Author's Note: I know I have some things to update but the semester is coming to a close so I've been crazy busy. But definitely this summer I can have a moment to just breathe and work on some of my stories. LWD was one of my first fandoms I wrote for and I miss it so much. Hope you all like this.
Love or Something
Casey McDonald's silver Camry pulled up to the front of the little house on Meyer Street. It was a cute little house – white with green shutters just like she had always pictured. It even had a little porch with a rocking chair. Ever since she had been a little girl, she had wanted to live in a house like this and now that she had graduated, she finally got her chance. She turned off the car and stepped around to the backseat to grab her bags. The house had been purchased a few weeks prior, but she hadn't wanted to move off campus until the semester ended. Now that she had finally graduated, she was all set to move in. After grabbing her two identical pale pink bags, Casey made her way up to the porch. She tugged her lower lip between her teeth nervously. She had wanted her own home for so long. She had always imagined how she would decorate and the furniture she would purchase. Now, the moment was finally here. She took a deep breath before anxiously lifting the key to the lock. As she was about to turn the key, the door swung open unexpectedly.
"Case," he grinned his signature grin that was excellent at making blood boil or getting him out of any kind of trouble, "Welcome home."
Casey smiled at her stepbrother, "Thanks, Derek. I don't suppose you would ever consider offering to help me with my bags?" She shot him a pleading look.
Derek scoffed, "Casey, don't you know me at all?" He sounded insulted, "Of course I would consider it. Now would I ever actually do it? Of course not. Guys, Space Case is finally here!"
"Finally?" Casey raised an eyebrow, "I had to get the last of my stuff from my dorm…"
Derek was already heading to the living room. Casey picked up her bags and followed him. Okay, so maybe it wasn't exactly as she had imagined having her own home would be. For starters, it wasn't her own home. She, Derek, Emily, Sam, and Ralph were renting the place. It had taken some convincing, but they had all agreed that it was probably the cheapest bet. The house was close to the major freeway and work for all of them was easily accessible from there. Casey hadn't been too thrilled with the idea of living with Derek again, but she hoped college had matured him slightly. After all, he did manage to graduate with a degree in Advertisement.
"Hi!" A familiar squeal rang out and Derek rolled his eyes as Casey and Emily ran to hug each other as if they hadn't just seen each other the previous weekend. "Can you believe this?" Emily asked, "I still can't believe this!"
"I know!" Casey's voice raised an octave to match her friend's, "I still can't believe we own this place! Have you gotten all of your things settled?"
"Yup! But I haven't touched your half of the room. Come on, I want to show you what I've done with the place," Emily grabbed one of Casey's bags and together they charged upstairs.
Derek rolled his eyes and threw himself into the recliner he had managed to weasel away from their parents' house. He hadn't been too thrilled with the idea of living with Casey either, but he had wanted a house that was close to work. And he was having a blast living with Sam and Ralph. He took a sip of the soda from the cup that had been sitting on the coffee table and propped his feet up.
"Case get in alright?" Sam appeared from the kitchen. Ralph was standing next to him with an apron around his waist.
"What the hell?" Derek raised an eyebrow at Ralph.
"You like it?" Ralph grinned, "I picked it up at Country Kitchen."
"It's pink. Very, very pink," was all Derek could say.
"Derek," Ralph shook his head, "Colors cannot be confined to specific genders. Step outside the confines society has set in place and break through the walls of…"
Sam placed a hand on Ralph's shoulder, "Ralphie bud."
"Oh," Ralph realized he was getting carried away, "Sorry."
Derek nodded, "If you want to wear the pink apron, by all means."
"Case getting settled?" Sam asked again.
"Yeah," Derek took another sip of his soda, "She and Em are up there gabbing and getting her stuff all organized."
"This isn't going to be weird, is it?" Sam asked, sitting on the couch across from Derek's recliner.
"Well…with everyone. We are invested in this house so we're kind of…well…stuck here. I just don't want any drama, Derek."
"Why are you looking at me?" Derek sounded offended, "I am the most drama-free person you'll ever meet! Now, Spacey on the other hand…"
"That's just it," Ralph sat next to Sam, "Will you two be okay with this whole thing?"
Derek scoffed, "Please. We haven't killed each other yet. Besides," he turned accusingly towards Sam, "You dated her."
"Casey and I have come to terms with that and have made our peace. She is a good friend, Derek. But that's it. We just want to be sure that you and Casey will get along and will be happy in this arrangement."
"Guys, it'll be fine. She'll stay out of my hair and I'll try my absolute hardest to stay out of hers."
"Sarcasm is not appreciated," Ralph smacked Derek with a dish towel.
