Author's Note: I want to thank our loyal readers that are sticking with us. I know my postings are sporadic these days and I apologize for it. I've received a couple of negative anonymous reviews over that very issue. Real life, especially mine, is complicated. Going from a loving two parent household to a single parent with a husband fighting in a dangerous war is difficult. I'm not asking for sympathy, just please be patient. I promise, I'm writing as fast as I can, but I want to bring you guys something of quality instead of garbage I wrote on the fly.
All Valentine's Gift Fic Exchange assignments were private messaged to participants today. So, if you signed up, please check your inbox. Also, we have announced the First, Second and Third place winners of the mini-awards for Challenge fics on Chit Chat on Author's Corner forum. Please check it out to congratulate our winners.
Also, we have two new open discussion threads. One is called, "Cyclones, Snowmageddon, and Egyptian Uprisings, OH MY!" Feel free to leave your best wishes for our friends in Australia and throughout the US suffering from the ravaging affects of Mother Nature.
And finally, as some of you may or may not know, there are some changes coming for our favorite show and we have opened a "Show Spoilers" thread for readers and authors to discuss their take on episodes and upcoming plotlines.
On a side note, this was written for Flashpenguin's mom; I hope you like it!
As ever, I don't own Criminal Minds.
Scrabble Is Not A Four Letter Word
Sipping the cheap champagne Doctor Spencer Reid had brought over in celebration of their first New Year's holiday together, Penelope Garcia couldn't help but be impressed by the effort the young genius was making…even if his choice in alcohol left much to be desired.
Holidays had never been important to him. As a child with a sick mother, he was solely responsible for own happiness, which often meant that those special days were just like any other on the calendar. Valentine's, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's...they had no real significant meaning to him.
Until now. Until her.
Holidays were important to her. It was during those festive seasons that she could allow her unique outlooks to shine all over life. And like the trooper Spencer Reid had always been, he'd hopped on board her holiday train, ready and willing to take the ride of his life.
He's stuffed that Thanksgiving turkey with gusto. He'd risked life and limb during an early ice storm to help hang Christmas lights on her fire escape. He'd decorated her Christmas tree with relish, adding his own unique spin in the form of Star Trek ornaments. And now, here they were at New Year's Eve, ready to ring in the new year.
She'd taken mercy on him this year. In years past, she'd have thrown a rollicking party, complete with karaoke machine and lots of alcoholic indulgences. But this year was different. This particular holiday, she'd wanted to do what he wanted. After the past couple of months, he'd earned it. And if she knew anything about her little love, it was that he hated hordes of people trapped in tiny spaces.
So she'd put their New Year into his capable hands.
And so far, he hadn't disappointed. They'd shared a double-decker pizza and a cheap bottle of champagne, and both were now pleasantly buzzed, sharing easy conversation. His suggestion of a rousing game of Scrabble had seemed exactly his speed, and she'd happily pulled her trusty board game from the coat closet.
"Prepare to have your ass kicked, Einstein," she teased him now with twinkling eyes as he assisted her in setting up the game board on the carpeted floor between them.
"Uhmmm, Penelope, you do realize I have a genius IQ and an eidetic memory, right?" Reid smiled even as his long, narrow fingers easily flipped the square-covered board into place.
Dumping the wooden letters in the box, Pen snorted ever so delicately, "Pick your tiles, my pretty. I'm not even a little concerned here."
And she wasn't. The game started off easily enough, and she found herself happily winning. Allowing her confidence to show, however, was obviously her colossal mistake "You're going down, my baby love," she mocked, putting the finishing touches on her newest word, "spiv".
"A spiv?" Reid snorted, narrowing his eyes on the word she'd created, his lips twisting as he stared at the tiles.
"A petty British criminal," she said arrogantly, flouncing her hair over her shoulder. "Top that, Brainiac. And note the triple word score," she grinned, waving her hand at the board with a flourish. "Unless you'd like to bring out my trusty dictionary?" she offered magnanimously, lifting her tattered book in the air.
"No, I believe you." Reid shook his head, studying his own tiles before smiling widely.
"I don't think I like that grin you're wearing, Doctor." Penelope frowned, her hackles rising as she started to sense trouble on the very near horizon.
"Then you'll like this even less," Reid smiled, quickly arranging his own tiles on the board before leaning back against his hands. "And like me, please note my triple word score."
Gazing at the tiles, Penelope's forehead wrinkled. "Vuvuzela? What the hell is that?" she yelped, her eyes narrowing as she stared down at the tiled board.
"Maybe you should challenge me." Reid shrugged easily, arching his brow. "It's a word; I assure you."
"Is not!" Pen snorted, her lips pursed as she gazed into his poker face and reached for her dictionary again, flipping pages quickly. "See!" she said after a moment, "there is no such word! You tried to pull one over on me, you cheater!"
Gesturing for the dictionary, Reid rolled his eyes as he found the page he was looking for. "You do realize this thing was published in 1982, right?"
"Doesn't matter," Penelope argued, jerking the book back and tucking it under her arm. "It isn't there."
"Okay, then I challenge you to pull that trusty computer screen over here and look up the Oxford-English Dictionary online and check out my word. If it's not there, I'll concede defeat," he offered generously.
"You're on!" Penelope replied immediately, convinced she was right. After all, who'd ever heard of the word vuvuzela? It was too freakin' weird to be a real word. Tapping in the web address, she waited for it to load, watching Spencer out of the corner of her eye. His slight smirk said it all. She was about to experience a fall from her goddess grace...and it was going to suck.
Tapping in the word, she muttered as she stared in horror at the colorful screen, "You've gotta be kidding me!"
"Let me guess," Reid said smugly, rubbing his thin chin. "The definition says something about a long horn blown by fans at soccer matches?"
"I...you..." Garcia sputtered, her fingers banging wildly against the keyboard. "How the heck did you know that?"
"Mmmm, you keep forgetting the genius part," Reid chuckled, tapping a finger to his temple. "And the memory, you can't forget the memory." Scanning the tiles, his smile widened even more. "And as you can see, I, too, have achieved the triple word status and am out of tiles. My score for the word vuvuzela would be...oh, look at that...69."
"Oh, you have got to be pulling my leg now!" Garcia muttered, snatching the notepad they'd kept score on from his hand and scanning the chicken-scratched score.
"And I believe, per your rules, the winner of this challenge was allowed to choose our next activity, correct?" Reid asked with eyes that shined with mirth.
"I did," Penelope agreed darkly, her own lips twitching as she easily started to read the genius' mind.
Leaning forward, Reid murmured against Garcia's ear, "I really liked the score of my victory word, didn't you? Such a unique number."
"And, if I know you, my sweet Romeo, it would indeed involve pulling both my legs," Penelope giggled, her earlier disgruntledness fading rapidly as she snuggled closer to her love.
"And a few other appendages," Reid smirked, wriggling his eyebrows as he let his eyes drop appreciatively down her body.
And taking her boyfriend's hand, Penelope pulled him out of the floor. "I believe I'll simply say, "Game On, Loverboy!".
And, oh, how it was!
Dedicated to our brave men and women serving nobly overseas!