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.

The Recovery
By Ann


Part 15

I am pulled from my stupor by Catherine squeezing my hand and calling my name. "Sara, hey. Sara, look at me. Sara!"

I look in Catherine's eyes with my wide eyed ones and stutter "Yes?"

She smiles saying "Could you check on mother before she falls out of the chair and hurts herself?"

I immediately rush to Lily's side catching her just as she is about to topple over. I gently place her back into the chair as she begins to come around. She looks at me totally confused.

I pull back saying "Welcome back, Lily. Why don't I go get you a glass of water? I'll be right back." I quickly make my escape as Catherine begins to offer an apology for causing such a stir.

In the kitchen, I mentally review the last few minutes. What the hell is going on here? Did Catherine really mean what she said or was she trying to shock her mother? I don't think I've ever felt so off center in my entire life.

I pull myself together as I get Lily's water and return to the den. It sure is awfully quiet in here. I wonder if that's a good or bad sign of things to come.

I hand Lily the water and move back beside Catherine. She immediately reaches down and takes my hand. "Mother, it's late. Why don't we all go to bed and talk about this in the morning?"

Lily, still quite pale and flustered, readily agrees as I release Catherine's hand. Turning, I push her down the hall and into the master bath where we silently go through our nightly ritual.

I place Catherine in the bed and am kept from standing by Catherine's arm around my neck. I am forced to look into her eyes where I see a little of everything. Confusion, caring, sadness, hurt, and, could it be, love?

"Sara, have I ruined things between us? I'm not going to apologize for what I said to mother because I meant it. I will apologize for the timing. Telling my mother about my feelings for you before I've said anything to you was a huge mistake. She just gets me so mad that my mouth takes over. I'm sorry if I embarrassed you or if I'm moving too fast."

Smiling, I respond "Catherine you didn't embarrass me. Shocked me to the core yes, but embarrassed no. I would have preferred to have been in a one on one setting when we discussed our feelings, but I am overjoyed to know your feelings for me are the same as the ones I have for you."

I place my hand on her face as I lower my lips to hers. The kiss begins as our others have. Slow and sweet, but quickly escalates as Catherine pushes her tongue into my mouth. I suck on her tongue gently as she moans into my mouth. I force myself to keep my hands from roaming as I make the supreme effort of slowing the intensity of the kiss. I pull back from Catherine and rest my forehead on hers.

After several minutes, our breathing has returned to some semblance of normal. Catherine releases my neck and I am able to stand, barely. "Damn, Sara. You are one hell of a kisser. If this is an indication of what is to come, I can hardly wait to get these casts off."

What is to come? Oh, what a choice of words. Instead I respond "Me either, Catherine, me either. For right now, I think we need to keep things in check. I don't know how many more of those heated kisses I can stand before moving forward and I don't want to do anything that might hurt you. Now, the sooner we get to sleep, the sooner we can find out what the doctor has to say tomorrow." As if I can get to sleep with my lower extremities clamoring for attention.

I turn out the light and crawl into bed turning on my side with my back to Catherine. Let's see if the old 'out of sight, out of mind' adage really works.

After about an hour, I am lying on my back with Catherine's hand in mine. She fell asleep within five minutes and immediately began to seek me out. The least I could do was to accommodate her need especially when she was groping my ass.

My libido has calmed somewhat. I think picturing Hodges in his underwear did the trick. Good thing because the next trick was to imagine Hodges and Ecklie together. Ewww.

Now, if I could just get my mind to shut down, but I can't get Lily's reaction out of my head. Why would she faint? Does the thought of Catherine and me together bother her so much? It's almost as if she didn't know Catherine was bisexual. How can that be? Lindsey knows. Arggg. I have to get some sleep.

A few hours later, I finally fall into a fitful sleep and have the most bizarre dream. Catherine and I are dancing together in some nightclub. I am dressed entirely in leather and she in lace. Ecklie and Hodges are dancing together to our left and Lily and Sam Braun to our right. Catherine and I begin to passionately kiss as Lily leads Sam over to us. Sam pulls out a gun and shoots me directly in the chest. Catherine screams and Lily applauds. I immediately sit up on the bed gasping for air. .

Catherine awakens and begins to lightly rub my back. She whispers "Sara, what's wrong? Are you okay?" I can't find my voice to answer and Catherine is beginning to get frantic as she says "C'mere baby, and let me hold you."

I immediately lie with my head on Catherine's chest. She pulls me close and continues to rub my back and soothe me with her voice. Holy shit, that dream felt real. I could even feel the bullet pierce my chest.

I finally calm down enough to describe my dream to Catherine. She laughs when I tell her about Hodges and Ecklie dancing, but her body immediately tenses up at the mention of Sam Braun. She pulls me even closer when I tell her of the shooting.


Part 16

We lie in silence for several moments before Catherine asks in a shaky voice, "Sara, why do you think you dreamt of Sam Braun? You haven't met him have you?"

Ah, the moment of truth. How should I handle this? Should I pretend I don't have my suspicions or let Catherine in on my thoughts?

I decide to be as truthful as possible. I don't want a relationship with Catherine built on lies. "Catherine, when you were first injured, your mother said something about Sam paying for your care. At the time, I didn't have any idea who she was talking about. I figured Sam was your father and you two had a falling out. Then you had that dream where you were falling and Eddie, your dad, and Sam always let go. Later, Nancy mentioned your father in the past tense as if he were deceased. I had my suspicions then that Sam Braun may be your dad. Since I'm also worried about Lily's reaction to your statement earlier tonight, I guess my subconscious got away with me when I was dreaming."

