Chapter fifteen:

The Good and Bad Things


There were times when time seemed to be moving too slow, and then there were times when time just went by to fast. This was one of those weeks, and the Christmas party was approaching rapidly. I wouldn't say that I felt overwhelmed, or stressed out about but I was getting a little apprehensive about the whole thing. There were only a few days left and most of the guests hadn't RSVP yet. Right now, I'm in Math class, and I need to focus on what the teacher is saying. Although it's hard to concentrate with the paper balls that are being thrown into the back of my hair. Derek may have wiggled his way into best friend status but he still hasn't grown up, much. I smiled at the word wiggle, it reminded me of going out to pizza with him. He could be such a dork, and I loved it. Deep down, now as I thought about it, I knew that I wanted to be with Derek. He of course has always made his feelings clear. For example, leaving notes in my school bag with little hearts on them, or using us to relate to couples in the movies I "make" him watch. I've made my feelings clear, you know, rolling my eyes and making sarcastic comments about how nobody would ever, in their right mind date him. Over the past day or two those signals have been getting sloppy, I find myself smiling at the notes and responding to them with smiley faces. The bell rang to go to lunch, and as I stood from my seat Derek was there right at my side.

"I can't wait to eat! All this learning sure makes me hungry." He stretched.

"You mean, learning how to properly shoot a paper ball through a straw that's almost too small? I can see how you can have a difficult time with that." I smirked.

"It takes quite a lot of practice and concentration, not to mention skill. If that's why you're saying." He replied.

"Oh, is that what you call it when you miss? Skill?" Now I put on my Derek smirk and walked ahead of him into the cafeteria.

"Hey! Get back here!" He called after me but I was already in line for my food.

"No cuts Derek! Remember? Or you no longer get your free lunch." I laughed at him as he squirmed at his place in line.

Him and the lunch staff came to the agreement that he could get free lunches if he no longer cut in line and if he could get them front row seats to every hockey game.

"I'll get you for this McDonald!" He yelled out in fake anger.

By then, I had my food and was going to sit at the table with Emily, Sam, Ralph and Dean. Who were all laughing at Derek's suffering as well.


I was mumbling to myself about how mean Casey had been and was getting inpatient with the fact that I wanted to get my food. Then finally, finally, it was my turn.

"Hello there Bertha, what is on the menu today?" I grinned.

"Hot Chilli with bread." Bertha replied in monotone.

"Yum, what's in it?" I asked, trying not to grimace at the goop poured into the bowl in front of me.

"Bean, beef, mushrooms, tomatoes, with spices." She said.

"Great, thanks." I faked a smile.

As I made my way over to the table with all my friends I got a weird feeling. There was something about the ingredients that didn't sit right with me. Beans, well they give you gas, and when Edwin eats them you want to run for the hills but then they wouldn't even be safe there because his stench can travel for miles. Beef, comes from cows and something Casey doesn't like to eat all the time but will put up with. Mushrooms...Mushrooms, well they come from the ground. Casey hate's the ground, Casey hates mushrooms because...Oh man. Casey's allergic to mushrooms! I was half way to the table when I saw Casey grab her throat in confusion, her bowl falling to the floor.

"Casey!" I ran to her, putting my tray on the table and grabbed for her.

"My...My throat.." She was having trouble breathing, and she was starting to panic.

"Did you eat the Chilli?" I asked my hands on her shoulders.

"What's wrong with the Chilli?" Emily asked.

"There are mushrooms in the Chilli" Emily's eyes went big and I tried to calm Casey down.

"Someone call 911!" Sam yelled reaching for his cell phone.

" Case, it's okay. Just focus on me, don't worry about anything else." I reassured her and she nodded but was still grabbing for her throat.

"What's going on here?" A teacher who came into the room asked.

"There are mushrooms in the Chilli and Casey is allergic to them." I responded not taking my eyes of Casey who was crying now.

"An ambulance is coming, everything will be alright Casey." Sam said.

"Let's get her out of here." The teacher said.

