"Who do you think it is?" Garcia asks her fellow female agents as she sips on her glass of wine.
"Reid's got a girlfriend," Emily says quietly in a sing-song voice that was slightly muffled from her own glass of wine.
"What!?" Garcia shouts, careful not to spill her drink and turns her wide eyes towards Emily. "Our doctor Spencer Reid?"
"Yeah." Emily confirms. Of course, she wouldn't have said anything if she knew Spencer wasn't bringing her with him tonight, and she figured everyone else had already figured it out. They were profilers, after all.
"How long has this been a thing?" Garcia demands to know while looking between her two friends.
"Quite a while." JJ answers, sticking with water as she was pregnant.
"Did everyone know except me?" Penelope huffs, annoyed no one had brought her into the loop.
"No one knew for sure," Emily explains in their defense. "We just knew he had been acting strange."
"Then how did you know?" Garcia raises her brows in suspicion and Emily shrugs.
"He's not very quiet when he's on the phone."
"Wait," The colorful blonde suddenly says, drawing the other twos attention. "What if she's evil?" She whispers, as if afraid the subject of the conversation could hear her.
"What?" The other two women ask at the same time, sharing a look before turning their attention back to Penelope.
"I mean, we don't know anything about her. What is he kept her from us for a reason?" Garcia questions, more to herself than the others as she looks down, a thousand thoughts running through her mind.
"Don't be ridiculous, Garcia." Emily tells her friend with a laugh.
"I'm just worried about our resident genius." She holds up her hands. She's happy for Reid, over the moon for him, but she doesn't even know this mysterious girls name. Penelope spends her days looking into people and finding out their darkest secrets and all the nasty things about them, could she really be blamed for worrying about this girl?
"Don't worry Penelope, Spencer seems really happy." JJ assures her friend. Although she wasn't a profiler, JJ had also noticed a change in her friend. She wasn't sure what it was at first but over time her suspicions grew, having experience keeping a relationship from the team a secret herself. But she's happy for Spencer, he's her friend and he deserves to be happy.
"If you guys say so." Penelope says with a sigh, relaxing in her seat slightly.
"What are you ladies talking about in here?" Morgan asks as he walks into the room, Rossi following behind him. Hotch, Reid, and his mystery guest are the only ones yet to arrive, and Will who wasn't able to be there.
"Just girl talk." Emily informs the men as they enter the room.
"Is that so?" Morgan ask questions with a raised brow.
"Is that them!?" Penelope jumps form her seat when she sees headlights approaching the house.
"Or Hotch." JJ suggests as the others peek out the window.
"Nope, not his car." Morgan informs, drawing a high pitched noise from Garcia that the others took to be excitement. "Calm down, baby girl."
"Calm down? How do you expect me to calm down?" Exchanging a look with Morgan, Rossi excuses himself to answer the door - It is his house, after all - leaving the others to get Penelope under control.
Opening the door, Rossi smiles at the two people standing on the other side. One his friend and colleague, the other a young women he doesn't know. They seem to have been talking to each other before he opened the door, causing them to stop and turn their attention onto him.
"Rossi," Spencer greets, a little more stiffly than normal, David notes. "Um," The younger man continues after he collecting his thoughts. "This is Ryder, my girlfriend." He introduces.
"It's nice to meet you," The young women says with a smile towards the older man. "Finally." She adds as an afterthought.
"And a pleasure to meet you, my dear." Rossi says with a smile and a head nod towards the young women. He'd only known her barely a minute but from what he can tell, he likes her. She's obviously anxious, her body tense with nerves but she's doing her best to hide it.
"Come on inside, meet the others." Moving to the side, David allows the young couple entry, smiling as he watches Spencer take the young woman's hand in his own.
"Is everyone here?" Spencer asks the senior agent as they enter his large house.
"Aaron is running late." David responds and he closes the door, going ahead to lead them to the others. "Everyone," He says to gain their attention, Spencer and Ryder stopping behind him. Ryder's hold on Spencer's arm is tight. She isn't normally this nervous to meet new people, she meets new people quite often actually. But she sees this differently. This is Spencer's team, his friends, and his family. If they don't like her, she doesn't know what she'll do.
