DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of these characters; all rights go to those who do. I'm just using them as a tool for you reading pleasure. The songs used in this fiction are David Berkley's "Fire Signs," Lifehouse's "Take Me Away," and Dido's "Here With Me."
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
She Makes Me Want To
"She makes me want to punch her face in!"
"Sara, come on!"
"No Nick, I won't come on! Catherine knew I could do that case; but no, she just had to bat her little blue eyes at Grissom. Now look what I'm stuck doing all night?"
"Uhm, sorry it slipped."
"Well watch it, or you'll be the one who's going to slip."
"Don't hey me Stokes, not now!"
"Okay, now I know you're pissed. You only call me Stokes when Grissom's stuck the knife in your heart again. Have you ever stopped and thought that maybe there could be someone else out there more willing to oblige to your advances?"
"Hey, I'm only being observant. After all, it's what I do for a living."
"Yeah, well stop it would you! It's utterly annoying!"
"Hey, don't kill the messenger. I am just simply saying that maybe it's time that you stop wasting all your energy on Grissom. Perhaps there is someone else in this lab that would be better suited for you. You know someone who's younger, handsome, and enjoys the same things as you."
Nick twitched his eyebrows up and down while a sly grin spread across his face.
"Dream on cowboy. Besides Nick, I hate to burst you bubble, but we have absolutely nothing in common."
"Ouch!" Nick said as he placed his had over his heart and pretended like he was going to faint. "You sure know how to kick a guy when he's down."
"Yeah, well since when did you become so desperate?"
"Since Hailey broke up with me last week. You know a week without sex can really affect a guys concentration."
"Oh, my heart just bleeds for you. Well, at least I know I'm not the only one around here lacking in the bedroom."
"Sara, you and Grissom never even shared the same carpet in the bedroom."
"Don't you have a crime scene to get to?"
"Now that you mention it I guess I'll see you later."
"Ah come on Sara, lighten up! You'll get the next one. Catherine isn't the only woman around here that's a professional eye batter. Actually, now that I think of it, you're more of a mouth girl then an eye girl."
"You heard me. Well, I'm off."
Nick turned to leave the lab when he felt the ever so sharp squeeze of Sara's hand upon his arm.
"Sara, you're hurting me."
"My finger nails are going to be the least of your concerns, unless you tell me just what exactly you meant by that last comment of yours."
Nick sighed in defeat and turned back around to face Sara. He propped his kit up on the table and took a seat.
"Look Sara, all I'm saying is that sometimes you and Catherine are a lot alike."
"Nick if you value any part of your life, then you'll take that back."
"See, there you go again."
"What, I'm not doing anything. Is it so wrong of me not to want to be compared in any way, shape, or form to Catherine Willows?"
"No, but sometimes you two are a lot more alike then either one of you care to admit."
"So you're saying that I'm an uptight, over zealous, sneaky, bitch who uses my sexuality to get cases. Wow, Nick when you let go, you really let go. Anything else you care to share with me. Maybe you think my hair's too short, or that I don't walk a crime scene the way I should. Better yet, maybe you think I just show up to work everyday so that I can pawn all over Grissom."
"Now I didn't say that; Sara, you're putting words in my mouth."
"Nick you didn't have to."
Sara got up out of her seat and headed over towards the window. She folded her arms over her chest and sighed. She continually stared out into the LVPD Crime Lab parking lot at nothing. Nick on the other hand, still remained seated. He watched as Sara tried to concentrate on nothing.
Every since the Julie Waters' case, Sara just hadn't been the same. She was constantly at competition with Catherine to prove she was the better CSI. But their little cat fights went a lot deeper then either one of them were willing to admit. The stakes just weren't a promotion, but the affection of Gill Grissom.
It was no secrete to any of the other members of the nights shift, that the two women were constantly at odds for Grissom's attention. Catherine just didn't want to be forgotten in all the commotion over Sara, and Sara wanted Grissom to notice her as a woman, rather then just a work colleague. All of this nonsense was over one person and neither of them knew how ridiculous they were acting.
Nick knew for a fact, that Grissom would never break his professional code of ethics for a role in the hay with either one of them. He had always suspected that Grissom secretly preferred Catherine to Sara, simply because she was the one person he could confide in. That and he noticed the way he watched her when she walked away. But it went further then just sexual advances and good friendships.
Grissom knew Sara deserved more then he had to offer. It's not that he didn't want her; in fact it was just the opposite. Sara was his perfect package all wrapped into one. Hell, she was most of the guys in the offices perfect package. The only problem with her was she lacked the friendly nature that most of them needed to bring home to Mom and Dad. Although intelligence and looks were on her side, Sara never could quite get the stick out of her ass long enough to establish any real friendships. Nick also suspected that was the reason Catherine disliked Sara so much.
Nick knew that Catherine had pretty much shot down every attempt Sara had made in the beginning to be her friend. Something about Sara's presence threatened the comfort and security that Catherine had developed with the guys before she entered the picture. And although Nick suspected it wasn't entirely on purpose, he couldn't shake this sneaking suspicion that there was more to this story, then Catherine was sharing.
"Look Sara, I didn't mean to hurt you feelings. You know I have nothing but love and respect for you. I was only trying to relay to you, that Catherine isn't the only one that uses her feminine charm to get Griss's attention."
"Nick, I have never done that."
