Title: High school reunion
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Movie quote for 10_quotes: #2 "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow." Gone with the wind
Disclaimer: Neither the show nor the characters belong to me, they belong to CBS. Nonetheless, I love to borrow them from time to time. No copyright infringement intended. The idea for the story and the story itself - including all possible pre- and sequels - belong to me.
Summary: High school reunions are horrible – especially when you have to go there alone. But sometimes they can turn out really great.warnings: fluff, fluff and… fluff – because it was about time. :)
“A new dress?” Derek smiled standing in the doorway to her office.
Penelope quickly closed the window on her screen showing the dress she’d considered ordering and tried not to blush.
He’d expected a snappy answer but instead she didn’t even look at him. Derek frowned and took a step closer. Had he said something that had pissed her off? “Um… baby girl? I’m sorry if I said anything that….”
“No” she interrupted him and then sighed, “it’s just… I received an invitation for our high school reunion party, you know.”
“I understand.” Derek smiled. “And now you’re looking for a new dress to impress all the…”
“I won’t go.” she cut him off again.
Derek frowned at her. It sounded like this decision didn’t exactly make her happy. “Why not?” he wanted to know. “High school reunions are a whole lot of fun.”
“Yeah, for someone like you.” Penelope mumbled.
“What do you mean?” he wanted to know.
She sighed again still refusing to look at him. “Well, you don’t have to go there alone and have everyone ask you why you still haven’t found someone. You just pick a girl and take her with you.”
“What’s wrong about going there alone?” he shrugged.
When Penelope didn’t answer Derek pushed her chair back from her computer, let the window pop up again and kissed the top of her head. “I think you should go, baby girl.” he whispered. “’Cause this dress on you will take everyone’s breath away.”
She smiled at his comment. Maybe Derek was right. What was this whole dating thing about anyway? Why not go there alone? After all she was thirty years old and she didn’t need anyone to take her out anywhere.
Unfortunately, her former classmates didn’t seem to think the same way. After about two hours she had gotten so many pitiful looks that she was about to either just leave this goddamn party or burst into tears. She just couldn’t decide which would be more humiliating. She shouldn’t have listened to Derek! He was dead for talking her into going!
If he hadn’t encouraged her she would be at home now reading a good book, maybe watching TV with a pint of ice cream or some hot chocolate – maybe even both. She wouldn’t have wasted money for this stupid dress, for the flight here, for the whole humiliation at all.
Of course, he believed what he said. But he didn’t know what it was like to be in her shoes.
“So, where’s your boyfriend tonight?” Beatrice interrupted her thoughts and grinned at her.
Great, one of the former cheerleaders who looked like a Barbie with all the plastic surgery she’d obviously gone through.
“Well, you know…” Penelope started but didn’t get very far.
“Don’t tell me he had to work!” Erica – the other plastic Barbie – cut her off and rolled her eyes. “Susan might believe that but we’re not as dumb as she is. You’re still alone, right?”
“Of course, she is.” Beatrice affirmed. “Either that or her boyfriend is so disfigured that she didn’t dare bring him here and show him to us.”
They both giggled.
“No, seriously, Penelope.” Erica eyed her up suspiciously. “Why are you still alone? Don’t tell me you still haven’t found anyone.”
And for the first time since she’d been shot Penelope really wished that she hadn’t survived it. She felt the tears fighting their way into her eyes and desperately tried to hold them back. Why couldn’t someone throw up or fall or do anything else to draw the attention away from her so that she could just disappear? Someone had to save her!
And then suddenly someone did.
“Wow, who is THAT?” Beatrice wanted to know while she drooled into her drink.
“Certainly none of our former classmates.” Erica replied with a childish giggle. “He surely wouldn’t have escaped my notice.”
Okay, that got Penelope’s attention enough to turn around and freeze the next second. “Derek!” she gasped.
“You know him?” Beatrice and Erica shrieked simultaneously.
But Penelope didn’t answer, she just jumped up from her chair and rushed over to Derek, who had by now caught the attention of every female being in this room – as well as the attention of one of the waiters.
“Hey, baby girl.” he smiled at her. “I’m so sorry, I know, I’m late.” he said loud enough for even Erica and Beatrice to hear who almost spilled their drinks as their jaws hit the floor.
He held his hand out for her and then made her turn around so that he could examine her dress. “I told you, you’d look breathtakingly beautiful in this dress.” And then he gallantly kissed the back of her hand.
