Author's Note: Hi guys! Bet this surprised you. I've actually had this idea for a sequel to A Simple Question swimming around in my head for quite some time. I just had some trouble getting it down because it was more concepts than actual plot ideas. The concepts were all over the place and I finally decided on a simpler one. This takes place roughly a year and half later and will mirror the original in many ways. It's not nearly as long as the original either, as it's purpose was mainly to offer some conclusion and maybe tie up any loose ends. And because I just really loved Derek and Casey in that story. It was a lot of fun to write. Sequels are always hard because the originals are almost always better. But I hope this will at least do it some justice and I hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: Another sad day reminding me that I still don't own LWD
Another Simple Question
Casey stood in front of the mirror and smoothed an imagined wrinkle from the skirt of her dress. She reached up and tucked an errant lock of hair back into place and leaned forward to check her makeup. When she was satisfied that her makeup was still perfect, her dress still perfect, and her hair still perfect, she allowed herself the luxury of a moment to relax. She couldn't believe how nervous she was. She'd thought it would be a cakewalk seeing as she'd done it (at least this part) before.
This time around, she'd managed to usher out the army of stylists, planners, wedding coordinators, her mother, Liz, Kendra, Em, Marti and now Abigail much sooner than last time. Of course, they'd had to be placated with promises that the end result this time around would be different. Insulted but fully understanding of their concerns (and feeling guiltily responsible), she quickly agreed to their demands. She made a mental note to later tell Derek why there would be a nine month countdown calendar hanging in their bedroom and why on the way to their honeymoon, it would be necessary to make a few stops at the parenting section of the bookstore, a vitamin shop, and lastly why it was necessary to hunt down a fertility statue. She flushed slightly at the thought of having to explain to the shopkeeper, a complete stranger, what they were looking for.
With nothing left to obsess about and a little less than an hour until the ceremony, Casey carefully maneuvered her way to the window seat. For her second attempt at walking down the aisle, Casey chose a slightly less obtrusive dress. There were fewer layers of lace and petticoats (though not by much) and the train was only half as long. Though seeing as it trailed half the room's length behind, she sufficed it was still long enough. She giggled slightly at the arguments between her and Derek concerning her dress. While he had yet to see the final product, he'd fought her tooth and nail upon finding out how much easier an escape attempt in this model gown would be. He'd insisted on more layers, more jewels included in the beading (the better to weigh her down) and an even longer train. Upon reminding him for the umpteenth time that he had not only aided and abetted her last wedding escape but had also helped prompt it, he conceded. But not before getting in final word on the train, which at half the length of the last one, was still ridiculously long.
She sighed as her thoughts muddled through the finer details of her wedding until finally settling on the niggling reasons for the slight uneasiness in her stomach.
"Why is this happening?" she muttered out loud. "I actually do want to marry Derek."
The more she tried to find the root of the problem, the worse her condition got. She felt her cheeks flush, her breathing rate increase, and a fine line of perspiration bead across her forehead.
"Oh my god, I'm sweating," she cried out. "This can't be happening. I can't be sweating in my wedding dress. Right before my wedding!"
The sound of a sharp rapping on the door drew Casey's attention away from her panic attack.
"Casey?" called out an achingly familiar voice.
"Derek?" she called out, picking up the layers of her dress and the train to maneuver her way to the door.
"Case? Let me in," he answered back.
"Are you insane?" she hissed at him. "This time around you are the groom. You're not allowed to see me before the wedding."
"Space-y," he baited, using the nickname he knew she couldn't stand.
"Don't call me that, Der-EK!" she retorted, using the pronunciation of his name he only tolerated from her.
"Case, just let me in. I'm not going to have this argument with you through the door," he said tiredly.
"Derek, it's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding. Do you really want to start our marriage out with bad luck?" she argued.
"Well Case, seeing as nothing about us has followed tradition, I think I'm willing to take the chance."
