The flight back from a case was always the quietest part of the job. Everyone was caught up in their own thoughts and emotions regarding whatever horror they had just witnessed. The only thing JJ was happy about was the fact that it was the day before Thanksgiving, and the likelihood of being sent out again on the holiday was slim to none.
Looking across the seats at Emily, JJ wondered what her plans were for the holiday. They had only recently started seeing each other as more than colleagues and friends, and they were taking it slow. JJ thought that as much as Emily has always liked her from afar, she was still protective of her own emotions, so she never pushed her for more than she seemed willing to give. Studying the pale, dark haired woman as she stared out of the jet’s window, JJ noted that she looked paler than normal. For the past two days she had not seemed herself. But the case had been a bad one, and that was reason enough.
Reaching forward, JJ lightly placed her hand on Emily’s knee, “Hey. Are you o.k. Em?”
“Hmmm? Oh yeah, I’m fine. Just thinking about what a hassle tomorrow’s going to be.”
Getting up and moving to the seat next to the brunette, JJ leaned forward and quietly said, “So take me up on my offer. You know you’re welcome.”
Emily just shook her head, “No, it’s you’re first Thanksgiving with just Henry. Thank you but it should be about family. And really, to be honest, I’m just not feeling well.”
JJ reached up and put her hand against Emily’s forehead, “You do seem a little warm, Em. You need to go straight home and to bed. Call your mother and tell her you can’t make it tomorrow. You already don’t want to go, and if you’re getting sick it’ll just be worse.”
Emily nodded, picked up her cell and called her mother before she lost her nerve. Hanging up, she sighed,”Madam Ambassador was not pleased. Seems she invited some Count of something or other she wanted me to meet. Woman just can’t take a hint.”
Patting her leg, JJ smiled at Emily. “So, would you like me to come over tonight and take care of you? Henry’s at the babysitters until tomorrow morning, so it would be no problem. I could fix you some nice chicken soup and sit with you until you go to sleep.”
Emily was tempted. Spending alone time with JJ was something they hadn’t had much of a chance to do, but she hated being taken care of when she was sick. Probably because she never was before, her mother was rarely around and no matter how well intentioned, a nanny did not take the place of a mother when you were sick. Over the years she just got accustomed to caring for herself and had no idea of how to change that.
“That’s sweet of you, Jay. But I think I’ll just go home and have a soak in the tub and head to bed. Maybe I’ll sleep until Monday if I’m lucky.”
“But you can’t be alone on Thanksgiving! Let me come and get you tomorrow and you can at least have dinner with us. If you insist, I’ll take you back home after, or you can stay the night and let me take care of you at my place.”
There was nothing in this world that sounded better than spending the day with JJ and Henry, and the idea of JJ taking care of her was just so nice but she just didn’t feel right about it. Her plans, as they were, of seducing the beautiful blonde one day had not yet progressed passed the making out stage, and as delightful as that has been, those plans did not include JJ seeing her as weak and ill.
“Naw, really, I’ll be fine. It’s just another day.”
JJ tried to convince her one more time when the plane landed but Emily was being stubborn. She waved goodbye to Emily as she drove off, thinking that of all the things she could count as a blessing, and that woman was one of them. It broke her heart to think of her, not only alone on Thanksgiving, but alone and sick.
Once home, Emily crawled into bed, barely taking the time to kick her shoes off and fell into a deep sleep.
Waking up the next morning, she felt like she had been hit by a truck and groaned as she rolled over. Looking at the bed side clock, her cotton wrapped brain took a minute to interpret what she was seeing.
“11 o’clock? That can’t be right. Oh God! I’m late! Hotch is going to kill me!”
Emily jumped out of bed and had to steady herself as a wave of dizziness hit. Once the room stopped spinning she headed for the shower, turning the T.V. on as she passed. She stopped when instead of the usual news, a parade was being broadcast.
“What in the world? Duh! Thanksgiving. That’s right. It’s a holiday. Christ, how do you forget a major holiday? Get a grip Prentiss…sheesh.”
Stumbling into the bathroom, Emily took a long hot shower, which made her feel a little more human. Not much, but better than she was feeling when she woke up. Coming out of the bathroom drying her long black hair, she saw the answering machine had twelve messages on it. Groaning again, she pressed the button; Emily? This is your mother. Pick up. BEEP. I know you’re there Emily. It’s your mother. BEEP. ‘Emily. How can you disappoint me like this? The Count was really looking forward to meeting you and…’
Emily hit the delete button and turned the machine and ringer off. No sense even listening to the other messages, it would just be more of the same, and the last thing she needed right now was a guilt trip from her mother. Bad enough she was spending a traditional family holiday alone, but she couldn’t bear the thought of going through the motions just to appease her mother.
