Working on it – LWD

Summary: Set after the movie.

Disclaimer:

Chapter 8

On Tuesday, Lizzie and Edwin were released early from school to start their holiday vacation, so they walked home together, stopping to pick up Marti on the way. When they arrived at home, they were greeted by a slightly frazzled Nora, and Simon who was happily playing in his pen.

Nora met them at the door. "Hey guys! Liz, Edwin, can you two go to the store for me? I have a list. I'm trying to get the rest of the baking done. Fiona will be here Thursday evening, which means tomorrow everything needs to be spotless, and Casey's flight gets in at seven-thirty tomorrow night. I'm hoping Derek's bedroom arrangement works…"

"It'll be fine, Mom, relax", Lizzie rolled her eyes. "Edwin and I will run to the store. I'll have my room clean tonight and find the air mattress. It's in the basement closet, I'm pretty sure. Tomorrow, I'll help Marti clean her room-"

"Darn it!" Marti called from the living room where she had commandeered the TV.

Lizzie laughed. "We'll play music, it won't be so bad." She turned back to her mother. "I'll get Derek to pick Casey up from the airport – we can order pizzas for dinner tomorrow night so there's no extra cooking or clean-up. Seriously, relax."

Nora laughed. "Alright, sorry, I'll try to be a little more rational."

"That's all I ask", Lizzie teased.

"I'll get you my keys", Nora said, heading into the kitchen. "I talked to your dad about getting you a car; he's going to look into some things and get back to me."

"You talked to Dad?" Lizzie raised her eyebrows.

Nora rolled her eyes and passed her daughter the keys, her credit card, and a shopping list. "I did. We have learned how to get along, you know."

"And he's spying on Casey for you", Edwin nodded, grinning.

"Duh", Nora laughed. "I don't have Derek to do it."

"True", Lizzie chuckled.

"Let's go, Liz", Edwin said, grabbing her arm and heading back out the front door.

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Edwin walked with Lizzie through the snack aisles, debating appropriate munchies for their family plus the impending guests. He had shopped with Casey before – Edwin was grateful Lizzie wasn't trading all the chips for carrots, spinach, and celery while giving him reproachful looks. They did have some of vegetables too, but at least it was mixed in with the rest of the food. He was a boy who liked his snack food.

"So, seriously", he said as they made their way to the aisle of beverages, "You, Casey, and Marti are going to share the basement with Derek? How do you think that's gonna work out?"

Lizzie grinned. "Oh, I plan to write on his face with markers when he falls asleep. A purple mustache might scare off Vicky. She hasn't had a sense of humor in years."

"As long as it's not scented", he warned. "Otherwise she might eat his face."

"Hmm, good point."

"You know Derek's gonna get crazy and territorial, right? And use that high, shrieky voice he has when he freaks out", Edwin grinned.

She raised her eyebrows. "It won't be that bad. I think you're just jealous you don't get to slumber party with us", Lizzie teased.

"Yeah, that's it", he rolled his eyes. "Someone's gonna get smothered in their sleep."

"Ugh, whatever, let's finish shopping."

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On Wednesday, Edwin, Lizzie, and Marti got out of school early for the holiday, and were in high spirits when they got home. Derek left a note saying he was doing something with Ralph, and since it was only one-thirty, they had at least four hours before their parents got home. Nora and George were both planning to stay at work late to finish up any loose ends so they could have a few days free.

Lizzie or Derek would have to pick up Simon from daycare at four. Since Lizzie planned to do it, she decided she had about two hours of free time to do a few loads of laundry.

She ignored Edwin's raised eyebrow when she dumped several mini pizzas into the toaster oven and set the timer. Marti would have one too.

"I'm going to get laundry. Touch those and die", Lizzie warned severely before heading to her room to sort her dirty clothes into piles. She wouldn't have time once Harry, Fiona, and Vicky arrived tomorrow, and Casey would have her own laundry to do tonight.

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Lizzie was putting her third and final load into the washing machine when Derek came home. She glanced at the clock. 3:20.

"Marti, I have to leave in fifteen minutes to go get Simon. Do you want to come with me?" she called towards where Marti was under the dining table reading a book.

"Yeah!" the girl called back somewhat distractedly.

Lizzie nodded and took a basket of clean, folded clothes back upstairs. She piled it on her bed to put away a little later and headed back downstairs to get her water from the kitchen. She went around the corner first to put her light blue basket with her name written on the handle in Sharpie on top of the washer.

"I could have got him", Derek said with his head inside the refrigerator.

Lizzie made a face. "I figured I'd do it since you have to pick up Casey at the airport tonight", she said quickly.