"Bullshit Sara, yes you have. You think that just because Grissom shoots you down every time you hit on him, that he owes you. Well guess what, he doesn't. Grissom is our boss and he's not here to play favorites. And further more, I really resent the fact that you dis Catherine, one of my best friends, right in front of me. Maybe you need to stop and think about one thing, not all of us dislike Catherine. Just because you can't be her equal with Grissom or you can't one up her every chance you get, doesn't mean the rest of us are going to throw you a pity party. If that's truly how you feel every time you look at Catherine, then maybe you should consider switching to day shift. Now, if you'll excuse me I have a case to solve."
Nick rose from his chair and left without a word. Sara just continued to stare out the window. She couldn't bear to look at Nick, for fear she would say things she regretted. Instead, she opted to let her tears fall. It wouldn't take away the harshness of the words, but it would help her stay together.
Stage 2- Secrets
Catherine exited her Tahoe with a smile on her face. It took her all but thirty minutes to figure out who the perp was. Now that he was in custody, booked, and locked up she was free to resume her night of relaxation.
Most nights, Catherine would be all for the excitement of a case, but tonight was different. After being up all day with Lindsey who had been sent home from school with the flu, Catherine was running on mostly adrenaline and four hours of sleep. She was hoping to come back inside, lock herself in her office, and catch a few while she waited for a new case to come in. She secretly hoped that Grissom wouldn't bother her; but with the way her night was going, that looked unrealistic.
She entered the crime lab with an exhausted smile on her face, ready to greet Warwick and Nick on their way out.
"Hey you two!" She said as she removed her sunglasses. "And just where are you guys heading off to?"
"Piercing street, Grissom's got us working a double homicide. Looks like it's going to be a long night. We wouldn't mind your help on this one Cat. You always know how much I adore the company of a beautiful lady."
Warwick flashed a sexy smile Catherine's way and waited for her response.
"Sorry, not tonight boys. I am in major need of some shuteye. Linds came home with the pukes and I didn't get any rest. I'm hoping it remains slow, if you know what I mean."
Catherine winked at the two and smiled.
"Gotcha. Well, we'd better get trucking. Come one Nick."
"Ah, you go ahead, I'll be there in a few. I need to have a word with Catherine."
Warwick shrugged his shoulders and left the two to fetch the car.
"Okay Nicky, what's so important that it couldn't wait?"
"Cat, it's Sara."
Catherine rolled her eyes at the mention of Sara's name and frowned.
"Look Nick, I don't want to hear it. I'm sorry Miss Pris didn't get the case, but I work here too you know. It's not my fault she can't handle it every time Grissom chooses me over her. I don't understand why she just can't grow up. Denial is the most unattractive quality in a woman."
"You're telling me!"
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You're a smart girl Cat, you tell me."
"Look Nick, if you're implying that I'm in denial then you'd best have the evidence to back it up."
"Oh I have the evidence all right."
Catherine tugged Nick over to the corner of the entrance. She leaned into to him and whispered.
"On any other given day Nick, I would be more then willing to play these word games with you, but not tonight. I'm tired, I'm crabby, and quite frankly I don't give a shit about Sara or her immaturity. If she is so easily ruffled every time Gil pays one ounce of attention to me, then maybe she should switch shifts."
"You know, funny thing I just told her that no more then five minutes ago."
"You two were talking about me?"
Catherine leaned back in shock.
"I don't know whether to be hurt or curious Nick."
"Sara's my friend too Catherine. Upon occasion we do share our problems. And right now, the problem just happens to be you."
"So that gives you an excuse to bitch about me behind my back. Some friend you are."
"You know what Cat, I'm going to tell you the same thing I told Sara. I love both of you girls and when one of you starts complaining about the other it's really hard for me to sit there and listen. More importantly, it's even harder to sit there and watch you two argue over something as stupid as a man."
Catherine's brows furrowed as she waited for Nick to continue.
"Don't play dumb Catherine you know who I mean. My God it's been the same thing for four years now. Let's see which of us can out maneuver the other and impress Grissom. Let's see which one of us Gill picks today. You both act like Grissom's God and your only purpose in life is to please him. Well, I've got news for you, so far it hasn't worked. Gill still loves you as much as the day you walked into his life and he still wouldn't notice Sara if she were standing in front of him in a bikini covered in chocolate sauce, because you know what that's just the kind of guy he is. He's really wonderful if you need someone to find your lost dog, but he's not so good with the whole dating thing."
Catherine held her hands up and interrupted.
"Whoa Nicky, hold your horses what are you talking about?"
"Come on Cat, I don't have time for this."
"No Nick, I'm serious. Why are the words Gill Grissom and dating appearing in the same sentence as my name?"
"Catherine it's so obvious."
"Ah, maybe to you, but this girl took a wrong turn somewhere back thata way. What on God's green earth ever gave you the idea that I wanted to date Gil?"
"Oh I don't know, maybe the way you treat Sara."
"Nicky, I hate to blow your whole hypothesis out the window, but I have absolutely no interest in Gil whatsoever. I've known him for years and although he's smart, good looking, and gainfully employed, somehow I think the whole bug thing makes him an unlikely candidate to bring home to Mom. Besides, it would be like kissing my brother."
"So, your telling me that you don't like Grissom?"
"You got it Sherlock."
"Then answer me this, why the competition with Sara?"
"I'm not neurotic Nick, I'm just a bitch. Besides, look at how far Sara's come since she joined the group. She's already been moved up one level and now she's standing down the barrel of a promotion. A little healthy competition's good for her. Also, I've got to get my entertainment somehow.
I don't hate Sara Nick; she just needs a lesson in adulthood. She has to realize that just because I may sometimes use my looks to get ahead, doesn't mean she has too. She's better then that. She also needs to realize that rejection from Grissom isn't the end of the world. Life's not fair, and the quicker she learns this, the better off she'll be."
