Title: Worries, hesitancy and too much thinking – part 7
Disclaimer: Neither the show nor the characters belong to me, they belong to CBS. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time.
Summary: That’s what in my humble opinion should have happened after ‘True Night’.
warnings: some angst and hurt/comfort
Anyways, chapter 8 will be up sooner. Honestly, I promise! This time it won’t take so long.
“Come in!” Sarah smiled, grabbed Penelope’s arm and led her into her hotel room. “Do you want anything? Coffee?”
“Yeah, coffee would be great.” Penelope smiled a little sheepishly.
It didn’t take very long and Sarah came back from the little kitchen with two cups of coffee in her hand. She handed one to Penelope and said: “Des should be back in a few minutes. She and mom went shopping.”
“I didn’t want to stop you from going shopping with your family.” Penelope assured. “I mean, I could have come here later.”
“Relax, they want to buy me a birthday present, so I’m rather sure they wouldn’t have taken me with them anyway.” Sarah grinned. “Plus I really appreciate that you found the time to fix my computer during your case. I’d be lost without you.”
“That’s no problem.” Penelope smiled and blushed a little. “The team is stuck with the case anyway so there’s not much I can do for them at the moment. I’m glad that I can help you.”
“Stop blushing in my presence!” Sarah grinned and put an arm around Penelope. “I’m really glad my brother found you – not only because you can fix my computer.”
“I know.” she smiled. “It’s just that… well, I’ve never been welcomed so heartily by anyone. This is… quite new to me.”
“You’re making that very easy.” Sarah smiled. “I’m sure we’ll soon annoy you just as if we actually were your sisters.”
“Well, good luck.” Penelope grinned back at her. “I grew up with four brothers. It’s hard to annoy me.”
“Yeah, Derek already told me something like that.” Sarah giggled. “Besides many, many other things.”
Penelope gave her a quizzical look: “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing.” she giggled once more. “It’s just that… well, I’ve never seen my baby brother like that before. For at least a year now all he talked about was you. Whenever we asked him about work or if he was dating anyone, he somehow managed to bring the conversation round to you. He was excited as hell that you agreed to go to the New Year’s party with him.”
“Yeah, it took him a while to convince me.” Penelope admitted in a low voice.
“I heard about that.” Sarah replied. “And that just tells me that he’s really fallen for you. Normally, he wouldn’t make such an effort to woo a woman.”
“I bet he doesn’t need to.” she murmured.
Sarah frowned at her and asked: “Do you really think he has never been sent packing before?”
Penelope shook her head: “Men like him don’t get dumped.”
“You have no idea.” Sarah giggled.
“So, that’s my new patient?” Penelope changed the topic and pointed at the laptop on the bedside table.
“Yup” Sarah nodded, “it can be pretty annoying.”
“Maybe it just needs a dose of TLC.” Penelope grinned as she sat down in front of the computer and hit a few keys. “Voilà.” she called out after only a few seconds.
Sarah’s eyes almost popped out of her head. “Are you serious? That was it?”
“Yeah.” Penelope shrugged. “All data restored. It wasn’t that bad.”
Sarah hugged her exuberantly and grinned: “I swear, if Derek ever thinks of dumping you I’ll personally kill him!”
Penelope just looked down.
Realizing what she had said Sarah immediately put a hand around the other woman’s shoulder and assured: “No, I didn’t mean that I think he’s going to dump you. See, I’d never kill him ‘cause he’s my brother. And I just said that because I’m sure that he’ll never let you down.”
“I know.” Penelope nodded.
Sarah frowned at her but couldn’t say anything in addition because the door opened and Fran and Desiree stepped in. “Hey, you two!” Des grinned at them. “I hope we didn’t disturb anything?”
“Nope, I’m done.” Penelope replied.
“She is amazing!” Sarah grinned.
“Are you going to join us for lunch?” Fran smiled at the young blonde.
“I’d really love to.” Penelope smiled back at her. “But I have some shopping to do for the weekend. It’s going to be a surprise.”
“Oh.” Fran and her two daughters all turned to Penelope to give her their full attention.
Penelope blushed a little. Obviously it wasn’t necessary to mention for whom she planned the surprise. “Yeah, I… um…” she stuttered before she decided that it maybe was a good idea to let them in on her plans.
She told them everything, how the idea had occurred to her when Derek had told her a little about his childhood and how she’d planned it differently at first but had changed her mind after their relationship developed.
After she’d finished Fran gave her a warm smile and said: “Derek is going to love this. Which weekend have you planned this?”
“The weekend after we finish our dinner.” Penelope smiled.
“You shouldn’t wait that long.” Fran told her. “Because if this case isn’t going to end soon I have to get back home. My birthday is in less than four weeks and I have to prepare a few things. It’s the only time of the year the whole family gathers.”
“Yeah, Derek told me about that.” Penelope nodded. “I just didn’t know that it’s, well, already next month.”
“I just hope your team solves this case soon enough so you two can come help me celebrate my birthday.” Fran sighed.
Penelope was stunned for a moment before she managed to stumble: “I… um… you mean, Derek and me?”
“Of course” Fran grinned at her. “You’re a part of this family now, whether you like it or not.”
“You know, you could join us for lunch and then we’d help you with the shopping.” Des suggested and put an arm around Penelope’s shoulder.
