Derrick is tall and has spiky dark brown hair. Emily notes that his "soft eyes" and "easy manner" makes him a very easy person to talk to.
Derrick is a bit of a mystery. While he hasn't spoken much of his background, he has faithfully listened to Emily's worries and fears while she was pregnant. The two met over the summer at Poseidon, a seafood restaurant in Philadelphia where they both worked. They became close friends quickly and Emily was relieved to have someone to rely on, especially since her sister Carolyn was being rather cold toward her. He is the only person at that time who knows her real identity; Emily had been using a false name to avoid media attention.
Derrick worked for Kenneth Clark and Gayle Riggs as a gardener on the weekends. During one of those weekends, he invites Emily over to talk and insists that his employers wouldn't mind. That is when Emily and Gayle meet for the first time. Later, Gayle asks Derrick to give her Emily's contact information. He complies and has no idea that the woman wants his friend's baby. He and Emily were supposed to meet two weeks before her C-section, but she never shows up. They never contact each other and he is left wondering what happened to her baby.
Several months later, the two run into each other in Old Hollis. Derrick is taking classes at Hollis College and he's pleasantly surprised to see his friend again. He's surprised to learn that Emily still hasn't told anyone about the baby. He also asks her what happened between her and Gayle, because he was at the receiving end of the woman's wrath. Derrick tells Emily that Gayle claimed she betrayed her and proceeded to start throwing things at him. Gayle apparently did not believe him when he told her that he had no idea what was going on. Their conversation is interrupted by Isaac Colbert and Emily quickly leaves Derrick without an explanation.