He'd been sitting in the van for hours, watching the video stream from within the house. He'd seen Emily eating breakfast and then walking the grounds. Once she left the house, he knew he'd only have a few minutes to get inside before she came back. Once inside, he raced through the rooms, making sure there was no one else in the house. He'd seen the blond leave with Emily's brother and the child and from the amount of bags they'd taken, he wasn't sure they'd be back. He needed to know where they were and why she'd left. If they'd split up, his plan would be ruined; he'd have to start over, he'd make Emily pay for that.
Satisfied he was alone in the house and no one would interfere with his plans, he exited the home. Once again inside the van, he scrolled through the video feeds, watching as Emily made her way back to the house. When she was inside, he drove up to the gate and rang the buzzer.
When Emily answered, he put his plan in motion. "Ms. Prentiss? This is Jacob Anderson, from All in One Alarms, I have the new keypad you ordered if this is a good time to do the install."
She buzzed him through, just as he knew she would, and met him in the driveway.
"Jacob, I appreciate the quick turnaround. I was afraid it would take awhile to get this installed." She smiled politely; trying her best not to think about the cameras installed in the private areas of her home or the damper it put on her and JJ's love making.
Jacob tried to control his rising excitement. He couldn't afford for her to see how just being close to his target made him flush. "Anytime, Ms. Prentiss. We aim to please and a satisfied customer brings in more business, right?"
"That you are, Jacob, and please, call me Emily."
"Sorry, I always forget that, Emily." He smiled and made polite conversation as he installed the new keypad. "Now, you'll just need to set your pin number and we'll be all done here. Is Jennifer home? We'll need to program in hers, as well?"
Emily saw the question for what it was, he needed to know where JJ had gone and when she'd be back, but she planned to make him fish for the information. "No, she's gone back to DC."
He tried to sound nonchalant, hoping she wouldn't clam up on him when he needed to know where the little woman had gone and if she'd be back. "Taking a little vacation?"
Emily shook her head and shoved her hands in the pocket of her jeans. "No, the father of our son is suing her for custody. She's definitely not taking a vacation."
He nodded sympathetically, "I'm sorry to hear that. Will she be back soon?" If she was coming back he could wait, but if not he was going to change things up a little. He didn't like to wing it, but if he had to, he would. He wasn't letting Emily get away from him no matter what it took.
She shrugged, keeping her hands in her pockets, her fingers wrapped around the phone inside. If he decided to make his move, she knew Garcia was just one speed dial button away from sending in the cavalry. "If she loses, she won't be back. She'll blame me and she'll leave me for good."
He was startled by her response and tried unsuccessfully to hide it, but he knew she'd seen the look on his face. "I'm sorry to be so shocked, but it seemed like you had such a good marriage. Why would she leave you?"
Emily did a little dance for joy inside, she had him and she knew it. She'd just need to reel him in a little more. She knew Hotch would be furious with her for baiting him, but if she could escalate him enough to make a move, then she could end this and the team could go back to DC. She and JJ could get on with their lives; including finding a place of their own and beginning to really live as a couple. "If she loses, it'll be because of our relationship. Her ex doesn't like me and he blames me for ending their relationship. So if she loses Henry, she'll think it's my fault and she won't want to live with me."
"Well, I'm really sorry to hear that, Emily. I had hoped to see Jennifer today."
"Why's that?" she asked, curious to hear his excuse for wanting to see JJ.
"She's just so sweet; I like being around her." He quickly covered, hoping Emily didn't ask any more questions. He really wanted Jennifer there so he could finish his plan. He needed both of them there to carry out his mission, only having Emily wouldn't make the picture complete.
Emily frowned at his words and the look on his face, like a kid trying to hide something. Only she knew what he was hiding. She could tell from his behavior he was escalating and not having JJ there was impacting his plans. "Yes, she is. I miss her terribly. Are you about done here?"
"I need to check the other keypads so I can sync them to the new one here. And, like I said, Jennifer will need to add in her own code. I can come back out for that. Do you know when she'll be back?"
"Probably weeks from now, if she comes back at all. I'm most likely going to stay another week or so then close up and go back. If she decides to leave me, we'll need to file for divorce and divide property and such."
As he put the tools back in his toolbox, he drew the pistol he had hidden inside and pointed it at Emily's head. "I'm real sorry to hear that, Emily. It really fucks up my plans. Now, you be a good girl and take your hands out of your pockets, nice and slow." He gestured with the gun for her to remove her hands. "You can go ahead and toss that cell phone on the ground too; you won't be making any calls."
When she tossed the phone, he motioned once again, "Now put your hands behind your head, just like on those cop shows." When her hands were in place, he took a pair of handcuffs from his back pocket and secured them around her wrists.
She tried to act scared, knowing he'd need that to feel in control. "Why are you doing this, Jacob?"
"Because you fucking dykes couldn't keep your shit together, that's why." He shouted in her face angrily, "I needed you and Jennifer together, but you've gone and ruined everything. So now I have to change things. I don't like changing things!" He screamed, waving the gun around wildly, making her duck when he pointed it in her direction once again. "Here's what we're going to do. You're coming back to my house with me and if you make any noise or put up a fuss, I'm going to shoot you. Understand?"
"Yes. Please don't shoot me, Jacob." Emily's voice quavered just enough to make him believe she was scared. "I promise I won't do anything."
Pushing her roughly ahead of him, he shoved her into the back of the van; sitting her down on the floor he secured her hands with cable ties through the handcuffs to the racks lining the inside. Once secured, he caressed the side of her face with the gun, giving her a little tap with it when she flinched. "Now you remember our agreement, Emily, you stay very quiet and I won't have to shoot you."
