A/N: Here again. Yes, this fic is very AU in oh, so many levels. But ooooh welll.

I know some of you love Ephramy and can't stand the idea of Madison but both Ephram and Madison will be in this fic and as established, they are married and have three kids and that's not about to change, because it it just isn't, I'm sorry. Amy's gonna be around too, but it's not likely this thing will turn into some Bright/Delia + Madison/Ephram/Amy triangle... It might, but not likely. For one, I'm kind of fond of this new Amy in my ficcie - she doesn't annoy me nearly as much as the one in the series - and secondly, I happen to be a very passionate Madison/Ephram lover ::shrugs:: If you can't handle that, then I'm sorry. Thanks for reading so far and see you in another lifetime or, er, something :)

Yeah, some might find all this drama boring as hell, but well, tough shit. Don't read it, then.

Thanks for all the reviews, I know I've been slow with the updates, so it's really nice you haven't all given up on hope seeing this story continued. Feedback makes my day, flames make me laugh at the poor, insecure people that cannot handle the fact not everyone are as narrow-minded as they are.

If there's anyone out there that would actually want to beta this damn thing from start, then please let me know, alright?

This is more like a filler chapter but oh well, hope you enjoy anyways :) For my defence, let me say, I'm tired, I'm hungry, and my back hurts. Plus, I can't open my .word cause my comp keeps crashing when I do so this thing's spelling hasn't been checked. At all! So be gentle on me, oki::rolls eyes:: Oooh, I do have good news too! I finally figured out exactly where I'm going with this fic so hopefully the updates will be faster cough can't promise anything, though.

Chapter 8

5... 3... 2...


"One..." he breathed out sourly, still standing there next to his bed, half-naked and simply waiting for Amy to appear, which he knew she would. She always did. No way she'd let something this big and unexpected go without demanding to hear some details (preferably dirty) and analyzing them for hours and hours to come. He had never really understood if it was a girl-thing or just Amy-thing, but dude, ever since she was a kid, she'd always been like that. Everything had to be turned upside-down and analyzed. Maybe she got it from their Dad, he wasn't sure, but figured it might be perfectly reasonable explanation. Some kind of doctor-logic, maybe?

As expected, the door flung open, banging against the wall on its way, and Amy burst into her brother's room with serious face on her usually beautiful face.

Yep. The same old Amy Abbott - not even having a kid to raise could change this girl.

That glare, though, it really didn't bring out her best qualities, he noted, but thought it better not to mention it out loud. Like ever. Well, he'd grown up somewhere in the middle and getting under her skin didn't feel as important anymore. Although, admittedly, teasing Amy would never, ever, lose its magical charm, he was sure of that. It would always be fun as hell, but only under the right circumstances.

This didn't fall into the said category, though.

"What did you do?" She demanded right away, hands on her hips and not bothering to acknowledge his annoyed expression or the fact he hadn't even had a chance to clothe himself yet. Well, damn, it was her brother; she'd seen him naked hundreds of times, big deal. Nothing she hadn't seen yet, so.

Plus, there really wasn't anything that could've stopped Amy Abbott on the mission.

He shrugged, impassive and turned around not really wanting to take in the look on her face. At times like these, she looked and felt just like their mother and well, that woman had always possessed the ability to get the truth out of her son. Bright didn't particularly like the fact his younger sister had seemed to inherit the said ability and was, on top of all, very well aware of it.

Before saying anything at all, he walked to his desk and grabbed a pair of jeans that had been laid upon the chair.

"I didn't do anything," he replied then, pulling the jeans on. At least not much.

"Yeah, sure," she snorted back, obviously having some trouble believing her brother's words, "So why did Delia run out of your room then?"

Good point.

The way he saw it, he had two opportunities and at the moment, he didn't really favor either one. Either he could come up with some big, fat, fancy story and lie, in which case there was a very high chance of her seeing through him and smacking him in the head… or he could, for once, do the impossible and tell the simple truth.

Turning around while scanning the room for a shirt, he sighed. "Listen, if I tell you something, will you promise to keep it to yourself?"

Amy just stared at him for a moment as if trying to decide if this was something she wanted to hear or not - there was always the possibility of him blurting out something so twisted and dirty that would make her ears burns… and which she so did not need to hear...

The silence didn't bother him - it was fine since it gave him some time to think and grab his old T-shirt from the floor. He pulled it over his head, glancing down. The dark picture in front had faded away long time ago and surprisingly, he found himself trying to remember if it'd been some logo of a band he'd once loved more than life, but already forgotten. Man, it felt weird, seeing and having his old things around the place like he'd never left in the first place. But hey, with his parents having shit load of his stuff still in the household, he rarely needed anything at all while visiting, which saved him the trouble of packing. So really, he wasn't complaining.

