Hello there! This is my first attempt at a Smash fic, but I just had to write something after seeing the finally of the first season! The show is really spectacular, and I have no idea how I'm going to be able to wait until February to see it again! Even though I wasn't at first, I am not absolutely in love with the idea of Derek and Karen, and seeing all the other stories on this page, I just had to right my own! So for now, I will satisfy my Smash craving with FanFiction.
Disclaimer: I do not own Smash, or any of its wonderful characters!
Derek lay back on his hotel bed, resting his head against the pillows and smiling and slow, content smile. Everything had gone perfectly, exactly according to the plan he had constructed in his own mind. The stage and set had been perfect, the musical numbers had been spot on, and the blocking and scenes had been simply fantastic. In short, the show had gone splendidly. His show had gone splendidly, and all boiling down to the work of their star. His star.
Karen Cartwright. He closed his eyes, his lips quirking into and even larger smile, and rubbed his thumb across his forehead. They had all doubted him; Julia, Tom, and most certainly Eileen, but tomorrow he would make every last one of them eat their words. From the reaction of the audience to the beaming smiles on the faces of every member of the cast, it was unquestionable that she had been simply sensational. And all thanks to his work.
If it had not been for him, she would never have even made it into the ensemble. He had suggested to Tom and Julia that if there were to be some complications with Ivy, they needed a suitable replacement, and 'this Cartwright girl' was exactly what they would need. Whether or not he had assisted in bringing about the so-called complications Ivy had faced has unclear to him, and even less clear was whether or not his meddling had been intentional.
If it had not been for his own little hallucinations, he may never have seen her as Marilyn. Though shocking, rather sensual fantasies where not exactly the healthiest form of realization, he knew as soon as he saw her that it was meant to be. It had been no coincidence that when he had found her, gently coaxed her from the corner of the dressing room and respectfully left her to change he had handed her that purple dress. And when she emerged, back upright and eyes alive, it took more then a comfortable amount of restraint to not flash back to those moments, weeks and days earlier.
And if it weren't for him, she would not have been on that stage the night before. Well, truthfully she would have been, but not the way she should have been, not the way she was meant to be. Karen Cartwright was not a chorus girl; she was not a member of an ensemble. She could be, if she needed to be, but there was too much in her to hold her back like that. Ivy, with her headstrong exterior and crumbling, desperate interior, she was a member of the chorus. Sure, she had some of the qualities of a star, but she had never shone the way Karen had on that stage and in rehearsal, even before she donned the wig and makeup. Where Ivy was master of the trade, burying her emotions until they exploded in a pent up burst of Prednisone, Karen's feelings are raw and sharp, cutting through the scenes and pouring from her as she sings. Everything about her had been remarkable, and the show couldn't have asked for anything more.
And yet, everything was not quite right, and there still seemed to be something nagging at him and pulling at the back of his mind, specifically two young women. Firstly, Ivy. Though was one hundred percent certain in his choice for Marilyn, there was a small part of him that felt sad for Ivy, left yet again for the ensemble. In all honesty, she was not a star; she had spent too much time living in her mother's shadow and following the sickening, convoluted path toward Broadway for that to be the case. Yet still, he felt a twinge of regret confining her to the shadow selves and the back up dancers. She had more talent then that, but she simply was not talented enough.
He had been rather brutally honest with her about his reasons for choosing Karen, but he wasn't about to sugar coat it for her and get her hopes up. She did not have that indiscernible star quality that Karen commanded, and that was simply a statement of fact. Still, when he had heard a commotion from the dressing rooms at the end of the show, and seen the worry on the faces of Tom and Sam, he had half-heartedly wondered if she really could take it. But then, he had been swept up in the sea of attendees and cast members and producers and investors, all forming a celestial mass around their central, glowing star.
And the second young woman, of course, was Ms. Cartwright. 'The Cartwright girl', as endearing as the term was meant to be, was highly unfitted for the magnificent human being he saw through the crowd, beaming and accepting hugs of congratulation with easy grace. She was undoubtedly a woman, a member of the theater, and glorious Marilyn when she stepped out onto that stage. And as he though of her, his forehead began to furrow, and his smiled subsided slightly.
