This is the last chapter from Derek's POV. I'm not quite ready to leave this College!Dasey world yet, so you'll be seeing two more sequels from me soon. Thanks so much for following this story!
Also, today is my two-year ffnet anniversary. It was two years ago today that I discovered NotAContrivance's Wanting Casey and GuardieBexx's That Someday, and became irrevocably hooked on Dasey. I can't even imagine what my life would be like today without this amazing fandom. *hugs you all* Especially those people with whom I've had many, many random conversations. You know who you are, and I appreciate every one of you so, so much. *more hugs*
Okay, I'm done being sappy. On to the exciting conclusion (though you all already know how this is gonna end, but whatever.) :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Life with Derek
Chapter 4: Talking to Dad
"Leggo my arm!"
My dad had found me on the dance floor and immediately dragged me by the elbow towards the men's room. "Not on your life," he said through clenched teeth.
Once we got inside, Dad made sure there was no one in any of the stalls before letting loose. I did my best not to cower in fear.
"Of all the stupid, irresponsible decisions! Did you really think you would get away with it?! How dumb do you think we are?! I mean, I know Nora's been saying it was inevitable, but I never thought you'd have the courage to…! I can't believe you wouldn't tell me! And how in the world…! No, why in the world would you keep it a secret?! I can't believe you, Derek!"
"You done?" I asked calmly, as Dad wiped sweat from his brow. He gestured for me to go ahead.
"Can you explain why you're angry? You kinda lost me at 'irresponsible.' What did I do?"
Dad's eyes bugged out of his head. "You honestly have no idea?!"
He tried again without the screeching. "You really don't know why I'm upset?"
I shrugged. "Got me." Of course, I had a slight idea. It's very possible that he saw us dancing. The fact that I managed to be that close to Casey without kissing her was miraculous. There was a second there where I was about to, but I chickened out. And then Casey left. Those few minutes were hands down the hottest of my life. Even if I never touch her again, that was enough. I can live on that high forever. The feeling of her fingers in my hair, body swaying with mine…
Dad brought me back to reality. "Derek, are you or are you not dating Casey?"
I gulped. Guess he knows what's going on. "Did you hear that from one of my teammates or something?" I redirected. It didn't work.
Dad flailed his arms in exasperation. "Derek, you're getting on my last nerve! I'm in no mood for games! I. Want. The. Truth." He clenched his fists.
"Okay, here's the truth. The guys automatically assumed Casey was my girlfriend…and I, sorta, well, kinda…didn't correct them."
"WHAT?!" Dad was even angrier than earlier. "That was a stupid, irresponsible decision! I raised you better than that! How could you do that to Casey? How could you do that…?" I could tell that realization dawned. It would have been comical if I wasn't busy fearing for my life. "You really are in love with her, aren't you?" he asked much more softly.
I held his gaze. "Yeah, Dad. I am. Trust me, I know I was stupid to lie, but it's been so amazing. You have no idea. Casey thinks I'm playing a prank on her or something, so she's gone along with it, I guess because she doesn't want to admit defeat. We've been acting like a couple these past three weeks. I know it's wrong, but I don't want to lose her. I love her so much." My voice cracked at the end, despite my best efforts to keep it level.
He pulled me into a hug, and I didn't even bother to resist. I was shaking with relief. It felt so good to get everything out in the open.
"Derek, you are my son, and I will support you no matter what. But don't you think it would be a good idea to tell Casey the truth? You should tell her how you feel. What if she feels the same way?"
"You sound so certain."
"You do understand how ridiculous the concept of me and Casey dating is, right? She'd never like me like that. We're at each other's throats all the time."
"There's a thin line between love and hate," Dad smiled.
"Okay, how about the fact that she's my stepsister?"
Dad sighed. "That could be a problem. But don't let it be one. You're not related by blood. It's not your fault I married her mother. Haven't you ever heard the saying, 'like father, like son,' and 'like mother, like daughter'? It makes sense that you two are perfect for each other."
I couldn't believe my dad was being so casual about the whole thing. "You really think we're perfect for each other?" I couldn't help asking.
Dad patted my shoulder. "Yes. As a matter of fact, Nora and I have talked about what to do if you two ever got together. We were pretty sure it would happen someday. It's not like you tried to hide all the flirting. The attraction got pretty obvious after awhile. I'm just glad you waited until you were out of the house to start dating."
Wait a minute. Dad actually predicted this would happen? I can't believe it.
Actually, I take that back, I can believe it. He's right…I had definitely stopped trying to hide how I felt. That may not have been the best idea, now that I think of it. But I was sick of pretending everything was normal when it wasn't.
But Dad was talking like it was already a done deal. "You're forgetting one important detail, though, Dad. We're not actually together."
Dad chuckled. "Oh, yeah. Well, it's only a matter of time, now, right? You got her to pretend to be your girlfriend to fool your teammates. What does she think she's going to do, fake it for the next four years?"
"Exactly! That's why it's so frustrating that she never brings it up! I have no idea where her head is. Usually I can read her like a book, but she's never brought up this 'prank,' or whatever, and yet she's willing to hug me and call me 'baby' in public. She's been putting a lot of energy into acting like the perfect girlfriend. She's so infuriating!"
Dad looked at me with this goofy grin. It made me uncomfortable. "What?" I snapped.
"You, my friend," he said slowly, "are definitely in love." I wanted to wipe that smirk right off his face.
I couldn't think of a good response. "Pfsh!" did the trick.
Unfortunately, my embarrassment egged on my dad even further. "Derek and Casey, sittin' in a tree, K-I—"
"Shut up!" I covered his mouth with my hand, and he laughed into my palm.
