Disclaimer: I don't own them and those people who do—better not let me down! I'm hormonal and expecting (no, not that kind of expecting)…the world. Is a little public or private display of affection too much to ask for after keeping Sara under a Mustang since May?
Summary: Grissom's got the sweetest hangover. Sequel (I know! I'm surprised, too!) to Put on Your Red Dress, Mama. Do you need to read that first? Probably a good idea, but I don't think you'd be too lost if you didn't.
Part 1: I get no kick from…
Sometime earlier in the evening, if asked his opinion on the sparkling wine, Grissom would have upped the voltage on his already blinding smile and quoted some long-dead drunk.
He knew some champagne quotes, right? Sure. He had quotes on everything stored up in that Google-like brain of his. Champagne…champagne…bubbly, effervescent, could shoot the alcohol into your blood stream faster than a speeding bullet…
All in all, good shit.
Grissom had behaved himself all week. He was a grown man, way past seeking the approval of just about anyone, but even he knew it was a very big deal for Las Vegas to have been chosen as the host lab for the very first Annual CSI convention. In order to help the lab put its metaphorical best foot forward, he needed to step up his own personal social skills. And he had. It wasn't really that much of a bother to conduct lab tours or do a brief series of lectures. He almost balked, though, when they told him about his expected level of participation during the farewell reception. Basically, because it was to be a formal ball. A ball. What century did these people live in? Did people have balls anymore?
Well, obviously, he could only answer for himself and the answer was not positive, because he caved.
Yes, he would dance with every woman on the list handed to him. They were all in prominent positions in labs throughout the country. They all pretty much didn't know anyone in town except those they met that week, and it would be nice to guarantee them at least one spin around the dance floor before leaving the city of neon.
All in all, a fairly noble plan, except for the fact that Ecklie and his political cronies had come up with it, and a self-serving motive was sure to be buried in there somewhere.
Still, he promised he'd do it and he would.
Grissom originally took a few belts of the bubbly to help him get through his assignment as quickly and painlessly as possible. The anesthetizing effects of the alcohol would be good for his nerves. He was not a great dancer. Every boy in Catholic school in the 60s had to learn how to dance for school socials at one time or another, but there was nothing fancy in his repertoire. No hustle or electric slide. No, each woman he danced with enjoyed a good, sturdy, reliable box step with 18-inches of space between her body and Grissom's at all times.
His assignment was completed within the first hour and a half, and he wanted nothing more than to sit down at his lab's table and watch other people do the funky chicken or whatever dance would be served up next. But as he approached the table, he saw Catherine. Well, so much for plans. He drank a little water to keep himself hydrated and brought her out to the dance floor. One dance turned into two, and when she wanted to turn it into three with a song that would make his box step look ridiculous, he thanked her quickly and made a beeline for the table.
Later in the evening, he told Sara he had planned to dance with her all day.
So not true.
He had planned on not dancing with her at all.
And he also fudged the truth when he pretended to barely notice what she wore.
Because when he had left her at the lab that morning before their shift ended, she was in her standard CSI wardrobe with her hair pulled into a rather sloppy, but endearing pony tail. The next time he saw her, she was a vision in red.
No, she was A Vision in Red!!!
Somewhere between his dance with Betsy from Kansas (who knew they had CSIs in Kansas? Who knew they had CRIME in Kansas?) and Rita from NY (well, he wouldn't speak of his expectations of crime in that burg) , he looked toward the bar and there she was. Laughing with Greg, who probably really should have scraped his tongue off the floor. Even for him, the opened-mouth gawking was unseemly.
Sara Sidle could really clean up. This red dress with the flowing material that fell just below her knees was incredible. Her hair was down and slightly curled. Her eyes dark and smoky, her smile bright, and heels! Heels: strappy and gold. Good Lord. Yes, he knew what those things could do to a woman's feet (source: the Lady in Red herself) but he didn't much care. The things they were doing to his…uh, morale…made him oblivious to Sara's distal metatarsals.
Nope. He didn't want to dance with her at all. Well, he did, but it wouldn't be wise. And Grissom was nothing if not wise.
He left Catherine and rejoined their group and there was Sara, sitting demurely by the table and looking up at him with such warmth, such invitation in her eyes. All he needed to do was reach out his hand and grasp her fingers in his own warm hand and she'd be in his arms in seconds. He'd finally feel her body next to his. Feel her breath on his neck and her hips swaying just underneath where he'd place his hands on her lower back…
So, he did what any red-blooded American male of the Geek variety would do: he asked Sofia to dance, instead.
Grissom never looked at Sara as he left the table. He couldn't. He knew she had expected him to ask her. He KNEW this. And he knew she knew he knew. Or something like that.
