Blinking away the sleep from his eyes, Cal smirked as he carefully rolled onto his back. It was harder than usual, considering there was a weight resting against him that offered a certain amount of resistance. Gillian's arm was then stretched across his chest and as he turned to study her features, so serene in sleep, she released a soft sound, muffled as she buried her face in his neck. A few stray hairs had fallen in her face, so as he shuffled slightly, he brushed them aside, smiling as she frowned and then seemed to drift back into a deeper slumber.
He'd seen her fall asleep at her desk before or even drift off when they were watching a movie with Emily. But somehow, laying there and watching her breathing softly beside him, in his bed, was so completely different that it forced a tightness in his chest. "So beautiful, love." He whispered, reverantly running his fingers down the side of her face and to his surprise, a smile spread across her lips. She didn't open her eyes right away, but her smile broadened and she snuggled closer.
"You really think so?" She questioned sleepily and Cal laughed, hugging her so closely into his side he'd practically pulled her on top of him. That was answer enough for her and Cal knew it, kissing her forehead as her eyes fluttered open and she looked upon him, warmed by the first rays of sunlight streaming in the window. Gillian riased herself up onto her elbow and studied him, watching his face, his expression, smirking as she blushed and buried her face in his chest. "Me too." She whispered.
Cal laughed heartily. "I don't have to say anything, do I?"
She leaned over him, kissing his lips as he buried his hand in her hair, holding her above him. "Makes it easier to be the kind of guy that can't say the words, doesn't it?"
"Makes me want to say them all the more." He whispered, all humor gone from his eyes so that she could see the full sincerity of his words.
"You don't need to, Cal."
"I know, that's why I want to, love."
Gillian licked her lips, watching her fingers as she drew invisible patterns across his chest. He was equally as distracted, choosing to focus on running his fingers under the lace strap of her bra, simply feeling the fabric between his fingers. And Gillian found it strangely ironic that he could look her straight in the eye when he meant it, but couldn't look at her, when he was preparing himself to say it. "I love you." The words caught her off-guard, regardless that he'd all but told her, he was about to say them. She looked to him sharply, his eyes set on hers, his fingers stilled under the lace and she smiled, slowly, letting the weight of it fill her senses. Because it was the way in which he'd said it, that sent her to mush on the inside.
"I know." Was her answer, because unlike him, she didn't have trouble stomaching the words. And she knew, that he was saying it more for his sake than hers. Because somehow it made it more real for him, if he could bring himself to say it. "But it is nice to hear it."
"I thought you'd like that."
She pursed her lips. "I did, thank you." She giggled and Cal let his fingers dance playfully against her hip. "But I need coffee." She groaned, feeling the niggling pull of her headache returning. She'd be niave to think that a hug, some aspirin and sleeping with Cal, could cure the hangover that was to come, for her. She'd taken down nearly a half bottle of scotch and knew that if she didn't do something to combat it soon, she was going to regret it for the rest of the day.
Cal chuckled, gripping her thighs to try and keep her from crawling out of the bed. But she was too quick for him, shuffling away with a giggle and grabbing his shirt from the floor.
"That looks good on you." Cal hummed appreciatively, watching her wander across his bedroom, running her fingers through her deshevelled hair as she searched for her underwear, wearing his crumpled blue dress-shirt.
"Mm," She grinned, giving him a smirk. "it's warm, smells like you." She held the fabric up to her nose, breathing in the scent of him dramatically and Cal laughed, throwing a pillow at her. She managed to dodge, but not fast enough and the offending object bounced off her shoulder. "Honestly, Cal?" She rested a hand on her hip and he just lay there, casually tucking his hand under his head as she stood at the foot of the bed, doing her best to feign indignance.
"Gimme your best shot, darling." He dared and Gillian, not one able to so casually turn down a dare, bent to retrieve the pillow. Cal smirked, licking his lips and the almost lascivious look on his face, when she looked back to him, made her cheeks redden.
"You do know this is war now, right Cal?"
"I've been at war with you too long, love. 'Bout time you threw something back." The metaphor didn't go unnoticed and Gillian hesitated for a moment, understanding his meaning and seeing the guilt in his eyes. He felt bad for how their relationship had been, of late. But she could see that he too, knew there was something so unconditional between them that they were okay. And she suddenly realised, what he so desperately needed her to say.
