I know it has been a long while since I updated this one. To be perfectly honest I had to read the entire thing to remember what I was up to… and yet, I'm not sure... i also changed the properties to M, to be on the safe side...

thanks again for all the feedback and support! You know who you are ;)

I still don't own SMASH



Breathing heavily, Derek propped himself up on the elbows and brushed aside the locks of hair stuck on Karen's forehead. He cocked his head and smiled. Eyes closed, she sighed with contentment and stretched her arms. His smile widened. He placed a kiss on the tip of her nose. "I do like to rest with you," he grinned.

"Holy crap," she uttered back between her teeth, lying spread-eagled, her chest still heaving. She opened her eyes and found herself staring. She liked what she saw. So much for solving the Derek problem. Sleeping with Derek was definitely not a one time thing, it was beginning to fall into a pattern.

"Holy crap?" he chuckled. "Really Ms Cartwright, should I be offended?" She gently punched him in the shoulder, her hand lazily stroking his neck. "I guess not," he said smugly.

Embarrassed, "You're too heavy," she protested halfheartily, nudging him away.

He flopped beside her on the bed, lacing his fingers with hers and leaning on his side to get a better view. She was glowing. "Breakfast?"

"Breakfast? It's way too early," she complained, sitting up. She covered herself in a swift move with the sheet that lay in a crumpled heap at the end of the bed. She grabbed her phone, and checked the screen. Her face fell. Three missed calls, four voice mails, and too many text messages. "Holy crap," she said again.


"Not you, people have been trying to reach me… a lot," she apologized. She frowned, her forefinger rapidly brushing the screen. "Jessica, Bobby, Jessica… Crap, crap, crap."

"Is there a problem here?" Even a deaf man could have heard he was annoyed. "You understand you don't owe them any explanation."

She shook her head, "I… I know I don't," she finally said, "but they don't know, and I'd like to keep it this way."

"A secret affair," he mused, his thumb stroking the inside of her palm. "You're quite the romantic," he teased her.

"An affair, is it what we have?"

He froze. It wasn't new, he always had trouble keeping his thought filters in place when he was with her. Before he had time to think, "Do you want it to be?" he asked tentatively. Great! What's wrong with you Wills, don't you have enough problems with Ivy and that damned play as it is without bedding, again, the new leading lady? On the other hand, he wasn't used to reject gorgeous women especially when they threw herselves at him repeatedly. And Karen was indeed gorgeous, and he never made a secret he had been attracted to her from the start.

She shook her head again. Her curls hid her face and he couldn't tell whether it was a yes or a no. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and just sat there, staring at her naked feet flat on the floor, with her head dropped on her chest. "Are you playing with me? Is it one of your mind games?" she asked after a pregnant pause, her voice barely a whisper.

He crawled towards her. He nuzzled up against her back, and his hand wandered to her waist. "Oh darling," he kissed her shoulder, resting his chin against her neck. "Why would I do that? We're having some armless fun, why spoil a perfectly good arrangement?"

She jumped from the bed and faced him, her eyes wide, her hands cupping her breasts. "An arrangement?"

The frightened bird is back with a vengeance, he thought, more distressed that he was willing to admit. Why is she so highly strung? She should know she could trust me now.

"I mean…"

"I have to go," she said without moving an inch. "It was a mistake."

He kneeled up on the bed and grabbed her arms. "Darling, you're not going anywhere, it's four in the morning," he tried to reason with her. "It's freezing outside, you'll catch your death," he protested with a half smile, trying to lighten her mood.

"And you won't permit that for the sake of your darn show," she spat. "I get it Derek."

He heard the echo of a plaintive Marilyn begging for attention and love in her voice. For some reason, it made him cringe. There was no way 'Bombshell' would invade his privacy. Not this time. And yet, "Don't be daft. You do understand what I mean. And you're not leaving."

Her eyes widened even more and she recoiled, shaking her head in disbelief. He winced. Why was it so difficult to say the right thing?

"Do you plan to restrain me?"

This time, he didn't bother to hide a wolfish smile that made her blush. "Would you like that?" He pulled her gently towards him.

Her mouth twitched. "No, I certainly wouldn't!"

He started to kiss a trail on her flat stomach and he stopped at her navel, his tongue eliciting a shiver down her spine. She threw back her head and moaned. "Don't, I really must go…"

With a wicked smile, he replaced her hands by his and cupped her breasts, lowering his head to suck her nipple inside his mouth. She grabbed his head with both hands. "Please, stop," she begged.

