A/N: Thank you all for the wonderful reviews I hope you enjoy this next chapter I'm sort of on a roll!
Derek and Penelope were setting up when the doorbell rang at exactly 6 o'clock. They both looked at each other and as if practiced said "Reid". Derek walked to the door shaking his head and mumbling under his breath something about being a stickler for time. He opened the door for Reid only to find that JJ had tagged along with him.
JJ was the first inside, she kissed Derek hello and made a bee line straight for Penelope. "I've missed you." She said as she hugged Penelope.
"I've missed you too." Penelope said. "Come here boy genius I have a hug for you too." Penelope said as she gestured towards Reid. Reid hesitated for a few seconds but started to walk towards the girls when Derek spread his arms wide open and jokingly offered a hug and kiss. Rossi arrived soon after followed by Hotch and Emily. With so much commotion going on, nobody bothered to notice that Emily and Hotch had come in the same car. After more of the hugs and I miss yous between the girls, Derek offered everyone drinks and proceeded to provide them.
The girls all huddled together and talked shopping, hairstyles and the need for a girl's night out, while the men sat around drinking beer and discussing sports.
"So how was Chicago?" Emily asked with a bit of innuendo in her voice.
"Geez Em, cut to the chase why don't you." JJ said rolling her eyes.
"What?" She asked innocently blinking her eyes. "It's just a question."
"Yea right." She said and quickly turned to Penelope. "So how was Chicago? How is Derek's family? What are his sisters like?"
"Oh my God JJ, come up for air." Emily teased.
Penelope couldn't help but laugh. She loved JJ and Emily and thought of them as sisters. She wanted to tell them so bad but she had to wait. She knew they would be upset that she kept this secret from them, but she also knew that they would be very excited about the news. Especially since it was always JJ and Emily that kept insisting that Derek had feelings for her. "I had a wonderful time. His family is great. Derek is a lot like his Mom. She's very loving and warm." Penelope told them.
"That's it? That's all you're going to tell us?" Emily said sounding a bit disappointed.
Penelope looked over at Derek hoping to get his attention. She wanted to get things out in the open quickly so she could stop feeling guilty about keeping secrets. He looked over at her and understood the plea in her eyes.
"Hey ya'll, gather around here a sec I have something I'd like to tell you." Derek said. Penelope smiled and mouthed thank you as everyone circled around Derek. "As ya'll know Penelope and I spent a week at my Mom's house in Chicago. Certain things happened in Chicago that we felt you all needed to know. Actually more like we wanted to share with you." Derek said. "Baby you want to tell them?" Derek asked Penelope as he motioned for her to come join him. She walked over to where he was and Derek quickly got behind her and wrapped his arms around her. That was all JJ and Emily needed to pick up on the happenings of Chicago. They both ran to Penelope to hug her but because of the way Derek was holding on to her, he wound up in the group hug too.
Reid looking a little confused leaned over to Rossi and asked "what happened in Chicago?"
Rossi signed. As smart as Reid was, he really had no common sense. "Derek and Penelope got together." Rossi explained.
"What do you mean?" Reid asked. This caught Emily's attention and she teased Reid.
"You're a little slow on the uptake tonight Reid." She teased. "What Rossi means is they are dating."
"How is that news? I thought they were together all along." He said with a straight face but it caused everyone to laugh.
After they all congratulated Derek and Penelope, the questions started. The girls especially wanted all the details and so slowly they separated from the men so Penelope could fill them in. Occasionally the men would hear a few giggles, the occasional NO WAY that usually came out of Emily's mouth but mostly all heard were JJ and Emily in unison with Awwww's. Derek would shake his head every time and eventually he looked at the men and said "I'm not living this down any time soon am I?"
"Ain't looking that way. As a matter of fact, I'm thinking more along the lines of Whooped!" Rossi teased.
Derek just smiled. "Hey man, it's been a long road, call it what you want, I'm guilty. Look at her, she smiles and I'm happy. She's exactly what I didn't know I was looking for. "
"Don't you mean she's exactly what you were looking for but wouldn't admit?" Hotch said.
"Do you really want to go down that road?" Derek asked jokingly. "What can I say, sometimes I a little stubborn."
Reid was drinking at that very moment and coughed to avoid the choke. "Sometimes? " He asked still coughing to clear his throat. That earned him a soft tap on the back of head. "Hey!" He protested as he rubbed his head.
"I hate to bring down this wonderful looooooooooong overdue celebration, but has anyone thought about Strauss?" JJ asked.
"Don't worry about Strauss, that's already been taken care of." Rossi said confidently.
"Uhhh do you mean she's ok with all this taken care of? Or that's why we're all here because we're going to hide the body taken of? Emily asked sarcastically. "Cuz either way I'm in!"
Derek looked over at Emily and said "You're a little scary you know that?"
"Remember that Morgan, now that you're dating my best friend, I'll be watching you buddy." She said. "Be afraid, be very afraid." They all laughed but deep down inside they all knew the girls stuck together and there wasn't anything they wouldn't do for each other.
"Hey Em, can you and I talk a bit?" Derek said. "Outside" as he gestured towards the backyard.
"Sure." She said and put down her drink and walked towards the door.
Once outside Derek wasn't sure how to start. He had this whole speech prepared and for the life of him just couldn't get it started.
"What's going on Derek?" Emily asked a little confused as to his request.
"Em, I wanted to apologize. I was out of line that night I was hurting so I lashed out at you to help me forget my own pain. I should never have said what I did. I was totally out of line." He said.
"Derek, there's no need to apologize. I know you were hurting and I know it wasn't personal. Besides… everything you said was true." Emily admitted.
"I still didn't have a right. Knowing how you both are I should've known that you two would get it together eventually, you're meant to be, but you'll do it in your way and in your own time frame, not mine. When you're ready you'll be able to show the world." He said.
Emily placed her hand on Derek's. "How did you find out?" She asked and smile.
"I saw your car pulling out of his driveway this morning. Pen didn't notice and I never said anything. I'm behind you all the way though. Whatever you both decide I'm there." Derek said.
"Right now is not the right time. Aaron still hasn't gotten his divorce and things at the Bureau are well, just a little tense. When the time's right we'll let everyone know but for right now I'd rather this stayed just between us. I don't want to implicate anyone else in our affairs. No pun intended." She said and smiled.
"I'm so sorry Em. I don't let people into my circle very easily, and the thought of me hurting you was killing me." He said.
"You helped me Derek. It was soon after that speech of yours that I got enough courage to speak up. So technically I owe you." She said.
"We're good then?" Derek asked.
"Solid." She said and hugged him.
The rest of the night the team celebrated. Poor Reid spent most of the night being the blunt of jokes although every chance they had, one of the girls was sure to tease Derek about being whooped. Everything was finally falling into place and Derek knew the only thing left was to propose to Penelope. He needed to plan this out. He wanted it to be the memory of all memories. It had to be special. It had to be memorable. Time to plan.