Title: She Wanted A Lifetime
Author: Elizabeth Carter
Feedback address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date in Calendar: 10 December 2005
Summary: She wanted a lifetime...
Spoilers: For the Love of Our Country
Warnings: Slightly AU from Cannon, angst and romance involved.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW05
Disclaimer bit: all of the disclaimers are mentioned in the first few parts. I am not wasting time to list who owns them and I don't. This is fanfic.
Dedicated to my own heart, my sweetheart who inspired me on a great many things, who is also my beta-reader my beloved and cherished wife, Jo. She is my true muse. I love you, baby.
SHE WANTED A LIFETIME
Since their break up several months earlier, Catherine had tried to salvage what little connection she had once had with Sara. She had no desire to go back to the way things were that first year when Sara came on staff.
Eddie was gone out of Catherine's life. Something she had secretly hoped for but never by the means in which it happened. He was Lindsey's father after all. Better a bad father than no father. Lindsey had grown belligerent getting into fights more and more because of the loss of her father and the loss of Sara.
Sara, a woman Catherine had loved and pushed, had been cruel and rejected. A woman she had wanted truth-be-told a life time with. But she had pushed Sara far too far and now the brunette had reconstructed all the walls, the redheaded-blonde had painstakingly cracked.
"I can't believe Grissom pulled us off that serial murder case." came Sara's greeting as she climbed out of her Denali the newer CSI-SUVs.
"Yeah, well, let me tell you how it ends. They die." there was no trace of bitterness in her voice only the shadow of a joke that actually managed to pull a tight smile from Sara's delicate lips.
Without missing a beat both headed for the house. Catherine lifted her sunglasses on the top of her head, "Whoa, this isn't half bad for college kids."
"Yeah. Why live in a one-room flea bag when you can pool your resources and live like this." Sara answered.
"Hey, how 'bout it: You, me, Warrick, Nick, Grissom ..."
Sara shook her head grimacing for a moment Catherine felt her heart shudder for the rejection she saw flashing in the taller woman's face. " Oh, nnn ... Not Grissom."
Catherine chuckled softly, hope returned. "Okay so not Grissom." she said walking into the house with her case-partner
The stink of a the foulness of a over-ripe garbage bin and a refrigerator that had mold growing since the dawn of time rippled into the noses of the CSIs. Their eyes watered at the smell. Raising their arms to the level of their faces they steadied themselves in like manner to be able to process the scene,. And what a scene it was. For all the wonder of oddities, the first floor ceiling was completely soaked through. It looks as if was raining on the inside.
"What the hell is this?" demanded Catherine of the officer on the scene.
The young man didn't flinch but handed the women an umbrella. " Ma'am, you may want to take one of these." he looked as if he wanted to vomit but managed to keep the bile in his throat.
It was Sara who answered, "Thank you."
"Thanks." Catherine echoed, "Where's the body?"
"Upstairs." the badge answered.
Brown eyes narrowed slightly "Upstairs?"
"Yes." he offered nothing more than that.
The analytical minds of the CSIs took their first good look at the first floor and the entire ceiling was leaking. No wonder the badge was gagging.
"It's raining man juice?" Catherine's lips pulled back into a sneer of disgust
Sara shrugged. “Hallelujah?"
"You might want to wear those." he said putting two pairs of rubber boots down on the floor in front of their feet. The badge wasn't so green after all. And for that both Sara and Catherine were ingratiated. There was no way they wanted to walk around with wet trainers squelching out man-juice. It was in a whole new level of what Lindsey would say ‘eewwy-ness'
"Thank you." Sara voiced her gratitude and proceeded to put the large rainboots over her own shoes as Catherine held the umbrella over them, they would take turns, doing so.
Halfway up the stairwell, Sara folded up the umbrella and shaking it. "Well, weather's clearing."
"Yeah, if only the smell would." Catherine forced herself to breathe out of her mouth to lesson the stench.
Of course for Sara this brought back memories of Liquid-man. It took three showers with lemons in the end to rid her of the stench. "Yep." She gave a slight smile more to repress the gag reflex than out of any humor.
