Grown-Up Letters to Santa Claus
Author: Summer Reign PM
Sometimes, Christmas is not about joy-but lonely contemplation.
Title: Grown-Up Letters to Santa Claus
Author: Summer Reign
Disclaimer: Not mine. Alas, never will be.
Summary: Christmas doesn't always bring joy. Sometimes, it brings lonely contemplation.
Thanks to: YTDAW for the Skype lessons. Also, here is my pre-reading justification for some potentially OOC language. Writing to someone is different than speaking with someone. And, things can get wordy when people try, really hard, to be completely understood, while still maintaining their personalities. These are the voices that were coming through my head when I imagined this scenario. If you aren't scared away yet, continue…
December 12, 2012
From: David Hodges, LVCrimeLab
Subject: RED ALERT!
I know you don't like me breaking the 'one email per week 'rule you set but-this is an emergency! We have a case—involves some dude from San Franciso—who KNOWS Sara. And, from what I've been led to believe, he KNOWS her quite well, if you catch my drift. Tall, handsome, young—not that you aren't all of that but, you know, you're there and he's HERE. Sniffing around. Got a bit testy when I was trying to talk to them about the olden days.
Oh, and he's not the perp, he's some NTSB dude. So, don't worry about her safety or anything. Just her virtue. Well, no—don't worry about that, either. But, well…you know what I mean.
I'm sure Sara will tell you but I just wanted to give you the heads up!
Three hours later
From: David Hodges, LVCrimeLab
Subject: Update on Red Alert!
I don't know. Perhaps we're leaning toward Scarlet. They recreated the crime scene. Have this cozy little airplane thing going. I passed by and they were recreating the crime. Or their old relationship. He had his arms around her. To be fair, she pushed him away and got back to work but, forewarned is forearmed.
12 hours later
From: David Hodges, LV Crime Lab
Subject: Further update
Down to dark pink? I'm glad you made the attempt to call Sara. I got the scoop from Finn. She's kind of hot for me, I think. Anyway, Finn is a gossip, so I can understand why Sara didn't take the call. But, good going. Keep trying.
7 hours later
From: David Hodges, LV Crime Lab
Subject: Crisis Averted. For now . All things back to whatever color normal is.
Don't mean to sound ominous. Doug is gone. Back to Frisco. But, according to my sources, Sara did hug him in the hallway. And, she was terribly mopey later.
I know this long-distance thing seems to work for you but, maybe—it's time to come home?
Food for thought.
Grissom closed out his email program and stared at the screen. Sometimes, he hated Hodges. Especially when he…wasn't wrong.
Meanwhile, in another country…
Sara Sidle decided to write her own email.
She bit her lower lip, then hit the keyboard.
I'd say it's been a while—but, in truth, I have never attempted to contact you. I should warn you that I'm not a great writer. My husband is. But, then again, he has a habit of not mailing his masterpieces. That's where we differ. No matter how convoluted this may get, I will promptly email it. Snail mail, I don't trust. And, well, a personal visit would make us both feel foolish.
Because I'm not 5 years old. Not even 35, anymore. And, sure, I've wanted things. But, they were never on the top of my priority list. And, what was, were the things I knew you couldn't give. When I was a kid, I basically wanted parents who loved each other. Oh, they both told me they did but, I meant… in a more conventional way. Like couples on television. I never got that. I guess I thought—well, that was make-believe and, in real life, marriage was…yelling, screaming, throwing things, "etc, etc." (don't ask!)
Later, I found out most people fell somewhere in the middle of the dream and the "reality."
But, you see, there is a part of me that still wants the fairy tale. Well, some of it.
Because my husband is no Prince Charming. And I'm far from Cinderella. See, I'm screwing this up already. Trying to be coherent and…talking Disney.
