Title: Worries, hesitancy and too much thinking – part 24
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 fluff and angst
AN: First of all let me once again thank my incredibly fast beta-reader Gretchen. I swear, I hadn't even sent this chapter over and she'd already beta-read it for me.
And thanks for all the wonderful reviews again, I hope I answered all of them already. If not, I'm sorry, but they were nonetheless very much appreciated.
Then, please don't kill me for the end of this chapter! Yes, this story is complete. BUT there will be a sequel which will continue where this story left off and I promise you won't have to wait too long. Well, less than the hiatus, hopefully. :) But now enjoy the fluffy parts of this chapter!
The first thing Penelope noticed when she woke up the next morning was the sunlight shining into the room through the large window. Sighing contentedly she stretched and sat up – only then did she notice that the bed next to her was empty. When she heard the water running in the bathroom through the half-open door, she considered following him but then decided against it. If she did, they'd certainly never show up at work – at least not today.
She couldn't help but smile when her thoughts went back to the events of the last night. She wasn't sure when they'd finally made it into the large bed in their bedroom. Their bedroom, Penelope smiled at that thought. She'd just been too wrapped up in the emotions Derek had made her feel to really notice how he'd carried her upstairs and laid her on the bed. All she knew was that she'd never been so happy before.
Under the shower Derek almost had to laugh at himself. He caught himself humming at least three times. That was so cheesy! But he couldn't remember when he'd last felt so happy and light-hearted. So he just felt like humming. He even had to turn the water cooler when he thought about last night. He'd considered waking her up and taking her with him to shower but they really needed to get to work so he'd scrapped that plan.
"Good morning, my love." he grinned when he walked back into their bedroom.
"I'll show you a good morning, stud muffin." she grinned back at him.
Smiling lecherously he sat down on the bed and gave his soon-to-be wife a soft lingering kiss. "As much as I'd love to let you do that, I fear you really need to get dressed now. Because if you don't, we won't leave this bed within the next three hours."
This caused a low, seductive growl in her throat and Derek swallowed hard.
"Am I turning you on?" she whispered and leaned closer letting the blanket drop slightly.
"Since the day we met, buttercup." Derek smiled and kissed her again. "What do you want for breakfast?" he then asked – basically to change the topic.
"I don't care" Penelope shrugged nonchalantly – but with a naughty grin on her pretty face, "as long as you're the dessert."
"As much as I'd love that, as I said we don't have the time for it now." he sighed.
Seeing her pout Derek laughed and then added with a wink: "Maybe after lunch."
After breakfast they immediately drove to work – by that avoiding the questions with which Des and Sarah would surely have bombarded them about not coming home for the night. Unfortunately, they couldn't avoid JJ and Emily who were just as curious. And other than Des and Sarah they didn't even need to know that Derek and Penelope hadn't spent the night home to sense that something was going on.
"Okay" JJ burst into Penelope's office only seconds after their briefing and let herself drop down in a chair next to Penelope while Emily – following JJ – leaned against one of her computer desks, "spill it out!"
"I… um… I'm not sure what you expect me to tell you." Penelope replied giving both of them her best innocent look.
JJ rolled her eyes theatrically.
It was Emily who let her in on what had tipped them off this morning: "You've been humming all morning long."
"That's not true." Penelope quickly objected even though she wasn't entirely sure that she really hadn't been humming.
"Denial!" JJ and Emily sing-songed simultaneously.
"What? I'm gonna get married to the man of my dreams in less than three days." Penelope shrugged. "Can't I just be… happy about that?"
"Come on, there's more to it." JJ conjectured.
"No." Penelope slowly denied but her smile gave away that she wasn't telling the truth.
"Oh… my… God!" Emily said emphasizing every word. Then a grin appeared on her face: "They did it."
Penelope blushed slightly and looked down so that Emily and JJ couldn't see it.
JJ squealed exuberantly and leaned closer to her friend. "Tell us!" she demanded. "Everything!"
"Is he really as… good as he always pretends to be?" Emily wanted to know and waggled her eyebrows at Penelope.
"Well, actually" Penelope mumbled and smiled dreamily, "he's pretty modest about that."
JJ and Emily both let out a teenager-like 'ooooooh' and moved closer to Penelope.
"Derek has been the perfect gentleman." once again the dreamy smile lit up her face.
"We are all ears." JJ grinned.
"I don't know" Penelope mumbled, "I don't think I should…"
"Now, come on!" JJ burst out. "I told you about Will, too."