Pulling on a faded pair of jeans and her favorite t-shirt, Emily settled down in front of the T.V. with a cup of tea to watch the end of the Macy’s Parade.
Emily was starting to drowse watching a rerun of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ when there was a loud knock at her door. She thought about ignoring it, not like she was expecting anyone, but the knock came again, loud and insistent.
“Coming! Hold your horses!”
Pulling open the door, Emily was shocked to see JJ standing there loaded down with bags.
JJ? What are you…?”
“No offense babe, but could you let me in, this crap is heavy.”
“Umm, sure. Yeah, sorry. Let me help you.
“No. No. Just step aside…oh and brace yourself.”
“Brace myself for wha…”
“Emmi!” Suddenly out of what seemed like nowhere, a small 30 pound projectile launched itself at her and clung to her legs, squeezing hard then trying to crawl up her body. “Emmi! Happy Turkwe day!”
Emily looked down and had to smile at the blonde haired, blue eye boy scaling up her legs. Reaching down she picked him up and flipped him upside down, making him giggle like mad.
“What is this? Is this a turkey? Doesn’t look like a turkey. How does it taste?”
Emily pressed her face into his tummy and made ‘nom-nom’ sounds against him. “Oohh, tasty.”
Henry giggled and wiggled out of her arms, running to hide behind JJ.
“Nose can eat me, Emmi…Mommas madez a weal turkwe for uz. You so silly!”
Ruffling his hair she looked at JJ. “What’s all this?”
JJ grinned, “Well, you wouldn't answer your phone and I refuse to let you be alone on Thanksgiving. You’re our family, and we should be together today. Right, squirt?”
Henry nodded enthusiastically, “Yup…wez famwy.”
“See. Even Henry knows your family.” JJ placed a light tender kiss on Emily’s lips and shooed her back to the couch. “Now go sit. I have everything under control.”
Emily blushed and smiled so widely she thought her face would crack. She did as she was told, Henry trailing behind talking a mile a minute something about Santa and his team of turkeys. She watched JJ move around the kitchen, heating up the meal she had brought and putting out the table setting, and was startled by the warm, happy feeling in her chest.
Sitting down to dinner, Emily was amazed at the spread JJ had put out and the perfect Turkey that had the place of honor in the center of the table.
“Wow Jay. This all looks so beautiful! You really shouldn’t have gone through all of this trouble just for me.”
Smiling, “It wasn’t just for you. It was for all of us. There were two people I really wanted to spend this day with, Henry and you. So since you wouldn’t come to me…I had to come to you. OK. Now it’s time for the goofy family tradition where we go around the table and you say what you’re thankful for today. Henry, you can start if you’d like.
“Okies. Iz tanksful for Mommy and…and…stuff. Iz tanksful for my Emmi…shez cool and fun and stuff. Amen.”
Emily was touched more than she thought possible by Henry’s simple statement. She looked at him with wonder in her eyes.
“My turn.” JJ said. “I’m thankful for my beautiful son, Henry. All of the friends I have in my life who are more like family then family. And I’m thankful to have found someone who cares about me, for me. Who expects or demands nothing from me other than I be happy. To have found someone who fits that missing piece I’ve been looking for forever. I’m thankful for you, Emily.”
Emily was blushing furiously as she struggled with the lump that had formed in her throat. It was her turn and she wasn’t sure she could speak.
“I’m thankful…thankful for this, this moment…the two of you…JJ.” Emily’s voice failed and she just shook her head and smiled as tears threatened to spill from her eyes.
JJ smiled warmly at her, handing her the carving knife, “Wanna do the honors?” .
Later, Emily and JJ sat on the couch together, Henry asleep in her bedroom.
“That was amazing Jay. Thank you so much. You really shouldn’t have gone to all that trouble though.”
JJ looked at her, “You just don’t get it do you? I wanted to be with you today. I wanted to feed you, take care of you, and let you know what it feels like.”
“Like what feels like?” Emily asked confused.
Stroking her face tenderly, “What it feels like to have a family, a family who wants to be with you. What it feels like to stop pretending to be superwoman and let someone take care of you.” Leaning in and giving her a tender, gentle kiss. “What it feels like to know someone loves you.”
“Loves me? Jennifer…”
“Yes, loves you. You are my best friend and I hope more someday soon. Got a problem with that Prentiss?”
Emily grinned and shook her head, “Nope. No problem here.”
JJ patted her knee and pulled Emily down until she lay with her head resting on JJ’s thigh. Smiling contentedly she snuggled against her and sighed.
“This getting taken care of stuff is kinda nice.” Emily whispered.
“Yes it is. And there’s plenty more where this came from.” JJ softly said as she gently ran her hand through Emily’s hair.