DISCLAIMER: None of the characters or lyrics belong to me! All this work is my own!
WARNING: This story contains a brief, non-graphic, mention of sexual violence.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Emz

Life as it is

I was really looking forward to my night out with Chris. Every time we went out I always came back home feeling as if I was on top of the world. Tonight he was taking me out to 'Tornado' one of the coolest clubs in Las Vegas. There was a karaoke night. We would have a good laugh at some of the idiots who got up on stage. Some of them got up on stage, thinking they had amazing voices when they really sounded like drunken idiots! I decided to wear a short black dress. I knew Chris would appreciate it. He kept telling me over and over again how much he loved my legs. I don't know why, but he made me feel as if I was eighteen again. And no man had been able to do that to me in a long, long time.

'Probably since Eddie.' I sighed.

Eddie. My ex-husband. He died back last year, and even though I grieved for a short while, now I'm relieved. I feel guilty, because my daughter doesn't have a father, but he was an awful father anyway. He hardly saw her. Hell, it was his fault Lindsay nearly died. I was still angry with him because of that. At the time, I had been fuming. And I took it out on my colleague who was investigating the case, Sara Sidle. She hadn't been able to solve Eddie's murder, and I gave her such a hard time over it. Even now, a year on I still couldn't bring myself to apologise to her. Even though I knew I should swallow my pride and say sorry, something inside stopped me whenever I came close to apologising to Sara.

I put all thoughts of Eddie out of my head, and carried on getting ready. I left my hair out so it was flowing over my shoulders, and I put on a matching set of silver jewellery.

"Lindsay!" I called. "Are you ready for your Aunty Nancy's?"

"Yeah, two minutes mom!" she called back.

Nancy was supposed to be picking Lindsay up anytime now. I hoped she would arrive before Chris. I wasn't sure whether it was the right time for Lindsay to meet him. She was in a bad mood with me for shouting at her for not making an effort in school. I felt bad for making her angry and upset, but I was her mother. If I didn't shout at her for doing wrong, who would?

The doorbell rang. I glanced out the window and saw Chris's car.

"Uh oh." I murmured. As I ran down the stairs to answer the door, I prayed that Lindsay would be ok with him. However, Lindsay got to the door before me, and judging by the look on her face, she wasn't impressed.

"Hey, you must be Lindsay." Chris smiled down at her.

'Poor thing,' I thought, 'He's trying his best!'

"Yeah I'm Lindsay." Lindsay replied in a cold voice. I had never heard her speak to anyone in that was before. Sure she had been annoyed with me, but she had never used that tone of voice with me. Probably because she knew she wouldn't get away with it. I decided this was the best time to interrupt.

"Hi Chris." I said, walking up at giving him a kiss on the cheek. Lindsay was not impressed with this either.

"Lindsay are you ready?" I asked her.

"No…that's why I'm standing here with my bag in my hand!" She said, her voice laced with sarcasm. For a nine year old, she sure had an attitude. That was probably my fault though; I had an attitude from the age of two!

"Don't speak to me like that, I'm your mother!" I shouted at her.

"Yeah, sadly." She replied. Now she was really starting to wind me up. And that last comment hit a nerve. She had never made me feel like a bad mother before now.

"Lindsay, do you want me to tell your Aunty Nancy to send you straight to bed when you get to her house?" I threatened.

"Um how about no?" She answered back.

I was about to shout at her again, when Nancy pulled up outside the house. Without even a goodbye Lindsay ran out to her. I didn't bother going to speak to Nancy. I just waved at her from the door, and turned back to Chris once she'd drove off. Now I had to apologise to him for my daughter's behaviour. I had told him how wonderful she was and how she was just like a little angel. But after her performance just then, he's going to think she's the devil incarnate!

"I'm sorry about that. She's pissed off with me because I shouted at her about her schoolwork. Don't take any notice of her." I apologised.

"Babe, don't worry about it; it's no big deal." He said. He smiled at me, trying to reassure me he didn't mind Lindsay's attitude.

"Yeah, well it is to me. I can't believe she spoke to me in that way. She never has before."

"Like I said; no big deal. C'mon, we'd better get going."

I followed him out to the car. I kissed him: on the lips this time. He smiled at me, and we drove off.

Fifteen minutes later we were in the club. We sat at a table in the corner, and I rested my head on his shoulder. The first couple of people on stage were rubbish. Chris and I were struggling not to laugh too loudly. Then there was a boy who couldn't have been much more than twenty-one years old. He had a deep voice, and he sang Enrique, Hero. He was definitely the best so far. Then there was a blonde girl who sang Britney Spears, Crazy.

"Too much of a bimbo to win I reckon." Chris said.

"Yeah you're probably right." I replied. He smiled and put his arm around me.

I was really enjoying myself. I had had an awful week at work, and was happy to finally be able to relax. The only thing on my mind was Lindsay. I had never seen her act like that before; and it worried me. I was worried that it was my fault; that I had somehow been a bad mother. I remained in my own world for the next few songs. Suddenly, the next person to get up on stage got my attention.

"It can't be…" I whispered to myself.

But it was her. It was Sara.

Unanswered Questions

She looked around her nervously, her eyes darting back and forth across the crowd. I retreated further back into the shadows. I didn't want her to see me. If she saw me, it would distract her. She was nervous around me at the best of times, so God knows' what she would be like performing in front of me. She waited until the audience had quietened down, before speaking. She announced who she was and said she would sing a song that she related to. I watched as she clenched the microphone in her hand, and stood up straighter as the music began.

My jaw dropped and my eyes widened as she began to sing. She truly had the voice of an angel. It was the most beautiful sound in the whole world. I had never heard her sing before; it was something that she obviously kept well hidden.

'She shouldn't hide her voice, it's an amazing thing to have.' I found myself thinking. I found myself listening intently, concentrating on every word that she sang.

"Sometimes it seems that I have no place
And I don't know what to do with myself"

Does she really feel like that? She sounds like she does. She sounds like she's singing from the heart.

