DISCLAIMER: I know they're not mine, but it's fun to play...
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

You work it out
By Rach


Part 6

I'm at work, and I should be concentrating. I have the evidence box from our case sitting in front of me, but my mind is re-running the way Catherine kissed me this morning. More than re-running, because my mind doesn't seem to want to stop where we did.

"So," Greg begins as he walks into the lab, shutting the door behind himself. "I'm going to ask you something, and I fully expect you to not answer me."

Interesting beginning, at least it's got my mind away from those distracting daydreams.

"What are you on about Greg?"

"Well, I noticed you were smiling this morning, and you admitted you'd been on another date. Now, I just ran into Catherine and, to use one of my mother's expressions, she looks like the cat that got into the cream."

I can't help smiling at the thought that I made her look like that.

"And see, there it is. You're looking downright smug."

"Greg, does this have anything to do with our case?"

"I knew you wouldn't answer my question."

"You haven't asked a question."

"I'm leading up to the question. Presenting my evidence. See, there's only one reason I can think of for you looking smug when I said Catherine was happy, and that's if you had something to do with making her that happy."

Oh oh, I think I see where he is going with this.

"Also, you guys both looked really amused when I asked Catherine what she knew about your last date. So, now I've got this wondering going on, and it's kind of a distracting thing to wonder about."

"A wondering?" Guess we haven't been careful enough.

"Well, it's a crazy idea, I'd never have thought it if you guys weren't acting so weird. Was your date with Catherine? I won't tell anyone if it was, it's just that you guys have been acting different around each other, and you're both happy, and you're talking to each other all the time. Something's changed."


Now Greg is staring at me, and I guess it's pretty obvious to him that I have no idea how to respond.

Fortunately for me I hear the door opening behind me. I immediately look down at the plastic in my hands.

"As I was saying," Greg extemporizes, "there has to be some way to prove the sister was there…"

"What's going on?"

Shit, it's Catherine.

"Greg was just…"

"I, um…"

Great, first we're talking over each other, then we're both silent.

"Either of you guys going to tell me what's happening?" Catherine asks. "Is it something about the case?" She's walked over to the table, and is now standing beside me.

"Actually," I'm taking the bull by the horns. Here goes nothing. "Greg was just asking me about my date. He thinks he's worked out who it was with."

Her eye's snap to mine, and I can see that she's slightly wary.

"Was he right?"

"Um, we did agree that I shouldn't lie about this, didn't we?"

"I think we did. Okay."

I turn towards Greg, and see his eyes bulging as he looks from me to Catherine.

"I'm right, aren't I?"

"Yes, you're right." I say.

"We've gone on a couple of dates," Catherine adds, "And things seem to be going well."

"Oh wow," his eyes are shining, "This is so cool. Do any of the guys know?"

"We don't want to tell them yet," Catherine explains. "It's all pretty weird, with the whole work thing. It could make things awkward, and we're not really sure how it will all work out. So we haven't actually told anyone yet."

Greg's looking back and forth from Catherine to me, and I can see his mind is going a million miles a minute.

"But, you said you'd never kissed a girl." He's looking at me, then turns to Catherine, "And you were married to Eddie."

"I hadn't." I tell him, then feel my cheeks go red. Damn, guess he knows that I have now.

"Greg, this wasn't exactly a planned thing for either of us," Catherine explains. "But, seriously, Sara is the best looking person here. Can you really blame me for making a move?"

"You made the move?" He asks, sounding like a little kid in a candy shop.

"It's kind of a long story, which I am definitely not telling you. But yes, I asked Sara out. I never really believed that she'd say yes, but I feel incredibly lucky that she did."

I'm blushing again. I'm glad Catherine is answering his questions because I can't.

"So, this is a big secret, right?"

"For now. We just don't need the pressure of everyone knowing right now. If it continues, well, we're not going to hide it forever."

"Forever?" Now he's grinning. "Does this mean it's a serious thing?"

Now Catherine is the one with a slight blush. "Two dates Greg, I think it's far to soon to talk about forever." She's looking at me and smiling, "But, although I can't speak for Sara, it doesn't feel casual to me."

Oh yeah. Now I'm smiling too, and really struggling to suppress my impulse to wrap Catherine in my arms. Must remember we're at work.

"Guys, I am still here you know."

Oops, forgot Greg was there.

"Look," Catherine says, "I just stopped by to collect a report, I better get going. Are we okay?" She looks at me first, then Greg.

