Sara walked into the break room half an hour before the start of the December 22nd nightshift. Warrick was lounging on one of the sofas reading some sort of magazine, and Nick and Greg were engaged in a discussion about how many women they would have working for them if they were Santa Claus.
She entered the room and nodded politely when Warrick looked up to say `hey'.
"Sara, are you alright?" he asked, concerned by the angry, and somewhat traumatised, look on her face.
"I'm fine," she replied through gritted teeth.
"You don't sound fine," Greg chimed in, breaking from his conversation with Nick.
"I just… No, never mind." She shook her head and moved towards the fridge.
"Sara?" Nick inquired in a friendly, but warning voice.
She sighed, grabbed a bottle of water and turned back to them. Then she cautiously looked around the room, and out into the corridor, before speaking. "I don't know if I should tell you."
Greg's eyes lit up. "Oooh, then you definitely should!"
Warrick and Nick rolled there eyes emphatically, but looked to Sara expectantly.
She hesitated, unsure for another moment, before once more checking that the coast was clear, then she leaned forward and quietly said:
(I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus)
"~ I saw Catherine kissing Santa Claus,
~ Standing just outside her house last night.
~ She didn't see me peep
~ From my Tahoe down the street.
~ Not that I was watching,
~ But they weren't being discreet!"
They all leaned towards her, simultaneously, telling her they wanted to hear more. She checked once more, then continued:
"~ I saw Santa kissing Catherine's neck,
~ His hands roaming quite wildly on her bod!
~ It was close to being obscene!
~ Oh, I wish I hadn't seen
~ Catherine kissing Santa Claus last night!"
Sara had only just made it to the other side of the room after she'd stormed away, carried by her anger and frustration at what she'd seen when Catherine walked in.
"Hey guys," she smiled, then it fell slowly into a frown when she saw the shocked looks on their faces. "What's up?"
Nick, Warrick and Greg exchanged several glances, she noticed, and Sara refused to make eye contact with her. Now even more puzzled, she turned back to the men. Nick and Warrick just shrugged, but Greg looked about ready to burst with excitement.
He glanced, fearfully, around the room, but was unable to contain it any longer.
"~ Sa-ra saw you kissing Santa Claus!
~ Said that he was at your house last night!"
He collapsed backwards, sinking into his chair.
"~ Oh, what a thrill it would have been,
~ If only I had seen
~ You kissy-kissing Santa Claus last night!"
Eyes wide, Catherine swivelled round to Sara, raising an eyebrow to demand an explanation.
Sara's chin stuck out defiantly, she put her hands on her hips, and spoke boldly. "Gonna deny it?"
Catherine just raised her other eyebrow to meet the first.
"~ Cath, I saw you kissing Santa Claus!
~ So there really isn't nothing you can say!
~ But, if Grissom wanted me,
~ Then I know I wouldn't be
~ Kissy-kissing Santa Claus that way!"
Sara's eyes were glowing with rage as she glared at the woman she had always known was her rival for Grissom's affection.
Catherine's expression softened and she looked at her quite sympathetically.
(Let It Snow! Let it Snow! Let It Snow!)
"~ Oh, this jealousy's awfully frightful,
~ You get such pleasure from being spiteful!
~ It isn't my fault he said `no',
~ Let him go, let him go, let him go!"
Sara was just getting ready to lay into Catherine for being totally unappreciative of how Grissom feels about her, when Greg came to the realisation that Catherine was not denying her alleged encounter.
"~ So, it's true that you were kissing Santa?
~ Oh, you're gonna tell us more, Cath, aren't ya?
~ Til you tell me what I want to know,
~ I won't go! I won't go! I won't go!"
Catherine turned to see Greg's pouting face, and smiled, gently patronising.
"~ It was only a kiss goodnight "
"~ With his hands up your top? Yeah, sure!" Sara snorted from behind her.
"~ Sara said you two looked pretty tight."
