Title: Her Escape

Author: SincerelyinDenial

Rating: K+

Content Warning: Some language.

Disclaimer: Don't own; don't sue. Thanks

Pairing/Characters: S/C

Spoilers: Post Lost Son

Classification: Romance, Angst

Summary: She had enough living without him.

Word Count: 1,454

Challenge Prompt: # 14. Choices

The petite, Southern blonde sighed as she began her nightly ritual of cleansing her face before setting to bed. It had been a long day for her and worse, an even longer night; all she wanted to do was to curl underneath her comforter and not wake up for a good while.

Calleigh lathered the soap in her hands and scrubbed her face free of the makeup that had been perfectly painted on earlier in the day. She repeatedly splashed the water across her face before grabbing a towel to dry her face. As she patted her face, she gave herself a long look in the mirror, surprised at what she saw staring back. 'When did all those lines appear?' she wondered.

'Each line has a story…' Calleigh surmised as she touched her face, gingerly tracing some of the wrinkles that graced her thirty-five year old face. She knew that they shouldn't have come to her as much of a shock as they had done; they were a result of the life and career she lead. Still, the lines indicated that it was all taking a toll on her. She sighed once more; realizing that she was more tired than she had been only minutes ago.

Calleigh made her way to her bedroom, tugging off her t-shirt as she did so. She reached into her drawer and pulled out a tank top to change into. The pink cotton felt cool against her skin against the sweltering heat that currently consumed Miami at half past one in the morning. The air conditioner was on full blast but it didn't do much to soothe her.

Exhaustedly, she climbed into bed, pulling the covers over her at the same time. The gleam of the diamond on her left hand caught her eye and she paused in her actions. Calleigh sat back up and stared at the engagement ring on her finger. Though her fiancé, Tim was gone, she found that she couldn't remove it, especially when she knew different.

Tim was actually alive and well – in D.C. no less, living life as a Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Horatio broke the news to her after Tim had been murdered in jewelry store bust that had gone badly before handing her a letter than Tim had written to her prior to his "death."

The letter explained everything from his feelings for her to why he had to leave. At special request of the FBI, Tim became involved in a case that dealt with a drug lord that was suspected to be involved with terrorists. The drug lord and his entourage began to suspect he was one of Miami's finest thus causing him to be whisked away.

He hadn't been allowed to disclose his location but he had left her his contact number.

Conversations were brief – no more than five minutes and each time she hung up, Calleigh felt her heart breaking all over again. As she settled into her pillow, Calleigh recalled their last conversation; Tim had proposed that Calleigh pack up and leave everything behind to be with him.

"Calleigh I miss you," Tim sighed into the phone. "I hate not being with you."

"As do I, but what can we do to change it Tim? What's done is done – you're gone. Everyone thinks you're dead; besides, we're not even supposed to be talking to each other. If your superior found out…"Calleigh trailed off softly.

"Must I remind you my name is Bradley now?" Tim teased eliciting a small chuckle from her. 'God how I miss that sound,' he thought.

"Bradley Donovan. I know. But I'm not a fan of it. I rather call you Tim. Or Timmy," Calleigh teased back. Her expression grew serious. "If I call you Brad, it… it… makes this all too real."

She could hear him frown on the other side of the line. "Calleigh, I miss and love you, you know that right?" Calleigh hummed her response and he continued. "Why don't you just drop everything and come here?"

The question hit Calleigh like a ton of bricks. "Excuse me? What do you mean?" Calleigh questioned her heart racing, her chest tightening.

"I mean drop everything Calleigh. Leave it all behind and come here. I can have you on the next flight out – I'd take care of everything and we can start a life together – a brand new life."

"I can't just do that," she replied. "I have a responsibility…"

"Fuck responsibility. Come on Cal, just let go… "

Calleigh opened her mouth to respond but an odd noise came over the phone and it disconnected. They had spoken again a month later but the proposal was gone and it was never mentioned by either party ever again.

She wondered why she had been so reticent to say yes – what he had offered her was exactly what she wanted and more. Calleigh knew when she hadn't leaped at the chance; she had caused him a great deal of heart ache. She also knew that her life in Miami was getting any easier between her case loads and friendships.

Calleigh looked over to her nightstand where a framed photo of her and Tim in happier times stood. She gave the ring another once over and mulled over Tim's proposal. Could she really do it? Could she truly pack up and leave everything she has ever known? Calleigh wondered what repercussions her choices would have.

Suddenly, she realized that she deserved to be happy; she was miserable in her current situation and throwing herself in work only further buried her emotions. Though she appeared to be happy, she wasn't and Calleigh knew that she owed it to herself to be happy.

And it was in that moment that Calleigh decided to leave it all behind. With a quick call, she was told of a plan that could make the impossible seem possible. And at 8 A.M. the next morning, she was on a flight away from Miami – away from it all.

Calleigh sat by the bar, sipping on a vodka tonic, still in disbelief that she had done it – she had escaped Miami to be the one person who she felt she was made for. Her leg twitched nervously as she waited for him. Though she had not heard him approach her, she knew he had arrived by way of his cologne. There was the sound of a throat clearing and Calleigh turned with a smile on her face.

"Rumor has it that you're new to town," Tim greeted as he took a seat next to her. He extended his hand. "I'm Brad. Brad Leiser."

"I'm Jennifer Devereux. It's a pleasure to meet you Brad," she replied, taking his hand. "So what do you do around here?"

"I work in the legal field, sort of," Tim replied. "In finance," he clarified. "And yourself?"

"I'm the new physics teacher at Memorial High. I start tomorrow," Calleigh replied giving him a once over. Immediately she found herself lost in the dark chocolate recesses of his eyes. All of her love for him bubbled up to the surface and she wondered why she had ever doubted to even come.

He extended his hand to her and she took it; a feeling of relief washed over her. "Well, since you're new to town and have a busy day ahead of you, would you like a tour of town?"

"I would love it," came her reply.

"What do you mean she's gone? She can't be gone!" Eric shouted at Horatio as they explored Calleigh's home. "Everything is still here…"

"Everything but her," Horatio replied. "We've done everything we can and there is no trace of her. It's as if she doesn't exist."

"We can't just give up," Eric replied exasperated. "We just can't!" He hit the wall in frustration.

The empty frame by Calleigh's nightstand caught Horatio's eye. He frowned before arching his brow. Suddenly it all began to make sense to him.

"Actually, I'm going to make a call but I have a feeling she's OK," Horatio replied as he reached for his phone.

"What do you mean?" Eric probed further. "How do you know she is going to be OK? We don't even know if she's alive." He looked at Horatio, eyes wide with worry.

"Come on, I'll explain it all on the way back," Horatio replied nodding his head towards the door. "Just know that she's where she is meant to be and is happy."