"I knew it was bad news when you asked to see me before our second date tonight." Jack sighed and leaned back in his chair. Gillian had called earlier in the day to tell him she would be showing up in his office later. "Did Lightman get to you?"
"No." She shook her head. "I guess it's one of the pitfalls of our job…always having to know the truth. I came across some information about your past…"
"I didn't peg you to be the judgmental type."
She bristled at his suggestion. "I'm not. But when I asked Cal about it…"
"He finally told you." He laughed, looking down at his hands. "I didn't think he would. I guess I underestimated just how much you mean to him."
His words broke her train of thought. She hadn't expected him to say that.
Interpreting her expression correctly, he laughed again. "For someone who has worked day in and day out with him for the past six years, you sure are clueless about what he really wants."
"Oh, and you, who has basically not been in the same room as him for the past six years…you know what he wants?"
"Of course. He wants what he's always wanted. He hasn't gotten it yet so, it's only natural that he still wants it." At her questioning look, he explained, "When I pointed the finger at John Hastings, Lightman wasn't mad that I had betrayed his friend…he was mad cuz he knew with Hastings out of the picture, he would be forced to make a decision about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life."
"Don't tell me you're gonna try to twist this around and make it sound like what you did was noble."
He shook his head. "Well you can't stand there and tell me I was completely wrong either. Hastings was as much of a conman as Lightman and I were. He deserved to go to jail."
"So did you but you didn't have to because you put all the blame on Hastings."
"Lightman had an opportunity to go to the police and to tell them the truth. He could've gone and confessed. They would've taken us both to jail along with Hastings but he didn't. He's no less guilty than I am. But that's not my point. My point is…with his conman buddy out of the picture, Lightman was free to do whatever the hell he wanted and that included going clean. You know as well as I do how hard it was to convince him to go clean while Hastings was still around. You remember how it was…"
She nodded, finally agreeing with something he said. John Hastings was a virus she was glad had been cleaned from Cal's life. She had been so grateful for it six years ago, she had never questioned him where his partner had disappeared to. "Not even Zoe could convince him."
"Exactly. And yet, the moment Hastings was gone he came to you. Not to his wife, not to save Hastings, but to you. He came to you."
"What are you trying to say, Jack?"
He grinned. "When he was finally free to be a better man, the first person he wanted to show off his new life to was you. I think you know exactly what I'm trying to say."
Cal was waiting at her door when she got home. Nothing he did ever surprised her anymore. She fished her keys out of her purse and entered the apartment before acknowledging his presence. "Are you gonna come in?"
He nodded, grateful for the invitation. "So…you talk to Rader?"
"Were you afraid I wouldn't come home? That he'd convince me to…"
"Yes." He answered almost too quickly.
She looked at him. "You know, considering we've worked together for six years and known each other for much longer, you'd think you would've developed some level of trust for me by now."
"I do trust you. It's Rader I don't trust."
Too tired to continue this exchange, she sighed. "I told him it would be best if we kept our relationship platonic."
"That's…good." He tried to keep his voice as casual as possible. When she didn't respond, he asked, "Did he try to deny anything? Twist anything around?"
"Tried but didn't put much effort into it. I think he knew better than to bother with me."
"I hope you know I really do trust you. It's just…" He trailed off, struggling for the right words.
"You don't trust Rader. You were afraid he'd steal me from you. You didn't wanna lose me." She smiled.
"Well, I wouldn't go that far…" He shrugged, masking his true feelings with a smug smile. "Rader's alright but he's not me. I knew you'd stay."
She swatted his arm playfully. "You're all confidence and egotism now but just this morning, you looked ready to cry when I wouldn't tell you about my first date with him."
"Cry? Please, I was just worried about you, that's all." He pulled his phone out and pretended to play around with it. "Hey, hungry? How about some take-out?"
"Oh, no way…" She grabbed his phone from him. "I was supposed to have my second date with Jack tonight and you ruined that so, it's gonna take more than just take-out for you to make it up to me. Make a reservation at the new French restaurant downtown. I'm gonna go change."
"Slipping into something more comfortable for me, I see?" He raised his eyebrows cheekily.
She threw his phone back at him. "Make the reservation, Cal. I'll be ready in a minute."
He smiled as she disappeared into her room. Everything was going to be ok and that brought comforting warmth to him. He might be out a few bills tonight but he knew it would be worth it. With Gillian, it was always worth it.