I slammed the door in Derek's face then ran as fast as I could to my bedroom. I quickly shut the door and locked it, sliding onto the floor as my heart began pounding in my chest.
This couldn't be happening...
His loud footsteps sounded throughout the entire apartment, and I sucked in a deep breath when I heard them pause right outside my room.
"Open the door," Derek spoke in a calm tone.
I remained silent as I felt my eyes begin to water. This was so unfair. One minute, I thought I could finally be happy again and the next, my selfish husband came to take it all away, expecting me to be able to talk to him after everything he'd put me through.
"Claire, you can't keep hiding from me like this," he said with a frustrated groan.
"Yes I can!", I shouted angrily through my tears.
"Please, Claire, I need to talk to you. I'll wait out here all day if I need to."
I muttered a bunch of curses under my breath then unwillingly reached up to open the door for Derek. He stepped into the room and nearly kicked me since I was sitting on the floor.
"Claire!", he exclaimed, quickly bending down as he wrapped his arms around me.
"Let go of me!", I protested, attempting to push my husband away, but that only made him tighten his embrace.
"Damn it, I've missed you so much," he said urgently, kissing the top of my head.
I winced in disgust and kneed Derek in the balls, causing him to immediately back off of me. He stumbled to his feet, and I stood up also, placing my hands on my hips.
"What the fuck was that for?!", he exclaimed in disbelief, glancing down at his manhood.
"How the hell did you find me?", I demanded.
"Charlotte told me you were here," he responded.
"She what?!", I yelled.
How could my best friend betray me like this?!
"Claire, look at me," Derek ordered, reaching out to grab my wrists.
"Goddamn it, will you just let me talk to you?!", he shouted in a desperate tone.
I forced myself to look up at my husband, and that's when I noticed how worn out he was. The usual sparkle in his eyes had disappeared and instead, they were now dull and red. He hadn't shaved in days, and it was obvious he'd lost a ton of weight, too.
I wondered what could be the cause of his dramatic change in appearance.
I went to sit down on the bed and Derek placed himself next to me, his eyes burning right through mine with such intensity, I thought I'd fall victim to him in a heartbeat. But that wasn't going to happen. I was perfectly capable of standing up for myself.
So what he had to say better be good.
"Claire, I can't even begin to tell you how sorry I am. For everything. I was a dick for treating you so horribly, and I took you for granted when instead, I should've appreciated you because honestly, I probably will never find a wife like you ever again in my entire life," he spoke, looking completely torn.
I was silent then waited for him to continue.
"When you left me, I just couldn't stop thinking about you. I kept telling myself that you'd come back in a couple of days. But you didn't."
"So what did you do then?", I muttered.
"I became a total wreck. I couldn't eat or sleep, and I hated myself more and more each day. The guilt ate me alive.
"But the hardest part was dealing with the pain of knowing that you were gone. You have no idea how much I missed you, Claire."
By then, Derek's face had pain and misery written all over it, and he almost looked as if he was going to cry. I'd never seen him like this before, and to be honest, it was pretty sad.
The both of us just sat there in silence because I couldn't figure out what to say. Derek clearly had been suffering ever since I'd left, unlike me who was glad to be away from him. But now, I honestly didn't know anymore.
"Maybe if you had opened up to me about how you really felt towards our marriage, then this never would've happened," Derek spoke quietly, glancing sideways at me.
"Why should I open up to the man who treats me like I'm some cheap maid and is never even home to talk to me?", I snapped.
"Look, I said I was sorry for treating you like that. But it's not my fault I'm always busy at work. Being a CEO is a lot more stressful than you think."
"Yeah, and being your wife isn't," I sneered.
All of a sudden, Derek pushed me back onto the mattress, and I let out a giant squeal as he climbed on top of me, pinning my arms to my sides.
Holy crap, the man was going all "50 Shades of Grey" on me!
"What are you-?!", I began to protest when he placed his long index finger over my mouth. I immediately shut up.
Derek tilted my chin up so that I was gazing into his blue orbs as I continued to squirm underneath his muscular frame.
