Today, June 7th, is the one year anniversary of the second half of season two airing in the States. Here we are, a year later, having had a shortened season three and now the show is no more. HOWEVER – just because Fox don't know a good thing when it bites them on the ass does not mean that this fantastic show will die. And one of the ways we can keep it alive is through fanfiction – I hope LTM fanfic writers out there will continue to write wonderful fics and keep these amazing characters with us. To celebrate the fact that we will never let this awesome show die, I give you my contribution to Lie to Me Lives Day! Enjoy.
Also - I apologise that FFnet won't display this fic in exactly the way I wrote it. Each little 'section' (not paragraph) was supposed to have an extra line space to separate from the last one; for some reason, Ffnet refuses to show it like that. So sorry if it all seems a bit squashed up. You might not notice, but it irritates me that it's not the way it looked when I wrote it! /rant
Disclaimer: I don't own it, but I wish I did, because I sure as hell would have loved it more than Fox.
The music is soft but pleasant; easy to listen to, easy to gently sway to. The man she's currently dancing with – Michael, wasn't that his name? – is tall, with dark hair and deep set green eyes. He's good looking, certainly, and he's displayed all the signs that he's attracted to her. He's also (although it makes her blush a little to think about it) not the only man to make such feelings towards her clear tonight. Her modesty prompts her to believe it's because she's wearing a nice dress, spent more time on her hair and make-up than usual, and because there's a lack of other attractive women around.
He, of course, knows differently. He's watched her all evening, dancing with an array of men who can't keep their eyes or (god forbid) their hands off her. She's been nothing but polite; dancing demurely, smiling sweetly, gently declining their advances or making excuses when she needs to step away. She hasn't, though, danced with him yet. Which hasn't escaped his notice.
The song ends, and she steps back from Michael and gives him a friendly, but not flirtatious, smile. "Thank you."
"My pleasure, Gillian," he says, warmly. "Dancing with you is definitely a pleasure. Perhaps we can do it again later?"
She give a fairly non-committal nod and smile, inclines her head to indicate that she's going to get a drink and disappears to the table at the back of the room, laden with glasses of champagne. She's had three already and should probably refrain – champagne does tend to go straight to her head – but tonight she's in the mood for it. She's having a good enough time – pleasant company, nice ambiance, tasty canapés – but her feet are beginning to ache, her smile feels a little more forced and still, still, he has not asked her to dance.
He knows he should ask her, really; that's the way it's supposed to be, isn't it? The man asks the woman to dance, the woman, hopefully, accepts. And she's accepted every other offer – she's too nice not to, he thinks. So why hasn't he asked her? Why are his feet still rooting him to the spot, why is he still hiding in the corner, why is he making small talk with people he doesn't care about just to avoid a conversation with the only woman he actually does want to talk to?
"You're an idiot, Cal," he mutters to himself as he watches her sipping at another glass of champagne. He wants nothing more than to sweep her up into his arms, feel her relax against him, watch a slow, easy smile spread across her face as they begin to move to the music in gentle arcs and spins and dips. He could ask her to dance, and she'd say yes, just like she's said yes to all the other buffoons who've attempted to get close to her tonight. He's seen the repeating pattern; they make eyes at her, they pluck up the courage to ask her, they grin euphorically when she accepts. Then they dance; holding a little too tight and standing a little too close for his liking, but she's too polite to say anything. When the dance is over they look at her hopefully, mouthing words that he imagines include plenty of offers for more dances, or dinner, or god knows what else. And then she leaves. Every time, she moves away – to the bathroom, the drinks table, another corner of the room – every time, she leaves. And while he would love to hold her in his arms, gently stroke her hair, move with her around the room, he knows – he knows – that he could not bear to see her walk away from him, and move onto another dance partner. It's easier just to stay in the shadows, catching glimpses of her smile -although it isn't caused by him - than to let himself experience a few minutes of bliss only to have his heart broken by her, again. But if he doesn't dance with her tonight, will he ever? Is it better to never give her the chance to walk away, or spend the rest of his life wondering if she would have stayed? He snatches another olive from the tray, munches on it slowly as he keeps his eyes focussed on her. Decision time, Cal, he thinks, rolling the stone around his mouth before spitting it out into his napkin. Decision time.
She's seen him throughout the evening, but he's barely spoken to her. She realises she's been doing plenty of socialising herself; talking to various people, dancing, networking – this party does have as its guests many potential clients for them, after all. They've made eye contact, they've smiled, they've exchanged a few words. But he hasn't asked her to dance. And, she reflects, he's probably the only man here who hasn't.