The blonde thankfully had been spared Liquid man's case, would it was the same now, but it was not to be. “It's like a sewer in here."
"Lemon showers." Sara answered softly. "Lots of lemon showers in the future."
‘You wash my back, I wash yours? I could do that,' but Catherine didn't put to voice her thoughts. Sharing a shower with Sara sounded divine to her. There was a water conservation program currently going on in Nevada so it was a plausible thought...
They reached the first bedroom doorway and the bedroom was completely flooded. No water conservation here. It smelt and looked like a spoiled-rancid meal in a pressure cooker which had exploded and someone had used it as floor wax. Brown eyes met blue in unspoken communication. Whatever lay behind the bathroom was not going to be pretty. Grimacing or smiling only to repress the gag reflex it was Sara who first reached the bathroom. What she saw her imagination had no way to prepare for.
A dead body floated in the tub completely bloated, so much so it took up the entire bathtub wedging its mass in the confines of porcelain. On guard, looking very much like he wanted to be anywhere else including a lecture on the intricacies of female reproductive organs was a green faced Sergeant O'Riley.
Sara's hitched "Oh, my goodness." brought O'Riley's rapidly paling face to the woman who spoke.
Just behind her was Catherine, as soon as she crossed the soggy threshold, her eyes opened to the size of saucers, "Oh god!"
"Soup's on." the thick beefy man jibbed trying to repress his own bile from becoming apart of the crime scene.
"How long has he been in here?" asked Catherine.
Looking at a note book in his hand the detective answered. "Roommates last saw him Thursday night. Took off for the weekend. Came home to this."
It wasn't Catherine who replied but Sara, "Guy goes to take a shower and DFOs. He never got to the cold water, did he?
"Roommate said only the hot water faucet was on."
"Must've been a steam bath in here."
"Still is." O'Riley wiped a bit of sweat from his high forehead with a handkerchief he had used to cover his nose before the woman had arrived.
"Well, any evidence on the floor's been washed away," commented Catherine.
"There, uh... " Sara cleared her throat, the tightness of her throat only reminded her that she shouldn't vomit. "Could be something in the tub."
"We got to take that body and get it through that door?" Catherine asked looking over her shoulder at the door. There was just no way the bloater would even fit. And then how to maneuver the mass down the steps would be another major issue. No way it was going to happen.
"There's another option." Sara answered, her gaze fixed on the window.
The body of the college student was wrapped so that the city labor-workers with the aid of a crane could lift and carry the body through the bathroom window and place it onto a platform on the roof. Leaving Sara and Catherine now garbed in long thick elbow length gloves crouched near the tub to scoop the remains out of the bathtub into water-tight five gallon buckets.
It took them near an hour to finally reach the bottom of the tub, neither one spoke until now. Catherine who was closet to the faucet knew it fell to her to check the drain. "This drain hasn't been tampered with. It's just clogged. I think this is an accidental."
Sara lifted to her feet and went for the medicine cabinet. "There's nothing but young people stuff. No meds, except some aspirin. No prescriptions."
"Well, I don't think that means much. Chances are he's not getting his drugs from a medicine cabinet."
"There's no sign of struggle. Any prints would have been washed away. Where does that leave us?"
"Same place we were when we walked through the door -- with a bloated floater." Catherine pointed out comically.
Once the coroner had custody of Bloated-floater, and the evidence was stored in the back of the Denali the only thing left for the CSI's to do was to go back to process the evidence.
"Tell you what." Catherine said as they drove. "Since you had to deal with Liquid-man a last year I'll process the goo from the tub you take the evidence from the bathroom.”
Sara was a little more than shocked, Catherine hadn't pulled the rank-card as Lead-CSI and made Sara deal with the mire from the tub. "You're sure? I'm all for it." Sara said evenly before Catherine could recall her offer, but she wanted to make sure it was solid before Catherine changed her mind.
