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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:09 pm 
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September 26th Friday 2014 18:00

Caleb was a bit of a mess, it had been several days since his promise of a second date to Claire, it had come to no surprise that actually work did get in the way that following day. It wasn't even a shit hit the fan kind of busy few days either, they were just busy with general work type stuff, and he had, had to send off an email to delay any further going out with her. He hadn't really thought much about what to put in the email to her, just a simple 'really busy, can't make second date, rain check?' was what he had sent.

Then a day turned into a couple and now here he was, at 6pm on a Friday evening stood not in uniform - for a change - but in jeans, t-shirt, jumper and jacket heading towards the infirmary. He had tried the Mess but had found little to nobody in there, everyone was probably already out enjoying the weekend, so had headed to the next best place he knew where to find her.

Caleb knew exactly where he was going to take her on a second date, had gotten it all planned out - in between lunch breaks and coffee breaks - and had taken the ribbing of all the other techs about how soft he was going to be dating someone and did he miss 'playing the field?' as some had so aptly put it.

He had wondered if he was doing the right thing at that question, there was a small thrill about the chase of a beautiful woman he wasn't afraid to admit that, sometimes the chase was more enjoyable than the night they would spend together. So yeah a little self doubt started to creep in, was he going to miss that? Being with one person was such a big thing, to go from essentially playing the field to being with just one person, big step to take on his part. He also didn't have anyone really to voice said worries to, sure there was plenty of people he could confide in, but they all also knew his reputation and were unlikely to take him seriously.

The place had kind of run wild with gossip the day after the situation in the gym, Caleb had, had to bear quite a bit of it. There were a lot of pats on his back, for getting the first kiss on Claire, and some small jealous part of him wondered if people had been taking bets or something. Not that he ever took part in anything like that, he might be a flirt and a bit of a cheeky guy, but he didn't like the thought of taking part of a betting pool on people. Everything he did was consensual with everybody.

He got to the infirmary, smile firmly in place as he stepped through the door, he stopped a nurse on his way, "Where can I find Claire?" he didn't bother with her title, he was sure that most of the infirmary staff worked that closely together and had to rely on each other so much that most formalities would go out the window.

It also helped that the nurse he stopped was a young lady and the smile at just the right point, had the nurse smiling right back. He felt a little bit of pride in knowing that he could still make people smile at him like that, "She is just over there," the young nurse pointed out.

Looking over, Caleb spotted the back of Claire, good that meant she hadn't seen him come in or if she had then that meant he might be in some kind of trouble. Nodding his thanks, he went over swallowing thickly as he did, this had been so much easier the other day, "So I know am a few days late, but second date?" he started out with. Really hoping that she hadn't just come onto shift and was actually in the process of finishing it.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:49 pm 
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Claire took a deep breath as she signed off on a chart, then hung it back on the end of the bed. With a professional smile, she pointed at the Airman lying prone. "And no trouble for the nurses tonight, you hear me? I don't want to hear any tales of you copping a quick feel when they bed bath you!" The words were said in jest, but there was no real mirth behind them. Bedside manner at its finest, that was all.

Since Wednesday, ever since the perfunctory email from Caleb cancelling their date, Claire had felt deflated and disappointed. It had been bad enough to hear the gossip flying around about them - including several slurs on her character for letting a bloke with Caleb's reputation "seduce" her - and she hadn't even bothered setting them straight. There was no point. It looked as though the gossips were right, and she had been wrong to believe that he wanted something more than just a single night. He couldn't even be bothered to come and see her to tell her that he couldn't make their date.

Since then, she'd flung herself into her work, taking as many shifts as she could get, just so that she didn't have to think about Caleb, and the fucking mess she had made of their friendship. The whole evening on Tuesday, she had gone against her better judgment, letting her emotions rule her common sense, and she had felt more alive than she had in years. One taste of that heady set of emotions, and she had been ready to maybe try something with Caleb.

And then he had gone and cried off.

Along with the gossip about the two of them had swirled more tales of Caleb flirting with other women on the base in the last few days, and Claire had kicked herself. It sounded like a leopard really couldn't change its spots, and she found herself more upset and disappointed than she would ever admit to anyone, especially to Caleb.

Sighing, she glanced at the clock. Just gone six. She'd been on shift for twelve hours now, and her body was yelling at her to stop, to slow down, to stop punishing herself, but she didn't want to go home to her empty apartment, an apartment she had hoped to show to Caleb. It was mocking her for making plans that had been broken.

Claire tugged her hair out of her ponytail, and headed for her office. She might as well make sure that the paperwork was up to date, that would kill an hour or two. Just as she reached the office door, though, a familiar voice invaded her thoughts, and she stopped in her tracks.

