Disclaimer: I don't own Rossi and Strauss, though I wish I would. Kind of sequel to "A night like this", but it's not necessary to read it to understand this story.
This story is not betaed so please forgive my mistakes. Comments are greatly appreciated!
The two who didn't get away – One
Erin Strauss stood in front of the mirror in the small-sized en-suite bathroom that was connected to her office and applied some lipstick to her lips. Stepping a bit back, she checked her appearance, stretched a little, glad the dress didn't look as if she had to hold her breath to fit into it. The last three weeks were definitely worth the pain of ignoring her favorite pasta and any other culinary sin that made the world a better place. She had worked hard to lose those pounds and tonight was the night, she could show everyone – him – she was still a force to be reckoned with.
"I'm here," she yelled, peeking out of the door. Liza, her secretary stood at her desk and tilted her head.
"I have a problem here... Wow," Liza whistled at her when she saw Erin coming back into the office. "You really look stunning!"
"Thank you, Liza," Erin gave her a shy smile. It had taken her hours to find a suitable dress for tonight's fundraiser that was elegant and at the same time risky enough to gain people's attention. The black silk flew smoothly around her body, exposed her bare shoulders and a great deal of her naked back, leaving the world to wonder what and if she was wearing something underneath.
"What kind of party will you attend?" Liza asked while Erin draped a long black silk scarf around her shoulders.
"It's a fundraiser... an old friend of mine is hosting a dinner for an organization that supports orphan shelters."
"Actually, everything Angela wants is her photo in the press, but at least the money goes where it should and so I agreed to attend." She looked at Liza who was still holding a sheet of paper in her hand.
"What is it?"
"Well... I'm sorry, but there's again a problem with Agent Rossi's statement of expenses."
Erin rolled her eyes. The man was a pain in the ass. "What is it this time?"
"Well, half of the bills are missing and what is there... is well..."
"A mess," Erin concluded. "And as always Agent Hotchner has signed everything."
"To make it short, yes."
Erin sighed. There was no use of letting Liza taking care of this. Rossi would laugh about the young woman and her request. She would have to kick his butt all by herself this time. Always a pleasure. "I'll take care of this. Tomorrow." Erin decided, because if she talked to him tonight, her good mood would go to hell.
"Well, actually the accounts department needs the numbers as early as possible... you know how they are. They've called me twice in the last hour."
"Okay... if he's still in the office, I'll talk to him."
"He's in the gym," Liza informed her. "I saw him going there some time ago."
"He's gained some pounds. If I were him I would exercise as well." Erin grinned. She had to remember to rub it under his nose when she talked to him.
"Well, if you ask him about his expenses in this dress, he'll probably give in and just do it properly the next time," Liza suggested with a sneaky smile. Erin shot a 'Strauss glance' at her. Realizing she had gone too far Liza cleared her throat and headed toward her antechamber.
"I think I'll take care of something else now. Have a nice evening, Ma'am."
10 Minutes later
He lay on the water, enjoying the peaceful quietness of the evening. To hell with the exercise when he could just enjoy the silence. The water was pleasantly warm. Not too hot and certainly not too cold either. We would stay a few minutes more, shower, dress and then on his way home, drop by his favorite Italian restaurant to enjoy some good food. That was of course against the rules of his diet, but he decided not to care. Life was short and meant to be enjoyed.
With some lazy movements he swam back to the edge of the large pool, turned and got hold of something that wasn't the edge of the pool. It was a foot in a high heel... an ankle in silk stockings... Surprised he looked up and didn't really trust his eyes.
"Erin," he said and smiled up to her. He always smiled when she looked as cross as she did now.
"What brings you here?" He roamed her appearance with appreciating eyes and moved a bit backwards to have a better look at her. "Don't tell you're here, because you want to become one of my wildest dreams become reality!"
"Only if your wildest dream includes the details of your statement of expenses," she said briskly. "When will you start to do your paperwork properly so that I don't have to run after it?"
"You tell me... you're the bureaucrat. Isn't it your job to manage those things?"
"Hardly. Your expenses, your job!"
She dropped the file next to her feet. "Make sure Liza gets the documents before you leave tonight. Otherwise the bureau won't pay the so-called expenses Agent Hotchner grants you so generously."
"Why so pissed, Erin?" he asked. "It's just paper work."
How she hated it when he told her, her job wasn't important or rules weren't important. Damn, the system worked like that and he was part of the system, wasn't he? Damn, he was one of the founders of the BAU. Why couldn't he just do what he was supposed to do?
"Well, since you can afford to abandon the money, I should forget about it," she said, the hands in her hips.
Damn, she looked gorgeous when she did that. "Erin, come on..." he pleaded. "Someone who looks as beautiful as you do tonight, shouldn't rant about something like this."
"So what else should I do in your opinion?"
He shrugged. "Enjoy life... enjoy this evening. You could join me... the water is perfect."
Rolling her eyes, she turned and started leave.
"Hey... where are you going dressed up this anyway?"
"A dinner," she answered without stopping.
"Someone I know?"
She didn't know why, but she stopped when she heard he was climbing out of the pool. Remembering he didn't look so bad when he was wet and half naked, she turned to have a look at him. He was rubbing his hair, the towel over his head. Glad, he couldn't see her, she let her eyes glide over his body.