"~ We're very good friends, nothing more!" Catherine responded to Greg's winking and wiggling eyebrows.
"~ I'm not staying for any more of this!
~ You don't care that you could be his!
~ Why Grissom loves you so,
~ I don't know, I don't know, I don't know!" Sara muttered as she wandered out of the room.
Catherine watched her curiously as she left. Normally she let Sara's words regarding Grissom pass her by, only vaguely registering what she was talking about, but something here had sunk in. Grissom loves her?
Her puzzlement must have shown on her face, because before she knew it, Nick, Warrick and Greg were gathered around her.
"Are you alright?" Nick asked her.
"Yeah," she responded, nodding to affirm it.
"Ignore her," Warrick said softly. "She's just in one of those moods."
"Yeah!" Greg agreed. "So were you kissing Santa last night?"
Warrick and Nick glared at the youngest CSI but Catherine laughed a little. "Sort of," she said pensively. Then she quickly turned to them. "Do you think that too?"
All three men frowned, wondering if they had missed something.
"Think what?" Greg asked.
"That Grissom loves me?"
More glances were exchanged, then it was silently decided that Warrick would speak for them all, and he was nudged forwards towards Catherine. Glancing back at them, he shook his head once at the cowardice of his workmates.
"~ Catherine, sweetie, for a level three CSI, oh my,
~ You are really quite blind
~ Catherine, sweetie, it's obvious he loves you to us!"
Nick stepped forward, now feeling a little more courageous, seeing as Warrick had been so direct.
"~ Catherine, ask him, bet all he wants for Christmas is
you, just you,
~ For himself, for his own,
~ Catherine, sweetie, he's loved you for as long as I know!"
Now, Greg decided he could hide his puzzlement no longer. He really couldn't understand how she couldn't know.
"~ Don't you feel the same way, Cath?
~ Seen the way you look at him, how he makes you laugh.
~ Would have thought that you and he
~ Were a cou-ple al-read-y."
Catherine sighed, wistfully.
"~ I guess I always knew that I loved him, but not he…
~ Thought it was too much to hope
~ I'd have told him, but our friendship was just too much to risk."
"~ Catherine, sweetie, tell him how you feel, do it now,
~ 'Cause he really should know.
~ Catherine, sweetie, the two of you are destined to be!"
Catherine frowned at Warrick, she'd never have guessed he was such a hopeless romantic. She smiled a little, feeling their faith in Grissom's feelings giving her faith that maybe she could tell him, and things might actually turn out the way she had dreamed of. But she was still unsure, and uncertainty was clear in her eyes as she spoke.
"I don't know. I mean last night was "
"Cath, don't worry about last night," Warrick interrupted her. "Whatever happened last night, doesn't mean that you and Grissom can't be together. Honey, it was obvious the two of you were in love the day I met you. I think you've waited long enough."
Catherine frowned as he spoke, he'd obviously misunderstood what she was going to say. "No, last night "
She was silenced this time by Greg's finger across her lips. Despite her wide eyes of shock at his audacity, he didn't remove his hand.
(All I Want For Christmas Is You)
"~ Grissom don't want much for Christmas,
~ Like Nick said, it's you he needs,
~ He's been waiting years for your love,
~ That's been clear for all to see.
~ You love him, so… I don't know…
~ Take the chance, Cath, let him know?
~ Make all your dreams come true,
~ As this year's gift for Grissom, give you."
Greg lowered his hand, with a cheeky grin, and Warrick and Nick were soon by his side, and they were all trying to persuade her together:
"~ We can see you want to do this,
~ Your eyes are giving you away,
~ There's a sparkling flame of love there,
~ Glow'ng no matter what you say."
Subconsciously she fiddled with her hair, and straightened her outfit, apparently preparing herself to take the chance, although she didn't realise she was doing it until they stopped her hands as they smoothed her blouse.
"~ Your hair is great, your clothes are gorgeous,
~ You've no excuse for backing out.
