13 – A Rather Peculiar Proposal

Sara is more than a little concerned when Grissom shows up seven hours early for their first real date in a long time. But the reason for his untimely arrival is even more startling.

Circa December 2005

*******

Sara started at the sudden knock.

She marked her place in the article she was reading and set the slender volume down on her coffee table, hazarding a hurried glance at her watch as she did so.

She knew that she had permitted herself to become more engrossed than usual in the journal, but as she was scheduled off for that night, she had allowed herself the small indulgence.

Apparently, she hadn’t realized that she had lost track of time in that spectacular of a fashion.

As it turned out though, it was only a little after noon.

Which struck her as strange as a knock on her door usually only meant one thing.

“Have I mistaken the time?” she asked, honestly and thoroughly mystified as she opened her front door and found exactly who she thought she would standing there. “I mean I know it’s been awhile, but do you regularly show up seven hours early for a date?”

Gil Grissom smiled a little sheepishly. “No and not usually,” he replied evenly.

“Do you want to come in?” Sara asked.

“No, I just came by to have you answer the door,” Grissom quipped.

Knowing full well he was teasing, Sara didn’t deign to reply to this, she merely stepped aside to allow him to enter.

“Did you just get off?” she asked, noticing he was still dressed in his work clothes.

He nodded and let her take his jacket.

She shook her head ruefully. While she was tempted to attempt to commiserate with him about Conrad Ecklie’s latest acts of managerial mismanagement, she really didn’t think that was why Grissom had come.

The truth of it was she wasn’t certain of why he had come in the first place, at least not this early. She did, however, know better than to push him, so instead she motioned for him to sit and went into the kitchen.

“Tea?” she asked, pulling open the cupboard and reaching for the teacups.

The warm pressure of his thumbs against the base of her neck made her pause. She dropped her arm and leaned back into his touch before sighing without thinking, “It’s been too long.”

He gave a soft concurring chuckle but didn’t stop in his ministrations.

Even with Catherine, Nick and Warrick back on Grave, finding time off together these past few months had proven difficult for both of them.

Upon the rare occasion when their evenings off had coincided — something neither scheduling nor discretion all together frequently permitted — one or the other and most likely both, were invariably called in, which meant they saw a lot more of each other at work than they did away from the office. An outcome that was not altogether conducive to any form of regular romance or sometimes even the slightest displays of affection.

Then there was that small, soft whisper of disquiet that had begun to haunt Sara ever since that case involving the husband with the biting fetish and the unfaithful wife who lived together but slept in separate bedrooms.

What Grissom had said about the hapless pair up in the wife’s bedroom had troubled her, leaving her to feel more than a little concerned about how Grissom felt about the still fledgling relationship that he and she shared.

She worried that he had started to feel smothered.

No, the word he used was suffocated, wasn’t it?

Instead of asking him what he had meant by that remark, instead of asking him if he meant that comment about the case to mean something about their own relationship, she simply made sure that she gave him a little extra space and time.

Avoiding the issue, any issue really, was something she had a great deal of practice with, a lot more than attempting to approach Grissom about his feelings, so she merely easily fell into the more comfortable routine that had had sprung up between them over the years. She knew it wasn’t honest or perhaps fair to either of them, but there was a part of her that still feared that if she did hazard to ask him that he would say she was smothering him.

That did mean she hadn’t missed being with him. She had. She certainly missed having him touch her like this, in a way that was more intimate than sexual and was about to probably embarrass herself by telling him so, when he leaned in and whispered,

“Do you want to sleep with me?”

She spun, surprised at the un-Grissom-like candidness of his request. Her shock must have registered on her face, because he grinned and shook his head.

“Now you know how it feels,” was all he said.

She shot him a bemused look.

“You don’t remember?” he asked, looking strangely amused at her state of confusion. When she indicated that she did not, he prompted, “Kaye Shelton.”

It took her a moment to recall what he was referencing to exactly, but when she did, she replied, “I think your intentions at this moment are slightly different than mine were then, Gris.”

“Actually not,” he said suddenly serious.

“Really?” Sara queried in disbelief.

Grissom nodded, but said nothing more, so Sara laughed a little edgily and said, “Besides, isn’t it a little late to be asking that particular question? I mean perhaps it’s been a little while, but…”

He put a finger to her lips before gently kissing her into silence.

“Babbling again?” she asked self-consciously as he pulled away.

He nodded and slid his hand around her cheek so that she couldn’t avoid his gaze, “Are you nervous about something, Sara?”

The honest answer would have been “yes,” but it would have required a great deal of explanation and she was honestly not all that interested in talking when he was looking at her like that, so she gave him a shy smile and a slight shake of the head.

While he gave her a disbelieving raise of the eyebrow, he didn’t press.

“You never did answer my original question,” he said after a long moment.

“Do I want to sleep with you?”

“Yes.”

“Why do I get the feeling that you aren’t talking about sex?” she asked.

“I’m not.”

“You mean tossing and turning — counting sheep — snoring — drooling sleeping?”

“Yes, but I don’t drool.”

“Right, like you don’t snore,” she quipped.

“You’ve yet to prove it.”

