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Second Chances

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Casey pulled the car into the driveway of the Venturi house and shut off the ignition. “We’re here,” she told her eight year old son Dylan.

“We’re going to stay with Grandma and Grandpa for a while?” he asked. He was a little nervous about the move and everything else, but he was looking forward to seeing his grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles.

Casey nodded. “Just until I find a job and we’re back on our feet.” She was back home – with her kid in tow this time – after divorcing her ex-husband. They had lived in Vancouver for most of their marriage, but she didn’t want to be there anymore. Plus, her mom and George wanted the two of them there and didn’t mind their house being invaded. She was so grateful for their support in her time of her need.

“Okay.” Dylan accepted that answer rather quickly and made a move to get out of the car. He was going to miss his dad, but he believed his mom when she told him that this was a good idea. He didn’t like leaving his friends, though. At least they could remain in touch.

Casey knocked on the door – she thought it was polite – and waited for someone to answer. She didn’t expect Derek to open the door. “Casey!”

“Whoa, Derek. What are you doing here?”

“Nora and Dad invited us for dinner, and we Venturi men couldn’t say no to that.” Derek was also divorced – his ex-wife lived in France with her new husband – and he had full custody of their three sons. Sixteen year old Ryder, fifteen year old Andrew, and twelve year old Noah kept him pretty busy, but he handled it relatively well.

She smiled at him. “Of course you can’t. Dylan, say hi to Uncle Derek.”

Dylan waved at his uncle and Derek high-fived him. “Come on in, little man. We got plenty of food.”

He looked up at his mother. “Go ahead,” she told him. He rushed in and made his way towards the kitchen.

“Sorry about your ass of an ex.” When Derek found out that Casey’s ex had cheated on her, he had almost gone to Vancouver to kick the man’s ass. Nora and Lizzie had calmed him down and reluctantly made him see reason.

“So am I.” She sat down on the couch and sighed. Casey should have known not to trust Brian from the start, but love blinded her. She didn’t regret Dylan and never would, though. He was the only good thing to come from their marriage.

“Well, I’m glad you’re back. I’ll even help you two find someplace to live. You want a house or an apartment?”

She shrugged. “I’d love for Dylan to have a yard to play in, but something within my budget would be nice.” Against Casey’s better judgment, all her old feelings were rushing back. She had resisted her feelings for Derek for a reason and she wasn’t about to give into them now.

As much as he loved his ex-wife, Derek never once stopped loving Casey. He wished he could have told her how he felt sooner and maybe this could have been avoided. He wouldn’t trade his sons for anything because they were all awesome, though. Derek couldn’t imagine his life without them now. “Makes sense. Our house is pretty nice if you want to come by and see it. I don’t think you have.”

“I’ll have to do that.” She nearly cried in relief when Nora called them all into the dining room to eat (pizza, but that was beside the point).

“Lizzie and Edwin will be by tomorrow with their brood,” George told his stepdaughter.

“Great! I can’t wait to see them.” Casey had also missed her younger siblings and nieces and nephews. She adored the hell out of the kids and tried to spoil them rotten during the holidays. Maybe she could spoil them rotten (and hand them back to their parents) more often now.

A perceptive Ryder (unfortunately, in his opinion) kept looking back and forth between his dad and aunt because he couldn’t help but notice the sexual tension. From what Lizzie and Edwin told him, this was normal. He wondered why he hadn’t seen it before. “So, Dylan, you excited about a new school?” he asked his cousin.

Dylan shrugged. He was scared of going to a new school, but he wasn’t about to admit it. “I guess.”

“You’ll like it,” Casey reassured him. She just hoped he didn’t have the same problems she did when she first started. She wondered if Paul was still there, but doubted it. He had most likely moved on a long time ago.

“Yeah you will. Don’t worry about anything.” Derek winked and then went back to shoveling in his pizza.

“I’m sorry you got a divorce, sweetheart, but I am so happy you two are home now.” Nora had always hated her now ex son-in-law, but Casey wouldn’t listen. She had decided her daughter could make her own mistake. Now all of them were betting on when Casey and Derek would finally crack and admit their feelings for one another. She figured it’d happen pretty quickly. She was actually willing it to.

“Thanks, Mom. I missed it too.” Casey yawned, suddenly tired from the long trip. She just wanted to collapse in bed and not wake up for a long time.

“We’re going to head home soon but we’ll be back after school tomorrow.” Derek didn’t want to let Casey out of his sight (which was a little creepy, but he didn’t care).

“That’s great.” Casey went to bed soon after they left, and Dylan followed a few hours later after George and Nora made him (he didn’t want to).

Sure enough, Derek and his kids showed up right after school finished for the day. He sat down to talk to Casey as soon as they came through the door (all of them rolled their eyes at his behavior because they could see right through him, but didn’t say anything).

Derek knew Casey wasn’t ready to do much of anything, let alone think about dating, right after her divorce, but that was okay with him. He could wait – he had done it for a long time anyway. What were a few more months? It was nothing in the grand scheme of things.

It would be a while before Casey and Derek would work up the courage to finally admit how they felt about each other. Right now, they were content just being stepsiblings. It would all come to a head soon and the reveal of the truth would change their lives forever.