AN: I know this is a long time coming and I am sorry for that but other updates and life got in the way. Hopefully, this chapter was worth the wait! Enjoy!
Chapter 20: Meet The Parents
You could hear a pin drop in the silence that followed Emily's announcement. Emily waited patiently as her parents processed the information that she had a girlfriend.
Emily's father recovered first and said, "Honey, that's great. What's she like?"
Before Emily could answer him, her mother spoke up, "Wait, before we get to that, Emily you can't be serious. I didn't agree to let you spend your senior year here so you could get into another relationship. After what happened with Gina, I had hoped you would've learned your lesson and stayed away from romantic entanglements at least until graduation."
Emily turned to her mother and frowned, "Trust me mom, I wasn't exactly looking for a relationship when I came here. I had every intention of staying single and just focusing on school." Emily could kind of understand where her mom was coming from, especially after what happened with Gina.
"So what happened?" Elizabeth was wondering why Emily would stray from her original intentions.
Emily shrugged, "I met JJ. I can't really explain it but...I met her and something just clicked. I couldn't seem to help myself, though I resisted as long as I could."
Her father chose to interject, "Well the heart wants what it wants and to hell with the brain's plans. Now, tell us about JJ-by the way what does the JJ stand for?" William Prentiss was a romantic at heart and he knew that, if this was what Emily wanted, then there was nothing to do but support her and be there in case something went wrong.
Emily smiled, "Yeah, it does. JJ is...hard to describe. The JJ stands for Jennifer Jareau but everyone calls her JJ so I do too...unless we're alone then I call her Jennifer. She's smart, funny, beautiful, sweet, strong and she keeps me in line. She doesn't back down when I pull one of my silent trips and when I told her about Gina, she didn't judge me or walk away."
Elizabeth and William exchanged a glance at that last remark. Elizabeth turned to her daughter, "You told her about Gina? The whole story?"
Emily nodded, "Yes I did. I didn't want it to be this big secret between us."
William grinned, he was good at reading between the lines and now he was positive, "You're in love with her, aren't you?"
Emily was a bit surprised at her dad's statement but nevertheless, she acknowledged the truth, "Yes I am."
William nodded. Elizabeth looked like she might protest but he put a hand on her knee and when she turned to him he simply shook his head. Elizabeth knew then to back down. William smiled at his daughter, "So, when can we meet her?"
Emily's smile faltered briefly, she hadn't thought about that yet. With her parents normally in Europe, Emily hadn't given much thought to having them meet Jennifer yet. But here they were and now she was facing the reality of a meeting between her parents and the girl she loved.
Emily turned to look out the living room window for a moment before she looked back at them and said, "Um...how about this afternoon?" One part of her wanted to just get it over with, while the other part was hoping to put it off as long as possible.
William took a moment to think about that and then grinned, "I think that sounds perfect. In fact, how about you call her and invite her to lunch with us? I'll take the four of us out for a nice meal and we can get to know her."
Elizabeth, though accustomed to being in charge at work, was willing to let her husband take the lead when it came to private matters. She was eager to meet this girl her daughter seemed to love, if for no other reason than to reassure herself that this...JJ wasn't going to be a problem like Gina had been.
Emily nodded, "Okay. Sounds like a plan. I'll go call her now and you two can get settled in Aunt Serena's spare bedroom."
Elizabeth spoke up then, "Oh that's not necessary. We managed to book a room in a local bed and breakfast. You call JJ and we'll go get settled there. We'll be back around...say one o'clock?"
Emily and William both nodded.
Emily stood and walked her parents to the door. She hugged them goodbye and watched them get into their rental car and drive off towards the bed and breakfast. She smiled to herself for a moment, thinking about her girlfriend. Then her smile vanished as she began to think about all the ways her parents-her mother mostly-could scare Jennifer away. Reluctantly, Emily went back inside the house to call Jennifer.
JJ was pacing her bedroom, trying to calm down. She had just gotten off the phone with Emily and now she was freaking out at the thought of meeting her parents. This was not what she was expecting this soon. She knew, realistically, that she would one day have to meet Emily's parents but she was hoping it wouldn't be until at least after graduation.
JJ's pacing was interrupted by her cell phone going off. She walked over to it and answered it without checking the caller ID. "Hello?"
"Hey JJ! Are you at home?" It was Alex, sounding way too happy for JJ's mood at the moment.
"Hey Alex, yeah I'm home. Why? What's up?" JJ forced herself to not let her mood come through in her voice. She wasn't sure yet if she wanted to tell anyone about her upcoming meeting with Emily's parents.
Alex, being JJ's best friend, noticed something off about her voice but knew that if she pushed, JJ would just clam up and keep whatever was bothering her to herself. Alex had learned a long time ago that if given enough time, JJ would eventually confide in her when she was ready.