"Light up another
I can taste the filth inside
And I need to cleanse my soul"

Cleanse her soul from what? What's hurting her so badly inside? I know there's something eating away inside her. I've seen it in her eyes when she works certain cases. Cases where women are abused in some way.

"Nobody knows, nobody cares
That I die on the inside"

Yes they do. The whole team cares about her. Grissom, Nick, Warrick and especially Greg. They all care. I care.

"Nobody sees the lie that is me
'Cause I smile on the outside"

Just the once, I've seen the lie. It was the time we were assigned to a rape victim. Kelly. She was just sixteen years old. When Sara found out it was Kelly's twenty-year-old boyfriend who had raped Kelly, stabbed Kelly, and disposed of her body; Sara freaked out. She went nuts on him in the interrogation room. When I went outside with her to cool her down she said one thing that made me think.

"He's got away with it."

But she couldn't have been talking about Kelly's boyfriend because he had just admitted it. There was masses of evidence against him and he was facing a life sentence or the death penalty. She had to be talking from personal experience.

"Still nobody knows, nobody cares
When I walk on the wrong side"

I don't understand what makes her think this. I know we haven't been the best of friends, but she should at least know that I'm there for her if she needs someone. And when she's had a bad shift I notice. I notice when something's getting to her. I thought she knew that. Of course, she has no idea I am here watching her. She hasn't seen me watch her when she's in pain. And I don't want her to see me until she's ready to see me. I want to hear the rest of her thoughts and feelings.

'When the song is over, I'll go and do something about those feelings.' I decided.

I'll show her that even if she thinks no one cares; that I do care.

"(Tell me who) Nobody
(Tell me who) Nobody
(Tell me who) Nobody...
...But you"

I want to know who 'you' is. Is it a friend or a lover? Her mum or her dad? I've never heard her mention anybody special.

"All the friends that I've had
Where are they now?"

She must have been popular at some point. I don't see her as popular. I see her as the girl who never fitted in. I guess that's wrong of me. But she's never given me any reason to think otherwise.

"Guess I'm far too intense to be loved"

Intense? What's that supposed to mean? She's not intense. She's strong, but not so strong she's detached from her feelings and those of people around her.

"All the things that I hate
I hate about myself
And I need to cleanse my soul"

This is something I can kind of see her thinking. I know she has a confidence problem. However, what I didn't know is how low her self-esteem actually is. And the way she is singing right now; it's at an all time low.

"Nobody knows, nobody cares
That I die on the inside
Nobody sees the lie that is me
'Cause I smile on the outside
Still nobody knows, nobody cares
When I walk on the wrong side
(Tell me who) Nobody
(Tell me who) Nobody
(Tell me who) Nobody...
...But you"

She repeats the words over and over. She sings them loud and clear, as if she is trying to make sense of them herself. And I never thought I'd say this; but I'm worried. I'm worried about her and I don't know what to do.

Once Sara had finished the crowd began clapping and cheering more than they had for anyone else. She smiled around the room before getting off stage and walking into the toilets.

"I'm just going to the bathroom." I told Chris.

"K babe, you ok?"

"Yeah, I'm fine." I smiled. I quickly got up and followed Sara. She was sitting on the counter next to the sink, staring at the floor. I felt my blood turn cold. Something about her position was scaring me. I think it was because she looked so helpless and I had never seen her like that before. We were the only two in the bathroom, and she hadn't noticed me yet. I decided that now was the best time to speak.

"Are you alright Sara?"

She jumped at hearing my voice. Her eyes darted up to look at me. And then she spoke to me in a way I had never heard her speak before.

"What are you doing here?" she spoke so softly that I could barely hear her. It was as if she had no energy left inside. And that wasn't the Sara I knew.

"I came out here tonight with Chris," walking over to her I said, "You haven't answered my question yet. Are you alright?"

"Yeah I'm fine." She said, her eyes not quite meeting mine as she said it though.

"You've got a beautiful voice." I told her.

She said nothing. No reaction. No denial or putting herself down as she usually did. Just nothing.

"What's wrong Sar? You can trust me." I spoke to her softly, as if she was a child who needed care and attention.

"Nothing's wrong. Look I, I've gotta go. See you in work tomorrow."

"Wait!" I said as she headed for the door. "If you need me, I'm here for you. Ok?"

She didn't even reply to me. Just looked at me with her eyebrows raised as if she didn't believe what she was hearing.

I felt anger rise up in my chest. I was trying to be nice to her, yet she was ignoring me. "What is your problem? I'm trying to show you I care about you but you're not responding. I'm trying to tell you that your words in that song you sang weren't true! People do care about you!"

She looked at me as her eyes began to water.

"Not enough." Was all she said before walking out. I decided there was no point in following her. All I would do is make the situation even worse. Instead I just stared after her. I had never seen that side of her before. It was a side I didn't want to see. She was acting like a scared little girl. Yet when I tried to reach out to her she simply pushed me away. And I couldn't help her if she wouldn't let me.


My date with Chris went downhill from that moment onwards. I had too many distractions on my mind, and I was infuriating Chris. He didn't even kiss me goodbye before I went into my house.

'Oh well, his loss!' I said to myself, although I couldn't help feeling that I was missing out as well.

Once inside I put all thoughts of Chris, Lindsay and Sara out of my mind and I went to bed. But I still couldn't sleep. I was worried about Sara. Chris I wasn't that bothered about, I knew that a little sweet talk and I would be back in his good books again. Lindsay I could have a chat with and explain that she shouldn't speak to me in the way she did. But Sara…Sara I didn't know how to help. Ok, so we had never been that close but that didn't stop me being concerned about her. I'd be just as concerned about any of the other people I worked with. I finally managed to fall asleep hours later. But it was a restless sleep and by six o'clock the next morning I was wide-awake again.

I decided that the only way I would feel better would be to speak to Sara. But I couldn't ring her until later on. She might not be awake yet. So I got up, had a shower and rang my sister Nancy to check on Lindsay.

"Is she ok?" I asked Nancy.

"Yeah, she's fine. She was in a bad mood last night but she was fine when I dropped her off at school this morning."

