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The Friendship Suggestion

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Reid looked up from his desk and the profusion of papers piled on it to see his daughter standing in the doorway to his office. She rocked awkwardly, one hand holding onto the molding, and he wondered if she’d had a bad dream. He quickly looked at the old clock on his desk and saw that he’d been researching for over two hours, ever since he’d put her down for a nap.

“Hey there, mouse? You okay?”

“May I come in?”

Reid smiled. Visits to Ambassador Prentiss’s house had produced some good, if slightly old fashioned manners in Izzy. Her grandmother’s study was off limits and Elizabeth insisted on that boundary being respected and proper apologies offered when it was violated, even by a six year old. Reid disliked the idea of separate spaces for children and adults, and told Izzy that she could always go into his office at home, but the Wrath of Grandma appeared to hold sway.

“You may.” Reid crooked a finger at Izzy and she ran to where he sat behind his desk and crawled into his lap with frightening enthusiasm. “Oof! You’re getting so big… Did you have a good nap?”

“Sorta.” Izzy nuzzled her way between his shoulder and his neck. “I thought about stuff.”

“No sleeping?”

She shook her head against him. “I tried, Daddy.”

“That’s okay. It’s the effort that counts.” He used a free hand to shuffle some papers into a loose pile so that he could attack it easily when he got back to his research later. Right now was ‘kid time’. “What were you thinking about?”

“Daddy,” Izzy leaned back and gave him a wide-eyed look. “Can you teach me to make friends?”

There are some things for which you cannot adequately prepare yourself. Reid thought that being a parent was probably number one on that list, and he had somehow managed it. But now Izzy’s question had trumped it. A lonely kid was asking a formerly lonely kid how to make friends, and that was a mystery that he’d failed to solve. He swallowed reflexively and held his daughter a little closer.

“Are you having problems at your new school?” His stomach soured at the idea that she might be bullied or ostracized so early in life. He wanted things to be easier than they were for him.

“Not really. Kids say I talk funny, but most of them are nice.”

Izzy had a slight accent from growing up in London, but her idioms were classically American and she had a tendency to ‘info dump’ as he did, so the overall effect was unique and definitely fodder for schoolyard mockery.

“And there’s Annalise,” Izzy continued. “She likes me. I think.”

“The girl with the red hair and the glasses?”

Izzy nodded. “Her mom’s a spy and does lots of secret stuff. I told her that Mommy does lots of secret stuff too, so we talk about that even though we aren’t supposed to.”

Reid smiled against the top of Izzy’s head. “Sounds like she might be a good friend.”

“Maybe,” she sighed. “But I’m talking about making friends the way Morgan and Garcia are friends. Or you and Mommy.”

“Well, mouse, Morgan and Garcia have known each other a long time. So have Mommy and I. I don’t think that there’s any secret to making friends like that other than being who you are - it just takes time.”

Izzy growled a little in frustration and his heart beat out a heavy thump at the sound. He understood the desire to be accepted and the impatience when it wasn’t readily offered.

“Wanna know a secret? When I first met Mommy, I didn’t like her at all.”

Izzy straightened up so quickly that she almost smashed into his chin. She stared at him as if he’d just told her up was down. “Why?”

“She was bossy, and she told me that I shouldn’t be doing something that I thought I had every right to do. I told her that she didn’t know me and to mind her own business. But, in time, I got to know her and I discovered that she gave good advice and was brave and smart and lots of fun to be around. So, I changed my mind about her. And you know what? She was one of the few people who didn’t make me feel weird about being myself. When I realized that, I knew that we’d be good friends, even if it took time for it to happen.”

“Wow.” Izzy wore the slightly scared look that also doubled as her expression of deep contemplation. Reid hid his smile and watched her wrestle with this new information. Watching his daughter think was one of his favorite activities; he could do it all day long.

“So, you see, there isn’t a special trick to making friends. Just be the fantastic little girl that you are, mouse, and give it time. If you can already share secrets with Annalise then I’d say you’re well on your way. Just be patient, Izzy - you’ll get there. I promise.” Reid let out an expansive sigh and then dug his fingers into Izzy’s sides in a surprise tickle attack that made her hoot and squirm across his lap. “And remember that Mommy and I will always be your best friends because we LOVE to tickle torture you.”

