Author's Note: Hello, all our fanfic friends! Several announcements today, so, hang on tight!
First, our forum, "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" has a new interview up with the fabulously talented klcm. Please stop by and get to know her and several other of the brilliant authors in CM fanfic. And if anyone has an author that they'd like to see interviewed, please shoot me a private message. I promise that we'll do our best to coax them over to talk to us!
Second, there are FOUR days left for the October Challenge, "The Candyland Challenge". In the spirit of Halloween, the rules are simple. Name a candy, a pairing you'd like to see written and the pairing you normally write. You'll be assigned a pairing and a candy by October 1st. You will have until Halloween (October 31, 2010) to post a story with your candy prompt and pairing. It does NOT have to be a Halloween story...it just must contain a reference to the candy. For example, if you were assigned a "Goo Goo Bar" as a candy, you could make that the candy an actual BAR in your story. The more creative, the better. Sign-ups are at the forum or you can shoot us a PM (ilovetvalot OR tonnie2001969) if you're interested.
Also, please, please, please don't forget to get your nominations in for the first EVER "Profiler's Choice Awards. Nomination ballots and rules are at the forum. Don't forget, I'm (ilovetvalot) still willing to write a oneshot of your pairing choosing to the next five people to complete a ballot. This is a wonderful opportunity to give your favorite stories and authors the recognition that they deserve on ff. net. Also, please remember, in the interest of just saying "no" to self-promotion, ilovetvalot and tonnie2001969 are NOT eligible for nomination.
Also, readers & authors, please come sound off on our newest discussion thread. Tell us how you'd feel about the idea of a fanfic based CM Christmas Gift Fic Exchange. We're eagerly soliciting opinions and ideas!
So, please, drop by and get a blank ballot and tell the fanfic community who YOUR favorites are! We'd love to have you!
She stood to the side, as unobtrusive as possible, not interrupting…merely watching. She found herself doing this more and more with each passing day, unable to resist the moment of voyeurism that seemed to make her day complete.
Missing this time left her feeling bereft, alone…vacant inside.
And emptiness was not an emotion that Erin Strauss was accustomed to feeling. No, she held tightly to the reins that guided her sentiments, never allowing herself to mix business and pleasure, her ambitions too important to sacrifice for what might just be a momentary fling.
But she had a feeling that this might be more. This one…he was different. And she knew it.
It had all started just a mere two weeks ago, the very day that the newest member of the Behavioral Analysis Unit joined the team. For years, she had prided herself on not allowing her head to be turned by a pretty face, needing more than just good looks to keep her interested. But if what she had heard about this young FBI agent was true, he was the complete package. Handsome, well-educated, intelligent….he met all the requirements.
Much more than her ex-husband had. Richard Strauss had been her one weakness, her journey on the slippery slope of indulgence, satisfying her physical needs only to find out that the pleasure was fleeting and the consequences were eternal. After finally removing him from her life, she vowed to never make that mistake again.
But just as she was allowing herself to stare one last time at the unique man that was Aaron Hotchner, suddenly she felt his eyes turn to meet hers. And instead of the questioning gaze that she expected to see, she instead was met with dark orbs that held far more. She might not be a profiler like him, but she could read human emotion.
And she was clearly seeing that he was interested. In her.
God help them all.
He felt her eyes on him. Again. Oddly, instead of disconcerting him as the perusal of other women often did, he found himself drawn to her, beckoned by some invisible force he didn't recognize.
At thirty, he was well past his sexual prime; the urge to nail anything in a skirt had passed long ago. Not that he had actually done so. He'd had Haley to think about, after all.
Or rather, he'd HAD Haley to think about. But his new career path had put a hiatus on his fledgling marriage. His wife had wanted a separation. A trial separation, she'd said, her emphasis obviously on the latter rather than the former. She wanted time to test the waters around them and see if there was something more satisfying than the life they'd chosen to spend together. And then she'd left. Back to Alabama and the family she missed.
She'd been gone a month. A month of lonely, sleepless nights alone in their king size bed had taken their toll on him. Never one to complain, he'd born the desertion in stoic silence. But now, feeling the slow heat of interest burning in the coolly elegant woman's eyes as she stood watching him, he could admit to himself that, perhaps, it was time for him to test the waters as well.
