Five Kisses That Weren't
A mix of form and chaos.
Lips brush, tongues tease and mouths mingle."
.one: "It should have an element of desperation. Like a starving person finally being fed."
"Sorry luv." Gillian closed her eyes against the darkness and counted to ten before responding.
"You've said Cal." She kept her eyes closed. There was nothing to see anyway and it gave her a sense of control; behind her eyelids she could pretend she was sitting in her office, looking out of her window with a chocolate pudding in her hand and a slushy on her desk.
Her stomach grumbled loudly in the silence. Hearing Cal's huff of laughter she braced herself for the quip she just knew was coming.
"Got a lion down there Foster?"
It had been like that for over two hours and she had long since stopped wishing for something to eat or drink. Now, she would quite happily settle for something large and blunt or a length of duct tape.
"I'm sure Adams'll leave in a bit and then I'll take you out, dinner and a show, what d'ya say?" Cal leant in, his mouth only inches from her own and it must have been deliberate, everything Cal did was deliberate. She had a steadily building suspicion that even their current circumstances had Cal's fingerprints all over them, no matter what he said to the contrary. She wished she could see him, catch him out in the little lies he was no good at all at hiding.
Her stomach grumbled again.
"What?" Behind her still closed eyes she could imagine the crinkle of his forehead, the drawing together of his eyebrows.
"Tonight. The new one by the office, in between Starbucks and Betty's Pastries."
Cal's laughter started as a sort of rumbling beside her and she opened her eyes, unsurprised to find she still couldn't see him. By the time she realised he was actually snickering, she was truly worried Adams was going to find them.
She leant in close to him until she could feel the return of her breath off his cheek. "Shhh, do you want Adams to hear us? What's the joke Cal?"
Cal turned against her, his laughter stilling. "Only you would know the name of a bakery, luv." He spoke the words into her mouth and she could feel his lips turning up, the scratch of his 5'o'clock shadow against her top lip.
For a moment she let herself sway towards him, her heart loud in her ears. Then he pulled back. The space between them hit her like cold air and in frustration she reached out a hand and delivered a firm slap to his arm, willing her pulse slower.
She heard him shuffling beside her and leant her head back against the wall, closing her eyes again.
"Next time, you get to pick the closet." Gillian clenched her teeth. She was going to kill him. One day, she was going to kill him.
.two: "A beach at sunset may sound ideal, but if you find yourself in a slaughterhouse on a wet Tuesday afternoon and the urge overcomes you both, then why not?"
Cal stopped in the doorway and waited. Gillian stood with her back to him, facing the full-length mirror. Not for the first time, Cal was amazed by just how beautiful his partner was.
She reached up, running her fingers lightly across the curls framing her face.
"You look good luv." He caught the regret that flashed across her face just before she turned to him, but he didn't understand it.
"Cal." She breathed his name as he walked towards her, closing the door behind him. Her smile was reflected in her eyes. She was happy to see him, then.
He was careful not to crease her dress as he drew her close, his hands resting against her back. He could feel the heat of her skin through the white material, the satin slippery beneath his fingers.
"Thanks for coming." She whispered into his ear and he felt a shiver pass through her. The little room was too hot for it to have been a reaction to anything external.
"Of course, luv. Emily wanted to be here, but with Zoe in Maryland with her Mother..." He trailed off with a shrug. "She wanted to know if the cake's chocolate and could I save her a piece."
Gillian pulled back, a sad smile on her lips as she looked up at him and he knew what was coming before she opened her mouth. He cut her off before she could ask.
"None of that." Gillian nodded, reaching up and touching her palm to his cheek. He leant into her for just a moment before tilting his head back.
"The main cake's fruit, but I had them make a smaller one with chocolate. For the children." Cal snorted and she blushed, looking at his shoulder. "And for me."
Hooking her chin with his fingers, he brought her face back up to his. He stared into her eyes and read everything he found there. For the first time since its creation, she didn't pull away and remind him of the 'line'.
