A/N: This is the final chapter of ICME! Hope it was well worth the wait, and I thank you ALL for sticking with this story for so long, and I hope you guys enjoy!

R&R, please!

-Jaclyn :)

Chapter 17: On Tour… Together

After many months of waiting, the day of Casey's graduation had arrived. Derek, due to a lucky break in their concert schedule, was free to come home for the weekend and watch her walk across the stage. After Casey's surprise trip to go see him, they hadn't been able to visit each other, due to schoolwork on her part, and concerts on his. They were both looking forward to the weekend that they would finally be reunited once more.

Casey's bags were all packed, unknown to Nora and George, for she planned to join Derek on tour as soon as the weekend was over. That had been the deal; she graduates, he brings her with him. She was still trying to figure out how she was going to tell them, but she knew that she could go, no matter what they said. Lizzie and Edwin were doing all they could to help her get ready without alerting the rest of the house, and Casey was extremely grateful.

"Casey! Derek's home, come say hi!" Nora's voice called up the stairs, but it was not necessary; Casey was already at the top of the stairs as soon as she heard the door open.

What she wanted to do was race down the stairs and embrace Derek, for she had missed him and longed to hold him in her arms. But what she actually did was walk slowly down the stairs and smile at him, waving.

"Hey, D. Welcome home!" She grinned and winked at him as her mother turned her back on her to hug Derek.

Derek smirked at her over Nora's shoulder and hugged his step-mother briefly.

"So, where's the grub? I'm starving!" Derek announced, letting go of Nora and dropping his bags.

Casey and Edwin laughed, and Lizzie chuckled as Nora hurried into the kitchen, "Almost ready, Derek! George and I are making your favorite!"

Casey took this opportunity to motion to the stairs with her head. Derek immediately understood and grabbed his bags, "I'm gonna go make myself at home!" he called, and hurried up the stairs, Casey close behind him.

Lizzie and Edwin grinned and turned back to watch the T.V. Derek barely set his bags down on hid bed before Casey was in his room, shutting the door, and rushing to hold him. She hugged him tightly, and he wrapped his arms around her. He lifted her chin and leaned his head down toward hers to kiss her softly.

"Hi, Case." He grinned and kissed her forehead.

"Hey. I missed you."

"I would say that I missed you too, if it weren't such an understatement." She giggled and kissed him again.

"So, are you ready to bring me along with you?" she asked, eagerly looking up at him.

He let out a breath, "Case… about that. I don't know if it's gonna work out…"

Her face immediately fell, "But why not? There's plenty of room on the bus, and I can help with the roadie stuff, and I can even help somewhat pay for the hotel rooms…" she trailed off when she looked at Derek's face.

He was grinning, holding back laughter. She slapped his arm, "That is so not funny! I was upset! You have no idea how long I've waited for this!"

"Yes I do! I've been waiting, too, you remember?"

She nodded and plopped down onto his bed, beside his bags, "I just want this weekend to hurry up so I don't have to keep pretending to be your step-sister and I can be your girlfriend." She sighed.

He knelt down in front of her, "You are my girlfriend. No matter where we are, you always will be. We just can't act like it here, but you still are, got that?"

She nodded again, and pressed her forehead against his, "I love you."

"And I love you, now get out of my room!" he chuckled, and hugged her, "I gotta unpack, and I'm sure you have some graduation thing to do."

She grinned, kissed his cheek and left the room in a hurry, feeling his eyes on her as she did so.

Dinner that night was a loud affair. Marti was glad to have Derek back, and kept trying to tell him about all that he had missed while he was away. Lizzie and Edwin were having some sort of argument, whilst their feet were rubbing against each other's under the table. Nora and George were trying to get Derek to tell them all about living on the road as a rock star, and Derek was sending Casey glances every chance he could. Casey was the only one who kept quiet, but her leg was extended, and she was using her big toe to gently move up and down Derek's leg, making him shiver as he tried to hold three different conversations at once.

Soon, though, everyone got tired of having to yell over one another, and dispersed, leaving Derek and Casey alone at the table to finish eating. Derek waggled his eyebrows at her, and she giggled, looking around her before blowing him a kiss.

"McDonald, Casey!" the principal of Thompson High School called out.

Derek, Marti, Edwin, George, Lizzie and Nora all cheered loudly from the crowd! Derek watched proudly as Casey crossed the stage, only tripping over herself once, and took her diploma from the principal. She flashed her family and Derek a brilliant grin, before going back to sit beside Emily. Soon, the whole ceremony was over, and everyone began taking picture, signing yearbooks at the last minute, and saying tearful goodbyes.

Casey was in a tearful embrace with Emily when Derek finally managed to make his way over to her. He waited patiently as she said good-bye to her first friend at Thompson High, and slowly made her way over to him. Looking around to make sure none of their family could see, Derek gave her a quick, tight hug.

"Congratulations, graduate!" he smirked, pulling away, and taking her hand to lead her back to the family, "How does it feel to be done with high school forever?"

"Awesome! It's such a relief! You have no idea!"

Derek nodded, "I don't. My graduation was just a simple matter of me finishing schoolwork and getting a certificate of tutoring completion."

Her face fell but he smiled at her, "Don't worry, I am not jealous in the slightest. We both got what we wanted."

"Yeah, we did." She pulled him into a hug again, not caring if her parents saw, "We got each other."

Everything was ready. The rental car was packed with both Derek's and Casey's bags and the tank was full of gas. Nora and George, though confused, had accepted Casey's announcement that she would join Derek as he went back off to his tour. Edwin and Lizzie had surprised Derek and Casey with a brand new camera for their trips together, and Marti had made them both farewell cards.

After a few tearful farewells, and many group hugs, Derek opened the passenger door for Casey, and she climbed in, waving goodbye to her family. Derek hopped in the front seat and backed out of the driveway. They were on their way, ready to start their life together, away from their family.

Away from being step-siblings and toward being a couple.

Away from a dull and ordinary high school life and toward a life of music and stardom.

Toward a life full of each other and music and friendship and love and adventure.

On tour. Together.