43 – Vested Interests

Her first full night back in Vegas leads Sara to realize that one of the best parts of being married is having someone not only to share your interests with but also your life.

Takes place post 10×01 “A Family Affair,”

circa September 2009.

*******

Sara hadn’t really been all that surprised to find that it was dark by the time she’d finally left the lab. Her first day back certainly had proven eventful to say the least (day in this case being more of a relative term than a measure of actual time). For while she’d expected to pull quite a few doubles upon her return, she hadn’t expected to pull them quite so soon, or under quite such extraordinary circumstances.

So by the time she finally slipped her key into the door of what Grissom had recently reminded her was their apartment, Sara had to admit she was glad to be home. Even if it was for the most part dust-sheeted, lacking in perishables, more than a little stuffy and close because of the usual ninety degree September heat and free from all the warm welcoming smells she remembered, it was still home.

When Grissom had left more than nine months previously, he’d been in such a rush to go that he hadn’t really packed, so much of the apartment remained the way she remembered it from her visit the year before. While all of the appliances had been unplugged and the place had no phone service of its own, he had left the power, water and gas hooked up. A fact that Sara had been incredibly grateful for when she had stumbled in literally in the middle of the night, her flight out of O’Hare having been, as a lot of flights were wont to be, delayed. Of course she hadn’t had much time then to do much other than grab a very quick shower and change into the spare set of clothes she’d intentionally kept in her carryon in case of just such an eventuality.

But as tired as she should have been, having not slept much more than four hours in the last nearly 72, and though she knew it would only be a handful more before she would need to be back into work again, Sara was still far too keyed up to go straight to bed.

So she shucked off her shoes near the door, hung her jacket next to several of Grissom’s in the closet, and making her way down the steps into the kitchen, hoped that her husband’s pantry purge hadn’t been as thorough as she feared. Unfortunately, the cupboards proved to be as uncharacteristically bare as hers had characteristically been back in that second studio of hers.

This meant she’d have to stop by the store on the way home from work the next day, whenever she did manage to get off work that is. After all tonight it had been so late both she and Catherine had agreed that a rain check on that dinner after shift was in order. Sara toyed with the idea of starting in on a list, but just couldn’t be bothered, too busy as she was intent on foraging. Upon locating a slightly dusty tin of tea next to the stove, she admittedly got a little more excited than the situation probably warranted. But at the moment tea was tea. The stuff might be a little old, but even old tea still possessed the power to soothe and comfort in all its familiarity.

And familiarity was certainly something devoutly to be wished for that night.

For it felt strange — was strange — being back here again. Strange to be surrounded, the attendance of the ghostly shapes of cloth draped furniture and shelves not withstanding, by all the outward signs of Grissom, but for him not to actually be there. Yet it was equally easy enough to believe that he had just stepped out, perhaps to pick up something at the store, or had as was more likely to have been the case, been called into work early. But he hadn’t.

With all the rush of trying to get to the lab as soon as possible, Sara hadn’t had time to feel it before, those odd and opposing twin sensations of presence and absence, that tug of missing him and yet feeling him with her all the same.

It reminded her of that line from his letter, the letter he’d written while he had been off teaching at Williams but had never sent, the one she’d found secreted in the Complete Works of Shakespeare and kept and treasured ever since.

Even though we’re far apart, I can see you as vividly as if you were here with me.

She was starting to understand what Grissom had meant then and smiled at the thought. And at the remembrance of how she had found that same letter slipped between the pages of the paperback she’d packed to read on her flight from Paris.

How and when he had managed to place it there during those few fleeting hours she’d had to pack and prepare to go, Sara had no idea, but the why was fairly clear. In any case, she had to acknowledge that she rather appreciated her typically rationally driven husband’s one concession to sentimentality.

She hadn’t needed to open the envelope then, hadn’t needed to unfold the letter to recall what he had written. She could still hear the words as if he’d spoken them, just as she had done the first time she’d read it. But as she had sat there on the plane, the reality of what she had done and was about to do really sinking in, she’d done both anyway, only to find something she knew hadn’t been there before.

On a post-it note affixed to the reverse of the page, in that same familiar careful scrawl, a single word had been scribbled.

