DISCLAIMER: I don't own, nor do I claim to own, any of the characters of the television show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. They belong to CBS, Alliance, and Jerry Bruckheimer. All I own is the story.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I don't know if it can really be considered a spoiler, but there may be a very, very, very minor one for an arc in season 6. Also, I don't remember there being a name for Grissom's dog so, forgive me, but I've named him Gunther. I don't know why, it just came to me.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
A month is a long time. Thirty days of reflection. Thirty days worth of twenty-four hours in which to lie awake, staring at my ceiling, thinking. Thirty days worth of twenty-four hours made up of sixty minutes in which to bury myself in the job, to remember and to forget. Thirty days worth of twenty-four hours made up of sixty minutes which break down into sixty seconds, all of which I've felt slipping through my fingers waiting for you. All told, there are 2,592,000 seconds in thirty days.
A month is a long time.
I knew when you left you'd be coming back. It wasn't as though I was looking for, well, anything. Sometimes, in spite of one's best intentions, things happen. Sometimes, you can't see what's in front of your face until it's not there any longer and, sometimes, that turns out to be a good thing.
I loved you, but not for the right reasons.
Only when you thought you were going to lose me did you ever make me feel like you loved me. I yearned for those moments, however fleeting. How awful is that? To yearn for the breaking point in order to feel something?
I've found someone who doesn't play these games with me, who isn't cryptic or afraid of being seen with me outside of work. Who isn't afraid to let me in or to let me be me.
Only once have I ever wondered why it couldn't be with you that I was feeling these things. Soon after, I realized that while it's in you, I'm not the one who can bring that out. I hope you find her. I really do.
I'm sitting on the edge of your bed as I write this. You're snoring softly behind me, satisfied. I assume you're satisfied, you turned away from me and fell asleep right after we'd finished having sex. Not making love, mind you, but having sex. With you, I used to confuse sex for love. Now, I get it it took me long enough.
She signed the letter with a single elegant S and folded it neatly in half, pressing the crease against her naked thigh. She slid the letter into the envelope and gathered her clothes from the floor. She tried to be quiet. While it was cowardly to leave a Dear Gil letter instead of talk to him, Sara couldn't have this conversation right now. Grissom stirred only once as she dressed, but did not wake.
She put the envelope on his nightstand, propped up between the lamp and his alarm clock, and took one last look at the figure outlined by soft gray sheets before quietly walking out of his bedroom.
Out in the hall, Gunther, Grissom's dog, raised his head and blinked his sleepy eyes at her. She felt bad. It'd taken Gunther a while to get used to her. She scratched him behind his ears and bent to whisper, "Take care of him, okay?" As she stood up to walk out, she wiped at the tear that rolled down her cheek, but she knew she was doing the right thing.
Sara sat in her car for a few minutes before driving away. It wasn't that she was suddenly having second thoughts, but she was always under assault from her self-doubt. Eventually, she started the car and drove way.
As it had always been with Grissom, there were very few words exchanged between them when he returned from his month long teaching sabbatical. He didn't even call her to let her know that he was in town. How long had he been back? It felt as though the relationship was at work, but the sex was more comfortable in his bed. His greeting to her at the lab reinforced that idea.
She rolled down her window and sighed. The cool nighttime desert breeze played with her hair as she drove along, the speedometer tickling forty-five, fifty. She was eager to get to where she was going, but she had so much on her mind that she wanted to try to work out before she got there. Sara took her foot off the pedal and decelerated to thirty-seven.
She used to think that he was just shy or socially awkward, but realized that wasn't entirely the case. He was just uncomfortable with her. She made him feel uncomfortable. That, in turn, made her feel uncomfortable. It was a vicious, ego-destroying cycle that she never thought she'd escape.
The night before Grissom's unheralded return, she'd gone out to dinner with someone. Someone special. They'd been seeing each other outside of work quite a bit. Going out was a rarity for Sara at any time, more so whenever he wasn't around. At first, she attributed it to the fact that they were working together on a case; however, as they saw each other more and more, she realized that it was a good cover story, but over the month Grissom was gone, her relationship with the detective on her case had slowly evolved into something much more than either of them had anticipated.
