Only You Ch. 06bynerd4music©
Simon looked up from talking with Matt to smile at him. "D. Rye! You finally made it." He patted the chair next to him. "Come and sit. We've got a lot to go over."
Derek sat down, his hands pressed flat on the table surface. "So what's up Simon?"
"Like I said before boys, I really want your company. I believe that NerdsUnite! is a fantastic concept and brand. You deserve to be rewarded for the hard work that was put into making the company a success. I believe that with Slade Enterprises all that can be accomplished."
His smile grew broader. He handed out a single sheet of paper to the three of them. "This is how much we are prepared to offer each of you for your share."
Derek picked up the paper and his heart nearly stopped when he read the sum. Fifteen million dollars. FIFTEEN?!? He didn't even know their little company was worth that amount. "There must be some mistake," he whispered.
"No mistake," Simon said, shaking his head. "Believe me when I say you gentlemen will be generously compensated for your efforts. Now this is the base offer and we're prepared to negotiate the terms of the contract whenever you guys are ready."
Derek nodded and was about to open his mouth when Matt surprisingly spoke up. "I do believe that your intentions are honorable, Mr. Slade. And I also believe that your ideas to bring NerdsUnite! into the mainstream are very ingenious. But I still don't understand one thing: why us? Why our company? There are hundreds of websites that offer what we do. And yeah, we're pretty fucking cool, but what made you decide that we were what you wanted?"
Simon's grey eyes were thoughtful for a moment. "Matt, I saw something in your company that makes it a step above the rest. I saw the hard work, the effort, and most of all the camaraderie between three friends who really respected each other. And honestly, you guys looked like you were having a really fucking awesome time."
Matt grinned. "We do have an awesome time. And that's why I still love doing my job. Do you know how hard it is for people to find a job they truly love? I wake up in the morning and I'm fucking ecstatic to turn on my computer and blog or make a video or read a new profile.
It's a great feeling to do what I do, Mr. Slade, I'm sure you can agree with me on that. I can't speak for Derek or Jake, but I don't think there's enough money in all of Los Angeles to make me give up that feeling."
He smiled at Derek who was gaping at him, a look of pure astonishment on his handsome face. Matt was usually the quiet one out of the three, the peacemaker. He had never heard him speak so passionately, so forcefully; it was amazing.
"Matthew," Derek said. "You're so badass right now. It's kind of hot."
"Thanks baby," Matt replied as he let out a hearty chuckle. He turned his focus to Simon, who had been listening quietly as he spoke. "I hope you don't take offense to this, Mr. Slade.
I really do admire your company and I have to admit that you're pretty fucking cool yourself. But I don't think you should expect my approval."
Simon nodded. "That's perfectly understandable. It's just a little surprising, considering the phone call I received prior to me contacting you about my interest."
"Phone call?" Derek asked. "What phone call?"
"I was informed by someone very close to you that the Trifecta was interested in selling their company on the high end market. I took a look at the site, liked what I saw and made the call to Matt."
Derek looked at Matt who raised his eyebrow in question. They both had the same 'what the hell' look on their face. Jake, who had been relatively silent throughout the proceedings spoke up.
"Simon, who the bloody hell told you that we were ready to sell our company? Not that we don't appreciate the offer, mind you but this is the first time selling it even crossed our minds."
"Well," Simon started. "They're actually here tonight."
At that moment, another door in the office swung open and someone stepped out. It took a minute for everything to sink in, but when Derek saw who was standing before him, a look of genuine horror crossed his face.
"Lottie? What the..."
Lottie Winchester smiled tightly at him. "Hello Gorge." She stood before him, thin hands on her slight hips. She had been a model in her teen days, but her slight indulgence with the cocaine cost her a choice contract.
Despite the "hard times" struggling with a drug addiction, she was still able to maintain her attractive features. Her hair was long and layered, the strawberry blonde locks reaching down her back. She had big green eyes that she used to her advantage, making them wide and round when she wanted to look innocent, and small and sly when being seductive.
Beauty came effortlessly for Lottie Winchester. She was the daughter of sexpot royalty: Irish model Siobhan Parsley and Collin 'Wild' Winchester, ex-lead singer of The Bones.
