Disclaimer: Lie To Me isn't mine - never has been, and unfortunately, probably never will be.
The One Year Mark
Gillian paced around her office. This day had been on her mind all week, and finally it had dawned. She wasn't sure whether to be worried, excited, happy, or all three at once.
It had been one whole year since Cal had finally made things serious between them, and what a wonderful year it had been. She smiled to herself. Emily had been brilliant about it all. When she spotted that first goodnight kiss under the porch, she'd almost given Cal a heart attack, springing out to join them in her excitement. Gillian had then received a bone crushing hug while Cal recovered quickly and nearly died of laughter at Gillian's expression.
Back then, Gillian didn't know she'd be so stressed when it came to the one year mark.
The stressing had started just under a week ago. She'd suddenly sat up in bed one morning after spending the night at Cal's, alarming the poor man who had still been fast asleep, and her ashen face had startled him further. He'd quickly gone back to sleep after a few reassuring words from Gill, but inside she was panicking.
What was the deal when it came to presents between them?
It had taken Gillian a whole day to decide whether a present was a good idea or not. She'd contemplated asking the advice of various people, but that had been a no go - Emily might try and be helpful, bless her, and unsubtly hint to her father that Gillian was thinking of buying something. Torres would never have given her a useful answer, and Loker had experience equivalent to that of a stick insect when it came to one year anniversaries.
In the end, Gillian had consulted Heidi. Ever faithful, she'd reassured Gillian buying a present was the right thing to do, because after all, Cal had to give Gillian something, probably flowers and chocolate, so giving him something in return would be nice. Heidi had even taken the time to go through a list of possible ideas with her. Gillian was not normally a person who flapped around and doubted herself, but when it came to Cal, it was a whole different story.
Eventually, Gillian had decided on a good present. She hadn't told Heidi about it; that might mean getting into some pretty private details. But right now, Gillian was ready to give Cal another bottle of the same scotch she'd drunk that night when he'd arrived back at the offices late. She figured she owed it to him, it might make him laugh, and then there was always the possibility of revisiting the scenes that had occurred later that night when Cal had invited the drunken Gillian back to his house to sleep the alcohol off.
However, either she wasn't that drunk or that night had just been really good, because she remembered every single second of what had happened, until they'd finally fallen asleep, tangled up in Cal's bed, in the early hours of the morning. They were good memories. Very good memories.
Gillian giggled as she remembered, and as her cheeks were turning slightly pink, Cal walked into her office.
She immediately stopped pacing and smiled at him.
"Oi oi, what's on your mind you cheeky devil?" Cal asked, his eyebrows raised suggestively as he walked over and kissed her on the cheek.
"I was actually just remembering the first night we kissed," Gillian said coyly, pecking him back and smiling.
"And the rest," Cal grinned.
The morning after, Cal had felt terrible. Gillian could just tell. Guilt was written all over his face, and she knew exactly why. Cal Lightman could do terrible things, but take advantage of a woman under the influence was not one of them. It had taken an hour of Gillian persuading Cal that she hadn't been that drunk, she had definitely wanted it too and that it had been wonderful before he relented. Her lack of a hangover had also come in useful.
Gillian knew that ultimately, she had been drunk. And ultimately, Cal had been sober. But in her eyes, that wasn't a problem. She could remember everything, and that made it all fine.
"Speaking of which," Gillian said, feeling pleased with herself for finding this great little entrance into her present for Cal. "I believe there is a surprise waiting for you on your desk."
"Oh really?" asked Cal, his eyebrows raised this time in genuine surprise.
Gillian wasn't too shocked. She'd snuck into the offices extra early - hence all the spare time for pacing - while only Heidi was in the building. She'd given Gillian a knowing smile as they greeted each other, and Gillian had laughed to herself. It had taken two seconds to plant the bottle on Cal's desk, complete with a bow and a simple note containing three words that said it all perfectly.
"Yes really," said Gillian, smiling.
