A/N: I know it's been a while, and I apologize for that. I honestly did plan to update sooner, but as you all know, I was clearly unsuccessful. But, if it's any consolation, this chapter is longer than the last two chapters put together.
"You've reached Alec Foster, I can't take your call right now but please leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks."
"Hey, Alec, it's Gillian. Listen, I have something that I – that we really need to talk about… um, call me back as soon as you get this, okay?" For a few moments, even after she had snapped her phone shut, she wasn't sure whether she was relieved or disappointed that Alec hadn't picked up. On one hand, it meant that she didn't have to worry about explaining the situation to him until later. On the other, she knew she was simply postponing the inevitable.
Walking back into the Lightman Group a few hours later, Gillian was nervous. While Dr. Anderson hadn't said anything that had particularly surprised her, it was still both thrilling and terrifying to have her confirm what the home pregnancy tests had already told her. Of course, working at the Lightman Group meant that she had to try harder than she would with average people to conceal her anxiety. Although she knew that Cal had given Torres and the rest of the staff the 'mind your own business' spiel on multiple occasions, she also knew that they were only human and were bound to ask questions and talk amongst themselves regardless of what their bosses said.
According to Heidi, Cal's meeting was apparently taking longer than he had expected, so he wasn't back yet. Since Loker and Torres were working on a project of their own, the building seemed to be quiet and under control, so Gillian decided to take her temporary reprieve as an opportunity to catch up on some paperwork that she and Cal - mostly Cal - had fallen behind on.
Unfortunately, it was nearly impossible to focus on paperwork while simultaneously trying to combat morning sickness. And if she thought she had felt sick a few weeks ago, it was nothing compared to what she was feeling now. That meant it was very difficult for her to focus on reading people's body language and micro expressions, which really hindered the past few investigations she had worked on. For example, the distracting and sudden onset of nausea had caused her to lose focus on a key piece of footage that she was analyzing with Loker and as a result she had missed the partial fear expression that the suspect had flashed when talking about his job. Given the fact that the man was an accountant, the fear ended up being crucial to their case, because the job of an accountant isn't typically something that instills fear. Thankfully, however, Loker was able to notice what she had missed, and they were able to complete the case without any further issues. But that small mistake led her to realize that she couldn't be so distracted during work, so she had tried several different 'remedies' for morning sickness, but in spite of what she had read, sipping ginger ale and nibbling on saltines was doing absolutely nothing to settle her stomach.
She was just returning from her second trip to the bathroom when Cal returned an hour later. He quickly fell into step beside her as she headed back to her office.
"How was your meeting?" She asked, pretending to be oblivious to the question she knew he was dying to ask.
"Eh," he waved his hand, "you know, boring as usual. How was your appointment?" And there it was.
"It was alright I guess, nothing I wasn't expecting," she paused and waited until they were safely behind the door of her office before continuing, "I'm already about five weeks along. But it is a high-risk pregnancy, and Dr. Anderson told me that we should be... prepared in case things go wrong."
Repeating the words was painful. It was emphasis on a point that she was already well aware of and thinking about far too often. Indeed, she had already had several nightmares about suddenly and tragically losing the baby – though she wasn't sure that there was any way other than tragically to lose a child. Often when she woke she found that she couldn't sleep again for the rest of the night, and passed the wee small hours of the morning by caressing her still-flat stomach and thinking about anything that didn't have to do with children until her alarm rang.
Cal allowed her a moment of silence, noting how her voice tightened on her last sentence and the way she didn't seem to know what to do with her hands once she sat down at her desk. "Did you ask about the paternity test?"
"Yeah, the earliest testing we can do is at ten weeks, so about five weeks from now." She paused a moment before adding, somewhat suddenly; "And I called Alec."
"Yeah? What did he say?" Cal tried to sound nonchalant, like he didn't really give a damn one way or another how Alec felt, but it was a wasted effort because Gillian knew him better than that.
"I don't know yet. I got his voice-mail, so I left him a message and I'm waiting for him to call me back. I told him it was important, so hopefully he'll call tonight."
