Butterscotch, caramel, maple syrup. Choosing a hair colour was making Casey hungry, and these days it wasn't as easy to get the weight off. She was still very slim but with a healthier physique. Four children had added slight curves to her body which she both loved and hated: loved because they were a sign of her motherhood, hated because they were a reminder that she no longer had the body of a teenager.
Casey Venturi had turned fifty last birthday though you wouldn't think it to look at her. Like her mother, Casey had aged well and it wasn't unheard of for people to gauge her age at more than a decade lower than the reality. However, she had been thinking lately that the time had come to break out the hair colour. The greys had finally arrived.
She picked up a box labelled "caramel" and tossed it into the shopping cart.
"Watcha doing with that?" The voice spoke from behind her.
Casey pointed at her hair without looking behind her. "Greys." She explained.
A pair of arms slid around her waist and Derek rested his chin on her shoulder. "I like your greys. Every one of them reminds me of a prank I've played on you. See this one here was the passport panties, this one here was me reminding you that you were late for school – on a Saturday, this one is was the first time I put honey in your shampoo bottle…"
Casey bent her head round to look at them. "Are you pointing out how many grey hairs I have?" she asked with mock indignity.
"No." He backtracked hastily. She snorted.
"You have greys too, you know." She informed him.
"Yup. And you caused most of them."
"Oh?" She said turning in his arms.
"This one was when you got taken from that bathroom by Stefan." He said pointing to his own head but the humour had gone from his voice. "This one here was the horrible three hours I endured waiting for you to come out of surgery for your gall bladder. This one here was for when you almost bled to death having our youngest."
Casey's eyes softened.
"Sorry." She said sadly.
"For what? The important thing is you're still here and you're still my wife. Grey hairs or no grey hairs."
"Thirty years, Derek."
"I know. Guess what Spacey? We grew old together!"
She smiled at his boyish smile, and in her eyes he was still fifteen…or maybe twenty one. There were still a few alterations necessary when he was fifteen.
"Shall we do something special for this anniversary?" She asked.
"We always do something special. But if you want, we could go away?" He asked, knowing she would never agree to that.
"And be away for the birth of our first grandchild? Don't be stupid."
"We could just get take out and spend the day in bed."
"We did that last year…remember? And Stig and Lucy decided to drop by unexpectedly with a bottle of champagne." Casey could feel herself blushing at the memory of opening the front door at 2pm in the afternoon still in her robe and nothing else. Their eldest son had been full of concern wanting to know what was the matter with Casey until Derek emerged, wearing nothing but a pair of boxers and a big grin.
Stig had taken it in good part, because he was used to his parents' and their very active need for each other. Casey's embarrassment was more about Lucy being there.
She needn't have worried. Lucy too had a set of parents who were very in love still. Stig and Lucy had left the champagne and retreated, but the next time Casey saw her beautiful daughter-in-law and tried to apologise, Lucy told the story of coming home from college unexpectedly and walking into her own childhood home aged nineteen to find her father making love to her mother on the stairs.
Casey found it hard to look Lucy's mother, a good friend of hers, in the eye the next time they met.
Back in the Personal Grooming aisle of Walmart, Casey giggled to herself.
"What are you laughing at?" Derek asked.
"Cathy and James." Casey admitted. It was all she needed to say because Derek knew exactly what she meant.
"We could go to a hotel." Derek said after a moment's thought, and she noted his eyes were looking at the packs of contraceptives lined up on the supermarket shelves beside them. She frowned. Since the traumatic birth of baby number four, where Casey had been rushed to theatre for an emergency hysterectomy, they didn't need contraceptives. Then she spotted the additional items lined up beside them and her jaw dropped.
"A vibrating what?" She exclaimed in shock. Derek looked at her amused.
"Wow! Prude Casey returns after thirty years…who'd have thought!"
"I'm not being a prude, Derek."
He chuckled. "It would be a bit misplaced, wouldn't it? I mean it's not like you and I don't have …"
"Don't finish that sentence in public ,Venturi." She warned.
He stepped closer to the shelving. "Ooh…warming lube…tingle sensation…" his voice was getting louder and louder.
"Derek Venturi!" His wife warned, looking around to see if anyone was watching - embarrassed and trying not to giggle at the same time. "Stop that right now!"
He stepped back. "What is your problem?" He asked.
