I can still smell him on me.

She smiled as she thought about how gentle he had been and how he deliberately and purposefully declared his love for her. She was still wrapped up in these thoughts when a searing heat took hold of her nether regions causing her to yelp. She had been wholly unprepared for the soreness and irritation that would follow the evening's activities.

Oh my God! How long is that going to go on? Note to self: don't drink anything, at all, ever again, if it means that it'll make me pee.

She wiped herself, noting the spots of blood that confirmed her new status.

I wonder if I look different?

With that thought, she inspected herself in the full-length mirror behind the bathroom door, remembering a conversation she'd had with Sharon months earlier.

I don't think I look different. I wonder if my mom will be able to tell?

As she adjusted the water, she lamented the fact that the shower would wash away his scent, but that thought was quickly replaced with thoughts about her next opportunity to be covered in it again.

He said it was 'amazing.' Amazing! Actually, he said 'f*cking amazing' and that's even more amazing, isn't it?

Her smile was a mile wide as she began to laugh to herself. When she thought about everything that happened the previous night, the familiar tingle down below would develop and she couldn't wait to be with him again. She hoped what he said was true and it would be better, the more they did it. She couldn't honestly say that she had enjoyed the act itself, although he'd certainly made sure that she was as satisfied as he was by the time they were through. The act itself was uncomfortable, but the intimacy of holding another person inside your own body, that was the part that she liked. She and Jordan had been as physically close as one person could be to another and no matter what happened in the future, who else she was with, who she settled down with years from now, Jordan Catalano would always be her first. She wondered if he would be the only man she'd ever be with in her whole life. She thought about her parents and how after nearly twenty years, her father was now sleeping with someone else. She also remembered how Sharon had complained about Kyle and how once they'd done it, it didn't matter anymore if she wanted to do it or not, but Angela could not imagine ever feeling that way about Jordan, nor could she imagine Jordan being anything less than considerate of her feelings. The way he looked at her during brought tears to her eyes even now.

"F*cking amazing!" She laughed again, her voice choked with emotion.

A knock came at the door.

"Hurry up! I have to use the bathroom. You've been in there forever!"

"I'll be out in a minute!"

Back to reality


Brian stood at his bedroom window. He had just awakened and happened to look out the window when he saw the distinctive red car pull out of the Chase's driveway. A knot quickly formed in his stomach.


He thought he was over her, but this morning proved to him that some remnant of those once overwhelming feelings lingered. He believed that his relationship with Amy had displaced some of the longing he had for Angela, but he knew now that it would take much more than what he had with Amy to change the way he felt about Angela Chase. The reality that she had been intimate with Jordan made him feel physically ill and a wave of depression swept over him, followed by anger and disgust.

Ican'tbelieveshejustgaveherselftohim.Justlikethat?Doesn'tsheevencarethateveryoneontheblockcouldseethatthecarhadbeenthereallnight?Doesn'tshecarethatthey'llallknow?WhatdidIexpect;lookatwhoshehangsoutwith,thegirlvoted "mostslutpotential," andateenagedmom.

Seeing Jordan leave Angela's house in the predawn hour made him think about his first time, just a few weeks earlier and he was immediately contrite, his righteous indignation squelched by the realization of his hypocrisy.

They didn't do anything worse than we did, I guess.

He and Amy were studying, like they always did, but instead of being focused on chemistry, he was thinking about his earlier conversation with Jordan during tutoring.

He'd wanted to know how you approach the "moment." Jordan had told him to stop thinking so much and let his body take over. He'd never thought of it that way. Jordan assured him that he would know exactly what to do when the moment came.

That afternoon, Brian asked Amy if she wanted a drink. After that, he wanted to know if she needed her pencil sharpened. Then he asked what time she had to be home and finally, when she couldn't take it anymore she walked over to him and kissed him in a way she never had before. She unbuttoned his shirt and before he knew it they were naked, breathless, and exhausted on his parent's couch. He was shocked to find that Jordan had been completely right about the body knowing what to do. It was as though he had been watching from the outside, like he was on autopilot. It was the most primal thing he'd ever felt in his life. The drive to be with Amy like that was incredibly strong and nearly undeniable. He feared that his grades would drop because no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't get his mind to override his body in her presence. It made him queasy to imagine Angela with Jordan that way, panting and groaning.

The fact that his parents were never home made it so easy for he and Amy to be together whenever they wanted. He imagined this would not be the case for Angela and Jordan and he wondered if, like Rayanne, she would do it in his car. The thought was too much to bear, so he shook it from his mind. He went about the rest of the morning distracted and irritable, snapping at his mother during breakfast and Amy, on the ride to school.

Please God, just let me get through the day without having to see them together.


All the way home, Jordan had a goofy smile on his face. He could smell her on his shirt and on his skin. It was a good thing that there was no one else on the street at this time of the morning, because his mind was definitely not on driving.

