"Hey Horatio-" Calleigh's southern accent echoed in the lab's hallway as she sashayed towards him.
Horatio was shimmying down the hall after having taken the lab report she had given him. He stopped in his steps and turned "Yeah?"
"I was wondering if you're not busy New Year's Eve if you'd like to have dinner-" she ventured.
Gentle creases formed between his eyebrows, Horatio questioned "I ah I thought you were going back home to see your parents for the holidays-"
"I am. For Christmas- If you have something already planned- it's okay, I mean-" she said blinking, eyes roving everywhere except his face.
He cut her off "No. No, I don't. You know what, I was just gonna sit at home. I'm just surprised-" he asserted nonplussed.
"There's a lot more where that came from-" she locked eyes with his. He gave her a lopsided grin.
"My cooking hasn't killed anyone yet-" she said with a smile.
He chuckled lightly and she continued saying in a more serious tone: "I just don't think anyone should spend New Year's alone-"
"You're probably right," he murmured instilling the invitation in his mind.
"Does that mean you're coming?" she asked arching an eyebrow.
He downcasted his eyes "Yeah," then looked into her eyes "it does."
"How does six-ish sound?"
"Perfect," he replied in a velvety voice.
She smiled happily and turned to leave, mincing away.
She swiveled "Yes?"
"Thank you," he told her in an orotund voice.
"My pleasure," she answered and veered to walk away.
Calleigh's place was heavenly beautiful. Soft pastel colors for the wall and rich mahogany furniture. The motifs on her living room furniture were bright colored flowers. The only place that had a special out-of-her-usual- shinning-self was her bedroom, Horatio noted as she gave him the tour. He enjoyed exploring her condo. After two years, you start to wonder how a person you see everyday lives. The bedroom was completely white. She made the comment of knowing that it stood out but truth was, she never got to decorate her boudoir. She lacked time and her mind wasn't made up on the type of décor she'd like to wake up to. She didn't spend much time in her bedroom anyways. It was solely for sleep. Horatio knew she was a workaholic even though she vehemently denied it. She'd either cover for a fellow CSI or work over-time, double shifts; anything to keep her busy. Apparently the healthy balance between work and home was inexistent. Nonetheless, he saw Calleigh in her bedroom. It was lily-white; pure just like her soul. He followed her as they sauntered around her place. His eyes roved over her and she smiled wondering what he was thinking as his thoughts continued. He didn't quite understand why she pushed herself so much until he realized he did the same. Keeps loneliness away, he thought.
He had already commented on what she was wearing when he first arrived and laid eyes on her as she cordially welcomed him into her home. He had his eyes to the ground but when she answered the door, they hindered ascending over her figure. He had come up with a huge amount of adjectives. Scrumptious, radiant, splendid, ravishing, divine. "You look.stunning," he had settled with that word to describe her in a mellifluous voice. In a sheath dress graciously hugging her gently curvaceous physique, her luxuriant hair flowed on her bare back. The color of this magnificent gown was deep red. She wore delicate leather sandals showing off her burgundy polished toes and a ruby necklace adorning her neck, drawing a gaze to her décolleté. It made Horatio's heart palpitate.
"You do too, handsome. Come in-" she stepped aside.
He took steady steps to walk inside. "Here, this is for us," he said handing her a bottle of Crystal champagne. "To celebrate the New Year," he winked. "And, this is for you-" he said in a throaty voice, handing her a long stem rose from behind his back.
She had rosy cheeks now and a refulgent smile. "My lord, you are a charmer-" she drawled.
"I couldn't resist-" he trailed off.
"Resist what?" she asked batting eyelashes.
He tittered, "The urge to make you smile."
"The urge to make me smile or the urge to make me blush?" she asked him in an inquisitive tone at him that made him snigger. He wanted to tell her that her smile had a brightness equivalent to a billion suns but he refrained to do so. She divested him from his taupe colored jacket. The ever-snazzy Horatio Caine wore his snug black buttoned down shirt neatly tucked in his belt. An impressive man, indeed. She broke into delicious shivers catching a glimpse of his opened collar, watching him move closer to kiss her cheek.