"Shh, everything is alright okay. I promise nothing bad will happen, you'll be okay. Baby, you'll be okay." I picked her up bridal style, because that's all I could think of doing and took her out to the front of the school where the sound of the ambulance could be heard.

She was clutching tightly to my shirt and she was trying desperately to breathe but she couldn't. She started to turn into a blue color and I was afraid she would pass out. I picked up speed to get her into the back of that van so she could get help.

"Does Casey have an EPI pen?" The teacher asked.

"In our locker! I'll go get it!" Emily took off down the hall.

"Emily hurry!" I cried after her, seeing that Casey's eyes were starting to roll back.

I ran faster to the outside of the school where the ambulance just pulled up. The medics ran up to us and starting assessing her condition. Emily came back with her EPI pen and gave it to one of the paramedics.

"Sir, can you please step back?" One of the others asked, as the one with the EPI pen jabbed it into her arm.

"She'll be alright Derek. Let them do their job." Sam pulled me back a little but I struggled against him.

"I called her parent's. Nora said she would come here and that Greg will be at the hospital." Dean said to me but I barely heard.

I watched as they put her on the gurney and gave her an oxygen mask. The medicine seemed to be helping but she was still losing consciousness. They started loading her in when Nora showed up and ran over.

"Casey? Are you alright?" She cried.

"There were mushrooms in the chilli. I tried to help but..." I said.

"It's okay, Derek." Sam patted my back.

"Are you going to ride with her?" The medic asked Nora.

"Yes, Derek are you coming to meet us at the hospital?" Nora asked.

I simply nodded and headed for Nora's car and the ambulance started to drive away.

When I arrived at the hospital she was already in her own room. The reaction had gone down and she was now asleep in her bed. This was the second time I had been in the hospital this year and this time I didn't know if I could take it if things turned for the worst. I held Casey's hand as she slept, tracing patterns on her arm. I had laid my head down on the bed next to her hand, looking up at her. I didn't know how long it had been and I really didn't care. She still wasn't moving and slowly I drifted off to sleep.

"Derek?" Her voice was scratchy, I sat up straight and smiled at her.

"Hey, you. How are you feeling?" She looked pale still, and she had sad eyes.

"You were crying." She whispered and we looked at each other for a moment.

"I thought I was going to lose you." I admitted more tears coming to my eyes.

"I'm here. I'm not going anywhere." She said and opened her arms.

I got up and sat on her bed next to her and hugged her to me. Her head was cradled next to mine and I had my hands at the back of her head and her back. There was no way I was going to let her go, not even if my life depended on it.


There was absolutely nowhere in the world I'd rather be then right here. In Derek's arms, and I felt safe. There were silent tears that poured down my face and I knew he was close to crying as well. The very thing both of us had been afraid of almost happened. We almost lost each other and that was painful. Even more so then my throat closing on me, but nothing hurt more than almost losing him and seeing the naked fear he had in his eyes. I closed my eyes and breathed in his scent. I didn't want him to go anywhere because I knew he belong right here with me. Then I pulled away, and looked at him. He wiped the tears off my cheeks gently with him thumbs. With a sniffle the tension in his shoulders relaxed. I took that chance to look at him, really look at him and before anything else could happen there was the sound of someone clearing their throat in the doorway.

"Dean." I said in a still raspy voice.

"Hey, how are you feeling?" He asked taking a couple steps toward my bed.

"Better." I answered. My throat was still sore.

"I'm glad." He didn't say anything else except he come over and hug me.

"Oh, Dean." I hugged him back understanding what he meant by the hug.

There was a moment when all three of us just sat in silence after the hug me and Dean shared. Each of us stared at the other, like we were all trying to memorize each others faces. It was a harsh reality but we all knew that in a blink of an eye any of us could be taken away. Eventually Dean said his goodbyes and my family came in to visit. Try as they might nobody could get Derek to leave my side. Even as he laid next to me on my bed, already asleep when everyone was still there. He was softly snoring as we all whispered to each other. When they left they all gave me hugs and kisses. Mom's tears hadn't entirely gone away and Greg's eyes were still fearful. Both of them had lost a daughter, and they fear that they came so close to losing another one was still there.

