DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS.
SPOILERS: "Sex, Lies And Larvae" and "Inside the Box"
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
We barely survive the "dismount" and Catherine decides to rest for awhile. I wheel her into the bedroom and demonstrate the acrorail system. She is very impressed with the way I have made things so easy for her.
Blushing, I also show her the personal pager and ask if she would please wear it during the day and not to hesitate to use it. I explain how it will alert me if she needs me when I'm in another part of the house.
Lifting her from the chair, I place her on the bed. I think we both need some time alone to regroup after our first trip to the bathroom. Walking toward the door I say, "Catherine, I will be in the den working. I've brought my laptop so I can work on case notes. Either use the pager or yell if you need something."
She agrees and I leave her to rest.
I plop down on the couch and run the past 15 minutes through my head. I am in hell. Someone has a sick sense of humor and knows exactly how to punish me. Finding out that Catherine is a true red head is certainly not helping matters. I'm going to have to find a fixed point to concentrate on during the dismount portion of the toilet routine.
I open my laptop and try to concentrate on my case notes. After about an hour, I am busily typing away when I hear a scream from the bedroom.
I rush in to find Catherine calling out in her sleep and thrashing in the bed. I move forward gently calling her name.
Catherine is mumbling "Please, please don't let me fall. Please don't let go."
I sit on the edge of the bed, take her hand, and gently stroke her hair. "It's okay Catherine. C'mon, wake up. You're safe."
Catherine finally gasps and opens her eyes. She grabs my shirt and pulls herself up as she launches into my arms. I hold her tightly and whisper in her ear. "Sh, you're okay. It was just a dream. You're safe. Just relax."
I hold Catherine until she finally stops shaking. Gently letting her go, I help her lie back on the bed. I continue holding her hand reassuring her in soothing tones as she slowly begins to relax.
Embarrassed, Catherine says "I'm so sorry, Sara. It was just so real. I kept falling over and over again. Each time it was a different person letting go. First, it was my dad. Then, it was Eddie, and finally, Sam."
Sam? I thought Sam was her dad. Are there two Sams? Sam Braun?
Before I can ask for clarification, Lindsey comes bounding in the room. I let go of Catherine's hand and move out of the way to allow room for Lindsey to sit by her mother.
"Mom, I'm so glad you're home. Grandma was driving me nuts. Promise me you won't be like that when you get older."
Smiling, I sneak out leaving the two to visit. I walk into the den to find Nancy sitting on the couch.
"Hey Sara, how did the first day go? Is she driving you crazy yet?"
I ask "Who? Lily?"
Nancy laughs and says "No, I meant Catherine. I already know mother is going to drive you insane. Dad was the only one who could handle her."
Was? Could Sam Braun be Catherine's father? I think I'll do some investigating later, but first, I need to take advantage of Nancy's visit.
"Hey Nancy, would you mind staying with Catherine while I run to the grocery store? I didn't think about it last night and there are some items Catherine's kitchen lacks."
Nancy answers "Sure. I'm free for another hour. I don't have any plans until I have to pick up my son from his music lesson."
Relieved, I say "Great. I'll go make sure Catherine is okay and then I'll be on my way."
After checking in on Catherine and Lindsey, I leave to do a bit of grocery shopping. I hope I'm not stepping on Lily's toes, but I have to make sure there are things in the house I can eat.
I return within the hour and quickly unload the groceries. I make my way into Catherine's room to find both Lindsey and Nancy in bed with Catherine.
Nancy notices me first and gets up from the bed saying "Catherine, I will see you tomorrow. Be sure to behave. Linds, why don't you walk me out?"
The two depart as I move closer to the bed. Catherine's face is tight and drawn.
Concerned, I ask "Catherine, are you in pain? Do you need me to get your pain medicine?"
She attempts a smile, but it is obvious she is suffering. "Sara, I hate those damn pain pills. They make me loopy. I stopped taking them last night and I have been able to stand the discomfort. I guess I overdid it today because my leg and arm are constantly throbbing."
Smiling, I reply "Catherine, you did overdo it today and your nightmare probably put you over the top. Why don't I fix you something light to eat so you can take your pain medicine?"
She agrees as Lindsey returns. I ask Lindsey to keep her mom company while I prepare a light meal.
I decide on toast and tea and place the snack on a tray I found in the pantry. I rummage through Catherine's hospital bag to retrieve the pain meds. Good thing I prepared something for Catherine to eat since the directions indicate the meds are to be taken with food.
I return to the master bedroom to find Catherine alone. She says she sent Lindsey to her room to work on her homework.
I pull the overbed table top over and place the tray on top. What a handy device.
I help Catherine sit up and then move the tray closer. She must be in a great deal of pain because she hasn't said a word since I walked in the room.
