Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, shape or form, own the Baby Sitters Club or any of the characters mentioned hereafter. Everything, unfortunately, belongs to Ann M. Martin. Pout.

Authors Note: This takes place during the older BSC members Senior Year. I'm thinking it'll be the first story in a variety of stories revolving around different characters, but it really depends on how much my interest keeps up. Hope you enjoy!

First Steps

"Alright, Krushers, bring it in!" Kristy Thomas yelled, adjusting her baseball cap as the kids ran towards her. Even with the brim pulled down almost over her eyebrows, she squinted in the bright afternoon sunlight. As the kids crowded around her, she knelt down onto the ground, staring each in the eye, a smile on her face. "That really was an excellent practice today. All of you have really improved…"

I zoned out as she gave her typical after-practice spiel, closing my eyes as I let the warm sun beat down on my face. I loved summer days like this, with clear blue skies and low pollen count…perfect for people with allergies, like myself. Though, I have to admit, ever since I was given some heavy duty allergy medication, my allergies haven't been as terrible. I still have to wear a mask for days with really high pollen counts and when going through some major dusting but it's definitely an improvement. Of course, anything was an improvement to the pre-medication days, when I could barely walk around without sneezing, wheezing, sniffing, and generally being difficult to understand.

As Kristy continued droning on, I rolled my eyes slightly, glad that she didn't notice. The last thing I needed was a lecture from her about proper etiquette when it came to her giving a long-winded speech, a feat that she managed to excel at no matter the circumstances.

Don't get me wrong. Kristy and I were pretty good friends, even if I thought deep down, she was still slightly mad at me for leaving the BSC back in eighth grade. But sometimes, she still had the tendency to go slightly overboard with her pushy attitude. Those were usually the times I gave excuses for needing to be elsewhere. She understood.

Hopefully

Kristy blew her whistle suddenly, startling me out of my revelry. The Krushers immediately began chatting amongst themselves, dropping the bats and balls that they had been holding as they started towards the park. Smiling as the kids ran to their next activity, I turned my attention back to her. "Do you think they even listen to your speech?"

"Of course they do!" Kristy replied indignantly as she hustled over to me. Even though she wasn't activitely participating on any teams at Stoneybrook High School, the athlete in her never rests. Pausing, she scrunched her nose as she admitted, "Well…maybe they don't listen to all of it. But I think they catch the important parts, so that's all that matters. I guess."

I laughed at the reluctance in Kristy's tone of voice, knowing how hard it was for her to admit that anyone, even kids, weren't always listening to everything she said. We walked slowly across the grass, carefully picking up the extra balls and equipment that the Krushers had carelessly tossed to the ground. Shaking my head at her in exasperation, I said, "Kristy, they're kids. Kids by nature don't listen to everything anyone says. It's not something to get all annoyed about."

"I am not annoyed," she retorted. Reaching down to pick up a handful of balls, I arched an eyebrow meaningfully at her. She looked at me sheepishly as she replied. "Okay, maybe I am a little. But what do you expect?"

"Fair point," I grinned, crossing my eyes slightly at her. "You are Kristy Thomas, after all."

Sticking her tongue out at me as she punched me on the bicep, she grumbled, "Like you're one to talk, Abby. You like to talk just as much as I do."

I shrugged, not responding to the comment as we lugged the equipment to the back of her Jeep Cherokee. We quickly threw the equipment into the Jeep, and I sighed in relief at having the job finished. As I started towards my Beemer, Kristy called out, "Hey, Abby? Are you doing anything? We could stop by the Rosebud and pick up some food."

Shaking my head in the negative, I said, "Can't. I'm picking up Stace and Dawn and we're heading over to the mall for, and I quote, 'some hard core shopping.' Which could actually be a depressing afternoon. But as long as they let me stop at Dick's, I'll be good."

"Oh," Kristy said, the disappointment in her voice obvious. Faking a smile, she waved to me as she got into her Jeep. "See ya!"

I stand outside my Beemer for a moment as I watch Kristy drive off. I knew it bothered her that I get along so well with Stacey and Dawn, while she barely talked to them anymore. In fact, I think it bothered her that I hung around more of the girls from the old BSC more than she did. But that's life. Constantly changing, even when you're not ready.

I shrugged and climbed into my car, putting the convertible top down. Running my hands lovingly over the steering wheel, I thought for a moment that as much as I usually hated it, having an absentee mom could sometimes be kinda cool. Especially when it involved me getting kick-ass cars like that. I don't really like to brag, but my car is the hottest one at SHS. And even though Stacey always bitched about her hair getting messed up from having the top down, I knew she loved it. Especially since it got all of us a lot of attention.

