The Fall Chapter 10
Home of Darren and Savannah Matthews – Morning –
The ride home from the hospital had been quiet. Neither of them had said much and the air in the car had been tense. He was still upset with her behavior toward Sheldon and he wasn’t going to let her slide, not this time. Even with the tension between them it was good to be home. Savannah began fretting over him as soon as they stepped through the door and Darren was not in the mood.
Savannah knew that her husband was upset with her. She’d behaved horribly and her little outburst the night before had done nothing to help her immediate concerns. Darren was slipping away from her and she couldn’t deny it. Hamilton and Marcos had warned her too many times not to upset him but she wanted what she wanted and with her constant nagging and emotional outburst things were bad between them; the fall couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“How about you relax and I’ll make us some breakfast.”
“I’m not hungry.”
Darren slowly walked over to the couch and lowered his aching body onto the couch.
“Baby, you’ve got to have something on your stomach before you can take your pain meds.”
“If it will make you happy, I’ll have some toast and coffee, please.”
“Toast and coffee it is.”
Savannah rushed off to the kitchen. Darren leaned his head against the wall hoping the pain would subside. He’d been damn luck to have gotten away with just a slight concussion and a few cuts and bruises. He was about to doze off when Savannah returned carrying a tray and setting it on the table in front of him.
“I was thinking.” She began.
Darren looked at the burnt toast and grimaced.
“Okay, what were you thinking?”
Grabbing his cup from the tray, he waited to hear what she had to say.
“I think we should go away for a few days.”
“Go away? Where?”
“I don’t know, the cabin maybe. It doesn’t matter.”
“I’m not feeling up to a trip right now.”
Savannah sat next to him on the couch and placed her hand on his inner thigh. He watched her hand as she continued to plead her case.
“I think it’s a perfect time. Besides, the doctor wants you to take it easy for a couple weeks and the hospital owes me a lot of time…”
“Listen, I’m sorry for last night. I was wrong and if you want I’ll go and apologize to Sheldon.”
Darren was surprised, Savannah rarely admitted to being wrong let alone apologized. Maybe this was a good sign.
“I don’t think Sheldon is expecting an apology, but…”
“I don’t want to lose you.” Her voice quivered.
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s just that we’ve been struggling lately. I’m afraid you want to leave me and I wouldn’t blame you if you did.”
Tears began to fall from her eyes. He’d very seldom seen her cry. In fact, he’d never seen her cry.
“Hey, hey you’re not going to lose me, ever!”
“You mean it?”
“Yes Baby Girl, you can’t get rid of me that easy.”
“I’ve been impossible and I’ve been short-tempered. I’m sorry I just want a chance to make it right.”
Darren set his cup on the table and gently grabbed her hands bringing them to his lips.
“I love you, Savannah Matthews, don’t ever doubt that. If you want to go away, then we’ll go away.”
“You mean it?”
“I mean it. Any where you want.”
She sighed with relief and kissed him deeply on the lips.
“Wow! Woman you better be glad I’m injured or we’d never leave this house.”
Savannah giggled as she kissed him again. Then Darren kissed her before pulling her gently against his side.
“So, I was thinking…”
“Uh oh…” he teased.
She playfully tapped him on the chest and he pretended to be in pain.
“Hey, I’m injured remember?”
“Right, right!” She laughed.
“I’ll go to the hospital for a few hours, wrap things up and make sure I can get someone to cover for me while we’re gone. You my gorgeous husband can stay here and relax and when I get back I’ll pack a few things for us and we can leave in the morning.”
“Sounds like a plan, Baby Girl.”
“Baby Girl?” Her heart sank, that was a name from his other life for another person. She glanced into his eyes as he smiled down at her. She loved him and because she loved him the next weeks would be hard, very hard on him.
“I can’t lose him…not now…not again.”
Aquarian Café – One hour later –
Sheldon was happy and relieved that his friend had agreed to meet him at the coffee shop. He knew he’d only been out of the hospital a short while but he had to see for himself that Darren was okay. So here they sat at the same table where they’d first met several months ago.
“I can’t believe your wife let you out, man.”
“Yeah well, she doesn’t know I’m out.”
“Oh hell, another thing she’ll blame me for.”
“About last night…”
“Nah, don’t worry about it. I can’t be mad at her. When I saw you laying on that floor…”
“As far as I’m concerned, you were right on time.”
Sheldon nodded his head and struggled to control his emotions. Darren saw the struggle and looking at the food in front of them, decided to change the subject.
