A/N: I apologize if there's any error. Like I say in my profile-I never proofread. And I mean that. Anyway, happy Monday, everyone!
And, Let's just call this AU, mmkay? because it takes place in a universe where Cal is NOT being totally douchetastic.
Disclaimer: yep. all mine. in AU, anyway. where you'll also see MUCH more of Foster.
Dr. Gillian Foster sunk into the depths of her claw-foot bathtub. The water was scorching hot, just the way she liked it and her toenails, painted a most adorable shade of bubblegum pink, peeked out of the plethora of the bubbles she, along with the water, had created.
She inhaled sharply as the sweet scent of black raspberry vanilla entered her nostrils. The combination of hot water and fizzing bubbles did wonders to provide her with a heady sense of relaxation she hadn't felt in quite a long while. As for many women, the bathtub was a specific type of sanctuary for Gillian Foster. She felt the tension melt out of her body as she flicked off the faucet.
She laid languidly in the water, excessively deep so that the hair at the nape of her neck inevitably ended up soaking up some of the water and scent. She had found, throughout the years, that the scent she chose for near nightly baths often lingered at the nape of her neck the next day, despite the fact that she washed her hair every morning.
For now, her brown hair was pinned back haphazardly with a silver barrette, as a few wet tendrils fell softly and framed her face.
She sighed and listened to the water slightly slosh as she pushed an errant strand of hair behind her ear. She leaned back against the lush bath pillow and listened as the calming sounds of Mozart washed over her. With a little smile, she picked up her wine glass—cradling the glass delicately between her fingers, she indulged in a little sip of the pinot grigio she'd poured for herself.
She sat idly for a moment feeling the warmth of the bath seep deeply into her veins, melting the tension she usually carried in her shoulders after a long day—or any day, really—at the Lightman Group. She opened her eyes as she took another swallow of her wine and a flash of red caught her eye on the table beside the tub. She set her wine on the coaster and a smile that two parts devious and one part lazy spread across her features.
Dr. Gillian Foster had few guilty pleasures in life. Baths, of course, were a pleasure, but they hardly constituted a guilty one. Cosmopolitan, however, was indeed what she considered to be a very guilty pleasure. Since she'd stopped feeling guilty about reading romance novels, she had to qualify Cosmo as perhaps the biggest guilty pleasure she had left.
She had subscribed to the magazine in grad. school, when she was intent on finding out things, and she had never cancelled it. Publicly, on more than one occasion, she had denounced the magazine. After all, many of her friends today were familiar with her feministic points of view and they would loathe to discover that she actually read Cosmo every single month. She had publicly discredited it amongst her friends, expressing disdain that it was often referred to as "the woman's bible." In truth, that was a moniker she did truly dislike—it relegated women as second-class citizens because, after all, the number one women's magazine in America was all about how women should go about pleasing their men.
Of course, she recognized that the magazine had its shortcomings, some of them glaringly obvious. That's partly what made it so fascinating to her. However, the truth of the matter was—she simply liked the magazine. It was fun, and it was admittedly a bit silly. And even a serious psychologist like Gillian Foster was entitled to a bit of fun and silliness.
She smiled as she reached for the magazine and pulled it into the tub with her. Her fingers were damp and it they made little impressions on the red cover. She glanced at Katy Perry looking seductively at her from the cover. Chuckling slightly, she opened the magazine and flipped through the various advertisements. When she got to the article on Katy Perry, she paused. She didn't particularly like the singer, so she didn't actually engage herself with the article.
