A/n: Being me, I feel the need to do things differently than everyone else, so for this story, I decided to switch things up a bit. This story is really a lot of fun to write because I got to write a few original characters and had a lot of room to play around. Anyway, I'm going to stop rambling aimlessly now and just let you read the story.

Awful Beautiful Life


"Hey everyone! I'm home!" Phil Diffy shouted as he walked through his front door. Setting down his briefcase and hanging up his jacket, the only greeting he got was from Yoda, his son's hyperactive Australian shepherd. The dog jumped up on him desperately trying to lick his face. "Hey, easy, boy!" Phil said, laughing. "Well, at least someone's happy to see me."

As if on cue, his son, Trevor James (better know as T.J.) came careening around the corner from the kitchen. "DAD!"

"T.J.!" Phil scooped up his son and swung him around. Setting him down he asked, "How was school today, pal?"

"Great! I got an A on my math test."

"A regular math wiz just like your old man."

T.J. grinned and scratched Yoda behind the ears. The ten-year-old technical wizard was the spitting image of his father with the same crooked grin, same thick, dark hair and same twinkle in his eyes.

"So where is everyone?"

"Sam's at debate practice, Jessie's at the mall with her friends and Mom is in the den, I think."

Phil picked T.J. up and, holding him upside down, much to his delight, carried him down the hall, Yoda in tow. "Well, I think its time we go say hi to Mom."

The door to the den was slightly ajar and Phil could hear Keely singing to herself as she strummed her guitar, trying to place chords to her new lyrics. He pushed the door open and stood there for a moment, just admiring how beautiful she was.

"Hey, it sounds, great," he said, gently dropping T.J. on the couch next to her.

"It's not quite there yet," she said, setting her guitar aside. She stood up and kissed him. "So, how was work?"

"Oh, you know, the usual mix of Middle Eastern politics, Washington mumbo-jumbo, Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest fight with the legislature and local novelty story du juror."

"So it was a good day?"

"Of course." He enjoyed working as a local TV news producer and rarely had bad days.

Phil, T.J. and Yoda followed Keely out into the living room. "Well, the girls should be home any-" she started but was interrupted by the sound of the front door slamming, signaling the arrival of their two daughters.

Sixteen-year-old Samantha entered the living room, dropping her backpack on the coffee table and collapsing on the couch next to Phil. Like, T.J., she had her father's crooked grin, but had had her mother's blond hair, which she wore short and messy and, behind her wire rimmed glasses, her mother's eyes.

"Mom!" Thirteen-year-old Jessie said, falling into an arm chair. "Would you tell Sam to keep her opinions to herself next time she picks me up from the mall?"

Except for her dad's eyes, Jessie looked exactly like her mother had at her age and was quite a bit more fashion conscious than her jeans-and-t-shirt wearing sister.

Keely raised her eyebrows. "Sam, please don't tell me you've been starting arguments with strangers again."

"The guy was wearing a Michael Moore t-shirt! He was practically begging me to question his stance on the Bush White House. You can't expect me to pass that up!"

"Yeah, well next time you decided to get into a political shouting match in public, would mind doing it when you're not within the earshot of my friends? You totally embarrassed me."

"Hey, I was just exercising my Constitutional right to freedom of speech!"

"Girls!" Phil intervened. "Calm down. Jess, respect your sister's right to cause public arguments and Sam, try to contain your liberal head hunting around Jessie's friends, ok?"

"I guess."

"Sure, but if I run into Dan Rather, so help me..."

"It's highly unlike Dan Rather's going to show up in Pickford, Sam." Phil laughed and put an arm around her. "But if you do happen to bump into him, I give you permission to let him have it."

"You got it, Dad."

"So, what does everyone want to do for dinner? I thought-" Keely started but was once more cut off, this time by the doorbell.

Phil got up and headed for the front hall, Yoda at his heels, barking wildly. When he opened the door he was surprised to see who was standing there.

A/n: A cliffhanger! Oh on! You'll just have to read the next chapter to find out who the mystery person at the door is. In the meantime, y'all know where the review button is. -Sam

D/c: All right, we all know I own nothing.