… … …
She had expected that everyone would have gone home by now. Her meeting with her latest client had run a lot later than she had expected. She just wanted to collect the budget files she had intended to look over that evening and head for home. The comfort of her pyjamas, sofa and nice mug of hot chocolate was much more appealing than perusing them at her desk. She'd have headed straight home and left them until tomorrow but she sensed that she was going to be even busier then than she had been today.
As she approached her office, she recognised the regular thumping sound coming from inside and, although she rolled her eyes, she couldn't help a small smile. She got that under control before she stepped through the open door. Putting on her best reprimanding voice, she demanded of the office's occupant:
"What did I tell you about playing soccer in my office?"
Cal must have been startled by her voice because he stumbled briefly and the ball he had been so expertly managing to keep in the air, dropped to the floor with a thud. He placed his right foot on top of it to prevent it rolling away.
"What did I tell you about calling it 'soccer'?" he countered.
She didn't reply to that question, choosing instead to fix him with an impatient glare.
"You told me you would confiscate my ball," he recalled, accurately.
She nodded once and then motioned with her hand for him to hand it over.
"Oh no," he shook his head. "You want it? You'll have to take it from me." He grinned mischievously and started to kick the ball - sending it nearer to her with one foot, and drawing it back with the other.
"You really are a child!" she declared, trying her best not to let her amusement show.
"And you really are a spoilsport," he retorted with a grin, kicking the ball even closer to her before tapping it back.
"Right." The next time the ball rolled towards her, she stepped forward and bent to pick it up. She started when Cal's hands took hold of her wrists and he pulled her back into a standing position.
"This isn't American football, love," he smirked. "We don't use our hands."
She quirked one eyebrow at him. "You expect me to tackle you?"
He waggled his eyebrows.
"In these shoes?"
He looked down at her feet and then shrugged as he met her gaze again. "Take them off."
"I could do that…"
"… Or I could stamp on your foot with my heel."
Gillian couldn't help laughing now. "Just give me the ball, Cal."
"Just take it from me, Gillian… Without cheating."
With that he turned away from her and started to dribble the ball around the room.
She watched him for a moment, actually enjoying the view and imagining what he would look like in a soc- football kit. She had seen him in shorts once; he definitely had legs that could be on show, but he chose not to bare them.
An ominous rattling sound from the corner of her office snapped her out of her daydream, and a glance in that direction brought her eye to eye with a sheepish looking Cal.
"I caught it before it fell," he defended himself.
"This is why you're not supposed to play in my office… Why don't you play in your office? It's bigger for a start."
He was back to kicking the ball around, and she moved behind her desk so he wouldn't see her slip off her shoes.
"My office is too open. There are no obstacles."
"They're not obstacles, Cal, they're my furniture."
He stopped the ball and looked at her with a confident smile. "They're obstacles." Then he flicked the ball up in the air, sending it spiralling over both of the chairs in front of Gillian's desk.
Seizing the opportunity while the ball was away from him, Gillian shot out from behind her desk, heading for where the ball was rolling to.
"Oh no you don't!" Cal shouted and in the corner of her eye she could see him rushing towards her.
She reached the ball a split second before he reached her and, with no time to pick it up, she knocked it back with her heel and send it towards her desk. Cal collided with her, eliciting a scream as they stumbled into the wall.
Laughing, Gillian adjusted her position so that she wasn't squashed sideways and came face to face with Cal, who was also chuckling.
"Don't the English reserve tackles like that for rugby?" she remarked, rubbing at the shoulder that had hit the wall first.
"Football can get… physical sometimes, love."
She pursed her lips. "Oooh, kinky."
Cal laughed whole-heartedly at this. "Not like that."
"So me being pinned against this wall isn't part of the game?"
Cal seemed to realise then that he hadn't moved away from her, and that he did in fact have her pinned against the wall. He looked over their situation but made no move to undo it. Gillian felt her heart rate increase.
"There are no walls on a football pitch, love. You really know nothing about this sport."
"I know the offside rule," she grinned, smugly.
Cal's eyes widened. "You do?"
She nodded. "I know that men claim that women don't understand it. So I made a point of learning it."
He laughed again. "That doesn't surprise me…" His laughter died down and he fixed his eyes on hers. "Do you know what does surprise me?"
She shook her head, frowning a little.
"The fact that I've got you pinned against a wall and you've not tried to move away."
What surprised Gillian about that was that it didn't surprise her that she hadn't moved away, or that she didn't want to. In truth, she was enjoying the sensation of having Cal's body in such close proximity to hers. She liked the warmth and the shivers of anticipation that fluttered through her whenever he moved. She had admitted to herself months ago that she was attracted to Cal. What she had never admitted was that she was willing to do something about it. This moment was evidently that admission.
"Maybe I don't want to move away," she revealed softly.
Understanding dawned in Cal's eyes.
"Does that surprise you even more?" she smirked.
He studied her carefully for a few seconds and then cautiously asked, "Are you just teasing me? Some sort of punishment for playing football in your office again?"
She shook her head. "I'm still going to confiscate your football… This… Well, this is a whole other ball game."
She smiled, cheekily and Cal shook his head. "Cheesy."