From a scientific standpoint, Spencer Reid knew that this was going to be a very interesting project. He was honored that Dr. Brennan had asked him to research it along with her, Dr. Sweets, and possibly even Alex Blake, but, really, the idea of stepping through the doorway of 22 Federal Lane was currently scaring him a ridiculous amount, especially considering what he had been through and seen in his life. Even so – in the name of science – Spencer took a deep breath and stepped into the house, forcing himself to confront the women that he knew were waiting inside.
The problem was, though, that Dr. Brennan had let Alex pick out how many and which women exactly would be waiting for, and he hadn't been told what to expect. As it was, Alex alone wouldn't worry him, except for the fact that he knew without a doubt that he had seen her discussing his potential wives with Garcia, probably dredging up some poor woman from his past who had previously wished never to see him again but currently needed the monetary reimbursement that participation in the project provided.
He turned out of the entryway, following the sounds of feminine chatter around the corner and into the dining room and kitchen area. And he froze with the shock of what – no, who – he was seeing. Only half of these women had even crossed his mind! And Alex wouldn't know about any of them!
So help him, Penelope Garcia was going to die, and don't think that he didn't know how to make it look like a robbery gone wrong or even a suicide, thanks to all of his work in BAU.
Of all people, the bartender from Atlanta, Austin Lawrence, was standing at the bar, expertly fixing some martinis. Good; even he was apparently going to need them if he was supposed to start treating her like his wife. Frack. He guessed that they were still friends, but still… He hadn't even seen her since 2008! They'd never even gone on a second date! How had Penelope talked her into this?!
Wait… forget 2008… was that… oh, d***… How? That was Lila Archer reaching over the head of another blonde to get a container of something out of the microwave. Maybe he wouldn't kill Garcia after all.
When the blonde whose back had been to him turned to get out of Lila's way, temporarily abandoning whatever she had been stirring on the stove and giving him a glimpse of her profile, a wide grin split his face and Spencer decided that Penelope deserved flowers. Ashley Seaver was here… without Rossi to look over her shoulder and play papa bear.
And then… then he heard a voice from the laundry room – another voice from his past – calling out, "Are you sure that there's cheese in this ice chest in here?"
Feeling a little faint, Spencer leaned over against the wall, determined not to be noticed yet, but knowing that he was about to fall over if he didn't support himself. Forget the d*** flowers, Penelope needed a whole medal – probably a purple heart, considering the war that she must've had to go through to get the final woman here.
"I thought I saw some frozen mozzarella when I went to get the ice for the drinks," Austin called out over her shoulder.
Apparently Spencer had caught the four of them in the middle of making dinner. Swallowing his much-multiplied nerves, Spencer gathered up his courage and said, just to see who would respond and how, "Honey, I'm home."
Ashley and Lila both whirled towards him, Austin almost dropped the vodka that she held, and Elle Greenaway – oh, g**, it actually was her, not just his imagination – poked her head out from the laundry room. Ashley was the first to move towards him, weaving around the other women and whatever they were cooking to come meet him where he still stood propped up by the wall. He stood up straight and responded in kind to her when his former teammate wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him like they had done it a million times when in fact it was only the first time. Okay, second… Fine, third, if it mattered.
"I thought you told me that you worked with his team in the Bureau?" Elle addressed Ashley, coming into the room as she wiped her hands on her pants.
"I did; I work in Crimes Against Children now," Ashley explained, stepping away from Spencer.
Elle got within a yard of them and crossed her arms casually across her chest, a small smirk playing about the corners of her lips as she asked, "So, are you two actually dating?"
"No," Spencer and Ashley both answered instantly.
"Well then, that's some good acting going on there," Elle was smirking without reservation now as she said, "Let's see if I can do that."
So she did. Spencer barely refrained from shuddering as the kiss ended, his mind flooding with memories of the one time that they had been intimate – in her hotel room when he had come to talk to her after the Fisher King ordeal.
"That's some good acting," Lila said with a smile, joining the trio. "But I'm the actress here; I bet I can do better than both of you."
And Spencer would admit that she did do "better" then Ashley or Elle, but only because the two agents cared about the fact that there were other people around watching them. Lila obviously didn't, because kissing her in the middle of the kitchen was just like kissing her when they were alone in her pool in Los Angeles had been back in the summer spring of 2006 – full of lust and passion, but no… love. No gentle caring was conveyed through the display of affection… like with Ashley, and even, in her own way, Elle.
Not that he was complaining; he enjoyed every one of these women in a unique way and for both their own and his own unique reasons, even Austin, who obviously had no intention of kissing him, or even leaving her station at the bar. But that was okay by him; the five of them had two weeks to get to know each other, and by the looks of things, they were going to be quite the walking experiment in polygamy.
Lila burrowed into his shoulder on his left side, so he obliged her, draping an arm around her shoulders as pulled Ashley to his other side with his right arm.
Looking around at the scene that the five of them made, something told him that this community was going to be leading some very interesting lives in this polygamy project.
Sorry if this feels a little OOC to anyone but me, but I guess I'll claim having written this chapter too. Reviews are my new best friends, if you feel like introducing me to a new one! This is the end of this story; the next one I'll be writing in this series will be listed under only a single category, ie an NCIS fic since I'm going to do McGee's part of the series. The next thing that I'm posting, though, is the next part of my Victorious "Breaking" series, a three-shot entitled "Protect Me." Be sure to check out my poll concerning which family's story I ought to write next in this series! Thanks!:)