Here is the final chapter of this story to bring it full circle and to attach itself to 'The Dearly Beloved'. Remember – Kirsten dyed her hair last time. Enjoy.

Disclaimer – Don't own ANY OC character.


"If this family is screwed up it's because of you!"

"You've screwed everyone up! Sandy, Seth, Ryan, Marissa and you drove my two sisters away! Lindsay didn't stick around and Hailey is on the other side of the planet. You've been screwing me up since the day I was born!"

"No baby, I'm afraid not. H-h-h-h."

The voices of her rage and that of her husband's haunted her nightmares. In her mind's eye, Kirsten saw childhood ornaments crashing to the floor and disintegrating into nothing before her very eyes all the while the voice of her father assaulted and yelled at her; the time he caught her and Jimmy flushing beer down the toilet, the time she came home drunk, when she told him she was moving to Berkeley and more recently her mind replayed his lecture after her accident.

Then the voices began to speak over each other.

Yelled over each other.

Finally they bled together and she tossed beneath the sheets.

She couldn't take it anymore.

Kirsten shot her eyes open and breathed heavily as she unconsciously reached for Sandy. At first she wondered why she reached for him when she was in her bed at her parents' house. Nevertheless, he wasn't there.

Sitting up, Kirsten calmed her breathing and saw the sun light filtering through her bedroom door into her house. She hadn't dreamt that Sandy had found her and then she tried to believe that her father's death was a part of her nightmare and a concoction from the alcohol and sleeping pills.

Then an image of her destroyed room befell her eyes.

'Please make it all be a dream' she prayed to any god that would listen.

On the clock beside her it read 13:57.

A part of her wasn't surprised that she had slept so late considering the amount of vodka she had drunk and the sleeping pills could not have helped either as it left her with an upset stomach and a nauseated head. Kirsten swung her legs over the edge of the bed and leaned forward holding her head mere centimetres above her knees.

After the nausea passed, she shakily got to her feet and slowly padded her way out of the room and down the several steps into the main house. She needed to know what was real and what wasn't.

Looking in the glass she saw her dishevelled reflection and she saw that she was still wearing what she had on the previous day or whatever day it was she had it on as she had no idea how long she was asleep.

The baggy punk jeans.

The purple see-through top with a black tank top.

But her converse shoes were off and she was wearing red socks with Dalmatians.

Kirsten heard the television in the family room and in her socks softly made her way towards Seth, Sandy and Ryan who were perched on the couch with melancholy expressions. Not wanting to make herself known she leaned against the wall and looked over at what they were watching.

The news.

The reporter began, "Newport Beach multi-millionaire Caleb Nichol died last night at his mansion . . . ." and to Kirsten's ears the reporter's voice swirled and dulled and everything zoomed out.

Breathlessly, Kirsten began to back away from the room and the lies but before she could go anywhere, she accidentally backed into a small table behind her knocking a vase to the floor but Kirsten paid no attention to it as her eyes continued to fix themselves to the TV screen. Suddenly, all the men on the couch looked towards the noise.

They were stunned to see Kirsten standing there.

Kirsten was bracing herself against the table with nothing but pure fear and denial in her eyes.

"Kirsten," Sandy whispered softly as he stood up and approached her slowly.

She began to shake uncontrollably on the spot.

"Sweetie," he tried soothingly extending his arms slightly.

"Tell me it's not true," she begged tearfully.

Sandy tried as best as he could to look her in the eye but if he did he would be broken at the little girl he would see in her eyes. He couldn't speak because she was asking him to do something that he simply couldn't.

"Kirsten," he began.

"Tell me it's not true," she asked again placing her hands pleadingly on his chest, "please."

The heartbreak in her voice tore at him. The plea in her eyes bore straight through him and he hated seeing her in this much pain but he knew that it could only get worse.

Seth and Ryan were standing by the couch and stood idle wanting to be there for their mother but hearing her denial of her father's death tore at their hearts. They knew she and Caleb had an extraordinary close father-daughter relationship and they had all tried to prepare themselves for a stage five meltdown but what they got was not that. In the aftermath of the news Kirsten destroyed her childhood sanctuary and became a mere fragile shell.

"Honey . . ." Sandy started placing his hands on her arms, "I'm so sorry."

The grief and the compassion in his voice alerted her to the truth but not wanting to believe him Kirsten looked past him at Seth and Ryan who had the same look on their faces.

The same look that had 'I'm so sorry' written all over it.

Silently, she shook her head.

Then more determined she refused to acknowledge the truth.

Kirsten wanted nothing more than to scream her lungs out.

Scream out the pain she was feeling.

Scream out the guilt she was feeling.

"If this family is screwed up it's because of you!"

Then the tears overwhelmed her.

Kirsten closed her eyes tightly and covered her face with her hands and cried into her palms. Sandy moved to take her in his arms and to his surprise she fell into him. At first he thought she would go 'off the railings' and repeat her reaction at her house. But not this time.