Catherine has remained silent during my explanation, but she has tightened her hold on me. Finally after several minutes she says "You're right, Sara. Sam Braun is my father. I found out when we were investigating the robbery of the bank where Detective Lockwood was killed. I compromised the case when I ran a DNA sample against my own. Hell of a way to find out about your parentage. I wanted as few people as possible to know so I worked very hard at keeping it quiet."

In a soft voice, she continues "I am slowly coming to terms with him. Mom has been dating him again and Lindsey wants to get to know her grandfather. I just don't want to be in debt to him for anything and I don't want him to become involved in the way I live my life. He may be my father, but he's still a very dangerous man, Sara."

And what would he do if he found out his little girl was involved with me, especially if Lily is not happy with the arrangement? Could my dream be some sort of premonition? I'm sure he still has mafia ties and could easily have me disappear. I bet Catherine and Grissom would never be able to find me.

Shit, Sidle. Get a hold of yourself. Paranoid, much? I'm sure Jimmy Hoffa wasn't anywhere near Vegas when he fell off the face of the earth.

Catherine moves her hand to lightly stroke my hair. "Hey, what's going on in that overactive brain of yours? If you're worried about Sam, don't. He's aware of my bisexuality and doesn't have a problem with it. Of course, I did tell him if he ever came between me and a female lover, I would make sure he never had any contact with me or Lindsey ever again."

I start to respond but am stopped as Catherine continues "Now, as for mother. She chooses not to believe I could have a relationship with another woman. She thinks Beth was a really good friend who just happened to sleep over on occasion. I actually have never come out and told her until today in my round about way."

I snort a laugh before responding "Round about way, Catherine? The woman fainted dead away at the thought of the two of us making love. Don't you think you could have been a little more subtle?"

Catherine sighs and with a sad voice says "You're right. I shouldn't have been so direct. She has a knack for pushing all my buttons and the next thing I know I am spouting off all kinds of inappropriate things. You've been around her long enough to know how she is. Mother could make a monk break his vow of silence just to tell her off."

I sit up and face Catherine. "Catherine, she's your mother. Her job is to drive you crazy. Be thankful that she loves you enough to get under your skin. Some mothers don't care at all what happens to their child." And I definitely know about that. "Now, enough of this, it's time to get up and face the music. I'll go wake Lindsey and then come back to get you. We can wake your mother together."

I lightly kiss Catherine and jump up to head for Lindsey's room. I hope I can maintain this bravado when we face Lily. In the meantime, I get to wake up an extremely non-morning little person.

After several attempts, I succeed in getting Lindsey out of the bed. I return for Catherine and we complete our morning ritual like clockwork. I wheel Catherine into the kitchen. We decide a cup of Greg's famous brew would make a nice peace offering for Lily.

We make the ultimate sacrifice of pouring Lily the first cup. Catherine holds the mug while I push her into the den. Coffee in bed would certainly put me in a better mood to start the day.

I wheel Catherine over to the couch where we both stare at the sight that greets us. Lily is gone and a note is lying on the middle cushion.

I finally move to the paper, pick it up, and hand it to Catherine. She sits there staring at it but not reading. Her hand begins to shake and tears begin to fall. I kneel next to her and gently take her in my arms. She silently cries into my shoulder.

Using a soothing voice, I say "Hey, c'mon now. It's going to be okay. You haven't even read the note yet. Maybe she had some early morning appointment and didn't get a chance to tell us last night."

She pulls back from me and places her hand on my cheek. "Thanks, Sara. I know you are trying to help, but we both know what the note will say. She can't accept us."

I lift Catherine from the chair and place her on the couch with her casts toward the inside. I kneel next to her and take her hand. She hands me the note and I begin to read aloud.

My dearest Catherine,

I love you with all my heart and I am trying to accept your relationship with Sara, but you must understand this is very hard for me. Being in a relationship with a woman is very difficult and it is not a life I want for you. People can be so cruel and discriminating. There are so many factors to consider. How will people at work treat you? Will you be able to work together on the same shift? How will you be looked upon by others when you go out in public together? And what about Lindsey? How will this affect her?

Oh, Catherine. I only want the best for you, and if Sara is who you want, I will try my best to accept your relationship. I like Sara, I really do. She truly is a good person. I would like to sit down with the two of you tonight and discuss things. I just need a little time to myself to work things out.



P. S. Don't forget about your doctor's appointment.


Part 17

Lily's letter has Catherine both hopeful and worried at the same time. I try to reassure her by pointing out Lily is trying to come to terms with things. Catherine promises to try not to dwell on the 'what ifs' for now.

I push Catherine to the table in the kitchen and pour her coffee. I decide to make pancakes this morning to try to cheer her up. Lindsey comes strolling in and immediately lights up when she sees the griddle on the stove. At least I am making one Willows happy this morning.

Lindsey provides the topic of conversation at breakfast. Who knew so much could take place at a middle school? It's like a mini soap opera.

Nancy comes in just as we are finishing our meal. Lindsey races out to brush her teeth and get her book bag. I quickly rinse the dishes and excuse myself to ready the bath area for Catherine leaving the two sisters alone to hopefully discuss their mother.

As I am getting the towels out of the linen closet, Nancy pushes Catherine into the room. She gives me a wink and bids us goodbye. I kneel next to Catherine and push the hair from her eyes. "Hey, beautiful. How about getting ready for your doctor's appointment? We could visit Starbucks and sit out in the atrium of the hospital while we wait. It will get you out of the house for awhile."

Catherine quietly agrees and we begin our bathing routine. I talk about anything and everything with the exception of Lily to try to get Catherine out of her funk. I also believe Catherine is a little nervous about her doctor's visit today. That makes two of us.

Finding a corner table in the atrium area, I push Catherine to the table and take the seat across from her. We have pretty much covered all the small talk on our ride over so we just sit in silence.

