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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Third Day of Christmas
By Ann


Sofia pushed the shopping cart towards the meat department and pulled to a stop in front of the last freezer. Opening the door, she spied three lone turkeys, each appearing to be well over 20 pounds, and silently cursed herself for waiting until the last possible minute. Sighing, she reached inside and checked the tags, hoping there'd be enough time for the gigantic bird to thaw.

Thirty minutes later, she was lugging the smallest of the three turkeys up the steps to her apartment. She didn't bother putting the bird in the refrigerator; she simply placed it in the sink and hoped for the best. Turning her attention to the other bags, she began to unload the supplies to store in the pantry. She'd just placed the last box on the shelf when her cell chimed.


"Hey, just wanted to see how the grocery shopping went. I know how much you hate to go to the store."

Sofia chuckled. "Yeah well, I needed the practice."

"Yes, you did; besides, you're the one who insisted on taking a few days off to shop and cook." A muffled beeping noise interrupted Catherine. "Sofia, I've got to go, Hodges is paging me. I'm off tomorrow so I'll come over to help you with the preparations after I've had some sleep."

Sofia glanced over at the frozen turkey. "Take your time."

"Why'd you get such a big turkey?" Catherine stared down at the overgrown bird.

"It was all that was left. I hope you like leftovers, and turkey salad, lots of turkey salad." Sofia stood beside her lover and poked the plastic-covered turkey. "At least, he's starting to thaw. By tomorrow morning, he should be ready to go into the oven."

Catherine turned towards Sofia. "You're supposed to thaw the turkey in the refrigerator."

"Catherine, he wouldn't be thawed until New Year's if I did that. Besides, mother always let the turkey thaw in the sink, and we never got sick. I think the FDA is just covering their ass by recommending that turkeys not be thawed at room temperature."

"Well, I'm trusting you to cover mine. Lindsay would never speak to me again if she got sick on the Christmas turkey, and I'd never hear the end of it from mother." Catherine stepped into Sofia's space and slid her arms around her lover's neck.

Fully accepting Catherine's faith in her, Sofia granted Catherine's wish and covered the part in question with both hands. "You look like you need some more rest before we start chopping up the onions and vegetables."

"Oh, I do love how you think." Catherine pulled her lover's head down and captured her lips. Sofia blindly let Catherine towards the bedroom as she deepened the kiss.

Sofia sat on the sofa and sipped her coffee. Grissom had called Catherine in to help tie up some loose ends, so their afternoon of lovemaking had been cut short. Sofia smiled as she recalled Catherine's string of curses as she moved around the room, retrieving her clothing. Only Sofia's assurance that she could handle the rest of the preparations calmed the other woman.

Glancing at the top of the Christmas tree, Sofia stared at the brightly lit star, remembering the day she and Sara had found the rather unusual ornament. She smiled fondly as she recalled Sara's childlike expression when she first set eyes on the star. It was at that moment that Sofia had realized that Sara had never really had a true Christmas, so she'd made it her goal to make certain that Sara had the Christmas she'd so richly deserved.

They'd strung popcorn on the tree, made homemade sugar cookies to bring to their friends, drank hot chocolate as they snuggled in front of the tree, prepared a feast for just the two of them, and opened presents at the crack of dawn. Sara had loved every minute of it and had shown her appreciation in spades Christmas night.

Sofia had thought it possible that she and Sara would be spending the rest of their Christmases together, but it just wasn't meant to be. They'd gone their separate ways a year later. Sofia had concentrated on her dream of getting her shield, and then Sara had found Grissom. Sofia had started dating Catherine a few months after that.

Sighing, Sofia stood and headed for the kitchen where she rinsed her cup and placed it in the dishwasher before checking on the status of the turkey. After poking it a few times, she moved it to the lower shelf of the refrigerator, satisfied that it would be thawed by morning. She took just a moment to survey the rest of the kitchen.

The pie sat in its container, and the stuffing was cooked and waiting in the refrigerator. The sweet potatoes would be prepared in the morning as would the fruit salad and the rest of the vegetables. Turning out the light, Sofia headed for bed, stopping briefly in the den to disconnect the Christmas tree lights. With once last glance at the star, Sofia pulled the plug.

