DISCLAIMER:I don't own them, I never will. Proper rights go to Bruckheimer, CBS and every one.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Some things you should know about my CSI universe. First off, the main cast (excluding Greg, sorry) all have offices, because that just makes sense to me given the amount of work involved in being a CSI (it's not all just fieldwork folks). There will be more explanations of my CSI universe in future parts of this story.
SEQUEL: To On The Surface.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Premature Breakdown
By Amy Jo

Part 7

On the few rare occasions that I had been to Catherine's house, I don't think I ever made it past the driveway. There were a few times I dropped her off after a long shift and then there was the one time I almost managed to get out of the car and knock on her door.

I wanted to be there to comfort her after Eddie's death, but I couldn't bring myself to intrude on this side of her life. Now, here I am about to step out of the car and become a part of this side of her life.

I don't know what makes me more nervous; becoming a part of her life or realizing just how much it is that I want to become part of her life. It has been a long time since I wanted to be part of a family and I know that if I get to choose, then it is her family that I want to belong to. That it is her and Lindsey that I want to come home to.

Even with these realizations I am still nervous about going inside. I know that Lindsey will be here, and I can't help but wonder just what she will think about my appearance in her life. Lindsey is, after all, just a child. I've never before had a lover with children. Will Lindsey be okay with me dating her mother, or will she instantly hate me?

"Sara! Hi!" Lindsey sounds way to excited to see me when she opens the door. I've only talked to her a handful of times, and one of them was definitely not pleasant. She honestly looked like she expected me to be here. And while Catherine may have told her I was coming over, that is not the kind of expectation I see in her face. I could almost swear she is happy that I'm here.

"Hey munchkin, your mom around?" I'm not really sure what to say to her so I just ask for her mother.

"Yeah, she's in the kitchen. This way," Lindsey says and she reaches out and takes my hand, pulling me into the house. I can't help but smile, I think it's just too cute that Lindsey is so comfortable with me. And I was nervous that she would hate me.

Sometimes I love kids. They can be so honest and accepting, much more so than adults. Sure, children can sometimes frighten me with their fragility and I've never been very good at dealing with them, but that doesn't mean I am incapable of loving them.

In the living room I notice that Lindsey has been watching movies this morning, as open DVD boxes are strewn about the floor in front of the TV. I hear music coming from a room towards the back of the house and, smart girl that I am, I figure out that the sounds are coming from the kitchen.

I give Lindsey's arm a small tug and she stops walking. "Hey Linds, why don't you go finish watching your movie? I'd like to surprise your mom."

And just like a kid she simply shrugs her shoulders and says, "Okay. But can you tell her to hurry up with lunch? I'm hungry."

I laugh lightly at Lindsey, she sounds so much like Catherine sometimes that it is almost scary. I follow the sounds of the radio and watch from the hallway as Catherine dances around her kitchen, blissfully unaware that I am watching her.

I sneak up behind her and wrap my arms around her waist to dance with her. Catherine jumps and squeals when she feels my hands on her, but in less than a second she continues her dance, content to have me dance with her. All too soon the song is over and Catherine stops moving. I don't want to let go of her, so instead I lean my head slightly forward and whisper a hello in her ear.

"Do you dance with everyone who walks into your kitchen?" I put my hands on her hips as she starts moving to newest song on the radio.

"Not everyone," she says mischievously and turns herself in my arms so that she is now facing me. She slips her hands around my neck as I move with her.

The way we are moving would seem mostly innocent to anyone who watched, but to me it is something intimate, something to cherish. In these small moments when we are alone I find myself falling more and more for her. In these moments I believe that she loves me too and that no one else will know what it is like to hold her in their arms.

"Who else?" I ask without thinking. It is none of my business who she danced with in her kitchen, but I seem to have developed a masochistic streak when it comes to Catherine. I look down at her and she smiles. For a brief second I think she's about to tell me something I don't want to hear.

"Just Lindsey," she says. At my sigh of relief she smiles even bigger. "Lindsey is the only other person that has been able to sneak up on me like that. Everyone else makes too much noise and I usually hear them before I get caught."