Catherine shrugged. Of course her motive was to not only take her share of the gross-factor of evidence but perhaps gain some fraction of good-will points from Sara. She needed them if her plan to get Sara back into her life was ever going to take off. She had at one time wanted a lifetime with Sara. But she had screwed it up during Eddie's case. Everything had gone to Hell in a hand-basket after that. Now months later there was a vague empty hole in Catherine's life and she knew why.
And Catherine wanted her back. Desperately. To do that Willows knew she had to be subtle and offer small tokens like the offer to process the goopy water from the bathtub. Her reward was the cute gapped-toothed smile she had always adored.
"Its your turn next time." Catherine deflected the further questions burning in Sara with her simple statement.
"Deal." Sara grinned.
In the back lay-out room the lab most of the CSI's from all three shifts avoided was Sara's haven. She loved the back lab because of how still it was, how quiet. It was here she started to process a faded tee-shirt. Of course the first thing she did was to flip the shirt inside out and take several pictures of it. And at once she noticed a strange void on the cloth. Taking a plastic film the brunette covered the surface so she could trace the void. It looked like a backward seven.
Walking into the lab Catherine announced her presence with a "Hey."
"Floater's shirt. Took it off his bed. What does this look like to you?"
"A backwards seven."
"Yeah, that's what I got. What's it doing on a DB's shirt?"
"I don't know." Catherine lifted up the plastic and touches the smudges on the shirt. She rubs her fingertips together. "Some kind of greasepaint or makeup."
"How do you get paint on the inside of your clothes?"
"Rubs off your chest. Oh, what kind of guy paints his chest?"
Thinking of San Diego Sara piped up with her own answering questions. "Performance artist? A clown maybe?"
Catherine smirked. "Sports freak."
Sara squints back at Catherine with her own cocked pencil thin eyebrow. Images of sports fanatics on the news flashed in her head boasting the colors of their patron teams. Bloater-floater was a jock.
"We can get more answers in autopsy. That's why I'm here; Robbins is waiting to go over his findings with us."
"Lead the way." Sara commented taking off the latex gloves and disposing of them properly before she tailed the blonde to the coroner's office. She had to admit she missed the privileged view of Catherine's backside as she walked, that being her lover had given her. Shaking the images of their past relationship from her mind, Sara forced her mind to concentrate on the here and now.
CSI Forensic Autopsy was the domain of a spirited Albert Robbins, a man who played air-guitar with his cane, often times with his prosthetic limb to the acid tones of Led Zeppelin and had his own aromatic highly coveted coffee.
Right now however he had both CSI nightshift ladies staring at a lime green brain.
"Roommates were unable to make a positive ID due to the accelerated decomposition, but dental records confirmed Daniel O'Hannissey. Laceration on the forehead - macerated, but not significant. Contusion with a small laceration... here, below the ear. That did some damage. There's an obvious hematoma in the subdural space consistent with a subdural bleed. Herniation of the uncinate process on the same side.
"Doc, uh, why is his brain green?" Sara asked. Her discord in the vic's bathroom hours earlier was now replaced with ever familiar curiosity.
"He was steamed. Turns the brain into lime gelatin."
Catherine's nose wrinkled, at the comparison between the brain and her daughter's favorite flavor of Jell-O. "Cause of death?"
"Ruled out drowning." Robbins said. "There was no water in the lungs. He was dead before he hit the water. So, you are looking at it - a blow to the back of the head. Resulted in a subdural hematoma. Sort of like a slow leak in a tire."
"A slow leak in a tire?" asked the blonde-redhead.
"Odds are Danny had no idea he was bleeding in his brain. He probably felt fine. Maybe a little woozy. Then out of nowhere, he drops."
"How long do you think he lived after the blow?" Sara pondered.
"Twelve to twenty-four hours."
"Well, he had to have been in the water for a couple of days to look like this." Catherine gestured to the brain. "Roommates last saw him Thursday. So I guess we start there and we work backwards. Thanks."
Robbins gave a slow smile as he turned back to the body of Danny. "Yeah."
Working backwards meant going back to the house and interrogating the roommates. Well one of them anyway.
