Chapter 33

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November 2014

By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, Caroline is acting normal again but there still lies this unspoken issue between us: Derrick and me. She tries to avoid being with us when we're together preferring to spend time with each of us alone instead. Her mother came down hard on her after meeting with Mr. Craig, so now it seems that Caroline is under her watchful eye at all times. This actually makes me feel more relaxed, it's one less job I have: babysitting Caroline. 

"What about Derrick?" I asked the when she told me about her mothers' meeting with Mr. Craig. She scrunched her nose up at me. 

"What about Derrick?"  

"It's just I heard Mr. Craig talking with your mom and he mentioned Derrick's problems too." Caroline laughed bitterly and slammed her locker shut. 

"Of course he did." She headed towards her next class making me tag along after her. "No, Derrick didn't get in any trouble. Why would he?" She raised her voice dramatically. "According to my mother the sun rises and sets thanks to Derrick!" 

"Caroline that's not fair." She turned on me then with her green eyes blazing in fury. 

"Isn't it?" She let out a frustrated sigh. "I know Derrick hasn't got it any easier with my father...but just for once, I'd like to be the one not to take the brunt of all my mother's crap!"  

She had every right feeling the way she was and she seemed to have gotten it all out, which was good, but things still haven't been the same between the three of us. Too many secrets and lies. Derrick not knowing that Jared and I are still together and Caroline not knowing about Tyler and Derrick; it's gotten messy.

I shake Caroline out of my head and look over at Derrick as he drives me to his home. I haven't been looking forward to tonight and nervously start fidgeting with the seatbelt as it digs into my neck like a noose. Derrick catches my eyes and smiles.  

"You look nice."  

I can tell he's trying to ease my nerves and I feel guilty. He doesn't know what going to his house tonight means. I force myself to smile back at him. I feel like I've been doing that a lot lately, forcing smiles, but I just can't help dreading tonight, the Allston's Thanksgiving party. One of the numerous reasons is because I know that Jared will be there. When he first told me that his father was invited to the party, I forced another smile. This won't be a party where I'm Jared's date. Tonight I'm showing up as Derrick's girlfriend, a role that I'm still not comfortable playing after all these lifetimes of practice. 

"You know Jared's going to be there tonight?" I ask Derrick quietly. I catch him studying my face before he responds. 

"I know." He's silent for a bit. "That doesn't bother you does it?" I shrug because I don't even know how to begin to answer that question. "We don't have to stay for long Ellie. If you're uncomfortable we'll leave. We'll just go, do the parent thing, and then get outta there." The parent thing, our coming out to them as couple; the idea of it makes me feel nauseous.  

"Do they know I'm coming tonight?" I ask wondering if Allison Allston's surgically altered face managed a frown when adding me to the guest list. Derrick shakes his head. 

"I didn't tell them." 

"What? Why not?" A small smile flits across his face and I watch as he tries to suppress it.  

"I wanna see their faces," he says, not able to contain the satisfaction in his voice. Wonderful! Disapproving parents, an ex-boyfriend who secretly isn't an "ex", and a best friend who is hardly pleasant company lately-- this should make for an excellent evening!  

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