Chapter 1

A.N. I know so the last thing I need to be doing is starting another story, between Stand Beside Me and the story I am co-writing with Emo Starlette, Title and Registration the last thing I need is to start another story...but I! Please, reviews always put stories higher up on my priority list!


"Anna?" The voice on the other end of the phone was one Ryan hadn't heard in almost a year.

"Thank God," Anna breathes into the phone. "I thought maybe you'd be Seth and I wouldn't know what to say..."

"Anna what's..."

"Going on?" Anna supplies. "I know it's weird for me to just call you out of nowhere, but I had a favor to ask."

"Okay..." Ryan trails, "what is it?"

"I'm at the airport, do you think you can pick me up?"

"You're in California?"

"Yeah, and it's kind of an impromptu visit and my parents can't come get me So do you think..."

"Sure," Ryan responds quickly. "And you're at the airport now?"


"I'll get there as soon as I can. I'll have to explain..."

"Ryan, if it's you think you could not tell Seth I'm here yet? I just kind of what to get settled before I started announcing my presence to everyone."

"Sure. I'll see you in awhile."

"Anna?" Ryan cautiously approaches a short haired blonde with her back towards him.

She turns in her seat to face him, everything about her was exactly the same. From her short blonde hair pinned back with a cute flower clip, her dark eyes were sadder but still showed traces of the bright smile that transformed her entire face. She wore a bright yellow shirt that did little to hide...Ryan's eyes go wide, "you're..."

Anna's smile lessens as she stands and places one of her hands on her slightly swollen stomach, "I was going to try to tell you on the phone...but I didn't know how..."

"It's good to see you," Ryan states, not wanting to make her anymore uncomfortable than she already is.

"It's good to see you," Anna hugs Ryan tightly. "And thanks for picking me up."

"Of course," Ryan glances at the bags littered around Anna's feet. "You've got a lot of bags for someone who is just visiting."

Anna shoots Ryan a guilty look, "I..."

"How about you explain once you get settled in and you're ready?" Ryan suggests and earns an appreciative glance from Anna.

"So," Anna questions once they have loaded her bags into the Range Rover and both are seated, "how's Seth?"

"Completely insane."

"So he hasn't changed then," Anna laughs. "So he and Summer are going on, what, a year or something?"

"No," Ryan shakes his head as he pays the parking attendant. "They broke up in May."

"Huh," Anna states, "kinda saw them going on for awhile. What happened?"

"There were like two months in-between when you left and when they broke up, how many of the details do you want?"

Anna laughs lightly, "how about the headlines? And I'll ask for the details as I think I need them."

"Theresa got pregnant. I moved back to Chino. Seth took off for the summer."

Anna stares Ryan, "all of that happened in two months?"

"No," Ryan shakes his head. "Julie Cooper also slept with Luke and married Caleb Nichol."

"You know," Anna arches an eyebrow, "normal places like Pittsburgh don't have this much drama. So do you care to explain, in detail, the first three things?"

Ryan had finished caching Anna up with the readers digest version of everything that Anna had missed while she'd been in Pittsburgh, and when he gets to the part up Theresa losing the baby a sad expression crosses her face and she wraps her arms around her stomach. "I'm so sorry Ryan. I'm not even that far along and I, I don't even know what I would do if that happened."

Ryan offers Anna a sad smile, "I think it was for the best."

"So," Anna changes the subject, "Marissa is dating Seth's ex-girlfriend. Summer is dating someone else, but Seth is still in love with her, no change there. But what about you?"

"I was dating Kirsten's sister."

Anna crinkles her nose, "you were dating Hailey?"

"No!" Ryan shakes his head quickly, "back around Chrismukkah we found out that my girlfriend was Kirsten's half-sister."

Anna doesn't attempt to hide the giggle that bursts forth, "some part of me has missed Newport. So she's nice?"

Ryan nods, "you'd like her. She wasn't raised in Newport so she's not like the rest of the girls at Harbor. She's, I don't know, normal."

"Sounds like someone perfect for you," Anna grins.

"She'd be more perfect if she wasn't Caleb Nichol's daughter, we broke up because Caleb couldn't handle our dating." No more is said on the subject, they'd reached the Stern's house and Ryan started grabbing backs out of the back of the Range Rover.

"Do you want something to eat or drink?" Anna questions, "my parents are out of town but I'm sure they left food and stuff in the fridge."

Ryan nods, curious to know exactly what was going on with Anna, "a drink would be great."

"So we focused on catching you up on Newport news, how was Pittsburgh?" Ryan asks once Anna sets a coke in front of him.

Anna takes a couple sips of her soda before responding, "it was completely different. But nothing had changed. That makes no sense, I know but..."

"It makes sense to me," Ryan responds. "That's how Chino was when I was back over the summer."

Anna nods and sighs, picking at her bread, "I'm not going back to Pittsburgh."

Ryan nods, "I kind of figured."

"The couldn't stand the thought of having to tell their friends that their teenage niece got pregnant while she was living with them."

"That sucks."

Anna looks sad but shrugs, "I didn't want to be in Pittsburgh, anyway."

"Anna if..." Ryan is cut off by the sound of his cell phone ringing in his pocket.

"It's fine," Anna nods, "you can take it."

"It's Seth," Ryan states and Anna nods. "Hey."

"Dude, where are you?"

"With a friend."

"Is this a friend who happens to be related in an aunt-like capacity to both of us?"

"Seth," Ryan sighs.

"Ah, sneaking around with the lovely Lindsay? Getting a little smoochies behind everyone's backs again? Don't worry, man, I won't say a word."

"I'm not with Lindsay, Seth." Ryan rolls his eyes.

"Fine, whatever, deny it. Anyway I've got nothing to do, so you want to head over to the Crab Shack and get something to eat. You can bring your mystery friend with if you want."

"Hang on," Ryan covers the mouth piece of his phone, "Seth wants to go to the Crab Shack for lunch, you up to it?" Anna bites her lip and then nods. "Fine Seth, we'll meet you in 20 minutes."

"Great, I'll call Summer and Zach and see if they want to come too."

"Seth, I thought you were going to stop organizing groups so you could see Summer?"

"See you in twenty."

"Summer and Zach are going to be there too," Ryan informs Anna, "if you want to bail that's cool."

"No, it'll be good to see Summer again." Anna offers a small smile, "I'm going to change quick, do you mind?"

When Anna returns several minutes later in a looser fitting shirt she states, "I'm just not ready to talk about it, and between Summer and Seth..."

Ryan nods, "ready to see them?"

Anna takes a deep breath, "yeah, I think so."