"Good. I'll have a chat to her next time I see her."

"That'd be a good idea. She's still annoyed with you by the look of it."


"I'd love to chat for longer Cath, but, I'd better go; I've got loads to do before picking Lindsay up from school."

"Ok, see ya Nancy."

"See ya."

I sighed. At least Lindsay had calmed down slightly. Now all that was left to do was speak to her about her attitude and that situation was sorted. Now to sort out problem number two. The one I had no idea how to fix.


The phone rang several times, and I was just about to put it down when I heard Sara pick up.

"Hello." I recognised Sara's voice instantly.

"Hi…Sara, it's Catherine. I was just wondering…are you ok?"

"Yes. I'm fine."

There was an awkward moment of silence before Sara said,

"Look, I've got to go. I'll see you in work later." I could tell she felt uncomfortable talking to me so I decided not to question her further.

"Right…well bye then." I said.

"Bye." She said before abruptly putting the phone on the hook.

She was avoiding me. It was obvious. And she wasn't fine, I could tell from the way she was speaking. But I couldn't help her unless she wanted my help.

I arrived at work half an hour early. I wanted just one more chance to speak to Sara, before giving up trying to help her. At least that way I would feel as if I had tried my best, and whatever happened after that wouldn't be my fault. As soon as I walked into the locker room she was sitting on the bench, staring into space.

"Hello, earth to Sara," her head snapped up sharply as she noticed my presence in the room, "How's it going?"

"Fine." Was all she said. She was always saying she was "Ok" or "Fine" but she never seemed to be.

"Look Sar, I'm gonna say this once more and once more only. If you ever need to talk then I am here. The other night I was just trying to show you I was concerned about you. I wasn't trying to be nosey, I was showing you I cared."

"Yeah, you told me the other night you cared." She mumbled.

"And I meant it Sara. You think I don't care enough, but believe me; I do. You just don't see it. You see me as this stuck up bitch who is there to make your life a misery. And that's just not true."

"See Catherine I might believe you if it weren't for the fact that you only paid attention to me after I sang on stage. If you hadn't seen me sing then you wouldn't be saying all these things now."

"You're right Sara, I'm not going to lie. Seeing you on stage made me realise that you have feelings too. It made me realise I care about you."

"Well I don't want you to care about me Catherine, because I don't care about you." She hissed at me.

Ouch. That hurt. However, I tried to appear undeterred and I said,

"Ok so you might not care about me. There's not much I can do about that. I can't make you care about me. But I can't switch off my feelings towards you. If my heart is telling me that I care about you, then I can't control that feeling."

She had no answer to that. She just stared at the ground, probably wishing that it would swallow her. I wanted to make her more comfortable. That's why I did what I did next. Which turned out to be a bad move.

I put my arm around her. I felt her clench her muscles before shaking me off.

"Don't touch me." She said through gritted teeth.

"Whoa Sar honey, calm down. I'm sorry, I'm just trying to be there for you."

"I don't need you alright! I'm not one of your boyfriends who you just touch up quickly and make everything better!"

Ok, now she was getting personal. I felt my temper begin to flare up.

"Yeah you're not one of my boyfriends! Thank God really, because the thought of getting any closer to you than a hug makes me want to gag!" I screamed at her.

Shit. I think I went to far, because she's running out of the locker room in tears.

"Great one Willows!" I said aloud. Now the only thing left for me to do was go and find her and try and repair the damage. And by the looks of things, it was going to take a hell of a lot of apologising.


I searched for Sara all over the building. But she was nowhere to be found. However, I couldn't spend anymore time looking for her. Time was ticking, and there was work to be done. I couldn't be bothered with paperwork, so I went to see Grissom to find out if there were any cases to work on. Sighing, I knocked three times on his office door, before hearing him say,

"Come in!"

I threw the door open and gasped at the sight before me. Sara was crying her eyes out in Grissom's arms. I felt rage flow through my body. I had no idea what to say, I just stared at the scene before me. I felt guilty, knowing that I was the reason Sara was crying. And the fact that she was crying to Grissom made the whole situation ten times worse! Just as I was contemplating my next move, Grissom interrupted my thoughts.

"Catherine, could you leave us for a moment please?"

I replied defiantly, "No. I need to speak to Sara."

"Well now isn't the time."

"Now is the perfect time. Go play with your bugs somewhere; leave me to talk to Sara."

Grissom looked at me mouth wide open. He let go of Sara, and left his office, shutting the door firmly behind him. Sara leant her head on the desk, refusing to make eye contact with me.

'Boy am I in big trouble later!' I realised.

I put all thoughts of Grissom out of my mind and I sat down next to Sara saying, "We need to sort this out."

"There's no point." She replied. She was trying to compose herself, but she couldn't seem to stop the tears from flowing.

"Yes there is a point."

"No! There's not! I'm leaving this place. I can't take anymore of this. It hurts too much." Now she was openly crying.

"Oh Sara. I'm sorry for what I just said. I was being a conceited selfish bitch. Please, talk to me. You never know, I might understand."

"No," she whispered, "You would never understand."

"Just…just give me a try. Please? You don't have to tell me everything. Just some of what's hurting you. I want to help."

She looked up into my eyes. It felt like she was staring at me for hours.

"Ok." She whispered.

And then she did something that I never thought she'd do. She reached out her hand and held mine. She held on tightly, as if she needed protection. I realised that now was as good a time as any to hug her. I wrapped my arms around her. She leant her head against my shoulder and cried. She cried so much she was nearly hyperventilating. It scared me to see her so vulnerable. Usually she was so strong and guarded. But now she was crying in my arms like a little girl.

"Shh, it's ok babe, I've got you." I told her, while rocking her back and forth. She held herself close to me and buried her head further into my shoulder. I felt so much pain for her. I so badly wanted to make it better; but I didn't know how. All I knew was that she didn't deserve to suffer the way she was now.

Gradually Sara managed to calm down enough to speak.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to grab onto you like that."

