When he had kissed her yesterday, it hadn't been about love, Emily knew that. It hadn't been about her. Hell, it hadn't even been about lust. The way he had looked at her almost broke her heart. So lost, so lonely. That's why he had kissed her. And that was why she had to leave.
He didn't come to work today. Called in sick. A cold.
Now she stood in front of his apartment with a pot of chicken soup she had bought in a little shop close by.
She had to ring the doorbell three times, before he opened the door. He stood in the doorway, one hand on the frame, one on the door. Dark circles around his eyes, beard-shadow, bare feet. His clothes wrinkled, the same clothes he wore yesterday. He was frowning at her, of course.
"Please leave," he said.
Maybe she should. His breath smelled of alcohol.
She handed him the styrofoam pot. "I brought you chicken soup," she said.
When he took it, he let go of the door and she slipped into his apartment. Their shoulders brushed and she wanted to turn around and leave, she wanted to run away. But she didn't. This was important. They had to get through this. Yesterday she had left, because she had to. Today she would stay for the same reason. And then she would get over him. This was the first step in the right direction.
Emily turned around.
He was still standing at the door. Now he held it wide open. "Please leave."
She swallowed. "The kiss never happened," she said sternly.
"You kissed me, just because you needed somebody and I was there so …" She shrugged. "We should just forget it ever happened."
"And you want that?"
She shook her head, she couldn't suppress the movement. Damn body language. She wanted him, she wanted him to kiss her again, she wanted him to love her. Not much chance of that. She wanted him to be happy. If she could handle this right, she might still have a shot at seeing that.
"You can still get her back," she said.
"Haley. We get Foyet and then you can save your marriage."
"I think, you kissed me yesterday because you gave up," Emily explained. "But you can't do that. I won't allow it." She held his gaze. She needed him to hear her. "We get them back, Hotch. We will."
He just stared at her, now holding the pot of soup in both hands. He opened his mouth, closed it again. His gaze wandering off, he nodded slowly. Then he closed the door.
"Why did you kiss me back?" he asked looking at the pot of soup in his hands.
She shook her head. "We don't have to –"
"Was it out of pity?" he interrupted her and his gaze met hers again.
"Don't think that."
"Then why did you leave?" He leaned back against the wall. "Why give me that pep talk?"
"Because if I …" Looking at the floor, Emily nibbled at her bottom lip. Most of today she had spent reliving these few seconds when their lips had touched. "If I would've stayed, I wouldn't have stopped."
She would've kissed him, she would've told him she loved him. But as much as she wanted it to be, it wouldn't be enough to save him.
He didn't reply.
She shouldn't have said anything. She had left yesterday, because she didn't want to lay that on him. Her love. It wasn't enough. He needed his son back. His wife. His ex-wife. The ex-wife whom he still loved.
Hotch cleared his throat, then he said, "I don't want to be married to Haley anymore."
"You don't?" She didn't came here to make this about herself, she really didn't. She didn't came here to ask for his love, even though she longed for it. She came here for him, to save him. And yet, when he said that, hope made her heart beat faster.
"I didn't kiss just anybody, Emily."
She drew in a sharp breath. "Please be careful now," she begged quietly.
He tilted his head and frowned.
"I've fallen for you," Emily said. "And if you give me hope that there might be a chance for you and I, I will cling to it. So please be careful what you tell me."
"You want me to back off?" he asked.
She shook her head. "I don't want to push you into something you're not ready for." She wanted him to be with her, because he loved her, not because he was desperate and lonely. She wanted their next kiss to be about them and not about his misery.
For a moment they stayed silent. Emily never noticed before how loudly his kitchen clock ticked.
"So what do we do?" Hotch asked then.
Emily shrugged. "We catch Foyet and bring your family home."
"Maybe, if you still want to, you could kiss me again." She hoped, he would.
Hotch paused, then he nodded. "Okay."
Oh, that look on his face! He looked so sad and sincere, she wanted to hug him. She wanted to kiss him. But that was not an option now. The next time they'd kiss, she wanted to be sure that it was about what they felt for each other and for that to happen, they both were too desperate right now. So she gave him a smile and took a step back.
She had already opened the apartment door, when he called her by her name. "Yes?"
"Thank you," he said, the pot of soup looked much smaller in his big hands than in her own. He almost looked ridiculous with it. A big guy in a crinkled suit with sad eyes holding on to a tiny styrofoam pot.
She wanted to hug him even more. Instead, she left.
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