"Looks like we have a packed house out there," Paul Woods, the Director the Federal Bureau of Investigation said cheerfully to the three couples waiting in the wings of the stage. "1,000 people coming to see some of the biggest of the big wigs in the FBI on our sick version of the Newlywed game.”
The stage lights dimmed and they could hear the audience begin to cheer as Paul, dressed impeccably in a tuxedo, walked on stage and began to explain the rules of the game. The red curtain opened and the three wooden booths painted with red and pink hearts were empty – but not for long.
“And I present to you the host of this evening’s festivities, Josh Earnest, the President’s press secretary.” Paul announced stepping out of the light shaking the shorter man’s hand.
“Good evening Washington, D.C.” Josh said to a round of applause. “Tonight we have a special evening planned. Three high profile federal couples are in the house for a twist on the game of the Newlywed Game.” The band played a rendition of “God Bless America” before Josh came back out to announce the couples.
“In booth number one, we have the Executive Assistant Director for the Science and Technology branch, Harold Smith, and his wife, an agent in the cybercrimes division, Elizabeth Smith.” The crowd roared as the Harold, a dapper man in his 50’s, dressed in a blue evening suit escorted his wife, dressed in a Zuhair Murad lace mermaid gown came on stage, waved and walked over to their two seats.
“In booth number two, we have the Behavioral Analysis Unit’s Section Chief Erin Strauss and her husband,” Josh looked at the card in front of him, he coughed in surprise, “her husband, Behavioral Analysis Unit’s senior Supervisory Special Agent, David Rossi.” The BAU Alpha and Omega teams stood up and cheered wildly for their own two heroes as David, dressed in his Marine suit and medals, ushered Erin, dressed in a Theia short-sleeve combo floral blue ball gown, kissed her cheek and headed to their booth.
“And finally, in booth number three, we have the chief of staff to the Director of the FBI, Greg Gordon and his wife, an aide to the Vice President, Shandra Elle-Gordon.” They walked into the spotlight from the right side, bowed and walked to their booth. Greg dressed in a white tuxedo, while his wife dressed in a nouvelle AMSALE metallic one-shoulder gown. Before they sat down, the band of the Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School played the National Anthem and they recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Josh went around the three booths and asked about the charity they couples were playing for: The Smiths were playing for the Ronald McDonald House Charity of Washington D.C., Erin and Dave were playing for Second Genesis, the rehab that helped Erin sober up, and the Gordon’s were playing for the Sisters of Mercy charity. He explained that first place won $50,000; second place $25,000 and last place $10,000.
"Now, as Paul said, we will play three regular rounds for increasing points each round," Josh said. "In each round one half of the couple will be sequestered in the green room while we ask their partner to answer five questions. Then the couple will be reunited and the other partner will have to guess what their partner answered. Then we'll do a bonus round with one question. So, to start off round one, I'm going to ask the women to head backstage with Malia Obama, our stagehand this evening, who will show you to the green room and make sure none of you cheat!"
"Good luck," Rossi whispered as he winked at Erin before she rose and reluctantly followed Malia away with the two other women.
"Now that they're gone, we can get down to business," Josh said with a laugh. Some people in the audience laughed along. "Everyone have their answer cards and markers ready? Good. Question one: If your partner could have a free pass, who would your partner choose?" Dave looked at the BAU bunch sitting in the middle of the left side, as they whooped and hollered at the question.
"Question two: How many times did you date before your first kiss with your significant other?" Josh asked cheerfully. Dave snorted to himself as he began to write out his answer. He wasn't supposed to write what he thought Erin would say; he was supposed to write what he thought himself.
"Question three: If you came home with two dozen roses, would your partner say: You had lunch with an ex? They received a raise? Or it was an expression of their affection?"
Dave smiled; he brought home roses for Erin all the time, which should be a question in the bag!
"Question four," Josh said. "Finish this sentence: the first kiss with my partner was like a..." Dave snorted again but wrote out his answer. It was hard to go back three years when he kissed Erin every night he was home and every night was like the first time. So wanton, so luscious, so Erin.
