Title: The Road Not Taken: A Pseudo-Psychological Non-Love Story
Author: Summer Reign (the twisted part of her, anyway)
Spoilers: Leave Out All the Rest (and leave out this episode for the sake of your mental well-being)
Disclaimer: Grrr…I would never, EVER, do that to them. They are not mine.
Summary: Grissom starts anew. Or does he? (Trust me).
For the third morning in a row (Morning! Not afternoon, not evening, but honest to God morning!), Grissom woke up feeling refreshed. The bad dreams were replaced by…no dreams. Just the feeling of a refreshing mixture of sea spray and cool air hitting his face. He would turn to it and then…it would be gone. But, he was left with a sense of calm. A sense of comfort. As he was with everything in this house…
Red satin pillowcase under his head, red satin sheets on the bed.
Oh. That rhymed. How very clever of him! He was back, baby.
Baby. Uh-oh. There was that feeling in the pit of his stomach again. He used to, in times of great passion, call Her "baby." She didn't like it much. Hmmm…he never thought to question why. But, now he had an Expert in the Field at his beck and call. He'd have to remember to put that on his list of Things to Talk to Heather About today.
There was a discreet tap on the door.
"Gilbert, there is a phone call for you."
Ah, speak of the Devil…uh, Expert in the Field. It was Heather.
"But I turned my cell off," he called out to her.
"I know. It's the house phone. Check the lower drawer of the nightstand."
He leaned over the bed and nearly slipped off. Shit. He forgot to brace himself against the satin. Oh, well. He'd get the hang of it. Ah- he did it again! He WAS back.
Grissom opened the nightstand and the only thing in the large lower drawer was a phone. Very odd place for it, but he picked up the very old fashioned, but perfectly lovely, phone and brought it to his ear.
"Grissom," he said, by way of identification and force of habit.
Catherine. He'd know that shriek anywhere. "What the FUCK do you think you're doing? Just what are you playing at, Grissom? Do you know how many triple shifts we've all had to pull because of you? Or how worried we've all been? Walking out of the lab and never contacting us? Especially since we got an emergency call from one of your neighbors saying your dog has been whining and crying piteously for the last THREE days? It's a good thing I keep my Collection of Coworkers' Keys up-to-date."
"Hank! Oh, my God, Catherine. I forgot about Hank."
"That much, was obvious. The poor dog had enough water, but there was nothing for him to eat except that fancy leather couch of yours. And, yeah, I brought him to Brass, but we mutually decided that you were the one cleaning up your townhouse. I don't do shit work unless I'm getting paid for it."
"I'm sorry Catherine…time…slipped away."
"Your brains slipped away, too. When are you coming back?"
He licked his lips. Coming back? God, he really didn't want to work anymore. Heather was so…comforting. Tea in the morning, tea in the afternoon, tea in the evening. And all served up in a dizzying array of fine porcelain. She knew all about the finer things in life, that was for sure. Such a genteel lady.
"I…uh…I'm not sure I can come back. I'm not ready. I'm not…" He was still trying to formulate what to say next when the phone was taken from his hand.
"Ms. Willows? Gilbert will be back at work tomorrow evening. Thank you for checking on his welfare. I can assure you, he is fine."
And with that, Heather hung up the phone.
"What? What?" Grissom nearly sputtered except he didn't want to stain the sheets with his saliva. "I haven't made up my mind yet…"
"We have to talk," Heather said, and pulled up a Victorian chair next to the bed. He sat up and gave her his full attention.
"You're throwing me out, aren't you?"
"Don't be foolish," she said, in that sultry, measured tone of voice that brought him so much comfort. "I am merely setting boundaries for our relationship."
"Yes. I know you, don't forget that. I know you can no longer exist the way you were doing previously. You find my presence, my home…a safe refuge. And that is fine. In fact, I welcome it. This house has been rather…quiet…since I changed financial direction, so to speak."
"Live together? You want us to live together? I'm not sure I'm ready to…"
"I know you. Of course you're ready. Now, we have to set our ground rules. I will return momentarily." She got up from the chair.
Live together. He had only ever really lived with Her on any kind of a long-term basis. And that wasn't as long a term as he would have…
Stop. Can't go there. Water under the bridge. She's happy and…he would be, too. Some day. He hoped Heather was bringing the Darjeeling in the Wedgewood. That was his favorite.
