Gil briefly thought his ears weren't working properly. Watching Catherine as she cried softly, knees up to her chin, he had never seen her so upset. At the same time, his heart had never felt more broken.
"You slept with Horatio Caine?"
"It was a mistake," she whispered, words hitching on a hiccup.
He sighed. "You think?"
"Cath!" He roared, standing up so he could pace. "How could you do this? I might have been a little inattentive, but, you... you... you cheated on me! I thought we loved each other---"
She cut him off. "I do... it just got so hard. You keep holding me at arm's length!"
"So you had sex with someone else?" He demanded, voice full of anguish. "How does that help?"
"How do promises and lies and flat out avoidance help?"
"Oh, don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about. I'm not the only one who screwed us up," she spat out.
He rolled his eyes. "So when the dashing knight in shining armour offers his shoulder for you to cry on, you just thought you'd---" he sighed. "I should have known."
"What? You think this is scientific? You think I follow a pattern?"
Gil shrugged. "Women tend to---"
She wiped her cheeks. "Don't generalise. This is me. Our situation doesn't fit into some widely-accepted formula. This is not a cliché!"
"Sure feels like one," he grumbled.
"Do you know how much you hurt me?" She demanded. "Do you?"
"You slept with another man, Catherine!" He bellowed. "You can't make this about me!"
"Shh!" She hissed. "Lindsey---"
She got up and walked towards him. "Gil... shhh... please."
He felt his hearing fade. The sounds around him were fuzzier than before. "I don't want to shush," he mumbled. She reached up to touch him, but he moved away. "I want to go."
"Please don't," she whispered, so softly that he had to read her lips. "I want to fix this. We need to talk."
Gil shook his head. "No, you need to talk. Talk it to death. Make yourself feel better... just don't do it with me."
She growled, protective walls coming up around her. "Fine, don't listen. Not like you ever have anyway."
After Lindsey was tucked into bed the next night, Catherine sat down in her room and looked around. The room seemed empty. Gil had come by and taken some of his things out; without his clothes and books, only her things remained and they missed Gil's things. She sighed and got up, pacing before she realised a stiff drink and a bath would help her relax.
With the water and bubbles rising in the tub, she undressed and grabbed a towel to wrap around her body. She clipped her hair back. Reaching into her medicine cabinet, she pulled out her tweezers and plucked a few stray eyebrow hairs out. She paused to study her reflection in the mirror; she looked tired, sad, and just not the same women she had been a few months ago.
She sighed and turned the bath's tap off. Once her towel was removed, she slipped down into the warm bubbles with another sigh.
Her mind wandered to work. She wondered how Warrick, Nick, and Sara were getting along. It was her night off. But, Gil had said he had an appointment that night, and wouldn't be there for a few hours. He used to call some of their nights together appointments... she frowned and washed her arms and legs with a sponge. He could very well be out on a date, she knew, and she was only soaking in a tub while feeling sorry for herself.
The bubblescombined with the strong screwdriver she had been slowly sippingwere helping her relax, though. She leaned back and closed her eyes, washing her body as she reached that calm. When she sponged the rose-scented suds up over her chest, she sighed and told herself to enjoy the tingling sensation she felt spreading through her body. A gentle ache, building in intensity with each pass over her breasts the sponge made.
She paused to have another sip of her drink. The ache hadn't disappeared; in fact, combined with the vodka's burn, her body felt like it was even more on fire.
Soon, the sponge was abandoned for eager fingers. She traced circles over her breasts lazily, before gently pulling at her nipples, exhaling slowly as they tightened and hardened. Her other hand slid lower, over her stomach and continuing down. She was damp and hot and each stroke her index finger made over her throbbing bundle of nerves added to it.
With a soft moan, she slid a little deeper into the bubbles and parted her legs so she could lift her hips up better. Her finger slipped past her clit and inside her warmth, curling up as best as she could manage, before she realised that focusing her attention there would be futile.
So, she returned to moving her fingers in circles over her clit, teasing and pushing herself a little closer to climax with each move. She shivered, even though a fire was steadily burning through her body. As she got closer and closer, her logical thoughts slipped away and her instincts took over as her body acted to fulfill its needs.
A finger slipped back inside of her heat and she whimpered. She tried to find that perfect spot inside of her, but she wasn't seeming to have any luck. If she was trying to frustrate herself further, she knew she was doing a great job, but that wasn't what she wanted.