I was her first. The first one to ever make her moan my name, the first one to make her come, the first one to ever be inside her. The first.

He was still smiling when a disturbing thought entered his head. First meant that there would be more, others. He found this thought far to painful to even consider.

Maybe, I'll be her only.

That thought disturbed him even more on some level, not because he had never thought about them being together forever, being married or living together, but because he had thought of it often and each time he did, he questioned forever, because he'd never actually seen a forever. Patty and Graham might have been the model for that, but now, seeing their relationship shattered, he was back to wondering about forever. He chose to ignore those thoughts and dwell on their night together.

It was a first of sorts for him too. It was the first time he'd had sex with someone he loved. The first time he'd really considered the consequences of what he was doing. The first time he'd ever been afraid of what came next. The first time he'd ever said 'I love you' to anyone. There would never be another first time for them and he finally realized what a privilege it was, that she had chosen him to be her first. It would be even better the next time, which he hoped wouldn't be too far off into the future. He had been so afraid that she would hate it and would never want to try again, but she seemed happy. He knew once she recovered, they'd be fine.

Jordan pulled up in front of his house, noting that Anthony's car was in the driveway. He prayed that his luck would hold out and his father would be asleep. Thankfully, Anthony's door was closed and the house was silent. He grabbed a change of clothes and got into the shower, closing his eyes as he stepped under the stream of water and allowed it wash over his head, and watching scenes from the previous night play out behind his closed lids. He couldn't get over the look on her face when they were first joined together. Even now, when he thought of it, his heart rate sped up and his chest became tight with emotion.

When he told her that it was amazing, he had found the word lacking, but it was the best he could come up with. In truth, it was nothing like anything he'd ever experience with any girl before. The physical part of it was beyond anything he had imagined, but the thing that had gotten to him was the surge of emotions he had felt when he entered her and looked into her glistening eyes. The trust and love that was reflected back at him was something he'd never seen in the eyes of anyone else. It was so pure, so complete and it was exactly what he felt for her. He knew that opportunities to spend the night with her that way would be few and far between and it saddened him. He wanted every night to be like that. He wanted to go to sleep with her next to him and wake up the same way. He finally understood why sex was such a big deal to her, because sex between them was a big deal, it was a very big deal.

The memory of her whole "sex is a big deal" rant following their break up, reminded him of the house on Cloverdale and the night he'd taken her there. The comparison between what would have happened there and what had just happened between them was night and day. When he thought about the nasty mattresses that countless couples had used, it made him feel sick. The thought that a houseful of people would have been privy to what was going on in whatever room they would have occupied that night felt so wrong. He thought about how he had called her 'abnormal' and his heart sank.

I didn't know. I had no idea that it could be so different.

Jordan emerged from the bathroom deep in thought. He hadn't even noticed that Anthony's bedroom door was now open until the smell of coffee hit him. He gathered his things and made ready to leave and head back to Angela's. As he descended the stairs, prepared to avoid the kitchen and exit through the front door, he caught sight of Anthony, seated in the living room, paper and coffee in hand.

"Hey." Jordan made an attempt at civility, which was met with a smirk. He shrugged and headed for the door.

"Must have been some piece of ass. You came in here like you had seen God." Anthony taunted.

Jordan stopped dead in his tracks.

"I'm just saying, I walked around like that for days after banging your mother and look where that got me." Anthony snickered. "Some friendly advice, don't get got." He laughed. "Some of them are better than others, but pussy is pussy, plain and simple."

Rather than respond, Jordan took a deep breath and kept walking, like he'd heard nothing.


"Danielle! Hurry up!"

"Shut up! I'll be down in a minute. You're not Mom y'know." She spat, trudging down the stairs dragging her backpack behind her. "By the way, does she plan on coming home? I can't live like this...withyou."

"Believe me, the feeling's mutual. She should be back when you get home from school." Angela replied, walking back into the kitchen, just as Jordan knocked at the back door.

"Hey." He says looking at Angela who's looking back at him, a blush forming over her cheeks.

Danielle rolls her eyes at the lovesick look on both their faces.

"Hey. I made breakfast."

"I could eat." He replied in a husky voice, images of the night before still playing in his head.

"Have a seat." Angela motioned to the table before turning back to the stove to fill a plate with eggs and bacon and placing it in front of him. "Sorry, no strawberry pancakes," She whispered, "but strawberries are definitely on the shopping list." She smiled brightly.

"Oh my God! Can you two like, just get a room already?" Danielle groaned.

"Shut up!" Angela snapped. "Eat something and leave, please." She said to her sister, eyes narrowed.

Jordan choked back a laugh, figuring that Angela wouldn't appreciate his amusement.

Danielle made herself a plate and sat down to eat, all the while watching the interaction between Angela and Jordan. She found them even more sickening than usual, causing several more eye rolls.

"Are you done yet?" Angela asked.

