Title: Girl talk
Fandom: Criminal Minds
Prompt for 30 sweets: #2 Jelly beans
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: Part 12/? of the ‘No more sweets’-series.warnings: none
“So?” JJ asked conspiratorially, taking a handful of the jelly beans from the bag on Penelope’s desk. Since they didn’t have any new evidence, they didn’t have a profile yet – and therefore, it was too early for a press conference.
Besides, JJ was ready for some distraction, after having gone through the pictures of the crime scenes that were left.
“So, what?” Penelope asked with an innocent shrug, turning back to the computers. She hadn’t managed to restore any of the data yet. Whoever had programmed the virus that had ruined the computer system of the local PD really seemed to know what he was doing – or she, Penelope corrected herself with a slight smile.
JJ rolled her eyes. “Oh, come on! What’s going on with you and Derek?”
“What about me and Derek?” Penelope tried her best to pretend that she didn’t know what JJ was talking about.
On the other hand, JJ tried her best not to growl with frustration. “Well, let’s start with the fact that you arrived together at the airport, and the fact that your flirting was much worse than usual – not to mention all the touches when you thought no one saw you.”
Once again, Penelope just shrugged. “Hidden touches? I really don’t know what you’re talking about. And about us arriving together… He picked me up, so what?”
“He picked you up.” JJ raised an eyebrow at her best friend. “On his way from his apartment to the airport. You don’t live even remotely close to that route.”
“Okay, okay,” Penelope finally gave in. “I was with him, and luckily, I already had my ready bag stored in Esther’s trunk, so we didn’t have to stop by my apartment.”
JJ’s eyes widened. “You were with him? Exactly what time was it when Hotch called?”
“Around eleven,” Penelope replied, “and before you jump to conclusions, nothing happened. We were just watching a movie.”
“Oh, sure, you were just watching a movie.” JJ sighed theatrically. “And why would you do that on a Tuesday evening, when you’re both supposed to be back at work Wednesday morning?”
“Because his sisters suggested it,” Penelope answered with a nonchalant shrug.
Now, JJ’s eyes almost popped out of her head. “His sisters?” she exclaimed. “His sisters were there? Why?”
It was really hard to repress the grin that wanted to appear on Penelope’s face. “Because his mother had wanted to cook for us,” she finally added, trying to sound as if this really was no big deal.
“His mother?” JJ almost jumped up from her chair. “Come on, stop giving me nothing but little pieces of information. Tell me what happened already! Why was his mother cooking for you – and why did you meet his family in the first place?”
“Okay,” Penelope said with a dramatic sigh. This time, she didn’t even try to keep herself from grinning. “Derek asked me to go with him to his sister’s wedding.”
She’d expected JJ to squeal, or aw, or at least say something. But the other woman remained silent. When she turned to her friend, she saw tears shimmering in her eyes. “What?”
“Nothing,” JJ assured her, a dreamy smile on her face. “It’s just that… He wants to take you to his sister’s wedding. This is… really huge, don’t you think?”
“Oh, well, I…” Penelope stuttered, and then smiled a little dreamily herself. “He said he wanted to take someone with him who was special to him, you know?”
This, however, drew the expected squeal from JJ’s lips. “Oh, my God, and? How did you come to meet his family?”
“Well, he… He said he wanted me to meet them before the wedding,” she explained. Damn, they should have agreed on whether to tell the team or not. Penelope desperately wanted to share every detail with JJ, but she wasn’t sure if that was okay with Derek.
“Oh, my God,” JJ gasped once again. “Pen, this is really serious, you know that?”
“I don’t know,” she said, shrugging. She knew JJ was going to kill her any second, but she couldn’t help teasing her friend a little more. “He said it was – really serious, I mean. And he said that he loved me. And kissing him is really great, but…”
“What?” JJ’s shrieking interrupted her. “You KISSED? And you’re telling me NOW?! When did that happen?”
“Oh, um, right after he told me how much he loved me.” Penelope couldn’t hold back a giggle – not when she saw JJ’s jaw hitting the floor.
Penelope hit a few keys on her computer to start a second attempt to restore the data, and then turned to her friend. “He took me out for dinner for my birthday, and at first, I really thought it was no big deal.”
JJ moved closer, as if Penelope was telling her a big secret – or a really exciting story. To JJ, whatever Penelope had to tell her certainly was both.
