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Pen Your Pride

“You can keep as quiet as you like, but one of these days somebody is going to find you.” -Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

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I wake up in my bed, a feeling of relief washing over me. My body aches with the exhaustion that came from an obviously long and rough night. I am spent. How long have I been crying? I sit up to find a dark circle on the pillow case.

“Knock, knock, knock!” A loud, quick series of knocks travels through my room, piercing my currently sensitive ears.

That must have been what woke me up from the dream. I look at the clock lazily, not really caring if I am late.  It’s 6:40. I slept through my alarm, but I don’t have to leave for work for another hour. Who’s at the door? And why? A brief, terrifying thought comes to my mind. What if I’m still dreaming, and the man is behind the door, one hundred pairs of eyeballs in his hands?

I glance back at the clock, worried that I am right, but it still reads 6:40. I can’t be dreaming, or else the time would change or deteriorate into nothingness, as it normally does. I stare at the clock, and take a deep breath, trying to calm myself and collect my thoughts. The zero on the clock turns to a tall, thin line and another set of knocking comes to the door.

“I’m coming,” I call, getting out of bed and rubbing my eyes. I’m too relieved that I’m not still dreaming to think about how I must look. I’m glad that it’s Reid when I finally do think about it.

“Oh my god,” he says, when I open the door. He comes inside as I open it wider, “What happened to you?”

My brows knit together in confusion and I leave to my bathroom to look at myself. My eyes are red and puffy, so is my face. Dark purple bags hang under my droopily tired eyes as if they are full of thousand pound weights, weighing them down.

I shrug as I come back out, not really wanting to tell him about the man with the scissors. “I just had a long night,” I reply casually.

He’s standing awkwardly by my door still. If I weren’t so tired, I might laugh at how cute he is, but that is not the case. “What did you want?”

“I didn’t think you’d still be sleeping,” he says quickly, not moving, “You’re normally up at this time.” He rubbing the back of his neck nervously.

“It’s fine,” I reply, “It’s a good thing you came or else I would have slept until someone came to get me to go to the station.”

There’s a long silence, in which Reid stands gazing at the floor in his normal clothes, and I stand confused in my bra and underwear.

“Um,” He says finally, rubbing the back of his neck again, “Are you okay?” He glances up at me briefly, then back at the floor.

“Yeah…” I reply, slowly, “Are you? You’re acting really weird.”

I sudden chill runs up my spine and I shiver. I can feel the gooseflesh on my skin rising for the first time, and I glance down, confused. Then, I get it. Somehow I must have taken off my pyjamas in the night, and didn’t realize or remember. I let out a laugh. It’s just a laugh though; I’m far too tired to put any real cheer into it. “I’m sorry, Reid,” I reply, making my way over to my bed.

I find my pyjamas sitting on the floor next to my bed, and pick them up, turning back to Reid. His gaze is no longer on the floor, but he still looks awkward. He makes sure he is looking everywhere but at me. I put my pyjamas on, watching as his eyes dart to me every once in a while, then quickly away.

“You still haven’t told me why you’re here,” I say once I’ve put on my tank top, “You can look now, Spencer, I’m wearing clothes.”

He walks towards me a bit, “Are you sure you’re okay?” he searches my eyes.

I can tell that he wants to comfort me, but doesn’t know how to go about it. He gives me a small smile and I laugh. It comes out more as a choke. Each time he asks me, I think more about my dream, and everything that has happened around it. I just want him to leave before I lose it.

Now I’m the one who avoids eye contact. I look down at his shoulder, and pick off some lint, forcing a smile.

“Emma, you can tell me.”

The way he says my name. I’m sure that if he hadn’t said it, I would have been able to hold myself together. I can feel my eyes starting to water, and I bring myself into Reid’s arms, trying to desperately hide the tears that are fighting to come. I squeeze my eyes tight shut and try to compose myself. I can feel his arms moving around me, unsure at first, but then stronger and comforting.

Then I realize what I’ve done. I’m fine, as far as he’s concerned. Why am I giving him any reason to believe otherwise? I sniff and pull away, tears no longer in my eyes. I glance down at his shirt, glad to find that I didn’t leave a wet spot.

“You should go, Reid,” I say, meeting his eyes. I’ve put on my acting face now, and any sign of upset that was in me before is no longer there, “We shouldn’t be with each other like this on the job. It’s not professional. I’ll see you at work.” I turn quickly, moving to my suitcase to pull out my clothes for the day. 

After a long moment, I hear my door shut. I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding and turn back around. I rub my face tiredly and flop onto the bed. Once I hit the sheets, they come. Just like always. The tears always come here, in a bed. They never fall anywhere else. I won’t let them.

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“I thought about how there are two types of secrets: the kind you want to keep in, and the kind you don't dare to let out.” -Ally Carter, Don't Judge a Girl by Her Cover

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