Only You Ch. 04bynerd4music©
Carrie's past was quite scandalous. Her mother Ella had been ballet dancer whom Robert had fallen madly in love with. She had been a great beauty; a runaway from New Orleans who came to New York to pursue her dancer dreams, Robert fell for her light caramel skin and startling light green eyes. They had a passionate affair and when Carrie was born, he showered her with gifts and love.
Around this time, Robert was rapidly moving up the chain in organized crime. Though he wasn't a major player in the mafia, his various connections gave him a boost in the business world, helping him to acquire licenses for his business ventures. He was technically legitimate, as the feds could never exactly prove that he was associated with any of the major families. Still, some people had grudges against the suave businessman and some say his wife paid the ultimate price for his success. The car Donatella was in when she died, the brake line was cut.
Carrie's mother left to return home to New Orleans under threat of disownment from her own wealthy parents. She left young Carrie with her father. Robert was a widow with two four young boys and two infant children to care for. For many years, Robert had worked hard, keeping track of his business ventures while caring for his brood. Carrie was his light and joy and she was very close to her brother Nic, as they were the same age. When they were twelve, Robert married Maria, his current wife.
Derek couldn't believe Carrie's life. It was seriously straight out of a soap opera. Her family was loaded and she suffered at times from the 'Poor Little Rich Girl' syndrome. When she had revealed to him the complications of her past, he felt incredibly lucky to have the stability he had in his life. Shit, the most he ever had to deal with growing up was breaking his leg when he was eight after falling out of a tree in his backyard.
"I know what you're thinking," she said, jarring him out his thoughts. "My family is insane."
The corner of his mouth turned up in a half smile. "No worries, babe. Everyone's family has a little batshit in 'em. That's what makes it special." He reached over to grasp her hand. "I'm glad I came."
Carrie flashed him a warm smile, a rarity for a DiValenti. "I'm glad you came too."
"Hey Audra, it's me. Listen, we're gonna have to cancel this afternoon. Nino scheduled a staff meeting for three and you know how those go. We should get together later though, tonight even. Wear that blue top I like. Bye babe."
Drea snapped her cell phone shut. "Well that's done."
Teddy lowered his sunglasses and stared at her. "You are so sad, Andrea."
"What?" she asked innocently.
"You are leading that poor girl on. I don't know why you don't tell her you aren't looking for a relationship."
Drea shrugged. "She'll figure it out sometime. You know how I hate confrontations, especially with girls."
Teddy shot her a look. "Pathetic."
"Whatever, Teddy. Look can we just enjoy our afternoon out please?" She flipped her bright red hair over her slightly tan shoulder.
"Sure thing, sweets." Teddy shifted the set of bags in each hand. "Where to next?"
Drea shrugged. "Dunno. Maybe we should stop by that one store Tegan loves so much and pick her up a couple of tees."
Teddy nodded as they moved easily through the almost crowded street. "That'd be cool. Some cute summer tops would do her good. Have you heard from her lately? I haven't seen much of her since that day at her loft."
"A couple of phone calls and texts. She did a gig last night at the Romper Room but I was working the early shift that night and didn't get to catch up with her."
Teddy grinned. "Seems like little Ryan's been keeping her very busy. Note to self: call Tegan later on."
"Don't you have a job to do?" Drea asked, referring to his new project.
"Pshaw," was all he said. "Doing a series for some stuffy museum, or a night out drinking with good people?" Teddy grinned. "Besides, my best work is done under the influence, but that's a trade secret."
Drea pretended to zip her lips. "I'll take it to my grave." Her cell buzzed loudly. "Oh shit, text message from Audra." She stopped in front of a glass paneled café to read the message. "She's totally fine with the reschedule."
Teddy scoffed and wiped the sweat off his brown. "Of course she is. She's jonesin' for some Drea booty and will do anything to get it. How else do you explain how she bought that flimsy ass lie about a bar meeting in the middle of the damn day?"
Drea laughed as she typed back a response. "Well, let's just say Audra isn't the brightest crayon in the box. But she is hot." Teddy sucked his teeth and turned back to his reflection in the glass. He adjusted his stark white v-neck designer tee, making sure his large belt buckle showed. His milk chocolate skin shone in the bright summer sun and he was thankful for his shades; it was damn hot outside. Pushing his sunglasses on top his head, Teddy stared up at the sign in the window. Rio's. He had heard of this place before.