Her mouth dropped open a little and he felt her breath misting over his fingertips. She was so close. Her eyes flicked to his lips and back up to his eyes and he caught that same flash of regret again.
"Alec's a lucky guy, luv." Her eyes closed in a slow blink and she took a step back, breaking his hold on her. He took a deep breath, steadying himself against the feeling that something big had almost happened. When Gillian looked back at him, she was smiling again, her eyes crinkling softly at the edges.
"Thanks Cal." He nodded, heading for the door.
"See you out there." She smiled again and he had the urge to run back to her, take her in his arms and-
"I'll be the one up-front in white." He rolled his eyes as she turned back to the mirror, dropping the veil down over her face.
With a last look, he turned around and left the room, pulling the door shut behind him with a muted click.
.three: "You can tell when someone wants to be kissed. The pupils dilate, the face becomes flushed, gazes linger and you'll know if the light is red or green."
"I knew, you know." Gillian leaned forward, grabbing hold of her glass and bringing it to her lips. "Wasn't even trying to read him." She waved her hand wildly, the amber liquid slapping the sides like a tidal wave, a single drop slipping over the rim and onto her hand. "Her lipstick was on his collar." Her laugh would have been bitter if she hadn't had so much to drink already. Instead, it came out with an edge of hysteria.
"Foster-" Cal took a mouthful of his own drink. They'd started out on the champagne; a little celebration of her divorce as he'd attempted to avoid any more of her chastisement. She'd come around to his way of thinking pretty quickly as he knew she would; Gillian loved Emily and that usually won out whenever he could argue to putting her well-being first. Gillian matched him drink for drink and they were a glass into the scotch before Cal realised that Foster hadn't eaten much all day and was feeling the effects faster than usual.
"No, no. I know. It could have been anything, you came to work with lipstick on you during the divorce and you were devastated. Staying in all the time." Cal swallowed down the rest of the glass. It was to his benefit that she was too far gone to read him or know what she was saying.
"Think it's time we went home now luv. 'S getting late." He reached out, taking the glass from her hand easily. She didn't seem to notice, her attention on the far wall.
"But then he was working later, and then he told me about the drugs. Said he had to meet her more often, sort himself out quicker." She looked at him, pinning him to his seat with the sobriety in her eyes. "I wanted to believe him Cal. I didn't want to see the things you saw. Things Torres saw." She caught his surprise. "I heard you talking once. I didn't wanna know, Cal. But I did." She looked down at her hands and he was worried she would start crying. Since he'd known her, he'd only seen her cry a handful of times and he'd hated each and every one. Especially the ones he was to blame for.
She didn't cry, instead she seemed to notice the drying spot of scotch on her hand for the first time and brought it up to her lips. He caught a glimpse of her tongue darting out to lick at it, before it disappeared back into her mouth and she sucked the alcohol from her skin.
He took air in on a sharp breath, unable to look away as her cheeks hollowed out and her throat worked when she swallowed. It was a lot of work for such a tiny drop of drink and when she looked up at him from beneath her lashes, he realised she was a lot drunker than he'd believed.
"Gill, come on darlin', you need to sleep this off." He slipped closer towards her on the couch, attempting to move his resistant limbs into providing some kind of aid for getting her up and home. They'd share a cab, even though his apartment was on the other side of town, so he could make sure she got in okay.
He managed to get one arm behind her and the hand of the other fell to her hip, before she shuffled across the remaining space between them to lean against his chest.
Her hair smelt of vanilla and alcohol and it took a moment for him to realise he was leaning his head against hers and sniffing it. With a violent shake of his head, which dislodged Gillian so that she slumped further across him, he pulled the last of his control back around himself. It wasn't easy, Gillian's breath was hot and moist through his cotton shirt where her mouth pressed against his chest.
