Pre-series, pre-Foster's marriage. I think of 'Foster' as being her maiden name, by the way. I think she'd already made a name for herself as 'Gillian Foster' so kept it for work. Just me, I know.
"If someone's gotta teach her how to avoid her feelings, you're the most qualified."
"Finally," he muttered, setting his sights on the elusive bar. The signs in the 'bloody' hotel had taken him on a scenic route from his room, not helping to elevate his mood in the slightest.
Zoe had conveniently taken an out-of-state assignment for the weekend and Emily was with her Grandparents while Cal went to the wedding alone.
The wedding. He had no idea how it had come around so quickly. It seemed only weeks since Gillian had come into the office, practically sparkling as brightly as the ring on her finger. He was happy for her, he was, but...Alec had caught way above his league. Way above.
He crashed through the double doors, the contents of the mini-bar possibly beginning to take effect. The bar doubled as the dining hall, apparently, and was half decorated for the wedding reception. Most of the lights were off, designating the decorated portion off limits, but it was there that he saw a single lonely figure hunched over a whisky tumbler.
Despite the bartender's protests, he meandered his way through the tables. "Foster?" he cocked his head the side, assessing the situation.
"Not for much longer!" she slurred, raising her glass in the air.
Cal smirked, taking a seat opposite her. "How many have you had?"
"I see," he laughed.
The moon was low in the sky, bathing the table in light from the large high windows. It was only now that he could see her properly. Face scrubbed clean of make-up in preparation, a smattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks. He'd never seen her freckles before, only hints under make-up. Coupled with the moonlit halo glowing on her hair, Gillian Foster was nothing short of mesmerising.
'Matthews', he scolded himself. 'Gillian Matthews. Married lady.'
The only thing missing was her smile, and now that he looked at her, it seemed very far away. "What's wrong, love?"
"Nothing," she breathed, her head resting on her hand.
She didn't reply, just stared into the amber liquid in her glass. He snatched the drink from her hand and placed it at her side. She pulled a shaky hand to her lips, eyes still not meeting his.
He recognised the self-shushing gesture. He could feel the tight ball of annoyance growing in his chest because she felt she couldn't talk to him. They were talking about setting up a bloody business together, they'd have to talk then! "Okay, just look at me then," he snapped. He dipped his head, trying to see her eyes, but watched her lips tighten to an angry line. "Gill!"
Her hand slammed into the table as her head snapped up.
His back hit the chair, trying in vain to disguise the shock on his face at the full range of emotions flitting across her features.
Fear. Embarrassment. Hope. But most prominently, love.
Gillian, of course, caught every expression on Cal's face. He'd taught her well.
Shock. Fear. ...Love.
Every breath left her body when he looked at her with pity. That emotion washing away the other expressions and her hope along with it.
"There's my answer," she sighed, trying to keep her tears at bay as she snatched back her whisky and swallowed it in one mouthful.
Cal spun in his chair, watching her swoop past him and out of the room. He tried to find words to make her stay, but he could only say her name again and again, pleading.
She ran through the maze of corridors, a hand covering her face as she lost the control over her tears. She would have done it. She laid everything out for him to accept or decline. Didn't disguise the truth behind ambiguous words - she had the words an hour before when she was stood outside his room trying to knock. No, she'd saved him all that bullshit and just gave him the plain honest emotions she was feeling.
He just had to say the word and she would have left the hotel. Left her family. Left Alec.
All for Cal Lightman.
But even after all the conversations about how his was marriage was just routines and fighting and the waiting for the other to officially call a halt... he still couldn't say anything.
He was still a coward.