She wasn't deterred by the lack on Cal's behalf of wishing her a happy anniversary. After all, she hadn't said it yet either. She envisioned him seeing the bottle, turning round to her, an exchange of nice words and sweet kisses, then he would produce a bunch of flowers for her and ask if she wanted to go to dinner that evening at the fancy new restaurant that had just opened down town.
Perhaps she shouldn't have finished that romance novel before bed last night.
"I suppose I should go and take a look in my office then," Cal said, and Gillian nodded.
He walked over to open the door for her and then followed her out, tenderly giving her hand a quick squeeze as she passed him.
It was those tender moments that made Gillian love Cal more each day. He wasn't one for flashy shows of affection in public unless they were undercover, in which case he relished it. His own personal love life, was, in his mind, personal. When they were at her house or Cal's, he was anything but subtle. At work, he would only ever give her these subtle reminders that he was head over heels about her. And the squeeze she gave in return was her way of letting him know that she felt exactly the same.
Cal didn't mind a good morning kiss. Or a good night kiss. Always on the cheek though. He was still a gentleman. The odd flirtatious remark was thrown her way on occasion, but everyone was so used to that, it wasn't a big deal anyway. If Loker caught Cal saying something romantic to Gillian, that would be a whole different story.
Thankfully, they were both early today - romantic remarks they were about to exchange in Cal's office wouldn't be a problem.
"You look happy today love," Cal remarked as they walked towards his office, his hand resting unconsciously on the small of her back.
"It's a happy day," she said teasingly. It was somewhat off-putting when Cal's only response to this was a puzzled look quickly concealed by another grin.
"Glad you're smiling darling," he said as they reached his office.
Gillian nodded back at him, wondering why he hadn't picked up on that. Was he really that conscious of not being too affectionate out in the corridor where someone might potentially hear them?
"So what's this surprise then?" he asked, walking backwards towards his desk so he could maintain eye contact with Gillian.
"Why don't you turn around?" she laughed as he nearly walked straight into the front of the wooden table.
She watched as he picked the bottle up, surveyed it, read the note, and then turned round with a broad grin on his face.
"That really was a good night wasn't it?"
"Sure was," said Gillian.
"Well, thank you darling. You didn't need to do this, but I can't say I'm complaining."
"I wanted to get you a little something," she said, crossing over to him and giving him a hug.
"I appreciate it," he replied, wrapping his arms around her and kissing the top of her head. "Don't forget I love you too."
Gillian made a noise of satisfaction and then Cal broke away. Gillian sucked in a quick breath, earning another confused look from Cal. She didn't care; this was it. Cal was going to present her with his anniversary gift.
Oddly, he walked over to his desk and sank down into his chair, pulling a stack of papers out from his drawer and dumping them on the table, leaving Gillian stood in front of his desk. Suddenly all romance was sucked out of the situation, and it felt incredibly formal. Was Cal's present underneath the papers, in the drawer? Perhaps he'd just bought a thoughtful card.
She softened - cards with beautiful words sometimes meant more to her than gifts.
"Now then, I've got a ton of paperwork to catch up on from the last case - I meant to do it yesterday but that damn meeting came up. Reckon I'm going to be working through lunch with it," he said, his tone regretful, his face apologetic as he looked up at Gillian.
He closed the drawer.
"No problem," she said slowly, starting to feel somewhat confused.
"I'm really sorry love, I feel awful now you've bought me this fantastic bottle," he said, motioning to it.
"No worries," she said, her smile becoming forced. "It's not like we always eat lunch together anyway."
"That's what I thought. Not sure if I'll see you much at all today though - this afternoon Loker and I going down to the tech shop to buy a couple new cameras. He reckons some of them are getting too old and aren't focusing as well, or something along those lines. Anyway, he's got the knowledge, I've got the company credit card."
Cal laughed easily and Gillian tried to chuckle too, but it got stuck in her throat.
"Speaking of which, do you think you could pop over with the books tonight love?"
