Hotch told the person knocking on his office door to come in. There was no response but another knock. It was strange but he got up and walked across the room. Opening the door, he managed an almost welcoming smile for Anderson.
“I'm sorry about that Anderson.”
“It’s alright sir.” He walked into the office.
“I didn’t realize there were going to be two boxes of information.” Hotch said. “I didn’t know you were going to bring them both in at the same time.”
“They’re not too heavy. Do you want me to put them on the table?”
“Yes, thank you.” Hotch went back over to his desk.
“Is the BAU going to take on this cold case?”
Anderson didn’t often ask his boss those kinds of questions but the case intrigued him. 17 boys had disappeared in a three county area of Oregon over the past 20 years. Police were beginning to believe that one person was responsible for the atrocities. But there hadn't been a body in almost 3 years.
Still, if it was one person then they had a long cooling off period. It wouldn’t be the first time that someone notified the BAU about it. They had declined thus far to take the case. And now the Unit Chief was requesting the files.
“I'm not sure there's a case to take.” Hotch replied.
“Well to make things easier for you I alphabetized the files. I also color coded them for better accessibility. The boxes were a mess. Um, manila is for interviews, red is for potential suspects or persons of interest, blue is for crime scene photos, and green is for victims.”
“What would we do without you Anderson?”
“It might be a bit harder to save the world I think sir. I humbly think that, sir.”
“I'm sure you do.” Hotch nodded. “I appreciate your hard work.”
“That’s what I'm here for. I'm also going to have someone clean out the file room early next week. It’s a mess and that’s not how we do things around here.”
“I want you to call it a night, Anderson. You’ve worked hard today and now its over.”
“You're still here sir. Is there anything else you need?”
“No,” Hotch shook his head. “I'm fine. Have a good night; get out of here.”
“Yes sir. Goodnight.”
Anderson left and Hotch got up from his desk again. He went over to the credenza, turning on the radio. It was a rainy Wednesday night but the bullpen was practically empty. After eight o’clock, Hotch knew he should've been home with Jack. But this was something that needed to be done.
He might be able to knock it out in a few hours and get home for a good night’s sleep himself. After turning on a jazzy Muzak station, which would help his mind move but not distract him, Hotch went over and sat on the couch. He’d just opened the first box and grabbed a set of the green files when the cell phone on his hip rang. It was a surprise that he hadn't remembered to put it on vibrate; the sound of Alicia Keys filled the room.
“Hello.” He answered.
“We have a problem.”
“Hello to you too sweetheart.”
“I'm sorry…hello. We have a problem.”
“I know. I've been watching The Weather Channel and they're talking about three feet of snow.”
“Is that insane?” Beth asked. “If I come to you guys then I could be trapped in DC for a few extra days. There's no way there will be trains or planes back to LaGuardia until they dig out. If you come here then it’s the same thing.”
“Are they sure New York will be affected?” Hotch asked.
“They say it’s going to get slammed. They're calling it a super storm and even thinking of giving it a name like they do hurricanes. The information is changing everyday, every hour, but right now the forecast says at least a foot of snow for the New York Metropolitan area. That’s a lot.”
“You're a New England girl.” he smiled when he said it. “I bet that’s nothing for you.”
“Well you're a Southern boy; you might be overwhelmed.” Beth replied.
“I always find you to be overwhelming in the best way. I can handle it.”
“What are we going to do Aaron?”
“I'm going to abuse my authority and fly in on Friday morning.”
“I have a jet remember? That’s sexy huh?”
“I don’t want you getting in trouble to come and see me.”
“I'm not going to get in trouble and I'm not missing this visit. I miss you.”
“I miss you too. Are you sure this is going to be OK?”
“Yes. I'm not taking a jet out of commission to fly to New York. A few agents from the Academy are going to the John Jay School to lecture for a week. Because of the storm they're going to fly out early Friday morning so they can be in town before it hits. I'm hitching a ride. Do you feel better about that?”
