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The Customer is Always Right
"Oh," Garcia replied cheerfully, slapping a hand on Dave's stiffened shoulder, "Daddy-O is a..."
At that point, Dave realized he couldn't hear anything above the ringing in his own years. Father? That woman thought he was Garcia's dad? Sure, he'd played the role of Sugardaddy more than once in his life, but...
"Agent Starstruck!" Penelope called, shaking his arm vigorously. "Earth to Rossi!" she called in a sing-song voice as she poked his cheek with a sharp nail.
Finally shifting his incredulous gaze to Penelope, Dave shook his head. "I'm leaving," he muttered, trying to foist his armful of clothes into Penelope's hands. "I refuse to stand here and be insulted..."
"OH, puh-lease," Garcia muttered, rolling her vibrant eyes. "That chica was what? Twelve? I look old enough to be her mother to her. Did you NOT hear her 'ma'am' me?"
"But..." Rossi sputtered, shaking his head violently.
"No ifs. No ands. And absolutely no BUTS. You and I are not vacating the premises until you've been new and improved to MY exacting standards," Garcia said sternly, doing an impressive imitation of a drill sergeant as she dumped the apparel back into Rossi's arms. "Now, buck up, Sailor. We've got work to do!" she continued, turning him physically toward the dressing rooms and patting him on the butt. "Go start trying things on while I get the suit from Barbie," she said, gesturing toward the saleslady's retreating back.
Ten minutes later found David Rossi grumbling under his breath and shoving one of his long legs into a third pair of jeans. How the hell had he gotten himself trapped in this mess? Hell, hadn't he extracted countless victims during hostage negotiations? How was it that couldn't manage to escape one lone shopping mall?
His answer came instantly in the form of an unexpectedly opening dressing room door and a low whistle of approval from behind him. Freezing mid-movement, Dave lifted his head, his eyes dilating as he met Penelope Garcia's wicked eyes gleaming in the mirror. Please let this be a trick of a rapidly aging mind, Dave prayed silently, squeezing his eyes closed only to open again a millisecond later.
Nope, she was still there. And now she had her head canted to the side and a predatory smile painted against her lips. Oh, dear God, Dave begged his deity, let this be some kind of alcohol induced dream!
"Well, well, well, my Very Special Agent Rossi, whatever have you been hiding from the Oracle? I don't recall seeing that ass in anything you've worn before," she teased, her voice light.
Jerking the crisp jeans over his hips, Dave glared into the mirror. "I never took you for a Peeping Penelope, Garcia!" Dave accused, flushing as he attempted to button his jeans.
"Then you obviously don't know me quite as well as you thought you did, Stud," Penelope shrugged, scooting into the dressing room and closing the door behind her.
Turning, Rossi frowned. "What the hell are you doing in here?" Dave said, his voice almost a whimper as Garcia filled his arms with a couple of suits.
"Supervising," she replied brightly. "And, if I'm honest," she grinned, "enjoying the floor show. I ought to get SOMETHING out of this excursion."
"I am NOT stripping for you," Rossi proclaimed stridently, crossing his arms over his chest as he faced off with the fashion fascist currently standing between him and freedom. "I do have some civil liberties left, you know.
"Not in Penelope's Purgatory, you don't," Penelope said with a shake of her head. "Now, take it off, Agent Inhibited. We've got work to do," she stated resolutely, taking a seat on the narrow bench behind her and eyeing him with a watchful eye.
Growling in frustration, Dave ran a hand down his face. He could not kill his co-worker... He could not kill his co-worker...he could not...
"You know," Penelope said indifferently, settling her flowered skirt around her legs, "Morgan makes those same noises...they don't work for him either. In fact," she smiled sweetly, "they only feed my powers."
"Oh for Christ sake," Dave groaned, shoving the jeans off his hips, offering Garcia another glimpse of his ass. Hearing her soft hum of approval he ordered gruffly, "Close your damned eyes, you perverse pervert."
"If you insist," she retorted with an indelicate snort, cracking one eyelid as he lifted a leg to step out of the jeans, then stealing a covert snapshot of Rossi's ass with a calculated click of her cell phone. This was definitely a picture she wanted preserved for posterity's sake, she mentally cheered. Emily and JJ would definitely appreciate her prowess.
