Disclaimer: After 'In The Red', they're clearly not mine.
A.N.: I'm angry, and I think many of you are too. I just had to let it all out. I was planning on writing a really fluffy fic with happy ending and all, but I couldn't do it after watching the last episode. It might be a little OOC (I never did something like this before), so please review. Constructive criticism is always welcome. Oh, if there are any SVU fans out there, I hope you catch the little reference to the show!
"Oy, Cal Lightman here. But you already knew that, didn't ya? I'm not in right now, or I don't particularly want to talk to you. So, anyways, leave a message and I'll call you back when I'm feeling like it"
"Hi, Cal. It's me. Gillian. I… You're probably not back from your date yet, but I just wanted to say… I'd appreciate it if you could drop by my place sometime tomorrow. I know it's a Saturday, but I need to talk to you urgently. It's really important. You can come by at any time. I'll be waiting. Thanks. Bye"
And it's the last time I'll wait for you, she added in her mind when she hung up the phone.
It was almost one o'clock in the morning and she couldn't sleep. Her mind kept drifting back to his words, and her eyes kept tearing up every time she replayed them in her head.
He had hurt her more than she would ever be willing to admit. She was ashamed to even think that she had, once, trusted him with all her heart; trusted him to value her, to appreciate her. He had been the longest relationship she had ever had with a man, and now, that was over too.
It had all been a lie. When he had begged her to join him in what was then a very wild and distant dream, The Lightman Group, she knew she had finally found someone next to whom she could work in the way she had always wanted to. She would not be someone's employee anymore, but her own boss. Or so she thought. He had been treating her like a secretary for the last few months, dismissing her opinions and her attempts to save the company. Well, she wouldn't take it anymore. She had just found him two new assistants; he could treat them like garbage now.
"Or maybe it won't be half as fun." she said aloud. Sitting down on the couch in her dark living room, she practiced the speech she wanted to, but most likely wouldn't, say to him. But talking to herself as if someone was listening was the easiest way of cooling her anger. She considered it a kind of therapy, and it was probably the closest she would ever get to actually going to a shrink. She just thought the whole idea of the shrink going to a shrink too comical. So she talked, not caring she may look stupid of crazy if anyone saw her "You treat Loker and Torres like crap, too, but that's not enough. No, you need someone who will challenge you intellectually, who'll have good comebacks, who'll not make it easy for you to step on them. You like the thrill of winning a hard argument. I do sincerely hope you find someone to entertain you as well as I did."
She got up and considered going into the kitchen to pour herself a glass of something strong. But she could not hold her liquor, and didn't want to be hung over the next day, in case he really did come, so she could tell him about her decision. Instead, she settled for walking to the window, resting her forehead on the cool glass, and putting her arms around her own body for warmth. She stayed in silence for a few minutes, distracted by the water hitting the window loudly – why does it always rains on bad days? She thought she heard someone calling her name, but it was hard to tell over the pouring rain. It was probably her tired stressed mind playing tricks on her.
"On your sweat." She laughed bitterly "Yes, The Lightman Group was built on your own sweat. I just stood by and watched as you worked your ass off. I had absolutely nothing to do with it. I didn't almost ruin my marriage because I worked so hard I didn't even see my husband. You should take full credit for turning the company into what it is now. No, never mind my sweat; you did it all by yourself, as you insist on doing everything in your life"
She closed her eyes to keep the angry tears from falling. Once she started, she wouldn't be able to stop. She heard something – was it her doorknob turning? She ran to the door to check if a) her house wasn't being invaded, b) she hadn't gone crazy yet, and c) ghosts did not exist. But she had also imagined the ruffle of keys, and the sound of the door opening. God, she needed sleep desperately. Next thing she knew, she would start hallucinating.
"I don't see anyone else's name on that door" she kept on talking; it got too quiet when she stopped. At least her voice would keep her company "I know that, Cal, it's not like you let anyone forget it, anyway. 'Is it the Torres Group already or still the Lightman Group?' 'If I recall, Loker, is not your name on the door, is it?' 'See that sign? The Lightman Group. It's me. I'm Lightman' 'But you see, love, it's the Lightman Group, not The Lightman & Foster Group', and my favorite one of all, and oh so subtle, 'I remember hiring you, but not marrying you'. Hiring me. You know how much I hate those words, but you wouldn't miss a chance to throw them at my face, would you? I told you seven years ago I'd only help you in one condition: if I worked with you, not for you. You know how important it is for me that I don't have to answer to anybody. To have my freedom, to be my own boss. I have given all of me for that company, and what do I get in return? It's yours, it's yours, it's all yours! Take it, because I don't want it anymore!"
Her heart rate increased, her breathing fastened, her face reddened. She thought she heard footsteps; his footsteps. She turned around. Nothing. No one.
