Her life swirled into her dream. The foggy fishbowl type view seemed to magnify everything. It had been 2 months since he disappeared, and two hours since she found out that his disappearance was connected with her step dad's job. Two years ago, Gorge Venturi was part of a case. He paired up with a private investigator to gain evidence against a major gang called Fear crew. First the private investigator went missing, and soon after, Derek, my stepbrother.
She remembered that day perfectly. It was after school and she saw a crowed circle in the field to the left of the parking lot. Casey could hear shouting and common names above the voices. Derek and Max. Quickly she ran to the circle and pushed her way through. She saw the familiar leather jacket and jeans straddling a body. She could see Derek's arm raise and drop simultaneously.
"Derek? Derek! Derek stop!" Casey ran up behind him and wrapped her arms around his stilling his movements in mid swing. Once Casey knew Derek stopped she looked down.
Max was now propped up on his elbow wiping the blood off his face. Derek had a split lip and a bruise under his eye. Derek turned in Casey's arms, and as she stared down at Max stunned, he studied her face. It was confused and slightly freighted, and then he saw it, the coming of anger. His fingers wrapped around her arms pulling himself loose and pushing his way out of the circle. The crowd dissipated as Casey tended to Max her boyfriend.
Max told her that Derek pranked him and when he confronted Derek, Derek got angry and Max fought back in defence.
When she got home Derek was cleaned up and sitting in his recliner.
"I can't believe you!" she shouted at him throwing down her things.
"Nice to see you too Case."
"How dare you! Just when I thought you grew up you do this how dare you!"
"Casey calm down."
"Calm down? Calm down? I HATE it when people tell me to calm down, it makes me very tense!"
"Well suck it up princess cause you don't know what you're talking about." Derek stood up and headed for the stairs but Casey stepped in front of him their chests were almost touching. He shoved his hands into his pocket and stared at her waiting for her to finish her rant.
"First you prank him then beat him up when he tells you to leave him alone? You are such a self-cantered egotistical jackass. I loathe you. I despise you. I never thought that I could actually hate you but guess what I do I Ha-"
Derek stepped closer to her with his hand covering her mouth thumb down ward. Her back was now against the banister.
"Don't say it. Not in the heat of the moment. If you actually hate me you can say it just don't say it because you're pissed. Second, I can't believe you are listening to that meathead. Case I didn't prank him I confronted him about something. I lost my temper I admit, but it was with a valid reason." He let go of Casey and she scoffed crossing her arms over her chest.
"Give me one good reason why I should believe you, 'lord of the lies'? Huh?"
"I would think you would believe family." Casey chuckled with no humour.
"Your no family of mine." Derek's jaw tightened as he started into Casey's face. Her face was flushed like it usually was when they fought, but her eyes held malice. Malice that he never thought she was capable of. He bit his lip and stormed out of the house not even bothering to grab his jacket.
That was the last time she saw him. It clicked now, when he still hadn't come home the next day the phone rang and she answered it.
"Hello? Derek?" she heard a deep cocky laughter on the other line before a voice spoke up asking for Gorge.
Now as she was swirling in her dream, the pain she felt of that day disappeared as she felt the realization. Then man who laughed was a gang member, and he found his next target when he heard the worry in Casey's voice.
She walked through her dream to moments before they started. Gorge had come clean to everyone. Apparently no one knew about the phone calls from the gang members to Gorge, not even Nora. After he enlightened everyone to the situation, there was an awkward silence. Casey grabbed Derek's leather jacket, and left to walk through the park. For 2 months she had been beating herself up over what she had said to Derek. Since he disappeared, she stopped talking to people, stopped going out with Max, or Emily. Max and her never voiced their break-up they just stopped talking and everything.
Her thoughts had kept running back to the look on his face before he left. The Derek Venturi looked hurt. That memory had torn her apart. She had said horrible things to him and to be honest, she was disappointed in herself. He was right when he stopped her, what she said was out of anger. She didn't mean it and now she thought she would never get a chance to apologize to him.
She was on the swing by now swinging with her thoughts when suddenly the swing had stopped. She went to turn to see what had grabbed the chains when a hand and cloth flew over her nose and mouth.
She thought to herself that what she should to is hold her breath, and struggle, then pretend to pass out. But her body thought otherwise, she arched her back and the person pulled her backwards off the swing till he was cradling her on the ground. She clawed at the hand until her world grew fuzzy around the edges until she relived her past.
The fuzziness was wearing off her whole body felt numb and she couldn't move. She couldn't even tell if she still had limbs. There was a hum in her ears that grew louder until she heard a pop and then her ears were fine.
