After tossing and turning for an hour and being unable to find sleep, Catherine lifted the covers back and got off of the bed. Gil rolled over, sprawling out on his stomach, and then stilled. She fumbled in the dark for her robe; once it was on securely, she snuck out of the bedroom and crept down the hall to the kitchen.
A cup of tea was soon warming her hands, a comfort to counter the uneasy discourse running through her mind. She sipped the bitter drink slowly, letting it mill over her tongue before swallowing and wincing slightly.
Alcohol of any kind would have been a more suitable drink, she knew, with its intolerant burn and soporific effects, but she had to be alert in a few hours to take Lindsey to a dress rehearsal for her school's play.
Her toes felt the chill coming off of the tiled floor but the tea prevented it from traveling through her body. Still, thinking too much made her shiver---but it had nothing to do with the cold.
Two questions and the evidence she had been accumulating kept running through her head, chasing each other and tangling together with her grey matter. Her heart and mind ached; they throbbed when she thought too hard about any of it.
"Would Gil prefer to be with Sara?" and "Is Gil losing his hearing?" were the questions she didn't have answers for, the questions that haunted her. She had been working cases over the past few days, but also working those questions in hope of finding some peace of mind in the end.
Gil was a closed-off man; information pertaining to his thoughts and feelings was hard to unearth, especially when he wanted to keep it to himself. She barely had enough enough information and she wasn't ready to come to any conclusion. She knew it was the lack of conclusion that bothered her the most; not knowing was always worse than knowing.
He stopped listening to her. She knew it didn't necessarily mean he couldn't hear her. But if it didn't, then, something else was wrong. No one else had noticed---as far as she knew, because everyone (except for sara) would come to her to ask if Gil was alright---but no one else knew what to look for. And, she was the only one who knew about his mother. That evidence, combined with his reluctance to have a child, made her wonder.
But, that was something serious and life changing---wouldn't he tell her that he was losing his hearing?
She knew it was something he would want to keep private, but they had been best friends since they started working together. Didn't he know he could turn to her for support?
Without any more evidence, though, she had to believe that he wasn't going deaf. If he wasn't, then, she was faced with the possibility that something else was wrong.
Perhaps, he was just losing interest in her---or gaining interest in someone else.
She had always been jealous of Gil's relationship with Sara. As far as she knew, it has always been platonic. But, she could see the appeal in pursuing a relationship with the brunette: she was younger, very science-orientated, and very, very safe. Sara wouldn't push Gil out of his comfort zone; she would accept his behavior as an adorable quirk and allow him to keep hiding his life away.
When he called Catherine to say he would be staying at the lab until Sara got back, she had held her tongue. But he returned to the house hours later than she had expected, said nothing about it, and went straight to the bathroom for a shower that lasted well after Catherine went to bed.
She didn't know what to think.
Did he get so deep into their relationship and then panic or realise that he didn't want such a committed relationship?
Catherine didn't have an answer.
Once her tea was finished, she put the mug in the sink and returned to the bedroom. Gil was still on his stomach; his back was rising and falling in a sleepy, steady rhythm.
She sighed and got back into bed, pulling the comforter up to her chin as she eased over onto her side, with her back to Gil.
He stirred. He rolled towards her, and put his arm over her body; his leg tangled itself between hers, his forehead rested upon her shoulder.
In his sleep, he had no problem getting closer.
Gil knew Catherine was frustrated---possibly even angry---with him. When she got up, after tossing and turning for entirely too long, he knew it was his fault and he wished he could go to her.
He wanted to explain everything to her, but fear kept him from opening up. He didn't know how she'd react and he didn't even know how he'd feel to expose himself like that.
In a lame attempt to make it up to her, when she came back to bed, he rolled over while still feigning sleep and hugged her. He hoped it was enough to show her that he wanted her by his side; however, he knew she deserved more.
When Nick told him about Sara's friend, respected member of society turned murderer, he thought he'd stay behind to check on her. He was concerned about her, but he also knew that Catherine would go to bed shortly after she got home, and it would be the best way to avoid any awkward conversation about his behavior during their last case together.