As my car came to life, I screeched out of the parking lot, the radio blaring Aretha out of the speakers. Barely glancing at the seat next to me, I grabbed for my cell phone, punching in the speed dial as quickly as I could. Turning down the music a bit, I grinned as Stacey answered, rolling my eyes at the huskiness of her voice.

"Chill, Stace," I smirked, turning towards her street. "It's only me. No need for you to use your sexy voice."

"Oh," she said in disappointment, and I could imagine the pout on her face. "I was hoping it was Ethan calling back. He said he could give me a call sometime today."

I snorted lightly as I stopped haltingly at the stop sigh, rolling my eyes. Stacey and Ethan have been the epitome of an on/off relationship. I honestly could not remember the number of times they had broken up, only to have a total snogfest the next time she was in New York visiting her dad. Then, before you knew it, they were having an argument and breaking up again, with Stacey swearing that this time, it was really over. Chalking it up to her still being Boy-Crazy Stacey, I let her do what she wanted. I mean, it's not up to me to decide other people's lives.

"Forget about him," I advised as I pulled into her driveway and blared the horn. "In case you couldn't tell, I'm already sitting in your driveway, awaiting the torture that is shopping with you and Dawn."

"We'll be out in a few," she said as she hung up. Leaning back comfortably in the drivers seat, I turned the music back up as I waited.

If anyone would have told me in eighth grade that I would end up being best friends with Stacey and Dawn, I would have laughed until my gut exploded. Stacey and I were really different and I barely even knew Dawn, other than a few chance meetings. But high school changed all of that. Since my mom was barely home, I became known as 'the girl that likes to throw parties.' Plus, I was a freshman who started on the Varsity soccer team. Somehow, I ended up being pretty popular. Since Stacey was dating a junior football player, our paths basically ended up crossing a lot and we started hanging out.

Flash-forward to junior year when Dawn transferred to Stoneybrook High, because her parents agreed that she didn't need the "casual attitude of her fellow students" in Cali. Except that she was actually asked to not return to the high school for staging a demonstration against the cafeteria food. A demonstration that not only involved holding up pictures of animals being butchered, but had a final crescendo of her and a couple other students storming the kitchen. Her dad and her step-mom definitely did not appreciate the call from the school, since it ended up with her being asked not to come back.

The drugs probably didn't help either.

But anyway, she ended up moving back to Stoneybrook and because of her good looks and because of her enormous chest, ended up in the same crowd as Stacey and I. Since she kind of knew us and hated the other girls, she joined our little twosome. And there it is. History in the making.

"Ready for some hard core shopping?" Stacey said as she and Dawn breezed out of her front door and piled unceremoniously into my car. As per usual, Stacey was the epitome of perfection. Now that she'd given up on the perms – finally – her hair was perfectly styled in blonde waves that cascaded around her shoulders, framing her perfectly made up face. She wore a tiny denim skirt that sat low on her hips, capped off by a maroon camisole decorated with gold trimming. Adding to that was a pair of gold sandals and a gold purse. No wonder the guys at school went crazy over her.

I groaned dramatically, putting my head on the steering wheel. "I can't believe you guys convinced me to go shopping with you. I hate shopping. Almost as much as I hate math."

"Don't be a hater," Stacey shot back, pulling out a compact and checking her make-up. "There is nothing wrong with shopping or math."

"As long as there isn't any leather involved in the shopping," Dawn called out from the backseat, stretching her long, tanned legs across the entire length of the back. "Or fur. I don't care how in it is this season, Stace, I refuse to be around while you purchase a poor dead animal."

Stacey and I rolled our eyes almost simultaneously as I lifted my head up from the steering wheel and backed out of the driveway. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Stacey commented, "Only a week until school starts back up again."

Slamming my car to a halt, I turned to her and glared. "Why did you have to bring that up? I was enjoying one of my last days of freedom. Now you have to go and ruin it by mentioning the place where I'm going to spend days crammed into a stuffy building. Thanks a lot."

"You're so melodramatic, Abby," Dawn commented nonchalantly from the back as she grabbed a random hair tie and threw her long, blonde hair into a ponytail. "It's not that big of a deal. Only one more year and it's over. And we're going to be seniors. Just go with it."

"Yes, Miss California Casual," I teased, grinning at her through the rearview mirror. She shook her head at me and leaned back against the leather interior, closing her eyes as she let the wind blow through her hair. I bet she was wishing she was back in California.

Over the din of the music, I could hear the familiar tune of my cell phone ringing. I grabbed it quickly, frowning as I looked at the caller ID.

It was my mom.

Shrugging, I threw the phone back onto the seat next to me, knowing she would leave a message. She was probably just calling to tell me that she wouldn't be home for dinner, as usual. I made a mental note to call Anna after we got to the mall, to see what her plans for later were. Even if mom decided that work was more important than us, we could at least have dinner together. Overall, my day would be perfect.

If only I could have gotten out out of the shopping.