Cal nodded and leaned casually against her desk, studying her. Her skin was pale, and her hair was slightly out of place, but she didn't look disheveled enough that anyone else would notice - after all, she was very good at keeping herself together - but Cal could tell that she wasn't feeling well.
"You alright, luv?" He asked quietly, not that there was any need to lower his voice other than wanting to be gentle with her. He had a tendency to speak – and act – harshly, and he knew it.
"Yeah, just a little morning sickness."
"Well, you look ill. Do you want me to take you home?"
"Cal, if I went home every time I felt a little sick, I wouldn't get anything done for the next few months, and then the entire company would be behind because we all know that you don't keep up with the finances." She said pointedly, throwing in a little 'tsk' and a wag of her finger for good measure.
"Are you trying to say that I don't do my fair share of the work around here, Foster?" He asked, pretending to be offended. He relished in the small grin it earned him before dropping the playful tone. "But, seriously, if you want to go home I can take you home. You went to the doctor today, so nobody would have any reason to be suspicious if you said you were feeling under the weather. Besides it's almost three o'clock and, barring a disaster, we're not going to have to do much for the rest of the day anyway."
"Exactly," she agreed, turning his point against him, "which is why I should take advantage of this time to catch up on the paperwork that you've been slacking off on." She teased.
"Alright then, if that's how you'd like to spend your afternoon, be my guest," he chuckled.
"Honestly, Cal, I'll be fine." She assured him, her tone serious once again.
"If you say so," he trusted that she would be, but he also had a feeling that she was playing down how bad she really felt, "anyway, I'm thinking of cutting out of here around five or five thirty, so I'll see you then?"
"Sure, but before we go back to your house, can we stop by my place? I have a few things I want to pick up."
"Whatever you want. Maybe… would you prefer to stay there tonight? I know you haven't spent a night at home in a while."
Even before they found out that she was pregnant, Gillian and Cal had been spending a lot of time together, mostly at Cal's place. At first she had only spent the occasional night over there – they didn't want to rush things – but after Gillian broke the news, they had unanimously decided that she would spend most of her nights over there. So now Gillian spent every night that Emily wasn't there at Cal's house. Cal said it was because he wanted to be there in case something went wrong, and though she wasn't sure that was the entire truth, Gillian wasn't about to complain about the company. Besides, Cal's bed was a lot warmer than hers – or maybe that was just because it had Cal in it…
"No, your place is fine. I just need to grab myself some more clothes and maybe another pair of shoes for work."
"Alright then, see you around five."
As expected, Cal met Gillian outside her office just a few minutes after five. Much to Cal's relief, he noted that she had regained most of the color in her cheeks, and no longer looked miserably nauseous.
"Feeling better?" He asked quietly, wary of anyone who might be in earshot.
She nodded. Together, they exited the building with a wave to Heidi, and headed out to Gillian's place.
"I might be a minute, so why don't you come in with me?" Gillian suggested when Cal parked the car in her driveway a few minutes later. He obeyed and sauntered behind Gillian into the house.
Strangely enough, Cal hadn't spent much time in Gillian's new place. Actually, he had only visited her here twice: on the night he spent in her guest room and once more when he had picked her up for dinner. Needless to say the only thing he was familiar with in her new home was her front room and her guest bed (Though, come to think of it, he had shared breakfast with her in the kitchen and spent a few minutes in her bathroom, but he hadn't been paying attention to details at the time and she hadn't had been quite finished decorating at the time.).
Foster's house was a bit different than he expected; he had assumed that she would be the type of person to go for the lighter, more cheerful colors, like yellows, purples, or light blues. Instead, she surprised him (as she seemed to do on a fairly regular basis, as if trying to keep him on his toes) with the dark blue of her living room and her choice of a sage green in the kitchen. The room that he was really curious to see, her bedroom, still reminded a mystery to him.
"You want to grab anything for you?" Cal asked, following her into her bedroom, trying to look casual about it. Being the skilled expert he was in body language, he was pretty sure that he had pulled it off, but the eye-roll Gillian gave him as she flopped down onto her bed told him that she was onto him.
