A beacon of sunlight peeked through the velvet curtains, illuminating the pages of my book that I was currently glued to. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't seem to put it down.
Ever since I was a girl, I'd always been a sucker for romance novels, especially those that left me crying both tears of sadness and joy. And this book did exactly that.
As I sat in bed reading, Derek lay fast asleep beside me, his chest gently rising and falling with each breath. Yesterday night, we'd attended The Script's concert at Allphones Arena and even got to meet each member in person before the show.
When I woke up this morning, my throat had felt scratchy and dry, probably due to the numerous times I'd screamed last night.
At that moment, Derek began to stir awake, rolling to the side and taking the sheets with him. After letting out a groan and stretching his muscles, he turned towards me, smiling lazily.
"Morning, beautiful," he said in that deep, sexy voice of his.
I simply gave him a smile then directed my attention back to Collide. A frown formed on his lips.
"That's it? No kiss or anything?"
"Shush. I'm at a good part."
"Damn, you've had your head stuck in that book ever since we got here."
I ignored him and was about to get out of bed when he reached over and snatched the book out of my hand.
"Hey!", I protested.
Derek smirked, opening to the current page I was on then propped himself up on one elbow as he began to read aloud:
"He was beauteous, not just his amazing stature but also his face. That strong angular jaw that complemented his high cheekbones, and the light stubble on his chin only added to his masculinity - and further added to her quickened breath."
Immediately, I felt a blush forming on my cheeks, and Derek shot me a cheeky grin, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.
"I had no idea you were reading a book about me. The author's right; I am beauteous."
I erupted into a laughing fit at his arrogant comment. I definitely hadn't seen it coming.
"Hmm, I wonder what else she says about me." Derek continued to flip through the pages, and I could feel my patience wearing thin.
"Derek...," I whined. He held up a finger.
"Hold on. I see something good." His eyes lit up in mischief as he quickly scanned over the words. He pretended to clear his throat then read: "Groaning, Gavin pushed himself deeper, and Emily breathed out hard, pulling his mouth down to hers."
My eyes widened in horror as I quickly yanked the book away from Derek, tossing it onto the nightstand. He laughed uproariously, making me feel more unsettled than ever. I was probably as red as a tomato right now.
"God, you kill me, Claire."
"I hate you." I punched his arm.
"No you don't," he said with a smirk, pulling me towards his warm body.
I groaned, hiding my face in his chest as I drowned in embarrassment.
"Aww, is someone shy?" He cupped his hand under my chin, tilting it up so that I was staring into his playful eyes.
"Just drop it," I said in exasperation.
"Wait, I have a quick question."
He brought his lips close to my ear, sending my nerves in a frenzy.
"Can Gavin go as deep as I can?", he murmured.
I bolted upright, accidentally colliding my head against Derek's chin then sprinted full speed towards the bathroom, shutting the door. The sound of his laughter echoed throughout the entire suite, and I regretted not bringing duct tape to shut him up for good.
After stripping out of my tshirt and panties, I stepped into the shower and turned on the warm water, letting it run down my back. Just as I was about to pour some shampoo, the door opened, and Derek strolled in, wearing absolutely nothing at all.
I could feel his heated gaze on me through the fogged glass, and my breathing hitched at the sight of his tanned, muscular body in all its perfection.
Without saying a single word, he stepped in behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist. I leaned my head back on his shoulder, reaching up to tangle my fingers in the damp hair at the nape of his neck.
Slowly, his hands began to slide upward, ghosting over the curve of my breasts, and I whimpered in delight as he leisurely circled the taut peak with his thumb and forefinger.
Meanwhile, his lips began a torturous path down my neck, gently sucking and nibbling on the smooth skin. I could feel his growing erection pressing against my back and desperately wanted for him to be inside me.
He turned my body around, holding my face in his hands. We simply stood there as the water fell down our backs, absorbed in the love that had somehow managed to find us both.
Derek smiled, his gaze warming me from head to toe. His finger absently traced my bottom lip and feeling naughty, I brought it into my mouth, sucking gently. A deep groan escaped his throat, and it made me wetter than I already was.
