Title: Don’t leave me this way – part 14
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: Sequel to ‘Worries, hesitancy and too much thinking’.
AN: I wanted to say thanks for the amazing amount of reviews I received for the last chapter. I’m glad people still seem to be hooked on the story. ;) I know, most of the time, I’m really bad at updating regularly, so I’m very grateful you’re still reading my stories. I’ll try to get better at that.
Be thankful for my wonderful and very fast beta-reader Jenny! I am. Without her, the stories certainly wouldn’t be so much fun to read – not to mention that she’s incredibly fast, which leads to me updating more regularly. ;)
Now, I hope you enjoy this chapter.
When Penelope woke up that day, she felt rested, and in a strange way, at home. Warmth spread through her body, and her pillow was incredibly comfortable and smelled wonderfully like… Derek?
She opened her eyes and found herself staring at the TV in JJ’s living room. The last thing she remembered were the first five or ten minutes of the movie they’d decided to watch. She must have fallen asleep on the couch, in Derek’s arms – and this was exactly where she was right now.
Carefully, she raised her head and looked at him.
He was asleep, and there was a strange expression on his face, as if he was completely happy.
God, he was so gorgeous; his strong jawline, his deliciously chocolate-colored skin, the tiny shadow around his chin. Without even thinking about it, Penelope reached out to let her fingers trace the contours of his face, along his cheek, his jaw, carefully touching his lower lip.
His skin was soft and deliciously tempting. It was hard to resist the urge to lean up the tiny bit and taste him. Not that this feeling was new to her, but for the first time, it felt… natural. As if she was – or at least had been – allowed to touch him, to taste him.
In your dreams, Penelope!
Derek stirred, and Penelope quickly withdrew her hand, hoping she hadn’t woken him up. If he was awake, he would surely stand up and suggest they have breakfast.
She glanced at the clock on the DVD player. Okay, he would suggest her going back to bed. It was only six a.m.
Her eyes wandered back to his handsome face, hoping to find him still asleep. Thankfully, he was – and he looked like he was smiling. Penelope couldn’t help but wonder if he was dreaming, and if he was, what this dream was about. Did he ever dream about her, as she dreamed about him?
Yeah, you wish!
Sighing, she snuggled up against him again, and as she felt his arms coming tighter around her, closed her eyes.
Why did this man have to be so damn perfect?! If he had just been so incredibly gorgeous but bad in character, it would have been so much easier for her to accept that she had put all these feelings for him behind.
But he was sweet and caring and loving and… just perfect. The perfect man, with his model-like features. The perfect friend, with the way he took care of her. And he most certainly would be the perfect lover.
She knew she shouldn’t think or feel this way about him, but she couldn’t help it—especially not when she was so dangerously close to him. He smelled so good, so masculine, so… intoxicating. Oh, how badly she wanted to touch him, taste him, feel him…
Penelope drew in a shaky breath. It wasn’t that she hadn’t felt this way about him before, but she wasn’t used to such an intensity of these feelings. It had to be the hormones. She’d read about that – and since Derek was the only man available…
She wasn’t sure she would be able to repress these feelings forever, though. Hot for him wasn’t even nearly describing what she felt. Maybe she should get up, get away from him, and… do without the warmth of his embrace, without that intoxicating smell that was completely him lulling her into sleep? No way!
Of course, it would have been the right thing to do. No matter how much she still wished for it to happen, there was no way she was ever going to be more than Derek’s best friend – not with him being married and her having another man’s child. Oh, if only this child was his…
When she felt the tears welling up in her eyes again, she quickly tried to think of something more pleasant. The look on Derek’s face whenever she talked about her amnesia… This yearning look, as if there was something he desperately wanted to tell her. The worry and pain in his voice, whenever he told her about the illness…
Not to mention the fact that he had been there at the hospital – according to what she had heard the whole time. And now he was caring selflessly for her, and there didn’t even seem to be a second he doubted or regretted that decision. If he was married to someone else, wouldn’t he much rather spend his time with his wife?!
Something was odd about this whole situation. He wasn’t only much too caring, he was also much too fond of being close to her, considering the fact that she was pregnant. Well, except if… No, that was impossible!
When she felt him stir, she looked up into his face again. He still seemed sound asleep, that dreamy smile still on his face. If only she could read his mind at times…
That night, Derek dreamed about the happiest memories of his life. He dreamed about the time they’d spent camping in the woods with Clooney. He dreamed about their first date, how Penelope had met his family, and finally, about their first night together.
He could have sworn he felt her touch, her soft fingers moving over his skin, exploring his face. Of course, it was just a dream, but it felt incredibly real.
