I was a little too frazzled to say anything to Derek. Considering what he said after I asked I figured I should just leave it at that and forget about it. When I moved into the living room and found him on the sofa, casually eating the celery stick and watching television, I thought maybe it was all in my head. I usually hate it when people say I’m being paranoid, especially when that’s just their justification for whatever’s going on, but this time I really thought that’s what he’d say. And more so, I’d probably believe it. Thus is my reasoning for letting it go.
When Cecelia and Mick came home to Derek and I sitting on the couch and watching television, it felt like they hadn’t left at all. When I looked at the clock, it seemed, at least to me, pretty early to come back now.
“Well I’m glad to see no evidence of blood,” Cecelia said.
Mick sighed. “No offence, but I’m going to check on the kids.”
Cecelia rolled her eyes when he jogged to the stairs. “The first thing he does is check up on the kids, even if there’s a qualified babysitter that’s a miracle worker, he’ll go straight to the kids. So don’t take it too personally.”
“I don’t blame him,” Derek said. “He just left them in the care of two newbies.”
“Two attractive newbies,” Cecelia said.
“I have a boyfriend,” I said in agitation. Unfortunately my sharp demeanour made everyone hush. It wasn’t my fault everyone was acting like we could pass off as a couple. The kids pushed my button first!
When Mick came back to us we said our goodbyes and I politely declined Mick’s offer to pay me, even though it was tempting since he excluded Derek, probably on the grounds that Cecelia and Derek were siblings. As we left I saw their shadows in the window. They hadn’t moved from that spot and instead, Mick’s arm raised to place a hand, I’m guessing on Cecelia’s cheek, by the looks of it. Cecelia’s shadow moved into him, and they embraced. Not a lot of time has passed, but the feeling of yearning hit me so hard just now, it hurt.
“So,” Derek said when we closed the car door, “where off to now?”
I furrowed my brows. I wasn’t exactly expecting that question since I thought it was given. “Home?”
“Aren’t you hungry?”
I was famished. A celery stick wasn’t doing any justice for a girl with the appetite of Genghis Khan, but I didn’t want him to know that. Especially my referencing Genghis Khan with the likeness of me.
“I think we should go home,” I said.
“Not even one bite?”
“I’m not hungry,” I said, to which my stomach betrayed me by growling, sounding like a love consummation between a lion and an alien. I looked up at him and smiled sheepishly, my cheeks becoming hot. “I could always eat at home. It’s really not that far away.”
“Nonsense,” he said, starting the car, “I know a great restaurant.”
“Come on, Anna,” he interrupted me, “I’m trying my butt off here. Just give me a chance, will you?”
I narrowed my eyes in consideration. “Just to be clear this is dinner at a restaurant and not a date, right?”
“Well you know never know with these things. What will be, will be,” Derek grinned.
“Derek,” I warned.
“Alright, alright,” he said, “it was just a joke.”
“Good. In that case, I’m starving then.”
“No shit,” I heard him mumble.
Before I could react the engine roared and he sped off, taking any train of thought in my mind and out the window. In not time, we were at THE SUNSET.
A remix of Cry by Afterlife was playing as we entered THE SUNSET; the place exuded a rustic feel. It felt more like a home than a restaurant, and even the entrance was a testament to that. Had it not been on the beach I’d figure the house part would come across more than its restaurant-ness. Unfortunately, because this place was going to close soon, we had to order and eat quickly. I’m just glad we got in time before they closed the kitchen.
Once we walked into the doors, we were greeted by a brown haired, brown eyed, freckle-faced girl. She looked about twenty, but a ring on her finger suggested a maturity usually rare for girls her age, and trust me, this includes myself.
“Hi Derek,” she beamed as she came in for hug.
“Katherine, how are you?”
“Fantastic! Senior in college, paying my dues,” she gestured around the restaurant, and then lifted her hand, “and getting married!” I didn’t think her smile could get any brighter, but it did at the mention of her engagement.
“Whoa,” Derek said, “watch that ring, it’s blinding.”