It wasn't long before I found myself falling asleep, as well.


I woke up in a very uncomfortable position. I somehow managed to stay on her bed without falling even though she had plenty of room to sleep. Looking over at her, her hair was falling across her face and her right arm wrapped around my torso. Her head was resting on the inside of my left arm and her face was rest on the inside of my shoulder. Reaching with my right hand I moved the hair away from her gorgeous features and smiled gently. With a content sigh she snuggled closer to me and I planted a kiss on her forehead. I smiled as I looked at her still sleeping form but then as I sat there, I frowned. The words from that night at the pond still rang through my mind, ' I just need time, we need time.' With another kiss I slowly detached myself from her, and watched her for a moment or two, thinking. Here in front of me was the woman I loved more than anything in the world. Yesterday, I thought I was going to lose her and she expected me to sit back and watch her leave. She was now hugging her pillow and her mouth was open a little in a small pout. There was nothing that was going to keep me from her now. The party was tomorrow night and I had the perfect plan. Casey curled into a ball when the blankets had fallen off of her and I tucked them back around her gently. She sighed and a smile came to my lips again as I wrote her a note. I kissed her lightly on her cheek and I quietly left the room.

I didn't get out the door before I ran into a nurse that was on her way to check on Casey. I'll admit she was attractive but nothing like that girl that was laying in the room behind me.

"Are you here to check on Casey?" I asked her.

"Yes, is she awake?" She tried to look over my shoulder.

"No, and I don't want her to just yet. She needs her rest. Is there anyway you can wait maybe half an hour longer?" I asked her hopeful when I saw her visibly melt.

"I can make her last on my round but I can't guarantee anymore time than that." She gave me a pointed look.

"I didn't expect you to." I gave her a small smirk and she started to walk away. "Wait, before you go. If anything happens, I want to be the first one you call." I gave her my cell number.

"You'll be the first one I call." She looked down at the paper.

"I mean anything, if she gets a paper cut I want to know about it." I looked at her.

"I'll call if anything happens. I promise." She smiled and then continued on her way.

Sighing, I looked back through the window on the door to Casey's room. I prayed desperately to the Hockey Gods that tomorrow night wouldn't be a disaster.


I woke up sadly disappointed that Derek wasn't there. As I stretched out my sore muscles and yawned as a nurse walked into my room. She was checking my vitals when I saw the note resting on my bedside table. I picked it up and the nurse smiled knowingly at me.


You looked so peaceful practically squeezing the stuffing out of your pillow and drooling. :) Honestly, how much cuter can you get??

I went back home to shower and change. Plus I promised Nora I would help with the final touches for the party tomorrow night. DO NOT FREAK OUT. I've got it all covered. Take care of yourself. I want to be able to see your beautiful face light up when you see the decorations.

See you soon,

Derek XX

"I do not drool." I smiled at the note.

"He cares about you a lot." The nurse said.

"I care about him a lot, too." I set the note back down smiling at the nurse.

"Never met anyone quite like him." She said with a warm smile.

"Oh?" I asked.

"Yea, before he left he made me promise that if anything happened to call him first." I laughed softly shaking my head.

"He really did that?"

"Oh yes, I was supposed to come check on you earlier but he convinced me to leave you last on my rounds."

"I'm sorry he can be over protective." I blushed.

"Nonsense, I only wish someone like him would do the same for me." She comforted finishing up her duties.

"If only he were that way all the time." I laughed.

"I've learned, that when something unexpected happens the true feelings of someone comes out. Whether they want them to or not, and no matter what the circumstances might be. This life is short, and it's sad how most people waste what little time they have here." She shrugged and left the room.

I looked at the door and continued to stare at it. The things that the nurse said lingered in my mind for quite a time and I often drifted in and out of sleep. My dreams consisting of Derek and his reactions to different scenarios of tragedies. Every time I woke I realized more and more that the nurse was right. About mid day is when Greg stepped into my room.

"Casey, I didn't realize you would be awake." He looked almost embarrassed.