"Ow! Duly noted," Derek rubbed his leg, smarting from where Ralph had hit him, "We'll be fine. Okay. Chill. Both of you. Casey and I are a lot more mature than we were in high school. We both have degrees now. She is a lawyer and I have that job from my internship. I am sure we'll both be busy with our own lives to get on each other's nerves."
"Mature?" Sam raised a suspicious eyebrow, "Did you just call yourself mature?"
"Sammy, Sammy, Sammy," Derek shook his head, "I am very mature now," he flipped open the TV guide, "Alright! Buxom Beach Bunnies is on tonight!"
Sam rolled his eyes, "What were you saying about mature?"
Derek shrugged, "Come on, who doesn't like Buxom Beach Bunnies?"
"What is this?" Casey demanded, glaring at the images on the television screen. She and Emily had gotten her things arranged in their room and had helped Sam and Ralph with dinner while Derek watched TV. They had wanted to all eat at the dining room table but Derek was glued to the screen so they decided to just join him in the living room and ate their meal off of TV trays.
Casey was not amused at all. They had just set down and there were images of girls in stringy bikinis running around and giggling.
"Dude, can't we watch something else?" Ralph asked.
"Oh my gosh," Emily said, mid-bite, "I didn't even know they could be that big," she stared down at her chest and then back up at the screen.
"They're implants, Em."
"How do you know?" Derek demanded.
"Because," Casey tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, "They aren't naturally shaped that way."
Derek turned to Casey and for a moment let his eyes wander downwards before realizing what he was doing. He quickly snapped his head back to the TV and hoped no one else would notice what he had just done.
"Really?" Ralph asked, tilting his head to the side and staring at the screen, "Interesting."
"It's true," Casey turned her attention back to her plate and began to pick at her pork chop.
"Ah, who cares?" Derek waved a hand towards the TV, "It's Buxom Beach Bunnies and they're hot. Who cares if they are real or not?" He didn't want to admit it, but Casey's comment was stuck in his head. He would never admit it but he was mostly all talk when it came to his experience and realized that the pictures of the girls on the computer were probably altered and the girls just as fake as the girls on the TV. He let his eye fall lazy as he peered over at Casey again with his peripheral vision. What the hell are you doing? He took a swig of soda. Get your shit together, Venturi. You told Sam and Ralph everything would be cool. Staring at Casey is not cool. Not one bit.
"Look, does it really bother you?" He asked, making sure not to look at Casey as he addressed her.
"It's fine," she shrugged, "I guess if they are that confident, then more power to them."
"I'll change it," Derek reached over and grabbed the remote. He didn't want to watch any more of the girls in bikinis and he certainly did want to get the image of Casey in a bikini out of his head. He flipped around until he found an 80s horror movie which seemed to get a good response from everyone.
It was some cheap thing about kids staying in a cabin that was haunted. It was thoroughly amusing and they were all able to laugh at it. Derek was grateful that for a moment his mind was no longer on Casey. During a commercial break, she and Sam disappeared into the kitchen to start on some of the dishes.
"Congratulations," Sam nudged her slightly as they loaded the dish washer together.
"On what," Sam shook his head, "On everything. On graduating early, on getting into law school, on graduating from law school, on getting a job with one of the best firms in the city, on everything Casey."
Casey blushed, "Thank you. I just knew what I wanted to do and went for it. If I could do it all again, I might take it a bit slower. I pushed myself so hard to just get done so quickly. It feels as though for those five years, I just didn't breathe."
"Well now you can," Sam smiled. Casey nodded and they continued on the dishes in silence.
After the movie, everyone agreed they should get some sleep. In the morning, after breakfast, they were going to go to a furniture store to get a few more things for the house and everyone knew if they didn't go to bed soon, they would be tired in the morning.
Emily fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. Casey on the other hand tossed and turned. She had her bed from high school so she knew that wasn't the problem. For some reason, she just couldn't fall asleep. Finally, after trying to force herself for over an hour, Casey pushed herself out of bed and tiptoed down to the kitchen to fix herself some Sleepy Time Tea.
She was surprised to see Derek leaning against the counter, eating Oreos from the box and milk from the carton.
"Twenty four years old and you still eat like you're sixteen," Casey rolled her eyes and grabbed the tea from the cabinet.
"What are you doing up?" Derek asked her, sliding the Oreos towards her.
She took one, "I couldn't sleep."
"You've never not been able to sleep before," Derek bit into an Oreo.
