Chapter One: Derek - Family Man.
As far as rooms and elephants go, the elephant didn't come any bigger than this. That's how Derek felt as he walked hand-in-hand through the park with his girlfriend, who he could tell (by her sweaty palms and lack of speech since he'd met with her) was just as nervous as he was.
It was six days since they'd discussed the matter. Derek, for one, had seen no point in breaching the subject until Alison was sure, until she was absolutely, one-hundered-percent sure, beyond doubt, that...
He glanced sideways at her, and she returned his gaze with frightened eyes.
"Can't you just... tell me?" he asked, part gently, but part impatiently, in spite of himself.
She swallowed audibly. "I... This is hard, Derek. I don't know what you want."
"Alison," he said, halting below a bowing willow tree, and pulling her delicate hands closer to his body. "I am here. I am standing here before you, waiting to hear what you have to say to me. Isn't that reassurance enough? Do you not see that what I want is right here?" He scooped a lock of blonde hair behind her ear and touched her cheek. "No matter what you tell me, I'm not going anywhere."
Her eyes lingered below his chin as she nodded, first gently, and then more affirmatively. "Yes. He said... yes."
Derek raised his eyebrows. "He said yes?"
Alison's sparkling green eyes met his; "Yes."
"Yes!" Derek cried in delight, scooping her up by her waist and spinning her around in the air. She laughed out loud, and leaned in to kiss him as he set her back on the ground.
"We're gonna have a baby, Derek," she whispered.
"I know," he breathed, pulling her close and feeling her ecstatic heartbeat against his chest. "I'm so happy, Ally."
"Me too. I love you, Derek."
"I love you too."
Derek forced a smile to appear on his face as she beamed up into his like a glowing little sun. It wasn't that he didn't love Alison, or didn't want to raise a child with her. He was absolutely willing to devote the rest of his life to this girl and their unborn baby.
Yet as he held her, he couldn't ignore the gnawing discomfort that had taken up residence in he pit of his belly.
"I think we should move the wedding up," Alison murmured, her mouth near his chest as she cuddled him. "I don't want to look like a balloon in the photos. And if the baby's not born in wedlock, I'm going to be disowned by my whole family."
"No problem, babe," said Derek. Though something made him think that the truth was otherwise.