"How are you, Calleigh?" he asked holding her hands in his.
"Very happy to see you."
"So am I."
During the tour, Horatio noticed Calleigh's sedulous attempt to make this evening special. Candles were glimmering throughout the living room and kitchen creating a dim, delightfully cozy atmosphere. Her Christmas tree was still standing tall with flickering fairy lights and scintillating ornaments. It spread a wonderful smell but Horatio had been more attuned to the perfume that impregnated her dress. He loved this woman but he'd never do anything to damage the wonderful complicity. It was more than friendship, more than a platonic relationship but they were both comfortable letting things sort out on their own. They hadn't seen each other since the Christmas party on the 22nd. Horatio had bought a box of Pot of Gold chocolates for the whole gang to share. He remembered she had gone home for Christmas. Over hors d'oeuvres (yes Horatio was amazed by her culinary talents and everything she had done. Did she know the way to a man's heart or what?), he inquired, clearing his throat: "How was your Christmas?"
"Nice. I saw everyone. Everybody's good. I realized my home is here in Miami. It felt good to feel that way since it wasn't the case last Christmas- How was yours?"
"Fine. Went to Yelina's to see Ray junior."
Calleigh complimented him on his generosity to stepping in and being the father figure in Ray jr.'s life. He continued saying: "I wish I could have been there for Maddy too and not just send her-," he trailed off realizing he hadn't told Calleigh about Madison. He took a sip of the drink in front of him, hoping to come up with another subject to chat about but Calleigh didn't give up that easily.
She furrowed her brow and the silence didn't last very long as she asked "Maddy as in Madison? Suzie's daughter?" He nodded. She had worked the case with him to help him solve his brother's murder. She instantaneously said: "Wow, how caring of you- She did strike a cord in my heart as well-" She suppressed a smile seeing his expression.
"There's more to it than you know, Cali. I assume you can keep this confidential because I trust you and I think subconsciously I need to tell someone as I inadvertently started to-"
"I can keep a secret," her gaze not faltering.
"Madison is Ray's daughter."
It came to her as a shock but somehow she wasn't surprised that Horatio Caine had stepped in and took responsibility for his brother's mistakes. He was thankful for her for not having mentioned how perfidious his brother Ray was but still diverted her compassionate look and said: "I had a lot of trouble finding the right gift- I couldn't ask anyone, afraid that somehow the truth would be revealed."
"You're protecting Yelina?"
"Yes, I have to-" he thought a second "thanks for letting me get this off my chest."
"You should have told me sooner, I could have helped-" she continued "Everything in its own time, I guess, right?"
"Yeah" he smiled.
As an entrée, she offered freshly baked buns with carrot porridge and she was amused when Horatio said it was fabulous specially to keep his hair red. She muffled a snort with her hand and napkin as he continued eating. She succinctly replied: "It's actually for those pretty eyes- to keep them sharp."
He eyed her up because of what she had just ignited within him and with finesse, he murmured in a husky voice "To see the beauty that sits before me-"
Dinner was lovely. She had made a turkey accepting to make herself turkey sandwiches with the leftovers for the week to come. She certainly had pulled out all the stops; there was: stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, a cold pasta salad and white wine. They both enjoyed small talk and the soft music in the background. During dinner, Horatio inconspicuously watched her eat. This woman oozed sex appeal, he thought. Horatio complimented her on everything but more so on her cinnamon rolls and succulent pecan pie, they had for desert. She certainly had gone all out for him and he told her exactly that. She gave him one of those priceless smiles tipping her head to flip her hair back. He leaned into her space and took her hand from across the table into his, lightly kissing her fingers.
"Calleigh, I'm glad we're here together tonight-" This man was so suave, she thought.
