This just came into my head after watching Fold Equity… it's not that great, but it's 1.30 in the morning and I'm tired, so I'm just going to post it lol.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Ultimate Gamble

Cal licked his lips, the heady mix of danger and excitement pulsing through his body as he pushed the stack of chips onto 00, drawing gasps from the gathering crowd. A second later she was at his side, and what was intended to be a cursory glance turned into a full 5 second surveillance of her as he drank in her appearance from head to toe. Smart, open-toed heels, an off the shoulder black dress that hugged her figure oh so well, her hair looking amazing… Cal didn't think it was possible for his pulse to quicken any further since he was already at the roulette wheel making the biggest bet of his life, but he hadn't banked on Foster looking even more incredible than usual and standing right next to him.

"Alright love?" he managed, dragging his eyes back to the spinning ball on which so much rested.

"Cal." Anger, disappointment, fear, disapproval… they all mingled on her face and in her voice, just as Cal had expected. She held her breath as she waited for the ball to finally settle, sensing Reynolds inching slightly closer to her as the throngs of people behind them pushed forward a little to see better.

The ball seemed to take an age to stop rattling around the wheel; the silence was palpable, and although Cal's eyes were glued to the drama unfolding before him, his mind flicked briefly back to Gillian in that dress. Damn, she looked hot.

Finally, it happened – it slowed, it slowed a little more, and it stopped. On double zero.

The crowd erupted; a mixture of admiration, surprise, jealousy and the pure carnival atmosphere that only a winning streak in Vegas could provide. People were slapping Cal on the back, making remarks along the lines of "you lucky bastard!" and "how did you pull that one off?" and "make sure you don't get mugged on the way home, mate." As Cal pulled his winnings towards him, he turned to Gillian – only to find a short blonde woman in a blue dress that definitely wasn't Gillian.

"Foster?" He peered around, but could see no sign of her. Scooping up his winnings into two of the casino's boxes, he headed towards the front of the casino. He still couldn't see her – or Reynolds.

Five minutes later, having had his money converted from chips to dollars and wired to The Lightman Group's account, Cal was pacing the streets outside the Strip, wondering what had happened to Gillian. After half an hour he stopped, and sat down on the edge of an ornate fountain, heaving a big sigh.

"That was really stupid you know," came a voice from behind him.

He turned around and saw her approach from the other side of the fountain.

"Where've you been?" he greeted her, although she noticed the slight smile that slid quickly onto his face when his eyes alighted on hers.

"Ben and I were just having dinner in the restaurant over there." She pointed to a Chinese place barely twenty yards from where Cal was now sitting. "Saw you walk past a few times," she added casually, and Cal started to protest, when he realised that he had no right to.

"I suppose I deserved that," he admitted, and she raised her eyebrows at him.

"You deserve a lot worse than that, Cal Lightman."

"Look, I know you're mad, but I won. You saw I won, right?"

"Yes, Cal. I was there for that happy moment." She sighed. "You don't get it, do you? It's not about the money."

"So what is it about then?" he asked, although he had a feeling he already knew the answer.

"It's about you. It's about what this place does to you. I've picked up the pieces too many times before, Cal. I know how this story goes, and I'm not too thrilled at the prospect of having to go through it all again."

"You won't," he said firmly. "I promise, love. I know what I did was stupid – taking a risk like that, but you know why I did it?"

She nodded. "Because you're a thrill seeker. And I'm not asking you to change who you are at heart, Cal, but… there are limits. And you seem to forget that sometimes."

"I know, love. I'm sorry." He patted the edge of the fountain next to him. "Care to join me? Or is Reynolds waiting for you to return to your duck pancakes for two?"

She let out a soft chuckle. "I told him I could be a while talking to you. I didn't know what sort of state you'd be in. He's heading back to the hotel; he said he'll meet us out front tomorrow for the cab ride to the airport."

Cal nodded. "Sorry I cut your evening short."

"It's okay."

"He won't think it is. I saw the way he was looking at you."

"Cal." A faint blush appeared on her cheeks, and Cal was amazed at how she could look both seductively sexy and heartbreakingly beautiful at the same time.

"I'm just saying, he fancies you, that's all. So if you two do decide to hook up for the night…"

"What? You'd be okay with that?"

He trained his eyes on her, noticing the surprise and slight disappointment in her voice.