Instead, Gillian observed the pictures of the young singer. The singer looked seductively (after all, women only knew a few looks, right?) at the camera wearing girly, soft outfits. But it wasn't the outfit of one photograph that caught Gillian's eye. It was a small tattoo on the inside skin of the woman's small bicep that caught her eye. It was something in Sanskrit and Gillian found it absolutely intriguing. She had often thought of getting a tattoo—but had never really found anything that meant so much to her that she simply had to commemorate it permanently with ink on her body. She imagined that if she ever did get a tattoo—that Sanskrit would be the perfect way to go. It was sexy and mysterious and symbolic. All three of which appealed to Gillian Foster. Only she certainly would not get it on the inside of her bicep—she'd always been partial to tattoos that were placed on the inside of the forearm, actually. She idly traced the naked, smooth skin on her right forearm with her left index finger briefly imagining what colorful phrase she could put there before she flipped the page away from Katy Perry's seductive gaze.
A section a few pages later, however, caught her attention. It had a scruffy looking man—who also somehow managed to look clean cut at the same time—on it and it was entitled 101 Things About Men. She chuckled to herself as she read about the absolute proof of beer goggles and the differences between men who use iPhones and those who use blackberries, when a particular portion piqued her interest:
3 Weird Signs He's Into You
Gillian read through them and sat up straighter as she quickly took another sip of her wine.
Numbers one (he orders manly dishes when you're out to eat together) and three (his mind goes blank so he can't remember basic facts) were interesting to her, but it was the second one of the bunch that really got her mind reeling:
He starts talking like you. Research from the University of California at Riverside shows that people subconsciously pick up each other's speech patterns in conversation. "A man will unknowingly mimic how you talk to seem more likable," says Jessica Lakin, PhD, a psychology professor at Drew University. In an LTR? Slip a new verbal tic (like "anyways") into convos and see if he does it too.
Gillian pushed her toes together and chewed on her bottom lip as her mind wandered toward Cal Lightman. It was not, of course, the first time she had considered her business partner while she was in the bathtub, but it was admittedly the first time she had considered him while scheming.
She was certainly not in a traditional LTR with him. But, as far as relationships went, theirs had been the longest for both of them. As a psychologist and as a woman she knew that if she were to try this particular experiment on him, the results would not be conclusive. The idea seemed like fun, anyway. As she closed the magazine, a smile spread over her lips and she used her toes to pull the chain of the stopper out of the drain. As she stood up in the tub and began toweling herself off she couldn't help but feel a sense of excitement coursing through her veins—this would be fun indeed.
The next morning was a Wednesday. Gillian Foster's stylish black heels clicked purposefully down the hallway of the Lightman Group. The tile was smooth underneath her feet and as she walked into the lab, she felt a sensation in her stomach. She calmed the butterflies as she tried to suppress the slow smile that threatened to expose her.
If she was going to do this, she had to be serious about it. If anyone knew anything was up—especially Cal LIghtman—the experiment would be dead in the water.
She had spent an hour or so trying to come up with an original verbal tic. She couldn't think of anything, really, that she could slip into her conversation that would sound natural, so she decided to go with the magazine.
In reality, the magazine had (perhaps unknowingly) chosen the perfect word. After all, 'anyways' wasn't really a word. The correct phrase was "anyway." Anyway, broken down, did not make one bit of sense. So, the word ended up being perfect. Not only did she never use the word to begin with, but neither did Cal, and he wouldn't, normally. It wasn't a word that he would randomly start saying because it wasn't, precisely, a word. So, "anyways," had become the verbal tic she would begin to stealthily insert into her dialogue whenever she was around Cal.
She had to keep her breath from hitching in her throat when she noticed Cal was already in the lab, waiting for her with Loker and Torres.
"Morning, boss." Loker said as he glanced away from the screen.
"Morning" Gillian returned shooting the young man a brief smile. Torres smiled at her.
At the sound of her voice, Cal tore himself from reviewing the tape and he acknowledged her with a smile as he raked his eyes up and down her body, taking in her form in a black dress that accentuated her figure in all the right places.
He had been doing that a lot lately, overtly checking her out, and it didn't matter how many times he did it, it flustered her. She felt a slight blush creep up her cheeks as a little smile played on her lips.
