First time writer, not 100% sure what to write up here! Disclaimer: I own none of the characters, all belongs to Shonda Rhimes!
The story is based around if Meredith and Derek had gone to college together, and what may have happened with their friendship.
Any advice/comments/questions/criticisms/general love would be greatly appreciated!
She wasn't sure how long she'd been out for, or if it was the blunt impact of her face hitting the floor that caused her to wake. Her face stung. Her ears rang. She didn't know what to do next; it had never gotten this bad before. She heard her mother's angry footsteps down the hall, walking further away from the foyer where she was now lying. It was so abrupt, and it had become worse over the past few months. Her mother was changing; her outbursts were becoming more frequent. Meredith found herself becoming more concerned about her safety, but right now, she couldn't handle being in the same house as her. Holidays are meant to be relaxing. College students aren't meant to look forward to going back to study. These were the best years of her life, and she hated being home.
It's only a few days, she told herself.
She heard angry screams from the kitchen and slamming of pots. Meredith knew she had to get out of there.
She pulled herself off the floor. Her face was wet with a mixture of tears and blood. In shock, she pushed herself from the house, hobbling out the front gates. Her view was blurred and her breathing was uneven. Her mind was racing, and she had no idea where to go. She abruptly turned to head left when she hit something. Something warm. It surrounded her, she tried to pull away, not comprehending what was happening.
"Meredith, hey! I didn't know you lived here!" He said, obviously lying. "Woah, what's wrong, are you ok?" he stepped back, taking a look at her face. She wiped her eyes quickly with the back of her hand and looked up. It was Derek. She smiled, obviously overcompensating. He lived just down the hall from her at college and although they took most of the same subjects and tutes, they weren't particularly close.
"Yeah, fine, I was just… getting the mail." No one could know about what had happened, they wouldn't understand.
"… Right." His mouth agreed, but his face said otherwise.
She put her hand up to the side of her face and realised that she was covered in blood.
"Must have scratched myself." She looked back at the house and back to Derek, but she musn't have wiped the look of terror off her face as Derek met her look with a concerned one of his own.
"Why don't you come with me? I live only a few streets away. Mum has been baking and we can never eat it all… We could even do some readings together." He smiled, putting his had on her shoulder, trying to make her feel comfortable. They often found their way into the same group of friends, but had never done anything alone together, much to his dismay. He only slipped in the idea of work so she wouldn't feel uncomfortable. He'd been waiting for this day for a long time.
She looked down at her clothes. A fitting tshirt and baggy tracksuit pants, bare feet. She contemplated going back inside, but knew that she would rather run than potentially face her mother again.
"I should probably…" her voice trailed off, she looked back at the house, hearing more banging. Moving her neck hurt. She felt her check sting. It's going to bruise, she thought to herself.
That's going to be hard to explain.
"Oh, of course, you're probably busy…" He tried to back track, but she stopped him.
"I… I… Um… I don't have anything to bring or… I…"
"Just yourself is fine." He smiled. Although he's stopped running a while ago, his heart was still beating at a hundred miles an hour. She looked at him, realising that that he was in full gym gear, glistening with sweat. Somehow, he still managed to smell good.
"How far away do you live?" She asked, starting to walk. Her eyes were still watering; a blunt hit in the face would do that.
He smiled, "Not too far". He was overjoyed. She was coming with him.
They walked slowly as Meredith tried to conceal her sniff to make it seem like she was ok.
"So, how often do you run?" She asked.
"Daily… Give or take."
"Always past my house?"
"Only on Wednesdays." He lied.
"Today is Tuesday." She laughed.
"You're lucky I made an exception."
They arrived at his house, and as he opened the door, a strong smell of freshly baked apple pie wafted through. A house that smelt like baked goods was foreign to her. Her mum never baked.
"I'M HOME!" Derek called into the house. "17 km! No stops!" Derek said, beaming, grabbing a bottle of water from the shelf by the door. Meredith heard footsteps down the stairs behind her. A thin girl, no more than 18 jogged down the stairs,
"Wow, I think I owe you $5." She laughed and turned to Meredith, "Hi! I'm Amy, Derek's girlfriend," Derek almost chocked in his water.
"Kidding. Younger sister. You should have seen his face… " Pointing at Derek, laughing "He must really like you." Meredith let out an awkward laugh, which turned real when she turned around to see Derek covered in water he'd just choked on.
"He must." She agreed with a smile, exposing the bruised and cut side of her face to Amy.
"I'm Meredith, by the wa-"
"What happened to your face?! Are you ok?" Amy asked coming closer. Her sudden change in voice gave Meredith a fright. Derek answered before Meredith could get a word in, "Just tripped," he replied, "bathrooms down that way", he said, pointing Meredith down the corridor. "Give me a minute, I'll just go change and grab some antiseptic." He said, taking the stairs two by two. His hair slowly bounced as he ascended to the top.
"Well, it was nice to meet you. We've heard a lot about you." Amy slid into the kitchen in her socks, opening the fridge whilst whistling.
Meredith just stood in the hallway a little bemused, before following his directions. Although their houses were almost identical: foyer, leading to the kitchen, stairs, hallway, Derek's house was much more homely than hers had even been. The photos lining the stairs described happy family memories; a juxtaposition to the old, assorted oil paintings and watercolours lining the stairs of her house. She believed they were only still there as no one had bothered to take them down after her mother had bought the place some years ago. No one really had any attachment to them.
Meredith made her way down the hall, and stumbled across the bathroom. She faced the mirror and began to clean off the dried blood, when she heard the front door opening again.
