Author's Note: This story follows "The Journey," "The Way Home", "A Private Conversation", and "A Fantasy Realized". Hope you all enjoy the latest installment.
Quarreling For My Future
Dropping the phone back into the cradle on her desk, JJ dropped her head against the heel of her other hand tiredly. Mission one was completed. Penelope Garcia would keep a watchful eye on her son until JJ had dealt with the dissolution of her relationship with Will tonight. There really wasn't another way. Despite how her revelation had shocked Emily on the plane ride home, this break up had been in the making since before her baby was born.
At first, she'd told herself that Will's controlling, mercurial attitude was a result of her pregnancy – that his intentions had been pure and he'd sought only to try and protect her and his unborn son. And then Henry had arrived. And while he'd still tried to control her actions and influence her to leave the Bureau, he'd not shown any real interest in parenting. Quite the opposite. If she wasn't with their son, he happily relinquished his care to Henry's godmother, Penelope Garcia. He'd spent no more time with his son than absolutely necessary. And that simple fact had opened her eyes as nothing else could have.
Her son shared a greater bond with the men she worked with, Hotch, Morgan, Reid and most definitely David Rossi, than he did with his own father. And damn if William LaMontagne didn't seem to prefer it that way. No, there was no way this relationship could survive. She hoped he'd want to take an active role in Henry's life; she never wanted to deprive either Henry or Will of that relationship. But, she wouldn't stay in a situation where she was constantly belittled and forced to defend every decision she made. That didn't provide Henry with a stable home life, which was her primary goal. And contrary to Emily's probing questions, it had nothing to do with her developing feelings for a certain older profiler.
Although, if she was completely truthful, the knowledge that she did look at Rossi with something other than cool professionalism had been another glaring neon sign that something was wrong in her relationship with Will. But, who could blame her? Where Will was hostile and combative regarding her career, David Rossi had been patient and understanding, patiently allowing her to vent her frustrations to him more than once.
Granted, it was a challenge balancing the pressures of being an agent with the demands of motherhood. But, the Bureau was filled with women that did it every day. And it wasn't as though she didn't have supportive colleagues. She and Henry would be fine without Will in their day to day lives. And she had to believe that her son would be much more content without the inevitable daily arguments she and Will had been having.
Taking a sip of her tepid coffee, she realized that she couldn't put this off forever. Will was already going to be angry when she got home…and no doubt, he'd be much angrier before the night was finished. But after tonight, at least it WOULD be finished. And she could begin picking up the threads of her life, weaving a new pattern for her and her son. Whether David Rossi chose to be included in that pattern remained to be established.
She thought he was interested. How much so was debatable. So far, he'd been a friendly shoulder to lean on. She couldn't deny that she'd detected the soft glow of masculine interest in his gaze, secretly gaining a thrill at the thought that he would view her in that way. She'd chosen to ignore it up until recently. And he was enough of a gentleman that he hadn't pressed or pursued. But sometimes, in the still of the night, she wished he would. Then, at least she would be sure about what she thought she saw in his gaze.
As if her mere thoughts could conjure the man himself, JJ lifted her head as she heard a light rap against her partially ajar door, fighting back an involuntary smile as she realized who was there.
"Are you planning on hiding in here all night, Jen?" Dave asked with a raised brow as he poked his head inside her office, narrowing his eyes as he catalogued the stress lines playing around her beautiful eyes.
Rising to stand behind her desk, JJ reached for her black leather bag. "Actually, I was just getting ready to walk out. I'm not really looking forward to what's coming at home though," JJ sighed, feeling more than just the weight of the tote settling on her shoulders.
"Meaning?" Dave asked, staring at the deceptively fragile looking woman in front of him.
"Meaning that it's time to end the farce of a relationship that I'm in. Will's reaction today sealed the deal," JJ said quietly, watching his face for a reaction.
Her pronouncement sent his pulse racing, but Dave made every effort to remain impassive, leaning casually against the doorframe. "You're sure about that, Jen?"
Stepping around the desk as she reached for her coat, she stopped just in front of him. "You think I'm making a mistake?" she asked, raising her head to stare into his ebony eyes, searching for an answer in his gaze.
Truthfully, he didn't. But he also knew that he couldn't make this decision for her. His opinion didn't matter in the long run. Holding her steady gaze for a long, charged moment, Dave could feel the electricity between them. And he'd promised himself that he wouldn't push her…wouldn't sway her. After all, this woman did share a son with LaMontagne. If there was any hope at all for them, the only honorable thing he could do was stay out of it despite how much he wanted her. "I think," Dave said slowly, "you are a very intelligent woman fully capable of making the decision that is right for you and your son."
Tilting her head, JJ stared into his dark hooded eyes as she murmured, shaking her head, "That's not really an answer though, is it, Dave?"
"It's the only one I can offer you right now, Jen," Dave replied cautiously, guarding his words as easily as he guarded his emotions. "I won't be that guy," he added as he saw her eyes narrow on his face.
"What guy?" JJ asked, confused as she watched him take a step backward.
"The guy that wrecks a family," Dave returned tersely, his words clipped as he fought down the desire to do just that. "You have to do what's right for you without any influence from anybody else. And that includes me, Jen. Only you can make this decision."
Licking her lips, JJ knew the wise thing to do would be to smile and walk away. But, in that moment, she couldn't imagine walking away without knowing if what she sensed from him was real or a wishful figment of her imagination. "I need to ask you something first. It won't change tonight's outcome. I've already decided what I'm going to do…ending things with Will."
"What do you want to know, JJ?" Dave asked evenly, knowing that he couldn't deny her anything.
"Am I imagining what I feel between us, David?" JJ asked unsteadily, studying his face in the dim light of her office.
Shaking his head, Dave grimaced. Damn it, why did she have to ask him that now? How was he supposed to answer that question without coming between her and Will? Turning his head, he stared out her darkened office window at the grey sky. "Ask me that question again after you resolve things with Will, Jen."
"Why?" JJ asked, trying desperately to read something in his neutral expression, needing a sign, a signal of any kind to assuage her shaking thoughts.
"Because anything I say right now might sway you and I won't do that," Dave said, his voice implacable in the quiet office. As much as he wanted to declare his love for her, he wouldn't sacrifice a future with her for a quick present. Not this time.
JJ deserved better, and he was going to make sure she had it.