Only You Ch. 07bynerd4music©
Author's Note: FINALLY! The last chapter. It took long enough. Thanks for hanging around and being so patient. You guys rock my world! Sienna H.
Eight years ago; Surrey, England:
"Dammit, Derek I just tripped over another one of these stupid things!"
Sixteen-year-old Derek smiled slyly at his older brother, who was currently glaring in his direction, holding a G.I. Joe by its leg.
He never could take Dex seriously. With his long, shoulder length locks flying about his face, he looked more like a puffy, ruffled peacock than an actual threat.
"Well that'll teach you for barging into my room unannounced. What's up, my surly older sibling?"
Dex heaved a loud sigh of exasperation. "I would appreciate it if you'd stop stealing my cologne."
Derek peered at his older brother from the top of his comic book. "As much as I'd loved to smell like Eau de Lumberjack, I'm afraid it wasn't me that took it."
Dex's emerald eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Really?"
"Yes," he replied. "Matter of fact, I do believe I saw Mum stashing it in the garbage bin. Said the smell reminded her of pine trees and gym socks. And if you really think about it, you're only visiting. You don't live here anymore and are no longer allowed to make us suffer through that smell. Is that what all the blokes are wearing in the States?"
The brothers laughed. Dex sat on the edge of his brother's bed. "Should have known you wouldn't take it. What would a scrawny, spectacled little git like you do with cologne?" He ruffled his brother's black curls, making them fly about his face.
Grinning, Derek gave his brother a playful shove before picking up his comic. "If you must know, Dexter Phillip, I happen to be well-versed in the female form."
A very loud snort was Dex's reply. "Right. Nicking Playboys from the shop and ogling them with Matt and Jake doesn't count."
"I'll have you know I haven't done that since I was twelve. I'm sixteen now. I know better."
"Ahh, sixteen. Practically a lady." Dex ducked a misaimed swipe. "Alright, truce. So who's the lucky girl? I see Kitty Porter's looking kind of fit."
Derek's blue eyes twinkled impishly and at once
Dex realized his younger brother was up to something. "Lola Parrish."
His grin grew ever broader as he smiled back at the pair of green eyes now widened with shock.
"As in THE Lola Parrish? The sweet little sister of my good friend Alex?"
Derek's shoulders gave a noncommittal shrug to feign noncommittal, but the wicked gleam in his eyes gave him away. "Trust me, big brother; she's not at all sweet and innocent."
Dex's face contorted into something that resembled a smirk crossed with a grimace. If he wasn't completely aware that Alex Parrish would totally demolish his little brother if he ever caught wind of what occurred, he probably would have laughed.
At the moment, he was having a bit of an issue, torn over wanting to strangle his little doppelganger or congratulate him. "D, Lola is at least two years older than you."
"I still stand by the statement that she was the one who dragged me into her room and pulled my pants down."
"When did this happen?"
"Last week, at Alex's birthday party."
Dex let out a low groan. Once again, he was going to have to make things right. Once again, his baby-faced little brother who was just a bit too girl crazy would involve him in some ridiculous plot that normally involved a girl who was either way out of his league or completely off limits.
In the case of Lola Parrish, it was both.
She was older and cooler, smoking menthol cigarettes with her mates outside the gate at school, taking healthy sips of the gin and tonic they passed around in a water bottle. And as the younger sister of Alex Parrish once popular football star now graduated and trying to play professionally. It was a general rule that she wasn't to be messed with.
But then again, Dex knew his baby brother was never one to follow the rules. "He's going to kill you," he told his brother.
It was Derek's turn to snort. "Please. That overgrown bullfrog can't do anything to me. He should stick to running up and down the pitch like a good little boy. I'll take care of sweet and innocent Lola." Dex couldn't help but laugh at the air quotes he made around "sweet and innocent".
"Well you know if he tries anything, he'll have to answer to me first."
"What are you going to do, Dex? Glare at him? Throw a sarcastic quip? I think I'd rather like to see that, you having a go at Alex in a battle of wits while your opponent is severely unarmed."
Dex's laugh rang out in the relatively small room. "Come off it. He's not that bad."
"Mmm-hmm. And hell is just a sauna."
"What am I going to do with you?" Dex asked with a sigh.
"Keep me away from broom cupboards and nubile scarlet women."
Dex was quiet for a moment before speaking. "Mate I feel bad for the girl that gets you. She's going to need the patience of a saint."