Sara allowed herself a small grin, but then she remembered her night with Grissom and it was gone, not out of regret just disappointment. In Grissom. In herself. In her heart for realizing some truths a little late. She just hoped that it wasn't too late.
She pulled into a driveway and sat there, debating whether or not to get out of the car and go up to the door. Leaving Grissom a note was one thing; this was quite another. She was being assailed by doubt. What if she'd misinterpreted the signals? What if she misunderstood what they'd said to each other? What if she was completely wrong?
The self recrimination didn't seem to matter when, a few minutes after pulling in, the lights went on in the house. Now she would have to explain herself. She got out of the car and slowly walked up to the front door. The moon was full and bright, casting a long shadow in front of her as she walked, her heels clicking on the concrete. Eventually, she made it to the door and knocked quietly. It felt as though her heart was beating a thousand times a minute.
She was about to turn away, hoping to avoid embarrassment from the unanswered knock when she heard the chain and lock tumblers slid aside and the door opened revealing a sleepy-eyed Detective Curtis.
"Sara?" she asked, not quite believing her eyes.
"Yeah," the brunette replied, then all words failed her. Everything she wanted to say died on her lips and she simply stood there.
Sofia frowned. "You okay?"
Sara couldn't speak. The words were locked in her throat. She looked around, desperate for something to break her silence and decided to do the only thing she could. She stepped forward and pulled Sofia in for a kiss made all the deeper by the detective's shocked gasp. Sara pressed her tongue into the detective's mouth and was pleasantly surprised when the kiss was reciprocated.
They'd flirted for a month, and gone out to dinner together several times, but no real discussion about their relationship had taken place, and certainly no kissing. They'd come close, but strangely, it was always Sofia who'd stopped anything from starting.
It was everything she'd imagined it would be with her: soft, yet hard. Passionate and strong, yet yielding. Equal, loving, and full of promise.
Sara moved them into Sofia's foyer and closed the door, then the detective pressed her against it as they explored each other's mouths. Sofia, as if coming to her senses, gently pushed Sara away, just as she had before, and they separated with an audible pop.
"I thought you'd be at Grissom's," she said, breathless, and leaned her forehead against Sara's and wrapped her hands in the brunette's jacket as if to hold herself up. She closed her eyes to regroup. They were pressed together so tightly that the CSI could feel Sofia's heart racing against her chest. At least she knew that she liked it.
Sofia pulled away and opened confused eyes to look at Sara. "Then what're you doing here?"
The brunette lightly traced the line of Sofia's blush, which began at her ears and neck. She smiled when blue eyes fluttered closed. "I realized something tonight. Something I should have realized a long time ago. It would have saved us some time."
Sara lightly ran her index finger along Sofia's bottom lip. The detective's eyes opened. Whereas normally they were a bright blue, now they were dark and glittering. Sofia kissed the tip of Sara's finger. "And what's that?"
"This is where I want to be."
The detective gave her a small, sad smile. "How'd he take it?"
"I don't know I left him a letter."
Instantly, the energy changed. Sofia placed her hands on Sara's hips and stepped an arm's length away. While the move made the CSI's heart sink, the fact that Sofia hadn't removed her hands from her hips gave her hope. "What?"
"I couldn't talk to him, Sofia." She ran a hand through her hair. "You saw me outside your door. I could barely talk to you and it's you I want to be with."
"Sara look, you can't do this to him. Grissom deserves better than a hastily scribbled note, doesn't he?"
The brunette thought about it and decided that she was split equally in that regard, but for her part it was over. It actually had been for a long time, she simply couldn't bring it to a final end. "It wasn't hastily scribbled," she said, hoping to lighten the mood.
"Regardless I mean, put yourself in Grissom's place. You'd just had one of the best nights of your life-"
"And how would you know that?" Sara asked, glowing at the compliment.
