Author's Note: Thank you to Tonnie for yet again passing me this story idea. And, thanks to both Tonnie and Susan for being such wonderful friends. Please shoot me a review or a PM to let me know what you all think of this. Happy Reading! As ever, I don't own Criminal Minds.
"Picnic in the Park"
It was 3:30 in the afternoon one sunny afternoon in late May when Jennifer Jareau opened the office door to David Rossi's inner sanctum.
Sticking her blond head through the gap in the door, she asked with a hesitant smile, "Hey! You got a minute for me?"
Looking up from the file opened across his desk, he replied with a grin, "Well, depends. Are you bringing me yet another file that needs my immediate attention?"
"Nope, not this time," she answered, sliding quickly through the office door and closing it behind her, "This time it's personal."
Smiling wickedly, Rossi assessed the woman standing in front of his desk. Dressed in a figure hugging black skirt and fitted pale pink blouse that molded to her curves in all the appropriate places, JJ Jareau was a sight to behold. "Now, personal, that I can definitely do."
"Mind out of the gutter, old man," JJ ordered. "We're at work" she reminded him.
"No sense of adventure, Jennifer," Rossi teased.
"That's not what you were saying last night at the pond, Agent Rossi," Jennifer told him primly. "Besides, we agreed-," JJ began.
"I know, I know! No PDA's at the office," Rossi mimicked.
"Hey, because of my rules, we haven't been found out yet! My rules are in place for a reason, Dave!" Jennifer told him, leaning forward to brace her hands against the front of his desk.
"You know, I agreed to those stupid rules because you thought we wouldn't last. Here we are, however, almost six months later still hiding something we have no need to feel ashamed about. I think I've proven that I'm in this for the long haul, JJ," Rossi told her, holding out his arms.
"Dave-," JJ said, a note of pleading in her voice.
"No. Uh Uh. When we began our relationship, I agreed to three months of secrecy, Jennifer. Three. Nearly six months later, I'm still hiding the fact that I've fallen in love with a beautiful, intelligent woman. Is there any particular reason you can come up with for that? Other than the fact that I love you so much that I agree to your stupid rule extensions every time you ask, that is."
"Dave, honey please-," she tried again.
"No, Jennifer. Don't "Dave" me in that tone…it's worked too many times before. We're together. Have been for a while now. Christ, woman, you spend more time at the cabin than anywhere else. When was the last time you slept at your condo instead of our bed? And notice how I said our bed Jennifer - because that's what it is to me."
Jennifer bit her lip and shifted uncomfortably knowing that he was making an excellent point.
"That's what I thought," he said smugly. "Admit it, your condo has become an overpriced storage facility! That's all you use it for. A place to store whatever clothes aren't in season at the moment and a place that holds your furniture. We talked a month ago about selling that place and moving the rest of your things to the cabin, but you put me off. Again! No more, Jennifer."
"What are you saying here, Dave, that if I don't do things your way that you'll end things between us?" Jennifer asked defensively.
"Don't be stupid," Dave exploded. "I could no more leave you than I could stop the sun from rising in west and setting in the east. What I am saying is that either we tell the team about us or I do. One way or another, it's time for it to happen!"
"Well, if you'd have let me finish, I'd have given you this before," she said handing him the sheet of paper she'd been holding in her hand. "If you recall, I said I had something personal to talk to you about when I came in here." she told him haughtily.
Glancing down at the paper she held out to him, Dave accepted it. Scanning the sheet, he saw that it was a memorandum to all the BAU teams ordering their mandatory presence at the company picnic Saturday afternoon.
"I thought this might be the best opportunity to allow the team to see us as a couple for the first time," JJ said quietly.
Looking up from the paper he held, Dave smiled ruefully, saying, "Way to bury the lead, honey."
"Well, I was getting to it. I had already decided I was tired of walking the high wire of relationship secrecy. I've only been looking for an opportunity for us to come out, so to speak. This seems like the ideal opportunity," she said, nodding to the paper in his hand.