"Yeah, I'm done. I'm done watching the two of you making goo-goo eyes at each other. It's disgusting." Danielle reached into her backpack and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. She extended her hand towards Jordan, offering him one, but is met with a blank stare.

"Don't even think about it. Just because Mom's gone doesn't mean you can start using your pathetic attempts to get attention on me." Angela says, matter-of-factly.

"She's really bossy. How do you deal with that?" Danielle directed her question to Jordan who was just trying to get through breakfast.

"Get out, Danielle. Now! Go stand at the bus stop and smoke your stupid cigarettes, I don't care. Just get out!" Angela yelled.

"Why? So you two can play house some more?" Danielle smirked.

"That's it!" Angela reaches for Danielle, but is met with Jordan's arm as he places himself between the two girls.

"Go, Danielle." He says, holding Angela back. Danielle slips out of the back door and down the driveway.

"And I'm telling Mom that he spent the night!" She yells toward the house.

"You little-" Jordan pulls Angela back into the house and closes the door before she can fully respond.

"Calm down. She's just trying to piss you off." He chuckled.

"Yeah, well it's working. I swear, I'm gonna hurt her." Angela stands with her fists balled at her side. She raises her eyes to be met with a smirking Jordan.

He wrapped his arms around her waist, placed his lips close to her ear and spoke softly, "You're just mad because it's true."

She knew, somewhere in the back of her mind that she should be mortified, but his breath on the shell of her ear, combined with his silky voice, caused her to whimper and she found her hands traveling up under his shirt of their own accord.

Oh God, I can feel him.

He felt her breathing pick up and like a hunter cornering his prey, he went in for the kill.

"It is true, isn't it?" He taunted her, talking into the crook of her neck as he made his way to her collarbone, ghosting his lips over her skin.

"Mmmm." She moaned appreciatively.

"That wasn't an answer." He whispered as he backed her up against the wall and pushed against her.

"Uh-huh." She said breathlessly, her eyes closed.

"Say it." He demanded.

"It's true." She complied.

"I think we should work in a little practice before we leave." He suggested and they headed upstairs.


"Heard you quit."

"Hi, Rayanne. I'm having a lovely morning, yourself?" Ricky replied with a toothy, albeit fake, smile.

"Heard you quit." She repeated.

"Yes, I quit."


Rickie stopped what he was doing to look directly at her. "I can't be part of that."

"Um, do you plan on being their houseboy or something?"

"It's wrong, Rayanne." His tone becoming a bit more insistent.

"They're divorced."

"Not quite, and he's living with the woman he cheated on his wife with." He explained.

"Let's start over. How is this our business?" Rayanne asked, head tilted to the side.

"She's our friend." Came the matter-of-fact response. Rayanne did not miss the silent accusation contained therein.

"And our poverty is her gain, how?" Rayanne persisted.

"What poverty, you don't even get paid!" Rickie was fast approaching his limit.

"Okay, your poverty is her gain, how?"

"I'm not in poverty."

"Rickie, c'mon, how does you quitting change anything?"

"I can't be there with Mr. Chase and Hallie, knowing how all of this happened." He pleaded.

"The past is the past. They're moving on." Rayanne's tone was all business. He'd seen it before. It's where she retreated to when she didn't know what to do. He was pleading with her to understand his position, but she wanted to deal only in black and white, because if she thought about the grey too much, she'd have to admit that he had done the right thing and where would that leave her?

"You really don't get it, do you?" Rickie said in exasperation.

"I get that you don't approve of Mr. C's living arrangements, Father Vasquez. What I don't get is how it's any of your business where he lives."

"I don't want to talk about it anymore. Angela will be here soon and you better not say anything about anything in front of her." He warned.

"You seem to forget that she's not really talking to me right now." Rayanne said, coolly.

"And why is that?" Rickie asked pointedly.

He knew that she had known about Graham's living arrangements for some time and he knew that she had kept that knowledge to herself. He was angry and felt betrayed for Angela, but he also knew how much the job meant to Rayanne and how good it had been for her in maintaining her sobriety. As was usual in his dealings with Rayanne, he was conflicted, wanting what was best for her, but hating that it almost always came at the expense of others.

Rayanne sighs heavily.

"Look Rickie, it's a messed up situation, it is. I can't say it's not, but I didn't have anything to do with those two getting together and neither did you."

"She's our friend."

"You say that like I ride the short bus or something. I know that. In fact, she was my friend first, if you remember. You would never have started hanging out with her if not for me."

"Rayanne, I'm not saying you have to quit. I'm just saying I do. I can't be there and watch them together and then look her in the face."

Rayanne and Rickie stare at each other for a few seconds before Rayanne slumps against the locker in resignation.

"I know. It's just that, I can't leave." Rayanne looks up at him. "I've been sober for like, months, except for that one drink on Mother's Day, but I earned that one." She shakes her head. "Rickie, I can't leave."

