The sun is starting to set on a summer evening and Derek and Casey are relaxing on their apartment balcony. Casey sighed lightly as she put the finishing touches on her pedicure. “What time is it? Maybe we should start thinking about dinner?”
Derek took unlocked his phone and looked at the time. “It’s 7:02pm so yea, we probably should. What are you in the mood for, Princess?” he grinned a bit.
She squints against the sun as she looks over at him. “I’m thinking tacos. Maybe burritos? Something Mexican at any rate. You?”
Derek stood up and stretched, his tshirt riding up a bit as he did so. “Tacos definitely.” he walked over to her and held out a hand to help her up.
With a giggle, Casey took his hand and stood gingerly, keeping her still damp toes up. “Want me to make ‘em?”
“I can help. Wouldn’t want all your work to go to waste.” He gestured to her pedicure. With that he picked her up bridal style and carried her into the kitchen and gently set her down on to the counter.
Casey shrieks a little as she laughs and scootches her butt more securely onto the counter. “Why thank you sir. Hand me the pan will you please?” she asks, giving him her best imitation of Marti’s wide grin.
Derek laughed a bit and handed it to her. He went to the fridge and grabbed the peppers, onions, tomatoes and ground beef.
Carefully, Casey placed the pan on the burner before turning it on and holding her hand over the pan to tell when it started to get hot. “Want me to help chop peppers? Or are you worried I’ll get pepper juice in my eye again?”
“No way Casey, so don’t want a repeat of that.” Derek quickly and skillfully chopped them up before adding them to the pan.
Casey chuckled and sliced open the plastic wrap around the ground beef. “What about onion juice? Would that be permissible?”
Derek gave her a look. “You will send me to an early grave.” he added the garlic and spices to the pan and mixed it around.
Casey laughed and finished unwrapping the ground beef. “Well if I didn’t, who’d dare take on the Great Derek Venturi? Watch out.” She dumped the beef into the pan and held out her hand for the spoon.
Derek backed up so none of the oil or fat came back and splashed him. He handed her the spoon. He flashed a smirk her way and went to get plates, shells, and lettuce.
Agilely, Casey hopped off the counter and moved to break up and stir the meat. “Wait do we have sour cream?” She looked over at him. “Or cheese? Or salsa?”
“Yes, yes and yes.” He went over and retrieved them and set them near the other mixes.”
Confused, Casey notes it’s a new bag of cheese. “Did you go grocery shopping?”
Derek paused a moment and sighed, “Maybe…look. You’ve had a lot on you lately and I just figured you didn’t need to worry about grocery shopping too.” He mumbled.
Her eyes widened. “Derek, that’s so sweet of you!!” She flung her arms around his neck and kissed him. “Oh.”
Derek was caught off guard at first but wrapped his arms around her waist and returned the kiss a few seconds later.
They stood that way for a few seconds until Casey remembered there was a pan of meat on the stove. “Drat. Thwarted by dinner”
Derek smirked and went to set the table and get them drinks while Casey tended to the taco meat. He set the rest of the taco toppings on the table too.
Casey hurriedly finished cooking the meat and, grabbing a trivet, moved to set it on the table. “Der-ek you didn’t leave any space for the meat!”
Derek sighed and squished everything closer together and made a space just barely big enough for the pan. “There all fixed. Can we eat now?”
Casey huffed a bit before precariously balancing the pan on the trivet in the space. “I guess. Just be careful not to knock it off.”
“Relax, it’ll be fine.” Derek carefully made himself a taco. Then passed Casey anything she couldn’t reach.
Derek actually smiled a little. “It was…pretty good actually. My lit final ended up being easy and then we just watched a movie in my history class. Practice was even better. Keneth, the little shit who keeps trying to make captain instead of me? I broke his nose.” Derek paused. “Anyway, how was yours?”
“Congrats on breaking the dude’s nose,” Casey said, only a little sarcastic. “It was an okay day. That bio test I was freaking over ended up getting cancelled, and then the professor never showed for my drawing class. Ended up getting coffee with the girls.”
It wasn’t worth a fight so he dropped the topic of Keneth; she didn’t need to hear the real reason he hit him anyway. “Sounds good. Speaking of the girls, you get my text about Emily? She cleared her schedule for the 7th.”
Casey narrowed her eyes at him. “What is this big surprise on the 7th and why are you making such a big deal of getting everyone here? Mom, George, Emily….what is going on?” She paused. “And what did Keneth do to make you finally hit him? You’d managed to hold off so well.”
Derek downed the rest of his drink before he answered. “Okay one I’m not telling. That’s why it’s a surprise Cas-ey!” He ran a hand through his hair and was quite for a moment. “He..he ran his mouth off and said some things about you and I just lost it...“ he replied softly.
Casey sat back in her chair. “You know I’ll figure it out.” Gently, she grabbed his hand. “Well what did he say? I mean, had to have been pretty bad for you to deck him.”
“Casey...” Derek said in a warning tone. “I /really/ do not want to repeat what he said, caue then I’ll need to punch him out again.” His mind wandered back to when their parents had found out they were dating. George and Nora had....not taken it well at all to say in the least. Thankfully they were on much better terms now.
She gave his hand a squeeze. “Okay Der.” With a smile, she got up and motioned to his plate. “Finished?” The year or so George and Nora had spent adjusting to Derek and Casey being a /thing/ had been hell for her but she’d soldiered on.
Derek nodded and handed her the plate. He watched her walk out to the kitchen, zoning out for a few moments before getting up and following her. “Casey?”
“Hm?” she asked as she washed up the plates and the pan. The lack of a dishwasher would have been an issue for anyone else but Casey didn’t mind.
Derek hugged her from behind and kissed her cheek. “Just...I love you.” He smiled a bit before he let go and went to go shower. It was the little things like that, which he knew made Casey the happiest.
Casey grinned and looked over to watch him saunter towards the bathroom. “I love you too, ya big goof,” she said, quietly but still loud enough to be heard.