She wanted to cry.

Emily Prentiss rested her head on the steering wheel and took a deep breath. She wasn't going to let this break her. It was just a car.

A car that wouldn't start when the only thing she wanted to do was go home.

Wiping at her eyes, she sat back up and looked out into the dark parking garage. She couldn't just sit there. She would call a cab and then call a mechanic in the morning. Feeling sorry for herself wasn't going to do her any good.

Though she thought that maybe going home and getting drunk might help.

Emily pulled out her cell phone and dialed for information. Hopefully it wasn't too late for a cab to come out…

A knock on her window made her jump, her phone clattering to the floor between her feet. Breathing heavily, a hand pressed to her chest, Emily turned to see David Rossi standing next to her car.

"Shit," she muttered. She opened the door, but made no move to get out. "Hey."

There was an amused glint in his eyes, but she also saw a hint of wariness there. She had done her best to avoid him since their night out, even going so far as to not meet his eyes when they spoke.

But that wouldn't work here.

"Hey." He looked around the inside of the car. "Everything okay?"

"Won't start," she whispered, surprised at the sudden tears building in the back of her throat. Now was not the time to break down.

Dave nodded, hands in his pockets as he searched her face. "Want a ride home?"

"You don't have to do that."

He sighed, giving her a withering look even as he extended his hand. "Let me drive you home, Prentiss."

She was moving before she'd even thought about it, his hand cupping her elbow to steady her. Slinging her purse over her right shoulder, she watched as he shut the car door and led her to his truck.

"Thank you," she said.

He opened the door for her, but didn't meet her eyes as she climbed in. "I'd never leave you stranded, Emily."

As he moved around to his own side, Emily quickly wiped away a tear. She should have known he'd be a gentleman. How she could ever think he'd be a bastard to her just because she was an idiot…

Taking a seat beside her, Dave buckled his seat belt. "All set?"

Trapped in her own thoughts, she could only nod.

They were silent as Dave maneuvered them through the darkness. Emily's insides turned into lead as the minutes ticked by painfully on the digital clock. This wasn't a problem they were supposed to have. They were comfortable with each other. They trusted one another. This was supposed to be easy.

And she had screwed it all up.


Emily shook herself slightly, turning to stare at him with wide eyes. "What?"

"Are you hungry?"

"Umm…" Her stomach betrayed her before her mouth could, and she blushed slightly. "Yeah, I guess I am."

He nodded, his eyes locked on the road. "Good. Dino's it is then."

He watched her pick at the burger in front of her, her fries and drink almost completely untouched. Emily Prentiss, usually so good at hiding her feelings, was coming apart in front of him.

He hadn't been sure what to expect after their 'date.' She was either going to shut him out completely or act as though nothing had happened, and he wasn't entirely sure which reaction would have been more bearable.

But he couldn't watch her like this.

"Whatever it is, Emily," he said gently, "just say it."

She looked up, seemingly surprised that he was even there. "What?"

Dave sighed, finally looking her right in the eye. "We've known each other too long, and too well, to play these games. Whatever you're thinking, whatever you're feeling…you don't have to pretend with me. I'm not going to suddenly stop being your friend."

She gave him a sad half-smile. "Even if I'm an idiot?"

"I'd say we all have our moments."

Emily nodded, taking some strength from his words. He knew her secrets, and he had never betrayed her trust. There was no reason to start doubting him now.

"I'm not very good at this," she said quietly.

"I'm fairly certain you've proven that."

Emily's head jerked up at his words, but when she saw the smirk dancing across his lips, she couldn't help but chuckle. "Bastard."

"Never claimed to be anything else." He set his coffee down and stretched out his hand, but thought better of it, stopping halfway. "Just tell me what you want, Emily. I'm driving blind, here."

She sniffed, resting her chin in her hand. "Did you know that one of my strongest suits is screwing things up?"

Dave narrowed his eyes and mimicked her pose. "Do explain."

"Well, I'm really good at meeting men who are bad for me, letting them into my life, and then watching them walk away afterward. It's a cycle, and I've really gotten the hang of it."

"I see."

"But then…" She cleared her suddenly dry throat. "But then, a nice guy comes along. Not even just nice…he's really a very good man. And he sweeps me off my feet."

Dave nodded. "And what do you do?"

"Oh, I screw it up," she replied, amazed at how easy the conversation was now. "See…I don't trust good things. I think that there's no way this man could actually want me. Or that…even if he does, he'll eventually realize that I'm a wreck and not worth the trouble."

He rubbed at his beard. "What if he already knows you're a wreck and still thinks you're worth the trouble?"

Emily shook her head. "Not possible."

Dave's eyes softened, and he reached out, gently brushing her hair from her face. "Do you want this?" he asked, his voice hushed.

She placed her shaking hand over his and pressed it against her cheek. "Yeah."

His thumb moved over her skin, causing her eyes to slide shut. "Then I'm not giving up on you, Em."

Her eyes opened, and she found herself caught in his gaze. She wanted to run, to bolt out of the diner as fast as she could. But her body wouldn't move, ignoring all the commands she threw at it.

Maybe it knew better.

"You're a difficult man, David Rossi," she replied with a smirk.

His smile was steadily growing, and it amazed her how much she had missed it over the course of the day. "Does that mean I get a second date?"

"I'm pretty sure this is your second date."

His eyebrows rose slightly. "So do I get a third?"

She made a light tsk-ing sound. "Greedy."

"No…greedy would be going in for a kiss."

Her free hand moved to his collar, tightening her grip on the fabric. "Dave?"


Emily smiled. "I think you should go for broke here."

He didn't have to be told twice.