And here is the epilogue !
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Derek was slouched in a corner of Smelly Nelly's, one arm lazily stretched across the back of the booth. He'd been sucking back iced cappuccinos all night and still felt like he was about to fall asleep from boredom. Derek dipped his head down to Casey's ear to whisper through gritted teeth, "How did I let you talk me into this?"
She patted his thigh under the table, "So I would agree to go to the Christmas party at Ralph's house with you."
"Are you guys talking about Ralph's Christmas party?" Emily enthused from across the table. "Oh Shel, I'm so glad you could be here for the party. This is going to be so much fun," she squealed.
Derek rolled his eyes and got a pinch from Casey. Emily and Sheldon had been feeding each other spoonfuls of a disgusting looking giant caramel sundae—their second disgusting caramel sundae—in between rattling on and on about how much they had missed each other.
Or, Emily and Casey would talk about school, chick-movies or clothes.
Oh, and meanwhile, Sheldon badgered him with completely obnoxious and intrusive question about his relationship with Casey:
"So, must be nice to live in the same house with your girlfriend—especially at night. Huh, Derek?"
"Do you still introduce each other as step-brother and step-sister? Hey the two of you don't still THINK of each other like that…or DO you?"
"Guess a lot of girls got really bummed your off the market, Derek. Is it hard for you to just sleep with one person now?"
"Hey, there's that Beth girl I walked in on you with in the boys locker room—she doesn't look very happy to see you…"
Derek straightened up in his seat and tugged on a lock of Casey's hair to make her turn towards him. "So maybe we should get going to the party?" He gave the melting sundae a grimace, "If you think that you're done here?"
Things were a lot less friendly with Sally since their night together. At first she had flirted with him even more openly—thinking they had shared some kind of "moment" together on her driveway. But it didn't take long before Sally saw that Casey was back, and that Derek was far from the vulnerable wreck he had been during those horrible three weeks. She didn't talk to him anymore unless it was about scheduling or the tables they were working.
When Sheldon had suggested that the four of them come here on their double-date from hell, he had thought he would be safe from running into her—it was her night off too. But now here she was, with Beth—perfect.
"What's the matter?" Casey was watching his expression with worry.
He shook his head and ran a hand down her back. "I'm just ready to go." He pressed his lips to her forehead. If it was him running into different people she had been with, he would be freaking out. He used to be puzzled by her complete absence of romantic jealousy but lately he was just grateful it was something she never seemed to experience.
At one point she had even tried to express guilt over what he had done with Sally.
"I have to get up." It was one of those rare days that everyone else in their bustling house was out doing their various different activities. They had spent a large portion of the time in bed together, of course. "I have to go to work."
Casey yawned and sighed. "I wish you didn't still have to work there."
He felt a twinge of the old regret for what had happened while she'd been gone and he had felt so abandoned and angry. "You want me to quit?" But hey, why should he be the one to quit? "You know, technically, I'm Sally's boss. I COULD just fire her…"
"What are you talking about? Poor Sally! You can't fire her after what we did!"
He sat up to look at her. "Case, are you nuts? What the hell did YOU ever do to her?"
"If I wouldn't have caved in to my mom and left…"
He smacked his forehead and dropped back to the mattress, exasperated.
"Anyway, it isn't the Sally part that I mind. It's just—you have the scholarship and everything now. So, the only reason you need money is to take me out—I feel bad…"
"If you want to start paying for all our dates…" he smirked up at her. She narrowed her eyes. "Guess not, then," he said. "Looks like I better go to work. Keep my girl in her Starbucks." He kissed her and got out of the bed.
"Isn't that Beth Anderson? She graduated two years ahead of us remember?" Emily must have thought she was whispering but all the sugar had made her hyper and loud. Beth and Sally both turned to look at their table.
Emily excitedly waved at them. But the two girls acted like they didn't notice anyone sitting there, except for Derek.
"Okay," Derek picked up the bill and started to dig in his jeans for some cash. "We don't want to get to Ralph's before all the beer is gone." He found a big enough bill and slapped it down on the table.
Oh fucking hell she's walking over here.
Derek stood up suddenly and pushed Casey behind him into the corner he'd occupied. He nodded at the approaching girl. "Hey, Beth. How are you doing?"
Beth looked him up and down like she was trying to find the perfect insult to shoot him down with. When she tried to crane her neck around to see Casey, Derek took a step to the side to block her.
