A late post-ep for 6x02, Cyber-lebrity; one with what I would call a fairly decent chance of a sequel. ;)
Calleigh was in the zone.
A slight smile adorned her lips as she stared intently ahead, visualizing her target. A very familiar gel block stared back at her from the end of the firing range, almost as though it were taunting her, but Calleigh knew that in the end, she would be the one with bragging rights.
She loved being here, all alone. Her cases all were closed, and she had no more work to do for the night. She had time to herself; time to relax, time to wind down. And, in her mind, what better way to do that than to fire off a few rounds in the firing range before heading home for the night?
Except tonight, bullets were not in her itinerary. Tonight, she wanted to do something different, and the last case had given her the perfect opportunity for something a little quieter, yet still just as deadly, as she had found earlier. Tonight, she held not the familiar comfort of any number of firearms in her hands, but instead she held a vastly different weapon, one that still granted her a sense of comfort, yet a very different kind.
The bow in her hands was bulky compared to her usual weapons of choice, but even though it had been many, many years since she'd shot a bow, Calleigh still managed to pick it up quite easily. As she pulled back on it, she felt the same surge of adrenaline that coursed through her every time she cocked a gun in that same range. Her heartbeat quickened and her fingers tingled, anticipating the coming thrill of lodging a bullet, or arrow, in this case, into the very center of the block several yards away.
Calleigh held the bow steady, making sure her line of sight was perfect. She closed one eye and breathed in deeply, and as she exhaled she released the cable with a distinct snap, forcing the arrow from the bow and sending it sailing through the air on a definite course before it struck home, right where Calleigh had intended it to hit. Her smile widened, and smugly she began to reach for another arrow before a voice behind her stopped her in her tracks.
It was a compliment that sent a chill down the length of Calleigh's spine, though that stemmed not from the words themselves, but from the voice that gave them life. She couldn't fight the smile that stretched across her lips, even in spite of the tension that had darkened their relationship in the last couple of months. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw him standing casually in the doorway, a smile on his lips despite the unreadable look in his eyes. "How long have you been watching me?" she asked lightly, reaching for another arrow and twirling it showily between her fingers.
Shrugging lightly, Eric moved from the doorway, his walk a slow saunter as he approached the blonde before him. "A while," he said, eyeing the arrow in her hand. "You're pretty good with that," he added, nodding toward the bow she'd set on the ledge.
Calleigh gave a coy smile, downplaying his continued compliments. "I'm not that good," she said, though the arrow at the end of the range said otherwise. "It's mostly just simple technique. And memory." Turning back to the range, Calleigh took the bow and carefully positioned the arrow within it. "I took an archery elective in high school," she elaborated, setting up her shot just as she had before. Breathe deep, pull back, eye the target…and release. Following a similar path as the arrow before, this one also hit right on target, once more disproving her earlier reply of not being that good.
"Archery?" Eric asked, a quiet chuckle lacing his voice. "Somehow, I'm not exactly surprised by that." He nodded to the arrow she'd just shot, the smile on his lips becoming more genuine and less forced by the second. "And again, nice shot."
"Thanks," Calleigh replied, grinning. "It's been years since I've used one of these, and I didn't expect to relearn it so easily," she continued, taking another arrow and setting it up just as she'd done before. Within moments, the third arrow also nudged its way in the target next to the other two, and Calleigh smiled softly, knowing Eric was watching her with fascination.
If she were honest with herself, Calleigh would admit that maybe she was showing off just a little for him.
Just a little.
As arrow after arrow joined the three already in the block, Eric couldn't help but let his eyes wander away from those arrows, away from the bow in her hands. Before he completely realized it, his feet were carrying him even closer to her, though almost silently so as not to disturb her concentration. Calleigh seemed to have given all of her attention to the task at hand, leaving Eric not the least bit shy about allowing his eyes to wander. She wouldn't catch him, not while she was shooting.
