Spoilers: No spoilers (at least I don't think there are).
Archive: Please ask first!
Disclaimer: I own nothing, and I mean nothing. Sue me if you want, but there's really no point.
Summary: A special victim brings Sara and Grissom together.
Chapter Nine - The Confession
Five days had passed since Grissom and Sara had reached a fragile new beginning. Unfortunately, their hectic work schedule had allowed them very little time alone with one another. The sum total consisted of a single dinner date. Gil found himself spending an afternoon with plans to ride the roller coaster at New York, New York. He supposed he probably should have called Sara, but he worried that she might be sleeping still and didn't want to wake her. She slept too little as it was. The good news for him was that it was an off week for tourism and the line for the Manhattan Express was relatively short. He was able to get the front seat.
Rejuvenated after his ride, he decided to stop and grab a burger at the ESPN Zone, a sports bar just off the casino floor. As he waited for the hostess to seat him, his eyes settled on a sight that stunned him. Sara was dining there-with a man.
The Man was of average height, with brown hair and a decent build. He and Sara appeared quite familiar with one another, laughing like lifelong friends. Or lovers, Gil couldn't help but think. The Man signed the credit card slip the waiter had given him and returned it to its folder. He and Sara then stood and approached the exit, still laughing. Gil ducked quickly out of sight. He couldn't bear to face her at the moment. After their departure, Grissom could only stand paralyzed as jealousy, anger and fear assaulted him like sledgehammers.
In the break room later that evening, Grissom tensed when he entered and saw Sara sitting there. The other members of the team had not yet arrived. "You look tired," Sara noted.
"Didn't sleep enough," he said obliquely. "I woke up early and decided I needed a roller coaster ride to clear my mind."
"New York, New York? You should have called me. I was there today."
"Really?" Gil asked knowingly. "What for?" He wondered if she would admit to having been with the Man.
"An old friend came in from out of town. We had lunch."
"Yeah. Lunch," he failed to keep the bitterness from his voice.
"Sorry I'm late," Warrick announced from the doorway. "Big accident on I 15."
"Everyone else is late, too. Must be big." Sara answered absently, still feeling the chill emanating from her boss.
"You two take this B and E," Grissom handed the slip to Warrick. "I'll deal with Nick and Catherine when they get here."
"Something tells me I'm glad I missed the rest of that," Warrick told Sara as they proceeded to the Denali.
"I wish I had," Sara shook her head.
"Our robber isn't the sharpest tool in the shed," Sara tried to smooth things over with Gil. The difficulty lay in the fact that she had no idea why he was angry. "He left a trail of evidence a mile long."
"And?" Grissom didn't look up from his crossword puzzle.
"Jacqui's running the prints. We'll have it by morning," She flashed him her trademark grin to no avail.
"Fine. See if Nick needs any help on his case," he ordered, still refusing to look at her.
"Yes, Sir." With a mock salute, Sara turned on her heel and left the office.
The knock at Grissom's front door came shortly after he arrived home. He looked through the peephole and was surprised to see Sara standing there. Taking a deep breath, he opened the door and let her enter.
"What are you doing here?"
"Unlike some people," she spun around to face him. "I can keep the personal issues out of the workplace and deal with them on my personal time."
"Yes. What's up with the freeze out?"
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Sure you don't. Come on, what happened? What's got you so upset?"
"If you want to know the truth, I saw you yesterday."
"You saw me yesterday."
"Yes. With him."
"With him? Wait a minute-jealousy? Is that what this is about?" When Grissom remained silent, she continued. "I told you I had lunch with Leonard."
"You said you had lunch with a friend. What I saw was more than friendly."
"What? Was I dancing naked on the table or something? Leonard is an old family friend."
"I, uh, I really resent what you're implying here."
"Look, Sara, it was inevitable," his voice trailed off. "I'm an old man. He's not."
"He's forty five, Gil," she hoped the use of his first name would mean something to him. "He's basically the same age you are. And he's just a friend. If it helps, he's married."
"He's been married for fifteen years," she told him matter-of-factly. "His wife? His wife's name is David."
Grissom felt the redness creeping up his neck and over his face. He'd never felt so stupid. "I... I'm sorry. I didn't know."
"You didn't need to know," Sara struggled to hold her anger at bay. "You should have trusted me."
"Again, I'm sorry."
"I was planning to invite you both over for dinner tonight anyway, so you could meet Leonard. I think you'd like him. He's in town for the Meteorology Convention."
"He's a meteorologist?"
"Hydrologist, actually. He works for the California Department of Agriculture. He's going back to school for his meteorology degree."
"Sara," Grissom confessed, "I told you I'd make mistakes. This is really a touchy issue for me. I'm not a young man..." He turned away from her.
"You're not an old man either," she turned him back around to face her. "What does age have to do with anything?"
"Everything," his voice caught in his throat. "I worry that I won't be able to make you happy. Or keep you happy."
"You do make me happy... when you're not freaking out on me."
After a long pause, he asked gently, "What do you see when you look at me, Sara?"
Caught off guard by the question, Sara took a moment to gather her thoughts. "I see a man who is brilliant... and handsome. I see someone with a sense of justice and fair play... Very intellectual, but able to appreciate the simple things in life as well... I see a man who wants people to believe he feels nothing, when in actuality he feels everything, deeply and intensely... I see a man who has a great deal of love to give, but he's too afraid to give it. I see-"
"You see all that?" Grissom interrupted.
"Yes. All that and more. You want to hear it?"
"Do you want to know what I see?"
"I see a man who's carried out an incredible charade for so long that even he doesn't know who he is anymore. I see a man so crippled by insecurity and emotional idiocy that he may never be able to give anything to anyone. I see a man who hides behind his intellect because it's all he has, and he knows that someday everyone else is going to see through him. I see someone who's afraid that someday the beautiful young woman in front of him will wake up and realize she's thrown her life away on a defective old man with nothing to offer and find someone younger, someone better for her."
"There is no one better for me," Sara reassured him through her tears. She gripped his face in her hands. "You may not know this, but you're a catch."
Previous | Story Index | Next