They were silent for a few minutes as they both put some food on their plates. It was comfortable, and yet awkward. JJ thought that Spence had been right earlier when he said he was just so used to suppressing how he actually wanted to act towards her, that the freedom to do it will take some time to get used to. But she’d take this awkwardness over what they had before this any day.
As she tore a piece of naan, she remembered she had a phone call to make.
“Do you mind if I call the lawyer after lunch? I was thinking of going straight from here to picking the boys up, and I don’t really want them to overhear that particular conversation.”
“Of course not. Take all the time you need.” Spence smiled at her. “You know you don’t need to hang around here that long though - I totally understand if you’ve got things to do.”
“Bored of me already?” She knew he was giving her an out. She didn’t want an out. She never wanted an out.
“No! I just... I don’t want you sticking around if it’s because you’ll feel bad that I’m going to be alone. That’s all.”
“I’m sticking around because I love you.”
“I just don’t want pity to factor into your decision.”
“Spence... It’s not pity. It physically pains me to know that you’re here on the weekend, probably dealing with some pretty tough things with your mum, and that I can’t be here to be a source of comfort for you. If anything I feel like I’m letting you down. Maybe if my life wasn’t so complicated, I’d have the ability to be a better partner, right?”
“What? That’s ridiculous! I know you’d be here if you could!”
JJ was looking at him pointedly.
“Oh. You’re a tricky one, Jennifer Jareau. You sure you’re not a genius?”
“I can’t rival your knowledge about everything else, but when it comes to you, I’m pretty sure I’m a genius.”
Spencer blushed. He had always known that JJ knew him better than anyone. Even before the declaration of love.
“I like to think I’m an expert on you too. But I think I need more time.”
“Well, I just always went to you. And I know there were times when you were struggling that you went home and unloaded onto Will and sought comfort from him. Which is fine, it’s what you should have done - I’m just saying I have some catching up to do.”
“You know, there were also a lot of things that you helped me with that he didn’t. All the times you saved my life? When you knew I was struggling a year after my abduction? Yes, I went and found comfort in Will while we were married. But you? You always just knew. And you had a way of dragging things out of me. So you’re more of an expert on me than you’re giving yourself credit for.”
JJ reached for his hand and smiled at him.
“Are you going to visit your mum?”
“Yeah. I’m basically there from breakfast on Saturday to dinner on Sunday.”
“That’s great, Spence.”
“For now. While she still remembers.”
“Have you given some thought about whether you’re going to tell her about us?”
“Why? Do you not want me to?”
“It’s your decision.”
“Ok. But do you not want me to?”
“The opposite actually. I’d love for you to tell her. I just think if you do it’s something that should be done sooner rather than later.” She hated reminding him that his time with his mum was running out.
“I know. Maybe if we get a local case you could come by and see her on a weekday evening? That might help.”
“I’d love that Spence. You know how I feel about her.”
“I know. The logical part of my mind says she’ll never see me get married, but the hopeful part is saying I thought a life with you was impossible, so why not a breakthrough with mum?”
“You cant give up hoping, Spence.”
“Oh, believe me. You’ve taught me that lesson.”
JJ laughed. “Well. You’re very welcome.”
They must have been hungrier than they thought, because they had already nearly cleaned off their plates.
“Why don’t you call the lawyer, and I’ll just clean up these dishes? Feel free to use my bedroom.”
“You sure? I don’t mind helping.”
“Don’t be silly. You’re my guest.” He shooed her away.
She gave him a quick kiss as she walked past him into his bedroom. It smelled of him. He wasn’t really a cologne kind of guy, which she loved, because Will always had cologne on him. Spence just smelled like... Spence. Like home. Something familiar. And comforting. She understood the overwhelming feeling he described earlier. She imagined being in his shoes, with everything that he had been through... Not just in the past three years, but in his entire life... She had always been protective of him. But now that she knew she was what made him feel safe? She didn’t need flowers or fancy dates to know she mattered to him. There was nothing she wanted more than to make Spence feel safe.
She pulled out her cellphone and dialled the number Rossi had sent her. She had about an hour before she had to leave to get the boys, so she was hoping this call wouldn’t take too long.