"Well, I would say the same thing about you; that is if you'd ever come out of that 'old geezer phase.' Although with your luck you'll find a bird who's just as much as a senior citizen as you." He aimed a playful kick at Dex's thigh.
"Now shove off."
"Oi, what's this? Got a hot date coming over?" He took in Derek's lopsided grin. "You're bringing her here?"
"We very well couldn't do anything at her house, can we? Not while the biggest prat in Surrey is home."
Dex sighed. "Fucking ridiculous," he muttered. Rising from the bed, he couldn't help but shake his head. "Starting bad habits early, aren't we?"
Derek gave a shrug. "No worries, Dexter. I have plenty of years to find a good girl. Right now I'm just having some fun, nothing serious."
"Mmm-hmm. You'll get tired of that shit soon enough."
Derek scoffed, his bright blue eyes sparkling cheerfully. "Never that, older brother."
He walked through one of the doors leading to Simon's office. They were still sitting around the table, pretending they hadn't heard one of the most awkward conversations ever. Derek shoved his hands into his pockets and stared at his friends. "Uh, I think I'm gonna head back to the hotel" he said.
Simon nodded, while Matt tried to force a smile.
"Sure D. I think we're pretty much done here." Derek glanced at Simon whose grey eyes were studying him thoughtfully. "Mr. Slade, thank you for your interest in our company. But I'm on board with Matt. No sale."
Simon nodded once more. "Understandable. Maybe we can talk in the future."
Derek shrugged. "Maybe in the future you could contact me before talking to a psychopath about my life's work."
Slade's eyes widened before he quickly recovered. "Touché," he said. "I apologize about the mix-up."
"Not your fault. Should have taken care of business a long time ago."
Jake gaped at his two best friends. "Isn't anyone going to ask my opinion about the matter?"
Matt chuckled. "Nope," he said easily. He shrugged off the angry glare from Jake. "Oh come off it! We all know you want to sell, Jacob."
"Actually Matthew if you'd let me speak for once you'd hear it quite differently." Jake stood up. "Mr. Slade, hearing my friends talk about our work made me realize they're right. And giving up NerdsUnite! would be a major mistake." He let out a huge sigh. "However sweet fifteen million sounds."
"Why Jacob! I didn't know you cared."Matt grinned.
Jake's deep laughter reverberated off the walls and Derek smiled in spite of his unhappiness. "Besides, Shanna was the one pushing the sell. This will just piss her off, which will make me ecstatic." The huge grin on his baby face was practically contagious.
Simon rose from his chair. "Well if that's all boys, let's just get back to the party shall we?"
"Wait," Matt said. "You're not pissed off at us?"
"Guys, I'm a grown man. My ego will recover. Now the hotel's paid for until the weekend, and that's when you'll have to get the hell out. But until then, go have some fun on Slade Enterprises' dollar."
Matt and Jake grinned broadly, shaking Simon's hand before leaving his office. Simon shot Derek a sympathetic look. "I really do apologize about the whole situation Derek."
Derek shook his head. "No worries, man. But I think I'm going to take a cab back. I'm really not in the party mood."
Simon nodded. "Understandable." His large hand clapped Derek soundly on the back. "You really are a decent guy, Mr. Ryan. That much is true. Don't worry kid. These things have a way of sorting themselves out."
Tegan yawned loudly, not even bothering to cover her mouth as she unlocked the door to her apartment. She had been on a plane for longer than she really wanted, taking the red eye from Los Angeles back to New York. It was still early, the bright sun barely peeking from the horizon.
All she wanted to do was sleep; sleep was the only way she'd be able to function properly. She wasn't due back in the city until Friday and it was barely Wednesday. It gave her two days to hide and mope and then she'd be all right to face her friends.
Throwing her bags on her squashy green couch, she kicked off her shoes and headed straight for her bedroom. The plane ride was hellish; she was still wearing the outfit from the party at Simon's house. She was rumpled and in desperate need of a shower, but all that would have to wait.
She stepped out her jeans and threw off her cardigan before slipping between her covers clad only in her panties and white tank top. As she settled onto the pillows, she smiled sadly. There was an ulterior motive in her decision to head to bed so early.
Closing her eyes, she inhaled deeply as the welling tears stung her eyes. Him. She could still smell him on the sheets, the familiar scent of lemon and sandalwood stirring her heart even as she tried to force her body to shutdown mode.