He twisted around to stare at her incredulously. "I'm sorry. I have to what now?"

"Please?" she stuck her bottom lip out.

He rolled his eyes. "Not gonna work, Liz."

"Mom and George don't have time, and Mom won't let me drive through the airport by myself. She still thinks I'll get kidnapped at the mall for god's sake-"

"That's true!" Edwin called from the couch where he was watching television.

"Please, Derek?"

He scowled at her. "You're coming with me", he said finally.

She let out a sigh of relief, "Fine. Thank you. Marti, put your shoes and coat on! We gotta go!"

"Okay!"

Lizzie heard the younger girl scrambling out from under the table, and then her feet heading down the hall. She was about to follow when Derek grabbed her arm. She turned to see him smirking at her.

"What?" she groaned.

"You know", he said easily, "Nora happened to mention to me this morning that you were supposed to ask me about picking Casey up – since it was your idea – and she thanked me for being mature and agreeing. She assumed everything was fine since it hadn't been brought up again."

"You played me", Lizzie complained.

"You should have just asked."

"I forgot. It's been busy around here!"

He grinned. "You're still coming with me. Now go on. Don't be late to pick up Simon", Derek said seriously. "And come straight back. It'll be dark by five."

She glance out the kitchen window and nodded. "It's not snowing. Fifteen after, or twenty – at the latest – we'll be back."

"Be careful."

"I will." She rolled her eyes. "I don't even have to get on the highway." Lizzie headed through the living room and pulled on her coat and then her shoes. "Let's go, Marti."

George had dropped Nora off at work this morning so Lizzie could have the other car to pick up the baby. She hit the unlock button on the tiny remote, and watched for the headlights to blink.

Marti hurried and got in the car. Lizzie followed, but stuck her head back in the door with a smirk. "Hey, Derek", she called. "Pay attention to Edwin while we're gone. I'm worried he might start chewing on our shoes."

She slammed the door when she saw the pillow flying through the air.

Derek snorted. "You two are idiots", he said mildly, falling over the back of the couch and snatching the remote from Edwin's hand.

"Dude", he complained. "I promise I'll be fine if you leave me alone."

"Ed, no more watching the History Channel", Derek shook his head.

"Just because you don't like to learn-"

"It's winter break. No more learning", Derek insisted. "It's a Derekus Law."

Edwin chuckled in spite of himself. "Fine, you win."

"Babe Raider 5?" Derek suggested.

"Babe Raider", Edwin nodded.

Derek rolled his eyes. "Get off your ass and put it in!"

"Yes, Derek; I missed you ordering me around ever so much, Derek-" Edwin muttered under his breath as he fussed with their game console.

"I can hear that", Derek pointed out lazily.

"Good", Edwin muttered.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

"Who's at the door-?"

"Derek, that's the dryer", Edwin said incredulously.

He blinked. "I knew that."

"Sure you did."

"Who's doing laundry?"

"Lizzie", Edwin said with a tone that implicated a 'duh'.

"That's not a bad idea- set up the game. I'll be right back."

Ten minutes later he was listening to Derek bang around the laundry room and use a large variety of curse words.

"Derek, if you shrink your clothes, I will laugh my ass off", Edwin pointed out.

"That's not- I don't…" he sputtered unintelligibly for another moment. "Does Nora know that half of her laundry is thongs?"

Edwin felt his eyeball start to twitch. "D, you just said 'Nora' and 'thongs' in the same sentence. My brain is broken."

"Not Nora!" he yelped, "You idiot!"

Edwin turned around then and leaned over the couch cushions with a half-amused look on his face. "You're doing Lizzie's laundry?" he chuckled. "Just close your eyes and toss it in the basket. And they aren't thongs", Edwin said monotonously. "They're just-"

"Way damn tinier than they should be", Derek interrupted irritatedly.

"And none of your business", Edwin reminded.

"It is if she's-"

"It's Lizzie", Edwin rolled his eyes. "I highly doubt it."

Derek glared at him as he passed to take the offending pile of clothes upstairs in the proper basket. "Liz isn't exactly a kid anymore", he said flatly. And when he came back less than a minute later, he tossed the empty basket towards the kitchen and grabbed the remote control, falling back into his chair. "And what the hell do you mean 'you doubt it'?"

Edwin groaned and then cursed under his breath. "I don't really want to start thinking about her sex life. It's not my business - she's made that perfectly clear. It's not yours either. So just drop it."

Derek grumbled heatedly under his breath in an irritated big brother fashion, but started the game.

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Lizzie and Marti came home with Simon not long after. She got Derek to agree to keep an eye on them and after Marti settled in the chaise lounge with Simon in her lap and a book to read, she headed upstairs to finish cleaning her room for their guests.

