For forthecoast, who requested J/L: Board Games. So I had a little bit of a fun. As I sometimes do.
"I really can't believe this."
"Oh, it's not that bad, Lisbon," Jane informed her.
She sighed. "I know it's not that bad," she grumbled. "But that doesn't mean I can believe it."
"Some parts of California do get snow from time to time, Lisbon," Jane reminded her.
"I know that too," Lisbon replied.
"And we just happen to be in one of them," Jane added. His voice was neutral, but his eyes were laughing at her.
"Yes we are," Lisbon agreed. "We happened to get a case, in a location that gets snow, on the exact night of a snowstorm, on a day that Ionly stayed late at a crime scene becauseyou asked me too."
Jane waved his hand in her direction dismissively. "You're not actually mad at me for that. Not after I basically solved your case. Rigsby and Cho are probably tying things up as we speak."
"I know," Lisbon said for what felt like the tenth time. "I know," she said again more softly. "That doesn't mean I'm wild about the situation."
"Look on the bright side, Lisbon!" Jane said cheerfully. "We managed to secure the only two rooms in this lovely bed and breakfast for the evening, and now we have our own little sitting room as well, to wait out the storm in. Then we can go back to Sacramento first thing tomorrow morning, and you can make sure that everything went smoothly with the case."
"I know," she grumbled reluctantly. She really did know things weren't all that bad. She just wanted to be annoyed about things, and Jane wasn't letting her.
Jane grinned. "You're just irritated because you had a plan about how this case would go, and this little hiccup is completely out of your control. But don't worry Lisbon. There's nothing that needs to be fixed, so you can relax. And hey, if we need to go back to the crime scene tomorrow for some reason, we're already basically on site."
Lisbon sighed. "Fine. Now we just have to entertain ourselves in the middle of nowhere for the rest of the night with a TV that, last I checked, got about three channels."
Jane's grin widened significantly. "Way ahead of you there, Lisbon."
She felt herself smile in spite of herself, angling herself towards him. "Oh really?" she asked, half excited, half apprehensive. After all, who knows what Jane would have in mind.
Jane nodded. Then he walked over to a small cupboard in the corner and opened it with a flourish. "Viola!" he said.
Lisbon blinked. "Board games," she said, laughter in her voice.
"Absolutely!" Jane said gleefully. "When was the last time you played a board game, Lisbon?"
"Other than Candyland with my nephews last Christmas?" she double-checked. "It's been a while."
Jane nodded slightly. "Me too. So come on."
"You want me to play a board game with you?" she asked, sceptically.
"Yes," he told her. "Why not?"
"Well, for one, you read body language for a living Jane, Jane," she reminded him.
He sighed. "I'm not proposing stakes, Lisbon. Just a little fun. You can even pick the game."
"Oh goody," she said dryly. But even as she said it, she was already on her way over to the cupboard to review her options.
Jane watched her as she bit her lip, obviously trying to pick a game where he wouldn't have an obvious advantage. He saw her eyes dismiss chess immediately (to his disappointment. He thought he might like to play her, not to beat her, but because he wanted to watch her play, wanted to see her strategy). Lisbon also passed over the deck of cards, Clue and Snakes and Ladders (though Jane suspected that last one was because she was tired of playing it with young nephews than her belief that he'd have an advantage.) Then she laughed.
"I can't believe they have Guess Who?" Lisbon giggled.
Jane smiled. "You want to play?" he asked, sounding somewhat excited. He hadn't been expecting that choice. He'd thought maybe Monopoly, something that was about half-chance, half-strategy.
Lisbon shook her head. "No. One look at me and you'll be able to tell which card I'm holding based on how I'm interacting with the flaps on my own board."
Jane shook his head. "The arrangement of people on the two boards are different. That would only work if I had both memorized. Which I wouldn't."
Lisbon shook her head again. "No…" she murmured. Then she grinned and reached into the cupboard. "We can play Scrabble!"
Jane smiled. Scrabble. Now why hadn't he thought of that earlier? After all, he had to hand it to her. She had managed to pick something he wouldn't have much of an advantage in, not due to his observational abilities at least. His vocabulary was quite large, but that was a whole other story. "Alright," he agreed. "Scrabble it is."
Lisbon walked over to the little love seat in their joint sitting room, plopped down on the floor in front of it and began setting up the board and the tiles. "Find something to keep score on," she ordered.
"Sure," Jane agreed, glancing around the room until he spotted a pad of paper by the phone. He grabbed it and turned back towards his companion, who was now staring at her handiwork on the floor, obviously mulling something over in her mind. Jane was about to ask her what that was, when she beat him to it.
"I think I'm going to go get changed," she murmured. "This jacket's not all that comfortable for playing on the floor."
"We could play on the table," Jane suggested.
Lisbon shook her head. "No. I'm just going to get changed. I'll be back in a minute."
"Okay," Jane agreed with a shrug. If she wanted to change, that was fine with him.
