August 17 2006
Las Vegas Crime Lab
The door opened and he entered backwards, his head looking from side to side out into the corridor as he stepped inside quickly and quietly.
She watched this intriguing display with an amused smirk on her face, but made sure not to reveal her presence.
As soon as he was across the threshold, he closed the door and checked that it was securely locked. Then he closed the blinds, and as he turned around he flicked the light switch. Her smirk grew to a grin as she imagined what was about to happen.
It didn't disappoint.
"Geez, Catherine!" he yelled as he jumped backwards, back colliding with the door. "What the hell are you doing?"
She couldn't help but laugh, and spent a few moments indulging in that inclination, while Gil calmed down and offered her his `unamused' face as he crossed the office to the desk and seated himself opposite her giggling form.
"When you're quite finished," he quipped, still trying to look annoyed, but failing, because he never could stop himself from smiling if Catherine was.
She reduced her laughter to merely a smile. "Are you hiding from someone, Gil?"
He narrowed his eyes at her. "I suspect you know who I'm hiding from, Catherine, and why."
She frowned. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
He raised an eyebrow. "Of course you don't."
Sitting comfortably in his chair, feet up on his desk, Catherine continued to smile. "What happened to `innocent until proven guilty', Gil?"
"You know you're guilty, Catherine," Gil responded.
"Do I?" she smirked.
His eyes were narrowed once again. "It must have been you… Nobody else could have told them."
Catherine shrugged. "They're CSIs, Gil… They could have easily figured it out."
"They may have called your mother "
"They could only have got the number from you."
"Maybe they looked at your file "
"You know they wouldn't do that."
"Well, perhaps Brass told them then "
"Brass wouldn't tell them."
"How do you know that? They can be very persuasive."
"Brass only knows because he's seen my file. And anything in there is confidential."
"You've never told Brass?"
Gil shook his head. "You're the only person here that I have ever told."
"Really?" Catherine frowned.
Gil nodded. "Hence my confidence that you are behind this whole thing."
Catherine feigned a look of hurt. "I am shocked that you would think me capable of such - … No, I can't even finish the sentence," she grinned.
Gil did not look as pleased about everything as she did. "I can't believe you told them."
"Yes you can," she countered, dropping her feet to the floor and sitting forward to appear more serious, when she detected a hint of anger in the tone of his utterance. "And I wasn't aware that it was a big secret… I didn't intentionally tell them, I just happened to mention it in conversation… Actually, now that I think about it, they didn't look surprised, or react in any way that would show they didn't already know. Maybe they had found out by some other means."
"We've been through that."
"Oh yeah… I don't see what the big deal is anyway "
"Greg has been following me round since midnight with a cake, trying to get me to blow out candles."
"He just wants to wish you a happy birthday."
"Catherine, I was in a meeting with Ecklie and he was outside the window, grinning like a Cheshire cat with the cake held up at the side of his head so I could see it."
Catherine tried not to smile. "What did Ecklie say?"
"Well, each time Ecklie turned to see what it was that was distracting me, Greg ducked. So Ecklie thought I was just being ignorant."
This time she tried biting her bottom lip, but it just wouldn't work.
"I'm glad you're finding it so amusing. Just wait until your birthday!"
Still laughing, she feigned quivering at his threat, raising her hands to show him that they were `shaking'.
The intensity of the glare he was sending her was somewhat lost beneath the smile he once again could not control, and he sighed, resigned to defeat. "I'm just glad you didn't tell them how old I am."
Catherine's laughter stopped, and a `deer caught in headlights' look captured her features.
"Catherine?" Gil said, serious now, wary of the reason for her new facial expression.
She looked at him with wide, apologetic eyes, but still a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth, and a degree of mischief sparkled behind the apology. "They can be very persuasive," she said, fighting to keep her smirk to the minimum.
He dropped a slowly shaking head, chin meeting his chest, and sighed again. "Thank you, Catherine."
He actually did look upset, and guilt began to creep into her heart. "Oh, come on, Gil, surely you're not bothered about turning fifty?" she said, her tone still light, but now more understanding.
He raised his head and sorrowful eyes met hers.
"Oh, Gil," she said, smiling sympathetically, with her head lolled to one side. "Why?"
