Disclaimer: Not mine. At all.
It had just been a laundry mistake at first. Some how one of Derek's shirts had ended up in her laundry basket. Casey had been putting away her clothes by fabric content, as always, when she found it. She picked it up gingerly and was trying to think of something clever to say when she threw it at him, when she caught the scent of it. All her clothes smelled like a combination of her favorite vanilla perfume, hairspray, and the floral dryer sheets her mom always used. This shirt, this pink and gray striped polo, 100 cotton, smelled like long autumn nights of hayrides and cuddling by bonfires, of warm apple cider, and of bread baking, all at once.
Casey hadn't known one piece of clothing could evoke so many images, but somehow this one did and stopped her in her tracks. Holding it, she was forcefully reminded of the day last spring when she had been forced to wear one of Derek's t-shirts to school. She'd noticed a hint of this scent that day too, but she'd tried to tell herself it had something to do with his infamous leather jacket. She'd pushed the scent, and all thoughts of how safe she'd felt wearing that shirt out of her mind, and hadn't allowed herself to think of them since. Holding his shirt in her hands, she was overcome by a crazy, totally irrational thought, and before she could stop herself, she followed through on it, and shoved the shirt under her pillow.
The part of her that still had logic and self-respect, tried valiantly to argue that stuffing once of his favorite shirts under her pillow was a really good way to annoy him. After all, he'd stolen enough of her things, that he had it coming. There was no way, however to rationalize the fact that for the next two weeks, with the shirt in her bed, Casey got the best sleep of her life. She also had no way to explain away the fact that all her dreams in those weeks had been Derek-centric. Not that Derek centric dreams where a new thing, but it was defiantly worse now. So, Casey did her best to ignore her new sleep patterns.
But then one afternoon, Derek came down the stairs and into the kitchen,
"He Nora? I'm missing my gray and pink polo have you seen it?" he asked, sitting down on the chair next to Casey and stealing a cookie off her plate. She barely noticed, her stomach had just tied itself in about 200 little knots, and she let out a loud cough, and then blushed, hating herself for coughing. Nora raised her eyebrows, and then turned to Derek.
"I don't think so, but let me go check the dryer for you," She said.
"What's with you?" Derek asked, helping himself to another cookie. It was a fair question considering her coughing, freaked out expression and non-reaction to his cookie theft, "Get another A-?" he mocked, shoving her shoulder. She knew she had to respond soon, or he'd be suspicious, but she couldn't seem to make her mouth open.
"I don't see anything," Nora said, walking back into the kitchen, "maybe it got thrown in with someone else's stuff, did you try Edwin?" Nora asked.
"Yeah I went to his room first," Derek said, eyes still on Casey, staring at her intently, almost-knowingly.
"Don't worry Derek," Casey said, recovering her powers of speech, "I'm sure it's just on the floor of some bimbo's bedroom," she said.
"Casey-" Nora began, but Derek cut her off.
"Thank God," He said, smirking, "I was afraid you had a stroke or something," he said.
"And you'd care?" She shot back.
"Well you know, visiting you in the hospital would take up so much of my time," he said, throwing her own words from a few weeks ago back at her. She bit back a grin.
"Time that would otherwise be used for what? Harassing girls?" she asked.
"Hey," he said, "first of all, its not harassment if they enjoy it, and second of all, I'm offended, I'd also be playing hockey."
"Right, girls and sports. You're so well rounded Derek. I don't know how you do it, its amazing," she said.
"We can't all be little keener princesses like you," he replied.
"Guys give it a rest" Nora cut in, "I have designs to finish, can you go somewhere else and fight?" she asked.
"Sorry mom," Casey said, getting up from the table and heading to the stairs. Derek followed.
"Hey," he whispered into her ear as he slipped up along side her on the steps, "I'll trade you," he said.
"What?" she asked, ignoring the shivers his breath had made shoot up and down her spine.
"You have something of mine. I have something of yours so trade," he said.
"I-wait-what?" she sputtered. He laughed.
"Some advice Casey?" he said, "never play poker. You're so easy to read it's unbelievable."
"I don't know what you're talking about." she said stubbornly.
"Give it up," he said, slinging an arm over her shoulder "that's my favorite shirt, so go get it, and I'll go get what I have of yours-meet you in the hall." he said, tugging on a strand of her hair before disappearing into his room.
She walked to her room in a daze. She seriously considered locking the door and refusing to ever come out, but her curiosity got the better of her. So she reached under her pillow and pulled out Derek's pink and gray striped polo and then ventured into the hall.
When she saw him he was holding his leather jacket and grinning somewhat sheepishly.
"Um, that's yours." she said, puzzled.
"Yeah, but what's in it isn't," he said, reaching into a hidden inside pocket and pulling out a small object. He opened his hand, and she gasped.
"My charm? But I thought that was lost, I thought it broke off my bracelet? How?" she said staring at the tiny silver ballet shoes.
"It did. I found it. I was going to keep it for a few days just to bug you, and then give it back but-" He trailed off.
"You kept it in your jacket?" she asked eyes wide, too shocked to be angry, "like all the time?"
"Well yeah," he said shrugging, "I got used to having it there, it was-" he paused again.
"Bizarrely comforting?" she supplied, pulling his shirt out from behind her back.
"Something like that" he said, grinning, "So where'd you keep my shirt?" he asked casually.
"Um... under my pillow," she confessed, squirming uneasily and looking at the ground.
"So it was like I was in your bed?" he questioned smirking. "Nice."
"Pervert," she said, smacking him and grabbing her charm out of his hand. She shoved it into her pocket as he reclaimed his shirt, throwing it over his shoulder. "So um, are we going to... talk about this?" she asked.
"Do we need to?" he replied.
"Well, I mean, I, we, why?" she babbled.
"Why do you think?" he asked, smirking again and taking a step towards her.
"I don't know," she said, hating the way her pulse sped up as he leaned still further into her.
"Liar. Yes you do," he said.
"I-" she began than broke off, wishing she had decided to just stay in her room forever.
"Say it Casey," he said teasingly clearly enjoying her discomfort.
"I hate you," she snapped.
"No, you don't" he laughed, rolling his eyes.
"I know." she admitted, "When did that happen?" she asked.
"Its never not been happening." he said, taking another step towards her, "at least not on my end"
"What do you-? Oh." she said softly, his meaning sinking in.
"Yeah," he said, putting a hand on her shoulder.
"I really did try and hate you, you know," she said, "but you're just so, and you say these things, and you're just, and I can't, and you smell so-" she broke off from her ramble and caught one of his hands in her own.
"Very eloquent Case." he said, lacing their fingers, and then leaning into kiss her.
"Derek!" she said when she pulled away a minute later, face flushed and heart racing, "My mom is still in the kitchen- we can't-"
"Your room?" he suggested grinning, "Maybe if you're lucky I'll leave my shirt on your floor," he said.
"Derek," she said again rolling her eyes.
"Yes Casey?" he said teasingly.
"Don't push it," she said.