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A Tour of the Heart (6/?)
by somewhereapart (somewhereapart)
at March 16th, 2009 (11:42 am)

Title: A Tour of the Heart (6/?)
Author: SomewhereApart
Fandom: CSI: Miami
Characters: Eric/Calleigh
Rating: PG13
Summary: They say if you really want to understand someone, you have to understand where they come from.


Catching up?
Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five




“I don’t know what’s wrong with her,” Charlotte huffed, scrubbing a plastic Disney princess plate that had been Gracie’s at breakfast. “She’s not sick. No fever, happy as a clam. In fact, I think she’s quite pleased with herself. She seems tickled pink that she’s pooped three times before ten AM.”


Calleigh smirked and fiddled with the edge of her napkin, wondering at the fact that this particular brand of mom-talk wasn’t off-putting in the least. In fact, aside from the dull ache of sadness and the low thrum of anxiety, she felt okay today. More settled. It was a welcome change. “Maybe she does it on purpose, just to drive you crazy,” she teased her sister-in-law.


“I’d just bet,” Char grumbled, slipping the plate into the dish rack and fishing what looked to be the matching sippy cup out of the soapy dishwater. “Two years old and already searchin’ out ways to drive me up a damned wall.”


“Well, she’s dad’s problem now,” Calleigh assured, trying to picture her father changing diaper after diaper for the rest of the day. She’d spent so little time at home that she had only dim memories of her dad with toddlers, but he seemed so good with Gracie. Natural. He seemed happy here, which was comforting and terrifying all at the same time. But what wasn’t these days?


Conversation lulled as Charlotte worked on the dishes and Calleigh nudged the last of her eggs around her plate with a fork. A minute later, Charlotte asked as casually as she could manage, "Did you call your lover yet?"


Calleigh’s fork stilled, her spine straightening, and she eyed the back of Charlotte’s head for a moment before choosing to evade. "Why do you call him that?"


She turned, quirked one eyebrow at Calleigh. "...Is he or is he not your lover?"


"Well, yes,” Calleigh sighed, “But-"


"But what? I see no problem with the title.” She turned back to her dishes. “Answer the question."


Figuring she’d either have to fess up or endure an afternoon of questioning, Calleigh decided to screw it and go with honesty. "Yes."


"Really?” Princess cup safely in the dish rack, Charlotte nudged the water off despite the several dishes still in the sink, and turned to give Calleigh her full attention. “How did it go?"


"Well, we didn't really... talk,” she admitted, shifting her gaze back to her plate and scooping up a small forkful of eggs. She wasn’t particularly hungry anymore, but it gave her something to busy herself with.


Even with her eyes on her plate, she could almost see the way Charlotte’s brow lifted again. “You called, but you didn't talk?"


"Not really, no."


"Well, either you spoke to the man or you didn't, Calleigh."


Calleigh sighed heavily and let her fork settle on her plate with a soft clink. "Did I speak to him? Yes. Did we work anything out? No. It was... a short conversation."


"How short?" Charlotte demanded, humorless, making Calleigh wonder (and not for the first time) if Charlotte was supposed to be a sister-in-law or the tough-love mom her mother never managed to be.


"Short."


"Get-it-over-with-during-a-commercial-break-short, or...?"


"Honestly?” She got another quirk of brows in response, which she took to mean something along the lines of “duh.” “You'd have a few commercials left in that break."


“Why?”


“What?”


“Why so short?”


Shrugging, Calleigh picked her fork up again, fiddling with it absently. “I told him I didn’t want to talk about it yet. Not on the phone anyway.”


"Oh for the love of God, Calleigh. Throw the man a bone."


"I'm not ready to talk to him yet,” Calleigh excused. “I've been busy with other—“


Charlotte cut her off with a shake of her head. "That big ol' brain of yours is perfectly capable of doing double duty. Hell, quadruple probably isn't out of the realm of possibility for you.”


“Regardless, I don’t want to work things out over the phone. I’ll be home soon; it can wait.”


With a scoff and a shake of her head, Charlotte rounded again and knocked the water back on, reaching for another plate and surprising Calleigh by asking, "When did you get to be so damned selfish?"


"Excuse me?" she questioned, hackles rising.


"Being in a relationship is about two people working things out, Calleigh,” Charlotte explained, voice ripe with impatience. “It is not about one person throwing a snit and being childish."


Well, that was about enough of that. "Okay, you know-"


"No,” Charlotte cut her off, still scrubbing at her dishes. “You listen. You and I listen to each other, remember? It’s what we do. So you listen. That man loves you, and he is reaching out, and you have shut him out at a time when I'm guessing you need a shoulder to lean on. I know I do. Tucker does. Bryan does. So get off your high horse and stop actin' like you don't need anyone. And don’t for a second discount that man’s need to be there for you – something you have wholly denied him since the minute your daddy called you.” It wasn’t until that moment that Calleigh had really considered that her grief might call up need in Eric and not just herself, and she felt suitably guilty over that. But apparently, Charlotte wasn’t done. “And Calleigh, in all the years I've known you, you've been cool as a cucumber. You get emotional, sure, but you don't get snippy like this. So unless he cheated, or you cheated, suck it up and knock it off.” She finished her dish, plunked it into the drainer. Calleigh sat quietly and resisted the urge to ‘get snippy.’ “What in the hell was that fight about anyway?"


"He thinks I need a vacation," Calleigh answered, with a roll of her eyes.


"Do you?"


"No,” she insisted firmly, much like she had several nights ago in her apartment when the subject had first come up. “I’m fine. I've been working a lot lately, but... I'm fine.”


“Yeah, you sure seem fine,” Charlotte grumbled sarcastically.