"Der-ek!" she exclaimed, clearly appalled at the thought.
"Case-y!" he returned. They were both silent a moment and Casey knew without a doubt he was taking the time to compose himself. They'd long learned that they weren't like other couples where arguing twenty-five percent of the time was cause for a breakup. For them, arguing only forty percent of the time was a victory. But even still, they'd been working on trying not to argue over every little thing. And Casey was ashamed to admit that since they'd started planning the wedding, Derek had been better at it than she had.
"Fine," he finally said a moment later. "I'll wear a blindfold."
"What?" She hadn't been expecting that.
"A blindfold," he repeated. "I'll wear a stupid blindfold. Then will you let me in?"
"Don't be stupid, Derek," she called to him as she leaned against the door. "Where would you get a blindfold?"
"I'll use the handkerchief from my tux." Casey had to pause and think about it.
"Casey?" he asked when she was silent longer than he'd liked.
"I'm thinking," she snapped back at him.
"I know," he replied. "That's what I'm afraid of."
He heard the sound of her frustrated scream muffled by the door between them.
"Fine, you can come in." Derek let out a sigh. But she wasn't finished.
"You better be blindfolded. And I mean actually blindfolded, not just sort of blindfolded," she ordered. She waited for his agreement and his assurance that the blindfold was on before unlocking the door.
Derek heard the lock tumble and began to open the door when it was stopped.
"Case?" he asked.
"How many fingers am I holding up?" she demanded.
"How many fingers am I holding up?" she repeated.
"Casey, are you serious?" He couldn't believe this was actually happening. He was wearing a blindfold and guessing how many fingers his fiancée was holding up. And he was Derek Venturi.
"I am dead serious. I'm not moving away from the door until you answer the question."
"And what was the question again?" he asked innocently, just to mess with her.
"Argh! Der-ek!" she cried out, completely frustrated.
"Yes?" He had the audacity to smile at her.
"How many fingers?" From the tone her voice had taken, Derek figured the fun was over.
"Three," he finally answered. Casey moved slightly away from the door and raised an eyebrow as she regarded the blindfold covering his eyes carefully. She watched his face for any giveaways that he was able to see from underneath the handkerchief.
"Okay, you can come in," she acceded as she stepped back further from the door to make room for him to enter.
"I can't believe you don't trust me," he told her as she shut and locked the door behind them.
"Hmph," was her reply as she led him to a chair and helped him sit.
"What happened to relationships needing trust?" he asked breezily.
"Yeah well, I'm in a relationship with you," she retorted sarcastically.
"Casey, baby, you don't trust me?" he replied, feigning hurt. "I promise I haven't slept with another woman since I proposed." Casey let out a snort.
"You haven't slept with anyone else since you helped me ditch my last wedding. Your fidelity isn't where the mistrust stems from," she told him matter-of-factly.
"Explain," he commanded.
"For our anniversary you reinstated the prank war from our high school days." Derek didn't bother to hold back a chuckle and a grin at the memory.
"Hey, at least no one can say our relationship isn't fun."
"You put honey in my shampoo!"
"You put dye in my body wash and I had to play the semifinals looking like a smurf. You don't see me complaining," Derek pointed out.
"Because you started it!" Casey reiterated.
"In my defense, I recall taking you to Hawaii when it was all over," Derek said, pleading his case.
"Only because I bribed Edwin and flipped Marti which resulted in you losing."
"Same difference." Casey took a calming breath and cooled the fires her fiancé always seemed to know how to stroke.
"We're getting horribly off track. Why are you here Derek?" she asked once she was calm.
"To make sure you weren't planning an escape route." Casey saw the smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth and knew he was joking but decided to play along.
"Derek, you made sure I was on the second story. I can hardly climb out of this window." She saw something in his eyes change.
"So what was up with the rehearsal?" he asked evenly, suddenly serious. Casey stopped ringing her hands together and looked at Derek's face.
