A Confession Gone Awry
The waiting room party eagerly anticipates further information on Ash Ketchum, who just woke up from his coma. More tests need to be completed but during that time, Jessie and Delia ponder what would cause someone to make such a vicious attack on their loved one. Ash awaits for the time when he can call the authorities and make good on his promise to purgatory guide Neewteb-Ni and turn himself into police.
Johanna, through coaxing by Kenny, gives up the cell phone number to Dawn. Bryan questions these actions but the process is virtually out of his hands because of Johanna strategizing a way for everyone to get what they want. Bryan begins to internally show some sympathy for Kenny because he continues to use drugs while getting the key information from Dawn's mother.
Before meeting Jo-Jo and Adman, Zoey and Dawn come across Rocky who expresses fears of coming out and then apologizes for how she's treated Dawn in the past week. The meeting with the Neales is an emotional one, but Zoey and Dawn ultimately decided not to back down or give into innuendos. Even when they suggest a thirty-day break, they remain firm and ultimately aim to disobey Jo-Jo and Adman. They express their disappointment and aim to leave the property, but the call comes to Dawn from Kenny who is ready to confront his former friend at last.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Pokemon, a creation of one Satoshi Tajiri, and is produced domestically (in the United States) by Pokemon USA/The Pokemon Company, and internationally by Shogakukan and OLM. I personally own nothing and make nothing by writing this. Please do not flame.
(Chapter 28- Vacation Part 12: Never Truly Fighting Alone)
The situation she finds herself in is certainly no game. Reaching down to pick up the phone does, however, feel like playing a round of hot potato as Dawn makes sure to not make any sudden moves as if the object would jump up and bite her at a moment's notice. Jo-Jo, Adman and Zoey don't really know what to make of the call as the unrelated made no mention as to who was on the other line and who caused her to fall into a momentary but obvious state of shock.
She refused to deny the voice of the person on the other end of the line, though. For four years, Dawn was unable to get it out of her thoughts. Finally she has no choice but to go ear to mouth and face this voice of Kenny Dalton who's been a thorn at her side since his trial completely exonerated her and sent him to jail for more than two years. She must face the voice that's given her chills since her days as a full-fledged addict.
Dawn can't live in fear anymore. She's made that decision by deciding to keep going with Zoey and to not be afraid of what others think. She can't control it, but this is a product of her own actions and because of that, despite the curious stares of the Neales, Dawn aims to fix this.
Bringing the receiver back to her mouth, she begins, saying firmly, "You have a lot of goddamn nerve calling this number, Kenny. Speaking of which, how in the world did you even get this number? How did you get to use the phone if you're supposed to be under house arrest, huh?"
"Well the first thing you have to admit, Dawn," Kenny responds while he watches Dawn's parents cringe on Johanna's couch knowing that he's gotten in contact with their only child, "is that you're asking me a very loaded question. You have to understand that I'm not all that used to answering questions as much as I am taking orders and doing as I was told lest I suffer dire consequences and found myself at the mercy of burly men with guns. You can imagine how drab a life that can be and how I can miss a few important points in translation.
"So maybe I do have nerve and maybe I do have every reason to be back behind the bars you and your mother intentionally put me behind almost three years ago. Maybe I am crazy to think justice can be served and those who do wrong get punished for it even at the expense of those who do perpetrate an even greater wrong. Maybe I'm just living on borrowed time after being on suicide watch and throwing up at the mere thought of getting to speak to you again and making sure that the truth is told and not some fabrication in the name of womanhood, mother-daughter bondage or whatever bullshit Johanna likes to spew to claim that her precious daughter was not as out there and as fucked up as I know she was.
"Maybe I should be the one who should be asking you these questions, Dawn," Kenny concludes. "After all, I've been biding my time. It's you and your alleged saint of a mother who have been dragging their damn feet for so long, but those days are coming to a halt if I have anything to say about it."
"Why aren't you under house arrest, Kenny? If you're as fucking slow as you claim to be from so many years behind bars, then we'll start slow and I'll ask you questions one by one. Now, I reiterate, why aren't you under house arrest according to the details of your court-ordered sentence?"
"Well, just like I told a certain someone, that shit is not for me, Dawn," he answers with no reservations. "More time added on because they feel like it? They happened to be on their cycle that day and I was their punching bag? No, fuck that. My sentence was for twenty-seven months and that's exactly what I did, so I am free from their tyranny and now it's just a matter of taking care of unfinished business. It's time to right a few wrongs if do I say so myself."
"If I call the police on your sorry ass, you'll have no business to take care of, Kenny. It'll be over for you if you think you can just reign over me making up these idle threats," Dawn responds, ironically as a threat herself because there are ways to go about this that she isn't sure of offhand.
While she's in this deep conversation with her ex-boyfriend, Zoey, Jo-Jo and Adman all look on with intrigue and wonder if Dawn is in need of some help on the phone.
She looks angry; that much goes without saying as the Twinleaf native turns red in the face while she paces back and forth in the master bedroom of Zoey's home with little to no regard for those around her as she continues to listen to her former friends' words.
Zoey finds herself torn in the middle of a personal, emotional tug-of-war as she watches Dawn deal with whoever is on the phone while her parents' hands also appear tied as the threesome split time looking between Dawn and themselves unsure of what direction to take.
If everything was on the up and up between daughter and parents the two would probably interject into Dawn's phone conversation the minute she yelled, screamed or said anything out of character over her cell phone. At this point, however, things are far from good between the three as right before Dawn received this mysterious phone call, Zoey vowed to go against the wishes of her mom and dad and not take a break from her girlfriend no matter what they said or did.
It's obvious that while they love her no matter what, Zoey's folks don't take too kindly to her decision and were about to leave the grounds until this phone call came out of the blue. What would it mean to Zoey if she again decides to take another step towards redemption from her actions not that long ago? It would mark another notch of disobedience on her ever growing belt of independence, but none of that means much to her if she doesn't accomplish anything through it and the people surrounding her don't see that it was truly for the best.
"Now you listen to me you little shit!" Dawn interjects, shocking the three in the room and breaking Zoey's chain of thought as far as whether to jump into the present problem or not. Despite the profane acid overflowing through her and, from Zoey's vantage point, her girlfriend's skin getting even redder, Dawn doesn't miss a beat. "If you think you can just order me along like it's the year 2008 all over again, you're wrong and you're gonna end up with a rude awakening if you think I'm just going to agree to what you say because you claim to have something on me. You don't have shit on me except old, dry, dead stories that no one with a life gives a fuck about."