"I swear to God if she's not-" Casey heard a hollow bang and heard a grunt. She heard sputtering and coughing and someone dropped to the floor.
"You'll what? I thought you would have learned your place by now." She heard footsteps and a metal bang. The coughing slowly stopped and she heard noise, like some one crawling on cement. She felt her head go heavy and move up wards as she still heard the noise. Her head was lowered on something soft and she could feel pressure being put on her face. Someone was smoothing her hair back away from her face. Casey forced her eyes to slowly open. The room was dimly lit and cold. She could see the outline of a head as she struggled to focus her eyes. She started to move and the person helped her sit up.
"Case…" the voice breathed in relief as Casey stared into his eyes.
"Derek… Derek!" she exclaimed throwing her arms around his neck. He leaned back against the wall pulling Casey with him. She was on his lap now face buried into his chest as he bent his head so it was buried into her hair. She cried against him and he didn't care, he just held her until her tears ran dry into hiccups.
"I-I t-though I w-w-would never s-s-see you again…" Derek chuckled against her hair
"I didn't think you would care this much…" she looked up at him and he gulped regretting what he said. The hurt in her eyes now made him grimice. "Case… I-"
"No it's okay, your right, and I am so sorry I didn't mean it any of it, I just…" she didn't want to talk anymore. Derek understood that.
"Can you stand?" he asked her. She nodded and got off him. Derek wrapped a hand around his torso as he stood.
"Are you okay?" Casey asked him. She took in his appearance for the first time, his hair was matted and messy and there were dark patches that looked like dried blood. His face had bruises and there was blood splatters on his shirt and jeans his arms had bruises and cuts too.
"Oh God what have they done to you?" Casey asked stepping closer to him examining the injuries closer.
"Eh it's nothing, lets just say I'm not the most cooperative captive." He smirked his lopsided grin, which made Casey well with joy. He was still Derek despite it all.
"It's not nothing." Casey said as she gently pulled his hand away from his stomach with her eyes still on his. He let his hand drop to his side. She grabbed onto his shirt and pulled it up slowly. She dropped to her knees and saw all the bruises. On one side of his ribcage was a large red mark, like blood was pooling under the surface of his skin white was showing through and it looked like something was pressing in the middle of the pool. Casey grazed her finger around the red gently. Derek took a sharp intake of breath.
"Sorry." Casey whispered. Derek gulped, glad she mistook him. He wasn't getting used to the fact that it was her fingers… on his stomach. He shook his head and yanked down his shirt.
"It's nothing." He said taking a subtle step away.
"It's not nothing you could have a broken rib!"
"Casey we have other things to worry about. How did they get you? Why?" Derek moved to sit on the mattress that was in the corner of the dark room. It looked like a storage closet, a little bigger though. The only things in there were the mattress, a pillow and a blanket.
"I was at the park, Gorge told us what was really going on, we all needed time to think." She sat beside Derek and he turned to her with confused eyes.
"What do you mean what was really going on." She looked at him just as confused
"You don't know?" Casey found this a little hard to believe but the look on Derek's face made her think twice.
"I've been shut in here for two months Case. They weren't telling me anything not even why they took me, I haven't seen the sun, or heard music, I barley talk to them except for when they come in to batter me around a bit for not behaving."
"What's not behaving to them?"
"It changes from day to day. Some times I deserve it, some times I don't"
"Gorge was working on a case against the Fear Crew he put the leader in jail, and they want him out." Casey pointed to the door.
"And were the bargaining chips…" Derek finished. The door creaked open Derek squinted into the light. They could see an outline of a man and a pistol in his right hand.
"It's your lucky day, bathroom and shower Venturi." Casey could tell that Derek was hesitant in leaving her.
"Go Derek. I'll be fine I promise."
Derek nodded before getting up and going to the bathroom. The doors shut and Casey was left in darkness. The bathroom was right beside the room they were in. there was a rusty shower toilet and sink. Derek took off his shirt to examine his ribs. It wasn't broken, it was a fracture, the bump was just the swelling. He would have to be extra careful. If he got there again it would break.
The rule of the bathroom for once every 2 weeks was you had exactly 45 min to do what you needed. He showered quickly washing the dried blood down the drain. The guy who came to get him today had shouted that he had 3 minutes left. He went under the sink and grabbed the first aid kit grabbing all of his tenser bandages.
"Times up." He tossed Derek a grubby pair of pants and a t-shirt before shoving him back into the room. he was till in a towel and was rather embarrassed as Casey stared at his half naked body.
