"Gil?!" Catherine yelped as she watched Gil toss his phone onto the bed haphazardly and grab a nearby pair of pants. He nearly fell trying to get into them. "What on earth are you---"
"Where?! We have the day off!" Catherine huffed, tugging the bed sheet around her as she sat up. She brushed a hand through her bed-tousled hair. "Where are you going?!"
"Work," he said quietly, grabbing a shirt out of Catherine's closet---a closet that had become more 'theirs' than anyone's in particular over the past few weeks.
Gil winced but didn't let her shriek distract him. He grabbed a belt and threaded it through his pants.
A pillow, colliding with his head, did make him hesitate though.
"Gilbert Grissom!" Catherine sucked in a deep breath, and then shrieked: "ON OUR DAY OFF?!?!"
Gil looked at her, holding his hands up as he saw her pick another pillow up off of the bed. "Cath, c'mon... please... no violence."
"Don't patronise me, mister," she said, eyes narrowing. "You are on some pretty thin ice."
He came closer---only a couple of steps. "There is a head in autopsy," he said quietly, eagerly. "A head, Catherine. David just called to tell me about it."
He nodded. "A head. Just a head, only a head... it's been shipped in to Vegas."
Catherine glared at him through her narrowed eyes. Gil took in her tousled hair, swollen lips, and the small mascara smudges under her eyes; he wanted to stay with her. But, he also wanted to see the head in autopsy.
"You have some serious making up to do tonight," she said calmly.
"I know," he agreed. He smiled a little. "How about... you come meet me at work?"
"And what would I do?"
"Look very cute in my office?" he asked. "Earn some overtime?"
Catherine smiled. "Earn some overtime?" she asked sweetly.
Gil knew he was in trouble when he heard that tone in her voice. He swallowed hard. "Uh... help me work a case?" he asked. "By, uh, bringing your cunning intellect to the lab?"
Her smiled was more genuine this time. She reached out and ruffled his hair. "Go on," she murmured. "Go see your head. I might stop by later and help you out."
"I love you," Gil whispered back. He smiled and added, "Just for the record, you look really hot right now, and leaving you isn't want I really want to do."
Catherine smiled more. "Want a kiss for the road?"
"You bet," he murmured, reaching up and cupping her face with his hand.
The kiss was real. He tasted too minty, and she tasted like she had been sleeping for a few hours; his beard scraped her skin, and her lips needed a little lip balm. But, they both pulled away smiling.
Gil brushed her hair back and then tweaked her chin. "I'll see you soon?"
"Yeah," she murmured. "We'll catch up with each other later," she promised, nodding as her smile reached her eyes.
Gil smirked and tugged the sheet down from her body. "Mmm," he hummed near her ear.
"Gilbert Gri-grissom," she breathed. "What are you doing?"
"One of my favourite pastimes," he whispered back, brushing a hand against her breasts. He cupped one of them and grinned when she moaned and rested her head against his shoulder. He took advantage of her position, and placed a few strategic kisses along the sleek line of her neck.
"Evil," she complained, breathing heavily.
Catherine moaned. "No fair, no fair, no fair," she whispered, burying her face in his shoulder. "You're going to go and I'm all fired up."
"I'll make it up to you later," he promised, as he pulled away from her.
He took in her appearance and felt a slow grin spreading across his face; her nipples were taught, her chest and face were flushed, and her eyes were so dark and so blue that he would have easily drowned himself in them.
"Yeah," he assured her. "All night long."
Catherine shivered a little as she smiled at him. "Okay."
Gil smiled back at her and then pressed a kiss to her forehead. "See you later," he murmured.
He tweaked her chin one more time before straightening and leaving the bedroom.
Catherine fell back against the mattress and remaining pillows, smiling as she listened to him moving through the house.
"Uh oh," Al Robbins said, examining the head on the table. "I take that back."
Gil looked down at the cut. "That took skill," he commented.
Al nodded and moved away from the head to make a few notes. Gil snapped a few pictures of it, and then he looked at the head's file.
"I'm going to head out," he said. "You'll get Hodges to run trace?"
