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09 March 2013 @ 06:13 pm
Fic Post: How Can We Make Love if We Can't Make Amends?  
Title: How Can We Make Love if We Can't Make Amends?
Author: Montiese
Category: Drama/Humor/Friendship
Characters: Erin Strauss, David Rossi
Rating: TEEN
Summary: “How come we always end up talking about my fiancée?”
Author’s Note: This is #4 in The Heart of the Matter series. The title comes from the Michael Bolton song, How Can We Be Lovers.


The elevator door opened on the sixth floor and Dave Rossi walked on. Erin Strauss looked at him for a moment before looking straight ahead. He cleared his throat, glancing at her as the door closed. The whole car was filled with the scent of her. It made Dave dizzy but he stood ramrod straight. She wasn’t going to get to him tonight.

“Would you like…?”

“I was wondering how…”

There was an awkward moment when they spoke at the same time. Neither had planned to say a thing. Dave looked at Erin, deferring to her. She gave a small smile but couldn’t quite look into his eyes.

“How are you?” she asked. “I know you were in Indianapolis recently.”

“I'm fine.”

“Were you going to say something?”

“Would you like to have a drink with me?” Dave knew he was asking a lot. To say that he and Erin Strauss were standing on a tinderbox ready to explode since his return to the BAU was an understatement.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. I'm sure your teammates…”

“I'm just having a rough time right now. My teammates mean well, and they're good people but…I need to be with someone tonight who knows me. For better or for worse, I need that.”

Erin wanted to shout that she didn’t care what he needed but that wasn’t really the truth. She didn’t hate him as much as she said or wanted to. When their relationship went bust, twice, both played roles in its demise. Rossi wasn’t the devil and Erin was no angel. She was likely going to have drinks tonight anyway. Why not let someone else pay for them?

“Do you remember The Cherry Bomb?” she asked.

“It was one of the best dive bars in DC.” Dave nodded. “It’s hard to forget.”

“Meet me there in an hour.”

The elevator door opened and Erin walked off. She stopped and turned when she heard her name.

“You're not going to stand me up, are you?” he asked.

“I'm not going to turn down a free drink.”

Without saying anything else, Erin kept walking. The sound of her heels across the floor made Rossi smile. There was something about that woman. There were a lot of things about her actually. It was just a drink; he didn’t need to get too far ahead of himself.

But since Dave never thought it would happen there was nothing wrong with taking a moment or two to be smug about it. OK, the moment was over. He needed to get in his car and head to DC. It shouldn’t take an hour to get there but I-95 was always unpredictable. He didn’t want to keep Erin waiting.

***


“How does it feel?” she asked.

Erin picked up one of the potato skins, which had too much cheese and too much bacon. She put it on her plate, picking up her knife and fork. It didn’t matter to her that Dave looked at her like she had three heads. She hated eating with her hands. There were foods that required it, like pizza, French fries, and Buffalo wings, none which she ate much of. She planned to enjoy these skins; knife, fork, and all.

“How does what feel?” he sipped a Samuel Adams.

Dave decided not to get scotch tonight. The Cherry Bomb always had Glenfiddich but beer would be better. That way he could have a few and still be able to drive. He could also drive, even though he shouldn’t, with a good glass of scotch in him. Still, Dave wanted to drink tonight. He just wanted to cloud his judgment a bit.

“You finally solved that case, David. It’s been haunting you for years.”

“I wouldn’t say it was haunting me.”

“Really?” she raised her eyebrow.

“Some cases we just can't let go of.” He said.

“Some things we just can't let go of.” Erin replied.

They were quiet for a while, eating and drinking. Erin kept glancing at Dave but she didn’t quite know what to say. She’d made the decision to go with him for a reason, even if she didn’t know what the reason was. Erin just had to make sure she didn’t let the anger bubble to the surface. All these years later all it took was a spark and she could turn into a raging inferno. She would put all of her focus on having a nice time tonight.

“You changed your clothes.” Dave said.

“My outfit didn’t quite say Cherry Bomb.” She smiled. The jeans and white blouse was more comfortable than her Strauss outfit. Erin always kept clothes in her car and she actually used them tonight. tinted windows and big back seats were a beautiful thing.

“Well I like it.”

“Thank you. Are you alright, David?”

“I want to be. I...we did something good. We solved a case. But does it ever bring closure? Will those kids, who aren’t even kids anymore, ever have peace? Their lives were destroyed and having someone in prison now isn’t going to change that. They’re never going to be the same again. I won't be either.”

