A/N: At end of story.
Special thanks: Deb, for beta-ing (will I ever learn the proper use of the comma? ;P), for being there for me through a scary event and for your kindheartedness and understanding. Continuing the alphabetical order... Elizabeth, thank you for your tips and, greatly appreciated, support. Geena, thanks for making me smile :) (There's a wink in this fic for you. I'm sure you'll find it) and for your treasured help. Karen, thanks for your thoughtfulness and taking my mind off of things with pics of DC, not to mention, your steamy fic! Keep it coming!
Calleigh turned in bed, wrestling in her sleep. The phone rang again and again in the house where she stood in her dream. She looked around feeling like the place was familiar, but she couldn't put her finger on how it was. It definitely wasn't her own, but it felt comfortable enough to be. She swiftly walked around the house searching for the phone but couldn't find it. The ringing became more and more urgent, as if at any moment it would stop, and she felt the growing need to answer. She couldn't run, she realized; her legs were heavy. What am I doing here, she wondered.
She reached a door down a hall and pushed it in as she turned the knob, frantically hoping her ears weren't failing her and that the ringing was in fact coming from its confines. The room was obscure, and all she could do was feel her way around for the phone. Her shins hit the edge of a bed, and she swore softly. Moving her hands down the side of the bed, she found a small bedside table and the still ringing phone resting on it.
Picking up the receiver, she said, "Hello?"
An unknown voice spoke, "I have an important number for you."
A man's voice, although unrecognizable. She tried to focus her attention on the message and avoided trying to figure out who this person was.
The man gave her a number, and, soon after, the line went dead.
Calleigh repeated the numbers over and over again in her head, hoping she wouldn't mess up or forget any of the digits.
Frowning in her sleep, she tried to make herself wake up and tried opening her eyes.
For a second, she thought she was still dreaming, but she soon discovered that the darkness was reassuring; it was the middle of the night, and she was safely lying in bed.
Quickly, she scrambled to turn on the light at her bedside and grabbed a pen, scribbling down the number from her dream.
305. Same area code. She didn't know the number though. What does this mean, she questioned herself.
Calleigh entered the DNA lab, where she found Eric.
"Hey Eric." She seemed preoccupied, Eric noticed. "Have you seen Alexx?"
"Yeah, I think I saw her leave for the break room."
"Okay, thanks," Calleigh went for the door.
"Hey, Calleigh!" he started for the door. Was she abandoning him with the case, he wondered.
"I just have something to do. It won't take long, promise."
"Yeah, okay." Eric shook his head, smiling. He could never refuse her anything.
Calleigh sauntered to the break room, surprising Alexx.
"Calleigh, hi," Alexx lifted her cup of coffee, "Want some?"
"Ah. No, thanks." She wavered on her feet, looking at the piece of paper she held in her hand.
Alexx narrowed her eyes at the piece of paper then, looked up at Calleigh "Is there anything I can do for you?"
"Well, actually, there is..." Calleigh nodded, still not meeting her friend's eyes. "I mean, I wanted to ask you something - I'm not sure what to do about this and I could use your help."
Alexx put her cup down and waved her hand at the ballistics expert, "Whoa, Calleigh. What are we talking about here?" She closed the distance between them, "I mean, I'll do what I can to help, but you have to tell me what's going on-"
"Sorry," Calleigh muttered, handing her the paper.
"And what's this? Whose number is this?"
"Okay, Alexx," Calleigh started gently, still needing to prepare the ME before diving into any sort of explanation. "I know you might think this is crazy and, before you say anything, I want you to let me finish..."
Alexx was nodding, "Out with it, Calleigh," she said, annoyed by her anticipation.
"I had a dream last night," she skipped the details about the house because they were beside the point, "The man gave me this number over the phone saying it was important - "
"And you wrote it down from your sleep?"
"It's from somewhere in this area."
"It's amazing that you remembered the number - " Alexx stared at the digits.
"Alexx." Calleigh tried to get her to focus on the point. "I don't know this number - It could be from anyone."
"So, you want to know if you should call and see who it's from, right?" Alexx gave her back the paper.
"Yeah," Calleigh fumbled with the piece of paper.
"Frankly, I'm surprise you haven't already called - curious as you are."
"What if it means something?"
"What if it doesn't?" Alexx rubbed Calleigh's shoulder, "Get it off your conscience. If it's bothering you that much, just call and find out. It may be nothing."
Calleigh stayed still, thinking.
"It's up to you, hon." Alexx went back to the counter to pick up her cup of coffee and walked towards the door, stopping beside Calleigh to say, "I'm sorry, but I have to get to work."
Calleigh nodded, "I do too, thanks Alexx."
"No problem, sugar." Alexx stopped in the door, "Promise me you won't do anything stupid like go see who it is for yourself - armed or not."
That made Calleigh smile and Alexx happy about it.
Calleigh decided to wait a while, to think about it and call during her lunch break before Eric got mad at her for deserting him.
She didn't understand why this type of thing made her nervous, why she was scared to call, but still resolved on making the phone call later.
Focused on the case at hand, lunch break came, and Calleigh realized she had forgotten about the number the entire morning.
She walked into the locker room, thinking it would be a good out-of-the-way place to make a phone call, and came across Speed presumably getting some money to buy lunch.
"Hey," she said lowly, making her way to her locker.
"You wanna come have lunch with Eric and me?"
"Um, I ah, I'll catch up."
"I think we can wait for you," Speed said with humor.
"Yeah, no, that's alright. I'll come join you in a bit..."
Shrugging, Speed complied, "Okay. We'll be at our regular place. You know the one."
Calleigh nodded and waited for him to leave before unclipping her cell phone from her belt and sitting on a bench with it in her hand. She stared at it for a while; then, taking a deep breath, she dialled and waited, listening to the ringing on the other end.
