Title: The Art of Addition
Author: Pixie Altaira
Disclaimer: The Mark Gordon Company, ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television own Criminal Minds. I promise to put them back in one piece, more or less.
Spencer Reid was seething, he wasn't sure it was in anger or disappointment or just….yeah. Had he been anywhere else, he'd have done something about it. His personal favorite activity when in this mood was throwing things. He had a shelf in his living room full of books he kept for that sole purpose, ones he deemed worthless for anything else. There weren't many but there were a few. In the office he had hacky sacks and homemade balloon stress balls which could be tossed if need be. Unfortunately, he was neither somewhere where he could do anything about the rolling negative emotions he was feeling nor was he with company in which he could even think about it for long. Jack Hotchner was sitting beside him on the edge of a planter in what was supposed to be one of the happiest places on earth - Disneyland in California. They were seated in front of the Jungle Cruise, waiting right where they were supposed to be, and had been so for what felt to be a very long time.
"How late is he now, Spencer?" Jack asked.
Spencer looked at his watch. It was 10:45 in the morning and Aaron Hotchner, the boy's father, was supposed to have met them 45 minutes prior.
"He was supposed to be here 45 minutes ago, Jack. I'm sure he'll be here soon. If he isn't here within 15 minutes I'll call your dad, alright?"
Jack nodded and started kicking his legs against the planter. Spencer balled his hands into fists and clenched them tight before relaxing them, hoping to ease some of his…annoyance. The sad expression currently gracing Jack's face was getting to him. He wasn't even sure who he wanted to yell at.
He couldn't yell at Jessica and Garcia. He personally thought they had had great intentions and it was likely a superb idea in the conception. Hotch needed some one on one time with Jack, plus Beth had been seeing Aaron for a while and they did need to spend time together so she could get to know Jack and Jack could get to know her since she insisted things were serious and she wanted to be part of the family at some point. A vacation together to someplace family friendly was a good concept. Disneyland was inspirational when the upper echelons decided they wanted some recruitment seminars done in the LA area. Garcia managed to get the seminars in sets, three on Tuesday and one Friday night and then a conference that wanted Hotch to speak on Thursday night (and Caltech), but the schools couldn't schedule them any closer than that. It would give Beth and Jack a day together to get to know each other. Furthermore, CalTech asked for Reid specifically to come lecture this time so Reid would be there too. Reid could be there as back up. Back up being the key words. It made sense.
So Garcia bought the same Disney Package for Reid as she bought Beth and the Hotchners and Beth and Aaron worked out an itinerary of sorts (the second time around, the first they did it alone and the ideas didn't mesh), with a great deal of input from Reid, Jessica and Garcia …and the rest of the team. Some people were slightly worried the Reid might feel left out on some days (Garcia and Hotch), but Spencer quickly reminded them that he knew what to do to entertain himself, plus he had a few friends in the area. Anyone believing him about the friend part was still up for debate, of course. Reid had promised picture evidence.
Monday was to be a day spent all together in the park. Tuesday was Beth and Jack's day together while Hotch was out and about doing seminars, and Wednesday was Jack and Daddy day, with Beth getting a full day at the spa. Reid had plans both days to meet with different friends at the park – which friends dependent on who was available, which surprised Hotch when Reid told him. Apparently Disneyland didn't scream 'a place Reid would enjoy' to very many people, according to Hotch. It had always had a sparkly soft place in Spencer's heart though, from the one family vacation they'd had there on. Thursday was to be Jack and Spencer day, giving Aaron and Beth a day together and then Friday was family day with just the Hotchners and Beth while Reid was at CalTech giving lectures and inevitably catching up with a friend or two. Saturday was another everyone at the park day or a something day and Sunday they were to fly home. It should have worked well, or at least been fine. The plans were good, solid even. They were meshed out to some extent, signed and practically sealed. No, Spencer could not lay blame for his seething ire on either Garcia or Jessica.
