Rating: T for the story (M for the author's notes)
Spoilers: Everything including the promo for the next episode
Disclaimer: Yada, yada. CBS owns it. Yada.
Summary: The day of reckoning has come. Ecklie questions Sara on her romance with Grissom.
A/N #1: If you don't want to read my speech in the second part of the author's notes (and who could blame you?), why not put Dollars for Sense in a search engine and go and visit. It's to help keep Jorja on the show. You'll be glad you did.
To be fair, Ecklie did offer to come to her apartment. But, Sara really didn't want all of his suspicions confirmed when she'd have to pull up a cardboard box for him to sit on. Her apartment, to put it bluntly, was nothing more than a very expensive storage space and an address to keep up their nothing-but-coworkers charade.
And it had all been worth it. They had their rough times, as most solitary souls had when entering into a romantic relationship, but they did all right for themselves, considering the sheer quantity of time they spent in each other's company. And they had been able to compartmentalize work, and their relationship, managing both quite nicely.
But she still didn't want Ecklie in her apartment. Why add fuel to the fire? She wanted things to stay the same, professionally and personally. Especially now.
Because, all of a sudden, 24-hours a day didn't seem like nearly enough time. They had so much to make up for, so much to grab onto and hold dear. And it didn't matter what they were doing, as long as they were doing it together.
So, Sara was more than willing to strap on her sling, and face her inquisitor. In the cold hard light of day, she'd tell him whatever he wanted to know and plead her case. Their case. She'd even manage to be polite. Natalie had been a threat, but keeping that promise might be the end of her yet.
"Thank you for the plant, Ecklie. It was very thoughtful of you," she said, as she sat on the couch across from his desk.
"Uh, yeah. I'm sorry I couldn't visit you in the hospital but…" and he broke into a very long song and dance about schedule adjustments and personnel shortages, as if she had doused herself in bleach and made herself serial-killer bait.
She blanked him out for a moment while she remembered Grissom's very sweet gesture in the car, before they walked into the lab. His doofy hat, his smile and the gentle way he cupped her face in his hands and kissed her lightly. Yes, he had been treating her a little like porcelain lately, but she understood completely.
And then when she tuned back into Ecklie's speech, and he was still going on about all he had done in the office since she was gone, she thought of telling him that his staying away from the hospital had been even more thoughtful than the plant.
Still, discretion was the better part of valor and all that. She just smiled serenely and nodded until he stopped.
He took out a pad and started writing notes. "So, you knew Grissom before you were hired for the job," he stated.
"How did you know him?"
"We met in San Francisco. I attended one of his seminars and told him I was interested in a career in forensics and we kept in touch by phone and email. We were friends."
"Friends?" Never had one innocent word sounded so smarmy.
"No," she cut him off.
"And your friend asked you to come here as a consultant in the Holly Gribbs case?"
"And then asked you to stay?"
"Just like that?"
She smiled, "Just like that."
Hardly. After the Holly Gribbs case had been wrapped up, Grissom had taken her to a diner. One he had never taken her to since, as a matter of fact. Diners had been their eating establishments of choice back in the Bay Area.
He was a little different than he had been the last time she saw him. Of course, he was in his element during that seminar. And he had been relaxed. Very relaxed. He was the expert, they were the ones seeking his wisdom.
Now, she had a feeling he felt a bit like a fish out of water. He looked like a man who now had the weight of the world put on his shoulders, and didn't like it one bit. She wanted to put her hands—right there—where all his troubles had settled, and knead, and knead, until his worries were gone and he could move freely again. In body and mind.
God, she had to stop that. She as leaving the day after tomorrow. The time for goodbyes this go-round would be no easier than the last.
"Sara," he said, finally, as his hands absent-mindedly played with his napkin. "I can't thank you enough for coming out here on such short notice. You made things much…easier."
She waved her hand dismissively. "Hey, I was glad to help." She leaned forward a bit and put on her most flirtatious smile, the one that seemed to enchant him a couple of years before. "You could make it up to me by showing me around town. I've only got one full day left in Vegas, and I've never been here before…and you're practically a native now…"
His face fell. "I have to work."
She narrowed her eyes just the slightest bit. He worked nights. She wasn't asking for the Graveyard Tour of the city. But, he was dedicated and probably going to come in early, and…she was on her own.
She remembered what she felt the last time they parted company. At the time, all she could ask herself was, why? Why was he leaving her? Why was she letting him go? He touched something inside her soul, for lack of a less-romantic sentiment. Didn't he feel the same way?
"It's okay," she said. "I'll just pick out the gaudiest casino and feed the slots until it's time for my plane."
He nodded his head and folded his napkin in half.
"Back to email, I guess," she said, already feeling the tingle of anticipation she got every time she fired up her computer to see if he had sent her a message. She was so easily pleased.
He shook his head.
"No?" she asked.
"I don't want to email you," Grissom said.
"Okay, well, if you need me, you can always call."
Not looking at anything but the napkin in front of him, he shook his head again.
She bit her lip to prevent herself from screaming a very loud 'What the Fuck' in the restaurant. She dropped everything—everything—at a moment's notice—to come to him because he needed her, and he didn't want anything more to do with her? Well, it served her right. Sara always had a quiet disdain for females who acted like ninnies around men and she did the same thing the minute she heard that lovely, low voice over the phone.