As I get up to dispose of our paper cups, Catherine evidently decides it's time to discuss a few things. "Sara, how would you like to continue our relationship? I mean, do we go out on dates? Have family outings? Do we try to keep things a secret or should we tell the team?"

Damn. When Catherine broaches a subject, she jumps in with both feet. No wonder she has been so quiet. She's had all this stuff bottled inside.

I make an attempt to answer. "Well, I think we should go out to the movies and maybe dinner sometime, but I would like to include Lindsey in some of our outings. As far as telling the team, I think we should wait until we are totally comfortable with our relationship."

Catherine responds "Okay." Okay? Is that all? Wow, that was easy. I reach out and take Catherine's hand as we look up through the skylight waiting for her appointment.

I sit in the waiting room reading more outdated magazines. Catherine has been wheeled to x-ray and I was told it may take awhile so I had plenty of time to take care of any errands. I informed the nurse I was staying right here until Catherine was finished.

I look to the seat next to me and spot the entertainment section of today's paper. I find an extra pen at the check in desk, locate the crossword puzzle, and proceed to fill in the blanks. I know it's rude of me to work on a "community" puzzle, but I'm bored.

I've finished the puzzle, the jumble, the Sudoku number puzzle, and even the word search. I've read the paper from front to back and back to front and even perused the classified. I got a chuckle or two from the personals found on the last page.

I finally lean my head back and close my eyes. I must have dozed off because the next thing I know, the nurse if calling my name and asking me to follow her.

We go down a hall and she motions for me to enter the far door. Ah, Doctor Waters' office. I open the door to see Catherine sitting in her wheelchair with her back to me.

I pull a chair up next to her and immediately look down to see a walking cast on her left leg. I try not to show any expression of disappointment as I make eye contact with Catherine who doesn't seem to be overjoyed either.

As if reading my mind, Catherine says "Don't get me wrong. I am very happy to be rid of that bulky cast, but I don't look forward to not having you around all the time. Selfish of me, huh?"

Relieved, I reply "No, you're not at all selfish. You make me feel less guilty about my displeasure when I laid eyes on that cast. I think we may be able to work out some sort of time schedule where we can still spend quality time together."

Before she can reply, Dr. Waters enters the room. He places her x-rays on the display behind his desk and proceeds to explain how surprised he is at the amount of healing the bones have undergone in the past two weeks. Catherine will be able to walk using the cast in two days time. He wants the cast to set properly before adding weight. Catherine's arm has also showed signs of improvement so he replaced her bulky arm cast with a lighter one.

Since Catherine won't be able to use crutches, it looks like I will be needed for another two days. Fine by me, that will give us some time to work out a plan for us to see each other on a daily basis once she is fully mobile.

We decide to celebrate with ice cream and a trip to the park. After about an hour, Catherine is showing signs of fatigue and I suggest we head back to the house.

We notice Lily's car in the drive as we pull in. I don't think Catherine is up to a confrontation with her mother. I just hope it doesn't come to that.

I wheel Catherine inside and toward the couch area. Lily emerges from the kitchen as I get Catherine settled on the couch. I nervously stand in the wings.

Lily immediately goes to Catherine, gives her a hug, and tells her how much she loves her. She compliments her on her new casts and says how happy she is the recovery is going well. Lily then turns to me.

I try not to act nervous even though I am shifting my weight from foot to foot. Lily approaches me and draws me into a warm hug. She pulls back and says "Sara, I apologize for my behavior last night and again this morning. I knew Catherine dated both men and women, but I chose to ignore the obvious. If you make Catherine happy, then I am happy as well."

As she takes my hand to guide me to the couch, I notice someone standing in the kitchen doorway. I turn my attention to the unknown person only to see the blue eyes of Sam Braun looking back at me.

Holy shit! My eyes immediately look to his hands.


Part 18

I am barely able to keep myself from stumbling the rest of the way to the couch. Catherine, who is unaware of Sam's presence, reaches out to pull me down next to her with a very concerned expression on her face.

Sam makes his way around the couch and stands in front of us. "Hello, Mugs. How are you feeling?"

Catherine reflexively pulls me closer before she answers. "Hello, Sam. I'm feeling just fine. What brings you here?"

He smiles saying "Your mother was quite distraught this morning. She came by to talk about your circumstance."

Circumstance? Is that what I am? Oh God, I bet he uses the term when dealing with unwanted situations.

Catherine is cool as a cucumber as she responds "What circumstance are you referring to? Surely, you don't see my relationship with Sara as a circumstance. Do you now, Sam?"

He throws his had back and laughs. "Mugs, you certainly have moxy that's for sure. And no, I believe your relationship with Ms. Sidle is exactly that, a relationship. Otherwise, I would not have spent all morning explaining things to your mother."

Catherine relaxes back into the couch. I move with her and squeeze her hand. Catherine turns her attention to her 'father' and asks "Sam, would you and mother like some tea or coffee?"

He looks to his watch and shakes his head. "I would love to, but I have a meeting in about 30 minutes. My driver should be outside. Can I have a raincheck?"

Oh, he's good. He orchestrated this entire thing. Sam made sure his car was out of sight so we wouldn't know he was here. Too bad Catherine and I didn't stay at the park longer. That would have messed up his plans for sure.

Sam stands and moves to hug Catherine. I release her hand so she can return the hug. He then holds his hand out to me. "Ms. Sidle, it's a pleasure to meet you. I look forward to getting to know you."

Crap, by the look in his eye, I'd say he already knows a great deal about me. I need to talk to Catherine before he lays out my whole sorted life for her.

