“You left early,” he said, predictably.
She shrugged. “I didn’t feel like staying.”
He regarded her for a moment, and she refused to fidget under his gaze. “I didn’t expect this reaction, Catherine,” he told her.
She shrugged again. Mature. “What did you expect? Me to just accept everything and smile, and eat cake?” In truth, if she didn’t give him attitude she might just cry, and she couldn’t have that. She gave up crying over men a long time ago.
“I expected…” he trailed off, breaking their eye contact and looking around aimlessly for a few seconds before returning his gaze to her. “I expected us to talk. I expected you to understand.”
She let out a bitter laugh. “Oh I do understand.”
“Catherine.” His tone was reprimanding.
“What?” she snapped. “You want me to understand. I understand!… But I don’t feel inclined to talk about it!”
“Is this really how you want to end things?” He was meeting her attitude snap for snap now.
She laughed again. “Oh you’ve changed your tune. Earlier it was ‘This isn’t the end’, ‘We’ll still keep in touch’, ‘We’ll still be friends’ – ”
He stepped up in front of her, and she straightened up, the door closing further to make sure the entrance was blocked. Their eyes were locked, and she silently challenged him to -- She knew he wouldn’t hit her; he wouldn’t force his way past her; he wouldn’t try to move her. So what was she challenging him to do?
“Talk to me,” he pleaded quietly.
She shook her head. “There’s nothing to say.”
“I disagree,” he stated simply.
She shrugged again, but she was well aware it lacked the conviction of her earlier actions.
“Then maybe this should be the end,” he said, stepping backwards, a cold breeze seeming to hit her in his wake.
She remained silent. Her throat was constricting: she couldn’t speak without tears, so she didn’t speak at all. She just silently summoned the courage to let him walk away.
“You’ve nothing to say?” he asked. “Twenty-five years of friendship – ”
“Don’t!” she exclaimed, surprising even herself. “Don’t you dare try to play that card!…”
His eyes widened, he clearly hadn’t expected that reaction either.
“… I am not the one deciding twenty-five years together means nothing!” she continued, her voice catching in her throat on the last word.
“Cath, I never said – ”
“It’s not what you said, Gil! Actions speak louder than words, you know that!” Tears were blurring her vision now and she cursed herself for not having the strength to remain quiet.
He was frowning at her, sympathy radiating from the eyes beneath his furrowed brow. He took a step towards her and she backed up, raising a hand, gesturing for him to stop.
“You know… Er… Good luck, with everything… I’m gonna…” She indicated towards the house.
“Catherine.” His voice was imploring her to stop.
“Gil… I told you I didn’t want to talk about this,” she said with finality, offering him a sad smile, before closing the door.
He stared at the closed door, confusion and anger bubbling beneath the surface. He had come here because he was worried about her, worried about what his decision was doing to her, and to their friendship. Speaking to her had done nothing to calm his fears; in fact she’d managed to double them, and infuriate him in the process.
The attitude, he knew, was to do with Sara. He had seen it from her since the day she told him she knew about them. She wouldn’t talk to him about it, refused to hear his explanation. They had drifted apart even more since then, and even when he told her it was over with Sara he received nothing more than a shrug in reply.
He sighed, some of the tension leaving his body, as he realised it was all a defence mechanism. There had been a wall around her emotions since that day in his office: the day she had confronted him on the ethics of sleeping with a member of his team. He’d put it down to disappointment at the time. Now perhaps… It all made sense.
He stepped up to the door and knocked hard, calling her name as well, knowing she wouldn’t have ventured far into the house. If she wasn’t interested in hearing what he had to say…
She pushed away from the door, as the knocking reverberated around her spine. She wiped angrily at her tears then snatched the door open.
“Gil, I – ”
His lips were on hers before she could utter another word; her protest lost into his mouth. One hand wound into her hair, the other found the small of her back and he held her against him.
For seconds, she was paralysed, eyes wide, and mind reeling. What the hell was this?
His tongue stroked across her bottom lip, and his hands pulled her even closer and that seemed to remind her of the fact that she was involved in this; she wasn’t just a spectator.
She raised her hands to his chest and pushed him back as far as she could, not far seeing as he didn’t loosen his hold on her.