Holding his quivering wife, he felt her move her arms up around his neck and felt her hold him tightly to her small frame. But when he heard her cry silently into the nape of his neck, he just had to close his own eyes and rub her back comfortingly.

Seth and Ryan both began to move towards her.

Suddenly, she pulled away from Sandy.

"I'm sorry, I can't . . . I just can't," she stuttered.

"Mom."

"Sorry, I can't."

Kirsten then turned away and walked back down to hall to her bedroom with her head bowed and arms wrapped around her body. Porcelain can break at any moment and the first cracks were seeping open even further.

"Mom," Seth called after her concerned.

Hearing her son's voice, a part of her wanted to turn around but the majority of her thoughts told her to keep walking and not to let her son see her like this. She was 'The Kirsten' after all.

So she just kept walking.

"Seth," Sandy stopped him, "your mother needs time."

"But what if she bolts again?" he argued as Kirsten turned the corner.

"Then we'll go after her," Ryan added, "look Seth . . . she needs to comprehend this."

"She needs us!"

"Yeh I know . . . but she's confused," Sandy spoke sadly.

"We have to be there for mom, she was close to grandpa, she's hurting an-"

"Seth man quiet down, you're not doing Kirsten any favours," Ryan interrupted.

"Come on guys," Sandy spoke slightly louder than normal, "she's in that room hurting like hell right now and that tears me apart but . . . but I think we should give her some space, I'll check on her in a short while."

Seth looked down sadly, "I just wanna help her."

"I know son, we all do."

Silently, Sandy looked back down the hall at which his wife had just fled and prayed to god that the death of Caleb would not be Kirsten's undoing. His sons wanted to help her to get over her father's death but Sandy on the other hand knew the thread ran much deeper than that. Sandy needed to help her escape her alcoholism. He thought her accident had shaken her out of it but it reaffirmed it.

Closing the bedroom door behind her, Kirsten rested her forehead against the white painted wood and hit her fist against it tearlessly.

Turning around she saw her bedroom.

Her disheveled bed.

Her framed photograph of herself and her father.

Her backpack.

Her chest of dr-

Her – backpack!

Kirsten quickly walked over to the backpack that was leaned up against her chest of drawers and picked it up. She then brought it over to the bed and sat there cross legged with the bag placed in front of her. Firstly she opened a pocket at the front and took out a black rolled up top. Uncurling it, she uncovered a rectangular bottle of vodka which she had unearthed in her childhood bedroom.

Uncapping it she took a sip and relished in the burning sensation it coursed through her throat.

Then she took another,

And another,

And another,

And another until she felt as if all her troubles, pains, burdens and guilt were all washed away and burned as she quickly forgot about them for she was basically sweeping everything under the rug and saying they were never to see daylight again.

Kirsten then opened the main compartment and curled her fading brunette hair behind her ear. Pushing past the clothes there she finally reached the bottom and retrieved the soft light pink shoes there,

Kirsten pulled out the ballet slippers from when she was a teenager and held them to her chest nostalgically. When Kirsten was three her mother and father took her to a ballet recital and for weeks on end afterward, a little Kirsten danced around their mansion and Caleb then decided to pay for lessons.

Kirsten remembered bounding into her house and jumping up and down excitedly telling her mother that she had gotten the part of Cinderella in her ballet company's production. She was the youngest person ever to get the role. Her mother was so thrilled for her daughter and said that she would be in the audience saying 'that's my girl' and pointing her out. But Kirsten knew her father wouldn't be attending even though her mother said she would force him to go.

So when Kirsten made her debut on stage, she glanced around the audition and instantly noticed the empty seat beside her mother. Then Kirsten became even more determined to dance like she had never danced before, so to show her father that she would not be disappointed and crushed again and that she never expected anything from him ever again.

However, unbeknownst to Kirsten, her father was standing by the entrance and watching awe-struck at his beautiful Kiki and pride washed over him. Kirsten only knew he was there until she came out after the final curtain to go home

Recovering from her memory, Kirsten took a prolonged sip but gulped it down quickly as she heard footsteps approach. Quickly, she recapped the bottle and folded it back into the top and shoved it back into the bag and throwing two pieces of chewing gum in her mouth to freshen up her breath. While she had ran away she had taken precautions in case she was found and wanted to resume drinking at home so she packed a stash into her clothes and gum to repair the damage.

Then a knock on the door.

"Come in," she called out.

The door opened and in walked Sandy.

"Hey," he breathed sitting down next to her as he crossed the room.

"Hey," she replied softly.

"I am so sorry honey," he added placing his hand on her back, "are you ok?"

"Yeh I'm fine."

"Kirsten?"

"No why wouldn't I be? I got hit by a truck while drink-driving, lashed out at my father, ran away, dyed my hair, trashed my bedroom where I grew up and found out my dad died . . . I'm just peachy thanks."

