The first time it happened was three weeks after her divorce was finalised…
Cal stopped when he noticed Gillian standing by the elevator. She was talking to a man Cal recognised as the client in the case Gillian and Torres had been working on. He owned a law firm in the city and had needed help determining who on the staff was leaking case information to the press.
Cal watched as Gillian laughed at something he said, her eyes lighting up before her head fell forward slightly. Then he frowned, curious, when the client – Andrews, or Roberts, something like that – laughed also and leaned forward, whispering something to Gillian that made her laugh even more.
Cal didn’t need to be a body language expert to see that the two were attracted to each other, but, as he was, all of the signs were screaming at him, and no matter how hard he tried to ignore it, he was well aware of the feeling of jealousy stirring within himself.
Gillian lifted her head and smiled up at her client (Cal found it helped to refer to him in this way now). Cal saw her smile falter a little at whatever it was he said next, and stepped closer, ready to intervene if necessary. But he stopped when he saw Gillian purse her lips, a twinkle in her eyes, before she responded.
Cal’s frown deepened as his interest in what was going on increased.
Next the client took a pen out of the pocket of the expensive charcoal suit he was wearing, and then produced what looked like a business card. After writing on the card, he held it out to Gillian. Smiling, radiantly, she took it from him.
While Cal’s jealousy growled inside him, he also found the whole thing captivating. He had never seen Gillian in this situation. She had been with Alec the entire time he had known her; he had not seen her taking these first steps in a relationship. It suited her, Cal thought. Probably because she was smiling, and smiling always suited her.
He snapped out of his thoughts upon realising that the elevator doors were open and Gillian and the client were saying their goodbyes. As the doors closed, Gillian turned around, still smiling to herself.
She stopped when she noticed Cal, and for a split-second he thought he saw her wistful smile morph into a smirk. But she quickly hid both – facing him with simply her usual smile.
“Hey,” she greeted him.
They hadn’t seen much of each other in the last two days, as they had been working on different cases, and as she spoke, Cal was overwhelmed by the feeling of having missed her. Cursing the darn jealousy, he shook it off and responded, “Hi… What was that all about?” He nodded his head towards the elevator.
“We just finished our case. That was Joe Williams. You met him.”
Cal nodded. “He looked very pleased.”
“He was,” Gillian smiled, “We found the leak – well, leaks, plural, as it turned out.”
Clearly Gillian was not going to make it easy for him to find out what all the laughing and smiling was about. He could leave it; allow her her little secret, but he found he didn’t like the idea of that. He had known it was only a matter of time before Gillian started dating again; he had just tried not to think about it. Now that he was forced to, his jealousy needed to know details.
“And?” he prompted.
Her lips curved into a wider smile and she told him, “And… he asked me out to dinner to celebrate.”
Cal felt his eyebrows rise – and thought he did quite well at feigning surprise.
“Are you ready for that?” he asked her.
“For dinner?” she quipped with an amused expression on her face.
“To date again,” he clarified.
Her expression became more serious for a moment and Cal felt a stab of guilt for having reminded her about her recent divorce. She had been okay since it came through, but he knew there were times when her new single status hit her all over again. He cursed his pathetic jealousy again.
“Sorry, love, I – ” he began, but she cut him off.
“No, it’s okay,” she said, shaking her head, and smiling mysteriously. She met his eyes with hers and was curiously silent for a second before she answered his question, “You know, I think I am.”
The second time was about three weeks later…
Cal swung his car round the corner and skidded to a halt among the emergency vehicles already at the scene. He swept from the car and looked around, trying to see his people.
He caught sight of Loker, speaking to an FBI agent, but couldn’t see Gillian anywhere. He rushed towards the younger man, his eyes still scanning the groups of people who were dotted around the area.
“Hey,” Loker addressed him when he spotted him.
“Are you all right?” Cal asked him. “Where are Reynolds and Foster?”
“I’m fine,” Loker replied, “Reynolds is talking to the other agents, Doctor Foster was hit by some debris. She’s with the paramedics getting checked out.”
Cal felt his panic rising even higher than it had when he had received Loker’s call to say that there had been an explosion at the house of a suspect, that he, Gillian and Reynolds had been visiting.
“Is she – ”
“She was conscious. Didn’t seem too serious. They just wanted to make sure.”
“Where is she?”
Loker raised his hand and pointed towards one of the ambulances.
Cal quickly made his way in that direction, heart pounding loudly in his chest, mind racing with the possibility of Gillian being hurt. He was going to have to make her work from the office from now on; he just couldn’t take it if anything happened to her. Since Joe Williams had asked her out three weeks ago, Cal had found it very difficult to ignore his growing feelings for Gillian. It was as if the idea of her with someone else had triggered something he had long since kept hidden, and it was refusing to go back. The question was, what was he going to do about it? He hadn’t yet decided on his answer.
As he neared the ambulance, relief flooded his system as he heard Gillian laughing. Rounding the open vehicle door he was even more relieved to see her sitting up and looking bandage-free.
“Cal,” she breathed, noticing him over the shoulder of the paramedic who was treating her. “You didn’t need to come out here. I told Loker to assure you that we’re fine.”
“You know I don’t believe a word he says,” he quipped with a smile, moving closer to her. “Are you okay?”
She nodded. “I’m fine. A few cuts and bruises on my back, but I’m okay.”
“What happened?” Loker had been explaining on the phone but Cal had been so focused on getting to the scene and checking on Gillian that he hadn’t really listened.
“We were on the path when the garage exploded. I was closest that’s why I’m sitting here and the guys are still working.”
“Was there anyone in the house?”
She shook her head. “They don’t think so. Fortunately. They’re still checking though.”
