Set at the very end of "Dirty Loyal" (right after Cal and Gillian walk away from each other and before they go see Wallowski at the police station. It also pretends that they're on better terms, at the police station (but just didn't want to show Wallowski that.)
Pushing her way through the heavy door, Emily nearly jumped out of her skin as a strong hand gripped her arm and spun her back around, dragging her back the way she'd come. She knew in an instant who the hand belonged to. It had the strong, commanding, yet gentle pressure she was all too accustomed to. But the urgent pull that had her staggering backwards out the door, was new.
"Dad, what's going on?" She questioned, as she spun around to face the direction in which they were now walking. The path that led from the office, down to the parking garage. She looked to him as she struggled to keep pace with him.
He was walking fast, his shoulders hunched and tense. His eyes were set squarely two steps ahead and his lips were pressed into a thin, taut line. He was mad. And it practically made her blood run cold.
"Dad, where's Gillian?" She questioned warily, glancing back towards the doors getting progressively further away. Her father shrugged, non-challantly. But she could see from his expression that his demeanour was anything but non-challant. And the mention of Gillian made his pace almost double.
She could honestly say that she'd never seen him like this. "Dad, you're scaring me."
"Oh, she's in her office, I suppose. I don't know." His repsonse was gruff, rude and so obviously agitated.
"Dad, what happened?"
"Would you stop asking questions, Em, come on."
Emily stopped in the centre of the hall, just before the elevators and her father continued on a moment, before he realised she wasn't beside him. He stopped walking, turned and allowed his frown to deepen into one of annoyance, toward her, which frightened her just a little. But there was something else in his eyes, something deeper. It was something she realised she'd have never noticed, had she not been his daughter. Had she not been taught to read a lie since the age of six. Deep down, beneath the annoyance and the irritation; Unbridled guilt.
"Dad," She started quietly, cautiously. "we're supposed to be having with dinner with Gillian tonight, remember?"
"Em, just forget it tonight, alright."
"Did you and Gill have a fight?"
"Em," He reached for her. "just let it go, love."
"No!" She choked back, stepping away from him. "I've been planning this dinner for weeks. You guys promised me if I got into Berkeley, we'd go out. And it's not every day that happens, Dad, so I want Gillian there. Where is she? What's going on? You had a fight, didn't you?"
"Not here, Em, please?" He looked genuinely hopeful that she'd let it drop. But she was beyond the point of caring how he felt in that moment. She hadn't lied, she had been planning the dinner for weeks and Gillian had been excited. They all had. She wanted the both of them there, because above most, she credited them with helping her get to this point. And now he was making excuses, diverting the question when she mentioned Gillian.
Emily wasn't sure she'd be able to handle it if he'd driven Gillian away for good. She'd seen them fight before; joked about them acting like a married couple, even. Regardless of the fact that they were nothing like her Mom and Dad, when they were together. Their arguments bore laughter at the end and the icy chill in the room, always melted away with a touch or a joke. They didn't have awkward silences, they didn't have tension-filled exchanges where everything that's said, means something else. At least, not that she'd seen. Gillian was not his wife and certainly not her mother, but being her father's best friend, she'd always, in her way, hoped there was something. She'd always hoped that one day, maybe, Gillian could be more to them both.
She needed to know.
"Why not, Dad? What's so bad that you think you can't tell me?"
"No, Em, not this one."
The coldness in his voice, startled her. The guilt in his eyes, floored her and she knew she had to get to the bottom of this, because she had no idea what was going on and the very idea of it, was already breaking her heart.
Pulling back from him, she turned back towards the Lightman Group. Her Dad tried to grab for her, reaching for her arm as she backed away, but angrily and with more force than she'd intended, she reefed her arm out of his hold, struggling against him as he tried to get between her and the doors.
"Emily!" He shouted after her, staggering through the heavy office doors as she made her way down the hall, past a startled looking Anna at the reception desk. "Emily, don't do this, it's none of your business, love!" He was panicking now, she could hear it in his voice, but she couldn't stop. She knew, from the look in his eyes, that he'd broken some sort of sacred vow, crossed a line, and the guilt was eating him alive. She needed to know what it was, because the most solid thing in her life, the most stable foundation, was them. Dad and Gillian. United. Loyal to a fault. She needed to know that foundation was going to stand amongst the rubble of everything else.
