"Excuse me miss, I need you to stand back."
"No, you don't understand, I need to know what's happening."
"Yeah, and so do the other ten people stood over there. We don't need nosy business owners like yourself interrupting us doing our job. It's difficult enough as it is."
Gillian nearly stepped back, as startled as she was. She'd met rude people in her time but this man was something else entirely. Weren't paramedics supposed to be nice? Their job was to help people after all.
"I know this man," she said, refusing to give up.
They hadn't let her anywhere near him yet, and all she wanted was just to be next to him, to look at him, feel him, tell herself he really was there. She'd managed to catch this particular man who was just standing there holding one of the doors open, but before long they'd be rushing him to hospital and then it would be hours before she could see him.
"Right, because you've seen him," he said, raising an eyebrow at her.
"Umm, I've seen him," said a voice from behind Gillian.
She glanced round to see Eli walking over, scratching the back of his neck but otherwise standing resolutely.
"And you know him?"
"Yeah, he's my boss. Her business partner, best friend, psychiatric patient, rock, confidante, counsellor, go to guy-"
"Alright enough," said the paramedic, irritated by the guy already. He was tired after his new baby had kept him up all night, and the last thing he needed this morning was to get in a fight with a half crazy woman in heels and a young upstart who needed a good hairbrush.
Gillian's heart swelled as she listened to Eli speak. God she'd missed Cal. Everything he'd said was true, and she could barely believe Cal was within metres of her. She'd waited four years for him already; she wasn't waiting any longer.
"Go and speak to him," the paramedic said, gesturing to another man on his cell phone near the front of the vehicle. "He calls the shots, not me."
"Well maybe you should tell your ego that," Eli muttered as he walked off.
Gillian followed him, her head spinning. She felt like she was in a really bad television show and for a moment she just had to pause to take everything in. Time seemed to slow down for a second, and she slowly looked from scene to scene.
There was a huddle of people still standing at the edge of the action, watching what was happening and gossiping between themselves. Rosa was right in the middle of them, supplying them with news, fuelling the conversations. Her information was usually half fact, half opinion but everyone seemed to believe her anyway.
Directly in front of her was Cal. Six or seven men surrounded him, so trying to get access right now was out of the question. She wanted to go over but she wanted him to be safe first and foremost.
Gradually she turned her head to where Eli was stood next to the man who had now hung up his call, the two of them staring at her expectantly.
In a daze she floated over to them.
"Are you okay?" Eli asked, placing a gentle hand on her arm.
She didn't even know how to respond. It was like everything she'd heard in the past ten minutes had crashed down on her in one go. She was ecstatic, overjoyed, elated to know Cal was here, and at the same time, her heart was about to break for the state he was in. She was confused too - her mind kept throwing new questions at her, and she had no answers for any of them.
Where had he come from?
How had he gotten himself here?
What the hell had happened to him?
Looking back at Eli, she shook her head. She determined she was not okay, and that was not helped by the yell that shook her out of her little trance.
"John, get over here!"
"I'm sorry," the man said to Eli and then rushed over to Cal.
Gillian and Eli whirled round and followed him.
"Pulse is slowing already..."
"...didn't see it at first. Doesn't look good..."
"...don't want to move him yet..."
"What do you think?"
Snippets of their hushed tones carried over to Gillian and Eli. Gillian glanced at Eli and all he could see in her eyes was panic. It scared him. He'd never seen Gillian like this. Even when Cal had first gone missing, she'd been distracted, confused and then she'd just settled into a sad resignation. She'd never ever panicked.
"He'll be okay," Eli said reassuringly, knowing full well there was a good chance he would not be, but not having a clue what to say otherwise.
Gillian nodded, wanting to believe him.
Cal would be okay.
And if he was going to be okay, he was going to need her.
"Eli, can you, can you go inside and shut down my laptop for me please?" Gillian asked suddenly, taking a deep breath and trying to regain composure. "Leave my purse with Heidi, but call Alec first please, get him to meet me at the hospital. Oh and cancel the investors. You and Ria can continue as normal."
"I don't- will you be okay?"
"Mmhmm," she said, still nodding.
He suspected she might be going into shock, but didn't press it. Just gave her a weird look and then walked into the building without a second glance.
Meanwhile Gillian watched intently as the men eventually properly lifted Cal up and started to load him up. She guessed he'd passed out and was probably a deadweight.
She flinched at her own thoughts. She hated that word.
"Miss, we don't have much time now. What was it?"
The man she took to be called John was standing in front of her, looking concerned. His eyebrows were prompting her to speak now, and speak quickly.
"I know him. The man, I know him, and your paramedic, he said I couldn't go with you, but the thing is-"
The man interrupted her and those two words were all she needed to run after the men climbing into the back of the vehicle, her shoes no obstacle.
She found herself next to the man she'd originally spoken to - the one who'd refused her. He simply rolled his eyes and then budged up more so she was closer to Cal.
"Cal," she said softly.
They'd ripped the enormous piece of material she'd seen earlier, that cross between a cloak and a blanket, and he was left with a ripped pair of trousers that looked like they once belonged to a full suit. He was now topless, a piece of gauze across his side which had a tiny red dot in the middle and a few wires across his chest. She knew he'd look much worse than this when they arrived at the hospital.
His eyes were closed and his breathing was shallow, but she didn't care right now. He was here and he was alive, and everything else was secondary to that.
"Can you give us some details Ms..."