"You know, Daniel was from Green Bay. Big-time diehard football fan. He tried to walk-on here, but, uh... didn't make the team. But, hey, come game night, he was always at the stadium."
"What about the away games?" Catherine asked.
"He watched one game at home and lost all of his chill privileges. It was ugly." Bud said.
"Define ugly." Catherine demanded.
"Busted the couch, jumping on it. Neighbors called the cops 'cause he was so loud. He was a real Bluto."
"Where else did he 'Bluto'?" Sara
"Shoeless Joe's Sport's bar near Campus. Lot of jocks go there."
Shoeless Joe's Sport's bar was like any other sports bar in the States. Loud, massive plasma tv in a alcove surrounded by sofa, tables and rowdy boys screaming in glee or disappointment every time one of the opposing teams made a score.
Pool tables, neon signs advertising one of the many beers from Fosters to Heinekens to Budweiser to Genus to Miller. All the LV universities had their team mascots posters up around the room as well as many of the professional teams and autographed memorabilia of Super Bowls of years past
"Everybody knew Dan-O. He's the kind of guy that keeps a place like this in business. I'm going to miss him." A young waitress answered Sara's question if she knew Daniel O'Hannissey.
"When was the last time you saw him?" Came the brunette's next question.
"When was the last rebel game?" bubble-gum popped as jaws worked the candy, "Thursday."
"Did you notice anything? Did he... feel okay?" Catherine tag-teamed.
"Better than okay." her blue eyes sparkled merely. "He was pumped. He was so pumped that him and some of his buddies got into it with some other guys."
"Wh-what do you mean? He started a fight?" Sara asked.
"No, Shirley Temple started the fight." she snickered. "Dan-o and his buddies were getting into the game."
From her descriptions of Thursday night, they could almost see ‘Dan-o' cheering as the plays of the football players dominated the screen of a small T.V. he was watching.
His ghost memory "Right there! Right there! WOO!" after the play he motioned for Tessa the Waitress and pointed to a group of young men who were obviously NOT Rebel fans. " Hey, see those four guys down there? Give them four Shirley Temples. Shirley temples - extra cherries. Keep the change." He threw-down a fifty dollar bill on the bar-top.
Tessa laughed hardily. Moments latter she was delivering the aforementioned drinks. "Shirley Temples all around." The leader of the pack was a guy named Wayne. He looked up from the offensive non-alcoholic drinks to see who was in truth delivering the slight.
Dan-o raised his Miller in a mock toast, "Hey, Wayne, those are for you, buddy. Those are for you and your boys." He chuckled.
Tessa was interrupted in her narration of Thursday night by a question from Catherine. "How did Shirley take it?"
"Not so good." Tessa shook her dark locks, "Dan-o had his back to Wayne, he was pissed." Once more she went into a narration of the events:
"Come here, tough guy." Wayne growled between clenched teeth. He started pushing Dan-o back raising his fist to fight, but Dan-o caught the view of action on the screen and the Rebels had scored a touch-down.
Dan-o's occupation with the fight was taken over to his ‘Bluto' cheer with ‘his' team. He turns and yells out his excitement "Yeah!"
But Wayne wasn't about to let it go. He punched Dan-o in the back of his head hard. Dan-o barely felt it for all his excitement over the Rebels.
"You know how guys are. They scrap until someone gets a touchdown." Tessa ended her statement.
"Yeah. Yeah, right." Sara nodded pretending to understand the mind of the jock.
"Do you see any of those guys in here now?" Catherine asked scanning the bar and all the young men and women milling about.
Tessa looks around as well, then nodes her head to the alcove, "There's a couple of Shirleys over there by the big screen."
Both CSIs look at one another. Time to bring in the Uniforms and O'Riley. There was no way either of them would question the ‘Shirleys’ on their turf.
It took little over forty-five minutes to have the leader of the Shirleys escorted back to Los Vegas Police Station interrogation room. Choosing the gray-brick room which looked more like a brick padded cell than an interview room was a strategy card. The oppressing walls had a way to unnerve the more stalwart of suspects because of the crushing atmosphere.
