Marie sighed with contentment even as Derek broke the kiss and placed his forehead against hers. She had to keep her eyes closed in the aftermath. Even in the blissful few seconds of silence, she anticipated the arrogant remark he was about to make about how he had told her he was a good kisser which, obviously, she would oppose even though she had no idea how she would be able to find something to complain about. He wasn’t exaggerating.
So it came as a surprise when he blew out a breath and spoke.
"Marie . . . I . . . w-" Marie opened her eyes and realized he still had his closed. "I hope you realize what you’ve done," he said quietly. Marie could only stare at him as he seemed to struggle with something inside of him. "You . . ." he opened his eyes and her heart skipped a beat at a newfound roundness in his near transparent eyes. "Damn it, Marie, I can’t think," he said with amusement laced with something else in his voice, something almost straining. Marie dropped her eyes as she fought a smile. She felt his thumb stroke her bottom lip again. They sat in silence for a few seconds and Marie could feel Derek staring at her but she couldn’t find it in herself to look at him. Instead, she ran her fingers gently over the line of his collarbone.
"The phrase "watch your tongue" just took on a whole new meaning," Derek said, finally breaking the silence. Her hand stilled and she looked at him, not sure what he meant. He smiled. "If I knew kissing you was like that I would have done it a hundred times over between today and yesterday," he said. Marie laughed quietly. "It feels like you did. You’ve kissed my face so many times today that I’ve lost count," she said as she stared into his eyes. "I had to kiss some part of you or I’d lose my mind," he said and moved his hand to play with some of the wisps of hair that came loose from her ponytail.
Derek took a moment to lose himself in the way she looked at him. Girls had looked at him that way before; awestruck, dreamily, happy. Yet, somehow, this time he knew exactly what it felt like to be on the other end. For the first time, he was sure he had that exact look in his eyes. Another first was that his chest felt like bursting at the idea that he was the reason for that look on her face. Hell, he was crazy about her, no doubt. His heart was racing, his mind was a haze, and he couldn’t stop staring at her. He’d be an idiot not to admit that she had a hold on him stronger than he had realized. He pulled her closer to him with a smile and drew circles in the small of her back with his fingers. Ah, she felt so nice to hold.
"I could sit here for hours just holding you," he said, surprising himself. Marie smiled in that shy manner he had come to adore. "Yes, well, unfortunately there are two probably anxious ladies waiting for us down the street," Marie said. He almost groaned at the reminder that they had a deadline to this moment alone, he glanced quickly around to make sure the neighborhood was still empty before leaning closer and stealing anther sweet, soul-deep kiss that stopped the world from spinning.
When they entered the house, Giselle and Mrs. West both still behind their instruments, Giselle with her violin and Mrs. West with her piano. Both women stopped chatting and turned at the sound of the door opening. "You’re back!" Giselle said with a massive smile. "Good, we were hoping you two could settle something for us," Giselle said. Marie raised an eyebrow at her sister’s coolness. She was sure she’d get an earful of vicious teasing from the moment they returned.
"What needs settling?" Marie asked and walked towards her curious little piglet in the safety pen they had set up in the corner of the room. "Whether we should list Derek as your plus one or Mrs. West’s for the musical’s after party."
Marie froze in the middle of scratching Molly’s ear. She felt her body break out in cold sweat.
The after party.
How could she have expected Giselle not to invite Derek to that? The after party this year was possibly more anticipated than the actual show. This year it would be held at the palace. Her entire family would be there, the royals and the Balaco’s. Derek would meet everyone! Marie turned slowly and tried to calm her expression before facing the room. She raked her brain for a way out of this. No, too soon. Derek could NOT take this step into her life. She knew for a fact everyone would love him, especially her cousins. Rosaline and Rosemarie, her twin princess cousins, would adore him just because he was the first guy she had ever introduced to them, Prince Mark would love him because they both loved sport and gaming, Prince Matthew would love him because of his wit, that basically covered the royal side of her family. She knew uncle Andrew, her father’s brother, would initially interrogate him before finding nothing wrong with him. Her cousin Jonah wouldn’t care. All the women in her family would succumb easily to his charm. She couldn’t have that, not with someone she wasn’t stable with.
"Uh, Mrs. West’s," Marie said awkwardly. She couldn’t look at Derek. Giselle, however, had no problem with this. She pointed her bow at him. "You know you remind me a bit of my cousin, Mark, you’ve got to meet him," Giselle said. Marie looked at her sharply. Was her sister just hell-bent on making everything more difficult for her?!
"Prince Mark?" Derek asked for clarification. Giselle nodded. Marie looked at Derek. For the first time since she had met him, he actually looked baffled. "As in the future king?" Derek asked as his brows lowered slowly over his wide eyes. "Yeah, the after party will be held at the palace this year. I’m surprised Marie hasn’t told you," Giselle said, giving her sister a quick glance. "She did not," Derek said and ran a hand through his hair. "Hell, I thought it would just be a night of good music and entertainment. Now I’ll have to go home, inspect everything in my closet, realize I’m in denial then run to the nearest tailor like a man on meth," he said. Giselle laughed. "You’re a fast learner. Yes, and if you get stuck, google Chuck Bass, pick which one you like most then hand it to a tailor. You can’t go wrong," she said. Marie couldn’t help but laugh at that last comment. Her laughter caused Derek to turn to her. Seeming to remember she was there, he walked over, his cool composure back in check. "So how ‘bout it, Marie. Any specific color you’d like me to match?"
She knew he was teasing and that he meant to unnerve her, unfortunately it worked. She held still as he neared, his eyes pinned to hers. "Uhm, metallic pink," she said, surprised at how confident her voice came out. Derek stopped in front of her and lifted an eyebrow. "You’re joking right?" He asked. Marie grinned and shook her head. "Dead serious," she said and gave her most fake serious expression. Derek chuckled. "Bet you’re happy you’re not my plus one now, huh," Marie said and gave a playful wrinkle of her nose before turning around and picking Molly up from the safety gate.
"Well this has been absolutely lovely, but I need to head home and finish preparing for my exams," Giselle said as Marie turned with Molly in her arms. Giselle pointed at Derek. "Dinner. Friday. Seven PM. Don’t be late. Don’t bail. Bring flowers for my mom. She loves flowers," Giselle said with a smile. "And your dad?" Derek asked. Giselle shrugged. "If you can get your hands on a great brandy you’re good," she said. There was a pause that turned everyone’s attention to Derek. He seemed to be thinking deeply, a slight frown on his forehead.
"I think I can manage that," he said finally.
Okay, so long story short; life.
I shall post chapter 14 along with all the comment replies tonight :) (You guys crack me up, btw!) I'm in a bit of a rush right now but will have a quiet night tonight hopefully so I hope this chapter made you guys smile and will give you sweet dreams for a few hours and when you awaken or get back from classes or work or whatever you guys will be doing today, there will be another chapter :) Have a great day, guys!