"Foster," she supplied absentmindedly, taking Cal's hand in her own and relishing the feeling. She never wanted to let go, afraid she'd lose him again. Still, she needed to help the men who had been good enough to allow her to see him. "Doctor Foster. And yes."
"Okay, let's start with the basics; he had nothing on him at all. Name, address, next of kin which I'm presuming isn't you-"
Gillian turned, stunned to where an out of breath Eli was stood at the foot of the ambulance, staring up at her and preventing the very huffy men from closing the doors.
"What about Emily?" he asked, raising his arms questioningly.
Gillian frowned. This was definitely not her call to make. Still, Cal wasn't exactly full of energy, and his sixteen year old daughter was with her mother at this very moment in time.
"Don't tell her. Not yet."
"What about Emily?"
"Don't tell her. Not yet."
"Don't tell me what?"
Zoe sighed as her very perceptive twelve year old rounded the corner. She was always within ear shot of every conversation.
Emily raised her eyebrows at Gillian and Zoe in a manner completely identical to her father. It scared Gillian how fast Emily was growing up. It scared Zoe more. God knows she didn't want her daughter turning into the man she'd recently divorced. The man who was late picking her up.
"Your father hasn't arrived yet," interjected Gillian. She wasn't particularly fond of Zoe, and knew if she answered Emily's question, there would be more than a few expletives thrown in there.
Zoe was already running late for an important meeting and now was not the time for Cal to do a disappearing act. The problem was, she'd come to the offices to find out where he was, and Gillian didn't know either.
It shouldn't have bothered either of them, considering how frequently Cal took off by himself, but it had been several hours since Gillian had last seen him going out for a drink with the investors at lunch time.
Besides, Zoe knew, deep down, that Cal never let Emily down. He loved her too much for that. Disappointing his daughter was something he did his utmost to avoid.
"Why don't I stay here with Gillian?" Emily suggested.
Gillian glanced at Zoe and nodded, letting her know that would be alright. She knew the woman had a cab to catch and Gillian wasn't exactly rushed off her feet - she was too busy revelling in how well the investor meeting had gone. She was pretty sure they'd come back with a positive decision - how often did investors take the owners out for drinks after all?
Cal would be back before she knew it and then he'd take Emily home; it'd be fine.
"Thank you," said a relieved Zoe, smiling at Gillian and giving her daughter a kiss on the cheek.
"No problem," replied Gillian.
"Behave Emily, okay?"
"Yes mom. I'm twelve, not five."
"Still not a teenager though, so less of the attitude. See you in a week or so."
Zoe rushed through the doors just as Eli walked through them, taken aback by the hurricane bustling past him.
"Is she okay?" he asked, jerking his thumb behind him with a questioning face.
"She's always like that. Especially when my dad screws up like this," Emily answered for Gillian.
Eli looked down at the young girl with wide eyes and short wavy hair stood in the corridor next to Gillian, looking perfectly comfortable with herself.
"And you are?"
"Emily Lightman. Pleased to meet you," she said stoutly, walking over to him and holding her hand out.
Bemused he shook it, before looking up at Gillian with huge eyes.
"Lightman has a kid?" he spluttered.
"Yep," Gillian said, grinning. She knew what Eli was thinking, and apparently so did Emily.
"Doesn't seem the paternal type, huh?"
"Umm, no, not really," he said, scratching the back of his head. "I'm Eli by the way. Eli Loker. Your...dad just calls me Loker."
"Em, why don't you go to your dad's office and do some of your homework?" Gillian prompted gently. "Eli and I have a few things to sort out."
"Point taken," she said, spinning round to head towards Cal's office. "Let me know when my dad arrives."
"I will do," Gillian said, smiling fondly after her.
The moment Emily had disappeared into the office and closed the door behind her, Gillian turned to face Eli, her eyes narrowed.
"Do you know where he is?"
"What?" he asked, surprised at her sudden change of mood. "Who?"
"Cal. He went out six hours ago for drinks, and he hasn't returned yet."
"He went for drinks at lunch?" Eli asked.
"This is not the point Eli. Has he been in touch?"
"No," he said, shaking his head.
"Okay," she said after a pause. He shifted uncomfortably under her scrutiny, knowing she was assessing if he was telling the truth. At least she wasn't as bad as Lightman. "Well, I guess you can go now Eli. See you tomorrow."
"Thank you Doctor Foster," he said, his eyes lighting up.
"Something you wanted to watch on TV tonight?" she laughed.
"Yes! Two hour long documentary special on the differences in feeding habits and group movement between-"
"I was kidding," said Gillian hurriedly.
"Oh okay. See you tomorrow," he said, walking off and leaving Gillian stood in the corridor alone.
She waved and then dug her cell out of her purse. Cal's phone went straight to voice mail five times and eventually she gave up calling. He'd definitely get the message from what she'd left on his answer machine.
She wasn't too worried about Cal still, although it had been a while - she was more worried about Emily. She couldn't remember the last time he'd let her down, and though she was a confident little thing, Gillian knew she adored spending time with her dad. They had a relationship she'd never seen. Emily was a mini version of Cal already and he loved it. Cal must have a good reason for not turning up like this, and the thought got to her a little.
A/N: I did say I wouldn't add to this until I finished my other story, but me and Threat aren't friends at the moment, so I decided to write this instead. Hope everyone's still interested and not confused. Thanks for reading, and especially to those that review!