03 – You’re Never too Old (or Married) to Date Each Other

Continued from Letting Sleeping Wives Lie.

Damn.

Grissom gave the knot in his necktie an impatient yank, before letting out another barely audible curse, thinking as he did so that whomever had come up with the axiom Third times the charm never had to attempt anything more than twice.

And he was already on his forth try for the evening.

It wasn’t as if he usually had this problem, particularly as ties were now a regular part of his work wardrobe these days, but tonight he just couldn’t get the damn thing to come out even no matter how careful or hard he tried.

Mind you, he hated wearing neckties. Had always hated them. Although he supposed he should be glad it wasn’t a bow tie. He never had gotten the hang of those.

Maybe it was just nerves. Or anticipation. Or the uncertainty. Or perhaps it was the new tie. All Grissom did know was the damn thing was driving him crazy.

For the better part of five minutes he’d been standing in front of the mirror by the front door attempting to do up his tie. Nearly half an hour before, Sara had, in an uncharacteristic display of furtive insistence, shooed him out of the upstairs bathroom so she could ostensibly get ready in private and without, as she’d smirked, any distractions.  He’d retreated up to their bedroom to change.

Which was when he spotted the small box lying on the center of the bed.

If he hadn’t been slightly wary before, he certain had been then.  Even more so when he’d flipped open the accompanying card to read the words Wear Me scrawled in Sara’s ever-messy handwriting.

He’d paused for a moment, wondering if Alice had felt this same sort of queasiness before partaking of the potion to make herself grow larger or consuming the cake to make her shrink. Of course Paris wasn’t exactly as rife with perils as Wonderland.

The box, as it turned out, contained nothing more ominous than a neatly wrapped necktie.

Perhaps now that he thought about it, he shouldn’t have been surprised.

Still, Grissom tended to prefer to be on the giving rather than receiving end of surprises.

And tonight was all about the unexpected — for him at least.

Two days before, later that Friday evening after they’d come back home from his afternoon lecture (the one Sara had so unceremoniously fallen asleep in the middle of) and finally supped on the crepes he’d originally planned on serving the night before, he and Sara, with an eager Hank in tow, had been out for their usual post-dinner stroll through the neighborhood when Sara had slipped her arm through his, leaned in and utterly nonchalant told him not to make any plans for Sunday night.

“Why?” he’d asked, more curious and concerned about the mischievous glint in her eyes than the actual answer.

“We’re going out,” was all she’d replied.

“Out?” Grissom had echoed, hoping his wife would take the hint and elaborate. She didn’t. Not really.

Instead, she’d simply replied, “Yes, out. You. Me. Out.”

When he’d continued to look bewildered and persevered in silently waiting for her to go on, Sara had smiled and added, “Out, Gil. Like a date out.”

That he’d next managed to refrain from repeating the word date had been an achievement in and of itself.

Date wasn’t a word the two of them bandied about very often. Even when they had first started becoming romantically involved more than four years before, they didn’t really date exactly. At least not the typical getting all dressed up and going out sort of dating. Work frequently made pulling off any sort of elaborate plans difficult, if not often next to impossible. Besides, they both tended to prefer quiet afternoons at home alone together, whether it was at his place or hers.

Although it wasn’t as if they never went out – they did. Particularly in Paris, as there was always something to see and do. But neither of them had really regarded their various outings as dates.

So Sara, Grissom knew, had something very much in particular in mind for that Sunday. Obviously something she apparently had absolutely no intention of enlightening him upon even after he’d hazarded to ask, “That’s it?”

For she’d merely nodded and replied, “That’s it.”

Then he’d gone for the direct approach. “You aren’t going to tell me anything?”

There’d been a momentary pause in which Sara seemed to be considering both his query and her reply, before she’d settled on saying, her already wide grin only further growing, “You’ll need to wear a suit.”