Being the beautiful and bright person she was, Garcia is the first one to go up to the couple, a huge smile on her face, any earlier worry gone once her eyes landed on Ryder. "Oh my, look at you. I'm Penelope Garcia. I'm sorry, can I hug you?"
Sparing a look up at Spencer to see him smiling down at her, Ryder detaches herself from his arm and nods to Garcia, the older woman's arms immediately going around her. Returning the hug, Ryder smiles as she feels some of her anxiety leave her body. Penelope just has that effect on people.
"It's great to finally meet you." Ryder says with a glance around the room at everyone.
"As much as we would like to say the same, we didn't know you existed. Derek Morgan." The older man introduces with a look thrown towards Spencer. He holds out his hand for Ryder to shake, smiling at her when she tentatively accepts it.
Derek hadn't known what to think of Spencer's odd behavior at first but as time went on he suspected it had something to do with a girl. And he may or may not have snooped. Well, not so much as snooping he would say. He had been passing Spencer's desk the day before their last case as he came back from the breakroom and Spencer hadn't been there but his phone had, along with a notification from someone named Ryder, a heart next to her name.
"Emily Prentiss." The dark-haired woman nods, deciding not to approach the younger woman. Her shoulders are tense, the nerves all but rolling off of her. Space will be good for her.
"Jennifer Jareau, but you can just call me JJ." The blonde introduces herself as well, following in Emily's actions to give Ryder space.
"Um, Ryder," She says once she realizes Rossi was the only one who knew her name. "Ryder Mathews."
"Sorry, I'm late." A new voice sounds behind everyone, turning they're attention to see Hotch entering the room.
"Agent Hotchner, nice to see you again." Ryder greets the older man, earning the two raised brows and odd looks from the others.
"Please, call me Aaron." He tells the girl with a rare smile.
"Wait, you knew about this?" Morgan asks, pointing to Ryder as Emily mouthed "Aaron?" to JJ, earning her a shoulder shrug from her blonde friend. "Of course you did." He mumbles when Hotch just gives him a look.
"I hope everyone is hungry, dinner is ready." Rossi announces to the room.
Grabbing each others hands, Spencer and Ryder move with the others to the dining room before finding a seat, Ryder mentally preparing for the questions she has no doubt she'll have to answer once they start eating.
"So, Ryder," Penelope is the first to speak, ready to find out what she could about this girl that hadn't strayed more than five feet from Spencer the entire night. "You ever been married?"
Not expecting that question at all, Spencer is surprised enough by it that he almost chokes on his drink. "Um, no, never been married." Ryder responds once she's sure Spencer can breath properly.
Pleased with that answer, Penelope opens her mouth to ask something else but paused in her actions when she sees the look Derek is giving her. She takes a moment and accepts that she may have gone a little too far, especially for first questions, and backs off, deciding to ask a much simpler one. "What do you do for work?" It's a much less intrusive question compared to the other ones she had in mind. You can't blame her, she's just looking out for her family in the best way she knows how.
Ryder hadn't taken offense from the blondes earlier question, she understands Penelope is just looking out for her friend. "I'm a photographer."
"Oh that's exciting, what do you take pictures of?" The blonde continues, earning smiles and smirks from the others around the table.
"People, mostly. I do scenery shots sometimes." She informs the women, happy to answer her questions.
"Wait," Morgan interrupts. "Does this mean you know a bunch of models?" He asks, drawing laughs and eye-rolls from the others.
"Yes," Ryder nods and chuckles herself. "I know quite a few. Some of them are even single." She adds with a wink in his direction.
"Please, don't egg him on." Emily tells Ryder. Derek's ego does not need anymore inflating.
"It was an innocent question." Morgan shoots back, earning a snort from Emily but she decides against saying anything more about it.
"What about your family?" Garcia asks, causing Ryder to pause. The feeling of Spencer's hand on her thigh brings her attention back to the table as he looks down at her, the motion not going unnoticed by the team.
"Um, I have a brother, he's in the army." Ryder says after a moment, deciding she didn't want to get into her family history. Or lack thereof.
The team, even the none profilers, could see it was a touchy subject, especially since the girl only mentioned a brother. So, they decide it's best to steer clear of asking any more questions on the subject.
"What happened there?" JJ motions to the bandage around Ryder's wrist, her eyebrows furrowing.