I am relieved that she can tell right away that even though I asked, I didn't really want to know. My hold on her had been loose, but I tighten my grip and pull her closer. One more moment of intimacy before I let her go. I'd love to stay with her like this for the rest of the day, just being with her and holding her close.

The song ends and I pull back, ready to let her go so she can finish whatever she was doing before I got here. Catherine seems to have a different idea. I feel her grip tighten on the back of my neck as she pulls me closer. I know what her movements against me mean. I am about to be kissed breathless.

Her lips press against mine and I stop thinking about Lindsey in the other room and the conversation I had with Rayn. The only thing I can think of is her. The gentle bite of her teeth on my lips until I open them. The soft touch of her tongue against mine. The feel of her fingers flexing against the back of my neck. The way her hips are swaying to the music and lightly brushing against mine every few seconds.

And I was right. Everything about her kiss excites me and in what feels like seconds she has made me breathless. I don't want to, but I move my lips away from hers. She still has a tight grip on the back of my neck, keeping me close to her. I lower my head to her shoulder and rest there, trying to get my breath back.

In my new position I can smell perfume on Catherine's skin. Part of me imagines that she is wearing this scent just for me; I know she doesn't wear perfume to work, and neither do I. The scent is not something I expected Catherine to wear; I would have thought Catherine was the type to wear a slightly musky scent but what I smell is more like exotic flowers.

Catherine continues to move us together with the music and I move my lips to taste her skin. The very slight sounds of approval I hear from her are enough to keep me going on my path up the side of her neck. Her hands move to my hips and pull me into her hard when I take a tiny nip at her ear.

The sudden harsh movements brings me back to reality for a moment. Lindsey is in the other room. Catherine is supposed to be making lunch for Lindsey. I'm supposed to be, well I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing, but it's not this.

"Lindsey wants her lunch. She says she's hungry." I whisper into Catherine's ear. I should really be more assertive and just move away from her, but I can't. Her hold on me is strong and it's not just the grip of her hands keeping me close to her.

"Huh?" Apparently Catherine forgot about lunch too.

I move to face her and explain. "Lindsey. She wants lunch. She's hungry."

"Me too," she says. And as I look into her eyes I know that it is definitely not lunch that she is talking about.

Part 8

With regret Catherine and I eventually separate. It is, after all, time for Lindsey's lunch and I know that sooner or later Lindsey will wonder what is taking so long and she'll wander in here. I'm not sure I'm prepared to deal with the consequences of Lindsey walking in the kitchen to discover Catherine and I necking like teenagers.

I offer my help to Catherine, and she suggests that I go hang out with Lindsey until lunch is ready. At this point, I think we both know that nothing will get accomplished if I stay in the kitchen. I can't make myself leave the kitchen without kissing Catherine one more time.

Something about Catherine just draws me near her. If I'm in the same room I want to touch her. It isn't always something sexual; it's just a need to touch her skin, to hold her hand, to just be close to her. If I'm not in the same room, a part of me wants to find her and be near her.

I have felt this way for a long time, but I restrained myself because I didn't know that she would welcome the touches. Now that I am with her, it is much harder to be around her without touching her. This is definitely something I'm going to have to figure out if we're going to work together.

In the living room Lindsey is laying down on the floor right in front of the TV watching some cartoon movie. I sit on the floor next to and pretend to watch the movie with her. I have no interest in the movie, but I like how Lindsey looks up at me and smiles when I sit next to her.

A little while later Catherine comes into the living room and sits on the couch behind us. I almost expect a lecture on how sitting so close to the television is bad for your eyes. Instead she just laughs and sits back to watch the movie.

The credits roll and Catherine says, "Lunch time Lindsey."

Lindsey must have been really hungry because Catherine barely finishes the sentence before Lindsey is off the floor and halfway to the kitchen. I remain seated on the floor and reach forward to grab the DVD cases that Lindsey left scattered on the floor. I can feel Catherine's eyes on me as I move, putting away the cases.

