So Long Ago

Ch.12- A New Beginning

A/N: Sorry this took a while, but I couldn't figure out what to do with this. This starts kind of like a second part, taking place two years later when Sara is wrapping us her third year in high school. Don't worry, I will explain the whole thing that happened to Ryan.

May 3, 1986

High School was not what Sara expected. She thought it would be full of political problems and bullying. But Sara had kept busy it passed her by. She couldn't believe that she only had about a year of public school left.

After her mother's trial, she turned over a new leaf. She became known in her high school, joining science clubs and honor societies. She hoped this would give her a leg up and she could snag a decent scholarship.

It was a new beginning for Sara Sidle. No more set backs, no more problems…she was as good as she wanted to be. The only hard part was moving from foster home to foster home. Once her mom was convicted, they placed her in the program where people could become foster parents and try to house different kids.

Sara had been in five different homes in the past two years. The demand for kids was just not as high as it used to be. Her current home brought the comfort of being an only child again. An elderly couple decided to do their part while they still could walk. Being so old, they could only take in one kid at a time.

They sort of grew on Sara; she enjoyed listening to their stories of how they met in the war, and having to find each other all over the world. Kyle Jones had been a pilot. He received injury during a test flight and Greta Jones was his nurse. After 63 years of marriage, they were still deeply in love, and Sara thought it was the cutest thing, seeing 85 year olds flirting with each other.

On Friday afternoon, Sara was sitting at the kitchen table, trying to get some homework done before going into her part-time job at a grocery store. Katie,

Ryan, and Sara had all gotten jobs together at the store.

Mrs. Jones set a cup of milk in front of Sara.

"You have to keep your bones healthy," she said.

"Thanks," Sara replied, taking the glass.

"Did you know this woman made me stay at the medical ward an extra day, because I was 'down on my dairy intake'?" Mr. Jones called from the fridge. "I missed my rehab training, and had to wait another week before being reinstated to fly."

"Yes honey, but they let you stay at the hospital with me." Mrs. Jones smiled.

"Yah, I bet you loved that."

"I did."

Sara stifled a laugh and got up from the table. She was easily taller than the both of them. "I've got to go."

"When will you be back?" Mrs. Jones asked. It was always the same. They alternated asking when she would be home, and the answer was always the same.

"Ten thirty. Bye guys." Sara picked up her bag and left. Outside, Katie and Ryan were waiting for her as always in their beat up car.

"Hey, Sara." Katie called from her drivers seat. Sara hopped in the back seat and they drove off.

'Fiesta Foods,' where they worked was one of those small, privately owned businesses, not like Wal-Mart or Target which were all over the place. Sara liked it; it made the work environment more comfortable. Mr. Wang, the owner, hired teens to work. His previous employees had moved on to college, so he hired the three of them to work part time. The only other full time person there was his wife, who always brought homemade Chinese food for them to eat.

They entered the store and called out to Mr. Wang.

"We're here." Katie called. Mr. Wang popped his head from behind a shelf.

"Hello kids." He greeted in his accent. "The shipment of vegetables came in. Can you unpack them and get the rotten ones out?"

"Sure." They replied, making their way to the storage room. Unpacking took a surprisingly short time considering the size of the load. Afterwards the sat down, waiting for some business.

"You ready for finals?" Ryan asked Sara.

"I guess." She shrugged. "I mean, how hard are they going to be?"

"Better no get cocky." Katie warned, "You might jinx yourself."

Ryan rolled his eyes. "Stop being superstitious…Sara can ace any test." Sara blushed at the comment.

"Yah, right." Sara laughed. "What about that one…with the…during the…"

"Give it up Sara," Katie said. Ryan laughed and nodded. He absentmindedly rubbed at a scar going across the back of his left hand. It was the cut he received during his little 'missing episode.' Sara tried to remember what happened that night.

Sara had gotten a ride to the Garcia's from Detective Mann. When she saw Ryan sitting with Katie, things felt complete. He was giving his story to an officer when they walked in.

"Um…" The officer looked at Sara uncertainly.

"It's okay Sam." Detective Mann reassured the officer. He nodded and turned back to Ryan, motioning for him to continue. Sara took a seat on an empty chair.

"Well, they told me that they wanted me in their group. I told them I didn't want to be in a gang, but they said it was just a club like thing." Sara noticed Ryan's hand was heavily bandaged and he had a black eye. "They told me to meat them in that ally for my first meeting." He laughed quietly at his own stupidity.

"Matt, the leader, he said I had to take some pills if I wanted to join. I knew they were drugs, and I guess it was then that I realized I was going the wrong way. I tried to back out, but they wouldn't let me. I tried to run- one of them hit me and I fell into some broken glass." He indicated his bandaged hand for emphasis.

"I was a lot quicker that them, so I was able to run. You guys know what happened next." He finished. "I'm really sorry."

A week later, everything was back to normal. The old Ryan was back with his bugs, and kept apologizing to everyone. Matt and a few of his gang spent the night in jail. That seemed to shake them up, and didn't appear like they were going to try something anytime soon.

"Hey…Sara are you with us?" Sara snapped out of her daydream.

"Huh, yah?" She asked dazed. Ryan snorted.

"I was saying," Katie continued, slightly insulted, "That I think Justin looked at me during my Journalism class today."

"Oh-my-god." Sara said sarcastically, trying to keep a strait face. During the past year, Katie had a different boy obsession every week.

"I know!" Katie exclaimed, missing Sara's less than sincere tone. "Gosh, he's so…so…"

"Lost?" Ryan suggested.

"Brain-dead?" Sara piped in.





"Pretty boy-"

"Okay that's enough." Katie snapped. "He's quite nice actually."

"Oh," Ryan said thoughtfully. "And I'm assuming you know this from all the time you've spent together?"

"All…sixty seconds? Wait, that was last week's bachelor, sorry." Sara and Ryan burst out laughing while Katie glared at them.

"Funny. Very funny." She breathed. Mrs. Wang walked up to them and observed the emotions.

"Katie get a new boy?" She asked smiling. Katie looked at her. "C'mon, If I've noticed, then you're being pretty obvious."

They laughed again, this time joined by a defeated Katie.