I have been DYING for fluff lately - and since nobody is doing that anymore, I had to do my own dirty work this time. Although it's not even THAT fluffy, so I don't know. Whatever. Seriously - what happened to all the fluff writers? Boo.
This is officially my 50TH published story on here - isn't that crazy!? Thanks for putting up with me for the first 49, let alone this one :)
It's a bit late, but it's a New Year's story. My only resolution is to finish Hostage and try not to drown in wedding plans. Ugh.
Anyway - enjoy!
New Year's Eve at Caduceus was always… eventful.
As with every holiday, Tyler Chase was ever the exuberant one, making his way around to all of his close friends to annoy them at least once in the night… except Victor, who due to his general grumpiness, constantly found the blonde doctor at his side, using every method he had available to try to cheer the researcher up.
At that current point in time, Victor had resorted to the freeze-out method, trying his best to pretend that his coworker didn't even exist. Sitting in a chair in the break room with his arms crossed and eyes forward, Victor felt his blood pressure rise by the second, as Tyler was unhappy with his lack of energy and had found a whole new level of stupid with which to bother the researcher…
…and that was starting the new year's countdown from 600 – ten minutes before the new year.
"419! 418! 417!" the surgeon chimed on, trying to get Victor to join him though they both knew there were better chances of Tyler suddenly losing his vocal chords rather than his coworker joining him in such stupidity.
"I know you're pretendinglikeIdon'texist-415!" Tyler rushed without response as he pulled up a chair next to Victor and sat down. He leaned his face in closer to the researcher's ear, continuing his horribly annoying countdown as Victor seethed.
"Get OUT of my personal bubble." he merely grunted, refusing to look over at the blonde as he said it.
"411! Come on, poor sport! 410! 409!"
No budge from Victor.
Raising his hand up, Tyler's expression changed to a goofy grin as he leaned in ever closer to Victor, his pointer finger now extended…
And once Victor felt a small jab into his cheek, accompanied by even louder counting, he closed his eyes – within seconds, he would be on a murderous rampage.
"407! Poke. 406! Poke. 405! Poke. 404! Poke."
"Ooh, it's only a matter of time now…" Leslie laughed from across the room, talking with Sidney and Dr. Clarks at the time as all of them watched Victor creep dangerously close to the end of his patience level. She better than anyone knew that her boyfriend was incredibly… cheerful, in a manner of speaking – especially when the situation involved celebrations or holidays of any type.
"I'm surprised he even got past 599, to be honest…" Sidney chuckled, taking a sip of his water. "I give it five more seconds."
Fortunately or unfortunately, it had only taken two.
"God DAMMIT, you FUCKING idiot!"
"Here we go!" Dr. Clarks said with a smile.
Victor had jumped out of his seat and was now verbally assaulting the invader of his personal space, who had risen quickly as well in order to protect himself.
"How is it POSSIBLE that you are a SURGEON but yet, completely RETARDED?! I am going to BREAK OFF that finger and SHOVE IT SOMEWHERE THAT WILL WIPE THAT STUPID GRIN OFF YOUR STUPID FACE FOREVER."
Tyler, bewildered at the sudden outburst as if he never saw it coming, just stared at Victor with a serious expression. They remained in a deadlock for just a moment before Victor realized his point had been made and turned to leave…
…stopping dead in his tracks when he felt a soft poke at the back of his head.
"398." Tyler whispered, having a mere second's pause before Victor launched at him and both men ran from the room. Faint echoes of them yelling at one another faded quickly into the distance as they disappeared down the hallway and away from the party.
Meanwhile, Angie Thompson was seated near a window in the spacious room, sipping out of her mug filled with delicious hot chocolate. Giggling, Leslie approached her with laughs as well, both women taking a second to appreciate the humor in the situation.
"I don't know how you do it." Angie simply said with a smile, watching Leslie roll her eyes.
"Some days I don't either, to be honest." she replied, a smile gracing her lips again. It turned into a confused look as she noticed Angie's eyes were fixated out the door instead of on their conversation, the blonde nurse seemingly in her own little world.