Fighting back tears, Gillian shuffled papers across her desk. She fiddled with trinkets, moved pictures, objects, ran her fingers along the edge of the desk. Anything to stop herself from thinking about the look in his eyes as he'd asked her to lie, for him, again. But nothing could stop it dancing before her eyes. Nothing could stop the pain and the anguish from resurfacing because she couldn't separate the rage from the hurt. He'd asked her to lie for Wallowski, even though he'd known Wallowski was dirty. Perhaps not as dirty as her partner, perhaps not in the way that they'd thought. But dirty all the same and up to her neck in it.
Jealousy had fueled her fire from the start, but it was something else now, that made her heart beat double-time. Somehow, knowing now why he'd done it, didn't stop the pain. It just refreshed it anew, with a different point-of-view.
"What do you see in her, Cal?" She'd asked him, after walking out. She couldn't face it, couldn't lie for a woman that, to her, didn't seem to deserve it. What had she done for their loyalty? What had she done, to earn it? Certainly she hadn't spent the past seven years, watching his back because Gillian was sure, she'd have met her before. She was sure, if there'd been someone else so resolutely on his side, earning his undying trust along with her, she'd have known about it.
No, she didn't deserve it. But, the look in his eyes, the way he'd said the words. With the way his voice broke on the concept of loyalty that stretched a frayed line between them, she worked it out.
It was never about Wallowski. And the thought of it, somehow, seemed to make her blood boil even more.
She was so sick and tired of double entandres, twisted meanings and metaphors. Why was it so hard for him to say anything the way he meant it? Why was it so hard for him to just come out and say it? No more of this, leaving the meaning in his eyes. In his voice; because she didn't care if she was the only one that could read it, read him. Sometimes, all she wanted was the words, plain and simple. But he couldn't even give her that. Other women wanted promises and platitudes, shared whispers and secrets just between the two of them. All Gillian wanted, was the truth, in words that meant exactly what they were.
Sometimes, she honestly hated him. Her mother would say that to truely hate someone, you must love them first and even though she didn't like to prove her mother right, on any occasion; she knew it was true. She knew that she wouldn't keep fighting this, fighting him, fighting everything he dragged up between them if she didn't love him, in her way. If she didn't know he loved her in his own.
Gillian jumped with fright as the door to her office burst open. As eyes rimmed red with barely contained tears, widened when she realised who it was that had intruded on her silence, her reverie. Both grateful and irrationally annoyed, she stepped back away from the desk and crossed her arms over her chest. "Emily," She choked out the name, shocked when seconds later, Cal followed his daughter into the room, grabbing for her arm. But the girl shook it off angrily, crossing to the desk and pressing her palms against it as she looked Gillian straight in the eyes.
"What's going on?" There was no denying that Emily had reached her breaking point. As had they all. Gillian was sure she'd reached her own days ago, but somehow, she was still in one piece. Either testament to the world carrying on as if nothing had happened, or that she was wrong, about even herself.
Emily paced before her, cutting her off with a wave of her hand. "No, see, before you go and deflect the question, I'm going to let you know right now that I'm not walking away from this. Dad's already tried telling me it's none of my business."
"It's not, Emily," Gillian said quietly, hugging herself tighter as she shared a look with Cal.
"See, now that's ridiculous, you know why?" Gillian looked back to Emily, knowing that the girl could clearly see the signs of tears in her eyes. "Because the pair of you have been my business since I was ten years old and realised you and Dad were the only thing solid in my life. More solid than my Dad and Mom, if you can imagine and please, forgive me for wanting to know if the safety I've had for the last seven years - as unconventional as it might be - has suddenly gone up in flames. Because whatever is going on is big, I know that, I can see it." She pointed to Gillian, causing her to flinch under her scrutiny. And Gillian knew that she was acknowledging the tears in her eyes. Tears that were now seeping beyond the confines of her lashes.
She looked away, unable to look into the two pairs of deep brown eyes, studying her from the opposite side of the room. Cal was so far silent, never letting his eyes fall from her. And she knew why. She knew he'd carried the cloud of guilt for days now, weighing him down with her pain. And she wanted to forgive him, she honestly did. But nothing so far, had been enough to make it happen. And he'd only shovelled deeper, the more guilty he felt. Until neither of them could see out anymore.