"Hello, Continental Inn, how may I help you?" a young woman's voice answered Calleigh's call.
Shuffling to regain composure - this was not what she was expecting - she asked, "Yes, where are you located?"
"1121 West Ocean Drive, ma'am."
"In what city, please."
The Florida Keys, Calleigh caught on. "Are you lower than the 7 mile bridge?"
"No, ma'am. We're just before. Where are you calling from? Perhaps I can be of help -"
"From Miami." She decided to use her authority, "I'm Detective Calleigh Duquesne from Miami-Dade PD - would it be possible to get your guest list?"
"Well, I don't know, I think I'd have to ask my boss-" the woman's voice was wavering.
Calleigh was sympathetic, "No, you know what - that's okay, I'll drive down. Would you mind giving me directions?"
"Not at all," Calleigh overheard shuffling of paper then the woman continued, "You follow Route 1 through Islamorada and Grassy Key. Then, about 6 miles after Grassy Key, you get to the intersection of the Key Colony Beach Causeway."
"You'll see a blue oval 'City of Key Colony Beach' sign on your left and a gas station on the corner - You turn left onto the Causeway and take the next right on West Ocean Drive. We're at 1121 West Ocean Drive, about a quarter mile down."
"You're welcome," she picked up her commercial-like way of speaking, "We hope to see you soon. Have a great day."
"Same to you, bye."
Calleigh rushed out of the locker room and strode quickly down the hall to Ballistics where she knew she'd find Jason.
Giving her best smile, she drawled, "Jason, I'm glad I found you."
Jason nodded, still concentrated on his work, but nonetheless giving her a knowing smile. He knew from the way she thickened her accent that she wanted something.
"What are you up to, Calleigh?" He asked, not really wanting to know.
"I'd be forever grateful if you'd," she made those lovely eyes at him, "replace me for a few days..."
A wan smile and a sad look adorned her countenance. Calleigh winced at his reply, "A few days? Calleigh, I was supposed to go camping this weekend with Sandra."
"I'm sure she won't mind," Calleigh knew Sandra didn't like the outdoors that much.
Jason gave her a bad look, "What's in it for me?"
"I'll give you those few days to think of something, okay?"
Jason grumbled then sighed heavily, "At least tell me why I'm doing this for you..."
Calleigh smiled brightly. She had succeeded. "I can't really talk about it at the moment, but I'll let you know when I can."
Jason rolled his eyes, "Yeah, okay." He wasn't at all convinced.
"Thank you so much," Calleigh kissed his cheek, "I'll make it up to you, I promise."
"Mmhmm." He shooed her away, "Now, shoo, I've got work to do."
Calleigh smiled and swaggered off.
"Jason, have you seen Calleigh?" Alexx was surprised to find him alone in Ballistics.
"Yep, and she left."
Alexx's voice was filled with fear, "What?" Alexx shook her head, "No, no, no... Jason, tell me she didn't leave."
"She didn't tell you where she was going?" Alexx inquired.
"Well, I know where she's off to, and I don't approve," Alexx walked off unclipping her cell phone to call Calleigh.
Calleigh was driving down Route 1 in the CSI issued Hummer. The sunroof off, front side windows rolled down, her hair flew in the wind. Shades over her eyes, it felt good to be alive. She knew now why Horatio had left. A lot had changed in the last ten years. That was the thing she regretted the most, though; letting Horatio walk out of her life just as quickly as he had entered it. An early retirement, he had said. There was no stopping him. Frankly, no one wanted to nor made an attempt to because they understood that he had had enough. Over 30 years on the job, bomb squad and all was an amazing accomplishment, but with every new case, the weight of innocent victims troubled him more and more. He never did forget Raymond either. Unsettled, he was. He would keep going to bring respite to the victim's families, but never got any himself. It was time to move on before his mental health was blown to shreds.
As she thought of him now while she drove and looked out beyond the road to the endless blue of ocean, she realized the image of him had slowly faded, and all she could visualize was a tall man with red hair and blue eyes. She remembered his striking features, but the rest was blurred. It was as if with every year gone by without seeing him, he was being washed away from her mind. She did, on the bright side, remember a feeling. A warm loving feeling she had never admitted to him, but that they both knew existed, lived and grew between them. There was no explaining it. No way of putting it into words... it simply was, what it was.
She smiled. He always loved to stand on the beach and look out as far as his eyes permitted him to see. She glanced at the strip of beach as she drove by and imagined him standing there. His casual stance with his hands on his hips, oblivious to the burning desire a woman he had known once felt for him. What would she do if he were really there? Turn the wheel to steer the Hummer alongside the road, hit the brakes and come to an abrupt halt? Yes, she would. Door flung open, she'd run down to get him. He'd sense someone approaching and would slowly turn his head. Kicking up sand, she'd be just a few feet away when his body would be completely facing her, a faint smile playing on his lips. She'd stop, feeling foolish and embarrassed about revealing her deepest feelings for this man. He'd look at her with soft eyes, summoning her to him, and she'd meet his wish with open arms.
She came out of her reverie when the car's lights in front of her lit up. Traffic. Great, just what I need, she thought.
She reached for the radio and turned it on. 101.5 Light FM. She had never brought herself to change the station in ten years. It had been Horatio's radio station and his Hummer. Now, they were hers, and she liked being reminded of him. God, I wonder what he looks like now, she thought silently. He's probably just as handsome as he was. She cursed her mind for forgetting, but thanked her heart for remembering the feeling he could stir up inside her with just the timbre of his voice.
She essentially went from driving at normal speed to a complete stop. Tourists, most probably; cruising slowly and admiring the sights. Plus, the road had only two lanes. She took the opportunity to uncap her water bottle and had a drink while tagging along, bumper to bumper. What was going on up ahead for it to get to be this slow?
Calleigh's phone chirped, so she set her water bottle down and picked up her cell.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Alexx was clearly upset. She only swore on occasion.
