Calleigh stormed into her apartment, throwing her keys and dropping her purse on the small table next to the door. She kicked off her heels and strolled down the hall, taking her clothes off as she headed directly for the shower. She stepped under the hot downpour hoping her splitting headache would be drained along with the burning water. She picked out a shampoo bottle from her collection and started lathering her hair, massaging around her temples in the process, hoping she'd soothe her pounding head. Another long case had dragged on... Was working overtime really worth the bonus? She didn't even want to think about it. The throbbing pain in her head was in no hurry to retreat. Ouch. Shampoo stung her left eye and she winced, lifting her head under the showerhead. After rinsing her eye, she turned and rinsed out her hair. She placed her forearm against the shower's wall and leaned her forehead against it. It was a long while before she felt goose bumps and moved back under the showerhead to finish her shower.
When she got out, she expected to see streaks of mascara under her eyes, not having bothered to wipe her makeup off tonight. A moment later, the mirror over the sink fogged up, the steam slipping out through the opened shower door.
She made her way to her bedroom with her makeup remover and a cotton pad to remove remnants of powder and paint.
She slipped into bed, predicting a night of tossing and turning or having to relive the same dream again, but she was used to it now and, like a baby recalling what happened during its day, she was forced to lay there in the dark, her mind never permitting silence and peace.
She turned on her right side and closed her eyes. The day's events played like a never-ending strip of film, the images floating behind her eyes. She grimaced, squeezing her eyes tightly and angrily kicked her covers, rolling over. What's wrong with me, she wondered. She stared at her bedroom window until an idea popped into her mind. She wouldn't go watch television, knowing very well nothing good was on at this hour; she had a better idea, a more productive one. Sitting up, she arranged her pillow and turned the side lamp on. She rummaged through her nightstand's drawer to extract a notepad and pen. Adopting a comfortable position to write, she pressed the pen to the sheet of paper, but couldn't bring herself to write a single word. She stared at the blank page, starting a conversation with herself. If I can't get this down on paper, how will I ever be able to tell him in person?
***It's two in the morning
And I'm calling your name***
"Horatio," Calleigh yelled out.
Waking up in a sweat, she sat up, head spinning. It was that dream again. She pushed her silk sheets back to slip her legs, out from under the covers, over the edge of her bed.
The dream had been so real that she felt compelled to call him up and tell him about it. It had been recurring for years, but lately much more frequently and, unexpectedly, in the early morning hours, she had just figured out why it wouldn't leave her alone.
She walked over to her bathroom for a sip of water and to refresh her face and neck.
It wasn't unheard of for her and Horatio to talk over the phone and see each other off duty. She had never experienced this kind of relationship with anyone before.
Calleigh looked up, staring at her reflection in the mirror.
Frightingly close to lovers, Horatio and her never did cross the physical boundary of actually sleeping together; both thinking it would save them in keeping a clear conscience. If they weren't sharing beds, they weren't going out and, thus, it wasn't serious.
She blinked a few times, watching the drops of water glide down her face towards her chin, before grabbing a hand towel from the small shelf and dabbing off the excess water. She placed the towel down beside the sink and walked off, switching off the light as she stepped out of the doorway.
No, it was all an act... it was serious and they were secretly seeing each other. Closer than friends could ever be, they would do anything for one another, even give up their life.
She sat on the edge of her bed again, her eyes adjusting to the dark.
She didn't care if she and Horatio had to get up for work in a few hours; she reached over, picked up her cell phone and dialled his number.
***Your voice on the line is
So far away***
The answer at the other end of the line was gruff, "Yeah-"
She sighed, leaning back on her bed, completely content of listening to him clear his throat and breathe in deeply.
"I woke you..." she covered her face with her hand. "I'm sorry," she said, even though she was happy to have reached him at this hour.
His reply made her smile and relax: "Don't be."
She heard his movements as his voice became more cavernous. She pictured him lying in bed, propped up on an elbow and her heart stopped at the image in her mind.
Interrupting her thoughts, he shocked her heart back into full speed when he asked in his most attractive selfless and caring voice, "Everything okay?"
