Running To You Chapter 5

“Bet? What bet?”

“Everyone else was far less optimistic in their estimate but not me! No sir, I knew it, I knew it! It was only a matter of time…”

“Wait…a bet? Who else was in on this bet?”

“Um let’s see…Dr. Reid, Dave…”

“Figures!”

“Ah…Hotch and…”

“Not Hotch?”

She nodded as she perused her memory.

“JJ, Emily, Blake…”

“Blake? She’s not even with the bureau anymore.”

“Oh and Fran! Such a sweet mother you have there.”

“Oh hell no, my mother was in on this, this…bet too?”

“Yup! Won’t she be surprised! I tell you I thought she would be my closest competition but boy was she off!”

Derek couldn’t believe his ears. His friends and family had taken bets on him and Penelope! How did they know, how could they? He didn’t even know. He carefully set his cup on the table and began pacing back and forth across the room much to Esperia’s amusement.

“So now that you’ve admitted how you feel and traveled clear across the country, what are you going to do now?”

Home of Dr. Spencer Reid – Evening –

Reid had called for backup and now JJ had joined the two in the small cluttered apartment. Neither of them were having any luck with calming their friend down.

“What am I going to do now? Derek’s in California and I’m here and…”

“Well the first thing we need to do is call Derek and get him back home!” JJ offered.

“He’s going to be so pissed at me!”

“Why?” Reid asked.

“Because he’s in California and I’m here!”

“Call him!”

“No…no way…”

JJ was at her wits end as she stood and pulled her phone from her bag.

“Then I’ll do it but you owe me, Garcie”

JJ excused herself from her two friends and stepped out onto the apartment’s balcony. She dialed Morgan’s number and waited for him to answer.

“Hey, JJ.”

“Glad to see you arrived safely.”

“She’s not here!”

“Yeah, that’s why I’m calling…”

What, did something happen to her?”

 “Settle…she’s fine.”

“Where is she?”

“She’s here in Quantico.”

“What? Reid told me she was going to California. He gave her a ride to the airport and everything.”

“Yeah well she decided to stay. In fact, the three of us are sitting in Reid’s apartment as we speak.”

“Damn, JJ…well is she still upset with me?”

“No. Yes. I don’t know…Look you too are more trouble than my kids! Just get your ass back here and settle this with her before she decides to join a nunnery!”

“Yeah, okay…but don’t let her leave town again! I’m headed home.”

JJ glanced through the glass door at Penelope and Spencer. She wondered how on earth the smartest people she knew could be so dumb when it came to love. She had to do something but first things first. Her immediate mission was getting Derek and Penelope together then she’d work on her clueless genius friend.

San Francisco Airport – Morning –

Derek was anxious to get home he was determined to make things right with Penelope. He’d let too much time past and on several occasions nearly lost her to someone else. His days of being a cowardly lion were over. Penelope was the love of his life and as soon as he got back to Quantico he was going to make her his forever.

As he found a seat in the busy waiting area he was happy with a decision he’d made to insure that he would not get stuck sitting next to a talkative crotchety old geezer. So, like the new man of decision he was becoming…he bought both seats.

Quantico, VA –

Penelope had made a decision of her own. She’d had a night of sleepless tossing and turning and she’d made up her mind that she was going to do whatever necessary to preserve what she had with Derek. He’d been her best friend for almost twelve years and they’d seen each other through thick and thin. He was her world and he treated her like she was the most precious thing in the world. She loved him for it. There was no one who compared to Derek Morgan.

“Derek, you are the most amazing man in the world. You’re kind, generous, loyal and the best friend a girl could ever have.” She began.

She tried to remain calm as she paced back and forth across the floor of her lair ringing her hands and sweating profusely.

“You’re happiness means the world to me and I wouldn’t dream of doing anything that would hurt you…”

Then with innocent eyes, Penelope stopped and looked across at JJ who was sitting perched on the edge of Penelope’s desk.

“How am I doing so far?”

“Sounds good Garcie…but if you keep talking you both will be ready for the Shady Palms Retirement Home before you finish.”

“Don’t steal my thunder, Blondie I’m bringing it home.”

“Whew.”

JJ threw up her arms in surrender and waited for her friend to continued rehearsing her speech. Penelope took a deep breath and ran the back of her hand across her brow.

“First I want to apologize for my ridiculous drunken behavior the other night. It was totally unladylike and I’m sorry. In fact, I don’t remember much of what happened. Somebody said, that I said that I loved you…that I was in love with you…”

“Penelope.”

“Of course I’m not in love with you…I love you of course…

“Uh…Penelope what are you doing? This isn’t what…”

Penelope threw up her hand to silence her.

“I know what I’m doing, Jayje…it’s for the best.”

“But you love Derek and you are in love with Derek.”

“Yeah but come on JJ, have you seen the women he dates?”

“Are you kidding? Do you not see how that man looks at you?”

“JJ I am freaking here! I can’t love Derek! It would never work?”

“What if it does?”

Penelope picked up her pace around the office as JJ watched hopelessly on the sidelines.

Morgan was nervous, more nervous than he had ever been. He knew his Baby Girl and he knew that he had to plead his case quickly before she insisted on taking over the conversation with a million reasons why he couldn’t or wouldn’t be happy with her. He wasn’t going to let her off the hook. She loved him, she’d said as much and so what if she’d been drunk it didn’t matter. He could no longer deny that there was something between them, something behind the years of flirting and teasing…something behind his increased heart rate every time he was in her presence. The only thing that would make him go away and stop pursuing her would be if she said that she did not love him after all.

Morgan could hear voices coming from Garcia’s office. He slowed down because it seemed a little heated. He wasn’t sure he should interrupt. But with a big breath in and out he forged ahead.

“JJ I’m freaking here! I can’t love Derek! It would never work. I don’t love you…”

“Penelope!”

“I don’t love, I don’t love, I don’t…”

“Pen…”

“Derek Morgan, I don’t love you!”

“Penelope…STOP!”

Penelope looked up and into JJ’s eyes. She looked horrified. JJ was looking past Penelope toward the doorway. Like slow motion JJ’s hand floated up to her mouth. Curiously, Penelope followed her friend’s glance turning ever so slowly toward the door.

“Oh my God.” JJ whispered.

“Derek?” Penelope gasped.

And then he was gone.

 

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