Author's note: Well, this should be it. For a last chapter author's note, I'm not feeling very chatty, lol. For starters, anyway.
Music suggestions: 'Dirty little secret' by The All-American Rejects, 'Crazy for this girl' by Evan and Jaron.
Disclaimer: Don't own Life With Derek.
Perchance to dream: Coming home, Part 2
Casey was on her way back to her bedroom, having visited the bathroom at 3:15 AM, yawning widely and stretching her arms over her head, smiling from an invigorating makeout session and a couple hours of sleep. And, not expecting any company, she hadn't even remotely considered changing out of her boyfriend's choice for her pajama top.
That is, until Marti's bedroom door cracked open and the little sister in question appeared a few seconds later.
"Casey?" Marti grumbled curiously, her voice thick from sleep as she rubbed her eyes. Casey froze the same instant Marti roused herself and got a good look at Casey and her sleeping attire. "Are you wearing Smerek's hockey jersey?"
"I..." Casey floundered, her mouth gaping, no other sounds or explanation forthcoming.
The same could not be said for Marti. A high pitched squeal, akin to something Emily would emit, passed her lips as her eyes lit up gleefully, causing Casey to jump half a foot into the air and wince at the thought of the repercussions. At the same time, Marti started hopping up and down as she turned in a circle.
Approximately four seconds later, one second before the squeal ceased but she continued her happy dance, two loud thumps echoed through the house: one from above, and one from behind.
At least it proved one of her theories: all the Venturi men, not just Derek, slept precariously close to the edge of the bed.
Derek appeared first, yanking Casey's door open and looking ready to murder.
"What is going on?" Derek asked, putting emphasis on each individual word, his tone a mixture of sleepiness and irritation as he came to stand behind Casey. He visibly blanched when Marti stopped suddenly, her eyes wide as she pointed a finger at him emphatically, moved to Casey's door, and then returned back to him.
"Casey's wearing your hockey jersey!" Marti exclaimed in an excited tone.
"Wow, take it down a few decibels, Smarti." Derek said in a hushed tone, holding his hands out to make a vertical high to low gesture. "We didn't exactly plan on coming out so soon."
"Afraid it's a little late for that." Edwin commented, coming down the attic steps to collapse on the second to bottom step, leaning against the wall. "Besides, there's been an ongoing bet since you got into that fight with Sam."
"Told you they'd get together at college." Lizzie added observationally, making her presence known as she leaned against her now open door frame. "No parents, no hindering London-based, "how would it look" quandary, and they're living together. Alone. I'd be more surprised if they hadn't."
"What's a decibel?" Marti inserted brightly in a lull of the conversation.
Derek and Casey looked back and forth in unison from one sibling to the next, unable to reply to any of their commentary as they went back and forth amongst themselves.
"We don't know that, it could have happened tonight, under our very noses. Hours, maybe even minutes, ago." Edwin rebutted, countering Lizzie. He then turned his gaze to the stupefied couple in question. "So?"
"Oh, you mean you actually want our input now?" Derek snarked sarcastically, grumpy at both their discovery as well as his lost sleep. There were very few things he interrupted sleep for. Most of them involved Casey, even predating the romantic aspect.
Edwin rolled his eyes.
Lizzie shrugged her shoulders as she stood from the door frame. "It's all cool by me, you two being together. It was only a matter of time. I don't need to know when it happened." Shutting her door behind her, everyone could hear her muffled, "But I am right." before it clicked shut.
Edwin harrumphed after her but motioned for an answer.
"When the power went out last month." Derek supplied, crossing his arms over his chest to resist reaching out to pull Casey into his arms. She hadn't spoken a word since the encounter began. "Not that it's any of your business." Derek finished on a threat.
Grumbling in low tones, Edwin stood from his relaxed perch on the steps and started climbing them back up to his room.
"I still want to know what a decibel is!" Marti demanded, a frown forming as she put her hands on her hips.
"It means turn down the volume on your enthusiasm." Derek supplied gently as an answer, leaving Casey's side momentarily to crouch in front of Marti. "Do you have a problem with me dating Casey?" Derek asked hesitantly, uncertainty in his tone. He heard Casey draw in a sharp breath behind him as she waited for Marti's reply as well.
"Of course not, Smerek. Don't be silly. You've always treated her just like mommy says boys treat girls they really like." Marti replied, sounding exasperated as she reassured him. Skipping past him, she started humming a familiar tune involving sitting in a tree and kissing as she retreated into the bathroom and shut the door.
"Well, that went better than I expected." Derek said on an exhale, the deep breath he'd been holding released on Marti's positive note.
