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i don’t know anything, but i know i miss you

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Casey loves fall. 

 

Everything about it is familiar, comforting. Despite being the season of change, fall has been the same ever since she was a kid. The crisp air, fresh packets of number two pencils, polished shoes and the return of cozy sweaters are cumulative to one of Casey’s favourite events of the year. 

 

The start of school.  

 

Casey’s twenty seven now, but the beginning of September still feels the same as it did when she was seventeen. It's like being wrapped in an all encompassing hug; like no matter what is going on in her personal life, or the world, come September she’ll have dozens of brightminded and energetic kids looking up at her, waiting for her to teach them everything she knows. 

 

It’s a tradition, of sorts, and Casey is nothing if not a sucker for routines. 

 

“So have you guys heard the news?” says Emily, fiddling with the metal straw in her drink. 

 

Casey shoots Sally a look , who in turn rolls her eyes. Back to school milkshakes with Emily are another tradition, left over from their time at Thompson High. Once the two of them had been hired as teachers at Westbridge College - Emily for the position of Arts and Textiles and Casey in the humanities and commerce department, specialising in English and History - they had reinstated their ritual. After befriending one of Westbridge’s Special Education teachers, Sally, in their first year Emily and Casey have insisted that she join them. 

 

“What news?” Sally asks dutifully, causing Casey to giggle into her milkshake. Emily’s frivolous gossip is another tradition, although one that had grown tedious over time. 

 

“Well,” Emily starts, “rumour has it that Westbridge is getting a new Media and Physical Education teacher.” 

 

“Em, that’s not exactly news. Those positions have been open all summer,” Casey says, unimpressed. “Though it is interesting that those positions are getting filled by the same person.”

 

“Here’s hoping whoever they hire isn’t going to be as creepy as Richard was,” Sally grumbles. It’s no secret that Westbridge’s old Media teacher wasn’t as professional as the rest of the staff, and would constantly stop by the SE office to ‘casually’ ask Sally’s opinion on the latest Fifty Shades movie. 

 

“Good fucking riddance that they fired him,” Casey replies, stealing one of Sally’s fries. 

 

“I thought he ‘retired,’ or did the board finally catch on to what he was doing in the Staff bathrooms? And how many times do I have to tell you, stop eating my fries!” 

 

“I didn’t realise I was that hungry,” Casey says apologetically. 

 

“Guys!” Emily interrupts, waving her hands to get their attention. “That’s not the news.”

 

Casey takes a sip of her milkshake, savouring the taste of the sickly sweet, artificial vanilla as it runs down the back of her throat.

 

“It’s that the new teacher,”  Emily continues, "according to Sarah from Admin, is seriously hot. Apparently he’s some semi-famous sports star. And most importantly, he’s single .” 

 

Sally snorts into her drink and Casey raises an eyebrow. She can’t help it, she’s intrigued. 

 

“That’s sure to make for some interesting staff lunches,” Casey says. She steals another one of Sally’s fries, dodging when the blonde tries to whack her hand away. “You calling dibs Ems?”

 

“What about you, Casey?” Sally asks, eyes glinting mischievously. “You haven’t had a proper fuck since like, last Christmas. You went home to London for the holidays - sexy lingerie and all - then came back all depressed and shit. About time you got some.” 

 

Casey inhales sharply and ignores the pointed look that is being sent her way by Emily. 

 

“I officially rescind my claim to Emily,” Casey says, taking a sip from her drink. “Men are more trouble than they’re worth, anyway.”

 

“Hear hear!” shouts Sally loudly. She raises her chocolate malt shake in the air and motions for Casey and Emily to follow suit. 

 

“Amen,” Emily says solemnly.

 

Casey laughs at her friend's antics as they clink glasses. “Here’s to the new school year,” she says. 

 

“Here’s hoping we don’t have to sit through another insufferable Freshman musical this year.”

 

“Here’s hoping we don’t find Freddie Box masturbating in the hallways this time round.”

 

“That was pretty traumatic,” Casey says sagely, all thoughts of new coworkers and her disastrous winter break gone. “We should have been paid emotional compensation for that one”

 

“We’re teachers, Case. Our paychecks are pretty much just made up of hush money and bribes.” 

 

“At least it pays for our gin.”

 

Casey tips an imaginary hat towards Emily. “That it does.” 

 


 

 

Prep day falls on a Monday, which satisfies Casey. She likes the thought of starting back at work at the beginning of the week. Casey hangs up a giant calendar next to her whiteboard and fills in her weekly lesson plan, anticipation building in her stomach. 

 

Casey’s classroom is, coincidentally, one of her favourites on campus. Located in the Humanities sector, Room 316 faces Westbridge’s oval and gardens, giving Casey and her students picturesque views no matter the season. It’s high ceilings and large floor space gives Casey the option to play around with the seating arrangements, as well as allow for her students to act out scenes from the plays and novels she teaches.

 

Majority of Casey’s classroom decorations and resources are still intact from the previous year, so she just has to make room on the back wall for a student work display. The back wall is actually a sliding door into the Media classroom next door, Room 317, and can be opened when Casey’s film unit is combined with the Media Studies curriculum. Casey makes a mental note to discuss the overlapping syllabus with the new Media Studies teacher after the staff meeting that afternoon. 

 

It’s somewhat eerie being on campus with no students during the day. Casey is used to the noise; kids playing out on the oval or eating lunch in the quad. She’s used to the gossip that travels around the school like the plague, unavoidable and oddly intriguing. She's even become used to the daily he said, she saids that comes from shoving a thousand melodramatic teens into the same environment week in, week out. 

 

To combat the silence Casey turns up her music that had been playing on her laptop as loud as it could possibly go. ABBA Gold blasts through the speakers as Casey sings along, sticking up the words Student Hall of Fame to the back wall. 

 

She doesn’t hear him when he comes in, which is probably for the best. Casey thinks she may have screamed, or thrown a chair, or worse, punched him, if she had seen him walk through the door of her precious, sacred classroom. 

 

“Well, you know what they say, once a Keener, always a Keener.” 

 

Shit.

 

Casey spins around frantically, eyes wide. She drops the neon green paper L with her left hand and grips a fresh stick of Blu-Tack with her right. “What,” she says, “the hell are you doing here, Venturi?” 

 

Derek leans against a desk and crosses his arms against his chest, a smirk forming on his face. Casey is overcome with a sense of Déjà-Vu; reminded of a time when she was sixteen and her world was crashing and burning all around her, reminded of conversations at Thompson High that mirror her present situation. 

 

“Now Case, that’s no way to talk to your new co-worker.”

 

Casey blinks. “Bullshit.” 

 

Derek’s smirk turns upwards into something akin to a smile. “I forgot how much you swear now. Adult Casey is badass.”

 

“I meant what I said at Christmas.” Casey squats down to pick up the fallen paper L and sticks it on the wall with her back to Derek. “I never want to see you again.” 

 

“And yet, here I am.” Derek moves forward and helps her straighten up the letters, which had been crooked as a result of Casey not being tall enough to reach them. Despite her anger at Derek appearing out of literally nowhere , Casey’s struck by a fleeting flash of endearment for him. “You know, I would have expected you to be more creative than a measly Hall of Fame . Pretty basic, Case.” 

 

And, just as quickly as it came, Casey’s affection for him disappears. 

 

“I didn’t know you had teaching qualifications.” 

 

Derek shrugs. “Got my degree while I was in rehab for my ankle. The NHL pulled some strings. I figured I’d need a back up plan sooner or later.”

 

Casey snorts. “Of course you did. Are you here for the Media or PE position?”

 

If Derek is annoyed by her brisk tone and conversation, he doesn’t show it. “Both.” 

 

“Jesus,” Casey mutters. “You know that means we have to teach together right? For the film unit?”

 

“Yeah I do,” Derek says, smirking once again. “How does Die Hard sound to you?”

 

Casey seriously considers throwing her stick of Blu-Tack at him, but thinks better of it at the last second. She’s an adult now. She can be civil. 

 

“No one can know,” Casey says instead, deciding to ignore his teasing. Although she isn’t exactly happy about Derek infiltrating her workplace, she can handle it. There was a period during her life where she had to share a bathroom with him. She’s been through a lot worse. “I mean it, Venturi.” 

 

“About the fact that I’ve seen you naked or the fact that we’re related?”

 

Casey grinds her teeth in frustration. “Related by marriage ,” she hisses. “And we’re not sleeping together anymore, thanks to you .” 

 

A dark look crosses over Derek’s face. “You’re still mad.”

