I was busy in the kitchen preparing dinner for Derek and myself since he was supposed to be arriving home from the airport in a few minutes. As I waited for the garlic breadsticks to finish baking, I continued cutting up the peppers for the cajun pasta.
On Sunday night, Derek had called to check up on me while he was in San Francisco. It'd given me hope that things were actually getting better between us.
However, I still was upset about the whole deal with him and Ashley at that gala a couple nights ago. I didn't plan on bringing it up, though, unless he ever decided to talk about it.
Just as the oven went off, signaling that the breadsticks were done, Derek strolled into the kitchen, wearing a dark gray suit.
"I smell food," he announced with a grin.
"Well, I am cooking dinner. How was your flight?", I asked as I continued to chop up the peppers.
"Come on, I don't even get a 'hello' or anything?", he said teasingly.
"Oops, I forgot. Hello."
His eyes lit up in amusement and he chuckled lightly.
"And to answer your question, my flight was nice. It sure feels good to be back home, though."
Derek took off his jacket then pulled out a stool at the counter, sitting down. He grabbed a banana and was about to begin peeling it when I stopped him.
"What are you doing?"
"Um, I'm about to eat this banana," he replied, giving me a weird look.
"But what about dinner?"
"I don't see anything on the table, and I'm dying of hunger right now."
"The breadsticks are in the oven. You can start with those. I'm just finishing up the pasta," I told him.
"Gotcha," he said, heading towards the oven.
I was chopping the last of the peppers when I suddenly felt a sneeze build up in my nose. The moment I did, my entire body jerked, causing the knife that was in my right hand to cut my left index finger.
"Shit!", I exclaimed in pain as blood began trickling out.
"Who says 'shit' after sneezing?", Derek remarked, taking out the breadsticks.
I ignored him and quickly grabbed a towel to press against the cut, which was bleeding more and more by the second.
"Derek, can you get me the first aid kit?"
"Wait, what happened?", he asked urgently, setting the plate of breadsticks down and turning to look at me.
"I accidentally cut myself with the knife when I sneezed," I explained. His eyes widened with worry and he immediately rushed to my side.
"Shit, are you ok?"
"It just stings a lot," I replied, sitting down on a chair at the table.
Derek knelt down in front of me and slowly began to remove the towel, which was covered in blood. The bleeding, however, had stopped.
"Ouch, that's a pretty deep cut. Here, go rinse it off in the sink. I'll grab a bandage from the bathroom," he said, getting up.
I went to the sink and turned it on, leaving my finger under the running water to clean the cut before drying it off with a towel. Derek came back moments later and told me to sit on the chair. Once again, he had to kneel down because he was so tall.
"This will prevent any infection," he stated as he began to gently dab some antibacterial ointment on my cut with his clean finger.
"Ouch, that hurts!" I cried out, wincing in pain.
"Relax, Claire," he spoke in a soothing tone, touching my arm. "There, I think that's enough ointment."
"Do you have the bandage?"
"Yup, it's right here."
I watched as Derek cut off a strip of the long, white bandage, wrapping it around my finger so that it wasn't too tight, but not too loose either.
"Thank you," I said, smiling gratefully at him once he was done.
"No problem. You know what, I'll go chop the rest of those peppers for you. I don't want you by any knives from now until that cut completely heals," he advised, looking up at me with a serious expression on his face.
"But you haven't even ate yet," I reminded him.
"I'll be fine," he assured.
"Wait, the peppers go in the pasta, right?", he asked, standing back up.
I nodded in response then sat there at the table as I watched Derek finish what I'd left off in the kitchen.
He'd acted like a true husband when I had injured my finger, taking care of the cut and making sure that it didn't get infected. I admit, his actions had tugged at my heartstrings a little.
I just hoped that Derek would be like this from now on.
It was a cloudy Friday afternoon. Tonight, Derek and I were having dinner with his parents, James and Heather, over in La Jolla. I hadn't seen them since the bake sale a couple months ago. I'd only spoken to his father that day because his mother had been busy with the other guests.
They'd just gotten back from a three-month vacation down in Florida. I remembered Derek telling me that they had a condo there right on the beach.
Talk about paradise.
I was vacuuming and cleaning up around the house while Derek was at work. You'd think that in a place as huge as this, it'd take me ages to tidy everything up.
But in reality, I just had to clean our two bedrooms, the kitchen, and living room. There really was no point in vacuuming the other seven bedrooms and home theater since neither of us ever went in them.
That's right, this house had nine freaking bedrooms and six bathrooms. See, I wasn't exaggerating when I'd told Elliot that it was way too big for just two people.
When I got to Derek's bedroom, which was also the largest one in this house, I headed to his bathroom first and cleaned up in there, using a bunch of disinfecting products. Like always, I left all of the windows opened because trust me, they smelled like shit.
I mean, who in their right mind would enjoy the smell of bleach?
Afterwards, I vacuumed Derek's bedroom floor and closet. Luckily, he was a very tidy guy, so I didn't have to do much.
As I was changing his bedsheets, I glanced over at his dresser, and my eyes landed on a framed picture that he'd set there. Out of curiosity, I walked over to see what it was.
