Title: Only fools rush in
Author: Vicky
Category: romance, friendship
Summary: "Some things were meant to be"
Season/Sequel: season 3
Spoilers: Killer App (3-13)
Rating: PG
Archives: my website, others ask please, I never refuse
Disclaimer: I own neither the show nor the characters. I don't earn any money; I just do it for fun.
Author's Note: This is a post-ep for Killer App, now the series finale. I'm still not happy with that decision. Anyway, both the title and the summary come from the song Can't help falling in love. I hope you'll enjoy reading it! ;)


When the week finally came to an end, Gillian felt like it had lasted longer than any other week. It felt like a whole month had gone by, when it had only been seven days since Claire's funeral. It had given her some closure to say one last goodbye to her protégée, but it still hurt to think about her, to know that she hadn't been able to help her, this time. Thankfully for her, they had taken on a new case on Monday, and it had helped her keep her mind off of Claire for the most part.

Now that the weekend had come, though, she was looking forward to doing nothing work-related. The past two weeks had stressed her out more than she wanted to admit, even to herself. She knew that it would most probably bring Claire back to the forefront of her mind, but she wouldn't mind recalling some of the good times they had spent together. She would cry, of that she had no doubt, but she hoped that she would finally be able to close that door.

She was gathering her things, when Cal stopped at her threshold. He looked decided, and she felt her shoulders slump at the sight.

"Please, don't tell me we have another case that can't wait until Monday," she begged him, letting the tiredness she was feeling be heard in her voice.

"No, nothing like that, love," he reassured her, and she sighed in relief; she was looking forward to a long bath and a glass of wine. "I thought I could invite you to dinner, tonight."

"At your place?" she asked, already feeling tempted to accept; the bath could wait, and she could have a glass of wine at Cal's.

"I was thinking about a fancy restaurant, actually."

She considered his offer for an instant, but she knew what her answer was the moment he asked her. No matter where it took place, she wanted to have dinner with him. She had missed spending time with him during their fall out, and now that they were better, she didn't want to miss out on time with him anymore.

"Great. Where are we going?"

"You are going home. Get changed, and I'll come pick you up in an hour and a half. And dress fancy," he added, before leaving the room.

She shook her head at his retreating back, letting out a chuckle.

She knew he had something else on his mind. She had tried reading his face, but he was keeping her out. It wasn't the first time, and it didn't surprise her. She just really hoped that he wasn't trying to play with her; she wasn't feeling up to it. But she couldn't suppress that nagging feeling that he was hiding something from her.

Looking at the clock on her desk, she smiled; she would have time to take the long bath she had dreamed of all day.

She had just finished putting her make-up on, when there was a knock on the door. Smiling, she put on her coat, grabbed her bag, and went to open the door.

"You look lovely, darling," Cal said, leaning in to kiss her cheek.

"Thank you. You're quite handsome, yourself," she had to admit, as she took in the dark suit he was wearing.

"You're not inviting me in?"

"I thought you invited me out?" she countered, with a smile.

Taking her keys from the counter, she stepped out, and pushed him out of the way to close the door behind her.

When she turned back towards him, he offered her his arm, and she took it with a nod. They walked without any hurry towards his car, enjoying the comfortable silence between them. The night was cold, and she subconsciously snuggled closer to him, until he released her arm, and instead wrapped his around her shoulders. Her own arm came to rest around his waist, and she turned her head towards him, smiling.

"So where are you taking me?" she finally asked.

"That's for me to know, and you to find out once we get there."

"Come on, Cal..." she whined, her curiosity getting the better of her.

"Ah ah, you'll have to wait," he teased her.

Having arrived at the car, Cal unlocked it, and opened the passenger door for her.

"My, Cal, you're a gentleman, tonight."

"I aim to please, love."

She was surprised by his behaviour. Not that Cal wasn't a gentleman, he was, but he didn't often show this side of him to people other than Emily. She was one of the privileged few, and it seemed that tonight, he wanted to show it.

