A/N:There were requests for a continuation, so here it is! Thanks to sash queen of the jungle for the idea, to anyone else who reviewed and subscribed 'just in case' :D, and to all who read it, I hope you enjoy!
It was the morning after, and Cal still had Gillian wrapped in his arms. They were in his bed, and he was looking deeply into her eyes, trying to get her to say three words with a straight face and failing every step of the way.
"Alright, try it again." he said, sounding very serious, which only sent her into another fit of giggles.
"I can't!" she said weakly, laughing the whole time.
"I'm not muckin' about, Gill. I'm not letting you leave this bed until you say it back without giggling like a crazed hyena."
"A crazed - ?" Gillian gasped, her jaw dropping in shock. She closed her mouth, pressing her lips tight and trying to hold it together, but when she looked into his eyes, she couldn't hold it in. He was trying to look so serious, and she could see right through it, and that entertained her beyond reason. She snorted, turning her head so she wouldn't be laughing right in his face, and she burst into laughter yet again.
"Oh, I get it..." Cal said, grinning as he lowered his voice. "You don't want to leave this bed, do you?"
"No, I don't." Gillian admitted, shaking her head emphatically. She bottled up the giggles again, humming with each stifled chuckle, and dared to look in his eyes again. They had the most adorable little twinkle, Cal's eyes, as if he were just plain delighted to have her there. What she didn't fully realize was that the twinkle was a reflection of her own joy. He hadn't seen her this happy in so long, and seeing her smile like that, smiling for him, made him happier than he'd been in a while.
"I'm sorry." said Gillian, still catching her breath from her last bout. She paused, and then tried again anyway. "I love you." she said, and sure enough the you was warbled as the laughter returned. Okay, so it was also Cal's smirk that kept cracking her up, and knowing that he would keep teasing her about it until he'd gotten his way. It was having a snowball effect. The more he asked, the worse it got.
"Sorry," she sighed again. "It just made me so happy. Hearing it from you."
"I suppose that's a good enough reason." said Cal. "I'll accept it. For now. Even though I know you're really laughing at me."
"I'm not!" Gillian insisted, still giggling.
"I'm just a joke to you, is that it? Oh wait, that's your line..."
Gillian scoffed and playfully slapped at Cal's chest. "You're never going to let me live that down, are you?"
Cal was about to answer in the negative when they both heard the sound of the front door opening.
"Dad, I'm home!" Emily shouted. "Are you here?"
That cured Gillian's giggles right away. Fear replace joy in an instant, and Cal felt Gillian's body become tense.
"Cal, you said she wouldn't be home until this evening. It's eleven o'clock in the morning."
"I'm aware of that, Gill."
"Would you relax? It's Emily. She's not a serial killer. That I know of, anyway."
Gillian started to wriggle, trying to get out from under Cal. "We have to get dressed." she said, her voice strained as she craned her neck this way and that. Her skirt was one way, her blouse the other, and she had not a clue as to the location of her more delicate items. Hurricane Cal had hit the second they'd stepped inside, and she'd been naked ever since. When Gillian realized that Cal wasn't budging she let her head fall back onto the bed. "Cal." she complained helplessly, trying to convey her dismay at the less than perfect situation.
"You're not gonna hide in the closet, are you?"
She sighed harshly, and gave Cal a look that convinced him she would resort to physical means to free herself. After assuring Gillian that it was not, in fact, the end of the world that Emily should find them this way, Cal allowed Gillian to get out of bed and gather her clothes. He watched her dress in such haste she buttoned her blouse wrong, so that she had an extra button on top and an extra hole on the bottom.
Cal, still only half dressed himself - he took his time, as a subtle reminder that there was no rush - walked over to her slowly and put his hands on each of her upper arms to still her.
"It's fine." he said. "You're fine. We're fine."
She took a deep breath and looked into Cal's eyes, trying to feel what Cal was feeling.
"Everything's fine," he said. Then he smiled. "Except for your buttons."
Gillian looked down at herself, and blew her deep breath out in a huff.
Cal descended the stairs first, leaving Gillian to fix her shirt and her hair, and he found Emily standing at the kitchen counter. Two pieces of blackened toast popped out of the toaster with a pleasant ding as he arrived. Emily let the toast cool for a moment, ignoring her second breakfast to smile up at her father instead. There was another set of footsteps on the stairs, and Emily did not look surprised at all. Cal narrowed his eyes at Emily, and her smile widened. She turned to the toaster as Gillian entered the room, took the bread out - the burning smell was beginning to travel - and took the cover off their butter dish.
Gillian had thrown a sweater on over her blouse. She was hugging herself, arms crossed, holding the sweater closed tightly. It was a defensive gesture, but it was mostly because she'd been unable to find her bra.
"Hi, Gillian." Emily said happily, turning to look at her with the same bright smile she'd flashed for Cal. She went back to buttering her toast, and Cal stepped forward to take half a slice after she cut it.
"Hi." Gillian said, her tone warm but still nervous. She watched Cal take a huge bite of the toast. He chewed obnoxiously, taunting her with silence, and she knew he wouldn't be the one to broach the subject. "Emily." she began carefully, adopting the tone she took with delicate patients. "Um, your father and I...we have something we want to discuss with you."
"We slept together." Cal said unceremoniously, with a mouth full of toast. Gillian closed her eyes and sighed silently, giving Cal a look straight afterward. Really?
Emily's reaction, as usual, was as unpredictable as it was priceless. "I know." she said, as if it had been a trending topic for weeks now. She smiled at Gillian, and then at Cal, and then continued putting butter on her other piece of toast.
Cal squinted at Emily. Gillian found she was avoiding complete mortification by gleaning satisfaction from Emily's smug response.