Reid had meant it when he said the dishes wouldn’t take long. He wasn’t sure what to do while waiting for JJ to finish with her call. He didn’t want to go into his bedroom - he didn’t think she would mind, but he wanted to give her the opportunity to tell him what she had found out. And if she didn’t want to tell him, that would be fine too. He thought back to how scared he was that they would move too quickly, and evaluated whether he felt they had done so. But what could he compare the outcome too? He didn’t know of anyone else who had finally gotten together after 13 years of loving each other. Who had been by each other’s sides the entire time. This was uncharted territory. He wasn’t uncomfortable with anything they had done thus far, and JJ didn’t seem like she was either. Which was obviously a good sign. It did pain him to think about how little time they could actually spend together for the time being, even though they would physically be together on weekdays. It was a strange situation.
He thought back to the conversations they had earlier. He knew JJ had accommodation sorted for the next 8 months. He was glad about that. He also knew those 8 months were going to fly by. He wanted to be prepared for what could come next. He didn’t want to propose to JJ just so his mum could be at their wedding, but he also really wanted his mum at their wedding. The conversation about kids... Spence meant every word of it. It wasn’t a decision he would make without a proper discussion with JJ and the boys. He also knew JJ was right about childcare. Huge looming decisions. He was surprised that he wasn’t as anxious about them, but quickly figured out why. These dilemmas meant that he actually had a future with JJ. And the elation from that trumped everything else right now.
He heard JJ step out of his bedroom and looked up at her. She looked tired. He smiled at her as he watched her walk over to the couch, but surprised him when she flopped onto his lap.
“Sorry. Is this ok?”
He kissed her nose, just to see it scrunch up. “More than. How was the call?”
JJ sighed. “It’s going to take 7-9 months in total, and that’s if everything goes smoothly.”
“That’s not too bad.”
“It isn’t, but what I’m worried about is that we can only actually file the papers after we’ve been separated for 6 months.”
“And I’m scared that Will is going to do something in that time that will just mess things up, and make it go from straight forward and uncontested to complicated and a court battle.”
“You really think he’d put the boys through that?” Spence had one arm draped across her thighs, with the other behind her back, tracing circles on her back.
“I’d like to think not, but I really don’t know. Isn’t that sad? We’ve been together 13 years and I have no clue how this is going to play out.”
“What did the lawyer suggest?”
“She said to take it easy for the next few weeks and see how Will acts. Right now he might just be reeling and playing up because it’s all so fresh. If he seems calmer, to try to sort most of it out amongst ourselves. She’ll help with the paperwork. But if it’s more of the same, she’ll step in and do her best to get everything arranged.”
“Did she have any suggestions about the times you’re local?”
“Yes and no. She said if we’re amicable it’s obviously easier - and if we agree to 50/50 custody then it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“If it’s not amicable it’s going to be hard to convince a judge to allow me to have the kids for extra days, particular because it would be last minute, but also if the kids come for a day, then we get a case and have to leave...”
“So we need to keep things amicable.”
They both were silent for a few minutes, gathering their thoughts. Spencer spoke first.
“I imagine it’s probably best for me to stay away from the boys until the divorce is finalised?”
JJ could see that Spence was trying not to react, trying to stay strong. She thought of Spence here alone on the weekends for 7 months. It broke her heart.
“I don’t know, Spence. I think it’s a definite yes for the time being. And I’m so sorry. I know how much you love the boys. I hate that you’re somehow being made out to be a villain.”
“Well, I broke up your marriage.” He shrugged.
“I did that. You never wanted me to leave Will.”
“I guess I should have tried a little harder to be less desirable to you.”
JJ laughed. “That’s impossible, trust me.”
Spencer kissed her forehead as she snuggled into his chest. “I’ll be ok. What’s 7 months in the grand scheme of the rest of our lives?”
“Have you always been this... touchy feely? I mean with... other girls.”
She felt him loosen his arms a little.
“Why? Do you not like it?”
“No! No, it’s not that. Honestly. I guess I just never expected it? To be fair I’ve never really seen you with a partner. I’m just curious whether this is something you’re putting on for my benefit - I do enjoy it, don’t get me wrong. I just want you to be yourself though.”
“I... I’m not uncomfortable. I’m enjoying this. All of it. My struggle, which we’ve discussed, is more that I don’t know if what I’m doing is suitable for where we’re at. Because we’ve technically been together a week? If that? I wouldn’t be doing any of this with someone I’d only been dating that long.”
“So you are quite tactile in a relationship?”
“The only other relationship I’ve had that was this intense, was Maeve. And I never got the opportunity to...”