"Alexx," Calleigh ducked her head. "I have to know who it is - "
"You think it's him, don't you?"
"You know who." Alexx humored her, "Horatio, that's who."
"Well, I'll know when I see for myself. Besides, the receptionist at the Continental Inn wouldn't give me the guest list over the phone -"
"Calleigh, you're just going to get hurt. Horatio didn't go South, he went North."
"How do you know?" she asked softly. "Did he tell you that?" she asked eagerly. "Maybe he missed the sun and came back."
"Calleigh, no one has spoken to him since he left, and there's a reason for that... he wanted to forget. Don't think I'm hiding anything from you."
Calleigh was silent again.
"Where are you?" Alexx questioned.
Calleigh sighed, "Stuck in traffic."
"Well, I suggest you do a "U"-y and head back - It's possible that he came back after all these years, but you know," Alexx took a gentle voice, "you're part of the reason he left."
"He told you that?"
"No. He never admitted it, but it was clear to me that it played a big part."
"You're telling me this and you want me to drive back?"
"I'm telling you this so you realize what he's been through to forget his past life and you."
"What about what I've been through? It was like one day he was there, the next he was gone. I don't work with him anymore... I have to see him. I know it's him; it has to be."
"I'm not trying to stop you because I know how stubborn you are. Just do the right thing, okay?"
Calleigh knew Alexx was thinking 'have a look, then turn back. Don't throw your life upside down.'
"I'll see you when I get back," Calleigh said softly.
"Alright, hon." Alexx hung up, knowing very well that that wasn't going to be anytime soon.
Calleigh pressed END and continued driving in queue until she passed a police car that had pulled someone over.
"Figures," she muttered.
Calleigh was driving on the Overseas Highway, Gulf of Mexico on one side, Atlantic Ocean on the other when she arrived in Marathon.
She turned left on the Causeway as directed and, anticipation building, she turned in the Continental Inn's parking lot, rolled up her windows, closed the sunroof and turned the Hummer's engine off. Stepping out on the vehicle, she relished in the feel of this place. It wasn't overshadowed by tall buildings like in the city and had this lovely tropical island feel to it. Flowers in rock gardens and palm trees growing all around.
She made her way to the front door and slipped her sunglasses atop her head like a bandana pulling her hair back.
Gun holstered and badge on her hip, she looked very official, but still took out her ID and flashed it to the receptionist.
"Hi, I'm Calleigh Duquesne from Miami-Dade P.D., we spoke on the phone -"
"Yes, of course. I remember - you wanted the guest list."
"Here you are." The woman watched as Calleigh took the book. Calleigh's eyes quickly roamed down the list, and her heart stopped when her eyes paused on the familiar last name.
Using her finger, she followed the line and read: CAINE, Horatio, 02/28/10. She stopped at the date... Six years after he'd left CSI to move up North, he had come back to Florida and not at just any date; Calleigh recognized her birth date.
She had to see him.
The receptionist studied her curiously. What kind of police business was this?
Calleigh continued reading and memorized his room number in her head.
"Thank you," she said, handing back the book to the woman at the counter.
"You're welcome. Glad I could help," the woman still wondered what this officer was after, or more importantly who, but stayed silent. Nosiness wasn't going to get her anywhere with a cop.
Calleigh walked out and took the path down to the one-bedroom condos. She prepared herself for an older Horatio, but, then again, she was older too. The place had a heated pool, she noticed, walking by the spaced foliage surrounding the terrace and pool. She could hear the waves from the beach nearby. This place was beautiful.
209 was on the second floor so she climbed the white-painted wood stairs and walked passed 205, 206, 207... her heart was thumping loudly now.
This was amazing. Someone had given her a number for this hotel in her sleep, and the man she loved more than life itself was living at that very same hotel. This had to be fate...
209. She stood before a screen door. The curtain was fully pulled behind it and she could just imagine his surprised expression when he'd pull it back to reveal her standing behind.
She knocked on the doorframe; loud enough for someone to hear yet without as much determination than she would have liked.
She was scared. Terrified, even. What was he going to say? What was she going to say? What if he wasn't alone? Maybe this was a mistake. She started to back away...
Before she knew it, she was running off. She reached the bottom of the stairs and sprinted towards the Hummer. Hopping in, she slammed the door. She looked back nervously, hoping no one had seen her. Supporting herself with her arms slumped over the steering wheel, she rested her forehead against it. Her stomach growled in dissatisfaction, and she decided to go have a bite to eat and to take some time to seriously think this through.
She did book a motel room for a few days, just in case. Hidden Harbor motel suited her just fine.
Sipping on her iced tea on a café's terrace, she looked out at the ocean. Paying the bill and leaving the waiter a tip, she left, crossing the street. Making her way down to the beach, she removed her high heels and walked barefoot to the edge of the water.
Walking along the shoreline, she blanked out the people around her, the noise, and listened to her heart. It was time to face him once and for all.
She didn't care about getting hurt because if she didn't go find him, she'd regret it the rest of her life. She already felt disquiet about the way things had been left. She had really wanted to take him in her arms and soothe the scars he wondered how he had gotten. Always trying to make the world a better place, Horatio. You had to admire him. His suffering made tears fall down her face.
Once again, she followed the path to Horatio's condo. As she trudged towards the stairs, she heard his voice. He was talking to someone and approaching, so Calleigh, curious about knowing who he was talking to and of getting a glimpse of him before he did of her, quickly jumped over the railing and hid a few feet away. Behind a tropical bush, she sat in a poolside chair, back to him.
"How 'bout 7 am, how would that be?" Horatio stopped by the same bush where Calleigh was. His back to her, Calleigh tentatively peered through the leaves and caught sight of him. He was wearing grey slacks with a white buttoned down shirt. Still very classy, even after leaving the job, Calleigh smiled. She couldn't exactly picture him in something less than what he was worth.