Rickie's heart breaks for her. Behind the tough façade, her turmoil is apparent, at least, it is to him. Most people never look beyond the surface with Rayanne. He and Angela were the exceptions and he prayed that Angela could get past this, realizing that Rayanne's place at the restaurant was the tenuous thread by which she held fast to her sobriety. He didn't want to think about what life would be like if she went back to the non-stop partying and random hookups. Looking at her now and seeing how far she had come from nearly od'ing, he resolved to speak with Angela in an effort to mend the rift that had formed when "theHallieincident" occurred.

"She knows that they're living together." He said flatly.

"You told her? Why would you tell her that?"

"She should know."

"Why? It's just going to hurt her."

"Better she should hear it from a friend than a stranger or worse."

Rickie is met with another resigned sigh from Rayanne.

"I guess. Hey, you think they have cough medicine in the Nurse's office?"

"Don't even think about it Graf." Rickie warns.

"Just kidding, jeez."

Seconds later, Rickie sees Angela and Jordan enter the building.

"She's taking it better than I thought she would." He observes. "She looks so happy. Not like, smiley happy, content happy."

Rayanne looks over at them, together and narrows her eyes. "So, you know they've ummed."

"Rayanne! Stop spreading rumors."

"Look,thepaparazzi!" Rayanne feigns panic. "You're the only one who talks to me." She rolls her eyes. "Relax, Vasquez, I'm serious. Look at her; she's not our little Angelika anymore."

"How do you know that? You can't, like, know that."

"Oh, trust me I know." She smirks. "Wow, look at that." Rayanne mumbles.


"He is totally gone." A sense of awe is evident in her speech.


"Catalano. Whatever she did to him, it took. He's damn near domesticated."


Shane and Paul walk up to Jordan and Angela at their locker.

"Dude, you cancelled practice. I went all the way over there for nothing. I coulda been with Kimmie, making up for the weekend. I mean we did anyway, but we coulda had another round or two." Paul waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

"Yeah, I had something to do." Jordan replies flatly.

"Bro, somethingor someone?" Paul snickered and looked at Angela, who didn't quite know what to do, so she turned her head to avoid their gaze.

Jordan glared at Paul.

"Not cool dude." Shane said as he elbowed Paul.

Now, both Jordan and Shane are glaring at him.

"Sorry." Paul says, his hands up in mock surrender.

Jordan turns back towards the open locker, "Later Paul." Effectively dismissing him.

Shane watches Paul leave and Jordan clenching his jaw. "So, everything good?" He asks, partially to distract Jordan from Paul's unwelcomed comment, and partially because he knew Jordan had been concerned about Angela all weekend.

"Yeah." Jordan responds, offering nothing more.

"Ok, whatever, practice tonight, right?" Shane asked.

Jordan looked at Angela before responding. "Let me catch up with you later," suggesting that the conversation was now over. Shane looks at Angela and nods.

"Yeah, no problem. Later."

"You don't want to go to practice tonight?" Angela asked.

"We just got back from a whole weekend of gigs. Missing two days of practice won't make a difference."

Jordan closed the locker, turned to her, and kissed her. He didn't mean to deepen the kiss, but when his lips touched hers, he was reminded of her moaning his name earlier and he got carried away. He pulled back, resting his forehead against hers. "Sorry."

"Don't be." She answered.

"I'll see you in Katimsky's." She nodded.

They kissed once more and lingered staring into each other's eyes until the final bell rang.


Sharon was fixing her hair in the girl's bathroom when Rayanne walked in and began checking the stalls. "What?" She asked in regard to Rayanne's strange behavior

"Seen Angela yet?" She asked excitedly.

"No, and why are you so freakin' giddy?" Sharon grumbled.

"She's crossed over."

"I don't know what you're talking about, Graf. Crossed over what?"

"She's one of us now."

"Okay, that did not help at all. What are you so excited about?"

"Her and Catalano." Rayanne replied.

"Duh, that's been going on for some time now. And, I might add, it's not something to be excited about. Are you on something?"

"Duh squared, I mean her...and...Catalano." She gave Sharon a knowing look.

"Ohmygo...wha...how did..."

"Pick a sentence and go with it." Rayanne quipped.

"Wait. Did she tell you this Graf, or is the product of your pickled brain?"

"I haven't been pickled," she said, looking a little forlorn, "in any sense of the word, for awhile. Anyway, Angela, on the other hand, clearly has."

"Whatever, I don't believe you."

Angela walks in just as Sharon disregards Rayanne's report.

"Ask her."

Angela eyes Rayanne suspiciously. "Ask me what?"

"I gotta go meet Tino." Rayanne gives Angela a wicked smile and a thumbs up.

"Nothing. How ya doin', Chase Face? Rough weekend, you okay?" Sharon looks at her sympathetically.

"Yeah, things are better. I'm worried about my mom. I really hate my father for this." Angela responds, trying not to get emotional.

Of course, while Sharon sincerely cared what happened to this family, she was somewhat disinterested in the whole divorce thing, wanting to know if what Rayanne had said was true.

