“Where is Derek? Casey questioned Sam as he walked towards his car. He shrugged casually. “Probably drowning himself in the showers. He gets a bit touchy after we lose a game.” Casey sighed. A bit touchy was a huge understatement in regards to how Derek reacted to losing.
Casey had been leaning up against the Prince waiting for Derek to drive her to Tinker’s party. “Do you want me to go grab him for you?” She shook her head. “No, it’s fine. I’ll do it. She waved goodbye and made her way back into the building. The lights were all off and it set her on edge. If she was killed by an axe-murderer she was going to come back and haunt Derek for the rest of his moronic life. She was annoyed that she had to seek him out. He knew that she needed to go to Tinker’s party tonight. Two weeks ago, Truman had cheated on her and even though she was pretending to be fine, she was devastated. She needed this distraction.
Stopping in front of the boys locker-room she knocked. No answer. Gently she pushed the door open and called out his name. She still didn’t receive an answer. In fact, it was dark in the locker-room. Did he find a ride to Tinker’s party without her? Leaving Casey stranded at the school wasn’t typical Derek behavior though. Sure, he was a huge pain, but he wasn’t completely heartless. Usually. She gnawed at her bottom lip with worry. What if Sam hadn’t been exaggerating and Derek did take the loss hard? What if there was a serial killer waiting in the locker-room? She took a deep breath. She needed to calm the heck down. There was a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why she was calling out for Derek in a dark school building with only silence as an answer.
This was nothing like the horror movie that Derek had made her watch last weekend. He had agreed to keep her company while she licked her wounds, but had put his foot down when she suggested watching The Notebook. Damn him. The sound of droplets hitting the floor got louder the closer that she got to the showers. “Derek? Are you alive in there?” Casey could hear the hysteria in her own voice. If Derek wasn’t already dead, she was going to kill him.
She stopped just outside of the showers and prepared to close her eyes quickly. Fortunately, Derek was still fully dressed in his hockey gear. His head was leaned up against the shower wall, hands resting above his head. He was completely soaked and didn’t even seem to notice her presence. Casey blew out a breath both immensely relieved and annoyed by the sight of him.
“Well, this is just a little dramatic, don’t you think?” The only acknowledgement she received from him was a grunt. He was such a cave man sometimes. “Derek, we need to go. We aren’t going to make it to Tinker’s party if you keep acting like a drama queen.”
Finally, he spoke. “Go away, Case. I can’t do this right now.” The thing was he didn’t sound annoyed or like he was just trying to rile her up. There was something completely broken in his voice. Casey was now on high alert. She had never heard Derek use this tone of voice before. Looking around hesitantly she shifted from foot to foot. Casey nodded her head resolutely because her decision was made. She placed her purse on the bench next to the showers. She’d definitely have to sanitize it later along with these shoes.
Casey took a step into the shower and approached Derek slowly from behind. She placed a hand delicately on his shoulder. “Der. Can you look at me.” He shook his head forcefully and she squeezed his shoulder hoping that the gesture would comfort him. “Derek. Please?”
Derek slowly turned around and avoided eye contact with her. She could see that his eyes were blood shot. Had he been crying? She had to swallow her first instinct to tease him about it, because this was not the time or place. “I fucked up Case. Ifuckedupandnowihavenofuture.” Casey was beyond confused. Derek had lost one single hockey game. There would be other hockey games, wouldn’t there?
“Hey hey what are you talking about Derek? Your life isn’t over. It would be way too convenient for you to let me win our ongoing war now.” She tried to make a joke. Derek just looked at her and he didn’t seem to find anything she said to be humorous.
“You were right about me when we met Casey. I’ll never get into college and I’ll be a free-loader living off dad and Nora for the rest of my life.” Casey bit her lip still not completely understanding what he was talking about. “A recruiter came from Western to watch me play tonight. Coach said he was pretty confident about me getting this scholarship. Case, with my grades alone I’ll never get into college. Hockey is the only thing that I’m worth a damn at. “
Casey finally comprehended what he was saying and immediately rushed to his defense. “Derek it doesn’t matter that your team lost tonight. You were amazing.” Derek started to argue with her. “No! Derek can you please just shut up and listen for one second. I don’t know anything about hockey, but when I watch you play it makes me want to cry. Derek you’re brilliant. Every move that you make is graceful and if the recruiter from Western can’t see that then he is missing out! Not to mention hockey is not your only talent! We’ll find another school that will take you! WE WILL FIND A LEAGUE THAT WILL--”
Derek had grabbed her forearm and smoothly pulled her to him. There were mere inches between their faces now and they were both gasping for air. “What-what are you doing Derek?” Derek eyes had gone wide at the question. As if even, he didn’t know the answer. Neither one spoke a word as they continued to gawk at each other. Casey didn’t even notice the fact that she was now being drenched by the shower too.
She bit her bottom lip. “Derek Venturi I promise you that your life isn’t over and that we will figure something out.”
“We?” Derek sounded surprised by the conviction in her voice. He wrapped a piece of her hair around his finger nervously.
“Yes Derek. We.” She placed her hand across his heart. “I’m with you and I’ll always be on your side.” Derek sucked in a breath and placed his hand on top of hers. He was sure that she could hear his heart pounding through his gear. Derek Venturi didn’t get nervous, but Casey had always been the exception to his rules.
“I’m on your side too Case. I’ll always be there when you need me.” Casey isn’t sure why, but suddenly she throws caution to the wind. Her lips crashed into Derek’s and she was on fire. Derek was taken aback for only a moment before he started kissing her back. His thumb gently stroked up and down her neck as he pulled her closer to him. Casey needed more. Every kiss that Derek gives her feels like he is breathing life into her lungs. If they stop, she isn’t sure that she’ll be able to ever breathe properly again.
They are both shivering as the hot water had run out long ago, but neither of them makes any move to end the kiss. Derek’s hand is resting on Casey’s waist and when her shirt rides up the skin-on-skin contact is almost too much. Casey starts to shudder violently and Derek finally breaks the kiss. Resting his forehead against hers he whispers, “I’ve wanted to do that from the first moment I saw you.”
Casey smiles. “We should get out of here before we end up with hypothermia.” She grabs his hand leading him out of the showers. “Come on Derek. Let’s go home and watch The Notebook.” Derek grumbled, but followed her nonetheless.