"Yeah Cat I get that, but who died and made you the teacher? All this pushing you think has been doing her good, has only ended up hurting her. She's dying for your respect and acceptance Cat. Now, I'm not your boss and I can't tell you what to do, but I really think you should consider telling her some of what you just told me."
"Why does everyone do that?"
"Try to protect her, like she's a piece of glass that could break at any moment. Sometimes she makes me want to kick her, just so I can show you all she'll still be in one piece after it's said and done. She's not a child, so why must I treat her like one?"
"I'm not saying you have to baby her Cat, I'm just saying it wouldn't kill you to show her a little respect."
"Respect is something you earn Nick; and you know as well as I do, that I don't just hand it out to the first person who feel's they deserve it. Sorry if that's not how I operate, but that's me. Take it or leave it."
"Why do I get the sneaking suspicion that Grissom has nothing to do with this anger you have towards Sara?"
"Because I just told you!"
"No, there's more to it. You used to act the same way around Heather, back when you had a Oh my god!"
Nick's eyes widened with shock as he realized what was finally going on.
"You like Sara!"
"Oh, you heard me. You have a thing for Sara, don't you? That's why you treat her the way you do. You're not mad because Gil gives her all the attention, you're mad because she doesn't give you any! This is priceless."
Nick began to jump up and down with excitement pointing at Catherine. He was acting like a kid at Christmas who had guessed what he was getting.
Catherine grabbed the end of his finger and pulled him towards her.
"Nick, so help me God if you don't keep your voice down!"
"Why Cat, afraid Sara will come around the corner and hear that her arch enemy's wants to play footsy with her in the break room?"
"No, that's not what I'm afraid of. What I'm afraid of is everyone in the entire building hearing your stupid theories and actually believing for a second that one syllable is true. I do not, and I repeat, do not have a thing for Sara Sidle. I have not and never will. Is that clear?"
Catherine let go of his finger and slightly shoved him away from her. She then crossed her arms over her chest and waited for acknowledgement.
"Hey, whatever you say."
"Well, that's what I say."
"Okay, but Cat."
"You've heard that saying about denial right?"
"Nick, get the hell out of here now!"
Nick gave Catherine a salute and headed out the door with a smile on his face. He had finally figured out Catherine's little secrete; and although he would never breathe a word of it to anyone, it gave him a great sense of pride knowing he knew something the rest of them didn't.
Meanwhile Catherine watched from a far, making sure he exited the building for sure and didn't stop to talk to anyone. The fact that Nick even had the audacity to accuse Catherine of such a thing as having a crush on Sara in public was unforgivable. I mean, what right did he have to expose her to the entire office. If even one co-work got wind of this, she'd never be able to face Sara again.
Catherine rubbed her forehead and sighed. She knew she couldn't lie to Nick and never would be able to. He knew her dirty little secrete; and because she knew him, he would constantly be on her case to tell Sara how she really felt.
"This is too much for me to deal with, I need a knap."
Catherine walked down the hallway and retreated to her office. Little did she know, Sara was huddled in the corner and had heard every word.
It was only after Nick had left, that Sara realized that she had put him in a terrible position. Despite what everyone else thought of her, at one time Sara had been in Nick's place. She knew how difficult it was to stand back and listen to two friends verbally bash one another. So after she'd picked herself up off the ground, she decided to try and catch Nick before he left.
You could imagine her surprise when she found Nick standing in front of the entrance. As Sara went to call out for him, she noticed he was talking to someone, so she stopped herself. It was only when she edged a little further down the hallway, was she able to catch a glimpse of who he was talking to.
At first, Sara was seriously considering interrupting them. After all, Catherine was no friend of hers and she could have cared less about interrupting her. Then she heard her name being spoken and decided to fall back and ease drop. She was doing great up until the part she heard "Catherine" and "crush on Sara" being used in the same sentence.
Without even knowing it, Sara began to lean in farther so she could hear more. For some unknown reason, the prospect of Catherine having a crush on her made her smile. She had never guessed in a million years that she would ever have this kind of leverage over Catherine. She always seemed so in control and so cold. She never let her emotions get the best of her on the job, and that included her relationship problems.
Sara was so sure she'd had Catherine's thought process on her figured out from the beginning. She viewed Sara as the other woman. She was the one obstacle standing in the way of Catherine's path to Grissom. It never occurred to Sara, that Grissom was the obstacle.
Sara stood back and watched Catherine and Nick part their separate ways. Her eyes immediately followed Catherine down the hallway and into her office. For some reason, Sara thought she would find this amusing. For four years now, she'd been looking for something to linger over Catherine's head, and now she had it. But the strange thing was, that instead of being pleased with this knowledge, she was flattered.
Being a child of two ex-hippies, Sara had always carried the notion of free love. Gay or straight were labels she didn't care to put on people. She believed that true love came from the heart and was not dictated by a person's sex. Sara often times wished more felt the way she did, but she also understood the world's need for structure; that didn't necessarily mean she liked it.
Sara had been exposed to a lot growing up. She had never had a relationship with another woman, but she had been attracted to many. Her friend Mitchell back in San Francisco used to tease her all the time about how her experiences with the rules of attraction were often timed blurred by her fondness for female companionship. Sara brushed his words off without so much as even giving them a second thought. She had always considered herself to be more male oriented, but her sexual encounters proved otherwise.
Nevertheless, when it all was said and done, Catherine and Sara were two completely different people. Sara was reserved and anti-social, while Catherine was wild and outgoing. They were as opposite as day and night. There was no way a relationship between the two of them would ever work. Especially, when Sara was reminded just why she had never noticed anything before.