She stood perfectly and completely still, preventing any sudden movements from jarring the path of the arrow. A wardrobe of black covered her slim body, the sheer sleeves of her long-sleeved top teasing Eric with a tantalizing view of the smooth skin of her arms, still lightly tanned – from Antigua, Eric recalled with a scowl. Shaking the unpleasant thought away, he allowed his eyes to trace the length of her body, beginning with the locks of golden blonde that cascaded elegantly over her back. His fingers itched to run through it, somehow knowing that the softness would be unlike any other, but that itch was nothing compared to the desire he felt as his gaze continued downward, finding the soft curve of her hips. There were no words for how badly he ached to hold her, to know that she would be going home with him tonight instead of with some other man.
It was utter torture to him; she was always so close to his arms, but never could he manage to envelop her within them.
Calleigh was moving now; the bow was set carefully along the ledge as she stepped into the range, her hips swaying deliciously as she made her way down the aisle to retrieve all of her perfectly shot arrows. Watching her walk did absolutely nothing to quell the desire bubbling up within him, and he cleared his throat as she began to make her way back toward him, several arrows in her hands and a wide smile on her lips. "Firearms, spear guns, compound bows…is there anything you can't shoot?" he asked playfully, forcing himself back into the realm of easy teasing that they were so comfortable with.
Once more in front of him, Calleigh flashed him a grin. "I'd like to think not," she replied, her accent thickened by a teasing lilt.
Eric watched as one by one she placed the arrows back into the box she'd originally pulled them from. As she took the last arrow in her hand, Eric couldn't stop himself from reaching out, brushing against her fingers as he closed his own around the arrow. The simple touch affected him greatly, but not nearly as much as feeling Calleigh stiffen next to him. "I want to try," he explained, his mouth suddenly dry thanks to their brief contact.
Calleigh released her own grip on the arrow, but not without the tiniest shake of her hand. "Have you ever shot a bow?" she asked, putting a step of space between them. Thoughts of Jake she rapidly called to her mind, searching for legitimate reasons as to why the slightest, most insignificant touch from Eric should not throw her out of her element.
There was, however, one problem. With Eric's presence assaulting all of her senses, Calleigh couldn't keep any part of her mind trained upon Jake. It was almost as if he didn't matter, not when it came to Eric.
Eric gave a disarming grin, and Calleigh immediately felt the flip-flops turned in her chest by her heart. "No," he admitted, twirling the arrow in his fingers as he'd watched Calleigh do earlier. "But you make it look like a piece of cake. How hard can it be?"
Calleigh lifted a brow, a sparkle of challenge readily present in her emerald eyes. "Okay, hot stuff," she teased, crossing her arms over her chest. "Let's see it."
Never one to back down either from a challenge or from a chance to show off for Calleigh, Eric grinned cockily, taking the bow from the ledge. "I just watched you shoot it several times; I think I can manage it," he said, mostly to himself.
"It looks easier than it actually is," Calleigh warned, a playful lilt in her voice.
"That doesn't scare me," Eric responded, settling his arrow into the bow, ignoring Calleigh's quiet snicker behind him as he almost dropped it once. He took his position and squinted at the gel block at the end of the range. And then, the nerves began to set in. From where he stood now, his target looked much farther away than it had when he was a mere spectator. It also appeared much smaller, but Eric swallowed hard, forcing those apprehensions away. He could do this. While he didn't have the advantage of having taken an archery elective in high school, Eric was still proficient with a gun.
He'd had to relearn some of it, due to the bullet he'd taken to his own head, but then again, he'd had to relearn everything. And in time, he'd gotten just as good as he'd been before, if not better, with a gun. He'd passed his proficiency exam with flying colors, impressing even the examiner. And now, as long as he could force away the memory of what had happened, Eric could get past almost everything, though the sudden loud blast that came with firing a gun still got to him sometimes.
But this wasn't a gun. It was a bow and arrow, and there would be no loud crash. There were no adverse memories to haunt him; nothing to keep him from hitting his target right on the mark. With that confidence, Eric pulled back, holding in position for a moment. And then, after a long moment, he released.