"Garcia," Dave said, his voice low and suspicious as he eased the soft slacks over his hips, "Did you just take a picture of my ass?"
"Hey, you'll thank me in a few years when all your flags are sagging," she giggled, her fingers clicking away on her iPhone.
"My flag will be flying high and proud for many years to come, thank you VERY much," Dave hissed, turning sharply to glare at his so-called sage of fashion advice.
"I can see that," Penelope said, struggling to keep a straight face. "In fact, it's flying in the wind right now," she said, nodding toward the open fly of his pants.
"Mother of Christ," Dave gasped, dropping his gaze to his crotch and blushing a vibrant beet red. "You are a danger to yourself and everyone around you," he accused, backing into the wall behind him and fumbling for his fly as she rose gracefully and advanced across the dressing room toward him. "Back, woman!" he yelped as she drew closer, grabbing a hanger from the peg on the wall and thrusting it between them, waving it wildly. "I'm armed, Kitten," he warned, brandishing the plastic hanger like a weapon.
"Oh, you most certainly are," Garcia agreed, dropping her eyes to his groin and wriggling her eyebrows. "Now, I know what all the fuss was about."
Horrified, Dave stared helplessly at the vixen in front of him. Would this humiliation ever cease?
Watching as the great David Rossi's complexion went from crimson red to milky white in a mere heartbeat, Garcia took a small measure of mercy on the floundering man in front of her. "Oh, relax, my Little Has-Been Lothario, you're safe," she crooned. "I just want to try these ties on you," she said, holding up her hand in what she hoped was a non-threatening manner and showing him the items in her hand.
Dropping the hanger to his side abruptly, Dave barked, "HAS BEEN?"
Biting her lip as his face morphed from shocked to offended, Garcia barely suppressed her laugh. "Weeeellll, you haven't exactly been the randy Romeo you once were, now have you?"
"Hey!" Dave muttered, plucking one of the ties from between her fingers, "I've STILL got it, Kitten. Don't you doubt THAT!" he demanded, turning and throwing the tie around his neck with a vicious flick of his wrist.
Uh oh, Penelope thought belatedly, it appeared she'd taken one jab too many at the fragile ego of one very masculine Italian Stallion. "Now, now," she clucked, reaching around his shoulders and brushing his hands aside as she began to knot the navy blue tie around his neck, "I didn't mean it like that. Of course you've still got IT. You just haven't been...exercising it quite as frequently."
Meeting Garcia's gaze in the floor length mirror with heated eyes, Dave warned, "Kitten, unless you want an object lesson in the middle of Saks, shut up. Just because the equipment doesn't get used quite as frequently, doesn't mean I don't know how to operate the machine quite proficiently."
"Is that so?" Garcia drawled insolently, tightening his tie and smoothing the cool material of his suit jacket over his shoulders.
Blood pumping furiously in his veins as he met her eyes in the mirror, Dave knew when he was being dared. And there was absolutely no mistaking the challenge flashing in the bright gaze of the woman behind him. Mild attraction and affection had somehow been twisted into a hell of a lot more in the space of a few hours. And one conniving siren was entirely responsible for the transformation. And as he turned to face her cunning smile, he realized that he'd been managed...maneuvered… into this scenario with a practiced hand.
"You set this up, didn't you?" he asked, his voice deep and dark.
Shivering as she watched his flashing eyes darken, Garcia smiled benignly. "I don't know what you're talking about, Agent Rossi," she said, blinking innocently. "But," she said, raising a finger and tapping his stubborn chin gently, "IF I did, would you say it worked?"
Cocking his head and narrowing his eyes, he retorted, "Why don't you come over here and find out, Kitten." Raising one dark brow, he added in a husky seductive whisper, "Or are you afraid to put your hands where my suit is?"
Twenty minutes, a cracked mirror, four broken hangers and one scandalized saleslady later, both Penelope Garcia and David Rossi had the answers and clothes they'd been searching for.
And in tacit agreement, both decided that being shopping buddies together had been a very mutually satisfying experience. And one that they would probably be repeating again in the very near future.
After all, Dave was certain he also needed new pajamas.