~ You know that this will make you happy
~ A love that you can shout about."
"~ But what about "
"~ Forget last night!
~ Santa Claus and you's not right,
~ Gil's in love with you,
~ And you've already said that you love him too."
It was clear that they were not going to let her explain what actually happened last night, and, if she was honest with herself, she quite liked the idea of what they were trying to get her to do. So, she gave up on the explanation and tried to build up the courage to do this. They wouldn't encourage her to admit her feelings if they weren't sure that they would be returned. And this gave her a new hope.
"~ You realise, if he doesn't love me,
~ You will all suffer my wrath,
~ I know ways to hide a body,
~ And I'll do it, if in my face he laughs!"
"~ Cath, you worry way too much, dear,
~ Trust us, it'll go to plan.
~ Now take a deep breath, honey.
~ We're taking you to find your man."
Before she could register what they were going to do, they'd swept her up off the ground and were carrying her above their shoulders. She laughed, partly in humour at the craziness of her current situation, and partly with nervousness, that she was about to do something that would change her life.
"~ Here we go, and by tonight,
~ He'll be holding you so tight,
~ To make his dreams come true,
~ This year our gift to Grissom is you."
They walked out into the corridor, carrying her carefully, but confidently, and headed for Grissom's office.
"~ Through the lab we're walking,
~ And soon we will be there…"
"~ Guys, people are watching,
~ They're gathering everywhere!"
Catherine had noticed the many faces peeping through windows, and the train of people that was growing behind them, following them on their journey.
"~ It's cos they all support you,
~ They all know Grissom loves you "
"~ Apparently you do give a damn 'bout how he feels!
"~ But break his heart and you'll answer to me!"
Sara! The guys turned around to where she stood in the crowd behind them, and Catherine could see her. She didn't look angry anymore, she looked a little sad, but more than anything, she actually did look happy for her.
"~ I would ask for Gris this Christmas,
~ But, like each year, it wouldn't be,
~ He has only eyes for you, Cath,
~ I'd just been too dumb to see.
~ Really all I want to know
~ Is that Grissom's happy, so
~ I hope you're wish comes true,
~ And that Christmas brings his loving for you."
Catherine tapped on Warrick's shoulder to let him know she wanted to get down, and the three men lowered her to the ground. She stood in front of the younger CSI, and studied her, looking for any sign that she wasn't being genuine. Finding none she leaned forward, and the two women shared a hug. Then there was a quiet exchange that the crowd couldn't hear:
"~ Sara, sweetie, for a CSI level three, well, see
~ You can be really quite blind,
~ Grissom loves me, but someone else round here does love you!"
Colour flushed Sara's cheeks, and it was obvious that she knew exactly who Catherine was talking about, and that her eyes shot directly to Nick over Catherine's shoulder confirmed it.
Grinning Catherine whispered: "Don't wait too long."
Sara smiled, gratefully. "You neither."
Smiling, nervously again, Catherine took a deep breath, turned and led the crowd along the few steps remaining between them and Grissom's office. Stopping outside the door she turned round for a last bit of encouragement and she got it, from all of them.
"~ Catherine, honey, we all want this Christmas to be,
~ The best one you've ever had,
~ So get in there, and tell him that you love him like mad!"
Catherine nodded her thanks, took another deep breath, turned, and reached for the door handle. Just as she was about to open it, the door swung open, and a puzzled Grissom was standing in the doorway.
He frowned at the thirty or so people who were standing chatting in little groups throughout the corridor, then looked to Catherine who looked a little guilty.
"Hey!" she smiled.
"What's going on?" he asked, narrowing his eyes, and glancing at the gathering where Warrick, Nick, Greg and Sara were.
Catherine shrugged. "Guess there must be too many staff in today." Knowing he wouldn't buy that, she quickly continued. "I was just coming to see you."
Grissom's face clouded. "Ah."
