Cal tilted his head to look at Gillian. She had been silent since the suspect had been brought in for questioning. He returned his gaze to the man sitting on the other side of the glass but quickly looked at his partner again. He could no longer hold his words in. "Are you alright?"
Gillian's eyes stayed trained on the man police say had been stalking her for the past few months. "I'm fine."
"No, you're not."
Finally, she looked at him. She shook her head. "Don't do that, Cal."
He knew she didn't want him to continue but this was one of those times he had to overstep his boundaries. "I mean, it's ok if you're not alright. That man," He pointed towards the glass, "has been stalking you for the past few months. You helped him on a case and he fell so in love with you that he sent you inappropriate letters and photographs of himself. He left you disturbing messages on your phone and followed you wherever you went." He placed his hand on her arm. "It's ok if you feel…"
"I'm fine, Cal." She responded curtly but quickly looked away, knowing if he looked into her eyes, he would know she was lying. "I said I was fine."
Gillian seemed relieved for the extra person in the room. She glanced at Cal and then looked at the officer that had just joined them. "Yes, Detective Morrison?"
"I wanted you to hear this from me personally. Michael Cahey's lawyer is playing the insanity card."
"What does that mean?" Cal asked indignantly.
"It means there's a large chance the judge will send him to a mental health institution to serve out his sentence."
"Wh-…that's ridiculous! If he goes to an asylum, he'll be out in a couple of months!" Cal looked at Gillian but when she gave no reaction, he turned back to the officer. "This is unacceptable!"
"I know, and if I had my way, that freak would be going to jail but…"
Cal lifted his hand to interrupt the officer. "No! No, this is absolutely ridiculous! If you can't do your job properly, I'll make sure I get someone on this case that will." He angrily whipped open the door.
"No, this is unacceptable, Foster. Michael Cahey made your life a living hell these past few months. I read the letters he sent you. I heard the messages he left you. We watched him being questioned! That man is not insane! He knows perfectly well what he's doing! I'll get Reynolds to take over. He'll…"
"Cal, just stop! It would be highly inappropriate to involve the FBI. It's unnecessary. I understand how the system works. I accept it." She looked at him pointedly before turning back to Detective Morrison. "I'm sorry, Detective. Thank you for telling me."
The officer nodded sympathetically. "My best suggestion is for you to take out a restraining order right away. I know that isn't much comfort, but…"
"It's fine. I'll be sure to do that."
6 months later…
"Hey, you up for dinner?"
Cal's voice snapped Gillian out of her thoughts. She swiveled around in her chair to find him already in her office, looking down at her with concern. She gave a light chuckle. "I would love dinner but you do realize that you can't watch over me 24 hours a day, right?"
He shook his head and shrugged innocently. "I have no idea what you mean. I just thought since Emily's with Zoe tonight, that maybe we could…"
The way she said his name told him she had already seen through his flimsy attempt to keep her company. He sighed. "Michael Cahey was released from the clinic this morning but you already knew that, didn't you?"
"Yes, because Detective Morrison was nice enough to call me to let me know. I didn't realize he would call you too, though."
"He didn't. Reynolds told me."
"You had Agent Reynolds keep tabs on Michael Cahey?"
"Yes, of course." He answered matter-of-factly.
She looked at him as if she couldn't believe what he did but just ended up laughing. "Like I said, Cal, you can't be there 24 hours a day. I'll be fine."
"Ok, but you still gotta eat, right?"
"Yeah…" She smiled gratefully. "C'mon, let's go."
"Brownie cheesecake? Really?" Cal scrunched up his face as if he didn't understand the dessert. "You eat a lot of things Emily stopped eating years ago."
"Emily has always been mature for her age and, anyway, these foods make me happy." Gillian answered proudly and forked a bite of her dessert into her mouth dramatically. "This is so good…"
He chuckled as she watched her devour the cake. It had been a while since he had seen her this relaxed. Regardless of what she said, he knew the situation with her stalker had affected her deeply. Her divorce with Alec had just been finalized and she was just starting to get used to living alone again. He could only imagine how frightening it must've been for her to receive all those letters and messages…
A flicker out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. There was something about it that made him look up but it was already too late. He had just enough time to leap over the table and push Gillian to the ground. There was a loud crack and his world went dark.