Catherine eats most of her meal and then quickly downs her meds. I help her lie back on the bed and situate her leg in a comfortable position. I tell her to call me if she needs me as I leave the room.
I whip up a noodle dish casserole for Lindsey and me. We eat at the bar and discuss life at Hyde Park Middle School. As I clear the table, Lindsey asks if I can help her with her math homework. I tell her to go get her book and meet me in the den.
Lindsey is a very quick study. She is one of those kids who need to know the reason for learning different concepts. Once she realizes the importance, Lindsey focuses on the task at hand. She said her teacher always gives the reason "because it's in the book" or "because I said so."
We go over her entire homework assignment together. I check her work as she goes.
"Sara, I wish you were my math teacher. It's fun when you show me how to work problems. Do you think you can help me all the time?"
I immediately answer "Sure. I don't see why not." Then I remember Catherine so I quickly add "But we need to ask your mother."
Lindsey responds okay and begins to pack up her books. She tells me it's almost her bedtime so she better go take her bath. I remind her Nancy will pick her up for school in the morning since I need to stay with her mother. She bids me good night as she heads down the hall.
I straighten the den area and decide to check on Catherine. I tiptoe into her room and stand next to the bed. Her eyes are closed and she is lightly snoring. Well, not really snoring, just breathing deeply. I take advantage of her sleep to admire her beauty.
In her sleep, her face is relaxed and she appears to be so innocent. Catherine is truly stunning with flawless facial features from her forehead to her cheekbones to her nose and chin back to her kissable lips. I continue my scan to her breasts and flat stomach which I now have intimate knowledge of thanks to the hospital changing session.
I force my eyes to move back up her torso before they can venture to her pelvic region which I have a very brief knowledge of. As I make my way back to her face, I see those two beautiful blue eyes I have fallen in love with looking back at me. And then her lips move.
"Sara, were you just checking me out?"
Oh shit, I am so busted.
"No!" squeak "I mean, no, I wasn't checking you out. I was monitoring your breathing to make sure you were resting comfortably and you weren't having any more bad dreams."
Stupid, Sara. What a lame excuse. Couldn't you come up with something better? Hell, you may have well shouted to the world 'Yes, Catherine. I'm a peeping Sara.'
Before Catherine can reply, I immediately try to change the subject. "How are you feeling now? Did the pain medication do the job?"
Catherine pauses before answering. Will she let me get away with the quick subject change or will she call me on the carpet for ogling her?
She responds "Yes, I do feel better but I'm a bit sluggish. I hope I don't have to take those meds very often. They make me want to sleep all the time. I feel like I could sleep for 12 more hours."
Whew, it looks like Catherine is going to let me off the hook this time or perhaps she is not alert enough to pick up on my attempt to hide my guilt. Regardless, I need to be very careful in the future.
Staying on the current track, I offer "I think the key is to take your meds before the pain gets too bad. We'll try half doses next time. Now, do you want to sleep in your t-shirt and sweats or do you want to change into something else?"
Please say you don't want to change. I really don't need the added visual right now.
My prayers are answered as she responds "I am very comfortable in what I have on. I think I'll sleep in the tee and sweats. Besides, I usually sleep in the nude and I don't think that would be such a good idea under the current circumstances."
No kidding. With my current state of libido, I don't think Catherine would appreciate it if I dropped her as I picked up her nude body to place in the wheelchair.
Keeping my voice neutral I respond "Okay. I'll turn off the lights so you can get back to sleep. I'll sleep on the couch tonight so I'll be nearby if you need me. I have the monitor set up in the den so use your personal pager if you need me."
As I turn to leave, Catherine asks "Sara, do you think you could turn the light on in the master bath? I don't think I'm quite ready to be in the dark yet."
Smiling, I answer "Sure. No problem." I move to the bathroom and turn on the light. I leave the door open a few inches to let light filter into the room.
I turn off the light in the bedroom saying "Good night, Catherine. Sweet dreams." She responds with a goodnight as I leave the room.
I change into a pair of boxers and a tank top. I decide to watch TV until it's time to retire. I settle in on the couch and turn the TV down low.
I idly flip through the channels searching for something to watch to get my mind off Catherine. I stop on "The Family Guy" and watch for a few minutes until the scene changes to Mr. Rogers of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood being depicted as a peeping Tom.
I immediately change the channel to one of the many crime shows. The crime gurus begin to investigate a peeping Tom who has escalated into breaking into women's apartments and terrorizing them.
When I flip over one more channel to find Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window," I turn the TV off and pick up my laptop. At least I will not find a reference to peeping in my case notes. Guilty much, Sara?
