Hey everyone, I bet you didn't think I'd be back this quickly. I never thought my first story would ever be much of anything, but apparently you guys enjoyed it, which made me incredibly happy...and I digress. This story has been in my head for several months now. It's the story I've wanted to write for a long time, something a bit more personal than expected.

I did want to dedicate this to a certain person of whom I've made an acquaintance through this site:

ShiaLover09, this story is for you. You've kept pushing me to write more and given me a lot of encouragement. I wanted you to know how much I appreciate that. You're an amazing person! I could go on for awhile longer, but in some cases, less is more. I hope this story does you justice.

Disclaimer: I own nothing, except my own characters and the (hopefully) original storyline.

A little background:

Jay is the main focus of the beginning of this story. He's actually my favorite character, even if he doesn't have much of a moral compass. As the story continues, the focus will shift a bit to another character. The time setting is probably after the second season, except I backed up the time, so there is more time before the end of summer. I'm sure the characters will be a little out of character, but so long as they don't turn into crazy murderers, who's paying attention?

Chapter 1- The Boy Is Gone

The phone sat on the table across from him. Jay eyed the silent object with slight annoyance. The entire household was gone, out enjoying themselves, while he engaged in a staring contest with the phone. He'd been sitting there for hours waiting for it to ring, anything but the silence that permeated the room. The simple fact that this bothered him only added to his irritation. He had called her cell phone numerous times only to reach her voicemail, and he'd left dozens of messages. After a few days of this, the operator's monotone recording informed him that the number had been disconnected. Jay felt almost physically ill at the thought of never being able to talk to her again. They had promised to communicate no matter how difficult things became. Now, here he was waiting for a word, letter, phone call, something to let him know how she was feeling. But it didn't appear that she wanted to talk to him, which in turn spoke volumes to him. She hadn't even given him a chance to tell her everything he was experiencing. The need to speak to her, to tell her everything would be okay was overwhelming. How long would he have to wait? I need you. I need to hear your voice again, telling me that you still love me he thought. I miss you...

The ticking clock mocked his silent vigil, with his eyes straying in that direction every few seconds. "You could go out and look for her, you idiot," he said aloud. "That's much more productive than sitting here staring at the phone as it can tell the future." But inwardly, he knew that it wouldn't help. He had already tried. The first day after the accident, he'd gone to her home, but there was no one there, except the landlord who was taping a For Rent sign in the front window. All the man had known was that Isabel and her son, Danny had moved out suddenly, but they left no forwarding address.

The accident. His heart felt sick at the very thought of it. The impact hadn't injured either of them, but the stress of the situation had been too much to handle and she had lost the baby. His baby. The sense of loss that filled him was bitter. He buried his face in his hands as he sat there and remembered. The stunning realization that his first child would not be born, that they would never meet. He recalled her combination of guilt and anger at him. If only he could go back to that day, maybe he could alter the future. He wouldn't have tried so hard to speed through the yellow light. But events had already been set into motion, and he couldn't return. At that intersection, his dreams had come crashing down like the glass from the windshield. She blamed him for the accident, and had spoken to him only once since then.

Jay stood and went into the kitchen to grab a glass of water and maybe distract himself from obsessing. The phone rang, causing his heart to jump in anticipation and the glass to slip from his suddenly limp fingers, crashing onto the floor. He ran into the living room, grabbing at the phone like a man possessed, pausing only to take a deep breath before answering. "Hello?" His voice sounded so desperate that he wanted to kick himself. It was a wrong number, some guy asking about pizza delivery. "I'm sorry, you have the wrong number," he managed to blurt out before he was left sitting there with the dial tone buzzing in his ear. Jay slammed the phone back on the cradle. He stared numbly at the wall before rising to pick up the broken glass off the floor. As he was placing the glass shards in the garbage, one particularly sharp piece sliced into his finger. "Ouch!" he exclaimed, his anger at a breaking point. Jay threw the remaining pieces into the trash, and examined his finger, which was beginning to bleed. The wound was fairly deep, but wasn't enough to require stitches. He clumsily wrapped the cut in a piece of gauze and secured it with tape, wishing the whole time that he hadn't injured his dominant hand. Jay wandered over to the couch, flopping down on the cushions. Maybe the television would distract him from the pain in his hand and the troubled thoughts in his head. After several minutes of struggling to watch a reality show about making reality shows, he realized that this attempt wasn't working. His mind was still solely occupied by Isabel.

