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A special note to my Christmas draws nearer, so does my husband's return from the war zone in Afghanistan. This said, posts will be slowing DRAMATICALLY after the holiday. Bear with me. Slower updates are expected to last approximately a month. But, real life and a family reconnection will take precedence. I'm sure you all understand. But, take heart, a happy hubby makes an energetic writer.

And as always, thanks to our readers! Your reviews and alerts make our day and we love hearing from you! We don't own a thing, but we sure wish we did.

Because I don't say it often enough, nothing would happen in these stories without my wonderful co-author and friend, tonnie2001969. Too often, the author name ilovetvalot is mistaken for just one person. There are two of us. Tonnie2001969 collaborates on every single one of these stories and I can't say ENOUGH wonderful things about this woman!

A Familia Christmas

Chapter Eight

"…what God has joined together, no man must divide," Jimmy's distant voice commanded as cheers and applause erupted in the formal living room of David and Jennifer Rossi's elegant home. "You may now kiss the bride if you already aren't," the priest laughed as the sounds of happiness echoed in the phone he had pressed against his ear.

"So, that's it, right?" David Rossi yelled at his cell phone above the cheers. "They're legally hitched in the eyes of man and God, right?" he asked hopefully, watching Jason kiss his bride with one eye.

"Absolutely." Jimmy smiled, shaking his head as he stood in his sister's kitchen, a few hundred miles away from the obvious festivities at Little Creek. "And may I be one of the first to offer my congratulations on the blessed news, you two. Another soul to light the world is no small thing," he said reverently. "A new life is something that fills the world with joy and..."

Lurching for the phone on the table, Dave felt a hot flush climbing his neck as Emily gasped and Jason blanched. "Thanks for everything, Jimmy," Dave growled as he slid his fingers across the screen, shutting off the phone. Turning to face the makeshift altar in front of the bay window, he found Emily and Gideon still staring at each other.

"Something you wanna tell me, Kitten?" Gideon asked, raising an eyebrow at his new bride. "Anything at all?" he drawled, his hands sliding up and down her bare arms as she gripped her bouquet in front of her. "Was there an ulterior motive for this impromptu ceremony?"

"N-no!" Emily shook her head, blinking rapidly. "I swear, Jason, I don't know where Father Jimmy would have gotten that idea," she babbled, her mind doing the quick mental math with alacrity. "There's absolutely no way that I'm…that we're…well, not yet, at any rate!"

"Then, why would he…" Jason argued, suddenly halting in his train of thought as he met Emily's eyes. "Dave!" they both said in unison, turning to face their frazzled host.

"Dave?" JJ repeated, her voice confused as she stood beside Emily.

"David," Mama Rossi groaned, her eyes widening as she stared at her first born son. "You didn't, my son!" she gaped, rising from her front row seat on the leather sofa.

Holding his hands in front of him as a mob seemed to form before his eyes, Dave said hastily, "I can explain, folks."

"Famous last words," Ben chuckled to Rudy, settling in happily into his armchair. "Christmas is looking up for me now," he chortled as he watched the rest of the room glare at the head of La Familia.

"Shhhh…I don't think we wanna miss this, Benny," Eddie hissed, leaning forward to listen to the catastrophe unfolding before his very eyes.

"Dave, what did you do?" JJ seethed, one eye narrowing on her guilty looking husband.

"Da-da is is twouble?" Henry asked, tugging on Dave's slacks as he held up his arms to his father.

Reaching down, Dave swooped Henry into his arms. JJ wouldn't shoot him holding one of their kids. "So much trouble," Dave sighed as he pressed a kiss to his son's forehead.

"Put my grandson down, Rossi and face me," Gideon growled. "Using him as a human shield isn't exactly something the Last Don wants to be known for, is it?"

"I have a good explanation," Dave began calmly, shifting Henry to his hip despite Gideon's order. After all, he wasn't a complete idiot. And while he was fairly certain that his wife wouldn't try to shoot him again, he had no problem imagining Prentiss pulling a trigger right now.

"That included telling a priest that I was pregnant," Emily shrieked in a pitch that pulled a wince from every man in the room. "Where's my gun?" she barked at Jason.

"Better than primetime television," Ben exclaimed gleefully, rubbing his hands together as he leaned forward.

"We could have used a woman like her in the Familia all those years ago." Rudy nodded sagely. "I'm betting her kills are clean, clear, and flawless."

"You have no idea," Hotch murmured, his eyes darting from Emily's livid face to Dave and back again.

Glaring at Ben, Dave shook his head. "Emily…Jason, I didn't actually tell Jimmy that you were expecting," he explained evasively.

"Well, what exactly did you tell our man of God, David?" Mama huffed crossly, crossing her arms over her chest as she tapped her foot impatiently against the glossy hardwood floor.

"Yes, Dave, what did you tell our priest?" JJ bit out. Honestly, she asked her husband for one tiny favor and this is what she got! A Christmas catastrophe!

"Now, Bella," Dave groaned, noting his wife's flashing eyes, "Don't look at me like that. You demanded a wedding and Mama demanded a priest. Compromises had to be made. And I didn't exactly tell any actual lies."

