A/N: So last night I was trying to work on one of the thirty or so long since unfinished stories sitting on my hard drive and with my iTunes set to shuffle a song suddenly came on- Coldplay "The Scientist"- and the following was swiftly flowing from my finger tips. I liked it at three a.m., I'm hesitant to say I like it now, but I hope others find it interesting and/or enjoyable.
Note: Yes in part four there is something slightly stolen from Dawson's Creek. What can I say? Season three was brilliant-made me a Poey fan for life.
Disclaimer: The things I do not own include Life With Derek, Coldplay, Dawson's Creek, but if you're offering…
It started with a small moment. A moment that was so small it may not have even been a moment. But simply because Nora noticed it she was convinced that it was.
It was a Wednesday night; she was sitting on the couch with swatches and a sketchpad. Derek was in his chair having claimed the remote an hour of some animated sitcoms ago. George was working in the kitchen. Lizzie and Edwin were in one of their rooms doing God knows what. Marti had been put to bed thirty minutes earlier. And Casey was sitting on the bench behind the TV, in front of the window, reading a very thick book.
Derek's program had ended and he was flipping through channels. He stopped and that was when it happened.
Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are.
I had to find you, tell you I need you,
Tell you I set you apart.
She thought Casey would like this song. This band, it was the first-and really one of the only- things she knew Derek and Casey had in common. So, she looked to her daughter, expecting a smile or…something good at least. But that wasn't how she looked. Her head was still buried in her book, but her eyes weren't focused on the pages. Her teeth were clamped down into her lower lip. Then she stopped biting her lip, instead pressing them firmly together, closed her eyes and her breathing seemed to become very measured- as if she was telling herself to do the normally automatic act.
Tell me your secrets and ask me your questions,
Oh lets go back to the start.
Running in circles, Comin' up Tails
Heads on a science apart.
Nora watched in utter confusion as her daughter took one last deliberate breath and looked up to Derek.
She met his eyes and asked in a very even tone, "Can you please change the channel? This song's too sad."
Nobody said it was easy,
It's such a shame for us to part.
Nobody said it was easy,
No one ever said it would be this hard.
His eyes didn't leave hers as he aimed the remote at the TV and did as she wished. He held her gaze for about thirty seconds longer (Nora counted the Mississippi's in her head); neither of them seemed to notice the TV was now on Telemundo.
That was when it hit Nora: there was something here, between her daughter and her stepson, that she didn't know.
The second moment that Nora noticed happened about a week later.
Dinners had been normal, breakfasts had been normal, the fighting had been present, so just as she was convincing herself that she had been delusional before, she witnessed moment number two.
Nora was sitting at the dinning room table, work spread around her. She was in Casey's usual seat, which gave her a perfect view of the stairs- which meant a perfect view of the moment.
Casey was coming down the stairs and was almost to the landing when Derek headed up the stairs. They would have met on the landing, but Casey tripped and lurched forward.
Derek moved up the stair in the way faster than his previous steps and caught her.
Her hands landed on his chest, as did her face. His arms were firmly wrapped around her, his hands at her waist.
She stared up at him, righted her feet beneath her, and continued to stare at him as he just looked at her and continued to hold her.
He didn't wear a smug smile, or a mocking smirk, or even amused eyes. He just looked at her with a look that was something between tenderness and longing.
His thumb- on the hand that Nora could see- began moving, stroking, ever so subtly.
Then Derek suddenly seemed to remember himself. His smirk was forced, but he managed it, and even managed to sound insulting when he quipped, "That was classic Klutzilla."
Somehow Nora wasn't surprised when her daughter's only response was to smile.
Moment three wasn't anything that Nora would have expected. The first two were angst filled- but still somewhat sweet.
Moment three was horrible.
It was after dinner and Nora was in the kitchen with Casey and Lizzie and Marti making cookies. Derek was also there- it was his night to wash dishes and he hadn't managed to talk himself out of it or anyone else into it in his place.
Nora asked Casey how things were at school-dinner had been all about Lizzie and Edwin and a new policy at their school that was causing quite a lot of havoc. She didn't expect Casey to mention this Truman that had existed prior to the moments of the last two weeks- and apparently for the last two weeks.