"Oh right sorry!" Casey turned quickly and her face was scarlet. Derek pulled on his pant's quickly.
"You can look now." He chuckled. Casey turned back around but kept her eyes averted. He was still bare-chested, and it made her feel a little strange.
"Can you help me?" she looked over at Derek as he held out two rolls of tenser bandages to her. She nodded to him and took the bandages. At first she was afraid that she would hurt his side and Derek sensed that.
"It's okay, it's just a fracture I'll be fine." Casey bit her lip and gave Derek an edge to hold onto his side. She stood in front of him and wrapped her arms around him.
"Okay now cross it over so that the rest piles on the other side with the fracture in between the two." she did as she was told and used the second bandage to wrap around the whole thing.
"Perfect." Casey looked up at Derek. He was staring at her with a strange expression.
"What?" she asked fidgeting slightly.
"Nothing, just, I never thought I would see you again. Does it make me a horrible person if I'm sort of glad you're here with me?" Casey chuckled and rolled her eyes at Derek.
"No you're not a horrible person. I wouldn't want to be alone here either." They smiled sadly at each other before the clatter of the door echoed. Two plates of what looked like pizza crust, leftover Kraft dinner, and a milk jug of water were put into the room and the door's closed again.
"For Fear they sure are hospitable." Casey mumbled before grabbing the plates and living one to Derek who sat down slowly on the bed. She brought the jug over too and sat beside him.
"Only as much as they need to be, bathrooms break in the morning, after lunch, and after dinner. Shower ever 2 weeks, and they give you a change of clothes then too, and then meals. There always leftovers. There are six guys who stay here all the time. One comes and goes on a regular basis bringing people back and forth, other members I think." But six have been living here so we eat whatever they don't want. It's not much but it helps your going to be hungry for the first month until your stomach shrinks. Then your used to it."
They entered silence until they were done. Casey was the first to speak.
"You know what this reminds me of?"
"Hmm?" Derek grunted turning to look at Casey. She laughed and leaned her head against the wall.
"When I first moved in and we were left home for the weekend, you had the party and we got stuck in the bathroom. It's just like now, I mean desperate times call for desperate measures, in this case that measure is getting along." Derek laughed and then grabbed his side.
"Laughing, bad idea." Casey's eyes widened as her hands fluttered towards Derek helplessly wanting to help him but afraid to touch him. He went to get up with the dishes but Casey stopped him.
"I'll do it. What do you want?"
"Put the plates by the door, knock and then come back over here." Casey did as she was told before practically running back to be beside Derek. After the door opened and the plate's disappeared, Casey and Derek both yawned.
"Come on get some sleep. I want you on the inside though." Casey raised her eyebrows at him and tilted her head slightly.
"Just cause." Derek muttered pulling on his shirt.
"No why?" Derek looked at her and she stared back "Please?" she tried figuring that if they could be this civil towards each other why wouldn't puppy dog eyes work?
They did, Derek groaned before saying it.
"I would rather keep you as far away from them as possible. Even though they usually leave me alone at night. I would rather keep you safely behind me." Casey smiled lightly at him, touched by the fact that he would do something that sweet no matter what his reasons were.
Casey lifted her arms and wrapped them around Derek once again. It took him a moment but he hugged her back before she crawled behind him so she was lying against the wall. He wrapped the blanket around them both. They shared the pillow so there faces were very close together.
"Were you scared?" Derek paused for a moment before pulling his arm to rest under his head.
"I think at the beginning, when they first got me I was. I don't think I was scared of the situation, just at the fact that I wasn't able to defend myself. I felt weak. The fear went away the more I mouthed off to them. So now, even though it hasn't been that long, it feel's almost normal."
There was a silence between them before Casey spoke again.
"Would it be bad to say that I'm terrified?" Derek flipped over on his side. Casey was on hers looking at him. She was biting her lip trying to keep back the tears that were threatening to spill over. The corner of his mouth lifted in a sad smile. It was strange for him to see Casey so vulnerable. She was always so cool and collected. Big, like even when she was panicking she was strong, but looking at her now, she just looked so… small.
"No Case, it's not." She squeezed her eyes shut urging herself to believe that it was okay. Derek put his hand on her head smoothing her hair, while he knocked his forehead against his in a playful gesture.
"Every thing will be fine I promise." Her head nodded against him as he pulled back and soon after fell into a deep slumber.
