A/N: Last chapter of this one. Thanks to everyone who reviewed, I appreciate it!
Disclaimer: I own nothing
There's a time for us
Someday a time for us
Time together with time to spare
Time to look, time to care
We'll find a new way of living
We'll find a way of forgiving
Somewhere – "Somewhere" West Side Story, Act II, Scene I
The Riley kids sat quietly cutting their food. There was nothing in the world worse to them than the compulsory dinners with their mother's parents. The Turners were eternally disapproving. Bella wasn't even really eating, just pushing her food around.
"So, I thought it was an excellent idea," Patricia said. "Don't you Annabelle?"
"Hm?" Bella said. She hadn't been listening.
"Bella," Cassie said. "Grandma just said that they want a younger person on the debutante committee this year, and since your cousins are all coming out, she recommended you."
"Oh," Bella said. "That would be nice, I guess."
"It was an obvious choice," Patricia said. "You were the best head deb we'd had since your Aunt Kelly."
"Wait," Eva said. "They're coming out? All three of them? Even Anne?"
"Yes, Eva," Patricia nodded. "Apparently your cousins understand how important four generations of tradition is, unlike some people I might mention." TJ snorted and Eva kicked him under the table.
"I'd be happy to help Grandma," Bella said, quickly, taking the heat off her sister. It had thrown her grandparents for a loop when Eva had decided not to be a debutante. To the Turners it was worse than the running away with David thing. "I didn't realize the girls were coming out either. Grandpa must be so happy."
"I wonder if Anne's going to wear Doc Martins," TJ joked.
"TJ!" Cassie looked at him.
"Under the gown," he said. "I bet she will." Eva kicked him again. "Ow!" He said. "I'm gonna have a bruise!"
"Then stop being a jack ass," she said through her teeth.
"I think James's little girl is best suited to it," Patricia said. "Those big blue eyes of hers, and that Nichols boy has been very good at the rehearsals."
"Please tell me what Kevin Reed is like," TJ said.
"Thomas James Riley," Cassie hissed, "if you don't stop, I'll be the one kicking you and you will bruise." He nodded. "Elisa will be a beautiful debutante." Bella squirmed a little. She hated hearing about how beautiful Elisa was, it was residual jealousy. People were always blown away by those classic little girl looks of hers.
"Hey," Aaron walked into the suite that Elisa and Stephanie were sharing.
"Aaron!" Elisa ran and hugged him.
"Hey, Ellie," he said. "Look at you, you're all grown up, and kinda hot."
"Stop being gross," Stephanie said. "Where's Reese?"
"Sleeping," he said and collapsed in a chair. "It's the only time I can get away. She is insatiable."
"Again with the gross," Stephanie said. He laughed. "She's good for you. Calls you on all your shit. Ellie's got a boyfriend."
"For real this time?" Aaron asked. "Or some guy you stole off your cousin?"
"Anne this time," Stephanie said. "But it wasn't Anne's real boyfriend, just the guy she fooled around with on the side."
"It wasn't like that," Elisa insisted. "Hunter and I make sense. Oh by the way, I'm going to be a debutante."
"Shut up!" Stephanie said. "Like poofy white gown, Jimmy walks you down the stairs and hands you off to Hunter like a piece of meat?"
"I think it's nice," Elisa said. "Trina and Anne are doing it too, it's going to be fun."
"Anne?" Stephanie said. "Anne Callins? Was she stoned when she agreed?" Elisa laughed. "Wait, and Trina, that means the Dean's going to be in the tails?" Elisa nodded. "Oh God, that I'm going to have to see. The sexist open for business ritual though, that I'm not going to stand for. Especially not for my niece. You're as much Gaffney as you are Riley."
"Yes, because the ballet world is sooo liberated," Aaron winked at Elisa. She giggled. She felt like a little girl again, listening to them bicker.
"Watch it," Stephanie said. "Or I'll tell Reese about that time that you ate Ponyboy's poop because I told you to."
"You ate Ponyboy's poop?" Elisa said. "God, gross Aaron!"
"She said it was chocolate!" Aaron insisted. Stephanie grinned.
"You're kind of evil," Elisa said.
"I try," Steph smiled.
Tony smiled watching Lizzie start to get dressed her hair wild and frizzy. He slid his hands onto her bare hips.
"Tony," she said sadly. "I really have to go. I told TJ," he kissed her neck and she exhaled. He kissed between her shoulder blades. "Don't," she shook her head.
"When are you going to let me back in, Liz?" He whispered. "This is getting kind of old." He carefully ran a finger down her back. She shivered, he knew every inch of her body. It was comforting, and way better than anything that happened at school, with frat boys, or study buddies.
"I love you," she said and kissed him. "Maybe we should just see."
"We've been seeing for a year," he said and she turned. "I want to know, Lizzie." They kissed again. "You're so tan." She laughed.