 

“Of course I’m still mad, Derek!” Casey says, throwing up her hands. “I got dumped by someone I wasn’t even dating over Christmas so he could fuck a supermodel! How would you feel if I had dumped you to sleep with Zac Efron?”

 

“You’re not even attracted to Zac Efron, so that's not a valid point.” 

 

Casey feels like she’s fifteen again, small and insignificant and anxious and full of frustration. She wonders if she’s doomed to always feel this way, if that by some cruel twist of fate the very thing that had bought her mother content had, in turn, ruined Casey’s chance of happiness.

 

She looks up at Derek, so different to his fifteen year old self. His face has matured and his body filled out, thanks to his stint in the NHL, but his eyes? They still shine just as brightly as they did thirteen years ago, full of mischief and determination and possibility

 

Casey has to look away. 

 

“I hope you didn’t take this position because of me,” she says.

 

Derek shrugs. “Partly. But it was the only school where I could teach Physical Education and Media studies. Best of both worlds.” He pauses and bites his lip. “You were a deciding factor though. I could be getting paid way more for my services. You know, being famous and all.”

 

“You played for two seasons before you ruined your career,” Casey says, berating herself for falling into the trap of indulging his taunts. “I would hardly call you famous .” 

 

Derek just smiles.

 

“Here’s how it’s going to go,” Casey says. “No one, and I mean it Derek, no one , is going to know about our past. As far as Westbridge College knows, we are just two strangers who work together. Emily will say nothing, so don’t even try to break her. We don’t interact outside work hours, we don’t talk about anything other than work and you don’t flirt with me. At all. ” 

 

“Aw, not even a little?”

 

Casey levels him with a look. “We can’t keep going in circles, Derek. We’re adults now, not children. I deserve to have a stable career and a boyfriend and peace .” Casey pretends not to notice when Derek flinches as she says boyfriend . “You deserve it, too.” She holds out her hand in front of him and looks him in the eye. “Let this be the start of a new era. The beginning of Derek and Casey moving on, being civil and acting mature.” 

 

Derek takes her hand and shakes it, meeting her eyes. “Frends then?”

 

“Don’t push your luck.” 

 


 

 

direct message between yeehawitslar and emsyboo

 

yeehawitslar: EMMY 

EMMY

EMMY

ANSWER MY TEXTS NOW 

EMMY

I KNOW YOU HAVE ON DISCORD NOTIFICATIONS I CAN SEE THEM 

 

emsyboo: jesus christ laurel we’re literally sitting right next to each other

what do you want

 

yeehawitslar: i don’t want the other girls to hear 

this is classified information

well not really everyone is going to know by lunch lets be real

but anyways

my first class today was media studies

and guess what????

 

emsyboo: let me guess, silas finally noticed that you exist and sat next to you and talked your ear off about the latest episode of riverdale?

 

yeehawitslar: god i wish, but no

plus silas wouldn't watch riverdale anyway, sadly

he thinks its "fucking confusing as shit"

 

emsyboo: then what is it? 

 

yeehawitslar: the new media and pe teacher is

wait for it

derek venturi

 

emsyboo: who? 

 

yeehawitslar: omg emmy pls 

he played for the maple leafs for like, two seasons before he injured himself 

and had to quit 

and now he’s at westbridge!!! 

teaching!!! 

 

emsyboo: is he hot? 

 

yeehawitslar: extremely

derek_venturi_nhl_.jpeg 

 

emsyboo: oh shit

 


 

 

“I understand that it’s the first Friday of term and you all are very excited for the weekend, but I do need you all to stop talking,” Casey says loudly over the chatter that has taken over her classroom, “and please turn your attention back to Macbeth .” 

 

“This play is fucked,” mutters Laurel, causing the blonde next to her to giggle. 

 

“Language, Laurel,” Casey berates, tapping her desk lightly with her copy of Macbeth . While Casey encourages free speech, ideas and individuality in her classes, she also asks that her students uphold and respect certain classroom guidelines. 

 

“Sorry Ms McDonald,” Laurel says, “won’t happen again.”

 

Casey smiles knowingly. “I hope so. It would be a shame to have to spend our lunchtimes together in detention again this year, wouldn’t it?” 

 

Laurel raises her hand in a mock salute.

 

“Now,” Casey says, addressing her eleventh grade English class as a whole. “Who wants to share their initial opinion on the play?”

 

Hands shoot up in the air and Casey picks one at random. “Silas?”

 

“It was absolutely bonkers, Ms McDonald,” Silas Monterey says immediately, causing Casey to smile.

 

“What gives you that impression?”

 

“Well first off, Macbeth is like, the worst friend ever , and Lady Macbeth is just, like absolutely psycho.”

 

Emmy, the blonde sitting next to Laurel, scoffs. “You would go crazy too if you were treated the same way women had in the eleventh century.” 

 

Silas rolls his eyes. “Yeah, but murder?” 

 

“You raise an interesting point, Emmy, and we will go into Lady Macbeth’s motives later on in the unit. But, Silas, you are absolutely correct. This play is bonkers; which is why it’s one of my favourites to teach.” 

 

“Ms McDonald, I have a question.” 

 

Casey nods. “Ask away, Stacy.”

 

“I don’t understand the point of the play. I mean, I get the themes of deception and power and all that, but Shakespeare’s intentions for the story are unclear.” 

 

“Many teachers are adamant that Macbeth is about the never ending debate between fate and free will,” Casey says after taking a moment to consider. “And although that is true, personally,” she continues, “I believe Shakespeare was making a mockery of consequences.” 

 

“How so?” asks Stacy.

 

Casey, making sure she has the attention of the whole class, begins to walk slowly around her classroom. “Well, humans make decisions everyday. We make the decision on what to wear, on what to eat, who to talk to. Those are the small choices we make, every second of every day. We rarely think of the consequences of those actions. Same with the bigger ones. In Macbeth those decisions are betraying a friend, murder, lying and so on. Shakespeare is making a point that, despite our ability to make decisions both big and small, we rarely consider or accept the impact it has on others.”

 

Stacy nods sagely and sits back in her chair.

 

After discussing the students initial reactions to Macbeth for a little longer - the Macbeth’s were lowkey a power couple, why is there so much blood, jeez, those witches were savage as hell - Casey gives them an activity that charts the events of the play to help with their comprehension. She sits at her desk and watches them work, answering questions and helping with the task when needed.

 

“He’s such a good teacher though! Way better than Mr Creepy was. I swear, I’ve learnt more from Mr Venturi this week than I did from Mr Yates all of tenth grade.”

 

Usually Casey would stop the gossip and berate Laurel for distracting her peers, bu today she just can’t help it. She wants to know what kind of teacher Derek is. 

 

“Not to mention,” Laurel continues, “his arm muscles are out of this world .” 

 

Well, Casey thinks, she’s not wrong

 

“Stop perving on Mr Venturi, Lar,” Emmy interrupts, tapping her pencil on their worksheet. “Plus, we don’t even know if he’s single.’

 

Casey bites her lips and represses a giggle. As much as it pains her having to work with Derek and see him around campus all the damn time, it may all be worth it just to hear about him through her students. 

 

“Oooh!” Laurel says, leaning back in her chair. “We can totally set him up with someone! Like Ms Davis, she’s hella chill. I feel like her and Mr Venturi would totally match each other’s vibes.”

 

Memories of Derek and Emily’s short lived teenage romance flood Casey’s brain, causing her to smile. 

 

If only they knew .

 

“So, basically, you just want to reenact Clueless ,” Emmy says flatly, tapping their worksheet once again.

 

Laurel ignores her tone and waves her hands around excitedly. “We can go shopping this weekend and buy some outfits! Dibs being Dionne, since you know, Black Girl power. You’re white and blonde, so you can totally pull off being Cher.”

 

“Girls,” Casey warns, aware that the duo hasn’t touched their worksheet for the last ten minutes. “I expect that to be finished by the end of period.” 

 

“Yeah, sure, Ms McDonald,” Laurel replies. She turns towards Emmy and lowers her voice. “I’ll make a discord group chat. Operation Clueless is a go.”

 


 

operation clueless:

created by yeehawitslar

members:

yeehawitslar

emsyboo

camcams

itsstacym

 

emsyboo: jesus lar i didn’t think you were serious 

 

yeehawitslar: i’m always serious 

 

emsyboo: yeah right

 

camcams: i reckon we should set mr venturi up with miss sally

she has a chill vibe but still doesn’t put up with bullshit 

 

yeehawitslar: omg true

remember how she kicked mr creepys ass when he tried to come onto her last year?

