CHAPTER: 5 (PRT 7) STRIKEOUTMature

   Derek waited patiently as the student made his way back.

   “Seemed to go well.” Derek joked.

   A snort, “Not my type, new guy. She’s all yours.”

   “Not your type? That’s what your calling what just happened? She slapped yo-”

   Raised hands, “Nah, what she slapped away was a good time.”

   Derek chuckled and stuck out his hand, “Derek.”

   They clasped hands. “Jerry.”

   Jerry sighed and leaned back against the rail beside Derek. He gazed from Derek to Clair, “Your turn, new guy.”

   Derek held in his smile and sauntered over to Clair.            

   He didn’t want what Jerry had wanted. Derek wanted to push the reset button.

   “Hey.”

   Clair turned tightly, “Hey.”

   Derek pointed over his shoulder, “heard a slap a while ago. Was tha-”

   “What do you want Derek?” she asked quietly.

   This is awkward for me too you know.

   He stuffed his hands into his pockets, “Wanted to see if a clean slate is possible,” he couldn’t manage the words ‘between us’, “after everything that happened.”

   Clair leaned from one foot to the other. A distasteful topic.

   “I was drunk!” she blurted out finally, somewhat angry “my personal life is not your business, and as far as I can see, it still isn’t.”

   Derek nodded, a bittersweet taste on his tongue, “It’s behind me.”

   Clair watched him for a moment. “I wasn’t clear headed. Thanks for not doing anything.”

   That’s an innocent way to describe how you acted.

   Derek shook the thought away, he was angry for the way it finally turned out between them. This is the right way. Better to feel angry then guilty.

   Clair had her hand held out, “To a new start.”

   Derek grasped it and shook, “a new start.” He agreed.

The End

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