Author's Note: Thanks to Tonnie for telling me to write the story! Please read and review! As ever, I don't own Criminal Minds.
THE ART OF NEGOTIATION
As an eight months pregnant Jennifer Jareau waddled into the restraunt Reid had chosen for his birthday dinner, she came to an abrupt stop as she noticed the usually unshakeable David Rossi cowering in the entryway. "Dave?" she called to him.
Jerking his head around, Dave hissed, "Shhhh! Woman, can't you see I'm in hiding over here!"
Raising an eyebrow as he crouched lower in the doorframe, she watched him peer around the corner.
"What the hell are you doing?" JJ asked as she joined him.
"Isn't it obvious? I'm hiding," he whispered, shooting her a look that said he thought she'd lost her pregnant mind.
"David, you don't hide," JJ replied, shaking her head at his antics.
"The hell I don't," Dave muttered under his breath, absently pulling her to him as a waiter nearly crashed into her.
"Okaaaayyy, let's try this another way. Who are you hiding from?" JJ asked, barely suppressing a smile at the unusually frantic look in his eye.
"My freaking stalker," he mumbled.
Snorting with laughter, JJ giggled, "A stalker or a one night stand gone horribly wrong?"
"Hey, those days are over! This one is a bona fide whack job! Ever since my last book came out this chick turns up everywhere I go," he whispered, nodding to an attractive redhead sitting at the bar. "I don't know how she manages to know where I'm going before I do! Hell, Reid decided on this restaurant about fifteen minutes ago!"
"Maybe she followed you," JJ shrugged.
"Thanks for the warm fuzzy thoughts, Blondie," Dave growled out the side of his mouth.
Sighing, JJ could see that the man beside her was obviously rattled. "Want me to make her go away?"
Focusing his laser-like eyes on her, Dave smiled gratefully at her. "You'd do that for me?" he asked hopefully.
Offering him a half smile and a wink, JJ warned, "There'd be a price."
"Name it," he nodded eagerly.
"Well as an abandoned expectant mother," she began theatrically, "I have this room filled with boxes of baby furniture that needs a big strong man to put it together."
"Abandoned, my ass! The best thing you ever did was kick that cheating son of a bitch to the curb," Rossi growled, momentarily distracted from his current predicament.
Shrugging, JJ continued, shifting on her feet, "Be that as it may, I'm still about three weeks from my due date and I have no nursery."
"All you had to do was ask, Jen," Dave murmured.
"Ah, but I'll feel better about it this way," JJ winked. "I help you and you help me. Quid pro quo."
"Look, honey, if you can get rid of this nuisance for good, not only will I put the furniture together, but I'll up the ante by painting it, too. Whatever color you want," he promised. "And, I'll owe you, Jen. I'll owe you big."
Smiling, JJ nodded. "It's a deal. Now, go inside and get a table. When she approaches you, ask her to sit down."
Blanching, Rossi asked, "Do I have to?"
"Trust me…ask her to sit down. Then, just follow my lead," JJ told him with a knowing look. "I'll handle the risk."
"You sure about this, Blondie?" Rossi asked with a nervous look at his stalker again.
"Absolutely positive. Whatever I say, just go with it. Now move, before the rest of the team gets here."
With one last look at her, Dave quickly entered the main body of the restaurant.
Standing in the doorway, JJ watched as the redhead's eyes dilated as he walked in. Less than thirty seconds after Dave seated himself, the woman made her approach. Stifling a laugh at the look in Dave's eyes, JJ waited as he invited the other woman to sit down. Waiting a heartbeat longer, mainly because she was enjoying the normally unflappable David Rossi's desperate look, JJ slowly marched over to the table.
"David Alexander Rossi!" JJ wailed angrily about three feet from the table. "How could you!?"
Lifting alarmed eyes in her direction, Dave's mouth dropped…whether in awe or relief, JJ wasn't sure. What she was sure of was that the redhead at the table was definitely knocked off her game. Continuing, JJ ranted, "So, is this her? Is this the woman that you've been spending your nights with when you told me that you were working on your latest book?"
"Honey, I can explain," Dave sputtered stupidly.
"How, Dave? How?" JJ said, sniffing into her hand. "Here I am, eight months pregnant with your child and you do this!" she hissed.
"Whoa!" the redhead gasped, eyes widening as she looked at Dave. "You're going to be a father?"
Casting the woman a contemptuous glare, JJ yelled, "He was also going to be a husband! Did he tell you that?" Slamming her hands on her widening hips, JJ screeched, "Well, did he? Of course, he didn't!" Fixating Dave with a steely glare, JJ growled, "You promised me that this would never happen again, you bastard!"
"Sweetheart, it isn't what it looks like," Dave tried to say.
Slapping him soundly across the face, JJ hissed, "If you ever have a hope in hell of meeting this baby, you won't say another word!"
"He's really telling the truth this time! It really isn't what it looks like, " the redhead mumbled, rising from the table. "I had no idea he was already taken, lady. Listen, in your condition, you don't need to be upset like this." Turning burning eyes to Dave, the redhead hissed, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself!" Looking back at JJ, she whispered, "I'm sooo sorry, lady. Good luck!" She never looked back as she hurried out of the restaurant.
Watching the other woman go, JJ smiled in satisfaction.
Looking up at her with a new respect, Dave said in an awed voice, "Damn! You're GOOD." Rubbing his jaw, he muttered, "And you deliver a hell of a left hook. Sublimating a bit, honey?"
"Of course I am," JJ said pertly, grabbing his arm as she eased her body into the chair beside him. "And, remember, you owe me!"
"Damn right, I do! I don't want to be on the wrong side of your temper for real," Rossi laughed.
"Oh, that was nothing! You should have seen what I did to Will," JJ laughed.
"JJ, after that, I don't think you could tell me anything that would surprise me," Rossi laughed.