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Summary: Grissom and Sara are forced to spend one night a week together--bowling. GS, of course.
Grissom arrived at Sunset Bowl at 7:30, still not fully rested after a long shift the previous night. He scanned the handbills on the wall to determine which lane he and Sara would be using. Who knew there were so many participants? With a sigh of relief, he spotted Sara in lane three. He grabbed a pair of brown and orange striped shoes and headed to the third lane from the wall.
"Hey," he greeted as he neared her. "You're early."
"Hey." She seemed a little startled to see him, as if she'd been lost in thought. "I figured they'd be going over the league rules and all that."
Grissom's eyes moved to the bag on the floor in front of her. "You bought your own shoes?"
"I'm uh, I'm not wearing rentals." She shook her head and untied her sneakers. "You know how many feet have been in those things?" Her brow wrinkled in disgust as she pointed out his rented shoes.
"It's not like you're barefoot, Sara. You're wearing socks."
"Still... fungi, bacteria... they spray them with protectant but I don't trust it."
Something was bothering Grissom about Sara's shoes, but he couldn't quite put his finger on what. He changed into his rentals and set off to locate an appropriate ball. Sara perused the rack alongside him, studiously inspecting the weight and fit of each ball. Remembering his goal of reconnecting with her, he took the opportunity to tease her.
"Aren't you worried about who else's fingers have been in those holes?"
"I don't have a ball, so I don't have a choice," she explained. "I'll be getting one before next week."
Once the balls were chosen, Sara headed for the snack bar and returned with French fries and a soda. He studied her carefully, making a mental note of her preferences.
The obligatory meeting with the rest of the league was next, establishing the rules and registering the teams. When their turn came, Grissom moved to the front of the crowd and checked off their names on the list. He scrawled the team's name in the space provided.
Their opponents were waiting for them when they returned to lane three. Two middle aged women in matching orange shirts greeted them. "Hi! I'm Mary, this is Tammy. We're from IA."
Grissom and Sara dutifully reached out to shake the women's hands. "We're crime lab. I'm Gil Grissom. My teammate is Sara Sidle."
The teams continued their preparation for the first game. Grissom picked up the paper sack he'd brought with him.
"Oh, Sara, here's your shirt," he mumbled apologetically. "Cavallo had them printed for us."
Sara reached into the bag and removed the most gaudy garment she'd ever seen. The front and back were a glaring chartreuse, with black sleeves and a purple stripe running down each side. On the back, the team name was emblazoned in purple.
"Lovely," she deadpanned. "Whose idea was Dermestidae Masculatus?"
"It's a name nobody else is going to have," Grissom offered, employing his best head tilt.
She was determined to keep things on a professional level, but she just couldn't squelch the grin that snuck over her face. He was simply adorable when he did that. "So where's your shirt?"
Grissom didn't take his eyes off of her as he slowly removed his jacket and revealed his own green and purple shirt. "You can wear yours next week."
"Oh, no, no." Sara shook her head in acceptance of the challenge. She slung the offending article of clothing over her shoulder. "I'm all about the team." With a slight smirk, she began to walk away from him. "I'm going to the ladies' room to change. Be right back."
"Nice job picking up that spare, Sara." Grissom watched as she took her seat.
Unable to decipher her expression, he took a moment to formulate a response. Did she want him to be surprised? Or did it bother her? He decided the safest route would be the most neutral. "You were hesitant about bowling."
"I said I didn't want to bowl. I didn't say I couldn't." Her light tone reassured him that her good humor was intact.
He took his turn, easily making his own spare. "You're not a bad bowler yourself," Sara complimented as she moved to retrieve her ball. As Sara quickly rolled a strike, it finally occurred to Grissom what it was about her shoes that interested him: they weren't new. She had clearly bowled many times before. Had she bowled with a date? A boyfriend? He pushed the image out of his head. Her past paramours weren't his business. Since he had declined to advance their relationship, he knew that any current paramour wouldn't be his business, either.
"Where did you learn to bowl like that?"
"Where did you?" She volleyed back to him.
"My Uncle Joe managed a bowling alley," he confessed without hesitation. "My mom had me work there in the summers. I guess she got tired of the animal autopsies in the back yard." He stepped up to take his turn, not waiting for her reaction.
Tammy sat next to Sara. "You guys are pretty good."
"Thanks. You're pretty good, too."
"We've been bowling together for years. Mind if I ask a question? What is that name?"
"It's Latin for 'you're hiding a dead body'." Sara felt an overwhelming sense of déjà vu.
"Oh," Tammy sputtered diplomatically, "that's... interesting."
Sara shrugged. "We're criminalists."
"Ooh, I'm up next." Tammy dismissed herself at Grissom's approach.
"I don't think Tammy appreciates your choice of team names," Sara grinned
"She doesn't get it."
He was set off-balance by the abrupt change of subject. "Excuse me?"
"Where I learned to bowl," she explained. "In college. I needed PE credit, and there was no way I was going to be a cheerleader."
"There were other choices."
Walking back to his car, side by side with Sara, Grissom assessed the evening and determined it had gone as well as could be expected. She had been cautious, but he'd succeeded in eliciting a few smiles. Next week would hopefully prove even better.
"We did well tonight," he offered, unsure if he was referring only to the game.
"Yeah, but we could do better." Grissom did a double-take; was she also speaking of more than bowling? Sara answered his silent question with her next statement. "I'm gonna do some calculations. There's a lot of physics involved."
"Thank you for doing this, Sara," he said softly. He felt the urge to take her hand, but thought better of it and resisted. "I'll see you at the lab tomorrow."
"See you tomorrow." For a split second, their eyes met, but Sara quickly broke the visual contact. "Good night."
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