"Yeah, but I'm going to need a CSI to---"
"I'll get the switchboard to call Cath in," Gil said quickly. "She was thinking about coming in and getting some overtime, anyway."
The medical examiner nodded and continued his examination. "Sounds good. Have fun in Jackpot."
Gil smirked. "Thanks."
"Don't get lost."
"Or eaten by a mountain lion?" Gil shot back, smiling.
"Probably not the best of ideas," the doctor replied, smiling a little back at his colleague.
Gil nodded, waved, and then turned away from the table. He made it to his office before his phone rang. He could hear the crackle of the supposedly-secret recording device; he ignored it and took the call.
"You left me here," Catherine murmured. "All alone, and very turned on."
Gil blushed a little. He could hear the whine in her voice---he knew that whine. After being with her romantically for almost four years---had it really been that long?---he knew exactly how riled up she was, just by hearing the tone of voice she used.
"My dear," he said quietly. "Now is not a good time for---"
"I don't want phone sex," she interrupted. "I want you to sit there and listen while I..."
"You cannot be serious," he said when she trailed off.
She chuckled. The sound was deep in her throat. Gil knew he was in trouble.
"Let's not do this now," he insisted.
"Where are you?" she asked. "Your office? Afraid Ecklie might hear you moan?"
Gil smiled. "That is one of my concerns, yes."
"One of?" Catherine echoed.
She sighed. "Lemme guess... you have to walk around the lab?"
"And I'm going for a little drive soon," he said. "And you know I can't drive when you're... you know."
"Turning you on?"
Catherine laughed. "What is this, dirty madlibs?"
"Sounds like it," he replied as he gathered his kit and coat and keys.
"How about I call you in ten minutes?" she suggested. "That'll give me enough time to find the toys I want to use... enough time for you to get into the car and away from the tape recorder, I hope?"
"Yes," Gil agreed as he stopped in front of the shelf Ecklie had claimed as his own. "Let's talk about the case later."
"Ooh, you're playing sexy super agent guy," Catherine teased in a huskier voice.
Gil groaned. "Talk to you later?"
"Bye!" Catherine chirped in his ear before he put his phone away.
Catherine strolled into the lab building, feeling rather refreshed after her long phone call with Gil, and after an enjoyable shower.
She smiled at the receptionist as she walked past the main desk; she walked straight into the locker room. Her purse and jacket were discarded, hung up in her private space, before she returned to the lab's corridors.
She turned to see Judy standing in the hallway behind her. "Hey," she said easily. "What's up?"
The petite woman handed a file folder over. "Dr. Grissom called and asked me to give you this."
"Is this the new case?" Catherine asked.
"I wouldn't know," Judy said with a shrug.
Catherine smiled. "Well, thanks. I better get to work."
She left the receptionist by turning back onto her former path. She thought about stopping into Gil's office, but after she flipped through the file---which was on the case Gil had become so interested in---she decided to go to the coroner's office.
Gil was probably there, she reasoned.
However, when she walked into the autopsy room, where she was told Doctor Robbins was working, she only saw Hodges with the medical examiner.
She frowned. Gil wasn't there.
"Any idea when Grissom'll be back?" she asked the two men.
"Nope," Al Robbins replied. "It's going to be a while."
She looked down at the paperwork in her hand and searched for the location of the initial crime scene. "Jackpot, Nevada?" she asked. "Where the hell is that?"
Hodges shrugged. "Middle of nowhere?"
"And Grissom's there?"
Al nodded. "As far as I know."
"His spider sense got all tingly, I bet," Catherine said on a sigh. She tucked her hair behind her ear. "Alright... well, I'll see if I can get a hold of him."
She turned and walked back to the door. "Hodges, when you---"
"Yeah, yeah... I'll let you know what I find."
Catherine smiled and nodded, before leaving the autopsy room. She closed the folder and tucked it under her arm as she reached for her cellphone which was secured to her belt.
She tried calling Gil, but there was no answer. She frowned and snapped the phone shut.
An hour later, she finally got a response from Gil. She had just finished dodging the sheriff---who wanted to know when Gil would be back, when he would file his paperwork---when he answered one of her calls.
"Grissom," he answered calmly.
