This had to be the longest car ride I have ever been on.
JJ was at the wheel with her sunglasses on and her hair blowing in the wind. She was like a Greek goddess with golden hair. I would never say this out loud, mind you. She was married…and with a kid nonetheless. I had to keep my thoughts to myself.
Even though I knew I shouldn't still be in love with her, the night of our date was still cemented in my memory. It was five whole years ago the night after my birthday, and it was arguably the best night of my entire life.
My old mentor, Gideon, had given me two tickets to see the Redskins. I presumed I would be going with him, but when he told me JJ really loved the Redskins, he motioned me over to ask her out. It was the first time I had ever asked a girl on a date, and she said yes. I couldn't believe she had said yes.
I had told Morgan that it was "top secret" when he asked me about the details of our date. Garcia was probably all over JJ, trying to make her tell her everything, but JJ knew it was our secret. No one was supposed to know.
The fact is they left us alone about the details most likely because they thought it went horribly wrong and we were embarrassed, but the truth was quite the opposite.
"You've really never been on a date before?" JJ turned and looked at me. She was wearing her oversized Redskins jacket and her hair was pulled back in a ponytail. She looked like she was a high school cheerleader; she looked like a girl whom I never had a chance with.
I shook my head nervously and fixed my glasses. "No, I was always too nervous to ask any girl out. Many people misunderstand me." I walked slowly behind her with my hands in my pockets. "All the pretty girls were usually with other guys anyway." I continued to explain. "Statistics show that 88.6% of the time a high school cheerleader ends up dating a said 'jock.'"
"So the only pretty girls in your school were cheerleaders?" She asked after sitting down in her seat. I sat next to her and focused.
"Well, no, but it didn't mean I had a shot with them. Not, not that I have a shot with you…I mean, I know Gideon just did this as a friend and…" I was babbling.
JJ smiled and shook her head, "Spence, just relax and enjoy the night. We're on a date. A real date. And who said that you didn't have a chance with me?"
I stared at her, but the game was ready to begin. I just stared at her in disbelief. How could I have a chance with someone so beautiful? And why would she choose me? I was too skinny. I had glasses. Morgan made fun of my hair. Why would I have a chance?
As the game went on, we talked about work. We talked about Elle and Morgan and Garcia. We talked about Hotchner and how he never smiled. We talked about Gideon's intentions on setting us up.
"Gideon loves you, you know. You're like a son to him." She said, curled up in her jacket. It was getting dark, and the wind was picking up.
I was wearing short sleeves, and I remained still to refrain from shivering. I didn't want her to give me her jacket. Morgan told me that wasn't the way it worked. "Yeah, well he's the closest thing I've ever had to a father…" I trailed off. I didn't want to talk about my father…it was a bad subject to think about on a night I was supposed to be having fun.
She reached out and touched my arm, then shifted in her seat. I turned towards her and saw her concerned look. "Spence you have goosebumps on your arms. Are you cold?"
I shook my head and laughed awkwardly. "I'm fine JJ, just had a chill." I was an awful liar. She knew that, but she just smiled at me. She knew I didn't want to show any weakness.
The game finally ended, and to tell you the truth I don't even remember who won. I could barely remember who the Redskins played against. All I could remember was JJ wrapped up in that maroon jacket. I could remember her kind blue eyes staring into mine.
Back in the car, I asked her if she wanted dinner. She said no. Morgan said that would be a bad sign, but before I could panic she told me she wanted to back to my house.
"Are you a virgin?" She asked. The jacket was off and thrown in the backseat. Her shirt was low-cut. Now I was really nervous…
I stuttered. "Wh-what?"
She laughed. "It's okay if you are, Spence. I'm just asking."
I kept my eyes on the road and gulped. I just nodded as an answer. I was too ashamed to say yes.
"Are you?" I asked. It was a stupid question, but an awkward silence would have been worse. I turned to her while we were at the stoplight. She shook her head 'no'. She didn't say anything else.
I kept talking. "Were you in love?"
She looked up at me and smiled. "I thought I was." She laughed. "I was sixteen. He was nineteen. My parents hated him…he was a badass who liked fire and motorcycles. It felt so dangerous being with him. I think that's why I liked him so much." Her face fell.
"What happened?" I was fueling the conversation, but I hadn't noticed the light had turned green. The car behind me started beeping its horn. I turned back to the road, startled and started driving again. The rest of the ride home was quiet. I just wanted to get home so I could know what happened.
My house was a small, one floor ranch. JJ was really surprised by this. When we got out of the car she looked at me and laughed, "You have a doctorate's degree and you live in a small house?"
I argued that it was like the house I grew up in. She just smiled at me and followed me in. I got us water and sat on the couch. It was 8:30. The night was still 'young', as Morgan would put it.
