Catherine’s eyes fluttered open, and she stretched contentedly as she rolled
over in bed, a smile in place, ready to greet her husband. She stopped when she
found the other side of the bed was empty, and her smile slowly morphed into a
slight pout. She would have thought he would at least wake her up to wish her
happy anniversary before he got up.
As she contemplated whether or not it was worth being upset with him, the smell of food registered with her brain, and her smile languidly returned. She rolled back, dropping her legs over the edge of the bed, and set about getting ready for their day.
They had decided to spend a quiet day together at home. They had known they would both be working until the early hours of the morning, and so a nice, peaceful lunch while Lindsey was at school seemed perfect, and then they would take Lindsey with them, out to dinner in the evening.
Catherine had secretly considered an anniversary present for Gil that would lead to lunch being forgotten and the day being spent in this one room, but his disappearing act had called a halt to those plans. Or at least postponed them.
In a comfortable pair of jeans and a black tank top, with her hair pulled back into a pony tail (in lieu of washing it - something she had plans for Gil to do later), Catherine made her way downstairs.
Following the tempting aroma of warming bread, Catherine headed first for the kitchen, coming to a standstill in the doorway when she saw the table had been draped in a white cloth, and adorned with candles and a small selection of tulips- the flowers she had carried at their wedding.
“You’re spoiling your surprise,” Gil’s voice rumbled softly into her ear, as hands slid round her waist from behind, and then lips pressed softly against her neck. Catherine tilted her head, trembling contentedly as he continued to thrice more kiss the tender skin.
Then she turned in his arms, pulling him closer as she leaned back against the doorframe. “And you spoiled yours,” she purred, “Leaving me in bed. Alone.” She leaned up and captured his lips in a languorous caress; her lips sliding softly, but determinedly, over his, her tongue flickering forward, stroking, tasting, teasing; leaving him with no doubt as to what his surprise would have been.
He leaned into her, his hands slipping from her waist to her buttocks, massaging gently, rhythmically, as her body pressed against his. She allowed him a few more seconds of such entertainment, and then broke the kiss, looking up at him with wide, sparkling eyes as she breathlessly wished him happy anniversary.
“You’re a wicked woman, Catherine Grissom,” he chastised her when she slipped out of his embrace and sauntered into the kitchen.
“Aww,” she drawled sarcastically, “If only you’d known that before you married me.”
“I did,” he countered, stopping her hands as she tried to peep under the cloths that covered the food he had prepared. “Patience is a virtue, my dear,” he chided.
She glanced up from under her eyelashes. “One I don’t possess when it comes to surprises,” she reminded him. “You knew that before you married me, too.”
He laughed, and tenderly cupped her cheek in the palm of one hand. “I did,” he agreed, wistfully. “Happy anniversary, my angel,” he whispered, leaning down to kiss her again.
But Catherine burst out laughing.
Gil pulled back, frowning, and Catherine shook her head apologetically as she tried to calm down. “I’m sorry,” she gasped.
“I wish you happy anniversary and you laugh?”
“I’m sorry,” she repeated, catching her breath now. “It just… ‘My angel’ sounded so…” she trailed off giggling again.
“Soppy?” he offered.
“Cheesy,” she amended.
He raised an eyebrow. “Cheesy?… I was quoting our wedding song,” he protested. “The one we chose, not the one Greg wrote,” he added quickly.
“I was there, you know” she grinned cheekily.
“Then you’ll be familiar with the steps,” he commented, swooping her into his arms.
Her momentary confusion evaporated when he began to sing:
“I just want to tell you, all the things you are,
“And all the things you mean to me…”
She smiled widely, shaking her head at his craziness, as they slowly swayed round the room to the sound of Gil’s gentle voice.
“… You’ve been with me forever,
“Through the changes in my life,
“Through all the tears and laughter.
“When I find myself believing there’s no place to go,
“When I feel the loneliness inside my heart…
“You’re the answer to my prayers,
“And you’re with me everywhere,
“You’re my angel…”
He emphasised ‘my angel’, looking at Catherine pointedly, causing her to giggle once more.
“…Miracle,” he continued, “You’re all I need tonight,
“Give me shelter from the rain,
“You breathe life in me again,
“You’re my angel, my miracle, you’re all I need to know…”
He stopped them moving, having positioned Catherine between himself and the island in the centre of the kitchen.
