02 – Lovers Meeting

Continued from Acts of God and Other Complications

“Journeys end in lovers meeting.”

Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare

*******

By the time she made it back to Gare de Nice-Ville, the setting sun was just starting to stream through the great expanse of glass in the ironwork ceiling, filling the vast train terminal with a soft, warm, almost surreal glow and Sara, not knowing which end of the train Grissom would be disembarking from, chose an out of the way spot close to the exit to wait.

Or at least try to.

She didn’t know how Grissom did it. Wait patiently. But then patience had always been more one of his virtues than her own. Still, how he managed to not look harried, hurried or impatient after having to deal with the inevitable delays of late flights and long lines at Immigration every time he came to meet her was genuinely beyond her comprehension. She was having a hard enough time not getting antsy with waiting for a train that was, like most of those throughout Europe, running on time.

Just before 7:30, le Train à Grande Vitesse from Paris arrived; Sara craned her neck in hopes of catching sight of her husband. Streams of strangers passed by, intent as they were in pursuing their own final destinations, yet there was no sign of Grissom.

When there still wasn’t after what felt like an inordinately long time, Sara drew out her phone to check for messages, fearing that perhaps he’d somehow missed the train and she’d missed his call.

There weren’t any.

This impatiently impulsive act soon left her feeling like little more than some horribly desperate lovesick teenager, particularly as when she peered up from her anxious checking, she spotted it.

And him.

Even if this wasn’t like some Hollywood movie moment where the crowd spontaneously parted to reveal the two meeting lovers, there was just no mistaking Gil Grissom in that hat.

No one on the planet had a hat like that. No one on the planet would wear a hat like that even if they did. And certainly not in fashion conscious France. But then fashion conscious was probably the last way that Sara would ever have described her husband. Not that she could talk.

But still, that hat.

Her lips twitched with the start of a smirk.

However out of place and incongruous as that hat might be, the sight of him wearing it was, ever more to her chagrin, something Sara had always found more endearing than anything.

It was just so quintessentially Grissom.

For if hats spoke volumes about their wearers, his used words like practical, comfortable, quirky; said he was at ease with himself and utterly nonchalant about what others thought; bespoke of being both well worn in and yet improving with age.

Upon numerous occasions over the years, Sara had threatened to replace his old straw hat with a proper Panama one. The kind they handmade in Ecuador (and had since the 1880’s when they became the hat of choice of the men who helped build the Panama Canal).  A hat made to last twenty years and which was so travel friendly it could be folded in half and rolled up so tight that it was no wider than the diameter of a man’s wedding band. But knowing that hat of his was as much Grissom as his bugs and his love for her were, and those things being of the sorts she rather liked best about him, it was and always had been an empty sort of threat.

The hat notwithstanding, it was strange, as used as she was to seeing him when he showed up to meet her at the airport dressed in his usual school attire of a suit and tie, to see him now in the far more casual dress he’d often worn in Vegas: a simple pair of khakis and neat button down. Still, he looked good, even with his hair a little grayer than it had been and him carrying, along with the bags slung over his shoulders, that bit of extra weight he’d gained from his forays into fine French cuisine. But there was no mistaking the ease in his mien and demeanor; ever-present as it was even in the intensely focused and deliberate way he was attempting to patiently wend his way through the detraining crowd. It was, once he’d finally spotted Sara, a look immediately replaced by a big, bright, broad grin of recognition that more than lit up his whole face.

Still smirking from the sight of him, her own smile only widened as she waited, feeling in some ways even ever more impatient now for him to reach her.

But eventually he did and the two of them ducked together beneath one of the great stone archways further out of the way from the crush and press of the last of the crowd.

They stood there for a long moment, just looking at each other, something they often did these days upon their first meeting up again, filled as they always were with that same odd mixture of both pleasure and disbelief.

Thankfully, there were always the usual niceties to be observed, which weren’t always such a bad thing, as they gave them each a chance to settle into the reality of being back together once more.

“Have you been waiting long?” Grissom asked.

Sara shook her head. “Not really. Train got in at four so I went to the beach for a while.”

“How was it?”

“Nice. Different. Pebbles instead of sand,” she explained at the inquiring look he gave her.

“And the water?”

“Pretty.”

“Cold?”

“Dunno,” she chuckled. “I didn’t even think to try it.”

