Only You Ch. 04bynerd4music©
Derek wrinkled his nose in concentration as he typed away furiously on his laptop. He was trying to finish his review for the latest Grand Theft Auto game for NerdsUnite!. While Matt and Jake took care of public appearances at the conventions, Derek stayed behind the scenes to tighten the graphics and layouts of the new site and to work on the business aspects.
There were a lot of people interested in purchasing his little company. Sooner or later the Geek Trifecta, as he referred to himself, Matt, and Jake would have to make a lot of decisions. He wasn't sure if he wanted to sell his company. After all, it was his baby; he brought it up with his friends and without the help of any others, specifically his brother. Why couldn't people understand that he wasn't just Dex Ryan's little brother? There was definitely more to him than a famous sibling.
Derek made sure there was hardly any connection to Dex in his work. He didn't want to be accused of using his brother's fame to further his own agenda. He had seen too many Hollywood families ruined by siblings' need to constantly compete for the spotlight. He loved his brother was content to remain behind the scenes. After all, he was twenty-four and as Dex joked, the only thing on his mind was sex and girls.
At the present moment, there was one girl taking up residence in his thoughts. Tegan was fantastic, the complete opposite of Lottie, who hadn't returned his many calls in the past week. That didn't bother him at the moment; as far as he was concerned, their relationship had been over for nearly a month now. Tegan was just the thing he needed to take his mind off the situation that was slowly bubbling under the surface.
If he had been a more efficient man, he would have wrapped up all his loose ends. But no, he was Derek Ryan, Master of Procrastination.
He sighed. Life was complicated. He was sitting in Tegan's apartment on a Saturday afternoon trying to get things accomplished but he found himself distracted by her movements. She was fluttering back and forth between her bedroom and the stacks of CDs and cassettes placed haphazardly around the common space. Derek chuckled. She still owned cassette tapes. That was some dedication to tunes. She had her headphones on and seemed to be in deep thought.
Derek's eyes trailed back to the screen in front of him. Just a few more paragraphs to go, then he would call and let the Trifecta know everything was set.
"Earth to Derek!" Tegan said. She snapped her fingers in front of his face.
Tegan smiled. "You were totally zoning out."
"Sorry babe," he said, giving a huge yawn. "I was totally lost in this article."
"It's cool. I thought you'd been ignoring me." It was then she noticed the square black frame glasses perched on his nose. "Wait, since when do you wear glasses?"
He grinned sheepishly. "Oh these? Well, I use them for reading and stuff. Dorky, huh?"
Her lips brushed his cheek before she kissed him gently. "You look dashing. Like Peter Parker."
"Oh really?" She noticed that old mischievous gleam in his blue eyes. "Roleplay?" He reached out to her from the couch, but Tegan shied away.
"Oh no, Derek. I've got to get some work done today."
He sighed dramatically. "I suppose I've got to do work too. Damn you with your vigorous work ethic." He looked at the stack of albums in her hand. "What are you working on, anyway?"
"Oh..." she started. "It's not actual work; I'm just making a playlist."
"Really?" he asked. "What kind of playlist?"
Tegan shrugged. "Just a random one. Why are you so intrigued? Don't you have work to do?"
"I'm nearly finished writing this review of GTA4."
"That's cool. I've never played any of them before."
Derek's eyes widened. "Seriously? You've never played Grand Theft Auto?"
"Is that a bad thing?"
"Do you even play video games?"
She shot him a look. "You're looking at the girl who owned at Super Mario and Sonic."
He scoffed. "Old-school gamer, huh?"
"Damn straight." She put her hands on her hips. "You got something against us old-heads?"
Derek laughed. "Not at all. In fact, I still have my Super NES. I think a lot of the newer games are pretty cool."
"What's your favorite game?"
"Jeez, that's like me asking you what your favorite song is."
Tegan smiled. "Touché. But answer me this: who would win in a Thunderdome-type battle...Lara Croft or Sonya Blade?"
He scoffed, setting his laptop on the opposite side of the couch. "No contest. Sonya Blade would kick Lara's ass. The bicycle kick alone would set those enormous boobs quivering in fear."
Her laughter was loud as she took off her headphones. "Good answer, Ryan. Sonya Blade was my hero back in the day. One of the most badass females in Mortal Kombat."
He nodded. "For some reason I pictured you as a Tank Girl-type character."
