Before I got into the little deal with Derek I guess I should have asked where the location was first. Had I known that the place was about forty-five minutes away, I probably would have mentally prepared myself better. Not to mention I probably should have made a picnic box, maybe checked up on smoke signals or flares just in case I got lost or never came back. You never know! Well, anyway, the moment Derek told me was when he texted me just a little after Eddie did last night. The way he did it was so casual too. Like, ‘oh yeah, by the way, this place is a trip around the world. Pick you up at five?’, as if it was all understood beforehand.
And before you bite my head off for hitching a ride with Derek, I figured it was the best option. Well, that was after he convinced me. But I’m not reading anything into it, really, it’s just a ride. A ride to Malibu!
There was no way I could forget the sad little poor ride I had last time with Derek. It was about as awkward as it was void of any conversation, and I didn’t want THAT happening again. So I took Nikki’s advice of an ice-breaker and tried looking for some CD’s to set the joyful joyride mood in the car. Yes, remember CD’s? The primitive form of Apple’s iDevices?
“Just loosen up and have fun,” Nikki said over the phone.
I sighed. “Why are you coaching me? It’s not going to work anyway.”
“Don’t be so glum, honey bun,” Nikki said. “You guys need to get over whatever it is that’s holding you guys back.”
“You do know I’m with Daniel right?”
I imagined her rolling her eyes. “I didn’t mean it like that. He’s a good guy, just give him a chance. I did.”
Nikki told me that she and Derek had been together, in a relationship, a long, long time ago. Back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. It was like Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder; weird and weirder. But they never worked out in the end.
“Why did you guys break up?” I asked.
A pause came. “I don’t really want to say.”
“Oh sorry,” I said, a little surprised considering she’s usually open, “I didn’t mean to pry. I guess some wounds are too deep.”
“No it’s not that,” Nikki was quick to say. “It’s just, well, we were spatially challenged.”
I chuckled in confusion. “Spatially challenged?”
I blame myself; I asked after all. “Oh.”
“But it doesn’t mean anything about you and…”she didn’t want to make it too close to home for me I could tell, “we were never right for each other,” she finally said. “Distance doesn’t make a difference.”
“In some cases it does,” I mumbled.
“I better go,” I said. “Derek’s picking me up soon.”
“Okay,” she said, “have fun!”
Yeah, not likely. “Sure.”
The timing was perfect. It was just moments after we hung up that Derek arrived at the door. Funnily enough, Derek looked dapper for such a drab of a night. We’re going to be babysitting, he doesn’t have to be wearing a blazer. Blue jeans and a clean shirt with a light grey sweater on top completed the ensemble, and I’ve never seen his hair combed into a bouffant perfection.
“Are we supposed to be dressing up?” I asked, perplexed.
Derek smiled nervously and shrugged. “I just thought, because it’s Malibu, and we’re actually babysitting for well-off parents, that it’d be best to look as good as they come. I mean, especially since they don’t know you either.”
I scrunched my face. “Really?” he was babysitting for his sister’s girls.
“I mean,” he quickly backtracked, “look, I think it’s just best this way, not that you’re a threat to them or anything.”
Derek started laughing. “Man, I just keep digging, don’t I?” he said, shaking his head.
I smiled. “Are you okay?”
He nodded. “Sure, you ready?”
“I am, unless I have to change?”
He quickly appraised me. “No you look…you look good.”
I nodded. “Good.”
Luckily it was a fine day for a drive. It actually wasn’t so bad either. Although I had a sneaking suspicion that Derek received the same talk from Nikki since the first thing he did when he got in the car was put some of his own music on. Our conversation wasn’t exactly best-friend material, but it was getting there. It was better than last time that’s for sure. But hey, it’ll take some work right?
Now I was confused at the way I was looking at the situation though. Last time I mentioned Derek to Daniel, I told him that I didn’t even like him. And at the time it was true; but that was when I had a feeling in my stomach every time I even thought of Derek. An irritable feeling, for a guy who constantly found ways to annoy me. He’s suited for the creative industry, honestly, because the ways in which he was annoying me stretched across a full spectrum! Now? No feeling. He didn’t annoy me as much. I had to consider this a possibility that this might be all just for show though. No one changes that quick, right? Right?
“Holy shit,” I muttered as we pulled up on the drive way. I turned to Derek. “Well-off, indeed.”
“Yup, they’re really modern too. You’ll see once you get inside.”
The double doors were white with black iron lacing the oval window part. Immaculately white too. If I had white doors, at least on the outside I would never be able to make them look clean all the time. Even the doorbell sounded rich.