"I would have come over this weekend, but my dad is useless without my mom and he'd have starved to death if I didn't take care of him." She rolled her eyes.

"It's okay. You shouldn't be doing too much anyway. I'm surprised they let you come back to school and everything, after the hospital and stuff."

"I couldn't stay home another day. I was going stir crazy. Staying home is one thing, but bed rest? That's insane. I was only allowed to get up to go to the bathroom the first week and then I was only allowed limited walking after that. The only person I've seen in weeks, besides you, is Shane and that's only because he brings my homework over, since he's working on our yard and stuff. The doctor said I was lucky; some women have to be on bed rest for the whole pregnancy. Can you imagine?" Sharon shuddered dramatically. "Anyway, if it wasn't for my dad, I totally would have been there to keep you company."

"It was fine, I managed. Jordan came over yesterday and helped me get the house cleaned up and stuff."

Seeing the perfect opportunity to segue into the discussion she really wanted to have, Sharon proceeded. "So, how are things with you and Jordan?"

"We're fine." Angela thought the timing of the question was odd, especially paired with Rayanne's peculiar behavior. She had already decided that she didn't want to share this part of her life with anyone just yet. It felt good for her to share something with Jordan that was theirs and theirs alone. "We'd better go. If I miss another one of Katimsky's classes, his head'll pop off."

Angela enters the classroom and takes her seat. Jordan hasn't arrived yet. On the other side of the door, she could see Brian talking to Amy. She was happy for him and the fact that he'd found someone. They hadn't talked much lately and it surprised her, but she actually missed him. She never thought there would be a day when she would miss him showing up at her door rambling about random school supplies that she had supposedly borrowed months earlier

It was funny how Jordan saw more of her neighbor these days than she did. If anyone had told her a year ago that Jordan Catalano and Brian Krakow would become friends she would have died laughing. The two of them had had quite an effect on one another. Jordan actually didhomework and even studied for exams. It wasn't uncommon to find him sitting in her kitchen or living room doing his homework and even when she would try to distract him, he'd usually be the one to get them refocused. Brian, for his part, came back from spring break with a haircut that made him almost cute and then there was that comment that Jordan had made earlier, suggesting that Brian and Amy were sleeping together. She suddenly realized that Jordan was Brian's Rayanne.


Jordan walked in, smiled at her and went to the back of the class. Mr. Katimsky started talking, but she didn't hear a word of it. Jordan was all she could think about. Jordan, in her bed. Jordan on top of her. Jordan under her. She could feel her face heating up, but was helpless to stop it.

Okay, there is definitely something wrong with me. This is ridiculous. Focus, focus.

"Ms. Chase? Ah, Angela?"

"Huh? I'm sorry, I didn't...um, hear you."

"That's because you ah, weren't listening." Mr. Katimsky teased.

She shrunk in her seat, thankful that the teacher had moved on. She couldn't wait for this class to end. She could feel Jordan looking at her and though she tried not to look in his direction, she couldn't resist. When she turned her head, his eyes were right on her, a smirk on his lips. She lowered her eyes and faced front again. When class ended, Sharon and Jordan both approached her. Sharon saw the way that they looked at each other and she knew something had changed.

MaybecrazyGrafwasn'tsocrazy. She decided to let them be. ButIwillsobeaskingquestionslater.

"Hey wanna get out of here?" He whispered in her ear.

"Yeah." She smiled.

They walked out to the parking lot hand in hand, saying nothing until they reached the car.

"Hungry?" He asked

"I guess. Where are we going?"

"I dunno, I just couldn't be inside anymore." He reached across the seat and kissed her. "I've been wanting to do that for the last 45 minutes."

"Yeah, me too."

There was something weird between them, almost a shyness, like they wanted to talk about it, but couldn't. He drove a short distance to a pizza shop and pulled into the lot.

"You okay?" He asked, having noticed how quiet she'd become.


"So, why aren't you talking? You upset about it?" He asked, not really wanting to hear her answer.

"No! Not at all. It's just..." Her flaming cheeks were the only explanation he needed as to what was wrong with her.

He smiled to himself as he walked around to open her door. Taking her hand in his, he led her into the restaurant.

"You can't stop thinking about it." He said teasingly, "You want it all the time, right?" He taunted, whispering in her ear.

"Shut up!" She smacked his arm and turned the brightest shade of red he'd ever seen her become. He watched her slide into a booth while he placed their order. When he joined her at the table he was struggling to contain his laughter.

"I tried to tell you. You could've been getting it for the past like, 4 months." She threw a wadded up napkin at him. "You deprived yourself and now you're mad about it, right? Don't worry," He slipped into his boiler room voice, "we'll make up for lost time."

"Would you shut up?" She was squirming and trying to hide her face as he held her hands so that she couldn't hide behind them.

They were both laughing hysterically and it took awhile for them to regain their composure.