Turning around, Leslie looked at the doorway, and seeing it empty, turned back towards her best friend.
"Uh, Angie?" she said, failing to catch the blonde's attention on the first try. "Hellooo?" she tried again, waving her hand in front of the nurse's face until she finally snapped out of it.
"Oh… heh, I'm sorry…" Angie apologized, smiling though her eyes showed slight disappointment. "I'm just a little tired and kind of off in space, I guess…"
Leslie's amber eyes did a quick scan of the room after Angie's response, knowing her best friend well enough to know that she was lying. After covering every occupant in the room and noticing that one in particular was absent, a large grin broke out over her face – one that Angie immediately recognized as no good.
"Say, Angie…" Leslie started in a slight sing-song voice. "…where's Dr. Stiles?"
Angie's confused expression immediately dropped to un-amused, seeing exactly where her friend was going with this and wanting no part of it.
She sighed. "Why don't we just not waste our time beating around the bush, and you tell me what you're implying?"
Leslie reared back momentarily, though still smiling. "Wow, miss defensive!" she chided playfully. "If I didn't think you were guilty before, I do now!"
"Guilty of what? I have no idea what you're even talking about…" Angie lied, eyes shifting to the doorway again before Leslie caught her with a accusatory point.
"HA! There it is again!" she exclaimed. "Come on, Angie… we've talked about this before and you always skate around it. Be honest – is it possible that MAYBE you have a tiny little crush on Derek?"
"NO!" Angie immediately shot back, face flushing underneath the interrogation. "He is my work partner and my friend – I don't know how many more times I have to say it!" she hissed, trying to get Leslie to lower her voice about the subject before other people overheard and rumors started to spread.
Leslie just smiled and leaned in closer to her, taking the hint. "Well, Ang… it has nothing to do with what he is -- it's what you want him to be…"
Angie paused, momentarily speechless as her face flared again, not expecting such a well-crafted response. She knew Leslie knew, because the nurse knew her better than anyone else… but for some reason, she still had a hard time admitting it. Angie had always and would always be about work, first and foremost – admitting that she had allowed a man to dominate her thoughts was a very hard thing to accept.
Instead of berating her more, Leslie just smiled and placed a hand on Angie's arm.
"Looks like this year might be a great year to stop lying to yourself." she simply said, earning no response from the blonde except a small nod, with which Leslie was satisfied. With a loud bang, the two women whirled around quickly startled, laughing when they saw a breathless Tyler half-collapsed in the doorway.
"O-Okay…" he panted, struggling to even stand up straight. "A-Alright, I think I lost him… he called me a w-waste of space and t-then went to the l-lab."
Leslie rolled her eyes at him and handed him her water, which he downed quickly.
Now at four minutes to midnight, Angie grew disappointed. She wouldn't admit it to anyone but herself, but she wished Derek was there – and it was her fault he wasn't.
Doing her last rounds of the year had been his proclaimed New Year gift to her, to "give her a relaxing end to a busy year", or so he claimed. And now, because she had taken him up on his offer, he was going to miss the ball drop – and a perfect opportunity to kiss her.
Yeah right. Like that would EVER happen.
Out in the hallway still catching his breath, Tyler lit up as Derek came pacing around the corner quickly, just having finished his and Angie's rounds in the nick of time.
"Hey man!" Tyler said, still slightly winded. Derek just laughed at his current state and shook his head.
"You got chased by Victor again, didn't you?" he asked with a laugh as Tyler nodded.
"I think I take the 'don't poke the sleeping bear' theory a lot more seriously now…" the blonde said with a shake of his head. "He chased me for a good ten minutes…"
Derek leaned on the wall next to him with a laugh. "What did you do this year?"
"Poked him. In the face. Multiple times – don't you listen?" Tyler replied, earning another laugh from his best friend.
"Well, I never thought you meant you literally poked the sleeping bear… but good to know." Derek replied.
