Author's Note: This is my 100th story on this site. I started out here writing Eric and Calleigh, and no matter how many different fandoms I dip my pen (or keyboard) into, and however many pairings I write within those fandoms, CSI: Miami and Eric/Calleigh will always feel like home to me. You never forget your first, after all. Even though the show's no longer around, I'm not leaving the fandom behind - this summer, I was focused on writing this story. For anyone who is familiar with my work, there is a small tribute to an early story of mine inserted in here.
Set sometime after season 10, but disregards the Austin and Patty storyline.
Thank you for reading (this fic, any fic of mine, whichever) and enjoy!
Summer in Miami could be very hot, humid, and sticky.
It wasn't as though the concept of humidity was a foreign one to her, necessarily, Calleigh thought as she stepped into the elevator at the lab late one summer afternoon, palming the sweat off her brow as she did so. It was just that it was an all-around miserable experience when one had to be in heels and looking professional through it, instead of kicking back with a glass of sweet tea or a good hammock somewhere.
Lazy summer days never occurred in her chosen line of work. This was also not a foreign concept to her.
She pressed the button for the ground floor. Solo elevator trips were always a good time for a quick moment of reflection. One could spruce up their lipstick, or run a comb through their hair, or remember to pick up their dry-cleaning, or countless other things while the short vertical journey took place. In the insanity of her job, sometimes it was nice to have even thirty quick seconds to oneself.
And then, Eric came toward the elevator and sidled inside, pulling her out of her mental recitation of her to-do list. "Going down?" he asked, jabbing instinctively at the already-lit down button.
She nodded and flashed one of her trademark sunny smiles toward him. It wasn't that she was unhappy to see him. It was more that she was kind of looking forward to, after a long, arduous day in the lab, having a quick breather before having to face what she was sure was going to be one hell of a rush hour commute back home.
Though, her being unhappy to see Eric? Would be a foreign concept.
The doors of the elevator shut, without anyone else joining them on board, and the elevator shuddered to life as it began its slow descent downward. It had never been the most modern of elevators, except maybe when it was first installed - now, it was a relic of a bygone era stuck inside a thoroughly modernized building - if the bygone era in this case was, realistically, not that long ago. It lurched, and sputtered, and she forced the sunny smile to stay plastered on her face. Of all the things in the world that she didn't like, things not working as they should was near the top of her list, and this elevator seemed to be fitting the bill today.
It was just as Eric offered her a comforting smile in return that the lights above them flickered out, and the elevator came to a jolting halt. She reached out into the darkness for something to grab onto, and her hand landed on the handrail.
"What was that?" she asked. It was a stupid question. She knew all too well from dealing with people in shock, though, that stupid questions were sometimes the most important ones. Something about basic human instincts, or something like that, acting on survival impulses instead of carefully formulating fully fleshed-out thoughts.
"Power outage?" As if to answer his question, the emergency lights flickered on, illuminating the floor with a sickly pale glow. "Maybe it's this heat." He pressed the 'door open' button over and over again, mashing it against the wall, to no avail. The doors remained closed. "Was worth a shot," he said, a note of dejection tinging his voice. Pulling out his cell phone, he shook his head. "Looks like no cell service either."
"Could've worked," Calleigh replied, as she checked her own phone. No bars. "I knew I should have taken the stairs today," she continued, sliding down against the wall and sitting on the floor. "At least I'm not pregnant. The laws of made-for-television movies would say I'd go into labor right about...now." She gnawed thoughtfully at her lip and frowned.
"And then you'd name the baby after me, since I helped you with the delivery and all, and we'd have an Eric Jr. or an Erica running around the lab in a little lab coat onesie when it was all said and done." He sat down to face her, his back resting against the wall that ran parallel to hers. "If, you know, babies could be trusted around expensive lab equipment."
"Hypothetically, I wouldn't have gone through it alone, then."
"You'd never have to, Calleigh. Hypothetically or not," he said, putting his palm on the floor near hers. "You've got me. You know that." This was what got her about Eric every single time. There was always - always - a chord of deep and utter sincerity behind every word he said. Especially when it concerned her. She always knew where she stood with him, because he was always going to tell her, or show her through his actions. There was no second-guessing when it came to his feelings.