“I guess this confirms that we had the right suspect.”
“Are you sure you’re all right?”
She nodded. “I’m fine.”
“Do you mind if I confirm that with him?” he asked, indicating the paramedic who had stepped away while Cal and Gillian talked.
Gillian’s eyes widened. “Do I look like I’m lying?”
“You look like you were in close proximity to an explosion,” he told her, looking at the dirt and dust on her clothes, and small cut above her eye.
“Oh Cal, you really know how to flatter a girl…” Gillian grinned, teasingly, “Go on, ask him. I know you won’t let me back to work until you do.”
Cal called the paramedic over and he confirmed that Gillian had some cuts and bruises on her back, but nothing too deep.
She smirked an ‘I told you so’ at him as she stood from the ambulance and they began to walk away.
They were only a few steps away when they were stopped by the voice of the paramedic.
They turned back.
“Just one moment?” he asked, gesturing for her to return.
Gillian lightly touched Cal’s arm, indicating that he should stay where he was, and she walked back to the ambulance. Cal watched closely to make sure she wasn’t receiving any bad news.
Their voices were quiet so he couldn’t make out what they were saying, over the bustle of the crime scene, but at one point Gillian glanced across at Cal then looked back and continued their conversation. She was smiling throughout though, so Cal tried to assume that everything was okay.
A minute or so later, Gillian returned to him, an amused smile on her lips.
“Everything all right?” he asked her.
He could have sworn she was this evasive deliberately. “You’re still okay?”
She nodded. “He just wanted to ask me out.”
Cal’s eyes widened, genuinely surprised this time. “You’re getting that a lot,” he commented, through the jealousy that he could feel twisting inside of him again.
She looked at him, face unreadable. “Yeah.”
He was about to ask what her response had been when Loker interrupted and all talk returned to their case.
Two more weeks passed, and then it happened again…
Cal and Gillian had been working an arms smuggling case with the FBI for three days. Reynolds had been on the case too, but they had also been assigned an Agent Faraday as their liaison. He was in his early forties, of athletic build, dark hair, dark eyes… and he had got on very well with Gillian.
The case had been closed on the third day, and Cal had secretly hoped that they wouldn’t have to see Agent Faraday again. He wasn’t proud of the jealousy that surged through him whenever another man showed any interest in Gillian, but it seemed he couldn’t do anything about it. He had always cared deeply for Gillian, but it had never been anything more than that. She had always been with Alec. Now that she was, technically, available, every man who asked her out served as a reminder to him that he did feel more for her. What he had yet to decide was whether he could stand by and watch some other man enter her life and make her happy. Or whether he could risk asking if that man could be him.
Cal walked into Gillian’s office, as he did at the end of most days if she didn’t appear in his office first. When he found her on the phone, he moved to step back, but she motioned for him to enter anyway.
Invited, as he was, he couldn’t help but overhear as she finished her call.
“Yes it was…” She laughed. “Yes. I will… Okay. Speak to you soon. ’Bye… ’Bye.” She hung up the phone and smiled at Cal. “John says hello.”
“John?” Cal frowned.
“Agent Faraday. That was him on the phone.”
Cal’s heart dropped. He could see where this was going. “Ah… Some news on the case?” he asked, despite knowing what her answer would be.
She shook her head. “No. He was – ”
“Just calling to ask you out,” he guessed.
Gillian blushed a little.
“You’re very popular, Doctor Foster,” Cal remarked, dropping into the seat in front of her desk.
“I’m as surprised as you are – ”
“Oh, I’m not surprised, love… Well, I’m a little surprised these men are all so forward. But I’m not surprised they want to go out with you.”
Gillian’s cheeks flushed again, and she smiled shyly.
“So are you going to go out with him?” Cal asked her.
Gillian shrugged. “He is nice.”
Cal nodded. “And you do know him better than the paramedic… And you have known him longer than you knew that lawyer.”
“Are you cataloguing all the men who ask me out?” she asked, eyes sparkling with amusement.
Cal shrugged. “Got to. For the background checks.”
Gillian laughed. “I wouldn’t put it past you.”
“So who’s it going to be?... Based on the backgrounds, I’d go with the lawyer.”
She smiled at this, but shook her head. “I’m sorry if you went to a lot of trouble… but I don’t think I’ll be going out with any of them.”
Cal smiled understandingly. “Not ready?”
“Oh I still think I’m ready,” she insisted, “I just don’t want to rush anything… Have I ever told you that I’d only known Alec for one day when we went on our first date? And then that was it… And we both know how that turned out.”
“It’s hard to get to know someone, though, when you’re here all day and with me most evenings,” Cal pointed out.
“Trying to get rid of me?” she quipped.
“Of course not. Just an observation.”
“Well I’m happy with the way I’m spending my time… And who I’m spending it with,” she assured him with a bright smile.
Cal was relieved, but he hoped it didn’t show. “Good. But you should let me know if you want that to change.”
“Of course I will,” she grinned.
And a second later, it happened again… Sort of…
“So do you want to get some dinner?” Gillian added.
Cal nodded. “Sure.” He stood from the chair and continued, “I’ll go grab my coat and I’ll meet you by the elevator in five.”
Gillian nodded and Cal turned to leave. But he was stopped short by her voice.
“It’s a date.”
He slowly turned back, his eyes immediately finding Gillian’s so he could determine her actual meaning. She was smirking mischievously, but he could see a hint of nervousness: She meant it. And she was waiting for his reaction.
His lips curved into a smile and he saw her relax; their eyes now joined in a mixture of relief and anticipation.
“It’s a date,” he agreed, with a grin, “… And I didn’t even have to ask.”