Author's Note: You thought you could escape me, huh? ;) Well, not so fast - I'm back with yet another epic, a lighter and funnier one at that, featuring none other than Sean Hotchner! I've had this idea in my head for so long, and it finally just came out...so I sincerely hope you enjoy it. As always, thank you so much for reading! Feedback would be much appreciated.
Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds or any of its characters.
- 1998 -
"I hate you."
Holding his phone to his ear with one hand as he toweled down a table with his other, Sean Hotchner smirked. "Hello to you, too, big brother. I take it the date didn't go well?"
Aaron Hotchner – nicknamed Hotch by his fellow agents – scowled at the phone, watching, out of the corner of his eye, as the ditzy blonde he had previously been dining with hurried away. Away from him. "That's an understatement," Hotch said flatly.
Sean clucked. "What happened this time?"
"Same as the last; I told her I worked for the FBI and she freaked out."
"Oh, no. Tell me she didn't pull the whole 'oh my God, you own a gun and know how to use it?' thing," Sean grimaced.
"No, she did," Hotch confirmed. "She took it a step further by asking me if I have to kill people and if I ever had. Of course, I told her I did –"
"Aaron, do you ever listen to me? How many times have I told you to never talk about being in the FBI?" Sean rolled his eyes. "Really, how hard would it be to say you're a banker?"
"Oh, yeah, because lying is the best way to start a relationship, right?" Hotch countered, leaving a couple bills – enough to cover dinner and a fairly large tip – on the table and walking to his car. "Tell me why you've appointed yourself as my personal matchmaker again?" he droned.
"Because your job is absurdly time-consuming and leaves you with no social life whatsoever, but you still are in need of a lady friend," Sean rattled off expertly. After all, it wasn't the first time he had had to explain.
"Well, you're fired," Hotch said, sitting in his car and closing his eyes in exhaustion.
"Hey, hey," Sean objected immediately. "Not yet, okay? Give me one more chance."
"Sean, I've given you 'one more chance' three times now," Hotch pointed out. "Thank you for your help, but it's getting me nowhere."
Sean sighed. "Seriously, Aaron. I know this girl –"
"Her name is Emily. She's a brunette, twenty-seven years old, absolutely gorgeous…like supermodel gorgeous," Sean persisted. "She's got a great sense of humor, albeit a dry one, like yours. And she's sweet. And gorgeous. Hell, I'd date her –"
"Then why aren't you?" Hotch asked warily.
Sean glanced behind him as he heard the telltale sound of quiet, female laughter. "She turned me down because I'm quote unquote, 'a caricature'," he recounted.
Hotch couldn't help it; he laughed. "I like her already."
This time, it was Sean's turn to scowl. "You're funny, Aaron," he said, his voice thick with sarcasm. "So, you want to meet her?"
Hotch bit his lip in contemplation. "I'm not so sure…"
Sean huffed. "One more chance, man. That's all I'm asking for. One chance to redeem myself."
Hotch was silent.
"I know you'll like her. She's a different class of woman, Aaron."
Finally, Hotch sighed. "Fine," he relented. "One more chance."
Sean grinned. Victory. "Great! Why don't you drive on out to my restaurant? She'd like to meet you."
Hotch's eyebrows rose to his hairline. "You work with her?" he barked into his phone.
But Sean had already hung up.
When Hotch pulled up to Sean's restaurant, however, he saw that it was empty; aside from his, only one car – and Sean's beaten down Harley – was parked in the lot. Striding toward the front cautiously, he was about to raise a hand to knock on the locked door when it swung open.
"Sorry, we're closed," a slender brunette said, peering at him as she leaned against the doorframe.
Hotch practically did a double-take as he looked at her. She's gorgeous…like supermodel gorgeous. Sean's words from earlier echoed in his ears.
Was this the brunette Sean had recommended on the phone?
Hotch shook his head idly. "Could I talk to Sean?" he asked. "Please?"
"Sean?" she echoed, her expressive brown eyes narrowing ever so slightly. "I think he's in the back…"
"Aaron!" Having overheard their conversation, Sean emerged, a wide grin on his face. Bringing Hotch in for a hug, he clapped him on the back. "It's good to see you, man. Come in, come in," he beckoned.
"Thanks," Hotch said to both Sean and the brunette, a handsome smile hinting at his lips.
Sean was sitting him down when he caught sight of the brunette relocking the front door. "Oh, wow, where are my manners?" he said suddenly, pulling Hotch up to stand again. "Emily," he called, smiling when she raised an eyebrow and walked over, "this is my brother, Aaron. Aaron," he said in turn, "meet Emily Prentiss."
Hotch actually felt a spark run through their fingers when Emily extended her hand to shake his. "You're Sean's brother," she said conversationally, biting the corner of her lip then licking it absentmindedly. "I would never have guessed. Pleased to meet you."
Hotch's smile was full-blown now, dimples and all. "The pleasure's mine," he said in return, otherwise speechless as Emily shot him a pretty smile of her own, coupled with an almost shy laugh.
Taking in her dark, sparkling eyes and her sheer charm, Hotch knew that what he had told Sean on the phone had been absolutely correct.
He liked Emily already.
Author's Note: Thank you sincerely for taking the time to read. If you have the time, please leave a review; short or long, signed or anonymous, they always make my day, and they are the best motivation and inspiration for me! :) Stay tuned for the next chapter!