A smile formed on my lips as I stared at the picture. It was of Derek and I that night at the gala in front of the hotel entrance. I had to say, we made a pretty good couple.
Then, I suddenly remembered Ashley, and just like that, my smile began to fade as I felt my heart sink. I seriously had to stop thinking about her, but how could I when she had kissed my husband?
Sooner or later, I'd have to talk to Derek because I couldn't stand not knowing the truth about his relationship with Ashley any longer.
That night, my husband was driving us to his parents' house. Just like their condo in Florida, this one was also located by the beach. I had a strapless aqua high-low dress on, and Derek wore a light gray button-up shirt with a pair of dark blue jeans.
"Well, here we are," he announced once we were in the driveway.
"What is it with you Westons' and your nice homes?", I remarked, looking at the huge, white two-story house in front of us.
The landscape was absolutely stunning, with various types of flowers planted in decorative stone pots and bushes trimmed to perfection.
"Well, my dad is a businessman too," Derek said, getting out of the car.
"Yeah, I know. He told me himself back in January."
I followed him to the front door where his parents were already waiting for us. He looked a lot like his father, who was extremely handsome for a man his age. They both shared the same deep blue eyes and face shape.
The only trait Derek had inherited from his mother was her hair color. Even though she was probably in her early fifties already, her face was still very attractive and youthful.
"Welcome, darling! Come on in!", his mother greeted me with a smile.
"How have you been, Heather?", I asked, giving her a hug. Derek was talking to his father.
"I've been doing just great," she replied, standing back to look at me. "Now, why on earth would you wear this dress?"
"Um, what are you talking about?", I asked her slowly.
"Your dress...it makes you look big," she commented, shaking her head in disapproval before turning to greet her son. My mouth was hanging open in utter shock, and I just stood there.
I'm sure Heather hadn't meant to be offensive at all, I sarcastically thought to myself.
"How are you, Claire?", Derek's father asked me as we began to head inside.
"I'm fine, James. And you?"
"I'm fine as well. But extremely sunburnt," he added with a grin, pointing to his arm, which was very red and peeling off skin.
"That's Florida for you," I said, smiling.
Derek went and gave me a tour of the entire house, including the room that he used to sleep in when he had lived here. It was pretty much empty now, apart from a few NFL posters that hung on his wall.
Afterwards, we headed back downstairs to the formal dining room for dinner. Heather had prepared filet mignon, grilled salmon, garlic mashed potatoes, and an apple vinaigrette salad.
As we all ate, she and her husband talked about what they did in Florida. Then, Derek said a few things about his company's current hotel project and the meeting he'd gone to in San Francisco. I just sat there and listened.
"Did Ashley go with you?", his mother asked him, briefly glancing at me out of the corner of her eye.
"She did," he replied, taking a sip of his wine. Heather then directed her attention towards me.
"I assume you've already met Derek's secretary?", she inquired.
"Yes. Last Saturday in fact," I replied, grabbing my glass of water.
"I've always loved Ashley like the daughter I never had. And if it weren't for this whole business partnership deal, Derek probably would've married her. They were high school sweethearts, you know," she said, looking at her son and smiling.
"Yeah, Ashley told me that they used to date," I spoke quietly, feeling uneasy.
"She's far more beautiful than you and very intelligent, too. Derek would've been so lucky if he'd married her," Heather continued.
I nearly choked on my water and immediately, I could feel my blood begin to boil as I glanced over at my husband, who had an unreadable expression on his face. James, however, was looking at his wife like she'd just descended from Mars or something.
"Is that so?", I asked curtly, the anger building up inside of me, but it took every fiber of my being to appear calm and relaxed.
"Of course, darling!", Heather replied with certainty.
How dare she call me "darling" when she was literally insulting me in front of my face!
"I also heard that you had focused most of your high school years on playing hockey? Such unfortunate parenting.
"I don't know how your family raised you, but education was always a number one priority for my husband and I. Athletes may seem all talented and rich at first, but once they retire, they'll become nothing. I hear some go broke before they're even forty."
What the hell was wrong with this woman???
Once Heather finished talking, everyone remained dead silent, including me. But the whole time, my eyes were shooting daggers at her.
Prior to tonight, never in my life had I ever been this humiliated and outraged. It felt as if someone had taken what was left of my dignity and stomped on it with their foot, in this case, that 'someone' being Derek's bitchy mother.
First of all, she basically had called me fat when I'd entered her home. And second, she had intentionally brought up Ashley while everyone was eating just so she could compare the two of us and make me feel like trash.
It was obvious Heather had wanted Ashley for a daughter-in-law and not me. Because based on her rude comments, I wasn't good enough for Derek.
Not only that, but she had also criticized my parents for the "unfortunate" way they'd raised me then went on to say a bunch of shit about athletes that weren't even close to true.
But the worst part was, my husband hadn't even bothered to say a single word while I was being insulted by his own mother.
A/N- Ok, I seriously want to slap Heather Weston in the face. And the fact that Derek just sat there the whole time without saying anything makes me even angrier. Is Claire going to do anything about it? Read on to find out, and remember to favorite and comment!