Gillian closed the door, sparing a second to take a deep breath and glance out to make sure no one had followed Cal. But that was silly. He was safe. He was here.
She turned and saw him standing in her living room, hands jammed into his pockets, looking like he might explode out of his skin at any second. "Can I get you anything?"
He turned, a strange look on her face. "If we were in a hotel room and you could order one thing from room service, would it be chocolate cake, strawberries, or warm honey?"
"Are they out of orange slushies?"
He laughed. "Now, that's an answer no one thinks of." He moved toward her and seemed to relax a little. "I wouldn't say no to some whiskey."
"I'll join you."
He followed her into the kitchen, stood close, the way he always did. She turned just enough to see him studying her with even more intensity than normal.
She poured out two fingers for each of them and handed him the glass. "Cal, what's wrong?" She smiled, realizing how stupid that sounded after the day they'd had. "I mean, is this about Matheson or something else?"
"You cried, today, with Matheson. Pleaded with him, even."
"I was worried about you." She took a deep breath. "He loved his wife. He thought the best of her. I thought if I let him see how I felt that he'd..."
"That he'd just let me go?'
She nodded. "It didn't work."
"It was a nice try." He moved closer, held up his glass. "To surviving."
She clinked her glass against his gently, then sipped the amber liquid that burned as it went down. "I was so scared."
"I was scared he'd hurt you."
"What about you?"
He shrugged, seemed to have moved imperceptibly closer. Did he have any idea how much he invaded her space? Did he have any idea that she let him do it when she wouldn't have let anyone else?
"You don't matter, Cal?"
"Love, I've had so many chances in this life. And I've been lucky. If Matheson had taken me down, then it would have been sad, sure--for you, and for Emily, who I don't fancy leaving alone without a dad. But...no, I don't matter. Not the way you do. If he'd hurt you. If I'd brought that into your world..."
"Brought that--what are you talking about? If anyone brought him into our world, it was Torres and she feels horrible about that."
"Not what I mean." He stroked back her hair, playing with the tendrils that always escaped when she pulled it off her face. His touch was gentle and sweet. "My world...it's ugly at times."
"No, Cal. Our world is ugly. Our world." She pulled him to her, needing another hug, even if it was awkward and one armed, with them trying to not spill their drinks all over each other.
He nuzzled her neck, his lips reminding her that she'd kissed him after their first hug. A quick kiss. One they'd done before, but not often. He was kissing her neck now, and this was different, and it felt good, so she moved her head to give him access, shivered as his breath lingered on a spot under her ear.
Then he pulled away, not meeting her eyes as he took her hand and drew her into the living room. He sat on the couch and pulled her down next to him. She cuddled in, her legs curled up under her, her head resting on his shoulder. They drank in silence, and she looked up and found him watching her again with the stare she knew gave a lot of people the creeps.
She smiled at him, liking the stare, liking that he looked, that he saw, really saw her.
"What if there were no orange slushies?" he asked softly.
"In your hypothetical hotel?"
"Then it's not much of a hotel and I don't want to stay there." She stuck her tongue out at him and he laughed. "What would you order?"
"Ah, I'm the interviewer, not the interviewee. I don't have to answer."
He shook his head and she didn't push him.
"They really don't have orange slushies?"
"Then strawberries." She could practically feel him smiling. "I take it that's the right answer?"
"Something like that."
She looked up at him. "It's an odd selection to choose from. Warm honey? I mean, I get the sexual overtones of the answer, but isn't that going to get old after about three licks?"
He started to laugh and she mock punched him.
"I mean it. Aside from the whole mess factor. It's a bit of a taste buzzkill."
"And you have issues with chocolate cake?"
"Why would I have issues with chocolate cake?" She smiled. "Can't I have both the strawberries and the chocolate cake? The kitchen can send them up and keep the kama sutra honey."
He laughed again.
She relaxed against him, glad he was laughing. He'd looked so...off when he'd rushed out of the office, handing her the gun and taking off. And when he'd come to her door, he'd kept backing up and then invading her space, then retreating again. As if he couldn't believe he'd come to see her. As if he wanted to run.
"Would you really want the honey, Cal?"
"No, love. You're right. A little goes a long way." He tipped her chin up so she had to look at him. "I can still have it in my tea, though, can't I?"
"Big of you. Thanks loads." He smiled, and she smiled, and then he leaned down and kissed her, the same way they'd kissed at the door, but not as quick, not as furtive.
When he pulled away, he was smiling and the last of the wildness was gone from his eyes. "Foster, why did you lie?"
"Lie? When?" She tried to read his eyes, tried to figure out how they'd gotten from a gentle kiss to this question.
"At your door. You don't even have a spare room, do you?"
She could feel herself blushing. "I might have one."
"No, you don't. You shook your head no when you said I could stay."
"Well, you're inside, so I obviously wasn't lying about you staying."
"No, you were lying about where I was going to stay." He leaned in again, kissed her and this time his mouth opened slightly, and he was pressing her just a little.
She opened her mouth to him, felt his tongue make the barest of inroads into her mouth and then retreat.
He pulled away again. "You taste so good," he said, his gaze never wavering from her face.
"You do, too."
"So what are my actual options if the spare room is out?"
"Ah, the couch. Always a good fallback plan." He waited and she knew he was waiting, to see what she'd do, what she'd say, if she'd offer.
"Or there's a bed."
"There is? Fancy that. A bed in an apartment." He laughed softly. "Is this bed in the kitchen?" He pretended to be reading her face. "No, not there. The bathroom, then?" He set his glass on the side table, then took her glass and set it there, too. Moving slowly, as if he was giving her every opportunity to stop him, he pulled her close, into his arms. More than a hug, so much more. His mouth found hers and for a moment it was gentle and sweet and still in the realm of "they could stop this anytime, really." But then she moaned, and they were kissing desperately, and he was moving his hands under her sweater and then under her t-shirt, finally finding skin, making her moan again.