"She was cool. But I seriously am not feeling shaving my hair, or that whole making out with a mutant kangaroo man." Tegan straddled his lap.
"Good thing," he said. "Otherwise I'd be out of a job."
"Do you realize how incredibly random our conversations are?"
"I have realized that fact, yes. Do you realize how fucking hot you are right now?"
Tegan waved him away. "You're just sayin' that because you want some."
A guilty grin played on his lips. "True. It has been nearly four hours."
"You are ridiculous," she said chuckling. "You've got work to finish, don't you?"
He shrugged. "Work can wait. I need a distraction." His hands cupped her ass and rocked her hips towards him. "Hello, distraction."
She giggled softly, something that surprised her. It was a high-pitched sound; she used to make fun of girls that did stuff like that. And now you're one of them, she thought. "I know there's going to be thousands of little gamer geeks who are going to be severely disappointed that there aren't any updates on their favorite website."
Derek sighed dramatically. "Damn, you are so right. The legions of nerds depend on me and Ryans do not disappoint their fans." He pushed Tegan off gently. "Get off me, you scarlet woman. I've got work to do."
Tegan went back to sorting her albums while Derek reluctantly returned to his computer. They were quiet for several minutes when she let out a loud gasp.
"Hot damn, I finally found it!"
Pushing his frames further up on his nose, he peered at her curiously. "Found what?"
Tegan waved the album triumphantly. "Only one of my favorite records ever!"
She sighed. "I had a copy of Yaz's album Upstairs at Eric's, but I couldn't find it for weeks. I borrowed Ducky's from the store that night when I DJ'ed at the Romper Room when we first met and had all intentions of looking for mine later on but I've been kind of distracted." There was a sly grin on her pretty face. "And now here it is and it's so damn awesome!"
Derek grinned as she practically hopped from one foot to the other in excitement. "That's cool, Tegan. But am I supposed to know why that's so important?"
The look she gave him made him feel incredibly sheepish. "Why this is import..." she huffed loudly and grabbed her music player. "Derek Ryan, for shame. Upstairs at Eric's boasts only the greatest love song of all time."
Tegan sat back on his lap and handed him one of the earbuds before putting the other in her ear. "Listen to this," she said and she pressed play.
Derek was silent as the opening melody burst through the tiny speakers. He had heard the song before, maybe on the radio as an old flashback tune or in the background at a bar. Listening to it now was different. But then again, most things with Tegan were that way. Her eyes were closed and felt free enough to peruse her features. Her long dark lashes fanning out over the tops of her cheeks, the thick layer of black liner on her light eyes giving them a more dramatic look. She was humming along softly with the song; she had a really good voice.
He closed his eyes too and allowed the song to wash over him completely. Tegan was right; it was really good, in that electro 80s way.
All I needed was the love you gave All I needed for another day And all I ever knew Only you
The song faded out as Tegan removed the bud from her ear. "God," she sighed. "I absolutely love that song."
Derek nodded. "I do like it. I've heard it before but never really paid much attention to it."
"It's such a beautiful song. That's how love songs should be, you know? Sparse and quiet, but so sweet and emotional you can't help but want to play it. It's the stuff mixtapes are made of."
He smiled. "You really like this song."
Tegan nodded. "I can remember sitting in my room when I was like ten or twelve listening to the tape over and over. I was going through a big 80s music phase, you know, when I was still in love with John Cusack and I used to think my very own Lloyd Dobler was going to stand outside my window blasting this song through an old-school boombox. For me, that is the ultimate 'I Love You' moment." Her light brown eyes stared wistfully into space.
"Wow, you really are cheesy."
She shoved Derek playfully. "I'm serious, jerk! 'Only You' is a very important song, the ultimate ode to unrequited nerd love."
His arms wrapped around her waist, rocking her closer to him. "Tegan, your obsession with music is so cute."
Her dusky lips formed a small pout. "It's not an obsession per se. I just...music has always been there for me, you know? I can always count on songs to get me through the crazy parts of life."
Derek nodded. "That's understandable. But answer me one question: can music do this?" He kissed her gently, letting his tongue slide inside her warm mouth as he pressed her tightly to his chest.
Tegan groaned, her fingers cupping his face, beckoning to kiss her deeper, wanting to feel all of him at the same time.
He pulled away reluctantly, gasping for air. "Damn girl," he breathed.
