Derek and Casey were now in college. Their lives were beginning to be paved before them. The future no longer felt so far away, but still out of reach.
After graduation summer took its natural course. Casey and Truman broke up, again. This time Casey had the sense to break it off before summer was over and before he cheated again; her emotions were in the clear and she didn't cry once. Derek and Emily broke up on mutual decision, they both realized that it was going no where, he didn't love her and she actually still loved Sheldon, her ever present crush for Derek was killed by a relationship with him. Now they were just friends. Casey, Derek, and Emily spent most of the summer around Emily's pool, on occasion Sam or Ralph would stop by, other than that, nothing else happened.
* * *
At college, life seemed harder for both Casey and Derek. The day they arrived at school was the last day they had spoke to each other, unintentionally intentionally of course. Derek had his hockey and Casey her homework. There were times when they would see each other across the quad. Derek would see her entering or leaving a class or the library. Casey would see him lounging about the campus with his hockey buddies or going to a class (which surprised her).
Casey would attend each of his games, he didn't know. She would sit somewhere different each time, just to keep up appearances; never allowing him to see her. She watched his familiar form enter the rink. She would cheer for him, standing up and getting fully engrossed in the game. She would stay until there was 30 seconds left on the clock, she would then proceed down the stands, stopping herself in front of the exit and watch as he made the winning shot. She'd scream and whoop; she'd leave the arena with a big grin on her face. She went for him and herself; she needed to see someone she knew, someone she cared about, some sense of home.
Once, Derek was on the ice, he was prepping himself for the final shot, knowing it was going to him; glancing up at the crowd he searched for a familiar face…anybody.
In high school his whole family would be in the stands watching him, Marti would be wearing an old jersey screaming her little ass off, he would look at them for support, and in college there was nobody.
His eyes landed on a brunette girl in a pink beanie and scarf, her face was slightly flushed from the cold arena, their eyes caught for a second, it was Casey. He quickly stifled his shock and took the shot, the winning shot. As his team came around him to congratulate him, hitting him and thoroughly roughing him up in the excitement, he looked back up at the stands, she was no where to be found. Maybe he was just imagining it, she never came to his games back home why would she start now?
Derek had an apartment, the only thing his mom ever gave him since his parents divorce. He also had a roommate, Charlie, also a hockey player, and a drunk. Derek would be up late studying (yes studying) and Charlie would come stumbling in at around 1 am and promptly pass out in the doorway to his room. Derek would push his unconscious body into the room, lay him on his side, and close the door.
Being a freshman in college was tough, especially if you were on the hockey team. His coach had sat the freshman players down, the sophomore, junior, and senior players standing around them, and preceded to inform them that if they got below a C average in a semester they were on suspension, if they failed a class they were off the team. There was one more condition, making all the freshmen groan, no alcohol. If they were caught intoxicated or somehow the coach heard about a party involving them, they were off the team.
This was slightly hard on Derek; he wanted college to be the full college experience. On the other hand, hockey was his livelihood, his future; he decided he didn't want to risk it, unlike Charlie. In a passing he thought it was particularly Casey of him to think of the future.
* * *
Casey was moderately happy, she was studying, one of her favorite things. She completed her homework on time, her essays always just a bit longer than required. Her time was spent either in class or in the library; books always piled around her effectively blocking her from view. Allowing her to become immersed in whatever the subject was. On the weekend she would be getting ahead in her homework and reading in the local coffee shop. She spent most of her time alone. Actually, she spent all of her time alone.
She had a roommate which, surprisingly, she didn't get along with. When Casey was preparing for college she was hoping she and her roommate would be friends or at least pleasant acquaintances. When she arrived, she got the shock of her life. At first her roommate appeared nice. She had long blonde hair, bright green eyes, and good smile. The first evening there was horrible. Casey was unloading her books and setting them up on her shelf, organizing her clothes and personal possessions when Claire, her roommate, barged in; she was wearing a very short skirt and a tube top. Casey didn't want to judge but she looked like a slut. They hadn't spoken much during the day due to moving in, but she thought they got along pretty well. Anyway, Claire barged in dressed like a slut, pulling with her a random college boy, her mouth suctioned onto his face. They, Claire and mystery-man, were in the process of shedding clothing, Casey just stood there in shock. Claire pushed the guy onto her bed and turned to Casey,
"I don't need to hear it from you, I could tell you're a prude just from looking at you. So, if you don't want to watch us, leave. Now! I'm giving you two minutes. Go!" She yelled.
Casey just grabbed her purse and jacket and left the room as fast as she could. Oh, she most definitely was not going to stay and watch. This was pretty much the routine. She spoke to Claire and they had 'compromised' Claire had free reign of the room all day, at 9:30 Casey would come back; she wanted/needed sleep. Saturday Claire got the room and on Sunday Casey got the room. It was about a month into the semester when Casey realized that she roomed with the school slut. When she would return to the room at night, Claire would be saying goodnight to a new guy. It was disgusting.