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Casey began to stir from her sleep by someone calling her name she was beginning to come out of her sedation, leaving behind her strange dreams about her party and Derek and Paul being a genie.

“Casey wake up. Come-on Case wake up. Princess up and at’em” Derek said, he was standing over her dressed as a surgeon only with a toy stethoscope. “Wake up or we will have to remove your gallbladder.”

She finally stirred and opened her eyes “Doctor what are you talking about I just had my appendix removed and why do you have a toy stethoscope?” she said.

“Because it’s me princess.” He said taking off the face mask.

“Derek what are you doing here? Isn’t it enough that you ruined my party?” She said.

“actually, your appendix ruined your party. I saved it.” Derek said.

“Well how did “my party” go anyway?” Casey asked.

“See for yourself he said.” placing his laptop on her bedside table and moving it in front of her so she could see it he then pushed play on a video

The camera opens on Derek speaking to the Camera “Hey welcome to Casey MacDonald’s surprise sixteenth birthday.” Derek is then pushed back behind the camera by Emily who apologizes profusely for going along with the authentic sweet sixteen party Derek had suggested, letting her know that she and Max had let Derek talk them into this party, she continued rambling on about how great the party was, how sad she was Casey was missing the party and then how lucky she was to have Casey as a friend.

From what she could see the party was not at all what she had hopped for it was a typical teenage party something that Casey hadn’t wanted. Looking closer at the people enjoying themselves and just being teenagers, she was torn inside thinking about another quintessential teen moment she had missed because she was always trying to be mature and perfect.

After Emily’s apology and tribute to Casey. Derek said whatever and moved on.

He found a random party guest and decided to interview him “Anything to say to Casey.” Derek asked.

“Whose Casey?” the stranger asked. Derek moved the camera to view a poster of Casey that had been placed on the wall to explain to the guy who she was and says “Her”

“Well then, Happy Birthday Casey.” The random guy says in what she assumes is supposed to be his sexy voice.

Derek moves on after that “Let’s hear from the Hockey team.” The random guy who turns out is one of Derek’s hockey buddies and the rest of the team all chant “Casey, Casey, Casey.” “and the football team.” Derek says panning over to Max and the football team. Who also cheer “Casey, Casey, Casey.”

Derek then closes the laptop and says “Well… it goes on for a while and some of the tributes get a little pukey, so you’ll have to watch those in private.” She nods and asks in a raspy voice “So did the guy I am seeing say anything?”

“I’ll let him say it.” Derek replies and looks towards the door where Max is waiting to speak with her.

“Surprise” Max says walking into her to her room. As if on cue Derek leaves them alone.

“Max” Casey says happily still with a raspy voice from the anesthetic.

“I’ve got something for you.” He says and sits on the edge of her bad. He hands her a card.

She grabs it out of his hand smiling and then reads it out loud. “Congratulations on the birth of your twins, how sweet.” She says (the anesthesia is still wearing off)

“Sorry it’s all the drugstore had left, plus this.” He apologizes and hands her a stuffed animal.

“Awe, a blue monkey. Oh, Max I love it.” She says squeezing the monkey.

“So, you’re not mad at me for going along with the party and for not getting you a quill pen?” max asks.

“I blame Derek for the party and this present is way better than a quill pen.” She said with a smile.

“What time is it?” she asks.

Max looks down at his watch and replies “a minute left to go before tomorrow.”

“Kiss me quick then.” Casey says.

Max leans in and just barely brushes her lips before they are interrupted by Derek.

“Come on Max.” Derek says frantically. “We’ve got to go. The nurse is on to us.”

Max jumps away from Casey says goodbye and runs after Derek.

Casey smiles as she watches them run off. She waits to see if the nurse will walk by to check on her and ask about the visitors, but no one ever comes. She starts to feel sleepy again and passes out. She wakes up a few hours later with a bit more energy and decides to watch the rest of the video. She opens Derek’s laptop and plays the video from where she left off.

