"Ooh, that's cold!", I squealed as Dr. Gillis rubbed some gel onto my belly.
"Everyone says that the first time," she said, smiling.
It was a Friday afternoon and both Derek and I had taken an hour off from work for my doctor's appointment. We were practically like two hyperactive kids during the car ride here, unable to sit still and contain our excitement.
Today was my very first ultrasound despite the fact that I was only about ten weeks pregnant. Typically, women received their first ultrasounds somewhere between the eighteenth to twentieth week, but Dr. Gillis wanted to confirm my due date.
Prior to today, getting an acceptance letter from Stanford had been the most exciting thing that'd ever happened to me. Now, I would be experiencing something much greater- the chance to finally see my baby.
Derek gave me a warm smile then turned to the monitor as Dr. Gillis began rubbing the transducer over my abdomen.
"You're still at a very early stage in your pregnancy, so I don't expect we'll see much today," she stated.
I nodded in understanding and simply lay there, waiting. Minutes felt like hours when the silence finally broke.
"I see something!", Derek exclaimed, jumping out of his seat and pointing to the screen.
"What is it, honey?", I asked anxiously.
"Our baby! Aww, it looks like a bean!"
My eyes quickly darted to the monitor and I realized Derek's description couldn't be more accurate. The fetus indeed resembled a bean. At this point, it was difficult to make out any features, but nonetheless, I thought it was the most precious thing I'd ever seen.
"Good observation, Mr. Weston," Dr. Gillis remarked with a laugh.
Derek went to stand next to me and held my hand, giving it an affectionate squeeze.
Apart from seeing our baby, we also got to listen to the steady sound of its heartbeat, and it felt utterly surreal. I couldn't help the tear that escaped as I thought about the new life Derek and I had created together, a symbol of our undying love.
"I can't wait til the day he's born," he said quietly, gazing into my eyes.
"He? You think it'll be a boy?"
"I've been having these feelings, almost like a sixth sense, that you're pregnant with Derek Jr."
I gave him a strange look then began to laugh.
"Derek Jr.? Wow, that's creative."
"I know right." He smirked.
To be honest, I couldn't care less whether we had a boy or girl, but if I had to choose, I'd want our first child to be a boy. It would be nice to have a son that could look after his younger siblings.
Growing up with Justin as my older brother had been wonderful. Our mother never once doubted his ability to protect me and act as my role model. He was kind, responsible, and honest. Any girl would be lucky to have him for a husband.
Now, if he and Lauren would just get married already...
When the ultrasound was complete, I changed back into my dress then sat down next to Derek as we listened to Dr. Gillis go over some important details regarding my pregnancy.
"Well, first of all, you're doing great. The baby is healthy, and other than the usual morning sickness and increased sexual drive, you should be perfectly normal."
"Increased sexual drive, huh?", Derek mused, giving me a wicked grin.
I blushed furiously and looked everywhere but at him.
"Of course. Luckily, she has you to take care of that," Dr. Gillis said, winking at me.
"Oh, I'll take of her real good."
"That's what I thought. And remember, your wife is pregnant. You young couples are always having rough, wild sex, but if she ever feels uncomfortable or in pain, then you'll need to be more gentle with her," she continued in a serious tone.
"Don't worry, doc, I'm a very flexible guy. Rough sex, make-up sex, gentle sex, you name it."
My jaw dropped to the ground, and the moment Derek's eyes came in contact with mine, I fought the urge to wipe that smug look off his face with my palm.
Did this man not have a filter?
To my surprise, Dr. Gillis was laughing, her cheeks bright red.
"Oh my, I definitely did not expect to hear that," she remarked.
"Neither did I," I said acidly, glaring at Derek.
He simply chuckled and draped an arm around my shoulder. I rolled my eyes then with an exaggerated sigh relaxed into his body.
"Last but not least, it looks like your due date will be sometime between mid to late October. If you two don't have any further questions, you're free to go," Dr. Gillis said with a smile.
"Wait, I have one quick question," Derek quickly spoke. I narrowed my eyes at him.