"Final question of the round," Josh said. "What was the last secret you told your partner?" Dave didn’t know whether to put down a unit secret, a family secret or address an out-in-the-open rumor secret that he had. He looked closely out at the audience before making the judgement call.
"Alright!" Josh said. "Ladies, let’s see just how well you know your better halves!" While Malia went to fetch the ladies, the senior choir sang Anchors Aweigh to keep things from getting too boring with a few of the kids from jazz band accompanying them.
"Rough go of it?” Shondra was heard whispering to Greg as she got back.
Dave, keeping the cards face down, leaned in and kissed Erin. “Whatever is said,” Dave looked her dead in the blue eyes, “I love you Erin Strauss.”
“Ditto,” she winked back at him.
"Now, for question one," Josh got the audience and those on stage attention with almost too much enthusiasm. "We asked your partners if you were to have a free pass, who would you choose."
“What’s a free pass?” Erin looked at Dave. When Dave looked at Erin, she swore she saw fire in his chocolate eyes. Getting the picture, Erin mouthed ‘O’ and thought about her answer.
Elizabeth Smith bit her lip and looked at her older husband. "Um, I would have to say that he thinks I like younger men, so maybe Thor, Chris Hemsworth?"
“You brat,” Harold spat as he showed his card: Liam Hemsworth.
“Liam?” She questioned before swatting his right arm. “Liam?”
“What? I thought you liked the Hunger Games?” He muttered back before being cut off by the host.
"Alright, then," Josh said, redirecting the attention of the audience. "So, Erin, who would use your free pass on?"
"That's an easy one," Erin said with a smile. "President Garrett Walker from House of Cards, Michel Gill." The crowed clapped when Dave held up his card: President Walker. “It’s our guilty pleasure.” Dave leaned in to kiss her (again).
"Um, right ten points for the Strauss-Rossi couple," Josh stuttered. "Moving on to Shondra."
"Oh gosh, um, maybe Walter Pidgeon," the woman blushed as said her answer sheepishly.
“Who?” Josh asked as the audience chuckled. Shondra looked at her husband with wide eyes.
“Walter Pidgeon, he’s a classic movie actor. My favorite movie he’s in. He’s a principal.” The curls of her brunette hair bounced off her shoulder as she talked animatedly.
“Oh,” Josh said acknowledging Greg for his answer: John Stamos.
“What?” Shandra shrieked before taking the card and hitting her husband’s head with it. “Him? Oh my GOD.”
"Well that went well, let's start with you two for our next question," Josh placed the top card in his hand on the wood podium set up for him. "Shondra, we asked Greg: How many times did you date before your first kiss with your significant other? What do you think her answer was?"
"That's easy, none," Shondra said with confidence, only to be hit in the arm by her husband.
"We did so have a date," Greg exclaimed. "What did you call the FBI Christmas ball ten years ago?"
"Oh god," Shondra looked at him with confusion in her eyes. “I didn’t think that was a date, I didn’t even think that counted. We didn’t, we barely.” She put her hands in her head as the crowed giggled in amusement.
"Erin?" Josh sked
The oldest woman on the stage blushed hotly. "Um, none." Dave nodded and then hugged Erin.
“I kissed her the day I asked her out the first time, thirty years ago. Yes, it took us three decades to finally get it right.” Dave proudly said.
"That leaves you Liz?" Josh asked.
She sighed. "Three."
“Three!” Harold announced as he held up his card. And with a kiss, Josh led them to the next question.
"Right then, after two questions, Strauss-Rossi is in the lead with 20 points, the Smiths are hot on their tail with 10 and the Gordon’s have zero, but it’s still anyone’s game. Erin, we'll start with you for the next question. We asked Dave: If he came home with two dozen roses, would you say: You had lunch with an ex? They received a raise? Or it was an expression of their affection?"
"Lunch with an ex," Erin blinked at Dave whose eyes went wide as saucers. He turned his card over and revealed the words expression of affection. “What?”
“I frequently bring you home roses, Er bear.” Erin blushed as Dave used his personal name for her in public. “I don’t see my exes every week; I have a lot but not that many.” She
scoffed and buried her head in his side.
“Sorry,” she muttered as the round went by. Everyone answered affection, correctly.
