Disclaimer: Criminal Minds is owned by CBS. I own nothing but my imagination.
The Slip Up
~This is for kdzl, who was the 500th reviewer of 'Happily Ever After.' Enjoy!
"Why did John just call you 'JJ,' Andrea?" Melissa, the host of the dinner party asked confusedly.
JJ looked over at Hotch and saw that he looked like a deer in the headlights, and with good reason. The two of them had been working undercover as a married couple in the middle of suburbia for over a month, and while they'd both gotten used to their cover identities, they still slipped up in public every once in awhile.
They were working undercover in order to bust a child trafficking ring. It seemed that in the suburban Maryland neighborhood, the wealthy inhabitants had come up with a way of becoming even wealthier, while spreading some of the fortune to their hired help. What it boiled down to was that most families had maids and gardeners and the like and they would pay their employees to sleep with one another in the hopes of impregnation. Once 'the help' was pregnant they would be physically taken care of by their employers, the employers would sell their babies on the black market and then give them a percentage of the money. It was the perfect set-up; no one on the outside would ever suspect that the affluent members of the community would resort to something so evil, but with the economy the way it was, most people needed a little extra in order to keep up with the Joneses.
The team stumbled upon the case totally by chance. Rossi's housekeeper had a daughter who was involved in the scheme and she was due to give birth any day. Knowing what her daughter planned to do, and knowing the profession of her boss, Rossi's housekeeper finally confided in him about her daughter's situation. Dave wasted no time in telling both Hotch and Strauss about the ring and they all agreed that the situation warranted immediate action. While technically not a BAU case, Dave pulled enough strings to make it one. He figured he owed it to the woman who'd been taking care of him and his house for the past five years.
It was decided that the BAU would send an undercover couple into the neighborhood to gather intel and to infiltrate the trafficking ring. Hotch was the logical choice for the husband, since he came from money and knew what the type of neighborhood was like. JJ was chosen as the wife due to her outgoing personality and because of her superb acting skills, as were evidenced whenever she dealt with the press. The two of them together made sense since most of the couples in the suspected ring were youngish, white and childless.
At the time of Hotch's slip, the two of them had been undercover for nearly five weeks. Both of them doubted that Strauss would have paired them together if she had suspected the huge favor she was doing for them. Hotch and JJ had been romantically involved for nearly six months before the undercover assignment came up and in that time, they hadn't let anyone on the team know about their relationship and, to their knowledge, no one suspected a thing. Because of their work schedules and their frequent out of town trips, it was understandably difficult for them to find much free time to spend together. Strauss had basically set them up in a high class love nest and she was none the wiser.
"Yes Andrea, why did John just call you JJ?" Melissa's husband Rob reiterated. As newcomers to the neighborhood, the group seated around the table at the dinner party were understandably wary of JJ and Hotch, and JJ knew that if she didn't come up with something soon, their whole assignment could end up in the toilet.
Knowing most of the people seated around the table loved dramatic scenes, as evidenced by their own arguments on their driveways, in their backyards or any of their other favorite public places, JJ took a deep breath and mustered up as much anger and indignation as she could.
"You son of a bitch!" She screamed, as she jumped to her feet and turned to face Hotch. Without consciously thinking about what she was doing, she sharply slapped the left cheek of his stunned face. "How could you? How could you call me by that name?" She asked as tears sprung to her eyes.
As she looked around the table, she saw shock and awe on the faces of their neighbors. No one had expected sweet little Andrea Smith to react in such a dramatic and physical manner. As she watched, the looks of shock changed to smiles. From their surveillance, JJ and Hotch knew that many of their neighbors liked it rough with each other once the sun went down and her slap across his face whetted the whistles of many of the guests seated around the table.
"You have the nerve to call me by that TRAMP'S name? What is WRONG with you?" JJ shouted.
"I-I-I'm sorry Andrea," Hotch stuttered, both shocked by the slap and amazed by his girlfriend's acting abilities. He'd known from the start that, while technically not a profiler, JJ's people reading skills would come in handy during this assignment, and he'd just been proven right.
"Sorry? SORRY? You haven't begun to feel sorry yet, but believe me, you will tonight!" JJ said lethally, as she sat back down at the table. Taking another deep breath, JJ glanced around the room and saw that most of the smiles had turned into outright grins. "I apologize for that," she said quietly as she stared down at the elegantly set dinner table.
"It's perfectly fine, Andrea," Melissa said as she poured her more wine, "Everyone loses their temper once in awhile."
"At the risk of adding fuel to the fire, may I ask who this JJ person is?" Patricia asked. Patricia was JJ and Hotch's next door neighbor and she was the biggest busy-body in the entire subdivision.
After shooting Hotch and indignant look, JJ turned to Patricia and gave her a tight smile. Thinking on her feet, JJ quickly made up a fictitious back story for 'JJ'. "JJ was John's former girlfriend and she's crazy. They were together for three years before he broke up with her and she couldn't seem to accept that it was over. John and I met a year later and married after another year, and JJ did everything she could to destroy our relationship. The last straw was at our wedding when she stood up and announced that she was carrying John's child. It was untrue, of course, but she nearly ruined our entire wedding. That's why I was so upset when he called me by that name! It's not the first time that's happened and I doubt it will be the last!" JJ threw in the last part to protect them from any future slip ups.
"Good heavens, John!" Patricia said to Hotch, "You're lucky she just slapped you across the face! If it were me, I would have run you over with my car after the first slip!"
Hotch managed to look sheepish, while inside he was dying from trying to hold back a very large grin. "Again, I'm sorry Andrea," he said with fake contriteness. The way she was able to think on her feet made him fall even more in love with her.
"And again, John, we'll 'discuss' this at home," JJ said tightly.
After that, the conversation turned toward neighborhood gossip. While Hotch and JJ managed to glean more information about their neighbor's private lives, they didn't learn anything that would help the case. Finally, at around eleven o'clock, they said their goodnights and started for their house down the road. Slipping his hand around hers, Hotch looked around and saw they were alone on the street.
"Christ JJ, you have one hell of a right hook! Do I still have a handprint going across my cheek?" He asked.
"Quit being such a baby," JJ told him, laughing a little, "I had to do something; you called me by the wrong name, for God's sake! Besides, I think our little scene gave us some credibility in this crazy neighborhood."
"I think you're right. I also think that you adding the threat of 'discussing' this further at home helped with that," Hotch agreed and he squeezed JJ's hand.
"That wasn't an empty threat, Aaron; you will pay for that little slip up tonight," JJ said firmly, already planning her boyfriend's demise.
"What do you mean?" He whined, "It was an honest mistake, it could have happened to anyone!"
"It did happen to anyone! Remember last week when I accidentally called you Aaron at the block party?" She asked and she saw the light bulb go on in his head. "I managed to salvage it by talking about the errands I had to run the next day, but you still made me pay for it that night." She saw that he remembered what he did and a look of apprehension came over his face.
"Uh huh," she nodded, as they walked up the path to their front door, "You kept me on the brink for hours that night, Aaron!"
"Come on JJ, it wasn't that long!" He protested.
"Hours," she reiterated as they stepped through the door. "I thought I was going to die at one point! In fact, I think I was still walking funny the next day!"
"But-" He tried protesting, but JJ shook her head.
"No, tonight you're going to find that payback is a bitch! I'm going to make you wait until you're nearly crazy!" She told him as she grabbed her handcuffs from the drawer of the hall table. Starting up the stairs, she turned and beckoned to him seductively. With both a sigh and a grin, Hotch followed, knowing that his night had just begun.
As it turned out, she was more than worth the wait.