Bonus Challenge #8: Happy New Year
Author's Note: So I'm really glad that I got such great feedback from my first story. When I saw the newest prompt challenge, I decided to jump on the opportunity. Although it refers to The First Christmas, this story is a one shot and you can read it without having read the other one. Let me know what you think. Please review.
I don't own Criminal Minds, or any of the characters portrayed here. If I did, this would totally be canon.
It was freezing cold outside. Emily Prentiss couldn't believe that she had agreed to this. Well, actually she could. Ever since Foyet's attack, she had become extremely close to Aaron Hotchner, and with the death of Haley at Foyet's hands, she had become even closer to Aaron and Jack. Not that she was complaining. She loved the Hotchner men. That's right. She loved them. That is why when Aaron had invited her to come on this trip to New York City for New Year's Eve with him and Jack, she couldn't resist.
"We have plenty of time to get to Time Square, so why don't we stop to get something to eat," suggested Aaron as he looked at Emily's cherry red face. They had spent the day shopping and touring the city, and he knew that Emily and Jack were both starting to get hungry because even he was feeling it.
He couldn't believe that the beautiful dark-haired woman that he had fallen for had agreed to come on this trip. When he had extended this invitation to her, he was initially shocked when she said yes so quickly. He really wanted her to be there with him and Jack, but he was just surprised she didn't already have other plans. Actually, he could. Life at the BAU had a tendency to impede upon an agent's social life as he had found out when his marriage to Haley had fallen apart. These past couple of years had been rough on him, but Emily's growing presence in his life had been making things much easier. Emily had made it easier for him to stop blaming himself for everything he had lost and move on to relish what he still had.
"That sounds like an awesome idea. What would you like to eat, Mr. Jack?" asked Emily as she swooped the exhausted five year-old into her arms. At this question, his face lit up.
"Pizza!!" squealed Jack as he whipped his head around to look at Aaron. "Can we have pizza, daddy?"
"Sounds good to me, son," answered Aaron as he squeezed Jack's hand. Aaron took Jack as Emily pulled out her phone and started typing into it. She was using a GPS feature on her phone to find the nearest pizza place. Man, he really wanted to take hold of her hand right then. It was not like they had never had any physical contact. She had held him while he broke down at the thought of losing his family after Foyet's attack and he had comforted her after Matthew's death, but this was different. They were out in public with his son. Holding hands in public, especially while toting around a five year-old, tended to have a different connotation. That signified a relationship that had most definitely evolved beyond what they shared, but it wasn't like he would ever object to that in a million years.
Emily could tell Aaron was in a pensive state when she looked at him to give him the location of the restaurant where they would be eating. "There's a pizzeria about three blocks from here. Is something on your mind?"
She continued to glare at Aaron. Gosh, he was handsome. His love, his strength, and his compassion never ceased to amaze her. She just looked at him carrying Jack, who never missed a chance to tell people about his daddy the superhero that could take any bad guy. Those two had been through so much in such a little time. And poor Jack, he had gone from being temporarily without a father to being permanently without a mother. He was coping as well as any child his age could, but it was still just as rough on him.
"Oh it's nothing. I was just thinking about getting some food because I am hungry!" responded Aaron. He was totally lying, and he knew that as a good a profiler as Emily was, she could tell.
"Well, you were in deep thought about food," quipped Emily. She made Jack laugh. Although he was only five, he was a very receptive little boy. "Come on. Tell me."
Aaron knew he was busted. She would try her best to drag it out of him, but he was so good at stonewalling, it would be no use. However, that's when he decided that maybe this was the time to take the bull by the horns. He could avoid it and continue on with the way things were, but he knew that wasn't really a valid option for him. He couldn't go on this way. Since he realized her feelings for her, all he could think about was Emily Prentiss. Her look, her smell, her voice, her laugh, her random sayings, her sweetness. Maybe it was time to do something about this once and for all, but what? This was crunch time, and he had to think quickly on his feet.
"You know what? You're right, but it's a New Year's resolution of mine, so I will let you know around midnight," responded Aaron.
"Okay," laughed Emily.
"Emmy, what's a res'lution?" asked Jack.
"It's like a wish that you make to change something in your life for the New Year," answered Emily. If she could have her way, her resolution would be to spend every waking moment with Aaron and Jack Hotchner.
"Oh. Can I make a res'lution?" asked Jack.
"Sure you can, son," replied Aaron. "We make them just before the New Year comes, so you can make it tonight. Alright, buddy?"
"Ok daddy," replied Jack as they entered the pizzeria. They three sat there and ate until their bellies were full of pizza, breadsticks, and soda. Although it was unusual for Aaron to let Jack eat so much junk food, he felt that it was a normal part of growing up for a boy to have pizza and soda. It was like a rite of passage. After Emily had shown him how to make an around the world soda, Jack had been so ecstatic that Aaron literally had to pry to the plastic cup from the little guy's hands. All Emily could do was laugh. Onlookers took note. Emily excused herself to go to the restroom so they could get on their way to Time Square.
"You have such a nice family," commented a lady in the restroom as they both stood in front of the sink washing their hands.
Emily could feel her face turn beet red as she tilted her head down and replied with a simple thank you. She wished that Aaron and Jack were hers, but they weren't. They could never truly be hers because they were Haley's. That was a simple fact of life: a part of them would always belong to Haley. However, she was determined to try her best. She loved those two. She returned to their table, and helped Jack get ready to return to the frigid conditions of New York City in the winter. They walked another eight blocks to Time Square where they would wait for a few more hours.
Jack fell asleep in Aaron's arms. The little guy was having such a good time, but he was utterly exhausted. Aaron had decided that he would let Jack sleep for a while, but he would wake him as the dropping of the ball approached. While they were standing there, he began to mentally prepare himself for what he would do at midnight. He was lost in intense thought as to how he would tell Emily his New Year's resolution. Then, at 11:50, he finally decided what he would do. It was time to wake Jack.
"Hey, buddy, wake up," whispered Aaron. A sleepy Jack opened his eyes. "Are you ready to make your resolution?"
"My res'lution is to make you smile more, daddy," responded Jack. His resolution nearly brought both Emily and Aaron to tears. So before she began to bawl like a baby, Emily decided maybe she should go next.
"My resolution is to spend more time with the people I care about," she said as she looked deeply into Aaron's eyes. A slight sigh from Jack broke the gaze as they realized he had fallen asleep again. "So what about you, Aaron?"
"I will let you know in a minute," responded Aaron as the countdown to 2010 began.
As the countdown ended and the Happy New Year banners came out, Aaron put his hand on Emily's arm and swung her around to face him as he pressed his lips against hers for a few seconds. Though for those few seconds, it felt as if time stood still. As he let up, he whispered his resolution into her ear.
"My resolution is to be with you, Emily Prentiss," said Aaron as Emily erupted into a sweet smile. And with that, they had begun to walk back to their hotel with Aaron carrying a sleeping Jack and Emily's hand nestled into his. He could get use to this. Hell, they both could.