Author's Note: So I'm back with a new very long story. A Dasey of course. Although not a typical one i admitt. Its set at first almost 70 years into the future, but there will be lots of flashbacks. Possibly every other chapter. at least thats the thought at the moment. There will be some Lizwin too, down the road.
This is the kind of first chapter the leaves a lot of questions, at least i hope it does. Thats the idea anyway. I hope its not too confusing. I wasn't even sure about posting it, but I had some encouragement from two of my favorite people, so here it is. Enjoy.
Oh and its Marti's PoV.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Still.
April 18th 2073
Marti had depended on Derek her entire life. Her earliest memory was of the two them sitting on the floor in her room: she's sitting on his lap, and he's reading her a story. It was just a snap shot in her memory, but she knew that it was an accurate representation of the first few years of her life. When Marti was a toddler, their parents fought all the time, loudly and violently and at all hours. Derek was in grade school then, and he used to sneak into her room and distract her. They'd play games, or read stories, or he'd sing her songs so she wouldn't be scared by the fighting. Sometimes Edwin would come in too, but most of the time it was just Derek and Marti.
Then one day when she was four, their mother was just gone. Their father had locked himself in his room, and he wouldn't answer any of their questions. It had been Derek who called their grandmother, so they could eat dinner, and Derek who had insisted on tucking Marti in that night; reassuring her that he would never leave. Their father left his room the next day, and by the end of that week he had seemed almost like himself again. Their mother never did come fully back into their lives. The divorce was finalized when Mari was five, and afterwards she only saw her mother a few times a year. Derek and Edwin saw her less.
By the time her father remarried, Derek was the most important person in her life. He was the one who explained to her that three new people, all girls, would be coming to stay at their house. He was the one who told her that it would be good for her to have other girls in the house, and that she would like having sisters. Marti had wrinkled her nose up and said,
"I don't need sisters Smerek, I got you," he had laughed, ruffled her hair and said,
"And I'm not going anywhere; you'll always have me Smarti."
Now, almost seventy years later, he was still the most important person in her life. She sighed as she made the turn into the Blossom Grove Personal Care Home. It was a deceptively cheerful building, with its winding driveway and lush green campus filled with tree and flowers. Its bricks were a pretty rosy red, and each of it three floors had a large porch, decorated with flowers and streamers. Inside it was always brightly light with soft music playing, and the staff always greeted her affectionately. Yet every time Marti pulled onto the property she was overcome with a depression that didn't fade until hours after she'd driven away.
It was strange, Derek didn't seem unhappy here. In fact, in many ways he was the same old Derek, flirting with all the nurses and female residents, TV constantly tuned to sports of some kind, normally hockey. It just didn't seem right though, these places where for old people and despite all the decades that had passed and all the gray hairs that had grown, Marti just couldn't think of Derek or herself as old.
He was 82 now, and he'd been living here since his second stoke last spring. He still got around well, and the nurses always assured her he was doing well. It amazed her though, that ten years could make such a difference. It hadn't seemed like so large a gap since they were kids. At 72 Marti still worked part-time. She took yoga three days a week and art classes on Thursdays. She was active in Community Theater, dated frequently, and was still in perfect health. She still felt young most days, but Derek living here, with his thinning frame and persistent cough, sometimes looked like an old man, and it scared her.
She came as often as she could. She hated for him to be alone. Edwin came when he could manage, but his health wasn't much better than Derek's, and it was hard for him and his wife to travel. Besides, it had always been Derek and Marti. Sometimes she marveled at how alike they were. Neither of them had ever really settled down. Derek had never married and never had any children. He was a lifelong bachelor and player- dating several girls for long periods of time, but always unwilling to make that final commitment. She had married once, very young, too young, mostly as a way to escape, to attempt to avoid the mistakes of her brothers. She had two children, twin boys, but her marriage had lasted only five years. She'd been something of a serial dater ever since, men always found it difficult to keep up with her.
She found a parking space and grabbed her purse. Derek had called her early that morning. He said he had something he really needed her help with. Trying to shake the nagging feeling of depression she always had in this building, she walked through the front doors and signed herself in as a visitor. She rode the elevator up to three, Derek's floor, and stepped off; taking a deep breath to prepare herself for whatever it was he needed help with.
"Hi," Angie one of the nurses greeted her as she got off the elevator, "He's been waiting for you." she said, smiling. Derek was defiantly one of the staff's favorite patients. His charm hadn't faded over the years, if anything, it had increased.
"Hi," Marti said back, "how is he today?" she asked.
"Impatient," Angie said grinning affectionately, "He's been pacing, whatever he has to tell you, it must be really important to him."
"Ok, I won't keep him waiting any longer then," Marti said, giving a wave and heading down the familiar hall to Derek's room.
He was standing in front of his window when she got there.
"Derek?" she asked as she walked into his room. He spun around.
"Good. I'm glad you're here." he said walking over to his favorite chair and sitting down. Marti pulled out a desk chair and sat across from him.
"What's up?" she asked, "Angie said you've been pacing."
"She just likes to watch me," he said playfully.
"Well you are the one and only Derek Venturi," she said playing along.
"Someone has to be," he replied grinning.
"Seriously Derek, what's going on? I know you called me down here for a reason," Marti said.
"Yeah, I did," he said, "I've been doing a lot of thinking Smarti, and it occurred to me, that I'm old. So there are some things, that if I'm going to do them, I need to do them soon, before I die or get too senile," he said.
"Like a will?" Marti asked, puzzled. She was pretty sure Derek already had a will.
"No. I have one of those, and if I needed it changed, I have lawyers for that. No, I need you to help me with some more personal things. Some loose ends. Things I probably should have done a long time ago. If you can." He said.
"Of course," she said feeling curious.
"Good," he said, then paused and starred off, right above her head and said nothing for several minutes. She grimaced, she hated when his mind wandered away like this. She saw it as just one more sign he was old, and she didn't like it.
"Derek?" she prompted.
"You know," he said, still not looking at her and sounding far away, "She used to tell me, that statistically, it was more likely that I'd leave her all alone. Men die earlier than women she'd say. She used to joke that she'd be in a nursing home, yelling out my name for years after I was gone."
"Who did?" Marti asked feeling a little alarmed. She had no idea what Derek was talking about, or who he had ever been close enough with to have a conversation like that. His eyes snapped back to her.
"There are some things," he started then stopped, "things I never told you."
"What things?" she asked.
"I was engaged once," he said, smiling sadly.
"You… what?" she asked totally thrown by this information.
"I was engaged, I was in love, I was really happy." He said, shrugging.
"When were you engaged? Why didn't I ever know? And who where you engaged to?" Marti asked, still feeling stunned.
"Fifty-two years ago. Because very few people knew, it was all very secret, and," he paused, "Casey."
"Casey." Marti repeated slowly. She should have known.