There are different tributes from her friends Sam, Trevor, Noel, Ralph and some of the other football girlfriends she had met along with a few more words from Emily. Then a few panoramic shots of the party at Smelly Nelly’s and finally it ended with everyone at the restaurant saying Happy Birthday Casey. The video then went black for a couple of seconds and then started again with some tributes from the family first Nora and George then Lizzie, Edwin and finally Marti. Derek just turned the camera to himself and said happy birthday princess. Which for some reason sent a shiver down her spine.

She closed the video and pushed aside the laptop thinking about all the lovely birthday wishes she had received. She looked down and saw her blue monkey thinking back to Max and his visit.

The more she thought about it she wondered was it actually lovely? He hadn’t done a personal tribute on the video; now he had come to hospital in person after hours which was great but so had Derek and he had clearly come that late because he had edited and filmed the movie. Then she looked down at her monkey and realized that Max had just picked up this gift tonight. He had knew about her birthday for some time and though she had given him and Emily a gift list with some odd items they weren’t actually that difficult to get if one actually tried and he had all week to get her something and yet all he got her was a stuffed blue monkey and a card that wasn’t even for a birthday. Which led her to the thought of how does a drug store run out of birthday cards? She really wasn’t liking this train of thoughts she had stumbled on. It seemed that Max had cared more about planning a rager with Derek than getting her something for her birthday and yet he supposedly cared about her and they were supposed to be dating.

She decided maybe she was just reading too much into it and decided to try and get some rest. But the more she tried to fall asleep the more awake she was. She decided to go on Derek’s computer and play some games since she didn’t have anything else to do and there was no internet access in the hospital.

She looked for games but just found solitaire. So, she decided to snoop a bit into Derek’s life. First thing she found was a file with all the footage from her birthday in a file on his computer that was tucked away in a file called Case. She went to the raw footage file and started watching it. Most of it was just shots of people and some of Edwin telling jokes he found on the internet about appendicitis clearly Derek had let him have the camera for too long and then she found Max’s message.

She pushed play and the video began he had basically said happy birthday Casey and lifted his cup to her in a tribute and went back to talking with his football buddies. She couldn’t believe him; it was disheartening to think about so she deleted it out of frustration but realizing this wasn’t her computer and she didn’t need Derek to know she was snooping on his laptop she went to the trash folder on his desktop in order to restore it to its original place. However, while she was in the trash folder, she noticed another video from her party that had been deleted she figured she must have clicked it as well and restored it. She went back to the birthday video folder to make sure that both videos had been restored however when she looked at the second one the face in the video still was of Derek in his room she had watched all the videos in the folder, well skimmed them, and she hadn’t seen any that took place in Derek’s room.

She clicked on the video and it began to play. It was Derek sitting on his bed looking at the camera which was clearly on a tripod in front of him.

“Ok… how do I start this?” he said nervously. She was confused what was Derek doing and why was he nervous.

“Ok. I’m just going to talk to the camera like it’s you are sitting in front of me. Even though if you were here you would never be this quiet.” Derek said and then laughed.

“Casey you are currently being driven to the hospital by your mom and my dad and Lizzie for some reason. And I am here supposedly watching Edwin and Marti before I am going to go to smelly Nelly’s for your party.” He looked hurt as he spoke.