He was about to turn to Drea and see if she wanted to go inside when something caught his eye. The woman in the middle of the café. She was that Carrie chick from Derek's party. She was sitting at a table facing the window and was definitely there with someone, although the server was blocking his view. "Move bitch," he hissed loudly. When the brunette hopped away, giving Teddy a clear view, he gasped loudly. "You've got to be shitting me!" he exclaimed.
"What's wrong?" Drea asked.
He waved his arm furiously, beckoning her closer. "Look at that!" he pointed to Carrie. Drea followed his finger. "Oh, there's that Carrie chick. So what?"
Teddy harrumphed irritably. "No, not that bitch although she's dressed fabulously. I'm talking about who she's with."
Drea looked at the guy sitting across from Carrie. Shaggy black curls, Wiry frame. It couldn't be. "Is that....DEREK?"
Teddy nodded. "You bet your ass it is."
They watched as Derek grasped Carrie's hand in his. Her fingers stroked his cheek, an intimate act that sent Drea's blood boiling. "What the...oh that bitch is definitely going the right way for a face-punch!"
"Andrea wait!" Teddy exclaimed, barely grabbing hold of her before she went into the café. "You can't go busting up this kind of place in a bitch-fit. Girl, have some damn class."
She wrestled from his grasp. "Fine. But I swear, if I see that girl again I'm not responsible for what I do." She started walking brusquely down the street, pushing past people.
Teddy practically broke into a run to catch up with her. "Fine."
Drea huffed loudly. "What the hell is he doing in there?"
"Well, they are friends Drea."
"Correction, Theodore. They are former fuck buddies and that girl is clearly still into him. This shit is getting out of hand."
"What are you talking about?"
Drea suddenly stopped. "All of this," she snapped, spreading her arms wide for emphasis. "This entire situation. I've kept my mouth shut out of respect for Tegan and the fact that she seems so happy, but I'm about to lose my shit."
"Drea," Teddy said slowly. "I thought we agreed to stay out of Tegan and Derek's business. We said we'd let him tell Tegan everything on his time."
"That's the thing, Teddy. What kind of friends would we be to allow some British Don Juan to play our friend? Tegan, of all people. She's so innocent, Teddy and much too good for Hugh Grant over there and his bumbling yet charming buffoon act."
Teddy was silent for a moment. While he agreed with Drea, he still felt like Derek was decent. He was just behaving the way normal twenty-four year old guys do: like an ass ignorant to his actions. "Andrea, let's go talk to Tegan. I think that's the best we can do for now."
Tegan's phone buzzed loudly on the table next to her bed. She groaned, stirring from sleep. She had only planned to take an hour nap after Derek left to meet Carrie and that was nearly two hours ago. Sitting up, she yawned and rubbed her eyes. The phone still buzzing, she picked it up. It was a text message from Drea wondering where she was. When she flipped open her phone, she noticed a couple of missed calls from Drea.
She was about to call her back when the phone rang in her hand.
"Yeah, it's me."
"What's up? Did you call earlier?"
"I meant to, I just got caught up in some things back here at the hotel."
"Oh okay. Did you finish your article?"
He chuckled. "Yeah, I just turned it in to Matt and Jake. I'm all yours now."
Tegan smiled. "Mmm, I like the sound of that." She leaned back on her pillows. "Where are you?"
"Why?" he asked teasingly. "Miss me?"
"Well let me put it this way: what I'm planning to do right now, it's fun by myself but better with you."
There was a short silence on the phone before he spoke again. "You sure know how to make a man feel wanted, luv. What would you do to me if I was there right now?"
Tegan felt her cheeks flush. She had never done something like this before; dirty talk always made her think of some sleazy late night commercial with those plastic bimbos. But somehow this was different. This was Derek. "Derek," she whispered shyly. She heard the soft groan from the other end of the phone.
"Tegan J, you are such a little tease." His hearty laugh rang in her ear. "Maybe next time, eh?"
Breathing a sigh of relief, she smiled. One hurdle at a time. "I'll make it up to you baby, I promise."
"You can start by buying me a drink tonight. I'm taking you out."
"Really?" she asked excitedly. "Where are we going?"
"I dunno. It's a surprise for us both. Let's get everyone together. I'll invite Matt and Jake and you bring Drea and Teddy."
"Sounds good. Do you want us to meet you downtown at your hotel?"
"That'd be great. See you soon, babe. Wear something smashing so I can show you off."
Tegan closed her cell phone and picked up her cordless to dial Drea and Teddy's place. The phone rang once before she heard Teddy on the other end.
"Hey, what's up? I saw that Drea texted me."
