Author: Milly-It-Is PM
They really should have a guide book written on this: "How to Tell Really Embarrassing Stories to a Friend without Dying of Humiliation." Because her life wasn't exciting. Or romantic. It was messy and unplanned. It was them. And they'd just… happened.Rated: Fiction M - English - Casey M. & Derek V. - Chapters: 18 - Words: 58,352 - Reviews: 134 - Favs: 87 - Follows: 150 - Updated: 04-07-13 - Published: 04-15-12 - id: 8029455
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
What? More? On a Tuesday? I must have neglected my homework! (Because that's exactly what I did)
Thank you to all the beautiful people who have left me a little note (i.e. review) because those make my whole day!
Disclaimer: Yes, because neglecting homework means I miraculously am now able to own copyright information. Please...
Casey was early, of course. She turned the ignition off and sat back against the seat. Her seat belt was still in place across her chest, but she didn't reach to remove it. This was going to be awkward. And miserable. Miserably awkward. Dammit. She groaned and leaned her head against the steering wheel. The rain seemed to have picked up the pace since she left her house and was pounding against the top of the car. It would have been soothing had her car not smelled strangely of breakfast cereal. And had she not felt the impending doom looming over her head.
Maybe she was overreacting. Her husband had laughed, loudly, for a full minute when she'd told him. He'd asked her if she wanted Emily to know, first, to see how he was supposed to react, but when she'd nodded, his caution was gone. He told her to stop looking like someone had killed her puppy. She didn't have a puppy, but that wasn't the point. When she pointed that out to him, he said "suck it up and stop whining." Lovely. He was braver than she was; he didn't have to bare his soul and beg forgiveness in the middle of a crowded café. Whatever. Casey adjusted her hair, pulling her hood on again, and grabbed for her purse.
It wasn't particularly cold out, but Casey shook her shoulders as she stepped inside, watering the front mat as she wiped her feet. She placed an order at the front counter and grabbed a table facing the door. She was impatient already and tapped her fingers on the table top. It was sticky. Casey dug in her purse and pulled out antibacterial wipes and a stack of 3-by-5 cards. She sanitized the table and settled in.
She straightened her note cards and flipped through them once more. She had laid out four different possibilities, hoping that feeling slightly prepared would help her breathe. Six other cards outlined worst-case scenarios, escape routes, and emergency contact information. The other five were a bulleted list of things she wanted to remember to tell Emily. Because if Emily felt like Casey couldn't trust her enough, Casey might lose her oldest friend. The server brought over her tea and she thanked him before taking a long sip. She closed her eyes, swallowed, and sighed. Here we go, she told herself, cupping the mug in front of her. Her hand stole the heat from the ceramic.
If she thought about it, this really shouldn't be as big of a deal as everyone made it out to be. But, she also knew why it was a bigger deal than it should have been. It was difficult to fit the abnormal into the accepted categories. Which is why Casey fell into Emily's accepted "liar" category.
On Casey's second cup of tea, Emily came into the cafe. She shook water off of her umbrella and out of her curls before looking around for Casey. She waved, placed her order, and maneuvered her way to Casey's table.
"Sorry," she puffed, brushing her hair out of her eyes, "Steven and I went to brunch." She smiled broadly, hooked her purse around the back of her chair, and turned back to Casey. "And I got lost getting here."
"I did that for a while," Casey remembered. "Nothing was where I though it should be. Thank God for GPS." Emily nodded and gave Casey a once-over look.
"Note cards, Case?" she gestured to the pile under Casey's mug. "Really?" Casey shrugged, somewhat embarrassed.
"This is really hard for me, okay? Don't mock the cards."
Emily smirked and then folded her fingers together and propped her elbows up on the table. "Alright, missy," she said, cocking an eyebrow at Casey, "talk."
"Okay," Casey breathed.
"And don't skip the good parts."
"Right. Good parts." Emily moved her hands in a circle, motioning Casey to continue. "Well, first, I'm prefacing this with, 'I am so sorry we didn't tell you.' Because it just," Casey shook her head a little, searching for a word that didn't sound lame, "happened." That wasn't quite the word she'd wanted. Emily looked unconvinced. "And sometimes I don't think it's quite real. You know?"
"Like," Casey straightened, "when there is a great upset of information? Like when Pluto was dubbed a dwarf-planted instead of a real planet? Everyone in the science world went a little crazy?"
"Okay," Emily was trying unsuccessfully to keep up with Casey's train of thought. "You married a planet guy? Or got demoted to dwarf planet?" She took her coffee from the server standing next to the table. Emily was clearly not following.
"What? No, Em, that was an analogy."
"So, it's sometimes weird to think about, and I love to think about things. Just not this."
"Will you just tell me already? I know I know him because your face told me yesterday when I guessed. Who is it? Truman? That one guy from your ethics class? Who?"