Casey couldn't sleep the flickering of the lights and the cold were keeping her awake. She was still on her side looking at Derek's sleeping face. Beneath the cuts and bruises he was still Derek all the way. This whole thing had barley affected him, of at least as far as she could tell. His hair was long, falling almost past his nose. She lifted her hand to move his hair off of his face. She smoothed her hand under his eye where the bruise from Max used to be, and Derek shivered in his sleep. His hand lifted and curled over Casey and pulled her on her stomach almost laying on him completely. His arms tightened around her as her warmth seeped into him.
Her face was scarlet but she didn't move. Her head was on his chest and so was one hand. The other was awkwardly in-between them so she shifted. Her hand was now under one of his so she could hold onto his shoulder, fingers towards her. He was warm and comfortable.
"D-Derek?" she whispered but Derek didn't stir. She sighed and finally relaxed against him.
A few times today she had trouble believing that it was really Derek. He had been so nice to her. Of course, under the circumstances that was understandable.
Finally her eyes drifted close and she fell asleep warm and contented; for the moment anyways.
Derek's eyes opened slowly. He had grown used to being woken up at a certain time by the gang, but today no one came. For the first time in months he felt warm and content. Glancing down he notice he was on his side. Casey was also on hers; one arm draped across his waist and the other was under his arm latched onto his shoulder. His one arm was under her head like a pillow and his other arm was around her waist. She was tucked in tight to his body. Her hair fell over her face in messy tangles. Derek lifted his hand off her waist to push the hair off of her face. Her makeup was smudged from tears and a nights sleep, and though there were tangles, her hair was soft. She shivered slightly and unconsciously pulled Derek closer for warmth. He winced as she tugged on his side but smirked as she nestled her face into the exposed skin above the collar of his shirt. He stiffened as her breath caressed his skin and he gulped, as his breath grew ragged.
Derek didn't bother to wake her. He stayed as he was and put his arm back around her and buried his face into her hair.
He would be lying if he said he didn't miss her. Especially her. Though he may have hated to admit it, Casey became a huge part of his life. The silence had been killing him. Technically yes he had 'talked' to people but he missed the playful banter, the pranks the heated fights. They took up a large portion of his life and he found he missed it. Don't get him wrong, he missed everyone too especially Marti, but he found himself thinking about Casey the most. He hated the thought, but he somehow knew that the reason for that just wasn't because he missed her, but the way he missed her; and he was terrified that the way he missed her wasn't like a stepbrother missed a stepsister, but the way a guy missed a girl that he-
"Mmm…" Casey murmured startling Derek out of thought. Here eyes opened and she was staring at neck. Her eyebrows burrowed together and she pulled back to make certain of what she woke looking at. Her head went upwards and Derek's heart beat erratically as her nose accidentally brushed his lips.
"Derek?" she said confused. Then realization hit her as she remembered what happened the night before.
"Morning." Derek let a weak smile pass his lips as Casey's face grew pink as she realized their position.
"Uh… I … uh…" she murmured before going to sit up. Her arm was pushing down on Derek's side and he gasped in pain. Casey's eyes widened in shock as she let herself fall back down beside Derek.
"Oh my God are you okay!" Casey asked in a hushed panicked tone.
"Mmm…" Derek grunted as he tried to ignore the pain. "Maybe getting up isn't the best idea right this second." Derek tried to laugh.
"What time is it?" Casey mumbled looking towards the door. Derek suddenly felt very stressed and confused.
"I don't know. I woke up like fifteen minutes ago which means it would have been seven but they hadn't come on time today. What is going on?" he mumbled the last part to himself and Casey could sense his anxiousness.
"Derek Venturi up before noon willingly? Wow…" she tried in an attempts to keep him semi cheery. He smiled slightly before his face grew solemn once again.
"I'm sorry you got involved in all this… God Casey I'm so sorry you don't deserve to be here." Casey shook her head at him.
"Neither do you. And don't worry; everything will be okay. By the way since when does Derek apologise?" she grinned at him and he just smirked again.
"Being in a place like this changes you." His tone was slightly bitter but Casey ignored that.
"Not too much I hope. When we get out of this I still expect my daily Derek pranks." Derek smiled genuinely at her.
"You can count on it."
a few hours passed and no one came. Casey and Derek were still lying on the bed but were now apart.
"Okay what is my favourite… colour?" Derek scoffed.
"Pink. Come on give me harder one's Casey."
"Fine. It's your turn anyways." Casey pouted while Derek thought up another question
"What's my… favourite type of movie? Your not going to get this one Case." She glared at him.
"Says you." Casey paused for a moment before answering. "Documentaries. The one's about specific real event's and don't even try to deny it I know that when we get home you secretly switch it back to the discovery channel when you think we aren't paying attention."