“Look Case I am sorry for changing your party from a mature dinner to an old school high school party. I know it's your birthday and not mine but sometimes I think you forget that you are in high school and allowed to be a teenager. There will be tons of time for mature parties when you are older, but you are only young once. I wish you were here and could experience the party for yourself I know if you just gave it a try you would actually enjoy yourself and I am always right.” he said cockily. “Like when we threw that party the first time our parents left us alone, you had a bit of fun.” “at least until we got locked in the bathroom.” They both said at the same time remembering back to that day, they both smiled. “Or when we milked our “injuries” to get our sibs to be our servants. Yes, your original injury was real and my fault for which I’m sorry. While I’m saying sorry let me say that I am sorry for asking Em out just because you were with Sam and I was jealous. But through the bad times there have been a bunch of good times like running for student body president, battle of the bands, babe raider (he paused with a stupid look in his eye remembering her in that outfit)(Casey rolled her eyes) lying to the science teacher and the math teacher, pranking each other, me teaching you football, being in the musical together and summer camp.” He said smiling

She paused the video and thought back to all those moments yes most of them involved her and Derek fighting but they also involved them working together and most of them had ended up being pretty fun. In fact, she usually had a lot of fun when she and Derek did something.

She started the video again. “Well as much fun as it was reminiscing, I really do want to wish you a very happy birthday princess. (there was that shiver again) I wish that you weren’t in the hospital and I hope and pray that everything goes fine. I will try to visit if I can later.” He turned off the camera and Casey assumed the video was over but as she moved the cursor, she saw that there was a few more minutes to the video. The screen came back on and Derek was now in her room, she assumed he was pranking her, so she watched intently to make sure she knew what he did.

“Princess I have one last thing to say to you, something I have been trying to keep from you since… well… the moment I met you.” He paused “Wow this is harder than I thought it would be, ok here goes because this video will never see the light of day and you will never ever see it, I can be honest. Casey Ashley MacDonald I am totally and completely, head over heels in love with you.” He said. Casey paused the video and gasped she put her hand to her mouth to cover it, this had to be a prank she thought there is no way that Derek Venturi is confessing his love for me in a video. How can he love me all we ever do is fight, we hate each other, he is the bane of my existence. She decided to play on and see what else Derek said. “I finally said it out loud even if it was just to a camera. Anyway, the reason I am in your room is really to hide your birthday present.” He said pulling a square box from his pocket and showing it to the camera. He opened the box to reveal a rather pretty heart shaped pendent on a thick silver chain. Definitely Casey’s style. “I’m gonna put it in your jewelry box and you will think you’ve had it for forever and wear it, but I’ll know it's from me and it's my heart that you carry around. Even if you don’t know it. Hopefully one day I will get the courage to tell you how I feel and if I’m really lucky you won't slap me in the face but instead, you’ll tell me you feel the same way. But until then I will just be your annoying stepbrother. Oh well, Happy Birthday Princess.” The last line was the only part of this video he had kept and put into the birthday video; she hadn’t noticed that he was in her room the first time. But she thought back to the rest of the video and as much as she hated to admit it, she too had feelings for Derek. It was always him she sought out to help her, they always pranked each other, he always defended her and made sure that his pranks never went too far. If she looked back at their interactions through clear eyes it was as if they had been flirting with each other since they first met, and she had to admit when she met him originally and thought he was Ralph she was attracted to him. The pranks they pulled were basically a more mature version of him pulling her pigtails and her throwing sand at him. She would never admit that she had, had a couple of non-PG-rated dreams that involved Derek but those were never ever to be discussed.

Casey did not want to lose this video or forget what Derek had said she closed the screen and looked around the room to see where her belongings were, thank goodness her mother had left her purse. She knew she wasn’t healed enough to get up alone, so she rang for the nurse.

About a minute later a nurse came in. “How can I help you dear? Do you have to go to the bathroom?” She asked. Now that Casey thought about it, she actually did. She nodded and allowed the nurse to help her to the bathroom. Upon her return to the bed she asked the nurse if she could bring her purse over to her. The nurse did as she asked and was happy that Casey hadn’t tried to get up on her own as she was in no condition to do so. She nodded at the nurse who told her to get some rest, to which she agreed.