While he knew there wouldn't be a loud crash, the sudden kickback of energy surprised him, and he couldn't stop the bow from jerking upward at the last critical second. The arrow went soaring through the air, though quickly it began to lose energy due to gravity's pull upon it. It quickly took a downward trajectory, sending it sailing straight into the ground about four feet from the target.
Immediately he heard a stifled snicker behind him, and, eyes narrowed, he turned to Calleigh, slightly annoyed, but unable to muster up anything more than that. It was never possible for irritation and Calleigh to be synonyms to each other, even when the sparkle in her eyes and the grin she was so clearly fighting had proven his earlier cockiness to be nothing more than actionless words.
"Nice," Calleigh smirked, lifting her hand to hide the grin she could no longer fight.
"I could've done it," Eric protested, scowling slightly. "I don't know what happened though; it's a bit different than shooting a gun."
"It's a lot different," Calleigh agreed, nodding. "And as for what happened; well, for starters, you flinched," she added matter-of-factly. "You weren't prepared, and you let it surprise you. And you jumped. So obviously, that made the arrow jump too."
Eric stared at her. "There's a supply of energy that's released along with the bow," he said, watching Calleigh nod at his statement. "So how exactly am I supposed to keep from jumping at that?"
"It takes practice," Calleigh replied with a slight shrug of the shoulders. She flashed him a smile of reassurance. "It's not something I picked up the very first time either," she admitted, reaching for and handing Eric another arrow. "Set it up again, and I'll help you out."
Who was he to resist Calleigh? Taking the proffered arrow, he assumed the same stance that he had taken before. But before he could even prepare the arrow, Calleigh was already picking apart his technique. "Your stance is too narrow," she observed, coming unbearably close to him. Ever gently, she tapped the inside of his calf with her toe, the intimacy of such an action not apparent to her until after it was too late to stop it. Eric, however, didn't seem to notice, and Calleigh couldn't decide whether that relieved or troubled her. "Your feet need to be a little farther apart."
Eric obediently shifted his feet, giving his best effort to keep from reacting to her touch. The gentle tap to his calf had sent flares of electricity through his entire body, though he was satisfied with the way he kept his expression passive. "Now what?" he asked quietly, forcing his eyes straight ahead.
"Move your hand a little lower," Calleigh instructed. "Hold it…here." Gently she closed her hand over his, moving it down to where it needed to be, her fingers tingling at the contact. She swallowed heavily; it was an innocent touch, but the sparks that passed between their bodies because of it were undeniable. "Now, pull the cable back with your other hand, and hold still for a moment."
Eric obeyed silently, almost afraid to open his mouth, unsure what kind of declaration or confession would spill from his lips. As Calleigh pulled her hand away from his, an inexplicable chill covered him, a chill of emptiness. Stepping back, Calleigh examined his stance, smiling as she found it to be satisfactory.
His stance was good, but he wasn't as relaxed as he should be. "You're too tense," she murmured, tilting her head slightly. "Relax just a little bit. Be firm, but not tense, or else the arrow won't flow."
"This is harder than it looks," Eric grumbled, eliciting a chuckle from Calleigh.
"Well, I did warn you," she reminded him, a playful lilt to the words. Serious once more, Calleigh continued to inspect his technique. "Breathe steadily," she instructed, her eyes flickering to his chest for the slightest moment, watching it rise and fall as he took deep, even breaths. "Eye your target, and line up your shot. Don't let your eyes waver."
His jaw set in concentration, Eric stared resolutely ahead. Gritting his teeth, he found himself more determined than ever to hit that target, to prove to Calleigh that he could do it.
He wanted to impress her, more than anything.
But his nervousness at that was doing him no favors, and slowly but surely, his grip tightened a little too much, his sweaty hands making it harder to keep his grip. Immediately it had an effect on the bow, and quickly Eric lost the line of sight he'd lined up to the target.
And Calleigh noticed immediately. "Eric!" she scolded with a laugh, watching in amusement as the bow shook just slightly in his hands."Stop twitching so much!"
