I've decided to listen to Miranda and wear the black dress. It was a simple sleeveless black dress that ended at my knees. I did like the dress quite a lot, I thought it was one of my best pieces of clothing. And I had bothered to accessorize too, so I thought I looked quite presentable as compared to how I normally look in school.

Yes the idea of pissing off Derek by turning up in my pyjamas did seem rather tempting, but I wasn't about to embarrass myself for that. It wasn't that worth it.

So far, Miranda has been able to keep the secret, though every time Derek walked past us I could tell she was bursting to say something about it. And in case you're wondering, Derek and I are still ignoring each other in school, even after I've agreed to help him out. We're keeping up our act quite well I must say. But then again, it's not too hard to ignore a blockhead like him.

I came downstairs to find Stan sitting on the couch flipping through the channels with a beer in his hand.

"Whoa! Is there a wedding we're supposed to attend tonight or did Shainfield decide to let you guys have prom early, since the bunch of you probably can't graduate anyway," Stan grinned, taking a huge gulp of his beer. I rolled my eyes at him.

He's a really smart guy, he's studying to be a neurosurgeon. Yes, he's that smart. That's why to him, everyone else is just really stupid. But despite that cocky attitude of his, he's still a great big brother. Most of the time at least.

"No," I rolled my eyes at him, hurriedly pulling my hair into a ponytail.

"Ok, then Prince William is in town and you're going on a date with him," said Stan.

"Think Prince William kind of rich, cuter than Prince William, but definitely a much bigger jerk than Prince William," I replied. "And it's not a date, it's...well I don't know what it is, but I don't have time to explain it to you. It's a long story."

The doorbell rang and I glanced at the clock. He was right on time. I went over to open the door, but was surprised to see that it wasn't him at my doorstep. It was a middle aged man dressed in an impeccable suit.

"Uh, hi," I said. I could hear Stan stifling a laugh back in the living room. He probably thought this was my 'date' for the night.

"Good evening Miss Pearce. Young Mr Patterson has sent me here to escort you to the Patterson residence," said the man. Wow, even his drivers dress more expensively than Dad.

"Oh, how come he didn't come himself?" I asked.

The driver gave me a weird sort of look, like it was considered unusual for Derek to come pick me up. I guess that's just how the rich people are like.

"Are you ready to leave Miss?" he asked.

"Uh yes," I replied, grabbing my purse from the kitchen counter. I turned to Stan, who was still silently laughing on the couch, and said, "I'll be home by 11, help me tell Mum and Dad ok?"

I stepped outside with Derek's driver and couldn't help but stop dead in my tracks.

He sent a limo to get me! I could see Mrs Lawson the snooty lady who lived across the street peering from behind her curtains. Well I guess this makes up for him not coming personally.

The driver stepped forward and pulled open the door for me. I stepped into the limo. Damn I've never been in one of those before, it was so cool! There was a mini-fridge inside and plenty of interesting looking buttons that I was itching to press, but I didn't dare to in case the driver got annoyed at me.

When we finally pulled into the Pattersons' driveway, the driver pulled open the door and I stepped out. There was another man dressed in a suit standing at the door, and he gave me a tiny little nod of the head as the opened the door to let me into the house.

I stepped into the sitting area and was horribly reminded of the extremely awkward situation whereby I was introduced by Derek moronic Patterson as his girlfriend. The incident that got me into the mess I was in now.

"Young Mr Patterson is still getting ready," said the man who had let me into the house. He had an English accent. "Perhaps I should escort you into the dining hall first Miss?"

"Um I –"

"That's alright Arthur, I'm here."

I turned to the stairs to see Derek coming down. He was buttoning up the last button on the white shirt he was wearing, and once again, he looked incredibly sharp, and damn, so hot. Trust me, it'd be a lot easier hating him if he wasn't so darn good looking, it made the whole 'hating' thing require much more effort.

When he finally looked up and fixed his blue eyes on me, he stopped short. He seemed a little shocked at how I looked, hopefully in a good way.

"This good enough for you Patterson?" I said. He was a little stunned but quickly recovered from it.

"Uh yeah, you look great," he said, looking away from me to adjust his dark blue tie. I grinned a little. That stupid jerk thought I couldn't dress nicely. Well I showed him alright.

