Title: Smile (1/?)
Rating: K for brief swearing
Pairing: none, Cal, Gillian
Spoilers: A few vague ones for the back nine, based on previews and some rumblings
Summary: "Smile when you're feeling sorrow, my dear. No one looks twice and you don't have to explain yourself." : An angsty look into the psyche of Gillian Foster. Cal/Gil friendship.
Disclaimer: I do not own Lie to me or it's characters. Smile is based off the song Smile, originally sung by the fabulous Nat King Cole.
A/N: I am far too impatient to have a beta, all mistakes are mine. I find Gillian to be a fascinating ball of repressed emotion and plan on spending approximately three to four chapters exploring what goes on upstairs when she's placed in various situations. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy!
"Smile when you're feeling sorrow, my dear. No one looks twice and you don't have to explain yourself."
Gillian swiveled around in her office chair, chin perched on her hand as she stared into the D.C. night. Taking a deep breath, she exhaled loudly, not worried who would hear, for she was alone. It was becoming an increasing habit of late, but she couldn't find it within herself to mind.
Cal was out with Zoe and Emily. After a tumultuous month, he and his ex had recently rekindled their relationship. Again. Of course this was following several weeks of him sleeping with a former suspect in a murder case. Shaking her head to herself, Gillian didn't dare let her mind wander down that torturous path. Even when Emily would come into her office and make her casual comments, Gillian kept her mouth shut.
In doing so, she didn't have to acknowledge or think about anything she wasn't ready for. Cal's new 'relationships' were certainly not a place she'd like to dwell, nor was it her place to interfere. The relationships had nothing to do with work or finances, so Cal's sexual proclivities and tendency towards self-destruction were off-limits. She could see and hear all she wanted, just as he did for her, but out of mutual respect, they let it lie.
Besides, it would give him the right to do the same to her, and the last thing she wanted was encourage Cal Lightman and his jealous nature probing into her relationships. It had been happening far too often lately, and she was none too happy about it. She felt that if she took a step back from everything, then perhaps, he'd be able to do the same.
Still, Gillian couldn't hold back a bemused smirk at the thought of Cal's blonde something on the side meeting up with Zoe in the office by accident. It was about three weeks ago, but Gillian couldn't help but laugh at the ensuing mess.
.::. Three weeks prior, in which there was a bit of a situation.::.
Leaning against Cal's desk, Gillian was watching him pace back and forth as they discussed a case in which a twenty-three year old federal agent had been bludgeoned to death and left in a park two weeks before her wedding. They had a few suspects, but couldn't seem to get anywhere on the case and the pressure was increasing on all sides to find the culprit.
"Yeah, but that still doesn't explain motive," said Cal as he toyed with the cap of his marker. "We've been watchin' film of her engagement party all afternoon and we've only had a couple hits."
She loved times like this. When they could just sit in his office and have their own tennis match of ideas, lobbing them back and forth, running with the ones that fit, the ones that could take them to the next step. It was how they worked best, how they were the best. It was times like this when he was all hers, and she enjoyed it immensely.
"And I've been listening to interview tapes non stop since yesterday. Who needs motive when you look like that, Cal?" The victim was tall, leggy, and very attractive. "She could be a saint and still anger others just by her appearance alone."
"Speakin' from experience are we?" Cal asked slyly and Gillian just shook her head in exasperation, ignoring his remark as a blush crept up her neck. Before she could reply, the moment was ruined as the blonde appeared in the doorway when Cal was bestowing Gillian with a smarmy smirk.
Just like that, Gillian felt herself dissolving into the background of Cal Lightman's universe. She knew that Cal liked fire. He was a fan of the flash and the flare and the sparkle. Most notably, it was the heat. He had it with Zoe and he had it with the blonde.
The blonde had a name, but Gillian refused to use it unless absolutely necessary.
Cal looked from the blonde at his doorway, who was holding a bag of take-out, possibly lunch for them to share, and back to Gillian. Though fleeting, Gillian caught the desire that flashed over his face, quick as lightening, and she pushed off from his desk.
"I've got some calls to make. Have a nice lunch," Gillian ducked her head as she passed Cal and gave the other woman a warm smile as she glided through the door.