"Excuse me?" said Cal.
"I mean, I assumed you would have by now." Emily said with an innocent shrug. "Based on what Ria told me about your 'date' last night."
"Date?" Cal repeated. "If that was a date, we're in more trouble than I thought."
"You're not in any trouble." Emily insisted. "And there's no need for either of you to worry about how I'm going to react. I'm very happy for you."
Gillian smiled, finding Emily's treatment of the subject to be very sweet. Cal on the other hand narrowed his eyes again, ever suspicious, even more so when Emily was so nonchalant.
"It was your idea, wasn't it?"
Emily's smile grew at the accusation, all but confirming it. "I may have suggested it to Eli, when he asked me for ideas."
Cal eyed the rest of the toast. So much butter. The knife didn't even scrape anymore. The rest of his piece looked like a desert. "You really believed it would work, didn't you?" he asked.
"You guys have been in love with each other since forever. Do you have any idea how frustrating it was to watch you two avoid that fact for seven years? The time had come for decisive action."
"Alrighty, then." said Cal, recognizing his daughter's wisdom and moving on to another important matter - the fact that she'd interrupted their morning cuddle. "What are you doing home so early? I'm sure you mum wasn't too happy about that."
Finally, Emily was satisfied with the toast. She took a bite, daintier than her dad's. "I told her I had a school project to work on." she said.
"Yeah? And what's the truth?"
"The truth...is that I had to settle a bet, between Ria, Eli and myself."
Emily took another bite. Cal scratched the back of his head, fighting the grin that wanted to take over his face.
Meanwhile, Gillian took the bait. "What bet?" she asked, a soft smile appearing on her lips.
"Whose house you were going to end up at last night. Eli was convinced it would be Gillian's, but Ria said she'd make sure it was here, in case it got awkward and she had to leave. It'd be easier than kicking you out."
"That...was...very specific." Gillian said, shocked and embarrassed at the accuracy. Damn, Ria was good.
"Which side of this bet were you on?" Cal asked Emily, brow still furrowed.
"I went with Ria. She was so spot on!"
"Ow." said Cal. He could see on Gillian's face that it was true. The women in his life had such little faith in him. Loker, of all people, had been on his side. It truly was a brand new day.
"Okay," said Emily, popping the last bit of toast in her mouth and dumping the dishes in the sink. "Now that I've eaten, I'm gonna go to Amber's. Leave you two alone. So you can keep cuddling, or-"
"Stop right there." said Cal, pointing at her. "We've heard enough out of you for one morning. And toast is not a complete breakfast, by the way."
Emily ignored his dietary advice, and walked over to Gillian to give her a big hug.
"You're going to be the best step-mom ever." Emily said as she squeezed her, causing Gillian's brain to freeze again temporarily. "Bye, Dad." she said breezily, taking the half eaten toast from his hand and walking out of the kitchen. After a long moment of awkward silence, Cal pointed at the invisible wake she'd left in the room.
"If you ever wanted to know the definition of cheeky, it just walked out the door." he said. Gillian chuckled, shaking her head a little as she came out of her daze. "She's got good ideas though." said Cal. "You've got to admit."
"Locking us in the Cube did work wonders, didn't it?" Gillian mused.
"I meant the step-mom bit." said Cal.
"Did you?" Gillian's reply was sarcastic, but he was staring at her with one of his looks.
"Marry me?" he said suddenly, as if it were so simple.
"Cal..." Gillian rolled her eyes.
"I'm serious. Marry me."
Gillian looked him square in the eye then, smirking to show her disbelief. He didn't budge an inch. He was serious, but she still thought he was crazy.
"Cal, I kissed you for the first time yesterday. And we slept together for the first time last night."
"What do you mean, we 'slept' together?" Cal asked incredulously. "We didn't do any sleeping." he said, stepping toward her. "I didn't, at least. I guess I don't know about you. Do you sleep with your eyes open, shouting 'Oh god, right there' ?"
He was right in front of her. Gillian had to avert her eyes, so she could chuckle and blush in private. He wrapped his arms around her waist, getting very close indeed.
"You know what I mean." she said reproachfully, staring at his shoulder. "That would be..." Gillian chuckled, eyebrows raised as she shook her head. "Beyond rushing things."
"Hm." said Cal, tilting his head, trying to see her eyes. "Well, according to Loker and Torres, who are, at this point, experts on our relationship...we've got all our fighting out of the way. We do that part at work already. Am I right?"
Gillian looked up, smirking.
"I'm right." Cal concluded. "I'm always right. That's established. So we already do our fighting at work. That means, when we get home, all we'll want to do is 'sleep together', as you so passionately refer to it. The situation sounds ideal."
Gillian watched Cal talk circles around the subject, smirking lovingly in his direction. It dawned on her how happy she was that they weren't fighting anymore. She was almost happy enough to say yes to his clearly rushed, obviously spur of the moment proposal. Almost.
"I'm closing the discussion." she said, the softness in her eyes and in her voice implying a very slight apology. "For now." she added.
"For now." Gillian said, the last words on the subject for the moment. Cal smiled softly at her. He'd take whatever he could. "So." said Gillian. "What do we do now?"
"Well, I'm going to make you breakfast."
"I am. And when you're done eating, I'll take you back to bed."
"And then we'll get up for dinner."
Gillian laughed. "I see."
"And when we're done with dinner, I'll take you back to bed. And tomorrow morning we'll get up and go to work and pretend that nothing's changed, even if Loker and Torres give us funny looks. And then I'll propose to you again - you'll say no - and then the process will repeat."
"For how long?" Gillian asked.
"Until you say yes."
"And after that?"
"We live happily ever after, of course."
Gillian smiled. "I like the sound of that."