"I don't know," she told him honestly. "It was that stupid question."
Derek felt like he was in a time warp. A year and a half ago, a simple question had helped him stop the love of his life from marrying another man. Now it seemed fate was playing a cruel joke on him as another simple question was giving his beloved difficulties in saying "I do." However, this time it was to him.
"Derek, I do want to marry you. I do," she said interrupting him.
"So you can say 'I do,'" he joked mirthlessly. From the sudden stillness in the room, Derek figured he'd accidentally gone too far.
"Case, I'm sorry I didn't mean –"
"No, no I deserved it." Derek heard a sniff and the rustling of what must have been a hundred layers of silk and lace followed by a few labored steps towards him. A few moments later, all the silk and lace seemed to fall inelegantly in a heap at his feet. He felt Casey's head drop into his lap and he immediately wished he could turn back time and stop himself from sticking his foot in his mouth.
"I don't know what happened," Casey lamented, still careful to guard against rubbing her makeup onto his suit.
Derek leaned forward awkwardly to pat her back with one hand while the other was clenched tightly between both of hers.
"Well, Case, what is it about the question that bothers you?" Never in a million years did Derek think he'd be the calm, accepting one at his wedding. He rather always pictured it more like him being marched up the aisle by the bride's father with a shotgun at his back. He wanted to laugh out loud at the irony of it all but held it in for Casey's sake.
"I can't believe you're the one trying to comfort me right now," Casey sniffed, suddenly echoing his thoughts from just moments before. "When we first made our engagement public, I honestly thought that when this day came, I'd have to arm all my male relatives and send them out to hunt and drag you back to the alter."
Derek did laugh then. "What can I say? I'm full of surprises."
They lapsed into a comfortable silence while Derek simply continued to rub circles over her back.
"I think my issue is with the whole 'in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, all for the rest of the days of your life, till death do you part' part of it," she finally told him.
"So," Derek began, keeping his tone light. "You're concerned with the stability of my financial situation? What? Afraid I can't afford you, Princess?"
The comment earned him a swift smack on his thigh and a shrill exclamation of, "Der-ek!"
"I can't believe you," she said as she struggled to gather her dress and train so she could stand. "Here it is like half an hour before our wedding and you're joking around about me being a gold-digger."
"Okay, I'm sorry," he apologized as he grabbed her shoulders to keep her from standing. "That was bad, I'll admit it."
Casey stopped struggling and let Derek prop her back up into her former position, leaning against his knee. "You don't really think I'm a gold-digger, do you?"
"Casey, baby, of course not. If you were, you would have married what's-his-name when you had the chance. Which, by the way, I'm sure Liz is grateful to you for passing up." Casey laughed softly at the quip.
"They have way more in common than me and Stefan had anyway," she commented.
"Didn't make it any less shocking."
"True. I mean I knew they'd become good friends but who'd have thought they'd come back from that sports edition of the celebrity poker tournament in Las Vegas married?"
"Not Nora, that's for sure." Derek let out a laugh remembering Nora's reaction to Liz's happy nuptials. There was crying, high pitched "Georgie's," hugs, questions of "Does your sister know?" plenty of "I need to call Dennis'" and finally about fifty million of "Oh my baby is all grown up!"
"Ed was happy," Casey added. "Starting up that investment company and having Stefan Walker as one of your first clients was a gold mine."
"It was. And with her being your sister, of all people, and their marriage taking place just three months after you left him at the altar, you were no longer the heartless witch the tabloids had taken to calling you." Casey didn't think that comment needed a response so she didn't give one.
"Derek, it's not the money," Casey announced suddenly, bringing the conversation back to the topic at hand.
"I know, Case."
"And it's not that I'm afraid you're suddenly going to get all bedridden on me," she told him fervently.
"Good to know. I wasn't planning on it."
"Although if you did, you know I'd still love you right?"
Derek let out a chuckle. "Of course."
When she didn't continue, Derek pressed her. "Then what is it?"