"So what happened?" I asked.
She was sipping at her water. She looked at me so sadly and so innocently that I began to worry. She leaned over to place her glass down and rested her arms on her knees.
"His name was Adam…he was a drop-out with a bad reputation. I ended up falling for him hard…the night I met him he was over my house while my parents were out of town. My brother was having a party and I guess they were pretty close for a while…I drank a little bit so I could feel like I was fitting in…we ended up fooling around…but my brother caught us and made him leave. He forbid me from ever seeing him again…but like, a week later at school Adam was hanging around outside…so I went out and talked to him. He made me skip class and we went back to my house…" She stopped and looked down. She wouldn't look me in the eye. "It just kind of happened…then he acted like I didn't even exist after…" I had never seen JJ cry before.
"How could he ignore you? You're beautiful." It slipped out. I couldn't help it…I hated seeing her like this.
She looked at me with tearful eyes and smiled. She leaned back and took a deep breath. "Don't tell anyone that story, okay? Not even Morgan."
I smiled and laughed. She laughed back. I leveled my eyes, "I won't."
She smiled again. "I know." Her eyes were still red, but she was smiling now. She was beautiful even when she was sad.
"Spence?" She asked. I looked at her and she leaned forward. At first I thought she would kiss me, but she just removed my glasses and put them on the table. Then she ran her fingers through my hair and mussed it up. She backed up and stared at me. "Reid…"
I laughed, "What?"
"Do you have contacts?" She asked. Her eyes were wide.
I nodded and laughed nervously, "Why?"
"You should wear them…because…with your hair…oh my God…you're gorgeous…" She said. She couldn't believe it. She was just sitting there staring at me. Suddenly I felt more confident.
"JJ…" I started to say, but I just looked down at the couch.
"Yeah?" She asked. I didn't look up. I didn't know what I was going to say. Then I felt her fingertip lift my chin up. She held it there.
I laughed again, "I don't know." I said. My mind was drawing a blank, which was rare. JJ brainwashed my genius mind. I couldn't help but just stare.
I always thought JJ was beautiful, but I was never nervous around her. Not like I was now. Here she was, in my house, sharing her darkest memories and trying to make me reveal more of myself. I wasn't used to that. It was probably why I felt so sick.
She stroked my cheek with the back of her hand. "What happened with your dad?" She asked me.
I felt my eyes widen. I leaned sideways against the back of the couch. She followed suit and moved closer to listen.
"He uh…he left." I choked. I didn't want to talk about it. I looked up at her and all she did was signal me to continue. "He um, I guess he couldn't handle my Mom being so sick…you know, being schizophrenic…and I was a lot different from all the other kids in the neighborhood. I guess he couldn't handle it…" I repeated.
JJ rested her head on the back of the couch. "I'm sorry Spence." She whispered. I just shook my head. "It's not your fault, JJ, why are you saying sorry?"
She smiled, "Just because it's not my fault doesn't mean I can't feel bad."
I smiled back and nodded, "Then I'm sorry about Adam." I then remembered some of Morgan's advice…when I shared a moment with her, I was supposed to reach out and touch her arm or her leg or something…
I reached out and grabbed her hand. "You didn't deserve to be hurt." I whispered.
She looked sad again, but she smiled. "Thank you, Spencer." She said breathily. I smiled back, and she moved forward and put her head on my shoulder, then wrapped her arms around me.
I was in shock. It worked! Now what?
I wrapped my arms around her and put my lips near her forehead. She smelled like citrus and mint. All I wanted to do was shut my eyes and have her fall asleep in my arms exactly as we were. Everything was perfect.
Or at least I thought it was perfect. I was about to be proven wrong; another rare occasion in the life of Dr. Spencer Reid.
As it started to rain softly against the window outside, JJ leaned up and kissed softly on the lips. I kissed back with a little more force. I forgot to tell her I had never kissed a girl before.
Everything just played out perfectly…we kissed…then we made out…and then we were in my bedroom. We were in the dark…with only a little moonlight. Everything felt so right. Our bodies were intertwined with one another…our hearts were beating as one. I'm not one for poetry…but that night made me into a poet himself.
After, when our breathing was calm, she looked up into my eyes and smiled. I kissed her on the forehead and pulled her closer.
"Spence…can I ask you something?" She was whispering as if someone would hear us.
I nodded against the top of her head. "Of course."
"Is it okay if I count you as my first?" She was looking up at me now, her eyes hopeful and big.
"I'm the first since…?" I started, but her finger silenced my lips.
"No more since…please…just let me say you were my first…" She was almost begging.
"JJ, of course." I told her. "Of course you can." I pulled her in again and she wrapped her arms around my neck.
