Author's Note: First, I hope you guys enjoy this new story. It will be updated once a week.
We have a few announcements for year today. First, don't forget we have a new challenge open on the forum, "Chit Chat on Author's Corner". Sign-ups for our January challenge, "The Happy New Year's Challenge" is open through December 30, 2010. We'd love to have each one of you. Simply swing by the forum (you can link to it thru our profile pages) and sign up with the pairing you'd like to see written and three prompts associated with the holiday. On Jan 1, 2011, you'll be assigned a random pairing (not the one you usually write) and three prompts to write by January 30.
And don't forget - those that signed up to complete the CM Christmas Fic Gift Exchange, you have exactly FOUR days left. Please PM me if you have any problems.
Finally, if any of you have any idea for issues/activities that you'd like to see "Chit Chat on Author's Corner" forum tackle in the form of discussion threads and/or challenges, please let us know. We want to bring you all some really fun threads in the New Year!
As always, thank you to every reader, reviewer, and person that favorites or alerts one of our stories. Hearing from each of you means a great deal to each of us. We truly value your thoughts and opinions. Now, on with our story!
The Red Poinsettia
Eyes widening slightly at her daughter's revelation, Elizabeth looked slowly from Spencer Reid's glowing face to Emily's ice cold gaze. "Dr. Reid." Elizabeth smiled with stiff lips, her face literally frozen in silhouette. "If you don't mind, I'd like a word with my daughter privately," she remarked, her words clearly more order than request.
"Emily?" Reid murmured uncertainly, dropping his eyes to hers as he lightly touched her forearm in question. While this might be her mother's party, he was unwilling to allow Emily to be forced into anything that she did not wish to happen.
"It'll be fine," Emily assured him with a warm look. "Why don't you go find us another drink?" she suggested, nodding toward the bar set up along one wall of the room. "Mother and I will find a quiet corner to share a chat."
"Are you sure?" Reid whispered as he bent to press a gentle kiss to her cheek, aware the Ambassador's eyes bore into them with the ferocity of a neutron laser. "I can say our safe sentence right now and we're outta here," he breathed against her ear.
"Positive," Emily nodded, cupping his cheek as she pressed a kiss to his lips. Screw the backlash, she though as he returned her kiss. She was in love at long last. And that was something her mother couldn't change no matter how hard she tried.
And it was obvious that the elder Prentiss intended on doing just that.
"Emily, really," Elizabeth chastised as Emily drew back from Reid. "We're in public," she frowned, looking quickly around for anyone that might have witnessed her progeny's public display.
Rolling her eyes, she squeezed Spencer's hand as he turned to depart before turning her attention back to her so-called mother. "Really, Mother," Emily hissed as soon as Reid was out of earshot, "you couldn't resist belittling him even for your introduction?"
Wrapping her fingers around Emily's wrist, the Ambassador ordered with clenched teeth, "Smile, dear. We're being watched and I really don't wish for you to create another one of your scenes."
"Then you really should have allowed my boyfriend and I to remain home in peace," Emily countered acidly even as she allowed her mother to guide her into a secluded alcove.
Dropping Emily's arm with a flick of her wrist as soon as Elizabeth was certain they were both visually shielded, she shook her head in disgust. "Really, Emily," she admonished with a glare. "You brought him to this event. There were plenty of suitable men that could have accompanied you...Aaron Hotchner...even David Rossi would have been better!"
"I'm not in love with either Hotch or Dave, Mother," Emily spat back, her eyes flashing dangerously as she crossed her arms over her chest. "And what possible fault could you have with a doctor!"
"Oh! You'd like an itemized list?" Elizabeth asked, sarcasm dripping from her cultured tone. "How about the fact that his mother is an institutionalized mental patient? She is a paranoid schizophrenic, for God's sake! Or, perhaps we should discuss the fact that he's a recovering drug addict, hmmm? Did you know any of that before you began seeing him, Emily? Did you even bother to check?"
"Actually, Mother," Emily replied sweetly, "I knew ALL of it. And NONE of it mattered to me."