He hadn't counted on her waiting up for him. He couldn't believe she stayed up; she had little shadows under her eyes and her face was pale, signs of how tired she really was.
In a panic, he headed to the shower. Even he could hear the bedroom door slam shut when he was under the steady stream of warm water.
He knew he was in trouble.
He frowned and kissed Catherine's shoulder, before tightening his hold on her. Catherine must have been asleep because she put her hand down on top of his and squeezed as she pressed back against him.
Catherine groaned when her cell phone rang; she fumbled for it without opening her eyes. Her hand connected with her bedside table twice before finally gripping the phone to put it to her ear.
"Hello?" she said softly, as she eased herself out of Gil's arms to sit up against the headboard.
"Aww... shoot. I woke you up."
Catherine glanced at the clock when she heard Warrick's apologetic tone. "No, it's okay. I only have a few minutes left on my alarm clock. Don't worry---what's up?"
"I was just wondering if you wanna go for a run before you took Lindsey to school?" He asked. "Last night, it looked like you had some steam to blow off... so I just thought I'd check."
Catherine smiled. "Well, can I meet you somewhere after I drop her off? Or is that too late?"
"Nah, that should work."
Gil was waking up. She looked down at him and smiled. He smiled back at her sleepily. Catherine looked at the clock again and said, "How about... I pick you up at eight forty-five or so? Then, we can drive to one of the trails."
"Sounds alright to me," he replied. "See you then."
"No problem, Cath."
She hung up the phone and stretched her arms over her head while yawning. "Morning," she said as she looked down at Gil again.
"Good morning," he replied, smiling and rubbing her knee.
"Mmm," she hummed quietly. "I'm gonna go get a shower, okay?"
"Is Lindsey up yet?"
Catherine shrugged. "I don't think so..."
"I'll start on breakfast then."
"I'm not going to eat," she told him. "I'm meeting Warrick for a run after I drop Lindsey off at school."
Gil nodded. Catherine saw a frown flicker across his face, and wondered if it was disappointment. Her heart ached a little.
"Wanna join me in the shower?" she asked, mostly on impulse.
"We haven't done that in a while."
She smiled a bit and nodded. "I know."
"You don't mind?"
"I wouldn't have asked if I did," she told him honestly. "C'mon... a little private time would be nice, wouldn't it?"
Gil nodded and squeezed her knee again. Catherine smiled more and put her hand over his; then, she lifted it up and slipped her fingers between his.
They walked to the bathroom together, parting only so one of them could start the shower and so the other one could close the door.
Once they finished undressing each other, Catherine stepped under the water first. Gil followed, putting his hands on her hips and inching closer to share the water with her.
Catherine leaned back against him and sighed softly. Gil kissed her shoulder and let one of his hands slip to her stomach. His fingers expanded; she sighed again and closed her eyes, letting his body warm her back while the water warmed her front.
"I miss you," Catherine whispered, before she could realise what she had said.
"Did you just say something?"
"Uhh... no," she mumbled, embarrassed.
Gil tightened his hold on her and tucked his face into her shoulder. "I thought..."
"You're hearing things," she murmured.
"That's reassuring," he replied quietly.
Catherine smiled and reached back to rub his head. He sighed and kissed her wet skin.
"Can we just stay in here forever?" he asked. "Just you and me... no outside world?"
"My baby girl might miss me."
"Just in this house then," he amended. "Just the three of us. No cares, no worries, no reality."
"Awwww, baby," she murmured teasingly as she turned around to face him. She tipped his face up. "What's wrong?"
He frowned. She had never seen him look so uncertain, and she wondered what he was going to say. He closed his eyes and bowed his head.
"Gil, baby?" she asked, rubbing her fingers over his temple. "What is it?"
He shuddered under her touch, but didn't say anything. She leaned in and kissed his forehead. He sighed and lifted his head, catching her lips in a gentle kiss.
Catherine let him take control of the situation; she felt he needed it, and she could never deny him what he needed to feel better.
