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Changed for the Better

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Emily entered the café and looked around, smiling when she saw Tara wave at her from where she sat with JJ and Penelope. She wandered towards the table and sat next to JJ.

"Hi, sorry for being late. Andrew made me run through the diet list again," Emily said with an eye roll. "That, and this is the only thing I have that fits me and it was in the back of the closet." She ran a hand to smooth an invisible wrinkle on the full skirt of her red dress, one that was a little formal for the casual setting but then again, she was nineteen weeks pregnant and getting bigger every day. Andrew had added nine more words to his 'list,' but somehow he didn't add the word 'butterball' and occasionally called their daughter with the name when he spoke to her before they slept. Emily found the endearment sweet and weird at the same time.

"Aw, is Andrew being super protective already?" Penelope asked.

"Like you wouldn't believe," Emily huffed, taking the menu JJ handed her. "He was actually the one who begged me to make you guys choose this place because it's close to the apartment so if anything happens, he can just run his way over here."

"What could happen within three hours of brunch?" Tara asked with an amused chuckle.

"I know! It's not like I'm giving birth at nineteen weeks!" Emily exclaimed.

The women chuckled and temporarily halted their conversation when a waitress arrived to take their orders. Emily ordered a pasta salad with added mushrooms, mozarella, and pepper (her cravings had gone from soufflé pancakes to pepper-filled food; Andrew had to stop her from adding pepper to her sandwich one time). When their orders arrived, Emily eyed her friends' drinks in a jealous manner as she sipped on her fruit smoothie.

"Looks like someone's already missing her wine and martini," JJ teased in a sing-song voice. She didn't miss Emily's longing gaze towards their drinks and empathised with the woman. JJ remembers the time when all she wanted to drink was wine or scotch or martini when she was pregnant with Michael. Those were not fun times.

"That makes me sound like an alcoholic," Emily mumbled with a pathetic frown on her face.

"Don't worry, Prentiss. I'll drink your share until you can drink again," Tara chuckled. "Hey, why don't we schedule a girls' night sometime soon?"

"Yes please!" Penelope excitedly agreed. "It's been so long since we last had a BAU ladies' night!"

"Did you guys miss the fact that I'm nineteen weeks pregnant?" Emily asked. As much as she would love to have a girls' night, she knew it would consist of alcohol, something she wasn't allowed, but would gladly forgo, for the time being. "I can't drink."

"Who said there'll be drinking?" Tara asked. Emily raised an unamused eyebrow at her, and she sighed. "Fine, our normal girls' night would involve a lot of drinking, but since one of us is on an alcohol hiatus, then why don't we all do too?"

"Really? You would do that?" Emily eyed them suspiciously. Penelope was nodding happily beside Tara and her phone was out—Emily would guess that she was planning what movies they were going to watch.

"Absolutely," JJ said. "I mean, come on, Em, you and Garcia did it for me when I was pregnant with Henry. Who says we're not doing it for you this time?"

Emily smiled. "I guess so."

"I'm bringing the movies. JJ you're in charge of popcorn and snacks, and Tara you're in charge of non-alcoholic drinks," Penelope turned to Emily. "You are allowed mocktails, right?"

Emily nodded. "What am I supposed to bring?"

Penelope's eyebrows furrowed. "We're having it at your place silly!"

"What? Why?"

"Because you have a hunky, tall glass of water for a baby daddy, and he also happens to be extremely protective of you," Penelope explained.

"I know, but it's not like he won't let me spend the night at, I don't know, JJ's place? I mean, she has the room."

"Yeah, but so do you," Tara said. "I bet ten bucks Andrew would try to convince you to have it at your place if you tell him it's at JJ's."

"He'll probably clean up the place until it's all shiny and shimmery," Penelope nodded.

Sighing, Emily shrugged. "I guess we're having it at my place."

"Yes!" Penelope exclaimed. "Is Saturday okay? Unless, of course, a serial killer somewhere in the country misses a therapy appointment."

"It isn't finals week yet, so I can easily get a babysitter," JJ shrugged.

"Saturday it is," Emily said. She raised her glass for a toast. "Here's to hoping serial killers in America give us a break."

"Amen to that, sister!"

"Emily I almost forgot!" Penelope said. She reached under the table and pulled out five pink shopping bags, handing each one to Emily. "The second wave of gifts for the mini-me in your tummy."

"Garcia," Emily warned as she took the bags. "I thought we agreed that you are not to buy out an entire baby store for my butterball."

"First of all, I do not recall agreeing to an agreement. You said not to buy out the store, I stalled without saying yes or no, and it worked perfectly," Penelope said, placing her fingers to her lips and kissing them the way a chef would on television. "Second, and last, I saw this cute little onesie with the word 'butterball' embroidered in front and you can expect it by next week."

