Micromanagement in a Macro World

Chapter One

Scooping the cool water into her hands in the tiny jet bathroom, Emily took a deep breath as she splashed her face, praying the temperature of the water would lend some of it rejuvenating powers to her now. Lifting her head to look in the small mirror over the sink, the whir of the plane's engine was almost deafening in the small enclosure. But even that sound was more welcome than the sniping and complaining she'd spent the last four days enduring. Everyone was unhappy…thrown off kilter by the sudden changes rocking their small, once-cohesive unit. And that man….that man she loved, she reminded herself….he hadn't done anything to dispel the tension.

One word from him and he could quiet the noise. One conversation with either of the alpha males struggling for the superior position, and he could have eliminated the drama of the last few days. Instead, he'd spent the case at the station for the majority of the time, allegedly working victomology with Reid. But she knew the truth….the rat was hiding, throwing her into the fray in his place. When she'd approached the issue with him on that second night at the hotel, he'd said he'd had his reasons, though he'd steadfastly refused to explain himself. The stubborn fool.

So, now, she was going to beat him at his own game. SHE was going to refuse HIM. Taking a page from his book, she would ignore him until such time as he explained himself to her. After all, after the suffering she'd endured over the course of this case, all because of his sheer will, it was the least she could do to pay him back. She deserved that explanation, damn it. As far as she was concerned, dealing with Hotch and Morgan, in tandem, allowed her certain rights. Unalienable rights.

Straightening her fitted shirt and feeling completely validated in her decision, she reached for the bathroom door, opening it quickly and moving quickly back to her lone seat at the back of the plane. She was going to read her paperback book and allow the trashy, completely pointless romance novel to sooth her frazzled nerves. And, above all, she was going to ignore the arrogant David Rossi.

Watching the tall raven-haired agent exit the small bathroom at the back of the plane, Rossi was vaguely aware of the soft conversation of his colleagues around him, but his attention was definitely elsewhere. Frowning at the tense set of her face and the stiff way she walked to her seat, he knew he had some explaining to do. Her displeasure with him had been apparent for days, obviously having reached a boiling point now. But explaining his reasoning and motivations to others had never been a strong suit. But looking at the woman he loved as she lowered her tired body into the leather seat of the plane, he knew he was going to have to make an exception.

His Emily was going to demand nothing less than his full concession. And he supposed he owed her one after the last few days.

And then, there was the fact that, in order for his lips to touch any expanse of that gorgeous alabaster skin, he was going to need to make things right between them. He hadn't intentionally meant for her to be caught in the ongoing power struggle between Hotch and Morgan. Really, he hadn't. But the only way those two were going to work this out between them was if he wasn't there to mediate. That, and he didn't relish the thought of being caught in the middle. His days of jumping headfirst into the fray were behind him, maturity and experience teaching him a few memorable lessons. Best to remove himself from the battle entirely. He was a senior agent. He could do that, couldn't he?

But watching his beautiful Emily's rigid expression now as she pretended to be engrossed in that stupid book she held in her hand, he was beginning to doubt the wisdom of his prior actions. It was becoming glaringly obvious that he might have made a tactical error. And, damn! He hated it when that happened.