Derek Venturi and Casey MacDonald had been together since Summer of their Freshman year at college, and, between his pranks and their following fights, they remained together throughout as Derek studied the strange match of Film and Business and Casey worked towards her degrees on English and Art.
Casey was a focused woman, and she wanted to accomplish something out of her limited time on Earth, as she would enthusiastically tell you, so she was not keen on settling down just yet. According to her life plan, she intended to be married only when she was thirty-five. Derek was only too glad to comply, given that his commitment phobia never really went away. The vicar could wait, there was no rush in either party.
However, that changed after a painful and potentially deathly accident Derek suffered while coming back from a hockey game in Alberta. After the near-death experience, he gained some perspective and so he decided it was high time to marry Casey. She refused, stubbornly at first, but he eventually managed to wear her down a few months after leaving college.
Eloping in August of 2014 to a quaint church in Vermont, Derek and Casey started their careers and their life together in a hopeful note, having managed to wrangle fairly good jobs out of graduation, and still living the enjoyable honeymoon period of their marriage. Casey found employment as a schoolteacher in Sarnia and Derek had a position with a film production company in Toronto.
Due to distance, they were separated most of the time, living apart during the week, even if Derek always made a point to come down Ontario horseshoe whenever there was spare time. Ostensibly, he would say he did that to stock up in clean underwear and food, but actually he just wanted to make sure his wife was comfortable and not going stir-crazy with anxiety during his absence.
Since Sarnia was much closer to London than Toronto was, of the two, Casey was the one who spent the most time with the family, dropping by every other day. She would have a tea with her mother every afternoon she had off, considering that Derek was in Toronto, when they would discuss the newest designs at Nora's office.
Often, Lizzie and Edwin would be around, and she would take the time to invest in their whereabouts, and if not, she would take Marti and Simon out to the mall or the movies. George would arrive, religiously, at six, and they would discuss the weekly news before dinner.
In July of 2017, Derek decided to take a long break for the season, so he could spend time with his wife and his family. It was a long time due, and he had just returned from two months shooting in Vancouver, and all the baggage and memories related to this city took its toll on them.
Casey was, naturally, ecstatic to have him home. They would prepare dinner together, take walks around town, visit their family and old friends. All things she did alone, but now had him with her for company.
Not every day was filled with sunny delights in Sarnia, though. Casey was not, actually, out in vacation, and could be spontaneously summoned by the principal for supervise Summer School. On those occasions, Derek would whip up her meal for the day, generally consisting of the previous night's dinner, and handed it to her as she went off for work. He was happy to see her thriving and the angelic look on her face every time he woke up beside her.
They loved each other very much and were committed to each other. However, even though Casey was calculated and punctual, as well as managed to keep Derek in line in regards to frivolous expenditure, he still allowed himself to be reckless sometimes.
On one such occasion, out of little more than a juvenile impulse, Derek decided it would be a good idea to buy a motorcycle. Managing to find a relatively cheap Harley Davidson, he bought it in cash and decided to treat Casey with a picnic and a drive around town. Purposefully ignorant of all the questions Casey would pose about the vehicle, he made all preparations necessary and awaited with impatience the return of his wife.
"Derek." Casey called from the kitchen. "I'm home!"
She sighed, dropping her bag on the marble countertop and checking the fridge for dinner that night. Meanwhile, Derek descended the stairs with a small smirk on his face, twirling the keys around his finger.
"I've got a surprise for you." He grinned, shoving the keys in his pocket, "Get dressed and we'll go, okay?"
Casey cocked her head in confusion, but gave a small nod and went change out of her stern teacher work attire and coming out in jean pants and a t-shirt. Coming down the stairs, her husband insisted on her closing her eyes and he led them out to their garage.
Once there, Derek took his hands away from Casey's eyes, who gasped.
"What's… What's this?" She stuttered.
"My new motorcycle!" He proclaimed proudly. "Did you like it?"
"Der-ek!" She shouts, in that very special way that convey strong emotion. "How much did it cost?"
"It was a steal! Sixteen thousand dollars! Can you believe it?"
She slaps him on the forearm. "No, I cannot believe you spent sixteen thousand dollars on a motorcycle! Without checking with me!"
"I sense some hostility in your tone, honey." He responded, with that stupid smirk she wanted to slap away.
"Oh, you do?!" She snaps once more. Taking a deep breath, she continues, "Derek, where did you manage to get so much money?"
"Why, from my savings account, where else?" He answered, with naturality.
"Oh, God. That's what, a fourth of our savings?" The brunette began to hyperventilate.
The man did some math on his head. "Yeah, that's about right."
