"Hey P, you almost done for the day?" Penelope looked up from her screen and saw Derek leaning against her doorway.
"Almost, are you okay to wait a few minutes?" she asked as she finished up.
"Of course." He answered walking in dropping a kiss on her head before sinking down to the couch in her office pulling out a novel out of his back pack.

It had become a new routine for them, car pooling. It was a way for them to spend time with each other without the pressure and after the initial weirdness, everything fell into place. Though Penelope was still guarded, she had kept her promise and was open to the possibilities. Penelope found that their car pooling encouraged talking, without hiding behind the flirting and banter, though that was still a big part of their exchange, they had crossed a level. Those who observed could see that something had shifted and whatever it was, it ran deeper than it had before.

"What did you want to do for dinner?" Derek asked, it was almost habitual that they would end up having dinner together at the end of each day as they car pooled.
"Chris and Rita's which you're invited to. Rita just called, apparently my dear brother is driving her insane. He's been cooped up in that apartment for almost three months and he's climbing the walls."
"He does remember that she carries a gun right?" Derek said in amusement.
"He's banking on the fact that she loves him and would never shoot him because of it."
"Ahh, he's hopeful."
"That's for sure."

For the last three months since Chris had come home from the hospital, and they had agreed to take it one day at a time, Derek had become a regular in the Lorenzo home, as Penelope spent most of her time there. Derek enjoyed watching her interaction with Chris and Rita. He knew that despite the fact that she thought of their whole team as a family, having Chris and Rita grounded her. It made her feel like there was someone she belonged to. She found a whole knew confidence in her identity and seeing her blossom not only in the year that they had spent apart but the last few months made him grateful that he was around.

"So things are looking promising." Rita observed as Chris and Derek argued over the Basketball plays on TV. Penelope glanced at Derek and smiled. He had been incredibly patient and respectful of the boundaries she set knowing that she was scared. Little by little her walls were crumbling and those closest to her knew it was only a matter of time.
"Yeah it is." Penelope murmured not offering any more details.

Hand in hand they walked back to her apartment. He waited till she had opened the door before kissing her on the cheek and bidding her goodnight. Just as he was about to step out of her doorway she caught his hand in hers,

"Yeah Baby Girl," he said looking back at her. Without a word Penelope brought her lips to his, surprised Derek took a moment to catch up. She felt him smiling against her lips and blushed as she pulled back
"Goodnight Handsome." Derek ran his fingers through her hair.
"Goodnight Princess."

They had a long way to go, but they were certainly on their way to a full recovery. Derek was hopeful, as was Penelope. They knew that they loved each other, and it was a decision to make it enough. Their friends, and their family watched in anticipation, and after a few more months, they did not disappoint. Shortly after Derek had proposed to an excited Penelope and months later they were married, before God and their loved ones.