"It's ok Sar. In a way, I'm glad you did. You shouldn't bottle things up. Sometimes, you've just gotta let yourself cry and turn to other people for help. It doesn't make you weak needing someone to talk to."

"Yeah…I suppose." She was lost in thought for a few minutes before saying, "I'm sorry about your top."

I looked down. There was mascara all down my sleeve. "Hey don't worry about it. It'll come out in the wash. So Sara, what did you say to Grissom?"

"I just told him that I hate it here, and I want a transfer. He was asking me why and…and I just said that I felt out of place here. Like I don't fit in." she confessed.

"You do fit in Sara! I don't want you to go. Not like this, not when there's so much animosity between us."

"That's precisely why I want to go Catherine. I can't stand fighting with you on a daily basis. It hurts too much, and I can't put up with it any longer." She sighed.

"Things can change Sara. I promise you that from now on I will consider the way you feel, and treat you with respect. Please don't go. It wouldn't be the same without you here." I was practically begging her to stay; yet I had no idea why I cared about her so much. We had never really got on, and my life without her would be so much easier. But for some reason I wanted her to stay.

"I'm sure you'd get on better with whoever replaced me Catherine. Cos lets face it, you and me aren't exactly best friends." Sara laughed bitterly.

"I know we aren't, but that doesn't mean we couldn't learn to get on better. Please stay, even if it's just for another few weeks. Give me a chance to prove to you I can be a good friend.

She smiled at me. I realised I was getting through to her.

"Ok," she said, "You've got another week to prove yourself to me and if things stay the same, then I'll apply for a transfer. Deal?"


We sat in silence for a few minutes before I realised that now was the time to talk to Sara about why she was upset.

"So how about you tell me what's wrong Sar?"

She looked up at me with bambi eyes, "You don't wanna hear it. Trust me on that."

"Try me Sara. Believe me, I can be a good listener."

She paused for a few seconds before nodding her head. "Ok. But don't say I didn't warn you."

I clasped her hand and looked deep into her eyes. She looked straight back at me, before lowering her head and beginning to talk.

Speaking the Truth

"When I was a little girl, I had a best friend called Libby. She was the only friend I had that I could trust one hundred percent. We were friends all the way through high school, until we were sixteen. We fell out over this guy, Tom. He was twenty, and we both fancied the pants off him. I didn't think I stood a chance with him. I mean, Libby was absolutely stunning. She had long blonde hair and ocean blue eyes. It was almost impossible not to like her. All the boys loved her. But for some reason, Tom chose me over her." Sara looked up from her lap at me, a sharp look in her eyes.

"What?" I asked her.

"I know what you're thinking. Why choose me over someone like her? Well I have no idea, but the point is, he did."

"Sara, I was not thinking that at all." I protest. God Sara had a real self-confidence problem. Why though, I don't know. I mean she was this tall, stunning brunette with a cute smile. She was smart at her job, and she had a beautiful singing voice. She should be happy with herself, not insecure.

"Forget it." She mutters. We sit there in silence before I say,

"Well go on, what happened next?"

"He raped me after our first date." She says matter-of-factly.

It takes a while for her revelation to sink in. I'm in shock; especially at the way she said it. As if it didn't affect her. However, when she looks up at me I can see fear, hurt and pain in her eyes. She's just covering up her emotions. Typical Sara Sidle.

She clears her throat and then continues, "I was distraught after it happened. And even though Libby and I weren't speaking, it was her I ran to. And she comforted me, really cared about me. With her help I built up the strength and courage to testify against him in court. He got fifteen years. When I heard the verdict, I cried on Libby's shoulder. And she was there for me when he was released a few years back. It's hard for us to see each other now though; she lives in San Francisco with her husband Zak and her baby daughter Nicole. But she's still the only person who has ever truly cared about me."

I opened my mouth to argue back with her, to scream at her for the tenth time that I cared about her, but I couldn't. Because I hadn't acted like I cared about her had I? When she's come into work pissed off I don't bother to find out what was wrong, I would just wind her up even more. When a case got to her, I shouted at her to act like a professional and not get emotionally involved. It's no wonder she thought I didn't care about her.

I chose my words carefully. "Sar, I want you to know that I'm sorry for everything I've done to hurt you in the past. I'm sorry for having a go at you about Eddie's case. I know you did your best; I just needed someone to blame. And, and I want to make things up to you. That is, if you'll let me?"

Her face broke out into a shy smile. "Sure."

"Good." I say. I'm not sure if it's a good idea to hug her or not. I know we have this new pact to try and get on better, but that doesn't mean Sara will be comfortable with physical contact between us. I decided against hugging her; for the time being at least.

"You won't tell anyone about…" her voice trailed off.

"Of course not. It's your secret to tell people when you're ready. I'm just glad you felt you could trust me." I said to her gently.

"Yeah…I didn't think I'd find it easy to talk to you, but in actual fact you're a good listener." She smiled at me.

I found myself hugging her. Forget leaving physical contact for the time being; the urge to hug her was too strong. Praise off Sara was something that I had never received before. Now that I had though, I appreciated it.

"So Sara, when you were singing the other night…were you there on your own?"

"Yeah. I just, I needed to be on my own. Normally I don't just walk into a club and start singing. But I'd had a bad day and I needed to let out my frustration. Singing is my way of doing that." She explained.

"Well I'm glad that I saw what you were like outside of work. Otherwise we might not be sitting here now, having this conversation." I said.

"Yeah, I'm glad you saw me for a person, and not just some loner you work with."

At that moment, her pager beeped.

"I've um, I've gotta go get some results from Greg. I'll see you later." She said, getting up from her seat.

"Right…well if you need me I'll be in my office." I said, putting a hand on her shoulder. As I was walking out of the room, Sara called me.

"Oh, and Cath?" She seems unsure if it's ok for her to call me by my shortened name. I smile at her to let her know that it's fine.


"Thanks. For understanding and, and for not walking away when I tried to make you."

"Anytime you need me Sara, I'm there. I told you, things are going to be different from now on." I smile at her, before turning away and walking into my office.

