Probably should have waited a little longer to publish this chapter, but I'm quite proud of it; even though there are major soppy moments.

Disclaimer: I don't own life with Derek or any of the films mentioned.

Chapter Ten

"Let's play hide and seek!" Marti yells, and makes to dive under my bed.

"No!" I grab her around the waist and pull her away. The body under the bed groans and I freeze.

"Smerek!" Marti yells, not noticing anything wrong, and escapes my grasp, disappearing under the bed.

I woke up to the real Marti jumping on the end of my bed, chanting "Wake up Casey, wake up Casey!"

"Marti, get down!" I nearly screamed, not sure if I was more afraid of her falling off and hurting herself or of her missing and landing on me.

She bounced down into a sitting position, legs crossed over each other and looking at me expectantly.

I squinted against the light and wondered why she was in my room.

Seemingly reading my mind she decided to explain. "Christmas shopping! You said you'd take me today!"

"Oh!" Suddenly I remembered telling her that a week ago. I got up and shooed her out of the room so I could get dressed. Once fully clothed, I grabbed my list and pencil, shoved my phone in my pocket and rushed downstairs to eat breakfast. Marti was yelling at me to hurry up the whole time, but in the end it was her that wasn't ready and I sat with my hastily eaten breakfast making churning noises in my stomach, waiting for her.

I pulled out my mp3 and switched to the list Cher had made me. The first song to come up was 'I'd lie' by Tailor Swift. I rolled my eyes; Cher had made it abundantly obvious what she thought of mine and Derek's relationship and had been constantly making 'subtle' references to it for the last few days.

"Why don't you use your phone for music?" Derek asked, making me jump. I hadn't noticed him come in. "Or can't you figure out how?"

I took my headphones out. "My phone doesn't do music. As you should know." I reminded him. When he looked confused, I rolled my eyes and brought out my near enough four year old phone.

His eyes widened. "You kept that?"

"It never broke." I explained, shrugging.

"Didn't you ever want a new one?"

I shrugged again, uncomfortable. The truth was, I hadn't. This phone was a reminder that Derek could sometimes do nice things, and I often needed reminding. That and I'd had it so long it wouldn't feel right to throw it away for a new one. I was surprised he hadn't noticed before; I never made any attempt to hide my phone.

George called from the other room and Derek left with a wondering look at my phone.

Fifteen minutes later Marti and I were on our way out of the door.

"Wait!" Derek called, running into the room. "Here, I'm not having you take my Smarti on the bus and giving her a cold." He tossed the keys to the prince over.

I thanked him and we left, me shaking my head a little at Derek's willing surrender of the car.

Two hours later and both of us had reached the Derek part of our shopping lists. "It's hopeless, he's impossible to buy for!" I moaned.

"No he's not, he always likes his presents." Marti skipped along happily beside me.

I smiled, "Of course he always likes your presents, you're his Smarti."

"He always likes your presents too." She insisted.

I laughed at that. "He's never liked a single thing I got him! He always has something to complain about!"

"That's not true, he's just playing. He wore that shirt you got him all the time until it ripped." She argued. "And the picture you gave him of us is still on his desk."

I shook my head. Only Marti could come up with the good side of Derek wherever she looked. The only reason he wore the shirt was because it was his favourite band at the time, and of course he still had the picture; it was of him and Marti for God's sake!

She ran over to a shop and picked up a huge water gun.

"Please don't get him that, Marti! You know he'll use it on me all the time!" I begged.

She grinned but put it down. Next she picked up a barbie doll. "She looks a bit like Sally. At least she can't run away though." She grinned mischievously.

"Marti!" I giggled.

In the end she got him a new shoulder strap for his guitar with Derek stitched in brightly coloured letters across it.

We stopped for a milkshake break, then continued our search. At least I did. Marti had finished and was just looking around for the fun of it and giving her opinion once in awhile.

When I saw it I almost decided against it. It seemed too... Risky. He might hate it. But then I remembered that he never liked anything I got anyway and went for a closer look. After ten minutes dithering and five minutes queuing I had Derek's present. I still wasn't sure but by that point I was too tired to care, and once Marti saw what I bought her enthusiasm buoyed me until we got back.

We walked in the door laughing, having been discussing the merits of Derek having a barbie for a girlfriend.

"We're talking about cheese... Holy crap!" Derek exclaimed when the door swung shut.

