Almost Lover

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Life With Derek. I dream about Michael Seater though! I also don't own the song "Almost Lover" by A Fine Frenzy.

WARNING: This is my first fanfiction, just so you know :).

I just wanted to make some observations here, for the purpose of this story Derek's mom died a few years ago. Also, Casey is not dating Sam, they have already broken up.

I know that this is unrealistic, especially towards the end…but it is my first try :)

Casey P.O.V.

Your fingertips across my skin
The palm trees swaying in the wind
You sang me Spanish lullabies
The sweetest sadness in your eyes
Clever trick

Casey knew it was too good to be true. She knew that something so sweet and tempting was an illusion that would eventually fade; she just wished it hadn't faded so fast.

Well, I never want to see you unhappy
I thought you'd want the same for me

She was sitting in her room, organizing it even more than it already was. Casey knew that she was not making any progress, after all how could one organize and perfect perfection? Her cds were alphabetized in their holders, her photos were arranged and separated accordingly, and her desk was the ideal picture of an obsessive compulsive.

Casey was furiously going through boxes in her closet, trying to hold back tears as she placed certain items into a box that was soon to be filled.

"I thought he was different. I thought I was different. I thought I meant something to him. I was so wrong." Casey said as she was still placing items in a box. Her hand stalled as she picked up one item, a photo…of the two of them together. She remembered that day so vividly it hurt.

We walked along a crowded street
You took my hand and danced with me
And when you left, you kissed my lips
You told me you would never, ever forget
These images


Casey and Derek were walking along the crowded street, trying to get to the coffee shop they were meeting Sam and Emily at.

"Come on, Casey! I know you're worried if you go to fast Klutzilla will reappear, but if we don't get to the shop in 2 minutes, then we will never make it to the movie on time. I don't want to miss the previews because I can always find a hot girl to spend, ahem, quality time with." Derek said, laughing and not being able to hold back a smirk by the end of the statement.

Casey narrowed her eyes at Derek, not at all shocked at his statement. "I am going as fast as I can, Derek. It's so crowded and I don't want to get separated. Why did you pick what is known as the busiest day in the summer season to go to the mall? Do you have no sense-" Casey wanted to say more, but Derek stopped in front of her and she rammed into him.

"What? Why did you stop? What is wrong with you?" Casey asked annoyed, yet she was concerned.

Derek just grabbed her hand and pulled her towards a break in the crowd. Casey looked around and noticed a small group of street performers playing a rather slow song. Casey looked around, not understanding why Derek pulled her over there, or why his face had softened considerably. Before she could ask, Derek pulled her to him and began to dance with her.

Casey did not know what was going on. One moment they were arguing, trying to make their way through the crowd and the next moment Derek was dancing with her. Before she could ask him, he whispered in her ear, "When I was little, whenever my mom and I would pass by a group of street performers we would always dance. We did it up to the day before she died. I was 13 and we were out running errands, she was supposed to drop me off at hockey practice, but we were running late. We saw a performance going on and she went to walk over there. She called for me to follow but I didn't want to. I was angry that she didn't immediately drop me off. I told her it was stupid to dance and that I was grown up and I didn't want to. I didn't really mean it. I was just angry. The look she got on her face made me feel horrible, but before I could take it back she was walking off back towards the car. She didn't say anything to me the entire ride to the rink. She dropped me off and went home. By the time I got on the ice, I forgot all about it. The next day, when I got home from school, Dad told me that she was in an accident. All I could think is that I should have danced with her…"

Casey could not believe it. Derek was showing some emotion and he was showing it to her. She could feel it in the way he was holding on to her as they swayed; how his hands tightened over her own. She could hear it in the way his voice trembled as he whispered this to her. She pulled her head back a little, so she could look into his face. His eyes were swimming in tears that she knew he would not shed in front of her. He must have seen something in her eyes, because the next thing she knew he kissed her. He poured so much into that kiss; guilt for what he did, pain for losing his mom, and something else Casey could not identify. Casey kissed him back, emotion for emotion. She tried to convey that it wasn't his fault, that it was a mistake, and that she knew he felt guilty, but he shouldn't. Derek pulled back and looked at her, shock was written on his face and Casey was sure that it mirrored her own.

Before she could say anything, Derek gave her a half smile and said "I've never told anyone that before. Thank you, Casey. I'll never forget that." Casey didn't know how to respond; however, she was thankfully prevented when a little girl with bright red hair walked up to the two of them.

"Hello! You don't know me, obviously, but I saw you two dancing and I thought you looked so cute so I took a picture of you with this Polaroid camera my mommy got me for my birthday. So I thought I should give it to you! You guys make such a cute couple, I think you will be together for a long time!" With that said, she handed Derek the photograph and skipped off to her mom.

Casey and Derek looked at the photo. It was a moment before Derek told his story. They were standing against each other, hands entwined and looking into each others eyes.

Derek smirked and handed Casey the photo, which she slipped into her purse. He held out his hand for Casey to grab. She did. With their fingers intertwined they headed off towards the coffee shop; neither caring to rush anymore.


Casey couldn't keep the tears from falling now. She tossed the picture into the box and she began to recall all the wonderful (and even the not so wonderful) moments with Derek.She thought they would last, after all they were together for 4 months which was a record for Derek.

