Almost Doesn't Count
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Category: CSI - Ship Ahoy!
Characters: Catherine Willows
, Gil Grissom
, Character Study
, RomanceWarnings: None
An AU of Catherine and Gil's life before Eddie. (WIP & Written with Erin)
"Gil! Quit it!"
Catherine giggled as Gil's hand found its way under her shirt again and settled on her stomach. He'd been doing it a lot since they'd discovered she was pregnant and he swore he could feel a slight bump, despite Catherine insisting her stomach was still perfectly flat.
Sighing, she let her hand run through her boyfriends hair as her eyes drifted closed. Becoming pregnant certainly hadn't been in their plan, but every time she looked in Gil's eyes, she knew this was the best thing that could have happened to them.
She knew he wanted to marry her. Something about wanting his child to grow up in a proper family. But planning weddings took time and she wasn't about to walk up the aisle bursting out of the seams of a wedding dress when they could wait until after the baby was born and she was back in shape.
He'd shook his head when she'd told him that, but had smiled and kissed her forehead, telling her whatever she wanted was fine with him. That was the moment she knew she was with the right man.
They'd met on one of Catherine's first nights in Las Vegas. She had been slightly in awe of the city. It was nothing like Montana or even Seattle and it had been enough to unnerve her at first. Now, it was home and she couldn't imagine being anywhere else, nor could she deny the huge part that Gil Grissom had had on that.
It was one of those nights that the tourist brochures swore didn't exist, the sky had opened up and due to an accident on the strip traffic had been backed up, so she'd decided to walk instead of hailing a cab home after a job interview at one of Sam's casinos. Determined to get a job on her own merits, rather than because the owner was a family friend.
As cliché as it sounded, they'd literally run into each other, scattering the papers he was holding to his chest, across the street. So she'd bent down to help him pick them up, both apologising profusely. In the end, he'd dragged her into a near by diner where he brought them coffee, determent to make it up to her.
After that, they'd agreed to meet again the next day so he could show her more of the city. Some how, one of their trips under the façade of him showing her around, had taken them out to Diablo Canyon where they'd watched the sunset while talking, before she'd found herself with his lips on hers and no desire to push him away.
A year later and she was taking a pregnancy test. Catherine doubted she'd ever forget the look on his face when she'd told him they were going to have a baby. If she'd had any doubts about Gil wanting children, then it had disappeared the moment he pulled her into his arms.
They'd spent the next weekend moving her belongings into his small apartment and when she lifted her head up she could glimpse the boxes in the hallway that still needed to be unpacked.
"Do you think we'll have enough room here once the baby's born?"
The question shook her out of her reverie and she smiled. "You might have to move your bugs out of the spare bedroom, but sure, we'll manage."
Catherine was still in her idealistic phase, where there wasn't a problem that together they couldn't fix and living with what they had wasn't the big problem that it could be in 9 months.
She sighed again when Gil bent down and kissed her softly, before he reached across and turned off the lamp, whispering good night. They lay in silence before she slapped his hand away from her stomach again and giggled at his indignant 'hey!' that followed.
Catherine stood back and admired her handiwork. Gil had moved his bugs out of the spare room the day before and she'd just finished under coating the walls. She'd been amazed at what a bad state they had been in after what had seemed like the wall of bugs had been removed, not to mention the smell which kept the window open constantly.
Now that they had started working on the nursery, the whole baby thing had started to become more real. She was three months gone and wasn't suffering from morning sickness yet, something she was thankful for and had wanted to get started on the nursery before she became too tired, not wanting anything to do with her pregnancy to become a chore.
dropping the paint brush at the sound of Gil's voice, she walking into the hallway and couldn't help but chuckle that they had become so stereotypical in the last few weeks.
"How was your day dear?" she grinned and kissed him lightly before grabbing his hand and dragging him towards the nursery. "Come on, I want you to see what I've been doing all day."
Gil wrapped his arms around her waist and let her lean back against his chest as they stood in the middle of the room, so that he could survey her work. "It's looking good Cath." He grinned down at her and let his hand drift down to rest on her stomach. "Have you decided what colour you want to paint it yet?"
She shook her head and frowned. "It needs to be neutral, but I can't make up my mind. Have you got any ideas?"
Gil shrugged and glanced around the room again. "I always liked yellow, neutral and it would make the room look bigger."
