10 – All Roads…

Continued from Scents and Sensibilities

 

“Life is a journey, not a destination,”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

*******

With much affection and gratitude to all you long-suffering and ever-patient readers out there who’ve stuck with me and the adventure, particularly as I’m not quite ready for it all to end just yet. Without you, it really is all just scribbles on a page or ones and zeroes in the computer, so thanks for bringing it all to life.

*******

 

Blissfully uneventful was the best way to describe their return trip. No flat tires. Or getting lost. Or almost running out of gas. And not even a hint of carsickness. Their fellow drivers were just as obnoxious, but they’d come to expect that.

So even with a brief detour to Riez for lunch, they arrived in Nice with plenty of time to spare.  With enough time to stop for ice cream even. Neither could resist the temptation of a second visit to Fenocchio’s, although Sara did shake her head when her husband ordered vanille to go along with his scoops of glaces au miel-pignons and à la cannelle.

It was a bit of a hike from where they’d dropped off their rental, but considering they’d just spent nearly three hours cooped up in the Golf and would very shortly be confined for ten more on the train, the last thing either Grissom or Sara were interested in doing was sitting around Gare de Nice-Ville. Instead, they dropped off their bags at the station and headed off to stretch their legs. And have ice cream.

Although ice cream did not a real dinner make. In light of Sara’s previous experience with the rather limited vegetarian-friendly options of la nourriture de train, they both thought it better to attempt to hunt down all the fixings for un pique-nique provençal.

Unfortunately as it was a Monday, and on Mondays Nice’s famed Cours Saleya traded in its colorful buckets of blooms and palates of fresh fruits and vegetables for displays of art and artifacts of the antique variety, they had to settle for shopping in the many small épiceries that populated le Vieux Nice. Not that that was necessarily a bad thing as les épiceries were the French equivalent of the American deli, albeit frequently a bit more posh.  Their selection of tinned and ready-made food was perfect for taking along on the train.

Grissom excused himself for a few minutes while Sara debated over which cheese to pair with les figues sèches farcies aux noix et aux graines de fenouil, the local figs stuffed with fennel and walnuts, she’d already chosen. She was still at it when he returned bag in hand.

“Instructional materials,” he supplied at her inquiring glance and withdrew an Italian phrase book.

Which came as no surprise really. On the drive in, they’d joked about doing a crash course in l’italiano on the train. Except as this was France after all, apparently all the books they had at the local librairie were en français.

So Sara wasn’t quite convinced of his purchase’s actual usefulness. When she said as much to him, Grissom only smiled and reminded her that she was always complaining about not getting enough French practice.

While he did have her there, Sara only shook her head with a sigh and suggested he should make himself useful by helping pick out dinner.

*******

As the first leg of their journey only covered the forty kilometers between Nice and the Italian border town of Ventimiglia, they decided the best use of the not quite hour was just to sit back, relax and enjoy one last view of the French Riviera.

It was too bad they were a several hours too early to watch the sun set into la Méditerranée. Not that they hadn’t had their share of spectacular sunsets this trip. The one just the night before had been amazing. Despite the fact they’d been bone tired from the day’s misadventures, the two of them had paused long enough to watch in wonder the way the sun gilded the surrounding cliffs and Medieval stone house of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie. For they’d managed to be in the right place at just the right time, at that almost magical moment where light becomes more than just brightness and the ordinary world takes on an extraordinary splendor.

Not that one could or should complain about their current vistas: flashes of sea and sky between the tunnels; glimpses of small sun-kissed towns. It was easy to understand why people flocked here and why it remained one of the most expensive places in the world to live.

The train being a bit close and warmer than it was outside, Sara stripped off her jacket and folded it over in her lap, an act that her having done it innumerable times before should have passed without comment, but for some reason, Grissom let out a soft, admonishing, “Sara…”

Startled, she turned and was about to ask “What?” but he beat her to the questioning.

“Your bites still bugging you?”

She rolled her eyes, replied, “Funny, Gil,” before admitting, “Yeah. But no more toothpaste,” she moaned as he went to reach for the bag at his feet.

“It worked, didn’t it?”

“Yeah,” she reluctantly conceded. “But–”

“This will work even better, promise,” he said, twisting the cap from a small amber bottle. And suddenly the air was redolent with floral richness.

Recognizing the scent, Sara couldn’t help but smile. “Lavender oil,” she said.

He nodded. “Turns out Provence produces nearly 80% of the world’s lavender,” he said as he began to dab it on her bites. “Did you know it takes 10,000 flowers to make up one kilo of petals and nearly a ton of petals to make just a liter and a half of essence?”