Stretching her neck a bit, Calleigh saw the woman with Horatio. She was unlocking the door to her condo, Calleigh deduced by the sound of her fumbling with keys.
"Yeah right, Horatio - did you forget we're all retired here?" the woman retorted.
Horatio chuckled, and Calleigh's breath caught in her throat. Be still my heart, she said only for her ears to hear.
The woman spoke again, "I'll see if Danny's up for it. We'd need a fourth, though."
"That can be arranged," Horatio solved the problem. "Mark owes me."
"Make sure he's in, and I'll talk to you later." The woman entered her condo.
"Alright, catch you later." Horatio said as the woman closed her door.
He stood there silently for a moment, and Calleigh felt extremely uneasy. Why was he staying put? Did he sense somebody there? She really didn't want to meet him like this.
Calleigh closed her eyes, hoping he would leave, and after a quick glance back down the hall, he went in the opposite direction and climbed the stairs. Calleigh quickly climbed over the railing and hid under the hallway's ceiling because she knew once he'd reach the second floor, he'd be able to see the entire poolside.
Bracing herself against the wall, she tried to recover and summon up her courage to march up those stairs and knock on his door.
There was no question about it; he would be there. He would answer.
No guts, no glory. Eric had said so once. She lifted her chin and kept her head up as she ascended the stairs.
The curtains were pulled back a crack, and she took a moment to peer inside his home. From where she stood, she could see the head of his bed and the living room couch. Shyly, she knocked then waited, hands clasped together in front of her. She unfortunately couldn't keep her eyes leveled, and her gaze fell to the floor.
"Yeah, just a minute -" Horatio said from the back room and from what she gathered was the kitchen. Calleigh brushed her hair back nervously and took one step right. Not because she wanted to surprise him - he would be surprised enough - but because she didn't want to see him stop in his tracks as he reached the door.
From the corner of her eye, she saw the curtain being pulled, and when she slowly made her eyes wander up, she saw his hand still holding the curtain. Roaming up his forearm, she noticed he had rolled up his sleeves. She watched, for a moment, the rise and fall of his chest. Moving up to see his chin, she noticed his mouth slightly agape. Self-consciously, she brought her own lips together. Looking over his features, she soon realized he hadn't changed all that much. His eyes were just as blue, if not bluer than she remembered. His hair was still the same gorgeous red color.
"Calleigh- " the name escaped his lips.
She smiled gently, nodding.
"What, ah - " he tried to stay coherent as he reached for the door handle, eyes never leaving hers, "What – "
"What am I doing here?" Calleigh lifted an eyebrow at his loss for words.
"No." Horatio shook his head still stunned, "What made you come?" He really wanted to ask what took her so long, but he was as much to blame for that as she was. He hadn't exactly done anything, though he'd thought of going back for her many, many times.
Calleigh felt so relieved that he was pleasantly surprised to see her. She could be herself like she had always been around him. Hands clasped behind her back, she tilted her head, suggesting, "I'll tell you all about it if you let me in - "
"Thank you," she said ever so softly as he held the door open for her and followed her long blond hair. She had kept it long, he noticed, and he smiled, realizing it could still, after all this time, draw his attention.
"Please, have a seat – " Horatio offered, and Calleigh took a seat on his beige couch.
He had asked her what made her go to him, not how she had ended up here. He didn't doubt her detective skills, she knew.
He wavered slightly, wondering how to go about this. Here she was in his home. The Southern beauty that is, Calleigh Duquesne.
"Would you like something to drink?" he asked, suddenly remembering to be a good host.
"No thanks, I'm fine," she gestured and placed her hands on her knees.
They both smiled nervously.
Horatio broke the barrier and sat next to her, "I don't know why this is so hard -" It was clear to him what they both wanted, why they had found each other.
"Horatio," Calleigh started, treasuring how he reacted to her saying his name, "I came down here because - "she trailed off, lowering her eyes.
He gently brought his hand to her chin and lifted her head so as to encourage her with his gaze.
"Because..." he helped her, locking eyes with her and she no longer cared about giving him the long explanation.
"Because of you," she breathed.
He slid his fingers through her hair, placing it back over her shoulder, and she turned to fully face him.
"I had to see you," she said with a heavy heart, brushing her hand over his cheek.
He captured her hand between his saying almost inaudibly, "I missed you, Calleigh." His eyes clouded with tears, and, even though Horatio was known for showing his feelings to an extent, this surprised Calleigh. Was there more to those words then him simply missing her? Had he moved on to overcome his loneliness? "I'm sorry," he said holding both her hands in his. He was...about everything.
"So am I," Calleigh responded, watching a tear stream down his face, unable to wipe it away with her hands caught between Horatio's.
"Everyone has moved on," Calleigh explained. She hadn't come all this way for nothing.
"Yelina and Ray have Rick. Susie and Madison are doing just fine on their own - " She knew he wouldn't have left Miami like that without knowing his family was going to be all right without him. It wouldn't have been true to his nature. "I... I never stopped thinking about you."
"I was selfish," he said lowly.
"Alexx said you wanted to forget - "
"Yes, I did. I wanted to start over; I wanted a clean slate, but it doesn't work that way. It took me so long to find myself."
"And you moved back to Florida," she said it matter-of-factly.
Horatio nodded, "And I moved back to Florida."
She wanted to know who he was now. She wondered if he was still the man who loved her, still the man who thought he was too old, too jaded to be with her. He wasn't her boss anymore.
"What happens now?" Calleigh asked, uneasily.
"I don't know." All he knew right then and there was that he was glad she was here with him.
He rested his arm across the back of his couch, and she casually leaned into his body.
The sun was quickly dying at the horizon as they talked and caught up on ten years of separation.
She wanted to stay, but insisted on going back to her motel room. He wanted her to stay close to him, but insisted on taking the couch.
