It's been a few days since Spencer met Ryder, and he hadn't had time to read the book yet, the case taking all his time. But as everyone piles into the jet after a long few days, Spencer takes a seat in the far back away from everyone and pulls out the book that's been burning a hole in his messenger bag since he put it in there.
Even though he's just reading a book, Spencer felt the need to look up at the others, like if he got caught he'd get in trouble. Emily and JJ were sitting across from each other at the table, in a conversation between themselves. Hotch sitting on the other side, talking on the phone. Morgan was settling down in his own little world, maybe hoping to get some sleep.
Slowly opening the book, Reid looks down at the smiley face Ryder drew and finds himself wanting to see the real thing. This wasn't the hardest case he's ever worked on, but it was still difficult, as all of them are, and just imagining Ryder's smile makes him feel better.
Flipping through the pages, Spencer sees the small markings Ryder has made. Sections and words underlined or boxed in. Reid guessed they were her favorite parts, things that maybe spoke to her. He wondered if she did this with all the books she read.
As Spencer begins to read the pages, he finds himself going slower than his normal speed, taking more time to go over the areas Ryder marked. He wanted to finish the book quickly so he could see Ryder again but he wanted to really see the words, really read them. And he may have been stalling slightly, nerves getting the best of him. Would it be a date? She said she wanted to get a drink, she could have just picked up the book, something that wouldn't take long at all, but drinks, drinks take time. So does she want to spend time him?
Pulling out his phone, Spencer looks at the time. It was late, too late to call, but maybe not too late to send a text. Thinking it over, Reid glances down at the book - he was halfway through - then back to his phone. Deciding a text couldn't hurt, he quickly writes one out and hits send, trying to ignore the anxious feeling that started to creep up on him.
Digging through her bag, Ryder struggles to find her keys. It was late, she was tired, and her bag really seemed to hate her at the moment as it's hiding her keys, preventing her from unlocking the apartment door.
Just as she slides the key into the lock, Ryder's phone buzzes. Wondering who was texting her, Ryder continues into her apartment, turning left so she could set all her things down on top of the dining table before going over to her couch and plopping down. Sighing, Ryder pulls out her phone to see one unread message.
Unknown: Halfway through the book, love it so far. -Sincerely, the guy you spilled your drink on.
Ryder can't help the laugh that escapes her lips when she reads the message. She had been thinking about Spencer since she ran into him that day, she couldn't get those eyes out of her head. Eyes not much older than hers that held so much, they seem to hold enough for more than a lifetime.
Shaking away those thoughts, Ryder adds his number to her contacts before sending a reply.
Ryder: So glad you like it, I'm excited for you to finish it. What are you doing up so late? If you don't mind the asking.
Standing up from the couch, Ryder makes her way to her bedroom where she pulls out some sleeping clothes, planning to grab a quick shower before trying to get some sleep. It was a quick shower, Ryder put her hair in a messy bun to prevent it from getting wet. After she gets out, she removes her contacts, swapping them for her glasses.
Heading back into the living area, Ryder sits back down on the couch, and retrieving her phone from where she had placed it on the coffee table, she notices another message.
Spencer: Just got finished with work, decided to read. What about you? I didn't wake you did I?
Writing out her reply, Ryder suddenly stops as a thought comes to her. Thinking for a moment, she wonders if it's the best idea. Would he mind? What if he didn't really want to talk to her? He did text her first. Shrugging, Ryder discards her reply and quickly hits the call button before she can back out of her decision.
"Uh, hey." Comes a hushed reply, making her really rethink her decision. She shouldn't have called.
"Um, hey. Sorry, I shouldn't have called, I'm just not much of a texter." Ryder quickly says, suddenly feeling nervous.
"Oh, it's fine, I-I don't really text often either." She hears Spencer say over the phone, voice still slightly hushed. Ryder momentarily wondered why he was talking quietly, but soon put those thoughts aside.
"So it's okay that I called? I'm not bothering you or anything?" Ryder really didn't want to annoy him, make him not want to talk to her. From the little time that she's known him, Ryder really likes Spencer, and she doesn't want to run him off.