The command from her only made it worse. Turning his head toward her, Eric gave a scowl of mock annoyance. "I can't!" he protested, and if his arms weren't otherwise occupied, he would've given a helpless shrug. He was being as still as he could, but he was in an odd position; his arms were cramping just slightly.
"Why not?" Calleigh demanded playfully, her hands on her hips.
"Because you just specifically told me to," Eric quipped, chuckling as he watched Calleigh give a roll of her emerald eyes. "And because you make me nervous standing there."
His tone was playful, but his words were about as close to the truth as anything he could say aloud. Being so close to her, in a place that was probably as much her sanctuary as her home was…it made him anxious. If he hadn't grown so accustomed to keeping his cool around her a long time ago, Eric knew he'd have broken out in a cold, nervous sweat by now.
Though the only indication that he was bothered was the gentle tremor of the crossbow, Calleigh was driving him crazy. Sequestered away on the firing range with her, they were in quite close quarters, and Eric would swear he could feel her body heat with every tiny move of her body. He could so easily smell the sweet aroma of her perfume, an intoxicating, soft floral scent that would never smell as sweet on anybody else. Mixed within it was just enough vanilla from Calleigh's shampoo for him to catch its scent every now and then. The combination – soft flowers, sweet vanilla, and the ever present unique scent of Calleigh herself – had his senses working on overdrive, and it was all Eric could do to catch his breath.
Discreetly, Eric removed his eyes from his target, instead choosing to watch as Calleigh gently brushed her fingers through her hair, pushing it behind her ears in the process. Again the bow twitched in his hands as his fingers tingled, itching to feel the silky strands as they glided between his fingers like feathers over his skin.
And her lips…every time Eric found his eyes drawn to her perfect lips, it was a miracle that he didn't just give in right there and kiss her.
After all, certain others didn't feel the need to practice restraint when it came to that very activity.
Just the memory of bearing witness to that kiss, the one Jake had stolen so easily while Eric had agonized over it for years, still made his blood boil. He still hadn't managed to get over the bitterness, the pain that a mere kiss had caused him. It wasn't fair; he knew enough about Jake to know that he, point-blank, just didn't deserve Calleigh. But then again, that was how it always seemed to work in Eric's life.
He was the nice guy, and nice guys always finished last.
Out of nowhere, there was a soft touch to his hand, a soft touch that immediately dissolved the negative thoughts playing inside his mind. Blinking those last vestiges away, his eyes focused at the front of the crossbow, where his hand tightly – maybe too tightly – held it. His heart skipped a beat as he watched Calleigh close her own hand over his, effectively steadying the slightly trembling weapon. "Relax," she commanded softly, her deep eyes as gentle as the calmest sea, one Eric wished he could immerse himself in and never have to surface for air. She grinned. "Or else your arrow will just end up in the floor again."
He was afraid that might happen anyway – with her soft voice and her firm touch, Eric was sure he wouldn't care if the arrow and the bow ended up in the floor if it meant having her up against the nearest wall with his lips firmly latched to hers.
It was a vision that took hold quickly in his mind, and it took the most immense force of will to shake it away before it progressed too far. He swallowed, wincing as the sensation burned his suddenly dry throat. Calleigh's soft voice penetrated his thoughts, his body following her quiet words of instruction almost by instinct alone. Eric lined up his shot, and, squinting slightly, he visualized the path of the arrow, in his mind seeing it strike right where he wanted it.
"Now, hold it steady," Calleigh murmured, though not removing her hand from his. "Breathe in and out a few times; prepare yourself. And then, when you're ready," she paused, taking a deep breath of her own. "Release as you exhale."
Eric gave a slight nod, wondering if Calleigh knew just how difficult her instructions were for him. Merely concentrating on the task at hand was complicated enough, and yet Calleigh wanted him to concentrate on a whole range of physical and mental processes all at once. He found it almost impossible to care whether he hit the target or not while Calleigh was standing right beside of him, in essence, holding his hand.
