"So," Catherine said as she watched Gil pour some champagne into her glass, "is this a celebration or an apology?"
"Perhaps a bit of both," he conceded, before setting the bottle back into its high hat. He reached across the table and squeezed her hand. "I am very sorry that you didn't get the day shift, but I am happy that you've got your own team."
She smiled a bit and when he raised his glass; she raised hers as well and gently tapped it to his. "Thank you," she murmured before sipping from her champagne flute. "I wish I got the day shift, too, but... Ecklie wanted to screw both of us, so... can't do much about that."
"How did your first case go?" Gil asked, interested in her day and in changing the subject. For the first time, it felt like he hadn't seen her in a very long time. It was true; swing shift tended to cover the overlap between day and night shifts, so they didn't have as much time to see each other. However, Gil insisted that she make the time to see him that evening, because he wanted to take her out to dinner.
"It was open and shut," she told him. "The boys had it covered. They make me look good."
Gil smirked. "You don't need anyone to make you look good, Catherine."
Her cheeks flushed a bit. "You're not getting laid tonight," she said quietly as she looked at him through her lashes. "You're going to work and I'm going to bed."
It was his turn for his cheeks to flush. "I wasn't planning---"
"Okay. Maybe I was," he admitted.
She chuckled and sipped her champagne again, before reaching out and taking one of the pieces of cheese off of the tray Gil had ordered for them. "You're cute," she murmured between nibbles of the food, "I'll give you points for that."
"What if I call in sick?"
Catherine laughed again. "You're hopeless."
"I am," he admitted.
He squeezed her hand. "I can't help it," he said quietly as he threaded her fingers through his and brought her knuckles to his lips for a kiss. "I will always want to go home with you," he murmured as he scooted closer to her in the restaurant booth, "because that is where I'd rather be. And, because, no matter how hard I'm trying to think of us the way you want me to, I can't rewire my brain. In my mind, we're a couple. Even when one of us messes up."
Catherine swallowed hard and nodded. "I know," she murmured.
"We're complicated and crazy and we don't always work," he conceded, "but when we do... in my mind, we're together."
"We are complicated and crazy," she agreed, "and we don't always work."
"I know," he said quietly. "I'm trying, though, Catherine. Really."
She nodded again. "I know you are," she whispered as she inched closer and pressed her leg against his. "I appreciate it, really. And I'm trying, too. I know I'm not the easiest person to be with... and I contribute to some of the craziness, too. We just need... to be honest with each other."
"I'm trying to be," he told her.
"Is that what this is about?"
"Yeah," Gil confessed. "I wanted to take you out... be with you in public. And now that we're on different teams, we can do more of the things normal people do---"
"Without you feeling guilty about it?"
"Without either of us worrying about jobs and reputations," he amended.
She smiled and sipped from her champagne flute. "Right," she murmured. She brushed her hand through her wavy hair and looked at him. "Gil, we're not ready to recommit. You know that, right?"
He nodded and turned her hand over, to kiss its palm. "I do," he replied. He sighed and shrugged. "Can't help hoping..."
"I know," she murmured. "But, we both have enough issues to figure out. And it's like you said, when we're good, we're great. When it's bad, though... it's bad."
"I hate it when it's bad," he mumbled.
She smiled sympathetically. "Me, too," she murmured, reaching down under the table to pat his leg. "Want to get out of here?"
"Are you making me go to work?"
Catherine smiled more genuinely, shaking her head slightly as her lips stretched. Gil grinned back at her. "Alright," he said quietly. "I'll pay the bill when we finish our drinks."
She nodded and as she focused on the champagne in her glass, Gil waved the waitress over and signaled that he was ready to pay the bill. A few minutes later, they were walking across the lobby---with the intention of going to Valet Parking to retrieve Gil's car. However, Gil took Catherine's elbow and gently guided her to the bay of elevators.
"Where are you taking me?" she asked quietly.
"I booked us a hotel room," he told her in a similarly quiet voice.
"You didn't even know if---"
"I hoped," he interrupted, smiling at her. "Now... come on. We have a few hours of privacy---"
"You have to call the lab," she reminded him.
Gil rolled his eyes a little. "Yes, yes... I will call the lab." He guided her into one of the elevators and pushed the button for the tenth floor. "But first, we are going to our room."
She smiled and slipped her hand into his. "A few hours of privacy, hmm?"
He nodded. "I told your mother I was taking you out to celebrate your promotion."
"You're getting awfully chummy with my mother," Catherine pointed out as the elevator ascended.
"Does that bother you?"