I work for a couple of hours when I hear Catherine's voice coming from the monitor. I close and save my file before going to check on Catherine.
"Hey, Cath. You need something?" I ask entering the bedroom.
She responds "Yes, I need to use the bathroom."
Oh boy, time for another round of the not-trying to peek routine. I turn on the light and move toward the bed. Pushing the wheel chair close, I lift Catherine and gently place her in the chair. I move to open the bathroom door before wheeling her in.
Two must be a charm for me as we flawlessly complete both the mount and dismount portions of the routine without a problem. I was even able to keep my focal points away from Catherine's privates.
As I place Catherine in the bed and move to turn out the lights, I hear "Sara, could I ask you for a really big favor?"
Let's see. What can possibly be bigger than our completed bathroom venture? I can't come up with anything worse at the current time so I answer "Sure, Catherine. What do you need?"
I am assuming she wants me to get her something to drink, read, or snack on. Instead she asks "Could you sleep in here with me? I keep having those bad dreams. I am waking up before calling out, but they still unnerve me to no end."
Sleep in the same room? Is she serious? How am I going to manage this? My mouth bypasses my brain and says "No problem. I'll go turn out the lights in the den."
I chastise myself all the way to the den and back. How could I have agreed to stay in the same room? I probably won't sleep a wink knowing Catherine is so close. I'll just have to sleep on the floor.
I return to the room and take the blanket off the chest at the end of the bed. I make a pallet on the floor and move to get a pillow off the bed while Catherine intently watches me.
As I switch off the light in the room, Catherine quietly asks "Sara, could you sleep in my bed?"
I am thankful for the darkness in the room as I visibly cringe in response to Catherine's question. How in the world can I turn down her request? It had to have taken a great deal of courage to ask this of me and her voice sounds so meek and mild. I truly believe she is afraid to sleep alone.
I move toward the bed saying "I am a restless sleeper on occasion. What if I accidentally hit your arm or leg in my sleep?"
"Please, Sara. I know you would never hurt me even on accident. I just want to be able to sleep without having those dreams. I believe you can keep them away."
Well crap. I can't believe she has such faith in my abilities. If she only knew how my own demons haunt me in sleep, she wouldn't be so confident in my power to keep her nightmares away.
I walk to the other side of the bed and climb in. "Just relax, Catherine. Try to get some sleep. I'll be right here if you need me."
"Thank you, Sara. I feel safer with you here beside me. Good night."
I find myself hugging the edge of the bed. There is no way I will get any sleep tonight.
After several hours, I relax enough to move away from the edge. Catherine has been sleeping soundly the entire time. I guess somehow I am keeping her nightmares at bay. As I reflect over the past 24 hours, I feel myself drifting into sleep.
I awake to the early morning light filtering in through the window. I lift my head to glance at the clock to see 6:30 a.m. I can't remember the last time I've slept four straight hours without waking. It feels nice lying here with Catherine and holding her hand.
Holding her hand! How the hell did that happen? Catherine will knock me in the head with her cast if she finds me holding her hand. I carefully try to disentangle my hand from Catherine without waking her. As I finally get my hand clear of hers, I hear "Sara?"
Nervously, I reply "Good morning, Catherine. How did you sleep?"
She groggily replies "Wonderful. I didn't have one nightmare. You're better than my old teddy bear."
Great, a life-size teddy bear replacement, just what I always wanted to be. Before I can reply, my attention shifts to a knock at the door and Lindsey's voice as she enters the room. "Mom, are you awake?"
Oh my God, Lindsey is in the room. She's going to find me in bed with her mother.
As I am having my panic attack, Catherine answers "Hey, baby. Come over here and give your mom a good morning hug."
I lie as still as possible. Maybe she won't notice me. My plan is immediately foiled as Lindsey says "Hi, Sara. What are you doing sleeping in mom's bed?"
Cause is was just right jumps into my head. Wonderful, now I'm channeling "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." What is it with bears this morning?
Catherine saves me as she answers "I was having trouble sleeping and Sara kept away the bad dreams."
Lindsey snorts saying "That's the same excuse you used to give me when Beth would sleep over."
Catherine replies "Now don't get smart, young lady. You know Beth was my lover. I only used that excuse for her benefit. She didn't want you to think of us as anything but friends. Sara really is keeping my nightmares away."
Whoa, back up. Beth? Catherine had a female lover? I'm glad I am already lying down because this news would most definitely put me on the floor as images of Catherine and another woman flood my already overcrowded brain.
The visuals are abruptly brought to an end as Catherine says "Sara, do you think you could prepare something for Lindsey's breakfast? She's had cereal the past two mornings and I'd like for her to have something a bit more substantial."