The door opened up to a woman with blonde hair swooped to the side, and a black dress. Get this, her heels were Louboutins! I’ve always wanted to own a good pair. Heck, the good pair in the game was always Louboutins! She led us into the house, her heels clicking on the chocolate coloured hardwood floor. The walls were white, real bright white. The kitchen had slick silver appliances and modern cupboards. It was like half the extravagance of the Kardashian kitchen but with the modesty and elegance of Kate Middleton. Kate Middleton’s style is effortless by the way, just a little sidenote.
“You change the floors, Cecelia?” Derek asked.
“Oh yeah, do you like them?” she pirouetted in show. “It’s called ‘cherry – cinnamon mist’, looks good enough to eat, huh?”
I nodded. “Definitely matches everything.”
Cecelia smiled brightly. “Thanks.”
Just then Mick, her husband, walked down the steps, making a grand entrance usually reserved for princesses.
“Hi,” he said in a deep voice, “how are you?”
He shook Derek’s hand (well arm; the likeness to Hercules in the show Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Ever notice that in the show, the men usually held the forearm when shaking?)
“How are you, man?”
Derek grinned. “All is well. This is Anna.”
Mick held out his hand. “Nice to meet you, Anna.”
I took his hand. “Nice to meet you, too.”
“Have you had any experience in babysitting?” he asked as he wrapped his arm around Cecelia’s beautiful waist.
I shrugged. “None whatsoever.”
“She’s a newbie,” Derek added.
“Two newbies? This should be interesting,” Cecelia said.
“Emergency contacts are on the fridge,” Mick instructed quickly. Probably thrown by the lack of experience. “Please keep them safe and please get them to bed on time. They’ve had their dinner and they’re not allowed to have any sugar before bed. If they get hungry, as children do since they’re bottomless pits, give them a healthy snack. Not fruits, but something like vegetables.”
“Daddyyyyyy!” a girl shrieked as she ran down the beige carpeted stairs.
“Hey, Tweety,” he said as he picked her up. She was about nine and had straight brown hair up to her shoulders with skin as creamy white and flawless as Snow White herself.
“They liked to be called after their favourite cartoon,” Cecelia said.
Derek leaned into me. “Jennifer likes Tweety, and Alex likes the Roadrunner.”
Cecelia picked up Alex. “Highly suitable for this quick little one.” She had sandy blonde hair styled into a spike and was about seven.
“Tweet, tweet,” Jennifer chimed.
Cecelia and Mick laughed as they walked to the front door. They propped them down on the floor and gave them one last goodbye. We weren’t in range to hear anything but it looked really sweet. From afar they looked like angels, but I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about babysitting. Fingers crossed they don’t turn into the exorcist or something.
“They seem nice,” I said to Derek, interrupting him fixing himself up.
“Yeah, like I said, they’re awesome, and they’re fun.”
“They sound like they’re going to keep me on my toes.”
“Oh for sure,” Derek laughed. “Don’t worry,” he pulled me into a hug at the waist, “you’ll be fine.”
I lifted my elbow up and softly nudge us apart. To make it look like it was casual so I didn’t offend him, I moved closer to Cecelia and Mick to wish them off. Slow down, Derek, we’re not entirely cool yet. Calm your socks!
“What are we going to do?” Jennifer asked.
Derek took his blazer off. “What do you guys want to do?”
“Are you guys together?” Alex asked.
“No,” I finished for Derek. He was taking an awfully long time to answer.
“You look it,” Jennifer said.
“Okay then,” I said, “how about you guys go watch some television while we look for the UNO cards I’ve got in my bag and bring out a snack plate.”
“Yay!” they both said in unison, hopping up and down in joy.
They ran to the big screen (practically a silver screen!) while I fished for the cards.
“UNO? You came prepared,” Derek said.
“Could you go start on the snack plates?”
He nodded. “Sure.”
I still don’t know how to feel about Derek. I was taking retrospect into perspective which wasn’t good, because retrospect included more negatives than positives.
I took my time finding the cards, enough so that Derek and I came into the living room at the same time. We sat around the coffee table, on the white shaggy carpet underneath and started to play. The television was on in the background but they had muted it and put on the radio instead. Everything was going well. It was easy fun, and it turns out, these kids were much more behaved than what I’ve heard.
“Oh!” Alex yelled, “I love this song!”
Alex quickly got up and started dancing her socks off. The game ended there, especially when Jennifer joined in, hopping on the couch once or twice (and my heart nearly dropped at the sight of it considering we were in Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s house!).
“Be careful guys,” I said.
“Don’t worry,” Derek laughed, “the more they dance the more they’ll get tired and the easier they’ll fall asleep.”
Derek stood and turned the volume of the music up. He then started joining in on the dance, looking like the whitest boy I have ever seen in my life. Let’s face it, we don’t have good moves!