"Merry Christmas, Sara, wherever you are."

Sofia awoke at the first sound of her alarm and groaned as she slid her feet to the floor. Crawling out of the warm bed, she slowly shuffled towards the kitchen. It was time to tackle the turkey.

An hour later, Sofia had wrestled the giblets from the turkey's cavity and readied the bird for the oven. She set the timer and immediately started on the potatoes and other vegetables. Once she was certain that everything that needed to be done had been done, she headed for the shower. Secure in the knowledge that Catherine, Lindsay, and Lily weren't due for another couple of hours, Sofia smiled at the thought of taking extra time to allow the hot water to beat down on her neck and sore shoulders. The bird had given her quite a workout.

The soft sound of a key turning in the lock was followed shortly thereafter by a light knock. "Sofia, where are you?" Catherine pushed her way inside and closed the door behind her. She looked around the room and smiled. Sofia had been very busy as stacks of presents, that hadn't been there the day before, sat under the tree. Catherine was sorely tempted to find her pile of packages to try to figure out the contents but decided to find 'Santa' instead.

Standing in Sofia's bedroom, Catherine crooked an ear towards the master bath. The sound of running water brought a bright smile to her face, and she eased out of her clothes. As naked as the day she was born, Catherine walked into the bathroom and pulled back the curtain. The occupant screamed.

"Sara?" Catherine gripped the shower curtain tightly to her chest and stared at the equally naked woman. Even the sound of running footsteps didn't pull her focus away from Sara.

"Sara? What's wrong?" Sofia raced into the room and stopped dead in her tracks. "Catherine? What are you doing here? You're not due for another hour."

Catherine awoke from her stupor. "What am I doing here?" She pointed at Sara. "What is she doing here, in your shower, without any clothes on?"

Sofia grinned; Catherine was beyond pissed. "I can explain, Catherine."

"Mother offered to bring Lindsay so that I could come over early to help you out, but, apparently, I'm not needed after all." Catherine grabbed a towel from the rod and stomped past Sofia.

Sofia winked at Sara and ran after her lover, stopping just long enough to close the bathroom door behind her. Entering the bedroom, she found Catherine snatching up her clothes in much the same manner as the day before, only this time, Sofia was the object of Catherine's tirade.

"I can't believe I was so stupid. I should've known she wasn't over Sara. I open my heart for the first time since Eddie, and it gets stomped all to hell."


Catherine turned towards the voice. "Just give me a minute to get my things, and then you and Sara can spend Christmas together, and New Year's, and the whole damned year."

Sofia knew what Catherin was like when she was in one of these moods, so she did the one thing she knew she had to do. She walked over and pulled Catherine into her arms, preparing for the struggle of her life. Catherine didn't disappoint.

"Let go of me!" Arms and legs flailed, but Sofia held on tightly as Catherine fought and fought until, exhausted, she went limp. Sofia gently guided her lover to the bed and placed an arm around her, pulling her down to sit on the edge.

"Catherine, Sara is here to surprise Grissom."

"Then what is she doing in your shower?"

"She drove all night long and wanted to freshen up before she saw him. She called when she got to Vegas and asked if it would be okay to use my shower."

Catherine finally looked up. "So she's not here to try to win you back?"

Sofia gently pushed a strand of hair behind Catherine's ear. "No."

"I'm sorry, Sofia. It's just that I know how much Sara meant to you."

"Catherine, Sara still means a lot to me." Sofia felt Catherine stiffen at her words, but she needed to explain honestly. "Sara will always be my friend, Catherine, but I don't have the same feelings for Sara that I do for you. I feel so much more for you." Sofia spoke her next words softly. "I love you, Catherine."

There they were; the three words neither woman had had the guts to say. Catherine swallowed hard as tears pooled in her eyes.

"You do?"

Sofia smiled. "Yes, I do. I love you."

"Oh, Sofia, I love you, too."

A pair of lips pressed together, gently, reverently, as if for the first time.

Sara stepped back into the bathroom and closed the door, wearing nothing but a smile. She couldn't be happier that her two friends had found each other.

The End

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