AN: It's that time of year, ya'll. Time for a summery, breezy, beach-worthy read...Time for something fun that a little frothy, a lot of cute, and a dash of sexy, like a cocktail with an umbrella in it…I hope you enjoy, and have minimal suntan lines! *wink*... By the way, please check out the author's note at the end of the chapter and let me know what you think!
"Vacation time!" Reid called out, nearly running off the elevator to his desk in the center of the bullpen.
"You have plans to see your mother" Hotch asked as Reid hustled to get his stuff together.
"Oh, yes!" Reid gushed, piling all sorts of paperwork in his satchel he carried.
Morgan chuckled lightly. "All that excitement just to see your mom?"
Reid paused, but only for a second. "Well, it just so happens that a convention I have been looking forward to for eons is finally on for the same time that our summer leave is." He held up a flier with a huge grin on his face. "And I have two tickets for me and Melody."
"What convention?" Rossi asked conversationally, stopping on the way to his office.
"It's an expo based on the science behind science fiction films," Reid began, his eyes wide with excitement. "Like when you are watching and you see green goo that is supposed to be an alien life form, and you know when the mechanical parts adjacent to the-"
"Never mind," Rossi interrupted, holding back a chuckle. "Just...have a good time."
Reid smiled and continued piling his stuff in the bag, completely focused on leaving.
"Where are you headed?"Rossi asked Hotch.
"Off with Jack and Beth to a waterpark." He arched a knowing brow and asked, "Cabin?"
Rossi smiled and patted his pocket. "Got my new fishin' permit right here."
JJ had already left; she and Will were planning a first honeymoon, so that left Morgan.
"Where are you headed?" Rossi questioned.
"Off to see your mom?" Hotch asked him.
Derek shook his head with a teasing grin of his own as he held out airline vouchers. "Gentlemen, I got two tickets to paradise."
Hotch smirked slightly. "Have fun."
Rossi clapped him on the shoulder. "Nicely played, son."
Soon, he was standing alone, thinking about his next move. This was going to be the best summer break he'd had in ages.
Now if he could just talk the right angel into going with him...
Penelope could hear all the commotion in the bullpen even from inside of her lair. Usually, she was waiting to greet them—her unsung heroes—as they returned from their exploits, but this time she didn't even get up to join them and find out what was happening. She already knew...and she didn't have the heart to watch it.
Both the best part and the worst part about working together as a team was that they were always together. They had to be; their team functioned as a unit, united and strong. They needed each other's expertise and support. Other people could fill in for emergency purposes—like when JJ had Henry or Penelope had been shot—but it simply was not the same when one of them was missing. Rossi frequently joked that he saw far too much of the team, more than his own family, but it was a joke. They all cared about each other dearly.
They also fought like a family, too, at times, and they were always in each other's business. Secrets were not easily kept at the BAU.
However, this secret, she thought she kept pretty well.
The entire team took vacations at the same time, and returned to work together. Morgan had likened their lives to a sporting team. They worked together nonstop for a long period of time, and then had an off season alone. Reid had mentioned he thought about a school with teachers. Rossi had thought of it like a TV show, and summer was the hiatus they desperately needed to clear their minds and make them "appreciate" one another again.
Garcia, on the other hand, was thinking of it a little differently. Summer for her was the time of year that she would be kind of lonely...and kind of alone.
Recently, she'd broken up with her long term boyfriend, Kevin. It wasn't a raging romance; she'd been more comfortable and used to him than anything else. She'd even contemplated getting back together with him for the summer, especially having danced with him at JJ's wedding, but another more rational part of herself couldn't do it. She didn't want to go down that road again, not when it was destined to lead no where. She felt they both deserved better.
It wasn't that she didn't have a place to go—she did. Her brothers always invited her to come visit them in the 'burbs outside of San Francisco where they all lived. However, she'd go there to see them, and they'd be with their spouses, and they'd talk kids and marriages and their houses. They'd talk Tupperware and diapers and Target trips and groceries.
She was a confirmed bachelorette. She didn't really have a whole lot in common with them.
No, she liked to talk cases and Unsubs and technological advances and everything FBI. She liked to stay up past ten and surf the web and flirt with Derek Morgan and get drinks with her girls. She liked to feel like she was doing something uber important and exciting and maybe even a touch glamorous, in the jet setting sort of way. She liked to go out and embrace life...her kind of life.
She loved her brothers and their wives and kids…but the BAU was her true family now. Leaving them for three weeks was rather painful.
Especially leaving her best friend, Morgan. No matter what, he made her feel so special. She had to simply deal with it, like she had for years, that he wouldn't be around for a few weeks. She'd talk to him on the phone—maybe, if he wasn't with some bimbo on a beach—but it wasn't the same as seeing his smile.
Speaking of her handsome prince, she heard a knock on her door frame. "Hey, peaches."
"Hey." Penelope turned in her chair and painted on a brighter smile than she was feeling. "What's up, buttercup? Come to say goodbye?"
She braced her hands on her armrests, ready to stand up so she could hug him, but he motioned for her to remain seated.
"Not yet," he answered.
Relaxing in her chair, she crossed her legs and frowned slightly to contemplate the situation. "Is your plane delayed? I thought you'd be eager to go see your mom?" She winked. "Don't forget to tell her she made a beautiful baby for me."