I reach out to shake his hand and respond in a controlled voice"Nice to finally meet you, Mr. Braun. I've heard so much about you." He gives me a wink and then asks Lily to walk him out. As the door closes, I breathe a huge sigh of relief. A handshake over a gun shot to the chest wins hands down every time.

Catherine turns toward me and lifts her walking cast over my lap as she pulls me close. "Sara, you were wonderful. You didn't let Sam walk all over you. He'll respect you for that."

She is so at ease with her body practically on top of mine. I look down at her leg across my body and realize I am in big trouble when she gets this cast off. I can't wait.

Lily comes back inside as Catherine removes her leg from my lap. I start to move over so Lily won't feel uncomfortable when Catherine takes my hand and keeps me in place. Oh well, it's her mother.

Lily sits directly across from us and begins the discussion. "Girls, I want you to know I stand by you. I've had some time to think and Sam has helped me see things in a different light. I will still worry about you two, but I won't stand in your way."

Before Catherine and I can respond, Lily says "Now, tell me what the doctor said. How long before you can walk on your cast? Will you be able to go back to work when you can get around? How long will you have to wear your arm cast?" She's baaaacckkk.

When Lindsey gets home, we are going to order pizza to celebrate Catherine's new cast. It is so much easier to maneuver Catherine in this sleeker version. She has also gone back to wearing shorts saying she felt self conscious with the bulky cast on.

Of course, wearing shorts means shaving her legs. I set Catherine up in the bed with towels and shaving gel. She made quite a mess but was able to finish without nicking herself. It took all my concentration to make sure she didn't fall off the bed. After all, she was clad in only her underwear and t-shirt.

I look at the time and realize I haven't gotten any sleep today. I need to get a nap in if I'm going to be alert for work tonight. Lily has decided to take a nap as well. She has a bit of a headache and says sleep always helps.

Lily heads to Lindsey's bed and I go to Catherine's. Catherine has asked if she could lie down with me and read a book. I worry what Lily will think, but Catherine reassures me. I lie down and within minutes I am asleep.

I awake to quiet murmuring. I look to the clock to see 8:00 p.m. What? I slept for five hours? There has to be some kind of problem with this clock. I roll over to find Lindsey signing Catherine's casts.

She looks at me and smiles. "Hi, Sara. Mom let me be the first to sign her casts. I think you should be next." Catherine whispers something in Lindsey's ear and then Lindsey grins and leaves.

Catherine turns toward me and runs her fingers lightly through my hair asking "Did you sleep well?"

I close my eyes and say "I slept great, no weird dreams or nightmares. But I think there's something wrong with this clock over here."

Catherine laughs answering "I'm glad I was able to keep your nightmares away and there is nothing wrong with that clock."

I immediately sit up. "Catherine, why didn't you wake me? You must be starving. Let me get up and I'll go get you something to eat."

She puts her hand out stopping me. "Sara, I've already eaten. Mother and Lindsey brought me a tray and I ate in here. I've sent Lindsey to fix your tray."

"You're kidding me. I slept for five straight hours without a nightmare and while Lily and Lindsey brought you a meal? I have to be dreaming."

Catherine leans over and softly kisses my lips. "Does this feel like a dream to you?"

I look her in the eyes and say "No, it feels like heaven." I lean forward to kiss her again when I hear "All right, you two. Kid in the room. Cease and desist all PDA."

I immediately freeze in place. Please tell me Lindsey did not see me kiss her mother.


Part 19

"Cease and desist, huh. Where did you hear that?" Catherine asks as Lindsey brings the tray over to my side of the bed.

Lindsey replies "On one of those Law and Order shows. They say it all the time. Now, here's your pizza and Coke, Sara. We got you one of those vegetarian ones. I hope you like it."

I take the tray and without making eye contact with Lindsey respond "Thanks, Linds, but you didn't need to serve me in bed. I could have gotten up and eaten in the kitchen."

Lindsey smiles and says "Nope. Mom said she wanted to keep you in bed." I turn red as a beet as Lindsey continues. "Besides, you deserve a reward after taking care of mom since she's been injured."

Catherine reaches over, takes my hand, and adds in a sexy voice "Yes, she does. I am going to have to find a way to pay her back for services rendered." I almost drop the tray on the floor, but Catherine reaches out to steady it. "Lindsey, have you finished your homework?"

Lindsey looks at Catherine then at me and back to Catherine. "Um, no. I'll get right on it." She walks out muttering "Grownups."

Speechless after listening to Lindsey and Catherine, I begin to eat my pizza. I am beginning to realize Catherine is way out of my league. She is so beautiful and alluring and I am just plain Sara. Catherine can have anyone she wants. Why would she be interested in me?

Catherine sits back and watches me closely. "Sara, I'm sorry if I embarrassed you in front of Lindsey. I'll try to censor myself more often. Sometimes I'll say or do something without thinking how it will affect others. Just let me know if you are uncomfortable with something. I don't want to do anything to jeopardize this relationship."

I turn to Catherine and ask "Why me? Why would you be interested in someone like me? I don't have anything to offer."

Catherine asks me to move the tray to the nightstand. I comply without thought. As I turn back, Catherine swings her leg over mine and straddles my thighs. Wow. She can bend her leg now that the cast is cut just below her knee.

She cups my face with her right hand and turns my head so that I have no choice but to look directly into her eyes.

"Sara. I want you to listen and listen good. You are the most beautiful person I have ever met, both inside and out. You are kind, caring, intelligent, sincere, reliable, and to top it off incredibly sexy. I am going to do everything in my power to get you to see yourself through my eyes."

With that said she leans forward and passionately kisses me. She controls every aspect of the kiss and leaves no doubt as to her feelings for me. As she pulls away, she topples forward. I catch her, lift her leg, and turn her back to her side of the bed.