"We're okay, Cal." She breathed, standing there with the pillow dangling from her right hand and her underwear, dangling from her left.
Cal looked surprised that she'd said it, perhaps even more surprised that she'd so honestly meant it. Or perhaps, surprised that she'd felt she needed to, considering the picture she presented to him, right then. Pulling her underwear on under his shirt, in the middle of his bedroom.
"I'm going to make coffee." She grinned, throwing the pillow back at him, her perfect aim hitting him right in the head and as she disappeared out the door, Cal pulled the pillow away from his face with a blissful grin.
Gillian grimaced as she padded down the stairs into the kitchen. Her headache was returning at full force and though she knew that what she needed was some aspirin, and to go back to sleep, what she iwanted/i was a hot cup of coffee, and Cal. She smiled despite herself, as she shuffled across the kitchen, her hands tucked bashfully into the sleeves of his shirt, as she thought over the night before.
What had happened, hadn't been what she'd intended. But drunk or not, she didn't regret it. If she were honest with herself - and waking up to the feel of his fingers gently caressing her face, she decided that she would be - she could admit that she would never blame what happened, on the scotch. The feeling of his sheets and his arms around her, as she'd slept, was too good to deny and she'd be lying if she did.
She laughed gently, pulling the coffee down from the cupboard, because she finally saw the irony in what they felt for each other. They were crazy about each other, she knew because she'd seen it in his eyes, more often than not. But yet, they drove each other stark raving mad and she thought, with a shrug as she spooned the coffee and placed the lid back on the jar, maybe that was healthy.
Cal knew, without doubt, when she was mad at him. But thinking back on her time with Alec, he'd never had a clue when to call it quits. He didn't have the slightest idea when he'd stepped over the line, but Cal, always sensed it. He may find it difficult to read her - which was probably the most complimentary thing he'd ever said to her - but he knew when too far was too far. He knew when enough was enough.
With a warm smile, she rested her hips against the bench, as the kettle hummed to life and the dim light in the kitchen - the sun yet to hit it - cast shadows across the benches. And whilst waiting, she thought on how, while Cal knew when to stop, he was also the one that had taught her that sometimes, you need to push back. And you need to hold on and not give up.
Looking down at the kettle as she could hear it reaching boiling point, Gillian stilled her thoughts before they got too deep and reached to place the coffee back in the cupboard, when suddenly the light switched on, causing her to jump. She turned quickly, expecting it to be Cal, but she jumped again, practically clean out of her skin when Emily came bursting through the kitchen door.
"BOO!" She screamed, arms out wide.
The jar of coffee in Gillian's hand went flying into the air, shattering across the kitchen tiles as she reached for her heart in fright. It seemed to take Emily a moment to realise what was going on because she froze where she stood, arms still wide, as she stared at the older woman. They continued to gape at each other, Gillian's heart racing and kicking up a notch when behind Emily, Zoe appeared in the doorway, her smile and the words on her lips, dying away as their eyes met.
"Gillian, what are you-" The question slipped away from Zoe as the three women stood silent, staring at each other. Emily and Zoe staring at Gillian and Gillian, switching from one to the other. And she suddenly became very self-concious of the fact she was wearing only one of Cal's shirts and very grateful for the fact she'd thought to put her underwear back on.
"What's-" Emily paused, looking her up and down with a frown, glancing around the kitchen as if wondering if they'd walked into the right house. "I thought I'd be scaring Dad," She met Gillian's eyes again. "what are you doing here?"
Gillian opened her mouth to answer, but was cut off when the sound of thumping could be heard on the stairs. Cal came stumbling down wearing only his pajama bottoms, smacking his palm against the wall as he stubbed his toe on the miner's cap he'd dropped on the landing the night before; muttering a few choice obscenities before staggering into the kitchen. "Gil, what's going on with the screaming?" He asked, sounding panicked before he noticed his daughter and ex-wife, standing there. "Uh oh," He noticed the broken glass and scattered freeze-dried coffee surrounding Gillian like a protective permimeter and he noticed the large bag of take-out from his favourite pancake house, hanging from Zoe's hand before he noticed the contempt in her expression. "This is exactly what it looks like." He stated, almost smugly and Gillian had to hold her fingers to her lips to try and hide the fact that she couldn't help her small smile.