He shrugged. "I don't know."
"Gil!" she warned, knowing there was more to this than he was telling her.
He seemed to consider something for a moment, then he stood up and walked round to her side of the desk.
Catherine frowned as she watched him open the bottom drawer and rummage through the collection of papers, stationery and miscellaneous objects he kept in there. Just as she was wondering how deep that drawer actually was, he finally stood back up, with a small envelope in his hand.
"On my grandmother's fiftieth birthday," he began to explain, perching on the edge of the desk, "she showed me a list that she had made when she was ten. She'd written down forty things one for each year that she wanted to have or have achieved by the time she was fifty."
Catherine smiled at his anecdote, it being rare for Gil to speak of his past.
"She had ticked off each and every one of them."
That seemed to be the end of his explanation, so Catherine frowned again. "What's that "
"This is my list," he said, cutting off her words, and handing her the envelope.
Intrigued, Catherine opened the envelope and slid the enclosed paper out of it.
She smiled as she read the items that you'd expect a child to write down: `create a new candy bar', `get a pet dog'; her heart broke a little when he'd put that he wanted to see his father again; and a lot more at him wanting to find a way to make his Mom be able to hear again.
After giving her some time to read it, Gil said: "Twelve, Catherine. I only accomplished twelve of them."
Catherine looked up at his disappointed face. "Gil, you realise a lot of these are impossible?"
He nodded. "I know… But the normal ones. The ones where I wanted every day things. I don't even have them."
Catherine stood from the chair and perched beside him on the desk. "The things we want out of life change as we get older, Gil."
"I am aware of that… I'm not actually bothered that I didn't create a new candy bar, or learn how to fly… But it would be nice to have visited the pyramids, and stood on the Great Wall of China, and I never stopped wanting a wife, and kids, and a dog."
Catherine smiled and looked at his list. "Well…" she paused as she read. "Have you really not eaten sushi?"
He shook his head. "Never."
She continued to read, then she hopped off the desk. "Give me ten minutes," she told him. "Wait here." And she ran out of the office.
Gil frowned, intrigued by her disappearance, but he obeyed, and sat down in his chair to await her return.
Ten minutes passed and Catherine came back into the office, a selection of food in her hands, and a large book under her arm.
"Right," she said, and she dropped the food onto the desk.
Gil studied the array of snacks she had brought then looked at her, questioningly.
Unfortunately she didn't see his puzzlement, as she was occupied flicking through the pages of the book. Eventually she found the page she was looking for, and she laid the book out on the floor.
"Okay," she grinned, turning back to him. "Come here, please."
Wondering what she was up to, Gil nonetheless moved round the desk and stood in front of her.
She moved him so he was standing next to the book which he could now see was an atlas and then she pointed to a point on the page. "Put your foot here," she instructed.
"Cath - " Gil began, seeing what she was up to, but he was cut off by his surprise when she grabbed hold of his foot and dropped it onto the atlas.
"There you go," she stated proudly as she stood up. "You are now standing on the Great Wall of China."
She picked up his list and drew a large tick beside that point.
"Catherine, you don't "
"We still have sixteen hours and forty-one minutes of your birthday left. We are going to make sure you have ticked as many of these as is humanly possible… So, we can take these things back to your place," she continued, indicating the snacks, "and we'll mix them all together with some chocolate and see what we produce. It might not taste nice, but it'll be a new candy bar… At five thirty this evening we have a reservation at Fusia at the Luxor for dinner where we will have sushi as a starter, and while we're there, we'll see the pyramids…"
Gil smiled now, appreciative of the trouble she was going to for him. "I guess I should have made my list more specific," he commented after she had told him of the lecture about the physics of flight that they would be attending at UNLV.
"That would have made it more difficult to complete," she grinned, eyes sparkling with excitement and enthusiasm. "Now, we can go and get you a dog as soon as a pet store opens, but you're gonna have to be sure you want one."
Gil raised an eyebrow at her patronising tone, as she spoke to him as she would to a child. "Yes, Mom!" he said, smirking.
Returning the smirk, she glanced again at his list. "So… I don't think we could accomplish the others in one day, but we can work on them."