He finally returned his gaze to her eyes and a smile that was half smirk graced his face as he acknowledged her with a slight nod of his head, "Foster."
"Morning, Cal." She turned her attention to the screen that held his attention, "so, anything new?"
"No, not really—except that he flashes a partial disgust expression whenever anyone brings up his mother."
"Hmm," Foster considered this— "Well, it's probably nothing too relevant to the case, but we should probably ask him about it anyways." She had to concentrate on trying to control all of the muscles in her face so she didn't smile or give anything away.
The expression on Cal's face was priceless. He had noticed her new word right away and so she didn't laugh outright she turned her back and busied herself with a few papers from the current case file before turning back around. He was still gazing at her, remote control in his had, his head cocked slightly to the right.
She raised her eyebrows at him "What?" though she knew very well just what had caused him to look at her like that. Her uncharacteristic use of the word "anyways."
In a way, she was surprised and a bit flattered that he had even noticed. It meant he paid attention to her. He shook his head and walked in front of her "Nothing." he said, and motioned with his head for her to follow him into the cube.
She did so, a feeling of exhilaration making its way through her body and a smile making its way to her lips.
On Wednesday, she used the word only once more in casual passing. She didn't want to be too obvious about it as it was clear that Cal absolutely noticed the new word in her dialogue.
On Thursday, she wore pink and used the word three more times.
On Friday, she used it another three and wore navy blue.
On Monday, she used it twice and wore a very particular shade of crimson.
On Tuesday, it happened.
She had decided to wear her red dress—the one that even she knew made her look amazing. She liked to watch Cal's reaction to the dress and if she were completely honest with herself, she even liked the look she found in Loker's eye when he looked at her in it.
She had used the trigger word twice that day, and she was finishing up some paperwork in her office when Cal tapped lightly on her door.
She looked up from her writing to invite him in with a smile.
"Hey," she said conversationally as he came in and plopped down in her chair.
He exhaled and ran a hand over his face and she put her pen down on her desk, deciding to focus on conversation with him, instead.
She couldn't control the little flip-flop she felt in her stomach when he looked at her, his eyes briefly glancing at the expanse of her bare chest the dress afforded him. She blushed slightly and he smiled at her before he spoke.
"Is there a conspiracy going on around here?"
Her eyes shone at the tone in his voice, "I beg your pardon?"
His eyebrows rose "You're pardoned, darling, always." He laughed at her slight eye roll before he continued "No, seriously, conspiracy, is there one?"
She giggled slightly, enjoying the carefree tone between them—"What sort of conspiracy would there be going on, Cal, to what end?" She considered he might be talking about her experiment, but she quickly dismissed the idea.
"To make me go mad!" He said holding out his hands, palms up, in front of him, as if that should be a sufficient explanation.
"To make you go mad?" she suggested, playfulness evident in her tone.
"Touché, Foster, touché. " He regarded her with humor as he rested his head on his elbow, splaying out completely in her chair.
"Comfortable?" She questioned, taking in his position, her eyebrows climbing her forehead.
"Oh, yes." He said dramatically.
She laughed outright and an expression of happiness crossed his face as he listened to the carefree sound.
"So, you were saying…" she prompted.
He simply stared at her as though he didn't see her—he was drinking her all in and he was reluctant to drag his focus back to the conversation at hand.
"Um, right, well…" Cal earched his mind for the topic at hand and furrowed his brow when he found that he simply couldn't remember it.
She chuckled slightly "A conspiracy?"
"Right! Well, I have been collecting data for awhile now, but in particular over the last week that every member of this bloody staff is trying their damnedest to make me go mad."
"Mmhmm" Gillian leaned back in her chair and watched as his eyes danced and he spoke with his hands.
"Loker, for instance. He's usually up to something fairly ridiculous at any given time, but lately he's been adding a particular whine that is purely his own to nearly everything that the man does. I feel like I'm his father reprimanding him every five minutes." He leaned his head on the back of the chair "And don't even get me started on how he seeks my praise. It's ridiculous! He's a grown man! As though I don't have bloody things to do!"