 

emsyboo: queen shit, truly

 

itsstacym: I want no part in this Laurel.

We’re talking about teachers!

 

yeehawitslar: glad you finally removed that stick up your ass stacy 

 

itsstacym left the groupchat

 

emsyboo: fucks sake laurel

 


 

MS MCDONALDS CLASSROOM GUIDELINES

  • Be respectful! That includes but is not limited too:
  • NO swearing.
  • NO hateful language towards others.
  • Hate towards any and all minorities will not be tolerated.
  • If you’re late, apologise. 
  • DO NOT talk over others.
  • Talking is encouraged in my classroom, but if you take advantage of my generosity I will have no problem handing out lunchtime detentions. 
  • Please always ask before listening to music!
  • NO phones in my classroom.
  • The less questions you ask, the more likely you are to fail. (Trust me, I’ve been there.)
  • NO FOOD allowed in Room 316 under ANY circumstances! (You can thank last years tenth grade for that one.)

Have fun!




VENTURI’S RULES: 

  1. Hate speech is not cool and won’t be tolerated
  2. If you haven’t watched or read the source material, don’t bother coming to class. No really, I’m serious. I get paid either way
  3. Snacking in class is encouraged. Talking with your mouth open, however, is not
  4. Dog ate your homework? Please. Be more original
  5. Marvel movies suck and no, we will not be studying them
  6. Keep the noise down on Tuesdays - Ms McDonald has surprise quizzes in Room 316. Not that anyone is ever actually surprised by them, but I’d like to keep the noise complaints to a minimum
  7. Be engaging and contribute. I can't always be the one carrying the conversation

 


 

 

"What's your opinion on the movie Clueless , Mr V?" Laurel asks three weeks into the semester.

 

Derek raises an eyebrow quizzically. "Does this have anything to do with your independent study?"

 

Independent study is something new Derek has implemented into Westbridge's Media curriculum: once a week he dedicates a lesson allowing his class to pull apart and dissect their favourite movies.

 

It's the kind of activity that, if offered at Thompson High, would have actually encouraged Derek to attend classes.

 

"Well," Laurel replies, "not exactly."

 

"I think it's a fantastic adaptation," Derek says, humoring her. "The cast and crew did a great job of capturing Jane Austen's essence while still catering to a modern audience's wants and expectations."

 

"Isn't that the movie where the hot chick ends up with her step-brother?" says Silas, who had tuned into their conversation in an attempt to avoid working on his project. 

 

Derek smirks as Laurel's cheeks turn crimson at Silas' words. It's become increasingly apparent over the last three weeks of her adolescent crush on Silas, and even more obvious the fact that he has no idea.

 

"They're not actually related," says Cammie, one of Laurel's friends. She pokes Laurel in an attempt to bring her back into the conversation. "And don't call women chicks."

 

Silas rolls his eyes. "Only because you asked, my dearest Cam Cams."

 

Derek fiddles with the leather bracelets on his wrist and wonders if this conversation is a cosmic joke being played on him by the universe.

 

"No, technically they're not related. Cher and Josh are ex-step siblings." Ah, the irony. "Now, what was your point, Laurel?" Derek asks, trying to steer the conversation back on course.

 

"Just wondering if you had seen it," Laurel says cryptically. "Did your partner force you to watch it?"

 

Derek refrains from rolling his eyes. "Someone did force me to watch it, actually, but it wasn't my partner."

 

"Oh," says Laurel. "That's chill."

 


 

 

“This movie sucks,” says Derek, his mouth full of popcorn as he speaks.

 

“No it doesn’t,” Casey replies absently, “and don’t talk with your mouth full.” 

 

“It’s my night to pick the movie. Gimme back the remote, Spacey.” 

 

Casey movies the remote away from Derek’s reach and he rolls his eyes. If he hadn’t of played two games of hockey earlier he would have moved to snatch it out of her hands.

 

“Use your filmmaking brain, Venturi,” she says instead of returning his taunts. “Treat it like a movie you get to dissect.” 

 

Derek sighs. “Why would I want to do that for a bubblegum pop movie from the nineties?” 

 

“It’s an hour and a half of your life,” snaps Casey. “Just shut up and watch the movie with me.”

 

It only takes three minutes of watching Alicia Silverstone prancing around Paul Rudd for Derek to realise why Casey was so adamant about watching the film.

 


 

 

operation clueless:

created by yeehawitslar

members:

yeehawitslar

emsyboo

camcams

 

camcams added kingsilas

 

camcams: silas is in

 

kingsilas: can't have my favourite teacher being single, thats a massive strike on the bro code

 

yeehawitslar:

you and mr v are bros now?

 

kingsilas: thanks for such a warm welcome laurel! really appreciate the vibe u got going on

 

*

 

direct message between yeehawitslar and emsyboo

 

yeehawitslar: SILAS KNOWS WHO I AM!!

HE DIRECTLY ADDRESSED ME!!

on text but still

thank god for cammie is all im saying

 

emsyboo: the same cammie that you were bitching about yesterday for being friends with silas???

 

yeehawitslar: the very same

 

*

operation clueless:

created by yeehawitslar

members:

yeehawitslar

emsyboo

camcams

kingsilas

 

camcams: GUYS

MR V AND MISS SALLY ARE CURRENTLY TALKING ON THE QUAD

WHERE ARE Y'ALL

 

emsyboo: !!!!!

COMING

 

yeehawitslar: emmy i thought you weren't invested

 

emsyboo: fuck off

 

yeehawitslar: *side eye emoji*

 


 

 

Derek meets Sally officially in late September, on a Thursday.

 

He's seen her around campus, obviously, and truthfully, she has caught his interest. Sally's tall, blonde, has a loud laugh and a sharp wit that she doesn't hesitate to use with students.

 

In other words, she is exactly Derek's type.

 

"Miss Sally!" he shouts, jogging a little to catch up with her. He hides a wince as a flash of pain comes from his ankle due to the sudden exertion.

 

She turns around and waits patiently for him to catch up to her. "Just Sally. I'm Miss Sally to the kids."

 

Derek smiles and holds out his hand. "Nice to meet you, Just Sally. I'm Derek."

 

Sally takes his hand. "I know. What can I do for you, Derek?"

 

"I was wondering if I could talk to you about one of your students? Amelia Bridge? I have an idea I'd like to run past you."

 

"Of course. Would you mind terribly walking with me to the staff room while we talk? I'm on a time limit today."

 

Derek has to physically bite his lip to say anything that could be considered inappropriate. "Of course."

 

By the time the two had made it across campus to the staff room Sally had agreed to Derek's plan. One of her kids in the Special Education program, Amelia, had expressed an interest in Media Studies to her friend, who was in Derek's class. Although there was no rule stating SE kids can't attend mainstream classes at Westbridge, most teachers avoided the extra hassle.

 

"One or two classes a week should be okay," Sally says, tilting her head. "You sure you're up for this? I'll be there to help, of course, but many teachers can't juggle the responsibilities that come with SE kids."

 

"These students deserve to have the same opportunities as everyone else," says Derek firmly. "Amelia wants to learn something she's passionate about, and that is something that I will never take away from a kid."

 

Sally nods and spreads her mouth into a smile. "I think you're going to be good for Westbridge," she says.

 

Derek returns her smile and opens the staff room door for her, watching as she walks through.

 

"You know," Sally says behind her shoulder, "my friends and I are going out for drinks tomorrow night. You should come, I'll email you the details."

 

She walks off before Derek can answer.

 


 

 

to: derekventuri@westbridge.com

from: caseymcdonald@westbridge.com

subject: Turn it down!

 

The movie you're watching is too loud. Adjoining classrooms - remember?

 

TURN IT DOWN VENTURI!

 

Casey McDonald

Arts and Humanities

Westbridge College

 


 

 

Casey’s a little drunk.

 

She should have known better than to arrive early for Friday night drinks. Emily always takes forever to get ready, despite them meeting up at their local bar ( you never know who you’re going to meet and where, Casey! ) and Sally is always late to, well, everything. Lucas, one of Westbridge’s math teachers and a good friend of Emily's, had texted Casey saying that he and his partner, Theo, would be late. 

 

“Another one, please,” Casey says to the bartender, motioning to her empty cocktail glass. She ignores the pointed look he gives her and instead takes another handful of peanuts.

 

She’s an adult, thank you very much . She can hold her liquor. 

 

“Casey!” Emily shouts just as the bartender sits another Long Island Iced Tea infront of her. “Jesus, how long have you been here?”