"Question four," Josh said. "Shondra, we asked Greg to finish this sentence: "Finish this sentence: the first kiss with my partner was like a..."
"Fireworks," Shondra blurted out with confidence and everyone, including Greg looked at her. "What? I saw fireworks the first time he kissed me, at the FBI Christmas Ball." She laughed at her own joke.
“Fireworks?” Greg looked at her while he turned over the card: electric.
“I think electric and fireworks should get points,” Dave pointed out to Josh as a buzzer came over the PA system making the audience laugh. “C’mon, I tried guys.” He waived at Shondra and Greg in amusement. Dave and Erin were next.
“Nervous. I was incredibly nervous this time around. I had just come back from my-“ she stopped herself to think of the correct word as not everyone knew about her stint in rehab. “Vacation. I was exceptionally late for my first meeting back with Deputy Director Woods and Dave was there,” she began telling her story as, from the audience, Will LaMontagne wolf whistled. “Dave barged in to make sure I was okay, and one thing led to another but just like that the kiss was over. I suddenly became aware of where I was, and who I was with.”
Dave sighed as he flipped the card. "I said nervous." Erin looked at him with a smile as wide as her face and he kissed her with passion, indicating to the audience that their kisses know were certainly not nerve racking or awkward.
Finally it was Elizabeth. "Um, like a movie, where the hero and heroine run in slow motion towards each other."
"Hey!" Harold said cheerfully as he flipped his card to show he had written slow motion.
"Judges?" Josh asked for a ruling and a bing came through the PA system. “Points to You two. So, final question of this round. We'll start with Shondra. We asked Greg what the last secret he told you."
"The last one?" She said a frown forming on her face. "I'd have to say that he hid a vacation with the guys from me for a week."
"Not really a secret there," He grumbled as he flipped over the card: Lilith got an F on her test.
“Really?” Shondra looked over at her husband, expectantly. She shrugged and sighed when Greg hugged her. "It's fine. We’ll catch up next round.”
"Moving on to Erin and Dave," Josh said moving to the center of the stage.
"The last secret he kept from me was that he knew about my 90 day vacation."
"Her vacation,” Dave proudly announced before sending a silent thank you to Aaron for admitting that he and Morgan took Erin to rehab for her problem. Dave pumped a fist, he
knew they were in first place.
Pointing to Elizabeth, Josh spurred her on. "How about you, Elizabeth? What was the last secret he shared with you?"
“His promotion!” Elizabeth said peeking at the card now held up in front of Harold.
“His promotion!” Josh repeated for those who couldn’t see the card. "Very good!" Josh said. "So with a final tally for the first round, Erin and Dave and Elizabeth and Harold are tied for first place with 40 of a possible 50 points, and Shondra and Greg are holding up the back with 10 of a possible 50 points.
The curtain dropped over the stage, the house lights came on and Malia escorted the couples to the green room as Paul came back out on stage to announce the first of two 10 minute intermissions.
In the intermission, the choir of the high school came out to sing the school’s alma mater, “Freedom Never Cries” by Five for Fighting and “Home” by Michael Buble. The band played “Postcards” by Frank Ticheli, “Elegy” by Mark Camphouse and “Batille de Waterloo “ by Jaques Casterede.
"I think we'll do well this round," Shondra said with a smile to Greg before going out to the stage alone. Erin and Elizabeth also sat back in their spots on the stage. The lights
dimmed, people filled their seats again, and the curtain reopened. The round went quickly and before long, Josh was asking for the men to come back to the stage to answer the questions.
"Question one," Josh said. "We'll start off with one of the couple in the lead. Dave, we asked Erin: Which one of your habits would Erin want to break from you.”
Dave laughed as he took a second to think about it. “She wants me to stop smoking cigars, but I think they make me sound and smell distinguished," Dave grinned with his answer.
Erin scoffed and gave a small smile when he card said “cigars.”
“Whistling,” Greg said before he whistled ‘I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.’
“Whistling?” Josh questioned before Shondra held up her card: whistling. Greg hugged his wife and they fist bumped. “How about you Harold, what did Elizabeth say?”