"Thanks, Foster," he called out with his eyes on the other woman, thoughts already in another place.
Pushing aside whatever emotion really wanted to surface, Gillian took a call in her office and was heading over to the lab to look over more footage with Loker when Heidi intercepted her with a series of messages. As they stood in the hall, she glanced up and spotted Ben coming towards her with an evil grin on his face, biting his lip at intervals.
Gillian gave him a quizzical look as he came and stood beside her, a little closer than what was professional, but not too close. It was warm outside and she could feel the heat radiating off him, telling her he'd just returned from some errand.
As Heidi was taking a breath, Gillian glanced over at him again. "What's up with you?"
Ben merely shook his head and smiled wickedly. "Just wait."
As the words left his mouth, she heard a door slam open, most likely Cal's, and watched from afar as the blonde went stomping out. Brow furrowed in confusion, Gillian glanced at Ben who kept watching in the direction of Cal's office. No less than ten seconds later, Zoe came storming out with Cal on her heels.
"Oh God," Gillian rubbed her forehead at the thought of what Zoe possibly walked in on and knew there were about to be fireworks. "Everybody inside."
As they began yelling loudly in the hallway, Gillian silently directed everyone to their offices, heading for cover. It was always best to allow the tornado to pass by, because she knew from personal experience that the collateral damage could be quite extreme.
Gillian and Ben sought refuge in the lab with Loker. Taking a seat, she resumed looking over footage, only to stop when she felt Ben studying her.
"You're enjoying this," Ben stated knowingly.
"What Cal does in his free time is his own business," Gillian deflected.
"Right. Except it's not his free time if it's in the office. So it's not only his business, but it's the business of everyone who can hear," he paused as Gillian leaned forward to switch to another video on a side screen. "Don't try to hide the fact that you're glad Cal got caught and now he's paying for the consequences."
"He didn't get caught," Gillian defaulted into defense mode calmly. "There was no exclusivity on either part in any of his relationships. It's just unfortunate that they came together all at once. He can't help it if Zoe can be… "
Ben took up for her hesitation, "territorial? Bitchy? Jealous?"
"Hell hath no fury," quipped Loker absently as he scanned another window of faces from the engagement party.
At this point, Gillian had selectively zoned out the others as she continued watching the faces and listening to the fiancé's speech, searching for something, anything. What kept nagging her was motive. The victim had no defense wounds, indicating she knew her attacker, had no outright enemies, her bank account was solid, her work record was spotless, and her fiancé seemed to genuinely care for her.
Hmmm. Care? Yes. Love? Listening to his dull speech and the distance in his words, Gillian wasn't so sure.
"Bring up the tape of the fiancé again," Gillian asked. Loker selected the footage and they watched it repeatedly, seeing admiration, joy, slight doubt, sadness, and there, "stop! Regret. See that? What is he regretful about? And see that? He turned his eyes away. Who's he looking at?"
"You think the fiancé did it? We've already interviewed him three times, and not once has he popped positive," said Ben assuredly. "Maybe a best friend? Tends to be pretty common. Fiancé has doubts, confides in the best friend of their intended and one thing leads to another…"
"No, it doesn't fit," said Loker. "None of the friends seemed to show anything that would indicate mal-intent."
Gillian kept quiet. She didn't want to rule out the friends. If jealousy was a motivator, rules and conduct tended to fly out the window. Hearing another screech from outside, she sighed. A powerful motivator.
A few minutes later, in the last place she expected, she spotted the answer and couldn't help but gasp.
"There, the mother. She's the one. Watch the mother's face as the fiancé begins describing about all the things he loves about our victim. She shows contempt, anger, and that — jealousy. We need to figure out what was going on between them. I want audio analysis of voice pitch and tone as well, please."
"Already on it," Ben replied as he began speaking into his cell phone.
She slid over to a seat next to Loker and pulled up more footage of interviews with the fiancé and mother. Gillian could tell Loker wanted to say something but for some odd reason was holding back.
"Lightman interviewed the mother," said Loker quietly.
"He cleared her."
Gillian hated it when this happened. When she missed something and Cal caught it, it was no big deal, because Cal was Cal. But if she found something that he missed, people had to second-guess everything.
