"Are you sure that you don't want any wine?" Erin asked as their server stepped away from the table with their drink order. Penelope shook her head, giving Erin a sweet smile as she picked up her water glass and took a small sip. "You don't have to worry about causing me to slip if you drink around me, you know. David drank on our nights together."
"I know that I could, but tonight is our first date, and I really want to experience you without any bit of alcohol in my system. I want to become drunk on you, not on wine. And maybe that makes me an incurable romantic, but so be it."
Erin blushed a little as she picked up her own glass of water, sipping slowly as she tried to regain her composure. "Being with you is going to give me cavities, but I don't think I really care, at this point," she finally said as she picked up her menu, her eyes scanning the options. Penelope, having studied the menu earlier, knew exactly what she was going to order, knowing that anything with too much garlic or onion was off the table for her, since she was hoping to get a good night kiss before they left each other for the evening. She used the time to instead study Erin's features again, memorizing the way her eyebrows arched, the way she curled her fingers into her palm as she rested her chin against her hand, the way her tongue darted out to lick her lips before she finally let out a small sigh and set the menu aside. Once more, her cool grey eyes focused on Penelope, and she felt pinned to her chair by the gaze. "Have you looked your fill?"
"No. But then, I don't think I ever will, because I have to make up for lost time. Do you ever wear any brighter lipstick?"
"This is what's professional. When we go to the symphony, you'll see me look slightly different."
"I can't wait to see that, then. Maybe I'll wear something a little different, too. There are a few sides to me, after all."
"I will look forward to that, too." Erin gave her a soft smile as their server reappeared with their coffees. Their orders didn't take too long to place, and then they were back to staring at each other. "Is it strange that I feel like I know you so well?"
"No, because I feel like I know you, too. We spoke so often while I was in London, that I truly got to see what makes you tick. I'm so grateful that you indulged me even before you knew I was your soulmate. I, I kept that from you, and so my desire to talk with you wasn't completely altruistic. I wanted to get to know you better, so that there would be a firmer foundation when I finally revealed to you the fact that we shared a song. I guess that I couldn't hide well enough."
"I'm glad? Because I could feel that you were hiding something from me, and I had some small feeling that it was something of this magnitude. You reacted oddly when I hummed our song in the mobile command unit, that was my first little clue. I started building the picture during our talks, though I fought to keep it from you, since I didn't want to presume that you might be open to exploring where this is leading. I want this to lead into a relationship. But not too quickly? Physical pleasure is so sweet, but it's something I want to build up to. This might make me a prude, but…"
Her voice trailed off as their entrees arrived, and Penelope flashed the server a quick smile before picking up her fork and twirling it around in her pasta. "There is nothing prudish about the fact that you've undone a few extra buttons on that blouse. But I can wait, and it will be all the sweeter when we finally do come together. Though I do hope that there will be a little bit of heavy petting along the way. And maybe a little bit of talking dirty over the phone when cases get to be a little too much?"
"I suppose that could be arranged." Even the tips of Erin's ears turned pink at the blush that spread across her face, and Penelope grinned a little as she started to eat. Their conversation turned to more mundane issues, like what her children were up to, and Penelope found herself pulled in by the lilting, happy, tone that filled Erin's voice when she talked about her babies.
"When do you think I can meet them? I know that we shouldn't spring this on them right away, but I do want to get to know them, since they're such a large part of your life. I really want them to like me."
"Well, you don't have to worry about Tabitha liking you or not. She currently thinks that the sun and moon rise at your feet, given what you were able to give her. I will have my weekend with them next week, though I can broach the topic with them in our family chat tomorrow. I think that I'd rather get you accustomed to them sooner rather than later as well. Since you're going to be a permanent fixture in my life from here on out."
Another shy expression swept over Erin's face, and Penelope sighed as she set aside her fork and reached across the table to take hold of her hand, squeezing it softly before threading their fingers together as they stared at each other. "I'm glad to hear that. But if your children don't take to me, I'll understand and back off. Because your children will always come first." Erin tightened her grip on Penelope's hand as she shook her head. "What?"
"Love, in any form, is necessary for us to grow and be the people we are meant to be. My children are nearly grown, and so, if they are bothered by the form of my soulmate, then they only have to worry about it for a few more years. I've lived for too long without you to give up on this that easily."
It was the most romantic she had ever heard Erin, and a small smile spread across her lips as she nodded, starting to rub her thumb against Erin's wrist. "Do you want to stay for dessert?"
"No, I really shouldn't. I've had a lovely time this evening, and I want to hold on to it without it becoming overdone. Next time, we can have dessert together?"
"Of course, dumpling." Penelope squeezed her hand once more before letting how and pulling out her wallet, wanting to cover the bill for this first date. Erin gave her a small frown, but she shook her head as she handed her credit card to their server. "You forget, I am flush since returning from London. The pay was a lot better than what I normally receive. Besides, I like to take care of things like this, when I was the one who asked for the first date, after all. You can pick up the next one."
Erin nodded as the server returned, handing her the receipt she needed to sign. After doing so with a flourish, Penelope put everything back into her purse before pushing away from the table and getting to her feet. "Did you want me to run you back to the BAU, or home?"
"Home, please. As long as I can impose and ask you to pick me up for work tomorrow."
"I think that I can arrange that. Though I might let you off at the door and then go park, since we don't want to gossip mill to start up too quickly, even with the Director's tacit approval." Penelope nodded as she took hold of Erin's outstretched hand, letting her lead her back out to her car. The drive to her apartment didn't take too long, though she was surprised that Erin already had her address saved in her phone, and so didn't need directions.
Her soulmate parked on the street, leaving the car to idle as she turned to look at her. "Yes, Erin?"
"Have a good night," she said in a rush before closing the distance between them and giving Penelope a heated kiss. It was everything that she had expected, and yet so much more, and she fought the urge to deepen the embrace, only to squeak a little against Erin's lips when the woman pressed her back against the seat before sliding one hand upwards until she was cupping one of her breasts. "I, I should be going now," Erin said, a breathless quality to her voice as she sat back up and smoothed her hair, a wild look on her face.
"Oh, Erin, if that is what I have to look forward to, I will be hard pressed to remain patient. You might have to sneak into my office every day, since there are no cameras in there."
"We'll see," was the quick reply as Penelope undid her seatbelt and clambered from the car. "Sleep well, darling." Penelope could only nod and wave as she watched Erin drive off into the night, feeling strangely bereft at her leaving. That feeling remained until she had reached the stoop of her building and began to hear their song, loud and clear in her mind, and knew that Erin was trying to soothe both of them, that she felt much the same way Penelope did, and that somehow, everything would be all right.