At last, the perfect reason for my escape. I rise from the bed and move toward the door. "Not a problem, Catherine. Lindsey, how do you feel about pancakes?"
I receive my answer in the form of a hug and a squeal. "Pancakes are my absolute favorite. Thanks, Sara. I'll run get dressed and meet you in the kitchen." We both leave the room to the sound of Catherine's laughter.
Alone in the kitchen, I organize the pancake ingredients and locate the griddle. As I begin to pour the first batch onto the hot griddle, my brain jumps back to the earlier conversation between Catherine and Lindsey.
So Catherine is bisexual. I would have never in a million years pegged her as anything but pure heterosexual. She has every man she comes in contact with eating out of her hand. I have never noticed any sign of flirting or interest in any of the women Catherine works with or interviews.
Lindsey comes bouncing into the kitchen as I remove the second batch from the griddle. I turn off the stove and place the pancakes on the table. She retrieves a plate and silverware and begins to attack her breakfast.
Laughing, I say "Hey, Lindsey. Slow down. They're not going anywhere."
She swallows and apologizes for her bad table manners. "It's just that I don't get pancakes very often and these are especially good. What did you do different?"
I pour Lindsey a glass of orange juice and reply "I mixed the ingredients together and cooked them on the griddle. I didn't do anything special."
"They taste way better than when mom and grandma make them. Did you maybe use a different brand?"
Brand? Oh, I get it. "I didn't use a box mix. I made these from scratch."
Lindsey answers "Mom is going to love you. She hates the box mix and says it's too much trouble to make them. When she gets a craving, she always goes to the diner."
Maybe I can get to Catherine through her stomach. She does have that magnet on the fridge that says "The way to a woman's heart is through the doors of a good restaurant." Since she won't be able to frequent any diners or restaurants in the next few weeks, I will have some time to woo her with food.
Get a grip, Sidle. There will be no wooing in this house. You will get Catherine through this and be on your way. She is not interested in you. Be thankful if you come out of this as friends.
Lindsey gets up from the table and rinses her dishes in the sink. She notices the time and says she better hurry or she won't be ready when Nancy comes to get her. She thanks me once again and kisses me on the cheek. On her way out she says "I really like you, Sara. I wish you were Mom's girlfriend then you could stay here all the time."
Me too, Linds. Me too.
I see Lindsey off and go to check on Catherine. She is awake and very happy to see me. My hopes are dashed as the reason for her joy becomes apparent when she asks me to take her to the bathroom.
As I begin to wheel her back toward the bed from the master bath, Catherine asks if I could take her to the den. I make the detour down the hall and ask if she would like to have some breakfast. Her stomach growls making us both laugh as I push her into the kitchen.
Placing the wheel chair next to the table, I walk to the stove to heat up the griddle. Catherine watches me closely. She opens her mouth to say something but decides to remain quiet.
I know exactly what she is thinking. She doesn't want pancakes from a box, but she is willing to sacrifice to keep from hurting my feelings. I can't wait to see the expression on her face when she takes her first bite.
I pour her a cup of coffee and add the sweetener. She smiles broadly as I place the cup in front of her. Little does she know I had Greg get me some his precious French vanilla coffee. I had my first cup this morning as I was making Lindsey's pancakes and have to admit it was difficult not to drink the entire pot.
The moans Catherine emit as she takes her first sip sound quite erotic. I have to grip the handle of the spatula to keep from dropping it on the floor. "Sara, if you are guilty of stealing some of Greg's precious coffee, I will give you the perfect alibi as long as there is more."
I laugh as I flip the pancakes. "No need for you to lie. Greg willing gave me some of his stash. It's his way of helping you get better soon."
I set the table and put the pancakes in the middle. Catherine stares at them before putting one on her plate. I guess this is her test pancake. I place the butter and syrup next to her. She slathers both on top. How she'll ever taste the pancake with all that syrup is a mystery to me.
I watch Catherine with my peripheral vision as I remove the last batch from the griddle. She cuts a small piece and gingerly puts it in her mouth. As she begins to chew, a smile crosses her face and she reaches to pile more pancakes on her plate.
I sit directly across the table from Catherine. She has the most pleased expression on her face as she savors both the pancakes and coffee. I grin and begin to eat.
As I take my last bite, Catherine finishes as well. The only difference is the amount of food we have both consumed. Where in the world does she put it?
After a few minutes, Catherine finally speaks. "Sara, those were the best pancakes I have ever eaten. We are definitely going to have to limit the number of times you make them while you are here. Otherwise, I will be as big as a house and you will never be able to lift me in and out of this chair."
I clear the table as I add "Well, you certainly have a hardy appetite when it comes to pancakes. I'll be sure to make this breakfast as a once a week treat instead of a daily ritual."
