Derek hadn't played Babe Raider in two weeks. This had nothing to do with Casey's stupid manifesto, of course. He was a man, and as a man, he had come to several conclusions about women. Mainly, they were hot, they made better food than the sandwiches he usually whipped up, and that he wished they could all be controlled as easily as his beloved Babe Raider was. Certain individuals would call him "unevolved." But he'd made out with an approximate eighty-eight percent of the cheerleaders in school, so really, by Darwin's standards, he was the fittest, and he was obviously surviving.
No, Derek wasn't going cold turkey because of anything Casey had said. More because of things Casey had worn. Such as (and were secondary examples even necessary?) that insane, Raider-inspired outfit she'd paraded around in two weeks ago. She'd pranced into the kitchen, all bright smiles and silver hooker jewelry, bare arms, bare stomach, a lot of black, some glitter, and he could've sworn he'd seen leather. Derek was, as previously stated, a man. And as such, he'd gotten the beginnings of an hard-on, right there at the breakfast table. Seconds later, the rational part of his brain caught up with the hormonal part, and reminded him that for all intents and purposes, that was his sister dressing like a video game character. His reaction was akin to him drooling over Marti wearing something like that. The thought made him completely nauseous.
What was more nauseating was the wide-eyed, slack-jawed look Sam had sprouted when Casey decided to take her fashion show on tour. Derek wasn't stupid; he knew Casey had an absolute crush on Sam, though he couldn't for the life of him fathom why. Nor could he wrap his head around the notion that Sam clearly returned some level of this affection, and that he was unashamed by the fact that he was displaying it openly in the school hallway. That he'd dared to call Casey (okay, so he hadn't said it aloud) 'hot'. Why was Derek's carefully-constructed, labor-of-love empire suddenly crashing around him?
The thing that bugged him the most, though, was the notion that Casey was totally the sort of girl that, had she just been coming in as the new girl, and not as the new girl-slash-sister, he would've used his wiles on her. (But not now, of course. It was too way twisted. Even Derek had limits. He was just saying, she could, conceivably, be hot. You know, if her mom hadn't married his dad.)
And the idea that he was thinking that Casey wasn't the enemy for even five seconds meant something was horribly wrong with the universe.
Derek reviewed the facts. One, feminism was supposed to be some B.S. about the 'liberation' of women from the 'patriarchal ideals' of men, or whatever. But Casey going around and wearing... that outfit... (dear God, he was trying really hard not to think about that) was clearly fitting into Sam's ideals. So basically, feminism involved saying one thing, doing another, and not making any sense whatsoever, all under the guise of being 'empowered.' Ergo, feminism was a total crock.
Two, his best friend clearly had a jones for his sister. Derek had to put a stop to that relatively soon, before his home life became a complete disaster. He figured he could promote Casey's less winsome attributes... that was to say, all of them... and Sam would back off. If that didn't work, Derek could play his trump card: their decade-long friendship. Bros before hoes, right? Technically, he was the bro to Casey, not Sam, but it was open to interpretation.
As for Casey's crush on Sam, that would take some work. He didn't have much experience turning girls off, after all. But he knew what made Casey squirm, and he could pull it off relatively easy.
Thirdly, and lastly, Derek's dad, whom Derek had always liked and respected, was turning out to have a major kryptonite, in the form of Nora MacDonald. And since Nora, who was pretty cool in her own right, seemed to be operating right out of Casey's pocket, obviously Derek wasn't going to get anything done until Casey was eliminated.
Unfortunately, Casey's weakness was Sam. And that was not a battle Derek was prepared to lose. He'd have to figure something else out. The whole trick with Victoria had worked out great for him on several levels. It had bothered Casey immensely, and at the same time, Icky Vicky bore a striking resemblance to her hated cousin, so Derek could quell any lingering desire he might have had for Casey (not that he did, because he was not a character on SVU). Two birds, one stone. Derek always prided himself on finding the easiest solution.
Casey, on the other hand, proved to be made of stronger stuff than that. She was constantly impressing him (he'd never say it) with how well she seemed to take his crap, and how easily she could come up with counterattacks. They weren't exactly award-worthy rebuttals, but she was, after all, only an amateur. She got points for speed, regardless. And let her have whatever tiny victories she could scoop up, since Derek always won big.
Just that morning, for instance, he'd eaten the last of the cereal. The healthy, bran-tastic, flavorless junk that he couldn't even stomach, just because he knew the box was almost empty and it was Casey's favorite. Swallowing his own bile was a small price to pay for the look of utter hatred on her face as a few measly crumbs fell into her bowl. Breakfast started the day out right.
Derek folded his hands behind his head, reclining into the sublime softness of his pillow, and wondered idly what Nora used to make it smell and feel so freaking good. Marrying her might've been the best thing his dad had ever done. She made a pretty good mom; it was just too bad that she was already a mom when his dad found her.
"Oh, sure, Melissa," he heard Casey's voice, unnaturally loudly, dragging out her words, no doubt for his benefit. She opened his door, and he thought briefly about investing in a lock, because what if he'd been naked or something? "Derek's right here. Aw, it looks like Marti gave him a makeover. That's a very pretty color nail polish, Derek. The pink really brings out your eyes." Derek felt a small chill of panic. Melissa... Melissa! That little redheaded cheerleader he'd been trying to snag for weeks. And now that victory was in his grasp, Casey was going to ruin all of it by sullying his image.
"Give me that," he hissed under his breath, diving for the phone. Casey didn't put up a struggle, merely handing it to him with an enigmatic smile. He forced his voice to sound natural, casual. "Oh, hey, Melissa. That Casey, she's such a joker! Marti's at a play date now, actually..." Casey waved, still wearing that abominable smirk, and gliding out of his room.
On the other end, the voice laughing was very familiar. And very male. "Dude, Casey got you good," said Sam.
Derek narrowed his eyes in the direction of his closed door. It was a decent prank, he had to admit. Not that he would. "I'm gonna have the cat puke in her shoes," he said.
"You don't have a cat."
"Then I'll find one," Derek promised. Sam went on to tell him the reason for calling, something about a basketball game or something like that. Derek listened with half an ear, too occupied with thoughts of revenge. First Babe Raider, now this. Was Casey ever going to stop her rampage for screwing with his life?
Derek thrived on competition. For years, his only opponent had been Edwin, and it was hardly a fight. (Besides, Edwin worked better as a lackey than a nemesis.) And it looked like Casey was the same way. Derek's mind was already running overtime with a series of pranks that were leagues ahead of anything else he'd ever pulled. Casey irked him on multiple levels, but she was beginning to be the best thing that had ever happened to him.