"So, I gotta tell you something." Jordan finally spoke, once the laughter had subsided.

He was looking down, playing with the spice shakers on the table. The pizza guy yelled out that their order was ready and he jumped up from the table to retrieve their food. Her stomach was in knots. What did he want to tell her? Why did she always expect the worse?

He came back to the table with a small pie and some sodas.

"Uh, remember when we went to that house, you know, the one on Cloverdale?" He said tentatively, thinking to himself, ofcoursesheremembers,youidiot.

She nods, not sure she wants to hear the rest. In her head, she begs, "please,don'tsayyouwerewithsomeoneelsethatnight."

"Well, I was thinking about it this morning…" He had resumed his fidgeting with the spice shakers. "…after I left your house and…I'm sorry." His eyes met her for the briefest of moments, before he dropped them again. "It was stupid and I'm glad you didn't do it then, because it woulda been all wrong." He looked up at her again, but this time his gaze didn't shift in the slightest. "And I wanted to say sorry for that other stuff I said to you at my house, you know, about how it's expected and…I'm sorry."

She smiled a little, "You were a total jerk; you know that, right?"

He laughs, "Yeah, I know," As he brings a slice to his mouth.

They talked a little about school and an upcoming Residue gig as they ate. Once they were finished, they headed back to Liberty, for afternoon classes. They were early and had a few minutes before they needed to head inside.

"Your mom gets home tonight." He said quietly, running his hands through her hair.

"I know." She shifted a little so that she was tucked nicely into his chest.

"I don't think she'll let me sleep over."

Angela chuckled. "Yeah, as much as she likes you, I think that's pretty much a 'no'."

"I like sleeping with you." His voice was soft, almost like he was talking to himself.

"Well, you should. You spent the better part of this year trying to get me to do it."

"I said sleep not sex." He corrected her.

She looked up at him, surprised that he'd made a distinction.

"I do too. I sleep better when I'm with you, even in that crazy hammock." She smiled.

He kissed her deeply as he pulled her up into his lap. His hands came to rest on her hips and he forced himself to remain still, although his body had other ideas. She broke away first. Her arms rested around his neck and she stared into his eyes. She could tell there was more he wanted to say.

"Anthony's going away soon."

"Where to?" She asked.

"Italy. He'll be gone for a month."

Understanding his unasked question, she responded. "But how would I get out of the house? I mean, I could probably do it once or twice. Maybe get Rickie or Rayanne to cover for me."

"It's not till July." He added.

"We'll figure it out." She assured him.


"You didn't see what I saw. The way they look at each other, it's different." Sharon argued.

"That doesn't mean anything." Rickie argued back.

Rayanne exited one of the stalls and placed her hands on her hips. "I was right, right? I knew I was right. Told you." She sauntered up to her two friends with a smug expression on her face.

"We still don't have confirmation, just Graf's say so. Although, I'm telling you, something changed. Couldn't you tell?" Sharon asked Rickie.

"I haven't even spoken to her today. Where is she anyway?" Rickie asked.

"Don't check the boiler room; you might get an eyeful." Rayanne said laughing heartily.

"Eeewww! You are so twisted. She would never." Sharon protested.

"Yeah, ok. Do you remember your first time? How you wanted it all the time." Rayanne countered, arms folded in front of her. It doesn't escape her notice that Rickie is conspicuously uncomfortable. "Don't worry Vasquez, take notes, you'll see."

"Why do I even talk to you?" He grumbles.

"Because you love me." She blows him a kiss.

"Rayanne, you're friends with Tino, did he say anything?" Sharon asked.

"Okay Cherski, think about this for a minute…Catalano is practically a man-whore, who cares if he got laid? The story here is her. This wouldn't like, be news to Tino. Catalano's friends probably think they did it the day they said 'hi' to each other for the first time."

"Well, I just hope she used protection." Sharon comments, unconsciously touching her baby bump.

"Catalano knows the drill." Rayanne responds.

Sharon and Rickie look at her with their mouths agape and then they look at each other. Realizing that what she said sounded like first-hand knowledge, Rayanne backpedals.

"I just meant this isn't like, a new thing for him. I'm sure she was fine. I gotta go."

Sharon and Rickie look at each other, neither wanting to verbalize what just went through their minds.

"I better get going too," Rickie heads for the door.

"Yeah, me too."


Patty sits in the passenger seat of Camille's car looking pale and miserable. They're on their way back to Three Rivers and Camille has spent the last half hour giving Patty a pep talk.

"It's not like I didn't know something was wrong, It's not like I didn't have my suspicions, but I just never thought he would actually…and now this!" Patty says incredulously.

"Well, he did and you have two daughters who need you, so you have to get it together. Patty, this sucks, it does, but you can't let him get the best of you."

"But to threaten to make me sell our home, Camille, I never thought he would sink so low. Even if it's just a ploy like my attorney said, it's still such a hurtful thing to do. How could he? Doesn't he think he's hurt us enough?" Her voice breaks, but no tears come. She wonders if a person can become dehydrated from from crying. If so, it's going to take at least a week before her fluid levels are back to normal.

