DISCLAIMER: I don't own Life With Derek, if I did we would all have a lot more Dasey! I also don't own the song "Gravity" by Sara Bareilles…though it is beautiful!
A.N.: Thank you all so much for the reviews on my first story, Almost Lover. It really made my day!! This could be considered a sequel to that, but it is not necessary to read that one first. I was planning on leaving Almost Lover a one-shot and unless I am struck by inspiration to continue that it will be stuck a one-shot. I'm sorry; I will try and outline some possible continuations of that! It will give me something to do in math class :)
It's been a month since she broke. Four weeks since her heart was shattered beyond repair. Thirty days since she felt anything more than empty and broken. Seven hundred and thirty hours since the love of her life told her she was nothing more than a prank (not to mention a prude).
Unfortunately for Casey, it has only been two hours since she had seen him last and as hard as she tried, Casey could not completely ignore Derek. They lived together, ate together, and went to school together. Casey could ignore Derek at school; she could even ignore him at the house by locking herself in her room. The one time Casey could not ignore him is when they were in front of her mom and his dad. If they noticed Casey ignoring Derek they were bound to question her; and she couldn't deal with that yet, if she ever will be able to.
Casey was, for a matter of fact, quite proud of herself. She didn't rise to Derek's constant baiting and attempts to goad her into an argument. On average, she said four sentences a day to him, all of which relate to somehow passing the vegetables or saying school was fine.
You hold me without touch.
You keep me without chains.
I never wanted anything so much than to drown in your love and not feel your rain.
Casey still didn't understand what happened and she resigned herself to not knowing. She didn't want to deal with Derek in any way, shape, or form. She was completely over him. She was; yep, no residual feelings here. Yet…she still found her breath catching when he walked out of the bathroom, wrapped in a towel, still wet from the shower. Her heart still fluttered when she saw him smile; her body still warmed when she heard him laugh at Edwin; and she still smiled softly when she saw him with Marti. Other than that, she was totally over him and the whole incident.
Set me free, leave me be. I don't want to fall another moment into your gravity.
Here I am and I stand so tall, just the way I'm supposed to be.
But you're on to me and all over me.
As much as she hated to admit it, she still cried sometimes at night…or in school. It hurt when she saw him flirt with other girls. It was so hard to see him with his friends, smiling and happy; looking like everything was perfect in his world. Before he revealed his true intentions, she would have sworn that he was acting. The flash of concern or pain she thought she saw in his eyes, must have been a trick of light. She thought she knew him. She was sadly mistaken. To see him so happy when she was so broken killed her even more.
When Casey woke up, she saw clothing hanging above her. Gingerly sitting up, she placed her hands against her aching side. Glancing around, she realized she was half in her closet. She had fallen asleep among the boxes and the shoes. Wondering why she had been sleeping in the closet, she stood. As she walked to her dresser, she remembered. Derek. He broke up with her last night; said she was nothing to him…just a prank.
"Please let it be a dream, just a horrible nightmare." Casey whispered while she looked at herself in the mirror. She duly noted the red and puffy eyes, pale skin, and hair that looked like she had pulled at it in desperation. She shook her head and made her way out the door and towards the bathroom
Before she could get to the closed door, it opened. Derek stood in the doorway with a towel wrapped loosely around his waist. As steam poured out from behind him, he looked at Casey.
Casey gave him a small smile and said "Good morning, Derek."
Derek's eyes widen for a split second before he smirked and shoved past her, while saying "Not if I have to see your ugly face, sis."
With that, Casey knew what happened last night wasn't a dream. It really happened. She ducked into the bathroom and took a quick shower, not sure if she was silent in her sobbing. She hoped she was; Derek did not need any more ammunition.
45 minutes later- At school.
Casey had arrived at school before Derek. Standing at her locker, she was looking frantically trying to remember where she had put a homework assignment. Suddenly, she slowed her hurried searching. She felt him before she saw him. He was right behind her, she heard him clear his throat. She turned around and had to look up to see him. He was closer than she thought. Their bodies were touching, neither one breathing. She gazed up at him; before she could say anything he pulled back.
"Nora noticed you left this on the table. She asked me to give it to you. Here." Derek said as he flipped a folder at her.
Casey released a breath she didn't remember holding. "Thanks, Derek. You didn't have to do that." She smiled and leaned in to kiss his cheek. Before she could, Derek flinched and jumped across the hallway.
"What the hell do you think you're doing, Casey? I wouldn't touch you with gloves and a pole; much less let you kiss me." Derek scathingly said. He shot her a venomous look and walked down the hall.
Casey hadn't really been thinking. She went to kiss him out of an instinctual habit. She shook her head. "I really need to pay attention to what I do around him. No more. It really is over." She wanted to cry; she needed to cry. But she wouldn't.
Casey had known Nora didn't send Derek with her homework. Nora wasn't home when Casey left; she was already at work. Casey also realized that Derek had printed the homework assignment out for her. She didn't have any ink, and she had asked him before the incident if he would print it out. He didn't have to bring it, but he did. The paper was still warm from the printer, so she knew he had printed it that morning. She didn't understand him at all.
