Author: Ren Kayashima
Disclaimer: Alas my top secret mission to steal the rights to Criminal Minds failed. At the last minute my repel line broke and I was arrested for trespassing on ABC ground. If you would like to help me with bail money…
Spencer Reid had woken up on the wrong side of the bed. At least that's what Garcia would say if she saw him in his current state. So far, his tie had gotten caught in the subway door, he spilled his coffee when he tripped on the stairs, and he had a head splitting migraine at only eight-thirty in the morning.
Close to his subway exit was a coffee shop that the young genius had passed by many times before. Never had he visited the establishment, but today he was in desperate need of caffeine to calm his rattled nerves. Coffee seemed to not only wake Spencer up, but it also seemed to be the only thing that kept him alive.
Spencer quickly dodged a mother and her gaggle of triplets and two older children. As he ducked into the coffee shop, the smells of gasoline and hot asphalt were replaced with the smells of coffee beans and artisan breads. Already being in this atmosphere had released some of the tension in Reid's tight stressed muscles.
Espresso Shot! had a relatively simple menu when it came to food. A few breakfast sandwiches, some cupcakes, and a few breads. However, the specialty drinks menu was a mile long. Spencer walked over to the barista. "Can I get the largest coffee you have?" he asked.
"Italian roast, African Roast, or our Costa Rica blend?" the cute blond asked.
"Uh… Italian," Spencer said as he pulled out his wallet. As he searched for a five, the barista continued the ordering process. "Decaf or regular?"
"Regular," he answered as he held out the five.
The blond looked at it and smiled up at him. She wasn't quite finished. "Room for cream?"
Spencer just looked at her before blinking. "Yes," he said.
"Three dollars please."
When Spencer sat down in one of the shops small two seater tables, he looked at the twenty ounces of life support and thought about the entire ordeal that went into getting it. When did ordering coffee become so complicated? He winced when his migraine decided to kick it up a notch.
Meanwhile, in the condo above Espresso Shot! Gwen Thompson was getting ready for another day of hard work. She was pulling her long curly brown hair into a loose pony tail as she looked at herself in a hanging mirror. She headed for the front door when she deemed what little make-up she had on was appropriate.
"Lizzie, Greg, get your butts out the door!" Gwen yelled. "School starts in a half hour!"
A teenage girl with the same curly brown hair and brown eyes come out of a long hallway. "Why is tall dark and handsome asleep in your room, and who is he?" she asked as she texted on her iPhone. She was in a jean skirt and a light pink tank top. A pink plaid backpack hung off of one shoulder. Pink All-Stars completed the look.
"He's a friend and he needed a place to crash last night," Gwen answered quickly.
"Uh-huh?" a teenage boy shrugged as he walked over. "And I suppose you slept on the couch," he said glancing up from his iPad. His eyes were a light blue, and he had shaggy sandy blond hair.
Gwen smiled. "There's the pillow and blanket," she said pointing to the long tan couch in the open living room. Sure enough a small bed had been set up.
"Aunt Gwen, you're not fooling anyone," the girl said.
"Sure I am Lizzie. Gram and Granddad never caught onto my tomfoolery as a rebellious teen. I highly doubt they can do it now that I'm an adult," Gwen laughed. "Do you have money for lunch?"
"Yes," the teens chorused.
"All right. I expect to see you in this condo or in the coffee shop at four. If you're not here, I'll take away phone and iPad privileges for three weeks."
"Does this mean you're chasing another story or a cheating husband?" the boy asked. "And can I help?" he asked hopefully.
"Neither Greg, and you can't help this time. I'm looking into a possible beauty pageant scandal," Gwen answered. "I've been hired to find out if something hinky is going on."
"Big bucks?" Lizzie asked. "If so, I need a new computer."
Gwen rolled her eyes. "No you don't. You got a new laptop a year ago and a brand new iPhone three weeks ago. You don't need a new computer. You want one."