“You haven’t give me much of a chance recently.”

“True,” he said with a sad nod.

Neither of them needed to be math whizzes to figure out that almost seven months had passed since the first time they had fallen asleep together. That had been right after they had found Nick. It had been a rather rare occurrence as of late.

“But in my defense, it isn’t entirely my fault,” Grissom added.

It wasn’t anyone’s fault really, Sara mused sadly.

More often than not, their rare free afternoons and even rarer available evenings had been interrupted by his phone or her phone and even sometimes both their phones going off in quick succession.

It was frustrating and even maddening at times.

But it was work. And they both knew it.

So she kissed his cheek and said softly into his ear, “I know.”

He returned the gesture and replied, “Then let me make it up to you then.”

Sara was touched to find that he apparently seemed to regret their lack of time together as much as she did.

“Let me get this straight first. You showed up seven hours early for a date so that we can sleep together first? Sleep together as in sleep, sleep?”

“Why does it sound so preposterous when you put it like that?” Grissom asked with a laugh.

“It’s not preposterous — just unexpected. Besides you know what always happens.”

“Not this time,” he asserted.

“Really? How do you figure that?”

“For one, it’s still several hours before shift is even supposed to start.”

“Like that’s ever mattered.”

Eight p.m. — six p.m. — four p.m. — two — hell, she had been called in at half past ten in the morning more than once.

He seemed to concede that point, but countered with, “You’re not on call.”

“So?”

“That means you are not obligated to answer your phone.”

“Really? Is this a new lab policy I’ve never heard of before?” she asked curiously. “Because I don’t recall that ever stopping you from calling me in before.”

Instead of answering her, he asked, “Where is your phone?”

She goggled at him in disbelief when he did not withdraw his outstretched hand. “You’re serious?” she questioned.

He nodded, looking as serious as he ever did at work, so Sara pulled her cell from her bag on the counter and handed it over. Grissom flipped it open and pressed the volume button on the ringer until the phone switched over to vibrate.

“You do realize that that only solves one of our problems,” she said reasonably. “What about you?”

“I’ve already taken care of that,” he answered, replacing her phone on the countertop and drawing his own out of his pocket and repeating the procedure. “Besides, I’m out of town.”

Sara couldn’t help but laugh. “Why is it that when we’re together you’re always ‘out of town’?” she asked. “You know I’ve never heard the euphemism before. Is that what people are calling it these days?” she continued.

“I’ve only ever used that excuse once,” Grissom replied defensively. “And I will ask you again now what I asked you then — would you rather I tell Jim that I’m here?”

She shook her head. It wasn’t that she expected Brass to give them a hard time, except perhaps in good fun, but even after all these months, Sara still didn’t think she was ready for the inevitable twenty questions.

Grissom seemed to regard her sudden silence as disquiet and said quickly, “Sara, I’m not ashamed to be here, to be with you. You do know that, right?”

There was a certain earnestness about his eyes when he asked this and it was this look more than anything that began to soothe all of her lingering doubts and insecurities.

“I do,” she answered with a smile. “Besides, private is private.”

“And this is private?” he teased with a smirk.

“Intimately so,” Sara supplied and narrowed the distance between them.

“I swear you do memorize everything I say,” he laughed.

“No, only the important things,” she countered.

He grinned and kissed her.

“Any more objections?” he asked. “Or were your protests a nice way of telling me ‘no’ to the whole sleeping together concept.”

“No,” she replied, and then thinking maybe that wasn’t the right answer, or what she really meant stammered, “I mean ‘no’ it’s not a ‘no.’ I mean yes, I…”

Grissom cut her off with another kiss.

“I thought I made everything far too complicated,” he said.

“You do like to make things difficult sometimes.”

“Me? Never, dear.”

“Right.”

He took her face in his hands and ran his thumbs across her cheekbones. Sara closed her eyes and relished the intimacy of the touch.

After a moment, he said softly, “I wonder what you would have done if I had answered ‘yes’ all those years ago.”

“Like you thought about it then.”

“Probably not in the way you are thinking, but yes, I did.”

This response prompted Sara to open her eyes and reply, “Really?”

“Yes, really,” he answered.

“For longer than ten seconds?”

“Yes, for a lot longer than ten seconds, if you must know.”

“Gris…” she began with sigh.

“You know, I was never all that fond of that nickname until you began using it.”

“You should be happy I don’t call you Gilbert.”

“Even my mother hardly ever called me that.”

“Takes too long to sign all those letters?” Sara asked irreverently.

“No, she just reserved that for occasions when she was particularly upset with me.”

Sara laughed, “I will have to remember that.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“Try me,” she deadpanned.

Sara…

This time she quieted him with a kiss and began slightly clumsily to unfasten the buttons on his oxford. Grissom covered her hands with his. It was his turn to look a little puzzled.

She grinned and said, “You weren’t planning to sleep in your clothes, were you?”

He returned her smile and removed his hand. “No,” he answered. “But I wasn’t exactly planning on falling asleep right away either.”

Sara laughed and returned her attention to the buttons, but not before replying cheekily, “I’m not tired — yet.”

*******

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