The Ring of Truth

AN: CSIFO challenge for August - a drabble contest ... 1000 words or less. Sara or Grissom reveals to the other something about one of their past relationships ... must contain the phrase "I never told you this but..."

Set after The Case of the Cross-Dressing Carp, Season 8, Episode 4

I don't own them, I just love them a lot!

In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing. ~ Mignon McLaughlin

Still dazed from Grissom's proposal in the bee enclosure, Sara opened the door to the townhouse they shared. A frown crinkled her brow as she noted the lack of sound inside . . . she'd expected Gil and Hank to be home, and the boxer never failed to greet her. Glancing around, she spotted Grissom's briefcase, along with the dog's leash, and knew that they had to be home . . .

Something on the floor caught her attention, and she moved closer before realizing what she was seeing was a trail of red and white rose petals, leading down the stairs toward the back rooms. The brunette's eyes grew misty as she slipped off her shoes, padding quietly through the great room, following the trail. Rounding the corner, Sara noticed the bedroom door was ajar. A slight whimper had her grinning, knowing that Hank was in there.

Pushing open the door, she gasped, a wide smile lighting her face. Aglow with candlelight, rose petals were scattered across the floor and bedspread. The boxer sat at the foot of the bed, wearing a braided ribbon about his neck. His hindquarters wiggled as he sat at attention, clearly wanting to pounce on his mistress, but obeying his training and awaiting the release command.

Sara knelt down and whispered, "Come!" bracing for impact as Hank launched himself. "What did he do to my boy?" As she moved to remove the ribbons from her pet, her fingers brushed against something cool attached to the bow, and a brilliant sparkle flashed in the candlelight. With trembling fingers, she detached the simple, yet elegant diamond ring from the makeshift collar, holding it up before her wondering eyes.

"Bee mine?" Grissom whispered as he knelt behind her, his arms slipping about her waist in a warm hug. He smiled as she turned, wide-eyed, to stare at him, the ring held between them. With a gentle touch, he pulled it from her unresisting grasp and slid it onto her left hand.

"You didn't have to get me a ring, Gil," Sara protested, her gaze darting down to the diamond sparkling on her finger. "Where on earth did you find – it's only been a few hours!" Her eyes narrowed as she studied her fiancé, wondering if his declaration had been quite as impromptu as it had seemed.

Laughing softly, Grissom helped guided her over to the bed, settling them both against the headboard before answering. "It was my grandmother's. She gave it to me when I was very young, and told me to only give it to the girl I was going to marry."

Sara giggled at his smug tone, snuggling into his embrace, her fingers playing with the buttons on his shirt. "And I'm the first girl you ever found to wear your ring?" she teased, softly kissing the skin her explorations were exposing.

"Except for Nicole, yes–" he started to respond, before stifling a yelp as fingernails suddenly dug into his chest.

"Who?!" she demanded, struggling to get up and face him fully.

"Nicole Daly . . . I told you about her – didn't I?" Grissom asked in consternation, staring up as glared, shaking her head in the negative. "I told somebody . . ." he muttered, trying to remember who he had told the story to if it hadn't been Sara.

"Gilbert . . ." she growled, "if you want to be sleeping anywhere in our home tonight, you'd better start explaining . . ."

Refocusing on his fiancée, he smiled sheepishly. "Honey, I'm sorry, I can't believe I never told you this but . . ." One hand slapped his forehead. "I told Al, back during the Cutler case. I meant to tell you, but then Jim was shot, and I just forgot."

Not mollified in the slightest, Sara waved her hand in a 'go on' motion.

"It was a very long time ago," Grissom began, realizing he had limited time to explain. "Nicole and I were classmates, she liked bugs as much as I did. I thought it was a good idea at the time . . . but the engagement only lasted one day." He shrugged, blushing slightly.

Her posture relaxing, Sara studied him, knowing there was something he wasn't telling her. "She changed her mind that quickly? Was – was she the one that . . ." Her voice trailed off, unsure how to ask if this Nicole was the one that had hurt him sometime in the past.

Grissom's blush deepened, and he rubbed his neck. Somehow this felt more embarrassing to admit to Sara than it had to Doc Robbins. "No, Nicole didn't change her mind, though she really didn't want to talk to me too much after I asked her for the ring back. My mother made me get it, said I was too young to be making such a decision–" His eyes narrowed at the squeak that escaped the woman atop him.

"Your mother made you call off your engagement? Do we need to check with her? Make sure she approves, that you're not too young now?" Her eyes were now dancing with mirth.

"Our situation is completely different, Sara," Grissom strove for some dignity, knowing it wasn't going to last long when he gave her the final piece of the puzzle. With a sigh, he wrapped his arms around her torso, tugging her back down to him.

"Oh, really? And how is that, Gilbert?" she asked. "Is your mother really going to think you've chosen a better woman this time?" A hint of insecurity crept into her voice at the thought that, despite all they had gone through to get where they were, his mother could possibly interfere and steal it all away from her.

"Well, I'm quite a bit older than the last time, Honey," he murmured reassuringly, rubbing his hands soothingly up and down her back. Seeing her skeptical look, he shook his head and told her. "After all, fifty-one is quite a bit more mature than seven."

Peals of laughter echoed about the room before being silenced by his mouth covering hers in a breath-stealing kiss.