Author's Note: I know I said that I'd update sooner, but I had to study for two AP tests, then I got a job, and then my comput

Author's Note: I know I said that I'd update sooner, but I had to study for two AP tests, then I got a job, and then my computer crashed (taking what I'd written for chapter four!). Right after that was the end of school. Now, I'm taking a college algebra course and working, but I'm going to try and update more. (As of this posting, I'm finished with the college algebra course, but I've still got to read and annotate Frankenstein for school. Oh joy.)

I should have started with the last chapter, but from now on I'll try to put a little italicized line at the beginning relating some aspect of Pride and Prejudice to Life With Derek. If I'd have done that the last time, it would have been: Pride and Prejudice wouldn't be Pride and Prejudice without Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth bickering; the same goes for Life With Derek and Casey and Derek's verbal spats.

I hope you enjoy this next chapter!

Disclaimer: I still don't own LWD or P&P.

Casey McDonald walked into a bright, airy room, filled with dancing couples. She couldn't help but glide in time to the waltz, played by a real orchestra. A soft fabric flowed about her slippered feet. She glanced down to see a creamy white dress: empire waist, silky sash and all that Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters had probably all dreamed about. She felt delicate and pretty, with her hair twisted and pinned at the back of her head and thin ringlets framing her face. She saw her best friend, Emily, come dashing—well, as close as one ever got to dashing in a long dress—over to her, wearing a soft pink dress cut much like Casey's.

"Casey! You look marvelous!" Emily squealed in a most un-Jane-Austen-like expression.

"So do you!" Casey squealed right back.

"So," said Emily, as they walked over to the punch table, "Has anyone asked you to dance yet?"

"No," sighed Casey wistfully. She glanced over at the corner, where a group of handsome young men were standing. Like Casey, they were all dressed in Pride and Prejudice attire: crisp white shirts under black jackets with stand-up collars; form-fitting knee breeches; and those ever-present top hats. Casey didn't think that any of those boys could look more refined or appealing. Men in Jane Austen's day treated women with respect, a far cry from what Casey received from her least-favorite stepbrother.

One of the handsome young men in question was Max Miller. Casey's heart fluttered at the sight of him. He was truly what a gentleman should be. While she was in the midst of her musings, he surprised her by turning around and walking in her direction.

Casey grabbed Emily's hand for support; he couldn't be walking over towards her, could he? She watched as his top hat bobbled among all the others, coming quickly towards her. She had barely enough time to compose herself when he was suddenly before her. "Miss McDonald," he said in that adorable voice of his, "May I have this dance?" He offered his hand to escort her to the dance floor, and she, in a state of utter happiness, accepted. He led her out on the dance floor, gently tugging her after him. When they reached the middle of the floor, he turned to face her once more. However, it wasn't Max's grinning face that awaited her. Instead of glossy black hair, a messy mop of reddish-brown awaited her. Instead of a polite but real grin, an insufferable smirk winked at her. Of all the nerve……Derek Venturi wasn't satisfied with making her real life a living hell; he had to go all the way and make her dreams purgatory as well.

"Come on, Space Case!" Derek said. Just before Casey thought she would do the unthinkable, unspeakable, unlivable act of placing her hand in Derek's, she realized that she'd been dreaming. Then why was Derek there? She opened her eyes and sure enough, there was the bane of her existence standing in her doorway.

"Come on, Space Case!" Derek said again, irritated with the sleeping Casey. He almost laughed out loud at the spectacle she made. Disheveled hair, a frown, and a grumbling mouth were not up to Princess Casey standards. What made the scene funnier was the fact that she had an eye-cover on, one of those things "princesses" and other demanding girls slept in to shield their eyes from the "blinding" light. Casey's own particular eye-shield read "The princess needs her beauty sleep." Derek was surprised she still had it. He'd given it to her on her birthday as a gag gift. "Really, Princess, you look horrible. If you want to look pretty you'd have to sleep for an eternity." Casey glowered at him. "But that would mean you'd be late for school….." Derek droned off, knowing that alone would wake Casey up.

Casey gasped and looked at her alarm clock. It read 7:45. "Great!" she screamed. "School starts in fifteen minutes! I'm going to be late…….."

Casey hurried through her morning routine as fast as she could. Shower, clothes, hair, makeup….all were accomplished at lightning fast speed. Her intense, seething anger at Derek was one catalyst to fuel her speediness this morning; her utter dislike for anything less than perfect was the other.

Finally, her keener sense of perfection was satisfied enough to run down the stairs and into the kitchen. She was planning on grabbing just a granola bar, an apple, and some juice before hightailing it out the door. However, when she rushed into the kitchen, she was greeted by the sight of George reading the paper, Nora frying eggs, Lizzie and Edwin quietly eating pancakes, and Marti clamoring for more syrup. Nora turned around to face her harried and confused eldest daughter.