"You were there with me and you should've gone to prison right along with me," Kenny easily replies. "Do you think I'd just let a lawbreaker continue to walk around like nothing's the matter? You're sorely mistaken."
"You won't let me walk around anymore," Dawn retorts with gritted expression, "because you couldn't imagine taking all of that deserved pain without your companion feeling some of it, too, but allow me the opportunity to show you, again, how truly full of shit you are. For one, you fucking son of a bitch, you dragged me into that hell. For that sin, you deserved every goddamn thing you got in there. Whether you lost your virginity, had to clean up someone's blood after an incident gone bad, or sucked dicks for compassion's sake I don't give a shit. You earned all of that, Kenny. Why would I stand time for you turning me into that life? You were quite smart in school, so go ahead. Explain that for me."
"Frankly, you wallowed in your own piss and shit for years," Kenny speaks right back to his childhood friend, "and there is nothing you, I, your mother or anyone else can say about that, Dawn. You were weak, Dee-Dee; terribly weak and in constant need of someone to care for you and tell you that everything is okay. Hell, you still are weak. I don't have to see you face to face to know that people don't change; things change. Places change, too, but not people. After all Dawn," he pauses holding back a snort and smiling a bit before asking, "isn't that the reason why you're hiding out in the Seafoam Islands with your new piece, Zoey Neale?"
The world could signal the beginning of the end right then and there. The foundations holding the island and its many inhabitants could shake to its core leading to a natural disaster and tragedy, but none of that would matter. Kenny just rocked her foundation to its core and right now, Dawn is after blood. "You know what, screw you and I mean every fucking bit of that, too! Fuck you and fuck your idle, good for nothing threats! They don't mean shit to me and neither do you!"
"All right, I've heard enough!" Zoey yells walking towards Dawn asking her for the phone so she can give this person, she can only assume is Kenny Dalton, a piece of her mind.
Dawn, despite the concern shown for her by Zoey, refuses to relinquish the phone. "Zoey, I appreciate it, but I don't want you wrapped up into my past bullshit, you understand?"
"No buts, okay?" she adamantly but rhetorically asks Zoey. "I'm serious about this and I need to fight my own battle. Besides—actually hang on a second," she says to the three in her room as she brings the receiver back to her mouth and tells Kenny "Stay on the line for now. This conversation is far from over. Do you understand?"
"I had no intention of stopping myself," he speaks from his phone. "Besides, why quit while you're ahead, huh?"
Bringing the phone down to the side of her waist, she irks out the words, "Fucking asshole," before turning her attention back to the Neales. "Listen, you three; I appreciate your concern, but this is a matter I just need to handle on my own."
"Not true, Dawn, and you know it!" Zoey angrily shouts. "I heard you on there just now! That was Kenny and you acted stark raving mad like it was Kenny just thinking of all the shit he put you through. You don't have to go through any of that alone. Trust me; I'm not going anywhere…"
"Goddamn it, Zoey! Stop!" she retaliates with her own just as powerful scream. "Did you hear a single word of what I just said to you? I'm not dragging you through my mess! I refuse to drag your parents and relatives, who've all been so welcoming these past several days, into a problem caused by Dawn Berlitz. No! I refuse to carry that burden on my shoulders. The people Kenny has behind him are dangerous and…I just need to close this chapter and move on because now he's touching you, Zoey, and he's touching your family. This is serious shit and I know how he works. He won't stop until he gets what he wants."
"But, Dawn, didn't you just say that he was making idle threats over the phone?"
"That was for posturing, Zoey. Don't you know? He can't do anything if I let him, right? I'm in control of this situation as far as I'm concerned and there is nothing he can do to stop that. So, I'm gonna go somewhere else and handle this or…"
"No, to be honest," Adman says, interrupting Dawn and breaking the silence from his end, "if you bring that conversation out there, you might draw some unwanted attention and I'm sure you don't want that given the situation, right? Stay in here as long as you need to and we'll make sure you can have your conversation in peace."
Adman was on point with his question. Dawn was not quite ready to reveal all, though that moment would soon come and she wasn't ignorant to that reality. Despite that, if she were loud enough, people who she isn't familiar with might know her most intimate details. Despite her vow to be more open to the people she's closest to, she can still hold some privacy in that regard.
"Dad, that's all well and good," Zoey admits, "but Dawn if you need any help dealing with that S.O.B. on the other end of the line, then don't fear speaking out. Like I told you, and I mean this with all the sincerity in the world, you aren't fighting this alone. You have all of us and we will help you if you need it, but we will respect your wishes if you want to be left alone."
"You'll let me stay here and handle this?"
"That's if you want it, Dawn," Jo-Jo adds. "If it means this dark chapter in your life gets closed once and for all, you have my blessing to do what you need to within reason. We'll leave you alone right now, in fact."
"I really appreciate this, you three," Dawn speaks while she gives all of them a hug and Zoey two kisses while they exit Jo-Jo and Adman's room, closing the door behind them.
Once they're out of the way, she gets back to her conversation by saying, "Hey, Kenny! I'm back."
"Well, isn't that special?" Kenny rhetorically asks. "I was just thinking about calling you back…"
"And as you can tell, there is no need for that. Now what the hell do you want from me? Make it plain like the day is blue."
"The first thing I should note," Kenny says while he circles his way around Dawn's parents, "is that I'm not interested in making any threats not worth carrying out to fruition. I said that you're a coward and you hiding behind Zoey for the past several days indicated just what I said. Why would you blow up over me telling the truth unless you aim to defend the person who gave you a roof over your head, comfort and…perhaps much more in return for your affection? Let's face it; Zoey's just another sucker in a long line of sweets."
"Bullshit, Kenny! You wouldn't say any of that if you got to see us, but that's beside the point. Stay your ass on point, Kenny, and tell me why you're calling me out of the blue like this, because I'm quite curious and would think there'd also be a law against having contact with me post-sentence."
"Again, I've done my time and don't see the point of these post-punishments. You, in the midst of my struggles, however, have lived the life and I don't think that's fair, Dawn. You were dealing right there with me, after all. You might be the angel in your mother's eyes because she's in such denial, but you were just as wretched and in as much turmoil as the next one up.
