Derek woke up to a buzzing sound from his bedside table.
“Hello?” Derek whispered groggily into the cell receiver, he didn’t want to wake the girl next to him who was curled in a ball.
“Hey D! Can we come over and talk about all that’s going on?” Sam asked from the other end of the line.
“Not now. It’s too fucking early. Come over around…what time are Dad and Nora getting home..” he spoke to himself. “Around 2. I’ll be up by then. I’m going back to sleep.”
Derek hung up the phone and plopped his head down on the bed, pulling a sleeping Casey toward him. The sun may be up, but he wasn’t ready to deal with the day. Casey snuggled against him in her sleep, Derek smiled softly at her before falling back into a peaceful rest, the morning view blocking most of the memories from last night. And 5 minutes ago when Sam called. Casey’s peace gave him enough to fall back into a tender sleep.
“Der. Wake up.” Casey nudged him. “It’s 10am. You need a shower. You smell like sweat and beer. C’mon!” She grabbed his arm and tried to lift the dead weight. “How are you so heavy?”
“It’s the bro juice.” Derek chucked as he pulled his arm back causing Casey to fall onto him. “Can’t we stay like this forever?” He groaned.
“No. You stink!” Casey whined as she pushed herself off of him. “Besides Mom and George will be home in like an hour.”
Oh. Right. Derek had forgotten about the return of the parents. And now he has to have the talk with Nora and Lizzie. He knew it would be worse for them to learn about his identity from an outsider than from him. And with Truman… Derek shuddered at the thought.
“Fine.” Derek groaned. “Can you do me a favor, Case?”
Casey responded by looking at him with big doe eyes and turning her head slightly. She was so cute like that.
“Make me some of those chocolate chip pancakes for when I’m done?” Derek smiled up at her with a shit eating grin.
“I’m not your personal chef Derek!” Casey responded. “Now go take a shower!”
Derek begrudgingly got up to take a shower. He grabbed his boxers, some clean-ish pajama pants and decided to wear his binder because it helped with some of the anxiety he would be feeling. As Derek took his shower and let the hot water roll over him he felt his anxiety start to build. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to come out to Nora. He was Derek and was always just Derek to her. She was the best mother figure he could ask for. And Lizzie always knew Derek as her new step-brother. Not anything else. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to ruin that, but Truman had left him no choice.
Derek’s anxiety turned to anger. He was angry at Truman, angry at his body, angry that Casey was being so kind.. he was just angry. He scrubbed furiously at his skin, as if angry at it’s existence.
When he got out of the shower he was so angry he didn’t even properly dry off. He started getting dressed when he realized his mistake.
“Casey!” Derek shouted. Thankful at least to know she was there.
“Casey!” He called again.
“Derek?” Casey responses from the other side of the bathroom door.
“Casey. I need help.” Derek sighed.
“What? What’s wrong?” Casey’s voiced raised with worry.
“My goddamn fucking binder is fucking stuck!” Derek cursed as he thrashed around trying to get it to fix itself. “I need you to come and help me.”
“Are you sure?” Casey’s voice was high.
“Yes. Just. Close your eyes.”
“Okay.” Casey opened the door with her eyes screwed shut and held her arms out in front of her. “Okay what do you need me to do?”
“Okay grab..not there.. yes there! Okay! Pull that down. Yup! Okay! ...uhh.. just…” Derek tried to give instructions to the self-blinded Casey and they fumbled around trying to get the binder on. “Fuck it! Case just open your eyes.” Derek finally caved.
“Are you sure?” Casey asked.
“Yeah. It’d be better than staying like this.” Derek conceded.
Casey opened her eyes and helped Derek. When the binder was properly on they were both out of breath and their eyes met, Casey’s fingers lingered on the bottom edge of the binder top.
“Casey?” Derek whispered. “Would you hate me if I kissed you?” He asked as he leaned down until he could feed her breath tickling his lips.
Casey shook her head every so slightly and met Derek’s lips with hers.
Derek knew Casey was different from the moment they met, but he didn’t know just how amazing she was. Someone who accepted him as he was, flaws and all, who wanted the best for him even if they fought and disagreed. Casey was amazing. He truly didn’t deserve her. He kissed her passionately letting out all the anger he’s held in over the years, and especially in the last few days, into that kiss. He let Casey into his world and wants her to know that she is welcome here. He could feel Casey’s love pour through that kiss. When they pulled away, Derek held Casey close to him for just a moment longer, resting his chin on her head.
“Derek?” Casey whispered.