"Oh, that," Ryder looks down at her arm, lifting it slightly. "I was born with a curse, most call it clumsiness."
"Been there, girlfriend," Emily huffs with a sympathetic nod.
"Scared me to death." Spencer mumbles to himself and Ryder, but the whole table hear him. They all can't help but smile at the interaction. The love and admiration in his eyes shining brightly.
"Wasn't my finest moment," Ryder admits with a chuckle.
"Do you travel at all for work?" Rossi asks after a moment, bringing the conversation back from where it had strayed.
"I do," Ryder answers easily. "I haven't in a little while, I've had lots of projects going on here. As much as I love to travel, it's good to just be home for a while." Everyone nods to this with agreement. Having to travel so much for work, they all understand the need to be home.
Taking turns, the team continued asking small questions to try and get to know Ryder more while doing their best to stay away from deeper topics. Especially after the question about her family hadn't gone over so well. By the time they moved on to dessert, Ryder had forgotten about her anxiety and nervousness and was laughing along with the others as they told stories. Mostly embarrassing stories about Reid, much to his chagrin.
"I just remembered," Penelope pipes up. "We forgot the most important question. How did you two meet?" The question succeeds in drawing everyone's attention back to the couple.
"Well," Ryder starts with a fond look towards Spencer. "That comes back to my clumsiness. I spilled my drink on him one morning."
"I remember that!" Emily shouts, Ryder's words bringing a memory to the front of her mind. "You were late to work that day, you are never late."
"That was months ago." Morgan points out, also remembering that day. Spencer had rushed in late with a poor excuse and a wet jacket. "How long has this been going on exactly?"
"Um," Spencer starts, sheepish as he looks down and catches Ryder's eye. "A few months shy of a year." He informs the team, his one-year anniversary with Ryder quickly approaching as October nears.
"Damn." Morgan mutters, impressed Spencer had kept her a secret for so long even if he had noticed his strange behavior.
"So," Garcia motions for them to continues impatiently. "What happened after!?"
"Um, well I felt bad and offered to buy him a drink to make up for it." Ryder's smile grows when she thinks back to the day that had changed her life for the better.
"Who gave who their phone number?" Emily questions, also interested in the story.
"I gave him mine," Ryder squeezes Spencer's hand, looking up to meet his eyes. "I had been reading one of my favorite books that day and Spencer asked about it and when I learned he hadn't read it yet, I insisted he take it."
"Wait," Morgan holds a hand up with a shake of his head. "There's such a thing as a book pretty boy hasn't read?" He teases, earning a sarcastic laugh from Spencer.
"That is a beautiful necklace, by the way." JJ observes, admiring the elegant piece of jewelry hanging from Ryder's neck.
"Thank you," Ryder's hand goes up to gently touch the necklace. "It was a birthday present from Spence."
"Wow Reid, I never would have guessed you had good taste in jewelry." Emily says as she also looks at the jewelry, impressed with her younger team member.
"Yeah, he did good." Ryder agrees, her full attention on her boyfriend. Moving back into the lounge area, the team and Ryder continued talking about whatever until it gets late and Ryder can no longer hold in her yawns.
"I think it's time we head out." Spencer says after seeing Ryder's third yawn that she tries to hide behind her hand.
"Yeah, it is getting late." Emily looks down at her watch.
"You're telling me." JJ says as she struggles to stand slightly, her ever-growing belly making the simple task difficult.
"It was really great meeting you all." Ryder tells them while she and Spencer both get to their feet.
"You too, little lady." Morgan gives her a short girl a side hug. "Keep this one in check, yeah?" He jokes with a nod towards Reid.
"I will try my best." Ryder says with a laugh at the way Spencer rolls his eyes. "Goodnight everyone."
"Told you they'd love you." Spencer says to her as they walked out to Ryder's car, his arm around her shoulder's holding her close.
"Yeah, I don't know what I was worried about." She releases a breath and settles into her seat, happy with the way the night turned out. She can clearly see how close this team is, they're a family. And they like her. Being apart of something like that means so much to Ryder. After growing up so long without a family, then finding one only to lose half of it a few years later...it makes her happier than she thought possible that Spencer's own family accept her as one of their own.