"So?" Bright prompted when the silent girl just stood there, observing him with flashing eyes. Man, she still did, played with a lock of hair, twisting it around her finger whenever she was deep in thoughts. He remembered teasing her with Colin about that one when she was younger and she'd always, every time, claimed she - or they for that matter - had no clue what they were talking about.

Finally, Amy came to a decision. "Okay, what is it?" She sighed - she simply had to find out what was going on.

Bright's eyebrows quirked into an amused question. "Promise me, Amy."

The low, firm voice made her nod without hesitations or any kind of mockery. There would be plenty of time for that one later if the occasion called for it, but somehow it really seemed something was different about him now and she wasn't sure why or even what. "Fine, I promise," Amy assured.

He drew in a breath and exhaled, slowly. He was a little nervous about something. Why? Amy tilted her head trying to fix her gaze on his eyes, but he kept avoiding hers with his best abilities. Not that THAT was anything new - he never looked her into the eye when he'd done something wrong, like drowned her favorite Barbie into the toilet just for fun.

Then finally, the wandering gaze paused and her eyes caught his. Now we're getting somewhere...

He cleared his throat. "The guys told you I took off with a brunette, didn't they?"

Okay, it definitely wasn't the question she thought he would ask, but it was a start. So she nodded with pursed lips, trying so hard to understand what the hell was going on. "Something like that, yeah."

At that his hand rose up to the back of his head, nervously scratching his neck - never a good sign, she noted, but didn't say anything.

"Did they also mention that the said brunette was a, er, stripper who I sort of... might have... accidentally... pulled down from the stage and... you know... forced to go home... with me?"

Amy blinked. Twice. She probably should've been surprised or horrified or something, yeah, but you know, she'd lived long enough in the same town with her brother to know that these things, they just happened when it was Bright in question. It was an unsolved mystery how he always managed to get himself entangled with this shit, but once again, it had happened. Guess it was his one true talent.

A stripper. No wonder he hadn't wanted to talk about it.

"No," she snorted somewhat cynically, folding her arms, "that part they left out." Goddamn assholes. She made a mental note to kick their sorry asses later; they were supposed to be her friends, too and well, leaving such information untold… well that just wasn't acceptable, ok?

"Figured as much," he shrugged and let out a small laugh before continuing, "fuck, Amy, I'm not supposed to tell you, you know. This is not my secret to share."

As it that had ever stopped him before! Get real. "Right," she spoke with a dismissing wave, not paying attention to his pained tone, "but you're my brother so I don't count."

"Right, behold the Abbott logic." Bright was somewhat sure that if he'd thought about it some more, he could've easily found the flaw in her logic, but the truth was, right now he didn't give a fuck. He needed to talk about this with some, for fuck's sake, and who the hell would be better than his sister?

"Continue," she prompted impatiently.

"Anyhow, the thing is… Delia happens to be that brunette, ok?" He started.

"Delia? Our Delia?"

Bright nodded... and Amy's face fell, but before she could form a question, he spoke again, "No, I dunno what happened, Amy, I just saw her there, ok? She was wearing practically nothing… and shit" - an awkward hand raked through his hair - "... I thought Ephram would kill me if he'd ever find out."

Aha, right. "So, you pulled her down from the stage just for Ephram, then?" She questioned sharply, a bit amused - that one she didn't buy, not now, not ever.

He should've known, really, that Amy if anyone would cling onto all the nasty, annoying little details he didn't want to think about. "I dunno," he sighed truthfully, "I thought so."

"You thought so?" Amy repeated somewhat stunned. Well, what was she supposed to say, huh? He'd done some pretty stupid things in his days, fine, but this one… this one was new.

"Seriously, Amy, I have no clue," Bright whined, "I like her, ok?"

She stared, but he could see the smile starting to appear in the corners of her mouth. "You like her?"

Fuck, she was really enjoying herself, wasn't she?

"Yeah," he snapped, "I really like her."

"Delia Brown? You like Delia Brown?"

Why did she say it like that and why was she smirking, huh? What the fuck was she smirking for, damnit?

"I'm sorry, I just - you like Delia."

"Shut up," Bright snapped, annoyed. Why the hell was it so difficult for his own sister to understand that he liked someone. He'd liked - no, he'd loved Hannah and she knew it, so it wasn't like he was completely uncapable of such thing.

"No, I'm sorry," she said after a moment of staring, "it's just... wow."