Catherine looked back at him in surprise and grinned. "When did you become so knowledgeable with colours?"
"Well, I've learned a lot of things in the past three months." Glancing down at his watch he pulled back slightly and smiled. "You feel like going out for dinner tonight?"
Nodding, Catherine looked down at her paint covered clothes and glanced towards the door. "I'll just go have a shower and get changed first."
Reaching up, she pulled his head down to hers and kissed him soundly before heading towards the bathroom, leaving a dumbstruck Gil in the soon to be nursery.
Catherine tried not to cry out as she slipped down to the floor of the kitchen, trying to remember what every book she had brought home had said. Tentatively, she reached between her legs and gasped at the blood on her hand. This wasn't supposed to be happening, she'd been careful, done everything she was supposed to.
Her hands clenched into fists as another cramp made it self felt. Gil had gone out to pick up something for dinner an hour before and she knew he would be home soon and she had to hold on until then. Easier said than done, she couldn't help but think.
Closing her eyes, she bit her bottom lip and tried to picture what their baby was going to look like when it was born in 5 months, but thinking positively didn't seem to be working for her and when Gil arrived home a few minutes later, he found her sobbing.
"Catherine?!" He ran to her side, dropping the bag of groceries to the kitchen floor.
"Come on, we need to get you to the hospital." His voice held a slight waver and Catherine could tell he'd reached the same conclusion she had, that the likely hood was that they weren't going to get the baby both already loved and desperately wanted. Carefully, Gil helped Catherine to her feet and lead her out of the apartment and towards their car.
Unlocking it quickly, he hustled her in and slammed the door, rushing around to the drivers side. He drove in blind panic to the hospital, later he'd think that he was a miracle he hadn't got either of them killed. A remote piece of his brain was processing the strain his muscles felt as he carried her to the Emergency Room, but he didn't pay it any mind; his main concern was Catherine and her health.
She'd felt numb since they'd left the hospital. Gil had been nothing but helpful and thoughtful and she couldn't fault him... but she didn't want him close to her, not right now when the feels that she'd somehow screwed up something so important and special, was killing her.
The doctors hadn't been able to tell her why it had happened and the likelihood was they would never know. It all seemed so pointless. For four months she'd held a tiny life inside of her and she'd become so attached to it, knowing that she'd do all she could to be a good mother, just as Gil would do all he could to be a wonderful father and she knew he would have been.
The doctors had told her that this didn't mean she'd never be able to carry to term and that there was no reason not to try for another baby, but right then Catherine was having too much trouble seeing past the grief and loss of this baby to contemplate another.
"Cath? You need anything?"
Gil poked his head around the door and felt his heart nearly break at the site of her curled up in bed. He wasn't quite sure was to say; Catherine didn't want to talk or take comfort in him and he didn't know how to make her see that he didn't blame her for what happened. He knew the statistics, they weren't the only couple to lose a baby but somehow it felt like it.
He watched her for a few seconds before daring to sit at the foot of the bed, near her legs. She curled up tighter. He sighed, unsure of what to do.
Tentatively, he reached for her. She flinched and jumped back. He watched her close her eyes and swallow. "I'm sorry," he whispered.
"Me, too," she whispered back. He thought he could see her shaking, but he wasn't completely sure.
He whispered again. "If you need anything, I'll be in the living room."
"Thanks." She reached out, and grabbed his hand. It was weak, she knew, but she couldn't do anything else. That simple gesture was all she could muster; anything else, and she would've fallen apart.
She heard him get up and walk out of the room. The warmth of his fingers faded from the skin on her hand, compelling her to realize how alone she was.
It had come gradually. Nevertheless, when the realization arrived, it shocked them both. Neither had wanted to admit that their relationship was failing. Slowly, their grief had chipped away at the once-solid foundation of their relationship; there was nothing left.
Gil couldn't say he was entirely surprised when he arrived home one day to find her sitting on the couch with packed bags around her. However, he could say that the panic still bubbled up inside of him as the sense of loss wracked his soul.
"Gil..." She looked up at him, her eyes glistening with tears. She knew that one of them had to be strong enough to say it was over. It felt like the right time to do something for herself before the grief consumed her.
"Are you going to come back?" He swallowed at the sight of her tears and tried not to let his own fall. He couldn't begin to process how right this wasn't.