Always, it read.

In some ways, that single word was worth more than any quote Grissom could have mustered from out of his voluminous memory. For that lone word was his and his alone and though it was merely a single word, it spoke volumes. It bespoke of the same longing and hope she was feeling and of a promise that didn’t need to be spelled out: that time and distance wouldn’t, couldn’t, change their love or connection, not this time.

That had really been the difference between this latest parting and all the others. It hadn’t been a good-bye at all. It was, as he had told her that day before she’d left, just for now.

At the insistent whistle of the kettle she’d set to boil several minutes before, Sara started back into life again. She’d been standing there fingering the simple gold band on her left hand, an almost unconscious habit she’d developed over the last several months since they’d been married.

While she almost instinctively removed the pot from the flame, she didn’t proceed to pour the water into the cup she’d already prepared. For she wasn’t thinking about tea, not anymore. It wasn’t what she really wanted or needed. She wanted, needed…

Grissom.

Sara peered down at her watch, did the math. It was nearly four a.m. in Paris, which was probably a little early to call on a Sunday. She had meant to phone earlier, like eight hours earlier, but time and the case had gotten away from her. Big surprise.

She could and probably should wait until right before she left for her next shift. There would be plenty of time then, if she didn’t get called in early. Naturally, she knew there was a very distinct possibility of that happening, so she really didn’t want to wait or chance it. Besides, her husband would probably forgive her for waking him. And after all, how many times had Grissom called and woken her up over the years? While that had mostly been work, still…

So she gave into her desire to hear his voice again.

As she reached for the phone at her hip she thought back to the message Catherine had earlier asked her to pass on.

“Marriage can’t be all that bad,” Catherine had begun as she’d risen from the bench in the locker room where she’d taken a rather weary sort of seat only a few minutes before.

At Sara’s curious glance, Catherine had only smiled a little broader (something Sara had been happy to see) and simply observed, “Your eyes – they light up every time you talk about it — and him. In fact, you’re positively glowing.”

What Sara hadn’t known, couldn’t have known, was just how true her friend and now boss’s words had been then. The Sara that had arrived so suddenly at the lab very early that morning had been far more vibrant and alive than the Sara who’d left Vegas the year before. There’d been a light in her eyes and color in her cheeks that couldn’t be passed off as coming from her no longer being confined to spending most of her hours to the darkness of night shifts. The heaviness almost of defeat that had pulled at her posture was gone as well. She smiled easier, freer. Yes, that Sara had been a very different Sara.

Of course none of that kept Sara from being more shocked than surprised when Catherine’s next question had proven to be almost pointedly intrusive.

“You aren’t…?” she’d asked.

Sara’s first “No” had been swift, almost abrupt; the second so emphatic that Catherine seemed to have had a hard time keeping herself from laughing. But after a moment, she only shrugged, her smile still in place and said, “Well, it suits you, marriage.”

Something Sara couldn’t and felt no need to dispute.

Instead, it was Sara’s turn to grin, both a little guiltily and pleased at the same time.

Catherine had then added, “The next time you talk to him, you make sure to tell Grissom he must be doing something right.”

To which Sara only beamed and nodded to indicate that she would.

As she’d went to go, Catherine sighed and shaking her head, murmured, “I should have known. You two always were full of surprises.”

Sara was surprised in how quick Grissom was to pick up. It had barely rung twice. And yet despite the quickness of his response, Sara almost had to laugh, for it was obvious that it had been quite some time since he’d been woken up from a sound sleep by the phone, something readily apparent in the dazed almost automatic “Hello?” he gave her. His voice was still thick with sleep and his reassurance to her apology for calling so early still slightly somnolent.

But by the time he asked, “Do I even want to know how your first day went?” he seemed far more alert and both curious and genuinely happy to hear from her.

“You mean since I am more than eight hours late in returning your last call?” she questioned in reply. “Well, first off apparently Ecklie likes surprises.”

At this, Grissom sounded incredulous. “He didn’t tell them you were coming?”

“Not in so many words, no. But then things were a little busy,” Sara countered. “The backlog is even worse than he let on. So I have the feeling I’ll be pulling doubles for the foreseeable future.”