Suddenly Tyler lit up again, rising to stand fully and moving in front of his best friend.
"Dude, have you made your resolution yet?" he asked with excitement, watching Derek pause uncomfortably at where this was going.
"No… why?" the surgeon lied, having made one weeks ago though refusing in any circumstances to share it with anyone – especially Tyler. It was to be more bold, more honest, and have less regret – especially when it came to a certain someone…
"Because I didn't either!" he replied with a laugh. "How about we make them for each other!?"
Derek rolled his eyes. "Uh, no."
"Come on, dude – it'll be fun! Nobody knows what you need to do more than the people that have to look at you and talk to you every day – its perfect!"
With another roll of his eyes, Derek sighed.
"Fine." he said, lips turning up into a smirk. "Ready?"
"Yeah buddy!" Tyler replied, pumped as ever.
"Alright." Derek said, crossing his arms. "Your resolution for 2019, is to quit annoying Victor. Unless you want your resolution to be that you die this year, I think it's a wise choice."
Tyler scoffed. "Man, that's a tough one – but, I'll try it!" he said, Derek visibly surprised at his acceptance of it.
"Alright, Derek." Tyler said with a smile. "Your 2019 resolution…"
"…is to get laid."
Derek just paused with a sigh, dropping his shoulders as he chuckled once.
"Aaaaand this conversation is OVER." he simply said with a laugh, turning away from Tyler and walking towards the break room.
"Oh COME ON, Derek!" Tyler called after him, never noticing that Leslie had since stepped into the doorway of the break room and was watching the two. "It's either that or you finally spill your guts to Angie!"
In shock that Tyler had nearly yelled it, Derek whirled around with an incredulous stare, as Tyler instantly slapped a hand over his mouth.
"Whoa, hang on a second – what are you guys talking about!?" Leslie shrieked in a whisper as she rushed out into the hallway, seeing Derek close his eyes and cover his face with his hands.
"Nothing." he said from behind his hands, muffled to the point where Leslie could barely hear him.
"Derek – is he talking about what I think he's talking about?" she said, her face lighting up into an instant smile. "Do you have a thing for Angie?!"
Derek just turned towards her, stone faced. "No Leslie – that's not what he's talking about… at all."
"Oh." Leslie just replied, taking the seriousness with which he said it as his honest feelings. "Okay, I'm sorry to interrupt then…"
With a quick nod to her, Derek just walked past her and into the break room, removing himself from the conversation before it could possibly get more awkward.
Leslie turned to Tyler with a serious gaze.
"Is he being serious? Were you really talking about something else?" she asked quietly, watching as Tyler smiled.
"Nope, he's in love with her. And he's also a lying sack of crap."
Angie, having moved closer to the doorway to be able to leave as soon as the ball dropped, sighed heavily as she held onto her mug of hot chocolate. Taking one more sip of it, she discarded it into the sink before walking back to where she had been standing before.
It was now a minute to midnight, and as she sighed again, Angie realized that apparently, her pathetic love life was really going to follow her into the next year… and probably beyond.
Head springing instantly to the left, Angie stared into a familiar pair of warm, brown eyes and a smile that instantly tore her from her state of self-loathing.
"Dr. Stiles!" she chirped with a huge grin, feeling herself get too excited and quickly work to undo it. "I-I mean, D-Derek… I'm s-sorry – hi!"
Smooth. Real smooth.
"What's with all the sighing?" he asked her, moving even closer to her and resting his head against the wall as he stared into her eyes with a soft smirk. "Not so excited for the new year?"
"I wouldn't say that." she replied, now with her emotions under control. "I'm not overly excited, but I'm not dreading it either…" she trailed off, looking at the ground momentarily.
"I just felt bad – I thought you were going to have to be ringing in the new year taking care of my rounds…" she began, looking up at him with a genuine smile. "But – I'm really glad you made it."
Derek smiled too, lingering in a gaze with her as she returned his smile. "Me too, Angie. Me too."