"Y-yeah, it's fine. You could never bother me." Ryder breathes a sigh a relief at his words, letting a smile overtake her face.
"And no, you didn't wake me. I just got home actually, also working."
"You really were serious about having odd hours."
Ryder gives a small chuckle, slightly surprised he remembered that. "I'm always serious."
"Is that sarcasm?" Spencer questions through the phone after a moment of thought. Ryder wondered if he actually didn't know she was being sarcastic for a moment. It took him a few seconds to answer like he was running it through his head a few times. She thought it was cute.
"Yes, yes it's sarcasm. Sorry, I find I do that sometimes."
"No, don't apologize. It's late, I'll let you go if you're tired."
"No, no," Ryder quickly answers, not quite ready to hang up. "I'm actually a pretty big night owl. I find I do some of my best work at night."
"Many people who classify as night owls feel they're more creative at night No one really knows why." As Spencer was talking, Ryder lies down on the couch to face the tv, holding the phone to her ear. "It actually reminds me of a poem."
"Oh yeah? What is it?"
"The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep."
"Robert Frost, I know it well." Ryder responds with a smile, catching the quiet sound of a small laugh on the other end of the phone. "Remember that drink I offered?"
"Yeah." Spencer responds in a quiet voice after a moment.
"Well...what would you think about maybe, turning it into dinner?" Ryder finally gets out, her heart beating faster and faster in her chest. "Or lunch, lunch works too." She quickly adds, not wanting to come on too strong.
"D-Dinner, dinner sounds great." Comes Reid's stuttered reply, causing a relieved smile to spread over her face.
"Okay, great. Well, I'm free anytime soon, so just let me know when you're up for it."
"My schedule is usually changing, but as of right now, I'm free tomorrow. Unless that doesn't work for you." Spencer says, quickly adding the last part.
"No, no, tomorrow night is perfect. Just let me know a time and a place, and I'll be there."
"Do you like Italian?"
Ryder let her smile grow as she answered Spencer's question. "I love Italian."
"O-okay, great. It's ah, it's a date." Spencer says, still in his quiet voice, although Ryder could hear the smile through his words.
"It's a date," Ryder repeats Spencer's words, a smile evident in her voice. "I'm looking forward to it."
"Y-yeah, me too." Ryder yawns right as Spencer says this, causing him to add. "You're tired, I'll let you go."
"Yeah, I'm sorry, it's been a long day." Ryder mumbles to Spencer, cursing the timing of her yawn. Yes, she was tired, but she enjoyed talking to Spencer.
"No need to apologize, it has been a long day. Goodnight Ryder."
"Goodnight Spencer." Ryder bids Spencer a goodnight with a smile, unable to wipe it off her face.
"Goodnight," Spencer says one last time before slowly hanging up the phone, Ryder following soon after.
As Ryder sets the phone on her coffee table, she finds herself smiling at the tv screen as some characters try to get a couch up some stairs. It's a funny scene, but not what she was smiling about. She was smiling about Spencer. As she thought earlier, she hadn't known him very long, but she liked the way she felt when she thought about him and when she talked to him. Like when she thought about never seeing him again, that was a feeling she didn't like in her gut, this is a feeling she likes, like butterflies.
Managing to drag herself to bed, Ryder quickly falls asleep with a smile on her face.
"Alright, spill." Looking over the edge of her cup, Ryder gives her friend Steve a confused.
"What do you mean?" She asks while setting her cup back down onto the table.
"Don't give me that," Steve starts, pointing a finger at her. "There's something up with you today. You seem... well I'm not sure but it's weird." Smiling, Ryder raises a brow at him while he quickly adds with a thoughtful look. "Well, weirder than normal."
Huffing a laugh, Ryder avoids his eyes, choosing to look down at her food instead. "I'm not acting weird."
"Uh-huh sure," He hums, obviously not buying the lie. "I've known you too long to fall for that. Now talk."
Peaking up from under her hair, Ryder smiles as she whispers. "I have a date."