His eyes instantly darkened, full of carnal need, and the next thing I knew, my back was pressed against the tile wall. Panting, he brought his face down to mine, and our lips collided as he swiftly entered me with one deep thrust.
"Oh, Derek," I moaned into his mouth, sinking my nails into his muscular back.
His languorous tongue caressed my jaw and neck as he continued to slam his hips against mine, driving my body to insane heights.
I threw my head back and cried out in pleasure when I felt his wet lips latch onto my swollen nipple, which ached with need. He teased one and then the other with his tongue, lapping and suckling the hard tip.
I brought his mouth back to mine and with one hand, he lifted my leg and wrapped it around his waist, deepening his thrusts.
"God, you feel so good," he rasped, pounding into me until we were both sated and completely breathless.
My body went limp afterwards, and if it weren't for his strong arms holding me, I would've collapsed in a heap on the floor.
"I don't think I'll ever get enough of you," I whispered, stroking his beautiful face.
"Me neither. I was never addicted to anything until you came along." His lips curled into a smile.
After washing ourselves, Derek and I finally got out of the shower. I changed into a pair of denim shorts and light pink top, applying as little makeup as possible. He threw on a black tshirt and dark blue jeans then we left the room to meet up with the others for breakfast.
I still couldn't believe it was already the last day of the year. Tonight, the hotel was hosting a huge New Year's Eve party in its VIP club, and of course, there was also the famous fireworks over Sydney Harbour.
"How was the concert last night?", Keith asked when we met him in the lobby.
"It was amazing. We sang along to every single song, and Claire got Danny O'Donoghue's autograph," Derek shared.
"Nice. So, what's the plan for today?"
"How about we just spend the day downtown? The girls have their mani-pedi appointment in two hours, anyway," Justin suggested.
"Good idea," Derek said.
After eating a hearty breakfast, we passed the hours taking pictures at Hyde Park and wandering the busy city streets. While the girls and I got our nails done, the guys checked out the auto show down the block, complete with luxury cars and the most beautiful Australian models.
Around six, traffic became insane since most of the roads had been shut in preparation for the fireworks later tonight. It wasn't until seven when we got back to our hotel.
I slipped into the dark blue dress I'd bought exclusively for the party. No doubt Derek was gonna throw a huge fit over how it was too "short and tight." But I honestly didn't give two shits.
After curling my hair and putting on a pair of silver dangly earrings, I went to go check on Derek. My eyes widened in appreciation when I saw him buttoning up his crisp, black Armani shirt. It fit him oh so perfectly, emphasizing his bulging biceps and taut chest.
Everything about him oozed pure sex appeal, from his just-fucked hair to the scent of the cologne he was wearing.
"Hey," I said, announcing my presence.
Derek turned around, and his gaze locked onto mine. He just stood there, eyeing me with such raw hunger and desire, my legs turned to Jell-O, and I had to hold onto the wall for support.
"You. Look. Fucking. Hot," he said, licking his lower lip.
"Not as hot as you."
He chuckled, putting on his watch then strode over to me. His cologne drove my senses wild, and it took every fiber of my being to not yank his shirt off of him.
"Remind me to not lay a hand on you when we're at the club, alright?", he rasped into my ear. "Because once I do, I won't be able to stop."
And with that, he left the room, and I followed him, feeling more sexually frustrated than ever.
The pounding bass echoed in my ears as I weaved through crowds of sweaty dancers having the time of their life. Ever since we entered the club, I'd lost count of how many times I found a woman feasting her eyes on Derek. Like usual, I hadn't minded at all.
But when I approached our booth, a wave of jealousy rushed through me at the sight of one particular woman sitting next to my husband. And to say the least, she was a total bombshell, with long blonde hair and captivating emerald eyes.
"Oh, you must be Claire. I love your dress," she said, smiling at me before turning to Derek. "Wow you're right. She is beautiful."
"How do you know my name?", I asked, feeling uneasy.
"Derek was telling me about you. We've been friends for a few years now."
I directed my attention to Derek and crossed my arms, giving him a skeptical look. He threw back a shot of vodka then stood up next to me, grinning ear-to-ear.
