THE VALUE OF BEST FRIENDS
PROMPT: My Best Friend's Mistake (Scrubs)
Emily fiddled with the white-gold-and-diamond ring that had fallen out of the envelope as she read JJ's letter again.
I'm so sorry. I love you, with everything in me, but I'm not sure I can be the type of wife you need. I've had a lot dropped on me over the past month and I'm not sure I'm ready to be your wife. I'm not sure I can be your wife.
I'm starting to wonder if we believe in different things. Your Italian connections shouldn't have been a surprise to me, but I was always afraid that would be stereotypical and I've always believed you were a man of more integrity than that. I'm not sure that I was wrong, but I'm not sure that I was right either. I'm not sure of anything.
What I am sure of is that I need time. Until I know that I can wear your ring with pride and confidence, I can't wear it at all.
Emily looked up at the Italian man pacing in front of her in her living room, Hotch beside her. Dave had burst in just as they were leaving to celebrate their one year anniversary. She'd taken one look at Dave and by tacit agreement in a look exchanged between her and the man she loved, the decision had been made.
Because David Rossi knew that if there was anyone in this world who knew JJ better than he did, it was probably Emily. Or Penelope, but not only did Dave trust Emily more than he did the technical analyst, he also knew Emily wouldn't eat him alive. They were close. He knew he wouldn't have to explain things to her. Emily was quick, she'd figured it out for herself.
"What am I supposed to do?" Dave asked, throwing his arms in the air.
Emily passed the letter to Hotch as she stood, blocking Dave's path. "You have to let her go."
"Let her go?!" Dave roared.
"Don't you dare yell at me, David Rossi," she snapped. "You got yourself into this mess. It's not my responsibility to get you out of it."
He growled, but didn't say anything else. Instead, he continued pacing.
"Dave, I don't know what you want me to do here. You know JJ, you know that she needs the time to absorb the fact that you have these kinds of connections. This is, essentially, the Mob, even if you don't see it that way. JJ does and you're talking about a woman who values trust and honesty and everything Hollywood teaches you the Mob isn't."
Dave dropped to one of her armchairs looking defeated. "There's really nothing I can do?"
"There's really nothing you can do," Emily repeated.
Dave nodded slowly, then sighed heavily. "Thanks Em. Sorry for interrupting your night. I'll see myself out."
Emily settled against Hotch again, his arm wrapping around her stomach, splaying over the flat skin and muscle. "I'm sorry."
He kissed the side of her head. "It happens."
She knew he wasn't mad at her, that he was mad at Dave, but that didn't heal the fact that it was their one year anniversary. There was seriously something to be said about the fact that they'd been together twelve months. Emily leaned her head back on his shoulder. "Order in?"
He looked over at her microwave where the time flashed in bright green. "I don't think we're getting much of a choice."
She turned her forehead into his neck, sighing. "We're going to have a real, nice anniversary dinner," she said resolutely.
"Before or after you go find JJ?" he asked with a tolerant smile.
"After," Emily said with a knowing sigh. "If we want to ensure we're not going to get interrupted, definitely after."
"You're a good best friend."
"But I'm a terrible significant other," she replied. "And when I get my hands on JJ, I'm going to explain what kind of terrible timing she has."
Hotch reached backward to grab the phone. "What kind of take out."
"Surprise me," Emily replied. "I'm going to go change."
He caught her hand. "Don't change," he requested, his eyes taking in her form. "And don't take off the heels."
Emily grinned. Apparently their anniversary night hadn't been completely ruined after all.
JJ was predictable to her best friend, if not to the man Emily knew she was head-over-heels for. Emily knew JJ had a place where she went to think, a place she told Penelope and Emily about, but not Dave. She wanted a place where she could go to think. Her best friends new for safety reasons only. JJ's sister had opened a little bed and breakfast on Chesapeake Bay, a place JJ used as her sanctuary. So Emily took the day off to drive to the little inn to check on her best friend. And like Emily could have predicted if asked was exactly where JJ would be sitting. The blond was looking out over the water, watching it lap at the shoreline. Emily sat down beside her best friend, pulling the ring from the pocket of her jeans as she did so.
"Want to explain to me why Dave came pounding on my door seconds before I was leaving with Hotch for our anniversary dinner?" she asked, holding the ring out towards her friend.
"I don't want to talk about it," JJ said, pushing the ring away. "And I don't want to see that."
Emily counted slowly to thirty before speaking again. "Jayje, what are you doing?"
"What is this about?" the brunette asked quietly. "Because the JJ I know wouldn't just turn her engagement ring over if she needed time to think."
"It's a big deal, Emily," JJ replied. "What else was I supposed to do? How am I supposed to trust him?"
"Has he ever given you a reason not to before now?" Emily shot back.
"Look, this isn't your issue."
"It is when Dave makes Hotch and I break our dinner reservations. And it is when it's my best friend giving up a happiness she fought for and deserves," the brunette agent said quietly.
"This is a big deal," JJ repeated. "How can I marry a man connected with organized crime?"
"Just because he has the connections doesn't mean he uses them," Emily pointed out calmly. "JJ, you knew he was a powerful man before you got involved with him."
"But not this powerful. Not powerful enough to have someone killed with the snap of his fingers."
Emily shook her head. "You're jumping to conclusions and you know it. JJ, you're miserable, I can see it in your face. As painful as it may be to know that he kept this secret it can't be half as painful as being apart from him."
JJ sighed. "It's frustrating that he has that pull. I haven't been gone twenty-four hours and I can't decide if I feel guilty or if I just miss him."
"Because you can't do both?"
"I just want time to think."
"And you're totally entitled," Emily agreed. "I'm just asking you to think of the man who would move heaven and earth for you. More importantly, who wants to move heaven and earth for you."
With that, Emily stood up and left, leaving that all important diamond in the grass where the sun glinted off the stone. She'd done her civic duty. Now she'd promised the man she adored with everything in her that they deserved their formal anniversary dinner.
Dave heard the car come down his long drive and looked up from the book he was reading but not absorbing. All he could think about was that it had been four days since he'd last seen Jen and he was starting to seriously think she'd given up on him. Her decision was made and it wasn't in his favour. Yet, when he opened the door, it was an anxious Jennifer Jareau that was standing on his front porch, wringing her hands in front of her.
"Hi," she said quietly.
"Hi," he replied, stepping aside.
She slid inside his house, absently toeing off her shoes out of habit. She bit her lip. "I owe you and apology," she said quietly.
"Not at all. If anyone should be sorry it should be me. I should have told you what my family was involved in. We've had a thousand conversations about families..."
"But I understand why you didn't," JJ interrupted. "I get it. I just... I needed some time to think, to figure things out. To make a few really important decisions."
"Like what?" Dave managed to force out.
"Like the fact that putting up with your family connections is a small price to pay for keeping you. And I'll never make that mistake again."
Dave knew the hope was showing on his face, knew that everything was written in his body. "Jen, are you...?"
She held out her fisted hand and he felt something warm drop into his palm. He looked up at her in confusion as he recognized the ring he'd given her when he'd proposed. "I don't understand."
"It felt weird to put it back on myself," she answered quietly. "I didn't want to do it. It's your right."
So with great fanfare, Dave knelt on one knee again, like he had two months ago in a small diner where they'd had their conversation about reconciliation following his first case back with the BAU. "Jennifer Jareau, will you do me the incredible honour of becoming my wife?"
Her hand shook as she held it out and tears pooled in her eyes the same way they did the night he first proposed. But these seemed sweeter somehow, filled with true promise and trust. "Yes."