To Cal's relief, Emily - looking at Gillian - smirked as well before bursting into laughter. Gillian followed close behind her with a delicate giggle, though Zoe's expression hadn't changed. "Ow, my head," Gillian groaned, pressing her palm to her temple as the screaming and the scare and the sudden light, finally reached her headache; increasing it tenfold.
Cal turned to her, worry clear in his eyes as he studied her. "You should get back to bed, love, I'm surprised you're not in more pain."
She threw him a cautionary look and he smiled privately, understanding that she probably didn't want to share all the details of the previous night, or the reason for her current condition, with Zoe of all people. She conveyed what she could of that message, in her expression and Cal almost imperceptively nodded, pressing one hand to the island counter-top and reaching for her waist with his other arm.
"Come on, darling, hold onto me and hop over the glass." She did as instructed, pulling her knees up and tucking her bare feet in as he lifted her almost effortlessly; pulling her into his side as he lifted her across the shattered glass and set her down by the stairs. She caught Zoe's eye as she straighted his shirt over herself and quickly darted her eyes away. She didn't look jealous, but she didn't look happy either and it confused Gillian with her already foggy mind. Cal seemed to be doing his best to ignore his ex-wife and while he continued to fuss over Gillian, Emily took the pancakes from her mother and set them on the counter before heading to the storage closet and pulling out a dustpan.
"I'll clean this up," She smiled apologetically and Gillian blushed; thinking again about how it must look to Emily with her standing in her father's kitchen, dressed the way she was. "I'm sorry I scared you, Gill, I meant to scare Dad."
"It's alright." Gillian smiled as Cal started ushering her up the steps.
"Go on, Gill, go back to bed."
She did her best to ignore Zoe even though she knew the woman had no claim to be glaring daggers in her direction. And she trusted Cal to handle Zoe, so she felt safe to do as he asked, and headed back up the stairs. She gasped though, when he patted her backside and knew, immediately, that he'd done it to make fun of Zoe's annoyance. She groanded, rolling her eyes as she looked back over her shoulder to see Emily giggling, Cal looking smug and Zoe staring at him blankly.
Zoe waited until Gillian had completely disappeared up the stairs, before she cleared her throat, drawing his attention to her. Cal looked to her with his mouth hanging open, dumbly. She made a gesture, as if he was meant to speak first, but he looked between her and Emily, clearly at a loss. Genuine or otherwise.
Zoe rolled her eyes, dramatically.
"What was that?" She gestured to the stairs and Cal looked up the empty staircase, before turning back to her, his expression still intentionally blank. Emily laughed and Cal smirked at her before turning back to Zoe.
"Are you kidding me, Cal?" She groaned. "Your daughter walks into your house on a Saturday morning and finds a naked woman in your kitchen, worse yet, she finds your naked business partner in your kitchen."
Cal scoffed. "Come on, love, it's not a crime, Emily's old enough, she doesn't look bothered-" he pointed at Emily, who shrugged. "-and she was hardly naked."
"That's not the point, Cal." She huffed.
"What is the point, then? If that's not it?"
Zoe groaned, stomping away from him before whirling back. "This is just like you!"
She ignored the question. "And that headache," She gestured toward the stairs again, as substitute for not being able to physically point the finger at Gillian. "she's hungover, that's really charming, Cal."
Cal's expression suddenly turned cold, all mirth over the situation gone from his eyes the moment she'd attacked Gillian specifically. And while Zoe may not have identified the change in him, so quickly, Emily certainly did.
"Mom, maybe we should go." Emily suggested and she didn't miss the almost grateful smile on her father's lips. For the first time in her life, her father didn't want to face off with her mother, which to her, spoke volumes. But her mother was treating this as just another stabbing session and she was ready to push and pull him as expertly as she always did. This time, dragging Gillian along for the ride, like she seemed to have always wanted.
"You don't know what you're talking about, Zoe."
She ignored him again. "Did she get drunk here, Cal? Did you get her drunk?"
He was sick and tired of the accusations. Zoe didn't have a clue what she was talking about, and worse yet, she didn't have the slightest understanding of what Gillian had been through, what he'd put her through and what she'd forgiven of him. She didn't have any idea how worthy Gillian was and how unworthy he was, to have her up there in his bed; her smell seeping into his pillow to the point where he'd never be able to get it out and never want to. She didn't know that it was his fault, she'd downed his most expensive scotch, just to work up the nerve to force out of him, what was rightly hers.
