Well hi there =)! I am back after about a year. You didn't think I was coming back for ya huh? ;) I had a very hectic senior year and had trouble finding time to just figure out where this story was going. It took me a long time (obviously) to figure out how to transition from where this story was, to where I wanted it to go. I'm still not 100% and not completely happy with this chapter, but I have kept you guys waiting long enough and I do have confidence in this one. I hope you guys enjoy it, but please review. I like feedback and listening to ways that I can improve my story or even ideas for the plot! Thank you for the support during my hiatus!

BTW. I have been updating my other Derek FanFic, Revelation, more than this one, so if you ever get tired of waiting for me to update Redemption, then jump to Revelation! Super short summary: Derek finds out he's a father to a little girl whose mother is…

I hope you enjoy this chapter and again thank you! xoxo M

"What are we doing?" I peered up at Derek as he held the car door open for me. He shrugged, keeping a sly smile on his face. I thought that he would have forgotten about the whole "surprise" by now, but then again we were only away from each other for a couple of days – however, to me it felt like a lot more.

I thought of myself as child while I sat in my apartment brushing through my hair one more time and rechecking my make-up with my foot tapping the floor, impatiently. It had been a long week. Sitting through class was hell and I had the most difficult time focusing when it came time to study.

I missed Derek. More than I thought I would. But not only did I miss him, but I was worried.

Though I told him not to go out hunting for the Alpha, I knew he would never listen. When did men ever listen? I was scared for myself too, ofcourse, but I knew that the Alpha was waiting and until he was done waiting for whatever it was to happen, then he would come after me. However, neither of us knew what "it" was, therefore in order to play safe, Derek needed to stay away from him. One false move by Derek and the Alpha could snap - then game over.

Being away from him made me very worried and because of this, sleep had almost been impossible these past few nights.

When my last class of the day had ended, I suddenly felt a nervousness pumping throughout my body. It took me by surprise, why couldn't I just calm down? My anxiety had gotten worse every day and I wasn't sure if it was because of the whole Alpha situation or… Derek. But when I saw a familiar tall figure leaning against a black Camaro parked outside my class, my mind suddenly came at ease and my heart fluttered.

I ran towards him and his awaiting green eyes. Derek pulled me into his arms almost picking me off my feet, holding me without saying a word. I took in his sweet scent while I kept my arms wrapped tightly around his neck – all the anxiety and stress that I had experienced the entire week was gone in an instant. It felt so good to be with him again.

•••

"Don't worry about it," his velvet voice responded as I laced my fingers through his. Derek led me through the revolving doors, nodding towards the bellhop as we made our way to the elevator. I turned slightly to examine the man next to me – the past couple of days I had tried to not think about his goddess like appearance and now that it was right here holding onto my hand, I couldn't help myself. He was gorgeous.

He peeked down at me with his stunning green eyes, making my cheeks flush pink. "What?" he teased.

I smiled down at the floor. "Nothing."

Derek turned his body towards me while his hand appeared, cupping my face. I looked up into his soft eyes and smiled. "What are you thinking?" he spoke quietly. His comforting scent rushed at me and it took all my strength to not take him right there.

I squinted at him in hesitation, playfully before answering."I missed you," I whispered, "that's all." With that Derek bent down to press his soft lips to mine. His kiss was something that I had been yearning to feel again the entire week. My heart beat began to quicken and without thinking, I reached up to run my fingers through his hair and pull him closer, deepening the kiss, but suddenly, Derek pulled back, chuckling softly. I was out of breath while my mind was in a daze.

"I missed you too," he whispered as the elevator door opened. I had completely forgotten about our surroundings - all I could think about was him. "But we'll have more time for that later," he said with a sly smile on his face that made my stomach twist with butterflies. Derek took a hold of my hand, leading me towards the front of the penthouse. Before opening the door, he stopped for a moment and looked up over his shoulder at me.

"You ready for your surprise?" he asked.

I scrunched up my nose. "Is this completely necessary?" I questioned back. Derek just smiled before turning to open the double doors – when he did, my eyes widened.

The penthouse looked the same as it had a week ago, except for the gorgeous set up in the middle of the empty space between the kitchen and the den. The large room was dimmed with the only source of light coming from the candles glittering in the middle of a table set for two. Surrounding the table was a flutter of rose petals on the floor and the scent of something delicious was wafting through the air. Though it was very simple, it was gorgeous.

"Derek," I began, taking a step closer to the precious set-up. I turned towards him, finding him standing there watching my reaction with a curious look on his face. "This is -," I was actually at a loss of words. "It's beautiful."

Derek just smiled as he led me closer to the table and pulled one of the seats out for me before he vanished into the kitchen only to return with two large plates in his hands – the aroma suddenly came rushing at me. I looked up at Derek as he placed my plate of what looked and smelled like fettuccini alfredo in front of me and sat down with his. It smelled absolutely delicious.

I tiled my head and slanted my eyes at him, pursing my lips. "Olive Garden take-out?" I teased, with a hint of seriousness inside of me. I could see his signature scowl look through the glimmer of the candle light across the table.

"Funny," he replied humorlessly. "I made this myself."

My eyes widened for a second as I examined my plate. The entire meal from the light coating of shredded cheese on top of noodles to the side of mashed potatoes was all put together very neatly. I unfolded my fork from its napkin next to me and placed a small portion of the fettucini into my mouth for a taste – it was even tastier than it looked. Could he really have been the source of this?

I could feel Derek's eyes watching me as I began to eat more. "What do you think?" he questioned as he began to dig into his meal.

"I think this is too good to be true," I slanted my eyes at him playfully as I took another bite.