Casey was going on and on about how Truman was becoming quite a good boyfriend. She enjoyed the fact that he challenged her and she was imaging what they would wear to prom months from now.
"That's great Casey," Nora had commented half-heartedly about her daughter's relationship- now even more confused about the moments she had thought she had witnessed.
"I know," Casey agreed enthusiastically, "Truman is just so perfect for me. He just gets me, you know? I think that maybe we should be making our college decisions together. Well, more like me convincing-"
Casey was interrupted by the distinctive sound of glass breaking.
Derek swore loudly.
Marti repeated what Derek said, then sing-songed, "Smerek said ****."
Nora watched as Derek angrily picked up the shattered pieces of the glass he was washing from the sink and threw them in the trash.
Somewhere in the background Lizzie was explaining to Marti not to say the word she was saying. Marti ran off shouting it throughout the house and Lizzie knew out of the people in the room who could follow and take care of the Marti situation, she should be the one to.
Casey had her head down. She was staring at the counter. All previous-supposed- joy she was radiating seconds ago had completely evaporated. She looked guilty.
Derek's back was tense. He stopped all action after he finished picking up the glass for about a minute. Finally, he turned around and said as genuinely as he could muster, "Sorry about the glass. See, this is why you shouldn't ever allow me to do dishes."
He left the kitchen. But it wasn't like he was using the fact that he messed up to get out of the rest of his chore. He was storming off angrily. Nora was sure of it.
Casey didn't say anything that wasn't cookie making related for the rest of the night.
In some ways, moment four was worse than moment three.
It happened the very next day. It was a minimum day for the high school. Normally, Nora wouldn't have been home, but her client canceled their meeting.
She knew Derek and Casey would be the only ones home- unless they had friends over or one/both of them didn't come home yet. If they were both home she didn't have any idea what she would find. She didn't pretend that she had the slightest inkling about whatever it was she was witnessing anymore.
She heard silence when she walked in the back door. She put down her bag and was about to walk out from the kitchen into the dinning room when she heard, "Still haven't answered my question Case."
There was something in Derek's tone, Nora didn't recognize it, but it made her stop and reconsider walking any further. She did actually walk further though. She took a step back and two to the side so she was hiding behind one of the pocket doors. She carefully peered into the next room.
Derek was blocking the stairs. Casey was three feet in front of him; arms crossed defiantly.
"Not that I have to tell you anything, but I'm dating Truman because I like him," she said, emphasizing the last three words, knowing their effect.
"Yeah, you're dating the carbon copy of me because you like him," Derek retorted easily.
She stared at him for a minute-resolve clear in her eyes. She declared firmly, "I'm not having this conversation with you." She added ever so slightly softer, "Not again."
Derek laughed, "Not again? We've never had this conversation because you keep saying, 'I won't have this conversation with you.' That's what you said to me two years ago when our parents got married, it's what you said when you were dating Sam, it's what you said when you weren't dating Sam, it's what you said when I was dating Kendra, it's what you said when I wasn't dating Kendra, it's what you said when you were dating Max, it's what you said when you weren't dating Max, it's what you said when I was dating Sally, it's what you said when I wasn't dating Sally. And it's what you're saying now when you're dating Truman and it's what you'll say when you're not dating Truman. Get it Case? We're having this conversation now because I'm tired of this fucked up cycle."
With each time Derek listed that they failed to have this conversation he took a step closer to Casey and Casey took a step back. Now, her back was only a foot from the wall that was opposite the staircase. Derek was only two and a half feet from her.
Derek seemed so angry that Casey seemed to be faltering while he spoke. But now that he stopped she gained her determination back and argued, "We can't have this conversation and you know that's the real reason we've never had it. You said it yourself Derek- our parents are married. The place that we're in that you want to have this conversation, it's our parent's house Derek. We can't-"
"I don't care!" Derek screamed in interruption. He took another step forward and was cut off before he could explain.
"You should!" Casey retorted just as fervently, "This is serious. You're not just some guy I know from school, I'm not just some girl you met at a party, our parents are married and what happens-or doesn't happen- between us effects our families…a lot. When our parents got married lines were drawn, and whether or not we like it, they're there and they're too big to cross."