She mumbled something that was lost to the fabric and it gave him the willpower to grasp her by the shoulders and haul her back up until she sat beside him, listing ever so slightly towards him.
"You wouldn't would you, Cal? You tried to warn me. But I kept talking about it. Stupid line. Didn't do any good, and I knew all the time." She stopped talking suddenly. Staring up at him, hair mussed from running her hands through it over and over earlier in the night and her eyes glazed with intoxication, she looked so un-Foster-like. "I just wanted to be happy." Her eyes filled as she paused. "I'm not happy, Cal." Her voice was quiet and soft, like a child's and he watched a tear slip down her cheek. And then she was eyeing just south of his lips, and leaning in and he closed his eyes against the inevitable, because he might have thought about this (a lot) but he didn't want it to happen like this.
He waited, breath held as she moved closer, her body shifting and her head...falling against his shoulder. His eyes opened and he twisted his neck to look down at her; she was facing him, her mouth open and eyes closed. Her lashes fluttered as her eyes moved behind their lids, before falling still. A slow dribble of drool escaped her mouth and started soaking into his shirt.
Cal laughed softly, his eyes crinkling in affection. Moving carefully, he held her steady, sliding himself out from beneath her and laying her down onto the couch, a cushion under her head.
Taking his jacket from where he'd dropped it on the desk, he placed it across her and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear.
He debated with himself and then left the glasses and the worryingly diminished bottle on the table and after flicking off the table lamp, settled into one of the soft chairs. Leaning his head against the back, he closed his eyes on the ceiling. He could feel the damp patch on his shoulder and smiled. Gillian moved around on the couch with a snuffle and Cal fell asleep.
.four: "The last thing you want is for you both to open your eyes and, because of the close proximity, see one giant eye staring back."
Cal laughed, the sound unfamiliar as it bounced around the darkened street. How long had it been, she wondered, since she'd heard him like that? Too long, she thought, catching his eye.
"Your turn luv." Cal peered at her, staring deep into her and she had the surreal feeling of knowing what it would be like to be photo album, having someone thumb through her pages, flicking from one memory to the next. It was as though he thought he could pluck out the most embarrassing moment from her life so far and hold it up, pull it closer and then have her explain it out for him. "First driving test."
Gillian looked at him, eyes wide and he squinted, shrugging a shoulder. "Loker."
She glared, narrowing her eyes before giving into a smile. "You and your first day tests."
She wove closer to him and bumped her shoulder against his arm. He reached out and wrapped his arm around her, his hand falling to her waist. "S'only fair after you passed yours."
Gillian looked up at him, frowning as she thought back to those first days of building the company; the piles of paperwork Cal never even looked at before handing to her, the weeks of wondering where he was before she gave in and bought him a mobile phone and made him write down every case he went off on so she'd know. Months of babysitting Emily while Cal and Zoe fought; playing board games with one half of her mind always occupied by writing up the forms for the insurers and investors. What test?
Cal read the unspoken question and bent his arm, squeezing her midsection. "Didn't leave, did ya?" Gillian felt her stomach jump as he smiled, warmth rising up inside her.
His eyes met hers and she couldn't fight a smile of her own. They were rare, moments like this. In fact, since they had expanded, since her divorce and his buying out of Zoe, nights out together had become almost nonexistent.
It was a simple tradition. A movie, a meal and then the slow walk home regardless of the weather. They'd done this in pouring rain where her hair stuck to her face and his wet fingers would make her shiver as he pushed it back behind her ears, and crunching careful footsteps over a blanket of snow while she clung to his arm and more than once almost pulled them both down to the white ground. Or like tonight, with the air still summer warm, just a light breeze and his jacket around her shoulders to keep out an imaginary chill.
Cal stopped walking and Gillian was pulled up beside him. She blinked, looking around and was surprised to realise they'd already reached her apartment.
She turned, looking up into his eyes, bypassing the smirk she could see building on his lips - he'd read her distraction. Her heart thumped in her chest and something fluttered in her stomach. His arm was still around her, his hand curled at her hip.
