This is the last chapter of "A night like this". Thanks to everybody who read, alerted and took the time to comment on this story. I had a great time writing it and I hope you enjoyed the plot.
A night like this - Seven
One hour later
Even watching the doctor fixing Jason's nose physically hurt Erin and worsened her already guilt driven conscience.
"I'll never drink one sip of alcohol again," she silently told herself, trying to ignore Gideon's small scream of pain.
"It's not as bad as it looks like," the nurse told her with a smile. She was african american, about 40 year old woman with friendly eyes. "Your friend will look better than ever when he's restored."
"I hope you're right."
"Aren't you curios how your other friend feels?" the nurse asked.
"Actually, no..." Erin answered dryly. She didn't even want to think about Tracy.
"Strange, she said the same thing when I asked her, if she wanted to know how the guy in here is... are you sure, you know what you're doing?"
"Excuse me?" Erin arched her eyebrow.
"Never sleep with two men when they each other too well... Sorry, but I heard the other guy and the kid arguing about it."
"I haven't slept with both of them... at least not in the last 20 years," Erin spat, asking herself why she was explaining herself to a complete stranger. "How's the girl?"
"Better... but still a bit shaken. These young chickens just don't know what they can stomach." The nurse shook the head and left the examination room. A few minutes later the doctor was done with Gideon and lef as well.
"I go and have a look at your friend now... though she doesn't look as bad as you."
"Fact is, she won't try to win a beauty contest in the near future!" Gideon joked, checking his appearance in the mirror at the wall.
"Probably not," the doctor shrugged unmoved before he closed the door behind him.
"I'm so sorry," Erin said to Jason, as she helped him to fix the collar of his shirt. "I don't know how to apologize..." she sighed unhappily.
"Don't..." he said and took her trembling hands into his. "Whatever you did had nothing to do with the fact that Rossi tried to break my nose again! At least this time he didn't get away with everything..."
"Jason..." she started, ready to admit it was indeed her fault.
"Don't... After all, I can thank myself for my broken nose.. I should have never allowed you to use me to get back Rossi..."
"But..." she tried object.
"No... Let's face it... you came to that restaurant to make me stay at the BAU... by all means and with everything you had to offer... which is actually more than I can handle," he paused and sighed. "But when he showed up with that kid you couldn't help yourself and so you tried to pull a fast one on him, but Erin..." he took her chin and made her face him. "It's the oldest story in the book and it never works. You know that, don't you?"
She nodded slowly, without losing a word. She hated it when he was right, but he belonged to the few people in this world to tell her when she was wrong, because he never judged her.
"So, when he returns to the BAU next week, you'll have to find a way to deal with him. Otherwise the two of you will kill each other sooner or later... or even worse, you'll kill other people in the process. It's not worth it... unless there's more behind your relationship with him than the wish you fuck each other senseless."
"I wish you would describe it a little differently..."
"And how?" he asked, knowing she wouldn't answer.
"You know what bothers me the most?" she asked instead.
"That there are great men like you out there while I can't seem to resist this jackass."
Gideon laughed wholeheartedly. "That's my girl! And don't worry, you won't get rid off me so easily... I'll check on you from time to time..."
"You won't... you'll go and stay away from me as far as possible." she reached out to touch his cheek. "Maybe in another life..."
"Heaven help me... and now let's go." He kissed her cheek, wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pushed her out of the room.
Rossi already sat on a chair in the waiting area when Erin and Jason returned. His mood was on a low point. The car as mess, the girl beaten up, Erin and Gideon probably ready to kick his ass...
"How's our youngest patient doing?" Gideon asked, hardly facing Rossi, because he wanted to keep himself from laughing. Yep, Rossi looked ridiculous, when he was pissed. Maybe it wasn't such a bad day after all.
"She's still in there..." Rossi answered grumpily. "Her father won't be pleased to hear where she's spent most time of this morning... and last night."
"Her father?" Erin asked, curiously.
"The same one who owns the car... my publisher."
"But didn't she say she's an interior?" Erin started laughing.