"So, why do we have to dress so formally? It's just dinner isn't it?" I asked.

"My parents rarely come home for dinner, so every time they do, it's supposed to be a formal thing, and everyone has to dress nicely," he replied.

"Oh...so normally it's just you in this huge place alone?" I said, glancing around the mansion. I hadn't had a chance to really look at the place properly the last time, I happened to be more focused on the fact that I was suddenly Derek Patterson's girlfriend you see. But the house was really quite beautiful, and the decorations were all modern and sophisticated.

I glanced over at Derek, who still hadn't answered my question. He was still fixing his tie, but this time with a slight frown on his face. I wonder if my question had caused it.

"Yes," he finally replied.

"Oh..." I said, not knowing what else to say to him. I watched him fiddle with his tie some more and sighed, going over and smacking his hands away before helping him to adjust his tie.

"Thanks," he muttered after I was done.

I stepped away from him and said, "You're welcome."

"So, my mum is going to be pretty tough on you later on, so you got to be able to handle it ok. She doesn't want you to be with me, so she's going to be especially nasty tonight," said Derek, going over to one of the couches and sitting down.

"Wow, thanks for the early warning," I said sarcastically, following him and sitting down on an armchair a good distance away from him. "What about your dad?"

"Dad? He probably won't say much. He rarely does."

"Is it always this tense with you parents around?" I asked, watching as a few maids hurried past us with very stressed looks upon their faces.

"Pretty much. It's a lot more relaxed when they're not around, yeah," Derek replied. "I don't really care what the employees get up to, as long as they do their job when I'm around."

"So basically your butler could run around in board shorts, but as long as he's still doing his butler duties you're fine with it?" I said.

The man who had let me into the house gave a very distasteful sniff behind us and I jumped a little. I had forgotten that he was still in the room. Derek laughed.

"Well I wouldn't mind. Say Arthur, what are the chances of you running around in board shorts?" he asked the man.

I blushed furiously when he replied, "None whatsoever sir."

Luckily I was saved from saying anything else when a maid came in to announce that dinner was served.

"Let the party begin," Derek muttered, as we followed Arthur into the dining hall.

Derek's parents were already seated inside, his father at the head of the table and his mother at his side. Derek graciously pulled out a chair for me and sat down beside me, across from his mother.

"Miss Pearce, how nice of you to join us tonight," said Mrs Patterson.

"Thank you for inviting me," I replied. She gave me an icy smile before taking a sip out of her wineglass.

"So do tell us, what is it your parents do?" she asked.

"My dad owns and runs his own hardware store. My mum is a kindergarten teacher," I told her, cutting the piece of the chicken on my plate with as much etiquette and poise I can manage. It's not easy trying to look presentable eating chicken chop I tell you.

"Then your family must be living under quite challenging circumstances," she replied. That was meant as a snipe, and I got it.

"We live quite decently enough ma'am," I smiled, gritting my teeth to stop myself from making sarcastic remarks back at her. She raised her eyebrows but didn't say anything for a while.

I watched Derek's father. He was basically just eating and ignoring everything else that was going on around him. Derek was right, he doesn't say much. I haven't heard him speak a word yet.

"That's a lovely dress," said Mrs Patterson.

"Thank you, I –"

"Which yard sale did you purchase it from?" she smiled.

I forced a smile and did not reply. God this woman was impossible! I have never in my life met anyone as cutting and aloof as her.

"Do you have any siblings Miss Pearce?" she asked.

"Yes, I have an older brother. He's studying to be a neurosurgeon," I replied. Finally, something that she can't put me down about. She did seem momentarily impressed, and for that one moment I was thankful I had Stan for a brother. I'll never let him know though; he'd gloat about it for ages.

"Well, good to know at least your brother could provide a stable life for your family in the future," she replied, sipping her wine. I gripped my knife tightly. It took all of my self control and restraint not to stab her in the eye right there and then.

"My parents are perfectly capable of supporting my family," I replied. I glanced to my side at Derek, but he was busy eating his dinner. What a loving boyfriend I have, one who doesn't even care when his mother is verbally mutilating me at the dinner table. I sighed and picked at my food again. This was going to be one of the longest dinners ever.

