Not mine. I make no money. I promise to put them back once I am done playing with them.
When your father is the most senior partner in a beltway law firm only the best is expected especially if you are his only child. When the invitation said formal attire they meant it every single man is dressed in a tux and all the women in long formals.
She walked into the banquet hall and blew out a soft breath of air taking in the extravagance of it all. First the wedding with all the flowers and white silk bows. That alone took her breath away it was beautiful.
She let her mind wonder as she sat in the church watching her best friend get married. Almost every girl has dreams of marrying the perfect man, she was glad that Jasmine is as nice a person as she is beautiful. She is the perfect partner for Derek.
Derek, Derek Morgan her friend, there was a time long ago in her dreams she thought he was the one. It was never meant to be and deep in her heart she knew this. But as friends they could have fun movies and lunch in office. They shared a deep bond built on the work that they do and on the friendship that they shared.
So she found companionship with someone else and at the time she really thought that she loved him. After four long years they separated he wanted marriage she didn't, she realized that she didn't love him not really he was safe. Who she wanted, who she loved was not attainable so she buried that love deep in her heart.
She felt a hand on her back and looked into the warm eyes of David Rossi one of her bosses.
"Are you alright Kitten?" He asks her softly.
" Dave I'm fine. It's this room, have you ever seen anything like it before I mean it's just."
"Over the top, a bit pretentious if you ask me. Come on its an open bar I'll get you a drink. Red wine right?"
"Yes please that will be great." He leads her to their table before he disappears into the crowd.
One by one her table mates came to the table, Anderson and his date, Beth and the two bosses. Each one of them happy to have the night off away from criminals. A night just for family a night to relax.
Everyone stood and applauded when the bridal party came in they all looked stunning.
The bridal party a mixture of friends and family JJ and Will, Spencer and Emily, and Sarah's husband acting as best man for Derek. The last two couples were friends of the bride, the maid of honor being her best friend since childhood. The reception line was perfect jut like it was planned, it was the perfect fairy tale wedding.
She had no regrets at all for not being in the bridal party it was her choice. Being who she is she overheard Jasmine and Derek talking one day. Fretting over what to do, it was all her parents they didn't want Penelope in the bridal party she would look out of place with everyone else being tall and slender. It hurt but she understood so she waited until she could get a minute to talk to Jasmine alone. She was honest with her telling her that she over heard their conversation. She told Jasmine it was better to start married life on the right footing with the parents. When Jasmine hugged her and thanked her, she told her that she was worried a long time about Derek being so close to another woman. But that she understood now. "Derek is right you are pure gold not an evil bone in your body."
The champagne flowed as they all toasted the bride and groom. The menu was never ending it listed fruit cup, salad, pasta, soup, prime rib with roasted potatoes and asparagus , then dessert. Somewhere in that there was a cup of lime sherbet a palate cleanser Rossi tells her softly.
She nods in understanding as she takes her first bite of fruit. After looking at the menu she made a deal with Rossi she would his eat salad and he could eat her prime rib.
The music played softly as they began to eat, when the fruit cup was cleared some of the guest started to dance, it was going to be a long night. The photographer making the rounds getting candid shots, but Penelope kept an eye on him making sure that she was never in any of his shots. Ever mindful of the brides parents and their wishes.
She carefully touched her lips with her napkin after she drank some of her water. It was the vibration of her carefully concealed cell phone that gave her an needed excuse to leave the table. Looking at the number she sees that it is personal call forwarded to her work cell.
Surprisingly the ladies room was quite and free of guests she was grateful for that, after a short conversation with her doctor she felt depressed and on the verge of tears. Bless her doctor having stayed late just to catch up on paperwork and read lab reports.
"I'm sorry Penelope its what we thought it was, I'd say you have a year at most. I'm sorry that I couldn't give you better news. There are still options like we discussed."
"Thanks so much Betsy. I guess I knew all along it wasn't meant to be. As least for me anyway. I have to go, thank you for calling me."
She washed her hands then blinked her eyes with sheer will power she pushed down the feelings that were fighting to get out.
When her cell vibrated again she answered with a lack of her usual pep. She sits back down on one of the lounge chairs.
"Hey I'm sorry to bother you tonight of all night but we need your help its an emergency." Cooper tells her.
