She watched him walk in; normally Dante would lumber over and snuffle Grissom’s thighs only to be gently patted and redirected from any further, more intimate nose probing. But today Dante stayed next to her, not leaning on her precisely, but the warmth of his body against her leg felt good.
Nervous. Excited, but in that unreal way, as if everything was at the far end of a telescope. Sara didn’t think she was going to faint; she sure as hell wasn’t a fainter—but there was some dizziness in the moment. Grissom peeled his jacket off and hung it on the hook in the closet, then came over to her, pressing a soft peck somewhere between her temple and cheek.
The kiss gave her strength, and Sara felt warmth charge through her.
Grissom then pulled back to look at her. “Are you okay, Acushla?”
“Gil. Um, we’re going to have a baby.”
He stood stock still, and Sara watched his eyes widen; his gaze drop to her stomach, and then to his own.
He blinked. “Have. I’m--What?”
She reached over to grip the back of the sofa and let her fingers tighten on it. “I’m pregnant. I’m going to have a baby.”
Grissom stood there, not quite frozen, but not moving either, his brows drawing together as if he was still working out the meaning of her words; as if they were in Urdu, or Etruscan and he needed to mentally translate them in his head.
A giggle welled up inside her like the rise of helium filling up a balloon, and Sara realized as she waited for him to say something—anything--that she was terrified.
This changed everything.
This difference; this weird moment of being herself and being something new too.
Filled up with a baby.
The silence between them thickened.
“OhhhSara-----“ And just like that she was back, feeling Grissom gently sliding his arms around her, holding her while Dante circled around them, his whine very, very soft.
Sara clung to him, her long arms wrapping around the big, solid, endearing bulk of Grissom and all her tension dissolved down, leaving her with flutters in her stomach and fierce joy tightening her muscles.
“How did this happen?” came the soft murmur in her ear. That was just stupid enough to bring her giggles out, loud and husky and silly.
She pulled back to look in Grissom’s face, her tone sharper than she’d intended, but he was being such a dummy. “Leakage. Breakage. Bad patch. Statistics---you and I made love and it happened, okay?”
Grissom caught her chin in his hand, his thumb gently stroking under her bottom lip, his fingers caressing her cheek. “Yes.”
“Okay. If it’s okay with you,” he added in a suddenly anxious tone. “Right?”
“Gris-som---“ Sara sighed, but with the beginning of tears in her eyes. She wiped the back of her hand across her face and dragged him to the front of the sofa, flopping down on it, and pulling him beside her.
Carefully Sara wrapped her arms around his shoulders and nuzzled up to his face. “This wasn’t how I was going to tell you. Shit! I was going to suggest dinner out, and then maybe a walk with Dante, and THEN I’d tell you and we’d talk about it and um, we’d be thrilled.”
Grissom considered it. “That sounds like a commercial.”
“Yeah,” Sara nodded, thinking back. “I think we saw one like that.”
“Do we end up in two bathtubs side by side watching the sun set?” Grissom wanted to know, earning himself a husky chuckle from the woman in his arms. Sara blinked, tears running down either side of her nose. He reached up and brushed one of her tears onto his finger and brought it to his lips. Carefully, Grissom pulled Sara closer, tugging her into his lap and letting her bury her face against his neck.
Very softly, he stroked her back and sighed. “Here’s how I always thought it would go. I’d come in, and look at you and I’d just know. And I’d sweep you off your feet and tell you how much I love you and how magnificent a gift this is and how I can’t wait to be a father.”
Sara lifted her tear-stained face up and smirked at him through her blurry eyes. “That is . . . whoa. That is SO not you, babe.”
“Yes, well I’m entitled to have my share of corny assumptions too,” he grumbled, but smiled as he muttered it.
Carefully he leaned closer, and Sara lifted her chin, melding into his kiss; the warm slow sweetness mixing comfort and hunger in a warm, familiar blend. She pulled back, and Grissom gave another sigh. “I love you. I’m stunned about the baby, but in a good way. How do you feel about it?”
“I have---NO idea.”
“I only realized it today—“ and she told him all about her morning and afternoon, about the shopping and the test and the nap on the bed. Grissom listened quietly, his hand still stroking down her back. Outside the mauve velvet of twilight gave way to darkness, and Figaro hopped up on the windowsill, checking for anything interesting outside the glass.
“So we’re having the baby, right?”
Sara gave a short, quick nod. “Yeah. Yes. We’re having the baby.”
Grissom’s arm around her tightened. “I love you.”
“What about the rest of it?” Sara demanded, a chuckle in her voice.
“It is a magnificent gift. Of course, you know I have no idea how to be a father though.”