"Baby, this is Monica Daniels, a close friend of mine. She was crowned Miss Australia two years ago," he introduced.
My jaw dropped to the ground, and in that moment, I felt like absolutely nothing compared to her.
So this was one of the models he probably slept with in the past...
"It's nice to meet you, Monica," I managed to say with a reluctant smile.
"You, too. Well, I'll leave you two lovebirds alone now. Have a wonderful New Year."
She kissed both of Derek's cheeks then did the same to me before heading off to a different booth.
"You, ok?", Derek asked, slipping an arm around my waist.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I assume you and Monica used to date?"
"For three months. We decided we were better off just being friends," he replied casually.
Friends with benefits, I thought to myself.
"Oh, I see."
To rid the images of Derek and Monica getting it on in my mind, I ordered several shots of liquor, and he just sat there speechless as I downed them all. I was about to drink another one when he reached out and grabbed the glass from my hand.
"Ok, I think you've had enough," he said sternly.
I rolled my eyes at him then stood up, any trace of jealousy I'd felt earlier vanished. A wild, crazy rush of adrenaline replaced it, and I grabbed Derek's hand, leading him to the dance floor.
"Hi Justin, hi Lauren!", I yelled over the loud music when we reached my brother, who was busting out some pretty insane dance moves.
"Hey sis! Are you drunk or something?"
"Why would you say that?"
"You look like you've had one too many shots." He grinned in amusement.
"Yeah, I probably did, but I'm gonna dance it all off!"
Next to me, Derek was stifling a laugh, and before I could scold him, JT's Lovestoned began to play over the speakers. It'd always been one of my favorite songs in music history, and I wasted no time moving to the beat.
The strobe lights illuminated the dance floor, creating a wild, energetic atmosphere.
I got so lost in the music that I didn't notice the sound of whistles and claps erupting around me.
"Damn, you go Weston!", I heard one guy holler.
At the mention of Derek's name, I whipped around and froze, taking in the scene before me. And to say that I was stunned would be an understatement.
As JT's vocals filled the room, Derek and a very drunk Keith were putting on one hell of a show. Derek had moves that could rival JT himself, and as he circled his hips erotically, it drove the girls absolutely crazy.
God, I was so turned on.
To my surprise, he dragged his feet over to me, and when the verse, 'she's like a model, except she's got a little more ass,' played, he gave my ass a squeeze. I squealed, swatting his hand away.
"Dance with me," he said in a low, husky tone.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any crazier, Derek turned his back to me then began shimmying down, making sure that I could feel every inch of his hard body.
The crowd erupted into laughter, enjoying our little naughty act. When the chorus came on, I grabbed Derek's arm, spinning him around to face me.
His breathing quickened as our chests pressed against each other. Holding his heated gaze, I began to slide downwards, savoring every delicious muscle and ridge of his body before making my way back up.
"That was fucking hot," he whispered throatily in my ear, his hands grabbing hold of my hips as I grinded against him.
David Guetta's Sexy Bitch started to play over the speakers, an old but totally danceable hit that had everyone on their feet.
"Do you have any idea what you're doing to me right now?" Derek's lips were at my throat, and I moaned quietly when I felt his hard-on pressing into my stomach.
With a sly grin, I reached down and wrapped my hand around it, stroking him lightly as a low growl rumbled in the back of his throat.
"Geez, calm down, tiger," I teased.
Before he could utter a word, I made my way over to the girls, who were caught up in a conversation about how great a dancer Derek was. When I looked back in his direction, his eyes were so dark with revenge and raw desire, it made me throb with need.
After dancing with the girls, I was able to release some of the sexual energy, but when the guys came over, I went back to grinding against Derek once more. Luckily, we were able to control our raging hormones this time.
The hours flew by as we all danced the night away, and soon people began to make their way outside to watch the fireworks display. It was a beautiful, clear night, perfect for the occasion. I desperately needed to cool off, too, since my body was covered in sweat.
"Man, I didn't know you were such a party animal," Derek remarked.