I rinse off the dishes and push Catherine into the den. She picks up the remote and begins to channel surf. I ask her if she will be okay while I take a quick shower. She nods her head yes as I take my leave.
When I return, Catherine is absorbed in an episode of "The L-Word." She must be watching a tape because there is no way this show is on this early in the morning. I step closer to see Moira or rather Max getting it on with Jenny. Catherine notices me standing next to her and immediately hits the stop button.
Silence prevails for several minutes before Catherine stutters a response. "Er, um, I tape this show and watch it when Lindsey is away. I didn't get a chance to remove the tape from the machine because of the accident. I forgot to tape it on Sunday and remembered to tape the encore on Monday night. Then, of course, I was injured on Monday's shift and had forgotten all about the tape. I am so thankful all of Lindsey's movies are DVDs. And heaven forbid if my mother accidentally hit play on the VCR."
Catherine finishes her rambling and looks guiltily at me for a response. I guess if she can let me get by with checking her out, I can return the favor by pretending she is not interested in a lesbian centered show. Besides, there is an even more awkward situation we still have to tackle this morning.
"Catherine, I think we should probably talk about how we're going to manage the bathing routine each day. Today's a good day to work out any problems since we're both well rested and have plenty of time to work out the kinks."
Catherine readily agrees as I eject the tape from the VCR and place it in her lap. She has me wheel her to the nightstand in her room where she places the tape before we move to the bathroom. I place the bath bench in the tub and survey the setup. I should be able to place Catherine facing forward in the tub. Her left leg and arm will be facing the outside of the tub and the faucet will be located directly in front of her.
I retrieve the hose and spray nozzle and connect it to the overhead shower. The hose is extra long so it will reach well past the middle of the tub. I also affix another grab bar to the tile where Catherine can reach it while sitting on the bench.
Catherine has been busy processing as well. She has suggesting using garbage bags to cover her leg and arm casts. I compliment her on the idea and leave to get the items.
I return with a large and medium trash bag. I also bring some duct tape and string. My first thought was to place the bag on the affected limb and fasten the top using tape; however, I don't believe the tape alone will hold so I'm going to tie a string just below the tape line.
The main problem for me is Catherine will have to disrobe before the bags can be placed over her arm and leg. She has already picked up on the need to undress as she begins to remove her top, the top which has no bra underneath.
Catherine manages to slip her good arm through the arm hole and then lifts the shirt over her head where it now lies loosely around her casted arm. She smoothly removes the shirt from the end of her cast. Catherine seems quite proud of her accomplishment. I would be too under different circumstances.
Okay, Sidle, time to buck up and get this over with. "Nice job, Catherine. Now let's wheel you over here and get started on this bath."
I help Catherine stand while she removes her sweats and underwear. I take deep breaths and keep my eyes away from her midline. She sits back down as I begin the task of covering her arm and leg with the bags.
I think this is going to actually work. I lift Catherine's nude body out of the chair and gently place her on the bath bench. I place her leg on the edge of the tub and hold her arm up with my hand.
It immediately becomes apparent what my job will be. I will have to act as the "balancer" and I must admit to being a bit relieved. I don't think I could survive the "washer" part of this plan.
We make it through the bathing process with no problem except for my temporary tunnel vision. I can describe the exact pattern in Catherine's tile. In fact, I could probably draw it from memory.
Catherine is able to dry her front and she holds onto the bar as I dry her back. I quickly place a towel in her chair before lifting her up from the bench and setting her down in the wheelchair. I dry off her right leg and then remove the bags from her casts. I place the bags over the shower rod to reuse the next day.
I go to retrieve a new shirt and sweats while Catherine dries off her intimate areas. We put her shirt back on together and I pull her underwear and sweats to her knees. I help her stand and she pulls them the rest of the way as I remove the towel. We have completed the entire routine with very few words.
I bring her back into the den and hand her the remote. I tell her I am going to rest for a little while and to call me if she needs me. I make sure to take the monitor with me to the master bedroom.
As I lie in the bed, I can understand the need for a cathartic scream. Having all this stress and emotion buried deep inside me is going to do me in not to mention touching a naked Catherine on a daily basis. At least going to work will get my mind off my turmoil.
I finally fall into a fitful sleep awakening much later in a cold sweat. Shit, the old dreams have come back with a vengeance. I should have known better than to fall asleep in the state I was in. Stress always triggers the memory of my father's death at my mother's hands and this one was especially graphic.
I wipe the sweat from my brow and glance to the clock on the bedside table. 1:00 p.m. Wow, I had quite the nap. I may as well get up because there is no way I want to return to those visions.
As I sit up, I notice a very concerned Catherine sitting in the doorway watching me. How did she get there, and better yet, how long as she been there?