She didn't bother hiding her irritation as she replied, "Your point?"
He shrugged innocently and continued to look at the screen, "Nice catch, that's all."
Gillian felt her cheeks grow warm but refused to show how much his compliment affected her. It was Loker after all. Ben ended his call and took a seat next to Gillian, his leg brushing against hers briefly as he swiveled underneath the table.
"They've both agreed to come in for questioning, but I told them we think this has to do with one of the friends, not about them."
"Sneaky," Loker replied with a grin.
"Aw, you're learning," Gillian gave Ben a smile and placed her hand on his forearm, but quickly retracted. The last thing she needed was Ben getting the wrong idea; or any kind of idea, for that matter. In true body language deflection, she stood up and placed her hand on Loker's shoulder, just like she'd done in the past.
"Get all the images catalogued. I'm going to rescue Cal so we can all get home at a decent time tonight," Gillian stated as she headed towards the door.
"Good luck," she heard from the pair in unison as the door shut behind her. Taking a deep breath, she heard her mother's words echoing in her mind: chin up, shoulders back, walk with purpose. Do that and even if you don't have the confidence, you have all the appearance of it.
Fake it until you believe it.
Gillian glided over to the office where Cal and Zoe seemed to be engaging in round three. It wasn't the first time she'd broken up an argument between them and unfortunately, she figured it wouldn't be the last.
"Cal?' her soft, clear voice cut between their harsh ones and brought them to a halt. She was always amazed when that happened, because it didn't just work on Cal, but Zoe as well. Odd.
She caught a dagger from Zoe and utter discombobulation from Cal, typical after going head-to-head with Zoe.
"I wanted to let you know that we're bringing in the mother and the fiancé… I think the mother did it," she stated. His eyebrows drew together as his mouth gaped open in consideration, mentally reviewing what he knew.
Shaking his head, she knew that this would be an uphill battle. "I interviewed her. Didn't see anything but regret and sorrow."
"I know what you saw, but what did it mean?" she asked pointedly as she placed her hands on her hips, the question having been asked dozens of times before.
"You wouldn't be here if you didn't have somethin'. Show me," he demanded as he pushed past Zoe to his desk, tossing Gillian the remote as she came to the center of the room and ignored Zoe's glare. As Gillian quickly reviewed the footage she felt him vacillating between belief and doubt, but she waited until the end to give him the money shot and paused it. She heard him chuff at her side and approach the board, circling the brief but apparent signs.
"That's beautiful, it is," Cal said as he stood back, staring at the mother's face frozen on his wall.
"What? I don't see it," asked Zoe. It was her case, after all.
"Jealousy," replied Cal.
"What? So the mom was jealous her daughter was going somewhere with her life? She was gorgeous, intelligent, and had a helluva fiancé. It's almost understandable."
"That's not just any type of jealousy," Gillian began as she approached the board. Motioning to furrowed eyebrows, the lowered eyelids and chin jutted forward, she looked back at Zoe. "That's the jealousy of a scorned lover."
Gillian felt the air leave the room momentarily as she quickly scanned Zoe's face when realization dawned. Averting her eyes, Gillian completely ignored Cal's and looked elsewhere. Realizing her job here was done, she headed toward the door.
"Want me to call you for interviews when the mom and fiancé get here?"
"No, no," Cal replied as he stared at the board, arms crossed. "It's all you, Foster. I just want to watch."
She could tell by his careful tone that he was trying not to give anything away, but she knew he was dismayed at them cracking the case while he was in his office up to his neck in lady problems.
Forty-five minutes later and she'd hatched out a plan with Ben, Loker and Torres. As of yet, the fiancé had not met Ben and Torres, so Gillian put them with the fiancé, while she would hone all her energy on the mother. She set up the camera in her office and retired behind her desk, clearly displaying a picture of her with Emily, waiting for the mother to arrive. The plan was simple for the most part. She wasn't a fan of the elaborate schemes like Cal, too much opportunity for something to go wrong.
Dressed prim and proper, the mother entered and Gillian directed her to take a seat in the chairs near her desk. The mother needed to feel like this was a casual conversation, not an interrogation. Gillian needed to know what it would take to make her break.