“It's not like I asked the fine people of Miami to go on murdering rampages," Calleigh bit, fingers nipping at her napkin and ripping little tears around the edge. She’d had just about enough of everyone thinking they knew what she needed better than she did.


"Doesn't mean you have to be the one to clean up the mess."


"Actually, I do,” she pointed out. “It's my job, Char."


"There are other ballistics experts in that lab. Some of them even competent, from what you've told me. They don't need you workin' yourself to the bone all summer when you could be snuggling with your honey on a beach somewhere," Charlotte reasoned.


“I can’t go with Eric. IAB would be all over us booking the same vacation dates.” There were other reasons, but those were none of Charlotte’s damned business."And whose side are you on anyway?"


"Yours,” Char declared, before adding, “You should join me over here; it’s lovely."


"What exactly is that supposed to mean?"


Sighing, Charlotte turned away from the sink and ordered, "Stand up,"as she grabbed a glass and headed to the fridge.


"What?"


She pulled a pitcher from the fridge, and filled the glass with lemonade. "I said 'stand up.' You as deaf as you are stubborn?"


"Y'know, I don't really appreciate-"


"Oh for Christ's sake, Calleigh!” she exclaimed, her temper wearing thin. “Just stand up."


With a huff, Calleigh pushed herself from her chair and stood, hands on her hips as she raised her brows expectantly. "Well? What now, mistress?" Charlotte just handed over the glass, then mirrored her stance. Calleigh waited for her to say something; she didn’t. "What am I supposed to do with this?"


"Hold it."


"Hold it?"


"Hold it."


"...Hold it."


"Mmhmm."


"For how long?"


"How long do you think you can?" Charlotte half-wondered, half-challenged, and Calleigh decided she’d had just about enough.


"This is ridiculous," she muttered, moving to set the glass down before Charlotte's sharp "don't you dare," made her pause.


"I'm trying to make a point here, Calleigh, and you're going to hold that glass in that hand until I've made it."


"So make your point, Charlotte,” she demanded. “I'm not getting any younger."


"That glass isn't too heavy, right?" Char asked casually.


Was she joking? "No, I don’t suppose so," Calleigh muttered slowly, thoroughly done with this little exercise.


"No problems holding up the weight right now?"


"It’s a glass of lemonade, Charlotte." Calleigh was fairly certain Charlotte had gone completely round the bend. Maybe the kids had finally made her insane. A shame, that, she made good company when she wasn’t being pushy.


"It is,” she agreed. “But if you were still standin' here with it an hour from now, that arm would be pretty sore, don't you think?"


"I guess..." This was clearly going somewhere, but Calleigh’d be damned if she knew where.


"And if you were still here at midnight, you'd probably wish you could cut the damned thing off, right?"


"I don't see the point you're trying to make."


"Of course you don't," Charlotte muttered with a roll of her eyes."This glass, my dear Calleigh, represents your troubles. You can carry them just fine for a little while, but given enough time they start to weigh on you. They pull you down, they make you tired, and sore, and sour. All that man of yours is asking you to do is put the glass down before your arm falls off. Set it down, pick up a suitcase, and go."


"The glass isn't that heavy yet," Calleigh reasoned easily, mentally berating the analogy as she resisted the urge to shift the cup to her free hand.


“Calleigh.” It was the sudden gentleness of her voice that cut through Calleigh’s resolve. "If it wasn't, would he be fightin' you over it?"


Calleigh frowned, and lowered her gaze to study the ice cubes bobbing in the glass. She had a point there.


"Put the proverbial glass down, Calleigh," Charlotte told her."Call your man, tell him you're rock dumb. And think about stayin' here for a while. There's a lot to go through in that old house, and knowing you, I'd bet you've got years of vacation saved up."


“I miss him,” she admitted softly, cupping the glass with both hands now.


Charlotte shrugged, reasoning, “There’s room in that house for both of you.”


“Internal affairs-“


“Just call him, sweet pea.”


Sighing, Calleigh sunk into her chair again before nodding and lifting the glass for a sip. "Thanks, Charlotte."


"Anytime, bonehead."


.

“Sometimes life comes at you hard,
And it’s easy to let it drag you down…
…It’s only what you make of it,
And you make it so hard on yourself.”


--“Only What You Make of It”
Little Big Town



Comments

Posted by: Sabi (love_kate_walsh)
Posted at: March 16th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
{CSI: Miami} Calleigh/Eric - Kiss

The glass demonstration made me laugh (which also means cough these days) very much. I'm glad Charlotte got through to Calleigh. The woman can be so subborn at times :D

I have to say it again. I love Charlotte.
Great chapter. Can't wait for more :]

Posted by: somewhereapart (somewhereapart)
Posted at: March 16th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
sweet tea

Thanks babe :)

Altho I can't take all the credit for the glass analogy -- the idea came from one of those ridiculous email forwards. But it happened to make its way to my inbox right when I was beginning to work on this story, and I thought it worked well for thsi scene. hehe

Posted by: my_altered_life (my_altered_life)
Posted at: March 17th, 2009 04:09 am (UTC)

Yay! This is so good! It reads like a novella, and I'm lovin' it. Now all I need is...to read the rest...

:D

Posted by: somewhereapart (somewhereapart)
Posted at: March 17th, 2009 05:18 am (UTC)
sweet tea

Thanks!

And more will be forthcoming, no worries. Not sure when, as I am on vacation this coming weekend, but eventually, there will be more!

Posted by: Clo (citymusings)
Posted at: March 17th, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)

Good girl. Call him. Make him come. Have a nice vacation with him. :)

Nice job.

Posted by: somewhereapart (somewhereapart)
Posted at: March 18th, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
sweet tea

Thanks! They're gettin there, slowly but surely.

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