Hello...this is my first LTM fic, but not my first fanfic. Thanks for reading...any constructive comments are welcome.
Chapter 1: Unsettled
Gillian heard the knock and got up to answer the door. She was almost certain it was Cal. She couldn't help the smile that graced her features as she greeted him, any more than he could control his own. In that brief moment he relaxed and she took a deep breath to steady her emotions. He was okay and he was here on her doorstep. Nothing else mattered.
She watched him hover around the real reason he was there, darting in and out of her doorway and staying just out of her reach. She wanted to touch him, but he drew back from her. It hurt, but not enough to break through the emotions surging in her threatening to break the composure she was desperately trying to maintain. She took another breath, beating back the emotions again. Cal wasn't here to tell her the outcome of the case, or to apologize for running out or to concede to her decisions…although she knew he meant it and appreciated all of it.
"I'm okay." She heard herself say the words, but they both knew it wasn't the whole truth. She knew he'd want to check on her after what happened. He had pulled her back from the edge that afternoon and she hung on to that resolve because she wanted to be strong for him when he finally came to her. It would be difficult for him to tell Emily everything that happened and he'd need some time to process it himself before telling his daughter.
Gillian was surprised at his request to stay at her place. She had assumed that he would come by as he did, but he had not stayed with her since his divorce was put into motion. As she moved aside to let him in, she gently laid her hands on his chest to stop him from moving past her and took him in her arms. She wrapped her arms around him and held fast as he embraced her. He finally moved out of her arms and kissed her quickly as he made his way to the interior of the house.
Still teetering on the edge of composure, her eyes scanned the area as she shut the door. There was no question in her mind that the uneasiness she felt, despite Cal's presence, was a result of the mayhem at the office. As she dropped her hand from the lock, Gillian felt a chill run through her and clutched her hands together willing them to stop shaking. She took a deep breath and held it for a few seconds before exhaling quietly and attempting to shake off the nerves.
"Relax…he's okay," she whispered to herself. The words had become her mantra ever since she watched him bolt from the office.
"What was that, love?"
Startled, she turned as Cal came toward her. She met his warm gaze and smiled at his familiar stance.
"Nothing. Just reminding myself to relax a bit."
Gillian felt the tears sting her eyes and looked down trying to regain some semblance of composure again. She wanted to be strong for him, but she was exhausted from the day and this constant battle to keep her emotions in check. She knew that the thought of not being there for Emily terrified Cal. She saw the toll it was taking on him throughout the day as the situation deteriorated and that asshole became more unstable. Each time she looked in his eyes, she saw his torment and fear.
They both knew that the bullet was mere inches away from ending his life. Her mind knew the burden he was running from as he gave her the gun meant to take his life and brushed passed her without a second glance. That knowledge was little consolation as her heart broke for him and his rejection brought on a wave of sadness. She knew that he would come to her eventually, he always did, but it was hell waiting for him to sort himself out.
Unable to quell the thoughts swirling in her mind, a single tear escaped and trailed down her face. She felt him tilt her head to meet his eyes once again. He gently brushed away the tear and ran his hands down her arms, taking her hands in his own.
"Hey…it's okay now. It's over."
She continued to battle her emotions as he held her close. He pulled back after a moment and held her hand over his heart.
"I'm still here, love, thanks to you."
As he held her hand to his chest, she felt the steady rhythm of his heart and it was her undoing. She clung to Cal as the tears fell and her body struggled for air and purchase; expelling the pain and fear that held her captive the minute she saw Ria, then Cal at the mercy of a gunman.
Gradually Gillian regained her bearings…the timbre of his voice as he whispered to her, the faint smell of his aftershave, the strength of his arms around her, and the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed. She pulled back and ran her hands along his stubble, searching his eyes.
"I thought I was going to lose you today, Cal."
She brought her fingers to his lips when she saw him starting to speak.
"Shhhh…I was so scared for you and Emily. I know that you were burdened with the thought of any of us being in danger, but putting yourself in place of all of us was reckless and brave. I saw how it affected you, knowing you may not live through it and it tore my heart out."
Gillian moved her hands to rest on his chest. He was searching her eyes and she left herself open to him. No more walls for her tonight. No more masks. No more hiding. Not tonight. Tonight she will open her heart to him.
"I saw you sacrifice yourself to the whims of an asshole with a gun. I saw your strength, vulnerability, intelligence, stupidity and tenacity, yet I was surprised by none of it. I've known you for a long time as your partner and your friend, but I can't hide from you anymore. I realized today that if you had died, you wouldn't have known the truth. It would've been too late."
"Gill? Too late for what?"
Cal shifted and cocked his head. She knew he was going through their interaction earlier. He would come to his answer, so she remained silent as he put it together.
He motioned to her as he broke from their embrace and started to pace the room.
"…when you confronted him and begged him to spare my life. There was more to it."
It wasn't a question. She knew that when he stopped pacing and turned to her. She saw the moment he pieced it together.
"You're in love with me…"
Cal's voice trailed off as his eyes turned distant.