This is the sequel to Pieces. Read that first!

Summary: Casey returns to Ontario with a decision to make, but has that decision already been made for her? Will she fight for what she wants? Is it too late?

A/N: I just want to say at the very beginning, that this does not completely mesh with Season 4. Besides the fact that a lot of S4 SUCKS (cough *Truman* cough), this needs to be compatible with Pieces, which I wrote before S4 started. It mentions a couple of things from S4, but it is not compatible with the "Surprise" for sure! Anyway, happy reading!

Picking Up

Chapter One

Casey McDonald opened her bedroom door and stepped out into the dorm that she shared with her best friend, Emily Davis. Said best friend was slumped in her desk chair, her head resting on the keyboard, her breathing deep and even. Casey smiled to herself and shook Emily gently.

"Huh? What? Is it time for class already?" Emily mumbled incoherently. Sitting up straight, she tried to focus her bleary eyes on Casey's face.

"Em, you fell asleep at your computer. It's almost dinnertime," Casey said softly, gently pulling her friend out of her chair, but Emily was suddenly wide awake, her gaze taking in Casey's appearance.

"Why are you all dressed up?" She demanded with a knowing glint in her eye. "Where are you going?"

"Out with Josh. He's taking me to dinner"

"Somewhere fancy?" Emily asked smugly, and Casey folded her arms.

"It's just dinner, Em," she insisted. "He's not going to." Emily raised an eyebrow.

"Sure he isn't," she said, her voice maddeningly superior. "I'm going to get a burger or something. You have fun and call me when he-"

"Don't you even say it," Casey warned. Shrugging, Emily picked up her keys and disappeared out the door.

Sighing, Casey picked up her sweater and purse and headed out after her friend.


"Isn't this place great?" Josh asked. Casey smiled and nodded, taking in the beautiful dining room. She rubbed her arms, feeling chilly even though it was a warm May evening. The maître'd led them out onto the terrace. Josh pulled out her chair and Casey tried to smile, but she was feeling nauseous. She had planned on telling him tonight, but the setting made her feel uncomfortable. Still, she had no choice.

A waiter came by and handed them menus. Casey stared at hers for a long time, though she wasn't really reading it. Josh kept glancing at her, which was making her nervous, so she pretended to still be deciding.

"Case?" He said finally. She tensed, but laid her menu flat and smiled at him.

"Yes?" Before he could reply, the waiter arrived to take their orders. When he was gone again, Casey took a slow sip of her wine and looked at Josh expectantly.

"Erm, I…" he paused. "You look beautiful." She smiled politely.

"Thanks," she replied. "You look nice, too. This place is very fancy." He nodded, looking nervous.

"I made these reservations weeks ago," he admitted, and Casey couldn't help but giggle. The mood lightened and Josh finally smiled a real smile. "You really do look amazing."

"Well, this is a new dress," Casey joked, and they laughed. Now that she was more relaxed, Casey decided she was ready to say it.

"I have something to say," they both said at the same time, and Casey froze. Josh seemed nervous and bemused.

"You first," he offered, but Casey shook her head.

"No, you first." He raised an eyebrow and waited. Gathering her courage, Casey took a deep breath.

"I'm moving back home," she blurted out as he said, "Will you marry me?"

"What?" Their dual cry attracted the interest of the other patrons, but neither took notice.

"You're leaving?" Josh demanded.

"You want to get married?" Casey asked, only somewhat surprised.

"You're leaving?" He repeated, more quietly, his expression heartborken. Casey sighed.

"After the graduation ceremony next week. I need to go home and see my family. I miss them, Josh."

"Are you planning on coming back?"

She didn't want to answer that question. If she was completely honest, she didn't know. She had already been offered several positions here in London (England), but she could just as easily get a job in Ontario. Josh was here, and so was Emily. But there were things in Ontario that couldn't be replaced, no matter how hard she tried.

"I want to," she admitted honestly. "But I had – have – a life in Ontario, too. There are people there that I care about, things that I miss."

Josh fumbled in his pocket and pulled out a little black box. He started to open it, but Casey reached over and covered it with her hand. "Don't," she pleaded. "Josh, I really like you, but marriage? We haven't even been dating two years yet! I never meant to stay in England forever."

"I know," he replied, "but does that really matter? I- I love you Casey. I'm not asking you to marry me next week or even next year. Just when you're ready." He pulled the box gently from her grasp and popped it open. Startled, Casey hesitated.

A/N (again): This one is kind of short. They will get longer later on, I promise.