Cal slid into the seat behind his desk, the note still flapping in his hand. Gillian had followed him into his office and stood on the other side of the desk, arms crossed across her chest.
"Are you going to go on a date with him?" Gillian rolled her eyes at his comment and uncrossed her arms. Resting her hands on his desk she leaned forward.
"Does the note say anything about a date Cal? No it doesn't. You need to be asked out to go on a date."
With that she reached out and snatched the note back, a little bit too easily she thought. Glancing from Cal's now empty hand to his face she noticed his gaze was firmly locked someplace else, her chest. Leaning across the desk like this had her breasts pushed together and cleavage at a maximum. For the second time since entering the office she rolled her eyes.
"They're just boobs Cal." At her statement he finally made eye contact, the corners of his lips turned up in a small smile.
"Easy for you to say luv, you get to look at them all the time." She laughed at him as she turned and crossed the office, nearing the door she heard him move from his chair.
"Is that why we never went on a date? Because I never asked?" Turning around she noticed he had his back to her, now standing facing out the window. Why wouldn't he look at her after asking a question like that?
Gillian was silent for a moment as she pondered his strange behaviour. The realisation hit her like a ton of bricks. He didn't want to read her. She smiled to herself silently thankful of his consideration. If she so chose to, she could lie, he could probably still tell, but this was his way of letting her know that he wanted her to feel comfortable.
"Yes" One word caused the tension in the room to increase tenfold. He nodded his head slightly, acknowledging that he heard it. This time he didn't stop her when she left the room.
Neither of them spoke of the conversation for the next few weeks. It amazed Gillian how they managed to act as if it hadn't happened. She was grateful things around work weren't awkward because of it, but there was a small part of her that was annoyed. She didn't expect Cal to drop to his knees and declare his undying love for her, but maybe bring light to his own feelings for her. Unless of course he didn't share the same feelings as she did.
"Oh god what have I done" she whispered into the quietness of her office.
"What did you do luv?" Gillian jumped as his voice called across the room from the doorway. Trying hard to cover the blush that now crept up her cheeks she cleared her throat and glanced up at him.
"Oh nothing, it was... nothing, nothing." The man was a master of deception he was going to see right through her. Instead he just continued to smile at her, tilting his head a little to the left.
"What are you doing after work?"
"Fancy having dinner with me? I'll even let you choose the restaurant, so long as you don't make me eat any meat I can't see." He began to toe the carpet with his right foot and looked down to watch his foot in action, as if it were the most interesting thing in the world.
Was he nervous? Gillian's mind ran through all the explanations for his nerves and came up with nothing. Finally to end the torture his foot was inflicting on the office carpet she answered.
"I'd love to. There's a new Italian opened just around the corner, that ok?" His cheeks pushed up as his face broke into a wide grin.
"Perfect. Seven ok? Pick you up at your apartment or here?"
"Seven is fine and I'll get changed at home first."
"Great, seven at your place. See you then luv." He turned to exit and then changed his train of thought. Crossing the room he stopped as he reached her chair. Bending forward he placed a kiss on her cheek. It looked similar to their previous chaste kisses of friendship but the moment his lips touched her cheek both knew this was something different.
"I'm looking forward to it." The words were whispered against her ear and his breath grazed along her neck, ruffling the hair there. She couldn't help the involuntary shiver that coursed through her entire body at the feel of his breath so close to her. As quickly as he had moved in he was out of her personal space and moving out of the room, closing the door behind him.
Gillian was left alone to try and steady her breathing and figure out one thing. What was she going to wear?
She was surprised to be greeted by a bunch of flowers as she opened the door.
"My date better be hidden somewhere behind these flowers, beautiful and all as they are." Cal lowered the bouquet laughing at her.
"Well I know how much you like red roses." That earned him a smack on the arm as she took the flowers to put them in water.
"Wipe that smirk from your face immediately Cal Lightman."
She came back from the kitchen with the flowers neatly displayed in an elegant vase and placed them in the centre of her coffee table. It wasn't until then that Cal noticed what she was wearing. A v-neck red dress that was tight on her upper body until it reached her waist where it flowed out and swirled around her legs as she moved about. Her hair was pulled back with small wisps framing her face.
"You look beautiful." She smiled at his compliment and if he thought she looked beautiful before she was radiant now.
"You look good too Cal."
He offered her his arm and she accepted it as she picked up her purse. Grabbing her keys from the table, she shut the door and allowed Cal to escort her to the car arm in arm.
This was turning out to be one of the worst dates Gillian had ever been on. Conversation was painful. Having spent all day with each other it was tough to think of any new topics. Gillian was twirling a finger around the edge of her wineglass while Cal was fidgeting with his watch.
Every now and then they'd make eye contact and quickly glance away at some interesting lamp or watch a waiter take an order from another table.
"How's Emily?" Say anything Cal to take away this awkwardness, she silently pleaded.
"Away on holidays with her mum. She's back next week but I haven't got to talk to her much. I've been promised a nice souvenir though." She nodded at his answer just as the waiter arrived with their dinner.
They ate quickly and silently only sharing a couple of sentences here and there both praying to end the suffering.
The drive back kept in accordance with their new pattern of silence. Finally Cal navigated his car into a space and came around to open her door. He placed his hand on the small of her back as he guided her up to her front door, pausing as she reached into her purse to get her keys.
"Well, thanks for dinner Cal." Not wanting to prolong the agony of this date any longer she turned from him placing the key in the lock.
"This isn't how I wanted tonight to go." She stopped unlocking the door as she heard his confession, but kept her back to him.
"How long have we known each other Foster? I always thought that if I was lucky enough to get you to agree to go on a date with me, it would be perfect, cos to be honest with you, to me you're perfect." She gasped at his words and spun around to face him.
"Cal, that wasn't just a bad date – that was disastrous!"
"What was your first date with Alec like?" His question threw her and she failed to respond.
"My first date with Zoe was wonderful. We smiled, we laughed, shared memories, shared hopes. It was the best date I've ever had. It was also the worst relationship I've ever been in. We couldn't be in the same room by the end of it."
"Alec was the perfect gentleman. Same as you I suppose, lots of smiling and laughing. I remember going home that night thinking I had found the one. Ha, how wrong was I?"
His hand came up to cup her cheek and she found herself leaning into his touch, her eyes closing involuntarily.
"Those dates we had that were great, both led to divorce. Maybe we have the right idea here, bad dates that can only get better, and they will get better Foster. With practice."
"Practice" she laughed, opening her eyes to look into his blue ones. She moved closer, pausing as her lips were just centimetres from his.
"I like the sound of that, I think-" he cut her off as he crushed her to him, his lips sliding over hers. They both sought to deepen the kiss each trying to taste as much of the other as possible. After an age they pulled away smiling at each other.
"We'll get it right next time Gill."
"And if not the time after that, or the time after that, or the-" he cut her off again as he moved in for another sweet kiss.