"Sara, are you okay? You were calling out in your sleep for someone to help you."
Damn it. This is not what I need right now. "Yeah, I'm fine Catherine. I have a bit of a problem with nightmares as well. Now, missy, how did you get down that hall?"
Catherine pushes herself slowly into the room using her right hand. I guess that answers my question. "Sara, you were not having a nightmare. You were having a flashback of some kind."
Shit, how do I get out of this? Maybe I can try to postpone this discussion. "Catherine, I would rather not discuss this if you don't mind. I apologize for disturbing you, but really, I'm fine. I was just overtired." Please drop this, please.
She bites her lower lip and then says "You didn't disturb me, Sara. I was worried about you. It took me 15 minutes to get down the damn hall. I felt so bad that I couldn't get to you in time to help you."
Okay, time to nip this subject in the bud. "Thank you for trying, Catherine, but you need to be careful wheeling yourself around. If you bump your leg into the wall, you will be in for a world of hurt." Needing to move to safer ground, I add "What do you say we go sit outside? It's a beautiful day and I bet you're tired of being cooped up in the house."
I get the famous "this is not over" look but Catherine agrees to go out. I knew she wouldn't be able to resist a little time in the sun.
We head outdoors as soon as I retrieve Catherine's sunglasses from her purse. I wheel her out to the table by the pool and set the brakes on the wheelchair. I don't want her accidentally rolling into the pool while I go back inside to get us something to drink.
Upon my return, we sit quietly basking in the sun sipping on our lemonade. I close my eyes and feel completely at ease out here with Catherine. Until
"Sara, I want to talk to you about something." I start to protest but Catherine assures me it is not about my nightmare. I nod my head for her to continue.
"I guess you have figured out that I'm bisexual by now and I think we should talk about your feelings on the subject. If you are uncomfortable with this knowledge, you need to let me know. I won't hold you to your agreement to look after me. If you want out, say the word. I just ask that you keep my lifestyle to yourself. No one else at work knows. Not even Gil. If I were to ever get serious with a female partner, I would definitely tell them. Right now, I don't think it's anyone's business whom I choose to date."
Catherine must truly trust me to confirm her sexual preferences. If she only knew how many secrets I possess. Should I confide in her about being gay? It would only be like a tit for tat exchange.
I must take too long to respond as she adds "Don't worry about it. I can call the local home health care facility and apply for medical assistance. If you can stay until they can send someone out, I would really appreciate it."
"No, no, no. You didn't give me time to respond. I don't care that you are bisexual. It would be hypocritical of me if it did." Okay Sara, it's time to come clean. "I'm gay, Catherine. So the ball is in your court so to speak. You need to decide if my being here is going to make you uncomfortable."
Catherine is completely taken back by my statement. "Sara, how can you be gay? You had that thing for Gil and what about Hank?"
Why can't Catherine ever accept things at face value? I guess that's why she's such a good criminalist. She always questions things. Just this once, I wish she would process internally instead of externally.
Sighing, I answer "In San Francisco, being gay in the work place was not uncommon.
I wasn't sure how my sexual preference would be perceived in Vegas. I thought things would be easier if I were seen in the company of men. Grissom was an easy mark. We were already friends and I knew nothing would come from a relationship with him. When he didn't show any interest, I hooked up with Hank. He seemed to be a nice guy and I should have realized something was up when he wasn't in the least bit upset I wouldn't go to bed with him. I had a better time with you when we went out for a beer after the so-called breakup than I had on any of my dates with Hank."
Catherine takes a few minutes to respond. After all, I gave her quite a bit of information to absorb. I watch as her facial expression changes from disbelief to confusion to finally realization.
With a smile on her face, she says "Damn, Sara. If I had known I had a shot at you, I would never have gone after Beth."
I sit back in my chair stunned by Catherine's revelation.
Recovering from the shock of Catherine's statement, I open my mouth to find out exactly what she meant when I hear Lily's voice behind me. "Catherine, what are you doing out in the sun? You are going to get a heat stroke. I can't leave you along for a minute, and you, Sara. You're supposed to be taking care of Catherine, not endangering her health. It's a good thing I decided to drop by on my way home. Now, let's get you back inside."
Before I can respond to Lily's accusations, Catherine is being wheeled back toward the house. Judging from the tone of Catherine's snappy comeback, she is not pleased with Lily or her impromptu visit. I listen until her voice fades. "Mother, stop this chair right now. I don't want to go back inside. And don't you dare attack Sara. She is a wonderful help to me and where do you "
I decide not to follow so that I can think things through. Catherine can handle her mother and I need some time alone to think. It is apparent that neither Catherine nor I have a problem with each other's sexual preferences so I'm assuming I will be staying on to help.