In the back of her mind, she knew she was doing the right thing. They needed space, time to figure out where they fit in each other's lives.
Yes, it was the right thing to do; but damn if it didn't hurt like hell. Tegan fluffed her pillow, giving it harder than necessary punches. She yawned once more before snuggling deeper under the blankets and for the first time in several days, Tegan fell asleep alone.
Derek stared groggily at the bright blue numbers of the alarm clock on the nightstand. It was pitch black outside, no sign of the sun in the still-early morning sky. It was a little after four, and he hadn't been able to sleep.
At Matt's insistence, he stayed longer at Simon's party, returning to the hotel over two hours ago. Part of him secretly hoped she had decided to stay, waiting for him inside their room, smiling that sweet smile he loved so much.
But no, he was all alone. He was sprawled out on the bed and trying his damndest to get comfortable. Rolling out of bed, he flicked on the lamp on the nightstand, his blue eyes squinting at the sudden light invasion.
Derek rummaged through the stuff on the table before finding what he was looking for. He padded back to the bed and opened the CD case, taking out the disk and sliding it into the small stereo on the nightstand.
The sound of Tegan's husky voice filled the room. He staggered for a moment before sitting on the bed. Just the sound of her voice made his knees weaken. Damn, he had it bad.
"Fuck, is damn thing even on?" he heard her mutter. There was more muffled scuffling as she struggled with something. There was a brief silence, followed by a throat clearing. Finally she spoke. "Hey baby. You'd think I would know how to work one of these things. Damn new-fangled L.A. technology. Ohmigod, I just 'new-fangled' which makes me feel like such an old woman..."
Derek couldn't help but chuckle. She rambled on like that for a few more minutes before she collected herself. "Anywho. This is your birthday mix. I wish I could have made it on my equipment, but I wanted you to have it now. I hope you like it."
Her voice faded out, and the CD began. Leaning back onto the pillows, Derek turned out the lights and listened to the CD in darkness. It was one of the best presents ever, right up there with that Christmas when he got a Super NES. The CD was a mixture of bands he liked and things he didn't recognize.
Each song was perfectly layered and flowed beautifully. There were no bad picks, everything was perfect. She really had a concrete understanding of what people liked. She took their music preferences and ran with it.
As Coheed and Cambria's Wake Up ended, he felt a slight pang. This mix was obviously made with such love. It almost hurt to listen to it in his current state of mind; hearing it only made him miss her more.
And the final song, the last nail in the coffin that was his heart started up. He felt himself groan when the soft electronica intro of Only You pushed its way through the speakers. It was the last straw, he thought.
Derek was barely through the song before he snapped the stereo off. He needed some advice, good sound advice that would help him navigate through the muck that was his current situation.
Flopping onto his side, Derek shut his blue eyes tightly, praying for sleep to come. Later on, he would make the call to his big brother. He was the only one who could help him now.
Tegan was being shaken. She shut her eyes tightly and tried to burrow deeper under the blankets to get away from whoever was invading her personal space.
"Girl, get up!" she heard Teddy say. "It's way past sleep time."
Tegan groaned and opened one honey-hued eye. "Why are you here?" she said gruffly. "No one knows I'm back."
Teddy shrugged. "Matt texted Drea." He reached out and ripped the blanket off her. "You didn't think you were going to hide out here for the rest of the week, did you?"
"I was kind of hoping so," she grumbled. She brought her knees up as close as she could. "I just need a couple of days, Teddy."
"Sorry hun. Drea's orders. You are not going to wallow and do the emo thing."
"Sometimes I hate you guys. How does Matt even have Drea's number?"
Teddy reached down, sweeping her long bangs from her eyes. "Just as long as you don't hate yourself. And the Matt thing is all semantics."
He clapped his hands. "Now, get into that shower. Drea and I will fix you breakfast."
By the time Tegan rolled herself out of bed and into the bathroom, she could already smell the beginnings of a healthy breakfast. She pretended not to notice the empty bottle of Derek's body wash in the trash can when she stepped into the shower.
She was washed and dressed in under fifteen minutes, wearing simple dark denim jeans and a bright white t-shirt with the words "Bigmouth Strikes Again" scrawled on the front. Tegan padded barefoot down the hallway and turned into the open kitchen.
Drea and Teddy were already seated at the table, a small brunch feast laid out.