She didn't even bother saying hello. "Is the service actually bad out there or are you just keeping your phone off?"
"I'm sorry," he replied. "I should've called."
"This trip wouldn't have anything to do with you ducking case reviews, now would it?"
"How can you think that?" he asked, not answering her question but giving her an unspoken answer at the same time. His aversion to paperwork was something she was familiar with. "You wouldn't mind taking care of those for me, would you?"
She sighed. "Oh, your job, my pay. Why would I care?"
"I'll make it up to you..."
Catherine shivered. She didn't know if he was offering sexual favours---she didn't know if that would be enough---but his words still affected her.
"Yeah," she said. "You had better."
She stepped into the doorway of Gil's office, and saw the stack of files on his desk. Her jaw dropped. She wanted to yell into the phone, at him, over the amount of work he wanted her to do.
She curbed that impulse, though, and instead said: "Hodges ID'd your leaf litter."
After she told him what Hodges had told her, he thanked her, and they ended the call. She walked into the office, looked at the paperwork, and flopped down into his chair.
She touched one of the files and sighed. She did not want to review those cases.
Instead, she opened his computer and checked her mail.
The next day, Catherine stepped into Gil's office. She wasn't surprised to see the files still stacked up in that daunting pile, but her heart sank all over again. Her 'ignore it, maybe it'll go away' approach hadn't worked.
The fax machine rang once, before printing something onto a sheet of paper. She turned her head and looked at the machine, and when it was finished printing, she walked towards it and picked the paper up.
"Did I miss a memo or something?"
Catherine looked up at Warrick. "Oh, no. Grissom's on a safari," she told him in a wry tone of voice.
"He's got you pushing his paperwork, huh?"
"Oh, no," she repeated, correcting her colleague again. "I'm trying to avoid that. His headless DB had a Western LVU bookstore receipt in his pocket," she explained. "Grissom just unraveled it."
Warrick sounded interested. She saw the curious glint in the other man's eyes. "Really?" he asked as he approached.
"Wow," Catherine marveled. "Some of these books are a hundred bucks a pop. Tuition... plus room and board... that's at least another 10K."
"You got to have money to go to college these days," Warrick commented.
Catherine knew she had been lucky---but after looking at that receipt, she wondered how she would ever put Lindsey through higher education.
"Yeah, well," she said in a slightly dismissive tone of voice. "I missed that boat." She studied the book list more critically. "So," she told Warrick. "Most of these are freshman textbooks. Core curriculum."
"Well, that's at least two thousand students," Warrick reminded her. "Maybe you'll get lucky with the victim's prints."
She didn't want to resort to that---she didn't want to wait around, to have time to start on Gil's paperwork. She continued to examine the list, hoping for something she could work with.
And then she saw a book title that was a potential clue.
"Oh, wait," she said. "Hang on... 'Chiaroscuro Theory and Technique.' It's a sophomore-level fine arts text."
"Freshman in a sophomore course?" Warrick asked, following the same trail Catherine was.
"Narrows the field," she said.
"Definitely," Warrick agreed. "I'll call them up and get a class list."
"I can do that," she said with a smile.
"You really don't want to do that paperwork, do you?"
Catherine laughed softly as she picked up the phone. "I really don't."
Warrick sat down on one of the nearby chairs, and waited for her to finish her phone call with the Admissions office of the university.
Fifteen minutes later, she hung up the phone and said, "There. Someone's going to fax it to us."
"Good work, boss," Warrick said with a teasing smile.
Catherine smiled back at him. "Thanks," she replied, on a small laugh.
"Is it weird being in here?" Warrick asked.
She shrugged. "I don't know... maybe. A little."
She pressed her lips together and shrugged again. She didn't want to lie to Warrick; he was a friend, and he didn't deserve to be treated badly.
"We... we weren't long-term," Catherine said quietly. "I mean, we thought we were... but... after the fights... two people can only survive so much."
Warrick frowned. "I thought..."
She smiled at him. "I know," she murmured.
"When you're ready to start dating again..." Warrick said, smiling back at her. "You let me know."
"Why?" she asked, her smile stretching. "You want to step up to the plate?"
Warrick laughed and shifted in his chair. "Nah... but I know a few people."