Shaking his head, he chuckled softly and stepped towards her. The man had the best walk, a graceful, animal swagger that commanded attention. She'd always loved the way he moved, like a cat on the prowl.
"I'm not going to see Momma this time."
That surprised her. "You're not?"
A slow smile spread across his lips and a twinkle lit his eyes. "Nope."
Understanding dawned on her and she tapped her lip with her index finger. "Ahhhh. You're hitting the beach instead, aren't you?"
"Hell, yes," he replied, sitting on the corner of her desk. "Nothing like summer fun, sweat, and sand."
"Sounds like fun," she answered.
She was smiling back at him, even while her stomach knotted with jealousy. She couldn't help it; even when she had been seriously dating Kevin, it had killed her to know Derek was frolicking with some lucky woman on the beach.
She was a best friend, not a saint!
That made her wonder, and she had to ask, even though she'd be better off not putting a face of the trollops in the daydreams she had. "Who are you bringing with? Someone I know?"
"Oh, you know her well," he said.
She frowned again in contemplative curiosity. "Who?"
Derek continued to give her a teasing grin as he leaned forward. "Should I give you a hint?"
Penelope watched him, and her pulse accelerated. Mercy, he smelled good, woodsy with a hint of salty spice and the lightest mint on his sweet breath. It was so unfair to the female race, how attractive he was. There was nothing unappealing about him, abso-freaking-lutely nothing. He should have something like spinach between his teeth all the time.
Good gravy, she needed to get her libido in check! There were times to flirt with Derek, and one of those times was not when he was leaving for three weeks...
Even trying to shake herself out of her trance, she was so dazed, she could only nod her response and mutter, "Mmrmpf."
He must've taken that as a yes, because he said, "She's very pretty."
She hoped she didn't pull the "Well, duh!" face. A pretty girl...that was a given. Everyone Derek had ever dated was a stunner with big boobs, big hair, and big puffy lips a la Angelina Jolie.
She must've been successful in keeping her reaction to a minimum, because Derek continued, "She has long blonde hair, big brown eyes, a gorgeous smile."
"And," he announced happily, "she has all the right curves that will look fantastic in a swimsuit next to me-" he paused for dramatic flair "-in Miami."
"Wow." Penelope's eyes widened even as her heart seized in her chest. "I mean...Wow. Miami."
Derek had never taken a girl farther than Virginia Beach on a vacation before. This girl really meant something to him. She wanted him to be happy, but she wasn't ready...she couldn't be ready...
Desperately, she tried to keep her smile on her face, but she knew she was failing miserably. She was a good actress, but this...
Quickly, she turned back to her computer and began typing. "She must be kinda special, huh?"
His large brown hand appeared above her keyboard, holding a large piece of paper.
Carefully, she looked at the paper he put on her keyboard. It was an airplane voucher with the name Ms. Penelope Garcia printed at the top.
She looked up at him immediately, her mouth a round O of surprise.
He was beaming at her. "Pack your bags, sweetness. We leave tomorrow morning."
She opened and closed her mouth, like a fish out of water. She tried to speak, but no words would come out. She was truly speechless.
Chuckling, he knelt down on the the floor by her. "Breathe, Garcia."
"Der... Derek," she sputtered. "I can't...I can't just up and go to Miami."
"Why not?" he asked, and the smiled softly at her. "Sweetheart, I've wanted to go on vacation with you for years, my best friend in the world, but I couldn't because it wouldn't fly with your boyfriend."
That was probably true...although Kevin had expected just about anything from herself and Derek.
"I also knew this is your first vacation time without Lynch," he added. "I figured you'd be a little sad about it. Instead, I thought you should live it up...so I planned this."
Tears sprung to her eyes. He was so wonderful...and insane. "Oh, wow..."
"Baby Girl, come on," he cajolled. "Get your groove on. Salsa dance. Soak up the sun and enjoy the heat."
"Don't you want to go?" he asked, those warm brown eyes coaxing her.
"Y-yes," she admitted, and then argued, "but—it's so expensive, and I didn't plan anything, and-"
He put a long finger over her lips. "Let me worry about that," he interjected. "You just pack your clothes..." He drew that out and then shook his head like he'd thought better of it. "Hell, woman, we can buy you new stuff in South Beach. Just come with me." His look was filled with excitement and a little bit of pleading. "Just this once."
She couldn't turn that look down. "Okay, I'll go."
He beamed at her, took her face in his hands and kissed her soundly on the lips. "That's my girl."
Whoa...he was full of surprises tonight!
He stood quickly and started towards the door. "Now I gotta finish packing and get Mrs. Norman to watch Clooney."
"Miami..." she grumbled, shaking her head. "I don't even have own a swimsuit."
"That's okay." He shot her a grin over his shoulder. "We can find one where you don't need it..."
She laughed as he left, thinking about what was happening. This was like a strange fairy tale. Before he'd arrived, she'd been set to be down and out, now she was vacationing in paradise with her best friend.
She closed her eyes and leaned back in her seat, thinking of the surf, the sand, the waves, Cuban food, the smell of coconut suntan lotions...It was going to be heavenly.
And—ironically-for once, she would be the bimbo he was with on the beach...and she was looking completely forward to it!
AN2: Okay, guys...This is a treat for me and for you. I am writing as I go along. What would YOU like to see P and D do on vacation?