It was simultaneously the thing she loved most about Eric, and the thing that scared her the most. It was the thing that made her want to recoil away from his touch, but yet made her want to sink into his embrace and never leave. It was why they had been walking this treacherously thin line for years before either of them stuck so much as a toe on the other side. It was what made being with him such a thrill ride of emotion, and why, despite the fact that they hadn't been together in a couple of years, there was still something there between them. His emotions were transparent and worn on his sleeve, and for her, it was both tantalizing and terrifying to see it in action.
She let the conversation drop, and she closed her eyes and threw her head back against the wall with a sigh. There was nothing she really wanted to talk about at the moment, other than the fact that clearly, this was some sort of cosmic joke perpetrated by the meteorologists and the lovely people at Florida Power & Light to convince Floridians to stop using so much air conditioning in the summer. And she wasn't really one for idle chit-chat, not today, anyway. They'd both already tried the new barbeque restaurant by the lab, and the Marlins were doing well enough that it wasn't remarkable one way or the other, and you never talked about politics or religion in polite conversation. Besides, they already knew each other's perspectives on both, and it wasn't something that she felt needed to be brought up right now.
That left them with a silent, yet vaguely comfortable, silence, which was punctuated by the sound of random buzzing from somewhere in the distance and their steady breathing.
"So," he said, breaking the silence after what felt like an eternity - she glanced down at the illuminated digital clock on her phone, and it had only probably really been about five or ten minutes - "I guess the power's not coming back on."
"How do you know?"
"I bet some idiot took out a receiver with their car, and that's why it's not coming back on."
"Or maybe it's this heat." With one hand, she fanned herself, as she slumped down closer to the ground.
"Want to tempt fate and bang against the door and scream at the top of our lungs?" he asked, with a devilish grin on his face.
"And just how is that tempting fate?"
"Well," he said, moving closer to her as he spoke, the light of the emergency light reflecting on his eyes, "I think it would be awfully fateful if someone happened to walk by just as we were screaming, and the thought of getting out of here is quite tempting - although I couldn't ask for better company."
She hid her face behind her hands and rolled her eyes. It would be just like him to want to draw attention to their situation, and yet, at the same time, go back on it. "I'm willing to wait it out."
"If someone did take out the power, though, we could be in here for a while," he said. "Hope you didn't have any big plans for tonight."
Shrugging her shoulders, she slumped forward and tapped the hand she was not using to fan herself against the front of her calf. "Was probably going to fix myself a TV dinner and go to bed early tonight," she said. "Nothing special."
"No guy patiently waiting at your place to take you out on the town, then?"
Calleigh raised her eyebrow. Was that a hint of jealousy she was picking up on? "Nah." If she was honest with herself, she hadn't really been on too many dates since - since, well, Eric. There'd been a few here and there, now and then, mostly with guys her other, non-work friends had set her up with. Either they found the fact that she was an attractive woman who knew how to handle a gun with practiced ease an extremely sensual proposition and never bothered to explore the other facets of her personality, or they were turned off by the fact that she worked in law enforcement. And people wondered why she tended to date people she worked with, even though it wasn't her first preference at all - all of these quirks were already common knowledge to them. It wasn't some new or exotic thing to them. It was just part of what made her her. "I -" Did she want to tease him, or tell him the truth? Decisions. "I haven't been on a date in a while." So, honesty it was. Didn't people always say that was the best policy, anyway?
"I would have thought you had a line of men snaking outside your door waiting for a chance to date you," he said. "You're -" The end of his sentence dropped off, and he slid his hand over to grasp the hand that was resting on her calf. He gently kneaded at her palm, as he restarted what he was saying. "You're not like other women."
"What is that supposed to mean?" It was either one of the sweetest things she'd ever been told, or some sort of grave insult. Based on the fact that it was Eric saying it, and not some of her other ex-boyfriends who would actually hold some degree of bitterness toward her for how things ended, she was leaning toward thinking it was the former, but it still carried a tone of potential insult laced in with it.
"I mean, you're - you're Calleigh. You're -" He took the hand he was holding and held it against his chest. "I've worked with you for over a decade and I'm still finding out new things about you every day."
"Like that you only listen to classic country, not the more recent stuff, because it 'has more meaning to it,' but your car radio is tuned to either a jazz station or a news one, depending on your mood. Like that you can't stand the word ointment." Calleigh shuddered as he said the word, and he grinned, as if to silently say I told you so. "Need I go on?"