Steve fake gasps and puts a hand over his heart. "Oh, my what? Ryder Mathews has a date? Did I wake up in another dimension?"
Laughing, the young woman throws a blueberry at him, hitting him in the face. "Shut up." Steve laughs with her as he catches the blueberry, throwing it in his mouth.
"So, when's this date?" He asks as he chews.
"Tonight." Ryder tells him, causing herself to realize how close it was. She was going on a date. That night. In a few hours. She didn't even know what she was going to wear. Oh no.
"Don't freak out." Steve suddenly says, seeing the panic over take his friends features.
"Not freaking out." Ryder tells him after taking a deep breath.
"Mhm. So, tell me about this lucky person, How'd you meet?" Steve inquires, taking a sip of his own drink.
"His name is Spencer, and I may have spilled my drink all over him and ruined his jacket."
"Of course you did." Steve responds, not sounding or looking the least bit surprised.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Ryder questions, raising her eyebrows.
"You've always been clumsy." Steve states matter-of-factly.
"Have not." She mumbles weakly in defense.
"So, do you know where you're going?" Ryder opens her wallet while Steve questions her, pulling out enough money for the bill and extra for a tip.
"Um, he said something about Italian. Didn't say where though." Ryder answers, looking up in time to see an odd look on her friends face. "What?"
"Nothing, I just haven't seen you like this since Tom left." At his words, Ryder frowns, her good mood dampening slightly.
"Yeah, I know... can you blame me?" Steve's right, Ryder hadn't been feeling her normal self since Tommy left again. She'll always worry about him, like all siblings worry about each other, whether or not they would admit it.
"No, of course, I can't." Steve leans forward and takes Ryder's small hand in his larger one, giving it a comforting squeeze.
"For what?" He asks with a furrowed brows.
"Being the greatest friend anyone could ask for." Smiling, Ryder turns her hand over and grips Steve's tightly. "That's enough of that for today."
"Yeah, I pretty sure we have somewhere to be anyway."
Sighing in defeat, Ryder throws another outfit onto her bed. She was convinced at this point she would never find something to where. It sounds girly, she knows, she wasn't normally like this. But sue her, she wanted to look nice. Dating has never been her thing, anyway. Sure, she's been on a few before. The only guy she ever really dated asked her out their senior year in collage but it didn't go anywhere. He kind of creeped her out.
Letting out a groan, Ryder throws her phone onto her bed next to the growing pile of clothes. It was getting late, she was going to have to leave soon. She should call Steve, she thinks, ask him for help. They were both good with clothes, but it seemed all her knowledge on the subject has suddenly disappeared from her brain.
"No." Ryder mutters to herself. She will not call Steve for this. She was an adult, not a two year old, she could dress herself. Although, she imagined any two-year-old was more functional than her right now. Closing her eyes, Ryder takes a deep breath before marching into her closest with the mission not to leave until she finds someone to wear.
Yes, she has a very large closet, with lots of clothes. But in her defense, half of them are for work.
This is just the first date, Ryder tells herself, she doesn't want to go crazy with her outfit but she also wanted to impress. Something casual but dressy. Would a dress be to much? She does love a good dress but always preferred pants. "I'm thinking about this to much." The young woman mumbles aloud with a shake of her head.
Grabbing her dark, high waisted skinny jeans, Ryder drapes them over her arm before looking at the tops. A splash of purple catches her eye and she turns to grab the dark, purple sweater from the rack. it was light and flowy, the neckline was lose and would show off her shoulders. Smiling, Ryder nods to herself before moving to find shoes. It wasn't a hard choice. Purple sweat, purple high tops. It was a hobby, she supposed, collecting all different colored converse shoes.
Quickly changing, Ryder looks in the mirror to make sure her hair still looks okay. The light brown locks fell in easy waves around her shoulders. It was simple but classy. Nodding to herself in approval, Ryder grabs her jacket and purse before heads down the hall. Her and Spencer had decided to meet at the restaurant. He'd sent her the address earlier that day.
With another deep breath, the woman opens her apartment door and exits, turning to lock it behind her as her phone buzzes in her hands. Looking down, Ryder smiles down at the text from her friend.