"What really made you so special, Dawn? You had a mother that made sure to give you respect and reverence in your time of need? Well mom and dad were there for me, too. They loved me, they gave me all that I needed and thought I wanted, but there was a difference. I didn't come back to them a hero of the Sinnoh region. Things didn't work out in my Pokémon coordinating career. It happens and I can't change that. Despite it all, it wasn't in my best interest to come back broke, disappointed, feeling sorry for myself and nothing to show for three and a half years of effort after getting caught in a doping scandal because I was dumb and just wanted to do better in my craft."
As Dawn's father Bryan looks on feeling as if he were a barrel of nerves going through a period of electric therapy, Kenny just jolted his memory as Bryan used coordinating telecasts to keep up with his daughter's progress due to the fact that he couldn't see her as per Johanna's court order. During that time, he did hear of a few coordinators banned from the sport for life because of positive drug tests on their Pokémon. Among the stories he heard were appeals to the contest officials to reconsider their bans, all of which were to no avail, but at no point did he hear if Kenny or anyone else he knew was among those named in the ban until today.
Most every fiber in his being tells him that he shouldn't fear this young teen barging into what was his house and making orders in this manner. That he should get up from this couch and do the so-called manly deed. That he should take the gun from Kenny and assert himself on this ambitious yet once-bitten felon. That he should then proceed to grab that phone and tell Dawn that daddy's here and won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
These are all the things Bryan should do, yet Johanna has kept him from going that route and, yet again, he sees a lot of himself in Kenny and believes that despite the bravado, there is a kid inside their screaming out for some help during trying times.
"I couldn't come back home after that," Kenny informed Dawn. "I was an embarrassment of the highest order, so I didn't even bother wasting my time with that sorry exercise. Yeah, I cheated. I wanted an advantage like no one's business. It cost me, so I went back to them for help."
"I'll say to you this," Dawn says, not knowing or caring if she interrupted Kenny, "You sound like the biggest hypocrite on earth right now because you talk about me being weak, but what does that say about you when you go back to the same people who cost you your coordinating career, left you feeling naked in the crowd, got you in prison yet you go back to them? Who's the hypocrite, Kenny? Yeah, why don't you cry me a river while you're at it, too? You cheated and you got caught. You did drugs and you got caught. You dealt drugs and you got caught. That's what happens when you do the wrong thing. What? You really want people to have sympathy and mercy for you? If that's the case, then you'll really be in for a rude awakening sooner than later."
"But what does that say about you, Dawn?" Kenny questions. "I got caught, and you didn't get caught. You had your mother there to help you, she had her lawyers there and that's the reason you got off scot-free. I couldn't have wished upon any of that much needed shit even if I had a shining star in my fucking back pocket! You cheated the system, you argued the role of the victim and you duped the judge and jury. Far from a great measure of your character by any stretch of the imagination, but you did it and that's why I'm back, and that's why I'm calling you because I have enough evidence to know that you dealt drugs behind my back and did it with no feeling of pressure or threat on my part.
"You did it because you loved it, wanted to impress me and, as usual, didn't know where else to turn. Weak as always, and still clasped onto mama's tit because that's all you'll ever care to know. You'll never stand on your own two feet. That's why Johanna did what she did for you; you can't handle real life…at least not without some incentives along the way. It's pathetic and sooner than later, I swear to whatever God or gods exist, you'll get your reality check, because I'll be damned if I go down alone because someone played the game a little better than me when it counted the most."
"You know, you keep bringing up my mother in all of this, but what I have to wonder is why? You're calling from my mother's phone, meaning you're calling from my mother's house." Weighing her next words carefully, Dawn gathers the inner strength to say, "I don't know what kind of mind games you're playing, but if you think holding my mother hostage will be reason for me to get what you want, you're sorely mistaken, Kenny. Sorely, sorely mistaken."
The truth being what it is Dawn would describe her mood at the moment as frightened. The phone number Kenny used was the same one she used to call home. What would this mean for the health and safety of her mom? She wouldn't know. How could she believe her greatest adversary and take him for word even when he constantly claims that he's not interested in playing games?
Dawn has to be brave and show unquestionable resolve under fire. Such actions will speak to Kenny and no doubt get him to listen to her. Beyond these facts, one unknown remains in the top coordinator's head in the well-being of the most important person throughout her life.
In an attempt to get some answers out of her former friend, she uses some psychology to play to the desires of this mental case and come to some settlement. "What the hell do you want from me, Kenny? What I mean by that before you answer is what do you want from me right now? What do you expect me to do right now with me in the Seafoam Islands and you in Twinleaf Town? Do you have any idea how long a drive that is?"
"Well, maybe you can find out and come here as soon as you can," Kenny figures. "While you come back home, on your own, by the way, you can think about the feeling of coming into your womanhood at last and start finally being honest with yourself and your life."
"Don't try to act like you're on some sort of moral high horse, Kenny," Dawn warns the young man. "It's bad enough that you've done God only knows what to use my mom's phone as a ruse to call me, but now I'm worried. Where is my mother? Damn it; tell me what you've done to her!"
"Nothing," he laconically admits. "She's sitting right here on the couch right now. I could easily put her on the phone, but…it's difficult for me to do that in my position. You have to understand where I'm coming from, Dawn. You have something that I want and now, it seems, I have something you want.
"You couldn't hold it in long enough the fact that you're worried about Johanna. I'd be if I were in the same position, but for now the ball is in your court. Can we help one another out with this? I want to talk. Right now, I might talk a great game, but that's all I want is to talk. When we figure out how to do that one on one, face to face, your role in my prison sentence and the drugs…we'll handle all that later. All I have at this point is time, so I cherish the seconds I get to have here and when we meet again. If I hurt you, your mother or anyone else, what do you think that's gonna solve? Absolutely nothing. So as pissed off as I am at the two of you, I need to compose myself, because it means I can finally get what I want. All secrets have a way of rising to the surface, Dawn Berlitz. I hope you realize that that's not Kenny talking; that's just the way it is."
That's one thing Dawn doesn't need to be told twice. For it, she nearly lost her life, her freedom and the one person who truly caused a click within her psyche. Kenny might be telling the truth about secrets, but to think that in no way people can change is a ludicrous assertion on his part.
Dawn serves as testimony to this newfound belief as Zoey changed her for the better and showed her an existence that may not have been a bed of roses or eternal, bright sunshine, but within revealed authenticity not found in her previous relationships. It's been a week, some might argue and rightfully so, but there are times when the body and the mind give way to a greater power within to affect the thought process and in turn form the catalyst for change that the young man in Twinleaf claims is a fallacy.