"See something?" I ask when she continues to watch me.

"Yeah. But it's nothing really." She says calmly before getting up from the couch and turning toward the kitchen.

"No, it was something all right. Tell me," I don't want to sound like I'm pleading, but I really want to know what she was thinking as she watched me.

"Okay," Catherine sighs heavily before she continues. "I was just thinking about how nice it is to see you cleaning up after Lindsey."

"So it's nice to have a maid," I kid with her.

Catherine frowns. "No, that's not what I meant. I just meant that I like seeing you so comfortable in my house. The way you did that just now, without even thinking about it, I don't know, I just like it."

Catherine walks in front me and into the kitchen. I can't see her face anymore, but I'm almost positive she is blushing. I follow behind her, thinking she was right.. I picked up those DVD cases just as if I had done it a million times already. And it does feel good to be so comfortable in her house.

Lunch passes by quickly and soon Lindsey is sitting in front of the television again. I stay seated at Catherine's dining room table and watch as she starts cleaning up. I had once again offered my help only to have Catherine tell me it was unnecessary. I'm not sure I can go watch another movie with Lindsey; I wasn't even paying attention to the last movie she watched.

The clean up takes only a few minutes and Catherine returns to the table with coffee for the two of us. Part of me is thankful for the coffee and part of me can't help but think that I drink way too much coffee.

"Lindsey will be going to my sister's in just a few hours. Thought you might want something to keep you awake until then. I know it's been a long day," Catherine says as she sits at the chair across the table from me.

"Yeah thanks." It has been a long day, and I get the feeling that it will only get longer.

"How did things go this morning?" And there it is. The end of the domestic bliss and the beginning of the uncomfortable emotional talk. Again. I'm really beginning to hate that I've opened up to so many people lately. But then again, it is Catherine and she deserves to know everything that I do.

"I'm not really sure. Good I guess. I don't know." And the truth is that I really don't know how things went. I expected to learn more about why Rayn left and I did, but I also know that she's holding something back from me. Something important. Things with Rayn will feel somehow unresolved until she feels comfortable enough to talk to me.

"You two did talk some this morning right?" Catherine looks concerned. I think she can sense that I'm having trouble with this.

"Yeah. We talked for a bit. I feel almost as clueless now as I did when I left work this morning. Just about the only thing she said was that she left because I was too good for her. Which to me sounds like a cop-out." Only in books and in the movies do people break up for this reason; it doesn't happen in reality. Rayn is holding back and I just have to wait for her to be ready to tell me.

Catherine smiles at me, "Well, you know, you are pretty great. Beautiful, intelligent, and about a million other things."

Catherine's compliments bring a flush to my face. I've never been very good at accepting compliments, I usually just brush them of with a 'whatever', but hearing that Catherine thinks these things of me is amazing. Watching my face flush with embarrassment only makes Catherine smile larger.

"You don't think it was a cop-out? I mean how could she have possibly thought that I was somehow too good for her? We were both happy, or at least I thought we were."

"Maybe it wasn't about you. Maybe it wasn't about you two as a couple, maybe it was just about her. How she felt about herself," Catherine says thoughtfully.

I had honestly never thought about it that way. I had always thought that I had somehow done something to drive Rayn away from me. I know that it is somewhat selfish to assume that Rayn left because of me. But what if Catherine's right? What if Rayn left because of herself?

I had always thought that we told each other everything, but after she left I realized there was a lot she didn't tell me. Even then I held myself in such low regard that I thought it was something about me that made her decide not to tell me what was going on in her life. I never bothered to think that it may have been something to do with her own insecurities or faults.

"I never thought of it that way. You're probably right. I just keep telling myself that she'll tell me when she's ready, and that's not today. This is kind of depressing you know. Maybe we should talk about something else." I smile in an effort to lift the mood.

"Or maybe we could not talk at all, we could sit in the living room with Lindsey until my sister gets here, then catch a few hours of sleep."