"I'm home!" A friendly voice called out. She heard her and Amy exchange greetings, and then some quiet whispers. Meredith had a feeling they were talking about her. From only one story up, Derek figured the same. He came bounding down the stairs, wearing a dark blue tshirt and a new pair of running shorts. He jogged past his mum, giving her a quick kiss, almost tripping over his feet as he made his way backwards down the hallway, grinning, holding a bottle of betadine and a box of tissues in his hands.
"What's up with him?" their mum asked Amy.
"There's a girl", she grinned.
"… Where?" she asked, bemused "down the hall?"
They both looked at each other, and slowly crept down until they were standing right outside the door.
"This doesn't look very good." Derek said, inspecting Meredith's cheek as she perched on the side of the bath. "Potential fracture even. This must have been some pretty intense mail-getting." He joked. She smiled, becoming more embarrassed by her story, which had some serious exposed holes. Curiosity took over and Derek's mum stuck her head around the door, pretending not to realise Meredith's presence. She was taken aback by what she saw, and needless to say, Meredith was sufficiently embarrassed by the communal gathering in Derek's bathroom.
"Oh, hello, you must be-" her eyes stopped, starring at the gash and bruising on Meredith's face. "I'm so sorry, I.. uh…", she didn't quite knew where to look or what to say.
"Mum." Derek said, "Calm down. This is Meredith. She just fell over, on the way to the mail box, and I saw her when I was out, and we started talking, so we thought we'd come over for some of that cheesecake you were going to make."
"Yes. Right. I'll just go start that now. Needs a few hours to refrigerate, but I'm sure you will find something to do." She smiled and backed out of the room.
"Well, I'm never going to improve that first reputation" Meredith smirked.
"At least she'll remember you."
For the first time since being in Derek's house, Meredith felt self conscious. She looked down to see what she was wearing, and was horrified. If she knew she was going to be going out today, she would have put something nicer on, but she didn't, so they were just going to have to deal with her in her daggies.
They made their way back out to the kitchen where Derek's mother and sister were quietly gossiping. Derek signalled for Meredith to be quiet and he snuck up behind his sister and picked her up for the floor, while roaring in her ear. She nearly hit the roof.
"That is for before." She slapped him with a teatowel, and trying to wrangle her way out of his arms, still panting after such a shock.
"Mum. Tell him to put me down!" She whined.
"She told Meredith she was my girlfriend." He whispered in his mum's ear. Their mum just laughed. "Put her down, and you. You're cheeky", she said, pointing a spoon at Amy. "Now, Derek, introduce me to your friend." She said, smiling. Turing to Meredith, she signalled for her to sit at the bar in front of where the three of them were working in the kitchen. "I'm sorry about before, I… just didn't expect there to be someone in my bathroom, in… well, your state. Are you ok? How did you do it?"
Meredith had to think quick. She smiled and replied, "I fell. On my ring. Flat on my face. I'm a bit of a klutz." All four sets of eyes drifted away from Meredith's face down to her hands which were on the bench. Crap. She thought. I'd forgotten to put my ring on this morning. Now they know I'm lying. Crap. Crap. Crap. I am lying, but what do I say? Her mind was racing, but no one pointed it out. They just kept working away at their tasks. Amy was tidying papers, their mum was spooning out cream cheese and Derek was drying dishes.
"Would anyone like some help?" She asked, trying to seem like a hospitable girl.
"Oh, no! We're all fine. But you, would you like a drink or anything?"
"No thank you." She replied, sweetly. Derek caught her eye and smiled. He could tell she was working hard at trying to seem polite and well mannered, when all he could remember was her being a bit of a dag.
"So," his mother tried to start up the conversation again, "You're at college together, are you thinking about going into medicine too, Meredith?"
She nodded, pain spiked up the side of her face which made her wince. She didn't realised how much it hurt until now. Derek's sister saw her, and flicked her brother with some papers.
"Meredith is in pain! Get her some ice." He felt terrible that he hadn't thought of the before. He jumped to the freezer and came and sat next to her.
"Thanks", she replied, relieved for something cold. She could feel it starting to swell, and the last thing she wanted was to have to return to college with a swollen face.
As they sat in the kitchen and talked, Meredith realised how comfortable she'd become with his family. Within a few hours, she was even on first name terms with his mother. "Carolyn," she had said, "Call me Carolyn". His mother's maternal instincts were so strong she could virtually smell them. It was nice to spend an afternoon as a family, even if it wasn't her own.
"Would you like to stay for dinner?" Amy asked, smiling from across the room, "I think that Derek would like you to", she stuck her hand out to catch the apple he'd lobbed at her to get her to be quiet. She took a bite, "Thanks", she laughed.
Meredith replied quickly, lightly shaking her head, "I wouldn't want to intrude…"
"You're more than welcome here. I've got 4 girls, and always wanting more. Derek can walk you home after dinner." She was thankful that she was so welcome. Meredith wasn't much of a cook, and she knew that her mother would be out working at the hospital for a while, so she wouldn't be cooking either – not that she wanted to face her mother again anytime soon.
"Dinner will be ready in about an hour. I just have to pop next door and have a chat to Bev." She glanced at the clock, "Kathleen said she'd pop around later on too." Meredith looked to Derek for an explanation,
"Kathleen is my other sister."
"It really is a full house, hey!" They smiled together. There was definitely something in this house she liked. And she liked spending time with Derek. This was something she hadn't really noticed before.