Author's Note: As you all know by now, we are in full swing on the Profiler's Choice Awards hosted on "Chit Chat on Author's Corner". And we'd like to offer an extra incentive to get those nominations rolling in. For the next five people to complete the nomination ballot in its entirety, I would be happy to write a oneshot of your pairing preference (hetero, slash or femslash, doesn't matter!). We have an abundance of incredible stories and authors to choose from this year and we have already received many wonderful nominations. Just to refresh your memory though, tonnie2001969 and myself (ilovetvalot) have removed ourselves from eligibility in the interest of avoiding all appearances of self-promotion. But, we want to make this an incredible experience for each one of you and give you a well-rounded final voting selection to choose from. So let's all put on our reading caps and pick our favorites!
Also, don't forget to sign up for our newest challenge at the forum. We're honoring Halloween with our first ever "Candy Land Challenge" and signups run through September 30th! Details are at the forum!
We also have a great new interview with another fellow CM author this week. Come and get to know THUNDERBRAT.
As always, guys, Happy Reading!
Penelope Garcia's Guide to Guys and Gals
Walking down the noisy grassy aisle way, buffeted on either side by brightly lit games, Reid grimaced. "Garcia, I'm not really sure if this is..."
"Ohhhh, look, my, juicy Junior Mint," Garcia squealed, pointing up ahead as she bounced on her tip toes. "We're about to further your education into the rigors of dating right here!"
What do you mean?" Reid whined as Garcia snatched his arm and dragged him toward one of the brightly lit games.
"You, my white knight are going to win THAT teddy bear," she said, pointing to a bright orange teddy bear hanging on the display, "for your fair maiden."
Blinking rapidly, Reid looked down at Garcia in astonishment. "Garcia, you do realize that this is a shooting game, rigged so that even an expert marksman can't win."
"Guys don't whine," Garcia said tersely, shaking his slack arm determinedly. "Now, win me the prize, Dr. Reid."
"Think of it as a medieval exercise, when the knights would joust for the fairest maiden in the land. That bear," she said, pointing again with an imperious finger, "is all that is standing between you and a spear through the heart."
Shaking his head, Reid suggested eagerly, "Why don't I just take you to Target and buy you two equally appealing stuffed animals. It's be easier...and cheaper."
"But where is the challenge in that? A gal wants to see her guy work for her affections, my pretty," Garcia replied, shaking her head in amazement at his lack of knowledge.
"This is ridiculous," Reid complained as the man running the game approached them with a wide smile. Yeah, Reid thought grimly, this man can spot a sucker at twenty paces, and evidently he had the very word tattooed on his forehead in neon letters.
"Well, hello there, Annie Oakley," the grizzled proprietor of the game greeted Penelope cheerfully, "what can I do for you and your beau today?"
Tipping her white cowboy hat at the man behind the counter, Penelope pointed at the orange bear hanging by a clothespin to the line above their heads. "My guy is gonna win me that bear. Can you help him with that?"
Nodding, the older man's eyes crinkled as he looked at the lanky young man standing nervously beside the brightly dressed woman. "Sure can. Three shots, sonny, for only five bucks. Hit the bullseye and win your pretty lady a prize," he explained handing over the small mock pistol as he pushed a button underneath the counter, rotating the targets.
"I'm supposed to hit the bullseye of a moving target?" Reid almost whimpered, forking over a five dollar bill as he gripped the toy gun tighter.
"It's a game of skill, son. Take your first shot," the elder man replied with a cunning smile, already imagining the income this encounter could generate.
And closing his eyes, Reid fired his first shot.
Fifty dollars poorer, Reid shoved Penelope Garcia's fuzzy orange bear into her arms. "There!" he panted, using the back of his hand to wipe the sweat from his brow. "I just want you to know that was harder than any Bureau qualification I ever had to comply with."
"Ah ah ah," Garcia chastised, walloping his arm with the newly-won prize. "Guys don't complain about winning their gal's affections."
"Do guys always pay fifty bucks for a foot long stuffed animal?" Reid asked grumpily, scuffing the worn grass with his loafer. "Good grief, this evening has already cost almost a hundred dollars and we haven't even eaten yet!"
