Rating: PG-13 for strong language
Archive: www.grissomandsara.com. Anyone else, ask permission and I'll probably say yes.
Disclaimer: These characters and their situation is not mine. Las Vegas isn't mine, either. Or New Jersey, though I do live there...
Summary: G/S - Sara's leaving, but not the way you think...
Chapter 9 - The truth is out there
Sara couldn't sleep. She didn't know why she was surprised - had she really thought that she could sleep peacefully with an unread e-mail from Grissom in her inbox? The hours from midnight to 4 A.M. were spent tossing and turning. She'd lie on her side for fifteen minutes, eyes squeezed shut, and try to clear her brain. Then she'd realize that repeating, "My mind is empty," counts as a thought and turn over with a groan to attempt the same thing on her other side.
"Damn it, I need to sleep! I am not getting out of bed at three A.M. just to read an e-mail from Grissom. It'll still be there in the morning and I will read it then."
Around three-thirty she resorted to knocking herself in the side of the head with a fist and burying her face in the pillow in the hopes that it was the light (what light, there's no light coming through the window, Sara) that was keeping her awake.
No dice. At 3:45, she started muttering obscenities into the dark room, impugning the god of sleep, the annoying pipe that was whispering in the wall, and finally Grissoms's antecedents, legitimacy, and family-related sexual habits.
At 3:56, she ran out of curses and started worrying her lip.
At 3:59, she sat up and said, "Fuck it," then climbed out of bed and stumbled to the desk, stubbing her toe on the corner of the bed in the process. She plopped down onto the desk chair, flipped on a small lamp, and examined her wounded digit for any protruding bone splinters or severed arteries (not that there was an artery in this toe, but it never hurt to check). Neither was present, though the toe was beginning to turn an angry red color, so she returned the foot to the floor and brought her laptop out of hibernation.
Grissom's e-mail sat at the top of the queue in her inbox, and she re-read the subject line with a sigh. It was simply a repeat of the subject her e-mail had borne, and gave away nothing about the content she was about to read. The timestamp carried a little more information. It had been sent around 9 A.M. on Sunday, so Grissom probably hadn't written her from the lab, or if he had it had been when the rest of the team had already gone home. So maybe he didn't want anyone to read over his shoulder when he explained things to her, or maybe that had just been the first block of time he had free to write her. She'd never know unless she opened the mail.
She turned the lamp off again and double-clicked Grissom's e-mail.
From: Gil Grissom <email@example.com>
Date: Sunday, August 3rd, 2003 9:15 A.M.
To: Sara <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Ya gotta have trust
Congratulations on the job offer. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you. I always knew that you could do better than what Las Vegas allowed you; you're too intelligent and young to stay in an isolated city working a shift that doesn't allow you a social life, and I'm glad that you've been given the opportunity to take that step up.
Uh, I guess that paragraph sounded a little too formal considering what I was trying to say, which was this: you're very lucky (in a make-your-own-luck kind of way) to have been offered such a challenging and potentially rewarding job, and I'm proud to say that I think the student has surpassed the master.
I think you should take the job, Sara, if my opinion carries any weight with you. We both know you're better-suited as a leader than a follower, and I have absolute confidence in your ability to turn that lab around and give me some stiff competition for the #2 spot in the country.
It's great to hear that you'll be working with an energetic crowd, too. I know that you've felt like you were being held back by my stodginess in Las Vegas, and it sounds like you'll whip that lab into shape within days, considering your boundless energy.
As for this guy Walter who you said was cute, well, I suggest that you not get yourself in too deep with him or any of your other staff. Young men can be, and usually are, very flighty, and you'd be very likely to be hurt if you got involved with such a man. I'm sure he's very nice, but I suggest that you keep your distance.
Well, now that I've got that out of my system, I'll respond to the rest of your e-mail. I'm not sure I understand why you can't make a decision without having resolved any issues concerning me; they don't seem to me to be related. Do you need a recommendation from me and think I won't give you one?
No, I doubt that that's the reason; you've always known how I feel about the quality of your work. Well, I suppose I think, and please correct me if I am interpreting this wrong, that the reason you want to resolve things with me is that you won't know whether to choose Vegas or New Jersey until you know if I will... disrespect you if you come back here.
If that's the reason, I think I can tell you a reasonable degree of certainty that, should you come back here, you won't find me nearly so standoffish. The entire team misses you, and I assure you that we would welcome you back with open arms if you return.
