If my years of TV have taught me anything, it's that a gun range=UST. The proverbial lightbulb moment for this story came in 'Lack of Candor' when Cal had his own safe full of fire arms. Be still my heart. Thanks to recoilandgrace for reading first, SassyCop for being my ~techinical advisor~, LightWoman for pushing me to write that story ("No, not that story, THAT story!") and for TomEllie09 for needing cheering up from her surgery...two weeks ago. Ahem. x
She is practically running to keep up to him, her heels clicking against the floor as she follows him through the corridor. "Cal, please!"
He doesn't say anything, makes no acknowledgement to her existence when he turns to pass Heidi's desk.
"Cal, would you just stop?" she tosses her bag to the chairs by his desk and stands in the doorway to his library.
He's crouched down, feeding a combination into the safe, his back to her.
"Just stop and think about this for one second."
"There's nothing to think about," he finally mutters.
She can't see him pulling out a 9mm Glock pistol and switching it between his hands. She can't see him releasing the empty magazine, it falling into his palm before being placed back in the safe. He lowers the slide and loads live rounds, ensuring he leaves the chamber empty before shoving it into the waistband of his jeans.
He slams the door shut and spins the dial as he darts through the other door to his desk.
"Nothing to th-Cal!" she steps backwards into his office and plants herself in his path.
He's looking at her hands on his chest when she says "Stop. For one second. This is not the answer."
"...what was the question?"
"Think about Emily!"
"You go away for murder and-"
"Murder? What the hell are you talking about, woman?"
"...The gun. You're going to kill Harding." She lifts up his shirt, seeing the butt of the gun sticking out from the dark-wash denim.
"No, I'm not," he laughs.
"Oh, I'm going to shoot the living shit out of something. But at the gun range. A target. I hadn't even thought of going to find Harding."
"Nope," he smirks.
She smiles, "Well...good."
"But now you mention it..." He tries to scoop the car keys from his desk but she grabs them first.
"I just said I wasn't-"
"I know. I just want make sure..."
The first shot echoes in her ears, a dull crack muffled through ear-guards. She had seen the tension melt away from him almost instantly. He rolls his shoulders, his neck snapping from side to side. God that felt good.
He let another two shots ring out, the paper target a few feet away trembling as the bullets pierce the human outline.
The kickback rattles his every bone, muscle and fibre as his mind travels back to Harding. The word 'technicality' sounds in his ears again and again. The sight of him laughing and smiling as he hugged his lawyer replaying before his eyes.
His shots get quicker.
Against human rights.
Free to go.
He fires until the slide locks back, all his bullets spent. He breathes deeply, his eyes closing as the knot of tension in his chest dissipates.
He places the gun on the countertop and removes the safety glasses and ear guards, casting a glance to Foster.
She mirrors him as she steps forward into the cubicle, sliding her glasses up into her hair as Cal presses the button for the target to slide towards them. "Feel better?"
The sheet wafts forwards as its track finishes and Cal reaches out to steady it, assessing his work. Six holes around the head, six around the heart and one over the shoulder. "Shit."
He looks to her, seeing her wide eyes.
She's staring at the target, stories of his escapades over the years coming to mind. She knew he could shoot, had seen him with the gun in Afghanistan, but she'd never seen him 'shoot the living shit out of something'.
She asks him where he learned, but he doesn't answer her.
He rips the sheet from the hook and connects another, sending it back.
Gillian's eyes travel to the gun on the counter. Cold, black metal capable of causing untold violence and heartbreak. She watches as her hand sneaks out, a finger tracing over the barrel. It's colder than she imagined.
She clears her throat and snaps her hand away when she notices him watching. "So would Zoe not let you have the sports car?"
"The sports car; red, shiny, leather seats? Typical compensatory phallic symbol?"
"I don't need to compensate for anything, thank you very much. Any evidence you need to that effect, just let me know."
She purses her lips to the mischievous glint in his eyes. She stifles a giggle when a million scenarios and retorts filter through her mind from various romance novels and films. "Then what does it represent?"
"It represents a gun, Gillian. Protection, security...have you ever shot one?"
"No, no," she waves her hands. She gives a definitive "No," when she reads the smirk on his face.
He shrugs in attempted nonchalance, but the smirk on his lips gives his intentions away.