As soon as the nurse left, she rummaged around her bag looking for something “Ah ha” she said as she found it a USB key, she was a nerd after all so she was always prepared and liked to keep a USB key on her at all times in case she needed it. She inserted it into Derek’s laptop and made a copy of the party video and a copy of the Derek video she then removed the USB and put it back in her purse she deleted the Derek video once again. She was going to do a little more snooping, but she was tired now and pretty overwhelmed with what she had already found. She decided to put the laptop back the way Derek had left it and get some actual rest, it was 4:00am and she should really be asleep.

She fell asleep and dreamed of Derek, some good dreams some bad dreams but all of them were of Derek.

At 9:00am the next morning the family arrived for visiting hours, sans Derek she assumed he was either asleep since it was Saturday or in trouble because of the party but decided not to ask either way. The doctor came in around 11:00am and looked her over, he said she needed to remain in the hospital for one more night and she could leave tomorrow as long as she took it easy and stayed home from school for the next week. Nora and George were happy to hear the news and Casey was distracted and upset about missing school but ultimately agreed.

The family left around 1:00pm after Casey had eaten lunch to give her some time to rest. Nora said she would be back after dinner, but Casey told her it wasn’t necessary she was fine here in the hospital and would probably be sleeping the rest of the day plus she would be home tomorrow and her mother could fawn all over her then. Nora agreed begrudgingly but kissed Casey’s forehead and said goodbye leaving with the rest of the family.

When the family finally left, she checked her phone for any messages. Seeing only one from Emily asking her how she was. She replied to it and then put the phone back in her bag.

She spent the rest of the day going over her recovery schedule and physiotherapy. The doctors and therapists told her they would provide her with write ups on what to do once she was home. Casey was glad for this as she was still distracted by the Derek video and she was on some pretty heavy pain killers so she couldn’t quite remember everything.

At around 7:30pm the nurse came in to give her, her last dose of morphine. She would be on Tylenol 3s when she went home but this should allow her to sleep through the night without being in pain. The nurse helped her get ready for bed and then gave her the shot which made Casey sleepy. She fell asleep not long after.

She was woken up at around 9:00am the next morning by her mother and the nurse who wanted to get her up and discharged. They helped her to the bathroom and to get dressed. One she was ready and situated in a wheelchair she took one last look around her room to make sure she had everything. She looked over at the side table to make sure she didn’t forget to grab Derek’s laptop, but it was gone. She decided not to mention it as maybe everything that she remembered was a dream, sure she had her blue monkey but maybe Derek had taken it back that night or Edwin had taken it for him yesterday. Instead she focused on listening to the nurse’s instruction on how to change her bandages and what to expect. Like they had told her yesterday the doctors and physiotherapists had left her with instructions and notes on what to do next and she had a follow-up in 2 weeks to remove the stitches. Her mother gave her a smile and pushed her to the exit where George was waiting with the car. The ride home was quiet other than her mother and George talking but she wasn’t really listening she was trying to piece together everything that had happened in the last few days.

When they arrived home George and Nora helped her up the stairs to her room and into bed. Marti came bounding in and tried to throw herself on Casey for a hug, but George stopped her. “you need to gentle Marti, Casey just had surgery and is still sore.” He said, “Ok daddy.” She said and she slowly got up on Casey’s bed and moved toward her to hug her. Casey just smiled at the little girl and hugged her back. “Ok Marti lets go get you some lunch and let Casey rest.” Nora said picking up Marti and bringing her downstairs. “If you need anything just call out. Derek is grounded so he shouldn’t bother you.” George said leaving Casey in her room to rest.