Despite herself, Claire could feel a tiny smile twitching at the corners of her mouth, a smile that she forced away before turning around. Still, pushing the smile away didn't stop the fluttering in her stomach. Her breath hitched as she took in what Caleb was wearing: he'd obviously dressed for the date he had planned the other night. Comfortably, warmly... and bloody sexy with it.

"Uuuuh, I have to admit, this is the latest anyone's been for a scheduled date," replied Claire, her voice soft and a little wary. "I, ummm..." She glanced around the infirmary, almost as though she was looking for a reason to decline, a reason to reject his invitation, but couldn't find one.

And part of her didn't want to say no, anyway.

The smile twitched its way back, against her will, and the tiniest of blushes suffused Claire's cheeks. "On one condition." Her eyes were challenging as she looked over at Caleb. "You'd better have a bloody good reason why you're 48 hours late..."


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:01 am 
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Caleb knew there was going to have to be some serious making up to do, he had heard the rumours floating around, hell some of them had even been said to his face. But he was use to rumours, use to people talking about his latest escapade with women. So truthfully if it kept the people entertained then he let them talk. Also it didn't help that he had been so busy he really hadn't had chance to set people right.

Rubbing the back of his neck in an almost shy kind of way, did he have a good excuse? Was working flat out actually and excuse to not seek Claire out to tell her in person that he couldn't make it, it was beginning to think not. But he had, had his own self doubt creep in as 12 hours turned into 24 and then 48, that the 'episode' in the gym and the 'first date' that it wasn't for him. That he had made a mistake and yeah he had flirted with a few of the newer females that had recently joined to see if he had made a mistake, but nothing happened, nothing seemed to set that flame alight like Claire had.

“Does getting stuck into work and forgetting the time count? Or do I need to grovel better than that?” he asked, smiling softly.

He glanced around the room quickly, subtly, before reaching out to take hold of her arm gently, “I am so, sorry, but I really do have a date planned out if you wish to accompany me?”


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:44 am 
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Claire regarded Caleb with a wariness in her eyes that had never been there before. They had been close since they had joined the SGC, within weeks of one another, and she had always felt relaxed and comfortable in his presence. Now, though, she wondered what could be salvaged of that precious friendship, much less whether the fledgling relationship was even still possible. Once more, she mentally kicked herself for leaving herself open to getting hurt again.

For his part, though, Caleb almost looked sheepish and ashamed. Almost shy. She'd never seen him look like that before, not even during the most awkward moments of Tuesday evening. He had always been supremely confident, always ready with a flirty grin and an innuendo.

And maybe that was part of the problem.

Caleb's reputation as a player wasn't completely ungrounded in fact, and it was something that he and Claire had talked about on the morning-after-the-night-before on many an occasion, Caelb not exactly "kissing and telling", but wanting someone to sound things out with. She had always joked that, one day, someone would come along to break his heart before he broke theirs, but maybe she had been wrong about that. Perhaps she was just the latest on that list.

Claire twitched an eyebrow upwards at his "reason", and her little involuntary smile twitched upwards another notch. Despite herself, Claire could feel the frostiness towards Caleb thawing. "You'll need to do better than that," she murmured, her voice soft enough that the loitering nurse wouldn't hear.

She'd definitely see Caleb's hand on her arm though, and it was this simple touch and sincere apology that was Claire's undoing. She sighed, shaking her head. "I shouldn't, I really shouldn't." She met Caleb's eyes with a direct green gaze, masking the hurt as best she could. "I need to go home and get changed, though." She blushed, glancing down at her smart trousers and emerald green shirt. "I'm not exactly dressed for it, it seems."


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:02 am 
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Yeah that is what he thought, he was going to have to do better than that, but no words were exactly going to be good enough to sooth over this kind of mess he had created. Actually he had never done anything 'second date' like in the last couple of years, yes there had been the morning after make out sessions before both parties would go their separate ways. Both of them knowing that it was just one night, and there were no strings attached, it was how he he liked it for years.

But standing here, in the middle of the infirmary trying to persuade Claire, his best friend – and hopefully something more – to go out with him again, this was new ground to him. He had used her for so long in being a sounding board for the 'morning afters' he'd had, he was realising that he was using her that way because some small part of him. The really tiny part that hadn't seem to grow up past being 16, had wanted to make her jealous because with all the feelings that had come to light that previous night, he had wanted it to be her in his bed all them times.

Now, now it looked like he had managed to mess things up, unintentionally this time, and really he didn't like that it was this difficult to make amends. There would normally be a smile, a flirt, the odd innuendo thrown in and most women – well at least the ones he'd been trying with – would fall under his charm and that would be that. This time Caleb was sure the flirt, the smile, the charm it wasn't going to work and being sincere was like wearing a piece of uncomfortable clothing. It wasn't something he did often.