She smiled and nodded. "Thanks, War."
"No problem. Who always has your back?"
She reached out and touched his hand. "You do," she answered as she squeezed his fingers with hers. "Any chance you'd like to take me out for a drink after shift?"
"You bet," he replied. "We can talk some more."
"I want to hear all the sordid details about your love life," she teased as the fax machine rang again. They both laughed a little; she walked to the machine to get the papers that were being fed through the machine.
"Any freshmen?" Warrick asked as he watched her study the paper.
"Only one," she said, smiling a bit.
"Cash it," Sam Braun said to Catherine, as he leaned against the arena's fence. "Or tear it up. Do whatever you want. I have one son in jail... another in the ground. I never did right by your mother, but I'm damn sure going to try to do right by you."
Catherine looked up into his face. It was difficult to look at him and not be reminded of the murder he had committed. But, a small part of her was glad that he was finally owning up to her, to his responsibility as a father. A small part of her saw this cheque as a pleasant surprise.
"Sam... I... I don't---"
"I'm not expecting you to like me," he interrupted. "I just want you to give me a chance."
She sighed, but didn't say anything.
"Can you do that, Mugs?"
"I... I need to think about this," she said softly.
He nodded. "Of course. Go talk to your boss, a lawyer... anyone you trust. Keep the cheque until you make up your mind."
She nodded, too. "Yeah."
Catherine turned her eyes to the horse who was being lunged around the arena. She hadn't been to the farm in a long time---since just before Lindsey was born, when she and Sam were close friends---and she could not deny its beauty.
She cleared her throat. "I... I've got to go."
"I'll talk to you later, Sam," she said quietly, before turning and walking away, towards the lot where she parked her vehicle.
She tucked the cheque in her pocket as she walked away; she didn't look at it again until she returned to the lab.
Gil unlocked Catherine's door and slipped inside her home. He quietly closed the door behind him and set his keys down on a nearby table before taking his shoes, jacket, and hat off.
On his way to the master bedroom, he poked his head into Lindsey's room and saw that the young girl was sleeping. He smiled. She was growing up so fast, he thought, as he closed her door and continued on to see Catherine.
The strawberry blonde was sprawled out on her stomach in the middle of the bed, wearing nothing but one of his t-shirts. The comforter had been kicked onto the floor.
She was breathing deeply; she appeared to be enjoying a very deep sleep.
Gil smiled and started to get undressed.
When he was close enough to the bed, he leaned down and brushed his hand along her leg. He felt her shiver underneath his fingers and his smile stretched.
He eased himself down onto the mattress and slid his hands along her legs. When he was sure she wasn't going to wake up, he slowly inched her legs apart and situated himself between them.
Gil had been nearly certain that the first kiss to the back of her thigh would have woken her up---when she sighed softly, he thought she was awake. However, she appeared to still be sleeping, so he continued to kiss her thighs, traveling over her curves towards her lower back.
Catherine sighed and made a soft noise under her breath. Her hips wiggled and pushed up against Gil as he orally explored her skin.
Putting his hand between her legs caused her to moan. Gil smiled at her reaction and began to slowly stroke her centre. Catherine didn't move much; occasionally, she sighed.
After a few minutes of manual manipulation, Gil felt the telling moisture against the tips of his fingers. He smirked and slipped one finger inside of her, thrusting gently. Then, another finger was added.
He pressed down and rubbed with his fingers; Catherine shifted against him.
She moaned once, her voice thick with sleep, and then Gil felt her hidden muscles clamp down around his fingers repeatedly. Her body relaxed.
He chuckled under his breath and then crawled up the mattress, taking the previously-abandoned comforter with him. He ignored his own needs and settled down onto his back.
"Hey..." Catherine whispered.
Gil turned to her and smiled. "Missed you," he whispered back.
She smiled and leaned forward to kiss his forehead. She rolled onto her side; then, she frowned. "I'm all... ugh."
"You're all... what?"
"Wet. And..." she trailed off and paused, as if in silent self-evaluation. Then, her eyes snapped up to Gil's and her eyebrows lifted up. "You..."
"You should have woken me up," she murmured, wrapping her arm around his body.
