Chapter: 3 – Words I Couldn't Say
Rating: M (the story as a whole, not necessarily this chapter)
Type: Criminal Minds, Hotch/Prentiss.
Spoilers: Nothing specific at this point in time.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but an over-active mind and a verging-on-pathetic love for the H/P ship lol.
Summary: Companion piece to dressed to impress. You probably don't need to read that one first to understand this one, but it would be better context. WIP. Partial AU.
Chapter 1 is here if you missed it.
Chapter 2 is here if you missed it.
A/N: Thank you so much to the few of you actually reading and reviewing this, it really means a lot to me. This kind of fic is very much out of my comfort zone so I’ve been very nervous about the lack of response to it, but you’ve reassured me that it’s not because I’m butchering it beyond belief lol. I’ve decided that at this point I might as well go ahead and finish it, so there will be one, possibly 2 more updates after this one. I only intend for there to be one, but I’ll have to see how long it runs. As always, thanks to floatingamoeba for being an awesome friend and beta <3.
There it was at the tips of my fingers
There it was on the tip of my tongue
There you were and I had never been that far
There it was, the whole world wrapped inside my arms
And I let it all slip away
Emily Prentiss was many things, but a mess was rarely one of them. Over the past two weeks, however, that seemed to have become her number one descriptor. She was swearing off men for good. Sure, she had said that before, but this time she really meant it. They just weren’t worth the emotional turmoil.
Okay, that she didn’t mean. This man was worth any amount of emotional turmoil, but it seemed like a waste of time and energy if she wasn’t getting anything in return. Emily had thought they were making progress, thought that maybe this whole thing wasn’t as one-sided as she had originally believed. Clearly, she had been wrong.
He had met someone.
Someone who wasn’t her.
At first, she was devastated. The whole of that first day, she was constantly on the verge of tears, and had actually gone to the restroom to let some of her tears escape. Then she had gone back to her desk, annoyed with herself for letting it come to that. When had she become so weak? Since when did she need a man to make her happy?
Then, as the week wore on, the sadness turned to hurt. Hurt mixed with confused betrayal. The note he had written her on Valentine’s Day had given her hope, but just as abruptly, he had taken that hope away again. Emily understood that he had only meant that he cared for her as a friend, but what about the second part?
That was what had her confused. She knew what she wasn’t saying. Perhaps he was holding back too.
It was nearing the end of the third week since his new woman had entered the picture, and now Emily was just plain mad, whether she had a right to be or not. To be honest, she didn’t care if her anger was justified. It was still present, and every day it grew just a little bit more.
She didn’t know the woman’s name or much about her, only that they had met in the park and had gone out several times since. He smiled when he talked about her. That was the worst part, and the main reason why Emily knew so little. Every time someone asked about her, that smile would come out and chip away another little piece of her heart, so she would grit her teeth and casually make her exit.
She just couldn’t force herself to smile back.
On the plus side – if you could call it that – she seemed to be getting better at masking her irritation. She hadn’t snapped at anyone yet, and if her colleagues had noticed the change in her mood, they hadn’t said anything. It was also a distinct possibility that maybe they were just getting used to her being miserable company. Either way, Emily was glad no one had confronted her about it. She didn’t like lying to her friends. Frankly, she didn’t even have a good lie to tell.
There’s a rain that’ll never stop falling
There’s a wall that I tried to take down
What I should have said just wouldn’t pass my lips
So I held back and now it’s come to this
And it’s too late now
Hotch was confused. It was incredibly frustrating to be a profiler and still have no idea what someone wanted from you. The day after Valentine’s Day, everything had seemed as normal - they smiled, they laughed, and the tension between them had lessened significantly. He took it as a good sign. The ball was in her court now, so he tried to be patient and wait it out. Days went by, then weeks, and she still hadn’t spoken of the note, nor had she made a move towards a romantic relationship. It was disappointing to say the least, but he had quietly accepted defeat.