"Nothing much, just making sure you and Emily are coming over for the annual movies and snacks day. The others will be here around noon as usual. You and Emily are coming, right?" Alex and JJ had started the tradition in the fifth grade of hanging out the day after Thanksgiving and watching movies. As their circle of friends expanded, so did the group involved in their tradition.
JJ had totally forgotten about their tradition this year. Emily's presence in her life and at Thanksgiving dinner had occupied JJ's mind completely. She'd forgotten to even tell Emily about it yesterday.
"Um...I totally forgot about that this year. Emily made plans for us for the afternoon...but I'll see if we can make it there afterwards." JJ was already thinking of ways to head over to Alex's after her meeting with Emily's parents.
Alex, realizing that JJ was at least trying, simply nodded to herself, "Okay. Well you know we go all night so come by anytime. I'll see you later? I gotta finish getting everything ready. Bye!"
"Okay, see you later Alex. Bye."
They hung up and JJ once again started worrying about her upcoming lunch plans. She wanted to make a good impression on Emily's parents. She loved Emily and she was worried that if her parents didn't approve, it would put a strain on their relationship.
Elizabeth and William Prentiss were sitting in a booth in the local diner, really the only place, other than the usual fast food places, that was open the day after Thanksgiving, waiting for Emily's girlfriend to arrive. Emily was standing outside of the diner, waiting for her girlfriend. Elizabeth suspected it had more to do with trying to prepare the younger girl for this meeting than to make sure she found the table.
Emily stood on the sidewalk outside of Melinda's waiting for JJ to show up. She was nervous as hell about the upcoming meeting between JJ and her parents and she wanted a few moments alone with her girlfriend, to prepare herself for what might happen.
JJ pulled into the parking lot of Melinda's and paused a moment in her car. She rested her forehead against the steering wheel and took a few deep breaths. She was trying to calm her nerves. She was so lost in her thoughts, she didn't notice that someone had walked up to her car until the passenger door opened and the person slid into the front seat. JJ turned and smiled when she saw it was Emily.
Emily looked at her girlfriend and she noticed the signs of nerves. She raised her hand and placed it on JJ's cheek, "Hey Jennifer. How are you doing?"
JJ leaned into Emily's touch and closed her eyes, savoring the moment and letting her girlfriend's presence calm her nerves. After a few moments she opened her eyes and said, "I'm better now that you're here." She looked around for a moment then asked, "Um, where are your parents?"
Emily smiled, "Relax, Jennifer. They're waiting inside. We have a few minutes alone before we have to go inside. I just wanted to spend some time with you before you met them."
JJ grinned, "Good, then I won't have to worry about them seeing me do this." JJ leaned forward and kissed Emily.
Emily slid closer and deepened the kiss. She used her free hand to undo JJ's seatbelt and then slid her arm around JJ's waist and pulled the blonde closer.
JJ let herself get lost in the kiss for a few moments, savoring the feel of Emily's lips against hers. She knew that while they were with her parents, she would have to be on her best behavior and, feeling up their daughter wasn't on that list.
After a few moments, Emily pulled back and rested her forehead on JJ's. She took a deep breath and said, "I love you Jennifer...and nothing will ever change that, okay?"
JJ just nodded, not trusting her voice just then.
After a few moments, Emily reluctantly remembered that they had to go join her parents. She and JJ slowly got out of the car and, after locking it up, they walked towards the diner, each mentally preparing for the upcoming meeting.
The media room in the Cabot house was, luckily, big enough to accommodate 14 people as the gang all gathered to enjoy their traditional Black Friday movie marathon. Each couple was paired off and camped out on one of the many couches and bean bags that littered the room.
Alex Cabot, as hostess, made sure there was plenty of snacks and beverages on hand before she put the first movie into the DVD player. Every year they picked a different theme and this year was 'romantic comedies'...the boys had been overruled.
As the first movie began, Alex snuggled into Olivia's arms and, while she was happy with the situation, a small part of her wished JJ and Emily were there.
Emily and JJ sat on one side of the booth across from Emily's parents, silent. They had already ordered and in the lull after the waitress left, a silence fell.
It didn't last very long as Elizabeth decided she wasn't going to hold back any longer. "So, JJ, what are your plans for after high school?"
Before Emily could say anything, JJ discreetly reached over and squeezed Emily's thigh to keep her silent. "I plan to attend college and major in communications and criminal justice. I was scouted last season by the University of Alabama as well as UCLA to play on their womens' soccer teams. So as long as I stay healthy and continue to play at the level I am currently at, then I'll have my choice of schools and scholarships."
Elizabeth was impressed, even if she didn't outwardly show it. "And, what do you plan to do with a degree in communications and one in criminal justice?"
JJ smiled, she was already prepared for questions such as these, "After college I plan to apply to the FBI and become a media liaison. My sister, Lisa, is currently studying to become a profiler for the FBI and I plan to follow in her footsteps, though not as a profiler but rather as the liaison between the press and the FBI."