"Then what did you tell that left Father Jimmy with the conclusion that my new wife was having a baby?" Jason retorted, his brows drawing together.

"Well," Dave hedged, his eyes darting from person to person, searching for some ally he could rely on. Sadly, he found none; each face was more resolute than the last. "I might have made certain statements that Jimmy could have taken in a context other than what they were meant and inferred something that might or might not have been true."

"Why don't you give us an example of one of those inferences, SuperAgent?" Penelope suggested, her eyes glinting wickedly.

"Is that really necessary?" Dave grimaced, running a hand across his sweating forehead as he felt Emily and JJ's scrutinizing eyes on him. "Really?"

"Yes!" the room exploded in unison.

Damn, but they were a bloodthirsty lot, Dave recognized grimly as he looked around the room.

"Honestly, I'm fascinated here," Emily rapped out. "If you didn't outright tell him I was expecting, what did you say to convince him to marry us?"

"I might have…ahem….mentioned that at breakfast you looked…ergghghhhh," Dave evaded ineffectively, tightening his arms around his son as his wife took a determined step in his direction.

"Speak, Rossi!" JJ ordered. "You've never minced words before now. What did you say?"

"I might have said that Emily looked a little…bloated," Dave muttered as he shrugged. "And I might have indicated that certain smells were giving her a rather green complexion."

"You told him I was getting fat?" Emily gasped, pressing a hand to her flat belly.

Gideon shook his head. "And puking, apparently."

"Classic!" Ben grinned widely, bouncing Marina on his knee as they watched the show, only to let out a loud grunt as Rudy's elbow landed against his kidney.

"Don't gloat," Rudy counseled with a solemn shake of his head. "That man is still the head of our family," he sighed resignedly. "Unless, of course, Sofia decides to put a bullet in his head," he murmured as he nodded to the elderly glowering Italian woman.

"Listen," Dave shouted above the roar of voices. "You," he accused as he pointed a finger at JJ, "told me you wanted a wedding. I made it happen. You," he said, moving the finger to his mother, "told me that it had to be sanctified by the Church. I made that happen, too. You two," he said, pointing wildly between Emily and Jason, "wanted to be married. Congratulations! You are! Mission accomplished!"

JJ began, "But…"

"Davie…" Mama Rossi said, shaking her head from side to side.

"Nuh uh!" Dave yelped. "No way! I found a way to do what even Santa couldn't get accomplished! It's legal," he declared to JJ. "And sanctified," he added with a look toward his mother. "And," he continued, pulling a couple of tickets from the inside of his jacket pocket and shoving them under Jason's nose, "after you return from those sandy beaches in the Bahamas, I'm sure there might be a little Gideon brewing in the belly IF you can still…ahem," he cleared his throat with a look down at his son, "decorate the tree, so to speak," he offered meaningfully.

"Hey!" Gideon growled indignantly. "I know how to trim a tree, Rossi!"

"The Bahamas?" Emily murmured with widened eyes, taking the tickets from her husband's hand.

"Consider it an apology for any deceptions that I might have accidently on purpose left Jimmy with." Dave grinned, for once feeling that he made the right decision in arranging that little trip on a whim. "Call me Christmas crazy, but I was a little desperate."

"Well," Emily sighed. "You did mean well," she added as she smiled, embracing Dave.

"First class," Jason murmured, reading the ticket in Emily's hand. Raising an eyebrow, he asked, "Hotel?"

"A penthouse suite," Dave clarified with a satisfied nod as he let a squirming Henry down, the little boy immediately running back to the toys stacked in the corner. "Overlooks the ocean with a private balcony."

"I guess I can get over it, too," Jason muttered, shaking Dave's hand. "I owe you one."

Rising, Mama Rossi slapped her son on the back of his head. "You and I talk later, my son," she admonished sternly before shoving him aside to hug the new bride.

Releasing a long breath as the room seemed to converge toward Emily and Jason to offer their own congratulations, Dave made his way toward his own wife. "So," he asked, wrapping one arm around her and pulling her against his side, "How pissed off are you?"

Snorting, JJ tilted her head to stare up at her husband. "You never do anything the easy way, do you?" she asked lightly.

"What fun would that be?" Dave grunted as he slid his other arm around her waist. "And for the record, there was no "easy" way in this instance. There was only the desire to keep both my wife and mother happy simultaneously. And in this endeavor, that was no easy feat, babe," he added with a shudder.

"But you did it," JJ whispered, lifting on her toes to press her lips to his.

"I did?" he murmured, a satisfied grin growing on his face as he nipped at his wife's lips.

"You did." JJ smiled softly, twining her arms around her husband's neck. Somehow, in the chaos that had become her life, he was the stability in the midst of the calamity…in spite of his penchant to often cause the commotion himself. "Merry Christmas to all," she breathed.

"And to all, a good night," he said softly, lowering his head to claim her lips.

He had the perfect Christmas gift right here with him…forever.

Buon Natale!


Well, that's it. I hope you enjoyed returning to the "In Sickness and In Health" universe. We know we did.