Thanks to everyone for the awesome reviews and thank you to glouton-mana and kitkatbarxp because I couldn't message them back :D
Thanks to everyone who's still reading this! Now starts the Callian I promised everyone - and any mention of a boyfriend for Gillian has nothing to do with David Burns so no spoilers there!
Disc: I don't own this characters!
Cal took the long route to the break room, making sure he passed Gillian's office on both trips. She was busy at her desk, hair falling to cover her face every time she wrote something on a file. Kate's words had played over and over in his head:
"So you can't explain why you suddenly clammed up and
couldn't talk to your best friend, someone you've
admitted understands you better than anyone, and
who has stood by you through thick and thin."
Why couldn't he open up to Gillian? She had been there for him through some of the hardest and darkest days in his life and she still stood by him. And he repaid that loyalty by pushing her away when he needed her most.
He watched as she curled a piece of hair absentmindedly around her finger, the rhythmic circles she was drawing in the air hypnotising him. Her hair had gotten longer since her divorce and he often found himself wondering what it would be like to run his fingers through her silky mane.
Shaking those thoughts from his mind he raised his fist and tapped on the glass, heart fluttering as she smiled up at him. He nodded his head towards his office and tapped his watch in a silent invitation. Before the Clarkson case they had taken to eating lunch in his office, not talking about work but simply enjoying each other's company. He had missed that lately.
He was already digging into a particularly bland sandwich when she joined him carrying only a pudding cup. She exuded elegance as she sauntered into the office and gently lowered herself into the chair facing him.
"That's not much of a lunch. It's a wonder you have such a great figure."
Her eyebrows shot up in surprise at his statement and she didn't even try to hide her smirk. Instead of replying with another sly remark, she simply dunked her spoon into the pudding and licked it clean in the most sensual way, leaving Cal breathless as he gazed at her.
Their eyes locked as she cleaned the spoon for a second time and took a deep breath. Oh God, Cal thought, I know that look, that's a 'We need to have a talk' look. Crap, he just wanted lunch with his friend and talk about silly things; he wasn't ready for a full blown heart to heart.
Reynolds interruption couldn't have been timed better. Of course the look on Gillian's face let him know she was about to hit Reynolds.
"Sorry for the interruption but I just heard back from the prosecutor on the Clarkson case. They need you to testify."
A sudden chill sheathed the room, sending a shiver through Cal. He was aware of Reynolds and Gillian looking at him to watch his reaction but he couldn't even try to hide his emotions behind a mask.
"Cal, are you ok?"
"Why do they need me?"
He deliberately ignored her question, choosing instead to focus on why in the world they needed him to testify, when surely they had more than enough evidence to get a conviction.
"Apparently Clarkson managed to snag himself a pretty good lawyer, their defence is looking incredibly strong right now so we need to cover all our bases. Your expert testimony could really help us out."
"He ran from the room covered in a dead teenager's blood and my expert testimony is needed to assure this sick-o goes to jail?"
"Don't shoot the messenger, Lightman, I'm just letting you know we still need you on this. Maybe you could get Loker and Torres to do some witness prep and jury watch?"
"We'll get right on it, Ben."
Cal watched silently as Gillian answered for him, effectively dismissing the F.B.I agent. Where was the feeling of dread? Where was the astonishing pain that had wrenched at his heart and made him gasp for air the last time he heard Clarkson's name.
Aside from the chill that had sent a shiver through him when Reynolds had first broke the news, he now sat there feeling fine. Not delighted to hear that name again, but not as bad a reaction as he had been having.
"Cal? Cal? Are you ok?"
He looked up to see Gillian hovering over him, nervously catching her lower lip between her teeth as her gaze wandered over his features. Even as Gillian watched him, Kate's words echoed in his mind once more.
"She's safe. Your daughter is safe"
Gillian's concerned face quickly transformed into one of confusion as Cal stood, breaking into a genuinely joyful grin and gathering her in a crushing embrace. He burrowed into her soft hair, inhaling the flowery, sweet scent almost like it was an oxygen source to him.
For her part Gillian immediately reciprocated the embrace, wrapping her arms around Cal's neck and tugging him closer. Her lips rested against his cheek, burning his skin so badly he was sure they would leave a permanent scar.
Placing feather light kisses to her cheek, he stepped back from the embrace, almost immediately. The most adorable blush crept onto her face, deepening hues beginning at the spot where his lips had been just moments ago.
"I'm fine, Gillian."
She paused for a second, as if contemplating whether or not to say what was on her mind. He watched the muscles in her neck tense; fear.
"Do you want to have dinner tonight, Cal?"
She avoided eye contact until she had finished speaking. Finally meeting his gaze he was surprised to see how vulnerable she looked. Where was his head strong and sure of herself Foster?
At least she had only asked him to dinner, he was afraid after their moment a while ago that she wanted to have a more serious talk about their relationship. There was a definite shift in the structure of their friendship as of late and sooner or later they were going to have to address it. He was hoping for later.
"I can't do tonight, luv."