"Hell yeah," Greg is still smiling.

"We're okay. You get back to your case."

Greg watches Catherine walk out, then turns back to me.

"So, you and Catherine, wow. Guess I know why you wouldn't go out with me."

"Not exactly," I tell him. "That was more to do you not being serious when you asked."

"I was serious."

"Not serious enough."

"I always thought it was about Grissom."

"Why are we back to Grissom again? I told you, nothing between us. He had his chance and let it slip."

"You said that before, but I thought… I mean, he's not one of the reasons you're keeping this thing with Catherine quiet, is he?"

"You know," I turn back to the evidence, trying to get back into work mode, "As awkward as I think the conversation will be when we tell him, he's not the reason. I'm more worried that saying something will jinx things."

"Jinx things? You're superstitious? As if…"

"I know it's not logical, but some things just aren't logical. Do you understand why we need to keep it quiet for now?"

"Yeah, I do. But people aren't stupid, and if it gets onto the grape vine before you tell your friends they'll be hurt. So you guys should stop smiling so much."

I think about what he's said, and nod. Then something else occurs to me and I lean over to kiss his cheek.

"Thank you."

"For what?" Now he looks puzzled.

"When Catherine came in, before we knew it was her, you covered for us. So, now I know we can trust you. Thank you for being a good friend."

Wow, Greg can really blush.

"What's the smallest sample we can run through toxicology?" I ask.

"We normally need such large samples because we're running a lot of tests," Greg explains. "If we could narrow it down to one thing I think there's enough on the outside of the plastic to run at least one test."

"And still have enough for defense to re-test if they want."

"Should be. What can we test for that will distinguish between the sisters?"

"We can prove it was you Kristy. Kirsty scratched you while you were killing her. The DNA isn't conclusive, but once you add hormonal traces of the contraceptive pill into the mix it is. Your sister wasn't on the pill, you were. And you have scratch marks on your arms."

It's eerie to see her, looking so like the woman she killed, and even eerier when she breaks into tears and confesses.

"I never meant to do it, she made me."

"Your sister made you kill her?"

"It's all her fault, I didn't want to." She's ignoring Brass, looking at me, so I pour her a glass of water and lean forward sympathetically.

"What happened?"

"She… she was a lesbian you know. Last time she visited she slept with my best friend, Susie. But I didn't know."

"How does this fit into the picture?"

"I didn't know, but Susie was acting weird after. Looking at me strangely. I came here to see Kirst, and I told her about Susie. She laughed about it, told me maybe it was because of sleeping with her."


"And I just went mad. I didn't care about her being gay; it was none of my business. But she slept with my best friend, and now every time Susie looks at me I know she's remembering touching my body. Except it wasn't my body, it was my sister. Only we're identical. How can I cope with knowing my best friend is looking at me that way."

"So you hit her?"

"I didn't mean to kill her, I was just mad."

"So you accidentally killed her," Brass interrupts, "Cut off her hand, wrapped her body in plastic and dumped it, then accidentally left her hand behind?"

"I didn't dump her." Kristy is still crying, sobs interrupting her words. "I took her to the lookout. I wanted her to have a nice view."

"What about the hand?"

"It was the only difference between us you know. We were perfectly identical; the only physical difference was her being left-handed. I loved my sister, I wanted to remember."

"Will you sign a statement to that effect?"

"I suppose so."

It takes time to write out the statement, but eventually she has signed the paperwork, and Brass gets up to lead her out of the room.

"Kristy," I say as she's standing up. "I believe that you killed your sister. What I don't understand is why you used fake ID to book your airline tickets and pay for the car. The only way that makes sense is if you planned the whole thing in advance."

The façade of the grieving sister slips, and she glares at me. "You bitch…"

"That's enough," Brass takes her by the arms and leads her down to booking. I'm just finishing up the paperwork when Brass comes back in.

"Good work on the interview. She's a real piece of work."

"Did she really think we'd believe that accident story?"

"Must have done. Sara, the friend is outside wanting to know about Kristy."


"That's right. Can you talk to her?"

"God, the poor girl. How's she going to feel about this?"

"I thought she might be better hearing it from you."

This will not be an easy conversation. "Okay, can I use this room?"

The friend, Susie, cries when I tell her what happened. They're obviously not the first tears she has shed recently, and I compare her obvious grief with the composure of the sister.

"Can I see her?"

"Kristy? No, she's in lock-up."

"No, Kirsty. I… I've known her for years. I guess I've loved her for years, I just never did anything about it."

