Title: Worries, hesitancy and too much thinking – part 9
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: we’re at the more fluffy part now :)
AN: A special thanks to Gretchen who despite the fact that she was really busy managed to beta-read this story in just a few days. You’re so awesome. :)
“Are you finally going to tell me what the surprise is?” Derek asked impatiently while he tried to get any hints by examining the surroundings. The countryside was beautiful and rather lonely. So when Penelope turned left onto a forest road and parked the car he was completely confused. “You’re not going to get rid of my body here, right?” he mumbled.
“No.” she laughed and opened the trunk. Taking out a large bag she tossed over to him she grinned: “We’re going camping.”
Clooney barked a happy agreement and decided it was a good idea to go and check out the little forest. Penelope had insisted on taking the puppy with them.
Derek stared at the bag in his hands and his eyes widened when he noticed it was a sleeping bag. Carefully he stepped closer to examine the rest of the baggage she’d brought.
Penelope stopped taking the bags out of the trunk and gave Derek an insecure smile: “You said you never had the chance to go camping with your father so… I thought that… But we don’t have to…”
He cut her off by wrapping his arms around her and pulling her close to him. “Baby girl, this is perfect.” he smiled and leaned down to kiss her. “Thank you.”
A huge smile spread across her face and she pecked his lips. “You’re welcome.”
They quickly got the rest of the bags to the place Penelope had chosen for their four days of camping. Unfortunately, they didn’t have more time because they had to leave for Fran’s birthday on Friday – but that wouldn’t keep them from enjoying the time they were allowed to spend with each other. At least they’d gotten the whole week off after the last case.
“And they always say women are bad at things like that.” Penelope giggled as she watched Derek struggling to construct the tent.
“Hey, are you going to help me or do you just want to stand there and tease me?” he scolded.
Shaking her head she took the tent poles from him. In less then ten minutes she was finished and grinned at a stunned Derek who stared at her in disbelief.
“How many times exactly have you been camping before?” he wanted to know.
“I went camping with my family at least twice every year.” she shrugged. “It was the only vacation that didn’t pollute nature. Hippies, remember?”
“Well, good for me.” Derek grinned. “I tried to convince Spencer to go camping with me. But I think the only way he’d give in to me would have been to stun and abduct him.”
“Yeah, tell me about it.” she chuckled.
Derek raised both his eyebrows: “You wanted to go camping with Reid?” Not to mention that she’d asked the genius before she’d asked him.
“No.” Penelope quickly assured. “I just… well, when I originally planned this we weren’t… so close yet…”
“You mean we weren’t an item.” he softly corrected her.
“Right.” she nodded. “And since we weren’t… an item I wanted to take Reid with us… but since he refused…”
“Wait!” he interrupted her again. “How long have you been planning this?”
“Well… um… actually since you told me about your dad promising to go camping with you.” she admitted in a low voice.
Derek stared at her and although he never thought it would be possible he realized that he had just fallen more for the beautiful blonde in front of him. After a moment of speechlessness he hurried over to her, wrapped his arms tightly around her and pulled her into a deep kiss.
When Derek finally had to break the kiss for air he panted: “Honey, that’s the best surprise I ever got from anyone.”
“I’m glad you like it.” she smiled.
“I love it.” he nodded and leaned down to kiss her again. “And I love you. No one has ever done anything like that for me before.”
“I just… It made me sad that you never had the chance to go camping and… I know it’s not the same like going with your dad but…”
He silenced her by putting his index finger over her lips and smiled: “Baby girl, it’s perfect.”
Penelope rewarded those words with a radiant smile and another breathtaking kiss. This time they had to break it when Clooney started to bark a protest at being ignored too long.
Fortunately Derek turned out to be better at making a fire than at building the tent. He had to admit that Penelope was really adept at camping. She cooked some Spaghetti over the open fire and she’d also brought some dough she kneaded around a stick to roast it.
“All for of my brothers were boy scouts.” she smiled and handed him a piece of dough and some of her homemade strawberry jam. “When I was a kid I ate this almost every weekend.”
“It’s really tasty.” Derek smiled back at her. “Especially with the jam. I never thought of you as a cook.”
Penelope rolled her eyes and objected: “It’s not that tasty anymore if you’re forced to eat it every week – or if you are forced to cook the jam.”
“That bad, huh?” he grinned.
Frowning a little Penelope replied: “When I was a kid I wished that we would do something else at least once in a while. I stopped going camping with them when I was fourteen. But after my parents had died I… wished I had gone with them at least one more time.”
The sad tone in her voice ripped at his heart and Derek reached over to grab her hand and offer her some comfort. “I’m sorry.” he simply said.
She entwined her fingers with his and smiled: “I guess we all have done or didn’t do things in our life that we regret. I couldn’t have known that they would die so early.”
“And you broke contact with your brothers?” Derek carefully asked.
“After the death of my parents, yes.” she nodded staring into the fire. “I was… glad that I finally didn’t have to keep up the illusion anymore.”
“What do you mean?” he wanted to know.
Snorting slightly Penelope answered: “My parents always thought that my brothers and I were really close and that we had fun camping every weekend. But as a matter of fact they hated me – just as much as I hated them.”
Derek gently squeezed her hand and asked: “Why did you hate each other?”
“I just… wasn’t worthy of being their sister.” she shrugged. “My brothers were the jocks, the star-quarterback kind of guys. And I’ve been the geek my whole life long, more interested in computers and crimes than sports.”
“And you never told your parents that you… didn’t get along with your brothers?”
She just shook her head: “My parents loved all of us and they were happy thinking that we were a close family. I loved them too much to destroy that illusion. So I avoided my brothers whenever I could.”