“I'm sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry.” He shook his head. “There's a darkness to it but one thing I know for sure is that the person who tore apart one family will never tear apart another. And that’s why I do what I do.”

“Yeah.” Erin pulled her cell phone from her hip when it buzzed. She had a text message. Clicking open the envelope, she smiled when she saw it was from Jack.

Are you having a good night?’ –Jack

What are you doing up so late?’ –Erin

You better not be at work.’ –Jack

“Is that Jack?” Dave asked. He was drinking his beer and eating potato skins.

“It’s…Mary Kate.” Erin replied.

“Your 15 year old daughter is texting you?”

“Don’t say it likes it so insane. She does that sometimes.”

“If it’s Jack, it’s OK to say its Jack. He's your fiancée; he can text you if he wants.”

Erin didn’t respond as she went back to typing on her phone. She loved her new keyboard that she could just slide to open. It made it so much easier to send texts back and forth. Good thing since it had become a central mode of communication in her relationship.

I'm not at work. I'm having drinks with friends. Then I'm going home for a shower and bed. What are you doing up at this hour?’ –Erin

It’s barely 2am here. It was a long day and long night. I just wanted to tell you that I love you.’ –Jack

I miss you.’ –Erin

I’ll be home soon. I'm glad you're not at Quantico. You need to have your nights to yourself.’ –Jack

I’d rather be with you. Get some sleep Jack.’ –Erin

I’ll call you sometime tomorrow. I love you.’ –Jack

I love you too. Bye.’ –Erin

She put her cell phone back on her hip and picked up her beer. Dave was looking at her, which made her slightly uncomfortable.

“What?” she asked.

“I don't know; nothing.”

“Stop staring at me.”

“That’s difficult.” He said.

“Oh please.” Erin rolled her eyes. “Don’t do that David. So far tonight has been nice.”

“I should probably be asking if you're alright. I know Jack left the country for work.”

“Word travels fast.” She murmured.

“It always has in this town. Are you alright?”

“I'm fine. He's doing good things and even though those things take him 3000 miles away, I completely support him.”

“He's a good guy.”

“How come we always end up talking about my fiancée?” Erin asked.

“Actually you usually avoid talking about your fiancée.” Dave replied. “I meant it before when I said I wanted you to be happy. You said Jack makes you happy. I don’t mind talking about that. It’s surely better than serial killers and bitterness.”

“Are you seeing anyone, David?”

“The BAU is my girlfriend at the moment. She treats me better than some women I know. Do you want another beer?”

“Yes.” Erin nodded. It had been a long day and Erin wanted to exhale. Despite all of her problems with David Rossi, real and imagined, this was better than drinking alone. She hardly wanted to admit that she’d been lonely since Jack left town.

He wasn’t just her fiancée, they’d become such good friends. Good friends were something Erin didn’t make many of over the years. She didn’t believe David would ever be one. But she could fill the void tonight. “Let’s talk about something that’s not the BAU, not my fiancée, and not our past. Do you have any ideas?”

“We can debate the Top 5 Meryl Streep films.” He replied.

“Oh David, we’re going to get into a fight.”

“Probably, but I know it'll be a good one. C'mon…I know you want to. I can see it in your eyes; you want to so badly.”

“Shut up.” Erin said, taking her beer from the barmaid when she walked over to the table. She also put another potato skin on her plate. They were even better than she remembered. “Kramer vs. Kramer always has to be first. I want to say Silkwood, I do, but I just can't.”

“The whole thing is like Sophie’s Choice.” Dave smirked.

“This is a serious conversation, David. Don’t make jokes.”

“Yes ma'am.” He nodded.

***


Death Becomes Her?”

“What, I stand by my choice.”

“Oh c'mon David,” she groaned. “Death Becomes Her? You can't be serious; you're trying to upset me.”

“I am not.” Dave smiled when Erin slipped her arm in his. He was having a wonderful conversation while debating in his mind whether she should drive home. “It’s a good movie. Sometimes you just have to laugh. It makes me laugh.”

“But we’re talking about Meryl Streep. She has a 40 year career, more than 40 films, and more Academy and Golden Globe award nominations and wins than any other actor in history. You chose Death Becomes Her!”

“Yes I did.” Her astonishment made Dave laugh. That’s exactly why he wanted to have this conversation. There weren't too many subjects that could keep people going non-stop for two hours without going at each other’s throats. Erin did threaten to strangle him a few times. That, however, was par for the course where they were concerned.

