22 – Missing the Obvious

When it comes to Grissom and Sara, while the team seems to always miss the obvious, the same doesn’t go for everyone at Dave’s wedding reception.

circa late October 2006

*******

 

“Grissom,” Greg called and beckoned for his boss to join him and the rest of the night shift CSI’s at one of the tables along the periphery of the large banquet room. While David Phillip’s wedding had been a private family affair, the couple had invited their friends and co-workers to join them for a lavish reception.

“We were just about to send out a search party,” Nick chuckled.

Sara, who had been in the middle of listening to Catherine’s latest installment in the trials of raising a teenage daughter, turned her head just in time to see Gil Grissom approach. While he was neatly coiffed and dressed in one of his impeccable suits and tie combinations, he looked neither relaxed, nor in all that much of a celebratory mood. In fact, he looked more than a little harried.

She eyed him in concern, but it was Catherine who asked without preamble, “Where have you been?”

When Grissom didn’t deign to answer, Nick shook his head and coughed, “Ecklie,” which prompted knowing grins from most of the table.

Instead of rising to the bait, Grissom turned to Catherine and Sara and said in manner that was both gracious and gentlemanly, “You ladies look lovely tonight.”

Only Sara seemed to notice the extra fraction of a minute that his eyes had lingered on her, rather than Catherine, but she was saved from saying or doing anything that might give herself away, by Nick leaning across the table to ask, “Do you even own a dress, Sara?”

She gazed down at the dressy plum colored pantsuit which she had purchased especially for the event and pursed her lips. “Not that it is any of your business,” she began tartly, “But yes, I do.” However, her tone quickly turned to teasing as she continued, “But someone had to be on backup for tonight and as I didn’t hear you volunteer…”

“Yes, well, I think we all just assumed you would jump at the chance to be called in early,” he countered. “Seeing as you aren’t that fond of weddings.”

“I never said that,” she protested.

“Actually, I am more surprised that you actually showed up at all,” Catherine said, turning to Grissom.

Grissom looked politely puzzled, “Why is that?”

“Because the last time I went to a formal function with you, you stiffed me with having to give Ecklie’s introduction.”

“And you were wonderful,” Grissom replied. “Or so I was told.”

“With no thanks to you,” she protested. “You left me with a single line on a napkin. What can I say about Conrad Ecklie? Yeah, that was tons of help, Gil.”

“You have to admit it was a valid question,” Sara piped in.

Catherine rolled her eyes and Nick decided to steer the conversation into less politically dangerous waters.

*******

Dinner proved to be quietly uneventful. Sara was profoundly grateful that the talk had centered mostly around basic chitchat, as she was finding it rather difficult to keep her mind on the various discussions.

Normally, she didn’t have any problem keeping her private relationship with the man sitting across from her separated from her professional, or even more personal life. This evening, however, she found it a lot more difficult. Perhaps it was the nature of the occasion, for she had never had this problem when the entire team went out for the periodic breakfast or lunch. Perhaps it was the fact that Grissom was dressed in a suit. Perhaps it was that hint of warmth she glimpsed in his eyes when every so often, his gaze would come to rest upon her in a way that was probably not all together prudent for such a public display. Perhaps it was any number of things. All she knew was that she was, for lack of a better word, distracted.

Although she had noticed that she wasn’t the only one quiet and reserved that evening. Grissom, too, seemed abnormally subdued and pensive as he nursed his club soda. The team seemed to chalk it up to whatever earlier nonsense Ecklie had been up to and the fact that they all knew that Grissom wasn’t exactly the most social of creatures.

When the band started to play and the floor began to fill with couples, Catherine put down her own drink and threw an almost bemused look over her shoulder at Grissom and said, “I’m not even going to bother to ask you.”

It was Greg who asked, “Why not?”

“Grissom doesn’t dance,” Catherine readily supplied.

Grissom didn’t bother to correct her and while Sara thought goes to show what you know, she didn’t seem to see the need to clue her colleague in either.

“And Greg can’t,” Catherine continued.

“Hey!” Greg smarted.

She ignored this and said, “So come on, Nick.”

As Nick and Catherine rose, Sara caught Greg giving her a pleading sort of look. All too aware of the fact that dancing with Greg often put one’s toes in peril, she decided to quickly nip the whole idea in the bud. However, as Greg still looked more than little dejected and crestfallen after Catherine’s comment, she knew her refusal had to be done with the utmost attention to tact. So in the end, she chose to lean in and say to him, “Do you really want to dance?”

Greg did indeed brighten at this.

At the curious look Grissom was giving her, she hurriedly amended, “Not with me,” and gestured to a pretty young woman seated two tables over. “Do you see the blonde over there?”

Greg nodded.

