Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds.
Hey all! Thank you so much for the reviews and patience with my inconsistent posting. I've been preoccupied with writing my book and it's been hard to get to my fanfics. I've got more Morcia ideas brewing, I just need to get them down haha. As for this chapter, we've got more mopey-jealous Derek. I'll be honest, I actually enjoy writing him that way ;)
"This is incredible," Savannah breathed as Derek and she entered the Ritz Carlton in Washington DC.
Derek flashed her a grin as they gave their coats to the bellboy. Savannah wore a flowing red strapless gown. Based on the conversation in the round table room earlier that day, he would be having a very good night.
He was glad he'd met her those weeks ago. The gala had been fast approaching when they'd met, and he had been frantically searching for a date. He would be damned if he was the only one on the BAU team who went to the gala without a date.
"My first one, too, at a swanky place like this," he said, offering her his arm. "The Director will be here."
"Oh!" Savannah said, seeming excited. "It's not every day you get to see a superstar in flesh and blood."
The two made small talk as they entered the main ballroom. The room was already bustling, agents and federal employees mingling and taking glasses of wine or champagne. Derek scanned the room, searching for his team members. Hotch's characteristic stare caught his attention.
"I see my team," he said, giving her a cue to follow him toward his team. At first he grinned at them, all gathered together in a circle. That smile fell when his eyes reached Penelope. She wore a blue dress that hugged her curves tastefully. Her hair was up in a loose updo, some of her curls framing her face. When she tilted her head and her eyes were visible, they glittered.
Derek's mouth went dry.
But beside her was a man that stood at almost a whole foot taller than her. His arm was wrapped gently around her waist. When he glanced at Penelope, his eyes lit up. He adored her. He was everything Penelope had described him as.
"Ah, Derek!" Rossi boomed, raising his wine glass to him.
Derek and Savannah stopped as they were allowed into the group's circle. He raised a hand to greet them, his eyes lingering on Penelope's just a half second longer than the others. She returned the look with a soft smile.
"Hey, hey," he said. He turned and placed his hand between Savannah's shoulder blades. "BAU, this is Dr. Savannah Hayes. Savannah, my team." He went around the circle, introducing them each to Savannah. She shook hands with them all, smiling and greeting them generously. Finally, he came to Penelope. He cleared his throat before saying more. "And this lovely lady is our technical analyst, Penelope Garcia. Her date – "
Jack leaned forward to shake Savannah's hand. "Jack Harrison," he said with a smile before returning his hand to Penelope's waist. "Nice to meet you." Derek narrowed his eyes at Jack's hand.
As Penelope and she shook her hands, Savannah tilted her head to the side in curiosity. "Penelope…you know you look like just like the picture of Derek's daughter!"
Penelope looked between Derek and Savannah before nodding. "Oh, well Damaris is my daughter, too," she said with a laugh. "Did Morgan not mention we worked together?"
Derek felt the urge to smack himself in the forehead. He'd been so focused on not being an ass to Jack and wondering what Penelope's dress would look like that he had neglected to mention to his child's mother and he worked on the same team. This wasn't exactly how he'd imagined his evening going. And based on the uncomfortable looks on his team's and their dates' faces, it was not how they thought they would be meeting Derek's new girlfriend.
Savannah looked at him with a confused, anxious smile. "Well," he tried. "Yeah, I think it slipped my mind." A decoy idea sprang up in his mind, and he pulled Savannah by the waist toward him. He grinned. "I was too concentrated on my lady here I didn't even think to say it. I mean, damn! Would anyone remember anything if they got struck with this much sexy?" For good measure, he placed a gentle kiss on her lips.
He couldn't stop himself from sneaking a look at Penelope to see her reaction. But she hadn't seemed to notice. Her eyes were locked on Jack's as she accepted the glass of champagne he picked off a tray for her. She was entranced with him.
What the fuck does this guy do that gets her so googly-eyed? he thought, frustrated.
"It's so great to meet you all!" Savannah said, blushing a pleasant pink color as she pulled away from Derek.
"You too," Penelope said, turning to look back at Savannah and the rest of the group. "And your dress is beautiful."