Clearing her throat, Gillian chanced a look up. Both of them were watching her, as though all of their very lives, hinged on what she said next. But she didn't know what to say. She didn't know how to put it into words in a way Emily would understand. She could see the hurt, so similar to her own and suddenly a part of her understood Cal's problem. Because when faced with that look, that hurt, she didn't know what to say that would take it away.
"It's complicated, Em." Cal stepped in to help her but Emily rolled her eyes and paced the room, coming to a stop by the door. Metaphorically and physically, standing between them.
"What, so, you'll unite to hide the truth from me but you won't do it to save this," She gestured between them, never having been able to define exactly what they had, apart from knowing that it was something she never wanted to lose. "whatever this, is."
"It's complicated." Cal pushed and Gillian let out a deep sigh that didn't go unnoticed by either of them. Cal's shoulders straightened, acknowledging it, knowing she was reaching the point where truths were about to spill out across the floor. And he wasn't sure he was quite ready for that. Not that he really had a choice in the matter, now. Keeping Loker and Torres out of it was one thing, they had the loss of their jobs to fear, but Emily had the loss of Gillian and he couldn't really blame her for wanting the truth. He'd do the same, if he had half a brain.
"Pull the other one, Dad." Emily snapped and Gillian's eyes widened. She'd never heard her speak to her father that way and a part of her was annoyed that it was her own relationship with him, that was bringing this out in her.
"Emily," She began to chastise, but Emily's steady gaze on her own, froze her words and instead, she cast her eyes to the floor, licking her lips. "I don't," She started, but paused, knowing Cal was looking at her. "I don't think I can do this, now." She whispered, turning away, bringing her fingers to her lips as a tear trickled down her cheek.
"She's right, Gill." Cal spoke, surprising them all. Her body half-turned back towards him in shock, but she didn't face him, couldn't, for fear that more tears were about to break free. "She's right."
"It's over, Cal, just let it go." She turned her back to him, facing the windows.
Cal took a step towards her, almost completely forgetting Emily was right there, watching them. "Can't, not when it comes to you, you know that." He didn't even acknowledge that she was hearing secrets now, he'd never meant anyone else to know.
Gillian scoffed and Emily stared at her back, confused. "Remember how I said it was ironic, from where I'm standing?" She kept her voice low. "Well that one takes the cake."
"Gill," He started, but she spun back around angrily. She pointed her finger at him, with that pent-up rage in her eyes.
"NO!" She yelled and to Emily it seemed, they'd both forgotten she was there or no longer cared about their vow of silence. "Go be happy Wallowski's out, go celebrate or something but don't stand here and pretend to me like you didn't know what you were doing." She took a deep breath, doing her best to steady her voice. "Don't," She choked. "I lied for you, Cal, and for what? A cheap lay you could have gotten anywhere else?"
"Hey!" He shouted back, waving a matching finger. "Don't talk that way in front of my daughter!"
"She wanted the truth, Cal! And like it or not, it's the only truth you've given me!"
"I never slept with her."
Gillian stared at him. "And that's supposed to matter now? Do you really think that's even what this is about?"
"You brought it up. Not me." He defended, firmly, through clenched teeth.
Gillian pressed her eyes closed and took a long, deep breath before opening them again.
"You don't like her. You don't trust her. I know that much." She rolled her eyes, turning back to the window. "No, see," He stepped towards the desk, having no way to move any closer to her except to move around it but he knew she wasn't ready for that. "see, you're not listening. I mean I can be credited for that at times, but you..." She looked to him out of the corner of her eye.
"I heard everything you said, Cal, and the full intention behind it. And it's got nothing to do with iher/i. It goes further back than that, and you know it." He swallowed and she unfolded her arms, letting them fall to her sides, so clearly exhausted. "How about how I only matter, when it's convenient. How I'm an easy target for your bad humor because I'm not going anywhere. And you know what pisses me off the most?" She let her tears flow freely now, no longer caring about holding them back. "Is the fact that you're right, you're completely right. I'm not going anywhere because maybe I'm stupid or pathetic, but I thought what we built here, meant something. I keep staying, getting stepped on no matter which way I go, because somehow, I keep thinking that it matters. And then you go off with Wallowski, you betray what we've built and then you talk to me about loyalty."
