He woke up to the smell of coffee and…what was that? It took a moment for him to gather himself and remember where he was. Gillian's. Her spare bedroom. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he threw his legs over the side of the bed and headed out into the hallway.
"Is that chocolate I smell?" He sniffed the air again as he entered the kitchen, which was where he found his hostess.
Gillian was at the dinner table, newspaper in one hand and a cup in her other. "Mmm…hot chocolate." She held her cup up but her eyes stayed on the paper. "I put on some coffee for you."
"Hot chocolate in the morning?" Chocolate pudding, orange slushies – hot chocolate shouldn't surprise him. He chuckled, finding a cup easily and pouring himself some coffee.
"Is there a better time for hot chocolate?" She looked at him as he joined her at the table.
He grimaced as the coffee hit the back of his throat. "Oh my God, what is this?"
"Coffee…" She said carefully before adding, "It's actually Alec's. I accidentally packed it with my other stuff. I don't drink coffee at home so, I just thought…" She trailed off and held back a laugh. "Is it that bad?"
He was already at the sink, pouring out the remnants of the drink. "Remind me to get you some real coffee." As he returned to the table, he read the curious look she was giving him and he answered, "You know, for the next time I get taken hostage and need to stay over for the night again."
She pursed her lips and put down her paper. "That's not funny, Cal."
"Too soon, yeah?" He leaned back, wrapping his arm around the back of the chair. "Sleep well, love?"
"Alright, considering…" She took a sip of her hot chocolate before returning the question, "You?"
"I think I would've been a lot worse if I had slept in an empty home." He paused before shooting up from his seat and gesturing towards the front door. "So, you gonna be ready after that hot chocolate of yours?"
"What? No…I mean, you should, at least, go home and shower…and change."
He lifted the front of his shirt up to his nose and sniffed it. "I'm not that bad. I've been worse."
"You should go home." She got up and patted him on the chest. "Get out of those clothes."
What she wasn't adding was, "Those clothes that you were wearing when you were taken hostage and had a gun pointed at your head all day."
He smirked. "Is that a request?"
The responding expression on her face told him she was in no mood to joke around. "Cal…"
"Alright then, I could use a real cup of coffee anyway." He looked pointedly at her before slipping on his blazer. "I'll see you later at the office?"
She nodded but said nothing. There was a pregnant pause as they looked at each other. The moment was quickly interrupted, however, by the jarring sound of Cal's phone. He muttered a curse under his breath as he fished it out of his inside pocket. "Yeah, hello?" He answered, though his eyes stayed on Gillian. She had turned away to give him some privacy.
He quickly finished the call and met with Gillian's eyes again. "Um…yeah, that was Zoe. Looks like she found out from someone other than me."
"She can't be happy about that."
"No, she's stomping mad. Says Em is a bit angry with me too. I should…"
"You should get going."
"Yeah…uh…yeah." A million different thoughts raced through his mind as he made the short trek to the front door. He stopped after opening it, allowing the bright morning sun pour into the room. "Um…so…I'll see you at the office then?"
She smiled gratefully as he placed a reassuring hand on her arm as he said goodbye. Even though they had both calmed a lot since last night, she knew nothing would be the same. Morning after's were never fun to deal with, she thought to herself as she closed the door, but they would all have to deal with this one no matter how much they didn't want to.
When Cal returned home, he was surprised to find that his daughter was still there along with her mother. His surprise quickly turned to annoyance as Zoe intercepted him between the front door and the stairs.
"I know you're angry with me but if you don't mind, I'd really like to shower before I argue with you."
She grabbed his arm as he tried to slip past her. "Where were you all night?"
He glared at her, clearly getting more annoyed by the second, but all of his emotions dissipated when he spotted Emily peeking out from the kitchen. "Hi, love, I thought you'd be on your way to school by now." He gave one last glance at Zoe before making his way towards his daughter.
"I thought I'd make sure you were alright before I headed out."
The fact that he could only find worry in her eyes made him feel guilty for the first time since entering the house. "I'm sorry. I'm alright. I really am. I should've called you earlier…"
Emily seemed much more willing to forgive than her mother. She stretched her arms out to invite her father into a hug and he obliged gratefully. "I'm just glad you're ok, Dad." As he pulled away, she managed a playful smile and asked, "Where did you stay last night, anyway?"
"I stayed at Gillian's, actually." He found it rather amusing when he noticed the surprise on Emily's face.
She clearly had not expected such honesty from him, at least, not so quickly without any prodding necessary. "Is she alright?"
"Yeah, love, no need to worry. She's just a bit shaken up, is all."
"I can imagine…" Emily shot a quick glance over her father's shoulder at her mother, who was still standing frigidly at the bottom of the stairs. "Um…ok, I better get going. I don't wanna be late. I'm really glad you're ok, Dad. Try not to have anymore guns pointed at you today, ok?" She gave him a quick pat on the shoulder and gave Zoe a quick peck on the cheek before leaving.
Cal smiled but his smile faded when he turned and remembered that his ex-wife was still waiting for him. "I don't wanna talk about it right now, Zo." He lifted his hand to stop her and, this time, successfully slipped past her onto the staircase.
"No, of course, you never liked talking to me. That was how it was when we were married. Why should I expect anything different now that we're apart?"
Stopping halfway up the stairs, he turned and looked down at her. She had her arms crossed. He knew she was angry and annoyed but so was he. "If you came here to argue with me, I'm afraid you've just wasted a trip. If you came to ask how I was doing, I can tell you I'm fine. That's it. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to shower and change and go to work cuz apparently, being taken hostage doesn't give you a free pass from work."
She knew the discussion was over. With one last pointed look, he turned and made the rest of his way up the stairs. By the time he had locked himself inside the bathroom, he could hear the front door opening and closing, signifying Zoe's exit. He sighed, looking at himself in the mirror. He looked haggard. I guess being a hostage for an entire day could tire you out. But there was no resting now. His office and work were waiting.