DISCLAIMER: CSI is in no way mine, though I wish it was there would have been no GSR.
WARNING: This story contains mention of self harm and suicide.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Sofrost for the beta.
"Come on; let's get you sat down, ok?" I say gently coaxing Lindsay into the front room. I don't know what I'm feeling just now. Sara has just dropped a major bombshell on Lindsay, that she wants us to have a relationship, and Lindsay seems to have gone into a catatonic state
"Is she ok, Cath?" Nancy asks as I guide Lindsay onto the sofa beside her.
"I think so, Nance. She's just had a pretty big shock. You know, with her friends telling her that she's in love with her mum." I tell Nancy, while I stroke Lindsay's hair, trying to maintain as much physical contact as possible.
"Who's in love with you, Aunt Cath? Is it that woman who was trying to sneak out?" Jeremy pipes up from his position from the chair.
"Yes, Jeremy. Sara is in love with your Aunty Cath, and from the way she has been acting and everything she's said about the lovely Sara, I'd say she feels the same." Nancy tells Jeremy but looking at me the whole time with a small, smug smile gracing her lips. "Do you care to deny it, Cath?"
"No, I can't deny it." I tell her, looking at Lindsay. "I am in love with her. I have been for a long time now and I never thought I stood a chance with her. I never thought that she could ever care for me the way I do for her. I've known for a long time how Sara feels about Lindsay; you can see it in her eyes when she looks at her. She loves her almost as much as I do. After Eddie's death Sara spent so much time with her she gave me my little girl back." I tell them still looking at Lindsay.
It's important that she knows that we will still be her mum and Sara, no matter what she decides. Still kneeling on the floor in front of Lindsay is taking its toll on my knees, so I move to sit beside her on the sofa. I take hold of her hand and continue to stroke her hair and back. It's important to me that she knows I'm here, even if she's not responding to me. Looking a Jeremy I smile when I notice that he has gone back to his game. I look at Nancy over the top of Lindsay's head and I can see she has more questions for me. Growing up with Nancy I could always tell when she was satisfied with an answer. She has a really expressive face, which can be fun growing up. I always knew how far I could push her when I was teasing her.
"What?" I question, not liking being under her scrutiny. It makes me feel really uncomfortable.
"Why did Sara just run out of here?" Nancy asks.
"Apart for the fact she had a cab waiting to take her to an appointment, you mean?" I ask laughing. Obviously Nancy doesn't find it funny; she just nods her head and waits for me to answer. I take my time to answer; I'm not doing it to annoy her. I just think that Sara's secrets and past are for her to tell, it's not my place. I can't really speak for Sara and I don't want to lie to Nancy either. Deciding to stick to the truth, I take a deep breath and try to give her the abbreviated version.
"She's scared." I tell her with a defeated sigh.
"Scared of what?" Nancy asks looking confused.
"She's scared of losing us. Lindsay and me." I say looking at Lindsay. As much as I try, I can't stop the sob that escapes me. Tears burn my eyes and a massive lump forms in my throat making it difficult for me to breathe never mind speak. Gulping for air I manage to continue slowly.
"She's scared that she'll lose the one and only family that she learned what 'love' actually means. After Eddie, Sara felt that she should take the time to get to know Lindsay, the child. Not Lindsay, the victim. In time she came to love and care for her as if she was her own child." I stop and look at Nancy to see is following every word I'm saying. "I'd always known that Sara had great love and compassion in her heart. I just never thought she would choose Lindsay to open her heart too. Or me for that matter." I smile at Lindsay. Hoping that she might be on her way out of her catatonic state.
"What about you, Cath?" Nancy asks. I look at her in confusion, not really understanding what she's getting at. I'm just about to ask her what she means when she explains. "How are you feeling about all of this?"
How do I feel about 'all of this'? How do I feel that my little girl holds my future happiness in her hands? Well, not just my happiness but Sara's too. What happens if she decides that she's not happy about us being in a relationship? What will Sara do then? What will I do? What will happen with Lindsay? Will she still want to see Sara? Would she still turn to Sara when she feels that she can't talk to her Gran, Nancy or me?
On the flip side, I can imagine the three of us doing normal family things. Pick nicks, outings to the beach or the park. Long weekends just the three of us. Me and Sara sitting in the audience of Lindsay's school plays. Christmas mornings with the three of us swapping presents and watching Lindsay tearing into hers with childish enthusiasm. Then Christmas lunch with the rest of the family. I can see Sara entertaining the kids while I do my obligatory duty and help out in the kitchen. I can even picture us in our dotage, with Lindsay's children running around and Sara trying to teach them maths and physics. That image makes me laugh. Sara still lean and fit, with a few grey hairs scattered through her dark hair. Laughter lines around her eyes and mouth, chasing two little blonde haired, blue eyed terrors around with maths and physics books in her arms.