“I’m sorry. We don’t need to talk about it.”
“No, it’s fine. I’ve worked through it. You know that. But yes, physical touch comes naturally to me when I love someone.”
“Yeah?” He smiled down at her.
“How long do we have?” Spence wasn’t sure what time JJ had to leave.
“Why? How long do we need?” JJ had the cheekiest smile on her face.
Spencer chuckled. “Behave yourself.”
“I have about 45 minutes. Why?”
“You look tired.”
“Oh, gee, thanks.” She knew he hadn’t meant it derisively, but she couldn’t help herself. She thought he’d just get defensive. She didn’t expect him to pull her closer and kiss her as deeply as he was now.
“You. Are. The. Most. Beautiful. Woman. I. Have. Ever. Seen.” He punctuated each word with a kiss.
He leaned his forehead against hers. “I just don’t want you driving while tired, and you should be refreshed before seeing the boys. Come on.” Spencer patted her thigh so she stood up, allowing him to stretch out on his couch. He stretched out an arm and she got the idea and climbed on next to him, Spencer pulling her close to his chest. “Sleep. I’ll make sure you’re up in time so you’re not late for the boys.”
“You gonna cop a feel again?” JJ could already feel sleep about to overcome her.
“You make one mistake...” And that was the last thing JJ remembered him saying before she fell asleep to the sound of Spence’s soft chuckles.
For 40 minutes, Spencer Reid was frozen in place. There was no way he was going to fall asleep. He could sleep all weekend once she left. He wasn’t going to miss this opportunity. He held JJ in his arms, felt her deep breaths close to his own chest, and watched her eyelids fluttered as she went through her sleep cycle. She’d get through one before he had to wake her up, and he was hoping he’d predicted the sweet spot enough so that she felt refreshed when she woke up. He wanted to kick himself for not thinking of putting the timer on the coffee machine so she could have one cup before she left.
In the car, JJ had said she would give him all the moments she could. There was no denying it now, they were in a relationship. He wanted to scream it out from the rooftops, but at the same time he wanted to stay in this bubble where it was just the two of them. He was worried about what people might think about them, but more so JJ. The timing of everything didn’t reflect well on them, and the assumption would be that they had been having an affair. He knew that was something JJ would struggle with in particular, since she was the married one. He really hoped Emily would have good suggestions for how they’d deal with this when they spoke to her.
“Jennifer?” He tucked her hair behind her ear and kissed her forehead. “It’s time to wake up now.”
He watched her, as her brain slowly came to full consciousness, and he was met with the most beautiful blue eyes as she opened them. He knew right then that this was what he wanted to wake up to the rest of his life.
“Already?” Her voice still had that slur of sleepiness.
“Unfortunately. Listen, you’re probably going to need the bathroom - why don’t you go ahead and do that and I’ll make you some coffee to have on the drive?”
She nodded, and got up slowly before stretching, and trudging off to the bathroom.
He put a pot of coffee on, and stood there while it was brewing, tapping his fingers on the countertop. He could hear JJ in his bathroom, and smiled at her as she emerged from his bedroom. She came up behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist.
“That smells amazing. Thank you for convincing me to nap. I really needed it.”
“Glad to be of assistance.” He smiled to himself. JJ didn’t let go.
“Sorry. Guess I needed some moments too.” She kissed his back, and went to get her things by the door as Spencer filled up his reusable coffee tumbler.
JJ reached for it, but he kept it away from her while picking up her go bag. “I’m walking you to your car.”
She smiled, but said nothing. He didn’t have a free hand so he walked ahead after making sure he had his keys, and led JJ to where her car was parked. He put her go bag in the front passenger seat, and leaned over to put the coffee in the cup holder. He turned around to face JJ.
“I’ll see you on Monday morning?” He saw a quick nod before she was in his arms.
“Can I call you tonight?” Her voice was muffled.
“Of course you can. But don’t worry about it if you’re too busy, ok? Text me when you get to Rossi’s so I know you guys got there safe.”
“I will. I love you.”
He leaned down to give her a slow lingering kiss. “I love you too. Now go have a good weekend with your boys.”
She gave him one last squeeze before she climbed into the drivers seat, waving as she pulled out of the parking space and drove off. Spencer stood there until he couldn’t see her car anymore. He walked back to his apartment slowly, missing her already but absolutely buzzing from everything that had happened in the last few hours.