"Miss Pearce –"

"You can call me Carson," I intereupted. This whole 'Miss Pearce' thing was making me really uncomfortable. Who still does that anyway? I guess only high society snobs.

Mrs Patterson gave me one of her quelling looks before she continued, "Miss Pearce, do you know who the Reids are?"

"Um no…"

"Why don't you tell her Derek," she said, smiling at her son. Derek glanced up at his mother. It wasn't fear or even loathing in his eyes. It was indifference, as if he couldn't give a rat's ass about her. At that moment, I felt a little sorry for him. Maybe this was why he acted the way he did all the time.

"The Reids own Reid enterprises. They dabble in oil and steel. Basically they're rich, and they're the 'perfect business partners' and it would be 'wonderful to have family relations with them'," he said in the most sarcastic manner. His mother merely raised her eyebrows at his tone, as if she was used to it and had expected it.

"Exactly, the Reids are old money. They have a beautiful daughter, Lacey Reid. She's your age too, just finishing high school in a private school. We insisted on sending Derek to a private school but his father insisted on this terrible public school just because he went there too." She threw her husband a disapproving look at that point. And all this time Mr Patterson just chewed away at his pork chop not saying a single word. "And the Reids are the loveliest people. Derek and Lacey grew up together. They have all this…history, which is nothing your high school fling can top so –"

"The 'loveliest people' Mum? Seriously?" Derek burst out. I jumped slightly, I hadn't expected him to interupt and apparently neither had his mother. She seemed shocked at his outburst. But frankly I was quite glad he interupted her because the things she was saying were really putting me in an awkward position.

"Derek don't –"

"I'll do what I want Mum. It's my life! And I want to be with Carson, not Lacey!" he shouted. I almost wanted to roll my eyes right there because he sounded like a kid throwing a tantrum at the playground. But of course the context of the situation was rather different so I stopped myself.

"You don't know what you want! You're still a teenager! I'm your mother, I know what's best for you! And this girl," she pointed her perfectly manicured finger at me, "is not what's best for you! Lacey is what's best for you!"

Oh my God could this woman hear how ridiculous she sounded? And I was very offended. What was wrong with me? Just because I wasn't all high society like her!

I was about to retort and stand up for myself when Derek stood up, grabbed my hand, and said, "I'd like to excuse myself. Enjoy your dinner, Mum, Dad."

Then he dragged me out of my seat and out the dining hall. Mrs Patterson looked positively livid.

Derek was silent as he drove me home. I didn't say anything either. We were both still thinking of the dinner probably.

I can't say it was great, for obvious reasons, but I guess it served its purpose. And now I've officially been bound to this commitment of being Derek's girlfriend.

The car stopped and it took me a moment to realize we've reached my place. I unbuckled my seatbelt and was about to get off the car when Derek stopped me.

"Hey," he grabbed my elbow. "Thanks for not blowing up at dinner today. I know some of the things my Mum said...well, yeah."

"Yeah sure," I said. "You ok?"

"Yeah why wouldn't I be?" he replied in a nonchalent manner. I rolled my eyes. Trust Derek Patterson to act all tough.

"I'll see you in school Patterson," I sighed, getting out of the car. I walked to my front door without looking back, not until I heard him drive away.

I watched as his black BMV speed off into the night, shook my head, and unlocked the front door. Stan was still in front of the television. I'm guessing he hasn't moved from that position since I left the house.

"So how was the date with Prince William?" he grinned. I rolled my eyes at him and went upstairs.

I flopped on my bed and closed my eyes. I think I've had enough of Derek Patterson tonight. This was probably the most we've interacted since forever, and frankly it feels a little weird. I could do without speaking to him for a week or two. Hopefully I won't have any 'girlfriend' duties for that long.

"Carson!" Stan yelled from downstairs.

"What!" I screamed back.

"You've got a party to attend tomorrow," he replied. I groaned. The back to school party, how could I forget that I stupidly agreed to go.

"Urgh! Why'd you have to remind me you moron. How'd you even know about it anyway? You aren't going to be there are you?"

"No, Miranda called just now and told me to remind you. As if I'd go to a high school party. Those are lame," he laughed.

Great, Derek would probably be there. So much for avoiding him for a week or two.

A/N: Apologies for being MIA for a while. updates are slow because of uni exams. thanks much for all the great reviews! keep them coming!