TITLE: In the Waiting Line
CHARACTERS: Gillian, Cal, OC
SUMMARY: "You gotta take what you can get once you're past 40. It's not like men are still lining up." Or maybe they are.
from Middle English jalousie, from Old French jalousie
"A sentiment which is born in love and which is produced
by the fear that the loved person prefers someone else." — Littré
The way he looks at her conveys unspoken words of fascination and desire. His irises wide, the slight smile on his lips, slowly making its way up to the wrinkles around his eyes. She get's lost in it all for a brief moment of glorious time. Bathes in it, because it feels nice and warm, and why the hell wouldn't she?
He is definitely in her personal space and actually she is enjoying the violation. His head tilts to the side and she can already see a question forming on his lips before the sounds, the letters, the words even make it out of his mouth. He sees that she sees it and they both have to laugh with the nervousness of teenagers and the experience of people who have done this before.
Eventually, his lips part and a breath forms the sounds that make up the words. "Do you need anything more from me?"
Oh yes, definitely. More of this, she thinks. So she smiles, because the thought actually does this to her, but at the same time she shakes her head. "Not right now, thank you. Can I just make you wait for a couple more minutes?" Talk about mixed signals—smiling yes, gesturing no, saying maybe.
This time the small laugh he gives her is audible. "Sure. Happy to wait for you." There's a wink to accompany his words. Not the corny type; she might describe it as sincerely cute.
"I'll be back," she lets him know. Yet another smile (she wonders if you can get sore muscles from smiling too much). Then she slowly breaks away from the personal space they both shared so willingly and leaves for the door. There is no need to turn around—she can feel his eyes on the curves of her body and it makes her feel both good about that new dress and herself in general.
She gently closes the door of the Cube behind her and walks down the few steps. Her mind is still where those eyes just hugged her ass. But then: entry Cal Lightman.
He just stands there, obviously waiting for her, serious expression of incredulity and maybe a hint of disgust on his face. He shakes his head, as if to disapprove of the poor choices of somebody he thought better of. "What are you doing?"
There is one decision, she consciously makes in that very moment: She is in the kind of good mood that not even Cal Lightman could destroy. That's for sure. "What d'you mean?" She says it still smiling. Imperturbably so.
"He's flirting with you."
Cal only looks at her while saying it, making sure he gives no further attention to him. She, on the other hand, looks back to him through the glass, watches him just looking around the blank nothingness of the Cube, with a grin still playing on his lips. "Yeah, I know," she admits.
His gaze is unrelenting. "You're flirting back." It's an accusation for sure.
For a few seconds she doesn't know how to reply, but then her grin only widens. "You don't want me to flirt with him." She invades Cal's personal space on purpose, watching the reaction playing out on his face. He gives nothing away and yet she can see it all.
"He's a suspect." Straightforward and analytical on the outside. Loaded with emotion underneath.
She feigns surprise. "Oh, in this case, of course, it would only be acceptable if I slept with him then, right?"
He rolls his eyes heavily.
It wrestles another smile from her lips. "Not liking some of your own bitter medicine?"
Cal gets a little closer to her as well. He's reading her features for a while before speaking again. "You're enjoying this."
A small shoulder shrug and another smile. "Sure, why wouldn't I? A little attention flatters every woman. And you gotta take what you can get once you're past 40. It's not like men are still lining up."
His legs take him a small step back and his hands glide into his jeans pockets with a swift movement. Defense, she knows, his safe place. He looks at the guy in the Cube, then back to her. "I bet there's still a line."
The step he just took back, she takes forward now, so they're back again where they just were. She squints her eyes. "Are you flirting with me too now?"
He's trying hard to keep his face straight, but there's a smile underneath that probably only she could detect. It's there, it lingers, while they keep looking at each other.
"Well, what did you see?" she wants to know eventually. "Is he guilty?"
"Guilty of flirting with you, yes. Didn't see much else."
"Is that your professional opinion or just a personal one, Dr. Lightman?" She teases him and there's a tingling of excitement underneath it all. She can feel it on her skin and somewhere else indeed as well.
"I'm the epitome of professionalism, as you well know."
It doesn't merit a reply, so she just smirks and turns around to go back inside the Cube. He greets her with another broad smile and by now she really does feel wanted from all kinds of sides. It's nice, there's no denying.
"We're done. You're good to go. Thanks for agreeing to meet with us," she tells him and there's a short flicker of disappointment on his face that she can only interpret as an emotion directed at her.
He takes two steps forward and is in her personal space again. "That's a shame, somehow. Maybe we could continue this in another setting, Dr. Foster." He puts a special emphasis on her name. "I'll be blunt: Would you go on a date with me?" He shortly looks down to her left hand where he probably hadn't detected a ring before and cannot now, either.
For a moment she imagines in her head, how Cal is seeing this scene unfold from just a few steps away. She can almost feel his jealousy transmitting through the air. A chemical reaction when adding love and fear in an uncontrolled environment.
She keeps smiling at him. "I really appreciate that offer. I'm going to have to professionally decline, though." There might still be mixed signals she is sending out, but it's a definitive no.
He catches on to it quickly, smiles back politely and nods. "Pity, but I understand."
"Thanks for your time," she says and leads the way out of the Cube. Cal is already waiting for them outside, his gaze grim and that of an animal ready to attack.
She comes to a halt next to Cal and feels him drawing nearer until he is standing slightly behind her, but with their shoulders almost touching. His stance is dominance, this whole array a declaration of possession.
"Yeah, thanks for your time," Cal repeats, but it's not friendly.
She shakes the hand of the guy, enjoys the tingling of his skin on hers for one last time. "Will you find your way out? We're not quite done here."
"Yeah, sure," he affirms. "Nice meeting you, Dr. Foster." He gives a short nod to Cal, but it's not too friendly, either.
Then he leaves and she turns around to Cal, who is still awfully close.
"We're not quite done here?" he mimics her and wants to know at the same time.
She rolls her eyes. "You see how I did that? Turning him down like a professional. Easy."
"You're such a role model."
She says nothing and just enjoys her victory. Jealousy certainly isn't one of his more attractive traits, but it's one she can sometimes have her fun with.
They stay in each other's personal space and he eyes her suspiciously.
"Would you go on a date with me?" Slight emphasis on me instead of him.
She laughs, because he is impossible. Driving-her-crazy-bonkers and making-her-swoon-endearing at the same time. "Is that a hypothetical question or a real one?"
"Depends on your answer," he backpedals.
She keeps him guessing for a bit. "Professionally, I will have to decline. Personally, I'm gonna think about it." A non-committal shrug is all she gives him.
While she can hear his mind still rattling, she heads for the door, only to turn around towards him once more. "Maybe you're right," she mutters as much to herself as to him, "guys still have to get in line."
She makes it seem like she is deep in thought and leaves him waiting.