“Yes. I'm also going to have a day off on Friday; they’re probably going to close the museum early or altogether. So is there anything special you want for our three day weekend?”
They were actually supposed to be spending the weekend together as a family but Jack had a rescheduled soccer game on Saturday morning. He didn’t want to miss it. His father and Beth too, felt guilty that Hotch couldn’t be there for that. Jack took it all in stride. His father came to every game he could make it to and did some coaching last year with Uncle Dave.
He knew that Beth lived in another city now…he wanted the two of them to spend time together. The situation was weird for all three of them but they did the best they could. While Hotch was away this weekend Jack would be with Aunt Jessie and Uncle Sam doing big cousin duties. There would even be a big lunch, win or lose, after the game.
“Pigtails.” Hotch replied without a second thought. It had been a while since he was able to say the first thing that came to his mind. With Beth it was encouraged.
“Is that a food I'm not aware of it?”
“I mean you, in pigtails.” He lowered his voice. Nothing could convince him that the whole place wasn’t at least wired for sound. The last thing he needed was some guy in a security bunker getting off on a private conversation between him and his girlfriend.
“Mmm, Agent Hotchner tell me more.”
“I won't be able to talk long. If I'm going to be coming to you early Friday morning there is a lot of work to be done before then.”
“Ooh you're a horrible tease.” Beth laughed. “Give me something. Its cold tonight and I wanna warm up.”
“You are incredibly sexy in pigtails.” Hotch licked his lips and laughed some. “You were wearing them the first day I met you and I thought you were adorable. Honestly that was the first thing I thought when I saw you. I thought what would this adorable woman want with me? But you do want me, don’t you?”
“I want you too. I want you in pigtails and um…maybe something sweet on the outside and sexy on the inside just like you.”
“Are you asking me to play spank the Catholic schoolgirl?”
“If you want it, Hotchner, I'm gonna make you say it. I’ll give you pigtails. I’ll give you whatever you ask for. But you gotta ask.”
“I have to go. Dammit.”
“Just remember that you started this.” She said.
“And I will finish it, Miss Clemmons. I’ll see you Friday morning.”
“Do you know what time?”
“It’ll be early. I'm going to drop Jack at school and the flight leaves Quantico at nine. We’ll be in the air for maybe an hour.”
“I’ll call you and Jack tomorrow evening. I know it’s a lot to ask but you shouldn’t work late tomorrow if you're working late tonight.”
“It is a lot to ask.” Hotch replied.
“I love you.”
“I love you more.”
“Betcha you don’t.”
“Betcha I do.” he laughed. “Goodnight.”
“What is it?” Beth asked.
“Can you send me a goodnight picture? I really miss your face and I'm about to dig into some case files that won't be the most pleasant experience.”
“I’ll send it through your email…you'll still be able to get it on your phone right?”
“OK, it'll be there in 15 minutes top. Love you, work hard, go home at a decent hour.”
Hotch hung up the cell phone and put it down on the table. Then he opened up the first case file. Jeremy Gresham, age 14 missing since December 1998 from Lake County. Oh yeah, this was going to be quite an unpleasant experience.
As he turned the third page of the file, there was a ping from his phone. Hotch picked it up and opened the email envelope turning around and around. Then he gasped. He gasped, smiled, and he put his hand over his mouth.
This woman; this woman might be the very awesome death of him. She’d given him pigtails. There were pigtails and a hell of a lot of skin. It was sexy, adorable, discreet, and oh dear lord he’d never had a naked picture on his cell phone before.
If he was still capable of such behavior, which he thought he might be, Aaron Hotchner was blushing. He was blushing like a little boy and grinning like a horny one. How was he supposed to work after that? But he had to, so he took a quick picture of his smile and sent Beth a text before getting back to work.
‘Game and set Miss Clemmons, but the match is still up for grabs. You are so beautiful…I can't wait to see you tomorrow.’ –Aaron