Casey unfolded another box rubbing her nose on her sleeve. The room was looking barer and barer and it was making her eyes well over. She heard her door open and she quickly wiped her eyes before turning to look at the intruder.
"What are you doing here?" She said throwing more books into the box. Derek walked over to her desk and grabbed something.
"I thought I would help…" Casey ripped the book he had picked up out of his hands.
"Why so you can get me out of here faster?" Casey snapped. Derek was taken back for a split second but he knew he deserved it, he had been horrible to her.
"No, not at all! Look Case… I'm uh- I'm sorry. I am." She chucked something into the box and he heard a crack. Something broke but Casey didn't seem to care at the moment.
"Yea well me too." She bit her lip urging her to stop but she needed to get this out. She couldn't talk to Lizzie about it or her mom not now. "I hate this Derek. So much, I was getting used to this." She gestured her hands between them. "What went wrong with our parents? I was finally adjusted to this house, the school, living with you." Derek smirked lightly. Before walking past her to sit on her bed.
" I donno Case, probably the same thing that happened to Nora and Dennis and my mom and dad."
"But I don't want to leave." Casey broke down now. Tears were falling down her face. Her hands were shielding her eyes attempting to wipe away the tears.
"S-sorry… y-you d-don't d-do t-tears." She sputtered. Derek stood up and awkwardly put his arms around her shoulders. She was stunned but soon wrapped her hands around his waist.
Derek was surprised by his actions. Comforting Casey wasn't as hard as he always made it out to be. He could feel her body shaking with sobs, and his awkward hold on her became a tight hug.
Casey was surprised with how comforting Derek was being, and how comfortable she felt being held by him. She knew she was going to miss him. As much as she didn't want to admit it, she would. She had grown accustom to the morning and mealtime banter.
"Casey, hurry up!" Nora's voice screamed up the stairs. Casey backed away from Derek and his arms dropped absently to his side. He helped her dump the last of her stuff in the box all the while wondering why he felt so cold since he let go of Casey. he folded the box shut while Casey wiped her face free of lingering tears.
Following her down the stairs with the box, he could see Lizzie and Nora by the door. Gorge wasn't anywhere to be found, Marti was under the table and Edwin was standing by Derek's chair shuffling his feet. Nora hugged Edwin and so did Lizzie and Casey while Derek put the box in the back of the car.
"Marti, don't you want to say good bye?" Nora asked. Marti just stared at the three girls with a sad look on her tiny features. When Marti didn't move Nora turned to push the girls out the door.
"N- Mom?" a little voice stopped them in their tracks. Derek was frozen in the doorway looking back at his little sister.
"Are you leaving because of us like last time?" Marti's bottom lip started to tremble before Nora walked and pulled her into a hug.
"No sweet pea, you three are wonderful." Marti hugged Casey and Lizzie before her and Edwin watched Casey, Nora, Lizzie and Derek head down the driveway.
"Bye Derek." Nora said giving him a hug.
"Going to miss you bro."
"You too Lizard." Derek hugged Lizzie before her and Nora got into the car.
Casey and Derek stood there awkwardly staring at their feet. Biting her lip she looked back up at him.
"Bye Derek." Derek sighed and walked forward pulling Casey into a hug. It wasn't awkward this time. The hug was tight and Derek buried his face by her ear.
"Call me when you get settled." He whispered. Casey pulled back with a sad smile tugging at his lips.
"Wow, Derek Venturi, caring about me?" Derek rolled his eyes then smirked.
"Maybe, but if you tell anyone I will deny it." Casey laughed lightly before taking one last long look at her ex brother; before stomping into the car and slamming the door loudly.
"Always the drama queen…" Derek whispered before he went back into the house. Ed and Marti were sitting on the couch with a weird air about them.
"It's too quiet!" Marti screamed as Edwin nodded in agreement.
"Casey, come on. It wont be that bad." Casey's face flushed with anger.
"That's what you said when we moved here in the first place! I lost my home and my friends my room! and now you want me to do that again!" Nora sighed glancing in the rear view mirror at Lizzie who was silently looking out the window.
Casey, we are still living here, but on the other side of town. You can visit Emily on weekends. Casey scoffed and crossed her arms over her chest.
"Casey what can I do to make you attempt to move on." Casey waited a moment before turning to face her mother completely serious.
"I can think of a way."
5 WEEKS LATER (first day of school grade 12)
"So D we on for tonight?" Derek shook his head trying to concentrate on his friend.
"I'm sorry what?" Sam rolled his eyes.
"Dude, I thought you were over the whole McDonald's leaving thing." Sam said giving Derek a shove.