I try to get on with some paperwork once I am sitting at my desk. However, I find that I can't concentrate on it for longer than ten minutes. My mind begins to wander, and I find it wandering towards thoughts of Sara. I was so relieved that she had finally told me why she was upset. That she felt she could trust me with her secret. Maybe we could eventually become friends. At least, I hoped we could.

I was just about to go and find something to do other than paperwork, when there was a knock on my door.

"Come in!" I shouted, expecting it to be Sara.

But it wasn't. It was Chris.

Back to square one

"Chris," I stammer, the surprise at seeing him evident in my voice. "What are you doing here?"

He shuts my office door and says, "I've come to say sorry for the other night. I know you had your daughter on your mind, and I had no right to get mad with you."

I smile at him. "I uhh, I thought I should be the one to apologise. I should have paid more attention to you."

"Well how about we just forget about it all? I could take you out again on Friday night. I mean, if that's what you want?" he says, raising his eyebrows at me.

"Yeah, that'd be great. And this time, I'll make sure my daughter is polite towards you. Otherwise, she's in big trouble." I say, putting my hands around his waist.

He grins at me and kisses me on the lips. I allow him to push me backwards onto my desk and start to undo my shirt. We're just getting heated up when my office door bursts open.

It's Sara. "Cath, I was wonder…" her voice trails off at the scene in front of her. She begins to go red and she turns around to leave the room.

"Forget it!" She calls as she slams the door behind her.

"Sara!" I call after her. But she's gone.

"Shit." I mumble under my breath.

"What's her problem?" Chris says rolling his eyes. He takes his hands off me. He doesn't seem to want to continue anymore. He starts to walk towards the door. I follow him, and grab his arm.

"Sorry babe." I say, turning his head to give him one last kiss before he leaves.

"It's ok. It's not your fault that uptight bitch walked in." He says.

I find myself frowning at his words. "She's not an uptight bitch. She's just having a bad day, and she probably just wanted to talk about it with me."

"Well maybe she should realise that you have other people who need your attention as well. Then again though, you are 'Miss Oh so Popular' aren't you?" Chris smirks at me.

Ok. Now, he's really starting to piss me off.

"I'm sorry if I can't always be with you constantly Chris, but I have other people I want to spend time with as well!" I say to him angrily.

"Fine!" he says before walking out of my office, slamming the door behind him.

Why is it, that just when I manage to sort things out with someone, they go wrong again two minutes later? I mean, Chris and I had sorted things out; we were on good terms with each other. Then, simply because Sara walked into the room in the middle of an "intimate" moment, Chris takes it out on me. It's hardly my fault that Sara chose to walk in. Come to think of it, it's not her fault either. She didn't ask to see me on my desk with Chris on top of me. In fact, judging by the look on Sara's face she would rather not have seen me in that position. She looked more embarrassed than I have ever seen her before. I don't blame her really; I'm an older female colleague who up until recently didn't stop arguing with her. Furthermore, I'm sure that if I had been the one to walk in on Sara and some guy, I would be just as mortified.

'I'd be jealous as well…' I find myself thinking.

Sighing, I realise that I had better go and find Sara. I just hope that what's just happened hasn't made a huge dent in our newly formed friendship.

I find her sitting on her own in one of the labs that is hardly ever used.

"Hey Sar," I say, pulling a chair up next to her, "You ok?"

"Fine." She replies, avoiding eye contact with me.

"I'm sorry you had to see that earlier. It uhh, wasn't planned."

"Sorry for walking in." she says. But she doesn't sound sorry. In fact, she sounds like she couldn't give a damn. I decide not to comment on this though; she's probably just embarrassed.

"So what did you want me for?" I ask her.

"Oh, it was nothing. Forget it."

"No, I want to know Sar. What was it?"

"Forget it Cath!" she says angrily, making me jump. She gets up from her chair and starts to walk out of the lab.

"No wait!" I call out to her. She ignores me, so I run after her. She goes into the Break Room.

"Sara," I say once we're in there. "Please will you just tell me what's wrong now?"

"Nothing! Will you please just leave me alone!" she yells at me.

"Fine! If you're going to have an attitude problem with me then don't expect me to be there for you when you need me!"

She lets out a sarcastic laugh. "You? There for me? Whatever Catherine, you comforted me once today and that was all. And come to think of it, you were off with your boyfriend two minutes later so why should I need or want you?"

For once, I have no sarcastic reply to fire back at her. That last thing she said,

"Why should I need or want you?" really hurt. I have no idea why, but it did. I decide to take a softer approach with her so I say,

"I can't make you need or want me Sara." I say gently.

She looks taken aback at this last statement. She was obviously expecting a bitchy reply back. She looks at me curiously for a few seconds, before turning her back to me. After what seems like hours she speaks to me.

"You've uh, you've got no idea why I'm pissed off have you?"

Truthfully, I answer, "No. I haven't."

"Well, I'm not telling you anyway. You'll see when you're ready to see."

Without waiting for my reply, she walks out the room. I'm left alone with my thoughts, wondering what Sara could possibly mean. It's almost as if she wants me to know, but isn't ready to tell me. And I'm not sure if I want to know what Sara's problem is…

Closer than before

When I finished shift I spent the whole of my day with Lindsay. Lindsay had the ability to put me in a good mood, even if I was feeling really low. The way I was feeling now. I had a huge lecture off Grissom before I had left work, because of my little comment about his obsession with bugs. He told me that apart from the fact I shouldn't speak to him like that because he was my supervisor, he had urgently needed to speak to Sara. I just mumbled an apology and pretended to be sorry.

I was determined to spend some quality time with Lindsay tonight. I hadn't been spending much time with her recently, and if truth be told I was feeling a little guilty about it. Chris had taken up almost all of my time, and when I wasn't thinking about him, I was thinking about Sara.

Sara. I couldn't help but let her get under my skin. I had thought we were making some progress towards friendship after she confided in me, but Chris had to spoil it for us. Ok, so it wasn't entirely his fault. But he didn't exactly help matters choosing to come to my workplace.

