DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Huge thanks for my beta, audiopineapple. Feedbacks and comments are appreciated!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Up to Season 4.
How we lose, how we win
I hear keys jingling in the door, warning me that Penelope has arrived home and I have to talk to her. I'm actually looking forward to it, because keeping inside all these feelings is extremely exhausting.
"Hey, Honey, I'm home!" She says smirking and I stand there dumbfounded. "Ummm, sorry, I always wanted to try it out, you know, to know how it feels." a wink in my direction says it all.
"Reeeaally funny Garcia! Now get your ass over here and give me my vanilla bomb right now!" I order her and she strangely obeys. I'm good when I'm bossy.
"As you wish, my Lady! And now I get to hear the full story, right? You know, I had to cancel my 'date' with Derek so it should better be good!" She teases me and I love her for that.
"Okay, okay, comfy couch, ice cream, French fries, lovely Penelope all check. I might just start as well." joking around is necessary for me because otherwise I would never start talking so I take a big sigh and I begin.
"I've never meant to do this. To leave a man who is in love with me, whose child is under my heart, who would do anything for me because he is just like that. I've never meant to lie to him for the first time when I told him that I want more than just a fling. I didn't know what I wanted at that time and I just went with the flow. I was careless, I think I just didn't want to deal with my feelings. And I ended up kissing him, being with him and finally getting pregnant by him. I wanted to believe that I could start a new life with him in New Orleans. I so wanted to believe that it could work out but I think all I had to do was to notice the signs. Because they were everywhere! The signs that clearly showed that it wouldn't work. Like why I have never given up my apartment here, in D.C.? Why I felt like I should be happy but I wasn't really? I was content, yes, settled even but something was missing. You know, when you know that something is just not right and you try so hard to figure it out and you just can't, so you go on with your everyday life until it hits you. It hits you that you are not happy because you don't love him. You can't be in New Orleans because it's not your home and you could never call it a home. You can't abandon your friends, your job which was your life. And you realize that if you would be with the right person all of these things wouldn't matter. But he is not the right one. And you start to go crazy about these facts, every moment in every day you try to figure out what to do next. Or if you should do anything about it at all because he is there, loving you, both of you, building a home for you and he is so harmless, easy that it seems you can't break his heart.
But you have to think about your happiness as well, your happiness of your child, and you know that your family would never be a whole, loving one. So you have to be selfish, you have to do what's best for you, even if it means another person is getting hurt. Because you can't sacrifice yourself, you just can't. Your life is too precious to waste it
so suddenly you find yourself going back to your old life and it fills you with so much relief that you feel remorse about what you've done but at the same time you know you did the right thing and you are crushing."
But you have to think about your happiness as well, your happiness of your child, and you know that your family would never be a whole, loving one. So you have to be selfish, you have to do what's best for you, even if it means another person is getting hurt. Because you can't sacrifice yourself, you just can't. Your life is too precious to waste it so suddenly you find yourself going back to your old life and it fills you with so much relief that you feel remorse about what you've done but at the same time you know you did the right thing and you are crushing."
I can understand Garcia's blank face because I would look the same if someone would pour her heart out like that in three minutes. I wonder if I have to snap my fingers just to bring her back... I will wait one more minute
"I JJ, you never told me these things, these feelings. Why didn't you tell me? I could have been there for you. I, uh, I didn't know "
"I know, I've messed up big time. I wanted to talk about this but I was...afraid because if I tell you all of these it would have been suddenly real. And I just couldn't deal with that, not then..." and I mean all of these things and it really feels like a big stone has just dropped from my heart, although I can not get past the bitter feeling that I'm not telling Penelope the entire story .the story which is about a certain brunette and my mixed feelings for her but I tell myself that one step at a time is enough for now.
"Oh, Sweety, come here! Everything will be alright! It will be just fine!" now I'm shaking uncontrollably, but my friend is quickly taking me into a crushing hug which soothes me a bit and after a few moments, only quiet sobs can be heard.
Maybe I'm going to be okay.
I spent the rest of the Saturday at Garcia's and then talked through the night with Will about our not working relationship. I told him what I earlier confessed to the computer wizard as well and made my point about not going back, in return, he said that he needs time to process all this and promised me that he would not ever give me up. Just what I need right now
Anyway, I realize that eventually I have to go back to my apartment because even if it's great to be with Penelope, she has her own life and I have mine. So on Sunday morning I say my goodbye with lots of promises that I will call her if I need someone to talk to or just hang out and start the car which led me to my condo.