He cut her off with a hand up, clearly reading the disgust in her eyes, the crinkling of her nose. Clearly seeing the contempt, no longer kept in check.
"Yeah," He moved swiftly around the desk, shoving her chair so harshly out of the way that it bounced off the wall. Gillian flinched, glancing at Emily nervously as Cal invaded her space. But his presence there, in her face, but not touching her, drew her eyes back to him. "Yeah, because you asked me what I saw in her."
"Dad," Emily started, nervously cutting in because the murderous intent in his eyes as he stared down at Gillian's, was starting to make her uncomfortable. He spun on her then, pointing his finger at her.
"No, Em, you wanted to know this. You wanted to be part of this, so here it is. You let us do this, our way!" Emily slinked back, unable to hide the flinch in her shoulders. She felt a small swell of pride, though, as he looked back into Gillian's eyes and all the older woman did was defiantly raise her eyebrows at Cal, as if asking for the answer that was yet to be given.
It was the layers of their relationship that showed in that moment. Emily could remember going back over the years, seeing the words Gillian could get away with, because unlike her Mom, Gillian knew what she said, meant nothing compared to what she showed him with her eyes. She'd learnt to say whatever she liked, as long as the sparkle in her eye shone brightly enough to distract him.
It was something about Gillian she'd always loved. That subtle way she'd raise her chin when she was talking to her him, as if daring him. To see if he thought she was going to let him get away with whatever it was he was up to.
"I saw you." Silence descended upon the room as Emily saw Gillian's lips part almost imperceptively, in surprise. Cal inched closer to Gillian, barely a hairs breadth between them, but she didn't step away. In the seven years they'd known each other, she'd never backed down. And she could see in that moment, it was what he was thanking her for, it was what he was so grateful for and it was the one thing, he didn't understand. He took a deep breath, his expression softening as he saw the tension in her shoulders ease. "And I couldn't imagine punishing you for everything you've had to do, to protect my sorry arse." That startled her. He gestured behind him, to Emily standing there in the shadow of the doorway, twisting her hand in the sleeve of her jacket. "I saw what you did, for her. What you've always done, for me. She's my daughter, my world."
Gillian swallowed, feeling there was only one question to ask. "And me?"
Cal looked back to her, studying her features, reading her face. His eyes traced the line of tears down her cheek to the tiny droplet hanging off her chin. He raised his hand up, but before he could brush the tear away with his thumb, she swiped at it with her back of her hand. A micro-expression of hurt, crossed his eyes, but Gillian said nothing of it and didn't even allow herself the guilt of denying him the gentility of that simple touch. "You're everything else, Gill."
Her breath caught in her throat and she barely registered the feel of his hand grasping hers as she lowered it back to her side. Stopping their hands halfway, he pulled it towards his chest and almost hesitantly, she allowed him to tug her closer. "You threatened our friendship on a bank account." Her voice broke over the words and Cal pressed his eyes closed tightly, gripping her fingers in the hopes that she wouldn't move away from him.
The silence then was thick and tense. Emily was confused as she watched, barely able to hear the whispered words. Though she could read clearly, the look in Gillian's eyes. The hurt. And it broke her heart as she watched Gillian's face, seeing her trying to understand as her Dad, continued to focus on her small hand in his. She could see he was distracting himself, focussing his attention anywhere else but the elephant in the room. But there was a hint of something else there, too. As he studied Gillian's hand, there was a touch of reverence, almost, in his eyes.
"I know you've wanted to talk about that for a few days now, love."
"And you've avoided it."
He looked back into her eyes. "I know and i'm sorry about that. I've been feelin' a bit guilty, lately."
"Why?" Gillian pressed. "because you said it, or because you meant it?"
"I didn't mean it." He breathed.
"It sure sounded like you did, Cal."
Cal glanced away. "I didn't. I might have thought I did, but I was angry and pissed off with myself. I should have never taken it out on you, love."
"No," Gillian raised her chin again and Emily wondered if she knew when she did that. "you shouldn't have."
"But you're right, I did it because I do take you for granted."
"Because I'm not going anywhere?" Emily noticed Gillian's small smile and all of a sudden, wondered what she'd missed. Something had snapped in the last few seconds and Emily could barely fathom where the small knowing smiles had come from as a matching one to Gillian's, spread on her father's lips.