Render unto Caesar, indeed.
She deserved a whole lot more than a thankyou. And she certainly deserved more than listening to Zoe's sharp accusations from the top of the stairs. Which he knew she would be. And it angered him, to know she'd hear every hurtful word.
"No I didn't get her drunk, Zoe." He defended.
"Oh, so she did that on her own? Nice to know she's capable of doing something without you."
"You got a bug up your arse, love? How does this even concern you?"
"I am your wife!"
He held up his finger. "Ex-wife, if I recall. And I also recall, you left me. So this little - 'I don't want him, but I don't want anyone else to have him' - act, is a little tired. Or have you just got something against Gillian?"
She rolled her eyes, gaping at him, all but stomping her foot like a five-year-old. "No, I don't have anything against Gillian."
"Sure sounds like it."
"Cal," Gillian's voice from the stairs caught them all by surprise. She was standing there, still wearing his shirt, but she'd pulled on a pair of his sweat-pants. They were far too big and hanging over her feet, and she looked a pitifully adorable sight to Cal, standing there with her hair pulled back in a messy little pony-tail and her clothes bundled up in her arms. He caught sight of the pink sweater sticking out of the pile and her shoes dangling from her fingertips; he frowned up at her. "i'm just going to go."
She carefully side-stepped the glass shards Emily was still to sweep up and dipped around the corner, into the hall. Cal threw Zoe a look of annoyance, easily caught by Emily who ignored her mother's 'side with me' look and ducked back down to continue sweeping up the mess as Cal chased after Gillian.
"Wait, Gill, no," He grabbed her arm, spinning her back to him.
"Cal, I should just go." He saw the guilt in her eyes and so clearly saw the pain.
But he found a way to smile softly. "How are you going to leave, darling? You don't have a car, nor are you in any condition to drive mine." She looked up at him, the surprise and realisation manifested in her slightly open mouth. "And if anyone's going anywhere, it's Zoe."
"Hey!" She stormed after them, having heard the conversation.
Cal whirled on her, aggressively, pointing an angry finger up at her. "You're not my wife, you are my daughter's mother. That doesn't give you the right to dictate who comes and who goes, in my house."
"I have a right to know what my daughter's being exposed to!"
"She's nearly eighteen, love, if she doesn't know about the birds and the bees already -" He cast Emily a knowing look, with which she blushed and hid her eyes, obviously having not yet shared her little secret with her mother. It made him drunk with power, just a little, knowing he knew something about Emily's love-life that her mother didn't. "-then we've failed somewhere along the line. And this morning," He rolled his eyes, glancing at Gillian before looking back up at Zoe. "this morning was an accident. You two weren't supposed to be here. So pull the other one, Zoe."
Zoe sighed deeply, but both Cal and Gillian could read in her expression, that her defiance was waning.
"Emily," He called over Zoe's shoulder and she came bounding down the hall. "you got a problem with what you saw this morning, love? Was seeing Gillian in her undies so traumatic for you I'm going to have to get you a shrink?" He smirked, looking up at Zoe. "Which, let's face it, with my budget it'll probably end up being Gillian, so we wouldn't really get far, would we?" Both Gillian and Emily giggled and they even caught the tiniest micro-expression of humour on Zoe's lips.
"No, Dad," Emily grinned, looking from her Dad, to Gillian standing just behind his right shoulder. "I'm fine. Actually, I was thinking it's about time, really."
"Really?" Cal raised his eyebrows, smirking and Emily nodded.
"About time?" Zoe gaped at her, completely at a loss for words. Her mouth opened and closed several times as she looked from Cal, to Gillian, to Emily and back to Cal again. She didn't know what to say, how to react or even how to maintain her argument when she looked at Cal and Gillian, standing side-by-side, looking for all the world like they were perfect for each other. The way they'd always looked.
She'd always resented Gillian just that little bit, for looking so good next to him. She'd always resented Gillian just that little bit, for being able to forgive him, to read him and to understand him. She'd always hated Gillian for coming into their lives, hated her for being so understanding of him, hated her for being so fascinating to him. And she hated that, when her marriage had fallen apart, she couldn't even blame her, because she'd had nothing to do with it.
Now, she hated the irony that befell her, when she realised that she'd finally caught them in the act, and it was no longer her place, to hate her for it.
