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.
Tearing myself away from Sara I rush to answer the phone before whoever it is hangs up. Snatching up the handset I hope whoever it is has a valid reason for disturbing us.
"What?" I bark into the mouth piece.
"Mummy?" Oh God. Lindsay. The irritation I was feeling moments ago quickly evaporates and guilt invades me just as quickly.
"Hey Baby, how is Disney Land?" I ask, trying to swallow down my ever rising guilt. Although Lindsay has never been far in my thoughts, she hasn't been my primary thought for the last couple of days.
"Is everything ok, mummy? You sound a bit angry and upset. Did I wake you up?" She asks in a small voice that makes me feel even worse.
"No Baby, you didn't wake me up. Everything is fine; I just, uh, stubbed my toe before I picked up the phone, that's all." I tell her, finally sitting down on the bed. "So how is Disney Land?" I ask hoping she'll buy my lie and forget about me being harsh with her moments before. I try to relax as I anticipate Lindsay telling me all about how 'cool' it is meeting all the princesses. Instead she manages to shock me.
"Mummy, I want to come home." She says fighting back tears. I can hear her voice squeak a little the way it usually does when she's upset. Something obviously upset her and I want to know what.
"Why, Baby? I thought you were having a good time. Why do you want to come home?"
"I was, but Jeremy hurt his arm and we can't play together as much. It's kind of boring now. I have no one to play with. Aunt Nancy is too scared to go on the rides that I like and she can't really leave Jeremy, and Jeremy can't go on the rides because of his cast and sling." She tells me, openly crying the way that upset children do without shame or embarrassment.
"Lindsay, what exactly did Jeremy do to his arm?" I ask, the mother in me coming to the fore. I already have a good idea what has happened to his arm, but I'd still like a little confirmation.
"The doctor said that it is broken."
"How did he manage that?" I ask, my voice rising again, this time with worry. "What ride was he on?" Lindsay's little girl laughter trickles down the line and I feel my brow furrow in confusion.
"That's what's so funny. He didn't hurt it on a ride; he hurt it on the jungle gym showing off to some older kids. He was trying to hang upside, but when he tried to hook his legs over the bar he slipped and fell on his arm." She says giggling.
"Lindsay Willows, it is not funny." I scold her but she just giggle harder. Unfortunately her giggling is infectious. Trying hard to maintain an air of authority and keep my laughter down and not let her know that I'm laughing along with her, I bite my lip to try and stem my giggles. "Lindsay, you know it's no fun wearing a cast. Now stop laughing and put your Aunt on the phone, please?"
"Ok, Mummy." She sighs. "But it really was funny." She giggles.
"Lindsay." Thankfully the tone of my voice seems to hold enough warning for her to listen to me.
"Ok, I'll get Aunty Nancy." She mumbles into the phone. I hear a gentle click as she places the phone on the table. I kind of feel sorry for their neighbours at the hotel as I hear Lindsay run and shout for Nancy. I hear Nancy's distant voice ask Lindsay to keep it down to a dull roar. Nancy's footsteps come closer and I can hear her mutter about hyper active kids before lifting the phone from the table.
I toy with the idea of winding her up but she sounds so tired and beat.
"Hey Sis, how are you holding up?" I ask. I feel totally sympathetic towards her, looking after a sick Jeremy and a bored Lindsay is not a situation I'd want to be in.
"Just, I think. Did Lindsay tell you that we are coming home early?" She sighs.
"Yeah she did. When do you think you'll be back in Vegas?"
"I'm hoping we'll be back in town by tomorrow afternoon. We're going to head out in the morning. I thought I'd give the kids enough time to have one last night and buy some gifts for people." She says wearily. I can understand why she might feel that way, driving for four hours plus with two young kids would take a lot of patience. It dawns on me that Sara and Lindsay will be meeting sooner that I had actually hoped they would. We'd also be having 'the' conversation sooner rather than later.
"Um, Nancy, I have something to tell you." Taking a deep breath and launch into an abbreviated version of Sara and the reason she'll be staying with us for a little while. Her reaction is exactly what I expected it to be. Worried that I'm taking on too much and that I'll end up hurt. I assure her that I'm a big girl and I know what I'm doing. Unfortunately I don't. After a brief talk with Lindsay I hang up, pleased that she's so excited to get home now, even if it is only to see Sara.