"Oh yeah, about that. We were just wondering where you were."
"Asleep. I went to take a nap after Derek left to see Carrie."
"Oh," Teddy remarked. "So you knew about that?"
"Yeah," Tegan said slowly. "Wait, did you know about that?"
"Um, kind of. Drea and I saw them when we were out earlier."
There was a hesitance in his voice which sent a warning flag waving. "Oh...really?" she asked.
"Yeah. Well, anyway what's up? What are we doing tonight?"
"Well, Derek wants all of us to hang out tonight. We're gonna go out drinking or something."
"Sounds like fun. Where should we meet you?"
"Tell you what, why don't I meet you guys at your place? It's easier to catch a cab or the train from there."
"Cool. See you in like what, an hour?"
Tegan checked her watch. It was nearly eight PM. "Yeah, that sounds about right." She was about to hang up the phone when she heard Teddy shout.
"Wear whatever, T! You're changing it as soon as you get here!"
Nearly an hour and a half later they were sitting in Paddy's, an Irish bar located in the heart of the city. Teddy and Tegan had gone to find a table in the midst of the crowded place while Drea went to score drinks. Tegan pulled up her jeans before climbing onto the stool. "God, I hate seats like these" she grumbled. "I'm always afraid my crack is hanging out for the whole world to see."
Teddy laughed as he sat down across from her. "I'm sure there are many people in here who loved to see your crack."
"Shut up," she replied, a giggle spill out. She smoothed down the brand new shirt she was wearing. "Thanks again for the shirt, Teddy. It's really cute."
Teddy waved her praise away as if it were a fly. "No worries, honey. There was a huge sale at Aqua today. Just think of it as an early birthday gift."
"Teddy, my birthday is in October."
"So it's mad early. You deserve it."
Tegan smiled. The shirt was cute. It was the same blue as Derek's eyes with little gold stars sprinkled all over. It molded over her ample cleavage and was long enough to cover her hips. It was a rarity to find a shirt that made her feel sexy and comfortable at the same time. But then again, that was Teddy; he always looked out for her.
"Whew!" Drea called as she plopped down on the stool next to Teddy. "That bar is a fucking madhouse!" With a grunt, she lugged the large bucket of beers onto the table.
Tegan let out a low whistle. "Jesus, Drea how much you planning on knocking back?"
Drea grinned as she used the opener on her keys to take the top off one of the bottles. "Hey, one must always be prepared." She did the same to two other bottles and handed them to Tegan and Teddy. "Alright, let's get this night started."
They had barely finished one beer when Derek appeared with Matt and Jake in tow. "Hey guys!" he called brightly. Grabbing Tegan by the waist, he lifted her off the stool and planted a large, wet kiss on her cheek. "How's my sexy girl doing?"
Tegan giggled and tried to release his death grip on her. "I'm fine, Derek." She looked at Matt and Jake who waved hello and sat down. "Hey guys."
"DJ Girl!" Matt called to her. "Cool place. Kind of a madhouse tonight, innit?"
"It's Bucket Saturday!" Drea said excitedly. "It's always crazy!" She handed Matt and Jake a beer. "Drink up boys! We're doing some damage tonight!"
Derek still held onto Tegan. Leaning forward, he moved to her ear. "I can't wait to get you alone," he whispered.
Tegan noticed he was slurring a little. "Derek, are you already drunk?"
He smiled his usual half-grin. "I might be a lil' buzzed. Not drunk. I'm gonna need a clear head tonight."
"Were you drinking earlier with Carrie?" Tegan hoped that didn't sound like a jealous accusation.
Derek shook his head. "Nope. I just started maybe an hour ago."
"Derek, you didn't tell her the good news?" Jake asked, tipping the bottle to his lips.
"Tell me what?"
"We were celebrating earlier," Jake said, a grin on his ruddy face. "We got a major offer from some bigwig who wants to buy our company."
"That's great!" Teddy exclaimed. "Congratulations guys!"
"Hear hear!" Matt said, raising his bottle. Drea, Teddy and Jake followed suit, clinking bottles and drinking.
Tegan stared at Derek, who had released his grip to sit on the stool next to her. "Are you alright with this, babe?" she whispered.
