DISCLAIMER: I don't own the characters of CSI, I'm just borrowing them for fun!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Here's to You, Ms. Willows
By snuff


Part One

I swear to god, the minute you relax in front of the TV with a tub of raw cookie dough, everybody wants to bother you. First it was the phone-- thank you Nancy, I'll be sure to pick up those frozen veggies on sale 2-for-1... right after I finish darning Lindsey's socks. And now it sounds like someone, or something, is traipsing through my backyard. Peering out the half-open blinds on the sliding glass door, I can't make out a figure in the yard, but I definitely hear something. I grab my gun from the bedroom and head out the front door, heavy metal dangling in my manicured fingertips. After a long shift, you can't be too paranoid, even at 11AM. If anyone out there looks even remotely dodgy, I'll probably cap 'em.

I hope to hell it's not Grissom again, rummaging through my bushes "searching for insects." That cute little euphemism for watching me undress through the window only works once.

A splash of water. Okay, Cath, it's either a burglar in a bathing suit or something benign. As I round the corner, I see her standing over the pool, shoulders slumped, her head down staring at the water.

"Can I help you?" I ask, clearly startling the young woman.

As she turns to face me, her eyes widen. "Um, I'm from J&R Pools... I'm, uh," she looks nervously at the gun and lets go of the long handle of the pool vaccuum, putting both hands halfway up. "I'm just here to clean the pool."

I can feel my face take on a look of genuine surprise, and then embarrassment. Here I am, in the middle of the morning, wielding a gun in one hand and a spoon in the other. "Oh. Shit," I laugh, probably making me look even more insane than I already do. I reholster my weapon and wave the blue-handled spoon in the air. "Good thing. I was about to spoon ya to death!"

She goes about trying to get her vacuum back, the handle of which has now glided to the center of the pool. First she unsuccessfully reaches a long, tanned arm out, fingers missing by inches. Then she slides out of her sandals and steps onto the first step, the frayed ends of her ripped jeans getting wet. I find myself staring at the young woman: brown, tousled hair, expertly messed, well-defined jaw, smooth shoulders revealed by her white tank top... oh, christ. First that weird lesbian sex dream the other night and now I'm drooling over the 20-something pool girl. Mid-life crisis much?

"You got a skimmer? Mine's in the truck," she asks, interrupting my revelry.

"Yeah, behind the shed there." She disappears behind the rusting metal shed for a moment and then comes out wielding the net. I have to swallow to moisten my throat before I can speak again. "I completely forgot I called you guys. We haven't exactly been keeping up on the cleaning..."

Her dark eyes fall to the nearly green water. I have to laugh a little bit. "Okay, we haven't cleaned it. Like, ever." This draws a smile from the mysterious young woman now fishing the vacuum out with the skimmer. "I'm at work all the time and my daughter, well, she's a teenager so..." And so are you, but here you are, cleaning my pool and turning me on with that intense stare. Fuck. I rap the cookie dough spoon across the palm of my hand.

"You a cop?" she asks, gesturing to the gun on my hip.

"No, crime scene investigator," I pace the concrete surrounding the pool.

"That's too bad. I always had kind of thing for cops."

My breath hitches a little bit. Was that a come-on? I suddenly feel very self-conscious, still in my work clothes from last night. My hair's probably a wreck. Goddammit, couldn't she have called ahead or something? Ms. Willows, this is your pool girl calling. Just wanted to give you a heads-up. I'm young, fit, and horny as hell. You may want to brush your teeth."

"I'll have to come back tomorrow. I wasn't exactly prepared for," she motions to the water, "all this. I gotta bring in the big guns."

I throw my hair over my shoulders. "Oh sure, sure. I'll be here tomorrow. Expecting you."

"So you won't shoot me?"

I narrow my eyes the young woman, "Nah, but I might have to frisk you first." Oh. My. God. Insert foot in mouth. I cannot believe I just said that. Pull yourself together, Catherine.