Casey made a face. "Uglch, no. Em," she crossed her legs under the table and dropped her fingers to her lap, twisting them together. "Uhm. You knew him before I did."Emily looked confused.
"I met everyone in high school first, so that doesn't really help." Her eyes darted back and forth trying to remember who she'd met before Casey. Casey swallowed, waiting for it to hit Emily, hoping she didn't have to spell it out if Emily guessed wrong. Emily looked up at her expectantly, her eyebrows arched. Casey would have to think of better hints next time.
Casey swallowed and licked her lips. "Derek and I got married three years ago in March."
There. She said it. She told Emily and lived. Granted, she couldn't look at Emily when she said it and now Emily was looking at her with wide-open eyes. Kind of like a deer. And it was quiet. Where was the noise of the other eaters? Were her ears protesting her telling Emily?
"Oh, my God," Emily breathed. The noise in the room returned to the normal, comfortable buzz.
"Oh, my God," she repeated.
"Please don't freak out."
"Oh, my God." Emily blinked a couple of times. "Derek. Wow. Derek? Like Venturi, right?"A small smile started on her dazed expression. "Really? How the hell…?" She shook her head and ran a hand through her hair. "Woah. Derek got you to marry him before you were thirty?"
Casey was expecting a little more commotion than this. Yelling or throwing things. Something. Emily seemed more amused than anything else. "Yeah…"Casey hesitated a little in her answer.
"I think I need to lie down," Emily laughed.
"Well, the floor is really gross, but in my purse—"
"I am the worst best friend ever."
"What?" Casey definitely hadn't planned that phrase on any of her note cards. "No, you're not."
"Yeah, sweetie, I should have seen this coming."
"What? Why? That wasn't your job! We didn't even know until," Casey changed directions, "Plus I didn't tell you anything about—"
"Up until I started that job a year ago, I just went on and on about him," she looked up at Casey. "I am so sorry. I should have known."
"But you didn't, Em."
"I feel like a horrible person." Casey snorted.
"Join the club."
"How did that even happen? My parents think Derek might be dead in New York City somewhere."
"Your parents don't talk about him anymore." Casey closed her eyes.
"Jesus Christ." Emily rubbed at her eyes with her hand.
After a pause, she laughed and smiled up at Casey. "You must have really beautiful kids."
"What?" Casey sputtered, a startled expression on her face. She dabbed at the tea she had upset onto her sweater and coughed to clear her throat.
"Oh, come on, Case, I dated him," she grimaced and shook a little, "Anyone married to Derek Venturi for more than six hours has kids." Casey laughed, outright. Derek wasn't exactly shy or patient with things he wanted. Or things he felt entitled to. Or things he's excited about. Or anything really.
"It was a year, actually," Casey smirked, pulling out her phone. Emily snatched at it, cooing over the two small children playing in the grass on the front screen. The boy stood in the yard, next to a pair of adult legs, covered in mud and holding a stick. His smile took up most of his face. His sister didn't look so happy. She sat on the other side of Derek, one leg balancing her on the ground, the other held slightly above the tickly grass, confusion and discomfort contorting her features.
"They look just like him! Well, and you obviously. What are their names?"
"Conor, who turned two in February, and Anna, who turned one in December," Casey pointed
"Woah," Emily commented, handing the phone back to Casey, "he didn't waste any time." Casey snorted. "And you're a trooper!"
"Well, we already knew that bit." Casey nodded, rolling her eyes.
"My mom says they're called Irish twins," she told Emily, tucking her phone away. "Derek calls them a 'testament to his awesomeness.'"
Casey nodded, a tight, sarcastic smile etched in place. Emily could see the exact expression Casey wore when Derek presented his "testament."
"At least he's humble." Emily sipped at her cooling coffee. "So, Casey, what happened? Why couldn't you tell me? How did you guys, you know, become you guys? How is it that no one knows anything about you?"
"I'm sneaky?" Casey tried. Emily snorted, loudly. Casey was anything but sneaky. Even when she tried. "I dunno, it was kind of an accident." She took a deep breath. "Where to start," she mused, letting the air out all at once.
"Might I suggest the beginning?" Emily asked, blinking profusely at Casey. It would have been polite or sweet if Casey didn't know any better. "I'll be nice, I promise." Emily made an "x" over her heart with her index finger.
"Okay," Casey conceded, "This'll take a while, so, just," she held her hands out as if telling Emily to 'stay,' "sit tight." Casey tucked her bangs behind her ear and scooted her chair a little closer to the table. "Second year at Queens, I went out on the worst first date ever." Emily started to smile, and had to bite the inside of her bottom lip to keep from interrupting.
Ta da! Not much longer than the last two but... these moments just play in my head like a movie so I have to sloooow doooown and put the words in.
Let me know what you think (or about your worst first date ever); click that little blue link right here. :) I'll make yummy cookies!