The office was in darkness. This wasn’t unexpected, he had probably been called to one of the labs. She would wait. She opened the door and was reaching for the light switch when, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something move. Leaving the lights off, she lowered her arm and cautiously stepped further into the room, squinting to see more clearly.
“Grissom? What are you doing in the dark?” she asked, confused and concerned.
“There ain’t no sunshine when you’re gone,” Grissom replied, and, although she couldn’t see it, she knew it was accompanied by that familiar smirk. The smirk he would give when he was teasing her; when he was winding her up; or – as some may interpret it – when he was flirting with her.
Catherine smiled appreciatively for a moment then, after finding a chair, sat down and addressed him seriously.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine… How are you?... Did you have a good time?” Grissom responded, almost sounding like he was telling the truth. If he had been talking to anyone else, he might have been believed.
“You’re sitting in the dark, Gil. That’s not what you do when you’re fine,” she stated, ignoring his attempt to change the subject.
“But it is what I do when I have a headache. Apart from that, I’m fine.” Grissom said, finishing quite smugly.
Catherine frowned at him doubtfully. She could tell there was something else going on, and she knew that he didn’t want to tell her. But she asked anyway. “That’s all? You’re sure there’s nothing else?”
“I’m fine. I want to talk about your holiday. Did you have fun? Did Lindsey like it?” His upbeat tone concealed his true feelings, feelings that he wasn’t ready to talk about with anyone, least of all Catherine.
Hesitantly, Catherine allowed this subject change. “She loved it. She’s already planning for us to go again next year… She suggested that you go.” Catherine realised how that sounded as soon as she heard herself say it.
“With you?” Grissom asked, sounding surprised and intrigued.
“No!” Catherine laughed, to hide her embarrassment and discomfort, “Just, you should go, some time. They have roller coasters. I think that was her reasoning.”
“Ah… I think I’d look a bit silly going to Disneyland on my own,” Grissom said, a little disappointed at Catherine’s dismissal of the idea of him going with them.
“You can’t look any sillier than you normally look,” she grinned.
“Thank you, Catherine. I knew I’d missed you for a reason. These past two weeks haven’t been the same without you constantly flattering and complimenting me,” Grissom joked.
“Well, I’m back now, and I’ve started as I mean to go on,” she smiled.
A silence fell over the room, and an awkwardness filled it, caused by the mixture of the feelings stirred in both at the thought of going on holiday together, and the secret that Grissom was keeping: his reluctance to share it, and Catherine’s knowledge of this.
Despite the darkness his eyes had been fixed on her throughout their conversation. He watched now as she nervously looked around the office, he smiled to himself as the thought crossed his mind that she was probably happier doing that in the dark: her eyes wouldn’t come across any of the creatures she loved to cringe at. Her hands, at first, twisted round each other, then they darted to her hair to adjust it, then, returning to her lap, they aimlessly tapped unrecognisable rhythms on her thighs. Grissom was so engrossed in watching, and admiring, the beauty of her form, that he didn’t realise she had begun to watch him as closely as he was watching her.
“What?” he asked her when he noticed.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
He nodded. “My headache’s almost gone.”
She was silent for a moment and then she said, “Okay, then…” She stood up. “Well I just came by to check in. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Sure… Say hi to Lindsey for me. Tell her I’ll think about Disneyland.”
“I will,” Catherine smiled. “Do you want me to put the light on on my - ”
“No.” His answer was too immediate to not cause suspicion. “I’ll put this lamp on when I feel I can handle it.”
“Okay then,” Catherine repeated, slowly, accepting - for now - that he didn’t want to talk about whatever was really going on. “Night.”
“Night, Cath,” he responded, and she stepped out of the office, closing the door behind her.
She paused for a moment, frowning at the closed door, wondering what Grissom was being so secretive about and why she had such an unsettled feeling. She considered going back in and staying until she got to the bottom of it, but knew he would most likely just continue to insist he was fine until a case gave him an excuse to escape. So instead she turned towards the exit. She would come up with some way to get him to talk during their shift tomorrow.