He proved his point until Izzy gasped for him to stop and lay draped in his arms like a limp noodle with rosy cheeks and crazy hair that no brush could tame. She giggled up at him and he smiled, dropping a quick kiss on her nose, wondering how much longer he’d enjoy her looking at him as if he could solve anything. He wanted to be her best friend forever.

“Daddy?” Izzy said once she’d caught her breath.


“If friendship takes time, and I’m gonna have to wait for it… why don’t you make me a friend? That way, I wouldn’t mind waiting ‘cause I know that it was gonna happen.”

Reid blinked, utterly confused. “Make you a friend?”

“You know, like you and Mommy made me. Make me a brother or sister and then we could be best friends.”

Wow. Just… wow. He was so unprepared for this conversation. Izzy marched right on without him.

“I know babies can’t walk or talk or play that well, but I can and I can teach it to do all those things. There’s a boy at school - Brad - and he has a baby brother who comes with his mom every afternoon to pick Brad up. Every time the baby sees Brad he smiles, Dad. The baby knows that Brad is his friend.”

“Oh, honey…” Reid gulped, his throat suddenly far too dry. “Having another baby isn’t that easy…”

“But Mommy said that all you need is for a man to give some sperms to a woman, and the sperms attach to an egg inside the woman and a baby grows, right?”

“Uhh… more or less. Your Mommy talked to you about this?” Reid felt as though he was moments away from breaking out into a sweat. “When did you two discuss babies?”

“Tuesday,” Izzy said matter-of-factly. “So, will you give some sperms to Mommy so that I can have a brother or sister? I promise to be good and patient while it grows…”

“It’s ‘sperm’, honey, not ‘sperms’…” Reid said distractedly.

“Why isn’t it ‘sperms’? Mommy says that you have to give a lot… like, more than one.”

Oh my god.

A wicked blush heated Reid’s face as he attempted to act like a responsible parent and not a flabbergasted male. “In this case the singular and the plural of the word are the same.”

Izzy nodded as if prepared to accept any wild explanation he could offer without a fight. He decided that he needed more information about what Izzy did and didn’t know.

“Did Mommy tell you anything else about how babies are made?”

“Nope. Except that it happens when moms and dads cuddle away from everyone else. It’s special cuddling, and it’s not like hugging or wrestling or tickling and I don’t have to worry about it for a long, long time. It sounds silly but I don’t care about that if I get a friend out of it.”

“Well, Izzy, there’s a little more to it than that. It takes more than just sperm and time… it’s a lot of responsibility and it shouldn’t be decided in the spur of the moment.”

Although that’s exactly what they did with Izzy.

“To begin with, it’s a lot of work for Mommy, and it can be uncomfortable. And then we’d have to give a lot of attention to the baby after it’s born because it needs so much help. You may not like that, even though a new baby would never change how much we love you.”

Honestly, if he could have more Izzys, he wouldn’t hesitate, but that wasn’t his call to make.

“I promise that I’d be a good big sister, Daddy. I promise.” Izzy gave him a pleading look with her impossibly huge, dark eyes and Reid thought that his daughter was already remarkably skilled at emotionally manipulation for a six year old.

“I’m sure you would,” he smiled. “What were you talking about before all of this? Did you ask Mommy for a baby brother or sister?”

“Sort of.” Izzy wriggled suspiciously.

“What did she say?”

More wriggling happened. “She said ‘Go ask your father’.”

What?!? Reid felt his blush get deeper. He and Emily were going to have a serious discussion when she got home…

“Are you angry?” Izzy’s voice was small and when he looked down at her she seemed very unsure of herself.

“No, mouse, I’m not angry at all. Just surprised, I guess. The things you are asking about are complicated adult problems. It’s really not as easy as you think and I don’t want you to get your hopes up when having a baby probably won’t happen. Do you understand, munchkin?”

Izzy nodded sadly in his arms and he pulled her into his chest, half to console her and half himself. His heart seized as if banded by something that was slowly shrinking around it trying to reduce it to half its normal size. It was hard saying ‘no’ to her and even harder to accept that up until that moment he’d never permitted himself to think that he’d only have one child.

“Daddy,” Izzy mumbled against his chest. “Are you going to talk to Mommy about this?”

Oh boy, were they going to talk about it!

“Yes, Isabelle, we’re going to discuss it.”

“Well then… can you ask Mommy if she’d want to do it? I know it’s hard an’ stuff-”

“You just don’t give in, do you?” Reid turned Izzy’s chin up to face him and gave her a smirk. “I said we’d discuss it, okay? You let me take care of this.”