"Huh?" Marti looked as confused as I felt.

"I think Derek finally lost it!" I told her.

"Lost what?"

"His sanity."

"Oh."

"Well, I decided to give your 'romance novel' a look. And so far it's talked about food more than... Other stuff." He smirked. "That line was actually from the book. I think she has some sorta food fetish."

I took a deep breath. "It's so nice to see you take an interest in literature, Derek. I hope it becomes a habit."

"Hey! I read!" He said mock indignantly.

Yeah, comic books, I thought to myself. "By the way, they're descriptions. They're there to make the world in the book seem more real. It's nothing to do with a fetish."

"For Gods sake Casey, he wants her to have a prescribed foods list!" Derek said in a tone that said I was being oblivious.

"That's about control. And about her staying healthy."

"Whatever you say, Princess. But I still say food fetish."

Marti had got bored and gone upstairs.

"Plus, he's always commanding her to eat." He said, following me into my room where I put down my presents. "I just flipped through and without even looking found three separate occasions where he tells her to eat."

"Fine, you win, he likes to watch her eat." I replied smoothly, meanwhile thinking actually I win, because ta da, no more argument.

He'd already opened his mouth to make another point, but shut it with a barely visible frown and left me to wrap the presents I'd bought.

The next day I bought Derek an extra Christmas present.

Christmas eve came and Derek and I had friends over for movies and pizza. It was the usual suspects; Ralph and Sam, Emily and Cher; and I couldn't help but remember that this was only the second time Cher had seen me and Derek. The first since she'd started suspecting... That.

Suddenly I was very aware of how Derek's arm went around my shoulders when he teased me, and how often he smirked at me. I tried to put some distance between us by sitting with my friends on either side, but ended up on the floor opposite him, with a prime view of his face as I looked up.

When the pizza arrived it had onion on, which Derek knew I couldn't stand. "Der-ek!" I couldn't help myself, Cher was unnerving me and thoughts of my resolution went out of the window.

"I'm sorry, Princess? Is there something wrong with your pizza?" His smirk was dangerously verging on a grin. He knew he'd got me.

I blushed and glanced at Cher, who had the hugest grin on her face. "It's just you know I hate onion." I mumbled. His eyes were still on me and I could feel Cher looking back and forth between us.

"I'm so sorry, I forgot."

I knew damn well he hadn't forgotten. But I let my gaze drop and started half heartedly picking off the onion.

"Eat."

I looked up at the firmly spoken command to see Derek looking at me with a triumphant look in his eye and a darkly teasing smile that, if it wasn't Derek, would be incredibly sexy. I felt myself flush all over and quickly averted my eyes; unable to look at Cher to see if she'd noticed.

I ate. Onion and all. I couldn't help but think that (if used by someone other than Derek of course) I'd do anything asked of me in that tone of voice.

After a moment I felt his attention shift from me and I breathed in deeply, already feeling a little more normal.

We watched a couple of films and before long I was back to my usual self, though I couldn't help but give Cher the evils when she put on 'It's a boy girl thing', a film she'd said reminded her of me and Derek.

A loud groan went up from the boys. "Come on!" Sam started the complaints rolling.

"Yeah, we said no chick flicks!" Derek joined.

"Oh, come on. We watched Final Destination!" Cher argued back spiritedly.

"No complaints were raised over Final Destination!" Sam pointed out.

"Not the point!" Emily jumped in, and they spent the next fifteen minutes arguing before Ralph was persuaded to join the girls team and the play button was finally pressed and the movie started.

At the end of the evening we all exchanged gifts and Cher warned me not to open hers in front of the family with a wink. I rolled my eyes at her and passed her mine, then it was time for everyone to leave.

After dancing around to a Christmas CD then watching 'The Snowman' with the family, we all went to our separate rooms; me with my present from Cher in my hands.

I woke on Christmas morning at six am and jumped in the shower to wake myself up. I went back to my room to open my present from Cher before Marti came out of her room (she'd been told in no uncertain terms that she was not to leave her room until it was either light or seven O'clock, which meant she'd probably be running screaming down the halls in a little less than ten minutes).

I quickly peeled off the paper, not tearing a single part. I was so pre-occupied with this that I didn't notice what it was until the paper had been removed and folded.

It was a piece of... Of... Underwear... The kind you don't wear in front of anyone except... Well, the person who saw you without underwear.

I blushed and glanced at the gift tag.

