01 – A Comedy of Errors

For some reason Sara and Grissom’s relationship has always been fraught with misreading and misunderstanding. 

Occasionally these can lead to surprising results especially when Grissom takes the chance and issues Sara a rather unexpected invitation. 

First part of the Finally Setting the Date series,  circa May 2005

********

Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd

“Greg, you’re running point on this one,” Grissom said as he and Greg finished loading up Sara’s vehicle.

“No problem,” Greg replied, seemingly flushed with the pleasure at receiving the added responsibility and certainly not quite realizing that he had not just pulled the most plum of assignments, a fact that neither Grissom nor Sara seemed to be interested in cluing him in on at that particular moment. Sara smirked. Grissom just chalked up the chore as yet another learning experience for the still green investigator.

“Sara, give Greg the keys to the Denali. I need to speak with you in private,” Grissom said in his usual brisk professional manner.

Sara for her part made no protest; she merely merely cocked an eyebrow up at her supervisor before returning to the task of fastening the latches on her kit.

Greg attributed her easy acquiescence to the fact that it had already been a long shift and would likely prove to be an even longer one once they set down to processing the evidence that they had just spent the last nine hours collecting. As she straightened up and handed Greg her keys, he gave her a half-commiserating/half-better you than me look. Sara shrugged and followed Grissom to his car.

After Greg had pulled away, she turned to Grissom and said, “Greg seems to think I’m in trouble for something.”

As Grissom started the car, he replied, “Let Greg think what he wants.”

Sara smiled. “So I’m not in trouble then?” she asked in a light teasing sort of tone.

He shook his head. “No. But I really did need to speak with you in private.”

“Oh?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“About?” she asked curiously when nothing further seemed forthcoming.

“Your work schedule.”

She tried not to sound disappointed when she muttered a second this time halfhearted, “Oh.”

It was going to be another one of those moments, she thought.

The new more “hands-on” Grissom that had emerged after Ecklie had broken up the team more than six months previously had given her a great deal of pause.

On the one hand, he had begun to demonstrate a great deal more care and apparent interest in the people he supervised which had softened and mellowed him a little.

On the other hand, he had begun to demonstrate a great deal more care and apparent interest in the people he supervised, which could make him a royal pain in the ass when he tried a bit too hard.

So Sara decided to cut him off at the pass.

“Look,” she began. “I know I’ve been working more than I should have. We just went through this a few days ago. I promise I won’t do it again.”

“You finished?” Grissom asked.

“Yeah.”

“Good. Because that wasn’t what I wanted to talk about.”

Sara shook her head and muttered something under her breath that Grissom either didn’t hear or was intentionally ignoring. She figured it was probably the latter as Grissom turned to her and said in that annoyingly knowing sort of way, “Although I am glad you finally came to that realization without me having to say anything.”

Sara made no reply to this.

“Actually, I had a question about one of  your days off next week. You’re off Monday, aren’t you?”

“You know I am,” she said feeling slightly confused and rather nettled. “You’re the one who makes out the schedule.”

“True, but as you often tend to turn up at the lab on the days you are scheduled off, I wasn’t sure if you knew.”

“I thought we were skipping the whole Sara works too much lecture as hypocrisy doesn’t suit you.”

“I plan on actually taking my time off next week, thank you very much.”

“Really?” Sara said genuinely surprised.

“Yes,” he nodded. “And as it happens to coincide with yours, I was hoping to spend it with you.”

Suddenly, Sara felt very stupid. She had jumped to conclusions and proceeded to chew Grissom out when in reality all he had been trying to do was…

Was what exactly? she wondered bewildered.

Ask her out?

She shook her head at the absurdity of that conclusion.

Gil Grissom did not ask anyone out.

Gil Grissom never went out.

“You can pick your jaw up from off the floor, dear,” Grissom said, unsuccessfully smothering a chuckle. After Sara was silent for several long minutes, he continued feeling a bit self-conscious, “I just thought, as the last time we had dinner we both seemed to be having a good time, that we might risk it again. Although this time under better circumstances.”

“You mean you really don’t want me to be sick all over you again?”

“We could just agree to skip that part.”

Sara smiled slightly at the remembrance.

*******

And A Good Time Was Had By All

Dinner with Grissom had indeed proved to be a good time, a very good time.

When she had finally finished her somewhat longer than usual shower (to get the smell of vomit out of her hair, or so she told herself) and eventually abandoned her lingering attempts to make herself look at least a little presentable, she found Grissom emptying several bags of groceries into her refrigerator.

“Are you expecting anyone else?” she inquired rather taken aback.

“No, why?” he asked, starting to stock the over the counter cupboards.

“Because even Greg doesn’t eat this much in a week,” she said with a smirk.

