and a long bitter aftertaste
by Oro

Somehow, the way the dim stage lights accent the dark circles around his eyes makes him seem like he belongs.

He is a little fascinated with Catherine's body; always hers, her light curls creating a soft frame that contrasts with her sharp features. She can't make him out in the crowd, not behind those stage lights. Not; because she just doesn't want to, anyway. He watches as she allows insecurity to curl her toes as she wraps a long leg around cold metal.

She may be wearing leather, if she's wearing anything at all, and his mind is quick to name every part of her body; the mass of her Trapezius, her Terres major and Infraspintus seem to spread backward and downward underneath her skin as she arches her back, and it is almost like knowing her intimately. A glance in Eddie's direction reminds him that it's not like that at all.

Platysma leading to the Fascia colli, her cervical muscles move to create a blank expression that tries to disguise itself as cool apathy but ends up making her seem unhappy, older than she really is. Her hips sway to the beat of some European near-hit of the late eighties, and Ed's elbow hits Grissom's as the former comments about his girl's fine ass.

Grissom brings the glass to his mouth and pours some imported liquor Ed paid for down his throat to avoid jeopardizing his reputation, for future investigations maybe, whatever, there has to be something worth keeping his cool for. Alcohol should never have this much sugar in it, he thinks idly. His fingertips leave dry prints, vaguely visible against the warm glass.

A blonde waitress walks by and Eddie calls her "Sugar" or some other banal, casual term of affection. Grissom may be on a first name basis with Catherine's every muscle, bone and organ, but he'll never understand what makes any woman, let alone this one, think she deserves a guy like Eddie Willows.

He looks at the show through imported amber for a moment, trapping her image in his drink.

If he's kidding anyone, it's himself, because you don't celebrate solving a crime by going back to the scene and getting really drunk. He's already mildly intoxicated when the music ends and somebody new he doesn't recognize comes on. She's not as classy, but he's getting to the point of needing something to occupy his eyes.

New girl is bright lights and slow jazzy music, as Catherine quickly emerges from backstage and walks straight to his table. Clad in jeans and a black t-shirt, she takes a swig of his shitty alcohol and almost forgets to cringe properly. "Eddie is the only one who likes this crap," she says.

"It's cheap enough to afford taking care of the kid," Eddie comments defiantly, before moving to a nearby table with his friends.

"Yeah, so am I." Cath bites her lip. "This is how you celebrate?" she speaks in a hushed voice now.

"Not now; men do not celebrate in rhyme." Grissom replies quietly.

"Then?" she asks, raising an eyebrow. Her fingers tap on his glass.

"I just like it here a lot."

"Right. I do, too." She lights a cigarette and takes a long drag. He doesn't want to, but he imagines the nicotine as it runs through her body, poisonous, straight into her blood. He can practically inhale the smoke in her lungs. "Did you come here to see me?" she speaks in a cloud of smoke.


"Don't do that, Grissom."

"I like the way you use your fascia colli."

"That's really very sweet of you, old charmer."

Hypothetically, he could kiss her right now and blame it on the alcohol, get the crap beaten out of him anyway and pathetically wander down the street in search of a taxi. He could be that guy with the bruise on his lower lip, a black eye and a story to tell, but he's going to need more liquor than just this. He's going to need a whole bottle of Cuervo, but it might be worth it. His better judgment says to finish his drink and leave.

She suddenly covers his hand with hers, sending a quick, careful glance Eddie's way to make sure he isn't looking. "We could leave now," she says quietly, anxiously, reading the expression on Grissom's face.

"You don't need me in order to leave," he says, and she's quiet. In the background, Eddie and the guys are laughing at a dirty joke one of them made. Loud, long guffaws are loud above a soft rock song, some badly-written love song nobody's paying attention to. Dragged backwards, his chair screeches a little louder than he'd like it to as he stands up. "You can finish my drink if you want to."

(She's not the kind of girl who needs a savior, but it could have been nice to play Jesus for a night.)


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