Gil (above mentioned non-Prince Charming)-is a brilliant, handsome, wonderful man. He's also closed-off, easily distracted and sometimes happily living in his very own world for one. I've known this from the start. I definitely walked in-and stayed (and, in some cases, didn't) - with my eyes wide open. It's been painful, at times. I sometimes didn't know if he really cared as much as I thought he did. And, then I found out he did, but wasn't prepared to act on it. Ever. But, I've dealt with it all by…treating him the way I thought he wanted to be treated. With utmost respect for his wants/desires and personality quirks. And, that didn't take much effort on my part, because all those traits, as odd and frustrating as they can be, are part of him. I was never out to "change" him. I love him and want him to be happy. Probably more than I want almost anything else.
So- you must be tapping your big furry red foot as we speak-what is the problem here? The problem is…we did, eventually, get together. For two years, we were happy as clams. And then…we were separated (VERY long story I won't bore you with because…well, you probably wouldn't believe me if I even told you half of it. It involves serial killers, post-traumatic stress, burn-out and a bunch of other stuff). And, at the time, I thought that was the end of it all. I needed to remember how to breathe again, and Gil was breathing just fine. I wasn't about to bring him down with me, so I left and slowly changed the direction of my life. Found some worthwhile causes to give my time to and settled into a new routine.
One day, I'm taking a picture of a monkey in Costa Rica and … I swear, I hear him breathing. Not the monkey—Gil. And, I turn around and…there he is. Again, not the monkey—but Gil.
You have no idea how monumental a moment that was in my life. He went from choosing (by not choosing—another long story) his life's work to choosing me. I'm not exactly a sad sack and have a healthy enough ego but—no one ever chose me over anyone or anything before. I've never even wanted them to. And, yet, he did. There he was. My own personal fairy tale. Hot, sweaty and mine.
When he re-proposed, we were married two days later.
And, for months, we lived on love and science (did I mention we're scientists? We are). There was no lack of things to study. Nature is…incredible. And we travelled and found a whole (living) world we hadn't explored. We even came up with a research plan so we could work together…but, our grant was delayed (and eventually died). And then the lab called. (Oh, I guess I didn't mention that—I work in a crime lab. Surprise!). They were short-staffed, really needed someone and asked for a recommendation.
Anyway, the reason I recommended myself and left this idyllic world was because I felt that sometimes, I held Gil back. He's an entomologist and…I'm not. He was always trying to find some compromise of what we could work on together but…I always suspected he might prefer to do other things, if he had been alone.
And I had a point to prove. To the world and myself. That I'm not a quitter and no serial killer was going to keep me down. So, I left him to have some solo fun with bugs while I went out to conquer my last demon.
We visited each other every few weeks. Talked to each other, in one way or another, nearly every day. And those weeks turned into months, and the months…have turned into a year, which turned into three years…
And…I kept waiting for the call that said he was coming back home (Vegas) or he wanted me to join him (everywhere…he's been country-hopping through Europe/South and Central America).
But, the call has never come. In fact, all the calls have been greatly reduced in frequency.
I could just join him but…what if he's happier the way he is?
I guess, that's what I've been thinking all this time. And, that's what's keeping me from just jumping on a plane and joining him.
I knew it wouldn't be easy keeping a man like Grissom happy…and, if I found a solution that didn't quite one hundred percent do it for me, that was okay, wasn't it? Because…when we talk on Skype or in-person, he's so excited about things. All the time. I see it in his eyes. In the soft looks and the long, rambling storytelling that he does when he's letting me know how his day, week or month has been progressing.
It's really a dream "retirement" for him. (Yeah, he's slightly older than I am so don't expect him on your knee anytime soon, either).
This week, a Man from My Past appeared. Yup, capitalization was intentional. That's pretty much the way Hodges— [crazy guy from the lab who has a man-crush on Grissom] has been acting. And I KNOW he contacted Grissom probably like 10 minutes after Doug appeared. And Grissom suspiciously returned my call a lot quicker than he usually does. I just didn't answer. Not really with the intention of making him wonder but … I just didn't want to talk at that moment. The lab's resident party girl was right there and I really wanted to talk—not talk with an audience who was really just interesting in knowing sexual details about the MfMP.