Somehow though, he managed to concentrate on her words rather than his feelings. He managed to steady his breathing and still some of his stiffened trembling, perhaps because the main goal in his mind right now was impressing Calleigh. A compliment from her was easily worth ten compliments from anybody else.
Breathing deeply, Eric focused his eyes completely on the gel block, visualizing a target right in the center of it. In the back of his mind, he found himself affixing Jake's face to that target, but he forced himself to shake that thought away, though amusing it was. This was his time with Calleigh; Jake had no place here now.
Readying himself, Eric breathed in deeply one last time, holding it for a moment. The crossbow in his hands was remarkably steady now, thanks to both his renewed determination and Calleigh's grip on his hand.
And then, just as Calleigh had instructed, Eric exhaled, releasing the arrow from the bow along with his breath. Almost as though in slow motion, the arrow sailed through the air, its path considerably straighter than before. And then, just as the slow motion suspense began to get to Eric, his arrow lodged itself firmly into the gel block, just mere millimeters from where he'd envisioned the center of his target. "Yeah!" he whooped excitedly, obviously feeling pretty good about himself.
Calleigh giggled, amused by the degree of his excitement. She had to admit though; it was a fairly decent shot for a first time. "Not bad," was all she said though, a teasing grin coloring the compliment.
"Not bad?" Eric repeated, a bit of a cocky smirk at his lips. With a brow lifted in challenge, he glanced to the end of the range, where his arrow remained firmly entrenched in the block. "Is that all? Because I'd say that one was pretty damn good."
Her eyes sparkling, Calleigh gave a laugh that was music to Eric's ears. "You're forgetting where your first arrow ended up, aren't you?" she teased, pointing lazily to the forgotten arrow on the floor several feet away from the block. In doing so, her fingers brushed ever lightly over his arm, and though it was the lightest of touches, to both, it felt so much more intense than that. The proximity was beginning to catch up to them; the light, playful atmosphere was quickly drained, replaced by a tension, one that had always lurked just beneath the surface; one that was getting harder and harder to keep hidden beneath the surface.
He could tell Calleigh was growing aware of it too. The sparkle in her eyes slowly darkened, becoming less teasing and more wanting. She became extremely conscious of the hand that remained on one of Eric's, and quickly she let it drop to her side, breaking the constant circuit of electricity that had been flowing between them. A light, almost unnoticeable flush rose in Calleigh's cheeks, and with a quiet, embarrassed chuckle, she licked at her dry lips, breaking the contact between their eyes. "Eric…"
There was desire in the simple word, the sound of which stopped Eric's heart for several beats. He could only stand there, his eyes locked upon her eyes, her lips, while she removed the bow from his hands, needing something sturdy of her own to hold onto. Room to breathe was something else she found herself in dire need of; every breath she took delivered nothing but Eric's intoxicating scent, and as the tension surrounding them grew suffocating, Calleigh needed nothing more than to take a step back. She was out of her comfort zone; she couldn't keep her eyes away from his lips no matter how desperately she tried to avert them. She wanted to feel those lips against hers; she wanted his arms around her, his hands against her bare skin, soothing away the goosebumps his kiss brought forth in her…
This was dangerous. Calleigh's heart was pounding; she needed to get out of there. But as soon as she was able to lift her foot from the ground, Eric halted her movement completely. Before she could even process it in her mind, Eric's hand was on her elbow, setting her skin aflame even through the thin material of her sleeve. Her own fingers clenched ever tightly around the bow, her knuckles paling as she realized the full weight of the moment. The look in Eric's eyes frightened her, but more than that, it awakened her to something she'd never really felt before, not to this intensity. And once she lost herself in those intense dark orbs, Calleigh found she just could not look away. She was entranced by him, and not even the warning thoughts of Jake she tried so desperately to conjure up could stand in the wake of his gaze.