Breathing deeply she glared at him intensely, ‘how dare you?’ clearly conveyed by her eyes. He just looked back – no remorse, no apology, no explanation. She intensified the glare, narrowing her eyes, tilting her head, pursing her lips – that tasted of him, that still tingled from his touch. Because he had been kissing her. Gil Grissom had been kissing Catherine Willows. And she had stopped him.
Her eyes flitted down to his lips and that was all the encouragement he seemed to need.
She met him half way this time, their lips crashing together as their bodies pulled as close as they could be. She snaked her arms around his neck, pulling his head down to hers, scraping her fingers through his short hair, as his tongue demanded entry to her mouth, exploring, tasting, duelling with hers.
Their legs danced, feet mingling as they backed towards the wall. They found the sideboard first - the closest thing to support their weakening knees – and he trapped her against it, his legs either side of hers, his arms bent at her waist, rising up her back, holding her up as he advanced upon her with a fervent hunger. A hunger she matched equally.
Her teeth nipped at his lips as she gasped desperately for air, then she sealed their kiss again, moaning into his mouth when he rolled his hips against hers. She felt him smile and lifted one leg, hooking it around him, pressing him to her, running her foot over his ass as she slipped into a rocking motion, her hips against his. As intended, this drew a moan from him, and she smiled victoriously.
He snatched his lips from hers, nipping and sucking at her jaw and then neck. She continued to writhe in his hold, panting and trembling as he found a particularly sensitive spot at the base of her neck. Clearly enjoying her reaction, he focussed his attention there for a while, his breath over her moist skin adding to the sensation in between kisses.
Shiver after shiver swept through her body and she squirmed against him, trying to get closer, needing to get closer. The pressure building within her was becoming unbearable and they were still fully clothed. She let out a loud whimper when he moved his lips to the similarly sensitive other side of her neck and swallowed hard in an attempt to regain some control.
His lips scorched a trail up her neck, coming to rest by her ear, kissing softly and gently, before he whispered, “Does this prove it to you?”
Having lost the power of coherent thought much earlier in their… encounter, Catherine had to force her swimming head to cooperate so she could figure out what he meant.
“Hmm?” she mumbled, breathing deeply, aching for more, and yet knowing somewhere deep, deep inside that there probably should be a conversation before anything more happened.
He ensured her back was still supported with one hand, and the other came up and cupped her face, his thumb gently stroking at the corner of one of her closed eyes.
“Catherine?” he said, his voice deep and rough with need.
She acquiesced and opened her eyes, smiling at the desire that greeted her in his. He leaned forward and kissed her – not urgently like the kisses they’d shared so far, but softly, and gently, and slowly, and she felt her insides melt.
Her eyes had fluttered closed again, and she opened them when he pulled away. She grasped hold of the front of his shirt, making sure he didn’t go too far, and asked him, “Does this prove what?”
“That our friendship doesn’t mean nothing to me,” he said solemnly.
She smiled, embarassed. “I’m sorry I said – ”
He placed two fingers on her lips. “I’m not. If you hadn’t been angry, I probably would have spent the next twenty-five years as oblivious to your feelings as I have been for the last.”
“If I hadn’t been jealous,” she corrected with a small smile.
“Ah, green suits you,” he smirked. “… Why have you never told me?” he then asked her, more seriously.
She shrugged – no attitude this time – and asked him, “Why have you never mentioned your feelings?”
“I never dared to hope that you felt the same… I wasn’t to know. You never told me.”
She laughed, and dropped her forehead to rest against his. “We’ve screwed this up pretty well,” she commented.
He nodded. “We seemed to be doing quite well at making up for it though,” he smiled, bringing his lips to hers once more.
She responded briefly to his kiss, but pulled her head back before it could go anywhere. “Just in time for you to leave,” she said, a hint of sadness to her tone now reality was setting back in.
He rested his head back against hers and sighed. “I’d actually forgotten about that,” he said quietly.
She smiled, humourlessly. “Your mind was elsewhere.”
“I’ll come back as often as I can,” he promised.
“That’ll cost you a fortune,” she told him.
“You’re worth it,” he said softly.
