Disclaimer: If you didn't already guess, I do not own CSI: MIAMI, any of it's characters or anything to do with it at all. Ha, surprise, isn't it?
A/N: First crack at a CSI: Miami fanficiton... so if it's horrible, tell me lightly, okay? Thank you and I will update soon. I just have this thing against sleep... and I run on about three hours of ita night, which means I devote all the time between around eleven and three in the morning to writing and reading fanfiction, which usually allows me to update rather quickly. Please review with any comments or suggestions! I love challenges (if I am not opposed to what they are asking) and I love including other people's suggestions and challenges into my writing. Thanks a lot!
"Cal, are you okay?" Eric Delko asked quietly as he entered his friend's office. She looked up at him and forced a smile.
"Hey Eric, I'm fine." She reassured him with a not so reassuring smile.
"Oh Cal, something really must be wrong because you're having trouble faking it, girl." Eric told her with a shy sort of grin. He took a few more steps into her office, shutting the door behind him. He settled down on the couch and started intently watching Calleigh's every move.
"Eric!" She exclaimed in an accusing tone.
"What?" He asked innocently with a smile to match.
"You don't have to sit there and watch me like that. I'm fine!" She told him giving her fake smile another try.
"What if I want to?" He suggested, raising an eyebrow.
"Eric!" She exclaimed again. But she knew it was working. It seemed Eric could always make her feel better, no matter what the situation was.
"Oh, come on Cal!" He smiled reassuringly, "Talk to me?" She just shook her head and started shuffling around some papers. She didn't want to admit to him that he was making everything better; it somehow made her feel dependant on him. He wouldn't always be there to rescue her and make all her pain go away. One day he'd be gone, just like everyone else. The thought of that made her face fall and tears gather in her eyes. She was not going to cry in front of Eric Delko. She was not. She couldn't let him see her like this.
"Please Eric, just leave me alone." She whispered stopping the shuffling. In all the time Eric had known Calleigh Duquesne he had never seen her close to tears. He'd never thought about her crying. If she had, she sure hadn't let anyone see her. He figured that the situation was one of the most vulnerable situations Calleigh had been in in the near past. He was trying to get her to look him in the eye, and she couldn't. She wouldn't. She was not going to let Eric Delko see her cry. But why not?
"Cal, I'm here for you." He told her getting up from his chair. She half hoped he was leaving, and half hoped he was going to stay and comfort her. She needed to let this all go. She had too many things kept to herself. She needed to let it all go… would Eric really stay and help her? She couldn't bring herself to look at him. She was too afraid. He sensed it in her. Why was it that he could always tell exactly how she felt? Why was it he always made the wrong decision. He knew he should stay and help Calleigh, but would she get angry with him for making her feel so vulnerable? He didn't care anymore. He'd been listening to his head for way too long, and it hadn't gotten him anywhere where Calleigh's trust and friendship were concerned. Sure, they were friends, there was trust there but Eric wished there was more. Calleigh did too. Both of them were too strong to admit it to the other, though so it would probably stay like that forever.
"Eric…" Calleigh started, but stopped. She couldn't formulate a sentence and hold in the tears at the same time. She wasn't strong enough, not right then. She needed Eric to hold her then more than any time. She needed someone to be there for her, and Eric wanted to be. He walked around to the other side of her desk and didn't hesitate before pulling her into a tight hug. It was exactly what Calleigh needed. Only when she felt how safe she was in Eric's strong embrace did she left a warm tear slip down her cheek and fall onto Eric's shirt. Eric removed one of his hands from it's present position on her back and he immediately felt Calleigh flinch the tiniest bit. He didn't know what was going on inside her head, why the slight movement of retreat caused such alarm to her. He quickly placed his hand in the midst of her beautiful blonde hair. He felt her relax a bit as she realized he wasn't going anywhere. He just made her feel even safer than she had previous to the slight change in position. They stood there for several minutes, Calleigh letting someone see her vulnerable like this for the first time in what seemed to be years. Something about Eric made her feel safe and willing to make herself vulnerable. She wasn't sure what it was, but with every escaping tear, she felt more and more relaxed. So they stood there, Calleigh all wrapped up in Eric's arms, crying silently while Eric whispered to her telling her everything would be fine. Calleigh knew Eric didn't know what was wrong in the first place, but he was helping her anyway. He was a good friend, and she was lucky to have him, she knew that. She was surprised that they had remained as close of friends as they were for so long. She no doubt knew that Eric was an attractive man, and got much attention from girls every where they went, even if he was with her and they were standing close enough to be mistaken for a couple. Calleigh also knew, although she wasn't at all conceded about it and would never admit it, that she wasn't all that bad looking herself. She knew if Eric was her boyfriend and he worked with someone that was good looking and single, she would strongly discourage him from spending so much time with her. Did that mean Eric was single? Or did that mean that she was possessive? All of her crazy thoughts made her smile, and when Eric noticed her smiling, he smiled as well. Luckily, they both decided after seeing the other smile that the hug had gone on long enough.
"Thanks for that Eric." Calleigh told him, still smiling. "And sorry about getting your shoulder a bit um, wet." Her cheeks reddened just the slightest bit when she said that. Eric didn't know why she was embarrassed about crying, but he didn't mind her blushing. It made her look even more beautiful than she normally did. Hard to imagine that possible.
"Calleigh, you never have to apologize for letting me comfort you. The pleasure was all mine." He told her with his cutest smile that made her knees feel weak. "And you're welcome, by the way, if you must insist on thanking me."
"Oh, Eric." She laughed. "Five minutes ago I was so upset and stressed out… and now you've made me feel happy, cheerful and energetic."
"That's the way you should be." He told her, "So stay that way." He advised with a smile. She just shook her head. He was thinking about asking her if she was at all interested in going out for something to eat, but he wasn't sure if he should. How could someone like Calleigh be single? But then again, why would she be sitting in her office on the verge of tears an hour after shift was over if she had someone to go home to? He decided to just try for it anyways. He had declined countless dinner, drink and many other types of invitations over the course of the last few months, and he knew very well why. He was in love with Calleigh. He hadn't confronted her, he hadn't asked her out, he had done nothing. He knew that he had to do something soon. He couldn't live the rest of his life in love with her and never tell her about it, especially if he wasn't going to go out with anyone else in the meantime. But, being the guy he was, he didn't think it was fair for him to take out a beautiful girl to dinner without having the slightest bit of attraction to her. Recently, the only girl he had eyes for was Calleigh… and he knew if he got rejected, it would break his heart, but he was breaking his own heart more slowly and painfully in the process, and at this rate, it didn't look as if any healing was in the near future. "Cal," He started. She had resumed shuffling papers around aimlessly on her desk during the few minutes of silent thinking that had just ticked away. When she heard him say her name, she dropped the file she was shuffling on the floor and her bright green eyes shone with embarrassment as she laughed and reached over to pick it up.
"Well… I was just wondering, are you hungry because we could go grab something to eat somewhere in a little while?" He suggested, trying not to cringe at how lame and nervous he must have sounded.
"Sounds great!" Calleigh answered enthusiastically, holding back a cringe of her own after realizing how quickly and eagerly she had responded.
"Awesome!" Eric exclaimed, his face breaking out into a huge grin, her's doing the same when she realized he didn't think she was a complete moron. "I'll pick you up around eight, okay?" He suggested, referring to a time approximately forty five minutes from the present. She counted to three in her head before answering that time. She had to redeem herself, even if it was completely silly.
"Works for me, see yeah then." She told him with a smile before grabbing her purse and heading out of her office towards the elevator with Eric in close pursuit.