Title: The Lies We Tell (1/?)
Pairing: gen, possible C/G
Disclaimer: The LtM characters are not mine, a certain lawyer is the possession of DEK.
Summary: When Zoe brings a new case and a new partner to the Lightman Group, long-buried truths will be revealed as they work to defend an innocent man, while a side investigation may place one partner in mortal peril.
A/N: I've been knocking this idea around for the last month and I've been doing research for the last week. Three chapters are written. I can assure you that it will not go the direction you're thinking; so don't even try to assume. No beta, all mistakes are mine. Thanks for reading!
Late Autumn. Foster's favorite time of year. Something about all the pretty colors and hot apple cider and hay rides. Cal couldn't remember exactly, but he was pretty sure Foster was allergic to hay. Regardless, she enjoyed hayrides… because they were fun. Far be it for logic to get in the way of the pursuit of fun.
Ignoring the fatigue in his bones, Cal continued on his way to the office. The employees of The Lightman Group had been more than busy lately. It had been downright hectic. He alone had wrapped up three different cases in as many days, Foster had at least two going currently, and Loker had actually brought a sleeping bag into the lab. Torres twice brought Cal information on a case that she was working with Foster, completely at a loss as to why she kept slipping up. They were all being over worked. Well paid, but overworked.
With his purchases from the local coffee shop, Cal deposited a piping hot cup of caramel apple cider on his partner's desk. Hopefully she wouldn't recognize his efforts as anything other than genuine.
"What did you do?" she asked suspiciously with her gaze fixed on her computer, fingers flying over the keyboard.
"Can't I just get you a warm beverage every once in a while?" he asked innocently, taking a seat across from her.
"No, because if you hadn't done anything, it would have just been a cup of coffee. If you were planning on doing something, it would be a pumpkin spiced latte…. You only bring out the big guns if you've already done something."
Damn. Infernal woman.
She stopped working and picked up the cup, sniffing it as she surveyed him over the lid. "And this smells distinctly like…" sniff "caramel apple cider. A drink of which you do not approve based on its sugar content alone." Cal scoffed at her observation. "You are up to something. Do I need to call the bank?"
Gillian reached for the phone, stopping only when he pulled it out of her reach.
"No such thing, Foster."
She leaned back in her chair, watching him for a moment, shaking her head 'no' even before she replied.
"No. I know that look and no."
"Zoe wants our help on a case," Cal started despite her protests. "She's finally taken on a new partner and seems to think that he could benefit from our services."
"She can't afford us, and besides I'm already working the Grant case with Torres and that takes priority."
"Zoe can too afford us," Cal replied. "This is actually an interesting case, Foster."
She narrowed her eyes at him, pursing her lips. "I've heard that before, typically in conjunction with Zoe or an attractive defendant. Now, it's her new partner that has you so bothered. If it's interesting, then so be it. But do it without me. I'm already swamped as it is."
"You can't be serious. If they win the case, it could mean a fantastic Christmas bonus for everyone involved."
With the amount of time they'd spent working lately, everyone could take off the entire month of December and still have fantastic Christmas bonuses. Winning the case was obviously not that high a priority for Cal.
Standing, Gillian gave him an incredulous look. "I know what type of bonus you're hoping for and it has nothing to do with money."
Cal's jaw dropped at her insinuation while she slid her arms into her red woolen pea coat. She only wore this jacket in the fall because it matched the leaves and if anything, Foster was a fan of color coordination. He bet her underwear even matched her sheets. Shaking his head from the thought of Gillian in bed, Cal stood and trailed her down the hallway as she stopped by Torres' office.
"I'm meeting with Grant in twenty minutes," Gillian informed Torres. "Would you mind pulling up our interview from yesterday? I'd like to compare both interviews when I return."
"Sure thing," Torres replied as she turned toward the lab. Cal dodged his protégé as he continued to walk right on Foster's heels.