As Horatio arranged a sheet on his couch, Calleigh helped herself to a warm bath. Alone in his bathroom, she couldn't believe where she was. She reached into her overnight bag for her vanilla cream bubble bath, and poured a few caps full into the running water. As she slipped into the water, she couldn't help but notice the small night blue candles, the honeysuckle bubble bath and the green tea shampoo. She could imagine him treating himself to a bath now and then.
Calleigh indulged herself and picked up the box of matches at reach to light the candles. Hearing her fumble with the matches as he walked down the hall, Horatio switched the light off beside the outer doorframe. From behind the closed door, he heard a surprised moan and a thank you.
"No problem," he whispered loud enough for her to hear from his standpoint at the door. He lingered somewhat, touching the door, wanting to touch the woman inside, before walking to his dresser to retrieve cotton shorts and a T-shirt as sleepwear. He hadn't worn anything to bed in a long time.
Removing his shoes while unbuttoning his shirt, he smiled listening to Calleigh hum a song. "Whatcha been doin'? ... Still making the world a better place..." she sang softly.
He missed a few lines and heard "... I wish I had taken you in my arms... taken you in my arms..."
Calleigh blew out the candles and stepped out of the bathroom. When the door opened, a sweet scent of French vanilla wafted in the house and reached Horatio, sitting on the couch.
Wearing a cami top and snug shorts, she walked into the living room where Horatio's bed was also. After putting her overnight bag on the floor against his dresser, she straightened, caught his stare, and smiled.
His gentle smile beckoned her to come sit by him.
He let her sit closely, turning slightly so that his right shoulder and arm were behind hers.
"Feeling better?" he asked.
"Much better," she smiled.
Horatio leaned closer and Calleigh felt she needed to tell him: "I used your shampoo - hope that's alright."
"That's fine. Smells better on you," he kissed her bare shoulder.
She turned to look him in the eye, hopelessly drawn to his lips. She kept a dangerously small space between hers and his, lifting her head and kissed his forehead instead.
This was all moving quickly, and she didn't want anything to escalate out of her control. "G'night, Horatio," she murmured, and moved to get up, only to be held back by him as he stood with her. He held her wrist with one hand, risking setting free his passion with the other. Stroking her cheek, moving in her hair, caressing her nape, he resisted the urge, and he whispered "Sweet dreams, Calleigh," before pulling away.
Unaware that those last words would keep her awake for an hour or two before sleep overcame her body, he switched the light off, settled sideways onto the couch only to, a second later, turn on his back.
She stared at him, watching the rise and fall of his chest again. Horatio was taking deep intakes of air, trying to relax, she figured. And as she tried hard, after an hour or so, to stay awake and watch him, she dozed off.
Waking up the next morning in the same position she had fallen asleep in, she found the couch deserted.
Horatio walked in with the morning paper, at the same time that Calleigh was getting out of bed.
"Hey," she smiled lazily, "Since when are you a morning person?"
Horatio grinned, "Since when are you not?"
She simply yawned saying, "Yesterday was a long day."
Horatio nodded then asked, "Did you sleep well?"
"Mmhmm. Did you?"
"Yeah." She knew he was lying. A six-foot tall man cramped on a not-so-long sofa.
"Will you let me take the couch tonight?" She held her breath, realizing what that meant and Horatio quickly made a comment to take Calleigh's embarrassment off her cheeks. "Maybe neither of us will have to -"
Calleigh's jaw almost fell open, and Horatio shook his head, smiling, happy that he had succeeded in putting himself out there for her. Taking the punch for her, he would. But, ever the clever man, he took it back, saying, "I'm just saying...you might feel more comfortable by yourself in your motel room-"
Calleigh smirked and, seeing the lack of discomfort on his part, played along, "Not a chance."
There was a silence before Horatio spoke again.
"Are you hungry?" he asked, standing beside her bed, which was actually, his.
"You wanna go out for breakfast? I know just the place -"
"Sure. Gimme a minute to get dressed."
"I have to make a phone call, anyway... so, take your time."
As Calleigh moved to the bathroom to get dressed, Horatio picked up the receiver and punched Maura's number. Maura, the woman who he'd been talking to yesterday about a game of golf, answered, "Horatio Caine. I came across Mark yesterday, and he said that you hadn't called him –" She certainly went straight to the point; her caller ID never going without good use.
Horatio smiled in the phone, "I got a little sidetracked..."
"Oh right, what could have happened for you to ditch a game, Tiger?"
He disliked when she called him that. "I'm no Tiger Woods and, for your information, I have ah... well, company."
"Don't seem so surprised."
"Well, how could I not be? Who is this mysterious woman? Do I know her?"
"No, she's actually ah... a close friend - Came to visit from Miami."
"Will she fill in for Mark, because he said he had other plans... since you didn't call him yesterday." Horatio laughed. Mark. That man was like a bird on a branch, always ready to fly off at any instant, which explained his lack of a stable relationship. "Um. I'd have to ask her. I'll let you know, okay?"
"Yeah. Let me know this time, Horatio." She seemed somewhat ruffled.
Horatio hung up, and Calleigh came out of the bathroom wearing a cute jeans skirt with a pale blue shirt, hair up in a ponytail.
Horatio smiled at her, "Ready?"
"Lead the way, Handsome." Horatio's smile went wider at the affection-filled word triggering his senses.
"After you," he motioned her out the door.
They discussed the past over breakfast, and Calleigh thought she never laughed so much. She massaged her cheeks, painful from all the laughter.
"You up for a game of golf?"
"Sure, why not!"
"Got your cell on you?"
"May I use it?" Always so polite, Mr. Caine, Calleigh thought. She loved that.
"Oh my goodness, don't tell me Horatio Caine got rid of his cell! Here - " she gave him hers.