Sara jumped when she felt someone place a hand on her right shoulder.
"I'm sorry, did I scare you?"
"Grissom, no you didn't scare me, I was just thinking."
"Oh, about what?"
Gil raised an eyebrow in puzzlement and nodded.
"Yeah, you see I was wondering if you wanted to grab some take out with me tonight. It's been kind of slow and I figured a little break wouldn't hurt."
"Actually Sara, I can't. You see I have plans."
That's when Sara took a second to look over Grissom and realized he was on his way out.
"Yeah, I decided since it was so slow around here that I would leave Catherine in charge and meet a friend."
"Yes, I think you might have met her before."
"Yes, Melissa Sheridan, CSI New York. She and I went to school together."
"Yes really. She's one of the best, and we could use her on our team."
Suddenly, Grissom was distracted by the figure of a tall brunette that had walked through the front doors. He tried to break his conversations with Sara, but it was too late. The mysterious woman had already spotted him and was homing in.
She said as she raised her hand to catch his attention.
Grissom's only response was to wave back. The woman approached the both of them and wrapped her arms around Grissom and kissed him on the lips.
Catherine was walking down the hallway in a hurry to catch Grissom before he took off. She was in the mist of completing her paperwork, before she realized she needed his signatures on a few things. Nothing could have prepared her for what she was about to walk in on.
There he was, Gil Grissom standing in plain view for everyone to see, with his arms wrapped around some tall, gorgeous woman. Worst of all, there was Sara, standing right there watching the whole thing unfold. Catherine studied Sara's reaction for a second, but nothing could have prepared her for the embarrassment she felt for Sara that very second.
Sara's face stayed emotionless as the woman let got of Grissom and turned her attention towards her. She blushed slightly when she realized the spectacle she had made of herself and then turned around to introduce herself to Sara.
"I'm sorry, where on earth are my manners." The woman extended her hand, offering it to Sara. "My name is Melissa Sheridan, I'm Gil's girlfriend."
*Should have told me, seemed like an ordinary day, everything seemed to be okay*
Sara returned the handshake and spoke.
"Gil's girlfriend, hum? Well, it's nice to meet you, but if you'll excuse me, I have some work to get caught up on. Grissom, I'll see you tomorrow."
All Gil could do was nod his head yes. He felt terrible for having to put Sara through this. Melissa was just as much of a surprise to him as it was to Sara. Nevertheless, he was quite sure Sara was feeling a lot worse then he was. Still, all he could do was stand back and watch her walk away.
*Did it hurt you, these are the scars you never showed, she is a fire sign you know, one day you're near and then you go*
Catherine looked up right as Sara walked past her. She attempted to lock eyes with her, but it was useless. Sara was already down the hall and in lab before any of them knew what hit. Catherine exhaled as she looked up at Gil. She could tell he felt like the biggest jerk on the face of this planet, but Catherine didn't dare say anything.
She remembered what she had originally come out there to do. So with a twinge of guilt and a need to comfort Sara, she approached Grissom and handed him the files.
"Hey you, before you go I need your John Hancock on these forms."
Grissom kept looking past Catherine and down the hall for any sign of Sara.
*Here is a looking glass, what do you see, there's nothing there but me*
Grissom shifted his focus to Catherine and they locked eyes.
"You didn't do anything wrong."
Grissom took the papers out of Catherine's hands and began to sign them.
"I never said I did."
"Then stop acting so guilty. You and I both know it could never happen."
Grissom handed the papers back to Catherine and before he turned to leave, she gave his arm a reassuring squeeze.
"Gil, she's a big girl, she'll be okay. Leave, go have a good time."
Grissom gave Catherine a half smile and complied. He then turned to where his girlfriend was standing and followed her out of the Crime Lab.
Catherine watched the couple walk away as she ran her fingers through her hair. All that was left now was to find Sara.
*They deceive you, there was a wall you had to find, the echoes in your mind*
Catherine didn't even have to take a guess as to where Sara would be hiding. When things got to tough for her or she just wanted to think, Sara would usually retreat to the research room. Ninety percent of the time, it remained unoccupied except for the occasional lab worker strolling in and out with their latest findings. It was the ideal place for any Crime Tech that just wanted a few minutes of alone time to escape the night's events. It had books, computers, soda & snack machines, it even had separate little rooms where you could go if you really needed peace and quite.
At one point or another, it had provided sanctuary for every CSI that worked there, including Catherine. What Sara didn't realize, is that in the past, Catherine had noticed her taking her breaks in room L3. Catherine wasn't sure what it was about that particular room that drew Sara to it time and time again, but she knew if she were anywhere, it would be there.
Catherine gingerly poked her head around every corner of the research room; careful as not to be noticed for fear Sara would take off the minute she saw her coming. When the coast was clear, Catherine made her way to room L3 and just like always there was Sara sitting on the couch alone.
*You'll surrender, these are the lessons that you learn, nobody hears, no one's concerned, one day it's clear and then you've burned*
Catherine took a minute or two to watch Sara through the windows. She had the shades down, but they were still cracked so you could see through them. In the research room, everything had a code to it. If a CSI was in one of the private rooms and the door was wide open and the shades were drawn, that meant they weren't doing anything that couldn't be interrupted. If the door was shut, but the shades were still drawn, that meant they were trying to concentrate, but you could still bother them if it was important. If the room was the way that Sara had left it that meant the person shouldn't be disturbed unless it's case related. And finally, when the whole place was barricaded like a fortress that meant under know circumstances were you to even think about knocking.
