Author's Note: First off, I want to thank everyone that voted for me in the CM awards. I won four and placed in two! I was ASTOUNDED! So again, thank you so much :)
And one of the stories that won individually was Breaking Aaron Hotchner, which (if you don't know) is part of the Being Emily, Being Aaron series that I wrote with Chiroho. The series also won on the whole so give a little shout to Chiroho :) But after I found out that I won I ended up reading over those stories again and I got a new idea. It's totally random and not based on any kind of personal difficulty on my part (just wanted to throw that out there!)
So here you go, another story in the Being Emily Prentiss series. This one takes place in early February and H/P have been together for about 7 weeks at this point. If you're new to these stories this would be a stand alone, just keep in mind they're all told 1st person POV, and they're all a little bit ridiculous :)
Prompt Set #4
Show: Thomas the Tank Engine
Title Challenge: Emily's Adventure
Avoiding the Peanut Butter and Pickle Soufflé
My brow wrinkles in confusion . . . huh.
I start rifling through my bag with a bit more gusto. A minute ago I was just looking for my hand cream, but now I've just noticed that my diaphragm . . . which was placed in my bag by yours truly not two hours ago . . . appears to be missing.
And given that I'm sitting in the middle of the freaking bullpen . . . that's not good.
That's not good at all.
Where the hell could it be?
Attempting to jostle the contents of the boatload o'crap I'm carrying . . . I really need to clean this thing out . . . I shake my bag violently first to the left and then to the right.
And then I notice that all my jerking movements appear to be catching the attention of Morgan . . . he's eyeing me suspiciously . . . and not wishing to engage in any conversation as to my current activities, I shoot him a pleasant smile as I pick up my bag and lie through my teeth, "can't find my lipstick."
With him still eyeballing me, I hurry down to the kitchen area.
Okay . . . I settle in at the break room table . . . it has to be here somewhere.
As I continue my search I start to move beyond mildly concerned to majorly antsy. What if I can't find it!? Not only would it be totally humiliating . . . as in NEVER live it down EVER humiliating . . . to have it picked up by one of the guys in the middle of the bullpen and then have to go CLAIM it, it's also going to totally wreck my plans for the evening.
I haven't seen Hotch in four days. He'd been called away to a weekend chiefs' retreat with Strauss. And it was a "surprise" retreat! They were told about it on Thursday and had to leave Friday night.
Needless to say Hotch was NOT happy. Hell, I was not happy, Hotch was BULLSHIT! We'd had plans to take Jack to the new Pixar movie Saturday afternoon, and then Saturday night we were going to break in the new silk sheets I'd bought for Hotch's bed. It should be noted that said silk sheet purchase wasn't so much a sexual thing as a practical matter.
I was trying to decide if I wanted to get a pair for myself and figured I'd use him as my guinea pig.
Still though, sex was planned and then sex was not had. So we've rescheduled our sheet breaking in activities for this evening. We have BIG plans to make up for lost time.
Plans that are going to be totally TRASHED . . . I throw four tubes of lipstick on the table . . . if I don't find my flipping diaphragm!
Where IS it?!
I'm not actually panicking yet but I can see my exit coming up.
More and more stuff goes onto the table but still no paydirt.
. . . hand cream I was looking for earlier . . .
. . . bunch of SOY SAUCE packets! What the . . . I roll my eyes . . . what the hell kind of soy sauce end of days emergency was I expecting?!
Those go into the trash.
. . . a flyer for a free lap dance by Ginger Bubbles. That one I stop and stare at for a second . . . where the HELL did that come from?
Oh . . . I nod . . . right, the stripper murders down in Charleston. Ginger was a friend of one of the dead girls and that was her thank you for finding the killer. That makes sense.
Though . . . I clear my throat as I turn to drop it into the trash . . . why I kept the flyer for the last two months I do not know.
ANYWAY, moving on . . . half a stick of juicy fruit. I debate saving it, then see the full pack of juicy fruit in the bottom of my bag and accept that I do make enough money to let the half stick go.
Just as I'm about to toss it over my shoulder I take note of the fact that I have coffee breath and end up shoving the half stick in question into my mouth.
Next . . .up . . . EWW! GROSS!
I pick up the stiff white glob with the tips of my fingers . . . USED TISSUE! That I do hurl over my shoulder and then immediately I hear Reid sputter.
"GROSS! USED TISSUE!"
