Chapter 3

The ride home was quiet. Horatio attempted several times to engage his son in some kind of conversation, hoping to lighten the boy's dismal mood, but when every attempt failed, the rest of the ride home was done in silence.

Kyle looked out the window as the Miami landscape whizzed past, lost in his own thoughts. The short drive was over quickly, and he saw that they were pulling into his Dad's driveway.

"Hungry?" Horatio asked as they entered the house.

"Yeah, I am. But I could really use a shower first."

"Sure son. Right down the hall. I've got some fresh clothes you can borrow. We can go get your things in the morning, OK? I'll start dinner."

Kyle stood in the shower and let the hot steamy water cascade over him. He was finally calmed down, and rational thought was finally returning and taking hold.

Calleigh's strong words were haunting him. He heard them over and over in his head, as he replayed the events of the day. And she was absolutely right. He couldn't believe how selfish he had acted. He suddenly felt terrible for embarrassing his Dad like that. But how was he going to fix it?

And something else was nagging at him too… something else she had said…

"I care very much about your father…"

The realization dawned on him slowly. Dad and Calleigh. They were an item, a couple. That was the only obvious conclusion… No wonder she had been so angry…

He suddenly knew exactly what he had to do. He had to make this right. He shut off the water and quickly dried off, throwing on the clothes his Dad had loaned him. They were a little large on him, but he didn't care. He had more important things on his mind now.

He walked into the kitchen where his Dad was in the early stages of making dinner.

"Dad? Is Calleigh coming over?" he asked gently.

Horatio froze in his tracks, and gave his son a very puzzled look, his mind racing. "What?"

"Calleigh. You know… from the lab? Is she coming over?"

"Um, actually no, son," his father slightly stammered. "It's just you and I tonight."

"Would you invite her?"

"Kyle, I'm confused. You want to tell me what's going on?"

"Dad, please," the young man asked earnestly. "Please ask her over. I really need to talk to her. Please?"

Horatio guessed it probably had something to do with whatever had caused the tension in the lab earlier. But any reason to see his blond beauty was reason enough for him.

"OK, OK, son. If it's really that important to you, OK. I'll go call her."

Kyle's face lit up with a warm smile.

Horatio walked into his bedroom and picked his cell up off the charger, and called his love. She picked up almost immediately. "Hey, Handsome."

"Hi sweetheart," his low rich voice almost a purr. "Listen, grab your keys and come over here. You're invited for dinner."

"What? What about Kyle?"

"It was his idea. He won't tell me why, but he insisted. He said he needs to talk to you about something."

Calleigh had to admit, she was excited to be able to see Horatio tonight, but the mysterious invite did concern her just a bit. What did that boy have up his sleeve? Well, only one way to find out…

"OK. I'll be right over."

Half an hour later, Calleigh felt a little awkward ringing the front doorbell when she had a key to the door in her pocket, but she was rewarded by a very polite Kyle welcoming her in.

"Thank you for coming," he said softly, so only she could hear him.

"Thank you for inviting me," she said, still cautious but now even more curious.

The two sat down at the kitchen table while Horatio continued preparing dinner. Calleigh ran a slightly nervous hand through her blond hair and then looked at Kyle.

"Horatio said you wanted to talk to me?" she ventured.

Kyle took a deep breath. He knew this wouldn't be easy, but he knew he had to do it. He swallowed hard, and answered her. "Yeah, I do."

He paused for a moment, then continued. "Are you still mad at me?"

When Horatio heard that, he stopped what he was doing, slowly turned around and leaned against the counter, quietly listening.

"Yes I am," Calleigh answered honestly. "Very. But I'm working on it."

Kyle nodded. "You were right. Everything you said to me today. All of it, every word. You were right. I have been acting like a selfish jack-ass."

Calleigh was stunned by the boy's honesty. And it also scored him a few points to have the courage to man-up and admit his mistakes.

"And I am going to make some changes. I am an adult now, and I do need to start acting like it. So starting tonight, starting right now, no more temper, no more ranting, and no more attitude. I know that won't always be easy, but I don't ever want to be like that again. From now on, anytime I feel like losing it, I'm going to remember what you said to me, and keep myself under control. I'm sorry about today, Calleigh. For everything. I really am."

Cal gave the young man a warm smile. "Thank you, and I appreciate that Kyle. But you know, I'm not the one you should be apologizing to."

"I know, but I wanted to start with you."

Kyle turned and faced his father.

"Dad… I am so sorry about what I did today. I don't know why I let myself get so out of control. I had no right to. I was just…" he glanced at Calleigh briefly, "being a selfish jack-ass."

"Kyle, it was a very stressful situation…" Horatio began, but his son interrupted him.

"No Dad, there's no excuse for the way I behaved. Seriously. I embarrassed myself and the uniform I was wearing. But even worse, I know I embarrassed you. And you don't deserve that. Not at all. Especially not from me."

Kyle got up, walked over and stood in front of his father. "I know I can't take back all the awful things I did today. But, do you think maybe we could start over? I promise I won't do anything to embarrass you like that ever again. I want you to be proud of me, Dad."

Kyle reached out and wrapped his arms around his father, hugging him tightly. Horatio felt his heart swell with emotion as he hugged his son back fiercely.

"I am proud of you son," he said, trying to keep his voice from breaking. "I truly am."

"I love you Dad," Kyle said, fighting tears back.

"I love you too, son."

When the two men finally released each other, Kyle looked over at Calleigh. He wiped his eyes quickly, cleared his throat, then pointed to his Dad. "OK. Your turn for a hug."

He saw the questioning look she gave him. "Well, you two are an item, right?" He continued. "I mean, I was a little dense picking up on it, but it's fairly obvious how much you two love each other. So you both definitely need a hug…" he paused. "Heck, maybe more than that," he added with a mischievous grin.

"Kyle!" Calleigh chided with a playful laugh. But she was only too happy to stand up and wrap herself in her lover's waiting arms.

She gave her man a quick kiss, then winked at him and pulled away.

"Hey, come here you," she said, gently grabbing Kyle's arm. She pulled the young man close and gave him a heartfelt hug. "I'm not mad at you anymore." She said warmly.

"Thank you Calleigh," he said softly. "For everything."

A little while later, the three of them were enjoying a pleasant dinner. They chatted easily, and the conversation ended up on the topic of Calleigh moving in. Kyle was completely supportive of the idea.

Calleigh paused and looked over at Kyle. "Happy Birthday Kyle," she said fondly.

"What? No… it's not my birthday," he replied quickly, looking puzzled.

"Well, maybe not. But you've definitely grown up today."

He smiled brightly.

A little while after dinner, Calleigh had reluctantly mentioned that she should probably head home. But Kyle had stopped her. "You are home," he said simply.

Much later that night, Calleigh was lying comfortably in Horatio's arms, snuggled close to him in the big oversized bed. Kyle had gone to bed in the guest room fairly early, after another round of goodnight hugs. With a sparkle in his eyes, Horatio suggested to Calleigh that they retire as well…

Horatio softly caressed her bare shoulder. "Sweetheart?" he said quietly.

"Hmmm?"

"Just what exactly did you say to that boy today?"

Calleigh smiled, then rolled over on top of him. She ran a sensuous hand through his gorgeous red hair, and down along the side of his face.

"I'll tell you…" she whispered, "…later." The two wrapped themselves around each other as she claimed his mouth in a passionate kiss…

*FINIS*

Reviews always welcome! Hope you enjoyed my spin on this episode… Thanks for reading!