Disclaimer: I don't own Life With Derek or Leona Lewis or her song "Better in Time"

A/n: this is my first song fic, just hope you guys like it. I know I need to update Her Knight in Shining Tshirt and I will. But I heard this song on the radio and I couldn't stop thinking it was perfect Dasey material!

Better in Time

It's been the longest winter without you

I didn't know where to turn to

See somehow I can't forget you

November 29, 2008

I was sitting alone in my room thinking; hoping against hope it wasn't true. He wasn't coming home for Christmas. That's what George just said, before I walked from the "family meeting" back to my room. My mother looked at me oddly, but didn't question my reaction. She gets it; we've been dating since we graduated high school, six months ago.

Winter. It doesn't technically start until December 21st, unless you live in Canada, which I do. Then it starts in September, precisely after Derek left for his first year at University. I know what you're thinking, why didn't I go? I wanted to take some time off for the holidays, vowing to start the Spring Semester.

He has a hockey scholarship, which stated his school year began in September. He promised he would be home Christmas, because he hadn't been able to make it Thanksgiving. He had a major exam to study for, therefore enabling him to come home. I was upset, but I understood. Now, it's harder.

I miss him, his hair, his eyes, and his devious smirk. Some of my favorite things about Derek, if I think about the others, I'll get depressed.

My phone is ringing.

"Hello? Hi, Em." I say.

"Hey, Case! What are you doing? Have you heard from Derek?" Her questions usually excite me; I'm always up for a Derek conversation. Not right now, however.

"I'm sitting in my room. No, George did. He's not coming home for Christmas. I haven't seen him in 2 months." There's a slight pause, then an exhale or sigh. She's speaks.

"I'm really sorry, Casey. That sucks, severely." She starts telling me something about school, and about some boy she just met now. Trying desperately to lighten my dark mood. I sigh, she's my best friend and deserves my full attention and enthusiasm, even if I have to fake it.

"That's great. Wow, so he asked you out, are you going?" I don't really care at this point, but she seems happy enough for both of us.

"I think so. He's an upperclassman, I'm a little intimidated." She says. Emily Davis is in Medical school. She decided she wanted to help people and she thinks her first residency will be at a non-profit hospital like Scottish Rite from the states.

I'm excited about that part, but my depressive mood is really hankering my ability to enjoy speaking to my best friend.

"Hey, Em? I don't mean to be rude, but I need to cut this short. My mom is calling me." She's not really, but I can't stand hearing this right now. She's going out with boys she likes and I'm to spend the holidays without the boy I love.

"Yeah, okay. Tell everyone I said hi." I agree and we hang up our phones. I sit in silence once again. Maybe the New Year will get here soon and I know I can see him then. He gets his first semester grades, and he must come home to show them to us.

Thought I couldn't live without you

It's gonna hurt when it heals too

It'll all get better in time

Even though I really love you

I'm gonna smile cause I deserve to

It'll all get better in time

December 17, 2008

Nearly a month has gone by and I'm feeling a little better. Mom took Lizzie and I shopping for Christmas gifts. Since we've gotten older, she just takes us to pick out our own gifts. She sees what we go for and then gets an idea of a 'surprise' gift.

Which, Edwin usually tells us about, ruining my mother's surprise. But that's Ed for ya. He's so sweet. Sarcasm has become my new companion; even my mother is getting frustrated with me.

She is now counting down the days until Derek reappears.

The phone again, I already talked to Emily. So my heart flutters, could it be him calling? I quickly grab the cordless, punching the on button with more force than necessary.

"Hello?" There is a little static, finally I hear it. His voice, low and manly, my insides start shaking.

"Hey, Case. How're you doing today? I miss you." His happiness fades a bit as he says this last part. He misses me; I miss him too. I tell him, I can almost picture the smirk forming as he speaks,

"You better, I would hate to think my girlfriend was too busy to miss me."

I wish, like hell, I could see him, hug him, or kiss him. I blush at my own thoughts, there are other things creeping into my mind. Naughty things.