She wanted an orgasm. One brief moment when she could give over to her body, when her mind would stop screaming at her.
Straining against her hand, she struggled to find the perfect amount of friction.
And then it hit her.
She could see his face, how proud he looked when he managed to find the hidden erogenous zone inside of her, when she had one of the best orgasms she had ever had.
"Platypus," she whimpered, pulling her hands off of her body. "Oh, god."
She sat up and took a deep breath. Then, she reached for her drink and took a long gulp. After a pause, she decided to down the entire thing. The burning vodka slipped down her throat, but it didn't make Gil's image behind her eyes slip away with it.
"Oh, fuck," she groaned as she felt her stomach tighten.
Without falling and hurting herself, she made it to the toilet in record time. Up came the vodka, up came the bittersweet orange juice. Down fell more tears.
"Shit," she cursed softly, before grabbing her towel. She made sure she was well-covered, and then she said: "Yeah, Linds? You need the bathroom?"
"Are you okay?"
She sniffled. "Yeah... I'm fine."
"You threw up," she stated the obvious in a flat tone.
"I haven't been feeling too well lately."
"Can I come in?"
"I'm only wearing a towel, baby," Catherine said with a sigh.
Lindsey poked her blonde head in the door. "It's okay. Do you want water or anything?"
"Nah, I'll get it later. Thanks, though, sweetheart," Catherine replied. "I really appreciate it. It's late. Why aren't you sleeping?"
"I heard you get sick," she replied. "I wanted to make sure you were okay."
"Oh." When the phone rang, she groaned. "Great. Sweetie, can you answer that for me, while I dry off?"
Lindsey nodded, and bounced out of the room. Catherine tried to stand, but found it hard. She was a little shaky, and her knees didn't want to oblige her. So, she sat on top of the covered toilet and took a few deep breaths.
"Mooooooom. It's Warrick."
Catherine groaned. "Great. Just great. I'll be right there."
Soon, she was wrapped in her robe, and in the kitchen. Sitting in a chair, she took the phone from her daughter. "War?"
"Cath, I'm sorry... I know it's your night off, but Gris' gave me instructions that I wasn't allowed to call him, but we have a case, and Sara and Nick are wrapping something up, and I'm in the middle of---"
She sighed. "Just call him. He won't rip you a new one or anything."
Catherine covered the phone. "Sorry, baby, it's been a long day. I'm tired and---" she gasped as her daughter moved and managed to get into her lap. Catherine kissed Lindsey's cheek. "Thanks."
"Love you," she murmured, closing her eyes as she hugged her mother.
"I love you, too."
"Oh, sorry, Warrick," she returned to the phone conversation quickly, smiling a little as she stroked Lindsey's back. "Lindsey's here with me. What do you want me to do?"
"Call Grissom for me? He won't kill you."
"He already did that," she muttered. "We're not exactly---" She sighed. "Okay, fine. I'll call him."
Struggling to keep Catherine out of his thoughts was more difficult than he thought. Not only was he stressed because he was at a doctor's office, to find out about his hearing, but he couldn't stop thinking about the look in Catherine's eyes earlier in the day, when he came to pick up some of his things.
He looked up and saw the nurse watching him. It made him a little uncomfortable.
Luckily, he didn't get to ask her what she was thinking. When he felt his phone ringing, the sounds fainter than usual, he picked it up and answered it: "Grissom."
"Gil, it's me," he heard Catherine's voice. "There's a case---"
He cut her off. "I'll be right there." He got up and closed the phone, while telling the nurse: "Please tell the doctor that I have to reschedule my appointment."
In the parking lot, he dialed Brass' number.
"Hi, Jim. I just got a call. Where am I meeting you?"
"Grissom, we need Cath---"
He waved his hand dismissively as Nick followed him to the autopsy room. "It's just a homeless person, Nick. She has the night off and should enjoy it."
"Yeah, well, we're all still working on our other stuff, and---"
"Fine, call her, would you?"
"You have your phone with you. Mine's in the break room," Nick said simply, shrugging the responsibility off as he turned and walked away.
Gil groaned and dialed Catherine's number. "Hello?"
"Hi, Lindsey," Gil replied. "What are you still doing up?"
"Linds? Who are you talking to?"
"Don't tell him about me not feeling well," he heard her hiss, before she took the phone. "What do you want?"