It took a moment for Gillian to realize what had happened. Chaos had ensued but it all faded into a blur as she realized why she was having trouble moving. There was a body on top of hers. She pushed it off her instinctively but her eyes grew in horror when she realized who the body belonged to. "Cal!" He was unresponsive. "Cal! Cal, can you hear me?" She shook him but regretted it right away as the movement made blood spurt out of his chest wound. The last thing she remembered was using both hands to place pressure on his wound.
As the police arrived, she sunk deeper into a daze. Through it all, she could hear voices but she had no idea who the voices belonged to.
"We have two gunshot victims here!"
"Ma'am? Ma'am! You need to let go of him…"
"Your arm is bleeding…"
"What is your name?"
It wasn't until she heard a more familiar voice that she finally cracked through her haze and found herself sitting on a hospital bed in the ER. She looked up as if having just awoken from a dream. "Cal…Cal, he's…"
Ria raised her hands to stop Gillian. "It's fine, it's fine…you need to stay put. Your arm…"
Gillian looked down and was surprised to find someone had cut the sleeve off her blouse, revealing a large bandage on her arm. "What happ-…"
"You were shot at. You don't remember?"
"No…it was Cal. He got shot."
Ria nodded. "Yes, he did, but so did you. The nurse just finished stitching you up. Are you cold?" Before Gillian could answer, Ria handed her a brown jacket. "It's Loker's. He went to check on Lightman."
Gillian thanked Ria, who wrapped Eli's jacket around her. "Did they…get the guy?" Gillian choked back the shakiness in her voice.
"Kinda." Ria paused. When Gillian looked at her questioningly, she explained, "Michael Cahey committed suicide after he shot at you. They found his body at the restaurant." When Gillian didn't respond, Ria proceeded carefully with her question. "Do you remember anything about the shooting?"
"I…remember having dinner with Cal. We were just finishing up…" Gillian closed her eyes, trying to remember. "I was having dessert and then suddenly…" She stopped abruptly as the memory crystallized in her mind.
Ria could tell by the troublesome grimace on Gillian's face that maybe she wasn't ready to talk about it yet. "We don't have to talk about this if you don't want to…"
The shot rang in her ears even though the shooting had happened hours ago. Gillian shivered even with Eli's jacket wrapped tightly around her.
"Still cold? Why don't I ask the nurse for a blanket?" Ria offered quickly.
"No, I'm fine. I just…wanna get outta here." Gillian looked around her at the sterile hospital equipment surrounding her. She hated hospitals. There was a knock on the wall and she looked up, hopeful for a sign of the ER doctor. The curtain spread open to reveal it was only Eli. "Hey, h-how is he?"
Eli shrugged, his shoulders trying to seem casual but his face stating otherwise. "He's…" He trailed off, knowing there was no use lying to Gillian or Ria. "He's still in a coma. Doctor says the bullet hit a major artery. He's lucky even to be alive but he lost way too much blood and…" He fell silent again. "You shouldn't worry about him right now. How's the arm?"
"It's fine." Gillian answered curtly. She had almost forgotten about the pain. Thoughts of the shooting and of Cal outweighed everything else in her mind right now.
"She got a few stitches but nothing major. We're still waiting for the doctor to sign off on her." Ria elaborated, looking at Eli pointedly.
He gestured at the space outside the curtained-off area they were in. "Why don't I go see where that doctor is…"
As if on cue, a white-robed man appeared. He checked the clipboard in his hands and offered them a smile. "Sorry for the wait, Dr. Foster, it's been a busy night here in the ER. Everything looks in place. I'll have the nurse get you some painkillers and you can be on your way."
"Oh, she already gave us some." Ria pointed to Gillian's purse, indicating where the medication had been placed.
"Oh, perfect! Then it looks like you can go. You can come back in two weeks to remove the stitches."
