Okay so I got a plot idea from moirariordan 's site: fanprompted. Even though you can't see the plot prompts in this chapter – they're coming!

This is kind of a departure for me. If you liked my other stories but hate the start of this then …hang on…I am also sort of working on something more in line with the old stuff. Okay, so enjoy (I hope!). love, phoebe :)

reunion -- reunion -- reunion-- reunion -- reunion -- reunion -- reunion -- reunion -- reunion --

Christmas is probably my favorite holiday. Family gathers together from faraway places to celebrate the joys of being together and to reflect on all their warm memories from…

Oh who was I kidding with that!

I was a wreck. I was driving back to London for the first time since starting college. And, of course, I could pinpoint the exact source of all my…wreckness…and that source was Derek!

He'd signed with the Canucks right after high school – weird huh?

Not that it was weird about his playing professional hockey, because he's really good. I mean, I didn't even like him and I could admit that he is talented at the sport…but the Vancouver Canucks?

Just not a team he ever seemed interested in…as a matter of fact …he used to hate the Canucks…

But I guess love can really change a person…

…even change a person from being a life long and loyal Maple Leafs fan to a person who would actually play for a rival team …even a team that the same life long and loyal Leafs fan professed to absolutely hate with a passion

I guess that's just part of the amazing power of love. Amazing huh?

And Derek…my stepbrother…part of my family…whom it would be incest for me to have a relationship with…(not that I would—I'm just saying—just putting that information out there)…

All of which is completely beside the point of love's amazing …power…but anyway…

Derek was in love.

And with an amazing girl named Sally who is also my friend and who amazingly convinced him to move to Vancouver to play hockey for a team he has hated for the entire three and a half years I have known him.

Wow. Truly, truly…no I can't say the word again…

But here is the deal: and really it's just a small little snag in what could have been a lovely Christmas vacation spent at home with my family for me.

And maybe a chance for Derek and his girlfriend – also my friend –Don't forget! – to see everyone and spread a little of the above mentioned amazingness around before tripping back to Vancouver…

Okay! I AM getting to the point. Just be patient. This isn't exactly something I'm proud of…

Back to my being a wreck…

I was a wreck driving home on Winter Break because of what happened before I ever came to U of T. Actually I was a wreck because of what happened precisely before I ever came to U of T.

The night before we both left – me and Derek – him for Vancouver and an exciting life of professional hockey and me for University of Toronto and spectacular academic achievement– there was…

an incident.

It was a very emotional time (just to properly set the tone directly before this incident).

He was packing; I was helping him pack. (Because of course I was already completely packed and ready like any halfway responsible person would have been).

So there I am, carefully folding his sweatshirts and jeans and making little balls out of his socks. He must have been feeling grateful—sock balls are, after all, really convenient when you want a pair of socks in the morning and don't want to have to dig through a drawer of possibly mismatched…

"Casey, what the hell are you doing? Just stuff them in the bag like I told you to do."

"Derek! Trust me – these sock balls are going to really come in handy when you…"

"Fine. Whatever! Just make the stupid sock balls and shut up."

I looked over at him from where I was sitting on his bedroom floor.

I'd stacked everything neatly around me to formulate the best plan of packing. There is a lot to consider when you pack: wrinkle potential, space, weight of bag, convenience of necessary items…well I could go on and on.

"Obviously!" Derek scoffed at me. (I'd taken the time to explain my system to him – because I'm nice like that!)

"You know, Derek," I started. "You don't seem very excited to be going off to Vancouver tomorrow."

He just shrugged at me. He'd been on the phone to Sam earlier, saying goodbye.

The day before we both helped move Ralph into his apartment near North American Trade School (I know, I know… but I thought this was pretty good for Ralph.)

Sam was coming to Toronto like me.

Emily was meeting Sheldon at Memorial University in Newfoundland (cute huh?). Interestingly, though not particularly relevant to my story, Memorial is actually one of the few places where Derek was accepted. He wouldn't have even have been on probationary status IF he'd chosen to go there. Which he never would have done.

Memorial only has a film minor instead of a major, so he had been thinking more along the lines of getting into Toronto as a probationary student. Then when he brought his grades up, the probationary status would be lifted.

Well. None of that really mattered anymore.

Now he was going to Vancouver to play for the Canucks. Oh and also he was moving there to be near Sally…because he loved her.

Derek gave me a withering look. "Butt out, Casey". Then he plopped backwards so instead of sitting on his bed and staring at the wall, he was lying on the bed and staring at the ceiling.

I came to sit beside him because with Derek, "butt out Casey" usually means he has a problem and wants me to keep butting in until either he figures out a solution, and yells at me or I figure out a solution and then yell at him.

"You've been complaining all year about missing Sally and having to be on probationary status at U of T and now both those problems are gone. No more college and no more missing."