"Hey T.," Drea said. "Just in time. Sit down and enjoy yourself."
Tegan plopped down in the chair opposite Drea and picked up her fork. Her stomach growled noisily and she realized how hungry she was. All her breakfast favorites were there: pancakes, sausage, and eggs.
As she dug her fork into the fluffy golden mound of eggs on her plate, she felt an overwhelming wave of nausea hit. The smell that once tantalized her senses now made her feel as if she were going to throw up.
With a look of disgust, she dropped her fork and pushed the plate away. Drea and Teddy noticed her movements and a questionable look past between the two. "You okay honey-pie?" Teddy asked.
Tegan nodded as the urge to toss her cookies subsided. "I'm fine. I guess I'm just not as hungry as I thought." She took a healthy sip from the tall glass of orange juice in front of her, careful not to breathe in the stench from the eggs.
Drea opened her mouth as if to say something, but shut it abruptly. Clearing her throat, she began again. "How are you holding up?
Her shoulders lifted in a casual shrug. "I'll manage," she said, trying hard to sound nonchalant.
Teddy shot her a sympathetic look. "It's okay to miss him, Tegan."
Tegan closed her eyes, willing the tears not to fall. She didn't want to be like this. "I...can we not talk about this right now? I just want to go back to bed."
"Well, we're not gonna let you" Drea replied.
"Get your shoes on because you're coming out with us. It's a beautiful sunny summer day and we're going to enjoy it."
She knew they were only trying to help. But right now the only thing she wanted was 3,000 miles away and completely inaccessible. The corners of her lips lifted into a smile. She was determined to make the most of the situation. "Alright," she said. "Where are we going?"
Derek pulled into his brother's driveway, barely turning the car off before he jumped out. He practically jogged up the walkway and rapped sharply on the front door. He was surprised to see Dex open the door. "Don't you have help to do that?" he asked.
Dex nodded. "Inez doesn't get in until noon on Wednesdays. Speaking of," he added. "May I ask what I owe this pleasurable early morning visit to? It's not even ten yet." He stepped aside, giving Derek room to amble in.
"Just needed to talk to my big brother, is all."
"Mmm-hmm." Dex's green eyes stared at his curly-haired doppelganger. "Bollocks. What have you gone and done now, younger one?"
Derek heaved a big sigh. He never could keep anything from Dex. "It's Tegan. She's left me."
"Oh for fuck's sake D," Dex said. "What happened?"
They walked into the living room and Derek eased himself into a soft suede chair the color of brown sugar. "Lottie happened."
Dex shook his head, an incredulous look on his handsome face. "Derek Arthur. You stupid ass."
"I know," Derek moaned as he cradled his head in his hands. "I've bungled up monumentally."
Dex sat in the club chair opposite to him. "Tell me everything."
"Lottie was the one who told Simon Slade I wanted to sell my company. She came to L.A. to surprise me. She found out about Tegan and decided to mash everything up. Told Tegan that we were still together. Tegan slapped her, got mad, said we needed a break, and then left. I think she's back in New York now."
He stared up at his brother, who was watching the wall curiously. "Dex?"
"Shh," he said. "I'm trying to decide whether or not knocking you off your ass would break the furniture. What is your problem Derek? Why do you keep doing this?"
"Doesn't the flirtatious heartbreaker act get kind of old?"
Derek snorted. "You're one to talk. You've made your entire living off that image."
"You're right. The difference is I'm really not that way. The difference is I've got a woman who made me realize that it was all just pretend. And it is. It gets old to be the player because at the end of the day you still go home with that empty feeling burning a hole inside you." Dex stared at his little brother, the irritation gone from his face and now replaced by a gentler emotion. "What do you want, Derek?"
"Her. I want her. I'd stop the fucking world."
"Then show her why you're worthy of her affections. She's given so much to you, Derek. Isn't it time you started taking leaps as well?"
He nodded. "But what if it isn't enough? What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to show her that I can't seem to function properly if she isn't with me?"
Dex smiled as his hand reached out to ruffle his brother's curls. "You're a smart boy, D. I know you'll be able to figure that one out."
Derek chuckled. "How did you get so smart about love, anyway? Weren't you the boy who was afraid of girls until he was twelve?"
"Cheeky prat," Dex said. "As opposed to you who got caught playing doctor with Kitty Porter in her playhouse. Even at seven you were mischievous."