Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds.
Here's the next update. We finally get to meet Penelope's boyfriend, Jack in this one. I hope you'll like him because I'm having a lot of fun writing him. No Damaris in this one, we're just focusing on Morgan and Garcia :) Thank you so much for reading and reviewing!
"Everyone ready for the gala tonight?" Penelope asked in a giddy voice. She sat in her place at the head of the round table, grinning at the members of her team who were in the room.
Rossi grinned cheekily, smoothing the lapel of his blazer. "I will be attending the party with the woman who will be the most beautiful in the room," he boasted. "Hayden hasn't even let me see her gown. Says it's bad luck."
JJ frowned. "That's a wedding thing, Rossi," she said. He shook his head and she laughed. "Okay, but what is going to be tainted with bad luck if you happen to see the dress beforehand?"
"I don't want any bad luck ruining my night," Rossi said, winking at JJ. "Galas are always good evenings."
Both Tara and Penelope burst into laughter. "Maybe I should have waited to show Jack my dress," Penelope giggled.
"Penelope, you won't have any bad luck with the dress you bought," Tara said. "You'll be lucky either way." She and JJ both gave her bright grins. Penelope's cheeks flushed crimson.
"Who's getting lucky?"
Penelope and the others looked to see Derek and Reid entering the round table room. Derek sat beside her, the place he made sure everyone else knew was his, arching his brow as he awaited her answer. She swiveled in her chair so she could face him. "Hopefully me." She grinned.
Since taking JJ and Tara's advice just a few weeks ago, she'd felt happier. Derek and she had all but shoved their passionate night under the bed, giving her the opportunity to try moving on. And she had. With Jack, she was starting to feel better. She liked him. Even Derek wasn't going to rain on that parade. He hadn't tried, though. In fact, their relationship transformed right back to the platonic flirtationship it had been.
Derek's lips quirked into a smile. "Get a sexy dress for tonight?" He winked at her, a devilish twinkle entering his eyes.
She had to resist the urge to swat him in the arm. She knew he was thinking of the pink sundress she'd worn the afternoon before they'd consummated their relationship and ended up with Damaris. Instead, she settled for sticking out her tongue at him.
"See, this man gets it!" Rossi said, leaning over to shake Derek's hand with vigor. "It's all about the dress. Determines the evening's activities following the main event."
Reid leaned forward with interest. "You know, I've never heard this theory," he said, folding his hands in front of him. "What exactly makes the dress – "
Derek shook his head. "Kid, some things just can't be explained. Trust me, a good dress or tux is always going to lead to some fun night activities." He grinned so wide his blinding white teeth lit up the whole room. "And I'm hoping Savannah's dress is gonna be my ticket to a good night."
Penelope swallowed hard and leaned back. "Oh? Who's that?" she asked, pretending to be merely curious.
"That's the doctor Morgan met a few weeks ago," Reid jumped in. "I was with him getting coffee and got to see him in action." He seemed rather proud of himself for having the knowledge of Derek's latest conquest before anyone else.
JJ laughed. "In action? What does that look like?"
"I'd imagine Morgan's pick-up skills are impressive," a stern voice said. Hotch swept into the round table room. His face was stern, but there was a twinkle of amusement in his eyes. "But right now we've got a day full of reports to get done. I know I will need to be out of here on time if I'm going to be ready for the gala tonight, and I'm assuming the rest of you will want to be, too. So let's get to work."
Penelope chewed on her lip as the meeting began. She glanced sideways at Derek, feeling torn between being glad for him that he'd found someone the way she found Jack and being jealous he was finding another woman whose dress he found desirable enough to fall into bed with.
"Wow." Jack whistled as he let Penelope into his apartment. He adjusted his tie, falling speechless as she entered into the foyer.
She smiled, a pretty blush lighting up her face. Her dress hung off her curves in all the right places. It was a beautiful soft blue color and strapless. The neckline didn't plunge, but it flattered her figure in a beautiful way. Beneath her dress was a pair of strappy silver shoes. Her hair was pulled up in a loose, curly updo with tendrils that framed her face.
She winked at Jack, coming into his house and pecking his lips. She had to stand on her tip-toes – even in high heels – but he tasted so good she didn't mind one bit.
"The dress make you happy?" she asked.
Jack grinned cheekily. "Ecstatic," he said. He kissed her deeper. "You look beautiful."
She couldn't stop herself from smiling. She observed him. He really did look like Jason Momoa, from the broad muscles to the toasted brown skin to the shaggy brown hair streaked with copper locks. He had a partiality for dark beers, was a political reporter in Washington, and – most odd of all – threw tomahawks in his spare time. And he was good enough in bed that he made her forget Derek.
She couldn't have asked for more from a man.
Taking his hand, she pulled him along out of the door so they could head out the door. "I'm so ready for this gala," she said.
He smiled. "I'm excited to meet your coworkers," he said. He ran a hand through his hair. She swore he blushed. It was incredibly adorable. "Do you think they'll like me?"
Penelope squeezed his hand. "If they don't like you, they're nuts," she said, confident. "But I wouldn't really worry about that."
They reached Jack's car in the parking garage, a worn Jeep, as she gave him the rundown of all the team members. "So JJ is the petite blonde. She's absolutely adorable and can kick your toosh into next week, even with you being twice her size. Tara's the forensic psychologist, hella smart and tough as nails." She counted them off on her fingers as Jack started the car. "Reid is our resident genius, he's got three . and graduated high school when he was 12. Rossi is the older gentleman, one of the founders of the BAU. He's a player, but he's finally back with his second wife and mother of his daughter, Joy. Then we've got Hotch, our fearless leader. He probably won't smile at you much, but he'll definitely like you."
She paused for a moment, biting her lip. Hesitating, she pondered how to tell him about Derek. Jack knew full well about Damaris, who was such an integral part of Penelope's life that she would not have been able to stop talking about her for even a few moments. However, she had not told him Derek worked with her and was part of her everyday routine. And she most definitely had not told him that she still had moments where she felt Derek's breath on her skin.
That she was still nursing the wounds of his rejection. That she was still trying to forget the memory of him saying, Fuck, Baby Girl as she straddled his waist.
She swallowed hard, her mouth suddenly arid as the Sahara.
Startled, Penelope glanced over at him and smiled. Thankfully he had drawn her out of her memories.
"You got real quiet all of the sudden," he observed.
Taking a deep breath, she sighed and said, "So, there's something pretty important I haven't told you yet. It's about the last member of the team I'm about to tell you about." He arched a brow as he drove. At a red light, he glanced over at her, awaiting the rest. "His name...his name is Derek. Derek Morgan."
Jack frowned before understanding took over his face. "Derek Morgan…as in Damaris Morgan's dad?"
Penelope nodded, wringing her hands together. "Yeah," she said. "See, he stayed in Chicago after me and Damaris moved here. But then he transferred for the BAU about a year ago. I won't lie, he's my best friend. He's always going to be in my life."
"Well, I'll be honored to meet your best friend," Jack said, reaching over to take her hand. He ran his thumb over her knuckles.
Perking up, she asked, "Really? You – you don't mind?"
Jack shrugged. "I mean, don't get me wrong, it'll be kind of weird having to be around him, but I'll deal with it if he's your best friend." He smiled at her and winked. "As long as he doesn't make any steps to take my lady." He pulled her hand over to press a gentle kiss on it.
She had to resist the urge to cry tears of joy. Jack really was too good to be true. Now all she needed was for her lingering feelings for Derek to turn to a puff of smoke so she could keep moving forward.