Help! I'm stuck in an elevator with…

Aaron Hotchner

[Without turning a hair, SSA Hotchner makes a quick call on his cell phone, then leans back against the wall of the elevator.]

Hotch: We'll be out of here soon.

Me: Thank you.

[There is silence. Hotchner seems to be deep in thought, his face impassive. Unsure at first of what to do, I deliberately sit on the floor and pull my book out of my bag. Though I read, I sometimes sneak a glance at him. His arms are crossed, his eyes darkly veiled. Once he catches my eyes, and I do my best not to flush.]

Hotch: I'm sorry. I'm being rude.

Me: I don't have a problem with silence.

Hotch: I see you come prepared.

Me: You never know when you're going to get stuck in a line at the store.

Hotch: Or in an elevator? [His rare humor flashes in his eyes.]

Me: Exactly. I don't see any reason to sit and do nothing, so I sit and read.

Hotch: What are you reading?

[I show him the book, "Pride and Prejudice."]

Me: This is my car copy.

Hotch: This is a very popular book. I think JJ—one of my colleagues—was reading it one day.

Me: For good reason.

Hotch: She said it was a very romantic story.

Me: It is, but that's only part of it. Jane Austen wrote about things no one else in her time cared to write about, the average, everyday life of average, everyday women. She had a great deal of insight into people and society. She was no Charles Dickens, of course, but she made her world fascinating.

[He's just kind of looking at me when the door opens. Morgan is standing there with a technician.]

Morgan: Hotch, we've got a case.

[Hotchner nods. He steps past me out of the elevator, then turns back.]

Hotch: May I borrow it?

Me: What?

Hotch: Your book. May I borrow it?

Me: Oh. [I hand it to him.]

Hotch: A pleasure.