During the drive, Gillian tried to find out again and again where he was taking her, but he was still decided to keep it a secret from her. And she could read nothing on his face but the fact that he was happy. She quickly got frustrated though, and changed the conversation to Emily.

"How's Emily? She told me that she broke up with Liam."

"She's fine. Did she also tell you why she broke up with him?" he asked, grinning.

"Yes she did, and I bet you had fun when she told you. And don't even try to deny it."

"Come on, you have to admit that it is funny," he replied, and she nodded; in a way, it was funny. "But I tried not to, I swear."

"So, what did Liam say when you went to see him?"

"What makes you think...?" He took advantage of the red light to look at her, and he noticed the look she was giving him. "Ok, fine, I went to see him, and I told him if he wanted a few tips on how to get Emily back without..., you know... "

"Cal, tell me you didn't!"

"What? He's a nice guy, and he and Emily were okay."

"You're saying that now that you know he's against sex before marriage, we both know that."

"Well, maybe. But you can't really blame me for that!"

"And what did he answer to that? No wait, he told you to mind your own business, right?"

"You're enjoying this!"

"Why, yes I am!" she replied with a big smile.

He didn't say anything else, and she could see that he was brooding. She couldn't stop smiling for the remainder of the ride, knowing him enough to be sure that she didn't offend him by her reaction.

The silence that fell around them brought her back to the present evening. She still wondered where he was taking her, and she was now convinced that he had something else on his mind than just a dinner between friends. But, even in his brooding state, he was still keeping her out, and she knew that asking more questions would lead her nowhere. She just had to wait and see as he had already told her many times during the ride.

"Well, here we are," he finally said after a few more minutes.

"Cal!" Gillian exclaimed as she saw the restaurant he was going to take her in. "That's not a fancy restaurant, that's the best restaurant in town! They're booked for months in advance."

"I know. Come on, let's go," he prompted her as the valet opened her door.

Cal joined her on her side of the car, and took her arm to walk her to the restaurant entrance. She followed, wondering how he was going to get them a table, since he invited her at the last minute; she really didn't think he had planned ahead for the evening.

"Good evening, Ma'am, Sir," the Maitre D' welcomed them when they stepped up to him. "What's the name on your reservation?"

"I actually don't have one," Cal said, and Gillian sighed, seeing that the Maitre D' was ready to tell them off.

"I've got that, Paul," a voice said from behind them, and she turned around to find a man around Cal's age smiling at her. "Cal Lightman... I would have never thought you would take me up on my offer."

"All in good time, Tony, all in good time."

"You won't introduce me to your lady friend?"

"Tony Medina, meet Gillian Foster, my partner and friend."

"Nice to meet you, Gillian."

"Likewise," she replied, shaking the hand he was extending for her.

"So, you're the one who puts up with him."

"Yes, I am."

"Is it as difficult as I think it is to work with this guy?"

"You have no idea," she replied with a chuckle.

"I thought so. Let me take you to your table."

Grabbing two menus, he gestured for them to follow him. Once at the table, Cal pulled the chair out for her, showing once again that night the gentleman in him, before taking a seat himself.

"Here you are," Tony said, handing a menu to each of them. "I'll send a waiter to you in a minute."

"So, what did you do for him to gain you not only the right to come unannounced, but also the best table of the restaurant?"

"I just helped him with a little problem."

"Cal...," she prompted him, knowing he was evasive, and not wanting this evening to be full of lies and half-truths.

"He had some troubles back in the day with some guys running a clandestine casino. He lost a lot of money, nearly lost his restaurant in the process. I helped him get his money back."

"You played poker." It was more a statement that a question; she already knew the answer to that.

"Anyway, since that day, he told me that whenever I want to come to his restaurant, I just have to call, and he'll always have a table ready for me."

"You come here often?"

"It's actually the first time. You know I'm not a big fan of this kind of restaurant."

"Then why make an exception tonight?" she asked.

"Because it's you."

She could see it written all over his face; he was being honest with her. No more half-truth, no more hiding, and no more secrets. She smiled at him, acknowledging and accepting the new rules he had set for them at the same time.