"We're ruined. We're financially ruined." She repeated, anxiously. "What about maintenance, Derek? Did you hire an insurance? Does it need some repair?"
He turned sheepish at the question. "About that, the guy let me have it so cheap because the ignition needs some work, and the gears can jam sometimes, but this is a fifty thousand dollars motorbike. Insurance is going to be expensive."
Casey bemoaned in panic. "Derek, I know you are the main breadwinner in this house, and I know you are entitled to some luxuries, but couldn't you buy, I don't know, a hockey season ticket? Or something that isn't a continuous expense?"
"Casey, calm down. Breathe through your mouth." He said, while looking into her eyes and holding her forearms. "It's okay, I did the math. I can afford it. Besides, we own this house and we're in no risk of getting behind on the mortgage, and you already own a car. Nothing short of a baby could mess up our finances, and, if I am remembering it right, that's seven years ahead on your life plans."
Casey stopped and considered her husband's words. He had a point, they had little on the way of expenses, and while she would prefer for him to buy a car, Derek did need something to come down from Toronto on his free days, as the train and the bus were too time-consuming, and having her or George pick him up was wasteful. Perhaps now he would be home more often.
She took a deep breath. "OK."
"OK, I can see your point." She completed. "I am nervous and wary, but that's your money and I trust you to keep control of it. Besides, that's a Harley Davidson, it is very cool."
He smiled broadly. "It sure is. C'mon, let's take it for a spin."
"Only if I can wear your leather jacket." She said, and whispered seductively in his ear, "And if I can hold on tight."
"Whatever you want, Princess." His voice broke.
They climb up the bike and, with the picnic basket and blankets hidden in the trunk they take off to a park.
"Wait here," He said, placing a kiss on her forehead. "And close your eyes!" He exclaimed as he ran back to the motorcycle to retrieve the picnic supplies.
Casey closed her eyes, enjoying the sounds and the wind coming from the area. She heard Derek struggling behind her. "Derek, let me help you!" She said keeping her eyes closed, but Derek was already carrying everything.
"No!" He grunted, attempting to set everything down without breaking anything, and not having to go twice to the trunk to retrieve it all. "I got it!" He muttered, concentrated at the task ahead.
After about twenty minutes of some struggle and a rather haphazard set up, Derek took Casey by the hand.
"Don't open your eyes yet!"
Casey nodded and let Derek lead her to the spot. The aroma of freshly made bread and passion fruit juice immediately hit her nose and she could not help but smile widely.
"Okay, open them!" He proclaimed loudly, a smile spreading across his lips as he watched her eyes light up.
Casey wandered around the setup. Two pillows and colourful blankets were thrown on the grass on the shores of a small lake, together with a picnic basket full of delicious desserts and the same sandwiches they used to enjoy during their school years, courtesy of Nora's.
"Derek!" She exclaimed, running back to her husband giving him a tight hug. "This is wonderful, you're wonderful" She whispered, running her thumb across his cheek.
Derek wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her close, "We haven't been on a reckless and immature date in a while so I thought we could have a picnic and see the sunset from the lake. Just the two of us."
Derek leaned in a pressed a soft kiss against Casey's lips. Derek Venturi had, surprisingly, turned out to be the romantic type, showering his girlfriend with attention and gifts from day one. Even if they were the homemade, humble kind, since he did not have the funds to buy her those during their college years.
If he was being honest with himself, in the depths of his psyche, he felt rather guilty about his position in life, knowing her high maintenance tendencies, and Nora and Dennis' families' wealthy background. Felicia had drove the point home many, many times her granddaughter could do better on the money front. Not to mention the heavy stigma of dating the screw-up, Casanova stepbrother.
Casey, however, would not have it any other way. She loved him, and she loved the attention he dispensed on her. His handmade gifts always reminded her of how he must have sat down and worked on it, from carving a small ballerina wooden statuette or recording her a music pen drive with all the songs he absolutely loathed or even making her a short film for their engagement party, all of which was worth more than any store-bought item.
After their picnic, the sunset and a short stroll through the park, Derek and Casey prepared to leave. With everything carefully loaded on the trunk, Derek prepared to ignite the bike, but Casey stopped him with a touch on his hands.
"Let me drive?" She asked, with wide and blue puppy eyes.
He cocked an eyebrow. "Do you even know how to drive it?"
She took the keys from him. "I guess we'll find out."
She ignited the motorcycle experiencedly, roared the engine and sped up through the roads leading to their home. At curves, Derek fought the urge to scream in fear. What happened to the defensive driver he married?
As they pull up the driveway, Casey takes off her helmet and shakes her head to loosen her hair. "How's that for you, hun?"
