rillalicious: (Caroline/Colby - Wherever I'm With You)
[personal profile] rillalicious
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8




"She's avoiding me again."

"Again? What'd you do this time, Colby?"

"We, uh, kinda..."

"You had sex with her."

"Yeah."

"Your place or hers?"

"Hers."

"Did you leave afterward?"

"I, uh, kinda got called away."

"Ah, yeah, the romantic siren song of the FBI. I'm sure she appreciated that."

"Apparently not so much. I haven't heard from her in three days."

"Oh, ouch."

"Yeah. But her truck's been parked out in front of her place every night, so she's not off breaking bones in the mountains or anything."

"That is stalk-tacular, my friend. You drive past her place every night?"

"David, it's not like she hasn't put herself in harm's way before."

"Uh, yeah. But if she wanted to hear from you, don't you think she'd... I dunno, call you back, maybe?"

"Maybe."

"Colby. I was rooting for you more than anybody on this, but I think it might be time to cut your losses and let her go."

"I, uh... I don't think I can do that."

"It was that good?"

"No. Well, I mean, yeah, it was, but it's not just that. This is Caroline, you know? Nobody knows me like she does except you, man."

"Then it's a good thing we never ruined our relationship by sleeping together."

"Tell me about it. Plus, I've seen what you look like when you wake up in the morning."

"And I've listened to you snore for six hours. Is that what happened? Did you let her hear you snore?"

"David, I'm being serious here."

"Yeah, I know. All right, so you're really hung up on her. As in 'she's the one' hung up on her? or as in 'she could possibly be the one at some point down the road but you're gonna string her along until you figure it out' hung up on her? Because if it's the second one, you gotta really think about whether you're willing to put up a fight just to put her through all that."

"Wow. I'm no psychologist, but I think you just unloaded a whole world full of your own issues on me there. I just... I've got feelings for her."

"Feelings?"

"Yeah, feelings."

"Are they... really big feelings?"

"Dammit, David."

"Sorry. I'm sorry. I'm not trying to find it funny."

"Just keep in mind that I haven't met Rita yet. My behavior on that one is going to depend entirely on the quality of your advice tonight."

"You want my advice on how to win her over?"

"It's a testament to how desperate I am, but yes. Yes, I do."

"I think you need to convince her to let you talk."

"Well, duh. I know that. I just need to know how."

"All right. I don't know Caroline as well as you do, but this is where I'd start..."


~*~*~



Colby hadn't meant to fall asleep in front of her door. In fact, when he'd finally gotten off work at four a.m., he'd felt as though chasing the suspect through a seven story building (and dammit, next time he was taking the elevator and Nikki and Liz got the stairs) and finally getting the guy after a fire fight in front of an emptying night club had left him with enough adrenaline to stay awake for hours yet. So when he came back to consciousness with the sensation that somebody was standing there watching him, he groaned and squinted into the morning light. Dozing off on the hood of his car, the upper half of his back propped up against the windshield, probably hadn't been a wise choice.

"I'm vacillating between flattered and a little creeped out," Caroline said.

"Any way I can tip the scales in my favor?" he asked, rubbing the back of his head as he forced himself upright.

"It all depends on how you answer the next question. What are you doing here, Colby?"

"I, uh, was hoping we could talk."

The corners of her mouth curled up and he caught himself just before he reached out to touch her cheek.

"Just talk?"

"Actually, I was hoping to hold your attention for at least ninety seconds. The talking part would have been icing on the cake."

She lowered her gaze. "I'm sorry. I should have called you back."

"This is the second time, you know. A guy could get a complex."

"Do you want to come in for some coffee? You look like you could use a cup if you're going to try to make it through an entire conversation."

"Yeah," he said, sliding off the hood of the car. "That sounds pretty good right now."



Inside her apartment, with a hot cup of coffee in his hands, Colby watched her sit beside him on the couch, leaving a considerable amount of space between the two of them. He wondered why he'd let David talk him into getting dumped face to face. He'd been perfectly content to keep obsessing over her quietly, from a distance.

All right, so maybe content was the wrong word, but in retrospect, it was certainly the more palatable option.

"So," she said, and she paused to sip her coffee. "You want to know why I haven't called back."

"An explanation might be nice, yeah."

She nodded, pressing the coffee into her chest. He felt as though he knew her defense mechanisms by heart now, he just wished he knew how to disable them.

"Colby, what happened with us... it was amazing."

"So far so good." He smiled a little bit. "But?"

"Your job," she said, then she pressed her lips to the rim of the mug.

"My job? With the FBI?"

"Unless you have another job I don't know about, yes."

Colby fidgeted on the couch, moving himself just a little closer to her, heartened when she didn't move away.

"What does my job have to do with us?"

"You said 'us'," she said, looking up at him suddenly.

"Well, yeah. I mean, that's what we're talking about, right?"

She nodded. "Yes. I mean, it's what I was talking about, anyway. Colby, I didn't see this as a one time mistake."

"So it's a mistake you intend to make multiple times?" He snorted. "Maybe I could find a way to be okay with that."

"No, idiot." She laughed and swatted his arm. "I mean you're more important to me than that. And that's why I... panicked." Her smile wavered. "Phil was only a park ranger, and he was killed in the line of duty. I'm always going to have that hole inside of me. And you, Colby, you're an FBI agent. When was the last time someone shot at you?"

He winced, glanced at the clock. "Four hours ago."

Caroline exhaled, closing her eyes. "This is what I mean. I can't go through that a second time. If you hadn't been there, I don't know that I would have made it through the first."

"Hey, don't say that." He took hold of her arm. "You would've made it through with or without me."

She set her cup aside and covered his hand with her own, making him shiver as she spread her fingers over his.

"I'm glad it was with you, Colby. If I had to go through that at all, I'm so glad you were there."

"Yeah." He'd always felt ridiculous, the few times this had come up. What was he supposed to say next? I'm glad your husband died so I could meet you? Who in their right mind would be happy about that?

"The thing is," she said, and she drew a deep breath, "I'm realizing it's not that simple."

"What do you mean?"

"It doesn't matter if I don't call you back, or if you never love me too, because if you get shot, or blown up, or whatever other horrible thing could happen to you... It's already too late."

He hadn't felt her hand leave his, but now she was touching his cheek, leaning closer on the couch, close enough that the memory of the taste of her lips was palpable on his tongue.

"Back up," he said. "What was that part, before the getting shot at part?"

She smiled. "The part about not calling you back?"

"No, after that."

"The... Oh. That it doesn't matter if you love me too?" Her voice was very small when she spoke, as if she were trying to hide from the words.

"Yeah." He was grinning dumbly, and he knew it, but he couldn't help himself. "That part. You love me."

She pressed her lips together and nodded. "I thought I made it obvious enough."

"I love you, too, Caroline."

Even if he'd been expecting a smile in return, the clear joy that illuminated her face took his breath away. She brushed her thumb across his lower lip.

"You're making it awfully hard for me to keep myself from getting tangled up with you," she said.

"I'm trying my best." He slid his arm around her waist and pulled her against him. "Is it working?"

Lips parted, she leaned in close, just barely brushing his mouth with her own.

"Yeah," she murmured. "It's working."

Colby grinned, one hand sliding up beneath her blouse, while the other tangled in her hair. Now that he knew what he was up against, there was time to take this slowly. Which was good, because he was pretty sure this would take a lot of careful navigation.







Chapter 10
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Rilla

January 2012

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