Author's Note: Okay, readers, I think (and that's a big word for me these days) that I'm back. I'm sorry if I've disappointed anyone with my lack of updates. Real life (deployments, children, my health, etc.) have taken a huge toll on me these days. But I'm going to make every effort to become more dependable.
Please don't forget about our forum, "Chit Chat on Author's Corner". Currently, we're taking signups for our great Valentine's Gift Fic Exchange and we'd love to have everyone sign up. The more the merrier. Details are at the forum and you can PM us with any questions!
This was written for our January Challenge - The New Year's Challenge. My pairing was Dave/Emily. I hope you like it!
Again, thanks for bearing with me, my fanfic friends!
Recovering The Ball
He'd dropped the damned ball. Again.
He knew it. A last minute consult on a serial rape case in Arizona had appeared from nowhere, and his plans had been blown to hell. Sure, now blonde women across the greater Tucson area were going to be safe, but he had a feeling that his continued well being might very well be placed in jeopardy.
The rational side of his brain argued that he could make a legitimate case for his tardiness. After all, she was a profiler, too. She, more than most women he knew, should be able to understand that their job wasn't exactly conducive to a nine to five time clock on a Monday to Friday schedule.
But the other side of his mind...the one that understood women and knew women better than the average man…recognized that showing up three hours late for a date he'd been virtually begging for wasn't the best way to start a relationship.
And Emily Prentiss had been the queen of the hard sell. Unimpressed by his wealth, disdainful of his reputation, and openly critical of his past relationships...it had taken months to wear her down to agree to this one colossal moment. He'd used charm and tact that he'd almost forgotten he was capable of using. But for her, he'd pulled every weapon he had from the arsenal.
Then, she'd finally agreed. One date, she'd said sternly. One chance to prove he wasn't the self-serving bastard that two thirds of the Bureau assumed he was.
And before the date had even began, he'd managed to fuck it up in a way that would certainly end any hope for a future rendezvous.
Silently cursing Hotch again for passing the buck on this one, Dave hurried up the steps of Emily's brownstone. By his calculation, he still had fifteen minutes until midnight. Fifteen minutes to convince her that her New Year's Resolution should not be to shun all things David Rossi.
He had fifteen minutes to safeguard his future. And damn, but he hoped he still had the eloquence and finesse of a man twenty years younger.
Knocking loudly against the tall wide door in front of him, he strategically placed the bouquet of nearly wilted flowers in front of his chest. Sure, maybe he should have thrown the less than stellar blooms away. But they'd been fresh when he'd chosen them at lunch, and he wanted to know that he'd at least made the effort.
"Prentiss?" he called when he heard muffled noises on the other side of the door. "C'mon, open up. I can explain."
What he saw as the door was wrenched open stole his breath. Obviously furious, Emily's eyes burned as they stared back at him. "I doubt that," she bit out, her tone clipped as she slammed her hands against her hips.
Eyes traveling over the clingy red dress she wore, the fabric hugging her curves in all the right places, Dave's mouth went dry. It was evident that she'd made an effort to look good this evening. Her hair was pulled up in an elegant twist, diamonds sparkled from her ears and throat...and she wore makeup. And if there was one thing he knew for certain it was that Prentiss didn't just wear makeup for anybody.
"I can explain," he said, thrusting the sagging bouquet into her hands.
Dropping her gaze, Emily smirked as she held the stems between two fingers. "You brought me dead flowers as a peace offering?" Raising her eyes back to his, she shook her head. "You really are off your game."
"They weren't dead when I bought them," he asserted as he frowned. "Besides, a little water and I bet they can be resuscitated. Can I come in?" he asked, not waiting for an invitation he was fairly certain wouldn't come.
"Would it matter if I said no?" Emily frowned, closing the door behind him, automatically throwing the lock with one hand as she shifted the dying flowers with her other.
"Emily, this wasn't my fault. A call from Arizona came in after everyone left. Hotch was trying to get home to Jack. I was the only person around to handle it. I tried to call..."
"I was getting ready," Emily interrupted as she shrugged. "As I recall, you told me to go home and prepare myself for an evening on your arm. I took you at face value and turned off my phone."
Well, hell. So much for understanding the job. He should have known by now that once a woman takes the time to shave her legs, any excuse is going to sound lame by comparison. "Emily, I'm truly sorry."
"You've got exactly," Emily replied, craning her neck around Dave to see the wall clock, "six minutes to convince me of that before I make an anti-Rossi resolution for my New Year."
Six minutes to stop his life from spiraling out of control. No pressure, Dave thought sarcastically, staring into her determined eyes.
"I like you," he began.
"Already got that memo. Or do you undress every woman with which you work with your eyes on your first day," Emily snorted as she dropped the flowers on the counter, crossing her arms over her chest and cocking a hip as she looked at him.
"I think you're gorgeous," he added helpfully.
"Nice. So you haven't bothered looking beyond the surface. You're batting a thousand here, Rossi."
Making an impatient noise in his throat, Dave raised his chin. "Let me finish, Prentiss. I'm on a time table here."
"Fine," she said with an unladylike snort.
"You challenge me. You make me want to do things like be on fucking time, even when I can't. On most days, you understand me better...can read me better than anyone I've ever met. You don't judge a book by its cover. That was obvious when you finally agreed to go out with me. You don't give a shit about my money or my age. The only thing you really demand is respect. So, this is me, respecting you enough to tell you the damn truth. I think we could have something amazing if you'd just give me a chance."
"Is that it?" Emily asked, arching an eyebrow as the grandfather clock in the living room began to strike twelve.
Blowing out a long defeated breath, Dave nodded slowly. "That's it."
And as the bells in the other room chimed, Emily Prentiss lifted her chin defiantly. "It's midnight."
"Yeah," Dave grunted, fully prepared for her to tell him to get the hell out. It would sting, but he would take his punishment like a man…and then immediately start planning his comeback plan. She couldn't say no forever, could she?
"I think you owe me a kiss then, don't you?" she asked curiously, her lip barely rising as she met his eyes.
"Does your acceptance or denial depend on said kiss?" Dave asked, his lips quirking as he took a half step closer, relief starting to flood through him.
"It might...you've got six bells left to make it worth my while," Emily warned, biting back a smile.
And in typical Rossi style, he made the most of each and every one of them.
Finally, several minutes later when silence reigned and their breathing had returned to normal, Emily leaned her head against his neck. "If you're late for Valentine's Day, forgiveness will not be in my nature."
And as David Rossi smiled against her silky hair, he knew, that was one ultimatum that he could definitely live with.
Dedicated to My Hero