Casey sighed leaned forward to whisper. "It's one thing to see that stuff in "The Joy of O"" she said, mentioning a small shop that she had been known to purchase …ahem…underwear from. "It's something else to see it in Wal-mart!"
Derek laughed. "Okay. I sort of see your point. Shall we move to another aisle?"
"Please!" Casey pleaded.
Derek pushed the cart around the corner in to the next aisle which appeared to be something called Bargain Goods. He chuckled as he saw the picnic blankets and other items more suitable for the warmer weather. He wished them good luck selling those in the depths of the current Canadian winter.
But it got him thinking about their little "Summer House" in the yard. It had solid wooden walls and small windows at the front to keep the heat of the Summer out, but with the addition of a couple of heavy curtains and a wood-burning stove it might just be habitable for a couple of hours on a cold Winter's night. It wouldn't need to be longer than that – just long enough for a Winter picnic and maybe a little something extra afterwards. His mind filled with a scene of warm flickering flames, soft cushions and downy comforters, a picnic rug covered with warming picnic food – and his wife in a little something from "The Joy of O".
Perfect for an anniversary…
"What's that smirk for?" Casey said, noticing his distraction.
"Nothing, honey." He said with a grin.
"Why don't I trust you?"
Derek shrugged. "Experience?" He answered.
"What are you up to?" Her eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"You'll find out soon enough." Derek answered and when she glared at him he buckled. "Just planning our anniversary."
"I thought you didn't have any idea what to do for it."
"I had some inspiration." He said cheerfully.
"In the Bargain area of Wal-mart?" Casey didn't sound impressed. Derek slipped an arm around her shoulder.
"Believe me, princess, you'll love it." There was something about the way he said it that sent shivers of anticipation down Casey's spine and not for the first time, she sent a small prayer of thanks to whatever omnipotent force had created her and placed her on this earth to enjoy her husband the way she did.
He pressed himself against her in a needy way and Casey felt his lips on her neck.
"Our anniversary isn't for another fortnight, Derek." She said, feeling the need to go somewhere private with this man right now.
Derek trapped her between his body and the shopping cart and kissed her lips, causing an older lady to tut as she hurried past.
"I know. But we could do with the practice. Let's just go now." He had hold of her hand and she could feel him starting to pull her towards the door.
"What about the shopping cart?" She asked, by now she was being gently dragged towards the exit.
"Leave it." Derek said. "We'll come back tomorrow."
"But I don't have anything in for tea." She protested.
"We'll order in." Derek answered, picking up the pace. "And when the food arrives we'll stick a note on the front door telling all callers to go away!"
Casey managed to get him to stop as they reached the exit. Derek stopped and looked at her.
"I love my wife." He said, not keeping his voice down at all. "I really want to take her home and make love to her."
A twenty something lad walking passed sniggered and muttered something about "getting it up, granddad".
That wound Casey up.
"Okay, husband." She said loud enough for the lad to hear. "You can take me home and have sex with me, but I get to go on top at least twice."
Derek grinned at her, loving the fact that his wife had grown into such a beautiful, confident and loyal partner.
"Mine!" He announced with an evil laugh. "She's all mine!"
And then still holding her hand he led her giggling out to the parking lot.
Back inside the store, the young lad looked at the amused burly security guard standing by the door and then at the abandoned trolley in aisle six.
"I didn't know you could buy Viagra in Walmart." The lad said almost to himself.
AN: In the words of the immortal Freddie Mercury…another one bites the dust!
My longest ever story and although I personally haven't read it all the way through, I hope it will be seen as one of my better ones. I thought about putting all sorts of stuff in the final chapter about where everyone else ended up, but as Derek and Casey are in their fifties I decided that might be a little depressing. So I will leave it to you all to furnish the other cast members with suitable fates.
The idea for this final chapter was not mine! It was solely my friend Kim's. I have made tweaks to her idea, but I hope it is still the sort of thing that she had in mind…although her version probably wasn't quite so M-rated!
Can I just say to all the young uns out there, that FIFTY is actually not OLD so knock on your parents' front doors when you come home from college! (snigger) Remember, you are only as old as the man you feel and if you are lucky sex does not stop when you are thirty.
Right. Now I'm off to work on the two new stories (teasers on my facebook fan page under the Discussions tab). Updates might not be as frequent for a while as I need to do a bit of translation from Elizabethan English to Canadian Snark. The good news is that some chapters are nearly three times as long as my normal ones.
Until Next Time!