One-third of the car ride home and she realizes that the dream of dancing in New York is just silly. Stupid.

First of all, she's so blatantly Canadian. It's in her blood. It's plastered on the walls of her house and the walls of her brain. New York is new, unfamiliar territory. Exciting, yes. But is she really ready to leave Canada yet? She hadn't ever thought about leaving Canada. Everything she loves is there. Everything and everyone.

Then there's Queen's, her school, and a scholarship with her name…

Since when has dancing taken a higher priority over education? How un-Casey-like. How un-Casey-like she's been this whole summer. Starting from the very night she got out of high school, her spirits high and her plans for the future so ideal. It all went downhill when she called Derek Venturi her brother… and he didn't argue.


Speaking of her dear stepbrother… (She still puts the step in front of it, even after that night. That should tell you everything.) How is her poor, pathetic Derek going to deal with university life without her? He could barely survive high school without The Casey Condensation Method… No, no. She simply can't leave him to squander his precious study time on parties and hockey. She has to be there to keep him on track.

Her iPod dies while she listens to "Don't Leave Me" by The All American Rejects.

It's decided then. She's not going anywhere.

Two-thirds of the car ride home and she gets a message on her cell, the phone vibrating angrily in her sweaty palm. She flips it open.

I'm gonna miss u, CM. Let me know if you can do the show as soon ASAP. :)

Two sentences are all it takes to convince her that her prior decision is right. Because "I'm gonna miss you" is automatically followed by a stupid nickname. And a request that renders him missing her irrelevant. It's rushed. And it's… totally not romantic. At all.

She then realizes there wasn't even a goodbye kiss. Just a semi-awkward hug as she attempted not to glower over his shoulder at another couple locked in a more… intimate embrace. She stood there, her eyes filling with tears from trying not to glare or from jealousy (she was not sure which), and wondered when Derek became so interested in brunettes. It was only when Jesse released her that her thoughts turned from 'maybe I should get rid of these blonde highlights' to 'maybe I should get in the freaking car so they both get the message.'

She pulled away and Jesse saw the tears in her eyes. He thought she was being all sentimental and overly-emotional.

"We'll probably see each other again, soon." He tried to be comforting. She couldn't give a damn. She hurriedly nodded and rushed over to Derek, pulling him away from his… girly distraction.

"Come on, D! We have to go!"

Her stepbrother waved goodbye and she practically threw him in The Prince, her emotions getting the best of her.

Silence the rest of the ride.

She deletes the message. Somehow it invigorates her, gives her power. She feels like a huge weight has been lifted off her shoulders.

Then she feels stupid because she should probably reply to that message.

Hey, Jesse. I'm afraid New York isn't going to work out for me. I hope you find a new dance partner. Break a leg! :) –Casey

If he really wants her reasons as to why she can't dance with him, he'll text her back. But honestly, she couldn't care less if he never texts her again.

Three-fourths of the car ride home and she's still thinking. Then she gets an idea. "Wait, Derek." she says eagerly. "What if… if we take a detour home?"

He looks at her as if she's just sprouted wings and a beak.

"We just traveled all this way, and you want to keep going?" he asks. Her face is flushed now as she realizes how weird and dumb she must sound.

"I mean, we can go get… ice cream. Or… just talk." Okay, now he really thinks she's crazy. If he wasn't driving, he would have looked her straight in the eyes and told her so.

"Do you really want to go home and have to unpack, and deal with our crazy family, and the baby?" she tries desperately to save herself. But it's hardly working.

"Whatever." he says, but turns off the road anyway, leaving the course to home.

Truthfully, she just wants more time to think, more time to be with him. Somehow the two of these things just seem to correlate right now.

"Well, start talking, Spacey." he says suddenly, and she jumps out of her seat a little.

"Start talking?" she asks, having completely forgotten her lame excuses to keep driving.

"Yeah, you said we should talk so… go." he says, matter-of-factly.