Catherine ducks her head and says "Well, that was romantic. Nothing says I love you quite like almost falling on your head."

Now, it's my turn to reassure. "Catherine, romantic doesn't come close to describing the kiss we shared. No one has ever kissed me the way you just did. You poured all your feelings and emotions into a single kiss. I think it's only fair that I tell you a few things about myself that may change your feelings for me. I want you to listen and not say a word until I've finished."

I draw a breath and continue. "When Sam was here today, he gave me a very knowing look. It was as if he was telling me he knew everything about me and would not hesitate to hold it over my head. I had already decided to talk to you about my childhood and subsequent years after eventually, but I feel now is the right time. I don't want Sam to have any power over me."

Catherine doesn't say a word. She smiles and pats her lap. I lay my head in her lap facing outward as she plays with my hair. I begin by detailing the abuse I suffered growing up. I describe the night my mother killed my father as well as my years in foster homes. I speak of my determination to go to Harvard and how I sacrificed my social life to make my dream come true. I talk of the few unsuccessful relationships I had while at Harvard, and go on to describe my life in San Francisco and how I ended up in Vegas. I conclude with all the problems I've encountered since arriving here.

I turn to look up at Catherine only to see her looking back with tears in her eyes. "God Sara, how could I not want you? You persevered through such adversity and you made it through successfully. Knowing all of this only makes me love you even more."

Love? She loves me? Catherine loves me!!! I sit up and hug her tightly whispering in her ear. "I love you too, Catherine. I love you so much."

We are interrupted by a knock on the door followed by Lily's voice. "Excuse me girls, but it is ten o'clock and almost time for Sara to leave for work. I was just checking to be sure Catherine was ready for bed."

Embarrassed, I pull away only to be pulled back and quickly kissed by Catherine. "Sara will be out shortly, mother." She lets me go as I quickly down a piece of pizza. I walk around and lift her into my arms. I carry Catherine toward the master bath as she protests the entire way about her weighing too much and how I'll hurt my back. I just smile and continue the journey.

I'm on cloud nine at work. Everyone asks me why I'm in such a good mood. I just smile and answer "No reason." Greg follows me around every chance he gets trying to worm some information out of me, but I will not cater to his tactics. When shift ends, I rush out before I can be cornered by anyone else.

I run by Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and pick up some of Lindsey and Catherine's favorite, dulce de leche. I overheard Lily talking about how she loves cinnamon and apples, so I pick up a couple of cinnamon apple filled for her. I choose some glazed crullers for myself. Catherine's probably going to kill me for sending Lindsey off to school with a sugar rush, but better her teachers deal with her than us.

Arriving at the house, I open the door to silence. Good, no one is up yet. I would hate to waste perfectly good donuts. Lily wakes as I shut the door. I hand her the donuts and she instructs me to go wake Lindsey and then Catherine while she prepares the coffee. I smile and move down the hall.

"Lindsey, rise and shine. It's time to get some breakfast." I receive a few grunts in response. "Lindsey, I got you some dulce de leche donuts." Her head pops out from under the cover as she says "Really? I love you, Sara!" She hugs me and takes off toward the kitchen. Chuckling, I move to Catherine's room.

Oh, my. Catherine has kicked off the covers and her t-shirt is bunched under her breasts. I swallow and walk toward the bed. Her hair is fanned out across the pillow and her lips are slightly parted. What a vision of beauty.

I barely succeed in keeping my eyes above the cast lying across her flat stomach. I take a breath and quietly call her name. Without opening her eyes, she smiles and stretches like a cat. I brush the hair from her eyes as she looks directly at me.

I lean down and lightly kiss her. "Good morning. I brought breakfast and your mom is brewing the coffee. Let's get you up and moving."

Ten minutes later, I wheel Catherine into the kitchen. By the looks of the donuts left on the plate, Lindsey is working on her third and washing it down with milk. She swallows and says "Look mom. Sara bought our favorite donuts. Beth always brought home those boring plain ones. And I like Sara so much more than Beth. I think we should keep her."

Catherine responds "I asked Sara that exact question the day she brought me home from the hospital, and you know she never gave me an answer." Catherine turns toward me with a huge smile on her face and asks "So what do you say, Sara, can we keep you?"


Part 20

I stand both motionless and speechless. I am overwhelmed with emotion. No one has even jokingly talked about wanting me around.

Lily picks up on my state and very smoothly ushers Lindsey from the room pointing out how she's going to be late for school.

Catherine slowly turns her chair so that she is facing me. "Sara, what's the matter? You look as if you're going to pass out. Come sit down."

I obediently comply as Catherine wheels herself close enough to touch me. She reaches out and takes my hand. "Hey, Lindsey and I were just kidding around. We didn't mean to upset you. We really like having you here."

I put my free hand over my eyes and begin to cry. What is wrong with me? My emotions are so near the surface. You would think I had PMS or something.

Catherine works her chair until she is adjacent to mine. She immediately pulls me to her as best she can. Even in this awkward embrace, I feel safe and loved.

I finally pull myself together and lift my head from Catherine's shoulder. "I'm so sorry, Catherine. You must think I'm a basket case. I can't explain my feelings. I am having a hard time controlling my emotions."

Catherine nods her head and says "I may be way off base, but I think what you're feeling is security and happiness."

I close my eyes and try to pinpoint my feelings. I feel so close to Catherine and I think of Lindsey and Lily as family. I have felt more loved and appreciated these past two weeks that at any time in my life.

I open my eyes saying "I think you're right, Catherine. I am happy for the first time since my early childhood before all the bad things started to happen. I want to be part of you. I want to be part of your family." I smile and add "Yes, you can keep me."

Lily comes back in with Lindsey to say their goodbyes while I clear the table and rinse the dishes. I wheel Catherine to her room and begin our day.

