Summary: After spending their first year of college apart, they are home for summer vacation. A night of revealed secrets might change everything.
Disclaimer: Hahahahahahahaha!!!!! Like I really own LWD!! Or…Anything. *cries in the corner*
A/N: You guys have all been wonderful!!! Thank you for all the reviews so far! *grins like an idiot* OK, I'm answering all your questions in this chapter, so you can all stop yelling at me via personal messages. Lol. Side note: Go check out Michael Seater on IMBD. The plot for the movie he will be in this year cracks me up… and in my Dasey-addled mind, I can't help but think that it would be a good plot for a LWD Fanfic. And I think that's my next plot-bunny, seeing as I can't stop thinking about it. Lol. (I already have like four chapters written for that lol – which is why I've neglected my other stories…)
It was after eleven o'clock, Derek wasn't home yet, and Casey was lying on her bed mulling over the day's events and trying not to panic – it wasn't working. After Derek had left, Casey took everyone up to her bedroom and she told her younger siblings about their argument. Of course they had wanted to know details, so it had been quite a lengthy conversation. Then, they had called Sheri back because Casey was fuming over having had her personal life being encroached on by Derek when he had stolen her cell phone. And maybe she was insanely curious about what he had managed to finagle out of her roommate.
Clearly, finding out this information had not helped her state of mind. To say the least, she was panicking. I had taken Lizzie shaking her to get her to stop freaking out before. Lizzie, and her other siblings, were in bed asleep by now. She had nothing to distract her from her pressing thoughts. Casey was replaying the conversation with Sheri over and over in her head, trying to contain her horror and sheer embarrassment. It wasn't supposed to happen like this, she thought. Casey was near hyperventilating when she heard the loud click of the front door shutting.
With widened eyes, Casey hurriedly turned on her iPod, letting music flow quietly through the speakers. She needed to at least act like she was doing something besides waiting for him to come home. She snatched her laptop off her desk, opening it as she sprawled across her bed on her stomach, bare feet resting on her pillows, as she opened a game of Solitaire.
She heard him come up the stairs several moments later, the squeaky stairs undermining his attempt at quiet. Casey took a deep breath in order to prepare herself for the inevitable confrontation. Instead of him stopping at her door, he passed it. She heard his bedroom door close quietly. He wasn't that mad at her, was he? She had lost three straight games of Solitaire, simply for lack of concentration. She was seriously thinking about putting her pajamas on and just calling it a night when his door creaked open again and shut. On the other hand… talking was overrated, right?
Repressing the urge to dive across her room to lock her door – when did she become such a chicken? – Casey forced herself to stare at her laptop screen. It was nearly a minute later before she heard the two soft, cursory knocks on her door before it opened halfway and Derek slid inside her room, shutting the door behind him and locking it.
They stared at each other in silence for what seemed like an eternity, but it was probably less than a minute, before Derek spoke. "I'm not leaving 'til we talk, Case", he said. She eyed him warily, noticing the determined look in his eye.
"Derek-" she started, moving to sit cross-legged on the bed.
"I'm serious, Casey. I'm tired of this." He crossed his arms over his chest sternly, suddenly bringing a brown paper bag into view.
She raised a curious brow, "What's in the bag?"
He smirked slightly, "A bargaining chip. You have to agree to talk to me first."
She couldn't help the twitch of her mouth as she bit back a smile. This was just so Derek. Still, she was dreading it. "I have to pee?" It was supposed to be a factual statement – a lie, but he didn't need to know that – and she ruined her chance of a few minutes of solitude, just by the tone of her voice.
"Yeah, I'm not buying that", he said dryly. He kind of looked like he wanted to burn his ears off.
She stifled a giggle. "Bag", she said, pointing. "What's in it?"
His eyebrows furrowed, "What, are you five?"
She stuck her tongue out between her teeth at him.
He rolled his eyes, "Ice cream", he stated, eyeing her cautiously in case she decided to pounce. Casey had a problem being rational about ice cream.