I turn to see it's landed in his coffee cup.
"Sorry hon," I call over apologetically, "the next one's on me."
"Emily," I hear his disgust turn to annoyance, "this was a FREE cup of coffee. How exactly do you think," his nose wrinkles distastefully as he dumps the coffee/tissue concoction into the trash, "you're going to "cover" an item of no monetary value?"
"Christ Spencer," I huff as I roll my eyes and turn back to my handbag, "it's just an expression. Like catch you on the flipside. Has anyone ever really shaken you upside down by your ankles just to say hello again? No. It's just something people say."
Ignoring his efforts to counter with an indignant story about once having actually been shaken upside down by his ankles in high school . . . cry me a river baby, we all got our asses kicked in high school . . . I smoothly cut over him again.
"Reid I'm very sorry that Sister Mary Catherine did that to you, but sweetie," I shoot him another look, "it was like fifteen years ago. Now you carry a gun. So under no circumstances are you going to get strung upside down by your ankles again unless you're into some sort of sexual kink that I just don't want to know about."
At his look of horror at imagining himself in THAT sexual position . . . thought that would shut him up . . . I flap my hand dismissively.
"Now get a clean mug, pour a fresh cup of coffee and go back to your desk. I'll get you a mango smoothie at lunch."
And I turn away from him again. I have no time for a prolonged discussion about what does and does not constitute an even exchange on this topic of absolutely no importance.
The only topic of importance at present is locating my birth control device before somebody trips over it and it's accidentally drop kicked across the bullpen.
Fortunately Reid seems to have been mollified by my offer of a mango smoothie (always a lock to get him out of a funk when he's cranky) because I hear him in the cabinet and then a second later the coffee pot being sloshed around again.
Good . . . I turn my full attention back to the Case of the Missing Diaphragm.
I threw it in my bag that morning. Of that I'm positive because I knew we needed the backup protection. Ordinarily the pill would be sufficient but . . . I scowl . . . stupid Morgan gave me his stupid strep throat (that's the LAST time he drinks out of my coffee cup without suffering bodily harm) and I'm now on the tail end of my antibiotics to clear it up. But that means that the pill is about as effective as a Tic Tac. And THAT means that if we don't want to see me with swollen ankles and a craving for a peanut butter and pickle soufflé, then we needed something to shore up the Tic Tacs.
Not to say that I don't WANT to try a peanut butter and pickle soufflé at some point, because I very much do.
Very, VERY much do!
But as Hotch and I have been seeing each other romantically for just over seven weeks I don't really think this would be the appropriate time to spring THAT conversation on him!
He could easily drop on the spot and then I'll be starting from scratch on a search for a baby daddy.
Okay . . . my expression softens . . . that's not in any way shape or form why I began my pursuit of him last month. But . . . my eyes twinkle . . . it is a bonus. A bonus that came to me after the first time I spent the weekend with him and Jack.
He's SUCH a good daddy!
And then . . . I bite my lip as I think back . . . Jack fell asleep on my shoulder as we watched Toy Story 57, Woody's Revenge, and basically my clock started gonging like Big Ben.
At that point I SO wanted my own little squeezable Mini Hotch.
But I'm clearly back burnering this, "hey, how do you feel about knocking me up?" conversation for the next five or six months.
I snap my head up to see Reid looking at me with a peculiar expression.
"What are you DOING? You've been sitting there with a goofy smile on your face for the past two minutes."
"What?" I can feel my face getting red as I stare at him, "I don't know what the hell you're talking about."
Crap . . . my eyes shoot down to my watch . . . okay yeah, I might have perhaps gone through a worm hole there. And I probably did look like a total spaz sitting at the table daydreaming about baby booties and Hotch.
But . . . Reid starts in on how he's coming back for a packet of sugar and hears me humming Rock-a-Bye Baby . . . and I decide the best defense is a good offense.
"You're the one with a goofy smile on his face," I shoot back indignantly.
Okay yeah, as topic changers go, it's about as weak as a used teabag. But it's just ridiculous enough to throw Reid off his stride. And as his voice stutters I see his whole face scrunch up in the universal precursor to the phrase "WTF?!" I quickly scoop all the crap on the table back into my purse and stand up, "yeah, you heard me. Now chew on that one buddy!"
And then I flee across the bullpen before the current "DOES NOT COMPUTE" phrase flashing in his frontal cortex is replaced by "HEY! WAIT A MINUTE!" and he calls me on my total and utter crap response to getting called out in the kitchen for humming lullabies.