However reluctantly, Grissom had to concede that he really had no room to complain then, turn about being fair play and all. After all, he’d frequently pulled pretty much the same line on Sara when naturally she’d been eager to know more whenever he’d made plans for them to go out.

Seemingly to have sensed both his resignation and trepidation, she’d patted his arm and said, “Don’t worry. You’ll like it. I promise.”

And he hadn’t been able to get anything else out of her since. Unsurprisingly, Sara happened to be as equally adept as he was at keeping smiling silences when she wanted to.

So perhaps it really was just nerves or anticipation or uncertainty that had caused tie tying to suddenly prove to be so problematic that night.

After all, it was just a date.

Yeah right.

Going out with Sara was never just a date. Never had been.

The fact that they were married, very happily married and had been for a while now, should have squelched any disquiet or distraction on his part. Or at least made it possible for him to concentrate long enough to finish with his tie.

He’d just managed to finally win the neckwear skirmish and had hurriedly donned his suit jacket when Sara called from upstairs that she would be right down, and to suggest that he take Hank out for a quick pee as they were going to be out for a while.

Sara was as good as her word, for Grissom had just returned and was unfastening Hank’s leash when he heard the first clicks of her heels on the hardwood steps.

Grissom barely noticed the boxer’s exit into the kitchen, entranced as he was by the sight of his wife carefully descending the narrow stairs, holding fast as she did to part of her floor length skirt so as not to stumble over the hem.

However he didn’t note that trace of awkwardness. He was too busy trying to take her all in.

Sara didn’t wear dresses often — certainly not dresses like this. It was a simple, yet elegant, long silhouette of a dress, of a rich, deep midnight blue, although much of it was covered by the oversized cashmere shawl she’d draped over her shoulders in lieu of having to wear a coat.

That night, she’d done up her curls into a neat upsweep that accented the long, graceful curve of her bare neck in such a way that Grissom couldn’t help but be reminded of how she’d first shown up in that seminar of his in San Francisco with her hair in a ponytail.

A slight smile played about her lips. The last of her self-consciousness, which had been brought on by the unfamiliar clothing and shoes, had vanished upon seeing him peer up at her as he was.

There was much more than a hint of awe in his wide-eyed and slack-jawed expression. And his persistent speechlessness, that he seemed to lack the words he was looking for – any words at all – was perhaps one of the greatest compliments he could have given her.

For her part, Sara paused a few steps before she reached the bottom, not as one might imagine for effect, but because she found the sight of her husband standing there, suit-clad as he was, just as arresting as he found her to be in that dress.

It wasn’t as if she hadn’t seen him decked out that way. She had and often, nearly every day almost since he started at the Sorbonne.  But tonight, there was just something different about it — or him. And it wasn’t because he’d chosen to wear his best suit.

In fact, it wasn’t the suit at all.

How she’d missed it before, she didn’t know. Perhaps she was just noticing it now because her time in Vegas had given her a little distance and objectivity and the ability to see what had long been right in front of her.

Gil Grissom had always been an attractive man, a very attractive man. But tonight, she could see how much the last nine months really had changed him.

While she could tell he was slightly nervous — admittedly she was too — beneath that surface level anxiety, there lay an ease and calmness he hadn’t possessed back in Vegas. His eyes, despite their wideness, were warmer; the shadows she’d seen there when he’d first shown up in Costa Rica long gone. His face had softened. He smiled more now. Laughed freer. Had developed a different sort of tranquility. Yes, he still had his absorptions and preoccupations; Sara hadn’t expected that to change, but they were no longer as all encompassing as they had once been.

Of course what the guys back at the lab would probably first hone in on was the fact that Grissom’s hair now had more salt than pepper to it, as did his beard, although both were resultant more from the sun than age. While the look suited him, Sara knew it was guaranteed to provoke the observation that not even a full year of marriage had managed to turn Grissom’s hair grey.

But Sara was far more preoccupied in thinking that no man should ever look that good — one’s husband or no.

