Penelope glanced back at her cottage and smiled. If Hotch played his cards right, Emily Prentiss would be going home with him in a couple of hours, which she would welcome. Not because she wanted to get rid of them, but she wasn't quite opposed to being alone either. What Aaron had decided to bring up was something she had successfully pushed from her mind for as long as she could, and now he had unleashed it wasn't so easy to flick the button on out of sight out of mind.
"Honey I'm pregnant." She heard Tamara said excitedly as she passed Derek's office. Penelope stopped in her tracks, she was on her way to Derek's office to drop off a file. She paused at the door in shock. Derek's eyes met hers as Tamara threw her arms around him. Derek caught Tamara in his arms in surprised. Penelope backed out the door and headed back to her bunker without detection.
In truth she and Derek have had very little to do with each since his appointment as Unit Chief. She knew that it was important that he execute professionalism, which is why to a certain extent she understood the evident dropping of endearments. She had discovered that he and Tamara were official when she and the girls had gone to the park on their lunch break one afternoon. They were headed back to the office when they saw Derek and Tamara sitting on the park bench holding hands which certainly explained why he had literally dropped from her life. From that point on Penelope had made a conscious decision to respect the boundaries he had enforced. Derek had noticed that their professionalism with each other hiked up a few notches, beyond recognition.
On the day of Tamara's news, JJ had gathered them all into the brief room for their new case, including Penelope who was hoping to skip it. When he had entered the room she was already sitting down seemingly occupied with the doodling she was doing on her fuzzy notebook unable to look at him at all.
The day they arrived was the morning that Emily had called. She was packing up her office as Strauss had given them a few days off. She had already planned to head to the cottage and was just about to head home to pack when she got Em's frantic call. Once upon a time Derek would have been at her door step making sure that she was okay, but that was a life time ago, and presently, she had learned to not expect anything of him at all.
While Emily was walking along the beach upon their arrival her phone had began to buzz, and though she didn't want to answer it, it didn't feel right to purposely ignore it,
"Hi Fran," Penelope greeted warmly. Being best friends with Derek Morgan meant you were intertwined into his family, and though she loved it normally, it only hurt that little bit more at that point,
"How are you?" asked not knowing if she was calling for a specific reason or just checking in.
"I'm…okay," Penelope picked up on the pause,
"So you know."
"Yes, he called before they went on the case."
"Congratulations Grams." Penelope said genuinely knowing how long Fran had been waiting for Derek to produce off springs she can spoil.
"Thanks honey. I just wanted to call, to say hi."
"I see right through you Fran Morgan, but I thank you."
"I love you Penelope, you will always be a part of this family." Fran promised
"I love you too Fran. Thank you for calling. You really didn't have to."
"I wanted to. You mean a lot to all of us." Penelope's silence confirmed that she doubted that,
"I know he didn't handle this well, but he does love you Penelope. You mean the world to him."
"I'm sure there was a time when he did and I did Fran, but recent events have told me that no longer applies."
"I'm so sorry Sweetheart."
"You have nothing to be sorry for Fran. I appreciate the call. I appreciate the sentiment behind the call. You know that if you ever need anything, I'm here. You can call me any time. We can still do Pamper days and Coffees if you still want to."
"I would really like that."
"Take care Fran Morgan, know that you will always have a special place in my heart."
"And you in mine Sweetheart." Fran said softly trying to hold in her emotions.
The tears welled up in her eyes as she recalled the conversation between her and Fran. Truth was she was losing more than just Derek, she was losing the family that he came with, the family that had enveloped her with open arms and that wasn't fair. There had already been so many changes, and at work, so much more was bound to change.
He watched her from afar sitting on his bike he could see her clearly. With her knees to her chest and her chin resting on her knees, hair blowing against the wind, she was wiping tears from her eyes. Tears he knew his actions had evoked. He wasn't quite sure how it had gotten as bad as it had. After her warning about Tamara, it brought a line that had never existed before, and when things progressed between him and Tamara, he couldn't bring himself to tell her. Tamara who had heard so much about the team, and by default Penelope had reacted to some underlying connection she could sense between Derek and Penelope. He noticed very early on that Tamara stiffened at the mere mention of Penelope so he had stopped mentioning her altogether. He tried to justify his need to put a boundary between them was due to his new position, but even that was a lie. At the end of the day, he knew as well as she did that he compromised their friendship, for a girl. That he had willingly alienated his best friend for a girl friend.