She wasn't the only one struggling with guilt. He couldn't seem to get over the fact that it was his fault. He was the one to blame, and now he'd lost her, maybe permanently. Isabel had definitely not been what he was expecting. She was a single mother, trying to raise a son on her own, while he ran a surf shop and daydreamed about surfing in his spare time. They had rushed into a relationship, which in hindsight, was a bad decision on his part. He would never do that again. No, he'd learned his lesson, and now he was paying for it. Maybe if they had taken time to talk, to really know each other, he wouldn't be in this position. "Never again," he promised himself. "If only I could turn back time."

The sound of the front door opening brought him back from his thoughts. Jay glanced over to see Nikki storming into the house. She slammed the front door and leaned against it. "What's wrong?" he asked.

"It's Cameron! He's being so confusing! I wish I could read his mind sometimes, to know what he's thinking. It'd be much simpler sometimes," she told him, coming over to sit next to him.

"I hear you there," he said. Nikki noticed his downcast face and decided to save her problem for later.

"Still no call?" He shook his head. "Well, it's only been a few days. Maybe she'll call you tomorrow," she said hopefully.

"I don't think there's going to be a tomorrow," Jay said glumly. Nikki was about to say something when the door opened again, and Bradin walked in. His face wasn't exactly a picture of happiness either.

"Were you out with Erika?" Nikki asked. "How did it go?"

"Let's just say that it went nowhere. We're going to stay friends because it's too complicated otherwise." He came and joined them on the couch. "I think I'm done with dating for awhile."

"Join the club," Jay muttered. Bradin was about to ask if he'd heard from Isabel, but a small head shake from Nikki kept him from asking, and he changed his question. "Where's everyone else?"

"Derrick's spending the night with a friend, and Aunt Ava, Johnny, Susannah, and Matt went out to dinner and then to the boardwalk," Nikki rattled off. "I think that about covers everyone."

"Well, I guess I don't need a calendar when you're around," Bradin teased her, reaching over to ruffle her hair. She shoved his hand away, giving him a dirty look. "Why are you back so early, anyways?" Jay tuned out their conversation to wallow in his misery.

"Because guys are impossible to understand, and I can't take it!" she told him, about to launch into the whole story, when Ava and Susannah walked in. The looks on their faces were almost identical to the others in the house. "How was your evening?" Nikki asked them.

"Could have been worse," Ava said.

"It was worse," Susannah corrected her, rolling her eyes. "Not exactly my ideal date."

"The guys got to talking about video games they played in their childhoods. We ended up watching them play at the arcade. Ten rounds of Mega Blaster later, Susannah and I decided to call it a night," Ava explained, surveying the full living room. "I see everyone else seemed to have an early night as well." Her gaze fell on Jay, who was blankly staring at the empty TV screen. Her expression changed to one of compassion. "Still no call?"

"No," was all he said.

"Jay, I'm sure she'll call soon. She knows how much you care about her," Ava tried to encourage him.

"Yeah, I know," he said woodenly. "I think I'll head off to try to catch some sleep." He stood just as the phone rang, and he sprinted over to answer it. It wasn't Isabel. The voice on the other end was very familiar. However, it was one he hadn't heard in a long time and didn't ever think he'd hear from for many years, if ever. The exchange was brief, and at her words, his heart plummeted, and he had to hold onto the table to keep from falling over. The phone slipped out of his suddenly limp fingers and hit the table with a clunk.

"Jay, what is it?" Ava asked, concern filling her voice. He really didn't look good, his normally tan complexion was pale. The others gathered around, fear thick among them.

"I've got to go home," Jay managed to say. The few words had shaken him to his core, and he wondered if things would ever be the same again.

I hope you enjoyed the beginning to this new story. Let me know what you think! I like to name my chapters after song titles. Each song kind of fits the respective chapter in some way. Hopefully, it's not illegal...For this one, I used Jason Mraz's The Boy Is Gone. And as always, thanks for reading!