The CBI had been called to a crime scene in the woods behind a playground. The rest of the team had already gone, but Rigsby and vanPelt had to finish up some paperwork so they went to the scene later.
They were walking to the scene, laughing and talking like always.
"You did too!!!" van Pelt teased him.
"For the last time, I didn't take Jane's watch!!!" Rigsby said laughingly. He couldn't help but stare at vanPelt. It was November, so it was cold and her cheeks were flushed and her red hair landed in beautiful curls on her white jacket. He loved it when she wore bright clothes.
"Yes you did!"
As they approached the scene they tried to look solemn so that they wouldn't get in trouble, but it was so hard.
They walked up to the body and vanPelt turned pale.
"Grace? Are you okay?" Rigsby asked worried.
"What? Oh, I'm fine." But as she looked at the
The first thing everyone else saw was the small cuts all over the body, but the fatal wound was a gunshot to the back of the head. The first thing vanPelt noticed was the girl's ribbon.
Everything started to spin. Everything was the same, the teenager was in a cheer practice outfit, she was around sixteen, the ribbon wasn't hers, it was red with white polka dots while the girl's outfit was navy blue shorts, a white tank with the letters GHS printed on the front in dark green, white cheer shoes, and dark green ankle socks, she was cut up only to be killed by a gunshot.
"Where was she taken?" vanPelt asked, her voice wavering.
"Um," Lisbon said flipping through her folder. "Her name is Ashlyn Grey. Age 16. Taken from her best friend's home where they were practicing routines for-"
"Homecoming." vanPelt said with a dazed look on her face.
"Yea." Lisbon didn't think too much of it, figuring that since vanPelt had been a cheerleader she knew what they would want to practice extra for.
"Ok," Cho said stepping into the wooded area and approaching the group. "The kids who found the body said that they saw a man mid-twenties to late- forties leave the area about a half hour before they found her. They said brown hair, dark eyes, NYY hat, blue jeans , and an old letter jacket."
Everyone noticed that Jane hadn't said anything for a while.
"Jane, what are you thinking?" Lisbon asked the consultant who had been wandering around for the past few minutes.
"It's a dump site. It looks like he might have threatened someone close to her, thus the knife marks, the gunshot suggests he thinks cheerleaders are the scum of the earth, might have been a geek…." He kept talking about his multiple theories.
VanPelt couldn't take it any longer; she could feel the tears running down her face.
"I.. uh… I have to go." Then she took off running out of the woods.
"Anyone know what that was about?" Lisbon asked looking straight at Rigsby.
"No, but I'm sure as hell gonna find out." Rigsby said as he sprinted after vanPelt.
He ran out of the woods and say children playing, parents watching, completely unaware to what was less than 100 feet away. The only face he didn't see was the one he was looking for.
"GRACE! GRACE! Where are you?" He yelled. He noticed a trail off to edge of the parks and could have sworn he heard sobbing so he ran, tripping over rocks, tumbling over roots.
When he got there She was on a bench her face covered in tears. He sat down and put his arms around her. She threw her arms around him, burying herself in the safety of his chest. He stroked her hair and kissed the top of her head. She started muttering something. He reluctantly pulled away.
He cupped her face in his hands, looked into her eyes and said, "Grace, please I need to know. Not for Lisbon, not for the unit, not for agent Rogsby, Just for plain old Wayne Rigsby."
She took a deep breath, "He's back."
"The man who murdered my best friend. The man who said he'd see me again." She started to look away into the woods.
"Hey, look at me. I'm not gonna let anyone hurt you. Ever. I promise." He said.
"I know you won't. I love you, Wayne."
"I love you too, Grace."
They were once again wrapped in each other's arms. This time it was a passionate kiss.
Grace vanPelt truly felt safe for the first time since Kaitlyn died.
But, what she didn't know was that a man was watching her. A man who was going to follow through on what he told 11 sixteen year old girls as long as twenty years ago.