"I wouldn't have asked anyone else-," she said with a saucy look.
He wanted her to open up to him as did she but both fearing where the lusty desire would lead them, they fought off the urge to kiss.
Horatio came up from behind and surprised Calleigh as she was cleaning up after dinner. He whispered in her ear: "Let me give you a hand-", taking the cloth to dry the dishes. She stood still, weak in the knees, practically melting. It had tickled her senses. She turned her head so that her mouth was almost touching his and replied: 'Thanks Handsome." She was so lovesick. He deliberately stayed close to her as she handed him the clean wet dishes from the sink where she stood facing. She felt his gaze on her and could barely stifle a grin and the pinkish hue appearing on her cheeks. He diligently stored away the dishes as she told him where they were supposed to go. "Third cupboard on the right," "second drawer," "second cupboard up top." She took pleasure in being the boss. He didn't mind complying to her every command. He'd move heaven and earth for her.
They sipped on Jasmine tea, lounging on the couch in her living room until Horatio stood asking for her hand. "Would you like to dance?" he asked in a husky voice she couldn't resist. Taking her hand, drawing her towards him, he glanced at his watch and knew there was about ten minutes left before New Year's. The soft music was perfect for a slow waltz rhythm. Their bodies grazed, slowly swaying. Horatio held her, guiding her with a hand to her lower back. Calleigh struggled with her control. She had to subdue her physical urges with self-discipline. The tantalizing feeling of Horatio holding her just close enough to feel the heat he released was overwhelming her senses. He stretched his right arm out and made her twirl under his wring. "Won't be long now-" he murmured. As he slowly drew her back, she turned and took his hands to wrap them around her waist. She leaned back onto his chest and lolled her head back. The sweet torture of Calleigh Duquesne aroused him. She turned to face him and now both his hands were resting on her lower back. She looped her arms around his neck and glanced at her watch. She looked into his sapphire eyes and they gazed at one another, still swaying, until she looked away at her watch again. There was a minute left before midnight. When the countdown began she whispered "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1." and before she had time to say happy New Year, Horatio said it himself: "Happy New Year, Calleigh-" his breathing warm against her lips. She rested her head on his shoulder and they both breathed heavily. She barely had resisted the urge to kiss him but they both knew they shouldn't start something they weren't ready to finish. He kissed her forehead and rested his chin on the top of her head as they continued dancing.
"It's getting late, I should be going-" Horatio reluctantly told Calleigh, glancing at his wristwatch.
"It's early actually-" It was about 3 in the morning. They had drank champagne while watching television together, huddled up on the couch. "Why don't you stay and have breakfast with me-"
"Breakfast?" he lingered. She was teasing him. Of that, he was sure. They both knew the tension had slowly grown between them throughout the evening and now she was asking him to stay? They were on dangerous grounds. Neither wanted to ruin their relationship, their work environment and neither wanted more badly to embrace and savour the red hot passion that coursed through them.
"I'd like you to stay Horatio," she said it plainly but still thinking about all that it implied.
"Then I'll stay," he was poised.
"Really?" she blinked.
"Really. I think it's best I take the couch though."
Hiding her disappointment, Calleigh crooned: "Okay."
"You're sure you're okay with it?" he asked. Now he was teasing.
"I'm fine with it, Handsome. I'm happy you're staying," she caress the outline of his jaw and was delighted with his five o'clock shadow rubbing against her fingers.
"Me too." After a few seconds of reflection, "You made dinner, I'll make breakfast- deal?"