Was Catherine serious about her desire to go out with me or was she trying for a little humor to lighten the conversation? With Lily here, I won't be able to ask about her intent, but it's probably just as well. In fact, I think the subject should be dropped all together. Catherine and I are getting along fairly well and we don't need to be uncomfortable around each other for the remainder of her recovery time.
I pick up our glasses and head back to the house. Catherine is sitting dejectedly at the table while Lily prepares a sandwich of some kind. I rinse the glasses and place them in the dishwasher.
The silence in the room is deafening. I believe I have may have interrupted a conversation intended for only the two of them. I walk by Catherine and lightly squeeze her shoulder as I leave the room.
A trip down the road to that new diner seems like a great idea. I leave the house and drive to the diner. Ordering a salad and coffee, I pick up the local newspaper and wait for my meal. I think an hour should be sufficient time for Catherine and Lily to work out their differences.
I return to Catherine's to find Lindsey and Lily in the den watching TV. I inquire as to Catherine's whereabouts. Lily totally ignores me, but Lindsey tells me she's in her bedroom. I quickly stride down the hall to make sure she's okay.
Catherine is sitting in front of the window looking out. She looks so sad and lonely. I move to the chair and kneel down next to her. "Catherine, what's going on? Your mom won't speak to me and you look like you've lost your best friend?"
She looks me in the eye and asks "Have I?"
Confused, I answer "Have you what?"
With tears in her eyes, Catherine says "Lost you. You left and I didn't know where you had gone. I didn't know for certain if you were coming back. I'm sorry my mother accused you of not caring for me properly. I hope you don't let her influence you into not staying. I trust you and I need you, Sara. Please don't go."
I gently reach out and hug Catherine saying "I'm not going anywhere. I thought you might need some time alone with your mom to sort things out. I'm sorry I didn't tell you I was leaving. I didn't want to add any fuel to the fire because I'm sure my departure was welcomed by your mother."
Catherine answers "Actually, mother likes you. The reason she didn't speak to you is because she is feeling guilty. That's the only time she's ever quiet. Maybe you can figure out a way to make her feel guilty more often."
We both laugh as I pull away. "Okay, now we have all this settled. How are you doing in the 'have to go to the bathroom' department?"
Catherine turns red but says "I drank two glasses of water with the sandwich mother made me eat if that answers your question." I smile as I push her toward the master bath.
It's finally time to leave for work after a productive evening for us all. I assisted Lindsey with some of her math homework and Lily has apologized for earlier and has started speaking to me againat length.
I place Catherine into her bed and place her book and glasses on her right side so she can get to them easily. Lily will come in later to check on her, turn off the light, and help her with the bedpan if the need arises. I think Catherine is worried that she will have to use the bedpan before I can get home because she hasn't had anything to drink since 6:00 p.m. I bid Catherine and Lily goodnight and leave the house. For the first time in a very long time, I don't want to go to work. I want to stay with Catherine.
Work is unusually slow tonight. Only two cases so far and Grissom has assigned Nick to one and Warrick to another. Grissom called me in his office at the beginning of the shift to tell me he was going to keep my work load light this week. I think he almost had a heart attack when I smiled and thanked him.
Around 4:30 a.m., things are almost at a stand still. Grissom finds me in my lab and tells me to call it a night. He says he'll call if some emergency comes up. I quickly leave before he changes his mind.
I let myself in Catherine's house and tiptoe past the den where Lily is sleeping. I feel my way down the hall and quietly move into the master bedroom. Changing into my boxers and a tank from my duffle bag, I place a blanket on the floor and start toward the bed to retrieve a pillow.
As I near the bed, Catherine begins to whimper in her sleep. I crawl into the bed and gently take her hand. I whisper to her that everything is okay. She grasps my hand tightly and pulls it to her chest.
After a few minutes, Catherine has settled down. I try to untangle our hands without success. Every time I pull away, Catherine begins to whimper again. Finally, I give up and lie down beside her. I fall asleep almost immediately.
I awaken to my name being called. I open my eyes to see Catherine smiling and saying "Good morning. What time did you get in?"
Smiling back, I describe the night's events. Catherine is glad I will be working light shifts and will be available if she were to need me. I get up and move around the bed to begin our morning routine. As I lift Catherine up to place her in the chair, I almost drop her when she says "Sara, I like waking up next to you in the morning."
Adjusting my grip, I lean down and place Catherine in the chair. As I begin to stand, Catherine reaches up and pulls me back down until we are face to face. "Sara, I didn't mean to embarrass you, but I meant what I said. I feel safe with you. I always have."