As time continued to pass by, Casey knew she needed to forget about him. She had to get as far away from his as possible. It was too hard to be around him at home and at school. There was only so much a brokenhearted girl could take, and it seemed like Derek was not going to make it any easier on her. He was always coming up to her and asking her pointless questions. It seemed he was always looking for ways to touch her, whether it is on her arm or her back, wherever he could get his hands on her. It was getting to Casey. He was worming his way past her defenses; breaking down her walls of silence. Then, as if she was struck by lightening, the solution hit her. She leaned back against her locker with a slam. She broke into a full smile, the widest and brightest one she had since Derek broke up with her. She ran to Paul's office to see about gathering the necessary information to begin her plan.
I live here on my knees as I try to make you see that you're everything I think I need here on the ground.
But you're neither friend nor foe though I can't seem to let you go.
The one thing that I still know is that you're keeping me down
After school that day, she did her usual routine and rushed home and locked herself in her room. The only difference was, today she had a smile. As soon as she was done working on compiling all the information she needed and listing the things she needed to do, she was called down to dinner by Lizzie. Casey took a deep breath, gathered her materials, and went downstairs.
Everyone immediately knew something was different about Casey. She took her usually seat, across from Derek, yet today…today she looked happy. Everyone could tell Casey was excited about something. The only question was what could possibly get this girl, who had been sullen and quiet the past few weeks, to look this alive again? Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes sparkled with excitement.
"Casey, honey, you look happy. What is going on?" Nora asked her daughter, relieved because she was starting to worry about her odd behavior.
Casey inhaled and let out a short breath, mentally preparing herself. She looked around at her family. George and Nora looked genuinely interested in what she was going to reveal. Her sister Lizzie was smiling at her, excitedly, knowing that if her older sister was this excited, it was going to be a real shocker. Edwin and Marti were playing with their food; both were attempting to look like they didn't care what Casey was saying, but she could tell they were listening. Her eyes briefly settled on Derek, who was leaning back in his chair with his arms crossed over his chest. His eyes held a concerned look in them, while his face was schooled into a look of apathy. Before his eyes could catch hers, she looked back at her mom and George.
"Well, as you know, I take school very seriously-" Casey began, before she was interrupted by Derek.
"Yea, we know, Grubbie. Get on with it so we can eat. Some of us have lives, hard concept for someone like you to grasp, I know."
Casey eyes narrowed while she bit back "Derek, this, like every other aspect of my life, does not concern you. So just get to doing whatever you were doing before and leave me alone." Casey let out a breath and glared at him.
"As I was saying, Paul told me a while ago about this program that qualified high school students can do. A qualified high school student can take some classes over the summer, between their junior and senior year; if they pass these courses with high enough marks, they can forgo their senior year and go straight to university. When Paul first told me, I waved him off. I didn't want to give up my senior year. However, I reviewed the program list he gave me. If I take 3 courses this summer, I will have enough credits to do this program. Then once fall starts, I can go to the University of Toronto, where they will pay for all my books, classes, and rooming fees. What do you think?" Casey rushed out as fast as she could, looking at everyone but Derek.
Nora was startled. "So, let me get this straight…if you take 3 courses this summer, she can go to university a year early and have no tuition, books, or rooming fees?"
Casey grinned, "Yep, it's all completely paid for. We would only have to pay for getting me there. That's it. I can do the classes here, online, and then go to university in the fall. I have all the information right here, all I need from you is an answer." Casey looked from her mom to George.
George looked at Casey, "Why did you not want to do it before?"
Casey's breath caught and her eyes flicked at Derek, a look of panic adorned her face before she disciplined her features into a look of tranquility.
"There was one reason that I didn't consider it before, but it is not a factor now. It actually is the reason why I have decided I wanted to go. Looking back, I realized it was stupid of me to allow this reason to affect a life decision, much less let it into my life. Trust me, it won't happen again."
George nodded, "Well, Casey, I know what my answer is. I'm pretty sure I know your mother's as well, but let's all go around seeing what everyone thinks. I think it is a good move for your future, and if you want to do it, you can."
Nora agreed with George. "I can't believe it. My baby is all ready for university." Casey rolled her eyes at this and glanced at Lizzie.
Lizzie smiled, "I'll miss you so much Casey, but I am so proud of you!" Casey laughed and gave her sister a one-armed hug.
Marti clapped her hands. "Yay! Casey!" Casey could tell she didn't realize what was going on and that the 6 year old didn't really care. She trained her eyes on Edwin.
The youngster gave a smirk, so like that of his brother, and asked "Does this mean I get your room?" Casey smiled and told him as soon as she left, he could have it.
Everyone looked at Derek, except Casey. He had been very quiet through the whole discussion. Casey bit her bottom lip nervously. She didn't care what he said; or rather, she didn't want to care. She was going regardless if he said yes or no.
Derek looked at Casey. He knew she really wanted this. He also knew that he didn't want her to leave, and that she wanted him to ask her to stay. Derek continued to look at her, her eyes finally met his. They stared at each other, barely breathing.
Derek knew it was now or never. He could tell the girl of his dreams to leave, or he could ask her to stay. He knew she was taking this decision as a sign of whether she had meant anything to him at all. If he said stay, she would know she had meant something to him. If he said leave, she would know that what he said to her when they broke up was true. He loved her. He wanted her to be with him forever. He wanted her safe and happy. He knew what he had to do.
He looked at her. He watched as every passing second made hope build in her beautiful blue eyes.