The Fall Chapter 3
Home of Dave and Fran Rossi –
Dave had decided to stay home this morning and he was glad he did. His wife had been struggling and with every passing day, week and month he watched her helplessly slip further into despair. She continued to apologize to him for not being able to move past the fact that her only son had disappeared into thin air. Dave continued to assure her that she had nothing to apologize for. Still, Fran had fallen into the habit of crying uncontrollably during those times when she thought she was alone. Today was no different. Dave had offered to run out for breakfast and when he returned Fran was sitting alone in their bedroom, thumbing through a photo album. She’d paused on a picture of Derek and his sisters. Judging by the picture, Derek looked to be about thirteen. Flanked on each side by his sisters, the smile on the young boy’s face didn’t seem to match the sadness in his eyes.
“That’s not going to bring him back Bella.”
Fran slowly ran her fingers across the picture before closing the album and turning to face her husband.
“I miss him. I miss him so much, Dave.”
“I know you do. I miss him too, we all do.”
“It doesn’t make sense. It’s been six months and still…”
Dave rushed to her side and sat next to her on the bed. He had no answers and no words to explain what was happening. So, he pulled her close and wrapped her in his arms and rocked her until her tears calmed to a mere whimper.
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing, Dave. Should I be making funeral arrangements or hoping one day he’ll walk through the door?”
“You keep living, Bella! You hold onto your faith. I’m making you a promise, it’s the same promise I made you six months ago. I won’t stop looking for Derek until I bring him home. None of us will!”
“But what about the bureau’s orders?”
“Damn the bureau’s orders! I’m bringing Derek home…or die trying!”
Atlanta – City Hall – Office of the Mayor –
“Your portfolio is quite impressive especially since you’ve only been here for six months.”
“Thank you, Sir. I know we’re a small operation but we pride ourselves in doing exceptional work.”
The Mayor continued to thumb through Darren’s portfolio. Soon the older man closed the folder and smiled across his desk.
“You know I’ve known your wife since she was a little girl.”
“So she told me.”
“She and my daughter were best friends in high school.”
“I say that because I need to let you know that I can’t show any favoritism when making my recommendation to the planning commission.”
“I’ll be honest with you, Darren. This is a billion dollar contract and the contractor that wins will be a wealthy man when it’s all said and done.”
“Frankly, you’re too small to handle the entire contract but I like your work. I like it a lot.”
“Thank you, Sir and I really appreciate you taking the time to see me.”
Darren stood and extended his hand to the Mayor. In spite of the fact that he wasn’t in the running for the contract he got a good vibe from the man who had run the city for the last five years. He was a good man and he’d made Darren feel comfortable.
Mayor Thompson shook Darren’s hand and handed him the portfolio back. Just as Darren reached the door the Mayor stopped him.
“Are you by any chance the person doing the work on the old Potter mansion?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Amazing work! My wife has been asking me to renovate our home for almost eight years now. I think she’s about ready to make me sleep in the doghouse. Would you be willing to take a look?”
“I’d be honored!”
Mayor Thompson couldn’t help but notice the light in the younger man’s eyes suddenly.
“Really! It’s just one thing.”
“I don’t renovate, I restore.”
BAU Headquarters – 12 Years Ago –
Reid shrugged his shoulders not that his friend noticed, Derek was back to eyeing his next conquest. Reid shook his head in disbelief as Morgan stared at the curvaceous blonde with her arms filled with files. For a moment he thought his best friend was drooling. Reid smirked he’d finally found a chance to get back at Derek for all the pranks and teasing he’d put him through over the last few months. He knew the woman’s name was not Gomez but he wanted to see the over-confident playboy talk his way out of this one.
Determined and focused she ignored him assuming he was talking to someone else.
Slowly she turned and looked him square in the eyes. Reid felt his heart leap as victory loomed overhead.
Then Reid saw it…that look. It was a look that the young genius had seen a hundred times since joining the BAU. She smiled ever so subtly as she eyed him up and down more than willing to brush off and excuse his despicable behavior.
“Baby Girl?” Reid muttered to himself. “Really? It’s that easy? I give up.”
“I-I didn’t know…”
“No worries, I’ve been called worse.”
Reid sat alone at his desk holding the picture of Derek and himself at Derek and Penelope’s wedding. He still couldn’t believe that he’d been chosen as best man.
Morgan rushed past him mussing his hair and chuckling like an overgrown brat. The two were the first to arrive in the conference room. They were headed out on a case but since the two of them lived the closest to work they usually arrived before the others.
“Does that ever get old?”
Irritated Reid brushed his hair out of his face.
Then he noticed Morgan turn serious.
“I was wondering…”
“I was wondering if you would be my best man.”
“Why? Did Hotch and Rossi turn you down?”
“No. I didn’t ask Hotch or Rossi. I’m asking you Reid. Will you be my best man?”
Reid felt his face turning a bright crimson as he fought to keep his composure.”
“S-Sure…I’ll be your best man.”
Morgan was puzzled. He saw the questions in his friend’s face. He loved and respected Hotch and Rossi but Spencer had always been the choice. He’d felt a connection and a responsibility when it came to their youngest team member and he was his brother that went beyond parentage, beyond blood.
“Reid, what’s going on? If you don’t want to be my best man, just tell me…”
“NO, no…” He began. “I’ll do it! I want to do it! Yes! I’d be honored.”
Morgan exhaled in relief.
“Thank you, man.”
“Morgan?” He said softly. “Why me?”
“Because I love you.”
Atlanta, GA – Home of Darren and Savannah Matthews – Evening –
“I can’t believe it! You walked out of that meeting with nothing but a small time renovation job? Really, Darren?”
“Come on Savannah, you know I’m way too small to compete with the other bidders.”
“Darren, this was a chance to make a name for yourself in this city!”
“Take it easy! The mayor is going to recommend me for some of the smaller jobs in the project.”
“Yeah, what…renovating the bathrooms?”
Darren watched her as she undressed. He knew she would be disappointed but frankly he was happy. He was never interested in taking on such a large project. His love was restoration, period. Savannah never understood. It didn’t matter what he said and how he tried to make her understand. So, he went through the motions of putting together a presentation and a bid. He had to because more than anything, Savannah’s happiness meant everything to him.
Darren wrapped his arms around her waist. She stiffened and pulled away from him. Her rejection stung and he stood speechless as she stood in front of the mirror pulling her hair into a bun.
“I’m going to take a shower. Why don’t you go for a run and I’ll see you when you get back.”
He felt defeated and without another word, Darren grabbed his jacket from the bed and headed toward the door.
He turned to face her.
“Do you love me?”
“Of course I love you.”
“And, your happiness is the most important thing to me.”
“Good Darren, very good.”