All I get in response is a smile and a nod, and then she vanishes somewhere in the driveway. I march back into the house, trying to make sense of what just happened. Looks like I'm going to need a lot more than cookie dough to get through the afternoon.

Have I always had these huge bags under my eyes? The mirror is cold and unforgiving. I think briefly about punching it, then decide against it. I mean, it's not all bad. My hands slide down the light summer skirt I just happened to throw on when I got in from work. My ass seems to be fighting the good fight, holding its own against gravity. I pull at the neck of my light blue tank top and assess my breasts. Yup, they're still the main event. Thank god for ample, perky favors.

I turn out the bathroom light and pad barefoot through the living room, perching on the arm of the couch to peruse the bookshelf. My index finger runs over the worn spines. The Curious Life of Human Cadavers. Too gross. How to Talk to Your Teen. Too ironic. After a minute or two at the bookshelf, I slink down to my knees in front of the coffee table and grab one of the entertainment magazines currently being used as a coaster. This'll do.

Outside the desert sun is scorching my patio, and I'm starting to feel like maybe this isn't such a good idea. I could be a french fry before this girl even shows up. I'll give it ten minutes.

Well, Ben Affleck's in rehab again. Shocker. And that girlfriend of his, what's her name? With the dimples? God, she's annoying. Damn, Britney Spears went from zero-to-white trash in under 10 seconds! Impressive.

"Catching up on the important world news?"

I look over my sunglasses at the young woman, pole slung over her shoulder and white bucket in hand. I smile and swing my legs over the side of the lounge chair. "Oh, you know, just... reading."

"I wore this just for you," she says, smiling. Dropping her equipment to the ground, I admire her tight royal blue tank top. It's not until she turns around that I get the joke. Across her back in white block letters it says POOL OPS. "You know, so you wouldn't throw a garden gnome at me or anything."

She's not going to let me live that one down, is she? I walk over to the other side of the pool, and help her bring a few more items to the filter alongside the shed. Shaded by the trees, I push my sunglasses over my forehead. "I'm sorry. It won't happen again, really." She smells like chlorine and strawberry shampoo. Her eyes start at my own, staring so deep and so intently that I have to blink to break her gaze. But then they wander down my body and stop at my chest for just an instant. Nice try, sweetheart. I can always tell when someone's checking me out. It's my sixth sense. "Can I get you a drink?"

I don't wait for an answer, I just turn and walk briskly back into the house. I feel her eyes on me as I slide the glass doors open and shut.

Iced tea in hand, I return to find the young woman crouched down beside the filter, right where I left her. "I've been gone ten minutes and you're still staring at that thing. Tell me you've done this before?"

"Oh, I've got plenty of experience," she replies, standing up and dusting off her knees. "I can handle anything you throw at me." My mouth is literally hanging open. "Thank you," she says, plucking the glass from my grasp and taking a long, languid sip. Condensation from the glass slides all the way down, a tiny drop coming to rest on her bottom lip. I resist the urge to pull her down to me by her hair and suck it off.

What. The. Hell? am I thinking?! I'm still paralyzed by my thoughts as she dips her bare hands into one of the buckets, searching for something inside the white powdery substance. From deep in the bottom of the bucket, she pulls out a red plastic scoop.

"Diatomaceous earth. Used for filtration?" I ask, finally coming to my senses.

She peers up at me with those beautiful brown eyes. "Yup."

"Shouldn't you be wearing gloves?"

She stops for a second, and looks off in the distance, her brow furrowing. Then up at me. "Yeah, probably," she says flatly, shrugging her shoulders. I watch as she cleans and refills the filter, her hands alternately wet and then powdery dry. After a few minutes, I figure I should probably go inside, or risk coming across as a complete nutjob. I don't say a word to the slender figure crouched at my feet, I simply begin to walk away. If there's one thing I know, it's how to play this game.