"Yeah," said Gillian, feeling it best to stick to monosyllabic words. "Why?"
"Kills two birds with one stone doesn't it? We need to go over the company's funds and everything else you're brilliant at organising, and we get to spend a bit of time in each other's company. I'll order a Chinese in, what do you say?"
"Yes," Gillian said quietly and robotically. "I say yes. Sounds great Cal. What time should I be over?"
"How does eight sound? Em's over at her friend's house, Hannah or Harriett or Haley or someone, so there'll be no distractions."
"See you at eight," she said, smiling tightly. She didn't know whether to scream or cry. "Should I wear anything-"
"Special? Nah, don't worry about that. It's only money talk and Chinese love, hardly requires a cocktail dress," Cal laughed, turning his attention to the papers in front of him. "See you later then."
"See you then."
Gillian exited his office speedily and all but ran to her office. Once there, she sat down and took a few calming breaths. Had she got the date wrong? Was it tomorrow? Next week? Worse, was it yesterday?
She frantically checked her diary, cross referencing with the calendar on her wall and the time and date on her laptop.
No, it was definitely today. She'd even drawn a love heart next to the diary entry, like a love struck teenager. Before she knew it, the front cover would have Mrs Gillian Lightman scrawled all over it. If Cal ever found this page, he'd give her hell.
She half wanted him to though. He'd forgotten their first anniversary.
Gillian sunk down into her chair, all poise lost. Cal had really forgotten their first anniversary together as a couple. In fact, to make things worse, he was avoiding her all day anyway. She had a good mind to go back to his office, pour the entire bottle of scotch over his head and then shove the bottle somewhere in him that would make life on the toilet difficult for a long time.
That would be immature though. Petty. Undignified.
She needed a way of making him realise what he'd done that kept her in the clear. Gillian smiled. She had a plan.
Gillian slipped her feet into her new shoes. She'd treated herself on the way home from work, considering it was looking pretty likely Cal wasn't going to be getting her anything. Besides, the black shoes with the bejewelled heels had been crying out to her from the window. They weren't her usual style, but she wanted to be dazzling tonight, and they looked striking with the black cocktail dress she was wearing.
Money talk and Chinese definitely required a cocktail dress tonight.
Today had been disappointing, and not how Gillian had envisaged her first anniversary to be. Maybe it was because Cal showed up all of the flaws she'd never seen in Alec, or maybe it was because Cal was just more perfect than she'd ever expected him to be, but him forgetting today was really quite painful.
Tonight though, she'd make him remember. At the very least she'd make the evening romantic, considering the letdown today had been.
True to his word, Cal hadn't left his office all morning - she'd checked with Heidi, who was suitably saddened by Gillian's news that Cal had forgotten today - and when Gillian went to join Torres in the lunchroom, she informed her that Loker and Cal had already left to buy their purchases. Gillian had left the office before they'd returned, and now she was here, making herself look fabulous.
Gillian refused to discuss business, investments or anything related to the Lightman Group on the evening of her first anniversary with Cal. She hoped she'd dazzle Cal enough that he'd forget all about their plans; they could eat Chinese, get considerably drunk, and then just before Cal was about to lead Gillian upstairs, she would announce that she had to go.
That'd show him. Gillian was good at revenge.
Eventually she'd forgive him, obviously, but it was going to take a lot of chocolate and early morning slushies for something this big.
She glanced at her watch - quarter to eight. Time to put this plan into action.
As Gillian stood on Cal's porch, shivering slightly, she couldn't help but smirk at the thought of Cal's face when he opened the door for her. She was holding out for a jaw drop, but a bit of speechlessness would suffice. Hopefully he'd be wearing his usual attire for a business evening at his house - old jeans that were barely avoiding holes over his knees and one of his old university sweaters. God knows he had enough of them.
What came next was totally not what Gillian had anticipated.
The idea was not for her jaw to drop instead.