Before they could begin, Gillian's phone rang and she took the call, purposefully allowing the mother to look around Gillian's office. Of course, she spotted the prominently displayed picture, then cast her gaze around at the other objects. Ending her call, Gillian returned to the mother.
"I apologize, it's been a hectic day," said Gillian as she took a seat near the mother.
"Is that your daughter? She's beautiful," said the mother, gesturing to the picture.
Gillian let the implication lie for her as she smiled at the mother and carefully replied, "that's an old photo, Emily's almost out of college now, actually."
"I was in your shoes this time last year," said the mother, frowning. "Graduation is an exciting time, of course my daughter had to move back in with me, the economy the way it is."
"Oh, I don't think she'll be moving in with me," Gillian said enigmatically. "We're actually in a bit of a rough patch. But… that's neither here nor there."
She caught the curiosity that grazed the woman's features and held for a moment longer, to get a false sense of security flowing.
"We've been looking into some of your daughter's friends, her best friend in particular," Gillian began as she held open a blue file of information compiled on the victim's best friend. "We have reason to believe your daughter's fiancé may have been in a relationship with the best friend."
Gillian saw shock, then pure anger flash across the woman's face.
"I don't know what you're talking about, James has been nothing, if not loyal to my daughter. Never in a million years would he cheat on her," the mother promised. Gillian gave her a solemn smile and lay down another image, it was the day of the funeral and was a shot of the fiancé and the best friend hugging. Personally, Gillian didn't see much in it, but jealous people tended to project their fears onto harmless situations.
Plain as day, the woman was angry, an expected emotion at the thought of her daughter's fiancé cheating, but there was a hint of something more. Just then, Loker came and tapped on the window, looking worried.
"Excuse me one moment," Gillian stated as she set the file down, leaving the mother with the photo and a good shot of the door. Gillian stepped outside, leaving the door open just a crack.
"I told you not to come here, you know it's inappropriate," she admonished Loker. Gillian prayed that this wasn't too over-the-top.
"I had to talk to you, I… Emily came by earlier today and we talked. We're… getting back together," he said furtively.
"Are you kidding me?" Gillian exclaimed, letting her disbelief show. "We just had," she lowered her voice, appearing to be discreet, but loud enough for the mother to hear, "we just had sex this morning. You can't tell me you're in love with me one minute, then want to get together with Emily the next. You can't have it both ways, Eli."
She let the door shut completely, said a few more things and then pushed him away, emphatically telling him to never come back. Gillian took a second to herself, shielding herself from the mother's view as she fought a grin. Two more minutes and she'd be able to slam-dunk this case. Staring into the light for a moment, Gillian summoned some tears from an unknown fount and poked her head back inside her office.
"I'll uh, I'll be with you in just a moment," Gillian said as she felt a tear run down her cheek. She saw compassion in the mother's eyes as she simply waved off Gillian.
"Take your time, I'm in no hurry," she gave Gillian a commiserating smile.
Gillian pushed away and then walked over to the lab, swiping the tears from her eyes as she entered to the sound of clapping.
"That was brilliant. Seriously, could that have been more perfect?" Loker stated as Ben walked over and clasped her on the shoulder. "I mean, look at her face, she clearly sympathizes with what you're going through. She didn't show any disgust when we were talking, but clearly showed contempt for me when I started making excuses."
Gillian's smile was electric as she backed towards the door, stopping when Torres stepped up just behind her. "The fiancé was definitely doing someone on the side, but it's a toss-up between the mom and the best friend. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if he was doing both."
"I don't care who he was having sex with, I just want to know if he helped kill our victim," Gillian replied as she placed a hand on the door just as it opened to reveal a much calmer looking Zoe.
"As do I," Zoe said as she walked over to a chair and took a seat. "It'd be lovely if you could make this an airtight case. I don't want someone getting to walk in court because of a technicality."
Gillian looked from Torres to Zoe and back again, shrugging in agreement. "Tell the fiancé that the mom already confessed, see what he does."
"Oh, and Gillian?" Zoe called out from her seat just as Cal was opening the door. "Ask me next time you intend to use my daughter for one of your schemes."
