"Maybe you didn't try hard enough." She had told Cal, a simply stated suggestion she didn't dare elaborate on. What she didn't tell him was that maybe he still has a chance. Maybe she was waiting for something more than just mind games and innuendos.

There are times when she wonders what would happen if she told him these things. They are so set in their pattern, she as the sensible one and him as the risk-taker, constantly pushing boundaries both physical and emotional. She wonders, in the rare moments when she lets herself dwell on such things, what Cal would do if she were to reverse the roles. He always expects her to the one that inevitably steps back when he intrudes upon her personal space, the tone of his becoming more suggestive and pressing with each step forward he takes. What would he do if one of these days she didn't step back? What if, instead, she stepped forward, invading hispersonal space and challenging him with a tone equally as suggestive? Maybe he would be the one to step back, completing the reversal of roles and leaving them right back where they always were. Probably not. Cal was anything if not stubborn. It was more likely that he would stand his ground, staring her down until she backed off - as he trusted she inevitably would - once again leaving them in the same position they always found themselves in.

It is late when Gillian allows these scenarios to run through her mind, often in the comfort of her own bed after a long day. And it is only there that she allows herself to consider Cal's third potential reaction. People often do foolish things when confronted with some that unnerves them. Cal often does foolish things, especially when facing things that throw him for a loop. Naturally it stood to reason that Cal would react to her turning of tactics by doing something absurd. Something like kissing her.

The only secret in Cal attraction to her is his reluctance to admit it, but they both know that his eyes and his body language speak for themselves on that matter. Gillian figures it's only a matter of time - a matter of pushing the envelope until it falls off the table and flutters to the floor - before he does something reckless with that attraction. Her attempts to take control away from him might just be that final push of the envelope that would set everything into motion. And, of course, once she thinks of it, she can't help but imagine it. She has always been a very creative person, prone to being sidetracked by day dreams.

His lips, she thinks, falling easily into her imagined scenario, would be harsh and unyielding, years worth of building passion channeled into a kiss that would steal the breath - like secrets - right out of her. She would kiss him back of course, opening her mouth to let his tongue tease hers as she presses her body flush against his. She feels her face grow hot as she imagines him gripping her waist and rolling his hips suggestively against hers, letting her feel his growing erection against her core.

Her imagination has always been vivid, a product of her incredible tactile and auditory sense memory, so it isn't difficult for her to imagine the light scrape of Cal's stubble against her face, the sound of him panting her name as they break apart.

"Gill," he would breathe, his hands starting to run up her sides, fingers just ghosting over the sides of her breasts before moving back down and repeating the process over again. He would kiss down her neck, mouth hot along the column of her throat, and she drops her head back against her pillow with a moan as she imagines it. Already she can feel her nipples hardening into taut peaks, poking up through the thin fabric of her nightshirt.

She internally scolds herself for these fantasies even as she indulges in them, resigning herself with a sigh as her fingers slip under the hem of her shirt, over the smoothness of her abdomen, and up to palm her own breasts. Her mind is on Cal's hands as she kneads her breast roughly, her nipples smooth, hard pebbles against her palms. There would be times, later, when Cal would be gentle and tender, when he would make love to her. But this time, she thinks, would be fueled by pure lust exacerbated by frustration with each other, result in rough movements and touches. She moans as she imagines Cal's teeth and tongue on her, rolling a nipple between her thumb and forefinger. Her other hand trails down the smoothness of her abdomen and beneath the waistband of her flannel pants to cup herself through her panties.

Cal would never live it down if she were to admit it, but she does find him sexy - incredibly so. Something in the way he talks - voice dropping low, tinged with the gravelly edge of a growl, and the accent, oh the accent - the way he looks at her - the intense desire that darkens his eyes for her when he thinks she's not paying attention - even when he's being impossible, she finds it all insanely arousing.

"Mmm, Cal," she murmurs softly, rubbing her fingertips against the dampness she feels growing between her thighs.

Cal would be on top of her now, the two of them having stumbled back to the couch in one of their offices - his or hers, it doesn't matter at this point because she can all but feel the bulge of his cock as he grinds himself into her. She gasps and shifts, a whisper of sheets across her skin as she presses down on her clit through the cotton of her underwear, swearing softly and moaning his name.

In her mind's eye she undresses him, her fingers steady and dexterous in spite of the tension coiling low in her belly. She sees herself pushing the shirt from his shoulders, discovering that he is deceptively toned under his rumpled shirt and slouching posture. She drags her hands down his chest, muscles taut and firm under his skin, to waist line of his jeans. She fumbles - but only for a moment - with the button and fly, anticipation rising within her as she hooks her thumbs into the waistband of his briefs and tugs them down with his pants.

"I want you, Gillian," she could nearly hear him growl - his tone sending shivers down her spine, "in the worst way." And she would be able to see that want now, finally.

They wouldn't waste any more time with foreplay in this, their first encounter. He would finish undressing her, pausing only for a moment to test her readiness before entering her roughly. She finally slips her fingers into her panties, positioning her thumb on her clit and pressing two fingers into herself, gasping at the sensation.

It seemed like it hadn't been all that long since she had been with Dave, almost a year, yes, yet Gillian was surprised at the tightness of her muscles around her fingers. Cal would be smaller that both Dave and Alec, she mused, but thicker and still wonderful. He would move in quick, sharp strokes, while massaging her breast, working his tongue at the hollow of her throat. As it is, her own fingers are making the same strokes, her other hand caressing her breast. Her legs part further of their own accord and she's suddenly acutely aware of every sensation, both real and imagined. She gives a breathy moan and imagines Cal's responding one, a sound that vibrates straight to her core, compelling her fingers to move faster.

"Oh, God," she whispers arching into her hand as she lifts a knee, driving her fingers even deeper. There is a wonderful aching pressure building within her, making her movements shaky and sloppy. A fine perspiration gathers on her forehead and dampens her pajamas; she knows she is close.

Calculated pressure applied to her clit is all it takes to send her over the edge. Her eyes slide shut and light explodes behind her lids as she gives herself over to the sensation. Her muscles clench and unclench around her fingers as she imagines Cal's breathless groans, his heat bursting inside of her and adding to her own.

Gillian is shaking and panting as she comes down. She lies there for a good five minutes or so, trying to catch her breath while the lights dissipate behind her eyes, before she removes her fingers, whimpering a little at the sensation. She lingers for a moment longer, clinging to the fading sensation of pleasure, before reluctantly pushing herself up out of bed and making her way to the bathroom to wash up.

As she washes her hands, trying to erase the guilty scent of sex from her hand, she makes the mistake of looking up, catching sight of her reflection in the mirror. Her hair is mussed, her face is red, and her top is askew, and she is hit with a pang of embarrassment at the sight of herself.

In the throes of passion she had been confident in her ability to make her fantasy a reality; to take control of their relationship and solve the unspoken tension between them. But now, looking at her flushed reflection in the mirror, she can see all the doubts and vulnerabilities that have been holding her back and the confidence fades just as the fine perspiration on her skin starts to dry, just as she starts to feel uncomfortable and sticky. And just like that she's jarred back into reality.

So for all her musing and fantasizing, she always comes to the same decision to do nothing in the end. She tells herself that challenging the status quo wouldn't do any good anyway; Cal was too damn stubborn, to damn controlling. But when it comes right down to it, she knows that the real reason is that she doesn't want to take the risk. No matter how much she may imagine otherwise, she cannot escape the fact that she is the sensible one and always will be. A person's nature is a thing near impossible to change.

And that, she realizes as she retreats back to the familiar warmth of her bed, is why mind games and innuendos are all she will ever get.