Derek smiled as he drove towards the farm, replaying the conversation he had with Marie in his head. It was weird, how being called an idiot could please him so much.
"Oh, before I forget, Cara came to visit my flatmate and left her number. You’re welcome."
Derek looked over at Emmet who sat in the passenger seat. He frowned. "Who?"
Emmet raised an eyebrow as Derek turned back to look at the road. "Cara, man. The blue-haired Indian bombshell that was hanging around you for most of the party," Emmet said. "Oh, right, Cara." Derek’s tone was flat. "She was way too eager."
Emmet laughed. "You have got to be the only guy I know that would pass up a girl like that just because she’s eager." Out of the corner of his eye, Derek saw Emmet shake his head. "Is it because of Marie?"
Derek nearly slammed his foot down on the accelerator. His head turned in Emmet’s direction before looking at the road again. "Why would it be?" He asked. Emmet met his gaze with a level stare. "I’m not stupid, Derek," Emmet said as an answer. Derek’s mind brought up a vision of the brief kiss he had given her and he felt his lip tug at a smile. He had replayed that kiss more times than he could count and each time he wished, he had done a better job of it. He didn’t think, just acted on impulse. By the time he realized he had kissed her, it was over. He didn’t even take the time to savor it. It wasn’t like him. He could kiss a girl in ways that made her forget her own name yet somehow that part of him fled at the moment he needed it most.
Derek thought he knew the art of seduction like he had invented it. But none of his normal "rules" applied to Marie.
Before her girls fell easily to his charms, to his eyes, to his intellect. Even the ones who thought they were giving him a hard time were nothing compared to Marie. He knew how to handle them, knew how to play the game. Marie simply took his ways on as a playful challenge. She made him laugh more and, without even being aware of it, charmed him outside himself. Throughout his life he had learned when to push and when to pull when it came to girls, with Marie he just had no idea. And he loved every moment of figuring it out.
"It might be," he said to Emmet and nodded.
"I knew it! Thank God! I was starting to wonder if you’d just lost your drive for women or something."
Derek smirked. "She’s making me work for it though," he said. "Ah, no wonder. You’ve never liked anything that came easily," Emmet said. "Why do you think I studied Architecture?"
They turned into the farm and drove until they reached his dad’s house. Before Derek could even get the key out, Cleo ran through the front door towards them. "Emmet! Derek!"
Derek stepped out and she grabbed his hand instantly. "Come on. It’s happening!" Cleo tugged him towards the house. Surprised and amused, Derek laughed as he followed. "What’s happening?" He asked. "No time. Come on!"
She pulled him around the house towards the pig pens and pointed. "Look!"
Derek was surprised when he saw Aunty Martha walking around the open area of her pen with little discomfort. She had been moved to a new one that had a little building attached to it for when she would give birth. He noticed his dad standing near the pen and shot him a questioning look. The man chuckled. "I told her today would probably due day," Mr. West said and shook his head. "Biggest mistake ever. The pig can’t lie down without Cleo expecting it to happen." Derek grinned and looked down at the little girl still clutching his hand.
She looked up at him with disappointed eyes. "Sorry," she said and dropped her head shyly. Derek ruffled her hair with a smirk. "Don’t worry about it. She’ll pop them out when the time is right," he said. "But they’re taking so long!" Cleo whined and crossed her arms over her chest. Derek chuckled and went down on his hunches in front of her. "Hey, those little piglets will be here soon, you’ve just gotta have some patience," he said and smiled when Cleo looked at him. Emmet strolled over. "In the meantime you’ve got to keep busy, Cleo. Why don’t we go play with the kids?" Emmet asked, referring to the little goats and gestured towards the barn. "Or you can show Derek those drawings you made," Mr. West said, crossing his arms over his chest and smiling down at the little girl. Derek’s brows lifted with interest. "You like drawing?" He asked. Cleo nodded, giving him a smile that flashed the new gap she had in the bottom row of her teeth. "She’s very good for her age," Mr. West said. "She’s a little Van Gogh," Emmet agreed with a smirk. Derek’s lip tugged at a grin. "Well, there’s one thing I can do well and that’s drawing. Why don’t you show me your drawings then maybe we can do one together while we wait for this one to do her business?" Derek suggested while pointing with his thumb towards the sow in the pen. "You’re good at drawing?" She asked. "I’m an architect."
Derek laughed. "I’ll show you. Just get me some paper and pencils," he said and stood. "Okay," Cleo said and lifted her hand out to him. It took Derek a moment to realize she wanted him to take her hand. He complied and let her guide him into the house.
Butterfly: Your excitement is so infectious! Haha. I had to reread the chapter after your comments and it felt like I was reading it for the first time. Laughed at myself when I finished.
Thanks, love :)
Olive: Aw, thanks so much!
Lin: Haha. Such an eager beaver. I'm trying to update as soon as I finish a chapter and am fully satisfied with it and it's becoming easier as we near the climax, but next chapter they finally talk it out (should be out just after this one). I absolutely refused to post anything until I finished with that chapter just cause I read your comment. Hope it doesn't disappoint (it might, depending on what you were expecting, but I feel like Marie's a much stronger character with more backbone than she lets herself believe and had to give her the respect of that).
Miha: I have been trying to avoid spoilers for that movie so much for the past few weeks! I haven't had the chance to see it yet (going tomorrow - so amped!). I'm trying to be sensitive to the fact that some people aren't superhero fans, but it's really difficult when all these awesome movies and series are coming out and I'm having a lot of trouble keeping it in. SO happy to have another fan reading the stories.
As for Derek and Marie, I very much adore them together. I love their bond and their characters. I've never really had characters like Marie and Derek yet so I've grown very attached to them (I get attached to all my characters but these are just so much more playful and dynamic to me). Cleo is also becoming one of my favorites. She's based off my niece whom I absolutely adore
Anyway, that was a mouthful. Hope you liked this chapter and the next.