Sara did the math in her head. “That’s over nine million flowers. No wonder it isn’t cheap.”

“That and the best stuff grows at 3000 feet in the Alps. But it should help with the itching in any case.  And keep you from getting bitten.”

“I don’t think we’re going to have to worry about mosquitoes on the train,” Sara laughed. “Although it certainly smells better than the toothpaste. So that’s what took you so long in that shop in Riez, a lavender oil tutorial?”

Grissom shrugged. “He talked. I listened.”

“And learned I see.”

“It will help with your sunburn too, but,” he said indicating the public nature of the compartment and the fact Sara was wearing a short sleeved top, “we’ll have to wait until Italy for that.”

“It’s actually not bad right now. That tea remedy of yours from yesterday seemed to do the trick.”

She’d been skeptical if not downright dubious the day before. Perplexed, too, when just before they were about to depart the small café they’d stopped in for dinner, Grissom ordered a mug of hot tea and a couple of glasses of ice cubes, not something they usually ordered. For while the French were known for a great many things, making a decent cup of tea wasn’t really one of them.

“Not for drinking,” he assured her as he bobbed the tea bag up and down to speed up the rate of diffusion. “Your sunburn.”

“Tea for sunburn? I don’t think I’ve heard that one.”

“The tannic acid will stop the progress of the damage and soothe the skin. Cut down on the inflammation, too.”

She gave him a rather reluctant “Okay,” in reply, watching him pour the tea over the ice.

“Would work better with a bathtub,” he shrugged, “But this should help for now.”

In his usually adept French, Grissom told the café owner he’d be right back with his glasses as he tugged a still bemused looking Sara back to their car. He rooted around in his bag for a moment before pulling out a worn undershirt and liberally soaking it in tea.

“That’s going to stain, you know,” she warned, though he seemed utterly unconcerned. His ripping the shirt in two rendered it a moot point in any case.

While his lightly pressing the damp cloth against her shoulders caused her to wince, the discomfort was soon replaced by a welcome coolness.

“Hold it on there for now,” he said and she did however awkwardly. Her hands thus occupied, Grissom draped the used tea bag over one of her fingers, telling her, “You can use that as a compress on the worst parts.”

And he disappeared inside to replace the glasses.

When he returned, Sara was still shaking her head about the absurdity of the whole thing.

“I can just hear it now,” she said as he helped her into the car. “Ils sont fous ces américans.  They’re crazy those Americans.”

But as crazy as the remedy had seemed, it worked. She’d been tempted to ask him where he’d learned that one. But Sara had a pretty good idea of the answer. Internet insomnia was good for one thing: picking up seemingly esoteric facts that just might come in handy one day.

*******

Thankfully, the changeover at Ventimiglia went without a hitch. Sara had picked up just enough Italian on the flight over to be able to work out the signs and directions. Not that that would come all that handy once they left Stazione di Roma Termini.

So their first priority once they’d validated their tickets and found the carrozza, and sedie, indicated on their tickets was to set to work on their Italian. Well second, as one couldn’t learn Italian on an empty stomach.

Sara unpacked a freshly baked baguette, undid the raffia ribbon and unwrapped the chestnut leaves from a pungent round of Banon à la feuille, set out a packet of tiny, glossy purple-black Nicoise olives besides one of figs and a small carton of petites gariguettes précoces, those small, first of the season strawberries.

They set about their makeshift feast with gusto, enjoying the almost wild taste of the berries, the hints of lavande and thym that the goats had fed on in the cheese, that one last taste of Provence in the figs and olives.

After a few minutes, Grissom withdrew his newly purchased le français-l’italiano phrase book. As he began to thumb through it, Sara sighed, “You never do anything the easy way, do you?”

“Beggars can’t be choosers,” he rejoined. “It was this or a picture book. I thought we were a bit more advanced than that.”

“Speak for yourself,” she countered. “And while your French may be good enough to learn Italian with, I’m not so sure about mine.”

“All the more reason for more practice.”

“Yeah, well not everyone’s brain works as well as yours.”

For getting older certainly hadn’t slowed Grissom down mentally. And as admirable and handy as that could be, sometimes it was downright disgusting.