Now, as I'm standing in my abandoned home, I can't shake off the terrifying feeling about the future, about dealing with my pregnancy alone and being strong enough for everything that life could throw in my direction. The world is suddenly spinning with me, the previous confidence at Garcia's is gone, I'm panicking and I don't know how I should continue my life but something snaps in and I know I can't give up. I have one very strong reason why I should hold on and keep going, and this reason is painfully active again: my growing child.
The next day I went out shopping for the house and myself, I seriously needed some new clothes left most of my outfits in New Orleans and the apartment required some well deserved decoration as well. Bunch of food, magazines, DVDs and I was all set to go home. Fortunately, I decided that I would keep my flat - just in case something happens and look how clever I was - I left everything in one place so now the condo gives the impression of being a cozy home instead of what it looked like just a few hours earlier. After sending a quick text message to Garcia that I've settled in, I'm ready to relax on my couch for the night.
I must have dozed off because the next thing I remember is the sound of a knocking. Wait, knocking? Who could that be at this late hour? Penelope didn't say anything about visiting me and nobody knows I'm back except Will and Emily.
I look into the peephole and I let out a small sigh, relieved: Prentiss is standing in front of the door, take out in her hands.
"Hey JJ" She says with a beaming smile and I grin back at her. "I know it's late, was just heading home from work, and Garcia mentioned earlier today, that you moved back to your apartment. I pondered on what I should do and decided to check on you, see if everything is okay and bring you your favourite Chinese food as a 'welcome back' meal. Uh, now I see you are okay, that's all I wanted to know, so I will just go and wish you a great "
She is rambling. She is cute when she's rambling and I must say I'm a bit worried that she told me all of this with only one breath. I have to say something otherwise she will be in trouble soon.
"Emily, hey, slow down! Why don't you come in for a bit? I hope the food is enough for both of us because I'm sure as hell I won't eat alone!" I say with a soft chuckling and usher her in. Once we are inside we make ourselves comfortable on the couch and start eating and making small talk. I didn't realize until now how hungry I was and, according to how fast she eats, I assume she skipped lunch today.
My baby is warning me about his existence again, kicking constantly and a pesky look must have appeared on my face because I hear her asking:
"What is it? Is something wrong?"
"No, just baby boy thinks my belly is a football ball right now, has been vividly kicking for a few minutes here, feel it." so without thinking I grab her hand and I take it on my stomach. In the process she needs to move closer and lean in a bit and that's the exact moment when everything stops and we just stare at each other. Tension fills the room and I don't know what's happening, all I feel is the warmth of her hand and the beautiful brown eyes locking with mine, and all the sudden I'm thirsty like I haven't drunk for days.
I'm bewitched by her intense look in which I see so much caring and what is it? Pain and regret? The need to comfort her, touch her is unbearable so I lift my right hand to brush her hair behind her ear, then travel my fingers slowly down along her body, first to her shoulder, then to her arm and in the end, capturing her hand in mine, intertwining them, holding them dearly. It feels right, so right that I'm lost in the feeling and I don't want this to end but I hear Emily's annoying phone buzzing. As she reaches for her cell we move apart, lose all connection and I immediately miss the contact.
"Prentiss yeah, it's on your desk. No, I think it can wait till tomorrow .yeah, yeah, 'night to you too and see you tomorrow." She ends the call and starts to stand up. Unconsciously I mimic her movements.
"It's .I should be going, you need your rest and tomorrow will be a long day for me. Thanks for the dinner and the invitation." We are almost at the door when I stop her by her wrist. I have to know what just happened.
"Hey, is everything alright?"
"Y-y-es, just lost track of time. I .this was nice, really. I hope baby boy will let you sleep tonight."
"Are we .okay?"
"Sure, why wouldn't we be?" She answers as she lets out a big breath with it. I can see in her eyes that she felt it as well, at that moment, whatever that 'it' means. And she can't wait to be out of that door, to be somewhere else, rushing away from me. It hurts and I don't know why I want her to stay. However, I respect her that much that I give her the space she needs.
"Uh, okay then, have a safe way home. Goodnight!"
"Goodnight! We'll talk!" and with that she is gone.
I stand in the doorway for several moments after our retreat with a blank face wondering: what the fuck was that???
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