DISCLAIMER: Criminal Minds and its characters are the property of CBS. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: Allusions to 3x19 The Crossing, 3x20 Lo-Fi, but mostly AU.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To khager12[at]gmail.com

Call It Stormy Monday
By gilligankane


You drive by on Monday's, because that's when she sits outside on the bench in front of the building with her shoulders squared and her hands on her knees. You drive by on Monday's, because it's a good start to the week, and because you need to see her – the girl with the broken smile and the cloudy eyes. You don't know her name – she'll never know yours – and she probably never sees you drive by, but the need to see her runs so deep in your blood and your gut and your heart, that you make the forty minute drive out of your way just to catch a glimpse of the girl who makes your pulse race.

She sits on the bench – just a normal wooden bench, like the ones you used to see in Central Park – and stares out in the emptiness around her. Just stares, as if she has nothing else to do with her day.

The first time you saw her was an accident; a type of casu consulto, you told yourself later. Your mother glared at you over the distance of the conference table, but you weren't fazed, because you couldn't get the image out of your head: just a lonely blond sitting on a bench. It sounded like a movie; a chance meeting and instant sparks fly because the stranger can't get the gorgeous leading lady out of her mind. You thought about her all day, all week, and when you drove to the city the next Monday, to attend another boring cabinet meeting for your mother's office, you decide to tempt fate.

But she was there again, stock still and almost like a statue and it was just like you remembered – just like you dreamed.

It was a standing date almost and your mother stopped asking why you were always late on Monday mornings, just glares at you over her coffee mug, but you're immune to her eye narrowing and her guilt trips, because she is your mother, after all. You start to get dependant, desperate even, in your need to see her and more than once, you almost pull the car over and stop to sit with her.

You always talk yourself out of it.

You feel – you know – that if you stopped and sat with her, the whole world would stop too; it would stop and everyone else would just disappear, and it'd be the two of you on a park bench in the middle of a quiet life. You would read her poetry, because it seems fitting, and your voice would be low and soft and she would lean in to ward off the wind, and just to be close to you.

"I was much too far out all my life," you would read to her. "And not waving, but drowning." She would smile and nod and wrap her arm around yours, burrow into your warm coat in the cool city morning and smile up at you while the sun reflected off of her eyes.

But you just keep driving, because the world would stop if you pulled over and it wouldn't be in a good way. She doesn't even know you; doesn't know that you make a forty minute drive every Monday just to catch a glimpse of her face and her eyes, because it grounds you and gives you the little bit of hope and warmth and love you lose over the week.

She's your lightening rod, and every time you drive by that small park, you feel the spark in your chest start to warm, as if it'd been dull your entire life; like she's forever been the only one who was made to make you feel like this.

And then one morning; one Monday in October, when the gray of the morning is filling in the empty spaces on the roadway, you glance over at the bench and she's not there.

You check your watch – it's 7:40, like always – and you check your pocket calendar – it's Monday, like always – but she's not here. You pull over, park the car and stare, because you feel just a little empty on the inside, and because you know your mouth is slightly open and your forehead is furrowed in wonderment.

She's not there.

Your cell phone rings at 8:30, then at 9:15, again at 10:00 and when it stops ringing after 12:30, you're mother apparently have given up on you. But you don't move, because she's not there, and you've suddenly forgotten how to shift the car into drive and how to operate the pedals. She's not there and you wonder why she's gone. You leave when the sun goes down, turning your car onto the street and driving back to the apartment that never really seemed empty until now.

The week blurs by, moving slow through the nights and fast through the days and its ridiculous, because you've never even spoken to this woman. And when Monday rolls around, you're out the door so fast you might have forgotten to lock it and shut the lights off, but you're in the car before you know it, and the forty minutes becomes twenty-five.

And when you pull up to the curb – because you're not taking any chances this time – she's sitting there like she never left, completely still and undisturbed and she's never looked more beautiful, with the way her wool coat collar covers her neck and her shoulders and all you can see is navy coat and blue eyes and a halo.

As she sits there, you make a decision. Next week, you're getting out of the car, and you're going to sit down next to her. It won't be hand-holding and love confessions right away, you know, but you'll work up to it, because the week she was gone – where she only haunted your dreams – was one of the hardest weeks of your life and you never, ever want to have to go through that again.

So next Monday, you're going to pull over and you're going to sit down next to her and you're just going to stare out into the space she's staring out into, and you're going to breathe the same air she's breathing, because…

…because life is too short. Didn't Rizzo say something about getting her kicks while she was still young enough to get them?

You've got to start taking chances.

When your mother glares at you at the weekly meeting, you simply smile and for a moment, she's taken aback, because you usually just avoid her entirely, but today, you've made a big decision, all on your own, and you're going to actually do it.

Monday rolls around and when you get into the car, you're clutching your coffee and a copy of Dylan Thomas and when you pull the car over, you can barely hear yourself breathing over the sound of your heart beating in your chest.

But she's not there again. So you wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And she never shows.

You shake off the feeling of dread, shut off the new early and go to bed feeling alone.

She doesn't show next Monday either though, and your day goes from bad to worse and your week goes from worse to awful and before you know it, it's Monday again.

And she's still missing. The bench is still empty and so is the hollow space in your chest.

Monday's come and go, and you still drive by, still hoping that she's going to mystically appear out of thin air and everything will go back to being normal. The months go by, summer comes and goes, and it's October again – if she were here, she'd be wearing her wool coat – and you're pulled over one morning – it's a Monday – when you see the flash of blond that stops you immediately.

You're out of the car before you can stop yourself, flying across the dewy grass, and you coming to a panting halt before you can reach the bench.

It's not her. It's another blond haired woman with teary eyes and a broken smile. She doesn't see you; doesn't notice the way you're biting your bottom lip and trying hard not to cry; doesn't notice the way you hang your head and turn quickly on your heel. You leave before she sees you and you get in your car and cry, because something in your gut tells you that your angel in the navy coat isn't coming back.

You spend the week in bed, staring up at the ceiling, watching the shapes of the lights and when you close your eyes, the lights become shapes of sapphire dancing around in your mind.

On Monday, when you get to the turnoff to the city, you find yourself taking the exit, driving by the park so slowly, your eyes bright and alert. She's not yours, but the other blond is back, cradling a small bundle, and her breath is coming out in puffs of gray air.

She's wearing a bright neon pink jacket – it's not even close to being navy blue – and you can't really see her eyes behind her glasses, but you find yourself coming back on Mondays, just to catch a glimpse of her and to remember that an angel used to sit where she's sitting.

Monday's come and go, and she's not coming back, but you keep stopping, keep hoping that maybe someday she will, and you watch the small blanketed bundle grow and pretty soon, you start to notice that he has shiny pale hair and even shinier eyes and when he wears navy, you swear, he looks like an angel.

The End

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