“Some things never change,” he sighed. “Is that what you were doing at work so late, trying to get through some of the backlog?”

“No. Sorting remains.”

Grissom chuckled. “Sounds like you managed to score a plum assignment your first day back.”

“You have no idea,” she replied. “They’d been through a wood chipper first.”

There was a slight pause before he let out a commiserating, “Nice,” before saying, “But why do I get the feeling there’s something you aren’t telling me, dear?”

It was Sara’s turn to sigh. “It’s the same old Vegas, Gil. Dead film star. Body in a wood chipper. Shoot out in the lab. Guilty body guard.”

“Wait,” he said suddenly sounding even more wide-awake than he had just seconds before. “Go back one.”

Guilty bodyguard?”

“No.”

Body in a wood chipper?” Sara asked as if hoping to postpone the inevitable.

The force in the tone of his “No,” made that rather impossible. So she decided she might as well get it over with.

Shoot out in the lab,” she reluctantly repeated.

“As in with guns?”

Since Grissom had been unable to mask his concern, Sara tried to keep it light. “They do tend to be the weapons of choice in a shoot out.”

“How did they…”

“Apparently their mortuary IDs looked legit,” she replied.

“What were they doing there in the first place?”

“Body snatching. Look, it wasn’t a big deal,” Sara insisted. “The two techs that got hit are going to be okay. The only one dead was a Russian mobster. Apart from the clean up being a bitch, it’s…”

Grissom cut off her stream of rationalizations with a bemused murmur of, “And you worry about me and trees.”

At this Sara did have to laugh. He really was trying hard not to be overprotective about the whole thing.

Perhaps though a change of topic might not be such a bad idea, she thought. Something nice and innocuous like…

“Did you catch the replay of the game?” she asked, hitting on a subject she knew would capture and keep her husband’s attention.

But if Grissom noted his wife’s sudden non sequitur, he didn’t let on, for he only said, now sounding a little morose, “Yeah. Lost.”

“I’m sorry,” she replied, starting to think maybe baseball hadn’t been the best of things to ask about after all.

But his tone perked up a bit and she could almost see him shrug the loss off as he replied with his usual breezy nonchalance back in place, “It’s true what they say. You can’t win them all.”

“You can only try,” Sara rejoined.

As he began, upon her urging, to give her a brief play by play of the game, Sara had to admit that Catherine had been right. As far as interests went, baseball wasn’t that bad. Neither were the bugs or the opera really. The bugs had grown on her. The opera had taken a little getting used to. Given time, baseball would probably do the same, if it hadn’t already.

And it wasn’t as if Grissom hadn’t attempted to share in his wife’s interests. The man had willingly spent how many months sleeping in the middle of the rainforest after all. And then he’d had to suffer through more than a week’s worth of afternoons and a couple of evenings combing through the Louvre’s various extensive collections, not to mention those of the Musèe d’Orsay and the Orangerie in the Tuileries, although he hadn’t really seemed to be suffering exactly.

But there had been that almost injurious evening when she’d persuaded him to come with her to the weekly Le Friday Night Fever skate through downtown Paris, only to discover that among the rather brief list of things her husband didn’t know how to do, skating was one of them. At night, amongst a crowd of people who did, probably really hadn’t been the best time or place to learn, but he had tried and been a rather good sport about the whole thing, particularly during the whole trip to the hospital to make sure he hadn’t done anything worse than sprained his wrist.

So yeah, the baseball really wasn’t that bad. Particularly after Catherine had lamented in reply that all Eddie had ever been interested in really was money, music, strippers and sex.

As she listened to her husband eagerly describe what must have been quite a thrilling double play at the bottom of the seventh inning, Sara realized that while marriage was full of a myriad of complications, complications weren’t necessarily a bad thing either. And actually one of the best parts of being married was having someone who was willing and even eager to share not merely your interests, but your life and was equally willing to do the same. And even now, even with them more than five thousand miles apart, their life together was still shared, just differently.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. grissomsgirl72
    Nov 17, 2009 @ 13:13:06

    What can I say? I was thrilled beyond belief to see that another story from you was out here….OMG…this is great, I love how you have both characters to a tee….can’t wait for more..

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