*******

It didn’t take long for Grissom’s wonderment to give way to his sense of chivalry. With a few quick strides he made his way to the foot of the staircase and extended his hand to help her down the last few steps. But even once she was beside him, he didn’t relinquish his grasp. Instead, he leaned in and while she thought he was going to kiss her hand in the continental manner, he pressed a kiss into her palm before running his lips along the inside of her wrists. At the contact, her breath to caught in the back of her throat.

For Grissom, the openly appreciative look she next gave him certainly made all of his earlier hassles with the tie worth it.

Sara was thinking about said tie as well, noticing the way it brought out the blueness in his eyes, just as she thought it would. That had been one of the reasons she’d chosen it, that and out a strange sense of nostalgia. He’d worn a similarly shaded one for their first date all those years ago.

Except tonight, the tie didn’t look quite right. She puzzled over it for a while before realizing what the problem was.

Reaching over and gently loosened the overwrought knot, she said, “You might want to breathe later.”

He returned her smile. Yes, definitely worth it, he thought as she drew him in for a long, lingering kiss.

Sara let out a soft chuckle when they both finally broke apart and quickly went to rub the trace of her slightly darker than usual lipstick from the corner of his mouth. Grissom, utterly unconcerned about its presence, repaid her kiss with one of his own.

With the warmth and pressure of his lips on hers as they were now, Sara was tempted, sorely tempted, to forgo all of her plans and propose that they just stay in.

But then there was always later and the coming home to look forward to.

The sound of a car pulling up in front of their apartment effectively put an end to her internal debate.

She drew back and once catching her breath, whispered with more than a little reluctance, “We’d better go or we’ll be late.”

Grissom nodded. “Shall we?” he said, extending his arm to her.

Together they stepped into the night.

*******

Once the two of them had settled into the rear of the waiting taxi, Sara handed the driver a slip of paper, ostensibly with the address of their destination on it. The act hadn’t particularly surprised or puzzled Grissom. They’d often communicated with drivers this way, particularly when their destination was obscure or hard to find.

It proved to be neither of these things that night. In fact, it turned out to be a veritable Paris landmark, even if Parisiens more reviled than revered it.

After a fifteen-minute ride, one taking them over the Seine to the Right Bank, they pulled up alongside the towering Colonne de Juillet in the place de la Bastille. There, more than twenty stories of blue granite and girded curved glass loomed.

While the stark, almost hypermodern edifice lacked the regal, grand gilded elegance of the century-old Palais Garnier where Gaston Leroux’s phantom of the opera had made his home, the Opera Bastille was one of the largest and acoustically superior opera houses in the world, with the reputation and exclusivity to match.

As Sara reached into her purse to pay the driver, Grissom just gaped at his wife, surprised and impressed and slightly agog all at once.

Although his second bout of being rendered absolutely speechless that evening didn’t prevent him from resting a hand on her shoulder when she went to open her door.

“Allow me,” he insisted.

If it were anyone else, Sara probably wouldn’t have demurred. But this sort of gallantry seemed to come so naturally to Grissom, particularly in times like this, that the act didn’t feel old fashioned or as the following of tradition purely for tradition’s sake. Moreover, although she didn’t always really quite understand his need to do so, she knew that it pleased him to do things like open doors for her from time to time.

So she waited for him to come around to her side of the car and allowed him to take her hand to help her to her feet.

As she slipped her arm through his, Grissom inclined his head to say, “Is this your way of making up for falling asleep during my lecture on Friday?”

Sara pursed her lips, shook her head and let out a half-exasperated sigh. “No, dear,” she said. Besides, it wasn’t like she hadn’t already apologized for that –repeatedly — in both French and English.

“But I thought you hated opera,” he replied.

She shrugged. “I never said that. Actually, I’ve never been,” she admitted.