Abruptly and without warning, Zoe spun on her heel and headed for the door. "I'm going to go now." She stated, her voice distant and empty. Gillian blinked, looking up at Cal who just smirked and turned to Emily. He dipped his head to his daughter, and Emily nodded, chasing after her mother.
"I'll come with you, Mom." She grinned, following and Cal frowned when Zoe's arm shot out and grabbed the bag of pancakes before she closed the door behind them.
"I was looking foward to those pancakes." Cal frowned and Gillian giggled beside him. He looked to her then, suddenly grateful for the silence that surrounded them as he turned to face her. "But we can make pancakes, if you want." He dropped his hands to her hips, pulling her against him so that he could place a gentle kiss to her forehead. "How's your headache?"
Gillian grimaced, but then smiled; closing her eyes as she leant against him, dropping her bundle of clothes to the floor so that her hands were free to press against his bare chest. "It's still there, but it's not so bad."
"That's good, love." He kissed her forehead again, dotting a gentle line of kisses across her brow as she snuggled closer.
They both jumped slightly, when the kitchen door burst open again and Emily came dashing back inside with the bag of pancakes. She rested them on the counter with a mischevious smile before she flew across the room and wrapped her arms around Gillian. "This is so awesome!" She declared, causing Gillian to laugh heartily as they parted. "Dad, can we have dinner tonight? Gillian, you'll stay for dinner, won't you?"
"She can't go anywhere if I don't take her back to get her car." Cal's devilish grin matched his daughter's and Gillian couldn't help but laugh.
"I suppose I have no choice in the matter, then."
"You're catching on, love." He winked at her.
"Okay, you guys enjoy the pancakes and I'll go spend the day with Mom. And don't worry, she'll be fine. You know Mom." Emily laughed, waving as she disappeared out the door again, letting it slam behind her, leaving silence in it's wake.
"How long do you suppose, it'll take now, until the whole office knows about us?" Cal questioned, not taking his eyes off the bag of pancakes on the counter top.
"Well, lets just say that I don't think trying to hide it on monday, will do either of us any good." Gillian grinned, looking at him out of the corner of her eye before she started to slowly edge towards the kitchen.
"I should have never allowed Loker and Torres to bond with my daughter." He grumbled and Gillian took the brief moment of his distraction, to reach for the pancake bag, open it up and take a deep breath in.
"I blame twitter." Gillian stated, eyes closed as she moaned at the smell of the warm maple syrup and the still hot pancakes.
"What the hell is twitter?"
She opened one eye, studying him. "Are you kidding?"
He shrugged, snatching the bag from her and moving across the kitchen to pull two plates from the cupboard. Gillian pouted at the loss of the bag, but grinned again like a child when he placed two thick, fluffy pancakes on her plate, smothered them in enough syrup to send her into a diabetic coma, and handed the plate back to her.
"It's a social networking site -" She said, around a mouthful of pancake and a grin. "You tweet a statement, it can be anything really, like 'Just walked in on Gillian, naked in Dad's kitchen' and if people are following you, they can see what you've said." She took another bite of her pancake, watching him staring at his plate.
"Tweet?" He scrunched up his face in confusion and Gillian giggled. "You don't do this, tweeting do you?"
She shrugged. "Anna explained it to me. Apparently she's got one too."
"Twitter." She corrected.
"Right." He stared down at his pancakes before looking back up at her. She was shoveling the pancakes in, as gracefully as one can shovel a pancake and it made him marvel at her ability to be so amazing. It made him laugh, too, to consider Gillian ever doing anything that wasn't demure, classy or even dignified. Hell, she'd been drunk on two-thirds of a bottle of scotch the night before, and she was quoting the bible; acurately. Well, almost acurately. He smiled then, a slow growing, happy smile that reached all the way to his eyes.
Gillian stopped eating for a moment, looking up at him with a suspicious expression. "What?"
"I was just thinking," He took a bite of his pancake, savouring the flavour and the excuse it gave him, to draw out his response.
He shrugged, taking another bite to prolong her mirthful irritation. "Just that I really don't care if people know."
Gillian laughed softly, that shy, beautiful laugh that melted his heart every time he heard it and when she looked up at him, across the kitchen counter, their eyes locked and she didn't fight the blush that grew to her cheeks as she answered. "Neither do I."