“Or,” Sara suggested, wiping off her fingers on a napkin before reaching into her pack for her iPhone, “we could just step into the 21st Century, Gil. Collins Phrasebook and Dictionary,” she said clicking the app open to demonstrate. “Has 2,000 survival phrases and a dictionary, plus native speakers to listen to. I also downloaded Basic Italian for Dummies before I got on the plane. And the Lonely Planet Rome City Guide in case you’re curious. Amazing, isn’t it what technology can do these days?”

Choosing to ignore the jibe and instead indicating the phone she’d placed in front of him, Grissom said, sounding slightly incredulous as he did so, “The department actually sprung for one of those?”

Sara scoffed. “On Ecklie’s budget, what do you think?”

True. Grissom had spent plenty of time over the years lobbying for new tech and equipment for the lab — lobbying, begging, writing grants to pay for it or if none of that worked, trolling eBay. Things had improved over the last decade, but not that much.

Grissom sank back into his seat. “I think I’ll stick to my book.”

“Suit yourself,” Sara shrugged. “Once old school always old school, eh?”

“There’s nothing wrong with old school.”

“No, of course not,” she laughed.

“Is that a challenge?”

Sara considered the possibility for a moment.

They were pretty well matched. Neither had been shy in admitting they knew very little actual Italian. Whatever head start she might have had from the bit of studying she’d done on the flight over had been diluted by lack of use and the distraction of the last several days to the point of negligibility really. Grissom’s fondness for l’opera italiana of Puccini and Verdi didn’t give him much of an advantage. True, it was Italian, but Italian in the same way that Shakespeare was English and yet sounded so foreign to many a modern ear. He did have his Latin, which was better than hers, as was his French and Spanish, but hers were still good and should help as long as all those tricky cognates didn’t get in the way. Sara certainly wasn’t about to let any of that keep her from trying.

So she replied, “Why not?” After all, there was nothing wrong with a little healthy competition between spouses. “Terms?”

“Do there need to be any?” he asked.

The look she gave him plainly said Yeah.

“Loser…” she began, pausing to think of something appropriate.

While besting Gil Grissom at anything was a coup d’état and the satisfaction of being able to say I told you so was something in and of itself, she wanted a little more than that.

The readiness with which Grissom cut in with a, “I’m sure you’ll think of something, dear,” caused Sara to purse her lips and say, “You already have something in mind. Feeling a little cocky, Gil?”

He only flashed her one of those enigmatic Cheshire Cat grins.

“Fine,” she replied. “You’re on.”

 

*******

No matter what the titles of certain language learning products promise, you really can’t learn a language during a transatlantic flight. You can pick up enough to be polite and get around and understand just enough that you don’t make a complete and utter ass of yourself, but that’s about the extent of it. So neither Grissom nor Sara had any illusions of achieving real fluency.

Sara had barely managed to exhume her headphones from the depths of her bag, having had no need for them since the Thursday before, when her husband peeked up at her from over his reading glasses to say, “You’ll be happy to hear that married women are still known by their maiden names in Italy. At least legally.”

“What, you don’t like being called Mr. Sidle?” came Sara’s playful rejoinder.

Actually, Grissom didn’t mind in the least and had already been mentally practicing the phrase Questa è mia moglie Sara — This is my wife Sara — something he was still enjoying getting used to saying in both French and English. Even after more than a year, it still caught him by pleasurable surprise when Sara introduced him as her husband.

Sara shared his smile as she slipped her earbuds in.

And the two of them began studying in earnest, passing a quiet, intensely studious half hour before Sara set down her phone for a moment in the lull between lessons to reach over and pop a couple of leftover olives into her mouth.

Grissom took advantage of this apparent break to close his book for a moment and say, “Did you know that the greeting Ciao! has its roots in the Venetian word sciao from the Latin scalavus meaning slave or servant. It’s short for the Italian phrase: Sono vostro schiavo, ‘I am your servant.’”

“Like the closing in a Victorian letter: ‘Your humble servant’?” Sara supplied.

He nodded. “Exactly.”

Sara found she couldn’t help but tease, “Brushing up on your etymology along with your Italian, just in case?”

And Grissom knew she was recalling the time they’d been introduced to a pair of rather batty old English sisters at one of those faculty lectures Grissom could never get out of going to, particularly when they’d first arrived in Paris. The women were visiting their young nephew who was in the process of finishing up his doctorate in Comparative Linguistics at the Sorbonne. As neither woman knew any French at all, they’d been thrilled to be introduced to someone they could actually converse with.

Of course having a language in common hadn’t completely eliminated all chances of misunderstanding.

For when he’d told them he was teaching a couple of courses in entomology that year, the older of the two women smiled and politely said, “Are you enjoying your appointment to the Linguistic Department then?”