He continued to stare at the ceiling, eyes narrowed, chewing his cheek. Just a grunt to tell me that…yes all these things are true, Casey, yet I still find myself filled with an inexplicable ennui.

I nodded as if I understood him perfectly despite the grunt because … despite the grunt …I …understood him perfectly.

"Well…maybe you …made a mistake?" (Always a dangerous suggestion with Derek but I'm brave like that.) "You know, it isn't too late to change your mind about going all the way across the country to live in Vancouver."

That got his attention! He raised an eyebrow at me and screwed his mouth up.

"Well, it isn't!" I countered.

But what a liar I was! Because it so totally WAS too late – it was like way, way, way beyond too late!

Too late was two months ago when he signed for the Canucks!

Too late was when he gave Sally all of his savings for a down payment plus first and last months' rent on a the ritzy apartment she found for them!

Too late was when he gave Edwin his film equipment because he wouldn't have time for that stuff as a newly signed hockey player!

I felt so bad for him in that moment; he wasn't going to be living the future he had planned for and wanted:

He had planned for me to continue tutoring him (just like I had done all this year) so he could move from probationary status to regular status.

And he and I were going to take Introduction to Media together (because I was majoring in theatre and he was majoring in film so we both had to take Introduction to Media and its follow-up course Media Criticism—which we were also going to take together – although we hadn't specifically discussed the follow-up course).

And I had given him Maple Leaf tickets as a Christmas/ birthday present (and dated the most appallingly shallow guy I think I have ever dated to get those tickets! I hate shallow people! Especially when I have to deal with them for the sole purpose of getting my stepbrother season tickets to his favorite team! I am a martyr, I tell you! Really!)

And he and I had even gone to look at some places off campus that we might, maybe consider sharing at some point far, far in the future (like the next fall) because all the tutoring had sort of made us …friends…

I actually started feeling not just bad for Derek in that moment but actually pretty bad for myself too.

"Derek," I sighed. Only it was a really wobbly sigh, like when you suddenly realize that you are barely keeping from crying and are probably not going to be able to hold it for more than a second before… oh no

"Derek," I started again and I was doing slightly better with the wobble. "I can't believe I spent all my specifically allotted Christmas present money on those Maple Leaf tickets when you aren't even going to be here for the games!" I told him.

Then I started to sob.

"Jeez Casey!" But for ONCE he wasn't a completely heartless jerk because he actually sat up and put his arms around me so that I could sob into his shirt. He also rubbed my back –which felt really nice.

Despite the two of us getting to be "sort of friends" over the past year, he had still insisted upon the "no warm family moments with Casey" rule. So I was a little surprised when he not only rubbed my back but also squeezed me closer and sort of curled himself around me.

It was probably the best hug I've ever gotten.

He even buried his face against my neck and pulled me onto his lap! It was such a great hug that it was actually exceeding all my fantasies of what a warm family moment with Derek might be. I wasn't even crying anymore!

Instead, I was gripping him back just as tightly as he was now gripping me and not ever wanting the best hug I've ever gotten to end.

Apparently, Derek didn't want it to end either because he sort of…tackled me… leaning down over me on the bed.

I swear to God that I had NO IDEA what was going on except that we HAD been sitting and now we were lying on the bed.

It really wasn't that unusual in the grand scheme of things; I fall down a lot. I knock people over a lot. I guess, in the confusion of the best hug I've ever gotten, I just sort of assumed that I had done something to make us… fall over.

Sort of a… me on the bottom and him on the top…kind of unusual (yet still remotely plausible!) type of falling over.

So it was a complete surprise to find that the mutual falling over also involved our mouths kind of lining up in the way that people's mouths line up when they kiss. And, I suppose, finding ourselves in that position…

Well not to skip over any of the good parts – because I can see that your eyes are dilating and your breathing has gotten a little shallow here.

Really, you seem way more invested in this story now than you were when I was explaining about the packing. ..

Alright! Alright!

We were kissing. Big time.

He had his hands up my shirt and I was grinding against him. There wasn't any thought of Sally or incest or the fact that our family was pretty much all in the house and downstairs or that the door was unlocked. ..

God he felt good!

His mouth was on my neck leaving big dark marks (which, by the way, were way embarrassing and difficult to hide my first week of college when everyone was first getting to know me and I was making a first impression – probably as a total slut!)

But I wasn't thinking about that THEN.

I was thinking about getting Derek's shirt off. Duh!

I had spent three years of my teenage life brushing against him in the close quarters of the hallway outside our rooms.

Him waking up and stretching in the morning wearing nothing but those plaid pajama pants.

Him coming out of the bathroom in a towel and smelling like cologne with the little drops of water rolling down his muscles.