Well, I'd never want to see you unhappy
I thought you'd want the same for me

Goodbye, my almost lover
Goodbye, my hopeless dream
I'm trying not to think about you
Can't you just let me be?
So long, my luckless romance
My back is turned on you
Should've known you'd bring me heartache
Almost lovers always do

She didn't know what went wrong. They were doing so well, going strong. Every thing was great, or so it seemed. No one knew they were dating. They decided to avoid all the backlash they were sure would come. While sneaking around wasn't her favorite part, Casey did it. She was in love with Derek Venturi. She knew it. She embraced it. He knew her. He understood her. She knew that he wasn't perfect, but Casey loved him for his imperfections.

I cannot go to the ocean
I cannot drive the streets at night
I cannot wake up in the morning
Without you on my mind
So you're gone and I'm haunted
And I bet you are just fine

He was constantly on her mind. She was actually surprised her family hasn't noticed anything. She and Derek still fought, but it way more friendly and passionate. The secret smirks, smiles, and glances happened too frequently to be a coincidence. Did they not see how they looked at each other? Did they not realize something was going on when the two of them were found breathing heavily, with mussed up hair and wrinkled clothes?

For 4 months, Casey was living life and loving it. She was living a dream, until today. She had been sitting in her room doing homework. Her music was playing softly in the background. She was working on a particularly easy chemistry assignment when she heard her door open. She looked up and smiled. It was him.

"Hey you" she said, looking up at him.

When he stayed against the door instead of walking over to give her a kiss, she frowned a little. She stood and walked over to him. She went to give him a peck on the lips, but he turned his head and her lips landed on his cheek. He put his hands on her shoulders and stepped past her. He walked to her bed, but didn't sit down.

"Ok. What's going on?" She asked, obviously puzzled and concerned.

Derek took a deep breath and looked around the room. Casey walked to him, sat down on the bed, and pulled him down next to her. She brushed some hair out of his face, and turned his head to look at her.

"What is wrong, Derek?"

Derek focused on the top of her head, so he wouldn't have to look her in the eyes.

"Casey, we need to talk. This thing between us," he said as he gestured to himself and her "was fun. But I think we need to end it. It obviously isn't going to go anywhere. It was just some harmless fun. It doesn't mean anything." He said all this without meeting her eyes and with no emotion in his voice.

She blanched and then narrowed her eyes angrily. "I don't believe you. You don't mean that. If you did then you would meet my eyes. You also would have some type of emotion in your voice instead of sounding like a pre-recorded message. So I'll ask you again, Venturi. What is going on?"

Derek looked Casey in the eyes and said, "Listen, Case. It's over. It was fun while it lasted. But I got as much from you as I could stomach. Now I don't even want to look at you, much less touch you. In fact, all of this was just a prank that I thought up to unnerve you. I got a few kicks out of it, and now I have someone who is begging the Derek Venturi to give her a test ride. I don't need you and I certainly as hell don't want you."

With this, he shoved her hands of him and strode to the door and opened it. Before walking out he turned to her and sneered "Oh, and Case…from a concerned brother to his sister, you might want to be a little less of a cold hearted prude." He smirked and closed the door.

Casey sat there, stunned. She heard his door slam and his music flick on loudly.

Did I make it that
Easy to walk right in and out
Of my life?

Goodbye, my almost lover
Goodbye, my hopeless dream
I'm trying not to think about you
Can't you just let me be?

So long, my luckless romance
My back is turned on you
Should've known you'd bring me heartache
Almost lovers always do

Tears streamed down her face as she racked her mind trying to decipher what happened. She felt her heart shatter inside. It hurt so much. She drew her knees up to her chest and sobbed. She cried for everything she lost. She lay there for an hour before she could not conjure up any more tears. She went back to her homework and finished it all. After she did all the homework she had, she began to clean and organize. She had to keep busy. She opened her closet and took down boxes. She emptied one and began to put any and all reminders of Derek and their relationship into it. As she worked she swore to herself that she would never forgive Derek. She would never let him close to her again. He was dead to her. She should have known he would only hurt her. He will never get the chance again.

Derek P.O.V.

Before walking out he turned to her and sneered "Oh, and Case…from a concerned brother to his sister, you might want to be a little less of a cold hearted prude." He smirked and closed the door.

Smirk in place, he strode to his room and shut the door. Grabbing the remote he flicked on the stereo to some rock music he knew would annoy Casey.

Casey. With the door shut and locked and the music on, he sank to the floor with his head and back against the door. Thinking back to the way she looked, tears filled his eyes. He broke her and he knew it. She would never talk to him again. He hurt the one amazing thing in his life. He caused her so much pain.

He scooted over to their adjoining wall and placed his ear upon it. He heard her sobbing. He wished he could go hold her and make it all go away. He loved her. He always had and he knew he always would. He never wanted to hurt her. The only reason he did it was because someone found out. Someone saw them go into the janitor's closet at school and then realized that neither Casey nor Derek had been on any dates for 4 months. So this person decided to blackmail Derek. Derek received threats saying if he didn't break up with Casey then their parents and the whole school would know. While that wasn't really what Derek wanted, he knew he and Casey could deal with it, so he did nothing. However, doing nothing could not last once he received threats on Casey's life and his family's life. He realized this person was serious and as much as he didn't want to break up with Casey, he knew if he tried to talk to her about this, she would freak out. He loved her, but wanted to keep her safe. So he broke it off with her; he broke it off in a way that he knew would make it so she would never want to be with him again.

He sighed and whispered, "I love you, Casey."

He reached for his phone and dialed the number that had called him so often recently.

"Max…it's done."