I successfully sneak some of Greg's coffee before shift. Nick and Warrick come in and catch me, but both keep mum when Greg walks in. I nod my thanks and pick up a magazine to read while waiting for Grissom.

Tomorrow's the day Catherine gets to try out her walking cast. She's going to wait for me to return in case she has some problems. We've decided that I will come by after shift each morning and have breakfast. Then I'll go home, get some rest, and return to visit each evening. There's no way we can go cold turkey without seeing each other.

Catherine is going to stay by herself starting tomorrow night and promises to call Lily or me if there's a problem. I know she is looking forward to being self sufficient again.

The guys pull me from my thoughts asking for an update on Catherine. I smile and fill in all the blanks, well, almost all the blanks. Grissom comes in, and by the look on his face, it's going to be a long night.

I exit the building thirty minutes early. My only job of the night was to collect evidence and secure it back at headquarters. Grissom told me to enjoy my freedom because starting Monday I would be expected to work full shifts again.

As I walk toward my truck, a black limousine pulls up next to me. The tinted glass prevents me from seeing the passenger. The car stops just ahead of me and the window slides down. Well, hell. It's Sam Braun.

"Hello again, Ms. Sidle. I was wondering if you would take a ride with me this morning. I'd like to treat you to the best coffee in Vegas."

Is that the line they are using these days to entice victims into a car? I don't believe Sam is going to take no for an answer. I wonder if I have time to run back inside for my bulletproof vest.

I make a show of looking at my watch before answering. "I promised Catherine I would be there to help her take her first steps with her cast. Is this going to take long?"

He opens the door and replies "No, just a quick cup and I'll have you back in time so that Catherine won't be disappointed." Like a true gentleman, he takes my hand to help me in. I just hope I come out of this in one piece.

We only travel a couple of blocks when the driver pulls into an old run down looking diner. Sam opens the door and helps me out. I look at him then the diner and back at him. He grins and says "Don't let the exterior fool you. Betty Sue makes the best coffee in the city. C'mon, you'll see."

I just hope Betty Sue isn't toting a gun. We walk to the entrance and he holds the door. He motions me to the back booth and I head toward it without hesitation. I hope my bravado lasts for awhile longer.

Sure enough, Betty Sue, at least that's what her nametag says, walks over and pours the most aromatic coffee in my mug. I take the first sip and close my eyes at its wonderful flavor. Sam laughs and holds up his mug for his serving. Betty Sue will be seeing me quite often.

We drink our first cup in silence. Betty Sue offers a refill and leaves. Sam takes her departure as his cue. "Ms. Sidle, can I call you Sara?" I nod my head in assent as he continues. "I know all about your background and I'm not sure how Mugs will react if she finds out you've been keeping things from her."

I immediately put a halt to where this is going. "Mr. Braun, can I call you Sam?" He smiles and nods yes. "I have already told Catherine everything about me since birth. She doesn't have a problem with any of it. I'm sorry if that causes problems for your blackmailing scheme."

Sam laughs for several minutes before replying "Oh Mugs, you've got your hands full with this one. If you two team up, I feel sorry for all the bad guys." I start to reply when he puts up his hand. "Sara, I've gone about this all wrong. I admit I wanted to have something on you to make sure you never mistreated Catherine. You have already impressed me a great deal. You've stood up to me for one thing, but the main thing is you've stuck by Catherine through her entire ordeal. None of the bastards she's dated before would have lasted a day and that Beth person was a gold digging bitch."

He sighs before continuing. "Beth was after me and I pretty much told her to take a hike. She found out Catherine was my daughter and went after her. Catherine doesn't know and I'd like to keep it that way if you don't mind. I gave Beth $25,000 to leave Vegas and if she comes back, I will deal with her. Anyway, back to you, I like you Sara. You're good for Catherine and Lindsey. You also handle Lily pretty well, and that's saying a lot about a person. I'm sorry for trying to get you in line with your past. I actually have plenty of respect for you to be able to get out of that situation in such a positive way."

What do I say to all of this? "Um, thanks." Wow, Sara. That was really intelligent.

Sam doesn't seem to notice as he finishes with "I hope you and Catherine are able to build a solid relationship with each other. I know Mugs is leery of me, but I just want the best for her and I think you can be that for her. I'm here if either of you ever need me."

I put my hand out and reply "Thanks, Sam. I appreciate your candor. I promise you I will always be there for Catherine." He shakes my hand and we finish our coffee.


Part 21

I arrive at Catherine's right on time. Lily has gotten Lindsey up and they are both having breakfast. She said she left Catherine for me. Gotta love the woman.

When I enter the room, Catherine is awake and looks over as I walk toward her. She sits up on the bed and gingerly puts her left foot on the floor. I move over to her and place my hands on her waist.

I smile and say "Ready?" She nods and starts to stand. Catherine places all her weight on her right foot before shifting a little to her left. After a couple of minutes, her weight is evenly distributed on both legs. She gives me another nod as she takes her first few steps.

I keep my hands on her waist as I back up with each step. She has a bit of a limp, but is pretty much walking without problems. "How are you doing? Any pain?"

Catherine grins and replies "None. And this feels wonderful. I'll never take walking for granted again." She expresses a desire to go to the bathroom by herself promising she'll be careful.

I anxiously wait in the bedroom for her return. She comes around the corner sporting a huge smile. "Who knew going to the toilet all by myself would be one of the highlights of my day?"

I rush over to her and hug her tight. It feels so good to be able to hold her in this manner. I can't wait for all the other firsts.

I brush my teeth and wash my face while Catherine gets dressed. I can't get my "visit" with Sam out of my head. There is no way I can keep this from Catherine, but today's not the day.