"Well?" Nancy's voice breaks into my thoughts reminding me that future is still hanging in the balance, or more precisely Lindsay's hands. "How do you feel about all of this?" She asks again, obviously feeling the need to remind me of her question.
"Numb" I lie. I really hate lying to her but I don't want to lay everything I'm feeling out in front of her, Lindsay and Jeremy. Although looking at Jeremy, I'd say he's more interested in his game at the moment. He's trying hard to play his game with one of his arms in a plaster cast. Its funny watching him, he's concentrating so hard that he has his tongue sticking out the side of his mouth like Nancy used to do whenever she was focusing solely on something.
"That's bull, Cath, and you know it." Nancy snaps at me.
"Ok, if you must know, I'm bloody scared, ok? I'm scared of what will happen. I'm scared of what my Baby will decide. I'm scared that this is all too much for her. I'm scared of what Sara will do if Lindsay decides she doesn't want Sara to have nothing more to do with us." I shout, standing up and pacing in front of the window. "I mean, I can see it. The future, the three of us sharing our days together. Sara helping Lindsay with her homework while I make the dinner. The three of us on holiday together. Arguing over whose turn it is to do the laundry or the shopping because we both don't want to do it. Or arguing whose turn it is because we both want to do it." I say laughing
"I can imagine us at Christmas and birthdays. Snuggling in bed with Lindsay when we both have the day off. I can picture us doing the family stuff as well as the couple stuff. I don't just want the couple stuff; I want the family stuff and so does Sara. She understands that we come as a package, Lindsay and me, and she wants that. She doesn't just want me, she wants us both." I stop pacing and look at Nancy and Lindsay. Lindsay is still staring into space and Nancy is looking at me, waiting for me to continue. Taking a deep breath I start pacing again. "She said that if a friendship is all she could have with us then a friendship is what she would take. But I now that she loves me, loves us, how am I supposed to forget that and pretend that I don't feel the same?" I ask crumpling to the ground, tears streaming down my face and gut wrenching sobs erupting from me. As my tears slowly subside a sharp pain in my chest makes itself known to me. It feels like my heart is breaking into little pieces.
"You don't." A small voice whispers above me. "Did you hear me? I said 'you don't.'" I look up and I see Lindsay standing above me with tears streaking lines down her face. "I love Sara too, mummy. We don't have to pretend anything, do we mummy?" I shake my head and open up my arms to her, she doesn't hesitate to throw herself into my arms. I immediately tightly wrap my arms around her as she wraps her arms around my neck.
After countless minute of sitting on the floor and crying along with Lindsay our tears have dried and my body starts to protest at sitting on the floor for so long. I gather Lindsay up in my arms and slowly rise from the floor. Unfortunately, no matter how slow I got up from the floor wouldn't prepare me for the pain of pins and needles as the blood starts to floor back into my legs unrestricted. I limp to the couch and sit down, still cuddling Lindsay to me. I still don't understand why she went catatonic. It scared me when she wouldn't respond to me. But I can wait until she's ready to tell me.
It's then that I realise we are alone. Nancy and Jeremy have gone home. It's just Lindsay and me, waiting for Sara to come home. It hits me that I won't be able to wait until Lindsay opens up in her own time; I need to know what's going on in that beautiful blonde head of hers. Stroking her hair I gently bring her out of the light sleep that she's fallen into.
"Lindsay?" She responds by snuggling deeper into me as she gently nuzzles my shoulder. "Come on Baby, I need you to wake up so I can talk to you."
"I don't wanna go to school." She says in the same voice she uses when she tries to catch a few extra minutes in bed.
"You don't have to go to school, Honey, you're on holiday. Remember?" I chuckle rubbing her back hoping to stimulate a more lucid response from her.
"Oh, I forgot about that." She murmurs. "Why do I need to wake up then?" She whines.
"Because we have to talk. I need to ask you a really important question."
"Ok, what is it mummy?" She asks sitting and rubbing her face. She looks me straight in the eye and waits for my response.
"Well, what I want to know is, why did you freeze when Sara asked if you would be ok with us dating and being a couple?"
She suddenly looks shy and I can tell that she doesn't want to answer, but thanks to the relationship that I have cultivated with her, I know she will. She's just thinking about the best way to tell me.
"So, it was true then?" She whispers in wonder. "It wasn't a dream?"