She wonders if someone could've just loved him more or given Kenny the affection he deserved in his formative years. Maybe something would've changed then thereby changing his opinion and perhaps altering their history to the point they aren't challenging one another on these humanistic levels. Dawn can't linger on the 'what ifs' right now, however. The proverbial gauntlet has been thrown down to the ground and she must decide what to do from here.
The decision is a far-reaching one, but Dawn has no qualms about reaching just a little further to make sure Kenny isn't bluffing. "Would you please put my mother on the line? I'd like to speak to her now."
"Will you give me your word," Kenny retorts, "that you'll come here as soon as you can? I'm talking no excuses and no exceptions. I want to see you in no less than eighteen hours after we end this conversation on the phone. If you say yes, I'll put your mother on the phone right now and you can talk to her for as long as you wish." A drawing of a seething countenance would accurately exhibit the look of the young Dalton at the moment as he eyes down at Johanna while speaking to her only child.
One wouldn't blame him for not being overly excited at the thought of handing the phone off to Johanna right now. Given that he'll lose a handle on this conversation, he needs to make sure that everyone around him, even those as far away as the Kanto region, know that he's in control of this situation. "I want you to know this as a condition of speaking with your mother, however. If I so much as get an inkling that you, her or anyone else is plotting to have the authorities involved in this matter, well, the next place you'll see your mother…will be the municipal morgue."
Where do the emotions go upon hearing such a statement? Dawn gasps at the thought of Kenny actually being serious as this is the first time she heard Kenny threaten someone's life on the phone line. She wants to believe he's just trying to scare her, but she can't take this as a joke, especially not when he's obviously at the house and done who knows what just to get to this point and get her number.
Wanting to reply back to that threat, which she now dare not call idle after putting the pieces of the puzzle together, she opens her mouth, but then hears another voice on the other end, saying, "That's really crossing the line, Kenny! Threatening someone's life to get a point across and to get someone to follow your lead? When will it stop?"
It was faint, but she knew it wasn't her mom and certainly knew it wasn't Kenny, his voice still containing a higher pitch compared to most sixteen-year-old males. No, this voice was quite deeper. It certainly was the faint but obvious voice of an older man, but who was this guy? The way it sounded, he got caught up in this mess and couldn't find a way out. Maybe he wasn't supposed to be there. After all, her mom never evidenced bringing foreign men into the house with the lone exception being those who'd help her with matters of the home, insurance or other external needs and wants.
Dawn wants to know, and asks, "Kenny, who was that?" but on the other end of the line, she heard a thump similar to someone testing a microphone.
From there, a faint voice yells "Shut up, Bryan!" away from the receiver. "Nothing will happen to either of you if you don't want it to, so take a page from your ex-wife and just do what the fuck I say!"
She needs to sit down. "No," she speaks, though not into her phone. Now she's grabbing her forehead with her left hand feeling a sudden headache hitting her fiercely. It couldn't be after all these years, but apparently Kenny inadvertently let the cat out the bag, revealing that not only is he holding Dawn's mother hostage, but also her estranged father. "How?" she wonders. "Why?" What would he being doing suddenly reentering her life in this most unusual of circumstances? Why did he show up at her home around this time when she's not there? She wants answers and wants this story to come to an end for good, but where could she possibly begin?
A few pictures, some faint memories dating back to her preschool and kindergarten days, but that's all she has of her biological father, Bryan Berlitz. She has no explanation of why he left other than his mother saying that he had no choice but to go and 'go' he went not showing up in Dawn's life again. No photos, no letters, no phone calls; not even carrying pigeons got to Dawn. Her father might as well have fallen off the end of the earth. Now, not only has he suddenly risen again like the bright and morning star, he's apparently caught up in her web of debauchery and deceit. How unfortunate could one be to find herself in such a deep morass yet have the figurative mud continuously rain over her while her bed suddenly feels much like sinking sand.
Her solid rock eroded in the midst of this new foundation. Despite her newest shock, Dawn can't worry about herself too much as she gets up from her temporary seat and yells to Kenny, "Leave them alone, goddamn it! You want me, Kenny, not them so stop it! Look, I'll come see you. You have my word, all right? Now let me talk to my mother, please."
"Give me a second and I'll put her on the line. Just hold tight." Kenny pulls the phone away from him to look down at Johanna and then bring the phone close to her. "When you talk to her, just remember that she's agreed to come here. Nothing you say or do will change that, so don't waste your damn time. Along with that, refrain from any discussions on the authorities for the reasons I just spoke to your daughter about. Take as much time as you want, but when you're done I want to speak with her again. Do you understand?"
Sighing, Johanna is unknowingly in the same boat as her daughter in that she just wants to hear from Dawn. The situation with her hostage taker is what it is, but she hasn't heard from her only child in a while. Though she relented at first with Kenny, she couldn't hold it in forever. Despite the misgivings of her ex-husband, it does her conscience well to know that her daughter is at least at peace with her decision.
Grabbing the phone from Kenny, she's not prepared to see him immediately sit next to her with his pistol in hand, pointing it near her side. Shaking her head, she sincerely asks him, "Is that really fucking necessary?"
"I told you," he reiterates, "outside of any funny business, you can talk with her about whatever you want; you can even bash me, because I'm not above such criticisms, but if you two are plotting to turn me in, I will turn you off. Now go ahead. Dawn's waiting."
Another shake of the head signals to Kenny her displeasure for this move on his part. He's already made his point crystal clear. Why go this route if some doubt of his objectives didn't exist? That is something she can parse later, but for now Johanna takes a deep breath and says, "Hello, Dawn."
"Hey, mom," she replies finding it difficult to keep the tears in for different reasons. "It's so good to hear from you."
"Same here," Johanna acquiesces. "Listen, I want you to know that I don't believe anything Kenny said about you just now. You are very brave and you have changed into quite the young woman. You've…even overwhelmed me with some of the changes, but I guess those were some I had to expect in some form or fashion. You're still growing and I just look foward to see what happens next. You've got enough maturity to determine this direction to go in this…bunk. That ought to say something about you and I trust that you know what you're doing once you get here. Look, I know it hasn't been a model childhood, Dawn. Some of that was my fault. I was in denial about the drugs," she admits while her voice breaks and Bryan watches this verbal catharsis take place.
He silently salutes his ex-wife for having the humility to admit that, "I thought that a quick fix, some money and some tough love would do the trick. Well, I was wrong, Dawn. Do you hear me? There were times where I let you get loose when it would've done both of us a world of good if I would've took you in and wrapped you in my arms not daring to let go for any reason." At this point, she's in tears but Johanna is not finished with her admissions.