"Alright, here we gooo!" Tyler yelled, prompting everyone to look up at the TV in the break room.
And just like that, the countdown began.
Breath catching in his throat, Derek thought about his resolution for the new year and wondered if he should go for it – New Year's was a perfect excuse to steal a kiss and start the year off on a high note…
"Eight! Seven! Six!"
Angie felt her heart race in her chest – they were so close… it'd be so easy to lean over and give him a quick peck… they'd probably be finished before anyone even noticed it had happened.
Leslie looked over at the couple, whom Tyler was already watching out of the corner of his eye.
"Think he'll do it?" she whispered.
"Not a chance in hell."
"Three! Two! One! HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
With excited shouts, the employees of Caduceus rang in 2019, with the wishes that it would be much quieter in their facility than it had been in 2018. Many people, both expectedly and unexpectedly, turned towards each other to ring in the new year with a kiss, prompting both Derek and Angie to raise their eyebrows at some unexpected combinations of people.
Taking a deep breath and turning towards his nurse, Derek felt his face flush red as she turned and met his stare with a soft smile, giggling at the expression on his face before he dropped it and joined her in laughter.
Leaning closer to her he dropped his smile as she followed suit, looking up into his eyes for reassurance of what was about to happen. Seeing the same nervousness but warmth that she felt, she realized she knew what was coming and internally began to freak out. Noses nearly touching, Angie looked up into Derek's eyes one last time…
…before his head veered to the left, his arms pulling her into a tight hug.
You have GOT to be kidding me.
"Happy New Year, Angie…" he whispered lovingly in her ear, mentally kicking himself in the ass for just having done that to her. It had been painfully obvious that he bailed at the last minute, and as he felt her less than warm return of a hug, he knew she knew it too.
Shocked at the moment, Angie did her best to hide her disappointment and hugged him like nothing had ever happened, even forcing a small smile.
"Happy New Year, Derek." she replied, eyeing the doorway as they hugged.
Now, she was itching to leave.
From further away, Tyler was staring at them with an open mouth, Leslie with the same expression on her face.
"He BAILED!" Tyler whispered. "He was going for it, and he totally copped out!"
"And it was so OBVIOUS!" Leslie whispered back. "Angie must be really upset right now."
When Derek finally released Angie from their hug, Tyler and Leslie immediately approached the couple to try to play damage control and separate them from one another as fast as possible.
"Happy New Year!" they both yelled in excitement, latching onto their respective best friends with hugs and smiles. Pulling apart, Leslie gave Angie a look as if to say, "Yes I saw that and I can't believe it either", to which Angie just turned away, obviously not wanting to think about it at all. Instead, the women went to greet their coworkers, leaving Derek and Tyler alone for the moment.
"You bailed." Tyler simply said.
Derek sighed. "Yeah."
"Because I'm an idiot."
Derek just shrugged dejectedly, having no other explanation to offer him. Instead, he followed suit with Leslie and Angie, going to ring in the New Year with the rest of the coworkers.
Regret swimming in his mind and deafening all of his thoughts, Derek forced his way through a conversation with Dr. Clarks when all he really wanted to do was go bang his head against a wall until he passed out.
How did I mess that up that badly?
Finishing his conversation, Derek turned around, knowing that as cringe-worthy as it was, he had to go explain himself to Angie. She deserved that much, at least.
However, scanning the room, Derek failed to find the blonde in question, making him feel a slight panic. He quickly rushed over to Leslie and Tyler, both of them knowing exactly what he was coming to ask.
"She ducked out a little while ago – she didn't say where she was going." Leslie simply replied, good enough for Derek as he walked from the room and started his search of her.
Checking around to a few offices of Angie's friends, he found them all empty, not surprisingly. There was only one place she would be.
Walking up a flight of stairs, Derek placed his hands in his pockets as he turned the corner and paced towards their office. As he got closer he saw her inside and his walk turned slower gradually, feeling weighed down by the nervousness of the situation and the pressure he felt.