Opening her menu, she quickly scanned it, before putting it back down on the table and looking at Cal.

"Give me yours," she asked, already extending her hand to receive it.

"Why would I do that?"

"Mine doesn't have the prices on it."

"I know. It's for me to know, and you to never find out." When he saw she was about to protest, he continued. "Humour me, Gill, please."

She sighed and picked the menu back up, knowing that she wouldn't get the last word this time. She knew that when he had an idea, she couldn't change his mind, no matter how hard she tried.

After the waiter came to take their order, they were surprised to see a bottle of champagne coming their way, instead of the two glasses they asked for, compliments of Tony. When they were left alone once more, Cal raised his glass, and invited her to do the same.

"Happy Anniversary."

It surprised her at first, but then she remembered the date, and smiled. She couldn't believe she had forgotten all about it, but after the past few days, she guessed that it was normal.

"Happy Anniversary," she returned, clanking her glass to his.

"Seven years ago, today, you agreed to leave the Pentagon, and to come work with me. Thank you."

She smiled; he wasn't one to say those words often, but it came more easily these past few months, since she had first asked for them. If she had known it was all it would take, she would have asked sooner.

"You've never regretted it?"

She could read him like a book; he was anxious of what her answer could be. She wanted to reassure him, but if honesty was their watchword for this evening, she couldn't lie to him.

"Yes." She watched as his face fell, and soon enough, the mask was back on, and she couldn't read anything anymore. That was what prompted her to explain; if he knew her reasons, maybe he would understand. And they did need to put that behind them in order to move forward. "When you told me that if I were to mess with your finances again, we were through, you hurt me, Cal. So yes, for a while, I regretted ever saying yes to you."

"I see."

"But," she continued, putting her hand on the one he was resting on the table, "it was my anger talking. I was angry at you for weeks, after that day. Cal, on a normal day, I would never regret it. Never. What we're doing fulfils me in a way my job at the Pentagon could never have. Do you believe me?" she asked, allowing him to cross the line.

"Yeah," he reassured her, interlinking their fingers together.

"Good. Because I can promise you, you won't be able to get rid of me that easily."

"Same here, darling, same here." He paused, sending her a smile she returned, before continuing. "Why did you forgive me?"

She could tease him, tell him that she was drunk and she didn't know what she had been thinking, but she decided against that when she saw the look he was giving her.

"Because you did the one thing you had never done before."

"What was that?"

"You thanked me."

At that moment, their waiter arrived with the food, and the serious conversation stopped in favour of eating. Plates were shared, and the conversation was kept on lighter subjects, like Emily's latest shopping trip which cost, according to Cal, nearly a month's salary. No need to say that Gillian, knowing the girl, didn't trust his word.

"Well, just ask her to show you what she bought next time you come, and we'll see who's right," Cal concluded, as the busboy took their plates away.

"May I interest you in some dessert?" the waiter asked, coming back to their table.

"The lady will have the chocolate cake, and I'll take the tiramisu."

"Very well."

"Aren't you feeling a bit presumptuous, ordering for me?" Gillian asked, cocking an eyebrow at him.

"I saw you eyeing it when we arrived. You're actually going to tell me that you would have ordered something else?"

"No," she admitted with a smile.

"See, I was right." He marked a pause, and his look turned serious. "To finish our earlier conversation, I can't promise I'll always acknowledge, or even notice, what you do for me, but I'll try. And don't hesitate to tell me in the future, if I'm out of line."

"I will," she replied, as he took her hand in his, and brought it to his lips. "Cal..."

"I know, love, I know."

Dessert was eaten in a comfortable silence. Cal made a few attempts to take a bite of her chocolate cake, but she countered him every single time. But they weren't serious attempts; he knew better than to try and eat her piece of cake.

Dinner came to an end, and Cal asked for the check but was told that it had already been taken care of. Gillian could see that he was disappointed by it, because he wanted to treat her, but she reassured him with a smile and a 'next time'.