He looked her up and down, the clothing she was wearing looked fine to him – not that he was any kind of expert on women's clothing, that section of any shop scared him more than most Goa'uld would – flattering in all the right places. The smile did make an appearance then, he might have hurt her accidentally with suspending the date, but well looking at her now he could feel that heat start up again.

It also made him realise how much he had actually missed talking to her, he had been busy enough that he hadn't had that chance either, so standing there just in her presence it was like waking up from a really long sleep. There was that good feeling lurking just beneath the surface of his skin, making his hands feel like they had pins and needles in them.

“Let me make it up to you,” he said, voice still low, leaning his head in slightly closer to her, “I'll drive you to your apartment so you can get changed, and then I'll take you some where special.”


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:46 am 
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Caleb looked uncomfortable and contrite, and Claire felt the last frostiness towards him disappearing. She would allow him to explain, they would talk things through, and then she would make a decision on where things were headed between them. The spark was still there, much as she tried to ignore it, and the warmth coming from the hand on her arm - even through her white coat and shirt - sent little tingles through her.

Despite herself, Claire wanted to go on this date with him, wanted to see where things were headed between them. She just didn't want to get hurt. She'd had enough of that with Tama. Much as she tried to tell herself that Caleb was different, he wasn't anything like her ex, something niggled away in the back of her mind.

Both men had that same easy charm, the same solicitous, flirtatious nature. Still, there was something different about Caleb. He was an open book with her, didn't seem to keep any secrets. She could ask him anything, and he would tell her. Tama had been secretive and wouldn't talk about her worries. In the end, she had had enough. This was something that she would need to talk about with Caleb if things weren't going to head in the same direction all over again.

A blush stained her cheeks as Caleb looked her up and down, clearly appraising what she was wearing, and she shrugged. "Not quite a 'date' outfit," she muttered, but the smile was tugging away at the corners of her mouth again. A flicker of excitement started burning in her stomach again, and she knew that she would regret it if she didn't take a chance on Caleb tonight.

Claire took a deep breath. "Okay, let's do it," she said, her voice soft and warm as Caleb leaned in closer, and she could feel his breath on her face. "I've got my car here, though, so you'd need to bring me back here later so I can drive home." She pushed any thoughts of any other end to the evening to the back of her mind. This was a date, pure and simple, and it would end with them both going their separate ways at the end of the night.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:23 am 
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If Caleb was such a kid and prone to silliness he would have made a a fist pump action in a 'get in there' kind if display, as it was, he was very much more mature than that and refrained from such actions. But he couldn't stop the triumphant smile that ended up on his face, that flare of heat running up his back again, he now had his chance to prove to her that he was sorry for not communicating with her more. For thinking that he had done right, when actually he was pretty sure he was going to be grovelling all evening to her, of course the night he had planned, he could heap the grovelling on if needs be.

Taking her arm, he wrapped it round his own, they never did the chance to scandalise the Mess, so Caleb guessed the infirmary would be the next best place. Besides it would give him a nice memory the next time he ended up there not for a social visit, he hears some whispering break out as he lead her out of the door. Yeah there went the rumour mill again, this time about Caleb taking out the same person, something that was unheard of for him, but at that moment he didn't care.

“I will take you wherever you wish to go once the night has ended,” he said brightly some of his flirtiness creeping back in. He hoped the night ended up on a less difficult car ride home for him, that had been most unpleasant and not an experience he wished to be repeating any time soon. Of course he could just not get to that state, but, well looking at Claire it was difficult not to be permanently in any kind of lust state around her, especially when it was on their own time.

Caleb lead them through the corridors to the elevators that would take them up to the level where his car was parked. Never once letting go of her arm, more whispering followed him, all the way there. He even walked her over to his car, unlocked the door and held it open, he could play the gentleman if he wanted to be, he was just about to close the door when he remembered something....he actually had no idea where or how to get to Claire's apartment.

“Ah....slight hitch in the night,” he admitted, embarrassment staining his cheeks, before he closed the door and got into the drivers side. “I don't know where you live, never been there, you might need to direct me.”


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 12:01 pm 
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Claire was pretty sure that Caleb's smile matched the one that had found its way, unbidden, onto her face. She had forgotten the tortuous highs and lows that so often marked the beginnings of a relationship, and the sooner they navigated their way out of the rocky waters, the better, as far as she was concerned.

Lacing her fingers with Caleb's as he twisted their arms together, she heard something of a strangled gasp, and she glanced over her shoulder to where a nurse was stood, obviously not quite believing what she was seeing. "One of your conquests," she teased Caleb, her voice low enough so that only he would hear. She'd have known, though, if the woman had been, of that she was certain.