“God,” he looked at his wife intently. “I think she would say I have to let go of the nickname I use for her in public. Lizzy Lovey Bear.” Elizabeth groaned as he said it out loud and she blushed a deep shade of red, almost purple. “We’re married almost fifteen years and I still call her that. Even when I send flowers to her desk, I use the Lizzy Lovey Bear.”
“I hate you,” she muttered as she opened the card: Lizzy Lovey Bear.
"Question two," Josh said. "When your wife says “honey, they’re playing our song, what song is it?"
“Easy, Oh How Happy, by Shades of Blue.” Greg looked expectantly at his wife.
“Yes!” She quipped as she threw the card over her shoulder and kissed him. “I love that song. You love that song.” Her smile got wider as she touched her lips to where Greg’s kiss marked her.
“Harold?” Josh looked over to the left of him.
“I’m going to say ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” Harold looked at his wife’s card: My First, My Last, My Everything. “Barry White?’
“How could you go with Andy Williams? Really? We danced our first dance to ‘My First, My Last, My Everything.’ Remember I cried for that song? You didn’t want it-“ she stopped dead in her tracks as an ‘oh’ squeaked out. “We danced to it because I wanted it, you wanted Andy. My bad.”
“S’ok,” Harold responded by putting his arm around his wife petting her shoulder.
“Dave?” Josh questioned.
“Piece of cake. Erin-“ Dave looked over at his wife as she grinned like a Cheshire cat at him.
“You Make Me Feel So Young” JJ yelled from her seat in the audience. Everyone looked over at her before. “He’s so predictable, whenever he’s left Erin’s office, he’s humming that
song.” The crowd around them laughed at the truthfulness of the answer and even Dave let out a laugh.
“You Make Me Feel So Young. Frank Sinatra.” She beamed when he said his answer and a tear streamed down her cheek.
“Sinatra’s “You Make Me Feel So Young.” Josh repeated what was on Erin’s card. Dave took the card from her and hugged her tightly.
“Third question, men, we asked your women, if they could wear one piece of clothing of yours what would it be?” Josh looked at Dave.
“Erin’s wears my shirts at home a lot, so I’m going with my shirts.” Her arm lightly swatted at Dave’s arm as she held up her card: his boxers “ERIN!”
“Oh god,” she muttered before turning tomato red. “I guess people know I like your oversized clothing, huh?” The normally stoic section chief was now a muttering ball of butter.
“Moving on,” Josh said breaking the awkwardness in the room, “Shondra?”
“He has the nicest bathrobe, so plush and so feminine.” Shondra laughed along with the thousand people in the audience.
“What? I do!” Greg announced as he held up the card with ‘robe’ written on it.
“And finally, same question Elizabeth,” Josh moved the conversation over to the final couple.
“Oh yikes,” she looked at her husband for an indication of an answer. “I’m going to go on a limb here and hope Harold knows how much I love his boxers.” The card reading ‘boxers’ was shown and Elizabeth rewarded her husband with a chaste kiss on the lips.
"Fourth question,” Josh declared. “What is a perfect Sunday to our couples?”
“Oh god,” Erin muttered under her breath. She hoped he didn’t give it all away as she didn’t on her card. Dave put his hand on her knee in reassurance.
“Correct!” Josh said breaking their reverie, “Shondra said sleeping in, sex in the shower and movie with Lilith.” A kiss was shared between the couple. “Harold?”
“Wow, um, well, I would say a walk in the park, brunch and some living room dancing?”
“What?” Elizabeth hit her husband’s side with her card. “Who are you kidding? Shopping for food, going to the garden center, and yoga.”
“Yoga? Only you do yoga, Liz. I do not do downward mountain man.” The crowd cheered at his response.
“Please, don’t say it,” Erin muttered under her breath as Josh asked Dave the question again.
“Well, we don’t get many Sunday’s together with me being in the field all the time, almost every week,” Dave glared at Pete in the audience, front row. “But our perfect Sunday is sleeping in, sending Erin to get a hot stone massage and shopping and then meeting up in the shopping center for a lunch, while during the day I hunt with my dog, Mudgie.” Erin let out the breath she didn’t know she was holding. She used her left hand to flip the card up while her right hand held Dave’s left hand.