Stevie: Good luck tonight. Let me know if I need to help you bail out.
He really was a great friend, Ryder thinks as she sends her reply, really hoping she wouldn't have to take him up on his offer.
People. People rushing or walking by. On their way home or some even to work, some going to meet with freinds or significant others. Maybe they're going out for drinks or dinner, maybe deciding to just go home for the night and relax.
Some people waiting for others, like a particular young man with shaggy brown hair standing, outside a small Italian restaurant, nervously fiddling with his hands.
He's dressed nicely, but it's not too different from his normal attire. A button up shirt, tie, and slacks. It's really all he owned other than sleeping clothes, he didn't need anything else.
He looks back and forth at the people walking, getting more nervous by the second. He had shown up early, not wanting to be late. He wondered if she would be late, or maybe right on time. The thought of her not even showing up briefly crossed his mind, not for the first time, and it didn't help with the heavy feeling in his chest.
At the sound of a loud noise, Spencer turns his head to see a group of friends, all laughing as they make their way down the street.
Jumping slightly, the tall man quickly spins around before freezing at the sight before him.
Ryder was standing there, wearing a dark purple sweater with her hair falling in more defined curls than the last time he saw her, although they were still soft. She had minimal amount of make-up on, it helped define and bring out her eyes, other than that there wasn't much else, letting the freckles that lined her nose still be seen.
"I'm sorry, did I scare you?" The young women asks him with a small frown. Great, she thinks, the date hasn't even started and she's already scared him.
"N-no, I just uh, got distracted," Spencer assures her, only partly lying. He prefers to think of it as leaving out the truth. He was distracted, that much he told her, but she did scare him a little.
"Okay," Ryder breathes a small sigh of relief. "Good." They both stand there for a moment, looking into each other's eyes before Spencer brakes the growing silence.
"Shall we?" He uses his arm to gesture into the restaurant to his left.
"Oh yes, we shall." Ryder responds with a smile and turns to small building, walking through the door as Spencer holds it open for her. Ryder honestly couldn't remember the last time someone held the door for her. Other than Steve.
After getting there seats, Ryder takes a second to look around at the little restaurant. It's bigger than she thought when she saw it from outside, she imagined it being smaller. There were a good many other people here yet it didn't seem crowded, which was good for Ryder, she hated feeling crowded. There were larger tables and smaller ones, like the one she and Spencer were sitting at. It had a darker setting to it with little lights on the ceiling, giving it a nice cozy yet spacious feeling. She really liked it.
"This place is beautiful." Ryder comments with another quick look around. "I wasn't sure if I would be underdressed or anything." She stats nervously.
"You look beautiful." Spencer says, proud of himself that he didn't stutter. Looking into his eyes, Ryder feels a blush rise in her cheeks as a smile grows on her face. She's been called pretty before, but she never really felt it until Spencer said it.
"You too." She says before she could catch herself. "I mean handsome. You look handsome, not beautiful." Ryder quickly corrects herself before looking down as heat rises in her face. Did she really just call him beautiful? Great going. Hearing a soft laugh, Ryder peaks up to look at Spencer to see him smiling at her. "I'm sorry." She winces. "I'm not very good at this."
"Me neither." Spencer admits with a small smile.
"Well, if you're up for it, we could learn together?" She asks with a nervous smile. She really hoped he's say yes.
"Y-yeah, I would like that." He tells her, watching the relief flood over her face. He could tell she was nervous, he was too. He found it odd though, how could a woman as beautiful as her be nervous around someone like him? He was nerdy and dorky, he had weird hair, how could anyone want to be with him?
"Okay, good." Ryder gives a relieved sigh. "Okay, what do people do on first dates?" She questions, more herself than Spencer. Before either of them could say anything else, the waiter comes over to take their drink order. They both get water and the waiter quickly leaves with a promise to be back soon to take down their food order.
"Have any recommendations?" Ryder asks as she looks up from her menu at the man across from her.