"I don't know. I need some space... to think things through. We're not doing so great getting past this together"
He nodded and sank down next to her, trying to think of some way to make it better. "I don't want you to go."
"I know." Her hand reached over and grasped his for a few seconds before letting go and standing up, pushing her hair out of her face. "I'll be at my sisters... if anything happens."
He nodded once, lost in a daze as he tried to deal with the thoughts flying through his head, leaving him with one fact. Catherine had left him. The door slamming shut confirmed it.
Once outside, Catherine leaned against the closed door. She took a deep breath; as she exhaled, she saw her sister's car pull into the driveway. A red coupe. The older woman got out and met Catherine halfway, wrapping her arms around her, creating a safe space. The grieving woman cried, sobs wracking her body; the stronger woman held her and rocked her back and forth.
"I made some of Mom's muffins." Catherine managed to chuckle through the salty tears that ran down her face. "It's going to be okay," she soothed as she wiped her younger sister's face.
"Yeah," she nodded, sniffling. "Let's get out of here."
Catherine wiped at her face and dropped the little plastic stick in her purse, before pulling the door to her favourite coffee house open. As she stepped into the building, she dropped her eyes, in hopes to avoid the curious stares of the people around her. She took two steps and collided into something solid.
"Oh, I'm so-"
She didn't have to look up, she knew who the speaker was.
Hesitantly, she slipped her hand into his, letting him pull her up. She wavered slightly, once on her own two feet. "Thanks, Gil."
They looked at each other awkwardly, glancing down at their feet from time to time, both starting to talk and stopping again, for fear of it sounding stupid. Finally, Gil asked: "So, how have you been?"
"Good," she shrugged. "You?"
He didn't answer her, and instead asked another question: "Were you crying?"
She groaned softly. She forgot his ability to read her for signs of emotional unbalance. "Uh, yeah, but it's nothing. Really." She watched his eyes leave hers and scan the pavement around her. "What are you looking at?"
"Are those things from your purse?"
Catherine spun around and saw a couple lipsticks, a credit card, and the pregnancy test lying on the pavement. "Uh. Yeah."
Quickly, she knelt down and swept the contents back into her bag as she tried to figure out what the hell she was going to say to him. Had she imagined the look of pain in his eyes? She wasn't sure if she wanted to turn around and find out.
Knowing she had to, Catherine stood and turned to face her former lover, a hand pressing to her stomach as she did. This wasn't how she'd wanted to tell him. She wanted to go see him and tell him everything that had happened since she'd left him and how she'd gone back to dancing and how Eddie had walked in one night...that she was happy. None of it seemed to want to come out now though, so she just stood there.
Catherine could see him looking at her stomach and she couldn't help feeling like she'd failed him. There was no doubt she still loved him, but she wasn't sure she could go back. Not now she was pregnant and engaged to another man.
"Are you happy Catherine?"
"Yes Gil, Eddie takes good care of me." She attempted a small smiled as he nodded.
"Where are you working?"
"I'm looking around, not many people keen to hire me right now."
Gil nodded again and put his hands in his pockets. He was well aware of what occupation she'd had, but he also knew about how she'd been working hard towards her education while they were together and how she'd graduated with honours. "There's an opening for a lab tech, I could put in a good word for you, you know, if you'd like to work there? You'd be good at it."
Catherine was shocked that after all they'd been through he still wanted to help her, but still not entirely sure on his motives, she'd never been in the habit of accepting pity and wasn't about to start now. "Why do you want to help me Gil?"
"Because no matter what, I still love you. I want you to be happy and if I can help with that..." He looked down at his feet and tried not to look embarrassed. The fact was he wasn't sure this whole thing had sunk in yet. Catherine wouldn't be coming back to him, not now she was with someone else, but he still wanted her in his life and being able to help her meant more to him than she'd ever know.
Her eyes filling with tears, Catherine nodded and smiled at him, her hand touching his arm. "Thank you Gil... I'd better give you my number..." She rummaged around in her bag and pulled out a pen and paper, quickly jotting her number and address down before handing him the information. "I'll talk to you soon?"
"Count on it." They smiled at each other and Gil turned to walk away, before the sound of Catherine's voice stopped him.
"Gil? It really is good to see you again." He glanced back over his shoulder and her and smiled again.
"You too Cath."