At around 5 am, Calleigh went to see Horatio. She tiptoed towards the couch to kneel beside him and watched him sleep. What she didn't know is that Horatio had peeked and saw her approach. He was lying on his back, arm limp across his bare chest, while the other was under his head. This was too much, watching his relaxed face as he dreamed. He was bare from the waist up and she could see his chest slowly rise and fall as he breathed steadily. She was mesmerized and had a hankering to slip her hand through his hair, to trace the outline of his jaw. He looked so peaceful that she didn't want to disturb him. He shifted in his sleep and she held her breath. He knew she was still watching him and it became unbearable for him to continue on with this little game; he wanted to see her. He loved her so much, more than she'd ever know. His eyes fluttered open and in a gravelly voice he said: "Calleigh"
"Hi," he propped himself up on his left elbow and the flannel sheet that laid over his chest fell loosely around his waist and, again, she held her breath.
"Horatio, I'm sorry I disturbed you-"
"Don't worry about it"
She moved closer asking: "Did I wake you?"
"Nope." "You okay?" he enquired, concern rippling through him.
"Not really, no."
"C'mere sweetheart-" He took hold of her arm and pulled her onto the mattress with him. He gave her full control as she nestled against his chest, facing him.
He spoke again "I know this is difficult. Believe me."
"Horatio, I know you're my boss but we're on the same team, I think it would be okay. Don't you wonder what it would be like?" The brief intimate contacts were insufficient.
"Every single day that goes by-" he murmured then tucked his lower lip under his upper. For a few instants, he stayed silent and then spoke again: "I don't want to hurt us Calleigh-" He didn't want to be her scourge. A tear glistened on her face, trailing down the side of her nose. She was riddled with pain.
Her voice quavered: "Then, gives us a chance. Nothing is more painful than not being able to love you-" He wanted to kiss her. He was famished to indulge in his impulses. The honeyed words made it difficult for him to hold off. This heart to heart burned him.
Her face recoiled in horror. She held her eyes firmly shut trying to retain the tears that threatened to pour out.
He nudged her chin so her face wasn't hidden. Her chin trembled. He muttered: "I'm sorry I waited so long-" with a lustful gaze. She had misinterpreted his answer. He reassured her and redressed what he had thought all along. He had relented but no more. He had been receptive and wanted to reciprocate her love. It could no longer be repressed, it needed a way out. Together they would withstand the repercussions. Call it a New Year's resolution.
The inveterate love she carried inside her for him was rekindled. She had never renounced to the possibility of them together. Really, they had never been apart, always connected. She was rendered speechless. His revelation stirred her.
He encircled her with his arms instigating unabashedly a ripeness for love. She was invigorated now that the insuperable love he had for her was irrefutable. It came as an irrepressible need, an irruption of sorts, she needed to feel him. She lavished him with kisses like a magnetic force finding its north. She slaked her desire as she satiated Horatio with steamy kisses. Her satiny skin longed to be touched. He overlaid her and roamed up her body, slipping his hands under her satin nightgown, pulling it up over her head. Within seconds, it was flung to the floor. It was uncharacteristic of Horatio to lose control and he hadn't intended it to be so hurried. He unpretentiously promised to make it up to her for his unstoppable vehement and voracious wanting. His desire for her took precedence over everything else.
She was sandwiched between him and the mattress. He nibbled her earlobe as she kneaded his nape. They were both enveloped in lust and kilter. It was impossible to deny, it was all worthwhile. They fondled and frolicked until the crescendo made them unite. Oneness was bliss. Calleigh felt everything tighten and pull for one moment, taking in jagged breaths.
The surreal thrill brought serenity like a wave. She climbed over him and her sleek glossy hair shrouded her face. He reached up and brushed his fingers through it. The smoothness of her hair gliding against his bare chest was enough to make him go over the edge once more. She rested her hand on his chest, listening to his heartbeat.
He looked down at her resplendent beauty. He twiddled with stands of her tousled hair. Her vanilla pomade drove him mad.
"Second thoughts?" she asked, laying still.
Horatio answered: "No, Calleigh, never." He wrapped his arms around her and snuggled with her.
Summary: My first Horatio/Calleigh fic. I'm proud of this one... took forever to write. Review if it tickles your fancy ;)