When they’d first come to Paris, there’d been talk about attending the opera, but Sara’s unexpected return to Vegas had squashed any plans they’d had. Or so Grissom had thought. Apparently, Sara seemed to think otherwise.

Neither immune or above teasing her husband in return, she gave him a cheeky grin and gesturing to the marquee banner proclaiming Il Barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) said, “Besides, they’re going to be playing your song.

“You don’t remember?” she asked at the perplexed look on his face. “Body in a septic tank,” she prompted, recalling with an almost perverse sort of fondness the afternoon she’d stopped by his apartment after he’d had a particularly crappy day at work (literally), only to discover him emerging from the shower absently singing along with the “Largo al factotum” that he’d been blaring from his bedroom speakers. Sara had begun rethinking the whole appeal of opera ever since.

“Funny,” she continued when he remained mum, “I don’t think I’ve heard you sing in the shower since. Guess I wanted to see how you measured up.”

Grissom ignored the jab. Instead he said, “Do I even want to know how you managed to arrange this?”

His curious bafflement in this case was well warranted.

Despite the fact French president François Mitterrand had originally commissioned the Opera Bastille to bring opera to the masses, the saying in Paris went that there were only two types of tickets for the opera: those not yet on sale and the ones that had already sold out.

“Let’s just say that attending all those faculty parties of yours came in handy,” Sara replied. “That and thankfully a few of your esteemed colleagues don’t prize going to l’opera as much as you do.”

*******

Once they had made their way to their seats in the first balcony, with the auditorium really as warm as it was reputed to be, Sara went to remove her wrap. Grissom motioned for her to let him do it. She turned away and the shawl came away in his hands, revealing the thin straps and v-neck shaped back that further accentuated the curve of her neck.

When she returned to both thank and face him again, Sara, despite his attempt to be surreptitious about it, caught the momentary drift of her husband’s gaze from her face to the décolletage of her dress (tasteful as it was, it was still cut low enough to reveal the smattering of freckles along her chest) then back up again.

As they took their seats, she whispered into his ear, her voice rife with amusement, “It’s okay to look, Gil. Just as long as you don’t stare.”

And although she wasn’t above giving him a hard time about it, the truth was, Sara was pleased by his admiration.

For his part, Grissom had the good grace to look slightly abashed and hurriedly change the subject to something a bit more innocuous. Like the opera they were about to see.

He’d drawn out his reading glasses from an inside pocket of his suit, begun to thumb casually through the programme as he proceeded to tell her about how the first performance of Rossini’s opera in 1816 had been an unqualified disaster. The production had been booed mercilessly, not because it was bad, but because the composer’s rivals had conspired together to egg the rest of the audience into hissing, jeering and heckling through the entire show. Theirs had been a short-lived victory, however. The Barber of Seville proved to be a huge success, becoming the first Italian opera to be performed in the U.S. and nearly 200 years later, it was among the most popular and frequently performed operas in the world.

Sara had a hard time suppressing the slight, fond smile that threatened to tug at the corners of her mouth as Grissom next began summarizing the opera’s basic story line, for she’d already taken the precaution of reading up on the production since although Italian wasn’t really her strong suit, she still wanted to be able to follow along. Of course she wasn’t about to tell her husband this and deny him the pleasure of waxing lyrical on a subject that he was so obviously keenly interested in.

Shortly, the house lights went down; the stage lights up. Grissom sat back and was soon lost in rapt appreciation. Sara watched the delight play on his face until the music and the spectacle succeeded in beguiling her as well.

*******

At intermission, the auditorium rapidly emptied. Not because the audience was desperate to escape the production, but because many of them were desperate for a smoke. Grissom and Sara let them pass before they rose to stretch their legs.

Even through the fabric of her dress, she could feel the warmth of his hand, the one that instinctively hovered at the small of her back as they wended their way through the sold-out crowd. Once they reached the open air of the seventh floor balcony, Sara politely excused herself and disappeared down the stairs. Grissom took a place at the railing to wait for her, pausing to better to examine the one-sheets advertising previous and upcoming productions that hung in front of the great expanse of glass.