Emily turned to look at her girlfriend, impressed with how well thought out her plan for the future was, she had never even thought to ask her about after graduation-mostly because she didn't want to think about the possibility of them being separated by different colleges.
William smiled, "Well it sounds like you have it all planned out. That's admirable JJ."
JJ turned to Emily's father, "Thank you sir."
Elizabeth spoke up, "Yes, it's very impressive. JJ, the thing I am most concerned about is...where does Emily fit into these plans?"
JJ turned to look at Emily for a moment then turned back to the older woman and said, "Mrs. Prentiss, I love Emily more than I have ever loved anyone else. I truly believe that we were destined to find each other and to have a future together. The faith I have in our love is strong enough for me to be confident that, even if we don't attend the same university, we will find a way to be together." JJ's voice was confident and certain. She truly believed that if she and Emily were meant to be together, they would find a way.
At that moment, the waitress came back and placed their meals on the table. Silence fell on the table as they began to eat their lunch. Emily was trying to process what JJ had just said, Elizabeth and William were thinking about it too and JJ was just hoping she'd said the right thing.
It was between the first and second movie that Derek thought to ask Alex, "Hey Al, did JJ tell you when she and Emily would be coming over?"
Alex frowned, "No she didn't give a specific time. She just said that Emily had made plans for them and that she would try to be by as soon as they could."
Derek nodded, thinking it didn't feel right not having JJ there. Olivia looked around at her friends, each of them wearing a curious expression as they all wondered why JJ and Emily weren't there, and she made a decision. "Actually, um...the reason they aren't here is because Emily's parents surprised her this morning by showing up in town for the weekend. Last time I saw Emily she told me that her parents wanted to meet JJ and they were all going to have lunch together. So I imagine right now, JJ is with Emily and her parents and wishing she was here instead."
The whole gang took a moment to take that in, each realizing the significance of what JJ and Emily were doing. Yeah, they had all met the parents of their girlfriends or boyfriends but, that was mostly because of the nature of a small town. Emily's parents didn't live in town, they weren't a daily part of their lives so for JJ to meet Emily's parents was a big thing.
Casey stood up and put the second movie into the DVD player as they all thought about what this new development in Emily and JJ's relationship meant.
Once lunch was over, Elizabeth remembered that she was expecting a call in an hour to go over some last minute details about an upcoming dinner party at the Embassy in Rome. She and William said their goodbyes to Emily and JJ and made JJ promise that she would join them for Sunday brunch before their flight left Sunday afternoon.
Before too long, Emily's parents were in their rental car driving towards the bed and breakfast and Emily and JJ were sitting in JJ's car at the diner.
Emily reached over and took JJ's hand in her own and squeezed it. "Well...that wasn't so bad, right?"
JJ turned to look at her girlfriend and realized that Emily was nervous about how JJ was going to react to her mother's interrogation of her after they'd finished their food. It had only gotten more intense and personal after Mrs. Prentiss had some food in her stomach.
JJ smiled, "Emily, it was fine. Honestly, I expected it to be a lot worse but it was fine. And for the record, I love you too and nothing can change that, okay?"
Emily looked at JJ and smiled. "Okay, I'm glad she didn't scare you away. My mother can be...intimidating at times."
JJ nodded, "She can be, but I'm a lot tougher than I look and it's going to take a lot more than your mother to scare me away from you."
Emily leaned closer and kissed JJ's lips. "That's good to know Miss Jennifer. Because I plan on spending the rest of my life with you...if you'll have me."
JJ didn't answer with words, she simply launched herself across the seat and planted herself in Emily's lap as she kissed her girlfriend with all the love and passion she had for her.
After a long while of indulging in their make out session, JJ pulled back and rested her head against Emily's. "We should really get to Alex's before they send out a search party."
Emily nodded, remembering JJ telling her about the Black Friday tradition during lunch. "Yeah...okay. Let's get going." Reluctantly, Emily let her hand fall to her sides and release JJ.
JJ slowly removed herself from her very comfortable position on top of Emily and settled back into the driver's seat. Both girls buckled up and then JJ pulled out of the parking lot and headed for Alex's house.
When they walked into the media room where the gang was gathered, JJ realized they were almost done with the movie they were watching so she told Emily to wait with her in the hallway until the movie ended. When the credits began rolling, JJ and Emily walked into the room and announced their arrival.
They were greeted with smiles and hugs and soon they were snuggled together in the corner of one of the couches with Alex and Olivia on the other end.
Now that the gang was complete, everyone in the room seemed to relax a little more and they popped in the fourth movie of their marathon.
Emily took a moment to look around the room and she smiled. Here, in this room, she had real friends and she knew that she would treasure their friendships for the rest of her life. She snuggled back into JJ's arms and decided to stop thinking and just enjoy the rest of the day.