 

“About an hour,” Casey says, her words only slurring slightly. 

 

Emily looks to her cocktail and turns to the bartender. “I’ll have what she’s having.”

 

Casey cheers. 

 

By the time Lucas and Theo turn up Casey has sobered up a little, on account of slowing down so Emily can catch up.  

 

As soon as Sally arrives, however, Casey wishes she had kept drinking. 

 

“Hey guys, so sorry I’m late. My father was being an absolute bitch on the phone. Something about tax returns, who fucking knows, honestly. I assume you all know Derek?”

 

Emily jabs Casey in the stomach to get her attention. “Are you okay?” she mouths.

 

Casey gives her a small nod. 

 

She’s a fucking adult . She can do this. 

 

“I don’t,” says Theo, wiggling his eyebrows. 

 

Lucas laughs. “Derek, this is my boyfriend Theo. Ignore everything he says, he’s full of bullshit. Theo, Derek is Westbridge’s new Phys Ed and Media Studies teacher.” 

 

“Nice to meet you,” says Derek, pointedly not looking at Casey or Emily.

 

“Charmed,” Theo replies, eyes twinkling. 

 

Lucas whacks him in the shoulder. “Stop flirting with straight guys in front of your boyfriend, T, jeez. I’ll take a vodka soda, by the way.” 

 

Theo mock salutes him and turns to Casey and Emily. “The usual, I’m assuming? Although not like you two need another drink.” 

 

“Yes we do,” says Casey quickly. 

 

Emily nods knowingly. “You have no idea how much we need another drink.” 

 

Derek scoffs. 

 

After a vague comment from Emily about how Derek and Casey are classroom neighbours it’s easy for them to avoid each other for most of the night. The others just assume that they have been having noise issues with their classes, which, to some extent, is the truth. 

 

Just not the whole truth. 

 

Casey remains at their booth while Emily, Sally, Lucas and Theo go off to play a game of pool, not certain that her legs would keep her upright for an extended amount of time.

 

Derek stays too. 

 

“So, Mr Venturi,” Casey says, placing her elbows on the table, “how are you liking Westbridge?”

 

He mimics her position before he answers. “It’s great. Everyone here has just been so welcoming .”

 

“You and Sally seem pretty close,” Casey says. “Although, she hasn’t mentioned she was seeing anyone.” 

 

“Funny you should say that,” Derek says, leaning back into the booth. “We’ve only known each other for like, two days. But, if what you’re saying is anything to go by, maybe I should hang out with her more often. Seeing as how, you know, we seem pretty close .”

 

Casey stabs her drink with her straw and inhales sharply. “I’ll have you know, Mr Venturi, that it’s highly inappropriate to be discussing personal matters about a coworker to a different coworker.”

 

“Please, call me Derek.” He leans forward and taps her cocktail glass twice, in quick succession. “I have a feeling you’ll be seeing me around.” 

 


 

 

Derek’s attendance at Friday night drinks becomes a regular occurance.

 

Sally is no longer available to hang out on Sunday nights due to spending time with a ‘friend’. 

 

Both of them are nowhere to be found on Wednesday lunches.

 

Casey pretends not to notice.

 


 

 

operation clueless:

created by yeehawitslar

members:

yeehawitslar

emsyboo

camcams

kingsilas

 

yeehawitslar: YO GUYS

i know we’ve decided on miss sally for mr v but 

come to the humanities buildings now

there’s something you need to see

 

kingsilas: but i have a burrito for lunch!

i’ve been dreaming about eating it all day

 

camcams: just bring it with you, dumbass

 


 

 

“Absolutely not,” says Casey, folding her arms across her chest. “It’s hideous. ” 

 

Derek smirks. “It gives this courtyard some character.” 

 

Character? ” Casey repeats incredulously. “It’s ugly! And huge! It’s an abomination. There’s no way Principal Higgins is going to approve of it, anyway.”

 

The it in question is a life sized film poster for Die Hard that Derek has hung up on the window of their adjoining classrooms, facing the courtyard. 

 

“On the contrary, Case,” Derek says, smirking, “Principal Higgins loves the idea. Turns out I can be pretty persuasive when I want to be.” 

 

“You’re never persuasive,” Casey mutters. “And anyway, you have no right to put that up without consulting me! I own this window too. It’s not exactly free real estate.”

 

Derek tilts his head slightly. “You’ve been at this school, how many years? Three? Four? Have you ever actually done anything with this so-called real estate?”

 

Casey glares at him. “Still, you should have told me. We could have come up with something to put up there together .” 

 

“Thought you didn’t want anything to do with me, Ms McDonald .” 

 

“I think it looks wicked, Mr V,” says Silas, who had been watching their argument from the steps of the Media room with Cammie, Laurel and Emmy. His best friend, Zachary, nods in agreement from his spot leaning against the door. 

 

“Die Hard is like, the best movie ever made,” Zach says and Silas whoops.

 

Cammie rolls her eyes. “ Boys .” 

 

“Thanks for your approval, Zach and Silas,” Derek says humorously. “I just wish that your English teacher shared your enlightened point of view.” 

 

Casey glares at Derek, who smirks back. 

 

Emmy and Cammie share a look , turning to Laurel to see if they’re all on the same page.

 

Laurel looks at Silas, who in turn is staring lovingly at his burrito. 

 

Zach just laughs. 

 


 

 

to: caseymcdonald@westbridge.com 

from: derekventuri@westbridge.com 

subject: need ur help

 

yo casey do you have a seating plan?

i dont even know why im asking you’re keener casey of course you have a seating plan

anyways i need you to do me a favour

 

Derek Venturi

Physical Education and Media Studies 

Westbridge College 

 

 

to: derekventuri@westbridge.com

from: caseymcdonald@westbridge.com

subject: (RE) need ur help

 

I’m glad to see that your position as a teacher here at this esteemed college hasn’t changed your inability to use proper capitalization and punctuation in emails! Wouldn't that be a damn shame! 

 

What do you need help with? 



Casey McDonald

Arts and Humanities

Westbridge College

 

to: caseymcdonald@westbridge.com 

from: derekventuri@westbridge.com 

subject: haha ur so funny!!!!

 

wow, someone’s feisty today! wonder why ;)

silas monterey and laurel anderson have been dancing around each other for weeks i think its time we give them a nice push dont you think? (metaphorically of course)



Derek Venturi

Physical Education and Media Studies 

Westbridge College

 

 

to: derekventuri@westbridge.com

from: caseymcdonald@westbridge.com

subject: (RE) haha ur so funny!!!!

 

Not that you care, but I’m in a shit mood today. Mom rang this morning and asked if we were going to carpool together to London for Christmas. Apparently her and George have a surprise for us. 

 

And Jesus Derek, we can’t! They’re our students . Get your head out of your little fantasy world.

 

Casey McDonald

Arts and Humanities

Westbridge College



to: caseymcdonald@westbridge.com 

from: derekventuri@westbridge.com 

subject: no way r u driving my car

 

surprise? jeez if its another kid i think i might jump off a bridge. not that i dont love simon but, you know. doesn’t she realise that we’re both adults with our own cars now? we’ve come a long way from sharing the prince…

 

cmon case, i know you want to. or is this not the same casey mcdonald who spent at least twenty minutes last friday going on about what a cute couple they would make???

 

Derek Venturi

Physical Education and Media Studies 

Westbridge College

 

 

to: derekventuri@westbridge.com

from: caseymcdonald@westbridge.com

subject: (RE) no way r u driving my car

 

I know what you mean. It’s...weird, having Simon. At least that’s one thing we can agree on. And even if I had to there’s no way I would ever drive your car. It’s a sports car , Derek. I mean, how pretentious can you get? 

 

You got me. And a seating plan isn’t that bad, right? It’s not like we’re setting them up or anything, they’re the ones that have to get their shit together. We’re just...getting the ball rolling. 

 

Right??

 

P.S: Does that mean you’re going to London for Christmas???

 

Casey McDonald

Arts and Humanities

Westbridge College

 

to: caseymcdonald@westbridge.com 

from: derekventuri@westbridge.com 

subject: evil mastermind casey rise!!

 

thx princess ;) i owe you one

 

ps no idea why what do you have planned?

pps are these emails tracked by higgins because if so i’m fucked

 

Derek Venturi

Physical Education and Media Studies 

Westbridge College

 

 

to: derekventuri@westbridge.com

from: caseymcdonald@westbridge.com

subject: (RE) evil mastermind casey rise!!

 

You’re infuriating.

 

P.S: I’m going wherever you aren’t. 