"That…" He stuttered. "Was so sexy."
Their intentions at the park for when they returned home were to sleep, but the adrenaline provided by the drive rendered them sleepless and they searched for other activities to pass the time.
Derek threw Casey onto the bed as she laughed, watching him crawl over her, pressing kisses all over her body. His messy and wavy hair hung around his face, tickling her bare skin as he moved upwards.
"I love you…" He muttered, his lips latching onto hers as he laced his fingers with hers, holding her hands on each side of her head.
Casey sighed contently as Derek pressed chaste kisses around her neck. "I love you, too." She replied, pulling him down for another heated kiss.
The night in under the covers was sleepless, but there was no better way to close their staycation together.
A couple of months after their delightful Summer vacation, close to the Christmas holidays, Casey found out she was pregnant. Her pregnancy explained all the random symptoms she had been experiencing, and while the news excited her, she could not help but remember Derek's caveat.
Nothing short of a baby could mess with our finances.
She loved her husband, she truly did, but sometimes she really hated him, too.
Rather than telling Derek by telephone or mail, she seized the opportunity to come down to Toronto and meeting him there. Her father, as it was usual, would not be having a Christmas celebration, and Casey wanted to have a lunch with him before the holiday, and it would be nice to break the news of a grandchild to come in May. Besides, Derek could use a ride down to London, and she wanted to do some last-minute shopping.
Gathering a bag, she walked outside her home with determination, putting everything she would need on the trunk of her car and driving off with purpose.
A few hours later, and she pulled up at the downtown studio Derek said he would be working off that week. Toronto traffic was intense as always and it stressed her out, but she managed to arrive without any hiccups.
She went up the elevator to the designated floor, and looked around the space for her husband, trying to keep quiet and out of the way.
Derek was angrily shouting, undoubtedly chewing someone off. When home, he would often complain about "unprofessionalism" and "laziness", but she often took it with a grain of salt. She knew he was a bit of a diva when it came to his job, and being shouted at regularly as an assistant director, he enjoyed shouting at someone in turn.
Casey watched with amusement as her husband worked, smiling wickedly at the thought of his underlings seeing their tyrannical boss being whipped, and once the coast was clear and he took a few breaths to lower his heart rate back to normal, she ran up to him and covered his eyes.
"Guess who?" She whispered into his ear and he turned around in surprise.
"Casey? What are you doing here?" He asked, curiously, pressing a kiss against her forehead.
Now, she could take her sweet time, say that she wanted to have lunch with her dad, that she was going shopping, that she wanted to drive him back to Sarnia because taking the highway on a motorcycle gave her the hives.
She did nothing of the sort.
"I'm pregnant!" Casey announced, not being able to contain the news any longer. Derek blinked in surprise, staring at his wife with disbelief.
"You're pregnant?!" He exclaimed and she nodded in response. "Jesus Christ! I'm going to be a dad!" He yelled, picking up his wife and spinning her around happily.
"Wait…" He suddenly stopped his celebration, likely also remembering his unfortunate declaration months prior. "Does that mean I have to sell my bike?"
"We'll see." She responded. "I rather like it, too, and I saw this leather kangaroo carry that we've got to try first."
He smirked. "Your wish is my command."
The Holidays passed with an increased amount of joy and expectancy, and so did the remainder of Winter. April came and the baby would be born any day. Derek is scheduled to return home that week from a shoot in Lake County, hopefully before their child was born.
Universities all across Canada were on their Easter Break, so Lizzie and Edwin had graciously volunteer to check on Casey every afternoon in her home in Sarnia. She preferred to stay there on her own, despite Nora's pleads for her to come to live with them while Derek was out, just in case the baby was born.
Lizzie and Edwin had just turned twenty years old and felt rather grown up. However, all their new-found responsibilities and higher education could never prepare them for what followed suit.
The two step-siblings were being helpful around the house, cleaning her front porch and yard, as the homeowners' association was up her pregnant ass about lawns or something she did not have the headspace to care at that time on her life.
Casey walked around the kitchen setting up household items, trying to do some cooking and cleaning herself, as she was behind on the work as she had a hard time doing it herself.
As she walked to the porch, she felt a sting of pain shoot through her body.
"Shit!" She exclaimed, clutching her stomach. "Now?!"
Casey panicked, holding onto the front door.
"Lizzie! Edwin!" She yelled and when the kids turned, the noticed her hobbled over holding onto the door.
The two of them dropped the gardening supplies and ran to their sister for aid and support, slightly panicked.
"Are you okay?" Edwin asked and Lizzie's eyes widened as he quickly figured out what was going on. She was with Nora when Simon was about to be born and this was exactly how it was.
