… … …
He knows it's worse than he had thought it would be when she hasn't been to find him by the end of the day. And the 'end of the day': 8.13pm. He knows she's gone home by now. If she's gone home… To her home…
He did know that he shouldn't be doing it. Even as he made the calls and typed the searches he could hear her reminding him to stay out of it. But he couldn't. How could he? When it was obvious that this guy was lying about his own bloody name! If he would lie about that then Cal feared to think what myriad of sins he could be concealing. He couldn't stand back and let that happen to Gillian. Not again.
But, the fact that he didn't go to find her before she went home is testament to the fact that he knows he shouldn't have done it.
He had expected that she would seek him out to give him hell. She hasn't. So she's angrier than he had anticipated.
… … …
This might not be the best idea he has had in a while, but how much worse than his last Gillian-related idea can it be?
He knocks on the door and waits. Praying that she's at home; praying that she's alone!
After a few agonising seconds, the curtain is pulled aside and she opens the door. She's still dressed, he notes with relief.
"Evenin', love," he greets her, forcing cheerfulness because she quite clearly is not pleased to see him.
"Do you need something, Cal?" she asks, impatiently.
He tries, surreptitiously, to see past her; to figure out if she has company. But it's fruitless. He can't see anything.
"Yeah, I need to talk to you about the Reynolds case."
She rolls her eyes and leans heavily against the door. "We don't have a Reynolds case."
"Oh… No, a case that Reynolds -"
"Cal!" she cuts him off abruptly.
She looks tired, he realises.
"Why haven't you been to lecture me?" he blurts out.
She meets his eyes, painfully serious as she replies, "What would be the point?"
It's worse than he thought, and it's starting to scare him.
"It's what we do," he remarks, attempting a small smirk. Trying to lighten the atmosphere.
"Oh… I ask you what happened to staying out of it; you respond with some clever comment, like, 'Oh, you were serious about that? I thought you were asking me to stay out of it so that I would get into it.'…"
She does quite a good impersonation of him. The accent is pretty good.
"…And, foolishly, I join you in laughing it off. Well, what's the point, Cal? You'll do it again anyway, so we don't need the conversation."
He doesn't know what to say. He really hadn't been prepared for this and it really feels as if something has gone seriously wrong.
"… I asked you to stay out of it. I don't pry into your personal life."
"He was lying about his name, Gillian -"
"And I knew that! Have you so little faith in me that you -"
"Affection clouds things. You know that. I was worried he'd been more convincing when the two of you were alone."
"Well then you should have asked me! Your snooping could have jeopardised his entire operation. You should have asked me." She reiterates her point slowly.
"I wanted to be sure before I made accusations. I didn't want to upset you if it wasn't necessary."
"That worked out well."
"I didn't want you to get hurt."
"I'm a big girl."
"You're a bloody fantastic girl! And men like him take advantage of that."
" 'Men like him'?" she quotes, defensively.
"Yeah. Secrets, lies, double lives… Do you really want to do that again, Gill? Another relationship shrouded in secrecy and dishonesty?"
She laughs bitterly and takes a step backwards. He's just thinking she's going to slam the door in his face when she sweeps forward again with purpose. "Who are you to lecture me on relationships? Show me one that you've had that has worked!"
He says it quietly, simply, because it is the answer that immediately springs to mind, and he realises it is true.
It causes her to stumble in her attack.
He shrugs as if it's no big deal but the ache in his chest says otherwise. "You… You and me. The only relationship, excluding Emily, that I'm any good at."
He can see that he has thrown her.
"That's different," she insists, but he notices that the anger has gone from her voice.
He shakes his head fervently and steps closer to her. "No, it isn't… I love you, deeply, Gillian and that's why I can't just stand by and watch men who don't deserve you trample all over you… I'm sorry that I hurt you, but I was terrified that he was going to… You deserve much more than someone who'll lie to you."
"What happened to truth or happiness, never both?" she challenges, though her voice is quiet.
"Don't listen to me! What do I know? Maybe it is possible to be happy with someone who knows you better than you know yourself." He certainly wishes that he could have both with her.
She laughs. Just a small laugh, but it's something.
"Are you happy, darlin'?" he asks her, sure the answer could crush his heart, but willing to support her anyway.
"It's his job, Cal," she replies softly.
He frowns. "That's a deflection," he echoes her tone.
She shakes her head and glances away. There's a beat of silence and then she tells him, "I finished it."
He had expected this. Because he knows she isn't stupid.
"I'm sorry, love."
"No you're not," she accuses. Accurately.
He cringes. "I am sorry that you're upset… I'm not sorry he's gone… Didn't really like him," he admits with a small smile, hoping to draw one from her.
She shakes her head again, but he catches the quirk of her lips.
"Are you okay?" he checks.
She nods. "Yeah…"
They stand in a comfortable silence - the kind they are used to; the kind he would have no problem living in if he had to. And then she breaks it with:
"… I want to be alone, Cal."
He wonders if she just means tonight or if she's trying to convey some deeper message in response to his earlier revelation.
He nods. "Okay… Well, you know where I am."
He holds her gaze and makes sure she can wonder if his words convey a deeper meaning as well.
She smiles a little as she returns his nod. "Yeah. I do."
He smiles back and steps away, turning to leave.
As he walks to his car, he decides to believe that they are just talking about tonight.