"And no cheating!" Lisbon added, calling over her shoulder as she walked into her room.
Jane grinned. He wouldn't dream of it.
Lisbon was back a few minutes later.
Jane couldn't help smiling when he saw her. She was dressed in a pair of baggy sweatpants and an oversized sweatshirt, which she was obviously enjoying cuddling into. She'd left her hair tied back, but she'd removed her makeup. Teresa Lisbon was obviously settling in for the night.
Jane decided to contribute to the relaxed atmosphere by removing his jacket and unbuttoning his shirtsleeves.
Lisbon raised an eyebrow.
He grinned. "I made you some tea," he told her, gesturing to the cup he'd left near where she was sitting. "It's not the best, but our selection is limited."
"Ah, so you admit, there is a drawback to being stuck here unexpectedly," she teased.
Jane shook his head. "Oh, just drink your tea."
Lisbon settled back down on the floor with her mug, obviously pleased with herself.
Jane dropped down opposite her, the oversized, thick socks she'd put on her feet catching his attention. In spite of her complaining, Lisbon had obviously prepared for at least the possibility of the weather. "Comfortable now?" he asked.
She shrugged. "Yeah," she admitted, mixing up the Scrabble tiles and making her selection. "Guess so."
He smiled. "You look cozy."
She glanced up at him. "I look weather appropriate."
"I'm perfectly warm in my suit," he defended.
Lisbon shrugged again. "Choose your tiles, Jane."
Jane decided it was probably smartest to just do as he'd been told. "Ladies first, he said, after choosing."
Lisbon looked like she was about to argue, before apparently deciding to go with it. Smiling, she placed her first word, 'shrimp,' and the game was begun.
It didn't take long for Jane to realize that he was in over his head. There was obviously a very specific reason Lisbon had chosen to play Scrabble, namely, that she was very good at it.
Oh, she started off slowly enough. Jane figured that always happened before there were too many tiles on the board. Then, with a few strategic moves and an extensive knowledge of two-letter words, the woman across from him took a commanding lead. One that he never seemed to make up any ground on.
He had the odd good word. And whenever he played it, Lisbon would smile happily at him, and congratulate him. Then without fail she would proceed to play something in her next turn (or her turn after that), that trumped his best efforts.
Eventually Jane just sighed and resigned himself to his fate. After all, at a certain point it was far better to just accept defeat gracefully. Or, at least as gracefully as possible.
Still, he couldn't resist when she used up the last of her tiles on the word, 'frond'.
Jane sighed loudly.
"It's a word," Lisbon assured him. "Though you're more than welcome to challenge."
"I'm not going to challenge," he grumbled. "Not after last time."
She laughed, remembering the 'Qadi' debacle. Luckily there'd been a dictionary in the cupboard as well, to back up her choice (Lisbon suspected it might have been put there for that exact purpose).
"When did you get so good at this game anyway?" Jane asked.
Lisbon shrugged, as she tallied the scores. She didn't bother announcing the winner. There was no point. "A few years ago, right before you joined the team, there was a big case, massive drug ring involved, it was a joint operation, weeks of surveillance."
"And?" Jane asked when she didn't continue.
Lisbon smirked. "And I ended up spending days and days in a car with a stack of books, a travel Scrabble board, and Cho."
Jane chuckled. He should have guessed, "Right."
"It was a bit of a steep learning curve," Lisbon said with a tilt of her head.
"You ever beat him?" Jane wondered.
"By the end of the two weeks, a few times," she admitted.
Jane paused. "So you're saying that if we kept at this for a week or so, I might beat you?"
She smirked, "Something like that."
"Hmm," he murmured softly. Night time Scrabble games with Lisbon… He could certainly think of worse ways to spend his evenings, even if his ego would undoubtedly take a hit.
"You up for another game?" she asked.
Jane paused. While playing Scrabble with Lisbon in the abstract was attractive, he was feeling a little outmatched. "Ehm…"
"It you don't practice, Patrick, how will you improve?" she teased.
He sighed. "Fine."
Lisbon's smile widened. "Excellent."
"But we're definitely playing Guess Who, next," Jane grumbled.
Lisbon appeared suddenly extremely interested in choosing her tiles. "Hmm. I was thinking maybe chess," she murmured.
Jane's head snapped up. "Really?" he asked in pleasure.
She shrugged, eyes twinkling, "Why not?"
Jane's eyes brightened in response. "I'll show you a thing or two there, Lisbon."
She shrugged. "I might have a trick or two up my sleeve."
"I've no doubt," he murmured. "But I vote for playing that one on the table."
She laughed. "Fine. But you're making me more tea."
"Of course," he agreed, so pleased that she wanted to play chess that he would have agreed to far more. "Whatever you want."
Lisbon smiled, and went back to flipping all the Scrabble tiles back over for round two, mentally conceding that maybe being stuck in a snowstorm wasn't completely horrible.
Not that she planned on admitting that to Jane anytime soon.