"Yeah, well, that's not exactly the same." Penelope mumbled. She really wanted to tell them everything about last night – after all Emily and JJ were her best friends and they'd always shared their experiences with each other. Plus, Penelope hadn't exactly had a lot to tell in this regard and now…
But the problem was that JJ and Emily worked with Derek, they saw each other every day. And she absolutely didn't want to expose Derek to their glances because they knew too much.
"Come on!" JJ whined. "We promise he'll never find out! This will stay among us."
"Yeah, I know." Penelope assured. "But… you just know him too well. I mean…"
"Okay, okay, we'll do without too many details." Emily tossed in. "But please, give us something."
"How about we just ask some questions and you… answer them?" JJ suggested.
"Fine" Penelope sighed, "but if they're too inti…" JJ and Emily were much too eager to finally hear whatever they could wrangle out of her to let her finish her sentence.
"So… it was good." JJ grinned and moved her chair a little closer again.
"That's an understatement." Penelope sighed contentedly. "It was amazing. No, even that word doesn't nearly describe it. I never felt anything similar before."
"Okay, now I'm jealous." Emily pouted.
"So it was… satisfying." JJ grinned.
Penelope blushed a little as she mumbled: "You have no idea."
"I guess, he's not a minute man, huh?" Emily exchanged wicked grins with JJ.
"No, most definitely not." Penelope grinned back at them.
Giggling softly JJ wanted to know: "You didn't get much sleep then, huh?"
"No, not exactly." she shrugged.
Emily and JJ both rolled her eyes. "How much!" they pressed her simultaneously.
"About two hours." Penelope admitted.
"Okay, now I am jealous." JJ sighed then she grinned wickedly. "So, how often did you…"
"Oh, my God, is it that late already?" Penelope burst out and jumped up from her chair. "I… um… I need to go."
"What?" JJ almost shrieked. "Where?"
"I have a date… for lunch… with Derek." she reluctantly replied.
"We'll join you." Emily quickly offered and JJ stood up.
"No!" Penelope almost yelled at them. "I mean… we… we wanted to go and get our wedding bands and then talk to the florist and… all pretty boring stuff."
"Oh, okay." JJ frowned at her friend and watched her rush out of her office. "Is it just me or was she acting really strange?"
"His car has tinted windows, right?" Emily shrugged.
JJ's eyes almost popped out of her head as she turned to Emily and whispered: "You don't think they'll… They wouldn't… Oh, my God!"
They both didn't realize that Penelope was still standing outside her office overhearing their little conversation. Now she wasn't so sure anymore if this really was a good idea. But Derek was waiting for her and she should at least show up in the parking lot.
When she stepped out of the elevator and saw him nonchalantly leaning against his car smiling her heart beat sped up immediately. God, how she wanted this man! This definitely was a good idea.
Derek had been waiting for at least fifteen minutes and had feared that Penelope wouldn't come, that she'd considered this too dangerous or too inappropriate – maybe he'd just suggested this too early. But then the doors opened and he saw his baby girl walking up at him and he couldn't help but smile.
He noticed that she walked faster with every step she took in the end she was almost running towards him and he took a step forward and opened his mouth to say something to lighten up the mood and tease her a little but was cut off when her lips met his in a hungry kiss.
"I'm sorry." she panted when they broke the kiss for air.
"I was afraid you changed your mind." he admitted as he softly smiled down at her.
Grinning lecherously Penelope opened the back door of his car and replied: "Most definitely not. JJ and Emily were… holding me up a little."
Smiling Derek climbed on his back seat and waited for his goddess to settle on his lap. "They were pelting you with questions, huh?" he whispered between soft nibbles on her neck while his hands worked fast on the buttons of her blouse.
"Yeah" she gasped and quickly freed him off his shirt, "they said I was humming."
This however caused him to chuckle. He certainly would have laughed out loud hadn't he been so wrapped up by what her hands were doing to him right now.
"What's… so funny?" Penelope wanted to know.
"Reid said the same about me." Derek admitted as his hands wandered up her thighs.
She wanted to say something, something witty or at least something funny, in return – but all thoughts were immediately blown out of her mind when Derek's hand reached his target. She tried hard to remain silent and Derek's mouth on hers swallowed most of the sounds he drew from her lips. But she could only hope that no one was anywhere near the car when he made her call out his name.
"You're hot, you know that?" Derek said once he was able to speak again.
It would have been a sweet remark hadn't it been for the clear hint of worry in his voice when his hand came up to feel her forehead. "You're feverish." he stated. "Are you feeling okay?"
"Yeah" she sighed happily her head resting against his shoulder, "maybe a little exhausted."
"You're sure?" he insisted. "You don't feel… ill or something?"