Catherine and I walk into the kitchen hand in hand. Lily and Lindsey are so excited to see Catherine up and about. I pull out the chair for Catherine and we both sit down to enjoy a family breakfast.

I'm going to stay with Catherine today just as a precaution. She is going to try to do a few chores and I promise to stay out of the way unless she needs me. I will leave from here to go to work. Catherine is staying on her own with Lindsey tonight. I hope I can finish my shift without driving by to check on her.

Tonight's my last night of work until Monday. This was originally my weekend off and Grissom didn't see any reason to change it. I will return for breakfast in the morning and will be available all day Saturday and Sunday if Catherine should need me. Lily is going to take a trip this weekend so everything is working out great.

Catherine has washed two loads of clothes and is smiling like she's won the lottery. I wonder how long it will take for her to tire of menial tasks. I give her two days.

I warn Catherine about doing too much and remind her to sit down as much as possible. She is not happy with my reprimand but promises to slow things down. I give her a kiss and tell her I'm off to get some sleep.

I awake later to find an arm around my waist and a body spooning me from behind. I take hold of Catherine's hand and snuggle back into her body. She starts to kiss my shoulder and moves up to my neck sucking lightly.

I moan and turn on my back to greet her lips. Soon our tongues are gliding against each other and Catherine is straddling my waist with my hands on her hips. We both begin to moan while Catherine presses down against me. As she begins to rock, I realize just how close we are to losing control. I gently roll her to the right being extremely careful of her left leg and arm.

I finally succeed in getting Catherine on her back without breaking our kiss. I pull away and place a few light kisses on her lips. "Catherine, we've got to stop."

She pulls me back down to her lips. "I don't want to stop, Sara. I want you."

I break our kiss once more. Breathing heavily, I ask "Catherine, what happened to not wanting to make love while you were incapacitated? Remember?"

I look into eyes full of desire as she says "Fuck that, Sara. I want you now." She pulls me back down and takes total possession of my mouth. She tastes so good and I want her so badly, but she is not one hundred percent. I could accidentally hurt her.

As I attempt to pull back once more, she brings her casted arm up just as I've lifted my head and she knocks me off of the bed. I lie on the floor looking at the ceiling trying to get my breathing under control.

After a few moments, Catherine peeks over the edge of the bed. "Oh, Sara. I am so sorry. I didn't know you were going to lift up. Are you okay?"

I turn my head toward her and reply "I'm just peachy, Catherine. Although I think I'll lie here for awhile longer until the room stops spinning."

Catherine immediately sits up and gets off the bed. It takes her a few minutes, but she is finally able to sit on the floor next to me. She takes my face in her hand and says "Shit, Sara. You are going to have quite a shiner. I didn't realize I hit you in the face. Can you get up? We need to get some ice to keep the swelling down."

I finally manage to get up and then help Catherine from the floor. What a pair we make? The crippled leading the blind, together we slowly walk to the kitchen.

Catherine leads me to the chair in the kitchen. She gets a dishtowel and places it on the table. She then gets a glass and fills it with ice from the ice maker. Moving back toward me, she pours the ice on the towel and folds the towel back up.

I reach for the makeshift ice bag and place it on my eye. Catherine takes one look at me and bursts out laughing. I immediately join in.

I'm not looking forward to all the questions from the team. My eye is a nice shade of purple, but the swelling is minimal. I've already come up with my cover story, I ran into the door. Not very original but at least Lindsey believed it.

I get the expected ribbing from the guys and am surprised they all believe my cover story as well. You'd think I was a natural klutz or something. Although, I have to admit I'd rather be labeled a klutz than tell the real story.

Grissom keeps me in the lab tonight which is fine by me. I won't have to explain my accident to any other law enforcement personnel. Besides, I'll be accessible if Catherine calls.

I make it through the shift and am on my way out the door when Ecklie passes me. He laughs saying "What happened, Sidle? Catherine knock you for a loop?" I answer "You could say that" as I smile and walk away.

I sneak into the house and all is quiet. I mix up some pancakes, put the batter in the fridge, and get the griddle out from under the cabinet. Leaving the kitchen, I head to the master bedroom. I check in on Lindsey as I walk past. She is dead to the world.

I crawl into bed with Catherine and lie on my side watching her sleep. Who knew two and a half weeks ago, I would be in this position? I hate it took an injury to Catherine for the two of us to realize how much we mean to each other. I feel less guilty each day she improves. She will soon be back to work and we will continue to build our relationship.

Recovery is defined as a return to a normal or original state. I'm happy to say we will both come away from this much better than before.

I dreamily smile thinking about our future as Catherine awakens. She kisses my cheek as I move toward the edge so she can get out of bed. As Catherine walks toward the master bath, she purrs over her shoulder "You think you're smiling now. Don't forget I used to be an erotic dancer. When I get these casts off, I'm going to rock your world. "

Thud. Shit, I think I broke my ass. And once again Catherine Willows is responsible for me falling off the bed. I look up at the ceiling rubbing my ass and smile...hm, I wonder if I can install a pole in here?


It's been three weeks since Catherine has returned to work. Grissom wouldn't let her leave the lab for the first few nights, but Catherine nagged him until he finally relented. She walks a little slower than normal, but she hasn't let either of her casts get in the way of her doing her job.

We've been teamed together quite a bit lately. I think Grissom feels I will be able to keep her from overdoing it. Yeah, right. When Catherine gets something in her head, I don't think God could talk her out of it. I'm just happy for any excuse to work with her.

It's amazing how we are able to keep our personal relationship separate from our working one. Granted, we are much friendly toward each other, but we have both stay focused on the job at hand. A few people have remarked that it's nice to see us finally getting along. I just smile and move on. Oh, if they only knew how well we're getting along.