“Her card, for those who can’t read it says: lie in, shopping, hunting, dinner. Judges?” The bing came through the PA system. And Dave lightly squeezed Erin’s hand in appreciation.
"Okay, so final question for round two," Josh asked as he looked down at the card in his hand. "We asked your partners what traffic sign best describes you on a bad day?"
"I'd say a stop sign," Dave said. "Because I just want to shut everything down and stop the world for a while." Erin, still holding Dave’s hand, squeezed it as the card read stop. The BAU group once again became boisterous as they knew that answer easily. Dave had a habit of withdrawing.
"One Way," Harold said. "Because her way is the only way." He muttered as she flipped the card with a one way sign drawn. “Nice honey.”
“And I’m going to say a do not enter sign because I don’t even want to be at home and I just want to go, drive away for an hour, two, half a day. I don’t like anyone in my office or around me.” Greg proudly said as he looked over at his wife.
“Wrong way.” Shondra’s voice went up an octave. “You’re the one who always keeps me in check letting me know when I have a bad day that it’s the wrong way to be.” A low groan came from the audience at her explanation.
"So, great round," Josh said. "At the end of two rounds, Shondra and Greg have made a comeback and are beating Erin and Dave and Elizabeth and Harold by 10 points. It’s 90 to 80. But it’s still anyone’s game. The last three questions are worth 100 points apiece. So, couples, whoever is the stronger guesser of the two, you’ll stay back with Malia.” The curtain closed again and it was announced another 10 minute intermission.
Two seniors from the high school came out and did a few magic tricks, a high school junior came out and did a ballet routine and three students came out to sing “The Cassion Song:” “U.S. Air Force Blue” and “The Marine’s Hymn.” A loud clap of appreciation came from the audience as most of the FBI was former military. Some people sang along.
“Okay, folks,” Josh said leading Erin, Shondra and Harold back on the stage. “We have three questions for you, 100 points apiece. This is for the game. Think hard.” After 10 minutes and three questions, Malia was escorting Dave, Greg and Elizabeth to their seats next to their partners.
"So, first question, to the leaders of the game, Greg" Josh turned toward him. "We asked what is your special memory of your husband, your marriage and any children excluded.”
"Hmm," Greg mused. "I’m going to say our Honeymoon. We got to explore Bora Bora. It was the most exquisite.” Shondra revealed his matching answer.
“Same question Dave, special Erin memory?” Josh looked at Dave.
“Oh gosh, um, the day she said yes, obviously. She made me the happiest man; I gained her and her three children.” Erin smiled as she listened to his answer. Her card read: proposal. A chaste kiss was given to Dave from Erin before Josh moved on to Elizabeth and Harold.
“I’m going to say the day we bought our house in Alexandria. We were married five years and had been living in this apartment and I just wanted a house and a family with her. We decided on the third one, put a bid on it and within 72 hours heard it was ours. So, our first house.” Harold smiled at his wife, silently hoping they could stay in the game.
“Our proposal.” Elizabeth growled. “You proposed on the beach in the Outer Banks. I would hope that ranked up there with Lillith and our wedding, I guess not.” She stared him down as the audience guffawed at them.
“Next question, what is the three things you’d save if the house was on fire, save your wife. Harold, let’s get you back in the game.” Josh clucked his teeth before the spotlight went on Harold.
“Oh, um, my laptop, Lilith-“ Harold paused at the thought of his daughter. “And, oh wow, wow, I would have to say my laptop, Lilith and the chore chart for Lilith.”
“Two out of three,” Elizabeth murmured as she held up the sign: Lilith, laptop, Aunt Jenna’s wedding blanket.
“Oh snap, Liz.” Harold put a hand over his mouth. “Jenna’s blanket she crocheted for us. Yeah, that. I’d have to save that.” Josh nodded and turned his attention to Shondra and Greg.
“What would I save,” Greg put a hand to his chin to rut it. “I would save my DVD collection of ‘Forensic Files,’ Shondra’s signed photo of John Travolta in ‘The General’s Daughter’ and the Georgetown University flag we have in our living room.”