He sighed. "You have to come in."
She balked. "It's my night off. I'm here with Linds. We're having a quiet night, and --- who do you think you are?"
"Well, I could ask you the same question," he muttered. "But, I'm the boss, and you have to come in."
"Should have known you'd do this. What? Don't want to be the only one who had their night ruined? Did your date mind?"
He stopped and thought about her question. "Date? What date?"
"Your appointment. Since I've been called 'an appointment' before... I---"
"Oh, don't generalise," he growled. "I might have actually had an appointment."
"Bite me," she muttered.
He smirked. "So mature. Get in here as soon as you can."
Before she could say anything else, he hung the phone up, and headed in to the examination room to see what Doctor Robbins had found.
After getting Lindsey to her sister's, she got back into her vehicle and drove to work. She was going to pummel Gil's backside, she knew, if they spent too much time together.
She met with Dusty, and surprisingly found an identity for the dead woman. Not wasting any time, she grabbed a magazine from Greg, who always seemed to have a collection of magazines with hot women on the covers.
Before stepping into Gil's office, she straightened her shoulders. She slammed the magazine on his desk, and looked down at him. He studied the cover and looked back up at her. "Why are you showing me this?"
"The cover girl, Ashleigh James---she's your girl in the shopping cart," she told him. "PD's tracking down her agency now. Somebody wanted her dead."
"They also wanted her ugly."
"So, Brass is going to find out where she lives and I thought I'd go check it out."
"I'm coming with you."
She sighed. "Do you really think that's the best idea right now?"
He shrugged. "You shouldn't process the house alone."
"Fine," she muttered. "I'll call Brass and see what's keeping him."
Twenty minutes later, they were in Catherine's SUV, on their way to meeting Brass at Ashleigh's apartment. "Cath, I---"
"We're on the clock, Grissom. And I'm driving."
"Yeah," he sighed.
She sighed, too. "Besides, you never wanted to talk before."
"I don't want it to---"
"Ruin our working relationship? Geez, Grissom, give me some credit."
He sighed again. She knew she was being cold, but she didn't want to fall apart. She didn't want him to think that they couldn't continue working together. She parked the car. He looked over at her. "Ready?"
"Yep," she chirped.
He watched her pull out the collection of prepared enemas. He would have winced, but he managed to suppress the urge. Instead, he muttered: "Enema. The secret life of women."
She watched him hold an empty bottle up out of the trash. "Don't generalise. It's not very scientific of you."
He sighed. "You're right. I'm sorry."
She kept her eyes from his. He hated that they couldn't look into each other's eyes anymore.
Gil felt bad for Cassie. He didn't mean to provoke her. He looked his neck over in the mirror, and winced as he rubbed his fingers over the little bruises.
Catherine breezed into the bathroom, eyes focused on him. "Cath, I'm---"
"Are you okay?" She asked. "Brass told me the girl attacked you, and---"
He would have smiled, knowing that she still cared about him, but at that point in their lives, he didn't have the powers to know if the hurt he felt would heal enough to let her back in.
"I'm fine, Catherine," he murmured as she checked him over. "Really. I don't need a mother."
She looked up at him as if he had slapped her, and the knot of guilt in his stomach tightened. "I wasn't trying to be your mother, Grissom."
"You called me Gil earl---"
"Slip up," she hissed. "Sorry I came by to check on you."
She shook her wrist out of his grip. "Let me go."
Before she opened the door to the locker room, he pinned it shut and her between it and him. "No. Not yet."
"Was there something you wanted to say?" She asked, one eyebrow arched inquisitively.
He nodded. "Yeah... thanks for coming by."
"No problem," she whispered, daring to touch his cheek before inspecting his neck. "They should heal no problem."
"It's nothing serious," he whispered back.
She shook her head. "No, nothing serious. Well, alright... I'm going to get gone, then. We've still got a lot of stuff to process---"
He brushed his fingers over her cheek, and then back into her hair. She shivered and leaned into the touch, which made him smile more. "Stay for a second," he whispered, more insistent.
"We're on the clock, Gil... we can't talk or---"
"Who said anything about talking?"
Her eyes widened and she gasped. He leaned down and kissed her mouth, drawn to her more than he was repulsed by her. She might have broken his heart, but he was still drawn to her. He always would be.