To: Casey (I could put and...)

I hope you find a use for this in the near future

From: Cher and Josh xx

I stuffed the... Present in my draw, and dried my hair.

I was halfway through brushing it when the cry of 'It's Christmassssss!' rang through the house. A few moments later Marti was dragging a half asleep and slightly amused Derek down the hall.

"Let's get Casey up first!" Marti was literally jumping up and down. She didn't wait for and answer before racing into my room and diving on my bed. "Come on Casey, it's Christmas!" She yelled down my ear (I was pretending to be asleep).

I flinched back and laughed at her expectant face. "I know Marti, now why don't we go wake Lizzie up." We pushed past a smiling Derek.

"Smerek, you go get Edwin!" Marti yelled, pulling me at a run towards Lizzie's room.

Once we were all downstairs, I tried damage control; I told them all to wait for Mom and George to get up before opening presents and told Lizzie to keep an eye on everyone while I went and made hot chocolate for. I just barely kept Marti from rushing down to the basement to get Mom, George and Simon up.

As it was, we were all just sitting down with our drinks when they came stumbling up the stairs. "Your Cocoa is on the counter!" I yelled to them.

A few seconds later they were sprawled out on the sofa with Mom holding Simon while we all sat on the floor around the tree.

"Presents!" Marti yelled, startling Simon.

"Marti, not so loud!" Mom told her.

"Sorry." Marti stage whispered with a sheepish expression. She crawled closer to the tree and started sorting the presents out into piles.

I laughed as she threw one of Derek's at him and he only just caught it before it hit his face.

"Smerek, open mine first!" Marti insisted and he lifted one of his gifts.

"Okay, Smarti. Which one is it?"

They dug through together to find it and he opened it with major theatrics, pretending to guess outrageous things before finally pulling it out of the paper.

"Is it... A trampoline?"

"No!" Giggles.

"A... Rolex?"

She shook her head.

"How about... A puppy?"

"Nope."

"Darn, thought I was close there. Is it... A..." He shook it. "A guitar?"

"Close!" Marti shifted closer as he pulled the last of the wrapping paper from it.

"Aww, Smarti! Thank you!" He smiled and pulled her into his side. "I love it!"

Everyone had held off opening any of their presents to watch the adorable scene, and now Marti decided the rest of us should open the gifts she got us.

Mine was an All American Rejects CD. "Smerek said you liked them! He heard you singing it in the shower." Marti said happily.

Derek looked embarrassed and started handing out his presents.

Only Marti's had absolute concentration, we opened all of our other presents in random order and at the same time.

I saw Derek pick up his last minute present from me and smirked, already opening one from him.

We both burst out laughing as we revealed Fifty Shades books. We'd got each other the same joke presents. "I got you something else as well though." I pointed to his other gift from me and he nodded.

"Same."

I looked around for whatever else he'd got me and picked up a small rectangle. He paused in opening his to watch me.

I carefully removed the paper and gasped. It was a brand new phone. The latest upgrade of my old one (which by now, looked like a caveman in comparison). "Thank you, Derek!" I leaned over and hugged him before he had a chance to escape, and he pushed me off laughing.

"I thought it was about time you joined the modern world." He grinned.

"Open yours!" I commanded, and he bent to the task.

I could barely watch as he opened the gift it had taken me three hours to find. My fingers pulled at each other anxiously as he held it up and I swallowed nervously, unable to see his face behind it.

"You trying to say my old one needs throwing in the trash?" He asked, though to my relief he was smiling. He shrugged on his new jacket.

"That's not leather is it?" Lizzie asked disapprovingly.

"Nope. It's fake. Good quality though." I smiled proudly.

Derek pulled a face, but didn't take it off.

I kept glancing back at him, still wearing the jacket, as everyone finished opening their presents. When we were all finished, I took my new phone out of it's box and put the battery and sim card in, surprised to find a booklet for a cheap contract in there as well. He'd actually paid for a contract. I tried to hide my sappy grin as I plugged it in to charge.

"No going over your contract." Derek warned, "I'm not made of money, you know."

"I won't." I said sweetly.

He narrowed his eyes suspiciously, but he was still smiling.


Next chapter won't be as soppy, I promise! (Unless you want it to be of course?)

Also Derek will step it up with antagonising Casey.

P.S. A good game to play while watching LWD is counting the amount of times they look at each others mouths. :P