I run up the stairs to the conference room . . . my desk isn't safe until Reid's distracted with another topic . . . and lock the door behind me. Yes, I know I need to get back to work at some point but I still haven't found my frickin' diaphragm and I really can't focus on ANYTHING else (okay, anything not related to adorable little Hotch babies) until I find it.
But as diaphragms and Hotch babies are all wrapped up in the same reproductive ball of wax I feel confident in my assessment that . . . though I might have gotten slightly sidetracked . . . I was still essentially on topic.
The need to justify my mental thought process to MYSELF is not something I'm willing to evaluate that closely at the moment.
Okay . . . I huff out a puff of air as I plop down in one of the chairs . . . back to the trip down memory lane.
When I close my eyes I suddenly remember pushing aside the little pink case when I dug out my wallet for money at the Dunkin drive thru. So that means I lost it somewhere between Arlington and . . . well . . . my brow wrinkles . . . Quantico.
Yeah Em . . . I roll my eyes in disgust . . . REAL helpful narrowing things down there! It's not like you were speeding down 95 in a convertible with your top down! When was the next time you were IN your bag?!
After berating myself for my idiocy . . . I swear I'm hanging around the guys WAY too much if I'm getting this dumb . . . I refocus on tracing my steps.
His name suddenly comes screaming back into my brain. And it comes screaming along with the reminder that he and I had breakfast together in his office at 7:45.
Door shut and locked.
Not that we make a habit of that kind of behavior in the office, absolutely not, we just wanted a few minutes alone together after our extended time apart.
And I had made the mistake of believing him when he said that if I sat next to him on the couch while we ate that he'd keep his hands to himself.
Pfft . . . I snort derisively as I jam my fingers into the side pocket . . . big fat liar. He had his hand sliding up my thigh . . . I'd worn a skirt (my second in as many months) simply as a treat for him for having a crappy weekend . . . and my blouse untucked before I'd finished half my coffee.
Not that I'm complaining mind you, though we wouldn't make a habit of that crap in the office . . . it would be nice if Hotch didn't get busted down to janitor while I get a rep as a giant skank screwing the boss . . . there's something about that damn couch that makes both of us go NUTS!
But the point is . . . I dig down into the very bottom of my bag . . . by the time he was done with his "I promise sweetheart, just one quick hello kiss," kiss not only were my clothes in total disarray, my carefully applied makeup was smeared all over his face.
And . . . the lightning bolt hits . . . THAT'S when I went rooting around in my bag again! I needed to get the handiwipes for him, and my lipstick and blush for me.
So maybe . . . I race out of the conference room and over to his empty office . . . I dropped it in there.
Except . . . my eyes frantically scan the floor . . . nothing.
I run my fingers between the couch cushions and then I stoop down and look under the furniture.
Well . . . I rub my hand over my mouth . . . maybe Hotch found it and forgot to tell me before he ran to his morning meeting. So I go over to look in his desk.
Of course this is the exact moment when JJ walks in.
"What are you doing with your hands in Hotch's drawers?"
I snap my head up in horror, "I do NOT put my hands in Hotch's drawers!" I respond indignantly.
How DARE she!
Then I see the look JJ's giving me as she jerks her head down to the desk. And that's when I realize where I have my hand and bark a nervous laugh, "oh, ha, right."
"Well," she looks over nervously, "what are you doing?" Her eyes snap back to the open doorway, "Hotch is going to be back from his meeting soon and you know he doesn't like people in his office."
"Uh . . ." for a moment I draw a complete blank as to a reasonable explanation for rifling through Hotch's desk. I don't think that "I have cart blanche to put my hands in his drawers anytime I want," is really going to fly here.
And then another shot comes screaming into my head and I shout.
And lickety split, JJ's pulled her sidearm as her eyes dart everywhere around the empty office.
"WHAT?! WHERE?!" She yells.
What the frigging hell is she doing?! And then my brain processes what I just said and my eyes pop.
"NO," I wave my hands, "NO, NO! Not GUN, GUM! I was looking for GUM!"
Good CHRIST Emily . . . I berate myself . . . start a Level 1 shutdown why don't you?!
"Oh," JJ sighs in relief as she reholsters her weapon, "gum." Then she looks at me again and her brow wrinkles, "but you're chewing gum."