Grissom was about to just nod and let the whole thing drop, when the younger one nudged her sister and muttered not quite under her breath, “Entomology, Mabel, not Etymology. Bugs,” she supplied when Mabel continued to look clueless.

From Mabel’s awkward, “Oh, yes. Yes, I see,” and the squeamish look the both of them were giving Grissom, Sara quickly decided it was better not to mention that she was a crime scene investigator. Besides, most of the time people were either really grossed out or way too curious about the whole thing.

Back in the present, Grissom only chuckled as he went back to his book.

*******

Not too much later, he let out a low murmuring, “Hmm.”

Resigned to the discussion she knew would eventually come, Sara withdrew an earbud and waited for her husband to share whatever had caught his interest.

“I never thought of it that way,” he said, still rather cryptically.

“Never thought of what?” Sara prompted.

“The at symbol, like in an email address. It’s called chiocciola or chiocciolita, ‘little snail.’ It actually does resemble a little snail.”

After all the time she’d spent with Grissom over the years, Sara was used to his sometimes frequent non-sequitur interruptions, the mentions of philosophy over breakfast, movies at a crime scene, bugs in bed. It never ceased to amaze her how her husband’s mind worked.

Of course what Sara hadn’t realized was that she’d begun to pick up the habit. Not that her coworkers had missed it. Perhaps it was true what they say about people starting to resemble their spouses.

“It’s a fairly common description in many other languages,” she said. At the inquisitive way he was gazing at her, she continued on with, “As the symbol didn’t come into popular usage until its adoption for use in email in 1971, most languages still use the names they had for the typographical symbol. Snail is pretty common. So is monkey or monkey tail. In Danish it translates as ‘elephant trunk’; in Greek, ‘duckling’; Russian, ‘little dog’ and in several Chinese dialects as ‘little mouse.’ You’d like the Hungarian version, it’s the same word for worm or maggot.”

Grissom looked suitably impressed. “Internet insomnia, dear?” he asked.

Sara shook her head. “No. Archie and I were in A/V one night waiting for a file to process. The subject came up.”

He knew better than to ask how.

 

*******

 

No matter how diligent the student, there is only so much cramming a brain can take. After the first hour and a half, Sara was pretty much ready to call it quits for the night although she wasn’t about to admit it.

So she was more relieved than annoyed when Grissom tapped on the table in front of her to get her attention. She glanced up to see him motioning for her to take out her headphones.

Which she did, letting out in a long sigh of feigned irritation, “I am trying to study here.”

“Some help please,” said Grissom.

“Since when do you need help?”

Disregarding her cheek, Grissom patiently pushed on saying, “Could you quiz me on irregular verbs?”

Sara shot him a You have to be kidding glare in response. Conjugating verbs was one of her least favorite grammar exercises, if it were possible to have a favorite grammar exercise in the first place.  Thankfully, French had less than a hundred common irregular verbs. She wasn’t so sure she’d be so lucky with Italian.

Readily apprehending his wife’s reluctance, Grissom gave her that pathetically imploring look of his that they both knew Sara had never been able to resist and said, “Just one then.”

She held out her hand for the book.

She scanned the text. “Which one?”

Volere: to want, to wish, need or require,” he supplied, then recalling that the page was in French and not English added, “Vouloir.”

“My French isn’t that rusty,” she said, shaking her head. And catching sight of the multitude of case tables said, “Let’s stick to the present for now.”

Seemingly effortlessly Grissom rattled off, “Voglio, vuoi, vuole, vogliamo, volete, vogliono,” without a single mistake.

Yes, his faculties when it came to rote memorization really were disgusting, Sara mused, although she kept this resentment to herself. Instead, she handed him his book back, saying, “See, you didn’t need my help at all.”

“Maybe I should try it in a sentence,” Grissom answered.

At this point purely humoring him, Sara indicated he should continue.

Voglio biciarti. Vuoi baciarmi?”

“That’s two sentences,” she chided, but continued anyway. “’I want to….’” She paused, her brow furrowing as she tried to puzzle out the second verb, but she came up blank, “’…something you. Do you want to something me?’ I’m not familiar with that infinitive,” she confessed.

Grissom leaned in. “En français: embrasser. En español: besar. In English…”

“To kiss,” Sara finished with a smile, then laughed, “Are you flirting with me in Italian?”

“Trying and failing apparently,” he rued.

“Not failing,” she emended. “It’s just been a while since you’ve had to ask.”

They both leaned in to narrow the expanse of table between them.