Almost immediately, Sofia was trying to break the 18-inch rule and, truthfully, up-close, Grissom was finding her perfume more than a little overwhelming. He was trying to discretely maintain his distance and avoid the smell of Eau de Raid when he saw Sara dancing with Nick. Well, he was kind of spinning her around, making her dress twirl around her knees while she had her hands on his shoulders and then tighter around his neck. So it was more like groping and clutching than actual dancing, but she was laughing with him, and they made such a good-looking couple. They really did.
It was sickening.
And so he did what any red-blooded American male (even of the Geek variety) would have done. He went semi-caveman. He dumped Sofia (he was a little fuzzy on the details), saw Sara planning to leave the reception hall, ducked out of the ballroom through the back terrace, down the hall and to the front entrance of the room, and…grabbed Sara as she was trying to make an exit. And then they both went out to the back terrace.
Where he proceeded to drink a lot of champagne. A lot of champagne.
And things got so relaxed. And so exciting. And so … romantic.
And everything seemed so possible. Touch the sky? Sure. He'd just use the bubbles in his bloodstream and float on up.
But he had loftier goals. Because he was holding this wonderful woman in his arms, and he'd be damned if 18 grains of sand could fit between them.
For a while, their two bodies pressed together was enough. But then, he decided he was going for the gold. He wanted a kiss.
And got one.
Very sweet. Very chaste. Very Sara, somehow, although some people probably wouldn't think it.
And Grissom would have accepted that kiss as any true gentleman should—with a smile and a word of two of thanks. But, he wasn't feeling very Grissomish. Tonight, he was Gil. Gil the…something with a G that sounded all powerful and stud-ly.
This Gil with a G-yada-yada…decided to return her kiss with one of his own. And what a kiss! He didn't know if she felt as much as he did, but when that kiss deepened, his entire body automatically saluted his gumption. That was it! There was his G. Gil, the Geek with Gumption!
And, being in superhero mode, he then wanted more, of course. A little groping followed. A little begging for her to take him home.
But Sara went into hall monitor mode on him again. Although, she did kiss him sweetly before they said goodnight.
Still, it had been some night. And he knew the champagne had helped him overcome his own personality enough to let go and follow his instincts.
Champagne. The elixir of the gods.
He came home and fell into bed, fully clothed. The room spun around him, rather pleasantly, and he fell asleep with the memory of the taste of Sara's kiss on his mind.
Part 2: Mere alcohol doesn't thrill me at all
He woke up a scant one hour and 12 minutes later not wanting to remember anyone's tongue in his mouth—not even his own.
What was that thing? Some half-dead piece of sandpaper that tasted like old socks? Wait. Sandpaper couldn't be half-dead. It was inanimate.
But the inanimate room seemed to be doing the Macarena.
Faster and faster.
It was the champagne. Curse of the demons.
Whatever the cause of this spin-cycling room phenomena, he needed to hit the bathroom quickly. Grissom sprung off the bed, grabbed onto a few walls along the way, and managed to shove his head in the toilet before heaving up about 2 quarts of something that smelled a bit like Sofia's perfume.
He was never drinking again.
God. Sara. What did he do to Sara?
Nothing much. Grabbed her, forced her to go out on the terrace with him. Forced her to dance…dirtier than that Patrick Swayze guy did in that movie a few years back, and then stuck his tongue in her mouth…oh. God. He was going to heave again.
That was nice. The memory of their first kiss was causing him to be ill.
He continued expelling the wine from his system and then, finally, laid his head against the cold porcelain of the toilet.
Of course, she did kiss him back. And she kissed him later.
And she didn't even slap him when he more or less suggested that she take him home and make him her love slave. Well, maybe he didn't say that last bit out loud. But, oh, he would have done it. Anything she wanted. Any time. Any place.
Grissom looked at his watch and realized he had less than two hours before he needed to be back at the lab. He should call in sick. He really should. But, what kind of example would that set? Screw the example. He wouldn't want Sara to think that…well, that he regretted this evening. He did regret the champagne. Nasty, vile stuff. But he really didn't regret anything else.
He flushed the toilet and started removing his really rumpled tuxedo. He set the water as hot as he knew he could stand, and stepped inside the shower.
No, he didn't regret a thing except not doing everything he did completely sober.
Part 3: So tell me, why should it be true?
He truly didn't know how he made it through the day. Well, night. Work shift.
He was one lucky bastard. Not only for the fact that they had an uncharacteristically slow shift, and he could sit in his office and alternate between signing forms and praying for a quick death, but he also got lucky with Sara. In a manner of speaking, of course.
Sara. He was proud of her. She truly seemed to understand the need to snap back into their usual roles and let professionalism be the order of the day. It seemed to be agreed upon, without either one of them spelling it out, that they would treat last night as a lovely moment in time to be relived (privately, and alone) when either one of them needed a personal memory to reflect on and cherish.