"I don't like guns," she says, a smile betraying her.
"How do you know if you've never shot one?" He loads another magazine and flicks her glasses from the top of her head sliding to her nose.
"Cal, I don't think-"
He puts a hand on her shoulder and spins her in front of him. "Here," he puts the gun in her hand and she freezes. "Relax."
She hadn't expected it to be so heavy. She tells herself to calm down when she feels her heart beating against her ribs.
He directs her arms out, his hands smoothing down the bare skin of her arms. He decides the goosebumps that erupt are down to fear.
"Like this," he cups her hands, folding one around the handle correctly and the other underneath it.
She's breathing hard.
He smiles behind her, his voice light as he says, "Gillian, relax." He stands flush against her back, kicking her foot to inch it away. He doesn't need to correct her posture, he notices with a chuckle. "Okay, now, when you're ready just squeeze, okay? Gentle. Don't jerk the trigger back, just squeeze it."
She nods, but she can't feel her finger on the trigger.
"Just take a breath and squeeze," he snaps her ear guards on her and lays his hands on her shoulders, hoping to minimise the kickback she will feel.
She takes a deep breath. Another.
Excruciatingly slowly, she pulls on the trigger until she meets resistance. She applies some pressure and her heart beating furiously, the blood rushing in her ears and making her feel light-headed. She can feel his hands heavy on her shoulders and BANG.
She gasps, leaning backwards from the recoil, the gun almost dropping from her hands. Her arms instantly hurt, partly from the tension she had held them with, partly from the power of the kickback as it ricochets through her entire body. Her teeth ache from being pressed together in anticipation, then from being jarred in the shot.
She'd shot a gun. Gillian Foster, she who didn't like guns, had fired a bullet.
She's flush against his chest and his hands slide down to her arms, his fingers pressing into the skin. Her breathing is coming out in short and shallow bursts, no coherent words forming on her tongue.
She swallows and steps forwards, getting back into position. She wants to feel it again. The dull...she can't think of a word to describe it- Power? The dull power that bounced around her ribcage, left her chest feeling hollow in its absence. She wanted that again.
He grins as he steps behind her again, positioning her hands, her feet. He brings his hand up and moves her hair from her shoulder so he can see her aim, his fingers brushing lightly against her neck. His hands fall to her hips as he manoeuvres her until she's ready.
Her fingers tighten around the gun, her lips straightening into a line. He says something but she doesn't make it out. Suddenly, wanting to shoot again isn't the only thing on her mind. No, now all she can think about is his breath on her neck and his fingers around her hips and the heady beat her heart is banging out. "...pardon?"
He leans into her, his chin practically resting on her shoulder as he repeats, "Not so tight." He can see her pulse fluttering under skin, notices her eyes have closed.
Her breath hitches in her throat.
"When you're ready," he says and she swallows.
Deep breath, she tells herself. Pull it together.
She can feel her heart pounding in her chest, adrenaline pulsing through her veins. A smile creeps across her lips, her eyes blinking at every jolt as the bullets fire from the gun.
Cal's grinning behind her, watching her cheeks rising from the smiles as the time between shots lessen each time.
His fingers involuntarily clench at her hips at every shot and he gets her attention before she's out of bullets.
She looks at him as he moves her into another position and he has to laugh at her sparkling eyes; she's loving it.
He makes her stand to the side, facing the wall and presses up behind her.
He reaches around and moves the gun to her left hand, guiding it towards the target.
He smoothes a hand down her arm, aligning the aim, and casts a sideways glance to her.
She swallows when their eyes meet and averts them back to the target.
His right hand moves from her hip and sides over to her stomach. He can feel the muscles tighten under his touch and his tongue sneaks out to moisten his lips.
His fingers are splayed out across her abdomen, holding her tightly to him and he knows, knows, that he should step away. That he should apologize and remove himself.
That he definitely, without a doubt, should not take the gun from her hand and place it on the counter.
And after that, he should not place his fingers on her cheek, turn her face to meet his.
Definitely shouldn't look at her lips. Absolutely shouldn't then look into her eyes, see her dilated pupils surrounded by glistening blue and granting him permission.
He most definitely, unquestionably, positively shouldn't then kiss her.
But he does.