“Okay. Now, what do you feel like for dinner?”

Izzy scrunched up her face in thought. “Grandma Diana’s stew?”

“Funny… you don’t look like Grandma Diana’s stew…” he grinned as Izzy rolled her eyes at his obvious and tired joke.


Reid placed Izzy on her feet next to his chair and then slid down onto his knees in front of her. He had ways to distract her when he needed to…

“Potato sack?” He arched an eyebrow, and Izzy lunged at him as he settled her comfortably over one shoulder and held onto her ankles. God knows why kids liked being toted around like dirty laundry, but the way she giggled every time he did it made the question moot. He stood and dramatically walked, waving side to side, so that she’d get the maximum amount of swinging motion out of it. She squealed and laughed, serious discussion forgotten, as Reid made her recite the ingredients needed to make her grandmother’s famous stew.


Reid walked into the darkened living room and saw Prentiss curled by the fireplace leafing through a mammoth report from State. He stood in the doorway for a moment and watched the light from the fire flicker across her. The scene was so quiet and familiar that it suddenly struck him as odd, because he still had moments when he couldn’t believe his own life. Sometimes he wondered if he’d wake up from it.

Prentiss eventually looked up and smiled when she caught him spying. “That was quick. Is she down already?”

“She didn’t sleep during her nap today. She spent it thinking instead.”

“Jeez.” Prentiss flipped her report closed and pointed at him. “She gets that from you.”

“Maybe.” Reid shrugged and walked to join her on the couch. “We had an interesting talk about friends today.”

“Did she ask you how to do it?”

“Yeah. Talk about the blind leading the blind…” he sighed.

“Oh c’mon… she’s much better at it than you are.” Prentiss grinned and Reid threw a pillow at her.

“Do you think there’s a problem there?” he asked after she stopped laughing.

“I think it’s an adjustment and that we should allow her time to work through it on her own. Just keep an eye on it, ya know? She’s a resilient kid.”

“Yeah, I guess.”

Prentiss reached for his hand and laced their fingers. “She is, Spencer. You don’t need to worry about this as much as you do. Besides, there’s that girl with the glasses…”

“Annalise,” Reid nodded.

“Yeah. All it takes is one person to get the ball rolling… soon she’ll have so many friends that we’ll need to track them in a spreadsheet. It was like that in London.”

Reid sagged a little at that. It felt nice to be reassured that Izzy’s dilemma wasn’t new. It also felt a little bitter to know that he had missed out on it the first time; sometimes it felt impossible to let that go especially since their time as a full-time family had become so fulfilling to him. Emily had been so stubborn for so long…

“Hey, so that’s not all we talked about this afternoon.”

“Yeah? What else?”

“She said that you told her how babies are made.”

Prentiss ducked her eyes and then casually turned towards the fire.

“Don’t you think that’s a conversation I should’ve been in on?”

“Did you enjoy it when she brought it up?” Prentiss laughed a little though she didn’t appear amused. “‘Cause I’m telling you, I didn’t.”

“So you agree that it was premature?”

She turned back, her face half in shadow. “I don’t think there’s a proper age to talk about it. She brought it up and, in my mind, if she’s able to form the question, I should be able to form a relevant answer. Besides, I just described the biology of it in the most basic terms. I didn’t go into the psychological and emotional substructure of sex, Spencer. She’s six - I’m not clueless.”

“Oh no?” he asked quietly. “What about ‘special cuddling’?”

“Well,” she waved dismissively. “That’s sorta linked to the biology too…”

“I wish you had told me… included me…”

“She sprung it on me! I’m really sorry that we didn’t do it together, Spence, but you know that sometimes this parenting thing is like tap dancing on a hotplate.”

“Well, I had to do some pretty fancy moves this afternoon when she told me what you two had discussed.” Reid took a breath and held it to slow the escalating pounding in his chest. Then he let it go and let the air take his fear of her answer with it. “She also said that she asked you to give her a sibling and that your response was to ask me.”

Prentiss stared at him and then slowly nodded.

“Well… Emily…” He was fighting to find the right thing to say but his palpitations were making thinking more difficult. “What’s up with that?”

“What did you tell her?” Prentiss rushed through the question, ignoring his entirely.

“I… I told her that having a baby was a big decision and that it was a Mommy/Daddy conversation, not a Parent/Kid conversation.”

Prentiss slouched against the sofa back and Reid swore that she seemed a little deflated.