And he was actually kind of proud of himself, too. He did take the time to validate her feelings, and …that was a step in the right direction. He was beginning to be a man in touch with his own emotions. And sensitive enough to share. Yeah, that sounded good.
So, proud, and still feeling a bit ill, he dragged himself home with the immediate goals of a shower and sleep.
He fully expected to wake up feeling just wonderful and ready to resume his old routine.
Grissom seemed well on his way to accomplishing his goals when he encountered the plastic Hefty bag he had impulsively (and recklessly) stuffed his tuxedo in. There was nothing really wrong with the suit other than having been assaulted by an episode of profuse sweating that seemed to have occurred when Grissom fell asleep in it. As for the actual emptying of his stomach contents, he had been careful not to soil the tux while he was paying respects to the porcelain gods.
He pulled out the outfit and gave it a sniff.
It smelled like her.
All his thoughts seemed to begin and end with the same person.
He sniffed again.
Now that was the way a woman should smell. Not like some old French courtesan, but fresh and clean with just the mildest hint of something primal in the undertones. Something that made a man long to detect its source by further, and more extensive—much more extensive—examination.
Here be trouble, Gil. Run.
So, he took a long, hot shower. And a few Tylenol. And bundled himself up in his rattiest sweats before getting into bed with a nice down comforter.
And then he watched as his hand moved—of its own volition—and picked up the phone.
And then his index finger hit speed dial 2.
"Sidle," she said.
Hang up. Hang up now!
"Is that any way to answer your home phone?" he asked her.
"Don't you have caller ID?"
"No. Actually, I don't. I mean, I do on my cell. Why are you calling this phone?"
"Well, I thought you might be in bed and I didn't know if you kept your cell phone near you. So, I didn't want to make you hunt for it, in case you were sleeping."
There was a moment's hesitation. "Where's the crime scene?"
"No crime scene. I just wanted to talk."
"Yeah," he said, in as light and casual a tone as he could muster.
"You thought I might be asleep, so you didn't want to have me search for the phone, but waking me up to pick up the landline was all right?"
"I woke you? You sound wide-awake. But, I did, didn't I? I'm sorry, Sara. I'm …"
"You didn't wake me."
"Did I…interrupt anything?" He couldn't believe he asked her that.
"Yeah, Grissom, you did. I was making the earth shattering decision of strawberry or blueberry Pop-Tarts before hitting the sack."
"Go with blueberry."
"You had strawberries last night."
He heard a small intake of breath from her end of the line. Chocolate-covered strawberries and…that wine he refused to speak of ever again. God, all of that didn't happen, did it?
"Do…you often have Pop-Tarts for breakfast?"
She laughed a little. "Not really. Only when I'm very tired and lazy."
"Was a rough shift, huh?"
"Well, not so much for me, but you looked like you were hurting."
He winced. "You have no idea."
"Yeah, I do. You know, I watched you gulp that stuff like soda, but I didn't realize you were actually bombed until you asked if I was trying to…well, until you slurred your words a little."
He closed his eyes. He felt her in his arms again. So close. So warm. So real. And she had this look on her face and he…no. He couldn't have.
"Sara? Tell me I didn't ask you if you were trying to seduce me."
"Don't tell me you're starting to forget already?" she asked, a note of amusement mixed with…something intangible in her voice.
"It's so hard to talk about this …like this. Without seeing you."
He could hear her chewing a bit. "Come on, Gris. Would you be talking about any of it if I were right in front of you? Assuming, of course, that massive quantities of hooch wasn't involved?"
"I guess not," he admitted.
"So, just talk. That's what you called for, right? No case. Just…to chat?"
"Just to chat," he nodded at the phone. He had no idea why he called. He just knew he had to. "Okay. I know you don't want me to apologize and I won't for …well, you know…but, I should for that comment, don't you think?"
"No," she said as decisively as she could while swallowing. "You were a little tanked. Okay, a lot. But, you were so cute."
"Men don't normally aspire to cuteness."
"Yeah, well. Women love cute. So suck it up."
"Did you decide on blueberry?"
"Yup. It was a good choice, too."
"You didn't burn yourself, did you? Those fillings get very hot." He shook his head. Was he really discussing breakfast pastry with her?
"I eat them cold."
"What? Out of the fridge. Not the freezer. They're good that way."
"I'm not sure they are good any way, but cold?" he shuddered. God, yesterday he was the Geek with Gumption and today he was Grandpa Grissom. But she seemed to care for him in spite of himself. "Sara?"
He let out a deep sigh. "I…lied to you yesterday."
"The dress. I noticed it."
"Good, I wanted to be noticed, for once."
"Yeah, but that's why I lied. I always notice. I just don't say anything. I didn't want you to think that the only reason I was paying attention to you was because of the formal-wear."
"Paying attention? Oh, is that what they call it now? It's okay," she said, seriously. " I loved your tux. Doesn't mean I don't…uh, notice you in other things."