Lindsay is coming home. Lindsay is coming home. Oh my God, Lindsay is coming home. I've never had a panic attack before but this must be what it's like. The whole room is spinning and pitching in front of my eyes. My heart is beating so fast, I swear it's going to beat out of my chest. I feel sweat pool at my arm pits and my hands feel like they have been steeped in water. My breath is coming out in short painful gasps, making me feel even dizzier. My stomach muscles contracts painfully making me feel very nauseous. Standing up from the bed I make my way to my bathroom, if I'm going to vomit I can at least make sure that it's easy to clean up. Unfortunately my plans don't go the way I want them to. As soon as my legs take my full weight, my vision tunnels, I get hot flashes and I crash to the ground. Lying on the ground l feel my throat tighten making it even harder to breath. I'm really starting to panic when I hear someone call my name from afar. Suddenly I see Sara's face appear in front of me. I try to speak to her but I'm unable to form any words. I must look like a fish out of water.
"Cath, look at me. I need you to listen to me and do what I say, ok?" I hear her ask. Her voice sounds distant and echo-y. I've no idea if she can understand me or not but I try to let her know that I trust her and I know I'm safe with her. "I think you're having a panic attack and I think I might be able to help you but you need to try and do what I say, ok? I'll do it with you. Just concentrate on me ok, breath in through your nose for the count of five. One, two, three, four, five and exhale for five. One. Two, three, four, five. That's it, you're doing fine."
I continue to follow Sara's instructions and after a while I start to feel better. My skin has a layer of sweat covering it and in my air conditioned bedroom I involuntarily shiver. Mistaking the shiver, Sara urges me to stand up and directs me to my bed. Sitting back against the headboard she wraps her arm around my shoulders and guides my head to her shoulder. I can feel her running her fingers through my damp hair, at any other time it would feel nice, but just now it doesn't feel so great.
"Want to talk about it?" She asks. I know I have to tell her but I don't want to. How is she going to react to Lindsay coming home earlier than I thought? "How about we start with who was on the phone, then?"
So this is it, I guess. "Lindsay."
"Oh, how is she enjoying Disney Land?" She asks.
"She's not." I say and I know it's going to lead to more questions but if I can hold out a little longer I might be able to enjoy being in Sara's arms a little longer.
"Oh, why is she not enjoying it? Are the rides to scary for her?" When she asks that I can't help laugh.
"No, Lindsay is fearless. If she could have she'll have gone on ever ride there. Knowing her she would have tried to get on rides that she's too small for." I tell her, extremely proud of my fearless little warrior princess.
"Ah right." She says understanding a little bit of what it takes to keep up with my little girl. "So....why is she not enjoying it then?" She asks slowly.
I raise my head up from her shoulder and look her in the eyes. Now is the time I've been trying to put off, I have to tell her that Lindsay will be home tomorrow and we'll have to face the little spit fire and her reaction to the fact that Sara and I are in love and want to be together.
"Jeremy broke his arm and Lindsay's bored not having her play pal." That part was easy, now the tough part. "Nancy is having a hard time looking after Jeremy and trying to keep Lindsay entertained. Unfortunately she's not doing a very good job of it. So they'll be back tomorrow afternoon."
Sara lies looking up at me with shock and fear in her eyes.
"They're coming back tomorrow? Does Lindsay know that I'm here? Does she know how we feel about each other? Did you tell her yet?" She asks her breathing becoming almost erratic as mine was earlier.
"Calm down, Sara." I gently tell her, cupping her face in my hand, forcing her to look at me. "Yes, Lindsay knows that you are her, and she can't wait to see you. She's really excited about it. I haven't told her about our feelings yet or that we want to date. I thought we could wait a couple of days and let you both get reacquainted. How does that sound?" Thankfully her breathing has slowed down but she still has fear in her eyes. Who would have thought that the big bad Sara Sidle would be afraid of little Lindsay Willows? It's almost funny, well it would have been if we didn't have our hearts riding on her reaction to us as a couple.
The next few hours passed by with the both of us worrying about Lindsay and what she'll say. We spent the rest of the day just lazing around, well trying to laze around. We'd take it in turns to pace around the house, trying to read various papers, magazines and books. From time to time one of us would break the silence and ask if the other wanted from the kitchen. After dinner Sara and I cleared away the dinner plates and I spend time cleaning up the kitchen. When I return to the living room I notice that Sara is lying on the couch with her head turned towards the television. Stopping in the door way I watch as the light from the television plays across her skin. Even with the translucent light blanching her skin, she is still beautiful. Her hair is swept back from her face, tucked safely behind the shell of her ear. Her eyes look closed from the position that she's in but I know that she's not asleep. Her nostrils flare slightly as she breaths in and out. Something is obviously troubling her. Her mouth is set in a pout. It's really adorable. If I was a gambling woman I'd bet a month's wage that what's troubling her is the exact same thing that's troubling me. My little girl. I watch her in silence for a few more minutes but after she lets out another sigh I decide to break my silence.
"Penny for them?" I ask coming to stand behind the couch. She looks up at me from her position on the couch and I feel my breath catch in my throat. She extends her hand to me and I take it, lightly kissing the knuckles.
