Casey stared straight ahead in the darkness at a spot on the ceiling directly above her, looking extremely aggravated. There was a thump against the other side of her wall, followed by a little giggle. She had half a mind to run into the next room and give them a piece of her mind, but decided to take the higher road and wait it out. After all, these things usually didn't go on for longer than twenty minutes. And she was right. Soon enough, there were some muffled cries accompanied by various moans and groans. Casey couldn't believe that nobody else could hear this, but had to admit that it was clever of him to take the bedroom all the way at the end of the hall, knowing Casey would take the next biggest one, the one next to his, and, even if she heard anything, she wouldn't do something as low as telling. Another bump hit the other side of the wall, followed by a drawn out moan. Casey could imagine her. There was no way of telling who exactly it would be this time, but she would be blond, probably a cheerleader, lying under him with eyes half closed and grabbing Casey's stepbrother as though for dear life. He would get quite a kick out of it too. Another bump against the wall, and then there was silence. But Casey knew better than to try to sleep now. Several minutes later, there was a giggle, then some stumbling around as whoever it was tried to put her clothes on in the dark (if she bothered taking them off, that is) and then some light thumps as she tried to make her way down the stairs without turning on any lights. Finally, there was the sound of an engine starting outside, then the sound of tires against smooth asphalt as she rolled out of sight. Disgusting. And this happened every night, sometimes more than once. That is, assuming Derek came home at all. Finally, there was silence. Casey rolled over onto her side, still cross, anger bubbling away inside her, pushing peaceful sleep away. Finally, she decided to go downstairs for a drink of water. She stepped out of her room and glanced casually at her brother's door. To her horror, it was open and Derek was sleeping in his boxers, his hair and sheets a mess, faint traces of pink lip gloss smeared all over his chin and around his mouth illuminated by the small light on his bedside table. Trying not to think about what just happened in that room, Casey turned around and ran downstairs.
The icy water ran down her throat. It was how she always drank it; cold water from the fridge filled up two thirds of the way in a tall clear glass with four ice cubes. She didn't need this. Not the day before her math and English finals. She'd studied until her brain was full to bursting, but the stress was eating away at her anyway. She needed sleep. It may have been only two days until graduation, but Casey was not about to fail anything, despite how little it would mean even if she did.
The next day
"Oh my god, Emily, you cannot be serious!" Casey said for the fourth time in the conversation as she dropped into the purple armchair in her room.
"I am so sorry, Case, you've got to believe me. But my dad called last minute and I barely ever see him. I can't miss this opportunity to bond with him." Emily said into the phone.
Casey sighed. She knew it was true. "Yeah, I know, Em, I totally understand. Besides, it's Greece. You'll have a great time."
"I just feel so bad I mean you planned out every last detail of this trip. All the reservations are for two people. Is there anyone else you can take?"
"I don't know." Casey said as she got back up and resumed pacing. "I don't want to go with anybody but you."
"I'm so sorry. I just couldn't pass this up. Of course I was totally looking forward to going with you and I was crushed that the only time my dad could go was in the month following graduation, but this is my dad. I barely even know him." Emily replied. Truth and pain seeped through her tone.
"No, I really do get it." Casey sighed and flung herself down onto her bed. "All the reservations are made. I have to find somebody. Maybe I could go with my mom…"
"Come on Casey this is your graduation trip. Don't spend it with your mom…how about…" She paused hesitantly. "Derek?"
Casey's eyes widened at the thought. "Are you serious? How could you even suggest that?!" Casey said in disbelief.
"Look, I know you guys' past and everything, but he was probably crushed after your parents refused to let him go anywhere. This could bring you guys closer."
"Emily, this was supposed to be fun. How would I enjoy it with him there?" Casey retorted.
"I'm sorry, Case, but I don't see what choice you have."
Casey knocked on Derek's door. She couldn't believe she was doing this. It took a minute, but finally the door opened a crack to reveal an extremely annoyed-looking Derek in his boxers and a white t-shirt. It was eleven o-clock in the morning and Derek was probably awoken only minutes ago by Casey's persistent knocking. Alcohol, late nights out, and sex can cause drowsiness after all. Casey wrinkled her nose upon inhaling a mixture of morning breath, body odor, and liquor.
"What. The. Fuck. Do you want?" He asked, scratching his head.
"God, Derek put some clothes on. I have to talk to you." Casey said, disgusted. She then shut the door between them and waited to hear the scratching of opening drawers or dirty laundry being turned right-side-out to be re-worn. Instead, all she heard was the creaking of bedsprings as Derek went back to bed.
She slammed her palm against the painted wood loudly. "Derek! Now!" She yelled.
It was several minutes before she heard any signs of movement, but finally the door opened fully to expose a sweatpants-and-t-shirt clad Derek, his hair still a mess and his eyes still full of sleep. His breath hadn't improved, either.
"Yesterday." Casey began as she took a big, reassuring breath. "Emily said she can't go on our trip across Europe."
"Boo-hoo." Derek said, smirking. "Get out."
"Let me finish." Casey continued, annoyed. "I was thinking" Here she took another deep breath, "you would go with me…?"
Derek sneered at her. "Look. Just because mom and dad canceled my trip to Cancun with people I actually like, doesn't mean I need your pity, or your stupid, museum-filled, planned-to-the-last-second trip."
Casey glared at him for several minutes, unable to believe that he would spurn her kindness like that.
"Ok," She finally mustered. "Listen. First, Europe is filled with some of the most beautiful museums that the world holds dear." Derek rolled his eyes but Casey continued as though she hadn't noticed. "Second, it had to be planned out or we wouldn't have anything to keep us on schedule, instead of getting lost somewhere in the middle of Spain!"
Derek tried to shut the door in her face but Casey slammed her palm onto it to stop him.
"Third," she continued "Europe is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world." Casey paused, as though summoning the strength to say the next few words. "With gorgeous girls, and there are plenty of topless beaches there, too." She felt disgusted for what she was saying.
Derek looked at her for several minutes as though thinking hard about something. "Well, I would go…ok, here's the thing. I'll come along on your little educational expedition, but I am not going to tag along to be your little museum buddy. I will go wherever I want, whenever I want. We will take flights and/or trains together and possibly sleep in the same hotel room once in a while. Otherwise, you stay out of my way, I stay out of yours.
"Derek, all the hotel rooms are for two people; you're not getting your own room."
Derek smirked at her stupidity. "I'll figure out what to do with myself at night, Case." He said. And with that, he slammed the door in her face again, this time having it close and lock before she could catch it.