Sara sighed. “Welcome to the clueless parent club. Membership: us.”
Grissom had no problem reading up on things of interest, and since the news, obstetrics had zoomed to the top of his priority list. Tucked in his briefcase now were copies of What to Expect When You’re Expecting and The New Father. He pulled them out surreptitiously during breaks when he was holed up in his office, reading intently, his glasses sometimes sliding down his nose as he poured over the information.
There was a lot to this venture, he realized with mingled dismay and fascination. Much more than he’d ever considered before. The unfolding biological developments were timeless and wonderful in theory, but applied now to the woman he loved and the new life within her added both poignancy and alarm to his mien. Grissom bought post-it notes and tagged sections of both books with handwritten questions he hoped to ask Sara’s doctor on their intake visit.
He and Sara had agreed not to say anything until the end of the first trimester, although he’d made her promise to let him assign her to non-hazardous and chemical-free duties. Sara, who was much more informed about such things agreed with little fuss, pointing out that only a few of the regular jobs dealt with anything proven to be a hazard.
Grissom disagreed. It dawned on him in a rush of guilt how much of what they did for a living exposed them to the harsh side of life. Teeming bacteria; dangerous weapons; exotic chemicals; diseases; risky terrain; emotional strain. Stress. Every call out now seemed fraught with danger, and he had to fight the urge to keep Sara here in the building, away from rotting bodies and bad neighborhoods.
Impossible of course. Sara would cross her arms and shoot him that bemused, slightly annoyed look she got when she felt he was overreacting.
He didn’t think he was overreacting; he was merely more aware of the immediate circumstances.
However, Grissom understood too, that his response was a knee-jerk reaction and that this new concern was justified. He was going to be a father. He had rights too. This changed status had him smirking sometimes, and preoccupied at others. He’d already found himself driving past his exits on the highway, or missing signal lights because of internal distraction.
Grissom tried to remember his own father but it was difficult through the hazy filter of so many years. He did remember a few strong emotional ties, baseball being the most immediate. His father had loved playing catch, and there were memories of afternoons spent tossing a battered leather ball back and forth.
He tried to bring his father’s face to mind, but it wouldn’t come. Only the image of the man’s hands, cupping to receive the hard smack of horsehide into his palms.
There had been other men who’d shaped him, Grissom knew—mentors through the years like Father Jack of St. Xavier’s, and Matt Clowderbock back in college. They’d helped him in his studies and encouraged him along as a scientist and academic, which was a fatherly sort of duty.
But neither of them had been there when he had been a baby, nor had they been around when he was sick, or growing up. The years of his childhood after his father’s death had been good because of his mother. She’d made it a point to love him, nurture him, discipline and adore him in equal parts. By the time Alex had come into their lives, Grissom understood that while other kids had fathers as a constant, he didn’t.
And it was okay.
Wistfully Grissom looked again at the book in his hands. Despite the assuring words on the pages, he still felt anxious about the whole prospect.
The intake was in two days, but Sara had already begun an information file on her laptop. She was disgruntled to see that the no-no list included coffee. Yawning, she wondered how she would manage without it; already her body seemed to be tired much more than before, and the urge to sneak out to her car for a quick nap had been lingering in the back of her mind.
The fatigue was supposed to be normal, but it didn’t mean Sara was going to like it, she decided. The . . . she paused, not sure quite how to refer to the baby. Baby was too impersonal for someone sharing her body, Sara decided. And too generic. There was new life inside her, growing and making demands now, and showing a personality right from the get-go. It wasn’t a thingie, or a bump or a zygote or a bun in the oven, either. Sara ran a hand over her stomach, knowing the slight roundness there had nothing to do with the baby. Yet.
“Not even as big as an M&M,” she muttered. “What the hell do I call you?”
A question she figured she’d throw back to Grissom. Any man who could come up with something as beautiful as Acushla would undoubtedly find the right term for the little one. Yawning, Sara looked over the file of forbidden medications and foods, feeling a little anxious.
“Why do we need a term again?” Grissom asked as they slipped into bed.
Sara shifted to her side, her eyes already closing gratefully. Sleep was going to be her new drug of choice. “Because baby is a cop-out. This is half you and half me. This person deserves better.”
“Ah. Well, we don’t have a sex down yet. Do we want to know?”
“If I get a choice, yes.”
“All right then. The sprog.”
“Sprog?” Sara looked over her shoulder sleepily. “That sounds sort of cute and slimy at the same time.”
“It’s a British word. Alex used it when referring to little kids,” Grissom admitted, “And considering the current size of our progeny, I think it’s fitting.”
Sara gave a soft sigh. “Yep. Sprog it is."