She smiled. Her heart was pounding furiously as the rest of her body felt deliciously on edge. "Are you almost done with your work?" She kissed his neck, sucking the soft skin between her teeth.
Derek's grip on her thighs tightened as she ground herself into his cock. "Fuck," he groaned. "I'm nearly there." He wasn't sure if he was talking about the article anymore. Her touch was slowly driving him crazy; her movements were slow and deliberate and he wondered what spell she possessed to make him so anxious from just a single look.
Tegan smiled against his neck. "Maybe I should let you finish," she whispered.
"Maybe you should stop being such a tease," he replied, his voice strong with faux gruffness.
She giggled. "Aww, poor baby. I promise I'll make it up to you soon." Rubbing his cock gently, Tegan rose from the couch and went back to organizing her music. Derek sighed loudly, his finger running through his dark curls.
His ringing cell phone stopped the stream of curses threatening to break free.
"Yeah?" he answered somewhat rudely.
"Well, answer the phone like that and a girl will think you don't wanna talk to her."
Derek sighed, his erection rapidly deflating. "Hey Care, what's up?"
"Nothing, just thought I'd take you up on that offer of coffee."
He didn't see the point of reminding Carrie she was the one who suggested meeting for coffee and not the other way around. Carrie wasn't big on details. "Um, I'm kind of busy right now, Carrie." He watched Tegan who bustled around the room, humming softly and trying to act as if she wasn't listening.
Carrie's soft chuckled rang loudly through the phone. "Oh come on, Ryan. I'm sure you can be away from the missus for just an hour."
His eye twitched at her vague dig at his level of involvement with Tegan. He knew she wasn't going to give up until she got her way. "Alright. I'll meet you in fifteen."
"Great. Let's go to that place on 13th Street. You remember the one, right?"
Damn, she was good. Rio's on 13th was where he took her when they first started hooking up. In fact, it was one of the places her father owned. He had discovered that little tidbit when she pulled him into the upstairs office for a hot makeout session. Another loud sigh. Part of him was sure this was going to bite him in the ass later on. But again, he was never one to be reasonable. "Rio's it is. See you in a bit."
He snapped his phone shut. Fuck fuck fuck, he thought.
Tegan stared at him curiously. She knew who was on the phone, and from the look on his face he wasn't too happy to hear from her. That made Tegan smile. She was sure something happened between Derek and that Carrie girl, but she wasn't going to push the issue. It's not like you're really dating him, her brain reasoned. Still, the thought of Derek running to her simply because she called kind of irritated her.
She stacked the last of her albums. "Done!" she declared happily. "I take it you're going out?" Derek was quiet, his brain trying to process the meaning behind her words. Finding no sarcasm or hidden meaning within them, he nodded. "Carrie invited me to coffee. I forgot I made plans with her before." He watched her for any signs of the usual suspicion. Tegan was determined to remain cool. She wasn't going to be that girl who hounded a guy about his every move. No, she would just play it cool.
"It's no problem," she said, a small smile on her lips. "You should definitely go and hang out with your friend."
A dark eyebrow raised in question. "Seriously? You're not mad?"
"Why should I be? It's not like we had concrete plans." She kissed him, allowing her tongue to play gently with his. She would be lying if she said she wasn't giving him something to look forward to when he saw her next. "When you come back, I'll have something special waiting."
Derek stood outside Rio for a good five minutes before pushing the glass door and stepping into the café. Rio was an impossibly classy place, from the modern deco art to the clean lines of the classically cut furniture. Several dark wood tables and matching chairs were placed all around with small no-light candles and bowls of floating flowers as centerpieces. The sounds of a mandolin playing softly in the background added to the overall laidback feeling in the café. No wonder it was a favorite among artists and celebrities.
The place was only a little crowded for a Saturday afternoon. It was relatively quiet, a regular oasis in the midst of a noisy New York summer day. Derek spotted Carrie at a table in the middle of the room. The center of attention, he thought to himself. She was checking her Blackberry as a cute brunette wearing the Rio server uniform of black polo shirt and grey pants poured Pellegrino into her glass. When she saw Derek approaching, she stood up so he could see her outfit.
He had to admit, she did look good. Carrie was lethal in all things, especially in fashion. She was wearing white skinny jeans that clung to her slender hips and yellow stilettos that matched her yellow designer tank top. A teeny white summer blazer was folded carefully behind her on the back of her chair. She smiled brightly, her white teeth glowing in her olive-colored face. She removed the aviator sunglasses from her face as she opened her arms.
