Penelope doesn’t realize when it exactly happened. In fact, she didn’t even realize what had happened until she’s taking Roxy back to his place after a long case. A case that rattled her enough to seek comfort in his apartment, waiting for Luke to come home. The revelation hits her when she’s perched on the edge of his king sized bed, Roxy resting by her dangling feet, and she looks at the vanity mirror in his room he had installed at her suggestion.
She contemplates the memory.
“Your room is so empty, Newbie.” She had come to assist him since his rib had been broken by a particularly aggressive unsub. She had felt bad as she was heading home from work, watching him wince when he picked up his go bag from his desk as he was preparing to go home himself. She had ended up grabbing it from his hand and leading him to her car. He had grumbled and complained but nevertheless, listened to her. That was how she found herself dumping his go bag by the door of his bedroom, surveying his bare room as he plopped down on his bed. It was truly dreary with a simple king-sized bed and a laundry basket by the door.
He hissed in pain when he attempted to shrug. “Lisa took a lot of her furniture back with her and I haven’t gotten the chance to replace them.”
“Come on, Newbie. It’s been, like, six months since you guys broke up.” She put her hand on her waist and squinted at him.
“Maybe I just realized I don’t need them,” he said, rebellious at the face of her scrutiny. He saw her open her mouth and interrupted, “Maybe I just don’t know how to decorate. What do you suggest I need here, Chica?”
That started her off, pacing around his room. “Oh, you can say that again. You definitely need to repaint. This eggshell ivory wall thing you got going on? So not it. You need, like, a major splash of color. Oh and you definitely need something on this wall.” She gestured to an empty wall and he had to agree. Lisa had placed her large bookshelf there and after she had taken it back, he had just left it as is. “You definitely need a mirror or something. You got like a teeny tiny window. You need more light and a mirror will do just that. Plus, you can see just how ugly you are right as you wake up, Noob.”
He rolled his eyes at her jab. He knew she found him attractive if her sharp intakes of breath whenever he came near her were any indication, but he wouldn’t call her out on it. She wasn’t ready for that conversation yet. Even if he was itching to take a serious step with her, she was still firmly trying to deny her attraction to him. Although, he was making great strides in drawing her walls down with their movie nights or evening dinners. Hell, they spent more time together during their days off than not. However, she was insistent on keeping him as a best friend for now so he would have to bid his time. Instead, he watched, amused, as she continued on. “You should get maybe a desk with a large mirror or like a cabinet with mirrors for your extra things.”
He nodded along with her even though he didn’t need a desk or any more space simply because he didn’t have many extra things to begin with. She, however, had plenty of things and needed a desk for her laptops and gadgets. It would be presumptuous of him to buy a desk or cabinet for his best friend. However, he could picture her waking up on his bed, heading to his shower before moving to a vanity of sorts to get ready for work. Before he could put a stop to that thought, he had found himself saying, “Maybe a vanity would work. Or a dresser with a mirror.”
He cursed himself but her eyes had sparkled and she moved back to picture it. “Yea, a vanity would definitely work right here.” That was how he found himself ordering a marble dresser with a large matching mirror the week after. It was sleek and the best part was that it was Penelope approved.
Penelope startled from the memory as Roxy moved to a better position, her fur moving against her dangling leg. However, Penelope was dazed staring at Roxy, and when she realizes the truth of her feelings-rather, the extent of said feelings, she feels a little breathless. Oh.
After his break with Lisa, he had been having a difficult time setting up a reliable dog sitting schedule because Roxy’s previous dog sitter had moved away. Penelope, taking pity on the stressed out Luke, had offered to take care of Roxy during cases until he could figure it out. It had been four months since then and Roxy had become a fixed part of her life. Roxy would spend most of her time at Penelope’s apartment and the pet sitter who checked in with Sergio had accepted the dog quite quickly after meeting her.