"-I'm a detective. I deduced it. Anyway, you'd just had one of the best nights of your life and you wake up to find a letter saying, 'Hey, sorry. In love with a devilishly hot detective and I'm off to make mad passionate love with her over and over and over. See ya round like a record!'?"
Sara laughed at Sofia's version of her letter and pulled the detective into an embrace, which she readily accepted. "I, uh didn't mention you. Not by name "
Sofia pulled away again and looked into Sara's eyes. She was hurt. The brunette chastised herself. That was a Grissom move. "I just didn't know how comfortable you would be with anyone knowing about us," she said, brushing aside a lock of Sofia's hair. "Besides, I don't think he needs to know about the 'devilishly hot detective.' You never know he might think it's Brass."
It was Sofia's turn to laugh. "You have a point, but still you can't just do that to him. It's not right."
"Do you know how many people get Dear John letters every day?" Sara asked.
"How many of them have to still work together?"
The brunette clenched her jaw. Of course, Sofia was right. That didn't mean she had to like it. Sara let her shoulders droop in defeat. "Do I have to go tonight?" she asked, hopeful, but knowing the answer.
"Yep." Sofia placed a warm hand on Sara's cheek and leaned in for a kiss, just a small one to let her know that everything was going to be okay. "And you can tell whomever you want, or no one. That's up to you."
Sara thought about it. Could she keep it quiet after all that time with Grissom? Should she? Being with someone who didn't care if the world knew was a new sensation for her and she found that she could grow to like it. They stood there for a moment longer, gazing into each other's eyes before Sara finally broke it off to do what she needed to do.
"Call me when you get home so I know you're okay," said Sofia, receiving a nod from the brunette. She smiled at her and watched her go.
The walk back to her car was a long one, made longer by the fact that Sofia was watching her go. However, once in the car and driving, she gunned it back to Grissom's. She was eager to get this over with.
Sara pulled up and her heart almost stopped; his lights were on. She got out of the car and walked to the door, letting herself in with the key he gave her a couple of years ago. She slid it off the ring once she let herself in.
She found him in the kitchen, making coffee. Gunther lifted his head from his paws and quickly got up to greet Sara. She gave the dog a small smile and rubbed the top of his head as she walked further into the house. Grissom was standing by the sink washing the dishes from their dinner the night before. He didn't look up at her even as she slid his key onto the counter.
"Why'd you come back?" he asked, never one to mince words.
"Because I realized that I couldn't do that to you and still hope for a civil working relationship."
Grissom put down the plate he was washing and turned to look at her. "I'm not like that."
"Maybe I am."
He narrowed his eyes at her, like an appraiser. "Who is it?"
"That's only important to me."
"No, it's important to me, too. I want to know that you're going to be taken care of, Sara. That whoever it is will be able to give you what you couldn't get from me."
She sighed. That was so typical of him, to be so self-effacing, so self-sacrificing. So frustratingly Grissom.
"What about her?"
Sara raised her eyes brows and intensified her look at him, which made him blush once he realized what she was talking about. "OH! Oh Oh. Really?"
The brunette nodded and waited for the news to sink in.
"Wow that's kind of hot."
Sara snickered. Part of her felt strange for telling him this, but she didn't want Sofia to feel the same way she had for as long as she and Grissom had been going back and forth. It was a terrible feeling, to not be recognized by your lover. Not being out was one thing, but to feel like a pariah was quite another.
"Well, okay then now I know."
They stood there, looking at each other a little while longer before Sara finally said, "Look, Grissom-"
"I get it, Sara. And you're right. You've always been right, but be happy, okay? That's more important. Now, if you don't mind I really need some time alone."
The brunette nodded, knowing that to say anything more would be useless, and walked out, awkward in her exit especially with Gunther following her, not wanting her to go.
As she walked back to her car, Sara shook her head in wonder of the man she just left. Every time she spoke to him, either professionally or intimately, she always seemed to expect something more. More words, more time, more feelings something more. This time was no exception. The only things that made this conversation different were that she was free of him and she didn't feel guilty for being the one to leave.