"Well, no, but... soon, she's going to start asking me questions about you and that is going to bother me," Catherine replied. "And I haven't really been able to talk to Lindsey about us, either, so I don't know what kind of information source she's going to be for my mother... and that woman loves to criticise my---"
"What have I done wrong?" he asked. "In her eyes... I gave you a place to stay after every fight with Eddie. I took care of Lindsey when you couldn't. Recently, I've taken her to school... I've tried to be another adult she can depend upon... I drive you to work... and I'm taking you out to celebrate your promotion. And, I'll have you home in time to kiss your daughter good-night." He kissed her bare shoulder. "Is she really going to think I'm a bad guy to date?"
Catherine smiled and looked at him as the elevator doors slid open. She kissed his lips briefly and then tugged on his hand. As they walked down the hall, Gil leading the way slightly, she spoke. "She's going to think you're a great guy to date," she explained, "but when I can't tell her how long we've been dating, or if we're 'going steady' or just fooling around... then she's going to think I'm a basket case who can't make up her mind. And I just have her thinking I'm a stable person again."
"She knows a lot of what happened between the two of you has nothing to do with stability... and more to do with you being a rebellious teenager," Gil assured her. "I'm sure she'd understand."
"What? That we were together, then we weren't together... then we are together, but we're not really together?" Catherine asked. "Gil, half the time I don't even understand it."
"Neither do I," he admitted. He stopped them in front of a door and slid his keycard into its slot. The green light flashed and he turned the handle, opening the door and ushering Catherine inside their private room. "But, I trust you... and I'm trying to trust your instincts, you know that, right?"
"I think... we're too many things to each other," she told him quietly as he locked the door and walked towards her. She smiled when Gil wrapped his arms around her waist. "And trying to adhere to a socially-constructed definition of what a relationship is doesn't seem to do *us* any good. You know?"
He hated to admit it, but it did make sense to him. "I do know," he said quietly after a brief kiss, "and I'll admit, I'm not used to thinking of us like that. But you're right. And I'll try harder."
She smiled and nodded. Gil decided he didn't want to talk anymore about what they were and what they weren't; he decided that it was time to move onto more entertaining activities. He cupped her cheek with one hand and held her still while he kissed her.
Catherine seemed to warm up to his suggestion. She yielded to him and to the kiss, making a soft noise of approval in her throat as she tightened her arms around his neck. He slid his hand from her face to her shoulder to her hip and rubbed it against her in slow circles; he felt her shiver and that fueled his desire.
Eventually, their kisses dragged them over to the bed. Catherine let Gil push her down onto the mattress, her hair and skirt fanning out around her; she smiled up at him and rubbed her stomach lazily as she waited for him to join her. He took his suit jacket off and then his shoes, before easing himself down next to her feet.
When he unstrapped her shoes and slowly removed them, she sighed softly and rubbed one of her legs against his side. He smiled and kissed her ankles, before turning and positioning his body over hers.
"Are you trying to seduce me, Dr. Grissom?" she asked quietly.
He smirked. "Will you let me, Ms. Willows?"
"That's a pretty safe bet," she murmured, before laughing softly for a few seconds. "You have to call the lab, though."
He sighed. "Yeah, yeah..."
Catherine leaned up and kissed up. "You'll be able to seduce me then," she promised quietly, before kissing her way to his ear. She nipped at its lobe. "I promise I'll behave until then," she whispered.
Gil groaned and sagged his body against hers. "You are..."
Catherine chuckled before reaching around and patting his ass with her flattened hand. "Get your phone, make the call," she insisted.
As Gil called the lab, Catherine stood up and wandered around the room for a moment, before deciding to undress. She slithered out of her skirt, letting it fall to the ground; then, she turned and faced him while she pulled her sweater over her head. Gil's face flushed as he took in her body, clad in nothing but black, lacy lingerie.
She smirked and reached behind her, to the bra clasp in the middle of her back. With a quick flick, it was unfastened. She grinned when Gil swallowed hard and proceeded to slide the undergarment down her arms before letting it drop on the floor.
Slowly, she walked over to him and settled down onto his lap---while he was making arrangements to go from running the shift to simply being on call. He shifted and grimaced, before resting his forehead against her collarbone.
"Yes... yes," he said into the phone, sounding much more distracted than he had a few moments before. "Thanks. Okay. Bye."
Gil tossed the phone onto the floor and looked up at her. "You are temptation, personified," he stated, looking up at her as she took his glasses off and twisted to set them on the night stand.
"So?" she inquired in a mild tone of voice that didn't quite match the dark, excited look in her eyes.
"'What does this mean except that you wish to bring to light what is concealed in the breast, and by this act to cleanse your hidden sins?'" Gil quoted quietly, while brushing the fingers of both hands along her sides.
