Derek and Danielle

Chapter Twenty-One

Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

As well, this work of fiction depicts sexual activities between teenagers, siblings and otherwise. As such it may be illegal to view this story where you live, and you should cease reading at this point if that is the case.

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—and said, "It's your friend Rick, isn't it?"

Derek's body and mind soared back from the depths of despair he'd plunged himself into. Relief flooded through him like a wave of warm water, and he choked out a laugh as he tried to hang onto his grip on reality.

"Oh, Derek, you looked just crushed!" Sara squeezed his shoulders. "Look, I get it, okay? You like boys more than girls, but you didn't want to tell anyone 'cause you're on the track team, right?"

Derek nodded, trying to stamp down the slow trickle of self-loathing he was starting to feel for letting Sara believe a pack of lies – lies she was unwittingly telling herself as the reason for Derek's waning interest in her.

"I could tell. You kept looking at him on the dance floor, especially the way you kept kind of flicking your eyes over my shoulder. Anybody else would have missed it, but I noticed, 'cause I started wondering."

Derek replied, "What do you mean? Look, I admit I… y'know, like Rick, but I honestly thought I was paying attention to you, Sara." Derek blinked. He was feeling uncomfortably exposed.

Sara took his hands and held them gently as she talked. "It wasn't any one thing. You and I'd sit down at lunch and Rick would sometimes come over. You always seemed to sit just a bit closer to him than anyone else except Dani, but she's your twin, so you know.

"Or last week, we were out at the theater. I'm not sure what it was, but we were making out and it was like your heart wasn't totally in it. Just like tonight. Little things like that, Derek. And it all came together tonight."

Shit, she was right. He had been obvious about his slowly waning interest since he'd been looking elsewhere – to Rick for his friendship, especially after they'd been fooling around, and Danielle for his ultimate love interest.

Derek weakly smiled. "Look, you can't tell anyone yet. I haven't exactly figured out—"

Sara gently shushed him. "Hey, you don't need to explain to me, okay? Boys liking boys is still a bit weird here."

He swallowed, preparing to mix more lies with the truth. "Sara, I am so sorry. I feel like a complete piece of shit, leading you on like this. Yeah, I'm bi, but I just really seem to be into guys..."

Sara put her finger to his lips.

She sighed. "To be honest, Derek, I kind of was thinking about breaking up with you, too. It was after we… you know, that blowjob. I felt like we'd just moved too fast and as sweet as you are, I couldn't help but think I'd kind of ruined it for myself. I don't expect you to get it, but when I… do that… with a guy, I want it to kinda be like making love, you know? Not some quickie behind his parent's backs and spitting into a napkin like—like some slut."

"I feel like a jackass, knowing you wanted to make it special and I just…" Derek blushed and looked away. "I wish I could make it up to you somehow."

Sara put her hand on his cheek and smiled wanly. "You're a sweet guy, Derek. You'll make Rick a great boyfriend, if he likes guys too."

Derek nodded, trying to push away the gross, slimy feeling he had, using Sara's mistaken conclusions as a way to escape the harsh, punitive ostracism that should have been his.

It wasn't the Soviet gulag by a long shot, but being thought of as That Guy Who Fucked His Sister was probably about as effective in terms of total isolation from anyone who'd support him.

He breathed in, then breathed out. He said, "Sara Logan, I want you to know that if I could have it any differently, I would. I really do. And I'm sorry. Again. For being a liar – even if I never actually told you a lie, I still made you think something about me I'm not. Look, you can slap me right now and I'll just take it. Okay?"

"Don't be so ridiculous, Derek Collins." said Sara. "I'm old enough to have a brain that works, and understand why you lied to me. Well, not directly, as you said. I'm not angry – maybe a little sad, but not angry." She took a deep breath. "So – this is it. Friends?"

"Friends. Danielle's going to appreciate not feeling caught in the middle between us, too."

Sara hollowly chuckled. "Yeah. I'd say so."

Derek jerked his head. "Wanna head back in?"

Sara shook her head. "I'm just gonna walk home. I need to clear my head."

"I can send Danielle after you, if you want?"

"What about her and Rick?" Sara frowned.

"They're just going as friends. She likes some other guy, anyway. I think."