Sara wanted desperately to drive back to Sofia's, to hold her and be held, to kiss her and be kissed, but she also needed to sleep. The drive home was quiet and uneventful, exactly what she needed.
When she got home, she called Sofia as she promised.
"Hey baby," said the detective. "I didn't expect to hear from you so soon."
"Yeah, well you know He was awake when I got there. We talked things over, well, as much as Grissom does anyway, and I think we'll be okay. Eventually."
"Good. You did the right thing."
Sara rubbed her forehead. She could feel an overwhelming headache coming on. She sat heavily on her couch and whispered, "Doesn't feel like it."
"Never does, does it? But I'd rather have you all to myself, without guilt about Grissom."
The brunette pursed her lips as she tried to hold back her smile. "Is that why you wouldn't kiss me? Because you didn't want to feel guilty?"
"No. I didn't want YOU to feel guilty. If he hadn't been in the picture, I would have asked you out my second night with graveyard "
Sara couldn't help but let the smile bloom as her heart sang. "Why only the second night?"
"I didn't really meet you until then."
The CSI was silent as she absorbed Sofia's admission.
"I'm sorry I shouldn't h-"
"No! No, I'm just surprised. Very pleasantly surprised."
There was a brief pause, then, "Sara would you like to come over?"
"God yes," the brunette breathed before she could stop herself. Sofia chuckled softly on the other end. Sara felt the blush crawl up her neck and replied, "But I shouldn't. You have to go to work soon and I'm due in court before shift."
Sofia sighed. "The real world intrudes again "
you have tomorrow off, right?
"If by tomorrow you mean Wednesday, then yes."
"Do you have any plans? Because I could ask for it off "
"Well, let me check. Nope, other than making love with you the entire day I have not one single plan."
If she hadn't already been sitting down, Sara was sure that her knees would have given out on her. "I I uh "
"I'll pick you up after work. We'll have breakfast in bed "
Sara moaned in a mixture of arousal, frustration, and amusement at such an easy joke. She couldn't help herself.
"Until then sweet dreams "
"G-good night " Sara replied lamely. She closed her phone gently and was suddenly too wired to go to sleep. A shower was in order; hot or cold didn't matter.
"Come in," Grissom said at Sara's knock on his office door. She popped her head in and was relieved to find him talking to Greg. She would have felt awkward if he were alone.
"Hey, uh I just wrapped up a case and wanted to take tomorrow off, if that's alright "
"That will be fine," he said, a slight edge to his otherwise soft reply.
Sara nodded. She shouldn't have expected more. "Thanks," she said, then closed the door.
It was drawing close to Sara's quitting time. It would be her luck that she'd get a case with five minutes to spare. She looked at her watch, her knee bouncing up and down with nervous energy.
"Everything okay?" asked a silky smooth voice from the doorway. She looked up and smiled at Catherine.
"Yep. Everything's good!"
Catherine slowly walked into Sara's lab and took a seat opposite her. "I only ask because that's the fourth time in as many minutes that you've looked at your watch."
The brunette fought the blush that threatened to crawl up her neck. "Yep. Everything's fine, thanks."
"Oh, that's good. I mean, you know. It's almost time for you to leave for the day and you're looking pretty antsy. You expecting something? Someone?" Catherine was smirking playfully and Sara allowed herself a small smile.
"Guess you'll just have to wait and see."
Catherine slowly nodded and hmm'd to herself. "I guess so "
Soon, the clacking of heels on linoleum brought both of their attention to the door and the striking blonde standing there. Sofia was still in her work clothes, a soft green shirt and black slacks, but her gun and badge were no where to be seen. Sara smiled when she saw her, a smile returned equally from the detective.
"Hey," said Sara.
"Hey yourself," Sofia responded.
Catherine looked first at one woman then the other. To them, she might as well not be there. "Uh huh, well as much as I'd love to stay and chat, I have to go and check on some lab results," she said as she stood and walked out of the lab, smirking at them in spite of herself. Sofia watched her walk out.
"What's that about?" she asked as she tucked an errant lock of hair behind her ear.