Swallowing as she watched his lean legs eat the distance between them, Erin felt a slow blush climbing her cheeks. Damn it, Strauss, she barked at herself. This is exactly what you DON'T need...being caught with your hand in the cookie jar were antics for the David Rossis of the world. This was not for a woman that had battled tooth and nail to arrive where she had in the Bureau in such a limited time. Dalliances with colleagues were strictly the forte of the longtime dark eyed Lothario serendipitously watching his new protégé approach her.
She attempted to ignore the censorious glare emanating from David Rossi as Aaron Hotchner easily moved in her direction. Who was he to cast judgments on her after his many illicit trysts among their co-workers at the Bureau? That man had singlehandedly worked his way through every floor of the building, constructing a harem to rival any sheik she'd ever heard of.
"Agent Strauss?" Aaron Hotchner's rich baritone voice intoned. Nearing the statuesque woman, he extended his hand in a professional but easy manner. "I don't think we've met. Agent Aaron Hotchner, ma'am."
"Agent Hotchner," Erin nodded, taking the handsome younger man's hand in hers and suppressing a shudder as his warm palm enfolded her smaller hand. "I've heard a lot about you. Agent Gideon speaks highly of you upstairs."
"Thank you, ma'am. I think a lot of him and Agent Rossi as well," Hotch replied respectfully. "Both men are teaching me a lot."
"Careful you don't learn too much from them," Strauss replied, meeting Rossi's dark eyes across the Bullpen for a bare second before turning back to the young man before her. "Some of the examples they set aren't quite Bureau approved."
Chuckling at the vague reference to his mentor's fabled libido, Hotch nodded. "Noted, ma'am. What brings you to our bunker below today? May I help you?" he asked, genuinely curious to know what had brought one of the Bureau's shining stars into their sphere. It was widely known that Erin Strauss was on her way to the top, and her presence in their fledgling unit's base of operations was unusual.
"I...I'm..." Erin faltered, suddenly unable to form coherent words as Agent Hotchner leaned languidly against the door frame to the bunker. Great, Erin! Way to act like a giddy teenager talking to the star quarterback.
"You...," Hotch drawled, his eyes twinkling as he noted the blush climbing the senior agent's attractive face. He was a fair judge at determining ages, even those of ladies adept at hiding the passages of time, and he was fairly certain that she was less than a decade ahead of him.
Squaring her shoulders and drawing herself up to her considerable height, she smiled politely. "I'm actually here to see Agent Gideon," Erin stated evenly, belatedly realizing she held three case files in her hand. She'd worked out her excuse for spying on him before she'd ever stepped out of her office. "Case files, Agent Hotchner" she said, holding the manila folders aloft.
"Please, call me Hotch," Aaron invited, noticing the slight tremble in the elder woman's hands as she held up the files. So, he hadn't been imagining things after all. He was having an effect on what he'd been told was an Ice Queen. "And Agent Gideon isn't here. He's giving a seminar over at Georgetown U this afternoon. But he did direct me to shuffle anything pressing to Agent Rossi, and I can take those for you," he offered, reaching out to take the files and casually brushing his fingertips against her hand.
Licking her lips, Strauss nodded as she felt his eyes on her face again. "That's very...helpful, Agent Hotchner...I mean, Hotch."
"Anything for a fellow agent," Hotch said softly, watching closely as she softly bit her lower lip. "Anything else I can do for you, Agent Strauss?"
"I...uh...no. I suppose that's everything," Erin stuttered. Was that the merest hint of suggestion she'd heard in his offer? No, surely she'd imagined it. Hadn't she? "Thank you...Hotch. I'll let my superior know those files are in good hands," she smiled, turning to leave.
"Agent Strauss?" Hotch said, calling her back before he had time to think about the wisdom of his actions.
"Yes?" Erin asked over her shoulder.
"You might not know this, but I'm new to the DC area. Would you care to have dinner with me?" he asked, absently noting her own lack of a wedding ring. "In a strictly tourist guide capacity, of course," he added when he saw the flash of uncertainty in her eyes.
The times…they were a'changing.
Author's Note 2 - Also guys, please don't forget that if you'd like to advertise the awards on your own profile pages or stories, there's a short blurb on my (ilovetvalot) and Tonnie's (tonnie2001969) profile page for you to copy and paste if you choose!
Again, thanks to everyone reading, reviewing, alerting and favoriting this story!