Disclaimers: insert disclaimers here.

AN: Will you people never leave me alone? J/K This story is a special request from Richiefic. So here we get to see more of Julie Fisher. Tell me what you think!

P.S. This is set after "The Dangers of Holy Ground", before "MTV News Break"


Richie stood looking down at the simple CD as if it was the most important thing in the world. And at that moment, it was. It was HIS CD. His voice, his songs, his CD.

"Well, hand it over kid, I'm going to wait all day!" Joe exclaimed in mock annoyance.

Richie looked up startled at everyone standing around him in the bar. "Oh, right." He handed it over.

"Let's hear it," Rylan prompted impatiently.

"I'm going as fast as I can," Joe said patiently. What had possessed Duncan and Tessa to all but adopt two teenagers was beyond him. He couldn't figure it out. He liked the teens and all, but only in small doses. "What number, Rich?"

Richie thought for a minute. "Eight," he answered. Joe pressed A1-8. The jukebox slowly worked it's magic and soon the opening chords of Richie's song were playing in the bar surround sound. Richie grinned widely as his voice began to sing along.

'If I ever leave this world alive

I'll thank ya for the things you did in my life. . .'

Duncan and Tessa grinned at him. The song had special meaning to them. It was the first song he ever played for them, the first song he ever wrote for them. Although, Duncan wondered exactly what Richie meant by 'leave this world alive'; it sounded like he was talking about becoming immortal. Rylan grinned for another reason.

"It's official," she whispered giving him a hug. "You're in a jukebox. You're a recording artist, soon a mega-star."

"Don't get ahead of yourself," Duncan warned. "You have to see if America likes it."

"You have to see if a record label likes it," Adam added casting a glance at Duncan. "I stand by what I said, MacLeod," he said so only Duncan could hear. "Letting the boy do this is a bad idea."

"It's what he wants," Duncan whispered back. "If this is what he wants, I'm going to do everything I can to make it happen."

"Just promise you won't forget us when you're on MTV," Tessa told Richie.

"Tess, Tess, Tess," Richie protested with a grin. "I would never forget the little people. Like what's-her-name here," he put an arm around Rylan. "If she wants a job some day, I could always use a maid on the road to clean up the tour bus."

"Gee, thanks. Figures I'd be the first you'd forget. Like my name's so hard to remember; it's your last name with an L," Rylan mumbled pinching Richie in the side. He twisted away from her grip and tried to pinch her back, but she hid behind Tessa.

"Cheater," he jabbed.

"This calls for a toast," Duncan announced going behind the bar and pouring four glasses of Champaign and two cokes. Richie and Rylan each glared at him as he handed them the sodas. "You're too young," he said softly, then to everyone, "To Richie and his new career."

"You'll jinx it!" Richie protested.

"Fine, to Richie and his hope for a new career," Duncan amended. Richie nodded and everyone toasted him.

"Long may you reign, Prince of Pop," Rylan added.

"Prince?" Richie questioned.

"You think I'm putting you above Michael Jackson?"

"You're confidence in me underwhelms."

"As it should. I'm just keeping you grounded, cause I'm not going to be your maid," Rylan laughed as Richie began tickling her.

"Do they ever stop?" Joe asked Tessa.

She smiled. "Not once in five months."

"That takes talent," he mumbled into his glass. "Do they ever get into fights?"

"Nothing that ever lasts more than five minutes. Why the sudden interest?"

Joe shrugged. "I just spend so much time around adults, I realized I know nothing about teenagers."

"Richie won't be one for much longer," Tessa reminded him. "He just turned nineteen. You only have him for another year."

"I still have Rylan to study for another three years, though."

"Don't let her hear that she's your subject. She'll make things complicated just because she can," she warned him. "She can be very difficult when she wants to be."

. . . . . .

Later that night Rylan and Richie stood side by side in the new kitchen of the house they had just moved into washing dishes.

"You haven't stopped grinning all day," Rylan teased Richie flicking a few bubbles his way.

"I can't help it!" he insisted. "I'm excited. I sent out all my demos today, now all I have to do is wait for a response."

"It'll come, trust me. The public loves you. You see them at all the B-O- Bs you're a hit."

"Speaking of, Friday, I get one song, what do you think?"

"Huh," Rylan thought. "Where is this one?"

"It's that beach party. The one 98.5 is doing? What do you think?"

"98.5, the beat," Rylan imitated the radio stations announcer. "What about 'Best Days'? That's a fun one."

"You think so? I've never done that one in public before. And it's a little. . . unique."

"Exactly. People will remember you. You'll be the Reggae white boy."

"Yeah that's how I want to go down in the history books," Richie laughed drying the pot she handed him.

"Okay, fine new suggestion." She thought for a minute. "What about 'I Wanna Stay Home'? Nice, normal, upbeat, and original. Unless you want to do a cover?"

"No," Richie shook his head resolutely. "My cover days are over. From here on out, it's my stuff and my stuff only. I don't want a record deal based on how well I can do old Monkees songs."

"Fine, then you have my suggestions. Take them or leave them."

"'I Wanna Stay Home'," Richie decided. "I'll do that one. Even if it is a little new."

"That's right, you just wrote that one. You probably don't have any sheet music for the house band, yet," she realized.

"I could, though. Two hours with that new program Joe got me, and I'll have it."

"Then do it. I really like that one."

"Okay, I think I will."

"Think you will what?" Duncan asked coming into the kitchen with a paintbrush in hand.

"Just picking my song for the beach party Friday. You guys are coming, right?" Richie asked. "I'm doing a new song and everything."

"Of course we're coming, Rich. Have we ever missed a single one of your gigs?"

"No. I was just checking." Richie blushed and went back to drying dishes. Perhaps his favorite part of performing was Duncan and Tessa telling him how proud they were the second he got off the stage. It gave him extra incentive to do well in each performance.

"Have you guys seen the paint thinner?" Duncan asked remembering why he had come in from painting furniture in the garage.

"Yeah, Duncan, it's in the freezer," Rylan told him

"What the hell is it doing in there?" Duncan grumbled walking over and opening the freezer. He stopped mid-search, turned around and glared and the girl who was staring back at him in wide-eyed innocence. He tried his best to keep his smile off his face as Rylan and Richie exploded into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. "Just remember, come summer, I own you," Duncan warned pointing at her.

"Sure thing, man," she answered between gasps for air. "But you are too easy sometimes."

Duncan smiled as he walked out of the room. Three months ago Tessa and Richie had left him and Rylan alone for the weekend. Those days had changed everything about Duncan and Rylan's relationship. It was different now. He felt more comfortable being a father to her, and she felt more comfortable letting him. But that didn't stop her from torturing him every chance she got. He would never punish her, and she knew it.