“What are you doing here?” Penelope whispered so that hopefully only Derek could hear her.
“My prior intention was to dance with you.” he answered with a chuckle as he pulled her towards the dance floor and then into a tight embrace.
“You know, you didn’t have to…” she started again.
“Hush, baby girl.” Derek scolded her. “Let us just enjoy this date!”
Date??? Penelope’s head shot up. “I’m just saying, you… you don’t have to do this for me. I mean, you certainly had much more pleasant plans for tonight and…”
All thoughts left her mind when suddenly he leaned down to kiss her gently and fully on the lips. It was just a soft rather amicable kiss. But it was a kiss, on her lips. This was too much, just too much to think about. She was dreaming. That was the only plausible explanation for all that. Derek would never do all this, accompany her to her high school reunion, dancing with her, kissing her… He simply wouldn’t do all this so she had to be dreaming.
And if this was a dream Penelope had absolutely no intention of waking up anytime soon.
They danced for more than an hour closer than Penelope had ever thought possible – and of course, under the watch of her former classmates. And she started to feel a little gleeful.
“How did you know where I was?” she asked quietly basically to keep her brain from completely switching off.
“I found the invitation.” Derek shrugged.
“Found.” she repeated and looked up to raise a suspicious eyebrow at him.
He chuckled: “Yeah, accidentally. But I had to get a flight which wasn’t as easy as I’d pictured it to be. That was why I was late. Sorry, you had to wait.”
“Well, it was very much worth it.” she grinned and leaned her head back against his shoulder.
“Do you think this is her boyfriend?” Erica whispered while they watched the scene on the dance floor.
“Certainly not.” Beatrice snorted. “I mean, did you see them kiss? That wasn’t a kiss you would give your boyfriend, especially not if he looks like this! I bet she paid him or something.”
After about an hour Derek decided that they could use a break, sit down somewhere and have a drink. And he led Penelope back to the table she’d been sitting at – which meant back to Beatrice and Erica.
“Hi, I’m Beatrice and this is Erica.” the plastic Barbie grinned at Derek.
“Derek Morgan.” he replied firmly.
“So… you are Penelope’s… boyfriend?” Erica asked innocently.
Derek chuckled. “No.”
Okay, that was the moment to burst into tears because that was definitely even more humiliating than it could ever have become without Derek showing up and telling them that he was just here because Penelope didn’t have someone else. But fortunately she managed to smile – and Derek surprised her with what he said next.
“You have boyfriends when you are in high school.” he smiled and turned to Penelope. “I’m her lover.”
The butterflies in her stomach suddenly multiplied and she felt like she was going to faint any second. Of course, this was a lie. But from the look in his eyes Penelope could tell that Derek was absolutely planning to make it become the truth tonight.
This definitely was a dream!
Around midnight they decided to call it a night since they had to fly back to
“I still don’t think this is her boyfriend.” Derek heard one of the Barbies whisper. These girls were becoming really annoying.
“Do you want me to drive, baby girl?” he asked and when she nodded opened the passenger’s door for her.
“Would you please tell me why you’re doing all this?” she whispered before she got in.
“I was hoping you would let me sleep in your bed tonight.” he shrugged. “I couldn’t get a hotel room anymore.”
“Seriously, Derek.” she repressed the urge to answer with a very naughty comment. “Not that I’m not grateful but…”
“Grateful?” he burst out. “Listen, Penelope! I asked you out, you blew me off and I backed off. That was a mistake. Seeing you with Kevin was pure torture. I’ve never been so jealous in my life. I just can’t stand seeing you with someone else because I want to be the only man in your life. And I came here to tell you that I’m happy I got a second chance and that I won’t back off this time – and I figured that if I’d asked beforehand you would have blown me off again.” he said honestly and looked deep into her eyes.
“Wow.” she whispered. “You… You never asked me out again so I thought that it was just… you know… meant as an apology.”
“It wasn’t.” he smiled and slowly leaned in to kiss her.
She wrapped both arms around his neck and sighed when he deepened the kiss. God, she’d never been kissed like that before. By anyone. Ever.
When he pulled away and Penelope slowly opened her eyes she saw the most beautiful smile on his face she’d ever seen. And all she could do was smile back – or better grin rather moronically. “You know, the only room I could book was a honeymoon suite – with a very large double bed.” she informed him and waggled her eyebrows.He couldn’t stop the deep growl that formed somewhere deep in his throat. “Lucky me!” he mumbled as he hurried to get into the car and drive to the hotel.