Cheryl had been expecting this day for several weeks now. Actually, if she was going to be totally honest with herself, she'd been expecting this day for 15 months, after Matt and Emily returned from Mexico. Though expecting it in sort of a backburner way, knowing that it was coming, but not for a while yet. But in the last several weeks it had become more and more apparent that a while had come, and this day would turn out to be any day now.
She supposed she knew this during the Steiner case, otherwise known as the jackass that had taken her, yes this one was a her, Latina Literature class hostage after failing nearly every quiz. They had underestimated her, because she was young, female, and educated, figuring they could talk her down easily.
Emily took point, gently coaxing the young woman and commiserating with her own stories of impossible classes and college stress, however many years ago that was. It seemed to be working, allowing her to vent her frustration and stress to somebody who understood her problems and could tell her that it does get better.
Emily got her to release seven of her 18 hostages before something (even weeks they still couldn't figure out what) set her off, forcing negotiations to take ten steps backwards. Not believing the young student a real threat, Emily exchange herself for ten of the remaining hostages. Though not before a quiet argument from Matt, who was clearly upset at the idea and pleaded with her not to go in.
Emily, being Emily, didn't listen and disappeared inside, while only moments later ten more students poured out of the room. Now it was two students, the professor, Emily and the fragile HT in the small conference style classroom. Emily negotiated from the inside while Matt took over on the outside, in a way double-teaming the HT.
Not more than twenty minutes after Emily entered that room, the last two students fled outside, released by the calming HT. Cheryl was thrilled at the progress they were making, and notice that Matt even looked relieved at the sight of the two hostages. The HT didn't seem to want to kill anybody, which meant Emily would get out safe.
Then Matt and Emily gently coaxed the young woman to have a conversation with the professor about the class and the difficulties she was having with it. Twenty more minutes and all was going well, then the professor suggested that she was just too young, being only a sophomore for a 300 level English course, and the HT took it personally.
She freaked out, brandishing the gun, screaming at the professor, before turning the gun on Emily. Though she'd hung up on Matt, they still had audio feed from the mic on Emily, and could clearly her the HT freaking out. She was blaming Emily for the professor's lack of cooperation, telling Emily that if she'd still had her hostages the professor would have simply agreed with her demands.
Then they heard a gunshot.
It was sort of a blur for all of them after that, HRT burst in, and Cheryl restrained Matt from trying to go in with them since he wasn't wearing a vest, the teacher ran out as fast as she could, and Frank and Duff came out with the HT who was still ranting loudly, and wriggling in their arms, while Frank cursed at her. Then he mouthed something to Matt and Cheryl.
Relieved they both ran in to find Emily sitting at a desk, head down resting in her hands. It was obvious she was shaken, and upon seeing them angrily brushed the water from her eyes, though it hadn't even fallen yet. After checking on her Cheryl left to deal with the rest of the chaos, but not before catching the first bit of a fight. It was loud and it was filled with all the fear and anger two people could offer up.
Twenty minutes later Duff went to tell them it was time to go, and came out rubbing a hand over his head, looking like he'd just been bitch-slapped. They must have fought all the way back to the office because they came in still screaming at each other. Already feeling a headache Cheryl had told them to shut up, get their reports done, and then go home and argue it out. They were quiet the rest of the day, but very cold toward each other.
That was her first clue that this day was coming soon, and went Matt cornered her this morning without Emily, and told her he needed to speak to her, Cheryl knew this day was today.
"So Matt, what's on your mind?" she asked him as he sat across from her now.
"I want a new partner." He said simply.
"Does Emily know you're here?" Cheryl had a feeling she didn't.
"What do you plan to put on the application in the box that says reason?" Cheryl's face was serious as she asked, it would be safer under the circumstances to make one up.
"I want to marry her Cheryl." Her looked at her just as seriously.
Cheryl smiled, the eternal-bachelor Matt Flannery was going to ask a woman to marry him. Yes, ever since that fight, she'd been expecting this.
Rather than signifying an unraveling relationship, that fight the couple had had seven weeks ago only showed how close they had gotten.
Matt had been scared half to death for Emily, and scared of what that feeling meant, scared of where their relationship was going, and scared he would scare her off. He was angry that she'd put herself in harms way, again, and angry that he almost lost her. He was pissed that the HT had put a gun to her head and pissed at himself for not protecting her.
Emily was angry that Matt was being overprotective, and furious that he was trying to tell her how to do her job. She was scared that a 38 caliber bullet had been a half a centimeter from splattering her brains all over the wall, scared of how upset Matt was, and what that meant, and afraid of how close their relationship had become.
Hence the screaming match.
Now as Matt watched her slightly nervously, Cheryl smiled at him before asking the question burning in her mind.
"Can I see the ring?"
Thank you for reading, and since I know of everybody's tendency to ask for sequels, I'm going to answer that now. There will be no sequels, this is purely a stand-alone/oneshot, whatever you call it. That being said, thank you all for reading again, and I hope everybody enjoyed it.