"I can organize that," I say quietly. "It'll take a bit of time."

"That's okay, I'll wait." She leans back in her chair. "Kristy was wrong. You know that, don't you?"

"Wrong about what?"

"I didn't sleep with Kirsty. I wanted to, and I think she did too. But we were both worried about how Kris would take it. If Kris thought I was looking at her strangely it must have been when I was trying to ask her if it was okay for me to go on a date with her sister."

"I missed saying hello at the start of shift." Catherine is leaning against the door of the break room watching as I finish my report.

"I missed it too, but I was down at the PD with a suspect."

"I hear you closed our case?"

"Yeah, sisterly love turned into a hate-crime."

"A hate crime?" Catherine comes in and sits beside me. "Explain?"

"Our victim was gay, her identical twin sister flipped out because she thought the victim was sleeping with the sister's best friend. Apparently it was okay for her to be gay, she just had to keep that part of her life distant. As soon as it got too close to home her sister jumped a flight here on fake ID and killed her."

"That's sick. How can anyone have that much hate in them?"

"We see that much hate everyday Catherine. The world can be a pretty dark place."

We sit in silence for a few moments, thinking about the case.

"Catherine," I'm hesitant to ask this question, but I need to know. "How will Nancy take it? You and me?"

"You're not thinking my sister would do something like this do you?"

"I don't know your sister. I don't want to think it, but I guess that right now this case is hitting a little close to home. And that makes me a little scared."

Catherine takes my hand in hers, heedless of the fact that we're in a public place. "I saw Nancy before shift, Lindsay and I had dinner at her house. She drilled me on why I was looking so happy."

"What did you tell her?" God, I never thought this would be so hard.

"I told her I'd been dating someone, that the person I was dating was the reason I was smiling so much."

"Did you tell her who?"

"I wasn't going to, but she picked up on the gender neutral pronouns and asked me outright if it was a guy. I told her it was you."

I'm desperately looking at Catherine's face, trying to work out whether this is a good thing or a bad one.

"What did she say."

"It was kind of a long conversation, but I can narrow it down to two main points. First is that I have to be careful how I tell Lindsay; second is that if you hurt me she'll have your guts for garters."

Shit, I'm being threatened by Catherine's sister.


"Don't worry Sara, she's said that about everyone I've ever dated. If Eddie kept his guts on the inside you can be pretty sure you're safe too."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure my sister won't go psycho on you. She may be a little uncomfortable about us for a while, but that's hardly unexpected."

I take a deep breath. I don't know what I was thinking, but seeing how far homophobia could drive someone had really rattled me. Suddenly I feel Catherine's arm around my shoulder.

"It's okay Sar, it's not like I'm the only one to get threatened today."

What the...?

"Your favourite side-kick tackled me in the locker-room," Catherine is smiling. "He told me that even though I was his second favourite girl he'd still be very upset if I hurt you."

"Greg?" I'm more than surprised.

"Yes, Greg. It was kind of sweet really. I think he feels protective of you."

"Great, so the first two people to find out both made threats. I feel so much more secure now."

"Who's been threatening you?" Grissom walks into the break out room and looks around briefly. "Sara, can I see you in my office?" Then he's gone.

"I hate how he asks questions but doesn't wait for answers," I say to Catherine.

"Do you think he even noticed my arm was around your shoulder?"

"It's Grissom, would he say anything if he did notice?"

"Probably not," Catherine muses, "Although it's normally pretty obvious when he does a double-take. I don't think he noticed. But may we should tell him soon?"


"Well, we've both wrapped the cases we were working on, which means we'll be up for the next assignments. I still think we shouldn't work together for a while, which means either manipulating things like we did for this case or being upfront about it."

I think for a moment before replying.

"Okay, when?"


"Before we chicken out? I guess so." I stand up then reach a hand down to Catherine. "Coming?"

Catherine takes my hand and allows me to pull her up to her feet. We're walking side by side towards Grissom's office when Nick walks past.

"Shifts nearly up, either of you up for breakfast?" Nick is grinning broadly. "Warrick is just asking Greg, thought we'd try getting the whole crew together."

"I'm in," Catherine replies.

"Me too, we've just got to see Grissom first."

"I'll stick a note on your locker once we decide where we're going. Ask Grissom too?"

Once Nick has passed us I look at Catherine with a raised eyebrow. Socialising with the whole crew together? This could spell the end of our secret.