Casey eyed Derek suspiciously, "What kind?"
"Promise me first", he said seriously.
She sighed in aggravation, looking him in the eye, "I promise. Now gimme."
He nodded and let out a chuckle. He walked over to her computer chair and took a seat as he emptied the bag. Casey couldn't count how many times he had sat in that chair over the years. The thought startled her slightly. He had probably been in her room at least once every day since their parents had gotten married. Whether it was to yell at her, fight with her, or even comfort her, he was always there, even when she didn't want him to be. Especially when she didn't want him to be.
She shook her head to clear the thoughts that threatened to overtake her. Oh, no way in hell was she going to cry. She quietly took a deep breath to refocus, and she was just in time to catch the plastic spoon thrown at her. "A little warning would have been nice, you know", she muttered under her breath after she managed to avoid getting hit in the eye from the flying spoon.
"Yeah, but not nearly as amusing", Derek rebutted. After a moment's silence, he spoke again as another song came on. "What is this?" he asked.
"What?" she asked, "The song?" He nodded. "It's Damien Rice."
"Never heard of him", he said shaking his head.
She laughed lightly, "Not surprising. I think it would be what you would call 'crappy chick music'."
"Eh", he shrugged noncommittally, "It's better than some of that other crap you listen to."
"Oh, be quiet. Where's my ice cream?" she queried.
He pulled a pint sized container of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and rolled the chair close enough to her bed to hand it to her. "Thanks", she said quietly.
"Remember our deal", he said seriously.
"I know", she said. Casey turned the carton around to see the label before she opened it. Phish Food Ice Cream®. She worried her bottom lip for a moment, feeling his eyes watching her, calculating. "That bad, huh?" she asked nonchalantly, looking up at him finally.
Derek studied her for a moment, before answering truthfully. "Yeah, probably", he said. He knew her favorite ice cream to eat when she just wanted to indulge. It was always a toss-up between mint chocolate chip and vanilla with chocolate syrup. She only ate Phish Food® after a bad break-up or when she was really depressed. He knew this conversation wouldn't be light-hearted enough for her to want either of her first two choices. It was time to bring out the hard stuff.
He pulled the other container out of the bag and opened it. "What'd you get?" she asked curiously.
He put a large crater in the smooth ice cream with his own spoon and shoved it into his mouth. "Cherry Garcia®", he said finally. And, wait for it –
"Can I have a bite?" her tone was as serious as if she'd asked to get a retake on a test.
"What's wrong with your ice cream?" he asked, trying not to laugh.
"Well, nothing, but-" she was cut off from trying explain just why she needed to have some of his.
He held it out silently, with raised eyebrow. Casey crawled to the end of the bed on her knees and looked at him cautiously as she slowly dipped her spoon into the offered ice cream. "Oh, come on", he laughed. "I'm not the one who expresses violent tendencies over food! Quit acting like I'm going to bite you."
Casey gave him a pointed look and made her own smaller crater and popped the spoonful into her mouth. She shivered. "It's cold", she whined through her mouthful.
"It's ice cream, dumbass", he said as he leaned back out of her reach and propped his feet on the end of her bed, "Did you expect it to be warm?" He was about to take another bite when he looked at her thoughtfully. "I could always warm yours up in a bowl. You really liked that the last time."
Her eyes widened, remembering the last time she had asked him to get her some ice cream. She knew she had been pushing his new "nice factor" at the time, but really couldn't help herself. She had ended up with a bowl of melted ice cream dumped on her head. "No thank you", she said darkly.
Derek chuckled as she backed up slightly on the bed and opened her own container and dug in cautiously, now taking smaller bites. They sat in silence save for the music in the background eating in a somewhat companiable silence. Casey ate slowly as she felt the impending dread wash over her again. She was internally berating herself for being in this position if the first place when Derek spoke again.
"Why didn't you call me, Casey?" he asked. His voice was quiet, but his tone was serious, and she knew she was going to have to answer him.
