A/N: This picks up the Friday after they return from New York. It's a little fluff as well as a couple ideas I had that wouldn't make good full-blown, stand alone cases. So, here they are. Enjoy!
"Why the hell am I so scared I'll cheat on Jen?"
Dr. Lara Westfallen stares at Emily a moment. "I thought I was supposed to ask the questions and you answer them."
Emily manages a small smile. "Sometimes. Other times I ask and you point out the obvious."
Westfallen smiles. "Tell me about your fears."
Emily thinks a moment. "From as far back as I can remember people always told me I was so much like my father. I acted like him, looked like him. Hell, some even said I laughed like him." She starts to toy with her wedding ring. "When I started dating it turns out I had the same preferences as him. Despite my mother's looks, he prefers blue-eyed blondes. That's what he looked for in choosing an affair. Every damn time. I saw the pictures to prove it."
Westfallen watches the way Emily toys with her ring. In the past the brunette had turned the ring to the left, unscrewing as it were. That was usually accompanied by her sliding it up and down her finger. But now…now she turns it to the right, tightening it, keeping it close to the knuckle.
"I know I'm not an alcoholic. Hell, my friends wouldn't be my friends if I was. I know that. Not to mention, Jen wouldn't put up with that. But…but if I can be so trustworthy, so…so deserving of her trust and so deserving of Morgan's belief that I can't hurt Jen that way, why am I so scared that some day I'll wake up in some other woman's bed?"
"Emily, I think your issues lie in the fact that you don't know why your father cheated. Yes, he had a drinking problem. Yes, your mother had a job that could overshadow him. But from what you've told me, they actually loved each other and still he sought comfort elsewhere. Why didn't he try to make things better inside his marriage?"
Emily bites her lip, really considering the answer. "I…I don't know."
"Have you ever thought to ask him?"
"Not really. I mean, maybe I thought it. And maybe I sorta asked it but…shit…I think he probably caged his answer, probably had it ready knowing I'd ask or planning to volunteer it."
Westfallen nods, finally seeing it. "You don't trust him."
"What?" Emily asks in surprise.
"You love him and you're happy he's back in your life but you're waiting for the other shoe to drop, aren't you?"
Emily thinks about it and slowly nods. "Yeah…I think I am. And if he can fake it and run so can I," she says quietly.
"Do you think you will?"
"I…I don't…I don't think so."
"Do you think Jen would let you?"
"Hell no. She'd kick my ass if I tried to walk out on the family. That's kind of why I can't believe I was able to run away from home even in my mind: I know better."
Westfallen smiles and nods. "Good point. Emily, have I ever told you about my father?"
Emily frowns. "Um, no. Not usually the way these talks go."
"True," she agrees with a grin. "My father is a surgeon. Spent his life cutting people open to save their lives. Even came up with a couple of procedures that are now taught in schools. When I told him I wanted to be a psychiatrist he was appalled. You see, in his eyes, I'm not a real doctor. And for a lot of years that wore on my soul. I kept thinking that by not being a so-called real doctor like he is I had let him down. Then one day a young boy I'd been talking with for 2 years gave me a hug and told me I'd kept him from killing himself. He's now married, has two kids of his own, and still sees me when the demons come knocking at his mind. I may not cut people open but I still save lives."
"In other words, we make our own paths in the world and how we choose to walk them is up to us, not our parents," Emily concludes.
Westfallen smiles and nods. "Exactly. Emily, in many ways I am just like my father. But in just as many ways, I'm not. Same goes for you." She points to Emily's left hand. "Look at what you're doing with your ring."
Emily looks down at her hands. "I'm…I'm just toying with it. I always do when we talk about Jennifer."
Westfallen tells Emily what she has observed this session which is different from others. "You might think you're scared of leaving her but that action tells me you're more set on staying with her than you have ever been before."
"Yeah, I am. You know, on this last case, I had to take it off to do the 'happy couple' routine with Morgan. I nearly couldn't do it. In fact, without Morgan's encouragement and support I couldn't have done it. And when I put it back on after the ruse I felt…felt…whole again. I felt like I could breathe without pain."
"And that right there tells me you may see a pretty woman and think, 'Wow, she's hot!' Hell, you're human, Emily, and that's a natural thing. But seeing a pretty woman doesn't mean you want to cheat on Jennifer with her. Genetics play a small part in who we become." She sees Emily is still struggling with that thought. "Tell me, how many killers come from perfectly normal, well-adjusted parents? And how many killers have children who become perfectly normal, well-adjusted adults?"
Emily immediately thinks of Declan Colter and Ian Doyle. "Holy shit…I keep telling Declan that who his birth father is doesn't define him; that the sins of the father don't fall to the child. And yet…yet…shit…"
"You've ignored that wisdom when it comes to you."
Emily nods. "Yeah. If Gerald can cheat, I can cheat. In other words, I lied to Declan."
"No, Emily, you lied to yourself."
Emily chews her lip a minute, a tear leaking down her cheek. "That's just as bad."
"Are you ready to accept what you've discovered?"
"I think…think I need a couple days to think about it."
Westfallen smiles. "I'm sure you do. You've just cracked a big wall in your mind. Something tells me a couple days on your own, a good talk with your wife…and a much needed talk with your father will help you come to grips with this revelation."
"I hope so. It's…a lot."
"Yes, it is." She reaches out and takes Emily's hand. "But you're not alone, Emily. Don't be afraid to share the load."
Emily smiles. "I won't. You've helped teach me that needing help isn't weakness."
"I could only teach you because you were willing to learn, Emily." She glances at her watch. "So, our time is about up. Think we covered everything?"
Emily smiles. "Right now, yes, I think we did. But since you're on my speed dial I can let you know pretty quickly if that changes."
Westfallen laughs as they stand. "Well, I'm just a phone call away. Oh, and I want to tell you I tried the Henri Roxanne last weekend. My husband and I both loved it!"
Emily smiles proudly. "Great! It's quickly become my favorite, too. Did I mention Henry got to crush some grapes that will go into the next batch?"
"No! That's wonderful! I hope a bottle is on reserve for me."
Emily nods. "Maybe a case considering how much you help Jen and I."
"Well, who am I to argue with that logic?"
Emily laughs. She says goodbye to the doc and heads off to start another Friday at the BAU.