But Grissom’s reading glasses got in the way and the obstruction abruptly startled them out of the private world of their tête-à-tête and brought them back to the reality of that while prima classe was at that time of the night fairly quiet, even with no one in the seats across the aisle or behind them, the train wasn’t exactly private.

They exchanged nearly identical sheepish, almost guilty grins as they each retreated, but not before Sara mouthed, “Later.”

Grissom nodded and if he was momentarily disappointed, seemed pleased at the future prospect.

*******

Sara was quite willing to take the hint that perhaps they should pursue less academic amusements for the hour that remained before they arrived in Genova. Needing to stretch her legs for a bit, she gathered up the meager remains and detritus from their makeshift supper and went to dispose of the refuse in the trash bin at the far end of the compartment. She returned to find that in her absence, Grissom had folded up and stowed the table as well as replaced his French-Italian phrase book with another title.

“Please tell me you aren’t reading that in the original French,” she said as she sank into her seat.

“Only half,” Grissom replied, showing her how the left hand side of his volume of Voltaire’s magnum opus, Candide, ou l’Optimisme, contained an English translation. Although Sara doubted he even bothered with it as it was currently covered with a blank sheet of paper.

“Now you’re just showing off.”

“It’s good for picking up l’idiome français in conversation,” he contended as if it were the most normal thing in the world to do.

Sara knew better than to argue, even if she didn’t see how reading the 18th Century satirical and picaresque bildungsroman conte philosophique could be considered a leisurely employment. But this was Grissom after all, the man who found the Sunday edition of the New York Times crossword relaxing.

Which reminded her.

“I almost forgot,” she said. “I brought you something. I meant to give it to you earlier.”

Not being privileged to his wife’s train of thought, Grissom looked understandably bemused as he watched her dig through her tote.

Eventually, she unearthed a small, but well-stuffed manila envelope.

He took it both a little leery and intrigued all at once. For a moment, he thought it was just the mail she usually brought over whenever she came, but when he opened the flap, he found it contained something else entirely: rectangles of neatly cut newspaper, which perplexed him at first until he flipped a couple over to find they were copies of the New York Times crossword clipped from The Las Vegas Sun.

“I’ve missed it,” Sara said. “You and your puzzles.”

For she hadn’t seen him as much as pick up one since he’d left Vegas. They’d been paperless out in the rainforest for all those months in Costa Rica and while he regularly read the news in Le Monde and The Times and a few other English language newspapers in Paris, he hadn’t gotten back into the habit again. Of course he could have always paid the monthly subscription fee and been able to download thousands of puzzles to print out, but Grissom was the sort of purist who preferred the feel of newsprint beneath his fingers.

As he quietly thumbed through the stack, Sara handed him a pen and said, “Not everything has to change, Gil.”

He met her gaze at this and nodded with a soft grateful smile.

“I could only come up with about a month’s worth,” she explained. “And I was lucky to get those. Thankfully, they don’t empty the newspaper recycling at the lab all that often.  It’ll just have to last you until next time.”

Grissom thought he was lucky that they hadn’t first been turned into origami, all things considered.

“Thanks,” he said and meant it.

And Sara was pleased to see him start on one.

 

*******

 

“Interesting choice of reading material,” Grissom murmured as Sara cracked open a book of her own.

“It’s not Voltaire, but…” she teased in return. “Actually, I picked it up for you. I thought it would amuse you — and Hank.”

Grissom took a closer look at the cover. “A Dog’s Life?”

“What it’s like to be a dog in Provence, from the dog’s point of view,” she supplied by way of elucidation.

“What happened to your book?” he asked, as Sara had been adamant about him bringing a book along just in case.

“Finished it on the ride over. And no,” she replied with a smirk, “before you ask, it wasn’t a crime book.”

*******

They spent the rest of their ride with Grissom busy with his puzzle and Sara with her nose buried in her book, occupations they’d shared countless times before and relished in now. Occasionally, he’d puzzle out a clue aloud and Sara would share interesting or amusing tidbits from what she was reading.

“‘Punishment in our house, as in the legal system generally,’” she began, “’depends not only on the gravity of the offense but also — and this is possibly more important — on the mood and general disposition of the presiding judge and the jury. There are days when a petty misdemeanor can lead to physical retribution and temporary exile; on other occasions, all you get for the same infringement is a verbal warning and half an hour’s probation, with remission for good behavior. A tricky thing, justice, you can never tell which way it’s going to jump.’”