"Cal, I'm serious." Foster stopped abruptly, causing them to almost collide. "You need to redefine your relationship with Zoe before we keep taking cases from her. Because this…." she searched she motioned to the ether in the absence of words, "thing you keep doing? Roping us all in to 'work a case'… isn't going to fly much longer."
"You didn't even let me tell you about the case," Cal replied indignantly.
"I don't care, I really don't. I'm not working another case just so you can…" she cut her self short before she said anything incriminating. Cal watched her closely for a second, but she turned abruptly and waved him off.
"This isn't over, Foster!" he called as the door shut behind her.
Five minutes into meeting Zoe's new partner and Cal decided that he couldn't stand the man. Sitting in the conference room, Cal glanced at Loker and Torres sitting on one side, Zoe and her partner on the other. Cal alternated between sitting and standing, growing more irritable by the second. The new partner was from Boston and had passed the D.C. bar exam over a year ago. He'd been working in the area for a short while before joining forces with Zoe.
To be honest, the only reason Cal had agreed to the meeting was so he could get a solid read on Zoe's partner. Cal hadn't bothered to look at his work history, mainly because he could care less. The problem was that this new guy did know the law, and he knew it well. He also had an ego that could rival Cal's, so he'd probably won quite a few cases to back it all up.
All things considered, Cal considered him to be a pompous jerk with a chip on his shoulder the size of the English Channel. He was smug, forceful, and attractive. Just Zoe's type. Cal slouched back into his chair as her partner continued to relay the information of the case in a systematic and orderly fashion.
Shaking his head, Cal interrupted and turned to Zoe. "This all sounds well and good, but from what you've told us and all the evidence we've been provided, your guy is guilty."
"Cal —" Zoe started, giving her partner a sheepish look. "Just… listen to the tapes that we subpoenaed from the police. If you think he's guilty after that, then we'll be on our way."
"You know audio isn't my specialty, Zoe. Give me something I can look at if you want my help."
"What about Foster?" Torres asked, stating the obvious.
"Foster has her own caseload to worry about," Cal replied, shooting Torres a warning look to keep her shut.
Loker glanced around the room, shrugging his shoulders sensibly. "I think it's pretty obvious here that there's a lot more going on than meets the eye. How about we just listen to the tapes, Lightman? If there's more to it, then maybe we can bring it up with Foster."
Cal pinched the bridge of his nose in aggravation. He really, really did not want to deal with an annoyed Foster. It was bad enough dealing with his ex-wife. Annoyed Foster was nearly impossible to placate, especially if caramel apple cider wouldn't do the trick. He glanced at Zoe, then at The Windbag with his Frank Sinatra blue eyes and frowned.
"Fine. One listen," Cal said brusquely. He took the discs from Zoe and launched them in the player, turning up the volume so everyone could listen. While the audio kicked on, Cal called Heidi, asking for her to send Foster to the conference room when she returned.
Three minutes into the tapes and Cal had heard enough. "First off, we can't even understand half of what they're saying."
"You understand it, Cal, you took French at University," Zoe replied, confused.
"Yeah, at Uni. Twenty plus years ago. My French is passable at best. On top of that, you can't honestly expect us to analyze this. Their vocal patterns are completely different."
"We do have the software to run vocal analysis, even some regression patterns," Loker stated, biting his lip when he caught Cal's look of irritation.
"Hmph," snapped Zoe, giving her partner a smug smile. "Listen a little bit longer, they start speaking in English again. That's when it gets good."
Cal leaned back against the glass wall, staring at the ground as he listened, grappling with the speed with which the men were speaking French. Finally, the English resumed and Cal's head stopped hurting from the strain of concentrating so hard. He rolled his eyes at the supposed 'good part', shaking his head at Zoe who shrugged in reply. The English quickly resorted back to French, causing Cal to groan in frustration.
"I'm lost. This… no. Zoe, I haven't a clue as to what they're saying. We'd need a French interpreter to make heads or tales of all this. Why'd you take the case to begin with?"
"I didn't," Zoe replied, motioning to Blue Eyes, "he did."