So I am. Damn it.
I quickly change tactics.
"Not gum, like chewing gum, I meant," I clear my throat, "gum . . . stein. You know, the Gumstein file."
WHAT?! I HAVE NO FLIPPING IDEA WHAT THE HELL I'M DOING RIGHT NOW BEYOND TALKING COMPLETELY OUT OF MY ASS!!
But apparently my ass is being pretty God damn convincing . . . I'm thinking about letting it testify the next time I go to court . . . because to my AMAZEMENT . . . it's working!
I can tell from the look on JJ's face that she clearly believes that there is indeed a Gumstein file. And then she starts frantically flipping through her case list, "I don't have that one," her eyes snap back up and I see a controlled panic hovering in the wings, "is it new?"
Okay, it should be noted that JJ really prides herself on her snap recall of EVERY case we have hovering at any point on our radar. She's like Savant Girl when it comes to the case list.
Or like Reid when it comes to pretty much anything else.
So now I'm feeling kind of bad for making her have a panic attack about this phantom case file that totally won't be found on any plane of existence that we can access here at the FBI.
But . . . not bad enough to fess up.
Because . . . though I ordinarily would have no problem admitting to JJ as to having misplaced my diaphragm (she'd help me look for it) . . . my relationship with Hotch is still 100% under wraps. And if I'm carting birth control to the office the first question from my married friend (post squeal of excitement) is going to be "OH MY GOD, WHO IS HE!?"
And as I'm not about to manufacture a fictional secret boyfriend . . . I have a hard enough time juggling the real secret one . . . I can't disclose my actual problem to her. And therefore . . . unfortunate though it might be . . . JJ has to take one for the team. Even if she doesn't know she's taking one for the team.
And really it's not so much the team as well . . . me.
Okay yeah, I'm a terrible person and am definitely going to have to make this up to her somehow.
But not now as I quickly refocus on getting her to leave me alone.
"Oh geez Jayj," my nose wrinkles for affect, "I'm not really sure. Hotch just said it was important that I look at it today. I guess you don't have it, huh?"
Yes, I'm going to hell.
"Uh," she stutters, "no, no I don't. But maybe," her eyes dart towards the open doorway, "maybe it's on my desk. I'll go look."
And she's disappeared like Casper in a wind tunnel.
Phew . . . pushing aside my guilt at sending her on a goose chase . . . I start rifling through Hotch's desk again.
But . . . I open the third drawer only to find a box of Reid's magic tricks that had gone awry (aka caught fire) . . . nothing.
Though I'm not proud of it, at this point . . . I pout. Honest to God, 'so frustrated I want to cry but not really because this is SO not a cryworthy event,' pout.
HOW does a diaphragm just wander off?! What, did it find a lunch date or something?!
Hearing Dave's voice, my head snaps up to see him looking questioningly at me. And after seeing that look for the FOURTH time in the last ten minutes, a flash of indignation washes over me.
Jesus Christ! Can't a girl get five minutes alone to rifle through her boyfriend/boss' desk in private to search for her missing birth control?!
"Dave?" I reply in the same tone.
"What are you doing?" His eyebrow quirks up as he takes a step into the office.
Now here it should be clear to all that have ever met David Antonio Rossi the Third that neither deflective approach that worked on JJ or Reid is going to work on the man in front of me. He is UTTERLY unflappable.
Well, okay maybe I could flash my breasts. That might work as a distraction.
But not one I'm going to try today.
So I go with . . . wait for it . . . ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!
It's my only defense.
"Nothing," I reply matter of factly as I slide Hotch's middle drawer shut, "what are you doing?"
When attempting the 'absolutely nothing' approach, always respond to every question with a question. It prolongs the conversation long enough that you can escape before there's any meaningful exchange of information.
"Looking for Hotch," he says nonchalantly, "and you?"
Yes, he clearly knows I'm up to something and is attempting to give me some rope to hang myself. Yeah, well, he doesn't know who I'm sleeping with now. And if I've learned one thing from my time with Aaron . . . aside from how long I can hold my breath in the whirlpool bath . . . it's how to keep my game face on in the midst of a crisis.
So I smile politely as I push Hotch's chair back into place, "the same."
"Really," his lip quirks up, "any luck finding him in the 6 inch by 8 inch wooden desk drawer?"
My lips twitch . . . touché . . . but I say nothing as I step towards him tapping my watch and saying in a sing song voice.