Shaking her head, Elizabeth pressed her lips into a tight line. "Typical," she snarled after a moment. "Nearly forty years old and you're still flouting convention in an attempt to gain attention."
"Are you kidding me?" Emily laughed outright, tossing her hair over her shoulder. "I'm with Spencer because I love him, Mom. And he genuinely loves me. For who I am...not who he wants me to be. And incidentally, who are you to cast stones at him and his family?"
"Pardon me?" Elizabeth sniffed, cocking her head to the side as she stared back at her daughter.
"Mother, has it escaped your notice that Father is a closet alcoholic that doesn't know his name or yours most days of the week? And you...your delusions of grandeur would put any episode Reid's mother has ever had to shame!"
"Uhmmm, Emily?" Reid said from behind Emily, his voice worried as he drew closer to the feuding couple. "Don't you think the poinsettias are exploding with color tonight?"
"And another thing," Emily hissed, taking an angry step toward her mother, "do us both a favor and don't attempt to buy him off like you did my last escort." Dropping her voice an octave, Emily snarled, "Because he won't take your cash and unlike the last man you paid off, who, incidentally was gay and never a threat to your precious Prentiss bloodline, he isn't for sale."
"I really, really think the poinsettias are virtually exploding with color, Em," Reid repeated, repeating their agreed upon "safe" sentence again.
"I wouldn't waste our money on someone like him," the Ambassador huffed, her cheeks flushing with color.
"Mother, you can take your money and shove it up your tight, regal..."
"Wow, would you look at those poinsettias!" Reid enthused, wrapping a hand around Emily's waist and pulling her back against his chest before she said something they might all live to regret. "They are really EXPLODING with color tonight!" he yelped frantically as her sharp teeth sank into his fingers.
"Doctor Reid," the Ambassador frowned, "would you please look around? Where exactly do you see a poinsettia, young man?"
Jerking Reid's hand away from her lips, Emily glared at her mother. "He doesn't, Mother. He's trying to save your miserable pride! He's trying to prevent me from saying something I'll regret later."
"I believe, then, that your current beau is a bit late," Elizabeth snapped, her chin rising another notch.
Emily took strength from Reid as he wrapped solid arms around her waist. "No, Mother, you're wrong. He's just in time because I want him to hear this," Emily said dangerously, her emerald green dress sweeping around her legs as she stepped from the protection of Reid's embrace to face her mother. "Listen carefully, will you?" Emily cautioned. "This is the only warning you'll be afforded. I love Reid and he returns my love. Do not make the mistake of asking me to choose between him and my family. He'll win hands down. Every, single time, he'll win. And before you do something incredibly stupid like attempt to destroy his very successful career, I want you to remember something."
"And what is that?" the Ambassador asked imperiously, her eyes narrowing as she stared at her oldest child.
"I know where each of the bodies is buried and I remember the location of every one of them," Emily replied darkly. "You wouldn't want all our pesky family's skeletons to come tumbling out of the closet, would you?"
"That would be..." the Ambassador faltered, searching for words, "unfortunate."
"It would be," Emily agreed, her eyes gleaming as she recognized the quickening signs of victory.
Adjusting her dress, the Ambassador conceded defeat. "Enjoy your...relationship, Emily," Elizabeth said, casting Reid one last look filled with suppressed rage.
"Happy Holidays, Mother," Emily called as the Ambassador swept away, her skirt brushing them as they passed, her expensive perfume lingering in the air around them. Turning, Emily smiled at a shell shocked Spencer Reid. "You okay?" she whispered.
"The poinsettias are exploding with color tonight," Reid smiled weakly.
Sidling up to him, Emily patted his cheek gently. "You're absolutely right. They are," she grinned. "Why don't we go home and see if we can create another kind of explosion together, hmm?"
Dropping his head to rest his forehead against hers, Reid nodded. "Emily, there aren't any other sparks I want to watch fly tonight other than the ones we make together. Deal?"
And pressing a kiss to his lips, Emily couldn't have agreed more.