"Yeah," she breathed. "I, uh, I had this dream from when I was little... I've been having it repeatedly these past few weeks..." She trailed off.
She had suddenly lost her voice.
***And my heart reaches out there
And finds you gone***
"Okay," she exhaled; she'd already started this and she did want to share it. Why was she becoming all shy about it?
"I'm all ears," he whispered, trying to prod her along.
"You sure you want to hear this?"
"You called me up, didn't you? I'm guessing you had good reason to wake me..."
"This might take a while..." Her tone weakened, "Maybe I should wait and talk to you tomorrow." She knew, in the back of her head, that she wouldn't be able to tell him face to face and hoped she could come up with another story if he'd ask about it the next day. She'd feed him the cover up.
"Calleigh..." he said sombrely then, adjusted his tone to a soft murmur, "what's on your mind?"
She took a deep breath and leaped into her story. "When I was about five or six years old, I went to the same school as my older brothers because the establishment took in pre-schoolers up to kids in the last year of primary school. The day it happened -and I remember it very vividly, since it's been haunting my dreams for years- everything was going like normal, I missed my mom at lunchtime like always, but she had left me a loving note in my lunchbox. Sitting in-between two friends, I listened to them talk over the dissonant sounds of the cafeteria. I silently finished eating my lunch, looking over at my friends' desserts, longingly staring at the juicy gummy bears-"
Horatio chuckled and Calleigh explained, "Mom never did buy junk food for our lunches and I was always jealous of the other kids. Lunchtime over, we could play for while before finishing our art project; Father's Day present at the time. Dad still has that little clay hand print on his dresser."
"Daddy's little girl," Horatio commented, his voice getting lower.
"Yes, well, anyway..." She tried not to be distracted from her storytelling and continued, "I always played trucks with this boy," she stayed silent for a moment then, thought aloud, "I wonder what became of him..." Shaking her musings, she continued, "Anyway, we had recess at two and the ground was soft because of the hard rain we'd had earlier that day. There was a small ditch at the edge of school grounds and, seeing most of my classmates go in that direction, I followed. All through recess, I debated on whether or not to do as the others did because it looked like they were having so much fun." She smiled at the memory.
"What exactly were they doing?" Horatio asked, practically whispering in her ear. Her skin involuntarily flushed in reaction.
"Oh, right, well... playing in the mud."
Horatio stifled a laugh, but she leaned in closer to the phone hearing the deep rumble in his chest.
Calleigh, rolled onto her stomach and spoke on, "The boys all had tall yellow or black rain boots and I looked down at my pink ones thinking that they weren't all that much shorter and I could do like them. At the last moment, I carefully made my way down and joined them, enjoying the suction noise the mud made as I walked around."
"Little Calleigh playing in the mud," Horatio said lowly, somewhat dreamingly, and she knew he was shaking his head at his bullet expert. In his mind, he thought, she might have been somewhat of a tomboy as a girl but the gorgeous Calleigh Duquesne couldn't have turned into a more spectacular woman.
"Oh right, like you didn't do anything like it," Calleigh said, sitting up with enthusiasm.
Calleigh groaned. He was different from any man she had ever known; maybe he had been special as a child as well.
She pursued her story, "The bell rang indicating the end of recess and all the kids ran off, climbing the small hill, out of the ditch. I tried to get out, but I couldn't... I was stuck. Leaning over to grasp the sides of my boots, I frantically tried to wedge myself out of this deep mud puddle. My determined yet feeble pulling wasn't making a difference. I was really stuck. Straightening, -I was still short then- I couldn't see the school, but I knew the kids had most probably formed a line and were going back inside. I started to panic... Was I going to stay here? Would they notice my absence? Would they know where to find me? The fear overpowering, I started crying, yelling for help, but my calls were unnoticed. I stared down at my feet, tears blurring my eyesight, regretting having done what the boys did, knowing that this hadn't been such a good idea."
***You walk a path lonely
But you're never alone***
"So, how did you get out?"
Calleigh could tell Horatio was interested.