I'm surprised, though, by a hand on my ankle as I move past her. Without a word, her hand moves up, fingertips grazing the sensitive inside of my leg, leaving a dusty trail of white behind them. She stops about mid-thigh, and looks up at me. "Think I can get another glass of iced tea?"

I've never poured a glass of tea so quickly in my life. I think I operated the ice machine on the freezer door by sheer will alone. I grab hold of the edge of the countertop, forcing myself not to break into a run. Gotta play it cool, Mrs. Robinson. I chuckle to myself, alone in the kitchen. Coo-coo-ca-motherfuckin'-choo.

"Thanks," she says, eyes never leaving my breasts. She licks her lips lightly and I swear to god I've never found being objectified quite this arousing. And, well, I'm no stranger to objectification. I like a good fuck with no pretense.

With a quick wink in my direction, she takes a long sip, her tan, sweat-slicked neck right there for the taking.

Before I get the chance to talk myself out of it, I flatten my hand against her chest and push her back against the metal shed. It squeaks with the strain, and I immediately lunge for her exposed neck. Licking and nipping at the taut skin, she offers no protest. Instead, I hear the glass smash to the concrete at our feet. She lets me taste her for a moment more, a low growl deep in her chest. Then she comes at me with an advance of her own: we stumble, bodies never separating, until my back is against a tree. I can feel the dry bark scratching into my shoulders.

Capturing my lips with her own, her hands grab roughly at my ass, throwing my skirt nearly over my hips. I imagine her white powdery handprint on my skin, and my insides burn with complete, unbridled arousal. Her kisses are almost bruising, but as usual, I'm giving as good as I'm getting. My hands tangle in her thick hair, and then-- a moment of lucidity. I yank back hard on her scalp. She winces but doesn't say anything, lips red and wet.

"How old are you?" I choke out.

She smiles and growls into my neck, "Twenty-three."

I throw my head back and stare at the leafy branches above me, laughing. "Thank you, god."

"Lounge chair, lounge chair!" I suggest, then hurriedly return to her lips. So far we've made it about 10 feet in 10 minutes, and it's getting noticeably harder to keep myself upright. Luckily for me, I don't have to: in one fell swoop she hoists me up, my ankles crossing around her back. What the hell was she before she became a pool girl?! A steel worker? Her shoulders feel like solid rock beneath my fingers, so I'm surprised to hear her whimper slightly when I dig my nails into them.

"Make you...pay for that..." she whispers between gentle bites on my collarbone. Please do.

The long-forgotten magazine slides to the concrete as we wrestle our way onto the lounge chair. She might have the brute strength, but I've got the moves. I'm on top, straddling her before she can even protest. I run my hands up her shirt, and make a mental note to return to those abs. With my tongue. But right now I want to feel her breasts, find out what all the fuss is about. I lean in to nip playfully at her exposed flesh, and as I do it, she releases her held breath in a deep, reverberating moan and clenches her hands around my hips, driving our bodies together, aching for contact. I'm beginning to see the attraction.

Grinding hard against her body, the denim fabric is practically burning the inside of my thighs, and yet I can't bring myself to stop. Our lips meet in short, desperate bursts. I can hardly breathe, and when she pulls my top off and slides her tongue down my chest, labored breathing turns into full-on panting.

A barking dog breaks us out of our lusty haze, and I'm reminded of the fact that I'm about to have sex with another woman on my backyard patio. I can't believe it's taken me this long to do this.

She must have noticed my hesitation, because she readjusts my bra and asks, "You wanna take this inside?"

I sit back on her legs and look at her disheveled clothes and flushed face. Last chance to back out, Cath.

I can feel a bead of sweat roll down the side of my face. Foreplay in 100 degree heat will do that to you. The young woman beneath me reaches up and runs her hands through my hair, clearing the wild strands from my face. A moment of tenderness that ensures there will be no turning back.

Through stifled laughter we climb off the patio furniture and make a mad dash for the door. I barely slide the door open and she's already pulling me to the floor, tugging at my skirt with one hand and pulling her shirt over her head with the other.