"Very," he grinned wolfishly and bounced up and down on the mattress a few times, testing it, "if I'd known you'd had such a high quality mattress we would've been spending more time here."
She chuckled at his remark and headed to her closet, grabbing a few dresses, some pants and a few blouses. Cal paused and took a moment to take stock of her room. He knew that there was a lot that one could tell from a person's decorating tastes, and even though he had known Gillian for years, she still managed to surprise him, so he couldn't help wondering what kind of surprises waited for him within her room.
Her walls were a sort of light teal color, similar to that of the tropical waters one often saw in travel brochures. Her bedspread – a very soft, high quality bedspread, though he expected no less from Gillian – was ivory with delicate embroidering at its edges. The furniture – the bed, a bookshelf with alphabetized contents, a desk with stacks of the latest psychology books and journals, a nightstand, and an intriguing chest with a golden latch – appeared to be slightly weathered but sturdy, none of them seemed like they came together but they were all made of the same dark wood and they all fit together perfectly.
Actually, everything in the room seemed to fit perfectly together… everything except one. There was a lamp on the nightstand that wasn't quite in with the rest of the décor; while most of the things in the room were a neutral or teal color, this one lamp was red and stood out like a swollen thumb.
"So what's the story behind the lamp?" He asked, figuring there had to be a reason for it. Gillian was always perfectly put together in everything that she did – appearance, filing, paperwork, decorating – and he knew there had to be a reason for her to have a lamp that so obviously clashed with the rest of the room.
"Hmm?" Her voice was almost lost to the ocean of fabric that was her exquisitely organized closet, "Oh, the red one? It used to be in my living room back when Alec and I were still together. I brought it with me, but I still can't find a place for it. I figured I could use it to read by in here, for the time being."
Cal nodded and looked at the lamp wondering why, out of all the things she and Alec had shared in their home, she chose to bring that one with her.
Suddenly, as was often the case with such things, Cal was jolted out of his innocent musings by the chime of Gillian's doorbell.
"Expecting company?" He asked, slowly pushing himself up off her ever-so comfortable mattress.
"No…" She furrowed her brow, trying to think of whom it could be, "I'll get it, Cal."
"Alright…" He sunk back down into her mattress, but only for a moment, as his curiosity quickly got the better of him, and seconds later he was following Gillian down the hall to the front door.
"Alec!" Gillian exclaimed nervously. Had she been looking, she would have seen Cal straightening up slightly at the mention of her ex-husband, instinctively drawing himself up to appear larger and more intimidating. "What are you doing here?"
"I got your message and I was in the neighborhood, so I decided to stop by. You said you needed to talk to me?" Alec, as Cal had always thought, was absolutely miserable when it came to concealing body language and lies, and his ability to control the tone of his voice was almost non-existent. Then again, Cal thought that about pretty much everyone besides himself, but either way, it was very unlikely that Alec had 'just happened' to be in the neighborhood.
"Well I meant… on the phone…" Flustered, she glanced over at Cal, who shrugged.
"Sorry. I'm not interrupting your dinner or anything, am I?" He asked, stepping forward and craning his head around the door to see what Gillian was looking at. "Oh, hi there Cal. Long time no see."
Cal forced a smile – thought it ended up looking more like a grimace - and nodded his greeting.
"Uh no, Cal and I were just… discussing some things." Gillian said, closing the door behind Alec, who was already half way into the living room.
"Then let's get right to business so that I can get out of your way here. What was it you wanted to talk to me about?"
"I…" Gillian opened her mouth, but couldn't think of anything to say. She could have sworn that she'd had at least half a dozen carefully worded explanations worked out in her head no less than half an hour ago, but in that moment she couldn't recall a single one.
"Wait, maybe we should talk in the kitchen," Alec interrupted, glancing not so subtly at Cal and buying Gillian a few more precious seconds to think.
"No, I think here is fine." She responded, meeting Cal's eyes. "Why don't you have a seat?"
Alec settled himself in an armchair that was identical to Cal's, but also happened to be the piece of furniture farthest away from him. Gillian perched herself on the edge of the sofa and took a deep breath, steeling herself as she prepared to take the straightforward approach to the situation.