"There's no need for sarcasm."

"Oh so I can't be sarcastic but when something does go wrong in this family and it's a major thing – you and Seth use sarcastic remarks like oxygen."

"This isn't like any of those times."

"I know that," she hissed.

Bowing her head, Kirsten clutched her ballet slippers closer to her heart.

"What's that?"

"Nothing . . . just a memory," she answered, "ballet shoes my dad bought me when I was fourteen."

"Aww honey."

"No!" she barked standing up off the bed setting the shoes firmly on the quilt, "don't!"

"Don't what?"

"Don't come over all sympathetic . . . I don't need your guilt over what I said to him and I don't need your sympathy over the fact that I didn't get to apologize . . . I don't need nor want it!"

"Then what do you want Kirsten?" Sandy asked.

"I just – I just want my dad back."

With that she walked out to the backyard and set herself half-heartedly on a deckchair with her arms folded and her knees bent.

She sighed frustrated and looked out at the horizon.

Sandy returned to the kitchen, where Seth and Ryan had no moved to.

"Hey, how is she?" Seth asked immediately.

"See for yourself," he answered indicating the window.

Both boys moved to the window and search around until they saw Kirsten sitting on the deckchair looking blankly at the horizon. Tears had made their way down her cheeks but she wasn't aware that they even existed as she continued to contemplate what she had done.

She had killed her father.

"Do you think she'll be ok?" Seth enquired sadly.

"I don't honestly know son."

"We can't just leave her out there on her own."

"I know that."

"We need to talk to her, show her that we're here, this isn't like her!"

"Seth-"

"Dad, come on, you know how close they were and you know why her room ended up the way it did last night, you can't honestly expect her to be ok. I wanna be out there with her making sure I know she's ok."

"I do you do, that's where I wanna be, that's where I want you to be but at the moment she needs a little time to calm down."

"Calm down, her dad died!"

"Seth? Where's Ryan?"

As Seth and Sandy argued what was best for Kirsten, Ryan went with his instincts and went out to the back patio and crossed over silently to Kirsten.

"Kirsten?" he asked softly letting her know he was there.

Slowly and zombie like, Kirsten moved her head to look at her sandy haired son.

"Hey," she barely said, "I don't feel like talking."

"That's ok, do you want some company?"

Kirsten didn't answer.

Unswayed but her silence, Ryan sat on an adjacent deckchair facing her.

"I'm so sorry Kirsten."

Kirsten bowed her head and her darkened hair fell in front of her eyes.

"I know you and your dad were close," he continued.

"Oh really?" she asked from inside her hair.

"Yeh."

"Then why was the last thing I said to him was that he was going to die?" she spat heartbroken as she stood up facing him, "is that something a daughter would say if she loved her father?"

"I dunno."

"Why did I kill him Ryan? He died of a broken heart. I killed him," Kirsten spoke as tears threatened to leave her eyes, "why Ryan?"

Ryan could see that she was shaking uncontrollably and she was moving her head erratically searching for an answer and forcing her tears away as she held her breath.

Before he could think about what he was doing, he stood up and held a distraught Kirsten to him just as her knees buckled beneath her.

With his mother in his arms, they fell to the grass and she cried silently. Her frail body was wracked with sobs and she shook in accordance. All he did was hold her as a son would.

From the kitchen patio, Sandy saw Kirsten break down in front of Ryan and as she cried into Ryan, he made his way over to his wife and son.

"Hey," Sandy whispered to Ryan.

Kirsten didn't acknowledge Sandy.

"Hey," Ryan replied, "you wanna take it from here?"

"Yeh sure kid."

Slowly and carefully, Ryan maneuvered Kirsten into Sandy's waiting arms who was kneeling beside her.

"Sssh baby, its ok sssh," Sandy repeated soothingly as he rubbed her back.

He could feel her spine through the material.

'When had she gotten so thin?' he thought to himself as he cursed himself for not paying more attention to Kirsten.

Ryan made his way back into the house leaving Kirsten with Sandy broken on the grass in the backyard. He had no idea as to what to do with Kirsten and she prayed that she would recover from Caleb's death. Then he remembered how she thought that she was the cause of his death.

Sandy on the other hand, was beginning to fear that this was in fact Kirsten's undoing.

Depression.

Death.

Heartache.

Alcohol.

These were the ingredients of Kirsten's demise and Sandy knew he had to do something to stop Kirsten from hurting herself anymore because for all he knew she could attempt god knows what while under the influence.

He had to do something for Kirsten

Then it came to him.

One word.

Two syllables.

Rehab.


Ok, this fic is finished. I'm sorry it took so look but 2 other fics have occupied my time and I had severe writers block with this one but hey I got it finished and it will bleed nicely into ''The Dearly Beloved'. I hope you enjoyed this fic because I enjoyed writing it. As always, rock on!