Hey guys, thank you so much for the amazing reviews. I'm seeing some old faces (or names, rather) from when I wrote my first story on FF, so I'm really happy to see you guys again. Sorry I haven't updated in a while, it was my birthday and I was visiting family in my hometown. But hope you enjoy the chapter!
When Marti wakes up the next morning, she comes down the stairs to find her brother sound asleep next to a half-melted tub of ice cream. His brow is furrowed, and she sighs, muttering under her breath about a certain older step-sister. The house is bathed in a serene white light from the morning sun and the snow covering the trees and ground outside. She grabs a blanket from the living room, where the tree is turned off but still pretty and charming in it's presence. Walking over to the kitchen, she rounds the kitchen island and gently places it over his shoulders.
"I know, that it's hard Derek." She whispers, hoping to God that he doesn't actually hear her. "But push through this, and we can both hope that it'll all be alright in the end."
When he mumbles something in his sleep, she stiffens and shuts her eyes, hoping she hasn't made a giant mistake. She relaxes when she hears a snore and deep breathing, and shakes her head when she realizes he said Casey's name.
"So, I really don't think I'm going to get tired of this." Derek laughs, rolling over onto his back. They had just gotten back to Kingston, and he didn't drive to her dorm. Instead he stopped at his apartment and cut off the engine, making his step-sister or lover or friend with benefits or whatever stare at him with a raised eyebrow.
He decided he wanted to christen his bedroom, again, but with good memories (sort of) this time. Part of him knows that one day they won't be doing this anymore, and he honestly has no clue if she will be in his life forever, but he'll come back to this room and it will feel a thousand times worse than it did before.
He just can't help himself though, because he wants her and needs her.
Hours later, they're laying there in the darkness and the only sounds they can hear is each other's heavy breathing. Casey can still feel tingles in her toes and a satisfying warmth collect in her stomach, and she rolls onto her side, propping herself on her elbow to look at his face. She can't see him all that well, but she can make out his features.
She thinks 'I love him', but she doesn't say it.
Instead, she rubs his face soothingly and he understands what she wants to say but won't say. He decides that her touch does nothing to sooth the hurt he feels.
He feels slightly better when Casey decides to stay at his place for the weekend.
It's Monday morning, and Casey is primping her hair in Derek's bathroom, getting ready for class. He's still asleep as he doesn't have classes until noon, and while her heart aches at the thought of leaving, she definitely has to go.
It's been an amazing weekend, and she doesn't think she's ever been this happy in her life. It was kind of ironic because Derek used to make her life miserable as hell, and now sometimes when they have sex, he'll call her things like 'polly preppypants' or 'klutzilla' but in this raspy, sex-induced voice that pretty much drives her wild and only pisses her off a little bit. Then he proceeds to say that seeing her angry turns him on, and she wonders if that's why he picked on her for all those years.
She glances down at her toothbrush sitting on the edge of the sink, and then at the cup which holds his. Picking up her toothbrush, she stares at it for a moment and her hand moves in the direction of the cup and her heart begins to race.
She can't do that.
Casey pulls back, stuffing it in her holder and then into her purse.
She closes her eyes, and shakes her head at herself. First it would be her toothbrush, then her clothes, and then her life - which didn't work before, and they won't let it work now.
Derek is outside the door, leaning against the wall with his hands stuffed in his pockets. He shakes his own head, because all of this is just stupid.
He can't watch her anymore, he can't watch her pull away from him when he never had her in the first place.
It's the night of his 21st birthday at his apartment, and he has a bunch of icing on his face because some drunk guy dared him to dunk his face in the cake. Really, who has birthday cakes at 21? Luckily, Casey is on his lap licking it off for him and giving his friends quite a show. (He's kind of freaking out because Casey is usually the lady on the street, freak in the bed type). It'd be a different show entirely if anyone actually knew that she was his step-sister, much less a girl he's only fooling around with. He's never actually said the word girlfriend to anyone of course, but everyone knew that he was completely whipped and therefore assumed they were dating.