Katherine hit him on the chest lightly, and then she discovered me. “Hi,” she held out her hand, “Katherine, old friend.”
“Anna,” I shook, “new friend.”
“I’m assuming this is a date?” she asked.
Derek’s eyes widened for a nanosecond. “No, Kay,” he was quick to say, “just friends.”
I swear I was about to strike lightning on Malibu!
“Woops,” she said, “I have your usual table, follow me.”
Girls in uniform are just as hot as guys in uniform, and Katherine, was stunning. And whoever her fiancé is, he had good taste in diamond rings. White gold band, round cut diamond, infinity carat love. I skimmed the menu and we ordered almost immediately. I honestly didn’t know how much time we had left, but wow was this place nice. The best part was the view from our table. We had a window seat, with plush white chairs and linen cloths, next to the beach. The way everything was lit inside made outside look like icicle-land.
“It’s so good to see you, Kay,” Derek said when she came back with our dinner.
“Good to see you too, Derek. You’d have to meet Carter some time.”
Derek smiled genuinely. “I’d like that. When’s the big day?”
Katherine sighed. “Oh, I have no idea, but it’s going to be magical.”
She looked at me. “I know what you’re thinking, but I’m a hopeless romantic. And I just can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with Carter.”
I smiled. “It’s actually pretty wonderful. Congratulations.”
Katherine giggled. “Thanks. What about you two? What’s new with you?”
“Well I’ve never met you before,” I laughed, “so everything is new.”
Katherine laughed. “So what’s new then?”
I laughed. “Well, the biggest ‘new’ thing in life is that my boyfriend just moved to New York.”
Katherine’s smile froze on her face. “Uh, Derek, can I talk to you for a second?”
“You know, Kay, I would but you guys are going to close soon and we want to get in a decent meal before we ride back home.”
“Ride back home?” Katherine asked, incredulously.
“Separately,” I added, wondering if that made a difference to her uneasy reaction.
“Derek,” she said through her teeth, trying to keep her composure and half-muttering, “you’re sitting at the ‘date’ table.”
Derek laughed nervously. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Derek!” she said, a little more loudly this time.
“Alright, fine,” Derek said, throwing in the napkin and following Katherine.
They didn’t completely move off to a secluded location so I could actually see what was going on. Unfortunately, I wasn’t within hearing distance. Although I didn’t really have to be; Katherine looked disapproving, and Derek seemed like a sales rep. trying to convince her of something. It had been a good time into their chat when I noticed the song changed over into a remix of Sunrise by Afterlife, an ironic title choice for a place called THE SUNSET.
I couldn’t hold it any longer. I was going to wait for Derek to come over so it wasn’t rude, but I took one bite, and like the apple, it consumed me. By the time Derek got back, I had already ravaged two thirds of my meal.
“Sorry,” I said once I swallowed my last delicious bite. “What was that about?”
Derek sighed and shook his head. “Nothing. Do you want to go?”
My brows angled. “Aren’t you going to finish yours? Or start?”
“I’ll take it take-away. We should go.”
He seemed distracted and when I looked at the line of his attention, I saw Katherine, with her arms on her hips, and watching him like a hawk. I had been too into my dinner that I didn’t understand what was going on, nor was I interested enough to care. This place was like a guilty temptation. Or maybe I was just THAT hungry for some reason. What was wrong with me? We have food at home! I was starting to fish for my purse to pay for my meal when Derek stood before I could even find my stupid purse. I stood beside him too late. He had already paid, and I felt weird.
“Anna,” Katherine called, “it was really nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too.”
“I hope you come back again sometime. Malibu is an awesome place, I’ll show you around.”
I nodded. “That would great actually.” I had never really experienced Malibu to its full extent, so to have a know-it-all expert, besides Derek, would be great.
I still couldn’t pinpoint my feelings towards Derek. And I still couldn’t figure out his feelings towards me. He was so confusing at times. But in this moment, I at least thought he was a good guy. And maybe he is. He did have his asshole moments, but, doesn’t everybody? I mean, was I too quick to judge before?
***Hi everyone! I hope you enjoyed the music! Soul xo***