"No Sweetie, it wasn't a dream. Sara really did ask your permission to date me, and I want that too, if you're alright with it, that is." I tell her trying to gauge her reaction. "Listen there is other options you know. If you are not happy with us dating, we'd still like to be friends. Sara and I have to work together, so we'd see each other at work, and Sara wants to still hang out with you like you used too. We don't want that to change just because you don't want us dating. If you're still unhappy about either option there is a third. It's one we both hope you don't like, to be honest." I tell her trying hard to remain calm.
"What's the third option?" She asks slowly.
"The last option is," I pause to take a deep breath, hoping that she won't pick it. I can feel my heart break slightly at the thought of Lindsay picking the third option. "That we all stop being friends. Sara is even willing to move away and find a job in another part of the country if it makes you happy."
"No! I don't want that." Lindsay shouts out in a panic. "I love Sara."
"Honey, calm down. If you don't want option three then we take that one off the table. To be honest, Sara and I don't like that option very much either. We know it would break all our hearts." I tell her pulling her in for a cuddle. A thought occurs to me and I voice it to Lindsay. "Baby, why did you freeze when Sara asked you if you would mind us dating?" She mumbles something into my shoulder.
"What did you say, Baby?"
"I said, I thought it was a dream." She says a little bit louder. "I thought if I stayed quiet then I could keep it, that I could make it real. If I didn't do anything then I wouldn't wake up and we would all be happy." She says with tears in her voice and her eyes.
"Oh, Honey. Why didn't you tell me?" I ask holding her tighter to me. She raises her head and looks at me as though I've gone crazy. "Right, your dad?" She smiles sadly and nods her head. "You know Linds; I loved your dad very much. I still do in a way. He gave me the greatest thing in my life. You." I say looking into her eyes. "Sometimes though, no matter how much you loved someone at the beginning your feelings change over time. That's what happened with your dad and me. After we got married we started to grow apart. Then after you were born we decided that it would be better if we got divorced cos all we were doing was arguing. Although we still loved each other and loved you, we were too different and it wasn't healthy for any of us to live like we were."
I know that she does not understand everything I'm saying but she understands the majority of it. There is something else bothering her and I have a good idea I know what it is. "You know Linds, it's ok for you to love Sara the same way you love your dad or me, don't you? Cos I think your dad would be happy that you knew Sara and loved her." Ok, so that might not be true but I don't want Lindsay to think that her dad would have anything bad to say about Sara. Of course he would, he would be jealous as hell that Lindsay is giving her attention and affection to someone else. Obviously I said the right thing cos Lindsay's shoulders relax a bit and she nods her head.
"Lindsay, Sara knows that she could never take the place of your dad, and she doesn't even want to try. She knows how much you love your dad and she won't try to compete with him for your love. Sara loves you like you were her own daughter. She wants to be there to help you with your homework, watch movies with you, tell you to eat your vegetables, play on the beach with you and go to your school plays. She knows that she would always be the step-parent to you. She doesn't want to take my place or your dads place, she's happy to be a sort of stand in parent, if you know what I mean?" Lindsay nods to show that she understands what I'm saying to her.
"I want those things too, mummy." Lindsay says sincerely sitting to look me in the eye. "But I think we might fall out sometimes though."
"Why?" I ask confused.
"Well, I don't really like vegetables, do I?" She asks giggling.
Her laughter is infectious and I'm soon laughing along with her. As we both quieten down I pull Lindsay on top of me and lie back on the couch. Although I enjoy seeing Lindsay grow and develop I wish we could always have quiet moments like this, just the two of us enjoying the quiet times of peace and tranquillity these four walls can offer against the chaos I see every day at work. Lindsay's voice breaks me out of my musing of the horrors I encounter and why she makes my work worthwhile.
"Yes Baby?" I ask looking down at her little blonde head resting on my chest.
"I'm really happy that you and Sara are going to be girlfriends." she says raising her head from my chest and meeting my eyes. "My friends are going to be so jealous when I tell them." Her eyes twinkle at the thought of having some good gossip to tell her friends. As the shock wears off, I gape at her.
"Do you really mean it, Sweetheart?" I ask totally shocked at how easily she accepts the whole situation. "You would really be ok with us dating?" Lindsay nods her head and I pull her into a bone crushing hug. I can't believe how happy my little girl has made me.
"Mum?" Lindsay gasps.
"If Sara is to take me to the beach, you need to let me go so I can breathe." She wheezes slightly, trying to wriggle free from me.
"Oh sorry, Baby." I laugh, loosening my hold on her slightly. "You've made me so happy."
"I know, I'm happy too." She sighs happily from her resting place on my chest. "Oh, you know I'll have to give her 'the talk' don't you?"
"'The talk'?" I question.