'There again though,' I found myself thinking, 'you didn't exactly tell him to leave did you?'

Exasperated I sat down on the sofa. Lindsay was sitting next to me, reading a book about a princess who had been waiting ten years for her perfect prince. I didn't know the ending as I'd never read the book, but I'd be willing to bet it's a "Happily Ever After" ending.

'They always are…' I thought to myself.

Why couldn't my life be like that? Why couldn't I have some prince, or even princess to whisk me away from my old life? I'd had enough bad luck in my life to last me a lifetime. I really didn't need anything else going wrong for me. Yet just when I thought things were finally beginning to go right for me, something else happened to make them go wrong again. Take Chris and me for example. Everything was going great then suddenly, just like that, they were messed up again. I shouldn't really complain I guess. I mean, I've got a good job, and a gorgeous home. I also thought I'd found love with Chris, but obviously not.

It was then and there that I came to a decision.

At around seven o'clock I dropped Lindsay off at Nancy's. Straight away Lindsay hugged me and said bye. I didn't have the energy to speak to her about Chris that night. Anyway, I had come to a decision.

Lindsay ran upstairs, looking for her cousin Jeremy. I chatted briefly to Nancy about Lindsay.

"So, have you talked to her yet about Chris?"

"No…and I'm not planning to."

Nancy frowned. "Why? If Chris is going to be a part of your life then Lindsay needs to be able to form some sort of a relationship with him."

"He's not going to be a part of my life. We had a massive row and…and I don't want to be with him anymore. I'm going to finish it."

"Oh Cath. Are you sure? I mean, Lindsay will warm to him eventually." Nancy said, placing a hand on my shoulder.

"Yes but I don't want to carry on with the relationship. He's way too possessive and I can't be with someone like that. Not after Eddie." I explained.

"I see your point. Ok well, if that's what you want." Nancy shrugged her shoulders at me.

"It is." I said firmly.

"Well at least that's one less person for you to worry about." Nancy said.

"Yeah…anyway Nancy, I have to go get ready for work. See you later." I smiled.

"See ya Cath." She said, giving me a smile back.

As soon as I got back home I rang Chris to tell him it was over.


"Hello Chris? It's Catherine."

"Oh right." He didn't sound too pleased to hear from me.

"Look I'll say this and get it over with. I don't think we should carry on seeing each other. It's just not working out and, I don't think our relationship is going anywhere." I said, trying to sound apologetic. Even though I wasn't and I felt like punching him.

"Whatever. In fact, I'll be pleased to see the back of you. You're a selfish bitch who doesn't think about anyone but yourself." He said, before hanging up the phone.

I put the phone down, enraged that he'd just spoken to me like that. I had wanted to get the last word in. Ok so I might not have given him one hundred percent attention, but that was because I was too busy thinking about Lindsay and Sara.

Speaking of which, I didn't know what my next move was going to be with Sara. She seemed like she wanted to be my friend, but there was still tension between us. And I was just starting to realise why.

I arrived at work half an hour early. I was hoping that Grissom might let me go half an hour before the end if I came in early. I sat down in the Break room, waiting for Grissom to arrive. There was no one else in at the moment. It was actually a relief to be able to sit down for five minutes with no one else around me. However, that didn't last very long, as someone opened the door behind me.

I turned around to see who it was. Sara.

"Hey Sar, how you feeling now?"

"Fine." She said, not looking at me.

"You get some rest?" I asked her, willing her to look in my direction so I could smile at her. But she stayed standing by the door.

"Yes." She said, still not looking at me.

I sighed. She was being funny with me, but I had no idea why. I decided to ask her in a not-so-obvious way. "Are we ok?"


"Yes, y'know me and you. You and me. Have I done anything to upset you?"

"No." She said, finally looking in my direction, but still not making eye contact.

"Right…" I said, letting the conversation trail off. I mean, what was I supposed to say to that? I could hardly accuse her of acting cold towards me, because she would just go off on one. And I wanted us to build up our friendship, not go back to square one.

I sat there turned away from Sara, hoping she would get the message that I was feeling uncomfortable and didn't know what to say to her. She could be the one to start the conversation off again, because I had no idea what to talk about.

"How's Chris?" She asked me all of a sudden.

"Um, well I finished it." I admitted to her.

"You did?" she sounded surprised. I turned to look at her, noticing that she was finally looking at me.

She walked over and sat next to me saying, "How did he take it?"

"Pretty good actually, aside from the fact that he called me a selfish bitch." I joked.

"Oh…" She said, obviously not sure what to say. When she looked at me and saw I was smiling, she smiled back at me, her eyes sparkling. After a few minutes of silence she said,

"You're not."

"Not what?" I asked her.

"A selfish bitch."

"Huh? Yeah whatever." I laughed. Now she was being nice to me, acting as if we were friends. Sometimes she really confused me.

"No really, you're not. You love Lindsay to bits and you care about the people around you. Including me. In fact, you're the first person to care about me in a long time. You're not selfish at all." She said to me.

"Well, thanks I guess." I said smiling at her again. For some reason I had a strong urge to hug her. Even though I knew she wasn't comfortable with physical contact, I decided to go ahead anyway. It was worth the risk of her pulling away from me and telling me not to touch her.

I wrapped my arms around her tightly. Surprisingly, she hugged me back, allowing her face to touch mine. I had never felt so comfortable as I did then. It was like nothing mattered when Sara held me. But I didn't have a clue why.

"Uhh Cath?" she mumbled in my ear.


"You can let go of me now." She whispered.

"What? Oh sorry I was in a world of my own!" I said releasing her from my grip.

"That's ok." She said standing up and opening the door. She was about to leave when she turned back and said,

"And Cath?"


Smiling cheekily she said, "You give great hugs."

Mixed Emotions

For the rest of the shift, all I could think about was Sara. When I hugged her, I felt like the world could have come to an end and it wouldn't matter, as long as I had Sara. To be honest, it was freaking me out a little. I mean, Sara and I had never got on, yet we'd gone from being enemies to friends in a week.