And, yes. Doug was the past. A nice guy I dated. And a nice guy I left behind without so much as a second's thought when Grissom called and asked me to come to Las Vegas. And, Doug wasn't holding a burning torch for me, either. He married his Candy-girl and divorced her and probably had a dozen or so girlfriends, since.
And, more or less invited me to consider breaking the vows I made because—in his mind—they are just an inconvenience that is…ultimately, temporary.
I hope he's not so clueless that he ever actually wonders why he's single now.
Still this is what he did do for me. Doug sort of reminded me that I count, you know? Not … well, not that I somehow need him. Doug, I mean. I never needed him. But, he reminded me that my dreams and feelings count. And I felt so bummed when he left. Not that I was missing him but I was missing Gil so badly. I just wanted to be back with that monkey on Costa Rica, just so I could hear that intake of breath again and start all over.
And, here we have it. I can feel bad and sad and lonely and whatever…and resent things until the resentment spreads so far that it tears everything apart, or I can be honest.
I want my husband for Christmas. And … for… ever.
I don't need a tree, or a sleigh or snow or anything else. I want to know I matter; that I'm not a stand-by wife who is good when he needs me, but a permanent part of his life who's needed all the time. I want him to tell me to quit my job and come to him, or have him quit his project and find one here. Either way, I want him to temporarily detangle himself from the web that his new adventures have caught him in and … be with me.
And, if that's not possible, I guess I really should know and deal with it now. Whatever that means.
Anyway, why you? Because the last time I saw Gil, his hair and beard were getting so long (and white) that he reminded me of you.
Which makes it kind of convenient and natural to accidently use his email address when sending this.
And hope he understands.
No ultimatums, just the truth. I love you. I miss you beyond all reason. Christmas is a sucky time to be alone because we're all supposed to be warm and wrapped up in the arms of loved ones and…I'm standing next to Hodges and gun-shot residue half the time, wondering what he's going to squeal to you about next.
If you want me to come to Peru, I will resign and be there by the end of the week. I'll feed your roaches and promise to find my own thing to do that won't interfere with your work.
I just miss the sound of your voice. I miss your eyes and your Santa beard and everything about you.
I miss being "married." I don't want a Betty Crocker life but…I want a life together.
Anyway, I'm hitting send now. Not reading it over and not thinking about it. Because, I might decide I've said too much or sounded too needy. And, frankly, I just don't care about any of that. I just care about us.
And she hit send.
"Shit," she said. "What did I just do?"
She stepped away from the computer. The answer was simple. Something she should have done about two years earlier.
Sara got up and walked around the room. Funny, she thought. She wasn't the least bit tempted to call Doug but, suddenly, she kind of wanted to talk to her mother-in-law. Well, she wasn't about to do that. If she did, Sara knew she would see the sign for "I told you so," for the rest of her life. But, it was difficult having the one person she talked to the most in her life be the one she needed advice about. And have absolutely no one to turn to.
She finally gave up waiting for an instant phone call and settled down on the couch, with Hank curled up behind her knees. She must have dozed off because she only woke when the sound alerting her to incoming email emanated from her computer. Must be another invitation from Victoria's Secret to buy more undies that no one would see.
Nope. It was Grissom.
She took a breath and opened his email:
My Dearest Sara,
I hear you've been a very good girl this year. And the year before that. And the decade before that. Which is remarkable, considering you've been in the company of a dunce.
Well, perhaps that's harsh. On my naughty and nice list, I've always had difficulty with your Gilbert Grissom. He means well but his follow-through…leaves a great deal to be desired.
And, his ability to read anyone—least of all you—is world-renowned for being in the extremely poor range.
However, I checked my list and he really hasn't been enjoying himself quite as heartily as you seem to have believed. You see, he has felt that perhaps he was holding you back from doing what you really wanted/needed to do in life. And, he didn't want to come back and have the lab encourage his return and cast you in the supporting role again, when you seem to have stepped out, so many times these past three years, and been allowed to shine in your own right.