"I didn't know you could dance like JT."
"Nah, I'm not that good." He grinned, shoving his hands in his pockets.
"Oh, don't be so modest. We all know you made panties drop back in that club." I playfully elbowed his ribs.
You have no idea, honey.
As we approached the edge of the water, I took in the breathtaking view, storing an image of it in my mind to keep forever. In just a couple minutes, fireworks would light up the Harbour Bridge, welcoming the new year.
I leaned against the railing, and Derek stood behind me, resting his chin on my shoulder as his arms wrapped around my waist. It felt slightly chilly due to the ocean breeze, but the heat radiating from his body kept me warm.
When the clock reached the minute til twelve mark, everyone began to count down the seconds.
As the first round of fireworks went off, Derek grabbed my face, gazing down at me with pure happiness before his lips descended on mine. I wrapped my arms around his neck, and he picked me up effortlessly, deepening our kiss.
Meanwhile, the fireworks formed a waterfall, spilling down the edge of the Bridge while bright colors lit up the night sky. There were no words to describe how captivating and surreal it looked. The Opera House as well was surrounded in fireworks, the magnificent colors reflecting in the water.
When we finally broke apart for air, I rested my forehead against Derek's, savoring this unforgettable moment.
"Happy New Year, Claire," he said with a grin, kissing the tip of my nose.
"Happy New Year, Derek."
Amongst the cheering and noise, a well-known Australian singer began to perform the classic song, Auld Lang Syne. She stood on a stage in front of the Opera House, and tons of people gathered around to watch, including Derek and me.
It was nearly two in the morning when we made our way back towards the hotel. Deciding to let loose for just a bit longer, we returned to the club upstairs, where the party was still in full blast. Several Australian movie stars and models had shown up, too.
After getting a few more drinks in my system and another round of dirty dancing with Derek, I was more aroused than ever.
In the elevator back to our suite, he consumed my every thought, and I had my hands all over him as he showered my face with drunken kisses.
The moment we entered the room, he kicked the door shut then picked me up in his arms. I slipped off my heels and wrapped my legs around his waist, bringing his face up to mine.
A moan escaped my throat when he tugged at my bottom lip with his teeth and soon, the taste of vodka and mint intoxicated my senses as he thrust his tongue into my mouth.
We stumbled over towards the bed, our lips never breaking contact. Derek switched on the dim lamp, and suddenly feeling self-conscious, I broke our kiss.
"Why'd you turn on the lamp?", I asked.
"I wanna see your beautiful face when I make love to you." His voice was raspy and full of desire.
The throbbing ache between my legs was killing me, and when he sat down on the bed, I straddled his lap, wasting no time to rid him of his clothing. My fingers fumbled with the buttons of his shirt and then I yanked it off, tossing it to the ground.
"Someone's eager," he said with a smirk.
Derek stroked my thighs, tugging at the hem of my dress. Meanwhile his lips were on mine as we shared a raw, passionate kiss that left me begging for more.
With one swift move, he had my dress off, adding it to our pile of clothing on the ground. I pushed him back onto the bed then began kissing his neck, gently biting the flesh.
For the first time ever, I was the one in control, and I was going to savor every moment of it. Derek's breathing became uneven as my lips trailed down to the hard plane of his chest.
I ran my tongue over his perfectly sculpted abs, paying special attention to his v-lines that led to my wettest dream. With quick fingers, I unzipped his pants, sliding them down his legs, along with his boxers.
He kicked them off, lifting his head up to meet my gaze. To this day, I still couldn't believe that this handsome man was all mine. And I wanted to show him just how much I cared about him.
With a shaky hand, I began to stroke his hard length, and he immediately responded to my touch.
"Oh, fuck, baby," he said through clenched teeth.
Keeping his eyes on mine, I took him into my mouth, swirling my tongue over the moist tip. He grabbed my hair, bucking his hips as a string of profanities escaped his mouth.
Just as I was about to go deeper, he sat upright. I immediately stopped then gave him a frown.
"What's wrong?", I asked.
"Baby, I know this is your first time doing this, and-,"
"Was I bad?" I could feel my cheeks beginning to burn hot with embarrassment.
