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shine it all around

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Marti has a key to Derek and Casey’s apartment, but she rarely ever uses it, at least not without calling first. She has manners, no matter what Edwin and Lizzie say, she just rarely bothers to use them.

Today, though, she uses her key, calling out as she opens the door, eyes squeezed shut just in case, “It’s Marti, get your clothes on!”

“It’s just me, Smarti,” Derek calls back. “Casey’s still at work.”

Marti cautiously cracks an eye open. “My eyes are safe?” she asks, and Derek rolls his eyes as he appears out of the kitchen.

“You walked in on us one time, and I had my clothes on,” Derek points out, cracking open a can of soda.

“Casey didn’t,” Marti says, with an exaggerated shudder as she tosses her backpack on the couch. She glances at the coffee table and grins as she sees the bridal magazine. “How’s the planning going?”

Now Derek’s the one shuddering. “Don’t start,” he says, grim, and Marti laughs at him.

“You knew what you were getting into,” she points out, flopping down on the couch, and Derek sits next to her. He puts his feet up on the table, but not before moving the magazines to the side, which is proof of Casey’s influence on him.

“Yeah, and I proposed anyway,” Derek says with a sigh, but there’s a smile lurking around the corners of his mouth, which usually happens when he’s talking about Casey and their engagement. At least when he’s talking about it with Marti. Derek doesn’t smile too much when he’s talking it over with their parents--which is probably part of why Derek doesn’t talk to them too much these days.

“You have practice today?” Derek asks as he turns the TV on.

“Nah, tomorrow,” Marti replies. “And our game’s on Saturday--you’re coming right?”

“Of course,” Derek says, like there’s even a point asking. There really isn’t, he’s been great about coming to her games since he and Casey moved back home, cheering for every save Marti makes like she’s the next Patrick Roy.

“Good,” Marti says, and steels herself. “And I want you to come to dinner afterwards.”

Derek glances at her side-eyed, and Marti pretends not to notice. “By dinner you mean, dinner with your teammates and coach, right?”

“I mean dinner at home, with our family,” Marti says, and Derek sighs.

“Marti, I don’t think it’s such a good idea,” he starts, and Marti cuts him off.

“Yes it is,” she says. “I’m bringing my girlfriend home for dinner, I want her to meet my family.”

Derek stops. “Your girlfriend,” he repeats.

“Yes,” Marti says, and grabs the remote out of Derek’s hand, changing the channel to--something else, Marti doesn’t actually care what.

There’s a small pause, and Derek says, picking his way through carefully, “So who is your girlfriend?”

“Sarah,” Marti says, swallowing around a dry throat. “From my team.”

“She’s got a good slapshot,” Derek says. Marti stares straight ahead, not acknowledging his eyes on her. It’s not nerves, exactly, she knows how Derek will react, just like how she knows all of her other family members will react. She knows they love her, that they’ll always love her and that nothing can change that, including when Marti tells them that she likes girls.

It’s not nerves, but she’s still waiting to hear what her brother’s going to say next.

“Dinner, huh?” Derek says after a moment.

“Yeah,” Marti says.

“Okay, we’ll be there,” Derek tells her, and Marti doesn’t look at him, but the smile’s tugging on her lips, no matter how she tries to hold it in.

“Just try and keep Casey from bringing a giant rainbow cake or whatever,” she says, and Derek laughs.

“No promises, Smarti,” he says, dragging her in and laying a noisy kiss on the top of her head, over her protests. “I’m not making any promises.”

“Ugh,” Marti says as she pulls away, thumping Derek on the arm and smoothing down her hair. She settles back into the couch, her gaze falling onto one of the bridal magazines on the table, pastel pink cover and a beaming bride.

“They’ll come around,” Marti says, turning to look at Derek. “Dad and Nora, they’ll come around.” It’s not her being nice either, it’s just a fact. Their parents might all be weirded out now about Derek and Casey getting married, but they’ll deal with it.

Derek doesn’t argue with this, just shrugs. “I know. Just gets old, waiting for them to do it.”

Marti nods, because she can understand that. She eyes Derek, then says lightly, “You better be nice to my girlfriend.”

“Smarti, please. I’m always nice.”

“You’re never nice,” Marti corrects him. “But you’re going to start on Saturday.”

Derek grins at her. “No promises, Smarti. I’m still not making any promises.”