"Sara, I...." This time Grissom does do a double-take when Catherine walks into the office beside me. "Catherine, I wanted to talk to Sara alone. Is it something urgent?"

"Actually, Sara and I need to talk to you about something," Catherine takes a seat in front of Grissom's desk and I'm impressed by her forcefulness. "Do you mind if we do that first, then I'll go?"

"Uh," As if Grissom can object now that Catherine and I are seated opposite him. "I suppose not. What's the problem?"

"Not a problem as such," Catherine says, "Just wanting to keep you in the loop." She glances at me, and I know she's wondering if she should continue or leave it to me.

"We thought is was better to let you know up-front," I tell him, "So that we can take steps to ensure no-one's professionalism is called into question."

"Whose professionalism is being questioned?" Gil looks confused.

"No-one's yet," Catherine says.

"And hopefully no-one's will be," I continue. "But you should know that Catherine and I have started dating, that's why she removed herself from the Lang case and left Greg on it."

"Dating? As in..."

"Come on Grissom," Catherine says bluntly. "Surely you remember dating. It's when two people spend time together. It's often a prelude to the commencement of a serious relationship."

"A relationship?" Although it was Catherine speaking Grissom is looking at me. "You and Catherine? When did this happen? Why didn't I know?"

"You do know, because we just told you," I tell him. "We've discussed work and think that for a while it might be good not to assign us to the same cases, although we are perfectly capable of being professional at work. It's more a precaution for now."

"Oh," Grissom looks confused, and I feel oddly sorry for him. "Well then..." He starts fidgeting with paperwork, a sure sign that he's uncomfortable. "Is there anything else?"

"No," Catherine sounds sympathetic, "Although you said you wanted to see Sara?"

"It's nothing important, I can talk to her another time." Grissom straightens a pile of paperwork then picks up his coat, obviously preparing to leave.

"Gil," He looks up suddenly, and I wonder if he'd forgotten we were there. "We're going to breakfast with Warrick and Nick, and maybe Greg. Would you care to join us?"

"Not today..."

With that he's walked out, leaving Catherine and I staring at each other in his office.

"I think that went pretty well," Catherine says hesitantly.

"Maybe," I stare after Grissom. "What just happened here?"

"I think Grissom ran away because he didn't know how to react."

"Oh." I guess I knew he'd be surprised.

"Come on Sar, let's get breakfast. Nance has my car again, do you mind driving?"

When we arrive at Nick's favourite diner we find the three boys waiting for us.

"What did you do to Grissom?" Warrick asks as we slide into the booth. "He bolted out of the car park as if Ecklie was chasing him."

"Maybe Ecklie was chasing him?" I joke before picking up the menu.

"Seriously," Warrick says, "He totally ignored us when we asked about breakfast."

"We'd already asked him," Catherine says. "I think he had something on his mind, wasn't feeling sociable."

The waitress comes to the table to collect orders, distracting everyone from the discussion.

"So," Greg asks me when the waitress is gone. "Did you finish the paperwork on our case?"

"Signed, sealed and delivered. I left it on Grissom's desk before we left."

"Why do all the interesting case's come in when I'm unavailable?" Warrick complains.

"I'm sure you had a lot more fun doing resuscitation." Catherine is laughing, knowing the boys hated the course. "Did you keep your doll alive?"

"Mine was fine, but Nick was left with a dead doll. We should have brought her back for Doc to autopsy."

"Ha ha," Nick sounds offended. "If you'd seen Warrick's bandaging you'd be worried about going out in the field with him."

"Enough," I butt in. "The certificate is two years. You're both safe for now, so you can leave it be."

"Did we miss anything exciting in the lab?" Warrick asks Greg. "Fill us in on the gossip."

"Er," Greg sips his coffee. "Uh, Something's got Grissom's goat, Mia shot down Hodges when he asked her out..."

"You left something out," Catherine is grinning like the Cheshire cat, and I know I'm in trouble. Yes, we did discuss this in the car, but I should have known she'd play it her own way.

"I did?" Greg looks confused.

"You forgot to mention that Sara has gone on a couple of dates. She's been wandering work around looking positively happy. She's even been leaving on time."

My cheeks are hot; I know they've gone red. Warrick and Nick are staring at me. Greg's still staring at Catherine like she's gone crazy.

"So, who is he?"


Warrick and Nick are leaning towards me, keen to hear the gossip. I am trying to think of a way to stall when I spot the waitress heading our way with several plates.