"So, what's up for Christmas? Studying, a keg party-mixer-thing?" I laugh at my attempt at a joke, because he laughed first.

"No, I'm actually going to be hanging around some mistletoe. I'm thinking the professor in my math class is going to be puckering up for her favorite hockey player." He snickers at my apparent frustration.

"Mistletoe? Why must you torture me? Is she pretty, you're math professor?" I ask, a little afraid of the answer. He bursts into laughter.

"Hell, no! She's like sixty I just wanted to get a reaction out of you. Not the one I was expecting, though. It seems to me, Ms. McDonald, that you have lost your sense of humor." I sigh, if he heard me; he didn't comment.

"Derek, I'm just really upset that you can't come home. It's the first Christmas in four years that we've spent apart. Even before we started dating, we enjoyed hanging out in the living room after everyone else went to sleep." He sighs this time.

"I know, Case. But you know I can't. It's going to be a pain in the ass around here as is. I have to put in so many library hours, I'm starting to realize how you felt in high school. Only, I'm not a super keener and choosing to do so, like you always did." He's picking on me. I know he wants me to cheer up, so for him, I do.

"Well, you'll just miss seeing me in my camisole and candy cane pajama bottoms." I tease him.

"Mmm, take a pic with your cell and send it to me. I'll have wonderful dreams, if you know what I mean." He said in a low, husky flirtatious voice. I chuckled.

"I gotta go, Case. I love you." He whispered.

"I know. I love you, too." I whisper back. He hangs up first, because I don't have the strength to. My spirits are lifted slightly.

Hurry up, January!

I couldn't turn on the TV Without something there to remind me

I walked down the stairs to let everyone know I spoke to Derek. He usually only has time to talk with one of us. Edwin is sitting in the brown beat up recliner, watching a hockey tournament. Perfect.

"Ed, do you mind watching that in your room? Please?" I say, trying to convince him that there is a movie on I want to watch. He rolls his eyes at my obvious lie, handing me the remote before ascending the steps.

December 21, 2008

It's been fours days, that means only four more until Christmas. I sigh, crossing out the previous four days on my calendar. It won't be the same without him. I'm sure I'll enjoy spending the time with my parents and my siblings. I'm told there won't be any family visitors, like Aunt Madge, this year. She's going to Winnipeg. Poor, George, I know how much Aunt Madge's visits mean to him and Edwin and Marti as well.

Mom wasn't all that thrilled that Aunt Madge wouldn't be here. But Lizzie was relieved, she said Aunt Madge tends to comment on her developing breasts when she's visiting. Ew, gross. How very Sixteen Candles.

December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve was finally here; the McDonald-Venturi household was filled with the sounds of Christmas Carols playing softly from the stereo system in the living room. The smells of pine, peppermint, and stuffing wafted upstairs to my nostrils.

I was helping Marti dress for dinner. Fighting with her to wear more seasonal colors, instead of her usual purple attire. She wasn't cooperating.

"No! Casey, please, can't I wear my purple dress? I don't like red and green! Derek wouldn't make me wear this!" My 8-year-old stepsister screamed. I froze at the mention of his name.

"Sorry, Casey. I know you're sad he's not going to be here. I am too. It's not Derekus without Derek." She smiled at me, one I returned as we shared mutual memories of last year.

Marti finally gave in to me; she wore the red and green dress I'd picked out for her. She twirled in front of my full-length mirror. I smiled my dress was similar to hers. I suddenly had a crazy thought. What if Derek and I got married; our daughter could look like Marti.

I cheered with the new fantasy I'd cooked up to help me get through this night.

Dinner was wonderful, as usual. Mom had spent many hours cooking and seasoning a feast fit for a king. George was rambling on about something or other that happened at the office. Marti and Edwin were thumb wrestling. Lizzie was staring at me with concern.

"Hey, Case? Would you come with me?" She whispered in my ear after she'd gotten my attention by tugging at the sleeve of my dress.

"Sure. What's up, Liz?" I asked once we'd entered the kitchen. She looked around, as if trying to decide what to say. Then wringing her hands, she looked up at me from her previous stare at her feet.