"It's…I dunno, the whole 'forever' part. The part about 'till death do us part.'" Derek considered her revelation for a moment.
"You're not planning on killing me to get out of the vows, are you? Cuz short of that, once we say them, I'm holding you to them."
"Of course not, Derek. And believe me, once we say them, there is no backing out for you." She lifted her head to look him in the eyes, forgetting for a moment that he was still blindfolded. "And don't think I plan on dying to save you the inconvenience of trying to find a loophole out of them."
"Good," she parroted. "Just so we're clear."
"Crystal," he smirked. "Which brings us back to why you have an issue with that particular part of the vows?"
She let her head fall back down onto his knee. "It's because of mom and George."
"What about them?" he asked, not following her train of thought.
"Well, unless there's something they've failed to tell us, the only reason we're able to do this is because you're not my real brother."
"Have I told you lately how grateful for that I am? Otherwise, I think my issues would almost rival yours."
Casey rolled her eyes, not that he would notice. "Derek, can you please follow along with the conversation? We're running out of time."
"Believe me, I'm trying," he said mostly under his breath. From the whack Casey gave his leg, he figured she heard.
"Anyway, George wasn't mom's first husband. She was married to my dad. Just like George was married to your mom."
"Yeah, I'm well aware of our family trees, babe."
"Ugh! Why am I marrying you again?"
"Love," Derek quipped. "And I'm really good in bed."
"Right. Oh about that," she said in an intentionally off-handed nature. "I was forced to make some promises that will require you to live up to that claim."
Derek raised at eyebrow, though he wasn't sure she'd be able to see it because of the blindfold. "Do I want you to elaborate?"
"Probably not at this particular moment."
"Okay then," Derek said mostly to speed things up and not because he wasn't curious. He'd have to make his way back to the front of the church soon. "You were saying?"
"Derek, we're the product of two failed marriages. Four intelligent, educated, wonderful people failed in two out of three marriages. They didn't make it to the 'till death do us part' part of their vows. How do you know that we will?"
Derek couldn't answer her right away. He'd had a feeling this was what had been bothering Casey. But knowing the problem didn't necessarily mean the solution would come easy.
"Do you want to marry me?"
"Of course," she told him.
"Do you love me?"
"Derek, it's not the same thing."
"Yes it is. It's exactly the same thing." He pulled them both to their before pulling off the ridiculous blindfold so she could see in his eyes how serious he was.
"Derek, you're not supposed to see," she chastised, momentarily distracted.
"Seriously, Casey? You believe this stupid superstition but you have issues with believing in wedding vows?"
Casey couldn't find a response so instead she glared angrily up at him.
"It's the same thing, Case," he repeated. "Remember what I told you about love?"
"The fortune cookie," she said, her anger immediately dissipating and dissolving into a smile at the memory.
"Yeah. It's true here too. You just know, Case. It's a risk we're both just going to have to take. Not everything comes with a safety net. Sometimes you just have to leap."
"The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward," she said, repeating the popular saying.
"Exactly. And I'm willing to take that risk if you are." Casey reluctantly smiled at how earnest and un-Derek-like Derek was willing to be for her. She searched his eyes and saw that he really meant it, really believed in them as a couple. And she realized that she did too. No one knew her like Derek. No one accepted her like Derek. No one loved her like Derek. And no one was as perfect for her as Derek was just like no one was as perfect for him as her.
"I wouldn't really have tried to escape you know," she admitted to him.
"I know," he said, his famous smirk now gracing his lips
"I would have made it down the aisle even if you hadn't come up."
"And I eventually would have gotten the words out," she added defensively.
"Then why are you here?"
"Maybe I was feeling nostalgic? If you remember, this whole thing started with a situation very similar to this one." She wrapped her around his neck as he pressed a kiss onto hers.
"I have a confession to make," he said softly. "I could actually see pretty clearly though the blindfold."
"I know you could."