There is one friend though, who notices an underlying sadness in Derek's demeanor. It's not to say that this sadness is obvious, but she's gotten to know him well enough that she sees it.
Casey is smiling at him, telling him that he's officially clean and he grins back at her, squeezing her side and whispering words of thanks. He catches someone staring intently at him from the corner of his eye, and he looks over to find Laurie giving him an inquisitive look. He raises his eyebrow in return, and wonders if there's something wrong.
He doesn't know the girl extremely well, but he met her soon after he got to Queen's. At the time, he was still reeling from Casey's sudden departure and wasn't necessarily a happy camper. He had buried himself in his schoolwork and didn't go out very much at all. Laurie sat beside him in kinesiology and eventually she asked if he wanted to study together. Part of him was aware that she probably had feelings for him, but he couldn't find it in him to even really care at that point in time.
He wasn't kidding when he told Casey that she ruined him.
Derek would meet up with Laurie every couple of weeks to go over the material, and by the end of the first semester, he was really grateful to her because he had done well in the class (and he also resents her, because he misses the way Casey used to study with him, but he doesn't tell her this of course).
They haven't had a class together since first year, but they still managed to keep in touch. This is the first time he's seen her this year, and if he's honest, he's a little happy to see her. She was one of his only friends in first year before he realized he needed to stop thinking about Casey (which he never did) and start enjoying university (which he did eventually).
"Hey, Case, sorry about your cake." He bounces her on his lap a little, and she shrieks, grasping onto his shoulders.
"It's okay, as you can see I came prepared." She sticks her tongue out at him, and he smirks.
"That you did. Hey, I'm gonna go talk to some people." He squeezes her one last time, and he absentmindedly thinks he acts way too much like a boyfriend and needs to stop, lest she freaks out on him again.
"Sure, D. I'll clean up a bit." She smiles, and he shakes his head. What was it with the McDonalds cleaning up while the party was still going on? He'll never know.
He makes his way over to Laurie, who's just finished talking to one of their mutual friends and she's sipping some lame champagne Casey got.
"Hey, what's going on over here?" He leans up against the wall next to her, taking note of her appearance. She's got these big blue doe eyes that he's sure she's used to manipulate people before, and dark chesnut hair past her shoulders. She looks nothing like Casey, and he's always found that refreshing about her. She just looks natural and sweet, and Derek suddenly feels at ease. She grins at him, moving closer to him and he wonders if she still has a thing for him. He wouldn't be surprised, he is the man after all.
"Hey Derek, happy 21st. Does it feel any different?" She has this little smile playing about her lips, and as an afterthought, Derek's surprised when he doesn't immediately compare them to Casey's. But, that doesn't really mean anything.
"Can't say it does, honestly. It's only a big deal because it's like, ooh legal, in the states but-"
"Ontario is far too awesome and let's us do that shit earlier, right?"
"Right." He laughs, and he wonders why he doesn't hang out with her more often. And okay, he's not stupid, he knows why.
"So, are you doing okay? You seem sort of off." Laurie sounds concerned and Derek feels concerned about the situation because who the fuck actually reads people that well and should he be scared right now. He looks directly at her, and it feels like he wants to vomit but he's not that drunk yet. He hasn't had anyone to talk to about his shit, and he feels like maybe he should, vent some of those demons or whatever.
"Oh, it's you know, this and that. School and stats class - don't ever take that class, it's evil." He's dead serious and she has to laugh.
"Got it, don't take stats. So, just school's bothering you?"
At that moment, Casey comes over and Derek instinctively wraps his arm around her. Laurie smiles at her, but then glances at Derek's face and winces because she's just realized what's actually wrong with him. Maybe not specifically, but it definitely had something to do with this girl.