"No, not at all. You were amazing," he soothed, reaching out to stroke my cheek. "I just don't want you to choke once I...you know."
It didn't surprise me at all that Derek had put me before his needs, and just knowing that made my love for him grow.
He lay back down, taking me with him as one of his hands slipped under my panties, stroking my heat with his skilled fingers.
"God, you're so wet," he murmured, capturing my lips in a kiss.
"For you," I breathed.
Slowly, he began to slide my panties down my legs, and I kicked them off. Sitting up, I straddled him, raising my hips slightly before sinking down.
My eyes rolled to the back of my head and I moaned wildly, feeling every inch of him fill me up. His hands reached up to knead my breasts as I rode him, lost in an utter state of bliss.
"God, you feel amazing," Derek rasped, bucking his hips.
Just when I was about to reach the edge, he grabbed my arms, rolling over so that he hovered over my body. He repositioned himself at my entrance then slowly sank deep inside of me.
My eyes closed shut and I threw my head back, digging my nails into his broad shoulders.
"Look at me, baby," he breathed in my ear.
I did as he asked and when I saw the tender, loving expression in his blue eyes, it took all my strength to not fall apart.
His thrusts were slow and deep, and the sound of our moans filled the air. He kissed my neck, sucking at the sweet spot right below my ear.
Soon, the familiar tightness began to build up in the base of my stomach as his movements became faster and more urgent.
"Derek, I-I'm gonna come," I groaned.
"Relax, baby, I got you," he rasped, kissing my lips.
He continued to rock against me even harder and with the final thrust, my muscles clenched around his length as I cried out his name.
"God, I fucking love you," Derek groaned into my mouth, spilling the contents of his release into me as I rode out my mind-blowing orgasm, trembling in his arms.
After placing one last kiss on my lips, he collapsed on top of me. We simply lay there, struggling to slow down our erratic breathing.
I reached up to brush the hair away from his sweaty forehead, and he grabbed my hand, brushing his lips over my knuckles.
"Is it crazy that I love you more than I ever have before?", he whispered, his blue eyes burning into mine.
I could feel tears of pure happiness threatening to escape as I traced every inch of his chiseled face with my finger, memorizing it forever.
"Is it crazy that I love you, too?" My voice was barely a whisper.
Derek gazed at me in disbelief, and when I pressed my lips against his, he didn't respond.
"What's wrong?", I breathed.
"You're still drunk aren't, you?" His tone was resigned.
At that moment, I felt my heart clenching in my chest, and I wanted nothing more than to make Derek understand just how much I loved him. I hated how he'd had to feel second best to Nick all these months.
"No, I'm not drunk. Look at me, Derek."
His eyes met mine, and they looked so lost, pain constricted in my chest. I brought his hand to my heart, keeping it there.
"You feel that? My heart beats for you, and only you. It's all yours...just please don't break it."
A tear fell down my cheek, and Derek delicately brushed it away with his thumb, warming me with his loving gaze.
"I'll die before doing anything to hurt you, baby. You're the air I breathe, and the blood flowing in my veins. Without you, I'm nothing," he whispered, stroking my cheek with the palm of his hand.
"I love you, Derek Weston."
A smile tickled the corners of his mouth.
"I love you, too, Claire."
His lips descended onto mine and soon, we were lost in each other once more, making love well into the crack of dawn. Derek fell asleep right after, holding me in the warmth of his arms as I lay my head on his chest, listening to his every heartbeat.
To say the least, this past year had been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. In the beginning, I was a lost and broken soul, but because of Derek, I was able to find love again, and most importantly, find myself.
Our relationship was like a romance novel. Tonight had marked the beginning of a new chapter, and believe me, I couldn't wait to turn the pages.
A/N- Ok, I lied. This chapter will be the last one for the summer (: Ideas just kept coming, and I couldn't stop writing. Some of you are probably thinking that the story is almost over, but trust me, we're far from the ending. And yes, it looks like Claire has finally confessed her love for Derek. Where will their relationship go from here? Read on to find out. And remember to like and comment!