From the free encyclopedia: This article is related to Distraction.


The wall calendar says it's Thursday night and Casey's on the loveseat, watching Casablanca and finishing a roast beef sandwich when her cell phone rings. In the film, Humphrey Bogart is smoking and waiting, so she doesn't feel guilty about shifting from her comfortable position long enough to dig the phone out of her pocket.

"Casey! I miss you! I need news."

She lights up. It's Emily (café au lait skin and cappuccino eyes with three main preferences in a hobby: male, straight, and attractive).

"School is going pretty well," she answers. "I already have an A in one of them."

"You haven't asked your other instructors about your grades?"

Casey rolls her eyes, smiling. "Not yet, but that's coming up. Oh, and Derek asked me to help him."

"Oh gosh; he did what?!"

"I know, that was pretty much my reaction."

"Did you get it in writing?" Emily asks.

Chuckling, Casey says "No" and listens to Bogart---er, Rick---protecting his conflicted feelings. She agrees with Emily over hair color and college majors while finishing her sandwich.

"What did Derek ask you to help him with?"

Casey recounts the moment, just twenty-something minutes ago: her step-brother standing on her doorstep with messy hair and a hand in the pocket of his perfectly acceptable jeans, his eyes too confident for her liking (again). He wastes her time until the mention of Sally---a blonde with sharp features he had stood close beside in high school, and driven around in a beat-up car, and played a song for on guitar---and this wasn't the first time he had asked Casey for help in relation to Sally. Casey, the daughter of his father's wife, pretends to not remember his ex right away.

"Sally is coming for the summer term, and she's spending it at my apartment."

"Sally from high school?" Emily cries. "Oh my god, that's…I…Is Derek just not over her? I thought that by now…"

"Maybe not, but right now, I have no idea what he's thinking about her."

"He asked a member of his family to give Sally a place to stay, and not just for a night. That says something big to me."

Casey finds herself nodding in agreement.

"I told my sister Lizzie that I was hoping to find a roommate," she says. "And of course she told Edwin, and what did he do? Turn around and say it to Derek!"

"Well," Emily replies. "This is going to be a very interesting summer."

Casey looks at the pile of napkins beside her tray, eavesdrops on the flirtatious couple a table away, and tries to remember the definition of symbiosis for her test at 3 o'clock (yeah, she's in trouble), because a certain shaggy-haired, straight-nosed someone moseys into her imagination right then; someone who looks like a combination of an actor from a toddler's favorite TV channel and mischief personified. Casey sits up straighter. A heavily tattooed redhead walks by, singing "Little Sister" from Elvis Presley to herself. It's bad enough attending the same school as the boy she'd wanted to escape from (after all the fighting and the pranks and the occasional confusing but healthy stalemate, where one would apologize, the other would want a hug, and both would be brushed aside out of sheer habit and suspicion). Now, though, Casey is ordinary in the school halls, just as she wanted it, and she doesn't feel the way she thought she would.

This is when a skinny, very pretty blonde girl chooses to sit down across from Casey at the table, blocking her fascinating view of a potted plant. The girl has a friendly face---one that screams "squeaky clean"---and Casey keeps her eyes trained on the girl's meal tray, because chicken strips are easier to meet than the blue gaze of a perfectly innocent bystander to Derek-and-Casey insanity.

"Hi!" says the blonde, whose legal name is Sally, but who is known best by many as the high school girlfriend of Derek's that changed him permanently, leaving a bruise on his shriveled, immature heart organ when she left for university in Vancouver. "Your roommate Lyra ate an apple today. You said she's on this insecure, I-have-to-hardly-eat-in-order-to-be-attractive swing, and I've started to see it for myself, but...she ate a fruit this morning, and that's a first step, right?"

Sally chuckles with this likable, easy smile, and Casey can't bring herself to fake one in return. She can't imagine why, since Sally is supposed to be the water-and-orange-slices break to the marathon of running and yelling that is communication with Derek, so Casey decides to toss out the proverbial bone…although that would make Sally the proverbial dog, wouldn't it…oh dear…

"I have brownie mix I've been wanting to use." Says the brunette, and the two girls grin at each other, before discussing who will buy the eggs and when they'll have the kitchen to themselves.

Truman, a guy she now realizes wasn't as great or as cute as she'd believed for so long, has dumped her via Alexander Graham Bell's most famous achievement. Having not only hung up, but used up half a box of tissues and deleted his number from her contacts list, Casey can't be blamed for also wanting to call her doctor to have her heart checked, since Derek got hold of Emily, whom he dated a while back and broke up with in a similar way to Truman's, all because he knows that Casey needs a friend to listen and be empathetic in her time of teen-pop-idol-heartbreak-song whininess.

A little later that same day, Casey's brooding in her bedroom (lights off, A Fine Frenzy on her stereo, a soft, blue teddy bear in her arms) when Derek once again comes in to talk her into something (again), but this time it's not a phone call with a best buddy. Instead, it's car keys, and Casey knows that it's evening (the sun is setting; how does she know this in the dark? She looked at the Lego clock Edwin made her two Christmases ago), so she's suspicious.

"It's all right, Derek." She says, going on to say she's fine, and make it clear that she believes things in the coolgreatSallyDerek world are on pause because of her tears, and that maybe this is another intended addition to her step-brother's resumé (the one meant to prove he's human).

Derek seizes her shoulder, and Casey can feel his apartment key pressing into her bicep.

She isn't listening until he says, "What d'you want me to do? Get on my knees and beg?"

She swallows then, thinking of a song Truman likes, called "A Little Piece of Heaven" from Avenged Sevenfold, wherein the heavily muscled, archetypical rock star M. Shadows smoothly sings, "I'll do whatever you want me to do", and how that could get the imagination moving if you allowed it, and…well…Casey swallows again.

Derek's staring at her as he lowers his voice and says, "Please…"

There go her wallowing plans.