"I feel like an ass now. Hope your satisfied." Dave said, tossing the paper onto his desk.
"Immensely. Although it was nice to hear that you'd fallen in love with me," she told him gently.
"You already knew that," he said raising his dark eyes to meet hers. Watching her, he wondered what color eyes their son or daughter would have. Mentally shaking himself from those whimsical thoughts, Dave continued, "I think Saturday's picnic is an excellent plan."
"And, Sunday, I thought maybe, if you wanted, we could move the rest of my things out to the cabin - if you're really serious about wanting me their full time," she told him softly.
"Serious? Jennifer, I've never been more serious about anything in my life. I want permanence. I want the forever after with you, honey. You're the one still having trouble believing that. I knew six months ago what I wanted. I also understand with my track record that you have reason to doubt me, but sweetheart, it's the truth. You're it. The last and only one for me. I know it sounds trite and overly simple, but it's the truth when I tell you that I've never felt this way before."
"I want the happily ever after with you, too, Dave. But we have to be careful how we handle this. Your career is set in stone. You worked your way to the top and have established yourself as a living legend. I'm just really getting started in the agency. My career could go up in smoke over this," JJ told him somberly.
"I've told you a dozen time that I won't allow that to happen, Jennifer. You keep forgetting that the man you're with exerts a considerable amount of power with a lot of very influential people. We don't let our personal life affect our work - nothing will be said," he assured her for the hundredth time.
"But, Strauss-," JJ began.
"Forget about Erin Strass, Jennifer! If she becomes a problem, I'll handle her. Trust me, honey, the director will not want to tangle with me," he said firmly. As he watched her face, he could see the walls crumbling - the doubts beginning to fade. And, God, did he want to rejoice! He'd won! She was finally ready to admit publicly to their relationship.
"Okay, David, if you're this sure about us, I am, too. Let's tell everyone Saturday," she replied, gaining confidence.
"Now, that's the woman I know and love," he cheered.
"I love you, too," she returned meeting his eyes. "And, I want to share my life with you - starting now."
Ignoring her no PDA rule, David Rossi proceeded to pull his blond haired beauty into his arms. Lowering his dark head over hers, he slowly took her lips in a tenderly passionate kiss.
Jennifer's last rational thought before David lowered her to the leather couch in his office was that this man was going to steal what little sanity she had left. And he did.
Saturday donned beautiful, sunny and eighty - four degrees. David and Jennifer had spent the last two days anticipating and dreading this moment, respectively. David wanted it over with. The sooner the news of their relationship became public knowledge, the sooner the love of his life would relax and begin to start looking at their entwined futures in a more permanent light. Because as sure as he was standing there, his future was forever linked to hers.
For her part, Jennifer dreaded this. A private person by nature, she hated exposing any part of her life for any reason - even to her closest friends. But, she knew this had to be done. Dave deserved to be recognized as the man she was deeply in love with. And, honestly, she wanted the other females within the Bureau to know that the legendary David Rossi was forever off the market. It was just that she dreaded the questions and the explanations. For a private woman such as herself to have to divulge details of something so deeply intimate as her relationship with the older man - it was in a word, torture. She wasn't ashamed of her love for the man, but in her opinion it was a private matter - for him and her alone. However, she understood David's desire to be honest with those around them and so, she'd agreed to lift the ban on secrecy.
As he came around the car to assist her, he smiled down at her. "I know you're dreading this, but look at it this way. It's the first and only time you'll ever have to do it because, fair warning, I'm never letting you go, beautiful."
Lifting her head to stare into his ruggedly handsome face, Jennifer replied, "I don't ever want to lose you."
"You won't. Now let's have a kiss for luck baby," he growled as he lowered his hungry mouth to hers, pressing her body against the side of the car. And so, that was how five year old Jack Hotchner found them. His Uncle Dave sticking his tongue into his Auntie JJ's mouth as he stood on the edge of the grass of the playground.