"I don't see what my radio station preference has to do with anything?" First he was saying that she was some sort of unique entity, and then he was saying that she liked country music? Inwardly, she wondered just how many women in Miami alone he could be describing, let alone in the rest of the country.
"It's a part of you, like anything else I could mention - like the fact that your hair smells like either vanilla or mangos, depending on the day of the week and the shampoo you used that morning. You're completely indescribable, Calleigh. You look all sweet and innocent, and then it so happens that you can kick just about anyone's ass - including mine - without even breaking a sweat. You've put your life on the line to protect the streets and citizens of Miami time and again, and yet, I've seen you panic because of a group of innocent ants marching to and fro."
"But they're scary -" she said in vain protest.
"Exactly. And I'm afraid of things too, and I don't judge you for your ant-o-phobia. At all. It's just another thing about you that sets you apart."
"Myrmecophobia. Fear of ants," she murmured under her breath. "Like what are you afraid of?"
"Earthquakes - not that I have to worry about them, being in Florida, but that's why I'd never move to Los Angeles. Being buried alive. Dying, in general, actually," Eric said. His eyes looked large and glassy in the dim, dull light of the emergency power source, and Calleigh thought that he looked as though he was about to cry. "When I was a kid, I was afraid of Dracula, thanks to my sisters and their friends loving crappy horror movies."
"And then you realized he was fictional and couldn't hurt you even if he wanted to?" Her heart went out to him. Not so much for his childhood fear of Dracula, although she could sympathize, remembering her own irrational fear of anything to do with being in the dark. More for the fact that he lived in fear of his own death, probably stemming from that damn shooting, and she could relate in her own way. She pulled her knees up to her chest and smiled at him.
"Pretty much, yeah." Swallowing deeply, he paused and looked over at Calleigh. "I'm also afraid of anything happening to you." His voice was low and soft, and she had to strain to make sure she heard him correctly. "Anything."
"Then it's a good thing I'm sitting right here with you. You can make sure nothing happens to me now."
"That's not what I mean, and you know it."
She did know it. All too well. And here they were again: Calleigh and Eric, his feelings exposed and in the open, and hers kept behind lock and key. The last thing she had expected out of today when she woke up was that she would be having a poignant heart to heart with her ex-boyfriend - and co-worker, she reminded herself - on the floor of a stalled elevator during a summer afternoon power outage. Then again, over the time she had been working here, she should have learned to expect the unexpected out of every day. A normal day, one with a simple, straightforward murder and simple, straightforward interactions with the people around her; that would be the truly unexpected thing. She felt her mouth grow dry, and she couldn't find the words that she wanted to use, the ones that would tell him everything he needed to know without leaving her - and her heart, and her emotions - to be raw and exposed. "How long have you?" was all she could muster. A pathetic effort, but it worked.
"How long have I - what?"
"Had that fear. The anything-happening-to-Calleigh phobia."
"Pretty much since the day that you walked into my life in that garage and stayed there, instead of moving off to Buffalo after a couple of years or deciding to become a kindergarten teacher - or, you know, dying." He shrugged his shoulders again and ran one of his fingers up and down along the side of her palm. "I sometimes can't believe how lucky I really am. I really can't."
In another time, in a time where they hadn't tried the whole dating game and failed miserably at it, it could have been enough to get her to do just about anything with him - even if it meant an impromptu weekend road trip to Pensacola or something equally as ridiculous, like dying her hair some shade of fiery red and getting a tattoo with his name inside a heart. As it stood, seeing as how they had tried and failed at a relationship - his words still softened her inside, knowing that he meant them with his whole heart. Taking the hand that had been acting as a fan, she leaned forward and cupped the side of his face in her palm. "We both are," she said in a soft whisper. "Lucky, I mean."
He tilted his face to fit perfectly inside the cup of her palm and looked straight at her - but with the intensity in his eyes, it always felt as though he was looking through her instead of simply at her. "I - why did we even break up, anyway?"
She thought for a moment, and bowed her forehead to touch his. "Because - because I wasn't sure if I could trust you after the thing with your father, and then you abruptly left town, and when you came back, things weren't the same between us anymore, and - it wasn't that there weren't -"
"That's right!" he interrupted. "You thought of me like - like I was family." He almost spat out the word as if it was poison in his mouth, and Calleigh recoiled a bit with his reaction; she still held his head in her hand, but she jerked her own head back to stare at him. "I remember now." And with that declaration of memory, he fell silent, closing his eyes as if the mere sight of her scarred some deep part of him.