"Glad you could meet me," she said.
Derek stepped into her arms. "You know I couldn't pass up an opportunity to hang out with a friend," he said trying to emphasize the 'friend' part.
Carrie's grin never faltered as she took her seat once more. "Gloves down, Ryan. I'm not here to start anything." She flipped her long chestnut waves over her shoulder, the hot pink still evident in her hair catching the light in the room. "Do you want anything? You know it's on the house." She snapped her fingers and the same bouncy brunette from before rushed over to the table. Everyone in Rio knew the boss' daughter was a hellbeast, and no one dared to cross Carrie DiValenti.
Derek shrugged and smiled up at the server. "I'll take an apple soda," he said. It was one of Rio's signature drinks. The brunette nodded and walked away quickly. He focused back on Carrie; her light green eyes studying him curiously. "What?" he asked.
She smiled again. "Nothing. I'm just glad I get to hang out with you before you leave."
"Carrie, I'm not leaving until Thursday. I definitely would have called you before then."
Her slender nose wrinkled. "Yeah, right. Not after the way I behaved at your party."
Derek flashed the brunette a smile as she set down his drink. The apple soda was mixed with top shelf rum in a tall glass with slices of granny smith apples floating inside. He sipped from the long black straw and stared at the beautiful girl in front of him. She couldn't possibly be apologizing. That just wasn't in DiValenti style. "Do my ears deceive me?" he joked. "Can it really be Ms. DiValenti admitting she was...wrong?" He gasped in mock surprise.
"You are such an ass," she said even as she cracked a smile. "But that's what I love about you." Her face turned serious for a moment. "You were right, you know. I was jealous." Her green eyes stared into his navy blues. "I still am." She sighed. "You and I...we could've had something you know."
Derek felt his eye twitch yet again. Here was the conversation he didn't want to have, dancing right in front of him. "We just didn't work out, Carrie. It wasn't like we were even in a relationship."
"Maybe because you didn't give us a chance." Her light green eyes gazed at him. "You just left and gave me some shit excuse about 'not wanting to ruin the friendship'. You could have at least given me the opportunity to tell you how much you meant to me."
"Carrie," he started. He couldn't tell her the real reason why he left. How Angie had talked him out of continuing to hook up with her. In the back of his mind, he knew nothing good would come from it. It might have made him an asshole, but their sex was convenient, a sure thing he could count on every time he was in the City; he didn't realize how much she had invested in him, the feelings that had grown. It was all just casual fun, right? All at once he felt like an ass. "I didn't realize."
She scoffed, a bitter sound that added another stab of guilt to his conscience. "No, you didn't." Carrie shook her hair out and sighed, a loud whoosh of air pushing from her mouth. "You know what? Let's just drop it." The flash of something Derek recognized as hurt flickered briefly in her eyes before it was replaced by a demure smile. "Let's catch up, eh?"
Derek nodded. "Okay. How's the family doing?"
"Not too bad. The boys are the same assholes. Daddy's doing the business thing. He always talks about your awesome domino skills."
He laughed, thinking about the time he spent the day at the DiValenti home on Long Island and played dominoes with Carrie's father instead of doing research for the site. He considered it time well spent, as Robert DiValenti was a pretty good opponent. "Yeah, tell Rob I still owe him a beatdown. How's the step-monster?"
Carrie rolled her eyes. "A bitch as usual. Can you believe the other day she tried to tell me I was spending too much money on 'frivolous things'? I tried to explain to her that dropping five hundred dollars on a cookware set is an investment. I'm a fucking chef, not some Podunk housewife!"
Derek chuckled loudly, his dark curls shaking. "Carrie, she might be right. That is a little steep, even for you."
"Nonsense. She just thought I was spending her money. Oh wait, correction: my father's money. But I bought it as a gift to myself, with my money from MY job. I don't think that crazy bitch could say something like that."
"True," he nodded. Robert DiValenti, though a smart businessman, was not lucky in the love department. He was currently on wife number three. His first wife Donatella he married as a young man while still living in Sicily. Together they had five sons: Carmine, Michael, Paul, Cole, and Nic. She had died in a car accident shortly after Nic was born. Carrie was the product of his second "marriage". During his marriage to Donatella, he had been having an affair.