O'Riley stood with his arms crossed staring at the football player, "Wayne, you want to tell us about the game Friday night?"
"You mean like strategy? Chalk talk?" Wayne asked earnestly
"Start with the Shirley Temples and go from there." Catherine prompted the poor confused fellow.
That got Wayne to laugh, "You're talking about those idiots from UNLV?"
"We have a witness that said you guys had a beef. Specifically, you and number seven." O'Riley precipitated the interrogation.
"Dude, I don't even know those guys, okay? They came in, they tried to be funny, and we set them straight."
Catherine wanted to wipe that smug expression off the boy's pimple-pock-marked face. "How?"
"Gave them a little talking to." Wayne continued to be smug, he crossed his arms in the fashion of a pumped-up-doped-up-rap star-wanna-be.
"Any blows exchanged? Physical contact?" Sara chose to ignore the indignant male attitude.
"Did that punk bitch rat us out?" Wayne sneered his arms now on folding as he leaned forward trying to shift his weight to become more intimidating. "It was harmless. It was nothing."
"Punk bitch?" Sara's voice was a low whispered growl "A kid is dead."
That shocked the boy back out of his fake show of posturing, "What?"
As if talking to a slow-witted child of six, Sara started to explain. "Dan O'Hannissey is dead."
"I didn't do anything. Hey, that guy left before we did, and he was fine. He was still running his mouth."
"I suppose your buddies will testify to that?" O'Riley piped up.
"Yeah, they'll testify to that. Look, you can ask anybody who was in there." Wayne's pompous posturing returned.
It was then that Catherine noticed the ring on the boy's hand. "Interesting ring you've got on."
Wayne basked proudly "The SMU sharks."
"That's a college ring. Mind if I borrow it?" Catherine concluded.
"You want to borrow my ring?"
Shrugging he removed the ring and placed it on the table. "Okay. Take it. I didn't do anything."
"You're not under arrest." O'Riley said "You're free to go."
The interview with Wayne wasn't a total waste of time, in fact Catherine Willows as if she had stumbled upon the billion dollar jackpot. But she would wait to unravel her clues once she and Sara returned to the labs.
Once seated, Catherine placed the ring in a velvet cushioned vice-clamp and started to process the cumbersome bit of jewelry.
"What tipped you to the ring?" Sara was naturally curious and thus sought out the answers to Catherine's unique line of reasoning. Willows was always superb at puzzle-solving which made her an excellent CSI, even if her method was a little less pure science than Sara's more classical approach. Which was why they balanced so well when they worked a case together. They were the best at their polar opposites when solving a crime scene.
"Jaws." Catherine answered evenly as if it was the clue to the riddle of the universe.
"Peter Benchley's Jaws?" Sara saw little reference to the novel and the ring, though not for a lack of trying.
Catherine scrunched up her face to the reference her colleague gave. Of course Sara would have offered the literary reference before the cinematic one. "No, it was in Steven Spielberg's Jaws. They had this mechanical shark named Bruce. And he kept swimming round and round in circles."
"His dorsal fin was bent." Catherine gestured to the bent fin on Wayne's ring.
"How did Bruce's fin get bent?" Sara wasn't feigning her interest.
"Same way the kid's ring did. It hit something." Both recalled Tessa's recounting of Thursday night Of Wayne approaching Dan-o. And what happened as Wayne shoved Daniel "Number Seven' O'Hannissey. The touch down and the sucker punch from behind.
And just like Robbins said the hemorrhaging had started there. Dan-o must have thought he was suffering doosy of a hangover never giving much thought he was having an aneurism.
Testing the ring for blood, she got a positive. "You know too bad real life isn't like those TV dramas," Sara said as she took a DNA sample to give to Greg. "By the end of the commercial break we would have our results from the test and go arrest that ‘punk-bitch' Wayne for murder.”
"Well I don't know about commercial breaks but how about lunch?" Catherine offered as she walked side by side with Sara down the glass warren laboratories of CSI-HQ.
"Sounds good." Sara grinned. "But no soup."
To this they both laughed.
