?The next morning, he waited patiently as two lawyers shuffled papers and showed him financial statements, money going out each month, and several special requests for expenses. Grissom never refused a request from Tina, but he did have doubts that she spent all the money on Eli. Finally, two attorneys and their client arrived. For the next hour, the six people sat around a large table as the reason for the meeting became apparent.
Tina Brown had married; her husband had an assignment in Asia. The first request was for Grissom?s approval?a formality that could have been done with a phone call. The second was for additional funds to support the three-year old. The lawyers balked, the monthly outlay was already generous. When asked for an itemization or explanation, Tina hesitated. Her lawyers became quietly busy with their paperwork.
Grissom remained quiet, watching, realizing something else was at stake in this exchange of requests and denials.
Tina was restless, eager to leave the room but her lawyers stalled. Grissom caught the quick eye contact between lawyer and client, and rapidly, papers were pulled from a briefcase.
The lawyer spoke directly to Grissom. ?Mr. Grissom, Mrs. Stephens knows she will be out of the country for six months. During that time, she and her husband will be traveling on business, staying in hotels?potentially creating an environment of instability for the child. Her request is that you take temporary custody of the child, Eli William Brown, for the months she is away. All financial benefits would stay with the boy. At the end of this period, she would return for the child. Are you willing to consider this request??
Air left Grissom?s lung. He made himself breathe. In three years he had been around Warrick?s son for a few hours at most, never alone with the boy.
?When do you want my decision?? He asked knowing there was only one decision to be made. Warrick had no relatives; if Tina had family, he felt certain she would be making arrangements to leave Eli with them.
?We?we want to leave at the end of the week. He is ready to go.?
?Of course, he can stay with us.? He turned to his lawyers who looked as stunned as he felt. ?Draw up the papers.? He turned back to Tina. ?You do know my wife and I live in California now.?
She nodded. ?I know you will treat him as a son.?
One of the lawyers slid papers across the table. ?We?ve already drawn up papers for the temporary custody.?
Grissom?s lawyer took the papers, glancing at each page, said ?We will look over these and meet with you?tomorrow. Dr. Grissom, will this be okay??
He managed a ?yes? before everyone left the room. He sat in his chair?Warrick?s son, he thought of the green eyes in the face of the baby he had first seen at the funeral. There was no doubt who his father was. Within days, Tina learned she was not the beneficiary of Warrick?s will or his life insurance policy or his department death benefits. He had just agreed to take this child home with him. Sara?he had to call her. His hand wiped his face before he reached for his phone. He left a message for her to call him.
The lawyers returned; they assured him the guardian forms were standard copies used by many people who left children with others.
Grissom had twenty-four hours in Las Vegas without appointments, without an agenda or plan. He left the office and called Jim Brass. He knew Brass would not be asleep and, if he was, he would be awake in minutes?
?Tell me I haven?t done something stupid.?
Brass sat across from his and grinned. ?As long as you won?t be in trouble with Sara you are probably okay.? He gave the waitress a silent hand signal. ?What have you done??
Grissom told him the results of the meeting.
A chuckle broke from Brass as he said, ?I just wish I could be in the Grissom house for one day?it?s not two babies under two you will have, you are going to have two under three and a pregnant wife!? His chuckle turned to quiet laughter. ?You sure you are ready for this??
?What was I to do? Let her give the boy to someone else? She had no intentions of taking him with her?new husband with a traveling job.?
Coffee appeared on the table and both ordered food. While eating, Brass would abruptly laugh and shake his head.
?I?ve got to tell Catherine,? he said.
His remark got a laugh from Grissom. ?I called Sara over an hour ago and haven?t heard from her.? He checked his phone again as if he believed some silent message had been delivered without his knowledge.
?You mean Sara Sidle no longer carries a cell phone everywhere, on duty twenty-four seven??
?She?s on duty twenty-four seven but not with a cell phone.? Grissom said as he scooped fruit into a spoon. ?Jim, you should be around her. She is such a good mother?Bizzy is such a happy baby; we smile all the time.? He paused several minutes. ?I?m not sure I ever believed this life was possible.?
?When?s the next one due??
?Well, if you have Eli for six months, he should be gone before the new one arrives.?
Grissom cut pancakes, saying nothing for a full minute. ?I don?t think she?ll come back, Jim. She?s found a new man, new life?I think she means to leave him with me.? He stuffed pancakes into his mouth as a look of disbelief came across Jim?s face. ?She may be back, decide a little boy with access to some money is better than the husband, but I don?t think so. I saw it in her eyes. She wants to start over without another man?s child.?
?And you are willing to take on the boy??
Grissom reached for his phone and flipped it open, seemingly ignoring Jim?s comment. ?I thought I would hear from Sara pretty quickly.? He closed the phone. ?You know Sara would kill me?or worse?if I did not agree to this. We?ll work things out. Right now, it?s temporary and I?d rather have Eli with us than with someone who never knew his father.?