Running to You Chapter 4
“Garcia, what are you doing here?” Reid asked again.
“I couldn’t do it! I couldn’t leave!” Penelope pushed past Reid into the apartment as he stood there, mouth opened and in shock. “Call me crazy but…”
“Derek’s my best friend…”she continued. “I’m not sure I’m ready to walk away from my best friend!”
“I’m humiliated, embarrassed and I probably won’t be able to make eye contact with him for at least a year but…”
“I’ll blame it on the alcohol…yeah, the alcohol!”
She paced the apartment pulling books from his crammed shelves examining them as she talked then putting them back. She hadn’t heard a word he’d tried to get in edgewise.
“OMG Reid, Derek must think I’m some sort of lovesick…scatter-brained…geek!”
“No, I’m sure he doesn’t…”
“I know someone like him could never love me…what was I thinking, really?”
“He loves you.” Reid spoke calmly watching as she explored his apartment.
“I mean, I do okay but I’m not the girl that men cross a crowded room for…”
“No, no it’s okay. I’m gorgeous, I’m smart…I know but I’m not what men…vain men and we know my Hot Stuff, he’s the vainest of the vain…”
She stopped dead in her tracks shooting a shocked look toward her distraught friend across the room.
It didn’t matter that he had on his earphones or that his eyes were closed and his seat was reclined, Morgan’s grumpy travel companion with the window seat insisted on talking…and talking and talking. In the hour that they had been in the air, Derek had learned more than he cared to about Homer Q. Fogarty, III. His son was the first boy in a long line of Fogartys who had not joined the family business and he was none to pleased about it.
“He wants to be an actor! What kind of nonsense is that? I’ve worked hard in the business that my father’s father started almost a hundred years ago. Was it easy? Hell nah but we made it work!”
Morgan cringed closing his eyes tighter hoping that the old guy would get the message. He didn’t.
“I worked my ass off to give that ungrateful boy a good life! Ain’t never wanted for a damn thing, no not one damn thing!”
“Look I really just want to…”
“Me and his mother sent him to that fancy college upstate and he came back with these grand ideas of being the next Diesel Washington…”
“I think it’s Denzel…”
“Diesel, Denzel…what the hell!”
Morgan shifted in his seat and checked his watch. There was still two more hours left in his flight and he wondered if his sanity would last. He motioned for the flight attendant and when she came by with a smile he ordered a drink.
Home of Spencer Reid –
“Gone? What do you mean, he’s gone?”
“He…he went looking…for you…”
“What? But you promised not to tell! I thought I could trust you, Spencer!”
“Come on, you know I’m the worst at keeping secrets! Besides, Morgan is really scary when he’s mad…he’s freakishly strong and he threatened me!”
“Damn it! Now what am I going to do?”
“Garcia…I really don’t want to be in the middle of you and Morgan’s thing! Honestly, I don’t understand why you guys aren’t together! You’re obviously perfect for each other, you flirt like no other couple I know and even your boyfriends know that there’s something between you two!”
“We’re friends! Why can’t anyone understand that?”
“Friends? Right friends.”
“Don’t go there. Besides, I am so not Morgan’s type.”
“What’s his type, exactly?”
“I see the way he looks at you and I think you’re wrong.”
“Then why hasn’t he ever…?”
“Why hasn’t he ever asked me out?”
“I don’t know but the two of you really need to settle this because right now he’s on a plane headed toward California looking for you!”
Reid smiled innocently and shook his head, yes.
“Why would he do that?” She said out loud to herself.
“Because he loves you.” Reid responded calmly.
San Francisco, California –
Derek whispered a quick thank you heavenward as the wheels touched the ground. McGrumpy seemed to have gotten a renewed head of steam as the pilot announced the safe landing in San Francisco. Derek unbuckled his seat belt and forgetting all decorum and manners, and nearly running into an elderly woman two rows ahead he bolted toward the front of the plane. He feared for his travelling companions life if he stayed seated any longer. The flight attendant who had served him smiled apologetically as he passed by and headed toward the rental car desk.
Penelope had an aunt in the city and if she were to run anywhere it would be there. Even though the two hadn’t seen each other in years they’d managed to keep in touch over emails and phone calls. After Garcia’s parents were killed she’d found refuge there before completely submerging herself into the cyber underworld.
Home of Esperia Garcia –
The house looked exactly how his Baby Girl had described it. The quaint home perched atop a long flight of cracked cement steps was nearly hidden in dying overgrown ivy and dark green foliage. The creaky wire fence at the bottom of the hill surely announced his arrival but he proceeded anyway determined to find Penelope and explain himself.
Just as he reached the door, it sprung open and there stood a petite neon-red haired woman. This had to be Penelope’s aunt it all made sense now.
“I’m not buying a damn thing and I ain’t interested in meeting the Lord either!” She bellowed.
“No Ma’am, I’m not selling anything and me and the Lord have been estranged for years now.”
She surveyed the handsome stranger from head to toe and with a little less hostility she asked him to state his business.
“I’m a friend of your niece, Penelope…Ma’am.”
“Really? Well, if you’re really a friend of my niece than you’d know that she doesn’t live here.”
“No Ma’am, I know exactly where she lives it’s just that…well we had sort of a falling…well, she misunderstood and then she…left and I need to tell her…Ma’am can…”
“Wait, you must be Derek!” She smiled and nodded.
“Uh, yes, yes Ma’am…”
“Esperia, please call me Esperia!” Opening the door and stepping aside, “Please Sweetie, come on in, come on in.”
Derek stepped across the threshold past the woman and landed into an older slightly worn version of Penelope’s apartment. Pictures of days past and figurines and nick nacks littered the crowded room.
“Please sit. I’ll fix us some tea.”
He wasn’t a tea drinker but something told him to refuse would be a bad thing. He was already in enough trouble. His eyes wandered the room and he could imagine Penelope there, spending hours talking to her aunt about whatever came to her mind. It was good to know that there was someone around for Penelope during the darkest point in her life.
“Here you go.”
Esperia handed Derek the delicate china cup then took a seat across from him with her own matching china cup. Derek hoped the sight of the steam wafting toward the ceiling would help calm his nerves.
“So, what brings you all the way across the country.”
“I need to find your niece, Ma’am…I’m sorry…Esperia.”
“What do you mean? Did something happen to my niece?”
“No, no nothing like that we sort of had a misunderstanding and she left. I have to find her…and tell her…”
“You finally realized that you’re in love with my niece. Now we’re talking!”
“Wait! What? How?”
“AND I won the bet too!”