"Yes, Mr. Weston?"
"Is there a certain sex position I should-,"
"Ok, we're leaving," I interrupted, immediately standing up. "Have a nice day, Dr. Gillis." I gave her a warm smile. She shook her head in amusement.
"You too. See you soon."
"Bye, doctor!", Derek called over his shoulder as I forcefully dragged him out of the room.
When we reached our car, I stood on the sidewalk with my arms crossed, ready to give the scolding of a lifetime to my insane husband who didn't know how to keep his mouth shut.
But before I could say a single word, he suddenly dropped to one knee in front of me and unbuttoned my trench coat, exposing my slightly swollen belly. He gently caressed it with his large hand, and I simply stood there, blinking rapidly.
"Daddy loves you, Derek Jr. Your mother and I are counting down the days until we welcome you into this world. Just make sure you don't give her too hard a time, alright?"
Derek placed a kiss on my belly and that was when I became a whirlwind of emotions- love, joy, fear, and sadness. I was scared because I'd heard about mothers who died after giving birth. Situations like those were rare, but they could happen to anyone. I only prayed that my delivery would be successful.
Lastly, seeing Derek as a soon-to-be father reminded me of my own father. In October, all the people I loved would be there to witness the birth of my child. All except him.
Tears automatically began falling down my cheeks, and Derek stood back up, pulling me into a tight embrace.
"Are you alright, sweetheart?", he asked.
"Not really," I said truthfully.
"Well, whatever you're thinking, know that I'll always be here for you." He kissed the crown of my head.
"I promise. I'll be with you until the day we both take our last dying breath."
Then, his soft lips were on mine and I smiled through my tears.
No matter how many dark, rainy days there were, Derek somehow managed to always bring the light back into my life.
The annual bake sale fundraiser for Derek's company was held on the third Saturday of March this year. I'd decided to make decadent dark chocolate brownies using my grandma's famous recipe. I'd inherited most of my baking skills from her.
Tons of families had shown up at the downtown convention center, sampling and buying the different pastries the bake sale had to offer. All proceeds would go to the American Cancer Society.
"How's everything going?", Derek asked, stopping by my table on his way to the lounge area.
"Great. I've sold a ton of these brownies already."
"That's awesome. Have you seen my parents yet?"
"Yeah, I just talked to Heather. She's over the moon about becoming a grandmother," I replied with a smile.
"I bet. Well, if you need me, I'll be over there with Keith and Trent." He motioned towards the main entrance.
I sat back in my chair and watched a young couple standing at Jessica's booth. They had a little boy with the cutest brown curls, who couldn't be any older than three, and an even younger daughter, whom the mom was rocking to sleep. Like me, she also had a noticeable baby bump. The dad balanced a ton of pastry boxes in his arms, laughing at something his wife said.
Someday, I wanted a family like theirs. The thought of several mini Dereks and Claires running around the house brought a huge smile to my face. Some of them would have their dad's mesmerizing blue eyes while the rest had my brown ones. No doubt they'd be the most beautiful kids in the entire world.
I was trying to brainstorm names for our future children when a familiar feminine voice brought me back to reality.
"It's nice to finally see you again, Claire."
I looked up to see Ashley Lawrence standing there with a fake smile plastered to her face.
"How have you been?", I asked, trying to sound conversational. Like usual, she wore a tight, low-cut dress with nude designer heels.
"Good. So, Derek told me that he's becoming a father soon."
"You two still talk?"
"Of course. We're friends after all," she said with an emphasis on the word 'friends'.
I began to feel uneasy and silently prayed some magic carpet would come sweep her away. The last thing I wanted was for her to say something to aggravate me.
"Well, with your husband's notorious history, I wouldn't be surprised if he already is a father to someone else's kid." She laughed dryly.
I, however, found no humor in her comment.
Simmering with fury, I began to clench my fists, desperately wanting to give her the punch she deserved for everything she'd said and done to hurt me.
