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God may not answer prayers when you want Him to but He answers them right on time.


Mother Knows Best

Fran Morgan considered herself to be a patient woman. As a single mom with three young kids, working full time and going to school part-time, it took her seven years to earn a bachelor's degree and another four to complete her master's.

It had taken 19 years of scrimping and saving and doing without to pay off the mortgage on their South Side Chicago brownstone and a few more before she could afford to take her dream vacation to Paris, France. But 40 years of waiting for her only son to give her grandchildren was her limit.

A devout Catholic, she faithfully believed that God had a plan for everyone but she also believed that God helps those who help themselves. And starting today she was going to help herself to some grandbabies!

Oh but how times have changed. When Derek was a strapping lad in his teens she prayed every night that he wouldn't make her a grandmother before her time. Their neighborhood had been filled with fast girls with light skirts who practically tripped over themselves trying to get her baby boy's attention and Derek, like his father – may God rest his soul- reveled in the attention from pretty girls.

Despite her initial reluctance and to her son's utter embarrassment she would occasionally slip a box of condoms into his sock drawer. Whether or not he made use of them she did not know and didn't want to know but at least no babies were left on her doorstep during his high school years. Nor, thankfully, during college or law school but now Fran was starting to fear that she had prayed just a little too hard.

Derek at 39 years and counting was no closer to doing his part to carry on the Morgan family name than he was at 16. At this rate, she would be dead and buried long before she'd get to see him married let alone chasing after a couple of chubby toddlers.

Patience be damned, Fran was thisclose to implementing her plan B which was to lock her son in a room with the next random fertile woman to cross his path and order them to let nature take its course. But the Lord works in mysterious ways and when the latest whodunit on the BAU's agenda delivered Derek and his team just outside of Chicago, Fran knew it was time to put plan A into action.

Since moving to Virginia to join the FBI, Derek never brought a young woman home to meet the family. Yes, during their weekly phone calls he'd occasionally mention a girl's name here, a girl's name there but to Fran's disappointment the same name would never cross his lips twice. Well, that's not exactly true. Three were said often and repeatedly: Garcia, Penelope and Baby Girl.

It took Fran nearly six-months to figure out that he was actually talking about the same person! But when she finally caught on she began to listen for how he said her name. Her name would roll off his tongue like poetry.

With each subsequent phone call and with each passing year it became abundantly clear that her baby had finally found The One. Too bad he was too hard-headed to see it, though. And no matter how hard she tried she couldn't convince him otherwise.

Gentle encouragement didn't work. Pleading with him to 'give it a try' fell on deaf ears. Pointing out that being best friends before becoming lovers had worked for his parents was futile. Even pouring on a mother's size guilt-trip and reminding him that she wouldn't be around forever got her nowhere. He would always push back with his favorite go-to answer "we're just good friends."

And she could accept that, she really could, if it wasn't for the fact that her son was head over heels in love with his best friend. When he talked about her his voice changed. It would become soft and gentle and Fran could just about hear his smile through the phone. She knew that smile. It was the one previously reserved only for his momma and his sisters. It told of unconditional love and unbreakable trust.

What was even more remarkable was the jealousy he tried but always failed to hide. Derek, not a jealous man by nature, released his long dormant green-eyed-monster when the future Mrs. Morgan (as Fran liked to privately call her) began dating a man named Kevin…or was it Calvin?

During those calls, instead of smiles, she could literally hear him gritting his teeth. She wondered if all that grinding would mess up the expensive orthodontic work she took on a second job to pay for. If it did, then it would be a small price to pay if it made her boy get-off his butt and marry her future daughter-in-law. Interestingly enough the teeth grinding stopped when Penelope broke up with her boyfriend.

Oh and how he loved to brag about the technical analyst with the IQ of 159. Some nights Fran and her daughters Sarah and Desiree would sit around the kitchen table sharing all they had learned about the one and only Penelope "Baby Girl" Garcia. In Derek's eyes, she could do no wrong (well, except for the dating Calvin thing) and his pride in her and all that she had accomplished was undeniable.

Throughout the years, they had learned that Penelope had a quick wit and an ever smarter mouth all wrapped up in an unwavering positive outlook on life. That even after almost being killed by a madman she still had the ability to see the good in people and to both Derek's admiration and distress still put her trust in strangers. It wasn't that she was stupid or naïve but that she honestly couldn't help but give others the benefit of the doubt.

And now here she sat at Fran's dining room table. The team had spent the last day and a half on the hunt for a serial child kidnapper. Thanks to their hard work, the missing girl was found unharmed and her abductor was put swiftly behind bars. As a bonus, Fran was able to convince, ok guilt is a better word, Derek's boss into permitting the team to spend a couple of extra hours in Chicago before having to board the jet and return to Quantico.

To be honest, Derek's stories didn't do her justice. Penelope was quirky and fun and unquestionably the brightest crayon in the box. She was quick to laugh and even quicker to compliment others and it was immediately clear that she didn't have a malicious bone in her body.

Full figured and doe-eyed with swatches of pink throughout her blonde hair she wasn't conventionally pretty by today's standards. Instead she had a unique beauty and style that many would foolishly fail to appreciate at first glance but over time would find themselves compelled to take a closer look.

On a shallower note, she had good hips. Sturdy birthing hips that could safely bring the next generation of Morgans into the world and finally make Derek the father he was meant to be.

Amidst all the lively chatter and praise for Fran's homemade vegetable lasagna and breadsticks, Fran watched the interaction between Derek and Penelope. Sitting side by side, they were like an old married couple finishing each other's sentences and trading side dishes and condiments without having to be asked.

Every now and then, Derek would lean closer and whisper something into Penelope's ear. Possibly a private joke? Sweet nothings, maybe? Fran did not know but even a blind man could see that Miss Garcia thought that her son could hang the moon.

Getting the young woman's attention, Fran asked the question that had been on her mind for close to six years and in doing so effectively shut down all other side conversations around the long table.

"So Penelope, have you ever considered dating my son?"


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