Leaving a generous tip for their waiter, it was the least he could do, he helped her into her coat, and took her hand to lead her outside.

Despite her protests, Cal insisted on walking her to her door. That chivalrous act made her smile, and combined with the rest of the evening, made her wonder once more what was going on. Yes, they often had dinner together on what they liked to call 'their anniversary', but the evening had never played out like this one did.

They stopped on the threshold, and she opened the door before turning back towards him. He looked nervous, and she wondered why; their evening was coming to an end, and he had nothing to be nervous for.

"Thank you for this evening, Cal. I had a great time."

"I'm glad, Gill."

"Cal... What was all this for? I liked it, but why all this? We could have had a quiet dinner, and it would have been great, too."

"I know, but I wanted to do something special this year."

"And special, it was. Thank you, again."

"Thank you."

He closed the distance between them, and dropped a lingering kiss on the corner of her mouth. He withdrew slightly, looking straight into her eyes, before kissing her lips gently. The kiss was brief; just two sets of lips pressed against one another. She closed her eyes at the touch, and instinctively tried to follow when he drew back this time.

She opened her eyes when she heard him chuckle, and was taken aback by what she was seeing in his eyes.

"Just something to think about," he whispered in the silence of the night.

She didn't reply, just nodded her head absently, her thoughts still on what had just happened between them, and what he had revealed with just one look. Now, she had a better idea of why he acted the way he had during the evening; it all made sense in light of what just happened.

"Maybe we could have lunch, tomorrow?" he offered.

"I'm sorry, I already have plans."

If she hadn't been looking at him, she wouldn't have caught the flicker of jealousy that passed on his face when she said those words. It took all of her willpower, but she managed to fight back the smile that threatened to stretch her lips. She hadn't been aiming for this reaction, or any reaction at all, but she was pleased by it, nonetheless.

"I'll see you on Monday, then," he said in a carefully controlled voice.

"You will," she replied with a smile as he backed away from her.

She waited until he disappeared down the stairs to close the door.

One look at the clock in the entrance told her that it was already past midnight. It surprised her; if someone asked, she would have answered that it was still quite early. She didn't see the time go by, more proof that she had enjoyed the evening with Cal.

Despite the hour, though, she wasn't tired; her exhaustion from earlier had left her completely. She was actually feeling giddy; as giddy as a schoolgirl whose crush had just asked her on a date. And that thought made her realise that was what it was; not just a dinner between friends, but a date. They might not have called it that, but it was a date; their first date. And it had ended as a first date would have: with a kiss.

As she passed before the mirror, she stopped, noticing the wide smile on her lips. She was happy by the turn of events; if anyone would have told her this morning that the night would end like this, she wouldn't have believed it. She had a lot of thinking to do, but she knew one thing: she would have trouble making that smile disappear. She was sure she would still be smiling the next day, and that her lunch date would notice it and ask what prompted it.

She would certainly have some explaining to do.

Gillian was just finishing her shopping for lunch when her cell phone went off. She dug it out of her purse before it could go to voicemail, and smiled when she saw the caller ID. Her lunch date was checking on her.

"Hey, Emily!" she greeted her.

"Hi, Gillian."

"We're still on for lunch?" she asked, wondering if that was what the girl was calling her for.

"Yes, of course we are! Actually, I was just calling to see if you can come and get me. Dad left with the car, and I don't know when he's supposed to come back. So, I'm left without a ride."

"No problem. I'll be there in twenty," Gillian replied, taking a look at her shopping list. "By the way, since I have you on the phone, what do you want for dessert?"

"Pineapple ice cream, please."

"Then pineapple ice cream, it is. Before I forget, you didn't tell your Dad that you were having lunch with me?"

"No. I was planning on telling him this morning, but he left before I got around to. Why?"

"Nothing. And don't tell him if you happen to have him on the phone. Just trust me, I'll explain later," she added, not wanting to worry Emily.

"Ok, I won't. See you in twenty. Bye."

"Bye, Em."