"I know doesn't it totally rock!" She giggled. He smiled. "I have to go. TJ really needs to get out, apparently Bella's in one of her moods." She kissed him. "We will talk, Tony, I promise, I just need to get my head around some things. You should come to Vegas with us! Get the old gang together."
"Connie won't be there," he said. She sighed. "Sorry, right, I know I'm not supposed to," he drifted off.
"It's not like I don't know she's there," she sighed. "Just knowing that you two," she swallowed.
"And I'm supposed to be OK with you opening your legs to every frat guy in the desert?" He said. She sighed.
"It's not all of them!" She said. "It's not even all of the guys in the brother house! I'm not some super slut like Reese you know!"
"No, Reese is upfront about it," he said. "You're all pretending it's normal what's going on here. It's not normal!"
"Fine," she said. "You can go meet some overly motivated Rory Gilmore type when you go back to school next month, and have a normal relationship with her." She pulled her sweater and jeans on quickly. She marched out. He groaned and collapsed.
"Hey," Bonnie said walking into Hunter's room. He pulled his headphones out. "Tammy just called me," he raised his eyebrows. "She invited us over for Christmas. Don't they usually go to Minnesota?"
"Yeah," he nodded. "But because Julie and Jimmy in Vegas working on the new restaurant, not this year." She nodded. "We don't have to go, I know we were doing the mellow Christmas thing."
"We could go for dinner," Bonnie reasoned. "Still spend Christmas Eve just us."
"Uncle Grant actually called me," he said softly. "About Christmas Eve."
"Oh," she whispered. "Well, sure, we always went over there for dinner. If you want to, I mean, I want things to be as normal for you as they can be."
"He'll be there," Hunter sighed, "I'm not ready for it. To see him, I mean." Bonnie sat down. "We'll go to the Callins' it'll be fun. Anne's really bumming that Cal's not around anyway."
"OK," she nodded. "Are you sure, though? I'll call Grant and Alexia, and I have other friends I can spend the night with."
"Mom," he said. "We're making this new family thing work. Just us, so we'll make it work."
Bella and Eva sat in Eva's car as they drove home. Bella stared out the window.
"Evie," she whispered. Eva looked at her. "I'm sorry."
"For what?" Eva said.
"Everything," she sighed. "How I've been." Eva smiled.
"It's OK," Eva said softly. "Look, Bella, when you told Eddie to leave in the spring, it was because you wanted to figure out who you were and what you wanted." Bella nodded. "But then you met Gordon, and that kind of got pushed to the side. Maybe you should take that time before going to school." Eva swallowed and nodded. They pulled into the driveway. They noticed David's car and got out.
"Leigh," Gordon said, getting out of the car. Bella swallowed. "Hi," he said softly.
"I'll go inside and find David," Eva said. Bella nodded. Gordon looked at her and she walked inside.
"What are you doing here?" She asked.
"I shouldn't have left that way," he said. "I love you." She swallowed as he kissed her.
"Gordon," she whispered. "I'm sorry."
"I know," he nodded, pushing her hair off of her face, "you said that." He kissed her again. "I don't care, I really don't. I just want to be with you."
"Oh God," she mumbled, tears rising in her eyes. "I can't, Gordon, I just can't do it anymore!" He looked at her and swallowed. "I can't fight with my father and wonder what is going to happen next year, I just can't!"
"What are you saying?" He asked. "Bella," he said softly. "Don't do this, baby, please!"
"Gordon, I'm so tired," she sighed, "I love you so much, but I'm just tired and I can't figure out what I want."
"So, we'll figure it out together," he said. "I don't know what I want either, just that I want you!"
"But Gordon, that's not enough!" She sighed. "We've said it, right? We don't want to end up like our parents?" He nodded. "So then let's not! Let's end this before we end up like that."
"You don't mean this," he shook his head, "Bella, come on! I know I was a jerk this afternoon, but that doesn't mean,"
"You were right to walk out this afternoon!" She said. "Gordon, I told you at the beginning of this, I'm not good. There's something wrong inside of me."
"I don't care," he insisted and pulled her close. "I love you, whatever's wrong inside, I don't care."
"Please don't make this harder," she whispered.
"You're going to be with him now?" He asked. She shook her head.
"No," she said softly. "I'm not. I need to not have a boyfriend, or be hung up on a guy for a while." He kissed her. "Please just let me go!"
"OK," he whispered. "In a minute."
"It's not over Gordon," she said gently. "Someday, we're going to be together. I know it, just not now. I can't now."
To Be Continued...
So, I just couldn't end happy, what with the whole Romeo and Juliet angle. Please review and...
Coming Soon: Littles: The New Wave: Debut: As the sophomores get ready to be debutantes, Eva and David walk down the aisle, and Bella tries to find herself.