She tried to get some rest, but her thoughts were getting the best of her. She decided she had to get up and check her jewelry box. If the necklace was there then maybe, just maybe it had all been real. She slowly removed her covers and slid to the edge of her bed. Holding one arm to put pressure on her incision and the other to her mouth in case she screamed while getting up. Once she was up it was actually ok. She slowly walked toward her dresser. Once she got there, she went into her jewelry box. It wasn’t hanging with her other necklaces. So, she checked the drawers, she pulled them out one by one and checked every little box. When she reached the last drawer, she found it the necklace from the video sitting beside the watch her father had given her on her 13th birthday. She picked it up and looked at it, it was even prettier in person she decided to put it on, just to see how it looked. It went on easy and hung around her neck at just the right length, but she couldn’t quite get it off as the clasp was a little stiff. She decided to just wear it and ask lizzie to take it off of her later on. She was so happy to see the necklace, but that still didn’t explain where Derek’s computer had gone or if the video was real this necklace really was her style just as Derek had said but she could have very well bought it for herself and forgotten she supposed crafting that entire video in one of her morphine dreams. She decided to just get back in bed and stop thinking about it.

Emily came by around 3:00pm to check in on her they chatted, and Emily apologized about the party again. Casey hugged her gently and told her she forgave her. Then she asked “so, did you like the video? It was Derek’s idea sort of a way to try and actually make you a part of your party.” Emily said.

Casey thought, ok so the main video did exist that wasn’t a dream. “Yeah Em, it was really nice of everyone to record those personal messages to me. Derek even got the family to do it.” Casey said. “Awe that must be so cute. We should get a copy from Derek and watch it together so I can see what everyone said to you.” Emily said.

“Sure Em, go ask him.” Casey said. Emily left the room and went and knocked on Derek’s door he answered, and she asked him for it, he actually had already burned her a copy and so he handed it off to Emily and then closed the door. Casey thought if he had burned her a copy, he had to have his laptop, but how did he get it? She was pulled out of her thoughts by Emily returning with the disk and Lizzie’s laptop which she had borrowed. She put the disk in and pressed play. It started a little differently than the other video. This one started with a black screen that said Happy Birthday Casey, then another black screen then an explosion which then read A D. VENT Production. To which they both rolled their eyes, then video began playing and it was basically the same one that she watched in the hospital with the addition of the Max scene. When max appeared, Casey rolled her eyes which was not unnoticed by Emily. They finished the video and Emily was about to leave because Casey was tired.

“Oh, I almost forgot, here is your gift.” Emily said reaching into her purse and handing Casey over a gift bag, Casey opened it and looked at a beautiful pair of silver hoop earrings. “I tried to get you something on your list, but I had already bought you the cutest earrings and I couldn’t bring myself to return them. I’m sorry I can totally give you the receipt if you don’t like them.” Emily said. 

“No Em, they are great. I actually prefer them over any of those stupid gifts on my list. I mean what am I going to do with a Quill pen? This isn’t the 1800s” she said. “Ok, I’m glad you like them, and they will go perfectly with that necklace you are wearing. It's so pretty did Max get it for you?” Emily said admiring her BFFs necklace.

Casey touched the necklace and said “No actually, I’m not sure where it came from, I just noticed it in my jewelry box. I probably bought it a while ago and forgot about it. Max got me that blue monkey over there.” Casey said letting go of the necklace and pointing to the monkey.

“He got you a stuffed animal for your sweet sixteen. Is that some inside joke between you too? Does the card explain it?” Emily said getting off the bed and grabbing the blue card that was leaning against the toy, she opened the card and read it. “ok is this a gag gift or something?” Emily said.

Casey shrugged her shoulders. “He gave them to me on my birthday when he and Derek snuck into the hospital to see me. He said it was all they had at the drug store.” She replied

“The drugstore. Well maybe he still has another gift for you. But that gift combined with his kind of shitty message to you in the video, yes I saw your reaction leads me to believe that you two and he are on different pages.” Emily said

“Yeah Em, the more I think about it the more I wonder is max the right person for me, I mean he said he only went along with the party because of Derek, but then he couldn’t be bothered to leave his friends to record a video message for me and yes he came to the hospital and brought me this sad attempt at a gift but he hasn’t even messaged me to see how I am.” Casey said her eyes brimming with tears.

“Oh, Casey I’m sorry.” Emily said passing her some tissues. “Maybe it's time you move on. He’s not the only guy at Thompson high.”