“Three for three,” Josh said as Shondra winked at Greg.
“Nice,” her voice an octave lower than usual, only for Greg’s ears.
“Dave, what did Erin say you would save?” Josh asked.
“Oh, easy, my medals, our credentials and Springfield Custom Professional 1911-A1.” Dave recited. Erin nodded in time as he said them. Her card read: military medals, gun, creds. He couldn’t help but kiss Erin. They were really inseparable.
"Let's finish up this game, and really begin our evening, shall we?" Josh asked with a gleam in his eye. "Final question, what is the one thing you wish your significant other could give you. Greg and Shondra, if you get this right and Dave and Erin don’t, you guys win. If you get it wrong and Dave and Erin do too, you also win.” Josh turned to Elizabeth and Harold. “That being said, Elizabeth and Harold, you guys first, you can potentially tie with Dave and Erin, what is your answer Harold?”
“Elizabeth has given me everything I could ask for. But if I was selfish, I would ask for a 2015 Porche 911 Turbo S because they be beautiful.” Harold responded. Elizabeth rolled her eyes as her card read: a Sin-2-Win weekend in Vegas. Emily Prentiss hooted and hollered from her seat as Sin2Wins were her deal.
‘Okay,” Josh looked at Erin who shook her head. Dave didn’t register it but the BAU did and most of the audience. “To Shondra, you can answer and win, what is the one thing you want from your wife, Greg?”
“Wow,” Greg pondered the question. “I want a man cave. Shondra has a den, and I have a part of the den. If I wanted one thing, I want a man cave. Somewhere where I can listen to the game with the guys and not have any worries.”
Shondra rolled her eyes as she revealed her card. “I thought you wanted a new car? A new sports car. I was going to tell you we should get one. Did you SEE what they came in?” She motioned over to Dave and Erin. “They have a kickass midnight blue BMW Z4.” Shondra shook her head but she still received a kiss on her temple from her husband.
“Finally, David, if you get this right, your charity wins the $50,000 and you win the game and FBI bragging rights. What is the one thing you want from Erin?”
“Oh, gosh,” Dave looked at Erin, and to the BAU section who was all sitting on the edge of their seats. “Erin has given me everything I could ask for. She’s given my her children, so selflessly, and she’s given me a home, with warmth, and her love. But if you’re really asking what I would really want, more than anything, it’s a baby. Sure, she gave me her three children but they’re already grown, to the point they don’t need me as much. I always wanted a family, but I figured it wasn’t in the game for it.” Dave sighed. “So, I’m going to say baby,” Dave shrugged as he looked at her intently. Keeping her eyes on him, she lifted up her card. When the audience gasped, he had to look. She bit the inside of her lip to keep from crying. “Really?” His eyes went wide as saucers.
“Yeah.” She nodded. He stood up and lifted her into a hug, kissing her with desire and passion.
“Oh my god, I’m going to be a dad,” Dave announced. Aaron, Jennifer, Emily, Derek, Penelope and Spencer bum rushed the stage. “Holy shit. 56 years old and I’m going to be a dad.” There were more sighs and claps from the audience as they watched the scene unfold before them.
Josh scrambled to take back control when Paul waved frantically at him from the back of the auditorium. "Well, then folks, there you have it. With a resounding victory and an even better surprise, David Rossi and Erin Strauss-Rossi wins the game. But really, Second Genesis and the other two charities won tonight. Thank you for coming out tonight to support your fellow federal investigators and three top-notch, wonderful charities in Washington, D.C. Thank you and goodnight."
As the lights on the stage faded and the red curtain came down, Dave turned back to Erin and lifted her again. “Oh my god. This is such a surprise. How far along?”
She kissed him, “ten weeks.”
"I'm so glad we decided to play." He said before JJ, Garcia and Emily came over to Erin, quickly whisking her to the lobby for water and hors d’orves.
Hotch patted Dave on the back, Morgan fist bumped Dave, Spencer and Will left to find the women together.
“Unreal.” Dave muttered as he walked through the doors into the lobby with a spring in his step. Finding his wife, he grabbed her from behind and kissed her neck. She winked at the team before they waved goodbyes and sauntered happily to their ever after.