A Chance

"It was only that one time. It wasn't even that great." Travis shrugged.

"That's so weird. Most people get addicted to heroin." Annette said. The two were in Annette's room, talking about drugs; it started as health homework, and ended a conversation about personal experience.

"Why, do you know many people who have been?" Travis teased. Annette ignored the question.

"I've just never felt the need to even smoke pot." She shrugged.

"Keep it that way." Travis warned. The two had been together for about a month now. The relationship remained an enigma to everyone around them. How she could not only forgive him, but end up liking him, her family didn't understand; but the two were happy. Travis had been meeting with the psychologist for an hour and a half every day, and he had become almost a completely different person. Now that his father was in jail, and not around to cause fresh pain, all he had left was residual anger. The psychologist was helping him deal with it, and though he was far from cured, his intense desire to stop taking his anger out on others helped him achieve that result. He was still angry, of course, but he was able to deal with it in healthier ways.

"Well what if I didn't want to keep it that way?" Annette teased.

"You'd better." He grinned as he leaned over to kiss her.

"Or what?" She continued. She enjoyed teasing him.

"You don't want to know." He answered, as he kissed her again. They both knew he had no real answer, but it was true that Travis had proven to be protective of her. She didn't mind. She was completely used to a protective nature due to her family.

"Uh huh." She answered, as she deepened the kiss, lying down on the bed, with Travis on top. As if waiting for the least opportune moment, the door opened and in walked Roger, clearing his throat for attention. Travis scrambled to get off Annette, as she shot up.

"Hi, Daddy." She grinned.

"Dinner's ready." He grumbled, glaring at Travis. "Can you be a little less appropriate?" He spat at him, sarcastically, walking out of the room.

"Your dad hates me." Travis sighed.

"No," Annette started, trying to make him feel better, even though he was pretty accurate. "He just--"

"Don't bother," Travis shook his head. "I would hate me too, if I were him. And I'd despise me if I were you."

"Travis--" Annette began, but he cut her off again.

"Don't try to make me feel better, Annette. There's no way you can. I'll never forgive myself for what I did to you and frankly, you shouldn't have either."

"Listen to me." Annette said, grabbing his face in between her hands. "Look, what happened, happened. You had your reasons--"

"No!" Travis interrupted. "No 'reason' is good enough! What I did--"

"Stop!" Annette interjected. "Just stop, okay?! I'm not saying what you did was okay, but it happened! For over a month you've been a completely different person, so can you please just stop beating yourself up over it?! I'm over it, and you should be, too."

"I don't deserve you." He mumbled.

"Please." Annette sighed. "Just relax, okay? For me?"

"Anything, baby." He smiled. She went in to kiss him but was interrupted by her father's shout.

"Annette! Dinner!"

"I'm coming!" She answered, grabbing Travis's hand, as they made their way downstairs.

"Travis, what would you like to drink?" Mimi asked as the two emerged. While Mimi had been completely against the day of the two dating at first, she had made more of an effort at being understanding. Travis had personally apologized to her, and while her motherly instincts would not let her forget what he had done, she had grown to even like him. She almost trusted him, though she remained wary. Roger on the other hand, being the protective father he was, was not so quick to forgive. Nor did he make any attempt to hide it. Annette begged him to be more understanding, but Roger, along with his best friends, took every opportunity they had to throw him a dirty glare. His trust in Annette was the only reason Roger had allowed her to date him in the first place; a decision he regretted once he saw how close the couple had gotten.

"Coke, please." Travis answered. "But I'll help you set the table." He followed Mimi into the kitchen.

"I'm hungry!" Came a voice from the doorway. "Feed me!"

"Get your own food, you bum!" Roger answered his best friend's voice. "What are you even doing here?"

"I got home and there was a note saying Dana had taken the kids to playdates and she was staying with Lacy because she's friends with the girl's mother. Lucas is at Morgan's." Mark said as he emerged into the dining room.