When he woke up, he immediately knew where the dream had come from. Penelope was lying in his arms, dangerously close against him, her head resting on his chest – and he could not only feel the warmth radiating from her body, he could also smell her, sweet and intoxicating… and he knew he would never be able to sleep without her again.
A glance at the clock told him that he needed to give up this feeling and wake her up. They were supposed to be at the hospital in less than an hour and a half.
Carefully, he stroked her cheek. “Baby Girl?” he whispered. “Penelope, wake up!”
She made a sound of complaint that made Derek smile, and slowly, unwillingly, raised her head to look at him.
“Good morning,” he whispered, smiling at her.
“Good morning,” she mumbled, and sleepily laid her head back on his chest.
His smile widened at her reaction, and he drew invisible patterns on her back. “I hate to say it, but we have to get up. There’s no way I’m gonna let you be late for your first appointment with the physiotherapist.”
She mumbled something even she couldn’t understand. She knew she should at least pretend to be somewhat embarrassed by the situation, but she simply enjoyed this too much.
“Come on, sweetness, let’s get up,” he told her in a soft voice.
Complaining once again, she unwillingly rose from her comfortable position and watched as Derek walked towards the kitchen.
“Call me if you need anything,” he told her, before he left her to be first in the bathroom.
Penelope insisted they go to the hospital without her wheelchair, which wasn’t exactly okay with Derek, but he gave up arguing, saying they could compromise and she could walk. She wanted her physiotherapist to be proud of her and of what progress she’d made in this one week. He insisted on taking the chair with them, though.
“She’s doing great,” House remarked, as he stepped next to Derek.
“I thought you had already flown back to
“This case is solved,” Derek reminded him. “You found the disease and cured it. What else is there to do for you about this… case?!”
House just shrugged. “The patient hasn’t fully recovered yet.”
“Yeah, as if you’re the kind of doctor who cares about that,” Derek snorted.
A knowing smile flashed across House’s face when Penelope looked at them to smile at Derek. “You two are getting along quite well, I suppose.”
“That’s so not your business,” Derek grumbled.
“Has she remembered anything yet?” House asked, instead of reacting to Derek’s words.
He sighed and hung his head. “Nothing,” he replied. “At least, she doesn’t seem to remember anything.”
“Interesting,” House mumbled.
“Oh, that’s what you’re thinking about it?!” Derek tried his best not to actually yell at the other man. He didn’t want Penelope to catch anything of their conversation. He knew she would only try and mediate.
“It’s been a week already,” House told him. “Considering the fact that her brain doesn’t seem to be damaged in any way – which is why she’s able to make such progress, by the way – she should at least start to remember parts of what she has forgotten.”
“What exactly do you know about amnesia?” Derek questioned. “I thought there was no way to be sure that she will ever remember anything.”
“True,” House said with a nod, “but in most cases, the patient starts to remember at least parts of their past after a while.”
“Why don’t you go and ask her about it?” Derek asked sarcastically.
House raised an eyebrow at him. “I wonder why you haven’t told her anything yet. Could it be possible that you agree with me that this could be too much for her?”
“I don’t agree with you on anything,” Derek grumbled.
“Ah, so you think she won’t believe you if you tell her the truth?” House concluded. “I wonder why? Why should she believe that you can’t be truly interested in her? Did you give her any reason to think so?”
“Listen,” Derek snarled at him. “I don’t give a damn what you think you know about me. But you don’t know nothing about Penelope. Stop interfering with things you don’t understand.”
“I’m just saying…” House shrugged, instead of reacting to what Derek had said. “If she doesn’t remember by now, maybe she doesn’t want to remember.”
Derek clenched his fists. He was ready to punch this guy – once again. But there was no way he would do that in front of Penelope. “You know what? If you don’t…”
He was interrupted when the door opened and the physiotherapist pushed Penelope’s wheelchair outside. “I see you didn’t kill each other,” she teased.
“I just didn’t know where to dump the body,” Derek grumbled.
“She is doing amazingly well,” the physiotherapist said, changing the topic and smiling.
“And this was amazingly exhausting,” Penelope added with a sigh. “Honey, I really don’t like to admit it, but I’m glad you insisted on bringing the wheelchair with us. She made muscles in my body hurt I didn’t even know existed.”
Derek took over pushing the wheelchair. “Now you have the whole rest of the day to rest.”
“Are you kidding me?” Penelope exclaimed. “I have to practice more so that next time, it won’t be so exhausting.”
Derek sighed and turned to the physiotherapist. “Would you tell her not to overdo it, Ms…?”
“Janet.” The woman smiled coyly at Derek, making Penelope sigh inwardly. Only one minute, and another woman was at his feet. “The more she practices, the sooner she’ll be back at her feet,” Janet said.
Rolling his eyes, Derek mumbled, “Why do I get the impression that you two ganged up against me?!”