He tried to ignore the flash of disappointment that darkened across her pretty face, instead focused on the pride he felt at how quickly she schooled those features back into a neutral expression.
"Do you have Emily tonight?"
"Nah, she's at her mums tonight. I actually decided to take your advice. You said I should to talk about what happened in the case, that I needed someone to talk to, so I'm seeing someone. That's why I can't go tonight."
This time she couldn't control her mask and he monitored every flicker of emotion that she displayed. Confusion; disappointment; embarrassment; and the two that confused him the most; sadness and hurt.
Why was she sad that he was finally talking to someone? It was obviously working, given that he didn't completely break down once Reynolds delivered the news about testifying. Suddenly she was increasing the gap between them, stepping backwards towards the door of the office as she struggled to find something to say.
"I...I'm...I'm happy for you, Cal. I hope she helps you get through this."
With that she turned on her heel and briskly made her way out of the office, her half eaten pudding still sitting on his desk. A jumble of perplexing questions floated around in his mind. Why the sudden exit? Why the display of hurt emotions? And, how did Gillian know the person helping him with his psychological problems was a woman?
"...and then she just ran out of the room! I just don't understand women."
"No, you most certainly do not."
Kate smirked as she spoke, causing Cal's scowl to deepen. His confusion after Gillian's actions earlier had manifested itself in one of the worst headaches of his life and having this twenty-something smart ass practically laughing at him was not helping it.
"I'm trying to tell a story here, if you don't mind."
"Oh I'm terribly sorry, Dr. Lightman, please excuse my impertinent interruption. Do continue."
Alright now she was just openly mocking him. He remained quiet, trying to gather his thoughts before continuing, afraid of more embarrassment at the hands of the petite girl in front of him.
"Enlighten me. What do I not understand about women?"
"Oh God, Dr. Lightman, I think it'd be quicker if we list the things you do understand. I do hope to leave this room to graduate at some point in the near future."
"You won't get out of this room if you keep up the comedian routine."
"Alright, alright. I'll stop with the jokes. Unless it's a really good one, deal?"
"Deal. Now tell me why I hurt my best friend's feelings?"
"How has Dr. Foster been since this case? How did it affect her?"
How had Foster been dealing with it? What did Foster have to be dealing with? He was the one who put his own emotions for his daughter into the case, he was the one who found the dead girl staring blankly back at him, he was the one who was going to have to relive all of that at the trial soon.
"I don't understand. Foster's fine. I was the one who got too emotionally involved, what would Foster need to be dealing with?"
Kate shook her head, some of her wayward locks freeing themselves from her ponytail and drooping over her glasses. How could she see anything with a curtain of raven hair blocking her view?
"Sometimes I don't know why she sticks up for you so much. So you think you were the only one who had to deal with anything bad? Well, based on what you've told me, Dr. Foster didn't have it great during the case either.
She had to watch her best friend slowly lose control of himself the deeper he got in the case. She had to try to reach out to the aforementioned best friend only to have him distance himself further. She had to deal with a case that disgusted her. She probably thought a lot about Emily during the case as well, being that they are so close. And she was left alone in a room with a dead teenage girl after you ran away from her.
All in all, Dr. Lightman, I'd say she could use someone to talk to just as much as you do."
Kate finished her tirade against him by slamming her notebook shut, sending her pen skittering across the floor to the other side of the room. He couldn't think of a single time he'd seen her this angry. Or angry at all, come to think of it.
"I'm a horrible friend, aren't I?"
At his words she softened again, her image returning to that of a Kate he recognised. She stood in front of him and rested a hand on his shoulder, squeezing to make him look up at her.
"You're not a terrible friend. Dr. Foster is just your blind spot and, more often than not, she's the one person that's there for you. You're used to her being the strong willed and determined person she's always been but sometimes you've got to be the one who's there for her, ok?"
"She broke up with someone recently. First guy she dated since the divorce. A teacher, I think his name was Steve or Kevin or something like that."
"Those names aren't right at all."
"I took her out drinking after, told her to forget about him. Maybe I should have just let her talk to me. She doesn't have that many friends that would just listen to her problems."
"And he wasn't a teacher, he worked in a bank."
"Is this "Who knows more about Foster's ex-boyfriends" or is this you helping me?"
She punched him playfully where her hand had been resting but she was stronger than she looked. He tried not to wince, just quickly rubbed soothing circles on the sore spot when she turned her back to him.
"You pretty much just figured out what you need to do. Talk to Dr. Foster a bit more. Ask her how she is after everything, her answers could surprise you."
"You're giving me homework now?"
"Yep. Call it punishment for not paying for these sessions. Now, I've an assignment due in a few days so I need to hit the library."
"I hope it doesn't hit back."
He began laughing at his own joke, laughter quickly subsiding when he noticed the blank stare Kate gave him.
"That was lame, Lightman. Another bit of homework, work on your comedy a bit more."
She was now ushering him out the door, quickly following him and locking it behind her. Waving goodbye she darted in the other direction, the tower of books she was carrying, threatening to overspill.
Right, Cal thought, time to start on that homework.
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