He chuckled. They were both bad at this flirting thing. But it was kind of nice trying to stumble through it together.
"And I lied when I said I planned on dancing with you all day," he continued with his confession.
"You didn't?" Uh, oh. That sounded a bit hurt.
"I…didn't. I, uh, knew I'd be trying to lock the barn door after the horse bolted if I ever did that."
"Are you comparing me to a horse?"
"No. Of course not. But, physical closeness leads to thoughts that are not necessarily within the realm of those that pass through our minds in our normal work environment. And, well, consequently, there are … feelings, that might need to be addressed and primal…"
"Grissom! This is not a lecture. Stop killing it. I know. I get it. You wanted to dance with me as much as you'd want to volunteer to be a test subject in a plague study. I get it."
"No you don't. I did want to. Dance with you, that is. I just didn't think I should. But, when I saw you, especially when you were dancing with Nick, the caveman in me took over."
He could hear her stifling a laugh. Probably with a pillow. Then she drank something and he heard a metallic squeak.
"Are you in bed?" he asked, and bit his own tongue.
"Yes, Gris. Is the dirty talk segment of our conversation about to begin?"
This time she made no attempt to hide her laughter.
Grissom was still frowning.
"Sara? We…are okay with the dancing thing?"
She sighed. "Sure. It's not exactly a surprise that you feel the way you do. I thought we had squared everything away at the lab this morning. You don't have to worry. I won't mention any of this again. Won't…look at you any differently. Won't try to…accidentally…touch your fingertips while processing evidence. I'm not 15 anymore. I'm really not Cinderella, in spite of the whole fairy tale quality of our evening."
Now that vocal tone he could identify. It was wistful.
"Okay," he said. "I need you to hold that thought for just a second."
"Where are you going?"
"I'll be right back. Uh, I drank a lot of water."
He bolted out of bed and went over to his discarded tux. He took the jacket and inhaled. At the end of the evening, he asked for one last kiss. And she stood there looking up at him. Her eyes sparkling and her smile soft and warm. She slid her arms up and clasped her hands behind his neck and then pressed her mouth tenderly against his lips. It had been, perhaps, the single most perfect moment of his life.
God, he had babbled during the night. And in the babbling, there was one kernel of truth. She deserved so much more. And, so did he. That was the reason he picked up the phone to call her.
He took another whiff of her scent, put the jacket down and then got back in bed.
"That was quick."
"Sara? One more confession?"
She groaned. "Sure. Go ahead."
"When I said I wasn't going to ask you out tomorrow, or next week or month or maybe ever?"
"Well, I never mentioned today, did I? Because I'm asking you out today. Right now."
"No. I mean, I'm doing the asking now. I thought…maybe…uh, dinner Tuesday night? We're both off."
"Um, yeah. Sure. Are you sure? That whole escaping horses thing doesn't bother you?"
"Yes. Absolutely. I think the horses were halfway out of the gate before I even left San Francisco all those years ago."
"Okay then," she said, happily.
"My place--all right?"
"Not that I don't want to go out or anything but…well, I prefer these suave encounters to occur in private."
She laughed again. "Okay."
"Wear the red dress?"
"Only if you'll wear the tux."
"It's a deal. Good night, Sara."
"Sweet dreams, Grissom," she said and hung up.
His head fell back against the pillow. Sweet dreams. Yes, they would be sweet. Very sweet.
He could feel her soft skin again, taste the strawberries and chocolate taste of her mouth…
His eyes flew open and he reached for the phone again.
"Directory Assistance. How may I help you?"
"Uh, yeah. I need…help. I…do you have the number of a dry cleaner with 24 hour service? You do?" Grissom smiled as he took down the number and address. He'd bring the tux in when he woke up.
They'd have …some vegetable thing. And some fruit thing…and, uh. No alcohol whatsoever.
He didn't need it.
He got all the kick he needed…out of Sara.
"I Get a Kick Out of You," for you young-uns out there, is a song by Cole Porter from the musical "Anything Goes." I saw Patti Lupone do this on-stage once and nearly fell out of my chair. The woman knows how to project! But, I digress…(big surprise)
For the darling folk who asked for a sequel for Red Dress, thanks. It's always flattering but I usually feel one-shot fics are a snapshot of a moment in time. And that's that. Well, that and the fact that I was not happy with the one sequel to a story I wrote in my life, and so have based every subsequent decision on not doing a sequel on that little bomb.
But, I did kind of like the idea of doing one for this story, from Grissom's POV, and…well, there you have it. Rules are meant to be broken sometimes. Even when you make them up yourself.
And it was REALLY good therapy while waiting for Godot…err…Season 8 to begin. Man alive, they are torturing us! Please, please, please…let us be happy with the way everything turns out. One more week of this stuff and I will probably watch the premiere from a padded room.