He pulled her onto his lap, so much stronger than he looked; his strength always surprised her. She thought he would kiss her again, but his expression turned serious, and he held her at arms' length. "I wasn't joking, you know. You're the boss now when it comes to the business decisions."
"I mean it." He started to smile, in sort of a funny way.
"We're partners, Cal. I'm not the boss."
"But you have to be. Because I've always fancied shagging the boss."
She mock punched him again, and he laughed and pulled her back, and kissed her, and she knew there was no way they were going back to being just friends.
"The bedroom. The bed's in the bedroom," she said when he finally let her up. "My bed in my bedroom."
"Amazing. I never would have figured that out all on my own."
"Do you want to make sure it's all right? My bed, I mean. In my bedroom." She gulped and hated that she did it, hated more that his eyes narrowed as he caught it.
"Love, we don't have to go in there at all. The couch is fine for me and we can take this slow."
She shook her head. "It's just...there's been no one but Alec, and he didn't want--" God, this was hard to say. Her husband hadn't wanted her. Hadn't touched her. Hadn't probably loved her at the end, when he acted like she was mostly shrew and hardly any bit woman.
"You know what I want for you, Gillian?"
She smiled, knew Cal was calling her by her given name because as much as he loved calling her Foster, that belonged to Alec, too, and this wasn't a night for him. Even if she wasn't giving up the damn name, couldn't since her professional credibility was built under that name. Stupid damn tradition to change your last name for a man.
He waited for her, smiling as he watched her face. "You done thinking yet?"
She laughed. "What do you want for me, Cal?"
"I want you to have some fun. In fact, if I were a decent man, I'd leave and let you find a nice normal fellow to be with. A stockbroker or a banker. Someone to treat you right and maybe give you good advice on the accounts I've bollixed up."
She shook her head. "Normal wouldn't cut it anymore." She ran her finger down his cheek, then over his forehead, easing her way around the wound he hadn't let her touch earlier. He didn't shy away this time. "Fun sounds nice, though."
"I think I can manage to show you some fun." He pushed her up, let her take his hand and guide him to the bedroom. Just before they crossed the threshold, he pulled her back, his chest pressed up against her, his arms going around her. He whispered in her ear, "I'll make this fun, I promise you that, love. But it won't just be for fun. You understand the difference, right?"
She nodded, then moaned as he didn't let go, as he started to kiss the back of her neck, the feel of his lips making her shiver. "It won't be just fun for me either, Cal."
"I love it when we're on the same page." He turned her, laughed when she grabbed him by the collar and pulled him into the bedroom.
She began to unbutton his shirt, but he grinned and pulled it over his head. She ran her fingers around the tattoo on his right bicep, touched the other, individual designs that seemed almost randomly placed on the same arm.
"Someday I'll tell you what they all mean."
"I'd like that." She met his eyes, slowly slid her sweater off.
He eased the t-shirt off her, much gentler with it than he'd been with his own shirt. He studied her for a long moment, seemed to be drinking in how she looked standing there in her pants and bra.
"Do I pass?"
"Oh, yes, my dear. You more than pass." He undid his pants and pulled them off, and then eased her pants down so they pooled around her ankle and she could step out of them.
She could see how much he wanted her--how much of him there was to want her. She was suddenly embarrassed and looked down, hoping to God she'd be good, she'd please him.
"Whoa, whoa, where are you going in there?" He tipped her chin up, kissed her before she could travel much farther on the self-doubt highway.
They stood, pressed together, skin to skin, and he reached behind her and undid her bra, then slid her underwear off. He met her eyes, nodded and smiled, and she slid her fingers under the waistband of his underwear and eased it off him.
He grinned and pushed her back, kissing her as they shuffled until the bed hit the back of her legs and she felt him ease her onto the bed, then follow her. They kissed and stroked and took turns being under each other, just learning how it felt to be close before they went any further.
He pushed her to her back, hooked his leg over hers and slowly pulled her leg toward him, leaving her open to him, vulnerable. She met his eyes, saw that he needed this, needed to be in control. He kissed her, his mouth gentle, his fingers less so. He knew exactly what he was doing, read her as thoroughly as he ever had and for once she didn't complain until he suddenly stopped what he was doing.
"Cal." She tried to push up against his hand; he didn't help her out.
"Not so fast. It can be a long, slow, excruciating journey." He started again, stopped as soon as she was almost there. Did it again. And again.
"Cal. Please." She was sweating, knew she was flushed as she moved next to him, trying to make him touch her.
He kissed her and then his fingers dipped in again. This time he didn't stop.
She hoped to hell the walls were soundproof. He looked very pleased with himself as he watched her as she came down.
"Mmmm," was the best she could manage.
"Well said, love." He moved over her, kissing his way from her belly to her chest to her neck, then her lips again. With an almost fierce smile, he moved into her, and she drew him in more by wrapping her legs around his waist.
She could tell he wanted to control this, too, but she didn't let him. She kissed him and bucked underneath him and used every muscle she could squeeze down there to make him cry out and clutch at her.
She knew she must look pretty pleased with herself when he collapsed against her. He tried to roll off, but she held him fast.
"I'm too heavy."
"I won't break."
He studied her, the intensity seeming to come back as his focus returned. With a soft smile, he said, "No, I guess you won't break, will you?"
"Which is good. Because I intend for there to be a lot more fun before we're done for the night--or morning."
She let him go, sighed happily as he rolled off and pulled her into his arms. "Fun is good."
"Yes, love. Fun is very good."