"I'm not saying a word until I've eaten." A plate of eggs and mushrooms is put in front of me, everyone else receiving their meals at the same time. "After that you get twenty questions. If you can't work it out bad luck."

Nick and Warrick both protest like little boys, but then plough into their meals while debating what questions to ask.

"Come on Greg, help us out."

"Greg's disqualified from this contest," Catherine says before I can. "Don't worry, if a lowly CSI 1 worked it out with no clues you CSI 3's should do fine."

"You know?" Nick pounces on Greg. "Why didn't you tell us?"

"You know too?" Warrick turns to Catherine. "Why does everything happen when we're away?"

They go back to working out questions, occasionally looking up at me.

"Catherine," I say quietly in her ear. "You do know you're in big trouble for this, don't you?"

"What are you going to do, spank me?" She's grinning cheekily.

"I'll think of something." I place the last mouthful of breakfast in my mouth then turn to my tormentors.

"So, Sara," Nick begins. "Is it someone we know?"


"Someone from work?" It's Warrick's turn now.


I look at Catherine and see she is holding two fingers up, counting the questions.

"From the crime lab, not other departments?" Nick again.

"Yes." I turn to Warrick.

"Someone in our shift?"


Back to Nick.

"Is it Grissom?"

"No." Greg laughs at the disgusted expression on my face. "Why does everyone always think it's Grissom?"

"Not Greg?" Warrick buts in, looking in amazement at his younger colleague. "Is that why he knows?"

"No, not Greg. Greg guessed who it was with no clues at all. He's showing you up."

"If it's Hodges," Nick says, "You know we'd never talk to you again."

"Ew, that's worse than Grissom. No."

"Is he younger than you?"


"So he's older than you?" Nick asks.

"Don't waste the question." Warrick retorts before I can answer.

But I'm having a cheeky thought. "I need adjudication here." I lean towards Catherine and whisper in her ear. "They said he's older... I believe I should answer no?"

"I agree. No, he's not older than Sara. Nine questions down, eleven to go."

"Hang on, he's not younger, he's not older. Surely no one at the lab is the exact same age as Sara, so that excludes everyone."

"No it doesn't," Greg manages to say.

Catherine, Greg and I are all watching Nick and Warrick, waiting for them to work out the puzzle.

"Do you need a clue?" Catherine asks.

"They don't get clues."

"We don't need clues," Nick protests. "We'll work it out."

"Wait," Warrick's eyes light up. "Is it a he?"


I see comprehension dawning on Nick, and then he stares at me as if he's never seen me before. "Go girl..."

"Is it Mia?"




"That's eleven questions." Catherine is still grinning, and I'm thinking I'll have to find a way to make her pay for this.

"Who else is there?" Nick asks Warrick.

"Uh, what about admin staff. Can you remember them?"

"How about..." Nick is thinking. "Brunette?"



Hmm, how do I describe Catherine's hair colour. Strawberry blonde perhaps, or red?

"No." Catherine answers for me. Guess she sees herself as a red-head.

"Is it that woman on reception?" Nick asks.


"She's a blonde you idiot, you're wasting our guesses."

Catherine leans across and whispers in my ear, "Do you think they'll guess?"

Warrick is watching Catherine, and suddenly smiles.

"A red head?"



"Yes." He knows, I can tell. Nick still looks puzzled though.

"Is it someone you've been known to have loud arguments with?" Warrick is grinning broadly now.

I see comprehension dawning in Nick's eyes.

"Yes, I've been known to fight with her."

"Catherine?" Nick sounds bemused. "You've been going on dates with Catherine, and that's making you happy?"

"Why wouldn't it make her happy?" Catherine sounds put off.

"Because you guys fight like cats and dogs."

"Not always," Greg defends Catherine.

"Besides," I put my hand in Catherine's and rest it on our laps. "Don't they always say there's a fine line?"

Warrick leans across from his seat next to Catherine and pulls the two of us into a big hug. "Congratulations guys, I hope it works out."

"Just don't expect us to pick sides if it doesn't," Nick says sourly.

"Why are you so pissed off?" Greg asks. "I thought you'd be happy."

Warrick starts laughing. "He's only pissed off because he lost a bet."

"What bet?" I'm curious. "When did you make a bet about us?"

"Four years ago," Nick says sourly. "I bet that you guys would get physically violent one day."

"I bet that you'd get physical," Warrick grins.

"You bet on us either hitting each other or..." I'm not sure how to finish.