Tamara was pregnant, and that spun him out. He hadn't even taken her home to Chicago. They had gotten serious so fast that it made his head spin. He had only told his mother a couple of months back and that was because she was hounding him about bringing Penelope home for Christmas, and asked him why he no longer brought up his so called best friend in conversation. Taking a deep breath he made his way to her. It had been a long time since he had been there. He and Penelope used to take the odd weekend here and there to just hang at the beach. He knew what the place meant to her, and how important it was to her.
"Hey," Penelope stiffened at the sound of his voice. Closing her eyes to gain some ounce of composure before turning her head to look up at him wiping away her tears with the back of her hand as she stood up, overwhelmed by their current situation Derek had closed the distance between them and pulled her into his arms. Refusing to give into her need of him Penelope's brought her fists to his chest as if to keep the distance between them but Derek only pulled her closer till her arms were resting on his chest and her head was tucked beneath his chin,
I held her close to me
Coz I know she breaks so easily
And then I told her
Though I knew no matter how I tried to console her
Then she'd do the best she could
But there are times the best is no damn good
And no matter how you try to be kind
There's always still a part of you you'll leave behind
When they fall apart
There's no easy way to break somebody's heart.
"I'm so sorry P. For everything, for pushing you away, for not listening to you, for dropping out of your life, for hurting you the way I did. I'm so sorry." Derek's voice broke as tears poured down his cheeks, there was no fixing where they were. No apologies, no action could undo what was already done.
I lied and told her she'll be fine
Though we both knew it was just a lie
I had to do it
Coz I had said anything to help me get through it.
And she reached out for my hand
And her simple touch was more than I could stand
And I had to turn away coz I knew
All the hurt that she was feeling, I was feeling too
Penelope unclenched her fists and lay them flat on his chest as she gently pulled back to look at him, acutely aware of the arms that did not release her,
She could've gotten angry
And made me feel like a guilty child
But I realized that never was her style
I wanted her to hurt me
And not treat me like a friend
I wanted her to say "there'd be someday
I'd come crawling on my knees to ask her back again"
But she acted like a lady till the end
Oh, what a lady!
"You deserve to be happy Derek. You can finally give your Mom those grandchildren she's been praying for. You can finally have that family you've dreamed of for so long, that wife to come home to after a hard day's work, the person who makes it all okay at the end of the day. I don't begrudge that. I want you to be happy."
I thought that she'd break down
But she smiled at me and never made a sound
And I guess she understood in her way
Coz her silence told me everything she could not say
When they fall apart
There's just no easy way
There's no easy way to break somebody's heart...
Penelope wrapped her arms around his neck, and gave him a hug. She buried her face into his chest, his into her neck. They held onto each other tightly as if their life depended on it. Penelope broke free first and lay her hand on his cheek. With one final act of bravery, in the spirit of no regrets, she brought her lips to his and kissed him. Derek's whole body reacted as he kissed her back, the years that they had shared together, the flirting, the fun times, the sad times, and everything in between, it was all in that kiss. Everything in that kiss, told them what they both needed to know. Penelope's hand touched his chest as she pulled back. As she looked in his eyes, she could see the reflection of sadness that she knew that was in hers.
"Be happy Derek," she whispered softly. Penelope turned to go and Derek had grabbed her hand. Penelope gave him a small smile and squeezed his hand before letting go. Derek watched as she walked away without turning back. Derek had to take a breath, scared that he would hyperventilate as everything began to crash around him. He knew that she had just let him go.
So much for this not being Penelope and Derek centred. THE END… for now maybe. I don't know. The song is a James Ingram song called 'There's no easy way' it is what inspired me for this chapter. Hope you all enjoyed that.