It was Alexi's idea, of course.
No one was entirely sure how the entire broadcast team had ended up locked inside the studio for the night, but there they were.
"You can't predict something like the World Cup," Ian said finally, as they all stared at the door, and it was hard to argue with that.
"Excellent point, Ian," Taylor added redundantly.
"We're almost out of tiny bananas," Rog said mournfully.
"I have a stash in my other jacket, hold on," Davo reassured him, running off to the Panic Room.
The situation was dire; Michael was down to his shirtsleeves, and Ruud had started to do yoga in the corner. Meanwhile, Julie and Ian were engaged in a fierce tic-tac-toe battle that had the potential to get ugly. Clearly, something had to be done. Which was why when Davo returned with his jacket, pulling out two bunches of tiny bananas to Rog's obvious relief, Alexi clapped his hands together.
"Since it looks like ESPN has forgotten all about us—"
"The network is getting a strongly-worded letter from me about this tomorrow," Bob muttered, sounding disgruntled for possibly the first time in his life.
"—we might as well make the most of our time together," Alexi finished.
"What exactly did you have in mind?" Michael asked, showing his first sign of interest in anything since they had discovered the locked doors.
"We should play Spin the Bottle," Alexi replied with a smug smile.
The answering silence was deafening.
"We do have that empty Malbec bottle," Davo finally offered tentatively.
"It would pass the time," Michael said.
"That's an excellent observation, Michael," Taylor said immediately.
Ruud stood out of the downward dog position. "A bit of male bonding never hurt anyone."
Julie cleared her throat pointedly.
The men all looked suitably chagrined. "You don't—we wouldn't want you to feel uncomfortable, if you'd rather sit this out," Rog said.
She shook her head. "Oh no, I'm a part of this team. And who knows, maybe this will convince you guys to lobby for more women on the team in 2018," she said with a sharp smile.
With that there was nothing to be done but gather in a circle for the game to be played.
"Who's first, then?" Davo asked, holding the empty bottle.
"Bob, I think," Ruud answered, and no one could imagine taking Bob's place at the front, so Bob it was.
He spun it quickly and with confidence, everyone holding their breath as it whirled around, finally landing on Davo.
"Oh, what a moment. What an experience for all of us to witness these two men together, sharing something like this. What a kiss," Rog narrated as Bob shuffled over to Davo and gave him a friendly peck.
"Was all that really necessary?" Davo asked, laughing but looking a bit perplexed.
"Every word," Rog said firmly.
Ruud was next, and he landed on Michael. They both looked rueful.
"A brief thaw between our countries, yes?" Michael said with a grin.
"Only until the final, if all goes right," Ruud said before leaning in and kissing him gently on the mouth, Alexi and Taylor both watching intently.
Their tender moment was broken by Julie reaching for the bottle and giving it a spin, everyone eyeing each other in anticipation. When it landed on Ian, she gave a little cheer. "Come here, you," she said, crawling deftly over to him and giving him a kiss on both cheeks.
"Who could ever dream of this happening to someone like me," Ian said seriously. "This is more than I ever hoped for—and I've learned to expect the unexpected."
"There's always a surprise or two in store at a tournament like this," Julie said with a wink.
Michael was next, grasping the bottle firmly and spinning it hard, watching it go until it landed on Taylor.
"Well, this should be very exciting by all standards, Michael," Taylor stammered out.
Michael just smiled at him and thumbed over Taylor's lips for a moment before leaning in and kissing him squarely on the mouth. His eyes were delighted and dark when he pulled away.
Taylor looked gobsmacked. "What an excellent kissing technique," he said finally, flushing red while Michael laughed happily.
"Ian's next," Alexi said loudly, making Taylor jump in surprise. Ian spun and got Davo.
"Another one!" Davo said in surprise.
"The bottle is drawn to you like Suarez's teeth to a shoulder," Rog said with relish.
"Please try not to kiss like him," Davo implored Ian, but his mouth managed to survive the kiss unbitten.
Next up was Taylor, who got Julie. He looked like he hadn't quite recovered from being so close to Michael and gave her a polite kiss while still appearing slightly dazed.
"I think you broke him," Julie said to Michael, who just continued to smile.
Rog was next, landing on Bob. "There is no one else I should ever need to kiss in a game of chance and love than you, Bob," Rog said, holding his face firmly in his hands and kissing his brow. "Through you we all flow."
The following kiss was slightly different. Davo spun the bottle with force and watched with interest when it stopped on Rog. "This bottle does seem to know me quite well," Davo said.
"Your luck is as bad as England's," Rog countered, but sat still while Davo leaned in and kissed him. No one quite knew where to look as the kiss lasted and lasted. Davo finally pulled away, his fingers still caressing Rog's cheek.
Rog's eyes remained shut. “On me your voice falls as they say love should, like an enormous yes.”
Davo cleared his throat roughly. "Is that your analysis?" he asked finally, his voice not quite up to its usual standards.
Rog looked at him in outrage. "That's Philip Larkin, you philistine," he said.
"Of course it is," Davo said, moving closer and looking quite pleased, all told.
"If you're both done, I need a turn with the bottle, since it was my idea and I haven't gotten kissed once yet!" Alexi said.
"Oh, yes, go on," Bob said kindly, and Alexi pouted but spun the bottle.
It wobbled around and finally landed squarely on Michael, who smiled back at Alexi, eyes twinkling.
"Are you coming to me, or should I spare you the effort," Michael teased.
Alexi huffed. "Your knees aren't that much younger than mine," he said, shuffling across the floor to Michael.
"Yes, but I might spare the others the complaining," Michael said. Alexi really would have complained about that, because the floor was hard and his knees did give him trouble sometimes, but Michael kissed him before he could, and by then he had far more important things to think about.
They only broke apart when the door to the studio flew open. "Um, guys? What are you doing?" Steve asked tentatively, Mike Tirico just behind him.
"Door was locked," Rog said, feeding Davo a tiny banana. "We had no keys."
Mike looked at the door and then back at them. "It's—there's just a knob? You turn it?"
They all looked at each other. "Team bonding is very important," Bob said finally. "So it's good you finally joined us."
Mike and Steve shrugged and came in, closing and locking the door behind them.