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Have you ever felt like the supporting act of your own life? The second fiddle to your own symphony?

Casey could say she was asking for a friend, but who would that even be?

Look, it is not like she wants to bemoan her existence. She knew she had tendency for the histrionics, but you tend to put more effort on things that do not go the way you expect at first try.

Back in Toronto, she was hardly the center of attention. Her father did not pay much mind for things besides his work as a corporate lawyer, and her, her sister and her mother had to share that short span, and it was as ridiculous as it sounds.

Not that Nora was all that attentive of a mother, either, and Lizzie was just a kid, focused on kid stuff.

In school, things were not that better. She had friends, granted none of them survived the move, and she was not surprised by that fact, but it was hard living in Vicky’s shadow, sharing her social life with her cousin, especially because they were so different.

Casey snickers. If only she knew what her life would turn out to be, she would have taken Victoria main bitch skit as practice.

Her parents’ marriage did not last long, as one could predict, and her mother was not as house and family-oriented as she liked to proclaim. Especially when she became the main breadwinner at their household, she often worked long hours and had plenty of meetings keeping her busy.

Sometime later, she begun dating again and, sooner rather than later, she remarried and transplanted her family up the Ontario province.

Her groom was George Venturi, a nice (if spineless) divorced lawyer, with three children of his own. Children that were used to have their way with their father and did not want to change it.

It sounds odd hearing it from Casey, but she was not resentful with Derek and the others as often as it appeared. They did not like that situation, either, and they were not responsible for her misery just by existing. Even her mother, as rather selfish as she was, deserved to be married again, to find love again.

She knew she was the intruder in the Venturi house, the odd one out, even in comparison to Lizzie, who integrated neatly in the pre-established order. She knew there would be severe reaction against her presence there, expected it, and even rather welcomed it.

However, she was already cornered, she was already out of air. If she did not fight for space, for identity, what would be of her?

Derek was greedy. Even when she tried to be out and away from his lane, leave him to himself, he could not bear the fact that she led an independent life from him, so he invaded her space and claimed it to himself, banished her to find somewhere else to be.

It was hard. By then, he had good part of a decade and a half to establish himself in their surroundings, and London was hardly a metropolis. Everyone knew him, and everything had a connection to him.

Emily, for one. She might be Casey’s friend, but she was Derek’s obsessed fangirl first. Sam was her boyfriend, but Derek’s best friend. Even when she tried to branch out, like with Max and Noel, they suddenly became Derek’s business for some reason or another.

Soon enough, she realized she did not have anywhere to go.

Eventually, she tried to surrender. She tried to let Derek have his way with her life, to hang out with him, to take the same interest on him and his business that he took on her, but he just reacted badly. He slashed back, accusing her of suffocating and stalking him.

However, as soon as she strayed one step away from him, he pulled her back into his orbit.

He likes the struggle, Casey supposed. Derek lives for the challenge, for the fighting, for the chase. That was what Kendra lacked, for all her showrunner pose, a look from Derek was enough to get her on her knees and beg. Just like any other girl.

Besides Sally. Which follows the pattern well, she held his attention longer because she denied him every step of the way. Not because she was mean or cold-heartedly, but because she was not that into him.

Casey wondered why. For all his flaws, Sally got Derek on line pretty well. Love is blind, perhaps.

She considered it. At the beginning, she fought Derek, she shouted and screamed, and he tried to beat her into submission, and then, when she finally got tired and gave up, he immediately focused his attention at the next girl over.

It would be infuriating and humiliating for her, but she was just so tired, and she does not know why.

She does not know what she wants, either. Does she want to be Kendra, to be begged to leave and to have placed as many space between them as possible, or does she want to be Sally, surrounded and showered with attention, unwarranted and frustrating as it may be?

Should not she know?

In her understanding, it was not that difficult of a question. Perhaps she did lose any semblance of a personality since her mother’s wedding. If she ever had one, honestly.

She wished she had someone to talk about it. She could not even write in her journal to sort out her thoughts, as she had to agree with Derek that was awfully puerile, and because he would read it. For years now, she only wrote inane things there, as to keep it as a red herring for him.

She felt like screaming.

Round and round she goes, and there she is again. The same problem she started with.

She had no friends of her own because she has no personality, so she tries to develop one, just to figure she cannot decide what on Earth she wants because she does not have a personality.

And Derek is there somewhere, because of course he is.

Is that why she so begrudgingly took a liking to him? Because he is so decisive?

Or is it because she feels, deep down, he is as lost as she is? Would she be right to think that?

Derek is kind of a cliché when it comes to bad boys, and she knows about Abby and everything else. It would make sense, in armchair psychology kind of way, for it all to be a façade.

What did she know, though?

Where was she trying to get with all of that? What does it all mean?

Casey sighed and rinsed the plate she had been scrubbing for the last three minutes. She was trying to get her mind out of things by doing some cleaning, but it was not working.

It was when she heard the front door opening. She leaned back and saw Derek entering the house.

“Hey.” She greeted, lackadaisical.

“Hey.” He mirrored her tone.

Casey corrected her posture and forced a smile. “How’s going with Sally?”

The brunet seemed to compose a snarky comeback at her, but gave up midway. Instead, he answers earnestly, even if also tiredly. “It’s okay. We’re trying to enjoy the last few days we have together.”

“That’s nice.” She said, non-decisively. After a short moment of silence, she starts, shyly. “Look, Derek, I’m sorry about butting into your business. It wasn’t my place.”

“Whatever.” He said and climbed up the stairs with no further talking.

Casey sat on the couch and sighed again.

In the end, perhaps, there was just no way out. It was just… whatever.

Perhaps next year would be better.