Placing her phone back into her purse, she walked towards the freezers and selected two containers of pineapple ice cream, as requested by the teenager. Eyeing a container of chocolate chip ice cream, she grabbed it too. One could never have too much ice cream in their freezer. Eyeing an empty cash desk, she quickly paid for her purchases, before leaving the shop.

She put her bags into the trunk, and got into the driver's seat.

Traffic was light, and she was grateful for that; she had always hated traffic jams when she was the one driving. If she was a passenger, she didn't mind it as much, but as a driver, she got frustrated whenever traffic slowed. But it was Saturday morning, and people who weren't still at home, sleeping in, were on the road away from Washington DC for the weekend.

She pulled up in front of Cal's house, and Emily came out, locking the door behind her. She couldn't see his car, meaning that he was still out, wherever that was. She had an idea about where he could be, but she hoped, for his sake, that she was wrong.

She smiled at Emily when she climbed into the car, and returned her hug.

"So, why don't you want Dad to know I'm having lunch with you?" she asked, as soon as Gillian got the car back on the road.

"He thinks I have a hot date."

"And you didn't deny it! You're evil, Gillian, you know that?"

"I learned from the best," she replied with a wink.

"Well, after everything he put you through, he certainly deserves it."

She wasn't surprised that Emily knew about their fall out. She was her father's daughter; she was smart, and it wasn't the first time she had picked up on problems between Cal and Gillian. So it was really no surprise that she found out about their biggest one to date.

The rest of the drive to Gillian's house was spent listening to the radio and singing out loud to some of the songs.

As she parked her car, she noticed a familiar car parked on the other side of the road, a bit further away. She rolled her eyes at the sight, as she got out of the car, followed by Emily.

"Wait for me here, will you?" Gillian told her.

She walked towards the car; he'd better not try and leave before she told him what she had on her mind. Even though she had hoped she was wrong, she knew he was going to be here. It was in his nature; he had to know everything. Angry at him and at herself, she stopped at the passenger door, and knocked on the window. It rolled down, and she bent down to look at him.


"Very. Why didn't you tell me Emily was your lunch date? And for that matter, why didn't my daughter tell me?"

"She had planned to tell you this morning, but apparently, you left in a hurry. You just had to be there. You can't help it, can you?" When he just shrugged in answer, she rolled her eyes at him once more. "Go home, Cal."

"Can't I have lunch with the two of you?" he asked, almost pouting; she would have found that cute, if she wasn't so annoyed by him at the moment.

"Sorry, girls only."

"Well, will you have dinner with us, tonight, then? Come on," he continued when he saw her hesitate, "it'll be my way of apologizing for this."

"Alright, I will. Now, go home."

She didn't give him time to say anything else, and turned away from the car, to go join Emily at her own.

After making lunch, with Gillian teaching new recipes to Emily, who was always eager to learn, they sat at the kitchen table to eat. They talked about school and work, until Gillian turned the conversation to Liam.

"Are you sure about your decision?" she couldn't help but ask; she had seen the two together, and Emily looked happy.

"Yes. I guess we're just not compatible."

"Because he doesn't believe in sex before marriage? Emily, sex isn't something casual, and I can understand why Liam wants to wait."

"Did you?" she asked, before continuing when she saw the look on Gillian's face. "I mean, if you don't want to talk about it, I would understand. I've already talked about it with Mom, and well, Dad..."

"... doesn't share your opinion."

"No, he doesn't, that's for sure. I know it's not my place to ask, but did you wait?"

"I didn't. Alec wasn't my first. But what I want you to really understand is that making love is something you should take seriously. I'm sure Zoe already told you," she added, and Emily nodded. "What I want to tell you is that if you're really sure of your feelings for a boy, and of his for you, then, and only then, you can consider doing it."

"I know, and I did. Thanks, Gillian, for talking about that with me."

"You know I'll always be there if you want to talk. And as for Cal, just consider his point of view. His little girl is turning into a beautiful woman before his eyes, and he feels like you soon won't need him anymore."

"He should know better. I need him."