"It wasn't that there weren't feelings," she whispered, continuing her statement as tears pricked at the corners of her eyes. She was not going to cry over Eric. She was not going to cry over Eric - again, anyway. Her voice nearly cracked as she spoke. "It was that I was scared that if I put all my trust in you and let me fall in love with you and gave you the future that you were dreaming of having with me, that something would happen where that trust would be irrevocably broken and we'd be left with nothing but shattered pieces of what could have been. And I was scared. Pretending you were like family was the easiest thing for my heart to take at the time."
His eyes blinked open at the sound of her tear-choked words. "Calleigh. Don't cry. Calleigh," he said, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close to him; her knees acted as a defensive gesture, blocking him from being able to feel her pressed up against him, although she knew that he was there. "Calleigh. Please."
"I wasn't going to cry." She shook her head, trying to shake all the tears out of her system. If she had to shake forever, that would be how long it was going to take. She'd do it, too.
"Liar. It sure sounded like you were going to, anyway."
She let her knees fall down, and they rested atop Eric's as she collapsed into his chest, folding her arms around him in an awkward embrace. "I missed this." She looked up at him. "What are you thinking right now?" She could normally read him like a book; the fact that she couldn't decipher the expression on his face at the moment was unnerving her more than it probably should have.
"Do you trust me now? I know you didn't necessarily trust me back then, whether I agree with that sentiment or not, but do you trust me now?" His expression didn't change; it stayed solemn and stoic, without any hint of emotion crossing his face.
She nodded. Trusting Eric wasn't the hard part. It was trusting herself to allow her to feel something like that for another person. Again. But yet, if she couldn't trust Eric, she couldn't trust anyone, and yet, she needed to have that form of trust in someone. Without it, she would be - well, she didn't know exactly who or what she would be, but it would be something nigh on recognizable to her. She'd known for years that she could trust Eric, and that he would go out of his way in order to not do anything to damage that trust again. That much was unquestionable. The rest - the rest of it was up in the air and it was up to her to allow the pieces to float back down to Earth and rearrange them into something that worked for both of them.
"I trust you," she said, her voice wavering slightly as she unraveled her arm from their embrace and took one of his hands in hers; she threaded their fingers together into an unbreakable bond, clasping onto each other for dear life.
"I trust you," she repeated, with more conviction in her voice this time. She knelt her head down to brush her lips against their fingers. The touch was feather-light, barely a wisp of imprint landed, but he shuddered perceptibly; his breath hitched in his throat, and she could feel her heart rate racing as she spoke. And if her heart was racing, she could only imagine what his sounded like. If she leant against his chest at that moment, she'd be able to hear it, but instead, she opted for a different approach for gauging his emotions.
"I trust you," she echoed for a third time, without hint of waver or doubt. They always said that the third time was the charm. She licked anxiously at her lips, seeking a prayer of moisture - as well as a form of fortitude - from somewhere above. It was now or never.
She covered his lips with her own. They felt as soft and luscious as they had before, and oh-so-familiar, as if she was reliving an old, nearly-forgotten memory.
The slow intake of breath that she felt him take was enough to let her heart soar. He wanted this. She'd known that he did. It wasn't as if it was some well-kept secret; it wasn't the Miami-Dade Police Department's version of what happened to Amelia Earhart or who Jack the Ripper really was. But there was a marked and distinct difference between knowing what someone wanted and actually feeling their desire with her own self.
Eric wanted her. He opened and closed his lips against hers in a practiced, synchronized motion, and she let out a sigh of contentment at the feeling. This was what she wanted. Just as much as he did, she was pretty sure. She could just never find the most proper way to express it, before now.
She bit softly at the pout of his lower lip, and swiped her tongue in the crevices of his mouth, and she could feel him doing the same to her. She opened her eyes, and saw that his were closed; she closed them again. This was a moment for them to savor. There would be time to see the desire painted across his face. This was not it.
She curled into his body, sinking further in, feeling every bit of warmth and love radiating from him, and the feeling of their kiss, so passionate and yet so new, was leading her thoughts down deep and thrilling corridors. They were thoughts she had not allowed herself to have in over two years at this point, thoughts that would have inevitably and irrevocably complicated their working relationship had she ever voiced but one of them.
