Calleigh didn't start shaking until she was in the shower

Calleigh didn't start shaking until she was in the shower. She'd been so impressed with herself, with her calm-cool-collectedness after her rescue. She'd taken a long hug from Eric after the gun had been eased from her hand, but that had been her one moment of weakness. He'd rubbed the back of her neck gently with one hand, the other holding her snug around the waist. A deep breath of his familiar cologne, a brief sweep of her palms up and down his back to assure herself that he was real, and she was safe now, and she'd pulled away. She'd winced through an EMT's exam, breathing slowly at the gentle prod of fingers along her ribs to check the extent of her injury. She'd given a short statement; she'd been fully prepared to head home and draw herself a long, hot bath. Maybe with candles. Maybe with music. Maybe with the door locked and deadbolted and barricaded. But Eric had needed to be with her, needed to know she was okay, and if Calleigh was honest with herself, she was glad for both the company and the protection. Just for the evening. Maybe the night.

And now she was finally alone, Eric in the other room cooking dinner and picking a movie while Calleigh scrubbed away sweat and exhaustion and fear, her hands trembling as they gripped the loofa. Her knees felt a little wobbly and her breath was catching as she lathered up, rubbing her skin so hard she wondered if it would be red when she got out. It took her a few minutes to realize the breaths were restricted sobs, that there were tears prickling her eyes along with the exhaustion as the shampoo sluiced down her body and ran toward the drain. Stupid. She was fine, she was safe, she was strong. 'No reason to cry,' she thought as she reached for the conditioner and felt a throb of pain in her still-bruising side. 'Then again…' she winced. She'd been chloroformed, kidnapped, held hostage, kicked in the side, dragged all over Miami at gunpoint… Maybe a good cry was allowed right now. A good, quiet cry that wouldn't send Eric into overprotective overdrive. Ever practical, she worked conditioner into her hair before crossing her arms and pressing them against the cool, water-beaded tile of the shower wall, letting her forehead fall to meet them as she gave in to the slick bubble of fear that rose up and cried itself out.

The quiet, hitching sobs made her ribs ache that much more, but she ignored the pain. She'd had worse. Five minutes, she decided. She would allow herself five minutes to be scared and vulnerable, to wallow in the emotions she'd forced aside for the sake of clear-headed self-preservation that afternoon. Hot water beat down against her skin and she focused on the feel of that instead of the memory of a boot against her side, of a gun barrel against her spine.

The tears came harder despite her best efforts and in an effort to distract herself, Calleigh indulged in the dangerous fantasy of Eric's hands on her shoulders, his body pressed to hers under the spray. He'd rub the tension from her neck, dot little kisses across her shoulders and tell her she was safe now, with him. Telling herself that the stress of the day excused her a little bit of self-serving lust, she imagined for a few brief moments the way he would turn her in his arms, find her mouth with his. He'd let one hand slide down and seek her out, rubbing until she gasped against him and pulled their bodies even closer. He'd take her in the shower, her back against the tile, his strong arms supporting her as –

"Cal?" A sudden cool draft and the churning of the steam around her let her know that Eric had cracked the door open.

Calleigh flushed hot with embarrassment at the sound of Eric's voice from the other side of the door. She had a sudden memory of the summer she turned seventeen, Officer Harlan catching her in Billy Sanders' backseat, jeans around her knees and shirt half-off. At 32, this flowering of the same giddy guilty feeling seemed a little silly. "Yeah?" At least the brief fantasy-flashback combo had stopped her tears enough for her voice to sound normal.

"How do you feel about opening that bottle of wine in the back of your fridge?"

Calleigh's smile spread as she lifted herself from the wall and tipped her head back into the spray. "I feel favorable."

"You're not saving it for a, uh… special occasion?" She heard the implication in his voice, smirked and ignored it.

"I'm pretty sure being kidnapped and held hostage warrants opening the reserve wine," Calleigh reasoned, pleased to find her fingers were steadier as she worked conditioner from her hair.

His "yeah…" was full of hesitation that made it obvious he was still shaken by what had happened to her today. His concern made her belly warm with a certain satisfied pleasure. It was nice, after all, to know that someone cared, that someone would bring her home and coddle her just a little, whether she needed it or not. "Take your time in here," he encouraged, "The food won't be done for about another fifteen minutes."

Calleigh heard the quiet thunk of the door closing before she had a chance to respond, and let her eyes drop shut as the hot water continued to pour over her.