I removed my hand as I heard the door open. Carter came in and nodded hello. I grabbed a paper towel. "This will come out with some bleach," I said, thinking quickly. I ran the towel under some water and started dabbing at Dad's collar. He looked at me like I was crazy, but I continued making small talk until Carter left.
Dad adjusted his collar. "See how dumb this is? It would be so much easier if you just told Casey how you feel, and maybe you wouldn't have to lie to your teammates about dating her. You'd be doing it for real."
"But what if I tell her how I feel, and she laughs in my face? What then?"
Dad shrugged. "Then you tell the team you broke up, wallow in private for awhile, and move on."
I glared at him. "Easier said than done. I thought about 'breaking up' with her to get out of it, but somehow I feel like Casey will think I'm chickening out of the 'prank' if I do that. I can't tell her, Dad. I'm not ready."
"When do you think you'll be ready?"
I pretended to check my watch. "Three weeks from never."
Dad groaned. "Derek, you're a man now. You have to start making responsible decisions."
Someone else entered and Dad steered me towards the door. "We'd better get going. Nora was talking to Casey, and I want to know how it went."
I stopped dead in my tracks. "NORA IS TALKING TO CASEY RIGHT NOW?" I bellowed.
The guy at the urinal gave me a dirty look. I stormed out of the restroom.
Dad followed close behind. "Derek, listen, we agreed to talk to you both after Joel told us you were dating. Like you said, Casey thinks it's a prank, so you have nothing to worry about. She'll only tell Nora what she thinks she knows."
I rounded on him. "Dad, don't you get it? If Nora tells her the same things you told me, about how you knew we would get together someday, she's going to freak out! I can't let that happen."
Just then, Nora came up to us, looking worried. "Hey guys, how did it go?"
George kissed her on the cheek and said triumphantly, "He loves her!"
I was too angry to acknowledge how obnoxious he was being. I stood there fuming as Nora hopped up and down (yes, there was pregnant-lady bouncing, not pretty), and cooed, "I knew it!"
"I hate you both," I said, and stormed away. They quickly caught up with me and each grabbed an arm.
"Come on, Derek, it's okay. We'll stop," Nora promised.
I looked around. We were still far enough away from the party that no one could hear us. "Yes, you two were right. I love her. There, I said it again. Now can you lay off? Where's Casey?"
Nora frowned. "Well, she seemed pretty upset. She's outside talking to Sam."
"What did you say to her?" I tried to keep my voice down, though my heart was hammering against my chest at an alarming rate.
"Can't tell you," Nora shrugged. "All I have to say is, you should talk to her."
Dad nuzzled her neck. "That's what I said."
"You're really not going to tell me?" I groaned. They were no help at all.
Nora shook her head. "Nope."
"Fine. I'm going to go find her."
"Good. And remember what I said about telling her the truth," Dad winked.
I rolled my eyes. "Maybe." Never. Never in a million years. I just have to find out what Nora told her and spin it somehow. And pummel Sam. What the hell was he talking to her about?
I left the hall and wandered around the lobby, but it was empty. I left Sam a voicemail. I thought about calling Casey, but chickened out. What if she picked up? She's not above screaming at me over the phone, and I wanted to talk to her face-to-face.
I plopped down on a cushy sofa and waited for a few minutes, hoping Sam would call back.
He didn't call. Instead, about five minutes later, I saw him come inside.
"Sammy! What do you think you're doing? Where's Casey? What did you tell her?" All the questions came out in a rush, and Sam waited an excruciatingly long time to answer.
"We have to talk, D."
"Why?" I asked suspiciously. I didn't like his tone.
He sighed. "Casey asked to talk to me after her mom pulled her aside. She was really upset."
"What did Nora tell her?" I asked in horror.
"Well, Casey was crying too hard for me to get all of it, but I heard something about how you're a terrible person to play mind games like this, and that you're too old for such cruel pranks."
"Nora said that?" I gasped. That was not what I'd been expecting.
"That's what Casey said. She was probably just angry. Case said that if you couldn't man up and tell everyone the truth, she shouldn't have to be around you anymore."
"What?" My head had started spinning. I felt a little faint. It was not a feeling I was used to.
"Sorry, D. She seems convinced that the best thing for her to do is to move out, and start applying to new schools."
"No," I whimpered. I didn't even care what I sounded like. Sam's seen me at my lowest, and this was definitely one of those times.
"I think she said she was going to see if Sarah would let her move in for a few days until she found her own place. She wants to at least finish out the semester here."
"Why didn't you stop her?" I croaked. My mouth was getting drier by the second.
Sam gave me a withering look. "This is Casey, D. You know there's no talking her out of something." He paused. "Well, you can. But the rest of us? Forget it."
I sat up. "You're right! I have to convince her to stay!"
"Oh, and just for the record, while you're convincing her, you might want to tell her how you feel about her. Just a thought."
I punched him hard on the arm, but he barely flinched. "I can't. You know I can't. She'll hate me even more than she already does."
Sam shrugged. "If you say so. But I'm telling you, it's very possible that you won't regret it."
I eyed him. "Do you know something?"
Sam set his jaw. "All I'm saying is, I get to say 'I told you so' if it ends up being a good idea to tell her how you feel."
I stood up, resolve strengthening my voice. "Fine." My vision was going blurry. Is it possible to have a stroke at eighteen? I took a deep breath. I had to get Casey to stay. There was no other option.
I nodded at Sam, feeling a little better when I saw his encouraging expression. "Okay, I have to go convince my fake girlfriend not to fake break up with me now. Wish me luck."
Sam stood up next to me and put a hand on my shoulder. "Good luck."
And with that, I sprinted out the door of Ban Righ and towards our apartment, scared out of my mind that I was already too late to stop her from leaving.