"I love you, Case."
"I love you, Derek. I'm glad you came," she whispered.
"I'm glad I came too," he said once they'd pulled away. "I should probably head back to the altar."
"Yes, you should," she agreed as they made their way to the door. At the door, he pressed a kiss into her palm and turned to leave.
"Derek, wait." She reached out and caught his hand.
"Don't let anyone know you saw me, okay?" He saw how earnest she was and had to fight hard to hold back a laugh.
"You don't really believe that superstition, do you?"
"Der-ek! It's tradition," she emphasized.
"Baby, we defy tradition. And in case I haven't told you recently, Wedding Day Barbie has nothing on you," he said smugly as he let his lips graze the top of her knuckles and headed back to the altar.
Twenty minutes later, her make-up refreshed, her hair touched up, her gown smoothed and her mood calmer than it had ever been, Casey found herself at the back of the church, prepared to make the walk down the aisle just like she'd always dreamed of. With Dennis on one side and Nora on her other, when the wedding coordinator signaled her to begin walking, she was ready. With each step she took towards her future with Derek, she knew theirs was a love that would last.
Everything was going perfectly. The men stoically nodded their approval while the woman cried. The music filled the church with the joyous songs of love. And when it came time for the exchange of vows, she just knew it would be perfect too.
Casey's heart began to race as the minister turned to Derek and began the part she'd been anticipating.
"Do you, Derek, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife; to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, forsaking all
others, until death do you part?"
Derek's eyes locked into hers and she felt her breath catch in her throat.
"I do," he said. And while his voice was loud and clear and firm, she knew they were meant just for her.
"And do you, Casey, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband; to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, forsaking all others, until death do you part?"
Casey took in a deep breath and turned to look at the minister briefly before turning back to Derek. Her eyes locked with his once again and she gave him a small reassuring smile that everything was going to be just perfect. She opened her mouth to begin forming the words when the unthinkable happened.
The heel on Casey's shoe snapped and Casey's eyes widened, registering her sheer horror and shock. And before Derek could shake off his surprise and disbelief at what was happening, Casey went crashing to the floor; luckily cushioned by the volume of her dress.
The entire Church was blanketed in horrified silence as Casey continued to sit on the floor, still too stunned by what happened to move. And then a change came over her. Her eyes, which had been wide with shock, were now positively blazing with fury, all of which was aimed at her fiancé, who appeared to have gotten over his surprise and was now fully engaged in a battle to hold back his laughter.
"DER-EK!" screamed the infuriated bride and she struggled to stand up while holding the bouquet and now the offending shoe.
"Case, are you okay?" Derek managed between shaky breaths, still attempting to stifle the budding laughter. And fully aware that Casey knew.
"DER-EK!" she screamed again once she was back on her feet. "This is ALL YOUR FAULT! I told you it was a tradition. I told you it was bad luck. But no, you had to be Mr. Knows-It-All and you laughed it off as a stupid superstition. And LOOK WHAT HAPPENED! YOU'RE RUINING MY PERFECT WEDDING. DER-EK! DEREK DON'T YOU DARE START LAUGHING!"
And as she yelled at him not to, Derek did what came most natural to him. He laughed.
While the minister was taken aback by the sudden ensuing bickering between the bride and groom, he was reassured by the knowing smiles the guests had upon their faces while they waited patiently for the wedding to continue. The guests had no doubt that everything would be okay and that the couple would last despite the screaming of the bride and the laughter coming from the groom. They were Derek and Casey.
Forty minutes later (twenty minutes for them to stop bickering, ten to finish the ceremony and another ten to finally pry them apart after they started kissing), the guests belief in the couple was reconfirmed as they were finally declared husband and wife.
Derek and Casey always did have a way of turning a simple situation into something not so simple.
So that was Another Simple Question. I hope you enjoyed it. As always, please review! It's always nice to get feedback from you guys about what you like and what you don't. Until next time!