"I'm sorry for not at least seeing you face to face during the breakup with Paul. Now that I think about it, that's got to be one of the most disheartening things for a young teen to hear. Why the hell would I just tell you that life goes on and that there are other fishes in the sea? Why wouldn't I be uplifting you at all? I don't—I can't speak on all my missteps as a single parent here over the phone, but the fact that we're here and…there's still a chance for us to be the best family we can be means that this story isn't over. It can have a happy ending if we truly work on it. History is a stone tablet, but I'm willing to continue with a clean slate."
"I want to do that, too, mom," Dawn admits. "It's not your fault that I got caught up in mess after mess. You did a fine job even if you didn't have a lot of help and I appreciate all that you've done for me. I believe in all of that and I believe that there is a power inside us to change and a desire much the same. I want to move forward, but I need to go back for just a moment and I want to know about…my father."
Dawn left it at that for a few seconds and puts the ball in Johanna's court as far as where to take her most recent words. There's silence and then the daughter hears a few deep breaths and gets the sense that this might be an area where she needs to push. "Mom…"
"Listen, Dawn," Johanna unconsciously reacts.
"No, this isn't something I'm willing to let slide, mom!" she immediately speaks, laying down the line for her mother. "Parenting issues are what they are. Your problems and my problems are what they are, but I know he's there! Kenny mentioned a Bryan Berlitz over the phone. What are the odds, mom? I'm not gonna be the only one with feet directly held to the fire today if I have to make a ten hour drive back home to Twinleaf once I get off this goddamn phone. Did it ever occur to you that after twelve years a girl might have some questions about her father that deserve a much better answer than 'Ask me when you get older.' Please, I…hate to imagine it, but I get the sense from what you're saying that you had something to do with my father not being in my life."
"I'm not finished!" she interrupts. "Once again, I always think the puzzle is complete but new pieces keep getting thrown into the air for whatever reason. He never really abandoned us, did he?"
"Listen Dawn," Johanna begins, still attempting to save face while her daughter plays detective a region away. "Like I told you, I made many mistakes raising you."
"Ma'am, with all due respect, I asked you a yes or no question. Please…don't be a hypocrite in the midst of this discussion. It's one thing for you to tell me how much of a young woman I'm becoming, saying how I'm growing up so quickly in front of your eyes and calling me brave. Believe me, all that's appreciated. What gives me pause, though, is you dodging my simple question and treating me like some child that can't tell when she's getting the runaround. I'm sick of it, mom! I'm sixteen fucking years old, not a little kid by any means, so if I can't handle this now tell me when the appropriate time is so we come to a true understanding. In fact, I'll make it easy for you and ask my question again. Did my father really abandon us, yes or no?"
Her child has Johanna's number. Although it's not in her interest to divulge everything over the phone, Dawn wants her honesty and Johanna lightly nods her head in affirmation towards Bryan that the truth will be told from this point forward. "Dawn, he did leave us, and he didn't at the same time."
"Wait—what—what the hell? What does that even mean? Mom? Mom, are you still there?"
The truth is Johanna left Dawn with more questions than answers with that response, but at the same time, she is negotiating with Kenny to pass the phone over to Bryan right now. Kenny doesn't say a word during that exchange, but he does motion that Johanna can pass the phone over to her ex. "I still want the phone when he's finished, though."
"No problem," Bryan says eagerly awaiting this opportunity while Johanna explains her answer to Dawn.
"I really think that…your father can better explain what I mean than me," she concedes. "I've been doing a lot of talking through the years, but…I think it's time you hear what happened and why he hasn't been in your life. Okay, Dawn? I'm about to turn the phone over to your dad. Hang on, please, and keep an open mind."
In less than a second, Johanna passes the receiver to Bryan looking him dead in the eye as she does this fully aware that this is a moment that she can't turn back from and pretend never existed. It is at this juncture she loses the power to have her daughter on her side and to influence her from that end. At the same time, however, she considers what she gains upon hearing her ex-husband say, "Hello, Dawn? It's me…your-your father."
"My…father." She's stubborn, headstrong and not one to think ahead too far, but right now her pride is quickly melting from her as Dawn tears up at the realization that she's actually speaking to her father, Bryan Berlitz, for the first time since she was a young child. Does she have many questions? Undoubtedly. Is there a feeling of uneasiness within her belly? She wouldn't be human if there weren't. At this time, though, those are feelings that have taken a back seat to the pure elation of a daughter listening to her father speak. It almost caused her to miss the next words Bryan had for his estranged child.
"Dawn I know you have a lot of questions for me and rightfully so. If there is one thing I want you to know, it's that I never stopped loving or thinking about you during this time. You were always my inspiration to get clean and getting back into the good graces of your mother was the key to that because I was weak. Johanna—your mother…did the right thing when she took custody of you when you were just four because the truth is…I let drugs tear us apart. I was addicted and it took control causing me to at times go violent. I know what you've been through and it's an ugly ordeal saying nothing of being a teenager at the time. I'm one to talk when I hardly grew up yet tried to maintain a family at the time."
"How did you know I had issues with drugs?"
"Your mother and I would keep in contact as much as we could at the time," he answers. "I was in my third recovery center and I'd keep a picture of you there to give me inspiration for staying clean. The third time was the charm and at that point, I wanted to step in and offer support, but Johanna begged me to focus on my recovery while you do the same. Initially, I granted her that wish and as time went on; I graduated from the program and realized she made the right call. If I were going to be a positive influence I had to have my house in order, and I did that. Your mother had her reasons, but I would never get the chance to see you during this time. It's like that old saying; once bitten, twice shy.
"I made her life a living hell during my addiction to heroin and methamphetamines, Dawn," he freely admits. "You were only four years old. She didn't want you around that and you did nothing to deserve to be around that, so she threw me out and told me that it would be either the drugs or my family. So, as you can imagine, I didn't quite get it at the time like I get it right now. You couldn't have been in a happy place at the time. I know I can only imagine, but I'm sure it had to be tough. I didn't help matters and daddy was off his rocker and out in the world doing whatever, but I'm here now, Dawn and I promise you that I'll be here as long as you need me for whatever you need me."
There are many questions she still has that she doesn't want to save for a phone conversation. There are many holes in both her parent's stories, but all of that can wait. All of that has its place and for Dawn, that's not something she's interested in learning right now.