"Rule Six," Garcia sighed, pursing her lips as she narrowed her eyes, "A guy never, ever, under penalty of death, complains about the cost of the date. Remember that for tomorrow night," she said, jabbing him in his chest with a pointed finger before turning toward the food booths. "But," she said brightly, taking in their options, "speaking of food, I'm hungry. Feed me."
Sighing heavily as he once again trudged after a determined Penelope Garcia, Reid wondered what new trouble the vibrant woman would find for him next.
He didn't have to wait long to find out. Half an hour later found him juggling Penelope's bear, now dubbed "Dr. Jekyll", and a big gulp drink of questionable contents as he stood beside her in front of the Tilt-a-whirl. "You want to what?" he asked loudly above the din of laughing children surrounding them. Honestly, didn't parents know how to control their offspring any more?
"I wanna go on that ride," she said, pointing toward the rapidly moving metal cars that seemed to be gaining in velocity.
Feeling his stomach roll, compliments of the greasy funnel cake and candy floss his "date" had shoved down his throat just watching the ride, Reid shook his head. "Pen, I don't know if that's such a good idea. It doesn't even look safe. I could quote you statistics on accident..."
"Listen, Gumdrop," Penelope interrupted, raising a silencing hand without bothering to look at him, "look around you. We're at a FAIR, Reid. And I absolutely refuse to leave until we partake in just one carnival delight," she said firmly, gesturing at the swirling machine.
"For the record," Reid replied darkly, following her through the metal gate and into the seat of the ride, "THIS is a very unwise decision," he shrieked as the door slammed and the ride jerked forward.
Well, she couldn't say that he didn't warn her, could she? Smoothing her hand in slow circles over his arched back as he braced his hands on his knees and took several deep breaths, Penelope Garcia frowned down at her soiled shoe, shaking it as delicately as possible. Frowning, she asked, lips pursed, "What the hell did you eat that was blue, Angelfish?"
"Sno-cone," Reid choked, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand as he reminded himself that at least he was still alive. For a few moments on that physics-defying swirl of terror, he had been certain that his imminent existence was questionable. "I'm soooo sorry, Penelope," Reid murmured as he finally straightened and took a deep breath. "I'll buy you a new pair of shoes."
"You don't need to do that, SweetCheeks," Penelope said carelessly, shaking her head as she patted Reid's cheek. "I'm just sorry you got so sick! I always assume everybody has a cast iron stomach like me. My bad," she said meekly, peeking up at him through her eyelashes with doe eyes.
"Guess this means that I don't get to practice then end of mock date kiss with you, huh?" Reid joked as they slowly walked toward Garcia's parked car.
"As much as I love you, I'm going to say no," Garcia laughed, patting his arm consolingly. "But I will tell you that you passed Garcia's Guide to Guys and Gals class with flying colors."
"Really?" Reid snorted, glancing down at her with an arched brow. "I find that hard to believe."
"You get As across the board for effort," Garcia declared triumphantly, winking at her friend.
"Then would now be a good time to tell you that the date JJ set me up on fell through. Amanda called me this morning. It appears that she and her ex-boyfriend decided to reconcile."
"You're kidding!" Garcia replied incredulously, her eyes widening astronomically as she stared at the serious genius.
"Uh huh," Reid nodded, opening Garcia's car door without any prompting. "So, it appears that I'm free tomorrow night after all. Any chance you'd like to go on a mock second date with me and, perhaps, further my education a bit farther?"
"Well, Agent Assertive," Penelope enthused, her grin widening happily, "you never told me you had such smooth moves! You've been holding out on me. I'd love to."
Nodding happily, Reid jogged around the convertible and slid behind the wheel just in time for Garcia to say, "And if I remember correctly, the circus is in town tomorrow night!"
Author's Note 2 - Also guys, please don't forget that if you'd like to advertise the awards on your own profile pages or stories, there's a short blurb on my (ilovetvalot) and Tonnie's (tonnie2001969) profile page for you to copy and paste if you choose! Thanks again for reading!