She lets out a sigh of frustration as she puts the now empty glass back on the table. She could have asked him, of course. What's stopping her? She's a grown woman, and it's not like they live in an age where a woman could never make the first move. But they've been at the party all evening, and he hasn't asked her to dance, and that's why she knows she can't ask him. Because if he wanted to dance with her, he would. Cal Lightman is not a man who simply sits idly by while the world turns; he chases, he interferes, he acts on instinct and impulse and goes after what he wants. Which clearly isn't me. She peruses the ballroom, spotting at least three of her previous dance partners shooting her meaningful glances, and cannot help letting her gaze wander to the space she last saw Cal. As she looks in his direction their eyes lock; two seconds of merely looking at each other is followed by her giving him one of her warm smiles. She expects him to return it, but he doesn't. Instead, he marches towards her, an expression on his face that she finds impossible to read. Before she can register what is happening, one of his arms is around her waist, the other is holding onto her hand, and they're moving to the music. She stumbles slightly, caught off guard, and he gives a soft chuckle. "I thought you were a good dancer, darling. Don't prove me wrong now."
She swallows, readjusts her hand on his shoulder, lifts her eyes to meet his. There's an intensity to his gaze that makes her face feel hot, and she tests several words on her tongue before allowing some to slip out. "I wasn't sure I'd see you dance tonight."
He doesn't reply, but instead steps closer to her, pulling her body until it is flush against his. His hand slides from her waist up her back, stroking her hair softly, and he releases her hand in order to wrap his other arm around her. The embrace leaves little opportunity to dance, merely sway, but she has no intention of changing things at all.
He lets out a soft sigh, a sound of contentment. "Ah, that's better."
"What is?" she asked quietly.
"All my problems go away."
"When you're dancing?" she questions, thinking how un-Cal like such a statement is.
"When I've got you in my arms," he corrects, and she feels her heart jump a little as her pulse starts to quicken.
"I didn't think you wanted to dance with me tonight," she murmurs, face close to his.
"I didn't think you wanted to dance with me tonight," he echoes, pulling back to meet her eyes with a slight grin. "All those men..."
Slight embarrassment is mixed with a feeling of relief; is that why he didn't ask her before? "I was just dancing with them to be polite, you know," she tells him. "And because they asked."
"Mm," he says. "But you haven't danced with the same man twice."
"No," she agrees, then adds, "Not yet."
He raises an eyebrow at her as they continue to sway gently to the music. "Oh yeah?"
"I could be persuaded to dance with you again." She lifts a hand to his cheek, brushes her fingertips lightly down his face and across his jaw. "Maybe."
He catches the playful tone of her voice and smiles. "Maybe? What do I have to do to get rid of the maybe?"
"You have to ask," she breathes, her eyes darting between his eyes and his lips. She feels light-headed; a mixture of the champagne and the intoxicating feeling of being so close to him. "Ask me to dance with you, Cal, and I will. Anytime."
He studies her face, wants to be certain this is her talking, and not the alcohol. "I didn't ask you this time, technically," he reminds her. "Yet here we are."
"Here we are," she nods. "At last."
"Yeah... sorry it took me all evening to..."
"I don't mean tonight, Cal," she interrupts, and he nods as understanding of her words hit him.
"Ah. I suppose we've been dancing for quite a while really, haven't we? Around... this."
She rests her head against his shoulder, wraps her arms tighter around his back, breathes in the smell of him and wills this moment never to end. "We have."
"I always want to dance with you, Gillian," he tells her sincerely, and she feels him kiss the top of her head. "I always want to be with you, whatever we're doing."
She lifts her head and meets his eyes, smiling. "Even paperwork?"
He groans. "Sodding paperwork. I do hate it. But," he concedes, "with you, it's bearable. In fact, more than bearable. It's riveting."
A small giggle shakes her body against his, and he delights to hear and feel it. "Cal?" she asks, her head suddenly feel much clearer.
She doesn't answer; instead she leans forward and gently presses her lips against his. The kiss is chaste, but sweet, and he wouldn't actually want their first kiss to be any other way. For all the fantasies he's had of grabbing her one day in his office, kissing her passionately, throwing her down on his desk and showing her his true lust for her, he now realises that this is how he wants this to start for them. Slow, and sweet, and soft; the music in the background, the gentle light, this beautiful, heavenly woman in his arms – this is the way to end the ridiculous dance they've been doing for years, this is the way to banish his fears that she'll walk away and leave him, and this is the way to show her, a million times in every moment, that he doesn't want to be anywhere else but here, with her. The woman he loves.