“Maybe your right Em. But for now, I think I just need to rest the doctor said stress will only make my recovery time longer.” Casey replied lying down.

“Yeah, get some rest Casey. I’ll see you tomorrow after school.” Emily said waving goodbye to her friend.

Casey just laid back and cried a bit she really liked Max but now she was confused about Derek. She cried herself to sleep. Her mother woke her up for dinner, gave her, her meds and then she went back to sleep.

The next morning Lizzie woke her up and brought her some breakfast and her laptop as well as a stack of DVD’s to keep her busy. Nora was going to be working from home but at least this way Casey could be entertained while in her room.

“Thanks, so much Liz.” She said slowly sitting up so her sister could place the tray on the bed. “Liz can I ask you to do me one more favor? It’ll be quick I swear.” Casey asked.

 “Sure, Casey anything for you. What do you need?” Lizzie said. “can you just go downstairs and bring me my purse I want to check my phone.” Casey said lying.

She wanted to see if the USB stick was in her purse and if the Derek video was real or not. Lizzie nodded at her sisters request and ran down the stairs grabbing her purse and bringing it to Casey. Casey thanked her and wished her a good day at school. She did actually check her phone and she actually had 2 messages. One from Emily letting her know that she had a dentist appointment and wouldn’t be over after school and the other from Derek telling her that Emily was forcing him to bring her homework home with him. She rolled her eyes. Her mother came in about 10 minutes later and took the tray out she gave Casey her pills and left. Casey didn’t take them immediately knowing they would make her drowsy. Instead she found the USB Key in her purse and inserted it into Lizzies computer. There they were the 2 videos she had copied from Derek’s computer. She watched the Derek one again proving to her that it was real. She took the USB out of the computer and put it in her nightstand for safe keeping. Then she took her pills and put in Mean Girls a movie she had seen a million times and fell asleep.

She was woken up around 2:30pm by someone making noise in her room.  She opened her eyes to find Derek putting her homework on her desk but failing to not knock over a bunch of stuff her mother had piled there. “What are you doing?” she said looking at him.

“Well I was trying to put your homework and notes on your desk without waking you, but I seem to have failed.” Derek said with a smirk. “So how are you feeling?” he asked sounding genuine.

“I’m ok. A little groggy.” She replied stretching her arms out and wincing in pain. Derek made his way over to her at the sound of her pain and said, “Are you ok?” with the concerned voice he usually reserved for Marti.

“I’m fine Der. It’s just painful to move.” She replied. He was pretty close to her on the bed and was looking at her to make sure she wasn’t lying when he noticed the necklace, he gulped pretty hard but said nothing.

“Ok just checking, I’m technically supposed to be watching you while Nora is out picking up the kids and stuff for dinner.” He replied. Realizing that they were all alone she decided now was as good a time as any to confront him about everything she knew and had been thinking.

“Der, I have a couple of questions I need to ask you?” Casey said.

“Ok… shoot.” He said looking over at her.

“How did you get your laptop back?” Casey said, “It was in the hospital with me one day and gone the next.”

“Uhm. I came to get it yesterday evening. I needed to finish a project on it.” He replied.

“Why didn’t you wake me? Wait I thought you were grounded?” Casey replied.

“You needed you rest; I didn’t need to wake you and say hey case I’m just here to check on you and grab my laptop. And I may have snuck out of the house to do it, so I didn’t want to alert the keener just so you could tell the rents and add to my sentence.” Derek replied.

“I wouldn’t have said anything. You must have needed to finish that the project pretty bad.” Casey said to which Derek said nothing.

“Is that it? because I have some stuff I need to get done.” Derek said starting to get up.

“Actually, no it’s not. Derek do you know where this necklace came from?” she said motioning toward the necklace trying to gage his response to it.

“Casey how am I supposed to know where you get your jewelry.” He said looking away from her.