"She is, but she is working for her father... she just never tells anyone who she is, because she wants to be recognized for her work," he gave Erin a look. "Not her position."
"How humble..." Erin scoffed, who had never understood why people didn't use their assets when they had them. "Fact is, the car is a mess and his daughter beaten up. I'm sure he'll love your next book..."
"Gideon beat her up!" Rossi pointed at Jason who shook his head in defense.
"Not my fault. You avoided me like a coward!"
"Stop it!" Erin said. "That won't help."
"Don't worry about me making my living..." Rossi rose, stroking his beard. "I own enough money and I don't need to publish more books. Actually, I don't need anyone to help me."
"Your readers will be eternally grateful to hear that," Gideon commented dryly.
"Maybe I should take a look at her," Erin said. "Maybe she has to stay..."
She turned to leave, but Gideon followed her with quick steps and stopped her. Rossi observed with a crooked eyebrow that Gideon leaned into her, whispered something in her ear that first made her eyes widen and then caused her to laugh.
Damn them and their way of making him feel like fool. As a response Erin kissed his mouth and caressed his cheek.
Her mouth formed the words "Thanks you" and then she turned on her heels.
"What did you tell her?" Rossi asked, pretending to be amused.
"None of your business," Gideon answered. "And now call a taxi! Somehow you have to bring the girls back to town."
"Why do I have to bring them back?" Rossi asked, suspiciously. "What about you?"
"I won't go with you... my demands have been fully covered last night. I need some peace now."
"Yeah, sure..." Rossi mumbled. "You go into hiding and I have to endure their rants. Nice plan of yours."
Two hours later
The taxi stopped in front of the Italian restaurant where the four had started their journey the night before. Erin climbed out the car and Rossi followed her, telling the driver to wait.
"Erin, my wallet, please.. and my cell."
"Your wallet?" she asked.
"Yes, I gave it to you last night, after we left the restaurant and you put it in your purse. She opened her purse and searched for Rossi's possessions.
"Here," she said after one minute of intensive rummaging around her purse. She placed both items in his hand.
"Thank you. A pity Tracy didn't want to come with us..."
"Actually, I don't miss her," Erin answered crisply. "I wish I never met her... or you. Doesn't it scare you that she swore revenge on you?"
"No, it doesn't... you don't scare me, why should she scare me?"
"Because Daddy can make you look like a fool?" she asked back.
"Daddy doesn't scare me either... so..." he gave her a smile. "When will we repeat this?"
"Never, not, if I can avoid it," Erin answered coolly. "And first thing tomorrow morning will be to call the Director and tell him to recycle some other agent." She smiled sweetly at him.
"Oh, come on, Erin... don't be like this," Rossi closed the distance between them. "You had fun last night..."
"I have a headache today. That's what counts for me." Their eyes met and both held the gaze, neither of them willing to break the contact.
"You know, you don't stand a chance... I decided to come back to the BAU and I will. There's nothing you can do to change that."
"Why do you want to come back anyway? You can tell the story of the bored author who wants to help the FBI as often as you wish, I don't buy it."
He smiled deviously. "You're always so... incredulous. Maybe I just missed you."
She returned the smile with glittering eyes. "You've always been a poor example of a good liar."
"So where do we go from here?" he asked, the hands in his pockets.
"I go home now." She pulled out her car key and dangled it in front of his nose. "Go back into your taxi and think of a way to explain your publisher why his daughter looks like Mike Tyson after a lost fight."
After a quick twinkle, she turned on her heels.
"Hey Strauss..." Rossi yelled after her. "Why don't I send the taxi away and you and I go to your place to try that wicked little thing you carry around in your purse? I still have some condoms left..."
"Forget it!" she answered without bothering to face him.
"Okay... so my place."
"Fuck off, Rossi."
"In this case, just call me, when you have my new badge... I look forward to it."
He laughed and remained in the deserted parking lot, watching her as she drove away. Yeah, he looked forward to Quantico, the bullpen and her. It'd really been too long.