Chapter 10: In Which There Is…Something

"Care to join me?"

The words echoed in my empty hallway for several moments as Caleb and I stared at each other in silence.

I knew it wasn't the best of ideas in the world—and that I had invited him out of a need for vengeance as much as for decent company.

Caleb hesitated for a brief moment and I could practically see him thinking what a bad idea this was. That is, until he smiled softly at me and nodded.

Well that was unexpected.

"Welcome to my humble abode," I said smiling shyly and beckoning him in. "It's a bit messy and cramped, but it's home."

"It's spotless, Zaida."

I flushed. "Erm, well. It's usually much messier with my art supplies lying around. Anyway—coffee? Something cold? Something a bit harder? I'm pretty sure I have some rum and some scotch lying around."

"I'll have whatever you're having Zai, just make it cold and full of booze."

I paused. Drunk and alone together. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

Whatever, you only live once, right?

"Rum and cokes coming right up. The vodka and shot glasses are in the tray behind you. Make yourself comfortable."

Uproarious laughter rang from my tiny living room couch. I'm pretty sure this couch had never seen me this happy.

I quieted down at the thought and looked at Caleb with a small smile playing at my lips. One day he was going to make some woman and her mother very happy.

I frowned at that thought, wondering where on earth it came from.

"Zai? You look constipated."

"Shut up Caleb. I was thinking complimentary thoughts about you."

"Thinking about me made you want to go to the toilet?"

"You have no idea, buster. Want another drink?"

"Sure, but only if you're drinking too. Hey, I don't mean to sound like a bad guest, but any chance of some food?"

I blanched slightly. I hadn't gone shopping in a while and my store of edible or quick to make and still be edible food was severely depleted. I think I had nachos and stuff…but that definitely wasn't food.

"How does ordering a pizza sound? And I can throw together some quick appetizers while we wait?"

He nodded his agreement. "I'll order pizza, you do your kitchen magic."


You have no idea how thankful I was that I still had salsa and chips and stuff. Till Caleb mentioned food, I hadn't realized I was so hungry. During the 20 minutes we had to wait for the pizza we devoured the large platter of nachos, salsa and melted cheese that I had laid out. In fact, we were so wrapped up in eating that we simply sat and ate amiably without much conversation. I hadn't felt this comfortable with another person since my recent re-bonding with Stella.

"Dude, you look totally constipated again!"

I glared at Caleb for once again interrupting my precious thoughts. Stella used to say that they were my precious thoughts because I didn't make a point of thinking very oft—"

"Owww! What was that for you jerk?!" I exclaimed, making sure I got all the pepperoni off my face.

"You keep going quiet and looking constipated! It's not my fault, I just wanted to make sure you weren't going to do something we would both be really upset about. Not to mention your poor couch—"

"Dude, why did you throw onions at me!? At least I threw pepperoni!"

I was thoroughly annoyed at Caleb now. Really, I was. "Why do you keep calling me dude?! And—and, constipated?!" I sputtered.

Here was this really hot hunk of man flesh sitting on my couch, eating my pizza and having a great time with me and he calls me male and constipated. Oh yeah, and he's not only my boss, but my boyfriend's (who incidentally stood me up today) best friend. Yeah, fate or karma or whatever you call yourself—I hope you die a slow agonizing death. Slow and agonizing dammit!

"See! There it is again!" Caleb said, pointing and not attempting to hold in his laughter any longer.

"For your information, that is my thinking face," I said with as much dignity as I could muster for one with pizza sauce on their forehead.

"Your thinking face?" The jerk was laughing harder now. "God, I'd love to see you when you're painting. What does your concentrating face look like?!"

I stuck my tongue out at him and made a face. "You're a giant poo."

It was too late and it wasn't until Caleb had doubled over laughing that I wished I had rethought my choice of words.

"Oh God, I really hope we don't remember this thoroughly scatological discussion in the morning. Where's my vodka?"

"On the table in front of you, you tool."

"Drink up Zai, you're far too serious still for my liking. Drink up me hearty yo ho!"

It was my turn to start giggling, for some reason the word 'ho' totally stuck out at me. "Hey, you calling me a ho?"

"Baby, if you were, I'd say I'm getting a pretty raw deal right now."

I flushed as his gaze suddenly got a bit too serious. "Caleb, let's watch a movie."

He looked a bit relieved at my random comment. "A movie?"

"Yeah!" I grinned and squatted in front of my tv to root through my small movie collection. "Ooooh…shiny! We have to watch this one!"

Caleb squinted and turned his head sideways trying to read the title of the movie from the dvd spine.

"Pretty Woman?" he read skeptically. "That's a chick flick."

I couldn't help but smirk at the disdain in his voice. He said 'chick flick' the way one would mention a bug that had been recently introduced to one's car windshield while moving at high speeds.

"Julia Roberts plays a hooker. You get to see a lot of her," I wheedled, "pieces of her you don't usually see in her other movies."

Caleb frowned thoughtfully, placing his chin on his hand as he contemplated. For a second, I totally got an image of Rodin's sculpture The Thinker. That is, if The Thinker wasn't made of bronze and marble—though Caleb's body was practically sculptured. At least, his arms and shoulders were, I bet his stomach and back were equally sexy too—Oh God, bad thoughts Zai, bad thoughts!

"Zai, you're spacing out on me again. Are you sure you're alright?"

I shook my head of all my dirty thoughts and grinned. "Yeah I'm fine. And I'm putting the movie in regardless of what you think."

"Naked or nearly naked Julia Roberts?"

I nodded in the affirmative with my fingers crossed behind my back.

"Then we have a deal."