"Briefing starts in ten."
And I slide passed him and out the door before he can ask another question.
Unfortunately I wasn't kidding about the briefing starting in ten, so I hurry back over to the conference room to snatch my bag off the table before everyone comes upstairs.
Oh well . . . I trudge dejectedly back down to my desk . . . apparently my search is tabled for the next hour.
As I step off the last riser of the small staircase I see Reid shooting me a look . . . so I shoot him one back.
He has no idea what my problem is beyond the fact that as far as he's concerned I'm acting like a complete loon today. And as proof of my supposition, I see him roll his eyes as he starts gathering up his things for the briefing.
My lip quirks up as I start gathering my own files . . . and . . . he's done with me.
I don't care if he thinks I've got a screw loose today, I just don't want him poking around my actions and discovering something I don't want him discovering.
Like how I discovered the breath holding thing.
A few minutes later . . . almost in tandem . . . Reid, Morgan and I head upstairs to the conference room. Hotch clearly hasn't returned yet but that doesn't mean we should wait for him. It's JJ's briefing and nine times out of ten Hotch already knows everything that she's going to say before she opens her mouth.
So we sit there watching JJ's latest slide show from hell, and then about twenty minutes in Hotch slips quietly in the back door and drops down into the empty chair next to me.
Even if the rest of the team doesn't know that we're sleeping together, they do know that Hotch's preferred seat is the one at my side.
The chair to my left is always left vacant.
And as he flips open his portfolio I hear a weary sigh escape his lips and I pout in sympathy.
A whole weekend with the Wicked Witch and then they STILL had to have their regular Monday morning meeting. That's just WRONG!
So I slip my hand over to squeeze his knee, and as I pull it back, out of the corner of my eye I see his lip quirk up slightly.
There we go.
Even if I haven't located my diaphragm yet I've at least done a little something to cheer up my Numero Uno.
And now that he's sitting next to me I start to relax a little. As soon as we're done I'll drag him into his office and explain my . . . OUR . . . problem. And then . . . my eyes shift over to his hand resting next to mine on the table . . . he can help me look for it.
I see him tap his notepad pointedly with his pen right before he asks JJ a nonsense question that I could have answered based on my twenty-three minutes sitting in the briefing.
It's a distraction.
And as everyone else looks to JJ to hear the answer that they all know, my eyes slide a little further over to see what he's written.
'It's in my pocket.'
My entire face lights up and dear God for a moment I nearly grab him and Hoover his face.
IT'S IN HIS POCKET! IT'S IN HIS POCKET!
I was SO not expecting that!
Okay . . . my hand slides off the table to squeeze his knee again . . . things are good! Things are FABULOUS!
Things could NOT be better!
I refocus in on the briefing, now I actually am giving it my full attention. Not that I wasn't listening before, but the back of my brain was whirling on other matters.
Though given the topic of today's briefing . . . a pile of gnawed bones found out Idaho . . . not focusing too closely in on imagining the specifics was a blessing.
Regardless though, this is my job, so I suck it up.
Thirty-five minutes later, JJ starts wrapping up. As I discreetly check my watch I see it's almost noon. Hmm, maybe I can drag Hotch out for lunch.
Actually maybe I can drag him a couple of towns over to that little diner we found in the middle of nowhere Virginia.
That was nice.
Just as I'm subtly closing up my case notes I hear JJ ask a question that freezes me cold.
NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!!!
My head snaps up and I see everyone looking at me . . . this is SO bad!
As I turn to Hotch I'm practically biting through my lip in a blind panic. And I can see that he's utterly perplexed as he looks at me.
"The Gumstein file?" He asks in confusion, "when did I give you that?"
"Uhhh . . . umm . . ."
A/N 2: There you go, just a little snippet of her day. I thought of this walking to work the other morning. Just her losing something really personal somewhere in the bullpen and trying to maintain an outward calm as she's inwardly freaking out.
This doesn't really lend itself to a direct Hotch companion piece but Chiroho MIGHT be doing a Hotch story covering his time at the retreat with Strauss. But I don't believe that's definitive yet, just something to watch for :)
Hopefully you liked it, and Chiroho gave me an idea for another Emily one so it's possible I might turn up with something else in this world in the next week or so. Otherwise, I have a Finding story about done, and I'm working on merging two unfinished Girl chapters. I'm hopeful maybe I can get one or both of those worlds moving this week.