At this point, she knows her destination. She's going back home to see her mom and dad and to speak with Kenny. She has a loaded plate, but Dawn will take it if it means that this current chapter can end on a great note with future chapters likely to be better than her early teens. "It's so good to hear that from you," she tearfully yet joyfully speaks. "I can't wait to see you and mom. I don't know what I'll do from there. I don't even know what I'll do when I see you in person but…I can't wait. I'm just so glad that we can soon get everything in some semblance of order. I'm sorry that you're in my mess, dad."
"Dawn, I'm not in a position to fault you for anything except you living your life. If I were even a tenth of the father I should've been, who knows what would've happened, but I'm ready for you whenever you come and…I'll support you even with the things I don't immediately understand."
Dawn can tell that the conversation has the potential to get deep at any moment. She's not necessarily in favor of that if it's over the phone. Despite that, she's implicitly figured out a lot in just these few minutes on the phone with her folks. Among them being that they've spoken to each other since their divorce. Questions of how often, where and when remain a mystery, but at least she knows that the two are adult enough to talk on their issues.
She also knows that her dad went through his share of problems with drugs and that mom, even after Bryan did everything he could to get clean, held him back from her because of concern that his once violent ways would resurface. Dawn just doesn't know what to make of her mom's actions and doesn't think that she can resolve that issue over the phone, so she'll give her mom the benefit of the doubt until she can get a personal explanation.
One thing she would like to clarify right now is how Bryan found his way home and in a hostage situation. "I want to know I've had issues with Kenny dating back to when I was thirteen. From what I gather, you weren't there, but mom kept you apprised of my progress in rehab. All that is fine, but I've been clean for many years like you have. It's a great feeling, and I think you would come over while I was out on my journey, but I'm curious. Did you come over this time because of Zoey?"
Nodding on the other end Bryan answers his daughter, saying, "Yes. I came over earlier because I felt this was the straw that broke the camel's back. I wanted to see you and how you were doing. I was ready to beg your mother to go to the courts and have the current custody ruling changed because I missed you, Dawn. You're getting older and that means more serious relationships for you, without a doubt. Whether it was a girl or not, I really don't give a fuck as long as the person treats you right."
"Zoey's been…great to me. Not to say we haven't had issues this past…"
"Say no more, Dawn," Bryan interjects. "You don't need to defend your relationship with Zoey over the phone. We'll have plenty of time with that even though I have a lot of catching up to do. One day, though, I would love to meet her and get to know her, too. Where exactly are you right now?"
"Her beach house. She's hosting her family reunion."
"So family is really important to her?"
"Her family means the world, but dad she's had feelings for me for almost five years. We had an incident and they wanted to give us a break, really separate us for one month, but she refused. I…couldn't believe it. Frankly, I've never been more proud of anyone than I was of her at that moment. There's no guarantee of what happens right now because that's put a real wedge between Zoey, myself and her folks, but we'll work it out and they'll understand why we should stay together. Shoot, I'm defending Zoey here when you said I didn't have to do that."
"All that said, it sounds like you really care for and she does for you," Bryan figures. "Aside from that, I honestly think you have to know where your mom is coming from when she does something or says something that you may not agree with. This is all brand new for your mother. Like me, she just wants to see you happy. That doesn't mean she'll never get concerned, though. I think, and this is not something that has to happen right away, you should just take some time you'd spend with Zoey and spend it with Zoey and your mom together. That way, she'll get a sense of what gravitated you to her, you can learn of some of her concerns and it can all happen while you're bonding, just like if you brought a boyfriend home. After all, it's not the sex, but the relationship that comes first."
"You're right, and I'm thankful that through all my nonsense I'm still a virgin."
This is not something that Bryan expected to hear from Dawn, but he's so happy to hear this from his daughter. He's been prone to breaking down a few times while talking with Dawn, but this news took the cake as he begins to tear up. Despite what Kenny said earlier, she had the common sense to know that adding sex into the equation would form a negative result, meaning she wasn't. "Frankly, so am I. Look I think you're already aware of this, but it will save you a ton of heartache and tribulation if you keep saving yourself for the right person. I didn't do it and I had no clue of what it meant to settle down. I wasn't ready to give up being the center of attention to young ladies, but it was ridiculous and amounted to nothing short of a tower of shame when I got caught in paternity scandals later. Thankfully, all of them were cleared up, and to this day you remain my only child, but you obviously don't have to go down that route.
"Save yourself for the right person and it will be that much sweeter. It may not be your wife, or husband, or whatever, but that's ultimately your decision. The right one will come along, though, and you'll know it because you feel that no one else would lay themselves down for only you and take all your sadness away just so you don't have to cry. Despite that, you'll know and in the end, you'll really know if you have no regrets whatsoever. Can you still live a life without regrets, Dawn?"
Can she not live life without regrets at this point? She's not sure if that's even a realistic proposition but there is some substance in it. She herself has barely begun to live and with the average Sinnoh woman expected to live to age 79, she finds herself at only the end of the first act of a five-act saga. "I can't control what's happened," she openly figures with her father, "but I can look myself in the mirror every day and aspire to be my best for that day. I'll give myself that much."
"You're giving yourself more than most, Dawn. Again I've lost so much time because of my bad choices and people's fear that I couldn't change. Right now, there's a small window of opportunity, but I would love to be your dad and not just a name on a birth certificate. We can talk more when you get here. I want to see you so badly it's making me shiver. I'm nervous but damn it, I'm ready. After twelve years, I ought to be ready. Please come soon, Dawn. Please travel safely, and always know that I love you."
"I love you too…Dad."
"Thank you," Bryan speaks. "I'm handing the phone to Kenny now and…I believe he has some final things to say to you before he ends the conversation."
"Okay, I'll see you soon, dad," serve as her final words before she goes back home to see him again. A few seconds pass as the phone, unbeknownst to Dawn, passes through three sets of hands before getting back to Kenny.
Though she can't see him right now, the family conversation has really gotten to him. Pride keeps him from breaking down but he is legitimately happy that Dawn's father is now dedicated to getting back into his daughter's life. He holds it in knowing he came this far with a job to do and now is the time for him to follow through. "Now, I want to make this brief because you have agreed to travel a long way back home. Remember, calling the authorities means that we will have a major problem. If you call back here because you have issues with travel, I'll personally make arrangements to get you here if you're willing to tell me where you are. If you expect to run late, meaning you won't get here until after Monday morning, please call ahead. Above all else, I expect you here tomorrow alone. There's a lot we have to talk about. Despite my feelings toward you I agree with what your dad said; get here safely. There's a lot here waiting for you. Until Monday morning I'll see you, Dawn. Goodbye."