Her innocence and wonder had been her driving force so far; he could see it in look in her when she rushed backstage after each scene and the light of emotion was still glinting in her eyes. When she was out there, she was barely acting; she was simply being, magnifying her emotions and casting them out into the audience. Thank god she was so terrific, her vulnerability when she exited the stage and listened for the applause left him nearly terrified for her, which was saying something. But, he realized, his fear wasn't that she might break down here, that she might sabotage everything and ruin the show. No, it was fear that took root somewhere deep inside him, that the world of theater might hurt her, that it might seriously damage who she was.
And it had already had some type of affect on her. Though he didn't know the full story, he had seen her with the idiot Dev, something shining and glinting in her hand, the look on her face of utter horror and despair. And he had seen her at her lowest moment yet, huddled behind the racks of clothing, Marilyn entirely discarded behind her, those big, brown eyes shining with tears. And it hadn't been the show that had drove him to find her, though he used that as a cover. He knew that at that moment, he should have turned to Ivy as the other's had, and asked her to step in. He knew that it was unfair of him to ask this much of Karen, especially if she was in a fragile state, and it almost pained him to do it.
But, he also knew that she had more in her then any of them could see. He knew when she had stepped on stage from the very first note of "Let Me Be Your Star", and throughout the entire show, he had seen the heartbreak, the happiness and the longing in her eyes. And anyways, it had done him some good to tell off Dev, the little prick, for whatever he had done to her. She was his now, it was true.
But that statement, he thought, as Derek repositioned the pillow under his head, held more meaning to it then he may have initially considered. If anything, it sounded more romantic then not, and while he was unsure what he had intended it to mean, part of him hoped Dev had understood it as such. Derek rubbed his fingers into his eyes and starred at the ceiling, following the twisting pattern with his eyes.
In any case, he had said far too many confusing things that night the take any of them into consideration at the moment. Unbidden, their small moment before the final number rose to his mind, eliciting a tiny smile as the corner of his mouth pricked upwards. Yes, even now he could remember the way his hands had felt, one on the small of her back, the other closing the final fastening of the snug gold dress. And he remember the way her muscles had stiffened, tensed, and relaxed only slightly when he moved his hands to rest on her waist. He remembered being close behind her, feeling her pounding heartbeat even through the space between them, and he remembered the nagging urge to close that space, to wrap his arms around her.
He remembered her eyes, wide with innocence as he whispered to her in the dark, in their moment of solitude and silence, and despite the meaning his words carried, he could easily recall the empty, aching feeling in his stomach. Those were not the words he wanted to say. True, she was a star, and she should have no doubt in her mind that this was exactly who she was meant to be, but something in the sentences seemed empty, as he knew he had used them too many times before. He had used them on Ivy, and on Rebecca, and on countless other would-be stars before them, and had undoubtedly brought him any wonderful nights, but he realized now that such desires were not what he wanted from Karen. That it was something bigger, something deeper down, buried inside him.
Sure, if he had the opportunity, he would fall into bed with her without a second thought. And when she had walked out on stage in her underwear, it was all he could do to not smile any wider then he already had. Yet still, there was something different in the way he felt about her, something only explained in the last sentence he had spoken to her before she emerged on stage. And at the thought of what he'd said, his stomach flipped in a way far to characteristic of a small schoolboy, and he felt his palms begin to perspire. Because maybe that was why he had pushed Ivy away so forcefully when he knew Karen could take her place. Maybe that was why he felt such a nagging emptiness when he lay beside Rebecca for those several nights. Maybe that was why he chose Karen over Ivy, because he loved-
There was a sharp, loud knocking on his door, affectively stabbing into his train of though and snapping his eyes open. He scowled, muttering under his breath and picked himself up slowly off the bed. Fixing his hair for a second in the mirror, he put on his best bored and annoyed face as he swung the door and opened his mouth to speak-
And Karen Cartwright stood there, her coat wrapped around her shoulders and her hair only slightly damp from the evident rain outside. Her studded purse hung limply from her shoulder, and in either hand she held a small travel bag. He shoulders sagged as she stood there, tiny drops of water dripping from her luggage, and her eyes red rimmed and swollen, shining with tears.
Derek swallowed slowly, and starred at her.
So there it is, chapter one! Chapter two will be up soon, but pretty, pretty please leave a review! It will make it come even sooner!