She found an extra pile of laundry on her bed and grimaced slightly. Derek or Edwin going through her laundry… embarrassing – she wasn't sure who was worse. It was still slightly warm, so she started putting things on hangers and folding the rest so it wouldn't be wrinkled.

After she finished with her clothes, she dusted and cleared the clutter off the tops of her dresser. She declared her room done except changing the sheets which she would do in the morning, and went back downstairs.

Derek had gone back down to the basement, and had put Simon in his playpen with a Sippy cup of juice. Marti was still reading her book, and Lizzie sat on the couch next to Edwin and grabbed up the other control.

They were only playing for about twenty minute when they all heard Derek's voice from downstairs.

"Liz, I'm gonna kill you!"

Edwin paused their game, sensing she would be running for her life very shortly. "What did you do?" he hissed.

Lizzie smirked. "Well, he either saw that I renamed all his playlists, or found Brittany Spears in his rock mix – or both."

He groaned. "I'll start digging a hole in the backyard."

The door to the basement slammed open and Derek stormed through the kitchen, stopping halfway to the couch and folded his arms across his chest. He was glaring in her direction.

"Lizzie, I swear-"

She raised an eyebrow at him innocently. "What happened?"

"There's only so much I'm gonna let you get away with."

She stood up and tilted her head thoughtfully. "What did I do?"

He growled at her.

"Here we go", Edwin muttered.

"You screwed up my playlists and you made me buy a freakin' Best of Brittany Spears CD. Do I even want to know how you hacked my password?"

She laughed then. "Was it supposed to be hard?"

"You owe me eleven ninety-nine plus interest for pain and suffering – and ear trauma", Derek said seriously.

Lizzie snorted. "Oh my god, you're such a crybaby. You kidnapped my phone for an entire day. Did you really think I wouldn't retaliate?"

He raised an eyebrow. "I'm going to be really nice and tell you to run", he said, suddenly advancing in her direction.

She blinked, momentarily startled. "Oh, no- Derek", she attempted reasoning with him while backing around the couch slowly.

"Lizzie, you should run", Marti advised calmly, not looking up from her book.

With that well-meaning advice, Lizzie ran for the stairs, yelping when he lunged after her. She made it upstairs and nearly to her room. She was trying to get her door closed when he grabbed her around the waist and tossed her over his shoulder.

Her hitting and squirming did little to nothing to loosen his grip as he stalked into the bathroom. She started cursing then.

"Derek, don't you dare!"

He let her dangle even further down as he leaned over to turn on the shower head, and then promptly set her in the shower and yanked the curtain closed with a mad grin on his face.

"Derek! You are so dead", she shouted through the water.

"Never mess with big brother", he intoned patronizingly.

She growled irritably and seconds later whipped her water drenched shirt at him through the slight gap in the curtain and grinned when it smacked him right in the face. "While I'm in here, I might as well take a shower. Get out, Derek."

He tossed her wet shirt into the sink with a smirk. "You're welcome", he teased.

"Out!" she ordered.

0

"So, how was your day?" Nora asked Lizzie as she shuffled through the stack of bills that had come in the mail, "Any problems with Simon?" Then she frowned. "Why are you wearing pajamas?"

"Simon was fine", Lizzie said dryly. "Derek threw me in the shower with my clothes on", she added, loud enough for him to hear from the living room.

"Lizzie hacked my iTunes list!" Derek retorted, walking into the kitchen to defend himself.

"You stole my phone!"

"And you took my radio."

"Ugh, I gave it back. Don't be so overdramatic", she grumbled.

"You owe me twenty bucks", he said pointedly.

"The Brittany Spears CD was only eleven ninety-nine", Lizzie frowned. "I will not be subjected to inflation."

"You defiled my ears", he whined.

"Should we ask for details?" George muttered to his wife reluctantly. This was new territory.

Derek just held his hand out. "Twenty bucks", he repeated.

She stuck her tongue out at him but dug into the pocket of her jeans and pulled out a crumpled twenty. "Cry baby", she muttered. "Next time I want coffee, you're buying."

"I hope Harry and Fiona have sex in your bed", he hissed.

"Derek!" Nora scowled, completely appalled.

Lizzie snorted. "Oh, please, Mom, you know they probably will. I'm going to need a new mattress."

Nora groaned. "We'll see", she muttered. "Fiona's still a slut", she grumbled under her breath.

Derek hid his amused grin by biting his knuckle. Well, then.