"Easy killer, let me do that," I chide her, snaking my fingers around the strap of her bra and tossing it to the ground. I lie back on the carpet and admire the young thing kneeling over me. "Now, step out of those pants for me, sweetheart." She does precisely as she is told, although not without a look that assures me the control will not be all mine today.

Naked except for a pair of panties and a turquoise necklace, she drapes her long body over mine and props herself up on one arm. She reaches the other across my chest and I arch my back, allowing her to unclasp my bra. Seizing the opportunity, she licks at the flesh thrust into her face. I'll give her that much; she is efficient. I wriggle out of my skirt as she takes in my nearly naked body, and I'm surprised when I don't feel even the slightest bit self-conscious. I am 43 years old, for god's sake.

"You have an amazing body, Ms. Willows," she concedes before assaulting me with another crushing kiss. She kisses unapologetically, taking the breath right out of my mouth and not stopping until she is satisfied. I break the kiss with more laughter. "What? Didn't think I knew your name?"


"You wanna know mine?"

I grab her by the hair and push her face to my chest. "Not really, no." I can feel her laughter vibrate against my belly. For a moment she looks deep in thought, and then she grabs at the string of my panties. Pulling it tight, she leans in and bites it, snapping it clear in half. She looks up at me, a smile growing across her lips. "Always wanted to do that."

A few more kisses and one very well placed lick later, she's hovering above me once again, lightly scratching the inside of my thigh and bending my left leg up. The next thing I know, she's inside me, hard and fast. I reach for something, anything to hold on to, but all I find is the back of her neck. Once again I sink my fingers into her brown flesh and she growls, louder this time, and thrusts even harder. I ply her neck like a throttle: stroking it with my fingertips when I need it slow and deep, and drawing blood when I want her to pound me. She mumbles something into my hair, but I can't hear her. I'm too focused on having her inside me, on the painful rug burn I feel developing on my back, on the sight of a long vein, straining against her bicep and then getting lost somewhere where we meet.

I want to scream, I need to scream to release this pressure, but the damn sliding glass door is still open. She eases up when I start caressing the hairline at her neck, and I swing my right toe out, trying to reach the door. Instead of helping, she watches me struggle, and lets her teeth scrape across my neck.

Frustrated, I bury my head against her shoulder and let it all go, moaning against her a thousand variations on the word 'fuck'. I come with her still inside me, and our legs interwined.

We lie there on the carpet for a few minutes, her arm draped over my body. She kisses me gently and I take her lower lip in my mouth, sucking and pulling at it a little bit. When she starts to move, I groan in pain. The carpet has not been kind to my backside, and she winces a bit too, touching her neck and finding blood.

She gathers her clothes in her arms as I slam the glass door shut and draw the blinds. Better late than never, I guess. I just stand there, one hand on my hip, waiting for her to acknowledge me. Finally her eyes meet mine.

"And just where the hell do you think you're going?" I ask harshly. "Drop that, take those off, and get your ass over here."

Sexual reawakening does not come without cost.

Sure, I'm in my 40s and having the best sex of my life, my tits have never looked better, and I find myself still buzzing with energy even after pulling a double shift. But it's killing my focus. My new-found appreciation of the female form has left me with absolutely no respite whatsoever. Men, women... everyone is suddenly fair game. The young man stocking shelves at the grocery doesn't just stack cases of bottled water, he grasps them in firm yet gentle hands. The olive-skinned cashier explains with pouty, swollen lips that Tuesday, not Thursday, is double-coupon day.

And work? Even worse. I can't seem to comprehend how I worked so closely with someone and never before felt this raw sexual attraction. Dark eyes. Jaw set firmly in a pensive stare. Flawless skin. Impossibly long legs. A surgeon's hands.

Sara fucking Sidle.

I shake my head, thankful that I'm alone in my office during this latest daydream. I remember the Lockhardt report and return to the keyboard, pecking away furiously before my mind gets another chance to wander.

