Because you can never have enough Lie to Me... I was listening to The Beatles' She's leaving home (amazing song) and thought of the beginning, the rest just sort of followed...
She was gone.
He tossed and turned in his dream, looking for her – where was she? Where was Emily?
She wouldn't leave on her own, not if she knew her own dad, but where was she?
"Emily?" He called out, unable to stop the crack in his voice. "Emily, where are you?"
No response. Silence in the house, only broken by the sound of his voice and the fall of his steps.
"Emily?" His voice sounded meek even to his own ears; resigned, ready to give up.
She was gone.
He sank to the floor, feeling like an absolute fool but not caring.
His baby was gone.
He shot up, tangled in a damp sheet. His mouth opened instinctively and started to form a name, but he stopped when he realized where he was.
A couch. He was not at home.
It only took a second for the memories of the night before to resurface.
"Ah but love, that's the tricky part of the game," he told Gillian amicably. "See, the guys think they're gonna get some, and the girls think they're wanted. It's a symbiotic relationship, really."
He didn't know how they ended up discussing teenage love – Emily, probably – but there he was, talking with Gillian, reliving memories of his teenaged life and laughing together.
Gillian scrunched up her nose. "I can't believe how gullible girls those age are," she said, and though he knew she didn't mean to, his mind went to Emily. Was she gullible, too? What was going on in her life that he didn't know about?
"No, Cal," Gillian told him, reading his thoughts. "Emily's not like that, you know that. She's far wiser than her age, you know, with you and Zoe for parents. I'm pretty sure she can see through any lie a boy tells her, thanks to you."
Cal grinned, proud in spite of himself. "Taught her well, I did," he said, more to himself than to Gillian.
"That you did," she replied, and she raised her glass of wine. He raised his, too –he was actually drinking wine, despite not terribly liking the taste of it– and they toasted. He didn't know what they were actually toasting to, but by now they were both sufficiently inebriated that they didn't care that much.
He wasn't drunk, and neither was she – he doubted if she'd ever been, even as an image crept up in his head unbiddingly– but the alcohol had lowered their inhibitions. They had never had a no-touching rule to begin with, but now their arms and legs touched and with one small movement Gillian's head would be on Cal's shoulder. He didn't fear physical touch, but he wondered if they would have got in this position without the aid of alcohol.
"So d'you think this Ryan checks out?" he asked her, breaking the comfortable silence that had settled between them.
Gillian shrugged. "He seems nice; a good kid. I think your daughter's safe with him."
"Yeah, I haven't caught him with a lie yet."
"Ah, and with Cal Lightman, that means the world, doesn't it?" Gillian laughed up at him, and his brain told him it was a genuine smile, automatically cataloguing the signs.
"I want her to be happy, Gill," he told her quietly and seriously.
Again, she looked up at him, mirroring his serious expression. "She is, Cal," she told him reassuringly. "Sure she has her moods, but she's got parents that love her, a decent boyfriend and good friends. She's happy."
They shared one of their unusual stares until Cal cleared his throat.
"Yeah, about that, what were you like as a teenager anyways?"
He caught a flash of surprise on Gillian's face. "Why do you want to know?"
"Just curious," he said innocently. "Wondering when your sweet tooth developed, for example, and how you know so much about the teenage psyche."
Gillian laughed, a raw laugh that he found he liked.
"Not much to tell here," she started. "You know I grew up in California…"
She told her stories, and he told her his. They laughed at each other's first crushes, first kisses and grew serious at each other's first broken hearts.
It was strange, Cal reflected during one of their silences, how he could spend a day completely at ease with Gillian. With Zoe, he had never managed to; they were fireworks that could explode any minute.
But Gillian was friendly, easy to talk to… easy to love.
She was snoozing against his shoulder and he nudged her affectionately, but she only gave a slight grunt.
"Tired, love?" he asked with a grin on his face. "I'm surprised. It's only…" he checked his watch. "Two a.m."
"What?" Gillian shot up from his shoulder. Then she sagged back against his shoulder. "I'll be so hungover tomorrow," she mumbled.
They parted shortly after. He guided a sleepy Gillian to her bedroom and lingered for a second as she rummaged around a bit.
"Do you mind?" she finally asked, turning to him with a flirty smile on her face.
"Not at all; please continue," he told her wickedly. His tone was flirty and pleasant, matching her expression, but he really did not want to leave Gillian; once she was gone to sleep, he'd be alone with his thoughts.
It was as if she sensed his thoughts. She came to the doorway, where he stood, and looked at him.
"Cal, I'm right here," she told him, looking him in the eye. "You know you can stay in here too, if you'd like." Her guest room was a mess and she –they–hadn't had either the time or the incentive to clean it.
She'd offered him a place in her bed before, but he'd never taken her up on it. Though he knew she meant it as a friendly gesture, he knew it would be a bad idea to accept. No matter his feelings for Gillian, whether amical or more, he was still a man, she was a gorgeous woman and he did not trust himself.
"No love, I think I'll keep my friend the couch, company tonight," he winked at her. "Thanks for the offer though."
She studied him quietly before she stood on her toes and quickly kissed him on the mouth. They had exchanged these kisses before, but he had noticed that recently, more and more kisses landed on lips and not on cheeks. He didn't complain, though. Every day was another step in the direction he wanted.
"Good night, Gillian," he told her. She had already half turned around, but moved back to him and wished him the same.
And now he sat on the couch they had shared memories on earlier tonight, panting from his dream and frantically wondering if she would mind him going into her bedroom, just to see her. To make sure she was okay.
He'd had more dreams like this, dreams where Gillian or Emily left him without a clue. He always woke up in cold sweat and trying to resist the urge to call either of them, knowing they wouldn't appreciate being woken up, though they might understand.
But now Gillian was right by him, the only separation being a wall, and he just really needed to see her.
He stood up and walked to her door, noticing to his surprise that it was slightly open. The gesture strangely touched him.
Praying the door wouldn't squeak, he opened it quietly.
There she was where he knew she would be, lying on her stomach, one arm flung over her head.
The moonlight allowed him to see her face and he watched with quiet wonder as she slept, her eyeballs moving beneath her eyelids, her mouth slightly parted.
He wondered what she was dreaming about. Would she ever have dreams like the ones he had?
Careful not to make any sound, he walked to her bed and sat on the edge. The mattress dipped slightly and Gillian made a funny noise, but she didn't wake up.
"There you are, love," he whispered. She looked so peaceful that his own heart had reverted to its normal rhythm, and he raised his hand to stroke her hair.
The movement woke her up.
"Cal?" she asked groggily, squinting her eyes in an adorable way that made Cal want to kiss her awake.
"I'm here," he said softly. "Don't worry, just go back to sleep."
But she moved aside without a word, creating a space on the bed previously occupied by her.
He looked at her, wanting to make sure, but she had already closed her eyes again.
He smiled. It seemed that, despite his protest, they would be sharing a bed anyway. He simply could not leave her like this, when she was lying so sweetly, so Gillian in her bed.
With a grin on his face, he slid right next to her. She snuggled a bit closer so that her head was beneath his arm, but didn't move otherwise.
He could get used to this, he thought vaguely as he felt sleep trying to draw him in. He could get used to Gillian in his bed.
And he slept soundly.
I know it's kind of random, but as I said, this wasn't really a planned story or anything, it just came out (feels good to write something again though after a few weeks!)
Also, I tried to copy Cal's way of speaking, but I don't think it came across all that well. The "love" part it easy (and I abhor it when it's used too often), but otherwise... not sure.
Last note: apologies for the lame title!