With that, Luke and Penelope had simply adapted. Their friendship blossomed into something that both were hesitant to discuss but were content to dance around. Well, at least Penelope was content to dance around. She didn’t know but Luke had accepted his own feelings for the blonde awhile back and was content to let her come to her own conclusions about them. Although he was not above nudging it along, with lingering hands on her back or stray kisses to her temple during their movie nights. With that, Luke spent more time at her place, even having a full drawer in her closet dedicated to his clothes and Roxy’s food and toys taking space next to Sergio’s. Penelope had added a pink dog bed for Roxy in her living room right next to Sergio’s new cat tower that had a cat bed installed at the top; his Christmas gift from Luke.
Penelope gulped, her eyes looking around Luke’s bedroom, eyes catching on his gun cabinet. He had moved it in his room after a deep conversation after another one of their movie nights and Penelope had sleepily admitted her aversion to guns while dozing on his plush couch. It was a confession that she barely remembered until she noticed the cabinet moved from his living room to his bedroom and a matching purple and pink one being delivered to hers. Luke had shrugged when she asked about it and mumbled his way out of her question but he had insisted on installing the drawer at her place the next day.
Her eyes caught on the vanity again. She had left her makeup bag and skin care bottles and creams littered on top. In fact, without her knowledge, she had commandeered the left column drawers as hers. She had her comfy clothes at the very bottom just in case she stayed the night. (Her nicer clothes take up space in the left side of his closet.) The second drawer filled with her spare tech stuff from extra charging blocks and stray cables to an extra laptop and tablet. The very top top drawer had a mix of her makeup, skin care, and toiletries. He had offered his new vanity after he had caught her fumbling with her makeup in his bathroom with the mirror being a little too small for her.
“Chica, come on. Just use the vanity.”
“It’s fine Luke, I think I got it.” Except she didn’t. It had been quite difficult to get a proper angle to put on her eyeliner when she had such terrible vision. She huffed, squinting at herself before groaning when she messed up eyeliner.
Luke chuckled but then gently grabbed her makeup bag and tugged at her elbow, dragging her to his room and in front of the vanity. “See? You get better light, bigger mirror, better angle here. I’ll even get you a seat.”
“No,” she started but Luke was already out of the room.
“Hush, woman.” He came back with a stool and placed it in front of her.
Penelope shook herself out of the memory, eyes stuck on said stool which was snuggled in between the drawers. Luke had removed the middle column of drawers so that he could place the stool under it that same day. She had commented on how quickly he had done so and he pretended like he hadn’t bought that particular vanity dresser for that exact function. A vanity dresser that could easily be changed to a makeup vanity to even a spacious desk.
She has to tear her eyes away, overwhelmed. However, her eyes catch the glint of Luke’s large new tv. A tv that he had bought for his room after they had woken up in an uncomfortable tangle of limbs on one of his couches for the last time. Whilst they both had invested in comfy couches, their couches were entirely too small for the both of them. So he had grabbed a bleary Penelope and drove them to the nearest appliance store. He had waved his hand around-and his credit card, getting her to pick out a large smart tv in her pajamas. She would scold him for the spontaneous purchase later but she was disoriented in the middle of their local Best Buy dressed in his army hoodie and her unicorn bottoms.
Then Roxy sits up abruptly before bounding towards the front door. Penelope stays put and waits, eyes moving to the bedroom door and still sprawled on the edge of his bed with her legs dangling.
“Chica, don’t tempt me like that.” She hears his deep growl, his velvet deep voice eliciting a shiver from her, before seeing him walk through his bedroom door. He walks in, looking like he walked out of a men’s magazine with his button up shirt rumpled and his dark chocolate curly tresses disheveled, as he dumps his go bag by the door.
She wiggles her toes at him as a greeting, not trusting her voice.
“You ok?” He pauses, giving her a concerned glance with his brows furrowing and his lips frowning.
Penelope is entranced, seeing the concern and the tenderness in his gaze. It was a gaze she couldn’t ignore anymore. She spoke quietly but firmly letting the words fill the air, wandering the expanse of his bedroom. “I love you, Luke Alvez.”
He looks startled, his eyes bulging out in wonder, before his face erupting into a wide happy grin, all dimples and joy. “Well, it’s about damn time, Chica.”