Indeed she was attractive, with her rounded breasts that were the perfect handful and her slim frame. But Derek knew beneath all that lay a viciously insecure girl with the personality of a houseplant. On top of that, he knew she could be a first class twat when necessary.
All of a sudden, the room became too small and Derek struggled to find his breath. She was in the same place as Tegan! Shit, this was going to be bad. What the fuck was she doing here?
"What the fuck? What are you doing here?" His tone was quite snappish but he didn't care. She had a lot of damn explaining to do.
Lottie smiled coolly at him. "Can't a girl visit her boy when he's away on business?"
Four pairs of eyes stared at Derek, waiting for his reaction to her question. And then it hit him: she knew everything; about Tegan, the whole lot. She stared at him, her eyes practically daring him to challenge her statement. He wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of letting her get to him.
"Can we talk in private?"
She laughed, a shrill sound that rang in his bones. Oh yeah, she's definitely peeved. "Of course we can, Gorge. Anything for my fella." Lottie turned and walked back through the door she came out.
Derek rose from his chair, his hands shaking slightly as he followed her. The room turned out to be a small sitting room and he realized she must have been in there the entire time, listening to their conversation. That thought made him boil with anger and as soon as the door was shut he grabbed her arm. "Are you fucking taking the piss or what?" he hissed.
Lottie wrenched out of his grasp. "I have no idea what you're talking about, Gorge."
He pressed his fingers to his temples. "Stop fucking calling me that! What are you playing at Lottie? Why are you here, and what the fuck do you have to do with Si..." Derek cut his sentence short as realization sank in. "It was you," he said incredulously. "You were the one that told Simon we wanted to sell NerdsUnite!."
Her cold smile chilled him. He had never seen her look so positively...sinister. It was very unbecoming to her delicate features. "Beauty and brains," she hissed nastily. "It's no wonder the American cow adores you."
"What?" he sputtered. "How do you know about..."
"I know all about your fat whore!" she said shrilly.
"Is that why you did this? To get back at me?"
Her response was to smile evilly once more. Derek balled his hands into tight fists. His father taught him from a very young age never to strike a woman, but she was thisclose to making him renege on that promise.
"You once told me I was your world," she said. "I thought we were going to be together forever."
"Please! We were barely together when I left London. You thought the parties and the other stupid people were more important than me. Face it Lottie, we were over even before I hit the States. I called you to finalize it and you fucking fell asleep on me. Yeah, you definitely gave a shite."
"What else was I supposed to do!" her voice was getting increasingly louder. "You broke up with me! Over the fucking phone! I'm not some moon-faced little schoolgirl that you can just bin whenever you feel like it!"
"You could have called me back and talked. You could have acted like an adult instead of taking out your frustration on people who had nothing to do with the situation." The fury churned inside of him and he once again had to will himself not to strike her. "And how did you plan all this?
"I had Simon's number. You know Jade, right? She's an old modeling friend. We did a couple of shoots back in the day and still kept in touch.
When I found out a month ago that she worked for Simon Slade, I looked up his company. I had been planning on surprising you with the information when you got back, that someone like him was interested in you. But apparently Simon jumped the gun with the news."
Derek shook his head, his raven curls whipping about his face. Something just wasn't making sense. "So you're telling me that you looked up Simon ages ago when I was back in London?"
Lottie nodded, her green eyes showing nothing but truth. She had no reason to lie. "As a surprise for you. I knew how hard you worked on that site and wanted to show you that someone was interested."
"I..I don't understand this, Lottie. Why would you let me be ambushed by him?"
"Like I said, I didn't know he was going to contact you so soon. I told him to wait until you were back overseas. But you know, it worked out better than I planned. Jade told me all about your little cow and then I knew I had to see for myself. You wanker, you took her to see your brother." She hissed the last part, the words filled with so much venom he almost flinched.
"How do you know about that?"
She laughed once more, the sharp sound slicing through the air thick with tension. "You are really thick. Of course there were paparazzi around. I saw the pictures of the two of you together.
They were all over the bloody mags back home. Do you know how embarrassed I was, all our friends seeing you cavorting with that bloody blimp?"
"Watch your tongue!" he barked. "Don't talk about her like that."
"Defending your whore?" She scoffed. "How chivalrous of you. Does she know about me?"