He didn't want to blame Hotch too much either. Aaron Hotchner was his boss, his mentor and Spencer considered him a friend, maybe even one of his best friends. He had a great deal of respect for the man. Hotch cared. Most of the time, Hotch was a very together type of man. He focused on his family and the team, who he said was his chosen family. For the most part, Spencer had unfailing trust in Hotch's decisions and judgment. In fact, in anything work related Spencer still did. Personal life related, Spencer was having a hard time with trusting Hotch right now. See, Jack usually came first. He had since Haley's death. This was a good thing, in Spencer's opinion Then Morgan and Rossi started in on the "you should be ready to date again" thing and the "you need a woman in your life to be a complete man" thing and even played the "surely you miss sex and are dying without having it constantly" thing. And Beth showed up after following and spying on him for a while and Morgan and Rossi jumped all over that as a good and wonderful thing because apparently pretty much stalking someone is a great way to get someone to notice you? Yeah. And of course Spencer's own retaliation to those voices of "if you are happy, you don't really need that. Focus on what is making you happy" wasn't heard, or heeded to. And he couldn't really explain to his boss that the woman's manner of getting to know Hotch made Spencer uneasy, especially since neither Morgan or Rossi seemed to see anything wrong with it, nor did anyone else on the team, and they didn't think Reid had any clue whatsoever about getting to know anyone else in the first place anyway. So, really Rossi and Morgan were partially to blame. Spencer relaxed as a tab of his ire found a bit of focus. He bundled up negative thoughts in his mind and sent them as a mind mud ball straight to Rossi and Morgan, he only wish it really worked.
Sadly a deep sad sigh from Jack, who cocked his head to the side and leaned forward to read Spencer's watch, brought Spencer's irritation right back to the issue…Disneyland family vacation.
As much as Spencer really disliked the feeling, right now he nearly hated Beth and he was very mad at Hotch. 'Sorry Bossman, as Garcia would say, but your son should come first when on a family vacation. Heck your son should always come first over someone who you are simply dating. Furthermore, you should make it clear to the female involved in the picture that it is so and that since she agreed to the vacation under the concept of family vacation and spending the time together as a family that she needs to buck up and hold up her end. Heck, the lady even helped do the planning! She had plenty of time to put forth other options and ideas and she didn't.' Spencer had given that mental lecture so many times over the past few days that half the time he was afraid he was going to yell it a Jack instead of Jack's dad. Oh yes, at the moment Hotch was who he was mad at but Beth was wherein all the seething ire and irritation lay, and she been its source from the bloody start!
Spencer had thought there might be issues when Beth called Garcia to make sure Spencer was indeed booked at the same hotel as them and had the same type passes they did, without Hotch knowing she had done so and telling Garcia not to let him know she had. Even more when Beth, who Spencer simply really didn't see as a very girly girl woman, spent the evening Garcia hosted - where they all…the whole team, Jessica and Beth…planned out what types of activities each day should hold in a vague manner so they could make other decisions while there- gushing over taking Jack to all 'little kid' rides and to see those girly things that every child should see but strong grown men might not want to bother with. It was so very fake and for show and just not what Spencer knew the woman to be like. It had gone over well with Garcia, Alex, JJ and Jessica though, as well as Rossi and Morgan.
Spencer knew that there had been issues during the flight. He knew because Jack ended up sitting by him even though he was supposed to be sitting in the window seat on the row with his dad and Beth. The stewardess who escorted Jack to him and asked if Spencer minded if Jack sat by him only said that the arrangement would ease tension and space issues. Jack had answered that Beth apparently always had the window seat while flying and the man on the other side of the aisle didn't want to sit so near a child. To Spencer it wasn't a problem.
Jack, on the other hand, didn't seem too happy about it.
"Jack, you all right?" Spencer had asked him.
"Dad was supposed to read to me and play games with me on the laptop. We downloaded them just for the plane trip." Jack said quietly.
"I'm sorry. You all right with getting just me?"
"I could read to you." Spencer had offered.
Jack had given him a small smile. "I'd like that. Anything for kids?"
"I've got Harry Potter? I was going to analyze it."
