Author's Note: This is dedicated to all of you who wanted Derek to have a car. I hope this chapter makes up for selling The Prince.
"Casey, hurry it up," Derek shouted as he banged on her door. "We're going to be late."
Derek smiled as he heard Casey sighed dramatically. "Three months and already the romance is gone."
"You know it, babe."
Laughing, Casey instructed, "Go get the keys from George. I'll be down soon."
Grumbling good naturedly, Derek headed down the stairs to let Casey make her grand entrance. "Hey, Dad, Nora," he called. "I need the keys. I want to be able to leave once Casey walks down the stairs."
"About that," George said absently from his spot on the couch where he was watching television. "I've been thinking about it and I'm not so sure I want to let you drive my car. You might decide to sell it."
"Dad…" Derek started to grumble.
Looking up, surprised, George responded, "Derek, last time you went to a school function you sold your car. How do I know this isn't some new fetish you've got?"
Interrupting Derek before he could begin, Nora added, "We've talked about it Derek and we aren't going to let you drive either of our cars."
"But, you promised," Derek argued, getting angrier the longer this joke lasted. "It's too late for Casey and me to grab a ride now. We'll have to walk there!"
"It's a nice night out," George responded with an unconcerned grin.
Losing his temper and reminding Nora of her husband, Derek yelled, "Casey!"
Panicked, Casey came stumbling down the stairs. "What's wrong?"
Pointing towards their parents, he growled, "They won't let us borrow the car. We need to walk!"
Instead of responding, Casey just turned her head and shot the parents a look as she waited for an explanation. Nora, actually affected, unlike George, popped up off the couch waving a card size envelope.
Shoving it at Derek, she said, "Read this before you have a meltdown. It's from Dennis."
Forehead scrunched up in confusion, Derek plopped down in his chair and opened the envelope. Casey, curious, hurried over and perched herself on the arm of the recliner so that she could see over Derek's shoulder.
You're probably surprised to be getting a letter from me, especially since we haven't spoken since you got me to come back and see Casey after that dinner. Let me just start off and say that as a father this is very hard for me. I can't say I was happy to hear about my daughter dating a boy she lives with. In fact, I was hoping to never to have to deal with this. Coward I may be, but I was certain that George could take care of any of Casey and Lizzie's boyfriends and I wouldn't have to worry about it. With you being his son, however, well that puts another spin on things.
I know I'm not around often, especially with living in New York, but I do email my girls frequently. From the start I knew you were important to Casey. You've filled her emails with both good and bad things. Anytime you did something 'sweet' or at least something Casey considered sweet I would get at least a four page email with a moment by moment byplay. After the Box Social Auction I received a small novel.
The thing is, I haven't just been hearing about you from Casey. Lizzie has also spent some of her email times describing the interactions between you and Casey. It was after she and Edwin shipped me a copy of their research binder on you two that I decided to ask Nora about what she thought.
Not to give you a big head or anything, but Nora sang your praises. She made sure to point out that since you and Casey have started dating your grades have gone up, you help out more around the house, and Casey's become a little less neurotic. Nora and I were always worried that she'd give herself an ulcer, but it seems you are taking good care of our girl. Nora was also quick to point out that this is the longest relationship both of you have ever been in and you're still going strong.
Finally, about three weeks ago I called to talk to my girls and Marti answered the phone. That conversation was very informative. It seems that little Marti sees more of what's going on than anyone gives her credit for. She informed me that her Smerek and his Casey are happier than they have been since her Daddy married Nora. After some rapid fire questioning on my part, I decided that Marti was right. That fact alone scared me more than anything else ever has.
I've recently come to the realization that my Casey is growing up. I'm also afraid that she has finally found The One she's been searching for in you. I am sure that one day I will be leading her down the aisle and giving her away to you. Do me a favor though, wait until you're at least sophomores in college before you ask her. I'm still not quite ready to give my daughter away, yet.
I'm not writing this letter, however, to tell you that I approve of your relationship with my oldest daughter. I do, but that is not the point. What I wrote this letter for was to tell you this. For almost a solid week after the Auction I heard about you selling your car for Casey from three separate sources. All three agreed that it was the most romantic thing they ever heard of.
To show you I approve and to help you better take care of my little girl, I decided to give you a present. It would cost too much to ship, however, so I wired Nora the money and she, Lizzie, and Marti bought it for me. If you don't like it, blame them.
Derek, I do like you, but if you ever hurt my daughter, stepbrother or not, I will kill you. Keep that in mind.
