Title: Worries, hesitancy and too much thinking – part 4
Disclaimer: nothing’s mine, it all belongs to CBS and so on
Summary: That’s what in my humble opinion should have happened after ‘True Night’.
warnings: some angst and hurt/comfort
It was not that he didn’t trust her. He hadn’t even intended to follow her. He didn’t want to spy on her. But on his way home he had passed her conspicuous car that was parked in front of a small church and had stopped.
For several minutes Derek sat in his car wondering if he should go inside. What could she be doing in this church? She had said it was some sort of fixed date but why in a church? He hadn’t even known that Penelope was religious. Although he wasn’t surprised to find out something new about her. His goddess was full of surprises.
Finally he decided that it couldn’t hurt to ask her what she was doing here. He would explain that he hadn’t followed her but saw her car on his way home.
When Derek entered the front hall of the church, a tiny room separated from the hall by another wooden door, he hesitated. He still didn’t feel exactly comfortable in a church although he went to God’s house and prayed from time to time. But he usually went there after midnight when he was sure he would be alone. He didn’t want anyone to see him try to pray and fail most of the time. He still didn’t know how to address God because deep inside he was still angry and felt left in the lurch.
When he decided to give it a whirl Derek heard a strange rhythmical click. And then he heard a beautiful and strong voice sing the first lines of ‘Down in the river to pray’. It was certainly a mass and Derek once again hesitated. It wasn’t exactly tactful to step into an ongoing mass. On the other hand, reverends were usually glad about everyone attending a mass.
Carefully Derek opened the door and immediately slid into the last pew hoping to pass unnoticed. When he raised his head he saw a group of about twenty people in front of the altar – and he was stunned when he realized that the beautiful voice he’d heard belonged to no less than his baby girl.
A huge smile spread across his face and he leaned back to listen. He had never heard such a fabulous choir in a church before. Moreover, he hadn’t known that Penelope could sing – let alone that she had such an amazing voice. But as he’d already noticed earlier, this woman was full of surprises, and never failed to make him fall more for her.
Sitting there hearing her sing Derek realized what he had almost lost – and what he had probably never had if Penelope hadn’t been shot. When he had gotten the call telling him that she was in surgery and had been severely injured his heart had stopped. He’d driven to the hospital like a maniac, all he’d wanted was to be with her even though he knew he couldn’t do anything.
On his way to the hospital he had realized what an idiot he had been. All these years he had searched for something that was right in front of him. That evening in the church he had asked God for help once more, for help to forget what happened to him, to get over it and leave it in his past. But Derek had never realized that God had already answered his prayers. He had sent him a beautiful, ingenious and witty woman with a heart of gold who never failed to make him smile or laugh and who cared about him much more than he’d ever deserved.
She had to be shot for him to realize how much she meant to him. If he hadn’t been so narrow-minded she would never have had to suffer so much pain.
Nonetheless he was grateful that he had gotten a second chance. This time he would use it.
Derek sat in the dark of the last pew throughout the whole choir practice. Well, almost… After a little less than an hour his phone vibrated and he jumped a little. Damn!
What was even worse was that one of the elder women noticed his movement. “Seems we have a guest today.” She stated pointing in his direction.
He wished the ground beneath him would just open and swallow him when everyone’s eyes narrowed in an attempt to see him.
“Why don’t you come closer?” the chorister asked. “We always like having guests during our practice.”
Okay, he was caught. So Derek figured he might as well reveal his identity – and let Penelope get mad at him. Slowly he stepped into the aisle and walked closer. He waved insecurely at Penelope when he saw her eyes widen.
Derek’s heart stopped for a moment before it started pounding like mad. What would she do now? Would she shout at him? Pull him outside to do so? She hadn’t wanted him to know where she was going and he had followed her – even though he hadn’t done it on purpose… at least not entirely.
“What are you doing here?” she wanted to know.
“Well, um… I… I saw your car outside and… um…” Derek tried to explain. They kept their conversation quiet so that the obviously very curious rest of the choir wasn’t able to understand any of it.
Yeah, she could have guessed that. The church was on his way home which had been the main reason for her to park her car round the corner every time. But today she hadn’t been able to find a parking space there and she’d already been late.
“You… you have a beautiful voice.” he said when she didn’t answer.
Penelope looked up at him and blushed a little. “Well, thanks.” she murmured.
“Why… didn’t you tell me what your plans for today were? I didn’t know you were singing in a choir.” Not to mention that he’d had no idea she could sing like that.
“No one knows.” Penelope replied. “I… I don’t know, I just… didn’t want anyone to know.”
“Why not?” he asked a little puzzled. “I’m sure we’d all come to one of your… performances if you have something like that.”
“We do.” she nodded. “We… well, basically this is a beneficial choir for this church. We collect quite a lot of money at our performances. And that’s exactly why I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want any of you to see a performance.”
“Why not?” Derek asked again.
“Well, because…” Penelope took a deep breath and looked down. “Because I have to sing a solo almost every time.”
“Where’s the problem?” he shrugged. “You’d leave them speechless – which would be a good thing especially with Reid.”
“I just… didn’t want any of you to hear me sing.” she explained in a low voice.
“But you’re amazingly good at it!” he argued.