"Claire, I promise I'll never say or do anything to hurt you ever again. Just please, come home," he begged with pleading eyes.
Oh, what the heck, just give him a second chance already, my inner subconscious told me.
"Ok fine, I forgive you," I groaned exasperatedly.
"Does that mean you're coming home, too?", he asked hopefully.
"Yeah, yeah. Now get off of me."
Derek's face instantly lit up and he removed his weight from my body, enabling me to sit back up.
"Huh, I guess Charlotte was right after all," he remarked as he straightened out his tie.
"What are you talking about?"
"She guaranteed that you'd come home if I said the right things to you. And it looks like I did," he replied with a grin.
"Whatever," I said, rolling my eyes.
Derek's face suddenly grew serious, and I was about to walk out of the room when he stopped me, grabbing my elbow.
Oh god, not another one of his 'bipolar phases'.
"Why are you dressed like this?", he asked, his eyes roaming over my tank top and shorts that barely covered my butt.
"Oh no, don't even think about it. I did not sleep with Dustin if that's what you're wondering," I snapped, glaring at him.
"Who said I was even thinking about that?", he retorted.
I scoffed and then removed his hand from my arm.
"Just save it," I muttered in an irritated tone before heading out to the living room.
Derek and I decided to stay at Dustin's apartment until he came home so that I could thank him in person for everything that he'd done for me.
Around four, Dustin strolled in while I was watching TV in the living room. He first looked at my suitcase that lay on the ground and then at me.
"How was work?", I asked him.
"Same as usual. Hey, are you leaving or something?"
"Yeah. My husband is here. I'm going back home with him," I replied.
"Are you serious?! Did he force you to?", Dustin exclaimed.
"No, it was my own decision," I reassured.
"Thank god." He sighed in relief.
"We talked and Derek apologized for all the things he'd done. He went through a lot while I was gone, so I think he's learned his lesson now."
"He better. Where is he even?", Dustin asked, looking around the room.
"I'm right here," I heard Derek say.
He'd just finished using the bathroom and was walking towards the couch. His eyes immediately narrowed when he saw Dustin, and he shoved his hands into his pockets.
"Um, Derek, this is my friend, Dustin Coleman," I introduced, pretending to cough afterwards.
"It's nice to meet you," Derek said coldly as he shook Dustin's hand.
"You too. I've heard a lot of great things about you," Dustin stated sarcastically.
"Were you the guy that danced with my wife back in June?"
"Yup," he replied, popping the 'p'.
Derek's body immediately stiffened, and he clenched his jaw as he glared at Dustin. I couldn't help but find it rather entertaining.
My husband was so jealous.
"Well, we should probably go now. Thank you for letting me stay here. And for everything else, too," I said to Dustin, giving him a brief hug before retrieving my suitcase.
"Anything for a friend. Oh, and Derek, you've got a wonderful lady right here. So you better treat her like one," he spoke, directing his attention to my husband.
"I will," Derek muttered bitterly.
"Good luck with college and football," I said to Dustin as my husband and I were walking out of his apartment.
"See ya, Claire."
We were both silent on our way out to the parking lot and when we got there, Derek turned around to look at me with a stern expression on his face.
"What?", I asked in an innocent tone.
"Do you have feelings for that Dustin guy?", he demanded hotly, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
God, someone kill me.
"You have no right to be jealous of him! You haven't even acted like a husband ever since we got married! And to answer your stupid question, no. I don't have feelings for Dustin."
"Well, he obviously has a thing for you," Derek spat, narrowing his eyes.
"Whatever. Anything else you wanna tell me?"
"You better drive straight home, got it?"
Wow, he seriously thought that I was going to ditch him or something.
"Yes, Mr. Bossy-Pants," I said with an exasperated groan before heading towards my Mercedes.
Derek had better not make me regret my decision to go back home to him.
A/N- Well, it looks like Derek has got Claire back. Hopefully, he's changed his ways for good. Read on to see what happens next between the two of them.