“But your boyfriend is right,” Janet told Penelope. “You shouldn’t overdo it.”
Penelope’s heart beat faster when Janet referred to Derek as her boyfriend. This was going to be embarrassing. She opened her mouth to reply that Derek wasn’t her boyfriend, but Derek was faster.
“Thank you,” was all he said to the woman, before turning back to Penelope. “See, Baby Girl, you shouldn’t overdo it. So when we get back home, you will rest first.” Smiling, he leaned down to kiss the top of her head.
“Okay,” she mumbled, smiling sheepishly. The physiotherapist was a slender, tanned young woman, who was exactly Derek’s type. Why hadn’t he clarified that he and Penelope weren’t an item?!
“I’ll see you next week.” Janet smiled at Penelope.
“I’ll do much better by then,” Penelope promised.
Derek just shook his head, while he pushed the wheelchair along the corridor.
“Why didn’t you tell her?” Penelope asked, when they were sitting in his SUV.
“What do you mean?” Derek asked in return.
Looking down, Penelope mumbled, “Janet. When she said… Why didn’t you tell her you’re not my boyfriend?”
Derek took a deep breath. Maybe this wasn’t the right moment, but it was his first chance since she had woken up – and it might as well be his only chance. So he decided to give it a try. Taking her hand in his, he softly replied, “I don’t know. Maybe I just like the idea.”
His words made her heart beat faster, and she desperately wanted to believe them. But she knew it couldn’t be. Not even if he really wanted it to be. So instead of replying that she liked the thought, too, she just snorted.
Discouraged, Derek started the engine and drove back home.
Penelope bit her lip. He looked hurt. Why had he said that at all? If he was married and she was… Something was wrong here.
When they returned to JJ’s place, Derek noticed that Penelope didn’t feel at all comfortable. Had his words really been so troubling? “Are you okay?” he asked carefully.
Penelope sighed. “I just… I… I could really use a bath.”
“Oh.” Derek thought about her words for a moment, before he fully understood what her problem was. The team was on a case, so he was the only one around. “Oh. I… can help you.”
“No,” she almost shouted at him. Then she blushed. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to… It’s just… I can’t get into and out of the bathtub on my own, and as much as I appreciate that you’re taking such a good care of me, there’s no way I’m gonna let you help me with that.”
“Okay,” Derek said, smiling as she blushed a deep shade of red. “I understand. Would you… let my mom help you with that? She’s still in town, and I’m sure she wouldn’t mind. I can call her, if you want me to.”
Penelope’s head shot up, and she stared at him for a second. His mother? But the only other option was Derek… There was no way she would undress in front of him. So she nodded.
His mother arrived only ten minutes later.
“I’m gonna get us something for dinner,” Derek told the two women. “Be careful. You know that if the water is too hot or…”
“Derek, I gave birth to three children,” his mother interrupted him. “I can take care of Penelope. Go, she’ll be fine, I promise.”
“Okay,” he replied with a sigh. “But if she asks you to practice with her, talk her out of it!”
“Relax,” Penelope answered instead. “I promise to be a good girl.”
“I know,” he said softly, stepping in front of her. “I’m just worried about you. I’ll be back in no time at all.”
“Take your time,” she responded with a smile. “We’ll be fine.”
She expected him to kiss her forehead, as he usually did at moments like this. But instead, he kissed her fully on the lips. It was more a short peck, but fully on the lips.
Derek cursed himself. It had just felt so natural, he hadn’t even realized what he was doing. He quickly left, before the situation could become any more awkward.
Fran smiled at the scene and at a flabbergasted Penelope. “Come on, let’s get you into the bathtub before he returns to whirl around here.”
Penelope’s lips were still burning with a reawakened hunger. He had kissed her.
“I… really appreciate that you’re doing this for me, Mrs. Morgan,” she told Derek’s mother, to take her mind off of the kiss.
“You know, there was a time when you called me Fran,” the older woman said, smiling at her. “I liked that better.”
“Oh… okay,” Penelope replied sheepishly. Why on earth would she have called Derek’s mother Fran?!
But she didn’t have the time to worry about that. Fran prepared the bath for her – and she even managed to make Penelope feel not half as awkward as the situation was.
In fact, Penelope really enjoyed the bath. It made her feel better; and Fran made her feel comfortable with the situation, without even having to assure her that she liked helping Penelope out.
“Thank you so much,” Penelope told her with a smile. “This was just what I needed.”
“You’re very much welcome,” Fran assured her. “But I fear I should help Derek in the kitchen now – at least, if we want to have something edible for dinner soon.”
Penelope giggled, the fact that she’d been sure she would drop dead when she ever met Derek’s family long forgotten. She really liked Derek’s mother.