Emily's mouth was wide open in shock, and tried to come up with an argument but found none. She turned to JJ and silently begged her friend for help, but she just shrugged. In all honesty, JJ was entertained by what was happening before her. For years, Emily had laughed when Garcia entered the bullpen, arms full of shopping bags, with gifts for Henry and Michael. Now, the tables were turned and she was going to savor each moment.

"How did Andrew react when you told him you were pregnant?* Tara asked, attempting to hide a smile. Like JJ, she was having fun watching Emily try to stop Garcia from going bankrupt for the BAU children when it was clearly a part of the woman's job description. She figured a change in topic would help distract Emily. "Was he already suspicious? Or was he completely surprised by the news?"

"The latter, really," Emily replied. "I didn't experience any of the symptoms until I was maybe twelve weeks along, and even then, a bug was running around so we both thought I caught it and didn't think about it that much. That or I managed to convince him I just ate something bad."

"How did you tell him?" Penelope asked. "And what did he say? What did he do? Did he cry?"

"Well, I came home to him making coffee and the scent just got me all nauseated and I threw up. He was so worried because he thought I was sick. He hid it well, but his eyes were just, wide and slightly glassy, I think he might've thought I had cancer or something so I told him and at first he was frozen and then he rambled about us expecting and then, uh—" Emily trailed off and smiled softly.

"Oh, you're smiling that awfully smile of yours which means he did something incredibly sweet and you melted," Penelope pointed out. "Or did you have a reenactment of the night your butterball was conceived?"

"Garcia!" The women said in unison.

"What? It's an acceptable question!"

"No, we did not, but we did share a few something somethings," Emily winked.

"Just say you made out," Tara chuckled.

"We're adults, Tara, not teenagers. All forms of kissing include a little tongue," Emily joked.

"I'm impressed, though," JJ said. "Andrew's reaction was… a lot better than Will's."

"Oh yeah," Emily laughed. "But you have to admit, proposing at that time is sort of part of the Southern men etiquette."

"Why? What did Will do?" Tara asked.

"Will flew in from New Orleans and when I picked him up from the airport, he proposed."

"No," Tara gasped.

"Yes," JJ, Emily, and Penelope said.

"That's hilarious! But like Emily said, it's a Southern move," Tara said. "Wait, didn't you guys tell me you got married in 2013?"

"We did," JJ nodded. "When he proposed, I told him he was crazy and said no."

"It took four years and a bank hostage for JJ to say yes," Emily teased. JJ merely rolled her eyes in amusement.

The attention, however, went to Penelope when the woman gasped loudly as a realisation came across her mind. "Are you telling me that Andrew Mendoza did not ask you to marry him when you told him you were pregnant?"

*No, he didn't."

"Okay, what?" Penelope asked.

"Come on, Pen," Emily sighed. "We're not getting married just because I'm pregnant."

"I think what Garcia is trying to say," JJ interrupted, "is that Andrew is head over heels in love with you, so it is sort of weird and a little shocking that he didn't ask."

"I agree," Tara said. "I mean, he's Andrew. We all knew he was in love with you when you introduced him to the tram after you guys started dating because he looked at you with that look."

Emily sighed and averted her gaze to the napkin on her lap, fiddling with her thumbs. Now that she thought about it, Andrew's reaction to her pregnancy was mild, to say the least, and she was too worried and scared that he would hate her to realise it. Of course, a part of her was glad that he never asked to marry her—just because she was pregnant, it doesn't mean they needed to get married.

The other part however, the scared and insecure part that led to weeks of dodging Andrew's calls and texts before they even dated and then distancing herself when he said 'I love you' for the first time, wondered why he never asked.

"Emily," JJ's voice snapped Emily from her thoughts. She lifted her gaze and mentally cursed when she saw that her friends were staring at her with concern on their faces.

"I'm fine," Emily smiled weakly. "I just—we never really discussed marriage. And besides, we’re happy and stable and, you know, this is permanent. We’re both a hundred percent in this." They also never discussed anything regarding children, but here they were, expecting a baby in nineteen weeks.

Emily opened her mouth to speak again when her phone rang. She took it out of her pocket and smirked. "Speak of the devil," she said and turned her phone around to show her friends the caller ID: Andrew (his ID name had the nail polish emoji next to it, because he thought it was funny).

"Come on!" Penelope exclaimed. "It's only been an hour!"

Smirking, Emily answered the call. "You do realise nothing's going to happen to me at nineteen weeks—"

"Emily, you need to come home."

Her eyes widened as she listened to Andrew's frantic voice. "Andrew, what's wrong?"

"Your mother is here," he said.

"What? Why? How?" She closed her eyes and let out a frustrated sigh. "What is she doing there?"

