Disclaimer: The characters and situations in this story belong to Jeff Davis, The Mark Gordon Co., CBS, and other entities, and I do not have permission to borrow them. No infringement is intended in any way, and this story is not for profit. Any errors are mine, all mine, no you can't have any. The opinions expressed by characters in this story may or may not be those of the author.
Spoilers: through Divining Rod
As always, this is for Smacky30 and Mingsmommy, whose fault it inevitably is. )
Well, it's all yours now.
Emily rubbed her hands on her running pants and looked down the narrow hall of her new house, amused despite herself at her own mix of pride and…sheer terror, that's what it is.
The row house was vintage, but the interior was crisply contemporary, the mix of airy spaces and luxurious fabrics she preferred. The living room and small but modern kitchen were practically picture-perfect now, by dint of no small effort, but the upstairs was still half-packed chaos. The ambassador's daughter knew well that public spaces had to be presentable first.
Shaking her head, Emily made sure the front door was locked and paced slowly down the hall, pausing to correct the hang of a picture. One thing about living in everybody's pockets at work - they come help you move. Between them her boxes and furniture had been moved in record time.
Emily stretched a little as she walked into the kitchen. She'd scarcely had time to appreciate her new home since, but it was the weekend and hopefully they wouldn't be called in for anything until Monday. And now that her Saturday morning run was over, she could luxuriate in a hot shower and enjoy a day full of carefully planned goofing off.
The coffeemaker finished its gurgle as Emily approached and she got a mug down from the cabinet. "Who are you kidding?" she murmured to the carafe as she poured. "You're going to spend the whole time trying to fit way too many shoes into your brand-new closet."
First-world problem, Emily admitted, and took her coffee upstairs.
One long shower and several unpacked boxes later she came back down for lunch, feeling a bit trapped. How did I accumulate all this stuff? It hadn't seemed like so much when she was packing it up, somehow.
A clink and a soft rattle startled her, but it was only the mail slot opening to admit a handful of envelopes, and Emily relaxed, rolling her eyes. Alertness was all very well, but a hair-trigger was nobody's friend.
She scooped up the mail and took it into the kitchen, flipping through it as she poured more coffee. Bill, junk, junk, bill, bank statement -
The standout among the long envelopes was a squarer, heavier one, her address printed on a label. More junk?
She tore it open and unfolded the contents, a single sheet of heavy paper. And felt herself smile as she recognized the script.
Dear Emily, she read. Much as I prefer a keyboard, it seems only right to bow to your preferences in letters, at least for what I hope will be the first note to congratulate you on your new home. Assuming, of course, that you can actually read my handwriting.
She could hear Rossi speaking the words, the dry humor lacing each one. Grinning, she read on.
I still remember the first home I purchased - or rather we, as Carolyn and I were newly married then. It was exciting, but I can definitely understand your buyer's remorse as well. There is something so permanent about a house, even though they can be sold as well as bought (at least in a decent market). For me, it seemed one of the marks of adulthood.
I like your new house. I haven't seen it furnished, of course - though I hope to - but it fits you very well, being both elegant and warm. It offers space without sacrificing intimacy.
Her cheeks were burning. Emily lifted a hand to her face, blinking. Is he still talking about my house here?
I think you've made a wise choice and one that will provide you sanctuary and comfort for years to come, if not decades. I can picture you hosting beautiful formal parties as well as cozy girls-only nights, and enjoying the freedom of solitude as well - kicking off your shoes and putting up your feet with no one to tell you nay.
She could picture it too - had from the moment she'd seen the inside of the house - except now his words had her imagining someone there when she got home, someone to hand her a glass of wine and sit at the other end of the couch and maybe rub her tired feet -
I'm rambling. I tend to do that on paper; my editor despairs over my manuscripts for just that reason. And it's harder to censor myself without a delete key! Still, I hope I haven't bored you with my effusions.
I've heard rumors of a housewarming party. Will a red be acceptable, or would you prefer a good Prosecco? Believe me, you're not getting out of the gifts - Garcia would never permit it.
There was no salutation at the end, just the scrawl of Rossi's signature. Emily stared at it for a long time before going back to read the letter again.
Her cheeks were still hot when she folded it back into the envelope. Rossi could be subtle when it suited him, but he tended to flirt with all the nuance of a Mack truck, and while she'd never really had it turned on her before Emily could see right through the double entendres of his words.
And she liked them. She liked them very much.
It took her a while to decide how to answer. David Rossi was a very attractive man and she'd always been aware of the fact, though she was professional enough to keep it in check. He was also a friend, a good one. And a member of her team. Complicated didn't even begin to describe things.
But buying a house hadn't just been to satisfy her desire for a spot all her own. It had been the next step, a moving on from her tangled past - a deliberate choice to grow, despite her initial ambivalence.
Maybe it's time to take another step.
She almost called him. But in the end Emily climbed the stairs to the little room she planned to use as an office, and rummaged through the boxes stacked there until she found the whimsical, hand-painted stationary she'd bought in Paris all those years ago; saved for special occasions, rare as they were.
Dear Dave, she wrote, sitting in her new office chair and glancing reflectively out the window at the narrow slice of lawn that served as her back yard. Thank you for your letter.
It read almost like a seven-year-old's obligatory note. Emily frowned, and kept going. I'm still not quite convinced that this place is really mine, but since no one's come to kick me out yet I guess I'll just have to keep it. And truly it's nice to be able to hang pictures where I want without worrying about the deposit.
She paused, smiling at the photos arrayed on the wall to her right. Every member of the team in candid poses; Spence and J.J. clowning for the camera, Garcia blowing a kiss, a deadpan Hotch putting rabbit ears on an unsuspecting Derek.
Rossi asleep on the plane, hands folded neatly over the blanket tucked around him.
I think this house suits me too. Sanctuary is a big part of it, but it's also the need to have a place that's private, where the only people who enter are the people I choose to allow.
Speaking of which - Emily winced - subtle it wasn't.
- I think I need to get in some practice before I start hosting parties, even that housewarmer. Maybe especially a housewarmer, given what Garcia is likely to bring - you've seen her place! So in the interest of protecting my reputation, would you like to come over for dinner? I can't promise a culinary masterpiece but I do a mean pot roast.
She hesitated for a long moment, then wrote decisively. Bring a nice red, and I'll even let you type your next letter.
She signed her name in the perfect copperplate drilled into her in all those years of private school, and before she could change her mind, sealed the envelope.
On Monday, Rossi was perfectly ordinary, which was a relief. Emily buried her nerves with the skill of decades of practice, and let habit and teamwork carry her along.
On Wednesday, there was another envelope waiting on her front-door mat when she got home. This time the address was handwritten too.
Red it is. And I love a good pot roast. Say when.
Honored to be chosen -
- and just the scribbled Dave.
Emily grinned, and went to find her calendar.