"Okay," she says while she hears a click over letting her know that the phone conversation is over, clocked in at thirty-eight minutes, forty-three seconds. It was a long discussion, but it can't compare to what's bound to be talked about when she goes home. Dawn's got a long time to prepare for this and it means that now she has to explain her impromptu reason for leaving to the Neale family and needs to do it now.
Much like her father a region away, she's nervous about this, but eagerly anticipating going back home. Initially, she gets back up to head out the door, see Jo-Jo, Adman and Zoey and explain her plans. Two steps from the door, she decides instead to bring her phone back out and call Adman.
She just as easily could've called Zoey, but ultimately decided not to because she didn't want anyone to convince her not to do this. Zoey has already voiced her displeasure with Kenny. Dawn just couldn't imagine a scenario where her girlfriend doesn't attempt to try and join her when she's clearly expressed her dissenting opinion on that matter.
Dawn has Zoey's dad as one of her contacts cutting down the time it takes for her to hear one ring, than a second, a third and then, "Hello?"
"Hey, Adman. It's me, Dawn."
"Is everything all right with you?"
"I promise you, sir, it will be all right sooner than later," she assures the family man, "but I do need to speak to your wife and Zoey in just a moment. There's been a change of plans."
"Dawn?" Adman questions.
"Please," she interrupts, "I'll explain everything, but only to your faces."
"Okay, I'll gather the two and we'll meet back in our room."
"I'll meet you three in a few minutes." The two give one another their goodbyes and Dawn goes back to playing the waiting game in the midst of her very torn but driven emotional state.
'I can't be convinced not to go,' she thinks. 'That's not an option at this point.' Dawn has no more time to ponder her next moves because she hears three knocks at the door.
Dawn hears Zoey's voice and gets up from the bed to unlock the door and welcome her girlfriend and her parents. Before starting, she asks Jo-Jo, the closest to the door, to shut it, which she does.
Taking a few deep breaths, Dawn tempers herself before revealing her plans to the three. "First off, I want to thank you three and your family for your hospitality this past week."
Zoey lowers her head for a bit. It almost sounds as if she's attempting to damage control a situation before even announcing it. 'That doesn't sound good, but I'll hold judgment for now.'
"There is a situation which arose back home, though, and I need to leave and take care of it in a few hours," she says. While not being completely frank on her matters, Dawn gives enough necessary details to emphasize the importance of her getting back to Twinleaf Town. "If I do this and all goes well, my previous problems will no longer be a factor in my life. Please understand, though, that to do all of this, I need to go alone."
"You don't need to that, Dawn, and you know it," Zoey responds as Dawn proposes what in her mind is a deal breaker. All this time and energy she's spent to recover her relationship and suddenly, out of the blue, she's calling this meeting to say that she has to go back to Twinleaf Town for what she can only assume is Kenny pulling a 'gotcha' on her and forcing her hand through a stunt or charade. "Don't give into Kenny's idle threats. Whatever he has on you is probably not admissible in court, the statue of limitations has expired and whatever else."
"It's more than that, Zoey," Dawn admits. "It's gone beyond idle threats the way I see it. He's held my parents hostage in my mom's home and if I go there and do what he tells me, he won't hurt him. I hope you understand I can't take this lightly at all."
"Why not call the police on him, Dawn?"
"That's one of his requirements," she nervously informs Adman. "If I call the authorities or conspire to do it, he has a gun and he's not afraid to use it on my folks."
The sense in the room initially was one where Zoey and her folks were in some sort of agreement that Dawn should stand up to Kenny's words and hold her ground, not giving into her past temptation. Now knowing that he's in her home with a weapon and unafraid of using it the feelings changed, if only for a moment before one girl interjects on a curious bullet in her admissions.
"Interesting that you keep saying 'folks'," Zoey figures while digesting her girlfriend's words. "You've talked to me about not seeing your father in more than a decade and I've only ever met your mom. Did something come up in this that's…buoyed your desire to go back home?"
Right now, Dawn's affairs amount to the proverbial diamond in the rough. She has no qualms whatsoever talking about this to her girlfriend's family. She was going to mention it, but Zoey cracked her cryptic words and just brought out this news earlier than planned. "Kenny's held my mother…and my father hostage. I talked to them both on the phone just now. He never abandoned me, Zoey. That was a fallacy. That's not to say he didn't have his share of problems, but that's nothing we can't work out with time. So you see, this will be the first time I'll get to see him in twelve years," she emphasizes as her voice begins to break due to the emotion within her at this moment. "Nothing anyone can say or do will keep me from doing this. I just ask for everyone's cooperation and for you all to respect my wishes. This is my matter and I aim to take care of it when I leave in about two hours."
If ever there were a turning point or swing in emotions for someone, Zoey just felt it as Dawn ran down the reason why she's going back to Twinleaf Town. Putting herself in her girlfriend's shoes, she might never have had this discussion with the people near her. She might not have even bothered to pack knowing she'd meet a long lost and close relative. So while she initially objected fully to the idea of Dawn going, she's much more receptive to the idea.
A good part of her still doesn't like it, though, as she shakes her head and explains. "Sometimes I really admire your spunk, Dawn. Nothing gets in your way if you don't want it to, but…this really goes beyond our relationship. You get to see your father again and hopefully stick it to Kenny while you're at it. God, are you sure there's nothing I can do here, Dawn! Damn it, I want to help you!"
"You can help me by keeping me in your thoughts and prayers…"
"No offense, but I mean something far more concrete and substantial, like what I feel for you," Zoey responds. Walking up closer to her girlfriend, Zoey gently holds her shoulders and says "Listen, I mean with all that I can muster that as long as you're by my side, you're never truly fighting alone." Tears are exiting her eyes again, like they did as she defended this relationship to her parents. "Are you sure I can't come with you? Do something to…help you close this door once and for all? You don't have to ask me to do this. I'd gladly do it."
"I'm sorry, but I gave him my word," Dawn replies, the tension between the two further escalating as the minutes tick down. "'Come alone,' he told me and, Zoey, that's exactly what I'm gonna do. Trust me, I know Kenny, I know the company he keeps. They're bad news and it's for the best that you stay here and have a great time. This will only take three days at most. You have every right to be concerned, and so do your parents. I won't put you in danger, Zoey, and you shouldn't do that to yourself either. So please—this is hard for both of us, especially after the road we just traveled, but respect my wishes and stay here. That would be the best help I could possibly ask for right now. Do you understand me?"
