Raven married Devon and is 3 months pregnant with her first child. She is also moving up the ladder at Donna Cabonna's clothing industry and hopes that she can make her own business someday.
Chelsea is desperate to find Danny. For two years, Danny's been in the army and she hasn't heard a word from him.
Eddie is madly in love with a girl he has been dating off and on for 2 years. He's also taking on the pressures of the music industry, with the stars in his eyes and the hope that maybe he'll be a rapper.
Cory is still in college, and has pretty much everything he needs. He has a wonderful girlfriend named Hannah, a great car, and a wonderful apartment. But, he's expecting things to go downhill soon.
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter are living in the same house, but also have a cottage in Maine, where they spend summers and an occasional vacation catching lobsters and fish and just enjoying the lake they live near.
Stanley is still rude and obnoxious, but he's graduating high school this year, and finally taking some maturity.
At their weekly get-together, Raven, Eddie, Alexis, Chelsea, and Devon all gathered in Raven and Devon's apartment. Alexis was Eddie's girlfriend, and Eddie loved her a lot. They weren't sure if she felt the same way. Every time they had gotten together recently, Chelsea tried to choke back tears. Her longtime boyfriend Danny had been in the army since she was 23 and she hadn't heard from him since.
"Aw, look at you Ray, you get bigger every time I see you!" Chelsea giggled, when arriving at the apartment.
"Yes Chelsea," Raven replied, "it's called pregnancy."
"That's right. Hey Ray, how you doin'? How long have you been pregnant?" Eddie asked.
"I'm great Eddie. I've been pregnant 3 months now. It seems like 8 years. I just want to have the baby already!" Raven laughed.
Do you know if it's going to be a boy or a girl?" Alexis asked.
Devon answered, "We don't know yet, but we're not sure if we want to know when the time comes, right Raven?"
"Yes, Devon. We agreed that when we got the sonograms done we didn't want to know which gender it would be. We wanted to wait for the surprise." Raven said robotically.
"Hey Chelsea," Alexis asked, "Let's go help Raven in the kitchen."
"Why?" Chelsea asked with her head in the clouds.
Alexis pulled her arm and they walked into the kitchen.
"Okay Raven, you want to know if it's a boy or a girl, don't you?" Alexis asked.
Raven took a deep breath and added, "Yeah. But I didn't want to argue with Devon in front of you guys."
"Raven, you have to stand up for yourself. If you want to know the gender, then you find out. Be an independent woman."
"Listen, Alexis, I know you're all feminist and everything, but I'm not like that. I love Devon, and he has some really good reasons for us not to see what the baby is, and I agree. One is when I'm in pain in that labor room, I can occupy myself with thinking of names for when I found out the gender."
"Aren't we supposed to be helping Raven in the kitchen?" Chelsea asked.
"We are helping Raven, and we're in the kitchen," Alexis responded.
"Well, when my mom says to help her in the kitchen, usually we chop up vegetables, and fruits, and Danny's favorite… grapes!" With that, Chelsea burst into tears. Raven and Alexis immediately forgot about their argument and comforted Chelsea.
After a healthy dinner (because Raven was only allowed to eat healthy stuff for the baby), they sat down and talked about the personal things in their life, just like when they were younger.
Chelsea went first, "You know, you guys, there hasn't been a day in the past two years when I haven't thought about Danny. Why doesn't he write? Why doesn't he call? Does he think about me? Is he hiding behind a bunker with a gun on his hand right now, or is he in an army tent gasping for his last breaths of life. Is he already dead, buried, with no tombstone, or not even buried? What if he's just lying on the battle field? Or maybe he's alive and he's coming back right now. That's what goes through my mind every morning when I wake up. I think, 'where is Danny?'"
Eddie replied gently, "Ya know Chels, I think he's just fine right now."
Chelsea smiled, and then it was Devon's turn. "Raven, I know you sort of wanted to look at the sonograms when they came in, but baby, I'm trying to do what's best for us as parents. Seeing your son or daughter, the first day they are born, finding out what gender they are, it all seems too good. I want that. I want you to want that."
Raven smiled, "I do want that. Something that's been on my mind is, well, Devon, I don't want to name our baby after your grandmother or your grandfather. I want something original. I have a lot of names for either gender, honey, and I don't want them to be Jeremiah or Ruth."
Devon nodded. It was Alexis's turn. "Okay guys, when I say friend, I really mean friend. Not like me in anyway. I have this friend, Nina. Now she's been dating this boy for three years, and she really likes him. But he's not making the move she wants him to make. It's like he's not even serious. So Nina decided that, even though she still likes him, she wants to date a guy that will probably take their relationship further than the first one. Does that make sense? Of course it doesn't. Let me re-word this. Nina's dating two guys to see which one will make the right step first. There!" Alexis gasped for breath.
"How come I never met Nina?" Eddie asked.
Alexis laughed. "You probably have, you just weren't paying attention. Like you never do!"
Eddie's turn. "Alright. Well, as you know I'm in the rapping career. I really want it to go bigtime. Otherwise, I'm not going to have enough money for this big project I'm working on. I really want it to look good, and I really want to impress… people. But the people in the music industry are sharks. No one appreciates a good rap these days. I really hope I can make it to the top."
Alexis put her arm around his shoulder, "You mean renovating the apartment?"
"Yeah," Eddie smiled.
After a few more minutes went by, they all got up to leave. Raven took Chelsea aside and asked to talk to her for a few minutes. Chelsea agreed and they stepped into Raven's bedroom.
"Chelsea, I think Eddie's and Alexis's relationship is heading down the drain."
"Aw, don't be silly Ray. Eddie's renovating their apartment."
In a foggy scene, Raven sees Eddie with a ring, about to slide it onto Alexis's finger, but Alexis jerks away. From the look on Alexis's face, Raven could tell that the answer to the four-word question would be "no."
"What did you see Ray?" Chelsea asked perkily.
"Not good, Chelsea. Eddie was proposing to Alexis and she rejected! We can't let this happen to him."
Great cliffhanger, huh? Ok, maybe not. Anyways, I bet you can kinda sorta guess whats going on. Do you think I am rushing the story just a little too much?