Catherine stretched and yawned. "I hate sleeping on the sof---"
"Mommy, you're up," Lindsey remarked from her perch on the arm of the sofa.
She smiled and wiped her eyes. "Yeah. You're dressed. Are you all ready for school?"
"I need breakfast," her daughter said. "And a lunch."
"Well, I guess that's what I'm here for. Do you want pancakes?" Catherine asked, murmuring softly as she got up and kissed Lindsey's forehead.
Catherine smiled and walked into the kitchen. "So, how'd you sleep, baby?" She asked as she milled around, putting together their breakfast.
"Good," the blonde girl replied. "Maria made me herbal tea before, and she let me read until I got sleepy."
"Oh, good," Catherine said, smiling at her daughter. "That must have helped."
"Yeah," Lindsey nodded. She frowned and then said: "When can I see Daddy again?"
Catherine frowned, too. She didn't like when Lindsey spent time with Eddie and she kept it to the legally-required minimum. "Well, he's supposed to take you out for your special day on Saturday, remember?"
"Oh, right. That's... soon."
"In a few days," Catherine nodded. "Will that be soon enough?"
"Yeah," Lindsey replied. "I just miss him."
Catherine nodded again and paused in cooking to come over and hug her daughter. "I know it's hard, with him not always around. He misses you, too."
She swallowed hard. "Really. You're a heartbreaker," she added, teasing a little. "You always have been."
Lindsey giggled and then asked: "When's Gil coming by again?"
"Gil? Do you miss him, too?"
"He used to do fun stuff with us. Ice cream and movies and omelets in the mornings and---"
"He's really busy," Catherine interrupted her sentence. "We have a lot of cases going on at the moment."
"Oh. Can he come by sometime soon?"
"Well, we'll see, okay?"
"Hi, Maria! Hi, sweetheart," Catherine said as she rushed around. Lindsey smiled and waved at her mother as she raced from room to room, finishing her hair, getting dressed, and grabbing her purse and things she needed for work. "I'm so late!"
Lindsey nodded in agreement as she flopped onto the sofa. "It's okay. We're late, too. We stopped and had ice cream."
"Ice cream? Well, don't forget to do your homework." Catherine glanced up from her purse at the baby-sitter. "Maria, I left a casserole thawing on the counter. There is ice cream in the freezer, but she has to---"
"Do her homework," the younger woman assured her employer. "I know. We'll get it done before you go to Jeremy's, won't we, Linds?"
"Uh huh!" The little blonde replied. "Go get the bad guys!"
Catherine grinned and rushed back from the door to give her daughter a big kiss. "I will, baby. Be good."
"Want me to check the messages? You didn't this morning."
She paused. "Um... yeah. Sure. Just write them down and put the paper on the table by the door and I'll get them when I come back after work."
She kissed her daughter again. "Be good and I'll see you in the morning."
Gil looked up when he saw Catherine cross the parking lot. He was flanked by Sara and Nick, so he would have stopped to talk to her, but he didn't want to subject the younger employees to their serious conversation. "Hi, Catherine."
"Gil," Catherine said in reply. He watched in amazement as her cheeks flushed a very deep hue of crimson. "Hi. What am I on tonight?"
"I left the slip on my desk," he said softly.
"Oh," she said, eyebrows a little higher. "Okay. I thought--- well, okay."
"Cath, you okay?" Nick asked.
"Yeah," she nodded, blushing even more.
"I called Warrick in," Gil said. "He'll meet you at the scene."
Catherine nodded. She reached out and put a hand on his forearm. "Thanks. I'll catch up with you later." Gil nodded, not trusting his voice. She was touching him; he could barely think straight. Her scent was around him and he knew that was dangerous when they were in public. Catherine smiled at him and then looked at Sara and Nick. "See you kids later," she said softly, before clearing her throat and walking away.
"You okay, boss?" Nick asked him the same question.
"Yes, Nick, of course I'm okay. Let's go."
"Out back," she told the two officers as Warrick came in behind them.
"Catherine, are you all right?" He asked, before kneeling down. She could see the concern written all over his face and she wanted so badly to take comfort in him but she couldn't.
"He went out back," she repeated. Then, she added. "I'm all right. I'm okay."