"Pay up bro," Warrick is gloating, and I can see that Catherine is pissed off at the bet. Nick takes a $100 bill out of his wallet and passes it over.

"So," I slap Warrick on the back, "Breakfast is on you rich boy?"

Everyone laughs, including Nick, and it seems like everything is okay again in the team.

Nearly an hour later I've pulled up out the front of Catherine's house.

"So," Catherine is hesitant. It seems she's often hesitant with me, so different from her confidence with the rest of the team. "Would it be rushing things if I asked you in?"

"Probably." Who am I kidding, definitely. It's been less than a week since our first kiss. Admittedly there have been multiple dates in that week. We've known each other for nearly five years. But it's only in the last few weeks we've really gotten to know each other. "That doesn't mean I'd say no."

"Then, would you like to come in? No expectations, I just want to spend more time with you."

Instead of answering I reach across and squeeze Catherine's hand, then open the car door and get out. Catherine leads me to the front door, then rummages in her bag for her keys. Once she finds them she fumbles and drops them at her feet, then bends down to pick them up.

"What?" she says as she looks up at my smile.

"I've known you for 5 years Catherine, and I've never seen you drop anything. I think you're nervous."

"Aren't you nervous?"

I reach out and take the key, guiding it into the lock. "Nervous doesn't even begin to describe how I feel."

Catherine turns the key and opens the door, then reaches back for my hand and leads me into her house, dropping her bag and keys on the hall table before sitting on the couch and pulling me down beside her.

"Tell me how you feel?"

"I'm scared," I admit. "And giddy. I feel anticipation, and anxiety. What if I hurt you? Or if I don't know what to do? What if…" I trail off into silence.

"What if what?"

I'm silent for a few moments before answering. "What if you don't like the way I touch you? Or I do something wrong?"

"Is that what you're really worried about?"

"Well, not just that. What if I don't feel what I'm supposed to feel when you touch me?"

Catherine reaches out and brushes the back of her hand against my cheek, and I can't control the shiver.

"Honey, I think your body will tell me what you're enjoying." She takes my hand and holds it to her chest so I can feel the steady beat of her heart. "And I'm pretty sure you can work out what my body is saying to you. We don't have to do anything tonight though. And if we do, we can stop anytime either of us wants to. But I'd still be happy if all we did was snuggle on the couch like teenagers."

"Really?" I desperately want to believe that this will be okay.

Instead of answering Catherine leans in and kisses me gently, light pressure on my lips. My eyes drift shut. I feel the warmth of her breath on my skin, and my lips part gently to suck her upper lip. My heart speeds up, but time slows down. I feel an ache in my chest, and I know it can only be cured by feeling her body against mine so I pull her towards me. I hear her breath catch as our bodies come into contact, then feel her tongue against my lips. I open my mouth to her without conscious thought, my body's instincts in charge, and realise this is what she meant about our bodies talking to each other.

My eyes are slow to open when she pulls away from me, and it takes a lifetime to focus. Her face hovers mere inches from mine.

"Sara," she whispers, sapphire eyes meeting mine. "I trust you with my body, and my emotions. I know you won't hurt me. I know you'll stop if I ask you to. I need to know that if you feel uncomfortable you'll tell me. There's no right way for things to go from here. The only wrong way is if we're not open with each other."

Her words lay me bare. I've never trusted anyone, or been trusted, in the way she is describing.

"I promise, Catherine." I whisper. "I promise that I'll tell you. Right now I'm feeling uncomfortable with the fact that you've stopped kissing me."

Her smile lights up, then she kisses me again, this time more hungrily. The ache returns, and I pull her back against me, my hands sliding up the back of her shirt, feeling soft skin beneath my fingertips. When I feel my top being pulled up and her fingers tracing the line of my hips and up over my ribs, a fire starts to burn deep inside me. Her fingers reach my bra, fingernails lightly teasing at the edges of the cotton, and I'm startled to hear a low moan coming from me.

"I want to see you."

It takes time to realise that Catherine is talking to me. It's not until she moves back, her hands hesitantly raising the edge of my tanktop that I realise what she is asking. Rather than reply I reach out to undo the top button of Catherine's shirt, then the next. When I move the material to the side my knuckles accidentally stroke the pale skin peeping from above her lace bra, and Catherine gasps. I stare into her eyes as I undo the rest of the buttons, then push the shirt off her shoulders.

She is beautiful. Her skin is pale skin, dusted with freckles, soft and inviting. She's watching me as my eyes roam, from her shoulders to her belly button, then up to her lace covered breasts. I've felt them pressed against my chest, and I wonder what they feel like.