Then from the corner of his eye he caught sight of her. He’d always been able to. Even in a sea of strangers, for him, Sara always seemed to stand out. But tonight, it was as if she alone existed. For he really did only have eyes for her.

He went to join her at the head of the stairs. She met his gaze with a smile that lit up her entire face. And in the momentary infinity of a pause, he held her, caressed her entire body with his eyes.

Sara colored slightly. She’d never seen anyone look at her like that, as if she were undoubtedly the most beautiful woman in the room. What she’d never managed to wrap her head around was the fact that to her husband she really was.

It didn’t matter if she was all decked out as she was tonight or if she was dressed in a t-shirt and sweats and had just come in from a run (or as it had sometimes happened, come back from a trash call at the city dump), he’d always found her beautiful. He just never managed to tell her that enough.

But tonight, once she had arrived again at his side, he, awestruck as he was, murmured simply and without hyperbole, “Bella.” Then realizing he’d slipped into Italian instead of French, (understandable after they been listening to it for the last hour and a half), he corrected himself, “Belle.”

He needn’t have. Sara knew both words meant beautiful and flushed with pleasure at the compliment.

The lights dimmed to signal that the second act was about to begin.

As they went to resume their seats, Grissom gestured to her dress saying, “I didn’t get a chance to ask earlier. Is it one of Sandra’s?”

“Not this time.”

“You went dress shopping?” he asked, his tone heavy with disbelief. For he knew all too well how much his wife hated clothes shopping. Hence why most of her special occasion outfits had come from a small boutique in Vegas.

“Not entirely willingly,” Sara admitted. “Clare,” she supplied by way of explanation. “She decided to take our French lessons on a field trip to the boutiques along the rue Saint-Denis.”

“Well, one certainly can’t find fault with the results,” he replied.

*******

Even before the second act, Sara had long before ceased attempting to translate into English the French subtitles projected at the top of the stage and decided just to enjoy the performance.

The Barber of Seville had proven to be a good choice for her first opera. The absurdity of the comedy better suited her current mood than any of the great operatic tragedies would have. She’d had enough of murder and mayhem, trials and tears of late.

This was comedy in its oldest — almost Greek – sense of the form, not of the sort purely based upon generating hilarity, even if you could virtually hear the laughter in the score and verbal acrobatics. It was la comédie like those of Shakespeare, the kind that always ended in a wedding and happy ever afters.

Rossini’s opera featured it all. Passionate declarations of young love. Balconies. Morning serenades. Clandestine love letters. Disguises and assumed identities. Eavesdropping and eavesdroppers. A greedy tyrant of a guardian for a villain and a highly resourceful jack-of-all-trades in the title role.

It was redolent of nothing less than the sheer and utter madness inherent in love and loving.

Of course Grissom and Sara had been through their own share of those sorts of mistakes, missed chances and misunderstandings. But they too had made it — eventually.

Near the start of the second act, while Rosina and the Conte Almaviva, struggling to contain their feelings for each other while they were both under her guardian’s watchful gaze, sang in unison,

Cento smanie io sento addosso,

ah, più reggere non so —

A hundred emotions burn within me

I can no longer control myself —

Grissom covered Sara’s hand with his. She caught, even in the dimness, the glint of the plain gold band he wore there, just as she did on her own and could feel that he had turned his rapt gaze upon her. She met it and they shared a smile.

*******

They lingered a while after the performance was through on the pretense of getting a better look at the space, but mostly because both of them were feeling a little overwhelmed. There was just something about being at a live performance, something almost magically overpowering.

But once the theatre had emptied, Grissom offered Sara his arm again.

“Thank you,” he said, as they went out into the lobby.

“For?”

“Well, not complaining for one. You really didn’t like it, did you?” he asked.