P.P.S: No, they aren't. You and your bad grammar are safe to live another day.

 

Casey McDonald

Arts and Humanities

Westbridge College

 


 

 

“Turn your pages to Act Two, Scene Two,” Casey says. The sound of pages being flicked through echos around the classroom. “Laurel,” she continues, “you’ll act out Lady Macbeth’s parts.” Casey motions to Silas, who sits next to her. “Silas, you’ll act out Macbeth’s.”

 

“I’m so sorry Ms McDonald! I forgot my play, so I’m afraid I can’t read out the scene,” says Silas, not looking the least bit sorry.

 

Casey resists the urge to roll her eyes. “Laurel, do you mind sharing your play with Silas today? Here’s hoping he won’t forget his essay that is due tomorrow."

 

Silas looks up at Casey, widening his eyes in mock horror. “I would never , Ms McDonald.”

 

Casey can’t help it, she breaks into a smile. “From the top of the page, please Laurel. Whenever you’re ready.”

 

That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold ,” Laurel begins, placing her copy of Macbeth in between her and Silas. “ What hath quenched them hath given me fire .”

 

When it comes to the conversation between Lady Macbeth and her husband, Silas shifts his chair closer to Laurel. “ I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?

 

Laurel’s cheeks burn crimson as she flicks her eyes between her play and the boy sitting next to her.

 

Maybe Derek was onto something , Casey admits reluctantly. 

 

After a page of reading out loud to the class, Silas seems to forget about his cool guy exterior, as he abruptly jumps up from his chair and gestures towards Laurel, startling Casey and his peers. 

 

But wherefore could not I pronounce “Amen”? I had most need of blessing, and “Amen” stuck in my throat, ” Silas says with feeling. He holds out his hand to Laurel, who, after a moment of hesitation, takes it. 

 

These deeds must not be thought after these ways. So, it will make us mad ,” Laurel replies, adding a venomous touch to her words in order to match his enthusiasm. 

 

Silas smiles. “ Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep”—the innocent sleep ,” he stops for a brief moment to pick up Laurel’s copy of the play, still holding onto her hand, “ Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care, the death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath. Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, chief nourisher in life’s feast .” 

 

Laurel stares up at him, stars in her eyes.

 

“Laurel?” Casey prompts after it becomes clear that her student has forgotten she has a line.

 

“Oh right, sorry,” says Laurel. She clears her throat and turns towards her book to read her lines. “ What do you mean?

 

Silas looks at Laurel, a smirk forming as he tugs on her arm to bring her closer. 

 

A wave of something comes crashing over Casey, quick and sudden and painful and aching

 

She’s reminded of her and Derek, some ten years ago. 

 

She’s reminded of all the chances she didn’t take.

 

Of all the things she didn’t say. 

 

Silas clutches Laurel’s hand close to his chest. “ Still it cried, Sleep no more! to all the house. Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall sleep no more .” 

 


 

 

Derek is walking around his classroom, providing assistance for his student’s Independent Study when he hears it.

 

“Cammie,” Silas hisses, poking her with a pencil to get her attention. “Cam Cams!”

 

“What,” Cammie snaps, turning around to face him.

 

“Why do you guys all call Laurel Lar? Is it a special nickname or?”

 

Cammie sighs. “Oh my god, Silas, did you purposely dump your water bottle on Laurel, forcing her to go to the bathroom, just so you could ask me that?”

 

There’s a moment of silence before Silas answers. “Maybe,” he says sheepishly. 

 

“God you’re pathetic,” Cammie replies. “Get a life. And no, it’s not a special nickname. You can’t really shorten Laurel, so we call her Lar instead.” 

 

“Huh,” says Silas. “The more you know.”

 

Derek smiles and makes a mental note to gloat to Casey later. 

 


 

 

operation clueless:

created by yeehawitslar

members:

yeehawitslar

emsyboo

camcams

kingsilas

 

kingsilas added zzzacht

 

kingsilas: zach totally agress that mr v and ms mcdonald are fucking on the dl

 

zzzacht: 100%

in phys ed today ms mcdonald came and was like, totally screaming at him for something

then mr v calmed her down and started saying all these innuendos and shit

not that she noticed 

but then she got all giggly and happy it was so weird

 

emsyboo: ms mcdonald is an english teacher zach

of course she knows what innuendos are

 

zzzacht: oh yeah

i forget you guys aren’t in my english class with mr henderson

you guys should see ms mcdonald in history she’s so fucking savage

 

yeehawitslar: um

i literally sit behind you in history zach

 

zzzacht: lol sorry my dude my bad!

 

kingsilas: how could you not remember lar’s in history isn’t she like top of the class?

 

emsyboo: not that she’d ever admit it but yeah, yeah she is

 

kingsilas: must have been all those lunchtime detentions last year @yeehawitslar

 

yeehawitslar: something like that ;)

 

camcams: lar and i were talking today

and the school is looking for teacher chaperones for the winter dance in a couple of weeks

so we sort of accidentally on purpose put down mr v’s and ms mcdonalds names

 

emsyboo: jesus fucking christ 

whats next? you’re going to shove them in the janitors closet for seven minutes in heaven?

 

yeehawitslar: damn emmy i didn’t even think of that but yeah you might be onto something

 

zzzacht: why tho westbridge’s school dances are lame

 

camcams: speak for yourself

 

kingsilas: lol i agree with zach

 

emsyboo: too bad then

lar and i were going to invite you to our dance afterparty but i guess we won’t be now…

 

zzzacht: party?

 

kingsilas: you and lar?

 

direct message between yeehawitslar and emsyboo

 

yeehawitslar: WHAT THE FUCK EMMY

YOU KNOW VERY WELL THAT THERE’S NO PARTY

WHAT ARE YOU PLAYING AT 

 

emsyboo: relax 

you said your parents are going away to new york that weekend 

i was going to convince you to throw a party before silas got involved anyway

and don’t worry about a thing me and cammie will help clean up

your parents will have no idea

 

yeehawitslar: idk if i’m supposed to be impressed or scared

 

emsyboo: oh be scared

be very, very scared

 

yeehawitslar:

and the student becomes the master

 

operation clueless:

created by yeehawitslar

members:

yeehawitslar

emsyboo

camcams

kingsilas

zzzacht

 

yeehawitslar: its not like, a party, party

ive only invited a couple of people

mom would flip her lid at me if i had more than 15 over anyway

 

emsyboo: but we do have a good playlist and a keg so

* shrug emoji *

 

kingsilas: i’m down

 

zzzacht: you had me at keg

 


 

 

“So, Mr V and Ms McDonald, have you guys got your outfits for the winter dance?” Laurel asks innocently, tapping her nails on her workbook. 

 

Casey rolls her eyes and subtly pushes Derek’s arm off her desk with her marker. Their classes, much to Casey’s chagrin, have been combined for the week to watch and discuss Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window . Westbridge’s curriculum demands that the English department teach one film each year, and to save time and money on resources the English classes merge with Media Studies for the unit. 

 

“I’ll probably just wear the dress I wore for my step-sisters high school graduation,” Casey replies, tapping Laurel’s worksheet in warning. 

 

Silas reaches over and takes Laurel’s worksheet, quickly filling in the answer. Instead of berating him for blatantly cheating, Casey smiles.

 

“What about you Mr V?” Laurel continues after grinning at Silas.

 

“Uh, same honestly,” he says absently, fiddling with the broken projector. Casey inwardly groans.

 

Laurel and Silas break out into laughter. “You’re going to wear the same outfit you wore to your step-sister’s graduation?” says Silas. 

 

Sister, thinks Casey dryly, remembering Marti’s high school graduation. Her and Derek had snuck in vodka, at Marti’s request, and decided it would be a great idea to get rip roaring drunk. That then led to them coming up with the grand idea to fuck in the girl’s toliets of Thompson High not once, but twice

 

Derek winces, realising his mistake. “Uh, no, I just meant,” he says, giving the projector a shove, “that I am also going to wear a suit I got for a family occasion.” 

 

Emmy, who had tuned into their conversation when she realised her laptop had died, leans forward to grab one of Laurel’s pencils. “That’s just, totally not acceptable, Mr V and Ms McD. This is the winter dance ! A night of possibility and romance and really gross punch! The least you two could do is dress for the occasion.” 

 

Derek avoids looking at Casey, his cheeks flushed with embarrassment. 

 

Casey, who has endured a similar conversation with Emmy and Laurel last year, laughs warmly. “For you youngins, yes, yes it is. But i’m afraid school dances aren’t as magical for me anymore. I’ve had my turn. So has Mr Venturi, I’m assuming?”