"Evening darling. Knew you wouldn't let me down," Cal said, wearing the same smug smirk Gillian had been sporting a second ago. "You look lovely."
"Thank you," she said, eventually finding her voice. "You don't look so bad yourself."
He was dressed in a casual black polo shirt, the short sleeves just revealing his tattoo, and dark jeans that Gillian was certain she'd never seen before. As her eyes roamed to his face, she blushed; he was fully aware that she was all but mentally undressing him, and he didn't mind one little bit. In fact, he was guilty of the same crime.
"Coming in then?"
Gillian stepped into Cal's familiar hallway, allowing him to take her coat.
"So what time is the takeout arriving?" Gillian asked nonchalantly, remembering her plan. Cal's appearance couldn't deter her too much.
"I see you brought the books with you," Cal said, still smirking.
"You did say we were going over business tonight. So when are we eating?"
"In about five minutes I reckon," he answered, glancing at his watch. "Why don't you go sit on the couch, make yourself comfy - we'll eat first, do business later."
He couldn't resist a little wink and she smiled in spite of herself, though he did earn himself a roll of the eyes.
"Where are you going?" she called as he disappeared into the kitchen. She'd been expecting him to join her in the lounge.
"Pouring myself a beer," he yelled back. "Want anything?"
"Red wine will be fine," she answered, sighing to herself and placing the books on the table ready.
When he'd first opened the door, she'd thought for just a second that she'd been wrong. She thought Cal had maybe remembered this afternoon and had decided to make a date out of this evening after all. He hadn't commented on her choice of attire - she was sure he'd been expecting it. Instead, he really was just waiting for takeout and having a beer beforehand. How romantic.
The doorbell rang and Gillian couldn't help but sigh.
"Will you get that love? There's a twenty on the side table in the hallway. Chinese gets more and more expensive each time."
"Sure," she said dully. At least she liked Chinese food. That was one thing.
She walked into the hall and opened the door without enthusiasm, noting that Cal hadn't left a twenty out after all. Looked like she was paying as well.
Opening the door, the sight scared her to death. Instead of some teenager running around with takeout orders, the entirety of a man's face was hidden by a huge bouquet of flowers, a delivery van parked outside the house.
"Dozen red roses for Gillian Foster," he said in a happy voice.
"Oh, thank you," she said, taking them from him before he toppled over. "Are you sure these are meant for here? For me?"
"Is your name Gillian Foster?" the man asked, beaming up at her.
"Yes, it is."
"Then I suspect they're meant for here. Good evening."
He went to walk away but she panicked.
"Who are they from?" she called.
"There's a card," he said, turning round with a nod of the head before getting back in the van.
Without closing the front door, Gillian lowered the roses and noticed a little piece of card tucked on top.
I love you too.
She softened and turned round. Cal was stood behind, unable to hide his huge grin much longer.
"Cal," she said, immediately feeling guilty.
"Happy anniversary darling," he said, walking over and giving her a quick kiss on the lips. "Want me to put these in some water?"
"Yes please," she said, following him towards the kitchen. "Thank you Cal. They're absolutely gorgeous."
"Bit like you then."
"Where's the takeout then? I thought you said it was coming in five minutes."
"Well we can order Chinese if you want..."
He trailed off as they entered the kitchen.
The dining table was covered with a white tablecloth, three tall candles were lit in the middle, a single rose matching the bouquet Cal was holding was in a vase next to the candles, and two places were set beautifully. For the first time, Gillian noticed the soft music playing in the background, courtesy of Cal's ancient record player.
"Wanted to surprise you," Cal said softly.
"Well you succeeded," Gillian said, laughing.
He moved to pull the chair out for her and she sat in it, thanking him with a raised eyebrow. Cal just grinned at her again then presented her with a plate of the most delicious looking spaghetti and meatballs.
"You cooked?" she asked.
"No need to sound so surprised," he teased, sitting down opposite with his own plate. "Sorry there's no starter, but I thought you'd prefer pudding."