"Okay, we need to lay odds on what the rumours going around tomorrow are going to be," she chuckled, still feeling a little wary, but willing to give Caleb the chance to make it up to her. "I bet there's going to be at least one rumour that you secretly seduced me months ago, and now I'm pregnant, so you're going to do 'the right thing' by me." It wouldn't surprise her at all.

She was surprised that Caleb kept physical contact with her as they walked through the corridors, and she could almost feel the rumour mill grinding into action whenever they walked past someone. Her first urge was to flip them the finger, but it wouldn't do for a senior member of the medical staff to go around doing that.

It would be satisfying, though.

Claire couldn't help but laugh as they got to Caleb's car, his first action being to gallantly open her door and hold it for her. "Thanks," she murmured, climbing in and putting on her seatbelt. Another laugh as Caleb admitted he didn't know where she lived.

"Don't worry, just drive as though you're going into the Springs, I'll let you know when to turn off." A few seconds of silence, and Claire glanced over at Caleb. "So... how was your drive home the other night?" Her voice was low and teasing. She figured she might as well try to ignore her slight misgivings at going out with Caleb again, and focus on the positives. Oh yeah. That, and the feelings that were fizzing up inside her again and making her feel like a teenager.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 12:50 pm 
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Starting the ignition Caleb started their journey out of the moutain and into Colorado Springs it's self, he always kind of loved driving around the area. It was one simple pleasure that he had never been able to indulge in whilst living in London, in fact it wasn't really until he was much older that he really thought about driving, when his posting took him out of London and he wanted to visit home but trains were not running. Since coming to America, he had enjoyed it even more especially once he found the spot he was planning on taking Claire to.

Laughing he said, “Yeah the drive home, a helping hand wouldn't have gone a miss,” yeah the innuendo in that was thick. He wasn't even trying to cover the flirting up this time, wasn't trying to make it subtle, he was going to try to make himself as open to read as he could. He hadn't missed Claire's comment on their way out about the nurse being one of his conquests, and he had shaken his head, he was sure if what had happened between him and Claire hadn't have happened then yes that nurse would have been another number added to his list. But there was only one more number he wanted to add to that list and he wanted to add it again and again.

Caleb paled at the pregnancy rumour Claire mentioned, “Please don't joke about that,” he said, he knew his reputation. He had slept with plenty of women and yes there was always lots of protection involved, but it was still a thought that trailed across his mind from time to time. Had one of the women he slept with not be totally honest about their own protection, was there a mini-him running around somewhere, it was a really scary thought.

He had never thought of being a parent – much to his mothers dismay – his job, his career it had always come first and settling down, having that wife, two kids and white picket fence, it wasn't something he planned on doing. Well at least the kid part anyway, he had always told himself that if the right woman came along then he would settle down, he had thought he had that at one point.

“How was your drive home? As uneventful as mine?” he asked, changing the subject back into...well not safer territory but something more familiar. His drive back not been calm, his mind had kept supplying him with some very interesting images, images that were not aimed towards safe driving.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 2:26 pm 
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Relaxing back into her seat, Claire watched the red-tinged scenery drift by as Caleb drove down the mountain. She loved the fact that she lived and worked in the mountains, but they weren't her mountains. They didn't have the stark beauty of the mountains back home, and she felt a sharp pang of homesickness right then. She hadn't been back to New Zealand in about six months, and she missed Aotearoa almost as much as she missed her family and whānau*.

Claire laughed - a low, sultry chuckle - at Caleb's answer to her question. "Really," she said, her voice mock-innocent. "I wouldn't have thought it would be a difficult drive." She knew full well why he had struggled, and she had had similar difficulties herself. It had been hard to keep her mind on the road after the evening they'd had. Well, more specifically, thanks to the hot and steamy kisses in the car park. She hadn't slept much that night, either, and she was sure that Caleb was more than aware of this.

She glanced across at Caleb, not missing the note of alarm in his voice, and Claire realised that she had touched a nerve. With a moment of hesitation, she reached over and placed a hand on Caleb's knee, giving a quick squeeze before letting her hand rest there. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend," she said, her voice sincere. "You know me, just joking around."

His reaction, though... well, she had to wonder where there was something in her jokey comment. Did he have a son or daughter from such circumstances in his past? He'd never mentioned it, and she was certain he would have told her something like that.

Claire broke into hearty laughter as Caleb asked about her drive home. They were near the base of the mountain now, only a few minutes up the 115 before they would have to turn off. "Uuuuh, I think I could have done with some company too, e taku tahu," she giggled. "I don't think I slept a wink on Tuesday night!" Nor Wednesday, nor Thursday, but for completely different reasons. "I can't imagine why..."

She brought her attention back to the road, just as they were turning onto O'Connell Boulevard. "You know once we're on the 115, there's this bloody great Safeways on the left, about 3 miles up? Turn left there. My place is less than half a mile down that road. You can use my parking space."

* - extended family


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