The sun was behind the mountains when Derek finally drove away from his grandmother's house, creating a glowing amber rim along the tops. He ran his hand along the back of his neck as he replayed the kiss in his mind. He smiled as he felt a flutter in his stomach. Definitely better than the first. Best of all, Marie finally gave in, maybe now she could stop being so hard to get. Before he drove too far, he fished his phone out of his pocket and dialed a number then waited as it rang.
Derek's face immediately broke into a grin when he heard Cleo's voice. "Hey! Just the person I wanted to speak to. I've got a surprise for you. Where's my dad?" He asked. "He's outside feeding the pigs. What did you get me?" Cleo asked excitedly. "You'll see. Tell him to leave the gate open. I'll be there in a few minutes," He said.
Cleo was waiting for him on the steps of the front door when his car pulled up. She surprised him by running towards the car even before it stopped and jumped into his arms when the door opened.
"Derek!" She called, causing him to laugh. She clutched onto him with her little arms around his neck. He found himself folding his arms around her and pulling her close in a hug. Derek stood up from the car with astounding ease. She couldn't have weighed more than a kitten. Her bones were light and featherlike, it felt like he was carrying an empty box. She looked at him and pulled her hair out of her face, a massive grin on her lips. At that moment, Derek noticed the things in her that he saw in himself. They shared the same hair color, the same light dent at the bridge of their noses, she even had the same round cheeks he had as a child. She had their mother's color eyes though, but hers had a brightness, an innocence that he had never seen in another human being, that was a trait that belonged exclusively to Cleo.
"Hey, kiddo. How's it going?" He asked and hoisted her up higher on his hip. "Uncle John let me watch when the goat had her babies today," she said with joy in her voice. "Really? That must have been gross," he said and pulled a face. Cleo tried to mimic his expression and Derek had to keep from laughing. "Gross," she said then sobered. "But cool! She had twins," Cleo said. Derek smiled. "That's great. Did you name them?" he asked and began walking towards the entrance of the house. She shook her head. "Uncle John said not to name them 'cause then I'd get att- . . . ach . . ."
"Attached," she finished with a shy smile. "He used to say the same for me when I was younger," Derek said. "But Marie got a pig! How come I can't get a goat?" She asked. Derek glanced into the living room to see if his father was there before continuing down the hall to the kitchen. "That's different. The goats want to be with their mommy, Cleo," he said. Her expression dropped and Derek felt like he could smack himself. "But you know what I think?"'
"What?" Cleo asked. "I think you should have a pet. I used to have a hamster when I stayed with my grandma. What do you say we go ask -." He paused. " - Uncle John if you and me can go to the pet store on Monday."
"Yes!" Cleo said and hugged him around his neck again. "I want a hamster! No! A puppy!"
"How 'bout a guinea pig? They're like a hamster and a puppy combined." He meant it in a joking way, but Cleo squealed with such delight he felt that she had taken him seriously. He laughed and they entered the kitchen where a heavenly scent hit him. His father was standing behind the stove and turned at the sound of their activity. He smiled at the two of them. "Well this all sounds exciting. Does my opinion matter in this discussion or are we to be men and just keep the women in our life happy?" he asked. Derek smirked. "I don't think anyone could manage saying no to that face," he said and pointed towards Cleo. Taking her cue, Cleo stuck out her bottom lip and squinted her eyes at Mr West. He finally laughed and shook his head. "I suppose one guinea pig couldn't do much harm in this house. Lord knows you need a playmate that isn't too old and can't kick or bite you on every occasion," he said. Only then did Derek realize his mouth was watering. "Pork chops?" he asked. His father nodded. "Stick around and I'll grill one up for you too," he said and turned back towards the stove. Derek tried not to express how appealing that sounded. He loved his grandmother and he loved her food, but no one could grill up a steak or a chop like his father could.
"So what brings you around this time of night?" Mr. West asked with his eyes on the stove. "I actually came to talk to you about brandy."
Mr West looked over his shoulder, his brows forming a slight frown. "That can wait until after dinner," he said and looked at Cleo. "About that surprise I brought. My grandma sent about a dozen cupcakes."
Cleo's eyes widened and Derek fought back his laugh. "Dessert?" He asked. Cleo nodded enthusiastically.
Marie ran her thumb lightly over her bottom lip. She smiled and bit on it, hard. Her lips were still tingling even now that the stars were out. She sat in the bay window of her bedroom and stared at the dark garden below, half lost in a daydream. She finally sighed and shook her head. "What is the matter with you?" She asked herself but couldn't stop smiling. This was stupid - crazy even! Derek West. She shook her head as she tried to shake the feelings inside of her. She dropped her head against her knees and let out a breath. "This was a mistake," she mumbled. Painful pleasure shot through her at every heartbeat. Every time she thought about Derek her heart would race to the point where she thought it would stop completely from exhaustion.
She loved him.
The realization was painful and terrifying. She knew Derek didn't love her back. He was merely infatuated. Girls were sport to him and she had held out longer than other girls, that's the only reason he wanted her. She knew it from the beginning. Just like she knew from the beginning she'd fall in love with him. She given up on lying to herself. The moment she first saw the way Derek interacted with his grandmother she knew she was changed forever. That absolute adoration and love in his eyes when he spoke with Mrs. West and the respect he had for her. He was everything, she wasn't aware she wanted, everything she needed and more. But he wasn't hers and she had little hope that he ever would be. She knew Derek well enough to know that an "I love you" was the last thing he wanted to hear from any girl. And she had been stupid enough to fall in love with someone like that.
So this one might take (has taken) a while to upload, but here it is :)
*Butterfly: Aw, you're adorable! I love your comments. I'm so sorry for taking so long!
*Miha: I am a massive fan! Haha. I cannot tell you how many debates have started between my friends and I about this. Even strangers! I was once walking down the street after seeing Age of Ultron I think, and we were discussing the movie while walking back to our residences (we live in walking distance from the mall but far enough to have a long discussion about the movie) and I have this habit of trying to find the DC version of every Marvel character and vice versa, so we started comparing the way Tony Stark was Marvel's Batman and the debate stretched on until we got into the Superman vs Batman debate. A couple of guys walked past just as I was delivering my statement on why Batman is better and this one guy just calls out loudly, "Superman is better than Batman!" then i screamed back, "Not in a million years!" then another debate began! Lol.
Uhm, I'm very much on Batman and Tony's side although I do love Captain and his team very much (Bucky!! Falcon!! Whoo!). Tony tends to make some bad decisions from time to time but he's just such a genius and so awesome! Batman is just the legend of all the DC characters although I wasn't very happy with the way he portrayed him in Dawn of Justice because firstly; Batman doesn't kill! it's one of the things he stands for, secondly; Batman is the best detective in the world, he knows who everyone is - everyone, plus Superman has x-ray vision, you're telling me he cant just see through Batman's suit and Batman just casually didn't know Superman was Clarke Kent and Luther was up to no good? Not likely. The list goes on and this reply is getting rather long.
Regarding the debate about Tony vs Bruce - no comment. Haha. I had this discussion with some friends the other night and it didn't end. We're gonna have a follow up in a few days.
*Angelic: I'm very sorry :(
*K: LOL! Best comment ever!