But there was something we were forgetting. Just when I began to think that this could bloom into something more…I remembered our job. We weren't supposed to get serious with other agents from our headquarters.
I didn't say it then. I just let her fall asleep in my arms.
The next morning I brought it up. She came down in just one of my shirts from my dresser. I was only in sweatpants. I felt like we were really a couple, but I had to bring it up. As much as I didn't want to…
"If the BAU found out about this…we could be in serious trouble." I said, clutching my mug of coffee.
She sipped out of hers and nodded, "I was thinking about it last night…" She sighed and looked at me. "…we can't tell anyone about this."
"What do you want to make up a story?" I asked.
She shook her head no again. "Last night was too perfect to make up a story." She looked mad and stared down into her mug.
She shrugged, "I guess we just…tell everyone it's a secret." She looked at me and smiled.
We had a secret. It was the best secret in the world.
I smiled back and laughed. "Morgan and Garcia are going to kill us if we don't tell them."
"I know right?" She was laughing.
After we got dressed I brought her home so she could get ready for work. I walked her to her door and when she let me inside she turned to me and took a deep breath.
"You know last night didn't feel like it was your first date." She said and gave me a suspicious look.
"It was I swear!" I laughed. When I looked up, there was a mirror in front of me. My hair was tousled and my glasses were still off, and I'll admit I didn't think I looked half-bad. JJ smiled when she realized I saw my reflection. "You know…you should work on looking like that all the time…" She said and smiled up at me.
She started walking up her stairs and I started for the door. "Hey, JJ…" I started. She turned around. Morgan gave me another piece of advice, incase it turned out to be a one-night stand, but I went against it.
"I love you."
And that's when our phones went off. There was an emergency at work. She looked up at me and I smiled again, then walked out and shut the door.
I couldn't believe that was five years ago.
Now here we were…she was married and I was still single. She was still beautiful and I had grown my hair out. I stopped wearing my glasses. I caught her staring at me sometimes.
Gideon and Elle were gone. Rossi and Emily were on the team now. Morgan and Garcia still wondered what happened on that night.
I must have deep in thought, because JJ touched my arm and made me jump.
"Whoa, Spence, you alright?" She asked and lifted her sunglasses off of her eyes.
"Yeah, yeah, sorry, I was daydreaming." I explained. I hope that was enough for her.
She laughed and looked over, "That was a long daydream. It's been almost an hour."
I was surprised, "Wow…that is a long time." I laughed nervously.
"What were you thinking about?"
"You're a bad liar Reid."
"Then, what were you dreaming about?"
I looked over at her and realized that argument would go on for hours. "About…you know…the secret."
She smiled warmly, "Our date?" She whispered. There was no one in the car with us.
I laughed. "Yeah, just thought about it for some reason. Can you believe that was 5 years ago?"
She took a breath in, "Five years are you serious?" She asked.
We laughed and she looked at me. Then she put her directional on and pulled over to the side of the road. I stopped laughing and looked over. "JJ…"
"Do you still love me?"
I stared at her. "What?"
"You said 'I love you.'"
I kept staring, then snapped myself out of it. "Yeah…I know I did."
If I told her the truth, and she loved me back, I'd ruin my godson's life. Will and JJ would split and Henry would be back and forth for the rest of his life. I didn't want that. Or maybe she would reject me and tell me to get over it.
"Spence?" She signaled. "Do you still love me?"
I looked her dead in the eye. "No."
Her face saddened, "You don't?"
I felt my face drop. I thought I was a terrible liar?
She turned in her seat and reached her hand out to mine. "Spencer, I'm asking you because…Will and I…we're getting divorced."
I was speechless. I just stared at her, almost angry. "What? What about Henry?"
"Henry will still be with me…" She explained.
"JJ I'm so sorry…" I blurted out. I shook my head, "Why do you want to know if I still love you?"
She cocked her head. "I guess I just needed…I don't know…to hear that someone still does."
"JJ, of course I still love you. I've loved you since that night. I was saying no cause you're…were…married…" I felt like an idiot, but she just smiled.
"Spencer that's all I needed to hear."
I smiled weakly. I could see the hurt in her eyes. I didn't want to ask what Will had done. "Is it still our secret?"
She smiled at me, that beautiful goddess smile, "Our secret."
As we parked near the crime scene, she looked over at me and just smiled. She shut off the car and put the keys in her pants pocket.
I couldn't control myself.
"JJ can I kiss you?" I choked.
She looked over to me with wide eyes and jumped across the seat. That kiss was more passionate then the one we shared that night…
…and then she stopped, and got out of the car, walked over to Morgan, and acted like everything was cool. I sat there for a minute to gather my thoughts. She loved me. And I loved her.
And we had our secrets.