Zoe's sharp wording struck their intended target. Gillian didn't even spare her or Cal a second glance as she pushed past him to her office, letting her fresh anger simmer for a minute, because as it was, Loker did just break up with her.
"How are you feeling?" asked the mother as Gillian took a seat next to her, and couldn't help feeling unsettled by the woman's willingness to comfort her. Gillian was about to point all this out when she decided to take a different tact.
Whereas Cal always got straight to the point, Gillian liked to take her time, ease into the situation, create the comfort, then pullout the rug from beneath them. Gillian may be a horrible liar, but she had compassion in spades and knew how to use it to her advantage. It was the psychological equivalent to hunting, and she was a fierce predator.
"It's so difficult, you know?" Gillian started, frustration in her voice. "I spend all my time working, trying to provide for Emily, and I've put her needs before mine for so long. Literally, anything she wants, she gets. The one time I take something for myself, and I get burned."
"I know how it feels," said the mother as she patted Gillian on the knee. "I bet you love him too, don't you?"
Gillian looked up with shock on her face, hesitating before her reply, then stammered, "No, no of course not. He's… ten years younger than me, no. Definitely not."
Even as she denied it, Gillian watched the mother nod in a knowing way. "I saw the way you looked at him, there's no denying it. Maybe you can talk him out it getting back together with her. Convince him in some way. She doesn't deserve to get everything she wants. Put yourself first for a change and go for it."
Gillian took a moment to weigh the mother's words, as if she was actually considering the notion. Who in their right mind would pose that idea and think it good?
"Is that what you did?" asked Gillian quietly, patiently.
"I… what?," the mother nodded then hesitated, stopping herself. "No, of course not."
"You keep saying no, but your body says yes," stated Gillian. "It's pretty easy to understand why you did it, your daughter had it all: the looks, the brains, the man. From all accounts, you were very close with your daughter, I bet that left you with her fiancé pretty frequently, even alone. What happened? Did they have a fight one night and… one thing led to another?"
The mother shook her head and stood quickly, preparing to leave. "I don't have to listen to this. I… had nothing to do with my daughter's murder."
"I wish I could believe you, I do, but I can't until you stop lying to me," Gillian replied softly. Just as the mother put her hand on the door, she saw the fiancé exiting an office in handcuffs. Assuming the worst, the mother turned towards Gillian and deflated right in front of her. The rapid change in her demeanor was almost comical.
Pressing her back against the glass, the mother covered her face, tears escaping as she mumbled, "he had nothing to do with it. It was me, only me," over and again.
After getting the full confession plus the gory details, Gillian passed Zoe as she left the lab, chattering to a judge on her cell phone. Though it was petty, Gillian couldn't help herself as she called out, "You're welcome!" to Zoe's retreating form. Even as the words escaped, she felt a pang of guilt. Zoe'd had a crappy day and all things considered, she had been rather civil lately. Damn Gillian's conscience and its earnestness.
Upon entering the lab, Cal said, "No one can leave 'em in tears quite like you Foster. I still don't understand why my daughter, of all people, had to be involved with that one over there," Cal gestured to Loker and shook his head.
Gillian rolled her eyes, replying, "we didn't have time to photo-shop a picture of a fake daughter and that one was in my office. Most the interns are busy and Loker fit the age-range. Give me a break, it worked." She strode up next to Loker and watched the end of the footage.
"So, how exactly were you looking at me?" asked Loker with a smirk. "Love right? I'm quite flattered."
"How's she looking at you now?" asked Torres as she walked up beside Gillian, bumping her in the shoulder good-naturedly.
"Don't know, I'm too afraid to look," Loker replied as he continued typing, ignoring Gillian's annoyed gaze. Turning, Gillian grabbed some files and headed towards the door. She was in good spirits and had no intention of letting anything get in the way of that.
"Foster?" she turned when she heard the tell-tale sound of a slushy being sloshed around.
When Gillian turned to claim her prize, her smile reached all the way ceiling.
Taking the proffered drink at his nod, she placed the straw in her mouth and slurped deeply, watching Cal as she did so. There was a fleeting glance of something, so quick she almost missed it. But the fact was she didn't, and that was something she couldn't undo.