"I won't wait for her for too long. If she doesn't come out in, like…" she reached inside one of her pockets and pulled out a slim phone, then said, "Okay. It's nine now. I'll wait 'till five after, then take off."

She put her phone back, briskly kissed Derek on the cheek, and stepped back. "See you around, okay?"

Derek glumly waved, glad to not have to tell Sara more half-truths. He banged on the gym door and showed his purple hand stamp, and stepped back into the warmth of the gymnasium.

Rick and Danielle were back by the drinks table, and both did a double-take at not seeing Sara.

Derek brusquely announced, "Sara broke up with me."

Rick, stunned, said, "Dude! What the fuck?"

Danielle said quickly, "Did she want to talk to me?"

Derek nodded. Danielle turned to Rick and said, "Rick, I had a great time just dancing and hanging out, but number one, I've got a friend who could probably use some cheering up, and number two, I don't think we're quite each other's type, huh?"

Rick ruefully nodded. "Yeah. I'd say my interests are different."

To Derek, Danielle said, "From the way you're talking, I suspect you both decided to break up with each other. I'll get the whole story from you later." Her eyes told him she was secretly happy it had finally happened.

"You better hurry. She said she was gonna wait till five after."

Danielle blurted, "Fuck! I better leave, now!"

She took off in a whirlwind, leaving Derek and Rick alone. Derek said, "Whaddya wanna do? Hang around here and pretend we like chicks, or get the fuck out?"

Rick nervously laughed, even though their voices were masked by the music. He nudged Derek and said, "Let's go."

Rick, his suit jacket thrown over his shoulder, looked at Derek as they walked in the cold late-autumn night. "So… like, what happened? You know, with you and Sara?

"She figured me out. She realized I'm bi, and that I'm kinda not into her."

Rick's Adam's apple bobbled as he swallowed, hard. Derek thought he knew what Rick was going to ask—

"So… does this mean…?" He looked at Derek expectantly. Derek, in turn, remembered what Danielle had said about cover relationships. And honestly, Rick was a good friend; they got along well together, and Derek could do a lot worse for a sort of boyfriend than Rick.

By now, the boys were already well down the street, away from the school. Derek extended his hand. "Yeah, it does. Wanna go out with me, Rick?"

Rick whooped as he pumped his fist in the air. Derek laughed, grateful to have someone who wasn't casting a somber mood on the night. Rick clasped his hand and grinned. "Hey, this doesn't mean I'm some kinda fucking rebound, does it?"

"Naw," replied Derek. Rick's hand felt rougher and stronger than Sara's (or Danielle's). "We've been friends for a long time; we've kinda… explored, you know. And hey! I can go on that date now."

"Cool." Rick leaned in. "Hey, wanna come over to my place?"

"I better not. I need to process a little, Rick." At Rick's disappointed look, Derek tried to mollify him. "Look, I'm into you. You know that, right? Just – not tonight, all right? I was kind of expecting me and Sara to break up eventually, just not this soon. So just give me a couple of days, I can come over on Hallowe'en, maybe. Hang out and give candies out and just kinda veg. Maybe do something later that night if you're up for it."

Rick nodded in resigned understanding. "I get it. And honestly, I think your sister might be taking up for Sara and I sure don't want to get in her way. She thinks highly of you, you know."

By now, the two boys were in the long sheltered pathway hidden from view unless you were specifically looking for someone.

Derek, intrigued, said, "She does, huh? Maybe she's not as annoying as I'd have thought, then."

Rick half-smiled. "She said something like that to me when I said you were a pretty cool guy to hang out with. She was like, 'Well, maybe I can overlook it when he purposely locks me out of the bathroom.' Did you seriously do that? You never told me about that before."

Derek laughed. "I remember that! It was like, a year ago, maybe a year and a half? I was mad at her for something, so when she had to go I purposely ran in and said I had to go first. She ended up yelling for Mom to let her use our parents' bathroom."

"Geez. Evan doesn't talk much about his brother, but considering they hate each other anyway…"

Derek nodded. "Well, I guess I'll find out if she still thinks highly of me after she talks to Sara. I mean, Sara and I sort of mutually broke up, but she could be telling Danielle anything."

The boys had slowly been walking, and were now almost at Derek's house. Keeping away from any motion-activated lights, they kept talking.