Jack had given him a bigger smile after he told him that.
"Yeah, that would be good." Jack had told him.
He had read aloud Harry Potter to Jack, and apparently the two children in the row in front of them and the two children in the row behind if the faces presses against the chairs and hanging over the back of seats were any bit of a clue, and the stewardess fed them extra snacks. He even got kissed on the cheek by the mom of the two children who had seats in row in front of them who told Spencer he was a gift from heaven. Still, although Jack told Spencer as they were departing the plane that he was very glad he got to sit by Spencer, there had been issues. Spencer spent Sunday night calling friends and setting up meeting times.
Issues continued unabated. Monday started with Beth not wanting to hit the park when it opened…supposedly Jet lag. Spencer got to the suite of rooms the Hotchners and Beth were sharing in time to hear Beth yelling at Hotch and Jack sitting in front of the television with a look of long suffering on his face.
"What happened?" Reid had asked.
"Dad knocked on her door and told her it was time to start getting ready to head out. He hasn't been able to get a full sentence in since. I've watched a full cartoon and this one is almost over." Jack had said.
"This happen often?"
Jack had just shrugged. Spencer ran his hand through Jack's hair.
"I'll settle it."
Reid had marched up to the door to the room Beth was sleeping in and pounded on it. The yelling had paused long enough for him to shout "We have breakfast reservations in the park that Jessica kindly paid for. The person who causes Jack to miss out on his expensive breakfast with character interaction will be explaining it to Jessica within an hour of missing the breakfast or I will be explaining it to Jessica, which will not be pretty. Jack and I will meet you two in the lobby in ten minutes, we are going to go get a notebook, and other necessary items for spending time in the park. Oh, and Beth, you have your tickets and stuff as part of a package, you all must claim them at the same time."
By the time Spencer and Jack had picked up what Spencer had deemed necessary for them all, Hotch and Beth were in the lobby. It had been close enough to ten minutes that Spencer ignored they were actually a bit late.
Beth had taken one look at Jack and started to fuss again.
"It's bad enough that he wears a purse" pointing at Spencer, "but now he has your son wearing one too," She'd said.
"I wear a satchel, this one is much smaller than my usual, but I could go switch if you'd like. Jack has a side bag. It holds his autograph book, two pens, a water bottle and some fruit snacks."
"The boy's wearing a necklace," she'd then whined.
"As will all of us be. And it's a lanyard. Jack chose the blue Mickey and Gang with a cloth zippered pouch with clear id holder. His holder gives his first name and each of our phone numbers as well as Garcia's. Do you have a better idea on where to attach Jack's safety information?" They all shook their heads. "Good. You have a choice of red Mickey and gang, light blue Pooh Bear, purple Tinker Bell, red Tinker Bell, or pink princesses. Rossi gets Dopey, sorry."
Beth had taken the red Mickey and Gang and Reid never did come to any conclusion on whether or not her expression while doing so was a smirk or a glare. Hotch chose the light blue Pooh Bear lanyard and with help making a choice from Jack Reid hung the dark purple Tinker Bell and crew lanyard around his neck. As soon as it was on Spencer fished a handful of pins out of his pocket, various Stitch pins, and pinned them on the lanyard. Beth glared even more. The rest the lanyards went into his satchel for use when putting together souvenirs. Reid knew he ought to have not counted on the fuss being over yet, but at the start of the week he'd still been optimistic and since the short walk to the ticket booths and the gates had been pretty much what Spencer saw as typical family type walks…kids running ahead and parents calling them back, kids climbing/hanging/twirling on light posts and benches and whatnots, kids laughing…well Spencer had been hopeful that the morning was just bad because maybe Beth wasn't a morning person (although Hotch ran in the morning and he'd met Beth while running…in the morning, so Spencer knew he was just indulging in wishful thinking).
He had found himself still hopeful those first few moments when he'd been dealing with the blow-up over the cameras Garcia and Jessica had given him to give to the others right before entering the park.