"Yeah, 'the talk.'" She says raising her head. "You know, 'you're dating my mum, you had better treat her right. I'm the daughter of a CSI and most of my uncles are CSI's and one is a detective.' That talk. Just to let her know that she isn't to hurt you." She says seriously, making me laugh. Cos I'm laughing at her she just glares at me but that just makes me laugh harder.
"I don't think you'll need to give Sara 'the talk,' Honey. But if you can if you want too, ok? Just don't be too rough on her." I tell her. I know Sara will handle the whole thing seriously. She'll take it as serious as Lindsay does. I love that about her. No matter how trivial something may be to her, if it's important to Lindsay then Sara will give it her full attention. I have a feeling she'll do the same with' the talk.'
"Do you think Sara will help me with my science project?"
"Um, before or after you have 'the talk'?" I joke with her.
"After, of course." She says indignantly. Trust my little girl to put me first. She wants to set the record straight before asking Sara to help with her school work. She'll want to let Sara know how she feels about everything before starting her project.
"Well, how about I text Sara and let her know that everything is ok?" I say sitting up and moving to get my cell phone from the table. "Linds, do you mind if I give Sara a heads up about 'the talk'? It's not really fair that she walks into it blind, is it?"
Lindsay looks thoughtful for a few minutes. "Ok, I suppose it's only fair that she knows that I want to talk to her." She says, shrugging her shoulders. "Can I get a juice box?"
"No problem, they're in the fridge."
As Lindsay heads into the kitchen to get her juice box I send Sara a text, hoping that it will put her mind at ease. Lindsay comes back into the front room and plops herself down beside me on the sofa. When my phone sounds out it's usually 'message sent' tone I put it back on the table and lean back on the sofa.
"Mum?" Lindsay asks quietly beside me.
"Yeah, Sweetheart?" I turn my head to look at her but she continues to look straight ahead.
"What time is Sara coming home?"
Lindsay surprises me again. I thought she would have needed some extra time to adjust to Sara and me dating. "I don't know sweetheart. I expect she'll be another couple of hour. Why?"
"Well, I was thinking that we could make her dinner. She looked very tired when she left earlier; I think it would be nice for her to come home to a nice meal."
Once again Lindsay has surprised me. I've always known that Lindsay is thoughtful and kind but I never expected her to think about that. Obviously I'm taking too long to answer her cos Lindsay has turned her head to look at me expectantly. I wrap my arm around her shoulders and smile.
"Of course, Sweetheart, that's a fantastic idea. What should we make her?" Lindsay and Sara have spent more time together and as shameful as it sounds, Lindsay might have a better idea what of what Sara likes to eat. Lindsay thinks for a minute before smiling brightly.
"How about macaroni and cheese with baby potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower? It's one of her favourites." Lindsay says.
Would you be able to eat all of that?"I'm shocked that Lindsay is actually offering to eat something that isn't full of additives, and e numbers.
"Well I don't really like cauliflower but Sara says if I keep trying it in little portions I might get to like it. Plus Sara says it's really good for me." Lindsay announces proudly. It always amazes me that no matter how many times I've told her over the years that cauliflower is good for her she would never eat the stuff.
"Ok, Mac and cheese with baby potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower it is." I say smiling. "Maybe we should star now? That way it'll be ready when she comes home."
"Cool." Lindsay jumps up from the sofa and races into the kitchen. Chuckling I follow her into the kitchen at a slower pace.
As Lindsay and I set about making Sara dinner I realise that I'm happier than I have been in a long time and it's all thanks to my beautiful daughter and the woman I love. Something Lindsay said to me earlier comes back to as I chop the broccoli and cauliflower and Lindsay washes the pasta and potatoes.
"Linds?" I call over my shoulder to get her attention.
"You said that you were dreaming about Sara and me getting together?" I question slowly.
"Well, how long have you been dreaming about it?" I ask, turning around to look at her back. She turns away from the sink and looks me straight in the eye. She takes a deep breath then says.
"It feels like forever, mum. I've wanted Sara to be a part of our family properly, not like Uncle Gil or Uncle Jim, but properly, forever. I didn't understand it at first but then I did. I want Sara to be my mummy too." I don't think she realises what she has said but Lindsay has just answered one of the biggest questions we could have asked her. How would she feel about Sara becoming her legal guardian? Pushing off from the counter I move over to her and wrap my arms around her.
"Sara wants that too, Baby." I whisper and I kiss her head. "We both do."
"Really?" She squeaks in surprise.
"Yes, really." I say kissing her on the head one more time. "Now, what do you say we get our new Woman's dinner ready, eh?" Lindsay nods her head viperously. We both go back to our tasks happy in the knowledge that we both agree that Sara is what our little family unit has been missing.
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