So I decided to start a chapter fic. It will be AU, as you could probably already get from the summary. Well, for most of it anyway. The characters may be a little bit OOC, more understandably when the circumstances of the situation change, but Ill try to keep them in character as much as possible. Updates should be fairly regular, because its summer, so Ill have more free time. Reviews are greatly appreciated, on what could be improved, or what you like about the story. Anyway, Ill shut up now. On with the fic :) Hope you enjoy.

Disclaimer: Nope. Sadly, I don't own any of it. :(

Chapter One: A Battle of Wits

If there was anyone who could ruin even the best of Casey's days, it was Derek Venturi. He knew just how to get under her skin and make her tick. He could take a perfect day, and turn it upside down. And unfortunatly for Casey, today was no exception.

"Stupid Derek and his stupid, idiotic schemes." she mumbled, taking off her sweater and tossing it onto the back of her computer chair. She turned and flung herself onto her bed, burying her face into the pillow. She could hear footsteps coming up the stairs, and she groaned. She knew that Lizzie had just seen her come flying into the house, upset, but she didn't want to deal with anyone right now. She didn't want Derek to have the satisfaction of hearing that she'd been complaining, that he'd gotten to her. But sure enough, two seconds later, there came a knock at her bedroom door and a persistant;

"Casey? Casey, you alright?"

'Go away.' she thought desperately. 'Please just go away and leave me alone.'

But of course, with her luck, no such thing happened. The door opened slowly Lizzie peered nervously into the room. She saw her older sister lying on the bed, facefirst, clearly upset. Lizzie closed the door behind her and crossed the room quietly, sitting on the edge of the bed next to her.

"Casey, you okay?" she asked, concerned. Casey turned over on her back .

"Oh yeah, I'm perfectly fine." she said sarcastically. "I'd be even better if Derek dropped dead, or moved away, or got drafted into the military, or-"

"Alright alright, I get the point." Lizzie interrupted, then paused before speaking again. "What did Derek do anyway?"

Casey gave a cold laugh.

"It's Derek. What hasn't he done?" she said with a roll of the eyes. Lizzie shot her a look as if to say 'be serious here' and Casey sighed. "Oh, you meant as in this time?"


"Oh, he's just ruining my life as usual." she said , trying to keep her voice calm. "Just taking one more thing thats mine and ripping it apart for his twisted pleasure."

"You know, I don't mean to sound rude, but that doesn't tell me a whole lot." her sister responded. "You're going to have to be a little more specific if you want me to-"

"Max, okay?" Casey finally snapped, her calm tone completely evaporating and being replaced by pure anger. "He practically ruined mine and Maxs' relationship."

"How? What did he do?"

"Well Max called for me earlier to let me know that he had to change our date tonight from seven to six, because he had to babysit his sister at eight or something, so he thought it would be best to leave a little bit earlier."

"Alright. So where does Derek come into all this?"

"Im getting there." Casey said. "So Max calls to tell me that and, not only does Derek lie and say that I'm not home, but he 'conveniently' forgot to pass along the message to me after Max was stupid enough to trust him with it in the first place."

"Maybe it was just an accident-" Lizzie tried to reason, but Casey would have no part in it.

"Derek's birth was an accident." she grumbled. "He did this purposely to get Max mad at me."

"How can you be sure about that?" Lizzie asked. "I mean, maybe he really did forget and you're just.. I don't know, jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst in Derek?"

"Please, Liz, you and I both know that Derek did this for his own twisted amusement." she said. "I mean, he knew I was home in the first place, I'd been arguing with him only five minutes before. And I came into the room right after he hung up the phone and asked who had called. He told me it was just some telemarketer. Based on that, I think its fair for me to 'assume the worst in Derek' , as you so kindly put it."

Lizzie was quiet for a moment. Based on what her sister had just said, it was pretty obvious that this had just been Derek being Derek, as usual. And she couldn't really blame Casey for being mad. She sighed. All that she could do now was be comforting, and a good little sister, and hope for the best. She placed a hand on her sisters shoulder.

"Casey, I'm sorry about Max." she said articulately. "But you know, Max probably won't stay mad at you for too long."

"Oh I think he will." Casey said with a bitter smile. ''Derek made sure of that. You see when Max called here at six fifteen wondering where I was, Derek told him that he didn't have a clue where I was. He said that he'd passed along the message from before, and that I'd left about twenty minutes ago, when he knew perfectly well I was up in my room getting ready, since, you know, I thought that the date was at seven o'clock."

"So what happened after that?"

"Well when I showed up at six forty five, Max was already gone." Casey explained. "So I called him on my cellphone to ask where he was. He said he'd gotten a bit fed up waiting for me for forty five minutes and asked me where I could possibly have gone the whole time since, you know, I'd left at five to six. He thought that the only possible solution was that I'd stopped to see someone else along the way."

"Did you tell him, that you didn't know the time had been switched?"

Casey snorted.

"Yeah, and then I was forced to endure five minutes of 'your stepbrother told me he passed along the message, so you had no excuse not to show up'. He wouldn't believe that Derek hadn't told me." Casey said sadly. "I really like him, Liz, and Derek just had to screw it all up. Just like he destroys every other relationship I get myself into. And I'm sick of it."

"Casey, thats just the way Derek is." Lizzie said. "I mean, me and Edwin get on each others nerves all the time too."

"But you and Edwin are fooling around, theres a difference." Casey tried to explain. "Edwin would never do anything to actually hurt your feelings. Apparantly, he doesn't take after his brother. Derek loves seeing me suffer."

"I'm sure he didn't mean for it to turn out like..this.."

Casey sighed. No matter how much she tried explaining herself to anyone, nobody would understand that hers and Derek's relationship was never just about 'annoying each other'. Not with Derek anyway. Their relationship was an ongoing battle, a struggle of wits and payback. And Derek never played fair. There were no limits to how far Derek would go to win one of their asinine little mind games. He'd win, regardless of whether or not anyones feelings were hurt in the process. If there was anything she hated about him, that had to be it. Despite how she couldn't stand him half the time, she couldn't see herself doing something to him that would actually hurt his feelings, not that anything really could. Derek was like a wall, strong, sturdy, and damn near impossible to tear down by any human means. He was rarely affected by anything she said to him, something that made it twenty times harder to even score a point on the revenge board.

All Casey knew was that, no matter how many times she explained it, nobody would understand that Derek just didn't care. He didn't care about anyones feelings but his own, and that was never going to change.

Like it? Or hate it? Either way, review and let me know what you thought, what can be improved, what was good, and so on :) There should be an update soon because I already had a bit of this done beforehand.