“She’s been checking you out all night.”

“Really?” he asked incredulously.

Sara replied with a question in turn. “Would I lie to you?”

His curiosity and interest obviously piqued, he said, “Do you know who she is?”

Sara smiled as she shook her head. “No, but there is one way to find out.”

“What’s that?”

“Go ask her,” Grissom interjected encouragingly to both Sara and Greg’s surprise.

Sara recovered quickly and said, “Precisely.”

Greg got to his feet. “How do I look?” he questioned a bit self-consciously and Sara could understand why. Although he need not have worried, the garish black and blue bruises he had sustained over much of his face as a result of the beating he had received earlier that month had finally faded to the point where they were barely perceptible.

She reached up and straightened his tie as she winked and replied, “As smart as ever.”

“Last chance,” he offered. His grin had regained some of its usual self-assured swagger as he shrugged on his sport coat. “You don’t know what you’re missing.”

“My loss is her gain,” she smirked.

Now that Greg’s subsequent departure left her alone with Grissom at the table, the two of them just sat there peering at each other over the arrangement of flowers and candles.

“You’ve been rather quiet this evening,” Sara observed after a while. “Got work on the brain again?”

“No, not work,” he absently replied.

“What has you so preoccupied then?” she asked.

Instead of answering, Grissom slid over to take Greg’s recently vacated seat. “I’m not preoccupied,” he replied softly.

Sara shot him an openly disbelieving, oh, really look, before she realized what was to come next and she said, her voice almost in perfect unison with his, “Just distracted.”

They both smiled.

“Horribly,” Grissom confessed warmly.

“Is that why you chose not to sit next to me earlier? Afraid you would be distracted?” she teased.

He did not hesitate to nod. “But my plan backfired,” he said.

“Oh?”

His reply was simply honest and unprepossessing. “You are even more of a distraction from across the table.”

She started to reach out a hand to caress his cheek, when she thought better of the idea. Even with everyone else gone from the table, it was far too private and intimate a gesture for such a public place.

Grissom seemed to sense her intention and gave her a fond sort of grin, before asking, “Did you really just pawn Greg off on a complete stranger?”

Sara shrugged, not looking the least bit penitent. “I thought it best. Greg didn’t need another month of dumpster duty.”

“Do you honestly believe I would sink that low?” Grissom queried.

“Perhaps,” was all she replied. “Besides, Catherine was right about one thing: Greg can’t dance. And I really didn’t think my feet could take it in these shoes.”

Then she lowered her voice, so that it was barely above a whisper. “But if I remember correctly, you can, and do from time to time. Quite well, actually.”

“Would you like to…” Grissom began.

“Do you think that’s wise?” Sara asked. “After all, then your secret would be out and Catherine won’t hesitate to make you dance with her.”

He smiled as if mentally weighing the consequences versus the rewards of such a decision, but before he could come to a conclusion, both of their phones buzzed in quick succession.

After they both signed off, Grissom said, as he helped her into her coat, “To be continued then?”

“I’d like that,” she replied.

They were headed towards the exit, when Sara heard her name being called. She turned to find herself face to face with Dave’s new bride.

“Ruth,” she said breathlessly and then slightly more composed, “Congratulations.”

“Thank you.”

When the newly married Mrs. Phillips glanced over rather expectantly at Grissom, Sara hurriedly apologized and stammered, “Have you met Gil… uh… Grissom? He’s,” and she paused as if suddenly and strangely unsure of exactly how to introduce him before finally settling on the word “Complicated.”

To which Grissom gave her one of his patented curious sort of looks as if to say that they would talk about this later, but to Ruth he extended his hand and said, “Gil Grissom.”

“I should have known,” she readily replied with a smile.

Sara was almost relieved that her phone chose this moment to give another impatient buzz.

“We just got…” Sara began regretfully.

“A page?” Ruth finished, seeming to understand at once. “Well, I won’t keep you. It’s good to see you again, Sara. And a pleasure to have finally met you, Dr. Grissom. Dave has always spoken of you both with a great deal of fondness.”

*******

Ruth Phillips watched the two of them disappear into the lobby, a knowing sort of look on her face, so that when only a few minutes later, her new husband approached her to ask for a dance, she happily took his arm and as he led her back to the dance floor, leaned in and whispered conspiratorially, “You were right about those two. They are obvious.”

 

*******

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. jenstogner
    Jan 15, 2009 @ 18:59:33

    LOVE IT! Distracted was THE word for the occassion. And regarding Cath’s assumption of Gil not dancing- don’t you wish in ‘Built to Kill’ that they’d of went from her no dancing comment to a scene of Gil and Sara in the kitchen dancing or something to that affect?! I know I wished for that.

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