"I'm ordering pizza", George announced, grabbing the phone in the kitchen. "It'll give Derek time to eat dinner before getting Casey at the airport. The usual, everybody?" he questioned.

There was a round of agreement and George dialed the number for the pizzeria to place the order.

"Liz is gonna ride with me to the airport", Derek mentioned to Nora off-handedly.

"Is that a good idea?" she raised an eyebrow. "Can you two behave?"

Lizzie rolled her eyes. "It's fine, Ma, relax, okay?"

"I won't be relaxed until New Years", Nora sighed.

Derek looked down at Lizzie dubiously. "You know you're gonna have to put clothes on before we leave."

"Yes, thank you, I'm aware of that", she said dryly.

0

The car was parked in the pick-up lane, still running so they wouldn't get a ticket. Derek leaned against the hood of The Prince next to Lizzie. It was chilly, but thankfully not snowing, so they were fairly comfortable with hats and gloves on – along with their hot cups of coffee from Tim Horton's that Lizzie had insisted on getting.

"What time is it?" Lizzie asked for the third time.

"Two minutes later than it was last time you asked", Derek groaned.

"Her plane should have landed by now."

"Casey said she would text me when the plane landed and she could turn her phone back on", he said calmly. "Just relax. We got here early, remember?"

"Sorry", she muttered.

Derek's phone made an obnoxious noise then and he pulled it from his coat pocket. "She said she just landed", he said pointedly. "She's got to stop at baggage claim. It'll be another ten or fifteen minutes."

"'kay."

Several minutes later, her left leg was twitching, bobbing back and forth. He looked at her sharply, staring at the Styrofoam cup in her hand. "I thought I told you to get decaf."

"Oops?"

He groaned and traded cups with her.

She made an irritated noise and stared at the cup that was now in her hand. "You didn't-"

"You look like a six year old doing a potty-dance", he smirked. "Drink the damn decaf."

"Don't mock me. I'm excited." She took a sip from his cup anyway.

"I hadn't noticed", he said with amusement.

She stuck her tongue out at him.

Five minutes later when they were having an elbow fight, Lizzie saw her sister through the glass. "Casey! There's Casey!" she grabbed Derek's arm and shook it around.

He yanked it away from her. "Easy, killer", he muttered.

Lizzie waited until Casey stepped onto the sidewalk before jumping off the car to squeeze her sister in a tight hug.

Casey laughed, "Hey, kiddo. I missed you too."

Derek went and picked up the rolling suitcase she had dropped and moved to put it in the trunk, calling over his shoulder, "Can you guys move the hug-fest to car so we can get home?"

"Join in on the love, Derek", Casey teased as they separated.

"I'll make you walk", he threatened lazily.

She grinned at him and ruffled Lizzie's hair. "It's so nice to be home", she chuckled. "Let's go."

Casey set her carry-on bag in the trunk as well, and they piled into the car. Lizzie hopped in the backseat. "Yeah, we'd better hurry. I'm sure mom is anxious", she rolled her eyes.

"Anxious?" Derek rolled his eyes as he drove out of the airport and towards the highway ramp. "She's been in a tizzy all day."

Lizzie smirked.

0

Casey and Lizzie chatted the whole way home, mostly uninterrupted save for a few comments from Derek. And when they got home, the family descended like a swooping hawk – but with more hugging and less pecking.

With all the noise and laughter, it took Lizzie a while to realize that Derek hadn't spoken to her directly since they had left the airport. Normally she wouldn't have noticed it as strange – they did have a lot of people in their house – but it seemed like he was going out of his way to talk around her, and she didn't like that.

She finally left the kitchen, allowing Casey and her mother to talk privately, and went to go change back into her pajamas. She found her black ribbed tank top and warm, fuzzy pink plaid pajama pants still lying on her bed where she had left them. She changed quickly and made her way back downstairs to find Derek watching the sports channel in his recliner.

She took a spot near the end of the couch and looked at the television with a frown. "What is this, a week of reruns?"

He made a noncommittal noise, but didn't complain about it like he normally would have. That was confirmation enough for her.

"Okay, why does it seem like you're angry with me?" Lizzie sighed exasperatedly.

"I'm not."

She glared, "Liar."

"I'm not angry at you, Lizzie", Derek said quietly.

"Really? Then what the hell is your problem?"

"Just drop it, Liz", he sighed, standing up and setting the remote on the arm of the couch next to her before walking out of the living room and disappearing into the basement.

She stared at the TV incredulously. What the hell?

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A/N: Well, this was a long one. Thanks for reading to the end. Hopefully it's not too over the top. I'm sure tomorrow I'll find things wrong with it, but enjoy! Leave me a review. I'm plotting the next part already.