“No, I did.”

When he gave her a disbelieving raise of the eyebrows, she said, “I really did.” Then after a moment Sara added, “But….”

“But?”

“But I think I still prefer your version better,” she teased. “Although more for the casting and costuming than the actual singing.”

“Funny,” he intoned in exasperation.

“I’m serious,” she insisted.

“That, my dear, is what scares me.”

*******

Outside the Opera Bastille the cool misty evening had gone from the threat of drizzle into actual rain. The two of them stood there sheltered beneath an overhang for a moment surveying the night. Sara shivered and tugged her shawl tighter around herself. Wordlessly, Grissom slipped off his suit jacket and draped it over her shoulders.

“Well?” he asked, unsure if she had made any further plans for the evening or not.

“You hungry?” Sara asked by way of reply. Glancing down at his watch, she said, “It’s late and most of the cafes and restaurants are closed or about to close for the night, but the brasseries should still be open.”

He merely shook his head.

“What then?”

She wasn’t sure why she’d expected his next words to be a tease, but they weren’t. In fact, all of his earlier amusement had left his face. And Sara caught the glimmer of a far different sort of hunger in his eyes.

He bent so close that his lips brushed against her ear as he murmured, “Je voudrais me coucher à vos pieds et mourir dans vos bras.”

The words came out far too fluent for them to be anything but a quote. He knew she knew it, too.

“François-Marie Arouet – Voltaire,” he supplied. Obviously, her husband had begun to make progress through French Literature while she’d been away. “I should,” he began, translating the sentiment, “like to lie at your feet and die in your arms.”

It was a lot harder to miss the implications and innuendo when it was presented that way.

“Home then,” Sara replied, and having no interest in waiting for the rain to let up, she covered her head with her shawl and hurriedly slipped off her heels before taking his hand.

Risking the wet, the two of them made a mad dash toward the queue of waiting taxis.

*******

It had mostly stopped raining by the time they’d reached their apartment. But just in case, they both huddled under the lintel as Sara attempted to unlock the front door.

Except said attempt was thwarted by Grissom giving into what he had longed to do all evening. His lips had managed to find a thin patch of bare skin above his suit collar and the hem of her shawl that her bending to concentrate on the key in her hand had better exposed.

“Gil,” she sighed, pleased more than chiding, despite the fact that his current attentions made it nearly impossible for her to manage to do something as seemingly simple as sliding a key into a lock.

After a moment, she slowly turned, knowing all too well that there was likely to be only one way to get him to stop long enough for her to get the door open. She covered his mouth in a deep, hungry kiss, which he unreservedly returned, his body drawing ever nearer to hers until she found herself pressed into the door. So that when Grissom proved to be far better at the sort of multitasking that involved getting keys to turn while still engaged in kissing, Sara stumbled back. But he quickly caught her up and ushered her inside, both of them now slightly breathless from kissing and laughing.

Hank, in spite of the lateness of the hour, greeted them at the door with the baleful glare the boxer knew was guaranteed to sucker Sara at least into petting him. Which she did, kneeling down to give him a fond scratch behind the ears. It didn’t take long to appease him. He soon disappeared off to bed, leaving the two of them alone at last.

Grissom eased the suit coat from her shoulders. Sara unwound her shawl, slowly began to fold it into a neat square and proceeded to slip off her shoes, happy to be finally free of those horrid heels.

She was even happier yet, when her husband resumed the ministrations to her neck that he had begun on the other side of the door. Starting at the far end of her right shoulder, he gradually kissed his way along her collar bone, lingered in the hollows of her neck for a moment, before the tease of warmth from his breath was replaced by the very real heat of his mouth along the nape of her neck – the spot Grissom knew to be one of her favorite places to be kissed.

Sara closed her eyes and sighed with the pleasure of it; let her head fall limply forward to allow him better access. One of his hands slid around her waist to come to rest on her stomach, gently drawing her to him while the fingers of the other lightly traced along the exposed skin of her shoulders and back.

