Derek saw her the first time when he was seven.
He has sat in a train departing from San Francisco with his parents and his two sisters on their way to his aunt in Oregon. He had sat at the window, a place he had fought hard for. She had stood at the station, holding her own mother's hand, and she had looked right back at him.
It was as if a meteor has hit him. As if it had hit him right in the stomach and had forced out every bit of air he had in his lungs. His heart has started beating rapidly and heavily in his chest and he had clutched his big sister's hand until she had protested loudly about the pain.
And then, before he could do anything, the train departed. He had looked out of the window as long as he could, their eyes never leaving each other, right until the moment where the train was too far gone and he lost sight of her.
Derek has felt like crying in that moment. The moment when he realized that he would probably never see her again.
Her face and hair and everything was since then burned into his mind. Every day he thought about her, imagined how she would look like today, if she bound her hair together or if she let it fall down in soft brown waves. He wondered if she wore make up or if she preferred to go without, what kind of perfume she used or what kind of clothes she wore.
Derek was sure she would look lovely no matter what she did with her hair, with or without make up, no matter what kind of clothes she wore. It was a pity that he didn't know her name.
Only much later he understood what has happened to him back then in that train.
His parents had 'The Talk' with him. It was the most embarrassing day of his life.
His father – a human, not a werewolf – had told him about the bees and the birds (even if he had no idea why it was called that way), and his mother – a werewolf and the alpha of their family/pack – had told him about mating.
She has told him how it was the most overwhelming feeling in the world, as if your world crashed together and only left that certain person. She explained how wolves mated for life, and although not everyone found their mate, if you did, you were unable to love anyone that way ever again, and that the other person – werewolf or not – would feel the same way.
Derek hasn't told her that he has already found his mate when he was seven, but had no idea who she was and if he would ever see her again. He never told anybody.
In a way he pitied himself.
The next time he saw her was in the subway in Los Angeles fifteen years after their eyes have met for the first time when he drove home from university late that evening.
He had been inside for a few stations already, and felt bored. Every station looked the same, only the people were different.
It was pure coincidence that he had looked out the window in the exact same second when she raised her head from the book she was reading.
It felt like the first time. All his air left his lungs and he couldn't breathe, and for the first time since fifteen years Derek didn't feel as if something was missing.
Without thinking he sprinted to the already closing doors, ignoring the people in his way and their protests and insults. He slammed his fists against the glass of the door when it shut in his face. He pressed the stop-button, but the subway already departed.
His eyes flew to the place she had been, and when he locked eyes with her again he saw that she has jumped up from the bank she has been sitting on, her book completely forgotten, and run towards his train.
Everything Derek wanted to do was smash the windows, climb out and finally have her in his arms, finally got to know her name.
But before he could carry out his plan the subway already entered the tunnel.
Again he felt like crying.
Instead he jumped out the doors as soon as they were at the next station and ran. Up the stairs towards the surface and down the street into the general direction of her, circling the people who weren't fast enough to step out of his way.
All of his senses and instincts told him to hurry up, to go faster and faster, screamed at him that his mate was so close, so very close. He couldn't lose her. Not again.
His heart was hammering in his chest when he saw the entry of the station where she was, but from the run or from the prospect of having found her again he couldn't tell.
He practically jumped down the stairs, and he prayed that it wasn't too late already, that she was still sitting on that bank.
The station was vacated when he reached the bottom. There was no sight of her.
Derek wanted to break down. He wanted to curl into a ball and let frustration, sadness and anger consume him until nothing was left of him anymore, because that was far less painful than reality.
But then he picked up the sound of footsteps, and when he looked up a smile brighter than the sun erupted from on his face.
There she stood in front of him and there was nothing between them, nothing separating them. Her hair fell openly over her shoulders, her face only covered with the barest hint of makeup and her figure clad in a dark flowing dress, a bag slung over one shoulder.
She was the most beautiful thing Derek has ever seen.
But now that she stood in front of him he felt scared. He recalled what his mother has said about a mate, that they were as much bound by that ancient spell as werewolves, but what if not? What if this feeling he got wasn't the feeling of finding his mate? What if she already had a boyfriend, or was even married?
Her voice ripped him out of his doubts, the sound more wonderful than the play of a thousand bells.
"You've left me waiting," she accused, but there was a tease in her voice that took away the edge, but Derek could hear the little wave in her voice, revealing how emotional she was at this moment herself.
He has waited fifteen years for this moment, and apparently she did, too. There was no place for fear left.
He took a step forward, and then another and she did, too, until they met in the middle.
"I'm Derek," he said softly, captivated by her electric blue eyes.
"Jennifer," she replied, and Derek felt as if his whole world was pierced together after all this years he hadn't even known it was in shambles.
After fifteen years of waiting he finally knew her name.
Without wasting another second he grabbed Jennifer by her waist and pulled her against his own body before he lowered his head and captured her lips.
At first she didn't responded and tensed in his arms, and Derek feared that he had taken it too far too soon.
Just when he wanted to pull away again Jennifer wrapped her arms around his neck and returned his kiss with a sigh. Her whole body relaxed and melted against him.
Her lips were soft and warm. He could taste the balm she had put on them maybe half an hour ago while his mouth glided over hers. The wet smack of their lips parting and coming together again filled the air as well as their heavy breathing.
Derek wrapped his arms a little tighter around Jennifer, pulling her even closer. He didn't have the slightest intention of ever letting go again. His hands slid over her back, her waist and over her hip, her skin hot underneath the fabric of her dress.
When he let his tongue trace over Jennifer's lips, begging for entrance, she granted it, and both of them moaned when he invaded her mouth.
Derek felt her breath on his cheek where her nose was poking him, and he could taste it in her mouth. It was sweat and reminded him of apples and chocolate. He mapped out the inside of her mouth with his tongue, burning everything into his memory, right beside everything else he got to know about her.
He moaned when her tongue met his.
Both of them hot and wet, gliding against each other and sending an explosion of sensations through his entire body, from his hairline right to the tip of his toes.
Derek's head became dizzy from the lack of proper oxygen, and he pulled away after one (or was it two?) more kiss against Jennifer's plum red lips.
Panting they pulled away, but only an inch. He still shared air with her, and breathing in the air she had in her lung less than a second ago, tasting it when he breathed it in himself, was as if he was still kissing her.
When Derek opened his eyes he met again with Jennifer's electric-blue ones. Her cheeks were flushed and her pupils dilated. She caressed the nape of his neck, her fingers gliding through his short dark hair.
He could feel her heart beating rapidly in her chest where it was pressed against his own, and he could feel the heat that radiated off her body through her clothing. They were so close Derek couldn't even tell where one of them started and the other began.
Jennifer's hand came from the back of his neck around to cup his cheek, and Derek happily nuzzled his face into her palm. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath through his nose to take in her scent.
Derek never wanted to smell anything else ever again.
"Don't you want to ask me out for dinner?" he heard Jennifer ask playfully, and when he opened his eyes again she was smiling at him.
Derek couldn't stop the stupid grin smiling right back at her, and with a last lingering kiss against the palm of her hand he let go of her reluctantly. But Jennifer quickly grabbed one of his hands and entwined their finger with each other, and together they walked up the stairs to the surface.
Yes, Derek would never let her go again.