A figure appears in the doorway just as I get into a groove.

"Got a sec?"

I groan audibly from behind the glowing screen.

"Forget it…" Sara responds, obviously irritated.

"No, Sara, wait," I shout to her, sliding the chair out from beneath the desk, watching her lanky figure make an about face in the hallway. "Sorry, I'm just... way behind here. What's up?"

The brunette leans against the doorframe, hands in her pockets. "It's Morales' car. I've got it down in the garage, but the swing boom is out so I've got to disassemble it by hand."

My lips press into a thin smile, and Sara seems to know what it's about. "It's a freakin' Escalade, Catherine. Can you help me or not?"

Even behind plastic safety goggles, Sara's eyes sparkle. Classic rock blares from a stereo on the workbench, making the whine of the power tools seem almost musical. As she adjusts the leather shop gloves on her hands, yanking each forcefully just once to secure them, it's clear she's in her element. A small smile creeps across her face, sparks flying from the joints at the door frame. My mind briefly wanders to her obsession with the violent machines, and what that might say for her bedroom demeanor, until I'm snapped back to reality by Sara's scolding.

"You gonna help me with this thing or what?" she scowls. "Grab the other side."

To have Sara glare at you is to simultaneously experience both terrible fear and inappropriate sexual arousal. I'd love to earn that impatient look raking my fingernails across her back, teasing her with my mouth until she begs me to stop.

Get a grip, Catherine! I bite my lip and try to remember what it is we were supposed to be doing.

Breaking down the SUV piece by piece, we are soon surrounded by a graveyard of automobile parts, punctuated by the behemoth skeleton in the center of the room. Sara lets out a satisfied sigh, and wipes her brow with the sleeve of her blue jumpsuit.

"I can handle the rest myself," Sara spats, and adds almost as an afterthought, "Thanks."

Damn, she can be such a bitch. I close the space between us so quickly it startles Sara. Throwing her a fear-inducing look of my own, I whisper merely inches from her face. "We don't have to be enemies you know."

For once, Sara is speechless. It's only from this close proximity that I can truly read her face. Her eyes. And I know the look all too well. I can't stop the smirk from spreading across my lips… looks like I'm not the only one who's been thinking naughty thoughts at work.

Her lips tremble as the seconds tick by, neither of us willing to back down. I lean forward almost imperceptibly and hiss, "Maybe we should just fuck already and get it over with." My words are soaked with disdain, and I let my lips curl into a snarl, turning my back on her before she can respond.

When you live in the middle of the godforsaken desert, even the earliest morning sun is brutal. The lot isn't even busy with day shift traffic yet, and waves of heat are already threatening to boil up from the asphalt surface. I half expect the heel of my shoe to get trapped mid-stride, stuck to the ground like a wad of gum.

Sliding my sunglasses down over my face, I hit the remote for my truck and throw my bags in the backseat. Maybe the pavement has softened to a sponge, because I don't hear the hurried footsteps behind me.

"Just what in the hell was that back there?"

Sara. And man, does she look pissed.

I had let the rest of shift go by, making sure not to run into her, and then slipped out just a few minutes early trying to avoid exactly this scenario. I was ballsy back in the garage, sure… but I'd be lying if I didn't say my courage has wilted a bit in the desert sun.

"Answer me, dammit. What the hell was that?"

She's so sexy when she's angry.

"You're so sexy when you're angry."

Definitely didn't mean to say that out loud.

Sara shakes her head, confused, eyes looking off in the distance. "What?"

I step in close to the young brunette for the second time today. So close my right foot is planted firmly between hers, the fabric of her shirt brushing against mine. "You heard what I said," I pause for a second to glance around and be sure we're alone. "Open your eyes, Sara. Life's too short for us dance around the elephant in the room. Last night, in the garage, I saw something in your eyes that I never saw before. That I never bothered to look for before. You feel it, too. I know you do. But everybody deals with things differently. Me? I spill coffee down my blouse and forget to sign off on paperwork. You…"

"I," she interjects through clenched teeth, "keep you as far away as I can. I need to keep you as far away as I can."