“That was a really good kiss.” Casey giggled.
“Yeah it really was.” Derek laughed.
“Do we have to tell the rents about it?”
“No, I think one bombshell will be enough for the day.” Derek said. “What’s for breakfast?” He added.
“Der-ek! Is all you ever think about food?” Casey admonished pulling back and slapping him in the arm.
“Well. Mostly, yeah.” Derek shrugged. “And of course what you’d look like in nothing but my hockey jersey..” Derek trailed off wistfully at the thought, before receiving another smack in the arm.
“Men are disgusting.” Casey rolled her eyes as she turned on her heel and left the bathroom.
Derek’s face split into the biggest smile. As he slipped on his hoodie and jogged out of the bathroom and down the stairs.
“How much longer until the rents get here?” Derek asked as he grabbed himself some breakfast, cereal since Casey refused to make pancakes again.
“About half an hour. Mom called while you were in the shower and said they’d be picking up the kids and would be here soon.” Casey answered. “Do you know how you’re going to tell them? Do you want me to stay with you? Or do you want to do it alone?”
Derek’s grip on his spoon tightened and he could feel his eyes sting as tears threaded to spill out. He set his jaw in an attempt to lock them in.
“I don’t know.” Derek responded and looked at Casey in a silent beg for an out, an escape, any reason not to do this today.
“I think you should talk to Nora and Lizzie together. And then if they have questions we’ll go from there?” Casey reached to grab Derek’s free hand that was clenched in a tight fist. She gently rubbed the back of his hand until it relaxed.
“Yeah. Okay.” Derek choked out. “And please. Stay with me.” Derek stated daggers into Casey’s eyes.
“We’re home!” George called as the family entered the room. Derek and Casey were sitting watching TV, Derek in his chair and Casey in the spot on the couch closest to him.
“Well everything appears to be in one piece…” Nora stated as she looked around the house. “It seems you two had a pretty calm weekend!”
Derek let out a huff of air. “Not exactly.”
“Oh?” George questioned.
“Whaddya do? Have a fight with Casey over the remote? Through a midnight rager and get hit with a hockey puck?” Edwin chided and referenced Derek’s darkened eye.
“Derek! What happened to your face?” Lizzie asked.
“Smerek! Are you okay?” Marti yelled as she ran towards her brother.
“I’m good Smarti. But I’ve gotta talk with Nora and Dad before they get mad at me.” Derek have Marti a huge hug and sent her to her playroom.
Edwin silently left, not wanting to be dragged into whatever was going down. Lizzie was about to leave as well when Casey called her over.
“Dad.” Derek looked at George and then at Casey before landing her eyes on the floor.
“What happened Derek?! Did you get into a fight again? You know you can’t keep doing this!” George scolded.
“Now Georgie, let’s hear what he has to say.” Nora spoke.
“I…” Derek tried to speak.
“We went to a party Saturday, and Truman was there and wouldn’t leave us alone. So, Derek protected me.” Casey filled in the reason for the fight.
“Derek is that true?” George demand.
“Yes sir.” Derek nodded. “There’s another thing.”
“I don’t see why I’m still here?” Lizzie questioned.
“Shhhh.. just sit here for a minute.” Casey responded patting to the seat next to her.
“Casey knows.” Derek stated looking at his dad. George nodded knowing the conversation that was about to take place. “Nora. Lizzie. There’s something….” Derek could feel the breath getting caught in his chest. “There’s something I need to tell you. Because you need to hear it from me.”
Casey reached to touch Derek’s forearm and give him reassurance.
“I’m trans.” Derek blurted out.
“What does that mean?” Lizzie asked puzzled.
“It means I was born wrong. I was born as a girl. I take medicine to let me be who I really am. All the matters is that I am a guy. And anyone who says otherwise is wrong.” Derek answered. It was easier to explain than he thought it would be.
“Oh! Okay! So nothing changes?” Lizzie asked.
“Not really.” Derek shrugged.
“Is that all? Because I need to go change my clothes.”
“Run along!” Derek laughed.
“Derek. I want you to know you’ll always be Derek. I don’t know why you didn’t tell us before, but like you said, nothing changed. You have always been and always will be Derek. My step-son.” Nora stated calmly.
George smiled as he wrapped an arm around his wife. Derek let out a breath he didn’t realize he was still holding. And Casey smiled knowing that it was okay in the house. At least that was over.
Derek knew the only obstacle left would really be telling Sam and Ralph, but he wasn’t too worried about them. He just hoped they wouldn’t be mad at him for keeping it a secret.