"Ah?" Catherine asked, frowning.
"You want to talk about last night?"
Suddenly aware that there was no sound in the corridor whatsoever not even the sound of the thirty or so people breathing Catherine suggested that they move inside.
Now watching the assembled crowd even more curiously, Grissom agreed and stepped aside to let Catherine enter ahead of him. She smiled as she passed him then took another deep breath for courage whilst he closed the door behind them.
Before she had chance to say anything, Grissom did. His back to her, looking at one of his bookcases, his voice was soft.
(Walking In The Air)
"~ I'm very sorry, Cath,
~ I shouldn't have kissed you like that,
~ I was caught up in the moment "
"~ Grissom, I'm not mad."
Grissom's brow creased at the words that had interrupted him, but he still couldn't bring himself to turn round. He was thinking he had misheard, when she continued.
She took a step towards him, and resisted the urge to reach out her hand to his shoulder.
"~ I liked the kiss last night,
~ I've waited years for that to be,
~ I've just been worr-ied
~ That it meant more to me."
She tried to gauge his reaction to the first part of her declaration. She didn't want to jump straight in there with the `I love you's so she'd started with that. But without being able to see his face, it was hard to know what he thought. So she just remained where she was, her fingers fidgeting uneasily with the hem of her blouse, her eyes fixed on the back of his head, longing for him to turn round, and she continued tentatively:
"~ I missed you lots last night,
~ With the party gone, the house felt bare.
~ I missed your lips on mine,
~ I wished that you were there.
~ Grissom please, turn around,
~ Let me see your eyes
~ If you think this was a mistake
~ I'll say goodbye."
Sensing that she had backed away from him, Grissom quickly turned around and swooped towards her. He gently stroked the side of her face, conveying to her his apologies for not turning around sooner.
"~ I don't think it was wrong,
~ I don't think we made a mistake,"
He smiled, lovingly.
"~ And even if we did,
~ It was a good mistake to make," he joked.
Catherine gave a watery laugh, as a couple of tears escaped her eyes. He wiped them away gently, and his eyes locked on hers. He felt a familiar pull, the same force that had drawn him to kiss her last night.
It had taken Catherine barely five minutes to persuade him to stand in as Santa at the Christmas party she and her sister were holding for their children's friends. Catherine's brother in law had come down with the flu, and Grissom was their first thought as a replacement. And he never could say no to her. Well, it wasn't that he couldn't. He wouldn't.
He had actually quite enjoyed the party. An evening with Catherine; the opportunity to watch her, to adore her out of work; what was there not to enjoy? Then as he was leaving, he spotted the mistletoe that someone had placed above the front door, and in the spirit of tradition, he leaned in and kissed her. It was his intention for it to be a quick kiss, a gentle peck on her lips, but he found that he didn't want to stop.
Eventually, reluctantly, he did pull away, and seeing uncertainty sweep across her face, he quickly said goodbye and left.
Now he knew that she wanted it too, his memories of the softness of her lips were flooding through the barrier he had forced them to reside behind.
He lowered his face towards hers, and placed a soft kiss gently onto her waiting lips. She leaned into him, and pressed her lips tightly against his, and the kiss deepened, his arms held her securely against him, and she weaved her arms over his shoulders, pulling him towards her, determined that this time, she wouldn't let him escape.
Outside, the crowd gathered together and sang softly:
(last lines of All I Want For Christmas is You)
"~ We hope all your dreams come true,
~ And we wish a merry Christmas to you."
Alternative lyrics by me
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by Thomas Connor
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! by Sammy Cahn, Jule Styne
Santa Baby by Doug Philips, Philip Springer, Tony Springer
All I Want For Christmas Is You by Walter Afanasieff, Mariah Carey
Walking in the Air by Howard Blake
Title adapted from "The Music of The Night" from The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Thanks for reading! Have yourselves a merry little Christmas :-)
Lots of love and holiday huggles!