"Oh, I've been in and out." I yawned.

"How are you doing?" He sat in the chair next to my bed.

"I just want to go home." I confessed.

"Well, let's go get you checked out." He smiled at me.

"Really? I can go home?" I brightened.

"Yea, let me just go get the nurse and then we can get going." He stood up.

"Thanks." I smiled.

"No problem, kiddo.: He kissed my forehead and walked to the door.

"Hey...Dad?" He paused.

"Uh, yea sweetie?" He turned around.

"I love you." Tears formed in his eyes.

"I love you, too." He said in a strained voice before smiling and walking out the door.


Nora had me running around like a mad man. I can't count how may times she sent me out to get food, little party favors or to take the kinds out. Sure, I realize I was being a big help but I had a planning of my own for tomorrow night. How is Casey supposed to know I love her if I couldn't get enough time to even breathe? It was mid afternoon when my body started to shut down. Having to get up at practically the butt crack of dawn, before noon, and then I missed lunch! Convincing Nora that everything was done and that everything was perfect, to Casey's standards, I got the break I desperately need. Finding this an opportunity to not only eat the most delicious sandwich of all time, but to make a call. Reaching into my back pocket of my jeans, I thumb in the numbers I knew so well.

"Hey, Sammy!" I greeted with a mouth full of food.

"It has been many a moon, oh sandwich master." Sam's laughter radiated from the phone.

"Har har. Hey, listen can I ask you a favor?" I asked having swallowed my food.

"Sure, what you need?" Sam offered.

"Can I borrow your girlfriend?" I asked as putting my phone between my cheek and shoulder as I reached for the milk in the fridge.

"D, I realize that things between you and Casey are unsure but... you don't have to resort into borrowing my Kendra." Sam said in a mock tone.

"So I can borrow her for tonight?" I gulped down milk from the carton.

"Sure, I'm sure she won't mind. Just have her back before tomorrow night. I promise I won't tell Casey anything." Sam laughed.

"Great. Thanks." I laughed along with him and after a few minutes of explaining my plan to Sam we hung up.


Greg took me a fast food place on the way home. We agreed that I needed some actual food after being subjected to hospital food. Oddly enough the more I hung out with Greg the more I saw Kaylie in him. Laughter was all that escaped us as we entered our home later that evening. The room was already decorated and it was beautiful. There was already a New Year's banner in the entry way, and there were lights streaming throughout the front way. Mom told me that the backyard was decorated like the outside of restaurant where they put extra tables for people to eat outside. I gushed the whole time she explained this to me. She told me that Derek did most of the decorations, and that he even missed lunch! I couldn't help but feel a little proud.

"Speaking of Derek. Where is he?" I asked.

"I don't know. Kendra came by and he said he had something to do before the party tomorrow night." Mom said.

"Kendra??? You mean Truman's girl Kendra?" I almost screeched.

"No, Truman's ex and Sam's girl Kendra." Edwin and Lizzie appeared in the room.

"Oh, why would he need to use Kendra?" I asked the two.

"I'm not sure but whatever it is. It has to be important to Derek." Edwin said.

"I guess you're right." I said walking to the staircase.

"Well, I better head home. I'll see you cool cats tomorrow." Edwin gave us all thumbs up before he left.

" I'm feeling tired. I'm going to go to bed." I said as I walked up to my room.

As my head hit the pillow, I couldn't help but think of reasons Derek would need to see Kendra. I mean, he wouldn't just steal her away from Sam would he? I thought he cared about me though? Am I wrong?Maybe, I should just tell him how I really feel?

Then sleep over took me.


"Thank you Kendra. Really this mean the world to me." I admitted.

"It's about time you found someone that doesn't put up with your crap. Just don't mess this up." She said before leaving my car and walking into her house. Before driving away, I text-ed Casey knowing she'd be home by now.

Hey Princess, ur prob resting. Just wanted to say I miss u. I hoped u liked the decorations. I made sure they would meet ur expectations :) XOXO


Yes, life was good and hopefully it would get even better after tomorrow.