Spencer held the door open as you exited the restaurant. This was your first date, but you had the feeling he would still be just as chivalrous on your tenth date and after. He seemed like a really nice guy, and you had been pleasantly surprised when he asked you out.
The two of you had been attending a 10-week book discussion series at the library. You glanced at him a couple times the first night and thought he was fairly cute, but you’d really noticed him the second week when he went into a five-minute monologue about an obscure historical topic that was briefly mentioned in that week’s book. Everyone else had started shifting in their seats and shooting glances at each other, but you were enthralled by his enthusiasm, the sound of his voice, and the way he moved his hands. You smiled encouragingly when he looked your way and, when he was finished, came up with a comment (which you hoped sounded relatively intelligent compared to everything he'd just said) to show him you’d been paying attention.
You were disappointed when he missed the third session and hoped he hadn't been put off by the others' reactions to his contribution. You approached him the next week to ask how he'd been.
"Hey. Spencer, right?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm Dr. Spencer Reid. And you're Y/N."
"That's right." You smiled. "Good memory."
"Eidetic actually. I remember almost everything I read."
"Oh. Wow." You were impressed, but also a little embarrassed that you'd thought he was paying attention to you specifically, instead of just reading everyone's nametags from the first night.
He noticed your discomfort and quickly added, "I remember you though. You had really good insights into the character motivations from the first week's book."
"Thank you. I was surprised not to see here you last week."
"Yeah, I hated to miss it, but we were called away on a case."
"I'm a profiler with the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, the BAU. We work on serial killings, kidnappings, those kinds of things."
"Oh wow! Well now I'm especially flattered that you appreciated my character analysis. I guess you know almost everything about human behavior."
He looked like he was about to say something else, but the librarian moderating the discussions called for everyone's attention and the group quieted down and settled into their seats, cutting your conversation short.
You and Spencer exchanged a few comments at the following sessions. He would be kind of awkward at first, but you made an effort to bring up things you thought he'd be interested in, and then he could go on talking excitedly for a while and not be so self-conscious. When he ended up missing another week for work, he arrived early the next time and was waiting for you.
"Hey Spencer! Did you have another case? How'd it go?"
"It ended well, thankfully. We found a missing kid and were able to get her home safely."
"That's great! My brain was coming up with all kinds of crazy ideas of what you might be working on." You hesitated for a minute. "I wished I had a way to contact you and make sure you were doing okay."
"Oh. Oh, well, um, I'm not very techy but I could give you my cell phone number. And if you wanted to give me yours I can maybe let you know next time, if I can't make it."
"That sounds good," you said with a smile. You were glad he offered and you hadn't needed to ask for his number outright. You usually left it up to the other person to ask you things like that early in the relationship, but you were afraid Spencer would be too shy and you really liked him.
There were only two weeks left in the discussion series after that though, and you and Spencer hadn't needed to contact each other over any absences. As the final discussion session was wrapping up, you were contemplating how to say goodbye to him, unsure if you would get to see him again. Deep in thought as the other attendees were gathering their things and filing out of the room, you didn't notice Spencer walking over until he was right in front of you. You'd barely registered his presence when he blurted out, "I was wondering if you might want to go out to dinner with me next week? Maybe this same time?" He bit his lip and shifted his eyes around nervously, but looked back at you and smiled after you said yes.
Your conversation over dinner tonight had started much the same as usual, but it was nice to have more time one-on-one without interruptions and you did get into learning more personal information about each other. It was a very different atmosphere with the two of you in the candlelit restaurant compared to the group setting under fluorescent lights in the library community room. Someone at the table next to you knocked over the salt shaker and threw a pinch over their shoulder. You voiced your surprise that someone would do that in a nice restaurant, and Spencer went into a detailed explanation of the old superstition.
"You probably didn't want to hear all that though..." he finished.
"It's fine. I'm always amazed at the things you know. And I like listening to you talk."
"You're really the only one," he said with a nervous chuckle. "Even my coworkers, we're like family, but they all just kind of joke about it when I talk a lot unless it's directly necessary for the case. But you always listen, Y/N."
Eventually the waiter came over to ask if you needed anything else and gently reminded you that the restaurant was about to close.
"I've had a really nice time tonight, Spencer."
"So have I, Y/N."
Now you and Spencer started walking up the street from the restaurant to the downtown parking lot, close enough to each other that your arms kept brushing together. You hunched your shoulders up a bit in the chill night air.
“Are you cold?” he asked, unfolding his coat from where it had been draped over his other arm.
You nodded and stopped at the edge of the sidewalk. “Mostly my back. There’s a cutout in my dress.”
He moved behind you to put the coat over your shoulders and you pulled your hair around in front of you.
“That’s very nice,” he said softly from behind you.
Spencer gently brushed over a piece of hair you had missed and his fingertips grazed lightly over your skin, lingering longer than they needed to. He rested that hand at your shoulder for a moment and his other hand traced across your exposed back, the collar of the coat hooked over his thumb. You smiled, though he couldn’t see it. Then he cleared his throat and settled the coat around you.
“Don’t be,” you replied.
“I touched you without asking.”
You turned around so you could see each other’s faces. “Well, I appreciate your awareness of the issue,” you said genuinely. “You don’t have to ask about every single thing though."
He still looked uncomfortable.
"Consider the context here.”
He raised an eyebrow at you.
“Think through it, Mr. Profiler,” you teased gently.
Now he was in analysis mode. “We're not strangers, we’ve known each other for a while, and we’re on a date."
You nodded. Spencer shifted his weight between his feet and unfocused his gaze as he was thinking.
"You already said when we finished dinner that you enjoyed the evening.”
“Your body language was open and engaged during dinner, and just now we were walking closer together than people usually do. That was some touching there, actually, kind of.”
Another nod as he looked up at you again.
“You mentioned the cutout in your dress and you let me see it instead of saying you didn’t want the coat or leaving your hair down over it like it was.” He paused for a brief moment, thinking back. “You didn’t tense up when I moved your hair; your shoulders actually relaxed a little bit. And then you didn’t move away at all when I touched your back.”
“All true,” you replied. “And it was a gentle touch on a fairly innocuous part of the body."
You reached your arms out toward him but paused, waiting until he looked at you and lifted his hands before taking them in your own.
"See, as long as you’re mindful of the other person, you can often use nonverbal cues to determine consent.”
Spencer was nodding now, and seemed to be feeling better about the situation.
“Of course, there are certainly times when it’s better to communicate more directly.” You moved a bit closer and faced him straight on. “For example, you still look a little tense, so I’m going to ask first... Can I kiss you?”
He hesitated for a moment, chewing on his lip. It seemed like a nervous habit; he’d done the same thing when he asked you out.
"You’re allowed to say no,” you said, catching his eye.
He shook his head and rocked slightly back on his heels before settling down. “I’d like it if we kissed,” he said firmly. You smiled and leaned closer, and he moved an arm to your waist.
The kiss was slow and soft, but warm. You felt him smile as he pulled back. He kept his arm at your waist as the two of you resumed the walk to your cars.
"Is it too early to ask you for another date?" Spencer asked.
"Would you like to keep meeting at this time? Um, maybe every week whenever I'm in town? Is that too much?"
"No, that sounds great."
"Good. I would hate to see you any less than we have been."
He turned his head toward you.
"Just so you know, I really like having my back traced."
His arm slipped up under his coat on your shoulders, his fingers finding the cutout in your dress again.