She could feel him inhale, feel his hold on her tighten, waited for him to breathe again, not knowing that their close contact had caused the slight whiff of lavender he’d caught when she’d kissed him just before they’d left home, to surround and overcome him, just as Sara’s presence so often did.

That had been one of his favorite changes since they’d moved to Paris. Here, Sara regularly washed her hair with lavender water and tended to favor the delicately scented soap, the smell of which always served to both evoke and invoke the memory of her and their most private moments. For when they had worked together, Sara never wore perfumes or scents of any kind, as they tended to interfere with the evidence gathering process. But when they were home — alone —

This had been why he’d moved that bouquet of dried lavender into their bedroom after she’d returned to Vegas. Not because science told him that the scent of the flowers had for centuries soothed and helped with sleep. Science hadn’t figured into the decision at all. He had just wanted to have that reminder scant though it might be, of sweetness and laughter and warmth and light and life and peace — of her — there with him.

It was Grissom’s turn for his eyes to close as Sara reached back to cup his neck in her hand and run her fingers through his still damp hair.

Her name buzzed against her skin.

After all this time, he knew her touch shouldn’t still affect him like this, but it did. It did every time.

And slowly Sara turned, first her head and then the rest of her body, the better to kiss him in return.

When they finally broke apart, her hands slid over his shoulders to settle on his chest. She fingered his tie for a moment.

“Thanks for humoring me,” she said, giving him a grateful smile before gently working the knot at his neck free. “I know how much you hate wearing them.”

He only smiled.

With Grissom now very willingly and readily divested of his tie, Sara progressed to unfastening the top button of his Oxford, then began fiddling with the one below it.

There was no real reason to rush really. There would be no phone calls to interrupt them, insistently clamoring for a return to reality and the rest of the outside world.

So they both stood there, each weighing whether to prolong the already drawn-out dance of desire that had begun the moment she first descended the stairs, or just to surrender to it.

Ultimately, they settled on a bit of both.

With a slight jerk of the head, Sara signaled that perhaps it was best to continue this upstairs. She took his hand and tugged him towards the steps, but she had barely ascended the first one before Grissom caught her up.

The two of them kissed and caressed and began to undress as they slowly made their way up the stairs. Very slowly, as the kissing and caressing and attempts at undressing caused them to loiter every few steps.

On the second floor landing, they paused to catch their breath.

Although Sara’s usual impatience with his long line of buttons was notably absent, she did not hesitate to ease the shirt from his shoulders once she gotten the last of them undone. She ran her closely cropped nails along his forearms before sliding her hands beneath the soft cotton of his undershirt. Grissom gasped, overcome by the feel of her fingers along his back, her lips at his own neck now.

He took her face up in his hands, brushing a few of her curls that had managed to come loose, back. He searched her eyes.

There was both tenderness and ardor there.

And he kissed her.

Then there was the whisper of the rest of her zipper.

They both laughed when Sara’s dress did not want to come off with even the least bit of grace. The fumbling awkwardness that always seemed to accompanying undressing was still there even after all these years. No matter how sensual the act was intended, fabric caught, buttons or snaps were forgotten, and there was just nothing sexy about removing socks. Yet, the almost absurdity of the process always seemed to heighten the intimacy and closeness of the act rather than detract from it.

As for the dress, it ended up pooled in a haphazard heap with Grissom’s shirts.

Sara shivered slightly, more out of desire than chill. Grissom pulled her near-naked body closer to him, both the heat of his lips and hands caressing her until   her skin hummed with the pleasure of it.

The time for teasing tempting done, they shed what little remained of their clothing between the top of the stairs and the door to their bedroom.

*******

The next morning, Sara woke with Grissom still snuggled against her, softly and apparently contentedly snoring. And despite how frequently she tended to taunt her husband about this, in truth, she found the sound reassuring, for she knew it meant he was deep in untroubled sleep.