"Well, you're not wanted here." Roger joked.

"I know someone else who's not wanted." Mark muttered as he caught sight of Travis's back through the kitchen doorway.

"Uncle Mark!" Annette protested, grateful Travis hadn't heard the remark.

"Well, he's not." Roger defended his friend.

"Yes, he is, okay?!" Annette said in a low voice, though anger was evident. "I like him and you guys aren't make anything any easier! He already feels bad and I just wish you'd leave him alone!" She turned on her heel and stormed up the stairs. Mark and Roger exchanged a sorrowful look before Roger sighed and went up the stairs.

"Uh, hi, Mr. Cohen." Travis said, coming into the dining room with the plates. "Where'd Annette go?"

"To wash her hands." He lied.

"Oh." Travis said, going back into the kitchen to get the silverware.

"You said something, didn't you?!" Mimi glared at him. Mark shrugged. "Travis, will you bring out another plate?" Mimi called to him, then adding in an undertone. "Not that you deserve to stay for dinner."

"I'm sorry!" Mark said. "But he's not so innocent either!"

"I know!" Mimi murmured. "And so does he! So just leave him alone! All you guys are doing is hurting Annette!"

Mark sighed at the same time Roger did from upstairs. He opened the door to Annette's room and walked in.

"I'm sorry, baby." He said sitting next to her. He felt terrible. It was very rare for the two to fight, but lately, because of Roger's attitude towards Travis, he had given her more reasons to be mad at him. She didn't look up. "I know I've been a little less than tolerant. I'm just worried. I'm your father, and there's no way I can forgive--"

"I'm not asking you, too!" Annette cut in. "I know it's hard for you, and Uncle Mark and Uncle Collins! I know you guys can't understand and I know you can't forgive him; and I know it's because you love me and you care about me and all that. But damn it, Dad, can't you just try to be a little nicer?! He already feels bad enough! He's convinced that he doesn't deserve me--"

"Well, he doesn't!"

"He's not a bad guy, Dad! He's changed! Look, please, I really like him, and you're just gonna drive him away. I know you trust me; and I trust him. So, please, just make a little effort!"

"Okay." Roger seceded. I'll try to be nicer. But just so you know, I don't think anyone's good enough for you.

"I know." Annette sighed, rolling her eyes.

"I'm sorry." Roger said, hugging his daughter.

"Roger! Annette! Can we please eat?!" Mimi's voice came from downstairs.

"Let's go." Roger chuckled. "Before Mark eats all the food." The two went downstairs and sat down at the table.

"Mark, I don't recall asking you to stay." Roger teased.

"Roger, I don't recall asking you to speak." Mark shot back.

"Okay, children, let's behave." Mimi rolled her eyes.

After dinner, Travis and Annette went back up to her room and as they were finishing up their homework, Mark knocked on the door and walked in.

"Hey, Annette, can I speak to your for a second?" He asked, standing in the doorway. Annette nodded, and followed him out.

"I just wanted to apologize for what I said before. Not that I take it back. As your uncle, I don't pretend to like him. But I don't like having you mad at me. Besides, your father will kick my ass if I piss you off." He joked.

"Oh, so you apologize out of fear of my dad." Annette teased.

"No." Mark chuckled. "I'm sorry I upset you. But I do reserve my godfatherly right to not like him."

"Godfatherly right." Annette mumbled. "That's for sure not a word."

"Well, it is, now!" Mark protested.

"Whatever, Uncle Mark." Annette laughed.

"Good night, baby." Mark said kissing her forehead. "I'll see you tomorrow."

"'Night, Uncle Mark."

Annette went back to her room, pleased. She knew that she couldn't make her family all of a sudden love her boyfriend, especially not her protective father and uncles; but at least they were trying, and that was a start.

A/N: So, it's funny that I never finished this story, since I actually had the ending before I had the beginning. But I was watching Rent today for the first time in a while and I decided I should finish it. So here's the next chapter, with more to come soon.