“I was just wondering because I don’t remember having it before the hospital.” She said.

“You probably just forgot.” Derek said his mouth was dry and he just wanted to get out of there.

“Really Derek, Me of all people would forget where they got something. I catalogue everything in my life. It wasn’t there before so someone had to have put it in my room. And you tend to be someone who is constantly putting things in my room.” Casey said.

“Are you saying that I bought you a heart shaped necklace and hid it amongst your things trying to convince you that you already owned it? Does that really sound like me. Plus, the only reason I come in here is to either “borrow” your homework or prank you and leaving you a necklace seems like a pretty lame prank” Derek said weakly.

“That is exactly what I am saying Derek. Would you care to deny it?” Casey said.

He didn’t answer just sat there with a look like a child who had been caught in a lie. He opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. He did this several more times. She figured he had suffered enough she should let him know. Put him out of his misery. He still just stared at her begging her to go on.

She looked directly into his eyes and said “I saw the video Derek. I didn’t mean to I know it was an invasion of your privacy, but I saw it. And at first, I was confused and then scared but when I actually sat and thought about it, we’ve been playing this game for so long that I almost didn’t see it but looking back its been you it's always been you.” She said. He didn’t move. He didn’t breathe. Neither of them did actually. He was stunned to say the least. At first her words didn’t register and when they did, he wasn’t sure what to do and neither was she.

Finally, he snapped out of it and began to smile he was about to give her a hug but thought better of it. He stood up and slid in beside her on the bed forcing her to move over a bit. Then he took her face in his hands and kissed her, she kissed him back with just as much force, this kiss was 2 years in the making and they both felt the electricity.

They broke apart after a couple of minutes and just looked at each other smiling. Derek brought his hand to her cheek and caressed it making Casey blush. They kissed a little bit more after that but stopped when they heard the front door open. He got up kissed her head and left promising to come back later. When his door was closed, she sighed and smiled.

Her mother came up to check on her and was confused by the smile. She said she had been watching a romantic movie and the love interests had just gotten together. Her mother believed her and told her she was making her some soup for dinner. She thanked her mother and went back to thinking about Derek.

Later that evening around 11pm when she was alone in her room she was joined by Derek. She scooted over and let him lie beside her. They kissed a bit but then she wanted to talk and surprisingly so did he.

She let him go first and he asked her how she found the video. She told him everything even about taking a copy with her USB key. He laughed at her and said “Your such a keener” then kissed her cheeks.

They talked about their feelings which is something Derek never did but for her he seemed to be making an exception. They agreed to keep it a secret for now because one she was still dating Max and two, they were stepsiblings.

She fell asleep in Derek’s arms not long after they spoke. The next morning, she woke up alone, but Derek came in before he left and gave her a good-bye kiss. That day she finally felt well enough to shower and make her way down the stairs much to her mother’s surprise. She spent the day in the living room watching TV while her mother worked when Derek came home, he joined her sitting in his recliner until Nora left to pick up the kids, then he joined her on the couch, and they made out. She sat in her usual seat across from Derek who happily played footsie with her throughout the meal. They made it to Friday in their bliss bubble sneaking time together and kisses here and there she was using her days to do some physical therapy to help with the muscles around the incision trying to get better so that when Derek laid with her or hugged her it didn’t hurt so much. He was being gentle, but she was getting impatient.

Friday afternoon was a different story all together when Max finally came to visit. He showed up after school with Flowers and her mother let him in. She smiled at him and said she was going out to pick up the kids from school, but Derek should be home soon so no funny business. Like Casey was able to do anything so she sent him straight up to her room and he knocked waiting for Casey to respond.

“Hurry up and come in I thought you would never get home from school. I’m bored out of my mind. But I’m sure…” she didn’t finish her sentence when she realized it was Max and not Derek.

“Max, what are you doing here?” Casey said shocked.