 

Derek turns to her, eyes shining, all trace of embarrassment gone. “You bet I did.” 

 


 

 

operation clueless:

created by yeehawitslar

members:

yeehawitslar

emsyboo

camcams

kingsilas

zzzacht

 

camcams: so what’s the plan for winter dance

like we gotta do something to push mr v and ms mcdonald together

nothing we’ve been doing is working

not even forcing ms mcd to watch mr v teach football out on the oval last week

 

emsyboo: she was totally checking him out no cap

 

zzzacht: hey i was playing on that oval too

did anyone check me out? ;)

 

emsyboo: no

 

yeehawitslar: no 

 

camcams: no

 

kingsilas: no 

 

zzzacht: disappointed but not surprised

none of y’all have taste

silas i understand becoz my mans is too busy being a simp

but the rest of you…

 

camcams: omg silas you have a crush?

scandalous! 

 

emsyboo: care to share silas???

 

yeehawitslar: guys can we get back to mr v and ms mcd now 

we have to think of something big that will get them together

 

kingsilas: yeah everybody listen to lar 

 

camcams: you’re off the hook for now, my dear silas

but i will find out who this mystery crush is even if it kills me

 

yeehawitslar: omg you guys

emmys dumb idea might actually work

 

emsyboo: gee thanks lar

 

kingsilas: what idea?

 

yeehawitslar: seven minutes in heaven!

 

zzzacht: why yes laurel great idea

lets play 

i know someone would love to spend seven minutes in heaven with you ;)

 

kingsilas: shut the fuck up zach

don’t listen to him lar he’s full of bs

 

yeehawitslar: right…

anyways emmy had the idea a while back to lock mr v and ms mcd in the janitor’s closet 

let them work out their frustrations 

 

emsyboo: laurel i was JOKING 

plus im pretty sure thats a fucking felony or something 

 

camcams: i take legal studies and can confirm that is not a felony

the worst that can happen is that we get expelled

 

emsyboo: oh yeah that’s comforting! thanks so much for that cammie!

 

camcams: always happy to enable crazy ideas :)

oooh, we could use the props room!!!

 

zzzacht: here’s hoping mr v has some condoms handy

 

kingsilas: hes an ex nhl star

of course he does

 

yeehawitslar: wtf boys

 

emsyboo: gross

 

camcams: i don’t understand men

at all

 


 

 

Casey ends up buying a new dress. 

 

It’s dark red, a little bit too sexy for a school dance but, whatever, Casey didn’t even sign up to chaperone, so if her dress doesn’t suit the occasion then so be it.  

 

“That dress looks fucking amazing,” Emily says. 

 

“You look hot,” says Sally, wiggling her eyebrows, “I’d totally bang you.” 

 

“Don’t you have a boyfriend?” Casey replies, ignoring the butterflies in her stomach that were stirring at Sally’s words.

 

That’s a problem for another day.

 

Sally tilts her head and pretends to think hard at Casey’s question. “Not strictly,” she says, “and besides, I’m pretty sure he’s in love with someone else. Call it feminine intuition .”

 

Casey rolls her eyes at her reference to the film that she and Derek were teaching. “And you’re okay with that?”

 

“You need some jewellery to go with that dress, Case,” says Emily, saving Sally from answering.

 

“What do you know that I don’t?” Casey asks, narrowing her eyes and glaring at her two best friends.

 

Sally moves towards Casey’s jewellery stand and picks up a pair of sparking, faux-diamond earrings. “It’s just that, well, Derek’s not the only one in love with someone he can’t have.”

 

Dumbfounded, Casey stares at her friend. She runs her hands down the dark red material, straightening it out. “Dear God, don’t let it be Todd from mathematics,” Casey says, trying to ease the tension. “Or Sarah from admin. If we have to start inviting either of them to Friday night drinks, I may have to resign.” 

 

Sally snorts. “Your sacred Friday night drinks are safe from Taddle Todd and Scandalous Sarah, don’t worry.” 

 

“Okay, now that Casey’s sorted,” Emily interrupts, “we have to figure out what I’m wearing.”

 

Casey turns around. “You’re not even going to the dance?” 

 

“Oh, I convinced her to come,” says Sally. “I’m going to keep Derek company, since he was forced to sign up too. Figured if we’re both enduring pre-pubescent hormones and spiked punch then Emily should have to as well.”

 

Emily groans. “You so owe me.” 

 

Casey smiles up at Sally, in awe of her friend’s persuasive prowess. “I’m impressed.” 

 

“Damn right you should be,” Sally replies. “There’s much more where that came from, trust me.” 

 


 

 

direct message between yeehawitslar and kingsilas

 

yeehawitslar: thanks for helping out with decorating the gym for the dance today

i know you had something else to do

so thank you

 

kingsilas: no worries

anytime

i mean it

although you are wrong about one thing

riverdale doesn’t hold a thing to the king of tv shows

 

yeehawitslar: wait lemme guess

game of thrones? 

men are so basic

 

kingsilas: ...i was going to say breaking bad

but yeah i see your point

 

yeehawitslar: people usually do eventually

 

kingsilas: this dance seems pretty important to you and the girls

 

yeehawitslar: yeah ig

making memories and all that jazz

plus it makes the insta feed look great

 

kingsilas: im keen for the after party

the dance not so much

plus this party means you can finally show me those spelling bee trophies you were bragging about the other day

 

yeehawitslar: ah yes my beloved and treasured spelling bee trophies!

i’ll be sure to get them out and polish them right away!!

 

kingsilas: it’s a date ;)

 

direct message between yeehawitslar and emsyboo

 

yeehawitslar: fucking men!

 

emsyboo: fucking men!

 


 

 

Casey catches him just before the first bell. 

 

Der-ek! ” she yells across his empty classroom. It gets his attention, just like she knew it would. 

 

He swirls around in his chair. “Jeez, Princess, what did I do now?”

 

She rolls her eyes at the old nickname and throws him a pale pink rubber bracelet with the words trans rights are human rights! stamped across it in a block letter font.

 

“I saw this and thought of you,” Casey says before leaving, the bell silencing Derek’s non-existent reply. 

 


 

 

WhatsApp Direct Message: 4:42pm

 

Derek V: god do these staff meetings ever end

 

Me: Using your phone in meetings is not very professional, Derek. 

 

Derek V: right ofc 

wouldn’t want to disappoint good old higgins 

by the way, just out of curiosity, what level of candy crush are you up to?

 

Me:

134

 

Derek V: HA!

 

Me: Okay but in my defence this staff meeting is more boring than usual.

And normally Sally and I would make sarcastic comments about it together but she’s helping some of the SE kids with a project.

And Emily is at an appointment. 

So I’ve had to fend for myself.

 

Derek V: jeez what am i a sack of potatoes? 

just come sit next to me i’ll make all the sarcastic comments you want

 

Me: You’re not a replacement for Sally.

What’s going on between the two of you, anyway?

Also, hard pass, especially what happened at Assembly the other week. I still have glitter on my blouse thanks to you. 

 

Derek V: not my fault you didn’t duck when i said too

and what goes on between me and sally is none of your business 

unless you want it to be ;) 

fr tho i’d never try and replace your friends

u kno that don’t you?

 

Me: Yeah, I do. 

Also can I say I’m impressed by your proper grammar today. Looks like a certain someone has finally taken my advice. Punctuation still needs some work but we’ll get there in due time!

 

Derek V: it’s WhatsApp’s fucking autocorrect

 

Me: Mhhhm sure it is! Whatever you say.

 


 

 

Taking a sip of her (very unhygienic) punch Casey licks her lips and exhales. 

 

“Punch was spiked again,” she whispers to Emily on her left, “should we notify Higgins? Dump it down the sink?”

 

“Probably,” says Emily, “but then again, it would be a shame to waste it, don’t you think?” 

 

Casey smiles. “I like the way you think. You grab the bowl and I’ll take the ladle. If you take it to the staff room I’ll let Sally know.”

 

“She’s probably with Derek , you know,” Emily says knowingly. 

 

“Ugh.” 

 

“You’re going to have to deal with it eventually . You can’t hide from the truth forever.”

 

“Who said anything about hiding,” Casey says innocently, “I’m simply avoiding a messy situation for the benefit of everyone.”

 

Emily scoffs. “Yeah right.” 

 

Casey opens her mouth to protest when Laurel rushes up to the two of them, her face panicked. 