"But, Dell has a computer that can be converted into a tablet. I need it!" Lizzie whined.
"No, you only think you do." Gwen sighed. How her sister managed to be a 911 operator and deal with these two devil children was beyond her, but the twenty-eight year old had become the guardian to her niece and nephew when Elise died a year ago.
Gwen followed the teenagers down a dimly lit staircase. They entered the back of the coffee shop, and Gwen turned and locked the door. She quickly moved past the dawdling teens and pushed open the swinging door while her charges walked out, their face glue to their electronic leashes. "If you skip class, the principal has my personal number," she told them as they made their way out of the shop.
She smiled as she skipped over to the barista. "Jenny, do you have my coffee?" she asked sweetly as she batted her eyelashes. Her chocolate orbs held a playful look.
Jenny held out a coffee cup. "One cinnamon dolce latte," she grinned. "So, Damien visited last night?" she asked with a twinkle in her eye.
"He's currently passed out in my bed in a drunken stupor," Gwen said as she eyed one of the customers. "He showed up at the coffee shop looking for a bootie call."
"Ahh, but the great Gwenevere doesn't do bootie calls anymore," Jenny said.
"I never did a bootie call," Gwen corrected as she took a sip from her drink. "There was only one Friend with Benefits, and he's currently overseas in London starting an art gallery."
"You so need to get some," Jenny laughed.
"Who's the guy in the large hangover sunglasses?" Gwen asked changing the subject. Her sex life or lack thereof, was not up for discussion in a public domain.
"Don't know," Jenny said. "He came in and ordered a large cup of black coffee, took a seat, and has been there for ten minutes nursing twenty ounces of Italian roast."
Gwen raised a thin eyebrow when the man in front of her winced once again. "Must be some headache," she muttered. "I'll be back."
Spencer was looking out the window when he saw a woman take a seat across from him. As he turned to look at her as she slapped a bottle of Advil down on the table surface. She looked at him with expectant eyes as she pushed it forward with one finger.
"You probably shouldn't go to work if you're hung over," the woman said.
"I'm not hung over," Reid protested as he looked her over. She was in a white tank top, black shorts, and a pair of black flip flops.
"You could have fooled me with the whole wincing and sunglasses as big as your face. Really, they only belong on hipsters and snooty Hollywood socialites," the woman snorted.
Spencer realized that he had just seen her see off two teenagers. She looked a little young to be a mom of two kids in high school. Spencer looked at the bottle of Advil. "I don't need the Advil," he told her. He still wasn't taking pain killers. No matter how much his head hurt him.
The woman studied him carefully before pulling the bottle back to her side of the table. "Okay," she said slowly. She held out a thin hand. "I'm Gwen."
Spencer waved awkwardly leaving the woman hanging. Gwen pulled her hand back and shrugged it off. "Dr. Spencer Reid."
"Doctor? Fancy, but I would have guessed teacher's aide before doctor."
"I have three Ph. D.'s" Reid stated awkwardly. He wasn't going to continue letting her assume that he was a medical doctor.
Gwen smirked and held her hands up. "Of course!" she said causing him to wince from the pitch. "That explains it," she lowered her voice.
A tall man came out from the back and walked over to Gwen. He had long black hair and blue eyes. "Hey," he smiled. He leaned down and tried to kiss her on the cheek. Gwen put a hand on his mouth and he backed up. "Thanks for last night."
"No, thank you," Gwen said. "I especially enjoyed cleaning your vomit out of my kitchen sink."
The man frowned as Gwen made shooing gestures. Reid watched the man stumble out of the coffee shop. "Boyfriend?" he asked. He'd seen Morgan smile like that once or twice when the team had gone out to a bar.
"Friend," Gwen popped as she leaned forward in her seat. "Who is moving to California today… Thank god."
Reid shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "Do those teenagers from earlier live with you?"
Jenny came over with Gwen's latte. "You left this behind the counter. Now drink it up before it gets cold. I don't want to make you another one."