“Can’t a guy come and visit his girlfriend?” Max said moving over to sit on the side of her bed. “These are for you.” He said handing her the flowers. “Were you expecting Emily?” he asked in reference to her earlier comment.

“What? Oh, yeah she’s been coming to visit me after school and fill me in on all the gossip.” A blatant lie Emily had been pretty busy all week and had only come by a handful of times.

“Well I’m here now.” Max said moving in for a kiss. She had been dreading this moment but really, she had to do it now before Derek got home and maybe did something to tip max off.

She turned her head and he got her cheek. Turning back, she said “Actually Max, we need to talk.”

He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose “what is it now Case, what did I do wrong.” Max said.

“Ok I’m not sure what that tone is about. But you know that it is kind of customary/polite to check in on your girlfriend after she has major surgery. You know come by to visit, call, or even send a text. But you did nothing all week and then you come her one week after my surgery and bring me flowers assuming everything is ok.” She said angrily.

“I asked Derek and Emily how you were, and they said you were ok. I had practice all week and I was tired, so I didn’t come by.” He replied.

“That doesn’t explain why you didn’t call or text. And on my birthday why didn’t you have a real card or a real gift ready for me. And how does a drugstore run out of birthday cards? And that pathetic excuse for a happy birthday on Derek’s video.” She yelled just letting everything she had been thinking out. He needed to know how his actions were coming across.

“Case I think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill. So, I didn’t call, I'm here now. And I can get you a birthday gift if you want but I don’t know where they sell those quill pens and I already returned the original notebook I got you.” Max said still not understanding the point.

“You really aren’t getting it; I’m not Amy your Ex I need you to actually care for me not use me as a trophy you can parade around the school.” She yelled. “We are over Max! Get out.”

Derek had arrived home just in time to hear Casey tell Max to get out. He ran up the stairs to his room to wait until Max had left. He left his door open just enough to hear the conversation mostly to be aware in case Casey needed help, but he partially wanted to hear their conversation.

“Really Case your breaking up with me. I’m captain of the football team. Do you know how far your social status is going to sink without me? You’re clearly not thinking straight.” He replied.

“I'm thinking straighter than I have in a while Max and I’ll say it again we are over! Now Get out.” Casey yelled and then she screamed in pain.

Derek ran into the room to see Casey doubled over clutching her incision site.

“Look what you did Max, seriously just leave.” he said pushing Max out of the way and making his way over to Casey. “And if she isn’t ok, I will find you tomorrow and I will end you.” Derek said through gritted teeth.

Max ran out of the room and straight out the door fuming at what had just happened but also hopping he hadn’t hurt Casey physically.

“Princess are you ok?” he asked moving over to her.

“I think so Derek though I may have popped a stitch when I was yelling at him and moving around.” She replied trying to lie back down.

“Let me look.” Derek said.

“No, it’s ok. I can wait till my mom gets home.” She said pushing his hands away.

“Come on case if it is a stitch, we need to get you to the hospital ASAP we can't wait for Nora.” He said. “Just let me look it's not the first time I’ve seen stitches, I do play hockey.” He said with a smile, trying to reassure her.

“No, it's really ugly and gross I don’t want you to see it.” She said.

“Casey nothing about you could be ugly or gross to me now let me see it so I can make sure you are ok.” Derek said. She relented and lifted the hem of her shirt, so her pelvis was exposed.

Derek removed the bandage slowly looking at the site. Everything seemed ok there were still 6 stiches and they all seemed attached. She probably just strained herself moving so much. He put the bandage back down and looked over at her. “It seems fine you probably just strained your muscles when you moved.” he said. She nodded and pulled her shirt back down.

He crawled up in the bed and lied down next to her.

“Hi” She said.

“Hi” he replied.

“So, no more Max!” She said.

“Yep, It’s just us now.” Derek said and he pulled her in close to him kissing her forehead.

It was nice and it was new, and it was finally them together which would eventually come to be known as Dasey.