DISCLAIMER: CSI and CSI Miami and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for the Dog Days of Summer 2009 Calendar. Thanks for letting me participate in your wonderful calendar again ladies, and congratulations on the 10th anniversary!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To Geekgrrl.lurking[at]gmail.com
BETA: Thank you to Ms_Josephine
Friends and Lovers
"I don't think I can do this anymore."
The words have tumbled out of my mouth before I realize it and they hit her hard, exactly as I had intended. I saw them together again today, the image burned into my mind. A discussion in the lab, innocent but not really, laughing and flirting together. I should just shake it off, but it hurts.
She stops throwing the dishes into the dishwasher and looks at me, her eyes wounded pools of sea green. And then they harden, darken down to a stormy grey and I know she's about to blow. When she is pissed at me Calleigh Duquesne is even more gorgeous, if that's possible.
"You don't think YOU can do this anymore. Sugar, don't even start with me." Calleigh slams the dishwasher door shut and punches the start button, the poor machine slowly swirling to life.
My stomach churns, burning with the old hurt she insists on poking at. She isn't going to bring it up again is she? Apparently she is.
"Sara fucking Sidle screwed with your head so badly and I'm punished for her sins. Well, no more."
I watch her storm out of the small galley kitchen of my condo and I hang my head. She always brings it back to Vegas. What kills me is that she's right, not that I'll ever admit it. That gaping wound Sara left inside has healed and I have Calleigh to thank for that. But Sara left scars, and fears that are hard for me to shake. However this argument isn't about the past, this is about what's happening right now before my very eyes, and I am not going to let Calleigh slip through my fingers without a fight.
"Calleigh, that's not fair and you know it!" I all but growl and follow her out into the living room. She's standing by the large window, staring out towards the ocean, with her hand on her hip. Her keys and cell phone are in her other hand and I know she is two heartbeats away from leaving the condo, leaving me alone.
We've been picking at each other all night, over stupid things, avoiding what's really bothering each other. I glance down at the postcard on my coffee table from Sara and Grissom that arrived two days ago. I should have just tossed it out, but Calleigh had been with me when I picked up my mail. Calleigh turns, flushed with anger and frustration and catches my eye, making sure I'm listening to her.
"You are who I'm in love with. I am not going to just disappear off the face of the earth. Natalia Boa Vista is just my friend, someone I trust and can talk to but that's all "
The words are sincere, and I want to believe her, I desperately do. But the evidence has spun me around and I don't know what to think anymore. I need to tell her how I feel. Why is this so hard for me, to open up and be vulnerable? I sigh and bite the bullet.
"I see the looks Cal. Long and lingering. Fingers touching as you hand over files and evidence. Quiet lunches together in the tiny park across from work."
Calleigh looks at her feet, her shoes suddenly extremely interesting. She knows it's the truth and I'm powerless to stop it. I love her so much and there is nothing I can do but trust her. Just like I trusted Sara, and look where that got me. Calleigh looks up and I can just make out a sad smile through the tears welling in my eyes. Damn it, I wasn't going to cry
"You're jealous of Natalia?" She says it quietly, so much so that I almost don't hear it over the thundering of my heart. She steps closer to me, so close I can smell her perfume and then her thumb is wiping at the tears threatening to fall from my eyes.
"Don't you know I'm terrified of the day she gets bored with Grissom and waltzes back into your life, crooks her little finger and I lose you forever." Calleigh's hand slides down, softly caressing my cheek before tipping my chin up, our eyes meeting, locking.
"I wouldn't " My denial is cut short as she places a long elegant finger on my lips stopping my words.
"And I wouldn't with Natalia, but neither of us knows that for sure. That's the part that rubs, isn't it? Part of being in a relationship is the struggle to stay committed to each other. It's the desire to build a life together, despite the temptations of those around you. No one said it would be easy, but you're worth it. We're worth it." Calleigh sighs and turns back to face the window, the lights of the city twinkling on in the fading daylight behind her.
I take in her form, silent and graceful. Her blonde hair falling straight down her back, white cotton blouse tucked into faded blue jeans, bare feet peeking out from underneath. She is so worth it. My heart feels too full. I hate it when we fight, making me feel so raw and helpless. I hate it almost as much as when she's not here with me. I want so much more. And then it hits me.
What I want is Calleigh. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, for the rest of my life.
"Move in with me."
For the second time tonight the words have tumbled out of my mouth before I even realize it.
"What?" Calleigh has grown so still, her head turned but not looking directly at me. I can't see her eyes and I wonder if I've jumped the gun. It's what I want though, what I need to make my life right.
"I mean it Calleigh. We can live here, your place, we can get a bigger place somewhere else. I don't care. I just want to be with you. I want to have you fall asleep in my arms at night and be the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning. I want it all."
"You're you're serious."
I stop and stare at her. Of course I'm serious I wouldn't have said it otherwise, but maybe she's not as invested in this as I am. Maybe I've hit upon the truth of it, the flirting with Natalia, and now her reluctance to move in together. I swallow hard and look down. If she's going to rip my heart out then do it now, without the satisfaction of seeing me cry.
I rake my hands through my hair, frustrated and turn away, moving to sink down onto my sofa. The butter soft leather is usually warm and comforting but now I'm numb, my mind flashing through a million different things.
"Sofia " I hear her voice, low and as if from a great distance. The couch dips as she drops down beside me and she takes my hand. I look at her and wait for the inevitable.
"Yes." Calleigh's watery smile smashes through the doubts and fears buzzing around me and I suddenly smile too. My arms wrap around her slim form, holding her close, as I burrow along the collar of her blouse and breathe her in, content.
It is more than enough.
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