2004-12-01 - 4:07 a.m.

Chapter 5 of Grape Lucidity

Chapter 5

A single green cardboard tree hanging from a radio knob does not spread a Christmas-like pine scent to the backseat of a cab that smells overwhelmingly of Italian sausage.

It was a toss up for Sara whether she’d rather the driver show caution over the icy Back

Bay roads or just go for broke and get them to the hotel before she was sick from the smell.

Her head lolled on the back of the seat as the cabbie corrected a skid to avoid colliding with an illegally parked car. Grissom raised an eyebrow in her direction, “If we’d known we’d be taking the amusement park route maybe we’d have foregone that last drink eh?”

She leaned in close to whisper, “It’s less the motion, more the aroma.”

This got a chuckle, “Sara Sidle. The girl who doesn’t flinch at the scent of rotting flesh but turns green if someone has meat for dinner. You’re one of a kind honey.”

She sat up a bit straighter. “Woman.”

His quizzical look begged the explanation she provided, “The kind of WOMAN who doesn’t flinch at rotting flesh, which, I do, by the way.”

He nodded his head slightly. “Noted.”

She didn’t miss the amusement in his eyes.

He allowed her to pay for the cab rather than freeze to death in an argument over short money. In the elevator Sara rubbed her hands together to get back the feeling and he resisted the urge warm them for her.

He slid his key in the brass slot, “This is us.”

“Wow Gris, fireplace, living room, felt a little extravagant when we booked this huh?”

He shrugged, “I like to be comfortable.” He hung his coat in the closet and helped Sara remove hers. “Do you want anything?”

“Uh, like from the mini bar? I think I’ve had enough.”

“Like from Room Service, I’m going to have them send up an extra robe and a toothbrush for you.”

“Oh, hmmm, do you think they have pajamas? Like in a gift shop or something?” Sara settled on the sofa and watched Grissom flip through the phone booklet.

“This isn’t Vegas, not much 24 hour shopping I’d imagine, but I’ll see what I can do.” He dialed room service. “This is Gil Grissom in Room 603, I’d like someone to bring up an extra robe and toothbrush if that’s possible.” He loosened his tie while he spoke. “Thank you. I wonder could someone rustle up a pair of women’s pajamas, size small? No. That’s all right, no; it will be okay, thank you. Um, as long as you’re coming up would you mind bringing a pot of tea and also lighting our fireplace? Thank you. Yes, 603. Thank you.”

“I guess pajamas are out. Maybe I could wear the top of yours?” She tried to play it off as problem solving, but it was flirting, pure and simple.

He removed his jacket and then his tie, his back to her, “What makes you think I wear pajamas?”

“Don’t you?”

He turned to face her, his head cocked slightly to the side “Not usually, no.”

“Oh well, I’m all for naked as long as it’s unanimous.” Sara lounged back but made no move to undress.

“Let’s not get carried away. I’m sure I have a t-shirt you can sleep in and you’ll have the robe for lounging.”

“Huh, I always pictured you in those pajamas like Rock Hudson used to wear in Doris Day movies”

“You have some strange ideas about me Sara. Did you want to shower?”

Sara gave him an eyebrow raise and sassy smile “Shower? And you say I’m the one with the ideas.”

His ears turned red but his the flush didn’t reach his face, “I meant…”

“I know what you meant. I think I’ll hold off until the morning if it’s okay with you.”

“Works for me. Would you like the radio or the tv on?” He pointed to the entertainment center.

“Radio I think, but not Christmas music. Too depressing.”

Gil rolled up and down the dial landing on a classical station.

Sara made a face, “classical?”

“You don’t like DeBussy?” He made no effort to change the station.

“Where should I start? First, we’re in the middle of a snowstorm, La Mer is not the most appropriate piece. Second he’s not exactly Wagner, there’s no complexity to his movement.”

“I should have known, physics gir…woman, it’s all about the math.” He turned the dial and found Etta Jones singing about what would happen “If I Had You”. Definitive he turned the sound to just above background level.

Sara stood, barefoot and a tiny bit wobbly, “This is nice, dance with me to this?”

He didn’t have time to resist. She rested against him, barely swaying, lost in the mood of the music. A dark curl slipped inside the collar of his shirt, lightly tickling his neck when she moved. He was relieved when she turned her head and the curl slipped out, but the reprieve was short-lived the tickle replaced with the softness of her lips.

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