He left her briefly. She heard him yelling as he returned, after she tried to get up. With Officer Clark behind him, he said: "He must have gotten out the back window." Catherine tried to focus on her breathing, but when she heard him start to scold the officer, she couldn't help but feel bad. "You the First Officer on the scene?"
"When you clear a place, you clear it. Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir, I'm sorry."
"We lost a CSI two years ago because of the same mistake!"
From her position on the floor, she said: "Warrick, ease up. My fault---I sent him out."
"Use your radio and call for backup," he all but growled. His voice softened when he kneeled down next to her again. "Hey..."
"Hey," she replied.
"Are you okay?"
She lied. "Yeah, I'm all right." When he reached out to look at the damage on her face, she winced and moved back. "Don't touch me," she insisted, holding out her bloody, gloved hand. "I'm evidence."
"I'm evidence," she repeated. "We could get something off of me."
"Okay," he said with a sigh. "At least let me help you up."
"Gloves," she whispered, motioning a little to her case. "Put them on, and then we'll talk about helping me up."
"Hardass," he teased gently.
Gil pulled his vehicle into the parking lot. He got out, with the intention of going into the building to track Sara and Nick down, but some movement caught his eye along the edge of the parking lot.
Warrick and Catherine; they were talking, touching, and leaning against a vehicle. It looked very serious. He frowned and paused to watch them. Catherine's body language told him it was serious... her body was tense, her head was down, and she was playing with her hands. She was shifting her weight. She looked upset, even from a distance.
"I didn't even have time to think about Linds, or---" she paused and sighed, before she nibbled at her nails. "Warrick---"
"Or Grissom," he supplied. "I know. But, now, you have time to spend with Lindsey and Grissom and---"
"I... it... going back in there was so hard," she admitted.
He sighed and rubbed her back. "You're the bravest person I know." When she snorted, he insisted: "Seriously."
Her body tensed. "Oh, shit. War--- I can't---"
"Give me another hug, and then get in the car and drive off for a bit," Warrick suggested, even though Catherine was sure he didn't want to be getting involved in their reparations.
After she hugged him, she stepped away and fished the keys out of her pocket as Gil made his cautious way over. "I'll, uh, be back with some new evidence, hopefully," she said, lying to cover her tracks. She did not want Gil to see the gash in her forehead if she could prevent it.
"See ya, Cath," Warrick said with a wave, before stepping back and turning in Gil's direction. "Gris, hey, what's up?"
"Is she okay?"
"Oh, yeah. We were just going over the case on the way to her car," Warrick said with a little smile. "Nothing big."
"Oh," Gil said, frowning. "Okay. Something looked wrong."
"She's fine," Warrick reassured him.
They walked into the building, but Gil stopped in his office, instead of going straight to the evidence rooms where Nick and Sara would have been working. He picked up his cell phone and dialed Catherine's.
"Gil! Hi. I... I'm on my way to a thing."
"A thing?" He wasn't sure if he heard her correctly.
"Yeah. For our case. Did you want something?"
He thought her voice sounded shaky, but he couldn't tell. "Are you... okay?"
He frowned. "Cath... I..." he trailed off and sighed. She had never called him back after he left the message; if she didn't want to talk with him, if she had changed her mind... he had to respect her wishes.
"Gil? Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, I was worried, that's all."
"Worried?" She asked. "About me?"
"Is that not allowed?"
She paused. "No, no, it's fine. I like you worrying about me. It's a waste of time, but---"
"It's not a waste of time," he assured her. "Are you coming back any time soon?"
"Miss me already?"
"Well... yeah," he admitted.
"I've missed you for a long time," he continued, silently wondering why he felt like being so honest with her.
"It's stupid, I know, but---"
"It's not stupid," she assured him. "Listen... I've got to go... but... I'll find you later, okay?"
"Okay," he agreed, before hanging up and returning to work.
After his class in lip-reading, Gil drove back to work. He really didn't know where he stood with Catherine, and he definitely didn't know if he was ready to go to her house and ask her if he could come inside. Being welcomed back into her privacy was more than he needed immediately; first, he knew that they had to decide how to get back to each other, how to try and how to trust, and second, they could invade each other's homes.
