Night Comes On
copyright 2003, by TweedEmpress
Catherine watched as Grissom locked his office door, a large bunch of bright, golden flowers in one hand, and then turned to face her.
‘Yes, they are,’ he replied.
She raised an eyebrow and walked down the corridor, falling into step next to him.
‘So,’ she said slowly, ‘they’re not for your office, obviously. I’m guessing they’re not destined to add a much needed splash of colour to your apartment…’
Grissom gave her a slightly withering look and Catherine grinned.
‘Didn’t think so. Don’t tell me you upset Sara again and you’re trying to make it up to her.’
‘No. On both counts.’ There was a pause before he asked. ‘What makes you think I’d upset Sara?’
‘Do you really need me to answer that?’
He started to say something but then seemed to think better of it and flashed her a slightly guilty smile instead. They walked in companionable silence until they reached reception and Catherine’s curiosity finally got the better of her.
‘C’mon, Gil, who is she?’
Grissom looked at her. ‘Who?’
Catherine stopped and folded her arms.
‘Y’know, coy isn’t really your thing.’
‘No, Catherine it isn’t,’ he replied lightly, a faint smile on his lips. ‘But keeping my private life private, is.’
She didn’t respond immediately, observing, instead, the man in front of her. There was, in his eyes, behind the smile, a request not to pry to closely. And while she knew that Grissom rarely gave out information voluntarily, it meant something serious for him to defend his privacy so firmly. His hand, she noticed, closed a little more tightly on the flower stalks and not for the first time she wondered how he could have lived this long and still be so bad at personal relationships. They’d been friends for a long time and she had, over the years, confided in him the way she couldn’t with anyone else – she just wished that sometimes he’d be a little more forth coming in return.
But then he wouldn’t be Gil Grissom.
Catherine smiled wryly and decided to put him out of his misery.
‘Okay. I’ll let you off the hook this time. Enjoy your … date?’
Grissom laughed slightly and shook his head. ‘I’ll see you tomorrow, Cath.’
He turned back, looking at her enquiringly.
‘I hope she’s worth it,’ Catherine said softly.
Grissom considered this for a moment and then met her gaze.
By night, the air was filled with pounding music and cries of both pleasure and pain. By day, the house was oddly peaceful and the most distracting noise was the low hum of a Hoover from one of the rooms. He had let himself in and made his way through the winding corridors to Heather’s rooms. He passed only a handful of people: they smiled and nodded in polite recognition and then walked on wordlessly. There was a sense of relief mingled with expectation when he reached her rooms and he found the door slightly ajar. Grissom pushed it further open and entered the room, stopping abruptly just beyond the threshold. A young woman was curled up on one of the sofas, engrossed in a book. Despite Heather’s repeated assertions that her personal area was open to all, Grissom had never actually seen anyone else in there and felt a moment’s confusion. The girl, apparently suddenly aware of his presence, raised her eyes and gazed at him over the top of her volume.
‘Can I help you?’ she asked mildly.
‘I don’t think so,’ he replied. ‘I’m here to see Lady Heather.’
She nodded. ‘Don’t mind me. Sit down – she’ll be back in a minute.’
Grissom carefully deposited the flowers on a nearby table, but remained standing. The girl had put her book down and was watching him appraisingly, her eyes slightly narrowed. Grissom fought down the urge to ask her if she wanted to borrow a magnifying glass for a closer inspection.
‘You know, you don’t really seem like a client.’
A faint smile curled the corners of his mouth.
‘You’r e not a Sales Rep, are you?’ she enquired dubiously. ‘Because if you are, I really don’t think that, er, Lady Heather will be interested in buying.’
‘Once again, no.’
She rewarded him with an even more penetrating gaze and then her eyes widened.
‘Oh my God, you’re him! You’re Mr. Grissom!’
‘Ye-es,’ he said slowly, feeling both surprised and at a distinct disadvantage. He watched her closely and as she tucked a lock of dark hair behind her ear, had a sudden flash of realisation.
She grinned at him and nodded. Grissom sat in the chair opposite her, looking at her properly: Zoë had the same dark hair and disconcertingly direct gaze as her mother. He was struck by the resemblance between them and wondered why he hadn’t seen it before.
Zoë swung her feet off the sofa, knocking her book onto the floor in the process but ignored it and stared at Grissom with an air of suppressed excitement and not-so-suppressed curiosity.
‘You’re in your second year at Harvard now, aren’t you?’ he asked, still feeling slightly unsure of himself but trying to keep the conversation going in a normal, natural tone.
‘Uh-huh. English Literature.’
‘Are you enjoying it?’
‘It’s great – I love it.’ She shook her hair out of her eyes again. As though sensing his discomfort she sat back slightly and followed his lead in their conversation. ‘We started the Metaphysicals this year.’
‘Ah – John Donne and Wit?’
She looked slightly surprised. ‘You’ve read the Metaphysicals?’
‘Not as much as I would have liked,’ he conceded.
‘It’s fascinating,’ she said, her eyes sparkling with enthusiasm. ‘I mean, you have to change your whole way of thinking to understand how they saw the world – and once you’ve done that, nothing seems quite the same. You start to see their philosophy in everything, and I’m babbling at you. I’m sorry – I have a tendency to get carried away over things I’m passionate about.’
Grissom shrugged slightly. ‘I think everyone should have at least one thing to be passionate about. I can get carried away about bugs.’
Zoë tilted her head to one side and gave him a lopsided smile.
‘The Metaphysicals would probably have a lot to say about that.’
‘They probably would,’ he agreed.
There was a pause for a moment - Grissom not quite sure what to say; Zoë not wanting to appear too overbearing.
‘Your work sounds interesting ... forensics, isn’t it?’
‘Yes,’ he replied with a feeling of relief. ‘Although I’m told that it’s not something everyone would enjoy. Can’t imagine why.’
Zoë laughed slightly. ‘I was always terrible at Science. Not that I didn’t enjoy it,’ she added hastily. ‘I just never really got to grips with it.’
He nodded, understanding. ‘There are quite a lot of things I never go to grips with.’
Catherine would probably put people skills at the top of the list, he thought wryly.
Zoë lowered her head, her eyes sliding sideways to look at him.
‘Is it true you ride roller coasters for fun?’ she asked suddenly.
Grissom laughed slightly. ‘Yes. Yes, it is.’
She considered this for a moment.
‘That’s pretty cool.’
He smiled at her. ‘I haven’t been on one for a while now, though.’
She raised her head again. ‘No … neither have I.’
There was a faintly wistful tone in her voice and she suddenly looked far younger than her nineteen years. Grissom found himself liking the girl and could fully understand Heather’s look of pride every time she mentioned Zoë’s name. Judging by her curiosity - and her excitement - the current situation was as unusual to her as it was to him. He wondered vaguely if he should feel quite so ridiculously pleased about that, but couldn’t help it. He was about to say something else when a new voice spoke:
‘Nice to see you two getting along.’
Grissom looked over his shoulder and saw Heather standing in the doorway. She was regarding them both with a faintly amused smile playing over her lips. He stood up as she entered and turned to face her, aware that Zoë’s attention was now firmly fixed on both of them.
‘I didn’t expect you this early.’
He shrugged. ‘The case was solved, nothing more to do today.’
Heather raised an eyebrow and her smile widened slightly. There were, she was quite sure, still things for him to do - but he had chosen to come to her instead. She noticed the flowers on the table and looked at him.
‘Narcissus,’ she said, picking them up and gently stroking one of the golden heads. ‘Are you trying to make a point about my vanity?’
‘No,’ he replied, suppressing a smile. ‘I thought they were beautiful and that you’d like them.’
She observed him over the top of the flowers, her blue eyes sparkling.
‘You were right.’
Zoë had watched the scene with undisguised fascination but, seeing the rather intense gaze exchanged between her mother and Grissom, decided it was time to leave them alone.
‘Mom, I’m gonna get some tea. Would you like any? Mr Grissom?’
‘That’ll be great, honey, thanks.’ Heather smiled at her. She watched Zoë leave and then turned to meet Grissom's eyes.
‘Don’t expect china and linen from her - I’ve known Zoë to pour hot water from the tap straight onto the tea bag before today.’
‘Zoë seems to have inherited a little more social grace than that.’
Heather inclined her head slightly, acknowledging the compliment. She moved to sit on the sofa Zoë had recently vacated and Grissom seated himself opposite her.
‘Zoë was supposed to be in New York with friends this week, but ... plans changed at the last minute and here she is.’
Grissom looked at Heather quizzically.
‘I wasn’t waiting for an explanation.’
‘But I wanted to give you one,’ she replied, simply. ‘If I had known Zoë was coming I would have told you before hand. I wouldn’t want you to think that I was trying to force you into an uncomfortable situation.’
‘Heather, I never thought that.’ He smiled slightly. ‘I know you better than that. And it wasn’t really uncomfortable,’ he added.
‘Oh, so she didn’t try to interrogate you?’
They caught each others eye and both smiled.
‘I think she was trying to restrain herself.’
‘Restrain herself? My daughter?’ Heather considered this statement, but whatever conclusion she came to she kept to herself. Instead she stood.
‘I ought to go and see how she’s getting on. I’m afraid I didn’t bring her up to be domestic.’
Grissom followed her, standing aside to let her out of the room first. Heather turned suddenly, placing one hand on his chest and brushing her lips against his.
‘Thank you for the flowers,’ she said softly.
He raised his hands, gently running them through her hair before they came to rest on her shoulders.
He captured her lips with his, his fingers caressing her neck and Heather wrapped her arms around him, pulling him closer to her.
They pulled apart and held each others gaze for a moment and then, with an unspoken agreement, left the room.
Part 1 of 10
copyright 2003, by TweedEmpress