“You always were a softy,” Grissom observed, without bothering to look up from his paper. “He misses you, you know,” he added. “He always does.”

What he thought but didn’t say was So do I.

Though Sara felt very much the same, in fact she’d found herself struck with a sudden pang of longing for the boxer as she’d watched the resident canine of the café they’d stopped in the day before lie snoring in the late Sunday afternoon sun, she said, “He probably enjoys having half the bed to himself.”

Hank certainly seemed to take every opportunity when she was around to take over Grissom’s space. The last time she’d been in Paris, on her first night back, they’d been reading in bed just before going to sleep. Grissom had gotten up to go to the bathroom only to return to find Hank with his head on Sara’s stomach (and her stroking him absently and yet affectionately behind the ears) while the rest of him was sprawled over his master’s side of the mattress. Grissom, slightly aggrieved at being so readily supplanted had grumbled about not having been gone THAT long. Needless to say, Hank hadn’t been pleased to be evicted from such a coveted spot.

“He’s the only one,” Grissom replied.

“Yeah,” Sara agreed.

But as neither of them really wanted to waste the time they actually still had together already aching with the missing that was sure soon to come, they quickly went back to immersing themselves in their respective distractions.

From time to time, Sara would let out a muffled chuckle causing Grissom to grin into his newsprint. He could tell she was trying to be quiet. Mostly she succeeded. Until the laughter finally overcame her, and unable to control it, she tittered loudly.

Grissom’s head shot up, and Sara genuinely expected him to look at least a little reproachful, considering how sacrosanct his crosswords had always been, but he didn’t. If anything he looked amused.

She laughed out an apologetic, “Sorry. It just turns out that you and Boy, that’s the name of the dog, have something in common. Problems with chickens,” she explained. “There’s a whole chapter on it. ‘Ordeal by Chicken.’”

Familiar with the incident she was referring to, Grissom said, “Very funny.”

“Well not so much for the chicken,” rejoined Sara. “While Boy didn’t manage to catch his chicken either, the poor hen apparently died of a heart attack afterwards.”

Grissom couldn’t summon up any sympathy for the unfortunate fowl. The last time he’d been the one who was about to have the heart attack. And never able to forget or forgive the way the hen — aptly named in his opinion Lucy — who had flown the coop on him and led him on a not so merry chase had just calmly gone to sleep in Sara’s arms, he wasn’t all that fond of that particular species of feathered friend.

*******

They were about fifteen minutes out of Genova Piazza Principe when Sara let her book fall absently open in her lap. She was at the moment far more intent on watching her husband, absorbed and intent and meticulous as he was. An involuntary grin tugged at the corners of her cheeks at the way his reading glasses always managed to slip to the very end of his nose in that winsome way she loved so much.

Sara had missed it just as much as she’d told him she had. Missed him, too.

While they found ways to meet in the middle — the phone calls and her periodic visits helped — it was still hard being apart as much as they were.

And she was struck by the sudden realization that she wasn’t sure she would ever get used to it. To the reality of being together.

All too often it felt too good to be true.

True, things weren’t perfect. It wasn’t as if being married had automatically solved all their problems, changed the past or healed all their hurts. They still disagreed, argued from time to time, managed to find ways to get on each other’s nerves, said or did the wrong things, mostly unintentionally.

And yet things were better now than they’d ever been. The innocent ribbing, private jokes and ease they’d enjoyed in the beginning of their relationship more than a decade ago had returned, only to deepen and there was both surety and comfort to be found in knowing they were in this life together no matter what.

So things weren’t perfect, but there were moments, moments like this one when it felt like it.

It had taken Sara a long time to recognize what that tug in her chest meant.

It was happiness. Pure and simple happiness.

For so long she hadn’t possessed the word for it, happiness not having been something she ever had expected. And yet, she was happy in ways she had never known, never dreamed of being.

It reminded her of that day they’d been out on that case of the dead boxer at the Sugar Cane Ranch where talk of sex had turned to that of love and he’d surprised her as his confessions so often were wont to do, in the simplicity of his saying, “No, you make me happy.”

And Sara blurted out much the same now, even before she realized she’d spoken.

Not that she regretted her words. She knew she never told him enough, but Grissom wasn’t the only one who sometimes had problems putting his feelings into words.

Although he seemed to understand. For when his eyes flashed up to meet hers, they shared that same sort of knowing smile they had that day all those years ago. And something more.

********

Continued in Rome with a View

********

To read more about Grissom chicken encounter see Fowl Play, the fourth part of the Meanwhile series.

 

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: