Disclaimer: I don't own them, I never have and I never will. If I did though, perhaps when the episodes aired in the UK they'd occasionally show them in the right order!
Thanks: To my wonderful Beta, Caroline, who sorted out some of the weirder bits of this fic and made it flow. ;) Thanks to you I now have the characters talking to me, lol.
Notes: This is pre-Wet Foot, Dry Foot. The whole 'No Midnight Tiptoe' comment has always had me intrigued.
No Midnight Tiptoe?
Eric's party had definitely been a success, Calleigh decided. His small house was strewn with empty bottles, cans and various other items of party paraphernalia. She couldn't help but wonder why she had agreed to stay behind and clear up, he hadn't asked and she hadn't offered, everyone else had left and so she and he had wordlessly begun picking up trash.
Absentmindedly she wandered into the kitchen to find another black sack Eric lifted his head to watch her go she knew the layout of his house well enough and quickly located the drawer containing the bin liners.
She began to tear one off when she remembered the state of the rest of the house and decided to take the whole roll instead. Once she returned to the living room she placed the roll of black bags on the coffee table that Eric was cleaning before going back to picking up wrappers and junk from the floor.
"You don't have to do this, you know," Eric told her, pausing for a moment to get another bag from the roll.
Calleigh didn't even look up. She just replied with a simple, "I know."
Eric smiled and went back to work. It was like processing a crime scene, he told himself; you put everything that didn't belong there into bags. He was suddenly aware of a shadow falling over his patch of floor and he looked up to see Calleigh, her loose blue top and long blonde hair contrasted perfectly. She stretched out a hand to him.
"I say we're just about done," she told him waving one hand around the room. He had to admit they'd done a pretty good job. The hallway, kitchen, garden and (if he knew his friends) the bathroom still needed tidying up, but at least this was looking good.
"I can probably manage the rest myself," he replied allowing her to help pull him up. Even as he said it his mind was screaming the complete opposite. He hoped that she wouldn't take the hopeful look in his eyes to mean he wanted to get rid of her.
"Don't be stupid." Calleigh glanced round at Eric, he was grinning at her. "You can take the bathroom, I'll take the kitchen and we'll meet in the hallway."
Eric nodded, the grin vanished. He picked up the roll of bin bags and headed upstairs.
Two hours later the house was spotless. The garden needed a little work, but aside from that everything was clean organised and tidy. Calleigh glanced out the window for the first time since they'd started and was amazed to see the sun peering over the roofs of the surrounding buildings. She didn't feel tired in the slightest, but she couldn't help but feel glad that she had the day off. Come to think of it, so did Eric.
He was standing in the living room re-organising some of his CDs but the moment he sensed she was in the room he stopped. "Thanks Cal. You didn't have to stay."
"It was nothing." She moved a little closer. "Are you tired?"
"Me either. Wanna go out for breakfast?"
She beamed at him and he couldn't resist. He put down the CDs he was holding and moved to the door.
"I'll just get my jacket."
Eric couldn't understand why he'd picked up the jacket. It was a loose, light-weight idea, but as the Miami sun moved higher up into the sky he felt himself growing hotter and hotter. Calleigh was apparently planning to go back to his place after their walk, as she'd left everything but her purse there.
Breakfast was a cheap and cheerful affair in a café round the corner from Eric's house. He would have liked to have been the gentleman and paid, but Calleigh pulled out her purse and fished out some cash. In an unspoken agreement, they both paid for what they ate.
She didn't seem to be in a great hurry to get home so he suggested a walk along the beach. It was a good idea as far as she was concerned; and so they walked along watching the waves lap the shore and chase the children from the foam. Calleigh found herself babbling about work.
"I'm sorry," she said suddenly halting.
"You know all this stuff. Just tell me to shut up."
"Calleigh, it's fine, you talk about whatever you want to talk about. I'm quite happy to listen." He smiled at her and she smiled back. Then without warning she slipped off her shoes and hopped over the small wall onto the beach.
Naturally Eric had to follow.
The afternoon, Eric noticed, was passing far too quickly. His stomach began to rumble loudly at about three in an attempt to tell him he'd not eaten since breakfast. But watching Calleigh was enough to make him forget that. She strolled alongside him, twice going down to the water to dip her toes. Twice, he remembered with a smile, she had stumbled and fallen into him, and he'd caught her and helped her up, all the while feeling reluctant to let her go.
"We should go back." It was more of a question than a statement.
Calleigh nodded, turned around and wordlessly took his arm. She hadn't said anything, so he didn't mention it, but he couldn't help but grin inwardly it felt good.
After about half an hour's walk they left the beach, and to his dismay Calleigh let go of Eric's arm. It was still a considerable walk back to his house and he supposed that then she'd drive home.
Then the rain clouds rolled in.
Normally Calleigh liked to check the weather report first thing in the morning today she'd been crouched on Eric's kitchen floor picking up party detritus. Her top was light and flimsy and despite quickening her pace she still found herself shivering. Eric noticed this and gently draped his jacket round her shoulders, now glad that he'd brought it. Calleigh took it gratefully and as she pulled it on the heavens emptied.
There was something refreshing about Miami rainstorms she noted as she splashed through the quick-forming puddles with Eric; they were warm and wet, and left you thoroughly soaked. Eric suddenly grabbed her arm and dragged her along with him for a moment she wondered why and then realized as he helped her onto a bus. She let him pay and even took the last seat while he stood. Sometimes it was good to be pampered.
The bus ride was short and steamy, twenty plus bodies crammed into such a tight space. When she and Eric got off, Calleigh took in a deep breath of rain scented air and then followed him round the corner to his house. They were soaked and were getting wetter as Eric fumbled around with the lock and key. Finally they stumbled inside laughing and dripping.
For a moment they paused and faced each other. Calleigh could feel the cold water trickling down her neck and back. Eric was facing her now, so close that she could feel his warm breath on her cheeks and neck. He moved even closer and reached and took a soggy tendril between his fingers. Calleigh felt her breath quicken and did her best to avoid his gaze; she suddenly felt vulnerable in a way she rarely allowed herself to feel.
Eric sensed that he was making her uncomfortable and stepped back. "You're soaking," he murmured, disappearing from the room.
Calleigh took the moment while he was away to attempt to compose herself. Eric had broken one of the rules of the game... but she liked it. Her brain screamed at her though, this was Eric, her friend and colleague. But he was so gentle with her, he knew her. Sometimes it was nice to be cared for...
Eric returned soon enough carrying a tee-shirt, some shorts and a large bath towel, all of which he handed to Calleigh.
"What's this?" Calleigh asked, feeling confused in more ways than one.
"Calleigh, you're soaked. I'll dry these for you now. I'm sorry," he added although he wasn't sure what he was apologizing for.
Calleigh was worried that she'd upset him, so she flashed him a quick smile and patted his wrist before heading off to the bathroom. He was right, she was drenched from head to toe. She pulled the light blue top off and saw with amusement that it had gone virtually see-through. She then stripped off her soggy trousers and carefully dried her hair and body. Then she put on the tee-shirt and shorts. Feeling very under-dressed she picked up her wet clothes and made her way out of the bathroom.
Stepping out into the hallway, she felt very aware of Eric's eyes on her body she couldn't ignore the wobbly feeling that gave her. She felt that he wasn't just looking, he was appreciating. Smiling she thrust the armful of soggy clothes at him and made her way into the living room.
Eric and Calleigh, who had pulled a blanket down from the back of the sofa to cover her legs with, sat watching some lame made-for-TV movie. They were both over their weird incident earlier and were back to feeling completely comfortable in each other's company.
Eric liked this. The sound of her breathing beside him was like a lullabyHe felt himself growing drowsy but he didn't realise that Calleigh was already asleep until he glanced down at her. She was so peaceful, her head angled over onto the side of the couch, feet tucked in beneath her, breath disturbing a few strands of hair which were just dancing on her cheeks.
The gentlemanly thing to do would be to carry her into his room and then take the couch for himself, but with Calleigh, he was worried that he'd wake her, or scare her, and he knew he probably couldn't manage the obstacle course to his bedroom.
Instead, he did the next best thing. He slowly slipped off the couch, then did his best to untangle her legs and stretch them out a little; this was followed by retrieval of a pillow for her head. Finally he got her into a somewhat comfortable looking state and decided to make his way to bed himself. He'd not slept in over twenty-four hours.
Eric carefully bent over Calleigh, slowly, so as not to make a noise that might wake and startle her, and brushed his lips across her cheek. She mumbled some incoherent comment at this, but she didn't wake.
Eric stepped back quickly and reminded himself that he couldn't do this. He liked her, and he was pretty sure that she liked him, but he didn't want to rush into anything or do somethingthat might hurt her. Kissing her was one of those taboo things. Look but don't touch.
Once in his room he slipped out of his clothes and under the sheets; they were cool and welcoming. He was asleep all too soon.
Calleigh woke up with a crick in her neck. As she rolled over to check the time on the clock on her bedside table, she fell straight off the couch and landed with a thud on the floor. Then she remembered where she was.
Sleepily, she clambered to her feet and staggered in the general direction of the bathroom. As she came to her senses she remembered that Eric would probably still be in bed right now, and at this time of the night she ran the risk of waking him.
She stumbled into the bathroom and when she was done she crept out of it. The house looked different in the dark and almost by accident she fell into Eric's bedroom. A think beam of moonlight cast itself across his bed. He looked so peaceful. She couldn't resist going in a little further, he seemed to be muttering in his sleep.
She warily tiptoed closer, making her way around the bed to where he was sleeping. He was definitely talking she decided, but the words really weren't clear. Calleigh leaned in a little more, trying to keep her hair from tickling his face. She was so close she could kiss him if she wanted. She'd thought about is so many times, and she knew he liked her, but she never seemed able to let him go beyond flirting with her. Perhaps if she was the one who made the first move...
He mumbled something more and shifted in his sleep, so Calleigh made to press her lips onto his cheek. Her hair tickled his neck and suddenly he said, "Calleigh."
Calleigh jumped, stumbled backwards, and, just as she realised he was still just 'sleep-talking', knocked over a chair, which made an almighty crash and promptly woke up Eric.
"Calleigh?" he repeated, this time fully awake.
"Yes?" she replied trying to disentangle herself from the chair in the dark without making too much of a scene.
"Uhh... What are you doing?" Eric asked carefully sitting up and sliding to the edge of the bed.
"I was just checking to see if you were awake," she told him finally managing to pull herself up.
"I am now," Eric said.
He looked stern but even in the dark Calleigh could see the twinkle in his eye and hear the laugh in his voice that told her he was teasing her.
There was an awkward silence where both just stood and stared at each other in the dark. Finally Calleigh spoke. "What guy leaves the woman to sleep on the couch?"
"You were asleep! I didn't want to wake you!" Eric protested.
"That's no excuse."
"Well, what can I do to make it up to you? I'll make you breakfast..."
"Breakfast would be good. But I want something now."
It was hard to tell in the dark but Eric was sure that she was grinning evilly at him. When he didn't come back with any immediate suggestions she moved past him and climbed into his bed.
"What are you doing?" He raised his voice a little; she was teasing him now, he couldn't sleep with her laying next to him. This was cruel. But it would feel good...
"I want your bed," she replied, moving down into the sheets, they smelled wonderfully of him.
Eric didn't reply, and for a moment Calleigh worried she'd scared him off. Then she felt the bed sag and cool air rush under the sheets.
"What are you doing?" she asked raising her voice now. She liked the dance they always performed about one another, it was familiar, and this was fast moving into unexplored territory and was both scary and exciting.
"Have you ever slept on that couch? What do you think I'm doing?"
But Calleigh didn't reply. The feel of him beside her was quite enough to wipe her out completely. She was fast asleep.
Calleigh was aware of her position before she was even fully awake. The sun was just peaking through the blinds, she could still smell Eric all around her and she was laying half draped across his bare chest. Carefully she opened one eye and looked at him.
"I was wondering when you'd wake up."
With a jolt Calleigh was suddenly aware of how close they were. She was practically on top of him!
"Oh my! I... I'm sorry." She pulled herself up into a sitting position and looked at him levelly. He was currently laughing and his ease helped her to relax.
"Come on, how about some breakfast?" He slid out of bed and moved around to where Calleigh was still perched to help her out. She was still wearing the clothes he'd lent her the night before, but now that didn't matter; Eric was even more undressed than she was.
"How long were wee... was I... umm..."
"About an hour. You're a pretty restless sleeper. At one point I leaned over to see if you were awake and you thumped me. Hard," Eric laughed rubbing the top of his arm.
"I'm sorry," Calleigh grinned back, not sounding the slightest bit so.
Eric made Calleigh a big mug of hot chocolate and then prepared to make toast. With his back to her he briefly closed his eyes and remembered the feeling of holding her in his arms. "It was nice, wasn't it?" he murmured before he realized what he had said.
Calleigh looked up sharply and met his eyes.
"Sorry. I was just thinking out loud," Eric mumbled.
She smiled a little and met his eyes, then finished off her hot chocolate and moved over to the drier to fish out her clothes. She didn't say anything but she didn't need to. That one look told Eric all that he needed to know.
They would both have to leave soon she had to go home to change work would be waiting for them. After they'd eaten Calleigh took a shower and changed into her now dry clothes they barely spoke, they didn't need to.
"Eric," Calleigh began by way of breaking the silence. "I'm sorry I woke you last night."
He grinned as he bit back a slightly crude comment. "It was fine. It was... interesting."
She threw a pillow from the couch at the back of his head, it was a perfect shot. He picked it up and threw it back but it went nowhere near its target giving Calleigh the time to grab another one to toss back. But Eric was there in an instant holding onto her wrists to stop her from getting at him.
They struggled like this for a few seconds and then they had a moment. It crept up on them, stole their laughter and left them on the verge of a kiss. This time, however, Eric broke it. His phone was ringing and he had to get it. They both moved away but neither went to answer the phone until the very last minute.
It was Horatio. He needed Eric to go diving as soon as possible.
An awful silence descended on them. If Horatio hadn't called, what would have happened?
They both had to hurry to get ready to go. Eric muttered something about needing a shower, Calleigh mumbled that she needed to get changed. While Eric was in the bathroom Calleigh found her car keys, coat and bag and then left without saying goodbye.
Later that day Calleigh was processing a shirt in the lab. She'd been avoiding Eric all day. Work and personal life were already too difficult to keep separate. It had been easy hiding from him that morning, he'd not been in the crime lab, but now he was back and she just didn't know what to say to him. It didn't help that he seemed to be everywhere. Things were going to be weird around them. She knew it.
As she returned the shirt to the evidence bag and prepared the samples to go to Trace she heard someone come in behind her. She didn't even have to turn around to know who it was. He braced himself on the edge of the table and leaned over to whisper in her ear.
"Okay Cal. You have a bad effect on me, I'm shattered. Next time you want to sleep with me just come out and say it. No more midnight tiptoe."
Calleigh smiled to herself and turned to face him but Eric was already half way out the door. As he walked off down the corridor he waved at her and grinned. Somehow, she thought to herself, I don't think this'll be the last time I hear about this.