He's pretty much been sitting around waiting for you to make a decision he never even asked you to make. I guess he forgot that, on your original resume, "clairvoyant" was not listed as one of your many skills.
But, he has missed you, too, my dear. Every day. Every night.
And, my delay in responding to this email was due to my giving Gil his present early and sharing my insider's information with him. Between my revelation and now, he's had just enough time to inform the Peruvian contingent that he will be writing up his final reports from the comfort of his home in Las Vegas. And to purchase a plane ticket—one way—coming in tomorrow at 8 PM. Not a great time but perhaps your boss will understand, being a family man and all, and allow you to meet him at the airport.
Merry Christmas, dear girl.
P.S. I love you beyond all reason, too, my Sara. See you tomorrow…Gil.
Yes, Sara…there is a Santa Claus, she thought to herself. Then, on a whim, she checked her contacts and hit Skype.
In a few seconds, an intimately familiar face greeted her with a goofy smile on his face, too.
"Hi," she said.
"Ho, ho, ho," he said.
She laughed. "We're really…the world's most emotionally awkward couple, aren't we?"
"I think…you're not wrong. I don't know, Sara. We didn't always get it right when we were together all the time but we never made this type of mistake."
"I'm glad you said something," he told her. "I…probably wouldn't have for years."
"Yeah, I know that. I might not have said anything, either."
"Except for…that guy."
"I KNEW Hodges told you. What did he say?"
"He told me I should probably haul myself over to Las Vegas really quickly."
"Oh," she said, somehow deflated and elated at the same time. "Okay then." She wondered if Hodges would prefer chocolate or a plant as a thank you gift?
Sara looked at Grissom. Only she could spot the tiniest narrowing of his eyes.
"Doug means nothing to me, Gil. As a matter of fact, I was dating him when you called and asked me to come to the lab that first time. And when you asked me to stay. I never hesitated and never looked back."
"No rekindling of old memories?"
"I was flattered that he remembered how I used to take my coffee. Didn't have the heart to tell him I now add a splash of half and half. It was kind of fun catching up with someone who knew me when I was younger and slightly more carefree. But…that's about it."
"I knew you in your wilder days."
"Not that wild."
"Well, you weren't inviting me to the mile high club, but you were inviting me to dinner."
"And you were turning me down."
"As I said, I'm a dunce."
"No. Just scared. I am, too."
"Especially now. I don't want what we have to ever go away."
"It won't. I promise."
They spent a few moments just looking at each other. Sometimes, it was more effective than words.
"I'll meet you at the airport," she said.
"Russell gave you the time off?"
"I haven't even discussed it with him. I'll resign if he doesn't."
"I'll be the one with the overly long hair and beard."
"Razor is ready when you are."
"Right before Christmas? Don't you want me to continue to play Santa?"
"Nope. I got what I wanted. Let the real Santa concentrate on everyone else."
"Well, then, to all a good night, honey. See you tomorrow. I do love you."
"I love you, too," she said and signed off.
In Sara's world, suddenly, all was calm-and extremely bright.
Grissom was about to power off his computer when he remembered something.
To: David Hodges, LVCrimeLab
Re: Alerts of every color
See you soon.
A/N: Well, I have not been an overly happy camper with the GSR this year. But, you know, I try (since TPTB don't) to view things through GSR covered glasses (yuck!) at every opportunity…and I know this is more of a "fairy tale" than most of my stuff cause there is a lot of mushy conversation that would probably never take place at any time with either Grissom or Sara, but…Christmas is supposed to be a rather mushy holiday. So, I'm taking my creative license and running with it.
I hope 2013 is kinder to all of us, on all kinds of levels.
God bless all of you. It's been a challenging year and I haven't always responded to feedback as much as I have in the past, but it's so appreciated. Happy holidays and have a very safe, happy and healthy new year.