“I swear you like to be difficult on purpose.” She shook her head and rolled her eyes.

“I have my moments. Where are you parked? I do love walking with you but I have no idea where we’re going.”

“I don’t think I know where I'm going either.” Erin stopped walking.

She looked around for a moment. It was dark and late but there a good amount of people on the street. The bar was on the outskirts of the American University neighborhood. A police presence was felt at all times. Dave still had his radar up. An area like this was prime pickings for robbers.

“I think I'm parked two blocks up. There wasn’t a lot of good parking when I drove up. I remember walking.”

“I know where I'm parked.” Dave said. “I’ll take you home.”

“David…”

“I’d prefer if you don’t argue with me.”

“I'm not going to leave my car here.” Erin reasoned. “How will I get to work in the morning?”

“You’re driving a company car. Someone can come and pick it up in the morning. Hell, I’ll come and pick it up in the morning. I don’t want to fight.”

“No, you just want me to do what you say. Forgive my shock and surprise, David.”

“Apology accepted.” He said.

“Fuck you.” Erin punched him in the arm. “I’ll find my own car; I don’t need your help.”

“Why do you have to make every damn thing so difficult? Is this something you do to everyone or just me?”

“You really want to know what I think of you, don’t you? You’re dying to know what's going on inside my head. You just have to profile me like you do everyone else. Well I'm not one of your Unsubs or one of your wives or one of your whores.”

“No, you're the woman who loved me once and now hates my guts.”

“Don’t pretend the feeling isn’t mutual.” She crossed her arms.

“I don’t hate you Erin. I could never hate you.”

“You treat me like shit.”

“I react to your actions.” Dave said.

“Oh, way to play the victim. Bravo Rossi.”

“I wish to God I knew why every conversation we have ends up like this.”

“I need to go home.”

“Please let me take you.”

She looked at him for a moment. There was something in her eyes that Dave couldn’t quite put his finger on. Standing out here for much longer was just going to draw attention to the situation. He held out his hand, probably the wrong thing to do. He did it anyway. Erin didn’t take it.

“Fine, OK.” she said. “Please take me home.”

Dave nodded and turned to walk in the other direction. Erin followed and soon he was moving around so that she would be on the inside. Another crisis averted by the slimmest of margins. That wasn’t the way he wanted the night to end when he invited her out for a drink. Dave wasn’t quite sure how it would but arguing in the street definitely wasn’t in his plan.

“I think I ruined my buzz.” Erin mumbled.

“I might be able to help you get a little excitement back.”

“How do you think you can do that?”

“Three words Erin Strauss…Death Becomes Her.”

“I cannot believe you actually put that in your Top 5. This is the woman who made Sophie’s Choice, The Bridges of Madison County, and Silkwood. It just makes no sense. It makes absolutely no sense.” She put her hands on her face and shook her head. “Never in my life have I been more baffled by you than at this moment.”

***


“Thank you for the ride.” Erin said as they pulled up her driveway. She took off her seatbelt.

“Thanks for saying yes to the drink.”

“It was Jack who texted me earlier. I don’t know why I lied I just…”

“I knew who it was.” Dave said. “You don’t have to explain.”

“Maybe I do.”

“No,” he shook his head. “You don’t.”

“We can't be friends, David. Maybe somewhere down deep I think it might be nice but so much has happened. There's been too much hurt and vitriol. It’s never going to work. And every time I'm around you I get angry and I don’t want to be angry. I moved on. I feel like when I'm with you I'm falling back.”

“I don’t want you to feel that way. I'm sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize. We all have our Achilles heels; I guess you're mine. But we can't be friends.”

“I wish it could be different.”

“It can't be.”

“Have a good night Erin…and I won't bother you anymore.”

“Goodnight.”

She got out of the car and went into the house. Erin stood leaning against the front door for a long time. Everything had been fine until David Rossi walked into her office. Her job was good, home life was good, and everything with Jack was wonderful. Now she felt as if she was falling through space.

Jack was off in The Netherlands and she needed him home. But it wasn’t as if she could tell him what she was thinking about Dave. Erin didn’t even know what she was thinking. He wasn’t going to go away. She had to find some even ground to stand on before the whole thing swallowed her whole.

***

 
 
Where am I?: the lair
Feelings: hungryhungry
Background Noise: silence