Chapter 8

Note: Million thanks for the reviews and again sorry for late update...

Fall from the grace – Part 2

Next morning Cal was woken by nurse who was checking Gill's vials. He had fallen asleep in the chair, head resting on the side of the bed, pale palm in his grip.

"How is she?" Cal asked rising from uncomfortable position and stretching stiff muscles.

Elderly lady kindly smiled at him "She is strong, a fighter. You'll see – she will make it. Are you a husband?"

"Yes"

It was already second time when he lied. Somehow this white lie made him feel better; eased the anxiousness he felt.

Apparently events of the previous day had taken their toll, because Cal didn't even remember falling asleep. As soon as the nurse left the room Cal's focus returned purely on unconscious woman.

In the bright daylight her skin looked even paler, almost translucent. Complete opposite to black violet marks on her face. For the thousandths time Cal was contemplating what could have led to this moment. The feelings he had were almost as complex as the situation in general. His heart broke to see her so hurt and weak, but at the same time he was glad. Don't get it wrong – it was not her suffering or condition that made him glad, but the fact that collision of coincidences had brought her back into his life. If he hadn't cut his hand, if she hadn't been shot. So many 'ifs' had led to this moment.

Cal had been selfish and knew it. He was not a noble man and that was a fact. During his drunken stupor he had asked God to return her into his life regardless of the cost. Apparently this is what 'regardless of the cost' meant in practice.

"Gill, darling" he started in a gentle whisper gently brushing her face "Haven't seen me for a while, huh, luv. God, if you only knew how much a prayed for you to come back. I have to admit that after this even the scientist in me has started to believe in faith, in higher powers. How else could one explain all this... Me, you..." his voice waivered with emotions "I love you more than you could ever know..."

Cal chocked on the words from the intensity of the emotions that arose with them "Please don't leave me... Not now, not ever again... I buried you once and I can't do it again...I won't do it again... Do you hear me honey? You have to be strong, to fight. I need you..."

Cal stopped in the mid sentence as he heard crack of the opening doors. Looking up he saw familiar face of agent Murdock.

"Morning Mr Lightman"

"Morning" Cal half-heartedly replied.

"How is our sleeping beauty this morning?"

Only answer from Cal was low and undistinguishable growl.

"Sorry, force of habit. We agents tend to have wry sense of humour."

Quick glance at Gill ensured Cal that she was still all right, so he averted his gaze to the agent. The man wore unreadable expression and Cal was not sure what was about to come - whether he was here to drop another bomb about Gillian on him or arrest for last night's ordeal.

Murdock took the vacant seat next to Cal and made himself comfortable.

"Tough nigh?" he asked eying Cal. They both knew that it was more a rhetorical question used as an ice breaker, than genuine interest. Cal's rugged appearance, wriggled clothing, tensed posture and bags under eyes spoke volumes.

"Something like that" Cal replied, eyes lingering on the still form of his partner "We both know that it is not a social visit so let's cut the crap"

"Fine with me. Last night we performed detailed background checks on both of you. There was a time when you were quite famous scientist."

Cal's nose drills flared, but he didn't say a word.

"It is a sad story about your lady friend. And although it officially takes you off the hook for being accomplice, she is not cleared. Too much evidence points at her. Off course we can't do anything much until she wakes..."

"Geez, thanks, such a confidence" Cal just could not stop the barb, as his eyes stayed on the damned handcuffs "Maybe you could take the damn things off?"

"Sorry, the procedure..."

"Fuck the procedure. Gillian is the most compassionate and kind person I have ever met. There is no way..."

"I have read her file and know all about her accomplishments. Graduated Harvard University first in her class, then successfully finished doctorate with dissertation on vocal expressions of emotions. Worked also on several scientific research grants related to the theme of her dissertation. In parallel job in Pentagon and private practice. Quite resourceful and determined woman. And of course, meeting with you in the Pentagon. Don't look so surprised. We do our homework thoroughly. The drug addiction of her husband is quite a black mark in otherwise crystal clear biography. That and two 911 calls on domestic abuse, but none of them ever reported."

Cal looked at the agent surprised. That was something completely new.

"Ah... You didn't know that, did you? Apparently your partner chose not to share these details of her life with you"

"Alec?"

"If you mean husband then yes. Apparently he could get abusive while high. Actually that was one of the reasons mentioned in the divorce reasons."

That was too much. Cal's fists clenched, eyeballs turned red and he almost leaped from the seat to kill that effeminate bastard. He knew there was a reason he never liked the guy. First though that had entered Cal's mind when he met Alec Foster for the first time was he does not deserve her. Later this conviction only grew stronger and stronger.

"Is there any point to this?" Cal asked in a wooden tone.

"My point is that the woman you knew maybe couldn't have done it, but on the other hand did you really know everything about her? Trust me; I have seen even more unbelievable things. People change. The catalysts are different, but the mere fact stays the same – if pushed hard enough everyone can become complete opposite of his self."

"Quite cynical point of view!"

"Maybe, but that doesn't make it less true. Maybe it was near death experience that changed her. Maybe there was some other trigger. No one knows what she had been through over last years. And although I feel really sorry for you, both of you, I wanted to tell you myself that as soon as she wakes she will be charged. She is guilty and although I sympathize, my job is to see that justice is done. We have more evidence than we need to convict her and if she does not come clean about her accomplice she has only one road ahead."

"Why are you telling me all this?"

"Two reasons. First, I have seen the way you look at her. I might not be relationship expert, but I see when someone is in love as much as you are. I also know you hope this is miraculous second chance. Hate to disappoint that it is not. The woman you knew died. Whether it was those four years ago or sometime later I don't know. This is completely different Gillian Foster. Not your partner or friend, but cold bloodied killer."

"You said two" Cal said to exhausted to go ballistic at the guy. He knew that agent meant well, but the man had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

"What two?"

"Two reasons."

"Well, the second one is for you to think about. When Bonny wakes I would like you to convince her to come clean and confess" Murdock knew that he was overly direct and open, but he also sensed that this was the only way how he could ever convince Lightman to even contemplate the idea. No tricks, half-truths and hidden agendas would work for this guy. He would simply see right through.

The fact that Cal didn't show any indications of surprise at request showed that the man had already sensed the direction of the whole conversation. Damned! He was good, maybe even too good Murdock smirked.

"So you knew where I was heading from the start."

"Yep. There was only one reason why we would ever have this conversation. You don't have to be behavioural analyst to know that."

"I have to give you a credit."

"Better give me back Gill."

"Sorry, can't do that."

"You never answered how she was shot."

Murdock raised his hand in 'stop' gesture.

"I can't say that. Information on ongoing investigation is classified" he said patting the manila folder he was holding "Everything we have on your girl is here."

Everything that was not voiced aloud, Cal read on agent's face, but was not sure whether he was interpreting it right. Only when Murdock stood up and turned to leave, accidently leaving the folder behind Cal's readings was confirmed.

The agent was ready to share classified information. It was part of his move to make Cal cooperate and get the confession if Gill wakes. No, not if – when. Bloody agent knew that Cal was the best candidate for the job.

Although the idea alone made him sick, the temptation to see the information and finally get hold on this twilight zone was too great.

Ten minutes passed since agent had left, but Cal still sat there with his gaze fixed on the manila folder like it was Pandora's Box, as if simple touch would unleash all the evil into the world.

Maybe. Just maybe there still was a place for hope?

Patience had never been one of Cal's virtues therefore only minutes later he finally summoned enough courage to open the bloody thing and started to skim through the files.

The decision he would come to regret.