Slowly, they separated, Eric rubbing his nose against Calleigh's as they did so. She couldn't help but laugh at the sensation, and she flipped her hair back over her shoulder. His eyes sparkled as he looked at her, pure lust distilled into his gaze. "If you don't watch it -" he started to say.
"Then you'll do what? We're in an elevator that could move any second, and if Walter or someone somehow manages to catch us having sex on the elevator floor, then neither of us are ever going to live that down. Ever. They'll put our faces up there on the breakroom wall, as a cautionary tale to all new employees about the dangers of workplace sex."
"Is that a challenge? Because if so, challenge accepted."
"At least then when little Eric Jr. or Erica is born in this same elevator in nine months, we can traumatize him or her when they're a teenager by saying they were born in the same place they were conceived." She felt the corners of her lips tug up into a satisfied smile, and she ran her hand over the top of his thigh, feeling the ripple of muscle under the coarse fabric. "Would make Take Your Daughter to Work Day extremely awkward."
"Especially if our faces were really up on the wall like that, like you said. I think that would have to be the day when we sat her down and explained the birds - including storks, I guess - and the bees."
"Oh, my God," she said, burying her face into his shoulder. "Poor hypothetical Erica Delko! She doesn't even exist as of yet, and she's already going to have childhood traumas a mile long once she does, thanks to the two of us being her parents. Do you know of a good family psychologist? I think we'd need one."
"Calleigh?" he asked, interrupting her reverie.
"Do you want her to exist? Do you want to have children, one of these days?" The words left unspoken in his query were the ones that struck her the hardest; the implication that hung in the air - do you want to have children with me? Not just some random guy you met at a bar and took home, but me?
She drew back away from his shoulder and tilted her face to look at him more closely. "It's - it's not that I haven't thought about it. But it's not a decision that I ever want to take lightly." She frowned. "For so many years, our lives have been in constant danger on what seems like a weekly basis. And now - now we're actually able to think about what comes after all that."
"What are you saying?"
"Uncertainty has always been a factor in our lives. Always. One day, we're alive, the next - we're in the hospital barely clinging to life, or we're in autopsy with Alexx or Tara or Tom cutting us open, and we can't predict when that day's going to happen. For either of us." He nodded at her statement, taking one of his hands and caressing the back of her hair with a feather-light touch. She sighed with contentment. It felt good to have someone else touch her, for once. She'd missed this. More than she'd ever admit - whether it was to him or to anyone else.
At his continued silence, she darted out her tongue to lick self-consciously at her lower lip. "I - I want our - my - legacy to be something more than solving crimes on a regular basis. I want something certain, that I can look to for a sense of stability." She wondered if he picked up on the slight Freudian slip of the tongue that she had unleashed.
"And -" His face did not betray him; if he had heard it, he wasn't acknowledging it - if he hadn't, there was no harm nor foul.
"Eric, you're one of the most stable, certain things I've had in my entire life. There's three things that are predictable in my life: death, taxes, and Eric Delko's presence."
"I'm not sure how I feel about being put next to two things I fear and hate like that," he said with an amused laugh, but a smile still crossed his face at her words. "There's really no such thing as a positive way to spin death."
"Trees - not really around here, of course, but trees as a general rule - shed their brown and dying leaves in the winter, and once spring comes, they are reborn with new, fresh, green leaves. Same tree, but new leaves. They have a new, fresh chance to start over again." She knew it was a skill of hers - the ability to be able to look on the good side of any situation, find the positive, even if it was mired deep within the negative. It was how she kept things compartmentalized - if she didn't have the skill, the innate depression that came part and parcel with her job would likely overwhelm her. She was glad for it.
"I stand corrected." His eyes crinkled slightly as he continued to smile at her, a look of utter calm and contentment on his face. "You still haven't answered my question, though."
"One day. Yes. I do."
"With me." It wasn't a question this time: it was a statement of fact. It put the burden on her to answer true or false, fantasy or reality. They weren't playing with fanciful hypotheses of elevator labor and childhood psychological traumas. Not anymore. Instead, they were working together to formulate the truth of their relationship, as they both saw it.
"Ideally, yes. You want a future with me."
The calm on his face darkened into a slight anger. "For as long as I can remember. Yes." Was he more angry at the fact that she called his intentions into question, or was it from the fact that they hadn't started their shared future as of yet? She couldn't figure out which one it was, and then he continued speaking, by saying, "You're scared of something."
"Yes. I told you that already."
