AN: Hi all!...Here is what I think Garcia was feeling just before that final dance...I hope you enjoy...and know after this, there are possibilities for everything...


A New Chapter by Kricket Williams

"Penelope?"

She should've known he'd find her. Hiding from Derek was impossible. Like Kevin had said, Morgan knew her better than anyone; he'd know when she'd had enough and needed to find a hidey hole for a spell and he'd deduce where said hidey hole was.

"Yeah," she answered quickly, opening the door to the salon-style bathroom . "What's up, buttercup?"

Arching a noble and mobile brow at her, he asked, "You okay?"

For a long moment, she simply stared at him. Of course, she wasn't. Everything that could possibly go wrong was going wrong, and she couldn't do a dang thing about it.

In the past two days, she'd seen people she loved nearly blown to smithereens, she'd felt impotent and helpless at her job, she hadn't been able to comfort JJ when she'd needed to know that Will was fine, and she'd missed out on a convention she'd really wanted to attend because she was a chicken and she didn't want to face that Kevin had moved on.

Now today, Prentiss was acting all wonky-weird and Morgan looked moony sad while talking to Em, signaling bad things on the horizon. To top it off, she was at a wedding—one of the most romantic occasions ever, and her ex was here with a date.

She wanted to run and hide, but she couldn't, because it was the wedding of her best female friend in the whole entire universe. She had to smile and be surrounded by romance and love, while her heart was breaking into a million gazillion pieces.

No, she was NOT okay.

However, Morgan was a man, and being that sex—he didn't think before asking her such a stupid question.

Sighing, she turned back to the sink and looked for a faucet. It was an interesting sort of Romanesque kind of sink with waterfalls instead of a spout, and no visible handles. She reached to the side and then to the top, before saying, "I'm just peach—where the hell is the on switch for this thing?"

As she still glared the sink, she saw long brown fingers wave in front of the bowl and suddenly water began to cascade inside like magic. "There you go."

"I can't even turn on a sink," she whispered dejectedly, staring at the water as it flowed mesmerizingly over her fingers. She could feel wetness gathering on the curve of her chin, too, and she knew then she was crying.

"Baby…hush," Derek murmured as he folded her into his arms. She melted into the familiar embrace of her best friend. She buried her face into his chest, letting the woodsy scent of his cologne calm and lull her. He murmured sweet nothings to her, stroked her back with his big, strong hands, and she could feel the tension dissipating in waves, leaving nothing but the dull ache of a broken heart in it's stead.

"Better?" he asked, cupping a hand under her chin. His dark eyes were soft and understanding.

She nodded. Turning and reaching for a Kleenex, she blew her nose and then dabbed at her eyes to try and fix the issues going on there.

"Is all this for Kevin?"

It was an honest question, not harsh or angry sounding, just curious.

"No," she answered, pausing for a second, before adding, "not completely."

Derek took her hands in his so that she would face him. "Can you tell me about it?"

Could she? She'd been running, not wanting to face or talk about her breakup, not with anyone. She didn't do confrontation, even against herself. But she had to—she couldn't stay in Rossi's stylish potty forever.

"I feel like a failure, Morgan," she began. "I messed up in my personal life, my career-"

"No body's thinking that but you," he quickly interrupted.

She smiled at him. "Thank you, my steadfast defender, but it is how I feel. I know that I will get over the mistakes I made out there on the field, but the personal ones are harder. Today just brings it all home more for me."

"What do you mean by that?"

"It could've been me marrying today, Derek. I didn't realize I wanted it until I saw it today." She paused, thinking about how that sounded. "I mean, I don't want to take JJ's day from her or anything."

"I know that, honey."

She smiled again at his swift defense, but then the feeling of heartache intensified. "But…It could've been me."

He took a breath, held it for a moment. "Yes, it could've."

She could feel herself pouting. "I made a huge mistake."

He arched a questioning brow at her again. "How so?"

Goodness, he was being obtuse again. She was going to have to spell it out.

"Derek, I threw away a perfectly good guy—"

"No, you didn't," he interrupted.

That surprised her. "Derek, you even told me Kevin was a good guy."

"He is a good guy," Derek said pointedly. "Just not good for you."

It was her turn to ask stupid questions. "What…who…what?"

"Baby Girl," he said softly but firmly. "You may think you made a mistake, but you didn't. You told me that you had to believe that things happen for a reason, right?"

She nodded.

"Well, there was a reason you turned Kevin down, and even more reason why you didn't work to get back together with him while you were broken up."

"Yeah," she scoffed sadly. "Because I am a chicken."

"No, sweetheart." He took her upper arms in his hands and leveled a look at her. "Something like fear over getting married wouldn't have stopped a determined woman like you. Hell, I've seen you move mountains when you wanted something to happen, and you make it work."

He was right…she knew it…but it was still hard to take. "But…what if he was my last chance?"

She meant that. It was kind of a bitter pill to swallow.

"You, sexy momma?" he asked incredulously, clutching his chest like the shock had given him a heart attack.

She shoved at his arm with a teasing smile. "I'm pushing forty, Derek."

"That still isn't a good reason to marry the wrong man," he answered.

When the man was right, he was right.

Sighing dramatically, she rolled her eyes. "I suppose you could be right."

Derek grinned and tucked her under his arm. Dragging her in, he kissed the top of her head.

She smiled for a moment, and then felt her smile fade. "I just wish…"

"What?"

She'd hesitated, but thought that was ridiculous. No reason to hide anything now...

"I know it's petty, but I really wish I was the one to move on first." She huffed, the anger she was feeling coming to the forefront. "I mean, he came in, dressed better than I'd seen him in four years of dating and he even got a haircut. He didn't do that for me."

Derek kissed the top of her head again and said simply, "He should've."

"And he shows up-to MY Jayje's wedding-with another woman," she growled angrily. A second passed, and she added softly and sadly, "He showed the world how easy it was to get over me..."

"Aw, baby." Derek folded her in his arms and hugged her.

Penelope sucked up the pity. She wasn't the kind of person who turned away sympathy.

Moments later, she looked up at him. "I don't know what to do. I sat in here, crying, made a fuss over him...and I don't know what to do."

"That's easy," he said, cupping her chin in his hand. "You wipe the tears from your face, you step out of here with that dress you are rockin' tonight, and you dance and have fun. And maybe—if you are feeling like it—you dance with him... and show him one last time the good thing he lost."

Giving him a watery grin, she said, "Thanks, angelfish."

"My pleasure."

"Give me five?" she asked, glancing at the mirror. She had some fixing up to do.

He winked. "You're worth the wait."

With that, Penelope closed the door...both literally and figuratively on a chapter of her life.