They were in the line to have their bags checked. Spencer had pulled his camera of the day out, a compact Canon Powershot, and then asked if the others had brought anything. Hotch had forgotten his camera in the morning chaos, Beth snorted, and - as Garcia and Jessica had known beforehand- Jack didn't have one, so Spencer pulled out their gifts from the women back home. They weren't cheap cameras but they weren't nearly as fancy as Reid's own and they were all small enough to carry without hassle.
Beth had had a fit, well several actually.
The first was focused on why she'd even want carry a camera, to which Jack responded with the completely logical answer of "to take pictures with of course, It's what you do on vacations so you can look and remember how much fun you had' and well, one really couldn't argue with that at all. Then she moved on to the complaint that they didn't all need cameras, to which Spencer merely handed over the notes Garcia had sent, which explained she wanted to see things from everyone's point of view. It was the next part that infuriated Reid.
"You simple can't give that camera to a child." Beth had said, pointing to the camera Garcia had sent for Jack. "He's too small and too young and he won't be able to do anything good with it. It is a waste. He'll lose it or break it. If that silly girl thinks she needs to see photos from all of us we can simply go get a cheap disposable that won't be wasted when he ruins it."
Jack sighed again and Spencer pulled himself out of thinking about how mad he'd been at Beth at that moment two days before. "Hey Jack; want a snack or maybe a treat while we wait?" Spencer asked.
Jack shook his head. "I'm still full from breakfast."
"Want to look about in the shops? There are several right here, we wouldn't miss your dad. We could find something for your aunt or maybe Henry."
Jack just shook his head again and Spencer let himself wallow in his ire again. The camera issue had really bugged him. Jack was plenty old enough and responsible enough to handle a camera. Hotch had luckily grabbed the notes and Spencer handed the cameras meant for the others out. Jack's was a shock and water resistant Nikon, which was easy to turn on and take pictures with and Hotch told Jack if he took really good photos maybe they could find a competition or somewhere to show them, and Spencer took great joy in rambling about county fairs and ages which one entered photos in them for prizes throughout the nation. Beth refused her camera, which was fine…Spencer had just tucked it back into its case in his satchel… and Spencer was pretty certain he'd even seen her stomp her foot. Garcia had found a strap to make it so Jack could wear the camera around his neck, as well as the usual wrist strap and a special strap that clipped to Jack's belt loops and reminded Spencer of those dog leaches that retracted and let the dog move forward or come closer without the leash getting in the way. While they got the bags checked and stood in line to enter the park Hotch showed Jack how to center what he wanted to take a picture of and how to use the zoom functions and how to take his pictures and Spencer thought maybe the day would end up the family day it was supposed to be. When Jack showed Spencer his first good photo, in focus and with everyone's head in the picture, and Spencer told him 'good work', the smile the young Hotchner gave Spencer made hope bloom in his chest.
He remained hopefully during breakfast, even when he handed out the autograph books to Beth and Aaron and she complained about how stupid it would look for her as an adult to be seen asking for autographs ('but that is what moms do so didn't she want to practice', said Jack). He was even still hopeful when Spencer had set out the pink princess autograph book he'd bought which he was getting filled for Garcia and Beth –in front of Jack and Hotch- asked if being such a flaming fairy had any effect on how he was treated while out in the field…loud enough that not only the character who'd been speaking to Jack at the time heard but most the neighboring tables heard as well.
"That book's for Auntie Penny, Beth," Jack had answered. "We are taking it around so we can get as many signatures as possible as a thank you for setting up our family vacation for us. We wanted a picture of each character and their autograph. Spencer said he'd use his camera for it. Spencer says he has a huge card in his camera and two extra cards just as big and he showed me how he changes his camera's card and its battery pack and it was so cool. Spencer is even going to get the princesses and pixies signatures even though he agreed giggling girls are kind of scary. I think he is just the bestest type of friend to have."
"Besides," Spencer had said, while cutting his hotcake. "If I'd wanted to flaunt my flaming fairyhood, I'd have bought myself the purple pixie autograph book and worn pixie wings today."
