Leap Of Faith - Eleven
A hour later and Spencer and Seph were sitting outside on the balcony, heating lamps turned on to ward off the autumn chill, a bottle of wine and a chess board between them on the table.
Spencer set the board up, Seph watching him intently her legs crossed underneath her on the chair and a blanket she’d found in one of the closets wrapped around her shoulders.
They had a quick dinner of pasta and chicken, Seph melting cream cheese and using it to flavour the pasta.
Spencer could tell that Persephone had wanted more details about Maeve and why it had caused him to storm off when Hotch had bought her up. Shutting himself off from her as they got back to their home away from home, he’d thought back to his boss’s words, realising that to some extent he was right. He hadn’t been able to save Maeve, he’d done his best to negotiate with her killer but she’d seen through his ruse and pulled the trigger anyway. This was a different situation, he was trying to save someone from themselves rather than another person even though he knew that really, the only person who could truly save Persephone was herself. But essentially it was the same thing. Spencer Reid trying to come to the rescue. He wondered how badly this would break him if he failed. And that was why Hotch was worried about him.
He’d been surprised when she’d joined him on his bed, her touch startling him initially but then calming and soothing him. He would normally have shrugged anyone else touching him off and asked them to leave him alone. But she’d left him alone for long enough and well, he needed to stop brooding. The incident had happened ten months ago now, but it still cut like a knife to the bone whenever someone mentioned her.
Surveying the chess board in front of him, he took a sip of his wine before glancing at his opponent.
“How much do you know about chess?” he asked Seph, wanting to gage her knowledge first.
“That I have to check mate someone? And to protect my King at all costs right?”
“Kind of,” Spencer went on to explain the basics and how the game worked, surprised to see that her eyes didn’t glaze over as people’s normally did when he talked about a topic for any length of time. She actually looked interested, leaning forward in her seat and interrupting him to ask questions if she didn’t understand something.
“The important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t be trying to check mate your opponent in the opening. You should be focusing on getting your pieces to their optimal places on the board. You ready to try?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be Spencer Reid. Just… Go easy on me,” she wriggled on her seat, uncrossing and recrossing her legs.
“I thought you didn’t want that Persephone.” The emphasis on her full name again. He could see this was now going to be their thing. Wow… Knowing someone for 24 hours and already having a thing. Hopefully a thing that wouldn’t be over in 23 days.
“I see you’ve chosen to take my flirting in the good way,” she grinned at him and took a gulp of wine.
He nodded at her, a slight smile on his lips. He had chosen to take her flirting in a positive way. Initially he’d felt awkward and wasn’t sure how to take her remarks, but seeing the smile on her face when he bantered back was worth any awkwardness he felt. It was a smile that reached her eyes too, not one that looked false and plastered on.
“Okay so white goes first so I’ll move okay. Just ask if you’re not sure and I’ll try to hint at what you should do without out rightly telling you.”
He moved his first piece, waiting for her move.
Three hours later and Seph was staring intently at the chess board. They’d played through three games already, she’d picked it up quickly after the first go and Spencer was actually enjoying playing against her.
It was rare he lost a game of chess, the only person who’d been able to beat him had been Gideon. Normally he was very good at anticipating an amateurs next move, having already mapped out the game in his head. Seph wasn’t playing like an amateur though. He could see her studying the board, her lips moving as she recounted the rules in her head, running through her possible moves. And when she did move, it was often the opposite to how he’d expected her to go, causing him to actually have to think his turn through. A bit more practice and she could actually turn out to be a formidable player. But she wasn’t going to win tonight.
She moved and he checked the board seeing what she hadn’t. Three moves later and “Check mate.” He had her King trapped, with no available moves on her side.
She let out a groan of frustration, closing her eyes briefly. When she opened them she stared at him, “I thought I might have had you then. But I doubted myself and went a different way.”
She thought she might have had him?
“Show me what you would have done differently.”
She reset the board back to two moves prior and showed him.
“I thought if I moved this piece to here,” she mimicked her actions on the board, “Then you would have had to move here, and then I could have moved this piece to that square and checked you. But I couldn’t remember if it was an illegal move or not and I didn’t want to ask.”
This girl would definitely be a formidable player after a few more practices.
“You should have gone with your instincts Seph. If you’d have done that, then I would have lost for the first time in five years….. To an amateur as well. Wow.” He couldn’t hide the astonishment from his voice.
“Can we play again another day?” she asked.
“We definitely can. But I have to say, I’m exhausted. Which is my only excuse for not being able to see that move you could have pulled in the first place. And it’s quite late. So bed? Tomorrow we’ll see about how we can accomplish some of these other points okay.”
Spencer stood to go inside, packing up the chess pieces and board. Seph made no move to follow him. He turned to her about to say something when she beat him to it.
“I’m just gonna stay out for a bit longer okay. It’s nice out here. Don’t worry, I won’t fling myself over the edge, I promise,” she gave him a small smile, pulling the blanket around her tighter.
“Okay…..let me know if you need anything.”
Her mood seemed to have dropped suddenly and he sensed that she wanted to be alone for a bit. He didn’t think she’d try anything, him now believing that she would keep her word.
Just as he was about to go through the door, he heard her say to him softly, “Thank you.”
Spencer couldn’t sleep. He’d been trying to for an hour but it wasn’t coming. His mouth felt dry so he heaved himself off the bed and made his way to the kitchen.
To his surprise the heating lamp was still on outside and as he made his way to the balcony door, he could see that Seph was still outside.
Her knees were tucked up to her chin, her arms wrapped around them and he could make out the movement of her shoulders racking gently. She was crying.
Did he go out to her? She’d stayed out there because she’d wanted to be alone.
But then again, she’d come in to him earlier and her presence had helped.
Making a decision he opened the door and stepped out, walking over to her and kneeling to the floor in front of her.
Her face was buried in her arms but he’d seen her move when he’d opened the door. She knew he’d come out to her.
Wordlessly he placed his hands on her arms, his thumbs making small stroking gestures. She sniffed and raised her head, her red rimmed eyes meeting his, tears streaming down her face. Lowering her knees she moved forward suddenly, wrapping her arms around his neck and clinging to his t-shirt, her face now buried into his shoulder her tears soaking the thin material.
Surprised by the sudden contact, he acted quickly and pulled her closer, his own arms now around her waist and rubbing her back in what he hoped was a soothing measure.
Not knowing the words to say to ease he pain, he just let her cry. He couldn’t take away her pain, but he could hold her whilst she cried through it.
He’d hold her for as long as it took.