Derek stared at her, his blue eyes cold and hard. "You wouldn't dare."
"Wouldn't I? You don't fucking know me." She started for the door when he grabbed her suddenly. His fingers dug into the soft flesh of her thin upper arms and she cried out from the pain.
"Listen here, you fucking cunt. You breathe one word to her, one fucking word and I swear to God I will..."
"You'll what? You can't do anything to me." Her green eyes flashed fire. Lifting her arms up, she pushed him away from her. "Pathetic. Weak little boy living in his brother's shadow. The charmer, the heartbreaker. How does it feel to be played?"
"I should be asking you the same thing," he spat. "Tegan's more of a woman than you'll ever be."
Lottie snorted. "I'll say. It won't last. You'll tire of her just like you always do. Then you'll crush her poor heart and you'll come running right back to me."
He laughed bitterly. "You'd like that, wouldn't you? God, now who's pathetic? Can't you see it's over? I don't want you."
"So what, you're saying you actually love this girl?" Derek was silent and her green eyes widened. "Oh my god, you love her!" Her laugh once more pierced through him. "Oh this is much better than I hoped. Fuck ruining your company, it's going to be much sweeter to meddle with this!"
He stepped forward, his eyes blazing hotly with a trembling fury that would have frightened a lesser woman. But Lottie Winchester wasn't easily shaken. Derek was about to open his mouth when another door opened and Tegan stepped inside.
He turned when he heard her call his name; the anger dissipated and was quickly replaced by fear, the emotion washing over him like a cold dousing of water. "Tegan, what are you doing in here?"
Tegan surveyed the scene, the pained look on Derek's face and the pinched smile of the rather attractive woman now staring boldly at her. She got the distinct feeling she'd walked into something bad. "Um, I just came looking for you to see how everything went. Jade told me I would find you here. What's going on? Who is this?"
"Yes, Derek" Lottie said evenly. "Why don't you tell her who I am?"
His heart was bounding a brass band beat in his chest. "She's..."
Lottie cut him off abruptly. "My name is Lottie Winchester. Tegan, is it? Well Tegan what Derek here can't say is that I'm his girlfriend. From London. The one who he abandoned by phone when he started fucking you." She turned to Derek, the sweetly evil grin making his stomach churn. "Am I forgetting anything, Gorge?"
A rush of air, the sound of the ocean roaring in her ears. That's all she could hear at that moment. Tegan stood stock still, her eyes staring but not really seeing.
The room was silent, and Derek swore he hear the moment her heart snapped in two. "Tegan, I can explain..."
He expected anger, for her to launch herself at him, a punch to the face, something, anything. But she simply stood still, her light eyes boring into his blues. There weren't tears; there was a look of extreme disappointment and finally the wave of shame washed over him.
"Is it true?" she asked, her voice choking with emotion.
Lottie laughed shrilly. "Of course it is."
Tegan's eyes turned on her, and Lottie cut her laughter short. "I don't believe I was talking to you." Her voice was low, the whisper coming out a dangerous hiss. She turned her gaze back to Derek, who was watching her with such sadness.
"Is this true?"
He couldn't take it any longer. "I...can explain. It's not as black and white as it looks."
Her body shook, the sob she'd been trying to hold back escaped in a strangled cry. It was a loud, sharp sound that disappeared quickly but pierced through Derek's heart. "Tegan," he started. His arms reached out to her, but she edged away.
"No," she gulped. "Don't touch me. I can't stand to look at you." She began to laugh, her body shaking with mirthless sound. "So fucking stupid," she gasped out. "I let you...I was a virgin." The laughter continued, the pained sound making him wince.
Only Lottie seemed to be enjoying herself. "Oh my, a virgin?" She winked her green eyes dramatically at Derek. "Well done, Gorge. Although honey, next time you might want to really find out about a guy before you open your wobbly thighs."
"SHUT UP!" Tegan screamed. Derek jumped at the sound. He had never heard her raise her voice that way. Lottie look genuinely ruffled as Tegan stalked over to her. "Get out," she snarled.
