I remember the exact moment I fell in love with him…
He was dressed in grey trousers and a black t-shirt, and the look he wore on his handsome young face was not one of lust – as she had come to expect – but rather one of awe, of curiosity, and of the seriousness of the situation. He stopped in front of her and his eyes instantly met hers and never waivered as he introduced himself:
"My name is Gil Grissom, I'm from the crime lab..."
I remember the exact moment I realised I had fallen in love with him…
Her eyes widened and she turned towards Eddie. "What?"
"You heard me…"
Her lips quirked into a smile, but her forehead creased into a frown.
"Well?" he asked – not impatient, but curious.
… and the moment I deemed myself not worthy of him…
She searched her mind for the reason why she hadn't answered him immediately. And there it was. Gil Grissom.
She recalled the day they met; the day he convinced her to apply for a job at the crime lab; how close they had grown since then – not just as colleagues, but as friends.
She thought about his intelligence; his dedication to his work; his knowledge – that seemed to span all imaginable topics; and his kind- hearted, peaceful nature.
And she turned to Eddie, and smiled – but, sadly – as she said: "Yes, I will marry you."
I remember the moment I thought he might feel more than just friendship towards me…
"Gil?" she called to him, one step away from waving her hand in front of his face to bring him back to reality.
"Sorry?" he asked, his brow furrowing as he snapped out of his daze.
"Are you okay?" she asked him, smiling.
He nodded. "I'm fine."
She studied him for a moment trying to determine if he was telling the truth, before saying: "Okay… Well?"
"`Well?'" he frowned.
"The dress," she said, accompanying it with a half-twirl to draw his attention to the object of the discussion.
His eyes dropped and took in the sight before him. A long ivory gown; fitted at the bodice, then flowing smoothly down past her ankles, with a short train behind her.
"You look beautiful," he said, his lips smiling, but his eyes tinged with what looked like sadness.
I remember the moment I realised I would always have his friendship, despite me choosing Eddie…
"Why the hell are you here?" she yelled at him.
Her outburst surprised him, and he actually took a step backwards. "I'm here for you," he replied, frowning.
"Then why aren't you here?" she continued, her voice still raised.
His frown deepened. "I am here."
"No you're not, Gil! Your body might be here, but you've spent most of the day tucked away in a corner talking to nobody, lost in a world of your own. Where the hell is your mind at?"
He simply stood in silence as she glared at him, her chest heaving with the anger she was radiating.
"Gil?!" she pushed, her voice slightly softer, and he was shocked to see tears gleaming in her eyes.
He stepped forward and enveloped her in his embrace. "I am here, Catherine… I'm here to be with you on your day," he said softly.
She pulled back from him, but kept her arms wrapped around his waist. "But do you want to be here?" she asked him quietly.
The sadness in his eyes was familiar to her, as he forced a smile, and nodded. "I will always be wherever you need me to be."
She was silent for a beat as she took that in, then she spoke seriously: "That's not what I asked."
I remember the moment that I jeopardised everything we had built up in the twenty years since then…
"You look nice," he commented as she stepped into his office, dressed in a knee-length black skirt, and fitted, deep red blouse.
"Thank you," she smiled.
"Date?" he asked, appearing disinterested.
"Dinner," she stated.
His forehead creased a little. "But not a date?"
She took a deep breath before replying. "I'm not sure."
He raised one eyebrow. "You're not sure?"
She shook her head.
"Who is this dinner with?" he asked.
She hesitated a little. "Warrick."
She watched him for any sort of reaction, but whatever he was feeling, or thinking, he hid it well. As always.
"Well, you're certainly dressed for a date," he said, before glancing back down at the papers on his desk.
Her eyebrows shot sky high as her eyes widened. "And what does that mean?!" she almost yelled.
Her outburst made him jump, and he sat back in his seat. "I just meant, you're very dressed up – if it isn't a date."
"Why shouldn't I dress up for dinner with a friend?" she glared at him.
"Catherine, I – "
"You know what? Never mind… Don't even bother… You've answered all my questions."
And she turned around to leave.
"Catherine!" he called after her, following her into the corridor.
She did him the courtesy of turning around. "What?"
He stepped closer to her so their conversation could be more private. "What was that?" he asked quietly.
"That, Gil," she began through clenched teeth, "Is what we've been doing for the last twenty years."