Beth smiled then, nasty and knowing.
"You're Casey Macdonald, aren't you?" she said, still trying to crane her neck around Derek. He gritted his teeth. What the fuck did she think she was doing? He hadn't been an asshole about her trying to basically accuse him of rape. He'd kept his mouth shut about the whole thing, even after she had confessed and looked like a total idiot.
Casey stood up behind him. "Yeah?" she sounded completely confused as to why or how this girl could know her name.
Emily must have decided that was an ideal opening in the conversation—
"Oh my Gosh, Beth Anderson! I thought that was you." Beth had been in a league of popularity their sophomore year that Emily obviously considered celebrity-like. "Casey, remember Beth was homecoming queen the first year you came to London?"
Derek had Casey's hand and was starting to edge them out of the booth and towards the door.
"Wait," Beth grabbed hold of Casey's sleeve to stop them. Derek glared at where her hand held the fabric.
"What do you want, Beth?" His voice was harsh enough that the smile dropped off Emily's face. Sheldon slipped an arm around her and pulled her back from where Derek faced Beth.
Derek wasn't playing around any more. Whatever Beth wanted to say to Casey was going to be mean and petty. Casey doesn't deserve to deal with all the crap I did before we were together. He took hold of Beth's wrist and pressed a thumb hard into her tendons.
Casey gaped at him. "Derek, stop that!"
Beth let go of Casey's shirt. "Listen to me, Klutzilla," Suddenly, Beth was every inch the popular senior girl she had been, tossing her blond hair over one shoulder. "I don't know what you have going on that made Derek Venturi think he's in love with you, but I DO know all about guys like him. He's not going to stick around for long. Trust me, when everything is said and done, Derek will be on to the next girl and you'll be crying into your pillow like a good little nerd."
Casey looked absolutely shocked at the venom in the other girl. But, in another flash, she was as indignant and affronted as Derek had ever seen her get with him. "You don't know anything about me or us. And, I can tell by what you just said, that you don't know anything about Derek. Why don't you go and sit back down—before you embarrass yourself anymore?" While she was ranting back at the girl Casey had moved to stand between him and Beth.
It was a perfect imitation of the defensive posture he had used to guard her that first couple weeks they had been together.
Beth looked a little surprised that the nerdy sophomore, she remembered Casey as being, had such a hot streak in her. Derek smiled and looked down at the floor. Well, she wondered what Casey "had going on"… there was a little glimpse of it.
He pulled Casey out of the restaurant. Emily and Sheldon bounded behind them.
"Oh My God!" Emily wheezed out once they were down the sidewalk a bit. "That was totally intense! Derek, what did you ever do to Beth Anderson?"
Derek sighed and threw his arm around Casey. "Bad stuff, Em…" he glanced at Casey but she only looked back at him with affection in her eyes. "But that's all over now."
When they stopped at The Prince he unlocked the doors and then jogged around to open the door for Casey.
"Wow, Derek. You sure have changed since I moved…" Sheldon was saying, but Emily had pulled the car door shut so Derek couldn't hear the rest of it.
He stopped Casey from getting in the car and pressed his face into her hair and his lips against her ear. "Sheldon got that last part right. I have changed. You know that, right Case?" He had his arms around her tightly enough that she couldn't pull away from him. But she wasn't trying.
"Of course I do," she breathed to him. She turned in his arms so that her face was close to his, their lips touching. "I've known you for three years. I've lived in your house. I love the people you love. I've seen everything—I've known everything. That girl only knew what you showed her," Casey made a sad sigh then, "And you never showed enough."
Derek closed his eyes. His lips still barely against hers. "But now I have you." He could feel her lips move into a smile. He let his tongue glide against her bottom lip.
"Hurry it up you two!" Sheldon had the car door open again.
"Sheldon…" Emily giggled and reached across him to shut it.
Derek groaned and opened the door for Casey. "You're such a gentleman, Derek," she said but her compliment was teasing and sarcastic.
"Well, I know what a princess you always are…"
"I'm NOT a princess. You're just such a pig..."
"Oh right. And I'm the one that devoured that banana split inside…"
"I was starving! If you hadn't eaten way more than your share of pizza…"
Emily and Sheldon shared an eye roll. "I spoke too soon, Em," Sheldon said.
Emily plugged her ears laughing, "Yep, Shel, you did."
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