Most of the time Sara just came there to eat lunch and read on her break. Catherine at times had fond that odd, considering the little rooms were so impersonal. But then again, at times so was Sara. The rooms were by no means engineered with comfort in mind. In fact, all they had were a small table with four chairs, a couch, and a book cart if needed. How a personal could truly get comfortable in one of these rooms was beyond Catherine, but Sara somehow managed. She also managed to keep her little secret from the guys, even Grissom. Every time Sara would have an excuse for not eating with the guys, Catherine would get suspicious. Until one day, Catherine followed her to the research room and found out where she had been going all those times.
Back when she first realized she had feelings for Sara, Catherine would do nothing but sit outside the room in a chair and watch her. Since there was never anyone around to confront her on why she was spying, most of the time Catherine got away with it. Sara was a creature of habit the minute she set foot inside LVPD's doors. Everyday for the past four years she would eat the same meals. Monday and Wednesdays, it was a tuna sandwich, carrot sticks & dip, an apple, and milk or sometimes water. Tuesdays and Thursdays it was always a salad with all the fixings, ranch dressing, and water. Fridays was the day Sara tended to get adventurous. Right up until Grissom's infamous pig experiment, she would bring what looked like a homemade meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn, applesauce, and buy a can of soda from the machine. Catherine remembered this one the most, because the sight of Sara with all that food surprised her. She neither knew Sara could cook or even eat that much. But after Gil permanently turned half the staff off of meat, Sara switched to spaghetti, bread & butter, and soda.
*Here is the wishing well I jumped into, nothing came true, and here is a looking glass, what do you see, sorry it's just me*
Catherine knew if anyone had ever caught her observing Sara over her lunch break, they would surely be curious. So after the third time of doing this, Catherine would grab some files from her desk and pretend she was working. Although no one had ever inquired why she was doing her work in the research room rather then her office, Catherine knew it was only a matter of time before someone got snoopy. However, over the past four years, that possibility had never once stopped Catherine from doing it.
She could never explain just what the fascination was that she had with watching Sara. She had ran that question through her mind countless times, but the answers always seemed to come up few and mixed together. At first she had come to the conclusion that it was because Sara Sidle was a fascinating creature. All her little idiosyncrasies and strange behaviors provided Catherine with a research subject. Sara was the one test subject that wouldn't runaway and was equally pleasant to stare at for an hour. But then as time passed, Catherine fond herself totally unable to concentrate on anything but how amazing Sara looked.
She would smile every time Sara took a bite of her apple, and then realized she forgot to twist off the stem. One would have thought after thirty some odd years of eating fruits, it would be an automatic response to remove the stem. But not Sara, she always managed to take that first bite then remember.
Catherine loved the way Sara would eat all her foods in order from a bite of her main course to a quick sip of her drink. She was so precise that Catherine couldn't imagine how Sara could keep track of which food she had started on and which dish she had last left off on. It was yet another one of Sara's habits that made her even more adorable.
But the one thing that made Catherine realize she had fallen in love with Sara, somewhere in the middle of all her observing, was when Sara would finally finish with her meal and start to read her book. She had this blue bookmark with a gold moon and stars painted on it that she would tuck under her chin when she removed it from the last place she had left off. She then would get up from her seat at the table and head over to the couch for the next forty minutes. There she would make herself as comfortable as possible and engulf herself in her latest murder mystery. The thing about Sara that most people didn't know was she liked to read the mysteries that had humor tied in with them. So every time she would reach a funny part, she would laugh out loud. This caused Catherine to smile even wider and realize that this woman was nothing short of amazing.
*Even just a sound, all your cards are down, even just a sound*
And even though Catherine knew that her fantasies would never amount to anything but simply watching, that still didn't stop her from doing it. The only think she feared over the years, was that one day instead of dinning alone for all the world to see, she would be dinning in the company of Grissom with the shades drawn. That reality was the only thing that kept Catherine from asking Sara if she could join her. Don't get her wrong, Catherine loved just watching, but she was someday hoping Sara would invite her into that private little club she has established.
Despite all the times Catherine had been a bitch to her and despite all the times she had shown her no courtesy whatsoever, Catherine still hoped in the back of her mind that Sara would see past her false demeanor and right into her heart. Catherine didn't hate Sara; in fact it was the complete opposite. But when Sara had got it in her mind that all attempts at a friendship with Catherine were useless, she instead switched to her level of discontent and hatred.
*Let me lay you down, you won't have to make a sound I would lay you down*
Catherine remembered the exact day that Sara's attitude had changed towards her. It was right after Eddie's case had been declared inconclusive. Catherine's hatred and anger had gotten the best of her and she took it out on Sara. She had told her how much she had disappointed her and how she had let her down. Not once did she say thank you for trying Sara, I know you did your best. She just went right to assuming the worst of her. Their relationship had never been the same after that.
*It surrounds you, sometimes it's easy to believe, sometimes it hurts more then it seems*
Sara couldn't even look Catherine in the eye. She couldn't even work a case with her without feeling like she had to be babysat the entire time. Sara was no stranger to feelings of inadequacy, but Catherine just had to make it worse. She suspected Sara never recovered from the shame and that's was initially the day she stopped trying to impress Catherine. Instead, she stooped to Catherine's level of thinking. If this person can't see me a deserving, then screw them. The only problem was that was exactly the opposite of how Catherine viewed Sara.
*Now it's over, these are the scars you never showed, there was a warning sign you know, one day you're near and then you go*
She had hopped to shed a little light on their relationship when they went out for drinks after Hank broke her heart. Instead, it was two hours of guzzling beers and trading shoptalk. Catherine knew it was because Sara didn't wont to show her vulnerable side to someone she viewed as the enemy. So she just let things go unsaid. Looking back on it all now, she wished she hadn't. She could have taken advantage of the situation, but she didn't.