Eventually he made it to the doorway and stopped, watching her as she stood next to her desk, straightening the piles of paperwork organizing them by their dates, ready to begin working on them before she spotted him to her left. Glancing over at him with a vulnerable stare, Angie tried hiding her feelings with a soft smile, though Derek could see right through her.
"Back to the grind, I guess…" she joked, met with silence instead of the usual chuckle that Derek gave at her quips. Chancing another look at him, Angie saw him looking at the ground nervously before he started to speak.
"Angie…" he started quietly, perking the young nurse's interest as she waited to hear what he had to say.
"I…" he started, stopping himself again.
...be more bold, more honest, and have less regret.
Angie watched as he removed his hands from his pockets and turned around, closing the door to their office behind him. Her breath hitched in her throat as she watched him pause for a moment and then turn towards her with a loving but terrified expression in his eyes as she wondered what he could possibly have to say.
But she would never find out – simply because, he had nothing to say.
Taking a slow walk towards her, his eyes never leaving hers, Derek broke his stare with her to grab the clock that rested on her desk. Pulling out the small arm in order to adjust it, Angie watched as he twisted the arm back to 11:59 and pushed it back in, sending the second hand ticking again.
Angie smiled to herself as he held onto the clock and watched it tick, having an idea of what he was doing but still unsure.
"Three, two, one…" he said quietly, looking up at her with a soft smirk when the clock turned itself to midnight. Eyes still on her, he dropped the clock back onto her desk with a soft clatter as his smile faded just slightly, his hands shakily rising as they brushed once through her hair and settled on her face, holding it as gently as ever as he looked into her eyes.
And just as fast as it had started, Derek finished it.
Leaning forward and closing the gap between them, the surgeon hesitated as their noses gently touched, but instead of veering off again, he softly but passionately pressed his lips against Angie's, their eyes instinctively closing at the same time.
Stunned at first, her arms gently wrapped around him and pulled him closer to her as they sank into the kiss, Derek's lips repeatedly meeting hers in a slow, romantic, lingering, enveloping way. Angie felt herself sigh softly from behind it, unable to help herself as Derek's hands brushed her cheeks and ran back through her hair, down her back and wrapped themselves around her waist, holding onto her tightly.
With one more soft kiss, Derek finally pulled back slowly, in no rush to open his eyes except to see her expression. When he did, he saw her staring up at him with a loving smirk, the smile broadening as soon as he opened his eyes. Her hands raised up and gently caressed his face, selfishly pulling him back for one more kiss, though he had no problem obliging.
As they parted he smiled at her again, giving her a tight squeeze as she leaned forward and snuggled into his chest, her eyes never leaving his.
"…much better." she simply whispered with a smile, causing him to chuckle a bit.
"Definitely." he replied, closing his eyes as she snuggled further into him and he rested his chin against the top of her head.
"Happy New Year…" he said quietly. "…to the woman I spent 2018 falling in love with."
Angie smiled and raised her head up to look at him, all the love in the world in her eyes.
"Happy New Year to my best friend, and the person I want to spend every minute of 2019 by my side..."
Derek dipped his head and gave her another soft kiss, placing one on her forehead just after.
And as he gathered her up in his arms again, Derek felt confident about the coming year, knowing that even though it had started less than favorably the first time around, sticking to his resolution was what had ultimately redeemed him.
Now, he had everything he'd ever need to get him through the next 365 days.
"Man…" Tyler said, walking from the break room with his arm around Leslie. "I can't BELIEVE Derek struck out!"
Leslie sighed audibly. "I know… poor Angie – she looked as disappointed as I've ever seen her."
Planting a kiss on his girlfriend's forehead, Tyler sighed along with her. "Oh well – we'll just have to make our resolution kicking those two into shape, you know?"
"For sure!" Leslie chirped with a giggle. "I just wonder how long it'll take them to finally get there?"
"I don't know." Tyler said with a shrug. "I guess only time will tell."