My heart was in my mouth. I could feel JJ's heart racing as I held her body against my own.
"What are we gonna do?" she whispered fearfully.
"Stay calm," I whispered back. "I'll handle this."
I knocked the door to attract Morgan's attention. "Morgan, it's Prentiss. JJ's not feeling very well so I'm helping her out. We'll be out in a few minutes."
"Oh, sorry about that Jayje. Hope you feel better." I heard his footsteps trail back down the cabin.
"OK, that was far too close for comfort, Emily. We can't keep doing this. I can't keep lying like this." JJ looked at me pleadingly.
"Don't worry," I replied, "You won't have to. When we get back, we're gonna tell them. Get it all out in the open. Agreed?"
"Agreed," she answered, but from the look in her eyes I could tell that she wasn't totally sold on the idea.
"It's for the best," I said. "They're gonna find out eventually, and it's better just to be straight with them."
"I guess you're right," JJ said, letting out a sigh. "I mean, they're gonna find out eventually, right? I mean, they're profilers, for goodness sake. We couldn't have expected to keep it a secret forever."
"I know, and we won't. The sooner we get it out in the open, the sooner we can just be ourselves around them. No more sneaking around, no more secrets."
"You're right," JJ agreed. "Although… all the secrets… and the sneaking around… it's pretty hot." She raised an eyebrow. I raised one back as a warning. She bowed her head and started fiddling with the lock on the door. As we made our way back to the cabin, Morgan raised his head. I gave him a nod and ushered JJ back to her seat. I was relieved to see the rest of the team were still sound asleep. JJ and I made ourselves comfortable and pretended we were asleep too.
By the time we were due to land, I realised I had been sleeping. I stretched out and gave JJ a tap to gently awaken her. The rest of the team were beginning to stir too. I called out round the cabin.
"Hey, does anyone fancy going for a beer tonight?"
They responded in sleepy nods and mumbled agreements. We arranged to meet in a local bar later in the evening. That would give JJ and I a few hours to get prepared for telling them and, more importantly, prepare ourselves for how they might react.
I walked into the bar later that evening to find the rest of the team already there, and when they saw me they waved me over, pointing to a beer which they had ordered for me. I had taken a little more time to get myself ready that evening, using the time to collect my thoughts and mentally prepare myself for the evening ahead. JJ shot me a smile as I made my way to the table.
"Evening, Princess," Morgan greeted me, saluting.
I sat down and took a long drink of my beer, feeling the cold liquid hit the pit of my stomach. I wondered why I was so nervous. These people were practically my family. I had no reason to feel afraid. I quickly settled down and joined in with the conversation.
A while later, the boys were playing pool while JJ was beating some locals at darts.
"So, my love, how are things going?" Garcia asked with a nod in JJ's direction.
"Um… good, I guess." I said, shrugging my shoulders. "We've decided that we want to be a couple, and we're planning on telling the rest of the team. Tonight."
Garcia clapped her hands excitedly. "Oh, I'm so happy for you! For both of you! This is so exciting!"
"Keep your voice down, Pen!" I urged. "I'm a little nervous, and you're not helping!"
Garcia made a zipping motion across her mouth. "My lips are sealed. Although, if I'm being honest, I'm not entirely convinced they don't already know."
"Why? Who said something? Who have you told?"
"No-one, I swear. But you know as well as I do, our team is the best. No matter how hard you've tried to keep it a secret, I'm sure they'll have noticed something's not right."
Yeah, that's what I was afraid of. As I looked up, I saw the boys coming back to the table and JJ shaking hands with some young guys she'd obviously just beaten at darts. I caught her eye as she made her way back to the table, raising my eyebrows slightly to let her know what I was planning to do. She gave me a slight nod to show that she was on board. As JJ took her seat, I took a deep breath.
"Should I get some more drinks in?" asked Morgan.
"In a minute," I said. I was wringing my hands at this point. "I have something I'd like to say first."
Everyone seemed to sit up and take notice, which made me even more nervous than I already was.
I took another deep breath. "Actually," I said, exhaling my breath slowly, "we have something we'd like to say." I took JJ's hand and linked her fingers with my own. I looked at her before continuing. "JJ and I have decided to be a couple, and we feel it's only right that we should tell you."
The boys looked at each other while Garcia sipped her drink noisily through a straw. As I looked round at them, only Reid looked mildly surprised by this news. Surprised and slightly disappointed, but then I knew that he'd always had a slight crush on JJ. JJ's grip was tight on my hand.
A few moments passed before Morgan let out a laugh. "Prentiss, did you think this was a big secret? You are aware you work with the best profilers in the USA, right? I'd suspected this for a while."
Both Rossi and Hotch silently nodded their agreement to Morgan's statement, while a look of disappointment and confusion continued to linger on Reid's face.
"Well, I – we- thought we should let you guys know."
"Just as long as there's no funny business on the job, it's all fine by me," said Hotch, raising his bottle of beer.
As we made a toast, I felt JJ's grip relax. Things could only get better from here.