But now, now was a different story. Sara had just found out the one person she thought she was meant to be with had gotten a life. She was suddenly realizing that all the time she had spent wasting away in the lab because Grissom was there was all for nothing. Call Catherine crazy, but she just couldn't let her suffer alone. So she did the exact opposite of what she had been doing for four years. She took a deep breath and walked through those doors. Uncertain of what would be waiting for her on the other side, Catherine put her heart on the line and ventured to reach out to Sara.
*One day you're near and then you go, one day you're near and then you go, one day you're near and then you go*
Sara sat on the couch as her mind wondered back and fourth. For some reason she couldn't think of anything but how much she wanted to cry. Grissom's face flashed before her and she was transported back in time to all the places where he had fictionally been hers. The times that he smiled at her, the times he was close to her, the times that he was touching her all meant nothing now. They were simply figments of her overactive imagination. Merely false realities of a love struck schoolgirl.
Sara lowered her head to her hands and began to sob. All those pictures she had painted in her head of happily ever after were now replaced with the pictures of her alone. She felt like a fool. She felt similar to the way she had before when she found out about Hank. She felt as though she had walked in on her boyfriend in the arms of another woman. Except this time, Grissom wasn't her boyfriend and now he never would be.
Catherine watched helplessly as Sara's shoulders bounced up and down as she cried. She remembered telling Gil in the hallway he hadn't done anything wrong. Only now she knew she was wrong.
Catherine swallowed back her own tears of guilt and headed full force towards the door. She didn't even stop to knock; she just barged in without thinking. Sara looked up at her as she came through the door and then quickly wiped the tears away from her eyes. Catherine just ignored her attempts at hiding her hurt, and sat beside Sara. She then pulled her in her arms and held her.
Sara wasn't sure at what point it had become okay to confide in Catherine, but she was too tired and too hurt to care. She just allowed herself to be swept up in Catherine's motherly embrace and feel for once out in the open. She nuzzled her head under Catherine's chin and just held on tight. Finally after a solid hour of crying, her sobs turned to sniffles and Sara was ready to talk.
Catherine felt Sara trying to untangle herself from her arms and sit up. She watched patiently as Sara gathered her wits and composure. Catherine noticed the box of tissues sitting on the bookshelf and went to retrieve them. She offered a few to Sara, who took them and said, thank you.
"You feeling any better there kiddo?" Catherine asked with genuine concern in her voice.
Sara's only response was slight laugh and smile. Catherine took that as a positive sign that her co-worker was going to live, so she sat back down.
"You know, no one's called me kiddo since the seventh grade. I was usually Sara beara to my father and Sara girl to my mother. It was my Grandmother Sidle who used to call me kiddo every time she would come to visit. Then when I was thirteen and she passed away, no one ever bothered to call me it anymore. Looking back on it now, I guess it was sort of a relief. I mean it was a special thing to me."
"Sorry, I wont do it again."
"No, it's okay. I like it coming out of you. Call me crazy but it sounds natural."
"Sara if that's a nice way of telling me that I remind you of your grandmother, I don't know whether to be flattered or go out tonight and purchase wrinkle cream."
That last remark was all it took to turn Sara's faint half smile into a full-blown grin. She looked over at Catherine who was smiling at her and she started to laugh.
"Look at me, crying like a baby. I also haven't done this for a while."
Catherine rolled her eyes at Sara and nudged her shoulder with her own.
"Sara, has anyone ever told you're a terrible liar? Every woman cries at least once a week. Sometimes I even cry twice on Tuesdays when I realize I still have three more days to make it through before the weekend. There's nothing wrong with a good cry. Keeps me from punching Greg when he cracks one of his stupid strip club jokes."
"I know what you mean. Did he tell you about the one with the girl from Arizona?"
"No, that would require me actually sticking around for more then a minute in the same room with him. I try to keep my Greg time limited to seven minutes a week, one for each of the days of the week. And because I only work five days that gives me an extra couple a seconds to use as I please. You should try it sometime, you'd be surprised at how smart he becomes once you have him trained."
"Well, we both know what would happen if I stopped visiting Greggo. He would just track me down."
"Speaking of which, how did you know where I'd be?"
"That's what I get paid the big bucks for. Besides, if I told you then I'd have to kill you. And we both know how much that would cut into my personal time. Plus, you're kind of cute to look at."
Catherine winked at Sara and gave her a small hug.
"Catherine, I'm serious how did you find me?"
"Sara, I've known about you and this place for four years. I always wanted to know where you went when you weren't eating with the guys. So one day I followed you. I must say, that I do realize crowds aren't your thing, but this is well "
"No, just sad."
"I prefer pathetic."
"Sara, why didn't you just go to my office when you wanted to be alone? You know it's always open, I'm hardly ever in it, and it's a hell of a lot cozier then this place."
"Because I thought you hated me."
"Sara, I don't hate you."
"Then why do you treat me like an annoying pet you wish would kill over. You're always so cruel to me. You constantly question my skills as a CSI; you always exclude me from everything in your life, and you never want to work with me. I just wish you'd tell me what I did or am doing wrong so I can fix it. I hate the way I feel when I'm with you. It's like I have to walk on eggshells just to survive a night. I wish just once you'd talk to me about something other then work. Despite what most think, I do have other hobbies besides science."
"I'm well aware of that Sara. I know it seems like I don't want to be around you, but to be honest if we did hang out together, I'm not sure I'd know what to say. Whether you believe this or not Sara, you're not the easiest person to relate to. You always seem to be in that Grissom mode."