"I don't remember his face," she replied, "but an older boy came, jumped in the mud with me and scooped me out of my boots. I don't know how he found me... if he heard me or saw me because, by then, my eyes were full of tears and I couldn't see anything. He lifted me up over his shoulder and started to climb out of the ditch and, even though I was relieved to have been freed, I was worried about my pink boots... how was I going to get home without them? Whimpering, I found my voice long enough to utter "my boots!" pointing to them. Then, I heard a voice say they were going to get them out."
Calleigh paused, gathering her thoughts as she recalled the story, "I somehow found myself inside the classroom, having never taken so much as a step. Emotions settling down, I opened my eyes, wanting to know who saved me, but it was too late... he was gone –probably to clean the mud off his sneakers and the bottom of his jeans- that's when ah... my bladder gave in suddenly... and I looked down embarrassed." Calleigh clearly remembered feeling the warm trickling down her legs. "My teacher, Mrs. Rennee, took my hand and walked me over to the bathroom. She picked out some clean clothes and shoes for me to wear from the big chest in the corner, near the bathroom door, where she kept spare clothing in case of such an accident. Alone in the bathroom, I stood on my tiptoes trying to see how red my eyes had gotten; I didn't want it to show that I had cried. I wasn't a crybaby." Horatio smiled at the fact that she had always been hiding her weaknesses.
Calleigh continued, "It all became very quiet in the classroom and I was scared that it was because everyone knew I had wet my pants. When I came out of the bathroom, newly clothed and dry, I understood that it was naptime. The lights were out and everyone had taken their teddy bear or blanket – most of them lying eyes closed - on the thin mattresses spread out on the ground. I walked forward, feeling uneasy in shoes and clothes that weren't mine, and noticed Mrs. Rennee talking to someone from the opened hallway door. She touched the person's arm and said something then, when she moved away, there was no one. The person was gone." Calleigh breathed in and said, "I stepped out into the hallway and saw my brother coming down the hall, worry visible on his face."
Calleigh recalled it in her mind...
Her eldest brother, Matthew, knelt, taking her arms. "Are you okay, Calleigh?" His words didn't reach her, it seemed. "I heard what happened," he hugged her and she continued to look out, wishing the boy who had saved her would return.
Loosening his hold, Matthew searched her eyes and Calleigh snapped back in return, holding him in her field of vision. "Calleigh?"
She nodded in response.
"Okay," he gave her shoulder a squeeze, "I have to get back to class."
She gave him another nod. He stood saying, "I'll see you later in the bus." He looked over his sister's short frame to the teacher standing a few feet away.
Mrs. Rennee smiled at Matthew and addressed Calleigh, "Calleigh, sweetie, you should come back and join the class."
Calleigh watched her brother leave and turned to her teacher who, with a gentle hand on the back of her head, guided her back inside the classroom.
Calleigh had stopped telling her story and Horatio figured she was done.
"It's a great story, Calleigh," he said honestly, "but what does it have to do with anything?"
"Well, I often dream of that day, but tonight, in my dream, I could hear my teacher talk to the person, and I overheard her say: "Thank you. That was really sweet of you, Horatio.""
Horatio couldn't contain a small laugh and, smiling over the phone, he replied, "I didn't go to school in Darnell, Calleigh."
"No, I know that."
He smiled in the phone again, "It couldn't have been me and, besides, I have no memory of such a thing. I wouldn't have forgotten a cute little blonde with pink boots playing with the boys in the mud..."
"Horatio," she tried to get his full attention again, "you're missing the point here-"
He cleared his throat, trying to be serious, "Which is?"
"This dream has continued to repeat itself in order for me to figure out who my saviour was..."
"Calleigh, it wasn't me."
"You're wrong. It was you. It is you." She said with conviction. "It has always been about you, Horatio. If my subconscious has weaved you in as my rescuer, I'm not going to doubt that."
"Okay, so say what you're saying is true..." He wanted to ask: where does that leave us now? But, he didn't know how to and simply left the unfinished sentence hang the air.
"It means that all this time, my subconscious has been waiting for the right man to fill in the role of the older boy... all this time, I couldn't see who it was because I didn't know you."
"Yes, but, you've known me for three years... why now all of a sudden?"
