A/N: Thanks so much to Kavi Leighanna and Sienna27 for inviting us all to September's edition of the television prompt challenge. Here's my latest offering. Many thanks to my wonderful beta and friend, Tonnie…without her…this thing wouldn't have an ending or a name! You rock, my friend!
LANDMINES OF THE LOVELORN
Prompt: October Road - "The Infidelity Tour"
Sliding into the vinyl booth across from David Rossi and Aaron Hotchner, Morgan grinned unrepentantly as he placed his whiskey sour on the table in front of him.
"I can't believe that bartender just gave you your drink," Spencer snorted as he took his seat beside the older black man.
"Youngster, you have GOT to learn the fine art of flirting," Morgan chuckled.
"No, he doesn't," Hotch said reprovingly, staring at Morgan across the table. "Especially not when he's in a committed relationship with Austin. As you are with Jordan Todd, if I recall correctly. Your stunts are gonna get you in all kinds of trouble, Derek," Hotch warned. "Agent Todd doesn't exactly seem like the tolerant type."
"I told you, man! Jordan and I are casual. That's what she wanted and that's what she got," Morgan retorted, defending himself.
"Are you a complete moron?" Dave snorted, raising his glass of Scotch to his lips.
"What do you mean by that!?" Morgan said, nodding to the smiling woman behind the bar.
"It's a test, you fool," Dave replied, rolling his eyes.
"A test?" Spencer asked curiously.
Exchanging a look with Hotch, Dave shook his head. "What do ya think, Aaron? Do we need to school these boys in the art of translating woman speak or let them figure it out like we did?"
Chuckling, Hotch shook his head. "Who are you kidding? I learned everything I know from watching your mistakes."
"There is that," Dave returned, saluting Hotch with his cut glass.
"What the hell are you two talking about?" Morgan asked without heat.
"Gentlemen," Hotch said, placing his hand on Dave's shoulder, "Allow me to introduce you to David Rossi…our conductor on the Infidelity tour tonight. Take it away, Dave."
"No offense, guys," Morgan began, holding up his hands, "but there's no way to be unfaithful in a CASUAL relationship. She said she didn't want anything serious!"
"Oh, my poor deluded halfwit friend," Dave said with a sad shake of his dark head. "You're falling for the oldest trick in the book."
"Huh?" Reid and Morgan said in unison.
"Gather round my misguided friends," Dave said, motioning at the two younger men across the table, "and learn from an old man's mistakes."
"What the hell are you talking about, Rossi?" Morgan asked, growing agitated.
"I'm talking about the path to love, my friend. It's paved with shards of glass. And you're about to plant your oversized foot on one."
"Hotch, do you want to start translating for us?" Morgan questioned, giving his boss an aggrieved look.
"He's saying that you're about to fuck up a really good thing with the big breasted bartender," Hotch said plainly, his lips made looser by his third long necked beer of the evening.
"Well said, young Jedi," Dave said with a pleased smile in his one time protegee's direction.
"Thank you, Obi Wan! You taught me well," Hotch said formally.
Turning back to look at the young men across the table, Dave said evenly, "Look, my friends, I have made many forays into the romantic realm over the years -"
"That's an understatement," Hotch snorted.
"Save your comments til the end, asshole," Rossi ordered out the side of his mouth. "As I was saying, I've made many a foray into the wide world of romantic entanglements and I'm telling you, Derek, you're being tested. NO woman ever wants a casual relationship. Even when they SAY they want a casual relationship. Even when they THINK they want a casual relationship. They don't. They want to prove to themselves that the man in question is serious about them. Therefore they give this SO-CALLED permission to stray….calling what they have with the man in question casual - but as soon as you take advantage of that so-called clause in the relationship with another woman…WHAM….no more Jordan. Because you will have proven to her that you have no staying power. That the first woman to show you the slightest bit of attention will divert you from your relationship with HER! I'm telling you, my friend…this has TRAP written all over it!"
"That's twisted," Morgan frowned, analyzing the older man's words.
"Welcome to the wonderful world of romance, my friend! Watch that you don't step of the landmines of the lovelorn," Dave advised.
"I'm so screwed," Reid whispered, staring into space. "No wonder 53% of all marriages end in divorce!"
"I'll drink to that," Hotch grinned, raising his bottle as his friends did the same as his phone rang.
Watching his friend fumble in his pocket for his phone, Dave grinned. "Ten bucks says that's Prentiss."
"I thought the girls were all going to that art show across town," Reid said, stirring his cranberry and vodka.
"Oh, they are…but not before they check on us. Twenty bucks said our Agent Todd put Prentiss up to calling," Dave grinned with a pointed look at Morgan.
"Yeah, Em. I'm looking at him right now. NO, of course he isn't making eyes at any other women. He's committed this time!" Hotch said with a glare toward Morgan.
"Told ya," Rossi gloated.
"No, tell Austin that I limited Reid to two vodka-cranberries," Hotch sighed into the phone. "He'll remember his way home, I promise. If I have to shove him in his own front door, he'll be in by midnight!"
"Ohhhh, somebody has a curfew," Rossi snickered at Reid.
"Yeah, honey, I'll remind him. No, I won't forget. See you in a couple of hours. Love you, too," Aaron said, closing his phone. Turning, Hotch rolled his eyes at Dave. "I'm supposed to tell you that JJ says that she doesn't care how drunk you get tonight, you're still gonna have to get up with the baby in the morning. Evidently, it's your turn."
"Now, look who's been whipped like the dog he is!" Morgan chuckled.
"You're absolutely right, Derek. I'm whipped. But remember, I broke my chain three times before by catching a ride on the infidelity train. Trust me, son! Sometimes it's just easier to keep your ass on the leash."
"Amen, my brother," Hotch said as the other men at the table joined him in laughter.