Her eyes fall, searching the space between us for the ground below. I watch her chest heave with breaths that come too fast. Part of me wants to calm her, to steady her… and part of me wants to steal the very air from her lungs and leave her whimpering against the hot asphalt.

Instead, I step back, returning her personal space. "Whatever you see in me… whatever you think you see… forget it. It can't happen, Catherine."

Sara turns her back to me and stops, her posture sagging slightly. Over her shoulder she offers, "I'll work on not being such a bitch. That is, if you will too."

Squinting in the sunlight I imagine a crooked grin on her face. "I can do that."

In my bedroom, the shades tightly drawn against the obtrusive brightness, I slink out of most of my clothes and throw myself onto the bed. Normally I'd clean the house a bit, and shower and cook up a little something, but not today. After seeing Lindsey off to school, I've had just about all the consciousness I can take. Sleep overtakes me easily.

I'm not sure how long I've been asleep when I hear a knock at the door, but it couldn't have been long—I usually find my way under the covers before deep sleep sets in.

Shit, what day is it? Could it be my favorite pool girl? I've suddenly got a pop in my step as I throw on my "sexy" robe, the one of silk and not raggedy white terrycloth, and head to the door. A quick glance in the reflection of the china hutch later and I'm swinging the door open to… Sara Sidle.

I guess a multiple orgasm afternoon is out of the question.

"Yes, I'm attracted to you. Happy now? I said it."

Maybe not.

I smile at the young woman and open my stance, gesturing for her to come inside. She's still wearing the same faded blue jeans she had on at work, but has exchanged the buttoned down shirt for a slim-fitting black t-shirt. Slipping past me in the doorway, she looks tired and beautiful.

"Coffee?" I suggest.

Sara pauses nervously, her second thoughts blazing like a neon sign on her forehead. "Come on, sit down. I won't bite."

At my urging she pulls up a stool at the kitchen island, her hands pressed against the seat beneath her, elbows locked, looking ready to flee should I decide to pounce. "Did I wake you?"

I'm reminded of my attire, and I can't decide whether it's completely apropos or tasteless. "Actually, yes. But I don't mind." I give her my complete attention as the coffee begins to brew. "I'm glad you came."

In the past two weeks I've made every excuse to watch Sara: at her computer, behind a microscope, walking the perimeter of a scene. But it's so rare to see her still like this. Her hands move to the countertop, one folded atop the other, fingertips curled under like they're hiding from something. Me, perhaps?

The rest of her looks like it's trying to hide, too. Her posture is perfectly upright, but her chin is tucked and her eyes are careful not to meet mine. She addresses the countertop: "Why are you doing this? Why now? Why when I've been so careful all this time?"

My heart lurches a little in my chest. I guess I never considered that this newfound lust wasn't so newfound for her. "How long?" I squeak out.

"Too long," she answers bitterly.

I don't know what to say, so I just pour the coffee into two white mugs, setting one in front of Sara and bringing the other to my lips. It scalds my tongue, and my forehead crumples. "Today is definitely a black coffee day."

At least she rewards my pathetic attempt at humor with a snort. I should say more, considering what she's just revealed.

"Let's just say I had an epiphany of sorts. Realized there's a lot out there that I've been missing."

She eyes me questioningly. Damn, and I was really hoping to get off with a few ambiguous platitudes too.

"Generally? Women. Specifically?" I pause, taking my turn to stare at the floor. "You."

"Catherine…" Her voice is more of a pleading exhalation, and there is no relief. Only hesitation.

I slowly slide off the stool and make my way beside her. Even with her sitting down, I'm still only just barely taller. Her body turns to face me, her brown eyes wary and uncertain. My lips gently capture hers, her face in my hands. A kiss. A question.

To Be Continued

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