He brushed past his employees, only pausing briefly near his partner to hand her Matheson's gun. Although he could feel her concerned eyes upon him, he couldn't meet them. Couldn't let her see how shaken he was. Lightman prided himself on being in control. He was always able to keep the upper hand in any situation. Except this one.
Used the stairs instead of the elevator. Had to get out fast.
Several drinks and a couple hours later, he found himself staring into the eyes of a young woman who was offering to take him upstairs and do unspeakable things with him. Cal knew he had a reputation as a bit of a cad and unfortunately it had been justly earned. She was quite lovely and at one time there would have been no hesitation. The alcohol he had ingested would normally have lowered his inhibitions even more so. However, things had changed. His close call today had rattled him to the core. The image of Gillian begging and crying for him was burned forever in the back of his eyes. She had been terrified for him. But there had been something else there too.
Making his decision, Cal placed a gentle hand on the woman's arm. "I shouldn't be 'ere."
He watched disappointment cross her features and then annoyance. Not a lady used to being rejected.
"Sorry." His voice was quiet. He left some cash on the bar and headed out into the cool evening to hail a cab.
Emily was with her mum and he didn't want to be alone. Could only think of one person he'd want to be with. Now he stood outside her front door, babbling. Felt flustered.
He was finally able to spit it out, annoyed with himself. "Do you mind if I sleep in your spare room tonight?" Glanced up into her face, almost pleading. Moved his eyes away. Felt weak. Hated it.
She looked at him with a smile. Her blue eyes were gentle. "Of course." Gillian moved to the side to let him into her home.
"Hey." In the entry, Gillian stopped him with a hug. He immediately wrapped his arms around her, almost as if drowning.
They rocked together, both drawing comfort from the contact, both trembling slightly. Cal pulled away abruptly, planted a kiss at the corner of her mouth. She could smell the alcohol on his breath but he seemed lucid regardless. Residual adrenaline probably still burning it all off.
He strided into her living room and dropped himself on the couch. Everything smelled like her and he immediately began to relax. Gillian was his anecdote. Had been for years but he rarely admitted it to himself.
"Do you want something to drink?" She asked, already knowing the answer. It wasn't like he was driving anywhere tonight.
Cal nodded, watching her movements as she grabbed a bottle and two glasses from the kitchen. She poured them each some brandy and placed the bottle within reach on the coffee table before folding herself on the other side of the couch, legs tucked under her. She was purposely giving him space. He wasn't quite sure if that was for his sake or for hers.
They didn't say a word. She gazed at him, wincing as she noted the dark bruising surrounding the cut on his forehead where Matheson had pistol-whipped him. Cal seemed oblivious and just stared down into his glass seemingly seeking answers in the amber liquid. He quickly drained the glass and helped himself to a refill. Warmth immediately flooded through him.
He cleared his throat. "I'm sorry you had to go through that today."
Gillian gaped at him. Was he kidding?
He slouched down more and met her eyes. His were started to become a little bleary. "I mean…I hate to see you cry." Cal wanted desperately to really talk to her, share his feelings, let her know that he loved her and not just platonically. He had almost been a dead man today. Matheson had been a hair away from pulling that trigger more than once.
Gillian felt her eyes fill again. "Sorry." She impatiently brushed away her tears.
He seemed bemused. "Bloody 'ell Foster. After I tell you I hate to see you cry, you go and start to cry on me again." A smile crossed his features.
She smiled through her tears. "Sorry. I just - " Gillian shook her head, sobering. She caught Cal's eye and looked away quickly. "I thought I might lose you." Her voice was barely a whisper.
There it was again. That little flicker of something in her eyes that he saw before. Maybe, just maybe, she felt more for him than he dared to hope. Cal felt lightheaded and wasn't sure if it was inebriation or realization. Maybe both.
He scooted nearer and looped an arm around her shoulders. Gillian immediately dropped her head against his chest. The steady beating of his heart reassured her and she let out a little sigh. "I was so scared. I really thought he was going to shoot you."
Cal brushed her brow with his lips. "Me too luv."
She turned her head and looked up at him, her breath catching as she met his eyes and read his expression. Any semblance of a mask was gone. All she saw was total adoration. Gillian felt tears start to form once again. Was she really seeing this? Of course, he was a bit drunk.
In answer to her unspoken query, he gently pressed his lips against her forehead, before planting similar kisses upon her eyes (a bit salty, he noted), her nose and her cheeks. At that point he stopped and waited. He gazed deep into her eyes, willing himself to stay an open book, but only for her.
Gillian pulled back and regarded him carefully. She reached out tentatively and touched his face, his stubble igniting little flames in her fingertips, which she tried to ignore (God, it was hard!). One soft hand stayed upon his cheek as she studied him.
"Cal. I love you."
There it was. He felt his heart flop over in his chest. Her eyes and her face told him everything. She only spoke the truth.
"Always loved you Gill." He raised an eyebrow and gave her a sideways grin.
Without further hesitation she leaned into him and gave him a kiss so tender it made him ache. He returned it gently, holding her face between his palms, fingers in her hair. Her arms slowly snaked around his neck and pulled him closer.
The sweet kisses of new discovery soon gave way to a long burning heat. They pressed together, mouths slightly open, tongues probing and dancing. Cal pulled away from her lips to explore her ear and worked his way down her neck, gently nibbling and sucking. He paused to pay serious respects to the little hollows of her collarbone.
Gillian felt herself flush, warmth spreading through her, heart racing. Her fingers ran through his short locks.
A moment later he was smiling into her face again. His hazel eyes bore into hers. "I am quite drunk you know and I wouldn't want you to take advantage of me in my currently compromised condition." His eyebrows rose, eyes glinting with mischief.
"Unless of course you want to. S'okay with me."
She smiled, grabbed his shirt and pulled him toward her once again.