"Edwin, call Derek!" Lizzie yelled as she moved Casey to a seat. "Uh… We need to…" She muttered to herself, running around the house trying to find a cloth she could wet.
Edwin scrambled to the landline phone, dialling Derek, but it was sent straight to voicemail.
"He's not answering!" Edwin yelled and Lizzie popped up from behind the kitchen counter.
"Ring him again, dammit!" She yelled in response, turning on the sink and running back to press the cloth against Casey's forehead.
"I didn't pack the bag!" The birthing mother exclaimed. "I forgot about the bag!"
"What bag?!" Lizzie yelled. "Your work bag?"
"The overnight bag for the hospital!" Casey replied, now fully panicked.
Derek was not answering, the bag was not ready, Lizzie and Edwin were running around the house screaming and yelling at each other about what to do.
"Why aren't you calling Derek?!" Lizzie yelled, shoving random items in a bag, claiming it was the 'overnight bag'.
Edwin threw a towel at her in response. "Because he's not answering, you moron!"
"Call him again, you idiot, or I'll kick you so hard you'll land in Toronto!" She growled.
Edwin froze in the middle of the room and turned to his stepsister with an expression of pure fear.
"What if we have to deliver the baby?" He whispered and Casey let out another grunt of pain.
"Edwin, honey!" She yelled, breathing heavily, and pulling him down to face her with a fistful of his shirt. "I am a healthy woman and I did a lot of classes that prepared me for something like that. If push came to shove, I'd deliver it myself. Now, I am in a lot of pain and I have so many hormones swimming through my brain, I think I am capable of murder, so if you want all the teeth to stay in your mouth, snap out of it!"
Lizzie threw the bag near the door and looked around the room. "Call mum!" She yelled. "She should know what to do!"
Edwin ran back to the phone, but before he could make a call, it started ringing. It was Derek.
"Hello? Casey, what's wrong?" He asked, clearly unaware about what was about to unfold.
"Uh, this is Edwin and I was calling because there's something going on… No! It's not bad, it's just, uh…"
A fed-up Lizzie had snatched the phone out of his stuttering brother's hand. "She's having her kid!" Lizzie yelled. "Get your pompous ass here right now! We don't know what to do!"
"Goddamnit! I'm still in Plympton!" Derek yelled. "I'll be right there!" With that, he hung up and rushed to his motorcycle to speed up the thirty-kilometre distance between himself and Sarnia.
Casey had closed her eyes and was leaning up against the chair, breathing heavily and with her hands over her stomach.
"Oh, God!" Edwin yelled, "Liz, what if she's dying?!"
Casey's head snapped up as she winced in pain. "Edwin, I'm not dying, I just- Ah!"
Lizzie jumped as she cried out in pain, grabbing the bag from the floor, "We have to take her to the hospital!" He announced, attempting to get her up from the chair, "Did you call mum?!"
"No! Derek called and I didn't…" Edwin cut himself off thanks to Lizzie's glare, picking up the phone and dialling his step-mother. "Nora, uh, Casey's having her baby and Derek's on the way, so can you meet us at the hospital?"
The incomprehensible yells from the other line made Lizzie worried, even more than he was right now, but a wave of relief washed through the dweebs as a motorcycle horn resounded from the driveway.
"Derek's here! Bye, Nora!" Edwin exclaimed, slamming down the phone and rushing over to Lizzie's side who was moving Casey outside.
"I'm here!" Derek announced, running over to his wife. "Let's go!" He said, pulling her and his siblings along. Lizzie grabbed the keys for Casey's off-red sedan and held onto her hand who was now squeezing it to distract her from the pain
Not a minute too soon, they were at the busy hospital and the two stepsiblings had run up to the desk, anxiously stating that their sister/sister-in-law was in labour.
"It's a funny story, you see, our dad married their mum, and…" Edwin started rambling.
"Edwin!" Lizzie snapped. "Not now!"
Derek walked besides Casey as they pushed her into a room, holding her hand tightly, "It's okay, everything will be great and soon we'll be parents."
Casey smiled weakly as Derek wiped the sweat of her forehead.
The two siblings collapsed in the waiting room, giving themselves a subtle high-five for what they accomplished. In a matter of minutes, the entire Venturi family was in the designated room, anxiously waiting for the new member of their family.
Even though the moments before the hospital were not as smooth as they could have been, Casey and Derek welcomed a healthy baby boy into their family, whom they named Lucas, all thanks to the help of Lizzie and Edwin.
"Thank God we didn't have to deliver the baby at home." He said. "That would be too much information, even for me."
"Edwin, shut up." Lizzie responded.