When he deepened the kiss, she moaned and reached for him. He didn't know what she was thinking, but he knew that he needed her. Physically, or emotionally, he wasn't sure. That moment felt right, though, he realised. She groaned and flexed against him and his body reacted. That moment, that woman... he sighed and pushed her more into the door.
"God..." Catherine moaned when he moved his hips against hers again. "Just---" He smirked and repeated the action. "Oh! Knock it off! We have to---"
Images of the past few days flashed behind his eyes. He took a deep breath and rested his forehead against hers. "I--- I don't know what I was---" He lifted his head and looked down at her. "I... I've got to go."
"Cath... we can't... I can't... we just can't!"
He moved back and pushed her out of the way. She whimpered, but didn't hold onto him as he walked out of the bathroom. At his locker, he checked it over for anything out of place, and then slammed it shut; as the room stilled, he thought he heard her crying, but he didn't dare get any closer. He had already gotten too close.
"And if it's not Cassie, who's left?"
"I don't know," he replied honestly, looking at her.
She sighed and leaned back in the chair. "Grissom---"
"We're back to that?"
"Yeah," she replied. "We are. Since you can't make up your mind---"
"Who can't make up their mind? Me?!" He interrupted. "Who was the one that went to do a job, but ended up sleeping with their acting superviso---"
She interrupted him this time. "I did do a job, Grissom. In case you forgot, we did catch the guy. My work didn't suffer."
"So, it's okay, then?"
She bit her lip and looked down. "No, it's not okay. I feel awful. I just... you can't keep beating me over the head with my mistake. I screwed up. But, I didn't know if you even wanted---" she sighed and shrugged. "We weren't exactly doing that great before I screwed up."
"No... we weren't."
"Are we going to be able to work together?" She asked.
"Are you going to leave?"
She shrugged. "Maybe. If we can't work this out."
"Don't go," he said softly.
"Well, I'm not going to stick around and take your crap, and I don't want you to have to take mine," she shrugged.
He sighed. "Okay... look... can we just get through this case, and then... can we talk about everything?"
"Yeah," she nodded.
"Catherine--- I can't. Not right now," he said into his phone, as he walked on the city sidewalk. "I have an appointment. An actual one. And then... I'll meet you at my place. Okay?"
She sighed. "Sure. I'll let myself in when I get there."
"Good. I'll see you in a couple of hours."
After his doctor's appointment, he didn't go straight home. Instead, he wandered through the streets until he found one of those bars that screamed 'avoiding your life' in its dingy atmosphere.
As long as the beer was cold, he really didn't care.
A few hours passed. His phone started ringing, but he ignored it and continued drinking. After another hour, though, he realised that he was eventually going to have to get home, and he knew he was probably too drunk to stand, let alone drive, so he was going to have to call someone.
In his dark booth, he picked up his phone and saw that Catherine had been calling quite a bit---about twelve times. She would be furious. But... he didn't know what he wanted to tell her, or what he wanted to hear.
He doubted his ability to even hear her words. Would he know she was sorry by the look on her face, or would he have to hear how she said it? Would he be able to hear the meaning behind her words, when she explained how she had been feeling the past few months?
"Hello?" He heard a female voice on the other end of the line, after he dialed the break room's phone extension.
"Sara? Are you still at the lab?"
"Grissom? Is that you?"
"Yeah," he replied. "I'm... stuck. I can't drive. Is there any way you can come and---"
She interrupted him. "Sure. Where are you?"
Catherine had been pacing around Gil's townhouse for a couple of hours, when she saw SUV headlights flashing in the windows. "Thank God!" She cried out to herself, filling the empty air around her while rushing to the door. She had never been so worried about him. She thought he was never going to come home.
She opened the door and stopped dead in her tracks. Gil and Sara had their arms around each other and were slowly making their way towards her. She wanted to cry, wanted to growl, wanted to pummel him... but she didn't do any of those things.
"Catherine?" Sara blinked into the lit up rectangle of space when she stood.
"Hi, Sara. I... I'm just leaving. I left something here last week---" she stopped when she felt trembling in her voice. Quick feet carried her down the steps before they could come up them, and she didn't look Gil in the eyes as she passed. "See you guys tomorrow night!" She called out, at her vehicle's side, almost too cheerfully.
She got into her car and drove off.
Her cell phone started ringing.
But, between wiping her tears and keeping herself on the road, she wasn't able to answer it.