He shrugged. "Suit yourself." I chuckled.

We continued to eat our meal with light conversation relating to how my week went. I filled him in on what went on in my classes while I tried to get some answers on what he did all week. I knew that this wasn't the time or place to find out if he had gone behind my back to handle any Alpha business, therefore I tried my best to stay away from that topic.

"What about you? What did you do all week?" I said, choosing my words carefully.

Again he just shrugged while twirling a piece of pasta around his fork. "Nothing," he replied casually. He showed no readable expression which frustrated me to the core as it always had.

"Hm," I unintentionally scowled at him slightly, allowing my dissatisfaction to get the best of me for the moment. He always gave me a hard time when it came to finding out information about him and he knew that I wasn't happy about it.

"Alright, I'll tell you," he replied with a sudden light tone. My held tilted to the side.

My head tilted to the side, "tell me what?"

"What I did all week," he said with the same voice. I felt like this was a trap as I caught the glimmer in his eyes.

"Okay… what did you do?" I asked cautiously.

Derek swallowed a bite of pasta as he leaned a little closer over the table towards me. "I thought about you the entire week." I coughed immediately as I caught the playfulness in his tone.

"Wow," I smiled, playing along with his game. "The entire week?" I whistled. Derek winked back before placing another fork-full of alfredo in his mouth. We smiled at each other slyly for a moment as he finished eating.

When he looked back up at me, his eyes still held a lightness in them, but there was a more serious vibe this time around. "I did. I missed you a lot," he said intently. My heart sped up. "But besides that," the passion in his eyes washing away quickly, "I was training Scott," he asserted, changing the subject swiftly. I noticed that Derek never really liked to show emotion and by now I had learned that it was because he just wasn't used to expressing it.

"Oh," I was caught off guard for a moment by the topic switch. "And how is he doing?" I asked.

Derek stabbed his fork on his plate mindlessly, "he's stubborn," Derek mumbled.

"Oh! Is that right?" I chuckled. "Look who's talking," I replied with a grin. A smile started to appear faintly on his lips as he leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms.

"You guys are more alike than you know," I winked before finishing up the last of my dinner.

"If anyone should be compared to Scott, it would be you, Karaline," he sassed back. "You're as hard-headed as they get." His green eyes shined with amusement. I gasped lightly, leaning back in my chair and folded my arms, mocking his posture.

"Oh yeah?" I shot back, playfully.

Derek shrugged. "I guess it runs in the genes."

I bit my lip trying not to laugh. It was hard to argue with him on that one – he was right. The McCall blood line did have some issues with being very adamant, or as Auntie Melissa and my mother like to call it, being "willful".

I looked back over at him through the dim flicker of the candles scattered on the table. The world was quiet and the air was calm as Derek stared back at me with an expression that seemed to be a mixture of curiosity and delight. For once, he appeared to be relaxed and his calmness was radiating off of me, making my heart beat steady.

Derek's Perspective

I had never seen a more perfect sight painted before me.

Sure I had seen many gorgeous women in the past, but this time… it didn't feel the same. Karaline was different. She was beautiful.

The soft shadows that bounced just slightly from the motion of the candle flames highlighted almost every feature of her angelic face from the fullness of her lips to the dark blue pools of her eyes shaded by her long lashes.

For the weeks that I had spent with this girl, I had become more and more confused as to why I was feeling so… weak. Weak was the word that I had finally landed upon. Different, dazed, lost – these initial conclusions that I had come up with before were incorrect. The word that held truth, was weak.

At first, in my head, it sounded as if "weak" was just completely unacceptable. For years I had been the tough-skinned, unmovable man that could not be messed with… and in an instant, it changed. I changed. How could a girl break me down like this? I built up too many walls that were almost impossible to break down and I never had the intention of letting anyone and anything come close to even touching them – I wanted it that way. I had lost too much and in my mind, there was no need for a "new beginning" as some people called it. I didn't want anything new, I just wanted back what once was mine – my family. I had become a master at shutting the world out. I believed that nothing could hurt me and for a very long time I was successful at keeping others away. But not everything is indestructible.

From the moment Karaline appeared in my line of darkness, I had no chance. It was like I was blind-sided by her light. It was too easy for her to break down my walls – never had I ever had to put up a fight to keep a person or something out of my space, it always came natural. But with her, I was defenseless and being away from her for a week made me realize that I needed her with me.

Fuck. It upset me to think that I had gotten to this point… however, I couldn't fight it. Karaline had redeemed me from my darkness and I knew I no longer wanted to shut her out.

Suddenly, a new wave swept over her blue eyes and her steady heart beat quickened once again. Slowly she stood up from her seat and made her way to my side of the table while I wrapped my arms around her waist while she sat on my lap. Her sweet scent engulfed me as she stared at me nervously.

My eyebrows pulled together. "What is it?" I asked her, trying to keep the natural sternness out of my voice.

She looked away in uneasiness for a moment. "Karaline, what is it?" I repeated more concerned.

She was quiet until a few moments later she looked back up at me with softness that I couldn't read. "I love you, Derek," she whispered. Her eyebrows pulled together and her lips trembled slightly as she began to speak through my silence, "I know that you probably don't –"

I stopped her from rambling as I pulled Karaline in to meet my lips. I missed her, truly, and to feel her kiss once again after a week was perfect – but to hear those words from her was completely different, it was like she read my mind. I inched away from her and I knew exactly what I was to do next – I held no hesitation, no fear, and no frustration. The words at the tip of my tongue felt right.

"Karaline," I breathed as she looked up at me dazed, "I love you too."