"Ewwww, Uncie Dave, why are you doing that with Auntie JJ? That's gross! That's how my daddy kisses mommy! Daddy says you gots to have a wing on your finga to do dat! I'm telling!" he yelled pointing at them. "You guys are in trrrrrouuubbblee" he yelled, running as fast as his sturdy five year old legs would carry him toward where the members of their team were set up!
"Jack, wait!" shouted JJ with wide eyes.
"Go, kid, go!" yelled Rossi. Wrapping a strong arm around Jennifer's waist, he leaned over and whispered into her ear, "Save's us the trouble!"
"Are you kidding me? You want to be ratted out by a five year old!?" JJ asked, incredulously.
"I believe his explanation will cut to the heart of the matter based on what he saw," Dave replied reasonably.
Rolling her eyes and gripping his arm in an iron hold, JJ drug Dave toward the picnic tables and the group of friends she knew would be amusedly awaiting an explanation.
As they approached the BAU picnic table, both JJ and Dave heard little Jack Hotchner clearly say, "Yes, daddy, I'm sure he had his tongue in her mouth! Just like you and mommy! I pomise. I'm telling the truth. He was kissin' her."
"Did she look like she was happy, sweetie?" they heard Aunt Penelope ask.
"Yep! Her hands were around his neck and she was huggin' him," Jack answered in his honest engine five year old voice.
"Did they kiss one time or a lot of times?" asked Aunt Emily.
"One great big ole time, Auntie Em!" Jack said, excited that all the grownups thought he was so important.
"Did Uncle Dave see you, kid?" they heard Uncle Morgan ask.
"Yep! He winked at me while he was kissin Auntie JJ," Jack piped up.
Jaw dropping, JJ slapped David's arm. "You didn't!" she hissed.
Shrugging, Dave just laughed.
"Sounds to me like you've stumbled onto a very interesting event, Jack," Uncle Reid was telling the young boy as they finally got to the table.
"There they are! There they are! I told on you! You supposed to have a ring to kiss like that! Daddy said so!" Jack said, hopping up and down, pointing at them.
"Don't worry, Jack. I think Uncle Dave and Aunt JJ are going to offer a really good explanation to all of us. You just run along back and play with your friends, okay?" Hotch told the little boy with a grin.
"Okay, daddy," said little Jack scampering off.
As Jack rejoined his friends on the playground, Hotch turned to his two favorite colleagues. "Anything you want to share with the group, guys?" Hotch asked with a twinkle in his eye.
"Pretty sure that your son already told you all for us," said Dave confidently.
"Yeah, but there's a few holes in his story," Emily said, looking at JJ suspiciously. "How long, Jayje?"
"Six months," JJ mumbled.
"I'm sorry, but did you just say SIX MONTHS?" Reid asked, amazed.
"Holy crap! Props to ya, man! How the hell did you guys manage that with our group?" Morgan asked, laughing.
"This one," Dave said, nodding at the woman he loved, "is a master at negotiating the treacherous waters of secret relationships. I, for one, am glad the secret is out!"
"I was worried what effect our relationship would have on the team in the event it didn't work out. I wanted to keep it quiet until I was convinced it would last," JJ explained quietly.
"And that took her six months?" asked Reid to Dave.
"Evidently. But, that's in the past now. We're together! We're in love! Anybody here got a problem with that?" Dave asked, virtually daring anyone to say anything. Met with silence and amused looks, Dave turned to JJ, smugly saying, "See, babe, told you so."
At his smug tone, Penelope had to lean forward, laughing and ask one of her best girlfriends in the world, "Are you sure you're in love JJ? Or are you just to scared to disagree with him?"
"Believe it or not, I'm actually in love with him," she said as she looked up at the man of her dreams with shining eyes. "The key to dealing with him is just to let him think he's right about everything. Things run much smoother that way!"
~ The End ~