"Casey, this is Laurie, she was in my first year kin class. Laurie, this is Casey and we're uh, we're hanging out." He grins, but it doesn't reach his eyes. Casey chuckles and jabs him in the side.
"Hi I'm Casey, you'll have to excuse Derek, he's not very articulate sometimes." She shoots Derek a playful look. "We went to high school together." She says, and Derek feels like he's been cheated because hello, it was clearly much more than just going to school together.
"Oh nice," Laurie replies, nodding. "I bet Derek was just a joy then." Her tone is dry and sarcastic. Casey's grin is brilliant, causing Derek to pinch her discreetly.
"He made my life a living hell," She responds, and Laurie looks amused. "If you'll excuse me, I think some rowdy boys are about to break the china." Casey is gone before either of them can say anything.
"You have china?"
"Fuck no. She's just kind of obsessed with it."
"Ah, I see. So... we should get together sometime, you know, catch up." Laurie walks over to the couch where she'd thrown her jacket, and shrugs it on. Derek looks over at Casey reprimanding two sorry looking grown men, and then he returns his gaze to Laurie.
"Yeah, sounds good. Thanks for coming, babe."
As she's walking away, she throws a smile over her shoulder and Derek feels dread creeping up in his stomach. Should he feel guilty, and why? He's not attached to anyone, certainly not Casey, she'd made that clear and he agreed wholeheartedly (that's an exaggeration). Besides, maybe Laurie really just wanted to catch up and there was nothing else to it. Raising his beer cup to his lips, he drinks away the empty and troubling feelings inside of him.
Two weeks later he walks into a Timmies because he hasn't had an iced cappuccino since summer and he has serious cravings for one. Those things should be illegal according to how damn good they were. It's almost midterm time again, and he'll do just about anything to calm his nerves down. Well, Casey tried to get him to do yoga with her and he asked if he has to hand over his gender at the door, to which she was replied something or other about him being uncultured and an idiot.
"I'll have an apple fritter, please." The voice breaks him out of his thoughts, as it's familiar and he's surprised he's actually seeing her here because he never sees her on campus. It's at that moment he remembers that they used to frequent this particular Timmies (there are like, ten of them on campus) in first year. He doesn't think about why he chose this one, since there was one closer to his previous class.
"Laurie! What's up?" He says, looking down at her. She looks up after being handed her pastry, and she grins.
"Hey Venturi, I'm just grabbing something before I go home."
"Nice, nice. Yeah, I'm totally buggin' about midterms, that's why I had to get an iced capp." He says, sipping at the delicious beverage with his straw. She's got that look on her face again, like the way she had looked at him at the party, and he tries to make his face blank of emotion but to no avail.
"Did you watch Clueless again, recently? I mean, who says 'buggin'' anymore?" She's trying not to laugh and he's trying not to remember the contents of the movie, or when Casey had almost ruined their drinking date (night) by mentioning it. The grand conclusion is that she's immediately picked up on his behaviour and he's fucked.
"Do you want to talk about it?" She asks, and she sounds genuine but he's not sure how much he can trust her.
"It's totally fine if you don't want to say anything about it, I mean, it's just nice hanging out with you again."
He's sitting on her couch in her small apartment that looks like Barney's friend TJ or whatever exploded all over it because everything has green on it. He doesn't really know why he agreed to come with her to her place, he just felt the impulse to. Not even Casey knows where he is, and he wonders if it's a given that she has to know, or if it doesn't actually matter and he's not doing anything wrong.
"Well, yeah. It's just, I don't know, complicated?" He tries, and she's handing him some toast with nutella (where has this girl been all his life?).
"Tell me what isn't complicated." Laurie sighs heavily, before joining him on the couch and folding her legs. She steals a half of his sandwich and he gives her a dirty look.
"Um, everything but my life is uncomplicated, trust me."
"You actually sound serious, you didn't like, murder someone did you?" Laurie says and her expression is a little bit more than priceless.