“But mostly,” he continued while he wondered about her reaction. “I was working on my poker face to cover the shock at discovering that my opinion about having more children was being polled through my six year old daughter. Honestly, Em, why couldn’t you ask me yourself?”

“I dunno,” Prentiss shrugged. “Maybe I was afraid of your answer.”

The room fell silent except for the soft crackle of the fire. Prentiss turned back towards it, falling into the convenient hypnosis it provided, and Reid just stared at her lack of expression as he tried to catch his breath. The conversation had suddenly turned BIG and for the second time that day, he felt woefully unprepared for it.

“Emily, do you want more children?” he whispered.

“Do you?” It was frustrating how she refused to come to the point and he lost his patience with it.

“Of course I do! I’d wish for as many kids like Izzy as we could manage!” He ran his fingers through his hair roughly, probably making it stick out at crazy angles. “But that’s not a decision that I can make on my own and, to be brutal… it’s been seven years since Izzy, and we haven’t been celibate in the meantime. Maybe it’s too late to be having this discussion.”

She looked back at him then. “It’s not too late.”

“It’s not?” He swallowed hard, grabbed her hand again, and told himself to calm the hell down. They weren’t gonna make it happen right now. Well, probably not anyway. “Uhh, well… I suppose that we should… you know, figure out your ovulation cycle to… umm, maximize our chances… and then-”

Prentiss let go of his hand and leaned forward to cup his face, stilling him. She smiled and kissed him quickly, lingering just long enough against his lips to quiet his mind.

“It’s not too late to have more children, but it’s too late to draw up a conception strategy.”

“What does that mean?” he murmured.

“It means we’re already past that. It’ll be a late spring baby.”


“Yeah, really.” She ducked her eyes again and he imagined that she might be blushing though it was impossible to tell with her face half in shadow.

He pulled her back to him and funneled all of his delight into the kiss he gave her. It seemed as though his life was going to continue on its unexpected trajectory for the foreseeable future. Another child… and this time he wouldn’t miss a second of it. It would be a completely different experience; this time they’d be a team, this time he wouldn’t have to live with the threat of separation. The kiss took time - it was complex and he had a lot to say with it. He held her tightly (I’m never letting go), his hands thread into her hair (this is dear to me), he moved when she moved waiting for her to open to him, to shed her anticipation of his response (thank you). He let her go slowly, fingers tracing the edge of her face, still a little stunned by her. She immediately blushed under his scrutiny and he was amazed at how that still felt great to him.

“You couldn’t possibly believe that I’d be anything less than overjoyed at this news,” he murmured. “Honestly, why would you wait to tell me?”

She turned into his fingers and he could feel the heat of her blush on them.

“You weren’t around much when I was pregnant and weren’t a full-time dad for Izzy until recently.” She looked up and her expression quickly changed as she hurried to press on. “And that was mostly my doing - I know that. We’ve only just settled into… being a family together, and it’s been wonderful. You’re incredible with Izzy - I couldn’t have picked a better father for her. But…”


“I wasted so much time, Spence. Time that we could’ve been together and figured out how we worked as a couple before we made another life-altering decision. I felt like… you might resent that loss. This baby is going to take all of our focus. It’s so tricky keeping the little suckers happy and healthy in the first year… and we still have the munchkin to worry about. That doesn’t leave much left for us… and I wanted to enjoy having a husband, I wanted you to get used to having me in your life.”

“Are you… are you saying that you don’t want the baby?”

“No, of course not. As you correctly pointed out, we’re pushing the conception envelope already… this might be our last chance.”

“So, what are you saying? Because I’m not worried about losing time with you, Emily. Regardless of how much attention a new baby requires, I’m still gonna have more time with you than I had when you lived in London. We’ll be doing this together, full-time, and I don’t think that I can adequately describe how excited I am about that.”

“We’ll see how exciting you think it is in the third trimester when I’m bloated and cranky and angrier than a deranged badger at you for knocking me up…”

“Perhaps I’ll have to take the time to remind you that in order for the knocking to work, someone else has to answer.”

“Oh yeah, smug condescension is gonna work well against the badger.” Prentiss snorted doubtfully.

“Whatever. You love me. I know that you won’t hurt me. Much.” Reid smiled back at her.

“I do love you.” Her smile curled down and he sensed an emotional swing in action. He supposed that he’d get used to that soon enough.