Casey poured some water into her mug and popped it into the microwave. Derek's remark took her back a bit. Being so busy with school, she hadn't had time to really make friends or be close to people. It was strange to her to have someone know something so personal about her. But she reminded herself that this was Derek and they knew quite a bit about each other – maybe more than they'd have liked the other to know. She grabbed another Oreo and said –
"Yeah well, I haven't been much of a sleeper lately. With all my work, I usually was up until the early morning."
Derek's brows knitted together, "Why did you push yourself so hard, Case? What were you trying to prove?"
"Nothing. I don't know…I just," Casey sighed, "I just wanted to be done and start a job. I wanted to grow up."
"Don't be in such a hurry to grow up," Derek licked the cream from an Oreo, "I hear it's no fun."
"We're adults now Derek. We have grown up."
"Nah. You are only as old or as young as you want to be."
Casey smiled at his usual Derek-like wisdom. The microwave dinged and she took out her mug and dropped a tea bag inside to steep, "Well, like it or not, we are adults Derek. We have careers now. Heck, we have a house now. I just wanted this. Maybe I wanted it too fast, but I can't change it now. Besides, I am happy with starting my job soon and I am happy living here so it all worked out."
"Yeah except you nearly killed yourself in school."
"I was just…driven."
"You were insane," Derek said, causing Casey to roll her eyes.
"What about you? You start your job on Monday, right?"
"Yup," Derek's eyes lowered to the Oreo in his hands, "At Sports Weekly, yeah. It's not a big deal though – not like a freakin' law degree, Jesus Case! – but it's not too shabby either."
"Hey, it is impressive," Casey argued, "Sports Weekly is one of Toronto's top sports magazines. The fact that you landed that internship and they wanted to heir you right after you graduated is very impressive, Derek."
"Thank you," Derek bit his lower lip, "They want me to run the website. Nothing too big but I am hoping to work my way up."
Casey nodded, taking a sip of her tea, "I am sure you will."
They leaned against the counter together in silence. Neither knew what to say to the other which was unusual for them. Normally there was no silence between them because of the incessant fighting. If there was silence, Derek always found a way to break it.
"Did uh…Sam talk to you?"
Casey shrugged, staring into her tea and not really wanting to discuss it, "A bit when we were doing the dishes."
"What'd he say?" Derek winced.
"Just that he wanted to be sure you and I would make this work. He said he knows how we can be and he doesn't want any World War Three's going on with all of us living together."
"Yeah, I got the same lecture."
"But I told him we are adults now. I doubt you'll do something like put glue in my shampoo," Derek snickered and Casey raised a concerned eyebrow, "Derek…tell me I am right about that."
"Don't worry, I was just thinking back to when I did do that. Oh, and the itching powder in your bed…"
"What?" Casey turned to him, her eyes saucers.
"I thought you knew about that."
"No. Mom told me it was probably a stress rash. I was up all night washing my sheets, Derek!"
Derek shrugged, "Sorry?"
"Whatever," Casey rolled her eyes, "What's done is done is done."
"Yup. All of that is in the past. Like you said, we're adults now."
"Exactly. I don't think Sam has any reason to worry."
"I mean look at us now," Derek offered her another Oreo, "We're talking right now and I don't have an urge to strangle you."
Casey smiled as she brought the mug up to her lips, "Yeah, that's true."
"Your breath smells like dog."
"Well," Derek chuckled, "We were getting along too well. It was weird so I had to say something."
"Of course," Casey put her mug in the sink, "Well, I think I am going to try to get some sleep. We are going furniture shopping tomorrow!"
"Oh goody!" Derek clapped his hands together in mock excitement.
"You're impossible," Casey said as she turned to head back to her room.
"Impossible, irresistible. Tomato, tomoto."
Casey shook her head and made her way back upstairs. Derek put away the milk and Oreos and even took a moment to stick her mug in the dish washer. Running his hand through his hair, he shook his head. What's with you, Venturi? Getting along with and actually enjoying talking to the Space Case? Pull yourself together, man!
Derek made his way to his room down the hall – the only bedroom downstairs and the only bedroom that wasn't shared with a roommate. He shut the door, kicked off his shoes, and threw himself onto the bed. He turned to the picture of the model in the bikini he had on his wall. Edwin had gotten it for him as a house-warming gift. Derek's eyes wandered down the model's body.
"I bet those aren't half as nice as Casey's."
His heart jumped and he quickly ran a hand through his hair, trying to regain his composure.
Dude, you're exhausted. You just need some sleep. Yup, sleep. Sleep is good. Sleep is nice. Sleep is wonderful. Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep. No more thoughts of Spacey. No more weird moments. Just nice, peaceful sleep. Everything will be back to normal after you just get some sleep.