This caused her to blush even more. “You think?” she whispered.
Derek cupped her chin with his hand to make her look at him and smiled: “I know it, I heard you. You sing like an angel.”
“Don’t you want to present your cute friend to us?” a woman around Penelope’s age asked.
“Well, um…” she stuttered a little insecurely, not sure about what to call him. Co-worker? Friend? Soon to be lover? “This is Special Agent Derek Morgan, my…”
Fortunately she was cut off by one of the other women pretty much shrieking: “You are THE Derek Morgan?”
“Seems like.” he shrugged and grinned at Penelope. “Unless you know more people with that particular name.”
She shook her head ashamedly.
“Why don’t you join us, Mr. Morgan?” the chorister then asked.
“I… um…” Derek looked perplexed between Penelope and the chorister back and forth. “I don’t think that’s a good idea. I… um… am not sure if I can sing.”
“Why don’t you try?” the man smiled at him.
“Well, okay.” he shrugged. The smile he saw on Penelope’s face was definitely worth it even if he should make a complete fool of himself.
Fortunately, it turned out that he was doing quite well.
“So, are you going to come to the next practice, Agent Morgan?” a young woman asked obviously trying to flirt with him.
“Well, it depends.” Derek smiled and looked past her to a much more pleasing sight.
“On what?” the woman asked trying to get Derek’s attention back.
His eyes kept fixed on the other woman as he replied: “On whether Penelope wants me to accompany her or not.”
Penelope’s head shot up and she stared at him for a moment. Then she smiled and said: “I would be delighted.”
“Did you sing in a choir before?” the woman wanted to know and tried to block his view so that he had to look at her.
“No, ma’am.” he sighed. Why couldn’t she leave him alone?!
She grinned and put out her hand: “Isabelle Rawley, most people call me Belle.”
“Nice to meet you, Ms Rawley.” Derek gave her a frosty smile and shook her hand.
A little disgruntled the woman tried to pull out all the stops, leaned forward to show off as much cleavage as possible and giving him the most charming look she said: “I thought I told you to call me Belle! I just wondered if you have any plans for today. If you don’t we could have a drink or two.”
Rolling his eyes Derek simply sighed. He couldn’t believe he’d ever been attracted by women as tacky as her. Okay, it was flattering to get so much attention from beautiful women – but until Penelope Derek hadn’t realized that it was much more flattering to get such attention from a woman who was beautiful and brilliant.
“I’m sorry, Ms Rawley” he finally replied. “But no, thank you.”
From the expression on her face Derek could tell that she was obviously not used to being blown off. “You… decline?” she asked perplexed.
“Yes.” he simply said. What was so hard to understand about a word as simple as ‘no’?
Suddenly she got angry and put her fists on her hips: “What’s wrong with you, huh? Am I not good enough for you?”
“To be honest, I already found something better.” he said a little angry himself.
Belle’s eyes widened: “You’re taken?”
He simply nodded. Boy, this girl was really slow on the uptake!
“Wait a minute!” now it seemed that her eyes wanted to pop out of her head. “You… you are Penelope’s… boyfriend?”
Frowning Derek crossed his arms in front of his chest and eyed the tramp-like woman in front of him. “Is there a problem?”
“N… No.” she stuttered. “I’m just… surprised… that’s all. I mean, a man like you and a woman like… her…”
“What?” he cut her off. Five minutes and he was already pissed at her, new record.
“Well, I mean, look at her.” Belle waved at her derogatively.
“You don’t know Penelope very well, do you?” he hissed. Before this annoying girl could answer he added: “Because if you knew her you would know what a beautiful, big-hearted and witty woman she is. Or maybe your problem with Penelope is that she has an IQ you can only dream of?”
“How dare you…” she shrieked.
“I’m not so superficial to be interested in someone who has nothing to offer except looking like a living doll.” Derek interrupted her once more.
Giving him a death glare Belle jangled: “You arrogant, snobbish…”
“Yeah, you’re the right person to call me that.” he laughed sarcastically.
“Well, if you think you’re going to be happy with her…” she snapped.
“I think I defined my position.” Derek gave her his most charming smile. “Why don’t you go and try to hook up with someone else.”
Foaming she turned around and stalked away.
“Was there a problem?” Penelope asked as she stepped to his right. She hadn’t really heard what Belle and Derek had been talking about but it had been obvious that the conversation hadn’t exactly been bland.
“No, baby girl.” Derek assured her as he turned around and wrapped his arms around her waist swaying her gently. “I just had the doubtful pleasure to make the acquaintance of Ms Isabelle Rawley.”
Giggling Penelope replied: “Yeah, she can be… challenging.”
“Now, that is an understatement.” he grinned and leaned down in an attempt to kiss her.
“Wait” she stopped him in the middle of his movement. “We shouldn’t do that… not here, I mean.” she glanced at the grinning faces of her co-singers.
“Why not?” Derek asked nonchalantly.
Penelope leaned a little closer and pointing her head slightly to her left she whispered: “They are watching us.”
“So?” Derek shrugged and leaned further down. “I don’t give a damn. Let them watch!” he whispered only a second before he captured her lips with his.
Her heart leaped with joy at the realization that Derek didn’t want them to hide their feelings or the fact that they were an item.