A/N Disclaimer on Chapter 1.

Derek took a deep breath, straightened out his clothes and approached the front door of Carly's house. He had made an attempt to look good, but was trying not to look too eager. He rang the doorbell and waited patiently. The door was answered by the little boy from the game that day.

"Hi, Randy! Is your mom here? I have her pen." The little boy motioned for him to come in and Derek went into the living room and sat on the rather comfortable sofa. He looked around the room admiring the many family portraits on the wall.

"Mom! Derek's here!" Randy shouted up the stairs.

"Oh! I'm coming!" Carly emerged from her room and made her way to the lounge. Derek stood up and took in her appearance. She had put her hair up and was wearing a red halterneck dress and matching ruby jewellery with gold accents. She looked stunning and Derek was glad he hadn't overdressed. She smiled shyly and gestured for Derek to sit down.

"Would you like something to drink? Tea? Coffee? Wine?" She was nervous, Derek could tell.

"I'll have whatever you're having." He smiled at her, hoping to make her nerves disappear. She walked off into the kitchen and Derek twiddled his thumbs, thinking of conversation topics. He had never coped well with awkward conversations, so after deciding to ask her about herself, he sat back and relaxed. Carly walked back into the room, holding two glasses of sauvignon blanc. She handed Derek his and he took a polite sip and then cleared his throat.

"So. Carly. Tell me about yourself." He waited nervously for her reply, hoping he hadn't been too intrusive. She smiled and began to speak.

"Well. My name is Carly Harris. I have two kids, Randy and Tess. Randy is ten and Tess is three. Their dad... Well... He left me. Last year. It broke my heart." She looked down at her glass, trying not to feel sad while she had company. She looked up at Derek and smiled again. Derek loved her smile. It was like pure beauty, concentrated into one perfect thing.

"You've heard about me, Derek, why don't you tell me about you?" He smiled nervously and began to panic. What do I say? Do I tell her that I'm sort of failing my job? Do I say that my life is sad, lonely and pathetic? I didn't come here to bring her down with my negativity.

"Well. Uh, I play hockey. Um, you already knew that. I live not far from here. By myself. I had a roommate once, but he was um, well, he cooked very strange food. Gave me food poisoning twice." His nervousness made Carly laugh. He smiled, glad that there was no awkwardness.

A few hours later, after plenty of good conversation and laughter, Carly went upstairs to say goodnight to her kids. When she came back down, Derek stood up and finished his third glass of wine.

"I should probably go, you know, 'cause your kids are sleeping and it's a school night, and I wouldn't want to wake them." Her face fell a little as she walked him to the door. She opened it slowly and Derek walked outside.

"Thanks for tonight," Derek said. "I'd like to do this again sometime." They shook hands and Derek walked towards his car. He was halfway there when he heard his name.

"Derek! Wait! My pen!" Derek stopped and chuckled to himself. He had completely forgotten! He walked back to the house and gave Carly her pen, looking slightly sad as he did so. A look of concern appeared on Carly's face.

"What's wrong?" she said, her motherly instinct shining through.

"Will we still have a reason to see each other without this pen?" Derek said, completely serious. Carly's worry broke out into laughter. It took her a while to catch her breath again.

"I'm sure we'll find one." She tenderly held her hand to his face.

"I'll call you." She promised. He nodded and walked off smiling to his car. At this moment in time, loneliness seemed like a foreign subject to Derek. Finally he felt wanted again.

A/N Ok is a 'Tooth Fairy' category going to be made? Lol. Please review.