I Close My Eyes…

A/N: This is my new Life With Derek Story. Please let me know what you think of it! R&R, please:D

Jacki :)

Chapter One: D-Rock Winterfest

Sir John Sparrow Thompson High School was oddly quiet. All the halls were empty and the lights were off. So, when three young men walked through the halls, as quietly as they could, their steps seemed to echo loudly and sound as if there were many more than three of them. The young man in the middle was carrying a guitar case, the one to his left was also carrying a guitar case, but inside his was a bass guitar. The third young man, to the right of the first one, held drumsticks in his leather-gloved hands.

They walked slowly and quietly through the dark, empty halls, and were searching for the right door. The one in the middle ran a hand through his shaggy brown hair and sighed, he looked to his left, then to his right; he had no idea where he was at. All the halls looked the same when it was dark. The taller one switched his bass guitar to his other hand and pointed to the left, where there was a large door with no windows on it, like the other ones. The first man nodded his head and led the way. He switched his case into his other hand and held out his right hand in front of him, planning to turn the doorknob. His fingers were inches away when a voice made him immediately stop.

"Here a bit early, aren't you?" it was a young woman's voice and the first two guys recognized it immediately; the third was too busy playing a nonexistent beat on imaginary drums with his drumsticks.

The first one groaned, "Casey! What are you doing here?"

They heard footsteps as she walked closer to them, "I'm in charge of the whole thing, remember?" she said, a hint of annoyance in her voice.

"But why are you here so early?" the first one asked.

"Getting the stage ready for you guys!" she let out a sigh, "Seriously, I wonder how you got to be a senior."

"Just let us in there, Casey, we need to practice!"

"Whatever, Derek." She stepped in front of the three and opened the door, leading into the auditorium.

The three boys hurried in after her and ran up to the stage. The shortest of the three hurried over to the drums and touched his sticks gently on one of the cymbals. The taller one and Derek plugged up their guitars to their separate amps. Casey smiled and watched them set up, as she went over to turn the lights on. Derek set up the microphone and tested it quickly, before making sure his guitar was tuned correctly.

"Sam, can you play something real quick, your amp was being difficult last time." Casey asked the taller one with dirty blonde hair, politely.

He nodded and played what would be the chorus of their first song. Casey smiled and nodded as it sounded exactly as it should, "Perfect. Now Ralph, I need you to try out your snare drum, because, remember the last time? It didn't work the way it should have during the last practice."

The shortest one with spiky brown hair nodded and began to play a beat on his snare. After a few minutes he stopped and gave two thumbs up to Casey. She grinned and gave him a thumbs up in return. Derek set down his guitar and jumped off the stage, running over to Casey. His face looked serious, and Casey raised her eyebrows as he opened his mouth to speak.

"Hey, so is that talent scout coming today? For sure?" he asked, in an undertone, so Ralph and Sam wouldn't here him.

Casey smiled, "You mean Christopher O'Neil, from O'Neil records? Yeah, he's coming. That's the whole reason I set this up. Don't you remember?"

"I thought it was just so you could order me around and get all the credit without having to sing or dance." Derek laughed as she made a face, "Thanks, Case."

Casey smiled, "Don't thank me; just show me how good D-Rock can really be." She pushed him back up to the stage.

He grinned and jumped back up onto the platform. He grabbed his guitair and stood in front of the microphone. He looked over at Sam and then Ralph and nodded, "We're gonna run 'The Little Things' first, then see how it goes from there, alright?" The other two nodded.

Ralph counted them down as he hit his drumsticks together, "1, 2, 3, 4!"

All at the same time, the three guys started playing their instruments all in tune to a very interesting sounding beat. Derek took a deep breath and then opened his mouth and began to sing into the mic.

"You talk too fast, you shop too much

You're clothes are name brands,

And you're hair's been dyed about twenty times.

You talk gossip 24/7, and you think you're miss matchmaker.

You think doing all the things you do, will impress that guy,

When really he doesn't give a care

Those are girl worries and problems, to guys they don't matter.

It's the little things that make us smile.

Like the way your eyes light up,

The way your hand fits in ours,

The way you seem to fit in the crook of our arms.

It's the little things that make it all worth while.

Casey smiled serenely and swayed along to the beat, listening to the words of the song. A year of taking voice lessons secretly had really paid off. Derek could now be the lead singer of D-Rock, and Casey had to say, his voice was pretty impressive. She adored the song lyrics. She wasn't sure which one of the three had written this one. Of course, she had a pretty good idea that it wasn't Ralph, the last song he had written for the band, had pretty much consisted of four words repeated over and over: Rock and roll babes! Casey snorted; no, this song had definitely not come from that mind.

She watched Sam as he played, his eyes focused on his hands and his body moving to the beat of the song. Then she turned to Derek, who was closing his eyes as he sang the words and played his guitair. He seemed so into the words, and Casey highly doubted that he would be able to get so into a song that Sam had written, especially one that had sentimental value behind it. Derek must have written it. But, it seemed so unlike him. Well, not really, over the past year, he had really matured and had seemed much more willing to let people see the real him. He and Casey didn't fight quite as much, but they still had a friendly argument every now and then to keep things fun.