"I'm not sure who said that, or what it means, but as long as you're going to satisfy me sexually, I don't really care," she whispered, leaning in for another kiss.
After a quick kiss, he added, "'Because the breast is the seat of evil thoughts---'"
"Enough," Catherine growled before covering her mouth with his. Gil chuckled against her mouth and deepened the kiss.
Soon, they were inching towards the middle of the bed, Catherine tugging at Gil's clothes at every turn. He didn't protest much, luckily, and soon Catherine reveled in the sensation of his skin upon her skin. He tugged her underwear down her legs and then slid back on top of her, his erection pressing against her thigh as he paid attention to her breasts.
No matter how stressed she was---because of her own self-esteem issues or her daughter's determination to break all the rules set out for her---being with Gil was a rejuvenating experience. He made her feel important and beautiful, when his attention was focused upon her, and she appreciated that he could distract her from real life.
When he kissed his way to her lips, Catherine whimpered and scratched her nails over his back as she arched her body into Gil's body. After a few kisses, she nudged him gently and guided him into rolling over. She moaned and gave him a sultry look before lowering her mouth to his chest. She nibbled and sucked and licked his flesh until he was groaning underneath her.
She smiled at him and brought a hand up to his face. She brushed her fingers over his lips. "Yes?"
"This is... really nice," he whispered, "but..."
"But...?" she purred. "What can I do for you?"
He grinned and slowly pushed himself up into a sitting position. Catherine scooted back onto his thighs and set her hands upon his shoulders as he leaned forward and sought another kiss. She sighed when he threaded his hand through her hair, granting him access to a deeper kiss; things progressed from there, and soon Catherine was letting Gil guide her up onto her knees, over his erection.
Once she was settled in his lap, Gil buried inside of her, Catherine stretched her legs out and pressed her feet against the pillows. Gil wrapped his arms around her body and pressed his lips to her collarbone before trailing them towards her breasts.
In that position, they couldn't move much, but their lips and hands compensated and stirred their passions. It took a while, but Catherine eventually felt the telltale tension of orgasm; she let her head fall back before a loud moan escaped her lips. Gil kissed the tops of her breasts and slid his hands down to the curves of her upper thighs, squeezing with his hands as he rode out her muscle contractions.
She felt him ejaculate inside of her and the warmth of that extra fluid made her shiver as she tipped her head forward and watched him through hooded eyes.
Gil stared back at her, meeting her eyes and making her flush.
"Hi," she whispered.
"Hi," he whispered back.
She reached forward and combed her fingers through his hair. "Thank you for tonight," she whispered.
Gil turned his head and kissed her arm. "I love you," he breathed.
"I'm sorry, but I do," he said, looking at her. "I know we're something... else. But, I love you. As a friend... as a lover... as... whatever we are."
She smiled and nodded. "I love you, too," she murmured, before kissing him again.
After Gil dropped her off outside of her home, Catherine watched him drive away before walking into her house. She smiled to herself as she let herself inside, but the smile faded when she heard a fight developing between her mother and her daughter.
She sighed, ran a hand through her hair, and then took her shoes off. She walked into the living room and saw Lindsey and Lily looking as frustrated as their voices sounded.
"What happened?" she asked quietly.
"Lindsey skipped a few classes today," Lily said as the young blonde rolled her eyes and sighed loudly. "And her principal called to inform us that she misses at least one class every two days."
"Lindsey?" Catherine asked, focusing her gaze on her daughter. "Is this true?"
"What? You're going to drag me to the morgue again?" Lindsey demanded. "It's not a big deal. I skip a few classes. Everyone does it."
"Everyone... like who?" Catherine inquired. "If everyone at school skipped classes, no one would be there!" She walked further into the room and sat down in an armchair. "How long has this been going on?"
Lindsey crossed her arms. "Why?"
"I want to talk to you about this," Catherine said, attempting to keep the anger out of her voice. "You're so angry and rebellious... and I don't understand. Neither does Nana. We want to, though."
"You're not mad?"
Catherine smiled a bit. "Oh, honey... believe me, I'm mad. But, I don't want to fight with you," she murmured.
"You were with Gil, weren't you?" Lindsey asked, eyebrow arching.
Catherine prayed she wasn't blushing. "Y-yeah, I was," she answered. "He treated me to dinner to celebrate my promotion."
She felt her mother's gaze on her, but she struggled to ignore it and to focus on her daughter. She looked into her daughter's eyes and sighed. "Do you want me to stop hanging out with Gil, Linds? Spend more time here?"
"Tell me what I can do," she insisted, trying to sound as casual as possible.