"Dessert is definitely more my thing," Gillian smiled. "So why have you ignored me all day?"
"Didn't ignore you all day. Thanked you for the scotch," he winked. "Which I must say, I was very touched by."
"Let me guess - you didn't want to give the game away by being too enthusiastic?"
"You know me so well."
"Funny. You could've at least wished me a happy anniversary at work."
"Wouldn't be a surprise tonight though."
"It would have still been a surprise."
"Nah it wouldn't. Half of your surprise came from the fact I did actually remember our first anniversary, though I am offended you'd think me capable of forgetting."
"Come off it Cal. It wasn't difficult to believe."
"Well this has been a very nice surprise. Thank you," said Gillian sincerely.
"No problem," Cal smirked.
"What?" asked Gillian, not missing the expression. "Why are you smirking like that?"
"No reason," he said, winking.
"This is when I wonder how we even got to the one year mark," grumbled Gillian.
"Shut up and eat your grub," said Cal, rolling his eyes as he shoved a meatball in his mouth, whole.
"And here I was thinking you were being romantic."
"I am," he said with his mouth full.
They finished the dish by continuing the gentle ribbing of one another, Cal amusing himself at one point by stuffing a meatball in each cheek. Faintly revolted, faintly tickled, Gillian had simply rolled her eyes. Again.
"That was lovely Cal," Gillian said, sitting back, sipping her wine and smiling at him.
"Nicked the recipe off Em," he said cheekily, getting up put the plates in the sink. He'd leave them until later, or tomorrow morning if he was lucky.
"Well make sure you pass the message on," she said dryly.
"Want pudding yet love?" he said, turning round to face her.
"Stupid question," she laughed, and he laughed with her, but something about it sounded off. She ignored it - she'd had a lot of wine already anyway.
"How does a chocolate sundae for two sound?"
"Sounds great if I get the bigger half."
He chuckled and reached into the fridge to pull out what Gillian assumed was the sundae he must have prepared earlier. She truly was touched; here she'd been thinking he'd forgotten everything all day and instead he must have put hours of work in to make this evening as perfect as it could be.
Silently Cal placed the ice cream in the middle of the table, resuming his seat opposite Gillian and handing her a long spoon. He then stared at her intently. She looked at him, confused, then glanced at the food in front of her.
Tucked on the thickest chocolate straw she'd ever seen was a beautiful white gold ring, a single diamond in the middle accompanied by two tiny sapphires each side. It sparkled in the candlelight and left her breathless.
"I thought you probably wouldn't want to do the whole down on one knee thing again," said Cal nervously, feeling as though he ought to break the silence. "And I figured it'd be memorable if it was the best and worst thing you could imagine in one go - chocolate ice cream and a lifetime of me. Not that-"
"Cal," said Gillian gently. "Shh."
"Are you still going to ask the question?"
He smiled at her and then took her hand across the table.
"Gillian Foster," he said, trying not to let his voice shake. "Will you marry me?"
Simple question, simple answer.
Even though Gillian thought Cal must have known she'd always say yes, his face was still stunned briefly. Then it split into a huge smile, which Gillian matched.
Cal hopped up from his seat, plucked the ring off the chocolate straw and helped Gillian up from her seat. Then with still trembling fingers, he slipped the ring onto the right finger and marvelled at it for a moment. Gillian looked at it happily.
"I love you Gill," said Cal tenderly, making eye contact again and moving towards her.
"Love you too Cal," she replied, closing her eyes as they kissed briefly.
"Gillian Lightman," he said, pulling back and winking at her.
"I like it."
"So do I darling. Looks like neither of us will be forgetting this anniversary now."
"I still don't understand how you were so convincing earlier," said Gillian, admiring her ring again with a smile.
"Well I still don't understand how you didn't spot I was lying. Bloody good mind to fire you."
A/N: Hope this put a smile on everyone's face, especially EvelyneHope :) thanks to McBreezy for sorting all of this out - I had such a good time writing this. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!