She murmured his name once more, this time on a trembling breath as she tried halfheartedly to extricate herself from his loose grasp. His touch was burning her, but she felt it would burn her more to be without it. As soon as the thought passed through her mind, she was proven right as he released her elbow, though he held tightly to her gaze with his eyes. Lifting his hand in much the same way she had before, Eric pointed dismissively at the arrow that still lay in the middle of the floor, forgotten. "That," he began, his voice a low whisper that had Calleigh fighting back the urge to squirm, "was only a practice shot."
His eyes flickered to her hands, to her fingers which so tightly grasped the bow, almost as though it were her last barrier to hold between them. As gently as possible, Eric used his own hands to open her fingers, encountering very little resistance from her as he removed the bow from her hands. Without even offering it a second glance, Eric slowly placed the bow on the ledge where it immediately became forgotten. Summoning up all the courage he could muster, he took one of her tiny hands in both of his, feeling it shake almost imperceptibly against his skin. Her eyes widened in response, but she made no move to pull away. "But when it comes to the real thing," he continued in a low murmur, the intensity in his eyes sending sparks of electricity through Calleigh's entire body.
But if she was affected by that, it was nothing compared to what Eric did to her next. His eyes never leaving hers, he slowly lifted her hand, sensually bringing the underside of her wrist close to his lips. "I don't disappoint."
And then he shattered the final vestiges of Calleigh's resolve with one simple motion. Holding her gaze the entire time, Eric slowly pressed a lingering kiss to her wrist, just above her pulse point. Immediately her knees wobbled, threatening to buckle underneath her at any second. It was almost as though an undeniable fire was flowing from the caress of his lips right into her veins, setting every inch of her body aflame.
Only vaguely did she wonder when his words had strayed so far from the subject of mere archery. But sure enough, Eric's confident declaration stirred up so many memories in her mind; memories that took her back to years past, disappointments of long ago, from Jake. Elaborate dinners spent alone, promises broken without a care in the world, the way nothing she could ever give Jake was enough to pull him away from his secret life, his life away from her. Even closer to the present were disappointments – his work schedule repeatedly ruining their plans for dinner; her work schedule doing the same. On more than one occasion she'd mentioned it to Eric, and it seemed he'd held onto it.
He'd held to it, just as he now held her arm, in essence holding her steady. Calleigh felt as though the entire room had dissolved around them, leaving them alone, together in a world that belonged solely to them. Try as she might, she could not break away from his enchanting gaze, addicted to the sight of the fire in his eyes, fire only for her, fire reflected in her own dazed green eyes. One last time Calleigh murmured his name, her pink tongue appearing as she attempted to moisten her parched lips.
With that simple, tiny motion, the string between them, the cable which held them apart like the arrow from the target, was abruptly released.
And just like that, several years of potential energy stored between them suddenly became kinetic, sending their hearts and souls on a collision course, gaining momentum as they came closer and closer to each other, to where they belonged as one.
Neither would ever know who moved first; in the long run, it wasn't at all important anyway. The location, the circumstances…none of it mattered. All that mattered was taste of lips, the crashing of tongues in a kiss that had been so many years in the making. As soon as his lips found hers for the first time, Eric was addicted. Her sweet taste was like nothing he'd ever tasted before; the euphoria from such a kiss lifted him higher than he'd ever been before, making him feel as though he could do anything as long as he was kissing her.
It was a passionate coupling of mouths, not the soft, gentle caress that Eric had often envisioned for their first kiss. This was raw, uninhibited passion, need, desire. He wanted her; she wanted him. And both of those facts had been nothing less than the most honest truth for a long time, long before the third wheel added himself to the equation.
With a kiss, Jake had added himself to the equation, but with this kiss, he was once more removed – from the equation, and from Calleigh's mind.
In the very back of her mind, Calleigh couldn't help but hear the most muffled of screams. This was so wrong, the voice screamed, but as Calleigh soon felt her back pressed against the wall – when had they begun moving? – and her hands tugging at the hem of Eric's shirt, every logical thought in her head was washed away by the sensations taking over her, the feelings that sparked inside of her just from one kiss from Eric.