"It took some doing," he said, smiling as he waited for the ringing to stop at the other end of the line.
"Who's this?" Maura picked up.
"Gotcha, Maura." Horatio responded with a slight chuckle.
"Using your friend's phone, I see. Calleigh Duquesne... sounds Southern..."
"It is. You'll be able to talk to her yourself when we meet up at the course... We're in. Calleigh's going to be our fourth."
"Danny!" Maura called for her husband, and Horatio had to move the phone from his ear to not be deafened by her yelling. "Hang on," she told Horatio.
When she picked up the phone again, Horatio asked, "So, is Danny up for it?"
"Oh, he damn well better be. I didn't marry him so he'd sit around all day reading - "
"Alright, it's a quarter to nine now... how 'bout we meet around ten fifteen?"
"Yeah, okay. Hey, I'll pick up Mike's clubs, and Calleigh can use mine."
"Sounds good. See you then." Horatio snapped Calleigh's phone shut and gave it back to her. "Nice phone - " Horatio said kindly, "Makes me miss mine." Calleigh had an exact copy.
"Ready to go?" Horatio asked, getting up, offering Calleigh his hand.
"Yes, I am."
They went back to Horatio's, and Calleigh changed into a short-sleeved shirt, as did Horatio. Maura stopped by as Horatio was handing Calleigh a cap.
"Yoohoo," Maura said, gently tapping on the door. "I hope everybody is decent."
Horatio looked at Calleigh, a glint in his eye, and walked over to greet his friend.
"Maura, you know the door isn't locked - "
"I know... I just didn't want to disturb you two. Here - " she handed Horatio a pair of women's golf shoes and closed the door, saying through the screen, "I'll leave the bag out here. Catch you later," she grinned.
"I forgot about the shoes –" Horatio said aloud and turned to hand them to Calleigh. "Hope they fit. I know you have relatively small feet."
Calleigh lifted the tongue, "Sevens. Perfect match." She beamed a smile, "I feel like Cinderella."
"Oh Cal, before we go - " he fetched some sun tan lotion. "I don't want your fair skin to burn. Here - I'll do your face, if you'd like."
Calleigh closed her eyes in silent answer. She felt the oily substance being rubbed onto her forehead and cheeks, her nose and chin.
Horatio made two, three dabs at the tip of her nose, and Calleigh smiled, "You finished?" She opened her eyes to see his eyes locked with hers for the second time in a long time. "Yup," he smiled gently.
Calleigh took the bottle and squirted some over her arms, rubbing it evenly. Then she did her legs.
"Now do me," Horatio requested, and Calleigh smiled at the delicious undertones.
Calleigh squirted some lotion in her hand and rubbed both hands together, then made sure she got all of his face. He closed his eyes, never flinching at her touch. She then took some more to spread over his forearms, and his eyes fluttered open to watch her. He enjoyed watching her show delight in the task.
"There you are! What took you so long?" Maura huffed.
Horatio was holding Calleigh's hand until she broke free, offering it to Maura, "Blame it on me. I'm Calleigh - Nice to meet you, Maura."
"Likewise, my dear."
"Thank you for the shoes and letting me borrow your clubs - "
"Shall we start?" Horatio suggested.
"What is it with men and golf!" Maura exhaled, taking Calleigh's arm to walk over to the putting range.
"You better watch out for Horatio. He's sweet and all, but he means business when it comes to golf." Calleigh smiled and looked back at him. He shook his head, and Calleigh thought: no more than he did when on a case.
"So hon, have you ever played golf before?" Maura made Calleigh snap back to the conversation.
"I've hit balls a few times with my dad before, but that's about as far as the story goes."
"C'mere, Calleigh," Horatio gestured, and Maura gave Calleigh a nod, telling her, "He'll teach you."
She walked over to where Horatio stood.
"Go on - "he motioned for her to step onto the green carpet with a 3 Wood.
She spread her legs out a bit, then took hold of the stick. Looking back at Horatio, she asked, "Am I doing it right?" She looked down at her feet, "I can't remember how to stand..." she trailed off, and Horatio went up behind her.
"Here, I'll take the stick and place it in your hand - Open your left hand- flat out," Horatio rested the club against her palm.
"Okay now hold it in your hand - "
"Thumb on top, right?"
"Yeah. Now loosen your grasp a bit - You're gonna slip your right pinkie between your middle and index finger of your left hand."
"Yup. Now you can grip it firmly. Not too high, not too low." Horatio showed her about where. He briefly touched her waist saying, "Spread your legs out a little more. Good," he moved closely behind her and placed his hands over hers. "Okay, this is what we're gonna do - "He whispered against her ear. "We're gonna keep this arm straight, keep our eyes focused on the tee where the ball should be." He brought the club back behind his ear, "You want to swing back and be able to see the end of the stick from the corner of your eye, then swing it with as much strength as you can to send the ball flying."
He showed her how it would look like in slow motion, bringing the stick up over her right shoulder. As they completed the swing together, Calleigh's right foot twisted backward just like the pros.
"Looks like it's coming back to you," he smiled, "See how your feet moved- "he pointed. "You're a natural."
"Why, thank you," she blushed, her cheek rubbing against his. The friction sent thrills through her body.
"Okay, now I'll step back and watch you." Calleigh blushed again. Watch me? He was toying with her. Thoroughly enjoying this little lesson.
She took her stance, legs shoulder-length apart, placed her hands correctly holding the club, and swung back quickly, seeing the end of the stick from the corner of her left eye, but then swung slowly down towards the rubber tee, hitting the carpet before the actual tee.
"Alright, that's not bad. The contact made with the ground will slow you down, though. Practice your swing while I get some balls."
She looked back at him, watching him walk away, thinking: yes, Horatio, why don't you get some balls and make a move. She knew he wanted to. They'd been flirting ever since they reunited. Just like old times, she thought, and then concentrated on swinging her club back fast enough and with enough power and precision to graze the tee.
