So, I had the idea for this story straight after Tractor Man, but it's taken a long time to come together, mainly because when I have had time to write, I've been doing other things. But hopefully Tractor Man isn't too distant a memory ;-)
Disclaimer: None of this belongs to me
There's more to a song than meets the eye
"Anyone fancy a drink?" Gillian and Loker had both agreed, following Cal into his office. Loker still had a soppy smile on his face, and Gillian was still laughing at him about it as they sat down.
"You've got me to thank for that, you know," Cal told him as he found a bottle of scotch and three glasses, setting them down on the table.
"Er, why exactly?" Loker asked.
"Because I told you to stay in there and entertain the kiddies. It's thanks to me you ended up spending the day with her. I don't imagine she'd have been interested in you if she'd only seen you briefly this morning. So, yeah. You owe me." He finished pouring the drinks and sat down next to Foster.
"I'll remember that," Loker said dryly.
"I could have had you working the case with us; bombs instead of baby sitting. But I doubt you'd have got a snog from Harold."
Gillian laughed, and Loker reluctantly joined in. "Maybe from FBI Agent Steele, though," Cal continued. "I got a bit of a vibe from him – you get that kind of vibe from him?" he asked Gillian.
She shook her head, still laughing. "I think it was Loker's singing that won her over, actually." She took a sip of scotch, relaxing back on the sofa.
Gillian nodded, noticing Loker's slight embarrassment. "He wrote a song…"
"Well, technically I didn't write it, Oscar did. I just sang some of it."
"All about lies," Gillian told Cal, her eyes sparkling, although he wasn't quite sure why.
"Really? Let's have a listen then." Cal took a swig of his own drink.
"Excuse me?" Loker leaned forward as he spoke. "Since when have you cared about hearing me sing and play guitar?"
"I dunno… since my days at the office started coming with a helping of perilous life-endangering moments?"
"Well, I haven't got my guitar, or my choir, or my singing partner," – both Cal and Gillian noticed the flash of happiness on his face – "so it looks like you'll have to find another way to occupy your time when you're not having pow wows with bombers and rapists and men with guns."
Cal grinned, and stood up quickly. "Don't need any of that," he said, crossing over to his computer. A few seconds later, he'd found what he was looking for, and transferred it to the large screen in the room.
"Okay everyone, remember to sing in your parts, and help me out," Loker was saying as he started strumming on his guitar. Gillian and Loker both stood up and wandered over to join Cal, looking at the image on screen.
"Do we have to…" Loker began, but Cal shushed him.
"Someone once – very rudely – told me I have a hard time seeing the true potential of my employees. Well, this is my chance to rectify that. And if you're any good, I'm putting you in charge of day care, should we ever set one up here."
Gillian smiled at Loker, rubbing his shoulder briefly before turning her attention back to the video.
Cal watched Loker singing the beginning of the song, but his attention was drawn away from him when he saw the door open and Gillian stepped in; the angle of the camera caught her perfectly. As the children started joining in with 'white lie', Cal saw her face break into a smile. He'd seen her smile plenty of times, but there were different kinds of smiles, and this was his favourite. It wasn't a smile that masked sadness or pain or fear; it wasn't a smile of politeness, of greeting, of a friendly gesture; it wasn't a smile to say 'I'm okay' when really the answer was 'I'm not'. It was a smile of pure happiness. She didn't know anyone could see her, she wasn't smiling for any social reason or requirement. It was just a smile of utter happiness, and it made her look even more radiant. It was these smiles of Foster's that Cal loved the most, and he found himself unable to tear his eyes away from her as the video kept playing.
He watched her smile widen; the teacher had just sung something about chicken? Cal wasn't really paying attention to the words, if he was honest. He could hear the music, of course, and noticed when Gillian started moving her head slightly to the beat. Then she mouthed the line 'white lie' along with the children, and Cal honestly couldn't remember a time when he'd seen her look more adorable. Her eyes were shining as she looked at the children, but there was a glimmer of sadness there; did he only see it because he knew it had to be there? Gillian loved children, and Cal had never met anyone in his life who would make a better mother. Yet here she was. Still childless.
She started clapping as the song ended, and Cal was suddenly jolted from his thoughts by Loker's voice. "So?"
Loker gestured towards the video, the jerk of his head clearly saying, "Er, what do you think I'm talking about?"
"Don't be sarcastic," Cal told him.
Loker opened his mouth to respond, then closed it. There was no point arguing with Lightman.
"Very good," Cal said, pausing the footage, although he honestly couldn't say he'd paid the slightest bit of attention to the song. "Now, play time's over. I've got work to do, so clear off."
There was no aggression in his voice, and Loker knew better than to take his boss's comments personally, but he rolled his eyes slightly.
"I saw that."
Gillian smiled as she watched Loker amble out, then turned to Cal. "You okay?"
"You want me to 'clear off' as well?"
"Yes. Well, no. Well, yes, but I want you to come back."
She raised her eyebrows in question, a slight smile on her lips. "I've got a couple of things I need to do…" He waved his hands over his desk. "But I'm taking you out to dinner tonight. Be ready by seven?"
The surprise registered on her face briefly, but she rewarded him with another smile. "Okay. What's the occasion?"
"Since when do we need an occasion to have dinner together?"
"Because you didn't say that you wanted to have dinner, get dinner, grab some food, get a bite to eat, or any of the normal phrases we'd use when planning to eat together informally," she told him, and he half smiled and half groaned at her psychological analysis of what he'd thought was a simple sentence. "You said, 'I'm taking you out to dinner', so…"
"Oh just stop over analysing me will you, Foster," he said, giving her a small grin. "Seven. Be ready. Now go on, clear off or I'll never get all this done before then."
She smiled, then slowly turned and walked towards the door, wondering what had prompted this latest request from Cal. Not that she was complaining about it.
When the door had closed behind her, Cal rewound the tape a little, pausing it at the moment Gillian's face first broke into a smile. He zoomed in so that her face filled the screen, smiling sweetly as she watched the children. She's so beautiful. Cal had thought this many times since he'd met Gillian Foster – how could any man meet her and not think her beautiful? – but there were different kinds of beauty, and Gillian Foster encompassed them all. Perhaps tonight he would finally tell her.