"No, but I should kill you for assuming I'd be capable of something like that. No it's nothing like that, it has to do with Casey." As soon as he says that, there's a dead silence and he's waiting for her to react. The sun has just set and darkness is spreading into the room. The plate of bread crumbs is sitting on the coffee table, and they can both hear the clock ticking behind them.
"Okay, I knew that much. You're pretty transparent Venturi."
"Says the girl with weird sensing powers that probably aren't good for mankind." He replies dryly, running his hands through his hair. Maybe he shouldn't be doing this, talking about Casey this way, and with another woman no less. But Laurie is there, and she's always been there, he's just kind of ignored her as of late. Now she wants to listen, and a big part of him wants to talk.
"So, what's the deal? I'm not majoring in psych, so you won't have to worry about me psychoanalyzing you." She says, and he doesn't really appreciate the sarcasm she's putting on. He can't begrudge her though, she has no idea what he's going through, yet.
"It's like this... um," Thousands of thoughts and memories and feelings are going through him, and the most prominent one is hurt and loneliness. God, he might as well get a sex change with all these girly feelings he's been having. Laurie doesn't say anything, and waits for him to continue, making herself more comfortable on the couch.
"Basically, well, Casey is my step-sister." And he holds a breath, again feeling like he's talking to a wall because Laurie doesn't react.
"But you guys are ... you know."
"I can understand if it's hard to swallow, but I only met her when I was 15, when our parents got married. We really hated each other at first, but there's been feelings there for years now."
Laurie takes a deep breath, and glances down at her pants, picking at a random piece of thread sticking out.
"Okay, and so, you obviously acted on those feelings but I'm assuming there's more to the story?"
He stands up, walking over to the less than real fireplace, and resting his hand on the mantle. His heart is racing because he's never told anyone this before, and so far it wasn't so bad. Maybe what he felt about Casey wasn't a crime and maybe he wouldn't have to feel so bad about wanting her.
"Two and a half years ago, it all kind of exploded. I kissed her, and we admitted all the girly bullshit and we basically did... you know. But then she left for two years to go dance professionally in New York. That's why—"
"That's why you were a complete wreck in first year, yeah, don't think I didn't notice." Laurie sounds sad now, her voice thicker and less dry with sarcasm than before. She's not sure what to make of the situation, but it seemed like Derek was in deep and there were certain issues he's been dealing with by himself this entire time.
"Yeah," Derek scoffs. "I was a goddamn wreck. I saw her on campus during welcome week and it was fucking weird to say the least, I mean, our dynamic was still intact but then all the hidden subtext over the years wasn't hidden anymore and right in our faces. " His voice is beginning to raise, but Laurie figures that he needs to let it out, and perhaps her neighbours can get a show or two in before bedtime.
"We had promised that night two years ago that nothing would ever happen again, because you know, we have the same family and all." Now his voice is just bitter, and she winces, beginning to realize the gravity of the situation.
"Wow, that's... that's a lot of baggage dude. So how come you guys are all lovey dovey now?" She feels like she's entered some German soap opera by how crazy this is getting. But she knows Derek, and has known him for almost three years, he's not weird or strange, he's as normal as guys can get. Arrogant and oversexualized.
"We went home for Christmas, and we were like, really good friends for a while, but then we ended up fooling around and figured, fuck it, why even try if we can just get it out of our systems and go on our separate ways."
"That's rough man."
He finally looks at her, and he smiles slightly because she's not pressuring him, she's just listening and not criticizing.
Casey's at an impasse. In one way, she does have a right to be jealous because she's involved with Derek to some degree and it's not exactly 'involved with' material to be hanging out with another girl every week. However, sometimes 'involved with' doesn't suffice in whether one has actual 'rights' to a person, and hell, she's a woman of the 21st century and 'rights' to people shouldn't and don't exist.