“Come on, Anna,” Jennifer waved me over.
“Get up!” Alex said.
Derek held out his hand. “Come on, you can’t be the only one sitting down and watching us like a creepy person.”
I pouted but took his hand anyway. I was dancing with Derek but then started to feel like the closeness was a little too close. I swapped with Alex and started dancing with Jennifer. We even started a four person Congo line and went around the house. And just as Derek had said, they were tired in seconds, and were easily falling asleep. Derek picked both of them up one by one and carried them up the stairs up to their rooms; while I cleared the UNO cards and snack plate off the coffee table.
The music stopped (or changed) while I was in the kitchen. Derek walked in, looking pretty beat.
“You’re right,” I said. He lifted an eyebrow in wonder. “This was a lot more fun than I expected.”
Derek smiled, half in relief, half proudly. “Told you so,” he winked.
My natural reaction whenever anyone winks, boy or girl, is to either be irritated or blush. I blushed. Derek grinned wider. He moved closer towards me and leaned on the bench opposite me. He crossed his arms over his chest while he watched me place all the snack foods into one plate.
“Make yourself useful,” I said, passing him an empty plate, “load these into the dishwasher.” Derek smiled and took the plate. “More coming your way,” I said as I continued shifting the food.
“Told you you’d be good at this,” Derek said.
“Maybe I was just lucky with the children I got.”
“I don’t think so. You have knack for being exceptional on occasion.”
I laughed. “Just on occasion?”
Derek laughed as well. “Alright, alright. On more than occasion.”
“I knew something happened between you and Nikki,” I said after a long silence.
I smiled. “I spoke to Nikki.”
“Right,” he said, “well, we had a thing. A good thing. A great thing. But then it ended because—”
“Of distance,” I finished. “She told me.”
“Yeah, I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to put a dent on your relationship.”
I turned around and faced him. “Dent?”
“I didn’t want to make it more of a downer than it already was.”
I smiled. “Thanks, but I think I’ve realised I’m being a little Carrie about this.”
“Sex and the City?”
I laughed. “Stephen King.”
“Oh,” he went red, “ignore the fact that I referenced Sex and the City.”
I nodded. “Duly noted. Anyway, I’m just starting to realise that I need to not be such a downer about this. I get that this is such a big deal, and it sucks, but it happens. Daniel and I will be together in no time, and in the meantime, we’re going to make it work because we love each other and that’s all that matters. And no offence, but I really don’t want your advice about my relationship. I’ve sailed that boat before and I think it’s in the bottom of the ocean now.”
Derek laughed. “I guess I’m still in you bad books. Funny how you just laid out a lot for me though.”
I went red but then shrugged. He was right, I need to learn to keep my mouth shut around the wrong people. “I don’t know. ‘Call me when you want a real man in your life?’,” I quoted him.
“Sorry, about that,” he said, closing the gap between us quickly. “I messed up.”
“Badly,” I said.
Derek nodded in agreement. “Badly. Categorised as an unfortunate incident?”
I moved my head from side to side in consideration. “Perhaps.”
“A forgivable one?”
“By me alone, possibly. By Daniel, I don’t think so.”
“I don’t really care about—” Derek stopped himself short. I was gathering that he started to get the idea now. He’s finally figured out the importance of a filter. “Sorry.”
I shook my head once and smiled. “It’s fine.”
“I’m just saying,” he said, walking closer, “if you really want the relationship to work, it’ll work.”
“I don’t need your Dr. Phil sessions right now, Derek. I’m not asking for it.”
“No?” Derek asked, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
I lifted an eyebrow in caution. “No,” I said firmly.
He leaned into me, our faces coming closer and closer as my heart beat harder and harder. I was locked into place by both of his arms on either side of me, on the kitchen counter top. “Derek,” I said in warning. He continued moving in and as he did he moved to the right side of my face. His cheeks brushing my hair. He pulled back, revealing a celery stick in his hand, making it seem like that was what he was initially going for in his own vague way.
“What was that?” I asked, shakily.
“What was what?” he lifted the celery stick to his lips and gave me one last smile before he wandered off.
***Hi everyone! Want to be featured in my next post? I had so much fun last time (with Sherri a.k.a mum and also Ari) that I want to do it again! Go to the ‘contact’ page and either write in the comments section of the contact page or email me your gender, age, and a brief description of what you look like, or want to look like in the post, your name, or a name you’d want to be referred to in the post, and whether you prefer to be a goody, a baddy, or if you have no preference! And I know each and everyone one of you are gorgeous, but there will be no need to submit photos/pictures as exhibit A’s! I hope you are as excited to be featured in my posts as much as I’m looking forward to featuring you! Lots of love, Soul xo***