She tipped her head at him and took another sip. "Thank you kind sir, awfully nice of you."
"Eh, don't let it get to your head," he mumbled as she passed him by, heading to her office to take down the camera and write up a report.
An hour later and she was still behind her desk, having moved on to the quarterly finance summary. Loker and Torres stopped by on their way out, wishing her a good weekend. Zoe had given her a curt thanks as she took her leave. Gillian hadn't seen Ben, but didn't think he'd drop by anyway; he only did that when Cal wasn't around. She tried not to think too much about that.
The door swung open silently and she heard the shuffling of the pillow as it was placed on the ground while Cal took a seat. Taking her time, Gillian finished what she was doing then saved the excel spreadsheet, blinking hard against the numbers blurring before her.
"It's been a long week," Gillian exhaled as she propped her chin on her hands. It had indeed. If all went well, this would be the first night in a while that she'd be leaving before ten.
Sighing, she leaned back in her chair and looked over, giving him a weak smile. Gillian opened her bottom drawer and grabbed a half-empty bottle of scotch and two tumblers, set them on her desk and poured two fingerfuls each. Brushing past him, she handed Cal a glass and took a seat, toeing off her shoes as she folded her feet beneath her.
They sat quietly for a few minutes, Cal with his head back as he stared at the ceiling, no doubt pondering how to get through the romantic quagmire that would be his weekend. She absently wondered if he was still seeing the blonde this weekend, and smiled at the thought of how Zoe would react to that. Sometimes it was more fun to watch from the sidelines.
Catching the look on her face, Cal grew immediately suspicious. "Out with it, Foster. What you thinkin' 'bout over there?"
She grinned at him mischievously and took a sip of her drink, giving her best wouldn't you like to know look. That one always got him, and she loved how riled up he could get because he was so fun to tease.
Instead of responding, she deflected and cocked her head to the side, watching him closely, "How's Zoe?"
It was a question she'd asked dozens of times. She could ask it because somewhere between Cal and Zoe's heated arguments at work and the Same Shirt for a Month and the repeated blurring of the lines, she'd had to pick him up from rock bottom. That made it her business. All he ever had to do was say the word and she'd back off.
"Confused… I think."
Gillian weighed his words and tried to imagine herself in Zoe's position, awkward as it was.
"Well, she probably had no idea you were… seeing someone, it's not like Emily was going to tell her. I can imagine it was quite a shock to walk into your office and see… whatever it is she saw," Gillian fumbled at the end and tried hard not to blush.
"It's not like I had her bent over my desk or somethin'. We were actually eating food in there."
Not buying what he was saying, Gillian rolled her eyes at him and shook her head, "If that's what they're calling it these days."
"You've got quite the dirty mind, you know that? And besides, Zoe didn't react to anything until I asked her to wait for us to finish eating lunch."
Gillian's jaw dropped and the fleeting mischief on his face, "You deliberately provoked her? What is wrong with you? Is this some type of bizarre foreplay?"
At his silence she figured she'd hit the nail on the head and didn't exactly want to probe further. Clearing her throat, she shifted slightly in her chair and stared at the jar of dwindling pixie sticks on her desk. A restock was in order. Perhaps twizzlers? Eyes travelling, she glanced at her empty slushy container and she was reminded of one more thing.
Leaning forward on the arm of the chair, she reached out and grazed his fingers with her own, then perched her chin on her closed fist, waiting for him to look at her. Scrunching up her nose a bit as she grinned knowingly, "When did you figure it out? That the mother had done it?"
Cal sighed loudly and turned his head downwards, swirling the liquid around in his glass. She saw him frown quickly and wondered why he would be angry that she knew he'd broken the case before she had. It's not like it hurt her ego any. It was just nice to prove herself every once in a while, to see how she measured up. Not that she'd ever admit that.
"Not long before you actually. I'd say it happened some time while we were in my office hashin' it all out. I was just having fun keeping your undivided attention."
She watched him closely, he was still guarded, but she could tell it was the truth. Unsure of how to proceed, she continued quietly, cautiously.
"Don't you always have my undivided attention?"