It was a state she was loath to interrupt. Even if the alarm clock they had both apparently forgotten to set said it was already half past eight. Still, she would let him sleep a little longer while she put breakfast together.

Sara padded from the bedroom and down the stairs, gathering up the clothes they had discarded the night before as she went, although not without first appropriating Grissom’s dress shirt to wear herself.

She was pouring coffee into mugs when she heard him humming on the stairs.

He entered the kitchen not much later, dressed only in his flannel robe and with his short hair still mussed. Sara had forgotten just how much she enjoyed seeing him like that.

“I was just about to bring you breakfast,” she said, arranging freshly buttered toast on a plate.

Grissom pressed a long lingering kiss just beneath her ear.

Her eyes, when she turned to face him, he was happy to find were warm and bright. The color had returned to her cheeks and she was finally starting to look fully rested again. But most of all, with her hair undone, the curls hanging loosely about her face, and her standing there barefoot in their kitchen in a state of dishabille, Sara was that morning just as beautiful as she been the night before, if not more so.

He fingered the collar of what was really his shirt, saying, “You do realize you still have plenty of clothes left in the closet, right?”

“You mind?” she queried in reply.

“No,” he admitted however reluctantly. For while he might bemoan her habit of commandeering his clothing, he took a great deal of pleasure in seeing her dressed, or rather not quite dressed, in that manner.

Particularly as she had only bothered to do up two of the middle buttons that morning.

Which made it easy for his hands to work their way beneath the fabric as he kissed her. They slowly inched their way up the back of her bare thighs before coming to rest at her waist. His thumbs absently brushed along the swell of her breasts.

“Gil,” she murmured after a moment, not really wanting to interrupt when he was touching her like that.

“Yes, dear?”

“You might want to hold that thought. It’s already late. And we both have work today.”

“We?” he echoed.

“Yes, we,” Sara replied. “You have a ten o’clock lecture and I have a meeting with M. Morel.”

“From the Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle?”

“How many other M. Morels do you know, Gilbert?” Sara laughed. Anton Morel was the registrar for the museum’s extensive entomology collection. “I did promise to pull specimens for your practicums, remember?”

He did. Sara had volunteered to help him organize the hands-on components to his lectures. But that had been before…

When he reminded her of that fact, she just shrugged and said, “So? Just means I have to do more of them at once.”

“I do have an assistant capable of doing more than just marking papers and making photocopies,” Grissom countered.

“I know. I’m sure Boutin is more than capable and has plenty of other things to keep him busy besides chasing down bugs for you.”

Of course Sara’s offer wasn’t entirely an act of unselfish altruism. If she took charge of locating the specimens Grissom wanted from the millions the museum kept on hand while he had his lectures and tutorials, it would free up the latter parts of his afternoons to do other things.

Grissom, however, was too busy reflecting on the fact that if his wife really wanted him to be thinking seriously about work, she really shouldn’t attempt to talk to him about it while only dressed in his shirt, as that was not a sight to inspire thoughts of work but rather banish them.

When he somewhat hesitantly confessed as much to her, Sara grinned and not quite meeting his eyes, admitted more than a little sheepishly that they almost hadn’t made it out of the house the night before because of the effect of the same shirt – and the tie and suit – and him being the one wearing them at the time.

At the look of surprise he was giving her at this unexpected admission, she narrowed what little space that remained between them and said utterly matter-of-fact, “You do realize, Gil, that the attraction hasn’t ever been only intellectual?”

“I believe that goes for both of us,” was all he replied.

*******

Continued in Confessions in the Park on a Tuesday Afternoon.

*******

A/N: To read more about Grissom’s crappy day that Sara refers to in this chapter, see Shh, It Happens.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. mbonthecorner
    Jan 18, 2010 @ 18:26:35

    Great chapter-nice French, too!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: