As Occasion Asks
copyright 2004, by Hannah
He had agreed to take the weekend off. Heather had insisted on a promise that he would leave the lab immediately when his shift ended Friday morning and go directly home. When he arrived in Henderson, he found her waiting for him in his living room, a small package in front of her on the coffee table.
“Very good, Mr. Grissom.”
“You were very specific in your instructions, Lady Heather.”
She offered him a radiant smile.
He dumped briefcase and keys and moved to sit next to her on the sofa, curling an arm around her and pulling her close for a kiss.
“You do know my birthday isn’t until tomorrow?”
“I do... but I’m afraid your gift is time-sensitive.” He arched an eyebrow, obviously intrigued, and she indicated the package with a slight nod of her head. “Open it.”
He leaned forward to retrieve the package, tore open the paper, and looked at her, eyes narrowed.
She glanced at the book in his hand, lips curling in a slight smirk at the title she had not been able to resist... Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love.
“That isn’t... but I thought you might like something to read on the plane.”
“Plane?” She produced a folder with two airline tickets and waved it slowly back and forth. He reached out and took it from her. “You’re taking me to Cleveland?”
He cocked his head to one side, a slow grin spreading across his lips.
“Cedar Point?” Amusement and unmistakable pleasure glinted in his blue eyes. She smiled, delighted that he was pleased.
“Yes... and you should pack. We have a plane to catch.”
Heather had done her research well. Cedar Point, an amusement park situated on Lake Erie, was the perfect destination for Gil Grissom. The park’s 16 roller coasters gave it the distinction of having the greatest number collected in one location, including three of the top 10 steel roller coasters in the world. It boasted numerous awards, and had set more than a few records... the Top Thrill Dragster being the most recently acknowledged as “the world’s tallest roller coaster at 420 feet.”
The book she had chosen was another matter. While examining romance through the lense of evolutionary biology had a certain appeal - as she knew it would - it was not immediately compelling. As it turned out, there was not much opportunity to read during the flight. Having just gotten off shift, he spent the first several hours napping and woke, leaning over to her with an absolutely wicked leer and muttering something about empirical evidence. His... experiment took up the better portion of the remaining flight time, and they made it back to their seats with barely enough time for him to make it through the author’s initial discussion of her study, in which she scanned the brains of people who had just fallen in love. The rest would have to wait.
After a leisurely morning in bed, the bulk of Saturday was spent on various roller coasters, interspersed with commentary from Grissom consisting of facts like, “The Top Thrill Dragster is the first coaster to break the 400ft barrier, and has an ascent and descent of 90 degrees. The speed during the drop is 120mph.” Each mini-lecture delivered with all the joy and enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning.
By late afternoon, with all of the interesting information regarding the thrill rides exhausted, discussion turned to the park’s 134 year history.
“This place started out as a resort in the 1870's, did you know that?” They were strolling along the park’s main drag.
“I’m afraid my research wasn’t that thorough,” Heather laughed.
“A Sandusky entrepreneur named Louis Zistel brought guests over on a steamer to swim in the lake. The Grand Pavilion was built in the late 1880's... dining, lectures, bowling... and the forerunner of today’s roller coasters was built here in 1892.”
“Really... so early?”
“Mmm... the Switchback Railway. It was 25 feet tall and got up to speeds of about 10 miles an hour. The cars had to hauled to the top manually.”
“Serious machinery.” She glanced over at him with an indulgent smile. He grinned, blue eyes holding hers, then took her hand and tugged her out of the main flow of traffic, maneuvering into an area that afforded them a little privacy.
“Tired of roller coasters yet?”
“A little,” she admitted.
He backed her up against a length of wooden fencing.
“Maybe you’d like to ride something else?” She arched an eyebrow, full lips curling into a slow smile, as he flattened his palms against the wood on either side of her. He returned her smile with a wolfish grin.
“That depends on what you had in mind, Mr. Grissom.”
He pressed into her, voice lowering to a rough whisper.
“I’m sure we could come up with something that would please you.”
Her hands went to his waist, pulling him even more firmly against her. Green eyes flashed unmistakable lust.
“I have no doubt of that... but it is your day. I’d hate to think of leaving before you’re satisfied.”
He smiled and leaned close, lips brushing hers as he spoke.
“I don’t think that will be a problem.”
According to Catherine, the lab had been swamped while he was away, but his first night back was absolutely dead. He spent the bulk of the shift in his office, catching up on the mountain of paperwork that always seemed to grow whenever he turned his back on it for more than a few seconds. He ventured out only once, wandering down to the break room in search of Greg’s coffee, then headed back to his desk. The break in his concentration was fatal. He had never enjoyed paperwork, always looking for a reason to put it off as long as possible, but he’d been very good tonight and managed to thin the pile considerably. No need to be overzealous. Reaching into his briefcase, he pulled out the book he had almost managed to finish on the flight home and settled in to read the last few chapters.
Sara Sidle had headed for Grissom’s office half a dozen times but kept turning back before she could actually reach his door. He’d been so distant with her lately, she was unsure if she would be welcome. Sara was still unclear on why exactly he had decided to take the weekend off - it wasn’t like him at all - but she’d missed the opportunity to wish him a happy birthday and thought perhaps she could make up for it now. The added bonus of catching him alone in his office on a slow night was particularly appealing to her. What the hell. She turned on her heel and walked determinedly back down the corridor.
She stood in the doorway, hesitating before knocking on the frame to get his attention. He was engrossed in a book, obviously taking a break from the paperwork that was spread across his desk, but the title... Why We Love? She blinked, felt her heart flutter. After what she’d overheard, she hadn’t thought... maybe he’d decided it was worth the risk after all.
He gave no indication that he’d heard her, but it wasn’t unusual for him to tune everything out when he was focused on something, and her greeting had come out as a whisper. She did her best to tone down the silly grin that suddenly seemed plastered across her mouth and tried again.
He looked up at her over the top of his glasses and her stomach did a little flip.
“Sara. Something come in?”
“Nope, still dead.”
“It happens. What did you need?”
She avoided his question, instead gesturing to the book still open in front of him.
“Not your usual choice of reading material.” She tried to sound casual, but failed miserably.
He glanced down for a moment, then tucked a jacket flap into his current page and closed the cover, setting it down on the desk in front of him... face down.
“It was a gift.”
She nodded, her voice taking on a conspiratorial tone when she spoke.
Why wouldn’t he just admit it?
“Yes.” He shifted uncomfortably. “Sara, did you need something?”
“As a matter of fact I did.” She moved into the room. “I didn’t get a chance to wish you a happy birthday.”
A grin tugged at the corners of his mouth.
“I could take you out for a belated birthday breakfast after the shift, if you’d like?”
“I can’t. I have plans.”
“Ok... just a thought.” She offered him a strange smile and studied him for a moment before backing toward the door. “I should let you get back to...” She paused for a second, smirked. “... your reading.” And with that, she turned and left his office.
He sat staring after her, wondering what had just happened, but fearful that he knew.
Sara forced herself to keep from looking back at the door of Grissom’s office and walked away down the corridor. She was certain he was watching her. Things were definitely looking up.
copyright 2004, by Hannah