'More than friends…' I found myself thinking.

'No. Don't think like that Cath.' another voice inside me was saying.

But I couldn't help thinking it. No matter how much I tried to deny it, I was attracted to Sara. And there was nothing I could do to stop myself feeling that way. I also knew what the 'something' inside me was, that had stopped me from apologising to Sara after Eddie's death. The reason I wasn't able to swallow my pride and tell her how sorry I was for the way I treated her, was because of my feelings towards her. I had only been able to make friends with her recently, and get closer to her because of my relationship with Chris. I had somehow convinced myself that he was the one for me, and that I was in love with him. I had managed to block out my feelings for Sara for so long, that it was only now I realised that I was in love with her.

I walked into the locker room, my head spinning. There were so many thoughts of Sara in my mind that it was giving me a headache. I didn't know whether I should tell her how I felt about her, or just put my feelings aside as I had been doing for so long.

I banged my head against the locker in frustration. Maybe I could knock some sense into myself, and the sense would lead me to the right answer.

"Hey don't do that." Said a voice from behind me. I turned around, and saw that it was Sara. Her voice sounded far away. Probably because I had just smashed my head as hard as I could, against metal.

I tried to speak but I couldn't get the words out. Everything was spinning around me, and I could hardly move let alone have a full-blown conversation.

"Sit down Cath. Before you end up fainting." I heard Sara say, coming up behind me and sitting me on the bench. She rested my head against her chest, and held me tightly. Straight away I began to feel better.

"Is the dizziness passing?" she asked me.

I managed to mumble a "Yes." And I grabbed onto Sara's hand for support. She whispered soothing words to me for a few minutes, before just sitting with me in silence.

Around ten minutes later she said,

"How's your head now?"

"Hurts." I whispered to her. If I talked any louder my head would start banging again.

"You'll be alright in a minute. And anyway, it'll teach you not to bang your head against any more lockers in the future!" She said mocking me.

"Ha Ha. You're real funny Sara." I managed to say. I was starting to feel better now, and able to open my eyes and speak properly. I gently lifted my head up to Sara's, and looked straight into her eyes. She looked at me with a confused expression on her face. I couldn't really blame her I suppose. Two minutes ago I was resting my head on her chest, and now my face was just inches away from hers.

Without thinking I brought my hand up to Sara's face, and leaned in to kiss her. As my mouth touched hers I felt a wave of excitement pass through my body. All my needs were being satisfied in one kiss. It was only when I realised that Sara wasn't kissing me back that I came to my senses, and pulled away. Immediately I started to apologise.

"I, I'm sorry Sara…I just…I don't know what I was thinking…" I stuttered.

"It's ok Cath, you're just…not yourself. Maybe you should go to hospital and get your head checked out. You might have banged it a little harder than you thought." She mumbled.

"There's nothing wrong with my head; I'm perfectly sane!" I shouted angrily. My head started thumping as I said it, and I immediately regretted shouting.

"I didn't mean it like that Cath! I meant you might have concussion from hitting it or something! God, why does everything have to turn into a huge fight with you?!" Sara yelled back. She got up and strode over to the door. I tried to get up and follow her but as soon as I stood up I saw bright flashing lights, and I had to sit down again.

Because I couldn't follow her I shouted after her, "Sar, I didn't mean to…I'm sorry!"

She turned back, and for a minute I thought she was going to sit down again. Instead she said,

"You've apologised for your behaviour once too often. That's it from now on. I want nothing more to do with you: at work or socially."

And with that she turned and walked away, leaving me alone in the locker room, with a banging headache and a broken heart.

Learning a secret

When I was actually able to walk, I picked up my things and left the locker room. I was just about to get into my car when I heard,

"Catherine! Wait!"

I turned to see who was calling me, and I sighed when I realised it was Greg. I did not need to hear his stupid jokes or chat up lines right now.

"What is it Greg?" I asked him as he approached me. As I studied the expression on his face, I realised that he was not about to make any jokes, and that he wanted to talk to me properly for once. He had this scared little boy expression on his face. He only ever wore that expression when he had to tell me bad news.

"Look at this." He said to me, handing over a police report. I scanned the sheet and gasped when I saw what it said.

"Sara," I gasped out loud. "Arrested for drink driving?!" That must have been what Grissom wanted to talk to her about before. He wanted to make sure she was ok after the whole incident.

"That's what it says." He said shrugging his shoulders at me. "I thought you should know…you've been really close to Sara lately."

"Well thanks for telling me Greg but…where did you get this?" I questioned him.

"Uhhh, I was looking for Grissom and when I was in his office this was on his desk."

"You went through his personal things?!" I said. I was astounded. Not even I had the guts to look at Grissom's personal things; and I'd been friends with him for years.

"No! It was right on the top of his desk. I had to leave some files on his desk and it caught my eye. So I photocopied it and brought it to you. I'm sorry." He protested.

"Right. Just this once, I am not going to report you for this. Only because I don't think it will help this situation. But don't you ever do anything like this again. Do you understand?" I warned him.

"Yes. I promise Cath, never again." He said. He sounded genuine enough.

"Ok. I am going to keep this report. Leave it with me; I'll speak to Sara. Don't say a word to her or anyone else about this. Or Grissom! Because if he finds out what you've done he will hit the roof."

Greg nodded to show he understood, and he made his way back into the building. I sat in my car, and leant my head against the wheel. And no matter how much I tried to stop myself, the tears began to fall. I cried because of my behaviour, and because of all the upset I had caused Sara. I so badly wanted to put it right, but I had no idea how I could do that.

'Well Cath,' I thought to myself. 'It might help if you went to see her. That would be a start.'

So, taking a deep breath I put my keys in the ignition. I probably shouldn't have been driving seeing as I had just banged my head, but right now that was the last thing on my mind.

9.30 am. That's what the digits on my watch read. According to my watch, I had been standing outside Sara's door for the last five minutes. I so badly wanted to knock on the door and speak to her, but every muscle in my body was frozen. I didn't know what to say to her. I couldn't just bring up the police report, I had to win back some of her trust first. And that was going to be hard. Especially when she didn't trust me.