She rounded the corner to find Warrick coming the other way.
“Hey, Cath,” he greeted her cheerfully, a wide smile on his face.
“Hey, Warrick,” she smiled, her thoughts still on Grissom.
“Thought you were on vacation til tomorrow?”
“I am. Just called in to check in. Didn’t want any surprises tomorrow.”
“Ah.” Warrick’s expression shifted to a more serious one. “So you’ve seen Grissom.”
Catherine frowned slightly at the change in tone. “Yeah.”
“Well at least that’s over. He’d never admit it, but he’s been worried about how you’d react… How did you react?”
“React to what?” Catherine asked, gripped now by panic and concern.
“You said you’ve seen Grissom.”
“Then what are you asking about?”
“He didn’t tell me anything… I could tell something was going on but he insists he’s fine. Is he not fine? Warrick, what’s going on?”
Warrick’s forehead was lined with deep creases now. “Cath I’m not following this. How did you not see the bruises?”
Catherine’s chest constricted. “What?”
“On Grissom’s face. You must have - ”
Catherine felt the colour drain from her face as Warrick spoke. “The light was off,” she interrupted him, speaking without much thought as her mind tried to process what she was being told. “He claimed to have a headache.”
“Ah, that makes sense then.”
“Where did they come from?”
“You need to talk to Grissom.”
“Warrick! Why is he hiding them from me?”
“Cath, I don’t want to get in the middle of this. It’s Grissom’s business. He needs to tell you.”
“Well he clearly doesn’t plan to!... Is he all right?”
“Yes, he’s fine.”
“Then what’s going on?”
“Honestly, Cath, go and speak to Grissom. It’s not my place - you know he likes his privacy.”
Catherine let out a shaky sigh. “All right then, I will go talk to Grissom.” And she turned heel to head back the way she had come.
This time she opened the door without knocking and immediately switched on the light. Obviously surprised, Grissom naturally looked up in her direction and her breath caught when she saw the bruises on his right cheek. One round his eyes, and another just in front of his ear, they were blackening now obviously several days old.
“God, Gil, what happened?” she asked, stepping further into the office, her concern overwhelming what anger she had started to feel.
Closer examination revealed more marks on his neck and Catherine’s concern doubled.
“I was going to come and see you tomorrow afternoon and explain. Outside of work.”
“I take it your ‘headache’ came on when I called to check you would be here if I stopped by?”
He nodded, looking guilty.
“I’m surprised you didn’t tell me you were at a crime scene.”
He shrugged. “I’ve missed you,” he said softly.
Both the sentiment and the sincerity startled her, but instead of finding it comforting to know he felt that way, she found it of further concern. He seemed so vulnerable - and that wasn’t like him.
“I missed you too,” she admitted with a smile as she perched on the corner of his desk, looking down at him, her legs stretched out in front of her. “What happened, Gil?” she asked him gently.
“I got into a fight with a suspect,” he told her.
Her eyes widened, her fingers instinctively reaching out to trace the injuries. “A suspect attacked you?”
His lips pursed before he said, “Not exactly.”
Her eyes grew even wider. “You attacked a suspect?”
“He wasn’t a suspect at the time. The case was over… And I didn’t attack him. I… Well regardless, I ended up worse off than he did.”
“What on Earth possessed you?”
“He was goading me. Throughout the investigation, and then afterwards he turned up at my local store. He’d obviously been watching me.”
“We’re trained to ignore it.”
“I know. But what he said got to me and I snapped. I backed him into a wall; he carried on smirking and sneering, then he caught me off guard and…” He waved at the bruises on his face.
“What did he say?”
He shook his head dismissively. “It doesn’t matter. The internal investigation cleared me, as he was stalking me and - ”
“There was an internal investigation?... I’ve only been gone two weeks. What the hell did he say to you?”
“It doesn’t matter,” he repeated.
“I’d like to know. This is new for you. I’d like to know what caused it.”
“He just hit a nerve.”