"Thank you," he said sincerely. "This is the … er… most unusual birthday present I've ever received."
"No problem," she grinned. "You know, we don't need to be anywhere specific til five thirty, I'm sure we could fit in a wedding if you want."
Gil laughed. "Funny."
"I wasn't trying to be," she responded, tone deadly serious, but shaking a little with nerves.
His brow furrowed and he was momentarily speechless.
"If you still would like to have a wife, then I'm available… I cook, I clean, I iron… Well, I'd do my share," she smiled.
"You're serious?" he asked, still convinced he was imagining it.
She shrugged. "It's an option."
"What about Lindsey? Shouldn't you speak to her about it?"
She smiled wistfully. "Lindsey knows that I'm in love with you… She's been expecting us to, and I quote, `Get it on!'."
Now even more speechless Gil leaned back against the desk.
And at that point, four younger CSIs burst into the office; led by Greg, carrying a cake, alight with the flames of fifty candles, and singing Happy Birthday.
Despite the anxious tension that had been creeping in, Catherine laughed at the fact that they had finally managed to track him down where he couldn't escape, only to realise that thought was wrong when Gil grabbed her hand and dragged her out of the office behind him.
Leading her straight into the nearest storage room, he flicked on the light, and closed the door.
"Are you serious?" he asked, a little breathless from the quick getaway.
"That depends… are you considering it?" she replied.
Eyes locked, they were both breathing heavily to recover from their short sprint, and this was the only sound in the room.
Gil gazed intently into Catherine's eyes, his mind replaying the scene in his office; her `proposal'; her admission of love.
Eventually he stepped forward, backing her up to the door. "That depends," he said, voice just above a whisper. "… Are you serious?"
Still trying to work out whether this was actually happening, Catherine, nervously, nodded.
Smiling, Gil gently cupped her cheek with one hand and whispered, "Then I'm considering it." He leant down and softly brushed his lips over hers once, then, pulling back he met her eyes again. "Will you marry me?" he asked quietly.
A radiant, wide smile swept onto her face, and Catherine wrapped her arms around Gil's waist. "I thought you'd never ask," she giggled, before claiming an embellishment of his much too chaste kiss.
Minutes later, the couple were lost in their newly admitted feelings, when there was a knock on the storage room door.
Jumping apart, as if the knock had reminded them where they were, they stood staring at each other, both searching for reassurance that it wasn't a mistake.
Catherine spoke first, a nervous smile sitting beneath hope-filled eyes. "Er… That'll be your cake," she said.
Gil nodded. "Yeah… I'm surprised it took them so long to find me."
"Well, it's not every day you find your boss in a storage room," Catherine smiled.
He was silent for a moment, merely studying her before he spoke. "Well, it's not every day he… gets engaged."
This time the smile that graced Catherine's face was of genuine happiness. "No, it isn't," she grinned.
Relief washed over him at this confirmation that she didn't regret what had transpired. "You don't think this is … sudden?"
"Well, yeah, it's sudden," Catherine shrugged.
"But you don't care?"
This smile was almost a laugh she was that happy. "I don't care… Do you care?"
He stepped forwards and gently caressed her lips with his once before pulling back to look into her eyes. "I don't care."
"Good," she said, before kissing him again.
The second knock at the door was louder and accompanied by Greg's voice.
"Grissom, do you think you could come out now? The candles have almost burned down to the cake," the youngest CSI said.
Both laughing, Gil and Catherine reluctantly separated again, and Gil opened the door.
"Finally!" Greg exclaimed, looking pointedly at the cake. "Let's go… Happy birthday to you…" he began singing, and everyone nearby joined in.
When the song was over, Gil blew out the candles and the cake vanished out of sight as Greg ran away declaring he was having the first slice. Nick, Sara and Warrick chased him, leaving a giggling Catherine and Gil in the corridor.
"Well, I think we can tick another one off your list," Catherine commented.
"I'd say you've got some adorable kids there," she smirked.
Smiling, Gil wrapped his arm around her shoulders, and they began to walk towards the break room assuming that is where the cake chase would have ended.
"So," Catherine said, "Did you make a wish?"
Gil shook his head. "Nah… By the end of the day, I'll have everything I need."