His blue eyes stared back at her. "I don't want to think about it," he said, shrugging his shoulders. "Let's not talk about deals. The only thing I want to do is hang out with my mates and my best girl at my side. Now drink up, lads!" he whizzed around. "Who the fuck is buying the shots?" ********
Derek was having a good time. At least that's how it looked from the outside. The offer to buy NerdsUnite! had really thrown him off guard. After his afternoon with Carrie he went back to the hotel to finish his article. He had received a phone call from Simon Slade, some bigwig out in Los Angeles interested in the company. Apparently Slade worked for the same conglomerate that had recently taken over another, larger, networking community. He liked what he saw at NerdsUnite! and was very pleased to meet the Geek Trifecta.
Jake had been his usual self, thrilled but wondering about the money aspect. Matt was the sensible one of the three. He was also excited, but also hesitant about what the offer meant. Derek was unsure of how he felt. The company was their baby. It just seemed wrong to just part with it. So, instead of voicing his opinions he kept quiet and celebrated with his friends by cracking open the hotel mini-bar.
Slade wanted the Trifecta to come to Los Angeles to meet with the rest of his company, another reason Derek was so uneasy. Slade was flying them out on Monday, nearly a week earlier than he planned to leave for the West Coast leg of the NerdsUnite! tour. It meant that he'd have to leave New York early. More specifically, he'd be leaving Tegan earlier than he planned.
He wasn't sure how he felt about that. On one hand, man she was special; completely unlike any other girl he knew. She could carry a conversation and he wasn't constantly worrying whether or not she was impressed by him. She talked to him like he mattered, like being Dex Ryan's little brother wasn't everything to know about him. But there were major drawbacks to the situation. He didn't live in New York, and being with her was more like being on a vacation or honeymoon; sooner or later he'd have to go back to the real world.
Derek shook his curls in an attempt to clear his head. He tried to bring his focus back to the group of people in front of him. They were clearly having a much better time. He felt Tegan's hand rest on his thigh as she gave him a reassuring rub. He smiled at her. She really is fucking great, he thought. Draining his beer, he rejoined the conversation.
"For fuck's sake!" Matt bellowed. "This music is shite!"
Tegan grinned. "Well I can't be the DJ everywhere, Matt."
"I'll say," Jake said. "Speaking of, Derek tells us you're really good with your hands." His green eyes gave her a lewd wink.
"Oh really?" she asked, turning to look at Derek who suddenly became very interested in a bottle cap. "Well if Derek keeps running his mouth, he'll find himself on a lot more solo missions."
The whole table erupted in laughter.
"That's my girl!" Drea called out.
"Somebody better call an ambulance for that burn!" Matt said gleefully.
"Oh knock off, you prats!" Derek said. "I never even told you anything Jake, you wanker."
Jake grinned evilly. "I know, mate."
Tegan kissed Derek lightly. "Come on, babe. He's just having a go at you."
"Well ha ha." He got up. "I'll be right back."
"What the hell is his problem?" Jake asked as Derek pushed his way to the bathroom.
Teddy shook his head. "Must be that time of the month."
When he got to the bathroom, Derek splashed cold water on his face. "Get it together, Ryan" he said. His foul mood couldn't be helped, but he tried to gloss over everything. No use in everyone else's night being ruined. Giving himself a once-over in the mirror, he headed back to the door. As he stepped out of the bathroom he collided with someone.
"Oh shit," he remarked, righting the person. "Sorry about that, mate."
"No problem," the woman said.
Derek grinned. "Oh, Drea it's you."
"Yeah, me" she replied. She was holding on to the wall, swaying slightly.
"You okay?" he asked.
"I'm fine. Just a lil' tipsy." She giggled softly. "Having a good time?"
Drea snorted loudly. "Sure. You're a lousy liar, Little Ryan."
Derek shot her a look. "I think I'm gonna go back to the table."
"Yeah, why don't you do that?"
He crossed his arms, the frustration evident on his handsome face. "What is your problem? I thought we were cool." A slight frown crossed her pretty face. "We were, until you started acting like an asshole."
"What are you..."
"I know about everything, Derek."
He was shocked into silence. "What...what do you know?"
Drea scoffed and leaned against the wall for support. "About Carrie and your whole friends with benefit deal. And your British girlfriend with the rockstar daddy. You know she's been to rehab for a coke habit?"
Derek felt as if he'd been slapped. He tried to grasp the words she was saying, but it felt he was getting the spins and it wasn't all from the alcohol. "Are you going to tell her?"
She laughed loudly. "Is that all you're going to say?"
"I just...you don't know the whole story, Drea. How did you even know about Lottie?"
"Your friend Nina told me the night of your party. And about the coke thing...I hope you really didn't believe you were the only one that knew about it. Come on, Ryan. She was just in the tabloids the other day about doing lines off the table in a London club."