"Spencer bought himself a Mickey Mouse book, but he said he'd wait to fill his autograph book until after we do Auntie Penny's so we aren't asking too much and taking too much time. It's more important that the characters get to get hugs from all us kids than spend tons of time on just one kid. He said he didn't even care if he didn't get as many autographs because he was doing it that way." Hotch had beamed a smile at Jack and Spencer before eating his next bite.
"Spencer is a pretty good guy and Garcia definitely deserves such a great treat for getting us all here together," Hotch had answered.
The character who had been at their table when Beth made her comment leaned down and whispered to Spencer as he left the table.
"If you set your autograph book and the princess one out on the edge of the table I'll make sure everyone here signs it. That was extremely offensive what that lady said about you. Do you want just a character photo of each?"
Spencer had nodded. He had hoped not many had heard, because it was rather a hurtful comment to him, but soon realized what Beth had said and how Jack had responded must had spread through the restaurant because all the Characters present had come over to say hi to Jack and get their pictures taken with him and a Disney Photographer was there for each one, creating photopass cards for both Spencer and Hotch. Several times Hotch had joined Jack for pictures and Spencer had had his own camera out to capture the smiles on the Hotchner's faces at those times. By the end of breakfast, both Spencer's and Garcia's autograph books were sitting on the edge of the table right where Spencer had first sat them, but there were more signatures in them than there had been characters at the breakfast and tucked in Spencer's book was another photopass card with a note that read 'a lot of us get that kind of nastiness directed to us just because we've chosen this job. Hearing that little boy just defend you like that and how you responded touched several of us deeply. Some of us are and all of us are accused of it and you just made the comment so much less offensive by showing how silly it seemed. Thanks. By the way, there is a note on the first page of the princess book, you could give it too any of the workers in the pixie or princess areas and they'll get it signed by them all and you wouldn't even have to stay if you didn't want to.' Beth had just pouted and refused to let anyone touch the autograph book that was supposed to be hers. Still Spencer stayed hopeful.
Sometimes during Monday Spencer's hope built, like when they all rode the Buzz Lightyear ride and Hotch had so much fun the first time sitting by Beth that he turned right around and took Jack back in line for a go with just him and Jack. Beth and Spencer looked at the stores nearby, but not together. It had suited Spencer fine, Spencer had lists of souvenirs to buy – including a shopping list for Henry complete with pre-paid credit card to buy it all with from JJ and Garcia's list of needed awesomeness, also complete with a pre-paid credit card. He did finish outfitting the crew in lanyards so he could complete his personal souvenir idea and started his pins for the trip, so he considered that a huge plus Or the times when Hotch would lift Jack up and swing him around as they walked from site to site. He was even hopeful when they were on the river boat and Hotch gathered Jack to his side and explained how the water wheel worked and Beth smiled at the both.
Sadly the hope building moments weren't nearly as many as the cringe worthy moments….90% of which focused around Beth. ("Aaron, Jack can't possibly go on that ride…he'll have nightmares for weeks and he sleeps in the same set of rooms as me!" "Star Wars? No. I won't go." "You can't possibly expect me to get on that ride. I'll get wet!" "That is a bad idea, that ride goes too fast and is for big people." and her favorites used at least five times or more during the day… "Seriously? How silly." "Now why on earth would I want to do that?" "I don't want to share a ride with the kid, have him ride with Reid." "Don't you want to ride with just me, just the two of us Aaron. We could snuggle close. We can't do that with Jack in the middle. Besides, you wouldn't want Reid to be all alone, now would you?" "I will Not ride with that geek. You had better come up with a different way to work this. Now!").
And who'd have thought bathroom breaks should be the cause of near melt downs, from the adult? ("What do you mean he has to go? We are almost to the next place, tell him to just wait." "Make him stand still, that moving about so much is driving me insane.") Not to mention lunch and dinner! Spencer still isn't sure what Hotch and Beth ate for lunch, he grabbed he and Jack sandwiches from the bakery on Main Street for lunch, after listening to Beth complain after Jack said he was hungry, for over an hour. And who would have guessed having more than one option in a space could cause so much chaos. Luckily Hotch finally just asked Jack and Jack chose something from that wharf area. So much fussing and fretting about Jack and so little time spent with him.
