Happy New Year Lie to Me lovers!
Disclaimer: Same as always, don't own it.
What Has Been and What Is to Come
As a psychologist, she has always found New Year's Eve, and its effect on people, fascinating. The way people strive to improve themselves, making resolutions and wish lists and often extravagant, unachievable goals, truly believing it is possible just because the year has rolled on one more number.
When Cal rolls his eyes and makes his usual, "It's just another day," comments, she reminds him that, for a lot of people, New Year is about hope. It's about washing away the past, trying to forget the bad things that happened that year, and focus on the good that can come the following year. It's about reflecting on what went well and what didn't, on how you can make the next year of your life better, on what you want to change about yourself.
"But you can do that at any time!" he'll exclaim, as he always does, confused by the joyful spring in people's steps as the New Year approaches, and always irritated by the self satisfied smirk on people's faces in early January when their resolutions are still being kept.
"No cake for me, I'm on a diet!"
"Off to the gym, again!"
"Spanish class tonight, it's difficult but I'm getting there..."
He'll scoff at them all, waiting for the moment when the resolutions will be broken, when chocolate will be eaten and visits to the gym will be abandoned in favour of sitting in front of the television. He'll offer an "I told you so!" with an unapologetically smug grin that makes her sigh and smile at the same time.
She knows, of course, that he has a valid point. Why should people wait until 31st December to decide what they want to improve about their lives? Why should January be a month of moderation and effort, and the rest of the year spent saying, "oh well!"?
The disappointment that comes when resolve is broken, and people's unrealistic expectations of themselves crumble, always leads to a glumness that couples with February's typical grey skies and lower temperatures, and the feeling that Christmas is over and summer is a long way away. Self improvement has failed, few decide to begin again with February or March resolutions, and the merriment that was felt as the clock struck twelve is long forgotten.
So she agrees with him, that New Year's resolutions are futile, that people shouldn't wait until the New Year to reflect on what they want and desire, that it is, really, 'just another day'.
Yet here she sits; New Year's Eve, and she's looking back. On what 2011 brought her, on what it took away, and what 2012 may bring.
He scoffs at the notion that Fate directs their lives; always wanting to believe he's in control, he clings to the belief that you create your own destiny with the decisions you make. Not one for accepting that a pre-destined path is laid out before him, he stubbornly carves his own path, and refuses to believe any higher power is exerting its influence over his life.
Perhaps he's right. Perhaps the reason she's sitting here alone on New Year's Eve isn't because fate has directed her here. He thinks you can deal a blow to fate by twisting away from where events lead you, and going where you want to go; but is it really that easy? She didn't choose to still be without a child, it's her circumstances that have led to that, not her own choices. She lost Dave, and that was hardly through choice; should she have done something different, then, after he left? Something that would have taken her where she wanted to go, instead of on the inevitable journey that his departure took her on?
She shakes her head, a gentle laugh escaping – What would Cal think, if he could hear her thoughts now? If he could see her, curled up on the sofa with a glass of wine, musing about fate and destiny and life?
She can focus on the new year, without being too idealistic, surely; she can think of a plan, something she wants to achieve, and work hard through the year to make it happen. Her adoption papers have been filed, that's out of her hands; she's been considering going back to private practice, at least part time, which is something she could consider; and of course, there's Cal.
She can't sum up 2011 for them, can't effectively conjure any words that will accurately convey what this year has been like for them. It's been too tumultuous, too full of highs and lows, and choosing a word that falls somewhere in the middle would be ineffective in its invariability. If anything, what she hopes 2012 will bring for them is stability, but she recognises the absurdity of such a wish. Being partners and best friends with Cal Lightman does not lend itself to a life of quiet routine and tranquillity. And really, if she's honest, she wouldn't want that anyway. But she would appreciate some consistency in their relationship, if not in his character. She would welcome a return of the days when they're so close she feels like she knows him better than anyone, rather than the darker days when she feels like she's working alongside a complete stranger.