Him, shirtless, doing chin-ups on that stupid doorway chin-up bar with his jeans falling dangerously low on his hips.

God! And the shirt was just the beginning…of course…because then it was the chin-up bar all over again, with the jeans sliding down his hips, and the muscles flexing under his skin.

Only now it was worse! Because now he was right on top of me, kissing me so hard and demandingly that I felt like I might asphyxiate or …combust. He was saying my name over and over again and begging…


I don't know. ..

Maybe the begging meant that he wanted me to fix all the screwed up decisions that he had made, or maybe the begging was because he wanted me to tell him that they didn't need fixing at all.

Then again, maybe he was begging for exactly what I gave him.

I just know that I couldn't let go of him—not since the moment the best hug I've ever gotten had started. I just wanted him closer and closer.

My clothes came off. Then the last of his clothes came off.

He was inside of me.

He was moving and I was moving and it felt so…

He definitely deserved that reputation he had (before Sally of course – but lets not bring her back quite yet okay?) because my whole body felt was tingling .with the friction between us.

Derek cupped my face with one palm to fix his eyes on mine and gripped at my hip with the other. I was staring back at him barely able to think except for the silliest things like… I remember thinking that I had never noticed how impossibly long his eyelashes were or how his cheeks became adorably flushed when he was exerting himself. His lips were parted above mine – brushing my own lips.

God! He really is very handsome – I mean I have never exactly denied that my stepbrother is absolutely gorgeous. He just IS. It would have been stupid to pretend that he wasn't just because I didn't like him most of the time we were growing up together. I'm not good at faking stupid.

But …oh my …it is ONE thing to have a vague sort of acceptance that the cocky, overly-aggressive jerk living in the room next door to you is actually a very, very attractive cocky, overly-aggressive jerk and then QUITE ANOTHER THING to have the jerk on top of and inside of you. His muscles taught, his breath panting into your mouth, his long lashes brushing your cheek, his lips grazing your own and his skin sliding against your breasts as he thrusts into you.

QUITE ANOTHER, I tell you!

I'm amazed I didn't scream out and alert the entire family to just what kind of " another thing" I am talking about here.

Because I didn't. I didn't time to.

The entire incident had barely started when George and my mom both bellow up the stairs, "Casey and Derek! Get downstairs!"

We were both thinking exactly the same thing – I'm sure it's the exact thing YOU are thinking this very minute. We were caught! They know!

How could they NOT KNOW?

Having sex with your stepsibling was obviously enough of a criminal act and… a sin… that somehow what Derek and I had done had actually thrown the earth its axis and caused it to start spinning the opposite direction –the enormity of it had possibly even propelled it into an entirely different solar system!

I know it felt that way to ME!

However, after our parents yelled upstairs for us, Derek and I were apart and dressed so fast that when we bolted from his room and into the hallway we were both still panting. His cheeks were still pink. My breasts still tingled with his touch.

We both paused then and looked at each other and I swear that I could tell.

He might have chosen Sally as his favorite girlfriend and chosen Marti as his favorite sister and Nora as his favorite mom and Emily as his favorite "female friend" but, whether or not he wanted to actually choose me didn't matter, NO ONE knew Derek Venturi better than I did.

That whole earth tilting, reverse spinning, propulsion to alternate universe thing?

It had happened for him too.

I narrowed my eyes at him. He rubbed a hand over his face.

That's right Venturi! I was practically singing to him in my mind. You have really gone and done it NOW, haven't you? There is NO WAY you can possibly get in your piece of shit car and drive all the way to Vancouver – somewhere I know you don't really want to go – after THAT!

Ha! Looks like I solved his problem after all didn't I? I was feeling smug. I was feeling happy. I was feeling excited (although not quite as excited as I was feeling back in the bedroom) but I started to see all the old plans falling back into place. And I realized that I really WANTED those plans.

I didn't want Derek to leave.

I didn't want him to become a Canuck's player.

I definitely didn't want him to live with Sally.

Downstairs my mom and George had hung a big banner with our names and We'll Miss You written on it. There was pizza. There was cake. There were friends. It was very sweet. Everyone was reminiscing about the past and anticipating the future.

George made a toast, "Casey we know you'll make us just as proud as you have always made us. Derek I just know that I have never been so happy to find my son ISN'T going to school. I am incredibly proud that I have a real professional athlete…"

And Sam said a few words, "…I guess we all knew that Derek would be a famous hockey player one day…"

And Marti was sad but added, "all my friends are so jealous of me that my brother is Derek the hockey player…"

Even Sally was there. Looking great. With pictures of the fabulous place she had picked out with Derek's savings and a notarized copy of his Canucks contract.

Too late. It was just way, way too late.

Derek didn't meet my eyes for the rest of the night.

When I woke up in the morning he was gone.