"That's okay sir we are just eating now. Give me twenty minutes and I'll be back at the office."
She stands and smoothes out her dark green dress she thanks attendant and hands her a five dollar bill. Making sure she is not seen she gets her matching coat from the cloak room and leaves quietly not wanting to make a fuss for the newly married couple.
She grabs her go-bag out of her car then enters the building with ease. Entering her office she tosses her coat in the trash basket then opens her bag with a nudge of her foot she pushes the door to close. It takes her only seconds to awaken her computers from their slumber.
Digging in her bag she pulls out a pair of comfortable black slacks she slips these on under he dress then she places a red pullover shirt on her chair. Not caring about it looks she pulls the formal dress over her head and tosses it into the trash basket as well, to be quickly followed by her slip.
She looks up as she is adjusting her shirt when she hears a cough only to see a smiling Cooper and Prophet looking at her through their web camera.
"Well I had to change somewhere. What do you need?" She asks as she sits then sends her high heel shoes sailing in the air to join the rest of the clothes.
They talked she asked questions and typed like her she had never typed before.
"Penelope. Mick said that if anything ever happened to him if he was missing or held hostage you would know what to do, how to find him. He also told us not to ask you, the last thing he said before we lost the transmission was Timothy's feather is pink."
"I'll call you back give me ten." she tells them then she signs off.
"Dear god don't let me screw this one up please." She whispers into the room she opens the drawer of her desk and takes out a rarely used laptop. Her baby, her magic bullet when she needs to leave no trace this is her weapon of choice.
Fifteen minutes she is calling Cooper and his team back. "I sent an address your handhelds go now and call me back when you get to base."
She does what she has to do with her magic bullet then puts it away for safety. No one can use it. It has a single password safety net if not entered correctly the hard drive wipes itself clean.
Busy work is what she does while she waits an hour later she sees him pop up on her screen. Mick looks like he has seen better days, bruised, bloody and dragging ass.
"Thank you so much Penelope."
"You're welcome glad I was able to help."
"I'm sorry that I took you away from Derek's wedding."
"So am I but you're alive so it was worth it."
"When are you going to come see us again?" He asks as he sips some water.
"Next year maybe, I don't know."
"Come this year on annual leave."
"To late to get a ticket. The suits in their infinite wisdom gave us leave the at the same time as Derek's. With Emily gone and the team downsized they thought it wiser to give us leave at the same time."
"So what are you going to do come see us I'll spring for a ticket, I'll take you to high tea."
"Can't sorry Mick. I have to paint my apartment the landlord told me that if the walls aren't repainted she will have it done and charge me twice the amount. Besides I found a new sofa I want the money will be spent on it. Go to the doctor Mick then bed. I'll talk to you later." She tells him the closes the connection.
She finishes up the last of what she is working on then shuts down all of the computer. It's been a long day and she is tired and surprising hungry. She makes one stop on her way home to pick up some dinner.
Beth returns from the rest room as she sits back down she whispers to Hotch.
"She is not there the attendant said she left fifteen minutes ago."
Hotch excuses himself from the table for a few minutes. When he does he talks in hushed tones to Rossi.
"What is it?"
"Cooper calling me to let me know that he is the one that made Penelope leave Mick is missing. He told Cooper that Penelope would know how to find him if he ever went missing."
"She would have told us if he called her."
"Well something made her leave. I already called the office she is there so we she is safe. She knows to call if there is a problem." Hotch tells him not quite believing his own words.
The bosses mingled and chatted with everyone all the while their minds were else where. Doing what they do best schooling their features and continuing on like nothing is wrong.
When the call comes an hour later neither man is surprised when Spencer, JJ and Emily follow them out in the outer hall. Hotch listens for a few minutes and closes the call when he is satisfied he has all the information he is going to get.
"What's going on Hotch?" Spencer asks.
"There was a problem with Cooper's team. It's fixed now."
"What problem? Do they need our help?" Emily and JJ asks talking over one another.
"Like I said it's over and everything has been taken care of. Go back inside they are going to be taking more pictures soon of the bridal party."
"Where's PG I haven't seen her?" Emily asks as she stops and turns looking at both men.
"She went to the ladies room." Rossi answers honestly.