Soon, his arms were around her and the kiss was deeper. Catherine reached above her and tipped the shower nozzle and he took the hint; he pushed her back against the opposite wall and angled his hips against hers.
She shivered and put her arms around his neck, letting her nails dig into his back. Gil rocked against her a couple of times; she moved one of her legs over his hip, granting him access to more satisfying movement. He groaned into her mouth; she reached up and scratched her nails against his scalp. He groaned again and she felt him coming to life against her abdomen.
Gil ended the kiss slowly. He pulled back and looked down at her. She rubbed his temples again, knowing how much the gesture relaxed him.
He gave her a lopsided smile and then kissed her forehead.
"We don't have to," he told her.
"Do you want to?"
"Yeah. God, yeah. Cath---"
"Shhh," she cut him off. "Let's just---"
"No," he said softly, cupping her face in his hands. "I'm not saying that just to get laid or to take advantage---"
She put a finger to his lips. She knew he wasn't doing either of those things; she didn't know what he was doing, but she knew he wasn't taking advantage of her or simply seeking skin.
Then, she kissed one of the corners of his mouth before traveling upwards along his jaw, planting small, tender kisses along the wet skin she could reach.
Gil tightened his hold on her, pulling her into a deep hug. Catherine kissed his neck and arched her hips against him. He shuddered again and tipped her face up to meet his for another kiss.
She let him go at his pace; when he was ready for more, she put one foot up on the ledge to grant him better access. He thanked her with another kiss, before he positioned himself properly between her legs. Catherine braced herself on his shoulders and slowly lowered herself as he pushed himself upwards, inside of her.
They both groaned softly and tried to regain their breaths, before returning to kissing. Catherine moved her foot off of the ledge and wrapped that leg around his waist, hooking her knee at his hip. She braced herself as best as she could on her other leg; their heights made it easier for her to feel balanced.
Once of his hands settled on her lower back; the other made contact with the tiled wall above her head. She took one of her hands and put it on his arm, letting her nails dig into the muscle she found there.
Gil grunted against her mouth as he started to move. She sighed softly and rocked her hips as he bounced her between himself and the wall; after kissing her for a while, he pulled back enough so he could watch her face.
She watched him in return, paying close attention to the evidence on his face. When she squeezed herself around him, he made a soft sound that fell between a whimper and a groan. She smiled, but when he smirked, her amused expression faltered.
He thrust harder. Her hand slid from his arm to his shoulder and she held on tightly.
They didn't resume kissing until they were both teetering on the edge of climax. Catherine closed her eyes and allowed herself to get swept away in the sensations; when her orgasm washed over her, she hugged him as closely as she could and rode out the muscle contractions.
Gil groaned in her ear and then his breath came in short, hot pants. She shivered and reached up with a lazy hand to smooth through his hair. He tucked his face into her shoulder.
"Productive shower," Catherine teased quietly.
Gil chuckled and kissed his way back to her lips. They kissed lazily for a few minutes, before he slipped out of her and set her back on her feet.
Catherine pulled him close for one last kiss before they started cleaning up.
They touched tenderly on their way to the bedroom, and they stayed close to each other while dressing. Catherine watched Gil, looking for signs of whatever was bothering him; however, she couldn't find any signs of disturbance. He looked refreshed---not necessarily relaxed---and he wasn't frowning anymore.
"You want me to pick Lindsey up after the rehearsal?"
She met his gaze and smiled. "Ah... well, I can do it after my run. I'll sneak in the back and watch her."
Gil nodded and turned back to the task of threading his belt through the loops on his pants.
He turned to look at her. "Yes?"
"You want to meet us for brunch after?"
Gil smiled and nodded. "Sure."
She smiled back at him. "I'll call your cell when we're finished."
"Sounds great," he replied, nodding again.
Catherine smiled and finished dressing for a morning workout. When she was finished, Gil was leaning against the door frame, watching her.
"I'm jealous Warrick gets to see you like that."
She laughed softly and felt her cheeks flush. "You get to see me in much less."