"Lie with me?" She asks quietly.
I don't answer her. I just let go of her hand and move around to the front of the couch. Sara turns onto her side with her back pressed tightly against the back of the couch and I sit on the edge. I look into her eyes and all I see is seriousness and fear. I love the serious side of her not just the little playful scenes I have witnessed in the past. Unfortunately I've never been lucky enough to experience her playfulness, but I hope that will change.
"Um, if I fall asleep will you still be here when I wake up?" I ask her with a smirk. Thankfully, she caught on to the playful tone in my voice and plays along. She pretends to think about it then a grin breaks out on her lips.
"Well, that all depends." She says wrapping her arm around my waist and gently guides me to lie down beside her. Her fingers gently massaging a strip of skin that had been exposed when I lay down.
"Depends on what?" I ask looking over my shoulder at her.
"Well, it depends on whether or not you......." she says in a low husky voice lowering her lips to my ear. "Snore." She finishes in a giggle.
Damn the tone of her voice had stoked the fire of lust that had started burning years ago. I hear her giggling through my lust induced haze. Hang on, snore? I don't snore!
"Hey, I don't snore." I tell her, reaching my hand over and playfully slapping her on her behind.
"No, you're right you don't snore. It's more like the snuffling sound a little puppy makes when it's nuzzling into your neck, you know? Like this." She says as she gently nuzzles my neck with her nose and lips. Damn, I think the central heating must be broken.
"Sara." I say, moaning her name. "Sara, Please." I beg her, turning my face towards hers.
"Please, kiss me?" I whisper.
Her eyes flick from my eyes to my lips and back again. Slowly she leans forwards but stops just as our lips are about to touch. I can feel breath ghost over my lips, my eyes close on their own, anticipating the velvety touch of her lips.
"Are you sure?" She whispers.
"Not really, no, but please?"
As her lips gently graze over mine, I see stars. As she presses her lips harder against mine I twist my body around to press tight against hers. A low moan escapes her throat and she pulls back and it's my turn to moan.
"Cath we can't. You know we can't." She gasps. I know what she means but it doesn't mean I have to like it.
"I know, I know. Do I have to move, though?" I ask.
"No, sweetheart, you don't have to move." She says wrapping her arms around me tighter, pulling me closer to her. Laying my head against her shoulder and my hand over her heart I feel sadness steal over me. This may be the last time we get to lie in her arms.
I fight to stay awake but it's proving difficult. I look up to her face and see her looking down at me. I reach up and stroke her face. She covers my hand with hers and turns her face into the palm of my head and kisses it.
"You know, I really do love you, don't you?" I ask. Begging her with my eyes to believe me. Hoping she knows that I mean it.
"I love you too." She whispers. "Try to rest. I'm guessing it'll be hectic tomorrow, what with Lindsay coming home and, um, I have my first appointment with the psychiatrist too."
"Ok, you know we might be a bit more comfortable and get a better night's sleep if we went upstairs to sleep. But...." I say to her trailing off.
"But what, Cath?"
"But, I'm comfortable here, with you." I tell her in a small voice.
"Well.....we could sleep in the same bed." She replies. "We are both adults and mature enough to control ourselves, aren't we?" She asks tickling my sides making me squirm and laugh.
"You have got to stop tickling me, it's not fair." I squeal getting up from the couch and running upstairs. I hear Sara laugh and get up off the couch to follow me. At the top of the stairs I have a choice to make. I'm certain that tonight I won't be sleeping alone. I have one more night alone in her arms and I'm going to take it, I just have to decide whose room to use. Unfortunately the choice is taken out of my hands when Sara creeps up behind me and scoops me up in her arms.
"So, your place or mine?" she chuckles.
"That's so lame." I laugh along with her. "But I think mine, its more 'homely'."
"Ok, Princess Catherine, your 'homely' castle awaits."
I tip my head back and laugh. Her playful side is showing itself a lot more with me and each time it does I find myself falling more in love with her. She deposits me on the bed and stands beside it looking down at me. She looks nervous and it's extremely cute.
"Do you want to get changed in the bathroom in the hall while I get changed in here and you can come back when you're ready?"
She's offers up a shy smile of gratitude and leans forward to place a light kiss on my forehead.
"I'll be right back, Princess." She says backing out of the room in a low bow. Her antics make me chuckle as I go to the bathroom to get ready for bed.
When I come back into my bedroom, Sara is already lying under the covers looking out the window.
"Comfy?" I ask, letting her know that I'm back in the room with her.
"Nearly, there is one thing missing though."
"Yeah, what's that?" I ask getting into the bed beside her. She turns to look at me and I feel myself melting on the spot.
"You. Come here."
"Smooth talker." I say settling in her arms once more.
Sleep claims Sara first but I'm not long behind her.
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