Staring at the paper in his hands, Derek found that he couldn't think with the jumble of thoughts that were racing through his head. He couldn't decide if he was more embarrassed about the fact that his girlfriend's father was apparently planning their wedding already, or curious about what Dennis' gift was. Casey, however, seemed to have no problem.
"Mom," she exclaimed. "Dad…wedding…Derek…"
Seeing that part was taken care of, Derek smirked. "So, what's this gift you, Lizzie, and Smarti picked out?"
Smiling delightedly, Nora turned and called for Lizzie and Marti. When they arrived, she said, "It's time to show Derek his present."
Getting excited as only Marti could, she threw herself at her big brother and declared, "Come on, Smerek! You'll love it! Now you won't have to go on double dates with Emily and Sheldon or Sam and Sally."
As Marti dragged him out the front door, Derek looked back over his shoulder at Casey to see her gaping in surprise much like he was. Running to catch up with them, she whispered, "Marti couldn't mean…"
Derek never had a chance to reply as at that moment they found out exactly what Derek's gift was.
Staring in disbelief, Derek muttered, "You've got to be kidding…"
"Do you like it, Smerek?" Marti happily asked as she showed the car off like Vanna White showing off the new puzzle. "I picked the color. It's purple!"
Casey slipped up next to Derek and wrapped an arm around his waist. Kissing his jaw, she whispered, "Do you think you can stand to drive a purplish car?"
Seeing Derek just open and shut his mouth repeatedly, unable to say a word, Nora and Lizzie exchanged a grin.
Eyes twinkling, Lizzie teased, "Don't worry. It's a hybrid so it's better for the environment."
Also excited to extol the vehicles many good qualities, Nora added, "It has a high rating for safe handling during winter weather conditions. And it has seat warmers!"
"And lots of cup holders!" Marti excitedly added, not to be out done. "Don't you think it's great, Smerek?"
"Wow," was all Derek was able to stutter out.
Giggling, Casey said, "I believe he means thank you and yes, Marti, this is the greatest car ever!"
Running back to her brother, Marti threw her arms around his waist and hugged him tight.
"Now you and Casey can go on dates all by yourself," Marti informed him.
"Whoa," George interrupted with a grin. "Maybe this was a bad idea."
"Georgie," Nora reprimanded. Turning to Edwin, she asked, "Did you get Derek and Casey's reactions?"
"Oh yeah," Edwin said from behind the camera. "But, Derek's was funnier."
Derek turned and glared at his little brother but couldn't seem to do more than that with his two favorite girls wrapped around him.
Knowing he was safe from retribution, Derek would forget all about him after his date with Casey, Edwin laughed and dodged out of Derek's reaching grasp.
Taking her camera from George, knowing he would just cut off their heads, Nora smiled brightly. "Derek, Casey, stand in front of the car. I want to get pictures of you two. You look so cute in your costumes!"
"Nora," Derek complained as Casey pulled him in position for the picture, "I don't do cute."
"Of course not," Nora replied in a tone that made it obvious that she wasn't paying the least bit of attention to him.
Rolling his eyes and giving up, Derek draped his arm around Casey's shoulders and pulled her closer for the picture. After several flashes, Marti ran in and joined the picture. Smiling, Derek scooped her up and balanced her on his right hip putting Marti between him and Casey. Seeing the scene they made, Nora's smile widened and she whispered to George, "We have got to find a baby-sized leather jacket!"
"What?" George asked, clearly confused.
Nodding towards Derek, Casey, and Marti, Nora replied, "Isn't that adorable! Think of them each in their leather jackets and instead of Marti, our grandbaby! It would make the most perfect Christmas card picture."
Eyes widening, George looked away and caught Lizzie's eyes. He almost laughed out loud, however, when Lizzie rolled her eyes and shrugged her shoulders as if to say, "What can we do? She's nuts."
Nora, ignoring them, instructed, "Edwin, hand your camera to George. Lizzie, Edwin, join the picture. One on each side."
"Nora, I can't see anymore because of all the floating dots," Derek complained.
"Just a few more," Nora overrode. "Lizzie next to Derek. That's right. Put your arm around her shoulders, Derek. Good. Casey, same thing with Edwin. Oh! That's perfect," she exclaimed before blinding all of her subjects with another several rounds of camera flashes.
"Mom," Casey finally intervened. "We need to go if we're going to show off Derek's new ride."
Leaning over Marti, Derek gave Casey a quick peck. "You do know me, babe."
"You're not that hard to understand, sugar," she replied as she pinched his rear in retaliation for calling her babe.