Catherine sighed as she closed the door quietly to her sleeping daughter's room. She really didn't want Lindsey woken by the inevitable fight that was coming, but she doubted she would be that lucky. Since she had gone back to work after her maternity leave, Eddie had been jealous of her relationship with Gil and the amount of time she had to spend at work. She'd thought after a while it'd get better and that he'd learn to trust her, but 3 years on and she was still waiting for it to happen, all the while growing more and more uneasy in her marriage.
Catherine thanked god each day that she'd never told Eddie of her history with Gil, she hated the idea of giving him anything to back up his absurd claims that she was sleeping with her boss. She wasn't sleeping with him—anymore—but Eddie would never see it that way. Catherine was his possession, he felt and reminded her of this in any way he could; driving a wedge between Catherine and Gil was one of his favourite pass times.
She wasn't quite sure how she'd let things get this far. Things had gone so wrong with Gil and she hadn't given herself enough time to recover from their loss before diving in to a relationship with Eddie. The next thing she knew due to missing a pill she had become pregnant again. There was no doubt in her mind that she loved her daughter and wouldn't give her up for anything, but Catherine had to wonder if staying with Eddie was what was best for her daughter, it certainly wasn't the best thing for her.
Pushing herself away from the door she did the same with her thoughts and made her way to the kitchen, not surprised to see Eddie with his head stuck in the fridge rummaging for a few beers.
Sitting down at the table, she watched him as he carried on searching. The more she looked at Eddie now the less she wanted to be there. She'd loved her husband at one time, or at least thought she did. Now everything just seemed so wrong and she had a suspicion that what had started as nights out with his friends had turned into nights out with his music whores.
"What are you looking at?" Catherine jumped slightly as Eddie glared down at her, but for once she didn't look away.
"We need to talk Eddie."
He smirked. "What if I don't feel like talkin'?"
Catherine pressed her chapped lips together before speaking, crossing her arms as she shifted her weight. "Well, then, don't say a word. Can you handle listening?"
"Maybe," he said before a huge mouthful of beer. "Depends on the topic."
Eddie nearly choked on the next swig he had taken into his loud mouth. His eyes bugged out of his head. "Definitely out of the question."
Catherine took a deep breath and on the exhale, she spoke, pushing the words out before they could hide. "I'm leaving you. I want a divorce."
"No fucking way you're walking out of here." He slammed the beer bottle onto the table; she managed to not wince at the loud noise, which surprised her. "You're going to leave our daughter? What? We're not good enough for you?"
She sighed. "I'm taking Lindsay with me."
He grabbed her forcefully, one hand on each upper arm. She managed to hold in her gasp until the moment when he squeezed harder. "No fucking way, Cat."
"Let me go," she muttered through gritted teeth, trying to keep the tears at bay. She could feel her muscles begging to be released. On the air, she could smell his thick breath; she knew the evidence was unscientific, but the sour alcoholic smell told him that hadn't been his first beer of the day. She silently prayed that he wouldn't get any more upset.
"You're done with me, eh?" He sneered. "Gonna go run to your bug man?" Her eyes widened, before they narrowed in anger, and when she opened her mouth to speak, he slapped her across the mouth. She jumped out of his other hand's grip, and stared at him, her hand covering the paining skin.
He pulled his hand back to lay another blow, but she pushed the chair from the table and stood up, rushing backwards. He followed her. "I'm not letting you leave!"
"Shhh," she continued speaking in her soft, even voice she used when trying to calm Eddie down. "Let's not wake Lindsay."
"God! Cat!" She took a step back, before he could grab her. His hand connected with the doorframe, making him cry out loudly.
Catherine cursed under her breath. Eddie set his beer down, and crouched. "Hey, baby, c'm'ere"
When her mothering instincts kicked in, they kicked in, and couldn't be shut off easily. "Lindsay, I need you to go back to your room and pick out a couple toys, okay?" She knew that if Eddie got her hands on their daughter, that would be the end of it. She also knew that Eddie would never grab or hurt Lindsay. Catherine just had to play her cards properly. Not taking her eyes off of Eddie, she reasserted herself. "Lindsay, please, go do what Mommy asked."
"Alright," she heard her daughter's voice waver, and she wanted to cry. She hated what this was doing to Lindsay. Eddie lunged at Catherine, but Lindsay cried out: "Daddy! No!"
"Lindsay! Go pack!" Catherine called out, while turning and rushing the young girl out of the area. Eddie cursed and kicked the wall, but she couldn't hear him after her in the hall.