Derek watched as the entire group of BAU agents broke into laughter. It was true. They all looked beautiful in their own unique dresses. All Derek could think, though, was that there was one dress that stuck out among them all.
Derek sat at one of the tables closest to the open bar that had been opened to the gala guests. After listening to speeches from various upper level bureaucrats and even Director Comey himself, his team had dispersed to speak with others. In Rossi and Reid's cases, they'd gone home. Worst of all, his date had bailed on the whole event. She'd been called into work for an emergency surgery. Her promise of meeting him for dinner the next night to make up for it couldn't lift his spirit.
So Derek remained glued to a chair near the bar, alone at the moment. He didn't mind. After being tired of making small talk with a large number of FBI members, he'd sent a few texts to Damaris.
"Hey you," a voice said.
Looking up from his glass of scotch, Derek found Penelope smiling at him. She sat beside him and nudged his shin with a strappy silver shoe. He looked around for Jack. Huffing to himself, he couldn't help but wonder what had pried the broad-shouldered man from Penelope's for the first time that evening.
He arched a brow at her. "Where's Jack?"
A dreamy look overtook Penelope's gaze. "Oh, he just had to use the bathroom," she said. "What about Savannah? I haven't seen her in a little while tonight."
"She was on call and there was a surgery they needed her for," he said, sipping his scotch.
Penelope gave him a teasing pout. "Aww, there went your fun evening," she said. He grinned cheekily, making her laugh. "You don't seem all that upset about it."
"Well, she promised we'd get dinner tomorrow night to make up for it," he said.
Her expression softened. "She wasn't too upset was she? I mean, about the fact we still work together and are friends?"
He shook her head. "Nah, not at all," he said. "She thought it was a bit weird, but she wasn't upset. We're still getting together tomorrow, so…"
"Good!" Penelope said, clapping her hands together. "I'm so happy we found such great dates. Savannah seems nice. And I know Jack is! He's amazing right? He was so happy to meet you all. Even after I mentioned we worked together…"
Derek watched her lips move, but the sound of her voice faded until he felt like he was in a vacuum. As she went on about Jack and how wonderful he was, Derek found himself hating the other man. Despite the fact he was kind, both in person and in every story Penelope had told the team, Derek found him annoying. The way he carried himself with confidence and kindness toward Penelope made his blood boil.
Derek had to remind himself he had no business feeling that way. He'd had his chance with Penelope all those years ago, though. They were meant for something different than romance.
"I think I'm going to introduce him to Damaris soon," she was saying when sound finally started to filter into his ears again. "She's seen pictures of him and I've told her what he's like, but they haven't met in person yet."
Derek's expressive brows shot upwards. "Wow, you're getting that serious with him?" he asked. The surprises just kept coming. At this rate he was going to need a few more scotches.
She nodded with excitement growing in her eyes that continued to burn brighter as her happiness mounted. "Yeah, yeah we're getting really serious. I haven't been this serious with someone in a long while. She's only met like two of my boyfriends before. And those were the only ones I was even serious about."
He averted his eyes. A lump of irritation burned in his throat that he forced himself to swallow past. "Wow," he said, letting out a low whistle. He struggled to find words, but, ever the improviser, managed to come up with something. "That's amazing, Baby Girl. I'm really happy for you." He looked back at her finally, loving that she looked so happy, but hating it wasn't him who brought her that happiness.
Penelope met his gaze. "Thanks, Derek," she murmured. "I really appreciate it." She leaned over and took his hand. In turn, he brought hers up to his lips and planted a kiss on the back of her hand.
"Of course," he said. "I'll always be happy for you." That was only a half lie.
Giving his hand a squeeze, Penelope rose to her feet. She smoothed the front of her dress. "Well, I'm going to go find Jack. We're going to get going. Since you're not going with Savannah tonight, kiss Damaris goodnight for me, would you? "
"You got it," he said, giving her a half salute. "Goodnight, Garcia."
With a small wave, Penelope bounded off in search of her boyfriend. Rubbing his eyebrows, Derek downed the rest of his scotch and rose to his feet. He was going to need more than a few of those to get through the night.