"You're just gonna jump in the deep end, then?" Casey said not looking up. "You're not gonna build up to it or make sure there's a raft?"
"I'm done beating around the bush", he said, using the same tone. Then he was next to her on the bed, holding her chin gently so she had to look at him. "Sink or swim", he said softly. "I won't let you drown, Case."
She could see the truth in his eyes, and that did it. A single tear cascaded down her cheek. "Dammit", she cursed, somewhat hoarsely considering the tightness in her throat.
Derek sighed, and wiped it away with his thumb. "I'm sorry", he said. "But you know we need to do this."
She nodded, looking away.
"And, do you think, by any chance, you could manage not to cry?!" he asked, shuddering visibly.
Casey let out a shaky laugh, "Sorry. I'll try, but I make no promises."
He nodded before he went back to his seat in her chair at the end of the bed. He allowed a few minutes of quiet before he looked at her pointedly, "Casey."
"I'm sorry", she said finally. A beat later she's angry, "I missed you, you jerk!"
"And I would have known that if you had called, Case!" Derek exclaimed in an aggravated tone.
"What?" she asked sarcastically, "Did you think I was just lying when I said it the night before we left?? I didn't honestly think you wanted to talk to me! Which you clearly didn't, because you didn't call either!"
They had somehow both ended up on their feet, faces inches apart – much like they spent the majority of their time in this house together. Except now, more was at stake. "And you know what?!" Her voice was still angry, but now was hitting that high-pitched note that meant she was choking back tears. "That killed me, Derek! Not having you around turned me into the most boring, non-fun person ever! I buried myself in school work trying to forget. I waited three months for you to call before I got a clue! I felt like such an idiot! Even calling home twice a week didn't make me stop missing you! And then finally, finally, I snapped. My roommate comes back from class only to find me curled up in my bed in a disgusting, wet ball at four in the afternoon, because I didn't even bother to get out of bed, and spent the whole morning crying, over you, of all people!" She finally stopped to take a ragged breath in a futile effort to calm down.
Derek pulled her against his chest, "Casey", he muttered into her hair.
She choked out a sob that she couldn't contain before she pulled away and stood with her back to him. "Do you have any idea how it feels to have the person who is the center of your universe – whether they should be or not – to just not be there?"
"Do you really think I don't know how that feels, Case? Really? How could you think that I wouldn't miss you?" he asked, his voiced incredulous, and heated with something she can't decipher.
Casey turns around to see him standing less than a foot away from her, his arms folded across his chest. His jaw is tight as he stares at her impatiently, waiting for her to say something. And then she knows for sure. And because she is tired of their dysfunctional-broken relationship, she knows she has to make the first move, for both their sakes.
"After I had my little 'freak-out'", she grimaced, "I decided that I needed things to be different. I wanted to become a completely different person. You know me, I went way overboard. I was trying so hard to get you out of my head – even when you weren't there, it's like you were. Like you were so much a part of me that I needed to be something else just to be able to try to forget about you. Don't look at me like that", she said looking up to his face. "Let me finish before you get upset with me. I had the worst case of denial ever, and I still couldn't forget. I finally found a happy medium with who I am, and you know what? No matter what I try to convince myself of, I still need you in my life. I had hoped that not seeing you for months, finally getting some distance from whatever happened last year, that I would be able to come home and not be so goddamn in love with you. But that clearly didn't work. And the few guys that I dated to try and get you out of my head for just a few hours, they didn't stand a chance."
She doesn't have time to catch her breath this time, so she can maybe tell him to go away in case she had misread things and he was looking at her in horror. His arms are wrapped around her lower back and just under her ass, holding her off the ground as he attacks her mouth with a ferocity that she would have never expected. She is pinned to the wall adjacent to her closed door; her arms are around his neck, hands in his hair. He is still holding her off the ground, and her legs weave around his. His tongue is invading her mouth and she is pressed so tightly against him that she really can't think of much else. If she had known that losing your mind could feel so good, she would have done this a long time ago.