Calleigh took a few swings at the tee, and, when Horatio returned; when she knew he was watching, she gave it her all.
"Nice swing," he complimented. "I think you're ready now." He picked up a ball from the basket and placed it on the rubber tee. "Now, just do the exact same thing you did, keeping your eye on the ball, and make contact."
Her hands were getting sweaty now. She didn't want to disappoint her teacher.
Swinging back, she caught sight of the end of the stick with her left eye and swung forward only to stop right before hitting the ball. Horatio smiled and she felt his smile from behind her head. "I know, I know... I have to hit it in order for it to go somewhere - "
"I didn't say anything, Calleigh. Take your time. No pressure - " Yeah, easy for him to say. Her mind went back to his actions, for a moment, and she thought 'take your time' is right. So much was going on between them, yet nothing had happened.
She chased the thought away and swung at the ball, hitting it full-force in frustration.
"Good job!" Horatio praised and Calleigh grinned, happy to hear those two words that meant so much to her coming from him.
They went for drinks at the clubhouse after their 18-hole. All sitting around a table, they nursed their drinks, tired from the game.
"Horatio," Maura started, "you used to be really good..." she watched him take a sip of his drink as he listened to her. "I'm sorry to say that you stunk today."
Maura's husband, Danny, continued, "It must be because this young woman was distracting him from the game." Maura glanced at her husband, saying, "You weren't too great yourself..." Danny smiled at Calleigh, and Maura swatted his arm.
"What?" Danny asked, surprised. He apparently hadn't heard that last bit of information with much innuendo from his wife. Looking at Calleigh, Danny continued talking about Horatio, "He normally scores close to a 90 and now he scored a 102."
"I don't mind," Horatio smiled and reached across, under the table, for Calleigh's hand. He brought it to his lips and placed a soft kiss in the groove of her palm near her wrist.
Danny and Maura both looked at each other thinking that wasn't the driven Horatio they knew.
Around five o'clock, Calleigh and Horatio left Maura and Danny to go shower and have a change of clothes.
Calleigh, standing under the shower's downpour, realized she had tan lines but no sunburns, thanks to Horatio.
... Horatio. He wanted to take her out for dinner, knowing that she was going to be driving back to Miami tomorrow morning. She tried to think of something nice she had to wear in her overnight bag but, regrettably, came up with nothing. She put the white striped slacks she had on when she drove down back on and a clean blouse. She did take the time to daub some lipstick, eye shadow and mascara.
When it was Horatio's turn to shower, she slipped out, wallet in her purse, determined to find something that could be described as mind blowing.
Horatio got out of the bathroom feeling like he was all dressed up with nowhere to go. Where had she gone, he wondered, then saw the note on the table telling him not to worry and that she'd be back soon.
Buttoning his midnight blue shirt, he left the top two buttons open and tucked his shirt in his black pants. He picked up his watch from the dresser and slipped it on.
Freshly shaved, he checked his breath, then ran a hand through his hair and sat waiting for her, on the bed. Calleigh walked in wearing a chiffon orchid dress with a fluttery handkerchief hem in an enviable shade of green that matched her eye color. Exquisitely feminine, she was. Horatio stood, openly gaping, "I wasn't expecting that." Walking over to her, he said, "You look amazing."
She cupped his cheek with her hand and slid down to his slightly opened shirt ordering, "Kiss me, you fool."
It wasn't long after her demand that Horatio had his arms around her, taking her in an intense but soft lip lock.
They enjoyed a nice dinner at one of Horatio's favorite restaurants and a lovely walk along the beach.
When they walked back to Horatio's condo, hand in hand, he asked, "May I interest you in a midnight swim?" He looked over at the pool.
"Don't mind if I do." Calleigh eyes sparkled.
They went inside and Horatio was already in his swim shorts and in the pool when Calleigh made her way to the poolside wearing a black bikini. She did look good in black, he smiled, a glint in his eye.
"You didn't wait for me - " she said, untying the wrap around her waist. His back against the cement of the in-ground pool, arms resting against the side, he followed her with his eyes, cherishing how she looked in black in contrast to her fair skin. "I'll make it up to you."
"Mmm." she tapped her chin with her finger in thought. "Alright, then," she stepped into the warm water. It was blissful to have the water so warm compared to the cool night air.
Both smiling generously, they found each other. Horatio held her against him, her silk-smooth skin tantalizing his senses, perturbing his sanity. He only needed to pull a few strings, and she'd be bare.
She brushed a hand through his hair, asking, "How are you going to make it up to me, Handsome?"
He kissed her neck, murmuring, "Ever done any skinny dipping?"
Calleigh's reaction was shock, yet, at the same time, she was thrilled. "Horatio - what if somebody sees us... we might get into trouble - "
"If they call the cops, you can arrest me," he said, trying to keep a straight face.
She wouldn't have done it with anyone else. Meeting his challenge, she said, "You first."
Horatio grinned. It wouldn't have been a problem, but he suddenly felt embarrassed to do so in front of her. He looked down, regrettably not having enough guts.
"Bailing out on me, Lieutenant? Come on, you brought it up - " she chuckled, amused by his reaction.
She exhaled at the query, "Alright, I'm willing to meet you halfway..." She reached for the string at her hip, "On three..." she made sure Horatio held his waistband awaiting.
"One..." she started.
"Two..." she continued,
"Two and a quarter..." she grinned.
"Two and a half..."
"Three!" She closed her eyes, pulling on the string at her side. She felt Horatio, after a moment, reach back and pull the other two strings holding her bikini top.
Calleigh, eyes still held shut, breathed loudly at the excitement and danger of being seen.
"Open your eyes," Horatio whispered. His velvety voice reached her, and she did as asked. "I never thought you'd do it," he smiled, holding her to him, shielding her from the possible view of others.