She laughed at his characterization of Loker. It was dead on. Loker had been acting particularly whiny lately. He had always sought Cal's approval, that was certainly true. But he had been particularly needy as of late and it hadn't been lost on her. She considered admonishing Cal and reminding him that he often did treat Loker poorly, but she decided against it. He was venting harmlessly and quite adorably so she decided to let him continue.
"And Torres. Quite the opposite of Loker, really. She's a bloody know-it-all, that one. She's become more concerned and aware of the science, but I'm unconvinced that she really is trying to understand it fully. She thinks she can rest on her laurels simply because she's a natural! She's wearing me out by not seeing the full bloody picture!" Cal looked at Gillian out of the corner of his eye and flashed her an expression that made her laugh. "It's bloody exasperating." He sighed, moving again to rest his head on the crook of his elbow.
She laughed and got out of her chair—she crossed around the desk and leaned up against it, casually folding her arms and regarding him. She stuck out her bottom lip in a fake pout and widened her eyes "poor baby," she said.
For her effort, Gillian was awarded with a grin and a laugh from Cal that showed all his teeth. In truth, he looked quite cheesy with that one on. But also in truth, that smile was her favorite expression of his. Well, actually, the second favorite. Gillian's favorite expression of Cal's was desire, or more specifically, desire for her—she had seen it more than once on him, and she was quickly becoming addicted to it.
"That's right, you should pity me with what I have to go through around here day in and day out." He said, bringing a dramatic hand to his chest.
"Well," Gillian smiled, "I'm glad to see I'm not in your little conspiracy theory."
At her words, Cal made a show of glancing her up and down—his eyes raked over her body and she blushed bright red this time as she saw the expression in his eyes as his gaze finally met her eyes.
"Don't even get me started on you, Foster." he said devilishly.
"Me?" she said, innocence creeping into her voice.
He let his gaze drop to her chest then back to her eyes. "Yes, you. You're the bloody worst!"
"Me? What do I do?" she asked, genuinely confused. She tried to keep the hurt she felt out of her voice and off of her face. The idea that she exasperated him in the same way that Loker and Torres did actually stung a little bit.
He leaned forward slightly and leered, "You come in here day in and day out wearing dresses like that" he said, indicating her outfit, "You come into this office looking like sex in heels, walking about as if you don't know the effect you have on men—as if you don't know the effect you have on me," he corrected as he propped his head up on his hand, "or do you know, Foster?"
She cleared her throat and shook her head slightly.
"Oh, you don't know?" Cal asked, playfulness curtailed by seriousness surrounding his words. "You drive me bloody mad. You're the biggest conspirator of them all." The pointed look he gave her was more than she could take and she fixed her eyes on the ground rather than looking at him.
"Have I taught you nothing, Foster?"
This brought her eyes back to his for a moment—"What?" she asked, genuinely confused by his question.
"You really are unable to read the way you affect me? Must mean I'm not a very good teacher."
Gillian didn't know what to say, and she stumbled over her words—shock and surprise reigning supreme within her, she hadn't expected this when she'd reached for the red dress this morning, "I—I."
He shook his head and let the desire slip mostly out of his eyes, although there was still the undercurrent of it between them. "It's okay," Cal said finally, "It's probably best left unsaid, anyways."
She'd turned her head to look at her bookshelf when his words—or word, rather—finally registered. She snapped her gaze back to him and looked for signs that he was playing with her. He noticed the expression on her face and one of genuine confusion crossed his, "What?" he asked, standing up.
A full-blown smile spread across Gillian's face as her eyes crinkled at the sides and she began to laugh—"Nothing," she assured, shaking her head.