He sat behind his desk and sighed. He knew she left her bra there for him, as a joke. But, if she had known what he had done... with her swatch of fabric in his hand, with her scent in his mind... he thought she might be disgusted, or at the very least embarrassed.
"Hi, Greg, what can I do for you?"
"I was just heading out. I made a fresh pot of coffee, though, if you want some," he said with an eager smile.
"Greg... are you trying to bribe me?"
"No. No, no, no. Never," Greg replied, looking offended. "I just thought you'd want some. Long case. Well... short--- you know what I mean."
Gil smiled back at him. He wasn't in the mood to make the scientist nervous. "I do. Thanks."
"Catherine's in there, too, but I think she's still too jumpy for coffee," he said as he turned around.
"Greg? What do you mean?"
Greg paused. "Well, I mean, catching the guy was hard on her. I couldn't imagine being so close to the suspect who killed one and almost killed me---" his face fell when he saw the panic on Gil's face. "Oh, man. You didn't know."
Gil's stomach tightened. "Know what?"
"The cops didn't clear the house. Or, they did, but they didn't see the suspect hiding--- shoot. I thought you---" Gil was up and rushing past him. "---knew."
"Catherine!" Gil exclaimed as he walked into the break room.
She jumped and looked up from the papers in front of her. "Gil?"
One look in his eyes told her that he had found out. His words confirmed it. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I'm going to kill Warrick," she grumbled, turning her eyes back down to her reading.
"It wasn't Warrick!" He growled. "Catherine! Look at me!"
"I'd rather not," she whispered. She felt her body shaking. Gil had been the first person she would have turned to... he wasn't allowed to be her source of comfort anymore, and she didn't want him to feel obligated, so she tried to keep him from finding out.
She closed her eyes and swallowed heavily. "I can't."
"Why not? You don't want me to know you were lying on the phone? You don't want me to see the cut on your forehead up close? Why not?"
She could feel the tears threatening to fall, but she refused to look up. She'd fall apart if she did; she couldn't let him see her like that... not yet. She couldn't open herself up to him and then fail him again, and she didn't want him to fail her again.
"Because you'll see me," she whispered.
"I see you all the time," he said, more softly. "Except during this case. God! Do you know how stupid I feel? I should have known something was wrong!"
"It's not your fault. The officer was going to puke over everything---"
"Damnit!" He yelled, making her gasp. "I could have lost you! I'm not ready to do that again!"
She thought her heart stopped. Slowly, she opened her eyes and let the tears stream down her cheeks as she looked up at him. "Gil..."
He took steps towards her and opened his arms. She instinctively jumped into them, hugging him back tightly as the soft cries came. "Shh," he whispered. "It's over."
"I know," she whispered back. "I'm so scared though..."
"I've got you," he promised.
"Thanks," she replied, before she kissed his neck.
His fingers dug into her a little, gripping into her and refusing to let go. And then, she felt his resolve crumble. His lips were on her shoulder, on her neck, in her hair, and then on her face where kisses rained over her flushed skin. When their lips met it was hard and fast, they kissed and nibbled and licked and sucked until Catherine was sure she couldn't breathe. Her lips felt chapped but she kept kissing him, afraid that if they stopped, she'd snap out of it, and realise she had fallen asleep.
"C'mon," he whispered after a long kiss that left them both panting. "My office. You can let me look at your forehead there."
She swallowed and nodded. "Okay."
He took her hand and held onto it as they walked. He kept glancing at her, making her nervous. She didn't know what emotion was in his eyes, but she knew it was very intense.
Inside his office, Gil slammed the door and nudged her towards the light. "Gil, please... I'm---"
"Don't lie to me!" He exclaimed. She didn't know if he wanted to yell or cry; she was also pretty sure that he didn't know which he wanted to do, either. "You're not okay! You're not fine! You're hurt and you were hurt on the job! I can't imagine how---"
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "I'm sorry. I guess you think I'm overreacting."
"A little, yeah," Catherine whispered.
"Let me look at that cut, okay?" He asked gently.
She nodded. "No mother hen stuff though."
"I promise," he whispered as he came closer. She closed her eyes when his fingers touched both sides of her face and she let the sensations wash over her. This moment, proceeding their kiss, was a very potent experience.
"It's really deep."
"I know," she whispered.