"Could we not mention that name in my presents please? I just got rid of my nausea."
Catherine shot up off the couch and began to pace. She looked over at a startled Sara who waited for her to speak.
"No Sara. See that's what I'm talking about. With you it's Grissom this, Grissom that. Now granted Gil is pretty damn important, but he doesn't control the universe and all in it. Sara it's not the end of the world if you hate him. In fact, I'd worry about your humanity if you didn't right now.
Sara he fucked up and it's okay for you to be hurt. Cry, scream, yell, blame him, blame me, God knows I deserve some of it; but please don't deny yourself the right to feel. I'm going to keep on using his name, and I want you confide in me Sara; I won't belittle you for it. I want you to trust me, why the hell do you think I went looking for you? I could never hate you, that's not who I am. Yes I may be hard on you, and yes I may steal your glory sometimes, but that's life. I don't do it because I'm a bitch; I do it because that's me. I wont apologize for being me and I won't apologize for being Grissom's favorite at times. But when it comes down to it I will say I'm sorry that I made you feel like my actions were anything more then me being me.
I don't hate you, I never could. I just want you to know that I have been here longer then you, and yes that does mean I get more of Gil's confidence, but I know for a fact I could never have his heart the way you do. Sara, I don't want him as anything more then a friend."
Sara couldn't manage a declarative sentence, so she just opted to continue staring. Catherine's rage settled, and she finally sat back down beside Sara. She reached over for Sara's right hand and took it in hers.
"I'm sorry, I guess my mind's still on what Nicky said to me earlier. See, goes to show you that even I don't always have my emotions under control."
"Okay, well now that you got that all out care to tell me what it meant?"
"Sara to be quite honest I don't really know what it means. I do know that I was trying to tell you that I'm sorry for all the times I pushed you away and made you feel secluded from the group. I'm sorry for all the personal time we missed out on over the past four years and all the time we wasted fighting for Gil's attention. And I guess that I hope we can move past this and maybe even try to be friends. I sure as hell know it'd be nice to have someone other then Lisa to hang out with. Plus, Linds adores you and I know she'd love to see you more. Uncle Greg just doesn't look as cute as you would playing dress up with my clothes."
Sara rolled her eyes at Catherine then laughed.
"Okay, I can see we're in agreement on a few things. One, no more Grissom nonsense, two instead of one-upping each other, we work together, and three we really need to be nice to each other because Greg and drag don't mix."
Catherine nodded her head in agreement and squeezed Sara's hand.
"So does this mean your free for dinner? Hell, we can even have it in here if you'd like."
"Actually, I was thinking your office we be a better place."
"Oh there is a God, because no offense but this place does give me the willies."
"And why is that?"
"I don't know it's just so small."
"Catherine, you're not claustrophobic, are you?"
"Only when it comes to this place."
"Then I guess we'd better get you back to your office."
Sara stood up and offered her hand to Catherine. Catherine graciously accepted. They both headed back to Catherine's office and ordered Chinese.
"I don't know how you can be a vegetarian. I think I would die if I could never eat chicken fried rice, it's the best!"
"I guess it's just one more complicated side of the Sara Sidle you've grown to know and love."
"But honestly Sara, don't you ever slip."
"Well, since we're being honest, no!"
"That's right, that would be anything less then perfect. And knowing you, we just couldn't have that now could we?"
"Are you saying I'm a perfectionist Catherine?"
"Oh, so that was you nice way of telling me I don't know how to have fun, right?"
"Well, I don't want to upset you, but since you're the one who said it, then yes."
"I'll have you know Miss Willows, that I can party with the best of them."
"Oh yeah and what's your idea of a party, huh? A couple of D.B.s and embalming fluid
Catherine shot Sara a toothy grin and dug her chopsticks in for more rice. Sara's only response, was to chuck a piece of broccoli Catherine's way. Catherine frowned as she watched the broccoli piece bounce off of her face and into her food.
"Hey, that hit me right in the chin."
"Well you asked for it. That's what you get when you insult an ex girl's softball team pitcher."
Catherine dug the unwanted piece of vegetable out of her food and flung it in her trash. She then grabbed her can of soda from her desk door and resumed her attack on her meal. When she was satisfied it didn't bare any hints of broccoli, she went back to their conversation.
"You never told me you played softball."
"You never asked."
"Hum, how long did you play?"
"Let's see here I started when I was in little league, but then it got to expensive, so my parents made me quit. Finally, when I reached high school, I re-joined the team and I played right up until the day I graduated."
"So is that how you paid for school, with a softball scholarship?"
"No actually that was track that helped put me through school."
"A star pitcher and a marathon winner, you must have been quite the little athlete. I bet you were popular with all the boys."
"Actually, I was lucky if I could get the president of the math club to notice me. I was never a huge dater in high school, which was okay with me because I never had much time. I had to keep straight As to maintain my GPA and in order to stay on my teams. As far as I was concerned, there was no need for anything else."
"Well, what about friends, did you have any friends in high school?"
"Nah, I was more of a loaner. To tell you the truth my high school days weren't really miserable, but they weren't the best. I stuck out like a soar thumb because I was so athletic, and I managed to irritate half of the female population because they couldn't keep up. I'm not saying I wasn't liked, I'm just saying I was "
"A bit of a perfectionist?"
"Oh just bite me!"
"Don't tempt me."
"So what about you? What was Catherine Willows like as a youngster?"
"Like you already haven't formed mental images in that brain of yours."
"Oh I have, I just want to see if they compare in anyway to the real thing."