“But then he asked me to go to his sister’s wedding with him, and to meet his family for dinner beforehand.” Penelope hesitated for a moment. There was no way she was going to tell JJ what had really led to Derek confessing to his feelings for her.
“Shortly before said dinner, Derek told me that he wanted to take me with him to his sister’s wedding, because I was so special to him.” She paused, and she could tell that JJ was going to burst with curiosity any second. “And then we kissed,” she added.
“And what was it like?” JJ asked, full of excitement. “Is our womanizer really as great a kisser as he always pretends to be?”
“Oh, he’s even better,” Penelope gushed. “This kiss was… really perfect.”
“Aw,” JJ said with a sigh. “And then? What happened after the kiss?”
“Nothing,” Penelope answered with a shrug. “I mean, it’s not like we jumped into bed right away. All this happened just yesterday, and… to be quite honest, I think I still have to get used to this situation. It’s pretty new to me.”
“And now this case in getting in the way,” JJ mumbled, cursing inwardly. If they hadn’t been called here, Penelope would surely have been able to tell much more exciting stories by now…
“That’s life,” Penelope replied, shrugging again. “But don’t tell anyone about me and Derek, okay?! It’s not like we want to shout it from the rooftops.”
“Uh oh, do I discern some uncertainties here?” JJ eyed her friend up and down.
Penelope sighed. “No, it’s just that… As I said, our first kiss was yesterday, and… I just… I’ve been dreaming about this for so long that I need a few more days to convince myself that it’s really happening.” Besides, I don’t want to hope for too much.
“Yeah, I understand,” JJ assured her. “But… you’re sure about Derek’s intentions, right?”
“Yes,” she answered, even though it wasn’t entirely true. But she wanted to be sure. She wanted to believe that this was real. She wanted to start a new life with Derek as more than just her best friend. She wanted this tiny voice in her head constantly telling her that this couldn’t be true to finally shut up.
“When is his sister’s wedding?” JJ changed the topic, sensing that she was approaching a matter her friend wasn’t comfortable to address.
“Next month,” she told her. “Derek even bought me a dress for it.”
“He bought you a dress?” JJ exclaimed, squealing again. “What does it look like?”
“Well, it’s purple, and it so is my style,” she replied with a giggle. “But it’s suitable for a wedding, in contrast to most of the rest of my wardrobe. The neckline is… pretty low cut. But it looks really great.”
“Wow!” JJ took another handful of the jelly beans. This was getting better and better.
“Yeah, and it has this…” Penelope was interrupted by the beeping sound her computer made, indicating that it was done trying to retrieve some more data.
She turned her attention back to the screen, looking at the code that, to JJ, looked a lot like ancient hieroglyphs. Then she frowned. “I think I’ve got something.”
JJ put the sweets away and moved closer to the computer screen herself. “Any of the crime scene pictures?”
“No,” Penelope mumbled. “This… This file looks like it might be related to the crime. At least the time code matches the time code of the other files. But this is too big for a picture. Where there any videos taken at the crime scene?”
“None that I know of,” JJ answered with a shrug. “Maybe the locals forgot to mention it.”
Still frowning, Penelope hit a few more keys. “It’s almost half an hour long,” she said, looking at JJ. “I doubt they’d have forgotten about it.”
“Why don’t you just open it and take a look?” JJ wanted to know.
Penelope bit her lip, still staring at the file and everything her baby could tell her about it, without actually opening it. “Well, if it’s related to the case but wasn’t taken by any of the police officers investigating the crime scene, it might be the file that brought the virus into the system. If I open it just like that…”
“The system will just crash again,” JJ finished the sentence. “Got it. So there’s no way to find out what’s on the video?”
“I didn’t say that.” Penelope turned a little to grin at her, while her fingers rushed blindly over the keyboard. “I just have to run the file through the security program I wrote to find the virus and erase it. Then it’ll be safe to just open it.”
“You wrote the program,” JJ repeated, nodding. Penelope always said these things as if they were the most natural thing in the world.
“Yeah,” Penelope confirmed. “The stuff I store on the FBI computers is just too important and too dangerous to rely on the common programs. They usually don’t automatically adapt to new viruses out there.”
“Oh, sure,” JJ said, nodding, and then smiled at her friend. Penelope couldn’t imagine that writing such a program was really impressive in the eyes of some people.
Once again, her computer beeped, green letters telling them that it was now safe to open the file.When Penelope hit the final key, she immediately regretted it. “Oh, my God,” she gasped, before she turned away from the screen, trying hard not to throw up.