So back to Winter Break and my white knuckled drive from Toronto to London! I guess I don't need to fill you in on the five months in-between. Do I?

I've always been a good student; when my parents were fighting every night, when they finally divorced, when my mom moved us into that zoo of the Venturi household, when Derek tormented me and boyfriends broke up with me…I just buried myself in my desire to excel.

Sometimes, when I needed to "bury myself" a little…deeper…it became more of a need to excel, maybe even a pathological need to excel or an obsessive, compulsive need or even an all consuming tornado of desperate need to excel. Whatever.

At any rate, there was no shame in my homecoming because I'd had a very, very successful first semester. Despite the hickies. Or, Because of the hickies. Whatever!

Derek, on the other hand, had quite a bit to be ashamed of (in my opinion)…QUITE A BIT.

Oh he was a big star and all that –girls across the nation who didn't even know him were in love with him (as opposed to his former circumstances in which only girls at our high school who didn't even know him being in love with him). But that isn't the issue. The issue was the way he played...

"Hockey's Bad Boy"

Do you know how BAD you have to be to be "Hockey's Bad Boy" ? Really, Really , Really BAD.

Not that he wasn't good. He was great.

Just…what a mean bastard he had become! Yes, I really did say that; Derek was a mean bastard: slashing, high-sticking, spearing. He did all kinds of stuff that he used to think of as dirty or call "tricks that guys who skate for shit always pull."

And he got in fights!

Not just the regular fights during the games either (because back in high school he got in plenty of game fights – apparently guys who "skate for shit" don't really appreciate being identified as such.)

Derek got in fights OFF the ice – AFTER games – BEFORE games – when there were no games at all.

Then he made the tabloids. Which, being Derek, led to even more fan-girl worship.

And everyone might be shrugging all this aggression off as "that's Derek for you," but NOT ME!

Just because no one else could tell Derek's regular jerky overly aggressiveness from his desperate, cry-for-help overly aggressiveness didn't mean that I was blind to what was really going on.

SO – maybe things weren't going so well in Vancouver—hmmm?

Maybe he shouldn't have just driven off in the night to his little love-nest and his big-shot hockey position and his fan-girls and his …never, ever emailing me or calling or saying a SINGLE THING about what happened between us…

What a jerk! I hate Derek!

I wasn't a wreck anymore by the time I pulled up to the house. I was fuming! I felt like I could rip the front door off by the hinges! I felt like I could carry the two huge suitcases, packed with three possible outfits per day, in one hand and hurl them up the stairs and into my old room. I felt like I could …

Oh My God! He was the first one to answer the door and it was the chin-up bar all over again.

His hair was wet. A towel was draped over one shoulder and he was bare-chested. Oh My…professional hockey was doing fine, fine things to his already not to shabby body. I mean, what was once a sort of scrawny kind of muscular had turned into a sort of muscular kind of muscular. He looked really….good…and the low slung jeans thing was still in full force too. God help me…please…

Please Casey….please…..

No don't think of that! He hasn't even tried to contact you once in the five months since that happened. Ass!

We both just stood there looking each other up and down and, even though I was breathing a little hard and probably red in the face from carrying the two ginormous suitcases, he looked like he was trying not to picture the exact same things that I was trying not to picture.

And he actually took a step towards me—reached for me—with his face soft and dazed like it was the last time he made eye contact with me in the hallway before our going away party. I was frozen. I wanted him to touch me—traitor that I was—traitor to the five months of agony between that moment and this moment.

"Derek? Who's at the door?" No! Tell me it isn't true!

"Casey?" Wait I know that voice!


She elbowed Derek out of the way and crushed me to her chest. "Oh Casey! I'm so glad you're here!"

And behind her was the owner of the other voice, the first voice I'd heard.


She smiled at me (Was I imagining it or was that smile looking a little strained? Maybe a little… not so glad to see me? ) She wrapped her arms around Derek's waist possessively and leaned into him. Her eyes met mine purposefully.

She knows!

If there is one thing I could always count on Derek for it was to lie, cheat, steal and basically do whatever it took to save his own skin. So I knew that he hadn't told her or anything. No way.

But the daggers she was throwing me with that look—and the uncomfortable way that Derek was standing beside her—limp—chewing the inside of his cheek—panicked! Hah!

He missed me!

He missed me so much that he was talking about me—a lot—to HER. Ha! Double ha! And, It was driving her crazy!

I smiled sweetly at the two of them. "Its great to see you, Sally." I yanked my suitcases towards the stairs because I fully intended on hauling both of them up to my room by myself. BECAUSE MY SUPER-GIRL POWERS HAD RETURNED!

And just as I grazed his shoulder with my own, I added him into my greeting. Calm, cool, collected, "Derek," I drawled into his ear.

To Be Continued…