"I could have lost you," he reasserted.
He leaned down and kissed her forehead. "I'm sorry I freaked out."
"You did. Very well, too."
He chuckled softly. "Thank you."
She looked up at him, eyes wide at the sound. "Ah... you're welcome. I should go, Gil---"
"Stay, please," he whispered.
She gasped softly when he kissed her lips again, but she didn't let her surprise send her fleeing. Her mind silently screamed questions, but she couldn't find answers. She continued kissing him, holding onto his shoulders so she wouldn't get swept away.
After a few minutes, she felt the desk behind her and she had to ask herself how they crossed the room without her noticing. Gil pushed her against it so she could sit a bit, and when she did, she felt his hands tugging at her clothes.
Her hands acted similarly. The movements were so familiar, but it still felt new and exhilarating. His mouth left hers to nibble and suck at her bare shoulder. Her fingers traveled up his bare chest; they massaged and pinched before traveling lower to his belt.
When the leather was undone, she worked on his pants. Silently, she prayed that he wouldn't snap out of whatever spell he was under. His fingers pushed down into her pants and the prayer was lost to her as she moaned, unable to control herself any longer. She needed him. It felt like he needed her. Nothing else seemed to matter.
Soon, there were no clothes between them. Gil pushed her down and pushed his work to the floor in two smooth movements. Catherine gasped when the cool material of the desk met her back, and again when she felt his fingers between her legs. He teased her, slipping his finger inside and curling it, before leaning down and kissing her.
When she felt his erection brushing against her, her eyes scrunched closed and she arched up in vain. She wanted him and he was denying her. Maybe not on purpose, but he was still denying her.
"Oh, god!" She yelped when he stopped denying her and pushed inside of her.
She felt Gil's lips twitch into a smile against her shoulder.
Their thrusts were desperate, much like the actions of their hands. Catherine whimpered and moaned each time he moved inside of her. She knew that she wasn't going to last long.
When she crashed into her climax, she felt her muscle contractions bring Gil over the edge with her. He groaned loudly into her neck and tightened his grip on her. They recovered together, desperately trying to catch their breath. When they did, he didn't move right away.
"Gil... my back..." she whispered.
"Oh, yeah," he said awkwardly. "Sorry."
"It's okay," she smiled, sitting with him when he pulled her up.
"Alright?" She finished. "Yes. Very."
"Good," he whispered. He kissed her forehead. "I've got to..."
"Go," she finished again. This time she was blushing. "I've got to go, too, actually."
"Yeah," he nodded, looking embarrassed.
They dressed in awkward silence. After both decided they were suitably composed, they looked at each other. Catherine blushed again. "So, I'll see you tomorrow."
"Yeah," he nodded. "Tomorrow. Did you need a drive home?"
"No, no," she replied, trying not to sound hurt or uneasy. "I have my car."
"Okay," he nodded.
"I'm going to go now," she announced.
She put her hand on the doorknob, and then turned back to look at him. He smiled. She smiled back and then turned the knob and prepared to leave.
"Yes?" She turned back again.
He waved his hand once before finding the words he needed. "I'm really glad you're alright... please don't scare me again."
She grinned. They weren't explicit words of love, but the message was lying underneath them. "I'll try not to. See you tomorrow."
Catherine breezed in the door and dropped her things on the floor by the table at the door. She saw the pink paper with her daughter's handwriting on it and snatched it up as she walked into the kitchen to start making breakfast for herself.
First, she poured a drink. Lindsey was supposed to be at her aunt's house that morning, giving Maria the night off, so it was just her food. After her time in Gil's office, she needed a drink and she would probably need at least another.
"Didn't check the messages. No time. Sorry Mom. Love, Lindsey."
CJ sighed and walked out to the living room, drink in her hand. She hit the button on the small machine and listened to the steady stream of messages that they had missed during the past couple of days.
The last message, Gil's, frightened her. Hearing his voice on the speaker made her gasp, and then his words made her tremble.
"Talk?" She asked, under her breath. "Why?"
She pushed the date and time button to check when it was left, but no one had programmed the date in the machine---because they never had time, and because callers usually left that information in the message---so she had no idea when he left the message.
"Gil..." she muttered. "What's going on with you?"