"Sure. As long as it doesn't interfere with your work and you steer clear of wedding chapels tonight." He paused, then made the mistake of glancing back up at her eyes. Heartbreakingly beautiful had really been an understatement. "No," he said, amending his answer. "No, I wouldn't be alright with it." She didn't answer, and after a moment he forged ahead with a question of his own. "Were you okay with me sleeping with Poppy?"

Her face gave away her answer, whether she wanted it to or not, but she straightened her shoulders and simply answered curtly, "I didn't think it was very professional."

"No, it wasn't," Cal agreed.

"And she's a bitch," Gillian added, and he laughed.

"Yeah… I'll give you that one as well."

Gillian let out a long sigh that seemed heavy with sadness. "I do get it, you know. She was a temptation, a challenge, a seductive woman… and very beautiful," she added, and Cal felt he had to intervene about that last point.

"Not compared to some women."

"You've slept with more beautiful women than her? Well, congratulations, Cal," she said somewhat bitterly.

"I know more beautiful woman than her. Well, one in particular. Miles more attractive than Poppy. Stunning, in fact. Gorgeous, sexy, funny, smart, loyal… really aren't enough positive words in the dictionary to describe her, love."

An awkward silence fell between them, and Cal wondered if it was the excitement of Vegas, of winning at the roulette wheel or the sheer pleasure of having Foster so close to him looking so exceptionally wonderful that had caused him to blurt out the truth like that. "Sorry, love," he said, attempting a wry smile. "Usually better at keeping my feelings in check than that."

She swallowed, knotting her fingers together in her lap.

"But women like Poppy… she's your type. Not…" Me, she added silently, unable to say the word out loud in case it had all been a misunderstanding, and he wasn't actually talking about her at all.

"She's the type of woman I tend to have one-night stands with, yeah," he conceded. "But there's a difference between looking for a bit of fun and someone to take the loneliness away just for one night and actually being with the one you…" Was he going to say the word? "love," he finished. There. Said it.

For a moment, Gillian didn't say anything, just rubbed her hand over her wrist, gazing stoically into her lap.

"If you like white-water-rafting, you'll never be content living somewhere where the biggest expanse of water is a village pond."

Her analogy wasn't lost on him, although her blindness to the truth almost startled him. Is that really what she thinks?

"I'd hardly call you a pond, love," he said mildly, offering her a smile, but she didn't return it.

"You know what I mean, Cal. I know what we have – our relationship, our friendship. I'm the one who picks up the pieces when things start to go wrong, I'm the one you can depend on and rely on, I'm the one who'd do anything for you." She took a deep breath. "I'm not the kind of woman you'd fall in love with."

"Foster," he said, resting his fingertips on her chin and forcing her to meet his eyes. "That's all very well and good in theory, but there's one problem." She questioned him with her eyes, and he continued, a grin slowly edging onto his face. "The problem with your theory is, I've been in love with you for years. So I think we'll have to conclude that your theory is, in fact, utter bollocks. You're exactly the kind of woman I'd fall in love with; in fact, you're the only woman I've ever really, truly loved."

"What about…"

"I loved Zoe," he said. "In a way. But not like I love you."

"Why are you telling me all this now?" She met his eyes, and he smiled softly at her.

"What can I say, love." He shrugged. "I'm a truthful guy. Plus that dress is enough to make anyone confess his feelings – I'm surprised Reynolds hasn't made a move by now."

"Stop," she said, hitting him lightly on the arm as a quiet giggle rose from her throat. They both reacted to the touch of her hand on his arm, and Gillian let it rest there as she kept her eyes on Cal's.

"So what do we do now?" she asked in a whisper.

Cal put on a mock thoughtful expression. "I see a wedding chapel over there… fancy seeing if it's second time lucky?"

"Cal." This time her laugh was more pronounced.

"Hey," he admonished, "don't laugh, I'm a millionaire you know. Any woman would be lucky to have me."

"They would," she agreed, reaching up to stroke her hands through his hair. He shivered at her touch, delighting in the new intimacy that had developed between them in minutes. "But I'm the only woman who is going to have you," she whispered in his ear, and he felt his blood pressure start to rise again. Waiting for the roulette wheel to stop spinning when you had a million dollars riding on the outcome was thrilling, but even that didn't compare to the torrent of feelings sweeping through his body right now as he looked at Gillian, her eyes dark with arousal, her voice soft and sweet, her hand entwined with his. The people in the casino thought Cal's actions earlier were a gamble – if only they knew. I've just taken the biggest gamble of my life, he thought, squeezing Gillian's hand. And I'm going to make damn sure it pays off.



A/N One-shot? Or continue? I don't know! Reviews much appreciated!!