Truth be told, they rarely ever saw each other. Derek was always practicing with D-Rock and Casey was either over at Emily's, shopping or just hanging out, or practicing her dance with Lucy. They were rarely ever at the house at the same time, and when they were, they were in their separate rooms, doing their own things. Casey was busy studying most of the time, because being a senior; she was trying to do better than ever. Derek was even doing better at school.

Casey shook her head and looked at the clipboard she held in her hands. It has a list of the things she needed to do before the crowd came. She looked at the first item, and realized she had already done it: Make sure D-Rock gets here on time. She checked it off and looked at the one below it: Set chairs up, so people can sit if they prefer. She set her clipboard down on a nearby table and went searching for chairs, as the familiar tune of 'She said it was over…' filled her ears. She grinned as she remembered that day two years ago when she and Derek had danced up on stage to the song. That had been fun, one of the good times when they had gotten along.

She set up the chairs in ten aisles and took a step back, making sure it looked alright. She nodded and then glanced up at the band once more, Derek was screaming into the mic, his face screwed up and his eyes still closed, his hands seemed to be flying over the guitar strings. Sam was dancing around with his guitar and Casey bit back a giggle; he looked so funny. She hurried over and grabbed her clipboard again and looked at the next thing she had written: Make sure Mr. O'Neil's seat is reserved. Casey unclipped the papers and pulled the bottom sheet away from the others. She then re-clipped the papers and set the board back down. She hurried to the storage closet to find some tape and put two pieces on the back of the sheet of paper she was holding.

She then ran to the front of all the chairs and picked the one right in the middle and taped the paper to the front of it. Reserved for Christopher O'Neil. Casey had typed it up last night and had laminated that morning in the library right before she had met up with the boys. She smiled down at it and hurried back to her list. The nest item was to call Emily and make sure she was bringing the tickets and the safe to keep the money from the tickets in. She pulled out her pink cell phone and quickly dialed her best friend's number, slipping out the door to escape the loud music.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Em!"

"Casey… it's nine-thirty in the morning on a Saturday! What do you want?"

Casey sighed, "Em, do you not remember the D-Rock concert?"

Emily's voice perked up, "Oh yeah! That's today! I got the tickets and the safe right here! I'll be there in a bit!"

Casey grinned as she hung up the phone and walked back into the room, just as the boys were finishing their third song, "Alright, guys, take a break. You need to have all your energy and voice to play the concert today, and you thirty minutes until it starts." Casey said, looking at her watch, surprised at how fast an hour had gone by. She picked up her clipboard and tore off the first sheet, done with all the preparations. She crumpled it up and threw it in the closest trash can. Derek hurried over to her, stuffing his hands into his red jacket.

"So how did you like that first song?" he asked, not making direct eye contact with her.

She smiled up at him, "It was amazing. I really liked it. Who wrote it?"

Derek cleared his throat, "I did, actually."

"I thought so. It was really good. It has to be one of my favorites of D-Rock's songs."

Derek smiled in return, "Thanks, Casey. And, um, thanks for hooking us up with this O'Neil guy. It could really be our big break if he likes us!"

Casey nodded, "So you guys better do good, because if you screw this up, I'm not sure I'll be able to do this again." She laughed, and he chuckled with her.

Sam and Ralph were looking for a water fountain, and Derek and Casey were now left alone in an awkward silence. It was the first time they had been alone in a long time. Derek shuffled his feet and looked up at her.

"Casey, have you thought about where you're going after graduation?" he asked.

Casey was taken aback by his sudden interest in her college life, "I'm not sure, I've had a few offers, but I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do at the moment. It's a big decision. What are you doing?"

"I'm not sure. I mean, one school year of good grades is not going to get me a scholarship, and I've stopped playing hockey, so I can't get a scholarship off that either. I have very limited options at the moment."

"And that's why you're so anxious about this O'Neil guy coming. If you get a record deal and become famous, you won't have to worry about college."

"Something like that." He smiled, but just then, the door burst open and Sam, Ralph, and Emily all burst in, panting, as if they had just been pushed around by a large crowd, a lot of noise coming from the open door.

"D-Rock, get backstage, people are lining up, and I'm about to start letting them in!" Emily cried as she shut the door, muffling the noise.

Casey ran over to Emily at the door as Derek, Sam, and Ralph ran up to the stage and went backstage. Casey gave her best friend a quick hug before dragging a table and two chairs over. Emily dropped into one of them and set up her ticket selling station. Casey stood by the door, getting ready to open it. Emily nodded and Casey took a deep breath. She threw open the door and smiled at the eager crowd, waiting impatiently in front of the door.

"Welcome, to the D-Rock Winterfest Concert! Please stay in a single file line, and buy your tickets at the table right as you walk in! Enjoy!" Casey called, and then backed away to let all the fans in.

Casey glanced up to the stage to see Derek peering anxiously from behind the curtain. She gave him a smile and a quick thumbs up, and he grinned brightly and quickly hid behind the curtains once more.