He looked up, and his eyes darkened as he slid his hand slowly between her legs, moving his mouth to her throat. Her pulse quickened and she breathed in sharply. Her hands ploughed in his unruly hair and she tucked his head up. Her lips quivered and he stopped moving. As far as he could tell, he stopped breathing as well. Her eyes were wide and shiny, her face shifting emotion until it settled to a rigid stare. His arms fell limp at his sides. "Oh, I'm sorry love," he whispered. "If you want to leave, I'll call you a cab and take you back to your hotel."

She bit her lips and shook her head, tears rolling down her cheeks. "Oh, Derek, please, don't be mad, I…" she paused, "It's not your fault, I'm a mess, I don't know what I'm doing." She gazed at him, lost in his green eyes now tinged with concern. "Please," she said again before her mouth crashed onto his.


Karen was seated on a bench, massaging her right foot, her left leg dangling. It had been a strenuous morning, she was tired, she was distracted, and she felt like the ultimate underdog. Her eyes darted to the stage. Derek was his usual self, arrogant, demanding, mercurial. No one could have guessed he barely slept three hours. She wouldn't like being Linda right this moment. Derek was hyperactive this morning, and in no mood to put up with anyone's arguing, even though his faithful co-worker was right.

The dancers exchanged meaningful looks. "And when I thought we'd been through the worse already," Bobby whispered. "It's tech act 2." His eyes met Karen's and he waddled towards her with the most innocent expression on his face. "You look like shit," he stated.

"Oh, thanks Bobby, so considerate!"

He dropped at her feet, and took a dramatic pose. "Come on, beautiful, spill. Where did you spend the night? And who's the lucky guy?" he pouted.

Jessica patted him on the shoulder. "Leave her alone, you and your stupid bets."

Bobby's attention went back to Derek who was now pacing the stage, punctuating his directives with various inventive British colloquialisms and driving everybody in the crew crazy. "Boy, does he need to get laid," he sighed. "Too bad we don't play for the same team, I would have put him out of his misery," he said dreamingly, cocking his head to get a better scope of the director's back.

"Is it what he needs now?" Karen chuckled.

Bobby gave her his full attention back. "Or maybe YOU should put him out of his misery…" he continued, unfazed, "… or maybe you did, and here is the pathetic result of your intervention. Come on Iowa, you're supposed to make us proud not cause more problems! We've had enough as it is!"

"Bobby, are you for real?" Jessica giggled. "But he's right Karen, where were you last night, I was really worried. You can't pull a Houdini on us like that on Christmas day!"

"What can I say, I was with Derek," she stated cheerily with a goofy smile, waving her hand to the stage. She plastered a grin on her face and held her breath.

"Oh stop it, I was really worried. You didn't even answer your phone, you weren't at the hotel…"

Karen propped her arms on her knee and extended her fingers, counting, "Well… Let me think. I called my folks," [true, even if they were not in and she left them a ten second message on their voice mail], "I found a theatre that plays 'It's a Wonderful Life'," [true, technically I went there, sat for ten minutes before my resolve wavered], "I had an eggnog [true, I needed it before going to the theatre, and ultimately throw myself, -again, at Derek] and that's about it. I guess you were all asleep when I got back. I saved you some popcorn if you want it," she chuckled for good measure. "I confess it didn't feel very Christmassy…" She shrugged her shoulders and went back to massaging her other foot. "But you're right," she added, glancing to the stage, "he's in overdrive this morning. Did I really miss my entrance for 'Wolf'?"

"Of course not sweetie, you were puuuurrrrfect," Bobby clawed her seat, and rolled his eyes. "He's just a doddering old fart!"

The two girls burst out laughing, and ducked before being found out.

"Karen, where is Karen Cartwright?" Derek bellowed. His voice echoed in the theatre. "So much for keeping a low profile Iowa. Sorry," whispered Bobby who scurried away on his hands and knees.

"Here, I'm here," Karen stood up and waved her hand. "Where do you need me?"

"Lunch darling, come on, I need you for lunch, it's only a one hour break, chop, chop!" Karen felt like a three ton brick wall had fallen on her head. If she wanted their "arrangement" to stay secret, he was apparently having none of it.

"Seriously Karen, you were with the Dark Lord last night?" Jessica whispered. "Lunch, that's what he calls it? He never had lunch with Ivy when they were 'together'," she air quoted. "God, I'm going to kill you, if Tom or Ivy doesn't catch you first!"