While the back of her mind fought against it, struggling to remind her of the man she was supposedly with, it was no match for the deepest desires of her heart, in which Jake – Jake? Jake who? – was utterly absent. Her heart belonged, always had and forever would, to the man whose lips were mingling so wonderfully with her own.
On a soft moan, Calleigh eagerly parted her lips for him, inviting his tongue to play against her own. Eric obliged greedily, the kiss growing deeper and deeper as he explored the warmth of her mouth, feeling more inebriated by her addictive taste than he'd ever felt after any kind of drink. Sheer momentum pushed him on, helping him fight the dizziness that threatened to overtake him, the need for oxygen that threatened to tear their lips apart.
He nearly lost all his control – the little he had left, anyway – as he felt Calleigh's gentle hands on his bare skin, her deft fingers tugging the buttons of his shirt free without his realizing it. She pushed her way beneath his undershirt, and Eric groaned against her mouth, his muscles fluttering beneath her feathery touch. His own fingers were tangling in Calleigh's hair, the silky locks like strands of heaven between his fingers. If anything softer existed, he knew not what it could be.
She was whimpering now, unable to breathe but unwilling to separate their lips. The gentle touch of her hands had transformed to the just rough enough scratch of her nails over his abdomen, and it was that sensation that finally pulled a deep moan from Eric's lips, forcing him to break the kiss as he gulped air into his burning lungs. But as soon as he'd replenished his supply of oxygen, he was kissing her again, with just as much desire, just as much momentum as before.
But now, he wanted more sensation. He felt torn by it; he didn't want to extricate his fingers from her hair, but he wanted to explore the rest of her body as well. Somehow he enticed his fingers downward, tracing his palms smoothly over her sides , feeling Calleigh shiver as his touch grazed over her covered breasts on the way down. Blindly his fingers eventually found what they were looking for, the bottom buttons on her black blouse. Fumbling with them only slightly, he threaded button after button through the holes, exposing the creamy skin of her taut stomach to his curious hands, and as soon as he pressed his palms against her, her stomach fluttered beneath his touch while the rest of her body squirmed against his.
And that broke the rest of his resolve. With a low growl, Eric couldn't stop himself from pressing his hips roughly into hers, an action that was rewarded by a low moan of pleasure from Calleigh's lips. She was completely and utterly lost in him, just as he was in her. This wasn't how he'd ever imagined it being once the feelings they held combusted between them, but he couldn't say he wasn't enjoying every second. Would there be consequences? Probably, but neither Eric nor Calleigh were in any mindset to ponder those at the moment.
As Calleigh attempted to catch her breath, her chest heaving as she panted heavily, Eric nuzzled softly against her neck, breathing her in before closing his lips over her pulse point, suckling lightly and drawing another moan from her lips, this time, a moan that carried his name along with it, and as the sound reached Eric's ears he knew that there was no greater sound in all the world. He felt the nails of one of her hands at the back of his head, gently scratching, bringing him closer to her. Her other hand had crept its way to his belt, tugging roughly at it, though she was unsure whether she was trying to undo it or just bring his hips rhythmically against hers. Her cheeks were flushed with arousal, maybe the greatest arousal she'd ever felt in her life. Her knees shook more and more as Eric peppered hot kisses over her throat and down along her collarbone, even lower as he'd somehow managed to unbutton her blouse completely while otherwise occupied. If not for the wall behind her and Eric's hips grinding against hers, she knew she would tumble to the ground in a quivering mess.
Just as she thought she might die if he didn't stop the assault on her sensitized skin, his lips were back upon hers, kissing her more deeply than he'd ever kissed anybody. He pressed his body against hers, feeling bare skin against bare skin – at some point Calleigh had shoved his undershirt upward – and the feeling was nothing less than exquisite. It made him crave more; it made him crave all of her. Every part of her.
And then, the unthinkable occurred.