She opened the door, carrying…clothing?
"What's that?" he asked.
She laid the black clothing on the bed. "This is part of your new wardrobe. I have a reputation to maintain. Should you be seen, I don't want you in that shapeless shirt you have been wearing for the past three days. That is something suitable for bowling. This," she said, gesturing to the clothing, "is more suitable for the escort of a Therapist of my knowledge, insight and reputation."
He looked at the clothing. No way. "Heather, these pants are too small. I mean, you'd see…more than I'm comfortable showing. And…the shirt! It's black lace! Lace is for women."
"I know you. And you will look wonderful in it. Very exotic. Very…Mediterranean. There's no argument here. You will wear it."
She looked at him calmly. Her voice was measured. And serene. Her eyes were smoky. So smoky.
Lace might not be that bad after all. He'd give it a try.
"Now, I expect to be serviced…at a minimum of four times a week."
"Serviced?" What the hell was she talking about?
"I'm a young woman, Grissom. I have needs. Highly specific needs."
Sex? She was talking about sex? But…he never really thought…she was his friend, not…sex. Sex without love, sex without love…what was it he said about that once? Said…to Her?
Still, he was very comfortable here. Very cocooned. Very sheltered. Very … grateful that someone sort of, maybe, still cared. He could make this sacrifice. Still…
"Uh, well, four times a week is…I'm not as young as I used to…"
She pulled a bottle out of the pocket of her surprisingly sexy suit. He thought she must have them custom-made. Even Catherine didn't show that much cleavage when she wore a suit.
"What's that?" he asked, as she handed him the bottle.
"Little blue pills. It will solve any age-related problems you may have. You will begin taking them tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?" he asked, and there was a surprisingly girlish squeak at the third syllable.
"Yes, today we will be busy going around the house and introducing you to your chores."
"Of course. I know you. You are a man of action. You will work your normal shift. No more, no less. I do not expect you to work overtime. There are things that must be done after I let go of the gentleman who helps me around here."
"Helps you?" he asked, feeling…like his brain wasn't firing up as it should.
She smiled. A sultry smile. A tiny, sultry smile. "You don't think all these candles light themselves, do you?"
He looked around. She did have an unnatural amount of candles.
Heather got up and stretched slowly, provocatively. "Get dressed. We will have tea downstairs in fifteen minutes."
Left alone, Grissom looked at his clothing. This was the beginning of…a different life. But, that was good. Change was good. Wasn't it? Besides, this place was so….comforting. He didn't think of Her at all. Hardly at all. Barely ever, really.
He squeezed into the pants. Damn, they were tight. And he buttoned up the lace shirt. Funny, there were no buttons past mid-chest level. He went to the antique, floor length mirror in the corner of the room. He looked…twenty pounds thinner. No, make that thirty. Hmmm…maybe she was right. Well, no maybe about it. After all, she was the Expert in the Field. And, well, she knew him.
Grissom left the room. He had another five minutes before tea-time.
Tea. He wondered if Heather had any coffee in the house. Perhaps an egg? Some toast?
He wandered into Heather's office. He had been in there only once since his arrival the other night. And, he had been kind of upset that evening.
He walked around the room. Nice. Plush. Old-fashioned. Lots and lots of candles. Currently unlit—since, well, lighting them during the day would be gauche.
Her bookcases were filled with expensive, tastefully bound books with provocative titles: "Sadomasochistic Practices in the Late Eighteenth Century," "Nipple Torture for the Modern Man," "Penile Stimulation and You." Hmmm…fascinating. He looked at the selections on the other shelf and frowned. "Advanced Hypnotic Technique," "The Art of Seduction without Having to Put Out," "Pseudo-Psychology for Dummies," "Advanced Pseudo-Psychology for People who are No Longer Dummies," "Genius-Level Pseudo- Psychology for Those Who Can Spot a Sucker from a Mile Away."
No. He pulled his eyes away from the disturbing titles and stared at the diploma on the wall.
There it was…in black and white (and a little gold):
Heather (formerly known as "Lady") Kessler
Master of Arts
University of Yahoo
"I don't recall granting you permission to enter this room unaccompanied," Heather's non-lyrical voice broke into his musings.