I have breakfast with Catherine and Lindsey each morning and we always plan an outing for the three of us on the weekends. Catherine and I have been able to go out for dinner a few times thanks to Lily staying with Lindsey. We have not moved past the heavy petting stage, although, it has been very difficult keeping my hands to myself.

Catherine is off tonight and tomorrow night. Bill from the day shift was supposed to help out and work a double, but his wife has gone into labor. Now we're short a person and I'm a bit worried I won't be able to finish in time to take Catherine to the doctor tomorrow. Oh well, no sense to worry this early in shift.

Crap, I jinxed myself with all my earlier negative thoughts. I'll be lucky to get out of here by 11:00 a.m. I call Catherine to inform her of my predicament and she tells me not to worry about it. She asks me to come by the house as soon as I get off.

I look at the clock as I walk out the doors. 12:30 p.m. Good thing I'm off tonight; otherwise, I don't think I would be much help next shift. I get into my truck and head to Catherine's. I call on the way to see if she needs anything. She tells me she's fine and to let myself in.

As I open the door, I don't see any sign of Catherine. "Hey, Cath. It's me. Where are you?" I hear a voice from the back of the house call out "I'm back here in the bedroom. I need your help with something."

I put my keys on the sofa table and make my way to the master bedroom. I immediately notice how dark it is in the room. As I reach for the light switch, I hear "Don't turn on the light. Follow my voice." I shrug my shoulders and walk toward Catherine's voice.

She greets me with a very hot kiss as she moves her hands around to grab my ass. I moan into her mouth as I return the favor. Hm, Catherine sure doesn't seem to have much on. My hand feels as if it's touching skin.

She maneuvers me backward until I feel my knees hit something solid. Who put that chair here? Catherine pushes me down until I am seated as she pulls away. I suddenly become very uncomfortable with the darkness. "Cath, what's going on? Turn on a light or something please."

The next thing I know, music begins to play and some sort of spotlight is focused in the middle of the room. My eyes take a few minutes to become accustomed to the light as Catherine comes into view wearing a very skimpy outfit and there is absolutely no sign of a cast anywhere. I start to stand and she motions me to stay seated. I immediately comply.

The music takes on a sultry beat as Catherine begins to sway perfectly in sync with the rhythm. As she moves directly into the spotlight, I see it for the first time. Holy shit, there's a pole in the middle of the room. I can't believe I told her about my fantasy.

Catherine begins to dance using the pole as a prop. Oh, to be that pole. She treats it as if it's her lover. I wipe the sweat from my brow as Catherine glides up and down the pole like a monkey on a tree.

I unbutton my top few buttons as Catherine removes pieces of clothing while she gyrates around the pole. Oh my God. Did someone turn up the heat? I am profusely sweating and my lower extremities are coming alive.

Catherine grabs hold of the pole with her right hand and swings around pointing her left foot out and then lands on her right. Damn, she's got pretty good upper body strength. She straddles the pole and begins to undulate with the beat of the music as I struggle to cross my legs.

As the music winds down, Catherine makes her way to me wearing only a see thru bra and a thong. I gulp loudly as she knocks my legs apart and straddles my lap. I start to ask if the doctor okayed this much exercise when my mouth is taken hostage by Catherine's tongue.

I move my hands to her ass and squeeze her perfect globes. Somehow she has unbuttoned my shirt and is removing it from my body without breaking our kiss. She moves her lips to my neck and makes it a point to mark me as she grabs hold with more suction than a vacuum.

As she kisses her way down to my chest, I realize she has removed my bra with the skill of a Houdini. I had no idea it was gone. When she latches onto my nipple, I no longer care how she performed the act.

I lean down to get her attention as our lips once again lock in battle. As I start to stand, Catherine wraps her legs around my waist as I walk us to the bed using the spotlight to guide my way.

I lay Catherine back on the bed as I remove my shoes using only my feet. I lift up slightly and undo my jeans. Using one hand I push them to my knees and once again use my talented feet to completely remove them.

Catherine begins to move up toward the headboard as I follow her with my lips. She has reached back and removed her bra as I lie on top of her. For the first time, we have achieved skin on skin and oh, what a glorious feeling. The only barrier that remains is our underwear.

I work my way down Catherine's body sucking and marking as I go. When I reach her flat stomach, I grab the sides of her thongs and pull ripping them from her body. What the hell, I can always get her a new pair.

I move back up and take her nipple into my mouth as I reach down to remove my own underwear. After a few moments, I have completed my task. Catherine is making the most exquisite little noises. It is going to become my life's goal to hear them as often as possible.

Catherine pulls me back up to her lips. As I push my tongue into her mouth, we begin to move against each other in perfect harmony. We both reach down and enter each other simultaneously. I break our kiss to look into Catherine's eyes as we continue our vigorous pumping. We keep our eyes focused on each other until we finally cum together. Leaning down, I gently kiss her lips.

We make love the rest of the afternoon and as promised, Catherine has truly rocked my world. As we lay in each other arms, Catherine fills me in on her successful plan. She talked Nancy into keeping Lindsey for a couple of days and she visited an old dancing friend of hers who had a portable pole brought over and set up. The doctor told her she could begin to exercise, but Catherine admitted she didn't tell him exactly what her exercise entailed.

We decide to tell Grissom and the rest of the team of our relationship when we get back to work. I am going to let the lease run out on my apartment next month and move in with Catherine. We had been talking about it for some time and both Lily and Lindsey are excited about it. It looks like we've both made a fully recovery.

Catherine turns on her side and I spoon her from behind. She takes my hand and interlaces it with hers. As soon as I feel Catherine drifting off, I ask "Hey, Cath. Can we keep the pole?"

The End

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