"I will do no such thing" Lottie said with more bravery than she felt. Tegan's honey brown eyes flashed dangerously and before she even realized what was going on, she felt the sharp sting of Tegan's hand as it connected with her pale cheek. Her face spun to the side, so powerful the slap. Lottie's hand instantly cupped her cheek and she glared at Tegan, who didn't appear to be backing down any time soon.
"I said get the fuck out. Or I will throw you the fuck out. Your choice."
Lottie opened her mouth as if to say something but changed her mind when she saw Tegan's hand rise once more. Shooting Tegan a withering look, she sauntered out the same door Tegan had entered minutes before.
Tegan turned back to Derek, her eyes looking everywhere but his. "I asked you," she said slowly. "I asked you if there was anything else you needed to tell me..."
"Tegan," he began. The dark look she shot him silenced his sentence.
"I asked you. All you had to do was be honest. It was so easy. I made it easy for you. You think I give a shit about Lottie or Carrie? You could have slept with the goddamn Queen of England and it wouldn't have mattered only if you fucking TOLD me when I fucking asked you about it!" her hands clenched at her hair and she let out a short cry of frustration. "Goddammit, Derek!" she fumed.
"Baby, I'm sorry. I know I should have given you the complete truth. But things were over between Lottie and I."
"When, Derek? When were they over? Was this before or after I let you have your way with me?" She grit her teeth in anger. "So fucking stupid."
Derek could see the anger she was trying in vain to keep in check. He had never seen her look so troubled, and knowing that he was the source of her anguish made him sick. "Tegan, you have to believe me. Lottie and I...I knew we were over before I left London. And that's the honest truth.
After the night of my birthday party, I knew I wanted you. Just you. And then you gave me the most beautiful gift that people can share. And that made me feel amazing, you have no idea." His hand rubbed the back of his neck as his blue eyes stared at her, silently pleading. "Can't you see, baby? All of these things: asking you to L.A., meeting my brother, I..."
"What?" she practically barked.
"I love you." The words tumbled from his lips and he felt a giant weight lift from his shoulders. It was the first time he had said those three words to a girl and actually meant it.
Tegan began to laugh once more, and he became very aware of the painful awkwardness of the situation. "You are some piece of work. Tell me something, how many times have you said something like that to get what you wanted out of a girl?"
"Honestly? A lot. But I really mean it this time. I really fucking love you."
"And I call bullshit. You don't love me. You love what I do to you. You're a selfish boy stuck in a jackass' body."
Her arms involuntarily wrapped around her body and Derek suddenly had the urge to comfort her. But he knew she'd quicker punch him than kiss him. "You know, a part of me knew things were going too well. There was bound to be some bad. Par for the motherfucking course that is my life."
"Tegan, please." He was practically ready to drop to his knees.
"What is it, baby? Tell me."
She sniffed and rubbed her nose, willing herself not to cry. "I think we might need to spend some time apart. You've got a lot on your plate right now and I've got to suss some things out."
Derek shook his head hard. "No, I have everything figured out. My company stays and I want you. There's nothing I need to work on."
A small, sad smile played on her lips. "Sort out your life, Derek. Decide what you want. When you know what that is, you know where to find me."
She turned to leave, when he reached out and pulled her close to him. His hands wrapped around her soft curves as he buried his face in the dark downy strands of her hair, the scent of her shampoo bringing hot tears to his eyes.
"Please Tegan," he moaned. "Please don't do this. I'm sorry about not telling you about Lottie. I truly am." He could feel the effect of his words as she started to tremble; he could feel her tears pressing wetly on his shirt and still he held her tighter. He had to make her see sense. She had to know.
"I know you're sorry," she said softly. "But it's not enough, Derek. You've clearly got some business to take care of before we can be together. I want us together. But I don't want to share you with your past."
Leaning up on her tiptoes, she pressed a soft kiss to his lips. Derek cupped her face in his hands, drawing her firmly to him. His tongue sought entrance into her mouth, stroking her tongue into submission and exploring the dark corners he knew like his own.
Tegan pushed him away, her fingertips resting on her mouth as if trying to mimic the weight of his soft lips on hers. "Call me," she whispered.
"Don't wait too long." She gave his hand one final squeeze before turning to leave the room quickly.
Derek waited a beat before walking over to the lone window that faced the front of Simon's house. He watched as she practically ran to the limo where Gianni leaned casually.