"He probably knows, but it shouldn't hurt reminding him from time to time. And maybe a part of him is a bit afraid you'll make him a grandpa."

"That's probably the one thing he shouldn't worry about. I'm certainly not ready for that, and I'm taking all the necessary precautions to ensure that nothing will happen."

"Good, then. You should probably tell him that, too. Now, how about that ice-cream?"

Gillian got up and collected their plates, waving off Emily's attempt to help. She retrieved the two containers of ice-cream from the freezer, and two spoons from a drawer, before going back to the table and handing one of each to Emily.

"Thank you."

They stayed silent for a moment, each enjoying their ice-cream.

Gillian loved these moments she got to spend with Emily. They tried to have lunch together at least twice a month, talking about anything and nothing, and both being just comfortable in the other's presence. They had started this little tradition less than a couple of years before, when Emily had sought her advice on her parents' apparent reunion. Since then, Gillian was the one she would go to when she didn't want to talk to her parents about something.

"Can I ask you another question?" Emily asked, breaking the silence.

"You just did," Gillian replied, and they shared a smile. "What is it?"

"Do you love Dad?"

"I do. He's my best friend, you know that."

"Déjà-vu," Emily muttered under her breath. "No, I mean, really love him."

There was a moment of pause during which Gillian could feel the girl's eyes on her. She kept her own trained on the ice-cream before her, not wanting to meet her eyes just yet.

She wasn't searching for an answer; she knew what her answer would be. But saying it out loud would change everything, she knew that too. Still, she thought that maybe it was time for her to share her thoughts with someone else.

She slowly brought her eyes up to Emily, until she looked straight into her eyes.

"I love him," she said, her voice barely above a whisper. "I'm in love with Cal Lightman."

"Why didn't you tell him?"

"I wasn't sure of his feelings for me."

"Stop right there. You used the past tense. Did something happen?" Emily asked, noticing at the same time that Gillian was blushing. "Oh my God, something did happen."

"We... kissed," Gillian admitted, knowing that the girl wouldn't stop asking until she knew; she was Cal's daughter through and through.

"So what now? Are you a couple?"

"I don't know. We didn't talk about that. It happened just yesterday night."

"Yes, but what do you want it to mean?"

"I don't know. I mean, what if it doesn't work and we can't stand each other anymore?"

"You two are best friends, you've just said it yourself. I don't think anything would ever change that. And I don't think you really need to worry about that. I'd be the first one surprised if this doesn't work out."

Gillian liked Emily's optimism, and wished she could share it. She doubted that a relationship with Cal would be as easy as Emily made it to be.

"We'll need to talk about everything first. We can't rush in."

"Rush in?" Emily repeated. "It's been eight years! You'll hardly be rushing in."

"You seem to forget that I was married for the most part of those. Look, I don't even know what your father wants or if he even loves me," she said, and chose to ignore Emily muttering something that sounded like 'duh'. "You can't blame me for being extra careful."

"No, I guess I can't. But I want you both to be happy, and I know that together, you will be. I have no doubt of that."

"I hope you're right. I really do. But time is what we need."

"I see I won't be able to change your mind. Now, about that kiss. Was it a toe-curling, or a 'I want to jump him right now' kind of kiss?"

"Emily!" Gillian exclaimed, surprised about what she said.

"I know, I know. It's you and Dad. But now that I don't have a boyfriend anymore, I have to live vicariously through you, Gill. And we're just talking about a kiss. God knows I don't want or need to know anything else. So...?" she prompted when she failed to get an answer to her question.

"Toe-curling," Gillian answered with a smile. "But that's all I'm telling you. If you want to live vicariously through someone, ask your friends."

"I will. Now, what are we going to do this afternoon?"

"I was thinking we could go shopping."

"I love this idea."

"By the way, Cal invited me to dinner with you two, tonight."

"Is the dinner his way to apologize for not trusting you today?"

"That's what he told me."

"It's also a good excuse to spend time with you."

"I guess. Come on, let's go get ready. We have some shopping to do," Gillian said excitedly, clapping her hands together.