"Lemon showers first. I don't want to smell like death again." Sara announced.
"I smell." Catherine concluded the off-handed hint.
Sara pinched her thumb and forefinger together.
"How come you didn't say anything." there was no malice in Catherine's voice.
"A real woman wouldn't say anything." Sara paraphrased what Greg had once told her over Liquid-man a year ago. "We'll feel better."
The prospect of seeing Sara once more in a shower was too good of a thing to pass up. It had been a while since Catherine had shared a shower with the woman she still loved. Deeply. They might not yet be able to shower as they once did, but it was a start.
"Sounds good to me." Catherine returned slowly.
A dozen chopped up wedges of lemons accompanied both woman in the shower each set aside as shampooed twice before going for the citrus fruit. Catherine tried hard not to ogle Sara's trim figure as the taller woman lathered.
If asked one of the favorite things to do with a lover, one might be tempted to spout out cuddling, or ‘just because’ touches as one passes through a room, or even the sex. This was not so for Catherine. She loved to trace some of the tattoos Sara sported as she soaped her lover up during their showers. Now she could only fantasize about it. She wanted a life time of such little things.
That got Catherine thinking of her favorite smells. One might think to say roses, or freshly mown grass, the scent after a rainstorm, new car or leather. Not so with Catherine. Hers was burnt toast. Yep burnt toast. Sara was a genius scientist. A tome of knowledge thrived in her brain, not as extensive as Gill Grissom but then she was fifteen years his junior. Give her time. But she was a physicist. A wiz at forensic science and one hell of a CSI. She was a lousy toast maker.
Every time Sara stayed the night she would always wake early and make coffee and try for the life of her to make toast because it was something Catherine had once said. She liked to dip her toast in her coffee in the mornings. And so it became a quest for Sara to have coffee and toast ready when Catherine came down the steps.
Each time was a failure. And Sara tried numerous ways to attempt to make toast adjusting down the setting and then needing to toast twice, or popped up by hand in the middle of the toasting session, but it was to no avail. Sara always burnt the toast. The woman even went out to Sears to buy a new toast one guaranteed not to burn the toast because it had an internal thermometer that was preset to pop the toast up once it hit a certain level of heat.
Sara had studied the manual, made the proper settings and still the toast burnt. Toaster ovens were complicit in the appliance conspiracy and burnt the toast as well. Catherine said she developed a taste for burnt toast which was perfect for coffee dipping as regular toast would become too soggy and fall into the coffee and ruin the beverage. She adored Sara for all the effort. Catherine wanted a life time with Sara and her burnt toast.
Water washed away the tears that welled in Catherine's eyes for the memory of it all. And because she couldn't let go of her anger she had lost Sara, lost the favorite touching of tattoos and burnt toast. She threw it all away because of her unwillingness to move past the resentment of Eddie's unresolved death, of Sara no-holds-barred efforts to find the gun in the drainage tunnel that nearly got the woman killed.
Sara had always pushed herself for Catherine. Find a lost gun in a drainage tunnel and nearly die or attempt a hundred times over, frustration after teary eyed frustration to make the perfect piece of toast it was all the same and all for Catherine.
Catherine resolved to get all back. She wanted a life time with her Sara.
"Here," Catherine said softly padding up to Sara on the wet tiles. "I'll help you squeeze the lemons and you me."
Sara once more graced Catherine with a warm gapped-toothed grin. "Sounds like a plan."
Catherine stood behind her once-lover and with both hands started to squeeze all the lemons wedges in Sara's bowl onto the brunette's head while she scrubbed. Once upon a time Catherine would slip her arms around Sara slick soapy body and press her chest against the taller form and love the scent of freshly washed hair.
It took all her efforts not to do it this time. Sara leaned back out of habit for Catherine to just that. But caught herself in time. "ER–um—my turn. Change places."
Catherine could only grunt her acknowledgment.
Five minutes was the wrong sort of lifetime with her former lover. It was agony because Catherine could not bath in the luxury of Sara’s tender ministrations; instead the tall lanky woman resorted to a more clinical approach to cover her faux pas moments ago.