"Well, lets see here what was I like back in high school? Okay, well for one I was a complete wild child. I got decent grades, mostly Bs and the occasional A or two in my science classes. But when it came to me, I was more concerned about where the next party was, rather then when my next big math test was taking place. Now I always managed to squeak by my parents without ever having to explain where I was all night. I was the master at sneaking out. Then, when I found out that partying wasn't offered at college, I opted to take the road less traveled."
"You mean the dancing."
"Yep. I did that for a couple of years and that's how I met Eddie. Unfortunately for me, that's also when I met my good friend Mr. Cocaine. Eddie and I spent the majority of our late twenties and thrities getting doped up and having wild sex; and that sufficed, until one day I told him I was pregnant. He seemed okay with it, right up until Lindsay was born and he was forced to grow up himself. He left me alone with a baby, a drug habit, and no money. I guess you could say he saved me."
"Well, I decided to get my life back together. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started to realize it wasn't just about me any more. I quit dancing and Lindsay and I moved back in with my parents. I then worked on getting into college and that's when I met Gil. He was so impressed with me, that he offered me a job. He became like a second father to Lindsay, if you can believe it. He would let me bring her to the lab sometimes, and then when I was finally promoted, he fixed me up with a babysitter until I found more permanent arrangements."
"I would have never pictured Grissom as a child lover."
"Gil has a special thing for Lindsay. She was the first baby he'd ever come in contact with and he just sort of fell in love with her. When I would take breaks, he would offer to watch her for me and I think he just got attached. He was always more then happy to help me out when I needed it. Did you know he even co-signed the loan on my house? He really has been a Godsend. If he wasn't so much like my big brother, I'm pretty sure we would be married now with two other Lindsay's running around. He was the first person who ever took a chance on me and I'll never stop loving him for that."
"I think he loves you too."
"What do you mean?"
"I think Griss is in love with you."
"Sara, don't be stupid and don't confuse intimacy with admiration. Gil and I do care for each other, but it isn't the way people think."
"How can you be sure of that?"
"Just because. You know Gil and I have been through everything and I have no desire to change that with sex. He's a lot more to me then that."
"Then why did I entering the picture bother you so much?"
"Honestly, I though that he would replace me. I know it sounds stupid, but with Holly there was never any really worries. He liked her, but not enough to really look a second time. But with you it was like he had found a part of him he never knew existed. In a way I was jealous at all the things he was feeling, but at the same time I couldn't blame him. If I couldn't be what he needed then I sure as hell couldn't condemn him for looking some place else."
"So you choose to blame me instead."
"As much as I hate to admit it, yes."
"I never wanted to replace you Catherine, I don't think I ever could. In Griss's eyes you are number one. You don't know how many times I would go home at night and wish I could get his attention the way you do. It just seems like I'm always fighting an uphill battle I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning. Now look where I am. I've lost him not once, but twice. Looks like it just wasn't meant to be."
Sara looked at her food, then threw her fork in the box and placed it on the desk. She sighed and took her feat off of Catherine's desk, got up, and began to pace around.
"Sara dear what you're neglecting to remember, is that Gil shares some of that blame. I don't know how many times I told him to get his head out of his ass and ask you out. As far as I'm concerned, he's the idiot here not you."
"Maybe, but he's the one who's going home with someone."
"Well, so are you."
Sara raised an eyebrow at Catherine, who closed up her food and threw away her chopsticks.
"Um Catherine, what are you talking about?"
"What I'm talking about Sara dear is that I would love to see where you live. Do you know in the entire four years we've worked together, I don't think I've ever seen your apartment? Warwick told me it's a nice place, very Saraish if I remember correctly. Anyway, I think since we're on the road to friendville, I feel it's only appropriate that I get to know more about the mystery that is Sara Sidle. And what do you know, we only have a half an hour left; and since I'm in charge, we're leaving early."
Sara's eyes went wide, as Catherine downed the last of her soda and recycled the can. Catherine then straightened up the files on her desk and grabbed her things. She was half way out the door when she looked back and noticed Sara was frozen stiff with shock.
"Ah Sara, you coming?"
Sara blinked twice then held her hand up to Catherine and spoke.
"Now Catherine, wait just a minute. We only started opening up to each other, are you sure this is such a good idea?"
"Yes, why wouldn't it be?"
"Well, I don't know it's just that my apartment really isn't much to look at."
"Sara Sidle, is that a nice way of telling me you don't want me to come over?"
"No, that's not it at all."
"Then what's the problem?"
"Well, it's just that living alone, I'm afraid I don't have much to eat or drink. Then there's the fact that I'm a total slob and haven't cleaned in like a month."
"Sara, I'm a single mother with a nine year old, do you honest think I haven't seen a mess before? Would you stop worrying so much about what I think and start having a little faith in yourself? Boy, you really are insecure."
"Well, if it makes you feel any better I don't do it for just anyone."
"Oh I'm touched, now come on. I know a great all night grocery store a few blocks from here. I need to pick up a few things of my own and while we're at it, we can shop for you."
"Why do I have the feeling this has more to do with Gil then it does with you wanting to get to know me?"
"Sara I'm offended." Catherine said as she threw her a faint smile.
"Look Catherine you really don't have to go to all this trouble. I mean I get that you're trying to be nice, but you don't have to take care of me."
"Sara I know I don't, the thing is I want to. Just get used to it kiddo, it's kind of a recurring thing with me."
"Well if it's that important to you, then who am I to refuse."
Sara gestured for Catherine to lead the way and they both headed out of the office. Catherine locked up and called Nick and Warwick on the way out to let them know they could leave early.
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