"Sucks to be you." Rick pulled Derek into a hug, which Derek reciprocated. "Hey, if it's not too personal, can I ask about what she said?"

"She's a smart girl, almost too smart. She figured out I'm bi and that I kinda like you, too," admitted Derek.

"No way," breathed Rick. He grabbed Derek's shoulders. "Please tell me she didn't say anything about me! I'm not ready to do this at the school, man."

Derek reached up and grasped Rick's hands. "She didn't! She just said she figured it out after I kind of kept looking at you at the dance." Actually, at Danielle, Derek mentally corrected.

Rick sighed in relief.

Derek said, "Hey, I gotta go home. I don't have my keys and I need to get in before Mom and Dad go to sleep. Call me tomorrow if I don't call you, okay?"

Rick leaned in for a quick kiss, which Derek returned before he ran up to the door and rang the doorbell.

Derek brushed off his parents' questions about the dance, and finally put the kibosh on further questions when he said, "Look, it didn't go well. Sara broke up with me; she doesn't think our relationship was going much of anywhere and I kind of agree with her. I need some time to think, okay?"

His dad said, "Well, if you want to talk, you know you can come to me or your mother, or both of us, okay?"

"Thanks, Dad," Derek mumbled.

"Come on, give us a hug."

Derek was treated to a couple of long embraces, which did make him feel a little better, though he was still not looking forward to telling them he liked boys and girls. But Sara sussing it out meant, for him, it was clearly only a matter of time before they would deduce it anyway.

As he stepped back from his parents, he said, "Good night, okay? I don't know where Danielle is, though."

"Is she with Rick?"

Derek shook his head. "I think she took off with Sara after I told her what had happened, but she could be anywhere by now."

"We'll wait up for her. You go on upstairs, okay?"

Derek was wide awake under his bedcovers and couldn't sleep.

It was with some relief that he was greeted with a quick knock against the doorjamb, followed by Danielle entering the room to sit on the bed beside him. She turned on his lamp and said, "Sara's taking it a bit rough. Like, you're bisexual and she's all like 'how come I can't measure up to his friend Rick?'"

"She seemed… all right? Like, she seemed like she was accepting of the whole 'being bi and liking guys' thing," complained Derek. In a low voice, he said, "Even though that's totally not close to the truth."

"Sara understands what she thinks is true; she's just mopey and not happy about it. She says she went a lot easier than she would have because you looked so shit-scared when she said she knew 'the truth' to you."

In a voice filled with dread, Derek said, "The way she talked at first? You know why I was so fucking scared? I actually thought she had figured out you and me."

Danielle swallowed, hard.

Derek nodded. "Ex-actly. Jesus, Dani, it was like, 'oh shit, this is the end, what am I gonna do?'"

Danielle shakily laughed. "Maybe it was a damn good thing Rick and I stuck together so much, then. She said she caught you looking at him over her shoulder at the dance tonight, but I never dreamed she caught you looking at me!"

Abruptly, Danielle grabbed Derek's shoulders, pulling him up to a sitting position, so he was at her eye level. "Listen to me, Derek. You can't fuck up like that again." Over Derek's protests, she drove on. "No. You fucked up." She shook him with each word.

She fixed him with an intense gaze. "If Sara had been paying closer attention – shit, if Rick had been paying closer attention! You and I would be down there, getting the third-millionth degree from Mom and Dad!"

"I'm sorry, all right?!" Derek looked into his sister's eyes, pleading for some mercy and understanding.

Danielle said matter-of-factly, "Just don't be so revealing again." She took a breath. "Besides, you can lecture me down the road if I cause something like this."

"Fine. Now can I go to bed, sis?"

Danielle smirked and released Derek, letting his head fall back against the pillow. "Gladly, bro."

As she stood up, she snapped her fingers. "If you can get Rick to come out with you at the same time, everybody will be too focused on that to worry if you or I make mistakes around each other."

Derek winced. "I dunno. Rick likes me; I've even told him I'll go out with him. But he's not ready for more than that."

"Well, that'll have to happen on its own time, I guess." Danielle yawned. "Shit, what a night! See you tomorrow." She blew him a good-night kiss.

Derek switched off his lamp and managed to fall asleep.

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