AN: So... thanks for all the reviews on the previous one, guys! :) You're all awesome. This one's pretty short and absolutely fluffy. I can finally write without angst. :)) This one's based on 16 going on 17. Haha. Let me know what you think? Thanks.

- I own nothing.


"So, my mom called today."

Addison looked up from her Introduction to Surgery book to meet Derek's gaze, nodding slightly albeit distractedly. "What'd she say?"

Derek grinned, moving from his position on the bed and to be closer to her. "That she wanted me to go home for Christmas and that she, and I quote 'would like to meet the woman who has put your sorry ass in line'."

She raised a brow and laughed heartily, the sound echoing across the tiny apartment that was Derek's lodging. She marked her book page before closing it, setting it beside her to give Derek her full attention. "Is that so?"

"Mmmhmm," he smiled. "So?"

"So?" she quirked, enjoying the subtle banter.

He looked sheepishly shy, his cheeks burning slightly. "I was wondering if you wanted to spend Christmas with my family this year. I mean… if your parents won't mind, that is," he asked hopefully, his eyes expectant.

Addison thought about it for a moment, pursing her lips in contemplation. She hadn't exactly thought about her holiday plans, seeing that her mind was too wrapped up in her academics. "I'll have to ask what my parents are up to this Christmas," she answered. "They'll probably be off cruising like last year," she said nonchalantly.

"And you can get out of it?" he asked, his nervousness quite apparent. "I mean, it's our first Christmas together and I really want you to meet my mom. You've met my sisters—"

"All four of them," she grinned, thoroughly amused by Derek's ramblings. She would never tell him but he was endearing when he was nervous, like a child wanting to buy something from a toy store. Meeting his four sister was an overwhelming experience, but she charmed them and gained their approval, to say the least.

"That's right. And it's high time you met Mama Shepherd," Derek declared.

She smiled at him softly, deciding that it wouldn't hurt to miss Christmas with her family to meet Derek's. After all, whether she wanted to admit it or not, Derek was a huge part of her life, and she knew early on that he would stay that way forever.

Addison nodded. "If that's the case then… I want you to meet my parents over the holidays too," she declared seriously. "We can do New Year's countdown in Hartford," Addison suggested.

Derek grinned widely, the implications not lost on him. "I would love to," he said emphatically. "After all, I deal with Barron-Montgomerys and… what did you say that was? Archibald-Forbes everyday."

Addison laughed at his dramatization, sensing his slight apprehension but knowing that he would put aside his own nervousness for her. She smiled at him softly, catching his questioning gaze. It was moments like these that she realized how quintessential her relationship with Derek was.

In the months that they had dated, he was genuinely charming and eloquent, sweet and considerate that it was only a matter of time before she found herself falling for him. Something at the back of her mind told her that Derek was the one, that despite the fact that they hadn't been seeing each other long, the connection they had made would last them a lifetime.

"What?" he asked, his eyes curious at the way Addison was staring at him.

She shook her head and snapped out of the slight trance, grinning at him apologetically. "Nothing. It's just… I… We're really serious about each other, aren't we?"

His face immediately softened, realizing that Addison's words rung true. He was looking at her in a different perspective, in a way he never saw another woman before. Addison wasn't just a date, a woman he was going to dump when the better one comes next. No. She was the girl he had dreamt of in his far off musings and he suddenly started to comprehend that she was the personification of his childhood fantasies.

"We are," he confirmed, reaching out for her hand and squeezing it lightly. "You're going to be… the first girl I'm taking home to meet everyone," he smiled, watching Addison's reaction carefully.

Her eyes widened slightly, disbelieving but touched just the same. She was flattered and yet entirely terrified at the same time at the prospect of being the first girl of the only Shepherd son. "In that case… You'll be the first man I'm absolutely serious about that I'm taking home to meet my family," she grinned, hoping he would find consolation in the fact that she was serious about him, in more ways than one.

"My mother's going to like you," she added as an afterthought, remembering that Bizzy Montgomery had a secret kink for dark-haired, charming men.

"Glad to know," he beamed, sitting up straight and planting a quick kiss on her lips. "My mother too, I think."

"You think?" she asked, her brow raised and arched impeccably.

He shrugged. "My sisters always seem to chase away any potential girlfriend, so my mom's never really met any of them."

Addison nodded, suddenly feeling nervous about meeting the Shepherd, shifted in her position from the bed and stood up, giving Derek a pointed gaze. "She'd have expectations," she said seriously, plainly.

A confused look spread across his perfect features, the lack of comprehension seeping its way through every curve of his face. "What do you mean?"

"You're the only Shepherd boy, Derek. They'll want the best for you."