Then he met Beth. She was no Emily Prentiss, but if Emily was off the table, it was worth a shot. She was a warm, caring person, and it was nice to feel wanted. It was also a welcome change to have someone to talk to and spend time with outside of work. It was nothing more than companionship right now, but that was all he really wanted it to be. Hotch got the impression, however, that she was hoping it would turn into something romantic, so he wasn’t sure it was wise to continue.
As soon as had he mentioned her to Dave, Emily had started giving him the cold shoulder again. What the hell? She wasn’t interested in him, but he wasn’t allowed to be interested in anyone else? He had never pegged Emily as that kind of woman, but he didn’t see another explanation. Hotch was torn about confronting her. He felt he was being treated unfairly, but didn’t want to make their situation worse. Things between them were complicated enough without adding an argument into the mix.
So, for the second time, he had decided to wait it out, and again, weeks passed by with no change in her behavior and no conversation about it. Now he was downright sick of it. This had to end.
“Prentiss, my office.”
What do I do now that you’re gone?
No back up plan, no second chance
And no one else to blame
Despite a calm exterior, her heart raced wildly as she made her way to his office. She was reasonably sure she hadn’t made a mistake on any of her reports, so what did he want to talk to her about? He looked serious…but then again, that was nothing new.
Taking a deep breath, she crossed the threshold, silently closing the door behind her and taking the seat across from his desk.
“Is there anything you want to talk to me about?” Hotch said bluntly. She frowned.
“Um, no? You called me up here, remember?”
“I thought there might be something bothering you.”
So much for hoping he wouldn’t notice. “Oh. No, everything is fine.”
“Everything is most definitely not fine,” he replied, “Are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
“Hotch, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“So you haven’t been short and standoffish with me for the past few weeks?”
Shit. “If I have, I certainly didn’t intend to be.”
He sighed. “Why are you lying to me?”
“You are, I just don’t understand why, or what’s going on with you. Does this have something to do with Beth?”
Her face froze for a fraction of a second and he knew he had struck a nerve. Then the mask slid back into place and she shook her head.
“No, why would it?”
“You tell me. I thought we rectified our situation.” He cringed inwardly. That came out much colder than he intended. Emily stared at him.
“Did it ever occur to you that maybe I never considered it a ‘situation’? That maybe it actually meant something to me?”
SHIT! Silently she prayed for someone, anyone, to interrupt them right now before she dug herself a deeper hole. That was the last thing she had wanted to say. Now she had thrown it out there, there was no taking it back.
“Emily, I – ”
She felt the burn of tears as panic set in, and quickly cut him off. “No, Hotch. I can’t have this conversation with you right now.”
In the blink of an eye, she had fled his office, leaving him in stunned silence.
I should have found a way to tell you how I felt
Now the only one I’m telling is myself
That certainly had not gone as he intended, he thought glumly. In hindsight, he supposed, he should have manned up and been clearer in his note, instead of letting the fear of rejection convince him to be vague. On the plus side, it seemed that she did want something more.
Now she would likely be dodging him whenever possible to completely avoid the subject. She wouldn’t get away this time, though. Not when he knew she felt the same, not when they were this close. But there was something he had to take care of first.
He had just scrolled down to Beth’s name on his phone when there was a knock at his door and JJ popped her head in.
“Hotch? We have a case.”
He nodded. “Tell everyone to go to the conference room, I’ll be there in a minute.”
The door closed and taking a deep breath, mentally preparing himself for what would inevitably be an awkward phone conversation, he pressed the button to dial.
A/N: Okay, so this didn’t end up going as planned lol but hopefully it’s still okay. I’m still not sure if there will be one or two more parts, will have to see how it goes. The next part won’t be just angst though, there will be at least a little resolution (maybe a lot, depending on whether or not I split it into two chaps), so there’s something to look forward to. I apologize for the time between updates. I’m on vacation in Australia right now and I don’t have internet everywhere I’m going, so unfortunately I can’t promise the next part will be any more timely lol. I’ll try though. I mean, you have to do something when there’s no internet: might as well write ;). Lyrics are from the song “Words I Couldn’t Say” by Leighton Meester, from the Country Strong soundtrack.