Running To You Chapter 7
Home of Tamara Barnes – Evening
“Where is he?”
Without saying a word, Tamara nodded toward the couch. Penelope looked across the room at Derek’s sleeping body then back at Tamara.
“Go on. You two really need to work things out. I’ll be upstairs, take your time.”
Penelope remained at her spot near the door until Tamara was out of sight. She wasn’t sure what she was going to say or if he’d even listen to her but she had to at least make an attempt.
Taking a seat on the table in front of him, Penelope placed a shaky hand on his arm.
He moved slightly but didn’t wake up.
“Derek!” She repeated.
Derek began to stir under her prodding. She gently shook him again hoping he’d open his eyes.
“Derek, it’s Penelope wake up, please.”
Derek’s eyes slowly opened and he turned to face her.
“Penelope? What…how did you?”
Then he sat up and began looking around the room rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and squinting to make sure he wasn’t having some sort of nightmare.
“Tamara called me. Please don’t be mad she was just trying to help.”
“Well, she didn’t.”
He tried to stand but quickly fell back against the couch.
“Take it easy. I’m so sorry…”
“Please, don’t. You don’t have to explain. I get it.”
“No you don’t. You don’t get it at all.”
“What, that you don’t love me? Oh trust me, I get it! I heard you, I heard everything.”
“No, Penelope just leave okay?”
Penelope wanted to do just that but her aunt’s words and the look on his face earlier held her in place.
“No. I’m not going any where?”
“Why not? Isn’t that what you’re good at, running? I chased you all the way to California and back just to find out I was wasting my time! Please Garcia, just do us both a favor and leave. Besides, I’m tired and I’ve had a little too much to drink.”
“I don’t want to say something that will hurt you, Penelope. I still care and…”
He looked at her through foggy eyes and again tried to stand. This time he was successful. She watched him move on shaky legs passed her searching the room for his shoes and jacket.
“What are you doing? We need to talk.”
“I’m leaving. You know what that looks like, right?”
“That’s not fair, Derek Morgan!”
“Fair? What’s fair got to do with it?”
Finding his shoes and jacket he picked up his belongings and headed toward the door. Penelope watched him tearfully not knowing what else to do.
“Derek, I’m begging you not to leave. Talk to me, please.”
Derek slowly but purposefully walked back toward the couch. As he sat down she felt confident that he’d at least listen to what she had to say. His eyes stared into hers. They were cold and dark and unfamiliar. Without saying a word he slid his feet into his boots. Then still staring coldly at her he stood again and put on his jacket. Her heart sank and tears began to stream down her face. Then he headed toward the front door.
“Derek, don’t do this. If you really love me, then you’ll stay and talk this out.”
Derek shook his head and placed his hand on the knob. He wanted to stay, deep in his heart he wanted to stay but his stubborn pride was in charge now. It was his Kevlar vest. Her firm declaration earlier had planted itself firmly and deeply in his mind. Now he knew why he’d resisted relationships and love for so long. He didn’t…no he wouldn’t be foolish enough to let it happen again, ever. So without looking back and ignoring the pain in his heart he turned the knob, opened the door and left.
He hadn’t slammed the door but the sound of it closing made her cringe. Penelope suddenly felt lost and unsure of what to do. After all, this was her fault; in one fell swoop she’d ruined everything, their friendship, and any chance of having a real future with him.
Tamara had heard the conversation and she’d heard the door close. It hadn’t gone well and she wasn’t sure if she would be able to help. She owed him her life and she wanted to help him like he had helped her. Tamara’s heart broke at the sight of Penelope crying hysterically.
“Penelope, I’m so sorry. I thought I was helping.”
“No, no thank you for calling.”
Tamara sat on the couch across from Penelope who was still seated on the table. Taking her hands she waited for Penelope to calm down.
“Penelope, Derek loves you. I know that better than anyone else.”
“Tamara, I’m sorry…”
“No, don’t be. Derek is an amazing man. Any woman that he loves will be a pretty lucky lady.”
“I had to go and break his heart.”
“Give him time. He’s hurt. Just give him time.”
“I better go.”
Penelope stood and rushed to the door. Tamara followed her and watched her step into the night air.
“Don’t give up on him, Penelope. If you love him, don’t give up on him.”
Without responding, Penelope nodded and headed toward her car.
Corner of Burlington and Main – 1 hour later –
“Thanks for picking me up, Pretty Boy.”
“That’s what friends are for, right?”
Reid waited patiently as Derek buckled his seat belt and closed the door. Morgan had called him thirty minutes ago and Reid knew immediately that he had been drinking.
“You mind me asking what you’re doing way out here?”
“We’ve got plenty of time. It’s forty-seven minutes to your house that is if we don’t hit traffic and the fact that it’s twelve fifty-seven in the morning it’s highly unlikely that we’ll hit traffic. In fact the odds are…”
“I get it Reid, I get it.”
“I met Tamara for a drink and…well, one thing led to another and we ended up at her place.”
Reid pulled the car over and stopped nearly throwing both of them through the windshield.
“WHAT? Are you trying to lose Penelope forever? If she finds out that you…”
“Morgan, I thought you were in love with Garcia? Now you’re hooking up with Tamara Barnes? Are you crazy? You know what, you don’t deserve Garcia! She’s too good…”
“Nothing happened between me and Tamara. She doesn’t love me.”
“No Reid. Penelope. She doesn’t love me.”
“Of course she loves you.”
“No she doesn’t.”
“But she told me she loves you. She’s in love with you!”
“Well I heard her telling JJ that she didn’t love me.”