"I have no idea. Give me just two seconds and we can be out of here," Sara said as she crossed and went to the locker room.
Sofia leaned against the doorway of the layout room as she waited for the brunette and felt a pair of eyes burning her skin from across the hall. She was not surprised to find Grissom looking at her from over a file. She nodded to him and it took him a moment, but he nodded in kind, then went back to his reading. Knowing Grissom, that would probably be the best she could hope for.
In the reflection of the window through which she was watching Grissom, Sofia saw Sara stop at her side and follow her eyes into his office. "You ready to go?" Sofia asked.
The brunette smiled at her. "More than you'll ever know."
The detective returned that smile and placed her hand on the small of Sara's back as they turned to leave. Neither of them noticed that Grissom had looked up from his file and was looking at them, a small smile for them in spite of his broken heart.
Driving to Sara's apartment was a study in patience, but her place was closer to the lab. Closer to the lab meant closer to her bed or her couch or her floor. At the moment, the brunette would have been happy to take Sofia in the middle of the road the way she was looking at her. The detective was sitting sideways in her seat so she could face her driver. Her blue eyes were dark and hungry and they sent spikes of desire down Sara's spine. She swallowed hard and pressed down on the accelerator.
"Sara, I don't think that I can get us out of a speeding ticket when the only reason you're speeding is because you want to take me to bed," said Sofia, her voice low and sultry.
"Jesus," the brunette whispered. Her eyes closed for only a moment as she fought to keep control over herself, but she slowed the car down.
Sofia smirked at Sara, who was trying to not pay attention to her. The tension between them was palpable, like a current of electricity. She reached over and started lightly scratching the back of her neck.
Sara took a hard left into the parking lot of her apartment and with a screech of her tires as she applied the brakes, she pulled into her spot. Once the car was in park, her seat belt was undone, and the keys were in her pocket, she leaned across the divider and kissed Sofia deeply, pressing her against the passenger side door. The blonde wrapped her arms around Sara's neck, eager to pull her closer.
When the brunette pulled away to kiss Sofia's neck, it took all of the will the detective could muster to say, "Not in the car. Bed. Now."
Sara reluctantly pulled away from Sofia and the two of them got out of the car. As soon as they rounded the front end, Sara pulled her close and they hurried, without running, to the elevator. Once inside, Sara pressed Sofia into the corner, devouring her lips and neck as if she'd never again have the opportunity. The detective certainly wasn't complaining about the brunette's release of pent up passion.
Sara barely acknowledged the ding of the elevator bell, but managed to press the door open button as they were closing. She took Sofia by the hand and they walked the few remaining steps to her apartment.
"Would you like to know the moment I fell in love with you, Sara?"
The brunette looked at her as Sofia looked away, a little embarrassed. She didn't wait for a response before saying, "It was shortly before I went to Boulder City."
"I thought you said that you would've asked me out your second night with us "
"I would have, but I wasn't in love with you until the night I'm talking about so shh," she chided playfully. "I was walking past the layout room and you were inside bent over your notes. You were singing to yourself, one of Stevie Nicks' duets with Tom Petty. 'I Will Run to You.' That night, I bought the CD just so I could feel that much closer to you." Sofia smiled at the recollection.
Sara stopped in the middle of the hall, her hand still wrapped around Sofia's. The detective stopped and looked at her, puzzled. Deep brown eyes welled with tears and Sofia rushed toward her. "I'm sorry did I say something wrong?"
Sara shook her head and smiled as she sniffled. "No one's ever "
Sofia caressed the brunette's cheek and cooed to her, calming her raging emotions. "Yes, they have " She gently pulled her in for a kiss, chaste, but still passionate. They held each other close as they closed the remaining distance to the apartment.
Once inside with the door locked, any restraints that remained were gone. They collided in a frenzy of groping hands and eager tongues leaving a trail of discarded clothes as they went into Sara's bedroom to start making up for several years full of twelve months which had thirty days worth of twenty-four hours made up of sixty minutes which break down into sixty seconds.
A month wasn't so long after all
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