"He's a sonofabitch and he's gonna get his. If he thinks that you are going to give an inch, so that he can make a life with that slut on the hard work that you put in all these years, on the money that made it possible for his sorry ass to even have this restaurant, he is sadly mistaken. You're not giving an inch; do you hear me, Patty?" Camille glared out the front window, seething as she thought of how broken her best friend was this weekend.

"I don't know, Camille, maybe I should just sign over my share in the place. I don't want it and I don't need it, so why battle over it?"

"First of all, you may not need or want it, but what about your girls? They're entitled to it and if you think that he can be trusted to preserve their interests, I would think that this little stunt has proven otherwise. You have to hold on to that piece of the restaurant for the girls' sake. What if he marries this wench? She'llbe entitled to his share, not them. Keep it until they're of age and sign it over to them." As much as Camille didn't want to hurt her friend any further, she had to be the voice of reason.

"I never thought about it that way."

"Here's something else you didn't think about. You may not be turning a profit today, but if there's one thing Graham can do right in this world, it's cooking. And that little harpy of his actually seems to know her stuff, where business is concerned, so you can bet your ass Saffron will be successful. Did you know that they were featured on the Morning Show the other day?"

Patty stared at Camille with her mouth open.

"Yeah, I didn't think so. Not only were they featured, but the host mentioned that he and his wife have eaten there regularly since it opened and he declared it their favorite restaurant in the Pittsburgh area. The food guy said they were 'up and coming' and I'm sure they're booked solid for the foreseeable future. That spells success and success spells profit, which means money for you and your kids." Camille glances over at her.

"Second, that bastard deserves to be left with nothing for even thinking about threatening you, so you do your worst. You hold on to your share and make sure you get child support too. Angela's only got a few more years before she's on her own, but he's on the hook for Dani for a good long while."

"Ohmigod, Camille, I don't know if I can do this." Patty shakes her head as she speaks. "If I can fight with him like this. I don't want to take him for everything. I just want my girls and me to be left alone."

"I think we're well past that, Honey. He pulled out the big guns. You've gotta show him that yours are bigger than his. I'm sure the lawyer will tell you all of this, but if he doesn't, I'mtelling you. Bury him. Make him wish he had never met Ms. Hallie Lowenthal." The venom in her voice sends a chill down Patty's spine.

"Hallie's not to blame." She mumbled.

"I'm sorry. Did you just say that the man-stealing hussy is not to blame? Have you lost your mind?"

Patty sighs heavily.

"Angela told me that she saw Graham with a woman back when we were doing the ballroom dancing and that later, she caught him cancelling a date, but she couldn't be sure that it was with the same woman. He was going to cheat; it was a matter of time. If it hadn't been Hallie, it would've been someone else."

"All the more reason to bury him." Camille asserted.

"C'mon Camille, I know you're mad, but you can't be angrier than I am and I don't want to bury him. I just want to get to a place where, I don't know, if I run into him at the grocery store, we can be more than civil. He was your friend and he was there for you when Andy was sick. Did you forget that?

"And you wonder why I'm mad? That's it right there." She gestures toward Patty. "You're too good for him. He's over there scheming to cut you out of a business that you helped establish for his benefit, because you love him and didn't want to see him unhappy and he turns around and leverages the security and familiarity of your home and your concern for your kids to do it? Meanwhile, you aspire to be 'more than civil' to him someday. That! That is why I can say 'bury him!'"

Patty throws her head back onto the headrest and closes her eyes.

"Patty, I'm sorry. I don't mean to be so vicious. I'm just afraid that you're going to let him take advantage of you and if anyone deserves to come out ahead in this scenario, it's you, you and the kids. He made his choice and in making it, he's pretty much said 'screw you' to everything else. Let him lie in the bed he's made."

"Thank you, Camille. I know you mean well. I forgot how truly evil you could be." Patty chuckled.

"Yeah, well, be glad I'm on your side."

"Oh, I am. Believe me."

"Okay, well enough of this. We are going to bury him and we're going to look good doing it. To that end, my dearest friend, we're going to have a spa day. You're going to do something with that hair and then you're going to go home, looking fabulous, with your head held high and see your girls." She smiled at her oldest friend. "You should be very proud of Angela, she's been handling things at home with Danielle for two days and as far as I can tell, she's doing a great job."

"Thank God for her Camille. She has been so supportive through this whole thing. I wouldn't have thought so, but she's really been there for me. Danielle, on the other hand…"

"You know what she needs? A swift kick in the pants."

"If I thought it would work..." Patty sighs


Rickie approaches his locker and sees Brian standing there as if he's waiting for someone.

"Looking for me?"

"No not exactly. I'm avoiding Angela. She was at the other end of the hall, so I came down here."

"I thought you were over this." Rickie say exasperatedly.