I could use the time to think and so we both get up to head into the living room. Catherine takes our coffee mugs to the kitchen and I head into the living room. Lindsey is sitting in front of the TV again and I curl up on end of the couch, content to pretend to watch the movie while really thinking about Catherine.

I can tell she's still slightly insecure about this thing between Rayn and I. Our relationship is still so new and she knows I have certain issues with Rayn. I think I've made it pretty clear that none of the issues are physical, but I can still hear a certain wariness in her voice whenever we talk about Rayn.

Catherine comes in the living room and sits on the couch next to me. I look at her and smile, thinking how cute she is. Sometimes she makes me feel like I'm a teenager dealing with my first crush. Every time I look at her I see her beauty and it makes me smile, just like a teenager with a crush.

Over the next hour Catherine manages to move closer and closer to me on the couch. Lindsey looks back at us a few times and if she thinks anything about the closeness between Catherine and I she wisely chooses not to say anything.

By the time the doorbell rings Catherine is laying down with her head in my lap. The sound startles her awake, and she looks up at me shocked. Lindsey runs upstairs to get her things and Catherine moves slowly off my lap. She's still groggy from her nap and so I get up and answer the door. I'm fully prepared for an awkward moment when I open the door.

Part 9

"Hi, I'm Nancy," Catherine's sister says to me as she walks through the open door and past me. She does not seem at all surprised to see some random woman answer her sister's door. "You must be Sara."

Huh? That's a surprise to me. "Umm yeah, I'm Sara. How did you know?"

"Catherine told me you might be here when I came to pick up Lindsey today."

I close the door behind us and head into the living room where Catherine is still sitting on the couch. Though she looks more awake now, it is quite obvious that she was sleeping.

"Lindsey about ready?" Nancy asks as she sits on the arm of the sofa next to Catherine.

Catherine looks confused for a second and so I answer for her, "I think so. She just headed upstairs a minute ago but she should be back down in a minute."

I wonder how much Nancy knows about my relationship with Catherine. Does she think we are just coworkers or does she know that we are more than that? From the look that passes between the sisters I'd have to say that Nancy at least knows that Catherine and I are more than just coworkers, but I can't tell if she knows anything beyond that.

If she didn't know anything before she walked in the door, she certainly figures it when I sit next to Catherine and Catherine reaches out to grab my hand. Nancy's eyes open wide and she's about to say something when Lindsey comes bouncing down the stairs.

A glance between the sisters is all that is needed for the two of them to understand each other. Nancy chooses not to say anything in front of Lindsey but she does grin from ear to ear. Easy acceptance is not something I've come across a lot in my life and the fact that Nancy looks so happy for her sister thrills me.

"You ready kid?" Nancy asks Lindsey as she stands up.

"Yes Aunt Nancy," Lindsey politely replies. Lindsey comes around the couch to give her mom a hug. "By mom. Bye Sara."

Lindsey and Nancy head out the door and Catherine looks at me and sighs heavily. "Well that went easy."

"So I take Nancy knows then?" I ask. It's mostly a rhetorical question because it is pretty apparent that she does know. Catherine moves off the couch and gives my hand a tug.

"She does now," Catherine says as I follow her up the stairs. "When I picked up Lindsey this morning she noticed something different about me and tried to grill me for details. But she's really not very good at it and all she managed to find out was that I was seeing someone new. She didn't know it was you until just now."

"What did she notice that was different?" Catherine is still pulling on my hand as we head up the stairs and to what I assume is her bedroom. Just the thought makes my heart beat a little faster.

"She said it was 'the look of extreme happiness' on my face."

We reach the bedroom and Catherine turns to me and I see the sexiest smile. Her eyes have a very determined look in them that reminds of the look she had right before we kissed in my kitchen. The look that means I am about to be devoured. That look and that smile are enough to make my body flush with desire for her.

"Extreme happiness huh? I wonder what it was that put a look of extreme happiness on your face." Despite my best effort to keep clean thoughts in my head, when she looks at me like this I can't help but think of what it feels like to touch her and to kiss her. It is amazing to me that with a simple look she can set my body on fire with need.