"Who are we talking about?" JJ asked, furrowing her eyebrows in concern as she watched Emily stand and start gathering her bags with her phone between her shoulder and ear. "Is everything okay?"

"I don't know Em but she's pacing the living room and mumbling angrily in a different language," Andrew replied. "I think it's Arabic."

"You let her in?" Emily asked in an incredulous tone.

"Yes!" Andrew exclaimed. If he didn't sound so scared and she didn't need him to help raise their child, Emily would murder him. "Come home. Please."

Emily tapped her foot impatiently against the floor of the elevator, staring at the number on top.

She hung up immediately after Andrew begged her for the second time, practically ready to run out of the restaurant, with her arms full of Penelope's presents, when JJ stopped her and offered to drive her back to the apartment. Later, she would send her friend a text of gratitude.

The familiar ding echoed throughout the walls of the elevator and she hurriedly walked towards their apartment.

"Oh thank god," Andrew greeted her, his voice laced in panic, when she entered. "What are those?" he asked, referring to the shopping bags in her arms.

"I'll explain later," Emily promised. "Is she still in the living room? Why did you let her in? Why is she here?"

"Emily, I don't know. I was cleaning up when the doorbell rang and I thought it was the lunch I ordered so I opened it without checking and then there she was. She was yelling and threatening to call the cops on me when she saw me standing there—"

"—she called the cops?!"

"—threatened to call the cops, and she was about to do it when Mrs. Gerard from next door came to see what the commotion was about and told her I lived here with you. After that, she basically shoved her way in and demanded I see you."

"Oh my god," Emily groaned. "I'm sorry."

"Me too."

"I need to talk to her," Emily said. When Andrew nodded, she added, "Alone."

"Emily," he started but Emily immediately cut him off.

"Andrew she's livid, I can feel it radiating from the living room. I need to talk to her alone. Please," she begged.

Andrew sighed but nodded. "Okay. I'll call the restaurant and tell them I'll pick the food up instead of having it delivered. Think thirty minutes will be enough time for you to talk to your mom?"

"Can you call ahead and order one more meal? I didn't really get the chance to eat at the restaurant. And a similar one, you know, in case things end up good with my mother and she insists to stay for lunch," she said. "If it doesn't, we'll just share it."

"Sure thing," he placed a soft kiss on her lips. "Will you be okay?"

"I will be," she nodded weakly. "If you come home and don't hear my voice from the living room, call the team. They'll know what to do."

He gave her an encouraging smile before taking his coat and leaving the apartment. Emily sighed and took a few deep breaths before entering the living room.

"Mother," she greeted cordially. She held back a wince when her mother returned it with a glare. "This is a surprise."

"Who was that man?" Elizabeth demanded.

"Wow," Emily scoffed, shaking her head in disdain. "Can you say that in a more disapproving tone? Because I know you can do better than that, Mother." She wanted to cross her arms over her chest, but the action would emphasize her baby bump, which was fortunately being temporarily hidden by the full skirt of her dress.

"Emily, I have no time for your snarky tones. Who was that man?"

"He's my boyfriend, mother." More than that, Emily thought.

"Does he live here with you?" Elizabeth asked.


"So it's serious then." Elizabeth shook her head. "You were in a serious relationship and you didn't tell me about it? I had to find out from your neighbor that you were dating this man! You humiliated me to a stranger! Can you imagine if one of my acquaintances knew and asked me about it? I wouldn't know how or what to answer Emily!"

Emily stared at her mother in shock. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

"I beg your pardon?" Elizabeth said, her glare intensifying at her daughter's vile language.

"You show up at my apartment unannounced, you threatened to call the cops on him, and your problem is that I humiliated you?" Emily asked.

"It's what you did! It's what you do! You find joy in embarrassing me in public because apparently, you didn't find it satisfying enough to embarrass me in private!"

Emily let out a mirthless laugh. "This is why I never told you. You make everything be about you—"

"—oh stop being dramatic Emily!"

"You don't care about me, Mother!" Emily practically yelled. There were tears stinging in her eyes, and she mentally cursed the pregnancy hormones, but she refused to let them spill out of her eyes. Instead she took a deep breath and discreetly swiped her thumb underneath her eyes. When she glanced at her mother, she froze as she noticed the woman's gaze focused entirely on her abdomen.

Emily watched as Elizabeth closed her eyes and balled her hands into fists. "Emily, are you pregnant?"

She swallowed before nodding. "Nineteen weeks."

The silence that took over was alarming, and Emily closed her eyes to prepare herself from the yelling that would eventually come out of her mother's mouth.

"Are you at least going to marry him?" Elizabeth asked. The question threw Emily off and she stared at her mother in response. "I assume that the man you live with is the father?"

"Yes," she replied and shook her head. "I mean, yes, he is the father, but no, I am not going to marry him."