"Thanks Jen," Gwen grinned as she took the cup in both hands. She took a long drink from the hot beverage and let out a content sigh. "Plasma," she breathed.
"What?" Reid asked. This woman was confusing him even more.
"Coffee is my life support. Like added plasma to the blood. One of life's necessities," Gwen explained. "The kids are my sisters, and yes they live with me."
Reid wondered what circumstances were at play to put two adolescents in the care of this woman. She didn't seem all that responsible. Perhaps the teen's mother was worse. He blinked the thoughts away and grabbed his coffee.
Gwen tilted her head to the side and studied Reid. She looked at his nails. A nervous habit had reduced them to nubs, and the bounce in his leg told her that she made him very uncomfortable. Gwen stood up and placed the ibuprofen in front of him once more. She leaned over so that her devilish grin tickled his ear. "Just in case that pain in your head becomes too much," she whispered. As she straightened up, she patted him on the shoulder. "It was great chatting with you Dr. Reid, but I've got to take some incriminating photos of a cheater cheater pumpkin eater."
Reid watched as Gwen disappeared into the back of the shop. His phone began to ring, and the young doctor snapped out of his slight daze. "H-hello?" he answered quickly.
"Hey pretty boy, think you can come into the office a little early?" Morgan asked with a slight laugh. Reid could hear Garcia and Seaver laughing in the background. "Looks like we have a case."
"Yeah," Spencer said jumping up. He almost knocked his coffee over, earning several looks from the rest of the shops patrons. He grabbed his leather messenger bag and headed for the door. He took a sip of coffee as he hung up on Morgan mid-sentence. The faster he could get out of this shop, the less likely it would be that she would show up again.
"Hold the door!" Gwen shouted as she came around the counter.
'So close,' Reid mentally groaned. He held the door open for the strange woman.
On her way out, Gwen patted him on the cheek. "Good boy," she cooed.
She held an expensive digital camera. One usually used by professional photographers, but Reid suspected that she wasn't one of them. She walked over to a black and red mini cooper and gracefully slid behind the wheel. She waved to Reid as he stood there staring at her before pulling out into traffic.
Reid entered the BAU conference room and quickly took his seat next to Garcia who was currently playing a game of spider solitaire on her iPad. "What's going on?" he asked. Hotch was nowhere to be seen, and he wondered if he was the object of some prank once again.
"We're waiting for Hotch," Garcia smiled. She looked at the branded paper coffee cup that Reid held tightly. "New coffee place?"
Reid looked at the coffee cup and he blushed at the thought of Gwen patting him on the cheek and how she whispered in his ear.
Rossi smirked. "What's with the red cheeks?" he questioned the young genius.
"Don't tell me boy genius met a girl," Morgan teased.
"No, I-I just got coffee," Reid defended. Why was he always the subject of the team's playful banter? Hadn't he had enough today?
Hotch came in and the playful air dissolved when it came into contact with the team leaders serious and imposing aura. "We're staying local. Police in DC have a serial killer."
Author's Note: New story which means a lot of things… First of all the first chapter is crucial in determining the interest in this fic. So it's up to you guys to leave an honest review. I want to know what you think about the character of Gwen. I need to know if I should adjust some things in the planning stages to avoid the land of Mary-Sue. Also, how is the writing style? I doubt it's going to change all that much because this is how I write, but I want to know what you guys think.
Important News: 1.) The month of August is going to be full of changes. I'm going back and working on editing and rewriting The Death Card so that the material is more like what I'm posting at the moment. So I'll be keeping people posted on that as well. Check it out when you get the chance. You may like the changes you see.
2.) Ren Kayashima can now be your friend on Facebook. I know that many people are concerned about sharing info. Don't worry about that. I'm not saying people have to follow me there. I created the account to talk with several people on that also created separate accounts. I'll be posting links and a lot more updates there. If you don't want to do that, I also have a twitter and tumblr. Mostly because I get really bored.
Drop me a review because I know you want to.