"Fuck the lines Casey," Derek declared adamantly. He rushed on before she could retort, "I don't want the same things for two years. This doesn't happen to me- ever. I don't care that 'we can't.'" He took another step closer to her, leaving just one foot between them, "And you might as well forget about trying to convince me that you're not worth the risk because that's not going to happen."
Nora had been watching on pins and needles. She watched her daughter's resolve begin to melt. Her daughter may have been the one making the rational points and maybe she should have been on her side, but personally, Nora was silently willing her daughter to kiss him.
Casey just stared at Derek with something that looked like anguish.
Derek knew Casey well enough to know that he may have made progress, but he hadn't won yet.
"I'm going to kiss you," he proclaimed.
"No," Casey responded immediately, "You can't."
"Why not? It's happened before," he responded with a smirk, taking a step toward her.
She took the only step back that she could as she reasoned, "But it shouldn't have." As an after though she added, "Plus, I'm with Truman."
"So?" He questioned.
She looked away and said quietly, "It's never happened when one of us has been with someone."
"Which is why you really started dating Truman," Derek said, knowing that it was true.
Casey didn't respond. Instead she took a different tact and tried, "Sally was exactly like me."
"Yeah," Derek agreed, "But she wasn't you, which is why we're here now and I'm not in Vancouver."
When Casey didn't do anything but continue to stare at him, Derek declared again, his voice lower as he took a final step toward her, "I'm going to kiss you." Casey began to open her mouth, but Derek put a finger to it and rushed on, "Don't try to argue with me Case. I'm going to kiss you. I'm going to kiss you in ten seconds unless you do something to stop me."
He closed all of the space between them as she looked away from him. His chest was right up against hers. He could feel her heart racing as fast as his.
He put a finger on her chin to lift it so her eyes would meet his. She still seemed conflicted, but she hadn't stopped him.
"Ten," he breathed and he kissed her.
She kissed him back.
Nora considered possibly interrupting and telling them that they had her blessing and she was fairly sure she could convince George of the same. But then she considered maybe she should just let them be for right now; it seemed like it took them so long to get here.
So, Nora slipped out the back door and hoped that when she came home again in a while it would be to news of a new beginning for her daughter and her eldest stepson.
Moment five was a long time coming.
When Nora returned home later in the day of the witnessed kiss she received no news of a new relationship, she didn't witness any particular giddiness, or small moments. She was truly starting to believe that it had ended indifferently until a week later when she couldn't resist asking Casey about her relationship with Truman and Casey responded that they had broken up a little while ago and that she had decided to take a break from dating and guys for a while- it was senior year after all and she had college applications very soon.
So, Nora decided she was right. Something had changed that day. Casey wasn't dating and neither was Derek. But they hadn't said anything and for all she could tell neither of them seemed particularly happy- as they should be if they had really, and apparently finally, gotten together. Also, small moments had been absent, which made Nora worry that she was wrong. But Nora also thought that that could have been her fault. If they were together she had to take some kind of precautions since she was a typical concerned parent so she had a secret new game with Marti that every time Marti interrupted Derek and Casey when they were alone Nora gave her a piece of candy (she'd worry about the dentist bills later).
But Nora's fifth moment, the one she had been waiting for finally came six weeks later when they were eating dinner and Nora asked Casey what her final decisions were for what colleges she was applying to. Casey listed four universities. George then asked Derek what colleges he had ended up applying to. He recited the same four.
Casey apparently didn't know Derek's college selections because she couldn't hide her surprise- or her happiness. She beamed across the table at him- lettuce on her dangling fork completely forgotten. He smiled back at her- a real, genuine, rare smile.
Noticing this, Edwin handed some money across the table to Lizzie, Marti took advantage of the fact that George was staring at Derek and Casey confused and snuck her vegetables on to his plate, and Nora smiled just like her daughter and stepson because she knew- without a doubt this time- that she had witnessed five of what would come to be an innumerable amount of moments between Casey and Derek.
A/N: Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed enough to review- I could really use the motivation right now.
For any of my regular readers who may be reading:
1. Yes, I know that this was extremely short for me- it surprised me too.
2. I am so sorry for my lack of updates or writing at all. If you know me then you know why, if you don't then you should check my profile.
3. Do check my profile for updates and vote in my poll.
4. Thank you for your continued patience and for continuing to read.
To all: Thanks again for reading and Happy Holidays!