03- The Score

Continued from The Switch

Sara gave herself one last, not entirely satisfied once-over in the mirror.

The fact that she hadn’t exactly had a heck of a lot of time to get ready before the guys showed up was proving to be of little consolation at the moment. Even if she had, as she’d honestly been expecting to spend the night with a dead body — and the dead never cared what you looked like — she likely wouldn’t have spent over long on her pre-work toilette anyway.

Something she was rather ruing at the moment, particularly as with it not being what she regularly carried with her, there was little she could presently do now by way of make-up. But her hair she could at least attempt to fix, so she did, twisting it up off the back of her neck in the way she knew her husband was fond of, even if its securing required a little last-minute improvisation.

But the end result still remained that she wasn’t anywhere near as well groomed and fashioned as she’d been for the Foundation party.

But, Sara mentally sighed, straightening herself up to her full height and smoothing the front of her dress a final time, it’ll have to do.

For while part of her was tempted to loiter a little longer, just to make her husband sweat a little — would serve him right — her own curiosity trumped whatever desires she may have had in regards to turnabout or fair play.

Even without the ungainly encumbrance of heels, Sara still wobbled a little uneasily, unused as she genuinely was to the regular wearing of cocktail dresses. But once back at the arboretum, her awkwardness rapidly gave way to amusement as she’d returned to discover Grissom unearthing containers from what looked to her very well-acquainted with the phenomenon eyes like a to go bag.

“Take out?” she asked, resting a hand on his back in order to lean in for a better look.

His voice rife with merriment of his own, Grissom said, “I know it’s more your specialty, dear, but –”

Except the rest of his tease got caught in his throat, struck as he was at the sight of her.

Normally, it wasn’t like Gil Grissom to be speechless. Although Sara was the one person who did manage to do it to him, and all the time, even if she didn’t always know it. Tonight however, there was no mistaking his wide-eyed wonder or frank admiration.

And any and all of her earlier unease, misgivings and insecurities swiftly melted away under his warm, appreciative gaze. For while she may have found Nick and Ray’s dumbfounded astonishment irksome the month before, her husband’s gaping approbation was something else entirely.

Pleased, she proceeded to greet him with a broad smile and as if they were just starting the night anew, a fluid “Bonsoir, mon cher,” before she went to kiss him in not precisely continental manner. There was the traditional, if rather lingering, press to each cheek. But these were accompanied by the entirely unorthodox barest brush of lips along lips as she journeyed from one to the other.

Except Grissom, not content with just the hint of a kiss, caught her up as she went to return to his right cheek and they kissed long into that blissfully familiar breathlessness.

Both were beaming when they eventually broke apart. That of course didn’t mean that Sara was above ribbing her husband.

“Gil, you have seen me in a dress before.”

Besides, having packed it, he obviously must have seen it. Apparently, that hadn’t mattered. And it hadn’t. Even after all this time, Sara was as ever a surprise. Had always been. Probably would always be. But Grissom had grown to rather relish such surprises.

“What?” she mouthed at the intense, intent way he was examining her.

Grissom eased a stray strand behind her ear before murmuring, “I love what you’ve done with your hair.”

Her hand fluttered up to make sure the sweep hadn’t slipped.

“Seriously,” he added to her pursed lipped rejoinder. Then fingering the stripped tip of the long swabs she’d exhumed from one of the various pockets of her work vest to fasten her makeshift do, Grissom intoned, impressed as he sincerely was at his wife’s ingenuity, “Clever.”

“Well, necessity is the mother of invention,” she recited with the ghost of a grin. “And you don’t exactly give a girl a lot of notice.”

“You didn’t need it.”

Then in his easy and effortless as always français, he murmured, “Tu es pour moi la plus belle.” You are for me the most beautiful.

With anyone else, it would have come off as one of those cheesy pickup lines French men were notorious for employing, but Sara knew her husband meant it, as hard as that was sometimes for her to fathom.

So the faint, white fairy lights weren’t the only thing twinkling in her eyes when she replied, “You have to say that.”

He shook his head. “No. Like you, ‘beauty is always the exception.’”

“Flatterer,” she laughed.

“Flatterer, no. Thief perhaps. John Berger,” he supplied as the source of his quote. “But,” Grissom said after moment, “you’re missing something, if I recall.”

And he withdrew a chain from his suit pocket, a familiar large teardrop amber pendant dangling at its end.

“Allow me,” he said and she readily turned so he could fasten it. This soon done, he pressed a kiss into her shoulder as his palms ran down her bare arms. For a moment, they both luxuriated in the rush of skin on skin.

Once she’d revolved to face him again, for the briefest of instants, his eyes flicked down to take in the placement of the pendant before swiftly returning to hers, his gaze and grin turned thoughtful.

“You’re right –” he began.

Though this time his eyes never left hers, his fingers leisurely traced the full length of the necklace, intimately grazing the sensitive skin along the rather revealing décolletée. “It is a little suggestive. Particularly with that dress.”

And a suggestion of mischief joined the inherent desire in his not quite off-handed query of “Why do I get the feeling that wasn’t coincidence, my dear?”

Having barely recovered her breath from the nearly electric contact, Sara settled on an enigmatic grin as her only reply. Truth was, she had selected this specific dress for exactly such a reason. However immune she might be to the tug of fashion, she wasn’t to the desire to please and seduce, at least when it came to her husband. She certainly hadn’t bought the dress to impress Betty.

“Complaining?”

“No.”

Smoothing the lapels of his jacket, she said, “You don’t clean up too bad yourself.”

For while Sara had always found him attractive — grey hair or no — and was privately particularly fond of him first thing in the morning — well, more often evening for them — just awake and slightly tousled-haired, Grissom in a suit was sexy as hell. So much so, that the Sorbonne’s mandatory suit and tie dress code had been one of her favorite parts of his guest lectureship.

“But I know you hate ties.”

Grissom shrugged, “You wore heels the last time and I didn’t show. The tie was the least I could do.”

“Speaking of heels, did you bring them by any chance?” she asked. Her usual work shoes didn’t exactly go with cocktail dresses.

“I did. But they’re strictly optional.”

She smiled. He really did know her all too well. But Sara opted for the heels anyway and was more amused than surprised to catch him staring at her with that curious, yet knowing look of a lover as she bent to slip them on.

“Why am I beginning to get the feeling you did all of this just to see me in this dress?” she asked, intentionally echoing his earlier inquiry. “Or was it to see me out of it, Gil?”

Apparently intrigued as he was by that possibility, Grissom didn’t immediately respond, causing Sara to shake her head and sigh, “Just tell me you didn’t tell the others that was why you were doing it. You might not hear about it, but I will and I’ve already gotten enough grief about this dress as it is.”

“While it is some dress, no. Shall we,” he said, gesturing to the table.

She nodded. “I do just have one last question.”

It was his turn to laugh. “Only the one?”

“Whatever happened to some things are best kept private?”

“What’s so scandalous about a husband taking his wife out to dinner?” he queried in return.

“Well, it is you for one,” she grinned. “And I’m sure they’ll find something. They usually do.”

As he drew out the chair for her, Grissom’s expression plainly said, Let them.

“So all of this really is just for dinner?”

His lips brushed her ear as he leaned in to whisper, “For now.”

*******

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