"Morning, Casey. Do you want some eggs or would you prefer cereal/ I just went to the store yesterday and bought your favorite kind…."

"Yeah, Keener Krunch," said a highly amused Derek from behind Casey.

Casey chose to ignore him. Instead she asked her mom, "What…why are you all still here? Liz, Ed, shouldn't you be at school?"

"School?!" Edwin looked disgusted at the thought. "Who goes to school on Saturday?"

"S…S…Saturday?" repeated an utterly confused Casey. "This is Saturday?"

"Yeah, Casey," said Lizzie. "You know I have my soccer practice today."

"So you mean I got up and hurried through my morning routine, afraid of being late to school, to find out that today is SATURDAY?" Casey screeched the last word.

"Why'd you think you had school today, Case?" asked George.

"Because Derek…….." the mention of that horrible name silenced her. A light seemed to come on, and she placed her hands on her hips. "Because Derek said so." She turned around to glare at her stepbrother, who was smirking as usual.

"C'mon, Space Case," Derek said smoothly, "Don't you know not to trust me?" He laughed as Casey sputtered and stammered. He loved pushing her buttons—it was the highlight of his day. There was nothing like a screaming, extremely ticked off Casey in the mornings. "Pancakes, Ed," ordered Derek as he sat down next to Edwin at the bar. The ever faithful slave Edwin obeyed and Derek dug in.

"Derek," asked George in an accusing tone, "What did you do to Casey this time?"

"Just reset her clock for 7:40, Dad. Nothing to get all worked up about," said Derek through a mouthful of pancake.

"Of course it is!" Casey screeched, not unlike a banshee. "I have the right to get worked up about it because it's another example of your plan to ruin every aspect of my life!"

"Maybe not every aspect," Derek smirked. "Wait, what's an aspect?"

"It's a term for a piece of something," Casey huffed. "But of course you wouldn't know that, because you're too busy chasing after bimbos to even think about contemplating something else besides girls, food, and hockey."

"I do so think about something else," Derek retorted. "I think about the best way to ruin your day. And right now, I'm thinking that you should go redo your hair. Looks like a bees' nest," he said, and hunkered back down into his breakfast.

Casey screamed, ran upstairs, and was heard to scream again. Derek's smirk got wider.

"I just forgot to tell her that I put superglue on her hairbrush so it'd stick to her hand," he commented to the dumbstruck audience.

"DER-EK!" Casey's voice could be heard as she thumped down the stairs, with the hairbrush stuck to her hand, as Derek had foretold.

"Yeah, Case?" Derek said, barely able to contain his laughter.

Casey said nothing, but proceeded to slam Derek's head into his plate—which was full of syrup.

As Casey stalked off, Derek raised his head and glared at the keener's back as she left—not forgetting to note her dancer's body as she sashayed into the living room.

As Derek was distracted for the time being, Edwin seized the moment and caught some of the syrup dripping from Derek's frowning face. He licked it, and smiled.

"Mmm. Maple syrup."

Casey had once again lost herself in the inviting world of Jane Austen, reveling over the Netherfield Ball, when the phone rang. She picked it up, humming to herself. She noticed that it was Lizzie's cell phone number registering on the caller ID, and wondered why her little sister would be calling now, since she was at soccer practice. "Hello?" she said, answering the phone.

"Hello? Is Mr. or Mrs. Venturi at home?" said the voice on the other line.

"Um, no, they're not, they've gone grocery shopping. May I take a message?" Casey, being the order freak that she was, already had a pen and paper in hand.

"Yes. This is Lizzie's soccer coach calling"—Casey cringed at the thought of Lizzie's last soccer coach, Scott—what a disaster that had been. At least Coach Samuels was more focused on the elements of soccer than on his player's sisters—" I'm afraid we have some bad news. Lizzie was trying to steal the ball and I'm afraid she's sprained her ankle pretty badly. We're going to have to have someone take her to the hospital."

Casey's heart fell. Lizzie lived for soccer. No telling for how long Lizzie would have to recuperate. Casey wondered if the crazy Venturi household would calm down long enough for Lizzie to make a full recovery.

Author's Note: Hope you enjoyed my comeback—and the little cliffhanger! By the way, did anyone else notice on "Derek's School of Dating" that when Edwin asked Derek on how to treat girls, Derek said, "Treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen"? Such a perfect little snippet of Dasey! Although I was a little disappointed at the Dally featured in "Open Mic Plight". I like Sally's character; but she's just not right for Derek.

So c'mon, make me happy and review! Cookies to those that do!

(Thanks bunches to Brontesis who inspired me to start writing again!)