Dawn brings her girlfriend in for a squeeze of an embrace, the two in tears as they know what awaits them in being apart.
Jo-Jo and Adman look on and both of them have quite somber looks. It was not even an hour ago they wanted Zoey and her love interest to take a break from one another. They were the most disappointed that Zoey didn't respect their wishes, but with this sudden turn of events they ultimately got what they wanted. Despite this, the two can't take any pride or hold their heads high at this news. Not when this situation involving Dawn's mom and dad hangs in the balance.
"I don't have to like it," Zoey tells Dawn, "but I'll respect your wishes and leave you to take care of business in Twinleaf. If you need anything, please let me know and I'll see what I can do. You can take my Ferrari if you want."
"But Zoey, you worked so hard to get it."
"Things come and go, Dawn," she replies. "People are what matter and I would be very slack if I didn't give you something, anything, through this."
"I have time, okay? I'll think about it."
Letting go of the hug, Zoey nods her head and continues to cry when she says, "Yeah, go ahead. You think about it. I'll—I gotta go." Without telling anyone in the room with her where she's going, Zoey opens the door and walks out, shutting the door behind her.
"She'll come around, Dawn," Adman says a few seconds after Zoey leaves. "I think you're doing the right thing here. I'm sure Zoey does, too, but she's stubborn and whenever she sees a cause, it's in her nature to jump on it and work to a resolution. From what you're saying, that's not gonna be possible if Zoey comes with you?"
"That's right, and not to mention I'm also going there to see my father. I mentioned my relationship with Zoey and that's actually one of the reasons he went to see my mom. He's fine with it and wants me safe and happy like you two."
"We'll just hold off for now and keep an eye on Zoey to make sure she doesn't do anything stupid," Jo-Jo says, wanting to do her part to help Dawn. Looking her right in the eyes, she throws her support behind her daughter's girlfriend, affirming, "Without a doubt, you'll be in my thoughts, Dawn. I trust that you know what happens from here and how to handle matters at home. I think…I saw something between you and Zoey, though. I saw something very encouraging for my heart and…your relationship."
"Rocky?" Zoey calls after knocking on her bedroom door. Zoey hears her oldest sister say 'come in', which she does to find Rocky at a desk chair with her phone out on the desk.
Once coming in, Rocky immediately notices the tears in her sister's eyes and asks, "Are you okay? Did everything work out with mom and dad?"
"I…it's hard to say for sure," Zoey admits. "I think they did, but Dawn needs to leave soon and head back home to take care of an issue. They wanted to separate us, but…we worked to prove that we didn't for nearly half an hour…then she makes up her mind to head back to Twinleaf Town."
"So you really don't know how things worked out for you?"
"I don't, but listen. I'll figure out what to do next there, but I believe you have your own situation. I'll say it one more time; don't put off coming out much longer. If you want me there, I'll be there for you. You putting this off does no one any favors. You undercut yourself and there's no need for you to do that. Come out of the closet for your sake."
Looking off to the side at her phone, back to Zoey and, again, to her phone, Rocky explains, "Zoey, I've thought about that since you told me to go in this direction. I appreciate you offering help but there is someone who I want there with me. I just don't know where she is or if she's interested."
"Was she an ex?"
Rocky nods her head and explains, "We broke up a year or so after I graduated from college. She wanted me to come out then and I wasn't interested. That's the reason why we aren't together, because I had strong feelings for her and I doubt they stopped on her end, too. She was adamant about not keeping this a secret and was…probably more brave than you to come out in her early teens considering her dad is a clergyman."
"Wow!" Zoey interjects. "Would I know her?"
"So…why not contact her?" she wonders not needing to know the name right away.
"We haven't spoken in about three years," Rocky answers. "I don't even know if she has the same phone number, is around, is interested, whatever. I don't know."
"Well…why not find out? You have a number, right?"
"Go ahead, then. This is the first step, Rocky. If someone out there can help you, that's great too. The more help and the more shoulders we can lean on, the better. Call her right now."
"Right now," Zoey affirms.
"All right," she says, going down her list of contacts until she gets to the letter 'S'. Touching the name gives her an option of numbers of which she chooses this person's cell phone number and waits for a ring.
The ring interrupts the slumber of a young adult woman in the backseat of a taxicab. The vibration on the right side of her pocket awakens her and leaves her scrambling to figure out who's calling her.
She thought she turned her phone off earlier, but obviously that was not the case as she turns it around to look at the display screen and open her eyes wide at a name she hasn't seen flash on her phone in years.
"You have got to be shitting me," she softly remarks as she looks at the name 'Becky', contemplates even answering this call before finally hitting the answer button on her phone.
"Well, look who the wind brought my way."
"Right after you look at what the sun shined down my direction," Rocky slyly retorts. "Hey, Solidad."
"Solidad?" Zoey inquires, not believing her ears. Rocky nods her head affirming what Zoey thought.
"Rebecca, is that really you?"
"Yeah. It's me, girl."
"Becky, you—you'll have to excuse me. You called me while I was sleeping. It's been a long time."
"Really long," Rocky agrees. "Is it a…bad time? I mean you just said you were sleeping."
"Oh, no! It's fine. I could really stand to listen to a friend right now…even if it has been three years."
"Same here and please don't remind me how long it's been."
"So what caused you to call me out of the blue today of all days, Becks?"
Rocky loved the pet names Solidad had for her. Even though she's been known by her family as Rocky since at least age six, there's no denying the tingle she gets hearing 'Becky' or the not so shortened 'Becks' from the Kanto Top Coordinator.
Solidad made an impact in Rocky's life, for sure, because few people convinced her to come out with as much conviction as her. She didn't heed her words then and it cost her someone who cared about her and wasn't simply interested in a good time.
"Well, Solidad," Rocky begins, "I think I'm finally ready to do some growing up."
A/N: My most popular story is back and not a moment too soon! By the time you've read this, I'll be on vacation and won't respond to reviews until Tuesday or Wednesday. Hope you enjoy after a year hiatus and hopefully, the next chapter won't take nearly as long.
Next chapter will cover many stories not dealing with the main one as we further explore the relationship between Rocky and Solidad.
Until next time, this is Rave!