“That one looks like a diplodocus.” Beth pointed.
“No it doesn’t.” he couldn’t help but laugh. She always made him laugh.
“It does, Aaron…hurry and look again before it dissipates. There’s the neck and the hump and the four legs.”
“Hmm, I see the neck for sure and a little of the hump maybe. Oh hey, that one looks like a cookie jar.”
“Where?” Beth turned her head. “I shouldn’t even look the way my dinosaur was dismissed and all. I could be considered a genius in some cultures for seeing something like that so defined.”
“I’ll give you the head and neck but I didn’t see the four feet.”
“He might form again and I’ll show you. Ooh look, that one looks the Tardis.”
Hotch was laughing again. It did look like the Tardis, though most people would've just said a telephone booth. Beth was definitely not most people. He stopped looking at the moving clouds to look at her. They ran together today; he was really coming to enjoy training with her.
After the run, Beth stretched and then sat down in the grass. Hotch didn’t know what to do so he sat beside her. Soon they were on their backs watching the clouds roll by. He probably hadn't done that since he was a little boy. It was nice to do it with her.
“Are you a Doctor Who fan?” he asked.
“My brother got me hooked when we were kids. Peter Davison was my first and last blond crush. OK, wait, there was that Kiefer Sutherland summer but I don’t discuss it much.” Beth looked at him. “What about you?”
“No,” Hotch shook his head. “I never had a crush on Peter Davison. Now Kiefer on the other hand…”
She laughed, giving him a friendly poke. Hotch was funny. He was reserved and closed off but he was funny. Every week he opened the vault just a little more and Beth appreciated it. Getting to know new people, inviting them into your life, wasn’t easy.
For her, Aaron was easy. She knew that for him it wasn’t just about her. It was about letting anyone in. So she hung out, trained, laughed; Beth could only be herself.
She thought he might be starting to feel about her the same way she felt about him. Aaron Hotchner was a math problem not even her egghead brother could solve. And surprisingly, she liked him that way. What was the point of doing a puzzle if you knew where all the pieces went?
“I meant were you a Doctor Who fan?”
“I know, and I'm not really. I've seen it a few times and enjoyed it. Spencer thinks I should introduce Jack to it. He said every kid loves space adventures. Considering what a big fan of Star Wars Jack is, I think that’s true.”
“The original or the prequels?” Beth asked.
“Jack loves the originals. Last year when I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up he said Luke Skywalker. I'm OK with that answer. I fear that one day he’ll go into the FBI, want to be like daddy. I’ll take a kid who wants to defeat the Empire over that any day.”
“The first time my mother asked me that I said Holly Golightly. I wanted to go to New York fancy pants parties and be adored by the masses. It wasn’t until much later I realized that she was a prostitute. Go figure.”
“Well now you plan all the fancy pants parties.” Hotch said. “So I guess in your own way you did become Holly Golightly.”
“That’s true. I even have a cute black cocktail dress and a cigarette holder. Hey, I think that cloud looks like a giant coffee cup.”
“Uh oh,” Hotch smiled as he looked back at the sky. “I think someone needs her caffeine fix.”
“No, I just,” Beth laughed. “Well yeah I'm sure I do. But it really does look like a giant coffee cup. Tell me what you see.”
“A goldfish.” Hotch pointed. “Look right over there.”
“Oh yeah, I see it. We should do this more often…clouds are fun.”
“I can say that I haven’t done this in a very, very long time.”
“What else haven’t you done in a long, long time?”
When she looked at him Hotch was blushing. He tried to stop but the cranberry flush kept going until the tips of his ears were red. Beth could only laugh but it certainly wasn’t at him. Damn, he was adorable.
“When you blush like that it makes me want to kiss you.” she whispered.
“I'm not a blusher.” He replied.
“Could’ve fooled me.” Beth smiled.
“I guess I'm just embarrassed by the question.”
“I didn’t mean to embarrass you.” she sat up, stretching her legs and reaching down to touch her toes.
She couldn’t do that a month ago and it was a good feeling. This triathlon was going to kill her, of that she was sure. But when she recovered Beth would have a new physique and possibly a boyfriend. It was a win-win at the moment.
“The safe answer is blushing is something I haven’t done in a very, very long time.” Hotch said. “You want to grab some lunch?”
“You don’t have to ask anymore you know. I always do.”
“OK.” Hotch smiled, his dimples in all of their glory.
He stood up from the grass and then helped Beth up. For a moment she was in his arms; he couldn’t help holding on to her. Kissing her seemed so right but he couldn’t bring himself to do it with all those people around. He would make it up to her, and himself, a little later.
“Look up and tell me what you see.” She said. Beth had to say something before she kissed him breathless.
He did, and saw all the fat white clouds rolling across the beautiful blue sky.
“What?” Beth looked up.
“I think I see the diplodocus. There's the four feet.”
“See, didn’t I tell you Hotchner? I'm a genius.”
“You're something alright.” Hotch grinned.
“I'm planning to take that as a compliment.” Beth replied.
“As well you should.” He kissed her forehead; couldn’t help himself. “C'mon, let’s get some coffee in you.”
They held hands as they walked back to Hotch’s car. It had been a good morning; the training was coming along well. Everything was coming along and Hotch honestly couldn’t believe his luck. He was waiting for the other shoe to drop, it was his nature.
He was happy when he and Beth were together. Hotch still struggled with feeling as if he didn’t deserve that. But who wouldn’t want to feel like she made him feel? He was floating in the clouds amongst coffee cups and dinosaurs.