As she stopped the car before Cal's house, Gillian felt nervous. She didn't exactly know why; when she saw him earlier that day, she hadn't felt like this, she was calm and collected.

"What is it, Gillian?" Emily asked from the passenger's seat, when she noticed Gillian hadn't turned off the engine yet. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Everything's fine."

"I grew up watching you and Dad working. You can't lie to me."

"I don't know," Gillian said after a few seconds. "I'm just... I feel like a teenager going on a date, and it's not even a date!"

"You've been waiting a long time for that, haven't you? I guess it's normal to feel that way, then."

As Gillian looked at the teenager, she realised, not for the first time, that the teenager was so much more mature than she should be for her age. She hadn't expected such an answer from her, but she was right. Maybe having waited this long for this to happen was the reason why she was nervous.

"It's going to be fine. And if I know my Dad well, he must feel the same. He's probably pacing in the kitchen, wondering why we haven't arrived, yet. Come on, you two have waited long enough."

Taking a deep breath, Gillian turned off the engine, and got out of the car, following Emily.

As they walked up the steps leading to the house, the door opened, a proof, if she needed one, that Cal hadn't been waiting for them patiently. He stepped aside to let them enter, and she watched as he took in the numerous bags Emily had with her, but before he could even open his mouth to ask, she had wisely chosen to disappear up the stairs.

"You're corrupting my daughter," he told her as a way of greeting, narrowing his eyes at her.

"Trust me, she didn't need me for that. I know that Zoe is quite a shopping addict, too."

"Don't remind me," he replied, sharing a smile with her.

She could see he was on the verge of saying something else, but he stopped with his mouth half-opened, as he watched her take her coat off.

"You look gorgeous, darling."

She almost rolled her eyes at him, thinking he was toying with her, but one look at his face told him that he really meant his words.

She couldn't help but blush at the compliment, even though she made no effort to dress up tonight, unlike the evening before. Following Emily's advice, she was wearing something casual; a tight fitting pair of jeans and a shirt had been her choice of clothes. If she had known it would earned her such a comment from Cal, she would have felt a bit more self-conscious when she dressed.

"You should thank your daughter for that. She told me it would be perfect for tonight."

"And she was right. I guess I'll have to thank her."

"You're quite welcomed!" Emily said, bouncing down the stairs, holding a back pack.

"What are you doing with that, Em?" he replied, ignoring her question.

"Oh, did I forget to tell you? I'm spending the night and tomorrow at Hannah's. Her parents will be there, there will be no boys, and it's just me, Haley and Hannah," she added, anticipating his questions.

"When did you plan this?"

"The other day. With all I had to do for school I completely forgot to tell you. Can I still go, though?"

"Of course you can."

"Thanks! Gotta go, Haley's waiting for me in the car. Love you," she said, kissing them both. "And you're welcome," she yelled, just before the door closed behind her.

Gillian smiled while Cal shook his head at his daughter's antics.

"Did you see that?" he asked, turning back towards his best friend.

"Loud and clear. At least, she didn't lie about where she's going and who would be there."

"Yes, but she didn't forget to tell me, because it wasn't planned. I wonder why they're doing this at the last minute."

"I might have the answer to that one. She wants to give us some space."

"And why is that, Gill?"

"She knows what happened last night."

"Oh? And what happened last night?"

She knew he was only joking, she could see him trying to fight the smile that threatened to stretch his lips. And she decided to play along, if only because she knew that in the end, it would drive him mad.

"Now that you ask, I don't quite remember. It mustn't have been that memorable, after all."

"Not memorable, I'll show you," she heard him mumble before his lips descended on hers.

The kiss was so different from the one of the night before.

Where their first kiss had been chaste, this kiss was passionate and left them breathless when they separated. Still locked in their embrace, he rested his forehead against hers, while she let her hands travel the length of his back.

She didn't want to break the moment, but she also knew that she had to be the one to speak first. She bit her bottom lip in a nervous gesture, and pulled her face slightly away from his, to look at him in the eyes.

"We need to talk."