“Emily, this is great… you have no idea. Today, when I was talking with Izzy about this and I considered how unlikely it was that we’d have another child, the sense of loss I felt was startling. Once, I couldn’t imagine myself as a father or a husband, and you changed that. Today, I didn’t believe that I’d get another chance to be a dad, and look… you went and changed that as well.”

His hand curled around the back of her neck circling into the knots that she probably didn’t even know she had.

“You are the root of my happiness and the source of this improbable life that I find myself in. Don’t worry about finding time for us - it’ll happen, I promise. I won’t let you forget what you mean to me.”

She kissed him again, this time slow and deep enough that he moaned into her. He’d long since moved past the embarrassment of admitting to such a need. She made him insistently want things that he’d never thought about before. It was shocking how her personal gravity affected him. He wasn’t exaggerating when he’d told her how much she’d changed everything… Her fingers tangled in his hair and he let her know how much he enjoyed it. Like dipping her hands in a grain barrel, she seemed to love the tactile slip for its own sake, and he liked when she took out her pleasure on him. She sucked on his lip and then slowly pulled away, breathing a little urgently against his cheek as they separated.

“I’m gonna miss things like that during the midnight feedings and the colic and the times when she just won’t go to sleep.”


“I needed a handy pronoun.”

“Hmmmm.” He breezed the sentiment along her neck and felt her shiver against him. Now he was enjoying taking his pleasure out on her. “Well, we have time before all of that.”

“What are you suggesting, Dr. Mysterious?”

“I’m suggesting that I’d like to take my wife upstairs and enjoy her. After all, she just made my day.”

“Mrs. Mysterious approves this plan.”

She twitched again under his hands and it always sent an absurd flash of testosterone-fueled pride through him that he could move her to excitement with his haphazard attempts at seduction. She was a dream to him. So was Izzy, except every morning he woke up and they were both still there. And in approximately seven months, there’d be another improbable Reid to add to that list. He pulled her in tighter and let his hands roam, as if his body needed confirmation that she was really there. The dream delusion was a persistent one; he needed to disprove it frequently. But it wasn’t going to help them get upstairs any time soon.

“So, if you’re going to have your way with me, I want something in return.”

He smirked and pulled back a little to look at her. Sometimes she dispelled the delusion all on her own. “Are you using sex as a negotiating tool?”


“Manipulation is such a turn on. Please lay out your terms.”

She shot him an evil grin and then slowly pulled herself up his chest until they were eye to eye. “You tell Izzy about the baby.”

“Oh, man,” Reid sighed. “She’s gonna have a million questions about it, and you know that she’s gonna tell everyone everything that she learns. She’ll become a walking, unfiltered Sex Ed. class…”

“That’s why I want you to do it, Doctor. You two speak the same dialect of ‘excited nerd’ and I’m hoping that you can manage her exuberance a bit.”

He kissed her quickly and tried to work his puppy eyes on her. “C’mon, Em… don’t you want to do this together?”

“No way, Jose. I’m baking the bun, you explain the bun. And the oven. And how the bread got in there in the first place.”

“Seems like an exorbitant fee for coitus…” Reid grumbled as Prentiss stood up from the couch and then yanked on his arms until he followed.

“Oh, I’ll make it worth your while,” Prentiss ran her lips along the line of his neck and then gently bit down on his earlobe. “You’ll see.”

He grabbed her by the shoulders, heard her squeal as he turned her, and quickly frog marched her towards the darkened hallway. “Enough with your scheming. I agree to your terms, now get upstairs. All of this haggling is interfering with my stated desire to see you naked.”

Prentiss let out a muffled cheer of victory and emphasized it with raised arms as Reid continued to push her towards the stairs. He’d find a way to get back at her for this… maybe he’d make her explain religion to Izzy when the time came… He shook the idea from his brain and decided to indulge in single-minded focus until exhaustion took him instead. It sounded like a fantastic plan inside his head. Explaining how he and Prentiss were actually going to manufacture a friend for their daughter could wait until morning.


Reid walked into the kitchen and found Prentiss standing obediently with her hands above her waist as Izzy lassoed her midsection with a measuring tape. Izzy’s friend Annalise was perched on a stool at the counter bent over a piece of paper with a pencil. Izzy pinched the measuring tape where it crossed over the other end on Prentiss’s belly and then she lifted the measure towards her mother, squinting.

“What does that say?”