"Hardly, Foster. If it's not a case that you've taken with Loker or Torres, you're doin' finances, coordinatin' meetings, fending off Reynolds or whatever other suitors you've got. So no, I'm pretty sure I rarely have your undivided attention."
She met his response with arched eyebrows and a held breath. When he looked up to her, she could see the blunt truth in his eyes: a little jealousy mixed with a heap of sadness. Cal Lightman missed his best friend. Warmth shot through her veins at the thought and she couldn't hide the slow smile creeping across her face. Knowing she could take this one of two ways, she leaned towards the comfortable route for both of them and made light of the situation.
"Missed me, huh?" she said with practiced nonchalance. She stood and grabbed his empty glass and took her own, setting them on her desk. "C'mon, I'm going to let you take me out to dinner. Apparently they just came out with molten lava chocolate cake at the diner."
Gillian walked over and held out her hand, tugging Cal up until he stood before her. Her eyes traced the buttons on his shirt as she set her hands upon his shoulders. Biting her lip, Gillian glanced up and smiled softly, carefully, so he could read the trust in it. She pulled away, slid on her shoes, then picked up her purse from beside her desk. When she turned towards the door, he was leaning against the frame, watching her patiently with an indefinable look on his face.
"Molten lava cake, eh? Foster, that stuff is going to kill you someday," he replied as he held the door open for her, fingers dusting along the small of her back.
"Oh Cal, what doesn't kill me, only makes me happier," she grinned and gave him a pointed look.
Cocking his head to the side in reflection, he hadn't gotten her killed yet — he nodded and bumped her in the shoulder as they continued down the hallway, thick as thieves.
"Good point, luv. Good point."
.::. Three weeks later, in which she'd spent less than a full day with him combined.::.
Breaking from the memory, Gillian frowned to herself as she glanced at her clock. It was nearly midnight and she had little work to show for her toil. After that night, which she recalled fondly as Miraculous Molten Lava Night, she'd started seeing less and less of him.
Cal had gotten himself into a life-or-death situation, again. This time, however, it was Zoe who saved the day, not Gillian. She was grateful that Zoe had been able to rescue him, but for some odd reason, the dynamics of all Cal's relationships shifted afterward. Throwing himself into work, Cal prioritized all his cases with Torres to develop her skills, always left the minute Emily called to say she was home, and oddly enough, started grabbing lunch with Zoe. Civil lunches.
It boggled the mind.
This was in addition to the rekindling between them. On top of everything else, Gillian realized that somewhere along the way, she'd developed a slight sense of disassociation when it came to Cal. The situations he repeatedly placed himself in were taking their toll, adding another brick to the wall she was subconsciously constructing around her heart. It was… a measure of self-protection that evolved because her best friend seemed to be on a kick where risking life and limb gave him some form of insatiable rush.
One with which Gillian couldn't compete. Just like she'd never been able to compete with the women he was attracted to, or his vices, or his demons. It wasn't entirely unusual behavior for him. Cal went through this cycle every so often, and eventually he'd come back around. Eventually.
However this time, everything was different. All the events of the last year had happened. Arguments had been had, lives threatened, secrets kept, and confidences made. Most notable were the players involved. This time around, not only was Cal changing, but so was Gillian — though in a more insidious manner. Taking into account all these factors, one point was emphasized in her mind: Cal was pulling away from her.
The problem was, she was letting him.
Gathering her belongings, Gillian could hear her mother's words as she cast a glance and a sad smile in the direction of Cal's darkened office.
"Even if your heart is aching, smile. No one needs to know when you feel vulnerable, weak, or sad. You control the situation Gillian; only show them what you want them to see. And sometimes, if you smile enough, you almost forget the reason you were unhappy to begin with. Fake it until you believe it."
Sighing, she shut off the light to her office and stalked down the hallway into the night.
A/N: Hopefully the format wasn't too confusing. I know this was a bittersweet kind of chapter, but I feel like that's the story of Gillian's life. Please note, I'm drawing more off of S1 Gillian as opposed to the mere shadow of her former self in S2. Also, I am not about to make Zoe some scapegoat for anything, because that's just plain lazy and she does have redeeming qualities. Please excuse the plot hole for why Zoe had taken this case to begin with, it was more fun to have her around to watch Gillian's awesomeness.