She nodded, glad that he hadn't secured her ankles, knowing if he had, then her backup piece would be in his hands and she'd probably have a bullet or two in her. "I promise, Jacob, I'll be very quiet."
He patted her head like a puppy and smiled, though no warmth showed through. "Good girl, you behave and soon this will all be over." Stepping back, he slammed the door and pulled away from the house, being extra careful to mind speed limits and stop signs until he reached his house. Opening the back doors, he used his pocket knife to cut the cable tie holding Emily in place and helped her stand. He led her through the house and directly into the basement, sitting her in a straight-backed wooden chair. She'd seen the inside of his house though and she hadn't failed to notice the jars of hearts on the mantle nor their viewing angle from the only chair in the room. She could imagine him sitting there in that worn out recliner just staring at his collections.
Turning a second identical chair around, he sat in front of her, idly holding the pistol in his hand, occasionally pointing it in her direction as he corralled his thoughts. "I want to know about you and Jennifer. How'd you meet? When did you marry and why is there a father in the picture when you said the boy was yours?"
Emily knew she needed to buy time, she hadn't expected him to remove her from her house so she'd need to give the team time to miss her and begin the search. Settling as comfortably as possible in the chair, she began to weave her tale.
"I met Jennifer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. At the time, she was teaching in Pennsylvania and had come to New York on a field trip with her students. I first noticed her in front of the Monet exhibit and I thought she was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. I saw her several more times throughout the day and I just had to meet her." Emily thought back to when she had actually met JJ and let her face show the emotions the memory surfaced in her. "She was standing at the refreshment counter and so I took the chance and introduced myself. She was so warm and friendly and we stood talking for several minutes when I finally got up the nerve to ask her out." Emily laughed for effect, "She said no. She told me she was only in town overnight and she'd be going back to Pennsylvania in the morning. Well, I'm not one to take no for an answer, so I asked for her phone number, and we started talking on the phone daily. After about a week, I needed to see her again so I chartered a plane and flew down. I had only planned to stay the weekend but ended up staying the month. By the end of that time, I knew I wanted to see more of her." Emily paused and cleared her throat, "Can I have a drink of water, please?"
He shook his head no, "Finish your story, then we'll see about a drink."
She cleared her throat and picked up the tale. "A few weeks after I left, we made plans for her to come to New York for summer break. We still talked daily on the phone during her class breaks and every night. When she came to New York for those three months we began to fall in love. We knew we belonged together and we made plans for her to come back for spring break. She loved New York in the spring when the snow was melting and the city was beautiful again." Emily has no trouble affecting nostalgia for a city where she'd spent so much time. "By the time Christmas break rolled around, we were head over heels and planning to marry. We spent those two weeks ice skating in Central Park, taking carriage rides and visiting some of the bed and breakfasts upstate. I asked her to marry me on one of those trips and she said yes. She went back to Pennsylvania and quit her job and we married the following spring."
His face was a mask of anger as she trailed off again. "You left out the part about the boy and his father. Where does he fit in with this fairy tale?"
Emily knew from her last conversation with Garcia that his wife had left him for another woman and while they hadn't specifically planned a back story for Henry, she felt confident she could come up with something that would strike a nerve in him. "When I met Jennifer, she'd always been with men; she'd never thought about being with a woman. I've always been a lesbian so I never had to worry about what my friends or family thought. Jennifer wasn't as fortunate. She came from a small town and being gay would hurt her career, so she kept seeing men on the side. She was actually in a long term relationship with Henry's father when we met. She kept seeing him and when she found out she was pregnant we were already married."
"You knew she was sleeping with him the whole time she was fucking you?"
Emily wanted to keep his ire up so she continued to bait him. "I didn't know and neither did he. But I loved her and when I found out she was pregnant I asked her to keep it from him. I wanted to keep her for myself and if that meant raising another man's child as my own, then so be it. We argued for awhile, but eventually, she came to see it my way. Long story short, we moved to DC where he couldn't find us and she had Henry. We kept him a secret from his father, but Jennifer's mother thought she knew better than me and that he should know about his son, so she told him. He hunted us down, and that's how we ended up here in Iowa. As soon as he showed up at the house in DC, we packed and moved. He couldn't find us so he filed for custody and that's why she isn't here. The judge said if she didn't appear in court with Henry, then he'd find in the father's favor and take our son away from us."
As she wound up her tale, he stood and walked over to her, leaning down so he was right in her face. "You had no right taking that girl away from the man who loved her. Turning her into a filthy lesbian and subjecting her child to that kind of indecency."
Emily looked into his eyes, seeing the hatred reflected back. "You sound like you speak from experience, Jacob. Lose your girl to a 'filthy lesbian'?"
The backhand was expected and she braced for it the best she could, but it hurt like a bitch nonetheless. Spitting blood from the cut inside her mouth onto the bare concrete floor, she faced him again. "Does that make you feel like a man? Hitting a helpless woman? Why don't you uncuff me and we'll see who the better man really is?"
He doubled up his fist and punched her in the stomach, causing her to slump over in the chair. "You leave my wife out of this, bitch. If it weren't for a dyke like you, she'd be here… where she belongs." His anger drove him to new heights and he couldn't stop hitting her over and over.
Emily couldn't speak from the repeated blows he rained down on her; she had barely struggled to remain conscious until her wore himself out and left her tied to the chair. Once she knew he was gone, she took stock of her injuries and ascertained she had, if not broken, then badly bruised ribs and a possible concussion from being hit in the head with the pistol.
When all she heard in the house above her was silence, she allowed herself to sleep a little. She knew that, depending on the outcome of the custody hearing, it could be awhile before her team would know she was missing and come looking for her. What she didn't know was they were already in town, camped out at her house and actively looking for her. All she had to do was hold on a little longer.