Suddenly, another softer, clearer voice spoke up from the threshold of his office. "There's also the simple matter that it's not standard French, either… I'd say it was more Belgian French. Though, that's only a minor difference."
It was Foster, leaning against the doorway with her arms crossed, looking particularly stunning at the moment, what with her rosy cheeks to match her red jacket. She nearly glowed. Cal noticed the lawyer shoot up upon seeing Gillian, shock written across his features.
"Besides," she stated offhandedly, "all they're talking about is the latest football match between Namur and Liege. Very interesting,"Gillian gave Cal a pointedlook and for a second he wanted to stomp his feet and pull at his hair.
Casting the gawking lawyer a curious glance, Cal motioned for Foster to come in. She refused with a shake of her head and raised eyebrows. Disregarding their present company entirely, they engaged in a silent discussion from across the room. He could tell by the wary look she was giving him that he'd get an earful later. Cal crossed the room and invaded her space, but she didn't back up. Obscuring the others from view as he watched her clench her jaw at intervals with narrowed eyes. She too was reading him and by the way she exhaled quickly, she seemed willing to appease him… momentarily.
Moving aside, Cal turned and found that idiot lawyer still staring at Foster like he'd seen a ghost. With a close eye on her partner, Zoe stood to introduce them. Foster glided over somewhat hesitantly while Cal watched the whole scene as though it occurred slow motion.
"Gillian," Zoe held out her hand to shake, which Gillian accepted smoothly. "I'd like you to meet my new partner, Bobby Donnell. Bobby, this is Doctor Gillian Foster."
Like a switch had been flicked, Gillian's shoulders tensed and her entire demeanor changed, going from forced warmth to blank coldness. It was almost as though the air had left the room as Gillian and The Windbag stood across from each other, motionless. Torres' eyebrows drew together in interest as she exchanged a look with Loker, also intrigued.
"Are you related to —" Bobby asked, completely unlike the self-assured windbag he was earlier.
"Lindsay Dole?" she replied evenly. "She's my cousin."
"You look…" Bobby gestured as he gave her a once over. Cal stepped forward, not appreciating the way The Windbag was staring at his Foster. He then glanced at Zoe who looked purely beside herself with undisguised glee.
"We get that a lot," she replied automatically as she adjusted her purse on her shoulder. She took a moment then fixed him with a fierce look. "I'm just curious, but did they disbar you in Massachusetts or did you run out of murderers and drug dealers to defend?"
Loker choked on his own laugh while everyone's eyebrows darted upwards, surprised at Foster's uncharacteristic hostility. Everyone except The Windbag, at least.
"Ah, I see the rapier wit extends throughout the entire family," Bobby shot back, shoving his hands into his pockets. Cal noted that he seemed to be squaring himself for battle.
"Only on my Father's side," Gillian replied scornfully, ignoring his stance as tension continued to thrive.
On his part, Cal was completely amazed that this supposed stranger was able to elicit this type of response from Foster. He'd witnessed it maybe once or twice — it was so utterly foreign to him and the others. They couldn't help but become enthralled by the scene before them.
Suddenly remembering she had an audience, Gillian glanced at Zoe then shook her head, backing away slowly. "Have a good afternoon, Mr. Donnell… Zoe."
Still completely befuddled by what just happened, Cal watched as Foster left the conference room without giving him a passing glance. Looking from the empty doorway back to Zoe, he was about to speak when The Windbag started walking after Foster.
"If you'll excuse me, I'll be right back," Bobby said as he traced Foster's steps through the door.
Cal, torn between going after Foster or berating his ex-wife, decided on the latter. Motioning for a perplexed Torres and Loker to get out, Cal crossed his arms as he stood before Zoe, oscillating between confusion, doubt, and anger.
"Alright, what the hell just happened and what are you playing at?"
A/N: This was a feeler chapter. I need to know that I'm not wasting my time in writing this. I'm not certain how frequently I can update yet, but I do hope to get half of it finished before long. I'm going to put a kibosh on those of you thinking there might be a Bobby/Foster thing, because it won't happen. In my mind he still loves Lindsay. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it.