 

“Ms McDonald! You have to help. Emmy is having a major freak out in the prop room of the theatre department, tears and hysterics, the whole shebang! I tried to calm her but, you know, I’m not the most reassuring person in the world so I need assistance,” Laurel says without pausing.

 

Casey hesitates, fiddling with the ladle in her hand. “I’m not sure I’m the best person to help, Laurel, as much as I’d like too. Maybe Miss Sally would be a better choice?”

 

“No!” exclaims Laurel loudly, causing both Casey and Emily to startle. “I just meant that, it has to be you Ms McDonald! You’re Emmy’s favourite teacher - no offence Ms Davis - and I know that you’ll be able to calm her down!” 

 

“Oh, all right,” Casey says, handing the ladle to Emily. “The prop room, was it?” 

 

Laurel nods. 

 

“How about you go get Emmy a glass of non-spiked punch and meet us there?” 

 

Crimson floods Laurel’s cheeks at the mention of the alcoholic punch but she nods dutifully and runs off, the echo of her heels on the gym floor lost to the deafening sound of a hundred teenage girls screaming the lyrics to old school Taylor Swift. 

 

Casey makes it to the props room in record time, careful not to rip her new dress as she awkwardly shuffles in lieu of running to make it there. 

 

“Emmy?” she calls, opening up the door. She sidesteps a minotaur helmet that lays in front of the door, wary of her heels. “Emmy, are you in here?”

 

“Casey?” 

 

Not Emmy, that’s for-fucking-sure.

 

“Derek?” says Casey, stunned. “What are you doing here?”

 

Instead of answering Derek gives her a once over, his eyes lingering on her chest. Casey wills herself not to be self conscious. 

 

“You look beautiful,” he says, “I came late, to the dance, so I didn’t get to see you. But, uh, yeah. You look, well, hot .” 

 

Casey snorts. “High praise.” 

 

Derek steps forward. “No, I mean it, Casey. I know I didn’t say it enough, before, but I am so fucking attracted to you, it’s insane. So, well, this is me saying it. Now.” 

 

“Derek Venturi,” Casey starts, raising an eyebrow. His comments cause a wave of confidence to surge through her. “Are you speechless ?”

 

Strangely, a blush rises on Derek’s cheeks. Casey giggles, endured. 

 

Derek swears under his breath. “It’s this school,” he says, defending himself, “it makes me feel sixteen again.” All of a sudden he straightens out his back and winks at Casey, embarrassment forgotten. “But that dress makes me feel every bit of twenty-seven.” 

 

Casey rolls her eyes, the ghost of a smile still dancing on her lips. 

 

“What are you doing here, anyway? And where is Emmy?” she asks, bringing them back to their present predicament. 

 

Derek’s eyes darken. “Those fuckers .” 

 

“What?” Casey asks, confusion evident on her face. 

 

“That damn fucking door ,” he contintues, making his way to the prop door. 

 

Casey understands within seconds. “Oh shit,” she says, following him. “I let the door shut when I came in. I just, I didn’t think .” 

 

The theatre department at Westbridge College is infamous for being severely underfunded. While their school boasts state of the art sporting facilities and highly efficient teaching resources, the theatre department remains lost in time: a consistent array of creaky floorboards and musty stairways. 

 

And of course, the prop room; which can only be locked from the outside, despite several complaints from staff to the maintenance department. 

 

Derek slams his arms against the door in a feeble attempt to budge the door open. 

 

Casey sighs. “It’s not going to open, dumbass,” she says, “it’s been broken since I started working here.” 

 

“Great,” replies Derek, “just great .”

 

“I don’t know why you seem surprised,” Casey says, narrowing her eyes. “Since you were locked in here before I came.” 

 

Derek avoids her eyes. “I was a tad, um, distracted. Plus I only came in here like, five minutes ago. Zach and Silas said they heard a rumor that the booze being put into the punch was stashed back here.”

 

Casey rolls her eyes, exasperated. “And you believed them?”

 

“Hey,” Derek says defensively. “They’re good kids.” 

 

“They are,” Casey agrees. “But they are also two trust fund kids with  connections to the school board, access to their parents' well stocked liquor cabinet and a penchant for teenage rebellion.” 

 

Derek inhales slowly. “Well shit. I walked straight into that one.”

 

Casey can’t help it, she laughs. “You’ve lost your touch, Venturi. It wasn’t so long ago that you had access to George’s whiskey and anarchic tendencies.” 

 

Derek hangs his head in mock defeat. “I’m ashamed,” he says dejectedly. “Case, how could this have happened? I used to be cool .” 

 

 Casey smiles, momentarily forgetting their situation. “Could happen to anyone, I suppose,” she teases, “wait until I tell Marti that your stock has plummeted.” 

 

“You wouldn’t dare,” Derek says, widening his eyes comically. He holds his palms up in surrender and takes a step back, tripping over a set of pots and pans that had been lying just beyond Derek’s feet. 

 

The pots and pans tip over, creating a loud crash that draws Casey back to their predicament. 

 

“Jesus Derek, way to make this place even more of a mess.” 

 

Casey wishes she doesn’t see the hurt cross Derek’s face. 

 

“I thought we were having a moment, Case.” 

 

“Maybe until you ruined it, like you do with everything .” 

 

Derek rolls his eyes. “Yeah, whatever Casey. Go ahead and blame me for something that is clearly the fault of our students .” 

 

Casey winces. “You’re right. This isn’t your fault. I guess all this time that we were trying to set up Silas and Laurel, they were trying to set us up too.” 

 

“Fucking hilarious,” Derek says, amused. “Do you think they know? About, well, us?”

 

Casey shakes her head. “There’s no way. Emily would never say anything. I trust her with my life.”

 

Derek nods. “I can’t believe you and Emily are still friends. In high school it always just felt that you two were like, friends of convenience or something.” 

 

Casey leans on the door and hums. “I could see how it may seem that way,” she says, “but Em and I grew together. And I don’t mean grow up together,” Casey adds hastily after seeing Derek’s quizzical face. “But at Thompson High we grew into the people we were going to be, and we just clicked . It wasn’t easy, staying in touch, but I’ll be damned if I ever let a friendship like that go over something as stupid as distance .”

 

“That sounds like my Casey,” Derek says softly, as if it wasn’t meant for Casey to hear. She smiles nonetheless. 

 

“When we both ended up at Westbridge it felt like fate,” Casey continues. “And then we met Sally, who completes our friendship in a way we never even knew we needed, but now that we have it’s impossible to imagine life without her.” 

 

Derek nods. “She is pretty special.” 

 

Casey shifts slightly so that her shoulder brushes Derek’s forearm. “Yeah, she is.” 

 

“I can’t believe,” Derek says, mimicking Casey’s posture by leaning on the door, “that my first time chaperoning a school dance I get locked in seven minutes in heaven with the one person I can’t have.” 

 

“It is pretty funny,” Casey says, giggling into his shoulder. “God, these kids are too fucking smart. What did they do, watch Oceans Eleven to prepare or something?”

 

Derek catches her eyes and bursts out laughing at the thought. “Oh god, the irony of this situation is astounding.” 

 

“Karma,” Casey says sagely. 

 

They fall into a comfortable silence for a while, the conversation trailing off. Casey thinks it's a testament to how far they’ve come in life: Casey McDonald and Derek Venturi able to go more than five minutes without arguing, or debating, or talking, or kissing

 

Who would have thought, Casey thinks. Sure as hell not me

 

But, as much as Casey has grown, her sense of curiosity remains strong. “What were you doing here, before I showed up, anyway?” she asks. The question had been in the back of Casey’s mind since she walked through the prop room’s door and saw him standing there; messy hair and tailored suit that Casey has never seen before. 

 

“I was, uh, texting someone,” Derek says sheepishly. 

 

Casey straightens up from the wall and turns to glare at him. “You mean you have a phone with you? And it hasn’t occurred to you, in any of the thirty-two minutes we’ve been stuck here, to call someone ?” 

 

Derek blinks at her blankly. “Oh.” 

 

Der-ek!” Casey shouts. “I am going to kill you.” 

 

He pulls out his phone and quickly types in his password. “Well, if you’re so smart, why didn’t you call someone?”

Casey throws her hands up. “Does it look like I have any pockets, nimrod?”

 

Derek presses the call button on Sally’s contact and runs his eyes over Casey’s body. “No, Princess,” he says, “no it doesn’t.”

 

Pig .” 

 

Derek simply smirks. 