"You know, your father should've waited until later to have his heart attack. Derek wouldn't have had to marry you. He'd be married to me. I'd be the one carrying his child, not some random girl he never even gave his heart to. Now he's stuck with you for the rest of his life. How unfair is that?"
At that point, any self control I had left vanished. I finally saw Ashley for what she really was. A cruel, heartless monster. And I was done letting her walk all over me.
"Shut the hell up, you bitch!", I screamed, leaping to my feet.
"Wow, your dad obviously didn't teach you proper manners," she said with a frown.
Without even thinking, I launched myself at her and we both toppled to the ground, knocking over the table as brownies went flying everywhere.
Everything became a blur, and I was able to punch Ashley in the jaw when I felt a pair of arms haul me off her body.
"Claire, what the hell is wrong with you?!", I heard Derek exclaim.
By then, tears of rage were pouring down my cheeks and through them, I could see dozens of bewildered faces staring at me, including my husband's.
Ashley was being helped to her feet by a security guard and as her wicked, amber eyes made contact with mine, I completely lost it.
"How dare you have the nerve to talk about my father that way! You're lucky I didn't fucking kill you!"
I tried to advance towards her, but Derek held me back and I was left struggling in his arms.
"Derek, get your wife out of here. Now," James said sternly. For a brief moment, I thought I saw a look of pity flicker across his features.
As Derek dragged me outside like I was some criminal he'd just arrested, I couldn't bear to look at him. I was crying hysterically, angry at Ashley for ruining my life. I'd allowed her to dump the gasoline into the already raging fire, and I was left dealing with all the damage.
In everyone's eyes, I was some crazy, pregnant woman that had attacked her, but they would never know the cruel words she'd spoken to me that had ignited the flames.
The moment we were alone in Derek's car, I turned towards the window, praying that this all was a nightmare I'd wake up from.
I remained silent, unable to formulate a single response.
Derek reached his arm out and slipped it around my shoulder, pulling me towards him. Utterly defeated, I buried my head in his chest and cried like I never had before.
"I'm so sorry, babe," he whispered in a pained voice.
"J-just take me home," I begged, my voice muffled against his sweater. He didn't even seem to care that I had dampened it with my tears.
"I have to ask you something first."
"What?" I looked up at him.
"Is our baby ok?"
He was growing paler by the second, worry evident in his downcast eyes as he gently touched my stomach.
"Yes." I placed my hand over his, keeping it there.
A relieved sigh escaped his lungs, and he pressed a kiss to my temple before turning on the ignition.
During the drive home, I dreaded what the public would think once my fight with Ashley made it on the news. I honestly didn't give a damn who they thought I was. However, I was scared for Derek. This incident could ruin the reputation of his company, or worse, the entire Weston name.
And it was all because of me.
"Don't worry, I won't let the public know what happened this afternoon," Derek spoke. He basically had read my mind.
"You can do that?"
"Of course. I know a ton of guys that work for the news media. I'll just threaten them if they try to publicize this," he said boldly.
I managed a weak smile then leaned my head against the window, which was pounding like crazy. No doubt I'd be spending the rest of the day in bed with Advil.
"Whatever Ashley said to you, you can tell me later because I know you better than anyone else. You'd never just behave like that without a reason. I can't say I agree with how you dealt with your anger, but I'm sorry this had to happen." Like James earlier, discernible pity dwelled in his eyes.
"Your mom probably hates me even more now than she used to," I said with a bitter laugh.
Derek sighed, reaching for my hand and setting it on his lap as he brushed his thumb over my knuckles.
"I'll explain everything to my parents, don't worry about it. They'll understand."
"And what if they don't?", I asked quietly.
"Then it's their problem, not ours. Like I said before, I'm here for you no matter what, and I don't ever plan on breaking that promise."
Those were the last words I heard Derek say before I completely passed out from exhaustion, wishing that I could just sleep forever and never have to wake up.
A/N- Who else here cheered when Claire threw that punch at Ashley? I know I did(: But the important question is, how will Derek deal with the situation? Read on to find out. And like usual, remember to like and comment!