"I thought you would have, actually," he admitted, putting one of his arms around her. "I didn't mean to let it go that far, but..."
"You, ever the scientist, enjoyed seeing how long I could stay asleep?"
Gil blushed in the dimly lit room. He hadn't consciously thought about the situation that way---but since she mentioned it, he had to admit that it sounded like something he'd be curious about.
"I... uh... well..."
Catherine kissed his lips briefly, gently brushing hers across his. "It's okay," she murmured. She tangled his legs with hers. "I probably would have stayed asleep for a lot more, if I didn't miss you so much."
Gil felt his eyes widen. "What..."
"Shhh," she whispered, before kissing him again. She smiled against his lips when he groaned. "Welcome home," she added in a a breathless voice.
"Why, thank you, my dear," he whispered back. He placed his hand in the small of her back and pressed her body against his. That extra heat was exactly what his body craved. "I'm very glad to be home."
"Show me how much," she murmured.
Gil kissed her; he brought her lower lip into his mouth, held it with his teeth, and worried it with his tongue. Catherine moaned and dug her fingers into the skin above his hip.
"Roll over," he whispered, after releasing her.
Catherine smiled for a moment, before obeying his demand. She rolled over, so she was on her other side, so her back was to Gil.
"Perfect," Gil replied. He pressed himself against her back and gently thrust his hips against her; they were both breathing a little unevenly after that.
Catherine moved her leg up and back, readying herself for him. Gil put his hand on her stomach and gently massaged her. She sighed and rested her head upon his shoulder.
"Ready?" Gil asked, before nipping at her earlobe.
She nodded a few times. Gil kissed her neck and positioned himself behind her.
The next few minutes were a slow, languid blur of kisses, touches, and moving bodies. Gil buried himself inside of her and held her close; he loved the weight of her in his arms and the scent of her arousal in the air. Being close to her was indescribably perfect.
He cupped her breast, through his t-shirt, and she whimpered softly.
He didn't respond with words; instead, he squeezed his hand and enjoyed how she writhed in his arms.
It didn't take long for Gil to find himself close to his breaking point. Catherine was squeezing herself around him on purpose, torturing him deliberately and loving every minute of it.
He thrust as hard as he could in that position and groaned into her neck. He knew there would be a mark there in the morning, from his lips and his beard, but he didn't care.
Catherine didn't seem to mind, either. She rocked against him as his body spasmed, enjoying his loss of control and adding to the experience.
He reached down with his hand, after he caught some of his breath back, and gently teased her sensitive nerves. His hand slipped between her legs, found the spot he wanted, and flicked his index finger. She hissed and arched---but couldn't go anywhere because he was still buried inside of her.
Gil smiled and repeated his actions, strumming her rhythmically until she cried into her pillow and tightened around him.
His smile faltered as her muscles tightened; he was too sensitive, it was too much. But, it was over, soon, and she was slipping out of his arms so she could roll over.
"I'm very glad to have you back," she whispered.
Gil kissed her forehead and summoned the strength to have a conversation he knew they had to have. "I'm sorry I took advantage of you earlier," he admitted.
"Don't be," she murmured. "I know you're just curious... and you're not doing it to hurt me."
"I'd rather be awake," she said, smiling at him. Gil smiled, too. Then, Catherine added, "If you don't make a habit out of this exploration... once or twice... every once and a while, is okay with me."
Gil's jaw dropped. Never, in a million years, would he have expected Catherine to say that---but, then, he realised that she made a habit out of shocking him so he should have known she'd respond that way.
"You... you mean..."
She smiled and brushed her fingers over his beard. "Yes. I trust you that much."
Gil ducked down and kissed her fingers. "Thank you... I probably wouldn't---" Catherine interrupted him with a snort. He frowned and continued. "---but hearing you say that..."
"You're a curious man," she murmured, snuggling up to him. "It's okay."
Gil kissed her lips twice, before easing onto his back and pulling her close. She sighed happily and draped her arm over his chest as she rested on his shoulder.
"But," she added. "Not tonight, okay? I'm exhausted."
Gil chuckled and kissed the top of her head. "I promise... not for quite a while."