"You're perfect," I whisper.

I see one eyebrow raise in Catherine's trademark gesture of cynicism, but I know I'm right. I feel privileged, as if she is a precious sculpture and I am the only viewer. My hand reaches out hesitantly, tracing the blue satin strap, then to the lace that circles her rib cage. I want to reach behind her, to remove the lacy obstacle, but I hesitate.

"Catherine, can I..."

That moment's pause is all it takes for Catherine to start pulling my shirt over my head. I feel goosebumps up my side where her knuckles graze my skin, then find my arms moving of their own accord, allowing her to remove the shirt.

Then she is looking at me, eyes flicking as she stares; and my arms move again without conscious thought, crossing in front of my chest.


My eyes are focussed on my elbows... then I see and feel her hand stroking my arms.

"Sara, please talk to me?"

"You're so beautiful..." And I am not, though I leave that thought unspoken. It's true though, her skin is smooth and soft, mine bears scars; a faint legacy of my fathers belt. Her belly is flat, her waist tiny. My stomach is curved, the waist only a small curve. Her lace-cupped breasts are beautiful, rounded and full; mine are small and covered by a functional cotton bra.

"Look at me," Catherine demands, and when I finally raise my head she cups one hand around the back of my head, drawing me in to kiss me softly on the lips. "Sara, I don't think I've ever seen anything as beautiful as you look right now. I," her breath catches, "I desperately want to touch you, to discover more, but if you ask me to stop I will."

I still can't look her in the eyes, although I know she is watching me. When I finally do look up her gaze has dropped to my shoulders and chest. The look on her face is indescribable; loving, possessive and yearning. My arms start to relax a little, and she leans forward to kiss my collar bone, her breath hot on the goose-bumped skin. She traces light kisses over my shoulder and neck before her mouth settles in to suck gently at the base of my throat. I'm hardly aware of moving until I find one hand on the back of her neck, pressing her head against my shoulder. The other hand is roaming over her back, and I am revelling in the feel of her skin, of her lips at my neck, then moving lower. The hand at her back finds the strap of her bra, and I am so frustrated by this obstacle between me and her skin that I am fumbling desperately with the clasp, succeeding in releasing it just as her mouth reaches my breast.

I feel a moan burst from my throat as her lips close around my nipple. All strength seems to flow from my body, my hands falling to my side. I sink into the cushions behind me, Catherine following my movement, keeping her mouth locked on my nipple while her other hand reaches up to cup my other breast. I look down and my world shifts when I see Catherine looking up at me, sucking at my breast while watching my face, her blue eyes darkening as she absorbs my reaction.

I lose track of time. I don't know if the clock has stopped or is flying. Catherine shifts from one side to the other, her spare hand caressing my breast in one moment, then tracing the swell of my belly. My eyes close, and while I only planned to blink, by the time they are open again I find Catherine has moved up to my ear lobe, her hands cupping my breast, gently squeezing. Somehow her actions translate to a movement of my hips, and I know that they are seeking a way to relieve the pressure that is building below.

"Sara, baby," somehow she is whispering in my ear but still sucking at the lobe. The feeling is torture and heaven, all combined. "I want to take you to bed. I want to touch you, and hold you, and moke love to you."


I'm not sure who is more surprised, Catherine or me, but it seems my hesitation has disappeared. Over-ridden perhaps by hormones, pheromones or instinct. But I am feeling no hesitation as we stand. Catherine takes me by the hand then leads me up the stairs and into her bedroom.

"Sar, if you're not sure..."

She is trying to give me as much room as she can, but I'm more concerned about the fact that she is still wearing her slacks and socks. It takes me a few moments to undo the button on her slacks, and then the zip, then slowly lower her pants and her knickers over the swell of her hips. As each inch of skin is revealed I find myself more in awe of her beauty, and when the tight curls at the junction of her legs is revealed I pause to inhale her aroma. The musky scent literally takes my breath away, and it isn't until she has stepped out of her pants and socks and is standing naked before me that I am able to take a deep breath.

"Catherine, you are..."

A finger placed gently on my lips cuts off my words.