Gillian was already gingerly getting off the hospital bed and was on her way out of the ER as the doctor gave her his final instructions. Ria and Eli knew better than to slow her down. They followed closely behind. Gillian's one-track mind did not stop until she reached the ICU. The first room to the left was where she found him. Despite the bandaged head and the various tubes attached to him, Cal looked peaceful, like he was just asleep. She resisted the urge to enter the dimly lit room as Zoe turned to see her. Both women exchanged tired looks through the window separating them. It wasn't until Emily, who was sitting bedside by her father, waved that Gillian reached for the door and entered.
"How's your arm?" Zoe asked sincerely.
Gillian glanced down at the large bandage on her left arm. It was in full-view now that she had returned Eli's jacket to him. "It's um…sore but, I'm alright. Thanks."
As if reading her mind, Emily quickly explained, "Doctor says he doesn't know when Dad will wake up."
Gillian could tell there were a lot of questions Emily wanted to ask her but always having been mature and considerate for her age, the girl opted to keep her inquiries to herself for now. She got up and pointed to the door. "Danny said he'd wait up for my call. I should go let him know what's going on."
"Ok, hunnie, but don't go far." Zoe gave her daughter a comforting pat on the arm.
"I won't." As Emily walked to the door, she stopped by Gillian's side and offered, "I'm really glad you're ok."
Gillian managed a weak smile as an uncomfortable sinking feeling entered her gut. She could tell Zoe's eyes were trained on her. She knew what was coming but for as long as she could hold off that conversation…
"You knew he would come for you…"
"I didn't know, Zoe!"
"Fine. You didn't know but…" Zoe paused, trying to gather herself. "Cal almost died trying to save you!"
"I know that! I know that…" Gillian kept her attention on Cal, not wanting Zoe to see her eyes fill with tears.
"You know, anyone else, Gillian, anyone else and I wouldn't be so…" Zoe left the thought unfinished.
Finally, she turned to look at Zoe. "I could go if you want me to. I don't wanna upset you anymore than you already are."
Zoe considered the offer but shook her head. "No, you should stay." Her anger dissipated as she nodded at Cal. "He'd want you to be here." There was a pause before she added, "He always wanted you to be around."
The last part had been said so quietly, Gillian had barely heard it. She looked at Zoe. "I'm…sorry…if I ever…"
"Caused a problem for us?" Zoe smiled bitterly. "You were only one of many problems for us. Cal and I had many issues to begin with…but you already knew that."
"I'm sorry. I never meant to…"
"I know. Of course, that only made me feel worse. It's one thing when a woman aggressively pushes her way into your husband's life. It's another story when he willingly shares it with her."
The two women fell into silence as they both looked at the man lying lifeless in front of them. It wasn't until the door opened and Emily returned that that the silence was broken. Emily could sense the tension immediately. She looked at her mother and then at Gillian. "Is everything ok?"
"Yeah…" Zoe glanced at Gillian before giving her daughter a reassuring smile. "I'm gonna go make a few phone calls. See what the police have right now…"
Emily watched as her mother disappeared from the room. She returned to her seat beside Cal's bed and looked up at the silent Gillian. "I don't think my mom's really mad at you. She's just frustrated and worried."
"I think she is mad and I think she has every right to be. So do you."
"Why? Because some crazy stalker came and tried to kill you?" Emily shook her head. "You couldn't have known that he would've done that."
"I was watching when the police questioned him before. I should've caught something…"
"Even Dad didn't catch anything and I think Dad's pretty good at this kinda stuff."
"Yeah, but he's the one lying in a coma right now, not me."
"Dad saved you cuz he wanted to. I think even if he knew the outcome and he could go back to change what happened, he still would've jumped in front of you."
Gillian was amazed by the clarity in Emily's thoughts but that only made her feel worse. She wasn't sure what to say.
"I don't blame you for what happened. You shouldn't blame yourself either." Emily looked at her father and placed her hand over his. "And, anyway, I don't care what the doctor says. I know he'll wake up. He has to."