Spencer, on the other hand, had spent a whole lot of time with Jack and together they marked their maps, got their autographs and planned for the other days (Jack's map had rides he needed to go on still because Beth either wouldn't go or wouldn't let him and Spencer's map had each ride they went on with a date and time listed by it.) Frankly, Spencer was amazed they rode much of anything with all Beth's restrictions, but they did manage some rides. Several times, though, Beth and Hotch rode alone and Spencer was instructed to stay with Jack. It was not necessary and it was very annoying, but it gave Spencer time to get Jack's pins started, or chat about what Jack wanted from the vacation to the park. It was also discouraging. However Monday night, by the end of the World of Color show where Jack sat on Aaron shoulders for half the show and the whole show was spent talking with his daddy, Spencer had gone to bed full of hope. Then yesterday had happened.
Jack sighed again and Spencer looked at his watch. Technically he still had six minutes before the time he'd given to call Hotch but Jack's sighs were breaking Spencer's heart. He even considered starting to pull out all the keepsakes from their trip that Spencer had been gathering and handing them to Jack to see if he could generate a spark of happiness.
"Hey, Kiddo, would you like me to call your dad right now?" Spencer asked.
"Would you? Maybe he could tell us where to meet him, maybe the lines were long and he's stuck in one somewhere." Jack said, smiling.
Spencer took out his phone and dialed Hotch. It rang till it went to voice mail the first time, and then Spencer sent a text that threatened Hotch with a call from Spencer to Garcia. A count to fifty later and Spencer called Hotch again. The phone on the other end was picked up on the second ring.
"Hotch and Hotch Jr day was supposed to start one hour fifty seven minutes and 42 seconds ago. This morning Jack and I agreed to let Beth have an hour of Hotch and Hotch Jr day and you two could have a two hour massage and breakfast, but you promised that was all and you be here. You did work hard yesterday and you did deserved a nice massage. However, that two hour time slot was over fifty eight minutes ago. Where are you?"
"Beth surprised me and booked four hours for us. And wants to have lunch, maybe. She had such a long day yesterday and did so much walking and such and I know how exhausting keeping up with a wild Jack can be and especially if he's acting up for someone, and she said that after all the time I spent talking and standing I should just take the full time she booked, after all she already spent the money for it and she is right, I wouldn't want to waste her hard earned money by not staying. Jack will…"
"Stop! Stop right there." Spencer sputtered on the phone. "There is so much wrong with that statement I don't even know where to start, but you will listen or I will call both Garcia and Jessica about this, so hold just a second before I start and get somewhere where you can listen freely."
"Jack, I'm going to step right over there… three steps… and finish talking to your dad for a few. I'll be able to see you and you'll be able to see me, all right?" Spencer asked Jack as he pulled the phone away from his ear.
"Sure, do you know where Dad is and when he'll be here?" Jack asked.
"I'll find that out." Spencer said.
Spencer walked the largest three steps he could manage and put the phone back up to his ear.
"I hope you heard that. So let me start with something… a simple rule you make us follow in everything. If you set a time to be somewhere and you are going to be significantly late, you call. Can you remember what you consider significantly late, Boss? I can. Fifteen minutes. If it's good for work and friends, it had better the heck be good for family…especially when your child's concerned." Spencer started.
"Reid…" Hotch tried to break in.
"And another thing. Have Beth tell you about her day with Jack yesterday, why don't you? Ask her what they did? Where they went? Who they saw? Who did Jack meet? What was Jack's favorite part of yesterday? Did they go on all the rides she originally said they'd go on, way back when you two were planning out days or even on the night at Garcia's? What ones did they miss? I suggest you take notes. Then when you get here, have Jack tell you about yesterday. What did he see, who did he meet, what was his favorite part of the day? And more importantly look at Jack's camera…wait maybe… no go for it, look at Jack's camera record of yesterday. I had a wonderful day yesterday and my friend Ian Evens and his little girls will love to tell you about yesterday as well. When you are done talking to Jack, I'll give you his number so you can compare. You're a profiler, figured it out yet?" Spencer continued.