"Okay," she took a breath. "I'm not sure what's happened here but, if that's what you want…"
"I want you to stay. We have a job opening, Sara. The circumstances are…stay. Just…stay."
"I don't know, Grissom. I don't think your staff would exactly welcome me on a permanent basis…"
"Does it matter?"
He looked at her. Straight at her, for the first time that day. No. It didn't matter. He needed her and wanted her with him. Not by email, or telephone, but her actual physical presence. Nothing else mattered.
Her whole life was in San Francisco.
"I'll stay," she said.
Just like that.
"And when did you become intimate?" Ecklie's voice snapped her out of her reverie.
Intimate? There were many ways of interpreting that question.
There was that moment, way back in the beginning, when she was in the middle of asking him her first batch of questions. She had been so enthusiastic about his lecture that she stayed well beyond its end. The two of them were the only occupants of the large room and he suddenly cocked his head and looked at her with great amusement.
"Save some questions for tomorrow, Ms. Sidle. I need time to brush up."
She could feel her face flush, but not from embarrassment. It was the very first time she noticed how blue his eyes were, how warm his smile was.
"Sara," she said.
"Sara," he repeated. And a hideously romance-novel-worthy tingle ran up her spine.
Or intimacy could be in any of the countless moments spent working together. When she knew he was in the room before he said a word, or before she lifted her head up to see him. In spite of the fact that he wore quiet shoes and no cologne. She just knew.
Or it could be that moment, a few weeks ago now, when she opened her eyes and saw his name, spelled out like the glorious sign of life that it was. He was there. She was home. And the desert, Natalie, and the aches and pains that seemed to exist in every inch of her body all faded to black and white as she looked at him, staring at her in wonder. He was in color: full of life, full of tenderness and full of love…all for her.
For Ecklie, intimacy meant sex.
"Two years," she answered.
"And in those two years, have any professional…courtesies…been extended to you?"
Sara bit her lower lip to keep from laughing. Grissom had extended…well, that would be a cheap shot. A naughty, cheap shot. Take the high road, Sidle.
"Ecklie," she said, when she got over her childish thoughts, "I haven't been promoted since I got here 7 years ago. I haven't received anything but the same cost of living increase everyone else has. You know about my DUI. That was probably the only exception and that was before we were intimate."
"Okay, Sidle…uh, Sara. The lab wishes you the best in your recovery. I don't know what's going to happen. I still have to speak with Grissom, and then discuss the possibility of a review board…"
"I know. I just…I…" she took another deep breath to stop the stammering. No, it wasn't anyone's business, but Grissom's reputation was on the line and for no other reason than setting the record straight, she wanted to get it out of her system. "I just wanted you to know that Grissom agonized over this decision for a long time. If anything, I pursued him. Not the other way around. And we have never, and would never, compromise the lab. This isn't some cheap office affair. We share a home. We have a dog. And we're good together. Personally and professionally. I just hope you'll respect that and take that into consideration."
He gave an awkward half-nod. "Heal quickly, Sara."
She opened the door and walked down the hallway.
Everything was the same and, yet, everything felt different.
She didn't know what was going to happen. Didn't have a clue. Part of her life might soon change. Or not.
She tapped on the door of Grissom's office and he looked up from his paperwork. Since her rescue, their smiles for each other had changed. There was just a hint of lovesick puppy in both of them.
Sara was sure of only one thing.
"I'm ready to go home now," she said.
This…what she had with the man quickly making his way toward her…this would never change.
Okay. First, for some reason, that story is a bit sadder than it was in my head.
Anyway, I hate cranking out a story so fast and without reading it over about 90 times, but I wanted to do this to get more exposure for 'the cause.' And, my notes may be longer than the story itself.
I will try to be brief (yeah, good luck with that, Summer, old girl).
If I were to rename Sara, I would name her Hope. Not that I have any great affection for the name (or any kind of dislike, for that matter) but she is the embodiment of hope on this series. I said it before in one of my stories. She was one of the nameless victims who sat in the CSI hallway, waiting for someone to come and take control of her life. And she should have grown up bitter and guarded. And she met Grissom and, despite him being…well, jerky, at times, she just kept believing.
And, hell, throw the woman in the desert, under a car, with coyotes and flash floods and she still manages to survive because she believes in herself and believes in life.
So, yeah. I want her to leave the show when she can do it with Grissom. Because, man, she deserves a happy ending. More than anyone else. She's (pardon my language) fucking earned it.
And Jorja has f****** earned the respect of the Powers that Be. Play hardball with someone else. It's ridiculous that this woman who had two successful series before CSI, makes less than the actors on Grey's Anatomy. If she only wants a one-year contract? If that's the issue? (and I have no idea what the issues are). Give it to her. Whatever it takes. She's earned her happy ending.
And we want as much of seeing Jorja, as Sara, as we can possibly get. We've EARNED it. Through every season where we've had to sit and watch as Grissom was a horse's behind (even though we love him;-). For every "love interest" they devised to throw in the path of GSR. For every moment of frustration…the fans have earned our happy GSR ending.
And if you'd like to add your voice in the many ways we, as fans, are trying to get the result we want, please visit Dollars for Sense.
It's important. Jorja deserves to know how very much she is loved.