A Lifetime in Your Words
Prompt: The West Wing – "Talking Points"
Sitting on his back deck, heavy glass of scotch in hand, David Rossi took a deep breath, drawing the crisp cool autumn air into his lungs. He needed to get a grip…gain some perspective. And he needed to do it fast. Because she was coming. And in order for him to gain what he wanted, he knew, he was going to need to be at the top of his game.
Lifting the tumbler to his lips, he took a steady sip, allowing the liquor to slide down his throat, enjoying the slight burn. It let him know he was alive. That he could still feel. Even after…
Hell, it had been madness to begin with, hadn't it? He never should have touched her three months ago. He hadn't had the right. She'd been involved with Will. She'd been involved with her baby's father. Damn it…he'd fucked with an entire family. He'd tried to justify to himself what they'd done…she had said that she and LaMontagne were separating. It wasn't adultery, was it? Not when the relationship was already fizzling. It didn't change anything though…after a particularly brutal case and one too many glasses of wine in the hotel bar, he'd done the unthinkable.
He'd pressed the advantage. Used her lonely, weakened state against her. Not deliberately. But he'd done it, nevertheless, just like the callous bastard he'd always been. Except this time, in the aftermath, as he'd watched her blue eyes realize the enormity of what she'd done with him and watched as something shattered within her, he'd felt something other than the usual numbness associated with his former conquests. He'd felt ashamed. Because Jennifer Jareau wasn't just another notch in his bedpost. And he knew it.
He was in love with her.
For three months since, they'd walked on eggshells around each other. Stilted conversations. Stolen gazes. While what was left of her relationship with William LaMontagne had dissolved, he'd kept his distance, exchanging only the most generic of pleasantries with her, his only desire to make things easier for her... And only when absolutely necessary. Because he knew, his presence hurt her. The guilt of an affair was a heavy weight. He knew that from past experience.
He knew Jennifer had confessed their liaison to LaMontagne. He understood JJ's honor code wouldn't have allowed her to do anything else, whether their relationship was over or not. She'd never have been able to tolerate the deceit. He had seen the burning knowledge in the other man's eyes the day he'd delivered their son to her his last day in D.C. The hatred. Too bad, LaMontagne couldn't hate him anymore than he hated himself. Not for loving Jennifer…that was a deeply piercing inevitability that he'd accepted months ago. No, he hated himself for dragging her down to his level. In his eyes, he'd made her hate herself. And that was a cold truth that still woke him up at night.
But just as their work day had ended today, out of the blue, he'd heard a light knock on his door. When he'd looked up from the files he'd tried to bury himself in, he'd found her beloved blue eyes shining at him, swimming with tears. And that had been enough to very nearly send him to his knees, her obvious pain more than he could bear. She'd asked if they could talk…somewhere else…away from the prying eyes and ears of the Bureau. When he'd suggested the seclusion of Little Creek, she had readily nodded, willing to accept whatever location he chose. She'd said to expect her around seven, and he had thought then that the chosen hour seemed an eternity away. But now, at 6:45, only fifteen minutes before she would darken his doorstep, here he sat, alone and terrified of what was coming. His growing fear clawed at his gut, eating at the very foundation of his being. Had he ruined them before they'd even been given the opportunity to begin?
The soft whistle of the wind wrapping around the house barely even invaded his consciousness as his mind stayed on the subject at hand. Thinking back to the way her pale face had clenched while she'd forced herself to talk to him, he wondered briefly if he should just quit the Bureau. It might end the torture for both of them, stop the prolonged agony of having to relive moments they could never have again. He'd done what he set out to do in coming back, quietened the spirits from his past. Smiling grimly as he took another pull from his glass, he recognized that he'd traded one demon for another. And this one was a hell of a lot darker and deviant. This one not only blackened his soul, but his heart as well.
Hearing the crunch of gravel in the driveway, he steeled himself for the coming attractions. Either way, he'd know by the end of this night where he stood with the beautiful woman climbing out of her car. But whether he'd remain standing when she was gone was another question altogether.