It felt like a first date, like the ones she used to have as a teenager when everything was new and exciting and at the end of the night her body vibrated with anticipation. His eyes seemed to sharpen and she watched the lines of his face smooth as the smile slowly eased away.
He slid his other hand out of his pocket, fingers dancing a line down from her elbow, before taking her hand in his and holding it.
His lips parted on her name and her eyes fluttered down to them, unable to resist, uncaring of what that would tell him. Her tongue flicked out and she ran it across her bottom lip, wetting it and tasting the last of the sugar from dessert.
She leaned into him as he bent his head, bringing them closer. She watched his pupils dilate, the pulse at his throat that seemed to throb just as fast as her heart. Her free hand went to his chest, resting, balancing and she closed her eyes when his slid shut. The night disappeared and all she could hear was his breathing and the blood in her ears.
A car horn beeped loudly and she jumped, her hand fisting into his shirt. Her eyes tried to adjust, fighting to focus on his face. So close.
Her heart beat wildly and though she told herself it was just the shock, she knew it wasn't. She watched as he pulled his control back over himself, his breathing shallowing out as he pulled back, straightening up.
It was just like those early dates, she thought, as he squeezed her hand once and pulled away.
She watched him walk back up the street. She rested her back against the door and half expected her father to lean out of a window and hurry her inside; "it's a school night, Gill."
.five: "The tongue should be introduced slowly, not thrust forward as if trying to break a medieval shield wall."
If he believed in the Devil (which he didn't because that way led to lots of other questions that couldn't be answered at 9:30 in the morning) Cal would have to conclude that there existed Devil's food. And if he admitted the existence of Devil's food then top of the list would have to be ice cream. Mint chocolate chip ice cream that Gillian currently had her tongue wrapped around.
He shifted, stuffing his hands in his pockets. Gillian was talking while she ate, but Cal couldn't remember what the topic was. Her eyes were bright, excited but then she was eating ice cream so it might have nothing to do with the admittedly one-sided conversation at all.
He frowned as her tongue poked out between her lips and licked a line from the cone to the peak of the dessert. It curled up, catching a swirl of the ice cream and Cal swallowed, pushing his hands down deeper.
He followed her tongue as it curled back into her mouth and her lips turned up in a smile.
"So, you don't mind, do you Cal?" He blinked, snapping his eyes up to hers. She looked serious.
"Wha- no, of course not luv, have fun." She grinned, her shoulders rising and falling and if she hadn't still been holding that damn ice cream he knew she would have clapped her hands.
"Thank you Cal." She leant over and pressed her cold lips against his cheek. As she pulled back, he turned his head and bit the top off of the ice cream.
He closed his eyes as she walked off and smirked; he knew what she tasted like.
And One That Was...
.one: "The girl will lose herself in the perfect kiss. It should involve tender bites, gentle sucking, tongues entwining and moving against each other."
Cal spooned a blob of something that loosely resembled potato salad onto his plate. He frowned down at it and then turned to the woman beside him. "Why am I here again luv?"
Gillian reached across him, scooping up some coleslaw. "Because you 'accidently' shredded this months's tax return and wiped the file from my laptop when you were searching for the McKenzie file last week." She paused, handing him her plate and tore off a lump of french bread. "And until Loker gets back from his vacation and retrieves it, you promised to do anything I asked."
She didn't take the paper plate back and Cal didn't try to force it on her. She turned away from him and went to the drinks table, filling two plastic cups with what he guessed was probably room-warmed punch.
Her back was tense beneath the black dress she wore, every line of her body shouting out her wariness to him. She didn't feel comfortable in the room with these people. Cal shot a look around, unsurprised to find so many eyes on her as she leant across the table to snatch up a few napkins.
Turning back to him she indicated an empty table with the tilt of her head and he nodded, following behind her.