The strawberry blonde smiled, trying to keep her hair in front of her face, so the young girl wouldn't see the bruises that were already purpling her beautifully fair skin. "We're okay, I promise. Mommy and Daddy just have different opinions sometimes." She bent down and helped Lindsay put a stuffed animal into her bookbag. "But, no matter what, he still loves you." She kissed her forehead. "He's going to miss you."
"Where are we going?"
She managed a smile. "A short trip." Lindsay reached out and touched her mother's chin, making her hiss in pain. It was really sore. "Hey, sweetie, don't touch that, okay? It's really sore."
"I was reading a file for work," she lied, knowing it was for the best, "And I walked straight into a door. Right in front of Uncle Warrick and Uncle Gil."
Gil. Catherine felt her chest tighten at his mention. Suddenly, she felt so lost, so confused, so unsure.
"You ready?" Lindsay nodded, so Catherine hoisted her up into her arms, knowing she would be a sufficient shield out of the house. "Eddie, I'll call in a couple days," she called over her shoulder at the angry man.
After driving for ten minutes, Catherine stopped at a babysitter's house of the girls Eddie didn't know, for safe measures. She hugged and kissed her daughter, promising that she would be back as soon as Lindsay woke up.
She got back in the car, and kept driving, to the other side of town. When she stopped the car, she was in front of Gil's house. She had no where else to go, really, but even this place wasn't a welcoming one. His lights were still on, so she knew she had a good chance of catching him before he fell asleep. She took a deep breath, and stepped out of her vehicle.
When she felt the asphalt under her feet, she cursed under her breath, realizing that in her panic, she didn't think to put shoes on. Her concern had been Lindsay, getting Lindsay out of there, getting herself away good.
She persevered, though, and walked right up to his door. Before she pushed the doorbell, she felt her shoulders finally start to shake, the weight of the evening finally too much for her to carry alone; without any warning, she hadn't been able to regain control, and she started to cry.
As soon as Gil opened the door opened she found herself enveloped in his arms and she gratefully sank into them. His hand stroked her hair as he whispered that everything would be all right.
He drew back and ushered Catherine inside the house keeping one hand on the small of her back, he led her into the lounge and gently sat her down on the couch before going into the kitchen and fixing them both coffee, giving Catherine the time she needed to compose herself.
He carried the two cups back into the living room and handed one to Catherine and placed the other on the coffee table, earning a smile of thanks from her.
She took a sip before placing it next to his and turning to face him. "Gil, I have a favour to ask. I hate to but I don't have many options right now." She paused hesitantly and looked down at her hands. "I've left Eddie and I don't have anywhere to stay with Lindsey-"
"You're staying here then." His voice left no room for argument, not that she was about to and she smiled gratefully at him.
"Where's Lindsey now?"
"With a sitter... Eddie hasn't met this one before so he won't be able to do anything."
He nodded and reached over, taking her hand in his. "It's going to be okay Catherine."
"I know, I just... I can't believe I let him do this too me for so long." She shrugged and squeezed his hand before letting go and running her own through her hair.
"When do you need to go pick up Lindsey?"
Catherine glanced out the window at the slowly rising sun. It was only then that it dawned on her that she'd probably woken him up when she'd turned up on his front step. She shook her head slightly before answering. "A couple of hours? I want to be there when she wakes up."
"You should lay down for an hour then. Get some rest."
She started to protest and then realised that she hadn't slept since she'd gotten home from work the previous day. Suddenly she felt as if she was about to fall asleep on the spot. Nodding she let Gil put her up and lead her towards the spare bedroom.
"I'll wake you up in an hour and we'll go and get Lindsey. We can sort out some details then." He smiled slightly and let go of her hand. "It will be okay Catherine."
He backed out of the room and closed the door silently behind him and walked back into the living room, slumping down on the couch. He picked up his forgotten cup of coffee and tried to resist the urge to throw it against the wall.
Since they'd been working together he'd seen her come in and try to hide the bruises that Eddie had given her. He'd seen the light begin to die in her eyes and it had hurt him to see it happen and not know what to do with it.
He wished he could have acted and taken her away from the pain Eddie was causing her. He could only thank god that she'd decided to leave him... and that it was him she had turned to,
Gil drained the last of his coffee before he placed both cups in the sink and headed to the bathroom to take a shower.
It was going to be a long day.