Catherine closes the distance between us. The hand she was holding is now wrapped around her waist as she presses her body against mine. What we have is so new that I still marvel at how well we fit together and how amazing it is that she wants me to be with her like this.

I love how she can curl into my body and rest her head on my shoulder so that if I turn my head just a little I can brush a kiss across her forehead. And how she always holds on tight when I'm in her arms; it's almost as if she's afraid I'm not really there. I know that feeling well as it is the same reason I hold her tight.

I feel her hands on my back and even though my body is warm and flush with desire for her, through the fabric of my shirt I can feel the heat of her hands. As I hold her tightly to me she looks me directly in my eyes and whispers to me, "I love you too Sara."

The words are spoken so softly that at first I'm not sure that I heard them. By the time I realize that she did indeed say them, her lips are on mine. Her kiss is urgent and hungry and I kiss her back with just as much desire. Her fingers dig into my hips and squeeze as a small moan escapes from my lips.

Her lips leave mine as she moves slightly and presses light kisses against my jaw line and down my neck. Despite the heat under my skin her barely-there kisses sends shivers down my spine. Catherine's hands slip under my shirt and I feel the smooth skin slide up my back, taking my shirt with it.

"Catherine, I ."

"Shh," she whispers against my skin as she lifts the shirt over my head and drops it to the floor. I feel the warmth of her hands under the fabric of my bra and softness of her lips against the exposed skin on my chest. Whatever I was going to say to her, the words are lost as I close my eyes and lose myself in her touch.

Catherine is slightly stooped over, kissing the soft skin at the base of my neck. I wrap my fingers in her hair and gently pull her face up to mine. I kiss her slowly as I move us toward the bed. Our lips separate when Catherine bumps into the bed and we fall onto it together.

Catherine's hands wrap around me as I move on top of her and I feel her fingers playing with the clasps of my bra. I watch her eyes transform from blue to a smoky gray as she undoes the clasp and moves the straps down my arms. The fleeting touch of her fingers leaves trails of goose bumps on my skin.

Stretched out above her and wanting to feel her skin against mine, I realize that she is still wearing all of her clothes. I move and straddle her hips, sitting up to make it easier to undo the buttons of her top. As I work the buttons and open her shirt bit by bit I make certain to lightly caress each small bit of skin exposed.

I watch as Catherine's hands grip the bed sheets and she arches her back every time I touch her skin. With the slightest touch of my hand to her skin Catherine strains to increase the contact. I can tell from her movements that I'm not completely giving her everything she wants.

As sexy as it is to watch her squirm from my touch I know that Catherine is aching for me to move faster. I need no more convincing when I slip one finger under the waistband of her pants and her hips jerk into me hard, almost making me lose my balance. My teasing finger slides out of Catherine's waistband and I hear a slight groan of frustration from her.

For a brief second I lay down on top of her before stretching out at her side. My fingers make quick work of the button and zipper of her slacks and I slip my hand inside. I let my hand rest just inside, my fingers playing lightly with her blonde curls.

"Sara please."

She is still mostly clothed, with her top unbuttoned and open and her slacks still on. Her head is thrown back into the pillows and she is moving her hips in an attempt to find more contact. I am powerless against the sexy sounds of her almost begging for my touch.

I move to kiss her as I slide one finger inside her wetness. Catherine moans her appreciation into our kiss. I am still kissing her hard when I slip another finger into her wetness. The feel of her smooth, wet skin against my fingers contrasts with the feel of her curls on my palm. It just might be the most erotic thing I've ever felt.

I feel her breathing quicken and her body is trying to pull my hand further into her. Catherine's hips lift off the bed and push hard into my hand, trying hard to increase the contact. Trying to keep her hips close to the bed, I throw a leg over hers and press into her. My fingers move faster and I brush my thumb across her sensitive clit.

I move my lips to her ear and whisper gently to her, "C'mon baby, just let go." And with only a few more thrusts of my fingers Catherine's hips jerk upwards again and she moans my name low and lusty.

Part 10

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