He frowned. "You talking, and me not understanding what about?" he asked, braving a tiny smile.
Her glare told him this wasn't time for amusement. "No, Gil," she said, her voice suddenly quieter. "You pulling away from me when I have a date."
"So it is a date?"
She was silent for a moment, simply holding his gaze, then she practically whispered: "See." And she walked away.
… and the moment he fixed it…
She looked up, eyes wide, when her office door slammed shut and the perpetrator stood in front of her desk.
"Gil?!" she demanded, glaring at him.
"So you do remember me?" he asked, his eyes fixing on her.
She quickly narrowed her eyes at him before looking back down to her work. "Sarcasm doesn't suit you, Gil," she commented, scribbling her signature on one of the reports.
"And this attitude doesn't suit you," he retorted.
As he had known it would, this redirected her face to him, complete with shocked, angry glare. "What do you want, Gil?" she asked him, impatiently.
"I want to know why we're arguing," he answered simply.
"Because you stormed in here criticising my attitude!"
"We were arguing before that," he said calmly, sitting down in the chair opposite hers. "That's why I stormed in here criticising your attitude."
"Oh don't do that!" she warned.
He frowned. "Do what?"
"Be all calm and collected to make me feel guilty for being mad at you!"
"I assure you, that was not my intention," he said in as soft a voice as he could muster, with a smirk gracing his lips.
She shook her head, losing the battle to keep herself from smiling.
"That's better," he said.
She lifted her eyes to look at him from where her head was dipped to hide her smile. "What is?"
"A smile does suit you," he grinned.
She felt her cheeks flush, and once again lowered a shaking head.
When she next looked up, she flicked her hair back over her shoulder, and sat back in her chair, looking at him as if there was something she wanted to tell him, but she didn't know how to.
However he didn't give her chance to speak. "I'm sorry," he said suddenly. "If I pull away from you, or act differently around you when you have a date…. I'm sorry. I promise in future I'll be nothing but supportive… and maybe concerned occasionally, but that comes with the friendship territory." He smiled to assure her that he meant it.
She smiled sadly in return. "I don't want you to be supportive, Gil… I don't want you to act like you're okay with it… I want you to tell me why you're not," she said, quietly.
"So you want to hear that none of them are good enough for you? – I'm not including Warrick here - You want to hear that they treat you like dirt and don't deserve someone as beautiful and as loving as you?" The anger – not towards her, but towards the men he was speaking of – was building in his voice with every word, and hers picked up where he left off.
"Yes! I want to hear what you actually think! What you actually feel! I don't want to hear that I'm `certainly dressed for a date', or other snide digs at me, as if to be dating is wrong! I want to hear why you find it necessary to make those comments; why you have such a problem with me going out; why no other man is worthy of me! I want to hear that – " She stopped herself before she completed that sentence, and just stood staring at him where they were now both stood, leaning across the desk towards each other.
"… that I wish it was me?" he said, voice hardly louder than a whisper.
I remember the moment his lips first kissed mine…
She turned to leave his office, but stopped when she felt his hand on her arm.
"We were interrupted earlier," he said, guiding her round to face him.
She smiled at the memory. "Yes we were… I think Greg thinks it's a good job he walked in when he did… He's pretty sure we were about to kill each other."
He stepped closer to her and wrapped his arms around her waist. "Oh, I had no intentions of killing you," he smiled.
"Glad to hear it," she smiled back.
"My intentions were much less sinful," he said, quietly, bringing his lips closer to hers.
One of her eyebrows quirked upwards. "Really?" she smirked.
He paused for a second. "Okay, a little less," he smiled before closing the distance between them.
But, this is the moment I have been waiting for…
Her eyes fluttered open, closing again quickly when they were assaulted by light. She rolled her head to the side and noticed that the scent that drifted from the pillow was not of her laundry soap.
She couldn't stop the grin that formed across her lips as her mind awoke and reminded her where she was and why.
She turned onto her other side and snuggled closer to the man next to her. His arms wrapped around her and pulled her to him, and he kissed her forehead gently.
"Morning," he said, in that croaky, groggy voice that one has first thing in the morning.
"Morning," she replied, still grinning.
Then she settled her head against his chest, listening to the steady rhythm of his heart, and she drifted back to sleep in his arms.
It took twenty years…
But it's perfect.