Spencer didn't let Hotch continue. "Furthermore, Beth's spa day today has been paid for, she is not spending her hard earned cash for it, maybe she spent some money to add you to her time or add a couple's time to her time, but hers is all bought and paid for. All the girls chipped in and spent their hard earned cash for a full spa day, 8am to 8pm –breakfast, lunch and dinner. Top of the line treatments, the works. If she isn't using that package then she is the one wasting people's hard earned cash and ditching a heartfelt gift from those people who care most about you. Not to mention, this morning I heard her say it was just two hours. When you called me to come and get Jack so you guys could head out to the breakfast and massage, she said it was TWO hours. Those were the words, Aaron, just two hours for a couple's massage and breakfast. You did stand and talk a lot yesterday. Jack and I, we were fine to get breakfast and spend an hour here by ourselves. We didn't begrudge you those two hours of relaxation. But today is Dad and son day, tomorrow Beth gets you during the day and we all know that, but today Jack was supposed to get you all day. And we all knew that, too. She could have spent her hard earned money and booked you for four hours tomorrow and it would be fine. This, right now, is not fine."
"Reid, you aren't trying to tell me that my girlfriend lied to me are you?" Hotch managed to get through.
"Do I have to tell you that? Do you deny she said it was just two hours?"
"No, she did but she said the other two were a surprise and she hadn't wanted to ruin it, that's not really a lie."
"Isn't it? Think outside her being your girlfriend. Wouldn't you consider it one if it was a suspect or witness or victim even? Considering the rest of it? Not to mention, did she or did she not know what day today was?" Spencer asked. He looked at Jack, who was being joined on the edge of the planter by three other kids who looked near his age. Spencer looked up and saw a man with dark hair who seemed to say something his way. Spencer figured he was asking if Jack was with him and he nodded and waved. The other man gave a cute little wave as well. Spencer let himself gaze a bit before focusing back on the phone and his conversation.
There was silence on the other end of the phone while Spencer waited double the normal amount of time for Hotch to take his turn to speak and for the noise around him to die down a bit. "Anyway," Spencer said, giving up on Hotch answering the last few questions right then. "We need to know when you will be getting here. I'm supposed to meet my friend at noon, and I need to know if I need to call him and have him meet me later or not meet me at all."
"I'll try to be there before noon, but I'm sure there is no need for you to change your plans." Hotch said.
"I don't think you understand. This friend, we dated when I was in college. He will greet me with a kiss, on the lips, and maybe not a small one."
"In college, Reid!"
"Hey! I was in college a while. I was seventeen when we started dating. I dated him from the Christmas time I was seventeen to Christmas time I was eighteen and moved to MIT. He's the one who made it so I didn't completely lose it when I institutionalized my mom….one of like three or four people who helped me through that. He was also in Colorado on an exchange during that semester so helping me wasn't the easiest thing for him to do but he made time and he did it, so anyway we saw very little of each other then, mind you, so we really only dated from December to like August. He was nineteen when we dated, so only like two years older than me."
"All right, all right, you were fine I guess. It should be fine. Jack will be good."
"Even if he kisses me? Is Jack ready to hear that topic discussed?"
"He's heard it. His friend Jordan at school has two daddies."
"All right then. Where and when do you want us to meet you and what would you like us to do until you get here?"
"Enjoy the park and I'll call in in about ten minutes to tell you when and where to meet me. I guess I do need to have a small discussion with Beth."
"Just a small one today, please Hotch? Jack needs you to be able to be in the mood to really enjoy today."
"Yeah, okay. And Spencer, thanks for looking out for my son."
Spencer looked over to Jack again, who was still sitting with the three kids. They were talking and Jack was actually looking animated. "Anytime, Hotch. Anytime."