"So... what? So I don't end up running away from home and---"
Catherine sighed and looked at her mother. There was so much undiscussed history between them, and Catherine didn't think they'd ever sort it all out. There just wasn't enough time to figure their mess out; and it didn't really seem necessary, since they had managed to apologise to each other and smooth things over. Lily frowned at Catherine and put her hands on her hips.
"I didn't tell her," Lily said.
"Dad did," Lindsey explained quickly, her cheeks flushing. "Before, I mean."
Catherine sighed and pushed her hair out of her eyes. "Vegas was different back then, baby," she murmured. "It wasn't as dangerous... and... I was lucky." She cleared her throat and stood up. "How about you help me make some tea, Linds?"
"Am I being punished?"
"Not yet," Catherine said with a small smile curving her lips. "C'mon. We'll have a snack and talk." She walked over to her mother and hugged her. "You wanna head out for the night?" she asked quietly. "I've got it from here."
Catherine nodded. "Yeah. See you tomorrow afternoon?"
The older woman smiled. "Sure."
The blonde girl's cheeks were flushed and her eyes were glued to a spot on the carpet. "I'm sorry about the yelling."
"I accept your apology," Lily said, before kissing the top of the girl's head and smiling at Catherine.
Once mother and daughter were alone, Catherine herded Lindsey into the kitchen. The girl sat on one of the bar stools, while Catherine milled around, putting together a nighttime snack for them both.
"I did run away from home," Catherine admitted. "I was a troublemaker, Linds... I snuck into casinos and clubs and I drank and gambled and did plenty of other illegal things when I was only a few years older than you."
"Did Nana kick you out?"
Catherine chuckled. "Not quite," she replied. "I just... I met your father and I was crazy in love with him, and no one could keep me away from him. I barely wanted to finish high school... and I thought I would go on, living the rock star lifestyle, you know?" she explained. "Didn't occur to me that I'd have to get a job and pay the bills. Partying didn't make us any money, baby... and it was a really hard lesson to learn."
"Did Grandpa know about---"
"I don't know what he knows and doesn't know," Catherine said as honestly as she could. She recalled him mentioning that he sent the high rollers her way, when she was a dancer, but she tried to repress that memory; the idea of her father sending men to the club to watch her dance, naked, gave her the creeps. On top of that, she had no idea what Lily told him about her teenaged years or what he saw while she was living the glamourous, party girl lifestyle. "We don't talk much."
Catherine poured two cups of herbal tea and offered one to Lindsey. After sitting down next to her daughter, she said, "I worry about you. I know you're a capable, intelligent girl, and it kills me to see you making some of the same mistakes I did."
"You turned out okay, though. And you say you don't regret anything you did."
"Well, that's not entirely true," Catherine murmured, blushing a bit.
Lindsey's eyes widened. "What do you regret?"
After a sip of tea, Catherine said, "I don't regret my wilder days... because I met your dad... and we had you. And I wouldn't trade you for anything. I mean that, Lindsey. No matter what happens, you're my daughter and I love you." She paused and blushed a bit. "But, I make mistakes. When Gil and I were going out... you remember a few years ago, I went to Miami with Warrick?"
"Well, I cheated on Gil."
Lindsey blinked. "With Warrick?"
"No... with a man I met down there while working on the case," Catherine replied. "And I regret that. He stopped trusting me completely for a long time. I didn't think he'd ever like me again."
"But he does... you two are dating again." Catherine shrugged, but didn't say anything; she didn't know how to respond to that statement. "So... you're friends with benefits?" Lindsey asked, looking a little green around the gills.
"No... we're just best friends," Catherine murmured. "We don't know if we can be a real couple again... but we love each other. And he's still crazy about you, too."
"My family is so weird," Lindsey mumbled into her teacup.
Catherine smiled. "We really are," she agreed. She reached out and brushed her fingers through Lindsey's hair. For the first time in a long time, Lindsey didn't flinch or tell her to stop what she was doing. Catherine took that as a good sign. "I just want you to be safe," she murmured. "Safe and happy... and I want you to take advantage of the opportunities I didn't have."
She sipped her tea, and then asked, "What's going on?"
"Tonight, I'm not going to yell or get mad," Catherine promised. "I think I've done you a disservice... and I feel bad about that. We aren't as close as we used to be... and a lot of that is probably my fault."
Lindsey ducked her gaze towards the counter. "Some of it's my fault, too."
"Yeah," Catherine agreed quietly. "So... talk to me, Linds."
The young girl nodded before launching into a conversation about what she did when she skipped school, why she chose to miss classes, and about the other aspects of her social life. While some of the details didn't exactly please Catherine, she took comfort in the fact that Lindsey was talking to her again, and that there was some hope of repairing their relationship.