Just as Eric thought he could lose himself completely within her, the most unwelcome sound echoed through the firing range, halting his arousal by pulsing an infusion of ice water through his veins. It was the door that he heard, the telltale opening followed quickly by the closing thud. Still hidden away within the stall, there were mere moments before their intruder caught them red-handed, and one look into Calleigh's widened emerald eyes told Eric that the exact same thought had flashed across her mind. There was something else hidden in her eyes, though Eric had not the time to discern its meaning.
Stumbling wildly in the tiny space, they quietly struggled to put their clothes back into place. Eric's hands were shaking so badly that he could barely thread his own buttons. After a moment's struggle, he was surprised to find Calleigh's fingers brushing his hands away, taking the final two buttons upon herself. Glancing to her, he gaped as he found her almost immaculately put back together; her blonde locks almost all in place, her buttons fastened and her shirt straightened. How she'd managed so quickly was beyond him; all that left of their compromising position were the fading flush of her cheeks and the determination with which she avoided his eyes.
Skillfully she threaded one button on his shirt, before taking the other between her fingers to do the same. And then, echoing through the range just like the sound of the door moments earlier, they both heard the last voice either of them wanted to hear in that moment.
It was accompanied by purposeful footsteps, the voice that undeniably belonged to Jake Berkeley. As soon as he spoke, a calling of Calleigh's name, her fingers slipped from the button, her eyes widening in shock as her entire body seemed to freeze in place, the magnitude of what had just happened fully setting into her.
Without a word, she shakily pushed past Eric, once more retrieving the bow from the ledge. Taking an arrow, she set up the bow as though she meant to shoot it, though she merely held it, knowing she could never hit the target now, not with her nerves so badly shaken. She felt Eric behind her, and her heart was dying to say something, anything to him, but the words just wouldn't come to her lips.
Instead, she closed her eyes for a moment, steadying her breath. Once she was sure she wouldn't falter, she turned her head just slightly, gazing to Eric with an apologetic smile upon her lips.
And it was at that point that Jake appeared around the corner, a smile on his own lips as his eyes landed upon Calleigh. "There you are," he said, only affording Eric the slightest glance. If he suspected anything, he didn't let on. "I called for you a few times; I wasn't sure if you were in here at all."
"I – I guess I didn't hear you," Calleigh replied, flinching inwardly at the tremble in her voice. "I was just cleaning up from the case today," she explained, gesturing with the bow in her hand. "Eric was – he was giving me a hand," she added, setting the bow aside and gathering up a few arrows.
And there, as Jake's eyes flashed to him once more, Eric noticed the first hint of suspicion in his eyes. He swallowed hard, feeling as the moment quickly grew tense again. His heart remained pounding in his chest, so loudly he was sure both Jake and Calleigh could hear it. He afforded one last glance to Calleigh, catching her eyes for one quick moment before deciding he'd best make his exit while he still could. "I'm going to head out," he said quietly, though his eyes communicated much more to Calleigh than those five words. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Yeah, tomorrow," Calleigh replied quietly, holding his gaze even as he backed slowly out of the range, even as Jake stepped in, touching his fingers to her elbow in a light caress, not unlike how Eric had touched her earlier. Eric felt his stomach churn at the sight, and he fought back the sour taste at the back of his throat before he forced his eyes away.
He didn't look back until right before turning the corner that would take him completely out of her line of sight. But as he did look back, he saw Jake, bow and arrow in hand, aiming for the target at the end of the range.
And Calleigh stood with her back against the wall –their wall. Her eyes were not on Jake; she concentrated not on Jake's technique like she had Eric's. Her eyes remained locked on Eric, though the message she tried to convey was all but unreadable at the distance now between them.
One thing was certain, though.
Both of them knew a force had been unleashed. The dam had been broken; the energy released. They'd both gotten a taste of the attraction; they'd meshed and separated in one addictive collision; an addictive collision that would keep pulling them back for more, no matter how desperately either tried to fight it.
The attraction was too great, the momentum too strong – there was absolutely no way to stop their hearts and bodies from colliding again…and again, and again.
Even if they'd wanted to stop it.