So yes, she's at an impasse and she has no idea of what step to take next. She's not in love with what she's doing with Derek, yeah, they have an amazing sex life and things are wonderful on the surface, but underneath the surface, they were both hurting. They were sneaking behind their family's back, and it's not like when they were teenagers and wouldn't felt cool doing that because it's rebellious. Now they're older and more mature and realize the implications of their actions.
But they just can't help it. They tried and failed and that was the truth of the matter. More than just that, they both wanted so much from each other, they wanted to live together and spend every waking moment together, and do things that serious, committed boyfriends and girlfriends do.
However, she's not his girlfriend.
And he's certainly not her boyfriend.
She made that clear.
Now, she can't take back her word because she is a woman of her word and two, yeah, her family. So she'll do what she was raised to do, talk to Derek in a calm and rational manner and come to a rational conclusion that pleases both parties. It always works.
It's been two months since he's been hanging out with Laurie, and the school year is almost coming to a close. He feels like he can tackle exams without losing control of all his bodily functions and that means something. Hanging out with her makes being with Casey easier, just being able to talk everything that's going on helps a lot and he finds himself feeling so thankful to her that if she ever needed anything, he thinks he would do it in a heartbeat.
Part of him finds it a little sad that he can't talk to Casey herself, because it just makes everything tense and awkward and no one likes that.
It's the last day of classes, and Derek invites Laurie over and figures that won't be a problem since it's not like Casey has a key (and why should he be worried about that anyway?). She's brought a 6 pack, and again, where has this girl been all of his life?
"To the end of third year!" She announces, and they knock their bottles together, the clanking sound ringing throughout the apartment.
"Ah, that's refreshing. You know, I don't think I could've survived without you this year. It feels like first year all over again." He jokes lightly, and he looks over to see her staring at him.
She's always been a pretty girl, there's no denying that. But he'd never been attracted to her before.
Clearing his throat, he stands up and sets his bottle down on the coffee table. His back is turned to her, and when he finally breathes a bit, he turns to find her in front of him, staring and thinking. He swallows.
"Is there something wrong?" He asks, and his voice is barely above a whisper. He feels like anything could break this moment, and suddenly, he doesn't want anything to.
"Something just occurred to me." She says, and her voice is all quiet and breathy and his mouth goes dry.
"And what's that?" He moves in an inch closer, and there are warning bells in the back of his mind, but he doesn't want to listen.
"That you want to kiss me right now. That if you do kiss me, you'll feel like you're in control again. Instead of her." Her last sentence is short, to the point, and not even bitter; Derek finds himself agreeing with her.
Taking a deep breath, he looks into her eyes, gathering her hair in his fingers.
"Laurie, you know that I..." He trails off, and she nods, and he hopes to god that she knows what he means.
Her lips are soft, sweet and with a slight bitterness from the beer. He begins to lose himself in the kiss when the doorbell rings. They separate, but their hands are still on the other, dazed expressions upon both their faces.
"If that's Casey..." he says, breaking the silence.
Laurie nods, shrugging off any sad expression she had moments ago. "I know." And her lips are sealed.
Moments later, Casey is up the stairs and Derek opens the door for her. She enters the room, and the feeling is tense, she feels the hairs on the back of her neck stand up when she eyes Laurie sitting on the couch.
Derek's face is slightly flushed, and his lips are red like when they've just kissed.
Casey is not as surprised at what she's witnessing, but rather the emptiness she feels in reaction to it. Did this mean she just didn't love him anymore, why she can't even bring up any tears or words right now? It's then when she feels an acrid burn building in her stomach, and making her sway on her feet as the nausea hits her.
Derek is now looking at her with a shell shocked expression, knowing that he's been caught.
It's been silent for five entire minutes and no one has said anything. Casey looks him in the eye, and shakes her head solemnly, before making her way down the stairs.
They're both waiting for the sound of their heart breaking, and are surprised to find that perhaps their hearts had been separated long ago, hanging by a thin thread.
Laurie's just done them a favour and severed it.