"You know that turning point in your life, right before your middle age crisis, when you realize everything you've been doing day after day your entire life is wrong? I'm there, Cal. I know now I shouldn't have done half the things I've done for you. I don't know why I did them. Maybe I didn't want to lose you too. So I kept coming back to you, even though you've said, more than once, that you don't need my smothering you or my prying into your personal life." She choked back a sob, and turned around abruptly when she felt a presence behind her. Was she going mad? There was no one but herself and the rain that night. "I lost Sophie. I lost my husband. So I kept carrying the weight of The Lightman Group on my shoulders, afraid I'd lose my job, too. Because it's not like you care. You just run off and piss off the wrong people, put your life in danger at least once a month, refuse to take on cases even though we need the money, and you just expect the bills to magically pay themselves, right? No, you know good old Gillian is there to take care of the boring part, so you'll just have your fun and let her clean up your mess afterwards! Never mind all the pressure she's been going through, never mind she cried herself to sleep one night, afraid she wouldn't make ends meet at the Group, afraid that she would have to start firing people. And why should you care that she just found her very first grey hair and it scared the shit out of her, because she began having visions of herself with grey hair matching her grey dress, packing her things from the office she used to have in what's now a bankrupt company!"
She sighed tiredly after her outburst, and sat down, resting her head on the back of the couch. Her eyes shot open – this time, she had heard footsteps, she was sure of it. Very light footsteps, coming closer. She didn't move, she didn't look around. Instead, she waited for them stop. She had a feeling they had stopped right behind her. Maybe if she stretched her arm on the back of the couch… but no, it would scare her too much if she actually felt something. So she closed her eyes, trying to remember it was all in her head; she was alone, just like she was every other night when she came home.
"I was always there, Cal. You'll never find anyone that cares for you as much as I do" she whispered "I was always at your beck and call. Helping you was first on my to-do list. Not because I'm in love with you. No, not that – though I once thought I could, and probably would, end up loving you. I didn't, but that doesn't mean I was immune to your charms. It just took me too long to understand you didn't respect me as I thought you did, and that I wasn't as important to you as you were to me, that this was a one-sided relationship. As in everything else I ever did, I gave my all, and you didn't think you needed to contribute with anything."
She got up again, too restless to stay still, and walked around the living room, clutching her hands nervously, as if she was really trying to explain herself to someone. As she walked, her eyes caught the reflection of a body on the window glass, and she turned around, neurotic, blood pumping fast through her veins, expecting to see someone staring back at her. When the only thing she saw was darkness, she scolded herself for being so childish; it was only the lack of sleep catching up on her, or optical illusions and mind tricks, similar to what happens when you look at a star for too long and start having the impression it is moving in the sky.
"As you said those words to me, Cal, I bit my tongue; I bit my tongue so hard I tasted my own blood. But I didn't say anything. I know better than to get into a fight with your ego. You just don't accept that it's not all about you, that not everything is yours. And I'm so tired of trying to make you see that. I'm done"
She walked slowly to the corner of the room, where the window meets the wall, and slid down to sit on the floor, hugging her knees. She heard footsteps again. Heavier this time. She looked up. This time, she saw something. This time, he was there. Black shirt and jeans, smug grin on his face, hands in his pockets. Looking at her, staring down at her. His expression said he was enjoying her torment. He didn't move, he didn't speak, he didn't seem to hear when she called his name. He just stood there, his eyes boring into hers. It scared her.
But he couldn't be here, she remembered. Hadn't he gone out with detective what's her name? Why was he here now? How had he come in? He didn't have her key.
Was it really him? How could it be? How could it not be? Maybe he was here to hear the end of her speech. Maybe he had heard all of it; maybe he had been there all along.
She closed her eyes, counted to ten and opened them again. He hadn't disappeared. Still there, still looking at her, still not moving. It was a vision, maybe? Did she even believe in that kind of thing?
Cal looked as if he was waiting for her to say something. He knew she hadn't let it all out yet.
You mess with my finances again, you and I are through.
'We were through a long time ago, Cal' she thought, not having the strength to say the words aloud, but knowing that, somehow, the Cal in front of her could hear her clearly 'I just didn't want to admit it to myself. I just didn't want to be left with nothing'
Can you tell me, do I mean that?
'Yes, you do' she looked deeply into Cal's eyes, letting him see everything that was running through her head in that moment 'and I can also tell you that I mean it when I say I've had enough'
Cal furrows his brow in confusion. She explains it to him.
'I'm done. I really am. I'm leaving The Lightman Group'
She answers his unasked question.
'Yes, that also means I'm leaving you'
She laughs bitterly and painfully at his expression.
'Why? You want to know why? I think I'll leave you to figure that one out by yourself'
She understands the twitch of his face muscles.
'No, Cal, I'm not coming back'
The look on his face almost makes her want to apologize, but she doesn't.
'Yes, Cal. This is goodbye'
He takes one step closer to the door, but looks back at her one last time.
'Yes, Cal. I mean it'
Somehow, even though she knows he's not there anymore, she hears his footsteps leading to the door.
She hears the door close.
He's out of her life.
Then she smiles, relieved.