"Uh-huh," Cal said, knowing she was lying. Her laughter came off her in waves and he stepped closer to her before he reached out and touched her arm—"What?" he pleaded, his request holding a slight bit of desperation. He wanted to know what she found so hilarious.
At the contact, Gillian jumped slightly, as she felt a jolt of electricity make its way through her body. The feeling she felt in the pit of her stomach curbed much of her mirth, turning it into something far more pleasurable—desire. It was not a feeling she was unfamiliar with when it came to Cal Lightman. On the contrary, it was something she was exceedingly familiar with when it came to that particular man.
She chuckled as she walked towards her bookshelf and idly fingered one of her books—"Nothing." Her voice registered lower than normal and the wind she created when she moved reached Cal Lightman.
He inhaled, and the wall he'd been so intently building for the past few years finally cracked. It was the wall he'd been building between himself and his desire for Gillian Foster—her scent caught in his nose and made its way to every single part of his body and the wall—he liked to imagine it as made out of red brick, placed together with thick mortar—cracked in all the right places. Cal felt the change ripple through him and he followed Foster in an almost predatory manner.
Before he knew it, he was right behind her and his arm snaked out and found its way around her waist as he pressed himself flush up against her—
"No," he breathed shakily, "it's something." She stilled and gasped as his grip tightened on her stomach and his fingers splayed out as he pulled her into him, "and I'm a wonderful teacher. You know what you're doing, don't you?"
She didn't speak, she simply pressed herself back into him and he let out a little groan, "Mmm, you always know what you're doing."
Gillian laughed lightly at his comment and then let out a moan as she felt his lips on the back of her neck. It was one of her most sensitive spots, right below the hairline, and he kissed it gently—and then he kissed it a little more and his tongue darted out to taste her there.
She inhaled sharply and breathed out an expletive as she pushed herself harder into him—he chuckled, arousal evident in the sweet sound that filled the office, and he inhaled her scent,
"Bloody hell, you smell delicious."
Gillian twisted her head to look at Cal and her eyes flicked between his eyes, hazel and dark with desire, and his perfectly kissable mouth.
She moaned again as he ducked his head to the nape of her neck again, "Like raspberries," he inhaled deeply, "and vanilla."
He licked her again and then spun her around so she was facing him. He descended upon her mouth and she hardly had time to register how wonderful it felt to have his body pressed tightly against hers, to have his lips crushed to hers.
She ran her hands up his back and into the hair at the base of his neck. He steadied himself with one hand on her bookcase as his right hand tangled itself in her hair. He parted her mouth with his tongue and he groaned at the taste of her mouth. She whimpered slightly as he pressed himself into her and she became painfully aware of his arousal.
Suddenly, he pulled his head back to look at her face—he gazed at her, his eyes still clouded with desire and searched her face. She let him see it—she let him see the arousal evident on her face and a smile spread across his face and crawled up into his eyes as he ground his hips into her.
He leaned in and kissed her forehead and then her cheek and then leaned into her ear, "Feel what you do to me, love?" He nipped at her ear and then broke their contact.
She stifled a whimper at the loss of contact and she was exceedingly grateful that her bookshelf was behind her because she wasn't entirely sure that her knees could hold her up effectively enough.
He turned on his heel to leave and she felt a rush of panic sweep through her body—was he simply toying with her? Had it just been a game, a rush of excitement and adrenaline for him?
Her fears were alleviated, however, when he stopped at the threshold and turned back to her—"Dinner tonight, darling?"
She smiled and nodded her head slightly—and Cal let his deep appreciation of Gillian's form be known one final time before he left her office.
She exhaled shakily and considered what she might wear for their evening together—her mind ran through her closet and she laughed to herself as she suddenly realized that it didn't really matter what she wore this evening.
Whatever it was, it was sure to turn Cal on, he'd made that much clear to her moments ago. And more than that, whatever it was she did decide to wear, it'd be coming off, anyways.
In other news, in this universe, I hate Cal. He's a toolbag this season, thus far.
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