She gets flustered. This is not what she expected. She didn't think he would actually want to talk to her. Her words come out in a panicked, jumbled mess.

"You don't really, actually care about Roxy, do you?" she blurts out, her face turning, if possible, an even darker shade of red.

"That's the first thing you want to talk about, princess?" He slows down on the road and looks at her, smirking. She pretends he doesn't exist. Which is really difficult. He sighs, looking back over the steering wheel. "If you really must know, I'll probably never talk to her again. Basically, she had a mansion, a hot tub, and a nice ass."

"Ew." she says, wishing she never asked, but relieved at the same time. Derek was just being shallow. Ha, funny thing to be relieved about.

"Ooh, my turn!" Derek bounces happily in his seat, an idiotic grin on his face. She is thoroughly tempted to punch him. "Are you really going to New York with Twinkletoes?"

"Who's Twinkle-" The name registers in her brain, and she almost laughs in spite of herself. She hesitates before answering. "No, I'm not going with Jesse." Like the emphasis on his name will make Derek use it…

Derek pauses, turning onto some unknown street. "Damn." he says finally. "I thought you were gonna be like 'oh, I don't know,' and then go on some big spiel, weighing all your options. Pros and cons. Crap like that. Not just come right out with your answer."

"I'm not always so predictable." she says, scratching at a mosquito bite on her ankle and keeping her eyes off of him. "Plus, I've had a lot of time to think."

"But don't you want my opinion?"

Her breath hitches in her throat. She almost says 'since when has your opinion ever mattered to me?' but then realizes how stupid that is. She doesn't want to argue, and he's offering to actually talk. Derek never just… talks. So she merely says, "sure."

"Well, you know I'm big on risks and all that… following your dreams and sh-"

"Yes, Derek." He's rambling. She's anxious.

"This time…" he starts. He's hesitating. She's on the edge of her seat. "This time I don't think you should take the risk."

"Why?" She hates herself for not thinking before she speaks.

He keeps going down these random roads into neighborhoods that she's pretty sure are uncharted. She feels so lost.

"Well, you barely know Twinkletoes, for one." he says, his eyebrows furrowed in thought. He only thinks when he lies. She wonders what he's lying about. What his real reasons are.

"And second of all, you'd be giving up your scholarship to Queen's, the school you've been studying for all summer!" He reaches across her lap with one hand. Her leg twitches. But then he merely peels the law book off her sweaty legs, waving it in front of her face. His eyes never leave the road.

She grabs the book from him and places it back on her lap, suddenly feeling exposed in her short skirt.

"And last, but not least…"

He tests her patience for a moment. She sees a smirk tremble at the corners of his lips. She knows he wants a rise out of her. 'What?' she wants to shout, but she won't let Derek Venturi win.

He breathes out slowly. "You'll miss me way too much if you leave for a year." The smirk springs up on his face.

She thought she was done blushing, but a rosy red materializes on her cheeks as she realizes the truth in his words.

"No, you'll miss me." She reaches over and pushes his shoulder. She was never very good at flirting…

"Whatever, Grubby." Is that a trace of a smile on his lips? She'll probably never figure out the eldest Venturi. "You just keep thinking that. As if you would be able to survive New York without me." He's so smug, leaning back, one hand on the steering wheel. "The first month there and you would be begging to come home, just to see me."

She just shakes her head, but doesn't deny it. (That should tell you everything.)

Her phone buzzes again. Her heart drops as she opens it, fearing it's Twinklet- Jesse…

Where are you guys? Are you okay? Mom wants to know.

Just Lizzie. They should be home by now. She types a message back.

Just took a detour, that's all. Derek didn't want to unpack, so he kidnapped me. Go figure. We'll come home… eventually.

Love, Case

AN: I felt the need to write a follow-up to Vacation With Derek… which involved Casey decision to attend Queen's instead of going to New York. ;) I was really inspired by The Daseys on twitter, too. As far as I'm concerned, they're totally canon. xD I hope you guys enjoyed this. Please review if you have the time!