Thanks to csiAngel for convincing me that this one was post-worthy. And for giving me the title :-)
Disclaimer: Lie to Me is, very sadly, not mine.
"Cal!" She banged on the door again, harder this time. "Cal! I know you're in there! Open the damn door!"
Perhaps it was her use of the word damn that finally forced him from his chair, and made him walk heavily to the front door. He opened it slowly, not far enough for her to come in, and watched as her eyes widened at the sight of him. His hair was a mess, his eyes were red rimmed from no sleep, his clothes were dishevelled - he hadn't even changed since last night. And there was the bruise on his cheek, just below his left eye; she longed to reach out and touch him gently, soothe his wounds, both physical and emotional. Her eyes left his face and travelled to his hand; to the cuts and bruises on his knuckles, and she swallowed.
"Cal..." she said, her voice having dropped to almost a whisper. "We need to talk."
"No, we don't," he said abruptly. "I have things to do, Gillian. I'm sorry, I..." His casual use of the word 'sorry', thrown out there, seemed to jar him, and she thought she saw his eyes start to well up slightly. "I'm so sorry," he said heavily, turning away quickly as he closed the door, leaving her on the doorstep feeling angry, upset, and very alone.
"Care to dance?" She offered him a hand, grinning when he eventually took it. She stumbled slightly in her heels as they made their way towards the dance floor, but he caught her easily.
"You're drunk," he noted, amusement in his voice.
"I'm not!" She pouted at him. "Just... happy."
"Totally pissed," he said with a laugh. "Don't worry, Gill. You're a delightful drunk."
He took her in his arms as they started swaying to the music. It didn't matter that his feet were shuffling awkwardly and she seemed barely able to stand up without his support; they were dancing together, having a good time together. Even if she was rather intoxicated.
"This is nice," she murmured against his neck.
"Mm," he said, an agreement without so many words as he tightened his grip on her. "Very nice."
She sat on his doorstep, refusing to return to the car; refusing to admit defeat. She needed to get him to talk to her. She'd worried, after last night, that things would be difficult, awkward – she hadn't expected him to beat himself up quite like this, though. And if he wasn't willing to hear what she had to say, then how on earth was she going to convey to him that she didn't blame him for last night, that she was sorry too, that things could be okay with them again?
She rested her head against the door, straining to hear any noise from within, but it was quiet. She imagined him, on the other side, sitting mutely, perhaps with his head in his hands, cursing himself for his behaviour and lack of control.
"You didn't do anything wrong," she called out, but her voice was too quiet, it came out as a choked out sob that she knew he would not be able to hear.
"Time for a sit down, do you reckon?" he asked, and she giggled.
"Tired, Cal? I thought you had more stamina than that." She gave him a flirtatious smile, and he swallowed.
"I just thought you might need a rest," he said. "Your feet..." He watched as she bent down and pulled off her shoes, tossing them to the side carelessly and straightening up again.
He shook his head, a slight smile on his face. "You really are a wild party animal, aren't you?"
"Are you complaining?" She trailed a hand up his arm, a new kind of energy to her words, and he froze.
"Yes, Cal?" She stepped closer to him, her body pressed against his, and ran her fingers lightly up and down his arms.
"I think we need to..." He stepped away but she was right behind him, following him as he returned to the area they'd been sitting in earlier, away from the dance floor and the crowded bar.
"Don't walk away," she said, reaching for him. "Please, Cal."
"Where are your shoes?" he asked her, and she shrugged.
"I don't need shoes right now."
"Perhaps I should take you home."
She raised her eyebrows at him with a seductive smile. "That's the best offer I've had all night."
"Gillian..." he said weakly, as she stepped closer to him again. Her arms encircled his neck, her cheek was against his, she was rubbing her leg gently against his and he felt his body reacting to her instinctively.
"You want me too," she purred, in a voice he'd never heard her use before. "I can feel it..." She slipped her hands between them, smiling when she elicited a groan from him.