“… Tonight,” he concluded the singing, the last word barely above a whisper. “May I try again now?” he asked, resting his hands either side of her on the edge of the work surface to fence her in.
“Try what again?” she asked quietly, feeling sappily weak after his little performance.
He leaned towards her, his body pressing into hers as his face drew nearer. “Happy anniversary, my angel,” he repeated.
And this time there was no laughter. She raised her lips to meet his, relishing in the softness of his kiss, remembering the day they were celebrating – and everything they went through to get there. As certain images flashed through her mind, she smiled against his lips and he pulled back.
“Don’t start again,” he warned, smiling.
She shook her head once. “I won’t… I was just thinking.”
“About?” he prompted.
“About how this all began,” she told him. “About Lizzie’s wedding. And our engagement party,” she smirked.
Gil blushed at the memory. Catherine knew he still found it difficult to believe that he had actually taken part in his performance at their party.
“Aww,” she cooed, stroking her fingers along the line of his cheekbone. “Your cheeks are almost the same colour as Uncle Bob’s Barbie dress.”
Just as they both started to laugh, more memories of their shared past surfacing, the buzzer sounded on the oven, and Gil stepped away.
“Dinner is served, Madame,” he muttered in a bad French accent as he approached the stove.
Remembering the gift wrapped package that had been on the table, beside the tulips, Catherine asked, “Should we exchange gifts over lunch?”
“That was my plan,” he said, removing a tray of bread rolls from the oven.
“I’ll just go and get yours then,” she smiled, already leaving the room.
When Catherine returned, the candles were lit, two places were set round one corner of the table, and trays of cheese and fruit were alongside a basket of the bread rolls. An ice bucket, with a bottle of champagne sat on the nearest counter.
“Like the wedding,” she breathed softly.
Gil, standing behind the table, nodded once, and pulled out a chair for her.
“Thank you,” she smiled, taking the offered seat, and placing his gift on the table.
Gil poured them both some champagne and then sat down beside her.
They reminisced some more about the hilarity of their karaoke engagement party; about the love triangle with Nick, Greg and Sara; about the measles that caused them to delay the wedding a few weeks; and about the day itself, seeming, at the same time, only days ago, and yet a lifetime away.
After chuckling as they tried to remember all the lyrics to Greg’s rendition of ‘Gil and Catherine’, Catherine’s eyes fell once more on the presents, and her intrigue won out.
“Can we open them now?” she asked, eyes alight with excitement. They had agreed to make anniversary gifts this year, as the theme was ‘paper’, and she half expected that they would have made the same thing.
Gil rolled his eyes. “You’re like a child at Christmas,” he commented, as he reached over to hand her her gift.
“You knew that before you married me as well,” she grinned.
She waited until Gil had settled her gift to him on the table before him, and then happily tore the dusky pink wrapping paper from the package: to reveal an identical box to that which she had acquired from the lab to put his present in for wrapping.
“Do you think we spend too much time together?” she asked him, with a smile, as they both began to pierce the tape the other had used to seal the box.
Lifting the lid, Catherine found that her assumption that they had come up with the same idea was incorrect. She reached in and lifted out a small ornament of a tulip.
“Wow!” she exclaimed, realising he had made it using papier mache. And a closer examination revealed two ladybugs sitting on one of the petals. “You’re quite an artist.”
She looked over at Gil who was examining his present with similar admiration. The delicate butterfly, made entirely by folding paper of different colours, sat in his hand as he took in its intricacies.
“Thank you,” he stated, meeting her eyes above the wings.
“And thank you,” she replied. “Would you like your other present now?”
She saw his eyes darken, and felt her lips curve into a flirtatious smile.
“Shouldn’t we let lunch settle?” he asked, teasingly, as she put down her tulip, and stood from her seat, holding out her hand to him.
He carefully placed the butterfly on the table, and took her hand, but instead of standing to join her, he pulled her onto his lap.
“You’re spoiling your surprise,” she whispered, repeating his earlier words, as he trailed his fingertips along her cheek, before stroking them across her hair, and removing the band that held it up.
“Oh, I don’t think I am,” he quipped, threading his hand through her hair and pulling her face down to his. “It’s been a wonderful year, Mrs Grissom,” he told her huskily, his lips so close to hers that they brushed them as he spoke.
“It certainly has,” she agreed, adding, “Here’s to many more,” before pushing forward and melting into their celebration.
Gil sings "Angel" by Lionel Richie