"I was, I mean I am. It's just the divorce was finalized today. Now it's really over. Nora and Liz, and Casey… they aren't a part of our lives anymore. I know I haven't heard from any of them since they left, but now it just seems real. Casey McDonald is-"
"Casey McDonald is what?" Derek's eyes widened perpetually as he whipped himself around to face Casey. She was smiling lightly and something blew up inside her and she threw her arms around his neck. He didn't hug her back. He just stood their eyes just as wide his face void of emotion for what seemed like hours. He placed his hands on her hips and pushed her back to look at her as if to make sure that it was really Casey.
"I can't believe it… What are you doing here?"
"I told mom that in order for me to be cooperative through the whole thing she would have to buy me a car. I told her if she was ruining my life again, she had to let me keep something. So I asked for a car so I could still come to school here and be with my friends. I drop Liz off at her school every morning from now on too. Hey Sam." Casey wrapped Sam in an equally tight hug and he lifted her off the ground. Derek felt weird all of the sudden but another voice popped him out of it.
"Casey!" Casey turned to see Emily running at her
"Emily! I'm sorry I didn't tell you, I wanted it to be a surprise."
"Well you surprised me." Emily grabbed onto her friend tightly.
Casey noticed Derek staring at her strangely as the bell rang.
"What does everyone have this semester?" Casey asked. Emily had Algebra, Bio, Lunch, Spare, and English. Sam had Computer science, P.E., Lunch, Spare, and Math 30. Casey looked at Derek's schedule. He had Life science, P.E., Lunch, English, and Spare, and Casey's was the same except Bio instead of P.E.
"You, are taking life science?" Casey eyed Derek as he shrugged.
"I thought it would be a bird course." Casey rolled her eyes as she started off towards the Life science room.
"Well then we better get going." Casey said over her shoulder.
Casey sat in the back of the room and Derek sat beside her at the table. While they waited for the class to start Casey started to talk.
"I'm so happy I'm back." She stretched her arms up and over her head stretching and smiling widely.
"Why didn't you call me Casey?" her smile faltered and she straightened up.
"You said call you when I get settled. Today I got settled because I was coming here." Derek rolled his eyes.
"That's not what I meant when I said 'get settled' Case. Did you hear?"
"Hear what?" The look on Casey's face told Derek that she knew but was playing dumb. Casey was drumming her hands on the top of the table while Derek shook his head.
He leaned over to her ear and whispered.
"Were no longer sibs Case." Her hands froze for a moment before continuing in double time. Derek sighed and place his hand over hers stilling her movements. She stared at his hands as she set her jaw.
"Case just because you ignore what's going on doesn't mean it's not happening." The teacher walked in now and partnered everyone up who was sitting together in pairs.
"Know this person well, this will be your partner for every project. This course is to get you ready for life starting with moving out. This isn't a career and life management class. I am not teaching you how to write a resume, this class is to throw you into co-ed situations. If your partner is the same sex, suck it up. There will be five major projects dealing with the five stages that you will face in the future. The first being, moving out on your own. You will be moving in with your partner as either roomies or partners. You will have to make a model of your home some how, you must work out the price properly; so that includes mortgage, water, gas, electricity, food, appliances and furniture. The next project is marriage." Casey shifted in her seat. She couldn't explain why the fact she was partnered with Derek for this made her feel restless but it did. Derek watched Casey from the corner of his eyes. Her arms were tight and ridged as her hands fidgeted with anything they touched.
"You and your 'spouse' will have to work a new baby into the picture. On top of that, you will get a baby to take care of. This is a mechanical baby. It is programmed to cry a lot, and each time it is your job to figure out what it needs. This bottle has a special magnet in the nipple so that when it enters the baby's mouth the charge will check off the cry if that was what the baby needed. If a diaper needs to be changed you use this special diaper. There are two that will be alternated back and forth. They both have the magnet in it as well. The alternation of the 2 will insure that you are keeping your child's hygiene up. There is a microchip in the back that keeps a record of how long a child cries, and a log of how well you took care of it.
During this project we will be going on a field trip. There is a camp that we have used for years. You and your partner will share a room and you will be posing as newly weds. We need your parents to sign a confirmation letter that they are all right with your partner choice. If not, we will work something out. For those of you in co-ed pairs, do not think of this as a 'Honey moon' for you and your partner if any interaction that is not acceptable in these halls happens, you will be suspended. This trip starts on the 27th of December until the 13th of January some school will be missed but you will have the assignments and be expected to finish them in time to start school on the 13th. The completion of these assignments will be submitted to me daily. If they are finished you will gain credits. Think of the assignments as your job and credits act as cash.
The next is funding to send your child to collage. You will go through the process of choosing collages, and pricing for dorms. The last is retirement, you will work in a fund that you have and research the process of finding a pension plan."
The teacher, whose name, Mr. Tanner, was scrolled along the board, passed out the permission sheets before telling us to talk amongst ourselves.
"So Mrs. Venturi…looks like another McDonald girl who can't resist a Venturi boy." Derek laughed nervously.
"Yea and look how well that turned out last time…" Casey murmured, her eyes went distant and Derek could hear the double meaning in her words.