She nodded. “About me?”
His eyes flicked to hers. “Why would you say that?”
“Warrick mentioned that you had been worried about telling me. You wanted to tell me outside of work… It must have been something to do with me.”
She grinned. “I’m a level three CSI… So what did he say about me?”
“He knew you when you were a dancer. Evidently he’s seen you since on the news. He deduced that we worked together, chose to take the opportunity to tell me all his fantasies about you… And to tell me why he thought you’d be up for it.”
Her eyebrows rose. “Sounds like my ideal guy… So you jumped to my defence?”
“He went too far.”
She smiled. “My knight in shining armour.”
Grissom shrugged it off.
She stood up from the desk and stepped closer to his chair.
“Thank you,” she said, leaning down to hug him.
She could imagine the surprised look on his face, and she smiled when he brought his hands up to return the embrace.
She was about to pull back when she realised she was cheek to cheek with his bruised side. She replayed their conversation, what he had done for her, and she found herself overwhelmed with attraction. Heart beginning to pound, and breath trembling, she couldn’t resist touching her lips to his cheek.
She had intended for it to be once: Just one kiss to show her gratitude. But after one came another, then another. Just soft touches.
“Cath…” he whispered, making no move to push her away.
“You were hurt defending my honour, Gil,” she whispered back, “The least I can do is kiss it better.” She turned her head into him with the next touch, deepening the kiss while at the same time her hand gently held his face.
His head tilted towards her touch, and she felt his lips softly brush against her jaw. Her stomach flipped with desire and her lips automatically edged further down his cheek until they found his coming to meet them.
His mouth met hers slowly at first, tentatively tasting and touching. This was new territory for them. They had flirted in the past, but it had never gone beyond that.
It was Catherine who first dared to deepen the kiss, parting her lips beneath his, inviting him to take it further. He accepted, pulling her down into his lap as his tongue slipped between her lips, meeting and dancing with hers. Her hands slid to the back of his head, her fingers playing with his short hair while his held her waist. She shivered when his fingertips edged beneath her shirt and brushed bare skin. His responding smile broke their contact and they took the opportunity to catch their breath.
Resting their foreheads together, wide smiles occupying their kiss swollen lips, their breathing fell into unison as they fought to steady it.
“Perhaps we shouldn’t be making out in your office,” Catherine smirked.
Grissom laughed his agreement.
“Didn’t you say you were gonna come over later?”
Grissom’s smile widened. “I did. But you already know about the fight.”
“I know,” Catherine replied, trailing a finger slowly and seductively just beneath the collar of his shirt. “But I don’t think I’ve adequately thanked you for your chivalry.”
She kissed him again, long and languid, unable to keep from smiling as her brain insisted on keep pointing out that Grissom was kissing her.
Minutes later she managed to regain the power of logical thought, and reluctantly pulled back.
“I should go. Wouldn’t want another internal investigation on your file.”
Grissom raised his hand to softly stroke her cheek. “This wasn’t how I expected telling you would go.”
A wide grin slowly spread across her lips. “Have you ever known me to be predictable?”
A short laugh was Grissom’s response. “No.”
She stood up from his knee and straightened her clothing. “Okay, I’m going to leave.” She faced him. “I’ll see you later?”
He nodded with a smile and unmistakeable happiness in his eyes. “You will.”
“Good,” she grinned, feeling rather giddy at the thought. “Don’t work too hard.”
She wanted to lean down and kiss him again but she knew it would be far too tempting to stay all night. So she shot him a smile that promised great things for later, and headed for the door.
“Oh, Cath?” Grissom stopped her just as she had the door open and was about to step outside.
“Yes?” she asked, turning back to him.
“Why did you come in tonight?”
Her mouth quirked upwards into a shy smile. “I’ve missed you.”
His smile mirrored hers. “Maybe I should go with you next time you take a vacation.”
They shared another smile, both unable to help it, surprised but thrilled about this development in their relationship.
Her smile widened. “I think that’s a good idea,” she said, “Keep you out of trouble.”