Fun fact: I posted my first 'Lie to me*' fic one year ago today!
For csiAngel and LightWoman, who offered suggestions and encouragement, and for Caitlin, who makes me not only a better writer, but a better person.
Words, once said, can never be taken back. They're out there forever. Bitter, stinging, verbal swords.
Gillian fought back angry tears as she stormed out of the building. She was tired of playing this game with him. He always managed to screw up everything she'd worked so hard to fix. His reckless abandon had led to more than one fight between them, and until now, she'd always forgiven him.
This time was different. This time, as she'd threatened to do on more than one occasion, she quit.
"Cal, why do you insist on breaking the law?" she demanded, hurrying after him as he fled from his office.
"I didn't break the law; I bent it. Besides, the law is flawed," he called out over his shoulder.
"That doesn't give you the right to run around doing things half-assed. Your decisions affect people other than you. It might be your name on the letterhead, but it also says 'Group,' meaning that there's a team of participants here."
"I do things half-assed?" he retorted, spinning toward her so fast that they nearly collided. "I'm the only one who's willing to put my ass on the bloody line!"
"No, Cal," she said through gritted teeth, "you intentionally put yourself in those positions and expect us to back you up, regardless of the legal ramifications. I can't do that any more. I won't," she finished with a sigh.
"Then maybe it's time we part ways," he replied coldly.
She held his stare with icy anger of her own. "Maybe it is. My resignation letter will be on your desk in the morning."
Later, when the doorbell rang, she jumped, spilling the drink she'd just picked up. She put the glass down on the coffee table and stood, muttering a few curses and wiping her wet hand on her pajama pants as she walked to the door.
"Go away, Cal," she said after peeking through the curtain.
"We need to talk."
"Why? You want my letter now?" She couldn't keep the bitterness out of her voice.
"That's not fair."
"Life isn't fair-as I well know!"
He was silent for a moment. "I came to apologize."
"Same song you always sing, Cal."
"I mean it this time."
"I really am sorry for earlier. If you'd open the door, you'd see that. Gill?"
She didn't know how long she stood there just staring at the door. She wanted to believe him, wanted to believe that this time was different, but his earlier words still stung. She wasn't quite ready to forgive him.
"I'll wait out here all night if I have to," Cal eventually called out.
"Fine. You'll save me a trip to your office."
"Gillian…come on. I don't want your letter. I want…"
She turned off the outside light and walked away, letting the rest of his plea fade away with the darkness.
When her alarm clock went off the next morning, Gillian groaned and threw the covers aside. She hadn't slept more than thirty minutes all night, and she already had the beginnings of a monster headache. A hot shower and two cups of coffee did nothing to improve her mood, and her headache had only worsened.
It was going to be one of those days…
She had to face him sooner or later, and the quicker she could put Cal Lightman and The Lightman Group behind her, the better off she'd be. She glanced at the door and wondered how long he'd stayed outside last night. For a moment, she regretting not letting him in, but she quickly pushed that thought aside. She was still mad at him.
She opened the door and gasped in surprise as a man fell inside, his previous backrest gone.
"Good morning," he grinned up at her.
"Cal! What are you doing here?"
"I told you I'd stay all night," he reminded her, as he stood and stretched. "Bloody hell!" he exclaimed as his joints and bones protested.
Gillian crossed her arms over her chest. "You stayed here all night?"
"Yeah. Oh, I have something for you." Joints cracking again, he bent down and picked up a very large Styrofoam cup.
"What's this?" she asked, accepting the proffered cup.
"A peace offering of the orange slushie variety. Well, that's what it was last night. Now, I imagine, it's just watered down orange flavored syrup-which doesn't actually taste like oranges, you know."
She smiled briefly, then remembered she was still mad at him. "You can't just waltz in here, give me an orange slushie, and expect me to forgive you."
"I know I owe you more than that."
"So much more."
"Does that mean you'll stay? Give me another chance?"
"Please, Gill. I can't do this without you."
"Yes, you can."
"No, I can't," he insisted, shuffling toward her. "But most importantly, I don't want to."
"No," she shook her head and placed her free hand on his chest, literally keeping him at arm's length. "You don't get to hug me right now."
Cal-used to getting his way-didn't quite know what to say.
"If I stay-if-there will be some changes."
"Right. Yeah," he agreed.
"I'm not kidding, Cal. I've given you many more chances than I should have."
"I know. I'm unbelievably lucky that you've stayed with me for so long, and I'll do my best to make it up to you."
"Glad to hear it."
"How about a fresh orange slushie?" he said with a grin.
"That's a good place to start."
Thanks for reading!