"Uh—I was just looking at your diploma. University of Yahoo? Where…ah, where is that located?"
"There is no location."
"It's an internet-based program."
"Oh. That's interesting. Uh, it didn't seem to take you long to earn your degree."
"Not long at all. They award credits for life experience."
"Ah, and how many did you earn?"
"Enough to only have to take one course. I am a natural Expert in the Field, as you well know. I'm just glad someone had the sense to recognize it."
"I see," Grissom said. "Uh—oh, before we go down for tea, I just wanted to tell you that I'll be gone for a couple of hours. I need to pick up my dog later."
"No dogs," Heather replied calmly and confidently in her flat monotone.
"No. They are messy and needy. No dogs."
"But, I have a …"
"Give him to someone."
Hank. Poor, pure, loyal Hank. Well, Jim Brass seemed to like him. Catherine might like him for Lindsay…or, maybe, when She got back…
"My roaches! I didn't even ask if Catherine fed them…"
"Roaches? There are no roaches here. An exterminator fumigates the building every two weeks. We've had…lice and genital crab issues from time to time and…"
He blanked out on her. No roaches? Those roaches had been hand-picked, cultivated to be among the finest racers in North America….
Extermination! No! Not that!
"Gilbert? Are you all right? Are you feeling ill?" she asked, in that same self-assured, robotic tone. He imagined he could be dying and she'd still have absolutely no inflection in that voice. It was rather annoying.
"I'm…I need to sit down and process this."
"No," she said, before his tush hit the cushion of the chair.
"No. You've had three days of coddling. I know you. You don't want more coddling."
Oh, but he thought he did. He liked coddling. Sara…no, he meant She…She who must not be named ever again…no, he meant Sara. Oh…Sara!
"Heather," he stood up and headed toward the door. "It's not that I don't completely appreciate your hospitality. I do. I will never forget your kindness. But, I have come to realize that…you and I…well, I…it won't work!"
"Well, of course it will, Gilbert. You're forgetting. I know you. Now, sit back down and I'll serve us some tea." Her shadowed eyes were smoldering, her voice was even more measured than it had been before. She slowly managed to use just the very tip of her pink tongue to wet her already full, wet, juicy lips and his stomach kind of…lurched.
He backed up further. "No. No tea! I've had too much tea. I…I'm a coffee kind of guy. Dark and strong. And…you don't, you know. You don't know me. If you did, you'd never say those things about Sara. Never. She's not the nice girl with the rosary in the drawer. I'm the one with the rosary in the drawer, and I'm not nice at all! You don't know us. All we've been through. All we've meant to each other. And…well…I've gotta go get my passport in order. I've got a plane to catch. The Equator is…I don't know, warm at this time of year? My shirts—which Sara loves, by the way—will be totally fine on the boat."
He had backed all the way into a side table and knocked something down. He automatically bent to retrieve the items. A portable fan and a spray bottle lay on the floor. He pumped the spray bottle and brought the liquid to his lips. Salt water. Sea spray.
What kind of game was this woman playing? Was he just some kind of freakish science experiment to her?
Forget it. He didn't care. He just needed his freedom. Well, not his freedom. He needed Her. His Sara.
And, with that, Gil Grissom ran out the door, down the drive, into his car and went straight home to pack. Never, ever, ever looking back.
Inside, Heather (formerly known as the Dominatrix Lady Heather) Kessler picked up the phone and called in yet another favor. She waited patiently as the ship-to-shore operator patched her through.
"Ms. Sidle? This is Heather Kessler. We met…a couple of years ago. I just wanted to inform you that you will have an unexpected visitor quite soon. And…you may thank me by not inviting me to the wedding," she said, and put the phone down before Sara could even say one word in response.
Heather threw off her stiletto pumps, mussed up her hair and loosened her tight, tight business suit.
She plopped herself down on the couch and looked up at the ceiling.
"I told you I knew you," she said and smiled, like the cat who swallowed a very large canary.
A/N: Beware the fanfic author who gets really, really, really pissed off but who—miraculously, still finds life rather funny. Even in the midst of cruel real life writers and producers who should all be horsewhipped. Oooooh…horsewhipped. Whipped!