NOTES: Companion piece to (False) Chemistry. You really need to have read it in order to read this. Now I'm sure that both of these do, in fact, fit in with Exposure. My fics tend to build a world of their own within a fandom and all fit together, because once I've discovered a truth, it simply gets added to my perception of that character. I don't have different versions of them, per se. You'll see how this fits later on. I think you'll like it.
It isn't until Cameron gets blind-sided that she realizes she ought to have seen it coming.
She's been pushing him for weeks now. (Just because she knows she can.) Giving him the kind of smile she reserves for her conquests, knowing that he'll be calling soon. (If he doesn't just follow her home from work.) Agreeing to eat dinner and lunch with him, and actually listening to his conversation. Once, recently, she even let him spend the night.
She's always sure to remind him that she doesn'twant a relationship. (Though all her actions maintain that she does.)
It's been a long time since she's felt loved, and she's forced now to (grudgingly) admit that she misses it. She likes the little thrill that goes through her every time Chase makes her coffee, or trails his lips over her skin, or tells her that she's beautiful. She likes the wondering whether he means any of it (more deeply than she does.) She thinks she's falling in love with the idea that he might think of her as more than an object of desire.
But then she gets her answer—
"I want more," says Chase.
And the thrill turns into shame. It isn't until it happens that she realizes she hasn't expected him to fall. (Hadn't believed, somehow, that she's worthy of being loved anymore.)
And now (she thinks, though she can't really be sure,) she's turned his world upside down for nothing, because more really isn't what she wants. What she wants is to know that more is still a possibility for her (at some unseen future date.)
Now this uncomplicated complication is hers to do away with. (And all she can think is how cruel she's been.) So she settles for what she thinks is professionalism long overdue, (though she doesn't know for sure about that either, because the look on his face says she's breaking his heart, and professional isn't supposed to do that.)
"And now it's over," she finishes, too quickly, because this is out of control and she can't quite say how it got that way. She can't stand seeing his eyes anymore, and knowing that (for once) the broken look in them is because of her, and so she turns and walks.
But there's just a little bit of excitement fighting its way through the guilt, because there's a part of her that can't help thinking she's won. (She makes a silent vow to ignore her demons in the future.)