Brian slumps against the locker," I did too."

"So what happened?" Rickie asks, genuinely concerned for his friend, who looks completely dejected.

"You can't tell anyone, especially Graf, seriously!" Brian's eyes bore into his own.

"Ok, ok, I promise not to tell a soul." Rickie crosses his heart.

"She did it. With him. Angela had sex with Jordan Catalano and it's killing me."

"How do you know she did it?" Rickie asks with narrowed eyes.

"When I got up this morning, I saw his car pulling out of the driveway and I just…knew" Brian looks up at the ceiling.

"Okay, but you didn't see anything, right? He was just pulling out of the driveway. That doesn't mean they did it."

"Well, I mean, I'm not a pervert, I wasn't like, looking in her window or anything." Brian whispered conspiratorially. "This is Jordan Catalano we're talking about. He doesn't spend the night with a girl and NOT have sex with her."

"Yes, but this is also Angela Chase we're talking about and I'm not so sure that she did do it." Rickie counters.

Rayanne sneaks up behind Brian. "Hey Krakow, still in love with Angela, huh?"

"Wha-no! Don't you have something to do?"

"Yes, I'm doing it." She grins.

Rickie attempts to intervene, "Rayanne, we were in the middle of something."

"Did you get this one on film too, Krakow? In the yearbook, they should put under your picture, 'mostlikelytoownaskinflickstudio.' I think you've found your calling, Krakow."

Brian looks horrified.

"Well good for Angela. I'm glad it happened in her own bed."

Brian looks at Rickie, who is just as shocked as Brian is, "I've been standing here with you the whole time. I couldn't have said a word to her."

Brian turns to Rayanne, "I don't know what you're talking about."

"The hell you don't. Come on, Krakow spill. What were you doing, sitting in the tree outside your house so you could get the best angle?"

"You're sick!" Brian storms off

"Was it something I said?" Rayanne looks at Rickie with the best doe eyes she can conjure.


"Why do you all doubt my powers?" Rayanne does a mystical dance for Ricky as he rolls his eyes.

"Would you stop it? We need to like, respect her privacy. She obviously doesn't want anyone to know."

"Whatever, wanna go get some Chinese?"


Patty and Camille are in the spa, they're wearing facial masks and their eyes are covered with cucumber slices.

"You know, you're the lucky one in this. Your girls are almost grown and they're smart girls, they'll bounce back. This idiot will be 50 years old, still carpooling and working on school projects, not to mention that he's going to have to figure out how to juggle his business, child support, and that woman he's attached himself to, and whatever spawn they create. Moron."

"I don't wish him any ill will. I just feel like, I don't know, he gets a do-over and I'm just cast aside. It's not like I want to be with him, I actually realized that I don't. I don't want him, I want what he has. He has all this passion for his life all of a sudden. I didn't see any of this when we were together. I guess, I want to feel like that too. I want to get excited about something. Is that crazy?" Patty sits up and removes the cucumber slices from her eyes.

"Not at all, why do you think I brought you here?" Camille follows suit. "You've got to get back out there. You're still young and you've always been pretty, you know that. He's not the one with the do-over, Sweetie, he's the one with the do-it-again. He's doing the same things over again. You're the one with the chance to have a whole new life. Angela and Danielle can do most things for themselves and they're at that age when they don't really want you around anyway, so start making a life for yourself."

"I guess you're right."

"Hell yes, I'm right. While you're out there looking for your passion, you need to attract some." Camille laughed a wicked laugh.

"I haven't even thought about dating. God, that scares the hell out of me. I haven't been on a date in over twenty years. I wouldn't know what to say or do. This is crazy. Who am I going to meet anyway?"

"One thing this experience should have taught you is that you don't know what tomorrow will bring. When Andy had his heart attack, I realized that all those things I was putting off needed to get done now, because I may not have tomorrow to do it. You're situation is no different. Start living, Patty because life is short and opportunities are fleeting. If you find someone who makes you laugh and feel good about yourself, go for it."

"I guess you're right. Thanks, Camille. You always know how to make me feel better,"

Camille is looking past Patty. "Don't thank me yet. Guess who just walked in."

A/N: Happy Chanakwanachristmakah! I think I got everyone in there. If I missed you PM me and let me know. Oh, and Festivus, I forgot Festivus for the rest of us. May all your grievances be aired. LOL So, this was my holiday gift to you. You may leave me one as well, in the form of a review. What do you think about Brian and Amy getting it on? Rayanne's super sleuth skills? Camille, AKA Killer Cherski and her plans for Graham? The other storylines will resume in the next chapter, for those of you who were not consumed with the umming, lol, all two of you.

Many thanks to all who have read, favorited, alerted, and reviewed. If I haven't heard from you in awhile or if you've never reviewed, let's close out the year right, with a shout out. Reviews are like fertilizer for a writer's mind. Review now for an abundant harvest later.

Happy New Year!