Of course what she didn’t say was that she’d been far too busy thinking and looking forward to soon seeing him to have had spared much thought for anything else.

She did however ask if he was tired.

To which it was Grissom’s turn to be amused. “Shouldn’t I be the one asking you that question?” he said, knowing as he did, that even though she’d been traveling for more than the better part of an entire day, his wife seldom tended to sleep much while doing so. Or sleep much at all while they were apart.

“I was,” she replied, “but I slept on the train.”

For by the time she’d had to change lines in Milan, Sara had been so tired (the double she’d pulled just before leaving for the airport hadn’t helped) that she conked out somewhere between there and Ventimiglia. She’d woken only minutes before they’d pulled into the station, feeling more than a little disoriented and with a painful crick in her neck that she still hadn’t managed to rid herself of even hours later.

As her husband was giving her one of those plainly disbelieving and awed looks he seemed to wear a lot lately, she added in slightly hesitating French, “Ca en valait la peine juste pour te voir.”

It was worth it just to see you.

“And you keep complaining that your French is getting rusty, dear,” Grissom observed with a fond sort of smile which Sara gladly returned, pleased as she was by the compliment.

Like she frequently did, she’d taken advantage of all the hours she’d been cooped up on the plane with little else really to do to brush up on her French. Although on this trip, she did spend some time attempting to pick up some very rudimentary Italian. Even if all she was likely to see of Italy was the airport and the train station, it was always good to at least be able to say please and thank you and be able to ask basic questions like where to find the bathroom.

“Shall we?” she asked, reaching to relieve Grissom of one of the packs he’d been carrying. But instead of handing it over, he took up her hand and placed a soft kiss into her palm before gently drawing her to him.

Screw propriety, he was thinking. The two of them hadn’t seen each other for nearly a month now. Besides, it wasn’t as if they’d been married all that long. And this was after all, France.

Sara didn’t seem to mind in the slightest.

She did however miss the tickle of his beard as his cheek brushed hers. The month before, Grissom had chosen to go sans barbe, a decision owing more to the change in weather than a sudden desire to conform to the modern Parisian aversion towards male facial hair. Not that that missing diminished in any way the pleasure in the return of the feel of his skin on hers.

Resting her head upon his shoulder, Sara sighed, “God, it’s good to see you.”

Even though he wasn’t quite able to return the sentiment aloud, as the words, like they so often did when it came to her, failed him, Grissom felt the same. It was just always inexpressible, being with her again. Even after all this time, he still didn’t know the right words — any words — for that rush and warmth he felt each time he first caught sight of her, first held her again. In the end, he was simply and honestly too happy to see her for words at all.

For he’d missed her. How he had missed her.

Although he never missed her as much as he did in those moments when she first returned or was just about to go again. It was just too hard and his heart couldn’t take it any other way. Ultimately, it was the only way he knew to cope with her being off in Vegas so much of the time.

So he only breathed in deeper the reassuring smell of her and held her harder.

Sara seemed to understand.

She said, beaming as they eventually broke away, “Even with you in that hat.” Then, shaking her head in amusement, she added, “Funny, I don’t recall it being on the list.”

Grissom shrugged. “Seemed to go with the rest.”

But his features turned slightly somber again as he peered into her face, concerned as he was despite all of her earlier protests to the contrary, to see the tiredness lurking at the edges of her smile.

“Rough week at work?” he asked.

Sara had been so busy in the days leading up to her coming, that apart from when they’d talked about her change of plans, they’d spoken very little over the last couple of days. And she’d certainly hadn’t wanted to talk about work in the few minutes they had had. Nor did she want to talk about any of it now. Not the Jekyll connection in the Herson case, or the fatal fire she’d worked over the weekend that had proven to be anything but accidental, nor the string of armed robberies she and Greg had just solved, no matter how satisfying it had been to put that case to bed.

“The usual,” she replied. And sadly, all that had been typical for Vegas. “But,” she added, attempting once again to divest Grissom of his second bag. “It doesn’t matter now.

“Come on. If we hurry, we can still catch the sunset.”

*******

Continued in A Nice Evening

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. grissomsgirl72
    Jun 17, 2010 @ 17:30:39

    I waited patiently for the next installment of this wonderful work of art by rereading all your other wonderfully written works of art….and I can’t help it…I’m hooked over and over again at the way you’ve captured our couple. Too bad the Powers that Be don’t remember what we all love….

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