Spencer proceeds to tell Ryder the best things on the menu while giving her the facts and history behind each dish. He was more nervous at first, no one ever likes to listen to the random facts he can say off the top of his head. The team will listen to him, but he can see it in their faces that they're not very interested. But when he looks at the smile on Ryders face his nerves calm down. She seems to be truly interested in what he was saying and normally he wouldn't have a problem reading someone but he found himself sometimes unsure about her.
Ryder listened to Spencer tell her about his favorite foods and the histories behind them. It was interesting she thought, to learn all about it. She loved learning new things and she's always loved food, she used to help her mom cook, it was how they bonded.
They soon ordered their food and continued to talk until it came, only slowing down slightly to eat. It was a little awkward and slow at first but after they got into the rhythm of talking, time easily passed.
For the first time in a while, Reid completely forgot about work. He forgot about the cases and the horrible images that haunt his dreams most nights. He just talked. He talked about random things, nothing related to work, while smiling and laughing.
Ryder couldn't believe how easy it was to talk to Spencer, especially on the first date. She's never had much experience with first dates, but she was sure they were supposed to be harder than this.
She loved every second of it and was sad when they finished off the last of their dissert, signaling it was time to go.
"Thank you, for tonight, I had an amazing time." Ryder tells Spencer as they walk side by side down the sidewalk.
"Yeah, me too." Spencer says as he stuffs his hands into his pockets when he finds himself wanting to reach over and take her hand. He found it odd that he wanted to do that, he doesn't even shake people's hands much less hold some ones for a long period of time.
"Um.." Ryder starts to say but hesitating. "Walk me home?" She asks as she peeks up at Spencer with a hopeful smile.
"Of course." Spencer nods with a smile, looking down into her eyes. He still can't get over how beautiful she is. And that smile, he knows as long as he gets to see her smile, everything will be okay.
They didn't talk much on there walk, but their pace was slow and they stood close, arms brushing together. It was different from dinner when they talked a lot, but it wasn't any less amazing.
"Well, this is me." Ryder says as she comes to a stop in front of a gated apartment building. "Tonight was...probably the best date I've ever been on, but I honestly don't think that says much because I haven't been on many dates. Oh, not that I'm saying it wasn't great because I don't have much to compare it to, really it was amazing and I'm going to shut up now." Looking down to hide her flushed face, Ryder bites her lip and she mentally scolds herself. The night was going so well, why did she have to go and mess it up by opening her big mouth?
Hearing a quiet laugh, Ryder peeks up from under her hair to see Spencer smiling down at her. "I'm sorry, I ramble when I'm nervous. It's one of my many flaws."
"Well, from where I stand, I don't see any flaws." Spencer finds himself saying. He's not sure where the sudden confidence came from, but as he watches Ryder try to contain the huge smile on her face, he couldn't care less.
"I-I don't know what to say to that." Ryder admits when she could finally look up into Spencer's eyes again.
"You don't have to say anything, your smile is enough." Spencer tells her, again confused by the words that were coming out of his own mouth. He's never been good at talking to girls. That's always been Morgan's strong point, not his.
"How are you still single?" Ryder asks him in amazement.
"I'm not normally...You make this easy."
"Well, I'm glad, because I would really like to do this again." Ryder tells him with a smile.
"I-I would really like that too."
"Okay," Ryder says with a sigh of relief. "Well, as much as I don't want to leave your company, I have work super early in the morning."
"Yeah, yeah, of course." Spencer nods in understanding.
"Well, goodnight Spencer Reid. I really enjoyed tonight."
"As did I, goodnight, Ryder Mathews." Spencer says as he slowly steps away from her, walking backwards and keeping his eyes on her face.
"Goodnight." She calls with a wave, her smile stretching across her face.
"Goodnight." Spencer calls out before quickly turning around as his foot catches on the curb, causing him to stumble slightly. "I'm good." He shout when he looks back to see Ryder with a concerned yet amused look on her face.
"Goodnight." Ryder calls one last time with a chuckle in her voice before turning to open the gate to her apartment complex. "Goodnight, Spencer Reid." Ryder whispers to herself with a glance over her shoulder to the receding image of Spencer, her smile never faltering.