Author's Note: Thanks to everyone who has been patiently waiting for our stories to be posted. We appreciate your support and apologize for any delays. Real life, however, has taken precedence! We always want to be able to provide you with quality stories and chapters, so our postings may be a bit sporadic over the next month.
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TV Prompt: Time of Your Life - The Time They Cheated
Emily Prentiss moved slowly, her body feeling as though it was encased in ice while her mind rapidly processed the events of the last fifteen minutes Damn him, she silently cursed, glaring at the dark headed man leaning against the cheap chest of drawers of the hotel room.
Jamming her arms into her satin robe as the bathroom door closed and the shower came on, she glared at David Rossi.
"I don't know what you hoped to accomplish here tonight, Prentiss," Rossi said ever so casually, though his obsidian eyes glinted. "You do realize that when he sobers up and realizes what he did, he's going to loathe you with a passion so deep it will drown you."
"It was mutual, Rossi," Emily spat, cinching the robe tightly around her waist, arching her neck. "And he wanted me."
"He wanted a body, Prentiss," Dave sneered, his eyes raking over her with derision. "You were incidental. You were someone to fuck. You mean less than NOTHING to that man. He loves JJ. He's always loved JJ. And his moral compass will never allow him to forgive himself for tonight. But, then, you knew that already, didn't you?"
"What I know is that he wanted me and I was there for him," Emily said, her voice carefully void of emotion.
"Unlike JJ?" Dave growled, taking a threatening step toward the raven haired woman he'd thought he knew. "She was your fucking friend! And you betrayed her!"
"What I did was finally find the courage to take what I wanted, Rossi," Emily hissed, stiffening under his accusatory assault. "Jealous that you never had the courtesy to do the same with her?" she asked with a snide smirk, taking advantage of the opportunity to fight fire with a few sparks of her own.
"No matter what my feelings were or weren't for JJ, I would have never stabbed Hotch in the back for a chance with her. I wouldn't take what isn't mine. You didn't win here, Prentiss. You lost. You've lost Aaron. You lost JJ. And most importantly, evidently you lost your self-respect."
"I had the guts to go after who I wanted," Emily retorted angrily, slashing her hand toward the bathroom, imagining the man on the other side.
"Really? All I see is a conniving bitch who puts her mother to shame that tried to steal what she could never hope to attain if the guy she fucked had been in a rational state of mind."
Emily gasped at Dave's full frontal assault. "You actually have the moral turpitude to spout bullshit about right and wrong to me? You?" she gaped in disbelief
"I never deliberately set out to sabotage anybody's happiness, let alone two people that I had the unmitigated gall to call friends. How much liquor did you have to pour down Aaron's throat to induce him to go against every moral code he has, Prentiss?" Dave asked, his eyes narrowing as he watched her swallow convulsively. Easily watching her face pale in response, he smiled coldly, "I thought so. He'd never have looked at you twice sober...and you knew that, too. But, guess what? I have news for you, Emily. You've failed," he said, his voice dangerously low. "Horribly."
"Really?" Emily asked, raising her chin defiantly. "I don't see how. When JJ finds out what happened here, she's never going to forgive him. And it'll be easy enough to help him pick up the pieces of his life," she stated confidently, crossing her arms over her chest.
"You're wrong," Dave said softly, shaking his head. "JJ is never going to find out anything about tonight. Aaron's not going to remember," he said, nodding toward the closed bathroom door. "I've seen Hotch after a bender...he'll have no recollection of what transpired here."
"I will," Emily said, her two words filled with promise.
"You're going to get very convenient amnesia, Emily," Dave said quietly…too quietly.
"Am I?" Emily said, arching a dark eyebrow.
Cocking his head as he eyed her dispassionately, Dave smiled without a hint of warmth. "You're forgetting something, Emily," he reminded her. "I know where your bodies are buried. All of them. Your mother's, too."
Eyes widening, Emily faltered. "You're threatening me?" she whispered.
