The First Trimester: Feeling Our Way
Watching as the bedroom door slowly closed in his face, Dave stared blankly at it for a moment. How the hell had their disagreement devolved into the dissolution of their relationship? Tightening his lips and stiffening his spine, he glared at the closed door. Fuck this…he hadn't come this far to lose her now.
Reaching for the brass doorknob, Dave twisted it with a violent turn of his wrist, the door bouncing against the wall. Stepping into the bedroom, Dave stared across the room at her with narrowed eyes. "Hate to break the news to you, Prentiss, but I'm not so easily dismissed," he said with a forced pleasantness. "Nobody warned you about me, Cara? I don't quit."
Rolling her eyes, Emily fought for composure, a hard battle at best. "Actually, you quit three times before by my count, Dave. This should be quite simple for you. Experience and all that," she informed him, waving a negligent hand in the air, hoping against hope that he didn't notice the shaking in her fingers.
"Again, I think you might have a bit of wrong information," Rossi replied with an ease he didn't quite feel, stalking a step closer to her. "I never quit anything in my life that was still worth fighting for. And you and my child, that's worth fighting for."
"I'm sure your ex-wives will be thrilled to hear that you place them in such low esteem," Emily muttered, not willing to allow him to dissuade her. "And I'm also sure that at some point you felt about them like you say you do about me."
"No, I didn't," Rossi admitted readily, his words spoken with a finality that had Emily jerking her head toward him in surprise.
"Dave, your revisionist history isn't going to…." Emily began, trying to ignore the shock that was settling in her as she reached for the pillow on the bed, fluffing it angrily.
"Nothing to revise, cara," he said, then added, leaning his hands down on the mattress to catch her attention. Waiting until her eyes were focused on him, he said, seriously, "Never once did I chase one of those women down to convince her to have my baby. Never once did I go through hell on earth to show any of them how much I loved her." Pausing, he then added, just as seriously, "Never like I have for you."
Her hands slowed against the sheets as she stared at him, her mind wondering if she was imagining the tone in his voice or if he honesty was telling her the truth. The words slipped out of her lips before she could think about them as she whispered, "Why me? What am I to you?"
"You're the woman I love, Emily Prentiss," Dave said simply. Sighing, he added, "Neither one of us is going to get it right all the time, Emily. We've proven that in spades. But if we don't try to figure this out, then we're going to kill each other and leave that munchkin without either parent."
She knew he was right. Somehow, some way, they needed to reach a compromise. David Rossi was making it patently obvious the he refused to be evicted from her life. And honestly, the relief of that simple fact was overwhelming. But none of that changed the fact that he was right. She was being haunted by ghosts. And the man that was had slowly become a part of her was going to be relentless in his pursuit of her demons.
Lifting sad eyes to his, Emily stated the words that had been echoing through her mind for days…weeks, even. "I don't deserve a second chance," she whispered, a dread filling her voice. "I threw my first one away."
He knew immediately that she wasn't referring to them. He could see the ancient pain shining in her eyes. "No, you didn't," Dave said immediately, hating the horror she must be reliving. "And yes you do," he said, his voice firm.
"You have no idea what you're talking about, David. No. Idea," Emily said sadly, hunching her shoulders as she refused to meet his eyes. "All I can think of lately is that God's going to get even with me somehow. I wake up thinking about it and I go to bed terrified of it. What if there's some kind of divine retribution for the sin I committed?"
"Babe, I can't absolve you of something I don't believe was a sin. You had a tough choice all those years ago and less than no options from where I'm standing," he assured her, his voice quiet as his mind begged for help from the God that he wasn't sure was even listening to him anymore. "And I honestly don't believe God is keeping a scorecard up there. He's not gonna punish our child or you for something that happened years ago. But if you can't get a handle on this, you're going to destroy yourself."
"No buts, Emily," Dave said firmly, reaching across their bed to capture her hands as he pulled her down onto the plush mattress. Placing his hand over her stomach, he gently rubbed against her knit shirt as he said, "This baby is not paying a price for something that happened well before he or she was even thought of. This baby is a gift to us, Emily, just like you are a gift to me. And gifts don't come with strings attached. They are free and clear."
Something in his words started to make sense in her mind again, and slowly but surely, she could feel a few ounces of the overwhelming weight start to float away, piece by piece. Pressing her hands against his, she asked, a bare whisper, "Do you ever think that the baby will grow up to hate us? To wonder why we're the parents he or she got stuck with?"
"Oh, hell, Emily," Rossi began, a grin starting to float on his lips, "I don't think we'll have to worry about that until the teen years." Mugging comically, hoping that she might let him relieve the moment, he added, "PLEASE tell me we have until the teen years before that happens! "
Swatting at his hand, Emily chuckled, weakly, "Dave, it's our child. Of course it will be precocious. We'll be lucky if it doesn't come out speaking complete sentences and demanding a therapist." She sobered then, her tone turning decidedly more serious as she tightened her fingers against his. "Do you really believe that part about the gift? No strings attached?"
Knowing that she needed the reassurance, and the chance to start to view the past through different lenses, he answered firmly, "Yes, I do. The only strings are the ones that we wrap around it, binding it to us. Binding us to each other." He then added, turning her hand to lace their fingers together, "And those are optional, but I find them to be exactly what I want."
Hesitantly, Emily started to nod, allowing him to pull her closer. "I do to. I think."
Wrapping an arm around her shoulder as he leaned them both back against the headboard, he sighed as he dropped a kiss against her raven hair. "That's a step in the right direction, Emmy. "
"A big step," she amended, drawing her legs up as she turned to tuck against him. Letting out a light yawn, she said, her tone almost surprised, "Bigger than I ever expected to take."
Tilting her face up, a finger gentle against her chin, Rossi pressed a gently kiss against her waiting lips as he murmured, "Every step counts, cara. And every step takes us into the future together."