"Gill, we can't," he said, breaking away with effort. "You're drunk."
"Not that drunk." She closed the distance between them again, and he took a few steps backwards until he was against the wall. "Alcohol may have given me the courage to be a little more... forward ... tonight, but this is nothing I don't think about every second when I'm sober." She brushed her lips against his teasingly, one hand on his jaw and one on his arm, willing him to accept her offer.
He knew he should resist. He was perfectly sober, since he was driving, and she was more intoxicated than he'd ever seen her. He should take her home, look after her, and be a gentleman and her best friend.
But this gorgeous, irresistible woman, the one he'd spent years loving from afar, was in his arms – she was rubbing herself against him, she was pressing her lips to his, she was practically begging him to take her and his resolve snapped.
In one fluid movement he grabbed onto her arms and spun them around, so she was the one with her back against the wall. His mouth crashed against hers, his tongue wrestling hers furiously and suddenly he felt like the one who was intoxicated. He could drown in the smell and taste of her, spend the rest of his life with her this close to him; but that still didn't make it right. She reached for the buttons of his shirt, seeming to forget they were in a public place, even though they were in the darkest corner of one of the smaller areas of the club. His hands flew to hers, dragging them away from the buttons she was drunkenly fumbling with, and held her wrists against the wall as he continued kissing her feverishly.
She was moaning into his mouth, writhing against the wall until she'd manoeuvred them so that his leg was between her thighs and she could grind down on his knee, inhaling sharply before once again granting him access to her mouth for another kiss.
He knew she was still out there; her car was still parked outside, but she wasn't sitting in it. He wondered how long she'd stay. The thought of her out there as it started to grow cold tugged at his heart, and he hoped that she would simply walk away soon. It was better, for both of them, if she just kept her distance.
An hour later, with her car still unmoved, he realised that she wasn't simply going to walk away, as he'd hoped. She needed to understand; if his silence wasn't going to make her see, then he was going to have to talk to her. Just for long enough to apologise properly, make it clear to her that it would never happen again, and ask her to leave him for good.
He felt a firm hand on his shoulder, and the torture of having his lips dragged from hers as the person behind him turned him around, shoving him away from Gillian. He stumbled, looking into the face of the person who'd interrupted them.
"Loker," he managed, before the young man's fist connected with his face.
Gillian shrieked his name and rushed to his side, hissing something at Loker that he didn't hear.
"Get away from her," he registered Loker saying. "She's drunk, for god's sake. And you're taking advantage of her. That's low, Lightman, even for you."
"I..." He realised he had no excuse, no justification for his actions; Loker was right. "I'm sorry, love," he said, looking at Gillian, her hair tousled and her cheeks flushed.
"It's okay," she said, addressing Loker. "Eli, it's okay. I was the one who initated – initer... initiated..."
Loker shook his head as he watched her tripping over her words. "You're drunk, Gillian," he said, taking her arm. "And he," he shot Cal a dirty look, "should not have taken advantage of you like that. Come on."
He gripped her tightly around the waist, leading her away. She shot Cal a look over her shoulder that he wished he could interpret; there was still lust in her gaze, and dissatisfaction at the interruption, but also a kind of sadness that he couldn't properly analyse.
His fist shot out and made contact with the wall; the flash of pain was nothing compared to the flood of anguish and self-loathing he felt as he reflected on how the last few minutes had changed everything. He should have had more restraint; instead he'd ruined everything. Everything.
She fell back slightly when the door opened unexpectedly, but recovered quickly, jumping up and meeting his eyes. "Cal?" she asked, hopefully, praying he'd let her in so they could talk about this.
"Come in," he said quietly, holding the door open wide, and she hurried inside.
He'd barely closed the front door when she began speaking. "Cal, I'm so sorry about last night. I don't usually drink so much, it was completely out of character for me, and I should never have put you in that position, I..."