He placed her plate down in front of her before collapsing into the child size chair beside her and she slid one of the cups across to him.
He glanced around the room, staring down the last few men still watching her. "So, this was your school." He waited until she was looking around before reaching over and stealing her bread. She turned back, caught him and rolled her eyes. He smirked, chewing madly and she leant over to slap at his arm. "Seriously luv, I can just picture you 'ere." He looked pointedly at the bare white walls and the neat, orderly tables and chairs. "Sitting down with your little lunch, short skirt, long legs, hot..." He trailed off at her raised eyebrow. "Boys all in a row behind you." Gillian laughed and he ducked her swinging hand.
She looked good today. No one, beside himself, would know how nervous she was to be there. She hadn't told him about it, but it had been there in the wringing of her hands and the one slight stutter in her voice when she all but ordered him to accompany her. She'd pulled out the mix-up with the tax return to force him, but he would have agreed anyway, when she had acted like that. So un-Gillian-like.
He smiled at her as she sipped at the punch, pulling a face he recognised as her own brand of dissatisfaction. Could have been the temperature, could have been that it wasn't as sweet as she liked, you never knew when it came to Gillian and sugary beverages.
He opened his mouth to question her but was interrupted before he could begin.
"Gillian? Gilly, is that you?" Gillian flinched and tensed all over, her back straightening. Cal slumped back in his seat for a better view.
"Kevin." His eyebrows shot up at the cold tone and he was at once fully alert.
"It is you!" Kevin, stocky and pot-bellied, his hair greased back in a way that reminded Cal of a 1960's politician pulled out a chair, turning it backwards, and straddled it. He passed a quick glance over Cal, his lip turning up as he assessed him as no threat. Cal barely held in a smirk. Looking at Gillian he knew she'd seen it too, her eyebrows were drawn together in annoyance and her lips were pressed thin.
"Kevin this is Doctor Cal Lightman. Cal, this is Kevin Leary." Cal flicked a question at her for the emphasis on his title and reached out to shake the man's hand. Gillian just smiled tightly. "Kevin and I were in French together."
"And then we dated, for about a year." Kevin looked smug. Cal narrowed his eyes and Gillian flinched again.
"You never told me that luv." Gillian's eyes flashed at him in irritation. She knew he was enjoying himself. He should probably reign that in soon.
"Oh look, there's Katie Jones." Kevin interrupted her and placed a hand on top of hers where it rested against the table, pointing the other across the room. Gillian's free hand shot out and landed on Cal's knee, squeezing tightly. Cal clasped it, squeezing back, not finding it quite so funny anymore. "Can you believe I let a little thing like you go for that?" Kevin chortled, Gillian flushed and Cal hated him.
Shifting his chair closer to Gillian, he threw an arm around her shoulders, drawing her closer. She blinked up at him, the blush pinking her cheeks.
Across from them, Kevin cleared his throat loudly but Cal ignored him. He brought a hand up and brushed his fingers through the curls at her temple. He leant in, his mouth at her ear.
"Forgive me luv." And then he pulled back, ignoring the confusion on her face and touched his lips to her own. He paused, just a moment and when she didn't pull back, or hit him, he pressed harder, bringing his other hand up to her shoulder, curling it around her neck and cradling her head.
She folded into him, her hands coming up to the lapels of his jacket. She tasted of the punch and he smiled against her lips; not sweet enough. A chair scraped back against the floor but Gillian opened her mouth and Cal felt the soft brush of her tongue against his.
He lost himself in her, his fingers tangling in her hair. They broke apart to breathe and he rested his forehead against hers. Her eyes were closed and he watched the flutter of her lashes. She had freckles, right across her nose and cheeks and he couldn't resist, pressing a kiss on the bridge.
Her eyes opened and she looked at him, her eyes crinkling at the corners.
"He's gone." Her whisper brushed across his cheek and he nodded, eyes dropping back to her lips.
"He's an idiot." He leant back in and kissed her smile.