"Are you going to be okay? I know you miss him, we all do. But it's really not like you to be so moody and depressed at Christmas. It's your favorite holiday." Lizzie reminded me. I thought about what she'd said. It is my favorite holiday and I am with my family, minus one important person. But for the most part, we were in good health and spirits.

"You're right Liz. I am being moody. I promise to cheer up, kay?" She nodded her head in agreement.

We hugged she walked into the living room while I stood in the kitchen doorway. Edwin gave her a sweet smile, was that? Nah, couldn't be. Could it? They were looking at each other the way Derek and I used to before we finally gave in to our feelings. Uh, oh.

Midnight, December 24, 2008

Everyone has gone to bed; I'm not sure how long I've been gazing into the lights on the tree. Thinking of nothing in particular, just trying to carry on as normal. Practicing our tradition of hanging by the tree doesn't feel the same. But it brings peace to my mind, what if he's doing the same thing at school? In his dorm room where he has that 'Charlie Brown' Christmas tree I insisted he take to school.

He fought me on it, but I always win with Derek. He gives in, of course, but still I win. I was so absorbed in my thoughts, I could swear there was a light knock at the door. I get up to check, opening the door a crack. The wind is howling softly, snowflakes are swirling around in the light breeze and the temperature is bitingly cold.

Going coming thought I heard a knock

Who's there no one

I guess it was just my imagination playing tricks on me I was hoping not…I don't know what I thought I heard. I reasoned with myself, he's in Maine, not Canada.

Thinking that I deserve it

Now I realize that I really didn't know

"Merry Christmas, Casey." I hear his voice softly behind me, as I shut the front door. My eyes light up, I run to his open arms.

"Derek, you made it. How?" He smiled at me before kissing me softly. I couldn't help it I deepened the kiss to show him how much I'd missed him and how happy I was that he was here now.

"This may sound ridiculous but I planned it this way. Sorry. I wanted to surprise you with my coming home. If I had known how it would affect you, I wouldn't have done it," I gave him a puzzled look to which he replied, "Edwin called me. He and Lizzie told me how you were behaving."

I stared at him with disbelief. He'd planned this? The lie of a important exam, not being home at Thanksgiving and then torturing me with this?

"De-rek!" I shout, he covers my mouth with his right hand as he whispers 'shhhh'. I give him a reprimanding look that I can't hold because I'm just so damned happy he's here.

"What do you say to sitting here, together in front of the Christmas Tree; just hanging out? You and me?" He whispers he knows everyone in the house is asleep. Everyone but us, just as it has been for the last four Christmases.

"Okay." I choke out, he took his hand down only seconds ago so I could answer.

We sit together on the couch, staring into the lights. Forgetting that he tricked me, I lay my head on his shoulder.

"Just one more thing, your gift. I want you to open it." He hands me a small wrapped square box. It looks like some sort of jewelry box. Curious, I start unwrapping it.

Before I open the small velvet box I hold in my hand, he takes it from me and kneels in front of me. Um what is he doing?

"Casey McDonald, I love you with all my heart. More than I've loved any girl before you and more than I'll ever love anyone else. Will you marry me?" He finally finishes. I'm shocked, tears are threatening to fall. He's holding his breath. Did he just…could he have really meant it? He's looking at me now with anticipation. I'm supposed to answer him.

Oh, God, Casey! Just do it!

If you didn't notice you meant everything

"Yes. I love you, too. Derek, oh…" He placed the ring on my finger as he got up to kiss me. Relief was evident on his face. Wait until the morning when everyone wakes up, won't they be surprised? I unleash the tears that were brimming before, he looks taken aback.

"Are you okay? I mean, is it too soon? Nevermind lapse of memory. You just said yes…" He rambles, I smile and we kiss again.

All I know is I'm gon' be ok

A/n: I know I left out some of the lyrics, but I didn't want this to be a sad fic. Especially since it's also a Christmas fic, which I had no intentions of writing but it turned in to that…hope you liked it! If you did… click

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