For him, she did it.
"C'mon, let's go," Horatio told her, "my towel's over there."
They both ran out together, and he wrapped both of them in his towel.
Laughing, they reached Horatio's bed.
Around 7 am, Calleigh cuddled up to Horatio, which stirred him from his slumber.
"You okay, Calleigh?" he asked, voice rough from sleep.
"I'm leaving today..."
"Yeah, I know that, sweetheart, but you'll be back... Won't you?"
"What do you mean?"
Horatio sensed her tense in bed. He furrowed his brow, "I... ah... I thought you came to see me, see where things would lead; see if we'd pick up where we left off and, to be honest, I thought you came to stay." He continued gently, "What did you think was going to happen?"
"I don't know..." She hadn't thought of that. She wasn't one hundred percent sure that it was going to be him, that she was going to find him even though her heart thought otherwise. "I know I don't want to leave my job - I'm not ready to do that."
"You want me to move back?" Horatio asked, creases forming around his eyes. Move back from where he ran from?
"No," she said with hesitance, "I don't know what I want... I guess I hadn't thought of that, of what could happen, of what would happen..." she moved the covers aside, slipping out of bed.
"Calleigh, wait - " Horatio scrambled around, picking up last night's discarded towel to put around his waist. "Where are you going?"
"I have to get back before lunch," she lied, "I'll eat something on the way."
Horatio was panicked. She was leaving. So fast, so soon... "You're leaving - just like that?"
His heart was breaking. This wasn't supposed to happen. Not again, not because of her.
"Horatio, you can't ask me to leave my job!" she was breaking down.
"No, I know I can't." He didn't think he'd need to.
"Of all people, I'd think you would be the first to understand - At least, you would have in the past..."
"I do, Calleigh... I know one thing for sure... I know I love you." If it weren't for her, he would have never admitted it.
Calleigh closed her eyes, firmly closing herself off. She loved him too. She didn't think the job would still be an issue; she didn't think it would be easy for him to leave his life here in Marathon, but she didn't think he'd refuse to go back to Miami.
She did, on the other hand, understand why he didn't want to, why he couldn't bring himself to face the past. She took her things and started packing her bag, and Horatio couldn't do much more than stand there and watch. He was frozen... inside and out. He knew he couldn't stop her. He didn't want to stop her. Her job was of high importance to her, to him.
She didn't give so much as a goodbye kiss or hug, only a quick look back. It was easier for her to leave if she pretended to be mad. Really, she was torn, brokenhearted, upset, and mad at herself.
Horatio went out onto the balcony of his floor and watched her leave. "I'll never stop thinking of you, Calleigh," he murmured to himself then went back inside, slumping back on the bed.
Calleigh's cheeks streamed with tears as she sped off. Don't look back, she ordered herself. She told herself not to, but did anyway and, even though she couldn't see his face, she knew he was in pain.
The voices in her head resounded...
'...That's a hell of a lonely road, he's walking.'
'Well, that's why I'm walking it with him.'
She squeezed the steering wheel harder; she needed to keep going. Had to, at least, go back and let everyone at the lab know if she was leaving or not... her friends, her family.
Meanwhile, Horatio, having gotten dressed, knocked on Maura's door and explained the situation over a cup of coffee.
He stared down at his cup in though, remembered asking Calleigh: 'What would you like in your coffee?'
'Sugar.' She had replied.
"I'm sure she'll come back," Maura comforted Horatio.
But what if she didn't. Horatio put his cup of coffee down. He couldn't live without her now. He knew his life belonged with hers. "What was I thinking?" Horatio muttered, out of the blue, "I have to go get her," he told Maura. "I'll move to Miami if I have to - " Goodbye to old misunderstandings, he thought. "I can't be without her."
Maura smiled, wishing him luck as he walked out the door.
Horatio drove out with Calleigh on his mind. So much time had gone by, and time was now against him. He never wanted to be apart from her again.
He was stunned when, while driving down the Overseas Highway, he crossed a CSI- issued Hummer H2 moving in the opposite direction.
He looked in his rearview mirror, saw the license plate number and saw the big vehicle pull over, coming to a stop on the side of the road. He did that same and watched for cars driving by before opening his door.
Looking over to the Hummer, he saw Calleigh climb out. They walked up to face each other, standing on either side of the road, trying to find the right time to cross. Calleigh waited until another car sped by before crossing.
She ran up to Horatio's open arms asking, "Can you ever forgive me for having left like that?"
Horatio held her tightly, "Well, I made the same mistake once."
He smiled and kissed her. "Calleigh, I don't want to lose you."
"You aren't. I've thought about it and I've made up my mind... I'll move down here with you."
"No," he shook his head, "you won't - I won't let you." Calleigh loosened her hold on him to look him in the eye. "I know how much you love your job and I wouldn't dream of taking that from you... I'm going with you to Miami."
"Are you sure?"
"Positive - I wouldn't have it any other way."
"Horatio Caine, you bullheaded man," she shook her head, smiling. "Oh and, by the way," she brought his head down to graze his lips, "I love you too."
And they kissed, holding each other for the longest time, forgetting the fast paced cars driving by.
A/N: I had the same kind of dream Calleigh had a few years ago; about someone giving me an important phone number. I luckily had a pen and a piece of paper nearby and scribbled down the number in the dark. It was pretty distorted in the morning I can tell you that! I kept it for a while but never called because it was a different area code; one I didn't know of. Ever the hopeless romantic, I thought it might be my future husband or something. But, after some time, I believed that I had written the wrong numbers down and forgot about it. I was too shy to call anyway. Why? Who knows? I was young. I don't know where the paper is now. I think I threw it out, so I'll never know what that was all about. I have the most interesting dreams sometimes and I totally believe in this kind of stuff. Weird, huh? Anyway, that's how this fic came to be; this kind of "what if" type of situation.