Morgan leaned his head against the headrest his stomach was beginning to turn and he was starting to regret his decisions of earlier that evening.
“But…it doesn’t make sense, Morgan.”
“You’re right. It doesn’t make sense why I could ever think that someone like Penelope Garcia would want somebody like me.”
Reid glanced at his broken hearted friend before speaking again.
“No it doesn’t make sense…”
Morgan shot a look at his younger friend.
“But love doesn’t make sense. You told me that yourself.”
“I was wrong. So, forget everything I’ve ever told you, Reid because at this point I don’t understand women at all.”
“No Reid, just take me home, please.”
Without another word, Reid pulled back into traffic. The next forty-three minutes were spent in silence as Morgan fell fast asleep.
BAU Headquarters – Next Morning –
Esperia insisted on riding in with Penelope. The older wiser woman had no intentions on sitting in the small apartment out of earshot and eyesight of the happenings of her niece’s life; especially today. All hell had broken loose between Penelope and her gorgeous Prince Charming and she wasn’t about to let this fairytale go down in flames. So here she was stepping off the elevator onto the sixth floor with a brokenhearted and uncharacteristically silent Penelope Marie Garcia.
“Uh, no…you don’t get to call me, Tia until you fix this mess between you and Derek!”
“I don’t know how to fix it T…I mean, Auntie! He’s done with me so there’s nothing to fix!”
Penelope picked up her pace as she climbed the steps toward her lair.
“Ah but that’s where you’re wrong, Little Girl! The problem is that the two of you are too stubborn and too afraid for your own good! Stubbornness and fear are a recipe for living your life alone, angry and perpetually horny!”
“Aunt Esperia! Really?”
“I’m just saying. That Chocolate Adonis is not going to be single long. Come to think of it, if you don’t want him I’ll take him for myself.”
Penelope stopped and turned to face her much older aunt looking at her in disbelief. Without saying another word, Penelope then headed toward her office to figure out how to get through her day without Derek. Esperia remained in the hallway as Penelope stepped inside. Puzzled, she turned surprised that her Aunt’s feet were still planted firmly.
“What? You change your mind?”
“No I have business to take care of. I’m going to see a sexy Italian about my money!”
And with that, Esperia Garcia was off down the hallway headed toward the office of David Rossi.
Morgan had decided to take the back stairs to avoid running into anyone from his team, especially Garcia. He wasn’t in any shape for a confrontation this morning. His head was spinning and the massive headache was making it hard to see without squinting. So, climbing the stairs gingerly he made it to his office undetected.
Dave had been expecting this visit and so without making the older woman wait he answered the door after the first knock. There she stood, all five feet, three inches and ninety-five pounds of her. Her bright flaming hair and ruby red lips reminded him of an older version of a very good friend. Dave found humor in her toothy grin as he stepped aside to let her in.
“Esperia Garcia, I presume.”
He loved her cheery disposition but with his years as a profiler, Dave knew that a smile wasn’t always just a smile and something told him that Esperia Garcia had become quite good at using that very same smile as a weapon to get whatever she wanted. One thing for sure, he liked her, he liked her a lot and with that he closed the door behind her and waited to hear what she had to say.
“How can I help you, Esperia?”
“Well, I came to see a man about a bet!”
Meeting her smile with one of his own, Dave reached for his wallet.
Derek cringed at the knocking on his door. He was sure it wasn’t really as loud as it seemed but in that moment he cursed himself for that last shot of tequila.
“Come in.” He moaned.
JJ poked her head in first then stepped inside.
“Ooh, you look terrible!”
“Thanks, JJ. Please don’t tell me we have a case.”
“No case. I was just wondering if I could borrow your muscles for a minute.”
Gingerly he pulled his body to a standing position and waited a second for his stomach to stop sloshing around and for the room to stop spinning.
“Hmmm, maybe I should get Rossi. You look like you’re about to pass out.”
“No, I’m good. What’s up?”
“There’s a box that I need from the storage room down the hall…”
“Say no more, I got you.”
“Great, thanks Morgan.”
“Honestly, Reid can’t this wait until later? I’ve got a million things to do! Team B just sent me some searches and I haven’t run diagnostics in a week!”
“This will only take a minute, I promise. You know I don’t know a hard drive from a hammer. Anderson said we had extra supplies in the storage closet down the hall.”
“All you had to do was ask and I would have just installed…”
“I want to do it…just chalk it up to broadening my horizons.”
“I’m not sure that big brain of yours can hold any more, genius!”
Morgan rummaged around the small dark space for the box JJ insisted was there. The further into the room he went, the darker it became. The last time he’d been in this room was when Garcia had fixed up an office for him. He didn’t want to think about that now…he didn’t want to think about her.
JJ managed to slip out of the room without Morgan knowing and hid around the corner. Just as she was out of sight, Garcia and Reid appeared ready to step inside in a hunt for a hard drive that later Pen would discover he didn’t need after all.
Ever the gentleman, Reid paused allowing his friend to step into the room first. He watched as she squinted against the darkness assuming that he’d flip the light switch on behind her.
“JJ, hit the lights, I can’t see a damn thing.”
Penelope froze in her tracks. Her fight-or-flight instincts told her to turn and run but as she turned toward the door it slammed shut. The last thing she saw before the room went totally black was the guilty smile of one Spencer David Reid.
Derek froze just as he had located JJ’s box. Was that Penelope? No, this had to be some cruel trick of fate! He was trapped stuck in the furthest corner of the small room, the only way out was past the last person he wanted to see to day.
“What are you doing here? They both said in unison.