“That would be great.” she agreed.
Having lunch with Derek’s mother and his sisters turned out to be much easier than their first dinner. Penelope was overwhelmed by how heartily Derek’s family welcomed her. And in fact, it was a lot of fun to go shopping with Sarah and Des.
Fran had decided to stay in the hotel and take a nap. She wasn’t really tired but she’d wanted to leave her now three daughters alone. It surprised Fran how easy it was for her to consider Penelope a part of their family although she had only known her for three days. Normally, she gave her children-in-law quite a hard time just to find out if they were worthy of her children.
But Penelope was completely different. Derek had been completely right about her. Apart from her insecurities she was one of the most caring, most compassionate and most good-hearted people Fran had ever met.
She smiled to herself when Desiree and Sarah returned excitedly telling her everything they had bought and how they were sure Derek was going to love this surprise. It would probably do him good if he’d been able to see how well Penelope and his sisters got along.
The ringing of her cell phone – a birthday present from Derek a few years ago – startled her from her thoughts. Smiling she picked up: “Hey, Derek!”
“Hi, mom.” he sighed. “How did you know it was me?”
“Good guessing.” she shrugged. “What’s wrong?”
“Um… nothing.” Derek replied. “How’s Clooney?”
“Fine.” she said with a frown. “We’re taking good care of him.”
“Yeah, I know.” Derek quickly assured. “Otherwise I wouldn’t have asked you to look after him. When are you heading back home? This case is going to take us longer than we’d expected.”
“Derek, what’s really wrong?” Fran asked a little impatiently. “You didn’t call to ask me how Clooney was and you aren’t allowed to talk about the case, right?”
“I… um… well.” he sighed again. “To be honest I just wanted to know how the evening went. I would have called earlier but the case kept us busy and I wasn’t allowed to make any private calls. But now Hotch and Rossi are questioning their first suspects and Reid and Emily are busy with the victimology and the demographics. There’s not really anything I could do so I just thought I could call and ask…”
“Relax, Derek!” Fran laughed. “The evening went very well. Penelope is very polite and good-hearted. She restored Sarah’s files before lunch and this afternoon the three girls went shopping together.”
“So they hit it off with each other?” Derek smiled at that. He could hear his sisters giggle in the background.
“Looks like.” Fran chuckled. “I’m glad you found her.”
“Me too.” Derek answered in a low voice. “I never thought I could feel this way about a woman. I’m not really sure how this happened but at some point she won my heart. I never met someone like her before.”
“Did you tell her?” Fran wanted to know.
Derek frowned a little puzzled. “What do you mean? I told her that I love her.”
“Maybe you should also tell her WHY you love her.” Fran replied. “She isn’t insecure because she thinks you don’t love her but because she can’t imagine why you feel this way.”
“Thanks, mom.” he nodded to himself. That would be the first thing he’d talk to Penelope about when they came back. “The case is going to keep us busy for a while longer.” Derek sighed. “So I understand if you want to fly back home.”
“I have to.” Fran affirmed. “I have a lot to arrange for the birthday party. I just hope you’ll make it back until then. I want to see you and Penelope at my party.”
Derek’s smile widened. “I promise I’ll personally track this guy down so we’re definitely going to make it.”
“That sounds like a good plan.” Fran grinned. “Go, get them, Derek! Bye.”
“Mom?” he kept her from hanging up. “Why exactly did Penelope and my sisters go shopping together?”
She giggled and said: “You should ask Penelope yourself.”
Raising both his eyebrows Derek replied: “You seem to know more than I do.”
“Obviously.” Fran’s grin grew a little wider. “But I can’t tell you more.”
Now, this was really becoming strange. “Mom?”
“Sorry, Derek, I have to hang up. Bye!” Fran giggled once more.
Giving the phone in his hand a quizzical look Derek just shook his head and decided to call Penelope – for the tenth time at least during the past three days.
“Hey, handsome.” Penelope greeted with a smile. “What kind of magic do you want me to work for you?”
“We still don’t really have a clue.” he sighed. “I… um… I just miss you.”
He couldn’t see how her face lit up and her eyes sparkled. “And you just called to tell me that?” she asked.
“Basically… yes.” he admitted. “Hotch and Rossi are questioning suspects and Reid and Emily are still doing the victimology and the demographics. I absconded for a while.”
“And you used that time to call me?” she giggled.
“I couldn’t think of any better way to spend my time.” Derek grinned. “You know, mom told me that you and my sisters went shopping today?”
Chuckling Penelope replied: “That’s true.”
“And… um… would you mind telling me what you bought?” he tried to press her.
“Sorry, but that’s a surprise.” Derek could almost hear her grin.
“I like surprises.” he grinned himself. “What’s it about?”
“I can’t tell you.” she insisted. “That’s why it’s called a surprise.”
He opened his mouth to shoot something back but was kept from it when Hotch and Rossi entered the motel. “Sorry, baby girl, the bosses are back.” he chuckled. “I’ll call you later.”
“Sure.” Penelope said happily and just a second before Derek could hang up: “And, Derek?”
“Yeah?” he gave his attention back to her.
After a few seconds she said quickly and in a low voice: “I miss you too.” Then she hung up.
Derek didn’t even try to stop the happy grin from spreading all over his face.