"Alec… I'm pregnant." She announced and after, as with the first time she said it, there was silence. Cal and Gillian watched the expressions that flitted across Alec's face as the news sunk in, waiting for her his reaction. After a few moments, the information seemed to finally register, and his face lit up with excitement and hope.
"Oh my God, Gillian, that's wonderful! It's practically a miracle! I- I can't believe –" Alec laughed and ran a hand through his hair, and suddenly Cal was struck with the slightest pang of guilt. Alec was genuinely happy and it wasn't hard to see that he really did want to be a father. But this baby probably wasn't his and in spite of the fact that it wasn't really his fault, Cal couldn't help but feel partially responsible for that. Even Gillian couldn't help smiling just a little at his excitement.
"So, what… what does this mean for us?" Alec asked, "I mean, do we share custody or… what do you want to do, Gillian?"
At this point Cal cleared his throat, reminding Alec and Gillian that not only were they not the only ones in the room, they weren't the only ones in the situation.
"Actually, Alec, I'm… I'm not sure that you're the father." Gillian said, looking directly into Cal's eyes even though she was talking to Alec, who was quick to connect the dots.
"Oh… you two are…." He looked back and fourth between Gillian, jealousy, hurt, and the slightest bit of anger in his face, "I, um… congratulations, then I guess. Though I'm a little disappointed I wasn't invited to the wedding, but I guess I can understand why I wouldn't be at the top of your guest list."
"Oh, no, no," Gillian corrected quickly, blushing, "we're not married."
Yet, Cal added silently.
Judging by his expression, Alec wasn't to thrilled with that particular bit of news, but he made no comment.
"But you've been… seeing each other?"
"Yes," Gillian answered, "but that's part of why I didn't want to tell you over the phone. You have a right to know, but I didn't want to get your hopes up…"
"And on top of all that, the doctor is worried that there's a high risk of something going wrong with Gillian's pregnancy." Cal added.
"Oh…" Alec's look of dismay was genuine, as was Gillian's. "But if… if everything goes okay, you're going to get a test to see which one of us is the father, right?"
"And… if I'm the father?"
"We'll cross that road when we get to it." Gillian answered patiently. "Okay?"
Both Cal and Gillian stood, trying to indicate to Alec that they didn't want to be rude – not that Cal had any problem with being a little rude – but they were ready to show him the door.
"Before I go," Alec started, receiving the message loud and clear, "Cal, would you let me talk to Gillian alone for a minute?"
"Yeah, sure." He agreed hesitantly, but only after looking to Gillian, who nodded and tipped her head back toward the bedroom.
"I'll be back in a minute, okay?" She told him. He frowned, but left the room anyway.
But he didn't go back to Gillian's room. Instead, he stayed in the hallway between the living room and the bedrooms, listening intently for any bits of conversation he could pick up. Unfortunately for him, Alec and Gillian had dropped their voices to low murmurs, so he could barely make out the tones of their voices; let alone what they were saying. He could tell, though, that their voices were getting a little more animated, but he couldn't tell if it was from excitement or anger. He found out soon enough though, when seconds later he heard a distinct noise that He recognized as the sound of someone being struck across the face – hard.
"I can't believe you would even suggest that!" He heard Gillian exclaim.
"I'm sorry, Gill – I just…"
"I think you should leave." And that, Cal assumed, was as good enough an invitation to re-enter the room as any.
He got there just in time to see Gillian swing the door shut after Alec – sadly, it didn't hit the sorry man in the ass, as Cal hoped it would. Cal leaned against a spot on the wall, unable to suppress a grin as he asked:
"You slapped him?"
Gillian smiled in a sheepish but proud way. "Yeah. I might have over-reacted a bit."
"What'd he say?"
"He implied that I was sleeping with you during our marriage." She shrugged, "I shouldn't be surprised though, Alec… was a little insecure before I met him."
Cal frowned, then laughed.
"What?" Gillian asked, starting to get defensive. "He was! Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I just –"
"No, no. I'm laughing because you actually slapped him! That seems like such a melodramatic thing for you to do."
"Keep it up and you'll be next." She threatened, but she did so with a grin.