Annalise suddenly noticed Reid and yelled an enthusiastic ‘Hello, Dr. Reid!’ that drowned out Prentiss’s answer. Izzy turned and called out with the same excitement and volume. Reid squinted a little as he smiled and waved at them both.

“Hello, girls. A little loud…”

They both said ‘sorry’ at the same time but the volume wasn’t much diminished. Prentiss rolled her eyes at him as if to say you think I haven’t tried that already? He walked over to where she stood and kissed her, one hand falling onto Izzy’s head at Prentiss’s side. Izzy made a disgusted noise and retreated to where Annalise sat; she still hated kissing, apparently.

“How goes your check-up?” he grinned.

“I can’t believe that this was your solution to managing her excitement about the baby. If I’d known-”

“If you’d known, maybe you’d have thought twice about negotiating with a horny genius in the first place,” he murmured against her cheek and gave her another quick kiss. “You realize that we’re only temporarily mindless, right? When our brains come back online, we can be ruthless.”

“I see that,” she smirked as she pulled away. “But is it necessary to do this weekly?”

“Izzy wanted to do it daily. Didn’t you, Iz?”

Izzy nodded vigorously and then went back to the paper that Annalise was doodling on next to their half-finished breakfasts.

“I told her that overzealous data collection had a paradoxical effect of hiding true findings from the researcher. Weekly measurements would still provide us with an accurate record of growth and probably wouldn’t anger the subject as much. She agreed with my assessment.”

“How magnanimous of her,” Prentiss snorted as she handed him a cup of coffee.

“We’re going to chart the data from your first trimester when I get home from the office tonight.”

“Yeah, she told me.”

“Well, it’s on the schedule, see…”

“You guys made a schedule?

“Of course.” Reid was taken aback. “Data collection dates, synthesis and analysis of said collected data, group meetings to discuss our findings thus far… it’s all plotted out right up to your due date. The calendar’s in my study if you want to see it…”

Prentiss sighed loudly and then knocked her head against Reid’s. “I should’ve known better than to ask an excited Dad to work on an excited Daughter.”

“Yes, you should have,” he whispered, his expression suddenly melting into earnestness. “I needed something to keep me occupied until the baby arrives. It would’ve been much worse the first time around… if I had been there… At least this time, I have a buddy to share the excitement with.”

Reid turned to look at Izzy picking soggy Cheerios out of her breakfast bowl while talking with her friend. But when Prentiss spoke, his gaze was drawn back to her.

“You don’t have just one excited buddy, you know. I’m just less enthusiastic about being constantly measured.”

“But, Em… it’s for science.”

She rolled her eyes at him again and pushed him away gently. “Go and be elsewhere, you ridiculous man. I have to bundle these rugrats off to school before my morning meeting at State.”

“What’s a ‘rugrat’?” Izzy called out.

“You are,” Prentiss answered without hesitation as she poured her own coffee into a travel mug.

“I can take them,” Reid offered.


“Yeah, we don’t have a case meeting this morning - I could be a little late. Besides, it’ll give us ‘scientists’ a chance to discuss the methodology for tonight’s session in the car…”

“Ridiculous,” she repeated as she leaned in to kiss his cheek and quickly run her fingers through his hair. He sighed as she brushed past him and collected her things for the day.

“Okay, rugrats, you’re with the Doctor today,” Prentiss called over her shoulder from the kitchen doorway. “As the subject of your experiment, I expect a detailed report on my progress tonight after dinner, okay? Put it on the schedule.”

“Okay, Mommy.” Izzy lit up.

“Okay, Mommy.” Reid repeated with happiness of his own.

“What about me, Mrs. Reid?” Annalise had trouble landing on what to call Prentiss. Reid suspected that Annalise’s mother had suggested ‘Mrs. Reid’.

“Well, you’re going to help draw the charts, right?”

Annalise nodded.

“I won’t be able to understand what these two are saying without those. You’ll be contributing even if you have to go home for dinner.”

Prentiss winked and Annalise brightened. Reid sensed that his daughter’s friend might be a bit of a lonely kid as well. They seemed to be collecting them.

“All right, girls, let’s get a move on,” Reid clapped his hands as the kids scrambled from their stools. “Time is relative and yet it will not wait for you…”

Both Izzy and Annalise looked at him and said ‘what?’ in unison but he hustled them into the hallway asking about lunch packs and book bags and various items of clothing as he went. He smiled as he heard Prentiss yell ‘ridiculous!’ at him one last time before she disappeared through the front door and out into the D.C. sunshine.