Then she is kneeling before me, unbuttoning and lowering my trousers, slowly pulling them down, tracing gentle kisses down my legs. Her gaze feels like it is burning my skin, warming me to the core. But that heat is nothing compared to when she stands before me, naked, then steps forward to embrace me. Her skin feels like fire against mine, and when I finally get past the beauty of that sensation I marvel at the way we fit together; her chin in the nook of my neck, her breasts pressing against the underside of mine. She pulls back slightly to kiss me, and the kiss is as gentle as a summer breeze. I try to move in for more, but she pulls back, stepping out of our embrace and laying down on the bed, watching me with hungry eyes.

"Come here," she whispers, holding her arms out, and I in an instant am crawling across the bed into her arms.

What follows is a dance as old as time, but brand new to me. I am as eager to discover her body as she is to explore mine. Once my fingers find her wetness her exploration is halted by the sensations I create. Every movement of her hips is demanding, and I want nothing more than to give her more.

When her breath catches in her throat I am sucking at her neck, feeling her pulse under my tongue. I hear her gasp my name as her whole body tenses, as slight convulsions run through her and her arms wrap around me, clinging desperately.

As I feel her body relax beneath mine I realise that my nervousness was pointless. Although her body is new to me I do know what she liked, what she needed, as if our bodies shared a deeper communication than language.

I am watching her face, seeing the tiny movements of her jaw, the twitching of the muscles in her cheeks as she regains some control of her breath. Finally she stirs, opening her eyes to look at me.

"That was..." she seems lost for words, "You were... you said you'd never done this before."

I feel the blush rise in my cheeks. "You know I hadn't. What a waste."

"Huh?" She looks confused now.

"Five years we've known each other," I explain. "Five years of barely being friends; of being lonely and unhappy. What a waste, when just... just touching you makes me feel... more than I've ever felt... with anyone before."

I see tears gleam in her eyes, and then she pulls me down and kisses me, gently at first and then with a bruising passion.

"I think it's my turn now," Catherine whispers against my lips. "If touching me made you feel so good I want my chance to touch you."

She kisses me again, her tongue forcefully demanding entrance to my mouth. Then I feel her hand slide between our bodies, pausing at the junction of my thighs to brush through the curls there, making me shiver with anticipation. The first touch of her fingers gently teasing between my legs makes me close my eyes wanting no distractions from this feeling, but the movement stops.

"Open your eyes baby."

It takes an effort, but when I open them I see Catherine above me, and it seems she is looking into my soul.

"I want to see your eyes. I want you to see what touching you is doing to me."

It takes a conscious effort to follow her commands once her fingers start moving again, but it is worth it to see the joy and desire she is experiencing as her fingers rub my clit, then move down to circle my entrance. Her eyes darken with desire when she feels my legs spreading wider, giving her greater access. Her eyelids lower briefly when she slides inside me, then she looks down to where are bodies are joined, moving her hip slightly so that when her fingers start a rhythmic movement inside me her palm is pressed against my clit. I am nearly lost in the sensation. Her eyes have returned to meet mine, and I can see that the rocking of our bodies is having an effect on her as well, her eyes losing focus just as mine are. It isn't long before my body is wreaked with convulsions and my eyes roll closed. A half-second later I feel answering shudders passing through Catherine and her body settling against my own, the weight a welcome anchor against the unfamiliar sensations coursing through me.

We are still lying like this a few hours later when I wake again. Somehow Catherine has pulled the covers over us, and she is resting with her head on my shoulder watching me.

"Sara, you're so beautiful when you sleep."

"You're always beautiful."

We kiss gently, with no demands simply an affirmation of the earlier passion.

"Cat," I whisper at the end of our kiss. "Do you know how amazing you are?"

"I think you're the amazing one."

"Shh," I press one finger against her lips. "Let me finish. You're amazing, and beautiful..." I look down at her naked body pressed against mine. "And incredibly sexy. And I think I'm in danger of totally falling for you."

"It's about time."


"Sara Sidle, I think I fell for you a long time ago, so I'm really hoping that you fall for me too."

She fell for me? I take a moment to think about this idea.

"The trouble with falling," I begin then pause to gather my thoughts, surprised to find song lyrics running through my mind. "The trouble is, 'jumping is easy, and falling is fun'. What happens when I hit the bottom?"

Catherine kisses me gently before answering.

"I'm right here falling with you baby. When means I can catch you, and you can catch me. No hitting the bottom, just falling, together."

"Together," I whisper, then lean forward to kiss her again. Catherine is right; we can do this, together.

The End

* Lyrics from "Swan Dive" by Ani Difranco. "So go ahead and go boldly 'cos a little birdy told me that jumping is easy and falling is fun, right up until you hit the sidewalk shivering and stunned."

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