Freshly showered and smelling like lemon juice, they drove together in the Denali, Catherine doing the actual driving because she knew where they were going. And it wasn't the favored diner a block away the gang sometimes hit for meals.
Catherine wanted a little style for broaching the topic of reuniting the broken relationship. But first the foundation. Solidifying the friendship. Dinner at the Golden Palace was a good place to start, nothing too fancy where formal attire was required but nice enough not to be a greasy spoon.
"This isn't what I expected." Sara said as they were ushered to their table by the hostess.
"I like a little variety where I eat. And it's the one place that does the best sea-bass."
"Yeah, I remember we came here with the guys and Brass a couple of times. Brass always got the tiramisu."
Since that first year when Sara sat up all night with Grissom watching a pig decompose she had gone vegetarian. It actually pained her to see chopped up meat products. But once in a great while she desired fish. Catherine was right the Golden Palace had great sea-bass. She decided if Catherine was going to have it, she might nick a few bites from her plate just as Brass had always done with Sara's own. As for herself she was going for the stuffed wild rice -portobelo mushroom on a bed of fresh spinach.
Meals ordered all that was left was conversation. Granted most working meals played around talk of the case but it was almost slam-dunk, well as soon as it was confirmed by Greg's DNA lab. Besides Catherine wasn't going to the expense of the restaurant to waste it talking about Dan-o the Bloated-floater.
"Something is on your mind." Sara said as she nibbled on a freshly baked bread stick to rival those served by Olive Garden.
Catherine watched the droplets of moisture fall from her goblet of water as if somehow the liquid held the key to vocalizing just what it was her mind was thinking. ‘Lindsey misses you' sounded a bit too much like talking with Eddie for her tastes. That was definitely out. "Um you know how much Lindsey adores you. And she talks about you a lot. If you ever wanted to come over and spend a little time with her, I won’t object." There, the cards were starting to be laid out on the table.
Sara didn't respond. But the bread was becoming smaller and smaller as nimble fingers picked at it as if they were disgruntled crows.
"I miss her too." Sara said neutrally, as if she was not convinced as to Catherine's objective in this conversation. "How is she doing?"
"Getting into a few fights, lax on her homework. I think she needs to vent to someone other than her aunt. Someone she looks up to and who is still ‘cool' in her discerning eyes."
"Well." Catherine flashed a grin. "With her crush on Greg I won't trust her not to be all googly-eyes if he sat with her."
"Nick? Warrick? Her cousin Jeremy."
"All boys, and boys don't get girls."
"A direct quote?"
The blonde nodded.
"Maybe." Sara said as she picked up another innocent bread stick and started to mutilate it as well.
"Maybe if she sees we're becoming friends once more she'll relax a little. We don't have to go to the Grand Tetons together, but maybe a movie?"
"Thanks for thinking about it."
"Yeah." Sara dropped the now mutilated bread stick deciding that no bit of bread should suffer any more and popped the last morsel into her mouth. Her mind reeling at the idea of doing things, family things with Catherine once more. If she was truthful the idea had its appeal. She didn't want to, but Sara had to be truthful to herself. She had never lost the love she had for Catherine despite the agony the blonde willingly gave her.
Betrayed, belittled, and berated Sara had broken things off with Catherine to save her heart. Even when she despised Catherine, she was still in love with her. Spared in having to say anything more by the arrival of dinner, Sara let out a grateful the world is on her shoulders sigh.
"‘Harry Potter' opens next Friday. We're both off." Sara finally said diving into her stuffed mushroom. "We can meet at the cineplex catch the movie and go out for pizza at Circus Circus. See the lions and tigers, make a night of it, because it isn't a school night."
Catherine reached over and squeezed her former lover's hand gratefully. She wanted a life time of such touches but this little one here, now was divine. "Thank you, Sar."
Three days would pass before the results would come back and during those three days, Catherine continued to do little things for Sara. Specialized coffee and tea. Forensic journals with blank posted notes stuck to an article the brunette might have found interesting. The blonde never said anything, asked anything whether or not Sara liked the tea, enjoyed the coffee or the articles.
