, Catherine stood up and walked over to her, pressing a kiss to her lips.
"You hungry?" She asked sweetly. "I can make you something to eat."
"No, I'm okay." Sara assured her, raising her good hand in greeting to Nancy. "I thought I might go for a walk. My muscles have seized up."
"Okay, well be careful." Cath warned, giving her another chaste kiss and waiting until Sara disappeared out of the front door before sidling back to her chair.
"You sicken me." Nancy hummed idly, having gone back to her reading. Catherine frowned, waiting for an explanation. "No matter how much you mess up, you always land on your feet."
"Not always." Cath pointed, taking a long mouthful of her coffee. "I have made some colossal mistakes."
"I know." Nancy agreed. "Like leaving Brad for Eddie. Or, like marrying Eddie despite everyone telling you not to."
"Alright, point taken." Cath rolled her eyes.
"Stripping." The younger Flynn continued. "Drugs. Marrying Eddie…?"
"Alright!" Catherine snapped. "I get it."
"Mom never got over that." Nancy added, softening her voice. "She did everything to stop you from going off the rails and you cut her out of your life all together."
"Yeah, well." Cath dropped her gaze into her lap shamefully. "I was a different person back then."
Nancy cocked her head to the side.
"Yeah, you were." She agreed. "I've got to admit Sara's had one hell of an effect on you."
Catherine looked up, a soft smile on her face.
"I love her." She shrugged helplessly. "I can't risk losing her again, so we're doing things right this time; we talk things out."
"Things?" Nancy enquired.
"You know, problems we're having. Or, tough cases. Anything that's bothering us."
"Huh." She nodded, letting the topic drop and snatching her magazine back up. "Sara never struck me as the talkative type."
X x x
By the time Sara returned Nancy had left and Catherine was making a half-assed effort to tidy the lounge. However, she quickly abandoned the task when she heard the front door open.
"Hey." She beamed, walking up to Sara to wrap her arms around the brunette's neck and press a firm kiss to her lips.
"Hi." Sara frowned. "What was that for?"
"Nothing." Cath grinned. "I just love you."
"Oh." Sara hummed. "Good. I love you too."
Catherine's felt her heart swell. Although Sara was very good at showing displays of affection – flowers for no apparent reason and gentle caresses and kisses without expecting it to lead anywhere – it was rare to actually hear those words uttered by her.
Their touching moment was interrupted by the front door slamming and angry footsteps stomping to the stairs.
"Whoa, hold it missy." Catherine barked, releasing Sara and moving to block Lindsey's path. "What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing." The child sulked, bypassing the women and skulking to the couch instead.
"Lindsey?" Cath pushed, raising an eyebrow.
"It's nothing!" Linds threw her hands up dramatically before sinking into the cushions and folding her arms petulantly. "I don't want to talk about it!"
The adults shared a small smile and Cath elected to start dinner since she wasn't going to get an answer anytime soon. Alone with the teenager, Sara perched carefully on the coffee table.
"What's wrong Honeybee?" She asked softly. Lindsey glowered silently at her, shaking her head sullenly to indicate that even the brunette wasn't going to get a response this time.
A furtive smile twitched at Sara's lips as she reached into her pocket and produced her iPod, offering it to the puzzled child.
"There are nearly 2000 songs on there. If you can't tell me what's wrong, show me."
Understanding, Lindsey snatched it up and began filtering through the list until she settled on a song. She placed the device on Sara's leg and, grabbing her bag from its discarded spot on the floor, stomped upstairs.
Catherine, who had been watching from the kitchen door with a warm smile, ambled over and perched on the edge of the couch.
"Should I be worried?"
Sara turned the iPod around to show Cath the song her daughter had picked.
"'Heartache'" Cath read, shaking her head. "Ah, to be a teenager again." She smiled wistfully.
"At least her taste is improving." Sara pointed out.
An idea struck Catherine and with a coy look she handed the iPod purposefully back to its owner. Recognising the expression on her girlfriend's face, Sara frowned.
"What?" She asked nervously.
"I realised something today." The older woman began. "When we got back together we swore we would talk about the things that bothered us. Now, we've pretty much established all of my issues; but we haven't really touched on yours."
"My issues?" Sara repeated, slightly bemused.
"Sar, I know what your parents did to you." Catherine stated bluntly, watching as surprise and concern flooded Sara's features. "I don't care about the scars, or the bad dreams or anything else that they left behind."
"I know that." Sara mumbled bashfully, staring into her lap.
"Good." Cath smiled, folding Sara's fingers around the iPod. "I know it's hard for you to be upfront about it. So, show me."
She pressed a kiss to her temple and wandered back to the kitchen, leaving Sara to consider the suggestion.
It was something she used to do with her brother, before they grew apart. If one was feeling low, they would play a certain song so that the other would know to try and cheer them up.
But the thought of using that little game in order to communicate her feelings to Catherine had never crossed her mind until now.
She stared at it in thought for several minutes, before taking the screen back to the main menu and starting at the top of the list.
X x x
Sara had always liked to watch Catherine cook. She moved like a dancer when she cooked, even if she didn't realise she was doing it.
Quietly, so as not to alert the blonde to her presence, Sara crept closer and placed the iPod on the counter, before slipping back out just as stealthily.
When Catherine turned around she blinked at it, turning full circle and finding only an empty kitchen.
Putting the pan down and wiping her hands on her jeans, she picked it up and looked at the song that was playing.
Three little words flashed across the screen that told her everything she needed to know about Sara's feelings for her.
You found me