Laughing, Derek gently sat Marti down on the ground. "We gotta go, Smarti. Don't wait up."
"Okay, Smerek," Marti happily agreed before skipping over to George and Nora.
Turning to Casey, Derek grinned, "Your carriage awaits, Princess."
Smiling in return, Casey teased, "Thank you, my handsome Prince."
"No way!" Emily exclaimed as she saw Derek and Casey pull up.
Her shout caught Sam's attention. Seeing Derek get out of a new car, he pulled Sally away from the entrance to the dance and drug her with him to see what was going on.
"D, I thought you said you saved enough money to buy another leather jacket, not a car," Sam said as he looked the new vehicle over.
"I didn't buy this," Derek replied with a grin. "It was a gift from Dennis McDonald."
"Whoa! Sally, do you think your dad likes me that much?" Sam absently asked as he ran a hand over the leather seats.
Before Sally could answer one way or another, Sheldon exclaimed, "Look at all these cup holders!"
As Derek teased Sheldon about being like Marti, Sally turned to Casey and said, "So, who are you and Derek going as?"
"Danny and Sandy from Grease," Casey excitedly informed her.
Emily giggled. "Casey just wanted to show off Derek's new leather jacket."
"I wanted everyone to know that I didn't just give him his jacket back," Casey explained with a toss of her head. "And I wanted an excuse to wear my Babe Raider outfit again. Derek told me he likes how I look in it."
"Of course I do," Derek said, the car powwow obviously over. Wrapping an arm around her shoulders, he added, "I just don't like how everything other guys likes how you look in it. Remember to keep that jacket on."
"You are so cute when you're jealous."
As they kissed, their friends rolled their eyes and wondered if the honeymoon period would ever end.
Emily, tired of seeing them kiss, turned to Sam and Sally and asked, "Who are you two?"
Upon hearing Sam's evasive, "Well…" Derek took a good look at his best friend. "Dude, what are you wearing?"
Blushing, Sam mumbled something that no one understood. Sally, grinning mischievously, said, "He's Jareth the Goblin King and I'm Sarah from Labyrinth. I saw that spangled jacket and just knew what our costumes should be."
"Sam," Derek protested, "You're wearing tights instead of pants."
"No," Sam retorted, blushing scarlet. "These are just really tight pants. Just like what the Goblin King wore."
Taking pity on their friend, Casey turned to Emily and asked, "And who are you two?"
Lighting up, Emily twirled around showing off her silvery dress and detachable wings. "Isn't this adorable? I just knew we had to have a costume that went along with this dress."
"So, who are you?" Sally asked.
"Danielle and Prince Henry," Sheldon replied.
"From Ever After," Casey finished with a squeal. "Oh, Em, you look perfect. The wings are just amazing."
"Sheldon built them," Emily shared with a grin.
"Awe, you're prince charming and her fairy godmother," Casey gushed.
"Yeah, he's just great," Derek sarcastically added as he started hauling his girlfriend towards the building.
"Derek Venturi, you don't have a romantic bone in your body!"
"Case, I've had this jacket for two weeks but I haven't worn it yet so because you wanted me to 'début' it tonight. I think that's incredibly romantic."
Following slowly behind the arguing couple, Sam sighed, "Kissing then arguing, arguing then kissing. And I thought they'd be less tiring after they got together."
"It's not as bad as it once was," Emily said in defense of their friends.
"Yeah," Sally agreed. "They really cemented their relationship after standing up to Max and his incest rumors."
Laughing, Sam replied, "I never saw anything so funny as Max's face when Derek offered to let Casey beat him up again."
"I don't think I've ever seen anyone so afraid in my entire life," Sheldon added with a grin. "I just wish we had that on tape."
"And now he has no one because even Amy won't take him back," Emily gloated. "Sweet justice."
Rolling his eyes, Sam interrupted, "Don't look now, but our lovebirds have stopped arguing."
"Should we break them up?" Sheldon asked.
"If we don't," Emily sighed, "some else will. I'll take Casey."
"I guess I've got Derek," Sam said.
As the two were pulled apart and the group marched them forward, Sheldon teased, "Don't worry, D, you'll get your Casey back once we're inside. After getting all dressed up, you wouldn't want to miss the party, now would you?"
Trying to twist out of Sam's grasp, Derek replied, "I know where you live, Schlepper. Keep that in mind."
Sheldon just laughed. Like Edwin earlier, he wasn't worried. Once he spent the night with his Casey, tough guy Derek Venturi would completely forget about beating anyone to a pulp.
"Ah," Sheldon thought. "The Power of Love."