"Very true," he agreed with a tilt of his head.
She smiled and walked across the room with her sneakers and sunglasses in one hand. After kissing his cheek, she said, "Wanna go see if Lindsey's---"
"C'MON MOM! WE HAVE TO GO!"
Catherine and Gil laughed together. "Guess that answers that," he said softly.
"Yeah," she replied, nodding as her laugh dissolved into a chuckle.
"I'll walk you out," he told her.
She smiled when he put his hand on her lower back and walked her down the hall. Lindsey was waiting by the door, book bag slung over one shoulder, doing a stunning imitation of her mother in the throes of impatience.
"If you keep your face that way, it'll stick," Gil reminded the girl with a teasing smile.
Lindsey huffed, blowing the hair around her face out of the way. "I don't buy it."
Catherine chuckled and sat down on a nearby chair to put her sneakers on. As she tied the second one, Gil's phone rang.
She sighed and shrugged into a polar fleece jacket, before tying her damp hair back.
Gil spoke into the phone. "Grissom." His brow furrowed. "Can't you call Nick?"
Catherine tuned him out and walked into the kitchen to grab a bottle of water from the fridge. When she came back, Gil was putting his shoes on, wearing his jacket.
"You got called out?"
"What's up?" she asked.
Catherine cut him off with a sharp sigh. That was not a name she wanted to hear. "Alright," she said quietly. "Rain check on brunch?"
He nodded. "Yeah... dinner or brunch tomorrow, maybe?"
She nodded, too. "Okay. See you later."
They stopped jogging when they made it back to the base of the trail. Catherine was panting hard; she slowed, walked around, and then braced her arms against a nearby tree to stretch her leg muscles out.
"So, you still haven't told me what's buggin' ya."
She watched Warrick stretch his shoulders out. "Nothing."
He inhaled deeply and then said, "Look, if it's Grissom, I can listen, at least."
She sighed and rolled her eyes. "I don't want to unload on you."
"We're friends, Cath," he reminded her in his soft, deep voice. She frowned and avoided his gaze. He didn't move from his position at her side. "Wanna run back up the hill?"
She glared at him, blue eyes flashing angrily at him.
"Then tell me what's up."
She shrugged. "He's... he's just..." she trailed off and dropped her arms, stepping away from the tree. "Something's wrong. It's either a problem with me, or our relationship, and I can't seem to fix it. He's been hanging around Sara a lot---"
"You can't be jealous of Sara."
"I'm jealous of the way he jumps when she calls," Catherine admitted. "And he uses those calls as an excuse to stay away."
"Did you ask him about it?"
She shook her head. "No... but I think I might tell him he can take some time... figure things out... get her out of his system."
"Cath... do you know what you're saying?"
"If he doesn't want her, he doesn't want her, and I'm more than fine with that. If he needs to figure out how he feels about her, I... I want him to be happy." She shrugged. "I just want him to be happy, so I can try to be happy."
"I think you're crazy."
Catherine smiled a little. "I know I'm crazy."
Warrick smiled. "Catherine, any guy who had you would be a fool to want Sara."
"Some guys like---"
"Not when they can have you," he told her seriously. "Gil's smart."
She laughed dryly. "He's book smart. And she's... so much like him."
"You're the only one he trusts."
Catherine shrugged. "Maybe."
"Warrick, if you were me and could see the changes..." she trailed off and shrugged again. "Sorry, I shouldn't be talking about this with you."
"C'mon," he told her as they started back towards her car. "You need a friend right now. And look, here I am. Let's talk this out."
She nodded and turned the Tahoe on with a push of a button, before they got inside. She slid the key in and turned the ignition once, before pulling out of the parking lot.
"Look," he said softly. "Don't say anything until you're sure. Once you've said it, you can't take it back."
Catherine nodded again but didn't say anything; she didn't trust her voice and she didn't know what to say.
"I still think he'd be crazy to---" She sucked in a sharp breath. Warrick stopped mid-sentence. "Hey, you wanna go get some coffee?" he asked.