“Gil, we need to be sensible about this. There’s no need for you to keep coming back… If there hadn’t been this development in our relationship we would have survived without seeing each other for a few months. We can still survive.”
“I don’t want to,” he said, pulling her close to him.
She couldn’t help but laugh at the pout on his face. “I know, but we have to. You’ve made a commitment… We can speak on the phone every day.”
“It’d probably be cheaper to fly back,” he muttered, earning himself a smack on the arm.
“For that,” she told him, “you can pay for all the calls.”
“Willingly,” he whispered, leaning in to kiss her again.
She allowed the kiss to last this time, sinking into his embrace, wrapping her arms around him. What was gentle soon became a more frenzied exploration again, tongues meeting, bodies clamouring to be nearer and nearer, despite the absence of air between them.
Her hands slipped under the waistband of his trousers, as his found the hem of her shirt – his fingertips gently tracing patterns on her skin.
She began to walk backwards, slowly leading him towards the stairs, without him even realising he was moving. Her disorientation became apparent when she found herself backed against a wall on the opposite side of the foyer. By this time his hands had found her breasts though so it really didn’t matter.
He massaged them through the fabric of her bra, teasing the taut nipples with pinching and stroking, while his lips once again pulled free of hers and explored her neck, quite easily finding the delicate area discovered earlier, and driving her crazy again with the sensations.
She groaned and gasped for air, licking her drying lips, swallowing to moisten her arid throat, desperately trying to focus on remaining upright – on not allowing her body to melt into a puddle on the floor.
She realised she had been completely lost in what she was feeling when his mouth encircled one now exposed nipple. When the hell had he undone her shirt? He licked and sucked, gently, then roughly, then tenderly again, and all the while she squirmed against the wall, her body subconsciously falling into the rhythm she would later need.
He shifted his attentions to the other breast, giving it the same treatment as the first, before he stood up straight, and kissed her again, pressing his body into hers, letting her feel that he was as aroused as she was.
He pulled out of their kiss and met her eyes, their chests heaving as they fought to catch their breath. She understood his silent question, and smiled.
“Oh, God, yes, I’m sure,” she said, laughing.
He looked surprised before laughing with her. “Then, would it make me sound really old,” he said, trailing his fingers slowly down her neck, “if I were to ask if we could take this somewhere more comfortable?” He placed a kiss below her ear after his question.
“Yes it would,” she said, shivering under his touch. “But I’m gonna have to agree with you on that one.”
He smiled and his lips met hers again, both becoming lost in the kiss once more.
“I’m gonna miss you,” Catherine said the next day, as a call for Gil’s flight was announced overhead.
“You sure I’m not allowed to fly back every weekend?” he asked again, still looking as hopeful as he had the first time he had asked her.
“No,” she replied the same way she had every other time. “That’s just crazy… But,” she saw his eyes light up at the unexpected addition to her answer, “maybe you could come back once or twice.”
He grinned and cupped her face with both hands. “I knew after yesterday - and this morning,” he grinned, “- you wouldn’t be able to stay away from me for that long.”
She hit him playfully on the arm and then leaned forward for a kiss.
“I love you,” she whispered as they pulled apart.
He kissed her again, deeply, pulling her tight against him. “I love you,” he told her, then. “Our timing really sucks.”
She laughed at his unexpected use of slang. “Yes it does… But we’ll deal with it… Because we’ve waited twenty-five years, what’s another few months?”
He nodded and kissed her again, and another announcement was made for his flight.
“I’d better go,” he said, reluctantly stepping out of their embrace.
“Yeah… Call me when you land?”
He nodded again. “I will.”
He kissed her once more and then insisted that she leave first so that he wouldn’t be tempted to stay there forever and not get on his plane. So they said their goodbyes and she left the airport.
She had just about made it to her car before a tear escaped and trickled down her cheek. She wiped it away, resting her hands on the wheel, as she took deep calming breaths.
“It’s just a few months,” she told herself. “Just a few months.”
The shrill ringing of her cell phone made her physically jump, and she snatched it out of her purse.
“Willows,” she answered.
“I love you.”
A wide smile spread across her lips. Yes, it was just a few months. And then she would never let him out of her sight again.