I grinned at Caleb once more and we settled onto my worn, but exceedingly comfy couch. Caleb absentmindedly pulled the blanket my grandmother knitted over us both and we cuddled happily with our respective pillows—not too close to be uncomfortable, but definitely far more intimate than we would have dreamed of sitting a day before.

"Zai, that is such a skanky outfit."

"Stop drooling, Caleb. That's unattractive."

"She is so damn hot, I can't help it."

"Have some vodka."

Caleb nodded absentmindedly while reaching for his drink. He really did refuse to tear his eyes away from the screen though. I frowned at that. Sure Julia was hot, any idiot knows that, but surely she didn't look that hot in that skimpy, tasteless, rather vile hooker outfit. Was it the boobs? She did have a nice figure. A gorgeous face. Nice hair. Fantabulous smile. Was that what men looked for in a woman? Was that what Caleb was looking for?

"Zai," he whipered, "you're getting that constipated look again."

"Caleb," I whispered back, "guess what? That got old the second time you said it."


I shook my head and laughed, mentally chastising myself for silently comparing myself to Julia Roberts. The things men do to women. I scoffed.


"You shhhhhhh…"

"You first!" he whispered, elbowing me lightly.

I did the only mature thing that came to mind. I elbowed him back—harder.

Caleb smirked and grabbed me, pulling me to his body. I was now, very definitely, being huggled by Alexander Caleb and I was not hyperventilating like I should be. In fact, I was downright enjoying it. It was so enjoyable that I settled down, rested my head on his chest and let him keep his arms around me.

And so, we settled down for the night to watch as Vivian the hot hooker with the heart of gold offered Edward the bastard businessman soon to be reformed into Prince Charming his choice of condoms.

I must have dozed off at some point, because when I awoke Julia was in the process of being attacked by the sleaze ball played by that guy from Seinfeld. I shifted slightly and Caleb tightened his hold on me. I looked up at him and smiled at the sight. His face was all scrunched up in concentration and there was definitely a hint of glee when Richard Gere showed up and kicked ass.

Not wanting to spoil the moment, I snuggled comfortably and continued watching the movie, determined not to think about any possible implications of our actions till our moment had passed.

As the credits began to roll, Caleb shifted so I was no longer lying partially on top of him. A pang of uncertainty, guilt and disappointment went through me and I sighed internally.

Our moment had passed and it was now time to return to the world where Caleb was nothing more than my boyfriend's best friend.

"You lied to me," he said quietly. "You don't get to see that much of Julia."

I laughed quietly in keeping with his tone and shook my head in amusement. "I saw you enjoying the movie. You were totally into it when Edward comes in to kick Phil's ass."

"I was simply impressed that a man like Richard Gere could physically move Jason Alexander—he happens to be a rather hefty looking person," he said with as much dignity as he could muster.

"Mhm. I believe you."

"He does."

"I know."

"He does!"

"Yeah, I know. I believe you," I said patting him lightly on his head.

"I should probably get going, Zai. I have to get to work earlier tomorrow for a meeting with the Jeffrey client."

Unhappy at returning to the real world I simply nodded and smiled.

"Here, let me help you with the dishes at least," he said, reaching for the tray of shot glasses.

"No, it's alright Caleb—I'll get it."

"Nonsense," he said continuing as if I had never protested. "You know, we never did eat that cheesecake."

"Ohmigosh, I totally forgot about the cheesecake! I'll pack you a slice."

"Don't go through all that now—just bring me a slice tomorrow for lunch and I'll forgive you for lying to me about the not-so-naked Julia."


Not ten minutes later, Caleb and I stood at the door. I didn't mean for it to happen, but I definitely got a fantastic view when he bent over to put his shoes on. I don't know if he could see the drool that was probably dripping from my open mouth, but he did look at me a little oddly when he straightened up. But, screw it, we had spent the entire evening and most of the night drinking, laughing uproariously, talking and snuggling—we had shared too much (and I was too damn tired) to be embarrassed at being caught staring a what was, in my humble opinion, a work of art. Heck, even the waiter at Wild Orchid had agreed with me on that score.


I once again snapped out of my pseudo-weird thinking phase to face an amused looking Caleb.

"Thanks for today, Zai. I had fun," he finished awkwardly.

"Me too, Caleb. Me too."

"I guess I'll see you in the morning then. And don't forget my cheesecake!"

"I won't," I said with a soft smile. "I promise."


I smiled again, unsure of what to say next. "Well, good night then Caleb—drive safely and I hope you sleep well tonight."

"You too Zai," he said, slowly turning away to walk down the hallway.

"And Caleb—"

"Yeah Zai?" he asked, turning around to face me again.

"Thanks. For everything. Today. And I'm sorry for—you know. But, thanks."

Caleb leaned in slightly and pressed a soft, gentle kiss to my forehead.


With those words he turned and walked away. I watched him walk to the elevator, watched until he got in and the mechanical metal doors soundlessly slid shut.

I turned and shut my door quietly. Leaning against it for support as I took in the day's events. Shaking my head of all the jumbled thoughts and emotions threatening to break loose, I shed my clothing in preparation for a hot, relaxing bath. I would bathe, go to bed, sleep, and only think about it all when I woke up in the morning to the inevitable phone call from Stella.

Until then I would simply bask in the glow of the moment and just be.

Hi all, I know I've been away for a really long time and I've kind of let my stories die. Nevertheless, I really would like some feedback on this chapter. It is one that I really, really struggled to write since I simply didn't know what I wanted to happen. The people that have read it so far haven't made any comments on it - please, if you read this chapter, let me know what you think!