"No, I'm fine." Penelope assured once more. "It's certainly just the flu – if it is anything at all. Don't worry so much!"
But of course, Derek wouldn't listen. He was his usual overprotective self during the next few days and was slowly driving Penelope insane. Fortunately, she at least managed to distract him every once in a while – even though it was pretty hard given that he wanted to wait until she was better. He almost wouldn't let her go to her bridal shower, but fortunately Fran, Des and Sarah did their best to convince him to let her go.
"He loves you." Des giggled, already a little tipsy after her third glass of wine, when she watched Penelope close her cell phone for the fifth time that evening.
"I'd say he's obsessed." Emily grinned.
"Thanks, you're helping a lot." Penelope mumbled. "What's so bad about having the flu? It's not like I'm about to die or anything."
"Relax" Sarah smiled at her, "you'll marry him tomorrow and when you're on your honeymoon he'll soon forget about all that."
"Even though I'm pretty sure he won't let her leave the bed then either." JJ – who was the only sober person in this room due to her pregnancy – tossed in.
"Yeah, but I bet Penelope won't complain then." Emily added causing everyone to burst out laughing and Penelope to blush.
"Okay, it's time for your presents!" Sarah announced handing Penelope the first box.
About an hour later the floor on Emily's house – who had insisted that the party should take place there – was covered with ripped off paper and Penelope's presents were neatly arranged on a nearby table.
"Thank you." she smiled. "All of you! I can't tell you how happy I am. I'm just… overwhelmed by how much all of you did for me already to make this all possible. I know that I… forced this a little and you still organized this wonderful bridal shower for me and helped me move in with Derek. Tomorrow I'm going to get married to the man I loved for as long as I can remember. And that's not least thanks to all of you."
"You're most welcome." Emily smiled. "We all know that you'd do the same for us."
"And we totally expect you to." JJ grinned to lighten up the emotional mood. In her current condition too much emotion just wasn't what she needed.
"Oh, look!" Des suddenly caught everyone's attention and reached out to the envelope that had caught hers. "Seems like there's one present left." she grinned and handed the find to Penelope.
"From whom is it?" the other three girls wanted to know.
"From Derek." Des told them and waggled her eyebrows as they all watched with growing curiosity as Penelope opened the envelope.
"What does the groom give the bride one day before their wedding?" Sarah wondered.
Smiling curiously Penelope opened the envelope and pulled out the brochure and the letter with Derek's handwriting on it. Only three words but they meant the world to Penelope.
Whenever you want.
"What is it?" JJ pressed Penelope as she saw the tears spring to her eyes.
Penelope handed the brochure over to JJ and wiped her face with one hand. "When we were in Chicago we watched the dolphin show in the amphitheater and I told him that one day I wanted to swim with the dolphins."
"Aw, and he did everything to make it possible." Emily sighed looking over JJ's shoulder at the brochure of the 'Dolphins Plus' facility in Florida.
"I'm really jealous of you, you know." Des pouted. "I wish I'd find someone who loves me as much as Derek loves you."
Penelope was too stunned to say anything. She wanted to threw herself into Derek's arms and thank him for everything – but unfortunately she wasn't allowed to see him until four p.m. the next day.
Derek was unusually nervous as he was standing at the altar waiting for his bride to walk down the aisle.
But she didn't come. Not even when the music started to play.
"What's wrong?" Derek whispered to Reid.
"Um… I don't know." the younger man mumbled. There surely was no way Penelope had changed her mind. After all, she'd been waiting for this moment for years.
"I'll go and check on her." Fran said calming Derek down. "She's probably just having problems with the dress."
Worriedly Derek watched his mother hurry out of the chapel and back in only seconds later gesticulating agitatedly for him to come and he knew that something was wrong. Forgetting about everything but his baby girl he ran into the room where she'd been waiting for the wedding to start and froze dead a second in the doorway when he saw her lying on the floor, a distinct trail of blood on the upper side of her beautiful dress.
"What happened?" he wanted to know as he knelt down and pulled her into his arms.
"I don't know." Fran replied in a shaky voice. "I found her this way."
"She's burning up." he said feeling her forehead. It seemed that she'd coughed up blood and then passed out. That meant it was bad.
"Call 911!" Derek ordered.
"I already did." Fran told him. "They should arrive any minute."
"Come on, baby girl." Derek whispered as he kissed her forehead. "You can't just leave me like that." But she remained unresponsive.
AN: I know, this is not a good ending to this story. Blame my muse for it. :) But there is a sequel now called 'Don't leave me this way'. There you'll find out what will happen to our favorite couple.