"Gillian." He held up a hand, shaking his head. "I'm the one who needs to be apologising. I'm the one who should have been in control last night, the one who hadn't been drinking – and I didn't do the right thing. I messed up, as usual."
She shook her head, an uncomfortable feeling as she was still feeling the effects of the previous night. "No, no, it was my fault. I offered myself to you on a plate, Cal. I've never been so... brazen."
"Gillian, you were drunk! And I took advantage of you!"
She saw the storm clouds pass over his face, heard the bitterness in his voice, and felt her heart ache at how much he hated himself for last night.
"But nothing happened," she reminded him softly. "I mean, we didn't..."
"Because Loker saved you."
"Saved me? Cal, I didn't need saving, I..." She took a deep breath, and stepped towards him tentatively. "You know, if the situation were reversed – if you were the one drunkenly throwing yourself into my arms – I wouldn't have resisted either."
"That's different," he said immediately, but she caught a flash of something on his face at her words – happiness? Relief? Hope?
"Why? Because I'm a woman?"
He heard the edge to her voice, and sighed. "Don't start getting all feminist on me now, Gillian. You were vulnerable, and I..."
"Oh, stop!" She threw her hands up crossly. "Yes, I was drunk, but I wouldn't have said I was vulnerable, Cal. If it was a stranger we were talking about, taking a drunk woman home to have sex with her, I'd say he was taking advantage, but this is different!"
"Because you know me? Doesn't that make it worse? I'm supposed to be your best friend, Gill. You're supposed to be able to trust me. And I betrayed you."
"No," she said vehemently, stepping forwards again. "I told you last night that I wanted you even when I was sober, and that's true. It took a large quantity of alcohol for me to have the courage to tell you how I feel, Cal, and I know I could have expressed myself a little more eloquently, but... it was what I wanted, don't you get that? You are what I wanted. What I want."
He didn't say anything for a few moments as he digested her words. She tried stepping towards him again, but he stepped backwards, away from her. "You deserve better than me."
She took a deep breath; she'd been prepared for this one. "That's been your problem for years, hasn't it?"
"What?" he asked, confused. "Not being good enough for you?"
"Thinking you're not good enough for me. Keeping your distance because you think you're protecting me. Flirting and being my friend and showing me glimpses of how you feel, and then running away because you think I can do better." She practically spat the words out, and he struggled to think of an adequate response.
"You can do better."
"You kissed me back when I threw myself at you last night, and that means you're not good enough for me?"
"It's hardly just that, Gill. Look at our history – at who we are. You should be with someone who is... who has... who's more..."
"More what, Cal?" she challenged, walking towards him. "More responsible? Dependable? Boring?"
"Someone better," he said, averting his eyes. "You deserve the best, Gillian."
"I deserve to be happy," she said confidently. "That's what I deserve, don't you think?"
He regarded her silently for a moment, sensing her argument. At last, he nodded. "Yes, you deserve to be happy."
"Well, in order to be happy, I need to be with the man I love."
"You love the man I was last night? Pushing you against the wall, kissing you like that when you weren't really in control of what you were doing... god knows what would have happened if Loker hadn't intervened... you love that man, Gillian?"
"Yes." There was no hesitation; that didn't mean he could really believe it.
"You need to stop beating yourself up about this, Cal. You need to stop second-guessing me, and assuming you know what's best for me. What I want is you. It's about time you realised that."
"But last night, you were..."
"Drunk, yes. But how much of what happened do you think was the alcohol, Cal? Do you think I wouldn't do that if I was sober? Wouldn't kiss like that sober?" She reached up a hand to cup his cheek, locking her eyes firmly on his. "I'm sober now, Cal." Then, without warning, she tugged him towards her until their lips met. She opened her mouth to him, tasting him; her memory of their kiss last night had been imprinted on her brain for hours, but this was even better. Without alcohol dulling her senses, he set her on fire even more. She could feel his resistance, the battle raging within him; his body wanting her, his brain wanting to push her away.
