Emily yawned, walking into the CNU after her last class for the day, and noting that everybody still seemed to be hanging around. It had been an average run of the mill day, blessedly. There was lots of paperwork to finish, she had two classes, and in the afternoon, two LAPD detectives came in, looking for a consult on a fugitive, who was proving allusive. But, that's it, nice and slow, exactly what she wanted for the day. Of course, now that she thought that, inevitably some prick would feel the need to whip out a gun, and scare the piss out of some hostages.
As she got closer to the rows of cubicles, something began to seem slightly off to her. Most people were still there, when usually they'd all be racing out the door, if that hadn't left already. Unless they got called to a crisis, everybody left as soon as it hit five o'clock, but everybody was standing and talking to friends by their cubicles, some even looked to be whispering. Even more unnerving, as she walked past, people seemed to be looking at her, and like a bunch of school kids, turning to whisper to their friends. Oh god, she suddenly thought, had Matt gone and accidentally announced something else about them? She shook her head--that was all she needed to ruin her nice quiet evening. Then she got to their cubicle.
Roses. Dozens upon dozens of red and white roses were literally strewn all over the cubicle, covering just about every surface. Every inch of their desks not covered by something else, was taken up by a vase, and loose flowers covered everything else that was flat, including the chairs and the floor. Emily's eyes were opened wide, taking it all in, a breath caught in her throat, though she didn't realize it.
"Oh my god," she uttered, not taking her eyes off the flowers.
"Last night must have been one hell of a night, Lehman," Frank grinned, though he knew what was really going on.
She finally saw the white envelope resting against a vase in the desk space she generally used. She let her bag drop, and picked the envelope up, pulling out a sheet of paper with a number, and a plastic hotel room key. She recognized as not to the hotel across the street, where she'd spent many of her lunch hours, but to a very expensive luxury hotel down the block. Obviously, this was all orchestrated by Matt, but she couldn't fathom what he had planned. Did he expect her over there now? She looked around--was he there right now, waiting for her?
She finally looked up from the keycard to see Cheryl standing just outside the cubicle, looking very amused about something.
"You look like your brain just shorted out, do I need to call EMS?" Cheryl watched, trying not to laugh, as the usually very eloquent negotiator shook her head slowly, eyes still wide.
"Uh, I took you and Matt off the on call list for tonight, so go and do whatever you need to do." She nodded toward the card in Emily's hands, growing a little worried now by the negotiator's silence.
"Oh...uh thanks." Still looking quite shell-shocked, she turned and walked out of the CNU.
She walked to the hotel elevators without bothering to go to the desk, and hit the button for four, waiting anxiously as it rushed upward. It was a massive place, decked out in all the gaudy slender the wealthiest classes in society demand of their surroundings--large dangling crystal chandeliers, decorative antique furniture made from dark woods, marble everywhere you looked, and heavily detailed paneling on the walls. Emily began to feel a bit out of place in her jeans and t-shirt, especially with the semi-auto nine round, and badge hanging from her belt. One look at that gun, and the 'sensitive' clientele would be in a frenzy; she smiled at the thought. Checking the number on the paper, she walked down the hallway, searching for the right door, stopping in front of it. She breathed deeply a few times, before sliding the key in, and watching the little light go green.
As soon as she opened the door, there were rose petals at her feet, lightly sprinkled in a trail, which her eyes followed to the bedroom. Her feet were slower to move, as she looked around at the marble-toped mini-bar, small living room with a a couch, loveseat, chair, and very polished desk, and the balcony it looked out to. She could only imagine what the bathroom looked like. Shaking herself out of her momentary stupor, she followed the roses to a set of French doors, and gently pressed down the handle, pushing door gently in to see the bedroom. And finally, there was Matt, watching her with a surprising nervousness in his eyes.
"So how many florists did you buy out?" She smiled walking up to him, noting the sheer volume of rose petals on the large, plush bed.
"Only two, one for the petals, one for the actual flowers." When she got close enough, he swept her into his arms, and kissed her slowly, but deeply, and just held her close a few minutes, before backing up.
Emily watched him reach in his pocket and grab something, before falling to one knee, and then it hit her like she was a speed bump in the middle of a race track. Matt was proposing.
Matt took his lover's hands nervously in his own, swallowing the thick lump in his throat.
"I can't promise you that we'll be together forever. I can't promise you that at some point down the line we won't get tired of each other, and want to call it quits. And, I can't promise that it will ever be perfect. But, right now, today, I can promise you that I love you, that I can't imagine not being in love with you. I promise that I will try to make you happy and give you everything you deserve. And, I promise that when it gets hard I won't run, I'll fight for you. Emily, these last two years together...I want that to be a lifetime. Will you marry me?" He opened the box, nearly dropping it, his sweat-covered hands were shaking so badly.
Emily stood silently for several minutes, her heart beating wildly in her chest, like a frantic bird stuck in a cage. She could feel it pulse in her temples, and down to her fingertips. Should she have expected this? Sure, they'd been together a while, but marriage hadn't really occurred to her...was that bad? Did she want to be Matt's wife? Just saying that made her feel old, but then, she thought about everything he said. Waking up in his arms everyday for the next few decades? Going home to him every night, having someone there that understood her so well, who knew her past and didn't judge her? Someone who she loved, and as he said, couldn't imagine not being in love with?
As these thoughts were running through her head, Matt began to grow more and more nervous, and more convinced she was gearing up to say no. As Matt rose from the floor, Emily suddenly realized she hadn't spoken for several minutes, and rather than speak at that moment, as she seemed incapable, she settled for another sort of response. She jumped into his arms, suctioning her lips to his, and wrapping her legs around his waist. Matt momentarily forgot the ring, as his hands grabbed his fiancé instead; the box when tumbling to the ground, causing the couple to break their kiss.