“You want to complain or make yourself useful?”

“Do I have a choice?” she quipped.

He handed her an empty bowl from the counter and nudged a paper bag towards her. Sara took the hint and began to arrange fresh fruit into a tidy mound.

“Organic,” she said impressed, reading the small sticker on a Granny Smith apple.

Grissom made a noncommittal noise, intent as he was on pulling a pot out from under the counter.

“So after you plundered the market of all its spoils what are we having for dinner?”

He pulled a tall can of tomato soup from the last bag.

“Canned soup?” she asked incredulously. “You got all this stuff to make canned soup?”

“No, I got all this stuff in hopes that you might starting eating again.” As Sara appeared to be considering waging a revolt at his suggestion, he hurriedly added, “Besides, this isn’t just any canned soup.”

“This is the same stuff they have on sale for a dollar.”

“Ah, but without my secret ingredient.”

“Secret ingredient?” Sara echoed, starting to feel a little nervous. “It doesn’t involved eating insects does it? Because I’m fairly sure that as a vegetarian I have a major problem with eating bugs.”

“You don’t know what you’re missing.”

“I still think I’ll pass.”

He shrugged as if to indicate it was her loss. “Why don’t you get out the dishes.”

“Are you chasing me out of my kitchen?”

“You know what they say…”

“No, what?”

Too many cooks…

“Funny. Does this mean you aren’t going to tell me what you’re putting in that soup?”

“Nope. Trade secret.”

“I thought we weren’t going to have anymore secrets.”

“Point taken. But I’m still not telling you. I will, however, promise no insects and that its vegetarian, so don’t worry.”

“You’re cooking. Why wouldn’t I worry?”

“Sara, cooking is just chemistry you eat. It’s not that hard. You just have to be willing to experiment a little.”

“If you say so.”

“Will you go down at get the duffle bag from out of my trunk?”

“Trying to get rid of me?”

“Why would I do that?” he asked, feigning innocence.

Sara laughed and picked up his keys from the counter.

She would just check the trash after he left, she reasoned.

She wasn’t a Level Three CSI for nothing.

Unfortunately, Grissom must have read her mind, because he left no trace evidence behind when he exited the kitchen to take a quick shower.

Sara thought she should have known better. Very seldom did anyone ever outsmart Gil Grissom. Of course, that didn’t mean she wouldn’t try.

She thought about the old saying about a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. There was nothing little about the scope or breadth of Grissom’s knowledge, which probably made him potentially more dangerous than most of the criminals they dealt with on a regular basis.

A few years back it had been a running joke in the lab that Grissom was the one person who really could get away with murder and Sara never doubted that assertion for a second, anymore than she knew Grissom would never voluntarily take a life.

That didn’t mean he couldn’t be deceptive when we wanted to. After all, he had succeeded in keeping his hearing loss from her and the rest of the team for more than a year. Although Sara had suspected something was up after the big movie star’s trial, she and Grissom hadn’t really been on the best of terms at the time so she hadn’t pressed or pushed and he hadn’t volunteered the information.

That was the past and this was now and things were different.

Or at least might be different.

It was perhaps this thought that caused her to turn to Grissom as he took over at the stove and say, “You once told me that you didn’t know what to do about this — about…”

“Us?” he finished.

She nodded.

He took a deep breath and sighed, “Honestly, I still don’t.” Her face fell at his reply, something he noticed immediately. “But I don’t need to know exactly what to do in order to know that I want to do something,” he continued. When she stayed silent he said, “I don’t know if that makes sense or not, but…”

Sara put a hand on his arm to quiet his concern. “It does,” she said softly with a soft smile. 

“I haven’t seen you wear that for a while,” he said appreciatively.

She glanced down at the casual blouse and slacks she had donned earlier.

He laughed at her apparent misunderstanding, “The smile, Sara. I haven’t seen you smile like that in a long time.”

Her grin widened involuntarily at this.

“Keep this up and you might be seeing a lot more of it,” she said laughing, too. “Any maybe some other things if you’re really lucky.”

Grissom merely arched an eyebrow at her suggestion.

*******

It’s a What Exactly

“Is that a yes or a no about dinner?” Grissom inquired as they pulled into the lab parking lot several minutes later.

“What do you think?” she asked with a laugh. The levity, however, did not last long. It turned to solemnity as she finally summoned up the courage to ask him, “Is this a friendship dinner or a date dinner?”

“Either or neither, which ever you prefer,” he answered.

“The difference being?”

“My chance of getting a goodnight kiss.” Grissom replied in a matter of fact tone.

“I see.” She seemed to consider the question for a moment. “Better make it a date then,” she said finally.

“Why?”

“Make it a date and you’ll find out.”

*******

Series continued in A Woman’s Work

*******

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