Disclaimer: I don't own LWD or any of its characters.

Author's Note: Okay so I know I haven't finished my other story, but I got inspired with this idea last night. It's NOT a sequel to any of my other stories, but I think it'll be really fun to write :)

It wasn't that Derek really expected anything. Not from her anyway.

Birthdays had always been a big deal—but that was at home. When people had time to make it a big deal. And now he was at college, so yeah, he really wasn't expecting much.

Sure, he knew that his family would call. Not that his dad would remember. And with all the excitement of being pregnant, he doubted Nora would remember either. But he knew Ed and Liz (mostly Liz) would remind the family. After all, she had her keener sister's organized mind. She'd probably carefully written down every family member's birthday in a little calendar. He knew for a fact that Casey used to do that…

Derek sighed and stared at his cell phone, willing it to ring. Hey, even if the fam forgot, he knew one person that would never, ever forget. In fact, she hadn't forgotten his birthday in nearly 15 years. Obsessed, you say? Stalker, you say? Yep, that would be his girlfriend.

Not that he particularly minded having Emily as a girlfriend. No, quite the opposite. She was attentive, sweet, caring, and helpful…all the characteristics of a good friend. Sure, that line between friend and girlfriend had gotten a bit blurred. But he didn't mind. At least, not too much.

Actually, long-distance Emily was quite tolerable. Sure, she called everyday—but that was to be expected. In fact, the only thing that annoyed him about her was, well, her paranoia. She was constantly asking him where he was going, who he was hanging out with, whether he'd met any nice girls…You get the idea. Quite paranoid. Though, he should've guessed, considering that her best friend was Casey, of all people.

Ah, Casey. He wondered if she would call him today. Hell, he wondered if she even knew that his birthday was today. Even if she did, it wasn't likely that she'd break the silence between them. What's that, you ask? Silence? Yup, you heard that right. The amazing fighting duo who couldn't keep their mouths shut for five seconds…hadn't spoken in months.

And this time it definitely wasn't his fault. Sure, they'd had fights in high school. But living under the same roof hadn't left much opportunity for the silent treatment. But college on the other hand…they had no classes together, ran in different circles, and lived on opposite sides of campus. He literally hadn't seen her since the day they left the house.

Don't stop, make it pop, DJ blow my speakers up—


"Yo D!" "Derek!"

"Sam! Ralph! How's it going!?"

"Pretty good, man. What about you?" "Partyin' tonight?"

"You know it! How're you guys doing?"

"School, man. The usual, you know."

"How's the roommate sitch workin out for you?"

Sam laughed, "Ralph's surprisingly easy to live with. Kinda obsessed with his drums though."

"As long as he doesn't go sniffing your shoes, I think you're good," Derek joked.

"Yeah…hey, so we just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" "Happy b-day D-man!"

Derek grinned, "Thanks guys. Means a lot."

"Alright well we gotta go…live it up for us tonight."

"I will," Derek promised as he hung up.

Live it up. Yeah right. Emily would probably have a fit if he went out tonight. He honestly didn't see what her problem was. After all, he'd never cheated on his other girlfriends, had he? Sure, he may not have been the best boyfriend, but he'd definitely been 100% faithful. Though, he couldn't really blame her for being suspicious. Before, he'd had Casey to "keep him on the straight and narrow" (Emily's words, not his). But now, well, Emily knew that Derek and Casey were on the outs…and so there was "nothing to stop him from doing something stupid" (again, her words).

In Derek's opinion, Emily was way more worried about the fight than anyone else (including the family) was. She'd been fighting tooth and nail to get Derek to talk to Casey, but on this one issue, he was standing firm. He hadn't done anything wrong.

And in an ironic twist, it was pretty much Emily's fault that the whole fight had happened in the first place. See, everything had been going well after graduation. Derek was with Emily, Casey was with Truman, and Casey and Derek had somehow along the way become friends.

George and Nora, needless to say, were ecstatic. Derek and Casey being civil to each other? It was a dream come true. Ed and Liz, on the other hand, always seemed to be a little wary—almost as if they knew it was too good to be true, and there was going to be a breaking point.

Sure enough, that breaking point happened during the last week of summer vacation. By this point, Truman was history (as if he could change his cheating ways). He'd decided that since he was attending the same college as Vicki, it would just be a whole lot easier if Vickiwas his girlfriend…of course, everyone had seen that coming. Casey wasn't too broken up about it, and had made it very clear that she couldn't wait to start dating more mature college guys.

And so, in that last week, Derek had casually mentioned to Casey that he was planning on breaking up with Emily. After all, he deserved to be able to explore the vast freedom of college without being attached to anyone too. He wasn't exactly sure why he felt the need to tell Casey this information—other than the simple fact that he and Casey had always been closely entwined in each other's love lives, and well, she was Em's best friend. Clearly she had to be prepared to pick up the pieces when he broke Emily's heart (and no, he wasn't being cocky. That girl was just so…smitten).

In any case, he had expected a little annoyance on Casey's part (after all, it was her best friend), but he had definitely not expected the full-blown Casey freak out. He couldn't exactly remember what had been said in their screaming match, but he knew that after she had called him an "insensitive jerk" and a "selfish pig", he had completely lost it. Didn't Casey know better than to push him when he was already pissed off? Mad Derek= Mean Derek. Learn it. He had retaliated by called her a "desperate slut" and a "pathetic ho" for going out Truman. A furious Casey had thrown him out of her room, and Derek gladly left, slamming the door behind him.

And that was the whole story. George and Nora were none too happy at the return of normalcy—except, well, Derek couldn't really call what they'd gone back to as normal. They had somehow reached a silent understanding of polite indifference and complete avoidance. For example, if one person was talking, the other didn't respond. If one person entered a room, the other would leave. And that was the state of things leading right up to their last day at home.

Even now, he couldn't explain why he hadn't broken up with Emily. It wasn't that he was scared of Casey or anything…and it wasn't that he was actually listening to her…No, maybe he decided it would be best if he just waited for a while to see where this whole thing went--

Tonight, I'mma fight,'Til we see the sunlight—


"Hey baby! Happy birthday!"

Derek forced himself to sound excited. "Thanks Em!"

"Any big plans?"

"Nah, none that I know of."

"Well maybe you should take this time to reconnect with a certain sister of yours…"

Derek sighed, "Give it up, Em."

"Fine, fine. Don't listen to me…alright well I got a huge essay due tomorrow so I'm gonna let you go sweetie."

"Alright honey, thanks for calling."

"See ya D!"

Derek slowly hung up. The day was almost over and still no call from the family…or from her.

And no, he wasn't waiting for a call from her. Not after she had gone to great lengths to avoid her so-called same-difference brother.

He tapped his fingers.

No, he wasn't waiting.