DISCLAIMER: I do not own the show or the characters. If I did, I could afford to live in an apartment where I could have air conditioning.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I know this isn't the next chapter of IYCRMM, but this has been sitting on my external for a long time, so I figured it was about time I posted it.

She had it all planned out.

Her new husband would carry her over the threshold of their bridal suite – it would be effortless for him, of course, with all his rippling muscles, visible even through the fabulous tuxedo he'd be wearing – and to the bed. She wasn't sure if it should be heart-shaped. That seemed really cliché to her, and also, there was just something about a king-sized bed that was just so much more…comfortable. And she imagined that comfort should outweigh ambiance in that situation.

Now, the Jacuzzi could be heart-shaped. That was still acceptable.

And the regular, normal bed (piled high with pillows, made up with fluffy white sheets, of course) wouldn't matter, given how the rest of the room would be decorated. Flowers (red and white roses, because she'd looked it up, and that meant unity, and wasn't that what they would be doing?) and candles (white jasmine – she looked that up, too) would be everywhere, and soft music (she was partial to Jeff Buckley's "Lover, You Should've Come Over") would be playing on the stereo.

No television, of course. Why would they need a television? They'd have each other.

Underneath her wedding dress, she would be wearing a sexy yet tasteful piece of lingerie – a silk teddy, maybe. Something classy like that. Her new husband would slowly undress her, and then himself – because, as the inexperienced bride, she shouldn't have to worry about anything. He would lay her on the bed, and quote one of Shakespeare's sonnets in a whisper, telling her repeatedly how beautiful she was and how much he loved her. They would make love all night, and it would be the most glorious night of her life.

It didn't happen at all as she imagined it.

It had hurt. She had known, logically, that it would. She'd read about it, and they'd had sex ed in school. But in her fantasies, she had never really considered that part. Now, it was practically all she could think about. The sharp, stabbing pain had faded almost immediately, and all that was left was a dull throb. She concentrated on breathing properly and focused her attention on Derek, sleeping peacefully on top of her.

There was no bed piled high with pillows, no fluffy white sheets for her to lie on. Only the uncomfortable backseat of the Prince, on top of the blanket they'd used for their earlier picnic. The armrest was digging into her back, but she didn't dare move. Her muscles might protest in the morning, and even though her neck was at an awkward angle, there was no force on Earth strong enough to make her move.

He hadn't whispered poetry in her ear. But Derek was not a poetry kind of guy. He hadn't told her that he loved her. But he didn't really need to. She knew that he loved her. He proved it every day by doing little, seemingly meaningless things – like letting her have the bathroom first on the days she had an exam so that she wouldn't worry about being late to school. He didn't have to do the grand romantic gestures that she expected of her former boyfriends. She wasn't ever sure why that was – why she'd expected so much of Sam and Max and Noel and was so disappointed when they didn't live up to what she thought a perfect boyfriend should be. She thought it might be because she had known, deep down, that none of them were who she truly wanted, and so she had come up with any excuse possible to pick fights with them.

There was no wedding dress, no fancy lingerie. She hadn't even dressed up at all. She was wearing a plain old white cotton bra and panties underneath a pair of jeans and her brown sweater. Derek had seen her in those hundreds of times. But it really didn't matter what her underwear looked like, since Derek had only been concerned with removing it (and he owed her a new pair - he'd ripped the elastic).

No flowers, only the lavender-scented air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror, which he had only consented to put up after she spent a solid thirty minutes whining and pouting that she was sick of their car smelling like a locker room. And though the romantic in her insisted that there be as many roses as humanly possible, she'd always thought roses to be overrated. The day before, Derek had surprised her by putting a single daffodil in a glass of water and leaving it on her bedside table. He so rarely did things like that, and she thought that was better than a whole bouquet of roses.

There were no candles, which was probably a good thing (can you say fire hazard?). The only light came from the soft glow of the dashboard. It was romantic, in a way, because it made Casey feel as though they were the only two people on the planet (and isn't that how it's supposed to feel?). The engine was running, filling the cabin with heat (and adding to the fog that obscured their vision through the windows), but there was no music – the radio was on the fritz. She almost thought that was better – she felt scandalized for even thinking this, but she liked hearing the noises that Derek made, the soft way he moaned her name. Neither of them had been loud, even though, parked in the middle of a field as they were, no one would have heard them. Casey couldn't speak for Derek, but she hadn't had the energy to yell the way she knew some people did. Nor had she been coherent enough to form thoughts, let alone words.

Ironically, the only part of her carefully planned evening that was remotely similar to her ultimate fantasy was Derek. And that was just all kinds of weird.

Then again, it wasn't weird at all.