"I didn't think that you paid attention to me." Derek said. His stomach flipping at the thought of Casey watching him.
"Case…" Derek started, unsure of what he wanted to say exactly. She looked at him with wide blue eyes, waiting for him to continue. Before Derek could form a coherent thought the door clattered open. One of the men stood in the doorway as Derek shot up ignoring the pain in his side as he did so. Casey got up with him and Derek shifted so she stayed behind him.
"Girl. Bathroom now." Derek felt Casey's trembling hands against him. One was wrapped around his waist and the other was clutching the back of his shirt for dear life." He lifted his hand and laid it on top of Casey's hand by his waist.
"I hope you understand that I don't want her going out there alone."
The man sped into the room still sticking to walking some how. Derek moved with Casey so she was now in a corner. Derek was still in front of her keeping his stance in front of the 6'5, 300 pound man.
"And I hope you understand that I'm going to kick your cocky ass."
"Go ahead. But she's still not going out there without me." The man smirked and went to draw his hand back until Casey ducked under Derek's arm.
"Wait! Derek, it's okay."
"No it's not. It's you and a group of criminal men." The man chuckled and stepped back.
"You want to protect her? Well your right, she's fine, the boys would pass her around like the piece of meat she is!" Derek drew back and swung upwards at the guy. He was shocked but drew back and punched Derek in the face causing his nose to bleed and his back to hit the wall.
"Y-you got anything e-else?" Derek managed out trying to keep his voice steady.
"Stop!" a voice called from the door. A man of equal height but smaller build was standing in the doorway with an amused face. "If he wants to go with her. He can go with her." He winked at the man who smiled back at him before grabbing Casey's upper arm and Derek's collar. They both got shoved into the bathroom and the skinnier man chucked a towel at Casey.
"Take your time." He grinned as the door slammed in their faced.
"Derek.." Casey gasped finally taking Derek's face in her hands.
"You're bleeding. All over." Casey insisted as she went to press the towel to Derek's face.
"No Case that's for you. Today will probably be the last shower your going to get for a while." Derek reached and grabbed some toilet paper tilting his head back.
"You say that like you think we will be here forever…" Casey tried to joke but Derek wasn't laughing.
"So… shower huh?" it took Derek a moment but he clued in.
"Uh yea uh… here I uh…" he turned around facing the door and after a moment he heard cloth hit the floor. Out of the corner of his eye he could see movement in the mirror and his head unconsciously turned to look. Casey's back was at the mirror as Derek raked his eyes over the silhouette of her back as she fumbled with her jeans. He whipped his eyes forward just as she unfastened her jeans. His heart was beating a million times a minute. Palms were growing sweaty and mouth gone dry. She showered quickly and was surprised that Derek was still in the same position as he was before. She grabbed her towel wrapping it around herself before speaking up.
"Derek? Are you okay?" he didn't answer so she walked over to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. He turned then staring down at her he gulped.
"Derek, are you okay?" she repeated. Her hand was still on his shoulder; her thumb rubbing unconsciously. Derek gave a lazy smile as he placed his hand on top of hers.
"I'm fine." He said tossing the tissue into the toilet. Casey grimaced as she noticed his upper lip was stained red. Casey grabbed toilet paper and dampened it. She stretched out for Derek's face and he pulled back.
"Don't be such a baby." She stated as she hooked her hand behind his neck. Derek stared at her as she concentrated in cleaning the blood. A little wrinkle appeared in between her eyebrows and the tip of her tongue protruded from her mouth.
"I'll do that. Get changed." Derek said taking the tissue from her and quickly stepping away. Casey frowned at his out burst but did as she was told while Derek turned around.
"Five minutes!" Casey and Derek hurried to finish their business despite the awkwardness.
"I can't stand this Derek. Being controlled by them every day. It's already driving me crazy." Casey whispered as she stared at the door. Her body was starting to tremble like it usually did when she got upset.
"I know…" was all Derek could say. Casey sighed and leaned against the door just as it opened and sent her backwards. Derek reached out and caught her arm yanking her towards him in one unbelievably smooth motion. He turned so his back was to the door and Casey was clutching armfuls of his shirt.
"Let's go." Then man growled at he grabbed Derek's arm. Now would be when the cocky Derek would resist but with Casey here he just followed keeping his free arm around her shoulders. Casey's arms were around his waist; her body, tightly stuck by his side. Derek was getting a little worried when instead of going back to the room he was pulled in the other direction. Something didn't feel right.