Then, there is the quiet voice in her head, whispering the hope that she dare not speak aloud. That, next year, things could change for them in another way. Their relationship could progress, from friends to lovers; he could confess his feelings and she would be free to do the same; things would change, for the better, and they would begin a new journey together.
But she's not going to be the one to instigate such a change. He knows how she feels, he must do; what is there, in this world, that Cal Lightman cannot see? And if he sees it and chooses not to respond, then that tells her that either her feelings are unrequited or that he is simply prevented by fear from taking a step forward. Either way, it means he's not ready, and perhaps never will be. And 2012 could be just the same.
She's surprised when she hears the knock on the door; it's a little after eleven, and she's not expecting anyone. When she pulls open the door and sees him standing there, shuffling his feet and giving her a sheepish grin, she's confused as well as pleased.
"I thought you were in Chicago?"
"Got an early flight back."
"Going to invite me in or not, love? Freezing out here," he tells her, and she slides back to let him pass.
"Emily?" she prompts him again as he takes off his jacket.
"Still with her mum."
"You didn't want to stay with her for New Year?"
"Nah." He settles himself on the sofa, looking at her until she does the same. "Not really into New Year, you know that."
"Yes," she says, faint amusement in her voice, "I know."
"Thing is," he begins, "I've sort of been... thinking."
"Oi, I'm serious here!"
"I'm sorry," she says, smiling and patting his arm. "What have you been thinking about, Cal?"
"Well, New Year, you know, it's a time to reflect on the year that's gone by, and think about the new year ahead, and what you want from it, and..."
"What!" She bursts out laughing. "You never think those things, Cal. People can re-invent themselves any time they choose, why bother waiting until January 1st, etc etc etc..."
"Well, yeah, I know..."
"So, what? The New Year spirit has finally found its way to you?"
"I was just thinking, that's all, about this year and next year and... oh, sod it. Gill, we've been wasting too much time and now's our chance. Because if we don't make next year the year we finally sort ourselves out, we never bloody will, alright?"
She merely raises her eyebrows at him, too shocked to form any proper words. Her silence seems to worry him, and he shifts his eyes away from hers, as though regretting he'd spoken.
"Cal," she says, forcing herself to speak. "What are you saying?"
"Exactly what I just said."
"That we need to sort ourselves out?"
"And what does that... mean, exactly?"
He gives an exasperated sigh. "Bloody hell, Foster, you're supposed to be the intelligent one. You want me to spell it out for you?"
"Yes, I think you'd better," she says quietly, aware that her breathing has become much shallower.
"I," he begins, then scoots a little closer to her. "L..."
She smiles as she realises he is, literally, going to spell it out for her.
"O... V... E..."
Her breath catches in her throat as he continues to speak.
"Y... O... U."
There's a beat of silence, and then she throws her arms around him and buries her face in his neck, aware that she's crying and hoping it won't make her unable to form coherent speech.
"Hey," he says, softly, as she pulls back slightly. "I hope those are tears of joy and not despair?"
She needn't have worried about her ability to speak; words aren't needed in this moment. As she kisses him desperately her whole body arches towards him, curling into him until they are pressed so tightly together it feels as though they will never draw apart.
"Next year," she whispers when she finally breaks away from his lips, "is definitely going to be better than this year."
"I hope so, love," he tells her honestly, and she responds with another kiss before pulling back to speak again.
"And, just in case you didn't know... although, I'm guessing you do know, at least now... I thought you did before, but maybe you didn't..."
"Gillian." His grin is poorly concealed. "You're rambling."
"Yes." She gives a shaky laugh, then relaxes at the feel of his fingers brushing lightly against her cheek. "I love you too," she says as she exhales slowly, and he wraps his arms around her and pulls her into a tight embrace.
"I've always loved New Year," he mumbles against her skin.
He can tell by the way her body moves against his that she is laughing.
Perhaps, she thinks, it was Fate that led to her being home alone on New Year's Eve after all. She was right where she was supposed to be all along – where he would come to find her.