“So let’s eat. Savannah’s version of toast left a lot to be desired.”
“Toast? Please don’t tell me…”
“She burnt the toast!”
Both men burst into laughter as they continued to eat their breakfast.
“How about a refill?”
“Sounds great but I’m going to have to take it to go.”
Darren chuckled and nodded as Sheldon turned to signal to the waitress.
Atlanta Police Department –
One by one Hotch, Rossi, JJ, Reid and Garcia entered the large, crowded precinct. Everyone seemed too busy to notice the official looking strangers as they made their way across the room. In fact, the only person who seemed to care that they were there was a short balding man who rushed across the room with his hand outstretched.
“Welcome! Wow you all got here quick. I’m Detective Winston Kennedy.”
Hotch shook the man’s hand and nodded.
“Agent Hotchner, Agents Rossi, Jareau, Dr. Reid and our technical Analyst Penelope Garcia-Morgan.”
They all shook the detective’s hand; all except Reid who waved quickly then stuffed his hands in his pockets.
“Thank you all for coming. I have a space set up for you all in the back.”
The team followed the detective to a large conference room near the far wall and took seats around the oblong table.
“Everything we have on the case is here in these three boxes. Our vending machines are not much to speak of and our coffee is not fit for human consumption. In fact, we normally go across the street to the coffee shop.”
“Thank you, Detective.”
“If you all need anything, please let me know.”
After the detective made his exit, Penelope exhaled. The room began to close in on her and suddenly she realized that she’d never be able to run or hide from Derek’s absence.
“Well I don’t know about the rest of you, but I need my caffeine and I’m taking orders.”
She knew their preferences but she listened as they rambled all at once; one decaf, two sugars, one cream; one large with seven sugars and two large black. She knew she’d get a dozen glazed donuts that even though no one had asked they would eat anyway.
Penelope stepped out of the stuffy building and inhaled the cool morning air. She still hadn’t gotten used to the sharp pain in her chest every time she tried to breathe. The light turned green and she walked across the street. She wondered why Hotch had insisted that she come with them but it was better than being in Quantico alone.
Darren appreciated the time out of the house. He didn’t want to sleep and if Savannah had known that he hadn’t taken his pain meds, she’d have a fit. If he had to endure a little pain to keep the dreams away then he’d endure it. The only thing that brought him comfort in the nightmares was the woman. She seemed to come out of nowhere amidst the pain and the darkness and out of the screaming and strange voices.
Darren had stepped outside to wait while Sheldon ran to the men’s room. The walk to the coffee shop did him good and he was in no rush to go home. He looked around at the old buildings across the street and remembered his meeting with the mayor. Even though he hadn’t gotten the contract he was hopeful that he’d still have an opportunity to work the mayor’s residence.
Penelope couldn’t help but notice the familiarity of the man standing with his back to her. He seemed thinner than…and the bruises…she wasn’t a profiler but she couldn’t help herself.
He turned and looked directly into her eyes. He was losing his mind. The dreams had followed him here into the light. It…was…her! The woman with the beautiful red lips and golden hair…but it couldn’t be she was just a dream. Then she gasped and her hand shot to her mouth. Was that a tear streaming down her face?
“Oh my god! Derek?”
Sheldon stepped outside and squinted against the sunlight. He watched as Darren and the woman stared at each other. He didn’t know quite what to think of it.
It was all he could say even though his lips were still moving.
“Boss, are you okay?”
“Derek, what are you doing here?”
He felt his heart speed up as he took a wobbly step back.
“You! Do I know you?”
“Y-Yes…Derek, what happened to you?”
“It’s me, Baby Girl.”
“Baby Girl” he thought as he tried to make sense of the woman in his dreams, a woman whom he’d only seen in his dreams, standing in front of him.
“I-I don’t understand…what’s going on?” He whispered to himself.
Penelope watched him afraid to approach him yet wanting nothing more than to run and embrace him with all her might. Something was wrong, the confusion and fear in his eyes and the bruises and cuts…the obvious weight loss. It was Derek but somehow it wasn’t. She wanted to be hurt he looked at her as if seeing her for the first time. Instead her heart broke for him.
“STOP calling me Derek! My name…my name is…”
Then he was gone running toward the parking lot. She wanted to go after him but she knew she’d never have a chance of catching him with her three-inch stilettos. The man who’d been watching seemed confused as they both watched Derek disappear from sight. Penelope nervously fumbled as she pulled her phone from her purse.
“HOTCH! I FOUND HIM! I FOUND DEREK!”