"Because we've been dating for about a month and, during that month, I haven't been able to sleep well-" She moved the phone away from her mouth, biting her lip. She didn't want him to know that.
"Calleigh-" Horatio called.
And, she was suddenly reminded of a song she loved that said:
all this time I've loved you
and never known your face
all this time I've missed you
and searched this human race
It was exactly that. She knew what the words meant.
She covered the receiver with her hand.
Horatio called again, more desperately this time, "Calleigh."
***And I'm begging you please
Let me in
Let me in***
"Calleigh, listen to me... I don't want what's going on between us to affect you on the job as well as off the job."
Calleigh was holding her breath. How could it not affect her? What was going on between them? What was he saying?
"Maybe we should take some time apart..."
Did he just say that, Calleigh wondered. She couldn't let this break them apart... they weren't even officially together... She had to say something and fast. He had left her no choice.
"Horatio, if you're seriously telling me that, than we have a problem."
"I beg your pardon?" He was trying to *avoid* having a problem.
"You know how much you mean to me and to think about what you're proposing we do is breaking my heart..."
"I'm sorry." All this time, he knew he wasn't worthy of her love and finally, he had confirmed it because he had swore never to hurt her and now, he had broken his promise.
"Well, I'm not forgiving you because there's nothing to forgive... I'm in love with you."
***I know there are times when
In ashes you lie
Each one has a shadow
We can't deny
But there in your darkness
Living your pain
Wanna wrap you in love, babe
Again and again***
She pictured herself throwing her leather coat on and hastily running down the hall, car keys in hand, into the elevator for her building. She imagined starting the engine, driving out of the parking lot, turning onto the street with a screech of her tires, heading for Horatio's condo. She envisioned herself hopping out of her parked car, and ringing his buzzer, asking him to let her in. And, soon, she was doing just that.
***I'm begging you please
Let me in
Let me in***
Horatio wasn't answering the buzzer and had left his phone off the hook. She tried calling his cell, but it went to his voice mail and she didn't dare leave a message. She was walking away when, just when she thought her luck had run out and that she'd have to turn back, Horatio grabbed her arm and spun her around. He was wearing slacks like he usually did, probably the ones from yesterday and a shirt, uncharacteristically hanging loosely, un-tucked and spaced open because of a few missed buttons.
Her first impulse was to jump in his arms, hold him tight... her love, her hero. She moved her hand to his face, tracing his lips with her finger. He placed a gentle kiss against it and involuntarily gave her fever. She pulled him closer, wrapping her arms around his neck, crushing her lips against his. He slowly pulled away, but she kept leaning into him, wanting more. Her opened jacket barely hid the satin camisole underneath and, through the light fitted fabric, he felt her skin hot as fire. Without restraint, he bucked forward eliciting a moan from her. Going on impulse, Horatio left her lips and bent slightly, sliding his shoulders along her body, he lifted her up in his arms. With all the strength he possessed, he carried her over his shoulder, making his way back inside.
***Listen my tiney one
Gonna make it on your own
Look at what we have done to heal***
All she had known, all she'd done, all she'd felt had led them here. Bathed in his size, Calleigh stayed still, her breathing slowing, her tiresome body giving in to sleep. Horatio held her, enjoying the moment of blissful happiness after the pleasurable writhing, knowing very well that he had never been happy for more than a moment in his life, and that this feeling was going to fade like all the other times.
Her moist skin cooled and the hand that she had taken and placed against her chest, slipped out of her grasp as Horatio slipped out of bed.
He sat in his living room, holding his head in his hands, knowing what he had done had been solely to comfort her. He would kiss her goodbye when she'd wake up because he hadn't avoided making love to her to keep his conscience clear as he had made her believe, he never felt at the same level as her and, even though he loved her, he'd go after a woman whom he thought was at the same level as him. He'd secretly continue to carry Calleigh in his heart, but fearing of not living up to her expectations, he'd keep her at bay.
Let me in
Let me in
I'm begging you
I'm begging you
I'm begging you
Summary: “It means that, all this time, my subconscious has been waiting for the right man to fill in the role…” Song lyrics by Lamb. Warning: Unhappy end. (For once!)