"Yeah," She allowed him to reach up and touch the tips of her hair, then. He fiddled with it, gently caressing it before brushing it behind her ear and letting his hand rest against her cheek. "have dinner with Em and me?"
Emily studied them, watching their eyes and she knew she could see something there that she'd seen so many times before. That look in her Dad's eyes when the room was quiet and the sound of Gillian's name made him drift away to someplace she could never go. She didn't like to define it, because she wasn't an expert. But she was a romantic and if she could hazard a guess, she'd call it love.
But, to her, love seemed too simple a word for her dad and Gill. It seemed too flat, too vague. That look was love, respect, hope and heavy guilt. There were guilts so old in their eyes, perhaps they couldn't barely even remember where they stemmed from, now. Because they had caused each other innumerable pain, over the years. But they still seemed to walk the same road and to Emily, that layed the foundation for the desire, the reverence and the undeniable devotion in her father's smile.
Devotion, that was the word. Because love defined nothing but the connection that covered so many points of contact. Friends, family, lovers. Her dad and Gill had the potential to be all, or they could choose just one and still be strong together. It made them special, it made them unique. But it was the devotion, the way her father seemed to look at Gillian like the sun shined just so that the world could see her smile. She remembered seeing it there, burning in his eyes the first time she'd met Gillian. Or at least, the first time she could remember meeting her, when her Mom and Dad were fighting and she'd spent the night in Mr Foster and Gillian's spare room, listening to her Dad snoring out on the couch.
She'd liked Gillian. She'd always liked her. Loved her, even. And she considered having her listed third on her speed-dial was a pretty strong testament to that appreciation. Because she'd always been friendly and kind, and she used to slip candy in her bag and wink her eye like it was their little secret, when her Dad would bring her by the office before school when she was younger.
She watched them, standing there as though the world around them didn't exist. The edges of Gillian's eyes were still red, but the tears were gone. Her shoulders had relaxed and with a smirk, Emily noticed her hands pressed to her Dad's chest. But she could see that it still wasn't perfect and knowing her Dad, it wasn't likely to ever be. In it's way, that was a relief. Because it meant some things never change. "Come have dinner with us." Cal whispered again, touching her chin gently and Gillian smiled, nodding slowly.
"Alright." She seemed hesitant, Emily could see it. But there was hope there and Emily liked that. She still wasn't sure exactly what had happened between them. But it seemed that in it's way, whatever had transpired today, had solidified some part of their relationship. "You lied for me." Emily looked up, surprised, as she heard her Dad whisper, knowing entirely that he hadn't intended for her to hear that.
"Yeah, I did." Gillian wasn't so inconspicuous. But it made her think of the talk she'd had with her Dad, about who he would lie for and if he'd lie for her. Somehow she felt that maybe at some point, he'd had a similar conversation with Gillian and today, regardless of how much they were hurting, the fact that she'd done that, for him, was what was holding them together.
Emily's smile broke into a wide grin as she watched her Dad come back around the desk, dragging Gillian along with their hands still linked together. "What are you smiling at?" He questioned her, frowning. And Emily noticed the way Gillian's cheeks flushed just a little as she glanced down at their hands. It took him a little longer to notice, but when he did, she was happy to see that he tightened his grip, instead of dropping her hand. "Come on, you've been planning this dinner for weeks, you said."
"Oh my god, Emily, your Berkeley dinner! I'm so sorry, I'd completely forgotten about that." Gillian rushed to her, wrapping her arms around her in a firm hug. "Congratulations."
"Thanks, Gill." She grinned as Gillian let her go and stepped back.
"Alright, we're off. Gotta drop by the cop-shop before we head to the restaurant," His voice lowered to a gentler octave, leaning closer into her side. "You alright with that, Foster?"
"Yeah," She blushed as he grabbed her jacket and passed it to her, as he took up her hand again. "i'll be alright."
"Here we go then." He gripped Emily's shoulder and ushered her out the door and she couldn't help the bounce in her step as she stepped out ahead of them. Cal grinned though, when she was out of their sight around the corner. He squeezed Gillian's hand again and they walked out together, just like that.
Nothing was perfect, nor was everything forgiven. But the truth was clearer and to them, that mattered more than perfection.