Cal had waited around the corner for just the right moment to jump out but neither Jack nor Gillian seemed all too surprised to see him. "So…going to dinner?"
"Yes, actually, we are going to dinner…unless that's a problem with you." Jack smiled smugly, knowing perfectly well how much it bothered Cal that he had asked Gillian out on a date.
"Of course it isn't a problem." Gillian interjected, giving Cal a pointed look. "Right, Cal?"
"Right, yeah…um…but, there's something I need to speak to you about…right away." He pointed at Jack. "I hope that's not a problem with you." Without waiting for Jack's response, he began heading towards his office.
"Cal, don't be difficult." Gillian's voice was in a warning whisper. Despite knowing what was going to be said, she followed him out of the lobby and into his office.
He took his time, making sure the door was fully closed behind them before speaking again. "Jack Rader? Really? I mean, I know that your divorce is final now and he sent you flowers before but…a date? With him?"
"I know he's not your favourite person but you're the one with the problem with him, not me. He's been nothing but a gentleman to me."
"That's cuz the man's a snake!" He pointed angrily at the general direction where Jack was still waiting.
"Just cuz I'm not a natural like you doesn't mean I haven't learned a few things over the past six years working here. I can still tell when someone's trying to pull one over on me."
"I'm not undermining your skills. That isn't what I meant."
"Why don't you just tell me what happened between you and Rader? Maybe then, I'd understand."
He shook his head in frustration. "It's a long story…"
"Fine. Then I'm going." Her tone told him this discussion was over.
"Just be careful."
She gave him one final glance before leaving.
Ria had watched the entire scene unfold from the kitchen. After Gillian had left with Jack, Cal had burrowed in his office, obviously not wanting to answer any questions any of his staff might've had. The same questions Ria had herself. She headed straight for the lab where she found exactly who she was looking for. "Hey, what's the deal with Lightman and Rader, anyway?"
Eli smiled, his eyes focused on the screen in front of him. He was watching a clip on the mating ritual of Bengal tigers. "What do you think is the deal with them?"
"If you dunno the answer, you could just say so." She turned to leave but stopped when Eli held up a folder. "What is that?"
"Unpaid interns do the dirty work – background checks, research on history, that kinda stuff. Usually bores me to death but, this time, I had fun." He handed her the folder and began spouting information that was within it. "Jack Rader was a student of sorts of Lightman's. In a couple of interviews, actually, Rader's referred to Lightman as his mentor. But instead of working for Lightman, the guy opened up his own firm shortly after the Lightman Group was established. In fact, Rader's firm actually took a few high-profile cases from out under Lightman's nose."
"Ouch. That couldn't have gone well over with Lightman."
"Yeah, it's never fun when a student upstages the teacher. When Rader was here, he kept preaching to me about how Lightman never appreciates other people's skill sets and accomplishments…"
"He tried to poach you?" Ria asked with slight amusement.
"Is that so surprising? I might've been demoted but my skills haven't been."
"Right…" She continued smiling.
"Anyway, I thought the guy got tired of living in Lightman's shadow and just decided to do his own thing."
"He seemed arrogant enough to do something like that. Wait…you said you thought that was what happened? What do you mean?"
Eli grinned, clearly enjoying knowing more than Ria. "I did a bit more digging and found this." He tapped a few keys on his keyboard and pulled up a website on his computer.
Ria bent over to read the screen. "Rader was arrested before?"
"Mmhmm…for some fraud scheme. I skimmed through the article. He was never charged. Ended up being a primary witness. This happened exactly six years ago."
"Which is when Lightman started this place…"
"And when Rader started his. I'm guessing whatever caused the rift between them is related to this case." He poked his screen with his pen.
"Huh…" Ria patted him on the shoulder. "Good job, Loker. I think you have a real future as an unpaid intern." When he looked at her indignantly, she smiled to let him know she was joking.
"I take it Lightman gave you a hard time for agreeing to have dinner with me tonight." Jack smiled, taking a sip of his wine.
"I'm a big girl, I can make decisions for myself."
"Good. I'm glad. Whatever happened between me and him, it would be a pity to let that get in the way of…us."
Gillian looked at her dinner date and studied his face for a moment. "I hope you don't make me regret agreeing to this dinner."
"I never disappoint. But I guess you've heard otherwise."
"You know, I only know that things ended badly between you and Cal. He's never spoken a word to me about what happened."
"He may have a compulsive need to uncover everyone else's secrets but when it comes to his own, he's almost a little too good at keeping them."
"I take that as a hint that I shouldn't ask you for details?"
"There's plenty of time for you to get to know me." When Gillian gave him a look that told him she was dissatisfied with his answer, he added, "I will say this – I don't regret what I did and despite how things have ended up, I will always see him as my mentor. He taught me everything I know. My only regret is that because of what I did, I never got the chance to work with you."
"Are you always this smooth?"
"I'm just being honest." He flashed her another grin before picking up his menu. "So, you ready to order?"