So, this fic will comprise two parts, looking at two very different angles of Cal's love for Gillian. They are about his unrequited love for her which, while that may not be the case, in my interpretation is at least what he believes. One has a more positive take on what it is to love someone who doesn't love you back, one less so.

Disclaimer: As always, don't own it.

A Face in the Crowd

Sometimes he longs to be an anonymous face in the crowd; in her crowd. To just be someone who passed her on the street; a man who gave her a sweeping glance, a look of appreciation, but nothing more. He imagines spending no more than a minute with her, getting a sense of her beauty and incredible heart, but never getting close enough to really feel it. He wonders what it would be like to brush past her on the street or stand next to her when buying coffee; to offer her a flirtatious grin and be rewarded with a shy, gentle smile, before they go their separate ways.

Most of the time, he's glad that isn't the case. He's more thankful than he could ever express that he has her in his life, but love is not without complication. And knowing her – loving her – the way he does has brought with it enough pain and frustration to make him wish, on certain days, that it were not this way. That he doesn't notice the smell of her perfume whenever he walks into a room that she's vacated, doesn't feel the smile slip from his face as soon as she turns to walk away, doesn't curse his inadequacy every time he is the reason for her worry or, god forbid, her tears. Or that it doesn't kill him every time he has to see her with another man.

Everything about her makes him glad he knows her. But everything about not being with her makes him wish he wasn't in this position: close, but not close enough. Those are the days when he wishes he wasn't her best friend, who loves her so fiercely without ever saying a word. He wishes he were at a safer distance, where he didn't know her well enough for the pain to clench so tightly. To catch just a glimpse of her, instead of being so close to what he can never have, would surely be better. It would be easier, he thinks, to just be a blurry image in a photo of many people, a stranger she sees for a split second, an anonymous face in the crowd.