"I'm guessing that's a yes?" Matt asked breathlessly, reaching down for the box.
"Yes. I love you, I want to marry you," she told him, looking into his eyes. Matt slipped the white gold diamond ring on her finger, and they embraced each other, foreheads touching, both still trying to catch their breath. Emily suddenly grinned.
"Do you know what I really want, right the moment?"
"Not a clue." Matt answered, sensing she was being playful.
"I want to put that bed," she nodded to the king-sized bed next to them, "to some damn good use."
"I like the way you think," his words were nearly lost in a mumble as he joined their lips again, and they fell onto the bed, rose petals flying everywhere.
They not only put to use the bed, making love in the velvety soft flower petals, but also the jaccuzi tub, making love again in the rumble of the bubbles. Then they simply laid together in the hot water, sipping the bottle of Champaign Matt had room service bring up. They didn't talk about wedding dates, churches or gardens decorated in white garland and pretty flowers, or Maids of Honor or Best Men. Actually planning was in the distance for them, they were in no rush, but simply wanted to enjoy this new step they taken in their relationship. It was monumental for both of them, as not only were they both admitting that they loved each other enough to give up being partners, but also that they trusted each other, which wasn't easy for either of them.
So it was, the newly engaged couple walked into the CNU earlier than usual the next morning, Matt settling for resting his hand on the small of her back, though aching to do more. And, he wasn't alone in that, Emily had a nagging desire to pull him into the nearest closet and have her way with him. But, they remained as professional as ever, reaching into their desk drawers to pull out clean clothes; keeping a set of clothing at work was one of the first things crisis negotiators learn.
"What happened to all the roses?" Emily wondered allowed; instead of the mounds of flowers that had been there last night, there were only a few vases filled with the roses.
"Oh, I told Cheryl to have everybody take some after you saw them. I figured you didn't have the desk space for twelve dozen roses." He grinned and kissed her.
"Did Cheryl know what you were planning?"
"Yeah, I had to give her a good excuse why we couldn't be on call last night. And, Frank, Duff, and Lia know, I needed help picking out the ring." Matt offered her a sheepish smile.
"Oh, if that's all," she teased. He shrugged self-deprecatingly, and laid his hand on the small of her back, as they walked toward the bathrooms.
By the time they returned in their clean clothes, most of their coworkers had arrived, and were standing near their cubicle, waiting with curious little smiles. Half were betting Matt screwed-up on a monumental scale and the roses were his desperate apology, some thought it might be an anniversary, others had decided that Emily was pregnant and not handling it well, and way in the back if their minds, a few contemplated an engagement. Though none really thought that would happen; they weren't the type.
"Good Morning everyone," Emily greeted them wearily, pretending not to be bothered as she sat at her desk.
"Did we forget a meeting or something?" Matt half-groaned. He had to choose the big, flamboyant route didn't he? Now, they'd never get a moment's peace.
"Don't play dumb Flannery, we've all got money riding on this. Who's the chick?" Eric Norman demanded.
"What are you talking about?" Matt was thoroughly confused.
"Who's the chick you cheated on Emily with?" He asked, as if it were obvious. Emily turned to Matt, eyebrows raised, looking almost amused. Matt looked kind of horrified.
"I didn't cheat on Emily! Why would you think that?"
"Relax man, just figured you must have done something really bad to need all those roses." Eric held his hands up defensively.
"The roses weren't an apology." He turned to Emily, his eyes asking permission to announce their engagement, she reluctantly agreed; they couldn't really avoid it now, even if they wanted to. "I asked Emily to marry me last night."
Eyes widened at first, but soon big smiles appeared on the faces in the small crowd.
"And she said?" Frank asked, joining the crowd with a smug smile on his face. Still staring at her computer screen, Emily held up her left hand, diamond sparkling.
Their small crowd of nosy coworkers let out a hearty cheer, and Emily turned to give them her attention, figuring the inquisition couldn't be over yet.
"Nice to see you're all being so productive," Cheryl rolled her eyes at her subordinates as she entered the CNU. "I guess that cheering means I have to restructure the CNU?"
"No rush," Emily grinned nervously, holding up her ringed hand again, for Cheryl to see.
Cheryl took her hand and studied the ring. "Very pretty. Congratulations."
"Thanks…so are we benched until you find us new partners?" Happy as he was at that moment, Matt did not want to sit on desk duty for the next few weeks, or however long it took.
"I don't see your relationship interfering now anymore than it did yesterday, so as far as I'm concerned, I still have the best pairing of negotiators in the FBI, and I intend to use you. Enjoy it while you still can." Cheryl smiled at them, happy as a clam for her two friends, but still a little disappointed she'd have to break up such a great partnership.
"Hey, so who had an engagement?" Eric yelled to the crowd, disrupting the special moment.
"That was me." Marcda Higgins pushed through the crowd, holding her hand out for the winnings. She was a secretary for the CNU, and apparently a perceptive one.
"The office pool got up to 523 dollars. Enjoy Marcda." Gabe Johnson of HRT handed off the wad of money.
"Damn, you people spent that much on guessing on our relationship?" Emily half asked them, half chastised them.
"I should have thrown in a guess, could have paid for all these roses." Matt twirled a red rose in his hand, in disbelief. The crowd was silent until Frank interjected, loudly.
"So, how's about we take the couple for a round of drinks at Sloan's tonight to celebrate!"
A very happy end to this series. Thank you for reading and following these stories, and special thanks to those who reviewed!