She then leans forward and gently kisses my lips. Pulling away, she says "No pressure. I just want to get to know you. Now, will you please push me to the toilet before I have an accident?" Smiling, I stand and wheel her into the master bath.
Two week pass with me coming in early from work and sleeping with Catherine. She always seems to know when I climb into bed as she reaches for me each time. We have exchanged a few sweet kisses on occasion, but we never go any further.
Catherine has even taken to lying down with me when I need to get some sleep during the day. She usually reads a book or listens to her iPod while I rest. When she's with me, I never have any of the old nightmares instead I dream of her.
We have not actually talked about what is going on between us. Instead we just live day to day getting to know each other and becoming closer. I am dreading the day Catherine gets her walking cast on. There will be no reason for me to stay with her if she is mobile.
On a Tuesday afternoon as Catherine and I are watching TV in the den, Lily enters from the kitchen. "That was the doctor's office on the phone. He wants you to come in tomorrow instead of next Monday. There is some sort of conflict with his surgery calendar. By the way Catherine, I talked to the nurse while you were still in the hospital. Dr. Waters is recently divorced and he is a nice looking man. You should ask him out sometime."
I stifle a laugh as Catherine answers "Mother, please. He's my doctor and I am not the least bit interested in dating him. Besides, he is closer to your age. Why don't you ask him out?" I excuse myself and leave the room before I burst out laughing.
Grissom calls about thirty minutes before I leave for work telling me to stay home tonight. It seems someone from the swing shift wants to work a double to make up for being out the night before. Grissom has agreed to the request mainly because of all the overtime I have amassed the past two months.
I am both excited and nervous. This is the first time I will be spending the entire night with Catherine except of course for her first night home from the hospital. I usually work six days with the following two days off during my normal shift hours, but since I've been working light shifts I have been going in every night.
I walk back to the den to inform Catherine and Lily of the news. Lily immediately expresses her concerns about the sleeping arrangements. She is totally unaware of my sneaking in during the early mornings and sleeping with Catherine. She is under the impression I am still working my usual shift hours.
As I prepare my response to Lily's uncertainties, she says "Sara, this gives you the opportunity to go home and sleep. Nothing compares to a good night's rest in your own bed. You could come back in the morning like you usually do."
Problem is I never get a good night's rest in my apartment, but how am I going to contest her logic? It makes perfect sense for me to sleep in my own bed. I can't very well tell her that I'd rather sleep with her daughter.
Resigned to my fate, I answer "You're right, Lily. I'll get my things and go after I put Catherine in the bed." I immediately move toward Catherine to wheel her to the bedroom. As I start to turn her chair around, she puts her right hand on the wheel stopping the progress.
"Wait just a damn minute. Mother, Sara is not going anywhere. She is staying in this house and will sleep in my bedroom. It's too late for her to be traipsing around the city."
Lily is not pleased with Catherine's solution as she says "Catherine, Sara is a big girl. She is used to traveling around the city at all hours of the night. It's not very charitable of you to expect her to sleep on the floor when she can be sleeping in her own bed."
I take this as my cue to leave, but I am stopped by Catherine's hand on my arm. She moves her hand down to mine and interlaces our fingers bringing me around to her right side. Crap, now I'm going to become the ball in another one of their tennis matches.
Catherine responds "Sara won't be sleeping on the floor. She will sleep in my bed."
Thanks, Catherine. Lob me up for an overhead smash. I tighten my grip on Catherine's hand waiting for Lily's retort.
I don't have long to wait as Lily replies "Don't be silly, Catherine. Sara won't be comfortable in your bed. You take up almost the entire space with your casts."
Oh Lily, if you only knew how small a space I need if the end result is to share the same bed with Catherine. I think I could manage in a twin bed if need be.
I look down at Catherine to see fire coming out of those beautiful blue orbs followed by a smirk. Uh oh, this is not a good sign. This particular smirk is the signal that Catherine is about to offer some earth shattering statement.
"For you information, Mother, Sara and I have been sleeping together for the past two weeks. She has been getting off work hours before the end of shift and she crawls into bed with me to sleep until it's time to get you and Lindsey up. We sleep quite comfortably together."
Stop the presses. Lily is completely speechless. She opens and closes her mouth several times as she stares at the two of us. As her eyes drift to our joined hands, her speaking ability returns. "What exactly do you mean by sleeping together?"
Catherine throws her head back and laughs. I, on the other hand, have apparently missed a very good punch line. Lily and I both look at Catherine with matching confused expressions.
Catherine recovers from her laughing jag long enough to respond "I mean sleep, Mother. In case you haven't noticed, I have a left leg and arm in a cast. I don't want to be incapacitated in any shape or form when Sara and I make love for the first time."
Lily faints and I stand there giving my best impression of a deer caught in the headlights.
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