A few times, Sara would simply say thank you as she saw Catherine in the labs. Or she would smile, her eyes twinkling. It was enough. A life time of such looks in a single moment of time.
Finally the results came back from the shark ring. A positive match to O'Hannissey.
Once more the duo with their uniform escort reentered Shoeless Joe's Sports Bar looking for Wayne SMU Shark aka Shirley.
""Wayne Boeotian you’re under arrest for the murder of Daniel O'Hannissey." O'Riley announced as two of his fellow badges flanked either side of Wayne.
"You got to be kidding me!" Wayne's posturing turned into full blown whining.
"You threw a punch. Probably a sucker punch." Sara's soft smokey voice held only rebuking contempt for the kid she thought as a coward.
"Look, I told you, that guy walked away." Wayne wanted to dismiss the cop-chicks like bothersome nerdy school-girls that never gave you any ass.
"But he was already dying." Catherine explained once more as if she were talking to that same dull-witted child. "And you're responsible."
Sara smirk became a sneer "Now who's the punk... " her dark eyes glowered "bitch?"
O'Riley escorted Wayne out of the bar leaving the two women alone together in a room filled with people.
"Punk-bitch?" Catherine grinned. "You enjoyed that."
Sara smirked, "Yep." She turned and giving Catherine the shock of a lifetime placed a chaste kiss on the blonde's cheek. "Enjoyed that too."
Catherine's face glowed brighter than the Strip as she followed her possible lover out of Shoeless Joe's Sports bar.
It was bizarre.
Did she smell the scent of burnt rubber first or heard the squeal of tires?
A lifetime of wondering and that question would never be answered because the sight of what followed would always haunt her.
Get out of the way!
Catherine found her feet running and sliding to a halt as she came to the prone body of the woman she loved. The car that hit her was now wrapped around a light-post. The driver was not a concern to Catherine, or the fact he might have been drunk and now dead. It was Sara. Sara who had been catapulted into the air when the Trans-am hit her. She had been knocked into the air, bounced off the hood and was now lying on her side in a mass of blood and what could only be internal organs. Broken glass, mud, bits of tire and bone littered the roadside. Cars stopped, people gawked others were on their cell-phones calling 911. Murmurs and shouts of would-be rescuers running this way and that, a blare of a car horn. All of it a white noise. All of it.
Catherine slid to the earth, clutching the prone Sara in her arms. Blood seeping out of her stomach. and the back of her head.. "Sara, sweety Sara." Catherine begged. "Baby open your eyes for me. Open them."
"I'm here, Love. I'm here."
"I… don't… feel… anything."
"Sara? I have to keep you awake, don't close your eyes baby. Don't close them. Keep talking to me. Are you cold? Catherine removed the small jacket she was wearing to cover Sara's bleeding chest. "Someone get me a blanket!" Catherine barked the order to the milling crowd. "Sara... Baby stay with me."
”Sara! Sara!" Catherine begged pleaded. "Don't you do this! Don't you dare let go now! Not when we have a chance. A life time together Sara! Do you hear me! A life time! Don't! Don't do this! I forbid it. Don't you dare give up!"
Sara didn't cough out a ‘sorry that she couldn't obey'. She didn't pledge undying love. She just closed her eyes. Her skin already pale, her lips held no color.
"SARA! SARA SIDLE you open your god-damn eyes!"
Catherine’s hot tears burned as they fell down her cheeks onto Sara's own broken face. The scientific part of Catherine knew Sara was dead. It was the rest of her that was in denial. Rocking Sara's body back and forth the blonde willed her wanted lover back to life. Soft kisses on her cheeks, her dead lips her forehead her temple, would not make the breath of life come back to her.
Sara was gone.
Catherine had wanted a lifetime with her. A life time of burnt toast. A lifetime of tracing tattoos. A life time of just because touches, and passionate and tender lovemaking, a lifetime of silly arguments that was solved with apologies and smiles.
Sara was gone.
Catherine for a moment had a lifetime with her. But it was only a moment.