"Tell her I want to talk to her please." Emily says before she rushes in to take her place for the photographer.
"You know Aaron I'm getting old could you please make my excuses to Derek and his bride." Rossi says as her pats him on the shoulder.
Seeing a light coming from under her office door, he opens it only to find the room empty and all the computers off the light coming from the single ceiling light that never goes out. He swears softly then turns to leave as he does he see the trash can full of the clothes she was wearing just hours earlier. He digs them out and drapes them carefully over his arm not giving a shit who sees him. When the is back in his car he calls Cooper wanting more in depth information the call does not last long.
After spending Monday morning running a few errands he shows up at Penelope's door mid-afternoon dressed in jeans and a cotton shirt.
"Dave, do you need me back at work ?" she asks.
He shakes his head no as he takes in her clothes jeans and a large t shirt that has seen better days. He sees that she has everything covered with old sheets and has already taped up the windows and the trim.
"No I came to help you paint. I talked to Cooper." He tells her then places the paper bag he is holding on the nearest surface. "I also came to give you a check and to ask you who called you first that made you leave the table."
"Check I don't understand?"
"You left the inner price tag on that dress you wore Kitten, you spent five hundred dollars on a dress and coat not to mention the shoes, you wore them for three hours then you tossed them in the trash. You can't afford that so I brought them to a consignment shop. I brought you back your silk slip."
"Thank you but there was need. It's not like I was ever going to wear them again."
"Then why did you spent that kind of money in the first place? Money I know you don't have to waste."
"I hate profilers you know."
"Come on in I'll make you some coffee."
"Start talking." He says once he has a cup of coffee in his hands.
"I didn't want to embarrass anyone on the team especially Derek and Jasmine. I wanted to look "normal" for once. That's all."
"Oh Kitten don't you know we love you for who you are. You shouldn't try to conform to what other people think as "normal"."
"I had to don't you see, for Jasmine and Derek so they could have the perfect wedding."
"I saw you avoiding the photographer and I know why too. Derek told me he couldn't understand how you could be so understanding."
"It's wasn't a big deal." Penelope tells him dismissively.
"I know it wasn't Cooper who called you when you were at the table. Who called you?"
She lowers her head and knows that she can't even lie her way out of answering.
"It was my doctor she was working late and going over some lab work that came in. she called to give me the results that's all."
"Right. Spill it Kitten now, or I'll get Hotch and together we will brow beat you until we get the truth."
"I'm not dying if that's what you're thinking. I'm perimenopausal that's all, it also means that I blew my chances at having any children of my own."
"Oh Kitten I'm so sorry. Are they sure? Labs can make mistakes."
"No mistakes, It just wasn't in the cards for me." She tells him sniffling. "I always wanted a family. You know that verse in psalms, Man plans, God laughs. That's the way my life has always been. So I'm going to paint toss out all of this stuff, it's time that I behaved like the adult don't you think? Not like a school girl looking for love that will never be returned. So what so you say Dave shall we paint?"
"You could adopt, I can help you with the lawyers."
"Dave I can't even keep a house plant alive who would let me adopt? Having a husband and children, well it was all a pipe dream anyway ."
He puts his cup down and places his hand on her waist and brings her closer to him.
"Why is it that the only time you call me Dave is when we are alone?"
"It's your name I like your name, should I stop?"
"No, Why do you always bring me the first cup in the new pot of coffee?"
"You don't like the dredge in the bottom of the pot, should I stop?"
"No, why do you send my mother flowers for no reason in my name?"
"So she knows that she is not forgotten and that you love her, Should I stop?"
"No, Why are you so afraid to tell me that you're in love with me?"
"Because you couldn't possibly love me back."
It's the softness then the pure passion of the kiss that she senses as he presses his lips to hers. The hunger that seems never ending with each breath that they take.
"Foolish woman I'm in love with you too. Should I stop?" He whispers in her ear, then nibbles her neck.
"No, please don't, not now not ever."
"I couldn't agree more." He tells her as he kisses her all the more.
"We have to paint." she whispers.
"Hush I'll hire someone. This first this then we plan the rest of our lives together what do you think? Or shall I stop?" He tells her as his hands slip under she t shirt touching the bare skin on her back.
She doesn't say anything she takes a step back and takes on of his hands and leads him into her bedroom.