“So your brothers taught you that geeks and jocks simply didn’t interact.” he deduced.
“In a way.” Penelope shrugged. “Becoming such close friends with you was more than I ever thought would be possible.”
“And you still think you’re not worth being more than that to
“I know that you love
Giving her a puzzled look Derek asked: “Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Come on, Derek, look at me!” she snorted. “I’m not the kind of woman men like you find attractive. And don’t tell me it doesn’t matter that I’m fat because I know it does, it always did.” her voice trailed off at the end of the sentence.
“Did your brothers tell you that?” he softly asked. “That you’re fat and not attractive?”
This time she didn’t answer.
“Okay, first of all, you’re not fat, just a little curvy and I think that’s very sexy.” Derek objected. “I never fell in love with any of those women. They were adventures, easy targets for a one-night-stand that is. I know this wasn’t very perceptive but… in a way I always felt like I had to prove that I’m attractive to them. I understand that you feel like you can’t trust me in any way but…”
“This is not about trust.” Penelope objected and raised her head to look at him. “I would entrust my life to you without even thinking about it and you know that.”
“But yet you think I’ll dump you for the first woman that crosses my way.”
Hearing the disappointment in his voice made her feel incredibly guilty. “No, I just…”
“If you expect the worst you won’t be disappointed.” Derek softly said. “And if you don’t let anyone in you can’t get hurt.”
Penelope’s head shot up and she gave him a quizzical look.
“Do you think I don’t know what it’s like to be dumped?” he asked. “When I was fifteen I had a crush on a girl in my class. When I asked her out she said she’d never go out with a dirty nigger. My whole life long I had to be better, stronger and more sportive than everyone else just because I am black. I know what it’s like to be judged by nothing but your appearance.”
“I never… thought about that.” she admitted in a low voice.
“Because you are different.” Derek smiled at her and now took both her hands in his. “You don’t care about the fact that I’m black, you never did. Because you aren’t that superficial.”
Remembering that this was exactly what she’d accused him of Penelope looked back down and whispered: “I’m sorry, I know you aren’t either.”
“Maybe not superficial.” he replied. “But very slow on the uptake sometimes. It took me way too long to realize that you are more I ever dared to ask for. And it took me even longer to finally make a move. But after I realized what you mean to me I was scared.”
“Of what?” she wanted to know.
“Well, first of all I never felt this way before and I… I’m not too experienced regarding relationships. I was afraid I might hurt you so I thought I should wait and let our friendship grow more first. And when you told me about that guy in the coffee shop I was jealous. I thought I was about to lose you and that was why I wanted you to blow him off. And I asked you out back then not because I wanted to make up for everything but because I didn’t want to miss another chance.”
“You never needed to be jealous of anyone.” Penelope replied in a low voice. “My heart had belonged to you long before I even met
“I do.” he smiled. “I love you, I need you and I want you. I always thought I didn’t want a real relationship and I never realized that I just didn’t want a relationship with anyone but you.”
A sad expression appeared on her face and she still refused to look at him.
Derek was sure he knew what she was thinking about. So he gently cupped her chin with his hand and made her look at him. “And I’m very glad that we didn’t just jump into bed the first night but waited.”
“Really?” Penelope looked up and gave him a watery smile.
“Really.” Derek nodded. “All relationships I have had so far started with sex – and they were over pretty soon afterwards. I’m glad that we took things slow and had the chance to get to know each other. I know that this time it’s something real and something very good. Because I’ve never been so happy before.”
A radiant smile spread across her face. “Me neither.” she whispered and leaned over to give Derek a passionate kiss – which was abruptly interrupted by a cold nose and a wet tongue licking both their faces.
“Clooney!” Derek scolded.
“Seems he’s a little jealous.” Penelope giggled while she scratched that particular spot behind his right ear.
“The question is of whom.” he chuckled.
“You know we both love you.” Penelope said locking eyes with the overgrown puppy. “But we love each other too. So you can’t interrupt us every time we kiss.”
“Do you think he understands what you’re saying?” Derek grinned.
“It’s worth giving it a try.” Penelope shrugged and leaned over to kiss Derek again.
This time Clooney jumped at his master and almost threw him off the trunk they were sitting on. “There you have the answer.” he stated.
Penelope burst out laughing: “You know, I could deal with a bunch of jealous women but I’m not sure how to handle a jealous dog.”
“I’ll only warn you once, Buddy!” Derek said in his firmest voice. “Either you behave or you’ll spend the night outside the tent!”
“You don’t have the heart to do that.” Penelope smiled at him.
“I don’t want to share the sleeping bag with this puppy.” he said rolling his eyes.
Penelope just giggled and gave Clooney an apologizing look: “Sorry, sweetie, but your master definitely has a point there.”
“Maybe we should go in.” Derek suggested when he noticed Penelope shiver in respond to a cold breeze.
“That’s a good idea.” she nodded rubbing her upper arms with her hands. “It’s getting cold.”
Derek put out the fire and hurried over to the tent. It really was a little cold outside. He tapped at the tent to make sure Penelope wasn’t changing her clothes or anything and entered quickly closing the zipper behind him not to let the cold in. A little puzzled he looked around and asked: “Where’s my sleeping bag?”
“You know, this one… is… for two people.” she shrugged and smiled sheepishly. “I thought since we’ve already shared a bed…”
“Move over, baby girl.” he softly commanded and slid into the bag next to her.
Penelope fastened the zipper and snuggled up against him. “I didn’t want to do without cuddling the whole time.” she mumbled.
“And I’m very glad about that.” he smiled and kissed the top of her head. “I love you, goddess.”
“I love you, sweetness.” she sighed happily.
Clooney whined next to them.“We love you too, Clooney.” they both said simultaneously and burst out laughing.