the way you left me,
I'm not pretending.
No hope, no love, no glory,
No happy ending.
I watch him dance with his new fiancée. Arms wrapped round her waist, as hers drape over his shoulders. He whispers something to her, and she laughs, lowering her head; shaking it to calm herself down. When she looks back up at him, their eyes meet and he smirks. That Grissom smirk. And my throat tightens. There was a time that look was reserved for me; a time when our eyes would meet, he’d smile at me like that, and my lips would curve in response. A time that started twenty-five years ago, but ended without me realising it.
I watch them sway slowly to the music, and my memory drifts to the only other time I’ve seen Gil dance. His arms were round my waist on that occasion; but his eyes drifted round the room, never resting on mine for long. It was obvious he was afraid Eddie wouldn’t approve of him slow dancing with his new wife. At my persistent urging he eventually relaxed a little, but I was still able to feel the tension in his shoulders.
I wonder now if Sara feels that same tension. To an outsider, they look the picture of a happy couple, but twenty-five years have given me a unique ability to read Gil, and though the situation is of his own doing, he doesn’t seem as comfortable as he should. Or maybe I’m projecting; because I wish he wasn’t as comfortable as he seems.
It’s my own fault really. Looking back it was crazy to think he and I would always have our special connection; and that it would always be enough. I got comfortable, I guess, with the way things were; scared to tell him of my true feelings lest it shatter the image of us I held in my head. I suppose nothing shatters a dream like him proposing to someone else.
I should have seen it coming, perhaps, but I’d become so deluded that I was convinced this thing with him and Sara wouldn’t last. I know Gil. At least I thought I did. And it seemed out of character. My first instinct when Warrick told me Gil and Sara were engaged was to laugh. I managed to stop myself and express my disbelief as simply an acceptable level of surprise, but the disbelief was there, nonetheless. Gil and marriage just didn’t seem to fit.
Even watching them now, it’s incongruous in my mind. Gil’s getting married. And it’s not that I think he should be marrying me instead of Sara; that never featured in my imaginings. I always figured Gil just wasn’t the type to marry. I never doubted he could love someone intensely and so completely; but to a certain extent he’s a loner; he’s content on his own, with his puzzles, with his experiments, with his thoughts. That’s who he is; and it’s all part of why I fell in love with him.
Perhaps only Sara could bring out the side of him we see now. Maybe he has always longed for love like others share; the ‘normal’ life. Maybe I don’t know him as well as I’ve always thought I did.
I’m startled from my thoughts by blue eyes locked on mine from across the room. He’s holding Sara close now, her head is resting on his shoulder, and he’s looking straight at me. I smile, although I know that he’ll instantly detect that it’s forced. Perhaps the dim lighting will lessen his ability to read me.
No such luck. He raises an eyebrow quizzically, and I widen the smile to assure him that I’m fine. He nods and offers a small smile in response and then, thankfully, Warrick sits down beside me, placing a drink on the table for me.
I turn to him and smile in thanks, and when I look back to Gil his expression has changed, and I’m overwhelmed with the sense that he now looks as I must have done when he caught me watching them dance. My mind races with the possibility that his thoughts echo mine; that he regrets not exploring our connection further; that he’s as surprised as I am by the way things have turned out. Then Sara lifts her head and the moment is broken. She speaks to him and he laughs; and I find myself flushed with acceptance. Never doubt, never look back. It’s time I got back to that. What will be will be. It’s time to let go.
“Are you okay?” Warrick asks, clearly concerned by my long silence.
I nod my head, moving my eyes away from Gil, and smile up at him. “Yeah, I’m fine… Listen, do you want to get some breakfast after this?”
“Sure,” he nods. “I’ll see if Nick and Greg – ”
Taking a deep breath, I place my hand on his arm to stop him. “I was thinking…” I pause and try to force some power into my tentative voice. “Just the two of us.”
His eyebrows rise as realisation dawns, and he smiles. I relax marginally – I survived the first step. But then he looks to the same couple on the dance floor that had held my attention and appears deep in thought for a few seconds before he turns back to me.
“Are you sure?” he asks, and I understand every level of meaning in that question.
I slip my hand down into his and manage to speak without hesitation. “Yes.”
His smile widens. “Then, okay.”
And my smile widens in response. What will be will be… “Okay.”
This is the way that we love,
Like it's forever.
Then live the rest of our life,
But not together.