 


 



WhatsApp Direct Message: 7:54pm

 

Me: sos derek and casey are stuck in props closet

god knows how they got in there 

he sent me like fifty million voice messages

ANYWAYS laurel and silas are having communication issues so i'm helping them solidify their relationship and establish strong methods of working out their problems 

can you go let d and case out?

 

Emily D: I’m so sorry Sally! I’m explaining to Cammie and Zach the dangers of drug use for ones ‘art’

Maybe text Lucas?

 

Me: will do thanks em!

Emily D: WAIT

SILAS AND LAUREL???

 

Me: yeah?

 

Emily D: HOLD ON

SOMETHING FISHY IS GOING ON HERE

SILAS AND LAUREL AREN’T DATING??

her and emmy were gossiping about it in art yesterday

 

Me:

OH 

THIS IS JUST LIKE CLUELESS

but why choose derek and casey?????

 

Emily D: Um…

I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask 

 

Me: ??????

 

Emily D: Not my place, Sally

I’ll meet you in the entrance to the gym?

 

Me: be there in ten! 

 


 

 

“Text her again,” Casey says from her place on the floor. She griminces at the thought of what her position on the grimy surface will be doing to her dress. “It’s been ages and I need to pee.”

 

Derek eyes the ceiling. “It’s been, like, ten minutes since I first rang her, Princess. Calm your tits.” 

 

Casey looks over to him, aghast. “Pig,” she says for the second time that night.

 

“Get some new insults, Case,” Derek says lazily. 

 

“But there are only so many words in the English language to describe how much I loathe you,” she replies, sickly sweet. 

 

“You’re an English teacher, sweetheart,” Derek says, “I’m sure you’ll figure something out.” 

 

Casey leans back against the wall in defeat, new dress be damned. “Do you purposely set out to ruin my life, or are you just naturally good at being a dick?” 

 

Derek shifts closer to her and pokes her in the ribs. “Careful Case, your high school self is making an appearance. What happened to acting like adults and being civil ?” 

 

“I got locked in a room with the one guy who I spent my entire teen years obsessed with, that’s what.”

 

“Not your entire teen years,” Derek says mildly, “the fact that I never got to meet thirteen year old Casey haunts me at night, honestly.”

 

“You want to know what I think?” Casey says, ignoring Derek’s quips.

 

“No, but I’ll bet all the money in my bank account that you’re going to tell me anyway.”

 

“I think that- hey, fuck, that’s a lot of money. I could finally buy some proper blinds for my bedroom and Old Man Gerald would finally stop perving on me.”

 

Derek gaps at her, speechless. 

 

“But I digress,” Casey continues, undeterred by Derek’s inability to speak. “I think that we’re destined to piss each other off for the rest of our lives. It’s been preordained, so to speak.” 

 

“I don’t,” says Derek, finding his voice.

 

“You don’t?” Casey asks, tilting her head. 

 

Derek shakes his slightly in lieu of answering her question. “I think we both know exactly what we’re supposed to be to each other. We just don’t have our shit together enough to work it out.” 

 

“You’re the one that dumped me, remember? I think you’re the one who doesn’t have their shit together.” 

 

“You never told me you wanted a relationship!” Derek blurts out, loud enough that Casey flinches at the volume. “You never told me,” he says again, softer. 

 

Casey fiddles with the bracelet on her left wrist. “Wasn’t it obvious?” 

 

Derek turns to face Casey, their knees bumping together. “No,” he says, “no it wasn’t. We made it crystal clear at the start that what we were doing was just sex. And that was okay, at the time. It would have majorly fucked up our family if we had started a relationship then. But we were sleeping together for years , Case. Do you really think that if all I wanted was sex, I couldn’t have just picked someone else? Someone who wasn’t my fucking step-sister ? Because I could have, Casey. But I didn’t. I picked you .”

 

“Oh,” she says in a whisper.

 

“It had to be you, Case,” Derek continues. “But you made it clear that we weren’t going to have a relationship last Christmas, remember?”

 

Casey looks up at him, a quizzical look on her face. “I, I don’t?” 

 

“I asked you out,” Derek says, on a roll. “To the art gallery? And you were all, but Derek what if someone sees? Well that was the fucking point Case. I wanted people to see. I wanted to shout hey, I’m sleeping with Casey McDonald and I’m in love with her and I don’t give a damn who knows about it!” 

 

“And because I said no,” Casey says, “you decided to move on.” 

 

Derek nods. “To something simple.”

 

“Something simple,” Casey repeats. 

 

The two sit side by side in silence, overwhelmed by memories and the chance of a road not taken. 

 

“I loved you too,” Casey says eventually. “Still do.” 

 

Derek catches her eye and reaches forward to link their hands together. “Really?” he says hopefully.

 

Casey’s answer is decisive. “Really.” 

 

“Does this mean I get my relationship now?”

 

“Never thought I’d see the day when Derek Venturi would beg for commitment,” Casey teases, “but here we are.”

 

Derek shrugs. “What can I say? You inspired me with all your talks of being mature and acting adultlike . How’s that going, by the way?”

Casey shifts closer and reaches up to run her fingers through Derek’s hair. “Could be better, I suppose. I keep getting derailed by a certain someone from my past. Cocky guy, could be taken down a peg or two.”

 

“Sounds like a charmer. Your parents love him, I’m sure.” 

 

“Oh definitely. My mom treats him like he’s one of her own. Kind of annoying, to be honest.” 

 

“You think there’s a spot for him in your future?” says Derek, before leaning in and placing his lips on hers. 

 

Casey opens her mouth immediately, savoring the taste of him, committing him to memory. She kisses him like she’s drowning, like he’s an anchor holding her afloat. 

 

God, I’ve missed this.

 

They break apart eventually, gasping for breath. Casey places a kiss on Derek’s cheek, soft and tender. 

 

“There’s definitely a spot, in my future,” she whispers, “if you’re willing to take it.” 

 

“Obviously,” Derek says before cupping her face with both hands and kissing her eagerly. 

 

At that exact moment the prop door bursts open, revealing an exasperated Sally and a sheepish looking Emily. Casey springs apart from Derek instantly and hurries to pull herself up from the floor, avoiding Derek’s eyes. 

 

“Care to enlighten me why,” Sally begins, “a bunch of Eleventh graders are trying to Ms Geist and Mr Hall the two of you?” 

 

“That’s actually a long story,” Derek begins making his way towards Sally. “Thanks for saving us, babe.” 

 

“That we will be happy to tell you once we get out of this stupid props room,” Casey says, rushing to get out the door. “And once I have had the opportunity to go to the bathroom and then repreminad my favorite students.” 

 

“Charmer,” Derek says, smiling. 

 

Sally looks between the two of them, the final piece in the puzzle falling into place. “Come on Venturi,” she says. “I believe you owe me a dance.”

 

“Save one for me,” Casey calls, rushing in the direction of the staff toilets. “Both of you!” 

 

Derek offers Sally his hand and she takes it as they make their way back to the gym. 

 

Emily remains standing in the doorway to the props closet, shaking her head in wonder. “Amazing,” she mutters, “ten years of bullshit and all it took was a bunch of seventeen year olds to get the ball rolling.” 

 

“You’re welcome,” comes a voice from down the hallway.

 

“Shh Laurel, you’re going to get us caught!” 

 

“Oh Emmy, didn’t you hear Ms D? She knows it was us. She’s perceptive as hell.”

 

“Although she did try and tell us that drugs weren’t cool.” 

 

“Drugs aren’t cool, Zach!”

 

“Wait, did Ms D say that Mr Venturi and Ms McDonald have known each other for ten years ?”

 

Sweet Jesus .”

 

“I told you all they were fucking on the DL!” 

 

“Shut up Silas, now is not the time for I Told You So’s!”

 

Emily grins and closes the door to the props room with a soft thud . “Gee, I should hope that no one is around here,” she says loudly, “and that everybody is back at the dance. It would be such a shame to have to give out detentions on what is supposed to be a fun night.” 

 

The unmistakable sound of heels and dress shoes shuffling down the hall echo around Emily. She gives them five minutes of breathing room before she follows, marveling at the turn the night has taken. 

 

Teenagers, Emily thinks. If you can’t beat em, join em. 

 

 


 

operation clueless:

created by yeehawitslar

members:

yeehawitslar

emsyboo

camcams

kingsilas

zzzacht 

 

camcams: so uh

has anyone noticed that miss sally has been spending a lot of time in the humanities classrooms lately 

 

yeehawitslar:

you guys thinking what i’m thinking?

 

kingsilas: you know what babe, i think i am ;)

 

emsyboo: jesus fucking christ

here we go again!