I hope you don't mind that I told them about the offer. It seemed like a good idea at the time, so that I could give the truth directly rather than waiting for strange rumors to start circulating. So I got everyone together before shift last night and told them what you told me. The news got a lot of different reactions, too. Nick and Greg both had their jaws drop almost to the floor before they started firing questions at me, whereas Catherine didn't say anything, just gave me one of those piercing looks of hers. Then, later on, she cornered me in my office and started demanding more details. She didn't seem appeased when I told her that I didn't know any more details than what I had already given the team.
Warrick is the only one who hasn't said something about it to me (at least as of now). He either doesn't care too much either way, which I doubt, or he's worried about the situation and trying to decide what he thinks and what he can do. I suspect the second option.
Brass didn't say much of anything either. He caught me in my office an hour or so after Catherine did, but instead of asking for details he just looked at me and asked what I did to you. I answered in complete honesty that I wasn't sure what I had done, or if I had done anything. I still don't, but I'd like to if you'd like to share anything that's going through your mind.
I know, I know - you don't trust me. Or at least, you're not sure if you can trust me, and I guess that's only fair given the way I've acted toward you the past few years. But I've already asked you about that and I respect your wish to not tell me details, so I'll just skip ahead and try to answer your question, though I don't really know if I can give you a satisfactory response.
Why am I being so nice to you lately, you ask. Well, I guess that the truth has a few parts to it. First, ever since that night you, uh, asked about dinner I've been realizing how abruptly I behave toward you. Believe it or not, I do occasionally pick up on the emotions of people around me, and I'm aware that the way I answered your question was as hurtful as the answer itself. And I do apologize for that, and all the similar occasions that have happened over the years.
I guess that once I decided to try to undo the damage, I may have carried it too far, judging by your reaction to my pizza delivery. I wasn't trying to mock you, you know. I was just hoping I could lighten the situation enough to enable us to start actually talking again. Guess it backfired on me, huh?
The second reason is something I'm rather sensitive about, and thus hesitant to discuss with you or anyone else, but I think that this is the best time to "come clean," so to speak. I've been having some medical problems during the past year. Before you start to worry, I assure you that the problems weren't life threatening, or even too serious - they were more of a nuisance than anything else. But they were enough to distract me from my work and my friends, and enough to make me pull back into my shell and avoid people who knew how to break through that shell - you among them.
Now, though, I've finally gotten the medical treatment I needed to correct my problems, and poked my head back out of my shell, only to see that my life is close to becoming a shambles around me. The pertinent area of that shambles in this case is you. I've been so worried about myself that I haven't taken the time to hold up my end of our friendship. I know that you still seek my approval at times, and that sometimes you'd like to hear a comforting word from me, and I know that in my focus on myself, I haven't paid much attention to what others need from me. Now that I've pulled my head out the sand, well... all I can do is apologize, and I seem to be getting very good at it.
My third reason is something like a combination of the first two, and because I'm so sensitive to it, I'm hesitant to even put it on paper (or e-mail, in this case), so please forgive me if I speak vaguely or in euphemism as I describe this to you.
Sooo... how to speak about this. I guess I'll rip off the bandage quickly and start with spitting out something I've been avoiding for as long as I can remember: I have feelings about you that are very un-mentor-like. I suppose you've figured that out for yourself by now, considering your behavior toward me, but I just needed say that "out loud" for the first time. As with everything else, I pushed those feelings aside as I struggled with my medical problems, but once those problems were resolved and I started taking stock of my life, I realized that in the act of pushing the feelings aside, I'd pushed you aside. Pushing you away has never been something I would want to do, and when I realized that it was exactly what I was doing, I set out to make things up to you. My attempt seems to have been a fantastic failure, and I'm worried now that I've only pushed you farther away - all the way to the East Coast.
Ok. I can't really say more than that right now; I admit to being a little shaky right now as I read over what I've written. But I just want to repeat this: I think you should take the better job where you are now. I wish fervently that you could come back to Las Vegas and be happy, but I suspect that that's impossible, at least at this point.
Perhaps it would be easier to begin to mend things from a distance. I don't really know if that will work, but I want to mend this rift and I'm willing to do whatever you wish right now. Please let me know how you want to handle this, if you're willing to give me another chance and handle it at all.
Sara read the e-mail three times, eyes opening wider each time. A tear pricked at her left eye and she ruthlessly sniffed it back. Shaking her head to try to clear it, she turned away from the computer, not bothering to close the programs or the laptop itself, and crawled into bed. She couldn't deal with this right now. She needed to go to sleep and then try again in the morning.
Sleep came quickly this time.
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