"Are you out of your mind, Emily?!" Elizabeth yelled. Emily sighed; there was the yelling she expected from her mother. "When you get pregnant, you get married. That's the rule."

"This isn't the 90s, Mother," Emily yelled back. "There are no rules in a book that say it's mandatory for a man and a woman to get married if the woman gets pregnant."

"Emily, this is unacceptable! How could you even think of not marrying him when you are carrying his child?" Elizabeth demanded. "How could you have been so stupid to get pregnant? Do you know how my daughter being an unmarried pregnant woman could affect my reputation?"

Unbelievable. Her mother was unbelievable.

"You're doing it again!" Emily ran her hand through her hair in frustration. "You're making this about you and your goddamn reputation! Why is it that when your only daughter and only child, in fact, tells you that she's getting married and is expecting a baby, you can't even muster up a little enthusiasm? Even fake enthusiasm would be good enough, Mother, but no, you make it about you! The world does not fucking revolve around you!"

"Stop that!" Elizabeth scolded. "I am your mother! I will not let you speak to me with such language!"

"Why don't you care, Mother? Why have you never cared?" Emily asked, ignoring her mother's statement. "You want to know why I never told you? Because no matter what has happened to me my entire life, you have never cared! All you do is yell at me about how it's going to affect your image and make me feel bad about myself that every time we have a conversation I feel so small." Tears were spilling down her cheeks as she spoke, but Emily paid no attention to it. "Andrew makes me feel better. He loves me and I love him and we love our baby. I finally had something that makes me happy and I never told you because you would make me feel terrible about it. And I was right. Why can't you just be happy for me mother? What else do I have to do to make you happy for me?"

"Ambassador Prentiss," Andrew's voice called out. Emily slightly jumped—had thirty minutes passed already? "I'm afraid I have to ask you to leave."

"Young man, you have no business here. This is between me and my daughter," Elizabeth huffed.

"Actually I do," Andrew replied. He stepped closer towards Emily and resisted the urge to hold her in his arms when he heard her silently sniffling. "Emily's carrying our child. If your presence here stresses her out, it stresses out the baby. I can't let you do that any longer."

"Are you threatening me?" Elizabeth asked in disbelief. "Because it seems like you forget that I am an ambassador, and I have received far more terrifying threats than that."

"Mother, please just leave," Emily said. "He's right, my blood pressure is skyrocketing, and I can't handle any of this right now without risking my baby. So if you're just going to stand there and yell at me for not telling you things, then I need you to go."

The mother and daughter pair stared at each other for a few moments before Elizabeth sauntered towards the door. With her hand on the doorknob, she turned to face her daughter one more time. "Can I at least know what you're having?"

Emily was silent for a moment as she debated which was the lesser of the two evils between telling her mother or asking her to get out. The former option won, but she briefly contemplated lying because she was pretty sure her mother was asking not because she actually cared about Emily and the baby, but rather so she had something to say in case her colleagues did find out about her pregnancy and asked Elizabeth about it. However, unlike her mother, Emily wasn't a heartless bitch.

She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up to meet Andrew's gaze, wordlessly asking her if she would be okay with him telling her mother. She blinked twice and nodded before averting her gaze to the floor.

"You're having a granddaughter," Andrew simply replied. Emily closed her eyes as she waited for her mother's response.

"Alright then. Congratulations, Emily," Elizabeth said.

When the sound of the door slamming echoed through the room, Emily buried her face in her hands and began sobbing. She felt Andrew's around her and she turned to bury her face in his chest.

"It's okay, baby," he whispered, rubbing circles across her back.

"She didn't care," she sobbed, clenching her hands into fists. "Why didn't she care? How could she not care?"

Andrew stayed silent. He knew he had to let her cry this one out, so maintained a calm exterior despite the fact that he was absolutely raged by her mother. How could she choose to care about her reputation instead of being happy for Emily? How could a mother tell her child that she was stupid?

As he rocked her in his arms, Andrew wondered how an atrocious and condescending woman like Elizabeth Prentiss was able to have a tender-hearted and compassionate woman like Emily?

"I just wanted my mom to be happy for me," she said miserably.

"I know," he said, placing kisses on her forehead. "I'm sorry."

Emily closed her eyes and let a new set of tears run down her face. "It's not your fault my mother is—well, my mother. But I just hoped that someone in my family would actually be happy for me.

Andrew sighed. He pulled away slightly and lifted her chin so she would meet his gaze. "You have an entire family here who's excited to meet our daughter. Hell, you have a family you would willingly walk through fire for, and they would do the same for you. You don't need her approval, Emily. Family is what you choose rather than what is given to you. And I promise you, that we will be your family as long as you want us to be. Okay?"

She gave him a small, weak smile and nodded, leaning in to kiss him softly. "Okay."