"Consider it more of a friendly warning," Dave shrugged, dropping his hands in his pockets as he ambled closer. Standing a hairsbreadth from her, he stated, his voice dangerously low, "Do you really want to fuck with a man like me, Emily? You know the connections I have. My people know how to make sure that the body not only gets buried...it disappears entirely."
She blinked rapidly, digesting the thinly veiled implications of his statement. "You love her that much?" she murmured, meeting Dave's burning gaze.
"Sometimes the kindest thing to do for those you love is to get the fuck out of the way, Prentiss," Dave said in answer, neither confirming nor denying her question.
"That isn't an answer," Emily argued through tightly compressed lips. God, she wanted to slap his smug face. If not for his interruption, her carefully laid plans would still be intact.
"If I were you, I'd listen very carefully to my next words, Emily," Dave advised gravely, ignoring her comment. "I'm going to tell you what's going to happen." Waiting, Dave met her eyes, assuring himself that he had her undivided attention. "Right now, you're going to take your treacherous ass back to your own room, get dressed and get packed. You're going to go to the airport and catch the first flight to anywhere but here. Monday, you're going to submit transfer paperwork to anywhere beyond a three hundred mile radius of D.C. Don't worry," he added unemotionally. "It'll be approved. Then, you're going to forget you ever heard the names Aaron Hotchner or Jennifer Jareau."
She felt the rage building, bubbling inside her, as his modulated, controlled voice issued arbitrary orders. "You're awfully confident that I'm going to agree to this, aren't you?"
"What I'm confident of is my ability to make your life into a living hell if you cross me, Emily," Dave replied affably. "Aaron Hotchner has been a loyal friend since the day I met him. JJ is..."
"Oh, we both know what JJ is for you, Dave," Emily drawled venomously, hands plastered against her silk-covered hips. "She's that pure little heart that you've never felt you were worthy of... You fool! You could have everything you wanted if you'd just..."
"Become you?" Dave growled, wrapping his hand around Emily's forearm and jerking her toward him. "Unlike you, I don't want her that way. I don't steal from my friends. And I sure as fuck don't let anyone else steal from them either if I can prevent it. In this case, we both know that I can."
"What is it that you think you know about me, Rossi, that convinces you that you have any kind of leverage over me?" Emily hissed, trying to jerk from his grip.
"Well, let's start with the affair you had with your mother's second husband...her current husband if I'm not mistaken," Dave drawled. "Her current husband in very, very poor health in an election year when your mother's position at the Embassy isn't quite as secure as it once was. Wouldn't her baby girl's scandal just put the icing on her year?" he whispered against her ear.
"You wouldn't," Emily breathed, blanching as her eyes dilating in sheer terror.
"That and more, Emily. Much, much more," Dave offered, smiling cruelly. "Try me. Just once."
"You always win, don't you?" Emily asked faintly, the wind in her sails deflating.
"When it matters," Dave conceded with a slight nod. "And, this? It very definitely matters to me, Emily," Dave told her, his voice filled with a depth of meaning she'd never heard from his lips before.
Swallowing, Emily nodded. She knew when she'd lost. And David Rossi's eyes assured her of that sentient truth in spades. "I'll go," she whispered.
"Good idea," Dave said softly, releasing her arm with a flick of his wrist. "Now, get out. I don't want you here when he comes out," he ground out, aware that the shower had stopped running.
Walking toward the door with as much dignity as she could muster considering the circumstances, she turned to look back at Rossi for one charged moment. "I really do love him," she choked, her eyes filling with tears.
"Love him enough to allow him to have the woman he loves in return then," Dave ordered as he pointed toward the door to the hallway. "It's what I had to learn to do."
Gazing one last time at the closed door separating her from the man she'd loved, Emily nodded. "I don't have a choice."
And she didn't. Not anymore.
Her last choice, flawed as it had been, had ensured that she would never be able to choose happiness again.