"Yeah," he sighed, defeated. He had no clue how it'd happened, but yeah, he obviously liked her... or then you just want her into your damn bed, he thought, which he supposed was close enough anyway. Damn, you really messed things up this time, Abbott... He hadn't planned this to happen, for fuck's sake! He'd only been in Everwoof for few days! But still, the little voice in the back of his head kept nagging, telling him it didn't matter... You've known this girl all your life, it just took you some time to notice that somewhere along the ride, she grew up. And let it be added, a really nicely she'd grown too...

Another moment went by without neither saying anything... "So. Delia's a stripper?"

Man, she was seriously having hard time getting past that fact, wasn't she? "I'm sure she'd like you to call her exotic dancer," he said with a shrug, imagining all the great insults Delia could've thrown at Amy just now. Yep, even if Delia had been something as absurd as a prostitute - he snorted - she would've probably demaned people call her a courtesan. Hah, or companion! Oh, funny.

Bright couldn't play with the amusing thought for long though, as Amy had already another question. "Why is she a stripper?" she asked bluntly, blind to Bright's amusement, "Sorry, I mean, exotic dancer?"

"I dunno yet," he answered honestly, "but I intend to find out. She was supposed to go to college, wasn't she?" Somewhere in the back of his mind, he was pretty sure he'd heard all there was to know about Delia's great plans to be a doctor like his father, but... well, obviously something big had happened.

"Yeah," Amy admitted with a nod, completely oblivious to the thoughts raging through his head, "but then she chose to stay and work to collect some money... in the end she announced that she wants to go to Africa." The day the 'Big News' had reached the people of Everwood, well, it'd been one hectic day full of rumours and gossip. Everyone had had a theory of some kind, some better than others. Whether any of the rumours had actually hit home, no one knew for sure since Delia never really talked about it. Amy's personal favorite was the one rumour about Delia being pregnant. Yep, still managed to make her smile. In the end, as said, Delia had made her known plan but not many believed her desire to go to Africa was the real reason behind it all...

Bright only sneered. "Right. Africa my ass." Apparently, Bright didn't believe that one either. Amy didn't blame him - she didn't really buy it either.

Wait a minute... The way Bright was looking at her, glancing around... Amy's mind hit rewind and all the sudden she was serious again. There was more, wasn't there? "Bright... what did you do?"

What? Why was she staring at him like that again? He fidgeted, teeth scraping his bottom lip and looking away again. "Nothing."

Yeah, sure. "Bright."

Holy fuck, she really couldn't let it go, could? Great, just great. "Fine, okay, so I may have... " Er, how do you tell your sister you - "... blackmailed her a little."

"YOU WHAT?" Amy shrieked, eyes wide and hands waving in the air. God, she'd known his brother was stupid, but come on, there had to be a line somewhere! That was all she was asking for, really.

"Well, what the hell was I supposed to do!?" Bright snapped his defence. He was already regretting the whole deal as it was, the last thing he needed was Amy to make it worse!

But it was Amy, so trust it to her to make it just that - worse. It was the one thing in which she never failed. "Oh I don't know," she bit angrily, "like stay OUT of it?! Are you crazy!?"

He snorted. "Apparently!" Besides, why the hell was she angry? This whole thing had nothing to do with her!

"God, Bright..." she sighed heavily and shook her head, "what did you tell her?"

Oh well, might as well tell the whole story. Not like lying would do much good at this point anyway, right? So, he shrugged, saying, "That she's got a month to quit that job or I'll tell her family what she's been doing," he paused with a smirk before contuining with amused voice again, "Delia Brown may not be the little girl she was, but there are few things even she wouldn't do to her family."

Amy nodded. Her brother's big plan was definitely starting to reveal itself to her... but she wasn't so sure she liked it. "Like let them know what she's doing for her living?" Someone would get hurt and it was rarely Bright...


Before she could actually think it further, Amy blurted out, "But I thought she works at Sam's."

Bright's eyebrows rose immediately and a malicious smile tugged his lips. Aha, one less secret to solve... "Sam's, huh? Nina's place?" He asked, not waiting for confirmation, "Hmm. Good to know."

Shit. Amy could already see all the pretty little scenarios inside her head... "Bright," she pleaded, realizing her mistake a little bit too late, "whatever you're thinking, don't. Don't do it."

Bright's face was as innocent as angel's when he replied, "I have no idea what you mean."

Amy sighed, admitting her defeat (there was no way she'd get him to admit his evil plan, but she knew damn well he had one, always did) and rolled her eyes. "Yeah, sure, of course you don't."

But really, they both knew the truth...