"It's a fundraiser," she explained. "No male company attendance needed."
"A shame..." he said, his eyes lingering on her face. "But I still guess there's a reason for this outfit... so I assume you want to impress someone who will be there or you want to piss off someone who will be there..."
"No, I don't think so... I'm the profiler here, remember?"
Crossing her arms over her chest, she waited for him to continue while he was still busy rubbing his wet legs. Sure, he wouldn't notice her eyes checking him out while he was busy drying his toes, she let them travel over his body. David Rossi was still easy on the eyes and she couldn't deny she liked what she saw. A few pounds more or less didn't make him less attractive. Did she just lick her lips?
"Why do you people always have to profile me?" she asked, pretending to be annoyed, aiming to distract herself from his sight.
"Because it's fun... and we can't help ourselves. So who's there you want to piss off?" he asked, pulling the towel from his head. As she remained silent, he started to chuckle.
"Is it Gideon?" he asked, amused.
"I don't even know where he is these days... and Jason at a fundraiser? Please..."
He wouldn't give up before he knew the truth and before he annoyed the hell out of her with his stupid assumptions, she could tell him the truth.
"All right... it's Max... he and his new wife will attend as well."
He laughed out loud. "I see... well, I'm sure your ex-husband will be deeply impressed when he sees you. After everything you did in the last few weeks to fit into his black little nothing, you deserve to be desired."
"After everything I did?" she asked.
"Yes, I've seen you clinging to carrots for lunch for what? Three weeks? Four? And your mood was even worse than usual, because you had yourself starving, though I doubt Max is worth the effort."
She closed her eyes, couldn't believe he had noticed her dieting, probably asking himself for the reason.
"Well, at least it worked for me... what I can't say about you?... Seems to me your winter was quite long." she smiled sweetly, her eyes resting on his belly.
Involuntarily he held his breath, tightening the muscles of his stomach.
"That's what I think."
"And people say I have a big ego..."
"They're right. And if you'll excuse me now... Little Miss Perfect is 8 months pregnant and has, as far as I know, swollen feet and a problem with acne. That's something I want to see before I die and I don't want to be late."
He chuckled and agreed, "You shouldn't. It's the opportunity of a lifetime. But Erin..." his voice trailed off.
"There's just one thing missing that would really get under his skin..."
"All right, Rossi. I know you won't give up until you know the while story." she said, perfectly knowing that he already had a theory and just wanted her to confirm it.
"I'm all ears."
"I had a date, but he's stuck in New York City after a business deal has failed. Are you happy now? But worse things have happened to me. I'll be fine without a man at my side tonight... Good night and do me a favor and get your paperwork done! Otherwise I'll have to ask Agent Hotchner what you do to him that he always signs everything you ask him to and that could become quite embarrassing for the three of us."
Tearing her eyes from his body, she headed to the door, but again he managed to make her stop. He cleared his throat. "Erin..."
"You don't have to go there alone... unless you want to get Max back, what would be a rather stupid idea. The guy is drop dead boring and I doubt he's what makes you happy... or beg for more..." Damn, she hated it, when he started talking about sex.
"And what is this supposed to mean?"
He spread his arms, "As a matter of fact I have nothing to do tonight..."
"You aren't serious." She gasped.
"Sure, I am... come on... Max knows me..." he made a step forward. "He hates me...remember that he tried to punch me after we had this case in Colorado and were stuck in this cabin in the mountains for almost three days?"
She did remember it and it had been rather funny to see how Max' fist had missed David's face and the incident hadn't helped to improve her young marriage. From the rest of the whole story not to mention.
"Just think of the look on his face when he catches us making out on the engine hood of his car." He twinkled at her.
"Are you sure, you haven't inhaled too much chlorine?" she asked dryly. "What should anyone make out on an engine hood?"
"Why not? Believe me the backseat is less comfortable... and narrow."
"Good night, David."
On her way to the door she let his idea run through her head. It was exactly what she had had in mind when she heard Max and his little Miss Perfect would attend the fundraiser. Well, aside from the engine hood, but the concept was the same... but asking David Rossi to go with her? The thought was absurd. Sure Max had never liked David, had been jealous of him from the very moment he had learned Erin and David had known each other since they had attended the FBI academy together, but he had no idea how controversial her relationship really was... not that she knew how to describe it herself...
The last time they had been out together had ended in a infamous disaster. Who told her that wasn't going to happen again? Maybe, if she stayed sober this time she could avoid... No, the idea was bad.
"I see... you've started contemplating my idea," he grinned, knowing he was close to win.
"It's insane, David... no one would ever believe... and we would be too late anyway or do you have a tux in your desk drawer?"
"No, but in my closet..." he answered with a proud smile. "You have no idea how often I have to cancel invitations or how often I'm able to intend despite my schedule. So I stored one tux in my closet, just in case..."
"A real boy Friday."
Still, she didn't know, if this was a good idea. He noticed her hesitation. "You know it'll fun," he encouraged her. "We always fun when we go out."
"Yes, but I'm afraid sooner or later one of our funny encounters will end up in the morning papers."
"Not as long as we stay sober..."
And maybe that was the challenge about it.