"And you're not the best?"

She shrugged, somehow realizing she was being ridiculous but refusing to let the topic go just the same. "I don't know. I mean… I'm Addison Forbes Montgomery. I don't fret. Fretting is beyond me. But this… the thought of not being accepted, scares the crap out of me."

Derek had to laugh at this as he sat up and leaned his back on headboard, resting his hands on his lap. "Since when did you care about being accepted? You're a nonconformist, remember?" he smirked, amused.

Addison nodded. "I know. It's just… it would mean a lot of they accepted me," she answered sincerely, knowing that it was important to both her and Derek to have their families get along.

He was quiet for a moment, understanding what she meant. Although he knew that in the long run, if Carolyn Shepherd didn't end up liking Addison, Addison wouldn't care because that was she, naturally. She wouldn't need anyone's approval, especially if she was determined. Addison was stubborn that way.

"I'd want them to like me, Derek."

"Why?" grinned.

She threw him a playful glare before sighing heavily, leaning on the wall. "Well if we're… serious about each other," she started.

"How serious?"

"Serious."

He laughed. "Okay."

"If we ever end up together, she'll have to like me," she said quietly.

"She's going to like you," he said firmly, endeared by Addison's sentiment. "Trust me. She only wants what's best for me, like you said, and I assure you… You're the best for me," he finished sincerely.

Her green eyes seemed to have brightened, comforted and reassured by Derek's words. "Thank you."

"If it matters any," he shrugged, "if any one of us should be nervous, it's me."

Addison quirked a brow at him, smirking. "Really?"

"Addie… you're Forbes Montgomery. Your mother is an Archibald Forbes, which is rich in itself," he panicked, "and your father is Atty. Anthony Barron Montgomery. Ever since I was 5, I've been reading about him in the papers."

"And?"

He stared at her incredulously. "It's intimidating!"

Addison had to bite her lip from laughing. He looked so handsome when he fussed out of nowhere. It was one of his weird tendencies, and it was charming. "You'll be fine."

"Addie… you're like the first daughter of Hartford. And I'm like the… troublemaker on my street—"

"With Mark of course."

He paused, grinning. "With Mark. But that's not the point. The point is… you're royalty. You're the princess and I'm the pauper."

"What's our social status got to do with it?"

"Everything!" he breathed. "People get killed for marrying outside their caste."

"So, what? Are we living in 18th century India now?"

Derek laughed, sitting cross-legged on the bed and shoving the big book aside to position himself in the middle. "No… but… as parents, I'm sure they'd want to be assured that you'll be well taken cared of."

"Won't I be?" she asked, walking back to the bed and sitting on its edge, twisting her body to face Derek. "You'll take care of me, won't you?"

"You know I will," he said, cupping her cheek with his hand and looking at her intensely. "But your parents might not think that way. I'm not rich, Adds. I can only give an abundance of… love… and not material things, not wealth."

She smiled at him softly, leaning into his touch. "Then that's enough for me. You're 22, I'm 21… you'll take care of me."

"Because I'm older and wiser?"

Addison grinned. "Indeed. And well… I love you. They won't be able to do anything about that."

"I love you too."

"I know you do," she said, kissing him chastely on the lips.

They stared at each other for a long while before Derek pulled Addison on to the bed and wrapped his arms around her. "So… Christmas?"

She nodded. "Christmas. Then New Year's in Hartford," she confirmed, mentally making a note to call her mother and book tickets.

-

Later that night, Derek was standing outside Ivy Hill's door, ready to bid Addison goodnight and start calling his mother. It was a cold night, the breeze blowing softly against their wrapped bodies. The sky was dark and the stars were shining brightly, proudly displaying their beauty.

"So…"

"Good night, Derek," Addison started, but not making any move to go inside.

He grinned. "Good night, Addie."

They stared at each other for a good minute before Addison reached up to kiss him on the lips and smile, turning away and walk to the door.

"Hey, Addie!" Derek called out before she could reach the glass entrance.

She turned around, tilting her head in confusion but smiling just the same.

"You know in that movie you love so much?"

Addison nodded, grinning, though not knowing where he was going with the conversation.

He grinned wider. "I'm 22 going on 23, and I'll take care of you," he said sincerely.

Another honest smile graced her features, and the fluttering in her stomach did nothing for the unbelievable surge of love she felt in her heart. She walked back over to Derek and stopped about a foot from him, digging her hands in the pockets of her coat.

"You're 22 going on 23 and…" she laughed, suddenly feeling rather ridiculous, but needing to say it just the same. "Well… I'll depend on you," she winked and kissed him to cheek hastily before walking inside the apartment.


Thanks for reading! :D