Part of her worried that this would make things worse – if he gave in to his desires again, it would confirm his doubts about himself, his idea that he had no control over himself, that he couldn't be trusted around her. But there was a chance that this could work the way she wanted it to – that kissing him like this, sober, would make him see that he really was what she wanted. So she just kept kissing him, even in the moments when she felt him try to pull away; she tightened her grip on his shoulders, she pressed her body more firmly against his, she kissed him more deeply and passionately than she'd ever kissed before.
Eventually she was forced to break away, breathing in deeply as she kept her hands pressed to his face. "Listen to me," she said firmly, refusing to let his gaze slide from hers. "I want you. And if you tell me that you won't let us be together because I first made a move on you when I was drunk, then so help me god I will hurt you."
He laughed, and she felt relief sweep her body. "I suppose I'd better comply to your wishes then, eh?"
"Exactly." She leaned forward and kissed him again, more softly this time. He kissed her back with a tenderness that made her heart leap in a different way than it had moments before; that he could be so tender and also so passionate was what she loved most about him.
When they broke apart again, he tilted his head to the side and looked at her. "Are you sure about this, Gill? Are you sure this is what you want?"
"I've never been more certain of anything. And if you doubt my love for you again, I'll smack you," she threatened. "Okay?"
"Okay, okay. You're in a very violent mood today," he said with a grin.
His acquiescence relieved her, but she could sense his lingering doubt. "You're still not completely sure about this though, are you?"
His grin faded, but he reached for her hand and caressed it lightly. "I do love you, Gill. And I believe that you love me. And that you're stubborn, and I won't be able to talk you out of wanting to be with me." His smile returned slightly. "But it's not easy for me to suddenly start believing that I'm good enough for you, or stop worrying that I'm going to let you down."
She sighed. "I know. I'm trying to be realistic, Cal – I know I can't wave a magic wand and make all your insecurities disappear. But, hopefully, when we've been together for a while and you see how ridiculously happy you make me, you'll start accepting I'm right."
"Ridiculously happy, huh? I thought it was only orange slushies and chocolate pudding that made you feel that way."
She draped her arms around his neck, bringing her lips close to his again. "Orange slushies... chocolate pudding... and you."
He wrapped his arms around her as she kissed him again, feeling reluctant to ever relinquish his hold on her. "You know," he mumbled against her lips when they parted for breath, "you're an even better kisser sober."
She laughed. "So are you."
"I was sober last night," he reminded her.
"I know," she smiled, her hands moving to the buttons of his shirt. "I mean, it's better kissing you when I'm sober."
He drank in the hungry look in her eyes, desperate to take her to the bedroom but knowing she had to make the first move. This had to be completely her decision, and she had to be the one in control. As if reading his mind, she started moving them wordlessly across the room towards the hall, then pushed him away from her lightly with a giggle.
"What?" he asked.
"As much as I want to take this to the bedroom, there is one thing you could do for me first." Her eyes swept him from head to toe, and she waited for him to catch her meaning. When he only continued to look at her in puzzlement, she laughed and shook her head. "A shower, Cal. Take a shower."
He laughed. "Fair enough." He started up the stairs quickly, pulling his shirt off as he went and tossing it on the steps below him.
As Gillian caught sight of his half-naked form disappearing up the stairs, she slipped off her shoes and began to follow him. "Maybe I'll even join you."
Above the sound of the running water, she could just hear his laugh.
She knew it wasn't going to be easy; relationships never were. She'd never imagined that it would be a night of heavy drinking that would lead her to make the first move, but in a way she'd always known there had to be a storm before things could settle down. And while Cal's fears that he wasn't good enough for her weren't going to be eradicated instantly, she was determined that they would be eventually.
"You coming?" came his voice from the bathroom, and she smiled, pushing open the door.
"I'm right here, Cal. I'm right here."