"Making sure. You're scared that you're going to be hurt again, or that you're going to hurt me."
They were cycling back to where they had been before. That much was blatantly obvious, and Calleigh felt herself growing frustrated. "Yes. But, I can't let my fear of the past continue to dictate my future. I told you that I trust you."
"You did. And that trust is returned."
"I know that it is."
"Then why are you scared?"
"I don't get scared of losing something, unless there's actually something there to be lost. You can't lose something that doesn't exist."
"And we exist."
"Yes." Short, simple, direct, and to the point. Yes. They existed. To some extent, some part of them had existed, even before they had even set down the definition over an authentic American barbeque and the first, nearly tentative - not that tentative was a word she tended to associate with Eric - explorations of each other's most intimate parts. There was love and passion and trust and comfort and so many other words that were swirling around in the air, defining who they were both to each other, as well as to the world around them. There was no beginning, and there was no end - they had existed before it was crystallized, and whatever it was they had together would likely outlive and outlast either of them. They exist - they have existed - and they will continue to exist. Yes. Yes. "I need to prove it to you."
"No. You don't ever need to prove anything to me, because I already know. I would be curious to see what your proof would have been, though."
She arched her eyebrows and gave them a suggestive wiggle. "That's for me to know, and you to find out."
"Not fair. I'd show you my work," he said, pulling her close to him and kissing her on the side of her jaw. "I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours."
"Was that supposed to be convincing?"
"Not particularly," she said, nuzzling her face into his side and hiding an affectionate smile, "but it's a nice thought."They were silent for a moment, contemplating their situation and everything that that entailed. She glanced down at her clock on her phone. About an hour at this point, a little more. "So, if we ever get out of here -" she started to say.
"If you're still sold on having TV dinners at home, I can make a mean Stouffer's, and you still have Trivial Pursuit, right?"
"You know as well as I do that if you and I start playing Trivial Pursuit - or any game, for that matter - that we're going to forget about the game after a couple of questions and just kiss or have sex, right?" She knew them all too well. He would read her a sports and leisure question that had to do with scoring in croquet or something, and she wouldn't know the answer, and to get him to give her the wedge anyway she'd kiss that sensitive place at the bottom of his throat that she knew he liked. As if to prove her point to herself, she gently kissed at the hollow in his throat, feeling the collar of his shirt tickle against her chin.
The low moan that emanated from Eric at that moment was enough to make her want to keep repeating the action over and over again for the rest of the night - forever - whatever worked best for him. He had no idea how much sway he held with her in that moment: the heat in his eyes flickered and she could see the desire radiating from him in waves. "You're right," he said. "So, what you're saying is that we can skip ahead?"
"What I'm saying is let's start with getting out of here, and then we can talk dinner - and any other activities that we may do together tonight will come in their order."
The elevator car rattled and shook. Calleigh fell forward into Eric's embrace at the sudden movement.
"Are we finally getting out of here?" Eric asked. "Not that I haven't enjoyed the company, but -"
"Nah, I understand," Calleigh replied. "Elevator floor chic really isn't the best look on me."
"You don't have a worst look. You always look good. Amazing, even. Breathtaking. Even now."
"I'm already in love with you and I'm pretty sure I want to have your children one day in the future. Your flattery isn't needed. I'm not some random girl you're trying to hook up with at the club, because if you're going home with anyone tonight, it's me. End of." She self-consciously ran her fingers through her hair and tried in vain to fluff it up a bit. The late afternoon humidity was killing it though.
He beamed, and took her hand in his. "I'm not trying to flatter you. I'm trying to tell you the truth, and if it comes across as flattery - well, then I hope it's working. And it's always been you, Calleigh. Always."
"It's nice," she admitted. "Unnecessary, but nice."
The car shuddered again on its cables, and the emergency lights flickered off. Calleigh clung close to Eric. And then, the power came back on, the regular electricity shining down on the both of them in their compromised position. And they could not help but to share matching grins, as they heard a distant voice from somewhere above call out to them, "do you need help getting out of there?"
"So, Stouffer's and Trivial Pursuit at my place?" Calleigh asked, as they walked out of the building hand in hand a little while later, the Miami sunset blazing somewhere in the distance. "Or do you have a better idea?"
"We could skip ahead to what we both know is coming."
"Or we could enjoy the ride. Together."
"That works too. Together."
Her steps felt lighter than air. It was a good, good feeling.