"You'd think they would have let us in on the fact that we were supposed to be together." Casey murmured a few moments later, relieved at their acceptance but upset that she'd been left out of the loop.
"Casey, Casey." Derek taunted in a teasing tone as he sauntered up into her personal space. Clasping his hands on her biceps, he stared deeply into her eyes. "You know it was only out of self preservation that they didn't notify us of our romantic status until we admitted it to each other first."
"Alright, so maybe you're right about that. But..." Casey relented, yet building up steam for a counterpoint. Derek cut her off with the pass.
"How about we take this back to bed?" Derek whispered temptingly against her lips as a familiar light glowed in his eyes.
The argument faded from her mind as she nodded her acquiescence. Her brain did turn mostly to mush when he looked at her like that, but she still had a few strands of common sense still intact. He had another thing coming if he thought they were having sex with their parents and siblings all under the same roof.
Earlier that day when everyone had been out...well, that had been a different story.
The door settled shut behind them, the lock turning into place with a faint click.
Unheard by the second floor occupants, a third thud sounded through the basement as Marti's screech startled George awake. Surprised and bleary eyed, George sat up from the floor with a shock, looking around him frantically.
"What is it? What was that?" George asked in a rushed tone from the floor, placing a hand on the bed to pull himself up.
"It's nothing, George. Go back to sleep." Nora replied in a relaxed tone, still half asleep. Rolling to face George, she patted the space beside her. George stood up, but turned to look towards the stairs.
"How do you know it's nothing?" George asked in a skeptical tone, his eyes narrowing suspiciously.
"Because that was Marti's happy squeal. You mean you can't tell the difference?" Nora explained, finishing with a question as she opened her eyes to squint up at her husband.
"It's...after three in the morning." George said, deflecting his answer after pausing to glance down at the time. "First off, why is she out of bed? Second, what could she possibly be that happy about?" George asked as he climbed back into bed.
"She probably discovered that Derek and Casey are now a couple." Nora replied in an offhand tone, resting her hand on George's chest as he settled back in beside her.
"Oh." George uttered in reply. It took two seconds for the words to sink in before he shot back up from the bed. "What? How do you know? Nobody told me." George asked in rapid succession, finishing on a sullen tone.
"Now, don't get upset George." Nora said after a sigh, sitting up beside him and engulfing one of his hands with both of her own. "I found a condom wrapper in the recliner while I was cleaning earlier."
Nora's hand tightened around his when George's face turned red and he moved to get up. "Nora. Our kids are having sex. In this house." George exclaimed in an incensed tone when she failed to immediately release him, or storm up the stairs after him.
"I'm not happy about the idea either, honey, but we did expect something like this to happen." Nora placated in a calm tone, pulling one of her hands away to rub George's arm reassuringly. "Just be relieved that it's happening now, when they're grown adults. They're not fifteen anymore, honey. That's not really our jurisdiction any more."
"I'm not letting this go." George grumbled after a moment, following Nora's motion as she pushed him back down onto the bed.
"And we won't." Nora agreed, laying on her side as she cupped her hand to George's face. "It's news to me that Casey made such a fundamental change in her ten-year plan. We will get a few facts straight before they leave this house. We're just not going to do anything about it tonight."
"But Nora..." George complained in a disgruntled tone, bending one arm to place his hand over hers and move it to rest over his heart. "They could be up there right now..."
"George, really. Is that what you really think of my daughter? That she would do something like that with all her siblings and parents rooms away?" Nora scoffed in a warning tone, her tone advising George to tread lightly and word his response very carefully.
"Nora, sweetie...it's not Casey I'm worried about." George admitted in a subdued but belligerent tone, turning his head to meet her gaze in the dark.
"They'll be fine, George." Nora reiterated with a smile, patting his chest. "Just trust me, would you?"
"I can give him hell in the morning, right?" George consented reluctantly.
"Of course, dear." Nora agreed with an amused glint in her eye.
Sorry for not giving you all an actual "confrontation" scene with Nora and George. It just would not rise to the surface in my mind! I couldn't leave the story with them completely oblivious, though, so I figured this concession would be sufficient. I figured I could trust Nora to stay level-headed throughout the ordeal and pull George through without a enormous blow-up/freak-out. It sounds optimistic, something I'm more prone to writing than actually feeling (lol), but I think it's believable enough. Am I right? Any other closing remarks? This is it, for this story, so speak now if you have anything to tell me. Or not, it's up to you. Hope you enjoyed this rather extensive "one-shot that grew into a multi-chaptered monster" story!