'Just knock on the door!' my mind was screaming at me. But I couldn't. I just couldn't.

I turned away and started to walk off. But then another voice in my mind said to me, 'No! Go back!'

Clenching my fists I spun around and walked back to her door. I lifted my hand and knocked on the door very softly. There was no going back now.

Around what felt like three hours later, but could not have been more than thirty seconds, Sara opened the door. The expression on her face turned angry when she saw that it was me.

"What the hell do you want? Weren't you listening to me when I told you I wanted nothing more to do with you?" she sneered.

"Yes I was listening. Sara, you may not want anything to do with me, but you can't just expect me to completely forget about you. You confided in me the other day and…and there's certain issues we need to talk about." I pleaded with her. I really needed her to let me in. Not just into her apartment, but into her heart as well.

"Look Catherine, why don't you forget everything I told you about my past. I told you when I was feeling vulnerable and if I could, I would turn back the clock and erase everything I said to you. You mean nothing to me."

I felt my stomach tie up in knots as she said those words. That touched a nerve and it really hurt me. But I knew that no matter how much I wanted to punch her right now, that if there was any chance of me and her being friends, or more I had to stay calm and carry on being nice to her.

"Sara, I don't know if you meant what you just said; but it hurt. You have no idea how much I care about you. And if being a bitch to me makes you feel better, then feel free to carry on. All I want is for you to be ok, and from where I'm standing it looks as if you're not." I said.

She just glared at me, not taking her eyes off me for one second. I really, really wanted the ground to swallow me up, but I knew that I couldn't walk away. I had to be strong.

When Sara continued to stay silent, I said one final thing.

"Give me a chance to prove myself to you."

She held the door open for me, and let me in.

What it takes

Sara led me through the hall, into the living room. Her apartment was exactly how I expected it to be: organised, neat and tidy. Her living room had cream coloured wallpaper with matching cream sofas. Her carpet was a rich gold colour, the same as her curtains.

I heard a small cough from Sara. I looked around, and saw that she was waiting for me to speak.

"Look, before I say this, you have to know that I didn't find out intentionally. And I don't want you to think that I am holding it against you or anything. Because the reason I am asking you about it is I'm worried. I really, really care about you Sara."

"You've got a funny way of showing it." She replied coldly.

"You have no idea how sorry I am about the way I've treated you Sara. Really, I am."

"Look, why don't you just tell me what you have to tell me and then go." She said, running a hand through her hair as if she couldn't be bothered to listen.

"Ok. I know about you drink driving." I revealed.

"You…you what?" she said to me, the expression on her face changing from boredom to complete horror.

"Greg saw a police report on it. He didn't find it intentionally. But, but he came to me and told me about it. He's promised not to tell anyone else about it, and I won't either. But Sara, I need you to talk to me. Please. Not just for your sake but for mine as well. I need you." I said gently, placing a hand on her shoulder. Suddenly her whole mood changed. She went from hating me, to needing me.

"Please don't be nice to me Cath," she said shrugging my hand off her. "I know you've just been trying to help me, and that you're sorry for earlier. But listen to me; you can't do anything for me."

"Why?" I said, my voice breaking. I didn't want to cry here in front of Sara. I had to be strong; for her sake as well as my own.

"Because…Because you know too much about me already. You know the real me; the part of myself that I hate. And I can't stand that thought." She whispered, her voice tearful.

"Oh Sara. The real you is the person I want. It's taken me so long to realise it; but I love you."

"What?" she said, her eyes burning into mine.

"I love you." I repeated. I grabbed her around the waist, and held her close to me. Sara hugged me back, clinging onto me more than ever before. I was just about to kiss her, when she made the first move. She crushed her lips onto mine, and grabbed hold of my hands. I closed my eyes and kissed her back eagerly. It felt like I had been waiting for this moment for too long. All I could feel was Sara's soft mouth pressed against mine; and I instantly knew that I never wanted this moment to end.

Half an hour later I was lying on the sofa with Sara in my arms. Everything was perfect…except for one thing.


"Hmm" She mumbled against my chest.

"We need to talk…about this drinking problem."

"I know Cath. But please; not now. Everything just feels so right and I don't want to spoil it by talking about that. I need to get my head around this whole situation first, let alone telling you about that." She said.

"Ok," I relented. "But within the next couple of days we have to discuss it. Otherwise you and me is never going to work."

"I know. But as long as I've got you there for me, I know I can fight it. With your help." She replied.

"I'm there for you Sar. Anytime, any place."

Sara smiled up at me, and after a few more moments of laying there she said,

"Wanna put some music on?"

"Sure." I said, letting go of her so she could go over to the stereo. She pressed play, and then came back over to me, pulling me up next to her.

She held me in her arms, and when the music began, we started to dance slowly.

Dancing with Sara is so amazing. Never would I have thought that I would end up with her. She is the most gorgeous woman I have ever met, and to be with her is a dream come true. I feel like after all this running around to get her, and all the pain I've been through is worth it. If only I'd seen it earlier then maybe things could have worked out so much quicker. But there's no point in looking back on what could have been. The important thing is that I have Sara, and she has me.

I want Sara, and I've got her. And I'm never, ever going to let her go. Right now I feel as if I've never been in love before Sara. She's the only one who I have ever truly loved. Sara buries her head into my neck. I wrap my arms around her even tighter, and it's there and then that I know I'll never let her go. She is the new light in my life. Together we can help each other confront our fears. Together, we can face anything.

Sara lifts her head up from against my neck, and kisses me lightly on the lips. I run my hands up and down her back and lean my head on her shoulder, reversing our positions.

I know that no matter what happens, I will never hurt her or lie to her again. The old me would do anything she could to get one over on Sara. But that is no longer the case. There is a new me. And while I have changed the person that I am, Sara is learning to show the real person inside herself.

I hope that we'll be able to love, trust and believe in each other until the end of time. So long as we have those three things, I know that everything will be ok.

The End

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